My husband and I began following Jorge Cruise's "Belly Fat Cure" plan in March of 2011. Needing to keep my motivation up, and also wanting an archive to read back over, I decided to join the legion of those people already tracking their progress.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeling the difference

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of my very first Soo Bahk Do class. Unfortunately I was running late and didn't make it to class last night, but I will today!

Somewhere between August 24, 2009 and January, 2011, I had gained.. I dunno, maybe ten pounds. Not a lot for a year and a half but my self-image was shattered. I had long existed under the belief that I still looked like I did when I could get away with wearing cropped tank tops to work as an art intern in 2001. Then I just woke up one day and realized I couldn't see past the mound of my stomach when I looked down, and that 165 was NOT a healthy weight, nor was it "dense bones" or "lots of muscle". I was overweight, my favorite clothes didn't fit, my back hurt and I didn't like the way I looked in the mirror.

I've been on the BFC for 23 weeks, just over 6 months. I've lost 20-something pounds (I'll weigh in tonight), a couple inches off my gut, and suddenly my martial arts uniform doesn't feel like it's "shrinking in the wash" anymore.

In fact I just got a new uniform in the mail that I'd ordered - one tailored for a feminine shape and a bit longer so the tails of the jacket cover the butt. Trying it on, it felt huge! Like some fresh spa dressing gown, LOL. I know part of it is that the length just looks so funny to me, being used to shorter tops. But it definitely needs a trip through the wash and dryer before I decide where to hem it (I'm 5'3" so it'll need something! These uniforms are very vaguely sized). But this uniform is a SMALL. And I was getting lost in it!

I've also felt more comfortable in class, less overheated. I tire more quickly than last fall, but that's due to my injury, I still have to build up my strength again.

This morning my back is hurting.. I need to figure out how best to sleep because the pillow I keep between my knees keeps slipping away in the night. I'm a wiggler!

I've been using the MyFitnesPal mobile app to track my food this week. I like how handy it is to scan the barcodes and enter my info rather than searching, and I like that it does the math for me. I got a bit of a shock, though. It called my Venti Starbucks Breve Latte a 0/2 (22g carbs)! I had no idea there are that many carbs in the drink. It doesn't seem quite right, so the next time I go to Starbucks I'm going to chat with the barista if it's slow enough, see the nutrition on the cream they use. Besides if there's that many carbs I imagine they'd all come from lactose and that would make it 22/2, right?? That would certainly explain why I'm plateaud! I read the definition of a cafe breve as being made with half&half.. I thought they were made with light cream - that's how I ordered my first and was told that's a Breve. So I need to figure this out (and stop drinking them until I do!). And drinking those was inspired by one of the success story quotes in the BFC book, so I am all @_@-eyed and confused now. Maybe I wasn't supposed to have a venti? :P

For dinner last night and breakfast this morning I had ezekiel bread french toast with Joseph's syrup. There was bacon last night but, of course, I was running late this morning and so my protein had to come from the eggs and butter and the cream in my coffee.

My husband made a fantastic lemon-dill salmon, with brown rice, cucumber tzatziki sauce and green beans for dinner Tuesday night and I've been having the extra portions for lunch. Mm! I'm having the last of it for lunch today and I am going to be so sad it's gone! Going straight from work to martial arts tonight and I'm not sure what I'll be eating before that. Trying to avoid falling back on the default tacos from Taco Bell around the corner. Maybe I'll get a Turkey-Bacon-Cheddar flatbread from dunkin donuts, those are tasty and 2/2. I haven't been enjoying tacos lately, anyway.

We have a hurricane on the way this weekend, so I'm going to try and do our grocery shopping tonight (usually we go Sundays). If my husband and I can decide what we want. His stomach has been bothering him this week so he's not that interested in talking food.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Learn from my (Traumatic) Experience

This weekend we thought Macaroni & Cheese sounded amazing to go along with a drop in temperature and some stormy nights.

So we picked up the ingredients, decided on our pasta (a corn/rice based penne) and whipped up the recipe on page 139 of the BFC book.


I have never been so disappointed by Mac'n'Cheese in my life!

You know what salt tastes like?  ....This was saltier!

We even added a cup each of broccoli and cauliflower hoping to cut the salinity of the dish (and also because there is WAY too much cheese in the recipe for the piddly amount of pasta it called for).

Gross. We suffered through a serving each, and threw out the rest.

So here's what we'll try the next time we attempt it (because it smells like fall out and we will want our Autumn carbs before bedding down to hibernate the winter away):

1) Don't add the salt seasoning to the recipe, just use black pepper
2) Instead of 2.5 cups of extra-sharp cheddar, use 1 cup of sharp cheddar and 1/4 cup something else more mild, like a Monterey Jack.
3) Leave out the parmesan cheese entirely, MAYBE sprinkle some on top, but probably not.
4) Add 2 cups broccoli to the recipe, mixed in.
5) Don't use panko/butter in the top layer, just extra shredded cheese and parsley
6) Use a smaller baking dish than 9 x 12! This would barely fill a square 9" pan, seriously.

Hope I've saved you all from making that one. Yuck! First recipe in the book we didn't totally love!

Now I need to figure out what to have for lunch today since I didn't want the leftovers. I'm thinking Chicken Piccata from Bertucci's. Need something AMAZING to counteract that nasty recipe.

Tonight I have class so I'll be having eggs and bacon before I go and some chocolate and Reddi Wip when I get home.

Oh, and speaking of exercise, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal tracker and just want to remind everyone to watch out! MyFP will give you back some carbs and sugars (along with everything else you track) if you log exercise! So don't go by the "remaining" if you use it to log your exercise, too. Other than that I love using it, especially to enter the ingredients of recipes and have it calculate the values of each serving for me. The mobile app has a barcode scanner that brings up packaged ingredients, FAST. Great Free app!

And thanks to everyone who commented on my before and after photos! I'm sorry I didn't show my face, but they were both taken with no make-up and some weird expressions as I remind my husband that he's over 6 feet and he needs to lower the camera to take photos of me. ;)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Before and Current Photos

Last night I was finally wearing (approximately) the same thing as when we took our first status photos in April (3 weeks after starting the diet).

I really can't believe the difference. I didn't think I was awful before but I certainly can't be proud to look at that before photo! My arms are "at rest" in both photos but what a change!

One of the things that I was constantly told as I started was "Oh, you don't need to diet!" Those are evil words that legitimize the urge to run back to the Ben & Jerry's display at the store, but I can look back and clearly say those were just nice things to say. Apparently required, too, as I heard them everywhere.

So that's 22 pounds difference. 18 more to go!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Can't stop cooking!

So.. the banana walnut muffins turned out very well!

Sorry, we liked them far too much to pause for photos!

Then Tuesday night I made another cake.. same as last time, but the mint version and with buttercream frosting:

A little too minty for me honestly, but still very good!
Our plan is to eat the cake for a few days then crumble up the rest into a vanilla ice cream batter!

This morning I'm making waffles!

I've been craving waffles for a couple weeks, so I decided last night it was happening today.

I found this recipe for coconut flour waffles. Made them accidentally with 6tbsp of butter instead of four. Not sure if that's wholly responsible for the fact that they tasted Amazing!

Want to try making Ebelskivers from this recipe next. Maybe with Lauren's not-tella recipe for the center!

Here's a little change from my usual food photo scenery...
This is the whole batch, a serving is one waffle.

By the way, I discovered that agave nectar is 2/3 c to the equivalent of 1c sugar, so if you ever need to substitute for a "healthy" recipe, start there! They also suggest you subtract 1oz of fluids for each 2/3c, so I imagine we would need to add that back in to use sugar alcohol powders and crystals. Luckily, ha ha, I used extra butter to make up for using xylitol. :P

Responding to Comments:

Dawn : Yes I've definitely been enjoying my Saturdays.. but it's got to stop because I'm tired of being stuck at one weight! My weigh in last night was down almost 4 pounds.. so now I'm back to where I started before I put on a couple bad Saturday's worth... ;)

Beth : So glad you tried the cake, it's amazing, isn't it? If you enter all the ingredients in myFitnessPal under "My Recipes", it will do the math for you! Just watch out - I noticed they give you back carbs and sugars if you exercise!
Rosalie : I only eat pizza for the crust! Having two slices felt like a lot though, when I used to eat 4 in a sitting, so that's an improvement, at least!
Katie : I had that belly bag and that's what finally made me say "Time to do something about this!" and I'm very happy to say that with the BFC and increasing my exercise, it is on the run!

Good job everyone, and keep it up!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Note to self: adapt this recipe and try it!

Scratch Saturday off the Calendar

I am really really naughty on Saturdays. It must have something to do with having the whole day to do with as we please (even though I always end up working), it leads to Chinese Food, Pizza, Cookies, and so on.

We managed to resist the Chinese Food, but we did have pizza and I had two pieces. No clue on the carb measurement, the family-owned restaurant couldn't tell me. It was a white pizza, though, with chicken and spinach, mozzerella and ricotta. So a couple sugars from the ricotta, and whatever was in the dough.

Then fresh baked Tollhouse cookies. Yup, no comment.

Then Blackberry schnapps and vanilla vodka. The schnapps had 8g sugar per 1oz, I don't know how much I had, I'm bad at eyeballing liquids. I had a 1:1 ratio in the bottom of a stemless wine glass, I'd say two fingers of that.

So there's my confession. We always get back to it on Sunday morning. My husband even threw out the leftover pizza so we wouldn't be tempted to 'not waste it'. Hopefully this weekend will be better, as I'm going to class that day (bo staff lesson PLUS regular martial arts training) and might feel motivated to keep up the good work. Hoping it doesn't impact the scale too much. My body had a serious "purge" yesterday after a return to the diet, so I'm hoping that was everything on its way out!

Sunday we made delicious "Cheater's Chowder" from a low carb recipe book I got. It uses Cauliflower and Turnips instead of potatoes. We ended up having to use parsnips because turnips aren't in season (I thought they were ALWAYS in season?), which added a touch more sugar, but all the ingredients rate a 1 on the glycemic index, so I'm not too worried and I'm calling it a 5/1 value per serving. It's delicious! My husband wasn't crazy about the resulting texture but I love it and I claimed all the leftovers!

Tonight we are making a chipotle marinade steak with a bearnaise sauce (and more chipotle sauce!) with asparagus on the side. I'm tempted to try the sweet chili green beans that Lauren just posted, but those seem like more of an Asian spicy flare. Maybe I can think of a way to adapt it and spice up the asparagus. I dunno, I really just like basic salt/pepper/garlicked asparagus. I suspect my husband will want something else on the side so I'm trying to think of ideas that won't bulk up the count.

Weigh in and reckoning tomorrow night. My stomach looked super flat this morning (I was admiring my abs after my shower) so I'm hoping my penance was waived this week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Up again

Weigh in was last night, and I'm up 3 pounds. Sigh! Chinese food and bagels had something to do with it, obviously, but I think other things are sneaking in somehow.

My husband and I have resolved to keep better track, and to always get a fresh count from our food packaging just to make sure we aren't playing 'telephone' with the counts gotten from previous use.

So today we are renewed (though yesterday we did really well just as it so happened, but today we have PURPOSE). Cheerios for breakfast, turkey and brown rice with some spring mix salad on the side. Dinner we are still trying to figure out, because I was going to go to Martial Arts tonight but we are having our belt promotion ceremony tomorrow and I don't have time to go four times this week so I'll stay home tonight. So what's for dinner? uhhhhh....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I had already had Cheerios for breakfast yesterday when, at work, our primary printer stopped by with a proof for me to review – and brought along three dozen bagels in appreciation of our business. Oh dear!

Well, out of some territorial need to be 'thanked' I nabbed my two favorite flavors of bagel: cinnamon raisin and egg, before handing over the rest of the bagels to our crew here.

And I ate them both.

Before lunch.

I think it stems from the fact that while I was on that useless Special K diet this past winter, I passed on the opportunity to have my gratitude bagel (from the same printer) and watched them get eaten, while the scale went up and up on that HFCS-based 'nutrition plan'.

No nutritional information was included but I am going to guess each bagel was at least 60g carbs each.

Hey, I'm being honest here!

They were good.

But not THAT good. :P

I just need to remember to somehow bring up my diet before his usual Christmas gift of Bridgewater Chocolates!

If I have energy after class tonight I'm going to see how the bananas look (they've been in a paper bag overnight) and maybe make those muffins. Gotta pick up walnuts at lunch, my husband doesn't leave those hanging around the house long enough to build up stock for baking!

Breakfast today was Cheerios again, and coffee. Lunch will be ham and swiss with baby spinach on my Joseph's pitas. Cheese stick for 3pm snack. I still have to decide what I want to eat before class. We picked up Vanilla and Strawberry whey protein last week and I don't like either of them! Bleh! Maybe I can doctor them. Otherwise I think it's oatmeal for me, which I am very bored of. I miss molasses.

Maybe, if I have enough ham for the rest of the week and then some, I can make deli rolls. Protein is good. I never get bored with meat!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Responding to comments

Not much to report in my BFC trek today.. getting tired of posting what I ate, LOL. It was only supposed to be until I remembered to print more tracking pages anyway.

So I'll respond to comments. For some reason Blogspot's format doesn't let me reply directly to comments in a way that'll notify you that I've responded, so I better "shout out" here instead.

A bunch of you asked me to share the recipe for the cake I showed off (and finished off!) last night. It's the Healthy Indulgences Healthy Chocolate Cake with a Secret. We renamed it "Black Magic" cause it's some kind of voodoo that makes it taste that good! Here's a link to the recipe:

I used whip cream to decorate it (and hold the berries in place) but I did make a batch of the chocolate buttercream frosting (also at the link above). It was DELICIOUS but I think I must have missed something because it did not seem to be the same amount that she showed in her photo of the cake. It was a thiiiiiin layer and we skipped the egg yolk so it wasn't shiny. I wonder if the yolk would have bulked it up enough to make a difference? Anyway, it was amazing, but I may double the recipe if I make it again.

We added berries to it because my dad's a fruit addict, but not enough to ruin the belly good aspect of the cake. It was 1/1 before the berries, and I calculated a slice to be about 3/1 after.

I have coconut flour and will do some more baking this week. We bought two bananas to let them ripen to try this recipe:

So I'm just waiting on the bananas. They were the ripest ones at the store and now they're in a bag on the counter. Hopefully they're ready tonight because my next chance to bake wouldn't be til Friday!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Renamed "Black Magic" Cake

Dad's birthday cake last week went over very well. He asked "Is this a gluten free cake?" as I cut it, to which I replied yes. Then after we had it (at 10:30 thanks to seeing a movie and eating out after) my husband said "Guess I'm not going to bed any time soon!" thinking of the sugar that would normally be in a cake. I reminded him this was sugar free, and my dad said "It was sugar free, too??!"

After that we didn't have the heart to tell him it was also made from Black Beans! ;)

It was delicious! Tasted as much like fudge brownies as when I snuck some of the batter while baking it. I brought some in for a coworker who can't have wheat gluten and she said it was very good, too, though she wanted real sugar for her own use of the recipe (she didn't like the idea of 'chemicals' like erythritol and xylitol).

Unfortunately it's sitting in the fridge now, waiting to be thrown out, because my parents just keep far too much dessert material in the house, and I didn't realize it would waste so I tried to leave it for my dad to eat. Peach pie, Frozen Yogurt, donut holes, etc... You can imagine why I tried to give him a healthy alternative!

My husband wants to make the mint variation next and put green food coloring in the frosting instead of chocolate.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

We are hardly starving.

This was dinner last night. Ezekiel 4:9 pasta, bulked up with ground beef, in Seeds of Change marinara sauce cut with chicken broth. On the side was 2/3 c of spring mix salad, and 1/2c of Roasted Brussels sprouts. We couldn't even finish it! What we did eat ended up being a value of 1S/2C, with a nice hefty 9.5 grams of fiber (aiming for 30g per day).

Most people diet and complain of always being hungry. On the BFC, don't starve yourself! There are options all around you. Even in the middle of the day if you get hungry you can eat with 0/0 values without feeling deprived. Right now I love a stick of string cheese. Polly-O even makes a jalepeño variety for some added flavor.

When you crave something, come up with a Belly Good substitution! The Brussels sprouts above were our replacement for a side of garlic bread. We used the recipe from the White on Rice blog, and then added some minced garlic (1/2 a teaspoon so it didn't overpower). Just remember to start your Brussels sprouts early, we ended up cutting off 2 minutes of roasting time cause we were hungry and everything else was ready!

If you are smart about your ingredients, you can eat til you're stuffed. Don't let the fear of hunger scare you off making a healthy choice for yourself and your waistline.

In other news, I dabbled with a BMI calculator earlier. I always hated the BMI because it told me I was obese! I mean, yeah I could stand to lose a few pounds.. but it suggested I'd need to lose forty pounds in order to be 'fit' and healthy. Even when I decided to diet I thought forty was a bit too lofty a goal. It put the low end of my ideal weight at 105, which to me is practically anorexic. So I thought the BMI was evil and misguided and a poor judge of health.

Then I saw myself in a photo and I realized, yeah... maybe forty pounds could go... I was 125 in college, after all, when my development was pretty much stabilized. Why not aim for that again? And it's good for my life insurance rates, too!

So I entered the numbers into the BMI calculator on Dawn's blog. Starting BMI (March 2011) was 29.2. For the record, that's "Overweight." Some other chart put me at obese at that weight, but I don't know where I found that. Maybe they've updated them to give us fat Americans an emotional pass.
Anyway, today's BMI (August 2011) is 25.5. Still in the zone of Overweight, but only just. It's just more encouragement to keep this going! I can't wait to call up my insurance rep and ask if we can 'refinance' my premium!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Warm Ovens

I have found that the recipes in Jorge's book that I enjoy the most are the ones made from scratch. Pancakes, muffins, etc. The ones where you throw three or four different store bought items together are certainly convenient, but they're not what makes me glad I started this diet.

Okay, the weight loss is what makes me glad I started this diet, but I've also really been enjoying the cooking!

Today I am working from home and so I thought a nice recipe could use up that time not dedicated to my commute. A few minutes and a non-savory adaptation of Lauren's English Muffin recipe (meaning no cheese, no pepper, no garlic) was cooling on the wire rack. They basically taste like the muffin recipe in the BFC book, only without the extra sweetener and no preserves. I had to substitute soy flour, so I cut the liquids back to 75%, and I was expecting a disastrous goopy mess, but it worked! they're tiny because I didn't have enough clean ramekins and I made them in the cupcake tray. This morning it was all about working with what I had!

 Each muffin worked out to be <1g sugar, 3g carbs. They're about 3 inch diameter.

My dad's birthday is Thursday and I won't have a chance to bake his cake tomorrow, so at lunch I made Lauren's Healthy Chocolate Cake with a Secret (which shall remain a secret!). The house now smells like I baked a batch of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies, it's amazing! The lick I had off the mixer tasted JUST like brownie mix! I am looking forward to smoothing the top of one layer later tonight and testing the scraps! I'll make the frosting tomorrow, I should have time for that and I don't want it to separate. Plus I used up the last of my xylitol on the cake! I'll take a photo when it's done!

We are going to try out the Mocha Frappuccino ice cream recipe I found.. I think on the LCF forums. That's after work. Now I'm back at it and enjoying the smell of chocolate baked goods in the house.

Aside from a single lick of that batter, I've had:

Eggs, sausage, cheese, peppers and onion on a joseph's pita
Half of one of the muffins I made (<1g sugar/ 1.5g carbs)
Coffee with Light Cream & Benefiber
Total: 5/1, 10g fiber

Egg-salad with baby spinach on a joseph's pita
Pirate's Booty
Total: 0/2, 8g fiber

Dinner (planned):
Ground Beef in Seasons of Change marinara sauce over Ezekiel rotini pasta.
Spring mix salad with Italian dressing
Roasted garlic brussel sprouts (in place of garlic bread!)
Total: 1/2, 9.5g fiber

And all that leaves me with a spare carb for the ice cream. Yum!

Didn't go to martial arts last night. My back has been feeling better but I do NOT want to send myself spiraling back to the sciatica issues from May because I rushed it!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream

I have to admit that, from all my research, I had a thousand tips and ingredients and such floating around in my head when we set up to make our first batch of homemade ice cream yesterday.

The machine we bought was a Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. It's available on Amazon, but we got ours from Bed Bath & Beyond because we wanted it N.O.W. It ended up being about the same price after the 20% coupon that I always keep stashed in the glove compartment.

My husband really loved the coconut taste of the So Delicious Ice Cream we had gotten (before we realized it was sweetened with Agave Nectar), so he was all for making Coconut Ice Cream first time on our own. I knew I had seen a perfect Belly Good recipe online somewhere but I could not find it again. I settled on one from a Paleo diet website, but that one called for six tablespoons of vanilla extract. Our vanilla's left over from the days before the diet so it's not sugar free, so I only used one tablespoon. Thank goodness! First, the flavor of the vanilla was so overpowering we had to counteract it with coconut flavoring (SF) even though we had real coconut milk and coconut shavings in there! Second, I think the alcohols in the flavoring kept the ice cream from setting up as hard as it would have if the vanilla had been omitted. Next time we make coconut we will skip the vanilla (and we'll pick up some vanilla beans for when we do want to use it).

If you do get one of these, you'll have to plan in advance as the barrel needs to be stored in the freezer until the gel inside freezes solid, so just store it in the freezer if you can. Either way I'd let it stay there overnight before making ice cream in it.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, as the one I found called for different things than we'd collected. So what I essentially did was this:

1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut flavoring
2 eggs
1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk (lite)
1/8 cup of light cream (I just poured the rest of what was in the container)
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup xylitol (granulated)
pinch of stevia extract

I double-boiled everything (except the coconut shreds) to dissolve the xylitol and whisked the eggs in. Then cooled it in the fridge for about... maybe 4.5 hours. Going off of the 20 minute running time, we added in the coconut shreds at about 16 minutes in. Then when it started to set up to where we could catch some on a spatula we taste-tested and decided on adding the extra coconut flavoring. It didn't take much to counteract the vanilla, thankfully, but I still think it would have set up faster if we hadn't used alcohol-based flavors.

We scooped our finished ice cream out after about 24 minutes, and stuck it in the freezer to set up just a bit more. About ten minutes later we each grabbed a spoon and dug in. No formality - all the bowls were in the dishwasher! The flavor was nice and light, but definitely coconut. I think the coconut milk would work for many different ice cream bases, though I haven't found a 0/0 coconut milk yet, so we could just use cream for the same measurements until we do.

We each ate about 2/3 cup, which added up to 2/1 by this recipe. We've got more to try tonight to see what happens when it's in the freezer for a while after making it. I heard xanthan gum or glycerin can help make it more scoopable after hard freezing, but I didn't see enough proof positive evidence to make it worth the $10 for each of those ingredients! Not to mention at least the glycerin is added carbs.

Clean up was easy and I'd call the ice cream maker a hit at our house! Next up is a Chocolate Frappucino ice cream with dark chocolate chips!

As for the rest of the day, we each had a bowl of F-Factor Skinny n' Fruit Cereal for breakfast, with UAM, for a count of 4/2 with 18 grams of Fiber!
Snack of Jalepeño string cheese before we went grocery shopping (0/0)
Lunch was some Shrimp Poppers which were 0/1
Dinner was Pan seared cod with lemon pepper spice, over 1/4c brown rice (cooked measurement) and broccoli tops for 1/1
And then the Ice Cream for 2/1
Total for Sunday: 7/5

Today I had the F-Factor cereal for breakfast: 4/2
Lunch will be egg salad and baby spinach on a Joseph's pita with pirate's booty: 0/2
Afternoon snack of string cheese: 0/0
Dinner will be a protein shake before class: 0/0
and after class I will probably have more ice cream and some coffee!: 2/1