This is my journey to become a healthier me. It began on January 26, 2010 and stalled out... here I am back on January 7, 2019 and ready to shed some pounds and inches!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Coronavirus

Hey everyone,

I haven't updated this because weight loss is no longer my primary concern. Due to my health issues, I'm very high risk for COVID-19 and I've been in total isolation, and probably will have to continue to do so for a long time. I've also got a number of stresses right now that aren't helping. My mental health has been suffering as a result.

I haven't had the energy to help people on Facebook, either. I'm afraid my social energy is limited right now. I hope that you are all well and achieving your goals.

But if you aren't, if you are struggling like I am, it's okay to take it one day at a time. Now doesn't have to be the time for personal growth if you don't feel able to do it. It's okay to just be surviving. When you're worried about putting any food on the table at all, quality becomes less of a concern.

I will be back, when this is over, if I survive. Hopefully getting back to my weight loss will help with my healing and help get me back to normal when the time comes.

Take care of yourselves and stay safe. It's okay to do whatever you need to do right now. Your goals will still be waiting when you're ready for them. And if weight loss is working for you right now- kudos! Be proud of yourself for all you can accomplish.

Feel free to comment or email if you'd like to stay in touch.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Cheese Cravings!

Well, I felt well enough to make myself a snack today instead of having an extra Nutrisystem snack. Since I've seen this question asked quite a lot lately (may have to add it to my FAQ!), yes, you can choose to have an additional Nutrisystem snack for any snack on your plan that counts as 1 Powerfuel + 1 SmartCarb. For most people, that is the afternoon snack. Although not all Nutrisystem snacks fit their flex guidelines, that's okay. The official guideline is that all NS snacks are to be counted as 1 PF + 1 SC so you are fine to do that when necessary, of course you'll just have to be sure to order additional snacks a la carte if you choose to do this. Helpful tip- some women order the men's program solely because men receive 2 Nutrisystem snacks per day and it's generally only an extra $30 a month on auto delivery, so a pretty good price for the snacks. If you'd like to compare the plans, I've posted more information.

Just remember if you do this, to input your correct plan into Numi so you get the right program to follow! With all the personalized plans lately, there has been some confusion as to what to eat when. The bottom line is, follow Numi. While I don't like to use the app to actually track, since many foods are classified incorrectly, it is absolutely the best way to see what you should be eating and when. Not to mention, of course, the freebies that you can earn for completing the challenges. Don't forget to add them to your auto-delivery so that you don't pay shipping for a free prize!

I digress! Back to my snack. I was absolutely craving goat cheese today, and fortunately I had some in the fridge. Remember to check the nutritional stats on yours, because goat cheese is quite low in protein and doesn't always count as a Powerfuel, depending on the brand. Remember that it must be 80-120 calories and minimum 5g protein (more protein is definitely better). This made a yummy, decadent treat.

Goat Cheese Bruschetta:



3 slices 35 calorie bread
1 oz goat cheese crumbles
1 tomato, sliced thinly
diced onion (optional)
Italian seasoning, to taste

Spray the bread with a little olive oil cooking spray, and top with the sliced tomatoes. Add the Italian spices and top with the goat cheese crumbles. Bake or air fry at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Voila- a super quick snack that is full of flavour and makes a ton of food!

Count this as 1 Powerfuel, 1 SmartCarb, and 1 veggie.

Fatigue, Health, & Triggers

So I know I haven't been writing much lately, but I'm still here! I've been having some health problems recently and I've just been too tired to write. My chronic conditions have been flaring up and I an exhausted all the time.

Fatigue is also one of my triggers for craving high calorie and fat foods, so I've been trying to watch that lately. Having Nutrisystem entrees around really helps because I can tell myself that I can have a yummy meal faster than if I ordered takeout. The only issue is that I am often too tired to make any of my recipes or do jazzing up- so those are the times I generally choose frozen meals so that I can just heat and eat. The shelf stable entrees are so much easier to "cook" with, and I believe I can make much tastier meals out of them than just doing heat and eat, but that still requires energy that I don't have some days.

So I'm well aware that my health problems are a big part of why I regained my weight. I had maintained a 110lb weight loss for over six years, which is long enough to make me believe that I'll be able to make it last this time if I'm more careful. Over 90% of dieters regain their weight within 5 years, so at least I was past that. It points to the truism that we have to be mindful that we are making permanent changes if we want our weight loss to stick; if we revert back into our old habits and patterns, eventually we will regain the weight. Finding that balance is important! It's unrealistic to say that you'll never drink alcohol or enjoy your favourite foods again. Life isn't about deprivation. But it's also important to develop healthier habits so that when we reach goal and start to maintain, that we beat those statistics!

I find that mindfulness really is one of the best ways to help myself become a better person, not only with my relationship to food, but in general. Before I make a choice, I examine it- is it really what I want? Is it helpful to my goals? And sure, sometimes I want that chocolate martini and I'm okay with that. But most of the time? I'd rather keep the big picture in sight.

I have some great flex recipes I will try to write up to share with you soon, especially since Valentine's Day is coming! We don't have to blow the calorie budget just to enjoy a special evening with someone we love. Don't forget to look up some of my dessert recipes- I have some great ones using the Chocolate Lovers Cake Mug Mix (although they're listed under the tag with the old name, Microwave Chocolate Cake). Try my Black Forest Cake, or my Chocolate Lava Cake, they're both delicious and a great sweet treat.

I'll try to get back to posting recipes and reviews soon! Right now I'm just so close to my next milestone of 70lbs lost, and I can't wait to share that with you.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Think Outside the Box (Or Cup!)

Welcome to all the 2020 newbies! I know there is always an influx of new members in January as we make our New Year's resolutions. How have your first few weeks been going? Don't forget to check out my Tips for Newbies page to get some suggestions on how best to make the program work for you.

Here's a good tip to remember, whether you're brand new or a Nutrisystem veteran- creativity keeps it interesting. If you eat the same old same old, it's so easy to get bored and start making up excuses not to eat something. Or maybe an entrée just doesn't look good to you- find a way to make it different!

I remember the first time I saw the Cheddar Broccoli Rice, and I remember thinking that rice is a side dish, not a lunch! Similarly with entrees like the Loaded Potato, where they really just don't feel emotionally satisfying, even if the food tastes good.

So I thought about that concept- what would I be eating if I had rice on the side? Well, I love fish, but you could also have just about any lean protein that you like. So when I have this lunch entrée, I make it the side dish to go along with my favourite Powerfuel serving, and now instead of feeling frustrated, it suddenly seems like a filling "normal" lunch.

Now, some of you may be thinking, well, I don't get a Powerfuel with lunch? Some plans do, and that solves that problem. For the ones who don't, it is okay to occasionally save a Powerfuel from elsewhere in your day to do this. Maybe you missed your morning snack, or you didn't eat your breakfast Powerfuel. Or if you want, you can add a Powerfuel to lunch simply by "switching" your lunch and dinner. A lunch entrée is 1 Powerfuel + 1 SmartCarb, and a dinner entrée is 2 Powerfuels + 1 SmartCarb, so eating your lunch entrée and adding a Powerful counts as dinner. Just be sure to even that out by either flexing your dinner with only 1 Powerfuel instead of 2, or else eating another lunch entrée at dinnertime.

Remember that 1 Powerfuel is 80-120 calories and at least 5g of protein, so ensure that your protein choice fits into that range. I chose to have 4oz of cod as my Powerfuel with lunch. Seafood is a great option because it's very low fat and loaded with protein. My cod has 119 calories and a whopping 27 grams of protein, so that's a lunch that will keep me full and satisfied!

So don't forget to be creative with your meals- while it's very convenient to have everything premade for us, that doesn't mean that you can't customize the food to your liking and make it easier to succeed with your weight loss goals!

Cheddar Broccoli Rice (Lunch):


Don't forget to check out the Tags on the right side of my blog, where you can click on any Nutrisystem entrée and read all the different ways I have used it in the past. There are lots of creative ideas in there to keep your meals interesting!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Protein

Protein is one of the major macronutrients, and it's so helpful in keeping yourself full. It's really important to choose high protein foods for your Powerfuels because they will not only make you feel satisfied but give your body what it needs. If you need some ideas for Powerfuels, check out my Pantry Guide.

In the meantime, Nutrisystem has been releasing more new items that are great for protein consumption.

Nutricrush Shakes (Powerfuel):


While I'm not a big fan of protein shakes in general, because I prefer eating my calories than drinking them, these shakes can definitely be a useful tool in curbing hunger. My mother really likes them, particularly the chocolate. She's had Vega protein shakes in the past, and finds these particles are much smaller, so they blend more easily. She likes mixing the chocolate shake with her morning coffee so it tastes like a mocha, and adding just a little bit of cinnamon. You can also blend them with ice (or make your coffee into ice cubes!) and add mint for a chocolate mint "milkshake". The vanilla shake can blend with coffee for a latte, but I think it mixes better with chai tea, personally. You can also use one of your extras for 35 calories' of fruit and make a milkshake! I've seen "black forest" milkshakes with some cherries blended in, or use a little pineapple for a pina colada.

Looking to buy some cheaply to try? The Nutrisystem ones are expensive, but my family prefers them over other varieties we have tried in the stores. There are often cans of shakes for sale in the Facebook Nutrisystem Food Resale Group for less than retail price!

What are your favourite ways to use the shakes?


Salted Caramel Protein Puffs (Snack):


Salted caramel seems to be one of the new crazes lately. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of even the highest quality salted caramel foods because I don't enjoy mixing the sweet and salty tastes- it's just not to my palate. I'm not surprised that these were not among my favourite snacks.

On the plus side, they are absolutely loaded with protein- one of the highest protein snacks that Nutrisystem offers. And as you can see, you get a huge serving. That's a cereal bowl and it's quite full of those little puffs. If you occasionally want to sit and snack with a large portion, these will work. They are very sweet though and the texture isn't all that appealing- but they are definitely a snack that will take up some time to eat.


Nacho Puffs (Snack):


These seem to be the same texture as the Salted Caramel Protein Puffs, but I like the flavour much better. I have to admit that the Cheese Puffs still win hands down flavourwise (even after the reformulation), but the sheer quantity of these Nacho Puffs plus the more than doubled protein gives them the win for me. I've been having these as my afternoon snack nearly every day because they are just so filling and they take such a long time to eat! I would definitely recommend these (but don't order too many, I'd hate to see them go low inventory!).

Friday, January 10, 2020

Crushed It!


So, today is the end of my first seven days 100% back on track. Yesterday I posted a pretty big NSV (Non-Scale Victory) where I talked about how I've seen my heart rate decline significantly since restarting the program.

Today, I had my scale victory- I don't think I have ever lost this much weight in a single week! I even lost more than I did when I weighed significantly more and was doing Fresh Start. My body is ready to see these pounds disappear.

This first week back, I lost 6.6lbs, or 2.75% of my body weight. Way to go me, and talk about encouragement to keep going!

How did you do this week?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Are You Making A Difference?

Sometimes, it's difficult to see if doing the right thing is actually working. Human beings really rely on shorter term results and gratifications because it's simply so difficult for our brains to understand the long term picture; there have been studies that prove it's just much more difficult for us to concentrate on the big picture than just on a portion of it.

So, is eating fewer calories really helping our bodies? Will this hopefully benefit our health and lengthen our lives? Because that's why I am here; I don't want to die. I want to see Kiddo grow up and spend more time with my loved ones. I really like food, but the best food in the world isn't worth dying for.

It's so easy to say that, though, and then think, well, one meal isn't going to kill me, right? The possibility of living a slightly shorter life seems so abstract, until one day it won't be.

So if you ever wonder if what we're doing actually works, here is one of the clearest non scale indicators that I've ever seen.

Like I said, I took the month of December "off" completely. I decided to enjoy all the holiday foods I love and not to worry about it, but just to get right back at it in January, and I've done that. Now, I know Fitbits aren't nearly as accurate as medical grade equipment, but when we're looking at trends over time, I am reasonably confident this is an accurate trend.

I know my cardiac health is generally not good, and Fitbit rates it as low for women my age, which is no surprise. Before I went off plan in December, my resting heart rate was in the low 60s. I noticed in December that it was climbing back up, and I didn't really think about it. Now I've been back following the Nutrisystem program for just one week, and look at the trend now!


Eating all that extra fat and sugar and sodium was clearly making my heart work harder, which makes me more likely to have a heart attack and die prematurely. And look how fast my body reacted to the change in diet! I think that is the clearest sign of all that I am doing the right thing. I still wish I could do more exercise, but my health currently isn't allowing that. But I can control what goes in my mouth, and I definitely want to take as much stress off my heart as I can.

So next time a Big Mac or whatever your trigger food is, is calling to you- ask yourself if it's really worth it to you.