Spoilers! My Favorite Easy ‘Weight Loss’ Recipes (+ Food Bloggers)

Spoilers! My Favorite Easy ‘Weight Loss’ Recipes (+ Food Bloggers)

In case you haven’t checked out my weight loss post or my resolutions for this year, let me tell you that I have been working on myself since April of 2017 with a starting weight of 184 pounds. It’s been a fulfilling and frustrating journey so far. I know many of you are setting out on your own weight loss journey this year too, so I thought I’d link you the recipes (and some bloggers) that I enjoy the most! You can even see some pictures of them in action on my instagram!

I’ll preface this real quick by saying that I count calories. I use My Fitness Pal to calculate how many calories I should be eating a day to lose one pound a week. You can find nutrition tables online for most restaurants. For food you make at home, you’ll find the nutrition information right on the package. Simply add up all the ingredients, divide by servings, and you have your calories per serving!

Budget Bytes

One of my favorite food bloggers is Beth from Budget Bytes. I love these recipes so much that I downloaded the app! Even though there no calorie counts listed, I easily plugged the ingredients into My Fitness Pal and saved them for future use! Here’s some of my favorite recipes with personal adjustments and calories! All pictures used are straight from Budget Bytes!

Black Bean Chili

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Geeky Gal says: Sub the half pound of turkey for half a pound of venison. Substitute one can of kidney beans in place of black beans (or leave out one can of black beans altogether). Calories: 305 calories per cup.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

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Geeky Gal says: To save a little on calories, skip the cheese! This chili is plenty spicy without the jalapeño. Add some tortilla chips to on add some calories if you have the room. Calories: 165 calories per cup.

Sesame Chicken

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Geeky Gal says: Substitute chicken breasts in place of chicken thighs if you prefer white meat. You can use whatever rice you prefer for this dish, but I use half a cup of cooked white rice! Calories: 370 calories for 1/4 of the chicken and half a cup of white rice.

Pinch of Yum

I stumbled across Lindsay at Pinch of Yum while looking for healthy breakfast recipes. I stuck around when I saw her 5 ingredient recipes! Not only do her recipes taste amazing, but she lists the calories for you! Can I get a Hallelujah? All pictures used are straight from Pinch of Yum’s site!

5 Ingredient Banana Bread Muffins

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Geeky Gal says: Leave out the dates if you’re not a fan. Definitely add the chocolate chips! These are great to make ahead of time and eat on for the week. Calories: 124 calories per muffin.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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Geeky Gal says: I made this for Christmas, and it was a hit! Skip the gravy to save on calories (and by save on calories, I mean eat more potatoes). Calories: 252 calories per serving (makes 12 servings).

Geeky Gal’s Quick Picks

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie – 380 calories for one cup and one biscuit.

Spicy Potato Tacos – 228 calories per taco with potato filling, cheese, lettuce and sauce.

Crock-pot Japanese Onion Soup – 44 calories per cup. Serve this up on the side of homemade sushi!

Do you have any favorite low calorie recipes? Who are your favorite food bloggers? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

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Spoilers: the Geek & Weight-loss

Spoilers: the Geek & Weight-loss

I’ve been pretty quiet about my weight-loss journey here on the blog. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me cataloging meals and talking about my progress a little. I’ve kept my journey under wraps for a lot of reasons… One of them being how embarrassed I am to have let myself get so unhappy and unhealthy.

See, I’ve always been overweight and then in the last 2 years crept up to obese. I was picked on as a kid at school. Boys told me they didn’t like me because I was fat. I even had a family member in my life at the time severely damage my self confidence when I was 13. She wanted me to diet with her on a cottage cheese crash diet, and when I refused, she made fun of me and crushed what little self confidence I had. My self esteem took a beating from strangers and people I knew. I was not in a happy place.

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At my highest weight – 184 pounds –  in February 2017

One thing that did put me in my happy place was food. It was comforting to fill myself to the brim with my favorite things. It was nothing to buy a package of cookies and a big bag of chips and eat until it was all gone. I could watch television and stuff myself to forget about the crappy people around me and how it made me feel inside.

I was an emotional eater. Mad? Just eat 3 bowls of ice cream. Sad? Have a bag of chips. Stressed? Grab two burgers and a large fry and a milkshake on the way home. Anxious? Eat until you can’t feel it anymore.

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At my lowest weight – 155 pounds – in 2015

I climbed off the roller coaster of emotional eating five years ago after I ended an abusive relationship and thought I had kicked the habit. I got down to my lowest weight of 155 pounds. I was eating healthier and had cut out junk food and eating out. I had gotten up to two hours of working out five days a week. I was doing well until the scale stopped moving.

I’m wiser now than I was a two years ago when I had gotten down to my lowest adult weight. I know now the scale stopped because I wasn’t counting calories. I wasn’t weighing my food. I would deprive myself of something for so long until I binged on it later. After binging, I’d workout to try to “make it up.” I stopped losing weight… and then I said fuck it.

I went back to old habits and in two years put back on the weight plus more. I was 184 pounds. On a 5′ 1.5″ frame, it was lot of weight. I was warned by the nurse practitioner that I’d be taken off my birth control if I didn’t get my weight down. I felt ashamed but couldn’t bear to look the truth in the face. I went to Ireland at my highest weight. I met my fiance’s family. I worried the entire time about what everyone thought of my weight.

I knew when the plane landed back in America that I had to change something. In April, I “officially” started my weight loss journey. I only told my fiance and my closest friends about what I was going to do. I kept only them updated on my progress. I let some of that progress filter through to Instagram. I didn’t want anyone else to know what I was up to because I didn’t want their judgement.

When I lost weight the first time, I struggled more. I was berated by people around me about how one doughnut wouldn’t hurt and going out to eat one night wouldn’t kill me. I was a “beautiful girl who had curves and didn’t need to lose weight; I would become a stick.” “Boys don’t like sticks (not true by the way),” but what no one could understand was that all I wanted was to like myself.

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July 2017 – 162 pounds

So I kept this journey to myself… until now.

As I’ve let myself trickle my weight loss into conversations, I’ve had to clear up a few things: No, I’m not losing weight for my wedding; I’m losing it for me. No, I’m not going to be “a stick”; I’m going to be a healthy weight for my age and height. No, I’m not going to deprive myself of pizza and beer with my buddies on a Friday night; I’m going to eat in moderation and enjoy food.

There’s also no secret to weight loss despite the magazines and internet articles. It’s all about CICO: Calories In/Calories Out. I would have been lost without a certain weight loss forum on reddit that educated me and led me to 1200 calories a day. 1200 calories is the LEAST amount of calories a short woman (who does NOT exercise) should be eating. I don’t exercise much. In fact, I’ve only been walking about 30 to 45 minutes per day.

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August 2017 – 157 pounds

Since April, I have surpassed my lowest weight. I am 154.8 pounds today. I have no plans of stopping until I hit a healthy weight for my body. For my height, the highest normal weight for me is about 130 pounds. Right now, 125 is the magical number I’ve chosen for myself, but I’m flexible. This number will not be the end all, be all for my happiness.

I not only am better health-wise, but I FEEL better. I like to get dressed up now, my clothes fit better, I like my body, and I just feel more like myself. My stress about my health and body has dwindled down. I still stress sometimes but not like I used to.

So I’m ripping off this band aid of my secret weight loss journey. I plan to write future posts on my progress and keep everyone updated on my Instagram in a more public way. Here’s to progress and loving myself!

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August 2017 – 157 pounds

MCFT: Easy (& Healthy) Braces-Friendly Recipes

MCFT: Easy (& Healthy) Braces-Friendly Recipes

While I do love my potato chips, it’s one of the many things you can’t eat after getting your braces tightened. They’re just too hard to eat! If you were like me prior to getting braces, you did a ton of research on things you can and cannot eat during the process of braces and the awful pain that accompanies getting your braces tightened that hinders your ability to eat most things “solid.”

The first two weeks after my first tightening I was bound to a liquid diet. It was horrible. I couldn’t even touch my teeth together. I did the shake thing, the soup thing, the ramen noodle thing, the ice cream/pudding/oatmeal thing. After awhile, you just get tired of that stuff and not all of it is necessarily “healthy” for you and your soon-to-be straight teeth.

I took to the internet to find other recipes I could eat that would fill my stomach and keep my raging gums happy while still being on the healthier side of the food spectrum. Not all of these recipes are exactly healthy but they can be modified for any diet (paleo, no white, etc.). Use your judgement and take your health needs into account when making these for yourself or your kids with braces. All of these recipes can modified as well to be more or less servings! But most of these were make ahead lunches for myself or used for Saturday night dinners for my family.

1. Easy-Peasy Marinara Meatballs (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 28-32 Fully Cooked Frozen Meatballs (I prefer the home-style that can be found in the freezer section but you can try your hand at making your own for this meal!)
  • 1 (32 oz.) Jar of Marinara Sauce (Grab your favorite brand or make your own! We actually already had some homemade marinara sauce on hand for this meal.)
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I usually go for a fat free/weight watchers/organic shredded cheese but feel free to switch it up with whatever you like!)

Instructions:

  1. (Skip this step and step 2 if you have cooked your own meatballs!) Brown your meatballs in a pan (preferably a large, deep frying pan) on about medium with a teeny-tiny bit of olive oil.
  2. After browning your cooked meatballs, drain the excess oil from the pan.
  3. With your meatballs in the pan, add your sauce to the pan, coating your meatballs. Set the burner to low and put a lid on it to sit for an hour. (Alternatively you can also cook these meatballs in your slow cooker. Just place the meatballs in a slow cooker and pour marinara sauce over the meatballs and cook on low for 3-4 hours.)
  4. Taste test the meatballs! If they are full of flavor, turn off the burner and serve up your meatballs on plates and top with cheese! Add any sides you’d like or eat them by themselves!

Why this meal? I really enjoy meatballs. My third week after my first tightening, my mom made her sweet and sour meatballs and I just had to have one. The texture is soft enough that there is little chewing involved as long as you cut them up in small pieces. And the melted cheese on top soothes my gums. It’s amazing.

2. Super Simple Mashed Taters (about 4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 4 Medium Sized Microwave-Ready Potatoes (Or you can simply take 4 medium sized potatoes you have on hand, clean them up, put them on a plate, poke with holes throughout, and cover them with a damp rag, turning over at half the microwave time for potatoes.)
  • 3 tbs. of Milk (You may need more depending on how you like the consistency of your potatoes.)
  • 2 tbs. of Non-Fat Greek Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of Shredded Cheese of your choice (I used Weight Watchers’ Mexican blend! Yummy!)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Microwave the potatoes as directed on the package or follow the steps as I have noted above. (There’s a handy potato button on the microwave, just push it 4 times!)
  2. Remove the skin from the potatoes. The skin is usually soft enough that you can tear it right off with your fingers. (These can be really hot! Let them rest for a few minutes before attempting to peel off the skins!)
  3. In a large bowl, mash together the cooked potatoes, cream cheese, shredded cheese, milk, and salt and pepper.
  4. Taste test your mashed potatoes!

Why this meal? If you know me personally, you know I love potatoes! And while my mom’s recipe is delicious but much more time consuming, this was great for me to make ahead of time for lunches or modify for just one potato for a single meal if my mouth is especially sore that day. These are soft enough that no chewing is required and yummy enough to fill your tummy!

3. Lightened-Up Chicken Salad (about 8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Cooked Chicken Breast, shredded or cubed (Very small cubes or shredded is best when it’s hard to chew!)
  • 1/2 cup Mayo (To make this even lighter, go with a full cup of non-fat Greek yogurt rather than the half mayo, half yogurt.)
  • 1/2 cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2-3 Boiled Eggs, chopped
  • 2 tbs. Minced Onion
  • 2 tbs. Minced Dill Pickle
  • 1 tbs Minced Sweet Pickle
  • 1 tbs. Mustard
  • Pinch of Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Note: This is not an exact recipe. I taste  throughout this process and add/lessen spices as I go so that the taste is to my liking. I highly suggest you use your own eyes and mouth to make this chicken salad!

Instructions:

  1. In mixing bowl, simple combine cooked shredded chicken, mayo, non-fat Greek yogurt, chopped boiled eggs, and mustard.
  2. Once mixed together, slowly add in onions, minced pickles, and spices, tasting along the way until it is to your liking.
  3. Eat this by itself or on soft bread. Crackers are not recommended right after tightening as they may be too hard on your sensitive mouth.

Why this meal? This lightened up chicken salad is not only better for you the regular chicken salad your grandmother makes, but it’s easier on your teeth. You can make any chicken salad/tuna salad braces friendly just by eliminating hard foods in the recipe like nuts, celery, etc. Plus this meal is super filling on a wheat bun!

4. Clean Chocolate Chip Muffins (about 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe Bananas, roughly chopped
  • 2 Organic/Free-Ranged/”Brown” Eggs
  • 1 cup Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 cups Quick, Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 and prepare a muffin pan by spraying the cavities with cooking spray or lining them with paper liners. (I used silicone liners for my muffins, so I generously sprayed the insides of those.)
  2. Add all ingredients except for the chocolate chips to a blender or food processor and process on high until oats are broken down and batter is smooth and creamy. (I used my ninja for this and everything came out perfectly smooth.)
  3. Pour mixture in a separate bowl and stir in chocolate chips slowly.
  4. Pour your batter into the muffin pan/liners, filling each cavity until it is about ¾ full. (If you are using silicone liners, you want to fill these up almost the the top; leave about a half-inch to an inch of room between the batter and top. For some reason they don’t rise as much in the silicone liners.)
  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the tops of your muffins are set. (You can check your muffins by using a toothpick. Just stick it right in the middle of the muffin and see if it comes out clean.) Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before serving/storing. You can store these in an air-tight container for up to a 4 days.

Why this meal? These muffins are ultra soft and will kick your sweet cravings without all the bad stuff! You can easily reheat these in the microwave for twenty seconds and eat with a fork on your days when your mouth just isn’t up the biting into anything.

5. Nutty Fruit Dip (can be any serving amount)

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 part Non-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 part Honey
  • Optional: Dash of Cinnamon
  • Any soft fruit you like! (I like this with baked apples, strawberries, grapes, etc. You can also try bananas and other fruits too.)

Note: An example of a single serving is 1 tbs. peanut butter, 1 tbs. vanilla Greek yogurt, and a 1/2 tbs. honey!

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together except for fruit.
  2. Store dip in air-tight container if not devouring immediately.

Why this meal? This dip is great for snacks or putting on toast in the morning if you’re in a rush. It accompanies soft fruit nicely while still being soft for your mouth. I love the sweet/nutty taste of this dip and it goes so well with strawberries while still being healthy.