My Stretch Marks Are My Battle Scars

My Stretch Marks Are My Battle Scars

My stretch marks are numerous.

I remember the first time I noticed them, when I was around ten, and I had no idea what that little purple scar was or where it came from. By the time I was 18 I was so familiar with them that I didn’t even blink when a new one would appear. I watched my stomach and arms get painted by the wounds I inflicted with every binge fest I “enjoyed”.

There were times they bothered me, but I just told myself there was nothing I could do. I tried losing the weight, tried every diet under the sun. I faltered, I fell and I gave up.  At times I would promise myself the weight would be lost one day, another failing just meant I would try again another time. Other times I would cry out that it was impossible! There was no way I would lose the weight!

Pain followed those marring marks. Pain in my back, pain in my knees. An ache in an ankle I lied and attributed with bad shoes combined with past injury. Belly aches from the food my body didn’t want to process, migraines from the sugar addictions.

Exhaustion mingled with the pain… and the scars… and depression followed.

Don’t ask me how I woke up amidst what I thought was a losing war. Don’t try and find the key that finally lifted me high enough to rally my strength. I don’t know how I began to gain the ground back. I don’t know why this time it worked. It just did. I woke up. I gathered my strength. I fought and I fought hard. I cried from the pain, I stumbled and took hits, but I kept getting back up. I continue to get back up.

Perhaps it was my fellow warriors, fighting beside me against their own demons, that helped rally me. Or perhaps it was my armor, built up of my family, my support system. Maybe it was the long lost promises I had made to my child self.

I am fighting in a war against an image of myself I accepted long ago. Some battles I win, some battles I don’t, but I keep getting back up. The fat is losing. It melts off me as I work on making myself healthy instead of skinny. I am gaining ground. I will win.

And those stretch marks? Those horrifying, marring streaks across my skin? They are beautiful. As each one shrivels to a white lightning strike, I rejoice. These are my pride, my evidence of my labor.

My stretch marks are my battle scars and they are beautiful. 

 

“The Best Goddamn Salad I Ever Had!”

“The Best Goddamn Salad I Ever Had!”

So my sister’s Gender Reveal Party was this weekend. I spent about 80% of my time helping prep for it, which included (but was not limited to) slow cooking two giant hunks of pork butt, hanging adorable onesies up on clotheslines, picking up a two-tiered cake (the star of the night!) and picking out a side dish to make.

Well, I felt a bit overwhelmed by all my duties… so I picked a random salad from Pinterest for my side dish. I thought ‘Hey, this sounds decent, easy and relatively cheap!’ .

Oh my god, I never expected a SALAD to get so much praise. Particularly a salad I put little to no thought into, FORGOT an ingredient for and one that required no effort other than slapping ingredients into a bowl! Seriously though, so many random people sought me out to either A) Explain how ‘To die for’ the salad was or B) Ask for the recipe!

Anyways, I wasn’t going to post the salad to my blog, but obviously it earned its keep.

All thanks and credit is due to Lemon Tree Dwelling . I do want to say I couldn’t actually find Golden Balsamic Vinegar, so I used a particularly delicious balsamic from HEB (click the link if you are curious). To make up for the change, I also added a bit more honey. At my sister’s request, I added a bit of salt to the dressing as well. OH, I also forgot the almonds (haha!), in the crazy of throwing it together five minutes before the food line was opened to fifty hungry souls.

Blueberry Feta Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing
*Photo from the website!
Prep time
10 mins
Total time
10 mins
Author: Cathy Trochelman
Ingredients
  • 6 c. mixed greens
  • 1 c. blueberries
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ c. almonds
  • red onion slivers, to taste
  • For the Dressing:
  • ⅓ c. olive oil
  • ⅓ c. golden balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Layer salad ingredients in large salad bowl or platter.
  2. Prepare dressing by combining all ingredients in a container with a lid; shake vigorously to combine.
  3. Toss salad with dressing.
Forty Pounds Lost

Forty Pounds Lost

***First of all, I want to thank every person who has ever ‘liked’ any of my posts. Each like has been encouragement to continue on with my transformation into a healthy, happy woman. So thank you. ***

I have lost 40 lbs in a little under 13 weeks and I feel amazing. When I look in the mirror, I no longer flinch at the body I have. I instead envision the body I am sculpting. When I step on that scale, I no longer fear the number. That number is so meaningless these days! Whether it shrinks or stays steady, I am defeating it!

Scale, you can be a sneaky bitch sometimes, you know that? You have so many of us convinced that your number is of the upmost importance…but guess what? I know better. I know that some weeks your number might not move as much as I want, while others it will plummet. As I build muscle, you try to trick me, but it wont work.

I now weigh 232 lbs. 13 weeks ago I would have told you that I would never make it here, and if I did, I would quit by that time. I look back on my first post here on this blog and I see a desperate, depressed woman with little to no hope.

I know that I still have a long way to go. I have 60 pounds to lose to get to my first goal. I have 33 pounds to reach Onederland. There will still be struggles in my future, but I have lost 40 lbs and hell, I am going to celebrate.

My back feels straighter, my body lighter. I wake up in the morning smiling. Each day I get more compliments from the people surrounding me. I feel their support and their love and it makes me want to jump up and down.

What surprises me the most is how I have come from the mentality of “I need to start a diet.” to “I need to start a healthy lifestyle.” . Cheat days? You no longer exist. What would I be cheating on? I make good choices. I have found that I actually LIKE healthy food. Cooking meals that are not only healthy but filling and delicious is something I look forward to now. I don’t want the chips or the fries or the chocolate anymore. I want to eat light enough that I will feel good when I take my 5 mile walk in the evening.

Jeez, who the hell am I ? I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I am so happy! SO happy that I want to cry.

I know it is only three months in, but I don’t think there will be any going back this time. This has to be the first time I have decided to make a change, and I can actually see myself achieving my goals. I am not going to quit. I feel amazing.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

Another amazing recipe! As Patrick said “This is a meal you would order at a restaurant!” .

I decided to get a bit creative, I am trying to experiment with veggies since before my diet my go-to sides were french fries, mashed potatoes, chips, green beans and peas.

These days my sides range. Patrick has an amazing green bean recipe that makes me want to eat the entire fill of the saucepan. We have made brussel sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli, salads with homemade dressings and more! However, I have always used a recipe. I decided I wanted to try something new, I wanted to experiment! So I bought some broccoli, sliced it as thin as I could, tossed it in a very small amount of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and a dash of freshly grated Parmesan, and then cooked it on a low heat while I prepared dinner. The broccoli was actually delicious! It really only takes some garlic and spice to win me over though. I know it is not complicated, but I feel proud that I tried something new and it came out so well!

Anyways, on to the recipe! This was from Skinny Taste , I realize now that I did a recipe from that site last week as well, but she has so many amazing recipes! This one I had pinned under my “Under 350 calories!” board for main dishes. It was actually pretty easy if you do all the chopping prep before you get started. As I have said before, I love easy and, honestly? You cannot BEAT 169 calories for your main dish. Hello!

Everyone really should check out her website. Using her recipes I seriously am eating away the pounds and loving every bite!

 Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

spinach-and-feta-stuffed-chicken-breast-550x799
Skinnytaste.com (Photo from her site!)
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 roll • Points +: 4 pts • Smart Points: 3
Calories: 169 • Fat: 5 g • Carb: 8 g • Fiber: 2 g • Protein: 25 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 177 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 31 mg


Ingredients:

  • cooking spray or oil mister
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and juice squeezed out
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fat free ricotta
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  • 8 thin skinless chicken breast cutlets (1.5 lbs total)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large baking sheet with spray.

Heat the oil a medium sauté pan. Add onions, garlic and scallions and sauté about 1 minute. Add spinach, parsley, dill, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper and cook another minute or until heated through. Remove from heat and mix in the feta and ricotta cheese.

Season chicken lightly with more kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Place about 1/4 cup of spinach mixture in the center of the chicken and roll, then lay the chicken seam side down on a platter or piece of wax paper.
Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Place the breadcrumbs in another bowl.

Dip the chicken rolls into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remainder then lightly spray to top of the chicken with cooking spray. Bake about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

 

*Note: I skipped spraying the chicken with the cooking spray and it turned out delicious still!
I will try to pick a different site for next Friday, haha! BUT NO PROMISES! I am addicted ❤
Breaking the Barriers

Breaking the Barriers

I have never stuck to a diet past 30-35 pounds. Time and time again I have struggled with  boredom, exhaustion and plain old complacency. I get to the point where I have passed 30 pounds and I start taking short-cuts. Or I start giving up. Or I start letting myself cheat a little more because I am doing so well.

Then it is over.

It is a barrier I have never seemed to have broken. I struggle against it and I think it is partially because I start thinking it will be too hard to lose the next so many pounds.

Well, guys, guess what? I broke the barrier!

That is right. I lost 4 pounds this week. I am officially 36 pounds down! Do you know what that means??

It means:

A) I have surpassed previous diets!

B) I have passed my 35 lb mark!

C) I get to plan my staycation!!!!

D) I am 1.5 pounds away from a halfway mark to my first goal (Onederland)

Exciting news aaaalllll around!

I was so excited that I flopped onto my bed and immediately began to try and figure out how much of a percentage that is. I nearly squealed when I saw it: 13.25%. I have lost 13.25% of my weight since I started this new lifestyle.

My theory is that this time around I truly did change my lifestyle. I don’t cheat anymore. I make healthy choices at restaurants, I get excited about making healthy dinners and I have been trying new ways to make vegetables every few days. I also love working out. I find I get cranky if I don’t get my full walk in. I really have gone far!

I also have learned to celebrate without food. This was a HUGE one. I don’t reward my weight loss with bad food. I don’t reward my promotions with junk. I don’t celebrate family get-togethers by making myself sick on buttery, salty food.

On the other side of the spectrum, I don’t comfort myself with food. This was a far bigger struggle than anything. I would buy stuff like chicken strips with fries and gravy when I had a bad day. I would get comfort from eating. This was harder. I had to rely on my family to help get me over this one and I still feel like it is a struggle.

HOWEVER,

I had a horrible day this week. Just absolutely terrible. I found myself at odds with my boss who had once been rather friendly with me. In the past six months we have constantly been at odds and I feel it came to a head this week. So when it came time for lunch, the urge to break my diet was there. Just one time, right? It wouldn’t hurt anything.

Well, be proud of me! Instead I asked my family to lunch. We all went to a restaurant I knew I could eat at. I made healthy choices and confessed the entire situation to my parents and sister. By the time I left, I felt amazing. I felt lighter in my heart and light in my stomach! I hadn’t relied on food to make me feel better.

I know it is silly, but looking back on this makes me want to cry. It has just always been a vicious cycle and if I can just shatter it… I could conquer every last goal in my life. I have relied on food for too long above human contact. NO longer!

This is a really great day… I feel amazing!

 

 

Skinny Chicken Cordon Blue

Skinny Chicken Cordon Blue

Okay, I went a little out and tried three different recipes this weekend instead of just one. It was rather fun and VERY delicious. My favorite was the Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was from SkinnyTaste so I am sure plenty of people will recognize it.

What I loved about this recipe was how fast it was. Patrick and I were starving (translate into I was starving and Patrick was accommodating). I tossed my Parmesan Baked Mushrooms (next recipe!) into the oven first and then started the chicken. It took less than 15 minutes!

So I am just going to post the recipe here, like I did last time. The link (Skinny Taste Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu ) will take you to the actual blog site which everyone should visit! Like Eat Yourself Skinny , this website is FULL of delicious recipes with calorie counts. They also seem to break their recipes down for specific diets, which is just amazing of them. I hate having to break out the recipe calorie calculator!

Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 piece chicken • Points +: 6 • Smart Points: 5
Calories: 258 • Fat: 10 g • Saturated Fat: 3 g • Protein: 37 g • Carb: 6 g • Fiber: 0 g
Sugar: 1 g  • Sodium: 578 mg • Cholesterol: 109 mg

Ingredients:

  • 4 thin boneless, skinless cutlets, 4 oz each
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 thin slices low sodium deli ham, I use Boar’s Head (3 oz total)
  • 4 slices light Swiss Cheese such as Alpine Lace (3 oz total)
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

* All purpose gluten-free flour works well here.

Directions:

Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Lightly dredge the chicken with flour on both sides, shaking off the excess reserving the flour.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of the reserved flour, whisk until smooth.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and half of the chicken. Cook 2 minutes on each side, until slightly golden, then transfer to a dish. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and remaining chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side. Set aside on a dish with the other pieces of chicken.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the chicken broth mixture. Whisk scraping up any bits stuck to the pan then simmer 2 minutes to reduce slightly. Return the chicken to the skillet, top each piece with a slice of ham and a slice of swiss, cover the skillet and simmer medium-low for 3 to 4 minutes until the cheese melts.

To serve use a spatula and transfer the chicken to each dish, spoon the remaining sauce over each piece.
Workout as a Weakling

Workout as a Weakling

There is nothing like working out in front of someone for the first time, to make you feel completely self-conscious.

After a week of separation (as it typically goes these days, *sigh* life) I honestly thought I might smother Patrick with my hugs. No man has truly made me feel so loved, so beautiful and so appreciated. I also feel extremely comfortable around him and yet… I waited until he was off showering to start my strength exercises. The thought of him watching me struggle embarrassed me.

I never really explained my work-out routine. I picked a fairly easy one after watching several videos on youtube. I settled on one basically titled ‘Strength Training for Plus Size beginners’ and since I am so weak, it is definitely difficult.

It starts with 30 seconds of planking (elbows and forearms flat on the mat, body held straight, tiptoes pressed to mat, butt down) . Followed by 30 seconds rest. Followed by 30 seconds of push-ups against a bench or stairs, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Ending with 30 seconds of stepping up a two step height on your right foot, and then 30 seconds of stepping up on your left foot. You do all of this three times. Then I have been lifting my 5-pound dumbells about 20 times, an exercise I found online.

I use a step stool for my step-ups. It is 12″ high (about the height of two steps), anti-slip and can hold up to 300 pounds. It is perfect. I think I want to extend how long I do each foot , however, because it is rather easy. I can only assume this is because I have been walking up 1000 step hills at a rapid pace every day, multiple times, for 10 weeks.

My push-ups are something I struggle with. I cant do them against my bench, on the floor, against my tv-stand and I felt ridiculous trying them against the wall. I really have been trying, but I know I have been failing.

Last night, Patrick got out of the shower around the time I was finishing the last of my steps. He cheered me on as I lifted my dumbells (which made me feel both happy and slightly embarrassed). When I finished, out-of breath but proud, I admitted to him my issue with push-ups. He asked to see.

That was how he introduced me to knee-push ups.

Oh my god, why can’t I even do these? I am so weeeeaaak. He coached me through the movements, corrected my stance… but even then I struggled. HOWEVER, these seem more feasible than any of the other attempts. So they are going to replace the push-ups I was trying to do.

I am surprisingly not sore today. I have been moving around plenty and haven’t felt a single protest from my muscles… we will see how tomorrow is though, haha!

I am proud of myself though. I have to recognize that I had NEVER done anything like this to my body, so of course I am going to struggle with the very basics right now. Actually, you know, thinking about it, I really want to do some Strength Training goals. If anyone is reading out there, can you tell me if you think these are realistic?

By New Years I want to be able to do:

  • 5 real push-ups in a row (Not knees, walls, etc.)
  • 30 minutes of strength training
  • Use 8 pound dumbbells instead of 5
  • Plank for 1 full minute without pause

If I get to any of them before New Years, I of course would adjust!