Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Best Bread Machine Pizza Dough - Favorite Recipes

I have a love affair with my bread machine that very few people enjoy.  I literally wear them out every other year.  I have no shame in admitting that it makes better bread than I can by hand kneading and mixing.  However, until lately it has always let me down when it comes to pizza dough.

Every bread machine pizza dough recipe I made was always bland and tough.  My husband loves, and I mean loves, a thick, soft crust that I just could not achieve until now.

Cena's Bread Machine Pizza Crust

2 pound loaf - makes 2 medium to large pizzas

1 tsp salt - be generous
4 cups flour - I use whatever I have, normally half all purpose and half whole wheat.
1.5 cups warm water
3 tbsp oil or butter - again whatever you have, usually I use coconut oil
1 tbsp honey or sugar
seasonings - whatever you are in the mood for, I like to put a couple of teaspoons of Italian seasonings.

Load your bread machine as you normally do.  Make sure you select the dough cycle!

This recipe will give a soft dough with air bubbles.  I like to load it up with sauce, onions, olives, pepperoni and bell peppers.

Trim Healthy Mamas- This is of course off plan.  I have tried most low carb pizza crusts and I like either the cauliflower crust or the Fat Head/Holy Grail Pizza crust.  Both recipes are very easy to find online.

Making homemade pizza is important in our home but sometimes you need to take a lesson from a cat.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Am I Skinny Yet? Friday Check In 2/26/2016

Every Friday I plan to check in here with my weekly results.  I do weigh throughout the week, but Friday will be the official day.  It's somewhat a cheat because I fast on Thursday so it will be on an empty stomach, but it will make me feel better.
 Here's what I decided to track:
Weight loss Goals
Weight loss goal - 79 pounds
Pounds lost this week - 5
Total pounds lost - 5  which means 74 pounds to goal!

Exercise Check In
Average daily steps:  4374

Food Check In

Total Meals Fueled by Fats (THM S): 2
Total Meals Fueled by Carbs(THM E): 5
Total Meals Tandem Fueled(THM XO): 3
Total Meals Fueled by Pizza(THM Cheat): 0
Notes:  This was for Monday - Thursday which was 2 fasting days and 2 feeding days.  I mourn that there was no pizza meals...

Daily Average Calories: 1882
Fasting Average Calories: 478

And the Winner Is!

The Diet!  I enjoyed my pizza (or buttered popcorn this week) and lost weight too!  I am totally happy with a 5 pound loss. I give most of the credit to the fasting, no doubt I threw a curve ball at my body with that one.  I also enjoyed the food freedom of eating normal, healthy foods and not stressing about if it was "on plan".  I loved that I didn't feel the need to buy and eat a bunch of weird ingredients.  For those following the Trim Healthy Mama plan, just a reminder that I am not exclusively using on plan foods, but real, whole foods and separating fuels.  Realistically I am not expecting results like these again.  I am hoping for 2 pounds a week and I know that stalls and gains happen.  

Just leaving it here and Happy Pizza Friday everyone!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Exercise? I thought You Said Extra Slice!

No surprise that exercise is the last component to my diet plan.  The problem is that I really do not like to exercise, at all.  I mean I enjoy walking and hiking but to go to the gym and lift or do cardio, just will never happen.

Here at home I have a manual elliptical machine to use but I really hate it. It's the middle of winter up here in Alaska, so it's hard to get outside to walk.  It has been a very warm and wet winter so outside my door all you see is ice covered with water. No bueno...

Thankfully I found a good compromise.  I absolutely love YouTube and there are tons of power walking videos to choose from.  Here's an example:

I like to track my steps with my Garmin Vivofit.  When I am stuck at home I want to log at least 5000 steps. This summer I will set a goal of 7500 with at least two days a week getting the golden 10,000 steps.

Not gonna lie, most days I will make every excuse in the book to talk myself out of it.  It's kind of like this...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Calories - The Count Goes On

Sometimes you just have to go back to the basics and it doesn't get more basic than counting calories.  I have had the most success dieting by counting calories, exercising and limiting my exposure to refined sugar and flour.  I lost over 75 pounds just doing those 4 things. No fancy diet book or speciality foods needed.

Most diet protocols today do not advise counting calories, stating it is more complicated than calories in, calories out.  I'm not so sure about that.  Every time I lose weight, it by counting calories or at the very least, being mindful of them.  So I am back at it.  The good news is that I have counted calories so much throughout the years, I can pretty easily calculate a meal just by looking at it.  I am tracking the my numbers via myfitnesspal and my diary is open if you ever want to see what I am eating. Look for my ID happy2hikeak.

My plan is to limit calories to under 2000 a day except my fasting days which will be limited to 500. You can eat a lot of satisfying food for 2000 calories.  I don't count my exercise toward the calories like a lot of people.  Even if I burn 500 calories during exercise, I don't want to let myself eat those calories back but rather keep it in a deficit.  It is important to eat enough, you got to keep your body balanced and happy when you are fasting.

What about Trim Healthy Mama and counting calories?  I will need to be careful of their recipes, a lot of them are calorie dense.  The more important question is: How much pizza can I eat?

Days I am planning on eating pizza, I will try to eat lower calories meals leading up to it.  I like to eat 2 slices so that is 622 calories, which is more than an average meal, but totally doable!

So now we have a mix of Trim Healthy Mama, fasting and counting calories.  Still one more component to go!  Can you guess it?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday, Monday Let's Fast

More than following some Trim Health Mama principles, I'm hoping to lose weight by incorporating intermittent fasting, namely 5:2.

A couple years ago we watched a documentary on PBS about fasting and how beneficial it can be to your health and aid in weight loss.  I did lose weight on it and felt amazing.  My blood pressure decreased and inflammation as well.  So why did I quit?

Like most diets I became unbalanced.  I would think, if two days are so great, three days would be better and that morphed into JUDDD (up day, down day or alternate date fasting). I soon became hungry and grumpy and always cold.  I was sick of myself and alienating my family so I decided to change the Fast Five diet.  On Fast Five, you open up a 5 hour eating window each day.  I was happier but it stalled my weight loss so I stopped fasting altogether.

I'm hoping to transition two fast days back into my diet.  Today I am fasting and will do my next day on Thursday.  The proper way to fast is to eat dinner the night before, fast the following day by limiting calories to 500, go to sleep and wake up and eat a normal day. My normal day will be kept under 2000 calories.  This puts you in a calorie deficit, gives your body an opportunity to burn stored fat, and a chance to heal.  The deficit alone should put me on track to lose 1.5 pounds a week.  Couple that with separating the fuels via THM (Trim Healthy Mama), my goal is to lose 2 pounds a week.

My typical day of fasting looks something like this.

Mornings:  Coffee and a THM sipper 
Afternoon:  More sippers and plain water
Dinner:  I probably have used 100 calories by now, so I need to eat around 300 calories. I like to have soup or a low carb wrap with a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese and a slice of turkey.
Before Bed:  Usually a hot tea or likely a hot cocoa.  Lately I am loving a hot strawberry drink which consists of unsweetened cashew milk, 2 strawberries, coconut oil and sweetener, all blended up and heated.  Sounds weird, but it's delicious.

I still have a few more finishing touches on my diet plan that I will write about soon. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Snow Day

Two feet of snow in 24 hours! Cannot wait to get out and snowshoe but first pizza!

Trim Healthy Mama - The Good and the Bad

For the past year I have been endeavoring to lose weight with Trim Healthy Mama. Here's a link to my earlier blog posts about THM. I was inspired by another blogger that was having success with it and decided it was the life for me.  In reality, it's not.  In fact, I have gained almost 20 pounds while trying to follow it.  I'm not blaming the program, I'm sure all the blame sits with me and my approach to it.  Here's my review:

The Good 
I always like to hear the good news first.  There is a lot to like about this diet.  It is biblically based, it has the absolute best online community ever and it comes with yummy recipes. Many people have lost and maintained their weight with this program and you don't have to count calories.  You get to eat lots of good fats and even carbs.  There are some amazing recipes that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.

The Bad
The authors claim the diet gives you food freedom, but I found the opposite to be true.  Sure, you don't count calories but now you count the hours between your meals, keep aware of the carb and fat counts in the foods you are eating and making sure you keep a strict separation of fats and carbs.  It also makes you a slave to the kitchen.  There are not many shortcuts  when it comes to preparing your foods.  There are some "fraken foods" they allow but only recommend once a week.  So not only do you get to make your bread and cookies, but you also get to make the flour (baking blend) and sweeteners (gentle sweet) you put in them.  You can buy their products but they are expensive, often out of stock, and sold in tiny bags so that it's used up in just a few recipes.  I found that I was never free of the kitchen and became obsessed with food.  Finally, it's expensive!  Likely, most of the food in your kitchen will be off plan so you get to replace it.  All the fun recipes require "speciality" items that your have to order online.  

What Now? Freedom!
I still will incorporate much of the THM plan into my diet.  I will try to separate my fuels (fats and carbs) but not obsess over them.  I love that I can count on all their recipes to be friendly on blood sugars.  I will enjoy drinking the sippers and shakes.  I won't set my timer for every 3 hours but eat when I am hungry.  I won't feel like a failure if I eat off plan.  Now, that sounds more like freedom to me.

Stay tuned for how I think I can eat so far off plan and still lose weight!

New Blog

My first post on this blog!  Super excited to start something new and different.  This isn't my first blog.  My last blog just fizzled out when it lost it's focus.  This time I am focusing on my diet journey as I try to balance out my love of pizza vs my need to lose weight.

For the past 10 years I have been a chronic dieter and therefore, in my case, a diet cheater.  Mostly with pizza.  

Can you relate?  The purpose of this blog is to journal my weight loss journey and still enjoy life.  

Currently I am dieting with the Trim Healthy Mama protocol and I like a few things about it, but I'm not losing weight.  It's time to take my dieting knowledge and find a sweet spot for weight loss.  My plan is to take what I like about Trim Healthy Mama, add on some fasting days, keep an eye on my calories,  and eat pizza. Oh, and exercise but not hardcore.  At least not yet, and yeah, probably never. 

So here it goes, yet another diet.  I will be blogging my daily menu, weight loss numbers, exercise, what works and doesn't work and just random diet stuff.