Monday, February 17, 2020

Cherry Baked Oatmeal and a WW Update








Good morning! I just wanted to give you a quick update and share a great recipe.








Update first: I’m now down -77 pounds on my WW (formerly Weight Watchers) journey! I started as an online-only member, but three weeks ago I switched to attending workshops and I found a great one here in Topeka—at 7 a.m. on Saturdays! Now, as those of you who have followed my blog for the past 10 years know, I’m not a morning person, which goes to show you just how much I like this meeting. I also met a fellow WWer that I knew on the app’s social media site, Connect. She’s the one that recommended the workshop, and boy was she right! So, I roll out of bed while it’s still dark, throw on my clothes, grab a coffee, and head out the door before I’m fully away and can talk myself out of going! 




Now for the recipe: A lot of people on Connect were raving about baked oatmeal. Now, I’m not only a non-morning person, but I’m usually a non-breakfast person as well. My first meal of the day is typically a cheese stick and a banana, with lots of coffee!

However, I’ve had baked oatmeal in the past when I made this apple version, so I thought I’d give it a try again. After some internet research, I picked this one from the Budget Bytes blog. Beth, the creator, called it Apple Cheery Baked Oatmeal, I’m assuming because of all the applesauce in it. However, since I really didn’t get an apple taste from the dish, I focused on the cherry, which is my favorite fruit.  


This dish was so good! Not too sweet and just the right amount of cherry flavor. I had it for breakfast two days in a row, with a squirt of fat-free whipped cream. 

If you make this according to the recipe, it comes to 1 WW point per serving on the purple plan. I made this one with dried cherries (since I had them), which made it 3 points per serving. Of course, those points would change depending on which myWW color plan you follow. You can plug it into your recipe builder to find out!

For those of you who would like to check out what WW has to offer, here’s a link. If you sign up, we both get one month free!

If you have any questions about my journey, WW, or this recipe, please leave them in the comments below. I’d be happy to answer them!


Here's a before and after photo. The one of the left was taken at the end of February 2019. The right photo is from this past Friday, Valentine's Day 2020. I still have 53 pounds to go before I make my goal weight, but I already feel 100-percent better about myself and life! 


Friday, January 31, 2020

Celebrating Non-Scale Victories Important to Weight Loss



Hello everyone! I hit a new milestone this week: Down 75 pounds! That’s since March 2019! I still have a long way to go (55 more pounds), but I’m so happy with how I feel coming this far. Especially because January wasn’t a kind month. Lots of gloomy clouds and little snow or sun. I spent a week hardly moving because of back pain, and then I got a stomach virus. That may account for some of my weight loss, but I’m determined to keep it off now that I’m starting to feel better. Oh, and the Chiefs made the Super Bowl! Whoo-hoo!



I’ve learned in this journey it's important to celebrate non-scale victories (NSVs) along the way. Why? Because the scale is a fickle instrument that doesn’t always tell the truth! You can do everything right and still not lose weight, or, the horror of horrors, have a gain. There are too many variables such as fluid retention, medications, and exercise that impact scale numbers. So, it’s key to look at the big picture through NSVs. 

These NSVs can be large or small. I’ll give you some examples from my trip to Hawaii in November when I was down 65 pounds.





First NSV: No seatbelt extender on the airplane! I fit in the seat just fine! That was the first time in years I wasn’t embarrassed to be on an airplane.

















I met the weight limit to go on a helicopter tour of Kauai! 







I was also able to walk up to 20,000 steps a day without a problem. Sure, I was tired at the end of the day, but a year ago, I couldn’t walk a quarter of that way without having to take a break because my hips and knees hurt. 

I could buy souvenir shirts in a size L or XL instead of the hard-to-find 2X or 3X I needed before. I also hung out on the beach in a swimsuit without feeling embarrassed! Big NSV for me!


However, my biggest NSV on the trip was climbing to the top of Diamond Head. (That's my boyfriend, Greg, who was on the trip with me.) Now, if you’re a serious hiker, this is probably an easy journey for you. But for a beginner like me, the 560-feet climb was a challenge. My biggest fear was the steep 99-step stairway close to the top. However, I heard there was an easier way to by-pass the steps, so I planned on doing that when the time came.

The trail consists of switchbacks up the steep slope. I started at a steady pace and stopped for water breaks every so often. While more-fit hikers passed me along the way, I was happy to see others needed to stop for breaks, too. 

The first challenge was 74 concrete steps that lead to a narrow tunnel. They weren’t too bad, with areas along the way where I could stop and catch my breath. Once I made it through the 225-foot long tunnel, it was decision time.

I looked to the right at the 99 steps. They seemed to go straight up! The stairway was narrow, so there would be no stopping or I would block the people behind me. To the left was the easier path, which looked more like a regular hiking trail. That would be an easier way to the top. 

Decision time: Which way to go? As I took a break and drank more water, I realized I wanted to challenge myself to take the stairs. I was tired of doing things the easy way! Wasn’t this whole weight-loss journey about pushing myself to the limit to see just what I could accomplish? Trying new experiences? No longer taking the easy way out?

I took a deep breath and said to myself, “Let’s do this!”

About 10 steps from the top, I hit “a wall” much like marathon runners talk about during a race. I was pulling myself up with the handrailing. My thighs were screaming at me to stop. I was done and seriously thinking about turning around.

Then, some hikers at the top who were waiting for the stairway to clear so they could start down began to cheer me on!
“You can do it!”
“You’re almost there!”
“Keep going!” 
When I reached the top, they cheered! I wanted to cry! I did it! 

Of course, there was still more to climb, including a spiral staircase to an old observation station. But I made it to the summit! The view was spectacular, but I was also in awe of what I’d accomplished!

One year earlier, I couldn’t walk a quarter of a mile without stopping. That day I climbed to the top of a Diamond Head! 

After we reached the bottom, I bought a t-shirt proclaiming my achievement! LOL 

Big or small, NSVs are an important part of a weight-loss journey. I would say the most important part! Be sure to celebrate them along the way. They will keep you going when the scale data doesn’t go your way. 



Tuesday, January 21, 2020

WW Friendly Banana Nut Oatmeal Bread




When I started this weight-loss journey, I was determined to find a way to continue to eat the foods I loved. However, I wasn’t opposed to making those foods friendlier to my new lifestyle.

I now order pizza with thin crust and lots of veggies—and I only eat two pieces! At fast-food restaurants, I’ll get grilled chicken sandwiches instead of burgers. (Though I still eat a burger once in a while!) I only eat 1/4 to 1/2 of the fries, usually sharing them with someone else. And sometimes I skip half the bun by using the lettuce as the top half instead.

I’ve also started tinkering with some of my favorite recipes to lighten them up a bit. This banana bread is one of them. I posted the original recipe here in the early years of this blog.

For this version, I cut the sugar from 1 cup to 1/4 cup, and I cut the butter in half and used Land O’ Lakes light butter. I also added some Greek yogurt and unsweetened applesauce, which makes this bread super moist. If you want a sweeter bread, you could up the sugar to 1/2 cup, but I like this less-sweet recipe instead.

I’m on the My WW Blue plan, so the points for this bread are 6 per slice if you cut it into 8 servings, which is a pretty large slice! Those of you on other plans can load it into the recipe builder to see what you’re tally will be.

I like to toast my piece in the toaster oven and then smear a little light butter on top. Yum!

This is my Kansas City Chiefs side-by-side photo, in honor of them making it to the Super Bowl! The left photo was from October 2018, and the right is from December 2019. A -70 pound difference between the two!






Banana Nut Oatmeal Bread

Makes 1 loaf
Serves 8 to 16

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light butter (I use Land O’ Lakes)
1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, sift together the flours, soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the yogurt, applesauce, and eggs, and whisk until blended. Then whisk in the bananas.

Next, stir in the flour mixture until just blended. Fold in the oatmeal and walnuts. Pour the batter into a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.



Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Year I Lost 70 Pounds and Gained a Life


Hello everyone! Sorry I've been out of touch for so long.

Let me explain:
2019 was a year of change.






It began after my trip to Memphis in February, which was followed by a visit to New Orleans and a Carnival Cruise. I enjoyed every moment, but physically I was a mess.






At 295 pounds, my hips and knees hurt when I walked.

I had to rest every few minutes.

I was short of breath.

I couldn’t do a lot of the things I longed to do.

I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.

I snored!

I didn’t like myself much.

A week after I returned home, I took a leap of faith and joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers.) Honestly, it was spur-of-the-moment when I saw an ad on Facebook. Oprah said I could enjoy the foods I liked and still lose weight. I thought, “Okay, Oprah, let’s put this to the test.”





That impulse moment changed my life. Big change! I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around it all!



From March 7, 2019, to today, I’ve lost 70 pounds.

70 POUNDS!!!!

I haven’t been this weight since 1995. So far, I’ve gone from a size 26 to an 18, which is now getting too big depending on the style.

But it’s the changes inside of me that are truly amazing. I’m believing in myself again! My dreams seem less like dreams and more like goals I can achieve! And I’m learning that taking care of myself and putting myself first in my life is not being selfish. It’s how we are all supposed to live. I am enough, which makes me able to give of myself to others in ways I’ve never done before.




In November, I went on a trip to Hawaii.

I was able to walk 10,000 to 20,000 steps each day without trouble!

I wore shorts!

I went to the beach in a swimsuit!

I even climbed to the top of Diamond Head, including going up 99 steps to get there!

I still have 60 more pounds to drop before I get to my goal. I’m an online-only WW member, which means I don’t go to meetings (known as workshops) each week. However, I’m thinking about giving the workshops a try. I’ll keep you posted!

Want to follow along on my journey? I plan to start posting about it on here, including recipes! You can also find me on Instagram (@linda_ditch) and Facebook (@ASunflowerLifeinKansas). If you’re on WW Connect, I’m @LindainKS.


If you want to check out WW, this link will get us both one month of membership free if you sign-up!

But feel free to follow along on my journey without joining WW. I’m just happy to have you along for the adventure.

If you have any questions, post them in the comments!

Let’s go do this!!!!