Diet Update – Week 4: Finally seeing progress

First: I PROMISE that this blog isn’t going to be only diet updates! I’ve just been really busy with work and haven’t been doing much other than work and gym. I do have a few recipes I want to post, but I’m stuck at the point of taking pictures. I never think my pictures look good enough. But I am taking steps to remedy that – I bought a Groupon for an online photography class! Hopefully that will help.

With that said…

I weighed myself on Monday and I’m pleased to report that I’ve lost a total of 8 pounds so far! That averages to 2 pounds a week, which from what I’ve read is a healthy rate of weight loss. My problem is that when I did those HCG drops I was losing FIVE pounds a week. So even though 2 pounds a week is good, it feels like it’s taking forever! But whatever, I’m still pleased with my progress. Mostly.

This was the first week where I was able to visibly see my progress. I can’t specify where I look thinner, but I was studying myself in the wall-to-wall mirror in my salsa class and I just look a little bit slimmer in the midsection, between my knees and boobs. So that made me happy.

I finally added weight training to my workouts. When I first started back at the gym my plan had been to do a half hour of weight training and a half hour on either the arc trainer or treadmill. But then I did something to my hip during salsa class back in February and the treadmill hurt and I was scared to do lower body. So instead I’ve just been doing an hour on the arc trainer every day.

But Dave convinced me to start weight training again. He started a new workout/diet last week, some 21 day shred thing, and he wrote me up the woman’s version so I could do it at the gym. So for the past 4 days I’ve been doing an hour on the arc trainer followed by 30-40 minutes of weight training. That’s a lot of time to be spending at the gym, but right now my work schedule is flexible enough that I can actually do it. So I might as take advantage of that while I can.

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Diet Update: Week 3 – Ups and Downs…and Ups

Week three was not a good one. I weighed myself three times, and I was up two pounds, down two pounds, and up two pounds in the course of one week. It was annoying but not completely unexpected. I took a few days off from the gym, I did a fair bit of drinking (and by “fair bit” I mean a hell of a lot), and I had one or two meals where I ate a few things I shouldn’t have. Plus I had my period, so I’m some of the ups and downs were related to bloating.

It’s frustrating to have only lost 4.5 pounds in three weeks, but I know it’s my own fault. If I want to lose weight quicker then I need to stop drinking. Period. But I’m trying to maintain some type of diet/life balance and enjoy myself. This weekend was the St. Patrick’s Day parade. What was I gonna do, stay home so I wouldn’t cheat on my diet? No. And while I know I could have gone to the parade without drinking, it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun. New Orleans is very much a drinking city.

So that’s what’s up. No real progress in Week 3. But a lot of fun.

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Nail Talk

It is ridiculous how much time I waste thinking about what color I should paint my nails next.

I was tempted to cut my nails off two weeks ago after one of them broke, but I decided not to because of an instagram pic that my bestie tagged me in (I think this is where it originated):

FullSizeRenderI thought this was hilarious! My nail broke the day after she tagged me in this, so I was like, “Yeah, f*ck you broken nail, I’m not cutting the rest off just because YOU were weak.” So I repainted them and then left them alone. Until yesterday. The broken nail had grown to a somewhat decent length, so I decided to cut the rest to match.

But then I got the urge to try a stiletto nail instead. I’ve been seeing stiletto nails all over the place lately, and I wanted to give it a try. I watched a few youtube videos and got to work shaping my nails.

Turns out my nails aren’t quite long enough to get that pointy stiletto look. At least not to my liking. But I did manage to file them into a very pretty almond shape. I still have the one nail that is shorter than the rest, but there’s nothing I can do about that. In another week or two I should be able to get that thinner, pointier stiletto look. If they last that long.

Now I’m trying to decide what color to paint my nails. White? Pink? Purple? French manicure? Half moon manicure? Should I do an accent nail? Should I add stones?  I have these bows that I bought, should I try them now? What about glitter? Arrrggg there are SO MANY OPTIONS!!! I spent a good three hours yesterday looking at pictures of stiletto and almond manicures. So many pictures, each one prettier than the next. It’s so hard to decide! I’ll probably spend another two hours looking at pictures. Then I’ll get really frustrated and end up doing a French manicure. Because that’s what I always do.

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Diet Update – Week Two: The Week of Branching Out – and Eating Out

I’m calling Week Two “the week of branching out” because, well, that’s what I did. I added various vegetables to my list of “allowed foods,” and I ate out TWICE. And I still managed to lose another 2.5 pounds!

The first time I ate out was last Wednesday. It was absolutely GORGEOUS out – 75 degrees at 10 am. (I still can’t believe that I live in a place where I can go out in a t-shirt during the winter. It’s crazy!) I decided to put my work aside and go with Dave and his son to the park. After the park we walked down to Lebanon’s Cafe, which is in my Top 5 Favorite Restaurants in New Orleans. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant. Soooo good.

I always get the same thing – beef shawarma with hummus and rice. This time, though, I got salad instead of rice, and instead of using pita bread to eat my hummus, I just scooped it up with the beef (or used my fingers). I had considered not eating the hummus, since it’s high in fat and beans definitely are not “approved” for this part of my diet, but hummus is healthy and I love it and I didn’t really see a point to not eating it. You gotta live, right?

So I ate it. And when I weighed myself the next day (I weigh myself Mondays and Thursdays), I was down. So that was nice.

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My second time eating out was Saturday night. After going to the Pelicans game, Dave and I met up with friends. I had a feeling I was going to drink a lot, and I knew that if I didn’t eat something for dinner, I would get too drunk and end up puking. There happened to be a food truck there, and after a quick perusal of its menu I ordered a grilled eggplant sandwich – by far the healthiest option. I could have thrown the bun away, but I wanted something substantial in my belly since I was planning on drinking, so I didn’t. But I did give away the chips that the sandwich came with.

Can I tell you how proud I am that I managed to eat out in a healthy way? I think of eating out as an indulgence, and if I’m gonna indulge in something, then I’m going all out. So my mindset as far as dieting and eating out was either don’t do it, or do it and accept the fact that I’ll be eating lots of things that I shouldn’t. There was no in between. So it’s quite an accomplishment for me to go into a restaurant and not stuff my face with things I shouldn’t be eating.

Tonight will be another test for me, because once again I’m going out to eat. This time I’m meeting my friend Ximena at Hoshun, an Asian restaurant. Hoshun has become “our spot” when we do dinner and drinks. We usually share the Sashimi Salad, Udon noodles and some type of specialty roll. Mmmmm. It is going to be incredibly difficult for me to go into an Asian restaurant and not eat some type of noodle, because noodles are F*CKING DELICIOUS. Andddd, I just started my period, and I usually use my period as an excuse to eat whatever I want. But I figure that if I eat an entire salad to myself and we share some healthier type of sushi, that will be enough of an indulgence and I’ll be able to skip the noodles.

Fingers crossed!

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Diet Update – Week One in the Books

I was so happy – and surprised – when I got on the scale yesterday morning and saw that I’ve lost 3 pounds since last Monday. It is such a relief to know that my cheating episode didn’t do any lasting damage! It’s also nice to know that the glass or two of wine I drink  every night will not keep me from losing weight.

I know I blamed my cheating episode on hormones, but after thinking about it a little more and analyzing the food I ate every day this week, I think the reason why I was so freaking hungry on Friday night was because I didn’t eat breakfast that morning.

My food, drink and exercise routine has been the same every day I’ve been on this diet:

9:30 – Morning coffee
11:00 – Half a grapefruit
11:00-2:00 – More coffee
2:00 – Gym
3:30 – Lunch
5:00 – Snack (orange or apple chips)
7:00 – Dinner
Rest of the night – Wine or margarita (sugar-free!), apple chips if I get hungry

Except for Friday, that is:

9:30 – 1:00 – Several cups of coffee
1:30 – Lunch
2:30 – Gym
4:00 – Lunch
5:00 – Orange
5:30 – Dinner #1
6:30 – Dinner #2
7:30-9:00 – Cake, tortilla shell, and spaghetti with avocado sauce

I’m pretty sure that not eating anything until 1:30 pm is what f*cked me up for the rest of the day. Not that half a grapefruit is a lot of food, but maybe it’s enough to keep my blood sugar level up and keep my body from going into starvation mode? I wish I knew more about the way the body works, but I don’t. But these past three days I have made sure to eat my grapefruit by 11, and everything’s been good. So I’m just gonna keep doing that.

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My First Diet Cheat – I Couldn’t Help it, I was Hungry, Okay??

I did so good on my diet this week. I went to the gym every day, and I was able to stay below 1,000 calories. When I weighed myself on Thursday, I was down two pounds, which is nothing in the scheme of things but was just enough to keep me motivated.

Then yesterday happened. When I got home from the gym at 4 pm I was starving, even though I had eaten chicken and an egg before I worked out.  Over the next three hours I drank a ton of water and ate healthy, diet-appropriate things (a big bowl of lettuce, an orange, chicken and celery, and beef and cabbage), but nothing was filling me up, and no matter what I ate, I was craving carbs like you wouldn’t believe.

Then I looked at my Period Tracker app on my phone. I love this app and use it quite a bit, mainly when I’m extra emotional and I can’t figure out why. I open my app, it tells me my period is coming in a few days, and that makes me feel better. I mean, it’s nice to know there’s a biological, physiological reason for why I’m being such a crazy bitch or crying for no good reason. Also, I get pretty severe headaches (I went so far as to get an MRI to rule out a brain tumor, that’s how bad they are), and once I started tracking them in my app I discovered that the intensity and frequency of the headaches are tied to my time of the month. Again, good to know.

So I decided to put this insane hunger down in my app for future reference, and when I looked at the calendar, lo and behold, it turned that yesterday I was ovulating. (TMI? Sorry.) Discovering this was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it was nice to know there was a reason for this hunger. On the other hand, it gave me an excuse to cheat. “Rory, your body is telling you what it needs, and right now it needs carbs!”

So I gave in. I opened the fridge and what was the first thing I saw? Leftover birthday cake. A Chantilly cake, from Whole Foods. I should have thrown it out on Monday, but like I said yesterday, I HATE throwing out food, and I figured Dave or his son could it eat. There was a tiny piece left, and I ate it. And it was good. So good.

Problem was, it didn’t fill me up OR curb my carb craving. Back to kitchen I went. This time I spotted a bag of tortillas shells. Without a second thought I grabbed one. I spread some salsa and sour cream on it and devoured it in less than two minutes.

After the tortilla I felt somewhat satisfied, but now I was in cheat mode, with the mindset of “I’m already cheating, so I’d better get it all in now, because tomorrow I’m back on the diet.” So I went back to the kitchen a third time. This time I settled on spaghetti and avocado sauce, which I had made last Saturday. There was a tiny bit left (again, I was saving it for Dave or his son), so I heated it up and ate it. It was delicious. (Which was a surprise, because I’ve always read that avocados are “best if served right away.” This was a week old and was still good.)

That was the end of my cheating spree. In hindsight it wasn’t TOO bad, mainly because the cake and spaghetti portions were so small – about a handful of each. It could have been much worse (it probably would have been, if I hadn’t eaten all that healthy food earlier in the evening). I don’t feel guilty or anything. It was one misstep, and now I just have to get back on track.

 

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How to Reduce the Fat in Ground Beef – and Save Money Too!

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When it comes to deciding whether or not food is still good to eat, some people live by the motto: “When in doubt, throw it out.”

I am not one of those people.

No, I’m more of a “smell test” type of person – if I’m able to sniff something without automatically recoiling at the smell, then it’s still good. Expiration dates are just a guideline for me – I have been known to eat things that are wayyyy past their expiration date, to the horror (and disgust?) of my friends. I just hate wasting food!

Which is why when Dave told me I should throw out two and a half pounds of ground beef that was in our fridge because it was a week old and a little brownish, my response was something along the lines of “Bish, you crazy.” On this diet with its super small portions, two and a half pounds of beef is enough for at least EIGHT meals.

The meat in question

When I went to cook the beef the next day, I was annoyed to see that it was only 73% lean. 73%! (That means 27% fat, in case you don’t know.) I didn’t even know they made it so fatty. For a moment I didn’t know what to do – since I’m on a diet, there’s no way I could justify eating beef that’s less than 90% lean. (Even if I wasn’t on a diet, 73% still seems pretty bad.) But then I remembered something I had read on a bulletin board earlier that day:

“It’s harder for me to find the very lean [ground beef], so I just crumble and brown a portion of the more fatty stuff and then I run it under hot water. Gets all the excess fat off [and] it’s a little bit cheaper than getting the super lean stuff.”

I headed back to my computer and googled “rinsing ground beef” and read a little bit about it. The thing that stuck out most was that by rinsing ground beef with hot water, you can change your beef from 80% lean to over 90% lean. That’s a huge difference! Sometimes my supermarket doesn’t even have anything above 85%. And when it does, the price per pound is sooo much more expensive. So you could really cut a lot of money off your grocery bill if you buy meat that’s less lean and then rinse the fat off.

I watched this video just to see the whole thing in action, but even though the video was good, the woman drains the fat down her sink, which I know you shouldn’t do. So I googled a bit more and read something that advised rinsing the beef into a pot and then straining the fat from the pot (can’t find the link).

So that’s what I did. And when I finally ate my old, rinsed beef later that night, it tasted delicious!

This wouldn’t work in all situations, like if you’re cooking hamburgers, but for taco beef, chili, and things like that, it seems to me to be a great idea. Anyway, I was really impressed by this whole thing, so I decided to share it.

 How to Rinse Ground Beef

1. Brown the meat thoroughly.

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2. Prepare two pots – one empty with a strainer and one with super hot water. (If the faucet of your kitchen sink is long enough, then you’ll only need one pot. Unfortunately I have the worst designed sink in the world. It does get extremely hot though.)

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3. Slowly pour the hot water over the beef.

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That’s all there is to it! Cook with your beef as you normally would. When the hot fatty water finally cools down, strain the fat off the top and throw it in the garbage. The rest of the water can be dumped down the sink.

You’re welcome! :-)

Look at all that fat! Gross.

 

Look at all that fat. Gross.

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