What’s on the Menu?

Before the wedding and even more-so before the engagement, believe it or not, I was a healthy eating fanatic and working out at least 2-3 times a week.  I joined Weight Watchers and lost almost 30 lbs in less than a year. Actually, the day before we left for our cross-country trip (June 2013), I had met my goal weight of 138.

I am not proud of what has happened since we returned from that trip and I can’t even say I’ve tried my hardest to turn it around.  The most effort I put forth was in the 3 months prior to the wedding due to the fact that I needed my dress to fit.  I saw a personal trainer at my gym and did my best to calculate my points just so I could look my best on my wedding day.  The wedding dress fit perfectly that day but like I envisioned myself doing, I indulged immensely on our honeymoon and when we got back, I didn’t stop.

Things have only gotten worse.  I hate getting dressed in the morning and sadly, very little of my clothing fits me.  I live in yoga pants, sweat pants, and leggings as much as humanly possible.  This is not me.

This is a part of marriage not very many people talk about.  Think about it.  You’ve met that special person.  He loves you, unconditionally.  He says you look beautiful all the time, no matter what.  My husband is wonderful at making me feel good about myself.  The wedding comes and goes and you no longer feel the need to watch every bite that goes into your mouth.  This may not be true for everyone, but I’ll tell you, I was in heaven that I could eat Oreo’s and drink non-diet soda (Costa Rican Coca-Cola is pretty much the most amazing soda ever – which luckily has deterred me from drinking it here).  I even ate two double cheeseburgers from McDonald’s on my wedding night.  I look back at that moment with pure delight and shame at the same time.

One thing my husband is also wonderful at is pushing me to do things that I might not have the motivation to do.  He has always told me that he loves how determined I am.  So today, I am determined to turn over a new leaf.  None of those fad diets, just eating right and doing research to find out what is best for my body.  I may even see a nutritionist.  Don’t get me wrong, the Weight Watchers program is amazing and it gave me some excellent tools and a lot of strategies that I will carry with me on this journey.  This time, it’s all me.  I am responsible for myself and it’s time to change for the good, not for the time being.

Today’s projects were all about helping me (and us) on this journey.

For Christmas, my family has gone to DIY gifts.  This year, Chris and I made everyone Menu Boards.  Selfishly, we made ourselves one, too!  I had been researching these for a long time and after talking to one of my co-workers, I have finally organized this in a way that I think will be beneficial for our family (Thanks, Becky!).

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The menu board has a clothes pin under each day of the week and this is where I will place the index card with the meal. I am only using this to plan for dinners.  This way, whoever gets home first, whether it’s me or Chris, that person can start dinner.  My index cards are color coded, as is my closet.  I’m a little OCD… but just a little!  Yellow is for seafood, green is for vegetarian meals (anything that does not have meat or seafood), purple is for side dishes, blue is for crock pot meals and soups and red is for meats (beef, pork, chicken, etc.).

On each card, I have the name of the meal on the front.  On the back, I have listed on the top line where the recipe is located (what recipe book and what page in the book).  I then have the ingredients listed with their amounts.  On the crock pot meals, I have the the cook time listed for a quick reference.  The only thing I do not have yet are just plain white cards.  There will only be 2.  One will say “leftovers” and the other will say “Dinner Out”.

The reasons I don’t just write the whole recipe on the index card: 1) too time consuming; 2) the index card is too small; 3) I want to reuse these, not have to make new ones after they get gunk all over them.

The plan is to use these cards (with the ingredients on the back) to make a grocery list.  While making this list, I check to see what ingredients we already have and what we will need to get.  (This part specifically came from my co-worker, Becky, so I will not take credit for it).  She told me that this not only has saved her time, but also money, as she is not buying things that go to waste or that she doesn’t need.

If the recipe is one that I found online, which there are a lot of them thanks to Skinnytaste.com and Hungry Girl, I have organized them in the binder to the left.  This is eventually going to be our all encompassing organizational binder as I plan to put a budget sheet at the front of the binder. I found tabs that happen to correspond pretty well with the colors of the index cards and I labeled each tab accordingly.  The recipes that I found online have been printed and organized under their section.  On the card, it says “see binder”.

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Behind all of these is a large 3-whole punched pouch which I have not yet designated it’s use, but behind that I am keeping all miscellaneous recipes.  Chris and I love to host get-together’s and I have collected a large amount of appetizer and dessert recipes that are Weight Watchers friendly.  So that these are left floating around in space, I have designated their spot behind the 3-whole punched pouch (for now).

Also included in the binder is the Velcro pocket pouch like you can see above.  In the one pocket, I am keeping receipts for bigger purchases (things over 100$ that have the possibility of being returned – not groceries).  In the other pocket (not shown here), I am now keeping receipts for our tax deductions (anything I buy for work or Chris buys for work).

Last, but not least, in this binder is a calendar (1$ at the Dollar Tree).  On this calendar, I plan to write the meals that we have picked for the week.  I may even go as far as planning out the month.  This way, I can also write if we have any plans for dinner elsewhere so I know not to plan for that day.

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The white binder in the picture has nothing to do with my weight loss goals, but it is something that will be very beneficial to us in the months to come.  This binder contains all the information we have obtained so far on the house we recently put an offer on.  It used to have information on all different houses we were looking at, but it now only contains this one.  (Here’s to hoping they accept our offer!)

I posted the picture below almost 2 years ago.  This is my motivation.  This is where I want to be again.

Dinner tonight?  Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas! They were delicious!  I used 100 calorie whole wheat tortillas and I limited myself to one.  A dab of light sour cream and a very small amount of shredded fat free cheddar cheese.  The best part?  There are left overs! The worst part?  I burned my finder on the oven rack!  Ouch!

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Happy Weekend everyone! And, Go Steelers!!!!!!!!!!!!

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