We've officially wrapped up the first four-week block of the Go Red Challenge. It's really hard to believe we're already one-third of the way through the program - to me it feels like we started a week ago. But I'm happy with my results so far: 8.5 pounds lost! If I keep it up, I'll hit my goal of 25 pounds by the end. It's so encouraging, and I hope your results are going just as well! Besides fewer pounds, I'm also noticing some other changes. I was jogging laps at Madonna last night, and I realized how much easier it is for me to run now than it was before. I used to jog once or twice a week, and now I'm jogging four times a week. It's incredible how quickly your stamina improves and it makes me want to get out there and get moving even more.
This week's lesson at our challenge meeting was how to swap ingredients to make meals heart healthier. Our dietitian Katie made some delicious creamy chicken broccoli alfredo, serving us both the regular recipe and the one with the healthy substitutions. I actually liked the healthier one better, so it's proof good-for-you doesn't have to mean bad-tasting. Each challenger brought a recipe, and we took turns talking about which ingredients we would change. We all found ways to make our favorite meals a little healthier, and it's those small changes that add up to a big difference. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite substitutions that can be used in everyday cooking:
Whole Milk (1 cup): 1 cup skim or 1% milk + 1 tablespoon liquid canola oil
Heavy Cream (1 cup): 1 cup evaporated skim milk OR 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt + 1/2 cup plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese
Cream Cheese: 1/3 less-fat or fat-free cream cheese OR greek yogurt
Oil (in baking): Pureed fruit (like applesauce, in an equal amount) OR plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt (amount doubled) OR avocado (seriously)
All-purpose flour: whole wheat flour (try first half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
Remember the low-fat or non-fat, sugar free, etc versions of an item are always going to be a better choice than the full-of-everything version. As we learned in class last night, there really isn't a recipe you can't make a little healthier, even if it's something as simple as switching your BLT from regular bacon to turkey bacon. Every little swap helps!
I do want to come clean about a set back I had earlier this week. Monday was just one of those days - stressful to the max from beginning to end. I've always been an emotional eater, and wouldn't you know, Monday was a food day at the station. I think I ate my weight in baked goods, mostly cake, and no, it didn't help. I don't know why I use food as a comfort mechanism when rationally I know it only makes me feel worse. I did work out that night, but I just wasn't as in to it as usual. At the end of the day I took a long, hot shower and thought about the things which had stressed me out, and after coming up with a plan to deal with the situation, I felt much better. Why couldn't I have done that in the morning, instead of turning to cake??
I turned it around Tuesday, eating healthy and I had a great workout. I guess what I'm trying to say it set backs like this happen to everyone, but it's how you deal with them that counts. Rather than wallow and continue to stuff myself, I resolved to turn it around the next day. One bad day doesn't mean you've blown the whole week, as my number on the scale proved, so if this happens to you, don't get discouraged. Toss the cake and make tomorrow a better day.