Progress Update – as of August 30, 2015

An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a hobo I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time

Whitesnake, anyone? Good song. Relevant, I think, to my life right now.

HOW is it the end of August already? HOW, I tell you?

I did it again, as you may have noticed. I slacked off. I moved, my beloved kitty died (he was 16, so he had a GREAT life, but sad to see him go) and I wrote an exam for a university course that I am taking, so my life the past few weeks has been packing, studying and, sadly, grieving.

It’s just an excuse, though. I know it is. I could make exercise a priority in my life. I think, for most of us, not having enough time is really not true. My life was this: go to work, come home from work, eat supper, study, pack, go to bed. I studied for an hour and packed for an hour every night, if that. So where did all of those other hours go? Sure, there was a little time for me to make supper or to pack my lunch for the next day. But there was also definitely time for me to have squeezed in 30 minutes of exercise. But I didn’t, because I am not accountable for my time. Like most of us, I get sucked into my computer and my phone and before I know it, I’ve spent half an hour looking at some random article that I don’t really even care about.

My life has simplified a lot now, which is nice. I have fewer commitments that I had previously and I’ve moved to a place that is two blocks from a pool (I love swimming, I could swim every day) AND I have signed up to take some dance classes. I hate conventional exercise, I am realizing. I mean, I like going for walks, but the leisurely pace at which I walk isn’t really enough to have a huge impact on my fitness or my weight. And I don’t like feeling like I have to go for a walk, I like walking when I want to get outside and enjoy myself. So here’s to new beginnings!

I think I am going to put photos up. I have been reluctant to do so because it’s embarrassing, but maybe it will keep me accountable. Not my face, just myself.

I have a lot of self-esteem issues. I have recently developed very strong feelings for a friend of mine and I’d like to pursue it  – and I *think* he feels the same way – but I am realizing that the way I feel about myself is holding me back, because I feel like he could never possibly be attracted to someone who looks like me.

I do not want to lose weight for him, so that he would be attracted to me, but I feel this experience has taught me that I need to feel good about myself and love myself before I can let someone else love me. I think that having photos up will not only motivate me, but perhaps taking photographs and really forcing myself to look in the mirror all the time (something I generally avoid) will help me to appreciate who I am and love myself as I am, regardless of whether I fit into society’s idea of beautiful.

Cheers and happy losing!

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My Favourite Things: Cookbooks and Cooking Websites

I thought I would share my favourite cookbooks and cooking websites with you, in case you are looking for some healthy new recipes for the new year. I use all of these websites and cookbooks on a regular basis and I highly recommend them.

Please know that I am not being paid, sponsored or compensated in any way by any of the creators, owners and writers of the following websites and cookbooks, nor am I in any way affiliated or associated with said creators/owners/writers. These are my honest opinions. 

Websites: 

http://www.skinnytaste.com/ – My favourite food website of all time, there are recipes for everything: baked goods, pasta, salads, dips, sauces, salad dressings, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free etc. etc. There are lots of healthy original recipes, but there are also many classic recipes (macaroni and cheese, spinach dip etc.) that are made healthier. Great site!

http://ohsheglows.com/ – All the recipes on this website are vegan. I myself am not vegan, but I have used lots of the recipes on here anyway (especially the oatmeal and the smoothies), making substitutions when necessary. Great assortment of healthy, fresh recipes.

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/ – A dessert blog! These recipes are also mostly vegan, but easily adaptable for non-vegan folks. I’m partial to the ice cream recipes!

http://pickyeaterblog.com/ – A vegetarian website with tons of delicious recipes. I try to eat at least one meatless dinner a week and this is a great resource for those. I’m partial to the Thai Yellow Curry and Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce recipes, myself.

Cookbooks:

*The Weight Watchers cookbooks marked with an asterisk are older ones, the points totals for the recipes are not valid with the Points Plus plan. However, you can of course recalculate, as all of the nutritional information is provided. 

Weight Watchers in 20 Minutes* – Lots of great, basic recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Weight Watchers: New Complete Cookbook* – Similar to the WW in 20 Minutes book, there are lots of great, healthy recipes for any time.

Weight Watchers: Take Out Tonight* – One of my favourite WW cookbooks, this book has recipes from all around the world: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Italian and one called “Deli Specials” which has an assortment of items like soups and sandwiches. A really great book, I have cooked from it many, many times.

Weight Watchers: Best Comfort Food Ever – Just like it says, a book full of healthier versions of your favourite comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, onion rings, clam chowder, turkey pot pie and chocolate chip cookies.

Abs Diet Cookbook by David Zinczenko – I have no idea where I got this book, to be honest. However, it has proved to be invaluable. The recipes in this book incorporate power foods (also known as superfoods). I’m sure many of you have heard of power foods, they are the “best” of the best of foods: fruits, veggies, nuts, oatmeal, whole grains, beans and legumes, lean meats etc. etc. Anyway, this book focuses on real, healthy recipes comprised of power foods.

Quinoa Revolution by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming – I love quinoa. Do you love quinoa? I really love it. This book uses quinoa in all sorts of ways: breakfast, lunch, dinner, baked goods, desserts etc. etc. The lasagna is excellent!

Power Foods by Editors of Whole Living Magazine – This book has the same concept as the Abs Diet Cookbook mentioned above, where all of the recipes consist of the 38 foods that Whole Living Magazine has deemed the best of the best. I got this one recently, so I haven’t tried that many recipes, but so far so good!

Now Eat This! Diet by Rocco Dispirito – Great book with all kinds of recipes. I really love the Stuffed Crepes with Orange Butter Syrup, Roast Beef with Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic Jus, Roast Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash Mash and Tarragon Gravy and the Fudgy Fruit and Nut Bars (which are made with black beans, seriously).

Notes:

The one thing that I dislike about some of these cookbooks or websites (Rocco’s book and the WW cookbooks, in particular) is that they often use “fake” foods, which I dislike. For example: light mayonnaise, artificial sweeteners and processed or packaged foods. This is of course a personal choice, but I would rather eat real sugars (including maple syrup and honey) than Splenda or Stevia or agave syrup (which is marketed as being a “healthier” choice, but is actually almost as processed and bad for you as high-fructose corn syrup, yikes). Also, light mayonnaise is not actually mayonnaise. (It says “mayonnaise-type spread or dressing” in teensy print on the front of the bottle.) Additionally, some of the recipes call for packaged chocolate or low-calorie syrups. Once again, I would rather a) make my own chocolate syrup (I have a killer recipe, using all real ingredients, no chemicals) or b) have pure, unprocessed maple syrup instead of maple-flavoured syrup filled with chemicals.

I understand that the point of these substitutions are to reduce the caloric value, but I would rather take the calories and leave the chemicals out. Calories are not the be all, end all when it comes to healthy eating; the nutritional punch and where those fats and carbohydrates come from are what counts. I’d rather eat real, unprocessed food and be healthy than be a little thinner but be lacking in nutrients and overdosing on chemicals. Just my two cents.