Good afternoon, challengers! I hope everyone's week is off to a great start! Here's a few of my favorite Challenge-friendly eats from the past few days...
2 Zucchini (medium, halved lenghwise)
Olive oil cooking spray
¼ cup Onion (finely diced)
1 tsp Fresh garlic (minced)
¼ cup mushrooms (small diced)
¼ cup Tomato (finely diced)
¼ cup  Low-fat feta cheese
¼ cup Pecans (crushed)
1/2 cup Tomato sauce

Serves 1 large or 2 small.
Preheat the oven at 375°F. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a spoon and knife (if needed) remove all the white flesh (do not discard the skin or flesh). If the green skin breaks don’t worry. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Lightly coat with spray and add the white zucchini flesh, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté until onions are lightly browned and liquids have evaporated. Then remove from heat. Add tomato, feta cheese and pecans to the pan. Stuff the zucchini peel with the heated mixture. Reform the peel around the stuffing. Add to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with warm tomato sauce.
Oh, you mean Onion Rings from Applebee's AREN'T Challenge friendly? Whoops. Alright, alright, maybe they were just for a cheat meal. Onion rings are my FAVORITE food....besides sushi, ice cream, macaroni and cheese...okay I like all food. Anyway, I took advantage of my cheat meal and had 4 onion rings (or 12, I don't know, my memory is foggy) and a small glass of wine. Didn't you know the cool thing to do is go to Applebee's at 4pm on a Thursday? (Seriously, though, they have a great Happy Hour and if you ask nicely enough they give you a coloring book).

Besides all of that yummy food, I wanted to talk quickly about something I've noticed a few challenge members have become frustrated with: the number on the scale. Yep, the dreaded number. For me, that number has always controlled my happiness - and I hate that it has that power. Here are two scenarios:

Scenario One: The number on the scale is higher than usual: My mood is immediately shot down. I must be doing everything wrong, I must be not pushing it hard enough during my workouts, I must not be as dedicated as everyone else, and I will just never see the number I want to. My clothes instantly feel tighter (even if they felt loose when I put them on), my hair looks bad, my car needs to be washed, it starts raining when I step outside, and every driver on the road is determined to cut me off. Even my dog looks at me like this:
"I am so disappointed in you, Mom"
Scenario Two: The number on the scale is lower than usual: My mood is immediately elevated! Everything is wonderful! My clothes are extremely loose and - is that a six pack I see? I've been kicking ass in my workouts and I am extremely determined! MY hair looks great, my car probably still needs to be washed, it is probably still raining (thanks, Seattle) but everything feels GLORIOUS! What a great start to the day!

I know, I tend to exaggerate. The main point here is that that silly number immediately and so easily affects my mood and my outlook on my progress. My simple solution: I stopped weighing myself. Now, I know we are on a challenge and need to track our progress, but I choose to limit my weigh-ins. I also choose to weigh myself on days where I know I've had a pretty solid few days of eating extremely compliant and keeping up with my workouts.

While I do agree it is necessary to track our progress and weight is definitely a way to do that, I know that seeing a number I don't want to will likely hurt my motivation instead of help it. I try, instead, to pay close attention the way clothes are fitting and to how I look in the mirror. Taking pictures also helps a lot - as long as you're sure to delete them off your phone before your 4-year-old nephew decides he's going to scroll through your entire photo gallery and then ask why you were wearing a bathing suit in your kitchen in February. All jokes aside, pictures can be very helpful in examining success -  so get your inner Victoria's Secret Angel on and take a few different angles once a week. Examine them after a few weeks and I guarantee you will notice changes.

Well - I'm off to go ice myself in a bath for 3 hours after today's workout. Rommel, I hate you today, but I know in a few weeks when I'm feeling even better than I already do, I'll love you for it! Really, you have been great during this challenge and are a huge reason for my motivation - so thank you!! I would also like a raise.

- Casey
2/6/2013 02:02:31 am


Another great and very timely post! Thank you for taking the time to share such great hints and recipes!

2/8/2013 02:09:17 am

Thanks, Linda! Love chatting with you in the gym!

2/6/2013 07:29:54 am

We give that number way more power than it is allowed to have. I am done letting it dictate my mood and eating habits.

2/8/2013 02:10:20 am

That's right, Joff!! You're doing so well!! Not just at being my body guard but at the workouts too! Ha ;)

2/6/2013 11:22:46 am

Thanks Casey! Such a good point! Thanks for the blogging :)

2/8/2013 02:10:54 am

I enjoy doing it! Happy you a lot of Challengers can relate!

2/7/2013 08:41:03 am

Thanks! I can totally relate with that DARN number! Luv the recipes & will try a few out.

2/8/2013 02:11:39 am

Let me know how they come out!

2/7/2013 09:32:46 am

Thanks, Casey! Your sense of humor is contagious! :)

2/8/2013 02:24:07 am

Thank you for reading! And thank you also for your active and enthusiastic participation in the group!


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