Fall Down Nine Times, Get Up Ten

I’m not sure how long it has been since my last post and, admittedly, I’m scared to check.

It’s been a while. A long while.

The last few years have been a whirlwind. After a nearly four year journey, I finally completed my Master’s degree on Saturday, May 12th. In addition to absorbing the education, I also managed to pack on at least twenty-five pounds onto my 5’3″ frame.

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While I’m still no where close to the obesity of my teenage years, I’m deeply disappointed in the fall back into my overeating habits. I’ve always been an emotional eater, and the coupling of high stress and desk-bound studying (e.g. research papers!) pushed me back into my mindless eating habits.

Fortunately, it didn’t all go to hell.

As you probably remember, I got into distance-running in 2016 and I’ve continued long-distance running throughout graduate school. Granted, it couldn’t prevent the weight gain completely, but it did taper it/inhibit it a tiny bit.

Now that my graduation is almost two weeks behind me, I realize it’s time for me to drop my excuses and pick back up on the habits that made me successful:

Tracking calories.
Exercising daily.
Strength-training 3-4 days per week.
Posting here.

Having a community of like-minded friends with me on the journey keeps me honest and accountable, so it’s time I tap back into my best resource: all of you!

My journey restarts today: Thursday, May 24th at 5:14pm EST.

Height: 5’3″
Weight: 148.8 (up from my all time low of 123.4 in June 2014)
Pant Size: 6/7
Shirt Size: S/M

Let’s do this, friends!

~ Tori

AKA, the Yo-Yo Dieter

 

Three Days

Three days of feeding my body.

Three days of being normal.

Three days of planning for – and deeply enjoying – my dessert without guilt.

Three days isn’t much, but it’s big in my world.

Did I mention the Chocolate Halo Top is just heavenly after a sixty minute adventure on the stairmaster? Because it’s lovely, lovely, lovely.

I woke up early today (potty break – too much water in the day) and, since I was strangely awake, I went for a run …and, sort of like Forrest Gump, I sort of kept going just because I felt like it. Almost 12 miles! Just a tiny bit short. I felt so tired, but it was a GOOD tired, and after a shower, I was motivated for work even more than normal.

Shockingly, even 16 hours later, I still feel well-rested and energized. I guess fueling your body right – not over or under feeding it – really does optimize it.

 

I feel strong. I will love myself again, and I’ll do it three days at a time. 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends.

~ Tori

Halo Top and Happiness

Today was the first official weigh-in of my office Weight Loss Challenge.

I am hosting this challenge, not participating, which is an exciting turn of events for me.

There are currently 28 employees participating (out of an office of just 45), so I’ve created three different competitions to keep it fresh:

  • An Individual Competition: based on percentage of weight lost over 13 weeks.
  • A Team Competition: based on percentage of weight loss over 13 weeks for teams of three.
  • A Non-Weight Fitness Competition: based on number of push-ups, length of plank, and length of wall squat endurance.

I must say, having people weigh in (and take measurements – my personal gift to everyone who wanted it) was such an incredibly motivating experience!

Seeing people happy at their first positive successes or, in some cases, helping them understand that the scale staying still does not reflect the nutrition and wellness changes they’re making – which will have profound impact on their health long-term – has helped me put my own struggles in perspective.

My goal is a healthy, long life. Binging and purging won’t get me there.

As my beautiful sister-in-law reminded me last night, I have two gorgeous nieces who love me and I want to be a positive role-model to them in every way. I want them to understand that the number on a scale does NOT define self-worth, and that a truly beautiful soul goes much deeper than a smaller jeans-size. As a woman, I am greater than the sum (or the look) of my parts.

With that being said, I’m leaving work with the plan of enjoying an evening watching Netflix with my husband and enjoying a pint of Halo Top Mint Chip ice cream: don’t worry, I budgeted for it in my eating today:

 

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Saturday Accountability Report

Man, this has been a weekend of ALCOHOL!

I’ve been getting a hefty chunk of calories every day from my drinking – almost 700 alone today! Yikes. Definitely need to tone that down a bit.

Here’s today’s report:

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Way over my calorie allowance, but the workout helped to ease the deficit.

I hope everyone had a stellar Saturday! Hoping for more self-control on Sunday!

Bon appetit,

Tori

Friday Accountability Report

Whoops! I almost forgot to post this!

I’m proud of myself for two reasons today—

One: I ordered pizza (and breadsticks!) for my team meeting today and didn’t have any, despite the ridiculously delicious smell and the sight of all that gooey, cheesy goodness.

Two: I only had a small serving of FroYo at Jason’s Deli, which is a huge testament to my will power, as I typically have a cone the second I walk in (before my salad!) and again before I leave.

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Not a bad day! Let’s hope I can continue to stay strong over the weekend. A holiday, too!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

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Paleo Mexican Casserole!

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I had a hardcore craving for Mexican food last night. I mean HARDCORE. I was salivating at the thought of refried beans, queso, and crunchy tacos.

Unfortunately, we’re just a week or so into the New Year and I am NOT going to give in that easily. Feeling creative, I decided to experiment in the kitchen and concoct my own Paleo Mexican Casserole with the ingredients I had on hand.

I’m telling you… this baby tasted even better than it looked. Holy cow. It was spicy and decadent and 100% grain free. And, amazingly, it was simple to make. Grab your grocery list, baby, I’m about to lay it all out for you!

Fake-Polenta Crust:

  • 1 cup coarse almond flour.
  • 2 whole eggs.
  • 2 tbsp dried onion flakes.
  • 1/4 cup water.
  • 1 tbsp chili powder.
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro.
  • 1 tbsp baking powder.
  • Dash of sea salt.

Mexican Veggies:

  • 1 large zucchini, chopped.
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced small.
  • 1 container of mushrooms, chopped.
  • 1 whole yellow pepper, thinly sliced.
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.
  • 4 tbsp chili powder.
  • 1/4 cup water.

Taco Meeeeeaaaaaat:

  • 1 pound lean (93/7) ground beef.
  • 1 cup spicy salsa (or mild, if you’re wimpy).
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder.
  • 2 tbsp chili powder (noticing a trend here, I bet).

Optional Ingredients (you’ll see when to use these):

  • 1 cup Daiya cheddar cheese alternative. (Or real cheese if you’re a Dairy-Paleo person)
  • 1 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese alternative. (Or real cheese if you’re a Dairy-Paleo person)
  • 2 cups salsa.
  • Fresh cilantro (for garnish).
  • Fresh jalapeno (for garnish).
  • Fresh sliced avocado (for all humans, everywhere, to be eaten in copious amounts with all meals).
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious Plain Coconut yogurt. (Or sour cream, if you’re a Dairy-Paleo person)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

While it’s heating, combine ingredients for the fake polenta crust. I know some people recommend sifting, combining dry then wet, etc. Look, I’m a simple girl who likes to eat. I just throw things into a bowl and mix. I made this recipe up on a whim and it worked. Trust me. Just combine the flour, water, eggs, baking powder, and seasoning into a bowl and mix thoroughly. It should look like thick pancake batter.

On a greased casserole dish (I used those disposable 9″ x 13″ cake pans because I hate clean up), pour the batter evenly to coat the surface of the pan. It should make a thin layer, but there should be enough to fully cover the bottom.

Place in oven (while still preheating) so it starts to cook. You’ll want to precook this a bit so it gets nice and crunchy. The preheating time is perfect!

Meanwhile, I used two pans to individually cook the veggies and meat. To be honest, you could likely saute all of the ingredients together, but I had this craving for layers (think the layered tostada dish at your favorite Mexican restaurant – yum!), so I cooked the veggies and meat separately. Plus, this allowed me cook off the excess moisture from the veggies (onions get moist, friends!) and keep the meat saucy.

Whatever you decide to do, cook the ground beef all the way through (no pink left) and make sure your veggies are nice and tender. Should be roughly 6-8 minutes on medium-high heat.

When the oven BEEEEEEEPS to let you know it’s preheated (should be about 7-10 minutes, depending on how fancy schmancy your kitchen appliances are), pull the “polenta” crust out of the oven for layering. It should look like half-cooked cookie dough: safe to eat but still squishy. If it’s a little closer to done, don’t stress – the moisture from the ingredients will keep it from overcooking.

I layered the VEGGIES first, creating an even (but thick) layer across the crust. Since the crust was still slightly undercooked, the veggies sank into it – perfect visual effect! I then tossed a light layer of Daiya (non-dairy, non-soy cheese) on top, followed by a thin layer of spicy salsa. On top of the salsa, I layered the cooked ground beef, followed by another layer of salsa and then more cheese.

I popped the dish into the oven for about 15 minutes (at 400) and was thrilled by the finished product. The crust puffed up and fully encased the casserole and it was easy to slice and serve.

Per my calculations, the entire dish (which was pretty huge) was between 2,800-3,000 calories (based on my ingredients; subject to change if you use higher fat meat or real dairy cheese) and made EIGHT generous servings at roughly 360-380 calories each. I topped each slice of the casserole with a few slices of avocado (30-45 calories), fresh sliced jalapenos (negligible calories), green onions (about 5 calories), and a single dollop of plain coconut yogurt (about 25 calories).

So, for about 450 calories, I had a gigantic, Paleo-friendly Mexican casserole that even my husband, Carlos (yes, he’s Mexican!), found delicious.

There you have it, my friends.

Bon appetit!

~ Tori