Getting a little more JOLLY, a little more GREEN, and a little less GIANT.

26 January 2013

Breakfast: My Favorite Meal of the Day!

Ahhh breakfast! I could eat it three times a day. Breakfast is that first test of the day. How are you going to start your day? With a Diet Coke and a donut or with an egg white omelet and some prune juice? I must admit, I have never started my day either way. I'm just giving you the extremes. I did want to share some of my favorite options for breakfast, whether "breakfast" comes at 7:00 am or 7:00 pm.

Probably like most people, I don't tend to have a lot of time in the mornings. I'm rushing kids off to school and starting on my housework so I can move on to working out and the rest of my day. I need something quick and easy AND healthy.

My most recent "quick and easy AND healthy" favorites are steel-cut oats and quinoa. Steel-cut oats are a little heartier than rolled oats. Supposedly they are less processed and therefore retain more of their natural nutritional value. All that aside, I just love the chewy texture! Plus, you can buy them "gluten-free"! (While oats do not contain gluten, they are often contaminated in the reaping and manufacturing process. "Gluten-free oats" just mean the fields and equipment have been dedicated to oats. No wheat allowed!)

At the beginning of the week I make a big pot of oats or quinoa, which takes anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes to cook. I take one serving for breakfast that day and then place the rest in a Tupperware container and stick it in the fridge. Now I have breakfast for the whole week. Each morning I just scoop out my single serving, warm it up in the microwave, add my own "toppings", and enjoy, usually with some almond milk. My latest favorite steel-cut oats add-in is a tablespoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of honey. It almost tastes like a dessert! Lots of protein, fiber, and stick-to-your-ribs goodness!

Other "topping" options: brown sugar, jam, nuts, dried fruit, applesauce, molasses, berries, etc.

Quinoa is more of an acquired taste, but with a bit of brown sugar and some almond milk, it is delicious and satisfying! Plus it's gluten-free and packed full of protein!

Some days, I toast up a slice of homemade wheat bread (I need to share my new favorite recipe!) and slather peanut butter and honey on it. Add some milk and homemade canned applesauce (no added sugar) on the side.

I know a lot of people love their green smoothies. I've been known to drink these in the morning too. Berries, spinach, soy milk, flax seed, a bit of ice, some lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon, the kitchen sink... I haven't quite mastered the art of smoothies. I used to add Greek yogurt to mine, which tends to coagulate once in a smoothie. Shudder! It kind of ruined me. Some day I'll reapproach smoothies and work on our tattered relationship.

When I have a bit more time I really enjoy scrambled eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein. I'm not very good at throwing out the yolks; it just feels so wasteful, even if it they are high in calories or cholesterol or whatever the latest study is saying.

Eggs with wheat toast are good, but what I really enjoy is an egg burrito. I confess, I cannot convince myself that wheat tortillas are edible. They taste like cardboard. Flimsy, damp cardboard. Ugh. This (and the egg white thing) just shows you that I'm not perfect in healthy eating. And that's okay! Trust me. I don't lose sleep over an occasional egg yolk or white tortilla.

That being said...I also don't worry too much when I have chocolate chip pancakes and bacon for dinner every once in a while either. Moderation in all things.

Just make sure that for the most part you are eating a nutritious and well-rounded breakfast. Food from all the food groups (yes, even carbs; at least healthy carbs), lots of protein, minimal sugar. This is the meal that will fuel you for a big part of your day. I read in a book once that "you should eat like a queen for breakfast, a princess for lunch, and a pauper at dinner". This makes a lot of sense to me.

Breakfast can be the first choice that will set you on a course of other choices for the rest of the day.

Example: "I already had cold pizza and a DP for breakfast. I screwed up. Might as well have a candy bar for lunch, skip my workout, and eat a burger and fries AND a milkshake for dinner." OR... "I had a healthy breakfast! I feel pretty good! Let's workout! Then I'll have turkey on whole wheat for lunch and maybe a salad for dinner!"

It's all about making better choices, every day--every hour! my friends. And breakfast is one of my favorite choices to make. What are your favorite breakfast foods?

25 January 2013

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fatter

My husband travels for work leaving me alone with a 2, 4, 6, and 8 year old. I know we are very fortunate to have a good job in bad economical times. And after two years of having an absent traveling husband, I've got this single parenting thing down. (Sometimes.)

What I don't have down is the emotional upheaval that inevitably happens every time Joe leaves. In fact, it begins happening even before he's out the door. A couple of days before his departure, I find myself bracing for it. "Bracing for it" means "trying not to sink into the depths of despair". "Depths of despair" means EMOTIONS GALORE!


We like to cover the full end of the dark side spectrum.

It's rough. And I only have to go for one to two weeks of absent husband at a time. I can't even imagine what it must be like to be a military wife where the weeks become months become years. (Although, I can't help but wonder what would be easier...Having your husband gone 7 months straight or 7 months in intermittent week segments throughout the year? It seems just when we get adjusted into a routine of Daddy being gone, he's back, "messing up" our system. Then, when we settle into having him around again, it's time for him to leave. Either's not easy.)

On this blog I have made it no secret that I am an emotional eater. And guess what EMOTIONS GALORE does to an emotional eater?

I find myself eating or thinking about eating constantly when he is gone. I'll eat throughout the day as I deal with different kid and household issues. Without him here to eat, there are inevitable leftovers at dinner, so I find myself accidentally overeating at the dinner table. The real trouble comes when the kids are in bed and the house is dark and quiet and oh so lonely. Food is there to offer delicious companionship.

It is and probably always will be a constant struggle. Sometimes I win. Sometimes the food wins. This week...the food is winning. Ugh.

24 January 2013

Arise from the Dust!

During my scripture study this morning I came across these verses:

"...Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;

That ye may not be cursed with a sore cursing; and also, that ye may not incur the displeasure of a just God upon you, unto the destruction, yea, the eternal destruction of both soul and body.

Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust." (2 Nephi 1:21-23, The Book of Mormon)

We study scriptures so that we can apply them to our own lives and today, these verses can be applied to my life.

BE MEN! (Or Amazon WoMEN!)
SHAKE OFF THE CHAINS! (Whether they be obesity or debt or temptations to overeat or laziness or smoking or gambling or whatever struggles!)

Pretty powerful start to the morning huh? Now I'm going to go hit the treadmill while shouting, "ARISE!"

23 January 2013

My Sista' from another Mista'

There's a really beautiful part to being on a weight loss journey.

It is that you tend to meet other people who are also on parallel weight loss journeys!

You don't have to walk this treacherous path alone?! Friends! Road trip buddies! Brilliant, no?

In my little self-centered world I made the assumption that I was the only one out there that was fat and that wanted, nay, NEEDED to lose weight. So I cast my eyes downward and started trudging along while focusing intently on my path, resigning myself to solitary travels. And then I started bumping into people.

Comments on the blog.
Messages on Facebook.
Women at church.
Fellow runners on my running paths.
Old friends. Friends of friends. Strangers.
New friends.

There is something about being on a major weight loss journey...And I'm not talking 5 to 30 pounds, though I don't discredit the herculean effort it takes to go through that either; especially as I face that hurdle myself now. I'm talking about the girls who understand what it is to shop in the Plus section their whole life. To be The Jolly Green Giant in their social circles. To watch as all their friends get asked to date and dance while they stand as structural support for the building. To hesitate and ponder how they will be judged before they take that dessert. That feel the regret and shame of scarfing a bag of Cheetos in bed to comfort private injuries. To resign yourself to being "the funny one" since you're never going to be "the pretty one". That have tried and failed over and over and over again.

Those girls. Those people.

They know what it is to sweat and hurt and struggle and cry and abstain and obsess and endure over months and months and years of painstakingly slow, but steady weight loss. They remember both sides of the fence. They understand hidden demons. They constantly glance behind, fearing a historical repeat.

There is something about being on a major weight loss journey that changes you and marks you and immediately ties you to others who have experienced the same bittersweet quest.

(There's a club. Fellowship of the Scale or something. We're still working on a name. And a cool handshake.)

Meet Amy.

I never have. At least not in real life. But thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook, a mutual friend of ours (Thank you Emma!) introduced us and a kinship was forged. She's one of "those girls". But she's literally working her booty off to change that. This ain't no 30 day weight loss plan. This girl's in it for life!

And she blogs! (Yeah!)

I'm grateful for the inspiration, support, and fellowship that comes from my travel-mates! Not just Amy, but anyone who has asked a question; expressed similar feelings of fear, frustration, and failure; or just offered a virtual (or literal) fist bump.  It makes this journey bearable, if not downright enjoyable!

Now, who brought the healthy snacks??