Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jamie, Light vs. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving won.

I indulged in a very, very big way, and you know what? I don't regret it. Because now, I'm left with a food-induced hangover, and my body is making it quite clear to me that we just can't handle that kind of intake anymore. Nor do we want to. I enjoyed letting myself off the hook and not trying to count every little bit of something that went into my mouth (which means there was a whole lot more that went into my mouth), but my newly gluten-free self left a trail of pie crusts in my wake, and now my head is pounding. I OD'd on sugar, I'm pretty sure.

Where it was really nice to take a break from number-obsessing, I realized something tonight that made me a little sad. My food behavior today was probably not unusual for old Jamie. Old Jamie would have realized that she maybe went a little overboard with the pies, but she also wouldn't have cared much, and formulated some kind of reason to excuse it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't an everyday thing, but it certainly was a more than Thanksgiving or other feast-bearing holiday thing.
Bad move, old Jamie.

All this to say, where it is super important that we pay attention to what we eat, sometimes you just need to let loose a little. The greatest thing about maintenance is knowing that one day isn't going to set you back We already know we've conquered the impossible, and we already trained our brains to want to eat the fuel that our bodies need. (Also meaning tomorrow and the here-after will be filled with salads and veggie meals)

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine, and I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Few Weeks In

It's been about 2 or 3 weeks since I started the gluten free diet, and so far, the consensus is:

LOVE!

I love it, and I don't really even miss it. I have found that I am generally more energetic and less hungry, but the real kicker are the improvements in my allergies. It's A-MA-ZING. Don't get me wrong, I still have them, but comparatively...it's no contest. I guess it's mostly a sinus thing, really, but I can breathe through my nose *most* of the time now, and I can snuggle with my dog without hesitation.
I'm a real girl!

The gains have been worth living without gluten 10 fold. Plus, there are so many GF options and alternatives that it makes the sacrifice a lot easier than most people would think.

http://www.onlineredkettle.org/jamielightblog 
AND NOW, not to cut our nutrition portion of the blog short, but I have something unrelated to share. Having been away from America for the last 3 Christmas', I am feeling especially eager to really take it in this year. Christmas is always my favorite time of year, and there is nowhere on the planet that can top it. Albeit to say, what is the Christmas season without the Salvation Army bell ringers? They're a HUGE part of the spirit and ambiance, and I am proud to say that I will be doing my part to help this year! Along with having signed up for a few in-person bell ringing sessions, I am also hosting an online kettle! I want to be very clear here, though, that I am in no way trying to obligate or force giving. All I'm wanting to do here is open up the option to those of us who don't always have cash when we pass by the kettles, but *want* to give a little here and there. SO- if you feel so called, please visit my kettle and donate any amount you'd like. The website encourages larger amounts by giving those options, but any amount can be entered in (I contributed $5).

Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Journey

I am usually one to hate any kind of "diet" that requires restriction. I feel that those types of weight-loss plans usually just set people up for maintenance failure, unless the person in the plan is intending on living the rest of their lives without said restriction. All this to say, I am probably more surprised than anyone about my very, very recent decision to go gluten free. This is something that I have been considering for a little while, but in fairness, it's not for weight loss purposes.

In usual Jamie, Light fashion, I'm going to be outrageously candid with you: the driving force behind this decision is that I have what is known as Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. From the research I have done, it seems that something about PCOS often throws the insulin levels in it's women out of whack, and those out of whack levels cause other levels to be out of whack, and then we end up with this long list of embarrassing and belittling symptoms. Because of the insulin issue, a gluten free diet is looked upon as potentially helpful, although there doesn't seem to be scientific evidence of this yet (perhaps because the studies haven't been done? Please correct me if I'm wrong). However, the opinions of women with PCOS that have gone gluten free seem to be quite positive, so why not throw my hat into the ring and give it a try, right? If Science won't come to me, I must come to it! Besides, the worse that can come of this is that I have to say goodbye to my beloved cookies forever. And ever. (That's a pretty bad worse-case, but it's all in the name of health. *sigh*)

My plan:
I will be keeping a daily journal so that I can track how things change in me, emotionally and physically, throughout my journey. If I see a big change, I will keep on keepin' on. If I don't, then I suppose I will be seeking more medical assistance for my symptoms. I have the intention of consulting a doctor about all of this anyway, but my insurance doesn't kick in for a few weeks, so...that will have to wait.





So here we go again...maybe we'll call this "Phase 2" in the Jamie self-improvement plan.

Do you have experience with living gluten free? Whether you said yes or no, I'd love to read your thoughts/opinions!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mediterannean Veggie-wich

Are you feeling especially hungry? Make this:


 Here's how:
1 piece flatbread (Flatout multigrain)- 100 kcal
1 serving hummus (Tribe roasted garlic, 28g)- 50 kcal
cucumber, ~7 slices (63g)- 9 kcal
1 whole roma tomato, sliced (55g)- 10 kcal
red onion, sliced (18g)- 7 kcal
green pepper, ~1/4, sliced (40g)- 7 kcal
2 button mushrooms (41g)- 9 kcal
2 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped (51g)- 12 kcal 
total calorie expenditure: 204 kcal

I like to salt my cucumber and tomatoes, so I put those on first, sprinkled a little salt, and then built the veggies up from there. Obviously you can change/swap any of the veggies that you'd like. Artichoke hearts would have been a great addition to this, and will add a little more "meaty-ness" if you're feeling like you need more bulk. (Mushrooms and artichokes are both great substitutes for meat, but be extra mindful if your artichokes are marinated.)

This makes a HUGE, delicious, low-cal sandwich that pairs perfectly with wheat thins, or other crackers of your choosing. I, however, went with graham crackers and pudding, because I am a 10 year old. *wink*


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mindful Eating

Oh, hey, look who it is! Apparently I needed to take September off...sorry for not communicating that.

As I've noted several times before, I don't seem to have that thing where my stomach tells my brain that I'm full. And in the few, few times it does, it goes away fairly quickly. I've always felt perplexed by this, but never took any time to think about why this might be. Until recently, that is.

Per usual, there was no real aha moment, but simply a non-interesting realization.
As I was preparing one of my meals last week, I decided that part of my problem might not be that my stomach is broken, but that I'm just not paying attention. I'm very much a visual eater, so it makes sense that not paying attention to my meal while I'm eating is keeping me from understanding what I'm eating. So lately, I've been practicing "mindful eating". A term that was coined long before my realization, and may or may not actually mean what I'm using it as here. (I looked at the mindful eating website, and where I'm not totally wrong for using the term, I'm not exactly following their principles to a T, either)

Mr. Light finds a lot of humor in the way I eat my pickles
So what do I mean when I say mindful eating? I mean that I don't allow myself to do anything else while I'm eating. When it is mealtime, I have to do that and only that. Sound painful? Yeah, it's a little hard to get used to. But you know what? It works. I find myself a lot more satisfied with what I've eaten, and the fact that I'm done...which, unfortunately, always makes me a little sad. In fact, paying attention to my meal makes me actually look forward to being finished with my meal, so that I can finally reach for my book of crosswords (yep. I'm that cool.) or computer. It helps me to see food as the fuel that it is, rather than to view it as part of a recreational activity.

Here is a challenge for you: eat your meals tomorrow as you normally would, but note how you feel before and how you feel after eating. Then on Saturday and Sunday, I want you to practice mindful eating, again noting how you feel before and how you feel after each meal. Did you feel hungry sooner when you weren't paying attention? Did you feel more thankful for the food in front of you? Did you make better food choices in general? Or is this something you already practice?
Tell me about your experiences in the comments!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Small Town, Big Improvement!

Mr. Light and I had so much fun at the Horsethief 5k that we have decided to make races a monthly event! We knew right away that our August race would be the Small Town, Big Cause 5K, since Lawrence Memorial Hospital has always been such a huge part of my life. My mom has worked at LMH for a bagillion years (or something along those lines), and some of my fondest childhood memories are of volunteering as a family to help with the LMH Triathlon. We would camp out at the lake the night before so that we would be there and ready at dawn, my mother having to be there extra early as it was her departments event. I remember at race time how much I loved offering up the cups of water and sports drink to the runners, but dreaming of the day I could graduate up to the role of body number painter. I remember being in awe of the physical capacity of the competitors, and even more so of those who were able to win those kinds of events. A feat like that is just beyond me.

photo credit: Melanie Johnson
The Small Town/Big Cause Eudora 5k was this last Saturday, and definitely a tougher course than our last. The first two miles seemed just right, but it felt like the last mile was mostly uphill, and boy did that kill my endurance! Nonetheless, I felt great, and am really proud of my time. I came in at 29:34, shaving almost 2 1/2 minutes off my last competition time! It was definitely a personal best for me, as was Mr. Light's, at 24:50 for him!
Want to know our time-improving secret? We've recently added long bike rides to our exercise reportoire, and it has definitely paid off. We usually bike around 14 miles twice a week, and it has surprisingly made all the difference in our running. Isn't it amazing how doing something else can help you in a certain area, physically? And the best part about it is our bike rides feel a lot more like we're exploring and having adventures than like we're exercising. We love it!

So now we're trying to decide what event to do in September. We're hoping to get my brother and his wife signed up with us this time, so the KC area would be ideal. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living Without Routine

I don't know exactly what's keeping me from posting as often as I used to, but I can tell you that it certainly isn't a lack of time. I blame it on my lack of routine. In fact, I'm blaming a lot of things on a lack of routine.

I am pleased to report that I am rocking maintenance, which was something I was really worried about, but I also notice myself feeling a lot more tempted by foods. I have a lot more time to sit at home, and it is in those times where I think the most about eating things. Obviously. I know that I spend a lot more time than I wish I did looking forward to the next meal anyway, but now that I don't have things like work and plans to distract me, I am much, MUCH more likely to grab a handful of Crispix, or convince myself that I need another fudge bar. I am much more likely to eat 100 or so calories over my daily target. I used to be so rigid. Maybe a little too rigid, but I felt good in that place. Although, I admit, I don't know that anyone else around me felt good about me in that place. Apart from JD, my rigidity was hard to penetrate.

I think this place is a good balance, and essentially a good "life lesson" for me, but it's taking some time to get used to. I used to feel like I would love to be one of those people who can make a living out of being a "blogger", but now I can see how that would be a huge downfall for me. Working from home is the perfect way to set me up for failure. But perhaps I'm selling myself short...I mean, I am still maintaining. Maybe I'm doing better without routine than I feel.

Sometimes we just don't know what to do with ourselves...
What is life like for you, without routine; do you like the freedom, or are you like me and need the structure? What is hardest/easiest for you?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Horsethieving

JD and I, feeling the nerves pre-race





As most of you already know, Mr. Light and I ran our first competitive race yesterday! It's known as the Eudora Horsethief 5K, and is held in my little hometown in Kansas. As this race has been around since I can remember, it was an easy choice for our first!







 





I found myself feeling a sense of nostalgia as I wound my way through the course, pounding the pavement on the paths I walked often as a kid. Like a train, people stopped as we made our way across intersections, and I couldn't help but wonder, "Maybe I know the people in those cars?" And there's a good chance I did. But then I also had to wonder, "Would those people even recognize me?" And there's a good chance they wouldn't, in that passing moment.




 





I kept my pace, focusing on my music and my thoughts, trying my hardest to forget about the gradual inclines that laid before me. (There were many of them.) I notice when I'm running uphill, I have a tendency to think about how tough it is and that maybe I should stop. I always have to remind myself that as soon as the path evens out, it's better; I can breathe easier, I have more drive, I can continue. I'm always thankful for continuing.
Me and my mom! Pre-race



Near the end at the bottom of the last hill, my beautiful and wonderful mom stood waiting for me. When I got close enough, she put down her camera and started to run alongside me. It was easy to see that she was beaming with pride. Man, I love my parents. I did so many things wrong, but they seem to only remember the things I did right. As we approached the top, I knew it was time to push it to the limit. I said goodbye, and started to sprint down the hill. I quickly realized I was pushing myself way past my limits, so I dialed back my pace for a few meters, but as soon as I turned the corner and faced the finish line, I sprinted again. I was determined to get in under 32:00.



 
Most awesome face EVER







31:51 was my official time, placing 5th in my age group (out of 8, let's not get ahead of ourselves here). Not bad! Not great, but considering I have only been a runner for a few months and have never been known for my speed, I feel great about it!









Overall, we had a great time, and are pumped for our next 5K on August 11: Small Town, Big Cause!

Have you ever run in a competitive race before? Would you consider it? Leave your experience/thoughts in the comments!


*All of the pictures you see here today were supplied by Ross from www.seekcrun.com! He's a retired professor who enjoys running, but can't anymore because of an injury, so he goes around to different races in the area and takes pictures, which he then supplies to the contestants for free! What a great service, right? Thanks Ross!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Eating Low-Cal, In the Neighborhood

Mr. Light and I have been itching to try Applebee's 550 and under menu, so we thought yesterday after church would be an appropriate time to try it out!
A tip for eating at restaurants that I can't stress enough is to go in knowing what you want to eat. So many chains have their nutrition information and menus listed online, which it makes it really easy! (You can find the Applebee's info in a pdf here.) Since JD and I knew we were going 550 and under, we hadn't really looked at the information beforehand, but I wanted to know exactly what my meal was clocking in at, so I ended up downloading the pdf onto my phone. I love smart phones!
Looking at the menu, I knew almost instantly that I wanted to try the Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portabellos, which only cost me 470 kcal, sides and all! JD opted for the Roasted Garlic Sirloin, which was only 450 kcal.

As we sat waiting for our food, we looked up the items that used to be among our favorites. For me, I usually opted for the Chicken Fajita Rollup. Where this gem is delicious, I found out yesterday that it is 1040 kcal alone. That doesn't even include the fries, which is another 390! And you better believe, I almost always ate it all. That's 1430 kcal in one meal. It wasn't long ago where that number would have been my entire day's allotment of calories. Ironically, someone at the table next to us had ordered my old favorite, and as I watched the waitress approach their table, I couldn't help but notice how huge the wrap was...along with one of the biggest baked potatoes I have seen in a long time! So naturally, when our plates arrived, my first thought was, "where is all the food?" The portions seemed so little, comparatively. Fortunately, my next thought was that it wasn't the lack of food as much as the over-abundance of plate. But when I gave myself a moment to remember that I don't need the food to cover the plate, and that there was plenty for me to eat, I dove in, feeling really good about my choice.
I had already eaten some chicken, here o_O
And you know what? It was delicious! It was just the right amount of food for me (JD said he was still hungry, but that makes sense. Being a male, his body needs to process much more than my own, and my piece of chicken was marginally bigger than his steak). And I still had some calories for dessert when I got home!

I definitely suggest trying one of these 550 and under dishes. If you aren't sure it will be enough to fill you, I suggest ordering a bowl of chicken tortilla soup on the side for only an extra 160 kcal. That still keeps your meal at a caloric input you can feel good about!

I have a lot of respect for Applebee's for offering such responsible foods in responsible portions, which can be really hard to find at most restaurants.



Have you tried any of Applebee's 550 and under meals? If so, what did you think?
Have you found any other restaurants that make responsible food choices easy and worthwhile? I'd love to hear about more options! Leave your tips and thoughts in the comments.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strawberry Delish

Do you love dessert?
Yeah, me too.

Today, my mother-in-law asked us to finish off the bin of strawberries, so when it was time to prepare lunch, I decided to get a little bit more creative with my dessert. (I always have dessert. Always.) And you know me; I love easy. 

This is what I'm calling "Strawberry Delish." Because it has strawberries. And it is delicious. 
 What I did: 
110g fresh strawberries: 35 kcal  
40g Honey Greek yogurt: 48 kcal
1 Whole Wheat sandwich thin: 100 kcal 

I toasted the sandwich thins (but I think it would have been just as good untoasted), slapped 20g of yogurt on each slice, and then topped the slices with the strawberries that I washed and quartered. 

So simple, so good, less than 200 calories. Reminiscent of a strawberry shortcake, this little dish is great for dessert, breakfast, or a quick snack! (If you don't like yogurt, a great swap would be low-fat chocolate pudding or nutella! Strawberries and chocolate? Don't mind if I do.)

What low-cal desserts do you love to make? Leave any recipes or thoughts in the comments!  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to: Eat at Chinese Restaurants

As most of you already know, there are few things more anxiety inducing for me than eating at restaurants that don't list calories. Where I try my hardest to avoid them, I know that it's an unavoidable part of life at times. That is, unless you're willing to become a social-eating pariah.
"You want to invite Jamie? Jamie only eats at Panera and Applebee's."
...is how I would imagine that discussion going.
So, as it is, you have to learn to prepare and conquer! One of the biggest calorie-offenders, and one of the hardest restaurant genres to avoid: Chinese.
There are few ways around this, so I'm just going to come out and say it: no Chinese buffet. No ANY kind of buffet, but especially not Chinese. American Chinese food is famous for it's grease and oil, which is unfortunately one of the things that makes it so popular. It is indulgent, and we are Kings.

All that said, my tiny hometown happens to have one of the world's-greatest Chinese food restaurants. (Fun fact: It's actually a Chinese and Mexican restaurant. How do you like them apples?) Where their food is honestly probably mediocre at best, I have yet to find a better tasting crab rangoon. Which brings me to my first survival tip!

Survival tip #1: skip the rangoon. Unless, of course, you're at Jasmin's in Eudora, Kansas. And then eat the crab rangoon, but prepare to expect it taking up quite a few of your calories. I would guess at about 200. That's why I don't eat the tips...just the creamy middle. *ding* Along with the rangoon, you probably want to avoid any of the extras in general. That includes egg rolls, fried spring rolls, and wonton strips. If you MUST participate, do...but know that any of those items will commonly set you back about 150 calories apiece (or a handful or so of the wonton strips), so limit yourself to one.

Survival tip #2: Say yes to the soup! (But keep it to a cup, rather than a bowl, if you can.) In any meal, it is a good idea to start or end with soup. Especially those with a water-based broth, rather than a creamy broth. Soup is usually quite low, and helps to fill you up! Hot & Sour and Egg Drop are both excellent choices. Also about 150 calories, but much more sustaining calories, those are.

Survival tip #3: Get it steamed. If you know you're going to Chinese, go in with the mindset of looking for dishes that are "steamed", or stir fry's that the cook is willing to  fry in broth rather than oil. (I believe this is called "stock velveting"...or at least that's how they refer to it at Pei Wei...) I find that if I go into a meal knowing beforehand what I want to look for/eat, I feel a lot less tempted by other things. It keeps my cravings at bay. Again, this is a really great tip for life in general. (Also to remember for this tip: ask for less sauce. I find Chinese food almost ALWAYS has way-too-much-sauce.)

Survival tip #4: Nothing fried. Ever. If it's fried, it WILL be high. I have no problem indulging in small amount of fried-ness, but when it's your main portion, it's just a bad idea.

Survival tip #5: Keep your protein lean. If you're really uncertain about the calories you're participating in, it's really easy to keep it light with the meat. Best choice always: shrimp. If you're not a fan of shrimp, opt for the chicken or tofu. You can find lower calorie dishes that still include beef, but beef dishes in general are more iffy. Your safest bet is seafood.

Survival tip #6: Use chopsticks. Using chopsticks helps you to eat slower, and only pick up the things you really want. That means all that extra sauce that fell to your plate will stay right there, on the plate!

Do you have any other great tips for eating Chinese? Leave them in the comments!
Do you have any thoughts/comments in general? Leave those too! I love to hear from you:)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shredding

You know what I love about the internet? It has EVE-RY-THING. It is my lifeline. It is where I go when I am bored. It is where I go when I am motivated. It is where I go to stay informed. It is where I go to get new food ideas. It is where I go when I want to branch out and connect. So naturally, when I was feeling a little bored of my usual running-one-day-yoga-the-next routine, I looked to the Youtube to mix things up! And who else would I turn to but Jillian?!

It is no secret that I am a Jillian Michaels fan. She may have gotten a mean wrap from her time on the Biggest Loser, but if you've ever done one of her videos or Wii games, you know that is not her usual MO. (Well, maybe it is in real time? I can't attest, as I couldn't even kind of afford her.) 
In my search for what was next, I thought I would see what the 30 Day Shred hype was all about. I was a little nervous going in, since the one time Mr. Light wanted to try the Insanity workout, I stopped about 2 minutes in, fuming with anger.
I don't like to kill myself in my workouts. Yes, I want to be challenged, but I don't want to be obliterated. That makes no sense to me. (In fairness to the program, this was during the fitness test part of it. We didn't get past that, so I have no idea what the actual workouts are like. I'm guessing they're not much better, though.) I was afraid the Shred would be similar, but pleasantly surprised when I found out it wasn't! Just when I start to feel like I have no more of that particular exercise in me, it's time to move on to something else. She works you through 3 cycles of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs, breaking all of those cycles into about 30 second groupings each. These are more or less non-stop, but since you're constantly changing, it's easy to catch your breath...and she's not asking for 1 minute of frog hops followed by 1 minute of burpees. Thank God.
By the end of the workout, I feel like I did some good work, and I only spend about 25 minutes doing it! Which then makes me feel like I should probably do more. I know Puppy, Light would settle for a long walk;)

I still enjoy running every other day, but I know that it's important to keep other methods of exercise in your rotation. Your muscles need to rest, and using the same ones every day gets repetitive and eventually, ineffective. With the 30 Day Shred, you're supposed to do it every day for 30 days, but I haven't determined if I really want to add it onto my running days or not. I think I might go casual in my time with it.

For me, it's a great option for circuit training, since I HATE doing circuits on my own. I suppose most people would want a gym membership for group classes, but I'm a firm believer in that fitness should be free, and Youtube makes it so! I just hope Jillian feels the same;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Honesty

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how I might be perceived by others, and the mindset that comes with just being a human. I think we all have certain aspects of ourselves that we're overly aware of. Right now, for me, it's that I'm physically a much different person than I was the last time I was in these surroundings. When I was at my before weight, I more or less knew what I was to people, as I had always been that. I feel it wouldn't be wrong to say that I was a personality that others' enjoyed to be around, but where I think my personality is much the same, it would be a lie to tell myself and everyone else that what you look like isn't also a big part of how you're perceived. Before, I was the chubby girl, and there's definitely a stigma that comes with that. However, now...now I don't really know what I am. I still feel like that chubby girl, but I don't think that people necessarily put that stigma on me anymore. Or maybe they do? I mean, I am 5'3".

To my left, the only opinion that actually matters <3
I know it's silly to try and wonder what others might think, and most people would probably tell me not to worry about it, since it doesn't matter what other people think. Where I do agree that what other people think of me is not important, I would be lying if I said I didn't still wonder. I would be lying if I said it didn't at all matter to me. And I don't know if that's part of just being human, or from living my life feeling judged by everyone I meet. In hindsight, I can see that most of that judgement was likely just paranoia, but I also know that it was in my head for a reason. The judgement had been there before, and it had impacted me.

So right now, my biggest question is: what will the new impact be? I do feel much more confident about my physical self, and I do feel much less embarrassed about what a stranger might think of me...I'm just really unclear as to what that is, and that's new to me. Mostly, I think I'm excited for the newness to wear off. I'm excited for Jamie, Light and Jamie Greer to be one; to be old news. And I hope that doesn't sound ungrateful or like I'm fishing for compliments, because I really couldn't be more thankful for this journey, and boy oh boy have I gotten a lot of compliments! This is just me, letting you meet me where I'm at. It seems like the most rational thing for me to write about today.

Do you guys feel you ask yourselves the same questions? Do you know what other's think, wonder what other's think, or really truly don't give a crap?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Land of Ahs

Sorry for my hiatus, folks, but I'm sure you can understand the busy-ness that comes with moving. Nonetheless, I'm back in the saddle and excited about all the food options that have opened up to me, thus opening up to you via jamielightblog!

As a side note, before I begin, I don't care what anyone says or presumes- Kansas is the best place on the planet. Yes, I'm biased. But also, people here are, for the most part, quite friendly and often very considerate. That is a major shift moving from one of the largest cities in the world. In Korea, we were stared at *most* of the time. Straight faces. No words. Just gawking, glaring eyes. In Kansas, if we get looks, they're usually friendly, smiling glances, followed by a hello or good morning. On our run this morning, I would figure maybe 8 out of 10 people we passed said hello. I love that!

Today I'm sharing my first breakfast back in America! JD and I sent his parents a long, long list of the foods we were excited to have access to, and they graciously stocked their pantry and fridge with them in anticipation of our arrival. So for breakfast, this is what I put together:

1 TJ's* whole wheat sandwich thin: 100 kcal
80g egg beaters: 43 kcal
34g deli counter turkey breast: 36 kcal
1 wedge, laughing cow light*: 35 kcal
130g Fage 0% Greek yogurt: 74 kcal
54g sliced frozen strawberries: 19 kcal
53g Kashi Go Lean Crunch: 190 kcal

breakfast total: 498 kcal. For all of that!



What are some of your favorite breakfast items? Any great, lesser known low cal options I should look for? Leave yours in the comments!

*TJ's= Trader Joe's
*Sun-dried tomato and basil flavor

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Bananas Are My New Favorite Thing

As you could probably tell from my absence this week, it's been a crazy one. Not only was it the last week of school, but also our last week of Korea. We've spent whatever free time we had preparing our resumes and suitcases...and now it's oh-so-close! We woke up early today for our last long run on the river. I actually got a little emotional and had to stop for about 15 seconds because the tears that welled wanted to push my contacts out of my eye. (I wasn't happy about that, but I figure it was short enough to not count as a pause.) I finished our 40 minute run strong, and kept a surprisingly good pace! Soon I will be able to get a better grasp on what that pace is. (I'm getting a GPS watch for my birthday in August, and I. Can't. Wait!) Anyway, since we woke this morning, it's been go-go-go, and now it's nearly time for sleep-sleep-sleep. I know I won't have time to post tomorrow, and probably not for a couple days after, so I thought I would share something amazing with you guys real quick:
Did you know that bananas can make ice cream?
BANANAS CAN MAKE ICE CREAM!
Okay, sure, it's not exactly the same...but it's pretty dang close! Close enough to satisfy a craving, for sure. And you know what? It's super easy.

It's so creamy!
Here's what to do:
cut up about 130g frozen bananas- 115 kcal
(this works best with fully ripened bananas, but still works with newer ones)
add about 50ml skim milk- 20 kcal
now blend that baby!

I added 10g of dark chocolate giving mine another 60 calories, but also a delightful crunch.
The banana soft serve without the added chocolate chips is only 135 calories for 3/4c, where most 3/4c servings of just plain vanilla soft serve is about 288. I'd say that's a pretty worthy swap!

And you know what else I love about this option? You know you're getting more than one serving of your daily fruit, 4 grams of fiber, AND it's sustaining, unlike it's empty ice cream counterpart.

So, it's needless to say: I'm obsessed with this.


Alright guys...next time you hear from me, I will be Home Sweet Home! Do you have any good "eating healthy in America" tips I could benefit from? Also, let me know if you try the banana soft serve!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Experimental Dipping

I made about a cup of dip at 80kcal...not bad, not great, but tasty for sure!
As we're down to less than 1 week left in our Korean adventure, we've started working on clearing out as much food in our pantry/fridge as best we can. We've gone from asking each other "What do we want to eat?" to "What food do we need to get rid of, and when can we do that?"

So today for lunch, I got a little bit craftier than usual (the kitchen really is new territory for me).

On Sunday we had taco salads, and cooked up the rest of our corn tortillas for chips. I knew I wanted to finish off the chips and salsa today, but there wasn't enough salsa to satisfy the leftover chips. That's when the wheels started churning. 
On Saturday I had made a veggie dip using only Greek yogurt and a little bit of ranch mix (which was an idea that I got from here. Using this dip for cucumbers made it taste like tzaziki, which was a pleasant surprise!) Having half of my concoction left, I decided to mix the salsa together with my ranch dip. Where the flavor was nice, it was also incredibly salty (but that's because I had added to much ranch mix to my Greek dip to begin with...don't do that...), so I started to think of what I could do to tame the salt a little. I rummaged through the fridge, looking for anything that might work, and that's when I saw my last, lonely cucumber. Would it work? Could it work? I decided to give it a go. I only chopped up about 1/3 of the cucumber, but in the end, it was exactly what my little mixture needed! In the excitement of my new discovery, I decided to use a little of the dip to sauce up my egg sando this morning, and even on that, it was delicious!

Do you have any homemade dips or sauces you're loving lately? Do you have any unique uses for the ever-versatile Greek yogurt? I'd love to give them a try...leave your recipes/thoughts in the comments!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Support

Today is the Light family's 3 year anniversary. Being that today is what it is, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about support.

A key to weight loss and healthier living is the support from the community that you have around you. The more resistance you have from your loved ones, the harder it will be. Guaranteed. So if you're embarking on a journey of your own, make sure that you're discussing your thoughts and expectations with your partner and/or family. Let them know what method you will be choosing, and ask them if they would be willing to help you and support you. Assuming they've said yes, let them know what they could do to support you. If you want to eat at home more, you need to make sure that they do, too. If you want to clear your house of junk food, you need to make sure that they're are on board with that, also.

Us on our anniversary picnic <3
I knew that when I started my journey, I didn't want my choices to make a negative impression on JD. I didn't want to force anything on him. Because we communicated with each other and set clear boundaries, it didn't take long for our eating habits and cravings to parallel. We both started to recognize the dangers of having a lot of junk food around the house, and we both lost interest in eating out. Did we get there at the same time? No, but because we supported each other and communicated what we were thinking/feeling/expecting, it didn't take long for us to meet each other at the same places.

I've read that when it comes to weight loss, women are more likely to sacrifice food, but men are more likely to amp up their fitness. This has definitely been true for us Light's, and has been a great way to "pay it forward" for each other. Not that either of us are superior in those, but it does seem that we take a bit of a leadership role in the categories suited to us. JD challenges me when it comes to fitness (and I love that!), and I challenge JD when it comes to food. Keeping that in mind will make your transition smoother, as well. If you find that isn't true for you and your mate, see if there are other areas in which you might balance each other out. This way, it doesn't feel like one person is taking the lead over the other.
Also key: Never let your appreciation go un-noted! Even if you feel it 10 times a day, let your supporter know that what they're doing for you means the world.

Have you encountered a lot of struggle in finding support, or are you finding that your weight loss efforts have been upheld and encouraged by those around you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jamie, Light: Tennis Pro







Today is what we like to call Wednesday, Saturday. You know what's great about Wednesday, Saturday? It's Wednesday, but it feels like Saturday.










It's a national holiday here in Korea, so my friend-and-coworker Julie and I decided to play some tennis!






When it comes to exercise, there are few things I love more than playing tennis. The only problem with tennis, though, is finding other people who know how/want to play, as well. 














Julie and I have worked together for the last 9 months, but it wasn't until about a week ago that we discovered we both love tennis! Two weeks before we break for summer, and I move back to America, of course...
















So upon our discovery, we set up a play date right away. Today
was our second day playing, and we're looking to play again on Saturday. Yeah for summer!!
















Since I've gotten so into my blogging, I've basically been taking
pictures of anything and everything that might be Jamie, Light related. Thankfully for me, I've got a husband with some awesome
photo skills!






I loved the pictures he took so much that I just couldn't choose
which one's to use. I narrowed it down to these;) Some pretty great
action shots, eh?!








I'm not going to lie; after losing 90 pounds, seeing pictures of yourself becomes a whole new ball game. It's not that I'm vain and think that I'm totally worth everyone looking at...and it's not that I feel like I'm so awesome that people need to see a bunch of pictures of me playing tennis--but after 28 years of seeing a totally different body, this body becomes somewhat of an anomaly...and seeing it (in action, especially) is just plain cool. And THAT is what I want to share with the world.

I'm curious, though...what is your favorite fitness activity?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Corn Chips...Who Knew?!

London, she's not so sneaky...but she is unbelievably cute!
You know what is incredibly easy? Making corn chips! I guess it's believable when you're using store bought corn tortillas like we did, but this is just one of those many things that you don't even think to do on your own (or at least, I don't).
In Korea, the tortilla chips you can find taste more like cardboard than anything else. They're terrible. So imagine how excited we were to find out you can bake them pretty easily on your own!
Corn tortillas aren't widely seen here, either, but about 2 months ago, Mr. Light and I found a stash of corn tortillas at our favorite foreigner grocery store. We snagged them up without much thought otherwise, and have found ourselves using them in a myriad of ways since. I know most people probably wouldn't agree, but I'm quite the fan of the taste an unfried corn tortilla provides, and I LOVE how much lower in calories they are than their cousins of the flour variety!

How we baked our own corn tortillas:
JD sprinkled a generous layer of salt on the bottom of a cookie sheet, and then quartered three 6" corn tortillas. With about 12 chips fitting flat in a single layer on the pan, we baked the chips for 8-12 minutes at 400 degrees. JD was absolutely amused at how the tortillas would curl up and then start curling back down!
Keeping careful watch on the chips, we pulled them out to cool, and turned them into nachos for dinner!

With the tortillas we used, the calorie count ended up being about 100 calories for 12 chips! And if nothing else, they're a fun activity for the family:)

I'm excited to try and create my own tortilla cups now! Can anyone say tiny taco salads?!

What food surprises have you come across lately?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Scary Thing Is...

...that the number of people who gain back large amounts of weight that was lost greatly outweigh the number of people who have been able to keep it off (something like 80% of weight losers regain in 2 years. Egad!)

From the get go, I've been doing my best to educate and re-program myself so that I can be one of those people in the successful maintenance category. I've made notes of what successful maintainers do themselves, and I keep up with as many healthy eating/living/maintaining blogs as I can. Awhile ago, I'd come to terms with the fact that counting calories is going to be a life-long thing for me. When alcoholics are in recovery, they are always in recovery, and I've had to align myself with the same sort of mindset. I am in recovery from excess input and deficient output, calorically speaking. (I want to point out here the importance of looking at my previous weight struggles in a manner of calories and not food. Calories were my problem.)
But I learned something new the other day.
Mr. Light and I have been watching the HBO series The Weight of the Nation, Thursday night being the night for part 2: Choices. For the most part, this episode was very affirming for us, but we learned that, where careful watch on calories is the most successful way to lose weight, the most successful way to keep it off is exercise. See, I wouldn't have guessed that. I would have guessed that calorie calculating would rein supreme for both aspects. Of course it is still important, but it appears that it is the exercise that keeps your metabolism burning at a steady rate...without some kind of jolt to your metabolism, it will eventually slow down and get comfortable, more or less...which is something I already knew, but had only been applying it to eating and weightloss.
Imagine my surprise when the very next morning, my fitness motivation was about 2BPM away from this:
Look at London's face...not even SHE was having it! But I still got something done, thanks to the lovely Cassie Ho!
I know that it happens. I know that some days we just don't feel it like other days. But something about having watched that show the night before, and the fact that knowing the odds are stacked against my maintenance is constantly on my brain, I spent the entire day feeling just. plain. scared. I mean, I didn't spend my day cowering in a corner, but it was there...in the back of my brain, sending me little reminders about once an hour. It certainly didn't help my mood or already stressed demeanor (...end of the school year duties, getting ready to move, looking for jobs when we're halfway around the world. STRESS.)

But you know what? I totally kicked today's workout's butt.
Major.
We ran on the river path for 40 minutes opposed to our usual 30, and I even ran at a faster pace than usual! It's fantastic how often I've been surprising myself lately. That makes me feel good. It makes me feel great to know that I didn't hate 37 of those minutes, and it makes me feel even better to know that, as of right now, I'm on a great path to proving those statistics wrong. I just have to keep focusing on that...on proving them wrong.
I'm in this for the long haul.

What is it that scares you guys about weight loss and/or maintaining? What keeps you focused?
Maintainers: Besides calorie counting and consistent exercise, do you have any other tips for me and my readers?

Leave your fears and tips in the comments...I love hearing from you guys!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Super Easy, Super Delish, Super Quick, Super Filling

My scramble paired with protein pancakes, a smoothie, coffee<3, and water
Because of my love for all things breakfast, making time for it is a priority for me. However, I know many people don't have the luxury, or just don't have the drive. Either way, the importance of breakfast can't be argued. Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism, gives you energy, and keeps you from eating more later on in the day.

This morning I made an egg white scramble, and I fell in love with how delicious and how easy it really was. I know you guys are used to my easy lunch recipes, but today I'm throwing an easy breakfast recipe your way!


Here's what I did:
The night before, I chopped up some tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos, and mixed those up with some garlic, cumin, and chili powder (it's our homemade salsa) in one bowl. Then, in another container, I measured out my 3 large egg whites, and threw in some deli ham that I had chopped up. (My next step was obviously covering the containers, and placing them in the fridge). Because prep the night before, all I needed to do in the morning was throw the veggies in the pan, let them cook for about 2 minutes, and then add the eggs. With egg whites, scrambling can be weird. They tend to form a layer that coats the pan, but that layer comes up toward the finish...just keep scrambling;) In the end, my whole scramble came to 127 calories, and that was very easily enough for 2 servings for the average breakfast eater. But you know what they say..."Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper"! (However, all three of my meals are even-stevens in their calorie range ) If you're someone who doesn't have much for spare time in the mornings, a great addition to this scramble is some greek yogurt with a few drops of stevia mixed with bran flakes (30g) and frozen blueberries (40g)--hardly any preparation there, and only 185 calories!

What easy breakfast recipes do you love? Leave them in the comments and I'll give them a try!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FAQ: What Did You Give Up?

"So...what did you have to give up?"
A question that is not uncommon to hear, but strangely hard for me to answer. When I started, I knew that giving anything up would make me that much more unlikely to succeed, so I stuck to my guns: I will eat it if I want it. That meant many a-hungry evenings due to poorer choices and just plain not knowing much about actual sustenance. But throughout my journey, a natural shift occurred. After a while, I started noticing myself wanting certain items less, or realizing that I hadn't eaten such and such item in months. Because I didn't give anything up, I learned how to work around cravings, and I taught my body to stop craving things I wanted above things I needed. But there is one major item that I quickly started to refuse: calorie-filled drinks. On occasion, I will treat myself to a skinny latte, but for the most part, if it's a drink that contains more than, say, 20 calories, I'm out. (I still use milk, but only in smoothies and a splash in my coffee)

Find a low or no cal alternative that you enjoy more!
Calorie filled drinks are one of the worst additions to our diets, and one of the easiest calorie sources to not even consider. I remember, when I was obese, I would only eat donuts as an occasional treat, because I knew that they contained a lot of calories and little nutritional benefit. I didn't really know the specifics like I do now, but I knew the stigma around them was bad for a reason. Where that was a smart choice on my part, I never hesitated to order a Route 44 Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, if that was what I wanted (One Route 44 Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic: 504 calories. For a drink! That's the total amount of calories I usually eat for lunch!). And would I probably have another soda later on that day? Yeah...most likely. Did I know that a Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper had quite a few calories? Yeah, I did. But I didn't understand nor care that much about the calorie world, so my mind placed drinks (and most other foods, tbh) in a completely different compartment in my mind. I knew soda wasn't good. I knew donuts weren't good.  I'm totally in awe of my rationale there.

Nonetheless, I feel like my old relationship with drinks is common for a lot of people, as well. And I'm not just talking soda, here, I'm talking the gamut--soda, juice, sweet tea...lattes, mochas, frappes, oh my!
The average person should be eating around 1800-2000 calories per day, and when you're spending 500 of those on drinks alone (and quite possibly more), you're setting yourself up for a caloric over-dose. So, the next time you are deciding about what to drink, think about how many extra calories you'll be adding to your meal, and ask yourself "is this really worth it?"



Is there anything you've cut out of your diet? Is there something you're nervous you might have to give up and want advice? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thank You

Full disclosure: I love writing this blog. I don't even care that, compared to most blogs, my readership is small. The readership I have is incredible, and supportive, and kind, and all-around awesome. But as I'm transitioning into this new phase of my life (moving home, figuring out a career, maintaining), how amazing would it be if part of my career involved doing this? I'm not, by any means, saying that I think I can or will make it big as a blogger. And it's not that I want to be famous, or think I could or would be famous from this...fame has never been a desire of mine. But writing? Writing is something I've always enjoyed. And reaching out to people who could use a boost? Well, that is, too.
If you liked my newly created Facebook page today, I'm terribly sorry for flooding your news feeds with what might seem like complete and total vanity. I added a bunch of pictures to my page today, showcasing myself pre-weight loss, throughout it, and now. Because something was wrong with my photo uploader, I just added them separately, and now it probably seems like I'm rubbing my loss in everyone's face. I want you to know that is 100% not what I'm trying to do. I'm by no means attempting to brag, but I will admit that there is something crazy cool about being able to go through and see my changes like that. What has sparked all of this terribly embarrassing self-promotion that you've likely seen from me today, is that I have recently found myself with an opportunity that could potentially grow my blog quite a bit, and if it does, I want to be ready. I'm more or less trying to build a brand.
My mission for this blog is and always has been to a)support and encourage those who are feeling discouraged in their body image and/or weight loss attempts , b) help those who are seeking it, and c) share some of the things that I have learned along the way. Weight loss can be scary, and it can be INCREDIBLY confusing, and it can seem impossible...it means the world to me to be able to help anyone feel less scared or less confused or to show them that they can do it...that it is possible. No matter what I might look like on the outside right now, the way I feel on the inside...I can't even begin to explain how that feels, and that has made every second of this process worth it. If I can do anything to help ease another person's burden, then by golly, I'm going to try.

So to those of you who are with me right now: thank you! From the bottom of my heart, I really do thank you. Your support and encouragement has meant the world to me, and I hope that my posts have been more encouraging to you than they have been annoying.

Thank you for bearing with me:)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Being My Own Barbie


experimenting with a maxi skirt!
I like to think of myself as a creative. I love seeing what results from taking an idea and executing it with your own design, style, and technique.
All that said, my favorite ways to showcase my creativity are undoubtedly through myself. My face and my body, they are my canvas. I love doing my makeup, but even more than that, I love putting together outfits. I love clothes the way that most people love bacon (perhaps that is why I hate bacon...there's no room for that kind of inanimate passion anywhere else).
When I was obese, it was hard for me to dress the way I wanted to. As anyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows, most clothes available to plus sized ladies are lacking in the same kind of mainstream appeal. Of course, there are many companies around that do a great job of catering to stylish plus-sized ladies, but I didn't want to look in those places, because I didn't want to believe I was plus-sized.
Where I do love doing my makeup, that process hasn't changed so much. The real cherry on top of this whole weight-loss process has most definitely been: dressing myself! I can now wear things that I would have never been able to wear before, but have always wanted to. I can keep up with my fashion blogs and magazines and finally start emulating ideas and styles that I've always envied. I'm no longer afraid of a lower-rise jean. I'm no longer afraid of a tucked in blouse. I'm no longer afraid of a shirt that clings. I'm no longer afraid of a skirt that hits mid thigh. But most of all, I'm no longer afraid to play around with different garments that I probably never would have worn before.I LOVE getting to play with my clothes. It's like I'm my own life-sized Barbie doll!

What is your favorite part of losing weight, or what do you think you will look forward to the most when you've reached your goal weight? Tell me in the comments! And as always, feel free to leave any topics you'd like discussed as well!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mind Games

Old Jamie looked like this...
Body image has always been something that has plagued me. I think it's safe to say this is so for many people, but for me, the more weight I gained, the less my mind seemed to keep up. It was hard for me to recognize the severity of my gradual and increasing weight problem because of this. As I got bigger and bigger, I knew it was happening, but I didn't believe how big I really was. What I saw in the mirror was MUCH different from what I saw in pictures, and I just couldn't understand it.

"I don't look as big in person as I do in pictures, right?"
"I carry my weight pretty well, though, right?"

Those are both questions I would frequently ask loved ones in my struggle to decipher the truth. My poor friends and family...what could they do? You can't say, "Well, Jamie, you do look like what you see in that picture." or "No, Jamie, you don't carry your weight all that well."
They couldn't tell me the truth, because they could see how much pain my weight caused me internally. But because of my inability to understand what really was me, and my inability to believe that I could do something about it, I allowed myself to believe that the pictures were false; I just chalked it up to bad angles.
Living this way made me fear taking pictures at all, because seeing is believing, right? And I didn't want to believe. On the scale, those are just numbers. Numbers mean different things to different people. But a picture...you can't argue with a picture. Instead of allowing myself to come to terms with what was real, I aligned myself with the mindset that "ignorance is bliss".
...but saw something closer to this
However, no matter how much I justified, or how much I avoided it, pictures still happened, and the disillusionment was a great source of stress for me. I didn't understand why what I saw in the mirror was different from what I saw in pictures. I knew that those two people were the same, but I didn't see them that way. And even today, I'm still not sure why this was the case for me. It seems like I had a bit of reverse body dysmorphic disorder (okay, maybe not so severe, but psych classes FTW! I still remember something from college!).

Nonetheless, I finally woke up. I finally allowed myself to see what was true, and to see what was possible. I was coming much too close to agoraphobia. I became uncomfortable in everyday, normal situations. I would be walking down the street, and every time I would hear a stranger laugh, my mind would eat at me. "They're laughing at you, Jamie. You're so fat that you're funny."  How sad, right? This isn't how anyone should have to live their life.
 This is still a thought that I have to battle even today, but it's much easier to conquer these days. Because now, I know what I am, and I know who I am. Now, I feel more like myself than I ever have before. Now, I know that what I look like in my mind much more closely resembles what I actually look like. The mirror and the pictures...they match. They finally match, and I can't even begin to tell you what kind of peace that brings with it.


How do you picture yourself? Do you feel like you?

(If you have any topics you would like me to review or discuss, leave them in the comments!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Put Your Tofu Where?!

It wasn't long ago that I would scoff at Mr. Light's request for tofu. I would eat it on occasion, but it was never something I desired. It's not that I disliked tofu, I guess I mostly just didn't get it. "Tofu is bland. What's the point?" I would say. But Mr. Light...he got it. He knew that if it was paired the right way, it could be quite pleasant. It could be like eggs (and at this point, you probably know how I feel about eggs).

Today I'm going to give you guys two different ideas for ways you can love tofu, too! These were, by no means whatsoever, my own brainchild. But man do I wish they were.

First up: tofu scramble!
cutting calories doesn't have to be boring!
Think scrambled eggs, minus the egg. For a gal who starts everyday with some form of egg, it was nice to break out of my obsession for once. This is definitely a recipe I will repeat...quite possibly tomorrow, if we're being honest;)

In my version, I used onions, tomatoes, and spinach, and I didn't take the time to drain the tofu. It got pretty watery there for a bit, but it didn't take long for that to dissolve. By the time it was finished, it looked shockingly similar to scrambled eggs, and tasted just as good! In the end, my scramble was only 197 calories, leaving plenty of room for more!

My next tofu item might sound a little more off-putting to some of you, but trust me when I tell you...it was crazydelicious. I saw this yesterday, thanks to Women's Health Magazine daily email subscription, and the strangeness of it, I just couldn't ignore.

The Banana-Berry-Tofu Smoothie. That's right. Tofu in a smoothie. Sounds weird, right? I knew as soon as I saw the recipe that it would be part of my breakfast the next day. I used 46g banana, 100g strawberry, 55g tofu, 1/2 cup skim milk, 12g bran flakes, and about 4-5 drops of Vanilla stevia. The tofu made this smoothie SO creamy! Even more so than yogurt! I could taste the tofu just a teeny little bit, so I might suggest only using 45-50g if you try it, but man...this was pretty close to the best breakfast smoothie I could imagine! And the whole thing was only 210 calories! (I know Mr. Light hates the "cereal" flavor that bran brings to a smoothie, so tread lightly with these combos if you're not sure whether or not you're a fan.)

Try these out and let me know what you think! Do you have any tofu recipes that you are loving lately?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Easy Lunch Recipes: Protein Wraps

I made this for lunch on Friday, and have been so in love with it's simplicity and flavor, that I've eaten it twice again, since! This entree is nothing new, but perhaps forgotten by those of us who don't have little one's to feed...I know it was by me, anyway!

Protein Wraps:
3 slices Hormel Natural Turkey, halved: 60 kcal
44g mozzarella cheese (block form): 112 kcal
16g spinach: 4 kcal
20g course ground mustard: 50 kcal

(total kcals: 226)

I sliced the mozzarella pretty thick, laying each piece (6 total) inside a bed of spinach, and then wrapped up in turkey!

See what I mean by easy? I paired my wraps with carrots (of course), a baked sweet potato, and a fiber1 bar, making my totally filling and delicious lunch only 496 calories!

I think this meal is probably obvious for most people, but when I was a kid, I HATED mustard. I think I was well into my 20's before I started introducing it into my hamburgers and hotdogs, and now...well, now, I can't get enough. Since making this meal, I've introduced tomatoes, and swapped the course mustard for a simple yellow.

And. I. Love. It.

What foods that you used to hate have made their way into your palate as you've gotten older? Tell me in the comments!
And as always, feel free to share any easy lunch recipes of your own for me to try!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

High Highs and Low Lows

Hello everyone, I would like you to meet my new friend, Goal Weight:

I officially clocked in at 135.8 yesterday! I don't know what I was expecting to happen when I finally got to my goal, though. When I went to bed Saturday night, I knew it was possible. I had been half-anticipating it to happen, but talking myself out of the hope, just in case. So, Sunday morning when I stepped on the scale and saw those wonderful numbers pop up on the screen, I was happy...but I wasn't as excited as I thought I would be.
It's strange, working all this time toward an end goal, finally getting there, and being somewhat underwhelmed. It's as if I was expecting the goal moment to be a huge fan-fare, like confetti would pop from the ceiling, and JD and all my Stateside family would run in the room, crying with excitement, waiting in a line to hug me and tell me how proud they are.
I think I watch The Biggest Loser too much.

Now don't get me wrong...I was happy, and JD was happy for me, but...I mean, we've been doing this for months and months and months and months. How does this one pound differ from the last one, really? My heart thought it would make all the difference in the world, but apparently my brain knew better. It wasn't until a few hours later that the disappointment of how normal my day really was hit me.

Saturday we had planned on going to see The Avengers on Sunday-having nothing to do with anyone reaching anyone's goal weight-, but when we got there, we saw that it was sold out. My mood immediately plummeted. Had you been there, you probably would have thought someone stole my dog. We both sat disappointed outside the theater, but I, myself, was completely and ridiculously crushed. My poor, wonderful husband tried his hardest to make the situation better. He kept coming up with new suggestions, and I just kept knocking them down. Not really knowing what else to do, but with all the patience in the world, he asked "so...what do you want to do?"
And I gave in.
"Let's go get some ice cream."

I had promised myself long ago that I wouldn't reward my goal with food, but it had been quite some time since I'd let myself indulge, and dang-it, if Marvel wasn't going to let me do that, Baskin Robbins sure as heck would. We decided to prepare for the calories with a long walk there (and that I not stop moving my body for the rest of the day), and slowly but surely, my seemingly bi-polar depression melted away. It was a truly gorgeous day, and Mr. Light was sacrificing his sore-from-HIIT legs for my happiness. It was clear to me how blessed I am. (and like my brilliant mother always says, "you choose your own attitude")

We got our ice cream, sat in the park, and I let myself enjoy it without too much guilt. But you know what? I enjoyed it in a very different way than I ever would have before. Old Jamie would have thought of it in a "this is the best ever, and I want to take a bath in it" kind of way. New Jamie thought of it in more of a "hey, this is good, but I don't need it all the time" kind of way.

And if that isn't the true end goal, really, then what is?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happiness Is...


...Mr. Light! (with me, left) I realized today that you haven't officially met JD yet. He's the most handsome, wonderful man I've ever known:)

...puppy, Light! (top middle) An official introduction to her, too. She loves to be cozy, even if that means being a little bit uncozy at the same time...

...Breakfast. (top right) Sometimes it amazes even me how much I love breakfast.

...last night's dinner. (middle) You know those huge trays of chilled salmon you see hanging out in the seafood section? If you haven't tried it you really, really should.

...my family:) (middle right) Puppy, Light looks like a little gremlin here, and I love her for it.

...my neighborhood. (bottom middle) I may not love living overseas all the time, but who couldn't appreciate this? We hit the neighborhood jackpot. It's like our own tiny little central park.

...being outside. (bottom right) It's warm out now, and I couldn't be more thrilled about it.


I know this post is a little different from my norm, but today I just felt so grateful. I woke up early, did some yoga and took puppy, light for a short jog. Showered, ate the most DELICIOUS breakfast without any kind of rush...and while I was finishing my coffee and getting ready for work, I just felt so happy (plus, it's Friday!). I felt like I had a real life worth loving. Not that I usually don't, but I think I usually just don't think about it. It's funny the simple things that bring that to the surface, isn't it?
 Mr. Light and I are moving back to the states in a little over a month, and most of the time I am lamenting for my home and my family and for the fact that time isn't moving fast enough; but this morning...this morning I felt so content. So happy. It seems that it is not uncommon for me to have feelings of gratefulness and love in the morning.

I hope to do a better job of keeping that feeling for the rest of our time here. It certainly has been an adventure. 

What is your happiness?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weightloss is Trending

I just wanted to take a moment and express how excited I am by the amounts of people who seem to be making better choices for their health right now. One thing that is SO GREAT (and maybe not so great, at the same time) about social media is that you get to know all kinds of things about people that you rarely, if not never, see. I have been so encouraged by the amounts of people on my Facebook wall with exclamations about healthier choices they're making, and/or how much weight they have lost. Looking at my Facebook, you wouldn't know there was an obesity epidemic at all! I like that kind of shift!

To those of you out there who are experiencing success in a healthier you:

In other news: I weighed in at 136.6 today. One pound away from my goal!

Is there anything new in the world of weight loss that you have noticed lately? What encourages you to keep going, or to get up and go at all?