Yogurt Cheesecake and Late-Night Cravings

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This beauty is the result of a chocolate craving I had in the middle of the night. I have quite the sweet tooth at around 4:00am. Maybe once every three or four months, I get out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to mindlessly eat dessert, usually ice cream. While I might be in control of my actions, it doesn’t feel like it. The bummer is that I’m not awake enough to really enjoy it.

The other night, I was heading straight for a Little Debbie in my zombie-like state when I woke myself up enough to make a trade. I promised myself that if I just went to bed, I would make myself cheesecake. Since Little Debbies typically taste more like plastic than food***, it was a deal.

I had seen a few yogurt based recipes and had a bunch of plain yogurt in the house, so that was my base. I also had some dark chocolate, and we all know how I feel about chocolate.

Here’s my recipe (modified from a recipe on the Half Size Me Show Facebook page):

  • Graham cracker crust
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (use Greek yogurt for a protein boost, non-fat for a calorie and fat reduction)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar (use your choice of sweetener to cut the sugar and calories)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • A squirt of lime or lemon juice
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Caramel topping
  • Dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Blend the yogurt, cottage cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lime juice until smooth (I used a stick blender, but a food processor or regular blender will do). Add protein powder (if desired), cornstarch, and salt. Blend again. Pour mixture into crust. Bake for 35 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Top with caramel and chocolate (or other flavors, like peanut butter).

Serves 6. 364 calories, 46 grams of carbs, 14.4 grams of fat, 12.3 grams of protein, 8.7 grams of fiber.

***Note: I do still eat Little Debbies. I’m not a dessert snob. I would just rather eat cheesecake. 🙂

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Slow Down

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In most things in life, I take my time:

  • Washing dishes
  • Making decisions
  • Running (actually, I think it’s considered walking…)
  • Reading (I love to read, but I also like soak everything in as I go.)

Some call it slow. I call it detail oriented and intentional. Even though striving to be faster at some things has its benefits (deciding where to eat dinner, for example), I’m learning to embrace my slower tendencies.

In the realm of weight loss, I’m focusing on savoring my food instead of wolfing it down. I’ve decided that I would rather have a little bit of some exceptionally delicious food and take my time than eat a bunch of so-so food. My dessert plate at Thanksgiving dinner this week will be a true test of how I’m applying this lesson. 🙂

It’s not just limited to food or weight loss, though. I spend so much of my time rushing from one place to task to another that I don’t appreciate God’s beautiful creation or the good gifts He’s given me.

The world around me tends to value productivity and efficiency, but taking my time and noticing the details helps me remember what really matters, from a beautiful sunset to a fun date with my husband to story time with the kiddo.

Book Store Endurance and the Kettlebell Swing

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My husband and I love book stores. We’ve been on more dates at book stores than I can count, and we never get tired of it. My back, however, has. There have been many times when my hubby has been immersed in a book search and I have been sitting on any chair or stool I can find in hopes of getting some pain relief.

My back started giving me trouble about 10 years ago on a flight to Israel. Since then, it has come and gone, but never lasted until this January. At my heaviest of 275 pounds, I was in just general pain. My back would hurt if I’d been standing for a while (like browsing through books for too long). I started working out my second week into my weight loss journey, and I may have gotten a bit carried away. My back started hurting constantly. I tried resting it, working out through it, asking the doctor about it, and looking up physical therapy exercises. Nothing helped.

My parents, who know my book obsession all too well, gave me a Barnes and Nobles gift card for my birthday last month. One of my purchases was The Swing by Tracy Reifkind. It’s about using the kettlebell swing to get fit and lose weight. She lost a ton of weight doing just that.

When I started the program, I could only use a 5 pound kettlebell because of my back (which is an issue with my SI joint, according to my doctor). That quickly turned into 15 pounds, which has turned into stronger muscles supporting my SI joint. After nearly a year of constant pain, it’s down to hurting only around 5-10% of the time.

Last night, I was able to enjoy my first pain free trip to the book store in a long time. Of course, I’ve noticed other benefits from my routine, such as more energy and the ability to lift hundreds of large cabbages over the course of an hour or two (I helped at a food truck sponsored by our awesome school district).

Plus, I love it’s simplicity. All I need is a kettlebell and about five feet of space. I’m a fan of any exercise that lets me do what I love without a lot of fuss, so I guess I’ll keep swinging those kettlebells.

Emotions and Weight Loss

eggs-390223_640Emotions did not make me fat. Stressful situations did not make me fat. As much as I would like to put the blame on my circumstances, I have come to realize I need to take responsibility to be able to move forward.

Part of the reason I dug myself into a hole with my health and weight was I tried to ignore what I was feeling or just deal with it on my own and push it down deeper. Instead or giving myself permission to express and acknowledge my emotions, I ate. In case you’re wondering, that is not an effective life strategy. If I would have continued this pattern instead of making changes, I would be right around 306 pounds.

This year has not been stress-free. I have still gone on to experience sadness, happiness, and a myriad of other emotions. However, instead of gain 30 pounds, I have lost 30 pounds. So, what’s different?

Well, one of the things that I’ve needed to work on is dealing with my emotions as they come instead of letting them build. It’s probably something I’ll need to work on forever (just ask my husband or my best friends), but it’s all about progress, right? On the other hand, I’m learning to remind myself of the truth instead of just sitting there in my emotions forever. I’ve also found ways to de-stress, but mostly I am working on letting go. I’m not in control of the world (thank goodness), and I’m not responsible for the survival of all mankind.

This is so much more than just a diet or an exercise program. Just changing behaviors isn’t going to lead to long term changes. I have lots to learn still, but thankfully I’m off to a good start.

Fitness World Detox

No, not this kind of detox...

No, not this kind of detox…

Okay, so I need to keep it real here. One of my priorities during weight loss is for it to supplement and support my life and not become my life. I’ve been listening to too many podcasts, reading too many books, and thinking too much about other people’s opinions and strategies. I need to back off a bit from those things and focus on me and what I need to do to get healthy. I don’t need more information than I already have to lose weight and be healthier than I am right now. It’s time for a detox from the fitness world.

In keeping with my blog name, I’m still going to allow myself something. I’m done with fitness blogs for the most part (other than this blog and a few from people who I’ve met though the blog). I’m also taking a break from books, articles, and podcasts other than my weekly community meeting and maybe a podcast or two a week. Fitness, as I thought I had learned, can’t be my god any more than food can. Time to spend more time with Him and less time worrying about what people I’ve never met are doing.