Workin' It Out

Melting Away & Finding Myself

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Are You Sitting Down for This?

A few weeks ago I was perusing the message boards on My Fitness Pal when I noticed a lady’s success story posted and she talked about what she did while she was losing weight.  In her description she mentioned as she lost weight she increased her calories.  That was the only information she gave and none of the other posters asked her what that was about, but I instantly thought, “What??? How does that work?  We only lose weight by cutting calories! And if it does work, how do I do that?”  And I instantly Googled it, but didn’t really find any information on it.  Then I found myself in the middle of the big “P” and started searching the MFP boards for ways to conquer plateaus.  I kept coming across people discussing their BMR, RMR, TDEE and increasing calories or zig-zagging.  Thankfully they posted links to other boards, blogs and websites and I started learning so much!  I am an educator and I truly love learning new things, so I was hooked on researching.  If I had a spare moment I was reading the boards and other people’s weight loss stories. I decided to try some of the tips I read and it worked!  My plateau is busted.  So let me share, because this has blown my mind!  It excites me to learn new stuff and I hope you learn something too!

First, a little acronym explanation: BMR = Basal Metabolic Rate, RMR = Resting Metabolic Rate and TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure.  Basically, your RMR & BMR are the same thing & mean the calories you would burn if all you did was lay in bed all day. So for example, according the BMR calculator I used, my BMR is 1686.  TDEE accounts for all the activity you do – allllll of it – but you must be honest in reporting how much you exercise.  According to the TDEE calculator I used, my TDEE is 2606.

To know what your weight loss calorie goal should be, subtract 15% from the TDEE.  15% of my TDEE is 390.9 (let’s just say 390).  So my weight loss calorie goal is 2216.  This blows my mind, really – that sounds like a lot of calories!  Now, here is the most important thing I learned: NEVER EAT CALORIES BELOW YOUR BMR.   Our bodies don’t like it!  If your body needs 1600 calories to just lay around all day and you only feed it 1200 calories, it freaks out!  That’s what I was doing.  My MFP goals were set for 1250 calories a day, but my BMR is 1686… no wonder I plateaued.  My body was telling me I needed to eat more food!  However, since I’ve been eating at just 1250 for a month or so, I cannot just pump up my calories to 2200 and think I can lose weight.  I have started slowly increasing my calories.  Last week I increased by 250 to reach 1500 and I’ve lost 3 pounds!  Next week I will increase by another 200 to be at 1700, which will get me right about my BMR.  If you have been way undereating your calories as well, do not be surprised if you do see a slight increase in weight.  Since I have been basically starving myself for over a month, it will take a while for my body to believe that I am actually not going to starve it anymore.  From what I’ve read, it can sometimes take a month for the body to respond. And we all know how patient I am… so the next step of my journey could be interesting!

So I am down 24 pounds now and I would really like to have lost 32 by the time I turn 32.  I have 22 days to lose 8 more pounds! In the past I would have slashed my calories and worked out like mad, but now I am going to concentrate on eating more (how great is that??) and maintaining my current 4-5 day a week exercise habit!


A First Time for Everything!

Tonight I participated in an event for the Dream Factory, which grants dreams to children with medical conditions.  The event was sponsored by my gym and I work with the organizer’s mom.  The organizer had cancer as a child and was granted a Dream.  You can watch more of his story and about the event here. Participants could either do a 5K run or a 2 mile walk.  I opted for the 2 mile walk and it was b-e-a-utiful weather tonight!!

My number! I've never had an athletic number!!

I realized on my way home that I had never participated in an organized athletic event. I don’t mean I had participated in events that were unorganized… I mean I have never played on a team, completed a race or anything athletic.  Wait – does Field Day count?  And this was such a good time.  I walked with one of my good friends, Andrea, & her mom as well as another friend of Andrea’s.  My hubby & the lil’ man were in the stands of the stadium to see the start & finish. The route started at our local high school football stadium, followed a couple of residential roads and looped back to the football stadium.  We chatted the whole time about toddlers, potty training, napping (and lack thereof), weekend plans, fishing boat motors, work, birthday parties and before we knew it, we were done!  Andrea & I crossed the finish line at 35:18!  I was surprised at the emotion I felt coming down the track toward the finish line and seeing my lil’ man’s face light up and cheer for us.  I know he might not remember it, but I will remember how I felt so proud to set a good example for him!  And of course when we were done, we all had to go get ice cream at our local walk-up ice cream stand.  Great ending to a wonderful day!

Andrea, Lil' Man and Me after the walk.

Week 11/52: Goals Check-in

Last week was not nearly as stressful as the prior week, just busy.  Even with Monday off work, I felt like I needed another day – isn’t that how it always is?  This week has been busy too and I can’t believe it’s already Thursday and I haven’t blogged about last week!  I can’t even think of any major events from last week.  I did increase my calorie goal and I very carefully monitored my intake since I was so frustrated with my plateau.

Here’s how I did with my goals this (really last) week:

  • Log my food & exercise. CHECK!  I increased my calories from 1250 to 1500, plus exercise.  This weekend I plan to post a lengthy explanation as to why – stay tuned!
  • Follow my Emeals Portion Controlled plan. CHECK! I made a couple of breakfast dishes that were so yummy!  One night we had baked French toast that was so easy I think I would opt to always make it baked.  I also made some blueberry oatmeal pancakes.  I don’t even like blueberries, but these were delish!
  • Eliminate my addiction to sugar. In progress!  I think last week went better than previous weeks, but I am still not perfect (and I won’t be and I don’t expect myself to be).
  • Exercise 5 days a week. CHECK! I made it to the gym 4 days, cleaned house another day and mowed the grass (in March!?!) on Saturday.
  • Get more sleep. Hahahaha – maybe I can focus on this this summer when I have a few weeks away from my job.  I started reading a new Jodi Picoult book and I cannot put it down – so good!!
  • Blog on my progress of my goals and post my weight. I posted a little.  Have you checked out my recipes?
  • Lose 52 Pounds in 52 Weeks. I weighed in on Tuesday and…. drumroll, please….. I lost a pound!!  Yippee!!  I have never been so excited to see one little pound gone!  I have busted my plateau with increased calories!!  I can’t wait to share my strategy with you soon! 23  pounds down, 29 to go. (And only 2 pounds to my next reward of new workout shoes, 3 pounds to the halfway point and 6 to one-derland!)

Now time for my friends to check in! How has your week been? Have you accomplished any goals?

This blows my mind!

If you’ve been following, you know for the last couple of weeks I’ve been stuck with a plateau… Ugh. Well, even though it goes against every diet rule I’ve ever heard, I raised my calorie intake by about 250 calories. I’ll go into details later, but I think it’s working! I’ve lost 2.6 pounds since raising my calories! Yay!!

What I Made Monday: Turkey Vegetable Soup

Today it was 80 degrees! In March?!? And what was for dinner? SOUP. Nice, hot soup…  I so wasn’t feeling it, but it I had all the ingredients and the meat needed to be used, so we had soup.

Turkey Vegetable Soup (recipe compliments of Emeals)

Ingredients for 6 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

20 oz ground turkey breast
2 14 oz. cans fat-free beef broth (I also used the reduced sodium, but when I make this again I think I will try at least one can of the non-reduced sodium broth, because I ended up adding quite a bit of salt)
14 oz. can stewed tomatoes, original recipe
16 oz. bag (froze) mixed vegetables
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Spray a large Dutch oven with non-stick spray and brown turkey over medium heat stirring often to crumble turkey.  I used my great Mix n’Chop utensil from Pampered Chef, which made quick work of the crumbling.

Sprinkle flour over turkey, then slowly add broth to pot. Mix well.

Add tomatoes, vegetables, salt & pepper.  Cover & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 min. 

Nutrition info per serving: 205 Calories, 18 grams carbs, 1 gram fat, 27 grams protein

I served the soup with a simple green salad (thank you, bag o’salad!) and buy-it-in-the-frozen-section garlic toast.

It was pretty tasty, but soup is so flexible that I really should have played with it a bit more to improve the taste as it was a little bland.  The hubby suggested adding taco seasoning to the meat and making it a taco soup.  I thought using the Italian recipe stewed tomatoes (that has added oregano & garlic) would have been great in addition as well as throwing in Italian seasoning or a combo of basil, oregano, thyme, etc.

What are your go-tos for enhancing bland foods?

What I Made Monday

This Monday I made one of my most favorite meals in a long time.  It’s called Crispy Panko Chicken, served with Balsamic Green Beans and Skinny Potatoes, again all courtesy of emeals! Each recipe was 6 servings.

I totally forgot to take pictures until we had the chicken on our plates and lil’ man was asking for seconds.

You need:

1 C panko breadcrumbs
1/2 C shredded Parmesan
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast meat, pounded thin (I cut mine into strips instead and it worked quite well)
2 T olive oil
1 tsp salt (I omitted this and we couldn’t tell)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 C Dijon mustard
2 T water

In a shallow dish, toss together panko crumbs, cheese, olive oil, salt & pepper.  In another shallow dish combine Dijon & water.  Coat chicken in mustard mixture and dredge in panko mix.  Bake on sprayed (absolutely, or use parchment paper) baking sheet 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown. (Per serving: 225 Calories, 8 grams carbs, 10 grams fat, 27 grams protein)

I served this with Balsamic Green Beans (also from emeals) which consisted of microwaving a 16 oz bag of frozen green beans and tossing with 2 T balsamic vinegar, 1 T brown sugar, 1 t Dijon mustard, 2 t olive oil, salt & pepper.  Yum! (Per serving:  29 calories, 4 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, 0 grams protein)

We also had Skinny Mashed Potatoes.  Peel & dice 6 medium potatoes.  Boil until tender (mine took about 20 minutes) then mash with 3/4 C fat-free chicken broth and as much garlic powder as you want.  Salt & pepper to taste.

The family review went well!  Lil man even gobbled up the green beans and wanted more of everything.  Hubby & I also loved everything.  Ate the last of the leftovers today and I think I’ll have to make more.  It was super yummy!

Week 10/52: Goals Check-in

Woohoo!  Double-digit weeks!

Last week was stressful – and this one is too – hence I am nearly done with Week 11 and just now blogging on Week 10. At the end of Week 9, hubby & I decided to transition our son to a toddler bed.  You know, for fun… ha. ha. ha.  It’s going ok, but some nights it takes forevvvvvver to get him to sleep.  Anyway, that was stressor #1.

#2 is the defeating feeling of having lost zip for the second week in a row.  And if you had seen how much I worked in the yard Friday & Saturday you would be shocked too.  I have talked to friends about it and I know you mean well tossing out the “p” (plateau) word, but I have a hard time believing with so much more weight to lose I have hit a plateau.  Even though I hate the “p” word I have done some research and it seems very possible I have hit a plateau.  The good news is I don’t think I have to stay on this “p” long!  More on that in another post, because it gets kind of sciencey-mathy (Yes, that’s a real word).

Here’s how I did with my goals this (really last) week:

  • Log my food & exercise. CHECK!  Yes, even the Texas Roadhouse rolls I enjoyed on my “I lost 20 pounds” date with my husband.  I also logged the whopping 130 calories I burned going bowling on the same date. 
  • Follow my Emeals Portion Controlled plan. CHECK! I made some pretty yummy stuff, but we also had a lot of leftovers from other meals.  Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day) we went to my Dad & his wife’s house for corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, peas, and the biggest cupcakes I’d ever seen.  It was all delicious.  I kept my portions small & estimated the calories as well as I could.
  • Eliminate my addiction to sugar. In progress! Ummm… did you see my comment about the cupcakes above?  I haven’t eliminated my sugar addiction yet.  I try everyday and do pretty well, but…… man, it’s hard!!
  • Exercise 5 days a week. CHECK! So. much. gardening. I think I exercised 3 days at the gym and then literally worked 6 hours in the garden on Friday and another 3 on Saturday. My legs were still sore yesterday from all the shoveling, digging, & squatting.
  • Get more sleep. Someday……
  • Blog on my progress of my goals and post my weight Not so great last week, just not enough hours in the day to get everything done!
  • Lose 52 Pounds in 52 Weeks. I didn’t lose a blessed thing this week, not even an ounce.  Ugh… sounds like the “p” word…  I was really ticked on Tuesday morning when I did my weigh-in.  I have a friend at work who has also been working out and joined Weight Watchers.  She & I started close to the same weight and she has now lost 10 pounds more than I.  I am very happy for her and she looks great, but I so want to be there too!  I am frustrated!!! 22  pounds down, 30 to go.

Now time for my friends to check in! How has your week been? Have you accomplished any goals?

What do you think?

I have been a little behind on updating my blog, but while decompressing after work tonight I decided to play around.  I am up to TEN followers, so it was time to change things up a bit!  What do you think of the new theme?  If you like it, tell your friends to follow too! And if you don’t, tell me, I won’t be offended!  Happy Friday Eve!

Week 9/52: Goals Check-in

It was bound to happen.  Like my toddler I have been pushing the limits – how much can I eat with how little exercise?  This week I have found my limits.  This is the first week I not only didn’t lose, I GAINED a pound.  I have no excuses – I haven’t been weight lifting, so it’s not muscle over fat; I only exercised three days; I indulged in sweets; I even ate pizza twice last week and probably the worst – I drank real Coke. Not diet, not Coke Zero… Coca-Cola.

Here’s the blow-by-blow:

  • Log my food & exercise. CHECK!  Yes, even though I ate pizza (two nights), drank a Coca-Cola, ate ice cream (which even broke my Lenten resolution) I logged it all.  The interesting thing is I only went over my calorie limit Friday & Sunday and came in under my weekly calorie goal.  Hmmmm……
  • Follow my Emeals Portion Controlled plan. CHECK! I cooked only two or three nights last week as I had several work commitments in the evenings. Monday I had BBQ with my dad, his wife, my aunt & uncle which was so good – both the BBQ & the company!  Wednesday was sandwiches provided by work, Friday was pizza provided by work and then Saturday our family ordered pizza. Lots of meals out…  may have been part of my weight gain; although I thought I accurately tracked the restaurant meals. Also, if you haven’t check out my new series “What I Made Monday” on this blog to get some yummy healthy recipe ideas.
  • Eliminate my addiction to sugar. In progress! As I said last week, “I am not perfect!” Oh so true, I unfortunately had ice cream probably 3 times last week and then there was the Coca-Cola.  I still tracked it all, but the addiction is still definitely there!  Maybe I am just not mentally ready to make this change since I am making so many other changes and taking on new challenges.  I will do my best as Lent continues though!
  • Exercise 5 days a week. NOPE! I exercised only 3 days at the gym this week.  Saturday I did spend about 2 1/2 hours outside working in the flower beds.  I pulled weeds, dug holes, moved plants, pushed a wheelbarrow.  My Fitness Pal said I burned nearly 800 calories!  Buuuuutttt… with the weight gain I wonder if that was accurate??
  • Participate in a 5K I am about to register for a 2 mile walk to benefit the Dream Factory.  More info later!
  • Get more sleep. This totally should have been my Lenten resolution.  I have been regularly falling asleep on the couch about 9, but then I get up around 2 to go to bed and toss & turn.  In the morning I feel more tired than the day before… I’ve got to get more sleep!!!
  • Blog on my progress of my goals and post my weight CHECK!  As in check out my posts!  I would love to have more followers & thus more accountability!!  Feel free to click that little button to the left to sign up to get an e-mail whenever I make a new post – and you might even get some new recipes out of it!
  • Lose 52 Pounds in 52 Weeks. So bummed about my one pound gain – I am sooooo close to hitting the 100s!  Now I feel like it’s so far away.   I have a theory that I may be fearful of letting go of this weight.  It is easier to follow old habits.  It’s comfortable, the food tastes better, I can sleep longer if I don’t work out.  But what could I possibly be afraid of? How about having to buy new clothes? It’s expensive. Or people noticing me? I really don’t enjoy being the center of attention (although I do love the compliments I’ve been getting). Maybe I’m really worried that I’ll reach my goal weight and still not be satisfied with my body.  But I do want to be healthy.  I want to be fit.  I want to be able to run around in the yard and keep up with my 2-year-old. I get tired of people saying it’s not about the number on the scale.  And you know, I’d be okay with that if I had lost nearly all my weight, but I should not be stalling out now with as much as I have to lose.  My clothes are fitting better (the pants I wore today I could have sworn were going to fall off). I even have a pair of jeans that I bought over Christmas (that I had to zip while jumping up and down to get the zipper to budge and then I could hardly breathe if I sat down) that are now loose in the waist and getting there in the hips.  I know things are headed in the right direction, I’m just ready for things to move faster!!   22  pounds down, 30 to go.

Now time for my friends to check in! How has your week been? Have you accomplished any goals?

What I Made Monday: Spicy Tilapia

I had put off making the Spicy Tilapia for awhile because one: I had other recipes with soon to be expired (or rotten) ingredients and two: I usually pick fish recipes as the last thing I make.  I am not a huge fish fan, unless of course it is deep fried with loads of tartar sauce.  So I guess I should say I am not a healthy fish fan (HFF) because it tastes like… fish.  So I reluctantly made this recipe knowing there would be leftovers we could eat on a Friday in Lent and because if I waited much longer the ingredients for this recipe would be composting in my produce bin.

Here’s what you need for this Emeals recipe:







  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia (I used Swai because my local wally world was out of tilapia)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled & diced (remember the compost comment? yeah, my potatoes were composting in the pantry, so I used some frozen diced potatoes)
  • 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (I used yellow squash because while I am not a HFF I am also not a zucchini fan unless we’re talking zucchini bread, then I’m all about it.)
  • 1 14 oz. can no-salt-added corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa
  • 3 limes (again, composting lime in the crisper meant I only used 2 limes)
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 6 large sheets foil (each of my sheets were big enough to line a cookie sheet and that seemed to work pretty well)

Steam or microwave potatoes until just tender.  I skipped this & I shouldn’t have.  I thought since I was using frozen potatoes they would thaw easily in the oven, but instead I had to increase my cooking time.

Place each fillet on a sheet of foil.









Top each fillet with zucchini (yellow squash)









…then with potatoes









…and corn









…then with garlic powder, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup salsa.









Finally squeeze 1/2 of a lime over top.









Fold foil over fillet and tightly seal. Bake 20 minutes at 350 F or until fish flakes easily with fork.  (I ended up baking mine for nearly 45 minutes since I didn’t thaw my potatoes beforehand.)  Open packets carefully and enjoy!









Nutrition facts per serving (6 servings): 165 calories, 21 g carbs, 3 g fat, 19 g protein

It turned out that even though I am not a HFF, this was pretty tasty.  Even the lil’ man scarfed it down and requested “more chicken!”  Whatever works for you honey… I will totally let you think it’s chicken and maybe you will one day really be a HFF.

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