Thursday, September 26, 2013

Clean Eating Update II

Last Thursday when I weighed in at Weight Watchers, I had lost over 2 pounds from the previous week.

Today when I weighed in, I lost 1.6 additional pounds from last week.

I'm kinda starting to think there's something to this eating clean thing.  I'm not even eating clean 100% of the time, and look at the difference it's making.  For the most part of the week, I eat pretty clean.  On the weekends it's tougher, but I do my best.  If I can't eat totally clean, I just try to make a better choice.  This month there have been days here and there where I've cheated blatantly - and even with that, look how much weight I've lost.

In 2 weeks I've lost more weight than I did in the previous 6 weeks combined.

So I received my I LOST 10LBS ribbon today.  That made me so happy.

I am nearing the end of the month and have been thinking about what I want my goal to be next month.  I think I want to try and better my clean eating percentage from this month.  What I've been doing is writing down what I eat at every meal / snack, and count whether it's clean or not.  I think right now I'm at 84%.  I'm thinking maybe next month I make my goal to eat 90% clean.  Why not?

I'm not sure what my goals for November and December will be yet.  But I'll think of something.  Only a few months left in the year!

It's crazy to me to think that I started the year off with one resolution - to make one resolution per month and stick to it, hoping to build healthier habits.  One resolution per month has not been hard to keep.  It's a LOT easier than keeping a resolution or two for a whole year.  And the bonus?  I've felt successful at achieving my goals every month.  Instead of feeling like a failure because I couldn't stick to something for a whole year.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Favorite Lovebirds

Meet Cara and Val.

They got engaged!!!

And I love them both dearly.

I love them because they are kind, sweet, genuine, and fun.  I love them because they adore my daughter, and my daughter adores them.

(In fact, as I was posting the pictures below, Maraea came over and saw them and said "AUNT CARE-WA AND AUNT VAL!  Wookit dem, don't dey wook so cute?!")

This is one of those couples that just deserves each other; they deserve to be together and they deserve all the happiness this world has to offer.

I was so excited and honored to do their engagement pictures.  You can see the joy on their faces.  I love so many of these pictures, because their happiness is so apparent, it radiates off the image like a sunburst.

I love you guys and CAN NOT WAIT for your wedding.  xoxoxoxo

Congratulations Cara & Val!  <3

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Last week I posted a picture of myself on Instagram that showed my back sweat (I know, sexy, right?) and the caption was "You got to sweat like a pig and work like a horse to look like a fox".  I came across that picture again last night and I remembered I had taken a similar picture a while ago and I wondered what the difference might be.

Are you curious too?  Good, cuz here it is.

Yo.  Look at me!!!  I can't stop looking at this picture.  The difference is so apparent!!!

The picture on the left was me 8 weeks ago.  That was taken 5 weeks after I had started Weight Watchers and working out every single day.  Eight weeks of work - I knew I was gaining muscle and losing SOME weight, but I didn't know how drastic the difference was in how I looked till I put these two pictures side by side.

This came just in time too, because the other day I was really stressed at work - there's another thing I discovered, I am hands-down a stress-eater: my blood pressure rises and I want to throw my diet out the window and blow it on cheeseburgers and milkshakes and Skittles - and actually lost my appetite at lunch and didn't finish my salad because I just had WAY too much to do and was entirely overwhelmed.  I was feeling really down and annoyed and irritated and I was about to start cheating on my diet and screw it all - and then I saw this side by side picture - and it was all I needed to stay inspired to keep at it.  Look at the difference I am making in myself.

In another 6 weeks when I go to Hawaii, I WILL LOOK EVEN BETTER.

I am so proud of myself.  This picture makes me so, so happy.  Like, I want to print it and frame it.  I'm ecstatic.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Clean Eating Update

As I write this, I am sitting at my desk on my lunch break nomzing on a very delicious salad of organic mixed greens, red peppers, and mini heirloom tomatoes, dressed in a tangy yet sweet homemade clean vinaigrette dressing.

Are you proud of me? 

It actually tastes pretty good.  I tried some homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressings last week that were way too vinegary for me.  They made my cheeks tickle.  But this one is pretty good.

So it's mid-way through my clean eating month, and I figured it was time for an update.

First and foremost, the numbers:  Out of the 60 meals/snacks total I have eaten since 9/3, 48 of them have been completely clean.  That's 80%.  It actually surprised me, because I was expecting it to be worse.  It can be tough to be totally clean when you go out or when you're super busy on the weekends, but the last two weeks in September I'm relatively event- and stress-free, so I am thinking that number will climb.  To be fair - if I went out and ordered a salad, but didn't know if the dressing was "clean", I counted it as not clean.  So even though some of my meals were considered "not clean", they were still mostly healthy to some degree.  There were a few meals where I went all out - those were definitely not clean.

And guess what I noticed.  I didn't feel so hot later that night or the next day.  Today, actually, I feel like crap.  My stomach is not happy with me.  My guess is it's the weekend's crap-eating catching up to me.  I am going to set it back on track this week!

So there's that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Clean Eating Meal Plan - Week 2

First things first: I lost 2 lbs from last week - even though I went on vacation over the weekend and ate delicious slutty food at the beach.  GO ME!  This means I have lost a net total of 7 lbs.  Slowly but surely I'm getting there.  As long as the scale is going down and my arms and shoulders continue to look awesome, I'm happy.

So I am about halfway through week 1 of clean eating.  It hasn't actually been too hard.  But, I'm not being a hard-core, crazy person about it.  Like, I'm not drinking raw milk.  Sorry man.  No can do.  So here are my rules:
  1. Eat organic proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  2. Allowable dairy is organic low-fat, no-sugar-added milk and cheeses, and organic pasture butter (in moderation)
  3. Anything "processed" I consume must be comprised of clean ingredients -- For example, soy sauce is clean, yet it's processed.  Hot sauce is clean, yet it's processed.  Vinegar and oils are clean, yet they are processed.  Things like that.
  4. Eliminate "white" everything -- sugar, rice, flour, pasta, etc.
  5. Steer clear of the center aisles of the grocery store (= processed foods!).  If it has a label, the ingredients better be clean.  If I can't pronounce an ingredient, or it does not sound like something that came directly from the farm, it's not going in my cart!
I have effectively eliminated our usual store-bought marinades from our diet.  Instead I found a few "clean" marinade recipes made from olive oil, citrus juice, and fresh herbs and such.

You know, in all my research I kind of found "clean eating" hard to conceptualize.  So I will share with you what I've eaten this week so far, to help you along your way.  I found a lot of good recommendations for products online, so I'll share them with you here.

Breakfasts:  Smoothies and Ezekiel toast; or poached eggs and Ezekiel toast
Lunches:  Salads; or clean tortilla chips and guacamole
Dinners:  Marinated grilled chicken and steamed broccoli or corn on the cob or baked potatoes
Snacks:  Fruit (apples, strawberries, grapes), or whole-grain granola

If you are anything like me, you probably read that and were like "Blech".  Well, I consider myself a food snob, and I've surprisingly been pretty happy with my food choices this week.  My favorite "clean" purchase of the week:  Ezekiel bread.  Particularly, this one:

Ezekiel bread can be found in the freezer section.  Toasted, it's really not that bad at all.  I haven't tried it as a sandwich bread yet.  It seems pretty dense and dry for a sandwich bread (and mayo is not clean WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA), but toasted with some butter, it is actually very good.  I was scared of it at first, because it's frozen.  But I was being cray.  I ate 2 slices of this toasted with a little bit of butter and 2 poached eggs this morning for breakfast and I was full for 6 hours.  I kid you not.

Another delicious product I found this week:  Kind peanut butter granola.  I love this stuff!  Man, I used to turn my nose up at this stuff.  But I really like it.  A handful an hour before my workout and my hunger is kept at bay till dinnertime.

As for the smoothies, I use vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, and a little bit of OJ to loosen it up.  Next week I'll be adding spinach to my smoothies.  In the past I've been worried about my sugar content, but this time around, I'm making only half the smoothie I used to make, and I AM tracking sugar consumption on My Fitness Pal to keep an eye on it.  However, since fruits are a natural source of sugar (fructose), I am NOT counting those sugar grams towards my daily consumption.  The point is to eliminate added sugar (refined sugar) from your diet.  You don't want to steer clear of fruits and veggies because of sugar content; but you do want to keep your fruit consumption in check anyway.  Try not to eat more than your recommended daily allowance of 3-4 servings a day, in which a serving is considered 1 medium whole piece of fruit or 1/2 cup chopped or frozen fruit.

I would like to share my "clean" marinade with you that I found.  The original recipe is called Orange Tarragon Chicken, but I think you can very easily change up the citrus and herb combination and have an easy, tasty, go-to marinade for chicken in no time.

Orange Tarragon Chicken
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
Marinade chicken in all ingredients for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours, covered, in refrigerator.  Grill until cooked through.  Makes 2 servings.  NOTE:  You could easily sub the citrus and herb combinations with: lemon and basil; lime and cilantro; orange and basil; lemon and parsley; etc.

Ok, so what's on my menu for the next week?  This is the first time in my life I have ever planned seven days worth of ALL meals.  I usually only plan for dinner, and only for M-F, because on the weekends we are usually running around and who knows where we'll be at dinnertime.  But this is week 2 of clean eating so here's my go of it:

B:  Eggs & toast
L:  Smoothie
D:  Quesadillas (made with clean tortillas, low-fat cheese, and vegetables)

B:  Eggs & toast
L:  Smoothie
D:  It's my sister's birthday dinner, so we will have to see where we end up, but I'm figuring I'm fairly safe with a salad.

B:  Smoothie & toast
L:  Salad
D:  Herbed chicken & cous cous

B:  Eggs & toast
L:  Pico de gallo & tortilla chips
D:  Pollo asado & brown spanish rice

B:  Smoothie & toast
L:  Leftover Tuesday dinner
D:  Pork chops & corn on the cob

B:  Eggs & toast
L:  Salad
D:  Veggie burgers

B:  Smoothie & toast
L:  Sesame chicken
D:  It's my brother's rehearsal dinner, and we are going to a Mexican restaurant YAY but I am going to try to be very good!

So, for a week, that's not too bad.  Even if I don't eat the cleanest on Sunday and Friday nights, I will still have eaten clean for 90% of the week.

I have a feeling that the thing that will make the most difference in my health is eliminating the "whites" from my diet.  Before my wedding, I eliminated "whites" and soda from my diet and got pretty lean.  But that was over 9 years ago and my body was much different then.

So anyway, there's where I am.  I've been giving some thought to what my October resolution should be.  I'm running out of ideas.  Originally I wrote down "new books?" on my list but I've been reading like a book a week for months now so that's not really a good goal.  Maybe you have some ideas for me.  If so, please share!  I can do anything for a month.  :)