this weekend was kiiiiind of a big deal because i officially reached the 50-pounds-lost benchmark.
so exciting, you guys!
here’s a picture:
as embarrassing as is it to admit, i gained an even 50 pounds after i got married. crazy, right?
and it sucked.
all my clothes fit all wrong. i was always, always tired (and pretty depressed)… i got winded just taking the stairs in our loft. my doctor told me i had high cholesterol and high triglycerides. i felt awful! some people have asked what caused me to gain the weight, and i think it’s obvious here that i love food. i enjoy it — food is fun, it’s celebratory. that’s not a problem, exactly, but i also hated exercising, and without that foundation, i easily convinced myself to quit my gym membership not long after we got married. then i went through some personal stuff and started self-medicating with extra food. it went pretty quickly from there.
a couple years ago, i couldn’t take it anymore, and i finally went back to the gym; and found out that working out isn’t so bad, after all :) i made some mental health changes, too. i never should have waited so long! one of my gym’s mantras is “doing what we want, when we want.” and having the energy and ability to do that is pretty great!
it’s been a long road, and although each pound gone has been a victory, this particular milestone seemed so significant.
i have never been athletic and have always seen myself as the chubby kid. so i think one of my favorite moments of 2012 was coming in second place in the female burpee challenge put on by my gym over the summer. it was such an amazing feeling! i am good at burpees, man! and burpees are difficult!
every day that i walk out of that gym, i’ve done something i never thought i could do. i ran faster, i pushed more weight, i had better form. i squatted 300 pounds. i ran 150 sprints. i biked or rowed 10 miles. i helped pull a 3/4-ton pickup truck with a rope! things i never thought i would be able to do.
in the past, i’ve often celebrated my weight-loss successes with food. “let’s go out tonight to celebrate!” isn’t that bizarre? and ironic. i mean, to me food is festive — i celebrate every holiday, birthday, special occasion or get-together with friends with tasty food and plenty of it. i love that.
but this time — such as when i reached my 20-pounds-lost milestone and bought a new pair of jeans — this time, i went for a run. WHAT A TREAT RIGHT? it was 30 degrees! my hands and face were freezing. yikes!
but this was cool for me; because i used to despise exercise. i hated it, all of it. and to choose to do something like running, just because i CAN run, because it doesnt hurt the way it used to and because i have the strength now, to keep going — was a rad testament to how much i’ve really changed, mentally and physically.
so yay to that.
my husband, my friends and family, my trainers have been so supportive through my little journey, and i’m so grateful. my husband has encouraged me to keep going even if it means eating healthy (weird) stuff for dinner, or hanging out alone while i’m at the gym. he is amazing. once, my trainer took me aside and said “i know that you can do better.” i was tired from box sprints and kind of thought i was going to die, so his words angered me. i threw down my sweat towel and said “i’m TIRED!” but he was right! i did better, finished the sprints strong, faster than i thought i could have. i’m so glad he helped me believe that about myself.
anyway, i don’t eat right all of the time. but… most of the time. i eat sensibly and in moderation. i’ve started seeing food as a fuel for my body and not just something to enjoy. i work out hard, and afterwards i can splurge calories on dinner (and bourbon). usually when i want a cheeseburger, i have an apple. but sometimes, i have the cheeseburger — and fries. but i don’t let it stop me. i can sweat off that cheeseburger later! for me, i don’t want a life without cheeseburgers. it’s all about balance.
hummus is an awesome and tasty way to keep that balance… a delicious superfood! you can buy hummus at the store, but you haven’t really eaten hummus til you’ve made it fresh yourself, am i right? it’s amazing and my husband declared this the creamiest and tastiest i’ve ever made. (thanks, babe!) i like to spike a batch of homemade hummus with roasted garlic and roasted red bell peppers….the garlic flavor deepens and mellows as it roasts, and the bell peppers give a wonderful color and brightness.
for dipping, i like pita triangles, crackers, or vegetable crudites — carrot sticks or cucumber rounds, spears of fresh bell peppers, crunchy jicama sticks. hummus also makes an awesome spread on sandwiches or wraps, or maybe tucked in alongside some flafel in a pita pocket. yum!
i’ve been making hummus for so long that it almost seemed too boring a recipe to share. but it isn’t, and it’s easy and delicious! i like to add white beans to the garbanzos for a textural dimension. enjoy!
roasted red pepper hummusyield: enough for a party appetizer and some for lunch the next day note: we’re on a strict budget around here, so i started with dried chickpeas because they’re so inexpensive. this process takes some time, and since dinnersfowinners is all about easy and quick, i’ve included directions for using canned beans or dried. canned beans are a great time-saver — just make sure you rinse them well because they are packed in plenty of sodium.
- 1 head of garlic
- 1/2 of a 15 oz jar of roasted red peppers (and some of the liquids)
- 2 cans garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
- 1 can white beans (such as canellini), drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- juice from two lemons
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
if starting with dried chickpeas: place 1 1/4 cups of dried chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with twice the volume of water. let it sit overnight. drain, and then saute the chickpeas and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a large skillet for about 3 minutes (the baking soda helps reduce the gasseous effects beans can have on us!) add 1.5 quarts of water and cook at a simmer anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes, maybe longer, depending on freshness. they’re ready when tender, but not mushy.
wrap the head of garlic (unpeeled) in foil and place in a 450-degree oven for 30-40 minutes. (i like to do this while i’m already roasting something else in the oven.) once cool, remove foil and peel cloves. pop them into a food processor and let them get finely chopped.
add the remaining ingredients and process until very smooth, seriously like at least 4 – 5 minutes. taste and adjust seasonings: more salt and pepper? more lemon? sometimes i add more liquid if the hummus is too thick — more roasted red pepper liquid, or even some water.
store in an airtight container in the fridge, though i find it best served at room temperature.