Shrinking Your Stomach

Hey All!

As most of you know, I have been trying to stick to 1,600 calories a day for at least the last week. I’m not trying to lose a bunch of weight, but I’m trying to “shrink my stomach” as my husband would say.

What does it mean to shrink your stomach?

It doesn’t mean that I want six-pack abs (very hard to get for women). What “shrinking your stomach” means to us is the process of training your body, your mind, and, hence, your stomach to need and want less food. For instance, after traveling twice in January, I grew accustomed to eating out, eating bigger than normal portions, and eating many, many sweets. However, even when I stopped traveling, I found that my stomach still wanted me to eat like that. If you don’t catch this vicious cycle in time, this can mean big trouble in the weight department.

Although I may have put on a pound or two while traveling in January :-(, the real reason why I’m watching calories is to retrain my brain and appetite to not eat so much, stop eating before I’m full, and not snack as much. Plus, we are leaving in just a few weeks for Disney. I’ve mentioned before that we opted to buy the dining plan, which pretty much means you can eat ALL the time, or what seems like it. Between buffets and fancy plated dinners, to fast food and snacks, we are going to have calories thrown at us faster than the teacups can spin. So, I’m trying to preempt those temptations by making my body not want to overeat.

I figured that by sticking to 1,600 calories a day (about 300-400 less than normal), my body would become more full on less food. And, in just about 10 days, this has actually happened! I find that after just one bowl of soup or one small serving of dinner, I’m pretty satisfied. Dessert is still something I enjoy too, I just eat less of it and make sure it fits into the 1,600 calories (or around 1,600 calories) per day.

So how did I do today?

After my fab run on the treadmill (running an extra 5 minutes), I had about 3/4 a container of Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt with a few walnuts…

Plus I had a 1/2 cup of OJ (actually measured to be sure), just because I was craving something citrusy…

For lunch, we headed out to a restaurant (we had a free meal!) where I had 1/2 an Italian sandwich plus about 1/2 my French fries…

This ended up being the most calories I ate at one sitting today. I really do prefer eating heavier at lunch than dinner. This gives my stomach more time to digest the food. After lunch, I took my son to yet another 5-year old birthday party. Then, I stopped at Starbucks to pick up a tall mocha frap. My stomach wasn’t feeling so great after a while, so I only drank about 1/3 – 3/4 of it and threw the rest away.

Dinner ended up being about 1 1/2 cups chicken soup – that’s it! Because I just wasn’t very hungry. And then finally, a small (1/2 slice) of birthday cake (unpictured).

Let’s see how the numbers add up…

  • 4 ounces Nonfat Greek Yogurt and walnuts = 200 calories
  • 4 oz Orange Juice = 50 calories
  • 1/2 serving French fries = 200 calories
  • 1/2 Italian Panini with spinach = 500 calories
  • 3/4 Tall Mocha Frap with no whip = 175 calories
  • 1 cup popcorn = 100 calories
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken and Veggie Soup = 150 calories
  • 1/2 slice cake – 200 calories
  • Total = 1,575 calories

Obviously, the choices I made today were not the greatest as far as nutritional value. For instance, I need to eat more fruits and veggies and fewer sweets – duh! But, I still came in under 1,600 calories and I feel FULL! After doing this for about 10 days, I HAVE actually lost 2 pounds and am now down to my pre-January business travel weight (108 pounds). What I am more happy about is that I don’t want food all day long and I don’t find myself eating mindlessly – aka the Brian Wansink theory.

I’m hoping that I can stick to this way of eating on vacation. But, after all, it is vacation, right? 😉

Have a great night everyone!

Cake-Eater's Remorse

Well, the 5th birthday party came and went. It was actually fun, especially seeing Mr. C in all of his princely glory. Now, we get to do it all over again tomorrow at one of his friend’s 5th birthday parties.

After the party, we headed home for a little R&R before dinner. Scott cooked (or I should say fried) up some great chicken (Mr. C’s request), plus mashed potatoes and carrots…

I wasn’t super hungry by the time dinner was ready. Probably because of all the spinach dip I ate – blah! All I had for my actual dinner was a small dollop of potatoes, two thin pieces of chicken and carrots – although I was slightly tempted to get more. However, I made up for it with dessert…

I had a 1/2 piece of a brownie with about 1/4 Breyer’s vanilla ice cream. Sooo good! I really should have stopped there, but there was leftover birthday cake in the house. My feelings about birthday cake are as follows – birthday cake is like the large version of a cupcake. And, when it comes to cupcakes, I have little willpower. So, birthday cake in house = eaten birthday cake – get the picture? Sorry, no picture, not really proud of my two dessert night. I am definitely have cake-eater’s remorse.

OK, off to bed. Gotta get some rest then hit the t-mill for an extra hard run in the AM. So, how long do I need to run to burn off the calories from a piece of birthday cake? 🙂

Like Being in College, Except You Get Paid

Happy Friday! Don’t know about you but I am really ready for the weekend. I stayed up until 12:30 AM last night to finish a project for work. I felt like I was in college/grad school again, playing beat the clock against a mid-term deadline. Back in college, I used to think that all that work and pulling all-nighters wouldn’t be so bad if we got paid for it. Well, now that I AM getting paid for it, I wish I was getting paid MORE! 

Despite only getting about 6 hours of sleep, I had a great run this morning on the treadmill. It really is too cold to run outside here in Chicago – at least in my opinion. Although I complain about running on the treadmill day after day, I really am thankful that I have one.

Breakfast was a hearty bowl of oatmeal, with a tad of brown sugar and a few chopped walnuts…

I had to make a Target and Costco run for things for the party tomorrow, which consumed most of my morning. But I did cash in my Starbucks giftcard for a tall mocha frap. Instead of drinking it right away, I put it in the fridge to stay cold until after lunch…

Since I’m trying to stick to 1,600 calories a day for the next few days, I’ve been really watching my portions. As you can see, I had a 1/2 sandwich made with reduced-fat salami and a 1/2 slice of Swiss, plus a few carrots and chips to balance it out.

While the kids napped, I savored my mocha frap and spent the better part of 2 hours perusing the menus at Disney World. We have been very strategic about our restaurant choices, trying to balance quality food with a fun atmosphere for the kids. You’re probably thinking that every restaurant at Disney provides a fun atmosphere for kids – well, not really. Some do a better job than others. This balancing act also includes trying to split our meals between a la carte menus and buffets. Here’s the catch, most character meals are buffets and most of these get pretty low ratings for food. But, when you have small children, you want to go to character meals to make it more fun for the kids and not just like going out to eat back home.

As I checked out the menus online, which are very accurate by the way, I was contemplating some of the healthier choices for both me and the kids. On the dining plan, the kids have to order off the kid’s menu. And wouldn’t you know it, nearly all of the menus include hot dogs, pizza, chicken fingers, burgers, and mac and cheese. Come on – I know kids are picky but couldn’t you be more original than that? That’s not to say that my kids won’t eat those things because they absolutely will – but twice a day for seven days?? Even my kids would get bored with that. And what is even more strange is that the appetizer for the kids (the kid’s meal includes an appetizer) they can choose from a salad or carrots sticks. I know that those are healthy choices, but how many kids do you know (especially those 5 and under) who eat salads or carrot sticks for an appetizer? It seems like it should be switched, give them something a little more “fun” for an appetizer and give them a healthier choice for the entree.

Anyway, dinner ended up being homemade chicken noodle soup, which tasted really good on a cold day. Before soup, we actually started with a little white cheddar and crackers…

Again, because I’m watching my portions, I had one small cup of soup – about 10 ounces. But it looked really good in my fancy smancy cup…

I’m off to go finish up a few party things before bed. See you all tomorrow!

All-Natural Chicago Hot Dog Lovin'

Ok folks, I have to make this quick. I actually have work to do tonight. Yes, it seems that I don’t spend enough time working during the day that I need to work more at night. 

Before I forget, check out my new Bistro Chic post where you’ll learn all about my love for Jane Austen novels and Masterpiece Theatre – he he!

Today was sooo crazy busy at work that I barely had time to go to the bathroom. Not good – at least for my bladder.

Dinner was a makeshift meal of an all-natural, nitrate free hot dog by Vienna Beef. Hey, I gotta get me some Chicago hot dog lovin’ some how!

As you can see, I balanced the meaty hot dog on a double fiber piece of bread with a HUGE portion of broccoli. And I mean huge! I think there were two cups worth of the trees on my plate 🙂

Tomorrow, I’m getting ready for my son’s big Saturday birthday bash. He’s turning the big F-I-V-E and I can hardly believe it! We are all set to make goodie bags and then shop for other party items. This will be my first time hosting a kids’ party. I’m a little nervous I have to admit. Running after 20 kids, mostly 5 and under, is not my idea of a relaxing Saturday. But hey, you only turn 5 once right?

OK, gotta run. Have a wonderful Thursday night!

Those Bloody Oranges

Hey There! 

I am feeling sooo much better today! I was actually able to run my full workout this morning – woo hoo! I guess my body really needed the two-day rest.

After the run I was craving fruit so I started digging around the fridge to see what I could find. Apparently, Scott went shopping on Monday and bought a bunch of oranges. But, not just any oranges – Moro oranges or blood oranges…

These oranges are freakin awesome! I can’t believe I have never tried these before!!! According to Sunkist’s Web site:

The Moro Orange, sometimes called the “blood orange” because of its deep burgundy flesh, has been a favorite in Europe and North Africa for years. They are characterized by a distinctive flavor, with a hint of raspberry added to the rich orange taste.

So cool, and not just because of the red-purple-ish color. This orange really had a great flavor – juicy and sweet. Ironically, my 2-year old was having a “I only like things that are purple day” so I was excited to show her my new find. She was just as excited as I was 🙂

After my bloody orange, I was still in a fruity mood, so I opted for a nana…

It was perfectly ripe – potassium at its best!

I worked at my desk for what seemed like hours on end (blood clot alert :-(). I made myself get up to make an unpictured bowl of chicken soup – I still didn’t trust my stomach was I was keeping the lunch light and brothy.

By dinner I was pretty hungry, so I dug into Scott’s leftover baked ziti that he made on Monday night – when I was too sick to even look at food…

It was good, but I really wish I could have tried it on the first go around.

In other news, I booked my flight to FitBloggin today! Woo hoo!! Is anyone else as excited as I am?? I’m flying in on Friday early PM and leaving on Sunday afternoon. I can’t believe it’s less than 50 days away!

Gotta run, have a great night!

1,600 Calories in Two Days

The title of this post really says it all. In the last 24 hours, I have consumed about 1,600 calories, equaling about 800 calories per day. No, I’m not trying some crash diet. I have been very sick since Sunday night with both the stomach and respiratory flu. Not a good combination. 

As I mentioned last night, I was only able to make it though a 1/2 day of work yesterday. In all of my sick glory, I was only able to eat some jello, two cookies (later in the day), and sip a little Sprite. As you can imagine, I was so weak this morning that I was not even going to attempt running. I did make it through a whole day of work today and was able to keep down a piece of toast, followed by some chicken soup for lunch.

By dinner time, I was feeling much better and actually quite hungry, so I made myself a little sammie…

I had very high hopes for this salami and cheese sandwich, but after eating just 1/2 of the sandwich I was feeling very full and a little sick again. I tried to eat the apples as well…

But I guess when you’re sick, nothing tastes good, not even sweet, crunchy apples.

When I weighed myself this morning, I was sure I had lost 2-3 pounds, given how much I was sick and how much I did not eat. However, I was only one pound lighter. But, after I thought about it, I was in bed practically the whole day yesterday, so I was not exerting much energy – not enough to burn significant calories. 

I honestly don’t mind losing a pound here and there when I’m sick – it all balances out anyway. But what I don’t like is not being able to eat – due to loss of appetite or whatever. If you can’t eat, you can’t fuel your body with calories which help you engage in your daily activities – especially exercise, therefore you feel tired, weak, and just plain blah! And anytime I can’t exercise – well, let’s just say I’m not much fun to be around. Conclusion..being one pound lighter is not worth being sick – AT ALL!

OK, enough from me. I need to get some sleep so I don’t relapse 🙁

Have a good night.

Sick, Sick, Sick

Hi Everyone. I’ve been sick as a dog all day. I woke up at 3 AM with a wicked stomachache. It could have been the undercooked sausage from last night or it could just be that I have a tummy bug. Nonetheless, I went to work feel ing terrible. Then, I came home from work about noon and, except for about 30 minutes, didn’t leave the bed/bedroom.

I hate being sick. I’m going back to bed.

Have a good night all.

Working and Working Out

Hey there!

I don’t know about you but my Sunday just flew by – probably because I spent most of the day either working or working out. I started with a 45 minute interval workout on the treadmill (the rain kept me inside today – blah!). The run was followed by a 15-minute ab workout. I love ab-toning exercises. They not only make you look really in shape, but they are great for strengthening your core.

Next up, a little breakfast…

And yes, it was little, probably too little. It was about a 1/3 cup of Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek nonfat yogurt, with about a teaspoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of chopped walnuts. I know that this was not enough because about 45 minutes later I was starving! I grabbed a few pretzels just to take the edge off until lunch.

And speaking of lunch, I had leftover turkey chili with elbow noodles..

I don’t know what was with me today, but I just could not judge portions sizes. This ended up being only a 1/2 cup of chili and about 1/2-3/4 cup noodles. After such a small breakfast, this was way too small of a lunch for me. But Scott very nicely offered to share his turkey burger, so I decided to take him up on his offer and have 1/4 the burger.

The rest of the afternoon was spent working – and I mean working! Because of all the craziness at work with this potential new project, I am working in overdrive. I headed to Barnes and Noble – my office away from home – for some quiet work time. I did enjoy a nice mocha frap while I was there – via gift card of course!

Dinner was a household favorite, Italian sausage with peppers and leeks…

I LOVE this dish – it just never gets old. Although tonight, the sausage seemed a little underdone. I guess we’ll all find out if we get sick in the middle of the night!

After our stomachs (and the kids) were settled, Scott and I headed into the basement for a little workout. No, not that kind of workout (get your mind out of the gutter 😉 ) He’s been going on the treadmill at night pretty consistently for the last few weeks. He’s trying to increase his fitness level for some of our big trips we have planned in the coming months.

Many of you have posted on how you do double workouts a few times a week. I have done this in the past and, although it’s hard to keep up with on a regular basis, I do find that I can keep my weight down fairly easy when I do this. So tonight, I thought I’d try doing the eliptical. I haven’t been on the eliptical in YEARS!!!! Let me tell you, doing the eliptical was so much HARDER than running. Not only was I dripping wet with sweat after just 10 minutes, but I could barely make it through the 20 workout – on no higher than level 4 – yikes! And I thought I was pretty in shape.

Funny thing is, I was extremely tired at the end but it said I only burned 90 calories. I burn about 400-450 calories after 40 minutes on the treadmill! I think it’s safe to say I’ll be sticking with running.

Now, completely exhausted, I’m about ready to dig into some of my father-in-law’s leftover almond crunch cake…

Ahh, so good, and definitely just as tasty as it was last night.

That’s all for now friends. See you on Monday!

Take the Cake

Happy Saturday everyone,

I am super tired right now, so I’m going to make this quick. We celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday today with dinner at their house. After a very hearty meal of zesty meatloaf, homemade macaroni and cheese, and scallop potatoes, we were treated to this…

An Almond Crunch and Chocolate Confetti Chiffon Cake, baked by none other than my father-in-law himself! I guess he has been waiting for ten years to make this cake – no joke. The recipe was from a Fine Cooking magazine from May 2000!

By now  you know that my father-in-law is a fabulous baker. He and my mother-in-law even contemplated opening their own bakery a few years back. So, I was not surprised at all that this cake was fantastic – it tasted as good or even better than it looked – if you can believe that! This proves that it pays to save those old recipes – you never know when they’re going to come in handy. I had one nice size piece, but could have easily eaten more. I did end up taking a piece home – AM coffee/tea cake, anyone?

Fine Cooking magazine really does have some great recipes. Now that I think about it, I subscribed to the magazine over a month ago and I still haven’t received my first issue – ugh!

Ok, must run for now. Tomorrow is a busy day full of WORK! That’s right, because of a HUGE new project (yes, it requires even more travel) I have to work this weekend.

Also, it’s supposed to be about 40-45 degrees out in the AM, so I’m hoping to get a long run in outside – fingers crossed!

Have a great night 🙂

We Need to Eat More Beans

Tonight, Scott sent me an email that said “We need to eat more beans.” – hmm, speak for your gassy self honey. This statement was followed by a link to a Men’s Health article about the Top Weight Loss Foods for 2010. I don’t normally read Men’s Health articles, but I was intrigued to see what foods made the list. Of the nine foods listed, there were a few regulars, but also a few surprises.

Take a look at these top weight loss foods and see how you measure up…

Top Foods for Weight Loss in 2010

  1. √ Full-fat cheese – This is a great source of the muscle-building casein protein and protein helps you feel full, which will, hopefully, lead you to eat less. I’ve got this one covered – hands down!
  2. Pork Chops – Helps preserve muscle during weight loss. Sorry, not a big fan of these and never have been – not even with applesauce. 
  3. √ Iced Coffee = This cold beverage may help reduce your appetite while also increasing metabolism. I wonder if Starbucks’ mocha fraps count? Ice, coffee – it’s the same thing -it’s just blended. That’s it, I’m counting them.
  4. Grapefruit – Researchers speculate that the acidic nature of this potent fruit may help slow digestion, which keeps you feeling full longer. Again, not a fan, but I love the scent of grapefruit. Too bad the scent alone can’t help with weight loss.
  5. Apple – The forbidden fruit is loaded with fiber which keeps you feeling full. This is definitely on my list to eat more of.
  6. Eggs – Studies show that those who high protein foods, like eggs, for breakfast felt fuller longer and were less likely to overeat during the day than those who didn’t eat a high protein breakfast. I do like eggs, but I don’t eat them very often. Probably because I feel that they are more of a breakfast food, and during the work week, I don’t have time to make them in the morning.
  7. Beans – Legumes may help fight hypertension, but this fiber-rich food also keeps your belly full.  I do like beans but choose not to comment on the after effects.
  8. Salmon – Foods high in Omega-3s, like salmon, may have a satiating effect on our appetites. No deal – I don’t care how pretty it looks on a plate, I’m not eating salmon.
  9. √ Milk – We all know milk is a great source for vitamin D, but it’s also rich in protein, which keeps you feeling full. Milk is good – now, if I could just stop eating cookies with it!

See a pattern yet? Almost all of these foods are linked to keeping you full longer, which helps you eat less and lose weight. So, how many of these weight loss foods are you eating?