Small Steps – 3rd Month

Another month – more weight gone. September has been the “hump” month. July and August were the beginner months. I was full of enthusiasm and there was no temptation for me to stray.  I had the beginner’s energy and motivation. September came, and some tedium set in. I am pleased that I persevered. I kept at it. After all, I reasoned, this is what I plan to do the rest of my life – track my food and be mindful about eating. So I tracked it all – even the days I used lots of weekly points – even the two weigh-ins during the month when I gained weight.

With the month being such a challenge, I’m thrilled that I ended up with a loss at all.  I had some NSVs this month (non-scale victories), as well. 

  1. I worked more on self-care. I started a skin care routine. Since the first of September, I’ve had a nightly ritual of washing my face with a good quality cleanser, using a toner and night cream on my face. I spent my 71 years taking my good skin for granted. I have always worn makeup every day, but I rarely took it off before going to bed. I’d take off the old makeup immediately before putting on fresh makeup each morning. No more. 
  2. Part of my self-care has been another nightly routine of sipping a large cup of herbal tea prior to going to bed. That’s actually rather funny because I had a box of herbal teas that sat on my kitchen counter for a couple years, and I never drank any of it. So I gave it away a few months ago. Now I’m drinking it every night. That’s okay, though. A new box should be delivered today, and I already have the teas the fill it. 
  3. I have been exercising more. Not a lot, but I’ve made a start, and that’s good. We have a great exercise room with all the equipment I could ever want. So I have no excuse for not exercising. 
  4. I’ve gotten back into reading the Bible and having a morning devotional. That’s something I’ve done off and on for a long time. I’ve been consistent with it the past month.

So, even with the challenges, I am pleased with how September ended.  The total weight I’ve lost since I began on July 19th is 8.4 lbs. Slow and steady . . . . 

 

Baked Cheesy Biscuits with Eggs (4 points each, WW Blue)

The idea for these came from my sister, Janice, who posted the recipe on Facebook.  It’s a White Lily Flour recipe.  I revised it to better fit in with the WW Blue Plan, and I actually came up with a couple of variations. These are 4 points each (WW Blue Plan) if you use the Velveeta slices, and 3 points if you use the Canadian bacon. I had one for dinner tonight, and I am stuffed!

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Cheesy Biscuits with Eggs

1 cups self-rising flour (11 points)
4 eggs (0 points)
1/2  teaspoon yeast (0 points)
1/4  cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (0 points)
1/4  cup warm water (0 points)
1/2 teaspoon salt (0 points)
Pam cooking spray, butter flavor (0 points)
4 slices Velveeta cheese (6 points) OR 4 slices Canadian Bacon (1)  OR a combination of both. Just figure out the correct points.
Pam Cooking Spray, No-Stick, Butter Flavor (0 points)
salt/pepper, to taste
Other toppings you might want to add: spinach, onion – whatever you like.
  • In a large bowl, mix 3/4  cup of the flour with the yeast and salt. Reserve the extra 1/4 cup of the flour for later.
  • Add the yogurt and stir until it starts to form a ball.
  • Add the warm water and mix well. You should have a sticky ball of dough.
  • Sprinkle some of the reserved flour on a clean counter or pastry mat. (I actually used a paper towel).
  • Dump out the dough onto the floured mat.
  • Sprinkle more of the reserved flour on the dough, gently fold it over, and repeat until a good ball of dough is formed.
  • Spray your hands with Pam, take the dough and form it into 4 biscuits of equal size.
  • Take a small round cookie cutter and cut out a hole in each biscuit. Place the cut out rounds and the larger biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can push on the inner circle to widen it.  Trust me, you want that circle to be big enough to hold an egg!  Those circles that look so big in the photo close in a lot when they cook!
  • Spray the tops lightly with butter-flavored Pam.
  • Let rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 475 degrees for about 6-8 minutes until puffed but not browned.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven.
  • Either drape a slice of cheese over each of the large biscuits – using your finger to press it into the opening to form a deep cup, OR make four cuts on a slice of Canadian bacon (see photo) and overlap the edges to tuck it into the opening to form a deep cup. 
  • Crack an egg into each biscuit cup. If you look at the photos below, you will see that the egg white flowed over the edges of the biscuits. I worried, but when I took them out of the oven, they were fine. I even had a yolk roll over the edge of the biscuit. I just scooped it up with a spoon and put it back. LOL!
  • Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle other toppings – grated cheese on the ones with Canadian bacon (measure and count the points), chopped spinach leaves, etc.
  • Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue baking until the biscuits are golden and the egg whites are set, about 10 minutes more.
  • Serve immediately.

Notice in the photo above, the egg white that flowed out into the pan. It was fine! The top two have the slice of Velveeta, and the bottom two have the Canadian bacon. I liked the ones with the Canadian bacon best – and they were one point lower! Both were delicious, though!  A serving includes one of the large biscuits with the egg in the middle along with one of the smaller cutouts.

Zero-Point Taco Soup

The weather has turned cooler, and I saw something on Facebook about Zero-Point Taco Soup. I didn’t need persuading – that immediately became what I would make for dinner. I didn’t have taco seasoning on hand, and so I made a quick trip to Kroger to get some.

Within ten minutes of getting home, the soup was simmering on the stove. What could be simpler than opening a bunch of cans, a package of chicken breasts, and some seasoning, and dump it all in the cooking pot! The only other step was to shred the chicken after it had cooked.

I served it with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and a little grated Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Both of those are 0-points, too. If I used more (half ounce +) of the Cabot cheese, it would move to a point, but I kept it under 1/2 ounce. It was both tasty and filling. It tasted so good, I had a second bowl – and I counted the cheese as 1 point since I had two helpings of it!

The soup freezes well. So I will put some in the refrigerator to eat over the next couple days, and I will put some in the freezer to enjoy again in a few weeks.

Here is how I made it:

Zero-Point Taco Soup

  • 4 cans beans (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, great northern beans – whatever kind you like or a combination of beans. I used Kroger’s Tri-Bean Blend)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can tomato sauce OR pureed tomatoes
  • 1 qt. chicken broth (you can use less if you want your soup to be thicker)
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (add more or less, depending on your taste)
  • 1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • diced onion, peppers, garlic – to taste (can use fresh or dehydrated)
  • salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Dump everything into a large saucepan (or crockpot)
  2. Bring to a simmer
  3. Once chicken is cooked through, take it out, shred it, and add it back into the soup.
  4. To serve, you can top with sour cream or Greek yogurt, grated cheese, corn chips – whatever toppings you like

Zero Points on WW Blue Plan. Be sure to add points for any toppings you choose.

Get Outside! An Atomic Habit

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by [James Clear]Sometimes we come across a book that actually changes our lives. That happened to me a couple years ago when I read a book titled Atomic Habits by James Clear.  The basic premise is that if we set big goals, we often set ourselves up for defeat since big and perfect goals take so much time and effort. However, if we work on small habits – 3 minutes of exercise each morning, cutting out one teaspoon of sugar in our coffee, writing one thank you note each week, making two business calls before lunch – then it becomes like compound interest. The benefits snowball over time.

Back in March when this pandemic isolation began, I decided that one atomic habit I wanted to develop was getting outside for just a few minutes each day.  Here is a video I made on today’s walk. Excuse the breathlessness! I had just walked up a hill. I could’ve waited till I caught my breath to start the video, but this is calling “Living Real with Carol!” and the reality was that I was a little breathless at the moment.

Fast Food – Low Points

I had fast food after an appointment today. Fast food for lunch – and it was only 3 points.  I ate AFTER I made the video, and I ended up eating only half the salad.  So , in the video I say it’s 4 points. However, my actual points were:

sauces for dipping chicken (1/2 barbecue packet & 1/2 zesty buffalo packet) = 1 point

1/2 of side salad = 2 pts

Everything else was 0 points (grilled chicken, and lettuce, tomatoes in salad, and less than 1/2 of the light Italian dressing packet)

It was a filling lunch. I’ve really enjoyed Chick Fil A’s grilled chicken nuggets lately!

 

 

Weekly Weigh-In – 9/18/2020 – 9 weeks

Another “up” week. Last week I was down .8 lbs., and this week I’m up .8 lbs. so basically no progress in two weeks. It’s okay. Next week will be a good week for me.

I’m not surprised at my weight this week. I actually breathed a little sigh of relief that it was not more. I’m not sure why since I HAVE stuck to the WW plan this week. I just felt like I had gained. Maybe next week will have a big loss. 

My mother – my role model for good health

My mother is 97 years old. She still lives on her own, although she is able to do that only because I have 3 siblings who live in her town and can check on her daily. My mother has been on her own since my father died in 1986.. Over the years she has developed some habits of good health. Here are some of them:

(1) Walk with purpose. She has always walked briskly in order to get a little more benefit for her health. Although she frequently uses a walker now, until the last few years, she was always a quick walker. How much better for our general sense of well being to walk briskly as much as possible. She still walks out to the mailbox to get her newspaper and mail each day, and she bustles around the house doing daily chores. She wears a Fitbit and keeps track of her steps.

(2) Eat an apple, a banana, and half an orange every day. She says the apple is important for regularity, the banana helps with leg cramps, and the orange is for vitamin C.

(3) Keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with foods that build health: apples, bananas, oranges, low-fat milk, cheese, eggs, whole wheat bread, carrots, potatoes, butter, honey.

(4) She doesn’t have anything against pork, but she doesn’t eat it unless there isn’t another choice. She prefers beef over chicken or turkey because she remembers the days when chickens and turkeys were sold alive, and the housewife was the one who had to dispatch it and clean it before cooking it. I recall, as a young child, watching my mother kill and clean chickens that parishioners gave our family. She eats both chicken and turkey, but she prefers beef. Of course, if she had to butcher a cow or observe one being butchered, she probably would decide she didn’t care for beef either.

(5) Natural foods are the best. She doesn’t count points. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall her ever dieting. She eats whole wheat bread only, lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and small portions of meat. She drizzles local honey on her toast at breakfast.

(6) Use very little salt or sweeteners. When my father had a heart attack, my mother stopped using salt almost entirely. I complained at the lack of flavor in many of the foods she made, and I would sneak in a few shakes of salt whenever I could. However, in terms of health, my mother was right. We should enjoy the natural flavor of foods rather than depending on so much salt. Still, I like a little salt.

(7) Probably my mother’s only “weakness” when it comes to food is ice cream. She loves it. She keeps a couple of cartons of black walnut ice cream on hand at all times.

(8) She enjoys coffee – and she seems to especially enjoy the vanilla lattes I make for her when I visit. I used to go to Starbucks each morning to get them, but now I make them myself. She always drinks every drop and talks about how good it is. When she is on her own, she usually drinks a very weak cup of coffee with milk in it. She talks about how she and my father would always end a meal by sitting at the table, sipping coffee, and talking.

(9) She keeps her mind busy. She has always read a lot. Right now she is reading through the Bible again. When I talked with her yesterday, she said she was into the Psalms. She underlines as she reads.

(10) Last of all, she drinks lots of water. She takes TWO glasses of water back to her bedroom each evening to get her through the night, and she keeps a glass of water next to her during the day. Thanks to my sister, Janice, and my niece, Amanda, for reminding me about how my mother always drinks plenty of water and encourages all of us to do likewise.

That’s about it as far as the habits that I want to emulate. Just think, though, about how we could build our own health by following the 10 guidelines above.

Chick Fil A to the Rescue

Chick Fil A has become my go-to for fast food. I can get a 12-piece grilled nuggets (0 points), barbecue sauce packet (2 points), a small fruit cup (0 points), and I usually have my own Yeti tumbler of ice water with me. If not, I can get a Diet Coke or diet lemonade. It provides a tasty 2-point lunch (or dinner).

I got out of the house today, and after running my errands, I did my Chick Fil A run, and I’m good to go till dinner time. I will likely enjoy some frozen grapes when I get home, and I want to make some low-point muffins, too.

Ron will likely stop by Whole Foods on his way home and get fish for us to grill for dinner. Ron eats fish on a daily basis. I can eat it several days week. Halibut, especially, is my favorite.

 

Eating well and losing weight affects one’s blood pressure

Today I have not been feeling well – headache and a little light-headed. Oh great, I thought, I’m coming down with Covid-19. However, one of my sisters advised that I take my blood pressure since a low BP could cause one to feel light-headed. So I did – four times over the course of about 30 minutes because I’m compulsive like that. Here are the readings:

117/58       98/57       110/58      110/59

It’s a fairly consistent reading – especially for the second number.  And all four are too low. That could easily account for the light-headed feeling I’ve had – and maybe for the headache, too.

I take BP meds each evening. It’s a fairly low dose, but I’m thinking that with my healthy eating the past 7 weeks, plus losing some weight, that it has affected my BP.  So tonight I will cut my dose in half. I will continue to monitor my BP, and hopefully it will be better after a day or two.