Monday, May 31, 2010

The Veggie Decision, Weight Loss and Jillian DVDs!

So, now that I'm caught up to about mid-May...I'll catch you up the rest of the way. For the two weeks following Mother's day...I went on a salad diet. I had been eating too much lately and not enough veggies. Plus, I wanted to "jump-start" our weight loss again since I'd been plateauing. So, for two weeks straight, I had nothing but salad for dinner. I mixed up the protein source: using chicken, fish, turkey and tofu or beans.

It was actually refreshing and enjoyable. And it did help me get back in the losing column. :)

Somewhere along there, I wondered why I wasn't a vegetarin. I've always had a problem eating animals due to the treatment they get during mass production. If this was the 50s where meat was a rarity for most families and therefore the very questionable manufacturing techniques weren't needed, this would be a different story. But sadly, it's not. And the more and more I learned and thought about it, the more and more I realized that I already felt that way...and that I was just avoiding it and ignoring my feelings.

Then, I tackled the next problem everyone has with vegetarian diets: lack of nutrition. Well, the more research I did, the more I learned it's not really a problem. It calls for planning and I'm well aware of that. But I already plan weeks in advance so that won't change. I don't think I'll become protein deficient since I love beans and soy products. 

The only thing left was how expensive it was going to become. As a couponer, I know that the sales tend to revolve around meat or things that are made with meat. But, after a couple weeks of shopping, I've realized that it's difficult but not impossible. Everything about being a vegetarian just requires being creative with meals and doing a lot of planning. I do not think I'll have a problem with either of those ;) 

It seems once you make that decision, it's hard to eat meat. I always found it cliche, but now I understand. It feels wrong since you already made the decision and once you let those images and facts in, it's hard to block them out. So it's been difficult for me to eat the meat left in the freezer. But I do understand that I already bought it, and it would just be a waste to throw it all away. I'm not buying any new meat or anything new that isn't vegetarian friendly. In limbo right now but I'm gettin there!

As if the coupon Gods heard my complaints about becoming vegetarian, Publix had Morningstar Farms entrees on BOGO this week. I'm OBSESSED with everything made by Morningstar Farms. They're meat free entrees that are easily made into meals and they always taste great...I ate these long before deciding to go veggie and I never even missed the meat. So...I went crazy when I saw they were half price. I then headed to Ebay to look for coupons. For a mere $3.75, I had $40 worth of Morningstar coupons heading my way. We were able to get 40 boxes for $35!! I was ecstatic. Without coupons and without a sale, this would have easily been $160

Needless to say, my freezer is completely full! And I'll have quite a bit of goodness to start off our vegetarian eating with :) PLUS, while I was rearranging the freezer to fit it all, I found a box of Deep Chocolate Vitatops hidden in there! I thought I ran out 3 months ago!! WAHOO! It's like finding treasure :)

It's been a while since I've talked about my weight loss on here. Since this blog was actually started as an effort to document my food choices and therefore keep me accountable, I find it weird that I barely talk about it. So I guess it's time to show off what I've done ;)

Starting weight (Aug 2008): 180 lbs.
Current weight (May 2010): 146 lbs. 
Goal weight: 135 lbs.

As you can see, it's been a looong time. This is because I don't really believe in "dieting" as much as I believe in lifestyle changes. While I eat less calories per day than I would if I were maintaining my weight, it's not a drastic 1000 calories per day. I let myself indulge and have dessert but make healthy choices 90% of the time. I exercise 5 days a week but don't fill it with cardio "blasts" with only the purpose of losing weight. I focus on weak areas or areas that need to be toned, or on overall goals. I run to get faster, to build my endurance back to what it used to be, not to lose weight. Ultimately, my final goal is to lose weight, but I'm not going to make myself miserable for 5 months to get there faster. These changes are things that I can keep up with forever, like portion control, more veggies, smarter snacks and creative ways to get my dessert cravings satisfied. So, while I'm sure it's nice to drop the pounds quick, I enjoy doing it my way. My way includes leniency for slip-ups and sometimes even month-long slumps.

Even still, it's nice to see when the hard work pays off. Like this weekend for example, when I went dress shopping for my sister's wedding. I've been wearing 8's and was already super excited to be back in single digits with that. But I decided to get crazy and try on a dress that was only available in a 6. And it zipped. Without a problem. I then proceeded to do a little dance in the dressing room and try to walk out and show everyone without acting like a four year old. If this sounds like bragging, that's because it is. And I deserve a little bragging. Since the trigger for me to change was in American Eagle when I had to buy a size 14 jeans (the highest size they have), getting down to a 6 is an amazing achievement for me. And the fact that on Sunday, when I went shopping, I was able to buy a pair of size 6 shorts as well, just made my weekend. Bragging over. :D

In case you were wondering, this is the dress I chose.

Ignore the face...I don't even know how that happened. And the terrible posture. And the color...and the size was one too big as well. hahaha I promise, I tried on the right size and I've seen the color so I know that it was the right choice. This one is actually for a different wedding, but it's the same color...

So use your creative powers to meld them together :) haha

Turning vegetarian had me thinking of easy, cheap and healthy lunches for me. They have to be portable and able to be heated in a microwave or a toaster oven but not take ages. First thing that came to mind: Amy's burritos. But those suckers are like $3 each! So... I made my own frozen burritos! Yup! Because I'm cool like that. (This would be a great after-school snack for any moms reading...)

Stephanie's Vegetarian Bean and Cheese Frozen Burritos
Makes 12 Burritos
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained (but not rinsed!)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 can (10 oz) Ro*Tel tomatoes, partially drained
  • 1 Tb. taco seasoning (I used my own homemade - chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder)
  • 1/3 cup (+/-) 2% milk cheese, cheddar or mexican blend
  • 12 fajita size flour tortillas

After draining the black beans, mash them up a bit. You don't want the beans completely mashed, just about half mashed and half "broken" to add some texture. 

Mix with the can of refried beans.

Add the tomatoes and seasoning.

Warm tortillas up according to package directions so they'll be more pliable and easier to fold.

Place about 1/4 cup mixture in the tortilla and top with about 1-2 Tb. cheese. Fold up into a burrito. Or, if you're like me and completely terrible at this step, ask your husband with puppy dog eyes and he'll do it for you. ;)

Place the burritos, seam down on a large cookie sheet. Freeze for at least an hour (I put mine in the deep freeze for 30 minutes). Wrap each burrito individually in saran wrap or place in individual baggies...and put all the individually wrapped burritos in a gallon freezer bag and keep in the freezer. 

To reheat you can use the microwave but it'll probably come out a little soggy. I take out a burrito each morning and by lunch it's pretty much thawed. Then 10 minutes in a toaster oven set to 350 and it's toasted on the outside, warm on the inside. YUM!

And now, as promised ages ago, I'll go ahead and give you my opinion on the two Jillian Michael's DVDs I've tried. Hopefully someone will be interested :) haha

I first tried Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.

This DVD contains a 55 minute workout split up into 7 circuits, a warm up and a cool down. 

Completing this DVD start to finish is HARD. The first time you do it, I would not recommend doing more than 2 circuits. I am very thankful I was able to listen to my body and do this. Each time I did it after that first time, I added a circuit until that fabulous day when I was able to do all 7 circuits. Now, this may vary from person to person but I calculated via my heart rates during the workout, height (5'5") and weight (then 157 lbs) and doing the whole workout burns 582 calories. I'll agree any day that this workout is hard but it feels good and burns almost 600 calories, you can't beat that! Plus, it's easy to see how you get stronger. Even when I first did all 7 circuits, there were moves that I skipped. That I wasn't strong enough to do or I just found to difficult. I slowly added these moves in which helped me realize how far I had come. Jillian is a great trainer who always says the right things to keep you moving. However, the more I did the DVD, I knew what she was going to say and it didn't have the same effect on me.

I started doing this DVD in February and did 2-3 a week until May. I lost 9 pounds during this time. The cover says "Lose up to 5 pounds a week!" I'm sure this is possible if done everyday but I did not have the time to spend 55 minutes on exercise each day. I also felt like this was a strength training/cardio combo and my muscles needed a break from the intensity some days. 

I would recommended this DVD to anyone looking to jump start weight loss or slim down. I feel like I didn't loose a ton of poundage at first but I definitely could see a difference in my silhouette. Jeans felt looser, my arms got so much stronger and I looked leaner, even before the scale started moving. I still use this DVD when I need a heavy workout day, following a big meal or a couple days off, etc. 

Just recently, I started using Yoga Meltdown. I have done this DVD three times. It contains two 35-minute workouts, level 1 and level 2. The first time I did it, I didn't really feel like I burned anything. I was so busy trying to watch her and pick up the moves. I have done yoga before but just with the programs on Fit TV so I still consider myself a beginner. I am able to follow the beginner's version of most of the moves and on some, I able to do the advanced. I like how it gives the two versions so you have the ability to find the middle as well. 

After that first time, since I know what the moves are, I can definitely feel a burn and this last time when I could easily follow without looking up, I even got pretty sweaty. I was able to focus on completely moves and my muscles instead of wondering whether or not I was doing it right. Jillian's hard-ass techniques weren't as strong in this one. She is encouraging, which is a nice change. :) The workout is a collection of power poses. Each poses is repeated with motion to burn calories and then held for 15 seconds to build strength. 

I really like this DVD. I feel that I get a good workout and it's nice to change it up and get those muscles confused so they keep getting stronger. As for whether or not you can "Lose up to 5 pounds a week!"...I'm not so sure about that. It's a challenging workout but I didn't feel like I burned enough to lose that much. However, I feel like this DVD has helped me build more muscles and muscle burns more calories than fat so I do not discount it as a way to lose weight.

The consensus: I liked them both. If you're trying to lose weight and fast, BFBM would be the most helpful if done several times a week. I would still give at least 2 rest days a week since it does a lot of muscle work. The yoga is a challenging workout that I feel like I will be able to stick with longer since I can increase the difficulty of each move and then move onto level 2 and do it all over again. 

Right now, I'm going to continue doing the Yoga DVD while I work on my running endurance. I'm following a Couch to 5k plan in order to get back to "high school shape." I was on the cross country team and used to run for half an hour, sometimes an hour, each day and would love to get back to that. I'm hoping to be able to do a 5k in the fall when they start popping up everywhere :)


Anonymous said...

Stopping by from SITS! Congrats on your weight loss! Thanks for the Morningstar Farms tip. My son has to eat vegetarian at school and we have such a hard time making lunches!

Have a great Tuesday.

Katy said...

Stephanie, you should try Jillian's Trouble Zones DVD. I've been doing it almost 2 weeks and it is kicking my butt. I really like it! It is long too so I haven't been able to do the whole thing everyday, but you can choose the circuits individually so you can do what you have time for.

Life with Kaishon said...

Congratulations. You look beautiful! I have been trying to eat salads every night this week for supper. Sometimes I slip up and have a bite of the food I am making for everyone else though. Eating is a struggle for me. Really happy for you! Way to go!

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