Saturday, February 22, 2014

Weigh In Weds.... err... Saturday

Pretty much since the beginning of my weight loss journey with Jenny Craig my weigh ins have always been on Wednesdays. I decided to change the day because as office manager I don't always get out right at my lunch time and it was becoming stressful for me. Also, due to my workout schedule I always felt like I was retaining water in muscle soreness the night before my weigh in's. Since moving to Saturday I've been doing well but I've come to the conclusion that I have not been eating enough calories for my much busier exercise schedule.

This week's weight loss was AWESOME!! I was down 2.6 pounds today weighing in at 191.8 pounds

This is actually more exciting to me than hitting onederland the second time. I'm about 5 pounds away from my lowest weight which I hit in June 2013.

This week I was ravenous!!! I was constantly hungry and my normal strategies weren't working. What are my normal strategies to decipher between mental hunger and physical hunger?
1. Drink a 32 oz. mug of water to see if I still fell hungry after
2. Drink some warm broth
3. Eat a string cheese or other low cal. snack to see if my hunger persists
4. Get up and walk around the office and see if I still feel hungry

If I had been at home I would have made some green beans or some other non-starchy veggie to fill the void but these attacks were happening in the middle of my workday. Frankly, I HATE veggies. The ones I have learned to love I only enjoy fresh out of the oven. I'm progressing but it's still hard for me.
I ate this week around 1500/1600 calories a day on average. And that resulted in a much bigger loss than last week when I ate between 1200/1400 calories per day and lost about half a pound. My body was getting thrown into starvation mode and holding onto my weight.

So, I may up my calories on myfitnesspal to 1500. I am nervous about doing it but I think it's what I need. I'm not quite certain that my Up band records my calorie burn as accurately as before. I'm lusting over the polar watch but I don't know enough about them yet. What model would work best for me? Will I wear it and utilize it enough to make it worth the money?... I think so but I'd love to know more so if any of you have one please give me your input.

Maybe I'll put that on my birthday wish list.

Friday, February 21, 2014

C25K Update

I'm back on my training schedule... on what exact schedule I don't know yet... but it felt GREAT to run today. I've been neglecting my c25k for a few reasons.

1) HIP HOP!! It's consuming my exercise life. I like it, I love it, can't get enough of it. The people are great and frankly, it's more fun. My friend Jill wrote me the sweetest card the other day just encouraging me and thanking me for helping to encourage her at the same time. I sat in my car reading it and crying. I was so touched and thankful for meeting these awesome people.

At hip hop in my Color Me Rad 5k shirt!!! Best of both worlds

2) Guilt... not guilt about running but guilt about not spending enough time with Moctar and Henna. Also guilt for always having my parents watch Henna. Yes, I know they love spending time with her but we all have busy schedules. But I also don't want to sacrifice exercising. It's the ultimate stress relief right now and I've come to rely on my daily sessions.

Sometimes Henna goes to hip hop... sometimes Mama then goes crazy... LOL
Who wouldn't want to spend every waking minute with these two??

3) I'd had a horrible cold and was having a hard time breathing through all the congestion.

I was a little nervous going into it today. Week 4 is where the intervals get longer but it was remarkably easy. I didn't look at my phone obsessively trying to figure out how much longer until I could walk. My legs didn't hurt and I wasn't gasping for breath.

Here is my at our hip hop demo tonight:

My 5k is coming up on April 12th. I'm getting more and more excited and scared!! But I'll keep running even if I can only get it in on the weekends. Here is my photo from last October... my first 5k and was the same Color Me Rad that I'll be doing this April. My husband is signed up but I don't know if he'll be able to just due to school to work.

Monday, February 17, 2014


My mom makes delicious enchiladas and I was craving them so bad. I made some substitutions and made a version of enchiladas. I used some extra rice from the night before but I included ways to lighten this recipe even more. But I made three VERY filling enchiladas that lasted me from an early lunch to a late dinner with hip hop in-between.

Enchiladas (total meal: 600 calories) SUPER filling

3 soft flour tortillas (Old El Paso brand)
Green chile enchilada sauce (or red if you prefer)
½ c 2% Milk shredded Colby jack cheese

4 oz. chicken tenderloins cooked in pam seasoned with Taco Seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder (shredded)
2 tbsp sour cream
Green chiles (small can)
¼ c. chicken flavor rice side (Knorr brand made with no butter or oil)

Mix together the shredded chicken, chiles, sour cream and rice

Spray pan with Pam and put a layer of enchilada sauce at the bottom of dish

Fill tortillas with mixture, roll and place in pan

Cover with enchilada sauce and top with cheese. Bake 15-30 minutes at 350º

**To make lighter – don’t add rice, use 1 tbsp sour cream vs. 2 (or greek yogurt) and only ¼ c of cheese (or cheese free, dare you... not me... I love cheese). You could even make two enchiladas with about 2 oz of chicken. But as I said this kept my REALLY full. It was a great lunch on a busy day.

I would also make a side of grilled onions and bell peppers :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

F^@& You Steven Tyler

I would have been 36 weeks pregnant today. My original due date was March 12th and a c-section was planned for the week prior to that date. Deep down I know that part of the reason I've been able to throw myself so hard into my fitness and health again is in an attempt to focus my efforts on not thinking about what could have been.

Life these days is not a sad afterthought. I am living. I am full of joy and each day I find something to appreciate. But I still can't help thinking about my sweet angel. Just as I was pulling onto my parent's street the Aerosmith song "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" came on. I sat in my car in their driveway, moved to tears by the words and really remembering that night. At the time it felt like such a blur, in slow motion and fast forward all at once. It's not an easily described sensation but that's the closest I can get.

"I don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

I don't wanna miss one smile
I don't wanna miss one kiss
Well, I just wanna be with you
Right here with you, just like this

I just wanna hold you close
Feel your heart so close to mine
And just stay here in this moment
For all the rest of time

Don't wanna close my eyes
Don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
'Cause I'd still miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing"

As I was laying practically tilted upside down I couldn't sleep. I just wanted to take it all in. I wanted to cherish the last kicks and movements that I would ever feel from my son. It wasn't until my water fully broke the next morning that I couldn't feel him anymore. Instead of me looking down at him in my arms he would be the one looking down at me. It felt so strange leaving the hospital. I wanted to get home as soon as possible but leaving meant not being able to hold him anymore. The pictures are nice but they don't do it justice. Of course my original due date would coincide with the wonderful hormone swing that comes once a month. So, no, I don't really hate Steven Tyler but he sure gave me a good cry tonight.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Doctor, Doctor

Yesterday I had my yearly visit... you know, that one we (women) dread ALL year long? The one where you spend more time sitting in the waiting room and then even more time half naked under a glorified paper napkin waiting for the 2 minute check... that one.

I had originally scheduled this at the very beginning of the year but with all the chaos at work and the fact that they don't give appointment reminder calls, I completely blanked and didn't show up. I felt horrible and called apologetic. The front desk lady was great and basically said it was no big deal. But still... I work in our family dental office... I know how much of a pain it can be when someone doesn't show up or cancels at the last minute.

Regardless, I rescheduled for a later date and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't go on that date either as my monthly visitor decided to drop in. So AGAIN I rescheduled and actually didn't forget about this appointment. All morning I started thinking way too much. I hadn't been to the office since my postpartum check after losing Alhassan. I started remembering all too vividly that day and I had to hold back tears as I was still sitting at my own workplace.

My OB office is right across from our office. I literally just walk to the other side of the parking lot and I'm there. I was on time but I wasn't seen right away. This was BAD for me as I just kept thinking. I kept asking myself why. They weighed me and then finally put me in a room. I had never been in that room before and I was thankful for that. I could hear the mumbled voices in the next room... the same room where an associate Doctor examined me and found on the ultrasound that my cervix was already dilating. The room where he had to give me the news that I was going to be admitted into the hospital right then and there. Part of me wanted to bolt. I didn't want to break down into tears because honestly I've really been keeping my head up and I didn't want it to seem like I was still a ball of nerves, because I'm not (not that there is anything wrong with that... the grieving process and duration is different for everyone)

Finally, the door opened and my doctor came in. He noticed right away that I've lost weight and he was very supportive without sounding like, "Thank God, because you REALLY needed to lose it". He was sincere. We talked a lot and he asked if we had thought anymore about when we might try again and I said not really seeing as husband is in school and we want to be able to visit Niger first. Now, I still think about getting pregnant again ALL the time but that's a different story.

Thankfully, everything looked normal and I was on my way home. Relieved that nothing was wrong and glad to be out of the office.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Daily Motivation

Why is motivation so hard sometimes?

I think at the beginning the journey seems so insurmountable. At my heaviest I weighed in at 271 pounds.

At my first visit at Jenny Craig they asked me what my goal weight was. I chose 190. To me, just being under 200 lbs seemed like a HUGE deal (and it has and has been in my journey) but it also had been many years since I remembered what 190 pounds looked like on me.

All of the women in this picture weigh 154 pounds but it looks so different on each body type. 

Most people can pinpoint one defining moment when they realized that they were tired of being tired. I really started this journey for a few reasons. First, I have always been a happy person. No matter weight I was I always had more positives in my life and didn't get down on myself. I used to be athletic, a soccer player. I was still bigger than other girls my age but I was muscular and active. It was only during the end of high school when I stopped playing soccer that my body began to change in ways I didn't like.

Once I got back from the Peace Corps I put on a lot of weight very quickly. It made sense as I was consuming a TON of calories and was no longer walking or biking everywhere. I also sat at work, sat at home and then went to sleep. Not a good way to burn all those extra calories. During and after having my daughter I just kept gaining and I began to think a lot about all the things I saw and heard from my mother and grandmother growing up in regards to health and weight. All these messages about how to treat food or ourselves. Food was cherished but we put ourselves down in the dressing room.

I didn't want my daughter to see me struggle with that and if I had kept going the way I was she surely would have seen me cry in a changing room just like I saw my own mom. So I changed to better my future, to be a good example and to feel like my old athletic self again. After my two hour hip hop class I'm definitely feeling the aches and pains of being an athlete again but it's also amazing to feel that healthy inner glow again.

But, what do you do when just wake up in a funk? How do you make yourself do what you know is the best choice on a daily basis? Well, sorry to report I haven't mastered that yet. There are still days when I let my cravings get the best of me but this life is about PROGRESS and not perfection. The sooner you realize that perfection is unobtainable the sooner you'll be able to relax and enjoy the twists and turns.

For example for any Biggest Loser fans, this year's winner was shockingly gaunt on the live finale. At first she started "too fat" and now she's being criticized for being too thin. You can't win for losing sometimes. So daily:

1) Evaluate what you did to better yourself the day before

2) Identify weaknesses you had earlier and figure out how to avoid that situation again (i.e. don't take the bag of goldfish downstairs... just count out the serving and put into a bowl)

3) Take tons of photos!! Some days you don't see any difference... until you look at photographic evidence

4) When you feel in a rut, make yourself try something new. There are tons of resources on the web or with gaming/video systems to work out

5) Surround yourself with motivational quotes, pictures, and people!! Every day when I log into my instagram account I see what my other weight loss travelers are eating and doing and it kicks me in the tush

6) Realize when you need a rest. Scheduling will help with this. I started with a really different workout schedule but I've added more and it's become more chaotic. I need to get back to writing it out and STICKING to it
7) Remember that you don't have to be a gym rat to be active! I started losing weight by playing Just Dance and built up from there.

I have also kept an old pair of jeans from when I first started Jenny Craig. Sometimes I slip into them and look at just how far I have come.

P.S. my UP band is the blue bracelet in the picture

I also have a list of goals I want to achieve and rewards I'll get for myself when I achieve them. I also have an UP band and am looking into a Polar watch. These gadgets help me challenge myself and push to beat my step goals each day. I honestly feel so much more energy and it's not as much of an effort as it used to be. What used to feel like a chore now feels like a comforting activity that's fun and in a group setting. I'm actually pretty shy but going to hip hop has helped me come out of my shell and share with people who are enjoying the same activity as I am.

What helps you stay motivated?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spicy Rutabaga Fries

Well, I have gotten around to my post about my motivations yet but, I will! I had a successful rest day but am back at hip hop. I even took Henna tonight. I should have taped her. The first class I took her too she was so shy she didn't dance but this time ... dance she did. I'm glad she had fun but it was hard for me to go on like normal because I wanted to make sure she didn't get in front of anybody. I didn't get there early enough to nab the very front spot so all she could dance next to was the mirror.
But fun was had...
And food was crushed... Chipotle to be specific... this African girl loves her some rice and beans (and chicken)

While on Jenny Craig there is great emphasis among the people on the forums to get to know and love non-starchy veggies. Well, I've never been a fan of vegetables… let alone the non-starchy ones. I LOVE potatoes but of course those aren’t a free one. At the beginning I wasn’t very adventurous. All I ever made were green beans. But little by little I needed something more to keep me full or to help with salty cravings. I had never heard of a rutabaga in my life but people on the forums were making them into French fries. I needed to try it. The first time I went to the grocery store I didn’t know the difference and ended up buying turnips. They’re smaller and easier to peel and cut than rutabaga and have a similar flavor. They are also non-starchy and can be made into fries with this same recipe.

So, as promised... here is my recipe for SPICY RUTABAGA:

Heat oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with foil.

Peel and slice your rutabaga (or turnips)
            ** Rutabaga can be pretty large and hard to cut through so have a good knife
     or a strong arm to get through it. I found some smaller ones at Giant Eagle.
     Turnips are easier to work with, FYI.

In a bowl, spray the fries with Pam (I use Pam Olive Oil)
Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and toss to coat evenly

I use – garlic powder (or minced garlic), season salt, cayenne pepper, and onion powder. I like them spicy.

Bake between 45-60 minutes. In order to get rid of the crunchiness they need to bake longer but depending on size sometimes they get too burnt for me. I suggest monitoring every 5-10 minutes after the first 30 minutes in the oven since everybody’s oven is different. I burnt my first batch of turnips over five minutes unattended… whoops. Turn once around 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Color Me Rad Training and Battling Negative Talk

C25K Week 4 and Battling Negative Talk

Sunday morning I woke up pumped. I was ready to jump out of bed, get dressed and go running. I hadn’t done my c25k training all week long with all the extra hip hop classes I did. It was a WEIRD week with all the cancellations at work due to weather and other craziness at work as well. I really needed the dancing so I’m glad I did it.

I was ready to head off to the rec center and I got to thinking that their hours were probably different it being Sunday and all. Good thing I looked because the track didn’t open until 10 and it was only 8:30AM. I contemplated running outside, I even headed out and got started until the drizzle and slippery sidewalks made me hightail it back inside.

So about 10:45 I headed off to the rec center for week 4. I started getting nervous. I hadn’t run in a week and week 4 is where it starts to get longer intervals. I had gotten a glance at the intervals when I started my warm up outside. Week 4 consists of warm up walk, jog 3 minutes then walk a minute and a half, jog 5 minutes then walk 2 minutes and a half and REPEAT then cool down.

The negative thoughts set in… “It’s a lot of running” “You’re still too slow” “My feet hurt a lot”. I got into the rec center and found many more people than I was expecting for a Sunday morning. “I can’t run with so many people to dodge” Blah, blah, blah! I reluctantly got started and surprisingly hit a really good stride. I wasn’t even glancing at my phone to see how much longer until I could walk.

By the time I was halfway through I couldn’t believe it. I managed to run over two miles and even got a 13-minute mile! That’s my fastest time since restarting. On my way home I felt strong and energized and sheepish! Why did I almost talk myself out of doing something that I knew I could do, that I knew would make me feel good? These are the mental games that I still play on myself. I don’t know at won’t point I won’t do that to myself anymore… maybe I’ll always have to fight against those thoughts.

Pushing through the excuses and all of the reasons to NOT do something will help you to appreciate your results more. I used to let many things STOP me but now I'm doing my best to find other solutions to the problems that arise.

In order to stave off these negative thoughts I’ve been surrounding myself with positive people, people who have similar goals in mind, similar interests. I’ve been reading so much and am looking to buy The Beck Diet Solution. I’ve heard great reviews about this book helping to change your mentality towards food. I’m not even into self-help books but this one looks good. I’ve also been looking up motivational quotes and pictures and using them for my own posts on instagram (@faizayagi).

Tomorrow I'll address motivation and what keeps ME going each day:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's Not too Late for a Superbowl Recipe, Right?

I guess that depends on how fast you can get out to the store. I'm not going to lie... I've never been a fan of the Super Bowl... or football in general. I just don't get it. Soccer, yes... basketball, yes... hell, even hockey but never got football. And I haven't even found the commercials entertaining enough to sit through halftime either. Sorry, I'm lame.

But I am a fan of cooking and hosting a small get together. My favorite recipe to make in groups is Fiesta Chicken. It can be used as a dip with chips, taco/burrito/enchilada filling, a salad topper or just by eaten by itself. Which is handy because this recipe yields A LOT of chicken cheesy deliciousness. AND it's a crock pot recipe which makes its simplicity even better.

What you'll need:

A Crockpot :)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
Seasoning (I usually use garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and poultry seasoning as well as salt and pepper)
1 can seasoned black beans (drained)
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 jar of your favorite salsa (I use Pace Picante chunky salsa Medium)
         **Chunky salsa is a little better for texture otherwise I'd use Jack's salsa from Kroger
1 brick of cream cheese
1-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (I sometimes use a mexican blend cheese)

1. Season your chicken breasts on both sides and place in bottom of crock pot
2. Top chicken with black beans, then the corn, and finally the salsa
3. Season the mixture on top of the chicken and gently stir those together (you could do this in a
    separate bowl if it's easier for you
4. On high heat leave for 3-6 hours
5. Test your chicken with a fork and if it easily separates, use two forks to shred the chicken breasts
    while still in the crock pot set on low heat or warm mode
6. 30 minutes prior to serving - place the brick of cream cheese on top of the shredded chicken mixture
    and cover with the shredded cheese (don't stir) and leave on low/warm
7. Just before serving stir in the melted cheese and ENJOY

It's the dip right next to the bread in the checkered cloth. It was YUMMY.

Look for my recipe for spicy rutabaga/turnip fries on Thursday

Valentine's Day Challenge

I've taken to reading a lot of weight loss journey blogs and a constant thread in all of them is goal setting. I've never been a goal setter, why is that? For one, I'm not usually organized enough. I have the motivation and the strength to achieve things I want but I usually do what I want on the whim in an instant. For example, after living with my parents while just married I decided one day that it was time for an apartment. I went out the next day and signed a lease after looking at 5 different places. I wanted to get a bigger car... looked at my dealership online, picked it out and went and traded in my car the same day. See?

But, on the other hand, when we host challenges on the Jenny Craig forums I jump at the excitement I get from setting a goal and then seeing how close I get to it or how much I can surpass it. I've been thinking about setting monthly goals but I'm still deciding if I'll be making a whole post about those goals or not. For now, I'll share my goals and progress from our V-Day challenge.

- Weigh in at 192 on challenge end date 2/14 (I'll be weighing in on the 15th... my NEW weigh in days
   will be Saturdays)
- Go to rec center 3x week
- Get to week 6 in C25K app
- Complete weekly meal plan at the beginning of the week (this was Wednesday for me as it
   commenced my new week starting from weigh in date)
- Stick to the meals on my own that I pick
- Add in more veggies
- STAY in onederland

**These days I rarely weigh in daily. At the beginning of my weight loss journey I was definitely scale obsessed. That can either hinder or help you. Luckily for me it helped me but I wasn't immune to letting the scale get me down certain days. During the challenge I do try to weigh in near to the same time but sometimes I forget because:

Start date/weight: 12-26-13 -- 202.4 lbs
12/27 -- 199.6
12/28 -- 201
12/29 -- 199.8
12/30 -- 200.4
12/31 -- 199.2
01/01 -- 199.8  Total of 9 inches lost in the month of December
01/07 -- 198.8
01/08 -- 200.6
01/14 -- 198.2
01/15 -- 198.4
01/16 -- 197.8
01/22 -- 199.4
01/23 -- 197.6
01/26 -- 195.6
01/28 -- 198.4
01/29 -- 196.6
01/31 -- 194.4

There's 12 days left to lose weight in this challenge so where am I at on my goals so far?

As you can see scale wise I'm getting close to my challenge goal of 192 but there's some things that I need to control better in order to get there. Primarily, stress eating. This past week being short staffed at work has caused my stress level through the roof and I've gone a little overboard with my old friend, chinese food. Now, you REALLY CAN eat anything in life... but only when it's controlled. I went with a coworker to a buffet and ate too much. Granted, not as much as I have in the past but it was still too much.

That threw off my workout plans. I've left my c25k training (which takes place at the indoor track at the rec center) this week and opted for more hip hop. Don't get me wrong I LOVE HIP HOP but I can't turn to it to try and rectify overeating. So my goal of going to the rec center 3x week didn't happen this week but it did the previous weeks. But, I did go to hip hop FIVE times this week... including two in a row yesterday.

This week has also been the first of the challenge where I haven't successfully written out my weekly meal plan. But I also have the advantage of having more Jenny Craig food this week so it takes less planning when I can scan in my main meals and then just add in veggies/fruit/snack/dairy as needed.

I've done great at adding in more veggies. I made some deliciously spicy rutabaga fries and bought some turnips to make fries out of as well. Lots of green beans and just YUM:

Most importantly I have STAYED in onederland!!! I'd say I'm about 85% complete on my challenge goals. More on this later as this post IS LONG.

Thanks for anyone out there reading and leave a girl a comment on things you want to know more about or any advice you might have. You can also email me at