Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yoda Tea-Inspiration

It was a late one, with no Minnesota budget in site, so I am drinking oodles of tea for a little caffeine shot, and water for hydration. But Yoda, in all his wisdom, has something to say about those that merely attempt to complete their work on time!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rut-terless Meals While Trying to Drop a Few Pounds

The portion I should have stopped at.

Let's face it. Dieting healthy eating, can be tedious. I struggle with meal planning in general, but add that a) my go to meals have historically been carb and fat laden comfort foods, and b) I don't want to make separate meals for myself and the other members of my family, and I can easily get in a low cal rut. I've partially combatted this by starting my meal first with the bulk of the meal being steamed vegetables, and filling in the sides with the main meal. But that has me feeling unfulfilled. 

I've been scoping my recipe's and trying to reinvent them as healthier options. Last night's option was my mom's Rice Hotdish. This is a simple dish of just rice, water, soy sauce, hamburger, and onion baked in the oven. I decreased the soy by 1/2 to just 1/4 cup, added ginger and garlic, used a whole large, onion, four carrots, three stocks of celery, and only 1/2 pound of hamburger. I had a zucchini lurking in the crisper so that went in as well. With this, I've cut the sodium, cut the fat, and upped the vegetables. It has sort of a stir fry taste. I ate too much though and the scale showed it this morning-comfort food after a tedious, but stressful day. I might have been the extra snack last night of hummus on bread with cheese, again, when not hungry. I guess that's the point of daily weigh ins.

My go to lunch last week was a big batch of black bean, corn,and tomato salad. I had bell peppers and onion left from the pizza so those went in as well. It made a big batch, and by Friday, I was at my last bowlful. To help with the boredom, I ate it slightly different each of the four days, adding the last of a jar of green olives one day, broken multi grain chips (left in the bottom of the bag) another, and served with a side of cottage cheese on the other two days. I'll take a break but will revisit it in another week as I have all the ingredients on hand.. 

I love steamed vegetables, but even something I enjoy gets dull. I've tried to perk them up with using different herbs and spices. Oregano, basil an parsley  elevated the simple California blend a couple times last week. A little ginger with some steamed carrots I did to go with the rice hot dish boosted the flavor a touch. 

I've been having a bit of peanut butter with banana slices or a clementine with a eight almonds (a mere 50 calories) for an afternoon snack. The nuttiness, even though I'm using a small amount of PB, helps my snack feel more substantial. Friday on a work break, I sliced an apple with an ounce of sharp cheddar cheese-just about an ounce. 

Historically, my weight loss down fall is over eating and eating too much of the wrong kinds of food. While I am feeling more successful, hitting the three week mark, I am worried about my boredom level and getting in a rut, that then gets me mindless eating.(second portions when I'm not even still hungry.) If you have hints that work well for you, please share. If there are any good healthy food bloggers, real people with crazy busy lives, please recommend them in the comments.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Getting A Cyber Health Coach Again

Last fall I started, yes, let's say that, a weight and health program that was part of my health benefits through work. I received a digital scale that tracks my weight directly to an account set up on line. My plan started just a few weeks before Halloween as the days were starting to get very short. What follows Halloween is Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and then the cold dead of Minnesota winter, holiday after holiday of tempting treats and cold weather comfort foods. I was not successful using the tools provided. That's another fib. I wasn't successful because I plain didn't use them. Fortunately, there is no time limit on when you can take advantage of the plan and start fresh with new goals. Sunday morning I started over and gave myself a new 16 week, ambitious, but I think realistic target. I do need to state, I reviewed my overall weight loss goal, and desired timeline with my doctor. She is fully on board with the pace of my target provided I get the basic required nutrients and don't succumb to any fads or long term fasting. 

I could pretend I followed along on all the lessons each week in the 16 week Foundations section, and jump straight to the Focus part of the system. I only would be cheating on myself, so am starting from day 1, week one, lesson one, Getting Started. The four phases are 1) Eating Healthier, 2) Increase Activity, 3) Overcome Challenges, and finally 4) Strengthen Habits.  I have to admit, the cyber scale is still a little intimidating. When I look at the chart and see the daily up and down, it is almost distracting. Daily weigh in is emphasized as a critical component to weight loss, but the jiggity line is sort of jarring. I'd like to see a much more down leaning line. 

I'm also skimming the web for ideas to combat trigger areas for over eating or couch surfing. I like a good rainy day  to give me an excuse to hold up inside and tackle some projects that I put off when the weather is nice. However, multiple days of rain, or entire week of rain like we've had since last Tuesday makes me long for comfort foods and extra trips to the kitchen or my snack drawer. Light, particularly sunlight, is a natural deterrent for me from mindless eating. Eating at my desk or in front of my computer doesn't necessarily make me want to eat more, but it does take away from the natural satisfaction, which then might make me feel deprived. Deprivation feeling is when my resolve takes a nosedive and I cave into the food craving of the moment. I also have to get over being tired in the morning, and tired after work-no excuses for not getting a minimal walk in and some daily exercise. Hopefully, I'll use my computer as a help this time, and not let it be part of the problem.Wish me luck on jump starting my cyber tools again.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Five and Five for April and May

I'm not going to fret over money, but to help me celebrate my thrifty and  frugal wins, and review where I might have made better spending/reduce waste decisions I'm semi logging. I can't help that I have a running calculator and spread sheet in my head that looks at cost benefit of where money is spent or lost, and where it might have better been applied. (I actually looked up French market prices to see how far my $16 tea tin savings would go to learn it would cover a wonderful Parisian breakfast for my family of five! Picking up change has purpose.) As we near the end of May, I didn't do any recap in April, so here is a combined list.

Frugal Blips

  1. Spent $87 on DD2's yearbook which I could have only spent $78 on had I placed the order last fall.The price went up, plus there was a service fee for late orders online. 
  2. Paid the dreaded late library fees, total over $12.00! This included a few late movies (which are available to check out free for 7 days) plus several misplaced books at $ .25 per day. We have to get a better library system. 
  3. DD2 needed non latex gloves, but told me latex for biology class. I bought both just in case, intending to return the type not needed. I still have not done that, but if I don't, it is an additional $7 that didn't need to be spent. 
  4. Let both a cantaloupe and a pineapple get shoved to the back of a counter and forgotten. Both went bad.
  5. Learned I probably underfunded our pretax medical flex account. I didn't realize how high our per person deductible was and my colonoscopy and endoscopy alone exceeded my deductible. I had this scheduled prior to selecting a pretax amount so I could have planned better and made sure I had the full out of pocket covered with pretax funds, plus the general, routine co-payments. Even if we stay relatively healthy, medical will still cost us at least $400 more than had I planned in advance for the procedure.
Thrifty Wins
  1. I'm managing (with the exception of the fruit above) to pull together creative and moderately tasty meal combinations and stay on a relativity lean budget. This has meant some unique combinations such as cobbling together leftover fish, rice and beans, and sweet potatoes, or throwing together  a leftover vegetable pizza. No ones is complaining, but would they dare?
  2. I let my on-line shopping Kohl's cash expire, $40 worth. I e-mailed customer service and they let me know stores will honor for 10 days post expiration. I used it to round out my spring summer work wardrobe with the purchase of three tops. I am trying to decide if these are "perks to cash" as part of our clothing budget or just a bonus. I really did need some shirts and they are basic styles, so could get multiple years of wear. I'll be OK with them not fitting next spring if I lose quite a bit of weight, though.
  3. I took two work from home Fridays in May, even though things have been crazy. There is no added benefit to being in the office on days I have no meetings and the savings in gas, wear and tear on the car, and time is substantial. 
  4. For Mother's Day, DH and kids got me a Kohl's gift card. I will tuck away as cash for a future need. For DH's mother, I had picked her up some cabin decor last fall, plus a stationary note set. Cumulatively, I spent under $8.00, but the gifts looked like I spent much more. We will be buying odds and ends for her as she decides what all needs replacing at the lake, so I don't feel like a tightwad on the gift giving. 
  5. Packed lunches for DD2 and myself for the art museum trip. As I am no longer buying pop for the house, I did need to get some drinks and found 4 for $2.00 Arizona Ice Tea's at CVS, plus I had a $1.00 coupon, making them  just a quarter a piece. We love the Arnold Palmer lite, with 1/2 lemonade. Water is still king in our house, but the tea was packable.
Any wins in your budget?  I  like what Treaders at My Random Thoughts said in a comment on my last post about saving on things that don't matter. It's a good plan to get my money working to pay for what does.