Sunday, February 20, 2011

Still Swinging!

It's my one year anniversary of "Crutch to 5k" - how I aptly renamed the running program to suit the fact that I was starting it on crutches (making it longer and more arduous I might add).

Exactly one year ago yesterday, I fell down my front steps in a freak accident and during the first week of Couch to 5k's running plan. More clumsy than freak, really, but I'm freakishly clumsy at times.  Anyway, I sustained a slight avulsion fracture and severe sprain to my left ankle.  I was devastated.  I had just started running that week, and was in week 1 of the Couch to 5k program.  The next day I had a trip to Panama City planned to get fitted for running shoes.  I was going places!  Yeah.  To my couch for awhile it turned out.

I remember crying that night - not from the pain so much but from the realization that I might just backslide now and gain the 30 pounds back I had lost...losing all ground I had gained, credibility I had built and once again finding an "excuse" not to achieve something great with my health.

When I met with the ortho doc the next week, he told me that if I were an athlete he would put a cast on the injury.  I've never had a cast before.  I've only had stitches even a few times and that was from surgeries and a car accident (I'm clumsy but pretty lucky not to usually seriously injure myself).  We won't talk about my multiple concussions.  hehe.  Anyway, he told me that was the quickest way to get back out there, putting a cast on my leg for 3 weeks then doing Physical I said ok, lets do it.  He had the tech come in and begin applying the stiff tomb to my leg.  Every ounce of me felt claustrophobic - I mean, I would not be able to move my ankle for about 3 weeks.  Holy crap.  Oh man.  I had an itch already.

As I hobbled out of there, I realized that I had another decision to make.  Because I had decided to change my life, but then my exercise streak had to come to a sudden halt.

So I had to decide not to let myself slip back into my old ways and gain all of the weight back. I *would* beat this injury and somehow come back stronger.

This is how Changing My Blueprint was born.  I had always wanted to blog but wasn't sure I had much besides complete randomness to talk about.  Well, now I did.  At first it was private, I invited a few friends and family members to read it.  It impacted some of them in a good way and then I thought, hey, if I put this out there publicly, maybe it can help someone else?  Blogging also kept me busy when I wasn't able to do my running training, or any real exercise, until I was done with physical therapy.  A LOOOONG 8 weeks I might add.

So today, I'm a little teary eyed as I think about that day a year ago.  Even this day a year ago, when my head was swimming with what-ifs and how-could-this-happens.  I had no idea on that day that today I would be 50 pounds lighter (for a total of almost 84 pounds down) and a bona fide runner.

I ran 3.15 miles yesterday with my running buddy Ashley.  We decided to run this morning also, and ran another 4 miles.  So I've run over 7 miles in a 48 hour period - take that ankle injury of 2010.  You are old news.  And you sure didn't stop me from continuing on my journey of healthier living. If nothing else, you fueled the fire lit under my tater and it is still burning.

Life is going to pitch us some doosies.  What happens next has everything to do with deciding to swing or not.  You won't hit the ball every time.  I have not had a perfect year.  There have been ups and downs, frustrations and pain.  I swung and got the cast on my leg (which was even more of a pain as I traveled for 2 weeks of the 3 I had the cast).  I swung and put everything I had into Physical Therapy to rehabilitate my ankle.  I kept on swinging, and started running again.  Every race was a swing and not all of them turned out how I dreamed they would, but I still did them.  Every swing was worth it.  Because even a bunt counts.

And I'm still swinging.

This is what success is made of.  When you can look back and see how far you have come, and focus on that, rather than how far you are from home plate.  I'm not done swinging folks.  And I'm totally cool with that.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Tank top weather!

Are you ready for tank top weather?  Before this moment I would say no, never.

Ooh - that rhymed...

Anyway, it was a beautiful day outside today.  It is jeans day on Fridays at work, so I wore denim capri pants, a glittery aqua tank top and a gray sweater.  When I left work I was too warm as it was 75 degrees outside.  It felt great out!  I actually had a moment where I wondered...would I need to take off my sweater, and if so, am I ok with that?

I was explaining to a few friends at work today about strange fat deposits.  When you lose a considerable amount of weight, it isn't just like it completely implodes and shrinks.  I am fortunate not to have a ton of excess skin, likely due to my exercising and the slow rate of my weight loss.  But I do have these weird little fat deposits.  Like my arms.  Not in that normal, bra-pinching spot, but just above my bicep is this weird little fat deposit that appears to be clinging on for dear life.  It looks really funny.  I've seen these around my legs too during this journey, but the arm ones are annoying.  As my arms will see the light of day long before my upper thighs do.  LOL.

Anyway, while I'm a little self-conscious about the weird fat deposits (and no I will not post a picture - haha) I realized today I would probably be OK with walking around in a tank top.  I exercise in racerback tanks all the time.  In public.  I am not perfectly fit, and I still have those weird little clingy fat things here and there, but you know what?  I look way better than I did last spring.  And amazingly better than I did the spring before that.

Wherever you are in your personal journey, make a decision to honestly let go of whatever is clinging and holding you back.  If it looks foreign to the rest of you, let it go.  :)  Wear that tank top.  Go down that size in pants finally.  Realize that sometimes clothes that are tighter (not gross, but fit I mean) look waaaay better than wearing your oversized baggy clothes.  That's why I get rid of my clothes as soon as they become too big.  Because I'm never going to fit into them again!

My little fat deposits aren't going anywhere for the moment, but the more I keep working out, the more they will shrink and disappear.  For now, they are a reminder of how far I've come...and how cool it is that my body is shifting to having more muscle than fat.  I like that shift, and I'll take the awkward in between phase as a racing stripe, thank you very much.

And tomorrow, I think I'll bust out a tank top.  What about you?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday Challenge is ON!

I've definitely decided to do the birthday challenge.  Here it is folks, my 32nd birthday is in 14 days.  I want to be below 200 pounds {for the first time in 10 years} by my birthday.  And 199.8 counts. :)

I started February at 206.8.  So 199.8 shouldn't be that hard, right?  Or wait, that is 7 pounds.  I don't usually lose 7 pounds in a month.  Hmmm...

Well...after having somewhat of a plateau, up and down and up and down by a few pounds for a few months, I haven't been that sure of setting specific weight goals. I didn't want to jinx myself because, even though it is happening slowly, it is still happening.  Moving in the right direction I mean.  Why mess with a good thing?

And then this morning I weighed in at 201.4.  WOW!  I have lost 2.6 pounds since last Tuesday when I weighed 204.  The only thing I can think of is that I've been more spot on with my food and I have also stuck to my 3000+ calories burned/week (and have now upped it to 3200).

On food, my daily recommended range from Sparkpeople is 1,290 - 1,640.  I think I may have found my "sweet spot" with calories - 1400-1450.  I hit in that range for 5 of the last 8 days.  And I have steadily lost weight for the last two weeks.  I will still continue to eat when I'm hungry of course - but its all about eating food that will fill me up and that I'll also enjoy. 

And ya know what? I had brownies last week.  Several times.  I baked them according to the box with the exception of using applesauce instead of oil and I also topped it with chocolate chips at the end making it into a thin but satisfying frosting.  I'm out of honey or I would have made the awesome honey brownies that have no sugar besides the honey. 

So I'm pretty stoked about this challenge.  In fact, I will be even more jazzed to reach the goal BEFORE my birthday.  What did I just say?  Actually blow a challenge out of the water?  All it takes is a little momentum, folks, and the competitor comes out in me.  I feel like a little kid the night before vacation.  Excited, nervous, and anticipating something new, though something familiar.  Like returning to Disney World.


Sort of sounds like a theme park, but Onederland is any weight under 200.  Any weight that begins with a "1."  The last time I was in this place was over 10 years ago.  I had been married about a year and was a bundle of happiness.  We ate ice cream just about every night.  My Stephen wanted me to be happy and he saw how happy hot fudge sundaes made me.  And so it goes.

Now he is very proud of me - and even though he is still careful not to say he wants me to look like I did 12 years ago, I can't wait to better resemble the girl he married.  He loved me at 285.  I was so blessed and lucky.  Now he deserves a wife who takes good care of herself and will live longer.  Yep, that's the new me.  And he can buy me all the dark chocolate he wants to since I eat that every day {in moderation}.

So there it is - the Birthday Challenge is on - and now we'll see what happens!  My weigh in days are on Tuesdays, so I'll weigh in next week and we'll see how close I am to my goal!!!  Exciting!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Contemplating a Birthday Goal...

So I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks.  32 years old on March 1st.  Not incredibly exciting.  It feels fake, actually, that I couldn't actually be 32.  But it's inevitable I guess!

My next weight loss goal, since I have hit the 80 pounds (woohoo!) was to be under 200 for the first time in probably a decade.  I was 180 when I got married in March of 2000, but I know I gained a good 10-20 the first year.  My sweet hubby saw how happy ice cream made me and we had sundaes every night.  :)  We've come a long way since then!

Anyway, I realized today that I was at 204 on Tuesday for my BL weigh in and that is only 5 pounds from 199.  So I'm contemplating putting a timeline on reaching 199.8.

Can I reach it by March 1?

That would mean losing 4.2 pounds in 17 days.

Is it possible?  Sure, though it would be a stretch for me.

Will I do it?  Don't know yet!  I'm going to try to give it a shot though - why not?  I have nothing to lose but weight.  And either way we know I will lose...I may not reach 199.8, but what if I do?  That would be amazing!  Would be a nice thing to celebrate on my birthday!

Are ya with me?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Food Guidelines and All...

You Are What You Eat!  I've heard this phrase all my life.  That means I used to be Chicken Fingers, French Fries and gobs of Honey Mustard.  Sound appetizing?  Not to me.  Anymore, anyway.

Does that now make me grilled chicken, broccoli and fresh spinach?  haha!

So if you really are what you eat, wouldn't you rather be something healthy or clean?  Not drenched in grease or sauce in order to be tasty?  I mean really.  We all shower daily so as not to be greasy.  Just sayin'.

I was looking at my groceries in my cart at the store the other day and thinking about how different my cart looks from the way it did when I started on this journey. I get alot of questions about exactly what to eat - and I don't prescribe to any specific diet, but I will tell you that I try to follow a few simple rules when it comes to how I eat:

1) No processed foods.  By "no" I mean "mostly no."  Because I still like marshmallows from time to time.  And I don't think they are really food.  In all seriousness, think about the aisles at your local grocery store.  Most are lined with boxed products or pre-cooked dinners.  I know we live in a fast paced society but fresh is still best.  It's not usually BOGO (buy one get one free) but eating food that is fresh and has less preservative in it is BFU (better for you - pronounced BuhFoo).  And yes, I totally made that up.

2) Eat out rarely.  I cook at home at least 6 nights a week.  You may be saying, but I'm waaay too busy to cook that often.  Well, I work at least 40 hours a week, drive almost 10 to get to and from work, exercise about 6 hours per week and still manage to keep my house decently clean and my family happy...and yes, I cook dinner almost every night.  How?  By planning in advance.  Like tomorrow is payday so I will be making my menu for next week, then building my grocery list from that.  I hardly waste any food anymore.  And its so easy when you don't have to just wing it.  Winging it leave you open to ordering takeout on a whim...which typically will not end with healthy decisions.  Trust me, I know.  We do have to eat out every Sunday after church since our church is almost an hour from home (my husband is the Pastor).  But I always make healthy choices.  Our favorite mexican restaurant near church serves grilled chicken and steamed broccoli.

3) Lots of fruits & vegetables.  Apples are incredibly sweet to me now.  I think because I don't eat as much refined sugar - now natural sugar tastes even sweeter.  I also love bananas and strawberries.  Favorite veggies include dark lettuce (the herb mix in the box is my absolute fave), fresh spinach, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, and brussel sprouts.  I really love more veggies than that, those just happen to be my staples.  Most will be found in my cart when I'm grocery shopping, depending on what is freshest.  I try to have a serving of veggies at every meal and fruit at least twice a day.

4) Protein is your friend.  Invite Carbs to the party too, though. Listen to me.  Potatoes are NOT evil.  It's what we DO to potatoes that makes them evil.  I don't eat potatoes every day - but one of my favorite recipes is Loaded Baked Potato soup - and it is pretty healthy actually.  It's when you eat huge honking servings of potatoes or fry them that carbs become the enemy.  It's not potatoes' fault that we take advantage of them and make them unclean.  (sorry this is getting out of hand, I'll stop, but I'm sure giggling over here).  ok, seriously, I'm a fan of protein.  I try to take in between 60-132 grams a day (per my SparkPeople recommendation).  The days I eat more protein, are the days I end up in the lower end of my calorie range.  One of my favorite protein snacks is Oikos Greek Yogurt - a 4oz serving has 19 grams of protein.  Did you hear that?  19!  My chicken and spinach enchiladas tonight had 52 grams of protein per serving.  Nice!  Protein makes you feel fuller so you eat less.  Simple concept.  But don't go all low carb on me - especially if you have a workout schedule like mine.  Your body needs carbs.  GOOD carbs.  Like whole grains (no white bread!) whole wheat pasta, etc.  With the food out there today there is no excuse for eating white anything that will turn to sugar.  I'll take my sugar straight, thank you. :)

5) Don't treat every meal like it is your last.   I think this is how I became so heavy in the first place.  Every brownie I saw in every meeting was the last brownie I might ever eat.  So I'd better get one.  Today our offices were covered in boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts.  These used to be an issue for me - in fact, I have to tell you this, I used to think the "hot fresh" sign being on meant it was fate and I HAD to get a donut.  Ridiculous, I know.  The last time I ate a KK donut was sometime last year and within 5 minutes I had a migraine.  Back to the point, I know that when I cook something, or eat out somewhere, that I will eventually eat there again.  It isn't the last time I'll ever get to try something.  If something looks amazing, I might try a bite.  But more than likely I won't if it isn'tpart of my day.  And now I'm so used to making good choices its not really about them being "good" its about eating the way I eat - regardless of who wants me to supersize or try the new 256 ounce milkshake.  I'm not on death row, this isn't my last meal, God promised there wouldn't be another flood, so you know what?  It's grilled chicken for me here at La Leyenda.  And I like grilled chicken so that works. :)

6) Just say no.  This whole thing about not wanting to offend the cook - or make people feel bad when you don't eat something offered to you - GET OVER IT.  Other people usually aren't trying to intentionally sabotage you - but in reality, we all know misery loves company, so if someone is going to "be bad" with what they eat, they don't want to do it alone.  And the last thing they are thinking about is YOUR healthy lifestyle and YOUR goals.  I don't at all feel bad for them.  I was one of them.  But guess what?  My overall health is WAY more important than being someone's enabler or getting people to like me.  By like a million times.  So I say no alot.  Sometimes I try stuff or say yes if I really want something.  But by usually letting it be my idea, it never gets out of control.  Last week a friend was heading out to pick up lunch and was getting cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes.  I opted for a small cheeseburger and ate the apple I had brought.  I tried a fry or two of theirs and reminded myself of why I didn't miss them in my regular food habits.  Day ruined?  Nope, I was within my calorie range.  But my tummy troubles later tells me that its not worth going away from my plan.  Darn the cold rainy day.  I didn't plan my lunch well that day. And I paid for it.  Just say no to the surprises most of the time and you'll do well.

7) Diet food is not your friend.  Think about it.  In the last 2 decades, TONS of money has gone down the drain buying low sugar, low carb, low fat diet food.  And has America gotten skinnier.  NO - WE HAVE GOTTEN FATTER.  So, the diet food isn't working, folks.  The only light things I buy are: light sour cream (as I happen to like the flavor) and I like part-skim ricotta when I'm making a lasagna.  I eat REAL butter when I eat butter, not margarine (which is one molecule away from being plastic, did you know that?) and not buttery-like spreads.  I also don't do light cheeses overall (excpet for low moisture part skim mozzarella which isn't really light but is lighter than full fat).  Cheese that doesn't melt is just scary to me.  We love cheese - we just eat full fat cheese in moderation.  My overall rule - if the label has 3 or more ingredients that I either can't identify as food or pronounce without help, I don't eat it.  So I end up avoiding lots of diet food for that reason - there is so much non food crap in it.  Oh, and I can't do artificial sweeteners.  No sugar free this or that, no aspartame, splenda, etc. as I found these are migraine triggers for me.  If it isn't real food, it isn't good for you.  And if it is diet food, chances are, it has lots of non food qualities in it.

So what is left for me to eat then?  Gosh!  Lets look at that.

Here is what this week's menu looked like for dinners:

Sunday - Loaded baked potato soup
Monday - Taco Salads (using leftover chili from the weekend)
Tuesday - Homemade whole grain mac'n'cheese with diced ham and broccoli
Wednesday - Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
Thursday - Venison cube steak, asparagus and baked sweet potato fries
Friday - homemade pizzas loaded with veggies
Saturday - breakfast for dinner!

So after reading that, does it look like I'm a crazed diety person?  No - you might even be looking at it and wondering how I lose weight.  Well, its because every one of those recipes I've tweaked and made into a healthier version of what it used to be.  I enter the ingredients on Spark people and let it calculate the nutrition info for me.  It makes it that much easier to track my food.  And my family LOVES the way I cook.  Every meal has healthy elements, tastes awesome and everyone's happy.

What do I snack on between meals?

Here is a list of my favorite snacks:
*dry roasted almonds (1oz - sometimes just half an oz if I'm not too hungry)
*Cheese stick (mozzarella, low moisture, part skim)
*dried plums (yes, prunes, but don't be gross, they are good and good for you)
*Oikos Greek Yogurt, 4 oz container, Caramel flavored
*small apple
*hummus and crackers or veggies

My favorite breakfast(s):
*Larabar - Chocolate Chip Cookie dough - these are completely natural with just a few ingredients.  Dates, almonds, dark chocolate - yum.  I order them in bulk from  I eat one of these along with a banana most days, or eat my yogurt an hour after the bar.  They are great for being on the run and still being healthy.
*Healthy Quiche - this is a weekend thing as I don't always have time to cook breakfast during the week - it has spinach, feta, mushrooms, eggs and whole wheat tortillas.  So good and half a quiche is only 300 calories.  Will share that recipe one of these days.  :) 

My favorite regular treats:
*dark chocolate - I either throw a bag of dark chocolate hershey kisses in the freezer and eat a few at a time (remember a serving is 9) or I break a square off of a bar I keep in the pantry.  The freezer thing is safer, just fyi... :)  I eat dark chocolate EVERY day.  In moderation.
*hot tea - my current fave is apple cinnamon, but I also love peppermint and lemon and earl grey and berry flavored.  tea is the bomb.  And since I don't do artificial sweeteners, I take the 15-30 calories (one or two teaspoons) of real sugar and its perfect for me.
*hot cocoa - when I don't have the calories left for a piece of dark chocolate but really want something chocolate-y.

So there you have it - a list of some of my personal food guidelines and the foods I eat.  Scroll down and I'll give you the recipe I made up for my Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas.  I'll get a picture with the next recipe but trust me - these are yum.

Happy Eating!


Clara's Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas

3 Chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1 can plain tomato sauce
1 onion, diced
1 packet taco seasoning (working on making my own but in the meantime...)

2 cups fresh spinach
6-8 tortillas (depends on how full you want them)
1 can green enchilada sauce
1.5 cups shredded cheddar (we like sharp)
Light Sour Cream

In the morning place the first 4 ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for at least 4 hours.  Preheat oven to 375.  Spray down a glass casserole dish with cooking spray.  Shred the chicken in the slow cooker and mix up well.  Shred the fresh spinach and mix into the chicken mixture.  Spoon the mixture into a tortilla, roll it up and put the open side down into the dish.  Line them up in the pan.  Pour the can of enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas, then add the cheese evenly over it all.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with a dollop of light sour cream.  You can add chicken and tortillas if you have more people to feed than I do (just me, my hubby and my 7 year old girl).  We love leftovers, so I always make things that have around 6 servings in them.

Nutritional Info
Fat: 18.2g
Carbohydrates: 25.2g
Protein: 34.4g

Number of Servings: 6

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's Not Just About MY Blueprint...

Hey out there!

So, tonight's post was going to focus on food...what I eat, what I try to avoid, etc.  I promise to cover that in my next post (probably tomorrow night).  In the meantime, some other shiny thing has caught my attention and captivated it completely.  My heart is full.

When I began this journey, it was truly all about me (all that woo, folks).  I was teetering on the edge of giving up, giving in and gaining the 30 pounds I had lost back.  Sitting there with an injury with nothing but time on my hands, I knew I had to do something.  I needed this blog in order to work through issues, be accountable and interact with people out there in the world.  So I could pass my experiences on to them as well as learn from theirs.

There has been a shift - and its not a bad shift, but its no longer just about me.  I feel responsible to put posts out here as I have several friends I am "helping" with their healthy lifestyle changes and I want to answer their questions and keep sharing my tribal knowledge.  This isn't a bad thing at all.  I'm flat blown away by the comments, emails and messages on Facebook that I get from friends and friends of friends who all have questions or just want to pick my brain.  I'm so beginning to realize this isn't just about me.  And I'm humbled and amazed by that thought.

The healthy lifestyle has affected my family as well.  A few weeks ago my 7 year old little girl was making herself a ham and cheese sandwich.  I watched in quiet amazement as she pulled out the raw spinach and piled it on her sandwich.  Today at the grocery store, she begged me to buy squash to cook for her sometime this week.  (which I did of course).  These things would NEVER have happened before I began to get healthy.  She was a nuggets/fries kind of girl.  Who could blame her?  My menu when I was pregnant with her consisted of chicken biscuits, chicken sandwiches and more chicken sandwiches (all fried of course) and fries were my best friend.  I'm blown away by her beginning to prefer healthy foods.  Her blueprint will be forever changed because of this.  I doubt with these habits she will ever battle her weight like I did through most of my childhood and adult life.

My husband of almost 11 years is 6 feet tall and weighed 185 when I started this.  He's now in the low 170s and he isn't even getting regular exercise.  In a year he dropped 12 pounds just by eating more like me.  He is supportive and will at least try everything I cook and doesn't insist on bringing crappy food into the house.  He still doesn't love peas or brussel sprouts but he tolerates them.  Last week I went to dinner with some friends and he made eggs and sausage for him and Elizabeth for dinner.  And he mixed raw spinach in with the eggs (without my instruction).  WOW.  His blueprint is improved as well.

So its like a domino effect.  You may think its only you who needs fixing.  But even if the people around you don't necessarily have a weight problem, it doesn't mean they are healthy.  And super sizing that meal really isn't good for anyone of any weight.  {Bleh.  The thought of it nauseates me.}  I know plenty of skinny people who are not healthy.  Or naturally thin people who could not keep up with me and my activity.  If you make decisions to change your own life, you will be helping your spouse, children and friends to do the same.  And you may help people you don't even know that well. :)

And like the pay it forward concept it will continue to spiral in a good way.  That is why I get so much out of this blogging.  To pay it forward as I have been blessed with friends, information and circumstances that have allowed me to come this far.  It would be terribly selfish for me to want to keep it all to myself.  And that's just not my style.

I can't tell you how excited I get when someone sends me a message that says "ok, I'm ready to get healthy."  Some want to float ideas by me, some want to know how to get started.  I'm getting good at my spiel now.  At this point, the volume is such that I can handle it with a few message, phone conversations, etc.  At some point, I would love to be a healthy lifestyle coach for real.  I've always thought I could be a life coach.  But for now (and as long as I can't afford to be self-insured - lol) I get very excited about helping others and am happy to do it.

So a little all over the place, but you get the point.  Its no longer just about me.  That's pretty awesome.  Does it mean I don't need to be accountable?  Heck no! I need to be more than ever if I'm going to finish these last 40 pounds off.

And I will.

And you'll be here to cheer me on.

And when you're ready, I'll be here to cheer you on as well.



Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today I'm celebrating a great milestone.

I've officially lost 80 pounds (80.2 to be exact)!  That is 20/4lb bags of sugar!  Or 8/10lb bowling balls. 

Along with that 80 pounds lost, I've also lost 70 inches.  Did you hear that?  70.  So for every 10 pounds I lost almost 10 inches.  That's alot of FAT. GONE FOREVER!

So today I weigh 204.8.  I started at 285.  Man, that feels good to be able to say.

I remember being 285 and wondering if I would ever see 270, or 250, or 225, or dare I dream of 219?

And today I can literally almost see 199.

199!  Wow.

Wherever you are today, right now, in this moment, you can be somewhere better in a few months, a year.  You can change your own blueprint, one small tweak at a time.  It's not only possible, it becomes easy with time.  Did I just say easy?  Yeah, I meant it.

It is way easier for me to stay in control with my eating now, a year and a half into the journey.  Why?  Because I really genuinely like healthier foods now.  I like the way they taste, the way they make me feel.  I like the fuel they are for my athletic endeavors.  And I didn't just cold turkey completely change my eating habits.  I did it gradually.  I made small changes.  And then more changes, and then a few more changes.  And I'm sure I'm not done tweaking!

I keep trying and finding new healthy foods I like.  My "favorite foods" once consisted of chicken fingers slathered in some kind of sauce, typically honey mustard, because fried chicken on its own didn't have any flavor.  It was just oily and fried.  And I thought I loved it.  It made me feel bloated, greasy and unhappy.  I never felt comfortable unless I was completely stuffed to the gills.  I didn't know what "full and satisfied" was. I was just so afraid of hunger that I didn't allow myself to get hungry even a little bit.

Today, hunger isn't the norm, I eat when I'm hungry, but that is just the point - I eat when I'm hungry.  I don't eat because it is 11am, I eat because its time for lunch, according to my tummy growling.

Does it mean you won't ever catch me noshing or snacking for no reason?  Of course not.  I had my share (and yours) of dark chocolate today.  There are days like that.  But of all things to have a few ounces of, that's a good choice.

I no longer crave the fried chicken fingers.  I like a piece of fried chicken every now and then (and when it's $1 at work - lol).  But I don't typically crave it and when given the choice, I ALWAYS choose grilled.

And every time I make that choice, I feel more empowered and in control.  And able to make the choice again and again.  And I feel good about the choice. I no longer regret my food.  I don't hate myself for making bad choices.  Because most of my choices are really really good.

A healthy lifestyle works, my friends.  I'm living it.  And in 39.8 pounds I will reach my goal weight.  I'm 2/3 of the way done with my weight loss.  So I sort of know what I'm talking about here.

Enough ranting for tonight - going to get a good night's sleep so I can get an early start on that next 40 pounds!