First of all, I want to say a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” to Colorhungry mama, who turned xx years old yesterday (I won’t reveal on penalty of death).
Second, today I want to talk about weight loss. I haven’t wanted to share much beyond the fact that I am losing weight but last week, a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a while said to me, “The best change is that you LOOK HAPPY again.” I had to agree with her- I AM happy again. A year and a half ago, my world was upside down. I was depressed, feeling badly about myself, and my self-care was completely in the toilet. Flash forward to today and I have turned my life around- the weight loss is a symptom of everything somehow coming together. I’m losing weight because I’m happy and in the right frame of mind, and I’m happy because I’m losing weight.
Of course, when people realize you’ve been successful losing weight, they ask you how you’ve done it. “Eating well and exercising” tends to be met with a blank look and a, “No, I mean…tell me what you’re doing. Give me examples.” I started thinking today and wondering…what do I know for sure right now? If I didn’t feel like I had to tiptoe around people about this topic, what would be the cold hard truths?
1. Here’s my magic formula: Eat less, Eat better food, and move your ass more. No substitutes. Voila.
Eating better means different things for different people. Figure out what works for you. I’m not going to tell you what to eat and what not to eat. I publish all kinds of recipes (and ALL are tested before posting- I make them up). However, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, you have to burn more calories than you take in. It’s simple math. This is where the moving your ass part comes in- just move it in some way. I’m starting to run again, which is scary and exciting.
Now, how about that? You now know the secret to weight loss and you didn’t even have to make those 6 easy payments of 19.95 (plus S&H!). Of course, this means you won’t get a free gift or that second kit free…
2. I am the one that must live with my choices at the end of the day– not my friends, significant other, mother, brother, aunts, grandparents, etc. ME. I am responsible for what goes in my mouth, so it’s important to get real with myself. Furthermore, if i’m not making real changes and being honest with MYSELF, I’m the one getting the crap end of the stick. Looking back I realize that people may have offered me food, but I was the one who took it, put it in my mouth, chewed and swallowed. No one forced me to eat it. I could have said no. Every bite is a conscious decision on my part.
3. No excuses. There will always be a reason to do or not to do something. What means more? My health and happiness or that extra twenty minutes of sleep if I skip my run? Make the choice and stand behind it, but excuses will get you nowhere. If you choose to do or not to do something, own it.
4. I didn’t get fat eating sweets or Doritos or “junk food.” I could care less about that stuff. It was bread, pasta, rich sauces and cheese in quantities that could feed a small Italian village that made my butt big. The world will always have pasta, bread, rich sauces, and cheese. There is no reason to eat them like they’re going extinct. Have some perspective on your eating habits. I complained I was gaining weight while continuing to eat heaping portions of brie mac and cheese. Man, the eye rolling that must’ve been going on behind my back… I fooled myself into thinking that it just wasn’t in the cards. I had to call B.S. on myself.
5. My body is AMAZING. I have put it through so much crap and still, it keeps chugging along and doing exactly what I ask of it. Be grateful for what you have and don’t beat the hell out of yourself in your mind like I used to do (and my thanks to my incredible friend Carolynn, who is one of my BIGGEST cheerleaders and supporters, for breaking me of this nasty little habit).
6. Weight loss is selfish- in a good way. It has to be. It’s about caring and respecting yourself enough to embrace change. You have to want it for yourself because anything less simply isn’t enough.
7. BALANCE , BALANCE, BALANCE.
8. Try. Look, weight loss is weird. Our bodies can be weird about it. You can do everything “right” and get no results and you can feel like you’ve had a rough time of it and lose 5 pounds. Results aren’t set in stone and you can’t always predict what’s going to happen. So, what does this mean? What matters is that you put in the effort- sincere effort. Don’t make it about the number on the scale. It should be about feeling good about yourself- the whole package. To do that, you need to know you’ve at least invested something in yourself. Remember- the stupidest thing you can do is try to fool/cheat yourself.
9. I create my own happiness. I complained for a long time. What I really needed to do was shut up and start changing it. If there’s something making you unhappy that you can change…the hope comes from the fact that you CAN CHANGE IT.
10. Weight loss is as mental as it is physical. Commit. Be positive. Be tough. If you fail for a single second, put it behind you and press on. Remember- no excuses.
Now, let’s start the week with a recipe you’ll love that’s *gasp* quite good for you and ridiculously simple.
Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Butternut Squash and Apple
6 large portobello mushroom caps
2 Fuji Apples (or other sweet apple), peeled and diced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 medium spanish onion, finely diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp ground sage
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely grated parm (I used a microplaner)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet. When onions are soft, add butternut squash.
2. When squash is soft, add apples, sage, salt and pepper. Cook until apples are slightly soft. You do not want mushy apples.
3. Spoon mixture into portobello caps, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of each (and please, for the love of all that is holy, if you can help it, don’t use the canned stuff- I promise the real stuff is what you need). You”ll want to put these in a baking dish and not try. Put in oven for 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are ready. They will release juices when done (hence the baking dish.). Enjoy! This is a perfect fall recipe- simple, quick and delicious.