Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rush (to be) Fit

This has been an excellent weekend so far, and I can only hope that tomorrow is just as good.

I kicked the weekend off with a bang (or a salsa, meringue, cha-cha, etc) by getting my butt in gear and going to Zumba! I loved it the first time I went, so I knew I would love it yesterday. I had a blast. It's so much fun to dance, and laugh along with everyone else as we try our hardest to do the steps and not look like total fools (except we definitely did).

Last night Sakief and I decided to take each other on a date for Mellow Mushroom (an incredible pizza place), and to see 21 Jump Street. The pizza was definitely a poor choice diet wise, but so delicious! Also, if you haven't seen 21 Jump Street, do yourself a favor and SEE IT NOW! I haven't laughed so hard for an entire movie, probably ever. I even caught myself snorting a few times because I was laughing so hard.

Today started off with another workout. Sakief recently purchased the "Rush Fit" DVDs, which are a P90X/Insanity type workout put together by George St. Pierre (an MMA fighter for those who don't know him). I had told Sakief awhile ago that I would do it with him, and then again last night that if he worked out in the morning that I would join him. I'm glad he took me seriously and held me to it, because as soon as we were conscious, we were popping in a DVD. Let me tell you, that is one crazy work out. I think I died a few times. But I feel great! A little sore, especially in the last few hours since I have been sedentary watching basketball, but great none the less. Hopefully with Sakief's encouragement I can keep up with Rush Fit (or any exercise program for that matter).

After he forced me to drink the worst protein "shake" I have ever had in my life (you know, because I drink them ALL the time, ha), and we were showered, we decided to head to the mall. Nothing crazy there, although I did find a nice pair of shoes for work, but it really is so nice to be able to enjoy each others' company outside of home. We did stumble upon a free wine tasting in World Market, and after sampling a few wines I found myself a little tipsy (alcohol isn't really on a low carb diet).

Now he's studying (so proud of how well he's doing in school!), and I'm being lazy and cheering on the Bucks in the final four. Perfect weekend if you ask me.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Of course I have to start off this post with my official weigh in for the week. Unfortunately I did not lose my goal of 2 lbs... wait... that's not unfortunate... because I lost 5 lbs!!!! I double and triple checked, because there have been times in the past that my scale has lied to me (either too high or too low), but each time I got on, it said the same thing. I could not be more excited!

For those keeping track, that means 40 lbs total, in three months! 60 lbs to go!

Assuming it doesn't pour on us this weekend, Sakief and I are planning to hit the beach for this first time this season. I'm ready for some R&R at home this weekend, catching up on sleep and not doing much else (other than getting a little sun of course).

But before that can happen, I have to convince myself to work out a little bit. I'm very proud of myself for the weight I have lost so far, but I know that I need to start an exercise plan and really can't get motivated. My plan for today is to head to the free Zumba class at work this afternoon, but I always seem to find an excuse or something actually comes up. Maybe blogging about it will help to keep me accountable!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Clothes Conundrum

Losing weight is awesome. I already feel a million times healthier, and I still have a lot more to go before I'm down to a healthy weight. Then of course there is the challenge of keeping it off.

But along the way, what do you do about clothes? I know I can't afford to keep buying new clothes every time I shrink a size. Thankfully most of my tops will fit no matter how much weight I lose (at least for awhile), so I don't have to worry about those. Pants are my real issue.

My nice slacks for work have been too big for awhile now. Even though I've lost a considerable amount of weight, I really haven't shrunk so much in pant size, and found that even when I gave up and shopped for new pants, I still wasn't quite small enough to buy a size down. For awhile I could get away with them being a little baggy, but it had gotten to a point that wearing them was just embarrassing.

Thankfully I have the most amazing mother who was able to take them in a little bit this past weekend. I was able to go to work yesterday feeling a lot more confident and comfortable with how I look. More than just not looking so sloppy, clothes that fit make me feel like others can better see how much weight I've lost, and that's a good feeling.

Hopefully these quick alterations will last me awhile. I'm really not ready to spend a bunch of money on new pants. I'm also hopeful that the clothes that got too small (I mean, that I got too big for) will fit nicely soon, which may also save me from some new wardrobe shopping for awhile.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hello new decade!

A couple of posts ago I mentioned "decades" and how I am hoping to bust through two more (a total of 12 pounds) before my birthday on May 16. While my typical weigh in day is Friday, I will be leaving the house before 6 am tomorrow, so today I'm calling my weigh in official.

I was thrilled to see that as of this morning I have broken into the first of two decades I'd like to get into before my birthday. This means that I have only 10 more pounds to lose before I turn 26 (ugh). Since my birthday is a little less than 2 months away now, it means I have to lose about 1 pound every 5 days, which rocks! It would be nice to hit that goal early, but I'm liking the slowed down weight loss.

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds
Total weight loss: 35 pounds
Weight left: 65 pounds

I was also really happy to have met another mini goal this morning; I hit my "biggest loser" goal of 15 pounds before our 6 weeks was up.

According to my food tracker (I LOVE I will hit my final weight goal around the beginning of November, but as I lose more weight, the date changes, so we'll see! I think it's fun to have a general idea though. Keeps me going knowing that it's only a few months away!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I wanted to experiment with Sheppard's Pie for dinner. Sakief and I also love to eat food inspired from all over the world. Here is our version of Sheppard's Pie, and our first attempt at food from Great Britain! I used a traditional Sheppard's Pie recipe and made it my own. We both enjoyed it, and I hope others will too!

I give you, "Sheppard's Pie a la Sarah's Low Carb Life" :

Tonight's dinner was an excellent group effort. I once attempted mashed cauliflower and failed miserably. Sakief was much more successful with his first attempt, and so has become the mashed cauliflower expert in our house. I don't even attempt it anymore.

1-1.5 lbs ground turkey
2 cups mixed vegetables
1 cup chopped onion
6 oz can tomato paste
Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup beer
2 Tbsp olive oil

1 head cauliflower
Fat free Parmesan cheese
Non fat plain Greek Yogurt

To prepare stuffing: Add olive oil to sauce pan. Cook turkey, mixed vegetables and onion until turkey is brown. Do not drain. Add spices, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and stir. Let it cook down, and then add beer. Remove from heat.

To prepare cauliflower: Chop cauliflower into large chunks and steam until tender(we use a colander in a large pot, but steam however you like). Place cauliflower, 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp Parmesan, and spices in a blender and puree. Add more yogurt and/or parmesan until desired creaminess is achieved.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place stuffing in the bottom of a baking dish and pack down. Cover with mashed cauliflower. Sprinkle a little more parmesan on top. Bake 15-20 mins. Serve hot.

Friday, March 16, 2012


As per usual, it's weigh in day! Drum roll please... 2 pounds lost! My total is now 33 lbs!

I'm so excited to have lost more than one pound this week, and would love to thank Liz for being my miracle weight loss predictor. Every time I ask her how much she thinks I've lost during the week, she guesses correctly. Yesterday she was very reassuring that I had lost more than a half pound (I may have unofficially weighed in earlier in the week). I need her to start guessing 3 or 4 lbs... haha.

What's most exciting to me is that I'm feeling really good about reaching my mini goals. I can't remember now how many weeks we have left, but by the time my office biggest loser competition is over, I hope to have lost 35 lbs. Since I am only 2 away, I think I can do it =)

My next mini goal is to lose another 12 pounds before my birthday (exactly two months from today, not like I'm counting down or anything). That would put me down two more "decades" as I like to call them. Essentially my psyche sees a much bigger difference between, for example, 231 and 229, versus 229 and 227. That change in middle number makes me feel really good. Right now I'm very close to my next decade, so I think two months for two decades is a good goal.

Looking forward to enjoying some wonderful warm weather by the pool this weekend... and not feeling as self conscious in my bathing suit! Definitely planning to break it out for the first time this season.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adventures with Spaghetti Squash

I am constantly on the hunt for new foods, recipes, etc, to add to my diet. I am especially interested in finding good substitutes for high carb foods, like pasta. I've been hearing about spaghetti squash for awhile now, and it has definitely become the "in" pasta substitute. I'm a huge fan of pasta, especially my family's spaghetti recipe, and so tonight I finally decided to try it out with a ground turkey sauce.

My first experience with spaghetti squash was a couple of years ago while I was in grad school. I was having lunch with an old flame's sister who just happened to work at the same Hebrew school that I did (really small world, totally different story). We were sitting outside on the Brandeis campus, on a really lovely day, and she was sitting there eating this mushy, stringy looking stuff out of a plastic bag. Needless to say, it didn't look very appetizing, and I haven't been in a hurry to try it since then.

I'm also not a huge squash fan (except for pumpkin, which I have devoted a previous post to). I have definitely been more open to squash recently, and always eat it when it's on my plate. It's not my favorite flavor, but veggies are veggies.

Finding the squash to prepare for tonight's meal was a challenge in itself. Sakief and I always plan our weekly meals over the weekend, so I began the hunt for the elusive spaghetti squash on Sunday. Commissary, nada. Yesterday I ran to the Publix and Winn Dixie on my way home, nada. The produce manager at Winn Dixie thought they'd have some in today. Nope. At Mollye's suggestion I was going to try Wal Mart, and happened to discover a run down looking Winn Dixie in that part of town. Hallelujah!! They had spaghetti squash.

Next up, I have to cook it. Well, you have to cut it open first. I'm an excellent pumpkin carver (not so much), so this should be no big deal, right? Wrong. See my first attempt to the left. Not a huge disaster, but it definitely seems like it should be easier to open. I got the knife stuck in the squash and had to whack the whole thing against the cutting board; it didn't split quite evenly, but oh well.

Thankfully spaghetti squash is one of the easiest things I've ever cooked. Once halved, I popped it in the microwave for a few minutes, and voila! Low carb pasta. And wow, does it have a good flavor, even all by itself. A little starchy, a little sweet, perfect. It has a bit more of a crunch than al dente pasta would, but I was feeling good about pairing it with my sauce.

All in all, I was incredibly pleased with my first foray into spaghetti squash. It's not an all the time substitute, but definitely an excellent one when I need it! Plus, I only cooked two out of the three squash that I bought, so I have one more to play with this week! Bon appetit!

Friday, March 9, 2012

(Im)patiently waiting

Today is Friday, which means a weigh in. And, thankfully, I lost another pound! Even after my horrible weekend away. That brings my total to 31 pounds.

I truly am thrilled to have lost any weight. It's been a good couple of months, every official weigh in has been pounds lost, never gained, and not even an equivocal weigh in. But, I am becoming a little disappointed in the fact that the last few weeks I have only lost one pound. I realize that my vacation likely played a role in this week's weigh in, and that in past weeks I have lost more than I probably should have, but I'd really like to be losing 2-3 pounds a week. That is still a healthy amount to lose, and would keep me feeling motivated.

Of course then I went to lunch and ate half a piece of key lime pie... Oy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dreams Come True

Disney World and Islands of Adventure (most specifically The Wizarding World of Harry Potter) were AH-MAY-ZING. I can't even describe the excitement and shear joy that I felt while we were in the parks. I was definitely transported back in age a few years. I don't think I've been that giddy, well, ever!

Sakief and I truly had a wonderful time, and definitely want to go back. Hopefully I won't have to wait another 17 years!

So how well did I stick to my diet you ask? Eh. Friday driving was fine, and yesterday driving back I didn't feel well and only ended up eating Linner around 3 when I got home. I definitely enjoyed some of the treats that the parks had to offer, but in the end, I really don't feel bad about it (but won't be stepping on the scale just to "check" before my official weigh in on Friday). It's probably not as bad as I think. Yes, I definitely ate things way outside of my diet (and paid for it with a nasty stomach ache yesterday on the drive home), but I also walked the parks for a total of about 20 hours, and most of that really was walking. We picked a great weekend to go, and did minimal waiting in line, except for a few rides.

I also know that I won't continue to eat the way I did this weekend, and have already jumped right back on the low carb bandwagon. I'm a little hungrier today than I usually would be, but my stomach will shrink quickly enough, and I'll be back in the swing of things in no time.

Also, for you Harry Potter fans out there, the butter beer that they serve in Hogsmeade = awesome. Definitely full of sugar (Sakief thought it was too sweet), but very enjoyable (the whipped cream stuff that they put on top was INCREDIBLE). I might have enjoyed more than one on Saturday, but it was worth it!

Enjoying our butter beer!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm going to Disney World!

First order of business, it's Friday, which means weigh in day!

This week I lost 3 lbs! For those you remember my weight loss total from last week, that means I am down a grand total of 30 lbs!

"Sarah Casner, you've just lost 30 lbs... what are you going to do next?!?"

"I'm going to Disney World!"

This trip has actually been in the works for awhile, but it's finally here, and I'm so excited! Sakief and I are heading to Orlando in just a few minutes. One day at Magic Kingdom, and one day at Islands of Adventure for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I haven't been to Orlando for quite some time, so this will essentially be like my first time at Disney World.

Let's see how hard it is to keep my eating on track this weekend...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Luckiest

I try really hard not to be "that girl" who gets all mushy and brags about her awesome boyfriend, but occasionally, he really deserves the praise.

One of the biggest challenges dieters can face, is dieting alone. Meaning, you may have restrictions on the food you're eating, but others (especially those you live with), either don't, or don't care.

Sakief has no need to lead a low carb life like I am, and honestly, shouldn't. He works out on a regular basis and would probably be exhausted all of the time if he limited his carbs the way I do. I, on the other hand, am practically sedentary (I know, I know, this will change... eventually).

Despite his desire/need/whatever to eat carbs while I avoid them like the plague, he has been such an incredible support and help for me, especially since we moved in together a few weeks ago. He has altered recipes to fit my needs, and always makes sure to cook a green veggie for me, instead of the rice he's eating.

Last night is a prime example of how wonderful he is. After a long day at outreach (by the way, my meal plan worked, and I avoided extra snacks and the lure of Tropical Smoothie), I came home to a walked and fed dog, and dinner cooking on the stove. Sakief loves to cook, and is ridiculously good at it too.

Our meal last night was a chicken curry. The sauce itself is never a real issue when living the low carb life, however, (white) rice is a staple with curries. Instead of rice, I enjoyed the sauce with steamed broccoli, and it was delicious! For those who may not enjoy broccoli as much as I do, the flavor in the sauce overpowers the broccoli so much, you can hardly taste it. Carb/rice issue, solved!

I'm definitely the luckiest, for so many reasons.