Livin’ la vida low-ca(rb)

See what i did there?! Okay, I’m probably a little bit delusional from working on a brand naming project for the past six hours ๐Ÿ™‚ Today I want to talk about food, one of my very favorite things.

One scary thing about being on a low-carb diet is that social eating situations are unknown. Will the main dishes be bread, bread and crackers? Will there only be a platter of sugar cookies and punch? We’re getting into the Holiday season and it’s not uncommon to deck the halls with tons of sugar. For example, last night I went to a David Sedaris reading put on by university’s alumni association. I was a little bit nervous about what I’d eat at the reception as breads and sugars are pretty much off the list entirely. To my delight, they had tons of roast vegetables, cold cuts, cheese, and my personal favorite – a gigantic bowl of marinated olives! I was very happy.

buffet_csun_doublechindiary

Then there’s the challenge of eating at restaurants. In Minnesota last weekend we went to the 58 Diner, famous for their Juicy Lucy burger, a patty with melted cheese inside. I got my sans bun with “Carrot fries” on the side. The dish in the background looks much more scrumptious, but hey, gotta make sacrifices somewhere!

LowcarbBurger_doublechindiary

The easiest way to handle this way of eating is cooking at home. For dinner tonight, I stir fried some ground pork, carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrots, onion, bell pepper and celery with soy sauce and garlic. Deeeeelicious and filling!

Stirfry_lowcarb_doublechindiary

But my favorite low-carb dish of the day was my baked avocado egg. One of the best ways to get ideas for clean eating is to search hashtags on instagram. I browse #lowcarb and #pcos quite often for recipe ideas. Pop the seed out of an avocado, fill the hole with an egg, sprinkle with salt and pepper, bake at 375 for 30 minutes. It took me a little bit to get used to a cooked avocado, but it was a mellow and filling meal, and so pretty too!

Avocadoegg_doublechindiary_lowcarb

Do you find it challenging to eat healthy or in a certain style when you’re out and about? Have you pleasantly surprised lately, like I was at the David Sedaris reading? I hope you have a wonderful day!

 

Belly Dancing – In which a large bottom and hips are awesome.

Sometimes in life, there’s those rare instances where you end up pleasantly surprised that something you’ve always thought to be bad is… good. Despite being obese, I have a very curvy, womanly body – one that embarrassed me in high school when my full hips lead my band teacher to loudly declare in class that I had “child birthing hips”. I’ve got junk in my trunk, and that’s fine, because in instances like tonight, I know how to use it! (I was also secretly psyched to be fat when I got my first Weight Watchers Points Plus Daily Target. More weight to lose = more points = more to eat. Appetite… I haz it.)

Julie and I strike a pose in Belly Dancing class!

I go to CSUN, and they built an amazing student recreation center this year. There’s a huge rock climbing wall, hundreds of machines, and lots of classes. And did I mention it’s included in my tuition? I finally took advantage of this service and started working out there this week, and today, I took a belly dancing class with my pal Julie! Julie is somebody I hit it off with instantly – and you would, too. She’s charming, ferociously intelligent and a great belly dancer!

The class was deceptively hard, because it’s all based on hip, glute and arm movements. My rump, which normally seems a disadvantage in fitness classes due to its heft – was an ASSet in belly dancing – I can’t even really explain it, but somehow its size seemed to help me with undulating moves like the snake shimmy and figure eight hip rotations. I was excited to have discovered a new, fun type of fitness – one that didn’t really FEEL like exercise, but got me sweating, laughing, and most importantly – smiling- thus helping me shake off the stress of the day.

It was good. ๐Ÿ™‚

This week I’ll update you on a big change in my weight loss plan – I met with the wonderful CSUN nutritionist today, and she gave me some great insights into what’s going on with me and Weight Watchers. We also have a giveaway coming up for an EatSmart Food Scale! But most importantly – please head over to my friend Kenlie’s blog, All the Weigh, to read my guest post on her blog about low-fat cupcakes! Kenlie’s lost over 100 pounds, and is one of the people who inspired me to start blogging about my journey.

I hope you’re having a great day!

Mirrorless Monday

Last week, I walked into my university’s bathroom to find green paper covering all the mirrors. It was Mirrorless Monday, sponored by JADE, an eating disorder awareness group.

Mirrorless Monday at California State University, Northridge

All of the mirrors were covered up, and each one had this message:

Trust us, you look great!

I contributed my own message:

NO, your butt doesn't look fat in those jeans.

And my friend and fellow grad student Stephanie wrote a message too.

Nobody cares that you have kale in your teeth!

I really liked the idea of Mirrorless Monday. As a woman, I place a lot of emphasis on what’s in the mirror. Too much. Who really cares if I wear my hair down or up? Does a zit on my nose, shining like Rudolph, determine my self-worth or value? I think not. I’m blessed to be a plus-size lady who doesn’t suffer from horrible self esteem. I’m self-concious about my body, sure, but I know I’m attractive and it’s more than just my pretty blue eyes or spiraling blonde waves. But I’m not invincible, and sometimes, you feel like the mirror determines the outcome of your day. Mirrorless Monday could help fix that. It was refreshing.

How would you feel about Mirrorless Monday? Do you like the idea or is it weird to you?

5 years and 20 pounds – What a difference it makes!

Young Lyssa and Older Lyssa

Hey everyone! ย As most of you know, I’m a grad student, studying Mass Media Communication at Cal State Northridge. What is the study of mass communication, you ask? Mass Communication is the proper name for the field of study of Mass Media – any means of communication used to disseminate information en masse. I’m most interested in how people consume media – what it does to our brains, how it makes us feel, think, act, react, etc. You can blame studying mass media for my lack of blogging the next few months. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m halfway through my grad program and I finally took the time last week to get my new student ID. The picture on top was taken at the beginning of 2006, when I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. At that time in my life, I didn’t exercise, I ate a lot more crap, and I had no idea what the number on the scale was. I’ve always hated this picture because my face is super round, my hair looks like Amy Grant stuck her finger in a light socket, and I have a gummy, fake smile. It’s just a bad picture. The picture on the bottom was taken last week, ย and when I compared the two – WOW, what a difference 5 years and 20 pounds makes!!!

The new picture shows me as a young woman – no longer just an undergrad student working 20 hours a week in bookkeeping, but now, it shows a wife, writer, online content manager and graduate student. It shows somebody who eats lots of fruit and vegetables, somebody who boxes for an hour on Saturday mornings, and somebody who now at least *tries* to avoid the siren song smell of popcorn at the movie theatre. My face looks more mature, and I look happier, leaner, more confident. (I’m also a lot more stressed out than I was in the first picture, but hey, I’m a lot busier now too! haha!)

This picture was exactly what I needed to see because I’ve recently been getting a little bit down about why I can’t seem to just commit and lose the weight. Even though the weight’s not coming off as fast as I’d like it to, I’m at a better place now than I was five years ago. Every little bit counts. Pictures like these are a reminder that all small efforts eventually lead to something bigger and more grand.

(PS: My weigh in Saturday showed a loss of 1.5 pounds – finally down after a few yo-yo weeks!)

Do you have any pictures that make you go ‘Wow, how the times have changed!”?

 

The Big Pick

Remember how a bunch of volunteers came and harvested our orange trees a few months ago? Well, today we gave back to our community and this time, we were the harvesters! Food Forward LA was hosting their annual “Big Pick” at my university, CSUN, and today alongside 298 other volunteers, Matt and I helped harvest close to 15,000 pounds of oranges that were donated to Southern California Food Banks.

A regular old pair of Fruit Loops

Here’s a few thoughts about today’s act of volunteerism:

1) Orange Picking is hard work. I have a new appreciation for the people that pick my food. After an hour of arching my arms and neck up towards the sky and pulling on the flexi-rake thing to try and pluck down oranges, I was tired, and feeling lazy. Thankfully, some free coffee and swell tunes put the swing back in my step in no time.

Gettin' Busy

2) Hard work is always, always worth it when there’s a reward at the end (there usually is). Today the reward was knowing that four simple hours of our lives resulted in the full tummies of families across Los Angeles.

A SMALL section of the Bounty!

3) The smell of citrus, tangy and sweet, is one of the best on earth. It’s impossible not to breathe in deep as the crisp, aromatic smell of orange juice wafts by you.

Thumbs up for the sweet citrus smell!

4) Stepping on rotten oranges is fun. ‘Nuff said. They pop like a water balloon under your shoe – and hey, they’ll compost faster if they’re broken down. Step on it!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... Matt in a tree!

5) Matt has astounding climbing abilities. He scurried up the trees like a monkey and filled his orchard bag in record time, as I jealously looked on from the floor.

REACH!

6) If you’re harvesting tree fruit, you just might get hit on the head. As I pulled down an orange, another fell next to it and landed right on my noggin. THUD. I’m going to consider it good luck.

If you’re in the LA area, you really should consider volunteering a few hours of your time to Food Forward. Sunshine, oranges and helping people – what’s not to love? Till ‘next time – get your vitamin C – and have an orangetastic day!