Thursday, April 29, 2010

Body Image Wisdom from Glee

I mostly watch Glee because it's hilarious and fun, and I love the music and dance numbers. But this week I found myself getting pretty emotional at some of the situations.

During one scene, Quinn, who is pregnant and was kicked off the cheerleading squad because of it, was talking with Mercedes about being healthy. She made the comment that she didn't know why she was so willing to eat healthy for her baby, but unwilling to do the same thing to take care of herself.


Good thing to consider, huh?

Then later, Mercedes did an awesome rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." It won't let me embed it for copyright reasons, but you can see it here. She talked about how often we all feel fat, feel unattractive, feel not good enough, and asked the crowd to join her if they'd ever felt the same.

I know I was singing along. And even R commented that he'd never really listened to the words before, but wow, that was a really good song!

Though, for a more lighthearted moment, I think my very favorite quote from the episode may have been when Brittany said, "I'm pretty sure my cat has been reading my diary."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pain, Struggles, and Distraction Tactics

First let's talk about the struggles...

I read this week (or sometime in the past month -time just bleeds all together) that you have to cut 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. 1 pound - people. That's 500 calories a day for 7 days straight that shouldn't be going into my mouth. Now the mystery as to why the numbers aren't plummeting in a down-ward direction is finally clear.

Have you ever fought yourself to go to the gym. Hated every minute of being there and then at the end of a programmed workout - looked down at the screen to see that you just sweat and panted and spent minutes of your life - and burned 97 calories? Maybe it says 130 calories? Is this disappointing to anyone else?

I think this MAY be why (digging into Long Term Memory Now) my review of that Fact or Crap weight loss article was suggesting that exercise simply is not the answer to LOSING weight. Unless you are a serious athlete or a marathon runner (I know there are some of you out there) you simply are NOT going to find success with this method. You HAVE TO CUT CALORIES.

I know that isn't fun. Trust me. But it also isn't fun to imagine the number of minutes I would have to commit to the treadmill in order to burn that 1 pound. I will try to remember this choice (spend my entire evening on the treadmill or don't eat the ice cream) whenever I have the urge to flirt with "unnecessary foods".

Other light bulb moments this week included the fact that 99% of calories in hot dogs are from FAT. About 80% of calories in cream cheese is from fat. I'm usually good at looking at labels - but the fact that these two had escaped my radar for this long is making me question my diligence.

Distraction Tactics

Coke Rewards thinks they will try to derail my 1 time a week soda plan by encouraging me to drink their Diet beverage in mass quantity for extra bonus points. Pure evil.

Dairy Queen is having a blizzard birthday. My son was amazed / horrified to think that I was nearly 10 years old before the idea of putting candy into ice cream was thought of. And for the record - yes, I took part in the .25 cent blizzard promotion. I pray that it is over now so that I can avoid a repeat offense.

And finally - let's talk Pain!

I had my best workout (unintentionally) in a long time. This weekend I spent some time outside planting flowers. The ground was wet, it was cold, and this led to some interesting poses (perhaps I've invented gardening yoga) in order to avoid the mud while squatting to plant flowers. Apparently while bending, reaching, digging, and balancing - I rekindled my relationship with some long-lost inner thigh and glut muscles.

The next morning I had that happy muscle burn. I was very please with myself. I suggested to Janet that this may be my new workout plan.

By afternoon - I was trying to fake a "normal walk" but I think it was more like a light hobble. I'm thinking maybe I over did it.

By evening I was wincing in pain with every step and cursing the builder of our house that thought stairs was a good idea. As I admire my happy flowers - they seem to be taunting me.

Today, I'm considering a plant sale in the driveway. I've had the realization that I have only planted one flower bed (and not even completely) and that I have about 4x more to go. Spring fever causes brain damage and should be a medical condition in the DSM. Why on earth would anyone call gardening FUN?

I'm praying for rain this weekend so that I have a valid excuse to procrastinate at putting the rest of the flowers in the ground. I'm also wondering how many dog treats I would have to offer to get my poochies to dig the rest of the wholes for me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baked Oatmeal

I originally got this recipe from $5 Dinners - and I can't thank them enough!

2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce (I use sugar free)
3/4 cup sugar (IF I use applesauce with sugar - I cut this back to half)
1 cup milk
3 cups of quick cooking oats
1 tsp salt (I have left this out completely or just added one shake)
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 TBS brown sugar
1 cup fresh fruit (I have used frozen berries, you may need to add a few minutes to baking time to bake out the extra liquids.)
2 TBS wheat germ (not in the original recipe, but I add it)

1. In large bowl, whisk eggs, applesauce, sugar, and milk. Once creamy add oats, salt and baking powder (and wheat germ) and mix. Then add 1 cup fruit.

You can use Gluten free oats if this is a concern for your family.

2. Pour batter into greased 9x13 baking dish. (You can cut the recipe in half and bake in 8x8 pan. I prefer to bake the full recipe in a glass dish that is irregularly shaped - I think it's around a 8x10. This makes the oatmeal thicker and the sugar topping has more POW with each bite!)

3. Sprinkle top with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Top with either milk or vanilla yogurt. (I vote for yogurt, but the boys prefer it with milk.)

We've tried fresh strawberries (sometimes I use strawberry applesauce in that batch), fresh blueberries, apples, and frozen fruits as well. All have been a winner! We only made the 8x8 batch once...since then we make the full batch and have enjoyed it for a very filling dinner. Then I pray for leftovers so that I can take some to work each day and warm it slightly in the microwave and top with yogurt.

As an additional note, one night when I was clearly brain-dead from my day, I accidentally topped with yogurt without warming it up first. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was still delicious and I can see this being a summertime favorite as well!

Enjoy -you've got to love a simple, cheap, yummy dish that is healthy and filling- and very close to eating CAKE!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My New Favorite Junk Food

Okay, I know – I haven’t posted for some days/ weeks. I’m not sure what happened; other than I got caught up the whirlwind called life.

And don’t worry – I didn’t fall off the wagon, well not totally.

I did have a short love-affair with the soda. I drank more than I would care to confess. But I’m here to come clean and tell you that I have returned from the “dark side” and have remained on the 1-soda per week program successfully THIS week and plan to keep it up.

But back to my new favorite junk food…

I HAVE to call it junk food. Because for as long as I’ve lived if I’ve gotten “stuck” on a food--you could pretty much bet it was a junk food. Bread sticks, pizza, milkshakes with cookie dough – you know the stuff… high calorie, not good for you, and certainly not a food that you want to eat OVER and OVER and OVER.

Now, I have to say – I have WISHED for years that I LOVED oatmeal. It’s so good for you. It has magic powers against the cholesterol. It’s filled with fiber and keeps you full.

But alas, the texture of oatmeal mostly makes me want to gag and IF I manage to eat it, it’s almost always followed by nausea. I know, it’s weird, but it’s just part of being ME. Who wants to start their day THAT way?

So last year – I fell in love with Oatmeal on the Go bars by Quaker. My only disappointments were that it does involve some High Fructose Corn Syrup, and it does contain “an insignificant amount of trans fats” ….and you know how that grinds my gears. Regardless, I bought the high fiber variety – nuked it and enjoyed a warm, mostly healthy kind of breakfast most of last year at my desk. (And only recently have I found that my usual grocery stop has decided to NOT carry this flavor.) My blood work results at the annual physical did tend to show some improvement with the numbers – and this is the ONLY major change that I identified.

Imagine my joy – when I found an easy to whip up, so delicious I call it junk food, recipe for baked oatmeal. It involves NO fats. It uses fresh fruits. It’s kind of like eating cake. You can make it in a wide variety of flavors (we’ve tried apple, blueberry, strawberry). And while I haven’t done the calorie count – at a glance it’s got to be a winner.

Since we’ve discovered this recipe I swear we have gone through one HUGE tub of oatmeal each month, if not more. We have enjoyed it for dinner and I am now in the habit of making sure there is enough in the fridge to get me through the week.

Even with all that – I swear, I find myself wanting it for dinner ….. or snack….. or dessert….

Now that is a junk food winner! Do you have any super –healthy foods that you’ve not been able to eat enough of?

I’ll post the recipe next Tuesday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Janet's Rules for Healthy Living

1. Chocolate chips are a perfectly acceptable breakfast food when mixed with almonds and a high fiber cereal.

2. A Quarter Pounder with Cheese is a perfectly acceptable lunch if you leave two bites uneaten.

3. Chocolate in general only has half the calories if you eat it as a reaction to a co-worker behaving insanely.

4. If you go to yoga, and the instructor doesn't show up, you still reap all the benefits of doing yoga.

5. Any exercise done while it's pouring rain outside burns double the calories.

6. Doing yoga two days in a row is a really good idea. I think. I'll let you know for sure tomorrow. If I can move.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yoga Voices in My Head

I had to go to a luncheon for work yesterday, and there was a motivational speaker. Yeah, I know, it was thrilling, beyond belief. And yes, it was the typical, "You can do it!" and "Just change your attitude!" stuff you always hear from motivational speakers.

She was perky and tiny, and I wanted to wring her size two little neck most of the time. I'd be motivated too. If I could button my pants.

One thing she said was that for every negative thing she hears her little inner voice say about herself, she makes herself think of two positive things. Which might be kind of corny, but I do say a lot of bad stuff to myself lately. So, it kind of stuck with me.

I went to yoga last night for the first time in six weeks. Okay, it's not the first time I went to yoga in six weeks, but it's the first time I got to do yoga in six weeks.

And it was rough. I'm tellin' ya. Six weeks worth of not doing yoga (or much of anything for that matter) isn't pretty for this chick.

You want to know how many times during a one hour yoga class I said something negative to myself? I lost count after 47. And half the time, I'd be trying to think of the two positives, "My calves are really strong!" and the negative would pop in and says, "But not as strong as they used to be!" before I got the second positive out. Which meant I had to think of three positives then.

I think.

I kind of kept losing track.

Anyway, the biggest positive I kept telling myself, is, "Hey! You're here. You haven't been in a long time, and it would have been easier to stay home. But you're here."

And I know it will get easier next week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Post About Bloating and My Boobs

I feel like crap.

Like fat, bloated, PMSy crap.

Sorry, not the positive, uplifting post you were expecting?

I've written before about how I have PMS from hell. Like to the point that I was on antidepressants and stuff for a while, even though I truly only felt like I needed them two weeks out of the month.

Yes, I said two weeks. PMS runs two weeks in our household. Welcome to our world.

R loves it.


Anyway, I was on the road for work three days last week, then worked Saturday. So, that means I ate out....9 of my last 12 meals? The PMS had started before I left, but I'm thinking so much soda, fried food, and salt, has really taken its toll.

I was getting dressed Thursday morning, and I put my rings on, only to realize 5 minutes later that my fingers were turning purple. And then I couldn't get the rings OFF. And once I soaped my hands and got them off, I had the ring imprints on my fingers for two hours.

Got to be the bloating. I mean, did I seriously gain that much weight in a day?!

And my boobs are killing me. I mean, I'm in boob pain sitting here typing. I take my bra off at night, and I can hear them go "WHUMP" and then I yell from the pain.

And my neck and shoulders are a wreck. Which might be stress, and might be the 45 pounds of boobs they try to hold up every day of my life.

Saturday my co-worker (who admittedly, is never a ray of sunshine) informed me that she hates me because I have such big boobs. I told her she can have them. I don't want them.

I was serious.

I still am.

Any takers?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Mostly Sugar Free Easter

Well, I'm returning from my Easter holiday with a mostly happy report on the world.
(I say that and I realize that I haven't weighed for several days in a row...)

Somehow in the past years - we've grown this horrible tradition on our house. The "E Bunny" hides 100+ eggs in the yard or house (depending on weather). The downfall is that all those eggs contained a piece of candy. I know, I know, I don't even remember how it got so out of control.

And certainly...calories / pounds were to follow.

I spent a lot of time prepping for the idea that perhaps the "E Bunny" was going to be a little lighter on the candy this year. Though I assured the little man that there would be plenty of other treats involved and he could still run around the yard picking up 100+ eggs. And come Easter morning - I crossed my fingers and hoped.

Okay, really I got out of bed at 5am to "hide' the eggs - which is a joke, b/c when you are talking about 100+ eggs - let's be honest, there is little hiding involved. You stand and throw and hope that the colors nicely spread across the yard in some kind of magical display. And even if this would not normally be your nature to be so careless - it's 5am! it's cold! and you know an excited child is going to wake early so you better get all the sleep you can before he wakes up!! But I digress....back to the candy...

The good news is that the Easter load ended up consisting of 6 Butterfingers Eggs, 1 Large Marshmallow Bunny, and 1 Cookies and Cream Bunny, and 1 Small Pastel Bunny. When you compare this to the normal 'load' - we seriously downsized. (Also take into account the unbelievable fact that I purchased these bunnies at the Russel Stover's Outlet MONTHS earlier and put them in the freezer - for a ridiculously low price, but better yet - there were still around to make their "debut" for the holiday!!! There may be a Noble Prize coming my way...this took serious self-control.)

And in the midst of all this low-cal little man (knowing and understanding my deep love for Butterfingers) offered to share - even though he only got 6! I teared up a little. And he made the same offer with each of the bunnies.

So the good news is, that while I may not have eaten like a Saint this weekend - I had less junk to reach for. And that's a gift that will keep on giving for weeks to come!!! An important lesson - listen to the child. Maybe you will find that it's the "hunt" and not the "prize" that they really enjoy the most?

Thanks Easter Bunny! Bock! Bock!

Monday, April 5, 2010

"What Are You Hungry For?

Hint: It's not food." And so starts a really interesting article in the latest issue of O Magazine. It was written by Geneen Roth and it's based on the ideas in her book Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything.

The concept that I found most fascinating is that most of us approach weight loss from a perspective of what we dislike about ourselves. We see things we don't like, and we want to change them. And we think that if we can just lose the weight, we'll be happy. Geneen says we think that, "If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself. If you torture yourself enough, you will become a peaceful, relaxed human being."

Which is crazy, is it not?

And you know it doesn't work. I know it doesn't work. I know for a fact that when my step-mother tells me I've gained weight, it does not help. It makes me hate my body and myself more, and then it makes me reach for the chocolate to make myself feel better. For a moment.

She goes on to say,
...there are always exquisitely good reasons why [you] turn to food. Can you imagine how your life would have been different if each time you were feeling sad or angry as a kid, an adult said to you, "Come here sweetheart, tell me all about it."?

Wow. That made me tear up a bit. I mean, honestly, as an adult, that is all I want really. For someone to care and listen and sympathize and understand. Isn't that what we all want?

The advice Geneen says she gives her students is, "To eat what they want when they are hungry and to feel what they feel when they're not." She says that if we eat when we are not physically hungry, we are using food as a drug. We're using food to kill the pain of whatever negative emotion we're trying to squash.

It's a lot to think about. I haven't read the book, but I'm thinking I probably will. I'm not a religious person, so this whole "God" aspect of the book makes me a little squeamish. I know there are church groups that help people lose weight through prayer and so forth. If it's more spiritual than religious, I can handle that and embrace it. So, we'll see.

Anyway, the main idea I've been trying to remember is that hating myself or my body is never going to make he healthy, or thin, or happy. So, I'm trying to make my choices about food and exercise and such from a place of love for myself, rather than hatred.

It kind of worked over the weekend. Today I had to work, and I didn't so much remember all that as I kept reaching for the candy bowl.

Oh, well, it's all about baby steps.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Another Exercise in Flexibility

I hadn't been to yoga in over a month.  Twice I had to work.  Twice I was too sick.  Once the teacher was on vacation.  I know I need to get back into it, because I feel so much better when I'm going regularly.  So, despite being tired and still not feeling 100%, I made myself go tonight.

And then the teacher didn't show up!

The weird thing is, I'd had this feeling since about noon today that class wasn't happening.  And I called the Community Center to double check, and nobody was answering.  I looked on their website, and the posted schedule was still for March.  So, I went this evening, despite my crazy feeling that there was no class.

And when I arrived, the daily schedule board did not list yoga.  So, I walked up to the desk and said, "I had a feeling there was no yoga tonight.  Is class canceled?"  And they looked at me like I was insane, and they insisted there was going to be class.

I told them it wasn't on the board.  The guy then asked if I had an April schedule, and I said, "No, and it's not on your website."  So he handed me a schedule.  Which said there was yoga tonight.

But the girl checked some other paper, a "facilities report" or some such thing, and it did not have yoga listed for tonight.  So, she called somebody, and I heard her say in an exasperated tone, "Well can you check NOW?  There's a woman here wanting to pay."

She hung up, and told me this person was supposed to call her back.  So I stood around at the desk and listened to this girl complaining about how she needs a new job.  The other person eventually called back and insisted that yes, there would be yoga tonight.  So I paid and went on upstairs.

I generally walk around the track until the teacher shows up to unlock the room.  So, I'm walking, and I'm walking, and it gets to be 10 'til, then 5 'til, and I'm thinking the whole time, "I just know there is no class."  And it gets to be TIME for class, and she's not there yet.

So, I grabbed my stuff, and decided to check the door, just in case maybe she slipped in when I wasn't looking.  She wasn't in there, but three other ladies were in there, waiting for class.  And right behind me, one more walked in.  And she said she had called, and they told her yes, there was class.

By the time it was 5 minutes beyond class time, I told them all that there was no way she was coming.  She is always early.  So, one girl went back downstairs to ask again what was going on.  And she was told they were calling the teacher.  Which I'm thinking maybe should have happened 15 minutes earlier, but whatever.

At that point, it was 10 minutes late, and I told them all I was giving it up.  On my way back downstairs, I met a girl who was heading up to tell us all there was no class (you think???).  She apologized and said the teacher had spoken to So and So, but she forgot to tell Whomever, and then Somebody Else left early, and with all that, Nobody got the message.

Or something.

Anyway, I did walk about 25 minutes.  And while I was waiting around in the room, I grabbed a couple weight balls (is that what they're called?  Squishy kind of things like they are filled with sand?) and did some arm stuff.  So, all in all, I felt like it was not a waste of time.

Except that I could have been at home.

Except that if I'd gone home, I probably wouldn't have exercised at all.

So, it was a good day at yoga.  Or a good day to not do yoga.