Things Discovered: Fitness Blender


So, even though I have a gym membership (and even spent several months earlier this year going 3-4 times a week), the fact is I’m fairly apathetic when it comes to exercise. I mean, I’m fat and very out of shape, so working out in front of others is not a pleasant experience (for any of us). I was swimming mostly (when I was going to my gym), but me and chlorinated water don’t mix well – my hair looked awful and my skin broke out so bad you’d have thought I was going through puberty again. My face still hasn’t forgiven me. Other exercises are sort of hit or miss, I mean, I actually like doing the treadmill thing – it’s mindless and you can watch videos or read to pass the time… what’s not to love. However, I have chronic insertional achilles tendinitis and bursitis in both feet/ankles, which makes anything that involves standing or walking for long periods of time mildly uncomfortable on the best of days and down-right excruciating on the worst. So as much as I’d like to do something to increase my fitness level, I’m a bit limited (which is why the swimming was great – until it wasn’t).

This week, since I’ve been struggling with staying under my calorie goals, I really wanted to try to pick up something that would at least burn a couple extra calories (that way it wouldn’t be so bad if I ate an extra bite or two). So I loaded up YouTube to look at low-impact, super easy, beginner cardio videos, which led me to the Fitness Blender channel. In particular, the “Calorie Burning Low Impact Cardio Workout for Beginners” and “Fat Burning Low Impact Cardio Workout at Home” vids, which are still a bit above my current fitness level (I. AM. SO. OUT. OF. SHAPE.), but both contain really simple exercises and I know given everyday use, these are ones that I can do easily here at home in less than 30 minutes. Neither burn a ton of calories (maybe 100-200 depending on one’s workout intensity), but the potential is there to do these more than once a day, especially once I get to a point where I don’t feel like I’m dying just doing the first round (ok… it’s not quite that bad, but not so much that I’m ready to go again just yet). They also have a website, which I haven’t had a chance to look at much, but others might find useful.

Anyways, the point of all my ramblings is that if I can workout, so you can you. Even if we look utterly ridiculous in the beginning (I know I do) or can barely lift your legs (this is also me) or some of the exercises we just can’t do yet – the goal is to keep working at it. Do what we can and just move in place for the parts that we aren’t quite ready for. The point is to just keep moving. One day we’ll wake up and realize that we aren’t struggling as much as we used to, and with a little perseverance we can reach our fitness and weight loss goals.

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Things Discovered: Mrs. Thinster’s Cookie Thins – Pumpkin Spice


And now… another thing that I may have to add to my “don’t keep in the house” list, even though they are oh so yummy!!

At 140 calories per 5 cookie serving (19 carbs, 1 fiber, 1 protein), these fit comfortably into most diet menus, however, they taste utterly amazing, which makes it really hard to stop eating them. Again, if you plan accordingly, it won’t break the diet bank to have more than one serving, but still, probably not a good idea to do so on a regular basis.

Taste-wise, they have sort of a ginger snap feel and flavor, but I can also get that pumpkin hints as well. And even though, they distinctly avoided using the words “pumpkin spice” on the Cookie Butter shake description, I feel like this is totally that flavor – in cookie form (which is probably why I’m having such a hard time resisting them).  But it’s fall… so ’tis the flavor of the season. Oddly, I’ve never been all that into it, but apparently it was just a matter of finding the right food combo. Definitely not complaining. YUM!!! XD

Cheat Days: Arby’s Cookie Butter Shake


Because there are just some days that you have to give in and go for what you are craving. And holy cow… this is pretty freaking yummy!!! Soooo totally worth the extra work I’ll have to do to compensate for going over calories today. And to be fair, I’ve been resisting this beautiful concoction for several weeks, so I think I did good to hold out as long as I did.

According to the Arby’s website it’s: Indulgently sweet with cinnamon spice. Topped with whipped cream and cookie pieces. I got the hint of cinnamon, but the rest of the flavors are hard to describe – if only because I’m too busy sucking it down to form a coherent thought. Totally delicious!!

I would add it to a “Things Discovered” post, but it’s very much not a diet food. Either way though, if you can squeeze the calories in (or are ready for a well deserved cheat day), it’s definitely worth getting one before their gone.

Things Discovered: Simple Mills (revisited)


So… I found out the other day that Simple Mills has prepackaged cookies as well. Now typically, I’m not a fan of store-bought cookies. I like my cookies firm and crunchy and it’s hard to find that outside of ones that you bake yourself, plus, prepackaged taste is usually kind of meh. But aahhh… the gods are smiling, because these cookies are crunchy and pretty much taste exactly the same as the ones I made from the mix version. I am so impressed.

The downside, is that they appear to be fairly expensive (Amazon has them listed for like $6+ per box), though I honestly don’t remember it being that much at the store where I found them. However, I fully admit I didn’t pay much attention, so I’ll have to check again next time I’m in.

The other great thing is that a serving size is 3 cookies and only 110 calories. And though they aren’t all that big, the Double Chocolate ones that I had tasted so good, that even just eating one or two was enough to satisfy a craving. In a former life I probably would have eaten an entire box (or at least more than one serving), but I was good and didn’t. But really, they are that yummy!!

Things Discovered: Simple Mills


So, now that I’m back on track (more or less), I’m continuing the quest for yummy, hopefully somewhat healthier, low carb options. Enter Simple Mills and their line of gluten-free bake mixes.

I ordered the 3-count set, which came with Chocolate Muffin, Artisan Bread, and Chocolate Chip Cookie mixes. Of course, I made the Chocolate Muffins…

chocomuffins

They weren’t bad and still warm it was like eating a brownie (which according to the directions you can actually make brownies with this mix so double yay!!). Not super-sweet – more of a dark chocolate flavor, but all-in-all pretty tasty. And at 110 calories* and 14 carbs, it definitely fits into my diet (with a little protein and fiber thrown in as well).

Can’t wait to try the other mixes!! Yum!!

* to make sure that each muffin was as close to the suggested serving as possible I used a one tablespoon scoop and evenly distributed the batter. Each muffin cup took about 3 tablespoons… making a total of 12 muffins.

Things Discovered: Great Low Carb Bread Co


On my continued quest for low-carb options, I came across the Great Low Carb Bread Co, and of course, I had to place an order. Obviously, they make bread, but they also make pastas, pizza crusts and other goodies – all right up my alley. I miss my carbs desperately and thankfully the box finally arrived!!! Lucky for you, I spent the next few days trying everything out.

Probably goes without saying, the first thing I tried was the Great Low Carb Low Fat Chocolate Brownie. Brownies are my downfall, I LOVE THEM!!!! Especially, the crunchy outer edges that are slightly overcooked. These, unfortunately, not quite hitting my brownie love sweet spot, but they still aren’t bad if you are having a serious craving.

GLCBCBrownie

They are made with stevia and erythritol, which are sugar substitutes, both of which are something of an acquired taste (stevia, in particular, is a lot sweeter than sugar). The plus side though, is that these brownies are low calorie, low fat and low carb – only 55 calories per 2 oz serving size, with only 1.5g fat and 3 net carbs (22g carbs overall, but 10g of fiber and 9g of erythritol are subtracted from that total). Personally, I don’t do the “net carb” thing, so I just count the whole amount, but I also think that the 2oz serving size is a fairly generous portion, and found that eating 1oz was more than enough for me.

Bottom line, I’d probably just make a batch of regular brownies and eat half a serving (or calculate in a whole one on a special day). The taste/consistency is really that important to me. Having said that though, others might not be as picky as I am and find the GLCBC brownie just fine the way it is. Definitely something I’d recommend at least trying once to see if it works for you.

grilledcheese

The second thing I did with my order was make a grilled cheese sandwich with my low-carb Plain Bread. Two slices per serving has 60 calories, 3g fat, 8g total carbs (net carbs only 1g), 7g fiber and 7g protein. Grilled cheese is my other go-to comfort food, so of course, I just had to. Again, though this time due to using way less butter than I would normally use, it wasn’t quite up to par with my old-school grilled cheese, but still way better than never eating one ever again. As for the bread itself, definitely a winner!!

Up next was the low-carb Fettuccine. It’s got 100 calories a serving, and though the 25g of carbs seems high, it has 18g of fiber, giving a net carb total of 7g. Plus, it’s got 12g of protein. The 2 oz portion size is quite generous, and honestly, I will probably drop it to 1.5 oz or even 1 oz in the future. But for review purposes, I ate the whole thing with a bit of alfredo sauce and it was YUMMY!!! So yummy in fact, that I forgot to take a pic of it before I ate it all. XD

I still have the pizza crust to check out, but I’ll probably save that for a bit later. Until then, enjoy!! 🙂

Things Discovered: Halo Top


So… in my (current) never-ending quest to find low-carb foods that I can eat, I came across a few winners today. At the top of that list… Halo Top ice cream. It’s very low calorie, and best of all low-carb. The normal (1/2 cup) serving size only has about 14g carbs, and if you cut that in half to a 1/4 cup, then it’s only 7g carbs. Plus, I also found Mrs Thinster’s Waffle Crisps, which are these little pieces of waffle cone – yum!!! But, the best part is that a normal serving size is like 15 crisps (120 calories / 22g carbs), which is great if I ever have a serious craving, but for average consumption, I can cut that into thirds to pair it with the ice cream and it makes for a nice treat that fits well within my food budget (71 calories/14 carbs/3g protein – there’s a bit of fiber in there too, so net carbs are even less) .

halotop

Another keeper… Special K Crustless Quiche. Great for a quick meal or snack – 140 calories, 7 carbs, 2g fiber and 11g protein.