My Blog List

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sharing my weight loss and fitness story

The gym at which I have a membership recently asked for volunteers to share their fitness stories. I wanted to share my own personal experience of how becoming more physically active changed my life.  It was cathartic to talk about what led me on this journey and to share my story.  I was a little worried about coming clean, but I think it was the right thing to do.

When I first moved to the Buffalo area I gained a lot of weight after my 3rd child was born.  People often ask how much weight I lost.  To be honest, it is a painful subject for me to talk about.    I did not struggle as much with my weight when I was younger and I think that seasonal depression led to most, if not all, of my weight gain.  I can only hope that something positive might come from sharing my story.  I lost the weight 5 years ago and I will not look back.  It was a tremendous growth experience and continues to shape me as a person.

Here is a sample of several of the questions I was asked as well as my responses.

What inspires you to exercise and why is it so important to you?

Staying active and making exercise a part of my daily routine helps me to deal better with stress and anxiety.  I have much more energy.  Exercising helps me cope with the winter blues.  If I didn’t stay physically active, I would have a more difficult time maintaining a healthy weight. 
Was there a time when you didn’t exercise?
I have always enjoyed exercising.  However, when my children were younger it was more difficult to find the time to take care of myself.  I enjoyed taking long walks outside when I lived in Virginia.  This changed after I moved to Buffalo because I do not enjoy spending time outdoors during the winter months.
What changed that?
I had gained a lot of weight after my youngest child was born.  I didn’t struggle as much with my weight when I was younger so this was a difficult period for me.  I was very depressed and knew that I had to make some drastic lifestyle changes.  I have lost a lot of weight (in the double digits) and I have maintained the weight loss for 5 years.  Exercise helps me to cope emotionally with the long winters.  It was a difficult adjustment for me after moving from a warmer climate.  I am eating a much healthier diet now.   I credit much of my weight loss to giving up eating junk food and replacing white flour with whole wheat in recipes whenever possible.
What benefits do you get from exercise?
There are so many benefits that I get from exercise.  I feel so much stronger than I did when I was out of shape.  Zumba is my favorite workout, after an hour class I walk out transformed. It helps to put a smile on my face.  I am a shy person and what I love about zumba is that it helps me to express myself. I have more confidence and energy, I feel better about myself and how I look. I am a different person than I was just 5 short years ago, happier, healthier, and more content. 
What helps keep you motivated?
I try to focus on a short term goal which helps me to stay motivated.  I have my 30th year high school reunion in Long Island coming up in May.  I have not seen many friends from my graduating class in years and would like to look my best.  I also write a health and fitness blog on blogger (Loriloves2bfit, Fit and Lovin’ it) where I share healthy recipes, the challenges I have faced with weight loss, healthy eating, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  It helps to know that there are other people facing the same challenges and it keeps me true to my goal of staying healthy.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Low Fat French Onion Soup

Today is unseasonably cold and windy in Buffalo NY and I am in the mood for some soup. To keep this recipe lowfat, I used 4 ounces of Jarlsberg light swiss cheese. This cheese is very flavorful and each serving (1 ounce) has 70 calories and 4 grams of fat.  Regular swiss cheese has 100 calories per ounce and 8 grams of fat.  More cheese could be used as a garnish if preferred, keeping in mind that this would increase the calories per serving. As prepared, this recipe yields 5 servings of soup at approximately 260 calories each.

Low Fat French Onion Soup

5 onions sliced thin
2 Tablespoons olivio light buttery spread (or similar butter substitute)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sweetener of choice (or sugar)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
5 thin slices whole grain french bread or sliced baguette
5 teaspoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Jarlsberg light swiss cheese (more or less to taste)

Combine thinly sliced onions, Olivio buttery spread, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and the garlic cloves. Cook onions over medium heat until they are carmelized, this takes about 25-30 minutes. This process takes time, remember to keep stirring the onions to keep them from burning.

When the onions are carmelized, combine the flour with the onions and give them a quick stir. Turn the heat down to medium low and let stand for a couple of minutes. Add the beef broth, red wine, worcestershire sauce, sugar and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Slice the french bread (or baguette) in 5 thin slices. Add 1 teaspoon of freshly shredded parmesan cheese on each slice of bread and toast in the oven. Ladle soup into 5 individual serving oven safe bowls or mug. Add a thin slice of bread and top with the freshly grated swiss cheese.

Place the soup bowls under the broiler until just bubbly. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lower Fat Lemon Spaghetti

I experimented and came up with a recipe for Lemon Spaghetti using fat free half and half, lowfat milk and fresh lemon juice.  This recipe yields approximately 8 servings at 272 calories per serving.

Lower Fat Lemon Spaghetti

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic cloves (I used 4 cloves and it had a strong garlic flavor)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Juice and zest from 2 Lemons
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/4 cup lowfat milk
1 Tablespoon whole wheat flour (to thicken sauce)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Small handful of italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound asparagus, steamed and cut into 1 inch pieces
Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish

Boil and cook spaghetti as package directs and drain.

Saute the garlic cloves and crushed red pepper for a couple of minutes in olive oil.

Juice and zest 2 lemons.

Add lemon juice, half and half, and lowfat milk to the garlic cloves, olive oil and crushed red pepper.  Add 1 Tablespoon flour to thicken sauce.  Raise the heat to medium to bring to a low boil.  Add lemon zest and parmesan cheese to the cream sauce.  Season with salt to taste.  Add the pasta and remove from heat.  Let the pasta soak up the flavors of the sauce for a couple of minutes.

I steamed the asparagus in water in the microwave for about 3 minutes.  Toss the pasta with the fresh basil, italian parsley, and steamed asparagus.  Serve while hot.