Everyday Inspiration: Meet E!

I have to admit it. I go into each and every day hoping to be of some sort of inspiration or motivation to people.

All I ever really wanted to do in life was make a difference, and I am still on a journey to find out just what medium I will use to do so.

In the process, SeeSondraSlim began. It has been one of the most rewarding, most fulfilling things I have ever ventured into, and I am blessed to be working towards building it and molding it even more.

One thing I am most proud of is my 30 Day Challenge Installments. I knew that to truly see the changes (you still have  hard time seeing the differences that are so obvious to others when you’re used to being so big!), I needed to post photo documentation. Not only did it help me see my success and boost my confidence…it inspired others! It opened up a whole new world of support for me, and that will always be one of my biggest achievements!

I am excited to announce that one of my most favorite people on the planet, my cousin, reached out to be and volunteered to share her photos at the beginning of her own weight loss Journey!

E. is 26 years old, and gave birth to an adorable baby boy earlier this year!

Here, you can see E. at her smaller size. I think this is from Christmas 2009:

2013-08-14 21.19.00

Now, she is ready to “get her body back,” and recently begun new workout routines and eating better.

Here are here starting photos, at 195 lbs:

IMG_20130731_223131_677-1-1 IMG_20130731_224501 IMG_20130731_223107_835-1

If you’ve been there before (or just followed my posts), you know it takes a lot of courage, and a lot of self-love to volunteer like this(clearly, it runs in the family)! Huge thanks to my cousin for sharing, and best of luck on your new journey!

We will be checking in with her periodically to see how her progress is coming along!

Here is to the beginning of a new journey!

YOU CAN DO IT!!

Got any tips for shedding weight post-baby? Share them here, or on the SeeSondraSlim Facebook Page! Let’s support E. in her endeavors!

Other new mommies on a weight loss journey?
Here are some links to sites that may be of some extra motivation to you!

50 Inspiring Blogs for Post-Baby Weight Loss

Happy Reading! 🙂

If you’re interested in submitting your own photos for the SeeSondraSlim 30 Day Challenge Support posts, please email me at SeeSondraSlim@gmail.com! Let this become the support system for you, that it has been for me!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

SeeSondraStrategize: Healthy Ways to Hit the Town!

Hey Lovelies!

It’s a sad fact: Most people think your days of eating out after weight loss surgery (or just if you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle) are over .Done-zo. Finished.

It doesn’t have to be that way!!!

Since I first decided to have WLS back in the beginning of 2011, I was determined to figure out how my old life and my new body could live in harmony.

When it came to the idea of eating out, it never occurred to me that I’d have to stop altogether. I was more worried about the fact that I’d most likely end up wasting mass amounts of food if I ate out frequently. My personal favorite weight loss blogger, Shelly, over at The World According to Eggface is a genius when it comes to what she calls re-purposing her leftovers. I could easily do this, but frankly, I’m a little too lazy!

There are a few simple things to keep in mind when it comes to eating out.

1. Plan your attack!

Technology is amazing! You can check out a restaurants reviews, read a menu, find directions to get there, and so much more. A few minutes before or during the car ride to the restaurant is all you need to set yourself up for sit-in success! I like to use Yelp.com to check out different options in the immediate area, and after finding one that has high reviews and decent prices, I click through to the menu on the link typically provided.

Whether you’re keeping it low-carb, low-cal, low-fat, or just treating yourself on your “Reward Day,” this is a fabulous resource! See what local connoisseurs highly recommend and adapt it to your needs! Sometimes, I’ll find myself craving a burger or tacos…and I’ll indulge! I order tacos and dump all the filling in a bowl with my favorite red sauce, and it’s heaven. Order a perfect turkey burger and get it wrapped in lettuce or with no bun period. You’d be surprised how much something tastes like heaven, even if you eliminate the part you used to live for!

2. Avoid Fast Food 

I totally said it. You gotta understand, even before I had WLS, I couldn’t really handle a lot of fast food. Sure, I’d get a craving for Taco Bell and binge my brains out, but I couldn’t STAND the way it made me feel! I REFUSE to eat at McDonald’s…so you won’t find any tips for that here. Luckily, places like Taco Bell have gotten creative and adapted their menus with healthier options, but I still prefer to just keep my distance. If you’re in the market for fast food, here are some suggestions from Shelly’s blog that I find useful. My personal choices at the “fine dining establishments” are noted in italics next to hers. 🙂

In & Out Burger: “Protein-style”
Single Cheeseburger with grilled onions (Protein style = wrapped in lettuce
instead of a bun)

Taco Bell, Del Taco: Order of Pintos & Cheese/refried beans with a scoop of meat or
chicken added

El Pollo Loco:
Grilled Chicken Breast (single piece – they are huge) or $1 side salad minus
tortilla strips & the $1 Chicken Taco El Carbon. I discard the tortilla and
dump the chicken on the salad. Great meal for $2. I go for the small Chicken Tortilla Soup.

McDonald’s: Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled
Chicken, no dressing (ask for salsa packets)

Carl’s Jr: Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Grilled
Chicken Salad (ax the walnuts if you are sensitive to sugars they are glazed) or
they will wrap any of their burgers in lettuce. Just ask for the “Lettuce Wrap”
version

Sbarro: Side of Meatballs
or Sausage with Sauce

Wendy’s:
Chili

Jack in the Box: Denver Breakfast bowl
minus the hashbrowns & white cheese sauce, Southwest Chicken Bowl or
Teriyaki Chicken Bowl minus rice

Subway, Submarina, Quiznos: They will turn any of the subs into salads. Watch the
dressings, ax the croutons/breadsticks/flat breads. I like Quiznos soup
too

Starbucks: Egg White Whole
Wheat Feta Wrap, Oatmeal, Protein Plate giveaway the date bread, Soy Lattes. I personally go for the Grilled Chicken and Hummus Bento Box, Protein Bento Box, or a fruit and yogurt parfait (the raspberry and peach is REALLY good)

Jamba Juice:
Oatmeal with banana. I typically get a kids sized smoothie from the new kids menu, and a CherryAlmond oatmeal if I am really hungry. Or, I’ll go ahead and get a 16oz fruit and veggies smoothie!

Chipotle: Burrito
Bowl minus rice (this will feed an Army)

Baja Fresh: Tortilla Soup (minus tortilla
strips)

Chick-fil-A: Chargrilled
& Fruit Salad (newly discovered), Kid’s Meal Grilled Chicken Nuggets with
fruit salad and water.

Rubio’s: You can have grilled fish on any
of their salads. Ask for dressing on the side or better yet use salsa.

Diners, IHOP, Denny’s: Scrambled
Eggs with Cheese is my standard. If they have turkey sausage even better. I typically look for the “lighter side menus” at all these restaurants and get the egg whites or one egg, turkey sausage, and fruit! I fight the urge to order pancakes or hash browns by eating bites of Sean’s!

3. Caring is Sharing

It’s the simplest trick in my book! Opt for things like your favorite Chinese place in the neighborhood, and share single entrees family style. We are inclined to order so much takeout, but you’d be surprised how much food (unnecessary calorie-laden food) it is! Whether you’re housing  new, smaller stomach, or just trying to cut back and eat better….sharing is foolproof! Sean and I will get Broccoli and Beef, Won Ton Soup and by the time we finish the soup and the entrĂ©e comes, we hardly eat any steamed rice! Ask for options like brown rice or extra veggies to kick your healthy into overdrive, and NEVER, EVER feel like it’s tacky to share. It’s your money…and it’s your stomach! The Chinese restaurant won’t pay for your funeral!

Or for those Girls’ Nights? Try family style food. I went out with the girls to a Tapas Bar and we shared 3-5 small plates and a pitcher of sangria…and it was perfect! For Alex’s Bachelorette party, we went to The Melting Pot, a trendy fondue restaurant and shared a bunch of food. It was just enough for each person without being overwhelming, and we all got to try different menu items.

4. Order from the Kids Menu or Happy Hour Menu

My favorite fast and lazy “I got off work so late and I’m not cooking” meal? A 4 piece chicken nugget kids meal from Chik-fil-A with a fruit cup instead of fries, and a diet lemonade. If I’m really feeling dangerous, I’ll order regular lemonade. I know…such a rebel!! You can do this with places like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles and Company, etc. Not only do I have a “fast food” meal that doesn’t make me feel all lethargic and disgusting…I spent less money and ate waaaayyyy less calories than I would have would a regular combo or Value Meal. Winning! My other go-to? My friend Katrina and I have monthly Happy Hour dates to catch up, and usually end up at The Elephant Bar! Elephant Bar, Pei Wei, and PF Changs are awesome because they have these healthy and delicious chicken lettuce wraps! Low-cal, low-carb, tons of protein, and enough for two people, and just $5 during Happy Hour!!

The most important thing you can take away with you from any “dining out” experience?

Your leftovers! There was a time where I felt guilty leaving any food on my plate. And I’m not one for leftovers, historically (I’ve gotten much better in the last 7 or 8 years, now that I pay for groceries!), but I’d rather eat just enough to be satisfied, and take the rest home. Sometimes I give it to a homeless person on the street. Sometimes I let Alex and Josh know they’re up for grabs in the fridge. Sometimes I give it to Sean’s mom for her lunch at work the next day. It doesn’t matter what you do…just don’t stuff yourself once you’re done eating. It’s time we stopped letting food be more than just nourishment! It doesn’t need to rule your emotions or comfort you…just needs to sustain you until the next meal!

That’s all for now, but I hope I have given you something to work with the next time you head out for a meal on the town!

Sound off! Leave me a comment and tell me what YOUR favorite tip(s) are for eating out when you’re trying to eat healthier?

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Suggestions Always Welcome!

Hey Lovelies!

Big News!

SeeSondraSlim officially has it’s own domain!

What does that mean, you may ask? It means that I have purchased the domain name, and it is now simply SeeSondraSlim.com! No more .wordpress shenanigans! We are gettin’ TOO legit!

With all this ‘re-branding’ craziness I have been so excited to start with, it has been more than an inspirational week! I am so excited to have some time off after surgery to really push SeeSondraSlim and motivate even more people to embark on the weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey they have been waiting to begin!

I am excited to announce that I have found the sweetest graphic designer to help me create a new logo and other goodies for the SeeSondraSlim blog/Facebook page! With the new look coming soon, I thought to myself: “Hmmm. Maybe my readers want some new content, too!”

So, I beg of you. If you read this blog even only in your most bored moment; I want to know!

What do YOU want to see more of on SeeSondraSlim?

More recipes?

More videos?

More links/resources for Plastic/Weight Loss Surgery?

More links for other blogs with great advice/recipes/resources?

The floor is YOURS!

This blog is all about not only my journey, but where MY journey can help you start/continue YOURS!

So, sound off!

Leave me a comment, or shoot me an email at SeeSondraSlim@gmail.com, and tell me what would improve your SeeSondraSlim experience!

Also, I am looking for more guest bloggers to feature on the site…I’d love to hear/read your ideas and feature you on an upcoming post!

Don’t forget to follow SSS on your favorite Social Media platforms!

Youtube

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

Twitter

I am so excited to connect with you all, and hear your ideas!

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back before you know it!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Recipes on the Run!

Disclaimer: I am ridiculously proud of this post. I feel like a legit “health and wellness” blogger when I read it, and I know that these recipes are not only diverse and delicious, but totally realistic when it comes to people who want low-cal meals full of flavor and convenience(without feeling like diet food). I appreciate you reading, and I’d REALLY appreciate your feedback via comments/shares/links/reposts/emails to SeeSondraSlim@gmail.com!

If you’re anything like me, you want to eat healthier.

Really, I do. Truly. I have goals to meet in the weight/healthiness department! And when I work a 12 hour day, it’s not always easy to come home and whip up a quick, healthy, and delicious dinner. These are the three pre-requisites for any item I will consume, after all! With that in mind, I have come up with a few “Quick and Easy” dinner (or lunch) recipes for those of you who find yourself in the same predicament! I have calculated the calories, fat, carbs, fiber, sodium, and protein for each recipe.

Each recipe makes one (1) serving(2 for my small stomach…leftovers!), unless otherwise noted. These would be awesome recipes for vacation too, for those of you who stay somewhere with a kitchen/kitchenette!

Quick and Easy Thai Peanut Chicken

What you need:

1 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter

3 “dashes” of low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp minced garlic (I have a giant Costco jar for these situations)

1 1/2 cups frozen tri-color bell pepper and onion mix (Trader Joe’s! Or Fresh and Easy! A must have for any freezer!)

1/4 cup pre cooked chicken breast strips (make your own, or get from the cold cut section in the grocery store)

1/3 package rice noodles

What you do:

Lightly coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray, then heat skillet to medium-low. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, and garlic to skillet, stirring frequently until peanut butter softens.

Meanwhile, microwave pepper mix according to package directions, then stir into peanut butter mixture. Add chicken. Toss peanut-chicken mixture with boiled, drained noodles.

From start to finish, it should take 5 mins to prep, and 10 mins to cook. BOOM! Double the recipe, and you have lunch for the next day!

Per serving: 328 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 226 mg sodium, 29 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 27 g protein

Pasta Florentine with Shrimp

What you need:

1 package fettuccine alfredo frozen entrĂ©e (this is the simple version. I HATE alfredo, so I just make noodles ahead of time. But for the sake of the masses, I calculated this adaptation. You can use Lean Cuisine, Michellina’s or Healthy Choice…etc)

1 1/2 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

1/4 tsp minced garlic

6 medium-sized frozen shrimp

What you do:

Microwave pasta entrée according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, lightly coat nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat skillet to medium heat. Toss spinach, garlic, and thawed shrimp into heated skillet, turning frequently (preferably with kitchen tongs) until leaves are wilted (2 mins or so). Stir shrimp and spinach mixture into pasta.

Prep is about 5 mins and cook time is about 11 mins

Per serving: 351 cals, 7 g fat (3 g saturated), 801 mg sodium, 44 g carbs, 32 g fiber, 20 g protein 

Stovetop Mexi-Casserole

What you need:

1 cup lean ground beef (or turkey), lightly packed

1/4 cup frozen corn kernels

1 roma tomato, chopped

1tsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 package Santa-Fe style rice and bean frozen or packaged dinner (Check out the rice aisle. I buy the Uncle Ben’s version in a similar flavor for less than 2 dollars…it’s stored in pantry and cooks in microwave in a minute!)

What you do:

In a skillet, brown lean meat over medium heat. Drain fat and, return to pan. Add corn and tomato.

Microwave rice side dish according to package instructions, then stir into beef mixture. Simmer on low for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with cilantro just before serving. (If you’re not too worried about adding a few cals, add a sprinkle of crumbly queso fresco, or grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese!)

Prep time is about 5 mins (see a pattern here?), and cook time is 15 minutes

Per serving: 399 cals, 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 606 mg sodium, 65 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 18 g protein

I have more recipes in the works!

I am kicking myself for not taking photos when I made these originally, but I guess I never really thought about sharing them until earlier today when I was thinking about the Pesto and Sundried Tomato Green Beans recipe I had originally planned on sharing. My bad. I will eventually post that one as well, but I came across my notebook with these and got more excited at the idea for this post!

I really hope these recipes spark your curiosity, and get you excited to hit the kitchen and try them!

Any thoughts or suggestions…send them my way!

So many exciting plans are in the works for SeeSondraSlim….I am getting more and more excited for post-op recovery, because I’ll be able to devote more time to some of the SeeSondraSlim YouTube review videos I plan to do with my BuluBox and other products I’ll use in upcoming recipes and such! I am also hoping to do a post-op mini photo-shoot featuring my new swimsuit collection.

Excited is an understatement!!!

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back before you know it. Can’t wait to share more!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Keepin’ It Healthy While You Travel…Featuring a Guest Article!

So, I have been babbling for months about all my upcoming travel plans. As I have been struggling to maintain my weight in the post-op stage (walking ONLY for 6 weeks or more, each time! AHHH!), it has become clear to me that hitting the road next week, and heading to Hawaii in October,  I am going to need a SERIOUS plan of attack for my vacation fantasies to play out accordingly…without picking up any formerly lost weight! I haven’t thought about it enough lately, but I was so glad when fellow blogger, Cole Millen, reached out to me with an article that I thought would be awesome for SeeSondraSlim readers to check out. Whether you are post Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), or just trying to keep it low-cal, these tips can help anyone keep it healthy during a vacation!

“Smart Ways to Stay Fit on Vacation?”

You probably worked hard to get in good shape before your vacation. However, many people wind up breaking their diets and ruining all of their hard-earned progress when they’re away. This doesn’t have to happen to you. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle while on vacation doesn’t have to ruin your fun, either. Here are some smart tips to stay healthy while you’re away.

 Flying

Airports can be smorgasbord of unhealthy temptations. To prevent yourself from giving in, fill up on a healthy meal before you arrive. If you wind up getting stuck at the airport while hungry, put in the effort to search out healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables, or fiber bars. If you want to get in some exercise, try lifting your heavy luggage up the stairs instead of using an escalator.

At Your Hotel

The best way to stay healthy at your hotel is to seek out one that is friendly to the needs of the health-conscious visitor. There are many hotels with this type of customer in mind. Look up reviews online and find a place that serves healthy food. I personally use Gogobot to determine information regarding hotels. I used the site for my latest trip and was able to filter reviews for some of the top hotels in Las Vegas regarding a number of different aspects. You should also find a hotel that has a good gym. Vacation doesn’t mean that you have to break your healthy workout habits.

Even at a healthy hotel, it is still possible to cheat on your diet. You should refuse the key to the mini-bar so that you can avoid giving in to any late-night temptations. You might also want a way to prepare your own meals. A crock-pot is a safe, portable solution that you can use to prepare healthy, delicious meals on the go.

Finding a Healthy Restaurant

Resorts tend to be awash with all-you-can-eat buffets. It’s best that you avoid these as even if you intend to stay within reason, many people find it hard to stop once they’ve already begun to pig out. You also want to avoid of the popular chain restaurants, as you’re likely to get thousands of calories just from one plate. Seafood restaurants tend to be a safe bet. Be sure to check out a restaurant’s menu if it’s available online so that you know what you’re getting into before you arrive.

At the Restaurant

Just about every restaurant has a mix of healthy and unhealthy foods. It’s important to know which foods you should stick to. In general, shy away from any foods that are labeled as fried, battered or breaded. You want to look for foods that are grilled, roasted, steamed or broiled. You can also usually replace your carb-heavy side dishes with healthy steamed vegetables. Even if the menu doesn’t say it, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

After working hard all year, a vacation is a well-deserved way to let loose. However, letting loose doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all of the healthy habits that you’ve worked so hard to develop. With some careful planning and will power, you can have fun on vacation and stay healthy.

Cole Millen, is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Follow his blog at Cole’s Mill.

I want to thank Cole, again, for his contribution, and I hope that all of you got as much out of the article as I did. That’s the great thing about being  girl….I was just telling my friend Jenna about my taking a large tote bag as a “purse” on the airlines. I do this partially to smuggle snacks…and I am SO excited to get my newest BuluBox goodies (hopefully this week!), so I can have some extra protein samples and bars to take in my bag for trips!

If you haven’t yet, make sure that you use my personal Brand Ambassador promo code and get your FREE BuluBox of goodies! You can use the same code for 50% off a subscription of 3, 6, or 12 months too! The code is “BULUGAN342” and the discount will be applied immediately at checkout! By using my promo code, you get more support for SeeSondraSlim…and I truly appreciate the love! I am trying to build an empire here! 🙂

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for tomorrow’s post with a recipe for my Pesto and Sundried Tomato Green Beans! Using some fresh green beans from the farmers market, homemade pesto, and olive oil from my olive oil club….they are delicious alone, or as a simple, yet rustic side dish!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO