Tuesday, December 27, 2016
2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessman butter cookies
1 whole tray of Pizzelle Di Nonna Italian Waffle Cookes
One homemade cinnamon sugar and pecan coffee cake
6 rounds of Lefse with butter and sugar
A pint of peppermint ice cream
2 Nestle Aero chocolate bars from the U.K.
A round of cheddar and one big A** Wasa Crispbread
3 bottles of Chardonnary.
I will be eating a Green Superfood smoothie for breakfast and/or lunch the next week. The scale has been removed to the closet.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Since it's the Christmas season in my home, I wanted Swedish pancakes, using the recipe my half Swedish/half Norwegian Mom made (her parents were both immigrants at the turn of last century)
But my Mom's were a little different than most you see on a restaurant menu, as, although thin, they were made with extra eggs and much less flour, making them almost like a cross between a crepe and thin omelet. Served with just lingonberry jam, they are truly delicious, light and delicate with a rich taste that pairs perfectly with fruit or jams. These were made with King Author's gluten free flour, so the whole dish was gluten free and low carb.
Mom's Swedish Pancake
Serves 1 as a main course or 2 if you are nice and share with your spouse or partner. My husband is of Swedish descent so I had no choice :-) The recipe easily doubles, but don't cook all in one pan or they will be too thick and difficult to handle. Cook in two batches, placing a towel over the first batch to keep warm or cook concurrently in two 9-10 inch cast iron skillets. I've not done it but I imagine you could also cook as thin little rounds similar to regular pancakes, I just prefer the nice crispy edge you get from the cast iron skillet).
1 cup low fat milk
2 Tablespoons King Author's gluten free flour (or all purpose)
pinch xanthan gum (omit if using regular flour)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (approx, like Mom I don't measure except by eyeballing what's in my hand)
1 Tablespoon melted butter
Whisk eggs until very fluffy with a hand whisk, Whisk in rest of ingredients. Pour into a lightly oiled and pre-heated cast-iron skillet in a thin layer, over medium heat. Cook until the edges are set and the top looks dry to the touch (several minutes, don't get anxious and raise the heat or they will burn), covering the pan the last 30 seconds for better browning.
It's ready to flip when you can cut into quarters and no batter runs out. Flip each quarter and cook for two-three more minutes, covering the pan again for the last minute. They are done when the inside is set and bottom is lightly browned.
Serve with preserves.
Even if you eat the entire pancake yourself, it's less than 400 calories (plus jam) and very filling with the protein from the two eggs. For my friend Carol, two quarters (pictured above) would be 5 Weight Watchers Points (plus jam).
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
But I DID learn some GREAT flavor combos and found that if I prep my ingredients the night before and put in the freezer, in the morning (or do a few days worth and freeze in small Tupperware's) all I have to do is put the frozen bits in the blender, add liquid and protein powder, and it's Smoothie time, a no brainer when it's not even light out yet.
So when I spotted this new Vega Clean Protein powder (at my local CVS) I had to try it. It comes in Vanilla and Chocolate. At the CVS price it's about $2 a serving. Looking online I saw you can order it from Vitacost for $5 less, and at Amazon for $7 less than what I paid.
Because doing epic, crazy stuff can be better with clean fuel, now you can enjoy protein without compromise. Each serving of Vega Clean* Protein has 25 grams protein, and 4 grams BCAAs in a complete, plant-based protein blend made from pea, hemp, alfalfa, and pumpkin seed proteins.
Help build and repair muscle
Complete multisource blend of premium plant-based protein
No sugar added (it's sweetened with Stevia)
It also has 4 grams of BCCA's. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) help to build and repair muscles post-workout.
It has a comparable amino acid profile to whey, without the harder to digest ingredients I don't want. . Non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, and made without dairy or soy ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, Vega Clean Protein is plant-based, which means that (unlike some whey protein from US cows), there are no growth hormones or antibiotics to worry about, either.
Not only are all the proteins used minimally processed and clean, but pea, hemp, alfalfa, and pumpkin seed protein together provide complementary amino acid profiles. It has a slightly different texture than regular Vega protein powder but was great mixed with fruits and veggies in a blender.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
But hair loss and hair thinning is one of the disadvantages many women encounter. I had seriously thick hair on my head, so even with thinning, it's still pretty decent.
My eyebrows were another issue. In just a few years I went from Cindy Crawford eyebrows to Granny on Beverly Hillbillies.
I don't like using chemical or hormone laden products on my skin so I found this natural oil at Vermont Country Store that claimed to naturally condition the skin and hair follicles so you could get thicker brows. I was skeptical but for less than $30 it was worth a try.
Renew Eyebrow Revitalizer.
You apply a tiny bit morning and night. It absorbs in a few minutes and didn't make my eye makeup smear. Based on the amount I used, I'd guess the little bottle would last 2-3 months so you're looking at about $3 a week, the cost of a cup of coffee.
I'll let you be the judge - after six weeks (and there were nights I totally forgot to apply). It says it takes 8 + weeks to see results but I do think it's working.
Friday, December 2, 2016
These are my favorite, the orange crispy chicken. They take just 6-8 minutes to prepare and served with a little leftover rice or noodles and some raw veggies, I have a really tasty workday meal. The orange chicken, unlike many veggie "meats" contains just ancient grains, not just whole wheat flour, such as amaranth, millet, quinoa, and KAMUT khorasan wheat. The coating does have a little wheat but it's non-GMO and non genitically-engineered.
Gardein has quite a line of products and this one and the regular crispy chicken pieces I have every single week when I work from home. The "pork" and "beef" strips are also excellent and make great faux Chinese or Thai "takeout" (recipes on the Gardein blog). Just a note: If you are at Trader Joe's and see the meatless crispy chicken in the freezer case- I am almost positive it's made by the Gardein people for Trader Joes. The Crispy chicken has a real unique look/coating and taste and they are EXACTLY like my Gardein ones and made in the same place, but they are cheaper. So be on the lookout.
Today I worked for home and was able to cook, eat and post about my choice on my 30-minute break. All I needed was a dish with hot water to warm the ready-made sauce and a pan with a little olive oil the heat the chick'n.
Gardein is a Canadian company. I'm beginning to think that Canada has stricter food regulations than the US. I get my Kraft blue box mac and cheese through Canada, which up there is called KD (what they call it). Seriously, I'll buy a case of it at a time. It has way less artificial ingredients and additives than the US Kraft dinner and tastes better with less fat. Even my husband who does not like the US version gobbles it up. The Gardein products as well have way less "science experiment" sounding ingredients than some US brands of veggie "meats". Maybe it's a coincidence but I've been very pleased with the quality of those two items.
You can find Gardein all over the US (Carol - where you live they are at Smith Foods).
Dividing the package in half (no sauce) is
0 grams Saturated or Trans fat
less than 400 mg sodium
and the best part 15 grams of protein.
Adding a tablespoon of the yummy sauce to your entree adds just 40 calories and 8 grams of sugar.
With a couple big spoonfuls of rice and some veggies I had a filling lunch, ready in 10 minutes, for less than 300 calories that was SERIOUSLY better than those frozen diet meals.
click on photo to enlarge -I dare you
Gardein also has 4 yummy gluten free products.
ground Beefless (great in any recipe that calls for hamburger)
chick'n Scallopini (yummy!)
garden burger and
black bean burger.
Enjoy - a Cow or Chicken will thank you!
Saturday, November 26, 2016
So there wasn't much in the way of leftovers though we did have some of those yummy little King's brand Hawaiian Rolls, which weren't homemade like most of the bread around here - but are addicting. If I have time I make them from scratch with a recipe from King Arthur flour, but this week was crazy busy and I just bought mine.
Recipe is here:
(just cut and paste that in your browser - they are SO worth it).
So lunch was Oriental Meatloaf sliders.
First the sauce:
1 tablespoon molasses ● 1/2 cup soy sauce ● 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ● 1 teaspoon ground ginger ● 1 clove minced garlic ● 1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper ● 2 teaspoons cornstarch ● 2 teaspoons water
Place everything but the water and cornstarch into a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water until combined. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling liquid and reduce to a simmer. Allow the sauce to thicken for 2‐3 minutes, then set aside. I usually double the amounts so I have extra to drizzle on the leftovers or chicken on another night. But the amount listed make enough for the meatloaf to have a nice glaze.
1 pound ground sirloin (my veggie friends can use TVP)
1/3 sleeve reduced fat Keebler brand Club crackers, placed in a plastic bag and crushed
1/2 tsp. Braggs herb seasoning blend (or your favorite all-purpose seasoning)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
A heaping 1 Tablespoons of the sauce mixture above.
1/4 cup water
Mix meat and other ingredients in a large bowl. Do not overwork the mixture.
Shape into a loaf and place in a slow cooker. (spray bottom of pot with some non-stick spray) Spread just a thin coat of sauce on top of the meatloaf and put remaining sauce in fridge to add later in cooking. Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 (160Finternal temperature). Add remaining sauce the last 30 minutes.
If using oven - 350 F. checking internal temperature at 50 minutes. Pour remaining sauce over meatloaf the last fifteen minutes of cooking, to warm through.
Serve on rolls.
Friday, November 25, 2016
My husband and I do eggs 2-3 days a week, with a slice of whole grain, or sprouted grain Ezekeil toast. But on work days, I don't want to take the time.
I'd heard of doing a scrambled egg in the microwave and finally tried it. Holy cow - what a simple way to prepare eggs and I don't have to soak, then scrape clean, a pan from the stove (scrambled eggs seem to stick to my cookware like glue). Directions are for a 700-watt microwave - different wattage may mean you need to adjust your cooking time.
2 eggs whisked with:
a splash of milk
a dash of Braggs herb seasoning mix
in a cereal bowl.
Nuke 1 minute
Nuke 1 minute
add precooked additives (in this case some chopped Morningstar Farm Veggie Based "Sausage")
Perfectly cooked fluffy egg already in its serving bowl!
But in this case, I put it in a single gluten-free tortilla I had left from enchiladas with friends with a sprinkle of cheese and some Scoville Brothers Cowboy Crooner hot sauce (my favorite of all time) and it was breakfast burrito time!
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
For my birthday this year, I purchased a week of personal training at the local health club.
Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.
I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.
Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!
Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines... I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!
Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.
Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members.. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.
My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other crap too.
Butt face was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes.
He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny witch to find me.
Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine-- which I sank
I hate that jackass Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.
Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the darn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.
The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun-- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!
Sunday, November 13, 2016
I came up with these, adapting a couple of different recipes on-line into one and really liked how they turned out. They are NOT super low fat or low sugar, but they are choc-FULL of good grains and fiber, perfect before a run or workout, and sturdy enough you can tote one with you just wrapped in a little foil. Plus my husband really liked the taste and asked for one in his lunch each day this week. The texture is almost a cakey granola bar, but the taste is very much like a blondie (butterscotch brownie).
They are also super easy and quick to make.
They will also go gluten-free quite easily, just replace the pastry flour with gluten free flour and add 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum, ensuring your oats are also gluten free. Oats themselves are but they might be prepared in factories where cross contamination can occur. When I'm doing gluten free with oats for my friend, I use Bob's Red Mill brand.
Energy Bars - makes 16-20 depending on how big you cut them,
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (it retains all the nutrition of whole wheat but has a texture like regular white flour).
3/4 cup plus sugar
2 teaspoons Molasses
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1⁄2 cup butter melted and cooled
2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant packet kind, the sturdier ones)
1 and 1/4 cups raisins (or dried fruit of your choice)
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray an 8 x 8 pan with nonstick spray.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in vanilla, molasses,egg and melted butter until smooth. Stir in oats and raisins. Replace some of the raisins with chopped walnuts if you wish less sugar and more protein.
Pour dough into prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a spatula or your fingers. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center no longer looks wet (center will still be soft though). Don't overcook, if you cook until the center is really firm, they will dry out. My oven is very old and the temperature isn't always exact, so check yours at 22 minutes and then every few minutes.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Mom could make a meal out of what seemed like scraps - leaving money for the occasional store bought treat for my brother and I and a cold beer for Dad on the weekends.
I'm much the same way. Our kitchen is quite small as is our 1940's refrigerator but we have a HUGE chest style freezer in the walk out basement and lots of cupboards of storage space down there as well, where the temperatures are never too warm or too cool, perfect for storage of canned goods. So for today, just some tips on adopting some of the same practices in your home if you're not already doing so.
For today's recipe selections there are several recipes involving ethnic dishes. Meat and potatoes are the start of our leftovers but with what we make from them we try and create dishes that normally we would go OUT to eat to enjoy, such as Mexican, Chinese, Thai etc. Making the dishes ourselves, out of leftovers with just a few exotic ingredients all available on Amazon, saves us a TON of money.
Here are my basic guidelines, please share your own in the comments if you have any you'd like to.
(1) Think ingredients not leftovers. If baking a chicken or other large cut of meat, plan on enough for your meal, and maybe lunch or another meal tomorrow (I simply vary the sides so it's not too boring) with enough remaining to freeze a bit.
Chicken is great in wraps, in soups, in stews, or on a salad during garden season. Other cuts of meat are the same and all leftover protein makes a great stir fry.
If making pasta sauce, I double the recipe and freeze it for spaghetti, lasagna, or a stuffing for a baked potato or biscuit dough placed up the sides of a muffin tin, then topped with sharp cheddar and baked.
Thai roasted chili paste or “Nam Prik Pao” and 1 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce per 1/2 cup of rice (plus protein). Topped with carrot, basil. and lime it was as good as the restaurant stuff.
(2) Dedicate two nights a week to leftovers night, so your fridge and freezer don't get too full. Make sure you rotate foods from oldest to newest in the freezer. Sometimes we just do a "leftover buffet" and bring it all out of the refrigerator and make up our own plate of our favorites to microwave. Kids too, are less picky if you let them chose from an assortment of items.
(3) Forget the Tupperware - if you store most of your leftovers in freezer bags (which can be washed and reused) you can better see what the leftover is. Otherwise, you may end up with a science experiment in a couple of weeks. The only Tupperware I use in the refrigerator is soup (in case of leaks) and muffins - so they don't get squished.
(5) Leftover vegetables? Keep a bag in the freezer to which you add those little bits that don't seem worth saving on their own. With that make soup, or soup stock, add it to eggs for a frittata or with some red sauce to make pasta sauce.
Small bits of diced veggies, especially onions and peppers, are great mixed into hamburger for the grill, and you can always top whatever goes on a bun with whatever assorted bits of lunch cheese, breakfast meats, or salad that's in the fridge. Here's some pulled pork topped with bacon and coleslaw on a homemade roll. If you don't eat meat, Gardein ntsmf does a really yummy saucy "pork" tidbits that also makes a great "Carolina" style sandwich with coleslaw.
(5) Roasting vegetables. Those make great, tasty soup. In a blender puree the leftover roasted veggies, or a variety and blend in a blender with 2-4 cups of broth, then warm in a pot. Since they're usually seasoned as they roast, simply serve the soup with salt and pepper and some croutons.
(6) Have a juicer? Juicing can be a bit pricey as you're using lots of fruits and veggies to make one big glass, but it's a great way to get a whole bunch of enzymes and phytonutrients and I do a juice or smoothie daily during cold and flu season. So how not to waste all of the pulp that remains in the juicer after you are done? I add a bit of veggie juice pulp to stews or soups, stir the fruit based pulp into a fruit salad or yogurt and my favorite - with the 4 carrots/half a cucumber/2 granny Smith apple juice that is my go-to juice, I make muffins out of them with whole wheat flour and just a few other items. They taste like little healthier versions of carrot cake without all the white sugar and flour and they are a favorite around here.
Juicer Pulp Muffins
Makes10 high fiber/low fat muffins
1 and 1/2 cups plus 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Cardamon (substitute nutmeg if you wish)
1 cup fresh fruit/veggie pulp from your juicer (remove any bigger pieces)
1/4 cup vanilla flavored Yogurt
1 egg or 1/2 Banana
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
Note: If using a pulp that's high in fruit (and thus water content), you may wish to omit the extra 2 Tablespoons of "milk" You want it thick, but not with dry bits in the batter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom together. Then add in the pulp followed by the yogurt, banana (or egg) almond milk, maple syrup (or honey). If you use plain yogurt add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix until just combined and moist adding more milk if needed.
Add batter to lightly sprayed muffin tin. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes. Muffins will be done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the bottoms and sides are just starting to brown.
(7) Stale bread - if it 's it's just starting to get old - make french toast out of it. If it's harder than that, cut the loaf crosswise, drizzle it with some good quality olive oil, rub it with the cut side of a halved ripe tomato, sprinkle with a little garlic salt and parmesan, wrap in foil and bake til warm. Stale bread is also great for French Onion Soup,
If you have a single or small household and can never get through a loaf of bread before it starts getting old, put a third of it in the freezer to use for more sandwiches or some homemade breadcrumbs.
(8) Leftover Spaghetti - Spaghetti and meat sauce is one of my favorite dinners and we eat it every couple of weeks. But sometimes I end up cooking more noodles than I have sauce for. Try making a spaghetti frittata with eggs and cheese with the pasta. I also will use leftover spaghetti cut into smaller pieces in a stir-fry with veggies and protein and some sort of leftover oriental sauce, adding it in the last couple of minutes of cooking.
Got a "buy one get one free" bread or rolls or tortillas? Place a sheet of waxed paper between the portions, wrap and freeze. With the family packs of meat, save what you will use this week and freeze the rest.
Eggs that are close to or just past the "best by" date make great scrambled eggs or mini frittatas to freeze.
I hope this gives you some ideas. You'll find, not only that you aren't throwing out food, you are eating less convenience food which usually isn't as nutritious AND you are saving a lot of money.
Which can be used for important things.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Then I hit 40 and menopause early. I gained 20 pounds. I was tall and full busted, and I'd been really skinny before so I carried it well. Then I was on prednisone for a while for irritable bowel which packed on another 30 pounds as it made me constantly hungry. OK, I'm starting to get a bit round here. That was about 8 years ago. Then I blew out the knee in a fall with a 100 pound lab walking on ice, and getting the weight off was even more of a struggle.
First I got off the prednisone before Green Peace showed up to roll me back in the water. I weaned off it gradually under a doctor's supervision adding, turmeric, ginger, and licorice root to my diet as an anti-inflammatory. I quit eating white flour except for my cheat day and switched to limited amounts of whole grain (Einkorn flouror gluten-free), and I cut back on caffeine and sugar. That helped both the gut and also immensely in not gaining MORE weight, but didn't make me lose any.
I was back to a healthy weight before our wedding simply by changing not just WHAT I ate but HOW I ate.
Instead of a sweet roll for breakfast or worse, skipping breakfast, I had Greek yogurt sprinkled with a tablespoon of gluten free granola and some chopped almonds or Kefir with a small slice of gluten free high protein bread. The key was protein, not simple carbs in the morning (carbs are great if you are a runner - but if I was a dog I'd be a Setter).
Making sure I ate something every 3-4 hours, I'd get a Quest or RX protein bar, and cut it into halves or fourths and have one morning and afternoon with a large water or unsweetened herb iced tea which satisfied my sweet cravings.
On Faturdays (yes, our eat what we want day) I use a small salad plate. This looks like a mound of pancakes, but they are only a bit bigger that silver dollar sized and mentally I felt full though I'd eaten a total of probably only a single restaurant pancake and even then didn't finish them.
Then if you're going to have a higher cal dinner (yes, we're doing pizza and Caesar salad), juice or smoothie your lunch and snack just on some dry roasted almonds.
Today's juice - four carrots, two granny smith's, half a cucumber, and some ginger, made enough for husband and I.
Instead of fast food for lunch at work, I'd go to Panera and get a half salad with lean protein and unsweetened tea, or Chick-Fil-A for a grilled chicken salad nd diet lemonade Instead of a small portion of high-fat food, I was eating a big portion of low-fat food and was actually FULL, not getting into the chips at 4 o'clock because my Filet O'Fish, small coke, and child -sized fries had worn off. Unfortunately,Panera changed the two salads I loved:the Caesar and the Asian Chicken Salad (seriously powdered Parmesan on the salad and mandarin oranges and cashews on your previously low sugar/ low-calorie salad - EWWWW!) and I haven't eaten there in a year but that year, I was eating there for lunch four out of five work days.
My afternoon snack was sometimes in place of the protein bar a low fat Vega protein shake and dinner was mostly vegetarian unless cooking for my sweetie, usually half a baked potato or sweet potato and lots of veggies or some Thai, heavy on the veggies and very lean on the rice. On the weekend I ate what I wanted, but made sure to have five servings of veggies a day and two pieces of low sugar fruit and I drank lots of water.
Without counting calories or exercising (other than walking the dog), I lost over 40 pounds in a year.
Then I added some serious strength and weight training.
What surprised me was not just the effects that healthier eating had, as it certainly made me feel better. It was adding strength training and cardio. In six months, eating quite well, with the occasional dessert and wine (Store Clerk: "So how much do you spend on your wine? Me: "Oh, about 30 minutes"), I lost another 20 pounds that I had figured were a permanent part of us after we turn 50.
I got a personal trainer for the first six months until I could maintain on my own. It was hard, I had no muscle tone and no endurance, but she paced me so I would be slightly sore the next day but not so much I wasn't active and walking and moving. Having her pace and structure made a tremendous difference in not giving up and her verbal encouragement as I started out kept me from just throwing in the towel. It wasn't cheap at $50 an hour but it was an investment in my health that will more than pay for itself in health care costs as I age.
Essentially we do a warm up, then five different exercises (all using weights), each for 1 minute. As she said "you can do ANYTHING for one minute" so even if I felt I was going to fall over or drop the weight I could do it one minute. Then we'd do a minute of cardio and two minutes of rest with water. Then 2 more sets of those exercises, following by two sets of some different strength exercises with cardio and then a short rest in between reps, followed by 15 minutes with the punching back downstairs after she was done with me. We focused a LOT on the core (planks are NOT my friend, but we do it anyway).
We tripled the weight I could lift in just four months of working out 1 hour per week with her and doing a 30-minute walk with hand weights on 5 other days a week.
After three months I had muscle definition. After six months I had the arms of my 30's and I never thought that would happen. My heart health was better as I wasn't getting "out of breath"winded during the workout, just sweating a lot and I was sleeping better. Plus after a stressful day I can come home and beat the heck out of the bag which is much better for me than opening a pint of ice cream.
Now I work out for either 45 minutes a day five days a week or do an hour and fifteen minutes three days a week, depending on my work hours and what writing and marketing is going on. When I'm out and about I park my car further away from the store in the daytime, take the stairs instead of the elevator and such. Anything to keep MOVING and if the weather is good, I'll grab some hand weights and go do a power walk. I have added some heavy duty military style exercises as well, and found that I can actually do "non girl" pushups and sit ups, and even with the bad knee, I can run fast if I need to get out of danger in a hurry.
I know I built muscle which adds weight but still lost another 20 pounds in these six months of the training while eating normal sized meals, heavy on fruits and veggies and still having the occasional bread and butter and bacon and brownie and a glass or two of wine a few days a week.
So - if you are still struggling, even if you are active, consider strength training. Cardio is great, but I didn't see a huge difference until I started building muscle mass and thereby burning more calories.
I will never be super model "skinny" and I'm fine with that, but I'm leaner and I'm stronger.
I wish I had done this 10 years ago.