Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Smart Ones' Chicken Santa Fe - Yummy, quick & guilt-free!

I was very, very pleasantly surprised by this little ditty today.  I haven't tried many Smart Ones meals because I haven't had the best luck with them, and I love Lean Cuisine & Top Chef Healthy Choice meals.  But, Smart Ones' Chicken Santa Fe is great!  Even my boss came sniffing around the corner to see what I was eating...

If you're of the Weight Watcher persuasion, this is only 3 Points Plus.  For the rest of us, it's a mere 140 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.  I'm impressed!

Seeing as it has so few calories, I might just throw it on lettuce sometime with a couple of crunched up Tostito's Baked Scoops, and it'd make a pretty sweet taco salad for dinner.  Give it a try!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This is How We Do It: Part 3 – You are what you eat.

My sincere apologies for the dire lack of posts recently! The first couple weeks of 2012 have been interesting.  Aside from life throwing me a few quite unpleasant curveballs, it’s also been a time of my body getting back to normal after the holidays.  Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed many wonderful things over the holidays!  Peanut butter balls, puppy chow, prime rib, candy, potatoes, wine, beer, cookies, cheeses…  These are just a few of the things I indulged in.  And, boy, could I tell. 

Holiday treats, you slay me!
It turns out that the holidays proved to be the perfect catalyst in showing me just how much my habits have changed, and how much better it makes me feel!  You really are what you eat. 

When I began the weight loss process, I really didn’t give much thought to what I ate. 

It’s there.
I’m hungry.
It’s yummy.
I ate it.
Now I’m not hungry. 
That was really yummy…
I’ll have some more, please.

That’s about it.  There really wasn’t much purpose or thought behind it.  If I was hungry, I ate.  Sometimes I ate things because I was in the mood for them and they’re super yummy.  Sometimes I ate things because they were just there and required no effort.  Sometimes I ate when I was bored and fidgety and didn’t even really realize. 

Well, try losing weight behaving like that.

A typical day for the old Sarah probably would have consisted of no breakfast, sometimes no lunch or whatever was quick and easy, snacking like crazy while preparing dinner because of being so hungry from not eating all day, then dinner.  My meals weren’t terrible all the time, but I do realize how a lot of my bad choices were from lack of preparation and convenience.  Hot dog & fries from next door?  Sure!  Burger from a few storefronts down?  Fine.  I didn’t realize until I started tracking things that even the salads I’d create at the market down the street were easily 500 calories.   I once unknowingly put almost 200 calories worth of sunflower seeds on my salad.  Granted, it was about a ¼ cup, but I just figured, “Hey – it’s healthy, right?”  Too much of a good thing is still too much, it would appear.

What changed? 

I was driving home one day after having had my oil changed.  I spend a little extra on my oil changes because I’ve got leaky gaskets, but spending a little extra on really thick oil and some other oily thingamajiggy sealy treatment thingy keeps me from having to spend $1000 on huge, bad things.  I got to thinking about it all, especially the oily thingamajiggy sealy treatment thingy, and then wondered, “Holy cow…  If my car will die on me without doing something as simple as getting the oil changed regularly, then what on earth am I doing to my body?!  What on earth could possibly go wrong inside of me simply because I’m not doing routine maintenance?”  I guess I realized that I was pretty much slowly, irresponsibly setting my body up to just quit on me.   And I didn’t want that to happen.


BREAKFAST!  Chobani (anything but Greek yogurt just leaves me hungry), Special K, Bagel Thin, banana...
Snack – string cheese, fruit, vegetables, hummus, pretzels, try to keep under 100 calories
Quinoa, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 an avocado, basil, 
and sliced garlic.
Lunch – Lean Cuisine, Top Chef Healthy Choice, sandwiches, salads
Snack – same idea as above…
Dinner – usually around 300 calories, varies from 200-400ish.  Veggies and fish are my favorite!  Usually meat, vegetables, grains like quinoa or cous cous, etc.  If I've got calories leftover, sometimes I'll have a low calorie dessert like sugar free instant pudding!

I know we’ve all heard it before, but it’s so right…  Eating breakfast every day and eating a little something every couple of hours has undoubtedly made a huge, huge difference.  The interesting things will come, like getting better at cooking and having your new go-to/on-the-go products…  It’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat.  The combination of those two things is powerful!  

Our bodies are worthy of good fuel!  Cars?  Maybe they die, but there are plenty to go around.  We’ve only got this one life to live, and my life is certainly worth a little bit of healthy, routine maintenance. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jack of Hearts

I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a “jack of all trades.”  I’m one of those people who’s pretty good at a lot of things, but I’ve never just hunkered down and become great at any one thing in particular.  Over the last few months, I’ve added a few more things to my repertoire. 

Joyful face.
I’ve been doing some work for family friends of ours, and I’ve found it incredibly rewarding.  Need your deck sanded and stained?  I’m on it.  Weedwhacking?  Done.  I’ve painted walls, puttied holes – all kinds of things.  And it’s been great.  While I’m usually dirty, sweaty and busy getting things done, I’m also having some really valuable alone time, listening to full albums of bands I like, and remaining active all day long.  

So today, while sprucing up a bathroom I painted to sounds courtesy of Simon & Garfunkel, I fixed a drawer that couldn't stay in its cabinet. I was really impressed with myself, and very thankful my parents had me help with things like that around the house. 

Then, I thought about how awesome it will be to have my own home eventually, because I’ll be capable of doing so much myself.

And then, I thought about how, at this rate, it’ll be a million years before I even have my own home.
And then, I wondered why I hadn’t ever just decided to work really hard at one thing so I’d have been more successful by now.
And THEN I wondered what on earth it is I’m meant to do…

Should I go back to school?  Should I have been a music teacher? Should I have been a professional musician?  Am I supposed to keep working in music venues?  Should I?  Could I?  Etc., blah blah blah?!?!!? 

Insert mental spiral of 3.9 billion thoughts and questions about my place in this world and what I am meant to dooooo… HERE.

Suddenly, in mid tub-scrub, this thought stopped the frantic spiral abruptly:

You were created to love people, be joyful, and make people happy. 

Christmas Present!
After that, I thought about how I had unknowingly allowed my weight to rob me of my joy and my ability to exude love for others.  I'd had moments of it, but I was too trapped in a mess of discontent and self-loathing to be able to let that side of me flourish.  Once again, I found myself dumbfounded and thankful for another unexpected, wonderful change.

I don’t know which of all trades I will be the biggest jack at.  What I do know, in hindsight, is that I adore humans and I love working with people and ensuring smiles are on faces when I’m done with them.  I sincerely hope that I will always be fortunate enough to have music be an integral part of whatever I do, but at least I know what it is I’m meant to do:  love.