Celebrations at the Melting Pot

Tonight Neal, Liz, Matt and I went to the Melting Pot to celebrate Liz’s and my birthday, Neal’s and my engagement, and Matt’s return to DC.

Liz, Matt, and Eric (the buffalo stand in)

It was so nice to have a dinner date with the gang, as Matt has been out of town on business for the past 5 weeks.  We started dinner with the Wisconsin Cheese Trio fondue.

We then had a wonderful main course (herb chicken, terriaki steak, filet mignon, Tuna, and shrimp).

We also enjoyed a few cocktails!!

For dessert we had a WONDERFUL dark chocolate fondue with marshmallow and oreos.

It was great catching up, making plans for the winter months, and talking about Eric’s return to DC in February.

Liz can’t wait to have her man back!! We all miss Eric a lot!

Tonight’s dinner was the perfect way to end the weekend and a great way to start the week.  This week is going to be REALLY busy, but I’m looking forward to getting a lot of stuff done at work, continuing our wedding planning, and cranking out a LOT of graduate work!

Weekly Plan: October 24-30

Workout

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

Plans

Monday

Off

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, on sandwich thin, banana

Veggie patty on sandwich thin, small salad

Pumpkin fluff, honeycrisp apple

Dinner at Mama Ayesha’s

Dinner with Becky

Tuesday

Elliptical and Weight Lifting

Multigrain cheerios, banana

Lunch with Melanie

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Turkey tacos

The Biggest Loser

Wednesday

3 mile run

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, slice of tomato on English muffin

Leftover turkey taco meat on salad

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Dinner at Cosi

Dinner with Katy and graduate work

Thursday

Elliptical and Weight Lifting

Multigrain cheerios, banana

Leftover turkey taco meat on salad

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Food tasting with caterer

Graduate Work

Friday

30 min run

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, slice of tomato on English muffin

Leftover turkey taco meat on salad

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Salad @ home

Wedding Planning with Neal — visiting venue #4

Saturday

6 mile run

Oatmeal, sunflower butter, banana

Smoothie and wrap from Tropical Smoothie (post run tradition)

?

Dinner at Neal’s (turkey or chicken burgers)

Long run and lots of graduate work

Sunday

Off

Multigrain cheerios, banana

?

?

?

Wedding Expo at one of our venue options and lots of graduate work

This week, my goal is to continue my Get-in-Shape Checklist and to accomplish a lot on my to do list.  I am also having a GIVEAWAY on Tuesday… so stay tune for that!

Have an amazing Monday and a great start to the week!  What are your goals for this week?

Birthday Week Plan: October 10 – 16

Weekend Recap

  • Friday – I was facing the reality of getting older while enjoying a wicked awesome salad with my friend Becky!

  • Saturday- I had health on the brain and went on a wonderful movie date with Neal
  • Sunday- 6 mile run + trying out a new recipe + finishing a lot of graduate work = A great sense of accomplishment

So I know I’ve been talking about it a lot, but I just love birthdays and I am really excited about my upcoming birthday.  This week is “birthday week”, according to Neal, so I’ve come up with a workout and meal plan but have a lot of ‘?’ towards the end of the week.

I’m also hoping for a great weigh in on Tuesday morning, as I’ve been working hard to watch my portion sizes, incorporate more fruits and veggies, and to avoid binge eating.

Workout

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

Plans

Monday

30 minute run

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, slice of tomato on English muffin

Leftover tuna casserole, banana, yogurt

Pumpkin fluff (see below!!), honeycrisp apple

Bobby’s Burger Palace

DC Outing with Neal after work- MLK memorial and dinner

Tuesday

Weight Lifting

Pumpkin spice bread with peanut butter and sliced banana

Leftover tuna casserole, banana, yogurt

Pumpkin fluff, honeycrisp apple

Salad @ home

The Biggest Loser

Wednesday

4 mile run

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, slice of tomato on English muffin

Leftover tuna casserole, banana, yogurt

Pumpkin fluff, honeycrisp apple

Mexican Acorn Squash with corn and avocado salad

Graduate work

Thursday

Weight Lifting

Pumpkin spice bread with peanut butter and sliced banana

Salad with chicken breast, can of soup

Pumpkin fluff, honeycrisp apple

Leftover Mexican Acorn Squash with corn and avocado salad

?

Friday

35 min run

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, slice of tomato on English muffin

Salad with chicken breast, can of soup

?

?

?

Saturday

Off

?

?

?

?

Iowa vs. Northwestern @ 6PM

Sunday

7 mile run

?

?

?

?

My Birthday—

Woop Woop

One of my favorite snacks to make in the fall is Pumpkin Fluff.  I first learned about pumpkin fluff when I was with Weight Watchers a few years back and have enjoyed making it ever since.  Pumpkin fluff is so easy to make and it is SO tasty!

Pumpkin Fluff

  • 1 box fat free butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 tub of low fat cool whip
  • 1 can pumpkin

Original Directions

  1. Make box of fat free butterscotch pudding as directed
  2. Stir in can of pumpkin
  3. Fold in cool whip
  4. Serve

Ashley’s Directions

  1. Sir butterscotch pudding powder with can of pumpkin.  The water from the pumpkin is enough to make the pudding in my opinion.

2.    Fold in cool whip

3.    Store in individual serving containers for easy to grab snacks!  I love eating the fluff with apple slices.

4.  Give leftovers to boyfriend.

Happy Monday Everyone!

What’s your favorite fall recipe?  Do you have any birthday traditions?

Zucchini, Banana, and Flax Seed Muffin FAIL

I’m really looking forward to this week.  My Dad is in town for a few days and I’m excited to spend some time with him and to show him my apartment.

I was lucky to have my parents close by back in 2007-2008, but they have lived in Texas since then.  I hope and pray that they’ll move back to the DC area in the future, but for now I’ll treasure their business trips here!

I also have two new recipes on the menu for this week:  Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and Tuna Casserole!!   mmm… I can’t wait to make the Mac & Cheese tonight!

Workout

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Plans

Monday

35 minute run

Pumpkin spice swirl bread with peanut butter, apple, yogurt

lettuce with chicken breast, can of soup

Butternut squash mac and cheese

Graduate work (big project)

Tuesday

Spin AM and Weight Lifting

Oatmeal with pumpkin butter and peanut butter, yogurt

Leftover butternut squash mac and cheese

Dinner with Dad? or Friends?

The Biggest Loser

Wednesday

3 mile run

1 egg and 2 egg whites veggie omelet

Leftover butternut squash mac and cheese

Dinner with Dad?

Graduate work

Thursday

Weight Lifting

Oatmeal with pumpkin butter and peanut butter, yogurt

lettuce with chicken breast, can of soup

Tuna casserole

Graduate work

Friday

35 min run

1 egg and 2 egg whites veggie omelet

lettuce with chicken breast, can of soup

Leftover Tuna casserole

Nationals baseball game with Team in Training buddies

Saturday

Off

?

?

?

Iowa vs. Penn State: watch at bar

Sunday

6 mile run

?

?

?

Graduate work

Speaking of recipes, I had a total fail last night!  I tried to bake zucchini, banana and flax seed muffins… yeah, total fail. They started out well…

Mixed up smoothly…

But didn’t rise at all.  They were really doughy, though they were cooked the whole way through.  They looked NOTHING like the photo in the magazine but they did taste really good.

I blame it on the baking soda… probably expired.  Either way, it was fun trying a new recipe, though I now have 18 muffins sitting on my kitchen counter.  I didn’t want to bring them into work if they were gross (looking).

Hopefully tonight’s cooking will have a much better turn out!

Have you ever had a baking or cooking FAIL?

Weight Watchers CORE Plan

Biggest Loser Challenge Week 1

  • Starting Weight: 226.6 pounds
  • Week 1 Weight: 224.8 pounds
  • Total Weight Lost: 1.8 pounds

Woop Woop!  1.8 pounds lost!  A great first week.  Last week I really focused on counting my calories and feel good moving forward.

(source)

As I wasn’t able to type up my weekly plan yesterday it game me the opportunity to look at what I ate on Monday without a plan.  Without my plan I ate a lot of carbs and didn’t incorporate any green vegetables into my diet.  This is one of the reasons why I love planning out my meals ahead of time as I’m able to balance my diet out.  My diet is not perfect by any means, but I do strive to balance what can often be unbalanced (carb heavy).

Workout Breakfast Lunch Dinner Plans
Monday 4 mile run Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, banana Leftover brown rice with corn and beans, apple, cashews Leftover brown rice with corn and beans, granola Monday Night Football: Redskins vs. Cowboys
Tuesday Weight Lifting Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, apple Leftover chili with 1 slice cornbread Salad of some sort Biggest Loser and Graduate Work
Wednesday 3 mile run Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, banana Lunch at work (salad bar) ? Happy Hour/Dinner with Becky and Dana
Thursday Weight Lifting Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, apple Leftover chili Salad with oven roasted salmon Graduate Work
Friday 30 mins easy Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, banana Salad with oven roasted salmon ? Graduate Work

This made me think about my diet when I lost 50 pounds back in 2006-2007.  As a Weight Watchers member, I decided to go on their CORE plan instead of counting POINTS.

The Weight Watchers CORE plan 

Meat and Meat Substitutes

  • Lean beef, lamb, pork and veal (loin or round)
  • Ground beef (7% fat or less)
  • Organ meats fresh, frozen or canned
  • Poultry – Chicken and turkey, no skin
  • Ground chicken or turkey, once a day only
  • Fish and shellfish, fresh, frozen, or canned, any variety as long as it is not packed in fat or oil
  • Tofu, any type
  • Frozen veggie burgers
  • NO deli meats or hot dogs

Eggs, Dairy & Cheese

  • Whole eggs or whites
  • Eggbeaters and other egg substitutes
  • Fat-free milk, cheese and sour cream
  • Soy milk and soy cheese
  • Plain fat-free yogurt

Fruit

  • Any fresh, frozen or canned fruit (no added sugar; canned must be packed in water or juice (not syrup)
  • No juice
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • No Dried fruits

Veggies

  • Any fresh, frozen or canned veggies (includes corn, beans, and lentils— see below for potatoes)

Cereal and Grain

  • Cream of Wheat, oatmeal and such
  • Other whole grains, such as quinoa, barley, grits, cornmeal, couscous, etc.
  • All-grain cereal (puffed wheat or rice, shredded wheat, and all bran cereals with no added sugar) with fat-free milk or soymilk — Once a day
  • Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice OR potatoes (any variety)– Once a day

Fats, Oils

  • 2 teaspoons daily

Soup

  • Soups made out of CORE foods (lentil, split pea, french onion soup)
  • No cream based soups

Beverages

  • Coffee (without sugar)
  • Tea (without sugar)
  • Diet soft drinks
  • Club soda
  • Seltzer (plain or unsweetened)
  • Water or mineral water

Other

  • No-calorie sweeteners like Splenda, Stevia, or Equal
  • Seasonings and herbs, without added sugar
  • Fat-free salad dressing
  • Fat-free margarine
  • Fat-free mayonnaise
  • Extracts and flavorings

The key to the CORE program is learning to listen to your body.  All of the foods listed are “unlimited” except where noted (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and potatoes for example) so it really comes down to knowing when you’re hungry, understanding how hungry you are, and stopping when you’re satisfied.

A lot of people hated this program but I absolutely loved it.  It was quite the transition for me, as it removed processed foods from my diet… but was that really a bad thing?  Over the past 4 years I have incorporated processed foods back into my diet, like granola bars, peanut butter, bread, bagels, etc..  Processed foods are “easy” but I can’t say I need them or can’t live without them.

Here’s what a day on the CORE program looked like for me:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
2 egg omelet with diced mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers Salad with lettuce, pinto beans, diced baked chicken breast, salsa, and fat free sour cream Piece of fruit and/or oatmeal Whole wheat pasta with roasted tomatoes and ground turkey

As I move into week two of my Biggest Loser Challenge, I want to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet and would like to begin limiting the processed foods I eat.  Obviously I have a pack of bagel thins at home (see meal plan) but I know that I can make healthy changes to the rest of my diet.

REMINDER: Today is the last day to enter the Amish Market Giveaway.  Instructions can be found here.

I Want To Be The Biggest Loser

Staying motivated is an extremely important part of losing weight.  Back in 2006-2007 when I set out to lose weight, I had loving friends and family around me to support me, but my biggest motivator was actually the show The Biggest Loser.  Tonight, season 12 of the Biggest Loser, Battle of the Ages, starts.  Over the next 3-4 months, we will watch as these contestants work their butts off, literally, in the quest to win the battle over obesity.

(source)

 

As The Biggest Loser starts tonight, I hope to rekindle the motivation they gave me 5 years ago and to set out on a journey with them again.  I want to continue aspects of my scaleless summer, focusing on how my body feels and really looking at what’s on my plate.  In addition, I will continue to track my calories online, eating 1500 calories each day.  Starting today, I will weight myself every Tuesday morning along with the Biggest Loser competitors!

Starting Weight: 226.6 (I am shocked to see it in the 220’s)

My goal, for some time now, has been to break 200 pounds and I know I can do that!!  I want to lose more body fat and to get into even better shape.  I’m not too far off and I know I can reach this by the end of the year!  Who’s with me?

This Week’s Plan

Workout

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Plans

Monday

Off– sick

Oatmeal with fig butter and pumpkin butter

Butter lettuce with northern beans, mozzarella cheese, fat free balsamic dressing

Chicken burger with ½ slice of cheese, ketchup, mustard and chips with salsa

Resting and graduate work

Tuesday

Spin AM

Banana and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood Pre-Workout, Oatmeal with pumpkin butter and peanut butter post-workout

Leftover salmon and asparagus, apple sauce

Homemade pizza (cheese, onion and bell pepper)

The Biggest Loser

Wednesday

3 mile run

1 egg, 2 egg whites, English muffin,  laughing cow cheese, and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood

Leftover salmon and asparagus, apple sauce

Leftover homemade pizza

graduate work

Thursday

Spin AM

Banana and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood Pre-Workout, Oatmeal with pumpkin butter and peanut butter post-workout

Progresso light soup

Gnocchi with light alfredo sauce

graduate work

Friday

30 min run

1 egg, 2 egg whites, English muffin,  laughing cow cheese, and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood

Progresso light soup

Dinner at Nats game

Nationals baseball game with Team in Training buddies

Saturday

Off

Breakfast at Amish Market

Lunch at Iowa game

?

Amish Market with my Aunt, Iowa vs. ULM game

Sunday

4 mile run

Protein bar pre workout, post workout ??

?

?

plenty of graduate work (big paper to write)

I hope that each of you are having an amazing week and are enjoying premiere week!

What TV shows have you been looking forward to watching this fall?

Here’s my fall DVR line up:

  • Castle
  • The Biggest Loser
  • The New Girl
  • Modern Family
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • The Office
  • Pan Am

WOW– that’s 7.5 hours of TV… I’m thinking a few of those shows are going to have to give.

Counting Calories

Happy Monday Everyone!

Hard to believe that this will be my first full week of work in over 2 weeks.  Vacationing in Iowa gave me a two day work week two weeks ago and then Labor day gave us a 4 day work week last week.  Back to normalcy I guess, and hopefully weather wise too!  I’m not sure if I can take any more earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding.

Last night, after watching the Redskins beat the Giants, Neal and I made the most delicious hamburgers.  We began by sauteing onions, which Neal chopped with his new knife. We then cooked our beef burgers, from Whole Foods, on our stove top grill.  The burgers were so incredibly juicy and the onions were so sweet.  Once everything was cooked we assembled our burgers.  Bun, beef burger, slice of blue cheese (Trader Joes), onion, a little mustard, and a little BBQ sauce.  PERFECTION!

This week I really want to focus on my calories in and my calories out.  I have a hard time because I know I’m eating “good” food but my portion sizes are just too large.  It’s great that I’m eating healthy, but 2000 calories is 2000 calories, whether I’m eating whole wheat pasta or potato chips.

I also feel like I often “ruin” a day with a random binge.  Last week it was Chex’s new Muddy Buddy mix.  I polished off a bag with Neal when we were at the movies on Saturday.  Not my finest moment.  Portion control is my biggest struggle and I hope counting my calories this week will show me where my portions should be.

This week I am going to log my food intake into My Plate.  I just need to gain a better perspective on how many calories I’m consuming.

Do you journal your food intake online?  What website do you use?

Here is this week’s weekly plan:

Workout

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Plans

Monday

20 min. run (E) and weights at work

Bowl of cereal with blueberries

Ham sandwich with swiss cheese and garlic hummus, grapes

Mexican turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes

Cooking and graduate work

Tuesday

Off

Oatmeal with peanut butter

Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Good bye party after work and graduate work

Wednesday

2 mile run (E) and weights at work

Bowl of cereal with blueberries

Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Dinner with Liz

Crocheting class with Liz

Thursday

Spin

Oatmeal with peanut butter

Ham sandwich with swiss cheese and garlic hummus

Pasta with tuna and a side of asparagus

Graduate work

Friday

25 min. run (E) and weights at work

Oatmeal with peanut butter

Ham sandwich with swiss cheese and garlic hummus

I’m really looking forward to the crocheting class Liz and I are attending on Wednesday night.  I’ve been wanting to learn how to crochet for some time, and I’m excited to have found a studio that offers classes.  I’m going to be crocheting blankets before you know it!  I haven’t confessed this yet, but I have a little bit of a knitting obsession.  I enjoy it for many reasons…

  • It’s a fun hobby
  • It’s good for stress management
  • You create beautiful gifts for loved ones
  • It keeps your hands busy (when traveling, watching tv, or when you’re looking to pass the time)

I also need to get a lot of graduate work done this week, so I’m hoping to get to bed at a reasonable time each night that way I have energy on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to crank out some graduate work after work.

I hope today goes well for you and that you have a fantastic week!

Flying High

Who says you can’t drink wine out of a straw?

OK, maybe not but it was a fun picture!  Last night Neal and I went out to dinner with his parents at the new Italian restaurant in town, Napoli’s.  As they don’t have a booze license yet, we brought our own wine… which was awesome!

The meal started with hot rolls and dinner salads.  For dinner I ordered the chicken cacciatore with spicy marinara sauce.  Neal ordered the sampler, Neal’s mom ordered lobster ravioli, and Neal’s dad ordered a seafood dish (can’t remember the name).

We also ordered a cannoli and piece of strawberry cheesecake for dessert.  The cannoli was so awesome!  I just loved the filling.  I could totally do without the fried pastry, but the filling is just amazing.

This morning Neal and I got up early to get in a run before breakfast.  We headed down Main Street and ran over to Grinnell College.  The campus is beautiful and it is also the site of the first University of Iowa football game.  Although Iowa, formally known as the State University of Iowa (SUI), lost that game it was really cool to see the field where the Hawkeye’s first played.

We ran for about 40 minutes, burning 453 calories and running about 4 miles, give or take (this is why I need the forerunner).  We also ran past some gorgeous houses with beautiful gardens.

After our run Neal and I had breakfast with his parents.  I ordered an omelet with an English muffin and Neal ordered a breakfast combo (pancake, eggs, hash browns, etc.)

I love dining with Neal and his parents though I must admit, I’m looking forward to getting back home to my oatmeal, eggs, salads, and new recipes!

Now we’re at the airport, waiting to fly back home.  I had a wonderful time in Iowa and am so grateful for Neal’s family.  They are so welcoming and it’s amazing to have a great relationship with them!

Weekly Plan

Workout

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Plans

Monday

20 min run (E) in Iowa (Check!)

Omelet and an English muffin

At the airport…

Traveling back home

Tuesday

Spin AM

Homemade smoothie pre workout, oatmeal and iced coffee post workout

Vegetable stir fry (Trader Joe’s), apple sauce, granola bar

Quinoa and asparagus

Back to work… grocery shopping and organizing things at home after work

Wednesday

2 mile run (E)

1 egg, 2 egg white sandwich, fruit

Leftover quinoa and asparagus

Grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich

Cooking and graduate work

Thursday

Off

Homemade smoothie pre workout, oatmeal and iced coffee post workout

Grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich, Figs

Taco Soup and seven layer dip

Dinner with the gang: Planning on making Taco Soup

Friday

20 min run (E) and weight lifting

1 egg, 2 egg white sandwich, fruit

Grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich, Figs

Leftover taco soup

Enjoy a relaxing Friday night!

Saturday

Off

Pumpkin oatmeal and coffee

Lunch at Neal’s

Leftover taco soup

Alexandria’s Festival of the Arts and Iowa vs. Iowa State game

Sunday

3 mile run with Neal

Protein bar pre workout, post workout ??

Leftover taco soup

Homemade pizza with Neal

Redskins vs. Giants and plenty of graduate work

It looks to be a busy week, but it’ll be good getting back into the swing of things.

Happy Labor Day Everybody!