Monday, February 28, 2011


I have officially updated my goal weight to ten pounds higher than my original goal weight...

New number: 145.

That will take some getting used to! I have been dreaming of "135" for so long that "145" just doesn't look right.

But I know in my heart that I will be very happy at 145, and will not need to get down to 135.

How do I know this? I'm pretty darn happy at 151, and was actually pretty happy at 161, to be honest. I want to get to 145 because I'm still a little "fluffy around the edges" and would love to tone up. 6 pounds should be more than enough to help with that. Plus I would love to have a little more wiggle room in regards to any possible "holiday weight gain" that tends to happen to me annually...

So... I only have 6 pounds to lose until I reach my goal weight?!
How did that happen? :-)

Time to switch up my workouts? *thoughts about my weight, too*

Lately I've been considering adding more strength and stretching to my workouts...

...but I don't really want to!!! I love cardio more than anything else, and don't really have extra time to actually ADD exercise... so I'm afraid that in order to start a strength/abs/yoga to my routine, I will have to actually subtract from my cardio time.

I'm about to get a new piece of cardio equipment, YAY!!! It's a recumbent stationary bike, which will be placed in the living room where the dead Gazelle sits.

Did I not mention on here that my Gazelle died? Yeah, it was a sad day. It still is sitting in the living room, broken. And it's broken in a way that seems unfixable... I find myself looking at it, thinking insane thoughts like, "Well, if I strapped a BIG BAR to that leg with some harness-ing stuff and a tarp... maybe?" It's time to take it to the curb. :-(

But, my cousin Mollie (hi, Mollie!!!) has offered me her old recumbant bike (did I say earlier that it was "new"? I meant new to me), which I know isn't the most heart-pumping workout, but I'm determined to make it work! It's free, it's nice, and it's easy. :-) I'm sure that if I add enough resistance, it will be challenging. Maybe it's just what I need to switch up my cardio and to lose a few more inches of hips? We shall see...

I'm getting the bike this weekend, and will post pictures and discuss my first bike workout shortly afterwards. I'm stoked!

For now, I think that I will be adding in 15-20 minutes of light stretching, squats, lunges, and crunces/situps a few times a week. I'll do this in the evenings while I watch TV, normally after homework/study time and before bath/bed time. :-)

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thoughts about my weight: Lately I've been wondering if I am almost ready to start maintaining. A big part of me really want to go for those size 10's (weight = 135)... but I'm almost afraid that I wouldn't look healthy at that size anymore. The last time I wore those, I was severely restricting my diet and overexercising (eating disorder days...not fun...).

Is it possible that I should start thinking about a higher goal weight? I love how I look and how I feel right now, at 151. I'm thinking that 145 may be perfect for me.

I guess that I just won't worry about it, keep doing what I'm doing (eating right and exercising) and see where I end up. I'm hoping to find my "happy weight" this time around, and stay there forever. :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My first Green Monster!

As promised, here is a review of my first ever Green Monster smoothie!!! I used the most simple recipe from called "The Virgin Green Monster"I didn't photograph the ingredients, but here is the recipe directly from the site linked above:

  • 2 cups organic spinach (I didn't use organic...)
  • 1-1.5 cups milk (I used light soy)
  • 1 tablespoon flax
  • 1 banana
  • ice
Place the ingredients into the blender in the following order: 1) flax, 2) spinach, 3) banana, 4) milk

I put them in that order, plus added the ice right away. I also didn't use a regular blender, I used my magic bullet.
This was delicious! It was so delicious that I had it three nights in a row and ran out of soy milk. :-( I am sweaty and gross in this picture because I enjoyed my green monster right after an intense cardio workout on the Nordic Track!

I'm planning on incorporating a lot of these into my daily routine! They are so healthy, and besides the flax, are all Power Foods!

How do you enjoy your green monsters? Do you have a favorite combination?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My First SFT Weigh-In Results are in...

...down .6!!!

To me, this is an amazing victory, because I did a couple of "bad" things this week:

1) I emotionally ate. I ate 2/3 a pack of double stuff oreos on Wednesday... But this was also a victory, because I DID STOP eating eventually, and it wasn't after they were all gone! Amazing. I stopped after about 50 PointsPlus, and could have gone to 75. Victory. But still bad, especially on the Simply Filling Technique, especially after I had already eaten all 49 weeklies!!!

2) Wait. I guess there was just one. I have beaten myself up over ONE mistake?! I need to re-read over my "Tips For Weight Watchers", especially the section about not beating yourself up. Time to take my own advice!

Anyway, I ended the week with 5 PointsPlus in the hole. Which means that I earned quite a few Activity Points this week, mostly because I enjoy the exercise, but partly to make up for the oreos. I hope that's a healthy attitude, and not disordered thinking! Help me out readers, do you ever exercise to try and make up for overeating??

Anyway, this week I'm going to plan things out a bit (a LOT) better than last week. I've already pre-tracked all of my non-Power foods in my tracker. If I stick to this, I will eat all 49 WPA plus 7 out of 34 earned AP. That gives me 27 AP left for wiggle room, in case I just HAVE to eat some triscuits and hummus, or a peanut butter bagel. :-)

I am thinking that this is the last week that I will be in the 150's!!! Well, maybe next week will be the last week, who knows?! I have learned that this is NOT A RACE. Weight loss takes time, and with that time comes great knowledge. I am so looking forward to learning how to maintain my weight loss, but right now, I will just enjoy the ride.

All in all, I am LOVING THE SIMPLY FILLING TECHNIQUE. Outside the oreos debacle, I have never eaten healthier than I'm eating right now! Seriously, the Power Foods are all healthy and whole, and I'm feeling healthier because of this.
***Edited to add: just informed me that if I continue to lose at this rate (.6 a week), I will be at my goal weight of 135 in 6 months. That would be AMAZING. :-)

Friday, February 25, 2011

A few SFT "open-a-can" recipes!

Here are a couple of Simply Filling Technique recipes that are almost as easy to make as opening up a can (or two!). As I've mentioned, I absoultely love these "bowl" meals. They are so delicious, and to me, the look gorgeous! Just look at all of these bright colors. :-)

Cous-cous with beans and veggies
  • whole grain cous-cous, cooked (I actually cooked this cous-cous in the microwave!!! Just microwave the water for about 2 minutes, then slowly add cous-cous until you get a desired consistency!)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced spicy tomatoes
  • 1 can green beans, drained and rinsed
Rice, beans, and veggies done right!
  • brown rice, cooked
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 can corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garlic tomatoes
Because I am now following the Simply Filling Technique, I no longer have to measure the Power Foods. I just eat them to satisfaction!!!
To enjoy these meals, SFT-style, I serve myself a small bowlful at a time, adding a teaspoon of healthy oil on top.
Up next: My First Green Monster! (FYI: It wasn't my last...)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coming soon...

I just wanted to let my readers know that I am still here!

I've been going through some personal life stuff recently, which happens to the best of us from time to time.

But, I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel now, and am ready to get back to my regularly scheduled activities: working, studying, exercising, and blogging! :-)

Coming soon:
1) my first "Green Monster"
2) more "open-a-can" recipes!
3) how I'm doing on the Simply Filling Technique
4) my first SFT weigh-in
5) a look at my kitchen
6) me: a runner?!
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simply Filling Technique: Week One!

I'm proud to announce that I have started the Simply Filling Technique this week. I just felt ready to try it!

Yesterday I ate 28 of my 49 weekly points (in vegan cupcakes and Taco Bell), and I'm planning to save the rest for peanut butter and other healthy add-ins through the week.

Yesterday, besides the cupcakes and bean burritos, I ate the following Power Foods:

- oatmeal
- light soy milk
- banana
- whole grain cous-cous
- corn
- white beans
- extra virgin olive oil

How healthy is that?! :-) I'm loving this so far, and I'm looking forward to what changes this week will bring to my diet.

Things that I'm most looking forward to about this change:

1) I never have to measure the Power Foods! (except for the healthy oils, I will still measure out two teaspoons daily to add to my bowl meals)

2) I can enjoy starchy Power Foods vegetables to satisfaction, without having to count PointsPlus for them. I love corn, peas, and potatoes the most.

I am planning to make a big bowl of healthy foods, and see how long it lasts. When it's gone, I will make another one. The first one will be brown rice, black beans, canned tomatoes, canned corn, and frozen (cooked) vegetables.

Eating to satisfaction has been tricky, but I'm learning, one meal at a time.

Two more bowl meal ideas...

As you've probably noticed, I love eating these "bowl meals", which means what it says. A meal in a bowl! :-) I eat this almost daily for lunch and dinner recently. There is just so much variety! Usually it is this: 1 cup whole grain, unlimited vegetables, a half cup of beans, and a teaspoon of a healthy oil. Whenever I create one that is particularly delicious and/or pretty, I will take a picture and share! Enjoy two more bowl meal ideas!
Brown Rice, Chickpeas, Frozen Veggies, and EVOO

2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 cup chickpease, canned, drained and rinsed
1 package frozen mixed veggies (mine had carrots, onions, and peppers), cooked
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Makes 2 servings, 9 PointsPlus each.

"Chicken" Salad

2 Morningstar Fames grilled "chicken" patties, cooked and cut up
1 can green beans, drained and rinsed and/or no salt added
2 tablespoons veganeise
1 tablespoon mustard
Makes either 2 servings, 2 PointsPlus each, or 1 serving, 5 PointsPlus each. (I ate it all!!!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Self-Reflection: remembering recovery

I used to try to forget that I have recovered from an eating disorder. It felt like it was something to be embarassed about,

as if having a history of mental illness makes me less of a person.

I have come to know that that kind of thinking is false. In fact, I think that the more people like me who have a history of mental illness, speak up about their past, the less tabboo the subject will be. I would love it if sharing my story with eating disorders would help even one person.

My history made me the person that I am today. It made me stronger.
It is definately not easy for me to talk about. Especially since I have tried to suppress those memories. But, I know that many of the coping skills that I learned in recovery are still relevent practices today. One of those things that I learned is the power of affirmations.
I found something that I made in recovery that I'd like to share with you. There was a lot of free time there, and the counselors would have "arts and crafts" time for us, almost all of them specifically recovery-focused. Here is "My Little Box of Affirmations".

I decorated it myself, in colors that make me happy. Inside are lots of tiny colorful cards. On each one is an affirmation.

This one says, "I can cope with change without turning to or away from food." That still speaks to me, even though I've been recovered for years now.
I'm not sure if my fixation of food will ever be completely gone, but I'm glad to report that I no longer have an obsession. I have switched the focus to eating healthier for the sake of health, which is HUGE for me.

This was folded up inside. I remember that when I wrote this, I didn't actually believe any of the affirmations that I wrote down. Today, everything that I wrote down on this piece of paper, I believe 100%. Which brings me so much joy. For anyone reading this who has recovered from an eating disorder, you know what a big deal this is. Here is what that piece of paper says:
I am not tiny. I am not big. I am thin, but not skinny. And that's okay.
I am Leah; I am more than just my body.
I am creative and innovative. I am helpful and kind.
My skills can be put to good use to benefit myself and others.
I am both loving and loveable.
I am deserving of all the love I recieve, and accept it with gratitude.
I am an overall good person with a lot to contribute to the world.
People should love me for who I am, not what I look like.
I am naturally beautiful when I am myself.
I am fun to be with.
I don't need everyone's approval about every decision I make.
The amount of food I eat or exercise I do does not make or break my day.
I can eat or exercise any amount and still be satisfied with my day.
Thanks for reading. I'm so happy that I was able to share this with all of you!

Vegan Food Pyramid

I'm writing a paper for my English Comp II class about vegan nutrition. It's thesis is, "A vegan diet can provide adequate nutrition."
This paper has made me really think: Am I getting adequate nutrition? What could I be doing better, to not only write the paper, but to be an example of a healthy vegan?
I found this picture by googling "vegan food pryamid". Here's some guidelines for a healthy vegan diet that I also found. Click on the picture above to go straight to the source if you want to! I found it to be a very imformative site.
Legumes: 2 or more servings per day
group includes beans, peas, lentils, tempeh, tofu, and meat/dairy substitutes. source of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins.
Vegetables: 3 or more servings per day
group includes broccoli, collards, kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes, etc. Source of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, and fiber
Fruit: 3 or more servings per day
group include citrus fruits, melons, berries, bananas, and apples, etc.. Source of fiber, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
Whole Grains: 6-11 servings per day
group includes bread, rice, pasta, hot or cold cereal, corn, millet, barly, bulgur, buckwheat, oats, and tortillas. Source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins and zinc.
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria commonly found in the bodies of animals. Vegetables are not reliable sources of B12. Vegans should include reliable sources of B12 in their diet by consuming a multi-vitamin, a B12 supplement, or foods fortified with B12.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Most people consume too much fat, but few peopel get enough of the healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats can be found in walnuts, canola oil, and flax seeds. For maximum absorbtion, flax seeds should be ground up in a blender or coffee grinder, then added to smoothies or sprinkled on top of other foods. Flax seeds are also rich in protein, potassium, magnesium, boron, and lignans, which may help to prevent cancer.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D and calcium are important in bone formation. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight exposure. Vegans who get little sunlight, or those who live at high latitudes, should take a vitamin D supplement or consume fortified soymilk or rice milk. Vegans should also get 3 servings of high calcium foods each day, such as kale, broccoli, collard greens, and fortified soymilk and orange juice.
WOW. I need to reevaluate my diet a bit. I haven't been taking my multivitamin regularly (and as you can see from this post, I have no excuses) and I don't eat any fortified products. If I don't clean up my act soon, I could face some consequences.
To me, this is just another reason that veganism is so healthy for people. It forces me to really think about nutrition. I have to try to get a good balance of everything in order to be healthy. As a non-vegan Weight Watcher, I hardly ever thought about these things.
Are you getting in your nutrients,
or are you like me, and have been slacking?

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Shout-Out to "Oh She Glows" and my thoughts on switching to the Simply Filling Technique.

I stumbled upon this blog (click on the picture to see it yourself) a few days ago, thanks to one of my commenters mentioning it (Thanks, Lizzie! ).
WOW. This blog really speaks to me! Angela has a story simular to mine. She has a history of eating disorders and a history of not loving herself.
She found a way to say "goodbye" to dieting forever. I hope to do the same some day.
For now, I will continue with Weight Watchers, and will probably stay on it until a few months after reaching my goal weight. Then... I will be going back to something so scary-sounding to a chronic dieter that I hesitate to mention it on this blog: Intuitive Eating.
It's how I want to eat. I dream of the day that I can just listen to my hunger signals, eat healthy and whole foods to satisfaction, an occassional vegan cupcake, and maintain a healthy weight forever.
And after reading some of "Oh She Glows", I realize that my dream is not so impossible. If she can do it, so can I! :-)
I'm going to start the BIG SWITCH from counting PointsPlus for everything to the Simply Filling Technique.
I'm starting right now by eating mostly Power Foods and trying to listen to my hunger signals.
I plan to go fully SFT in March, and to give that method 100% for the entire month.
It just sounds like so much freedom, being done counting PointsPlus!
Here's how the Simply Filling Technique works:
Choose food from the Power Foods list. All of those foods have no PointsPlus anymore. You no longer have a Daily Points target to get to, all you have is your Power Foods and your hunger signals.
You do still have your 49 Weekly Points and any Activity Points. All of these can be used for foods that are not on the Power Foods list. For me, that would be: chips, pizza, tortillas, redvines, oreos, and chocolate. These are all foods that I already eat in moderation, so I am starting to really believe that I can handle the Simply Filling Technique!!!
The only problem is listening to my hunger signals. But if I want to eventually be an Intuitive Eater (not count PointsPlus/calories for anything, just listen to hunger signals and cravings), I have to start somewhere. The Simply Filling Technique seems like a great stepping stone.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Recipe: Fried Plantain

Fried Plantain!!!
Start with a raw plantain. Yes, it looks like a big banana. No dirty jokes, please! ;-)The second ingredient is canola oil. I thought about using olive oil, but that sounded gross to me. So I found my old stock of canola, which was mostly untouched. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a skillet. Wait for the oil to boil before adding the plantain.While the oil is heating up, slice up your plantain. It has a thicker skin than a banana, so you may need to cut the ends off first, then slice down the side of the peel before peeling.Cook in the oil, about 3 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. This was seriously the most delicious snack that I have ever cooked myself.

the good things about a snow day...

One good thing about taking the morning off from work because the roads are icy and and I almost got in a wreck so close to home that I turned around and called in:

Sleep! That's right, I reset my alarm clock for 10:30 and got three extra hours of beloved sleep.

Another good thing: High PointPlus Oatmeal!!!

Because I exercised from 11:05-11:45 (to The Young and the Restless, I might add), all before I ate anything, I had both my breakfast PointsPlus and my lunch PointsPlus to work with, for one giant bowl of delicious 13 PointsPlus oatmeal.

I didn't take a picture, but let me assure you, it was beautiful. :-) In case you ever find yourself wanting or needing to eat 13 PointsPlus of oatmeal, I've included my "recipe".

Leah's Super High PointsPlus Oatmeal:
1/2 cup oats, dry
1 cup light soy milk
1/4 cup granola
1/3 cup chocolate cheerios
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 banana

Microwave the oats in the soy milk for 2 minutes on high. Add the remaining ingredients and microwave an additional 40 seconds. Stir. Enjoy!!!
This post was brought to you by Katie, who reminded me that it's been awhile since my last post. If you haven't already, you should check out her blog!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oprah's vegan challenge!

I apologize for a lack of paragraphs. I cannot figure out why blogger keeps taking my paragraphs away! I will put every other paragraph in bold, to help make this easier to read...
I feel like I'm in the minority here, but I loved the vegan Oprah episode! Also, I think that both Michael Pollan and Kathy Freston were very good sources of information. Both furthered our cause.
First off, in case you missed this story completely, here's the gist:
Oprah decided to challenge the entire crew of Harpo to go vegan for one week. It was entirely optional, but a lot of people signed up!
The entire wealthy staff was handed big bags of freebies from Whole Foods and Kashi (can you tell I'm bitter about this?) to get them started.
In the episode, one of Oprah's correspondents visited a factory farm. One of the "good ones" that "treat the animals with dignity". Pfft.
They showed a LOT. I cried, as I always do when I watch animals walk to their deaths. They started with showing the cows in a cramped lot, being force-fed corn products to fatten them up.
Then they showed the cows being led to slaughter...
Next, though they were unable to film the actual killing (yes, let's call a spade a spade, shall we?) we watched the reporter's face as she watched the cows being stunned with rods being shoved violently through their skulls (from behind, to preserve the animal's dignity, of course).
I don't know why the cameras couldn't show that part even though the next part was just as graphic. Cows being drained of blood, skinned, cut in half. It was pretty graphic. Having just seen these beautiful animals as alive in the previous scene, I was very sad. :-(
Of course, this part at the factory farm wasn't that long, but it was the most shocking.
The rest of the episode was Michael Pollan talking about food from his angle. And Oprah asking the veganist (Kathy Freston) about if it was "okay" to eat eggs from chickens if you know for a fact that they are ridiculously happy to give the eggs away. Kathy said, "Yes, but most people don't have access to that." and Oprah said, "Most people don't. But I do!!!" ...kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but... sigh. (You know what else you could have access to, Oprah? A live-in vegan chef!!!)
Michael Pollan is NOT a vegan. Kathy Freston is. Oprah does not appear to be choosing to remain vegan, but some of her staff is. The benefits of veganism were discussed, as well as the benefits to keeping some animal protein in your diet.
Kathy Freston showed how easy it is to switch from meat and dairy to veganism. I love that she showed a bunch of fake meat and cheese as well as fresh options, like beans, grains, and produce. I think that anyone starting out needs those starter things like fake meat. I still cook with it occassionally, it's really good! No shame in the fake stuff. :-)
Michael Pollan's take on who should or should not eat meat is a bit different from mine. He thinks that if someone knows exactly where the meat comes from and can deal with the knowledge, they should eat meat. Me, I think that the only people who should eat animals are the ones who would be willing to kill the animals themselves (hunters, indigenous tribes, fishermen, etc.).
But overall, I think that this episode is a big step in the right direction, and I thank Oprah for doing this.
P.S. After watching this with me, Stacey has agreed to do "Meatless Mondays" at our house!!! YAY!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to take a multivitamin: A How-To Guide in Pictures...

This is just to remind myself (and you!) how easy it is to take a vitamin. This is the Good Health Guideline that I forget ALL OF THE TIME!!! Now I will refer to this blog entry to remind myself how easy it really is... Plus I find this hilarious.
There, now you know all about my crazy sense of humor.

Chik'n Strips recipe!

This is an example of a "thrown together" meal, which I am getting more and more comfortable cooking!
Just look through your freezer and pantry, find some stuff that you think will probably taste good together... and throw it together! This one came out pretty good, so I thought that I would share it here.
I started out with some MorningStar meal starters "chik'n strips", which are the only vegan chicken that I can find in regular supermarkets around here. I found some frozen vegetables, Pictsweet Seasoning Blend in onion and pepper.
I threw these on a skillet together and cooked on medium-high for about 5 minutes. I cooked them in two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. But it was still missing something...

I found some DelMonte Italian Herb chunky spaghetti sauce. I poured a half cup of this onto my dish.
It really added something special to it! Plus this can had been in the back on my pantry for years. It would have expired in May, and you know how long it takes canned good to expire!

Add a cup of brown rice, and you're done!

Viola. Done. Entire bowl = 12 PointsPlus
Coming up: My thoughts about Oprah's vegan episode! Stay tuned...