Lyn's Journey to 8

A Weight Loss Adventure

Losing Weight With Portion Control

Portion control has been a major guideline for me since the start of my journey. Even before you change what you eat, its important to understand HOW you eat. I remember when eating a FULL plate of food was the norm – a plate packed from corner to corner. But no more. Food is no longer in control. I don’t feel bad about not finishing whats in my plate. I’ll get back to it later if its feasible.

In my recent conversations with people who have noticed my transition, when asked how I’m “doing it”, I generally advise that I cut back on my portion sizes (and of course light exercise – due to my limitations). People generally have a tendency to shudder when I say the word “diet”. Though I’m not quite sure why… Are people so afraid of change that it clouds their desire to become a better version of themselves, physically? I don’t know. The amount of times I’ve heard people say “no, I just couldn’t eat less”, or “I just love my food too much.” Why inquire if you’re not ready or willing to do what it takes to achieve the desired results? I’d be happy to hear of any other way to get in better form without having to make any change to my diet or without doing any exercise. I too love my food, but I love me more. Having the things that you “love” that don’t assist in your health goals should probably be consumed in moderation. Find something else to love that is good for you.

Eating less is NOT depriving yourself of any nutritional value if you are eating the right food. It is better to fill up on foods that allow you to feel satisfied, hence allowing you to create better eating habits. I struggle with the bad habit of snacking. Partially because I do most of my work around the kitchen table – a situation that will be remedied in the near future. Its like trouble just waiting to happen! But what I did to try to help myself, is to always keep fresh fruits at hand. Also I’ve been keeping various nuts handy too. I had to be careful since I wasn’t sure if the kids had allergies but they seem fine. They tend to be curious when they see me eating things that are “new” to them, so even though I haven’t been giving them nuts directly, they have raisins from the mixture. They have been enjoying Almond Milk and Nutella with no adverse reactions, and I’m happy about that.

Here is an article from Women’s Health Magazine that goes through a few points regarding portion control.

Eat well, feel and look better!

Ciao

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Home at last…

So my contact assignment is finally over. The 6 week contract ended early due to the absolute proficiency of the temps dedicated to the cause. I for one was relieved that it was over. My body had a bad reaction to sitting in the same position for 5 hours every day, and eventually shut down after almost 4 weeks. I’m still hurting but at least I’m on the mend. My kids were sick at the start of the new year, and of course they love me so much that they shared their new year cold with me 🙂 So there has been a lot going on! But my head is in the right place so I’m back in blog land.

In my previous blog entry , I mentioned that packing sandwiches was the way to go. Now that I’m home again, I think I rather enjoy sandwiches! So I’ve been thinking about various combinations that make for a healthy and tasty lunch meal. Here are a few that were successful experiments. I love the whole wheat hamburger flatbread – 170 calories, 2g fat and 5g fibre!

I haven’t been able to eat plain tuna for some time now. I don’t know, it’s just so blah and you have to add a ton of stuff to get a decent flavour and texture to it. Anyway, a few years back I was introduced to Spicy Thai Tuna so I thought I’d add a dash of light mayo, a slice of fat-free cheese and some romaine lettuce and here’s the result:

 

Spicy Thai Tuna Sandwich with Cheese & Romaine Lettuce

 

 

I’ve been wanting to expand my vegetarian options. I swear, I’m probably going to be a vegetarian later on in my life. There are so many vegan alternatives, I doubt I’d miss meat. I made myself a Black Bean Burger and I was surprised at how GREAT it tasted. I added some fresh spinach, fat free cheese, a few slices of avocado and some light mayo on the bread. Come on, that bread would have been so DRY. I omitted butter – for balance :-).  Since it was a burger, I had it with some ketchup. It was DE-LISH. Would you even guess that this burger was meatless???

Black Bean Burger with fat-free cheese, spinach and avocado

 

Looking at that burger makes me hungry.

Ciao!

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Warming Experience

Its been 2 weeks since I started my temp job and I’m already hoping for the remaining weeks to go by quickly. Dinner has been a bit of a challenge since I’ve become used to paying so much attention to my meals – every little ingredient and detail counts. I guess I’m learning how to be slap-dash-gourmet if there is such a thing. I haven’t resorted to pizza being delivered so I know I’m doing okay 🙂 I find fruits like apples, bananas and pears hold up well for snacks at work. I’m also packing sandwiches now! That’s a first for me. It is very important that I eat! I always had a cooked lunch at work but there is no fridge in the lunch room plus I only work 6 hours. I’m just ensuring that I am eating the right things during this time.

I’m still not quite good at going to bed early and that is causing havoc on my early morning start time. Can you believe I’ve been nodding off at work? That’s just not like me at all! My body is still adjusting to this new routine so I will have to grin and bear it for the time being. My efforts will continue because my level of determination is quite strong. Then to top that, its been rather cold (-10C with a wind chill of -20C last week) so I’ve been drinking coffee in the morning and sometimes… I stop off at Tim Horton’s on the way home (for a hot beverage). I know it’s just for a time, so I will proceed diligently and see where this experience takes me.

On these cold winter nights, it’s rather comforting to have a late night snack before bed. As much as I enjoy my herbal teas – my tea of the moment is Oolong Tea – every now and again, I must have something else. I’ve always loved hot chocolate but over the years, I haven’t had it as much. At the health food store, I picked up a few packets of Organic Hot Chocolate. I tried both the Chocolate and Dark Chocolate flavours and they were both wonderful. A definite plus for these little packets – I did not have to add any sugar at all. In regular brand hot chocolate, I always added sugar, and lots of it. Too much! I enjoyed my cup of hot chocolate with some Flat Bread (a new snack to my pantry).

 

Flatbread & Organic Hot Chocolate

The week is almost over… and so is the year! Happy New Year~~~!!!

Ciao

December 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Holiday Splendor

Firstly, I’d like to extend seasons greetings to all my readers. This is a wonderful time of year to spend with family and friends, and also to reflect on the past year as the year comes to a close. I hope your Christmas was a blessed one and best wishes for the new year.

As for my holiday weight… holding FIRM at 139lbs. I still have so much work to do. But I am at peace taking my time 🙂

Christmas for me this year, gave me a warm tingly feeling inside. So many Christmases past, I’ve been by myself as my husband had to be at work. I too have had to work on Christmas Day years gone by – but no more. Thankfully, my family was together for most of the Christmas season and for that, I feel truly blessed and grateful.

This year, I was able to pull off our very first family Christmas dinner! Yes, the first! – where all family members were around the dining table 🙂 My daughter was in her high chair but still by the table where she could see everyone. I tried my hand at roasting a chicken and also tried a new recipe called Sweet Potatoes Anna With Prunes. It was very interesting and went down well. Rice was also on the menu (I didn’t have any though), and I made the gravy with the drippings from the roasting pan – simply delish. We really enjoyed the meal!

 

Christmas Roast Chicken & Veggies

Sweet Potatoes Anna With Prunes

Sweet Potatoes Anna With Prunes - Sweet Layers

More to come on my temporary employment “experiment” and food  and sleep woes! Have a terrific week everyone! xoxo

December 27, 2010 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Temporary Challenges

Last week, a turn of events had me searching for solutions. Generally, I spend much of my time thinking about what to prepare over the next few days while at home with my family. When I got a phone call to start a temporary assignment the next day… I was thinking about what I was going to do about food! I suppose, in days gone by, typically I would have been thinking about my wardrobe. But my primary goal has me thinking way beyond what I wear. Besides, I already had what I needed to step back into the work place comfortably and confidently.

This weekend, I had to take a few shortcuts since I had no time to prepare meals ahead of my employment start date. I picked up some granola bars, nuts, fruits – healthy food items to keep on hand. I got some items for my freezer too. Dinner might get tricky until I get myself sorted out. What’s funny to me is, I will probably get into the swing of things just before my contract ends in approximately 6 weeks. Due to the nature of the assignment, it may end before or after the estimated end date. We’ll see what happens.

The great thing about this opportunity, is that I get a chance to see what its like as a working mother of two! What a welcome change and challenge! I have to adjust some things in terms of the family schedule. The major thing is –  I need to be in bed a lot earlier than what I’ve been used to over the past year. My body is already reacting to the change in routine. All weekend – pain from head to toe! And this is after only 2 days at work! Damn you, Chronic Pain! I will remain positive and pray that the pain subsides to allow me to function and take care of myself and my family. After all, I am the CEO of my household 🙂

Here are some meals from last week. I found use of my Wok that I forgot I had! Wow! I used it twice and I think it’s absolutely fabulous. I just love to see food cooking in it! First up – Honey Chicken Stir Fry.

 

Honey Chicken Stir Fry

 

Voila!

 

Honey Chicken Stir Fry with Basmati Rice

 

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while now and it was well worth the wait! Zesty Chicken Meatballs served with Spinach Pesto Linguine. The original pesto recipe that I looked at was made with Collard Greens, olives and pecans. I didn’t have any at hand but I didn’t let that stop me (plus I don’t care for olives). I used Spinach and Pumpkin Seeds. I’m no pesto fanatic but it was pretty good!

 

Zesty Chicken Meatballs With Spinach Pesto Linguine

 

Have a wonderful week!

Ciao

December 20, 2010 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Simplicity, is sometimes all you need…

I did my weekly Monday weigh-in and I’m at a respectable 137lbs. My weight is still fluctuating so I am monitoring myself as I plan my next phase of action. As usual, a good week. A busy week. I didn’t do much cooking but what I did prepare was very simple, colourful and healthy (of course).

I wanted a really simple meal with a lean meat and some veggies. And here it is, while still in the dutch pot and finally, served. Ground pork, Edamame, Tomato and Yellow Sweet Pepper – served on a bed of Basmati Rice. [Red, Gold & Green! :-)] Dinner doesn’t have to be a complicated production. Not often, at least 🙂

 

On the Stove!

 

One night last week, I didn’t feel for any meat. I steamed some veggies in some chicken broth and sprinkled a bit of sea salt over top. I was terrified that I might have tummy troubles but I’m sure I should be fine if I have broccoli once a week or so. Fingers crossed! It was delish!

 

Steamed Veg - Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, String Beans, Edamame

 

Last but not least, I was doing my weekly reading of some of my favourite blogs (food and photography related). I was looking at some cute, tempting little cupcakes (oh so tempting) – my son saw them and decided that he wanted cupcakes. After being nagged, poked and pulled 🙂 I decided to figure out what cupcakes I was going to make and how I was going to make it healthy. I looked for a recipe that had few ingredients. I didn’t need any shortening, a dozen eggs or anything else that was just a bit much. I found a recipe for Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes and made a few modifications. In an effort to avoid using regular white flour, I needed an excuse to use my stash of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour I bought from the health food store recently. I substituted it for the white flour, used Light Cream Cheese and omitted the chocolate chips. (Actually, I forgot to add it – but I’ll make it look like I did it on purpose. THIS TIME). This recipe is a definite keeper. Who knew chocolate and cream cheese went together so well? The cupcakes didn’t last very long. The little fellas didn’t stand a chance.

 

 

Have an amazing week! Give thanks for all the food that is available to us… because we actually have a choice!

Ciao!

 

 

December 14, 2010 Posted by | food, Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Green Challenge Pt.2

Here are some more meals from my green challenge. Oh so tasty!

One morning I woke up and looked for a hearty breakfast and I decided to try a frittata! I never tried it before but based on my reading, its like a fluffy omelette. Fair enough! I used 2 eggs, spinach, garlic, onions, green onion, chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, almond milk, salt and pepper to taste. I cooked on the stove top first, then when the sides were set, I added some mozzarella cheese, then put the pan in oven and broiled until the top was set, and the cheese nicely browned.

 

Frittata - on the stove!

I think maybe I should have added more milk and whisked the eggs a little bit more. This really looked like an omelette 🙂 But it tasted great so I enjoyed it! Next!

 

Frittata - Spinach, Green Onion, Mushroom

 

I love curried everything. I prepared curried chicken for my family but instead of using potatoes, I replaced it with lentils. I thought I would try something a little different. For my own portion, I took some lentils, carrots and gravy and placed them in a saucepan. I added some spinach – just long enough to wilt and to bring out that lovely green colour. Then I served it over a serving of curried chicken breast. Voilà!

 

Curried Chicken, Lentils, Carrots & Spinach

 

Last but not least, something else I just threw together. I made minced turkey for the family and removed a small serving for myself. I then boiled some whole wheat spaghetti, drained it, added some light Laughing Cow cheese and mixed it until even. I added chopped asparagus, and spinach followed by the turkey then I gently tossed it all together. I sprinkled some parmesan cheese and this is what I got. Makes me hungry just looking at it.

 

Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Minced Turkey, Spinach, Asparagus

 

It may look like a large serving, but don’t be fooled by the pictures. My serving bowls are smaller than a traditional dinner plate. I specifically use them for portion control purposes. I think when a plate or a bowl looks like its full, it helps you to feel full at the end of your meal. Maybe that’s just me. But it works!

Have a great day!

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Green Challenge

This past week, I decided to see how often I could put something “green” in my meals.  We all know that as far as salads go, the darker green vegetables are the better choice. I really had fun doing this. They were so simple to prepare, and I really enjoyed most of them. Well – all except one :-)…

Okay (laughing a little bit), so I tried this soup called Spinach and Avocado soup. It’s basically spinach, avocado, salt, garlic, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice, blended in water. I opted to use vegetable broth. You just blend and enjoy.  A lovely looking vegetarian meal. Lets just say I prefer to eat the ingredients separately and not in the form of a soup. It’s very healthy though. I had it with some plain crackers.

 

Spinach and Avocado Soup

I wanted a spinach and avocado salad and decided to add grilled pear and pomegranate to the mix. This was a lot better than the soup. I actually forgot about how great pomegranates are, in terms of their nutritional value. I did remember, however, how much they stained. Luckily, I did some research how to handle and prepare a pomegranate.

 

Spinach, Avocado, Pear, Pomegranate Salad

I also tried a salmon dish called Lemon Herbed Salmon and it was amazing! I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus. A very simple and tasty meal that I’m sure I’ll have again and again. I even made my own breadcrumbs! I didn’t have any but I did have some whole wheat bread 🙂 Please try this recipe!

 

Lemon Herbed Salmon, Sweet Potato Mash & Asparagus

That’s all for now, but more to come. Have a splendid week! Choose all your meals wisely and don’t forget to treat yourself every now and again!

Ciao!

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Healthy Meals, Weight Loss | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Guilty Pleasure and Redemption

I’ve been having a great few days. Lots of laughter at my house makes us very hungry, apparently. This past weekend, I decide to prepare an all time favourite of mine. Ox Tail! I haven’t had it in a few months. I hoped that I could actually remember how I used to prepare it. It all came back to me once I started seasoning the Ox. I figured it would be ok to have, especially since I’m aware of my portion sizes and it’s not like I have it very often. The serving was about half what I would usually have, and I was pretty full after. I prepared it with White Kidney Beans and Sliced Carrots, served with Basmati Rice. I don’t have a recipe for Ox Tail since I just throw seasonings in as I see fit. It’s never done exactly the same way but it always tastes great. Key ingredients – garlic, pimento and thyme and Hoisin Sauce. Also, I bake my Ox for about 4 hours at 350C, adding the beans and carrots just over half way through. Water is added every hour or so to ensure that the Ox doesn’t dry out (that’s the worst!).

 

 

My meal of redemption came the following day in the form of Chicken Breast and Romaine Salad.

 

I also treated my husband to breakfast! I despise having to make breakfast almost as much as washing dishes. If it doesn’t go in the microwave, toaster or frying pan, and takes more than 10 minutes – chances are, I’m not the one preparing it. I made an attempt at making Eggs In A Basket. It seemed simple enough. It only took me an hour and a half to make! [Woa!] My husband enjoyed it and asked that I try it again with more cheese and regular bacon instead. (I will make one special just for him). This suggestion was made AFTER I swore never to make this again! I aim to please, though. So perhaps the next time I try this dish will be the last time. Also, it will definitely be for lunch and not breakfast. When I wake up I need to eat, pronto!

 

Have a wonderful week everyone! I hope you are all a step closer to your weight loss/health goals!

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One Hit, One Miss

Over the past few weeks, I’ve developed an interest in French-Inspired cuisine. Aside from watching the Food Network, occasionally I browse the internet to see what other recipes I can try that’s simple enough to get my feet wet. I’m appreciating the simplicity and delicacy of the ingredients. I’m hoping that my Caribbean palate can become adjusted to the light but savory flavours. I actually made Beef Bourguignon last week although I didn’t have any as a meal for myself. I tasted the finished product but … I didn’t like it! I’m not sure if its cooking with red wine, but it had a bit of an aftertaste that I didn’t care for too much. And the beef wasn’t soft and succulent as it was supposed to be. I’m not much of a beef eater but I cook it occasionally to provide variety for my hubby 🙂

My proud baking moment for this week – Easy Pastry Shop Apple Tart. I knew it was a hit when my husband said he would buy it 🙂 I was very happy with it and plan to make another this weekend. It tasted like “Apple Cheese Cake” to me, but I guess Apple Tart sounds better? Anyway, it was simple, and absolutely delightful. I used light cream cheese instead of the regular – I can only imagine how it would have tasted with more calories 🙂

On the flip side, I was disappointed in a muffin recipe that I tried. Its called Brown Butter Banana Muffins. Perhaps the ingredients were too simple. I used no sugar, only Agave Nectar as per the recipe but it was just so “blah”. My son didn’t like it but my daughter did. It was edible but just lacking sweetness. I think I will try it again but with Raw Honey and Dark Chocolate Chips and see how it compares. Aesthetically, they were perfect 🙂

Brown Butter Banana Muffins

 

I’m no quitter so I’ll get it the way I like it…eventually!

Ciao

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments