It’s ok LL Cool J, you can call it comeback

10 Apr

I’d like to tell you that my months-long hiatus was a completely productive one, that I was so busy hitting the gym and loosing weight I simply had no time to post.

I’d be a big, fat (pun intended) liar.

When I began this blog years ago, I tried to make one promise: to be thoroughly honest. I’ve shared my honest opinions on many subjects, including the ones about self image and my desperate struggle to get a better hold on it. I was doing well. I was feeling confident. Then suddenly I just simply wasn’t and the downward spiral started from there.

Before I continue, I ask the nay-sayers out there to bite their tongues before calling me “hypocrite.” I admittedly preached the need to be dedicated, the need to have constant drive. That didn’t mean I found it to be easy. This is the real account of my journey to a healthier me. So when I have down-moments, they really happened, and as promised I am sharing them.

Firstly, I got very, very sick for two weeks. I had a cough that kept my family up at night and a nauseated feeling that made the gym impossible. Not a big deal, once I felt better I promised myself I’d get back on the horse. After I recuperated, we were heading to shoot HomeMade Healthy’s St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza when Megan texted me about how awfully sick she was, but wanted to go through with it anyway. When we arrived, I found out how she was so not kidding. Her eyes were half open, her speech incoherent, her poor little nose stuffed and beaming red. She looked like me two weeks earlier.

“Let’s do this,” she weakly chanted with a forced, enthused pump of her fist.

I warily looked her over and asked if she was sure. She nodded and smiled as excitedly as she could.

Now maybe at this point your saying to yourself, “huh, I never saw that episode!” Well that’s because poor Megan was so sick and I was far too clueless during the whole shooting, that the footage was deemed impossible to use. To Megan’s credit it was a delicious meal of Shamrock Pizzas and Baked Potato Skins! I just couldn’t put the both of us on air without the best quality we were capable of producing. I will not end up on Tosh.0 as the stupid fat chick that looked to her co-star whom was loopy on cold-medicine for help with how to smash up the insides of a potato because she was too clueless as to how to do it. I am honest, not self-destructive.

As we packed up and headed out so a drowsy, sickened Megan could recuperate, I sat in the car with this sinking feeling. I hadn’t posted anything in weeks, I wasn’t loosing weight, and I had no motivation to even think about exercising. Megan and I were rushing around weekly to ensure a decent episode while we both had a million other responsibilities to tend to, and again I still hadn’t dropped one stinkin’ LB. What was the point?

So I fell into an all too familiar, scary pattern. The one where I ate what I wanted, stress ate, didn’t see the inside of the gym and cried because I couldn’t stand the way I looked in the mirror.

On top of all of this, I was having some strange skin issues. It is no secret I have varicose veins, I’d had them forever, so when I saw a splotch of discoloration on my leg last July I thought nothing of it. Fast forward to the end of February/early March (the time when I stopped posting) The discolored spots spread all over my legs and even to my stomach. Though the marks were noncontagious, not itchy, un-raised, not scaly and virtually painless, I was still grossed out by them. I went to the dermatologist and after a month of going to a specialist, getting three biopsies and not knowing what the bleep I had, I was completely depressed and completely burnt out (I’ll get to the results in a minute.).

I am not to proud to admit this: I needed help. Counting calories wasn’t working. Wallowing certainly wasn’t working. I have a stress eating problem with no end to the stress in sight and a potential health problem I needed to address, I knew I needed to get my whole self healthy as soon as possible.

I complained to my mom, and her logical response was to join her at Weight Watchers.

Looking at my mom’s 25lb-lighter body (seriously, the woman is looking great) I couldn’t deny that it was probably a good idea. After a week on the diet, I weighed in last Monday at 2.8 lbs lighter and am on an eating regiment that honestly works with my life. I felt hopeful and focused for the first time in a long while. I eat tons of fruit and veggies, and basically am learning the more nutritional options I have rather then measuring random calories into my day. Even when I got the news Thursday that my skin issue was officially partial parasporiousis the beginning stages of mycosis fungoides, a very low low low level cancer that is considered to be a type of lymphoma, I only binged within “point range.” Speaking of which, I am fine. There really aren’t any treatments besides sitting in natural sunlight (weird, right?) using topical cream and monitoring it to make sure it doesn’t get out of control. Though I’ll have it forever, the doc says that it most likely won’t get worse and I’ll be cool. It’ll suck having flare ups of gross looking skin, and although I have the blessed ability to hide those active spots, I’ll sill know it is there.  Hearing any level of the “C Word” is scary and though I’ll most likely be fine, I am freaked out enough to know I have to get the rest of me in as best shape as possible.

I know before I talked about counting calories as a way to loose weight. I’m not knocking it now, it definitely can work. I am just in search of a more holistic approach which I think I’ve found in WW. My Catholic school training taught me how to follow the rules, and parameters are a good thing for a person in my dieting situation.

About 1,020 words later you just need to know that I am back, and going to do my best to keep it that way!

HomeMadeHealthy Episode 6: It’s BACON!

28 Feb

Being a healthy eater sometimes means words like “salt,” “cream of” and “bacon” are eradicated from your vocabulary. Well not with HomeMade Healthy! For this episode we are delivering a loaded soup made to satisfy your taste buds in the coldest of winters. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Serving Size: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Calories: 295
Ingredients:

Baked Potatoes (12 oz), cut into 4ths
¼ Cup Chopped Onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ cup 1% milk (organic or smart balance)
½ cup fat-free half and half
1 tablespoon Wondra
¼ cup low fat sour cream
4 slices low sodium bacon
1 cup reduced 2% Milk cheddar cheese
½ cup sliced scallions

Directions

In a medium pot, boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes.  Heat the olive oil in a pan; add onion and garlic, and sauté until soft.  Add in the half and half, milk gently stir and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the Wondra flour and whisk to incorporate.  Mix in the cheddar cheese.  Chop the potatoes in cubes, mashing slightly.  Add them to the mixture and gently stir. While this simmers for about 15 minutes, cook the bacon.  Dice the scallions into medium-thin rounds.  Top the soup with sour cream, bacon, and scallions

Light Salad:

Serves: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total Calories: 90
Ingredients:

1 bag field greens
1 pear
1 oz cup dried cranberries
8 Tablespoons fat-free vinaigrette

Place about 1 cup of field greens on a plate.  Top with three slices of pears and about ½ oz of dried cranberries.  Pour two tablespoons of fat-free vinaigrette, raspberry or red wine are recommended.

HomeMade Healthy Episode 5: Falling In Love with Food– A Valentine’s Day Special

14 Feb

Ah Valentine’s Day, such a fickle hallmark holiday. While some of us are basking in the glory of love and ready to shower their significant other in chocolate galore, others are planning to loose themselves to the bottom of the ice cream pint. Either way, we at THICKthin say halt! Here is a quick easy way to to delight your taste buds and fall in love with healthy food all over again! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Covered Clementines

Calories: 60 per two sqares of melted chocolate (about 5 pieces)
Ingredients:

2 clementines
Melting Chocolate

Directions:

Melt the chocolate and dip about half of a clementine slice in the chocolate.  Repeat.  Let cool on parchment or wax paper for about 1 hour.

Chicken Florentine

Serving Size: 2
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Oven Temp: 350
Calories
: 200 per stuffed chicken
Ingredients:

2 Pieces Chicken, pounded thin
1 Bag Fresh Spinach
½ Cup Fat-Free Ricotta
½ tablespoon Garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon Shallots (minced)
Dash Spices (oregano, basil, parsley)
Dash Pepper

Directions:

Pound the chicken until very thin, using a metal meat pound (or a hammer if you don’t have one, but be careful not to tear the chicken).  Next, cook the spinach until  wilted, not overdone.  Mix ½ cup ricotta with the garlic, shallots, spices, and pepper.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the ricotta mixture with the spinach.  Place about half of the mixture on each chicken breast.  Roll the chicken breast up and secure with toothpicks. Take out the toothpicks and serve!

White sauce:
Serving Size: 2
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Calories: 50 per 1/4 of the sauce
Ingredients:

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth (add more as needed)
3 tablespoons Wondra

Directions:

Make a rue by whisking wondra into the chicken broth slowly.  Add in the can of cream of mushroom soup very slowly.  Continually whisk until all of the soup is added and the mixture is smooth.  You will have extra sauce.

Sorta’ HomeMade Healthy…

9 Feb

Unfortunately, this week proved to be impossible for us to create the next episode of HomeMade Healthy due to personal reasons, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of you all! Well you and my ever-hungry stomach…

My mix

I was thumbing through the  January 2011 issue of Family Circle when I came across a recipe on pg 137. It was a “healthy” chocolate chip cookie recipe loaded with nuts and tiny morsels. The idea was that using less chips and smaller-sized cookies counted for fewer calories whilst still being satisfying. I practically swung the kitchen door open and exulted in rapturous glory. You may not remember, but I once proclaimed myself a cookie-holic. The seven steps haven’t begun working for me yet.

I get artsy sometimes

So, in honor of Joe who feared that my dieting would cause me to never bake cookies again and in honor of my guilty pleasure I got myself the necessary ingredients to make these mini-delights.

I am not a huge fan of anything but chocolate in my cookies, to I nixed the nuts and poured less morsels in. I simply followed the directions on the Nestle mini-morsels packet, but instead of making full sized cookies I cooked tiny dollops up to cut calories and increase cookie amounts. I also cut out the salt, something us Gordons have always done come cookie baking time

Tiny dollup sized cookies ready to bake

I have a whole theory on the perfect amount cookies to consume in a sitting. Ever since I was a kid, I got 3 cookies at a time to dip in milk. When I was able to reach the cabinet I would open the package, pull out 3 and pop one really quickly as if it wouldn’t count. The pop-able amount increased, along with my waistline.

My smaller cookies and new attitude created a whole different cookie eating experience. The smaller bites at slower intervals helped me feel fuller faster as well satisfied for half the calories due to the cookies size.

Can you say "yum?"

Healthiest recipe ever? No. A sensible twist on a comforting old favorite? Hell yes.

Demonizing cookies won’t make my cravings any better, but eating them more intelligently will.

More Veggies, please

2 Feb

I have a huge issue with vegetables. I can only eat them, and certain ones at that, raw. The rest are on my “do not ever touch, ever, list.”

“Laur, want some peas?” my mother asks me at the dinner table. She can barely keep a straight face as she inches that bowl of disgusting green slop towards my plate.

“You’re hilarious,” I retort, scrunching my nose in disapproval.

“Well how about some cooked carrots…” she adds more seriously, picking up the plate to pass.

“C’mon Mom, you know I can only eat those raw! When they are cooked they are so mushy…” I am practically quivering at the thought of that texture in my mouth.

“Well these are honey glazed, try them,” she insists.

“No thank you, ” I kindly reply.

“Lauren, just try one,” evidently irritated by her tone of voice.

“Ma’ I said no thank you,” I say more firmly.

“Lauren just…” she begins

“NO!!!!” I whine/bellow.

“What are you, 5?!?! Try a damn carrot!!’

“UGH, FINE!” I finally spit back, reluctantly reaching to grab the tiniest taste. I brace myself and bite…”oh wow, this isn’t bad!”

My mom fittingly rolls her eyes.

I wish I could tell you this didn’t happen last week at dinner, but then I’d be a big liar. For a big girl, I can be very picky about what I eat. If it doesn’t look familiar in some way, I want nothing to do with it. Ever since starting HomeMade Healthy with Megan, my taste buds are slowly expanding, mostly do to her amazing skills as a cook. But sometimes for me, veggies are just not in the “doable” category.

The CDC actually has some unique tips on how to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine, subtly. Check out my favs:

Breakfast: Start the Day Right

  • Substitute some spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half of the cheese in your morning omelet. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to the dish with fewer calories than the egg or cheese.
  • Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches, or strawberries. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer calories.

photo of two sandwichesLighten Up Your Lunch

  • Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. The new version will fill you up with fewer calories than the original.
  • Add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers, in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup. The vegetables will help fill you up, so you won’t miss those extra calories.

Dinner

  • photo of two soupsAdd in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will be just as satisfying but have fewer calories than the same amount of the original version.
  • Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate. If they do not, replace some of the meat, cheese, white pasta, or rice with legumes, steamed broccoli, asparagus, greens, or another favorite vegetable. This will reduce the total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat. BUT remember to use a normal- or small-size plate — not a platter. The total number of calories that you eat counts, even if a good proportion of them come from fruits and vegetables.

Weekly Losses

1 Feb

When dieting, you tend to focus on numbers more than ever. You develop a love/hate relationship with inanimate objects, like food and your scale. The calorie counting, the weight watching, you are constantly running numbers in your head, comparing with your work out buddy… it is absolutely consuming. Not to mention, it can be depressing at times, especially when you don’t loose the weight you want to in your weekly weigh in. “Only 2 lbs?!,” you gasp in shocked horror. You did everything right: you worked out, you didn’t even sneak 20 calories over your limit and you even skipped the recreational beer this weekend just to stay on track. You should have lost 5–no wait 7– lbs at the very least, right? Wrong.

According to several websites, including this one, it is completely normal– and healthy– to be loosing roughly 3 lbs a week. Multiply that by 4 weeks, and your inching off 12lbs a month! By the time June hits I could be down rough 50 lbs, just by eating right and staying realistic.This is something I can live with, though it took me a while to get to a more calm point.

Loosing up to 5 lbs in the first week doesn’t help when you see the number go down significantly the second week, but that is normal according to the article. The key is not to focus so much on the quantity of weight your loosing but the quality way you are loosing it. Eating less is certainly important, but no so much if you aren’t eating enough to the point where you are passing out and becoming emaciated. Deprivation is not the way to go, no matter what weight loss plan you’re on.

I am learning that slow and steady wins the race, and is certainly a more realistic way to reach a goal then panicking over numbers. The weight loss will come as long as I/we stick to the program! Happily, I’ve lost 3 lbs since my last weigh in, so instead of beating myself up, I am going to revel in that 3 lbs and keep on trucking.

HomeMade Healthy Episode 4- Supreme Superbowl

31 Jan

It’s Superbowl Sunday next weekend and there is a lot of pressure to indulge in the glory of hot wing, chips, dip and beer.

This week HomeMade Healthy has a recipe that will not only keep you on track, but satisfy any of the football fanatics in your life! The great part about this meal is it is easy to add your own twist to it. For us particularly, we decided to make it less spicy and completely full of veggies. This particular recipe was inspired by Megan’s Aunt Lou, a lovely lady who had  be cooking this similar meal for her own Vegan daughter. You could add beef, take away beans, remove a particular vegetable you hate or just experiment with an idea all your own. If you do, send it in to us! We’d love to see your photos and hear your story. Email laurgor510@gmail.com

Chili Supreme***
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 Hours
Serving Size: 10
Calories: 200**

1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup stock (plus the remainder of a quart to be used throughout)
1 can diced green chilies
1 can peeled tomatoes
2 large carrots
2 large celery stalks
1 large green pepper
1 can tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp cumin
3 cans (15oz each) beans

First, in a large pot (big enough for all the chili) sauté the onions and garlic in the stock until the onions are clear and the garlic is soft.  Add in the chilies, tomatoes, carrots, green pepper, and celery.   Add more stock. Cook until the veggies begin to soften.  Add in the spices, one spice at a time, and bring the mixture to a simmer, adding more stock as needed. Add in the tomato paste and gently stir until combined. Do a taste test now! Add more spice if needed to fit your taste, or add more stock or tomatoes to lessen the spice. Once you get it tasting yummy, add in the drain and rinsed beans. Gently stir them in. Let the chili lightly simmer for at least an hour. Stir intermittently and taste to make sure the flavor is suited to you.

Crescent Rolls Supreme
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 12-15 minutes
Serving Size: 8 per tube
Calories: 170**

Ingredients

Pizza Stuffed:
1 tube of Reduced Fat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 servings, 32 slices (roughly) of reduced fat pepperoni
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese

Broccoli Stuffed:
1 bag of fresh broccoli (steamed)
I cup of 2% reduced fat colby-jack cheese
1 tube of Reduced Fat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

*** Completely Vegan Chili if you exclude toppings of cheese and sourcream

**Calories are estimates due to serving size produced and serving size consumed. Also, calories are according to our specific ingredients… should you find a lower calorie ingredient that doesn’t sacrifice taste, use it and let us know about it!