Blog Change

I have decided to change up my blog so it’s more about the whole of me and less about focusing on losing weight. If you’d like to continue following along with me, please see tanjalin.wordpress.com

Thanks, guys. All the love.

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Was It Something I Said, Or Was It Something I Ate?

Guys, I’m experiencing some concerns. I am completely, 100% gung ho about Weight Watchers and eating healthy. For one month now, I’ve been doing the meal prep for breakfasts and lunches. I’ve logged all of my food. I have stayed within my allotted points each day. I bring breakfast and lunch and snacks to work each day and I’ve been drinking more water and less coffee.

For my birthday (last Saturday), my family got together for a potluck brunch at my folks’ place and I asked for healthier options. I even brought a fresh fruit salad! For my birthday dinner, my husband took me to a restaurant that serves nothing but meatballs. I ordered chicken meatballs on top of roasted veggies. I ate some bread pudding for dessert, but I stopped after a handful of bites.

Guys, this is hard.

I feel so good and I’m so excited about all of the changes. I post all kinds of pictures on Instagram (I’m @tanjalin on there!) of my meals.

But here’s the problem. I’m doing this alone. No one else I know is doing Weight Watchers. When I scan foods at work, my co-workers threaten to hurt me because they feel like I’m rubbing their faces in it – that I’m saying I’m better than them. And I’m not saying that! I am truly mesmerized by the different points values of foods!

My poor husband is one of the most unhealthy eaters I’ve ever known. He has no intention of changing. He tries very hard to support me, but he doesn’t understand what I’m going through. When I told him I wanted to give up fried foods fo Lent, he thought I meant deep fried stuff and foods you would, like, fry in a pan…like eggs.

I’m very alone in my struggle. And it’s lonely.

I’m not giving up. Never again! But I struggle every single day. I wish I had a buddy to experience this with. Someone who will happy dance with me when I discover an amazing-tasting maple turkey sausage that is one point per patty! Someone who will celebrate finding a good-tasting salad dressing that’s lower in points. Someone who will text me things like, “99% fat free ground turkey is on sale this week!”

I’ll be fine without the buddy. I won’t give up.

It would just be nice to experience this with someone else.

Let’s Get Rich and Give Everybody Nice Sweaters

Guys! I know that I didn’t post the next day after my last post like I promised, but I’m a slacker by nature and I am a professional procrastinator. In that vein, I’m also not going to post today what I was going to post then, either. Because I want to ramble!

I have now been on Weight Watchers for three weeks. I lost a bit of weight before I joined the program (thanks so much, sickly December!), but I am now down 14 pounds since mid-December when I had my EKG. It’s funny how it feels like it’s going super slowly, then all of a sudden the slow losses add up quickly. If that makes sense.

I have developed new habits, and I look forward to adding more new habits very soon. Every month around the 15th, I make one change to my life. It happened naturally for the first two months, so I decided to keep the trend going. In December, I had my EKG and stopped smoking. In December, I joined Weight Watchers. And (this is hilarious to me), Lent begins on February 15th.

Side note: I am not Catholic and do not participate in Lent because of any religious reasons. It is just something my family has always done since I was little. We may not be super religious, but we’ve always been super competitive. So Lent became a challenge of wills. It continues to be a family challenge today.

So Lent. February 15th. My husband is going to work out daily during Lent. My 9 year old son said he is going to focus on drinking more water and making healthier food choices (and I did NOT talk him into that…he just has been watching me, apparently! But I did buy him and myself new tracking water bottles.) My 7 year old daughter hasn’t decided yet. And me? I’m going to give up fried foods. I have already stopped drinking soda and I don’t eat fast food anymore and I have upped my water intake and cut back on my creamer in my coffee and so much more. So I’m just going to add fried foods.

I had hoped that my February Life Change would be getting back to walking outside. However, the effing groundhog saw his shadow and it was -2 degrees this morning and we got about 2 inches of snow yesterday with another inch scheduled for tonight, so sadly, the walking isn’t going to happen in February. However, I have started tweaking my Cardio is Hardio Spotify playlist to prepare for the day I can feel my toes when I step outside.

Oh! New habits. I totally got sidetracked. Right.

I have reclaimed Sunday mornings (or whatever time it is when I get out of the warm bed and make myself some coffee). The house is still relatively quiet. I turn on my Chill the Eff Out Spotify playlist (Spotify does not sponsor me…but they should!) and start my meal prep for the week. I make breakfasts and lunches for work, and I have found that I enjoy eating the same thing every day for a week. Beyond that, I get tired of it.

I wrote about what I’m eating last week, but this is this week’s breakfast:

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Two eggs with mushrooms and zucchini, some southwestern hash browns (which turned out to be way spicier than I was expecting, so I won’t be doing those again!) and a turkey maple sausage patty. It’s delicious and just 5 points.

So I spend my Sunday mornings doing my meal prep for the week. I tend to decide on Fridays what I’m going to make for lunches the next week so that I can go to the grocery store and get what I need. And with all of the money I’m saving from not smoking and not eating fast food, I am having no problems keeping up on my fresh produce.

I am seriously enjoying this whole process. My goal for 2018 is to not stop Weight Watchers. I’m giving myself the whole year on the program, so there’s no option to quit this time.

If I Hide Myself Wherever I Go Am I Ever Really There?

Guys, I’ve been doing so well for the past two weeks. I joined Weight Watchers and I’ve stayed under my allotted points each day and I’ve tried new foods and I’ve done so much cooking and I’ve been drinking lots more water and I’ve scanned nearly every single thing in the grocery store to see what the points values are.

Last week, I lost one pound. This week, I lost 1/2 pound.

Yes, I realize that this journey is about way more than what the scale says. I realize wholeheartedly that the scale is a vicious and nasty nemesis that cannot measure my self-worth.

But guys, I really wanted that scale to at least show me an initial big(ger) loss. And the reality is that I have to deal with that and get over it. In order to do that, I’m going to dedicate this blog post to the awesome foods I’ve been cooking and their points values.

Get ready for some food porn. You’ve been warned.

On Friday, I decided to dabble in the world of Asian-inspired cooking.

I love the chow mein noodles at Panda Express so very much, but they are 16 points for a serving. That’s pretty much the points value of two of my daily meals combined! So, I found some noodles:

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And then I searched Pinterest for a recipe. It was very simple, actually, and I got to add more of the cabbage that I love with the Panda Express chow mein. Here’s how mine turned out:

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Best part? Even with the bit of oil I used to fry the noodles, they were just 8 points per serving! I paired the noodles with shrimp stir-fry. Please forgive the state of the cooked vegetables in this photo. My husband is allergic to fresh fruits and vegetables and when he’s eating, I have to cook the veggies to death so he doesn’t get sick.

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The shrimp was so tender. OMG.

OH! Have I said anything about my new dinnerware? I read a bunch of articles one day about people who have lost weight and quite a few of them said something about how they taught themselves portion control by using kids’ plates. I went to Target and bought this bowl, this plate, and a tray plate (that you’ll see in a later picture) in the green color shown above. It has truly helped me, AND it was such a hit with the kids that we each got a set in different colors! They truly help me keep portion size in perspective. You can see the size of the plate above in relation to the size of my hand, and that food was plenty to fill me up!

On to the next dish. For the kids, I made chicken fried rice. And I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever go through the Chinese drive-thru again.

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Is that not a thing of beauty? That’s the green bowl from my new dinnerware and that bowl of heavenly rice filled me up. I had a few moments of filling my bowl when I panicked, as I do, and freaked out that it wasn’t going to be enough. Then I took a deep breath and reassured myself that if it wasn’t, I could always go back for more. I didn’t. I was full and satisfied. And it was 6 points per serving.

Next up, teriyaki chicken stir-fry! I made up a big batch for work lunches this week. I had it for the first time yesterday, and I can tell you that I won’t get sick of it by Friday. I found this amazing sesame teriyaki sauce at the store:

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I may very well be in love. Anyway, it was chicken and pineapple and snow peas and mushrooms and zucchini (I’m fairly certain I could live on mushrooms and zucchini) and cabbage. I let the chicken and pineapple simmer for a while in that delicious sauce then added the veg right at the end because hubby will not be eating this, so I can keep them deliciously barely cooked. I then made some couscous (another thing I could live on) and divided everything into five servings for lunches. I even have some couscous left over in case I need it for a dinner thing this week!

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So much flavor going on in that little bowl there. And I sprinkled some cashews on top right before I ate it yesterday. DELISH!

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Because I totally skipped Sunday. Sunday has become my meal prep day.

There is a grocery store near where I work that has all of the things I love in a store: Their chicken breasts are almost always $1.99 per pound. They sell K-cup coffee individually so I can mix-and-match (and get a few of the hot cocoas for the kids). Their fresh produce is stellar. And they have a superb self-checkout so I don’t have to talk to anyone!

At some point during the week, I stop by this heavenly store and buy my chicken for lunches for the next week and stock up on my fresh produce stuff and whatever else I need. Then on Sundays, I spend part of my afternoon doing my meal prep for the week.

I have fallen in love with my work breakfasts, too. I make these egg muffins, but I change them up every week so I don’t get tired of them.

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Side note: I need to invest in a new muffin tin. Please don’t judge me on that one. I just love the shape of the muffin bowls on this one. I believe it used to be my grandma’s. It ain’t pretty, but it gets the job done.

Anyway, I fry up some potatoes. This week it was this:

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I measured out two cups and fried it in a pan with one tablespoon of butter. I added extra onions, too. Then I divided that up and put enough in each muffin tin to cover the bottom. Then I fried up some zucchini and mushrooms, also in one tablespoon of butter. Then I divide that around the muffin cups. By this time, the muffin cups are practically overflowing. Last are the eggs. I whisk six of them in my big measuring cup with the spout on the side. You have to be patient and wait for the eggs to settle around the yummy things hanging out in the muffin cups. Because when you’re not, you get overflow like you can see in my picture above. Then you bake it at 375 for twenty minutes.

Voila! Breakfast for the week! I normally eat one muffin and a packet of instant grits.

This is getting long, so I’m going to wait until tomorrow to tell you about my salmon. It’s a doozy, so get ready!

I Keep on Hoping We’ll Eat Cake By the Ocean

Guys! I have a work trip coming up at the beginning of March, and I’ll be gone for 6 days. While I know I’ll get plenty of activity in (last time we went to this location, we averaged walking 7 miles per day), I want to make sure that my healthy eating trend can continue.

I’m going to a convention. The first half consists of meetings and speakers and it’s very fast-paced and moving around a lot. The second half is the tradeshow, where I get to go look at new products and talk to my vendor peeps. During the days, there’s not a lot of time to eat, so we tend to grab and go and stuff it into our faces. During the evenings, the vendors want to woo us, so they throw parties and dinners and none of it is ever food that’s good for you. By the end of the trip, my body is craving a salad…some veggies…fruit…something not processed or dripping with cheese.

I’ve decided to start doing research early so that I can be fully prepared to stay on my game this trip. I bought myself a new backpack so I can carry that around instead of a purse. I’ll be able to pack myself some snacks and have pockets for my water bottle and coffee vessel.

I already have an Apple Watch, but I recently also started wearing a FitBit again, mostly because I am part of this Wellness Challenge at work and the website will sync to a FitBit, but not my Apple Watch. Stupid heads. Anyway, I’m now double-wristing it. The FitBit app is honestly amazing. I like it for tracking water and keeping connected to others who have FitBits (like my sister) and calculating my sleeping hours, which are pathetic. The FitBit is honestly so slim that it just feels like jewelry, so I don’t mind having a second tracking device on my body.

So, snacks to take. What I’ve come up with so far are Quest Bars (I’m trying the chocolate chip cookie dough this weekend), which are 4 points on my Weight Watchers system. Also, it was suggested that I take some fruits or veggies along with me. I could pack them or take them in my carry-on bag. I may also look into the location of a grocery store near our hotel so that I can get some fresh produce there. I will likely be making my own trail mix with goodies found in the health market section of my local grocer.

Doing this research is helping me to feel more in control of what is usually a chaos-filled business trip. It’s very fast-paced and doesn’t leave a lot of room for leisure things…like eating at restaurants with healthier options. With planning, I know I can get through this.

I’ll be sure to keep everyone up-to-date on my goings-on while I’m on my trip via Instagram, for sure.

If you have any snack trip suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment! Thanks!

There’s Nothing I Need Except the Function to Breathe

Guys, I have so much to catch you up on. See? I’m so frazzled that I just ended that sentence with a preposition. Ugh.

You know about the EKG. You know about the anxiety meds. You know about the smoking. You know about how I am trying to be healthier.

Well, since we last really spoke, I have rejoined Weight Watchers. Once again, I am thoroughly enjoying the program. Once again, it’s making me feel way better. Once again, I am starting to lose weight.

Why the fuck do I keep quitting this program? I’m so sick of this back-and-forth bullshit. The self-sabotage has got to end.

There have been some major changes to the WW program, and I love them. There are now over 200 foods that are zero points, which means my brain is no longer frantically figuring out the weight and measurement of every single thing I put in my mouth. I can eat eggs without freaking out and thinking that I should buy eggs AND egg whites. I can eat chicken breasts without having to weigh it. I can feel like I am in control of what goes into my mouth and stop when I’m full instead of when my portion runs out. I can make better food decisions based on what I know is a healthier option rather than what the points value will be. I scan all kinds of things at the grocery store to see what the points value is. I research restaurant menus before we go.

Oh! And we went to a sushi train restaurant that served the food on a conveyor belt. I had a BLAST! I munched on (zero point) edamame while I watched the plates go by, figuring out what I wanted to eat. I figured out that the cheaper plates were actually the healthier sushi options (no sauces on top or hidden fried things). I took time between plates of sushi (each plate had three slices of sushi on it), which helped me decide if I was even still hungry. I spent time talking to my husband and discussing what we thought was on the plates. He tried crazy things like baby octopi and I sampled some seaweed salad. It was a fantastic experience and I can’t wait to go back.

Guys, I feel so good right now. I haven’t taken heartburn medicine in almost two weeks. My skin is feeling better (drinking more water). My energy levels are going back up.

OH OH OH! And since I stopped smoking, fresh foods taste so damn good. It’s like I was reborn or something. Crazy stuff.

More soon. I have to go and eat lunch. A big ol’ salad with grilled chicken and roasted peppers and sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

Today is going to be a day of confession, my friends. You see, I had a habit for about six years that hardly anyone knew I had.

I was a smoker.

I started because of stress and anxiety. It was self-medicating. I was going through an extremely stressful time at work and I wasn’t on my anxiety meds yet and I was falling apart. I had a few friends at the time who smoked, so I picked up the habit. It became my way of meditating, in a way.  When I smoked, I was alone and able to breathe. It was my *me* time.

However, it never really worked the way it should. My anxiety, while being calmed a bit by the act of smoking and the nicotine in my blood, would consistently rear it’s head and remind me that every time I smoked a cigarette, I was speeding up my road to The End. I was very aware that every puff took away minutes from my life. And for many years, it was an internal struggle as to whether I cared or not.

And then I had that EKG in the doctor’s office, and I realized in that flash of a moment that I do care.  I really don’t want my life to be over yet.

So I finished my pack and I stopped. Cold turkey. I went from about 15 cigarettes per day to 0.

That was one month, six days and twenty-one hours ago.

I never went through any noticable nicotine withdrawal. I might have had one headache, but it wasn’t bad. I didn’t chew packs and packs of gum. Stopping seemed quite natural.

However, I will tell you that not a day goes by that I don’t miss the act of smoking, if that makes any sense. I miss that *me* time. I miss the excuse it gave me to walk away from my desk at work. I miss the time when I would just pop out of the room and sit by myself in the quiet for ten minutes. I miss the time before everyone else in the house woke up, when it was just me and my coffee. I miss those fifteen minutes after the kids went to bed when I would sit with my cigar-smoking husband and we would talk about our days through the haze of smoke.

It’s cold outside, and I don’t know what to do with myself right now in those ten-minute stretches that used to be filled. When it warms up, I know that I will be going for walks in the sunshine. But until then, I guess I’ll just continue to dream about smoking, as I do almost every night.

I’ll figure this out. It’s just finding a new (hopefully healthier) addiction that will take time.

You Just Keep on Trying ‘Til You Run Out of Cake

Day 8 of the New Me. The Zoloft seems to be kicking in. I have not had any anxiety issues in days, and I no longer feel like I’m drowning in sadness.

The water pills didn’t work on my blood pressure issues, so now I’m on a second kind. I’ve also discovered flax seed, which is also supposed to help. I have an at-home blood pressure cuff now, so hopefully things will start evening out there, too.

I’ve been trying to make healthier choices and to focus on portion control. I’m not sure if it’s a medication side-effect or what, but I haven’t had much of an appetite lately.

Oh! That could be because on that day I also got a flu shot that wound up giving me a hideous cold that I’m just now getting over.

I made some chili last night with lean ground turkey and no-salt-added beans and corn. It was quite delicious!

Wow, I’m boring today. Sorry! I’ll get my groove back as soon as everything settles down.

My Brain and My Bones Don’t Want to Take This Anymore

Setup: It’s 6:15 a.m. I left home early enough to stop and get gas before heading off to work. I made the decision to grab a few breakfast sandwiches (one for today, one for tomorrow) because I’m still adjusting to the water pills and Zoloft that I’ve recently started taking, and I find that my fogginess is lessened if I take the pills with food. I stumbled over to the coffee station and grab a cup. While I’m putting my creamer into the cup, an older man walks up with his refillable coffee mug in-hand. “Wow, you’re fast!” he exclaims. “I just saw you walk through the door and you already have two sandwiches?”

I had not actually spoken to another human being at this point in my day. I was still half-asleep and not catching on to what he was saying. So I replied, “Well, I don’t want to be late for work.”

Very loudly, he says back, “Do you scarf down those sandwiches as quickly as you pick them up?”

The word fatty was heavily implied. It was like he just slapped me. I stood there, struck by the whole scenario. Literally putting a hand to my cheek to see if it felt warm from the sting of his verbal slap. I couldn’t move until he was out of the store.

Yes, I’m fat. I know that I’m fat. I’m very aware of my weight. But, oddly, I never encounter things like this. The people around me very, very rarely treat me as though I am overweight. I never get comments. I rarely even get strange looks. I have no idea why this is…

Since I removed my mother from my life, very few people outright belittle me, at least to my face.

And this guy just did.

I wanted to stand up for myself. I wanted to justify my purchase to him. I wanted to throw my coffee in his face and tell him to fuck off. I wanted to put my hand on his and say, “I’m sorry you don’t get enough love in your life.” I also wanted to say, “So you’re doctor doesn’t think the caffeine from that will mess with your viagra?” I didn’t say anything. I didn’t do anything. I wanted so desperately to do something, because no one talks to me like that.

Well, no one except the voice in my head.

And apparently this guy. At 6:15 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Fuck you, dickhead.

Pressure Pushing Down on Me

Today was the day. I took that walk back to the doctor to ask to be put back on Zoloft. I was so super nervous about it, and as expected, there was no need to be nervous. He immediately put me back on with no problem.

The problem came, however, when the nurse took my blood pressure and exclaimed, “Whoa!” I guess it was pretty high.

The doctor told me I needed to give a urine sample and have blood drawn and get an EKG…right then. I looked calm about it, but I was completely a wreck inside.

I changed into the too-small gown with the opening to the front, showing far too much of my skin and breasts than I felt comfortable about. The nurse attached little stickers all over the place and then attached cords to the stickers. I had no idea what they were even checking with the EKG machine. I hadn’t had time to properly Google it before it happened.

I laid there on the table, giving in and letting the gown flow open, thinking about this being the moment.

The. Moment.

You know that moment that people talk about when they get that smack-in-the-face epiphany that everything has to change.

What the fuck has been holding me back? Do I want to have a heart attack and die before I see my kids grow up? I couldn’t leave them! I have shit to see and things to do still! I’m forty-fucking-two. I am not even halfway done living yet!

But there I lay, weighing more than I have in ages, wallowing in my depression and anxiety, giving up without even realizing I had done so.

The EKG showed no imminent danger, thankfully, and my urine test was fine. I’m now taking water pills starting tomorrow and I have to go back next Tuesday for the nurse to check my blood pressure again.

I’m done. I’m done wallowing and feeling bad about myself. I’m done slowly killing myself with all of my bad habits. I’m done sitting here in this haze of self-pity and self-loathing.

In that moment, with the wires hooked to me, I realized that I really wanted to live. I’ve been sick of being fat for ages, but I saw it now for what I was: my layers of fat are hiding me from the world. I have bright orange hair and a nose ring and outrageous fashion sense, but I’m still hiding in my fat.

And I’m done hiding. It’s over. The fight has begun. Because I never want these little fucking stickers on my body again.