What did I do?

As the weather warms up, I finally realized it’s time to buckle down and get back on track. Before we know it, summer will be here and that means just one thing – swimsuits!

I am not sure what kind of slump/funk I was in, but I think I have finally snapped out of it. I do blame the weather for putting me there in the first place, which I guess is kind of weird considering we – those of us living in central Minnesota – have had a very pleasant winter. But it seems like the older I get, the more I despise winter. It truly gets me in a bad funk. I need the fresh air – WARM, fresh air. I need the sunshine – the warm, bright sunshine. I just feel better, eat better (as in healthier!), sleep better, exercise better – well, pretty much do everything better in every other season, but winter.

Well, spring is here apparently and I am loving the weather we’ve been having. It has been gorgeous! Summer IS right around the corner, I can smell it and taste it and feel it.

This past weekend, the hubby and I were in Minneapolis. We had a 7K race on Saturday morning and decided to spend the entire weekend in the cities. We had a blast. We ate, we raced, we visited with my brothers and families, we ate, we walked around downtown Minneapolis, we ate and we shopped. We didn’t do a lot of shopping, but enough to please both of us.

There is one purchase I made that SHOCKED me. I. Bought. A. Swimsuit.

Yep, I did it. I went ahead and purchased a new swimsuit. Why? Not entirely sure, but I did. And not just any ‘ol swimsuit. I. Bought. A. (insert throat clear here) BIKINI!

Yep, me. I did it!

First off, keep in mind, that I don’t even wear shorts in the summer. Ever. Yes, even though I have lost 50 pounds, I still don’t wear shorts. I will wear capris. But never shorts. Even when running, I don’t wear shorts. EVER. Second thing to keep in mind, I don’t think I wore a swimsuit once last year. And my husband’s family has a summer cabin on Lake Ida, a beautiful lake near where we live.

So, what possessed me to purchase a new swimsuit, let alone a bikini? I can’t even tell you. I have no idea. I haven’t worn a bikini since I was probably 19 years old. But, I guess I just thought it was time. I still may not like my body, well, it’s more that I despise all the disgusting stretch marks I have. But I also don’t hate it anymore. Yes, just like everyone else, I have flaws, but I’m okay with it. My flaws are me. They make me who I am. They give me character. Plus, really, who am I trying to impress? My husband loves me. ME – not anyone else! And, he loves every last one of my stinking stretch marks.

So, will I wear my new two-piece bathing suit? Maybe. Probably. Hopefully.

Will it be at a public beach? Doubtful. Unless, by chance, I am on vacation somewhere where no one knows me!

If you are wondering what this new swimsuit looks like, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I will not be posting pictures of me in it. I am an open and honest person as many of you know. I will tell you what I weigh (143.8 as of this morning!). I will share my struggles and my triumphs. I will tell what I eat if you ask. I will let you know when I have eaten half a container of ice cream. But there are just some things that can be left alone.

But in case you are really, really wondering what kind of bikini it is, here are pictures I copied from JCP, which is the store I bought it from.

My new bikini top

My new bikini bottom (keep in mind that it actually goes over MY belly button!)

Another Rocco recipe

It was another “date night” at our house last night. And once again, we opted to try a recipe from Rocco DiSpirito’s new cookbook, “Now Eat This!”

I should note that my husband loves cookbooks and will “read” them like he does a Stuart Woods or Dean Kuntz novel. He will sit down on the couch and read/analyze the recipes, noting this or that about certain ones, pondering which one we should try. He will name at least five to seven before he settles on “the one” we are going to try for our typical Saturday date nights.

This time, he chose the steak fajitas with avocado and salsa (page 147 if you happen to have the book!). After selecting it, he made out the grocery list and then headed to the grocery store. I had to take photos at an event for the newspaper, so I wasn’t able to go along for the first part of the grocery shopping trek. Typically on Saturday afternoons, early evenings, you can find Al and I at either of the two grocery stores or Walmart or…all three, as was the case last night. People may find it boring, but to Al and I it’s an adventure. It’s about spending time together. Quality time. You would think we would know those stores like the back of our hands for as much time as we spend in them, but we don’t and it’s fun to browse and shop each of them. It’s amazing how many products are in a grocery store. Products that are fun, exciting and unusual. Products that are anything but your typical meat and potato or box-type meals.

We literally walk each aisle, slowly browsing each shelf to see what’s there, what’s available and of course, to find what we are actually looking for. I think every couple should try it…at least once. It’s amazing how much fun you can have!

Okay, so back to the recipe. Here are the ingredients: two 6-ounce pieces of lean filet mignon (we used lean top sirloin); half of a 1-ounce package of fajita seasoning; non-fat cooking spray; one large Vidalia onion, sliced thin; one large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin; one half of a ripe avocado, peeled; 1 cup store-bought fresh salsa; one half cup chopped fresh cilantro; eight 6-inch low-carb, high-fiber tortillas, such as the La Tortilla Factory (this is what we used, but only used four of them); and a half cup of non-fat Greek yogurt (we used the Athenos brand).

Now, here is what you do:

1. Heat a grill pan over high heat (we just used the actual grill).

2. Season the steaks with half of the fajita seasoning, and spray them lightly with cooking spray. When the grill is hot, add the steaks and grill them for three minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the steaks to a platter, cover them with foil and set them aside to rest.

3. Combine the onion and the peppers in a large bowl and spray them lightly with cooking spray. Season them with the remaining fajita seasoning and place them on the grill (Al uses a grill pan on the grill to do the veggies). Grill them until they are tender crisp and little charred, about seven minutes. Transfer the veggies to a bowl, cover with foil to keep them warm.

4. While the veggies are grilling, mash the avocado lightly with a fork in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the salsa and half of the chopped cilantro to make the guacamole.

5. Holding them with fireproof tongs, char the tortillas on each side on the grill (or toast them under the broiler). Be careful not to burn them. Place the tortillas on a plate when done and cover them with a towel to keep them warm.

6. Cut the steaks into thin slices.

7. To assemble the fajitas, spoon some of the guacamole onto each tortilla. Pile the steak and the pepper-onion mixture on top of the guacamole. Top with the yogurt (which by the way is very good and tastes just the same as fat free sour cream but is much healthier for you), some salsa and some cilantro.

8. Eat and enjoy!

Here is a picture of what they looked like:

The fajitas!

Here are the nutrition facts – Calories: 331; Protein: 34 g; Carbs: 39 g; Cholesterol: 57 mg; Fiber: 18 g; Sodium: 1,167 mg. We didn’t use the filet mignon, which he suggested. We used very lean top sirloin, which would make it a little healthier and we only used four tortillas, which would also change the nutrition facts. The facts listed are for his exact recipe!

Remember, you can find me on Facebook, just click here and if you want to chat or have a question, feel free to send me an email. Keep in mind, however, that I may not respond immediately, but I promise I will respond. Email me at confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com.

A day of shopping

Yesterday, I spent the day in Fargo with four other Weight Watchers gals. Two of them are leaders and two of them are receptionists, like me.

It was supposed to be a day of shopping and then we were to attend a three-hour seminar. The good news is the shopping was fabulous. I mean, FAB-U-LOUS!!! The bad news is the seminar was cancelled – two hours before it was supposed to start. 

As disappointed as I was about the seminar being cancelled, I still had an awesomely terrific day. Why? I’ll tell you.

Want to know something cool about spending the day with others who are Weight Watchers people and health conscious? You don’t have to worry about being the only one who chooses healthy entrees. You don’t have to be tempted by the delicious, fattening, not-good-for-you food that your friends order. You don’t have to feel guilty for skipping the cheese on your sandwich or whatever it may be. Really, it was awesome. Kind of enlightening, almost.

For lunch, we all ate at the food court at the West Acres Mall. As we walked in, we scanned the places to eat and immediately all headed to Subway. One ordered a salad with fat-free dressing; one ordered a veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread with a bag of baked BBQ chips; two ordered the chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat bread minus cheese or fattening dressing; and I ordered the ham and turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread and a bag of plain baked chips. Three had diet pop and two of us had water.

Really, truly, it was awesome. There was no pressure. No temptations. No guilt. No regrets. It was fun.

And then for supper, we hit Granite City Brewery. We decided since the seminar was cancelled, we may as well go out to eat before we headed home. After we were handed the menus and the waiter came back to get our order, one of the ladies flat out asked him, "So what’s the healthiest thing on your menu?" His answer was comical. After listing off just two items – some grilled chicken sandwich and some grilled chicken entree – he said, "Well, we’re not really into healthy foods here." Or something like that. We all laughed.

I ordered the southwestern grilled chicken salad with a tequila lime vinaigrette dressing, which, okay, the dressing may not have been that healthy, but I asked the waiter to hold the cheese and the tortilla strips that were supposed to be on it. Everything else on the salad – the lettuce, tomatoes, corn, black beans and cilantro – was good for me. Two of the ladies ordered the grilled chicken entree; one ordered the grilled chicken sandwich with no sauce or dressing and no side of fries and she only ate the top part of the bun; and the other ordered just a side of broccoli, which I thought was pretty cool.

Again, no one felt guilty about ordering what they ordered. No one made fun of anybody for eating healthy. It truly was a great experience. I enjoyed every second of my trip.

But the best part of the whole day? When I tried on some dresses – size 8 dresses – and they fit. I know I have talked about sizing before and how it doesn’t matter or how it shouldn’t matter, but let’s face it, it does. I mean come on, who I am kidding? Who are women kidding when they say it doesn’t matter? The fact of the matter is that it felt great, downright euphoric and maybe, just maybe, a little powerful, for some reason. The last dress I bought was a size 14 or 16. And that was just a year and a half ago.

I ended up buying three of the dresses…I just might be attending that 20th-year class reunion after all! 

Mission accomplished!

 My weekend with my two sisters, Donna and Karen, was fantastic! A memory-making filled weekend. Here’s a brief (Okay, not really, but it sounded good! I mean seriously, am I ever brief?) synopsis of what I did this weekend and what I ate!

Friday day: I met up with a friend of mine, Shirley, at Granite City Food and Brewery in Maple Grove. I ordered the Southwestern Chicken Salad minus the cheese and the tortilla strips. It came with a tequila lime vinaigrette. It was awesome. Oh, it also came with a small, and I mean small, bowl of soup. I didn’t make the best choice, but it was fantastic. It was similar to beer cheese, but they called it something different and it had a couple of croutons on top. Really, truly, it was great.

I also downed a large (venti) skinny frappuccino with sugar-free vanilla at Starbucks. I had a gift card from there that I got for Christmas and there isn’t any Starbucks by where I live. It was worth five bucks, which is why I opted for the large. And let me tell you, it was worth every penny! Num-Num!

Friday night: My sisters and I met up with our brother, Mike, and our sister-in-law, Kim, at Khan’s Mongolian BBQ in Bloomington. This is an Asian-style create-your-own meal kind of place. I had nothing but veggies! It rocked. I loved it. These types of restaurants are one of my favorite places to eat at because you can make it really healthy! I did eat two fortune cookies, though! They were actually pretty good. 

Saturday day: I had my typical breakfast of yogurt, Fiber One cereal and Vita muffin (yes, I almost always bring my breakfast with me when I travel anywhere). We made it to the mall by 10 a.m., which is right when they open. My first task? Finding a new pair of jeans. Most of my jeans come from either Walmart or Kohl’s, so I decided that I was going to splurge and get a nice, decent, semi-expensive pair. I chose Macy’s because my sister had coupons! Gotta love coupons. Anyway, nearly 20 pairs of jeans later (trying on that many pairs of jeans better count for some kind of exercise!) and I found one that fit perfectly. Now here’s the funny part and once again, reminds me that size really does not matter. I was fitting into jeans ranging from size 10 to 6. I ended up with the pair that were a size 6 – and no it wasn’t because of the number on the tag. They truly were the best fitting jeans and the most comfortable. They were Ralph Lauren. After I found my jeans, I wandered aimlessly about the mall for the next hour and a half. I think I made it around level one at least once, if not twice.

My sisters and I met up for lunch at about 12:30 p.m. (We often don’t shop together because we all have different tastes.) We ate at Ruby Tuesday, which I absolutely love! Every time I eat there, I only have the salad bar. They have a low-fat balsamic vinegar dressing that is out-of-this-world delicious and all the veggies are so fresh tasting. I also ate a handful of the croutons, which I think they make homemade with rye bread. They are OMG good.

After lunch, we separated again and the plan was to meet back at Cold Stone Creamery at about 2:30 p.m. Again, I set off walking. And again, I headed to Starbucks. It was so good on Friday that I just had to go back for round two. This time, I only ordered a medium (grande). Afterward, I just started walking. I made it around level three maybe once or twice and I think I  may have completed level two once or twice. The Mall of America is so big and everything kind of looks the same to me, it’s hard to tell. All I know is that when I got to Cold Stone, I was happy to see an empty bench. I wasn’t there very long and one of my sisters showed up. We were both pooped. I even took my tennis shoes off while we waited for our other sister! We had our ice cream, which, as usual, Was. To. Die. For. We made our way back to the hotel for a rest before dinner and our night out at the Orpheum Theatre to see Mamma Mia!

Saturday night: We opted to eat at Houlihan’s in Richfield so we could meet up with our brother Steve and his family, including his wife, Lori, and their children, Trevor and Chelsea. I decided to kind of splurge on supper – I ordered the enchiladas, which came with chipotle-smoked chicken with queso
fresco, pico rice, black beans and napa cabbage. I ate all of my one enchilada, one bite of rice (it was too spicy for my tastebuds!), a couple bites of the napa cabbage (it was just alright, I guess) and nearly all of my black beans (they were delicious!). I was actually very full. Because we were celebrating two birthdays (Karen and Trevor), the waiter said we could pick three desserts! Oh my! All three were very small, but rich and good. I had a couple of bites of the chocolate cappuccino cake and a couple of bites of the strawberry cheesecake. I opted not to try the Snickers crunch ice cream dome! Not sure why. I was really, really full.

We made it to the play on time (we thought we were going to be late!) and it was fantastic! I loved it way better than the movie starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan! Seriously, the movie was just okay, but I didn’t really care for Mr. Brosnan. He’s a better James Bond.

Anyway, when we got back to the hotel, we all crashed – we were exhausted!

Sunday: We got up early (too early!) and my sisters got ready and then we headed downstairs for breakfast. Again, I brought my own and ate that. They left shortly after that. I stayed behind and took my time getting ready. I then met a friend of mine who used to work at the paper. She now lives in the Twin Cities. Erin and I met at The Tea Garden in St. Paul to visit and sip on some tea before we headed to Run ‘N’ Fun – an awesome shoe store on Randolph Avenue! This is where Erin goes and she thought she could get a discount for me as her running club members buy their shoes here and they all get a discount. How awesome is that! The Tea Garden was superb…I even bought some loose leaf tea that was seriously, the best tea I have ever had!

Well, I accomplished my second mission or task for the weekend – buying a new pair of running shoes. My last couple pairs of shoes have been Asics, which I love. But I didn’t buy Asics this time. The guy at Run ‘N’ Fun was very helpful and knowledgeable and told me that I have semi-flat feet, which surprised me for some reason. I found out I need shoes that have a lot of support. That was kind of cool to know. Anyway, I tried on several pair, including a couple of Asics and for a moment, it was a toss up. But, I eventually ended up with a pair of Brooks. OMG, they were sooooooo comfortable and light. It was almost like walking on air…seriously. I was happy. And, I did score a 20 percent discount. That rocked.

I finally headed home around 2 p.m. It was a fun-filled weekend. I didn’t make it to the hotel’s fitness center either day, but I think I made up for it with all my walking around the mall. I am happy with how the weekend turned out. It wasn’t stressful – food-wise, I mean. I didn’t necessarily hard-core exercise, but that’s okay. I spent time with my sisters, my brothers and my friends. It was a wonderful time that I will treasure forever!

Oh, by the way, I didn’t enter anything in my Weight Watchers log all day Friday, Saturday and today! That’s the first time I have done that since I started Weight Watchers back in November of 2008. I can’t wait to start logging again tomorrow! Believe it or not, I kind of missed it. Crazy, huh?

Just for fun, here are a couple of pics for your viewing pleasure – enjoy!

Karen, me and Donna at Khan’s Mongolian BBQ on Friday night.

Donna, Karen and I at Houlihan’s on Saturday night.

My new running shoes!!!!!

Whew, so much for being brief, huh?

Can’t wait for the weekend

I am leaving this morning for a fun-filled weekend with my two sisters in the Twin Cities. A weekend filled with shopping, eating and taking in Mamma Mia! at the Orpheum. I cannot wait!

Last year, when we did our sisters weekend, I was nervous about the eating part of the weekend and worried about the "damage" I would probably do. This year, I am not. I know tonight we will go out to eat, not sure where, but I am sure it will be somewhere good. Here’s the thing, though, I know I have the willpower and the confidence to make better choices this year than I did last year.

I know tomorrow we will spend the day at the Mall of America and I know I am going to eat some ice cream at my favorite place. Can’t wait. (I have to, I promised my one sister we would go there!) Tomorrow night, we will once again be going out to eat. And once again, I will have to make some choices, but I know I can do it. I am not apprehensive at all. I am not nervous. I am excited. 

And if I do make a not-so-great choice, I know it will be okay because this morning, I did a 50-minute workout on the elliptical and tomorrow morning I plan on checking out the fitness center at the hotel. Plus, like I said, I am going to be walking around the mall all day long…that will be a lot of walking and I am counting it as exercise!

On Sunday, I am meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen in quite some time. She is taking me to Run ‘N’ Fun in St. Paul to look for a new pair of running shoes. She thinks she can score me a discount! Excited about that. Afterward, we are going to have tea and catch up with each other. I can’t wait.

So, I have a big weekend ahead of me, but I feel really good about it. I definitely feel a lot better about it than I did last year. I can’t wait to spend some time with my sisters – Donna and Karen. We always have a great time and I love them so much!

I will let everyone know how it went when I get back Sunday night. Take care and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

P.S. I may post little snippets on the Confessions of a Fat Girl Facebook site over the weekend, so check it out, become a fan. I would love to have you!