Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weight Loss Motivation IV + Italian Recipe


Meet todays guest blogger, Elizabeth, who is the author of the inspiring blog, Food-Ramblings . Elizabeth publishes healthy recipes that are part of her Weight Watchers program. Personally, I find reading about success stories and healthy eating tips important for my "mental" weight loss journey. When it comes to weight loss, I need the influence of those thinking positively about eating and exercise. Elizabeth has also included a wonderful ratatouille polenta recipe!

So, here's Elizabeth:



Weight has always been a struggle for me.  As a child and young adult, I did not enjoy sports and grew up in an Italian family where pasta was a staple in every meal.  As I gained weight, instead of thinking about how I should work to fit in existing clothes, I would just go out and buy a new size.

After college (when disposable income didn’t exist now that I actually had bills to pay L), I knew just buying a size up needed to stop.  I was traveling a ton for work, and eating out all the time did not help the waistline.

Last year, I joined Weight Watchers and was being fairly successful, but after three months with the program, I decided I could do it on my own.  Guess what?  I couldn’t, and I gained what I lost plus some additional pounds.


Despite wanting to lose weight and look and feel better, I couldn’t get the motivation.  I had recently become engaged, and I was moving in with my future husband; life was good.  It was only as I was making our wedding website that I realized something really needed to change.  I had let myself go, and I wasn’t happy about it.

Here’s a picture from November of 2008; it was the first Thanksgiving Austin (my fiancĂ©) and I spent together.  I think we look pretty good!!


And here we are in November of 2010 right after we got engaged.  We still look nice, but our faces definitely got a little rounder…



But here is the picture that really kicked me into gear.  I thought it was a great picture by itself, but looking at it compared to the other ones, I was blown away at how fat (yes, I said it- fat) we had gotten.


Needed Structure

The light bulb had finally gone off!  In January of 2012, Austin and I decided to join Weight Watchers.  I need the structure that meetings provide.  The accountability doesn’t hurt- I know I have to weigh in each and every week!

Doing It Together

Another piece that has been so helpful was to have a buddy in the weight loss process.  Austin and I were in it together, so that meant no (well, less) junk food in the house, and we were going to cook healthy meals.

My blog (http://www.food-ramblings.com/) also was a point of inspiration and accountability.  Even though I started with a readership of only supportive family and friends, I felt obligated to post new, delicious, and healthy (mostly) meals.

We’ve been doing Weight Watchers for almost five months, and the weight loss has been slower than I initially wanted it to be.  I need to remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  A wise member of my Weight Watchers meeting said some very enlightening to the group during our last meeting.  He talked about being frustrated with the lack of speed of his weight loss.  However, had he not been actively trying to lose weight, he would have gained instead.  What a great perspective!  Think of the big picture—it’s like losing double, right?!?

Austin and I have done well with Weight Watchers.  He has lost 35 pounds, and I have lost 25 (woo hoo!).  Of course, men lose weight faster….


Changing Eating Habits & Trying New Foods

Healthy cooking has been a big part of what has made our weight loss a success.  We are eating new and different food for us, like polenta and quinoa and couscous, and eating many more fruits and vegetables.

One our favorite recipes is Ratatouille Polenta.  We hope that you and your family enjoy it!  And stop by Food-Ramblings to share your stories and get some other delicious recipes!


Ratatouille Polenta
Ingredients
8 Sundried Tomatoes  
1 Tbsp olive oil  
1 cup chopped onion
5 garlic cloves
1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini  
1 medium green pepper
1 cup sweet red peppers
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes  
1 tsp sugar  
1/4 tsp black pepper  
1/2 tsp table salt  
1 Tbsp ground basil  
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz cooked polenta (polenta tube)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (not necessary for the success of the recipe, and there is a vegan friendly option; check out Parma!)  















Check out the fresh ingredients all cut up!

Directions
Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, discarding the liquid, then chop the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pot or large pan. Swirl in the oil, then add the onion and garlic. Sauté until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, sugar, salt, ground pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and the chopped sun-dried tomatoes; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are softened and the ­flavors are developed, about 30 minutes. Stir in the basil, during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Cut the polenta into 12 slices; arrange on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Parma! and broil 5 inches from the heat until hot and the “cheese” is golden, about 4 minutes.

Serve the ratatouille with the broiled polenta rounds.  6 Weight Watcher Points Plus a serving.

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Thank you Elizabeth for this inspirational post and fabulous recipe.
Please remember to check out Elizabeth's blog Food-Ramblings for more wonderful recipes ( most of her recipes list the Weight Watchers point values)

So, how are you feeling about your body? Your food? Your exercise ? Your life? I like what Elizabeth said, " it’s a marathon, not a sprint" 

 I love to read your comments, so please leave a comment by scrolling down to the end of the post and clicking on the word comments and leave a comment for Elizabeth.

I've started attending yoga classes twice a week and weight lifting classes once or twice a week. The more I exercise the better I feel and want to do more ( It works conversely as well. The less I exercise , the less I want to exercise)

In addition, I'm following Weight Watchers 5 days a week and mixing it up with lo carb 2 days a week. This seems to give me a little more variety- like on my low carb days, I get to eat more fat and cheeses which I love and don't have to weigh and measure. I read about doing this in a magazine and it seems to work.
It's working for me.. I went down a size ( so far)  and feel great. I forgot how great it feels to go to the gym! I'm much more energetic. I said I'm willing to work to get my body shape back and I am!!
I'm sticking with this.  Again, I realize that it's a lifestyle change. I love feeling good and looking better!

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.
This post will be linked to the following blog carnivals.


22 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting me be a guest blogger...writing the post was a great way for me to get some additional motivation too :)

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  2. Great post!! Good for you! Keep up the good work and thanks for the yummy recipe. I will have to try it.
    Wendy

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  3. Wow nice write up thanks for sharing with us. Its great weight loss recipe.

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  4. Glad you all liked it! Let me know if you have any tips, advice, or other recipes for me to try!

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  5. What a great idea for a blog! And I've been on the lookout for Ratatouille. I'll be sure to try this. My family will love it!

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  6. I am so glad you shared your site. Glad to find your blog hope to see you back next week on foodie friday.

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  7. I think it is wonderful that you are motivated to lose weight together -- it is hard when a couple isn't on the same page -- good for you! Thanks for sharing your story on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

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  8. I love reading other people's success stories, they brave for stepping out and sharing to help motivate others :0 The ratatoullie looks good too :)

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  9. Congrads! This was the most viewed link last week at Whatever Goes Wednesday at Somedaycrafts.blogspot.com. I will be featuring this today.

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    1. That is great. Thanks for letting us know.

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    2. Wonderful :) Thanks so much! I started following your blog too!

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  10. Thank you for linking this post with See Ya In the Gumbo. Elizabeth's ratatouille looks great.

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  11. I guess proper diet and exercise really works as what we can see from the before and after pictures...

    Dietitian

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  12. Yes really proper diet and exercise both are important.

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  13. Italian recipe is known for its great ingredients used in every dishes. It is very nutritious and good for the health among all ages.

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  14. Congrats! You really loose so much weight. Thanks for great weight loss management tips.

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  15. Thank you for linking this post with See Ya In the Gumbo. Elizabeth's ratatouille looks great.

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  17. I lost about 10 pounds when I started the paleo diet. When I strictly implemented my 6 rules below, I lost another 10. Do these 6 things below and those last 10 lbs (the "vanity" pounds) will be gone.Getaria Health

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  18. I think it is wonderful that you are motivated to lose weight together -- it is hard when a couple isn't on the same page -- good for you! Thanks for sharing your story on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)Hypnoband

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  19. I started drinking two tablespoons of chia seeds in water and in two days I lost three pounds!Hypnoband

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  20. All of these factors can make it very difficult to find time to exercise and follow a healthy diet. weight loss

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Thank you for your comment - I love the feedback and interaction