Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Year of No Numbers

At the beginning of 2014, I decided that I wasn't going to pay any attention to numbers, especially numbers concerned with my weight/health.  For the past few years, my life has revolved around calories, reps, and pounds and I was over it.  I decided that I wasn't going to do a damn thing other than live my life - as long as I was healthy enough to do what I wanted to do - I wasn't going to give numbers a second thought.  I even gave away my BodyBugg, so I wasn't tied to calories burned/steps taken/etc.

I walked a 5K because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.  Nebalee walked with me, but the thought of "no numbers" about made her crazy.  I didn't care about my time, as long as I finished.

I spent a few weeks doing Les Mills' Body Pump with a friend of mine.  Again, because I wanted to.  It made me feel good to complete the workout.  Then summer came and I got Skeeter.  My exercise became working with her.  Ten minutes here and there.

Stacking hay - talk about functional fitness - you can't get that kind of workout in a gym. 

I ate and drank what I wanted, when I wanted.  You know what I found?  I can no longer tolerate greasy burgers.  5 Guys used to be my favorite burger joint on the planet.  I can't even get one down now without feeling sick.  I go for days without a Coke, and those of you who know me, know I refuse to give up my Coke.  It's pretty amazing when you feel like nothing is off-limits, how easy it is to "choose wisely".

It's been a surprisingly peaceful year, not worrying about how many calories I'm stuffing in my face or stressing out about how much weight I've lost (or not).  As the year ends, I'm down about four pounds over the beginning of the year (I know this because the doctor still weighs me).

Mentally, I'm much more relaxed.

Physically, I'm kind of a mess.  My liver enzymes are out of whack, my LDL is elevated, and I'm tired of being a cream puff.  There has to be some sort of middle ground.

2015 is all about finding the middle ground.

The fact is I do need to lose weight and I do need to engage in exercise (other than just playing with the horses), but is there a way to do it without turning into a calorie-counting bitch?  Without all of the guilt that goes along with knowing I shouldn't eat this and I should do that?

My doctor recommended The Fast Metabolism Diet.  I trust my doctor implicitly; I used to be her medical assistant, so we've built a stronger-than-usual patient/doctor relationship. She believes in the diet and uses it herself for weight maintenance, so I felt good about her recommendation.

I took the time to read the book, and what I read has me excited to give it a go.  It's all about "re-setting" your metabolism.  It explains why calories in/calories out doesn't work for everyone.  I've lost and gained weight a lot since my thirties and my metabolism doesn't have a clue what to do, so it stores everything as fat.  So much of what is in the book makes sense that I wonder why I never figured it out for myself.

Jay and I are going to start the "diet" tomorrow.  I hate to call it a diet considering there is so much food involved, and it's all good, "real" food.  I'll have to re-join the numbers game for a bit (no calorie counting, though!), just the measuring tape once a week to see progress and maybe an occasional scale, but I'm not going to focus on the numbers.  I've had a year of no numbers training under my belt, I think I can ignore them as needed.

Here's an example of what our first week of the "diet" will look like:

Morning snack: watermelon slices with lime and chili powder
Breakfast: steel-cut oatmeal with berries
Lunch: chicken, apple, and spinach salad
Afternoon snack: veggies and dip
Dinner: pork tenderloin with broccoli and pineapple

Morning snack: fruit (probably pomegranate - yum)
Breakfast: steel-cut oatmeal with berries
Lunch: turkey, bean, and kale soup
Afternoon snack: veggies and dip (or more fruit)
Dinner: Chicken and broccoli bowl

Morning snack: jicama with lime and chili powder
Breakfast: Spanish egg white scramble
Lunch: steak and spinach salad
Afternoon snack: deli meat wrap
Dinner: baked cinnamon-mustard chicken and lemon garlic spinach

Morning snack: jicama with lime and chili powder
Breakfast: turkey bacon with celery (sounds weird, I know, but I'm willing to try it)
Lunch: steak and asparagus wrap
Afternoon snack: deli meat wrap
Dinner: southwestern beef and cabbage soup

Morning snack: berry smoothie
Breakfast: berry nutty oatmeal
Lunch: 3 egg salad
Afternoon snack: raw nuts
Dinner: avocado chili

Morning snack: berry smoothie
Breakfast: B&B toast
Lunch: avocado/turkey lettuce wrap
Afternoon snack: raw nuts
Dinner: sesame chicken stir-fry

Morning snack: berries
Breakfast: B&B toast
Lunch: lentil stew
Afternoon snack: raw nuts
Dinner: Rosemary pork roast with sweet potato

Apparently, we have to eat within 30 minutes of waking, which is why our morning snack and breakfast are flipped.  We get up, feed the horses, get ready for work and leave all in a 30 minute time-frame, so there's no way we'd make breakfast.  Snack first, breakfast at work.  The other major key (besides not eating anything processed) is to eat every three to four hours as long as you're awake to keep your metabolism cranking along.

There are things that we "can't" eat, but it's only for 28 days.  You can do pretty much anything for 28 days, right?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's Almost Time For Baking Weekend!

Just a few more days and my girls (minus Staci, who is living the life on her boat with her family) will be joining me for baking weekend!  We are a cookie baking factory over the weekend and I can't wait.

However, there is one thing I can guarantee I won't be baking this year and it's these puppies (or should I say cubs?).

(Reposted from 12/11/11)

My girls came!
Robs, Sue, Staci, Me :)
I love my girls.

They did lots of this...
This is Robs' double batch in a single batch bowl -
I was super impressed she managed.
And this...

Which resulted in these...
They were baking machines.
(Yes, SGG, there was alcohol involved)

I did zero cookie baking.  Zero.  I kinda felt bad about it, but I was focused on a project I've been contemplating for two years now.  I don't even know where I first saw these Snow Globe Coca-Cola Cupcakes, but ever since I saw them, I've been wondering if I could pull something like that off.

I mean, look at them...
Photo cred: Bakerella
In fact, I was pretty sure I couldn't pull them off, but I've been getting braver in the kitchen.  Last year, we had success with the bococcini.

So I gathered up my courage and hit the stores looking for what I would need: Coke in the "ornament" plastic bottles, rolled fondant, an edible pen, and a red sugar sheet. I followed the directions that I found on Bakerella.

I used the bears on the wrappers as inspiration.

Beel even got in on the act...
See the bandaid on the back of his hand?
Yeah, I wasn't sure that I should allow him to use a knife.
I'm happy to report that he still has all of his fingers.
I even tried the Cola Cake recipe that Bakerella linked to.  It was one jacked up recipe.  I've never baked cupcakes from scratch, but I'm a direction following fool.  I read the recipe a couple of times, and then obsessively referred to it while I was making the cake stuff.
Butter, veggie oil, cocoa, and Coke.
It's not quite as gross as it sounds.

I brought that crazy concoction to a boil and added it to the dry ingredients, which included a cup and a half of marshmallows...
It didn't taste too bad,
for a diabetic coma in a bowl.

I then baked up a batch of the cupcakes.  They were awful.  They fell, which was a bummer.  But they didn't taste so wonderful either.  Plan B - store-bought Devil's Food cake mix.  Win!!

While I was waiting for Nebalee to come up to the lodge with my Plan B, I worked on the fondant.  Oh God, what a disaster that was.  The store must have put out last year's fondant, because it was a brick.  I had to break it open and scoop out the inside just to have any to work with.

I lost easily half of the fondant I bought - the outside was unuseable.
Staci and Little Miss 'Mantha helped make the fondant bears.

Staci was a bear making fiend!  I made two.  She whipped out the rest.  Wait...Nebalee made the little cub.  Aren't they cute?
I used the red sugar sheet to cut out their scarves,
instead of the fondant recommended by Bakerella.
Auto Bot and Kyzzer helped me prep the snow globes...
We sprayed the inside of the bottles with sugar water
and then the kids sprinkled them with sugary thingies.

Mom and Nebalee put snow on the cupcakes after I frosted them...

And then I got to assemble...
Oh. My. God.
I can't tell you how thrilled I am with them!
They're not quite as polished as the ones at Bakerella, but then, neither am I.  I'm so not a professional baker - I'm pretty sure that once-a-year baking doesn't count - but I am beside-myself-excited about these cupcakes!
I'll post about the rest of Baking Weekend when I come down from my cupcake success high.