I hope that I never again take for granted the feeling of taking a deep breath and my lungs filling with air.
I’m constantly amazed how wonderful it feels. And since starting treatment (as horrible as the prednisone is) I’ve realized that my lungs weren’t functioning properly for as long as I can remember.
I just keep praying that the disease goes fully into remission and I don’t get worse when I’m fully off the pred. I don’t think I can handle the feeling of not getting enough air in my lungs. I don’t wish that panicky feeling on anyone.
Well, that could have been better. Not only did I gain, but I gained the entire loss from the week before. Yep, I gained 3.4 pounds. Womp womp.
BUT, like I mentioned in my previous post, I’m super motivated to keep going. I won’t be on prednisone forever (God willing), shark week will arrive (again, God willing!), and I can learn from my mistakes.
I don’t have nearly as much going on this coming week so that should help. Jeremiah and I will be spending the night out in the suburbs this weekend to visit with family. I can’t WAIT to see my goddaughter!! YAY!! I also have one of my best friends coming into town! Double YAY!
I think I’m going to have a gain tomorrow. My weight has been up all week. Ugh.
There are a few things at play. First, it’s the week before shark week. I almost always retain water like ca-razy during this week.
Second, I’ve had a really food heavy week. I’ve been tracking to the best of my ability but I definitely overate this weekend. I also had a big picnic last night at the baseball game.
Third, maybe it’s still the prednisone?
Fourth, maybe I’m just struggling with getting back into the Weight Watchers lifestyle? I haven’t realllllly been on plan for quite a while and it’s definitely taken some extra effort to be more mindful of my eating.
Whatever the reason, if I see a gain tomorrow, if will definitely provide some much needed motivation to keep going and have a better weigh in next week. And if I see a loss? Awesome!
Cheeseburger Casserole and Creole Green Beans
Lately I’ve been on a beef/cheeseburger kick. Not sure why….maybe I’m low on iron? Anyway, I saw this recipe a while back and knew I needed to make it. And I’m SO glad that I did! Not only was it super easy to make, but it was really delicious. It totally satisfied my craving for comfort food and pasta without totally breaking the WW bank.
Go ahead and check out the full recipe over at Skinnytaste HERE. I followed the recipe pretty close with only a couple small additions. I added some McCormick hamburger seasoning (about 1 tablespoon) and some cayenne pepper to the beef. I felt like it was missing something and I really enjoyed the additional flavors. I think it would 100% be just fine without the extra spices, but I liked what they brought to the table.
I have reallllly been craving cajun/creole food lately. We ate so much wonderful food during our New Orleans trip in March and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I remembered having some AMAZING creole green beans at Coop’s Place in New Orleans. (Pro tip: if you visit NOLA, you MUST go to Coop’s. For real. It’s the best.)
So I started scouring the internet for a copycat recipe. I found a few different recipes, and this one was the easiest/the pictures looks the closest. While it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, it was a seriously yummy side dish. It was a little too sweet for my taste and lacked some spice. So next time I think I will cut down on the brown sugar and add in some spices.
You should definitely go to the original post but since it is a short recipe, I’ll also share it here with my changes)
- 3 (14.5 oz.) cans whole green beans, drained
- 4 slices bacon, diced (I added 6…..wise choice)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (I hate these so I just added more onion)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving drippings.
Sauté onion and pepper in bacon drippings until tender. Stir in flour, brown sugar, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Stir in tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in green beans and cook until thickened and thoroughly heated, about 10 minutes. Top with cooked bacon.
I started with the casserole and then cooked the beans while the casserole was in the oven. Dinner came together in just under an hour from start to finish.
PointsPlus wise, this meal was fairly decent. 1/9th of the casserole is calculated at 7 PointsPlus a serving. I accidentally cut the casserole into 6 portions instead and didn’t realize until after we finished eating. Whoops! The portions were pretty large and very filling and when I recalculated it came out to be 10 PointsPlus for 1/6. The green beans (with the extra two slices of bacon!) entered in the recipe builder came out to be 4 PointsPlus for 1/6. That means, even with the extra large portion, my meal came out to be a total of 14 PointsPlus. Not too bad considering the meal felt really rich!
Add this to Pinterest HERE!
I’m not going to lie, I feel pretty proud of myself whenever I pack snacks for the day. It’s such a small thing but it makes me really pleased that I planned ahead! Also, I really look forward to those snacks alllllll day.
Today’s snack menu: 0% Greek yogurt with 2 teaspoons honey and a sliced granny smith apple. Yum!
I always love the first week back on plan because the weigh ins are usually awesome. I realize that most of the weight coming off is water weight as you adjust to eating healthy and drinking lots of water, but it still makes me happy.
Seeing a 3.4 pound loss was not surprising, because I had been keeping an eye on the scale, but it sure did make my day! I’m sure a lot of that is water weight, but it provided the motivation to keep going. This brings my total pounds lost to 28.8.
Last time I started WW on prednisone (back in April) I had a great first week followed by several crap weeks of gaining and maintaining. I’m hoping that since my dose is so much lower (I’m on 10mg currently instead of 40mg) I might actually be able to lose weight? The crazy intense hunger has calmed down but I’m sure my metabolism isn’t back to where it was pre-prednisone.
So yes, I’m happy, but very hesitantly. I’m not really sure what my future weigh ins will look like since I’m still taking prednisone, albeit a much lower dose, but I’m going to continue on plan and hope to keep the scale moving in the right direction!
Well, my first week back on Weight Watchers is coming to an end. Tomorrow morning is weigh in and I’m curious to see what it will show. I’m hoping for a loss, even if it is mostly water weight.
I think I did pretty well this week! I planned to the best of my ability, adapted to surprises, and made some good choices. I stayed within my points and have about 15 weeklies left over to cover for any incorrect calculations. Unfortunately today I had quite a lot of salty food (darn culinary students over salting my salad!) but I tried to drink a lot of water to help counteract the water retention.
Today I planned my meals for the coming week and went grocery shopping. I’m going to be spending most of the weekend with my girlfriends so I had a few less meals to plan for. We always eat really delicious and fairly WW friendly meals when we are together so as long as I have decent portions, I should be good to go. I do have a few awesome meals planned for the coming week that I’m really looking forward to trying and then sharing with you all!
In other news, I got the sweetest note from a reader today! I love reading your comments and notes….it makes me so happy! Thank you to all you wonderful people who support me from afar!
Cheeseburger Hash Brown Cups with Arugula Caprese Salad
I had three different delicious components to last night’s dinner, but this post will only cover two of them. The pickles, that I’m completely obsessed with, require a dedicated post just to themselves.
First let’s talk about the main course. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand time, Emily Bites does some amazing work. And this recipe is no exception. The cups were hearty and flavorful and not difficult to make. Head over to her post for the full list of ingredients and recipe.
I followed the recipe pretty much to a T. The only thing I did differently was add chopped up pickles to half of the cups. My husband is not a fan of pickles (Appalling, I know!) so I left half of them plain. The consensus among the rest of us, (Chris, Laurie, and myself) was that the pickles were an awesome addition. If you are a pickle fan, DEFINITELY add some chopped up dill pickles! I added about 1.5 tablespoons to half the recipe, so the full recipe would require about 3 tablespoons.
Ok, next up is the side dish! I love a yummy caprese salad. The flavor combination of tomato, basil, mozzarella and balsamic is just perfection. This salad is one that I have pretty regularly if I have the ingredients on hand. It’s super flavorful, gets in a couple servings of vegetables, at least one serving of oil, and can be adapted easily.
I usually don’t use any lettuce in the salad, just tomatoes and basil, but I was short on tomatoes last night. So I added a few handfuls of arugula to beef up the salad. Definitely a good choice!
The only mozzarella I had around were a few fresh mozzarella sticks from Trader Joe’s (think string cheese but made from mozzarella!) so I chopped those up and threw them in.
Quick side note: A few weeks ago I asked my parents for a random request. I wanted a basil and a mint plant in olive oil tins. The Greek’s from the island often grow their basil in used olive oil tins…I think there is some old wives tale about the leftover olive oil helping the plants grow? I’m not sure. Either way, my parents’ screen porch is full of basil planted in tins. My wonderful father obliged my request and gave up two of his olive oil tins for my plants. Now I have a little silly garden of herbs growing on my balcony. I think I need to Instagram them asap.
Annnnnyway, long story short, I picked the basil for the salad from my very own basil plant! I felt very domestic. Let’s hope I don’t kill the plants!
Back to the salad…..tomatoes, arugula, mozzarella, basil. Oh, and the dressing. I sprayed everything with some olive oil, added some salt and pepper, and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. I thought (very briefly) about making a balsamic reduction, but I didn’t really have enough time, energy, or vinegar to make it happen.
I really loved this meal. I was very pleased with how everything came together and how delicious it was. I know its a good meal when there aren’t any leftovers! As far as the PointsPlus are concerned, it was really solid. The cheeseburger hash brown cups come in at 7 PointsPlus for two. I planned to eat three and ended up eating four because they were so amazing. Thank goodness I had a few spare points leftover from a small lunch! The side salad was only 3 PointsPlus and the pickles were 0! Not too shabby!
Add this to Pinterest HERE!
Honey Lime Chicken Salad
Oh man. This salad was awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I made it twice. Once for dinner on Friday and then again for lunch on Saturday.
Let’s start with the chicken. I have made this recipe before and loved it. You can check out my original post HERE. But go HERE for the awesome Honey Lime marinade and original recipe. It is super easy to throw together and so incredibly flavorful.
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon oil
- juice of one lime (I added two because I wanted more zest and my limes were fairly small)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (I only had a jar of minced garlic so I tossed in large teaspoon…I like my food garlicky!)
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (I went with two!)
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (I left this out because I HATE cilantro, but you can add it if you want!)
I bought chicken tender pieces to cut down on my cutting of raw meat. (Because, EW.) Anyway, I threw the marinade ingredients together and let the chicken chill in the fridge for about an hour. I wanted to have more time but I totally forgot about it!
This time I didn’t put the chicken on skewers and grill them. It was muggy outside and I just wasn’t feeling it. So I just threw them in a pan and cooked the pieces on the stove. Since the pieces were so small, the chicken cooked up really quickly….just enough time to put together the rest of the salad!
Ok, let’s chat the rest of the salad. I used a big stainless bowl to mix all the deliciousness together. So into the big bowl I added: a bunch of arugula, a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, another handful of cucumber, 1 ounce of goat cheese half of the chicken pieces. For the dressing I sprayed the whole thing with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, juiced a whole lime over the top, and added salt and pepper. Then I mixed it all up!
I looooved the addition of the lime juice as salad dressing paired with the honey lime flavors of the chicken. I often use lemon juice as dressing but I had never tried lime before. Definitely will be doing this more often!
PointsPlus wise, this meal came to 11 PointsPlus. Marinades are kind of tricky but I estimated 1 PointsPlus for the amount of marinade that was actually absorbed and cooked into the chicken. I got a few servings of vegetables along with two servings of oil so it definitely helped my GHGs. The best part was that this salad filled me up and really satisfied me!
Add this to Pinterest HERE!
I’ve decided to make smoothies a priority in my breakfast schedule.
When I first joined Weight Watchers (and was actually losing weight) I was drinking smoothies almost exclusively for breakfast. They were definitely hearty…think oats, chia seeds, PB2, etc. and kept me quite full in the mornings. So I’m going to bring that back! I will still have omelettes and other yummy goodies on the weekends. But during the week I’m going to try to stick to smoothies.
Today I made a delicious smoothie with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, raw oatmeal, chia seeds, pb2, honey, spinach, banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, and dark cocoa powder. The whole thing came in at 5 PointsPlus. I meant to add in a teaspoon of olive oil to help out with my GHGs but I totally forgot! Oh well…tomorrow!
The theme for today’s snack is oval!
Yesterday went really well! I found out early in the day that my friends wanted to go out for Indian food. Since my husband is out of town, I was definitely on board for getting out of the house with friends! I pre planned my meal and then roughed out the rest of the day. Since I don’t eat breakfast on weigh in days I had a few extra points to work with. My Daily PointsPlus also went up with my epic gain, so I had even more than “normal.”
I had lunch in my school’s restaurant (quesadilla, rice and beans, side salad, and chicken tortilla soup), a couple snacks (hard boiled egg, kiwi, Greek yogurt with honey) and then had Indian for dinner (rice, chana chicken, paratha). For dessert I had two delicious plums!
I also tracked my GHGs and came up severely short in a couple areas. I did not get nearly enough fruits and veggies, and only one oil. But overall, for day one, I’m pleased with my day!
Phew. That’s done.
I was awkwardly nervous about going back into my Weight Watchers meeting this morning. And really I had no reason to be at all. The receptionist was great She didn’t make me feel bad for the gain (more on that in a bit) but asked how my health has been (she knew I had been sick) and cheered me on for coming back. She asked if I wanted my current weight to be my new starting weight and I said no thank you.
The new leader seems fantastic. He is animated and funny and I think I’m going to like this meeting. I never liked the last leader I had (the one after my normal meeting was canceled) so I wasn’t sad to see her go. I’m hoping this new meeting/leader combo will be a good fit for me. And if it isn’t, I’ll move on and find another one!
So, the gain.. Woof. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. My estimate from checking the scale earlier in the week was at least a thirty pound gain. Luckily (I guess?) the scale showed a 23.2 pound gain. While this is not a good thing AT ALL, I had mentally prepared to see 30, so 23.2 was not so bad. Unfortunately, this brings my total amount of weight lost down to 25.4 pounds.
This gain is not cool. Not cool at all. But it happened and I need to move on from it.
And I’m already feeling better about things. Yesterday I planned my dinners for the upcoming week and then went to Trader Joe’s and did an epic shopping trip. I now have a fully stocked fridge, fruit bowl and pantry for the entire week! I’ve done my best to plan today’s food and have a snack packed for work.
Let’s do this!
I’m alive. I’m here. Well, I wasn’t here, but now I’m back.
Life has been……okay? Weight Watchers has been…….nonexistent. Sarcoidosis has been……better? Then worse. Then better again.
This is going to be a long post……you have been warned.
Let’s start with sarcoidosis….since so much of the other stuff stems from that. I’m doing better! I’m not in remission yet, but I have been successfully been tapering.
I had a few scares about a month ago and I definitely panicked. My cough got worse for a few days one week and then a couple weeks later I started having some elevated temperatures. I’ve a few bad days where the fatigue is just, well, exhausting. But most days I feel pretty good. I have a mild cough that most likely will stick around awhile/forever.
I’ve been training myself to put myself and my health at the forefront of my thoughts. It took some work but I am finally to a point where my mind registers when I’m in a situation that needs to be changed. For example, I used to be able to be around cigarette smoke. And while it was annoying, I would just deal with it. Now I realize that I can’t be around the smoke and I remove myself from the situation. It doesn’t sound difficult, but it really has taken some adjustment. And its still a work in progress. This past weekend I was around campfires and fireworks and I thought I avoided the smoke but my cough definitely was worse the next day so I wasn’t as on top of things as I thought I was. But I’m learning!
The prednisone still blows. I’m down to 15 mg a day from 40 mg. I can definitely feel the difference! I’m not nearly as jittery as I was before. And the hunger has started to calm down. Every time I taper to a new dose my symptoms show up for a few days and then go away. That is when the panic of a relapse kicks in. Luckily my pulmonologist is great and has been super helpful in talking me off the ledge. He also believes in a slow taper so it is giving my body time to adjust to the new dosage before continuing on. This means I’ll be on the meds longer, but it won’t be such a shock to my body.
The side effects are still terrible. I still have some crazy mood swings and I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t spend time in the sun. Oh, and not only do I still have a moonface, but I also developed the dreaded buffalo hump. Don’t google it…..it will give you nightmares. Just trust me when I say that I have a small hunchback at the base of my neck. Thank goodness I have long hair to cover it. I’ve been avoiding getting a haircut for this very reason. It has gone down slightly with the taper, but it still has a ways to go before its back to normal. Ugh.
All of this, plus the weight gain has caused some pretty terrible body image issues. I will find out the exact number tomorrow, but I’m fairly certain I’ve gained over 30 pounds since I started on the prednisone. Yes, you read correctly….thirty pounds. It’s no wonder I feel like shit. My clothes don’t fit and I hate the way I look. I’m pretty miserable. I know I should have continued attending meetings and tracking my food, but I gave into the emotions and just ate my feelings. You would think after 3+ years on WW I would know better.
So tomorrow I head back to Weight Watchers. I’m going grocery shopping tonight to stock up and fill my kitchen with good food. I’m going to get to WW early to weigh in and have time to chat with the leader. I’m really glad I never canceled my membership. It was kind of a waste of money, but I think it would have been much harder to come back if I had actually canceled it.
Other than all that negative nancy jazz, things have been ok. Work is busy but good. The summer is finally here in Chicago and I’ve been enjoying the nice weather. Jeremiah and I took a couple weekend trips to visit family, celebrate a friend’s wedding, and unfortunately attend a funeral. We also had a fantastic long weekend over the Fourth of July at my parent’s summer cottage in Michigan. All in all….not too shabby.
I need to get back in the habit of posting here. I think journaling really helps in the weight loss process so I should be more proactive about it. I also think it will help me process this disease better if I put pen to hypothetical paper.
I have been avoiding my blog. But while I have been avoiding writing, I haven’t been avoiding Weight Watchers. I’ve been doing WW (counting points, trying meet my ActiveLink goals, meal planning, cooking, etc.) but it hasn’t been working very well. I haven’t posted about my last three weigh in because I haven’t been happy with the results.
But let’s back up.
So, the last three weigh ins. My weight has gone up 1.2, 2.4 and then down 0.2. Not cool. And like I said, I have been tracking, staying within my points, etc.
I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated I have been over the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to eat healthy and make smart choices and it just isn’t doing anything.
I almost didn’t go to my weigh in today because I was sure I was going to be up about five pounds. I finally convinced myself to go and I just wouldn’t weigh in. Well, after a lot of back and forth in my head, I decided to just say screw it and face the music….and I was SHOCKED to see a 0.2 pound loss on the scale. I seriously have no idea how that happened.
Like I said, I stayed within my points this week, but my body has been so bloated its ridiculous. My pants are tight and they haven’t been tight in a LONG time. Several of my shirts that I normally wear are too small. To say my body image is at an all time low is a serious understatement.
The worst is the moonface I have developed. I had read about the prednisone moonface online and was hoping I could avoid it since I hopefully won’t be on the meds for a terribly long time. But over the last couple of weeks it has appeared. I looked in the mirror the other day and broke down crying. My face looks like it did 50 pounds ago. Ok, maybe not quite 50 pounds, but it definitely isn’t the face that I have grown used to over my weight loss journey. Logically I know that the puffiness in my face is just water weight and not fat, but it just scares me so much. I do not want to go back to the person who looked this way.
I know the meds are necessary….and more importantly, they are working. I just want this whole ordeal to be over. I hate having to take medicine every day. I’m only 30 for crying out loud!
Most days I feel really good. I almost forget about the sarcoidosis sometimes. But then I have a day where I cough a few more times that I would like to or the fatigue is really bad and I start to worry that I’m relapsing. I take my temperature more times than I would like to admit. (During the sarcoidosis flare ups I get an elevated temperature so whenever I get hot I’m worried its a temp……so far I haven’t had any fevers since being on prednisone.)
I’ve had a few sarcoidosis ‘firsts’ the past couple of weeks. Last week I met someone with the disease! She is actually a coworker of mine! She has pulmonary sarcoidosis and has been in remission for over 10 years. It sounds like my symptoms are very similar to hers. It was great to meet someone who has the disease and really understands what I’m feeling. It also was great to hear that it doesn’t affect her day to day life.
The other first that I experienced was not as positive. Most people that I tell about my diagnosis have never even heard of sarcoidosis. I don’t blame them at all…I hadn’t heard of it either. Well, this past week I met someone who had heard of it…because she had a friend who died from it. The look that she gave me when I told her is one that I won’t soon forget. It was kind of a combination of pity and fear. I know that my diagnosis is not a fatal one, but it still makes me sad knowing that people do die from this disease.
I’m sorry if this post was rambling and random. I’ve been processing life as best a possible lately and needed to get some thoughts down. I don’t mean to complain or whine but just needed to write. Oh, have I mentioned the ridiculous mood swings the prednisone has brought on? No? Well, they are bad, and I hate them. Add in the constant hunger, joint pains and dry eyes and I’m just a ball full of fun.
On that note….let’s get on with the week! I hope you all have been having great weigh ins and are kicking butt!