Holiday treats and the calories they gift you

      Holiday season is in full swing and by now, many people may have already packed on a few extra pounds to keep warm this winter!  For those who are satisfied with their winter padding or to those who are trying to shed their festive fluff, I’ve prepared a few simple charts to help when you’re faced with a decision over what holiday treat to choose.

It’s easy to assume that much of the edible temptations that arise from October to January are going to come loaded with extra calories, sugar, and fat.  However, not everything is measures up equally!  As you’ll see, when craving a sweet drink to sip while gazing out the window on your winter morning, reach for the  hot apple cider!  Compared to hot cocoa, you can save yourself a decent amount of calories AND sugar!  Peppermint treats like those tasty little dinner mints you’ll find me hovering over at a party only have 21 calories per 7 mints and NO fat.  Candy canes are also a no-fat and low calorie source of sweetness, plus they take a while to eat so maybe by the time you’re done, you’ll be able to resist the other temptations!

holidaycandy

holidaycookies holidaydrinks random holiday snacks

I was pretty upset to see how many calories are in those delicious Lindor truffles but at least the holiday popcorn tins don’t come with TOO many calories!  I can just eat 1 and 1/4th a cup… sure!  It’s also interesting to see how the different crackers add up, Triscuts have the most calories but they also have the most fat, fiber and protein! I’ve always called that the “healthy cracker” because of the shredded wheat but the stats don’t like.  Is the higher calorie and fat number worth the extra protein and fiber?

What kind of holiday treats do you find yourself craving during the winter season?

Have a lovely winter Wednesday and special thanks to Trent for helping me come up with all these holiday treats!

AprilSignatur

What I Ate Wednesday: A sneak peek into low-carb life

Ok, so technically, the title should be “What I ate Tuesday” since I ate all of this on a Tuesday, buttttt I’m pretty sure you’ll let it slide. Right?! This week marked a new shift for me in deciding two very important things: 1) I need to get on track with low carb, because it WORKS – for me, anyways. 2) I’ve been prescribed a new medication for stress management… it’s called EXERCISE. When the going gets going, it’s too easy for me to say “Oh, I didn’t eat that much today, I don’t need to exercise.” Wrong! I need to exercise at least three times a week. At least! At the end of the day, 30 minutes on the elliptical is a tiny sliver of time out of my week. I’m worth it. Anyways! What did I eat today?

I started the day with some egg whites and bacon ends. I’m in love with Bacon Ends lately (Sprouts sells them). They cook up way faster, and they’re inexpensive compared to the whole strips. A perfect compromise for a busy, frugal person. I also had a cup of PG Tips tea, sweetened with a sprinkle of Swerve Sweetener.

Breakfast: Egg Whites and Bacon Ends

Breakfast: Egg Whites and Bacon Ends

Then, for lunch, I had a Southwestern Salad. I used the Lean Cuisine Salad Additions pack which included chicken strips, roasted peppers, corn, black beans and tortilla strips. I omitted the tortilla strips, nixed their Chipotle Ranch dressing in favor of a yummy Cotija Cilantro dressing, and added a fresh tomato. Yummy! I also had a small serving of cajun flavored cheese curds and a Diet Pepsi with lime juice.

Take your salad from drab to fab with Lean Cuisine Salad Additions! Haha, no that's not a sponsored caption. Just copywriting fun :)

Take your salad from drab to fab with Lean Cuisine Salad Additions! Haha, no that’s not a sponsored caption. Just copywriting fun :)

Later on in the afternoon, I was meeting a client at a coffee shop. I had an unsweetened iced tea, and when I got home, decided I wanted a sweet snack. In came some frozen mixed berries with a spoonful of Chia Seeds and some cream. NOW – Most people who read that I had “cream” while on a diet would probably finger-wag me, but the great part about low-carb is you don’t need to be afraid of fat. In fact, fat is what satiates you and keeps you full on a diet like this, along with the protein. As long as I’m not poppin’ bacon ends like tic-tacs or drinking cream by the gallon, there’s no harm, no foul in some fatty-flavor-makin’.

Frozen berries with chia and cream.

Frozen berries with chia and cream.

Next up was dinner, which came very late today because of the time change and colliding schedules. Matt made a delicious meat loaf from lean ground beef, ground pork, oats and V8. It’s super yummy! I paired it with a quarter of a huge sweet potato, and a generous helping of asparagus and brussels sprouts. Mmmmmm.

Delicious, filling and fresh dinner.

Delicious, filling and fresh dinner.

I consider this a pretty successful day in terms of eating well. The dark chocolate square and handful of raw cashews aren’t pictured, but those were snacks on the “inbetween” moments of the day, shuttling to and from different meetings. Now what does all this look like in terms of the numbers? According to MyFitnessPal, I ate about 1,580 calories and 98 grams of carbs. I’m trying to stay under 100g of carbs per day, so while this cuts close, I saw success on a plan like this previously. It’s higher in calories than what traditionally may work for people, but that’s one of the advantages to not eating bread is that you can eat higher fat. (Oh, bread. I wish we got along. I miss you. I dream of you.)

I have my follow-up thyroid and weight appointment on Friday the 15th, so I’m looking forward to (ok, not really looking forward to because I hate scales) getting on the scale and seeing what’s happened in the past six weeks. Hopefully, my imperfect road map to weight loss has resulted in a small loss, but ideally, it will be at least a couple pounds. However, there were a few bumps in the road that I talked about on Monday, but I’m not going to let it derail me. I’m back on the wagon!

So now you know what I ate today. I want to know what you ate today. What’s gone down the hatch in your world? Bonus points to whoever describes the best carb-heavy meal!

 

 

Diet to Go Week Three!

Hello everybody! Let’s start off with some good news – Elisabeth G. won the KalorieBox Giveaway! Congrats, Elisabeth – watch for an e-mail!

I wish I could start this week’s post with another awesome weigh in like last week (Remember, 3.7 pounds?!), but unfortunately, it’s one of those times of the month *cringe, I know, this is awkward* and evidently my body is acting like a camel (ie so much water floating around my body I could hydrate an army). So we’re just going to skip the weigh in this week to give myself a couple days to um… dry out. (I weighed in and I’m up a couple pounds from last week – but I’m staying optimistic and know that I’ve done the work I need to do, and as KJPugs says, you always get the week you deserve eventually!) But on the positive side, I am still absolutely loving this week’s Diet to Go meals! This week was a mess of meetings, appointments and deadlines – so I was happy to see that the meals are truly “to go”, especially when I scarfed a smoked chicken sandwich in between stop lights as I drove to an offsite meeting. You can see photographic proof of that, here.

Diet to Go Omelet Pomodoro

Diet to Go Omelet Pomodoro

I had a lot of favorites, food wise, this week. Let’s talk about breakfast. Several years ago before I started this whole get healthier thing, I never ate breakfast. But now, it’s like “Whee! I get to eat!” when I wake up. Diet to Go has mastered the use of cheese and tomatoes when it applies to eggs. Today, I had this amazing omelet pomodoro (220 cals) – a basil spiced omelet with cheese oozing out of the middle and sicilian flavored asparagus tips. This breakfast was amazing – I even forced my husband to taste it as he was walking out the door to go to work.

Yummy Grilled Cheese French Toast from Diet to Go. Note the Fitbloggin post-its!

Yummy Grilled Cheese French Toast from Diet to Go. Note the Fitbloggin post-its!

Here’s one of my fav lunches from the week – a french toast style grilled turkey cheese sandwich with apricot pudding and a mushroom artichoke salad (560 cals). The apricot pudding was more like ice cream, and the bite I had of my mushroom artichoke salad was refreshing and tasty.. but then I couldn’t eat the rest because my cat licked the bowl and stole a mushroom out of it. Since I’m not a fan of sharing my meals with cat-breath (do you KNOW where they lick?!), I disposed of the artichoke mushroom salad but happily nommed on the rest.

Black Bean Soup and Pretzel from Diet to Go

Black Bean Soup and Pretzel from Diet to Go

This lunch is easily another one of my favorites- see that little pretzel there? I would like to raid the pretzel factory that makes me, because I’m pretty sure I could just lay in my bed and eat soft pretzels all day and be perfectly content. Add an iced cold raspberry lambic and I’m in heaven. Booze, carbs and bed… what could be better?! Anyways, I’m off topic. This lunch was super yummy because it’s something I wouldn’t normally pick for myself but I really enjoyed it. The black bean soup had a nice spicy touch, with lots of smokiness (probably from cumin), some juicy strips of bell peppers, and a lightly salty broth. I dipped the pretzel in it and enjoyed a peach pudding for my dessert. This meals comes in at 700 calories but includes a string cheese which is not shown here since I saved that for a snack. The thing is, when you look at some of the calorie counts for the meals, your instinct might be “My god! That’s a lot of calories!” but when you factor in the portion sizes and the fact that you’re pretty much full all day long, it all equals out. I’ve actually ended up coming under calories a lot in myFitnessPal, simply because I’m too full to eat the “extra” like the string cheese or yogurt that comes with the meals.

Diet to Go Turkey Dinner

Diet to Go Turkey Dinner

This meal does not photograph beautifully, but it was delish! Has anyone ever tried the SmartOnes Turkey and Gravy Dinner? It used to be a favorite of mine, but now that I’ve had this one I can see that was a weak favorite, for sure. These mashed potatoes were REAL – no instant junk here – and the turkey was lightly seasoned with a simple brown gravy. This was truly a comfort food meal.

If you’re interested in trying Diet to Go for yourself, check out their website here. You can use coupon code FEB15PERCENT to save 15% off any meal plan, and you can also enter next week for your chance to win a week worth of free meals!  /

Does anybody have any questions about Diet to Go? Have at it! :)

Thailand 20 Tuesday – Week 6

Hello friends! Last night, after another great cardio workout, I thought to myself “I’m going to get on the scale tomorrow and have lost like FOUR POUNDS! Yes! I can feel it!” Well… I got on the scale this morning and I lost a number FOUR… but it was .4. WOMP WOMP. Cue the sad clown music.

Not quite where I want to be after six weeks, but I’m going to try not to be a Debbie Downer…

My initial reaction is to cry, throw things and break the scale. Well, thankfully, I have two very wise men in my life – my husband and my brother. Husband reminded me that I’ve been working hard and looking and feeling better – and I can’t get too discouraged. My brother surprised me with some major wisdom – see our chat below to see what I mean (When did he grow up? In my mind he will always be 12 years old and fishing for crawdads from the neighborhood creek.)

Here’s what I know is working:

1) I’ve been really good about cardio, and I can feel it. I have more energy, it’s not as “hard”, and I’m feeling calmer and less stressed than usual. I clocked in 5 hours of sweaty, hard cardio exercise this week which is major for me. So I have to applaud myself for that. I even mastered 10 minutes on the stair machine last night, which was a big deal for me!

2) I’m consistently tracking on MyFitnessPal and have stayed within my daily range which is 1,600 calories. I’m going to meet with my dietitian next week to see if I maybe need to reduce calories further (I hope not, but think I might have to!). I’m eating lots of veggies, whole grains and lean proteins, and making smart choices when I go out to eat.

3) Here’s a few items of miscellany: I sometimes wonder if I need to go “no brain” on the food and do something like Jenny Craig. What’s the feedback on Jenny Craig? It sounds really, really expensive and I know I’d miss cooking – but I wonder if I need to be on something that’s already pre-measured and portion-controlled. Thoughts? Also, I officially need to take my measurements today. For weeks like this where I’m a grumpzilla after my weigh in, it would help to know if at least SOMETHING is shrinking (and please God, don’t let it be my boobs). I’m waiting to get a call back from the doc about my thyroid test. Could this be a missing link?

There’s also some pressure when you blog about your weight to log in every week and have a glowing success story for your readers. I even thought to myself this morning, “Do I need to fib a little bit? People aren’t going to want to read that I had another subpar week.” Shameful, I know. I think sometimes that I should stop blogging about weightloss since I never seem to succeed with it, and go back to writing about things I’m good at – how the cat got caught in the birdbath, how to talk to people on social media, how to make the best stovetop popcorn ever. And while I let myself have a little bloggy pity party, I remembered that this blog isn’t about writing some fancy, nice happy ending story. It’s not fiction. It’s reality. It’s about my goal to lose weight, and unfortunately, since it’s real life, it’s not always going to be cheery sparkle rainbow unicorn poop. Ya feel me?

So that’s what’s up on Thailand 20 Tuesday. Maybe I should rename to this to Thailand Trying Tuesday. Thailand Torture Tuesday. Thailand TinyLoss Tuesday. Thailand “Sometimes I think I’ll be fat forever” Tuesday. Thailand “I can’t wait to go to Thailand even if I am the same weight” Tuesday. Thailand “At least I’m healthy” Tuesday. Thailand “Is it Wednesday Yet?” Tuesday. Yes. Or maybe something more simple… just Thailand Tuesday. :) Till next time.. I’m keepin’ on keepin’ on. How are you doing today?

Weekend Wrap Up

Hey everybody! How was your weekend? Mine was good! My sister was in town with her friend Christian, and we had a nice relaxing weekend full of gardening, good eats and hanging around having good conversations. We started it off with some funfetti cake with homemade buttercream frosting… and then we went to our favorite Cajun place for some soul food. I had fried chicken, but only made it through one piece before my stomach warned me to stop! (Again – remember that whole healthy eating and then junk food thing? Crazy!)

Practicing Cake Decorating with the Star Tip!

And then the next day, we all had dinner at Stonefire Grill, where I got this delicious grilled salad with artichoke hearts, avocado and tri-tip.

Grilled salad from Stonefire Grill

After dinner, we saw Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. This was a quirky little film with lots of typical Anderson-esque eccentricness. It’s worth seeing if you’re into sort of campy, kitschy films. After the movie we couldn’t pass up a treat at Yogurtland, where I got toasted coconut frozen yogurt topped with strawberries – my favorite!

Happy Sisters after Frozen Yogurt

Today we lazed around for a bit until April and Christian headed back up the coast to Northern California. I love having visitors! I didn’t do terrible this weekend with my food, but I definitely went over my calorie count on Saturday and Friday night. I’m going to guess I’ll be up a bit on the scale tomorrow, but I know the damage isn’t irreparable. To make this liveable, I have to keep in mind that it’s going to happen from time to time, especially if I am going to opt for fried chicken over a dry grilled pork chop at a Cajun restaurant (Can you blame me?). Try as I might to be a perfectionist at other areas in my life, I’m willing to take the weight loss path a little bit slower and a little bit less perfect to still enjoy eating.

However…. enjoying eating can definitely still happen with amazing, yummy, HEALTHY food.. like our dinner tonight! A grilled boneless skinless chicken breast, Israeli cous cous, and a variety of grilled vegetables. Holy deliciousness – check this out – and for only 400 calories! Yum, Yum, Yum!!!!

Delicious and healthy 400 calorie dinner

How was your weekend? What did you eat?

PS: Want a chance to win this awesome tote bag packed with some of my favorite things? “Like” the Double Chin Diary on Facebook to help us reach 150 fans – and then we’ll host a drawing!

Bacon and Egg Tote Bag!

Weekly Weigh In #1 – Starting Over!

Hi everybody,
I decided to just start from scratch with the weigh ins again to reflect my NEW plan (calorie counting) and get the “Progress” section going again. Last week, I had 51.4 pounds to lose. This week, I have 49 pounds to lose, which means I…

lost 2.4 pounds!

Last week when I met with my nutritionist, I had a good kind of Eureka moment about my weight loss. This nutritionist is fantastic because she doesn’t just focus on the food aspect of losing weight, but the psychological factors as well. When I saw her five years ago, she hit the nail on the head that for me, a lot of my weight issues have something to do with eating being my “rebellion” in my life. It’s kind of hard to explain without getting all Freud on you, but basically, I’m pretty much a “good girl”. I do good in school, I always show up to work, I don’t drink much, smoke or do drugs. I hate being late, I’m an old lady in that I like to go to bed by 11:30, and my one guilty pleasure (besides shopping and trashy magazines) is food. In her words, much like a drug user or drinker or smoker, my “rebellion” from always being the good girl is eating what I want when I want it. (Who needs vodka when you can have popcorn?)

I exercised more this week, too!

Bingo. So this week, I paid more attention to the psychological aspect of weight. Feeling stressed? I walked it out at lake Balboa park. Feeling anxious? I had a glass of water. Feeling irritated? I hugged my husband. I tend to turn to food when I’m feeling something other than contentedness and happiness – and with that, the pounds pile on, and I’m in an eternal cycle of stress-eat-soothe. That’s not good in any way, y’all.

So, I was thrilled this week to see some nice progress and identify some things that I need to work on. Maybe I put too much of an emphasis on the physical factors of weight – like the scale, eating, calorie counting and exercise. Maybe I need to focus more on ME – and why I do the things I do. A lot of weight loss is behavioral. Maybe it’s time to just gently adjust some behavior. Hmm. I have to admit to myself that I’m in a pretty stressful phase of my life, juggling a demanding full-time job, a thesis, a blog, a household and weight loss. It’s ok to not be perfect 99% of the time. If I can embrace the emotions rather than trying to mask them with food, maybe I can embrace weight loss. Now I feel all psychological! Just call me Dr. Alyssa…

Have you ever had a Eureka moment about something you were struggling with and then realize more of it than you’d care to think was related to your thoughts and/or feelings? How did realizing that moment feel?