Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weigh-In Saturday

Starting weight: 301
Last week's weight: 212
Today's weight: 212
Total loss: 89 pounds
Banded: 6/7/2013 was with no small amount of anxiety that I stepped on the scale this morning. Trust me when I tell you that I have enjoyed my spring break. In last week's weigh-in post, I told you guys that I was going to allow myself some treats this week, and I definitely did.

Let's see...Saturday night there was Mexican food. With guacamole and many chips. I had iced sugar cookies from my favorite bakery one day. And of course I had to sample the banana pudding that I took to John's work for him and his coworkers. Oh yes...and donuts. Just two though...a chocolate filled and a glazed cake... and I enjoyed every delicious bite. These illicit shenanigans occurred Saturday through Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning… I had to cut myself off and get back on track. Truth be told… that kind of crazy eating, especially the sugar, was making me feel like complete and total shit. Not to mention, my skin just looked horrible. When I eat badly, it really does show up on my face. Welcome to your forties, ladies! :)

So by Wednesday…when I returned to my regularly scheduled programming, it really was kind of a relief. In the days since, my energy levels have returned, my skin is looking better, and I just feel better overall. This is not to say that I didn't completely enjoy those treats, but I guess I kind of have a new perspective.

Something else that is new…despite being off track with my eating this week, I was firmly on track with my workouts. And because I was on spring break, I could go to the gym whenever I felt like it...usually late morning. When school is in session, I go around 3:30. One thing I noticed this week is that when I can get to the gym shortly after eating something, it really makes a difference in how well I can perform. Coupled with those extra calories from the aforementioned treats, I don't mind telling you I felt like a beast in the gym this week. I could go longer, harder, faster…everything. My takeaway from this is that I may need to shuffle some calories around on the days that I workout.

But here's the cool thing…normally if my eating was off the rails, I would also have the attitude of "why even bother going to the gym?" I used to have kind of an "all or nothing" personality when it came to health and fitness. I was either the Captain of the Weight Loss Train, or I was the one crashed in the ditch clutching a Strawberry Margarita in one hand and a box of Twinkies in the other. Could it be that I have finally separated the two in my mind? That it doesn't have to be ALL or nothing all the time? I really do think that I have gotten to a place where I simply like how I feel after I exercise. This is huge for me. I will also admit that vanity plays into it a little bit. I'm really proud of my new muscle tone, and I want to keep working at it so I don't lose it.

School starts back up on Monday, and we also have parent-teacher conference on Monday night after school. It's going to be a long day. But I've had a wonderful break and I feel ready. I think John and I are going to go out to dinner tonight and then chill at home.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Thanks for reading. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March: 5 Things I'm Loving

I hope everyone is having a spectacular week! It has been a really great Spring Break and I've been trying to enjoy every moment. I've not done a whole lot, but then again...that was the plan! :)

I thought I'd take a moment and share a few things that I've been loving this month. So, without further we go!

1. Vitalicious VitaTops - All Flavors

I mean...come on. You knew that this would make the cut. I cannot get enough of these delicious little cakes. Whether I'm making my imposter Carrot Cake, or just eating them right out of the wrapper, these are my favorite food find of the month. Right now, I'm loving the Deep Chocolate warmed in the microwave with a half tablespoon of peanut butter melted on top. 148 calories of scrumptiousness.
Can't stop. Won't stop.
You can check them out at
2. Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss
Here is what the Milani website says: "Experience lip gloss that has rich color, extreme high shine, and comfortable lasting wear. Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss is moisturizing and non-tacky. The flexible sponge-tip applicator makes application easy."
Here is what I say: these are JUST like M.A.C. Lipglass at a fraction of the price. You can find Milani cosmetics at drugstores nationwide. I picked these up at Walgreen's.  
3. Xersion Workout Shirts from JCP
I am really digging the Xersion line of workout wear at JC Penney, and these are my new favorite workout shirts. I can usually find these on sale for around $ know JCP always has a coupon available or a sale going on. They come in all kinds of awesome colors and the fit is great. I have a couple of Nike Drifit shirts, and I like these way better. First off...they are softer, and secondly....can we talk for a minute about how SMALL Nike runs? It's a little disheartening to have lost nearly 90 pounds, only to still wear a 3X in Nike clothing. Amirite?
4. Smart Ones Fish and Chips
Confession time. I LOVE Captain D's. Do you guys have Captain D's where you live? I know you might be thinking "Welllll...we have Long John Silver's. Isn't that the same thing?" No. No it's not.
How do I even begin to describe the deliciousness? Their fish is crispy, flaky, and delicate. Their hushpuppies are golden, light, and fluffy. Do NOT even get me started on the coconut shrimp.
But here's the deal...I don't go there anymore. And, hyperbole aside, it is really damn good. But every now and then I'll get that crispy fish fast food craving and this does the trick. Kudos to the mad food scientists who designed the "crisping tray" because it really works well here. This is not an every day kind of meal. The sodium is pretty high and the protein is not all that great, but if you need to stop yourself from visiting the Cap'n, this will help you out in a pinch.
One caveat: Smart Ones also has a Chicken Strips and Fries in packaging almost exactly like this. Do NOT buy it. I beg you. Just don't. It is literally the worst frozen diet meal I've ever had. And I've had almost all of them.
5. High Heels
Another confession. I'm not really 5'2. I like to pretend that I am, and that's what's listed on every "official" document, but I'm not. I'm really a little less than 5'1. So...when my weight started creeping back up a few years ago, and my knees started hurting very badly, high heels became a thing of the past. It really sucked because when you're as short as I am, a little bit of a heel allows you to be able to do certain things that taller people take for granted. Like....oh I don't know....being able to reach things on high shelves at the grocery store without having to ask for help from total strangers. 
Now that I have virtually NO knee pain, and my plantar fasciitis is doing fine, I'm happy to report that I'm back in my heels again! So when I spied these navy and red sandals on Haute Look for $44 (regularly $79), I had to snap them up. I did a quick internet search to make sure I couldn't find a lower price, and what do you know...I found them at for $31.99 with a 20% off coupon AND free shipping for a total of $23! Score! I think they are going to look great with jeans, white jeans, or even my army green pants.
So there you have it! What are you loving lately? I'd love to know!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weigh-In Saturday...100th Post Edition

Starting weight: 301
Last week's weight: 214
Today's weight: 212
Total loss: 89 pounds
Banded: 6/7/2013

Hello everyone and Happy Weekend! I'm absolutely thrilled with the 2 pound loss this week. I wish they could all be 2 pound weeks. I would be just fine with that. :)

I can't believe this is my 100th post. I didn't have any idea that I had that much to say! I'm so thankful for everything I've learned during this whole process. And I'm so thankful for each and every one of you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for motivating me and giving me great advice along the way. I know I've said this before, but when I started this blog, I really had no idea that anyone would want to read about my journey. Not only has this been a place to voice my thoughts, and to vent, it has also kept me accountable. But for me though, the biggest thrill though is knowing I may be helping someone navigate their own lapband journey. I'm excited about what the future holds for all of us.

Something else I'm excited about? Spring Break has arrived. I probably say this every year, but this year it felt long overdue. I don't have any big plans this week. John has to work and a lot of my friends are traveling. But I do have a few things planned. And most of them involve meals. Of course! I decided that I'm going to cut myself some slack this week and have a few treats here and there. Nothing crazy, but I've got to live a little, right? On Tuesday, I'm going with my friend Jon to an amazing new Thai restaurant we've discovered. Their Panang curry is out of this world. Rachel and I are going to lunch on Wednesday with sweet baby boy. And on Thursday, I'm going to take homemade banana pudding to John's work for him and his coworkers to enjoy. Not to get too graphic, but it has condensed milk, Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies, cream cheese, and a bananas foster sauce that goes on top. Just RIDICULOUS. I will have to be sure and sample it to make sure it's appropriately delicious. So with that said, I think I'm going to be happy if I can just maintain my weight this week. And knowing that up front makes me a little more okay with it.

Another thing that I'm going to do is…binge watch something on Netflix! Right now I'm thinking about either The Walking Dead or House of Cards. Do you guys have any other suggestions for me? There's probably something really great that I'm missing.

I hope everyone has a great week. Thank you for making my blog a part of your day. Here's to 100 more posts! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Recipe: Julie's Loaded Chicken

A few weeks ago on a Sunday night when I didn't feel like cooking, John and I got takeout from Colton's Steakhouse. I'm not sure, but I think Colton's is a regional chain in the Southern U.S. I scoured the menu beforehand and decided on something called Colton's Loaded Chicken. Outback Steakhouse has a similar dish called Alice Springs Chicken. This is how it's described on Colton's menu: "A juicy grilled chicken breast covered in sautéed mushrooms, bacon, green onions, and a blend of cheeses. Served with honey mustard sauce."

My description? DELICIOUS. I chose this dish not only because it sounded amazing, but because I knew I could easily make two meals out of it. The calorie count per meal, however, hovered right around 400. Way higher than what comfortably fits into my daily total.

So I decided to revamp this recipe a bit and what do you know....success! 278 calories and 36.2g protein per serving. Here's how I did it.

The cast of characters. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts, center cut bacon, Kraft 2% Mexican Blend, canned mushrooms, Newman's Own Lite Honey Mustard Dressing.
First, I pan fried the bacon until it was not quite crispy and drained it on paper towels to soak up any extra grease. I used Petit Jean bacon for my's a local product, but Oscar Mayer Center Cut bacon would be a great choice. I calculated the nutrition stats for this recipe using one slice of Oscar Mayer bacon per 4 oz. chicken breast.
After I cooked the bacon, I drained the grease and wiped out the skillet. In this same pan, I cooked the chicken breasts...about 4 or 5 minutes on each side until done.
Oh! And I seasoned the chicken breasts with this:
It gave them incredible flavor!

I know that some Bandsters don't do well with mushrooms. If that's you, you might want to skip this step. As we all know, my band is NOT fickle. And I love mushrooms. These are already cooked, so I basically just pushed them around the skillet a bit to warm them up. I also gave them a dash of the Montreal Chicken Seasoning. I think next time I'll add a little splash of Worcestershire Sauce too. That was John's suggestion. :)
After that, all that's really left is the assembly. First the chicken breast, then the bacon slice, then about a half cup of sauteed mushrooms, then a 1/4 cup shredded cheese. I cound not get over how much cheese 28 grams actually is. I weighed it on my trusty kitchen scale. You could easily use less than this, but I was going for indulgent.

Put everything under the broiler until every thing is nice and melty.


You can serve it with a tablespoon of the Honey Mustard dressing on the side, but I prefer to pour it right on top. Yum.
The nutrition info is for:
1 four ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 slice Oscar Mayer Center Cut bacon
1/2 cup canned mushrooms
1/4 cup (28g) Kraft 2% Mexican Blend Cheese
1 T. Newman's Own Light Honey Mustard
This is the best 278 calories I've had in a long time. And check out that protein!

I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did. If you make it, let me know.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Weigh-In Saturday

Starting weight: 301
Last week's weight: 215
Today's weight: 214
Total loss: 87 pounds
Banded: 6/7/2013

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope you're all getting to relax and have some fun this weekend. John and I certainly are. I don't know if it's the time change or what, but I slept about 10 hours last night. I NEVER do that. I guess my body needed it.

I'm down another pound this week. And I'm happy about that. My eating was on track, and I managed to get in 3 good workouts. Striving for 4 workouts this next week. I'm continually amping up my Cybex Arc Trainer routine...increasing resistance and incline...and it feels great. I'm also increasing my free weights a bit...heavier weights and a few more reps. Little by little...I'm getting there. And don't tell anyone, but sometimes I like to sit around and feel my new muscles. Is that weird? :)

Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


It wouldn't be ridiculous to say that at least ten of my extra pounds might be the direct result of my love of Carrot Cake. Do you all adore it as much as I do?

I think it might be my favorite dessert of all. Ok...I mean...besides Lemon Icebox Pie, Strawberry Cake, and warm Chocolate Chip Cookies. It's crazy to think that I didn't even taste Carrot Cake until my senior year of college when my roommate insisted that I try it. I think the conversation may have gone a little something like this:

Karyn: You mean to tell me that you've never had CARROT CAKE? Who raised you?

Me: Who wants to eat cake made from carrots?

Karyn: Just taste it. It doesn't taste like carrots AND it has cream cheese icing.

Me: Ok. If I have to. Gimme that. I'll take a little bite. (Eyes immediately roll to the back of head. An obsession begins.)

So what's a Bandster to do when she needs to get the Carrot Cake monkey off her back? Answer: Head to the nearest Cheesecake Factory and order some. Just kidding! A bite of "real" Carrot Cake is just fine every now and again, but if you're like me, you might need it on a semi-regular basis. I've got a 135 calorie version that will allow you to do this and not feel the least bit guilty about it.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had started eating VitaTops again. I had kind of forgotten about them. I don't know why, because they are DELICIOUS. Only problem is...stores in my area really only carry 2 flavors: Deep Chocolate and Cranberry Bran. I went online and found a coupon for 20% off and free shipping and then I went a little crazy. I ordered Deep Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Banana Nut, Golden Corn, and my favorite Carrot Cake. one is claiming that this VitaTop Carrot Cake is as amazing as the Cheesecake Factory's, but it gives me the flavor I crave for just few calories, 6 grams of protein, and best of all...9 grams of fiber.

You'll need a Carrot Cake VitaTop, a wedge of Laughing Cow Light (or light cream cheese), and a little bit of sweetener. I used a bit of Splenda.

Take a fork and whip the Laughing Cow with Splenda until it's as sweet as you want it, and a little bit fluffy. We're going for that cream cheese icing effect. :)

Spread on the warm VitaTop and...viola. A delicious little cake.
I hope you like it as much as I do. If you try it, let me know.

You can check out the VitaTops and their other products online at or find a store in your area that carries them. But just a warning...they are so good you may end up with a freezer that looks like mine.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New (to me) Food Find!

I don't know if I'm late to the party on this one, or what...but have you guys seen this yogurt? It's Dannon Light and Fit Greek. And check out the stats: 80 calories and TWELVE grams of protein.
I mean...twelve grams of protein for 80 calories is what I consider a hell of a good deal. I'm going to eat this for breakfast this week with a hardboiled egg. After my Unjury coffee, that is! Can't live without it. This means I will be getting in 30 grams of protein before 11:00am. Score!
The only flavors I've tried so far are the Key Lime pictured above, and the Toasted Coconut Vanilla. Both were great, but the TCV gets an A+. Really rich coconut flavor. It was almost dessert-like. Here is a complete list of flavors:
Toasted Coconut Vanilla
Cherry Chocolate
Banana Cream
Key Lime
Pomegranate Berry
Strawberry Cheesecake
Caramel Macchiato
Strawberry Banana
Raspberry Chocolate
Orange Cream
I will be tracking down the Raspberry Chocolate flavor as soon as humanly possible. The Strawberry Cheesecake flavor too.
If you guys already eat this, what other flavors do you like?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Weigh-In Saturday

Starting weight: 301
Last week's weight: 217 Saturday/216 Sunday
Today's weight: 215
Total loss: 86 pounds
Banded: 6/7/2013

Hey everyone! Is it Saturday again already? Man...this has been quite the week.

First off…there was a crazy ice storm on Sunday night and we were out of school both Monday and Tuesday. Wait a minute…isn't it March? I don't remember ever missing a school day in March for ice. We are already going to be in school until the second week of June. I feel like we're out of the woods now, but who knows with this crazy Arkansas weather. Today it was 70°. really wonderful thing happened this week too. My BFF had her baby boy! He is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. 7 pounds, 2 ounces of gorgeousness. A full head of hair and everything. And the best part was I got to be there because we were out of school. I spent most of the day Tuesday in the maternity waiting room with her hilarious family. was so much fun. Since it was Fat Tuesday, her family brought Mardi Gras beads and a King Cake! I'm happy to report that I did not get the baby in the cake. Her grandmother did! Mom, dad, and baby are at home resting and doing amazingly well.

The rest of the week was relatively normal. Wednesday afternoon I got a fill at my surgeon's office. I'm thinking right now that I may be a tad bit too tight. I'll keep you all posted on that one. I've heard that most people go a little too far and end up in the Red Zone and actually have to have an unfill to wind up in the Green Zone. I don't know if that's true, but I hope not.

This morning, I was supposed to meet my friend Stephanie for breakfast at Panera, but her dog George got sick and she had to cancel at the last moment. George is a 15-year-old Daschund and he is her child. Being a parent of a Fur Child myself, I completely understood. I was already dressed though, so I ended up going to breakfast by myself. Y'all already know how I feel about the Power Steak Bowl, and it was calling my name. As I was walking into Panera, it dawned on me that it had been quite a while since I ate a meal in a restaurant by myself. I was never the overweight girl who suffered from a debilitating lack of self-esteem or anything, but it did strike me that I'm way more comfortable doing things like that now. I wonder why that is? More comfortable in my own skin perhaps? I have no idea. Something to think about.

My eating this week was on track even though I had zero time to work out. However, I did go to the gym today and I did my long workout. It felt absolutely wonderful. I weighed in this morning at 215 which means I'm down 2 pounds since last Saturday. You know, I'm finding myself with a powerful amount of motivation these days. 199 is so close. I hope it can happen by the beginning of summer. It would be really amazing to lose 100 pounds by the one year anniversary of my surgery. I really feel like I can do it.

I want to take a minute to welcome new readers. I have been so fortunate to receive so many great emails from Banders, both pre and post op. When I started this blog, I literally had no idea who was going to want to read it. I'm happy to know that so many of you do. And you actually like it! I'm really glad that you are here.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and this whole springing forward business doesn't hurt you too much on Monday morning. ;)

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Weigh-In Saturday (Sunday Edition)

Starting weight: 301
Last week's weight: 218.5
Today's weight: 216
Total loss: 85 pounds
Banded: 6/7/2013

Sorry for the late posting. I've been having so much fun this weekend, I'm just now sitting down to post my weigh in. I actually have two numbers for you guys this week. For my official weigh-in yesterday morning I weighed 217. When I woke up this morning though, I weighed 216. Fine with me! This brings me to an even 85 pounds lost. 100 pounds is so close I can feel it!

I had an awesome Saturday. I had breakfast with a dear friend at Panera and I got the Power Steak Bowl off their "Hidden Menu" again. I truly don't know why they want to hide something this delicious! It's an egg with the most tender, thinly sliced steak, a little bit of avocado, some spinach, and some sauteed red bell pepper. It's 270 calories and packed full of protein. 25 grams of protein to be exact. I posted a picture of it on my Instagram a few weeks ago, but in case you missed it, it looks like this:
It's my standard order, and I could eat it every day of the week. And the best part? It kept me full all day long.

After breakfast, I went and worked out for the fourth time this week. I'm really proud of that number. Four is always my goal, but most of the time I end up with three. The week ahead is so busy I'm going to be lucky if I get to work out twice. I'm going to try really hard to squeeze in an extra one. I have been really surprised by what I'm able to do lately...cardiovascularly speaking. :) I've said this before, but it's such a rewarding feeling to push yourself and have your body respond. To be able to do even more than your mind thinks you can. Suffice it to say that I pushed myself to the limit yesterday. And then I came home and took a long hot bath.

John and I had a really great date last night. Nothing too exciting, we just went to an Asian buffet and to buy groceries, but I swear that man makes everything fun. But about the buffet…this time last year, I was absolutely convinced that I would never go to a buffet again. If you're a pre-op reading this, go ahead and just banish that thought forever. You're going to go to all your favorite restaurants, you're just going to eat differently. I'm mad at myself for forgetting to take a photo of my plate last night. I was distracted by the delicious food, plus I usually try to make it a point to leave my phone in the car when John and I are at dinner. I had two skewers of char-grilled chicken, some boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, and about four pieces of spicy tuna roll. The buffet we like best in Little Rock is called Panda Garden and they have really good sushi. Shocking, I know.

Today has been somewhat emotional. Emotional in a good way. I know I've already mentioned that I took a whole bunch of stuff to the resale shop a few weeks ago. closet is STILL very much a work in progress. This morning I hemmed a bunch of pants and I spent some time trying on a ton of clothes. I dragged out some things that I literally have never worn. Mostly XL and regular size clothing. Things that I bought with the hopes of getting into them someday. They still had the tags on them. I'm at the point now where just about everything in my closet fits. Including those straight size XLs. It's so rewarding to wear something because you actually like it, not just because it's the only thing that fits. My next "clothing adventure" is going to be wearing a dress. I cannot even remember the last time I had a dress on. Hopefully when the weather gets warm, I'll feel confident enough to put one on and actually like what I see. Something will have to be done about my pasty white legs however! :). Self tanning recommendations are highly welcome!

Now I'm chilling out watching Oscar fashion. Jennifer Lawrence looks flawless, Lupita Nyong'o can do NO wrong, and Jordan Catalano...I mean Jared Leto...would look so much better with shorter hair. Of course, no one can hold a candle to my man Matthew McConaughey. I sure do hope he wins tonight!

I hope everyone has an incredible week. Thanks for reading!