My Weight Watcher’s Story.

In my Battle of the Diets post, I mentioned briefly my time on Weight Watchers.  Tonight, I have decided to go a little further in depth about my time on Weight Watchers as well as why I will never go back to WW.  PS: I am just going to abbreviate it to save time.

beforepicture001I started WW when I was about 20 years old or so and weighed around 224 pounds.  This picture to the left doesn’t really show how large I was, but unfortunately it is the only one I can find.  I was living with a friend who was also overweight and was looking to lose weight.  Together we decided to start WW and join a local gym.  We used the app to help keep track of our points and our exercise.  It was fairly easy to follow and track points.  Of course, back then the internet was not as quick as it is now, but there wasn’t too much issues plugging in our meals.  My friend did most of the cooking, measuring, counting, all of that tedious work because at the time I had no clue how to cook.  Scrambled eggs with cheese was my specialty as well as cereal.  I know, real Rachael Ray in the making… not lol.  For lunches, most of the time we picked up microwaveable meals from Smart Ones, Healthy Choice, and Lean Cuisine.  Most of them also already had to points on the box, which was another wonderful convenience.  Over the span of 6 to 7 months, I went from 224 pounds to about 165 pounds.

Here is where it starts to go downhill.  Although I maintained the weight loss for a good while, I want to say about 2 to 3 years, I learned absolutely nothing from it.  Is that WW’s fault?  Absolutely not.  I allowed myself not to learn anything from that experience.  I didn’t learn how to portion control, I did not address my mental health issues, I definitely didn’t learn how to cook, I just knew that I could heat something up in the microwave and boom, dinner was served.  I quit WW’s because I lost weight, although I still was not at my ideal weight, I was lighter and thought I didn’t need it anymore.

After a wrist injury that left me unable to perform my job, I started emotional eating and the weight started piling back on.  I reached my original highest weight and tacked on an additional 20 pounds.  When I started this fitness journey, 242.6 pounds was officially the highest weight I have ever recalled being.

So after all of that, the fact that I did achieve success with WW’s, why have I decided to not use the service again?  For one, it costs money.  I would rather spend the money I’d be paying to use that service towards my gym membership or workout clothes and shoes.  Another is that I use MyFitnessPal (not sponsored), which is a free app, and it guesstimates how many calories a day I should be eating to lose about 2 pounds a week, let’s me scan foods, calculate recipes, and etc. all for free.  WW’s is an absolutely wonderful tool and I am grateful for the time I used it.  However, I no longer need it because what I am doing is working for me.  I am learning how to cook for myself, portion control, exercise, and I am figuring out how to properly take care of me.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I hope you found this post somewhat interesting.  If you have used WW’s in the past or are currently using it, let me know how it went or how it is going!  I love hearing other success stories as well as tribulation stories.  Until next time!

Recipe Adaptation: Salisbury Steak

Growing up in the south, beef was a major staple in my everyday diet.  The older I’ve become, the more I would switch out beef with turkey.  Throughout the years I have been vegetarian and vegan without fully committing.  All I kept getting was meat substitutes and when you are young and living on a tight budget, it is not exactly the best financial decision.  Nowadays with so many affordable substitutes and experimentations, vegan and vegetarian options are flourishing like never before.  One of my biggest setbacks was finding an inexpensive substitution of ground meat.  In the last couple of months, I discovered TVP, also known as Textured Vegetable Protein, and halle-fucking-lujah it is a wonderful substitution!


Looking at vegetarian or vegan ground meat substitutes, I’ve seen them from $3.99 to $6.99 for one pound of substitute.  I located the TVP quite easily in my local Fred Meyer in the bulk food section and it was a whopping $2.79 per pound.  Here is the other kicker, you only need about 1 cup of the dehydrated granules to make one pound of ground meat substitute.  Essentially that one pound of TVP granules will make plenty of ground meat substitute, cheaper than actual ground meat and standard ground meat substitutes.

With all that being said, I have been craving Salisbury Steak with gravy like nobodies business.  I tried finding a TVP Salisbury Steak recipe on Pinterest but unfortunately came out empty handed.  So without giving up, I thought I would improvise and hopefully adapt a meat recipe into a vegan one.  With a quick swipe of the keyboard in my search engine, Ree Drummond’s Salisbury Steak Recipe popped up and you bet your ass I would trust her recipe!  Now, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I would say the adaptation was a success.  I do still have a bit of tweaking to do, but overall I was extremely pleased with how the recipe came out.  Below is the list of ingredients, the bold and red colored ingredients are my alteration to the recipe.  Again, this is not my recipe, just my adaptation of it.


Meat Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 cups dehydrate textured vegetable protein
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 4 dashes liquid smoke
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon, crumbled (or powdered vegetable base)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons of water


  • 1 whole onion, halved and thinly sliced (or diced if you prefer)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, more if needed for thinning
  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
  • 4 dashes liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, optional
  • Salt and pepper

I followed the directions posted along with the recipe, which I will link again right here, just switching it up to incorporate my additions.  For example, I rehydrated the textured vegetable protein with the 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth and let the sit for about 10 minutes before continuing on with the recipe.  I also added one flax egg to the mixture to help everything combine.  When I originally attempted this recipe the “meat” mixture did not stick together and cook properly when turning them into patties so I added in a flax egg and got much better results.


Overall, I was super pleased with how it came out.  Next time I won’t add as much salt and for the gravy, I think a little less broth to make it a tad bit thicker would be best.  I also would like to alter some things to make it a little less in calories per serving, possibly taking out the use of the butter and lightly spraying with coconut oil instead.  So with this recipe I ended up making 4 patties and plugging everything into MyFitnessPal each serving, which is one patty, came out to 252 calories with 22.8 grams of carbs, 8.2 grams of fat, and 20.5 grams of protein.  I served mine with a little bit of the gravy and some white rice.  If I do end up altering this recipe further, I will definitely keep you updated!

If you are vegetarian or vegan, what are some meat dishes that you miss that you have made vegan, or want to make vegan?  Also, I would love to find more blogs to follow that have great vegan recipes, so if you know of any please let me know in the comment section!  Well, I think that is all for tonight, hope you have a great night and I will talk to you again soon!


4 Tips for Overcoming Gym Anxiety.

When I originally started working out, I had a gym buddy whom I became extremely dependent upon. I never had to deal or worry about going to the gym alone. Beginning of last year I made a new years resolution that I was going to join a gym and lose weight… yet again. In March I joined my local Gold’s Gym. I went for a handful of times, however, each and every single time I started dealing with severe anxiety. My hands would start sweating, I would have shortness of breath, and my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. True anxiety. Once you face what is causing you anxiety, your nerves typically calm. Not mine, I dealt with anxiety the entire workout, worrying that people were watching me, laughing at me, and judging every little thing I did. I ended up not going to the gym again until October, all due to my anxiety. 7 months I let my fears take the best of me. No more. Here are some things that helped me beat gym anxiety, and I hope they might help you.


1. Start slow. Don’t pressure yourself into going all out.
You might be wondering why this is the first on my list of tips. The reason for this is when I originally started working out the beginning of last year, I said I was going to workout 4 to 5 times a week. When I actually started thinking about going to the gym that many times, my anxiety would flair up tremendously. Committing myself to once or twice a week starting out helped me not feel as overwhelmed.

2. Learn the layout of your gym and plan your workouts in advance.
This made a lot of difference for me when I made a commitment back in October to start working out again. Having that plan and knowing the layout of the gym, I could walk in, clock in, and instantly head to where I needed without feeling lost, overwhelmed, or out of place.

3. Going first thing, right after you wake up.
Originally, I worked out a night mostly due to the fact that I am more of a night owl than a morning person. However, planning my workouts in the morning, I have less time to talk myself out of the workout and less time actually thinking and worrying about the gym. My gym opens at 5 am Monday through Friday, and I make sure my ass is there right at 5 am. I have worked out a daily routine where I wake up around 4 or 4:30 am, get dressed, walk the girls, then head to the gym. The fewer things I have to think about or do first thing in the morning, the more automatic going to the gym is, less room for fear to arise.

4. Listening to music.
I have gotten to the point where I am completely comfortable walking into my gym, saying hello to the office staff, going where I need to for my daily work out, then put on my headphones. At the beginning, before walking out my door, I’d plug in my headphones and start playing songs that got me pumped up. By the time I rolled up to my gym, I was too busy jamming out to let fear get in the way of my workout.

Gym anxiety is a thing and a multitude of people have battled and still battle with it. Just know that you belong. You have every right to be at the gym to better yourself. Everyone that was out of shape or overweight had to start somewhere. Those beefy dudes lifting weights over there weren’t always that beefy. Those beautiful women running on the treadmill for an hour couldn’t last that long originally. Everyone starts somewhere and I hope you don’t let your fear of the gym take control of your happiness and you trying to better yourself. You are beautiful and you are worth it.

Are you going to give any of these tips a try, or do you have any tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comment section. I hope that if you are struggling with gym anxiety these tips become of some use to you. Never give up and keep moving forward.

The Battle of the Diets…

When January 1st comes around, out comes the infomercials on weight loss. From Weight Watchers to NutriSystem, to the now popular Ketogenic diet, new year new you slogans pull you into the system. Throughout my weight struggles, I have tried a multitude of methods to lose the fat just short of weight loss surgery. Fad diets, publicized diets, pills, starvation, teas, you name it I have done it. My most successful means of losing weight was thanks to Weight Watchers. Now before you click out of this window, this is not a sponsored post, this is going to be my take on these types of diet plans and why I do not care for them. That’s right, I lost weight on Weight Watchers and I am telling you I am not a fan personally. I will explain why.

Let me preface this by saying Weight Watchers did initially work for me. I managed to go from 220 something pounds down to 165 pounds, the lowest I have ever recall weighing aside from 110 pounds in 3rd grade. I was able to keep off the weight for about a year, but then it came back. Now, that is not due to the plan itself, however, I never learned to cook for myself. I could go down to my local grocery store and pick up some SmartOnes or Healthy Choice meals and boom. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was served. Is that WW’s fault? No, of course not. However, I was young and lazy, so of course, I would take the easy weigh out. Like the pun there? I never felt like I learned anything about healthy habit forming and eating.

The Atkin’s diet is another plan that I have tried and that lasted for about a week, max. Carbs are a major part of my life, I love them, appreciate them, and enjoy them daily. Reading about restricting the carb intake immediately put a sour taste in my mouth. When I feel like I can’t have something or I have to restrict or limit something because of a diet plan, I already set myself up to fail. All I think about is what I can’t have. This also holds true with the Ketogenic diet. I want to be able to enjoy food, not wonder if I can have it or not because of some diet plan I am on. Also, the vigorous counting, least with the Atkin’s diet, I am not sure about the Ketogenic diet, bothered me and unmotivated me in even attempting to continue with the program.

One diet plan that I have not tried and refuse to try is the NutriSystem. Now I have not researched any of this, just taking information from the various infomercials I have watched. However, it teaches you absolutely NOTHING about nutrition. They give you pre-portioned meals and send it to your door. You don’t have to count calories or points, just heat and eat. So, what happens when you stop ordering NutriSystem then? You haven’t learned anything about how to portion out meals or how to cook. It is a way to lose $300 every month for one person and something that is not sustainable for the everyday person.

After all of that, I want you to understand that if these diet plans work for you, that is fantastic! I am truly happy for you. They are just not things that fit me or my life and that is okay. I love Kristi from RawBeautyKristi on YouTube and she lost 40 pounds thanks to the Ketogenic diet and that is amazing. What works for me, may not work for you and vice versa. That is the beauty of our bodies and lives, we are all different. If you have been on one of these diet plans, let me know how it worked for you! Are you still on it? What are your thoughts on these systems? No matter what, do what works for you and keep moving forward.

Recipe Test: TVP Meatloaf

Oh man am I excited about this!  Let me preface this by saying I am not a cook.  I have to follow a recipe 95% of the time in order to make edible food, no lie.  Especially with me becoming vegetarian this year, I need to find recipes that are easy yet delicious.  I just recently made a TVP chili, duuuu-licious mind you, a jackfruit tortilla soup, are you shittin me good, and now I need a fuck yeah meatloaf to add to my little box of recipes.  Scouring through Pinterest I happened to find this little gem, TVP Faux Meatloaf Recipe.  So tonight, it is all about meatloaf!

When reading through the list of ingredients needed, I luckily had most.  I did need to switch up a few items due to what I had in stock so we shall see how this comes out.  I do not have onion powder, so I added in Herb & Pepper seasoning hoping to bring a little more flavor to the loaf.  I switched out breadcrumbs with Panko breadcrumbs, since that is what I have on hand, and used Heinz 57 instead of ketchup because I hate ketchup and will never have that on hand haha.  I don’t know if I am allowed to share the recipe fully on here, so it is linked above but I will break down the steps at least.

In a medium bowl, the recipe stated to throw together the TVP (textured vegetable protein for those that don’t know what that is), veggie broth, ketchup (in my case 57), and soy sauce.  Then let it sit for 10 minutes to let the TVP absorb the liquid.  Last minute I did decide to throw in some diced yellow onion.  As a kid, I remember onions being in meatloaf and I love onions so, why not?  After the liquid was absorbed, I had to toss in the rest of the ingredients, mix well, put it on a pan, form into a loaf and bake about 45 minutes in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven.  The last 10 minutes of cooking, I put on a topping using tomato sauce, brown sugar, and a little mustard.  While that was baking away, I put on potatoes to boil to make mashed potatoes.

After all of that, here are my thoughts.  This recipe was easy to follow and easy to make.  I enjoy that there are no crazy, out there ingredients in order to make this.  While in the oven, the scent of this loaf wafted through the house and it was incredible.  So none of that really matters unless the taste is there.  Well, the texture is almost spot on.  A tad, I mean a tad, bit dry and the flavor is so close to what I remember meatloaf being, that I am genuinely shook.  Next time I will add a little bit more liquid and switch up the seasonings, I may even add some bell pepper in there as well.

20180118_191057.jpgIn short, I will definitely be making this again!  I have 4 days worth of leftovers and those are going to be great food days!  So, with all of that being said, let’s go over the nutritional value of this recipe.  I plugged everything into MyFitnessPal, making sure to plug in my personal changes to the recipe and here is what I got.  Instead of 4 servings, I was able to break the recipe into 5 servings, with 261 calories per serving, 35.6 grams of carbs, 3.3 grams of fat, and 21.2 grams of protein.  My entire dinner for the evening, including the mashed potatoes and green beans came to be about 434 calories.  Obviously, you can make mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes to save some calorie, but… I am not about that life.  Trying this out gave me some inspiration to try TVP to make Salisbury Steak, Meatballs, and more.  Do you have any great TVP recipes you think I’d like to try?  Have you made TVP meatloaf before?  If so, what did you think?  Let me know down in the comment section!  Hope you had a fantastic Friday and until next time!

Why Having a Gym Buddy Doesn’t Work For Me.

Gym Buddies can be an amazing asset when first starting to workout.  They can become a great source of motivation and support, especially if you deal with gym anxiety.  However, like it was for me at one point, it became a crutch and I was relying too heavily on my gym buddy.


When I first began Weight Watchers, I joined with my roommate.  We figured out the food part of the plan and when it came to the workout portion, we joined the same gym and went at the same time.  This is where the problem arises.  We would sometimes talk each other out of going, or if one of us was sick, the other wouldn’t go.  The only time we’d go to the gym is if we went together.  That is not healthy.

On the same aspect that you cannot rely on another person to bring you happiness, you cannot rely on a gym buddy.  My roommate and I did this battle for 6 months.  We both were able to lose a significant amount of weight, however, we never maintained going to the gym or keeping a workout regimen.  My gym anxiety remained and it did not help push me out of my comfort zone.

You need to learn how to workout by yourself and be comfortable working out by yourself.  You cannot rely on another person to go to the gym.  I will do a future post about dealing with gym anxiety, but for right now here is what I recommend.

If you are battling gym anxiety, I completely understand.  Some of the first things I decided to do was get some workout DVD’s or searched YouTube for some fitness videos.  On Amazon, I found Debbie Mack videos, they are designed for heavier set people and are low impact.  On YouTube I absolutely love Yoga with Adriene. her voice is incredibly soothing and before I know it I’ve done Yoga for half an hour.  Working out with DVD’s or videos is a great way to start working out by yourself, but still have a feeling like you are working out with a friend.

Another idea is scheduling a workout session with a gym buddy once a week, but no more than that.  If for some reason your gym buddy cannot make it, you need to hold yourself accountable and still workout.  Whether it be at the gym, at home, a run around the block, whatever, do not rely on another person in order to workout for yourself.

Ultimately you are in control of whether or not you hit the gym, do an at home workout, or let the actions or lack of actions of others control your session.  If you want health and fitness bad enough, you will keep that workout.  Is all of this easier said than done?  Fuck yeah it is, but you are worth it.  Don’t put your happiness and well being in someone else’s hands, take back the reigns of your life.