The September Food Journal Challenge is well underway and we have many participants taking on the challenge to journal their food and beverages for 4 straight weeks. I know the task is hard…especially during football season… but many motivated individuals are up for the challenge and will see some major results. Cynthia Shepherd is one amazing lady who has seen serious results in 10 weeks time by following a nutrition plan and diligently writing in her food journal. Cynthia has been consistent in our weekly nutrition meetings with bringing her food journal and letting me know what times and days are most difficult for her. Cynthia currently is an attending physician at Athens Regional Medical Center, Landmark Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare System in Athens, and a consulting physician at two other hospitals. She and her husband, Brad, have two beautiful young children and she is one of the busiest but completely organized women that I have ever known! She has made time over the past 10 weeks to prepare morning smoothies, pack lunches, exercise 5 times a week, and drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. She is a perfect picture of how eating 5 high protein, mini meals each day can actually make you lose weight and gain muscle. Cynthia has lost over 10 pounds, multiple inches, and decreased her body fat significantly. I am so thankful to be able to share her story showing that organization and preparation of meal planning and nutrient timing does work in creating a healthy lifestyle. Congratulations Cynthia! You are an inspiration to us all!
In Cynthia's words: I have always tried to exercise and eat healthy, but over the last year I have gotten lazy and made excuse after excuse not to take care of my body as I should. It definitely showed with extra weight gain. I have never been one to get on the scale much, but I was shocked this spring and summer when I did! I started working out more consistently 4 times a week, but the weight was not coming off. I knew it had to be the bad food choices I was making. Eight weeks ago I decided to step it up on the exercise and contact Caroline Ward (TransFit) for help with a better nutrition plan. I now exercise at least 5 days a week for 30-60 minutes and love the accountability. I enjoy doing cardio and strength training through videos and mixing in running as well. I even set a goal to participate as a relay team in my work's triathlon, Tri to Beat Cancer. I had never even done a 5K, and it was so fun participating in such a wonderful event for my patients. I would love to be able to do a complete triathlon, if I could only conquer my fear of swimming in a lake!
With my busy and crazy work schedule, as well as trying to be the best Mom I can be, my diet became the last thing I would think about. Our family was eating out too much because I was too tired to think about planning meals and doing the needed prep on the weekends and grocery shopping! I found myself making sure my kids were eating well with a protein, veggie and fruit each meal, but I was not following suit. I skipped meals some days and drank way too many Diet Cokes! I am not a morning person and therefore would never wake up in time to fix a healthy breakfast. Not anymore! Even though I am still definitely not a morning person, I set my alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier to prepare my breakfast. I have loved the morning breakfast shakes in Caroline's meal plan for me and have so much more energy than I used to previously. I have also gotten in a routine of preparing my snacks and lunch the night prior (or on the weekend). I have really loved how Caroline has helped me transform my diet. I have lost 10 lbs and almost reached my goal weight, and I am determined to keep it off!
Overall, I not only love that I have lost the added baby weight (despite my youngest being almost 3!), but I have really transformed my eating habits. My family is also enjoying eating and making healthy choices. Preparing a healthy meal each evening definitely makes me feel better about myself as a mother as well!
One of Cynthia's Favorite Recipes: Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach and Goat Cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- 1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
- 1/3 cup fat-free cream cheese
- 4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops (I use a whole pork tenderloin, cut it down middle leaving connected and stuff with above, roll and use toothpicks to keep together)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (organic, low sodium)
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.
- Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.
Cynthia's Favorite Morning Smoothie:
All Around Good Smoothie
- 1 Cup nonfat or almond milk
- 1 serving Vanilla powdered protein supplement
- 1/2 frozen banana, peeled and chopped
- 1 Tablespoons flax seed
- 1/2 Cup frozen berries
- 1 Cup Spinach
- ½ Cup crushed ice
BLEND until creamy! Enjoy! Estimate 350 calories; 15 grams protein; tons of vitamins and minerals!
Hope you can continue writing in your food journal this month! Let me know how I can help! Email me email@example.com with nutrition questions!