Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's What's For Dinner...

There is absolutely no excuse for it:  I gained 20 pounds in 6 months. 
My favorite snack- CHIPS.  I love them all!

I admit, I hid it well during the cold of winter.  But with spring is right around the corner, and we bought a new house with a built-in pool that I plan to spend a lot of quality time with in the future, it is definitely time to come out of hibernation.

Mmmm Shepherd's Pie.  My favorite meal I've ever made...Ever.  
I was very athletic growing up, an avid track and cross-country runner, basketball, and soccer player.  During season I would run 8-10 miles each day and lift weights afterward.  I had the kind of metabolism that melted away a foot-long chili-cheese dog in a matter of hours. It didn't take much for me to be in great shape.  So seeing myself with a 'spare tire,' 'saddle-bags,' 'gobble,' and a flabby 'cottage cheese butt' made me depressed, disappointed, and a lot insecure.  I mean, we women all have a little extra cushion naturally, but I was feeling as bad as I looked.  I tired out easily during daily activities like cleaning house.  Waking up for work in the morning was like coming out of a bad hangover that I stayed completely sober to get.  All I wanted to do was sit on the couch after dinner and watch TV or play video games.  Walking upstairs made me short of breath... My skin broke out more often and looked dull and sagging.  My hair was flat and brittle.  I know I'm in my late twenties, married, and not as young as I used to be, but WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO MY BODY??
My homemade Chicken & Dumplings. Nom Nom.

It was the beginning of last month that I had a "come to Jesus" talk with myself.  It was time to start exercising and eating right.  The first few times I ran on the treadmill at our office gym, I thought I was going to die...There is no way I can do this.  But I disciplined myself to keep at it- cycling, running, and elliptical.  And then I started strength training.  And lots and lots of abs.  The weeks went by and the exercise became easier, therapeutic even.  A nice way to spend my lunch break clearing my head, and a great way to sustain energy throughout that afternoon crash time.  Four weeks later and I actually look forward to working out on my lunch breaks.
My favorite sweets- Thunder Cookies! All that sugary goodness...I bet Kevin Durant would LOVE these...

The hardest change was my diet.  I've never counted calories, been on a fad diet, or even payed much attention to what I ate as long as there was a meat, a starch, and a vegetable on my dinner plate.  Since I wanted to not only get in shape, but get healthy, the first step was to get a Google education on nutrition.  More on that in another post.  But my research all came to the same conclusion: eat less processed foods, high-calorie starches, and red meat. Eat more vegetables, fruits, proteins, and complex carbs. Okay, I thought.  I can do that.  One problem...I really don't like a lot of vegetables!  The texture of certain fruits and veggies give my taste buds the red light.  Trust me, I've tried to overcome this for years.  Determined to make myself eat them, I found my food processor to be my new best friend.  Behold the power of PUREE!

I love to cook.  I'm from Oklahoma, after all.  And we like our barbecue, pizza, hamburgers, and fried chicken.  So with a new way of eating (because as my friend Em said you can't call it a diet, it must be a lifestyle change) comes new, healthy recipes. That doesn't mean I have to do away with all my southern comfort food!  I give myself one day a week to make something hearty (the lighter version of it anyway) and one night to eat out.   That way I don't have to tell my Shepherd's Pie that we are never, ever, ever getting back together...Because I'll always love you, you delicious Irish casserole... Here are some of my (and my husband's and family's) favorites.



Now THIS is a big change...

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