Our Quest to change our lives began in Feb. 2010 and we lost 224 lbs. We slowly gained a lot of that weight back and we're now on another journey for weight loss and better health using Bright Line Eating. This is the story of our continuing Journey. .
(For the fullest effect, begin at the beginning in Feb. 2010 using our Blog Archive on sidebar)

Monday, October 31, 2011

NO Candy today - Who's with me?

Hi friends,

Okay, today is the big day... Halloween.  Happy Halloween to ya'll.  Today and building up to today, I have promised myself that I would NOT give in to Halloween Candy.  NOPE.

It wasn't that long ago that I was snitching more high calorie desserts here and there and was telling Brent how hard it is to NOT eat that stuff.  I told him I needed something to help me "take control".

He said something to me that made SO much sense.  He said "When you were on plan before you just did it!  You simply made that choice."  And he is right!  The truth is, when I really want to stick to my eating plan, then I DO!

So, it wasn't any certain thing, pill, therapy, etc. that I need to avoid my off plan foods, I simply need to get my head in gear and CHOOSE BEFOREHAND that it is NOT an option.  (See previous rationalizing post).  So far, no pieces of candy has passed my lips.

But I have enjoyed some awesome new knox blox flavors:  Lime/Banana/Coconut, and Raspberry/Mango!  I'm enjoying the food I do have, and then not focussing on food at all!

Below are some tips I liked from Dr. Anderson (co-founder of Take Shape For Life):

Well, there are a few helpful tips to remember when your sweet tooth is twitching…..
  1. DO NOT buy any Halloween candy! Or, buy candy that you do not like. It is better to give out small packets of pretzels or play-do or fruit roll ups.
  2. Keep in your mind that there will always be candy, but you are choosing to improve your health right now, and candy will not help you reach your goal!
  3. Make your own fudge cycles by freezing the chocolate shakes.
  4. Freeze crystal light for a fruity, candy-like desert.
  5. Sugar free jell-o is a great candy-like snack (KNOX BLOX!!)
  6. Do not stay at home on Halloween handing out your treats.  Instead, grab a bottle of water and take a nighttime walk around the neighborhood to take in all the ghoulish sights!
  7. Bring healthy snacks to work (see Healthy Snack list) to keep from being tempted by candy in the office.
  8. Cut up a Medifast bar and put it in a baggie.  Freeze it for a sweet treat later!
  9. A great idea to help keep the piles of candy from going into your children’s body…Have them pick out 5 pieces of candy out of their bag and “buy” the rest of the bag from them for 10 dollars and then take them to the toy store to get a prize! Remember to throw the bags of candy away or give to a shelter!!!!!!
  10. Stay in touch with your Health Coach, he or she can help you stay strong
Remember, a great analogy is the concert pianist… If you were a child, and you wanted to be a concert pianist (primary goal) you would need to practice every day (secondary goal), and make choices that may not be your favorite (not get to play with friends, travel, lessons, miss parties, miss play dates, etc…) But… you would perform these secondary goals if it helps you to reach your primary goal.

Well, we are doing the same thing… our primary goal is to lose weight and get healthy.  Some secondary goals are…exercise daily, drink water, stay away from extra carbohydrates and starches, do not drink alcohol, possibly decide not to go to some parties, and do not eat Halloween candy!  And we will make these secondary choices because it will help us to reach what is most important to us right now… to lose weight, feel great, and to look and be healthy!!
Halloween 2007 and then 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Three P's...

 A new favorite snack or mini-meal I've been enjoying has been to take my low fat cottage cheese and add a little dill weed & garlic powder and then use it as a dip for my favorite veggies, like red peppers.  I love it!

I tried a yummy meal the other night.  I took some slices of tomatoes and put them in a pan on the stove and sprinkled some light cheddar cheese on them and then grilled them on both sides.  I added them to my simple chicken salad here and I was amazed at how TASTY it made it  The cheese and chicken were my lean -  and then salad, cucumbers and tomatoes my green.  The hubs loved it too.

 Our doggies are having fun whenever I fire up the treadmill in our room.  They love to walk on there with me and sometimes we get it going really fast and offer treats when they keep up the pace.  It makes us laugh our heads off to see these cute little wiener dogs just cruising it.

 One of our kitty’s (Tommy) got sick and had to be put down.  (A very sad story... deserves a separate post, really).  But Today we brought home a new kitty from the animal shelter and we named him Mango.  So we have Tango & Mango kitties, and Chloe and Zoey doggies.  Mango is so mild and has adjusted quickly.  Mango is on the left here and Tango is just meeting him and feeling a little apprehensive to have a new kitty in his territory.

It’s amazing how our pets have added to our lives so much and just a little over 3 months ago, we were in another state and had no pets.  Our lives have changed so much.  We really do love it here in Utah.  And..... we are actually set to close on our house within 2 weeks!  It’s taken endless months and countless prayers but it looks like it’s going to really happen.  
I’ve been thinking lately of three “P’s”. 
When I am struggling in any certain area, I usually need to pick up the slack in one of those 3 P’s.  It is extremely applicable to making decisions that affect my health as well.   I am well aware that the adversary is always trying to bring back my old habits, and to get me into negative thinking.  Sometimes we just have to look at how far we’ve come instead of only seeing little progress in the short range.  That is where persistence pays off.
I pray for my blogging friends who may be struggling and discouraged.  I pray that you will find the strength to be persistent and also to be patient with yourself and the results you are going for.
Smile!!  Life is good.  XOXO ~Margene

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Heaven from Down Under!

This week we had a friend visit us from Australia!  It was his first time in America and we were thrilled to show him around.  He also brought gifts:  Cadbury chocolate and other chocolate treats from the land Down Under!!

I looked at Brent and we decided that we'd try a little of this rare treat.  And I have to tell you that I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!!  The choice to eat a bite or two (or three or four) was a conscious decision yet there ARE times when it's overwhelmingly tempting to eat some high calorie unhealthy food placed in front of me without thinking about it.

Here is what I found from my "Habits of Health" that I've adopted.  
It's the STOP, CHALLENGE, and CHOOSE method.

STOP - and think about your goal
CHALLENGE - yourself as to what is more important
CHOOSE - the choice that supports your goal.

This is what I do when I attach a mental picture of myself to every food choice.  One picture is of the morbidly obese me, the other is of the me at my goal weight.  I choose the food that supports that "goal" of my mental picture.  Makes it an easy choice.  (It's hard to rationalize when it's a blatant choice like that)

Dr. Anderson also has these steps to follow:
  1. Identify the foods, situations, and feelings that trigger your bad habits.  Write them down.
  2. Decide that you are going to learn to control them. Only work on one trigger at a time.
  3. Stop, Challenge, Choose
Be conscious that there are always moments of temptation and then the decision will be made. And the decision maker is you.  The choice is yours to make.  It is a great feeling to be in charge of your self and your choices.

This week I made Broiled Tilapia Parmesan and it was pretty good.  I substituted olive oil for the butter and used less and my family enjoyed it.  

Then with our Australian guest, we made taco salad.  I used 93% fat free ground beef mixed with ground turkey for the taco meat.  While our kids used whole grain tortilla shells - we used iceburg lettuce to wrap our taco's in.  Another time we just put it on our bed of lettuce and added some salsa.  Delicious!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weight Loss Story Highlighted on blog

I was recently contacted by Tiffany at Half Their Size and asked to answer some questions about my journey.  She is using this blog to document her own journey as well as highlight stories of those who've lost weight.  I thought that was a great idea for inspiration and encouragement and I was honored that she wanted my story.

Hop on over and check it out and maybe even share your own story!  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making Meals

I am actually enjoying getting the hubs back on plan and how it helps me plan the meals and stay on plan myself.  We already know what our parameters are so it's not about tempting ourselves into eating certain foods.  I love that!

Today we did a Costco run and loaded up on lots of great lean meats and healthy veggies.  Our fridge and freezer is stocked and I have several meals I can plan.  I love that I only need to worry about the one meal.

The other day I made a huge batch of our Medifast muffins (that I actually do in a brownie pan) and have them all ready for the hubs.  And I pre-made my puddings (chocolate w/ sf PB syrup and banana w/ sf coconut syrup).  Not that the food need sf syrups, I just have gotten to where I love to explore new flavors. 

Then I made or chocolate peanut butter balls out of the Medifast hot cocoa and using pb2.  Then I freeze them and we pull them out and defrost when we want to eat them.  YUM.  I have that recipe posted in the "Medifast Recipe" tab above.  I love getting all prepared!

Two days ago, I made these egg, cheese and veggie frittatas.  Can you believe one whole pie pan of his is one complete "Lean and Green"?  So yummy, especially with salsa, and so filling.  I made them with 1.5 cups eggbeaters,  small sprinkle of low-fat cheese (1-2 ounces), 1/2 cup zucchini, 1/2 cup mushrooms, garlic powder, s/p -- mix altogether and pour into dish and bake for about 17 minutes at 350.  Eat with salsa.  (Beware, you may not be able to finish it!)

Last night I made Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs from this recipe and it was SOO delish!  I've made this before and was excited to make it again.  I like to use my yogurt based bolthouse ranch dressing because it's so creamy and low in calories and fat.  That rosemary ranch sauce in this recipe is SO good.  I only had zucchini and one bell pepper on hand so those were the veggies I used.  I usually skewer the meats and veggies on different sticks because the meat often takes longer to cook.

     Before baking (we have no grill right now)                      After baking

Today I am happy with myself.  You see, we don't watch TV but we do have Netflix and so I've started watching the "Lost" series.  When I take a break or eat a meal, I'll sit in next to my bed and watch it on our Google TV.  Sometimes I'll sit for 2 episodes - long after my meal is done!  I've been tellling myself that this is not acceptable, so I procured this free used treadmill today and had Brent move the chair next to my bed and  put that treadmill there!  Now, if I want to sit and watch my little TV series, then I've got be walking on that treadmill.  If I want to watch 2 episodes, that's fine, as long as I'm walking on that treadmill!  Yes, it takes up more room and isn't the most decorative, but hey, it gets me moving!  I feel so genius!

So now its Brent who has a chair on his side.  Maybe I should find him a good used Gazelle somewhere and surprise him!!  (tee hee)

And now I leave you with a couple pics of our newest in-house super heroes!  These are our little doxies, Zoey and Chloe, and they really add so much fun and spark to our home! 
Chloe is a little more hesitant about being a hero if you can tell on her face, though.  :)

Have a fabulous, on plan, positive, lots of water drinking weekend!!  XOXO ~Margene
PS - Life is GOOOOOOD!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I have been realizing how much this little word has contributed to my obesity in my past and how it tries to take over my thoughts at times even now.  On dictionary.com, the first definition of rationalize is:  
to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.
This is a key way that I have sabotaged myself, by basically deceiving myself or allowing myself to be deceived in my choices of what I eat.  It’s those thoughts like:  This is the last one, I’ll go exercising later and burn these calories off, I’ll start fresh tomorrow, I really deserve this, I’ve had a hard day, it’s just a small bite, it won’t hurt, and on and on.   
First and foremost, I’ve had to FACE the fact that I have rationalized my eating choices and that it is NOT ACCEPTABLE anymore.  In my mind, I’ve even decided to attach a picture of myself to every food choice.  A healthy, on-plan choice will be an image of me at my goal weight and remembering how great it feels.  A high-calorie, unhealthy, off-plan food choice will be an image of the past morbidly obese me that was in constant pain and full of self-loathing.  The me I NEVER want to go back to.  
With each food choice, I am choosing one or the other!  
THAT is the plain reality!
The fact is (in my opinion), that the feeling of having no control is a deception!  The feelings of being out of control or not being able to conquer a craving or bad choice are real feelings but not based in truth or reality.  the TRUTH is, we have a choice!  I have a choice as to what I eat, what I think, what I focus on, and how I choose to steer my life.  We each have MORE control over our lives than we may realize.
For me, this journey of losing weight and getting into a healthier lifestyle has been even MORE a spiritual journey.  I am working on giving into the desires of my spirit over the desires of my body (mind over matter).  It’s about “bridling” the appetites and desires (cravings, sabotaging thoughts, etc.) of my physical body and allowing my spirit and the influence God (my Creator) to guide my choices in what is best for me.  This is why prayer has been my secret weapon in overcoming.  I need to remember that even now!
So those have been my thoughts as of late... as I continually refocus and realign myself to my healthy habits.  I will not give in to thoughts of having no control like I used to in my past.  I’ve seen for myself that I DO have power to control my thoughts and my choices.
Here is a simple plan that is working for me:
  1. Keep unhealthy (high fat, high calorie) trigger foods OUT of the house and/or OUT of view completely!
  2. Keep lots of healthy on-plan food choices in my house and readily available.  Plan ahead of time for going out.  Keep healthy snacks with me when out of the house.
  3. Drinks LOTS of water!
  4. Pray every day for strength to overcome temptations & negative thoughts.
  5. Find ways everyday to be active and move my body.
On a new note - my husband has started back on the Take Shape For Life Plan and we are excited to help him get down to his goal weight!  He lost 100 pounds in our quest to change our lives but didn’t quite get to his goal.  Then he had to move to Utah for 5 months while the rest of us were in Oregon preparing for the move.  With all he suffers from stress and us being several states apart, he put on some of his pounds he lost (20-30).  So now that we are back together and settled, it’s time to focus on him.  So much of the focus has been on me and getting to my goal weight, having my surgery, running my first 5k, keeping up with my blog, etc.  It’s now his time to continue this journey and reach his goal - and then BOTH maintain.
I realize so much moreso now, how much choice and control I DO have over my life.  To change things takes EFFORT and WORK, and sometimes we shrink from that.  But then down the road, we’ve often only created more work.  NOW is the time to take control of our lives!  We are worth living a happy and healthy life.  If you don’t like your circumstances, then CHANGE them.  If you don’t feel that you can, then write down what you need to do and your goals, write down a plan of action and then PRAY everyday to be able to do that.  I know for myself that God hears our prayers and does grant us power to overcome our trials!
Rainbow we saw the other day while driving - it goes right into the lake!  Gorgeous! 
Life is good and SOOO worth it!  One good choice at at time.  
XOXO ~Margene