#TBT: Menu Planning

Whats-for-Dinner

I’ve talked about this before, but in honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d talk about it again!!

Planning is probably the #1 thing that keeps me on track with my dieting. On top of that, I’m trying to save money. Ugh. Easier said than done.

Each week I sit down & I try to plan out a menu for the week. Some weeks are easier than others. And I attempt ask Mr. Chocolate his opinion on dinners, lunches, breakfasts. All the good things I have to shop for each week. What do I get in return??

“I don’t care.”

UGH!! YES YOU DO!! You have an opinion of what we eat for dinner. You have an opinion of what you eat for lunch. Sorry.. I digress. Back to the topic at hand,

When I’m menu planning I like to check out what’s on sale. I try to find “like” items to cook so I don’t end up with lots of waste. I try to factor in lunches also, can I make enough of this to pack for lunch? Or do I need to make sure we have enough lunch meat on hand for the week?? Like this week, we’re having pizza again. I want to put spinach on mine but no where else in my  menu plan does spinach fit. So most likely, no spinach. And that’s ok.

I also like to factor in cooking for friends. I love to entertain and have people over. They cost more in my budget. 🙂

So far this week, this is what we’re looking at:

Saturday – Wedding/Out
Sunday – Open
Monday – Pizza, with salad
Tuesday – Breakfast for dinner
Wednesday – Peanut chicken w/ veggies & noodles
Thursday – Brats, corn, cobbler
Friday – Hamburgers (pineapple & pepperjack cheese, corn

Breakfasts – breakfast English muffins

Lunches – sandwiches, cottage cheese, fruit

Kroger currently has brats & buns on sale. We alrady have the stuff for pizzas, minus needed more crusts & possibly a little more sauce. We have everything to make the peanut sauce for the chicken. We have everything for breakfast night.

I also make a list! My list keeps me from wandering around the grocery store like a crazy person. And it keeps me from buying stuff I don’t need. If it’s not on the list, I don’t get it. I love list making.

I try to also set up my days with meals so I know what we’re eating each day. Not only does that help me meal plan, but it helps me stay on program. If I know what my week looks like then I know where I have time to workout. I know when I’ll have heavier meals vs. lighter ones. I know the days that I can go out to lunch & not blow my diet.

Menu planning. Oh how I love you…

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Eating Healthy on a Budget

I think this is probably the biggest excuse I’ve heard, and given, when it comes to eating healthier. But it’s so expensive.

Yeah, it can be. It can also be cheap if you plan. Check out the sale ads. Check out the coupons. What’s already in your pantry or fridge? What can you make that doesn’t take crazy ingredients? It’s possible to eat healthier and eat cheaper.

In our house, we’re feeding 2 people. Mr. Chocolate and myself. Plus 3 animals. We have had a grocery budget of roughly $100 a week for the past 2 months. And we’re doing just fine. We factor in a night out each week and a meal with his parents. Neither of which come out of our grocery budget. We do also have the luxury of having fresh beef in the freezer whenever we want it. That also helps. That being said, I get tired of beef.

So this week’s menu is as follows (well, at least how it was supposed to be before we have tons of leftovers from last night’s dinner)…

Monday: Beef enchiladas with rice & beans
Tuesday: Soup & hot ham sandwiches
Wednesday: Cheeseburgers & roasted potatoes
Thursday: Leftover burgers
Friday: Birthday celebration for Mr. Chocolate’s dad (out to eat)
Saturday: Wedding dinner for my dad
Sunday: Pork chops with sour kraut & apple sauce

We also have breakfasts, snacks, and lunches that we have to plan for. Usually a combination of leftovers & sandwiches for lunch. Oatmeal and fruit for breakfast or snacks. Mr. Chocolate is a fan of gummy fruit snacks and granola bars. I swear, I think he’s still 12 years old.

With that menu plan, and what I could raid out of our freezer, my grocery list was created.

Hamburger buns
Tortillas
Refried beans
Enchilada sauce
Pork chops
Sour Kraut
Lunch meat
Milk
Bread
Sliced cheese
Oatmeal
Fruit (bananas & oranges)
Veggies (Celery, lettuce, & tomato)
Turkey Bacon
Fruit snacks
Apple sauce
Ketchup
Flatout Wraps

We thankfully already have the ground beef, some Mexican flavored rice & potatoes. The soup is in the freezer and will be thawed out to eat this week.

So my grand grocery shopping trip this week. All of that listed above. It came out to $65 and some change. Not hard to feed 2 people & 3 animals (plus all household needs, like TP & cleaning supplies) on a budget. It is do-able. You just have to plan.

Planning can be a pain. It takes time and patience. Some of the things I try to do when I plan our menu are:

I look at the sale ads. I try to see what I can get for cheap. Or at least get an idea of items I may want for the week.

Check coupons. I LOVE COUPONS! Seriously. I’m better at this than the sale ads. I try to plan our breakfasts, lunches, and sides around what I can find coupons for. This week I only had $2 worth of useable coupons.

Store brands. Seriously, they’re great. I can get a can of Great Value brand vegetables for about $0.65. Whereas the regular are almost always pushing $1.

Frozen fruits and vegetables. Hello cheap! I can buy a bag of frozen broccoli for $1.50, TOPS! And there’s so much broccoli in there! The same goes for corn, lima beans, pepper/onion blends. Fruit that I put in smoothies. All that fun stuff.

Portion it yourself. Why buy the single serve packs? I was looking at applesauce this weekend. I wanted some to have for dinner one night & then possibly for my lunches. Ounce for ounce, the same brand, same flavor, was $0.75 more for the prepackaged. I bought the big container.

Check your cabinets!! This is by far the biggest money saver for me. I raid our cabinets before I go grocery shopping. Our menu may change several times before I actually leave the house as I find out what we already have on hand versus what we need to get. I try to stock my cabinets when there are sales and I have coupons. This really helps when money is tight & I need to raid the cabinet even more.

We have $60 in our account for next week’s groceries. Mr. Chocolate asked me if we should put more money in the joint account for next week. I told him no. My goal is to spend no more than $50 next week.

I got this.

Even if it’s going slow, it’s still going…

So I’m annoyed with myself for being annoyed with the scale.

I keep having to remind myself that I did not put this weight on over night so why should I expect it to come off over night?? Really self. Really??

That’s the hardest part of this journey. And I think because I feel like I’ve done this so.many.times already that I should just be where I want to be! The slow process is driving me bonkers. And honestly, its not even going all that slow.

Last week I lost 1.2 pounds. This week I lost 2.2 pounds. That’s a total of 3.4 pounds in 2 weeks. Why in this world do I think that’s slow!!

1-will-not-happen-overnight

This saying is so true for me. I know I can do it. Hell fire, I’m doing it! I’m planning. And tracking. And measuring. I’m being good. I’m allowing for treats. I’m making this do-able with what Mr. Chocolate wants. I really am making this a lifestyle that I hope to be able to maintain once I get to where I want to be. I’m teaching myself how to do this with Mr. Chocolate being in my life. But I still want it to happen RIGHT NOW! And it’s not going to.

I have to remember not to get discouraged with the fact that I’m not there yet. I want so bad to be back to where I’m comfortable in my own skin. But it’s going to take time. Time I keep having to remind myself I have. I will get there this time. I think I’m finally doing this the right way and for the right reasons.

Closer

Oh yeah. I’ll get there.

Holy Toledo Batman!

Ok, so I’m AWFUL when it comes to updating this bad boy.

I think I ignore when I really don’t want to be honest about what’s going on in my life. Because I do want to be honest on this blog. I want it to be my place to turn to when things are crazy, or crazy good.

So since it’s been a while, let’s just lay it all out on the table! Here are my confessions of the past 2 1/2 months.

1) I took diet pills. I did. I know, awful. Why would I do such a thing?? And even worse, I started taking them AFTER I rejoined WW. I had great success with WW while I was taking them. I was down just over 10 pounds. Then I stopped taking them. They made me feel funny after about 5 weeks on them. Fluttery almost. They also made my BP rise. I wasn’t cool with that. So I stopped them. The first week off, I gained some weight. The next week the scale was back down. I realize I CAN do this on my own.

2) I gained back all my weight. Yeah, you heard me. I just told you I took diet pills and lost like 10 pounds. Gained week 1 off of them and then lost week 2 off of them. Yeah, well, then life got crazy. I got emotional. I stopped caring about what to eat, how much to eat, if even if I ate. And then vacation. Oh vacation, it was glorious. I went back to my meeting last night, I held my head up high, I told my leader I knew the damage on the scale, and I accepted it. All of my weight back. Plus .2 pound. It’s weight. It will come back off. This time without the help of diet pills.

3) I broke up with Mr. Chocolate. It sucked. It was awful. It felt like I was ripping out my own heart & stomping on it. I drank too much wine. I ate too much chocolate. And pizza. And pasta. And whatever else I wanted to eat while grieving, because the desire to eat didn’t happen often. I wanted more out of our relationship. Mr. Chocolate, however, wasn’t ready to say he did also. He was happy how we were. He liked our relationship. I couldn’t do it. I was afraid he would never want more with me. After 3 1/2 years he didn’t, what was going to change? I walked away. Crying like a baby.

4) I went on vacation!! Oh, glorious, wonderful, vacation. I drank too much. I ate too much. I explored a different country. I flirted. I danced. I swam with the fishes and flew through the air. Did I mention I ate and drank too much? Yeah, that’ll happen.

5) I got back together with Mr. Chocolate. So apparently 2 weeks apart made him realize he was being a pansy and our relationship needed to move forward. He admitted that the idea does scare him, but the idea of not having me around scares him more. He told me he realized that we did live together, and that he didn’t want it to be “his” home anymore, he wanted it to be “our” home. He wants to settle down with me. Have little blonde haired, blue eyed babies (I hate to break it to him, those are resistive traits. So if I have anything to it they’ll be dark haired. But poor things will be fair skinned as they come!) He told me that I am “the one”. We made up.

6) I recommitted to WW. Again. Yeah, so what? Don’t judge me. I have been going to meetings. I haven’t actually stopped doing WW. (Well, minus the weeks of break-up and vacation.) But yesterday I went back to my meeting. I bought healthy foods. I planned. I cooked. And I’m going to do this. With diet and exercise. Not with diet pills.

Le Sigh

So, yesterday. Let’s just talk about that.

I tucked my tail between my legs. I walked in. I admitted defeat. And I was met with open arms and all the support in the world.

What am I talking about? Well going back to Weight Watcher meetings of course!

I really did feel like a failure when I walked through those doors. Like I was admitting defeat.

Failure-is-not-falling-down-but-refusing-to-get-up

 

But then I realized this. And how true it is. I’m not a failure because I’m doing this again. I’m succeeding because I’m not willing to give up. I will get the weight back off. I will be happy with myself again.

And actually I took a lot out of the meeting last night. I used to hate going to the WW meetings. They were “a waste of time” and “I already know how to do this” type of thing. Last night, it was the same – I do know how to do this. I know how to handle a stressful situation and what works for me – but that being said, what works for me is why I’m going back to WW meetings in the first place. The stress eating, the wine nights with the ladies to decompress after a long day, the “grab & go” food (which is usually pizza). It’s why I had to go back. So really, do I know how to do this?

They also talked about finding an anchor. Something that means something to you to help keep you focused when things get crazy.

Mine is a picture. It was already the screen saver picture on my phone. It makes me smile whenever I look at it. Its a picture of myself and Mr. Chocolate. Back when I was thinner. We’re both smiling, happy. I was happy with the way I looked and felt. That picture. That’s my anchor. That’s where I want to get back to.

I want to be that happy confident woman he met & fell in love with. Not just for him, but even more for myself.

Let’s talk about T25

T25

For reals yo, this izz is hard!

Ok, I lie, I lie. It’s not “hard”. I can do the moves. But goodness you move constantly. A lot. You change what you’re doing often. I start off doing pretty good and by the end I’m doing the modified version of some things. The only thing I have found I’m not capable of doing is a burpee. And no, it’s not because I hate them so much, even though I do. They make me dizzy. But my goal with Week 1 is to be able to fully do it before I move on to Week 2. So, I may be here a while. But at least I’m moving, and working out, and burning calories. (And hopefully kicking my coworker’s butt in our weight loss competition!!)

I started the program last night. I managed to burn 430 calories on Wk1D1. This morning I got up early and did Wk1D2. I burnt 370 calories. Loving this. That’s 7APs in 2 days! That’s great for me. Esp when it’s only just 30 minutes of my day. And I am POURING sweat! I don’t normally sweat when I work out, I glisten. No, but really though, I don’t sweat that much. I get “sticky” where I’ve sweat a little. With this bad boy I am d.r.i.p.p.i.n.g It’s gross. Yuck.

That being said, I’m loving it & can’t wait to do it again tomorrow. Ok, I can totally wait to do it tomorrow morning because it requires me waking up at 6am, but I feel good after I do it.

Today’s Menu:

B: Quest bar, cantaloupe, coffee – 4
S: Greek yogurt – 3
L: Ham sandwich, GG potato & mixed vegetables, apple – 7
S: Cheese stick, veggies & dip – 3
D: Baked chicken, quinoa, collards, & green beans (most likely) – 10
S: Popcorn – 4

I seriously still have 7pts left with this menu. I have no clue what I’ll have to fill up those points. Maybe I’ll stop at the store & get something sweet for after dinner tonight.

Things I Love Friday – Hip Hop Abs!

It’s Friday!

Thank goodness.

This has been the s.l.o.w.e.s.t. week ever. For serious. I’m glad it’s over.

Tonight is going to be tough to stick with my goal of eating at home at least 3 days. I had take-out leftovers for dinner on Monday & Subway on Wednesday. I don’t have any leftovers to heat up, which means I have to cook. And I don’t want to.

Meatloaf is on the menu, but I’m not feeling it. And considering throwing a bunch of stuff together in a pot, browning the meat, rice, veggies, spices, salsa, & cheese.

Who knows. We’ll see.

It’ll probably be meatloaf.

***

So, Friday is to talk about amazing things I love. Whatever they may be.

This week, it’s Hip Hop Abs.

hip hop abs

And Shaun T.

Sometimes I think he’s very vain with showing me his totally ripped, what is that, an 8 pack? Whatever. He may be vain, but he’s encouraging and he’s sexy.

I’ll take it.

Those abs - he likes to show them.

Those abs – he likes to show them.

 

But anyway, Shaun T and his gorgeousness aside, it’s a great workout. I sweat – and I’m not a sweater. Ask my coworker, I just turn 10 shades of red and look like a beet.

So far I have only done the 25 ab workout and it’s a beast. I definitely feel it while I’m working out. And after. And I’m covered in sweat.

Tonight I might try doing the 45 minutes routine and see how I do.

Seriously. Go order this. It’s only like $20 for a ton of stuff. I even have a friend who sells it, and no she did not put me up to posting about this.

I’m not following the program exactly, I’m using HHA as a fill in workout for when I can’t make it to the gym, which is often.

And if you take before and after photos & submit them you get a free t-shirt.

Who doesn’t love free!