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

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sandwiches For the Win!

Saturday was a day for errands in the Light house, and Quizno's just happens to be located across the street from our favorite foreigner market, I <3 cookie. This wonderful little market is stuffed to the gills with many hard-to-find American favorites. And you know what? This weekend they had Dr. Pepper Ten. DR. PEPPER TEN, FOLKS! That is unheard of here in Korea. Depending on where you go, it is possible but not probable to find Dr. Pepper. Diet Dr. Pepper or Dr. Pepper Ten? Never. So imagine my sheer delight upon that discovery. I have a very, very long list of things I am excited to come home to, and that delicious drink is near the top. It was like God's way of saying, "Soon, Jamie. So, so soon..."
The other half of that sandwich was down for the count!
Another treat we allowed ourselves to splurge on at I <3 Cookie: Cheez-Its.

And what better way to pair Cheez-its and Dr. Pepper than Quizno's?

A few months ago, I had looked up their nutrition info and made a note on my iPhone of the sandwiches I thought I'd ever want to eat. Oh, what would I do without my iPhone?! (Thanks, Mommy!!) So now, any time I feel the hankering, I have quick access to my favorite sando calorie listings. My choice of the day was my all-time favorite, the Traditional. A small Traditional will only set you back 450 kcal, according to their pdf, and since I'd taken it easy on breakfast that day, it was on like Donkey Kong!

In the end, my meal only ended up costing me around 600 calories! Score! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dinner Cakes

Tonight, Mr. Light and I enjoyed a classic dinner favorite: Brinner!
For some reason, I have all the confidence in the world when it comes to cooking breakfast food, but with anything takes a lot of self-encouragement to help me find my kitchen-bravery. So dinner tonight was on me! (JD is usually the dinner cook)
One particular food that I have shied away from for much of my journey has been pancakes. I LOVE pancakes, but I do not love how high in calories they are. However, recently I have been seeing a lot of recipes for "protein" pancakes, and decided to try them for myself. There is a MULTITUDE of different ways these pancakes can be put together, usually with oats or protein powder, and rarely with flour. Calorie score!
On my first try, I used oats, but found the recipe a little runny and hard to flip. It seems the oats kept the cakes from firming before getting to the point of burning. Next, I tried it with protein powder, and the way I put it together was...not awesome. They turned out really spongy, for some reason, but I also remember taking a few liberties with the recipe I saw. Whoops!
In the end, my trials led me to realize that the first oat recipe tasted great, but just needed some help in the firming department. That's when the idea hit me: refrigerate the batter! This minor change made quite the difference. It's unfortunate that you have to make the batter the night before (or a few hours), but if you're anything like me, you already do anyway! (It's also possible that my first pancakes were just too big, so maybe refrigerating isn't totally necessary?) Anyway, here's the recipe:

I topped my egg whites with sauteed spinach and onions, and salsa!
Flour-less pancakes

1/4c oats (I use quick)- 75 kcal
1 egg white (42g)- 22 kcal
1 sm tub plain yogurt (85g)- 65 kcal
1t cocoa powder- 4 kcal
1/2t ground cinnamon- 3 kcal
5-8 drops liquid Stevia (or other no calorie sweetener)

Heat a skillet on medium/low, and spray with Pan or similar greaser (I use my Misto!). Spoon two spoonfuls onto the pan (you want to keep the cakes fairly small, as they can be tricky to flip), and let simmer until batter becomes firm enough to hold together (about 1-2 minutes). Flip! Let simmer for another minute or two, and that's's ready to plate!

This recipe yields about 2 pancakes, and only costs 170 calories for both!

It is important to note that because of the makeup of these cakes, they tend to be a bit on the dense side...but in a good way! They're healthier, heartier, grainier, and delicious! I topped mine with blueberries, but a sprinkle of powdered sugar would have made them even better.

Try them out and tell me what you think, and/or leave your low-cal pancake recipe in the comments!