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Archive for November, 2012

Emotional Eating: How to Not Devour That Bag of Uneaten Candy Corn

November 27, 2012 2 comments

First things first, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve checked in here.  It’s actually been a good couple of weeks on the weight loss front!  On Friday, November 16, I weighed in at 228.0 pounds, which was a 1.3 pound loss from the week prior.  Last week, I decided to move my weigh in up to Thanksgiving morning instead of Friday morning, so that I wouldn’t get discouraged by weighing in after the Thanksgiving meal.  That weigh in on Thursday, 11/22 was 227.1 pounds, which is .9 pounds less than the week before.  So 2.2 pounds lost over the last couple of weeks!  Not bad.

I’ll be honest, I don’t expect to post a loss this week.  Thanksgiving was a day of indulgence.  I wasn’t so bad with the meal, but our family sweet potato casserole recipe is like crack – and like the addict that I am, I ate way too much of it throughout the day.  I wish my body weren’t so sensitive to one day of high calorie eating, but it is.  I’m already up from last week (yes – I weigh every day, “official” weigh in day or not), and I threw my back out on Friday, so exercise, while I’ve tried to keep it up, has been lacking.  That concerns me a bit since exercise is already a struggle this time of year, but it is what it is.

And that leads me to tonight, sitting here after midnight, writing this blog while I drink a diet soda.  Why am I doing this?  Because frankly, this is what’s keeping me from burying my face in the leftover bag of candy corn from the fall holidays that’s in my pantry and hasn’t been eaten yet.  You see, I’m an emotional eater.  I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink to excess, and I don’t gamble.  The fact of the matter is, I’m not even the least bit tempted by those things, no matter how bad my day or how much stress I’m under.  BUT…  find me at home on a Monday evening after a stressful day returning to work after a holiday break, with my back hurting still from injuring it last week, and combine that with the butterflies and such that go along with the beginnings of a new, albeit seemingly fantastic, relationship, and I just want to inhale that damn candy corn like a human dustbuster.

Since re-starting my weight loss journey in July, I really haven’t been tempted to eat emotionally.  This is a huge sign of progress for me, since I used food to numb emotion for decades.  But as my night began to wind down tonight, I felt that familiar longing for the first time in a long while.  My new beau had been over for dinner and left to go home,and next thing I knew, my mind started wandering to how cruddy going back to work from the holiday had been, to how my back hurt when I moved, and to other various and sundry anxieties – both good and bad.  Emotional eaters use food like an alcoholic uses whiskey – to numb emotions, good and bad.  And all of a sudden, I really wanted to raid my pantry and fridge…particularly for that leftover bag of hardened, sugary candy corn.  So what’s the difference?  What stopped me? Read more…

‘Tis the Season: Five Tips for Taming Holiday Weight Gain

November 11, 2012 Comments off

I’m sitting here as I type watching a Hallmark Christmas movie.  Yes, it’s saccharin and laden with fantasy…and I love it.  These will become a weekend staple for the next six weeks or so.  And as the holidays are about to kick into high gear, it’s time to strategize for all the amazing, rich food that will be tempting us.  But first, an update on the last week…

A week ago, I weighed in at 232.1 pounds.  This was a gain over the week before, and honestly for the few weeks prior, I had kind of felt like I was at a bit of a plateau.  Exercise has definitely become more challenging with the time change, and I do plan to break down and join a gym soon.  But this week, I was back on track!  I weighed in at 229.3!!!  That’s a 2.8 pound loss from last week, and a 29.6 pound loss from when I re-started my weight loss efforts in July.  From my all time high of 315, it’s about an 86 pound loss now!  Being out of the 230’s is truly uncharted territory for me…  I think it’s been pre-high school since I’ve been this light!  That’s great motivation!!!

My goal is to reach 215 pounds by New Year’s.  That would be a 100 pound loss for me.  That’s about 14 more pounds in the next 7 weeks, or a two-pound a week loss.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas thrown in, along with my trip to New York in early December for the Cyndi Lauper Holiday concert, and the various parties I’ll be attending, I will NOT be beating myself up if I don’t reach my goal exactly on time.  However, I do want to ensure that I continue a downward trend, and certainly not gain any weight.  So here’s how I’m planning to do that – with my five tips for taming holiday weight gain: Read more…

Healthy Cooking: Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini

November 3, 2012 3 comments

Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini

This week I thought I’d share with you a staple recipe in my kitchen.  Cooking something healthy and delicious at home can be easy and rewarding, and this recipe for Chicken Eggplant Marinara incorporates protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains in a quick and satisfying way that has become a weekly part of my nutrition routine.  It makes four servings, so for a single guy like me, I cook once, and have four lunches and dinners!  But first, let me give you an update on the last week.  I weighed in yesterday at 232.1 pounds.  This was a gain of 1.3 pounds from the week before.  I was disappointed, but I also know why it happened.  I was sick with a cold/allergies for the first part of the week, and I also had plans after work almost every night between my birthday and Halloween this week.  This led to zero exercise this week, a homemade apple cake my mom made me for my birthday, and a couple of high calorie meals that may have included onion rings.  Oh well.  It was one week.

By the way, my 33rd birthday on Tuesday marked 3 years of being on this health and fitness journey!  It was on that day that I stepped into the office of a nutritionist, and began to take the reigns of my life.  What a three years it’s been!  Not only have I lost about 85 pounds, I’ve gained the confidence to change careers, to come out of the closet and begin living authentically, and to live my life with greater purpose and vision.  Reconstructing my life at 30 really took off and became a lasting theme for me!

Del Grosso’s Sunday Marinara

So below is my recipe for Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini (pictured above).  This recipe uses clean ingredients and whole grains, but also takes advantage of a healthy store-bought jarred marinara.  When choosing a marinara, I like to look for something with no added sugar.  This can be difficult as most mass-marketed brands do add sugar as a way to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.  For me, I don’t like the flavor, and I don’t want the extra calories and carbs. My absolute  favorite brand and flavor of jarred marinara is La Famiglia Del Grosso’s Aunt Mary Ann’s Sunday Marinara (pictured at right).  It is SOOOOO good!!!  The ingredients list is all natural with no sugar, everything can be pronounced by a five year old, and it tastes like it’s been simmering on an Italian grandmother’s stove all day.  It’s a little pricey at $6-7 a jar, but I promise you it’s worth every penny, and for Atlanta locals, I actually found it on sale at Publix this week as a Buy-One-Get-One-Free deal – It made my day, and I stocked up!  So here’s the recipe; I hope you enjoy!

Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium to large eggplant

2 medium onions

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 jar marinara with no added sugar (typical size, 24-30oz, I use Del Grosso Sunday Marinara)

8 ounces whole wheat rotini (measured dry, approximately 3 cups)

Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano as a topping, optional

Begin by peeling your onions and then cutting them in half lengthwise.  Lay the flat sides down, and slice each onion half into thin (1/4 inch) half moon slices (This gives your sauce a more interesting texture than diced onions).  Take the ends off the eggplant, and then slice into three planks lengthwise.  Cut each plank into three or four strips, and then chop into approximately 1 inch pieces, leaving the skin on.  Also chop your chicken breast into bite size pieces (3/4 to 1 inch), and toss the chopped chicken in 1 teaspoon of reduced sodium soy sauce.  This small amount of soy sauce will not add an Asian or soy flavor to the dish, it will simply give the bland chicken a richness as it cooks that will add to the depth of flavor of the entire dish – almost like a quick and easy brine.  Don’t worry – the flavors are Italian, through and through!

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, and when it is hot, add the olive oil.  Begin boiling your pasta water/preparing your pasta during this time, as well, according to package directions.  (As a side note, I use a microwave pasta cooker called the Fasta Pasta.  If you follow their cooking chart it really does come out al dente every time, and there’s no waiting for water to boil, or cleanup of a separate pot and colander, etc.)

To the olive oil add the sliced onions and chopped eggplant, seasoning with the salt pepper and dried herbs.  The eggplant will absorb the olive oil at this point, which is why it is important to use a non-stick pan.  As the eggplant cooks down, it will release the oil into the sauce once again.  Sautee, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is cooked through and tender and has a little color.  At this point, add the chopped chicken breasts that have been tossed in the soy sauce, as well as the garlic powder or chopped fresh garlic, and sautee until the chicken is white with a little color on the outside and just cooked through.

When the chicken is cooked through, add the jarred marinara, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Just before serving, add the cooked whole wheat rotini and toss gently until well combined.  This makes four approximately 2 cup servings.  Top with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, if desired.