How Fear Can Paralyze You

Hi! It’s me. Long time, no see. I’ve been absent for nearly a year, and even before that, my posts were irratic at best. I’m not proud of that and there’s really no excuse for it. You were never far from my mind and I have a whole notebook full of blog ideas written down to prove it.

I could tell you that LIFE happened, but so what? Everybody’s life is happening all the time. I could tell you I was taking a sabbatical — that sounds as if I’ve been soul-searching and dedicated to the writing process. I could hint that I was working to be a better me (and I have been). I could mention a tragic thing that’s happened in my family and you all would completely understand why this blog might not have been my number one priority. I could give you several reasons for my absence, all having an official “sound” to them. I could even (dare I say it?) lie.

But that wouldn’t fit the purpose of this blog, nor would it be fair to those who patiently waited for me to come back (or forgot that you were subscribed to this blog and didn’t miss me at all). I want to tell you the absolute truth…and this is going to be embarrassing and painful for me. I’m afraid and the fear has paralyzed me for a long time.

Spiritually, I am closer to God than I’ve ever been. There are so many things to share with you that I found empowering in my time away. Each moment made me a much better wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. I will eventually share those amazing insights with you. I promise.

Why didn’t I just sit and share these things with you then? I was scared someone would ask me about my way of eating (woe, for short — which by the way is still carb cycling and it’s still working) and my weight loss. The question I dreaded answering the most was this: did you meet your goal weight? 

No. That is the truth in a nutshell.

In 2013, I got close…so close I could see the finish line. And then I gave up. I blew it. And the truth is, I don’t know why. Every ounce that I lost, I gained back plus more. I packed away my nutrition books. I stopped doing research. I just decided it wasn’t worth the effort and I was sorry I ever mentioned it in this forum. People were still reading this blog, especially the posts on nutrition and weight loss. They left wonderful comments. Someone even asked if this blog was still active.

In all honesty, I was prepared to be unhealthy for the rest of my life. I just didn’t care anymore…until my doctor shared blood work results with me that shook the foundation of my world. I was in a health crisis: cholesterol was awful (not enough of the good kind, way too much of the bad), I was pre-diabetic (and probably should have been classified as Type II), my blood pressure was way too high (and I was already on medication), my chronic pain raged, and I was at the second highest weight of my whole life (226 pounds). I was an emotional and physical wreck. Dr. Anderson asked me two questions that saved my life,”Do you want to lose the weight and work on these numbers or do you want me to put you on medication? Don’t you want to live a long, happy life and watch your granddaughter grow up?”

Just so you know what me at 226 pounds looks like, here I am:

446

So in the summer of 2015, I chose to work on my weight and cholesterol through diet. I knew what worked. I’d done it before. Could I do it again? I remember telling my husband, Kelly, that I had yoyo dieted so much in my life, I should have “Duncan” tattoed on my hip!

When I had my check-up in September 2015, I weighed 211 and that was enough to get a second chance. The journey started out rough and along the way, there have been extreme highs and lows…and a lot of middle of the road days where I just keep plugging away. I just want to tell you that it’s gotten a lot better. Have I reached my goal weight? Not yet, but I’m getting there!

To be continued…

shr

Throwing Down the Little Debbie Cakes

If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. 1 John 1:9 (The Message)

Every morning, I see myself in the mirror. There are things to do: wash with my special facial cleanser, pat dry, apply anti-winkle cream (with SPF 30), brush my teeth, comb my hair, and gear up for another day. Over this last year, though, I’ve watched my face getting puffier, my chin growing “a second row,” and I don’t like it.

image

In 2013, I lost nearly 35 pounds. My best weight was 175. I was able to maintain that for almost a year. Then other things started happening in my body and slowly but surely, all that effort I put in losing the 35 pounds got lost in the fog of my chronic pain. And as I stood on the scale yesterday, I stared down at the number. 215 pounds. I stepped off, let the scale reset, and tried it again. 215, exactly the same as the first time. Just for good measure, I tried again. Nope, there it was: 215 pounds – all 35 pounds that I’d lost had, like the prodigal son, found its way back home…and those 35 found a 5 pound friend and invited it to visit as well.

I wasn’t shocked — in fact, I was glad it wasn’t more. I knew I had put on the weight. Now, it was a question of what I was going to do with myself — throw out my desire to trim this “temple” God has given me and just become comfortable in my fat or throw down the Little Debbie Cakes and say, “No more. I can do this. I need this. I want to be healthy. I want to clean up the temple and keep it sparkling!”

Little Debbie

I had already decided BEFORE I stepped on the scale that I wanted to at the healthy weight that just a year before had been just a few pounds away. I knew that I needed to eat low carb because carbs are not my friends. I just wanted a simple plan that did not include adding up calories. I had a lot of friends that have had success with the new Weight Watchers points plan and I joined yesterday (September 1). I loaded the WW app to my phone and found that all I had to do was list what I ate and it tracks my points for me. I like what the WW points plan offers me — simplicity and choices.

I got down on my knees and had some quality alone time with God. I repented for my gluttony. I discussed at length with God my greatest pitfalls (my love of sweets and carbs, my habit of gorging myself late at night, the fact that I could eat ice cream breakfast, lunch, supper). I talked with him about my “shame eating” — the times I’ve bought $25 worth of candy bars and hidden them from the rest of the family, eating them when I was alone, and hiding the wrappers WWAAAYYYY down at the bottom of the trash can. (Come on…I know some of you know what I’m talking about!) I was honest with Him about my unwillingness to call on Him in the grips of fighting off a craving and praying for help.

This morning, my morning devotional verse was 1 John 1:9. I was not surprised that God aligned my morning devotional scripture with the very subject for which I’d been baring my soul to Him. That’s how He works. Isn’t that cool? Here are the words that struck me like a lightning bolt (additions and emphasis mine):

We are fooling yourself, Sandy — God already knows your sin.

Admit your sins, Sandy, and come clean with God.

He won’t let you down, Sandy.

He’ll be true to Himself, Sandy.

He’ll forgive your sins, Sandy, and purge you.

So, with a clean slate, I’m on my journey to health again. If you are in a less-than-happy place with your weight, I understand. If you’re willing to start with a clean slate, God understands. If there’s something you want to share in the comments, I will pray with you. This is not a place of judgment. None of us is perfect. Our God loves to give second chances…and third, fourth, fifth, sixth…endless chances.

Pray for me and I’ll pray for you.

shr

Carb Cycling at Your Fingertips: Chris Powell’s “FREE” App

Carb cycling is how I’ve lost 34 pounds since January 2013.  I’ve tried to describe what it is and how to do it here on LBTK. Some of the comments I’ve gotten are encouraging, but a few have said, “Sounds too complicated!” or “The book is $20 — I’m on a budget!”

Well, what may have seemed complicated is now easy-as-pie.  And what may have been an expense you couldn’t afford is now FREE! The Vemma Nutrition company has teamed up with Chris Powell, transformation specialist on “Extreme Weight Loss” and author of Choose More, Lose More for Life, to make carb cycling simple.  Chris and his wife, Heidi (who is also a trainer and a working mom) have created a resource that is so complete, it’s impossible to get it wrong!  Vemma and the Powells have created an app for smartphones, Vemma Bod-e.  It’s free!  And it will “hold your hand” (so to speak) as you go through your week of eating. (Please ignore the fact that I misspelled my own last name, LOL!)

Settings on the Vemma App

Settings on the Vemma App

Even though I’ve been carb cycling for almost ten months, I decided to try this app — and it’s amazing.  Every day, you can see what your eating plan is.  You can set your wake-up time and it makes an eating schedule for you based on that information. My wake-up time is 7:00 am.  The app sends me a message to remind me to eat breakfast.  At 10:00 am, I get a reminder to have a mid-morning snack and gives me great suggestions about what to eat.  At 1:00 pm, I get a message reminding me to eat lunch, with suggestions based on whether it’s a low carb day or a high carb day.  At 4:00 pm, I get another message reminder with suggestions for my afternoon snack.  Then at 7:00 pm, I receive my last reminder with food suggestions.

My Day 2 Schedule (Low Carb)

My Day 2 Schedule (Low Carb)

Every day, I can go to the “Tip of the Day” and watch a short video from Chris and Heidi (usually about 2 minutes long) and get a great eating tip and a word of encouragement.

My Message Board

When I downloaded the app, I looked over the eating plan and if I didn’t like a suggestion on the app, I “clicked” on the arrow to the right of each food choice and could choose from 8-10 more suggestions.  If I don’t like any of those, I simply choose a meal or snack based on whether it’s a low carb or high carb day.  After I chose my menu for the week, I clicked on “Grocery List” in the settings and the app put together a list of all the foods I needed to buy for my week of carb cycling.

My Grocery List - Week 1

My Grocery List – Week 1

The meal and snack suggestions come with RECIPES! (Also found in settings)

My Lunch for Today

My Lunch for Today

A Mid-Morning Snack Option -- Ham & Cheese Roll-ups (Low Carb Day)

A Mid-Morning Snack Option — Ham & Cheese Roll-ups (Low Carb Day)

When you download the app, your meal plan will start the next day, giving you 24 hours to get ready.  There is a place for you to list your current weight, your current measurements, and your weight loss goals.  My goals were to keep losing on the carb cycling plan and be more active.

My Current Stats

My Current Stats

One of my favorite perks with this app was the ability to sign up to receive updates from a REAL, LIVE PERSON.  My coach is Jim Klunk and he lives in Kentucky.  He’s not just a coach — he’s carb cycling with me.  Jim has coronary artery disease and was diagnosed in 2006 with MS.  Because of his inability to work out like everyone else, he consistently gained weight over the last decade.  He found out about carb cycling and presented the information to his heart doctor, who immediately approved of the eating plan.  Without going to the gym, and by just being active a few minutes a day, Jim lost 25 pounds on the carb cycling eating plan.  He’s still working at it every day.  He does a lot of research and when he finds a great eating or work-out tip, he drops me an email and a word of encouragement.  This week, his suggestion was to add turmeric to my shakes and meals — it’s been shown in studies to help women burn up to 6 extra pounds a week!

Vemma Nutrition sells an assortment of supplements for weight loss.  Chris Powell has partnered with them to bring a special formula of proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and fats to the Bod-e shake mix.  I’d never tried this before and Jim sent me a sample of the Chris Powell Bod-e Shake and a free DVD with Chris and Heidi’s best tips for weight loss — BOTH FREE!

My Free Sample of Bod-e Shake

My Free DVD

My Free DVD

The shake mix is delicious!  And it’s cheaper than the protein shake mix I normally buy at Wal-Mart.  So, I ordered a bag of the vanilla shake mix (it’s extremely versatile — add fruit or any flavoring you want to the vanilla and you can have a different flavor every day for breakfast).  You can mix it with either water or milk (I use almond milk).  At first, I didn’t sign up for auto-delivery, but after using the mix for two weeks, I knew I wasn’t going back to the other protein shake mix.  If you are interested in receiving a free sample of the shake mix and a free DVD, please send your name and address to my friend, Jim, at jimklunk1@aol.com and he will send them to you in the mail for FREE — NO DELIVERY CHARGES, NO POSTAGE & HANDLING, AND NO STRINGS ATTACHED! 

Those of you who are regular readers know that I don’t promote anything without an excellent reason.  In fact, I rarely promote anything on this blog.  If I find a new product that’s worthy of your time and money, I share it.  I’m also not one for spending lots of money to lose weight (sorry Nutri-System, I can cook my own food) or on gimmicky items for weight loss and fitness (you will never see me recommend an electric belt that “works” your abs for you).  What I write about and recommend to you, I always have checked out and tried myself — including books to read, recipes to make, fitness equipment, and weight loss information.  I don’t get paid to recommend anything.  If you’re interested in the Chris Powell Shake Mix (in either vanilla or chocolate), you can click here to order.  Chris Powell has developed other products for Vemma as well and they all carry his name.  THE ONLY PRODUCT THAT I HAVE TRIED IS THE SHAKE MIX.  I cannot comment on any other products because I’ve not tried them, but you can check all of the products out when you click here.

So, when I tell you that this app is FREE, EASY, and WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE, I hope you know I’m speaking from personal experience that has brought me true success.

Best of all, if you get off track on the carb cycling plan, there is a RE-SET BUTTON on the app!  Nothing is set in stone.  You can always have another chance — as many chances as you need.  Isn’t that what a healthy lifestyle is all about — getting back on the horse when it bucks you off? Not giving up because you had a bad day (or week or month)?

If you download and check out the app, will you leave a comment and tell me what you think?

shr

Six Foods to Help You Lose

Image Source:  http://goliathflores.blogspot.com

Daniel did not want to eat the king’s rich food and wine because it would make him unclean. So he asked Ashpenaz for permission not to make himself unclean in this way.  God caused Ashpenaz, the man in charge of the officials, to be kind and loyal to Daniel. But Ashpenaz told Daniel, “I am afraid of my master, the king. He ordered me to give you this food and drink. If you don’t eat this food, you will begin to look weak and sick. You will look worse than other young men your age. The king will see this, and he will become angry with me. He might cut off my head. And it would be your fault.”

Then Daniel talked to the guard who had been put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by Ashpenaz. He said, “Please give us this test for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then after ten days, compare us with the other young men who eat the king’s food. See for yourself who looks healthier, and then decide how you want to treat us, your servants.”

So the guard agreed to test Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah for ten days. After ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier than all the young men who ate the king’s food. So the guard continued to take away the king’s special food and wine and to give only vegetables to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. (Daniel 1:8-16, ERV)

I am really enjoying my online nutrition class.  I’m learning so much about the foods I eat and how my body processes them. I am always looking for good foods that make me feel full and give me every advantage on the diet playing field. Here is a list of foods that I consider to be the “best of the best” foods to help you lose weight.

Image Source:  www.romafoods.com

  1. Fruit/Vegetables:  The USDA’s MyPlate plan suggests that we eat fruits and vegetables at every meal.  Fruits do contain sugars and they have carbohydrates.  However, these carbs are complex and take longer to digest.  They leave you feeling full longer, which is always a plus.  The key to successful integration of fruits in your diet is portion control.  Vegetables should be high in fiber and water content.  The fiber helps in digestion and the water helps move the food through your digestive tract.  (Specific food suggestions:  1 cup of berries = 83 calories, 1 small Gala apple = 55 calories, 1 cup sliced bell pepper = 46 calories, 1 cup broccoli florets = 30 calories)
  2. Nuts:  Although high in fat, raw nuts are one of the most nutritious, satisfying foods you can eat.  The fat in nuts is monounsaturated and actually has been shown to aid in weight loss.  They taste good and satisfy our need for something crunchy.  Low-sugar nut butters (almond or peanut) are also good choices as long as you enforce portion control.  (Specific food suggestions:  1/2 cup raw almonds = 265 calories, 2 Tablespoons almond or peanut butter = 190 calories)
  3. Low-fat Dairy and Non-Dairy Foods:  Yogurt is one of the most nutritious dairy products that can help you lose weight.  Non-dairy foods like tofu offer lots of protein and are low in fat.  Almond milk is my favorite non-dairy food. (Specific food suggestions:  1/2 cup of firm tofu = 88 calories, 5 ounces plain fat-free Greek yogurt [with a dash of vanilla extract and sweetened with stevia] = 80 calories, 1 cup almond milk = 30 calories)
  4. Potatoes:  Any kind of potato except a FRIED potato is good for you.  It’s high in fiber and filling.  I must stress portion control, again, because a single potato (boiled, baked, or broiled with salt and pepper) cannot derail your weight loss efforts.  (Specific food suggestion:  1 medium baked potato = 161 calories)
  5. Whole Grains:  Whole grains in pastas, rice, and breads are not refined and have more nutrients.  Whole grains are complex carbs and we know what they do for us — leave us feeling full longer.  I have to give a plug for my favorite bread, Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread.  You can find this in the freezer section of health food stores or in your local Harris Teeter.  It makes a delicious sandwich and is great with my Basic Egg Scramble in the mornings.  You can find different varieties, such as the Ezekiel 4:9 English muffins, Sesame, and Cinnamon Raisin breads.  (Two slices of Ezekiel 4:9 bread have 160 calories and 0 sugars!)
  6. Water:  Water hydrates the body, helps with digestion, and has nutrients and minerals that our bodies need.  Best of all it’s calorie free and cheap!  (Duh!)

Image Source:  www.drsharma.ca

If you read the rest of the first chapter of Daniel, you will find that Daniel and the others who ate his diet of fresh foods and water were healthier than the rest of the men  who ate the king’s rich, calorie-laden foods and wine.  The king considered Daniel so wise that he made Daniel his personal servant, which put Daniel in a position to do God’s work later on.

Like Daniel, we need to eat the whole, fresh foods that God provides for us.  Ridding our diets of processed foods is one of the healthiest, most productive decisions we can make.

Remember, our desire is to eat to live, NOT live to eat.  If you have a favorite food from any of these categories, please share them in the comments.

shr

Weight Loss Wisdom 3

I recently read an article entitled “10 Weight Loss Tips from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center.”  It was informative and since Duke University is right in my own back yard (give or take 70 miles), I decided to share this information with you.  You can visit the Duke Diet and Fitness Center (DDFC) website here to see what it offers.

1.  Eat more!

Choose a full plate of healthy foods.  Often, DDFC clients will say that they are scared they’ll be hungry when they first start the program.  But they change their minds when they see the meals they’re served.  Most clients say it’s more food than they normally eat at a meal.  Your body has to have fuel.  The DDFC uses the USDA‘s MyPlate instead the food pyramid.  If you look at a round plate, half that plate should be filled with healthy fruits and vegetables.  One-quarter of the plate should be filled with healthy proteins, to include fish once or twice a week.  The last quarter of the plate should be filled with carefully chosen, fiber-rich starches like beans, legumes, brown rice, or quinoa.

Image Source:  www.choosemyplate.gov

2.  Plan your meals.

Not only should you plan WHAT you’re going to eat, but WHEN you’re going to eat.  Eating small meals every three to four hours will keep you from becoming ravenous.  Being ravenous leads you to eat any-and-everything you can get your hands on.  Starting with breakfast within an hour of rising, don’t skip meals.  Don’t let your hunger reach the point of no return.

3.  Keep a food journal.

Write down what you eat on paper or use an internet helper such as MyFitnessPal.com or CalorieCounter.com.  The dieticians at Duke have found that you get off your eating plan if you don’t keep track of what you eat.

4.  Curb the emotional eating.

Before devouring a dozen chocolate chip cookies or half a box of Krispy Creme doughnuts, you should stop and ask yourself some questions:

  • Am I really hungry?
  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What do I really need?
  • What can I do instead?
  • If I eat this, how many calories am I going to have to burn?
  • How long with I have to exercise to burn these calories?

One DDFC client has put a note on her refrigerator that reads: WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS NOT IN HERE!  

5.  Have a daily indulgence.

Allow yourself one treat that is no more than 10% of your daily calorie count.  (For example, most days I eat 1200 calories. My indulgence would be something with 120 calories or less.)  In doing this, don’t choose your trigger food.  Choose something that tastes good but will not cause you to lose control.

Image Source: http://www.mamasgotittogether.com

6.  Don’t beat yourself up.

Okay, so you ate the dozen chocolate cookies or the entire box of doughnuts — you can’t ruin your diet in one day, says Christine B. Tenekjian, a dietician at DDFC.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  If you need to rid yourself of the guilt, journal about what you were feeling before you over-indulged and try to figure out why you did it.

7.  Walk it off!

People that come to the DDFC often have not been active in quite a while.  Fitness experts there start their clients on a walking regimen — short distances at first, then working up to 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day.  A pedometer is an inexpensive investment that will give you great feedback.  (Personally, I use the free Runtastic app on my iPhone.  It has a pedometer, a distance monitor, and a timer.  There are also other apps that do the very same thing.  Just do an app search for “pedometers.”)

8.  Make your work out simple.

Working out in a gym is nice but not always affordable or feasible.  It’s just as easy to set up a workout routine in your own home:  doing squats, wall push ups, tricep dips from a chair, ab crunches,  leg lifts, and using resistance bands are all effective exercises as long as you do them two or three times a week, one or two sets of 8-12 repetions each.

9.  Rise and shine!

DDFC has found that people who do their daily workouts first thing in the morning have a better chance of sticking with it. With the busy lives we lead, there’s just too much of a chance that something will come up and take priority over our workout time if it’s later in the day.  Decide to become a morning person (it’s hard — but I personally learned to do it after more than half my life of being a “night person”) and set a routine that’s hard to get interrupted.

Image Source:  www.cardio-greentea-stretching-tumblr.com

10.  Be creative in your motivation.

There’s more to motivation than just setting a weight loss goal.  What happens when you run into a plateau and become discouraged?  DDFC advocates finding a partner for accountability and motivation or changing up your routine to get out of a rut.  Any routine that become “routine” is boring.  When you get bored, you run the chance of abandoning your goals.  I found a great article on one of my favorite websites, Everyday Health, that offers some great tips.  You can read the article here.

Image Source:  http://raymcdonald.wordpress.com

I am praying for you all.  Whatever challenge you’re facing, God is listening.  It’s one of the ways I curb the emotional eating — I pray.  If I get caught up in talking to my Heavenly Father, I find that my emotional needs are met in a much bigger way than any half-gallon of ice cream ever could.

shr

MORE: New Food Reviews (Satisfries/Progresso Heart Healthy Soups)

While I am focusing on being a healthy person, I am also focusing on becoming a more Christ-centered person.  It’s not about me at all, but about Christ living in me.

So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave himself to save me.  (Galatians 2:20, Easy-to-Read Version)

I am finding that LESS is MORE when putting Christ first.  I truly believe the reason I’ve been so successful in losing my weight and not giving up when it’s gotten hard — and believe me, every day has not been easy — is because I’m worshipping at the foot of the cross, not at the “foot of my fridge.” It’s been a struggle against putting things of the “flesh” (food) before things of the Father.  So, as strange as it may sound, in my journey to weigh LESS, my goal is MORE:

More Jesus - Less MeImage Source:  www.bing.com

In my quest for MORE, I’m opening myself up to new foods and discarding old foods that do not fit my healthy lifestyle. Part of becoming healthy is knowing what foods are and aren’t reliable sources of good quality nutrition.

My son, Martin, is working at Burger King while he’s in college.  I was intrigued when he came home and told me about a new menu item:  Satisfries.  I don’t eat fast food often and I never order french fries anymore, but in the interest of a scientific experiment and for the good of YOU (my faithful readers), I sacrificed myself and ordered some for lunch one afternoon last week.  (Okay, I hear all you out there laughing about my sacrifice!)

Image Source:  www.bk.com

I have always loved crinkle cut fries and that’s what the Satisfries are.  According to the Burger King advertisements, they’ve been working on the formula for these fries for ten years.  They reportedly have 30% fewer calories and 40% less fat than Burger King’s and McDonald’s regular french fries.

I did not eat the entire order.  I shared them with five other people whose opinions about food matter to me.  We all agreed that we loved the crunch of the Satisfries.  None of us could honestly tell the difference between the regular french fry taste and the Satisfries.  The clincher was my niece, Reagan, who is the pickiest eater in our family.  (This is a child who actually leaves the dessert in her lunch untouched.  And she’s related to me?  Go figure!)  Reagan gave the Satisfries her “two thumbs up” approval.  Overall, I’d say that the Satisfries did truly satisfy our french fry cravings.

All that being said, I would not call them an “optimal” food choice, but a “better” food choice if you’re going to eat fast food fries.  The biggest benefit that I see is that the Satisfries are significantly lower in sodium.  Let me share the nutritional information directly from the Burger King website.  You can decide for yourself:

Regular Fries, Small:  340 calories, 15 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 480 g sodium, 49 g carbohydrates, and 4 g protein.

Satisfries, Small:  270 calories, 11 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates, and 4 g protein.

The air is crisp and the leaves are changing. It’s fall and my favorite time of the year — time for SOUP!  Did you know a small salad AND soup for lunch is filling and keeps your satisfied throughout the afternoon longer than a salad alone?

The big buzz at lunchtime for me in the past week has been sampling the new Progresso Heart Healthy soups.  There are ten flavors:  Creamy Tomato with Basil, Creole-Style Chicken Gumbo, Homestyle Vegetable Beef, Italian-Style Wedding Soup with Meatballs, Minestrone, Roasted Chicken Noodle, Savory Chicken with Rice, Savory Garden Vegetable, Southwest-Style Black Bean and Vegetable, and Tomato with Parmesan.

Image Source:  www.progresso.com

So far, I have sampled the Tomato with Parmesan, Minestrone, Creole-Style Chicken Gumbo, and Garden Vegetable.  I LOVED EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!  I can’t wait to try the rest.  You can find the nutritional information for all the soups here.

Please let me make something clear — Burger King nor Progresso gave me samples to try, nor paid me for these reviews.  I just think it’s important to pass on information to others who are on their weight loss journey about satisfying, healthy foods.  (Or on the flip-side, foods that will sabotage that journey!)

God bless you.

shr

Letting Go (with No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken Recipe)

I remember a conversation I had with my husband, Kelly, so vividly it’s like it was yesterday.  This was just a few months after we were married in 1987.  We’d decided that I’d come off birth control and we’d start our family.  I said to him, “By next year, we’ll have a new Rosser to take to big family Thanksgiving dinner at your Aunt Ruth-Marie’s house.”

In the same conversation, we were discussing the longevity of my teaching career.  I was teaching at Eastover-Central Elementary School and was honored as their “Teacher of the Year” for 1987.  That was huge for me because I’d only been teaching for three years.  To have my peers vote to give you, a virtual newbie, an honor like that was overwhelming for me. “Yes,” I said confidently. “I will be teaching until I am blue-haired, squint-eyed, wrinkled beyond recognition, and walking with a cane.”

As confident as I was that day, neither of those things came to pass.

Image Source:  www.getv.org

Instead of getting pregnant, we found out about our infertility. “One in a million chance,” was what the doctor told us.  Of course, I told him that God was the Great Physician, and without much consulting with the Great Physician, Kelly and I decided that our journey included donor sperm and monthly visits to Duke Fertility Clinic.

Within the next year, I injured my back at school while moving a science kit.  It only weighed ten pounds, but something happened that morning that I can’t quite put my finger on.  All I knew was that I was in excruciating pain.  Five years and seven surgeries later, I was medically retired from a profession I thought I’d be a part of until I was…well, you know what I said in the first paragraph.

After six unhappy months of in vitro at Duke, Kelly and I finally let God have the infertility issue, and we adopted.  It was the oh-so-right thing to do.  We could not love our children anymore if they were our biologically.  At nearly 25, 23, and nearly 16, they bring us so much joy. They like to tell me that they may not have grown in my womb, but they grew in my heart.  I kinda think I’ll keep ’em.

The one thing I fought God on at every turn was the fact that I was not in the teaching profession anymore.  I spent YEARS filled with anger at how that dream of mine had taken wings and flown. Even with the joy of adopting my children and the absolute miraculous ways He brought each of them to us, I held God accountable for not healing me physically and returning me to teaching.

In 2002,  I did let most of the anger go and for the most part, I was able to move on with my life and be relatively happy. But the little sliver that I harbored in my heart, kept me out of God’s will.  Seven years ago, I really had a come-to-Jesus moment that forever eradicated any anger I had and brought me to my knees to beg for His forgiveness.

I walked into a church where I was not a member because we were looking for a new church home.  At the end of the service, a woman came up to me and said, “You know, we need someone to work with our children and when I saw you walk in today, I knew my prayers had been answered.”

That woman was my Aunt Melba Rosser.  We were visiting the Kelly’s home church.  I was just visiting to be nice.  I did not think we’d really choose to become members of Culbreth Memorial UMC.  For heaven’s sake, I’d been a Baptist for forty-four years!  But this is where God led us, the church family He chose for us — and even though He hasn’t healed me physically (yet — I’m not ever ruling it out!), He healed me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

This church  took me just as I was, knowing that some Sundays I might not be able to show up because of my chronic pain.  I have a fantastic group of parents that pitch in and do things that I can’t physically do.  We started with a very small group of five children.  Now I work with fourteen: one children’s choir, one youth choir, and a drama team.  We’re growing every year.

The one thing I realized I’ve always been teaching — God gave me three children to teach.  And that I’ll still  be teaching for years to come, just in different circumstances.

Is it the life I envisioned that day back in 1987?  No…it’s better!

What had you envisioned that was not in God’s plan for you?  What did He lead you to instead?

shr

No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken (Serves 4-6)

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Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds

1 bottle of McCormick’s Rotisserie Chicken seasoning

1/4 cup of water

Nonstick Canola Spray

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Directions:

1.  Remove the giblets and neck from chicken.  (I freeze them to use for making chicken stock.)

2.  Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out.  Pat dry.

3.  Spray crock pot with nonstick spray.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Turn on crock pot to “low.”

4.  Use the McCormick Rotisserie Chicken season and coat the chicken liberally with it.

5.  Place chicken in crock pot.

6.  Cook chicken on low for 6 hours.

7.  When done, remove chicken and place on a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

8.  Skin and de-bone chicken.

Serve with vegetables or salad or use in a sandwich.  I freeze the chicken diced or chopped in 1-cup portions in quart bags to use on salads throughout the week at lunchtime.  This is moist, delicious, and cost-effective.

Tips:   I was in Wal-Mart yesterday and checked the deli prices for one of their rotisserie chickens — $8.88 for one not nearly as big as the ones I cook.  I try to find whole chickens on sale and buy them in bulk.  They will keep in the freezer up to nine months.  On sale, I can usually get whole chickens for about $ .69/pound.  (Aldi has frozen chickens for $ .89/pound every day — which is not a bad price either.)

Nutritional Information (1 cup cooked chicken):  231 calories, 5 g fat, 119 mg cholesterol, 104 mg sodium, and 43 g protein.

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