Friday, January 30, 2015

The Binge

Twenty eight days into my diet.

Ten pounds lost.

And all I want to do tonight is binge eat.

I want to grab a handful of the M&M's sitting so conveniently on the counter and shove them in my mouth.  I want to tear open the chips and salsa that tease me every time I open the cupboard door.  I want to fill the largest soup bowl we have to the brim with cereal and enough milk to make it a challenge to put your spoon in for the first time for fear it may overflow.  I want something chocolate then salty, alternating between the two.

I know, it is hard to understand and it is even harder to explain why I want to do this. Probably disgusts many people out there.  But I have been doing this for 20 years.  For 20 years I have binged my way to my current weight.  In college I would binge and purge, but I soon realized I hated throwing up...and more so I enjoyed food way too much to throw it back up.  I love food.  And I love how I feel while I eat it (just not after).

So I would secretly just binge in moments of weakness. And it isn't all the time.  I have gone months without doing it, many months.  It all depends what is going on in my life, and honestly there has been so much stress the past few years that it isn't surprising that the 35 pounds I lost before Henry have come back on the last 3 years.  I actually weighed more than I did the day I gave birth to him as I only gained about 20 pounds and lost that and then some immediately.

Since high school and days of feeling lonely or stressed I found comfort in binge eating.  I have turned to food to fill that void.  And it isn't even like I plan it with myself, "Hey Jenn, lets binge eat tonight...say around 9pm??" It just takes over and like bad peer pressure I succumb to it for some relief.  Some would find it laughable that I say food is like a drug to me.  Just don't eat!!! You know, I wish it was laughable and some silly joke.  But it isn't and it isn't that easy to let go of something you have been turning to for so long.

For me, my drug is food.  That initial satisfaction you feel when you eat without care, that instant gratification takes away from whatever it is you may be feeling that has made you have this insatiable appetite in the first place.  This need to eat uncontrollably.  You ignore all logic.  Will power is non-existent. And like any drug, you give into it completely and only think about that moment.  No consequences.  You just enjoy every bite and have no other cares or concerns.

But then like any drug, after you have consumed more calories than you care to count or acknowledge, you start to come down from that euphoria you felt.  There is a pain in your stomach as it tries to digest all that food you just piled into yourself in a very short amount of time.  (see you want to eat fast, so you can eat more..otherwise you start to feel full.)  The guilt starts to set in as you look around at the damage in the form of wrappers or dirty dishes that are around you.  That feeling of loneliness or stress or whatever it was you had before is even more intense, but now coupled with a gross feeling and ashamed that you once again gave in to this urge for a temporary fix.

Why do I binge?  I am working on that and that post is not for today.

Today I write.

Today I share this urge I am currently having because I just can't pick up the phone at 10pm and have someone talk me down from eating a plate of nachos.

Today I focus on how far I have come and try to ignore how far I still have to go.

Today I desperately want to eat something, anything because my day sucked and I feel lonely and emotional and I just want to feel better.

Today I cry at the fact that I not only want food in place of expressing my real feelings and emotions, but that I can't have all that food I so desperately want.

Today I think of all the people who can pass up dessert and it doesn't make them angry inside and how I hope some day that can be me.


Today I write.

Today it is now one hour before tomorrow and I know that at least for today, I am not giving in and that is one day closer to where I want to be.  As much as I really want to eat, I also want to change.  I finally want to change.  Through my tears I am realizing that I need to change and I can't keep hiding my feelings in the depth of my stomach.

Today I purge.  Not the food, but my feelings.  I am not closing off to others like I do so many times.  I am putting this out there, even for no one else to read but for me to say.  To finally admit out loud and not just be this voice in the back of my head that I ignore and stuff with more food.

Today i will not binge.  I will go to bed, only having indulged in 10 M&M's and a half of bowl of cereal...because they were in my allotted calorie count.

Today is one day closer to where I want to be.

Today I was strong enough.

"If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started.  And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


"If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started.  And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."  

So, it has been just over three weeks since I started this change in my lifestyle.  We can call it a diet, but it is so much more than that to me.  I have been struggling my whole life with my weight.  From growing up bigger than most kids and having self-esteem issues in high school.  To losing 80 pounds when I went to college but still seeing myself and treating myself as “the fat girl”.  To over the last 10 years slowly gaining all the weight and then some back.  To now having a three year old and trying to find a balance between him, work, family, and home.....never putting myself first.

I have tried my fair share of fad diets and they never work for me.  Some I can’t stay on for more than a few weeks because so much of your food is restricted.  Others I lose weight, but then when I start incorporating the foods I once loved I fall back into my old habits and the weight comes back.  And with each fad diet failure comes more frustration and disappointment before slipping back into my old habits to cope. 

The last few years have been a blessing but also extremely rough.   The stress has worn on me and been nothing but one excuse after another why I am not losing weight and putting myself as a priority.

But when I thought back on 2014 as the year drew to a close, I thought about how many missed opportunities to be in a picture or do something fun I had lost out on because of my self-esteem and weight.  I thought of one time when my husband said “Hey, lets just go to the lake for the day to let Henry play on the beach for the first time” and I refused to go and Henry was so sad.   Why did I say NO…because like hell I wanted to be seen in a swimsuit and people would see my body!!  

And this isn’t the first time I haven’t done stuff because I am too self-conscious about the way I look to go.  I won't take Henry swimming, or when we go to the park it is not when it is hot because I wear jeans and cover up instead of shorts and a tank.  I pretty much hate going anywhere public, though I do move past that at times for Henry.  But I avoid pictures from the waist down as much as possible.  I hate sitting in chairs in public because they are uncomfortable.  I am just always thinking about the way I look instead of enjoying the moment.  And perhaps some may think "you are just vain" but, when you are very overweight and go to the grocery store and hear a comment about your butt, you start to think everyone is thinking the same thing.

But Henry is older now.  He is going to want to do more things.  I am going to want to take him to do more things.  Like go to the beach.  Take him to swim class.  Go on bike rides.  Run outside.  Go to amusement parks.

And it isn’t just because of him, it is because of me.  I want to do all those things for ME.  I want to look in the mirror and not focus on everything I think I need to cover up but look in the mirror and be happy in my own skin.  I want to wear skinny jeans and boots.  I want to up and spend the day at the lake or amusement park and not think twice about it or worry I won't fit in a ride.  I don’t want to cry over and over because of the way I look or feel.  I don't want to think everyone is saying I am fat or laughing behind my back.   I don't want to feel aches and pains at the age of 35.  I don't want to spend twice as much on plus sized clothes (seriously, annoying).   

I want to be healthy.  I want to change.  I want to be ME.  And I don’t want to keep saying this over and over again.  I want this part of my life to be over and start a new, healthier chapter.

I have had an unhealthy relationship with food for a long time.  I have always "sneak eaten" and "binged eaten".  I am an emotional binge eater.  I get bored or stressed and I turn to food. Even when I am happy I turn to food.  I enjoy it.  I love cooking it.  And I love eating it.  I love eating too much.  I sometimes just eat, a plate full of food because I feel I have to eat it.  I eat past the point of comfort until it is almost painful.   This is a whole other topic for another post, but I do use it as a crutch.  Coping mechanism.  Something to make me happy briefly.  Always have.  I need to stop now.

I actually refused to write this post when I first started a few weeks ago.  Mainly because, I feel I have written it before and failed. Many times over.   But something is different this time.  I am not sure what it is, but I am ready.  Maybe it is Henry.  Maybe it is the boot trend…seriously, I love boots.  Maybe it is that my body doesn’t feel like I imagine the body of a near 35 year old should look or feel….I feel far older.  Maybe after the last few years I have realized that I AM strong enough.  That life is way too short and that time is not slowing down for any of us.  And that if I want to make a difference in my life I need to do it now because the world is not stopping for me to help me or do it for me.  And every day I choose to live my life the same way I have been living with no change, is another missed day of doing something good for myself and actually making a change.  (my wise sister helped me to see this)  I need to take charge of my life before it gets to the point I no longer can. I need to make myself a priority.

This time I am not looking for a quick fix.  No fad diet, gluten free, carb free, meat free, only nut diets that are out there at the moment.  Nor am I denying myself of all the things I love.  It is a lifestyle change.  

Moderation.  Balance.  Alternatives.  

Clean eating and whole foods.

I know this is going to take a long time, perhaps a year or more.  I am setting a lot of little goals to meet along the way, along with the end result to just be comfortable with my body.  Accepting of my body.  To look at food in a healthy way that is not only enjoyable but a fuel for my body.

I am not there yet, but I am well on my way.

How do I know I am on my way?

Because of this...

"If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started.  And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."  

(Again, from my smart sister)

That is how I know I am truly ready to change.  I am 9lbs lighter than I was January 1st.  9lbs may be a small chunk of my chunk I want to lose, but it is a start and I have desperately wanted to be where I am now.  And I hope that in a month I will be another 9lbs lighter and maybe another after that.  Again, time is not stopping, each day will pass and with each passing day I am that much closer.  Stopping doesn't fix anything.

So perhaps by my birthday in April I could be 25lbs lighter (my goal) and buy myself some new jeans for my birthday.  In the scheme of things, that is not that far away.  I am actually surprised I have been doing this for three weeks already!  Again, I am focusing on perspective, slow and steady instead of an instant fix. 

I am still keeping my enjoyment of cooking a food a part of my life, but if you have read some of my previous posts, I am looking for alternatives to some of my favorite foods like Chinese (HERE) and I am testing out cauliflower crust pizza this past weekend and will post results soon!  

I am finding ways to have the foods I love without the extra calories.

I am finding balance between the things I like and weeding out the things I no longer need to put in my body.  And I am enjoying trying new foods and finding a new way of life that works for me and my life style.

So bare with me.  I am sure I am going to have rough days.  Days I do not stick with it.  Days I feel like I can't do it anymore.  Days I am discourages.  But I am also around so many supportive people, and an amazing and energetic son, that I feel inspired every day to do the best I can and keep going day by day.

So tell me....what is your story.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It Really Is Pretty to Live in Ohio

Just when I am getting to the point when I question our decision to stay in Ohio because it is negative degrees outside and we get a flat tire because of the extreme cold and I have a 3 year old who can't go outside to release all that energy.....the universe gives a morning like this.

It may only be 3 degrees outside, but it is absolutely gorgeous.  These last minute camera phone pictures do not do it justice, but believe really is pretty to live in Ohio and experience all the seasons.  Even the bitter cold ones!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Healthy Recipes - Spaghetti Squash "Chinese"

So last week I tried another new recipe.  Well, I took a recipe and then modified it based on my likes and what I had in the house!

I have heard spaghetti squash is a great food and can be used "in place" of pasta and rice.  So I decided to give it a shot and as I was craving Chinese I thought, hey lets make spaghetti squash Chinese!!

Let me preface this by saying spaghetti squash "Chinese" is NOT Chinese.  It does not replace Chinese.  It is a bunch of rarely used, cheap vegetables play'n like they are yummy Chinese.  

After making this, I am not going to give up my old Chinese food because this is "just that much better".   But, as a healthy alternative that gives you the same flavors of Chinese food...this is a winner!  Like a big winner...something I would make even if I wasn't dieting.

So, back to the spaghetti squash.  I had to be very open minded with this recipe as I am not a squash lover.  The blandness and texture are just not pleasing to me.  However, over the last 7 years I haven't been able to lose weight the way I wanted by eating the foods I was eating, so  something must change.  Enter...the squash!

Now, I think the reason the spaghetti squash is low in calories is because of how hard it is to get inside!!!  This is when you need to be married to Wolverine.  It took me forever to get into the raw squash and I swear I was going to cut my arm 15 times.  I used the method of cutting the squash in half (with a guillotine perferably) and roasted inside part down with a little water in the pan for nearly an hour.  Since that, a girl at work told me you can do this in the crockpot.  Will be trying that for sure next time!

So besides a whole spaghetti squash cooked and removed from the skin, I also cut up a half a head of cabbage, 4 celery stalks, 2 cups frozen broccoli (steamed), 2 oz of chicken and an egg (the last two ingredients for my individual portion).

I cooked the cabbage & celery in a tablespoon of EVOO for about 5 minutes until it is just slightly softened.  I then added the spaghetti squash, broccoli and a couple tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce.  I "stir-fried" this for awhile until everything was combined and heated through.

I then added my shredded chicken and egg.  I didn't make enough chicken for the entire recipe because, well, in case it sucked I didn't want to waste more food than I needed too!

(Which came first, the chicken or the egg?!)

Overall, my first attempt was good.  It had any of the same flavors of chinese food.  The cabbage and celery gave it some nice crunch to take away from the lack of consistency from the spaghetti squash.  Plus, I got to eat a HUGE plate of food, which normally isn't the case when counting calories!!  This recipe was 4 (large) servings and only 187 calories a serving for the spaghetti squash and cabbage mixture!!  (Must add on the chicken, egg, and extra soy sauce as well which was still only an extra 130 calories) And I was seriously stuffed!  You could probably do 6 servings to cut it down more, especially if you add brown rice.

The next day I reheated left overs, added some brown rice, scrambled up some eggs, and added some sriracha!  Oh my, this was tasty!!  Felt and tasted like chinese.  Loved it actually.  And like I said, it doesn't replace traditional chinese food but it is all about finding balance, right?!  This is a great balance.

Some things I would do differently next time:
 - Cook the squash in a crockpot so I do not cut my finger off cutting through
 - Let the squash dry out a bit.  Maybe spread it out on paper towel to remove excess moisture so it doesn't stick/clump together.
 - Add more chicken and eggs
 - Add some more veggies like carrots and peas

 - 1 cooked spaghetti squash
 - 1/2 head shredded cabbage
 - 2 cups cooked broccoli
 - 4 stalks chopped celery
 - Lite Soy Sauce

Add-on Ingredients:
 - Couple Eggs
 - Shredded Chicken breast
 - Extra Lite Soy Sauce
 - Sriracha
 - Brown rice
 - Extra veggies

Calories (excluding the eggs and chicken) 187 per serving. 4 servings. 
Cost: For the basic ingredients it was not more than $10.   

Up Next I am going to try this with Quinoa!!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Healthy Recipes - Avocado, Chicken and White Bean Wrap!!

The first recipe I tried this weekend was an Avocado, Chicken and White Bean Wrap!!

I found a few recipes that mixed avocado and white beans together and as that seemed to meet my criteria of healthy, affordable, filling and tasty I thought I would give it a try!!

Now, a few of the recipes I tried had this cold and without chicken and instead a "coleslaw" mixture.  Well, I didn't want to make a coleslaw mixture and I wanted something warm as it is cold where I live right now.  I also had just cooked some plain chicken in the crockpot* the night before and thought that would be a perfect addition.

I have made this a few times this weekend so some of the pictures were from different attempts.  The final recipe is my favorite combination.

First you take a half of a medium (ripe) avocado and a 1/4 cup of rinsed white beans (Great Northern Beans) and mash together with a fork in a bowl.  Add a dash of salt. I wouldn't puree this as you still want some texture to this.

Next, spread this on a whole wheat flour tortilla or some healthy wrap.  I used a whole wheat flour tortilla as that is what we have in the house.  Some though can have close to 200 calories (eek!), so aim for one closer to 100.  I may also try a flavored wrap next time for added taste!  Once you spread that on, add about 1 oz of your shredded chicken.

(This was my first attempt where I used a 1/2 cup of white beans and 2oz of chicken.  
Just too much for the tortilla and too much chicken.)

Next, wrap that bad boy up burrito style.  Do a quick spray of EVOO cooking spray on the side with the seem and place into a preheated (on medium low) pan.  Spray the other side with the cooking spray once in the pan.


This doesn't take long, so once it is at your desired crispiness, remove and enjoy!!

The thing I like about the avocado, bean & chicken combination is that I can eat this many different ways.  I can have it like above with a bowl of soup for a warm and filling meal.

I can do a cold wrap and throw in some lettuce, tomato, and/or roasted red peppers for a great work lunch.

The avocado and bean "mash" is actually good enough on its own and would make for a fantastic dip!  And I love dips, so I should know.  Some pita chips and red/green peppers make for a great side to the dip.

I would also add this to a salad in place of a dressing.

It is filling and contains healthy fats and proteins.

This is also quick and inexpensive.

The whole thing took no longer than 10 minutes to make.  And the price was as followed: .79 for a can of beans, $1.00 for the avocado, $1.89 for an 8 pack of of whole wheat tortillas, chicken was only a couple dollars. (We buy ours from the butcher and get a lot of it so do not know the exact price, but you are only using an ounce so if you don't have any you can use another meat or keep it meat-free!)  So very affordable!

Nutrition: 312 calories
Lower your calories by getting a low calorie/low carb wrap.  Or opt for one of the other non-wrap options above.

Pam Cooking Spray - Olive Oil, 1 second spray: Calories: 7
Chicken Breast-homemade - Boiled, 1 oz - Calories: 35
Walmart - White Beans (Canned), 1/4 cup - Calories: 50
Ortega - Whole Wheat Tortilla, 1 tortilla - Calories: 120
Fresh - Avocado - Hass, Medium, 1/2 of medium size - Calories: 100
Salt - Salt, 0.4 gram (One dash) - Calories: 0

Hope you enjoy!!  Let me know if you try and have any modifications or additions!!
Next up, something with spaghetti squash....out of my comfort zone, but interested!!

*Boiled boneless skinless chicken breast - I add a chicken breast to a crockpot with water, salt and pepper and a bullion cube and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Then shred when falls apart and is a perfect addition for lunches.

Losing Weight....AGAIN. Tasty & Healthy Recipes

So I believe this is my 6,942 attempt to lose weight.

There are many excuses reasons why I keep failing, but one thing it always seems to come back to is food.

I. Love. Food.

There.  I said it.

I love to cook it.  I love to make (and eat) a lot of it.  I love to share it with family and friends.  I love to experiment with it.

I just love it.

So of course, whenever I do one of my diet attempts I cut out nearly all the foods I love.  And then after a month or so, BOOM, I just give up.

So this time I didn't want that to happen as I NEED to lose weight.  Plain and simple.  No excuses.

But this time I decided to continue doing what I like in regards to food.  Cooking.  Experimenting.  Trying new things!  Just with a healthy twist.

So over the last few weeks I have been finding recipes that will be healthy, affordable (because girl be on a budget!), filling (because girl don't like to be hungry), and also packed with flavor!  You know, food that doesn't make you think you are dieting and that you would eat any way.

I will continue to use My Fitness Pal to count my lower calorie diet and will also use this blog to track my progress and share my recipes. Some recipes may be successes and some may not, but I am excited to see try new things and lose weight along the way!!

So up first.....Avocado, Chicken and White Bean Wrap!!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 - The Year of Focus

So, 2014 has come and gone.  With that comes a lot of reflection on the year that has passed.  I think about the way overdue changes of Terry's job and all the pros and cons that come.  I think about the unexpected loss of a dear friend and how precious life can be.  I think that is has been one year since Henry's last seizure and have hope for the coming years.  I think about the struggles we have been dealing with and the frustrations and optimism ahead.  I think about how quickly time is going and how I need to find ways sometimes to bottle it up and slow it down (and cover the grey and remove the hairs on my face!)  I think about how much we have all changed in the last year, especially Henry, and all that this new year holds!

So with that said, 2015 is turning into the year of focus.

As I have been reflecting on the year as it came to a close and even now as I type, I realize the things I need require me to focus, or refocus my priorities.

Call them goals.  Call them resolutions.  Call them just getting older and learning that sometimes we need to stop and change the way we are doing things.

So here is my focus for 2015.

Focus on Marriage.

After we had Henry our life revolved around Henry and his needs, as expected.  Terry and I worked opposite schedules to make things work, which means we were solo parenting a lot and our focus was just on how to raise this kid and survive.  Then around 2 years old, just when we were starting to get to a normal life, the seizures and medical issues started with Henry.  Now Henry's health seems to be doing better and though Terry and my schedules don't always mesh, we both realize we need more time for US.  It is so easy to take each other and your marriage for granted.  I know I do.  We went on two dates in December, the first ones in a loooong time.  And to be honest, it had the awkwardness of first dates at times...except for the fact that we have been together for 14 years.  So we are focusing on our marriage in 2015.  Going on dates again. Listening to each other.  Being a team.  We are stronger together, for sure.  And like most things in life, even if it isn't broken (which it is not) it still needs maintenance and to be taken care of to keep things strong!

Focus on Health.

I think with all of Henry's health issues the beginning of last year, Terry and I have been putting ourselves on the back burner.  So the focus is keeping Henry healthy and hopefully continue to be seizure free.  And Terry and I need to take care of our health. (except for sickness, it has been a few years that either has been for annual visits!)  My main focus is getting myself healthy.  Going to a couple doctors appointments and losing weight.

Focus on Myself.

This overlaps health in that I need to work on ME.  Losing weight is the most important thing.  I need to like myself again.  Like the way I look and feel better about who I am.  Along with that, finding time to step away from everything and do the things I like.  The things that make me happy.  I gladly put away things I enjoyed when Henry was born, but it is time to get those things back out, even if it is just on occasion and finding a new balance.  I need to feel like ME again.

Focus on being less Focused.

Um. HUH?!  What do you mean, Jenn?!  I have a problem of focusing too much on things.  I am OCD (self-diagnosed, of course) and with that I tend to focus on things....a little too much.  My intentions usually start out good, but they do consume me at times.  A nice evening with Terry could turn into me worrying because of the fluctuating temperature in Henry's room. Or that Terry is crunching his chip too loud and I yell at him and then we just sit in silence.  Or I am convinced we are sick because I heard a cough so I take Henry's temperature 70 times.  Or just focusing on the negative instead of the positive.  So I am making a big effort to only focus on what is important (like above) and not put my effort in focusing on things that do not matter or that I can not change.

So, these are the things I want to focus on with the New Year.  And the truth is I am excited for this New Year!!!