Sunday, June 24, 2012

Healthier Life - the next step

Knitting and quilting is happening - pics still aren't. Sorry.

In the meantime, I'll distract you with a different topic. It's been almost a year since I started the healthier life thing. The past few months I've been hanging around at the same weight, mostly on purpose. I've seen too many people on TV, etc. that lose a boatload of weight real quick and end up with the saggy skin thing. I don't want that look so I decided after a chunk of weight was lost, I'd hang out there for a little bit to let my body adjust to the new weight and then go for another chuck of weight.

It's time to start on the next chuck of weight. What I was doing before (and now) worked to get off that chunk of weight (notice I'm not telling you how much cause- this is more about getting me to a healthier state than actual weight amounts). To get to the next chuck I need to switch things up. Here's a few of the things I plan on doing for the next round, or what is to be called "Healthier Life - the next step".

1. Start walking more. I got a new pedometer to up the number of steps I walk each day. For the past week I've been wearing my Striiv. Some days were better than others but I now know my average daily steps and it's time to start walking more. One thing I like about the Striiv is it does things beyond just steps. It keeps track of time - steps - stairs - calories and one other cool thing. Every 10,000 steps I go it donates one of 3 things: daily water for a child in S America, Polio vaccination, or a parking space size of the Rain forest is protected for a year. It also sends me challenges -go up so many stairs in a certain length of time, etc. You can hook up with friends and challenge each other (but I haven't done that). Anyway, I've learned I do best when I can see actual results. The pedometer will do that with walking.

2. Back to recording food intake. Last year I joined Sparkpeople. It's a free online site to track food, exercise and weight, There are community groups to join but I only used the site for recording my own things. The first week I ate normal and recorded so I could see what my baseline was. After that I started paying attention to things. The past few months I've been recording occasional days and been mostly on track but I need to be more aware of intake and this will help.

3. Up the exercise. Since losing the weight my skin is good and smooth but hunks of fat have "fallen away" from the things it was attached to and I'm started to see fat sag. Sound gross right!? I used to be really fat but firm now I'm fat but not so firm. My underarms (and other areas) have that waddle thing going on so its time to concentrate on more fat burning but more toning also. I have some plans for this but will tell you about them when I know what works.

4. Go back to eating like I did when I was a kid. Sounds like a weird plan but - when I was a kid we ate 3 meals a day with an afternoon snack and bedtime treat (sometimes). That was it. Our meals were straight out of the basic food groups and well balanced. If we had pop, which was rare, it was a small glass which included ice a can of pop would have been enough for 2 people. We ate one serving and it was real food, not stuff full of chemicals. If we had cookies or other treats it was one, not a bunch. I've been thinking about this one lately and it makes sense to go back to the good old days.

So thats it - the start of the next step. I plan on another 25 pounds and then hang out there for a little bit and regroup.

Because there's no pictures this blog I'll leave you with a good recipe. I love this one and make it for company or for everyday. Big servings - lo cal. The servings are so big I've actually made 6 meals out of it and had plenty to eat.

Chicken with Orzo
4 servings = about 500 calorie a serving

Chicken Stock
28 ounces Low sodium chicken broth
3 stalks Parsley
3 stalks Fresh Rosemary
1 clove Garlic, peeled and smashed
3 whole Cloves
2 Bay leaves
3/4 cup Water
1 cup White wine, de-alcoholized

2 teaspoons Olive oil, extra light
1/2 Yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves Garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Orzo, raw
3 chicken breast halves without skin, boneless
1 Red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 sprigs Fresh basil
Parsley, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Prepare chicken stock: Put in sauce pan the chicken broth, parsley, rosemary, garlic, cloves, bay leaves, and water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain into large bowl. Stir in the wine and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and saute the onion and garlic over high heat for 3 minutes. Stir in half of the herbs, the orzo and the chicken stock and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time as orzo likes to stick to bottom of saucepan.

While orzo is cooking,cut chicken into 2 x 1/2 inch strips. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet and saute the chicken pieces, red pepper and remaining herbs for 3 minutes. Stir into the cooked orzo.

To serve: Spoon onto individual plates and garnish each with a tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese, sprig of basil, parsley, and black pepper to taste.

When I serve it I place  chicken orzo in the middle of a platter and ring it with peas or other vegetable. Makes a pretty presentation.

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