Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sadie in the House!

Life has been... eventful since Sadie moved in. She is a constant joy to me, and a constantly present companion, lol. She's quiet for an animal of her size (small house), so she sneaks up behind me and waits until I turn and fall over her. I think she has a sick sense of humor. ;-)

Sadie has gone through a lot in a relatively short period of time - homeless and starved (we don't know how long she was wandering), lost a litter of puppies (no one knows where they are, but she recently delivered), found warmth and food with my family, then moved into the Shelter for a week, then surgery, then a 13 hour car ride with new people, and now a new home with those new people, and an irritated pitbull. Needless to say - she's stressed.

She gets agitated if Bill or I are not right there, and prefers that one or both of us are touching her (at all times). She's beginning to ease up, but it's a difficult transition for all of us.

Last night I finally had the opportunity to hit the grocery store, so I left Bill in charge of Sadie... I was very clear - she cannot be left alone, you cannot let her out of your sight. Well... he decided a 30 second bathroom break wasn't long enough for any trouble. He was wrong. Lol!
Mommy, I heard you tell Daddy that he had to keep an eye on me while you were grocery shopping... you said he shouldn't leave me alone for a minute. He forgot so I had to remind him that you are always right.
I ate his remote. 
Apart from the unfortunate remote, and my cup of tea yesterday (evidently she likes Sleigh Ride Sugar Cookie), and randomly creeping up behind me to enjoy my subsequent falls, she's been very well behaved and mannered. Mostly she sleeps or snuggles and today is starting to get easier with physical separation (though not visual).

This morning my daughter and her husband arrived, so we now have Sadie, Winnie (my son's pit), and Bear (a black lab pup). Sadie is a little too interested in the scents and sounds, so we're still doing the sequestering... while she's in here with me, the other dogs have run of the house, then we switch and it's her turn. So far, so good. I've only lost another 2 ft of carpet at the door. ;-)

Oh, poop.
We're all excited to gather everyone close tomorrow. We'll be a crowd, and I can't wait! Yesterday I managed to get the turkey in the brine without incident, but it didn't go as smoothly today when I flipped it.  Sadie, who weighs almost as much as me, kept trying to get around me to see what was in the bucket, while I've got two hands in icy water trying to lift, drain and turn the bird, and well... sigh...
there was an unfortunate splash. 

I blame Sadie, hehehe ;-)  

The turkey is fine, and resting safely again in the fridge, but boy did I have a mess to clean up.

So... What am I feeding this great beast of a dog? As I shared before, the first batch was scrambled eggs with ground chicken, sweet peppers, brown rice and cheese mixed with dry dog food. Once that was gone, I mixed up ground chicken and beef, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, peas, carrots, apple cider vinegar, coconut butter and some cheese. She scarfs it down. Fast. I only give her a couple cups of food at a time, and feed her every 2-3 hours.

Other foods she'll enjoy this week are steak, chicken, chicken livers, turkey giblets, and eggs, along with the previously mentioned sweet potatoes, brown rice, cheese, chopped veggies, coconut butter and apple cider vinegar. High protein, moderate carbs, and healthy fats. My dog eats as healthy as we do! ;-) LOL!

In other news... the remodel is coming right along. Painting is happening this week. I'm bummed I haven't been able to go down and see any of it, but I can't travel alone with Sadie, and she still needs to settle more before I take her to a new place. Can you say cabin fever? lol!

I was also invited to, and will be attending, the Go Daddy Holiday Party at Chase Field in mid-December. I'm pretty excited! :-) WootWoot!!

The rest of today will be food prep for tomorrow, and hopefully not-falling over Sadie ;-)

Here's wishing everyone a happy holiday!
Keep your goals in mind while you celebrate!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Champion Performance Recipe of The Week - Cider Brined Turkey and LEFTOVERS!!!

For those of us in the USA, we're approaching Turkey Day. Traditionally this is the day when Americans express their thankfulness with utter gluttony and Black Friday Mayhem. Since gluttony isn't on the to-do list for many of us ;-) how about a recipe for the best damn turkey you've ever eaten? Oh... and LOW SODIUM, too! I'm sorry, Chelle - did you say low sodium in reference to a brined turkey? Why yes, yes I did. ;-) And... there are a gazillion things to do with the leftovers that will give you tasty meals and snacks, while still on track with your goals!
See below the recipe for ideas on what to do with all those leftovers.

I've made this turkey every holiday for years and each time it turns out moist and scrumptious! Though I should point out to those of us who are, let's say - grace challenged... the brining process can be a bit tricky... 20 lb turkey, 5 gallon bucket, tons of ice water.  Yes, I have landed on my ass, dripping with icy brine with a naked turkey in my lap. More than once. Just saying. You're warned.

Cider Brined Turkey
Williams-Sonoma (link)

  • 1 Turkey Brining Kit —there are some terrific ones that are apple based. Choose whichever flavor you prefer.
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed. Go for an All Natural bird, with no added 'solution'. Compare the sodium content of different brands to find the most natural.
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (DON'T panic! You're not going to eat a stick of butter)
  • 4 tsp. chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, parsley and sage
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Prepare the turkey brine and brine the turkey according to the package instructions. Replace 6 cups of the cold water with 6 cups apple cider. After completing brine preparation, add to 5-gallon bucket and slowly submerse turkey into the solution. Cover bucket and store in refrigerator for 24 hours.

CAREFULLY remove turkey from bucket and flip it upside down. Cover and store 24 hours.
After 48 hours of soaking, the turkey is ready to be cooked.

Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400ºF.

In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, herbs and pepper until well blended. Spread the butter mixture evenly on the outside of the turkey. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine.

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Loosely tent the turkey with foil, then reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. After about 2 1/2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12.

Make-Ahead Tips: Prepare the brine mixture (but do not add the turkey) up to 2 days in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

*note: do not use the drippings for gravy - too salty!

Got turkey? Dice up the meat to make salads or low-carb wraps (La Tortilla Factory Smart and Delicious Tortillas ).
Shred it, add some low-sodium salsa or mustard and toss it into your brown rice and steamed veggies for an instant 'bowl'.
Simmer up some high protein soup by adding Pacific Natural Foods Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth , diced veggies and turkey, and simmer several hours - use a free hand with the Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb or Mrs. Dash Italian Medley .
Add diced turkey to an egg white omelet.
You can also dice up the meat and divide it into separate servings (little baggies), then store them in a larger ziploc in the freezer - instant grab and go protein!

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Day Is It???? Week 3 Transformation Results!

Two Words.... Awesome-Sauce!!! Melanie flew through week 3 with her goal in sight, her food prepped and ready, and her workouts designed to fell lesser mortals.
And she ROCKED it!!!

Starting Weight:  176.6

Week 1 Results:  174.4  LOST 2.2 lbs
Week 2 Results:  174   LOST  .4 lbs
Week 3 Results...... Drumroll please..... 171.6  LOST 2.4 lbs!!!!!

Can I hear a big WOOOOOHOOOOOO??????



I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin... somebody's on FIRE!!!  :-)

As we skyped tonight to recap the week, Melanie shared her concerns about this week... Holiday Eating. Do those two words make you cringe? If so, you're not alone. The holidays are fraught with temptation, pressure, and the sheer volume of food that won't help you reach your goals. So what do you do??

I've shared here over the last few years, my thoughts on holiday eating. It doesn't have to be cringe-worthy. It doesn't have to be scary. And it doesn't have to knock you off your rails. If you are facing this holiday season while striving to reach a weight loss goal, then take a deep breath - ok, now another one - and let's chat.

First... YOU are in CONTROL. Always.
There is no holiday food available to you that has the power to keep you from reaching your goals. There's only one thing that can stop you - YOU. You are 100% responsible for every bite, every sip, every step of your journey. The holidays don't guarantee a binge. They don't guarantee a weight gain. It's all up to you.
You decide what you really want. A whole pumpkin pie or a single slice? A whole bowl of stuffing or a single serving? A bakery's worth of cookies and rolls or a single treat or two? It's up to you. What do you want more? Do you want to gorge yourself sick, or do you want to enjoy some holiday flavors and still reach your goal?

Second... explore BALANCE. Thanksgiving happens once a year. Same with Christmas. Enjoy! I'm not saying you can, or should, stuff yourself. I am saying that you can enjoy the tastes and textures in balance... in moderation. Thanksgiving dinner the big meal? Then be sure every meal and snack prior to that are CLEAN and full of protein and nutrients. If what you're really looking forward to are the mashed potatoes and stuffing, then go easy (or cut) your starchy carbs throughout the day prior to dinner. Have an egg white omelet filled with veggies for breakfast. Have an apple and some grilled chicken for a snack - or a protein shake. Have some lean protein and a salad for lunch. Then enjoy your dinner. Balance. It's your friend. ;-)

Third... drink the damn wine. ;-) Refer to previous points. Then read the next...

Fourth... kick FEAR to the curb. Don't face the holidays with fear of food. Life's too short! Yes, you CAN enjoy holiday eating! Read more tips and thoughts in the following blog posts I've shared...

Solving the Dilemma of Holiday Eating

Holiday Eating, Tough Love

Holiday Eating

Holiday Eating II

Introducing.... Sadie!

What a weekend!! Friday, we packed up and rolled out. It took 11.5 hours to get to Sacramento and I was bouncing in anticipation the whole way! On the road, we read over a whole bunch of helpful info sent to us from Kathrine Breeden (behaviorist), we learned more about what to expect initially with our rescue and how best to integrate her into our home. We'll be meeting with her in person, too, for a behavior analysis and more advice.

Because the trip was seriously fly-by, lol, we didn't get to see everyone we wanted to, but we did get to have dinner with my sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, and cousin (who were all there when the dog came wandering in from the cold), and we also spent a bit of time with some of Bill's family. Wish we could have stayed longer and visited with everyone!

Saturday, we just couldn't wait any longer. We were waiting at the door of the Shelter when they opened, lol! We knew the dog wouldn't be ready for release until late afternoon, but figured we'd at least get the paperwork out of the way. Which we did. And while we did, Syl (my sis), her kids and Davin (my cousin) all wandered out into the available dogs area while they waited for us. It's heartbreaking out there. So many dogs, some of whom had been waiting in the shelter for a long time. And so incredibly many pitbulls. Seriously heartbreaking.

Our dog had already been sedated for surgery, so we didn't get to meet her yet. We ran out for a quick bite, then back because Syl adopted her own dog! ;-)

Here we are with our adoption papers, lol!

We ended up spending pretty much the whole day at the shelter on Front Street. I was impressed with them, all the way around. The shelter was clean, well organized, and the workers really care about the animals. So... then it was time... She was out of surgery, awake (sort of), and ready to leave.
Davin and I with Sylvia's new dog

Yes. I cried. She is so beautiful! So sweet! We'd had a list of names ready, waiting to see which best suited her, and Sadie won - the name means Mercy, and it just fits her right down to the ground. Davin posted a video on my facebook page if you want to see when we first met our Sadie.

Sadie weighed 114 lbs when the shelter began caring for her. When we got her, she'd already gained 3 lbs! The vet said he'd be surprised if, once she's back to healthy weight, she's less than 140 lbs.

We took her back to the hotel, walking her down the hallway to our room. She had on her cone and resembled a drunken sailor, lol! Wobble and weave all the way down. Once we got her settled in it became obvious we wouldn't be moving far from her side. She had to have one of us touching her at all times or she'd become agitated. Finally she fell asleep on her bed, and we crashed. The next morning, I woke to find her staring at me from the side of my bed waiting for an invitation to jump up. We cuddled then got up to get ready and discovered she had eaten her paperwork. lol. Evidently something that large can move pretty darn quietly.

We loaded up and headed back to AZ.

Along the way, we learned that she rides in the car very well, but desperately wants to be in the front seat (not happening, lol). I got a serious arm workout keeping her "back". She'd settle down then lay her head on the armrest between Bill and I, enjoying strokes and pats, then it'd start all over again. Hahaha! She did great on the leash when we'd stop for breaks, and we also learned that cheeseburgers are her very favorite food. LOL! She wouldn't touch the dog food or treats, but she'd gobble up a cheeseburger (with her pills stuffed inside, lol).

She also slobbers. A lot. ;-)

We got home (finally!), and the kids pulled Winnie (my son's pit) aside, so we could walk Sadie right through to the backyard. While she was out there (with the door closed), Winnie decided he wanted to meet her and pushed his nose against the glass. It didn't go well. We kept them separated, giving each of them something with the other dog's scent (to help adjust), and went to bed. Sadie didn't quite understand that we humans tend to get our sleep in one long piece, lol, so Bill had a bit of a chat with her this morning. ;-)

We also had a few issues with dominance last night. I had to keep getting up (to be taller than her) and pushing her back down. After about the 20th time, lol, she finally submitted to me, laying down and baring her neck. Haven't had to address it since.

I'm Sorry.
This morning we've continued with the separations and scent familiarity... taking turns with having free roam of the house and yard. When it's not Sadie's turn, she's locked in my room with me while I work. There have been a few moments when she and Winnie end up on opposite sides of my door... let's just say it's been exciting. I've also learned a bit more about her previous training, which helps control this, but it would have been nice to know before the carpet had to give up the ghost. Lol.

She's settling in. She's very stressed, of course, but she's warm and friendly with the kids (and she's starting to at least wag her tail when she barks at Winnie). She loves to be petted and loved on. She's chewing on her bully stick and bone (chewing releases endorphins that calm dogs - thank you, Kathrine for this info!). She's eaten a bit, and managed more at lunch. I cooked her up some ground chicken with peppers, eggs and brown rice. Several small meals a day as we nurse her back to healthy weight. Right now she's laying beside me and snoring like a lumberjack, with a growing puddle of slobber under her cheek. :-)

Sadie has a loving and safe new home, and I'm a happy camper!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Will You Cross Your Fingers For Me? Hope, Pray, Think Good Thoughts - I'll Take It!

As usual, it's crazy around here. Want proof? I'll give you a few highlights from the last week...

  • Bethany wrecked my car. Again. She's safe, no one was hurt, no other car involved (there was a sneeze and a guardrail). But my car... <sigh>
  • I fell up the stairs. Again. The empty laundry basket was collateral damage.
  • I ran into the china hutch, creating a massive bruise of magnificent colors on my thigh. Damn pointy corners.
  • I shook a can of paint - and it was not closed.
  • I ran into a shelf at Wal-Mart - with my recently operated on elbow.
  • Did I mention my car?
  • I realized that it will be cheaper and easier to cook Thanksgiving dinner than my previous plan to buy a market meal. I now have a 20 lb turkey in my fridge, waiting to go into the brining bucket on Tuesday. Lord help us all. 

There's more. Of course, there's more. But you get the idea. ;-)

The biggest fear I currently have is in regards to the turkey. If you've been around here for awhile, you know that it's about 50/50 on who's going to win... me or the turkey. When it comes time to flip the bird in the brine bucket, sometimes it happens, and sometimes I end up on my arse, dripping wet, with an ice cold naked turkey in my lap.

The biggest hope I currently have is in regards to expanding our family. In March, we lost our family dog, Nakki. While we still grieve, we've planned to bring another dog home - at some point. I've wanted a Mastiff for years. I just love the big-dog, and I have this image of my canine friend: big floppy ears, massive black face, cream/fawn body, female... so we talked about going to a breeder when the time came. We researched, even chose a breeder, but it just didn't feel right. After a lot of thought and talk, we decided we wanted to rescue, and give an animal a 2nd chance.

And that's where it ended. There are no female, fawn colored mastiff's in Arizona, evidently.
And then...

Last week my parents were back in Sacramento for a visit, and had pre-turkey day dinner with my sibs and cousin. Suddenly, my cousin's two dogs (tiny) started sniffing and yapping at the front door. She opened the door, and in walked... you guessed it!!

A female, fawn colored with black face and big floppy ears, Bull Mastiff.

And she was starving. No one knows how long she'd been abandoned and hungry. She must have smelled the turkey and came sniffing. The big beauty was as sweet and gentle as could be, allowing the children and pups to climb all over her. She ate the rest of my sister's turkey and stuffing, then drank gallons of water, and simply curled up to sleep. They sent me a photo of her, with her big face and skinny body - ribs poking out... and I fell in love. We agreed that Bill and I would drive up this weekend to meet her and bring her home where she can heal, grow and be loved.

The next day, my sister took her in to the animal shelter to get checked out. We learned that she's unchipped, and no one is looking for her. We also learned that their policy is to take the dog on a 5-day hold before allowing her to be adopted. Ok. We can handle that. Syl put herself down as adoptive family, as we weren't sure if they'd roll with an out of state adoption, and she was assured the dog would be ready and waiting Saturday at noon. We made our plans, I bought a collar and a leash. I bought cookbooks. ('cmon, you knew that was coming, right? lol!)

I feared jinxing it, so I didn't share the story on facebook or here, only told a select few. Last night Bill and I got a funny feeling and he suggested I call the shelter today. I did. Something was funny, all right! A rescue organization is trying to take the dog! They've put a note in her file and are simply going to walk in and walk right back out with her - so that they can find her a home. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I spoke at length with two representatives at the shelter, explaining the situation, pointing out that the dog is already spoken for and has a new home (Syl even has the paperwork showing her as the adopter!). Turns out they have no problem whatsoever with allowing an out of state adoption - in fact, they feel we (and our home) are ideal for this sweet Mastiff. They thought it was wonderful that my dream rescue dog simply walked right into my sister's apartment! The folks I talked with were terrific, and our case is now before a supervisor who will determine if the rescue can do this or not.

So.... cross your fingers, cross your toes, cross your legs, cross whatever you can! Think good thoughts, wing out some prayers, light a candle, I'll take whatever you give! I'm on pins and needles waiting to find out if we can bring this sweet girl home. (*UPDATE BELOW!!!!)
Do you think she's offering to drive?
A much happier dog than in the first pic, right? You can't see her ribs here, but they're just skin and bones. :-(

Just look at that face!
The dog, not my cousin, lol!
Though they're both beautiful!! ;-)

UPDATE!!!! Thank you for crossing everything, for your good thoughts and positive vibes and prayers! The manager of the shelter called and she's OURS!!! We'll be picking her up and signing docs Saturday afternoon, then driving her home on Sunday!!!! WOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Chicken Mini Loaves!

Throwback Tuesday! It's time to revisit this gem of a recipe and remind you that there's so much more you can do with chicken than grill, bake or boil it ;-)  Go Ground!  You can use ground chicken breast just like any other ground meat (beef, turkey, etc).

During competition prep, I developed this recipe because I really needed something that was easy to make (one-day food prep), easy to eat (portable), tasted great, and didn't knock me off track with carbs. Not being able to include bread crumbs, quinoa, rice or other starchy carb, I needed a solution without those extra carbs... I utilized my free foods to fill out the recipe and add flavor (mushrooms, onion, garlic), then added shredded zucchini and diced pepper for a veggie boost, plus the egg both to hold it all together as well as provide a healthy source of fat. The result was an incredibly tasty mini loaf! Competition diet tastes GOOD!!

Chicken Mini Loaves
Recipe by Chelle Stafford
Makes 8 loaves

●  2 lbs ground chicken breast
●  1 cup finely minced crimini (brown) mushrooms
●  1 cup shredded zucchini (usually this is about 1 medium sized zucchini)
●  1/2 cup diced onion
●  1/2 cup diced pepper (green, yellow, orange, red, whatever!)
●  2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
●  1 whole egg
●  1/3 cup salsa (try this with different kinds each time!)
●  2 Tbsp Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning

●  Spray Mini Loaf pan with oil (note... if you use a muffin tin instead, you'll get more muffins, but will need to adjust the nutrition info accordingly).
●  Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
●  Mix all ingredients
●  Divide among 8 muffins or loaves.
●  Bake 20-30 minutes, draining pan at about 20 minutes.
●  When done, serve immediately, or cool on wire wrack and individually wrap for snacks/meals.

NUTRITION: data is per loaf.  152 calories, 26 g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 2g fat. 146 mg sodium.

You can find this, and many more training-diet friendly recipes here:

Monday, November 18, 2013

What Day Is It???? Week 2!!!!

Here we are! Week 2 numbers are in and Melanie once again has triumphed!!!! Did she think so when she stepped on the scale and saw a loss of .4 lb? Nope. Did she think so once she spent some time mulling it over? YES.

If you follow (or have ever followed) Biggest Loser, you know about the dreaded Week 2 Curse. Contestants make great progress in week 1 (due to the extreme shock of routine and nutrition & exercise changes), then week 2 they pull "measly" numbers. Why? Is it because they didn't work hard enough? Is it because they binged and went off plan? NO. I'll oversimplify the science behind this "curse" and just say that the body adjusts really fast - and doesn't want to shed fat. The body wants to hoard it - particularly when the physical demand (calories out) is higher than the nutritional intake (calories in). When this happens, weight loss slows.

It's normal. It's ok. It's temporary. And further.... ANY LOSS IS STILL A LOSS.

So, am I making this face?

Let me say a big, emphatic, "NO".
Instead... I am making this face:

Melanie rocked her plan. She rocked her workouts. She rocked the adjustments and breaks in rhythm when the unexpected happened. And... she even rocked her treat meal! (Last week we had to have a chat about what a treat meal entailed, lol - hint... it's not making dinner-out-choices fit the meal plan.)

Melanie dropped .4 lbs. This is a victory! She fought her body's desire to hoard fat and she won. I'm so incredibly proud of her!!!

So what's Melanie have to say? Here it is in her own words...

Chelle....Chelle....What Day is it??? Come on Chelle you know.....Don, Don, Don, tell me.......IT'S WEIGH IN DAY.....174.0.....DOWN .4#...
It's the BIGGEST LOSER IN THE NEWCOMER HOUSE!!!!!  If you have ever watched the Biggest Loser as I do weekly you know week #2 plays havoc on those players.....well guess what...... it really does.
This second week has really been a challenge. I felt I was more prepared with our menu of clean meals, But I found myself still having trouble getting those calories down and then it hit!!!!! The stomach begins to growl. I worked my butt off in the calorie burn for approx 10 hours of workouts 3171 calories with just my heart monitor on. In 42:25 I did a 400 calorie burn doing a challenge of 1000 rope slams and flipping a tire 100 times. So when I saw .4# my heart sank a little...
Which then leads me to the CONTROL FACTOR....So what do you do?????? YOU FACE IT HEAD ON!!!!!
You STICK TO THE PLAN and CONTINUE ONE DAY AT A TIME....Okay I AM going to look at my loss of .4#  AS A HUGE SUCCESS!!!! IT'S A TOTAL OF 2.6# in 2 weeks... BREAK IT DOWN ... 1.3# per week my goal is 1.5#  AND I AM OKAY WITH IT.   
It's is also a MENTAL GAME!!!!! and you HAVE TO BE IN THE GAME!!!! With this being said....I HAVE SET UP SOME CONTROL RULES:(It's a sickness I know)1. YOU WEIGH YOURSELF ONE TIME A WEEK. ITS TOO TEMPTING TO GET ON THOSE SCALES DAILY (okay so I had Don actually hide the scales this week) Yes, its my way of FACING IT HEAD ON!2. You have to eat those calories to lose!!!!! I really don't think that's going to be a problem anymore.3. Drink that water!!!! And it's okay to spend your morning in the bathroom!And #4....You give yourself a TREAT MEAL WEEKLY and ENJOY IT!!!!And I did.... 
My body is going thru a lot of changes and I want to keep it guessing. Chelle, you really spoke to me last week when we did our Skype how important this is to do. I want to make sure we share with others on why it is!!!!

So what's all this about a treat meal? Ya'll have heard me talk before about it. The treat meal is not an excuse to binge, and it's not a whole day. It's one meal. One meal out of (7 days x 6 meals =) 42 meals in a week. I recommend a weekly treat meal because of the science behind it... A treat or weekly treat meal can have a beneficial metabolic effect in the presence of consistent clean eating and exercise. One of those benefits is reducing the probability of a plateau (EWWW! The "P" word!). This is because the randomness of the content of a treat meal (when compared to a consistent clean eating plan) can shake up and keep the metabolism guessing. There's more, but that's the gist of it.

Another benefit is mental... when you have a treat meal to look forward to, it's hugely helpful in warding off cravings and feelings of deprivation. NOT that my meal plans have anything to do with deprivation - again, 6 meals, 7 days a week - and the meals are tasty. ;-) Just sayin'. But, back to my point... anytime you're focused on nutrition with a goal to reach, there's an opportunity to feel like you can't have what you want. But you can. If you plan for it, enjoy it in moderation, and savor each and every bite and sip. Then get right back on plan.

Melanie nailed the treat meal in week 2 - she ordered what she wanted, ate what she enjoyed in moderation (and I'm just a wee bit jealous of the 1/2 slice caramelized cheesecake!), and got right back to the plan. KUDOS!!!

Week 3 has begun, and she has a new plan to follow. We made some adjustments based on taste and tolerance (if it doesn't fit you and your lifestyle, the chances of you sticking with it are, oh, NILL). We've discovered foods she likes and can fuel with consistently, and other foods that can wear out their welcome (red pepper slices, lol). We adjust as we go, tweaking as needed. Her exercise routines are awesome, and lemme tell ya... she's a BEAST!!! I look forward to more great progress this week, and am grateful she's so willing to share her journey with all of you!

Here we go!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Hodgepodge of Hodgepodgeyness

It's Friday! Random news time ;-)

I had my post-op appointment with Dr. Martin yesterday morning... he cleared me! Completely! I've done my own physical therapy and did a good enough job that I am now released on my own recognizance. Bwahaha! ;-) He said I'm free to increase activity "as tolerated". Well, doc... I can tolerate an awful lot! Seriously though... I've been, and will continue to be, careful. I'm also free to start rolling the scar (yay!), and I can use my TENS unit, too! I've missed my TENS. ;-)

Back home, I began the process of testing the material we're hoping to use for my kitchen magnet/chalkboard. I had gone to Home Depot, picked up all my goodies, then set up to roll...

I'd forgotten to get stir-sticks, so an extra wooden spoon came in handy. See how neat and clean my work area is? Didn't last. I applied several coats of the magnetic primer, and was pretty darn happy to see that it's holding well to the material. We were afraid the surface would be too smooth and the paint would peel off. So far so good...

This morning, I headed out to apply the chalkboard paint. What I should have done was gone back to bed instead. This time I had a couple stir-sticks, but they didn't help me.

It seems that before shaking a can of paint, one should first be sure the lid is properly secured. Ahem. I did not do that. I simply shook. Then wore. Then swore. ;-) It was quite the mess, and though I'm sure being a human chalkboard has its uses, I was not interested. Much scrubbing ensued.

See? Should have gone back to bed. But... it's looking like this material will be just right. I have a tall cabinet right of the fridge at the new house, and we're placing a magnetic/chalk panel over the cabinet door. It's going to be awesome! This is what inspired me...


Last night's dinner was an experiment that turned out particularly well ;-) I did an olive chicken, and made a mushroom israeli couscous risotto. Both recipes are keepers! I'll be sharing those here, soon! Yumm!

Next up, in the random news department...  last weekend we had the joy of spending some fun time with Lauren and her parents. It's hard to believe how much she's grown! She's so beautiful, and so happy. Her joy just radiates! I cried a few happy tears, listening to her say mama and dada, watching them interact so beautifully as a family, all of us playing with her on the slide, making faces and giggling. It was wonderful! At one point she was playing with the camera on my phone and managed to take several pictures of herself - she even used the 'burst' setting (which is far too technical for me to do on purpose, lol). When we were home, Bill and I were going over the photos and saw an icon that was unfamiliar... I clicked it, and turns out, Google+ does some kind of "auto awesome" deal, where it stitches burst photos into animation. OMG, it was so cute!!

Then, later, I was sharing the photos with my Mom, and saw another weird icon... I pushed it and nothing happened. Huh. Eventually, we were ready for bed, and as I stepped into the living room to turn off the TV (kids, yeesh), I was stunned to find myself staring at one of the photos from my phone - ON MY TV. WHAT???? Evidently my phone is pretty darn awesome, lol! I finally figured it out and we watched a whole slide show, right there on the big screen! Now, some of you may be going, "really? did you just climb out from under a rock?" The answer is... maybe. ;-)

Oh, and I figured out how to use my tablet as a remote and can now mess with Bill by turning on and off the TV. Bwahahaha!

And in other news... as we head toward Thanksgiving, I would normally be planning out my menu, sourcing my ingredients, and so on. But... with the move, we're kind of between houses. The new one won't be ready to do the holiday over there, and the rental we're in now is packed full of boxes. Hmmm. So... this year we're going casual. Uber casual, actually. This year there will be no wrestling with turkeys. In fact, I'm ordering in the whole shindig. Sprouts offers ready-to-serve meals, and I'm grateful. With everything going on, we're going to focus on family time. We'll have all the kids home, my parents here, possibly a few more family & friends - and we'll enjoy our time together while eating off of paper plates and sitting on boxes. ;-) I'm ok with that. This year. Next year I plan on going all out in my new awesome kitchen! Turkey's be warned.

So, speaking of the holiday - and all that food... 
Unfortunately, the holiday season has become synonymous with gluttony and weight gain. It doesn't have to be that way. Yes, you can enjoy your holiday meals, the treats, and you can still stay on track! I've posted about this before, and thought I'd share it again here. If you're trying to lose or maintain your weight, the holiday season does not have to strike fear in your heart.

YOU are in control

Here are my tips ;-)

Solving the Dilemma of Holiday Eating
It's Almost Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Unexpected Adrenalin Surge... and Off-Base Criticism

'Twas a dark and stormy night... Ok, not really. But we are getting an unacceptable amount of wind. Yeesh. And my son's dog (staying with us while Joey's in Texas on a job) does NOT like the wind. Particularly at 2:30 am. Two nights in a row. Ugh. Plus, the wind is stirring up all the ragweed so my nose is a shiny, red, leaky faucet. Fun stuff. Add in the dust from packing (seriously, when was the last time I dusted these niches?), and I finally broke down and picked up some nasal spray. Stuff burns like acid, but it appears to be helping. Sort of. A little. Better than nothing. I'll take it.

This morning I had my buddy-workout and coffee with Stef. I pushed her through a 40 minute upper body workout and gave her a measly 3 rests. Bwahahaha. ;-) She aced it like the RockStar she is, though I doubt she'll be thinking kind thoughts toward me when she tries to wash her hair tomorrow. Lol.  After the killer workout, we headed next door for our coffee. They know us in there, and met us nearly at the door with our mugs, lol.

We chatted, strategized, did a bit of troubleshooting, then it was time to go. We wandered out the patio door, chatting and meandering toward the parking lot. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this man... he started moving toward us, then in on us, then BOOM, there he was in our faces! Kinda jumped a bit, then saw he was wearing a flak jacket with huge yellow letters on it... FBI.  Say what??? As I looked behind him, I realized that he was just steering us (body-checking, more like, lol) away from where about 10 more flak-jacket wearing FBI agents had someone up against the wall - about 20 feet from us. Nothing like wandering into a Federal sting to get your heart pumping in the morning, lol. I tell ya, it was a moment.

Since my heart was already racing, I drove from Gold's over to Mountainside and put in my time on the Stair-Monster. Extra calorie burn, yeah? ;-)

Unfair Criticism...
While Stef and I were chatting, she mentioned a comment someone had left on her blog post yesterday. A comment from a "physician" that (rightfully) irritated her. Once I got home, I hit up her blog to read it... and I have to say, it pissed me off a wee bit. All of us who have traveled a weight loss and/or fitness journey have dealt with unsolicited advice and opinions. Often advice & opinions that are so far left field to what we're doing and our goals that it can honestly be a bit stunning - kind of the "is this for real?" sort of stuff.

This particular comment falls under the "are you freaking kidding me?" category, with a sub-category of "this is why doctors pay higher liability insurance premiums than I do". Just saying. I cannot fathom the audacity, the sheer ego it takes to jump onto someone's blog and post a comment  basically stating that all their hard work - exercise, activity and excellent & specific nutrition are unnecessary - that the blog owner should simply talk to their physician about "other options".

Are you freaking kidding me? I can take the criticism of me, as Stef's nutritionist - I've got thick skin. But if you're going to criticize then you'd damn well better have your facts straight, and a solid understanding of nutrition and exercise's impact on health and weight, or you can shut the hell up.

Ok. It might have pissed me off more than a bit. I posted a comment on the comment - It took me an hour to edit and refine (and un-bitchify) my wording. I hope I was successful. As a health professional, it's not professional to attack another professional (that's a lot of professionals in one sentence, lol), however I feel that a rebuttal was necessary. I find it incredibly unfair and distasteful that a physician (though we only have her own word on that) would demean the efforts of someone who is making a true lifestyle change, seeing results, and becoming a healthier and happier individual. Not cool.

Makes me wanna...

What's the lesson here? 
Don't mess with my clients. ;-)
Just Sayin'.