Little Mama On The Prairie

A life and weight-loss journey.

Best “diet” foods…

We got quite the dumping of snow yesterday so I guess I’ll switch up my workout routine for the day and do a little shovelling instead.  I cannot believe the amount of snow we have this year. There are some areas of our yard that are close to chest deep on me. I know, I’m only 5′ tall so maybe that’s not really so deep but still, its plenty deep enough! I have a feeling this is going to be a wet, wet, spring in Saskatchewan.

Back to the topic. I don’t like a lot of “diet” foods but there are certain things I like to keep on hand that help me stay on track. One of my favourites being Silver Hills sprouted grain breads. These flour-less loaves are full of fibre and good stuff. They make one variety called “Little Big Bread” , which is a low-calorie, only 1-point-per-slice bread that is super tasty. Sooo much better than the sandy yucky diet breads you can get out there, sorry Weight Watchers, your bread doesn’t even come close. I love to eat it as toast, sandwiches, toasted sandwiches… I eat a lot of sandwiches actually, you can put a lot on a sandwich for minimal points. The Big 16 is my other favourite, it’s 2 points per slice but they are big, hearty slices. I buy Silver Hills breads at Costco in Saskatoon – the same price for 2 loaves as a single loaf costs at Safeway.

On the subject of whole grains, I also like to use whole grain pastas and rice. However, not all brands are created equal. Some whole grain varieties of pasta are just gross. My favourite is President’s Choice Blue Menu for pasta. I enjoy brown basmati rice, no particular brand, it can be a little harder to find in smaller grocery stores. My kids eat the whole wheat pasta and have never once noticed that its not white.

I also love fat-free yogurt that is still sweetened with sugar. I’m sorry, but I just can’t stomach artificial sweeteners. Up until recently I enjoyed Activia Fat-Free yogurt…but then they went all gross and switched to artificial sweeteners. Yucky, yuck, yuck, yuck. Now I have to go to a separate grocery store than usual just to pick up yogurt because my regular store carries a limited variety of yogurt, either full of fat and sugar, or no fat and no sugar. Nothing in between. Thankfully Yoplait Yoptimal still comes in a fat-free, sugared variety and is pretty good. I also noticed Safeway carried a generic brand and some organic brands that were fat-free and not artificially sweetened.

Skinny Cow. Need I say more? During strawberry season last year, I loved putting a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich in a bowl and topping it with freshly picked, sliced strawberries. Felt so indulgent and was so guilt-free.

 

Blog Food Pic

* WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

Next time you’re at the grocery store, take time to browse products and find some guilt-free indulgences you can bring home with you to help you stay on track. Or even just switch from white bread, rice and pasta to whole grain, the added fibre helps keep you fuller longer, even when you eat less of it.

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When fears take over…

It’s another day, this one is on the right track and I hope to keep it that way. I finished the day within my daily points limit yesterday and didn’t even use any bonus points. May have had something to do with the massive amount of broccoli I ate at the beginning of my supper that left me too full to eat much else.

Do you have fears when it comes to weight? I know I do. I fear hearing the words “pre-diabetes” or “diabetes” from my doctor, and other weight related health issues. I fear never being successful at losing my excess weight just because I never have in the past. I also have fears for the day I reach my goal weight. Will I have lots of yucky excess skin? Will I be content to reach a healthy weight or will I reach it and think that I should keep going…to the point of being unhealthy again. Or will I do the opposite and reach my goal only to let everything go and gain back 100+lb.? I’m sure there are more fears than that.

On the topic of fears, I would love to share a verse from the Bible with you. It comes from the book of 2nd Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7,

“For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV)

The context in which this verse is stated relates to our Christian witness, to not be afraid or ashamed to share Christ with others, using the gifts/talents He has given each of us. But I also find it fitting for this long struggle with weight-loss.

2690_73863729749_6959978_n*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

I encourage you to write out the verse above and tape it to your refrigerator. When fear threatens to overwhelm you, remember that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control – 3 key qualities to help us be successful in the battle of the bulge. Have a wonderful day.

 

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Discouragement…

Sorry for the late post today. Young ones have been demanding and we had to make a trip to the grocery store this afternoon.

Being rather tired and struggling with a 2-day headache, I’ll be keeping tonight’s post short. I have been battling discouragement the past couple of days, feeling like I’m doing everything right, but getting the wrong results. It may just be all in my head, I suppose we’ll see the truth come Saturday morning.

On that note, I know everyone struggles from discouragement in their weight-loss journey from time to time. These are the times when it would be easier to just turn a blind eye to the battle we’re fighting and drown ourselves in a pail of ice cream. But I can’t do that. There are too many people I would let down. Most of all, I’d let myself down…again, and I’m just not willing to go down that road.

So here’s to another day tomorrow, another day to keep on keeping on. If Saturday’s results are not what they should be then it is time to review my current plan and maybe do a little revamp. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

Today’s Tip? If you’re feeling discouraged, like me, take some comfort in knowing you’re not the only one. You might be thinking of throwing in the towel because you’ve had an off day or week, but I’m here to tell you that you can keep going, even when the going gets tough. Let’s do this together.

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My relationship with food…

I survived another weekend and made sure to carefully track my food. There were a few indulgences, seeing as we were invited to dine with friends of ours who always make fantastic meals, but I made sure to record each bite and I know right where I stand this sunny Monday morning.

I love food. I love GOOD food. Food has played a pretty major role in my life. I grew up as the youngest in a family of 10 children, our kitchen table was huge, we cooked in really big pots and had an enormous water pitcher on the table for meal times. I can remember feeling like I had to hurry and eat my plateful if I wanted any chance at seconds, with 4 older brothers at the table too. My sisters taught me to cook and bake at quite a young age. I can remember going to friend’s house when I was 8 or 9, we were bored so I suggested we bake cookies. I was shocked beyond belief when she told me she wasn’t allowed to use the oven. Even at that age, I couldn’t imagine not having freedom in the kitchen.

We entertained a lot in our home as I grew up. The meal and dessert were always a big part of the hospitality my parent’s showed and taught us to show. The week was often spent planning what desserts to prepare for Sunday “Faspa,” a meal consisting of homemade bread, cheeses, meats, pickles, jams, and of course, desserts. Everything was always delicious. The females in my family took great pride in preparing meals that would be raved over. I am sure I have heard more than once in my life, “Those Klassen girls sure know how to cook!”

By the time I came along, my mom was mostly retired from the kitchen. I had 5 older sisters who could do the job for her and she had already had many years in the kitchen as the oldest daughter in a large family herself. But there were some things that nobody could make like Mom did. Homemade “verenikje” (cottage cheese filled perogies), homemade noodles for chicken noodle soup, bread, among others.

I also had the neat experience of growing up in a home with the influence of 2 ethnic backgrounds. My parents were descendants of Mennonites who had come to Canada from Prussia I believe, or somewhere near that corner of the world, but both sets of my grandparents moved and lived in Mexico for many years where both of my parents were born. So we had both the influence of the Mennonites; the verenikje and borscht, as well the influence of the Mexicans with the beans and tortillas. There was never an end to good food in my house growing up.

What has turned me off from “dieting” in the past is the emphasis on eating low-fat, low calorie (artificial sweeteners = blech)  or other such foods that just do not have the taste to appeal to me. I cannot go long term eating “diet” foods and stay in a positive mindset. I have to enjoy my food. It has to taste good. Someone on a diet once said something to me along the lines of, “it really doesn’t matter what food tastes like, just eat what’s good for you.” I never could wrap my head around that one. It matters 100% what food tastes like! There is almost no point to eating at all if you don’t enjoy it. I mean, other than keeping you alive. I’m pretty sure God didn’t make us with those senses if we weren’t to enjoy the food we put in our mouths.

What I have discovered over time is that good food CAN be both healthy and taste good! Learning to cook with fresh vegetables and fruit and preparing meat without frying are 2 key elements that have changed my eating style. I tend to stay away from foods and drinks that have been artificially sweetened, over-processed and when it comes to dairy I compromise and use the reduced fat variety, not low/no-fat, I just can’t bring myself that far. I even grind my own locally grown wheat to make bread. Yes, you can roll your eyes at me. When it comes to the diet version of food and drinks, I would far rather have a tiny portion of the real deal and enjoy it than to have a huge portion and wonder, “what am I eating this crap for?”

So I wonder, what is your relationship to food? Do you eat to live? Live to eat? Somewhere in between?

Most of the family at our wedding in 2008. We’re a food-loving bunch.

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

Fill your fridge and fruit bowl with fresh produce. When I have lots of fruits and vegetables on hand, I am far more likely to snack on them than junk food. An apple or banana with some peanut butter makes a perfect snack.

 

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“Moment of Truth” Day…

Well, it’s Saturday and I am up 1 pound.

You already know I had some struggles this week but I did reign it in by the end of the week so I am back on track with my process, hopeful that next week will show the results. I am both disappointed with myself for not having a loss and yet happy that there wasn’t more of a gain. It could have been so much worse. The Red Velvet Mug Cake was THAT good.

Anyway, something I am curious about. Does my method of weight loss (tracking my food, exercising) sound complicated and like a lot of work to you? Does it seem to be not worth the effort? I know I’ve been at a place in my life before, when I would hear of people talking about food journaling and what not all, it completely turned me off. I didn’t want to think about what I was eating, I just wanted to eat what I wanted, when I wanted it. Soooo much easier.

But is it? When I’ve looked a little deeper, I found it wasn’t that I didn’t want to think about the food I was eating, it was that I didn’t want to think about the fact that I was fat. I didn’t want to think about what was going to happen to me if I continued on the road to fat. I just wanted to live in the blissful ignorance of the massive chocolate eclair from Spicer’s Bakery in Aylmer, ON and pretend it would have no effect on me. Ignorance is not so blissful as one might be led to believe.

For me, I know my health and my life are worth the effort of tracking and exercising. What is your health worth to you?

 

* WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

Do a little self reflection and find out what is really holding you back from taking control of your health. Then make a decision. Are you going to let it keep holding you back and go on as though nothing happened? Or are you going to do something about it? The choice is yours. Just remember, if you don’t look after yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.

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Get moving!

I did some weight training yesterday, yes I did. I haven’t done that in a while – most likely because I “put away” the dumbbells about a year ago and wasn’t able to find them until yesterday. My arms are a tad sore today. I also biked for 45 minutes, watching two episodes from the first season of “Reba” on my laptop. Reba has to be my all-time favourite family sitcom. She makes me laugh. I’m not allowed to watch Downton Abbey during my workout anymore. My husband got hooked so I have to save it for the evening, when the kids are in bed so we can watch it together. I don’t mind so much, I like it when we find a show we both enjoy watching. Anyway, enough about my screen time.

I don’t particularly like exercise. I don’t particularly dislike it either. I love the buzzy feeling throughout my limbs AFTER a good workout, I just don’t really enjoy getting to the buzz. As I mentioned in a previous post, I HAVE to have something to do while I workout to distract me from the fact that I’m working out. When I lived in my own little apartment back in the single days, it meant having my recumbent stationary bike set in front of the TV. Here in my grown-up-living-with-a-hubby-and-kids house, my bike resides in the basement. The unfinished basement. And before I had a laptop (which was only a few months ago), it meant either working out to nothing or reading a book. I read a lot of books down there.

Finding time is the other struggle when it comes to exercising. With a husband, 2 kids and a house to look after, school to complete, farm to help on, garden to tend (in the summer of course), sometimes exercising seems like such a waste of time. I get nothing on my To-Do list accomplished and I waste precious baby napping time to get it done. But I have come to realize that it is a very important part of my day. It is my “me” time. Alone, in a quiet room, watching something that requires no brain power – the only thing better would be a nap.

The best part about exercising for me? Move more = eat more. Sometimes that, in and of itself, is motivation enough to get me moving!

 

K run*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

30 minutes a day of some form of activity is all it takes to improve your heart health…and it can help whittle you down quicker than just changing eating habits alone. Try to find some activity you actually enjoy and try to incorporate 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Or if there is no activity you enjoy, find something to do to distract you from the fact that you’re exercising, like reading a book or watching TV. I found, completely by accident, the more suspenseful the show, the faster/harder you work out without realizing it.

When it comes to weight training, you should avoid doing it more often than every other day. Your muscles need the extra time to repair.

What forms of activity do you enjoy?

 

 

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Planning & Budgeting

Grrr, it’s a good thing my tracking week ends tomorrow and starts fresh Saturday. I have made a few mistakes this week that may or may not affect the scale on Saturday morning’s weigh-in.

I didn’t start the week off great, dipping deep into my weekly bonus points last Saturday and Sunday already…and a bit more each day. I made a few mistakes of eating items I thought wouldn’t be too high in points, and then discovered after the fact they were double, sometimes triple, what I thought they might be.

The week hasn’t been all bad. I have eaten a good amount of vegetables and fruit, got my exercise in daily in spite of an injured big toe that has made walking difficult for a while, and overall made mostly wise food choices. But the bad food choices I made were…well, bad.

So, how could I have prevented the guilt and dread for the scale I’m feeling right now? With a little bit of planning and points budgeting. I SHOULD have researched each morsel before it crossed my lips and checked to see how many points I had to spare. Maybe I could have still had part of the item…maybe I should have said no entirely. The point is, I should have known where I stood with my daily and weekly points and I should have checked the points value BEFORE I ate the item/s.

red-velvet-mug-cake-56 What was the worst item for the week? This actually happened last night. I was pretty excited about it, thinking of even sharing the recipe with you on here because I was SURE it wouldn’t be too bad. After all, it was just a single serving recipe and so cute. Red Velvet Mug Cake (without icing). Boy was it ever good, #10 on the indulgence scale. I thought it may ring in somewhere between 5-10 points… TRY 22! People, I only get 35 points a day with an additional 49 for the whole week (plus what I earn through exercising but I try not to “eat” those). That was 2/3 of my daily points allowance in one (utterly delicious) deceiving mug-ful.

On the bright side, at least it only made a mug of cake and not a whole pan so the chances of a repeat offence today are extremely slim. I will be budgeting the points extremely carefully today and tomorrow. And of course, next week.

 

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

We all fall off the bandwagon sometimes. The problem is not with falling off, it’s what you do after you’ve fallen. Do you give up all hope and stay down? Or do you pull yourself back up and get back on track?

In the past, I was likely to stay down after I fell. Why bother, I’d never succeed anyway, right? Wrong. Accept the fact that you will have some setbacks on your journey to weight loss, then don’t let them keep you down when they happen. Get up, brush off those cake crumbs and start again. As Anne Shirley once said, “Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.”

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No quick fixes…

The older I get, and hopefully the wiser, I realize that there is no such thing as a fast way to lose a lot of weight, stay healthy and keep it off in the long run. The only sure way to beat the battle of the bulge is to change your eating habits and get moving.

I have tried numerous programs since childhood, Herbalife, Atkins (low-carb), L.A. Weightloss, Visalus – I had some results with each but they all had something in common, as soon as I stopped using the products or following the very restrictive diets, I gained weight back instantly. And lost a lot of money in the process. While I have nothing against using a meal replacement shake on occasion, or to help break a plateau, there is nothing realistic about drinking 2 shakes a day for a year or more to lose a lot of weight, no matter how tasty they are. For the record, Visalus has the best tasting shakes out there.

Twice in my life have I lost a decent amount of weight (20-30lb.) and kept it off for an extended period of time. The first was back when I was a single lady, I visited a dietician weekly and she showed me what serving sizes actually look like and helped me figure out how many servings of food from EACH food group I could eat. I journaled and reported back to her weekly. I also had my bike positioned in front of the TV and had a rule that I could not watch TV after work unless the first 30 minutes were while I was biking. Worked like a charm.

The 2nd was when I joined Weight Watchers last year. Again, journaling my food intake, choosing food from every food group and exercising.

Yes, I did gain some weight back after/during both of these programs when I went back to eating greasy foods and not exercising, but that was not their fault. There is no such thing as losing a lot of weight, then going right back to eating the way you did to get there in the first place, expecting to keep weight off. Took a while for my brain to wrap around that one for some reason.

Eating the way I do today is for long term. It doesn’t mean I can never have burgers and fries again. It doesn’t mean I always have to say no to dessert, it just means I have to learn to use moderation and consume those items as the occasional treat instead of a regular weekly meal.

 

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

I read a post over at “Can You Stay for Dinner?”, a fellow blogger who has lost over 100lbs. She talked about getting to the point of not being able to eat another egg-white omelette or saying no to a McFlurry again, but then she would ask herself, “Can I do it today? Just today?”, and she found she could.

By living with that mindset from day to day, we CAN make the right choices on a regular basis and have the opportunity for a splurge now and then without major consequences.

What is your mindset like? Are you dieting to reach a certain weight with the plan to hop back onto the old train as soon as you reach your goal? Or are you making changes you can keep for the long haul? I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

take-first-step

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On raising daughters…

I have a daughter. She is 3, going on 13 according to the amount of drama going on around here lately. As far as I can tell, she hasn’t noticed yet that I’m fat, at least not in the typical super-honest childish, “your bum is so big, why is your bum big mom?” kind of way. What she does notice is that I am her mommy, that I love her, that I sometimes get very, very annoyed with her, but that I’ll still give her a hug when I’m annoyed with her and that I am an awesome story reader.

K-girl Collage

Isn’t she beautiful?

One thing I have always determined is that just because I am overweight, does not mean my children will be. You often see when the parents are big, the children just follow, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Thankfully my husband is stick-thin so the kids have a 50/50 chance of taking after him anyway. Things I have done for my kids to prevent childhood obesity include limiting their sugar intake (limit, not eliminate), encouraging them to snack on veggies, fruit or cheese, I dance with them at least once a day…I encourage them to go outside with their dad ALL day. Although for some reason, he never seems to think its a good idea to be followed by a 1 and 3 year old through 4 feet of snow while he’s dealing with heavy farm machinery and cows, go figure. I do however let them watch way too much TV but that’s to help preserve what little sanity I have left and as soon as they’re old enough to play outside on their own, outside they will go.

So, how do I raise a healthy daughter who will be confident, without self-image issues when I struggle with weight and likely will struggle to keep my weight down my whole life? I’ll tell you how, I will lead her by example. I will choose to eat healthy and be active and show her what it is to have a healthy lifestyle. I will choose to not voice my negative opinions about my body issues in her presence. I will celebrate her and her natural beauty. And on top of that, I will be confident and positive about how I look, in spite of the spare tires and jiggly arms. After all, I am still “fearfully and wonderfully made” as the Psalmist put it and deep down inside, skinny-me and fat-me are the same person. If I cannot walk with confidence as the person I am now, can I really expect that to change with a little less flubber?

 

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

Not really a tip to lose weight but take some time today to look at your reflection in the mirror. As you do, don’t look at your flaws but realize that you ARE fearfully and wonderfully made by creator God who loves you just as you are. You. Are. Beautiful.

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Accountability is KEY

I don’t know why, but I don’t need anyone to keep me accountable to be successful at sleeping in, eating macaroni and cheese, watching TV or checking my Facebook 50,000 times a day. But I DO need accountability if I am going to be successful at changing my eating habits, my exercising habits, even *gasp* reading my Bible.

It’s weird when you think about it. It’s not hard to eat healthy. I love the Lord and reading The Word is not a punishment. Even exercise isn’t so bad and I always feel so much better after. So why is it so hard to create good habits and stick with them? I have no stinkin’ clue but I DO know that having you all read this blog on a regular basis is a big part of what keeps me going. It’s what helps me say no when I really want to say yes because I know I’ll have to ‘fess up at the end of the week when the scale doesn’t lie.

On the note of ‘fessing up…I ate potato chips last night. I know. But I did an extra 10 minutes on the bike today and went faster than usual if that counts for anything…

When I am accountable to no one but myself, I start to rationalize in a not very rational way. The brownie isn’t THAT big (have you caught on to the fact I like brownies yet?), I don’t live in the city so this cheeseburger won’t hurt, I can’t have it every day after all, etc. It doesn’t take long for me to be in the world of not eating veggies & fruit, overloading on carbs and thinking I’m too busy to work out.

On the other hand, when I am accountable to a person or group of people, knowing there will be consequences if I don’t follow through, I work so much harder to reach the goal. Knowing that my buddy is getting a chart each Saturday showing which days I tracked my eating and exercised, plus my weight loss/gain, makes me strive to make sure there will be a loss. I guess I have a little bit of a competitive side, just not with myself. Some have maybe wondered how I can stand to have my weight, the real numbers, posted on the web for the whole world to see. It’s all a part of full disclosure and accountability for me. If I don’t tell you the whole truth, be fully open and honest with you, then there is no way I can be fully open and honest with myself.

The hard cold truth is that I am fat. Obese. Overweight. Call it whatever you want, I am that and I fully admit to it. The other hard cold truth is that if I don’t do something to change it, my children may not have me around as long as they should, I won’t be able to lead as full a life as I should.

The warm, fuzzy truth? I have people like you in my life to keep me going when I want to give up, to kick my butt when I’m lagging behind, to coach me while I’m plugging forward. And best of all, to cheer and celebrate with me when I reach the goal! I’m so glad I’m not on this journey alone.

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

Find someone you are comfortable being very open and honest with and ask if they will help keep you accountable. My accountability system with my weight-loss buddy includes us sending a weekly report stating the days we have tracked our eating and exercised. As well as our start weight, current weight, goal weight etc. We have each set up consequences for ourselves, mine being an extra 10 minutes on my bike each day for a week if I miss 2 consecutive days of not tracking/exercising. And then there’s the fact that I have this blog and I will disappoint many people if I don’t keep on keeping on. 🙂

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