Archive for April, 2011

April 26, 2011

A quick delish lunch!

Here’s a quick, healthy, balanced lunch idea for you.

Tuna couscous:

You’ll need
1 5oz. can tuna in water
1 cup cooked whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup cucumber (English work the best)
Large handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup fresh spinach chopped
2 tbsp. feta
Drizzle of vinegar dressing
Salt and pepper

Mix and enjoy! Couscous takes about 10 minutes to make total and can easily be cooked ahead. Hope this can make your lunch feel fulling and energizing.

Happy gnashing!
– Michelle

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April 21, 2011

Journey to the bikini

So here we go, we’re going to talk about losing weight. Ugh, I know. Our society is extremely obsessed with weight, diet and bikini’s. I know I’m not alone when I say I think about weight loss almost hourly. It’s insane.

I have basically been overweight/chubby my entire life, and continue to struggle with it. From when I was a child till about age 20 I was pretty overweight, probably obese. I grew up on large portions and not much activity as a child. I’ve always been a big eater. When I was a child, as young as a toddler, I used to sit in the fridge and eat pickles. Food has always been a close friend, a life partner if you will. I had thought about losing weight for years, and would kind of try, but was never really ready for it.

In January 2008 I decided I was done. Done with being fat. Done with feeling guilty about my weight. Done with weight getting in the way of my life. I was young and I just wanted to experience a different life, one where I would have confidence and feel good. By June I had lost about 50lbs from my highest weight of 260lbs. Over that summer and fall I continued on Weight Watchers, with my lowest weight being about 60lbs lighter then my largest.

Losing that much weight is one hell of a transition to go through, and gaining some back fills me with ungodly amounts of Catholic guilt. So here I am, still substantially lighter and more fit then I once was but I’m not where I need to be yet. The past year has been a daily struggle to lose weight, knowing what I need to do, but being tempted by my life long friend, food. I have slowly been coming down from my holiday chunk, working out regularly, and trying to understand my eating patterns. I’m making daily goals, and weekly goals for myself, to help stay on track. For me, I have to stay accountable and picture how great it would feel to wear a bikini. My weight watchers leader always reminds us that this isn’t just about losing weight but about changing our lives and being empowered by our health. It’s a journey, and maybe I won’t make it into that bikini for a few summers, but if I hold myself accountable I can be in that bikini by mid-summer.

Me at my heaviest. (not the best picture)

Me at close to my lightest.

So, for those of you out there that know my experiences, stick to it, and know that taking it day-by-day is the way to stay on track. Losing weight may be one of the most challenging life experiences many of us will face, but the journey continues to be worth it. So cheers to your health.

-Michelle

April 17, 2011

Lemon Chickpea Dip

Snacks are a vital part of my day-to-day eating. It is good to snack, especially when you’re dieting. Snacking curbs your appetite and regulates glucose levels. If you allow your glucose levels to fluctuate between extreme ups and downs, losing weight is going to be more difficult. So I have a great snack that pairs nicely with crackers, veggies, or toast, Lemon Chickpea Dip. This is a great snack because it has fiber, protein, and fills you up.

 What you’ll need:

* 1 can Chickpeas

* 3 TBS Olive Oil

* 1 Lemon

* 3 Garlic Cloves

* Bunch of Cilantro

* 1/4 Spanish Onion

*1 TBS Parsley

* Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Blend chickpeas, onion, garlic and olive oil in food processor until smooth but with some texture.  Add lemon juice, cilantro, salt and pepper and finish blending. Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve with raw veggies, chips, crackers, or toast. Also a great on sandwiches and burgers. Enjoy!

April 13, 2011

Don’t think you have enough time for breakfast? Think again!

Sometimes all you want is something quick, easy and pleasing for breakfast. I’ve got the perfect idea. Strawberry-Banana Smoothies!! You may be thinking, can’t I just pick that up at Jamba Juice? Yeah, you can, IF you live near one and have $5+ to spend every morning. But the easier, faster, simpler, and cheaper way is to make your own. I started making various fruit smoothies for breakfast or a snack when I began weight watchers a few years ago, and it is one of the most satisfying ways to start your morning.  So here it is, the simple Strawberry-Banana smoothie!

What you’ll need:

3/4 c. frozen strawberries

1 banana (this is a great recipe to use those turning-brown bananas!)

1/2 c. organic 0% Greek yogurt (any flavor you please, I like vanilla)*

1/3 c. Organic 1% or fat-free milk*

I try to let the frozen strawberries thaw out for a few minutes so I usually take them out when I first wake up.

Add all ingredients together and blend! It’s that simple! I use an immersion blender that cost me $60 at target and is a great alternative if you don’t have the space for a regular blender. This is a great recipe to make the night before and throw in the freezer or fridge, depending on how you want the texture in the morning. To get even more nutrients, try adding frozen blueberries, mango, raspberries and blackberries.

For those of you on Weight Watchers, you can make this for as little as 2 Points Plus if you use plain non-fat greek yogurt!

*I use organic milk and yogurt not only for the health benefits because I truly think that dairy tastes so much better than non-organic. It’s worth the money! Think of it as investing in your health AND your senses! *

April 6, 2011

Everything’s Bigger in Texas….including my stomach.

I haven’t posted in a few days because I’ve been in Texas. As I sit here, drinking my iced tea, I am reminded of everything Texas means to me. Friends, laughs, BBQ, Tex-Mex, Beer, and warmth. I am a northerner at heart,  but there is nothing more warming than some Texas love. Although I am a person that believes in balance, I also really live my life through my senses, and taste is my primary sense. No matter how committed I am to losing weight, and being healthy, this foodie just could not resist what Texas has to offer. (Sometimes living life means indulging).

Beef Ribs, Potato Salad, and Texas Caviar

I enjoyed some great BBQ. My first BBQ indulgence was at The Good Company. I ordered one of my faves, Beef Brisket with potato salad, slaw, beans, and pickles. The beef was so tender, flavorful and lovely.  My next BBQ indulgence was at the Antique show about an hour and half outside of Houston. There is something so very magnificent about miles and miles of antiques. I got Beef dry rub ribs (pictured above), potato salad, and Texas caviar (black-eyed peas, tabasco, and spices) at Zap Hall.  There’s not many things better in the world then some Texas cared for BBQ. Trust me.

My second over indulgence was Beer. I know there are a lot of people out there who have mixed feelings about beer, but I have a feeling you just haven’t had the right beer yet. I have a fondness for the process and am fascinated with the art of brewery. It is no surprise that Texas has some great beer. Refined, full-bodied, light and seasonal is how I would describe my Texas beer experience.

Life is about experiencing things, and there is no better way to experience then traveling. So, although I will always be the first person to promote a healthy lifestyle, part of being healthy is being happy. So overindulge, go against the grain, and experience everything life has to offer.

 

We’re all fed such false messages about success in life, made to believe it’s a point of arrival. So most of us spend our whole lives waiting to arrive. We expect that once we get there, the long story of the life we just lived will be infused with meaning. But while we’re waiting our voices dry up. They forget how to ask, they forget how to listen, they forget how to tell. -Off the Map