February 24, 2010

Who needs to recommit???

Let's face it ladies, as a whole, we had a stinker of a week in our Biggest Loser contest.  It was pretty dismal, all around.  While most of us are maintaining whatever weight loss we've achieved, a lot of us have been pretty stuck on a big plateau for the last 4 weeks.  Personally I think I've had the worst results of anyone - kind of ironic since I started this contest yes?  Rember all that smack talk I dished out?  It came back to smack me in the face.

So here is my challenge within a challenge.  We have 4 weeks left.  Who will recommit with me?  Here it goes, I promise to spend the next 4 weeks giving it my all.  Counting calories, skipping meals out, working out with my trainer, yoga classes, cardio - gasp.  I will allow myself one free meal a week but I can no longer use travel or special occassions as a free for all.  Wine during the week?  Nope.  Fancy cheeses?  Nope.  Not unless they are in my one free meal.

As an added motivator to stimulate your competitive sides - whoever loses the highest percentage of weight in the last four weeks will win a little bonus prize.

So, who's with me????

My friend Danielle, also a contestant, gave me the idea of pairing people up with "buddies" this last week.  Someone to check in with and get motivation from.  A littlel more accountability to keep us honest.  Claire and Danielle are typically my buddies already - and we don't take many excuses.  If you're interested in getting a buddy - either someone you know or someone you don't know let me know - post a comment or send me an email.

February 23, 2010

Week 8 - in the home stretch!

It's been a tough week for all - I challenge you to stick it out.  One month to go - can you rally and meet your goals?  You don't want to give up now do you?  Let's see how strong we can finish.

Lori is still in the lead followed by Marcy.  Claire moved up to third place and is making a power play!  Almost half of this group has lost at least 5% and with a month to go, how many can lose 10%????

Below is the percentage of weight loss after Week 8 this is a running total, not a weekly result).

Keri 0.51%
Marija 1.91%
Karin 4.97%
Carolina 2.31%
Kristy 2.75%
Auntie Ann 4.52%
Jennifer 4.24%
Tracy 5.30%
Danielle 0.78%
Claire 6.47%
LaVerne 2.82%
Jamie 2.63%
Amy S-C 1.92%
Chelsea 1.64%
Marcy 8.41%
Lori 9.70%
Shannon 1.12%
Amy G-S 6.25%
Amanda 5.11%
Michelle 6.11%

Weekly Tip courtesy of Everyday Health:
Break the Binge/Guilt/Binge Cycle

You're changing your lifestyle, so change your behaviors, too. Promise yourself no more binges, even when you fall off the wagon. Just because you ate a slice of cake doesn't mean you should follow it with slices two and three. One piece of cake is 500 calories, while a pound of fat is 3,500. You'd have to eat it every day for a week to gain a pound. Once won't derail all the work you've done, so don't beat yourself up — just get back on track, says Schmidt.
Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors:
A friend of mine finally hired a trainer. She does hour-long sessions, 2 times per week, plus she does cardio on her own the remaining days. She lost 10 pounds (and 15 inches) in 5 weeks. She must look ripped because she wasn't bad to begin with.

So it REALLY got me thinking. I have a freakin' gym in my basement, but I don't use it. I complain that I have no one to work-out with. Boo Hoo! I have plenty of time to workout, but I don't. I spend my free time elsewhere.

 I am kicking it up a notch!

February 19, 2010

Garlic Salmon & Grilled Fennel

This recipe comes courtesy of my good friend Danielle:
This is from Jillian's 'Making the Cut' book. I LOVE this recipe. The prosciutto topping on the salmon is so freakin' yummy.

Garlic Salmon and Grilled Fennel

2 (8-ounce) salmon fillets (always buy fresh, never frozen!)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely chopped prosciutto (I get 3 ounces)
1/4 cup fennel fronds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed (I didn't know what this was, so I left it out)
2 cloves garlic, minced
cooking spray
2 fennel bulbs
4 lemon wedges

1) Prepare grill by heating to 400 degrees (I used the oven)

2) Brush fish evenly with 1 teaspoon olive oil; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Set aside

3) Combine 1/8 teaspoon pepper, prosciutto, fennel fronds, fennel seeds, and garlic, stirring well. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Saute prosciutto mixture for 3 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp.

4) Cut fennel bulbs vertically in half. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Keep warm.

5) Place fish on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness, basting top of fish occasionally with juice mixture.

6) Transfer fish to a serving platter; sprinkle fish evenly with remaining pepper. Top with prosciutto mixture and drizzle with remaining lemon juice. Serve immediately with grilled fennel and lemon wedges.

Note to Danielle: fennel seeds can be bought with the rest of the spices and smells like liquorice.

February 17, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins by Tosca Reno

There is no wonder why I'm not reaching my goals.  I'm blogging way too much about wine and cheese and indulgent dinners because that's what I've been eating.  Since I'm trying my damndest to eat healthy and workout this week, I thought I would post a "Healthy Recipe" each day.  Anyone who has truly healthy eating cookbooks (not just light) or makes any of the recipes out of their fitness mags knows that most of these meals are a lot of work, require a lot of hard to find and expensive ingredients, and in the end, taste like poorly constructed cardboard.  I'll only post recipes I like and would make again.  And if you haven't tried my previous post for Mark Bittman's fried rice, please do.  You won't be disappointed.

As for these muffins, they aren't big enough for one to be enough for breakfast but they are too many calories for most people to eat two so you might want to pair it with something like a hard boiled egg, a bowl of fruit, or a healthy latte (no fat, no syrup).

Morning Glory Muffins from Tosca Reno’s “Eat Clean Cookbook”

Dry Ingredients
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat bran
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple pie spice (1t cinnamon, 1/2t nutmeg, 1/4t allspice, 1/4t cardamom)
1/2 cup Sucanat or rapadura sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup plain kefir
1 egg white and 1 whole egg, well beaten
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped nuts (raw is best)

1. Preheat oven to 425F
2. Prepare muffin tins by lining with silicon or paper liners, or by greasing with a good quality olive oil (see ***TIP*** below)
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
4. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined. Do not over mix or your muffins will come out flat and rubbery.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups until 3/4 full. Place in hot oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire cooling rack.

Makes 12 muffins.
**TIP** Make sure you divide into 12 muffins to get correct portion!

Nutritional value for one muffin:
Calories 187, Protein 7g, Total Fat 5g, Fibre 4g, Sodium 168 mg

***TIP*** Cooking sprays are convenient, but contains isobutene as an ingredient. Putting a healthy oil, such as extra virgin olive oil inside a spritz bottle is a better way to go convenient and healthy.

February 16, 2010

Week 7

Most of you can tell from this blog or facebook that I haven't exactly been on track.  Are any of you off track?  If so, let's take it one day at a time.  Today I will eat healthy, go to yoga, locate my journal and start using it again, plan my meals for the week, and plan my 1/2 marathon training program.  Tomorrow I will eat healthy, workout with my trainer, and go to the grocery store.  What are you going to do each day to keep on track?

Lori is still in the lead but Marcy assures me she's coming back strong next week so watch out.  Michelle is now over half way to her goal!  Amy G-S and Karin are on their way to a 7% loss.  Keep it up ladies!

Below is the percentage of weight loss after Week 7 (this is a running total, not a weekly result).

Keri 0.42%
Marija 2.29%
Karin 6.63%
Carolina 2.31%
Kristy 2.75%
Auntie Ann 3.87%
Jennifer 4.24%
Tracy 3.79%
Danielle 1.25%
Claire 5.18%
LaVerne 2.82%
Jamie 2.37%
Amy S-C 2.56%
Chelsea 2.42%
Marcy 8.72%
Lori 9.49%
Shannon 0.37%
Amy G-S 6.94%
Amanda 5.91%
Michelle 6.11%

Weekly Tip courtesy of Everyday Health:
Stick to Healthy Portions
Often, it's the amount of the food you eat that derails your diet. Suggested serving sizes are surprisingly small, and starches pile up fast. "One serving of pasta or rice is only one-third cup. If you eat one cup, which is not a lot, that's already three servings. A bagel equals five slices of bread, and can't be part of your repertoire if you want to lose weight," says Schmidt. Fats are even more concentrated. Just six almonds equal one serving — eat a cupful and you've consumed 1,000 calories! Apovian recommends the "new American plate": 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent protein, 25 percent starch, and a piece of fruit for dessert.

Size up portions this way:
• 3 ounces of protein = a deck of cards
• 1 cup rice or pasta, 1 medium fruit = tennis ball
• 1 ounce cheese = a pair of dice
• 1 tablespoon peanut butter = ping-pong ball
• 1 tablespoon oil, salad dressing = ½ ping-pong ball
Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors:
Do this exercise...

Write down all of the excuses why you make it OK to not keep on track...It's enlightening. I feel like I've been doing nothing but knocking down excuses for the past 3 1/2 years. I even did so much as to quit my stressful job and get one at 40hrs per week. It's why I signed up for a trainer, and added a day last quarter. When I lost a lot of wieght the first time, I even stopped doing social events with food, I would only see friends to walk or do some sort of exercise...life is full of more challenges all the time, as soon as you tackle one, there's another.

Just don't give up!


February 11, 2010

Week 6 - half way there!

Late late late late I am.  See note about "life" below.  As for the weekly shout outs - Lori and Marcy are kicking some major ass.  Karin is in a not-to-shabby 3rd place!  Tracy, Claire, Amy G-S, Amanda, Marcy, and Lori are at least half way to their goal - um, awesome!  And on a personal note, Claire, Carolina, and I just finished a kick-butt workout with Heather, my personal trainer.  Below is the percentage of weight loss after Week 6 (this is a running total, not a weekly result).

Keri 1.35%
Marija 3.05%
Karin 6.35%
Carolina 2.31%
Kristy 2.75%
Auntie Ann 4.52%
Jennifer 4.24%
Tracy 3.79%
Danielle 0.78%
Claire 5.18%
LaVerne 2.82%
Jamie 1.58%
Amy S-C 2.56%
Chelsea 2.19%
Marcy 8.41%
Lori 8.69%
Shannon 0.37%
Amy G-S 5.56%
Amanda 5.91%
Michelle 4.44%

Weekly Tip courtesy of Everyday Health:
Feed Your Mind and Body
So often people eat simply because they're bored and depressed about being on a diet! Shift your focus away from the drudgery of counting calories and find ways to replace eating with fun. Investigate activities that not only get you up and moving, but may also promote well-being, like yoga, Pilates, and meditation. "You need to take that time for yourself," says Schmidt. "Even if you just go for a 30-minute walk, for instance, to get away from daily living, you could relax and be stress-free."
Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors:
I didn't really hear from anyone this week so I will post a little something inspirational that happened.  So, I sent a reminder email to a few of the ladies that didn't post their weights.  I think two replied that they were quitting and one was too ashamed to share this week.  You know how this happens - travel, work, kids sick, parents with health issues, you know, life.  A dozen supportive reply-to-all messages later and everyone was back in and re-committed.  It happened right before my eyes.  That made me feel proud of pulling this little group together.  Whether you know it or not, you are helping and inspiring someone else...so let's all re-commit.  I'm shouting this most loudly at myself.

February 6, 2010

Who loves cheese? I do! I do!

A conversation about St. Agur this week reminded me I haven't had a wine and cheese party in about a year.  Oh how I suffer.  Expect an invite soon.  As my love of wine has grown so has my love of cheese.  If fancy cheese scares you,  here is a great place to start your education.  Laura Werlin knows her cheese.

I followed her tips on hosting a wine and cheese party when we had our first party.  We had a lot of cheese, probably too much.  I would recommend keeping it simple.  I may have to write a Who Loves Cheese part deux to tell you about our second party which was divided into red wine cheeses and white wine cheeses.   That being said, here is what we served:

Fresh Cheese
  - Pancetta crisps with fresh goat cheese and pear (awesome!!!)

Soft-ripened Cheeses
  - Saint Andre  (this triple cream brie is to die for)
  - Jean Perrin L'edel de Cleron

Semi hard Cheeses
  - Manchego  (this is my favorite cheese, I like El Trigal, sheep's milk)
  - Zamorano
  - Aged Cheddar
  - Mimolette

Hard Cheese
  - Parmigiano-Reggiano  (buy the good stuff)

Blue Cheeses
  - St. Agur  (Marija's new favorite find, a pasteurized cow's milk, double cream cheese)

Washed-rind Cheeses
  - Taleggio  (a slightly stinky but oh so good Italian cow's milk cheese, nutty, fruity & slightly sweet)

My next project is to make our own cheese.  Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll is supposed to be THE book on the subject.  I think some fresh mozzarella will be just the right thing for the heirloom tomatoes that will be in our new garden.

Where do I find these wonderful cheeses you ask?  Head to your local cheesemonger, Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or place an order at Artisanal Cheese.

Warning:  please serve your cheeses at the proper temp which means it should sit out 30-60 minutes before serving. Seriously.  Don't go to all this hard work to serve cold cheese.

February 2, 2010

Week 5 - Is anyone losing interest?

So this is the week where I'm seeing some people get a little ummm...distracted.  Discouraged.  Losing resolve.  Don't get me wrong, we still have some major ass kicking going on, but this is the point where people start to see their results slow down and ask themselves if this is worth the work.  Some folks like myself find the accountability that this challange provides motivating but some find it discouraging when they have to report less than perfect results, so we have lost a couple of lovelies.  No one should feel bad, we're all in this together.

I still like to ask myself, do you want _________ or do you want those skinny jeans?  Or the old standby, Does anything taste as good as thin feels?  So buck up my little campers - onward and upward!!!!  Oh, and seriously, if I hear one more of you complain about losing "only 1 pound" I'm going to come to your house and smack you.  One pound in a week is an achievement...especially if you do that 12 weeks in a row!

Below is the percentage of weight loss after Week 5 (this is a running total, not a weekly result).  Lori is still holding her lead over Marcy but it is neck and neck!  Becareful Lori, Marcy's kids aren't throwing up anymore and she's back in the game!  Amanda is over half way to her goal - woo hoo!  And look at all of you that jumped up into the 4%-5% range!  We're only 5 weeks in, just think what you can do over the next 7 weeks!!!  Some of you will lose 10% of your body weight when this is all said and done - think about that!

Keri 2.11%
Marija 2.29%
Karin 5.52%
Carolina 2.31%
Kristy 1.91%
Auntie Ann 4.52%
Jennifer 4.24%
Tracy 2.65%
Danielle 1.56%
Claire 4.21%
LaVerne 3.34%
Jamie 1.58%
Amy S-C 2.56%
Chelsea 1.95%
Marcy 7.17%
Lori 7.78%
Shannon 3.35%
Amy G-S 3.47%
Amanda 5.91%
Michelle 4.44%

Weekly Tip courtesy of Everyday Health:
Develop a Better Body Image
It's easy to lose motivation if you tell yourself you'll never reach your goal of becoming a supermodel. Realize that most women don't have the "perfect" body — you might have some diet-resistant trouble spots, but that's no reason to quit. Find ways to celebrate every lost pound and set your sights on being the best you can be. "Focus on exercise and improving performance and the body will follow," says Apovian. Adds Schmidt: "I always tell my clients it's about being healthy, not about being thin."
Weekly Thoughts courtesy of your teammates/competitors. (sometimes I get a little backlogged, so if you don't see it this week, look for your comments next week.)
I liked what you wrote on the blog this week. I know part of it was from another person, but it represents us all (probably) very well.  One thing that helped me this week is having handy better snacks, like fruits, nuts (no salt), water/tea.  Also watching the portions; I don't know why, but when you go out they serve a huge plate loaded with food. OK, we don't lose money could be the first thought. But what I think is great, I have dinner tonight and lunch for tomorrow, so I divide the food in half and I ONLY eat one half of the plate, leaving the rest for another day/another meal. I believe we can eat almost everything if it's in moderation, being honest to ourselves and not making up excuses of why he choose what we did.


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