Last Wednesday I received my emails to let me know we are kicking off first day of our Iowa Food Bloggers Challenge for the Iowa Food & Family Project. Let me say, this is not the first time at this rodeo! At 62, I have been up and down the scales like a concert pianist at piano practice. Yup, me and Oprah, we are joined at the hip — generous hips, I will say. At this moment in time I am up about 20 pounds from my best weight, but I’ve been as up as much as 90 pounds. I know it doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds to lose or 100 pounds, it’s hard — really, really hard.
I love food. I love to cook food, eat food, have parties where I plan lots of food for my friends and family, read about food, watch cooking shows, and even just sit and read recipes from my huge collection of cookbooks. So when I saw the Iowa Food & Family Project was putting together a team of bloggers for the Live Healthy Iowa 10-Week Wellness Challenge. It spoke to me. Food and Wellness — I can work with that combination. Yes, I want to lose some weight to get my tushy back in those skinny jeans in my closet when I go to Paris with my sister this May, but more importantly I really need to get control of my diabetes numbers. Those 20 pounds sneaking back on have also allowed those numbers to sneak up. And just let’s say my doctor is less than pleased.
I set my first goals to exercise 120 minutes per week and I have convinced my daughter Angie to go with me — so I have a partner! My goal is to swim, walk, bike and do weights to get those minutes in. I’d like to lose totally 10% of my body weight. What could go wrong, I have 10 weeks? So let’s just talk about week 1. Here are a few excerpts from my diary.
Thursday – January 26, 2017
Woot, Woot — I did 3 big things today! #1 I made it into town to get signed up at the YMCA again — no small feat with the snow the last couple of days. #2 I weighed in — that was kind of terrifying, but I was happy to see I had maintained my weight loss from the summer over the holidays. #3 I have eaten 2 healthy meals thus far and feel good about it.
Well McDonald’s pulled me in like a laser beam dragging me into the mothership. 2:30 in the afternoon and I was starving — so I ordered a regular cheeseburger and small FF. It happens…I did eat on ½ of a sandwich and fresh veggies for supper — one step at a time and instead of beating myself up — I’ve decided I did great because I made good choices most of the day!
Friday – January 27, 2017
1st day back to the YMCA — not as hard as I expected — I walked 30 minutes doing a weight loss routine — I even had to bump up the speeds as it was kind of slow for me! I managed to do 3 different weight machines — all arms today — I’d love to have Michelle Obama arms, but that ship has sailed at 62 — but I’m still hoping it will help my bones!
Once again at around 1:30/2:00 I am starving — Bonus — today I managed to eat a banana with peanut butter instead of everything in the cupboard for a snack.
Saturday – January 28, 2017
OMG, this morning my arms were shaky and I thought I’m going into a diabetic coma, and then I remember I had lifted weights yesterday — whew. My husband took me out to eat for lunch today and while he at his French Fries — I ate something else French — French Onion Soup…one of my favorites, with a side salad.
I only had one glass of red wine tonight — not that I drink a great deal, but I really, really like a nice glass of wine or two. I opted for red since it supposed have lots of antioxidants. It was lovely with our thin crust pizza.
Sunday – January 29 2017
I didn’t write anything — but I did clean up my son’s basement, which should count for like 20,000 steps!
Today – Monday, January 30, 2017
I got back to the YMCA today, yeah me! I did 30 minutes on the bicycle. I am really try to do more cross training this time, to hit more muscle groups and try to avoid getting bored and quitting. I am feeling very accomplished today, having been pretty successful this first week. Not perfect, but making good choices most of the time.
Week 2 Strategies
After a little bit of a late start last week and some bumps on the road, I decided I should think about some strategies that might help me get through my biggest obstacle last week. Food — surprise — Farm Girl Cook’n would have a food issue…LOL. I found I was hungry about mid-afternoon every day and this is when McDonalds’ or junk food wins. So this week my two strategies are:
- Eat more good calories for breakfast and lunch. A dietitian once told me I’m not eating enough early in the day and it leaves me rummaging for anything I can find to eat quickly — most often something not so good for me.
- Make up my Spring Veggie soup to have on hand in a pinch. In the winter especially, having something warm and satisfying helps my munchies — plus I get to add in more veggies to my diet!
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 carrots or more if you like lots like I do -- roughly chopped the size you like
- 2 TBPS olive oil
- 6 cups of Chicken Broth
- 3 cups of Beef Broth
- (You can use Chicken & Beef soup starters or bullion if you don't have broth)
- 2 TBSP of Tomato Paste -- I like the kind in the tube you can keep in the fridge
- 1 or 2 Bay leaves depending on size
- Fresh Herbs -- tie them up or use a herb infuser. I like Thyme, Oregano or Marjoram, and chives. If you use dried herbs but just a pinch they are much stronger than fresh
- Add oil to a 4 to 8 quart soup/stock pot. On medium heat add your veggies and soften -- 5 to 10 minutes -- it's ok to brown them some if you like deepens the flavors.
- Add broth, tomato paste and herbs to your sauteed vegetables.
- This is the step where your soup may get larger than planned -- my dad used to say to my mom, "Why did you make that soup so big?" and she would just say it got out of control. When my dad retired he would make soup and my mom would ask the same question in a sarcastic way -- and he would say " Because I wanted to." Oh, that made her mad.
- Add hardy vegetables and those that might need longer to cook at this point. This is a sample list of those you might like to include:
- More carrots
- Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are fork tender
- Add more delicate vegetables at the end. This is where it is a little trickier to figure out when to add them. If using fresh veggies I would put them in the soup so that they cook completely per a recommended cooking time - Example: Fresh green beans take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. This will depend on how you like your veggies crisp or very soft.
- If you are using frozen veggies -- which I do a lot -- I use the steam in bag ones and cook them ½ of the recommended time -- drain any water on them and then just heat the soup until everything is nice an warm. This will keep your veggies from breaking down too much.
On Thursday I will weigh in again — I don’t want to weigh more than once a week, but I’ve decided I will still feel like a winner after this week, even if I stay the same or it only budges a little. I got off the couch and I added more veggies and fruits to my diet and I made good choices most of the time.
Keep it simple and enjoy!