Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I am not much in the way of New Year's Resolutions, they just don't stick like they should for the most part. I really started working out again in a serious way in the end of September for no other reason than I decided it was time to start getting my life back in balance. Three months later what I am certain about is this: it is not about the resolution, it is about the daily grind. So, I get up and go to the gym every morning and putting one foot in front of the other on the treadmill. It is about watching what I eat as much as possible, not perfection but documenting what I put in my mouth every single day. It is not about perfect, it is about better than yesterday and consistency. So, this year that is what I am striving for, consistency. Some days are easier than others but I just keep going as much as possible. So, tomorrow I will be up at 4:30 in the morning running on the treadmill just like I was today and like I will be on Friday and next week. If I feel really motivated, I will run 3.5 miles, if not I will run for 30 minutes like I always do during the week. It is like the quote I keep running across in the blogosphere, "Losing weight is hard. Gaining weight is hard. Maintaining is hard. Pick your hard." I spent about a year and a half slacking off and gaining weight but now I am picking my hard and that means a lot of exercise and writing down what I eat everyday. I will never really be able to stop any of that because of how my body functions and how screwed up my metabolism is and has been since I was a kid. So, I run and I avoid sugar and exercise circles around my skinny friends because it is what I have to do and how I am choosing to live. In the end, that choice which I make everyday is a lot more powerful than any New Year's Resolution could ever be in my life.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"I Die"

In the immortal words of Rachael Zoe, "I die". I somehow managed to kick my own tail while working out this morning. All I did was raise the speed of my running from an 11:19 mile to an 11:06 mile speed and it killed me. I had to break up my eliptical work into two parts and do some core work in the middle to catch my breath. I feel all better now, perhaps because I have had breakfast and a snack since the workout but it was still brutal. I think I did not eat enough yesterday to prepare for today and I also went out and bought a fancy metal water bottle today (since apparently Nalagene bottles are evil now) to make sure I can hydrate properly during my workouts. I am hoping that a more balanced eating plan today will help me get through tomorrow morning in a better fashion. I am off work this week, two vacation days plus three work holidays (proof of why it pays to work for the government) and so far I am spending the time cleaning out my closets and cooking fun recipes. I made hot red pepper jelly yogurt cheese yesterday which is really tasty but very spicy and I made a nice light arugula and sun dried tomato pasta salad. As you can tell, I am working on incorporating more dairy and veggies into my diet, I am trying to make sure that I get some carbohydrates and grains in as well, especially given the amount that I am running everyday during the week. I do have to push myself to eat enough calories, 1600-1700 rather than 1400 but if I don't eat enough I end up with really bad workout days like today. It is all a balancing act and I am still learning how to live this as a lifestyle rather than a hard core unsustainable diet.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A day of rest

I have developed a fit of excessive organization today for some reason. So far, I have worked out, started a load of laundry. made light bran muffins, started making a light pasta salad, and been to the grocery store. Admittedly, I did some of this so that I will not have to do it tomorrow and I can sleep in since Sunday is really the only day I can ever laze around without needing to workout. Sunday is my rest day in terms of exercise and this week I am making it my rest day in terms of everything. I have to clean my apartment but I am not in a rush since I already took down all the Christmas decorations and stored them away for next year. It is freezing cold outside so I imagine I will not go anywhere for the rest of the day but will hibernate in my nice warm apartment with the cats. I am glad that the holidays are basically over, there will be less food around and I can avoid sugar and baking. I do have chocolate chip cookies sitting in the fridge which are a gift for a friend of mine and so far I have not touched them. If I don't see her by midweek I will just get rid of them altogether so they are not in my house. So, I feel like I made it through the holiday season basically unscathed and that is a good thing.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tis the night before Christmas

The cats are sleeping on my chair and I am sitting at my computer back from Christmas eve lunch at my friend's house. It is a bit odd since christmas eve is usually a big deal in my family. There is clam chowder and Dylan Thomas on the CD player reading "A Child's Christmas in Wales" and a fire and fruitcake. Tonight, it is just me by the light of my small christmas tree with music in the background and sleeping cats. The cats already got their Christmas treat of wet food (which they don't usually get) and wrapping paper to roll around in and tear apart. I don't think I will be up late tonight, I got up at 4:30 am and ran my holiday 5K distance on the treadmill (it took me exactly 40 minutes) and then I did about 25 minutes on the eliptical machine and some resistance training. I have not been great on food today, but then I knew I would not be great on food today. Tomorrow I am meeting a couple of friends for dinner and a movie which is almost a Christmas tradition in and of itself. I am planning on getting up at 4:30 am tomorrow as well to workout. I figure that just because it is the holiday season is no reason to disturb my normal workout schedule and tomorrow I will be back on track in terms of food. I would like to lose weight over the Christmas season and that means sticking to a pretty rigorous exercise schedule. Besides, getting up early means that it is done for the day and I can do whatever else I want to do over the course of the day. Anyway, I am off to snuggle the cats and set my alarm for tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Almost Christmas

I spent today wrapping presents and making peanut butter pumpkin soup. It was a nice peaceful day and my only current frustration is that I am driving a rental car because my car is still in the shop while they replace the catalytic converters (the shop ordered the wrong part but they swear it will be fixed by tomorrow and in the meantime they rented a car for me at their expense). I am ready for christmas, I need to make some baked goods for Christmas eve for the relatives of my best friend and then I am done with my shopping. I lost another pound this week but I still have a long ways to go before I am really happy with my weight again. I am planning on running another 5k distance on Christmas eve morning just to prove to myself that I am getting a little bit faster at running and hopefully I can run that distance in about 38-40 minutes. I only work two days this week (the benefits of working for the government) and then I have 12 days off and only two of those days are my vacation time (see aforementioned benefits of working for the government) which I desperately need because I am exhausted and tired from work. Anyway, here is what I am eating this week for the most part: Roasted red pepper hummus Roasted sweet potatoes Carrots Peanut Butter Pumpkin Soup Oatmeal with Splenda and Cinnamon Roast Chicken Thighs Pears Bananas Blueberry smoothies Tamales and Queso (Christmas eve lunch) Light Yoplait Yogurt I love peanut butter pumpkin soup, it is not low in calories but it is jam packed with good veggies and good fat. It basically has pumpkin, baked sweet potatoes and peanut butter mixed together with some butter and lots of chicken stock. It tastes like fall and winter to me with rich velvety veggies and it is hearty enough that a cup and a half is enough for dinner without needing to eat anything else. I made enough for two weeks because I figured that I would not feel like cooking that much while I am on vacation, we shall see what I feel like doing next week, I may surprise myself.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Check-in

The sugar is finally out of my house since this morning I delivered all of my Christmas presents to my coworkers. It does feel a bit disingenuous to be working so hard at eating well and working out and then giving everyone tons of unhealthy gifts. Still, my coworkers don't really need to lose weight and they don't struggle with their eating the way that I have over the years. I am pretty much done with baking for the holiday season and the left over sugar and chocolate will just hide in the back of my pantry until a birthday party rolls around in a few months. I did pretty well at not eating much of the baked goods, I could have done better but they are out of my house now and that is good news. Tonight, I am going to clean up my kitchen and the remainder of my house which I wrecked over the weekend with the baking. I also have finally managed to raise my running speed again after several weeks of running an 11:45 mile pace, I am now running an 11:32 mile pace which is exciting. My real goal is to get to around a 10 mile pace over the next couple of months and then increase the incline to make the workout more difficult. I have been forced to acknowledge that I will never have more than 60 minutes a day to workout so I have to make that 60 minutes count everyday. Other than the Christmas cookies my eating has been good overall and that is good news given the time of year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A busy Christmas Elf

I feel like I spent all day today running around trying to get things done and only partially succeeding. I spent an hour at the post office to mail a package for a secret santa exchange I am involved in every year. Note to self, 9 am on one of only two weekends before christmas is not a good day to be at the post office. Of course, by the time I made it to the post office this morning I had already done the following: worked out, had breakfast, gone to target, and wrapped secret santa presents. I came home after a quick and disappointing stop at Pier 1 looking for small holiday trinkets for my coworkers and washed a piece of cross stitch. I need to make the cross stitch into an ornament tomorrow and it had a small stubborn dirt stain on it. I have now washed it three times and if the stain is not out, I officially give up. Then I started making cookies from the dough I had frozen last week. Today I made two kinds of cookies and white chocolate bark with assorted dried fruit. Tomorrow I have to make three more kinds of cookies and then I am done with presents for the coworkers. The problem with baking is that you have to test stuff to make sure it tastes alright and I think the sugar is making me feel like crap as a result. Oh, and I am also on my second load of laundry at this point so that I will not have to deal with it tomorrow and I will have more time to cook. My one saving grace has been the fact I made all the cookie dough ahead of time so that I am just assembling things and not making them as well. Although, I am quashing my perfectionist tendencies which make me fuss about taste and presentation which no one else will notice. Ah well, I am off to crash in front of the TV for a couple of hours.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Almost Friday

So, lets see where I am at right now. Wednesday I woke up with a horrible backache so I was not able to run, I just worked out on the eliptical machine for 60 minutes. I felt crappy all day but spent the whole day at work because otherwise there would not be enough people to cover court. Today, I spent all day in court but I felt much better so I got my run in this morning. I am probably going to run on Saturday morning to make up for missing Wednesday's run. I always work out on Saturday but I do not usually run so that will be a change. I came home to day to piles of boxes on my doorstep from christmas presents I ordered which finally arrived today. I am about halfway done with my shopping and this weekend I am going to do all my baking so I can give my coworkers their presents on Monday. I am still doing well on my food plan despite an increase proliferation of baked goods at work and at court and my plan is to only deviate on Christmas and stick to healthy eating the rest of the time. Right now my cats are playing in my small christmas tree and I am off to organize myself for Friday when I only have one short hearing rather than all day in court.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Brief check-in

This week is kicking my tail, I had to file a bunch of last minute paperwork on Monday and today as well. This morning it snowed but it was gone by the time I drove home but it is now freezing outside. I am madly trying to finish my homemade Christmas presents so I can give them to people on Monday and I am no where near finished shopping for my two best friends. This weekend I am going to try out for the community theatre play and I need to prepare for trials on Monday. I am still running about 30 minutes a day and doing another 30 minutes on the eliptical machine. I have to say that dragging my self to the gym in the freezing cold at about 4:30 in the morning is not pleasant but it must be done. Today I made myself a lovely light chinese chicken salad of chicken, bean sprouts, red cabbage, and carrots which is my attempt to get more veggies in my diet because I feel like I have been slacking on that for the last couple of weeks (well except for the carrots and yams that I have for lunch). I can't wait for Christmas because it means I will have 11 days off in a row and it is the first time that I will have taken significant time off since I started working at my job two years ago.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Holiday Season

I am back, I know it has been quiet around here recently, mostly due to the holidays and work issues. I am still totally on track, I am now running about an 11:45 mile for 30 minutes every weekday morning. I am up to working out for an hour every morning six days a week and my food has been surprisingly good given the holiday season ( I actually lost weight over Thanksgiving despite consuming queso and pumpkin empanadas). I spent today roasting chicken and sweet potatoes and making four different types of cookie dough for my holiday gifts. In true baking fashion I ran out of salt and had to put off making the last dough until I get to the store again. I am freezing all of the cookie dough (it keeps for about two weeks in the freezer) and I will make the cookies next week when I start putting together gift baskets for my coworkers. I am also making cross stitch ornaments for everyone and given them cards and calendars made by my mother. I am pretty much making all but a few christmas gifts this year which is my preference since I never find what I want in the stores. So, everything is going well and hopefully I will have more time to blog over the next few weeks than I have had over the last few weeks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One down and infinity to go

Today I had to go to a holiday luncheon for one of the court agencies that I work with on a daily basis. Well, I did not have to go but it would have been bad form to not show up. The over abundance of food was staggering and mostly unhealthy. There were some vegetable platters and cooked meat but mostly it was pasta, desert, and queso. I stuck to the beef brisket, cooked vegetables, one dinner roll, and a tablespoon of pasta salad. I still figure it was a 500-600 calorie meal for me even with no desert and only a little bit of white flour and carbs. I expect that most of the other meals were around 1000 calories per meal and most people had seconds. This is the problem with the holiday season, everything involves food and most of it is unhealthy. I have at least two more luncheons that I have to navigate before the holidays are over and probably a couple of parties. I am just really trying to watch what I put in my mouth because otherwise the fact I am working out like crazy will be pretty worthless. I am staying away from sugar and carbs as much as possible for the duration of the holiday season. I don't feel deprived and I know that eating sugar is a slippery slope for me and I don't want to start down it again. So, one party down and many more to go.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Because really don't we all have issues

I could say that I have food issues, but that is the equivalent of saying that elephants are not the smallest animals you might ever meet. In other words, it is an understatement of vast proportions which barely touches on reality. I have issues both with eating too much and not eating enough at other times. I have made peace with the fact I have issues with food, that I have always had issues with food, and that I will always have issues with food. Instead, I focus on managing my relationship with food and limiting the items that will cause me to spin wildly out of control in my eating. I can consume a lot of food even when I am full so I find it hard to determine whether I am truly hungry or not. Everything I have read suggests that this is not uncommon for people who are overweight or obese and contributes to the problems in losing the weight. I have to count calories or else I won't really know if I am eating too much and that can be a mind trip on its own. A lot of times I lean toward eating too little food because that must be better some how. It is not and I fight it by making myself eat enough calories everyday and I almost always succeed in eating a really balanced diet. However, every now and then I don't eat enough food or enough of the right food and it bites me in the rear end. This morning would be a prime example of eating too little the day before a hard workout. On Sunday, I had a regular breakfast (a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee), then I had a mango banana smoothie for lunch, a whole wheat English muffin with a tablespoon of pumpkin butter for a snack, and for dinner I had butternut squash risotto and another small mango smoothie. I can tell by looking at this meal plan what the problem is with it. Three small words, not enough protein. Also, I had a very small serving of the risotto for dinner and so there was not enough food. I aim for between 1400 and 1600 calories every day and I think I only hit around 1300 on Sunday. I do try and eat lightly on Sunday because but I ate far too lightly. I have no idea how people survive on a 1200 calorie diet if they are working out because I just cannot do it and this morning proved that fact. I was starving when I got up and not feeling well at all because I had not eaten enough food the day before. So, I ate a banana which made me feel a lot better and went to the gym. I actually did a hard workout, running for 25 minutes and the elliptical machine for 25 minutes but it was not pleasant. I can chalk it all up to my food issues and today I am trying to eat more food and make sure that tomorrow is not nearly so unpleasant as today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Never pleasant

The thing about working out is that it is never entirely pleasant. Well, at least not for me. This may be partly due to the early hour at which I chose to work out, and I freely admit to that fact. I do not know anyone who likes getting out of bed at 4:20 in the morning to go to the gym and if such people exist I don't really want to meet them. If I am up much past 9:30 p.m. the night before an early morning workout, I invariably feel really sluggish in the morning. So, hauling myself to the gym is never a pleasant feeling in the morning. However, I go anyway because I know certain facts about myself and about how working out makes me feel in the long run. I know that if I work out in the morning I will have more energy for the rest of the day. I know that if I don't work out in the morning I probably won't work out at all. I know that I need to exercise to prevent myself from getting rundown and sick. I know that the only way I can be sane in the high-stress pressure cooker job that I have is to exercise frequently. So, I go to the gym six days a week and work out for at least 45 minutes at a time. This week has been a good example of working out for stress relief purposes. I have been a crazy person this week with imploding work problems and unexpected personal stuff happening simultaneously. I made it through all of it without eating my weight in chocolate only because of the working out and the energy I could release by running everyday. I don't run fast and I am only running for 20 minutes right now but this week it made a big difference. I still have to workout tomorrow morning and I probably won't run because my legs are really tired but it is the weekend and I don't need to release any more stress energy. This weekend I am going to cook a lot and clean my apartment out and get back to normal life after this hellish week. I am going to organize my pantry and take stock of how I am doing in terms of a balanced diet and then I will be ready to get back in the gym next week and run slightly faster and longer than I did this week.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All things holiday

I love the holiday season, all the decorations and lights and christmas smells in the air. I especially like baking things which I am avoiding for the most part this year. So, tonight I decided to make something that smelled like the holidays but was not horrible for me to eat. So, I tossed together a batch of pumpkin butter from a recipe I found on the internet. Pumpkin butter has about 40 calories per tablespoon and the benefit of being largely made of pumpkin and apple juice with some sugar. However, there are very few carbs and it is the kind of thing where I can eat one tablespoon and be satisfied. Since peanut butter has around 90 calories per tablespoon (and that is the reduced fat kind), you can see the calorie savings already. So, now my apartment smells like pumpkin and spices and all the good holiday smells and there are no cookies anywhere in sight. Anyway, despite a long stressful week my eating is on track and I have had good workouts all this week ( 4 days of running so far) and tomorrow is at long last friday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So tired

Today was a long day with lots of work stuff imploding unexpectedly all over the place. Oh, and I unexpectedly had a job interview that I had been told was being postponed until next week. Not prepared for that at all and now my brain is really tired. I came home and lifted weights which usually helps perk me up but not today. I am tired and I am going to go crash in front of the television and go to bed until I have to get up tomorrow morning and work out at 4:30 am. I did manage to run for 20 minutes again this morning so that makes three days in a row which is good news. I am going to try and run tomorrow morning as well and see how my legs feel. Oh, and my eating is on plan although a little low in calories which is what happens when I stress myself out with work stuff. So, all is good just tiring and stressful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Food Review: Pearl Barley Risotto

Since I was home today, I had time to run to the store (okay Target) and pick up a large saucepan and a bottle of wine to make my pearl barley risotto. It took about an hour and a half to make, well at least 30 minutes of that was spent fighting with the cork in the wine bottle. Still, this is a time consuming recipe and it will take about an hour to make with prep and cooking time. However, I should point out that this is true of any risotto include the very traditional type made with arborio rice. Also, there is a lot of stirring, this is not a dish that one can just walk away from and have it turn out properly. The results are well worth the effort since it is both rich and satisfying either as a side dish or main course. Pearl Barley risotto is chewier than a traditional risotto and you will not mistake it for the original dish but it is nutty and lovely in its own right. The recipe I used is from the cookbook "The Best New Light Recipes" by the editors of Cook's Illustrated and if you are interested in cooking light but full flavored recipes, you should buy this book. I would say that you won't save that many calories on this dish but the fat is lower and the nutritional content a lot higher than a traditional risotto. I am working very hard at moderation in my life and part of that is enjoying good food in small quantities which I have prepared myself so that I know what I am eating. I maybe eat one meal out a week and everything else is food I have made from scratch in my kitchen. It has made a big difference in the last couple of months in my overall health and energy level. So, this is the kind of dish that I will enjoy in small quantities for this entire week. I expect that it will last until I go to the store on Sunday morning and replenish my food supplies.

A little bit crazy

It is probably a sign that you are certifiably insane when you decide to get up at 4:20 am on your day off and workout. Still, that is exactly what I did this morning by rolling out of my nice warm bed and hauling myself over to the gym. The good news is that I was able to run for 20 minutes again this morning without any problems. I did ease up a little on the eliptical machine by picking a slightly easier hill climb workout than normal just to rest my legs. So, by 6 a.m. I had eaten breakfast, showered, and was sitting watching music videos and drinking my cup of coffee for the day. I have to run some errands this morning but none of the places that I need to go to will be open before 10 am. I could have gone back to sleep but I was already pretty wide awake and it seemed pointless. The benefit of an early morning workout is that it is done and I don't have to talk myself into going to the gym on my day off and I know it would not happen later in the day. Besides, my little apartment gym is empty in the early morning and I like working out with no one else around to bother me. Still, it is a crazy thing to do when I could sleep in and rest for the rest of the week which will be long and drawn out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So running seemed like a good idea

This morning I ran for 20 minutes which seemed like a fine idea. However, my legs are exhausted tonight and I was planning on running tomorrow morning as well. It may also have been the fact I then did 25 minutes on the eliptical machine at Level 16, which might not have been a good plan in combination. Anyway, I have tomorrow off to recover a little bit although I am going to get up at my regular time and workout. I know that seems crazy but I do not like breaking my regular routine even though it is a holiday. I have learned over time that I am the kind of anal person who has to stick to an exact routine or it does not happen. I also tend to eat certain meals over and over again because they are easy and I can stick to them. I always have oatmeal for breakfast and roast chicken for lunch during the week and I drink a lot of blueberry smoothies. I realize I missed my food post yesterday because I was at a friend's house for dinner so here is my plan for the week. Pearl Barley Risotto French Chicken in a Pot (basically a chicken cooked in it's own juices, very tasty) Roast Chicken Carrots Roast Sweet Potatoes White Bean Puree with red roasted peppers Artichoke and Lemon Hummus Blueberry and Mango Smoothies with flax seed Oatmeal with cinnamon, splenda, and light soy milk Bananas Pears I am adding flax seed to my diet and specifically my smoothies because it is high in fiber and has some protein as well. I am trying to find natural things I can add to my diet which will up the fiber content and my protein levels. I am also working on making sure that I have a variety of grains to eat which are more wholesome than white rice and that is why I am trying pearl barley (plus it is easy to find at the grocery store). Hopefully all of these foods will give me that energy push I need to keep increasing the intensity of my workouts. I suppose I will know how it is working when I get up tomorrow morning and try to run.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fitness improvements

So, I actually managed to get in a 15 minute run this morning. I don't think that I will run tomorrow morning or saturday because my legs are really tired but I am pleased that I managed it today. I think it is a sign that my overall fitness is starting to inch up toward where I want it to be as a general rule. My food is completely on plan (shocking I know) and I have nothing to report in that department. I was supposed to go out to drinks tonight but that fell through and I am going to enjoy a quiet evening at home and get ready for the upcoming weekend. It was a long day at work, nothing specifically work related, just a long day and it is nice to have a quiet evening to recover from today.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes we did!

So excited today, well except for Prop 8 passing in California. I love you California but seriously you just gave farm animals more rights than gay people. Seriously. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programing on diet and exercise. I am totally on plan and also I realized today that I eat a lot of orange and red vegetables (i.e. carrots, yams, red peppers, tomatoes). Okay, technically tomatoes are a fruit but you get the point. So, next week I am going to try and branch out with some new colors of veggies based upon what I can find in the store. I am up to running 15 minutes a day now and it is starting to get easier which is good news, today was actually a very easy run. Next week I am going to add another five minutes on to my run and then start raising my speed again until I get up to a 10 or 11 minute mile. One of my goals is to eventually run approximately a 5K distance three times a week but that is a few months off. I am trying really hard to not burn myself out on exercise and that means taking the running pretty slowly for now. Today is a good day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Enough said

That is all for tonight. Please vote if you have not and the polls are still open in your state.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Certain Ease

Here is the thing for me about being on plan, I have nothing to say. No drama, no grand deviations, just the same daily routine. If I go off plan, I tend to stay off plan for months and find myself making up a lot of ground in the end. So, I could tell you I am still working out and eating well (which I am) but it is not terribly exciting to read about everyday. It is the truth, for whatever reason I have not been struggling with food very much at all in the last month or exercise for that matter. My goals now are more long term, I am working on making sure this is sustainable for the rest of my life. So, there are no crazy dietary plans to reports because I cannot eat that way in the long run. I have come to the realization that I pretty much have to permanently cut white flour and sugar in all their forms out of my life because I cannot eat them in moderation. I have cut my coffee consumption down to one cup a day because I like to put creamer in it and I have drastically upped my water intake. I eat everything else in moderation and this time around it has not been hard at all. I do not know why but maybe it is because I do not feel deprived even though I avoid certain foods. I do not know, all I know is that I am grateful for the ease of it all right now given all that is going on in my life.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Weekly Menu

So, once again it is Sunday night and I have spent all afternoon cooking food for this week. I know the bonus is that I do not have to cook dinner or lunch for the entire week but it is still a lot of work. Among other things, I made the best turkey burgers ever with a recipe from my favorite cookbook. They have light ricotta cheese in them which imparts the moisture that turkey burgers are usually lacking when you cook them. So, this is what I am eating this week: Oatmeal with cinnamon and splenda Turkey burgers with heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, and onion Roasted Chicken Thighs White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Puree Roasted Garlic Hummus Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Carrots Baked Sweet Potato Fries Bananas and Pears Mango and Blueberry Smoothies This week I am actually going to eat roasted chicken for lunch and dinner a couple of days because otherwise I always end up with between 3-5 extra wasted pieces of chicken at the end of the week. I am attempting to avoid that this week by having them for two meals. Obviously, I am still really in love with hummus although I measure it carefully because it is a fair amount of calories even though it is good healthy calories and fat. I have already cooked all of this food so all that is left to do is reheat it when I get home at night. Anyway, I am off to finish getting ready for the work week.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I am not a big halloween person for lots of reasons. I grew up outside the U.S. so I never really went out trick or treating and the one time I did when I was living in the states, I fell and injured myself. So, not a big fan. As far as I can tell it involves lots of screaming children and massive amounts of candy. I have had zero candy, I left all of it at work and I am leaving my lights off to avoid kids tonight. Yep, I am the original halloween grinch. We had lots of kids in the office today trick or treating and it left me with a blinding headache. So, I came home, lifted weights and now I am going to curl up in front of the t.v. So, one more day where I am on track with food and exercise and no candy which is good news.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is it the weekend yet?

I have a nasty morning hearing tomorrow which I am not look forward to in any way, shape, or form. Plus, I am tired and grouchy. My legs were exhausted this morning and I am really glad that I only have to work out twice more this week and then I have a day off to rest. I am still on track with food and getting all my water as well. I am just working on balance and moderation in my eating so that I do not feel deprived or that I am missing out on anything. So far, so good. I think overall the fact I really like cooking is a huge help, it allows me to try new dishes and not feel constrained to things I already know how to cook. Plus, I actually really like vegetables and that helps since I know a lot of people do not like to eat veggies. Anyway, I am tired so I am going to go watch television now and head to bed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oww

Okay, three days of running in a row is clearly my limit right now. I developed a minor shin splint today which is fortunately fading away as the day progresses. Still, it is a reminder that I can only push my body so far in any given week and I still need to add in some rest time. I also should have worn flats to work but hindsight is 20/20 and I didn't realize how much my leg was aching until I walked on it on the way into work. Everything else is on track, I even avoided the candy bowl when I went to court. I was amused that I spent lunch talking to CA who was ordering a hamburger on her way to a school presentation while I was sitting there eating carrots and hummus. However, I am taking extra hummus to work for her tomorrow because in proof we were separated at birth (of which there are many examples, we even drive the same car) she loves homemade hummus with the same abiding passion that I do and will appreciate it. Anyway, I am off to feed the cats and make lunch for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Running and other thoughts

I have nothing new to report today. I am swamped at work, super important hearing on Friday on a case and so I have just been working on that all week. I am totally on track with food (probably because I like what I am eating) and exercise as well. I am back to having the ability to run a 12 minute mile and now I will begin increasing the amount of time I am running at that speed. I run really slowly anyway but I would like to be running three times a week for at least 20 minutes a day, right now I am only at about 10 minutes. My office is starting to fill with halloween candy for all the children who will be visiting on Friday (we have trick or treating in the office) I am avoiding the candy including the bags in my office. So far, pretending the candy does not exist is working swimmingly and I am not going to bring any of it home with me. Halloween is pretty much just a preview for the rest of the holiday season but my plan is to take one meal off at Christmas and one meal off at Thanksgiving and eat healthy the rest of the time. In the spirit of the holidays, I made myself a low calorie pumpkin smoothie today, it needs to be tweaked but has some serious potential as a tasty low calorie treat ( I think I can get it down to about 100 calories if I try). I am down to one cup of coffee a day and I have replace my need for caffeine with about 3-4 cups of black unsweetened chai tea which has also cut down calories. So, I am happy with where I am today. This is a picture of my furry children (the kitten just walked on my head by the way).

Monday, October 27, 2008

That is a meal not an appetizer

Apparently there was eggnog in the office today. I say apparently because I never saw it other than in a cup on one of my coworker's desks. Thus, I avoided it without even knowing it was there in the first place. I actually went out to lunch today at PF Chang where I had their chicken lettuce wraps which they technically define as an appetizer. I looked up the calories and it works out to about 510 calories total (I had about 2/3). This strikes me as a meal and not as something which proceeds the main course. Most of my meals work out to about 400-450 calories and they involve a fair amount of vegetables and protein. I can only assume in this case that the calories come from the sauce which the chicken is doused in and which is admittedly very tasty. I had a small dinner as a result which seems logical given the calories that I ate at lunch. Other than that, it was a very quiet monday.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bathing in hummus

Once again it is Sunday and I am trying to get everything made and assembled for the week ahead of me. I am eating some of the same things as last week because I never got around to making them during the week and I had the food in the house. So, I am eating the following. Oatmeal with splenda and cinnamon Blueberry and Mango Smoothies Chicken Stir Fry in a Light Coconut Curry Chicken Cutlets with Orange Apricot Relish Roast Chicken Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (homemade) Carrots Baked Sweet potato fries Pears and bananas I always forget how much better homemade hummus is than what you can buy in the store. Plus it is really easy to make and it keeps for a whole week. I made hummus this afternoon and I would seriously bathe in it if that was presented as an option. It is flavorful, no bitter aftertaste and a much smoother texture than store bought hummus. The hummus is for lunch with the carrots and sweet potato fries everyday. So yummy and it only took five minutes to make. I also baked the sweet potato fries (they are seasoned with cinnamon, garlic powder, and salt. Then I tossed them in olive oil and baked them) and cut up chicken for the stir fry so all that I have to do is toss the chicken in the pan later in the week. I am making the chicken cutlets for dinner and I expect it will last me until midweek when I will make the stir fry. This should be plenty of food for the week and mostly vegetables and protein which is always my goal. I am off to make dinner now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Finally Friday

I do enjoy fridays and to top everything off, today is pay day and we got our 4 percent increase for the year. I put it directly into my savings account which means I finally have three months of expenses saved in my emergency fund. I will be happier when I have a year saved away but I think that is probably going to take another year for me to get there. My theory on pay raises is basically that all the additional money goes into savings of some sort and I am continuing to live below my means as a result. I spent the last year paying off debt and I am working on avoiding going back there at all costs. Anyway, I am still on track with all my diet and exercise stuff as well, and tomorrow is the last day this week that I actually have to workout. Plus, I get to sleep in until about 7:30 (an extra 2.5 hours) which is very exciting. I have a ton of errands to run this weekend but it is nice to have two days off from work to relax.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No news is good news

I was exhausted this morning but still went to the gym and worked out. I am still totally on plan. I had forgotten how easy this can be sometimes, I just remembered the days where it was difficult. Working out has been a pain this week but it is still getting done and I suppose that is good news. At least tomorrow is Friday, I need it to be the weekend already so I can catch up on my sleep and get organized for next week. I have lots of things that have to get done this weekend and not least is cleaning up my fridge which is pretty messy right now. Anyway, I am off to organize things for tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Random musings

My legs are still tired. Tired enough that after a morning of running around like a crazy person I switched over to a pair of flats for the afternoon. I still worked out this morning anyway and I felt much better for the rest of the day as a result. If I can just make it through this week, I think next week will be better in terms of workouts because I will have a real day of rest on Sunday. Well, other than the mad dash I am going to do to the mall this weekend to buy CA's 31st birthday present (I have no idea what I am buying her) before her actual birthday on Monday. This happens every year because I am a slacker on the buying of birthday and christmas presents. In my defense, I know what part of the gift is going to be but I am not sure about the rest of the present. Food and water are still fine by the way, no changes there in anyway. So, I keep on pushing through and so far everything is okay and I actually feel much better overall which is good news. Well, other than my legs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ah, afternoon exercise

I hate working out at night. Hate it. I am tired and all I want to do is curl up in front of the tv and chill after a long day. However, I had no choice today because my apartment complex's gym was locked when I went to workout this morning at 4:30 am. Fortunately I got out of court early and as soon as I got home I dragged myself over to the gym. It was an okay but not great workout and it was not helped by the fact that the gym was boiling hot for some reason. Still, I am glad that I did not give into the numerous excuses I came up with over the course of the day to not workout. This is the other reason I exercise in the morning, it is a lot harder to avoid and it gets easier as the day goes along. My legs are still tired but that was not a good reason to skip exercising and they were okay once I got on the machines and warmed up. Anyway, food is totally on plan and I did not feel hungry today, the banana made a big difference in terms of fullness which was good to know when I am planning my lunch.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Long Days Journey

Today was a long day in terms of staying on plan (which I managed by the way). I was starving for no apparent reason, even with my nice 10 am snack and a good sized lunch. I think I may not have had enough food reserves to draw on from Sunday when I did not eat enough food over the course of the day. It could of course be totally unrelated to that and be just my body acting up, really I have no idea. Still, I made it through and no random cookies or cake snuck in to my mouth. Actually, what I really wanted was a piece of fruit and I had left the banana I meant to bring for my afternoon snack at home. Le sigh. I think tomorrow will probably be better, then again this may just be optimism speaking and not reality. My legs are tired today and I think it is because I do not really do a lot of hill work in my regular workouts. Still, I lifted weights, worked out on the eliptical trainer, and did all of my exercise this morning. I figure days like today are just a reminder that this is never going to be easy and I need to keep on pushing through the bad days to get back to the good ones.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tired as tired can be

I am exhausted and it is Sunday. Partly, I think it is related to the two hours I spent getting to CA's house last night thanks to a major traffic accident on the freeway. Secondly. it is probably related to the hour long hilly walk I did this morning with some people from my office. It was a walk to bring visibility to victims of Domestic Violence but I had not quite anticipated the entire walk being uphill. Still, I know it was good for me and since I am required to do community service, good for that as well. After that I ran to the store and grocery shopped even though I had forgotten my list. That brings me to the list of things I am eating this week: Oatmeal with splenda and cinnamon Blueberry and Mango Smoothies Chicken Curry Stir Fry (made this tonight it is a litte too hot I am hoping it mellow a bit overnight) Chicken Cutlets with Orange Apricot Relish Roast Chicken Corn Sauteed mushrooms Sauteed green beans Mashed Sweet Potatoes Pears I am trying to finish off some food from last week (hence the mashed sweet potatoes) and once again varying my vegetables. The corn was only 69 cents per ear, too good to pass up. I have additional vegetables as well in case I get bored with these options for some unknown reason. I continue to make progress weight wise and I am still making all my workouts so that is the good news. I also notice that I am not trying to eat everything which is not nailed down so I think that is progress as well.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Check-In

This morning when I headed to the gym, I discovered that my apartment complex had put up caution tape. I considered not messing with it but then I realized someone else was already using the gym so I just ducked under the tape and headed inside. It was nice to feel like the excuse was less important than the exercise. There was more cake at work today, I avoided it again. CA and I spent most of the afternoon hanging halloween decorations and not doing work. Then again no one in my division got any work done today, well except for the people who had to pick a jury. I'm still totally on plan with my eating and I am getting enough water as well. First thing tomorrow I am going to go work out and get it over so that I am done for the week. I might go do a walk for crime victims on Sunday so that will be extra exercise if I make it there early Sunday morning. We will see how the weekend goes overall.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A minefield of food

Work was a minefield of food today. It was boss's day so all of the support staff and secretaries brought food to work. There was everything from chocolate cake to queso and chips. I had a pear which was yummy. My staff made sure they brought fruit because they know I am not eating sugar or bread right now. My secretary brought me this beautiful bouquet of pink rose which I left in my office only because I know the cats would try and eat it. I have to say, there is a lot to be said for not eating any of the office goodies, I did not end up with guilt or a tummy ache (the usually result of such events). Really, I can be very zen about food when I am on track and happy with my food. I came home and had a low cal blueberry smoothie (soy milk, blueberries, splenda, and 6 oz of low fat yogurt) for desert along with my pork chop and was perfectly satisfied. I think that basically as long as I don't start eating bad food I will be fine. I am going to CA's on saturday and she is making chicken fajitas so that I can skip the tortillas and just have the veggies and chicken. I am not against ever eating bread products but I know it is a real trigger for me and leads to the eating of lots of bad stuff so I am avoiding it as much as possible. So, today was a good day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happiness is a warm kitten

I'm not going to watch the presidential debate tonight, I've already made up my mind and I would much rather sit here with the kitten sleeping next to me on my printer (much less stressful). The kitten loves the computer more than anything else in the apartment. I am on track with food again and exercise. I am working my way back to running at full speed (which for me is about a 11 minute mile, I am at a 12.5 minute mile right now) and for an extended period of time. It is nice to feel like I am making progress and not feeling tempted by sugar or bad dietary food and sugars. I am not missing bread at all and I feel like I am eating a lot of healthy tasty food. So, all things considered I am doing well and at peace with my decisions. I feel no need tonight to mess that up by obsessing about the state of our country.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The dreaded Green Tea Frappuccino

So, CA totally had a momentary brain lapse today and brought me a grande Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino after lunch today. I told her that much as I loved her it was not on my diet and then after she left the room I chucked in in the trash. I just looked it up now and that sucker was 490 calories, which is 70 calories more than I just ate for dinner. Good lord, no wonder I've gained weight and for that matter most Americans are overweight. These are the calories no one ever really thinks about because they are hidden in a drink. Now, I am not against the occasional frappucino providing you have it is lieu of a meal but that was not an option for me because I had already eaten lunch. Besides, I gave up sugar on a pretty much permanent basis unless I am using it to cook something and then only in small quantities. I will never be able to really add it back into my diet on a permanent basis because I am not good at limiting it when I do eat it (this is the same problem I have with bread products). I feel guilty that CA spent the money but ultimately I cannot really control what other people do or what food they offer me, only my reaction to it. I also avoided the cinnamon bun I was offered this morning by the court staff when I was over doing hearings. I've said this before, but I really don't think people mind if you say no and that it is not on your diet. The longer I do this, the easier it gets and I just have to remember that fact. Besides, willpower only has to exist in small amounts, if I say no in the moment and get rid of the food and move on, I do not have a problem and I avoid the guilt of having eating the food later. It helps that I am eating really good tasty food this time around and I do not feel deprived, I think that has made a huge difference overall in my ability to stay on track.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why Mondays suck and other thoughts

So, last night at about 2:30 am, an ambulance decided to sit itself right outside my apartment complex for 10 minutes or so. Okay it probably was not 10 minutes but you get the point. When you know you are getting up in approximately 2 hours, it makes it impossible to fall back to sleep. Needless to say I was not a happy camper when I hauled my rear out of bed and headed for the gym. I did have a decent workout which is a bonus, a rather unexpected one at that given my exhaustion. However, I can feel the sleepiness setting in already and it is on 6:45 p.m. I will be lucky if I make it to 8 p.m. tonight. It was not helped by a long day at work and the fact that I knew I had to come home, lift weights, and actually cook dinner. I made my pork chop dish which is quite tasty, I like it. I did however have to cut about a third off my pork chop because it was clearly more than one serving. I desperately need a food scale but for now I am estimating with the palm of my hand which is about the right size for a piece of protein. I have enough pork chops for the entire week but I will probably mix it up with a stir fry about midweek so that I have a good variety of dishes. It is a good thing that my parents taught me how to cook well or I don't know how I would manage to eat healthy on a regular basis.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Menu

As per my routine, I am checking in with the menu for the week. I tried to buy less food then last week but I do not think I really succeeded in that regard. I ended up throwing out leftovers before I went to the store this morning (chicken and tomato soup to be precise) because they smelled a little bit off. Anyway, all my precooking for the week is done. I am eating the following: Oatmeal with light soy milk, cinnamon, and splenda Chicken and vegetable stir fry in light coconut curry sauce Pork chops in light apple cream sauce Green beans with garlic and lemon sauce Light Mashed sweet potatoes with ginger Brown rice Chicken lettuce wraps Blueberry and Mango smoothies Assorted fresh fruit Roast chicken The mashed sweet potatoes and green beans are my lunch vegetables, I take them along with a piece of roast chicken and fruit for snacks. My goal is to eat at least one different vegetable every week so I do not get bored. Since the only vegetable I really have issues with is eggplant (I do not like the texture) that leaves a broad range to sample from in the grocery store. I have to say, the green beans and mashed sweet potatoes were super easy to make, less than an hour for both. I am hopeful that the pork chops will also be fast to cook tomorrow night. I was thinking today, that it is funny how much I can cook with relatively minimal equipment. In my kitchen I have the following: 1 big pot, 1 medium size pot, 2 small ones, 1 large sauce pan, 1 small saucepan, a garlic press, 3 knives, measuring spoons and cups, a blender, a food processor, and a can opener. Oh, and some cookie sheets, a spatula, 1 wooden spoon, and a medium sized mixing bowl. Nine times out of ten that is more than enough to make anything I want to cook for myself. I should probably invest in a good thermometer but I have never gotten around to it. I probably make most meals using one pot and a knife, so really you do not need a lot of equipment to make a good meal. All you need is the time and energy to prepare it which is why I do so much cooking on Sunday when I have both in abundance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Report

On a non food or workout note, I went out shopping today because I needed a couple of long sleeve shirts now that it is not 103 degrees outside but rather a tolerable 80 degrees. I discovered quickly that the mall was having a fire sale, everywhere was having 50 percent off sales. I managed to get four shirts and a jacket at the Gap for about 80 dollars which given their normal prices is frankly ridiculous. I was quite pleased with myself. Prior to going to the mall I dragged my butt to the gym and did my cardio workout. The problem with the weekend is that I have no real desire to work out or be productive, however I am sticking religiously to working out six days a week so it had to be done. I felt a lot better once I was there and actually working out as is so often the case. I have also done my laundry and a bunch of other stuff because working out makes me far more productive than I would otherwise be on a weekend. I have to figure out what I am eating this week and clean up a bit as well. The weight is coming off again for the first time in a long time, amazing what healthy eating and working out will do for a person. Anyway, I am off to fold the last load of laundry and wash up the dinner dishes ( I had brown rice and stir fry, very tasty).

Friday, October 10, 2008

All kinds of awesomeness

Yes mother, I know awesomeness is not really a correct word but I am using it anyway. So tonight, I made the stir fry that I have put off making all week (mostly because it involved peeling the shells off a lot of shrimp) and it was really good. Broccoli, carrots, snap peas, garlic, and shrimp in a light coconut curry sauce. Yummy, and other than the shrimp incredibly quick to cook. I figure I have enough leftovers for about 2-3 meals this weekend. Then I had a mango smoothie because I had a light lunch (fruit salad and chicken with CA) and had a fair amount of calories left over. CA told me that I was fueling my body not eating a meal although she did not have much room to talk given her meal was a green salad and a piece of fish. I did manage to get in three weight workouts this week and providing I work out tomorrow morning I will have managed six cardio workouts for the week. I have to admit, I am never really going to enjoy getting up at 4:20 a.m. and heading to the gym for 45 minutes but it is my saving grace because that way it is done by the time I get to work in the morning. I would never workout if I went to the gym in the evening because I would just slack off and find excuses to not walk out the door. I am pleased that I have stayed on track for the past three weeks, it is making a real difference in my energy level and mood over all. Exercise and eating right, the best mood altering substance ever invented.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Eating out and saying no

I went out to lunch today with CA and our unit's newest lawyer NA. NA wanted to go to Olive Garden so off we went to eat. After perusing the menu for about 10 minutes, I came to a simple realization. There was one thing on the menu which did not involve pasta or bread. One thing, Venetian Apricot Chicken with vegetables. So, I had that, it was tasty but also slightly frustrating. It is hard to go out and find healthy menu items. As it was, there was far too much sauce on the plate, I could have done with about half as much. It was actually healthy and not terribly caloric but still, only one thing on the menu. NA and CA had pasta, but I was not really interested in eating anything with pasta. This is part of the zen of eating I get into once I detox from sugar and flour, I stop having constant cravings for them. It usually takes between 2 and 3 weeks for that to actually happen and stick. I think my new goal is to not deviate from this eating plan unless it is a major holiday or birthday celebration and maybe not even on those occasions. I have discovered that people do not really mind if you say no and refuse food as long as they understand the reason behind the refusal. There is a lot of understanding for answers like "no I can't eat that, sugar makes me feel bad" as opposed to a straight out no. I am working on saying no more. I also realize that this blog is very much about food, probably because exercise is less of an issue for me, yes I am working out everyday and not slacking but food has always been a much bigger hurdle. I think I am finally begin to learn how to manage it after all this time and that is a good thing in my life.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Midweek checkin

Thank goodness the week is on the downhill slide, it has been crazy busy around here for the past few days. Fortunately, working out and healthy eating has not been a problem. Really, I can do this when I try and pre-plan. It is all about preparation and what is in my house. Tonight's dinner was not that exciting but it was healthy, chicken with a little bit of pesto sauce (about a tablespoon) and a piece of reduced fat cheese and a mango shake. It was sort of an attempt at a chicken pesto sandwich without the bread. I had veggies at lunch so I do not feel guilty about the lack of veggies at dinner. Tomorrow will probably be a stir fry in an attempt to cook the remaining shrimp in my fridge. I am also working out everyday and I've done two out of three strength training workouts for the week. So far so good, hopefully it will translate into some good results on the scale.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Green, green, and more green

I realized after I made dinner tonight that the entire meal was pretty much bright green. Well, except for the shrimp but they were covered in green. I made spinach with a little butter and garlic along with shrimp in a basil pesto sauce. All bright green and extremely tasty. Frankly, I could have probably made the spinach without butter but I did not realize that until after I had cooked it. Still, it fulfilled one of my goals in terms of eating. I am trying to make sure that I eat a lot of vegetable, especially dark leafy green ones (such as spinach). Basically, I am aiming for five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, and mostly hitting that goal. It goes along with an attempt to stick mostly to proteins such as chicken, seafood, and turkey rather than red meat. I think it will help me have a better diet in the long run. I also managed a good workout this morning so week three is going pretty well.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Keep on keeping on

I am still one hundred percent on plan. It is a bloody miracle. I work in a high stress job and a lot of days get very difficult and draining emotionally. Today was not one of those days but tomorrow probably will be for a lot of different reasons. I have always used food to cope and more and more I am trying to work at finding alternate methods to deal with the stress. I have not been terribly successful but I am trying and working on finding balance. The cats are actually part of that balance, there is a lot to be said to coming home everyday to unconditional love and acceptance. I also think that really working out has been making a real difference with my stress level recently. I have also noticed that cutting out milk, sugar, and bread really seems to help me sleep at night and have more energy. In fact, I have noticed a huge spike in my energy level since I cut out the sugar and bread especially. I am down to two cups of coffee a day, one in the morning and one decaf cup at night and no starbucks on the weekends. I am drinking way more water, between 8 and 12 cups a day which is helping my skin as well. All of this is things that have happened in the past when I ate clean, I have just forgotten what it feels and looks like in reality. The difference this time is that I am really paring it with healthy clean eating rather than extreme portion control. The thing about eating properly and cutting out bread is that you can actually eat a lot of food and not consume a lot of calories. I aim for around 1400-1600 calories a day and a lot of times I end up around 1350 even after having two snacks, a healthy lunch and a healthy dinner. I do not feel deprived and that is really important for my personal sanity given my general work stress level. So, I am doing well and that feels good.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Shopping the perimeter

Sunday is always about food for me, always. I am a creature of habit and so on Sunday mornings I get up at about seven a.m. (right now my teenage self is shuddering at the thought) and potter around emptying trash cans and cleaning until about eight a.m. I haul the garbage out to the main dumpster at my apartment complex and I head off to the grocery store. I like shopping early because I avoid the crowds (although you would be surprised at how many people are at the store by then) and can spend my time picking through vegetables and still get home before nine a.m. Now that I am back on my healthy lifestyle I work very hard at only shopping the perimeter of the store. The concept is simple, all fresh products (i.e. veggies, fruit, dairy, and meat) are around the edge of the store while all processed, frozen, and canned foods are generally housed in the central aisles. So, if you stick to the perimeter as a general rule you are buying unprocessed healthy food. I bought a ton of food today, but only managed to spend about eighty five dollars which is really good for me. Mostly I bought produce, red lettuce, onions, yams, asparagus, spinach, stir fry vegetables, garlic, pears, plums, basil, and bananas. This will make a ton of things this week (and yes I eat a lot of yams, they are comfort food while also being really good for you). In terms of other food, I bought parmesan cheese, pine nuts, shrimp, chicken thighs, light coconut milk, oatmeal, light soy milk, and frozen mangos. As you can see, almost everything with the exception of the frozen fruit, coconut milk, and oatmeal came from the perimeter of the store. I did not buy any whole grains because I still have half a bag of brown rice and an entire box of couscous. I also have a ton of tomato soup left from last week which I need to eat this week. Last week, I ate everything I said that I was going to week and still ended up with a lot of food left over. This is a constant problem for me, cooking for one person is a process which tends to create a lot of extra food which I may or may not eat. However, I would rather have options and throw some food away than eat a really limited diet. This week is all about shrimp for dinner, the chicken is for lunch everyday. So I am planning on eating the following depending on my mood. Shrimp with light garlic lemon cream sauce Shrimp with basil pesto Roast yams Roast chicken thighs Roast onions Spinach with garlic Asparagus with garlic lemon cream sauce Shrimp Stir fry with light coconut curry sauce and brown rice Tomato soup Mango smoothies Oatmeal with cinnamon and soy milk (breakfast everyday) So far today, I have roasted the chicken thighs and I still need to do the onions and yams. The yams are already cut up and ready to go when I feel motivated to cook them. When I roast things, whether it is vegetables or meat, I tend to generally just liberally salt and pepper them and avoid a lot of other spices, that way they form a nice base for other dishes. I also roast everything in batches, preferably with similar types of vegetables so that they will cook at the same rate. I find roast vegetables last about a week in the refrigerator and the same is true of roast chicken. The shrimp I will cook in small batches throughout the week (although you can also cook it in advance), because it only takes a couple of minutes to cook. This at least is the plan right now for the week.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

TGIS

Ah, I love the weekend. Thursday was a long day, so much so that I accidentally slept in on Friday morning and ended up running to workout at five am rather than 4:30 am. Still, that was a victory in a small way because for a long time I have been skipping workouts when I oversleep. On Friday afternoon, I ended up leaving work a little early to drive out to my friend's house to pick up my cats. I then had about an hour drive home in rush hour traffic, not pleasant. However, the cats are home and my apartment feels normal again for the first time in a few days. Today, I have been out shopping to buy a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones I broke on Thursday afternoon. After I came home from shopping, I dragged myself over to the gym to workout for about 45 minutes on the treadmill and eliptical machine. I realize some people find it easier to workout on weekends but I have always found it much harder because I do not have a set schedule in which I workout or anyplace that I have to be, so I tend to slack off. However, I have managed it the last two weeks which is good. Now I just have to do laundry and cleanup a bit so my apartment looks neat and tidy right after I finish the awesome blueberry smoothie that I made for lunch with light yogurt and soy milk.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I hate Wednesday and other thoughts

Wednesday is always the worst day for working out in my opinion. It is dead smack in the middle of the week, you still have three more days to go (in terms of workouts) and your body is tired. I did go this morning and do my 45 minutes on the eliptical but I so did not want to be there and working out. My legs are sore and it is a little bit like moving through sand at this point. I need to lift weights, I can't say it is high on my list of priorities at this precise moment in time but I will get there at some point tonight. I spent all of work today interviewing witnesses for a really big case which may or may not go to trial. My brain hurts and I miss my cats (apparently they are fine other than hissing at CA's cats). The house is really quiet without anybody else here. Fortunately, there is nothing bad to snack on because I removed it from the house last week. Anyway, I am off to muster up the enthusiasm to lift weights and do some core fitness stuff.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

My cats have gone to CA's house for three days because they are doing work in my apartment. It is awfully quiet and lonely without them, but at least I can use the computer in peace. They come back on Friday night by which time the workmen will be done with whatever it is my apartment complex has decided needs to be done. I am still on track, I did actually manage to lift some weights last night which was good. I am actually eating everything that I said I was going to eat this week in some configuration or another. Tonight I have chicken lettuce wraps which were awesomely tasty and very simple. The recipe is as follows: 1-2 roast chicken thighs per person (1 makes a light meal, that is what I had tonight, 2 would make a pretty substantial meal) Mixed thinly sliced vegetables of your choice ( my grocery sells baggies of pre-sliced plain veggies for coleslaw which I use because I do not have to prepare them) At least 3 large lettuce leaves per chicken thigh 1 tbsp reduce fat peanut butter 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil 1 tsp Soy Sauce Red Pepper flakes (to taste depending on how hot you like things) Pinch salt Heat the peanut butter for one minute in the microwave and combine with sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper, and salt. Slice the chicken up and place on lettuce leaves and mound veggies on top. Pour peanut butter mixture over whole thing. Roll up the lettuce leaves and enjoy. Tasty, reasonably low in calories (frankly most of the calories are in the oil and peanut butter) and five minutes to prepare. This is why I need to cook things in advance so I can throw quick meals together like this, a good lesson for the future.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Check-in

I am on track today with exercise and food. I think I will finish at about 1400 calories for the day which is just about right. I can't write much because my youngest cat is obsessed with the computer screen and is trying to attack it right now. Oddly she just became obsessed this last weekend with it and now I can barely type because she is walking all over the keyboard. This morning I ran for about 10 minutes and then got on the eliptical machine for 35 minutes, which worked up a good sweat. I need to go and lift weights now and do some core fitness which I have been slacking on for awhile now. So, I am going to do that before my cat destroys the vicious computer screen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What I did today

This is the problem with clean eating, it is a lot of work. So far today, I have been to the grocery store (spent an hour buying everything I needed) where I spent $100 on food which was better than I anticipated. That is actually the amount I budget for food every week. Came home, made cream of tomato soup which I spilled all over the place while trying to puree it. However, very tasty and I made enough for about eight meals. I chopped up a bunch of vegetables I am going to roast this afternoon (potatoes, yams, squash, red peppers, and onions). I also roasted about eight pieces of chicken and stored them away in their container for the week. I still need to roast the veggies, cook some brown rice to store for the week, and clean up. It is now 2 in the afternoon and I started cooking at 11 am. I am taking a break for about an hour and then I will roast the veggies which will probably set off the smoke alarm (always happens when I cook things in the oven at 400 degrees or above). The veggies will then be stored away for the week as well. I know that doing all of this today means that I will not have to do much cooking during the week, but it is such a long process for a sunday and I like cooking. Still, this means I will have a bunch of meals with no white flour, bread or pasta involved which I can mix and match. This week I am eating the following: Couscous with saffron, almonds, and raisins (made it last night super easy to do) Oatmeal with soy milk, splenda, and cinnamon (breakfast obviously) Roast chicken and roasted vegetables Cream of Tomato Soup and brown rice Chicken Lettuce Wraps Turkey Lettuce Wraps with cranberry sauce and honey mustard Roast chicken with brown rice and roasted red peppers Roasted winter vegetables and brown rice Most of this menu is from the Best Light Recipes book from the publishers of Cooks Illustrated, I love all of their cookbooks and use them all the time. Some of the dishes are things I have made forever (i.e. the turkey wraps) and I am just bringing them back into my diet, others (i.e. the chicken lettuce wraps) I am making up on the fly by mixing the roast chicken with vegetables. I also have fruit and light yogurt for snacks. I also have some organic soups that I can just heat if necessary one night. Anyway, I guess it is back to the kitchen now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.-Buddha

I am working very hard on being present in my life and in this journey. In certain ways that just translates to being aware of what I am doing in my life, and with the food I eat. In the end it always comes down to food for me. I eat incredibly fast to the point of almost inhaling food sometimes and it means my body does not have time to catch up and register whether or not it is full. Thus I am making a choice to try and slow down when I am eating and to pause to allow that reflex to happen and catch up. I am focusing on making sure that I am not depriving myself and eating when I am actually hungry. I had two cups of couscous tonight for dinner rather than one, but I only ate the second one after taking a 10 minute break to make sure I was really hungry. Oh and I still ended up at 1400 calories for the day which is well within my target range for the day. I am concentrating on eating rather than drinking my calories which means no more venti green tea frappuccinos at Starbucks much as I love them. I just cannot see having something which will not make me feel full and will take 650 calories out of my day. Besides I am cutting back on all things coffee related for awhile. Not cutting out, just cutting down. I only like coffee with stuff in it and that means that calories can add up quickly. I am not doing this primarily by cutting calories, I don't want it to be about that, but rather about eating things that are good for me. Mostly this is about eating really cleanly and enjoying the food. I am a foodie at heart, and it is hard when you are only cooking for one person but I am trying to come up with ways to make meals that will morph into other meals and really allow me to experiment with cooking healthy. It is all part of the choice to make my health a priority again and to find balance in my life.

My secret stash

I know what you are thinking, she is going to talk about chocolate now. No, not that kind of secret stash. In my ottoman (small apartment, I have lots of hidden storage), I have a small collection of fitness dvd's. They are the workouts of last resort, saved for when going to the gym is too much trouble and I can't be bothered to get dressed to workout. Today, I pulled out one (basically a cardio dance dvd) and did that for an hour. I don't think I did most of the moves right, I am not terribly coordinated, but it was a workout nonetheless. My goal was six days of cardio this week and I finally accomplished that because of the secret stash. I am also still doing well on eating and usually weekends are where that totally falls apart because I cannot be bothered to eat healthy food. Tonight, I am going to make couscous with raisins and almonds because I have all the ingredients in my pantry and tomorrow I will make tomato soup, roast vegetables, roast chicken, and brown rice for the week. I am going for variety in my diet and that involves a fair amount of weekend food preparation so that I can avoid most cooking during the week because the last thing I want to do is cook when I am tired. So, I am pleased with the progress I have made this week and working on keeping it up this coming week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Things that annoy me

I have a number of close friends I love, no really, I adore them. I may, however, be forced to kill them. I spent all of lunch listening to a discussion by two of them about how tiny they used to be in high school and college. I very politely told them to bite me, an excellent use of that very expensive education I am still paying off. I was at best, a size 18 in high school, by then end of college I had ballooned up to a size 24 and I pretty much bounced between size 18 to 24 until I was 27 years old. While I am not the skinniest I have ever been by a long shot right now, I am still smaller than I have been for most of my adult life. I have no basis to have that conversation, no idea what that would have been like to be thin at a time it really mattered socially. I will probably really never be skinny, I am just aiming for healthy and a size that I can live with over the long run. I have no idea what that size is, but I will figure it out, and it will be harder for me than it will be for my friends who are trying to lose 20 lbs or so. I will have to monitor absolutely everything I put in my mouth, work out six days a week, and almost never deviate from my plan. I am not complaining, this is just the reality of the body that I have and the relationship I have developed with food over the course of my life. I love them, but they will never know what that road is really like, which makes some days more difficult than others. In better news, I have five really good workouts under my belt this week, and no food flops even with eating out two days this week. I had salad both times and light dinners to balance the meals out. So, one week down, the rest of my life to go.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Once more with feeling

So, I am back. Again. I have not blogged in very long time, I think it has been about eight months. Yeah, that was not a good plan. Not blogging meant no accountability and that is never good for me. I have not been a total slacker, food has not been a total disaster, but it has not been good either. So, it is time to suck it up and really work at this again. In a new development, I will have a live companion in the weight loss arena, one of my close friends is also trying to lose weight and eat healthy so we are helping each other out. Also known as the make sure CA and Kat don't eat crap and actually workout plan. A novel concept, I know but one I am going to stick to this time. I am doing this a little differently this time around, I am concentrating more on making and preparing my own food than in the past, and eating in a sustainable manner for me. Basically, I am working on cooking enough food on the weekend to make different meals throughout the week, and cutting out food which triggers my overeating tendencies. I am forced to admit that at this late date in my life, there are things that I can never eat without triggering some kind of excessive consumption. I like food, food is my drug, always has been and always will be, and while I can tell when I am hungry, I have never been able to successfully gauge when I am full. I am still working on that on a daily basis, it is better than it was but not great. So, for me it means the following, no bread, pasta, white flour, refined white sugar, and as few processed foods as possible. This weekend is all about cleaning out my fridge and refilling it with homemade soups, roasted vegetables, fruit, and chicken. I call this my temple food, a term I stole from Nigela Lawson and by that I mean foods which cleanse and restore my body. It is not going to be easy but I know it will make a real difference in the next few weeks. I know I will feel better if I do this, it is not about deprivation it is about balance which I desperately need in terms of my food choices. I am not being quite as crazy on the exercise as I have been in the past, I am going to workout for 45 minutes a day, hopefully six days a week but I am not going to kill myself right now. I am going to go get a personal trainer to teach me how to workout smarter, and for additional motivation. CA and I are going to try and squeeze in some lunchtime cardio sessions if we can, it won't be possible all that often but it is worth a shot. Mostly, I am going to be kind to my body and myself, by accepting my limitations in terms of time and energy. This is less and less about an ultimate goal and more about feeling comfortable where I am, I miss that feeling and it is time to get back to it. Wish me luck, no doubt I will need it over the next few months.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stressed? Who me?

Well, eating at dinner left a little to be desired tonight. Apparently, I am going to jury trial on Friday, crap. I could feel the stress and I know I ate too much at dinner, fortunately it was pretty healthy food. Still, not good. It probably did not help that I ate my lunch at 10:45 am and then did not eat until dinner. Not a good plan. It is also a sign of how insidious all the cultural messages about weight are, that my first thought was "I can't go to trial, I'm fat and I have nothing to wear". Frankly, I am not that fat, I know this logically but logic does not always win in these situations. Also, most juries don't make decisions based solely on the weights of the respective lawyers who are involved in the case. I do need to buy clothing, however, but that is more because I have been putting off buying clothing for the last 6 months because I have been aggressively paying down my credit card debit. So, I found something to wear on Friday, and I on Saturday I will have to suck it up and go and buy a couple more suits (especially since I have trial next week as well). Possibly I should also cut my hair this weekend (I am wearing it up on Friday). On the plus side, I did manage to run this morning although my body was exhausted. I am going to go and do some yoga stretching now and see if that helps my stress levels enough that I can get a decent nights sleep. Ah, the joys of being a trial attorney.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Random Work Blog Post

I wrote this at work during lunch on a piece of paper and am now posting it from home. Then I went back to doing work after a fifteen minute break. It is a long week for just being Monday. Somehow today, a piece of cake magically showed up on my desk. Magically I tell you. Perhaps my office has cake elves. I turned around and there it was sitting on the middle of my desk with a fork sticking up out of it. A simple yet deadly piece of white grocery store cake covered in pink and white frosting. So, because I am a little bit strange, I sniffed it and then tossed it in my trash can, I'm long past the days of reaching into trash cans for food (and yes that is something I used to do). The cake did not actually smell good, in fact all I could smell was sugar, so I probably did not miss out on any great taste sensation. It did, however, silently mock me from the trash can for the rest of the day, but I'd rather have mocking than food regret later on in the day. I suspect that drinking 32 ounces of water by 10 am helped me avoid the cake eating. I was not terribly hungry. I also had a low fat bran muffin to snack on which no doubt helped as well. I am trying to eat five slightly smaller meals every day, largely to preven myself from crashing late in the day and reaching for sugary snacks. I am aiming for between 1400 and 1600 calories every single day (approximately) consisting of as little processed food as possible. This is due to my continuing attempts to workout in the evening as well as the morning. I figure that any less than 1400 calories will cause me to become completely insane. I am working my way through 64 ounces of water today as well. 32 ounces of water in the morning and 32 ounces in the afternoon. I am now religiously taking a nalgene bottle to work and refilling it at lunchtime which more water. This won't work on days I have court and cannot sit around drinking water, but I am trying as much as possible to drink my 8 glasses of water a day. There ends my work post. A few updates as it were, I managed to finish my 64 ounces of water by 2 pm in the afternoon. I figure that I drank closed to 96 ounces today with the water I had after my workouts and with dinner. As my brother would say "hydrate or die", okay he would also say "don't stick your fingers in a camel's mouth" but that seems slightly less relevant. I did manage my afternoon workout, another 30 minutes on an eliptical machine plus 60 situps and a weight workout for my arms. I am going to feel that tomorrow and not like myself very much. Anyway, I have to go make my lunch, and get everything set for tomorrow so that I can just grab it and go at 6:30 am when I leave the house.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The week of suckage

Last week was ridiculously long (and it was only a four day week) and sucky. Mostly due to work stuff which I cannot discuss because of confidentiality issues. However, it is over (although this week is not looking good either) and I am moving on with my life. I only made one night workout as a result of last week. However, food was pretty good overall and I managed to run 4 out out of 6 workouts which was pretty good. This weekend has been all about cooking, so far I have made spicy chicken skewers, pumpkin soup, low fat bran muffins, and turkey chili. I still have leftovers from last week so my goal of filling the house with lots of healthy easy to prepare food is working. I also worked out this morning so that is one more thing off my list for the day. I am thinking of making a bean dip as a snack for the week and then I will be done with cooking. The universe has decreed that I should stick with the healthy eating thing as well. This morning, I went to Barnes and Noble and stopped to get a Cinnamon Dolce Latte at the bookstore coffee shop and they ended up only having the sugar-free version, which is what I ended up buying. It was my splurge meal for the week so I had not planned to have the sugar free version but it probably saved me about 400 calories so it worked out in the long run. Hopefully all this healthy eating will really start making a difference soon, I do feel better but hopefully I will see a physical difference soon as well. Anyway, I am off to check on my laundry and finish cooking for the week.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy MLK Day

I am quite pleased with myself today, dare I say slightly smug. I actually managed two workouts today which is impressive because I have the day off and was thus inclined to slack off. It worked out to about 1.5 hours of cardio which included a 20 minute jog. I have created a workout chart on the refridgerator as a way of motivating myself to get in the extra workouts. I am aiming for 3 night workouts this week and I think that is workable because I have been working out in the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays anyway. I have also passed the halfway mark in paying off my credit card bill which is terribly exciting as well. So life is good, however I have to run because my cat is attempting to get into one of the cabinets and I believe it is the one with the christmas decorations which she tends to destroy. So, off I go to prevent any destruction from occurring.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend cooking roundup

Sundays are generally the days I cook for the entire week, mostly because I do all my shopping on Sunday morning. So, right now, bubbling away on the stove is a batch of beef chili with black beans. The recipe made so much that I had to divide it into two pots in order to prevent spillage. Most of the chili is going to be frozen for meals over the course of the week and possibly over next week. I may save out some for dinner tonight. I am also going to make more pumpkin soup and roast carrots as well. I will say, that the chili is not something I would try to make during the week, it requires about 2.5 hours of cooking time and a fair amount of prep work in terms of chopping up vegetables and so forth. However, the fact that it is a well balanced meal and freezes well makes it a good dietary choice for me. Not to mention the fact that given the amount of spices in it, you will totally clean out your sinuses as well. I am all about easy to prepare items which I can just microwave or reheat on the stove. I did workout today, however there was no running because the treadmills were packed. I settled for using the eliptical machine and if I feel really motivated, I will go back tonight. Otherwise I will do core work and situps. I am working on increasing the amount of time that I work out on weekends, but it is still a triumph that I am working out on weekends at all because for a long time that was something that I was not prepared to include in my day. Baby steps, and so far the baby steps are working.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On track

I have now published more posts in 2008 than I did in all of 2007, now that is depressing. I am remarkably still on track, even with the evening workouts. This evening I dragged my butt to the gym for a second workout and managed a 20 minute run. I even have managed to run in the mornings for about 15 minutes. If you add that to the 35 minute eliptical workout each morning and a 10 minute warm up/cool down period, this is the most cardio I have done in a long time. I really did not want to workout tonight, there was an accident on the freeway and instead of a 10 minute commute, it turned into a 35 minute commute (yes I know I have it easy). By the time I got home and dealt with all of my bills, working out was not high on the list of priorities. However, I dragged myself over to the gym and workout anyway. Really, getting there is three quarters of the battle, and frankly it is all mental (although my legs will be tired tomorrow). I spend most of my time talking myself into doing things and actually doing them takes only a little bit of effort. So, I am pleased with myself today. I am aiming for three night workouts this week so I am going to try and go workout tomorrow night as well, we will see how that pans out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

All things small and orange

Long, long ago, in a blogland far away, I wrote about my unholy love for avocados, and by extension my father's guacamole. People, tonight I discovered something almost as good (well not as good as my father's guacamole because nothing is that good). Do you know how good roasted carrots are? Do you? I think you do not fathom the goodness that is the humble carrot. This is a very simple side dish, well except if like me you accidentally set of the smoke alarm (twice) and have to dance around flapping blankets at it and turning on fans. However, simple other than that bit. This comes courtesy of one of the Best New Recipe book by America's Test Kitchen Well, except for the dancing around the apartment bit, that is courtsey of my smoke alarm 2 lbs of baby carrots (two 16 oz bags) 1.5 tsps of olive oil 1/2 tsp of salt 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1 tablespoon butter Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Toss the carrots in the bottom half of a broiler pan and toss them with the olive oil and salt. Put them in the oven to roast for 12 minutes. While they are roasting, melt the butter in a small saucepan until golden (about 1-2 minutes). Take the butter off the heat and mix with the maple syrup. When the carrots are done, pull them out and toss them with the maple syrup and butter mixture. Put them back in the oven for 8 more minutes. Shake the pan twice during the last 8 minutes. Pull them out and voila. The carrot will be just cooked and have a hint of sweetness from the roasting and the maple syrup. They are incredibly yummy. Plus, according to my father, they will help your night vision and give you curly hair. In full disclosure, I could take or leave most carrots generally, especially raw carrots. However, these I love, they ended up being my main dinner meal, so much so I did not finish my polenta. I am taking a baggie to work tomorrow as a snack and they will be dinner tomorrow night. So good, so easy, and you don't have to feel guilty about eating them. I love healthy food discoveries.

A balanced Sunday

I forgot how expensive it can be to try and live on purely healthy non-processed food. At the store this morning, I spent around $100 and pretty much just bought fruit and vegetables and milk. Yes there were a couple of high ticket items, real maple syrup for the glaze on my roasted carrots, a water bottle to carry at work, and tofu for smoothies but still, that is about 30 dollar more than I have been spending in the past. I have decided that food will have to be a non-negotiable expense in my budget, whatever it costs to eat healthy is what it costs. I actually budget $100 a week for food anyways, I just don't usually spend it all. I have already polished off 32 oz of water this morning which leaves about 32 oz to go for the day. Not to mention the fact that I went to the gym and ran for 25 minutes (five more minutes than last week) and did some stretching. I need to lift weights and do situps later on today. It is good weekend in other words. My cat is sleeping on top of the computer monitor and I have celtic music playing in the background as I go about my day. All of this is part of the balance which has been lacking for a while in my life . I may head off to the bookstore later on today but I have not really decided yet, I'll think about it. I made polenta for lunch which turned out to be surprisingly good when topped of with 1/2 cup of marinara sauce with meat. I was surprised because it was far tastier than the restaurant polenta I have made in the past and easy to cook as well. I could have made the marinara sauce, but I can't say I was enthused by that idea. I did have to spend 15 minutes in the grocery store figuring out which sauce did not include high fructose corn syrup but that was a small price to pay for the end result. I am off to check on my laundry now and get on with the rest of my day.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pumpkin soup and polenta

I am finally back to really cooking, for the first time in a long time. Today, I finally got around to making my pumpkin soup (it was delayed because I had to go buy a pot to cook it in) and it is actually very good. Also, it is a rich enough soup that only having a cup really is enough. Plus, it is basically pumpkin, peanut butter (I used reduced fat) and sweet potatoes. The amount of pumpkin and potatoes far outweighs the amount of peanut butter. The ingredients are as follows: 2 cups of pureed cooked sweet potatoes (about 4 sweet potatoes give or take) 1 cup smooth peanut butter 4 cups of pumpkin 4 tablespoons butter 1 tsp salt 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 6 cups of chicken stock Heat the butter over medium heat and when it is melted add the sweet potatoes, peanut butter, and pumpkin. Stir to combine and then add the stock, pepper and salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes. Serve. Accidentally I bought pumpkin pie filling rather than pumpkin and while it worked fine, it was a little bit too sweet for my taste. Now, those are words I never thought would come out of my mouth. So next time I am going to remember to buy just canned pumpkin. Now obviously this is not a low fat dish because of the butter and the peanut butter. However, it is ninety percent things that are good for you and sweet potatoes are so ridiculously good for you that they qualify as a superfood. Thus, I refuse to kill myself worrying about the fat content. I think if all you are eating for a meal is a cup of the soup (which is what I am doing) well then you are totally good. In addition, my snacks today were a few slices of turkey with mustard and totally within bounds. I have to say, for the first time in a long time, my body is actually happy with me. I just feel better, more alert and less sluggish. I was napping a lot on weekends, I do not feel the need to do that anymore and it is all down to the change in my diet. I intutively know this about myself, I just get lazy about food and I am working on being less lazy about what I put into my body and about being more aware of the things which trigger my need for sugar or junk food. So, I am back to making meal plans and trying to really plan what I put into my body. As part of the plan to make sure that there is good food in my apartment all week long, I am freezing four small ziploc bags to the pumpkin soup, this will allow me to just pull it out and reheat it on the stove or in my microwave at night. In addition, I am going to roast carrots tommorrow and possibly some other vegetables. I am also going to try to make some polenta which qualifies as a good grain in my world. All of this should be enough good food to get me through next saturday when I will decide what I am going to make for the following week. It is nice to be back on track and this time I have to make sure it lasts permanently while also taking it day by day. So far so good.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Twofer

So, I made it back to the gym tonight which means that for the first time in forever I have done two night workouts in one week. I have also been pretty good about my food and while I don't see any physical change in terms of weight, I can see the differene in my skin already. It is amazing what drinkin loads of water accomplishes in a short time frame. Actually, given how high stress this week has been, I am doing surprisingly well. There has been some coffee but other than that I have been really good. Although this morning I had to tell myself several times that I was not going to go to the vending machine and eat a candy bar. I am eating a lot more fruit which is good, and this weekend I am actually going to cook my meals in advance which should make a huge difference. I am also going to cut out cheese for a bit, I love it but I eat too much. I am aiming for a decent workout tomorrow morning and maybe one tomorrow night if I feel really motivated. So, I am getting back on track and I am happy about that, and I am definately taking it a day at a time.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm going to regret this tomorrow

I did not make it to the gym last night, I came home with a horrible headache and pretty much vegged out in front of the tv. This week at work is brutal, and it has become clear that this is not the best week to give up on coffee. So, instead, I am scaling that back and trying to have only a cup a day, which is far more practical. However, today was a better day (well other than the eight hours I spent in court). I did not have the best workout this morning, but convinced myself that I would come home tonight and go running. When I came home, I kept putting the working out off, but I finally dragged myself over to the apartment complex gym and did some squats, stretching, and 20 minutes of jogging on the treadmill. I am going to be sore in the morning. Still, I was reminded of why I do not like working out at night, the crowds of people who take over the gym. I am so used to working out in the early morning hours with no one else around that it is a shock when there are other people there. I still get the automatic "fat girl in a gym" feeling, like I should go around and personally inform everyone that I work out everyday and this is not some fluke and that I know what I am doing. It is a knee jerk reaction to being in an exercise room with other people and usually being one of the larger people if not the only one. After a few moments the feeling passed and I hopped on the treadmill and began jogging. Frankly, ultimately it only matters what I am doing in my life and not what they think about what I am doing with my life. I am really pleased that I went tonight, it was a good workout and I need to do something to shake up my routine a bit. This week, so far, I already have two more workouts than normal under my belt and that is really good news. Tomorrow, I am going to lift weights in addition to my morning workout and then thursday, hopefully, I will manage some extra cardio. Slowly but surely I am getting back on track and it is about time. But I am going to be sore in the morning.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The good, the bad, the brunch

The problem with weekends is that they are rife with good intentions that never entirely come to fruition. While I did manage to replace my chair and vaccum, I never did deal with my thermostat issue or check out gyms. Not to mention this morning did not quite meet the definition of no carbs and clean living. I have a good excuse, I had two of my close friends over for Sunday brunch and girl bonding. So, there were homemade muffins, coffee, eggs, fruit salad, quiche and bacon. I had a little bit of everything and you know what, I'm not sorry about it. One meal does not derail my whole diet and having balance and a real life is important to me. I did work out today, which for some reason I find horribly hard to do on weekends, I jogged for 20 minutes and did another ten minutes of brisk walking. I have not been running in a while and I can tell, because at the 17 minute mark I began developing a horrible stitch in my side and I had to stop at 20 minutes. However, this is still a triumph given I almost never manage to actually do anything on the weekends. I am going to do situps tonight as well and hopefully tomorrow I will manage two workouts over the course of the day. Tomorrow, I go back to clean living and healthy foods and I chalk up any excess today to the joys of having a real life.