Friday, September 3, 2010

Do you have any holiday weekend advice?

In the U.S., this coming Monday is Labor Day. For many, that makes this a three-day weekend, and that often means routines are off, schedules are different, eating temptations are increased.

What are your plans for the weekend? How will you deal with barbecues and ice cream and other temptations? How will you be healthy this weekend?

At our house, we'll forego the ice cream and snack on the giant watermelon we bought.

Tell us what you plan to do!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recipe Makeover

One of my favorite recipes has always been a classic 1970s dish called Frito Salad. (It may well have been around before the 1970s, but I know we had it a lot back then.)

But, with Fritos corn chips, regular salad dressing and cheddar cheese, it's not very low-fat or low-salt, and those things can make a difference when you're trying to eat healthy. So, I've done a makeover on the recipe. Let me know what you think.

Here's the original recipe, the way my family makes it:

Fritos Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded or chopped finely
1 tomato, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1 can Ranch Style Beans, drained and rinsed (15-ounce can)
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 bottle Catalina salad dressing (I'm not sure when this recipe was written, but the 16-ounce bottle on the market today may be to much)

1 package Fritos Original Corn Chips (14.5-ounce size bag)

In a large bowl, mix together the lettuce, tomato and green onion. Add the beans and stir well. Add the cheese and stir well. Pour the salad dressing over the top and stir to mix. When ready to serve, add the corn chips and mix well.

And, here's my re-do of the recipe:

Taco Salad

4 cups of shredded green leaf lettuce
1 large tomato, chopped (or 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped)
2 green onions, chopped
1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (15 ounces, or about 2 cups of home-cooked and drained black beans)
4 ounces low-fat or fat-free cheddar cheese
Fat-free Catalina salad dressing, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
6 corn tortilla, toasted in the oven or toaster until crisp, or 6 ounces of baked tortilla chips,

In a large bowl, mix together the lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. Add in the beans and stir well. Add the cheese and stir well. Add just enough salad dressing to add some flavor, but do not drown the salad in the dressing. Add a few drops of Tabasco sauce, or let each person add the hot sauce as desired. Put about a cup of the mixture on a plate and crumble a toasted tortilla or a few chips over the top.

Do you have a recipe that you've done a makeover on? Share the recipe or a link here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Doing this naturally

I overheard a conversation at work this co-worker was congratulating another on his weight loss. They went on to discuss the specifics of the "diet" he is on. He explained that when he went to the doctor to get his latest shot, the doctor explained that his blurry vision, pains in his sides, etc. were all caused by his body "detoxing" and that it was nothing to worry about.

I'm going to have to tell you right now, I'm struggling to make this happen, to lose 100+ pounds, but I'm going to do it naturally. I'm going to eat healthily, exercise, do the right thing. Anything with that many scary sounding side effects is just not worth it to me, especially when a natural alternative is readily available.

I realize the natural course takes a lot of willpower, and that's a major problem for many of us. But, blurry vision???? No thanks! I'll stick to my big salads, lots of veggies, whole grains, low-fat, and less sugar plan.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Drinking water

Drinking water has been a topic of interest around our house for quite some time. Mainly because our daughter hates to drink water, almost refuses to drink water. In fact, just about the only thing she will drink is probably one of the worst things "punch." She won't drink ice tea, she won't drink regular fruit juice, and she definitely won't drink water.

Thank goodness she likes to read. Somewhere recently, she read about putting lemon or lime juice in water to make it easier to drink. So, yesterday, she drank a large glass of water, after squeezing a few lime wedges into it. I was very happy!

I'm sure I've suggested such a thing before, but as Mom, my ideas are rarely considered!

Maybe this will be the start of a new trend!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh my!

I fell way behind on my blogging!

I had to work in a different town for a week, so that threw me off my routine.

Thanks so much for all of the wonderful comments everyone's been posting. I appreciate them all!

Another big pitfall for me is eating out. My family ate out at a local Mexican food restaurant this week. I was tired and stressed....I was half-way through the second spinach and mushroom enchilada and feeling overstuffed when I remembered that I was supposed to save half of my meal for the next day's lunch. I have found that making that conscious decision before I ever even get to the restaurant helps me to cut back on how much I eat and spreads my eating out dollars even further.

Of course, that plan works best when #1 you are familiar with the restaurant and its meal portions and #2 you remember to put the plan into action.

Unfortunately that night, I hadn't left enough for lunch the next day. But, rather than just keep eating, in order to "clean my plate," I stopped right there. I let the waiter take away the rest of that burrito.

I need to alert my husband and daughter to the fact that I want to take half of my meal home with me. That way, they can remind me, if I forget.

I haven't weighed in a while...scared to. I think I'll try to work extra hard at staying on track this coming weekend and week and then weigh.

I'd say I haven't been too bad, but I haven't been too good, either. For example, when the afternoon munchies hit this week, I didn't have any healthy snacks with me. But, I chose a snack mix with low-fat pretzels in it, rather than a candy bar and cola. I did remember to bring iced tea with me to sip on. That surely was healthier than colas every day.

If you're working on the same issues I am, good luck this weekend! I'll be thinking of all of you out there, as I try to stick to my own plan!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Eating Weakness

I stress-eat, and I know it. I am an editor, so I am frequently "on deadline," which is usually stressful. Which means I usually eat. Stress-eating for me means junk food, typically snacky foods that I can eat while I work. Chips are a favorite, as are candy bars. And, soft drinks.

But, I've found that if I bring healthy snacks from home, especially on deadline days, I'll choose those snacks rather than something from the vending machine. And, to ward off the soft drinks, I bring iced tea to work. We have a refrigerator with ice, etc. So, I can treat myself to something more than water without adding on the calories.

My healthier snacks include:

Baby carrots
Dried fruit
Strips of red bell pepper

Do you have any ideas for healthy snacks to replace the junk food I used to eat?

(Photo of baby carrots courtesy of

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

100 Reasons I Want to Lose 100 Pounds (#1-10)

100 Reasons I Want to Lose 100 Pounds

#1 I want to feel better. Now, I moan and groan when I stand up.

#2 I want to feel better about myself. I won't say I suffer from low self-confidence, but I could use a little boost. Weighing 100 or more pounds too much doesn't help the self esteem.

#3 I want to be here to meet my grandchildren. My husband and I waited a while to have our daughter...I was 35 when she was born 10 years ago. Many of my friends and acquaintances are grandmothers, but I still have a ways to go. So, I need to be healthy in order to live that long.

#4 I want my seatbelt to fit correctly.

#5 I want to fit into an airline seat and have that seatbelt fit correctly, too.

#6 I don't want to be thought of as a "fat lady."

#7 I want to look better.

#8 I want to be healthy.

#9 I want to set a good example for my daughter.

#10 I want to be in control of my body. I'm tired of everything about my diet being out of control.

(To be continued...)

Monday, July 12, 2010

One of my problems... that I don't think that I'm fat. Well, of course, I know that I'm fat, overweight, obese, however you want to phrase it. But, on a daily basis, minute-by-minute, I think of me as just "me," not as some "fat lady."

It's kind of like how I don't really think of myself as being 45. I know when I was born, and I know what year it is now, but in my mind, I'm about 28.  In that same, apparently delusional mind, I weigh 150, maybe 180 pounds. I'm a little overweight. I need to lose a few pounds.

And then, something happens to remind me of reality.

One common reminder is shopping. It seems that no matter how high I start with the sizes, I'm still bigger than I think I am. Then, once I find a size that fits, I hate everything there is in that size. I look terrible in most clothes, especially the less expensive clothes from the discount stores.

Another reminder is when I have to fit in somewhere, an airline seat, a restaurant booth, a bathroom stall...I usually just barely fit. Even riding in the car reminds me of how fat I am...the seat belt doesn't fall correctly across my chest, and it drives me crazy.

The biggest problem with not remembering how big I am is that I think that one bowl of ice cream or one bag of chips or one more cola won't hurt. My brain is saying, "Yeah, we know we need to lose a few pounds, but one more won't matter."

But, finding the balance between reminding yourself how much you need to lose while not beating yourself up over it, isn't easy. I'm trying to keep "healthy eating" at the top of my mind. What was that marketing phrase from the 1990s? "Top of mind awareness."

Last night, we went to my parents' house for dinner and to drop our daughter off for a week-long visit with her grandparents. They grilled hamburgers. I had one veggie burger and a couple of handfuls of baked potato chips. I was offered another burger several times, but I turned them down. And, when my mom started serving up the ice cream that is a staple at their house, I jumped up and announced that we had to get home, since I had to work today. "Don't you want some ice cream? Just a little bowl?" they asked. "No, thanks! We need to get going!"

I haven't told them I'm trying to eat healthfully or that I'm trying to lose weight. What's the point? I've told them before, and I've always slipped back into bad behaviors. I've told my husband about my loosely made "plan," but I haven't told him about this blog. I just want to get a little success behind me before I start talking about any of it to anyone close by.

What are some of your obstacles in weight loss? What are some of your strategies for coping and/or succeeding? I'd love to hear from others who are in this situation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Great new find!

I visited a new health food store in my small town this morning! The owner has it stocked with lots of good, fresh produce and a lot of other healthy foods. I think I'll be shopping there quite a bit! And, it's perfect timing....I vow to start eating healthier, and a health food store opens up!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recipe: Lentil Tacos

If you love the taste of tacos but could do without all that grease that tends to drip out of the shells, try this recipe. It's naturally low fat, but with the taco seasoning, the salt content may be a little high. If you're watching your salt intake, you might want to opt for a low-sodium taco seasoning or make your own.

Lentil Tacos

1 cup dry lentils
2 cups water
1 package taco seasoning (I use McCormick's Mild Taco Seasoning packets, because my daughter doesn't like the tacos too spicy)
Corn tortillas (fresh, NOT fried)
Green leaf lettuce, shredded, about 2 cups
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro, to taste, chopped (I use 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro)
1 fresh jalapeno (If you like your tacos spicy), minced, to taste
Shredded Cheddar cheese (low-fat is healthier for you), 1/4 or 1/2 cups, as desired
Splash of vinegar (alternative: lime juice)

Combine the lentils and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the lentils are cooked and the water almost absorbed. Keep an eye on the pan, so the lentils don't scorch. Stir from time to time and reduce heat as necessary. When the pan has just a little bit of liquid left, add the taco seasoning, stir to mix well and reduce the heat to very low. Again, make sure it doesn't scorch, and turn heat off completely, if necessary.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato, green onion, cilantro, jalapeno and stir to mix well. Add cheese and stir. Sprinkle on some vinegar (or lime juice) and stir again.

Wrap several corn tortillas in a barely-damp cloth or paper towel and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 15 seconds at a time until the tortillas are warm.

To serve: Take one tortilla, spread about 1/4-cup (or less) of lentil mixture down the middle, top with the lettuce and tomato mixture, fold up and enjoy.

Makes about 8 to 12 tacos.

Yea! I lost weight!

After a weekend of not eating very healthily (healthful?) but trying hard not to eat too much, I weighed myself this morning and found that I'd lost 4 pounds. Down to 264 pounds.

It's a start.

Now, I just have to keep going!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Holiday weekend

Oh! Being a holiday weekend is making this new venture harder than ever! I'm trying to not eat too much, though. I know I'm not eating quite as healthy as I should, but I'm trying very hard to keep it all in moderation.

My daughter is fine now. I think it was too much excitement the day before.She wouldn't eat much breakfast Friday, but she had some soup for lunch and then was fine by dinner.

We took a drive to a small town about 30 miles away yesterday and visited a little produce stand. We bought fresh tomatoes, peaches, cantaloupe, corn and peppers grown nearby. So, we'll be having lots of healthy, fresh food today!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Breakfast and Lunch - July 2, 2010

We woke up to a sick daughter this morning. So, I rushed off to work for the morning, then came home at lunchtime, and then my husband rushed off to work this afternoon.

Still, I've stuck to the plan for meals and snacks.

For breakfast, I had my regular oatmeal (see yesterday's post for the recipe).

For lunch, I had leftover spaghetti -- 1 cup whole wheat spaghetti, and some store-bought sauce, as well as a salad.

For an afternoon snack, I had a strawberry yogurt.

I needed to go buy groceries this evening, but with a sick child that may not happen. I'll have to look and see what I have on hand that is healthy. It's situations like this that have always thrown me off track anyway. And, then, once I'm off track, I think, "What difference does it make," and I just keep going the wrong direction. I'm hoping to stay on track this go around.

Challenge last night

After dinner last night, it was time for our daughter's softball league awards ceremony and pool party. At the party, was a large cake, as well as a variety of candy, cookies, cupcakes, chips, etc. And, there were drinks -- Cokes, Dr Peppers, Gatorades, water, etc.

Before I thought about it, I ate two Twizzlers, but then I realized what I was doing and stopped. The package said 4 Twizzlers had 26 calories, so maybe I didn't do too much damage there.

When I went for a drink, I picked up a Diet Coke, but then I decided that was just a bad habit to get into. I put it back and chose a bottle of water.

I ended up cutting and serving the cake, handing out dozens of pieces to kids and adults, but I didn't even take one lick of the icing, much less a whole piece of cake.

Overall, yesterday, I didn't even eat everything I was supposed to, which isn't good, I know. I needed more veggies and more milk. I'm working on detailed menus to help solve that problem.

Dinner - July 1, 2010

Last night, for dinner I had spaghetti (1 cup of whole wheat spaghetti and some store-bought sauce), a big green salad (green leaf lettuce, fresh spinach, cucumber, tomato, red onion with a little homemade balsamic vinaigrette), some green peas, a piece of garlic toast (homemade whole wheat bread, a few squirts of Parkay Spray, which surely is healthier than the 2 or 3 pats of real butter I usually use, and a sprinkling of garlic salt) and a glass of iced tea.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Plan, and I do have a plan

I am basing my Healthy Eating Plan on the USDA's MyPyramid guidelines. I chose to start with the 2,000-calorie plan for a woman my age. If I start to lose an appropriate amount of weight (1 to 5 pounds per week) on this plan, I will stick with it until I stop losing weight or until the amount of weight I lose each week drops significantly.

On this plan, the daily recommended amount for each food group is:

Grains: 6 ounces
Fruits: 2 cups
Milk: 3 cups
Meat/Beans: 5.5 ounces
Vegetables: 2.5 cups -- The vegetable category also has weekly recommendations for each type of vegetable:     Dark green Veggies: 3 cups
                      Orange Veggies: 2 cups
                      Dry beans & peas: 3 cups
                      Starchy Veggies: 3 cups
                      Other Veggies: 6.5 cups

This plan also allows for 6 teaspoons of oil a day and an extra 265 calories for solid fats and sugars.

My plan also is to include as many of the "super foods" in my diet. There are several resources, books, websites, etc. out there that have identified a basic list of highly nutritional foods.

I drink iced tea, but I'm staying away from coffee. Mostly because I prefer coffee loaded down with creamer, and that's not too healthy.

Additionally, I want to add exercise to my lifestyle, but I haven't worked that in, yet. I realize the importance of exercise, but I'm taking this one step at a time.


Lunch 7-1-2010

For lunch today, I had a nice green salad made with about 2 cups of green leaf lettuce and fresh spinach, about half a cup of cucumber slices, a small Roma tomato and some homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing made with just a little bit of olive oil. I also had a small, plain baked potato on which I sprinkled some coarse-ground black pepper, and some iced tea sweetened with Sweet N Low.

For an after-lunch snack, I had a Gala apple.

Late afternoon snack: Container of strawberry-flavored yogurt.


I usually have the same thing for breakfast every morning — a bowl of oatmeal. Now, some mornings, I make pancakes, blueberry muffins, egg and cheese English muffins or a breakfast of eggs, biscuits and what we call cowboy potatoes. But, most mornings I have oatmeal.

I cook old-fashioned oatmeal, which you can buy at just about any grocery store, because I like the flavor better than "quick oats" and much better than instant oatmeal.

Here's my recipe, and after that, I'll explain why I chose each of the ingredients.


1 cup water
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds (no shells, no salt)
1 Tablespoon raisins
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 Tablespoon honey
Cinnamon to taste (I use about a teaspoon, probably)

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the oats. Reduce heat to medium or medium-high and cook oats for 5 minutes or until they have absorbed all of the water, stirring as needed. Remove pan from heat and add in the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix thoroughly. Enjoy.

The Ingredients:

Oatmeal: I choose to eat oatmeal because it is filling and because, according to quite a few sources, it can help reduce the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

Walnuts: These are another cholesterol reducer. I don't eat too many because of the fat they have.

Sunflower seeds: These little kernels are full of healthy things, too, such as phytochemicals that help prevent cardiovascular disease and maybe some cancers, lowers cholesterol, and may help with cognitive function and memory.

Raisins:  Raisins are a great way to add some fruit, as well as some natural sweetness to your diet.

Flaxseeds:  Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower triglycerides, a type of blood fat. The omega-3s also are in fish, but since I'm a vegetarian, I don't eat fish. So, I try to add some flaxseed when I can.  I buy whole flaxseeds and grind them a little at a time in a coffee grinder. Then, I store the ground flaxseeds in the refrigerator for just a day or two, as I use it.

Honey: I like the flavor of honey better than sugar. And, it's possible that since honey is a simple sugar, it may be healthier for you than regular sugar. Also, I try to buy local honey, which some people believes helps prevent allergies.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is reported to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-clotting substance. Plus, it tastes good.

Now, I know that reports come out every day about what is the best thing for a person to eat and that those reports and investigations change from time to time, but based on years of research, I think these ingredients in my oatmeal recipe are very good for you.

My weight today

I weighed this morning, and my weight is 268 pounds. I am 5'7'' tall. So, by all accounts, that puts me in the "obese," maybe even "morbidly obese" range.

And that's what I'm about to change.

Introduction: Losing 100 Pounds

Hi! My name is Carla, and starting today I'm working on a plan to lose 100 pounds (at least).

This blog will document my progress, as well as some of the problems I come across. I'll try to post some recipes and information about the healthy eating plan I'm following.

I'm not on any specific "diet." I'm basically following the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid  nutrition guidelines.

A little something about me (and the recipes I'll be posting), I've been a vegetarian for about 11 years. I eat dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) and eggs but no meat (no beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, etc.). I eat a variety of foods, and I don't expect everyone around me to be vegetarians. My husband is not a vegetarian, and he often adds grilled chicken to our meals. I'll have some good recipes on here that can be enjoyed by everyone. I just won't have any meat recipes on here.

I also plan to post what I'm eating. That will help in several will help keep me in line and on track; it will help me see what works and what doesn't; it will help me plan future menus; it will help others who want to lose weight but can't figure out exactly what to do.

I hope you'll check in, and maybe even join in my efforts to eat healthy and obtain a healthy weight.