Sunday, July 31, 2011

Being realistic about LCHF

There are so many nay-sayers whenever anyone knows you are doing some sort of diet or eating change... All those people who say if you cut carbs it won't be a maintainable weight loss, those who say you'll go out of control and gain all the weight back quickly.

I wonder why people are like this? I assume it's because we see people that starve themselves or make things completely out of reach and then they can't keep up with the lifestyle, spiral out of control and gain more weight than they've lost. I've seen people do this while following Atkins, Weight Watchers, counting calories, etc... it's not common to just one plan.  I think that if you want to make changes that you can maintain, you really need to be realistic about it.

Last week, I started following a modified LCHF eating plan. I allowed myself to have fruits, especially bananas - though I had no idea how high in carbs bananas are! BUT, I folded under the stress of party planning and had a fountain soda... THEN I looked up the carbs. Oops. But, the rest of the day I made smart choices. Friday-Monday were tough with having a guest stay with us, party planning and a Phillies game... I ate the carbs I wanted, but made sure to make other smart choices. Yes, I had soda and french fries (Yum... crab fries) at the game, but I chose wisely for breakfast and only had a small bit of carbs for Derek's party.  At Victoria's party I passed on rolls for my hamburger and hot dog and I also declined a cupcake and pretzel knowing we'd have extra to take home and if I really wanted those things, I could have them later. I did, but if I would have had them at the party, I still probably would have had some at home and I knew that.

Since Tuesday I've been back on my plan. Making substitutions for carbs and/or passing my carbs to Derek. Example: Friday we attended funeral services for his aunt. The luncheon included salad, a roll (I passed), delicious chicken piccata, green beans & mashed potatoes (I skipped the potatoes), and an ice cream sundae (I passed, except for a small taste of the fresh whipped cream). I was satisfied. I didn't feel hungry at all!

Last night we went out to dinner and I ordered a hefty chicken sandwich. I ate it with a fork & knife and opted for a side salad instead of the fries. I was stuffed!  I didn't need the carbs to fill me up and my dinner was delicious! 

Now, there are times where I may opt for the carbs, but that's because I'm keeping it realistic. I'm not depriving myself of anything, I'm just being more careful with my choices and I'm really enjoying the foods I'm eating.  It's not easy to always pass up on the ice cream cake that is sitting in my freezer leftover from the celebrations - but I don't need it. It's not always easy to pass up on french fries because they are my weakness, but if I *really* want them, I'll enjoy a few. 

I guess my whole point is that I'm doing it my way and it's working for me. I'm being realistic about not completely depriving myself of something I may want, because I know that complete deprivation could lead to binge eating later on. I'm still losing weight and I'm definitely feeling the effects of sugar withdrawal, but I have noticed that when I do enjoy the carbs, I am really enjoying them, not just eating them because they are there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Birthday Celebrations!

On Monday, my husband celebrated his 30th birthday... boy is he getting old! On July 13, Victoria turned 4!! So we've been doing lot of celebrating around here lately.

On Sunday, we had Victoria's Phantastic Phillies Birthday party at a local park. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up my camera for half of the party, but I did get a few good shots.

Enjoying Kona Ice

Ben wasn't getting his way!

Pinata fun

They were so excited to match!

On Monday, we celebrated Derek's birthday (and Victoria's too) at the Philadelphia Phillies game. Unfortunately the Phils lost 5-4 but it was a close game and lots of fun. One big disappointment is that we decided to go to this game because they had the Kids Run the Bases event folllowing the game, and due to approaching storms, the event was cancelled. Victoria wasn't really disappointed, I think she was too tired, plus we promised a trip to the Clubhouse store.
Victoria loves Chase Utley, so she was super excited that she & Derek both had their Utley jerseys on for the game!
So happy at Citizen's Bank Park
Crazy play at home... he was out... boo!

Then, we got home to a surprise party for Derek. It was great that we were able to pull it off because he really didn't expect anything. We weren't able to do a big party due to schedules and a few other things, but he was really happy with his party. Then, there was even a surprise I didn't know about - he got a Kayak from his family!  His sister & her husband went in with his parents, aunt & cousins and they got him a kayak and accessories for it... he was beyond thrilled - like a kid on Christmas!

Victoria & Teddy making sure the kayak was okay

We've had a busy time celebrating birthdays but it was a great weekend!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

I've never made eggplant parmigiana before today... I don't know what I was waiting for.
Well, because Derek won't even try it I always thought it wasn't worth the effort. But, with my new eating plan I've decided to give it a try and since Derek & the kids are away for the night, I thought tonight would be the perfect time to try it. DELICIOUS!!  I seriously may eat it all... well, it was a tiny eggplant... 

It was so simple to make!  Here's how I did it, in case you want to try:
1 eggplant, sliced
Tomato Sauce (I used homemade that my grandmother made & froze for me)
Fresh Mozzarella

I brushed the eggplant with oil lightly, preheated my oven to 400F. Baked the eggplant for 10 minutes, flipped it and baked another 10-15 minutes. After that, I topped with a bit of tomato sauce and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Then I put it back in the oven, set to broil, for about 5-10 minutes or until the cheese was melted and beginning to turn golden brown.

Really, I did it very simple. You can add seasonings and adjust the sauce/cheese to your liking. I was worried it wouldn't turn out well, but it did!!  Now I'm starting to think what else I can make parmigiana out of when Derek & the kids have pasta... has anyone tried portobello parmigiana? That seems like it would be a nice dinner as well. 

Do you have a good eggplant recipe to share?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Surely it can't be!

I know that I’m just a bit excited and over-zealous right now starting my new way of eating… I know it’s not going to be easy because there are carbs hidden in everything, but this morning I was thinking that there's no way this is real... I ate scrambled eggs WITH cheese and some bacon for breakfast... and that's what I was suppose to be eating!

Meal planning for this week wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, but I was lucky that Derek is trying to help me and we had a big discussion on swapping out rice/noodles/potatoes for side salads at dinner… well, with the exception of meals that just HAVE to have one of those items – in which case I will make mashed cauliflower or do a side salad and him and the kids will have the carbs.

I’m really waiting for that slip up though, grabbing something without thinking about it. It’s only Day 1, so I expect that it will happen this week unknowingly until after I consumed whatever it was… My biggest surprise last night was salad dressing. It was suggested to me that I make sure to have Ranch dressing… well, I found out why. I looked at my Fat Free Caesar Dressing (which worked good for Weight Watchers)… it has 11g of carbs in ONE serving. For salad dressing?! Ranch only has 3g, so I guess I’ll be getting use to Ranch dressing.

I'm sure I'm not doing this LCHF the way I *really* should be, I am planning to eat fruit- which I know isn't always advised, but I'm doing it moderately and making it work for me.

Just to get a glimpse of my first day, here's what I'm eating:

Breakfast: Banana with a smear of natural PB. Chai tea with cream.
Breakfast #2: Scrambled cage-free eggs with cheddar cheese, 3 pieces of bacon.
Lunch: Salad (lettuce, cucumber, carrots, broccoli & cauliflower) with Ranch Dressing.
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with bacon & cheese ("Monterey Style"), Grilled asparagus and a side salad with Ranch dressing.

I had 2 breakfasts because #1 was at 6am and by 9am I was hungry (of course, I only had a banana for the first!). I'm sure there's LC flaws in my meals today, but want to know what's changed from my norm? There's no bagel or donut or danish for breakfast, no buttered noodles with dinner.  Salad for lunch is pretty much the norm for me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Body after Baby - Doing something about it!

Going back to Weight Watchers clearly didn't work for me... I just didn't give it my all. I didn't want to count, figure out the new program, weight & measure...  I just gave up over and over again.  I've hit a brick wall with weight loss after Benjamin was born and I had the same thing happen after Victoria was born. Right at this exact same weight. 

So, I've decided to take a new approach to kick start my weight loss - I'm going to give LCHF a try.  That's low carb- high fat. Though I will likely not be as strict as they tell you to be, I'm going to start by majorly cutting back my carbs and adding a bit more protein and vegetables. My husband is completely supportive and was actually thinking about meals that we already make that we can switch up a little to cut out the carbs - I'm so glad he's on board. There are a few things that I know he won't give up with me, but he's supportive and that's all the matters.

I've been warned that the first week is really tough and I'll feel crappy with headaches and such, but I'm going to stick it out and hopefully see a change - not only in my weight but in my energy levels, blood pressure and cholesterol.  I also need to get back to the gym because I know that this is also really key to my weight loss and overall health.

So, bear with me as I go through this new journey, I'm sure it may spur some more blogging from me!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Operation Debt-Free

You know what drives me nuts? We need to save money, I want to pay off debt - yet we fail to do it over and over again. The other night, Derek and I were talking and I made a statement to him that I really need to find the willpower to live up to: "By the time you are done with school (next July), we can probably pay down enough debt to afford your student loans and let you stay home with the kids at least until I'm done with my MBA (March 2013)." 

My biggest problem is that it's so convenient and nice to pick things up, grab a frappuccino at Starbucks, buy fountain soda a few times a week, eat out for lunch... it's like my weight loss struggle: I know what I need to do and how I need to do it, yet I fail to put the plan into action. 

My goal is to really tighten my budget and get us to a point where we are snowballing our debt and paying things off so that next December when my husband's student loans go into repayment, we can afford them without having to send him back to a full-time job.  He loves staying home with the kids and I would love for him to be able to stay home at least until I finish school - for my sanity. 

For the month of June, I gave up frappuccinos, which cost around $5 each. That was, until June 24th when I just needed one. BUT- prior to that one, my last was on May 27th.  This may not seem like a huge feat by any means, but considering that I would average 2-3 Starbucks beverages per week (sometimes more), this was huge. Yes, I still stopped at DD for iced coffee, but even stopping twice per week for an iced coffee saved us money since 2 medium iced coffees were still a few cents LESS than ONE frappuccino. Yikes.  I did that as a challenge to myself. I knew it would save money, and I knew it would save some calories too. 

But... fountain sodas have become my absolute downfall. We love them. They are sooooo much better than a can/bottle of soda. But, they add up - especially when my husband and I both get them a few times a week.  That's one area that I really need to work on... we can easily save about $10/week on sodas. That's $120 a year on average.  My plan is to start limiting myself (us) to once per week, which totals $2.53  - instead of about 4 times per week, totalling $10.12. It's a start, right?

We just dropped our home phone and switched to FiOS, which will save us $16/month or $192 per year and once we renew our cell phone contracts, I think we will be downgrading to just messaging phones (Goodbye Smartphones ... you will be missed!) and that should save us around $40/month or $480/year.

BUT, I feel like it just won't be enough. We have events ALL.THE.TIME... Parties, showers, weddings...such is life I guess.  I've decided that for birthday parties there is a limit of $25 per gift. I'm trying to stick with it, sometimes even coming it at around $20. And, factor in the fact that we have kids - they are truly the wildcard. For example, in February/March we went out and got new jeans for Victoria. Apparently, she hit a growth spurt in May and none of her new jeans fit anymore. Sigh.

I know we can do it... it just takes willpower.  I feel like we've already given up a lot of extras to make it work out for Derek to primarily stay home with the kids. His part-time job definitely helps. Lately he's been getting a crazy amount of hours (averaging 27/week) so that also helps pay for the extras that pop up...

So- what are your best savings tips?!