Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Miracle indeed?

Phew, it's certainly been a while! Sorry for my long absence. This have been up and down around these parts. I gained 2.something pounds back from my last weigh-in, then lost it again, so I'm right back where I was (ok, .2 lbs more) at 193.8. I'm a little scared about Friday's weigh-in because it wasn't a great weekend for me. Lots of leftover easter candy tempted, and it was just one of those weeks where I found myself snacking and stealing mouthfuls here and there. Anyway, Monday I started fresh, and the first step was to unceremoniously throw all that candy in the trash. Bye bye temptations!

I've been meaning to come back to this space for the last few weeks, but I discovered something I needed to share with you all!

Have you heard of the new craze, the "miracle" shirataki noodles?

If you  haven't, shirataki noodles are (according to Wikipedia) a very low carbohydrate, low calorie, thin, translucent, gelatinous traditional Japanese noodles made from the konjac yam. One serving (4oz) is ZERO POINTS PLUS! And the whole package, half a pound of noodles, is only 1 point! These stats alone are super exciting to a pasta-loving Weight Watcher like myself.

If you have heard of them, I bet you (like me) have heard some bad things: fishy smell, weird texture - but before you close this window, hear me out!

I saw these in the grocery store last week and they weren't expensive, so I figured why not? I did some research online to figure out the best way to prepare them, and it turns out there's some prep work involved that completely removes the fishy smell and improves the texture.

First, you need to drain and rinse the noodles a few times with hot water. Then, boil them for a few minutes, and drain. At this point the fishy smell is all but gone. Next, heat a dry pan on the stove and add the noodles. Mix around for 5 minutes or so, or until the majority of the moisture has evaporated. Then they're ready to go!

 Last night's huge bowl of lo mein - 7 PP!!

So yea, that was my dinner! 7 PP for what is basically 4 times the amount of pasta you could usually have, brimming with veggies and asian flavors.

The texture of the noodles is definitely different than regular pasta; it did have a bit of a gummy texture to it, but the prepping definitely made a difference compared to how they were straight out of the package. In asian dishes I think it works rather well and I enjoyed this dinner immensely. The texture might not work so well with italian style dishes, but I've heard there are also tofu-shirataki noodle varieties that have a chewier texture that might work better.

If you'd like to give the shirataki noodle a try, here's my recipe for lo mein. You can change up the veggies for any you prefer, these are just what I had in the fridge. Next time I might half the hoisin and add some oyster sauce too. Maybe even a little sriracha!

Shirataki Lo Mein with Veggies
Recipe by Labor of Loss

7 PP for entire recipe

1 package (8oz) Shiratake noodles (I used Nasoya brand)
1 tbsp hoisin
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup green beans or haricots, cut in half or into bit-sized pieces.
3-4 scallions, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together hoisin, soy sauce,  half a tbsp of water, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Drain and rinse shiratake noodles with hot water, repeat. Par boil the noodles for 5 minutes.  Remove noodles from water, reserving cooking water. Blanch green beans in cooking water until tender crisp.

In a dry pan,  stir noodles until most of the moisture is gone. Set aside.

Sautee onions and scallion whites in sesame oil until soft.  Add garlic and ginger, sautee for 1-2 minutes until just golden.  Add mushrooms, sautee until soft, season with salt and pepper

Add green beans and noodles, mix to combine. Add sauce and simmer until sauce thickens, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve immediately.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weigh-in day

Phew, sorry for the long absence! It's been real crazy around these parts lately. Between working full time, getting to yoga (almost) everyday, studying for my Praxis exam, and visiting my grandma in the hospital (feel better!), I've hardly had time to breathe! BUT, I try not to use busy days as an excuse to slack off as far as my fitness and healthiness go. I must say that yesterday was the first day since starting yoga and I made the conscious decision to not go to class when I could have. And honestly, I didn't feel good about it - I'm rather disappointed with myself to be honest, and really looking forward to get back in the studio today to make up for it.

I missed posting about my last few weigh-ins, so here's to making it up to you:

Starting weight: 226.4 lbs
Last blogged weigh in (3/2): 198.8 lbs
3/9: 201 lbs
3/16: 198.2 lbs
3/23: 196 lbs

So, a little fluctuation, but I always expect that and I'm really happy with the progress I've made! Today's weigh in marks a total of 30 lbs lost, and 10 lbs lost since the new year! Considering my goal was to lose an additional 20 pounds (from 206.2lb that I was on New Year's Eve) I feel like I'm right on track. I feel that after months of 'figuring it out' as far as food and exercise go, I've really found what works for me and I'm going to see the progress I've been hoping for since starting WW April of 2011. I know 30lbs in a year is not nearly as much as other Weight Watchers have lost, but I'm happy with the slow and steady rate I'm going because I know that it's something I can maintain!

On that note, here's a glimpse at some things I've been eating lately:

12PP Burger and fries
Skinnytaste turkey zucchini burger: 4PP
TJ's artisan bread: 3PP
BBQ sauce and Ketchup: 1PP
Pickles and lettuce: 0PP
Alexia sweet potato fries (seasoned by me): 4PP

10PP Day-off Brunch (I definitely don't do this everyday! But days off = sleeping in = brunch!)
2 eggs, over easy: 4PP
2 slices thin cut Butterball Turkey Bacon: 1PP
1/4 cup black beans: 0PP
1/4 cup bell pepper: 0PP
1/4 cup tomato: 0PP
1/4 cup onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup WW shredded cheese :2PP
1/4 Avocado: 2PP
salt, pepper, cumin
Coffee: 1PP

SERIOUSLY - one of the best breakfasts I've had in a LONG time, and I've had some good diner breakfasts lately. I think this will be my Saturday morning brunch from now on! So good!!!!

7 PP sushi for me and mamacita
3/4 cup sushi rice, dry: 12PP
3 sheets of nori: 0PP
1/4 cup cucumber: 0PP
1/4 cup carrot: 0PP
1/4 avocado: 2PP
2 tbsp soy sauce: 0PP

8 PP Steak and onions with roasted brussel sprouts
4oz lean beef tenderloin: 5PP
Half an onion: 0PP
salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder, cajun seasoning, adobo, cumin (little bit'a everything!)
Roasted brussels: 3PP (though I don't think it was that much, I used the points from Skinnytaste's sauteed brussels, whichs uses a tbsp of oil, and I roasted mine and just sprayed with my misto - but better more than less.)
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar: 0PP

It's been a delicious week! How'd you do?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quick lunch

Since getting serious with this weight-loss thing almost a year ago, I bring my own lunch to work 95% of the time. When I don't, I run downstairs to the building's cafe and make up a huge salad with grilled chicken, tons of veg, and low fat sesame ginger dressing.

But there are always those days where I haven't any leftovers to bring to work from last night's dinner, and when I'd rather not spend the cash to buy lunch. That's why I always have a few frozen meals from Trader Joe's hangin' out in the fridge, just in case.

On my last stop at TJ's I came across the Chicken and Vegetable Wonton Soup in the freezer section. Points wise, it was great, only 5 PP's for a rather large portion of soup; definitely more bowl sized than cup sized.

Verdict? It's a winner! There's big chunks of veggies (and I mean big, large slices of carrots and whole sugar snap peas!) in a yummy broth, and the wontons are really tasty. I added a little soy sauce just because I like my soup a little saltier, but it was very good on it's own. I wouldn't really compare this to take-out wonton soup, the veggies and cilantro flavors make it a completely different product, but it's good all the same. For 5 PP and only $2.29, it's a keeper for sure!

Friday, March 2, 2012


I stepped on the scale this morning and had to stop myself from squealing with delight (it was 6am after all) and jumping up and down like a little kid!!

Starting weight: 226.4
Last week's weight (I didn't post): 201.4
This week's weight:

198.8 lbs

I broke 200!

I can't tell you how amazing I feel and how incredibly proud I am of myself! This is the biggest milestone I've hit so far; it's so encouraging to see the number that is under 200! It somehow makes the rest of my weight loss seem much easier, much more attainable, something that can really be done rather than just dreamed about. 

I have to give credit where credit is due, so once more I'm going to tout the amazingess that is hot yoga. Besides loving the work out itself, it's really done wonders with keeping me on track as far as eating goes, forcing me to drink enough water, and keeping my snacking in check. The best thing of all is just the fact that I want to go to yoga every day, and I've been happily going 5-6 times a week for the past three weeks or so. I want to go that often, not that I feel like I should or I have to. I canceled my gym membership and am doing yoga full time, so I'm going to stick with it for sure and we'll see how works out for me in the long run! All I know is that after weeks of going up and down the same pound or two, I had two weeks of over 2 pound losses! I am now just a half pound shy of being on track with my weight loss goal of 4 pounds a month - though if I keep going this rate I'm going to lose even more than that. Here's to hoping!

Friday, February 17, 2012


I am feeling SO fantastic today!!!

So, today I found out the results of my self imposed hot yoga challenge:

Last week's weight: 203lbs
This week's weight: 200.4
Loss: -2.6
Total loss: 26lbs

Yes!! I am just ecstatic looking at these numbers. Not only have I finally, finally, after weeks of lollygagging around the -20-23lb zone, hit the -25lb milestone. But moreover...I can't tell you how amazing it feels to see 200 (ok, 200.4 but still) on the scale. My heart is racing just thinking that next week; I WILL see a number under 200!

Yes, I WILL. Not I hope, I WILL.

So the hot yoga; I think it's a keeper. I'm planning to cancel my gym membership this weekend and join my yoga studio for good. There's so many things I love about this practice. I love that I actually find myself looking forward to my next class - I can't say that was ever something I experiences with cardio classes at the gym. It also forces me to take better care of myself. For example, I always struggle with drinking enough water. It shouldn't be hard, but I just never do; there would be days when I'd get out of work and realize the only thing I drank all day was my morning coffee. But now, knowing that I'll be spending an hour and a half contorting my body in a 105 degree room, I make SURE I drink enough water. Hot yoga is not something you want to do dehydrated - trust me, I did it once...not good times.

It also makes me think more about what I'm eating and how often - As you're supposed to go to hot yoga on an empty stomach to avoid nausea, I'm snacking less, and reaching for more wholesome foods when I do.

I love the way I feel during yoga. I feel graceful, long, lean....sexy. Yes, sexy, even though I'm literally soaking wet with sweat and red in the face. I'm not able to do every pose perfectly, but watching myself in the mirror, back straight, chest out, shoulders back, moving with the group into each pose, I feel amazing.

I love the way I feel after yoga. I feel strong, flexible...zen. It truly does have an amazing calming and rejuvenating affect.

I can already see and feel the effects that the practice is having on my body, I feel leaner, and my measurements prove it: after 4 classes I've lost a half inch on my bust and waist, and a half inch on my thighs, hips, and arms.

Anyway. I hope you all had a great week as well!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Last week's weight: 203.6
This week: 203
loss: -.6lbs
Total loss: -23.4lb

It's always frustrating when I know I've been eating well and working out a lot, but don't lose the amount of weight that I'd like that week. On the upside, I did see a different in inches (I take my measurements every week as well), so hopefully that means I'm gaining muscle and getting leaner.

Last week I wrote about my experience with Hot Yoga and how much I loved it. Thanks to a newbie deal at a local hot yoga studio ($25 for a week of unlimited classes!), I've decided to try hot yoga as my main work out and see how it affects or doesn't affect my weight loss. Besides the lure of shedding pounds, there are other benefits of yoga that really appeal to me, and if I can get the same or better results just with yoga rather than my usual classes at the gym, I'm contemplating a change. We'll see come Friday!

I'm hoping for at least a 1.6lb loss this week - I really  want to hit the -25lb mark! Wish me luck :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yoga to the People

Have you ever tried Bikram Yoga?

According to Wikipedia, Bikram Yoga, or hot yoga, is an hour and half yoga session that consist of a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. It's ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%.

Now, I've taken Body Flow at my gym, which is a combo of Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi, and have done pretty well with it. But the idea of doing and hour and a half of traditional yoga in a room as hot as midsummer was quite daunting. Another issue? Price. In my area, hot yoga classes are usually around $20-25 per class; hard to justify when I already pay monthly for my gym membership.

But when my boyfriend told me about Yoga to the People, the opportunity arose.

With studios in Seattle, San Francisco, Berkeley, and multiple locations in NYC, Yoga to the People "is a unique yoga studio with the goal of recapturing what we consider to be the essence of yoga… simply put, yoga made available to everyone."

How do they do that? By making yoga an affordable and attainable practice for people of all budgets and levels. For their hour long Vinyasa classes, it is a suggested donation of $10. Meaning, there is a box at the door where you leave what you can. No questions asked.

Hot  yoga is a set price, but it's a mere $8, just a fraction of what other studios charge per class, and you can get an even better price by buying a package deal.

With that sort of deal, I had to ignore my misgivings and go for it. Saturday afternoon found me and the boyfriend in the Williamsburg YTTP studio, mats set and ready to go.

So how was it? HOT. Really hot. I'm pretty sure I sweat more than I ever sweat in my life. And by the end of the hour and a half, it was all I could do not to sprint out of that studio. I was out of breath, fatigued, and pretty sure I was melting. Would I do it again?


Hot yoga is seriously of the the most intense workouts I've ever done. Not because it's cardio filled or chock full of weight lifting, but because you are moving your body deliberately in such a way that you work every single part of it. I've been sore in places I've never been sore before, places I didn't thing could be sore! Like, the muscles in my feet! But at the same time, I feel amazing. I feel strong, cleansed, peaceful.

I think what I loved most about this experience was the studio itself. Yoga to the People is not pretentious. It's not snobby. It's not full of 110lb yogi perfectionists decked out in the latest Lululemon gear looking down at your imperfect poses. It's real people of all shapes and sizes going after the same goals - health, and peace of mind.

If that's not enough to convince you...

Did you know one 90 minute session of Bikram yoga burns anywhere between 900-1300 calories??

Oh yea.