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.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Well so much for that

Well, in case anyone was wondering, the answer to the question of how long I can make my living room chair survive is that I can't salvage it. I tried very hard and after much experimentation with nails and glue it has died a sad death (well part of it did anyway). So, saturday I have to go buy a new (more expensive) chair and get it delivered. I'm slightly bitter about this fact, but it has to be done. Besides I do have a $1000 cushion in my checking account for these sorts of problems (plus $500 in a savings account). It occurs to me that I have never before kept a monetary cushion in my checking account, so hey go me. On the plus side, I get to hang out with my girls tomorrow (well I work with one and she is back from vacation and the other is in town for the holidays) and it is Friday. So, that should improve my mood. I am still on track (mostly due to the repeated mantra in my head that I will not eat sugar) now I just need to improve on the working out aspect of my life. I have lots of things to do this weekend, I am making pumpking soup and freezing is (yes I realize my timing is off on the whole pumpkin thing since they were in season like three months ago but I found a really interesting recipie), buying loads of interesting tea to replace the coffee, hunting down a new chair, possibly looking at gyms, get the apartment maintance guy to come and look at my apparently broken thermostat,and trying to get the rest of my life in order. I need to workout and by workout I mean run because that never happens during the week, I just can't make myself run at 4:30 in the morning and I need to vacum like a maniac. I realize those two thoughts are not connected but that is how my brain works sometimes. I am off to bed, I will be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Oww, or the day in which minor catastrophes beset our heroine

I have the most godawful headache. Oh and I need a new living room chair because my old one has decided to fall apart (admittedly it was cheap). So now I get to see how long I can make that chair last because I don't really have the money to spend on a new chair. Did I mention the part where my head hurt yet? This is what happens when one quits sugar, diet sodas, and coffee simultaneously (I suspect). I'm very grouchy today, even though I am drinking tea which is caffinated. Oh and my thermostat appears to have shorted out somehow so I have to get the maintance people to fix that tomorrow because I can't change the temperature. Plus, I have a sore throat (just to round out the catalogue of woes. Anyway, I am going to bed (even though it is only 8:30) because if I don't who knows what horrible catastrophe will befall me. I did work out this morning and stayed on my eating plan (no sugar, see above) so lets go with that for the day.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Drastic measures

So, my real problem has always been food. I like sugar, I like sweet things, I love coffee and don't get me started on bread. However, I sleep better and generally function as a happier person when I get rid of all of the above substances. So, tonight I chucked the diet soda, coffee, and flavored creamers from my cupboards. After this week, the bread is following those substances. I'm back to drinking water flavored with lemon and black tea. Already by upping my water intake I feel better, I have more energy and that is a good thing. This weekend I am switching over to soy milk from 2 percent milk and probably changing cereals. This is always my struggle and it never gets easier, not really. That is the dirty little secret of the weightloss wars (at least for me) that you don't wake up some day and have it all be easy, the bad habits lurk just around the corner. There are just less things to eliminate the longer you fight the battle. I don't have to throw away tons of stuff, I just have to tweak my diet and exercise. Perhaps in the end that is progress enough.