Wednesday Updates – Food, DietBet and Ch-ch-ch-chaaaaanges

Happy Wednesday, readers! I hope you’ve had a great week so far. Today I have a couple updates for you that will influence a lot of what you read the next few weeks- lots of exciting things are happening!

Diet to Go Waldorf Chicken Salad with yummy crunchy chickpea sncks and cucumber slices!

Diet to Go Waldorf Chicken Salad with yummy crunchy chickpea sncks and cucumber slices!

1) I am now a Diet to Go member! My meals are being provided in exchange for review, and I’m truly excited to give this yummy plan a try. I’ve often wondered about Pre-portioned meal plans, but was too scared to take that step. You all know I love to cook, so at first I was like “eeek! I won’t be able to cook!”, but I’m doing Diet to Go five days a week and plan on cooking healthy meals on the weekends. I’m really excited to see how diet to go works out for me. My first meal was a Waldorf chicken salad- with juicy chunks of chicken breast, real cherries and fruit in it- a can of v8, and some yummy crunchy chickpea snacks. It was important to me that the food I eat be as wholesome as possible, and so far I’ve been impressed with all of the meals I’ve seen. There’s no scary chemicals in the ingredients list, no freezedried blobs, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. No frankenfood here! So that’s what’s happening with my food – stay tuned here for weekly updates.

I'm losing 4% of my weight and contributing my DietBet winnings to No Hungry Kid.

I’m losing 4% of my weight and contributing my DietBet winnings to No Hungry Kid.

2) I’ve joined kjpugs DietBet! Have you heard of DietBet? It’s a social dieting website where each person contributes to a pot, and those who lose 4% of their total weight in a month score a portion of the pot! I’m going to be hardcore about this for the month, because I’m playing for charity! My winnings will go to No Hungry Kid. The starting period is over for this DietBet, but April and I would like to host a DietBet in February, so stay tuned for our weekly updates here!

3) I am absolutely thrilled with the opportunitScreen Shot 2013-01-09 at 8.34.38 AMies that my Double Chin Diary has provided me, and this year, I’m taking it to the next level! You’ll start noticing some changes in the design and layout of this blog over the next few months- but don’t worry, it’s all for a better reading experience :) Soon, I’ll be conducting a survey about this blog and would love for you to chime in about what you’d like to see (other than me losing the weight- that’s a given this year!).

So there are my updates! After an amazing vacation with a few eye-opening experiences, I am more motivated than ever to lose weight and get healthy. I only have one life to live, and the time is now- not tomorrow, not next year, not in an hour. It’s NOW. I hope you have a wonderful and productive day.

PS – Don’t forget to enter the Chike Protein Powder giveaway! This stuff is way yummy and the perfect way to amp up your weight loss and fitness efforts this new year!

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)

Blog Buddy Appreciation Day

Hi everybody! Today is Blog Buddy Appreciation Day… a holiday I had never heard of until the awesome KJPugs wrote about it! Blogging is special to me because as a writer, it’s a fun way to get your voice out there in a public forum. I always thought that blogging was cool because you don’t NEED any special connections, or html knowledge, or anything like that to be successful. You basically just need to know how to type and have something to say. It’s really fun to have your own little “corner” of the internet. I imagine DoubleChinDiary.com as this teeny tiny little piece of space in a dusty old corner, back by the cobwebs with old websites like Acrophobia or Smile And Act Nice (if you remember any of those, old school points to you!). It may not be incredibly well known – but it’s mine – and aint’ nobody touchin’ it but me! (Well – except for the awesome Nathan G., who’s helping me set up the new design…WHICH by the way is not finished yet… It’s gonna take some time so please hold your horsies. But aren’t the little icons SO CUTE?!)

Another thing stolen from KJPugs. Notice a trend?

Anyhoozles… Here are the blog buddies I appreciate. I’m still fairly new so I don’t have many besties… yet… but these are my daily readz fo sho!

1) KJPugs. Yes, yes, I know lots of you probably think “GAWD! Who IS this girl she talks about all the time?!” All I know is that if Kelly lived here (or if I lived there), we would be total chums. She’s hilarious and blogs about her life in Indiana with her chef hubby (I drool over a lot of the posts about what he cooks) and she always posts cute pictures of her puggies. She’s a founder of the #VOTMC (Vlog of the Month Club… of which I am shamefully lagging), and she always has funny, unique content on her page. She’s super cool and I’m thankful to her for setting an awesome example of what a successful blog should be like. Go read her stuff… NOW!

2) A Bit of This, A Dash of That! Kendall over at A Bit of This, A Dash of That is a girl I have known for a very long time! We were band nerds together in high school, and she and her sister belong on that list of people you know who are unnaturally nice, good people. Kendall blogs about crafts, food (sometimes WW-friendly, for all you WW folks out there) and books, and her blogging is always a nice break in the day. She just recently posted a recipe for this insane looking broccoli rigatoni that I can’t wait to try out. It’s so fun to be blog buddies with a few people you actually know in person – it adds a nice touch to everything they write.

3) Alycia at the Wonder Wall is also another person I know in real life! We went to junior high and high school together, and re-connected when we were both engaged! It was a lot of fun to reconnect with an old friend during the insanity of wedding planning. She blogs about a little bit of everything – book reviews, movie reviews, and life. She’s a fellow grad student so we have that in common too (insane newlyweds FTW!), and she has a great sense of humor and a likable, relatable tone in her writing.

4) My sister April, at No Love for Bingo Wings! Ok – So What’s a Bingo Wing? Well… when a bunch of fat old women are together playing bingo, and one of them gets a bingo, and they scream out “BINGO!” and begin waving their arms frantically in the air… the little bit of chicken fat or loose skin under the arm waves like a wing… So that’s a bingo wing! My sister is awesome and has the same struggle I do with her weight – so show a little support and stop by her blog. (And if she gets more visitors maybe she’ll update more frequently!!!!!! HINT HINT)

5) My last #BBAD (There’s lots more blogs I read but I can’t list ‘em all.. well, I could, but I’m lazy) is a blog that’s new to me, but has been hugely inspiring. Go read All The Weigh by an awesome chick named Kenlie. She has a freakish talent at painting her nails herself, and her inspiring blog posts about weight loss (she’s lost 120 pounds – WOW!) are super motivating to a slacker like myself. I admire what’s she achieved, both online and off – and her blog is what I hope mine can one day become – a success story.