Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Week 6 Weigh-In

Week 6 has me weighing in at 296.8. That's a 1.4 pound loss this week. Not quite hitting the 2 pound a week loss I was shooting for but overall I am still on track. In 6 weeks I have lost 21.8 pounds which is nothing to be down about! I am planning to start incorporating exercise into my day here in the next week or two. We have an elliptical that needs digging out of the shed and we are planning to make room for that in our bedroom over this next week. That should help kick things up a notch, don't you think? Here's what my weight loss journey has looked like so far as I have been tracking it at

The yellow star marks my next goal which is 294 pounds by next week. That would require a 2.8 pound loss. Realistically looking at my last few weeks loss, my guess is that it will take me 2 weeks instead of 1. It's easy to get discouraged when things aren't going as I planned for them to on paper but when I step outside of that and focus on the progress I have made and the fact that I am seeing a consistent loss each week, I just won't let myself be disappointed. I took my sweet time putting this weight on and developing rotten habits, I am going to give myself time to take it off too. I will keep setting goals for myself so that I have something to strive for while being flexible enough not to let those goals on the scale become my only measuring mark. I am doing good and continuing to move forward!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Breakfast Time - Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal

I purchased steel cut oatmeal during my last shopping trip with the intention of making something hearty and delicious the whole family would love. Not all of my people are oatmeal fans so I was on the search for something that transformed this item into something, well, less like itself. What I stumbled upon was this Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal over at Alexandra's Kitchen. This looked like the ticket as it didn't have the same runny consistency that tends to bother those with an aversion to oatmeal in it's traditional form. Let me just say, it did not disappoint!

I won't rewrite the recipe here since you can find it on Alexandra's blog, but I will share the few changes I made just based on what I had on had. I used frozen blackberries as the bottom layer, pecans for the nuts, and replaced the butter with coconut oil. I was a little worried since this was supposed to set up like a custard but the coconut oil did not affect it at all. I mixed it up the night before and then woke up early to pour into the 8 x 8 and bake it. Want to see what we topped it with?

A little bit of pure maple syrup, some Greek Yogurt, a dash of cacao nibs and broken up pecans. It was heavenly! Some french roasted coffee for hubby and me and the kids got freshly juiced orange juice. It was an amazing breakfast that they are already begging me to repeat. All except my biggest boy who likes regular oatmeal in it's intended form. Oh well, can't please them all, right?

Are you looking for more steel cut oatmeal recipes? I found an overnight mason jar version that I am in love with and will definitely be making over and over. I'll share it with you soon so be on the lookout.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Non-scale Victory - New Pants!

The scale has always had a huge impact on me as I battle my weight. I avoid it when my weight is out of control, I over-use it when I am trying to stay on track. When it tells me want I want it to I am elated and when it doesn't I am deeply disappointed. Sometimes it spurs me to do better and sometimes it simply encourages me to give up. The fact that one little household item can have so much power over me is frustrating. I have actually considered getting rid of it all together. Or at least having my husband keep it under lock and key only to be brought out at agreed upon intervals. "Hi, my name is Chrystal and I am addicted to the scale!" Ugh.
 Do you remember when I brought up the mental battle involved in this journey? This falls in that category for me. It is one of those areas that has affected my success in the past and that I am looking to change. I know that I am completely capable of letting go of this and not allowing the scale to have so much weight (see what I did there) on my life. That I can find comfort and reassurance and worth in something other than a number. If this is truly going to be a life change I have to be able to look past the scale and see the value in the healthy changes I am making whether or not the scale is reflecting those changes.

For this reason I am going to also be celebrating all of the non-scale victories that I can. This is why I am taking monthly pictures so that I can see the changes in my body that can't be explained in a number. I will also be doing measurements because losing inches is just as exciting as losing pounds. I will get excited about bad habits that I eliminate, good habits that I adopt, and healthy mindsets that replace some of the negative tracts that play in my mind.

What are we celebrating today? New pants! About 6 or so weeks ago I went on a hunt for new pants as I had worn my old jeans out. This was the experience that pushed me to really take on this journey. Clothes shopping is never fun when you are extremely overweight but it's even worse when you are at your top weight. When the pair of pants you have to buy is a size you have never bought before and not in the good way. In the weeks leading up to that shopping trip numerous things were starting to push me towards my breaking point when it came to my weight gain. But this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Purchasing (gulp) size 26W pants. That was a horrible feeling.

Fast forward 5 weeks to where I am now and I have lost 20 pounds. Needless to say those pants are getting extremely baggy to the point where I am having to pull my pants up throughout the day. A good problem to have, right? Budget wise I am not thrilled to be having to once again buy new pants but when it's because your last pair got too big there isn't really much room for complaining. I didn't get jeans this time but instead some casual capris to celebrate the warmer weather. Because they had a non-zip/button waste I was able to get a 22W that will allow me to wear them now AND lose more weight without having to replace them in the next 5 weeks (although I wouldn't complain if that happened!).  And you know what? I am celebrating! This is a victory worth getting excited about and I look forward to celebrating new pants each and every time those sizes drop.

Are you a slave to the scale? What ways do you celebrate your healthy lifestyle changes that don't involve weighing yourself?

Friday, April 24, 2015

What's For Dinner?

I promised to show you all something other than what I've been eating for breakfast so here is not one but 4 of the dinners I have had in the last week. Doesn't it all look delicious? Not only does it taste good but is doing the job. I am staying satisfied and getting to have a wide variety of foods and I have been able to lose 20 pounds in 5 weeks. This is a lifelong change I can get behind!

Let's take a look at what is going on with each of those plates.

The first is a Taco Sweet Potato and Spinach Egg Bake I found at ifoodreal. I substituted the spinach for Kale because that's what I had in my fridge and I used homemade taco seasoning (if you check out my other blog, Chrystal's Corner, you can find a link to the recipe I use and how I make them into gift jars). When I had leftovers the following morning I added some salsa on top which was super good. With it we had some honeydew and a hash made from celeriac (I hadn't heard of it but it came in my Bountiful Basket this week and made a great replacement for potato), sausage, zucchini, and some leftover roasted cauliflower and mushrooms from a different meal. I know what you are thinking - this is breakfast. Yes, I usually make breakfast for dinner once a week because I love heartier breakfast food and I don't typically have time to make this kind of food in the morning. What can I say, we're crazy like that!

Another thing I love to make at home are take-out recreations. I love Asian food but it's more cost effective to replicate our favorite foods at home, not to mention I can control what goes into it. I used the Shrimp with Rice Noodles recipe I found over at Scarborough Food Fair. I decided to use bok choy in the noodle dish instead of broccoli because I had some to use up and I roasted broccoli and radishes for side dishes. I don't normally buy shrimp, but when it's in the clearance bin in the seafood section at Safeway I snatch it right up! I have to leave it out for my under 2 year olds, but that just means more shrimp for those of us who do love it. This one was flavor packed and a little on the spicy side (which might of had to do with me accidentally doubling the sriracha...oops) which makes it extremely satisfying to me. Packing in that flavor helps me not feel like I need more.

This was a dish I threw together last week trying to use what I had on hand at the end of the week. It is cheese filled tortellini with barbecued chicken (I used homemade barbecue sauce) and sauteed peppers and onions. We had mixed greens with craisins, sunflower seeds, and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing with roasted asparagus and radishes on the side. I swear we don't eat radishes every day, we just happened to buy some and then get some in our Bountiful Basket and roasting them is our favorite way to eat them so they have made a couple of repeat appearances in our meals this last week in an effort to not let them go to waste.

This last one was a huge hit and will be seen again on our dinner table throughout the summer. It may look a little indistinguishable and possibly unappetizing but trust me, it is fantastic and all 7 of us ate every last bite. The main dish is Honey Barbecue Bacon, Chicken, Sweet Potato Packets that I found at Busy Mommy. What's easier than throwing everything in a foil packet and letting the grill do all the work for you? Since we were already using the grill, I also thinly sliced some zucchini and tossed it with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper and my husband grilled those right along side the packets. We also had a romaine lettuce salad with olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. We used homemade barbecue sauce in the packets (I would share a recipe but I literally make something different every time) and the chicken and bacon absorbed it nicely making everything moist and delicious. I recommend opening your packets and throwing them under your broiler to crisp the bacon up a bit if you like it that way.

There you go, an example of what we've been having for dinner lately. Lots of flavor, lots of delicious, nutritious food and something my whole family can enjoy.  Let me know if you enjoy these dinner posts and I will keep them coming.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Week 5 Weigh-In

Still plugging along and going strong 5 weeks in! Truly, I am thanking God for the motivation and self-discipline I have had so far. Not to mention that I continue to find myself going deeper and deeper into studying how to heal and nourish my body in all new ways which I have found exciting.

One thing I really am trying to retrain my brain on is to not view this as a diet. I am not simply trying to stay under a calorie goal for the day but actually chose healthier foods in the process. One area that I am majorly struggling with when it comes to this diet mentality is on weigh day. I found myself last week doing the thing I used to do long ago in Weight Watchers which is to use my weigh day as a cheat day. To let myself have whatever I want because it would be a whole other week before I had to step on that scale. This meant last Wednesday night for dinner we made a trip to Texas Roadhouse, simply because it was weigh day. No big deal, right? Not really except that it usually bleeds into the next day as well. Hubby brought up this new burger at Carl's Junior I had been wanting to try so that ended up being lunch on Thursday. It's like once I get started on that cheat mentality it's hard to reign it back in. Now that is two days of less than desirable eating I have to combat the rest of the week.

To be clear, I am not opposed to eating out or even fast food. I would like to one day cut out the unhealthy restaurants from my families dining experiences but at this point I am choosing to let everything in moderation be permissible. My issue really is more a mental one, which is a huge part of my weight battle, and I am wanting to fight that part of my brain that rationalizes bad choices or tries to turn bad choices into reasons to quit. When I catch myself getting wrapped up in some of those mental struggles that have plagued me all during my weight battle, I am trying to recognize them and call them out so to speak. Then I can work to replace those not so healthy thoughts and behaviors with ones that are more positive and beneficial. If I can stop trying to cheat myself and simply live right and eat healthy, I will benefit that much more. And then when different life events pop up that naturally present a more indulgent eating opportunity, I can participate and not feel guilty or like I am completely knocked off track.

Whew, that was a lot of words but I found myself feeling a little bothered by the direction of the blog so far. I definitely want to continue sharing what I am eating and what my progress is but weight loss is so much more than that for most people, myself included. I don't want to exclude the rest of that because I think it's actually more important than the food and the scale. Those mental, spiritual, emotional struggles are often the real issue behind the weight and if we can't address them, talk about them, share them - we will go right back to the unhealthy things that caused weight to be a problem to begin with. So I am going to dig a little deeper and be more transparent in those personal aspects of my journey that hopefully some of you will be able to relate to. Stick with me, this is just the beginning so things are going to grow and change along the way!

Okay - let's get down to it. My weigh in for this week has me at 298.2 pounds. That's a 1.8 pound loss for the week! I'll take it (especially with those not-so-waste-friendly food choices at the beginning of the week). That has me at a total loss of 20.6 pounds in 5 weeks. I am feeling strong and determined and would love to continue at this pace. My goal of 50 pounds lost by my next birthday (September 6, 2015) is in reach and I am going to fight to accomplish it. Here's what the journey has looked like so far as I've been tracking it on

(The orange star is showing my next small goal of weighing 294 by May 6)

What are some of your mental struggles when it comes to weight loss? How do you keep them in check and work to replace the negative actions and thoughts with positive ones?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Breakfast Time - Acai Bowl

This beautiful, delicious Acai Bowl could very easily be mistaken for dessert. It is truly almost like having ice cream. But it is actually super healthy and pretty much a thick smoothie in a bowl. Apparently these are fairly popular in more tropical locations like Brazil. I for one have never had the pleasure of experiencing them in their native local, but I am glad to be able to recreate them at home and maybe one day I will get to try the real thing.

I mentioned Acai in my post on Super Duper Super Foods. I share the Beet Acai Overnight Oatmeal that I made recently for breakfast which made me want to continue exploring this purple powder's delicious breakfast abilities. When I spotted these beauties on Pinterest I knew I had to recreate one (follow my Breakfast Time board to see what is catching my eye these days in the breakfast world).

My picture doesn't do it justice, but trust me when I say it is good. Here's what I put in it:

two hand fulls of kale (any green will do)
1 cup almond milk (any milk will do)
1 tsp cacao powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp acai powder
1 tsp hemp powder
1/4 avocado
1/2 frozen banana and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Throw all of that in the blender until creamy and split between two bowls (or cut in half if you aren't sharing breakfast with anyone). I topped with extra sliced bananas, bee pollen and goji berries. Such a treat!

I'm realizing that my posts have been heavily focused on breakfast so far. I think it's because I usually plan out my breakfast the night before and make it once the kids are all busy eating so it's easy to stop and take a picture and pay attention to measurements. My other meals get thrown together in the busyness of the day so I don't always stop to capture them. I will try to make an effort to share some more of my lunches and dinners as well as snacks so you can get a well-rounded picture of what my eating looks like right now. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mango Bee Pollen Smoothie

I promised to share some of the delicious foods we are making with all of the Super Duper Super Foods we recently bought. Here's a bright, fresh way to incorporate bee pollen into your smoothie. A great start to your day or an awesome afternoon treat to keep you going until dinner:

I found the recipe for this Mango Bee Pollen Smoothie while browsing Pinterest (where else??) and you can find the ingredients in their entirety over at The Awesome Green. The only differences I made were to leave out the turmeric (I simply didn't have it, but it's on my list so watch for it in upcoming food posts!) and swap hemp milk for cashew milk because that's what I had in my fridge. This was so sunny and delicious and a great way to use up the extra mangoes we got in our last Bountiful Basket.

If you are a little put off by the idea of bee pollen I encourage you to read up on it's benefits. You will be amazed at what that little super food is packed with! This is one to be careful with when sharing with the kids though...something to be introduced slowly and gradually increased as some can have allergic reactions at certain serving sizes. As with anything new you are introducing into your families diet, make sure to do your research.

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