Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wheat Banana Bread Light

I like experimenting with recipes, so tonight I played around with my classic Banana Bread recipe. I took it from about 82 calories and 3.4g of fat per 1 oz. slice to 62 calories and 2g of fat per 1 oz. slice. The main goal was to make it more healthy with more fiber, with less overall fat, close to 0 saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, and overall less calories. Here's what I came up with:

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened (also called no-sugar-added) applesauce
1-1/4 cup sugar
6 egg whites
1/4 cup skim milk
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/4 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all the wet ingredients (including the sugar), then stir in the dry ingredients. Pour into 2 bread loaf pans, lightly sprayed with baking spray. Bake at 350 for 48 to 50 minutes. I live at a high altitude, somewhere around 7000 feet, and I'm not sure about what adjustments you'd have to make for lower altitudes, maybe 1/4 cup less flour?

Anyway, this is a lightly sweetened recipe. It has wheat flour, which seems to counter-balance the original sweet flavor of the original recipe, and it has 1/4 cup less sugar. You'll have to try it out and see what you think. This recipe is easy to cut in half, so start off making one loaf as a test run to test it against your own personal taste buds. You may want to add another 1/4 cup sugar, which will make it 65 calories per 1 oz. serving. My teenage daughter didn't think much of the wheat flavor, but the little kids and I liked it fine. It's also wonderful with a little Smart Balance Light spread.

Friday, July 9, 2010

All About Becky

Hi! My name is Becky Allred. Some of you know my sister, Sue Richardson, really well. She's the funny one. I'm the quiet one, who is glad I have a great sister I can share bathroom humor with. Besides my husband, she's my best friend. We go waaaaay back. I am married to a wonderful man, Zen Allred, and we have five great kids, Gil age 16, Dani (she's soon to be 13), Connor (soon to be 5), Emma age 2, and baby Sammy age 3 months.

I've been fighting the bulge nearly MY WHOLE LIFE, seriously. I began getting pudgy when I was around 8 or 9, and gradually just kept gaining weight. When I was a senior in high school, I was over 200 pounds. I was very shy and withdrawn, partly due to family issues, partly due to moving around a lot with my Dad in the military, and also due to my natural personality, I think. I was very sedentary. Then in college, I found some independence and started dealing with my own issues. I became a runner, jogging about five miles early every morning. I remember the awesome "runner's high" I would feel, like I was on top of the world. The lowest I dropped down to was 155.

Then I met my wonderful Zen. I married a man who has NEVER made me feel fat or unbeautiful, thank goodness. He's six feet tall and built like a bear, so I have never been bigger than he is, except maybe when I've been pregnant. And maybe he's been too much of a comfort zone, because when I think about being fat like a hippo, it's not Zen who makes me feel that way. It's entirely something I do to myself.

Speaking of which, I have at times in my life dealt with depression, sometimes very deeply. It's my natural inclination to beat myself up like crazy. When I do something wrong, or something I think is stupid, I just whip myself inside. I remember reading The Scarlet Letter in college, and completely identifying myself with the guy who secretly went and beat himself with a whip in a closet, as a way of atoning for his mistakes and perceived sinfulness. Almost needless to say, I have been an emotional eater, wanting the comfort of food, as well as loving to spend hours and hours reading. I also have a weakness for buying craft supplies, which has led to financial troubles. I have deep issues, and this last pregnancy really threw me for a loop, both in circumstance (financial issues) and in biochemistry. I was taking an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant before I got pregnant, and quit taking it because the drug info brochure said not to take it during pregnancy. Couple that with our recent financial struggles, due in large part to some dumb things I had done with my second attempt at a scrapbooking business, and I spent a very rough pregnancy, emotionally. By the end, I was so constantly upset, that it was wearing on Zen and our family, and I decided to go see a counselor (Sue throws in an AMEN! here, because she's been nagging me for years to go see one.) Anyway, it wasn't just the advice the counselor had to give, it was really that step of admitting to myself that it was more than time to stop dealing with my issues with this constant self-castigation business I'd been carrying on for years and years. It was time to let go of my hurtful baggage and start trying to be a more positive, constructive person, not just for myself but for the wonderful people I live with.

Now, back to the tale of my weight issues. I have been building up a store of knowledge over the years, like most of us do, as we contemplate our weight and what we would like to do about it. I knew in the back of my mind that I should eat lowfat, whole grains, more fresh fruits and veggies, and cut out the unnecessary sugar. But it was easy to delude myself with, "Oh, I ate healthy today," if I'd had a salad, or if I'd not gone back for that second helping at dinner. But I didn't really know what was going on until I started counting calories a few weeks ago. It only took a day or two to acclimate myself to this system, and I gotta tell ya, a huge lightbulb went on, because it made me take a reality check about what I was putting into my body. I kind of go on and on about this sometimes on my own health blog, but I have an anal part of my brain that just loves working the math and manipulating the data. I took to calorie-counting like a duck to water.

For the first time, I feel like I'm in control of my body, instead of the other way around. I've got a much better idea of what is going on, and I look forward to eating healthy food instead of dreading it, because I know what effect it's going to have on me. I am very motivated to become healthy. I LIKE how I feel when I regularly exercise and I'm not weighed down by the bloated, slightly queasy feeling junk food gives you.

I'm excited also by the idea of teaching good nutrition to my children. I'm plotting out several Family Home Evening lessons in the back of my head all the time. But I've got to take this approach carefully, so no one feels singled out, particularly Dani, my teenage girl. She is a happy, bubbly, spunky girl, but she deals with food in an entirely emotional way, and while she is much happier than I was as a teenager, she is getting beyond the pudgy point, and often dresses to cover up the overweight parts of her body, particularly wearing long sleeves all the time, even in the heat of summer. While I'm definitely in favor of dressing modestly, it's gone beyond that, and I'm sad that she feels that way about herself. I want her to have a good body image, and to deal with food in a healthy, nutritional way. I know it starts with me, as the main food buyer and preparer in the house, to show her that it's possible to have a good relationship with food, and to use it for longterm health, instead of as a way to make her feel comforted for just a moment in time.

I credit my sister, Sue, for pursuing this own course in her life, and for being so willing to share her journey with others. For a while, I mentally rolled my eyes at the whole calorie-counting thing, but a few weeks ago, I just thought I needed to have a better idea of what my body was doing, and I looked forward to the data management. I'm weird that way.

Here are some links to more info about me, and some things that I like. My health blog is Battle For 200 & Beyond, which I keep separately from here, because you don't want my abundance of data clogging up your group blog, trust me (did I mention I majored in English in college?) Then, there is my regular blog with the family stuff at Randomly Odd Bits. I also dabbled in a craft blog at Becky's Craftroom, where I wanted to show off my card-making skills. That fell by the wayside, but I'd like to pick it up again, because I LOVE making handmade cards with lovely paper and rubber stamps. I'll stop myself there. I could go on and on. I've also got a spot saved for my recipes at Becky's Kitchen Creations, but I only got as far as creating the artwork. You'll have to let me know what you think.

Lastly, I want to mention the website I'm using to track all my calories, exercise, and daily weigh-ins. It's called My Food Diary at Yes, I know it costs a little every month, $9, and I know there are several good, free sites that help you figure out calories, but it's totally worth it to me, because it has a lot of great features that are totally integrated. There is a huge database of food items, which they say they built themselves from the ground up, or you can manually enter any items you would like into your Fridge, like new products you find at the store. They give way more nutritional data than just calories. It's based off of the nutritional info you can find on the packaging of any food, like fat, fiber, sodium, cholesterol, and a list of vitamins. Really awesome! I'm always getting "yelled at" by the site's program for my sodium intake, but it's good to know. I keep thinking of ways to lower it. My favorite part of the Food Diary section is the Recipe Builder, where you input any ingredients out of the database and your Fridge section, and it will help you tabulate the calories. I'm constantly using it to "test out" recipes before I cook them, so I can pick out where to make substitues. There is a section for tabulating your exercise and calories burned, and a section for logging your weight and body stats. And it stores all your data for you, so you can go back and look at what you did on any day. Sorry, I know I sound like an infomercial, but I just totally love this site.

Yep, I'll try not to be so wordy in the future. But I'm glad to be joining your group. I gotta warn you, I secretly thrill to a challenge, especially when it's all about increasing my personal best. When I work out, I'm always imagining myself kicking some tail and overcoming impossible odds. I have to work out with my MP3 and some rockin' music. Okay, I'll stop myself now. See you on the blog!!
Love, Becky

Who Knew

Who knew I could eat within my designated calorie range?

Who knew that I could run for 5 minutes without stopping?

Who knew that I don't NEED to have a sweet after a balanced meal?

Who knew that I could feel in control of my eating habits?

Not me.  But now I know. 

For years I've been telling myself I can't change or that I'm not in control of my health.  For the first time, ever really, I do feel in control.  I feel like I can make good choices even when it's hard.  I haven't been picture perfect nor do I ever plan on perfect perfection but I do have this renewed hope that positive changes will happen as I try. 

I've missed you all!

Hi Girls!
I fell by the wayside.

I have had 14 people at my house for the last few weeks.
It's been wonderful.
We will have people here until the 17th, and I haven't figured out how to balance much in the process, but I'll be back.
I promise.
The good things is that I have been walking all day every day as we go sight see. Also, I have been eating really healthy because the restaurants we eat at don't have gluten free options so I have been limited to fresh plain salad every day, dressing free.
Thank goodness I remembered to bring my bag of nuts.
All that walking and salad left a lot of room for a delicious dinner.

Then at night I have been walking with my mom.
I feel like my bucket has been filled.

Cammy and Jenn, you two are so amazing. Jenn, I had to jump up and down to cheer for you for loosing 10 lbs. How cool is that! You two are an inspiration to me. I wish I could join in on your runs. Jenn, when you come out to dc this fall, we'll have to get a group of us together for a group run. That would be fun.

Queen Vee, don't give up!! Push through that plateau. Sometimes it is good to take a recovery week, to allow your body to have a break and return strong. I hope I have that type of determination and energy when I am your age. Thanks for being an inspiration to me.

Sue, I laughed so hard at your crotch sweat. I am still laughing.

Audrey, I loved your post about why we are doing this. Thanks for everything you do for us. We are all blessed for knowing you. I'll jump in on the next challenge. I think I have only reported my complete numbers a few times. I seem to get distracted at writing things down as the week goes on.
That's something I need to work on.

Keep up the good work girls!

Alicia, hang in there, you are stronger than you think.

You are all so wonderful!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I've Plateaued

Many times, too many actually, in the past several years I've made the drive between Denver, CO and Salt Lake City, UT with my preferred route being Highway 70. Although I grew up in Utah (I haven't lived there since I was 19) I pretty much took for granted the amazing scenery all around me, so these trips have been my tutorial in learning to appreciate the spectacular grandeur and breathtaking beauty of the Rockies and the desert. I'm always fascinated by the amazing geography and vistas, particularly the mesas or plateaus that one sees on the drive for mile after mile.

I must confess though, that I'm not amazed by the plateau that I have reached in my efforts to lose weight. I'm tired of what I have been eating, I'm desiring what I'm not eating and I wish that exercising didn't take up so much time and then leave me feeling tired. I had hoped to reach my weight loss goal by the end of July now I'll be lucky if it's August or September. Yep, I'm feeling flat!

I know this will pass but I must admit, I prefer viewing plateaus in the desert rather than being plateaued!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Calling All Emotional Eaters... HELP! HELP! HELP!

I feel like I am digging a hole and it just keeps getting deeper and deeper. I hate to write this post, because I was doing so good for so long, but since Memorial Weekend, I can't seem to get myself to get out of this emotional slump. This past week has been particularly tough. A couple of friendships that had gone sour are resurfacing, and causing all sorts of emotional frustration. All I want to do is eat the emotions away. So here I am, pleading from all directions. HELP HELP HELP!! I can't go back to old ways, but I also can't seem to pull myself out of this hole that is getting deeper in deeper each day!

School girl

I'm one of those freakish people who loved school and loved the routine the school year provided. During the school year, my motivation to do my best was always high. I thrived with routine and regular report card feedback. I liked summers too, don't get me wrong. It was a chance to relax and kick back, let the routines fall by the wayside and enjoy life to its fullest. Problem is that I'm still a school girl at heart. The summer is relax time and I've notice that my motivation to exercise has relaxed too. I'm still walking, but it's more brisk walking than true cardio-walking. I need to take a new class or somehow mix it up to recharge my motivation battery. Hence, this little post. Intended as a kick in the pants to push my muscles in a new and promising direction!

I'm BAAAaaack!

I'm back on the Healthy Wife wagon! June was a crazy month full of lots of activities and big changes in my family (you can read about it on my regular blog if you want) and I just didn't have the energy to track my calories and keep up with points every day.

The good news is that I maintained my weight right around 145, but I stopped exercising as vigorously so I've gone a little soft. I'm back at it again and hoping to tone up my arms in particular. I went to Girls Camp at the end of June and I was so happy to be in good shape when we went on the second year hike (6 miles)! Here's me and some of my girls doing a little Rocky-at-the-top-of-the-courthouse-steps dance:

And here's me looking like a rock star with my sweaty back after plodding into camp three and a half hours later:

Those young girls have it so good. No crotch sweat. It's a little embarrassing to be sitting around trying to assure a bunch of teenagers that you really haven't pee'd your pants!

Glad to be back with you ladies!

Motivation. The Audrey Carlson Version

Instead of beating around the bush I'm just going to say it. YOU have the be the main motivation and reason to get healthier the other reasons will fade and peter out and take you back where you started.

There are a million little motivators that keep me going on my quest to be healthier but I've learned I have to want it, I have to be happy with me because when it comes down to it that's what is most important. I know this sounds selfish but as a stay at home mom or any other kind of woman you do have to put yourself first and that is ok. Really! If I'm happy I can be better at all the other things I do in my life to make it my Happy Life.

Here are some of the motivators that pushed me on but didn't keep me going:

Revenge. That's kind of a nasty word but really it's the best way to describe when you want to get healthy, lose weight, what ever it is to prove someone wrong, beat them at their own game. I've been there before and it doesn't last for long.

Getting healthy takes longer than the instant gratification that revenge demands. And if that person makes you feel that way, either by the words they say or the up and down checking out of how you look do you really want to have to say thanks for helping me get back in shape. NO, you want to say, hey, look what I did! I did the hard work! I'm awesome!

To Feel More Loved. Trust me they love you for who you are, however you look. My husband has been very careful to let me know that he loves me for who I am and although he encourages me to be healthier he always reminds me it's because he knows I will be happier with myself not that he wants me that way. This is how all our friends and loved ones should feel.

We can't do it for them. We have to want this for ourselves. If people like us more because we are skinner is it really because we are skinnier or do we just feel better about ourselves, have more self confidence and are more willing to put ourselves out there and therefore we invite more people into our world.

Sometimes those around us may feel threatened by our success. It's sad but true. I'm not sure why this happens but sometimes we lose friends or even those closer to us because of our desires to be healthy.

True but sad story, readers digest version. I have a friend who's wife was a little over weight but he was significantly over weight. After a scare and a trip to the emergency room he took his wake up call and started exercising. He would run every day and eventually lost a lot of weight. His wife could not handle it. She was a gaming programmer and enjoyed her sedentary life. She was not happy with his "selfish" ways. Eventually they grew apart and have since divorced. He is still a runner and has kept off the weight. It's sad that this was the outcome but he is grateful for his new found life and that he will be around much longer to enjoy it and his family.

Sometimes I think people feel threatened by others success and happiness. If someone around you starts to pull away and you aren't willing to let that relationship go reach out and don't let it. They may be thinking now that you're skinny or healthy that you don't want that friendship anymore.

What motives me.
I'm a competitor and I enjoy doing exercise that allows me to compete in a race. There has to be a point for doing all this exercise.

I like that when my boys want to play I have enough energy to do so. With two active boys I need as much energy as I can. Eating properly and exercising regularly will allow me to do this for a longer part of my life than if I was unhealthy.

I like feeling good when I get dressed.

I want my husband to think dang shes HOT!

If I'm happy with myself I can enjoy those around me more fully. I can be a better mom, wife and friend.

And yes, sometimes those reasons above creep in but they don't keep me going for very long.

I've really had to become comfortable with myself and who I am. If I didn't lose another pound would I still be happy? Yes. So right now it's about living a more full life. That is why I preach till I'm blue in the face that the changes that you're making need to be ones that you can keep doing forever.

What motivates me is that I want to feel this great for years and years to come and if I lose a few pounds and inches along the way because my body was not in a healthy place that is a wonderful bonus.

Thank you Cammy for giving us all something to think about.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I've made the executive decision that we have two winners!


Way to go girls! You seemed to be the only two who endured to the end of our first summer challenge! I'm so proud of you both for hanging in there even when your support group was hanging by a thread.

Keep up the good work!

Now ladies, lets follow their example and endure to the end of this next challenge. I know we all can do it!


I was talking with some of my sisters tonight about their goals and desires in regard to health, weight loss, exercise etc. It was a fun, insightful conversation and I left with some great ideas I want to implement, but I also left with a lot to ponder. One of my sisters lost a lot of weight a few years back. She looked great and seemed happy but has gained much of it back due to pregnancy, stress, life, etc. She kept talking about how differently others started to treat her after she lost the weight, both for good and bad. She actually said one of the reasons she put much of the weight back on was because she felt some people only wanted to be her friend because she was "skinny".

This has got me thinking about what my motivation to change is. I have only been at this for a month now, but I feel great and feel like I look better. I think for the most part my motivation is personal and for me, but at the same time others perceptions of me are a motivator too. I'll be honest I am looking forward to the day when someone says, "My you're looking good? Have you lost weight?" Is this a bad thing? Does this make me a vain person? Does this mean I am on the path to gain back the weight I hope to lose?

I know I am probably over analyzing things but I think motivation has a huge effect on long term success. I want this to be a long term, forever thing I just hope I want it for the right reasons.

I realize not everyone here is trying to lose weight, but I was just curious what you feel is the motivation for you to be healthy?