October 25, 2010

By Request: Protein Ball Recipe

I make these up every few weeks and keep them in a ziploc bag in the freezer - then just pack a couple when I am going to be out and about. Have NO idea about the calorie / carb / protein counts. I use these as a bit of a treat - they satisfy the urge for a cookie / candy bar other sweet snack, while still being made of "legal" (for me, anyway) food items.

1 cup peanut butter - your choice: smooth or crunchy, natural or Skippy (Jif, whatever)
1 1/2 cups protein powder of your choice - I use Champion Double Stack Chocolate
1 cup of oats
Small handful of raisins or chopped dried apricots (optional)
1/2 cup - 1 cup of soy crisps (optional - I get these from Vitalady in chocolate flavor)
Sweetener to taste
Optional - some sf syrup in flavor of choice, such as vanilla, caramel, whatever
You could also add some chopped nuts or unsweetened dried coconut

Mix the whole gloopy mess together, add some water, a few drops at a time if it is too dry.

Roll into walnut-shaped balls. Freeze.

I think these are pretty yummy and they are a lifesaver when I am out and about, hungry, and all that I can see around me is fast food....

October 24, 2010

How I eat at 8 months out...

I was asked if I have a structured eating plan - sort of, in terms of what types of food I eat, but not so much in terms of the specifics.

Here is a typical day:

First thing: My husband usually leaves me some fresh brewed coffee in the insulated French Press, so I mix it with some chocolate protein powder (27g protein) and a bit of milk or cream for a protein coffee.

Breakfast: Either some leftovers from dinner, some sashimi tuna with soy sauce and wasabi, or some pumpkin, egg, ricotta and flax "hot cereal" (Here is a link to this very delicious and filling recipe - taste and texture remind me a lot of cream of wheat - but it's low carb and high protein -better for me!) By the way - the about.com website has LOTS of great recipes!

I take my morning supplements and a Nexium tablet sometime around breakfast.

Morning Snack: Don't always have one, but often have a protein drink. (Always have a protein drink if I work out) Also try to get in an additional 16 - 20 ounces of liquid, usually SF ice tea, before lunch.

Lunch: Usually leftovers from dinner, or some tuna, chicken, salmon, or turkey salad, or some other protein + leftover veg. If I eat out I'll usually have some chicken  I take mid-day supplements with my lunch.

Snack: Maybe some protein balls, or cheese, or a few rice crisps, or beef jerky. Another 16 - 20 ounces of liquid

Dinner: I almost aways cook a protein and two types of veg. Sometimes I make polenta or quinoa or a lower carb starch in place of one of the vegetables. Dinner time supplements.

Snack: Don't usually have one, but might make some protein ice cream, have some beef jerky, or a protein ball, or maybe a spoonful of peanut butter or some almonds. Maybe some more fluids, depending on how my intake has been during the day. Sometimes I like some apple with peanut butter or dark chocolate (one or two squares) with peanut butter.

Bedtime: This is when I take my iron / Vitamin C capsules

I don't count calories these days, although I will begin doing this again as I approach goal so that I can fine tune my maintenance. I'll also start counting if my weight loss slows down to a point that disturbs me . Mainly I concentrate on getting in enough protein and limiting carbs, particularly carbs from starches and sugars.

Here is my current supplement regime:

Nexium 20 mg
500 mg calcium citrate w/ D and magnesium
B12 sublingual
Vitamin D3 sublingual
B complex tablet
Benefibre tablet

500 mg calcium citrate w/ D and magnesium
Benefibre Tablet
Omega 3 supplement

500 mg calcium citrate w/ D and magnesium
Benefibre Tablet
B12 sublingual

Carbonyl Iron with Vitamin C

October 21, 2010

A couple new photos

OK - these are a little bit blurry - camera problems continue - but I picked up a couple of new dresses today while doing the grocery run and thought I'd show off a bit...

Yeah, I'm kind of into this style of dress, now that I can actually wear it!

8 months, down 95 pounds!

I don't have a lot of photos this month, since my camera has been acting up - looks like I am going to have to replace it - which is kind of an expensive bummer.

I hit the 8 month mark on the 15th with a total for the month of 8 pounds lost last month and have since lost a few more pounds, bringing me to a total of 95 pounds lost. This means that I am less than 30 pounds from my personal goal, less than 25 from my surgeon's goal and 5 pounds from a 100 pound loss! Pretty exciting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

This photo was taken this morning in a new blue wrap-style sweater dress. I personally still marvel at being ABLE to wear a sweater dress without feeling self conscious about all of my bulges and folds. (I am neither brave nor sleek enough, however, to wear it without the assistance of my trusty "Assets" shapewear from Target!)

I'm now fully into the size 14 range, and while I was in the states last weekend I bought a pair of size 12 Levis as interim "goal jeans". When I got home from my trip and tried them on, they actually almost fit already - fit fine in the bum and thighs, still too snug in the waist.

I find that smaller changes in weight show up more in size changes now that my overall weight is reduced - I also find that my bum and thighs are looking a lot more wrinkly and saggy and that my stomach is starting to resemble a balloon that has been inflated for a long time, and is now deflating - you know, where it kind of deflates on one side, but not so much on the other, and there are lots of wrinkles and dimples? - that's me!

I still feel like an impostor if I wander into a normal-size clothing shop, like Gap, or Limited or whatever. (I half expect bells and sirens and a stern directive from a scary size "0" twenty-something - ordering me out of the shop and back to the plus-size store immediately!) I usually pride myself on self confidence, but will confess here that I haven't worked up the courage yet to do anything but browse - too chicken to approach a salesperson and actually try on any of the clothing. So, to date, my shopping has taken place at Old Navy, Value Village, Target, Department stores etc, where the customer service is non-existent and nobody knows what sizes I am hauling into the changing room. So, I guess my brain hasn't really caught up yet with the changes in my body.

In terms of health, I am still feeling really fantastic with plenty of energy. I still marvel every time I walk up the hill to my house and it takes no effort whatsoever - I still find that I dread doing it, as it felt difficult for most of the time we lived here - and I am surprised every single time to find that it's an easy and enjoyable walk.

I still find that I have a LOT of restriction when it comes to how much I can eat, but that it is inconsistent. For example, most of the time I can eat just 3 or 4 bites of protein and perhaps some veg. (Last night I had two scallops and a bit of cauliflower "rice" cooked stir-fry style.) Once in a while I can eat more ... last week I ate about 2/3 of a 6 inch sub on whole wheat from Subway - way more than is typical for me. For the most part though, I eat my protein, plus a bit of whatever on the side, have usually 2 protein shakes a day, and a couple snacks of items like my homemade protein balls, some soy crisps, some cheese, beef or buffalo jerky, nuts, etc. Sometimes I have a bit of dark chocolate or some apple and peanut butter for dessert.

For the most part I don't crave sugary stuff and don't find that I miss bread or pasta all that much... and can limit myself to a bite or two if I decide to indulge. I am a sucker though for crispy salty stuff - like barbecue flavored brown rice crisps for example - mostly I try to keep them out of the house, but I do buy some occasionally and just portion out the amount that fits into my plan for the day, rather than just eating them by handfuls straight out of the bag. It seems to be working so far, so I'll continue to enjoy my treats!

October 13, 2010

Yikes! Long Time No Post!

But, I have an excuse! My part-time teaching position and other work have been keeping me really busy! Also my camera has been acting up (it has just not been the same since I dropped it in the sand on the Oregon coast last summer) so I don't have a ton of recipe photos.

I am still so grateful to have had this surgery. I'll hit 8 months out in a couple of days, and as of this morning I am down 92 pounds. In my last post I was hoping to hit a size 14, and in the few weeks since then, I have managed to do this - the size 14 Levi 525s, which I could not wear 2 weeks ago - are now very wearable and even comfortable! Last night I was wearing my size 16 jeans and they were falling off of my backside. (Granted these are Old Navy jeans, which run a bit big - but as far as I am concerned I wear size 14 jeans and skirts now - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Here are a couple photos taken earlier this month:

It is really insane how dependent I am sometimes on the progress I see on the scale in terms of whether I am feeling successful with this whole process of losing weight. I've just been through a long period of minimal weight loss. When I look at the overall pattern (see chart below), my loss has been consistent, but when I am in the midst of 10 or 14 days of no losses, or ups and downs every day resulting in no net loss, I feel mildly depressed and discouraged. It is silly - I KNOW better, and I also know that for some reason I tend to lose inches when I am not loosing pounds. In any case, I'm down 7 pounds so far this month, about average for me, with a couple days to go - so that is pretty respectable.

My Weight Chart:
Weight Chart

Now, how about some food? One of the things I like to cook and eat, and have available for a quick protein fix, is roasted chicken - I am very picky about chicken - it has to be cooked so that it is still very moist and I prefer to buy organic and free-range from my neighborhood butcher - for animal welfare reasons, to support local business and local farmers, to avoid antibiotics and other nasties in my food, and because it tastes so much better. This month I stuffed the breast (under the skin) with some butter and a few sage leaves - delicious, and it looks kind of pretty with the leaves showing through the skin:

Served this with some mixed roasted veg (Mushrooms, beets, carrots and potatoes - roast the beets separately and mix together at the end to avoid a purple platter of veg!)

Don't throw away the carcass when you are finished with the chicken! Dump it in a stock pot with some onion, carrot and celery, plus a few peppercorns and a sprig or two of parsley if you have some on hand. Add cold water to cover all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple of hours. Strain into another container, cool to room temp, then chuck it in the fridge. Once it is chilled, remove the layer of fat on top, return to the stove and reduce by about half. Cool and then freeze (if you have no plans to use it soon) or refrigerate. This makes a lovely, concentrated chicken stock. I used it to make some quinoa and butternut squash "risotto" with sage and Parmesan - and it was totally delicious. Also great for soup!

I also enjoy making a large batch of bolognese sauce. Although I do use Dreamfield's pasta - which is supposed to have a low-carb impact on my system, this time the family had pasta and I had my sauce on top of some roasted eggplant. For a side dish, I sauteed some Kale and Chard with garlic, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice at the end, plus salt and pepper - Yum! Tonight we will have the leftover sauce, and I am having mine on top of some ricotta cheese, and topping the whole gooey mess with some Parmesan and mozzarella. (Looking forward to it too!)

Finally, as readers of this blog have probably discovered, we eat a lot of salmon in this household. Recently, the Fraser River here in BC had the biggest run of sockeye salmon in over 100 years. Sockeye is delicious and it was cheap and plentiful. Here is just one of the meals we enjoyed: Roasted sockeye salmon, quinoa, and a salad made with mixed greens and herbs, chopped snow peas, red bell peppers, and steamed /chilled edamame - served with a sesame dressing.