Squashing my buddha belly, one recipe at a time

I forgot to weigh myself this morning (I told you, I’m going senile), so I’ll be sure to post an update in the next few days.

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve discovered that I love spaghetti squash. I can see why it’s touted as a favourite weight loss food — not only is it delicious, but it is also ridiculously low in calories. I found an oh-so-yummy spaghetti squash carbonara recipe on Slender Kitchen last week and have been dreaming about it ever since. (Oh, and it was man-approved too.)

We adapted the recipe a bit, but the original recipe can be found on the Slender Kitchen website.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Ingredients
Spaghetti squash
Cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped pancetta
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup skim milk
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup warm water (you can also use chicken or veggie broth)
1 large egg

Instructions

  1. Cook the spaghetti squash with your preferred method. (Google is your friend, yo.) Let it cool and then cut it in half and shred it.
  2. Bring a medium skillet to medium high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the pancetta and cook for about three minutes or until just browned. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for another three to four minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet. Pour the cheese and milk mixture over the squash and toss to coat everything.
  5. In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and warm water. Gently add the egg to the skillet and stir constantly. Cook for four more minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Split into two servings. Each serving is only 215 calories. HOLLA!

G-free? Not for me

As most of you know, I embarked on my own little sub-diet within the clean eating realm. Last month, I tried going gluten-free for a few weeks (for the actual health benefits, not as some stupid Hollywood diet).

So what’s the verdict?

I’m stickin’ to my vitamin G (as in gluten), but in moderation. Honestly, I felt awesome while I was g-free. I had more energy and less bloat–and it wasn’t just the placebo effect. I had a few people tell me I looked skinner and was “glow-ier” than usual. Not sure what that means, but I’ll take it. Pretty much anything above “How many months along are you?” (I’m not preggers, FYI) is a compliment.

But as awesome as I felt, I don’t think it’s something I can sustain forever. I have, however, cut down on my gluten intake significantly, my only exceptions being multi-grain breads and pastas on rare occasions. I have finally learned how to adapt my restaurant ordering to the principles of clean eating, let alone adding the g-free factor on top of that. Oh, I recognize that a lot of restaurants and grocery stores offer g-free foods — and trust me, I’ll be taking advantage of those wherever possible. But I just don’t think I can commit to a diet that’s 100% free of gluten.

Tonight marks my first foray into a new exercise adventure — Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred. I’m using that as a supplement to my gym work-outs and am hoping its reputation as an ass-kicker rings true. I can’t believe I’m actually hoping to be sore tomorrow…

 

The dreaded weekly weigh-in: week 13

Starting weight – 229.6 lbs
Last week – 212.2 lbs
This week – 210.8 lbs

Total weight lost – 18.8 lbs

Well, spank me and call me Nancy. I managed to lose some of the weight I regained, despite having a few unintentional (oh, who am I kidding — intentional) pig-outs on chips, a gyro and pizza. (Hey, it was Wrestlemania and I was surrounded by six men. What kind of food do you think was around? Salads and almonds?)

I’ve settled back into my clean-eating routine and boy, am I happy. I never noticed the effect that junk food has on the body until I started eating clean. When all you eat is junk food, you’re used to feeling lethargic and bloated. Now that I eat clean most of the time, the lethargy that comes with my cheats is a real kick in the pants. And, as an added bonus, I’m probably even more of a hypochondriac than before. (Me: “I’m so tired — I must be getting sick!” Boyfriend: “You did just eat half a pizza. And a bag of chips. And wings. Relax.”)

My trip to Jamaica is next week, and I’m pretty damn happy with my results so far. Though I’m still far from having a bikini bod, at least people won’t run screaming in the other direction if they see me in a bathing suit (kidding!). I’m gonna rock my smaller waist and belly, and own my always-fabulous ghetto bootay.

Until next week,
Your soon-to-be-former fat girl

Miss me?

Sorry for the lack of posts, people. I’ve been working a stupid amount of hours on freelance work in addition to my full-time job, leaving me with zero energy or motivation to work on this blog. But don’t worry — I swear I’ll be back to my normal posting habits soon. You can’t get rid of me that easily. 😉

I’ve already posted a few dinner recipes and now have a ridiculously easy breakfast recipe for you. Let me preface this by saying I used to hate breakfast. I was never hungry when I woke up, leading to bad things later in the day (like 11 a.m. pig-outs on cupcakes. Seriously.).

Once I got in the habit of eating breakfast, however, it was an entirely different story. Now, I can’t function unless I have something in my belly within an hour of waking up. If I’m in a rush, I’ll grab something quick ‘n easy, like a banana and a spoonful of almond butter. If I have more time, I’ll prepare an egg-white veggie omelette or oatmeal (real oatmeal, not that packaged stuff laden with sugar), topped with ground flaxseed, cinnamon and berries. *drool*

This weekend, I tried making a clean version of french toast, which made for a pretty yummy Sunday-morning treat. I present to you…

Clean-eating french toast (cut me some slack, I couldn’t think of a more original name)

Two slices of multi-grain bread (or sprouted, whole-grain, etc.)
Four egg whites
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
More syrup for topping
Raspberries (or berries of choice)

Directions:
1) Combine egg whites, maple syrup and vanilla, then whisk.
2) Place each bread slice in the bowl to soak up the deliciousness. Ensure that each side of the bread is coated.
3) Plop the bread on a pre-heated griddle or frying pan (I used the latter) on medium heat, then cook for about four or five minutes, flipping once or twice until you see that nice toasty brown colour on each side.
4) Top with remaining maple syrup and berries.
5) Enjoy.

My boyfriend loves three things: video games, Cookie Monster metal (look it up) and raspberries. I was pretty sure he’d like this recipe, and I was right. He even said incredulously, “That was CLEAN?” I think it will be a weekend staple for us.

(Don’t think I’ve reneged on posting my weekly weigh-in, either. I’ll post that tonight or tomorrow. I may have some explaining to do…)

Abs are made in the kitchen

I’ve been bitching a lot about not being able to hit the gym, because, despite my thunder thighs saying otherwise, I actually love to exercise. To me, nothing’s more satisfying than feeling the sweat drip during a particularly grueling work-out.

I’m still out of commission because of my toe, but that doesn’t mean that my weight loss efforts have gone down the toilet. I’ve just taken a different approach and focused entirely on my food intake (for the moment, anyway). To that end, I’ve summarized two important factors that have helped me lose some extra blubber.

Eat clean, yo!

As you’ve probably gathered from my bazillion mentions of the Eat-Clean Diet, it works. I’ve done the whole fad diet thing in the past, gaining everything back and then some when I resumed my normal eating habits. I have some  friends who even pulled a Beyonce and tried the Master Cleanse (drinking nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper). I cannot stress enough: These. Diets. Do. Not. Work.

I love the principles behind clean eating (excuse me while I wax poetic about it): You’re not counting carbs, you’re not ingesting weird diet pills and you’re not depriving yourself of any one food group (unless you count processed junk as a food group). I read about one diet that completely eliminates vegetables from your diet. Fuck that noise! You really think that will help you lose weight? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

By eating clean, you nourish your body with whole, natural foods that keep everything in tip-top shape. Everything  tastes so fresh and vibrant once you wean yourself off sugar and excess salt (as much as the withdrawal sucks in the beginning). For more information, refer to my previous post Eating clean and getting lean (hopefully) or hit up the Eat-Clean Diet website.

Pound back that H2O

I generally drank a lot of water before I started eating clean, but I know it’s a challenge for some people to chug two or three litres a day. Trust me when I say that drinking enough water is uber-important. Don’t like the “taste” of water? (I never did understand that one.) Try adding lemon slices, mint leaves or whatever tickles your fancy.

I notice a huge difference when I don’t drink enough H2o — I get headaches, I get constipated and I get cranky. (Seriously, run in the other direction if you happen to catch me when I’m dehydrated.) It’s been proven over and over again how essential it is to drink lots of water when you’re trying to lose weight. An added bonus? Your skin glows from the inside out. When I first upped my water intake a few years ago, I noticed a visible difference in my, um, glowiness within a week (and others commented on it, too).

So what does this mean for me?

I’ve heard over and over again that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I now believe it. Though I’m still counting the days until I can re-join my boot camp (29 to go!), I am confident that I can keep losing, barring any major plateaus.

Oh, and the temptation of the massive buffet/unlimited alcohol in Jamaica (21 days to go!). 😉

 

Give me the juice!

Hi, my name is Andrea and I’m addicted to vegetable juice.

No, really, I’m on a massive veggie juice kick — not some stupid “lose 12 pounds in a week” gimmicky detox diet or fast or anything. I just really, really dig veggie juice.

I hated it for the longest time. Drink ground-up salad? No thanks, I’d rather bathe with a toaster. But once I reached adulthood, my tastebuds must have changed. I went through a ridiculous amount of tomato juice before I ventured into hardcore-veggie-drinking territory.

With a sea of Chinese and lame chain restaurants in my work area, there isn’t much I can eat without blowing my meal plan. But my coworker just informed me of a little café hidden in a nearby office building. In addition to a slew of I-can’t-believe-these-are-healthy salads, wraps and smoothies, my new favourite haunt also serves veggie juice. Lots and lots of veggie juice. I’m in clean-eating heaven!

My favourite combo? Carrot, beet and cucumber. I still don’t like super-carrot-heavy juices because, quite frankly, they taste like camel piss (not an exact description). Beets, however, sweeten the juice — although I don’t really need any extra sweetener because I’m sweet enough already (*boom*tish*). Also amazing in juice? Spinach, believe it or not. I’ll throw a handful of it into my fruit smoothies because 1) it adds a bazillion nutrients and 2) you can’t even taste it, so it’s also a staple in my veggie juices.

Yesterday, my boyfriend told me he’s going to use part of his bonus to buy a juicer, so now I’ll be able to juice my little heart out at home. I knew there was a reason I’m keeping him around.

Anyone have any recipe suggestions for a juicin’ noob?

Never have I ever

Remember that drinking game “Never Have I Ever”? (For the unacquainted: someone says a simple statement starting with “Never have I ever.” For example: “Never have I ever tried a spin class.” Anyone who has tried a spin class must drink.)

Well, up until this week, never have I ever gone on a cooking spree. In my life. Like, ever.

But over the last few days, I’ve made clean chicken masala, chocolate chip blondie brownies, tuna pasta salad and mini crustless quiches, all of which turned out amazing. This whole clean-eating thing isn’t just good for my shrinking waistline — it seems to be forcing me to get outside my comfort zone, roll up my sleeves and enter the place I used to dread the most (other than 5:30 a.m. boot camp): the kitchen.

(My mom probably did a little happy dance when she read that.)

In addition to my newfound “like” of the kitchen (love is a strong word), I’ve been getting my ass handed to me three times a week in boot camp. That, combined with Zumba classes and a gym visit each week, has motivated me to keep movin’ whenever and wherever I can.

I used to be that driver who would circle a parking lot six times until I could find a spot close to the store, rather than walk an extra 200 feet. (In my defense, my city gets down to -40ºC in the winter, so that’s partially why I’m such a wiener.) Now, I park further away so I can enjoy a little bit of extra walking (did I really just say that?).

In the morning, I used to shuffle, bleary-eyed, to the coffeemaker and stand there yawning while it made my happy juice. Call me crazy, but now I do squats while I wait for the Keurig to work its magic.

I feel stronger and healthier than I have in a long time, and it feels incredible. Could it be that this self-proclaimed Debbie Downer feels…happy?