Wednesday, 17 April 2013

So close!

My height is 5' 1¾" (I knew I was a little under 5'2", but I measured a few days ago to know for sure).

The BMI formula is: BMI = [weight in lbs./(height in inches)²] x 703

This means that for me to move out of "obese" status and into "overweight", my weight needs to be 162.7 lbs. or under.

My weigh-in this morning?  162.8 lbs.

So close! (Fingers crossed for next week!)

p.s. The LilySlim tracker on the right only considers height to the nearest whole inch (62 inches) which is why the slider shows a BMI of 29.8, but my actual BMI at 61¾" is 30.0.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A few recipe reviews from JM "Fat Burning Meal Plan"

Over the past few days I've been making good use of Jillian Michaels' Fat Burning Meal Plan recipe book that came with the Body Revolution workout (I know, I talk about her plan a lot.  I'm beginning to feel like I'm advertising for her, but I swear - I am receiving NO MONEY to talk about it!).  I originally didn't bother with these recipes when I was doing Body Revolution because on first glance, like, whoa.  Each recipe seems to have so many ingredients, and ingredients I'd either never heard of or thought there was no way my local grocery store in my teeny town of less than 1,000 people would even carry those things.

Did you know:
  • scallions = green onion?  (apparently it is simply U.S. vs. Canada lingo)
  • capers are not found in the produce section but in the pickles/olives section?
  • tamari tahini (oops)
Small lessons, but all in the goal of becoming a better, healthier cook.

Anyway, it turns out that all the recipes I've tried so far were actually fairly simple to put together.  They did take time (lots of prep and chopping), but the results so far have been, for the most part, very tasty and satisfying.  I have followed the meal plan for the past 5 days and have had no urge to eat anything other than what is on the plan.

The meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner.  The calorie and rough Weight Watchers points breakdown looks something like this:
  • Breakfast:  250 calories (6 to 7 WW points)
  • Lunch:  400 calories (10 to 12 WW points)
  • Snack: 150 calories (4 WW points)
  • Dinner:  400 calories (10 to 12 WW points)
For a total of 1,200 calories per day and an average of 28-30 WW points.

In regard to the WW points (for those who are familiar with WW), it should be noted that I have entered all the recipes into the Recipe Builder, so all the fruit and vegetables in the recipes are counted points-wise.

Here are my thoughts on the recipes I've tried so far, especially for anyone who has the meal plan book and hasn't tried them out yet.  And because I'm too lazy to type them all out myself, throughout I will provide links to the recipes other people have already typed out for anyone else who wants to try them (thanks random people who already did the work!).


First of all, I already mentioned that I baked all 3 of the different breakfast muffins from the book the other day (Banana Blueberry, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and Pumpkin Cranberry).  The pumpkin-cranberry muffin is my favourite one BY FAR!  It is perfectly moist and has a great flavour.  I love, love, love this muffin.  The other two were simply "meh".  I found them both quite dry, so if I make them again I will maybe add some apple sauce or something to the recipes to try to moisten them up a bit.

I also tried the Steel-Cut Oats with Apples and Pecans.  So, so good!  I've made similar steel-cut oats & apples recipes before, but I've never had them combined with a touch of maple syrup.  It's a nice flavour.  I will definitely be making this one often.

And finally I made up a batch of Quinoa Crunch to combine with greek yogurt and berries.  I'm not sure about this one.  I like the flavour of the Crunch, but I found it impossible to actually chew and just ended up with lots of quinoa and flaxseed stuck in my teeth.  I have enough left over for 7 more servings so I will use it up, but I'm not sure whether I will make it again.


What felt like the biggest undertaking of all the recipes was the Roasted or Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce (I roasted mine).  Soooooo many vegetables to roast!  But the preparation was fairly easy as the vegetables are to be cooked in very large pieces.  I have to say though, with all the work of this recipe the result was FANTASTIC!  I really, really loved the flavour of the romesco sauce, which was basically roasted tomato and roasted red pepper pureed with toasted almonds, garlic, and oil.  It is VERY garlic-ky, so I would probably cut back a bit on that next time, but otherwise it is delicious.  The vegetables are to be served with poached chicken, but I had mine with fish because I'd eaten so much chicken in other meals - I just made sure that the calories of the fish worked out to about the same as the chicken would have.

The Mediterranean Tuna Salad Rolls and Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and Toasted Pecans are both pretty simple to make and quite delicious as well!  I'm a girl with a sweet tooth, so the red grapes in the chicken salad are a nice way to satisfy that.


I'm a bit of a dummy when it comes to making smoothies.  I know it's such a simple thing to make, but I always make it too thin or too thick, or I make way, WAY too much of it.  The Banana-Almond Smoothie is tasty and makes the perfect amount for a snack.

The Trail Mix is pretty straight forward and is like any other trail mix.  But it is sodium-free and the dark chocolate chips satisfy my aforementioned sweet tooth.  I can't find a recipe for it already typed so, quite simply, combine:
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds (I used dry roasted, unsalted almonds)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seed (I used sunflower)
  • 1/4 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
The above makes 4 servings.


Oh.Em.Gee.  I can't wait for Mr. McMuffintop to get home to make the Almond-Crusted Chicken recipe for him because I know he will love it too.  The fresh lemony-almond flavour dances on the tongue - seriously, yum!  It is paired with a Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw which, honestly, I could do without.  I love a creamy coleslaw, and this one severely lacks in the dressing department.

I also made the Beef Stir-Fry with Broccoli and Shiitake Mushrooms recipe.  This is where I screwed up and used tahini instead of tamari, so the flavour might not have been what it was supposed to be, but it was still quite delicious!  (p.s. - tamari is essentially soy sauce, whereas tahini is toasted sesame seed butter - the stuff used in hummus.  The recipe also uses toasted sesame seed oil, so it wasn't an odd ball flavour to have screwed up with).

I know all of this cooking sounds like I've made a ton of food for one person since each recipe usually makes 4 to 6 servings, but as I cook I portion the leftovers and freeze them for easy, future grab-n-go meals.  I highly recommend doing this while trying to lose weight because, come mealtime, you don't have to think about what to make, especially if you're feeling lazy.  I find it's at those times when I make poor decisions (hmmm, I don't feel like making dinner.  Let's order pizza!).

Sunday, 14 April 2013


As I've mentioned a few times, Mr. McMuffintop goes away for 2 weeks at a time to work in another province on the other side of the country.  It isn't easy, but we work really hard at keeping in constant communication with each other to keep our marriage on solid ground.

But it has gotten old.  Really old.  When he comes home it's great.  It's almost like we get a bit of a honeymoon every two weeks, which is fun.  But when he's gone we miss each other like crazy.

On Friday he received a new job offer.  In the same province where he works.  An offer too good to resist (i.e., we could likely semi-retire in about 10 years - Mr. M is 39, I am 38).  But the job requires him to live there full time.  And since we already hate being apart from each other 2 weeks at a time, it means we are moving.  To the other side of the country.


I/We always knew it was a possibility.  We have talked about it continuously over the past year and have mentally prepared ourselves for this.  It is not permanent, so we plan to keep our existing home because we have put a lot of work into it and always envisioned it as being our retirement home.  Since it is on a beautiful lake it will be our "cottage" over the next few years and we will always come back every summer, Christmas and probably at least one other time during the year.

Here is a list of the pros and cons of moving I've been battling with over the past couple of days (although, we are indeed moving):

  • Mr. M's high income allowing us to retire early.
  • More/better job opportunities for me, as we currently live in a teeny-tiny town where there are very few opportunities.
  • I can actually see myself fitting into the new community more than I do in my current community (there are a lot of older, retired people here).
  • There are a lot of beautiful walking/running/biking trails in the new community, which fits in with my current efforts of getting fit and healthy.
  • We will be far away from our families.  In particular, it bothers me a bit that we will be so far from our parents.  I already lost my father two years ago and my mumsy isn't getting any younger.  Note to self: teach mom how to use Skype sometime over the next few weeks.
  • I am really afraid to give up my current doctors because they are amazing (general/family doc and my diabetes doc).  And if you are from a small town in northern-ish Canada, you will understand how difficult it is to find a doctor accepting new patients at all, let alone a GOOD one.
  • The cost of living in our new community!! (Yes, double exclamation point on that one!)  Although we will be able to afford to keep our existing house AND to purchase a house there, my goodness the houses there are expensive.  EVERYTHING seems to be so, so expensive.
  • We will have to give up on the public adoption process we had begun in our province.  We weren't very far along into it (because it such a loooong process), but it has already taken almost a year for us to get to the point we are at.  We will likely try private rather than public adoption in our new province in the hope that it will be somewhat quicker.
We are still waiting for details from the company Mr. McMuffintop will be working for so that we have a better idea of the timeline we are working with.  But from the little bit we do know, it sounds like we will be residents of our new province by July.

So. Much. To. Do. So. Little. Time.

p.s.  I am determined not to let the upcoming events derail me from my weight loss efforts.  I know busy times are ahead, but I will not let it be an excuse to not exercise or eat properly.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

just another weigh-in wednesday

Actually, not really.  I've been sitting on exciting news all week, but I wanted to wait until official weigh-in day to share.

A couple of days after my disastrous weigh in last week, as much as I knew I shouldn't, I stepped on the scale two days later and I saw 166 lbs!  I guess my gain on weigh-in day had a lot to do with the Easter debacle and I was retaining some crazy amount of water. 

So today, on official weigh-in Wednesday, I am 164.6 lbs.

Not only did I break back into the 160s, but I have cruised half-way through!

Here is a small visual of my weight-loss progress so far:

I've noticed an almost-trend over the past 3 months.  My weight loss can be broken down into 4-week cycles:
  • Week 1:  4-6 lb. loss.  Mr. McMuffintop leaves for work this week and I always go back to doing a week of Jillian Michaels' 7-Day Kickstart Your Metabolism meal plan.  Lots of veggies and lean protein are the base of this loss.
  • Week 2:  1-2 lb. loss.  Mr. McMuffintop is still away for work and I am able to continue in my healthy-ways routine.
  • Week 3:  1 lb. gain (except for January where I actually went on to lost another 4 lbs.).  Mr. McMuffintop comes home from work.  I continue to exercise and watch my food portions, but the food is not as clean and healthy and probably has more salt than I would use or isn't as lean.
  • Week 4:  0-1 lb. gain.  Mr. McMuffintop is still home from work and I continue to exercise but also continue to eat a bit less healthy (especially if it's a holiday or special occasion... I'm looking at YOU, Easter!).
I should also mention that a couple of those gains in weeks 3 and 4 can be attributed to "that time of the month", so there's that too.

But overall I have still managed to lose 25 lbs. in 3 months at an average of 1.9 lbs. per week.  Yeah, I'm patting myself on the back a little bit.

I can now fit back into ALL of my old clothes that had been packed away for the past 6 years.  THAT is an incredible feeling.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Muffins by McMuffintop

I've been a busy, busy bee this morning.  This McMuffintop is trying to turn into a HEALTHY muffintop, therefore I have been in the kitchen baking various healthy breakfast muffins courtesy of the cookbook/meal planning guide that came with Jillian Michaels's Body Revolution.

I baked all 3 muffin recipes (at 12 muffins each = 3 dozen) to freeze so that I have something quick and easy to grab on those mornings that don't allow for much planning.

I wish I could give you a review of each muffin recipe right now, alas that would mean sitting here and eating THREE MUFFINS at 250 calories each.  Once upon a time, is was a very likely possibility that I would have done that, but since this muffintop is dedicated to getting healthy, I will let you know how they are once I've had a chance to sample each one over the next few mornings.

By the way, the 3 flavours are:
  - Banana Blueberry
  - Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
  - Pumpkin Cranberry

Now before you get all "whoa, Whoa, WHOA McMuffintop, are those REALLY healthy?"  The answer is yes, Yes, YES! 

I followed all recipes to the uppercase Tee.

 - The banana-blueberry and oatmeal chocolate chips are each full of healthy walnuts.
  - The chocolate chips used were 70% dark chocolate.
  - Olive oil was used as the... oil (duh).
  - Honey or pure maple syrup were used as the sweeteners.
  - One recipe includes plain yogurt, the other two coconut milk.

You get the idea.

Bee Tee Double-U, I never use canned pumpkin.  I make my own pumpkin puree in the fall from a REAL pumpkin and freeze it (in portions equivalent to a 15-oz can) for pumpkin goodness all year.

p.s. The pumpkin cranberry muffins are so pretty!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Friday Pondering

One thing I've always found curious about weight loss is when other people notice the loss and say, "Wow, you're looking great!"  I know, I say it too when I notice someone has lost weight.

When a person gains weight, no one ever says, "Wow, you're looking terrible..."  Well, not usually.  Someone did say that to me once.

It was a lady I worked with around 15 years ago.  She didn't say I looked "terrible", but it was strongly implied.  I think her actual words were, "Oh, you've gained some weight haven't you?" with a tsk-tsk look on her face.  I'm guessing it was a cultural thing (i.e., I don't think she realized that in North America, commenting on someone's weight to their face is generally bad etiquette).

I'm hearing a lot of the "wow-you're-looking-great"s lately.  Which feels... GREAT!  But I can't help but wonder what people were thinking as I gained the weight...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

If at first you don't succeed...

My disastrous self-sabotage continued after my last post.  I feel like I must now refer to March 27 through April 2, 2013 as my Week of Shame.

Easter dinner at Mr. McMuffintop's parents' was another glorious gluttonous free for all.  Ham, potato, turnip, 4 types of pie... oh my!  So many starchy, carb-filled, tasty foods to choose from.  My portions were fairly small during dinner, but the pie.  Oh the pie!  I sampled two flavours at dinner and since Mr. McMuffintop brought home a big plate of leftovers including the other two flavours I HADN'T tried on Easter Sunday, on Monday I ate the other two kinds.

Yeah, I was a total mess.

I was so far over on my Weight Watchers points that I stopped tracking.  And since in my twisted mind I knew that my new week didn't start until Wednesday, I gave myself permission to continue my downward spiral on Tuesday.  My mom had given me a chocolate bunny that had been staring at me since Friday.  Yesterday I ate the whole thing.  Every. Last. Crumb.

I spent about 10 minutes last night feeling really terrible about myself.  Why is it when I fall off the weight-loss wagon I fall so damn hard? (answer: probably because I still have 170 lbs. of me fighting gravity... hahah...).  But instead of feeling bad, I shook it off and said to myself, "Self, only you control you.  So hop to it.  Get back on that wagon and make better choices starting NOW."

And that's what I'm doing.  I began this morning back on Jillian Michael's 7-Day Metabolism Kickstart.  This week will be full of lots of veggies and lean protein while I kick all the sugar out of my system again.

In terms of exercise, I really am amazed with myself on how hard I worked during the past 12 weeks.  I actually did all 12 weeks of Body Revolution without missing a single day.  For me, that is a HUGE accomplishment.  The old me would have probably given up by week 5 or 6. 

But now that I am finished the program I need to figure out a new exercise routine.  I could do Body Revolution over again, but I feel like I need to change it up.  I am really enjoying running outside, so much so that I bought a GPS/heart-rate watch last week to track my runs (the Garmin Forerunner 410 at Costco for $154.99 - great deal considering anything comparable at MEC was at least $300).  I have every intention on entering a charity run sometime this summer, but for now I have to wait to register for anything because I'm not sure yet which part of the country I will be in this summer (but that's another story for another day).

Today's weigh-in:  171.2.  Yeah, that's another 0.6 gain, however I thought it would be a lot worse after my Week of Shame.  So back on the wagon I get, and here's hoping that I see the 160s again by this time next week!