Food, Recipes, Weightloss

I still ate cookies

Christmas cookies are the devil. Actually, they often take the shape of angels, trees, Santas and sleighs, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, my kitchen was overpopulated by Christmas cookies this season, and I only have myself to blame.

Traditionally, the plan is to make loads upon loads of Christmas cookies and then send them on their merry way to friends and family who live within a 20 minute drive. But this is not what happened this year. Although I fully intended on delivering cookie plates (I do it every year), the cookies didn’t seem to go anywhere but my stomach. My brother and I even forgot to put out cookies and milk for Santa (we still do this every year even though we both know we are only bombarding my mother with the task of chomping down cookies in her half-asleep state). All I’m saying is, very few cookies left my possession, and it has been a very dangerous situation. Actually, since there is still a significant amount of cookies in my kitchen, it’s still a pretty dangerous situation. That being said, things could have been a lot worse.

As many of you know, I set out a goal to not gain ANY holiday weight. If it wasn’t for the ferocious Insanity Workout, I’m not sure I would be in the position that I am in today: 5 pounds lighter! I can hardly believe it when I look at the scale, but it’s true. Instead of gaining, I actually lost weight during the Holidays. And I still ate cookies.

It seems that the key to losing weight while freely indulging in Christmas cookies is doing the Insanity Workout every night before bed. Since Insanity is so insane, my physical activity outweighed my seasonably excessive caloric intake. I’m sure that being on my feet for 9-hour work days helped too.

While I’m not sure if I’ll lose a total of 15 pounds by January 16th, I am very pleased with the success of my primary goal to not gain weight over the course of the Holiday season. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without making the sacrifices I did: 40 minutes of daily insanity, and choosing healthier options when I could. For example, when buying food on my lunch break, I would go for a Jamba Light smoothie from Jamba Juice, or a half turkey sandwich and side salad from the Nordstrom Café. I even incorporated healthier options into my holiday baking. Instead of making Oreo Truffles with the full-fat ingredients, I made them with the lightest ingredients I could find at my local Thriftway. They ended up being 175 calories and 8 grams of fat per truffle. Even so, it was difficult to limit myself to two truffles. Take my experience as a warning.

Reduced Fat Oreo Truffles

  • 1 package of Reduced Fat Oreos
  • 8oz. Philadelphia Fat-free cream cheese (1 brick package)
  • 1 1/2 bars of Ghirardelli Semisweet baking chocolate

This is probably the simplest recipe I can think of, but I’ll try to make it exciting for you.

Combine Oreos and cream cheese in a large bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon, crunching the Oreos in with the cream cheese (you can also use a Kitchen Aid mixer for this if you have a beater that is strong enough). Stir until the mixture is consolidated and somewhat creamy. It’s okay if there are still a few chunks of Oreo.

Form Oreo-cream cheese mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and place on cookie sheets. Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little gooey, it’s inevitable.

Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl as the package instructs. After the balls are all formed, you have a choice to make. You have the option of either dunking the balls into the chocolate, or using a spoon to pour the chocolate over the Oreo balls. If you choose to dunk them, I would advise refrigerating the balls for about an hour beforehand. I, however, am impatient and prefer to just pour the chocolate on. It’s just easier.

After you have chosen your path, you might want to lick all the chocolate off your fingers. That’s usually pretty important. Now, clear out some room in your fridge, and place the truffle-covered cookie sheets in there. Let them sit in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hard and cold, (usually at least an hour).

After they’re done hardening, and you’ve eaten a few, it is now time to invite all your friends over so that you don’t have to eat them all by yourself. Believe me, it will be tempting to try.

Exercise, Weightloss

It’s been Insanity

Photos by Ryan Mowery

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! Christmas has really taken it out of me. With all the shopping, baking, and working I’ve been doing, my week has been insanity. Literally! I started the 60-day Insanity Workout program last week, and I haven’t had the energy to do much else.

The Insanity Workout is one of the most, if not THE most, difficult workouts to be put on DVD. Apparently it is so strenuous that you have to be insane to do it. My friend Beth was gracious enough to let me borrow her DVD set, so I’d like to give a big thanks to her here. Now a week and a half into the program, I can attest that I do indeed question my own sanity while doing these videos. More evidence for why I might be clinically insane lies in the fact that I have only EVER done this workout after the hours of 1 am. I think it’s because I did the first one late, and have consistently needed at least 24 hours to recuperate before I can muster up the energy to do it again. To be honest, I’m not sure how I muster it up each night because it really is extremely exhausting just to think about it. I’m actually getting a little exhausted right now.

It’s common for me to look up at the TV from my sweaty, breathless exhaustion and gasp the words “you’re insane” at the digital image of workout instructor Shaun T.

The program, so far, is mostly an ongoing and extensive series of high intensity sports drills and power moves, with very little rest in between reps. Imagine doing sprints for 40 minutes straight…with push-ups and lunges and frog jumps. That’s what it feels like. I consider myself to be a pretty fit person, but after doing the Insanity Fit Test, my eyes have been opened to an entirely new level of fitness. Phil and I nearly vomited after day one. Even a week and a half in, I get pretty tuckered out just doing the warm-up…sometimes I have to take a brief rest.

Despite the extreme difficulty level of this workout, there is a lot about it that I enjoy. First, I like that it actually works. I have been eating a notable amount of cookies on a daily basis for the last week or so (give me a break, it’s the holidays!), but have still managed to lose a couple pounds. In fact, both my Mom and my friend Ryan told me that I look thinner in my face. Hearing those affirmations made me more motivated to stick with the program, and loathe it less. Second, I like that I haven’t really experienced any soreness. During each workout, Shaun T guides you through two stretching sessions: one after the warm-up, and another for a cool down. I believe them to be preventative measure for the soreness and stiffness that I often feel after working out. I think it’s also because the workouts are every day, so our muscles don’t have the chance to rest long enough to get sore. It’s nice.  Thirdly, I really enjoy the way the workouts are constructed; it’s no muss, no fuss. The entire workout is a good use of your time, and you definitely feel like you’re getting somewhere. You will sweat in places you never knew you could, and there’s an overwhelming sense of accomplishment after you finish. I imagine that it feels somewhat similar to running a marathon, but I really wouldn’t know.

Right now, I think that Insanity is doing a great job of helping me get into great shape, and lose a couple pounds while eating Christmas cookies. But after today, I will no longer be using the Christmas spirit as an excuse to indulge freely in sweets and things. I expect that for the next three weeks before Maui, my body’s changes will become more significant since I’ll be eating much (MUCH) leaner.

What’s really convenient is that there’s a week-long break for recovery between month 1 and 2 of the Insanity program, and it’s scheduled for the same week that I’ll be in Maui! A week off from work, a week off from Insanity, and a week off from Oregon rain. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.


Let’s catch up

Season’s greetings! I understand that we have some catching up to do…

I would feel worse about my absence, but I just can’t.  If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been spending the last couple weeks graduating (!!!), I’m sure I could muster up some more guilt for you all. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen; I now have a degree from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. No need to congratulate me; I do quite enough of that myself. Believe it or not, I actually tried blogging on two separate accounts, but there just wasn’t enough to say. Now that I have closed–actually, slammed–the door on the last stage of my life, I am opening a new one. This next part is what I like to call “having no idea where my career is going”.

Since I graduated five days ago, I have moved out of my apartment and am back to living with my mom for a while.  What I’m most excited about is all the free time I have accumulated. All of my time and energy is now being devoted to Christmas, making money, and preparing for Maui…and blogging, of course. What I miss the most about being a UO student is my unlimited access to the Student Rec Center. My exercise options have been narrowed down to doing workout DVDs in my living room and running around the wide-open streets of Canby. This being the rainy state of Oregon, running isn’t always an option that thrills me.  I’m looking into solving the problem by getting a gym membership. To what gym, I’m not at all sure. I’ll keep you posted.

You also might be interested to know that I have been keeping up with my holiday plan to lose weight (and not gain any). I have lost 4 lbs since November. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I am pleased that I have lost any weight while eating a satisfactory amount of no bake cookies and pumpkin pie.  Although I haven’t stuck to the plan as strictly as I set out, I think I have done a good job at following the plan in principle: making up for my indulgences with high-intensity workouts. The trick is pre-planning exercise around my work schedule and squeezing in late night workouts even when I don’t want to. For instance, yesterday I procrastinated my workout until 2 am, but somehow managed to force myself into a 38 minute cardio session.

Oh, and another thing: I am pleased to announce that I can tell that there has been an extreme increase in my fitness level, an improvement I am excited to accelerate after Christmas. I will be sad to see the holiday season pass, but will be grateful to be freed of the cookies. I will also have even more free time to get my figure ready for the beach.

I’m still working out all the kinks and organizing myself, but I thought I would let you know what’s going on with me and what I’m thinking about. What’s going on with me is Christmas. What I’m thinking about is eating cookies and burning them off. So far, so good!

Next on the agenda: The Insanity Workout. Stay tuned this week for the outcome of that extravaganza. I’m sure it will be an epic tale. Wish me luck!