Awesome new cookbook!

Now eat this!

This is the title of a new cookbook by Rocco Dispirito that my husband and I bought this weekend while we were in St.Cloud. As usual, we spent some time at Barnes and Noble – one of our favorite hangouts. The subtitle of the book is “150 of America’s favorite comfort foods all under 350 calories.” Of course, THAT caught our attention. Plus, the picture of Rocco on the front is pretty cute – well, at least to me. He has this boyish smile that just drew me in.

Anyway, as most of you know, my husband loves to cook. And since I/we have started this healthy living journey, we have both looked for ways to trim down, or make healthier, some of our favorite recipes, as well as try new and different recipes. What can we say, we do LOVE food.

Well, this cookbook does the same thing. Rocco said his goal for the book was, “to take the foods we love – no matter how bad they are for us – and make them healthy and flavorful, something I really want to eat.” He provides an 11-page introduction including a list of his “can’t-live-without” ingredients. There was one part of the introduction, though, that really grabbed my attention:

be in control: cook for yourself

“This ‘I-can-have-my-chicken-cordon-bleu-and-eat-it-too’ philosophy may sound impossible, but I guarantee it’s entirely possible. There is just one catch: You have to cook it yourself. Before you throw up your hands and walk into a McDonalds and order another not-so-Happy Meal, consider this: When you cook, you are in control of everything you put into your pan and thus into your body. You decide how many calories and how many fat grams you eat in a given day. You can still eat a version of your favorite foods. But you have to cook it. You have to make the choice to step into the kitchen instead of pulling into the drive-thru or turning to highly processed prepared foods because it seems more convenient.” Yes, Rocco, that’s it.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. It all comes down to YOU! Everyone is in control of their healthy living destiny. Truly, YOU ARE!

Most of Rocco’s dishes in the cookbook, with just a few exceptions, can be prepared in about 30 minutes and call for everyday items found in your local grocery store – none have long lists of ingredients.

The cookbook includes recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and pizza, fish and shellfish, chicken and turkey, beef and pork, pasta, sides sauces, desserts and more.

My husband dove right into the book and found a new recipe to try – barbecue ribs. Yes, believe it or not, my husband has never tried his hand at ribs. Crazy, huh? Well, let me tell you…they were simply DELICIOUS. My son, who I have never seen eat ribs is life, actually ate them and the best part, he even like them. They were really, really good. So good, that I am including the recipe here:

1 rack baby back ribs, trimmed of all visible fat

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 tablespoons liquid smoke

3/4 cup reduced-sugar ketchup

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 large Vidalia onion, roughly chopped

12 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1. Preheat over to 425 degrees F. Lay a two-foot long piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and set it aside.

2. Cut the rib rack in half; season it generously with salt and pepper. Place the ribs on the prepared baking sheet.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the paprika, liquid smoke, ketchup and red wine vinegar. Pour the sauce over the meat, turning to coat it completely. Scatter onions and garlic over the sauce. Place another piece of foil on top and fold up the edges of the foil to make a tightly sealed package. Roast the ribs for 30 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to 275 degrees F, and bake until the meat is tender, about one hour. (My husband put them on the grill for about 25-30 minutes after they were done baking.)

5. Slicing between the bones, cut the ribs into four portions and serve.

Okay, now here’s the cool part – in Rocco’s cookbook, he includes the fat and calorie content for the “normal” way to cook the recipe and then the fat and calorie count for his way to cook the recipe, along with the protein, carbs, cholesterol, fiber and sodium of his recipe.

Before – Fat: 68 grams, Calories: 990

After – Fat: 17.3 g, Calories: 330 (protein: 28 g, carbs: 13 g, cholesterol: 87 mg, fiber: 2 g, sodium: 328 mg)

Now that’s what I call  healthy. And the best part? It was awesomely tasty and deliciously good! I highly suggest you take a look at Rocco’s new cookbook – Now eat this!

I’m sure glad we did!

Improvement

Hello there, dear readers! Once again, it has been a few days. I apologize, but dang it, life has become way too busy.

I have started to pick up some more hours at my second job – at Weight Watchers – and between that and the newspaper and running 5K races, I have been staying pretty darn busy.

Last Saturday, my husband and I ran in the Lakes Area Humane Society 5K race in Alexandria. This particular race last year was our first 5K race we participated in – ever! So this year, I was really looking forward to doing the race a second time because it was the same route as last year and would therefore, be a great comparison to see if I have improved.

Here we are at the finish line after the race:

Well, I have to say, I definitely improved, but it wasn’t the time I wanted. BUT….and this is a BIG BUT….I was happy with my time. Really, I was. At last year’s race, my time was 40:55, which means I ran 3.2 miles in forty minutes and fifty-five seconds.

This year, I ran the same route in 32:21, meaning I chopped eight minutes and thirty four seconds (8:34) off my time. I ran it in 32:31. For not training as thoroughly as I should have, I have to say that I am happy about it.

At least, I am now. I wasn’t at first.

I have to admit that I was disappointed when I found out my time only because I really wanted to do it in 30 minutes. I have yet to beat my time from the 5k in Osakis, which was in June of this year. I don’t know what the deal is. That race, I finished in 30:55. But I have yet to beat that time in any of the races I have finished since.

On Saturday, I felt like I was running really well and near the end, I really kicked it down and it felt great. I don’t know what happened. I did have one person tell me that maybe – just maybe – the route for the Osakis race could have been just a tad shorter and that maybe that is why my time was better at that race. But who knows.

All I know is that I will just keep chugging along…I have to. I have another 5K race this Saturday in St. Cloud. It will be my 8th and final 5K race of the season. My last race will be the 10K in Fargo on October 9. Oh boy, I better get to that training!

P.S.  If anyone has any questions for me, feel free to post them or if you don’t want to do that, feel free to send me an email at confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com. Also, you can find Confessions of a Fat Girl on Facebook. Look me up, like me and become a fan. I would love to have you!

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Oh-so-fun, but busy

Hello everyone! It feels like forever since I have blogged…and I guess it has as it’s been exactly one week. Sorry about that, but I have had one extremely busy week. Crazy busy! But, like my title said, OH-SO-FUN!

The only part that wasn’t so much fun is that the exercise has still been non-existent. Kind of. But, and I say this with all honesty, I have not had time. And the part about that I dislike so much is that I cringe when my husband says that. (He tends to use the “no time” excuse quite often.) Aargh!

But really, at least for the last three days, I just simply haven’t had time. Let’s start with Tuesday…although, my dear readers, you probably don’t want to know the boring details, but I am going to share with you anyway. At least this will give you a glimpse into my life as of late!

Okay, back to Tuesday: I got up at 5 a.m. and was to work at the newspaper office by 6:30 a.m. I worked until 3 p.m. and then got in my car and drove to Morris, where I worked at a Weight Watchers meeting. I was there until 6:30 p.m. Then, I got in my car and drove home. When I got home around 7:30 p.m., I ate supper and then had to work on some projects for Wednesday. I crawled into bed around 11 p.m. Oh, I did spend some time visiting with my husband and son.

Let’s see, on Wednesday, my alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. – YES, THREE FORTY-FIVE! I was at work at Weight Watchers at 5 a.m. YES, FIVE O’CLOCK in the morning! It was our open house day and let me tell you, it was fantastic! We opened the doors at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t close them until 6:15 p.m. We had so much fun and it was crazy busy. Awesome. Simply awesome. I got home that day around 7:30 p.m. I then had some supper, talked with my husband and my son a little bit, talked to my mom and my sister on the phone and then worked on the computer a little bit. I was so shot that I crawled into bed shortly before 9:30 p.m. I think I may have been sleeping before my head hit the pillow. Maybe.

As for Thursday, my alarm went off at 5 a.m. and I was at the newspaper office shortly before 6:30 a.m. I worked there until 3:30 p.m. and then I headed to Glenwood to work a Weight Watchers meeting there. When I got done, which was at about 6:30 p.m., I headed over to visit my parents’ house since that’s the town they live in. I left their house around 8 p.m. and when I got home, I ate supper with my husband and son. It was SO NICE to actually sit down and have a meal with them. We chatted for a little while and then our neighbor came over for a just a bit and before I knew it, it was 9:30 p.m. I sat down on the couch to watch some Twins baseball with my husband and before I knew it, I was sound asleep.

So now it’s Friday and my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. I am always up that early on Fridays because I have to update the newspaper’s website. I thought I better take some time to blog since I haven’t been on here for a week. BUT as soon as I am done, I have a date with a Jillian Michael’s exercise DVD. I was going to go for a run, but I have my 7th 5K of the season tomorrow morning and thought I better save my leg strength for the run!

For as much running around and working as I did this week, my eating was surprisingly pretty dang good. I did manage to sneak in a blizzard at the Dairy Queen and let me tell you, it tasted really, really good. My weight is still pretty good. I had to weigh in on Wednesday at WW (We have to turn in our weight to our territory manage and she happened to be at our open house, which was pretty cool. I was 141 right on the nose! And, I was okay with that.)

I did get in runs last Saturday and on Monday, so that made be happy. But since Monday, my exercise has been, like I said earlier, non-existent! Next week shouldn’t be quite so busy and I can get in some more exercising! Thank goodness. Believe it or not, I am really starting to miss it. Really, I am.

If anyone has any questions for me, feel free to post them or if you don’t want to do that, feel free to send me an email at confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com. Also, you can find Confessions of a Fat Girl on Facebook. Look me up, like me and become a fan. I would love to have you!

Alrighty, look out, Jillian, here I come. It’s time to get my butt kicked!

In a funk

I am not sure what is going on, but I think the weather is the cause for this funk I am in.

When I wake up in the morning, which typically is REALLY early, it’s now that time of year when the sun isn’t shining and it’s still dark out. And then when I get off work, the darkness isn’t too far behind. And when this happens, I get in a funk. I guess maybe I am one of those people who really needs her sunshine or at least lots of daylight.

Because of this funk, I have lost all ambition to exercise. I. Don’t. Like. This.

At. All.

In my last post, I said how a reader’s email to me had motivated me to get back on track. Well…it did. For a day. Yes, I went out and ran about six miles, but that was it. I haven’t been out running since then. It’s not a time issue, which is what my husband’s excuse always is. I can always make the time. Anybody can find the time they need for something they love. Really, you can. However, right now for me, it’s a complete lack of motivation and I know this. I know that I just kind of lost it somehow.

Aargh! Ugh! I actually want it back.

At least my food has been going alright, except for the little treats now and then. I won’t call them slip ups anymore because that’s not what they are. They are treats. Plain and simple. I think when people get down on themselves and say they have slipped up, it causes them to keep slipping up. Not sure why, but they do. I think if we were more positive toward ourselves, maybe this wouldn’t happen.

For instance, if a person (I’ll use a female) “treats” herself at the beginning of a day, she is more likely to “give up” then the rest of the day. She thinks, “Well, I already slipped up so I may as well have….it doesn’t matter.” Well, guess what? It does matter.

Having one treat – one “slip up,” if you will – shouldn’t wreck an entire day. Just because she went out to lunch with friends and ate more than normal, maybe even having dessert, doesn’t mean she should stuff her face at supper.

I think this is the kind of mindset that gets us in trouble. Especially me. I think, “Well, the days already shot, I may as well just eat like a pig.” Which, really, to be honest, is so stupid and kind of pathetic.

So, that is why I have changed saying that I slipped up to saying that I had a treat. And then leave it at that. A treat. One. Not an all-day eat fest.

So, that is my advice of the day. When you have ONE treat, make it just that. One. Don’t let it be an excuse to eat your heart out the rest of the day.

Now, can someone give me some advice on how to get my motivation back for exercising? : )

Email from reader hits home

The other day I received an email from a reader and it really hit home. I am not exactly sure why, but something about it just grabbed a hold of my heart. I felt a lot of empathy toward the writer and after I emailed her back, I sent her another email and asked if I could share her email, along with my response with the rest of my readers. She immediately said yes and said I could even use her name.

So, the following is the email I received from Rhonda T. and also my response:

Hi Celeste, I just discovered your blog, and I think you may have become my friend. (I hope you’re OK with that).

If I had a blog, it would be titled “Confessions of a Former Fit Girl” – I’ve gained about 50 pounds over the last year or so. I could tell you all the boring-yet-I-would-somehow-make-them-dramatic details, but from reading your blog, I know that you know all it comes down to is that I quit exercising and started eating. (Eating a lot, and all the wrong things.)

I actually dished out the $500 (plus the cost of the “meal replacements”) to start up the Opti Fast thing here in Fargo – the doctors were nice and the nutritionist was smart, but after dropping the first 10 pounds or so, I just lost momentum. I realize now that it was a far too passive way of losing weight for me. When you’re on that program you are actually told NOT to exercise, as the calorie intake is so low. Now, since I’ve been sitting on my behind for the last 2 years, you’d think being told not to work out would be right up my alley, but sipping on five little boxes throughout the day and doing nothing else became impossible for me to maintain.

I feel like I’m eating my way into the kind of life I don’t want to have – not for me, and most definitely not for my 3 boys. I’m tired when I need to be engaging my kids, and I’m cranky when I need to be calm and patient. I’m still at home with two of the boys (4 year old twins), and not having any contact with the “outside” world has done nothing but add to my loss of ……what?……me?

Remember Jabba the Hut from Star Wars? He was this huge disgusting blob of ugliness that couldn’t even move. That’s what I feel like, only I’d be called Rhonda the Mommy.

Well, I promised no boring details, yet somehow this has become too long anyway. Sorry. I don’t really know what I want or am hoping for when (or even if) you answer this. All I can say is that when I read your blog, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel so alone. And maybe I’m just sending you this to say thanks. :)

Rhonda

This is my response:

Hi Rhonda…First off, thank you so much for your email. Believe it or not, you actually just inspired me. I haven’t exercised in about a week and I feel exactly how you just described yourself. Although I haven’t gained any weight back – yet – I still feel miserable. So, as soon as I am done typing this email back to you, I am heading out the door and hitting the pavement!

When you have young kids at home, it is hard to take the time to focus on ourselves, but we HAVE to do it. If not for ourselves, for them. Think of the role model you can be for them if you take the time to exercise and EAT right. As you know, I am huge advocate of Weight Watchers. The reason? The program teaches you to eat right, not some boxed meals that are already prepared for you, but real food. Prepared by you. It teaches you that it’s okay to have those little treats…AND it teaches you about exercise and that you HAVE TO incorporate it in order to become healthy.

I don’t want to preach at you because from what I read, you don’t need that. YOU know what you need to do in order to get back to the FIT you. But, you just don’t have the motivation. I have been there. I have done that. We all have. But you have to dig inside yourself and remember the you that you loved and felt good about. YOU need to do it for you. Not for anyone else. Because when you do it for you, YOU WILL be doing it for everyone else because they will reap the benefits. I know that sounds weird, but it is so true. When I am feeling good about myself, I am happier and less likely to snap at my son. When I am crabby and feeling like crap, I tend to take it out on him, like it’s his fault or something. Luckily, he’s almost 17 and has learned to just blow me off.

Rhonda, take a look at yourself. Dig deep inside and find what you need to become the person YOU want to be. Find that happiness again. Find that person you love. Find YOU. Have the faith in yourself that the people around you probably have in you. Don’t go on a “DIET” – Begin the lifestyle journey that will make you a healthier, happier you. YOU CAN DO IT. You know you can and even though I don’t know you, from what I read, I KNOW YOU CAN.

Please keep me update in your journey. The time to start is now. Do it. You want to. You need to. YOU CAN!!!!!

Take care,

Celeste

Confessions of a [Former] Fat Girl

NOTE: As promised, when I got done with my response to Rhonda, I went for a run. The first one in a week. And even though I had to walk a couple of times, I made it 6.22 miles and I burned 696 calories! This is my longest run to date. I am gearing up for my first 10K, which is in Fargo on October 9. Both my husband and I going to do run it and I am so excited. Our second wedding anniversary is on October 8 so we thought what better way to celebrate than to run a 10K!