Zee’s Status (7/13)

Status: Loss
Mood: Positive

I think it’s safe to say that I am on track, and I am happy. For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been progressing well on the plan.  I even survived the July 4th holiday, which included one party and eating out. Holidays can be tough when you are maintaining a diet because it means plenty of socializing and unexpected menu options.

I had two interesting conversations around the holiday weekend I’ve carried with me through this week.  One was with one of my best friends and the other was with my cousins.  When you talk to people who care about you on topics like losing weight, you always get a great perspective and it’s all out of love and care for your well being.  Here’s what I learned:

  • Be Positive — This stemmed from my first status update where I mentioned some things I did not do.  A very dear friend reminded me to stay positive. So I’m learning to reflect more on what I did do to help reach my goal.  For instance, thinking of how I took my vitamins 5 times this week, instead of dwelling on the 2 days I did not.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson

  • Practice Portion Control — We all are aware that Americans like our plates big with lots of food piled on.  But in truth, measuring out servings to the proper portion is really the name of the weight loss game.  Smallstep.gov suggests, when eating out, try ordering the smaller servings; and when eating in, try using a smaller plate.
  • Drink Water — I always have to be mindful that beverages may have calories, but not only that, some diet drinks may still have a form of sugar in them.  All of this can attribute to drinking your calories, which will add on to your daily caloric intake. When in doubt, drink water. Here is some helpful information on rethinking your drinks from CDC.
  • Go Decaf — Whew! I’m caffeine all the way, and just about everyday.  So needless to say, I will need a bit more convincing on this one.  My cousin suggested I look into the benefits of going decaf, so I found this interesting article on Livestrong.com.  I’m still researching, so to be continued.  Suze and I agree that we don’t know if we could ever quit caffeine entirely.

So that was some of the great advice and ideas I have received.  All of which are “small stuff” in the grand scheme of things that are doable.  I’m curious, for my readers out there, what “small stuff” advice have you received that could be added to this list?


Suze’s Status (7/13)

Status: Gain then Loss
Mood: Disappointed but determined

Sorry for no update last week. I gained a couple of pounds, going up to 220.8. It was depressing even though I knew a portion of it was water weight. I’m really not making excuses for the weight gain. My ankles and feet were swollen. I could see it. I’m guessing the culprit was the fried foods Friday night and the alcohol Friday and Saturday nights. (Which are also a reason for the weight gain, double whammy there.) I was actually surprised I had so much water weight though. I haven’t had a problem with retaining water since I went vegetarian, one of the many reasons keeping me a vegetarian.

Onto this week. I lost weight, going back down to 215.6. I didn’t do anything differently, but I suspect what I lost was mostly the water weight, and perhaps some genuine weight as well. I’ve been trying to eat healthier, although I haven’t been counting calories. Thus the reason I’m disappointed in myself – I know I should count calories and exercise, but I have not done either all week.

That brings us to determined. I am determined to exercise this week. My goal is to do 30 Day Shred before work, even if it means waking up at 4am, and then walking at least 2 miles once I get home from work, as long as it’s light out. I don’t know what my schedule is yet, but if it follows the same patterns I should be able to walk at least 4 or 5 times this week.

All that exercise may be a bit much, but I’m actually hoping it jump starts me into exercising regularly. Even when I was doing well losing weight by counting calories alone, I didn’t do so well on exercising. That’s not acceptable to me anymore. I feel I have to start exercising. Part of that determination is because I know with the free employee meals at work, it’s going to be hard to be specific when it comes to counting calories. It’s also going to be tricky to stay healthy doing it. Yes, I could and should take my lunch to work and it would solve my problems, but until I hit the grocery store to get some packable foods or start cooking and packaging leftovers, I’ll be eating at work…or Subway, my back up plan when the work meal is all meat.

So the goals for this week are:

  • Workout to 30 Day Shred at least 4 days this week.
  • Walk 2 miles at least 3 days week.
  • Work harder at counting my calories. To that end, I joined SparkPeople, since they have an app for the iPhone (& a few other phone types) to count calories. It seems to be working for Zee, so perhaps it will work for me as well.

Zee’s Status (6/27)

Status: No Gain/No Loss
Mood: Still motivated … I think.

No harm, no foul right? I didn’t gain weight so it should be good news, and it really is.  I also didn’t lose anything so I could be bummed about that, but I just choose not to be. Instead, I’m going to focus on my actions and which ones could have effected my outcome differently.  Here are some actions I took this past week and a bit of food-for-thought for each:

  • I did bring lunch to work, and went out to eat less.
    Fact: When you bring your own meals, you are able to better plan and balance your calories and food groups for the day.  Also, not only is bringing your own lunch to work healthy, you save money.

 

 

 

  • I did not exercise.
    Fact:  We all know exercise is the key to getting healthy, but incorporating a little routine into an already packed schedule is hard.  To get better about exercising, I’ve been looking at resources like Smallstep.gov to help find better solutions.

 

  • I did not take my daily vitamin every day last week.
    Fact:  Taking dietary supplements isn’t for everyone.  It’s always best to talk to a nutritionist or your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Since I am now armed with these facts in mind, I’m going to hope for a better result next week.  *crosses fingers while biting into an apple I entered in my food journal*

Do you have any interesting nutrition or fitness tips which you find helpful?


Suze’s Status (6/27)

Status: Gained
Mood: Tired

But it was only 0.2 lbs! Okay, still bad. Could be worse, but not good. I didn’t track what I ate and I ate a lot of junk food. Fried shrimp and pesto covered pasta salad as the employee meal at work Wednesday! YOU try to pass that up. Then breakfast bar with lots of delicious fried potatoes on Saturday as the employee meal. I also had a few drinks Saturday night and alcohol eats up calories like I eat fried shrimp!

As for tired, well I’ve had some early mornings at work, and I can’t bear to ever go to bed before 11pm, 10pm at the earliest. So not a lot of sleep. Being tired sucks for trying to eat healthy, at least for me. I tend to get ravenously hungry when I’m really tired. And I tend to go for what is easiest and fastest. That generally means high calorie, junk foods.

But today I’m being good. Had some strawberries and blueberries in the fridge, so I’m working my way through those today. Then I’ll cut up the salad stuff. Maybe a healthy start to the week will make me more successful throughout the week.

I’m also debating doing a juice fast for a day or eating raw for a week just to get the junk food addiction out of my system. There really is something addictive about junk food. Sometimes you need to take drastic measures to get over the cravings.


Recipe: Blueberry-Lemon Scones

Original Recipe: From Vegweb.com

Recipe makes 6-9 scones (1350 calories)
1 serving = 1 scone (approx 150-225 calories)

I was craving something baked and sweet and we had fresh blueberries, which needed to be used, so I decided to try out a recipe for blueberry-lemon scones I had come across awhile ago. Me being, well me, I had to tweak the recipe.

For starters, I used organic whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour. Whole wheat flour is better for you and if you stick with pastry flour, the final product will be almost as light as using regular flour. The whole wheat flour adds a nuttier flavor, but I didn’t feel that really detracted from the taste of the scone. My mom didn’t seem to mind either and she tends to prefer things made with all-purpose flour.

The other tweak I made was using 6 tablespoons of a vegan margarine  instead of 8. Reading the reviews on the original recipe, a lot of people had problems with their scones flattening out on them. Most people cut the soy milk, but since margarine has way more calories, I cut the margarine. I also melted it before adding it to the bowl and only added a bit at a time to make sure the dough didn’t get to soupy on me. It worked out great!

I LOVE blueberries, so a 1/2C of blueberries was just unacceptable to me, thus I upped it to 3/4C. I may go for a full cup next time. I’d suggest rinsing the blueberries then drying them and then coating them with a light layer of flour. It will keep them together & will reduce how much the bleed into the rest of the scone, thus making the scone flatter.

Finally, all I had on hand was vanilla soy milk. You should probably use plain or unsweetened soy milk when doing any baking, but I figured the vanilla flavor and the little bit of extra sweetness wouldn’t hurt. I wasn’t wrong. They scones weren’t too sweet at all.

Tip: The recipe calls for lemon zest.  I suggest using a nutmeg grater to zest your lemon. The zest will be in smaller bits & distribute a lot better.

The recipe said it made 6 scones, but honestly, how many you get really depends on how big or small you make them. I ended up with 9. I included the calorie count for the entire recipe so you can figure out how much each scone is on your own if you’d like.

The final product was delicious! It wasn’t too dry or too wet. It was sweet and nutty and just, well, delicious.

I give this recipe 5 Healthy Apples, with a handful of blueberries! These make a great low-cal breakfast pastry. It’s got whole grains and blueberries are an excellent superfruit, high in anti-oxidants. True, I wouldn’t suggest one scone is an entire serving of whole grains or fruit, but it’s certainly better than a donut or that scone from your local coffee shop! And wonderfully easy to make and store!


Suze’s Status (6/23)

Status: Gained
Mood: Glad this blog is getting launched. I need the accountability!

I have been so fail the past month and a half about staying on task with my weight loss. Can I blame staring a new job? We get free employee meals and so it’s sometimes difficult to take my lunch/dinner, when I know I could get something yummy from the restaurant, even if it is a risk I won’t be able to eat it because there is meat involved. Much better than my Smart Deli Smoked “Turkey” sandwich and carrot sticks! Although the carrot sticks are quite delicious.

Since starting in October, I got myself down to 210 lbs and then just stopped counting the calories and working out. Now I’m back up to 217, which isn’t horrible, but it’s a little frustrating. I’m really glad this blog is getting back up so I will have another measure of accountability. Hopefully if the world is watching me, I’ll actually do what I need to do to drop a pound or two a week!


Zee’s Status (6/23)

Status: Gained
Mood: Motivated and excited to finally start the blog!

Yay! I’m so excited to start writing for the blog.  Too bad my excitement isn’t related to my weight loss/gain status. But as stated in the About The Duo section, that’s why we started the blog.

When Suze and I started this journey last October, our first month was sensational! We both were well on our way to losing 10 pounds each.  It was easy because we were eager to try something new.  Then the holidays happened.  While Suze stayed the trooper of our duo, I quickly turned into the slacker.

I could say the gain was caused by Christmas cookies or the holiday snacks.  Perhaps I could blame it on the winter weather? The truth is that all of those are my excuses.  So instead of making my first status update about that, I want to talk about a couple of the lessons I’ve learned during that time.  Maybe it will inspire any slackers, like me, out there.

  1. I’ve learned that no matter how motivated you are, it’s easy to fall off the wagon.  So buckle up, or your ride is going to be longer than you anticipated.
  2. I have to set a routine, and then stick to it.  I’ve missed more than a few days recording in our spreadsheet (check out The Plan, with more info to come).
  3. I need to exercise in small steps.  If you aren’t ready to go out and run a marathon, then don’t try to do it.

Welcome to The Healthy Duo!

We are Zee and Suze, two friends who one night discussed a common desire to address our weight gain once and for all.  The result of that conversation was a plan to team up to lose weight in the most healthy way possible and to begin this blog to talk about it, share our struggles and joys with others, and to share what we learn along the way.

We are both thirty somethings and similar in some ways and opposite in others, like any good friends. Our journeys will not be the same but we will still be able to learn from and support one another. Combining a plan and helpful resources, like the US nutrition guides, we hope we can learn from and support others on their journeys, as well as have others learn from us.

The plan and our ultimate goal for us is about being healthy. But of course, beyond being healthier, we want to lose weight.  So if you find our plan interesting, and like us, and you want to lose weight but do so in a healthy manner; we hope you stick around — follow THD on Twitter, like our Facebook page, or add our feed to your reader — and join us.

We hope this blog will be a helpful resource for others as we share our struggles and joys; post about helpful resources and information we’ve learned along the way; and demonstrate how using tools, like spreadsheets and journals, can help.

In posts to come, we’ll be sharing the spreadsheet we’ve created to help us stay on track,
producing articles on various topics from water to our thoughts on the latest diet fad, and sharing recipes we’ve used  or even created ourselves (we’ll even include the calorie count and how many servings of My Plate it satisfies!).

We can’t thank you enough for taking the time to stop by our blog and share in our journey. If you find something helpful or wish to share something of your own journey, please comment and let us know. We truly do hope you find something useful here for your own journey.