Weight loss progress

noom weight graph

I started using Noom in January 2013 and I successfully lost 70lbs in the first 7 months, but then I hit a plateau, as you can see in my weight graph.  I tried to maintain my weight, which was 194lbs, but I had a hard time.  The holidays came and I had gained about 20lbs.  I have been saying 15lbs because I seem to get to 208 to 210lbs and stay there, but occasionally it will go up to 213 or 214.

My New Year’s Resolution again was to get down to 150 which is my ultimate goal weight.  I said 57lbs, that was because when I made the new goal, I was 207lbs.  People are always telling me that 150 is too thin, but they don’t realize is that when I was 150lbs before I gained all this weight, I could still pinch an inch or so, so 150lbs wasn’t that thin for me.  I could probably get down to 140, but I won’t go that far.  If I get down to 160 and I’m happy, then I will stay there, but I would really love to get down to 150.

I don’t have the same willpower that I had a year ago, but I am working on that.  I just can’t seem to recall what I did exactly.  I mean, I remember that I cut out bread, which I have decided to do again, I cut out sweets, which I have had a difficult time with because it is shoved in my face at every turn.  I am trying to control my willpower.  I cut out soda and other high calorie drinks.  I don’t really drink soda too often and when I do it’s usually diet coke, but I even cut that out of my diet.  Let’s see, I cut out all high calorie snacks last year, but I don’t seem to be following, but I’m trying.  Okay, enough is enough!  No more crap food!  No See’s candy, no pudding snack packs, no cheese nips or pretzels!

I have gone down a few pounds though.  I weighed myself today at 205lbs so I know I am going to succeed if I try.  I’ve been eating a bowl of mixed cereals (rice chex, honey nut Cheerios and bran flakes) with a sliced banana and vanilla flavored light almond milk for breakfast.  I bought some Progreso light soup which is 70, 80 and 100 calories per serving, and that seems to be filling.  For dinner I’m eating the Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners.  I tend to be more hungry at night than I do in the morning for some odd reason, but I’m trying to keep my snacking down.  I will eat some fruit or veggies if I do snack.  We bought a bag of red apples at Dollar General for $1.95.  You can’t beat that price.

Anyway, I am trying at least.  The Noom app will ask me to weigh myself every few days, so I’ve been doing that and my weight has pretty much stayed the same, 208, but now it’s 205 so I look forward to what I will be the next time it asks.  Last year I only weighed myself on Fridays, but this year I will weigh in when it asks me to.

I’m rambling lol.  I just wanted an excuse to blog because I haven’t been blogging lately.  Anyway, tootles!

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Bread Machine for Beginners

wheat bread

I have been having a lot of fun with my new bread machine.  I’ve mostly made 100% whole wheat bread for sandwiches, but I’ve also been making spiced pumpkin bread which I also use for sandwiches.  The picture above is my first attempt at making bread, this one is wheat bread, not 100% whole wheat.

Not every loaf of bread comes out perfect though, in fact, I had no idea that my dough has been too dry until now.  The other day I made a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread and it came out smaller than usual, and when I took it out, it was really thick and hard.  I cut the slices and noticed that it wasn’t light and fluffy at all, which is how bread should be, but decided that I will just go ahead and eat it anyway and hope for the best.  Last night I had a sandwich with that bread and had the worst stomach pain in my life about 6 hours later.  I don’t know if it was the bread, or a combination of the bread and all the pretzels that I ate and the fact that everything was dry that was causing the pain.  I had a heating pad on my stomach for nearly an hour.

I decided to do a little bit of research, which I should have done to begin with.  I found this website called Salad in a Jar with 6 Bread Machine Secrets for Beginners.  I am glad I found that because I found out that I’ve been doing it wrong all this time.  My bread is always the same consistency, but never touches the sides of the pan.  It’s always a hard ball in the center of the bread machine that just spins in circles.  I didn’t know it had to touch the sides.  So now I know why the bread is so thick.

The person who wrote that blog post said to use the bread machine to knead the bread, but then transfer it to a bread pan and bake it in the oven.  Well, I don’t have that luxury because I don’t have a normal oven.  Well, we have a normal oven, it’s just old and I never use it.  I bake everything in the toaster oven, which is why I bake the bread in the bread machine.

So now that I have this new knowledge, I am going to attempt to make a regular loaf of wheat bread, not 100% whole wheat.  I will make sure it has enough water and is tacky and sticks to the side and is not too dry.

I really want my bread to come out light and fluffy and not too heavy and I want it to taste good.  I also want my partner to like it so he doesn’t have to buy his own bread from the store, which was the whole reason I have a bread machine lol.  I don’t blame him for wanting to buy bread, because it is too hard to eat, so I really hope it works out now.  I have my fingers crossed.  I have my eyes crossed for good measure.

Bread Slicer

bread slicer with pumpkin bread

I know, this is a very strange thing to blog about, but I’m excited because the bread slicer that I bought on eBay actually works.  I tried using it when I first got it, but it didn’t really work out because I sliced the bread too soon, so it wasn’t slicing right because it was too soft.  The trick is letting the bread harden a little before slicing it which usually takes a day.  I was also pushing down on the top when I was slicing it the first time because it was wobbling too much in the slicer.  That gave me uneven bread.  If I don’t touch the top, it gives me perfect slices every time.

The bread in the image above is spiced pumpkin bread.  I normally only make 100% whole wheat bread to use for sandwiches or toast, but the spiced pumpkin bread is awesome to eat during the holidays.  In case you want the recipe, here it is.

spiced pumpkin bread

I substituted the oil with butter, and I don’t use the lemon juice and it comes out just fine.  I don’t use the lemon juice because I found a recipe for cinnamon raisin bread from Betty Crocker that uses butter instead of oil and it doesn’t use lemon juice.  The recipe for cinnamon raisin bread that came in the recipe book that this recipe came in used oil and lemon juice, so I simply just cut out the oil and lemon juice and replace them with butter in all of my bread recipes and they still come out good, amazing in fact.

I use the 1lb recipe for my bread machine and the bread usually goes over the top, if I use the 1 1/2lb recipe, it goes way over the top and touches the vent and the glass on the door of the machine.  That’s way too much bread, so the 1lb recipe is perfect.  The Betty Crocker recipe must be the 1 1/2lb recipe because it always goes over the top.

So I just wanted to show the slicer and how thick the slices come out.  I was hoping for thinner slices, but this is fine.  At least they aren’t too thin on one side and too thick on the other which is what usually happens when I don’t use the slicer.  It’s a good guide to use.  Oh and this bread slicer was only $7.99 on eBay.  I give this bread slicer a thumbs up.

Here is this same bread slicer on Amazon and here it is on eBay for $6.99.  Naturally they lowered the price by $1 the day AFTER I bought it lol.

Oh and just in case someone asks, because I was thinking about it too, you can buy an electric knife if you want to, but a regular bread knife works just fine.  Although an electric knife will probably give you a more even cut on each slice, a regular one works just as well.  The bread in the image above isn’t 100% perfect, it’s uneven, but it’s not too uneven so it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me, but I’m sure you will get the same or near the same results with an electric knife.  So if you already have a regular knife like I do, save your money and just use that.  If you don’t have either then buy whichever one you want, but a regular bread knife will work just fine.

I Bought a Bread Slicer

bread slicer

The bread machine that I bought at the thrift store seems to be the best thing ever, you could even say since sliced bread.  Pun well intended.  The bread machine is awesome, but there is only 1 issue that I have, and that is slicing the bread.  I have a long bread slicer knife, but the bread slices are uneven.  Sometimes they are too thick on one side, and paper-thin on the other, or some are too thick while some are too thin or some are just lopsided lol.  It’s very difficult to slice bread, so I have been researching bread slicers.

I wanted a wood bread slicer because wood is way better than plastic when it comes to something like this, but they are way too expensive.  I decided to buy this particular bread slicer on eBay because it was only $7.99 with free shipping.  Although, today it is $6.99, but I still feel like a got a good deal, so I’m fine with what I paid.

What I really want is to cut thin slices like you see in this picture.  I want thin slices because the bread that I make with my bread machine is really… and I’m not sure I’m using the proper term… dense.  It’s not fluffy like the bread you buy in the store, you know like Wonder Bread or Sara Lee bread.  It’s harder like the really expensive wide breads that you buy.  I like the airy or fluffy bread, but the problem with those is they rip to shreds when you spread peanut butter on it, but this bread doesn’t have that problem which is why I love it so much.  I think the thinner the slices are, the better the sandwich will taste and the less calories it will have.

I see from this picture that you can slice the bread at any size you wish, like the slices laying down are thinly sliced, but the one they are slicing in the bread slicer is double the thickness.  That is perfect if you want to make French toast.  If you are making pumpkin bread or banana nut bread then the thicker slices are better, so at least I have that option.

I really hope this bread slicer isn’t a piece of crap that will break as soon as I start slicing the bread.  That’s another reason I wanted wood, because plastic is crap and it breaks, wood is sturdy and will literally last a lifetime.

My new plastic bread slicer will be here next week.  I hope it was worth it.

Toastmaster Bread Box 1155

wheat bread

I took a trip to the thrift store yesterday, well, my intention wasn’t to go to a thrift store, but while I was in the neighborhood, I figured let’s go check to see what they have.  I was actually hoping to find a hot air popcorn popper, but instead I found a bread maker machine.  They had at least 5 of them, but this one had the little paddle inside of it, 2 of the other ones I looked at were missing that.  I didn’t look at the other ones because they were smaller than the one I found.

Okay so I’ve never made bread in my life and I’m 43 years old.  I have always wanted to, but never tried it because I knew it would probably be a lot of work because you have to knead the bread and what not.  I have a habit of burning water, so I was afraid of trying to bake my own bread.  This machine does it all, so there is literally no muss, no fuss.

toastmaster bread box

This is what the Toastmaster Bread Box 1155 looks like.  It was quite disgusting on the inside and outside, but I cleaned it up so it looks practically brand new.  It was only $5.95 plus tax, so how could you not buy it?  I knew I was taking a huge risk because you never know if what you are buying at a thrift store will work, but it works just fine.

The bread maker was cheap, but the ingredients for making wheat bread weren’t.  I went to the store to buy everything I needed for making wheat bread and it came to $30.  Ouch!  But, the good thing is that I will get a lot of bread with those ingredients, so the money I will save will make up for that.

Good wheat bread is expensive and you never really know what is inside your bread, so at least now I know what I am putting into it.  It’s basically water, oil, lemon juice, salt, brown sugar, dry milk, bread flour, whole wheat flour and active dry yeast.  That’s it.  100% whole wheat bread is the same, except I don’t use bread flour and it takes 1 hour longer to make.

White bread is unhealthy, but it’s basically all the same ingredients except there is regular white sugar and you don’t use whole wheat flour.  I don’t plan on making white bread unless it is requested.

My first time making bread was a success, but I thought I screwed it up because I used the whole wheat setting.  Well, I was making whole wheat bread, so naturally I thought I had to use that setting, but it turns out I only need to use that setting if I am making 100% whole wheat bread with all the ingredients minus the bread flour.  Since I made regular wheat bread, I should have used the basic setting which takes 3 1/2 hours.  Now I know.

I’m particularly excited about making other things with this bread maker like spiced pumpkin bread and banana bread.  The machine didn’t come with a manual or a recipe book, but I did manage to find them online all in 1 pdf file.  The recipe book has many good recipes, but I will probably only make wheat for our bread and the pumpkin and banana bread for special occasions like birthdays and holidays.  They also make great gifts.  Someone gave me homemade banana nut bread for my birthday once and it was AWESOME!  So I plan on doing the same.

So I finally have a bread machine that didn’t break the bank.  What an awesome gift from whoever donated it to the thrift store.  I know it’s an old machine, but it’s still a gift to me since I didn’t have one and couldn’t afford to pay $75+ for a brand new one.

Weight Gain

WeightGain

We went to the doctor’s office today so I could get my clearance note for surgery to remove my parotid gland.  They had me step on the scale and I was shocked to see that I was 205lbs.  So yeah, I’m a bit verklempt lol.

One of my issues with exercising is that when I walk or ride my bike or do anything that burns calories, the Noom app tells me that I can eat more calories, so I end up eating those extra calories, but then I might even go over those extra calories because I think to myself that I did such a good job that it’s okay.  Well, that’s not how it works.  I should still stick with 1400 calories, 1500 at the most.  Even if it says I can eat 1700, I should draw the line in the sand at 1500.

I’ve been using the Noom app for my cardio, but I decided to download the Noom Cardio Trainer.  I’m sure that it will still show the extra calories in the Noom app, but I just want to see how it goes with the Noom Cardio Trainer.

I’ve been eating those Quinoa and Tofu burgers every day with hamburger buns which is not a good idea; I should be eating them without any bread.  Here is my typical day:

Every morning I will either have a bowl of Malt-O-Meal or a banana for breakfast, which by the way the Malt-O-Meal is a green food (which means healthy) and the banana is obviously a green food.  For my morning snack (second breakfast?) I usually have a banana.  For lunch I normally eat a Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinner, although I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu burgers, both by the way are green, except for the bun of course.  Afternoon snack (linner?) is typically a banana or crackers or sometimes I will have a bowl of broccoli.  That has been consistent.  Dinner is typically a Weight Watchers Smart Ones, but I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu Burgers.  For evening snack I’ve been eating a lot of crackers.  I need to stop doing that, but I get so hungry that it feels like I’m famished.

I’m assuming that my issue here is the bread and the crackers.  I also have to admit that I’ve been eating candy corn, but not daily.  I’m guessing that the amount that I’ve eaten so far is finally catching up to me, so I will stop eating them for the rest of the season.  If I am having this much difficulty from the candy corn, just imagine how it’s going to be when Eggnog is available in stores.  I’m going to go crazy because I just LOVE eggnog lol.

So getting back to the Noom cardio trainer, I have set up 5 days a week to go riding on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  I’m going to go out 5 days a week to do at least 11 miles per day, if I can do more, then great, but I’m not going to push myself that hard.  The app suggests 5 days a week, so I’m giving myself 2 days off, but not 2 consecutive days which is why I chose Sundays and Wednesdays as my days off.

balance ballI am also going to buy that Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit which is sold on Amazon for $20.  It has an exercise DVD with it which I can watch while doing the exercises in my bedroom.  The doctor at Physical Therapy told me I should buy one so I can do exercises for my back since I only have 3 more sessions left.  My insurance only pays for so many sessions, then I’m on my own.  My back isn’t in as much pain as it was, but anyone who has, or anyone who knows anyone with scoliosis knows that the pain is really bad.  The only thing that really helps my pain is the exercises.  Pain meds don’t do anything for my back pain, they help my parotid gland pain, but not my back pain.  $20 is a small price to pay for pain relief.  I wanted to buy one at Target, but they were the same price, but without the DVD.

I really hope I can get back down to my comfortable weight of 192lbs and possibly get back on track with my weight loss so I can get down to my ultimate goal of 170lbs.  Considering I lost 70lbs this year, 35lbs shouldn’t be that difficult to lose, although it’s harder than I thought.

So to recap, my goal is to stay away from Halloween Candy and any other holiday sweets, bread and to exercise more and to try not to eat more than 1500 calories per day, even when the app says I can eat more.

Ready… set…  GO!

Quinoa and Tofu Burger

quinoa and tofu burger

Here is a very good recipe for making Quinoa and Tofu burgers.  Now, the Quinoa was quite expensive at $6 for the box which only makes 3 1-cup servings, but the tofu itself was surprisingly cheap at $1.25 for the package.  This was the first and last time I will ever make this recipe because of how expensive it was and how difficult it was to make.  I will say that it is good though.

So here is the original recipe that I got from the Noom Facebook page.

  • 1 cup Cooked Quinoa
  • 125 g extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Peas
  • 2 tbs chopped scallions
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • salt & pepper

Wrap tofu in dish towel. Squeeze towel-wrapped tofu to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer tofu to medium bowl. Using a fork, mash into small pieces and add cooked quinoa, sweet peas, scallions, fish sauce, oyster sauce and salt & pepper. Shape mixture into ½ inch thick patties. Cook over medium heat w/a drop of oil.

My problem is that I hate 3 of those ingredients which are scallions, fish sauce and oyster sauce.  I hate onions and fish, so those 3 things had to go.  I have seen veggie burgers with red beans and corn in them, so I took those 3 things out and added 2 things and replaced the sauce with teriyaki sauce.  I also didn’t want to have leftover tofu, so I used all of it.  Since I used all of it, I basically had to triple the recipe.  I cooked the quinoa in the rice cooker and I thought I was making 2 cups because I used 1 cup of the quinoa with 2 cups of water, as per the rice cooker instructions, however, I don’t think I had 2 cups.  I had to make another serving and there is only 1 more serving in the box, which I should have just used the entire box, but I didn’t for some reason.

This is why I don’t like making food with ingredients that I hate, because I am always tempted to change it and it almost never works out.  I tried making a burger, but it wouldn’t stick in the pan.  Forget flipping it because it wouldn’t stick.  I was at my breaking point, but then decided to add some eggs.  My mother always told me that if you make hamburgers, add some eggs to keep the hamburgers from falling apart, so that’s what I did, and it did help, to a certain extent that is.  They didn’t fall apart when I flipped them or put them on the buns, but once you started to eat them, they basically crumbled into your mouth.  Oh and it wasn’t that tasty either  I put the bowl in the fridge and figured I would deal with it for lunch the next day.

So today I decided to add more eggs and that seems to have worked.  I made 1 single burger for lunch and it stayed firm and didn’t fall apart.  That is the picture you see above.  I made 16 more which are going in the freezer.  There was actually 1 more and I ate that when it finished because it’s actually quite tasty with the eggs lol.

The only reason I wanted to make these was because it was suggested by Noom, but the next time I want a veggie burger, I’ll just buy a garden burger from the store.