Cooking Quinoa with MQM

Yes, I have already trademarked the post title for later use!

Since I promised you all 3 posts before my next weigh-in post on 3/15/2015 I thought I would use one of those posts a bit differently than usual. It goes without saying that Michelle has been incredibly supportive of this process, but, she has really been an all-star in the nutrition department as we work together to find healthy, simple to fix, meals. One of our favorite new staple ingredients has become Quinoa. We’ve used it to replace pasta and rice in a lot of dishes and have discovered several new recipes along the way.

Two of our favorite new recipes that find there way in our menu plan at least once every two weeks are One Pan Mexican Quinoa and Garlic Butter Shrimp and Quinoa. I’ve included links to both of the recipes below as well as any changes we’ve made.

http://damndelicious.net/2014/04/09/one-pan-mexican-quinoa/

We actually follow this recipe as it’s written.

http://pinchofyum.com/garlic-butter-shrimp-quinoa

For this recipe, we only use 2 tablespoons of salted butter while cooking the shrimp and use lemon juice to flavor the entire dish after cooking instead of melted butter.

Both of these dishes leave us with, at most, two pots/pans, a cutting board, and a knife to clean up after cooking. As written, they also provide multiple meals for each of us throughout the week.

Using Quinoa has left me feeling full longer and with increased energy versus the pasta or rice we have been using before. Both of these dishes are incredibly simple to make, enjoy, and clean up!

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Some Big Steps Forward, Some Small Steps Back…

I owe you all a major update, I know! Thanks to Bryan Alger for calling me out on it this weekend.

My last weigh-in was Friday, 2/20/2015. That day, I weighed in at 318.60. In total, that represents 23.4 pounds lost since 1/11/2015. I didn’t wait until Sunday to weigh-in that week as I would be in Ocean City celebrating a friend’s 30th birthday. Now, this is where you think the small steps back come in right, but, that’s not exactly true. While I certainly didn’t work out that weekend, my food choices weren’t horrible and I don’t feel as if they had a huge negative effect. The small steps back actually came when I returned home Sunday evening.

As you all know by now, I’m going through an exciting, but, major transition in my career at the moment. This past week was my final one with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington before I take a bit of time off before starting with Acumen. I was just off in this journey this entire week. My workouts were poor to non-existent and my nutrition left a lot to be desired. Overall, my total caloric intake wasn’t horrible, but, the quality of the “healthy foods” I ate could have been much better. With Michelle travelling for work, I had sandwiches for lunch and dinner several days. Everything was whole wheat and turkey, but, I could definitely feel my body missing the nutrients that I had become accustomed to getting from the wholesome, nutritious meals we’d been eating for the past 6 weeks. The lethargic feelings I was experiencing before starting this journey appeared again and absolutely changed my week.

I do think I made it through the week without too much damage, but didn’t make the progress I would have liked too either.

This weekend I’m heading to Wintergreen to celebrate several birthdays with a group of great friends. I have decided to do some grocery shopping outside of the group shopping trip to help myself out. I’ve learned a lot about moderation and variety, but, I think I just need to take a step back and challenge myself to be pretty concise and selective on my food choices in an environment that may not be the simplest to do so. I’m still going to enjoy myself, I’m still going to enjoy the incredible company of the great people there, but, I know I need to do this for myself right now.

Lastly, I’m struggling to stick to any sort of lifting program in the gym. I really want to get in, knock out three or four heavy, compound movements 3 times and week and keep it moving. Any suggestions?

My next weigh-in post will come on Sunday, 3/15/2015. With that being said, I’m committing to three more posts between now and then. Hold me to it, make sure I show up!

A sentence on weight loss…A lot more to be said….

I had my best week on this journey last week. Nutrition, water, workouts, sleep (okay, sleep improved but it’s still not where it should be), it was a great week. I’m actually incredibly excited to see the number on the scale on Sunday, but, much more excited about the progress I can see and feel and watching my belt loops move in the right direction!

Now, with that update out of the way, I’m incredibly excited to announce that I’ve accepted a job offer with a mid-size consulting firm in the DC Metro area. I have truly loved my time with Boys & Girls Clubs, the mission, and serving youth in the amazing way the Club allows us too, but, it’s time for a new challenge. I’ll finish my time with the Club at the end of February and start this new adventure the second week of March.

This new opportunity will provide me with so many great experiences. I’m going to be working with a lot of leading edge technology, learning an entirely new business model, and adding new dimensions to my professional and personal skill sets. I’m absolutely thrilled with this next step and, while I know it will present new challenges, am confident moving forward. I definitely think that my success and support on my health journey has begun to carry over into every other part of my life.

With that being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of you for your support in this process, but, especially in this post, the amazing acquaintances, colleagues, and friends that have played a role in my professional and personal life during my time with the Clubs. Many of my co-workers have become friends who have shared some of the most important days of my life and I have no doubt that this will continue regardless of the ways in which our paths continue to cross.

Here’s to the next step in my journey…

Weighing-In on an Off Week

My most recent weigh-in took place on Sunday, 2/1/2015. I weighed in at 330.00, representing a 12.0 pound loss since I began this journey on 1/11/2015. I’m okay with this number, but, I definitely still see ways to become more efficient and effective in this process.

I feel like things have been a little bit off this past week. I don’t know if I’m out of rhythm or just feeling under the weather (I finally went to the doctor on Saturday to get an antibiotic for the sinus infection I’ve been battling for a week. It was never extremely painful, just, well irritating.). During the previous two weeks I felt GREAT about water, nutrition, and workouts. Last week I only feel as if I did great around water intake and nutrition. Workouts definitely left something to be desired. I did have a better week as it relates to regular sleep patterns, but, certainly struggled a bit due to forcing myself to be up, and stay up, earlier each morning. I’m hopeful that continuing that trend and my body starting to be more accepting of earlier mornings (and falling asleep earlier) helps eliminate some of the lethargic feelings I experienced last week.

I definitely had a few moments that I had to remind myself that this journey is a process. I never felt like I was moving backwards, but, honestly, at times felt like I wasn’t moving forward, only standing still.

You know, I have to be honest, that’s part of the promise I made to you all. I went to the gym in our building directly before I wrote this post. I went through the motions for the first 10 minutes but never committed to the workout and left. As soon as I hit submit I’m heading back to the gym upstairs to finish what I started. I don’t know why, but, putting these words “on paper” and expressing the challenges has allowed me to re-focus in just a few minutes. Perhaps “telling myself” it’s a process and I’ll need to push through the challenges wasn’t enough, perhaps I needed to see it “on paper” before I personally grasped that.

It’s true, perspective is a powerful thing!

More posts and more sleep…

I know, I know. I said that I wanted to increase my post frequency and so far I haven’t yet conquered that goal. The other goal I want to work toward this week is developing a somewhat normal sleep schedule. While I do feel great about my nutrition and workouts, I KNOW that my lack of sleep and erratic sleep schedule is slowing my progress. I was also a bit under the weather this weekend and didn’t get in a great weekend workout. With that being said, I’m feeling much better today and believe, with a good night’s sleep, I’ll be completely kicked whatever is currently bugging me.

I will say that I had lots of success increasing my water intake last week. I’ve maintained a gallon of water a day for the past 10 days and certainly notice a difference. I believe water truly is the best way to manage any sort of craving of hunger issues.

Water, food, and workouts on-track. Sleep to come this week. I’ll also be finalizing my lifting schedule this week. I’ll definitely share when it’s complete.

That’s it, a short post today as my birthday dinner of chicken breast and baked sweet potato fries is coming out of the oven soon!

Weekly Weigh-In & More…

This week’s weigh-in was delayed one day as I spent part of the long weekend at home in Page County. With that said, today I weighed in at 337.80. This is a 4.20 pounds loss this week, or, 1.23% loss. I’d classify this as a good, but not great, number as, at my starting weight, I’m planning to lose between 3 and 5 pounds of weight each week for the first 2 to 3 months.

With that out of the way, I am pleased with the way I handled the time in Page County. While my options were not as healthy as I would have liked, I feel like I made great choices in the environment and stayed within my calorie count frame for each meal/snack throughout the weekend. The only exception to this statement is likely Saturday night as I went out to eat with friends. In the past, this would have absolutely been a trap for me. I would have likely splurged and “re-started” several days later. This weekend though I was intentional in reminding myself that it was only one meal coming off a week of very clean and planned eating with a great workout already completed for the day. I had a great meal with great friends and was ready to make the right choices for breakfast on Sunday morning without any guilt.

Throughout the first two weeks of this journey I have been strictly focusing on simple cardio (walk/jog, elliptical, stationary bike, etc), but, I’ve decided that I’ll be adding in 3 days of total-body lifting utilizing big, compound movements beginning in February. I haven’t completed my plan yet but I’ll let you all know once I do. Developing a cardio routine has been great and very important for me as part of this process though. It’s helped eliminate any lethargic feelings I may have had and kept me moving on a consistent basis. I’m definitely looking forward to adding some heavy weight into the routine in February though.

Finally, I definitely want to increase my post frequency to at least twice/week. If you read this and haven’t seen another post by Friday night call me out on it. It may only be a few words to say all is well, but, with each new week comes new goals.

Goals, Good Company, and More…

As I previously mentioned, I’m not sure how often I’ll update this blog. Truly, I don’t even have any great insight to write about at this point, but, just as I’ve made a commitment to this process, I know that many of you have made a commitment to me of support and I want to ensure I honor that with regular updates.

I did weigh in for a “starting weight” on Sunday, 1/11/2015. As of this past Sunday, I stood at exactly 342.0. I’m the first to state that body fat vs. lean mass, clothes, and pictures are often times much better indicators long-term in this process, but, the reality is, the first step is to lose some serious fat (weight). I do think that I will weigh-in and update that number on Sundays, but, I’m not going to throw out a goal or a specific timeline at this point. Obviously, I’m looking for progress, but, that number is likely to fluctuate pretty wildly per week for the first 2 to 3 months of this process. I plan to re-evaluate this after I am under 300.0 and create a more tangible timeline and weight loss per week goal.

Overall, the past week has been great. While, as I mentioned, I’m not tracking each and every calorie at this point, my nutrition has been on point and I’ve stuck to my planned menu 100%. I’d like to add in one more workout per week (I got in 4 last week) and again, develop some very specific plans/workouts/etc. I am really focusing on hitting the 21 day mark of clean, healthy eating before adding in additional workouts/having a specific plan in the gym.

I was very pleased with my efforts during two social events over the past weekend. I successfully avoided any ¬†snacks/appetizers outside of my plan and maintained the alcohol intake that I’ve committed too. Yes, I know alcohol can wreak havoc on a diet, yes, I know the body stops metabolism of everything else until it processes the alcohol, yes, I know no alcohol is the “perfect route” to go. With all that said, eliminating a social drink while out with friends is not a long-term reality and I refuse to set myself up for failure later in the game. I’ve eliminated all beer, mixers, and sugary drinks from my options. Personally, I prefer a good bourbon or whiskey over these anyway and will still allow myself to have one of those, on the rocks, only.

Lots of rambling, not so many goals, and little insight, but as promised, I’m showing up.