Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Holding On

Well, I guess it's a little ironic that I jumped on my blog today to vent and whine, especially since my last post was about finding inner strength. I also sound a little like I am giving Meredith's final thought at the end of a Grey's Anatomy episode. In still trying to see the good in the middle of an uphill battle. I was doing great for a while, after a lot of ups and downs and plateaus, I got back to what worked as far as the best diet plan for me. Now, I am not so motivated and I will tell you why. After running away from my fear, I have decided to face it, and be willing to put myself out there. I am referring to being willing to have another baby. Yes, being pregnant again and all the fun that goes with it. No, this is not an announcement, I am simply saying, I think I'm ready to take that leap of faith. My initial fear and biggest factor is what I went through when I was pregnant. I admire mothers so much who go through a tough pregnancy, are so willing to sacrifice again and go out into the unknown. A little less than halfway through my pregnancy when I went to have my first ultrasound, they found a gallstone. I know I have briefly talked about this before and so I won't go too much into it. Afterall, that isn't my main focus as a faithful blogger today. To summarize, it's probably the worst pain I have ever felt, and what was worse, I couldn't do anything about it except try to control it with diet and just breathe, and hold on. I was teaching at the time as well, so let's just say it was a difficult time for me. Even the Lortab that my doctor prescribed didn't help. That should tell you how strong the pain was. (I may have already said that too). Since I didn't want to compromise the safety of my baby I decided to wait until after she was born to have surgery. After labor, whatever good hospital employee, albeit a little of a bonehead, was in charge of scheduling surgery forgot to put me on that list for the next morning, so I had to wait until 3 PM for surgery, with no food or water, aside from a tiny bit right after I had the baby. To make a long story short, I made it through, and I love my daughter with all my heart. I lost my 25 pounds, which was 25 pounds less than I was before I had my baby. I do take it as a learning experience, but not one I want to ever repeat again!
As I have said, I've learned to make weight loss and fitness a hobby I have really enjoyed. I have been doing lots of cardio and strength training every day,counting those calories and feeling pretty good. Well, I am so very afraid that when I do get pregnant again, I will gain all the weight I lost and erase all the hard work I have done. I am scared to feel fat, frumpy and ugly. Or that the weight will be even harder to lose the second time around! I know how horribly selfish that sounds. But, fearing that, I am losing motivation to keep it up. Last week I felt like my efforts were no longer worth it. I totally slacked off on following my weekly food plan and writing it all down, etc. It was like, why do this if I will just gain weight anyway?
On the positive, I had a really good talk with Ron about all this, and I am feeling better. He's pointed out that this next time around, I won't have the gallstone problem so I should still be able to exercise. I also won't be teaching so I will have more time to exercise, but also take it a little more easy. More importantly, he pointed out, the next time around compared to last time, should be a much easier pregnancy. What struck me most of all is when he said that the Lord won't give us anything he knows we can't handle. I know I need to have more faith in that. I've had to ask myself if I am doing all the things I should be doing to exercise that faith. So, I have been trying to go back to the basics and recently re-reading my patriarchal blessing and that has helped me start to feel motivated again. Not only to do those things that I know are right, but continue on doing what I will need to do to be healthy and happy. It's so hard to just say, I have no idea what will happen, but I have to put it in his hands now. Anyway, on a much lighter note, my plan is to continue with my hobby when I am pregnant again and keep the goal in mind of gaining only the amount of weight required to keep my baby healthy, thus adding a whole new chapter of helpful tips to my blog. It should be fun to figure out how many calories I will need and find some new recipes. I know, lame things to be excited about, but as you can tell, I am trying to get positive and stay motivated. I'm determined to stay healthy and focused as best I can whenever it does happen! Of course, the end result of being pregnant, is always worth it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Physically and Spiritually Fit

I've been thinking lately what my next post should be about, and for some reason, this is what kept coming back to me. This is pretty personal stuff, so bear with me, but I thought it might be of some help to those that are struggling. I got to thinking about the times I struggled with meeting my fitness goals, and in connection, just struggling to find the strength to make things happen and really, to be happy. My sister is such an example to me. It was when she started praying for the strength and discipline to lose weight, that it happened. She prayed for the strength to withstand the temptation to slack off with her diet, and she was able to get past that roadblock. When I started to get stronger spiritually, is when things started changing for me (once again, not to say it's perfect).Praying for needed strength and guidance not only gave me the physical strength, but it gave me the courage to do things I never thought that I could do. It has really got me thinking, how many times do we "run" away from the things that are hard because we think we lack the strength and discipline to do them? In turn, we make excuses and say,"it's just too hard" and so we never try. Or we decide to live a life of ease and comfort rather than do the things we are afraid of? How many of us deep down inside long for that strength and wonder how much better life would be if we had it? If we made an honest effort to do hard things, how much more would we progress and grow? We can do hard things! We all can! We all have the ability to surprise ourselves. I surprised myself. When I was younger, my grandmother used to say,"Rachel, do one hard thing everyday." I would joke and say,"I did, It was getting out of bed."
What connected these things together for me was an experience from when we lived in Boston. (Included above are some pictures of the beautiful Boston Temple). I have never actually wrote about this so I thought this would be a good time. I was faithfully going to the fitness center in our complex every day. There was an older,stalky man that worked there. I wasn't sure where he was from, he didn't speak much English. He cleaned the exercise equipment and mopped the floors in the fitness center as well as vacuuming the floor in the apartment buildings. In fact, he was so dedicated it was hard for some of us not be a little annoyed when he tried to clean the equipment while we were using it! I think that most people would not think twice about him, just being a lonely little janitor that went quietly about his business. I took my baby girl with me to the fitness center and set her on a blanket with toys. He loved saying hello to her and seeing her gaze up and smile at him. He would laugh and say,"Hello baby" and "beautiful." So, while I was there, we started to exchange very brief conversations, mostly because he didn't speak English and I didn't speak his language. I asked him one day where he was from. He was from Brazil. One day, he excitedly told me in broken English that his daughter who was still in Brazil got to come out there to see him. I found out he worked another job as well as this one. He soon told me he was quitting this job because the commute and time between jobs was just too much. I could tell he was just such a good, kind person. Randomly, a few nights later, we had the missionaries over for dinner. Coincidentally, one of the missionaries was from Brazil. When they asked us if we knew anyone they could get in contact with, I was like, "well, actually I do." I told them the story. The Elder from Brazil just happened to have a Portuguese Book of Mormon on him and wrote a note to give to him with the book. I was so nervous I told them I didn't know if I was brave enough to do it. I didn't want to impose too much on him. Being from UT, I never really had many missionary opportunities. Well, a day or two later I saw my friend from Brazil in the parking lot after my workout in the gym. My heart started beating really fast and I thought,"OK, OK it's now or never." So, I ran up to my apartment, wrapped the book and taped the missionaries note on top. I saw him and said."This is for you." "Oh thank you" he said. That was it. I was worried he wouldn't talk to me after that or what he would think. I came back upstairs and called my mom, my heart still racing (I had told her briefly about him earlier). I was so excited to tell her what happened. She answered and I said,"I did it!" It may have seemed like a simple thing, but it filled me with exhilaration, another kind of "high" I had never felt before. I was so happy. I couldn't believe I actually did it. I saw him on his last day and thanked me again. He said he hadn't called the missionaries yet, but he was going to. I decided not to ask, he just told me. I don't know if he has called the missionaries yet or if he will, but at least I won't always wonder about it or feel regret if I hadn't done it. I really do believe proving to myself I could meet my goals in other areas of my life, finding my own physical strength, gave me the courage to do other hard things. It helped me find the courage to do things I never thought I could do. I have learned how important it is not to sell yourself short or underestimate all the things you are capable of. I try to remind myself of this when I am struggling. When we are doing everything we can, all we have to do is ask, and we will get the help we need.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Slimmed down comfort foods

One of the things I have found that keeps me from absolute sabotage, is including in my weekly plan, a few of my favorite treats. It was great for me to discover, I can still have them and stay skinny. I keep them small and it's just enough to keep me on track. The 100 calorie packs you can buy are one of my favorites. Especially, hostess 100 calorie cupcake packs, 100 calorie kettle corn (yes, it is and tastes diet, but close enough to the real thing to work for me) 100 calorie Fudge Stripes and Lorna Doone cookies. They are laughably teeny, but they work for me! Some dieters may disagree and say you should stay away from any of that stuff when trying to lose weight, but I found, it satisfied my craving and kept me on track, as opposed to depriving myself to the point that I can't take it anymore and eating an entire pan of brownies myself. Ok, I haven't ever actually gotten to that point, but I know there are times when we all feel like we could do that.(Speaking of brownies though, I found some all natural fat free ones called No Pudge All natural brownies that I love! You just add yogurt to make a single 120 calorie serving). In addition, one day a week I add a "free meal" to my weekly meals, where one meal, one night a week, I can eat whatever I want. (my sisters also do this, and really like it). I usually save that for the once a week date night. It actually motivates me to be on track for the week ahead.

Another hobby of mine has been finding slimmed down versions of my favorite recipes. One of my favorite recipe books is one by Lisa Lillien called, Hungry Girl:Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World. On the back of the book it says, "Have your cake, your pizza, your Nachos, and still fit into your jeans." How cute is that? Ok, I like cute things. I say things are cute all the time and my husband is like, "why is that cute?" Anyway, it's a really fun, colorful book with tons of slimmed down recipes. There are even survival sections on how to eat smart when you go out to different types of restaurants (Mexican, Italian, Chinese) and a section on how to snack smart while at the movies. I will include more recipes of hers (she has some great dinner ones!) in more in future blogs to come. Until then, here is one of my favorites, and a fun one for fall!

Caramel Pumpkin Pudding Cupcakes

1 cupcake:108 calories, 2g fat


For Cupcakes

2 cups yellow cake mix (1/2 of an 18.25-ounce box)

1 cup canned pure pumpkin

1/2 c. fat-free liquid egg substitute

2 Tbs. sugar-free maple syrup

2 tsps. cinnamon

2 tsps. Splenda No calorie Sweetener (granulated)

1/8 tsp. salt

For Topping

3 cubes (about 1 ounce) chewy caramel

2 tsps. light vanilla soy milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in a mixing bowl with 1/3 cup water. Whip with a whisk or fork for 2 minutes until well blended.

Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups. Evenly spoon batter into muffin cups. Place pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes (until cupcakes have puffed up but still appear gooey on top).

Once cupcakes are cool enough to handle, arrange them closely on a plate so that the edges are touching.

Place caramel and soy milk in a tall microwave-safe glass or dish (mixture will bubble and rise when heated). Microwave at medium power for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir mixture vigorously until smooth and thoroughly blended. (Return to microwave for 30 seconds at medium heat if caramel has not fully melted). Immediately drizzle caramel sauce over cupcakes.

Makes 12 servings