Chic’s Weight Loss Journey

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 3.25.37 PMYou may or may not know that I have struggled with my weight all of my life.  I was born a chunkster and remained a chunkster throughout childhood.  Mind you, I was not obese, just always slightly overweight.  You might be thinking, “Well, slightly overweight does not a chunkster make”, but in my mind, I was a chunkster.

In high school, for whatever reason, I decided I needed to do something about it.  Likely transitioning to wanting to be noticed by boys is what did it.  Anyway, not knowing anything about exercise or nutrition, I committed to living off rice cakes and Twizzlers.  Yup.  Every day.  That’s all I would eat.  The ONLY thing I would eat. I cannot recall how long this lasted, but it could not have lasted long.  I imagine I must have been starving!  At which point, I started to eat food and likely gain weight.

So, the next step in my search for skinny-hood was bulimia. Yes, you read that correctly. Everything I ate would come right back out.  This went on for at least a year.  My mom got me to stop.  In fact, to this day, I remember having just closed the door to the bathroom and laid in bed — red-faced from forcing myself to throw up — and watery-eyed.  She came in the room and said, “I know what you’re doing.  It hurts me that you would do this to me.  I want you to stop and I need you to tell me how I can help you.”  Although I stopped cold-turkey then, I would continue to use this method for weight loss for years to come.

I gained about 20 lbs while in college.  Most college kids do.  Freshman 15 and 20 are common descriptions for what happened to college-aged students.  In that respect, my weight gain was normal.  No efforts to lose weight or eat healthy were made during that time.  After college however, when I actually took the time to research ways to lose weight with diet and exercise, some things changed. I met a boy I really liked and was prompted to lose weight.  25 lbs to be exact.  This too, was not healthy.  I worked out about 2 hours per day and ate few to no carbs.  This too was not sustainable.  Darn that boy!  Lol.

Over the years, my weight fluctuated.  When I got pregnant with both boys, I gained weight and slowly lost it over time.   Over time meaning nearly two years after giving birth is when I would return to my pre-pregnancy weight.  I’ve always had low blood pressure, cholesterol and other biological metrics have been within range.  I learned to dress for my fluctuating body weight.  Stretchy pencil skirts and loose-fitting tops became staples in my wardrobe.  Overall, things were fine.

Cut to early 2015 when I started to not feel so well.  I was waking up at all hours of the night, when usually I am one to hit the pillow and pass out.  I don’t wake until the alarm or my kids wake me.  Well, things were different.  2am, 4am every night.  Like clockwork.  In addition to a disrupted sleep pattern, I was experiencing lower back pain.  Odd, dull discomfort that was hard to pin point.  I was having headaches, which were also highly unusual for me.  Now get ready for the TMI part of this post: I felt like my bowel movements were out of wack.  Normally a 1X day person, I would now go days without a bowel movement, and when I did, they were different.  A sign of constipation, perhaps?  Well, it turns out I was.  Constipated that is.  But that was only the beginning.  A combination of stress from not knowing what was wrong with me and the doctors not able to identify a disease or cause, I convinced myself I had colon cancer or something of the like.  The stress of thinking I was dying combined with experiencing my first year of faculty, two kids under 6, and a hubby in retail with a schedule involving nights and weekends, apparently took its toll.  The final diagnosis?  Stress.  Between February 2015 and July 2015 I lost 22 lbs, without really trying.  Stress.

Does stress do all that to a person?????  I had no idea it did.  But it did to me.  SO.  I changed some things.  Among them, my eating and exercising habits.  Because I lost my appetite for a long time, when my appetite came back, I was only consuming about 1000 calories per day.  Mainly in the form of salads and soups.  I have slowly increased my intake, but it still remains under 1300-1500 calories a day for the most part.  Still lots of salad and soups, but I have managed to work in more carbs and yummy desserts. 🙂

As far as exercise, I decided my body needed to move.  So I would make it a point to move at least 10 minutes a day.  Sometimes that meant getting up from my desk at work and walking to buy my lunch.  Other days, I meant going to the gym and walking on the treadmill.  Other days, it meant running up and down the stairs that lead to the basement while the kids played.  I did whatever it took to work in some physical exercise.  I’ve actually become quite complacent in my efforts to work in physical activity daily, but have managed to keep up some aspects of it and have supplemented with the 7-minute workout and the 4-minute workout.  I also vowed to do pushups and at least a 1-minute plank before every shower and also do squats while in the shower.  A mini workout at least once a day.

Many of you know that I post daily outfit pics on Instagram and now Facebook.  Over time, people started to notice that I was losing weight.  After some time, some asked how I had lost the weight and whether I would considering sharing my weight loss story.  So, here you have it!  My weight loss journey.

I recently spoke to someone who said that recovering drug and alcohol addicts sometimes have dreams that they have relapsed.  Interestingly, that is how I feel about my weight loss.  I do not feel in control.  I feel like at any moment, I may regain all the weight.  It’s a real fear, oddly enough.  For example, this morning, I went to put on a pair of cotton trousers.  You know, the kind that have little-to-no stretch?  Yup, that kind.  And, I was SO fearful that I would put them on and they would not fit…again.  Well, they fit and they were loose.  I guess I have managed to maintain my weight for now.  But I am not sure at this time whether that will be the case 1 month or 1 year from now.  So for now, I take it day by day.  I try to decrease my stress triggers, eat healthy, and exercise.  I’m aiming to be healthy.  And, that for now, is good enough. 🙂

‘Chic’ken Florentine Pasta

Hehe, see what I did there?  ‘Chic’ken??  LOL  Okay, you get it, haha.  I’ve been in somewhat of a rut when it comes to dinner lately, so I thought I would try something new today.  I’ve also struggled to get more veggies into the kids’ meals, sigh.  Anywho, I took a couple of recipes I found online and made my own version of Chicken Florentine!

The recipe is super simple and will take you about 30-35 minutes to make.  Perfect for a weeknight, but best for a Sunday night since there will be plenty of left overs to warm up during the busy work/school nights!

Chicken florentine, http://chicinacademia.com

My kids loved this!!  They didn’t LOVE the red roasted tomatoes, haha, but they simply set those aside.  Here’s the jar I bought, which also happens to be the only jar of red roasted tomatoes they had at my store, haha.

tomatoes, http://chicinacademia.com

I’m certain any brand would work, so long as you buy a jar in the 7-8 ounce range.  I also bought the store brand chicken broth, pasta, and heavy whipping cream, so there was nothing super fancy about the items I bought.  Oh, and the spinach was the kind that came pre-washed in a bag. 🙂

Chicken Florentine, http://chicinacademia.com

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook the ziti pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside. (I used an entire box)
  2. In a large pan, cook chicken tenders as you would normally. I seasoned with garlic salt only. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Next, drain the oil from the sun dried tomatoes and add them to the pan with the garlic (I diced mine) and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add the chicken, whipping cream, milk, chicken broth, and shredded cheese. Stir until the sauce is smooth and bubbly and the cheese is melted. It will start to thicken up slightly.
  5. Finally, add in the cooked pasta and spinach – the spinach will start to cook down almost immediately. Add 1 extra round of the whipping cream, chicken broth and milk, if you want more sauce, or additional cheese if you want a cheesier pasta.

That’s all!  Super easy, right?? Let me know what you think if you decide to make it!  Can’t wait to hear!!

Chicken Florentine , http://chicinacademia.com

Until next time!  Stay Chic!

 

A Free Dozen Cookies from Insomnia Cookies!!

CONGRATS TO JAIME, WINNER OF THE $15 GIFT CARD!!

**I partnered with Birmingham Bloggers and Insomnia Cookies for this post, but all opinions are my own.**

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Yup, you read that right!! In honor of National Cookie Day (Friday, December 4, 2015), one lucky Chic in Academia reader will get a chance to win a $15 gift card to use at Insomnia Cookies in Birmingham, AL!  Based on the catering menu for the Birmingham (Five Points location), the $15 gift card can get you a free dozen cookies, specifically the ‘Sugar Rush’ dozen!

03.16_.15_sugarrush_200x200_This includes a combination of any of the following:

Chocolate Chunk, Double Chocolate Chunk, Double Chocolate Mint, M&M, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter Chip, Snickerdoodle, Sugar, White Chocolate Macadamia, Orange Cranberry Oatmeal.  NOM!

 

Of course, they offer a variety of other combinations, in addition they sell brownies, ice cream, and beverages (yes, they sell milk!).

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Sample Insomnia Cookies Menu

I stopped by for a dozen, and had to use all of my willpower to not eat every single one while driving home with them!

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They were SOOOOOO delicious!!!  My favorite is the Orange Cranberry Oatmeal.  The perfect blend of tart and sweet flavors…mmm-mmm good! So, besides the availability of super amazingly tasty cookies, what’s so great about Insomnia Cookies??!

THEY DELIVER!!  ‘TIL 3AM!!!

Yup, you read that RIGHT.  ‘Til 3am!  Now, the one limitation is that they only deliver to a relatively local area to the store (at least here in Birmingham), but still, they deliver.  So if you live in or near downtown, you are in luck (in Birmingham).  But, you can stop by the store and order during store hours, which run from 11am-3am.  Not too shabby!

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Current Insomnia Cookie Locations

SO, I’m sure all you have read thus far is “Blah, blah, blah, blah” and now want to know, “HOW DO I GET FREE COOKIES?!” Am I right?!  lol.  Well, to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below with your favorite cookie flavor.  That’s it!  Easy peasy!  I will select a winner and announce in the comments section and at the top of this post on Friday morning (December 4, 2015).  So check back to see if you won!

Finally, in the meantime, be sure to check out the deal Insomnia Cookies is offering for National Cookie Day below:

National Cookie Day (2)

This deal is valid at all participating Insomnia Cookie locations. Get you some cookies to celebrate National Cookie Day!!

Stop by the Five Points/Birmingham location if you are in the area!

1919 11th Ave South, Suite 200
Birmingham, AL 35205
877-632-6654

Until next time! Stay ‘Chic’!

From the Insomnia Cookies ‘About Us’ page:

Insomnia Cookies is a rapidly expanding late-night bakery concept with offices in both New York and Philadelphia. Founded in a college dorm room in 2003 at the University of Pennsylvania, by then student, Seth Berkowitz, Insomnia Cookies  has been feeding the insatiable hunger of our fans ever since. We specialize in delivering warm, delicious cookies right to the doors of individuals and companies alike. 

Today we have more than seventy locations and are still growing! Whether you’re feeding a craving or a crowd, our offerings of cookies, brownies, cookie cakes and even cold milk, has you covered. We also serve and deliver ice cream at most of our locations. 

No matter what your cookie needs – – from late night study breaks, sending gifts to college kids far from home, anniversary or birthday gifts or group orders for your next event or meeting. Insomnia Cookies are available when you need them most.