-20 and surviving a carb fest

I figured I would hop on the scale Friday before I headed home to visit my parents for the weekend. If I was down a bit, I’d keep that top of mind when I got to the place where food was always the sixth member of our family (after the parents, the brother, me and our beloved late Lab, Zakk).

I was pleasantly surprised to find I was down a full 20 pounds — it felt like it was a long time coming, but I’m glad I finally hit this major milestone. So excited by that number — and the fact that I was running extremely late to catch the 11 a.m. out of Port Authority — I didn’t have time to eat or grab a snack to take on the bus with me before I left the house.

Needless to say, by the time I got of the bus more than three hours later and after a grocery-store trip where we got about three bags full of carbs (think three different kinds of chips, two different kinds of pretzels, a loaf of bread, hamburger buns and this super-yummy baked oatmeal from the bakery department), I was famished. And bordering on hangry. So I opened one of the bag of pretzels and ate a few handfuls as I drove.

We picked up some Wendy’s salads, and I’m proud to say that my hunger didn’t force me to weaken and get the crispy chicken sandwich and fries I really wanted. I got a salad, and after I ate it when we got home, it just wasn’t hitting the spot. I went back to the pretzels I opened in the car. Then I dipped into the baked oatmeal. I went back to the pretzels and then I just felt sick. And ashamed of myself.

But that didn’t stop us from going out to a nice dinner later on that night. I had soup and ahi tuna, so my dinner wasn’t that bad, but I still felt awful, both because I knew I had eaten way, way too much and because I was severely disappointed in myself.

I woke up Saturday determined to be better. I decided to go for a walk, but since my folks live on a dirt road, and it had rained so it was all mud, I headed to the track at my old high school. I love walking on those rubbery tracks, but my God, they are so boring compared to walking the city streets or the woods surrounding my parents’ where I really wanted to walk, so after I hit the two-mile mark, I told myself I’d do another half mile and head home.

Just as I started the final two laps, a woman who had continually outpaced me — and I was walking “very brisk,” according to Map My Walk — passed me again, but this time she said hello and commented on how nice the day was so far. We started walking together and talking about walking, health and we even shared weight-loss tips with each other.

Before we knew it, we both exceeded our walking goals — by two and a half miles! It was great to have someone to pass the time with, and Denise and I exchanged numbers to continue sharing tips and walk the next time I’m back in Dallas. It was such a pleasant surprise, one that doesn’t really happen here in the city, where you just start chatting with a stranger.

I was so glad our walking paths crossed, and her pushing me to go those extra miles was instrumental in keeping me on the straight and narrow the rest of my time at home. Of course I ate Mom’s famous whimpies, but I only had one with a bun and just a small follow-up scoop of the meat, and when I still felt hungry, I had grilled chicken with spinach and balsamic. While I treated myself to some chips, I didn’t house most of the bag like I used to do.

I stayed pretty good on Sunday, and when I weighed myself Monday morning — just as a check up, not because I have an obsession with the scale — I had maintained Friday’s weight, which had always been unheard of after a weekend at home.

I knew going home to my parents, who used to own a restaurant and always had the best food around the house, would be a huge test to the willpower I’ve been building the past few months, but I daresay I passed with flying colors.

Now onto the next challenge, whatever that may be!

Nikki

 

Vixen in the Kitchen: Quinoa-stuffed tomatoes

Even though I’ve been doing most of our cooking, it’s been a while since I’ve felt like a vixen in our kitchen.

I’ve been bored and uninspired, falling into the rut of making the same things from my roster over and over. The fella is such an imaginative and inspired cook, so there’s some pretty big shoes to fill, but no matter how many dinners I make, I still get so nervous that I’m going to screw something up.

But I’ve started making a big batch of quinoa during the week to have for my lunches and am kind of quinoa-obsessed right now, so I thought I’d incorporate it into dinner one night. Since I was also craving my tried-and-true parmesan tomatoes, I thought I’d change them up by stuffing with quinoa.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Figuring two per person, I got six big beefsteak tomatoes. (There’s one hidden under the biggest one on top)
– Quinoa, olive oil, breadcrumbs and shredded mozzarella cheese.

I pre-made the quinoa (according to the box instructions) earlier in the day so it was cool for handling.

I heated the oven to 400 degrees, dug out the tomato stems and used a melon baller to remove most of the the “guts.”

As the oven heated, I mixed a few tablespoons of olive oil into the quinoa, tasting along the way until it was the right amount of saturated, and then added a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs. I mixed the cheese in last, and used about half of the package. I spooned the mixture into the tomatoes and topped it with a small pinch of cheese.

I popped the tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes as I steamed fresh broccoli in the microwave, which I doused with some balsamic vinegar and dusted with breadcrumbs. The broccoli then went in the oven for 10 minutes, making the total cooking time just 20 minutes!

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Super easy, super fast and super delicious!

What’s your favorite quinoa recipe? I’m dying to try some new ones!

Nikki

Fighting with the scale

I have, quite literally, been walking my ass off the past few months.

My previous post about walking 25 miles over the course of a weekend, while I find it super impressive, is just part of what a normal week is for me. This week, for example, I’ve already exceeded 25 miles, and it’s only Thursday, and I’ll be putting on my Reeboks as soon as this post is done and logging another six or seven miles by the time I get home.

According to the first-quarter stat update from Map My Walk, I’ve already done 205 miles in 2014, and the e-mail said I’m “on track to hit 822” by yearend. I love a challenge, so I plan to raise that number by 178 to make it an even 1,000 miles at least.

Having said that and that fact that I’ve been walking my ass off and feeling my jeans get bigger and getting back into some of the clothes that have been shoved into the bottom of a drawer or the back of my closet, the scale has just been an unbudging SOB. In fact, it even went back up five pounds, which I know is a bold-faced lie because 1) I’m wearing those clothes that finally fit again, 2) I definitely see a difference in my face and stomach and 3) I am more often than not eating less than my caloric allowance because of all that damn walking, which is obviously a key to weight loss.

The scale has been giving me NO love lately. (Getty Images photo)

The scale has been giving me NO love lately. (Getty Images photo)

It’s been depressing me, to be honest, and the old me would’ve been derailed by my weekly (or multi-weekly, if I’m being completely honest) weigh-ins ten times over, so what the hell gives? I have never eaten so well, so clean and so good in my life — I mean, I am eating spinach and other veggies and fruits like it’s my damn job, we’ve pretty much cut out everything white and hardly eat a starch with dinner anymore. I actually crave all these good things on a daily basis, and even on the weekends, when we have our one lax day where we might, say, have an Irish breakfast for brunch or indulge in a burger or share a lemon gingerbread cookie at our favorite bakery, it’s usually after one of our mammoth walks so at the end of the day, I still have a ton of calories left over.

So yes, scale, I am having a pretty big beef with you right now. I’ve been chalking it up to the fact that it was the cheapest scale they had at the store when I bought it last year, but c’mon. It’s one of those stupid old non-digital ones, how could you not work properly? Especially after you showed me that 15-pound loss so lovingly just a few weeks back?

Last night, I finally confessed my depression about the whole thing to the fella, and he found it BS, too, saying he knows I’ve been losing because he sees it when he looks at me and knows how well I’ve been doing. He thought maybe it’s because it’s a cheapo scale and that maybe, since he was standing on one of the floorboards that creak in the house because it’s slightly raised, where I’m stepping on in the bedroom might be uneven or something.

With that in mind this morning, when I finally decided to hop back on (it’s been about a week since I last weighed myself because of this whole scale-hating episode), I moved the scale and voila, there was that lower needle that I’ve been looking for, thank the gods of weight loss!

In my years (and years) of trying to lose, I have always read in fitness magazines and on blogs that you should throw your scale out because of the very reason I’m about to mention as the reason I just can’t perform said action. Most women have been trained to think in numbers when it comes to weight, not just “going by how your clothes feel” like those blogs and magazine articles tell us to do.

It’s really hard for me to not track my progress with a scale, and I think that not having one when we first moved to New York, though it was not the sole catalyst for the weight gain I am now battling, I do regret not having one to check in on. I think seeing the number creep up might’ve helped get me in line a lot more than my tightening pants, which is stupid, I know, but I think some of you will agree with me that we sometimes come up with excuses like, “Oh, they were just washed,” and then come home with the button imprint embedded on our bellies.

So what about you? Are you a slave to a scale or a go-by-the-fit-of-my jeans kind of person? I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions!

Nikki