KJPugs Breaks Down her Amazing Weight Loss!

Hi Kiddos! Today I figured we’d ring in a New Year’s Eve Party with the blogger life of the party – KJPUGS! KJ and I met many moons ago when we both were planning our weddings, and she has become one of my bestest bloggy buddies ever and she never fails to crack me up. Today she’s talking about her AMAZING weight loss! Read her inspiring story below and show her some comment love and don’t forget to “like” her at http://www.facebook.com/kjpugsblog !

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Hi everyone! I’m Kelly aka kjpugs, and I’m THRILLED to be a guest poster on the Double Chin Diary! Alyssa has become one of my very best blog friends (dare I say… life friends!?) this year and I am so glad. It’s wonderful to have someone to chat with who shares some of your challenges and goals. We’ve had similar journeys and struggles and I am so glad I have her in my life to chat with.

BF4L! (Alyssa's note: I pretty much cackled like a hyena when I saw this. AMAZING!)

BF4L! (Alyssa’s note: I pretty much cackled like a hyena when I saw this. AMAZING!)

If you haven’t visited kjpugs.com before, the things I seem to blog about the most are 1) pugs, if you couldn’t guess 2) nail polish and 3) my weight loss journey. Pugs are the joy of my life – I have three! – and nail polish is basically my favorite hobby and replacement for real life friendships. But my weight loss journey has been going on for a while, and I have lost more than 40 pounds towards my 60 pound loss goal! I was nearing 50 pounds lost, but the holidays have hurt me a bit… along with most normal people, I’ll be putting my butt back in gear in January.

I’ve been on this journey (this time) since September 1, 2011. I signed up for a work weight loss challenge and had to be weighed on the shipping scale at work because I was a last-minute joiner. I had to beg the shipping guys to avert their eyes! I started with Weight Watchers because it had meetings at my office, but after moving from Indiana to Florida this year, I switched to My Fitness Pal. 

Kelly's amazing weight loss!

Kelly’s amazing weight loss!

I have always had a problem with weight, mostly due to not making great food choices. I knew I had (have) two triggers, and they definitely were (are) carbs and sugar. I would binge on them all the time, and wasn’t getting enough nutrients from my diet. And to make matters worse- I could just keep eating, like a bottomless pit. I love quantity! I vividly remembering making Eggo waffles for breakfast at a sleepover in grade school… I made myself one, then two, then all of a sudden I had eaten five. And I could have had more! Sometimes my love for sugary and carby items feels like an addiction.

One of the best things I’ve found to replace my carb love is spaghetti squash. I blogged one recipe here, but I love trying new ways to prepare it. I’ll make it with my homemade carrot marinara sauceand frozen turkey meatballs, or my current favorite- General Tso sauce, green onions, and cashews. It’s very low calorie, but more importantly, it’s SQUASH, not carbs, that’s filling you up.

People who know me also know my obsession – BRUSSELS SPROUTS. I blogged recipes for both sautéed sprouts  and shredded sprouts. There are so many options- lots of people like to roast them also, which is very easy and hands off. It’s not a taste for everyone, but it’s an easy recipe that I can eat lots of volume for not a lot of calories. Another green option might be broccoli, if you’re into that stuff. Find new ways to spice and flavor familiar foods to mix it up. I find myself liking foods I hated as a kid because I’m trying them in a new way.

Eating right hasn’t worked alone though. Quantity is also important. My Fitness Pal allows me to set a daily calorie goal (based on how fast I want to lose, and how often I plan to work out) and track the food I eat. I can see how many calories are in the food I eat, and can track it, aiming to stay at or below my calorie goal. I also connect with friends on MFP – you can see if they’ve hit a milestone, lost weight, or tracked that day (and what they tracked, if they allow you to. I keep mine private.)

Early this fall, I decided to step up my game by attempting to work out. I struggle with being motivated, but lacking the funds. I don’t have the money right now to join a gym. So, I started running! At first, I tried Couch to 5k. And I liked it… for a few weeks. I had to do week 3 twice, and then accidentally did week 4 once. Bad idea. When I got to the point where I had to run 90 seconds straight or longer, I went from feeling confident and enjoying running, to feeling miserable, exhausted, and discouraged. One of my new Orlando friends, Lisa from Buffet Laps suggested I try the Jeff Galloway method with her instead. It’s interval running, where you run and walk in a set interval. I started training with a 1:1 interval and recently ran my first 5k, as well as a 3 mile fun run at SeaWorld.

KJ Pugs is On The Run!

KJ Pugs is On The Run!

I can’t tell you how amazing running makes me feel now. I feel strong, and proud of myself and my body. It’s something I couldn’t do before, and I now wish I had attempted to do it back when I was even more fit! I am planning a few more 5k’s, including the Critz Tybee Run Fest  with my sister in Georgia this February.

The most helpful part of all of this has been my husband B joining my efforts. I lost more than 40 pounds over 15 months. He has lost more than 65 pounds in seven months! His goal is to lose 120 pounds, and he’s more than halfway there. It makes it easier to be careful about what I eat when the person I eat most often with also cares! I got him doing the Jeff Galloway method running too, and hope he’ll join me for a 5k in 2013 too.

Feel free to friend me on MFP (and start hassling me if I am still slacking come 1/1/13!) and check out some of the recipes I shared in this post. If you are trying to lose weight or get fit, find a community for yourself! It’s fun to share tips and “little wins” with one another, and it makes the experience more enjoyable and often, more successful! Also, if you’re not succeeding as a runner, don’t be discouraged. Try a different method like the interval method, and that might work for you, too. My 13-14 minute mile runs are better than not running. And I’m always looking for more interval running buddies in Florida! Anyone want to do some races with me?

Or let’s just take up a collection so I can afford a flight to Cali to finally get to do Zumba and a 5k with Alyssa!

Thanks again for letting me guest post, Alyssa! Hope you are having a wonderful ‘Thaime!’ (har har)

You Better Watch Out…You Better Not Cry… A Guest Post from Amy!

Hi Everybody, Alyssa here! My lovely friend Amy from Amy’s Writes wrote this post about the holiday season stressers – especially when trying to watch your weight. Amy’s been a great friend to me in Los Angeles and I often think she steals thoughts right out of my head! Read her post and chime in!

Fun fact! Amy and I once dressed as twins for Halloween. When we worked at the same company people confused us for eachother all the time! And NO, we don't usually wear sweaters like that.

Fun fact! Amy and I once dressed as twins for Halloween. When we worked at the same company people confused us for eachother all the time! And NO, we don’t usually wear sweaters like that.

I think I’m afraid of the holidays. Over the past view years, I’ve noticed a crippling anxiety that overtakes me during the holiday season, and each year it seems to get a little worse. Now as much as I pride myself on my talent for collecting obscure phobias, even I can see that this is one I’d be better off without. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, celebration, thankfulness, and family. And while I do feel all of that, each year those warm and fuzzy feelings are overshadowed just a bit more by sheer terror!

What’s there to be afraid of? It’s just a month long orgy of shopping with money you don’t have, eating foods you normally wouldn’t touch, and fighting crowds to go to places where people you don’t know will wish you “happy holidays” through gritted teeth…oh and guilt…don’t forget the guilt! What so bad about that?

Okay I really don’t want to sound like a Grinch, because the truth is that I do love the holidays and I want to continue to love the holidays. Just like most of you, the holidays hold a precious and nostalgic place in my heart. Unfortunately, that place in my heart is already padded with a layer of winter fat from the constant parade of holiday treats being served up by my coworkers on a daily basis. I wish I could just enjoy the seasonal goodies as the goodhearted and generous gestures they are. As a carboholic though, those treats leave me tiptoeing in and out of the office kitchen as though alerting the sweets to my presence will cause them to leap into my mouth and immediately attach themselves to my thighs.

Look at what was lurking in Amy's office. I couldn't resist, either.

Look at what was lurking in Amy’s office. I couldn’t resist, either.

I don’t want to have to avoid all my favorite things. I would love to just indulge carelessly the way many of my friends seem able to. But I can’t. Eating just one chocolate truffle from the office kitchen could easily drive me into a sugar spiral where I spend the rest of the day forcing as much candy-coated-fat down my throat as I can get my hands on. That’s just how my brain works, and until I accept that, I’m probably going to spend many holidays feeling more bitter than sweet.

So the holidays ARE a bit inconvenient. Okay, they can be downright annoying, and they certainly are stressful. There’s never enough money or time to get gifts, and each year the list of people who deserve and expect gifts seems to double. The food is everywhere, and putting on a nice cuddly layer of winter fat is pretty much unavoidable. But I have to admit, the holidays are still pretty great. Okay, I said it. They’re great. I guess I still do love this time of year more than I hate it, and if anything, the holidays are a chance for me to show a little love and acceptance to the one person I always leave in the cold…myself. I can’t be perfect over the holidays, but if I just stop torturing myself for a minute, I’m pretty sure I can be happy. After all, a little chubby, a little poor, stressed out and totally neurotic, I still have a whole lot to celebrate!

A review for the delicious Tomatina vegetable juice

Greetings from my sister Alyssa’s couch! I am down in Southern California for the next week taking care of Alyssa and Matt’s kitteh love, Lucia, while they’re off globe trotting in Thailand. Cool news, I heard from Alyssa that one of you awesome readers managed to recognize her while she was there! I’m excited to hear the full run down of how that happened!

The past month has been busy with my school finals, holiday events, work, and planning out 2013. One of the most important aspects that new year will bring for me is making a serious devotion to consuming foods that will be kind to my body. I need to start avoiding the foods made with more science than nature since they seem to be the ones that give me trouble and cause me to chew on Tums the way someone trying to quit cigarettes chews on Nicorette.

I recently got to try a deliciously blended vegetable juice called Tomatina that was sent to me all the way from New York City. Tomatina is a savory combination of seven different gifts of the earth: Tomato, beet, cucumber, red bell pepper, ginger, carrot, and celery.

After chilling in my refrigerator for a few days, I gave my sample of Tomatina a whirl. Upon the first sip, I was amazed at how it tasted like a tomato that had just been plucked from the vine on a warm September afternoon and tenderly mixed by vegetable masters into a perfect blend of flavors and texture.

The mix of the other vegetables and ginger gave the juice a really pleasant and tangy flavor and there were little bits of veggie pulp that thickened up the juice. It was definitely way better than the other vegetable blended juices I have tried and I was very impressed with how they managed to keep the taste so incredibly fresh!

I shared my sample with my father, an avid fan of vegetable juices and mixing them with vodka. His first comment was “Damn, this would make a good Bloody Mary.”

Tomatina is currently available around its home city of New York but is hoping to be available to the rest of the world someday soon. One of the ways this young company is trying to promote itself and get up and running is by using Kickstarter, an online community of do-gooders seeking financial backing from those who are interested.

If you would like to check out more information on Tomatina and maybe even help them with their goal, please watch their video! You can also “like” them on Facebook!

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Thanks a lot for the sample, Tomatina! I look forward to hopefully seeing you guys on California store shelves soon!

Peace and tomatoes for all,

AprilSignatur

Monique’s Yummy Nacho Casserole

Hi everybody, this is the first of several guest posts you’ll see in the next two weeks while I’m trekking around Thailand. Monique is a dear friend of mine and we met two years ago when I hired her to be a part of my social media team at my last job. She’s always got something cute and clever to say and tons of funny stories about her life, so check out her blog and don’t forget to “like” her at http://www.facebook.com/moniqueisblog.

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Hi there Double Chin Diary readers! This is Monique from moniqueis.com with a delicious recipe to share with you. My fiancé and I pull a lot of our recipes from allrecipes.com and we’re always looking for something quick and easy to make since we both have busy schedules. A casserole is always an easy choice for us and we absolutely enjoyed the Nacho Casserole recipe we found. It tasted so good but it’s really not the healthiest thing, the recipe calls for salad dressing and uses Miracle Whip as an example—Whaa!? So I adapted the recipe to be a little healthier and according to My Fitness Pal my adjustments lobbed off 141 calories per serving, not bad!

It’s hard to imagine tortilla chips ever being healthy but there are some better for you options out there, like Guiltless Gourmet No Salt Added Tortilla Chips or even one of the new Pop Chips Tortilla Chips selections.

Original Recipe: 497 Calories per serving

Improved Recipe: 356 Calories per serving

Each version makes 6 servings and takes about 35 to complete.

The red side shows the original ingredients and the green shows my improved healthier ingredients.

The red side shows the original ingredients and the green shows my improved healthier ingredients.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat with onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Cook, stirring to crumble, until evenly browned. Drain grease. Remove from the heat, and stir the salsa, corn and chili powder into the turkey mixture. In a 2 quart casserole dish, layer the ground turkey mixture, tortilla chips and cheese twice, ending with cheese on top.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and dish is thoroughly heated.

 

Enjoy!

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Merry Christmas from Thailand!!!

Hello ! Just a quick update for you all at 6 am in’Thailand- jet lag has not been kind to me and I am wide awake, probably from excitement too! Thailand is amazing…the culture is so very different from our own, including free reign to comment on all matters of appearance- we hadn’t been in Bankok one hour when someone asked if I was pregnant…I replied “No, just fat!”

imageI’ve had a few more comments about my size that definitely clawed at my self esteem but ill save those for their own post! ;) the food here is incredible….10,000 times better than any Thai food I’ve had in America which is staggering!!!

Speaking of Thai food, today Matt and I will spend all day at an organic farm learning traditional Thai cooking. I cannot wait!!! Anyways, blogging on an iPad is annoying so I’m cutting this short- but merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and yours!! I’d like to thank you agin for following me on my weight loss journey- your support means the world to me!!! <3image

Random Thursday Thoughts

Hi guys! Um – Tomorrow I’m going to THAILAND! I am so excited it’s not even funny. The past week has been a flurry of packing, cleaning, getting travel shots and little errands here and there. It will be so nice to just relax for two weeks with no thoughts of thesis or work or chores or any of that! That said, I have a line up of amazing guest bloggers for you guys, so please be sure to come back and keep reading the Double Chin Diary while I’m gone. Show them some comment love! I’ll also check in once or twice with some pictures!

So, after a 1 pound gain, my total for the goal of Thailand Twenty is that I lost a total of 10.6 pounds! I’m disappointed it’s not twenty, but realistically, 10 pounds is great! 10 pounds is a lot! I’m not going to “give up” on my trip, but ease up a little bit on what I’m eating – because everybody deserves a vacation. Plus, Matt and I have a lot of activity planned – like hiking ancient temples in Chiang Mai, snorkelling in the crystal waters of Krabi and strolling through the streets of Bangkok. I’ll actually probably be a lot more active on this trip than I am during my usual 8-5.

Here’s a couple random thoughts I had this week:

photo 2[1]I struggled this week with Holiday eating. When I saw this giant ice cream cone, I had to take a picture because I feel like this week I’ve been a bottomless pit. I saw this and the first thing I thought was “YES. ROCKY ROAD.” I used to be obsessed with icecream, but now I’ll buy a tub and it sits in our freezer for weeks until it’s so freezerburned I have to throw it out. But my sugar cravings this week were through the roof – probably from doing low-carb for a few weeks.

 

Rocking a doggy dalmation print.

Rocking a doggy dalmation print.

I feel like despite my struggles with my weight, I’ve gotten more bold about clothing choices thanks to people like The Curvy Fashionista. Remember a couple months ago I blogged about how I’d love to own this dalmation sweater? Well, I was at Old Navy with pal Sally and I thought, why the heck not?! Here I am rockin’ it, and feeling good. It’s funny that I felt “wild” in something as simple as a dalmation print sweater, but I felt confident in it and was proud I took a step out of my fashion comfort zone.A couple of years ago I would have never worn skinny jeans, calf boots OR a dalmation print sweater. So yes, woohoo for fashion risks!

 

Balance Ball Chair!

Balance Ball Chair!

Santa came early this year because of our trip, and look what Santa (Matt) brought me! Since I work from home I can be a little more unique with my workspace, and I was dying to try one of these balance balls. I feel like I have a weak core, and I know this chair will help make me strong like a tree trunk. Plus, who doesn’t want their very own bouncy ball?! When I get back I’ll give a full report on how my new bubble-butt chair is treating me.

 

Showing off my chike and purple manicure!

Showing off my chike and purple manicure!

And lastly… when I get back, I have a great giveaway coming up from Chike! I recently tried Chike’s chocolate meal replacement shake, and dang, this stuff was good. You know how most powdered drinks have that chalky kind of grainy thing going on? Not this one. I mixed it with some cold milk and it was almost like drinking a milk shake. Works for me! So stay tuned and at the new year we’ll have a great giveaway package from them!

Well guys – I’m out! Thanks so much for reading! It means a lot to me and April to know that we’re not alone on our journey and that you’re out there cheering us on. I hope you have an amazing holiday season!

xoxoxoxox