In the interest of full disclosure, I am being provided with 42 Healthy Choice meals, a counseling session at BlogHer, and am being compensated. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
I have been lucky enough to be chosen as one of the Healthy Choice Gets You Better For BlogHer bloggers. So what does this mean? It means that I am working to get my act together over the next six weeks to be more fit and healthy.
Healthy Choice has sent me forty-two coupons for Healthy Choice meals for me to use, replacing one existing meal with my choice of Healthy Choice meals every day for the next six weeks (granted, I will be taking a break from this while actually at BlogHer. While at BlogHer, I will have a one on one nutritional counseling session with Tara Gidus.
I have to admit that, selfishly, I am really excited for this. Like many women, I would love to be able to wear whatever I wanted - and not have people cringe as I walk by. I'm not quite there yet, although I know it's possible - I may not ever be comfortable in a bikini, but I can at least be lean and healthy!
Two years ago, a friend of mine got married, and I was the maid of honor. She had us wear satin dresses, and fortunately I learned about this well in advance. I spent the next five months working really hard to lose weight in a healthy way, and I did.
I actually weighed less than I did in high school - while still healthy - and I was in great shape. At my lowest point ever (it's possible that this was an aberration and I didn't *really* weigh myself properly), I weight 138.6 pounds. For someone who is almost 5'9" and not small boned, I couldn't hope for any more. While I would be "nice" to weigh less, I don't think it would be healthy for me. A more realistic goal would be to get to 140 pounds and maintain that.
And I was at 142 pounds for a good long while, and that was really comfortable for me. Now? Not so much. I have shirts in my closet that I was able to wear for that summer, but the next year? Let's just say that I'm really not comfortable with any extra flab hanging out that could otherwise be hidden.
That's not to say that I just gave up and went unhealthy. I am a fairly healthy eater and cook from scratch for the most part - which is why I put up recipes every week on my regular blog - and I exercise. I do a dance class on the weekends when I'm not carting the wee ones around, as well as yoga, and I'm back to running on a regular basis. In fact, I'm thisclose to completing the C25K program and running my first 5K, which means I'm running pretty strenuously three times a week.
So what's happened to my weight? It's creeped up, bit by bit. When I was down at the 142, I was so close to actually being a size six - a size I completely skipped growing up. And I've gotten really close to needing to revamp my wardrobe completely.
Right now, I actually don't fully weigh myself. I play games with myself in that I weigh myself after working out at the gym, after having taken my shower, while I'm still wet, with two towels one, and my heart rate monitor still strapped on. I know it isn't an accurate weight, but it at least allows to to know how the trend is running.
So where does all that put me? Yesterday, it was 157.2.
That is so frustrating to me because I eat well, I drink my water, I work out, and yet I am not seeing the results I would expect. When my heart rate monitor is telling me that I'm burning 700 or so calories three times a week while running and instead I gain a pound, it almost makes me want to give up. At least when I don't work out, I don't gain weight!
This is where Healthy Choice comes in. Tara has provided several tips that I'll be sharing over the next several weeks that I plan to take to heart. Starting today, I am also switching out one meal a day with a Healthy Choice meal. I'm going to continue running - and once the wee ones are back in school, I'll be using some of that "free time" to get to the gym even more often to vary my routine. And lastly, I am going to go back to a free website I used when I lost that weight before to track what I'm eating and what I'm burning to ensure I'm being honest with myself.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the results will be, and I hope you join me in my journey! Once I have my "fully-loaded" weight below 155 - just over two pounds from now - I plan to figure out what my real weight is, sans wet towels and wet hair and toiletries and heart rate monitor. Wouldn't that be sweet if they weighed 15 pounds? I'm not that much of a dreamer to believe it's even a third of that, fortunately.
The fun thing with the Healthy Choice challenge? Transitioning the one meal a day has a ton of benefits for me.
I like to eat a variety of foods, but I'm also somewhat picky. Healthy Choice has so many options that I could eat a different meal for ninety days straight. While my grocery store doesn't carry all ninety of the options, I have plenty to choose from. I selected my first two today - Chicken Margarita and Sesame Chicken.
The first is one of the cafe steamers and what I ate for lunch today, and the second is a more "traditional" frozen meal that I will have tomorrow for dinner. I am not typically a prepackaged meals person, and if it weren't Healthy Choice meals that are ... healthier, I wouldn't be doing this. I love that my meal had 17 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. While the 560mg of sodium is more than I usually eat in a meal (and I can tell right now!), even eating this, I probably won't break 1500mg for the day.
The meal feels like a complete meal to me. The sauce tasted great, although I could actually have used a little less of it. Next time I get this one, I'll probably pour out a little of the sauce after cooking it. For 300 calories, I'm feeling pretty good. I had a handful of blueberries to round it out, and I felt like I ate a complete meal.
While it was cooking, I could smell the roasted garlic heating up (ummm yum - whole cloves of garlic!) which really whet my appetite. The only part I wasn't thrilled with was the spaghetti. I like my spaghetti long and very al dente. While this wasn't completely overcooked and mushy, it was cooked more than I prefer. It was also in pretty small pieces, maybe five inches in length - but neither of those would keep me from eating it again.
My only other "complaint" is that the containers aren't recyclable. With the cafe steamers, there is a steamer basket and the bowl that I have to throw away - which I wouldn't were I making this myself. I'm going to feel guilty with the amount of trash I'm creating over the next six weeks, but fingers crossed Healthy Choice will be able to find a recyclable plastic to use at some point!
Wish me luck as I begin my journey with Healthy Choice. I'll be checking in every week or so, and I can't wait to see the results. My biggest goal is to banish the lines that appear in my face when I smile, and putting on those t-shirts gathering dust in my closet would be a wonderful added bonus!