Polar Vortex Wednesday

The title has absolutely nothing to do with the post. I couldn’t think of a title.

Moving on.

So, next Monday begins the second semester. I’ll be working all day M/F, teaching and going to my own classes and working a little more all day T/R, and Friday will be my working from home day. I’ll also be attending Crossfit 2 or 3 times a week.

Things are about to get a lot busier and all this healthy upkeep I’ve been doing will become more difficult.

Perhaps you’re on the edge of your seat, white knuckled, wondering, “Karen, WHAT IS THE PLAN?”

Don’t worry. I have one.

– Puts on sunglasses.  –

Plan of Attack: BREAKFAST

I have never much liked me any breffust. As a kid, eating in the morning gave me a tummy ache and as an adult, ain’t nobody got time for that — I could SLEEP an extra twenty minutes, or sit at my table and gum down some food. I know what I consistently pick. I do, however, circumvent the disaster of heading into the day on an empty stomach/unstoked metabolism. My plan? Protein smoothies. Are they the most delicious concoction ever? No. But let’s face it, babehz: eating and drinking delicious concoctions are how I got INTO this mess to begin with. The shakes are truly not bad.

My morning recipe:

1 cup of diet juice (Ocean Spray makes some that are 0PP for 1 cup)
1 scoop of protein powder (The brand they sell at SAM’s Club; it’s 3PP a scoop)
2 handfuls of kale stems (saved from all those kale chips!)
1 generous handful of baby spinach
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
1 banana
0.5 cups of water

Then, I blend it in our little Oster travel-cup blender. Off I go, with a large bottle full of nutrients (greens!), potassium (banana!) protein (powder!), omega-3s (flax!) and hydration. It never fails to keep me full until lunch. I can drink it while I teach. I can drink it while I work. I can drink it while I’m in class myself. I can drink it while I drive. It suits my lifestyle. PP Value: 4

Plan of Attack: LUNCH

1 greek yogurt cup, brand doesn’t matter — just pick one with no fat (3PP)
1 Fuji Apple

And, if I’m on my game the night before —

1.5 cups of roasted cauliflower.

Because I’m taking in nutrient dense foods in the morning, I’m not starving to death by lunch. This is a good thing. I eat the stuff I’ve got packed and NOTHING else, NOTHING more. Not if someone brings in cookies. Not if there’s extra banana bread from so and so’s mom on the table. NOTHING. Stick to the plan, dammit. Lunch is the meal where I am often made or broken — a mid afternoon snack can ruin the entire day, WW-wise. So no snacking except on the cauliflower. PP Value: 3 

Plan of attack: DINNER

My dinner plans change, depending on the time of year. This winter, we are in a freakish soup mode. I know that it might bore most people — but it doesn’t bore Chelsea, and the ease of it enthralls me. What we’ve been doing all winter: I scour my WW cookbooks, Taste of Home soup cookbooks, etc. for high-protein, high-fiber, low-point soups. Early in the week, when I have time (sometimes on a Sunday) I make a very big batch of whatever one I’ve selected. We eat it for two or three nights out of the week. The fourth night is date night (or third or second, doesn’t matter when, just, the soup lasts three days and another day is date night), and depending on where we’re at and if the soup was made Sunday or Monday, I make another batch of a different soup midweek and repeat the process.

This might sound really boring. I don’t really care if you think it’s boring — and why? LIFE LESSON TIME: It works for me. I come home and have papers to grade, my OWN papers to WRITE, work to think about, a fiancee to talk to, cats to raise (I imagine our house to be like Georgia Rule and Taggy is my Linsday Lohan problem child. I must keep him away from boats.), you name it. There isn’t time to spend cooking a big dinner each night. So by making that food and getting most of the week’s cooking done, I come home every night to an easy-to-heat-up dinner that’s nutritious, delicious and filling. I have no excuses for why we should get takeout. I have no reasons why we should swing by a restaurant. I have a good meal ready for me at home and I can count every last PP in that mutha effa. (No, yes, I really did just type that. No matter how many times you re-read it, the MF-ahhh part won’t go away.)

This won’t work for everyone, but it works for me. And if you’re the type who has no time to cook or who always finds reasons to get takeout, I recommend trying it. Learn to make some recipes that are so delicious, you don’t even mind eating them for three days.

Lately, along with dinner, I’ve been making a batch of kale chips every evening. Chelsea is just rabid for them, and so am I, and they’re 0PP or, if I use “hippie dust” (another friend called it “nooch,” and I’ve not decided which term I’ll stick with yet), they are 1 or 2 PP depending on the batch and the amount of the HD/N I use. And that’s for the whole damn batch. So really, 1 PP tops per person.

The soups I make range from 5 PP for a big bowl to 11 PP for the ones I keep in my arsenal. The kale chips are often 0. And so for dinner… PP Value: 5-13.

Plan of Attack: DESSERT

Guys, I am my mother’s daughter. I would ALWAYS rather eat my points than drink them, and I CANNOT stay away from a tasty dessert. My brain always wants the reward of a nice thing to eat once the unwinding part of the day commences. So how do I get a treat of some kind in, while not ruining my diet? I learned the hard way that extra fruit isn’t always the best option — when I over-eat fruit (and keep in mind, I have at LEAST a banana and an apple during the day; occasionally an orange works its way in there too — so that’s three pieces right there) I don’t lost weight. I have struggled with this for AGES, and then, when Kim came to visit me, the answer appeared: FREEZE THE TASTIER FLAVORS OF GREEK YOGURT. It’s so genius. I can’t even. Why did it take me so long? And so, I freeze the Cafe, Key Lime, Lemon, Orange Creamcicle and Coconut flavors of the Oikos Greek. They’ve got a little fat in them, but that’s ok, since they’re still a PP value of 4.

On days when I’m exhausted and tired, I admit that I desperately crave a treat — so the semester’s busy workload puts me in a place where danger abounds: we live a few blocks from the Vestal Bakery and Lickety Split Ice Cream. I need to know I have something at home that I’ll enjoy so that when I drive past those places, I ain’t even mad.

Depending on the day, if I have not screwed up at all, I have extra points. On WW, you’re supposed to eat the entirety of your points. And so, on those blessed days, I have one or two of the 2PP brownie bites made by WW. I don’t usually eat anything processed or prepackaged but these little guys taste like little angels made of decadent fudge and now, to my NEVER ENDING WONDER DELIGHT EXCITEMENT AND ALL THE ADJECTIVES, my hometowwwwwn, SAM’S CLUB sells them in a box of 20! The price kicks the pants off the price anywhere else.

So dessert — PP Value: 4-8. 

If I can stick with this plan…

Then I should keep losing weight. Maybe not 4.7 lbs a week (no, seriously, what WAS that?), but something. And if I can keep up the plan of making sure we don’t eat out more than we need to (AKA, we get one date night a week) and monitoring myself on weekends, I can still work in some extra weekend treats (I still have 49 flex points AND whatever activity points I accrue, so I don’t stress as much about weekends — usually, bad choices look like very obviously bad choices regardless of the day of the week, and so I just try not to MAKE those bad choices) and have some less healthy stuff I really enjoy while still sticking with my goals.

So bring it on, semester. This is the last several months of school I have to endure before my WEDDING. (WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING AAAAH WEDDING) And if I can stay on track now and into the summer, I will be a much healthier, more confident bride. And even more than I want that for me, I want it for Chelsea: she’s told me so many times that she would do anything to help me like myself more, that it makes her sad that I carry around such resentment over (what I perceive to be) extra weight. She thinks I’m perfect. I want to feel perfect.

If I can get through this semester without the disaster of last semester striking again (I GAINED BACK SO MANY OF TEHH POUNDSSS), then I’ll be in a really good place. Even if I only lose 0.7 lbs a week, by the time September 26 rolls around that’s 22.4 lbs. If I lose 1 lb a week, it’ll be 32. If I lose 1.5, it’ll be 48, which just doesn’t even sound real.

And if I lose 4.7 every week, well, call Pope Francis ’cause there done be a miracle up in here.

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