"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Anonymous

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

THAT week

Remember how I said I was reveling in the good feelings last week because I knew the yucky feelings would show up? Well, they hit this week and the reason for them came in full force today. Yep, it's THAT week of the month.... Joy.

Funny thing is that I always battle the foods and emotions a few days prior and then by the day the physical discomforts start the emotions are pretty much getting back under control.

So, needless to say I haven't posted because the last three days I was having very negative feelings. On top of that, we've just been busy with life, so my posting is a lot more sporadic than before.

I'm feeling a bit better today emotionally, so hopefully tomorrow will allow me some time to post about some new things I'm learning and/or facing about myself in regards to my weight loss journey.

I'll leave you with a happy fact:
Yesterday I jogged for 2 miles straight at 4.5 mph, and I didn't even feel like I was dying until the last minute or two. With warm-up and cool down it ended up being a 35 minute workout on the treadmill. I was very pleased with myself. Today I did the bike for 20 minutes and then weights. Yay. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weigh-In ... Beck Diet Solution Week 2

Today's Weight: 197.0
Loss/Gain: -3.0 lbs
Total Loss So Far: -34 lbs.
I know when I am 140 pounds, or even 160 pounds, 197.0 will seem like a very high weight, but let me tell you how beautiful and fit I feel. Especially when someone I had seen all summer ran into me on Wednesday and said, "You've lost weight!!" No, I haven't lost more than these three pounds since I saw her last, but it sure boosted my spirits to hear her say that. :)

It also boosted my spirits to wear a size 18w skirt that was skin tight when I bought it almost two years ago and have it fit me loose, really comfy loose. Oh, and those 18w capris? They're going to have to go soon too...I have baggy butt when I wear them. But, right now, I'm so very proud of the baggy butt look. :)

On top of losing those three pounds this week, I have...
  • jogged three days for 25 minutes straight each time.
  • logged all my food daily, even bites of things.
  • only gone over my calorie limits one day.
  • kept up with week two of The Beck Diet Solution plan I'm following.
And Beck is going well. This week I've learned...
  • Hunger is not going to kill me. If I'm hungry, but I know I am going to eat in 60 minutes or less, it's okay to wait and I won't die.
  • I won't binge if I plan ahead and eat a snack in the early evening when I know we'll be eating dinner later than normal. (Even if I'm not necessarily starving hungry at the snacktime point.)
  • I can pick healthier foods and enjoy them.
That last one is HUGE for me. More than a few times this week I chose the healthier option in food and I enjoyed it. There were no feelings of missing out, or deprivation, or sadness that I couldn't have something "on my diet". These are lifelong changes I'm making and they came naturally this week. I will write more on that later.

I feel like something has clicked for me and this is what people feel like who are trying to lose weight. They follow their plan, they work hard, they enjoy it and they see results. It's a wonderful feeling!!

p.s. As I write the thought crosses my head that I will have weeks where I'm feeling less-than-joyful about eating right, so I'm choosing to revel as much as I can in these happy days. I need to store up good feelings to fight the negative ones that will come from time to time. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!! I know I will.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sharing her Spark

I tried using Spark People about a year ago to calculate calories daily and found it very helpful. I moved away from that, but I continue to get their weekly featured posts in my email. I thought I'd share today's because I really liked what she had to say about recommitting daily.

You can see the original post by clicking here and maybe leave her a comment of encouragement if you feel so led.

Week of 08/26/2010 - Featured Board Post


Halfway to Goal and Having FUN on the Journey!

On my 47th birthday, I made a commitment to give myself the gift of a new body. For my myself and my health, my daughter, my hubby, my music!!! Starting with a total of fifty pounds total to lose, I made it to the halfway point on June 25, 2010. Only 25 pounds left to go. I think I'll easily make it by Christmas!

My greatest lessons so far:

Every day I re-commit to myself to eat consciously. When I think about reaching for something sweet or salty, I look at what's going on in my life, in that moment - discomfort, conflict, need for love or comfort - and I've learned that I can consciously choose not to give into to those urges to ease my mind.

I've learned to eat smaller meals through out the day and not allow myself to get famished. This practice made impulse eating non-existent!

I've learned that I actually enjoy cooking, and that I actually CAN cook!

I've learned to weigh and document everything I eat, and drink 8 glasses of water a day!!! Thank you SparkPeople!

I've learned getting fit doesn't have to be "hard". I learned to create an awesome context that includes an empowering story full of rich motivation, and I SHARE it with friends, family and the people I work with. I'm inspired, and guess what? So are they!!!

I've learned to log in to SparkPeople everyday and play to make the journey FUN and in GREAT company!

Most of all? I've learned to just HAVE FUN!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plugging Along

Or, should I say jogging along? :) I have jogged twice this week and it feels great!

Monday I decided to try jogging on the treadmill at the gym and see how far I could go without stopping. Since it has been a few months since I jogged for 30 minutes straight I wasn't sure what I was capable of. I was able to jog at 4.5 mph for 15 minutes and back to my old fastest speed of 4.3 for 10 minutes.

Today I was able to jog for 20 minutes at 4.5 mph and took a 5 minute break of jogging at 4.3 mph in the middle. So, I think I jogged for two miles today without stopping. It may have been slow, but I didn't walk.

I'm pretty excited about this and, as any person who get regular exercise will tell you, it feels wonderful!!!

I've also been journaling my food daily, staying pretty well within calories and peaking at the scale a few times. (whispering)...and it's working.... Needless to say, weigh-in isn't officially until Friday for me, but I've been doing a little happy dance a few times this week.

I hope you're all having a good week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Definitely Changing

Last week I did two things that I never would've done in the past, and liked it.

I made grilled salmon and asparagus for dinner one night, oh and rice that didn't finish in time this particularly rushed evening. Since I didn't need/want it that was fine with me.

I also chose to make turkey burgers for my husband to grill for me when we had a barbecue with friends on Saturday. He was grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone else. And I chose to have it on a 100% whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard, with only one deviled egg (that I made with half lite mayo and half regular) and nothing else to eat.

The best part?

I was totally happy with my choices. I did not feel like I was depriving myself. Both of those never-would've-eaten-in-the-past meals were tasty and enjoyable for me.

Yes, I also made chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans one night, but I made room for my small portion in my calorie budget for that day. So, even that decision was fine and I was happy with my choice.

Yes, I'm definitely changing and so very grateful for it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weigh-In and Week 1 of Beck Solution

Today's Weight: 200.0
Loss/Gain: +/-0
Total Loss So Far: -31.0 lbs.

I made it through week one of The Beck Diet Solution. I've read and completed each days tasks and learned some things.

A few things I learned this week are:
  • Reading a list of the advantages to weight loss every day can be helpful.
  • Sitting down to eat every meal does leave me feeling visually satisfied as well as physically satisfied.
  • I struggle with wanting to lose weight bad enough to do what it takes. ie. In the heat of the food moment, sometimes the ice cream looks better than the thought of being thin. That was a BIG revelation for me yesterday, sad but true.
  • I learned I'm liking this book and think it will be very helpful for me.
How did week one go for me?
Beck-wise I did great! I've made time for it, which is also making time for me and my weight loss efforts, every day. I followed all the prompts, made reminder cards for at least one item daily and even have a written journal going when I read something that really hits me and I don't want to forget my reaction to it.

I got at least 64 oz. of water in daily, but I only exercised twice and I was over my calories every day, but yesterday I think. Thus the maintain. I'm only slightly bugged by this aspect, but I'm choosing to be proud of myself for journaling every. single. bite. and being accountable on paper for every choice I made. I have been reminded of where my weaknesses are.

Finally, I noticed this Beck program will end on my wedding anniversary in September. She suggest awarding ourselves for the smaller good choices as well as the bigger ones. So, I've decided to give myself tally marks for good choices each day, within reason, and I'm going to pay myself something like 25 cents for each tally mark. I'm also going to pay myself $1.00 for each pound I lose. Whatever I "earn" by the end of the six weeks I'll use for myself and whatever we choose to do for our anniversary. Maybe buy a new piece of clothing or get a pedicure, who knows? The possibilities are endless.... :P

Now on to week two! :) I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Resolution to Succeed

Well, so far this week I've stuck faithfully to following each day's tasks in The Beck Diet Solution, but I have had a bit of trouble keeping my calories under 1500. There's no excuses and because I've journaled every morsel of food every single day I know where the problem areas are.

Dr. Beck doesn't even suggest starting a diet until day 15 of her plan, and maybe this is why. I'm not sure. I'm trying [pause] well, can I say "trying" if I've not done the work?? ..hhmmm.... anyway, I wanted to see a loss this week, but it may be a maintain again. I wasn't going to weigh myself until Friday, but I had to peek this morning and it was a straight maintain so far.

Last night I gave myself a big emotional spanking, but decided I have to get back up and keep going. I will learn the lessons and then do my best to make sure they don't happen again. (This was an incident of waiting to eat with family, which turned out to be 9:00 pm after soccer and back-to-school orientations all evening , and I was so hungry I ate more than my calorie allowance left me for the day. argh...)

Today is a new day and I'm trying not to let my calorie disobediences bother me. I definitely have to just take this one day at a time. So, I leave you with this quote I came across this morning that has me thinking:

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing - Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lesson Learned - I Hope

Okay, I'm embarrassed to post this, but since my blog is more my journal than just a blog I want this memory written down to remind me to never do this again.

Late last night I went into the kitchen to grab a drink for my husband. I saw the large baggie full of chocolate chip cookies my girls had baked earlier in the day. They looked very good and I only ate one earlier in the day. I told myself I wasn't going to have a cookie because I knew I didn't need one. I had already figured out they can be about 143 calories a cookie, and I knew I didn't need a sugary treat.

As I got out the juice to pour I saw some macaroni and cheese from lunch. I knew I shouldn't have, but I ate a bite, then another and then another. Unfortunately, I probably ate a full cup of cold macaroni and cheese.

I wasn't full by any means, but I knew I shouldn't have done that.

Well, this morning I wrote it in my journal and when I looked up the calorie count I saw it was 410 calories for one cup.

four. hundred. ten. *sigh*

You know, the dumb thing is that had I just had the cookie and a cup of 1% milk it would've only been half of calories of the macaroni and cheese. I probably still would've felt bad for sneaking a cookie so late at night, but at least I would've felt bad for fewer calories.

To find the silver lining on this cloud, I almost ate the cookie after eating the macaroni and cheese last night, but I didn't. So, at least it wasn't over 500 calories. This isn't making me feel any better now, because I know I shouldn't have had the snack at all.

I am posting it and will move on. Lesson learned, I hope.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Eating Plan

Hello! Happy Monday everyone! I thought I'd start the week off by letting you in on what eating plan I'm following as I make these serious changes in my weight journey life.

Short Story:
  • I will be journaling every bite of food daily.
  • I will eat between 1300-1500 calories daily.
  • I will follow the Good Health Guidelines laid out at Weight Watchers.
Good Health Guidelines
Eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
Choose whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and oats, whenever possible.
Include two servings of milk products – low fat (1%) or fat-free – each day.
Have 2 teaspoons of healthy oils (olive oil, canola, sunflower, safflower or flaxseed) each day.
Ensure that you are getting enough protein by choosing at least a serving or two of lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, beans, soy products, and lentils.
Limit added sugar and alcohol.
Drink at least 6 8-ounce glasses of liquid a day. The best choice is water.
Take a multiple vitamin-mineral supplement each day.
Get in at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.(Start with 10 minutes if you’re sedentary
Long Story:

I'm not following any one diet, but I have chosen to mainly follow the guidelines laid out in Weight Watchers to help me know what foods I need to get in daily. I've decided against actually joining their program again for two reasons
(A) I don't want to spend the money on it when I know what needs to be done
(B) My husband rightfully pointed out, "You have plenty of people watching you and helping you to stay focused." and thus no need for the accountability and support. :)

Since I threw out all of my WW program materials two years ago I no longer have a way to count points, so I've decided to count calories. After doing a little bit of researching about basal metabolic rate and figuring out how many calories I need to cut to lose weight I've reached a goal of eating 1300-1500 calories.

I'm leaving the calorie goal at a range for now because I'm still playing with it. My goal is to not go above 1500. If I don't exercise on a certain day, then it would be okay for me to eat as low as 1300 calories. That hasn't happened so far and I really doubt I'll eat that low right now. I know this is going to take some playing around it, or maybe (hopefully *crossing fingers*) it won't and the weight will begin coming off real soon. :)

Have a great week everyone! I'm nervous excited about what these changes in my life will bring about. I'm ready AND WILLING to do the work necessary now.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today, Saturday, August 14, 2010 I officially recommit myself to losing weight.

On May 14th I hit 199 pounds for the first time on my weight loss journey. It has been three months and this morning I was 200.0. I have maintained for three solid months and it's time to get to work.

I would love to say get back to work, but as I posted earlier this week my heart really hasn't been in it. Over the course of the year from May 2009 to May 2010 I made small changes and began regular exercise, and all of that lead me to lose 31 pounds. Yet, I still wasn't willing to do the work necessary to see consistent weight loss.

I am grateful for all I learned and I'm grateful I did not see a gain over these past three months. Now I am ready to get serious. I've thought hard the past week about what I could do, when I should start and what things I should implement permanently to help me get going.

And now *drum roll please* ..... my arsenal:

  1. I have decided to follow the six-week program from this book "The Beck Diet Solution".
  2. I will journal all of my food, drinks, supplements and exercise in the DietMinder food planner.
  3. I will use my iPod touch to help me find calorie counts, calculate things, etc.
  4. And I "had" to have a cool, new pink (breast cancer supporting) lead pencil to write in the book and food planner. :)
Over the next week I'll share a little about each of these tools and how I'm liking or disliking them.

I close with some proof that I've truly started "The Beck Diet Solution". Day one was to write out a list of advantages to weight loss on a 3x5 card and read it twice a day. I have one in my bathroom drawer and one in my purse. Dr. Beck also suggests posting it where you'll see it regularly. So, I printed up my list digi-scrap style and put one in my closet and one in the back of my journal. I'd share the list, but some are personal. They are color coded for importance, and well, because I like things to look pretty. (thus, the digi scrapped style...you should see my color coded 3x5 cards. [grin] )

As always, thank you all for your support. I'm determined to come out the victor in my weight loss journey. I know with a some hard work, determination and my support throughout blogland and with friends and family I'll reach my goals!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Small Things

Well, I'm working on rearranging my weight loss journey and had a small little happy moment tonight.

My daughter made brownies for our small Bible study group. I thought it was perfect, because they are my FAVORITE treat and if we take them to Bible study most of them will get eaten and I won't have them in the house.

I decided ahead of time that I was NOT going to have any treats. We usually put together nachos or 'lil smokies with barbecue sauce, etc., so I knew this was going to be a test for me. To help myself get through the food time after the study I stopped for a diet Dr. Pepper fountain drink. I knew the leader's wife never buys diet soda and I figured this would give me something to sip on while others ate the high-fat, or sugar ladened treats.

About 20 minutes after the food part of our group started I noticed out of the corner of my eye a bowl of fresh veggies.

Surely not.

Yes, there were three bowls containing fresh celery, cucumbers and baby carrots. There was ranch for dipping on the side, but nothing on the veggies themselves. They were cold and fresh.
I was short of amazed and asked who brought them. Apparently our pregnant leader's wife has been craving celery, so she did. I shook my head in amazement and smiled. Then, I helped myself to a plate with cucumbers and a stick of celery. I sprinkled salt on them and then she even had a lime for me to squeeze some juice on them as well.


Coincidence? I don't know, but maybe, just maybe, God knew I was working to change things around and helped this young wife think to bring those fresh veggies to the table just for me. It was a small thing, but it meant so much.

And, yes, I will start bringing healthier snacks from now on. I just didn't have time to get some together tonight and the brownie mix was already on hand...yea, that could be a whole 'nother lesson in itself - opting for easy versus work..hhmm...

Anyway, have a great weekend! I have some great news to share with everyone (it had a lot to do with why I made the decision about this get together tonight), but I'm not sure if I'll get to it tomorrow or not. We'll see.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Heart Hasn't Been In It

It's kind of funny, but before I posted yesterday I had already begun thinking about what needed to change to see me start losing weight again. Then Lori, from Finding Radiance, left a comment with a little something for me to think on.

She said, "Maintaining is not necessarily a bad thing, but it also is a good idea to really find out exactly why you maintained and what might be a solution to do that little extra bit to get things moving again. If it was emotional, what were the emotions and how did you react to them?"

So, last night I read over my posts from May, June and skimmed over the posts in July. Reading over them confirmed some suspicions I had about what needs to change. It wasn't easy to face at moments, but while I know I've made some awesome strides forward in my thoughts I also know there's one fact I keep avoiding.

While I've wanted to be thin and healthier, I haven't wanted to do the work necessary to see the weight come off.

There I said it. I could say a lot more (ask my husband and friends who I've confided in about this subject) , but I'll leave it at that for now.

To sum it up I was reminded of a part in the movie Fireproof where Caleb, the husband who is reading The Love Dare tells his friend or father (I can't remember), "Up until now my heart hasn't been in it."

I am not discounting every struggle I've journaled about on this blog, nor every non-scale and small scale victory. However, I have reached a point where I have to be very honest with myself about some very real issues that affect every area of my life, including my weight loss. If I don't, I won't go forward.

So, please bear with me as I either post or don't post while I go through this. I refuse to give up on myself and think that I can't do better, so I have to press through this time of change.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

At Peace and Going Forward

I have a couple of things that are bothering me that I have to get off my chest. Mainly because I am at peace with how things have turned out, but I feel the need to be honest with you all.

  1. I set a summer goal to try and lose 10 pounds. I am no where near that goal and have one week until my kids go back to school and only 20 days left in the month of August. I would be lying to say it doesn't bother me a little. However, I'm coming to peace with it and am okay with it because I have also maintained. There have been days where the scale jumped because I overate, but then I've been able to get it right back down again soon enough. I also have been making some serious changes to how we eat, and this is HUGE for me. If you would've told me a year ago that I'd be making lasagna with whole wheat pasta and ground turkey I would've laughed and said, "Never."
  2. Also, I announced at the beginning of August that I was going to get up early and walk every morning to make sure I got it done and start a good habit. Um, not happening. We turn into late owls during the summertime, which I am sure is because the sun is still up at 9:00 pm and it's hard to just go to bed the minute it's dark out. I used to have a real hard time with this because when my kids were younger it wasn't an issue, they still went to bed early. I've learned instead to go with it, but it does mean that I won't be getting up at 6:00 to go walking. Instead, I have made a point to get exercise in during my day at some point and this is working out fine for me. As much as I like a schedule, I have really enjoyed the lazier days of summer and just fitting in the exercise when times allows. This does mean a more conscious effort on my part to make sure and get it done, but I'm at peace with that. I just have to remember that I fit in exercise when it's best for MY schedule, not according to when others workout.
I have to sum it up by sharing that I read a post back in June by a woman who had at that point reached 100 lbs lost. She said she was spending lots of time with her kids doing physical stuff and just enjoying summer. She commented that she was planning on maintaining during summer and would get back to the gym and to losing her last 30 pounds when the kids went to school.

I both envied and shunned that idea. I envied that she has already lost 100 pounds and could afford the break, but I felt I just didn't have that kind of time to spend on maintenance. Little did I know what my summer would hold for me. I think I did lose focus many times and just let things slide more than I should have. Plenty of mothers have continued to lose weight during the summer, and I applaud that. Somehow with everything going on in my life, more emotionally than anything, I wasn't able to do that.

And I am okay with that.

Most of my guilt comes when I ponder what others' opinion of me is, or when I compare myself to others. I have to remind myself that this is my journey.

Yes, I need to get refocused on losing weight and quit goofing around. Yes, I need to get that exercise and water in. Yes, I still need to work on mindless eating. Yes, I understand I'm nowhere near done.

So, I go forward. I will exercise daily and as time allows I'll begin putting back together my arsenal of weight loss weaponry that will help me reach my goals. But ultimately, I will allow myself to finish out this last week of summer without guilt and enjoy time with the children.

Thanks for bearing with me. I feel better now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Yesterday morning I made Diane's recipe for whole wheat pancakes for me and my kids' breakfast. This is a first in our family and the reactions varied.

My son said they were, "AWESOME!" and showed me this:

The girls weren't as thrilled, and one asked if I was ever going to make them again, or could I promise not to, or something like that. I smiled and said I couldn't promise not to make them again, because I really liked them.

Cooking with whole wheat does make foods more dense, but as Diane said these weren't too bad. I'm going to play around with mixing whole whole wheat and half regular flour, etc. and just trying to make them more and more. I think the kids will get used to them. :)

Feel free to check out Diane's recipe by clicking here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Good Balance

I got home from my brother's Friday evening and we've been busy ever since. I didn't have access to a scale regularly at my brother's house, so I didn't worry about weighing myself until I got home.

I'm happy to say that I pretty much maintained while I was there. I'm keeping track again of daily weigh-ins and will have an updated average next Saturday morning.

Though he had a fitness center at his apartments I ended up not using it. We spent many hours talking and then with me doing some cleaning and cooking it just didn't fit in easily to my days. Yes, I said "easily", because I know I could've made it work, and even thought of getting up early on some days to do it. However, the late nights talking or even just hanging out were something I didn't want to cut short so that I'd have the energy needed to get up early to workout. I didn't sleep as much as I did as it was.

I was careful about my eating (except the day after I made chocolate chip cookies and they kept calling my name..argh...) and so I feel I found a good balance. There were no days of major overeating like I found myself doing at my mom's when I visited her in June. My mission for being there with my brother and his wife was fulfilled and I knew that I'd be back to my normal routine when I got home.

My trip was another reality in this weight loss journey of mine of things I'll have to deal with and I'm content with how it went. It was a great time with him and I wouldn't change a thing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Meditteranean Pasta

Hello! I have still been away from the computer a lot, but today I was able to sit and read comments on my blog and check in to one or two.

Per your requests, here is the recipe I used for our shrimp and pasta dish the other day.

I've written in red anything I did differently or added to the recipe. This was such an easy, quick meal. It really does only feed about three adults, so when I make it for my family I will have to double it.

My sister-in-law and brother kept going on and on about how wonderful it was. I felt I couldn't take any real credit, because it was so simple to make. I think it just looked fancy, so if you want to impress someone try it. You'll love how it tastes (if you like the ingredients) and they'll think you're a high class chef. :)

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Have a great day! -Leah

Meditteranean Pasta at Cooks.com

one ripe avocado
angel hair pasta (or whatever is on hand) 1/2 of a 1lb. box of whole wheat pasta
3 medium cloves garlic
4 tablespoons butter no butter, just olive oil
olive oil
Parmesan cheese
peeled deveined raw shrimp (optional) 1 lb.

Set water to boil in preparation for pasta (I added chicken bouillon to water, since I've been told that helps whole wheat pasta cook softer. It doesn't change any flavors since you pour water off later.) and heat a pan for the sauce. Melt the butterNo butter..just olive oil. slowly on a low setting so that it does not brown or burn.
Mince the garlic while the butter is melting and add slowly. Do not brown the garlic. Simmer so that the garlic slowly softens and flavors the butter.

Dice the avocado while the garlic softens. You may add a bit of olive oil to the pan to raise the smoking point and help to keep the butter and garlic from scorching. Add diced avocado to the pan and stir to coat. Raise heat to medium, stirring periodically to stop the garlic from browning. Now would be a good time to add the pasta to the water.

Cook the avocado for approximately ten minutes until it softens and you can smash a piece with the spatula. Chop a small handful of Cilantro and add to the avocado mixture, saving some. If you're adding shrimp do that now and let it simmer until it turns opaque and pink.

Drain the pasta and move to a serving plate. Add the Avocado mixture over the pasta, sprinkle the leftover Cilantro, and serve with Parmesan cheese. I tossed pasta and mixture together in large skillet and then served in bowls, allowing guests to put their own parmesan cheese on. This is up to your personal preference.

Serves two to three people.

For a healthier option, you may substitute the butter for olive oil, but cooking times will lengthen slightly. True. :)

Submitted by: Lucinda Estrada

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

All in the Family

I'm visiting my brother right now. He is battling cancer in his leg and in the course of his journey has also had to change how he eats. So, the first night I was here we were discussing how he basically can't eat "anything I love".

Gee, it's a family affair right now. My mom has been working on losing weight, then gets cancer and keeps losing. She's doing as well as can be expected and has now reached the 160's in her weight loss. She's only about 20 pounds from goal I think. :)

I've been working on losing weight, slowly but surely coming to grips with the real changes that need to happen, and many of those changes are becoming cemented in my life.

Finally, my brother has non-cancer issues that were intensified with the chemotherapy treatments and is having to change how he eats. In the process he has lost 25 pounds so far.

Another fun aspect of us all working on our health is that we are sharing new changes in our food and eating habits.

My mom tells me about some new things she tries, or we rejoice in sharing a treat with our spouses. I bounce ideas off of her, or ask her opinion on whether something really works or not. We talk about how our spouses react to a new recipe or trying something like whole wheat pasta and, well, I think my dad and husband are both receiving some very good benefits from the changes my mom and I are making.

My brother is also receiving some benefits from these changes in my life. While on my trip I've been able to cook for my brother and his full-time working wife and make some healthier meals without feeling like I'm forcing something on them. He's had to make some serious changes to his diet, so they are totally open to whole wheat pasta and brown rice for example.

So far, I've cooked whole wheat pasta with shrimp and avocado last night and then I remade over a chicken and broccoli dish today and some red beans and rice to be a little healthier both with brown rice, and other healthier substitutions (I might post those later). He and his wife have loved the new dishes and I've enjoyed practicing my healthier cooking while I'm here.

It's been interesting to me to see how my parents, brother and my husband and I are all entering into a stage of life where we are working on being healthier - whether by choice or not. Though the cancer has not been the easiest thing on our family having us all working on getting healthier at the same time almost makes it a little easier knowing we are all working on all of it ... together.