Feeling Exposed… and Letting that Go

I’ll admit it:  Blogging is a super-weird thing.

I’m working my way into YEAR FIVE here at NTTC, and I’m still surprised by thing that come up through the process.  This week, I had an awesome opportunity to participate in an interview with Women’s Health Magazine.  The magazine reached out requesting an interview for their Weight Loss Success Story series, and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to participate.

I did a phone interview with Ashley at Women’s Health, and we had a great discussion.  She asked me questions about my weight loss story… and I candidly told her about how I lost the weight and about how I gained it in the first place.

Ashley transcribed the conversation into this article that is currently posted on Women’s Health Online.  How amazingly cool is that??

Womens Health Magazine Article | No Thanks to Cake

Excited about the article all week, I got the link from Ashley with the final story, and I completely froze.  I got nervous.  All my words were right there.  All those things I said… talking about how I was embarrassed about appearing larger than someone who was 6 months pregnant and about quitting a 5K halfway through.  It was all true, it was all there for their entire audience (with a much more significant reach than NTTC)… and it scared me to death.

In the blog world, you quickly find your people that you can bounce ideas off of… for example, Emily has been my gut check for my blog redesign, and I immediately reached out to Alyssa for thoughts on the article.

Thank goodness for blog friends!!! In my head, I had made myself nervous about the article… and Alyssa reminded me quickly of why the article existed to begin with:  To help other people who are trying to lose weight and experience what I have.

My story of weight loss is a fun tale peppered with telling progress pics and lots of stories about yoga (the Red Rocks kind, the farty kind, and the one where there were dolphins.)  And, at the same time, it’s a story of the challenges I’ve faced along the way, the emotional eating habits I’ve worked to overcome, and learning to lean on others for support.

Before After | No Thanks to Cake

And in the end, while blogging may be weird… and it may have its ups and downs (especially on the scale,)  every nervous moment of “should I post that” is worth it… if there’s just one person out there that it helps.

Despite my initial pause, I can’t be more thrilled to have been featured in Women’s Health… if real life weight loss is what they’re looking for, it doesn’t get more real than this journey.  And, it continues…

Thank y’all for being there every step of the way!  xoxo

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Jenny Volumizing: Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla

There is something about the new Jenny Craig menu.

The new foods have been SO DELICIOUS and SO SATISFYING!  They’ve also given me an opportunity to try some new creative recipes, including this one that I’m sharing today!

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

I must say, the new quesadilla is REALLY good on its own.  It’s cheesy and spicy.. and tastes like a major indulgence.  For some reason, when I eat it… I’m missing the veggies, so I decided to load it up!  Adding not only onions and peppers, but also a little spinach just to bulk it up!

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

1 package Jenny Craig Baja Style Quesadilla

1/4 red pepper, sliced

1/4 onion, sliced

1/4 cup fresh spinach, sliced

1/8 tsp. Penzey’s Fajita Seasoning

cooking spray

salsa

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Cook quesadilla on a plate for 45 seconds.

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

2.  In a saute pan, cook your onion and pepper for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.  Add 1/8 tsp. fajita seasoning and mix well.

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add spinach and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes until the spinach wilts.  Note:  I made a little extra veggies for two quesadillas.  If you follow the ratios above, it should be perfect for one quesadilla.

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Move the veggies to a small bowl.  Open the quesadilla, and remove the chicken and cheese mixture.  Using a small spatula, mix the cheese mixture with the veggies and combine well.

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Place the mixture back in the tortilla.

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Heat your skillet to medium high heat and spray it again with cooking spray.  Return the quesadilla to the skillet, and good for about a minute on each side until browned and the insides cook well.

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

8.  Serve with your favorite salsa.  Note:  I used Trader Joe’s Organic Tomatillo and Yellow Chile Salsa.

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Craig Volumizing Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

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Jenny Volumizing: Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico

I’ve been raving about the new Jenny Craig foods for the past few weeks on Instagram and here on the ol’ blog.  They’re just THAT good!

The dish I’ve grown the most attached to is the new pizza.  Just when I thought I couldn’t love a pizza more than the former Rising Crust Pizza, Jenny introduced the new Pepperoni and Margherita lunch pizzas.

In true NTTC fashion, I’ve figured out a way to transform this awesome pizza into an even more amazing version of itself.

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve always believed in baking frozen pizzas over nuking them in the microwave.  Seriously, take the extra time and dirty a baking pan… it’s worth it every time.  The “FANTASTICO” comes from the fact that this pizza is so delicious, it doesn’t taste as thought it’s a healthier version of anything…

Note:  I’ll also add that this recipe can be applied any of your favorite frozen pizzas, adjusting the baking time as needed to melt all the cheese and brown the crust.  

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

1 package Jenny Craig Pepperoni Pizza

1 wedge Laughing Cow Cheese – Garlic & Herb flavor

diced onions

shredded spinach

banana peppers

diced tomatoes

Williams-Sonoma Pizza Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Remove pizza from the packaging and place on a pizza pan.  Spread with one wedge Laughing Cow Cheese.

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Layer with your favorite toppings: diced onions, banana peppers, diced tomatoes, and shredded spinach.

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Bake at 400 degrees for 14 minutes until pizza is golden brown along the edges.

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Remove to a cutting board to cool.  Slice and serve!

Pepperoni Pizza Fantastico | No Thanks to Cake

Enjoy!!!

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Strong Reactions to Simple Questions

So… something crazy has been happening for the past few weeks.  I may ramble a little here, but it’s important for me to get this out.  Thanks for hanging in there…

By now, you guys know I lost the bulk of my weight on the Jenny Craig program.  I joined in desperation.  I joined to try something new, and thankfully, it WORKED.

Before-After Rockstar | No Thanks to CakeOver the past year and I half, I’ve moved away from the Jenny program.  I don’t eat their food as part of a structured Jenny Craig food plan, but I do work them into my weekly meal planning.  I don’t do consultations with them on Saturday mornings anymore.  Instead, I stop in just about every week to pick up food.  There are several foods that have become staples to me, and from a convenience perspective, keeping them in my freezer makes sense.

My picky and always-in-a-morning-hurry self loves to pop the JC Cinnamon Rolls in the microwave in the morning before work.  A breakfast that takes 27 seconds to make, is well… my kind of breakfast, especially when it has cinnamon and rolls in the title.

Jenny Craig Cinnamon Rolls | No Thanks to Cake

Regardless, I’ve found a way to maintain my weight by eating half on the program and half off.  This makes it possible for me to grab lunch with customers throughout the week, while eating JC Stuffed Shells for convenience on the days when I’m in the office.  For me, it’s a great mix.

So… something’s been happening when I’ve been doing my “grocery shopping” at my local Jenny Craig location on Saturday mornings.  There’s a new consultant who’s been asking a lot of questions… and asking in a way that just hasn’t been resonating well with me.

“Can we get you on the scale?”

Can you tell me exactly why you don’t come in for consultations?”

Do you know your weight?”

Are you formally on maintenance?”

This sounds like pretty normal chatter for a visit to a weight loss center… but the fact that she’s so insistent has been FLYING ALL OVER ME.  That’s Southern talk for annoying the heck out of me.

Again, this consultant is doing her job.  She is asking the questions she has been trained to ask.  The questions that she’s been guided to ask to benefit her clients most… but to me, I’m reacting as though it is an accusation, an accusation that I need to do more, be more, and lose weight.

It’s been two weeks in a row of considering walking out of Jenny Craig forever, and even with thoughts of stomping out and leaving all those beautiful cinnamon rolls behind, I haven’t.  In each situation, I avoided her questions (much to her dismay) and convinced her to just let me pay and go. In each case, I walked out, feeling defeated, head hung low, and just wanting to cry.   Again, my reaction to this lady doing her job.

This week, I chatted with one of the other consultants regarding the situation… indicating that I was just wanting to buy food for now and asking if we could lower the pressure for a while.  And, in that small little office, I started to cry again.

I hadn’t cried about my weight in some time, and it’s amazing that it always seems to happen in that same office.   With the centre director when I joined, with Amalia (I’m sure I cried with her – love that gal!), and now again this week with Crystal.  As I cried, the words that poured out were my truth (Cue the waterworks): I’m tired.  I’ve focused so hard for the past four years on losing weight, and I just want to be okay with living for a while.  For now, living means I buy food to have on hand, just like I would at the grocery store.  Some days I eat Jenny, and some days I eat Subway; other days I may cook a full meal at the house.  

Crystal was AWESOME, and she totally got where I was at… and she told me to just let her know if/when I’m ready to try to lose again and she and the team would be happy to help.  Love that response!  Until then, she took my order for 7 cinnamon rolls and 4 stuffed shells, and I headed out.

When I look a little closer at my reaction, I realize the consultant who I struggled with for the past few weeks was simply verbalizing the things I ask myself every single day.  I’m really trying to lighten up on myself in the area of self-criticism, especially in the area of weight loss.  In these moments, it was like all my own thoughts and judgment were spewing out from a stranger, a stranger that doesn’t know how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am, and a stranger who had no intention of pushing my buttons like she did.

I wish I could just smile and step on the scale for her, but I just don’t want to right now.  I’ve worked my butt off to lose 60+ lbs over the past four years… and one day, I’ll lose that extra 15 that I’m carrying that I have on my “to-do” list.

For right now, I’m filling my to-do list with things like making plans to see the Cartier exhibit that’s coming to Denver, planning a CAbi Party for later in the month, and knitting a capelet to wear when it gets cold.  Eating healthy and losing weight are always on the list, but in all honestly, they’ve become a given, and are just how I live… frankly, they don’t even make the paper list anymore.

I absolutely know that there will never be a day where I can just eat anything in sight.  That’s not who I am, nor what my body needs.  I’ll always have to be cognizant of what goes in, and I’ve made peace with that… it’s the judgment I’m trying to curb, both internal and external, and man, it’s just not easy.

So, you too might have been wondering when I’m going to share my weight again or to talk specifically about weight loss.  To be honest, I really don’t know.  All I can tell you is that as soon as it happens, you guys will be the first to know… and that in the meantime, I’m working on maintenance and being nice to myself about it.

Thank you to each of you for (albeit virtually) standing beside me on this journey, for celebrating my successes, and listening to my woes.  It’s all a part of the process… and the details are what make them real and what make the process continue.  Even this specific moment contains learning, I just know it… xoxo

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