So How’s That Diet Going?

I’m so glad you asked. Its going splendiferously, thank you! Today marks 3 months since I started the me diet. I’ve lost 13 pounds. Go ahead, do the math– less than one pound a week. I DON’T CARE. I am thrilled. I am more than thrilled. Over two years ago, in this blog entry, I made a declaration that I was no longer going to try to get back to my 100 pounds lost. I was going to maintain at 168, since that was where my body seemed to end up most of the time. Almost as soon as I declared that I gained 10 pounds. And that’s where I stayed for two whole years, plus another 2 pounds to top it off. So when I started this me diet in November, I made a couple of mini-goals. I didn’t share them with anyone because I really didn’t have a lot of faith that I would lose any weight. One of my goals was to get back to 168. On Saturday I weighed 167. I am supremely happy.

When I started, I had this plan to use protein shakes for an early lunch and a quest protein bar for my afternoon coffee break. I thought I would tire of that pretty quickly, especially the protein shakes. Because I always said I didn’t like drinking my calories. But I found out I do. I love the convenience of them, but most of all I love that I feel good and I am not hungry and I don’t even think about “what’s next?” for a while. So along the lines of making changes that will be a “lifestyle change,” I think smoothies have earned their rightful place in my repertoire.

So onward and downward. I am definitely not suffering. I am having real life days. Days where I eat lunch out with friends, and sometimes I eat a little more carefully so I can have a special treat at the end of the day. Its a good lifestyle.

How to Build a Better Pizza

  1. If you have “issues” with pizza, like you can’t stop eating it, or you are not eating wheat or cheese or whatever, then don’t even start.
  2. If you have problems with honesty, forget about it. This is the kind of food assemblage that requires brutal honesty.
  3. But if you really enjoy pizza, and would like to have it once in a while without breaking the calorie bank, read on.

I made this pizza out of stuff I had leftover in my fridge. Look through your refrigerator and see what you have that might be good for pizza toppings. In my opinion, you need mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce for it to be a real pizza.

What I had on hand: mushrooms, onion, pineapple, roma tomatoes, a little bit of pepperoni, and some olives. I use Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust. I love this stuff. The dough comes pre-made in a plastic bag that you can stick in the freezer until the mood hits.

You also need a piece of scratch paper to write down the calories on all the stuff you add to the pizza. This pizza dough is supposed to make enough crust for 8 slices. But I stretched it extra thin, so it ended up making 12 nice sized pieces.

I measured out the marinara sauce (I used Contadina’s for this. I also like TJ’s marinara sauce.) Both of them are pretty low in calories. I used string cheese for the cheese. Just because they are pre-measured, and I don’t use much cheese. I thought I would only use 2 (2 ounces.) That was really pretty skimpy, so I added a third. I sliced the mushrooms and onions, and spread them on there. And then measured out a couple Tbsp of olives, and cut up one cup of fresh pineapple. And I cut the 8 little slices of pepperoni into little bits and spread it around. Oh, and then I cut up one roma tomato and added that on top.


Now here’s where the brutally honest part comes in. It would be so easy to add just a little bit more of this, or a dab more of that. But if you want to enjoy your pizza without guilt, just be honest. Only use what you measure and count.

Here’s how it added up:

  • Pizza dough:  960 cal
  • Pepperoni:     100 cal
  • Pineapple:       80 cal
  • Olives:              30 cal
  • Sauce:              60 cal
  • Cheese:         240 cal
  • Mush/Onion     45 cal
  • Tomato             15 cal

Grand total: 1530. Divided by 12, that makes it 127 calories per slice. The first night I took three slices, but that was really too much. Two slices would have been just right. The rest of the pizza was wrapped in foil and frozen for later. I reheat almost everything at 425 in my toaster oven. Just like fresh baked.

I always like to have some kind of plain green vegetable with my pizza. Not that I make pizza all that often–I probably make pizza once or twice a year. This was so delicious!


So did you guys hear that we had a freak snow storm here on Tuesday? It dumped so much snow so fast that I couldn’t get home for about three hours. There were cars sliding off the road all over the place, and both main roads that I take to get home were closed. I was so happy to get home before dark and to find that the electricity was still on.

Noah LOVES the snow.


The view off my deck the next morning:


We took a walk before it all melted away.



The end.



Adventures in Maintenance!

During weight loss, we’re rock stars. The scale goes down and people notice. But when the scale stops moving and the compliments wane, we’re more like the roadies, the people who work long after the music stops and the fans go home. No one pays us much attention, but we’re imperative to the success of our former rock star selves.

Adventures in Maintenance (AIM) is Shelley, Lori, Cammy, Debby and Lynn, former rock star weight-loss bloggers who now write as roadies of weight maintenance. Collectively, we have lost 528 pounds and have been maintaining for 24.5 years. We formed AIM because we know what it’s like to take aim at maintenance. The perfect shot is really hard, but you can get close with practice.


As bloggers, we want to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. Although we will continue to write independently, on the first Monday of each month, we will post a blog on the same topic.

One subject, five voices. And you, our readers. There’s a larger conversation to be had about weight maintenance, so we encourage you to add your voice. Let us know what topics you’d like us to address, and when you read our posts, add your comments. Together, we can dispel myths, encourage each other, and take a blogger’s AIM at the heart of maintenance. Look for our first AIM post on Monday, March 4 and the topic is: “What’s Different This Time.”

Allow us to introduce ourselves:


For those of you new to my blog, My Journey To Fit, I’m Shelley and I’m a mom to two grown sons, Sam and Max, and wife to Jeff. We’ve been married for nearly 29 years.

I’ll be turning 50 in a few months, and quite honestly, I’m pretty dang excited about that…losing my excess weight has allowed me to BE and DO so many things that I never thought would be “me.” And while I don’t know what is in store, I’m happy to be physically able to take on whatever catches my fancy (and yes, I realize I sounded like a 90-year-old with that phrase).

My blog has evolved over the years, starting with my diet adventure and grudging acceptance of exercise, to the discovery that I liked running (I was the one who said I’d never run…lesson learned, never say never!), along with shopping for clothes (so much more fun now that I’m not relegated to the plus-size department), and my hobbies – I learned to knit last year and have been torturing treating my readers with updates and pictures of my knitting projects. Who knows what’s next?!

Why am I participating in AIM? Well, I stumbled onto a couple of maintenance bloggers – coincidentally, one was Lynn – before I lost my first pound. What struck me right away was that not only had these women, who were as big as me, lost weight, but they were keeping it off. Bingo – that made me realize that this time, if I truly wanted this to be my last diet, I was going to have to do things differently so that I didn’t regain the weight like I did every other time I dieted. Making changes with the idea that they were going to be on a permanent basis, instead of temporary cutbacks, was the key to my success. While I haven’t kept off every single pound I lost, I’ve managed to keep nearly all of them at bay, and I’ve finally realized that I don’t have to eat my way through life to be happy.

My name is Lori and I write the blog Finding Radiance. I chose that name because that ended up being what I was striving for. Not a specific goal weight or size, but being happy within.

I had struggled with my weight for most of my life. Lost and gained several people throughout my adult years. LOL! I have done many weight-loss programs and most were successful to a degree, but something was missing since I kept putting the weight back on. That something was really learning to love myself and develop a better relationship with food. Also important was discovering exercises that I love. I turned into quite a biker and love strength training!

My blog talks a lot about food because – quite frankly – I love food. The biggest thing for me was learning to let go of guilt about food or feeling like I only had to eat carrots and cottage cheese in order to lose/maintain my weight.

You also will see a lot of the general things in my life. I often post about whatever is in my head, my latest home improvement projects, and my cat (she is very popular) because as a maintainer, life is more than just the scale – and that is how it should be. I do struggle with maintenance at times, but it really never is a perfect road.

I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of AIM because of the deep respect and admiration I have for these wonderful women. There is definitely a hole in the weight maintenance world. It’s like once you lose weight, you disappear from the blog world. Kind of like the Bermuda Triangle for weight-loss bloggers. That needs to change because there is a ton of support for when you are losing, but not much when you are maintaining, and not much is written about what to expect or how to handle some regain or when you start having body acceptance issues. (What? You mean I won’t look like a supermodel once I lose weight??). I look forward to where this journey takes us!


I’m Cammy, of The Tippy Toe Diet. I started out trying to lose weight at the “chubby” level and eventually dieted myself to the edge of morbid obesity. I spent years (and years!) cycling through one diet plan after another, but I could never maintain any of them for the long term. The repeated failures battered my self-esteem and part of me wanted to just give it all up, but thankfully, some little spark of hope remained.

In 2007, I adopted a different approach. Instead of trying to follow other people’s diets to achieve other people’s ideals, I spent some time thinking about what comprised my ideal. In doing so, I realized that I didn’t really care about being thin or skinny or any of the other media-defined measures of success. What I really wanted was be healthier, more vibrant, and yes, a smaller size. More importantly, I wanted to do it in a way that I could sustain for the rest of my life. And, by golly, I wanted it to be FUN!

Recognizing that the completely-overhaul-your-entire-life-starting-this-Monday approach had never worked for me in the past, I implemented changes in my lifestyle slowly, sometimes in teeny little steps. My blog, The Tippy Toe Diet, chronicles those changes – the ones that worked and the ones that didn’t – and continues to serve as a journal of my new explorations. I might have lost 100 pounds, but no way am I through changing! It’s too much FUN trying new things to stop now!

I’m honored and excited to be an AIM blogger because I admire and respect each and every one of the other bloggers and appreciate their points of view. I’m looking forward to learning from them and to sharing my own thoughts, all in hopes that this scattershot approach might be of service to others who are either in the maintenance realm or striving to get there. Our stories, our paths, and our struggles might be different, but our “aim” is generally the same: a healthier and more vibrant life. At a smaller (or, at least, not a larger) size!


I’m Debby, from debby weighs in. When I started my blog, the byline was “thoughts on weight loss and life.” Recently, I decided I knew nothing about weight loss, and changed my byline to “on living a whole and healthy life.”

Like most overweight people, I have a LOOOONG history of mostly being overweight, with many forays into attempted weight loss, some more successful than others, but all of them with one trait in common: I gained back all the weight PLUS some. And so, when I was about 30, I decided that I would never diet again. And I didn’t, for a long, long time. Until one day in 2005, shortly after my 50th birthday, a friend asked me to go to Weight Watchers with her.

At first I turned her down, and said, “But we can be accountable to each other.” After a miserable two weeks of starving myself, I realized I needed a little help, and agreed to go. But this time was different. This time I knew it had to be for the rest of my life.

This time I had the help and support of many friends. I sought out women at work who just lived a healthy lifestyle, and quizzed them on what they ate. I read everything I could find about maintaining weight loss. I read science journals and the latest research, and when I hit a little snag, I hired a personal trainer, who taught me more about eating healthy whole foods than she did about exercise (and she taught me a LOT about exercise!)

It took about two years to lose 100 pounds, and it was only then that I discovered the world of blogging! There was Lynn, in People magazine, and the little box at the bottom of the page said to check out Lynn’s blog on the internet. A whole new world of friends opened up to me.

Since then, maintenance has definitely been an adventure, and these four women have been constant traveling companions. As everyone eventually does, I had a couple of years that were extra stressful, and I regained 25 pounds. It only took two years for me to figure out how to start losing weight again(!) and that is where I am in my journey now. I never stopped working on living a whole and healthy life. And now I have added “aging gracefully” to that work. Its an adventure, that’s for sure!

I’m Lynn and I blog at Lynn’s Weigh. When I began this last trek down the scale in 2005, no one but my doctor and I knew what I weighed. Three hundred pounds sounded intangible and scary. But I grew tired of that albatross and so I launched my first website, Lynn’s Weight-Loss Journey, complete with numbers and photos, and immediately I felt lighter. My weight was no longer a secret. It was, and still is, what it is: a number. It’s not who I am.

Like my AIM partners, I realized this last time IS the last time because I approached weight loss differently. I finally understood that if I wanted a permanent change in my body, I had to make a permanent change in my attitude. Head before body. And no celebratory Dairy Queen blizzards once I met goal!

On Lynn’s Weigh, I write about life as a nearly 50-year-old mother to four grown children, grandmother to three (almost 4!) grandchildren, writer, foodie, and exerciser, all through the lens of a person maintaining a 150-plus weight loss. There are more than 1 billion websites out there, but our little AIM consortium is just what the ‘net needs.

Its Going to Take Some Time This Time

“Its going to take some time this time”–exercise, that is! I’m dating myself–that’s one of the great songs Karen Carpenter used to sing.

I know I’ve said I love exercise, and I do. But I still have a wee bit of a problem with how much time it consumes. I guess after years and years of giving NO time to exercise, that habit is going to take a while to change.

Its not just the exercise. There’s the pre-exercise stuff: Taking Noah for a morning walk (usually at least 20 minutes,) and then changing into (hopefully) fur-free clothing to go to the gym. (Okay, it doesn’t take that much time to change clothes. It just seems like it takes a lot of time.) Sometimes there is some clothes changing involved at the gym, if I am going to include swimming, or if I have chores afterwards and don’t want to wear gym clothes. No matter which way I go, it takes 20 minutes to get to the gym and 20 minutes to get home.

Then there’s all the exercise options and necessities. I really need to keep up my PT exercises for my knees. After my 6 weeks of scheduled physical therapy was done, I often forgot to do the exercises. I could immediately tell the difference. So it is really important for me to do those exercises at least 4X per week. I timed it so I wouldn’t exaggerate. It takes me 22 minutes to go through the PT exercises I do at home.

At the gym there are so many things I enjoy doing. Strength training (including a few PT exercises)–I could easily take as long as 45 minutes with this, but most days I cut it down to 20-30 minutes. I get on the exercise bike for 20-30 minutes. Right now I consider the exercise bike my most important exercise. And then if its a nice day, I can get in the pool. Another 30-40 minutes. Admittedly, this does not happen that often in the winter. It will definitely change as the weather gets warmer, because I do love it, and I love how I feel when I swim (nothing hurts!)

Then there is the after-exercise stuff. Okay, this I would have to do anyway. But I’m still counting it. Because now I’ve been gone for a while, and the dogs are all ready to go for a walk. I take all four of them, and we just stroll (Monk-speed.) So that’s not exactly exercise I guess. Its still moving and its a time-suck, so I’m counting it.

I don’t do all these things every day. I try to make it to the gym at least 4 days a week. Some sessions I am in a hurry, and I only do the bike. On the days I stay home, I take a little longer and more vigorous walk with Noah, and I do my at home PT exercises. And, of course, the evening stroll.

This weekend was Lori’s Heart Healthy Challenge. I really enjoy this. Thanks for organizing it every year, Lori! I pretty much did EVERYTHING I listed above! Pre-walk with Noah. Only 15 quick minutes of strength training. I increased my time on the bike to 40 minutes (did 9 miles) and got in the pool afterward for 25 minutes (24 lengths.) And after a little time at Starbuck’s, headed home for the after-cool down stroll with the doggies. It was a great day.


The end of my heart healthy workout!

I guess my point in even writing this is that exercise is necessary for a whole and healthy life. Changing my attitude and intention towards it makes it that much more enjoyable.


Noah, after his bath. Now THAT was a workout. For both of us.


Ha! That should be extra special from someone who really tries to ignore Valentine’s Day. A couple of things conspired to make this an extra special day for me. First, a friend and I planned to get together today. It wasn’t because of Valentine’s. It was just a day that worked for both of us. Then, Cammy wrote an excellent post about treating yourself well on Valentine’s Day. And then I read Anne Lamott’s post on Facebook about “Occupy Valentine’s Day.” (I really love Ann Lamott. Anyone who wants to be a writer or an artist would be encouraged by listening to her talk. Here’s the latest interview I listened to.) So I decided to enjoy the day. And it was just one of those days where every single thing fell into place just right.

First thing in the morning, I was skimming through my Oprah magazine, and there was an article about how getting rid of clutter could make your whole life feel lighter. So I decided to tackle my “cupboard of shame.” LOL. At least half of the containers and pans and old baking sheets went in boxes to the thrift store, along with more than half of my cookbooks (because really, I get ALL my recipes off the internet these days.) And I cleaned all the shelves, washed some of the dishes, and put them all back so nice and neat. I can get to everything without having a fit and throwing pans everywhere (not that I ever did that…)

Out the door, and I had just enough time for a quick session on the bike at the gym before meeting my friend for lunch. I chose a place that makes the most delicious fresh food, and my ulterior motive was that I knew they had truly wonderful baked goods there, and I had decided that I was going to get myself a special valentine’s dessert for tonight. The salad I chose was so delicious that I ate every single bite of it! Baby greens with apples, dates, bacon, bleu cheese, and walnuts, with poppy seed dressing. That’s a combo I’m going to have to remember!

Back to my friend’s house for a little more visiting and stitching. And then I headed to the Kitchen Store. I’ve had an issue with coffee ever since I came back from Haiti. How come these people in third world countries can make coffee better than I can? I consulted my  coffee guru (Lori) who pointed out, among other things, that it was really important to use water that was hot enough. Ever since then I’ve been making my coffee with my little pour over thingie. Which has made very good coffee. But after knocking it off once and COVERING myself and everything else in the kitchen with coffee grounds, and then knocking it off a second time, and very nearly burning my hand badly, I decided I needed something a little sturdier. They sold me on this little guy (Aerobie AeroPress,) saying that it had beat out much more expensive machines in a blind taste test. Its similar to what I’ve been doing every morning with my pour over, but if I tip it over, I won’t spill coffee grounds or hot water on myself.

THEN, I headed over to Redbox to get my FREE movie for tonight (thanks for the tip, Jill!) And while I was there, I decided to go inside that store and get a quarter pound of dover sole for dinner. Oh. My. Goodness. It is hard to beat good dover sole. Besides the taste, I get to feel virtuous because it is very low in calories.

So that was the best Valentine’s Day I’ve had in a long time. I’m off to drink my tea (TJ’s Candy Cane Green Tea) have my special treat, and watch my movie. I hope you all treated yourself well today and enjoyed yourselves thoroughly. If you did not, tomorrow is not to late!

One Recipe, Three Ways

Cauliflower haters, just look away!


Honestly, that cauliflower potato bake is one of my go-to comfort foods now. At 66 calories a serving, it can’t be beat. (Of course, I seldom eat a single serving…) The recipe came from my health insurance magazine, so I can’t claim credit for creating it.

Anyway, last week I had all the ingredients for it in my fridge. And I had a LOT of leftover ham in the freezer (Christmas ham for one!) So I put them together! I added 8 ounces of lean ham (cut into bite sized pieces) to the original recipe, and added another 1/4 cup of parmesan to the topping. This made it into a main dish (4 servings) at only 220 calories. I’ll add the details to the original recipe.

Okay. But four servings. There’s only me. So one day I decided I wanted eggs. A very rare occurrence, that’s for sure. I took half of one of those cauliflower-potato-ham servings, heated it in a pan sprayed with oil, and added one scrambled egg. YUMM. Another comforting dinner for about 200 calories.

And so it goes. The continuing adventures of finding good enjoyable tasty food to eat for 200-300 calories!

Which, completely unrelated to cauliflower, I was toying with making a pineapple upside down cake for a special occasion. I had cut the recipe out of a magazine. 600 calories a serving! Oh my. I do love pineapple upside down cake. But that is just plain depressing to think of the fall out of eating probably more than one piece of it. So I went to cooking light’s site (I think those folks generally like good tasting food) and searched ‘pineapple upside down cake’ and up popped this recipe for 250 calories. Ahhh. That’s better. I will use the fresh pineapple that I have, but otherwise will probably follow their recipe.


Adventures in Baking

Well, I’ve been at it again. I was trying to clean house, and I ran across a cookbook I had gotten at the thrift store. A book with a new dessert recipe for every day of the year ( A Year of Diet Desserts.) Oh saints preserve us. But it actually had very low calorie recipes in it. It was written in 1987, so has some of the typical cooking that seemed to be popular in that era. Very low fat. A LOT of separating of egg white from yolks, and then whipping the whites and folding them back in. I guess this is to make volume? The author also used minimal sweeteners, and almost exclusively used honey for the sweetener in her recipes.

The first one I tried was a smashing success. It was Perfect Pineapple Sauce. Very simple, and only four ingredients.

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple (in its own juice)

Just combine the first 3 in a pan over medium heat until blended. Add the pineapple and continue to cook until thickened. Only 15 calories per tablespoon.

So far I’ve had it on an english muffin (with just a bit of that yogurt cheese.) Two Yumms up!

And I had it with some cottage cheese and a few walnuts. Also tres delicieux.


A few pages over they had a recipe for “squash pudding.” Now that sounded interesting. And I had WAY too much butternut squash in the fridge. Well, this was one of those recipes where you had to whip the egg whites. Way too much work. And then I realized that it was pretty much substituting squash for pumpkin, and I could kind of follow my pumpkin custard recipe. I varied it a bit, and it is very enjoyable. And VERY low cal. Check out the recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Pudding here.

If you recall, I bought pre-sliced apples and blueberries for the quilt show reception, and then never put them out. What to do, what to do? Well, I made a batch of apple blueberry baked oatmeal. Very yumm. This is a pared down baked oatmeal, very low fat, but full of fruit. Click here to see my Bare Bones Baked Oatmeal recipe.


I still had some blueberries, so I made another batch of my Bare Bones Blueberry Scones. I likee!

And lastly, I am very sorry I do not have a picture of this. Because it was SOOOOOO good. I had a hankering for some lasagna. It started with that yogurt that turned into ricotta. And then I ended up not putting that yogurt ricotta into it. Anyway, it was a single serving, and you know how much I like that. I weighed out half a portion of whole wheat lasagna noodles (which turned out to be one piece,) and broke it into 4 pieces. I had one serving of my Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce in the freezer. I measured out 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, and I had one low fat mozzarella cheese stick left in the fridge. And then I took a zucchini and sliced it long-ways (throwing away the core with the seeds.) I found a single serving pyrex bowl, and I just layered all those ingredients (yes, just the dry lasagna noodle,) and topped with the mozzarella cheese stick that I had grated. Covered with foil, and baked at 350 for about 45 minutes. It was a big serving. I could probably have called it two servings, but I ate the whole thing. About 385 most worthy calories.

Don’t worry. I did not eat all these things in one day. All the baked goods are portioned out and are in the freezer for easy convenient breakfasts.