Welcome to 'Keeping the Bulge at Bay'
This blog is designed to discuss the hardest part of losing weight...keeping it off! To understand my story and what my reasons are for creating this blog, please follow this link to my first post: "The REAL Beginning..." It's raw, real, and honest.
Hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please feel free to leave any feedback you may have!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Gluttony Gut...

I will formally welcome myself back from the brief hiatus I took from the blog! For those of you who do not know, I took some ‘time-off’ from blogging so that I could get married-I guess I need to now update my tag line so I am no longer ‘freshly engaged’ but rather a ‘newlywed’ of 24 days and counting! J

I will post many pictures soon since they have been requested by many, but in the meantime I want to discuss the food related activities that surrounded the BIG DAY!

As someone who consistently battles the bulge and tries to keep that little (big is probably a better term) devil at bay, a wedding and honeymoon (especially when it is your OWN) is a time when one just has to let go and enjoy every second of their time…and that included indulging in anything and everything I wanted-more wedding cake? Yes please! Left over catering food? Sign me up! Carbs-galore in Punta Cana on our honeymoon? Is that even a question!?!?!

In an effort for full disclosure, I was SOOO EXCITED to not think or worry about anything I would be eating for a couple of weeks and was determined to just ‘live it up!’ (This I will discuss in a later post because it made me realize that I may be a bit too strict with myself on a daily basis because it caused me to be way too excited to go rough with my eating for a couple weeks...haha)

Now I certainly lived it up, about 10 lbs worth to be exact! Before you have a heart attack at the craziness that I allowed to happen let me tell you one thing…within 2 days of being home I was already down 5lbs!!…I’ll assume it’s water weight from traveling, or changes in diets, etc. - either way my actual post-wedding/honeymoon gain was about 5 lbs….and I’ll take it for what I allowed myself enjoyed!

In a future blog post I also want to discuss traveling internationally while trying to keep the bulge at bay, but for now I will just touch on it briefly. In a country where you are not supposed to eat a ton of fruit, meat, or raw vegetables due to what they feed/fertilize it with, what seems to essentially be left is carbs-and lots of them. As a self-admitted carb-a-holic, you will not hear me complain one bit, but within a couple of days of being away I started to feel gross-all I freaken wanted was a salad! My body craved something from my ‘normal’ day to day eating habits, and craved it more than Adam and Eve wanted to eat that gosh darn apple! I ordered a salad but within a couple of bites knew I shouldn't be eating it...carbs it was!

With this being said, I know my body inside and out and I KNEW the number wasn’t going to be good when I got back (insert my gluttony gut here). However, I accepted it and enjoyed myself in spite of it because I knew I would be back on track once I returned…now I’m climbing back on the healthy wagon and it certainly is a slippery, tall, ladder.

I find my mind/body craving those high sugar -high carb foods, and I find myself trying to rein it in. Imagine trying to pull the reins back on an out of control horse-you know you have the power to do it and can do it, but it doesn't make the horse not want to go crazy any less. I know I control what goes in my mouth and how much of it goes in there but that doesn't make my mind/body not want them any less right now.

From experience however, I know this feeling will go away-my body needs time to adjust back to what it is used to eating, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be back to that no problem. In the meantime, will power is always stronger than any craving and remembering that will get me through these pesky couple of pounds that need to go away…

How do you all handle times when you are fighting the uphill battle of the bulge? When you have set backs, how do you continue the determination to forge forward?

Until next time…NOT ONLY keeping the bulge at bay but getting some of the extra bulge to vacate the premises ;)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Marriage Mania!

I was advised by an avid reader of my blog to just post something short-an update on my life, etc. Well, the main update is that there is no update... other than that every spare second I have had for the past month or so has been devoted to my wedding which is 11 days away! WOOHOO!! (And I've managed to maintain my weight too-an amazing feat that deserves some sort of award; between bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and late night planning and craft making that leaves no time but to order food in...it truly is a feat worth relishing...relish? ....Hot dog? YUM!)

Any who, I have a TON of pictures to share, from meals I've cooked to meals I've ordered differently while out to cut down on the calories and fat, I have a long list of post ideas that I am planning on putting up after the honeymoon-I promise!

I wish I could post them now but these topics and posts deserve time to be able to describe my cooking habits and tiny tricks I use-but time is something I currently do not have...however, I don't have time for a  wonderful reason-I'm marrying the guy of my DREAMS in 11 days...did I mention ONLY 11 days?!?!? :)

I'm sorry to the readers that expect posts more often or need constant updates to see that others are out there battling the bulge... and are successfully keeping it off the healthy way! I promise I'll be back in full 'posting mode' after the honeymoon (end of Sept.) When I return, I will be committed to hopefully getting at least one post a week (if not to support all of you, writing posts helps to keep me on track too-the blog and expressing the struggles helps me 'stay good' ...as I always say, only we know if we are doing our best at being healthy...)

In the meantime, please feel free to email me! Though I haven't been able to post in quite awhile, people still  email me with questions, ideas, etc....I'm always available via email (maybe except while I'm out of the country in a couple weeks) but other then that feel free to email me... keepingthebulgeatbay@yahoo.com ....I'm here!

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay...and oh ya, getting HITCHED! :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ravishing Recipes!

Once again, it has been what seems like an eternity since I have last posted-sorry! I’m going to go ahead and blame the amount of stuff I’ve been doing lately, like planning my wedding (which is 42 days away-not like I’m counting or anything), my summer Baroque Art class, full-time job, creating my paintings/drawings, etc. sooooo much going on!

Any who, I have been reworking some classic recipes and will post them hopefully next week (in the effort for full disclosure, I have a dress fitting and am a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s weddings next week so it may not be until the week after haha). But before I release the refined recipes I’ve been working on to showcase some of my healthy eating tips, I want to send you all two of my favorite go-to recipes-one of which is a weekly “go-to” meal. I promise they are healthy and will last a verrrry long time in the frig.

The first is my version of ratatouille! I originated it off of a version that my dad created and I ran long and fast  with it, and may I just say, it is my fiance’s favorite meal I make (allow me to take a big domestic bow right here).

There are two very important steps to this recipe-are you listening? FIRST KEY STEP-do not measure anything-no I’m not crazy… I’m serious! Don’t measure a gosh darn thing that goes into the pot. STEP TWO-let it simmer for at least an hour if possible (or if you like firmer vegetable less time). The reason for an hour is that all of the ingredients get plenty of time to get relaxed, loosen up, and show their true colors and flavors to their fellow veggy friends…now maybe I’m starting to get a ‘lil cray-cray’.

Staying on track [it’s Friday and I’m under tons of stress, what else would someone expect ;) ], those are the main steps, and the rest could not be simpler. I like to make the biggest batches I can at a time because that way we have it for days, but please feel free to adjust according for your living needs, styles, and healthy habits!

Here is what I usually put in:

(Note, yes I will be counting some vegetables but that’s just to give you a ball park ‘guesstimate’ of what I put in, the amounts truly change according to what our garden is ‘spitting out’ at the time.)

(Note # 2-our garden is completely organic so the vegetable size is probably a bit smaller and more regular than some versions in the grocery store or at your local farm market-just adjust it to your tastes…i.e. if you love tons of zuchinni-bulk up on that instead of or in addition to squash…this truly is a fool proof recipe-I PROMISE!)

·         1 or 2 medium squash
·         1o r 2 medium zucchini
·         ½ to 1 whole red or yellow onion (whichever kind you have in the cabinet)
·         ½ to 1 whole Bell pepper (whichever kinds you have available-we use green bells the most because it’s what he have, but we also put in banana peppers (frying peppers) now that they are being ‘spit out’ by the garden)
·         2 cans of diced tomatoes (Italian seasoned version is my favorite
·         1 can of stewed tomatoes (Italian seasoned again)
o   I will be making this and canning my own version once tomatoes start coming like crazy-which I’m praying will be soon-we have 9 tomato plants!
·         A little salt & pepper, and Italian seasoning

Now to how I cook this, pay attention I know this is going to sound hard haha...
  1.  Thinly cut up the zucchini and squash and put in it a pot to start cooking-cover it with a lid
  2. After just a few minutes add the chopped up onion and peppers-cover it with a lid
  3. After a few more minutes add the three cans of tomatoes-cover it with a lid 
            a. Let it simmer for about an hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes (give or take) –simmer with lid on.
  4. One important thing to do is CHECK ON IT during that hour! I don’t like it too ‘soupy’ so if you see it getting too liquidy for your preference, take the lid off and let some of the juice boil out of the pot-then return lid back on.
  5. A few minutes before serving add S&P and a little Italian seasoning for flavor
  6.   ENJOY it as a side dish or (our favorite way of consuming this delectable delight) having a large portion of it over 1 cup of egg noodles with parm cheese on top-yummmmmmy!
Looks amazing, no?!?
And now to my FAMOUS pesto that has gotten RAVE reviews (don't I sound so humble and modest? haha). This, unlike my ratatouille, does require a bit of measuring-but don’t be afraid to play around with it-I surely did. The way I came up with it is by following the recipe below and tweaking it to be heathier…allow me to explain.
Below is the recipe with my added notes to make it healthy…and let me tell you…it worked wonders!
  •  2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
    • Use MORE than 2 cups. I probably used closer to 3 cups. This causes a more intense basil flavor which means you’ll need less pesto to achieve the same flavor-saving calories! Get it fresh from the garden or farmers market-it works much better! 
  •  2 cloves garlic
    •       I've made it with three before...just make sure you don't have to kiss anyone that night ;)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Regular S&P work just fine
  •  1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • I DID NOT use freshly grated cheese from a block of cheese. I used the kind you get in the bag at the cheese/deli section of the grocery store. It has a stronger flavor then Kraft parm in the bottle but has the same fineness which is needed. I tend to use more than 1/2 cup as well-I prefer a stronger parm flavor than oil flavor. Again, the stronger parm flavor means you will need less to achieve the same expectations-which means less calories consumed!
  •  Combine the basil, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add oil and cheese and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
 (Picture is a double batch in large jars)
Pesto is healthy for you (good fats), but too much isn’t good for your waistline. I found that by making the flavors more intense-especially the parm flavor, I ended up using less than half of what I would have used regularly. TRY IT! I promise you won’t be disappointed J
Now that I’ve shared my two favorite garden creations, I will be sharing my healthy alterations and revamps to meals shortly-they are coming out amazing, you will certainly be surprised (I sure as hell was haha).
Please share, what meals do you want to see revamped? What healthy recipes have you created that you want to share with the world of people trying to keep the bulge at bay? Please post them here!
Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay…

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Healthy Hints...

Can you feel the heat?!?  No-not the sweltering heat that has been lingering outside for what seems like months now…nor the basketball team that sadly won the championship (I live near Boston, what do you expect me to say?)…rather, I’m referring to the heat in the…KITCHEN! I’ve been cooking up a STORM of healthy options from our home grown vegetables and I’m compiling a list of my favorite go to meals! Now, you may ask-what exactly constitutes a ‘go-to’ meal?

For me, a go-to meal is something I can either a) make in big batches and keep in the fridge for at least three days to enjoy/freeze in batches to quickly defrost and enjoy at a later date, or b) something I can prep and hopefully cook in less than 30 minutes (preferably 20 to be totally transparent) after work because honestly, who wants to slave away in the kitchen after sitting at a computer and typing for 8 hours-sounds fun, no?

Any who, I’ve decided to do a bit of a challenge both for all of you and for me-I’m going to take some staple meals and revamp them-the healthy way!

The reason I’ve decided to do this is because I constantly get asked –“what do you eat?” And as shocking as it is, this is SUCH a hard question to answer! I always think- ‘Wait…What the hell do I eat…?’ I have so many little tricks and ideas that I have been doing for so long now that I honestly forget that they are ‘special.’ These tricks and tips have just become my norm. But now, I am going to revamp recipes using these tips/tricks and am going to share them with all of you!

First and foremost-I’m going to use my garden as the main resource when I can, then the local farmers market second. After those two resources, I’m going to use your average grocery store-something that most people have access to! I’m going to share everything from a tuna salad you’ll die over, a simple homemade sauce that will keep you satisfied without more pasta, homemade pita chips with a great cream cheese dip, ratatouille that will cost less than 3 dollars for a large batch (if you have a garden-otherwise it will cost about 6 dollars-enough for at least 3 meals for two people though), a healthy homemade pesto, healthy canned pickles, etc.

With this being said, now is when I want YOUR help! There are meals that I either use all the time or have been working on to make them healthier, but I want some challenges from all of you as well! I want to know what are some of your favorite meals and I will rework them in my kitchen-this will give me a way to share the tips that are bouncing around in my head in a constructive way for everyone to utilize. There will be plenty of pictures, and I’m even going to be hopefully putting up a couple cooking videos! (No promises though, I’m not the most tech-savvy individual.)

What would you like to see revamped? (I LOVE a great challenge!) An alfredo sauce? Meat loaf? Potato salad? You name it-I’m willing to try it! In the meantime, I’m going to start posting the recipes I’ve been working on…keep the challenges coming!

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday…

Well hello fellow maintainers! It has been awhile since I last posted-sorry…

The reason I haven’t posted in a long time is mostly because of the craziness that summer brings! I’ve been very busy enjoying the wonderful things summer holds-weddings, hikes, gardening, sports, art shows, painting, -you name it, I’ve been doing it! And one thing that I most certainly have been doing is: eating. Cake, cupcakes, pasta, pizza, French fries, s’mores, cheeseburgers…basically, if it has carbs and fat in it, I probably ate it in the past couple of weeks.

Now, normally you’re probably thinking that I would normally make this blog about not being consumed by the bone crushing  guilt that can be felt from even licking an ice cream cone (add a bunch of ice cream cones to the above list too!). And you’re right. Normally I would be talking about trying to get over the guilt and trying to simply enjoy myself without being consumed (pun intended) by the guilt, but ALAS!-this is not the case!

My best friend got married this past weekend and I went into the weekend’s festivities weighing the least I have ever weighed before. I genuinely felt good, felt thin, and most importantly-felt healthy! I went into the weekend with a mind frame set that I was going to allow myself to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a decision that can be made lightly (especially if you’re trying to lose the L-Bs). But I allowed myself to do this because I personally knew I felt good, and I knew I would get back on track the following Monday…and that is exactly what I did!

Allow me to be honest however, when Monday came around I was craving pizza, cookies, and cake more than a junky needs a fix... the Bangles say it best:

It's just another manic Monday,
I wish it was Sunday, 
'Cause that's my fun-day, 
My I-don't-have-to-run day, 
It's just another manic Monday...

Though part of me wishes I could keep eating like that, the power is within us to get back to our ‘normal eating.’ This whole week I have been right back to my health-nut ways without even looking back. I knew I would get back on track (or just simply back to my norm) and therefore I do not have not one ounce of guilt… did you hear me… do I need to say it louder, NOT ONE OUNCE OF GUILT!!! Crazy right?!?

With this being said however, there are weak moments when one should not indulge because they may not feel strong enough to get back on the healthy highway (again if you’re trying to lose, indulging like crazy may make more trouble than it’s worth). But, if you’re maintaining, feeling good, and looking good, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy some treats from the tree of life (wow-this is getting deep!)

Any who, at one point this weekend I actually thought to myself (warning: I may sound crazy-per usual I’m sure…), maybe I’m too comfortable at this size?!? I literally had a hard time comprehending how I was so OK with allowing myself to be entirely free with my eating, and honestly, it made me nervous that I may fall back into old habits (my gut is literally churning right now at the thought of falling back into old habits and being 'too free' with my eating)….BUT, I now know that falling back into bad habits will not be allowed. I have literally trained myself to just go back to eating healthy after I indulge for special occasions, holidays, etc.

This is life-we only get one chance at it and for that reason we must value every moment, and if that means you want to seal off an amazing ‘date day’ with your fiancĂ© by having an ice cream cone-do it! As long as every day doesn’t become a ‘special moment/occasion’ you will be fine (when you’re celebrating the fact that you walked to get the mail by eating a slice of cake, it may be time to re-evaluate this concept)!

Maybe it’s this heat going to my head (if sweating was able to melt fat away, I would be nearly skin and bones at this point) but, life is too short to limit ourselves, our bodies, our hopes, and dreams. Enjoy the moments worth enjoying, and just live your normal healthy life for all the others.

How do you all make sure you get back on track after you choose to indulge? Have you ever experienced a moment when you realized-“Wow, I can do this ‘maintaining thing’... without the guilt!”? 

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!