Traveling through life with a timer and sneakers

Posts tagged “weight loss

Hitting the social circuit while on the HMR Diet (and a recipe for Chocolate Fudge cookies)

One of the most important practices for weight management is Environmental Control. Numerous studies have been introduced in my HMR Program classes that demonstrate how a controlled environment can lead to successful weight loss and maintenance.

The easiest way to control my environment has been avoidance. Our house is arranged to support weight management, with my husband having his own cupboard and shelf in the fridge where his favorite foods go that are less supportive of my weight management needs. So he eats what he wants, but I can avoid exposure to it. And my classroom is set up to be supportive as well.

But what happens when I want to go to a social event? There are dozens of strategies that can be utilized in this less controlled environment but avoidance is a lot more difficult. However one of the ways I have found to be supportive is to not only pack my own food and beverages, but to have a special in-the-box food I get to enjoy during these social occasions that I might not otherwise get to enjoy.

When this weekend packed a double-slam Social Saturday with both a work retreat and a girl’s night, I knew I would have to pull out all the punches. I had proportioned fruits and veggies that could be noshed on whenever needed, both of my insulated drink carriers loaded with shakes, a couple of flavored sparkling waters, an entree loaded in my HotLogic Mini (btw they are having a sale the next couple days if you want to go in with a friend!), and these Chocolate Fudge cookies portioned out into smaller servings to be pulled out if and when I needed a special snack. They were perfect with a cup of coffee when my coworkers were eating fancy catered desserts, and also excellent paired with a sparkling water when my friends were drinking champagne. Note that I tried to pair them with beverages to help with the fact they are a low-volume food. It made the cookies last longer between sips of a drink, but also helped keep me full longer.

I would love to hear from you. What tips do you find most useful when hitting a social event while trying to stay in your weight management box?

Chocolate Fudge HMR Diet Cookies

  • HMR Oatmeal
  • HMR 70 Chocolate Shake
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tbsp fat-free chocolate fudge pudding powder (the instant mix powder!)
  • 4 to 6 ounces of water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix first four ingredients together until blended.
  3. Pour water in slowly, mixing, until a desired cookie dough texture is obtained. I found 5 ounces to be about right, but the thickness of the batter with vary the texture of the cookies as well as baking time, so the choice is personal.
  4. Spoon tablespoonish size portions of dough onto a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet and bake 8 to 12 minutes (depending on the thickness of your dough) until cooked.
  5. Let cool and then portion out. It makes between 10 and 14 cookies.

Cauliflower Tortilla – a #HealthySolutions experiment

I was watching Top Chef this week and was impressed with a challenge where contestants had to replace an ingredient with cauliflower. It was fun to watch because cauliflower is in my Healthy Solutions box and I was inspired to play…

The Internet is full of cauliflower “bread” recipes, most of which require oils and cheese, which aren’t in my HMR Diet Healthy Solutions box. And thus I was motivated to create my own.

I’m still playing around with this, but after several variations (I’ve eaten a LOT of cauliflower this week), I have a version that makes a pliable wrap/tortilla-like product that can easily hold other ingredients.

One note of caution if you are a volume eater is that by processing the cauliflower in this way, you are making a low-volume food that may not be as filling. I try to keep my low-volume foods to a minimum so that I can stay full, which is why although this is “in the box,” I won’t reach for it all the time.

Cauliflower Day
HMR Healthy Solutions cauliflower tortilla filled with a stir-fry of cauliflower rice and the HMR BBQ Chicken entree (only part of the entree – saved some filling for later) served with a side of air-fried buffalo cauliflower. I declared the day “Cauliflower Day” 🙂

I have included pictures of the steps at the conclusion of this post to help with visualization since it’s a bit more complicated than most recipes I’ve posted.

This recipe uses something called aquafaba. Its the water that chickpeas are cooked in (there’s a chemical reaction that occurs giving it a viscosity that works like egg whites). You can just open up a can of chickpeas and take a tablespoon of this water/aquafaba. It serves as the binder for the ingredients.

Final note – the soup gives more than enough salt for this recipe. After several trials, I’d recommend checking any flavorings you add do not have additional salt in them (I used Penzey’s seasonings but you could change things up).

HMR Healthy Solutions Cauliflower Tortilla/Wrap

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Steam cauliflower in your favorite method. I just throw a tablespoon of water and the cauliflower in my large Pampered Chef Micro-Cooker and microwave for 5 minutes. Let cool so you can handle it.
  2. Use a food processor to blend it. You could also mash with a potato masher. I will warn you that I tried making a version with pre-riced cauliflower and it did not stay together very well – so definitely start with florets and get them nice and smooth.
  3. Scoop the cauliflower into cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the cauliflower and stir to combine.
  5. Spread evenly on a baking pan either lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. I actually would make three smaller tortillas next time, the larger one was too big and didn’t crisp as well in the middle.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Check doneness. Mine were still soft in the middle but had browned on top, so I used a spatula to flip them over and baked for another 10 minutes. Baking times will vary based on how big and how thick you make them as well as your oven’s calibration.
Making HMR Cauliflower Tortillas

Making HMR Cauliflower Tortillas


HMR Healthy Solutions: Butternut Squash Beef Stroganoff

After my first Core class last week, I went to Sprouts to stock up on vegetables and fruits to bulk up my meals. It was going to be a stressful couple of days and I knew I didn’t have time to prep a lot of ingredients, so I went in search of pre-cut produce to save some time. And I discovered spiralized butternut squash!

Now I have a spiralizer at home but I’ve never thought to use it on butternut squash! So I had to pick up a package to try as I was struck by inspiration.

I’ve made the following recipe a few times this week. I like the texture of the squash to be a little crunchy, so cook longer if you want softer noodles.

Also, if you are extra hungry, you can double everything but the entree for extra bulk and minimal calories (I’ve done both!).

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Butternut Squash Beef Stroganoff

  • HMR Beef Stroganoff Entree
  • 1 cup butternut squash noodles
  • 2 tbsp chopped onions
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (depending on how strong you want it)
  • 1/2 tbsp FF sour cream
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat sauté pan to medium high and cook chopped onions using either a spritz of cooking spray or water for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften. Add noodles, paprika, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes. You will want to add a little water to keep things from sticking (I keep a little bowl with a tablespoon in it nearby while cooking to add as needed without adding too much).

Add Beef Stroganoff entree and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and fold in sour cream. Serve and enjoy!


Experiencing failure in weight management: Examining lessons learned in order to become successful

As the semester wraps up at the school where I teach, and I enter final exams into the grade book, I notice some familiar occurrences. Students figuring out the minimum work they need to do in order to maintain their current grade in the class and those who worked extra hard on the final in order to compensate for missing work earlier in the semester.

I used to be one of those students. In middle and high school, I hated turning in homework for many of my classes. It wasn’t that I didn’t love learning, it’s just that the process of doing homework seemed silly to me and I felt like my time was better spent in other areas like extracurriculars or reading some non-course literature. I always attempted to learn the material, often scoring incredibly well on exams, which balanced my grades much to the chagrin of my teachers and parents.

However over time those bad habits began to take their toll. Now as a teacher, I have come to realize that homework is an important component of learning, providing continuing opportunities to strengthen your knowledge and skills in an area. And I learned that lesson the hard way, when in one high school class I fell so far behind that I eventually needed a tutor to help me learn the material so I could pass the final exam.

Why did it take getting to near failure before I caught myself? It wasn’t until a recent HMR class, when an instructor said something relating to weight management, that I made the connection. I had become complacent in my success. With every slip in my grade, I would readjust my goals, lowering the bar to make the falling grade more acceptable. Until eventually it got so low, I couldn’t figure out how to do the work by myself to bring my grade back up to where it needed to be to pass the class.

As a teacher, I have made it a goal to ensure students I work with don’t fall into these same bad habits. And as a student entering the HMR program in 2013, I was determined not to let myself slip. I did every homework assignment. I studied my own behaviors as well as paying close attention to every lesson my teachers and fellow classmates shared. And I found myself excelling at something I had failed at so many times in my adult life. I lost weight. And a lot of it.

I had successfully practiced the behaviors of the Decision Free Diet to the point it had become second-nature. My brain learned to appreciate and thrive in this structured environment full of homework and accountability. And I eventually “graduated” to the next step, Phase Two. Managing my weight and maintaining my new lighter body.

It was in Phase Two where I met my own personal nemesis again. I found myself slacking off on healthy behaviors, choosing to skip a serving of vegetables and having a an unmeasured serving of fried rice instead. And as I saw small gains on the scale, I kept readjusting my healthy weight range. When I got worried about the gains, I found myself holding “cram sessions” where I would jump headfirst into weight loss behaviors in an attempt to adjust for gains, without making a plan to sustain that loss (much like a student crams for a test and then forgets all of the material the day after). And over time, I became complacent. Until I had gained so much of my lost weight back, that I felt like a failure.

This has not been an easy post to write. Nor has it been an easy lesson to come to terms with. Through my complacency with the ever-upward creeping scale and my desire to focus on “extracurriculars” instead of foundational lessons, I have found myself failing in weight management. I made choices to ignore the lessons I learned in Phase One and Phase Two classes that would allow me to be successful, and instead I felt shame and a loss of so many health benefits I had worked hard to earn, like climbing stairs without feeling winded or sleeping without feeling acid climbing up the back of my throat.

Maintaining weight loss is a course you cannot graduate from. It is a course you are enrolled in for the rest of your life. There isn’t a final exam you can hire a tutor to prepare you for, where you only need X% in order to pass your class and maintain your weight on your permanent record. And this has been a difficult lesson for me to come to terms with. In order to be successful in this lifelong lesson, I will need to be consistent in practicing my healthy behaviors. I will need to stop adjusting up what is a “passing grade” for a healthy weight range to justify continued weight gain. And I will need to stop being complacent in the world of the gap.

Much like a student who struggles in an advanced academic class, I am going back to my foundational coursework. I have accepted that I need to work on my relationship with fruits and vegetables. And I need to lose the weight that I have allowed myself to put back on my body. So I have started again as a student in the Core classes of Phase One, enrolled in Healthy Solutions this time from the beginning. I know this means I will be faced with making more decisions during weight loss, which I found difficult in my transition to Phase Two. So this will be important for me to focus on during the weight loss phase. It also will mean I am eating a higher calorie minimum prescription, which will mean I lose at a slower rate, but will also mean more time to practice these behaviors during weight loss. I am back in my late night Wednesday classes and surrounded by a number of new and returning HMR students. I am determined to be successful again, this time not just in weight loss but also in the lifelong class of managing that loss. I know the HMR Diet works. I just need to make sure I am also doing the work.

With this in mind – I’d love to hear your favorite HMR Phase One recipes. Decision Free and Healthy Solutions. Please share or link in the comments!


Creamy HMR Penne Pasta Bake

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The new HMR Program Penne & Meatball entree is great on it’s own but sometimes you just want to shake things up to keep it interesting. Adding the soup and some additional spices can make for a delicious and easy pasta bake.

Creamy Penne Pasta Bake

  • HMR Penne & Meatball Entree
  • HMR Chicken Soup packet
  • Penzeys Roasted Garlic (several dashes worth – you can also use your favorite garlic powder or crushed garlic or leave this out)
  • Crushed Red Pepper (1/4 tsp optional for a nice kick)
  • 3 ounces water

Mix all ingredients together in a casserole dish until fully combined. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until top has browned. Oven times may vary depending on how shallow or deep your baking dish is as well as your oven’s calibration.

Enjoy!

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Spicy HMR Lentil Soup

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When I was in Phase One of the HMR program, I rarely ate soup. Odd because it seemed like that’s what all of my classmates were doing – turning entrees into soup. But it just didn’t appeal to me.

Since entering Phase Two, I have realized how useful broth-based soups are as high-volume, low-calorie meal options. And so I have tried to increase my soup intake.

This is a very simple but delicious Decision-Free way to use the new HMR Diet Lentil Stew. If you don’t want the spice, cut the Green Dragon Sauce.

Spicy Lentil Soup

Stir all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally while heating. Once soup comes to a boil, turn off heat and enjoy while it’s still steaming!


Toffee Apple Cider – a warming HMR shake on a cold day!

The weather has turned colder in sunny California and that means more hot HMR shakes to stay warm and full during the holiday season.

This one is easy and perfect to sip from a thermos while heading out in the evening to see holiday lights.

Toffee Apple Cider

  • 1 ounce Torani Sugar-Free English Toffee syrup
  • 1 packet Alpine-Spiced Sugar-Free Apple Cider mix
  • 1 serving HMR Diet Vanilla Shake
  • 15 ounces hot water

Put everything in the blender and blend on low to help everything dissolve and come together (always be careful blending hot liquids). Pour into a large mug or thermos for a warm and filling beverage!