July 31, 2011

Turkey meatloaf florentine

Today's the day! Happy re-birthday to me!

Tim asked me the other day what my favorite moment from the year was. Honestly, I'm not sure if I could pick just one! This whole year has been remarkable - like all other one-year-olds, Healthy Me has grown incredibly in her first year, but she still has much to learn. I've grown as I shrank, learning an awful lot about myself in the process. I've made mistakes and I've had terrific victories. I've worked hard to discover what works best for me and what doesn't. I've accomplished things I never, ever thought I was capable of.

So, here's a little recap of my first twelve months - a "baby's first year" album, if you will.

August, September, October

In August, I met my first weight loss goal: I lost enough weight to use the Wii Fit my parents had bought me for Christmas a year or so earlier. I also had one of my first big challenges when I went on a road trip with a few of my cousins to the Illinois State Fair - I packed a Larabar for car breakfast and avoided the worst of the fair food. To not go buckwild in a place that was meant for edible excess was a huge test of my resolve, and it felt so good to ace it.

In September, my friend Ellen asked me to walk the Race for the Cure 5k with her as part of her boyfriend's family team. It was exhausting. It took me over an hour. And I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment afterwards. I got interested in walking races after that, to feel that intense pride.

In October, on the day of the Chicago Marathon, I raced up 26 floors of stairs in my office building. I trained for it after work for about a month and a half before, starting with five floors at a time. It took me 8 minutes that first day, and my lungs felt like they were going to give out. On race day, I did the 26 floors in a fraction of a second over nine minutes flat. Then raced up the last two floors, just to say I conquered the whole building. Afterwards, we enjoyed a healthy snack of apples, and I announced to my friends and family that I was going to learn how to run so that I could run a 5k race.

November, December, January

In November, I started to see a change in my features due to my weight loss, and began to struggle a lot because of it. I had a hard time recognizing myself in the mirror, since I hadn't been under 275 pounds since high school. My iPod broke, and I had an emotional breakdown in the Apple store when I made mental connections between the old/new look of my body and my old, big, reliable mp3 player/the small, fancy new one I bought. Not as jump-for-joy-ful as the races, but a very important experience for me on my journey.

In December, I headed back home to Connecticut for the holidays. I was very nervous about going back and being able to stay active and on-plan. For my first holiday season, I did well - I made a great plan, stuck to it as closely as I could, and enjoyed being with my family.

In January, I ran my first 5k. It took me less time than I had anticipated, but that hardly mattered - I ran the whole thing! And when I finished, my kid brother gave me a gigantic hug. It was an incredible day.

February, March, April

In February, I had my first binge since August, triggered by my dad going to the hospital in Florida. We also had a huge blizzard, and I was very proud of myself for staying on-plan and in control when leaving the house wasn't an option!

In March, I took an overnight trip to St. Louis to enjoy my spring break a little - and to take some vacation photos of my smaller self.

In April, I was very busy. My mom and brother came to Chicago to visit, I found out I wasn't getting rehired at my teaching job, and I went to Connecticut for one day to visit my best friend Jill, whom I had not seen at all since I started to lose weight - I was down more than 125 pounds at that point.

May, June, July

In May, I went vegan for a whole month, and was surprised at how much I didn't miss meat or dairy. It's something I'd consider going back to in maintenance, but in the losing phase of my weight journey, it didn't work for me.

In June, I ran my first 10k - and in less than a minute longer than it took me to walk the 5k back in September. And I got to onederland for the first time since middle school!

In July, I met Ben and a ton of other incredibly inspirational people at the Do Life event in Chicago. We ran, we talked, we bonded. I left the event feeling fully charged and ready for my month of anniversaries.

To tell the truth, looking through all the pictures I've taken over the past year has brought tears to my eyes. Partly because I see that big girl and I don't really recognize her anymore, but also, because my vision of the whole journey has been so blurry lately. I've focused so intently on short-term struggles and failed to adequately acknowledge just how much success I've seen this year.

I hope I don't sound boastful, but I'm honestly in awe of myself - this year, I have done some really incredible things. Yes, my weight loss has slowed in the past few weeks (I've been looking over my food and exercise journals and have been drawing some conclusions), but I can't honestly look back over the past year and call any experience a failure - and even if they were, it all comes back to one of my favorite Rilo Kiley quotes: All of your failures are training grounds. These experiences are teaching me and preparing me for the next year of weight loss - and a lifetime of maintenance. I am not failing by any means - I'm figuring out what works for me, what I need to do to ensure that these changes are not only successful but sustainable in the long run.

So, happy re-birthday to me, and hopefully many more. I can hold my head up on my own, so to speak, and I'm ready to start trying to walk on the legs I've been strengthening in my first year.

I invented this week's recipe. It's still quite hot out, but I've wanted to make turkey meatloaf lately. Mostly because I wanted a sandwich made with leftover turkey meatloaf. I know it's a small departure from a turkey burger, but it was different enough to inspire my newest favorite recipe.

It may not look like much, but it was incredibly delicious. The flavor was spinachy-y and bacon-y but neither overwhelmed the other. I didn't add any other spices, so you could really taste the two flavors pretty well. I had a piece for dinner last night with some fruit; two of the leftover slices went straight into the freezer, and one has a date with destiny on a whole wheat sandwich thin either today or tomorrow.
16 oz. lean ground turkey
1.5 cups fresh spinach
4 strips turkey bacon
1 egg
1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. In a food processor, finely chop spinach. Add bacon and process to chop/combine. In a medium-size bowl, combine all ingredients (be careful not to overmix). Spray the bottom/sides of a 9"x9" baking dish with non-stick spray, then place in meatloaf mix, spreading level to ensure even baking. Bake for 25-35 minutes.

So yummy. I used the same thin strips of turkey bacon that I used for my sandwich swap and was amazed at how prominent the flavor was.

The best part of this recipe? With my ingredients, a quarter of the meatloaf is 250 calories - a great lunch, especially paired with some more spinach for a salad! I've been using MyFitnessPal for a couple of weeks. (If you use it, feel free to add me! I'm oh_mg - I love seeing people's food diaries, first to get ideas for menus, but also to get ideas from how people maximize their calories). I love it, and one great feature is that you can add in your own recipes by listing the ingredients and how many servings it makes, then you can add it to your daily meal tracker. Amazing!

What about you? What's your favorite meal to have as leftovers?


Charlotte said...

Happy birthday!!!
Wishing you to reach many more goals in this year to come.
You are absolutely right to be in awe of yourself. It is quite amazing what changes your brought to yourself in a year.

Chubby McGee said...



I can't even begin to express how proud I am of you and your accomplishments.

Go, girl! GO!

Spoonful of Me said...

Happy Re-Birth Day!!!!! You are such an inspiration to all of your followers.

timothy said...

congrats on the anniversary, you are amazing! so glad you have happy memories to look back on, and this year is going to be even BETTER!
i LOVE ground turkey and it's ww friendly 2. a 1 pound container is 17 points. i did a stir fry with taco seasoning and shredded cheese for a eat as i go day when i was busy that worked really well for me.

Bonnie said...

Congrats on your year!!!

Thanks for the amazing recap.....loved it!!!

Fat in Suburbia said...

Congratulations on a great year! Love the recap!

Amy said...

Boast all you want! You've done amazing things in the past year. You inspire me and your HUNDREDS of readers to work hard because it does pay off.

I honestly feel like I can do this after reading about your struggles and successes.

Caron said...

Happy re-birthday! I've over used fabulous, awesome and great so went looking for a couple of new words this morning. Let's just say it's been "exciting" to watch your "phenomenal" progress. Wishing you continued success. :)

SheZug said...

Congratulations on your first re-birthday. You've been such an inspiration.

Erin said...

Happy Re-Birthday! You have put in some hard work and it has truly paid off! You are inspiration to me, as well as many others. I wish you nothing but continued success. Great job, Mary!

Jessica said...

Yay! Happy Day for you!!

Joy said...

Congrats! Very inspirational year!! Keep it up and stay focused!!!

kellybmomof3 said...

Happy Re-birthday! You are an inspiration! Just AWESOME!

Fangirl Says/Monica said...

I love this post! You are right to be proud of all you've done in the past year. :)

sguidone said...

Happy Re-Birthday!!!

I was just looking through old pictures the other day, and I barely recognized you too-

Loved looking through your 'baby book', and hearing your words of wisdom through all the ups and downs of the year.

Love you so much <3

Shannon said...

Happy Re-Birthday!! I love this post! What you have accomplished over the last year is so amazing! I'm so happy for you, Mary!

melanie said...

Happy Re-birthday - what incredible things you have accomplished. I have so enjoyed following your journey .. your realness is a breath of fresh air!

Andrea Ward said...

Happy Re-Birthday!! I loved seeing the pics from the last year. I think I will have to try that recipe too! Congrats on the last year and here's to many more!!

marisol said...

Happy re-birthday to you! This sort of post is a great way to see how far you've come along.

uppercasek said...

Happy re-birthday!

As I just started my own weight loss journey, it is very inspirational to read your one-year recap. Congratulations and keep going!

Roxie Morrow said...

Happy Re-Birthday!! What an amazing year you've had, and thank you for recapping for those of us that didn't know you "back then".
You should be smiling from ear to ear girl. Be proud and be as boastful as you want. You deserve every happiness!!!


Weight Wars said...

This is so so great and so inspiring. Really really well done.

Pirate Alice said...

Happy belated re-birthday! You really are an inspiration. I'm so proud of you! It sounds like it's been a year of so much going on and you've managed to stay on track.

GOOD FOR YOU! Keep going!!

Dina said...

Just wanted to delurk and say you are amazing! Great job, and you look fantastic!

Bluezy said...

Joyeux anniversaire!
Pour moi, le pain de viande du avant nuit et construit une sandwich avec le pain blanche et beaucoup mayonaisse et laitue!

Your story is a true OMG, Oh_mg!

Jill said...

Wow - jaw-dropping progress in one year - you are truly inspirational! I love the idea of a birthday celebration for the healthy you - what a great way to review your progress and celebrate your success. Keep up the great work :)

Tim said...

What a year, wow. I'm so pleased i've been following you for most of your journey because it's really helpful seeing other people going through similar experiences to me. I love reading your blog because you're so honest and you try your hardest to achieve any challenge that you set yourself. Keep up the fantastic work!

Congratulations :)