My love affair with Greek Salads

I’ve only recently discovered Greek salads.  Where have these things been all my life?  A lady that I work with lives a gluten free lifestyle, mostly because she has to for health reasons, and whenever our group at work orders pizza, there she is with her salads.  I always sat back and admired her discipline, while chomping down on my cesspool of puddling fat in the form of a slice of pie, while she ate her salad.  After a few months it occurred to me that I too had the option of ordering a salad.  I wanted to order a salad but found myself giving in to the temptation of pizza.

One day I decided “I’m doing this” and got a Greek salad.  And it was delicious.  What a fantastic way to consume mass amounts of veggies without sacrificing taste or walking away hungry.  I don’t eat a lot of salads and I’ve always blamed The Golden Girls for this.  Anyone remember the episode where Dorothy says that she had a friend that went to Paris and consumed a watercress salad, only to walk out of the restaurant and have a giant gargoyle fall onto her head and kill her – and here her last meal was a watercress salad?  So when I go to a restaurant, my last thought is “if I walk out of here and die, what is the last thing I want to eat?”  Thanks Dorothy.

If my last meal is a Greek salad, I would be content.  I wouldn’t go to heaven and say “seriously Jesus?  Yesterday I larged my value meal, you couldn’t call me home then?  Or what about tomorrow when I would have dipped into that king size Hershey bar?  That couldn’t have been when I kicked the bucket?”  No no, a Greek salad will do me justice.

I make my Greek salad a little differently than most because I’m not into olives (I’m a texture person and those things are just ewww) or pepperoncini.  Here is how I make my Greek salad (this is my first recipe that I’m posting…I’m glad I can lose my recipe virginity with all of you in attendance):

Ingredients for Heather’s Famous Greek Salad:

  • Grab yourself a big bowl and if it has a lid, grab the lid
  • Chop up 2-3 heads of romaine, add to bowl or if you’re using bagged, dump the bag into bowl
  • Add a handful of broccoli slaw (I bought a bag of broccoli slaw without any dressing to use for eggrolls and had leftover from that recipe and I love it!)
  • Throw a few rings cut off a purple/red onion
  • Add 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • If you’d like additional crunchiness, throw in some croutons, any kind
  • Add 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • For the dressing, I added Garlic Expressions and put probably 1/4 cup on it (because let’s get realistic, who really puts 2 tbsp. of dressing on a salad?)
  • Top bowl with lid, close tightly, and shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booty

And voila, you have my famous Greek salad.  Whatever I don’t eat, I save for later because it will keep for one day in the fridge without getting soggy.  I don’t put croutons on mine so I can’t vouch for those but everything else is fine.  Sometimes I throw in a few extra things if I have some veggies I need to get rid of, i.e. carrots, cauliflower, green/red peppers.  Also, if you do use Garlic Expressions, the side effects are bad garlic breath but I find it totally worth it.  It’s also beneficial in keeping everyone away from you on those days when you just don’t want to be bothered.

It’s a great way to get at least 5 servings of vegetables and it’s a nice vegetarian meal.  Some places add chicken but I prefer to leave meat out of it because first and foremost, I don’t want to go through the hassle of cooking meat for my salad, and I try to eat at least 3-5 meatless meals a week.

I have been eating a ton of these salads lately and I always feel amazing afterwards.  I know that these ingredients are bringing tons of nourishment and an influx of vitamins to my body and you can’t go wrong with that.  As a side note, I do tend to buy organic produce as often as I can.  I don’t find the price to be that much higher than non-organic produce, regardless of what anyone says.  I do find the benefits to be abundant and that’s why I make the decision that I do to purchase organic.

I’m always looking for new variations to this salad because I don’t want to tire of it!  I’ve always preferred Mediterranean food and my cardiologist even recommends a Mediterranean diet!

How do you make your Greek salads?

Reminding myself that I’m in it to lose it

Last week, I hung some signs and installed a few different motivational tools around my house to remind me of why I want to lose weight.  Most women I know lose weight because they want one thing:  to be smaller.  Makes sense.  I, however, want to lose weight because I’m tired of paying the consequences of being not smaller. 

I made the weight loss jars that I mentioned in a previous post:

Jars

Each time I lose a pound, a rock goes into the ‘pounds lost’ jar.  These babies sit right on my kitchen counter and stare me down every time I walk into the kitchen.  It’s a constant reminder that I have a goal (and the ice cream in the freezer will not get me there).

I created a poster collage in our home office:

Board

I’m really shoving loads of sunshine up my ass to keep it moving.  In addition to both of these projects, which clearly illustrate my creative genius, I hung a few signs on our fridge such as:  Drink More Water, I’m a Vegetable…so EAT ME, and put down that snack. 

I’ve also been fairly consistent with the exercise.  I don’t want to brag or anything but it has been three straight days.  I’m finally listening to my doctor and skipping the cardio and going right for the weight training.  I’ve been using workout videos on You Tube.  Speaking of which, did you know that there are thousands of FREE workout videos on You Tube?  It’s a dream come true for a girl that habitually returns her library materials late.  I’m pretty sure I paid for their latest renovation.  I found everything from yoga for better digestion to leg presses for better sex (some people think they need to share all THEIR workouts, ick).  I’ve really been using Denise Austin’s videos, which is ironic considering when I was younger she made me want to stick an ice pick in my eye with her never ending cheerfulness and Crest fresh smile, but I’m really embracing Denise.  Her workouts are simple and you don’t feel like just because you can’t twist your legs behind your head that you’re not accomplishing anything. 

I still struggle with food.  I’m pretty sure that struggle is here to stay.  I would love to say that I’ve found the answer to maintaining a balance with food consumption via an elimination diet or some other method but I have not.  My friend Kim did pass on the following quote to me which I have hung in my house and at my desk at work:  What you eat in private, you wear in public.  Truth!

As this blog and my journey progress, I’ll keep posting pictures of the ‘pounds lost’ jar so that we can travel this journey together because I know I’m not alone. 

What are some ways you keep yourself motivated to stay healthy and fit?

Water! Water! Water!

Water.  Nothing is more important or vital to our very existence.  We need water.  We have to have it.  According to Livestrong, water is needed for digestion, hydration, headache prevention, weight loss, toxin removal, healthy skin, healthy teeth and energy.  If you peruse other websites, they’ll tell you the same thing and more.  If you’re looking to lay the foundation for weight loss/nutrition, water is it.  

I asked my doctor how much water should I drink and he said “just drink it until your pee is clear.”  Pure and simple.  He followed up with what is enough for one person, isn’t necessarily enough for the next so there’s no set amount that you should drink as far as ounces.  Makes sense, sounds easy.  But hold up, even though I know water is wonderful for me, I find it the dullest, most uneventful drink in the world.  I admire its clarity, its fluid ooziness, its promises of clear skin and flushing junk out of my body but come on water, can’t you give me a little somethin’ somethin’ in the form of taste? 

The only way that I can drink all the water that I’m supposed to drink is if it’s bottled.  Bottled water, you shriek?  I know right!  I don’t understand it either but I know if it’s not bottled and not constantly sitting right in front of me, I won’t drink it.  And it has to be pure, unadulterated water.  I don’t like the flavored waters, mainly because I can’t tolerate the artificial sweeteners.  They really jack me up and they’re not good for you anyways.  And yes I know neither is water encased in plastic.  (As a hippie, let me assure you that ALL of my used water bottles get recycled.)  I hate that the only way that I can accomplish my water consumption goal is if I drink it out of a plastic bottle but that’s where I’m at.  It’s on my list of goals to change that mindset!

If you’re like me and struggle to drink water, here are a few tips/tricks/water consumption temptresses that I’ve discovered:

  • Get a pitcher of water and stuff it with fruit, any kind, peaches, kiwi, strawberries, etc.  This will add natural and beneficial flavoring to your water.
  • Add lemon or lemon flavored packets (one which I’ve just discovered is a product called True Lemon that is sweetened using the tiniest bit of sugar and a natural sweetener Stevia)
  • Use the water flavoring drops that can be found in stores, i.e. Crystal Lite, Dasani, or MiO (I can’t vouch for any of these because I avoid artificial sweeteners due to headaches) 
  • Don’t go anywhere without water in your hand, carry it everywhere if possible
  • Set a goal to drink at least 8 ozs of water once every hour that you’re awake
  • Another goal is to reward yourself with a treat once you’ve accomplished your water drinking goal for the day (I heavily favor this idea because I’m all about food and you better freaking believe my reward will be some type of food)
  • Let’s not forget the benefits of the physical activity that comes along with chugging the proper amount of water:  running to the bathroom every 15 minutes to pee (This was never an issue for me until the past year where I swear my bladder has shrunken to the size of a grape.  I’ve actually had to institute a rule to my bladder:  okay bladder, if you’re a good girl and don’t make me wiggle in my chair during this meeting, I promise I’ll drain you once every hour today but if you make me scoot around in my chair or run out of that meeting like I’m on fire, oooh girl, I will drown your ass in Coke!) 

Now I know some people who are predisposed to loving water.  I’ve talked to several people lately who say “Oh my, how can you not like water?  I’m totally addicted!”  Of course, it never fails, these people have the best skin, their teeth look great, and they never have that dried, white skin in the corner of their mouths that comes with being dehydrated. 

Let’s talk a little about dehydration.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the following symptoms occur from dehydration: dry skin, headaches, constipation and dizziness.  Those are just the mild side effects.  The more serious side effects range from fever to delirium!  Now I don’t know about you but I’m a big enough goofball without throwing dizziness or delirium into the ring.  Although, it would give me a great alibi…no, no, not worth it.

One side effect not mentioned, but is extremely serious, and results in an unsightly, anti-mating call reaction:  cankles.  Yep, if you don’t take in enough water, your body starts to hang onto fluid resulting in water retention.  This is sockless, capri wearing, anklet modeling season, who the eff wants cankles at a time like this?!? 

 

cankles

Do you struggle with drinking water or does it come naturally for you? Tell us how you do it!

 

 

 

An Ode to The Hubs

This weekend was The Hubs and my anniversary.  Twelve years.  Let me tell you about The Hubs.  He’s very quiet and very shy.  I am neither of those things (and that is putting it beyond mildly.  I could strike up a conversation with a monk sworn to silence).  My grandmother often makes the comment “does he not talk because you never shut up long enough for him to get a word in?”  Touché grandma.

The Hubs is a great guy.  Don’t get me wrong, in the twelve years we’ve been married, we’ve been tempted to strangle each other no less than a hundred times.  But doesn’t true love mean NOT strangling your spouse?  Isn’t that the line from the film A Love Story?  Surely I jest but marriage is tough.  It is a job in and of itself.  It requires time, effort and a big dose of a sense of humor.  Today we (and when I say we, I mean I, (and The Hubs grumbled and went along with it)) decided to organize kitchen cabinets.  I am constantly switching around my kitchen cabinets.  I’m actually always switching around everything.  I don’t know why, I just can’t stand to have things sitting in the same place for very long.  And if I could lift our entertainment center myself, I’d rearrange the living room once a month.  This drives The Hubs insane.  And today’s efforts did not disappoint.  It went a little like this:

Me:  I’m going to do a little rearranging in the kitchen.

The Hubs:  Why?

Me:  Because I want to.

The Hubs:  You know, you do this crap all the time.  And then when I put away dishes, I can’t find anything and then you jump down my throat for putting stuff away in the wrong spot.

Me:  Yeah well, I won’t this time.  I swear.

The Hubs:  (mumbling) Oh good lord, it’s getting deep in here.

We did rearrange the kitchen and we argued about it the whole time but it’s done.  And it looks great!  And will remain that way until next month when I want to do it again.

Now even though The Hubs and I bicker and argue, and are polar opposites in just about everything…I believe what we have is pretty solid.  When my mom passed away last summer, The Hubs was my rock.  Anytime I have a major decision to make, The Hubs is who I go to, not because he’s my husband but because he is a voice of reason.  His intelligence and thought process blow me away.  He thinks of EVERYTHING.

And when I went on to pack on major weight throughout the course of our relationship, he never said a word.  Not one word.  And I’ve gained a lot of weight.  When we met, I worked out everyday.  My stomach was flat, there was no droopage of any kind going on, nothing jiggled and there was no dimplage of any kind anywhere on my body.  My weight has yo-yo’d every year that we’ve been together with this past year being my breakout year.

For a husband to stand by and watch his wife nearly double her size and not make one snide remark is a big deal.  I’ve known women who have gained weight and their husbands have left them or threatened to.  Or use their wife’s weight gain as a means of justifying cheating on them.

The Hubs is my #1 weight loss motivation.  He deserves a happy, healthy wife – not some cranky beeotch that is flipping out because she’s withdrawing from sugar and caffeine.  He deserves someone that likes going out, socializing, and taking vacations as opposed to a woman that prefers to hide in the house because she’s always tired or feels too fat to spend the day walking around a festival.  And without me living a nice, long healthy life, he won’t know how to function with two consecutive months of finding dishes in the kitchen;)

 

 

 

How much do I weigh?

None of your business!  Ha!  I have purposefully not revealed my starting weight because I don’t want to.  And this is my party and I’ll withhold my weight if I want to.  Yeah that’s right.  AND, I don’t want to make this a numbers game.  I want to make it a lifelong game.  If I make this a numbers game, once I start really losing the pounds, I’ll decide “hey, I’ve lost 50 pounds, that’s good enough!” and then I’ll stop trying.  I know this because I’ve been there, done that. 

Maybe when I reach a benchmark, I’ll reveal my starting weight but not now.  Numbers don’t impress me.  I work in accounting and have for years, I’m immune to numbers.  They’re just…well, numbers. 

colorednumbers

I will certainly still jump on the scale a few times a week because, I am after all, a numbers girl and need to know what’s going on in my body pound wise, but I’m not going to obsess about it. 

Moving on….I’ve come across a few cool ideas, sayings, etc. about fighting the battle of the bulge.  One, make weight loss your hobby.  I like this.  I look at it as a burden.  And I need to look at it as a reality.  Regardless if I was fat or not, I am nearly 40 years old (wait, OMG, I am nearly 40…wth?) I would still have to practice healthy habits. 

I also stumbled upon this crafty idea from the blog Calculating Blessings:

I find this to be absolutely adorable and a constant reminder of how badly I want to fill the hell out of the total pounds lost jar!  I’m not a crafty person and frankly, it’ll probably take me months to actually create this system so I better be able to slam dunk 10 rocks into that pounds lost chump by the time I’ve set these jars up.

Still reeling from the fact that I’m nearly 40.  Dammit.

In my last meeting with my nutritionist, Kerry, we went over my previously stated goals.  Then she emailed them to me as reinforcement.  I bought and hung some poster board and I’m going to print out those goals on some scrapbook paper and hang these goals up in our home office. 

And I bought a new planner.  A jazzy, snazzy kick ass planner.  This thing is so freaking cool, that I think I tinkle myself every time I talk about it.  It’s a Life Planner from Erin Condren.

 

This planner is the bomb!  I can’t even do it justice it’s so freaking awesome.  I’m currently reading a fan-tab-u-lous book called The Art of Extreme Self-Care (I’ll dedicate an entry to this book later) and the one chapter that I’m stuck on deals with routines.  Now what kind of plan to implement routines can be done without a kick ass planner?  Can I get a hell yeah ladies?  This planner can be used for exercise tracking, appointments, meal planning, scribbling notes, and if I slip into MacGyver mode, a makeshift treadmill!  Kidding. 

Crafts, routines, continued weight loss journey and tinkling myself.  That’s about enough for today’s entry.  One more thing!  Do you have a motivating/favorite phrase/quote that you’d like to leave for me and my large fan base?  I’d love to hear it!  Submit it below in the comments feed!