Thursday, April 2, 2009

Welcome! Let's get cooking!

Welcome to Chews Wisely!

I've been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time and have finally decided to take the plunge. There are a number of blogs I follow on a regular basis, both work and hobby-related (mainly cooking, home renovation and anything related to Paris and/or France), but my own hesitancy in starting a blog has been rooted in the fact that, well, in my opinion, a blog needs a theme. What did I have to share with the online community? Do I really have the extra time and energy to put into this task? The few people to whom I've mentioned I'm starting a blog weren't 100% sure I do have the time to commit to this, but they've all been positive and excited about the topic, so here it goes.

This blog will be dedicated to cooking, eating and living a healthy lifestyle; mainly a Weight Watchers lifestyle. My goal is to share a bit about my journey, but mainly to make this a resource for some awesome recipes and meals that are a world away from tasting like cardboard (I'm not a boring eater, so I'd better not be a boring cook!) and tips for sticking with a healthy way of life. You really can eat healthy and still have tasty food in your life - hopefully this blog will help others achieve that. I will try to include the points value for recipes as much as I can. From time-to-time I may also blog about home renovations. My husband and I spent an entire summer gutting and completely redoing our kitchen (with the help of some very dedicated family members) and we will be embarking on a basement bathroom soon. I will say that after the amount of work that went into the kitchen, I have put a lot of effort into making sure it gets some good use!

About me: I am a relatively newlywed 20-something girl from the Midwest who lost 55+ pounds through Weight Watchers and became a member of the lifetime crowd in December 2008. I never in a million years thought something like this was possible. I now weigh less then I did when I was a freshman in high school. I'm not kidding. And I only joined the program after I saw my mom and my sister have success over a summer. I must admit, I was still reluctant the day I walked in there and might have turned around and walked out if our leader was the fake, cheery, rah-rah type, but she turned out to be tough, down-to-earth and wasn't going to tell me I could never again have a beer or glass of wine. So I stayed. And I'm glad I did. That was late August 2007 and I haven't looked back.

I really have had a mental shift since joining Weight Watchers, and it truly has become a way of life for me. Before I joined I worked out regularly and cooked in a fairly healthy manner, but I had always been overweight. I was active in my youth and I don't have overweight parents, so who knows what was up...BUT, the top ten fundamental changes to my adult lifestyle include:

  1. I no longer waste calories on stuff that's not my favorite (i.e. potato salad at a grill out. Don't love it, don't hate it. I just choose not to eat it anymore and use my points on something else). In other words, it has to be a 10.
  2. Portion sizes. Before WW, I hadn't really given them much thought. This is a very helpful thing of which to be's amazing how big our portions sizes can be, both at home and in a restaurant! Measuring things at the beginning was very helpful.
  3. Eating out. I really changed the way I eat out. I'm not afraid to ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal and pack up half of it right away to bring home (which is a nice perk for my husband...he gets lots of yummy leftovers!). Again, I pick times I'm going to splurge on my favorite things and don't get them all the time. I really like seasoned kettle chips. But I now only get them at one of my favorite restaurants, where I know they're going to be good. I also used to order buffalo wings a lot. Come on, they go so well with beer! There's one brew pub nearby that has a great buffalo chicken sandwich that's grilled and served with bleu cheese crumbles instead of dressing. That's where I go when I want that. I'm also not afraid to ask for a breaded chicken breast to be grilled instead, and always ask them to leave the butter off buns, etc.
  4. Ordering in a restaurant. I think this deserves its own number. I have become Sally from the movie When Harry Met Sally and I'm not apologetic about it at all. I'll be honest. It bothered me at first, but after I thought about it more I decided that was dumb. We have a choice what we put in our bodies, and there shouldn't be shame in asking for what we want. I'm nice about it, but I am no longer afraid to send back something if they say they can cook it in a special manner and don't. As this blog continues, I'll share more about how I order in a restaurant. If I do it now, this will never end. Just ask my husband. He laughs under his breath every time I order. Good thing I don't talk quietly. My order carries across the table in a loud restaurant just fine. ;)
  5. Working out. It has to be part of any weight loss routine. Getting active is really an important part of life. It's just that before I thought this was the biggest part of the equation. While it's important, it's not everything. As mentioned, I was always fairly active. I've generally gone to the gym and I love to swim and golf. I just really learned this has to be paired with eating right. It won't do it alone.
  6. Meal planning and grocery shopping. I can't tell you how important this is. I now grocery shop at the same time every week. Before, my shopping was extremely sporadic. Not only has this helped me get organized about what I'm buying, I also save money, because I hit sales at the right time (especially on meat and fresh food). I also plan ahead on what meals to cook and cook a few things that we eat over the course of the week. This cuts down on the last-minute, "oh, let's get takeout from ____" on busy days. When there's something on hand to heat up quickly, that excuse doesn't work. The crock pot has become my best friend. I'm sure at some point during the life of this blog, I will elaborate on my obsession with my crock pot. Seriously, I am in love with my crock pot.
  7. Always ask to bring something. Besides the fact that it's polite, when there's a social gathering, ask what you can bring or just show up with food. That way you know there is something there you can munch on with everyone else. A few easy favorites are a bag of fat free pretzels, hummus with whole wheat pita bread, a fruit or veggie tray or even tortilla chips and salsa. I have some yummy party friendly appetizers I'll share too.
  8. Learning to say no. I wasn't always very good at this. I no longer feel obligated to eat something just because someone is pushing me to do so. And when I do have something, I can refuse seconds, or take a very small portion at the beginning. Splitting things with someone else is also helpful. And when a certain restaurant just isn't fitting in my plan for the week, sometimes I just decline (sorry if you've been on the receiving end of this. I really do want to go, since this is a fun, relaxing thing for me...I've just had to learn to take care of myself when needed).
  9. Water, water, water! Keeping hydrated is very important. Drink water throughout the day. When starving, I always start with a big glass of water, which really helps take off the edge.
  10. Ask for help. Before joining WW, I had the attitude that I could do it myself. And I always did manage to get started...I lost about 10 lbs before walking in the door of WW. But that's usually as far as it went. I thought group meetings were dumb. I didn't realize how much I'd learn from other people and thought it would be rather patronizing. It wasn't that way at all and I'm so glad I got over it. The people around me have really supported husband, my immediate family, my in-laws and extended family, my friends, my boss, other "co-workers" (too complicated to explain, but you know who you are). I couldn't have done it without you.

So, I hope this blog will be inspiring to someone out there needing a bit of a kick start or the encouragement to stick with a healthy lifestyle. And if nothing else, maybe someone will enjoy some yummy food. Or I'll finally be able to share the recipes I've been promising some people (especially my mother-in-law, who is patiently waiting for some crock pot recipes!).

I'm certainly someone who lives to eat doesn't eat to live. So that's me. Welcome to my blog.

And lastly, I have to give credit where credit is due, so I hope everyone read to this point! Thank you so much to my boss' husband, who came up with the name for this blog. It's thanks to him that I'm finally getting started. I couldn't for the life of me think of a clever name and he has quite the knack for things like this...I'm told this took him all of 10 seconds to create. So thanks to him...let the cooking begin!

~Chewing wisely Print this post

1 comment:

  1. congratulations on the new blog and the new healthy way of life! I am really looking forward to more recipe updates and tips!