Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Strategy

In MO there are a few seasons...winter, fall, spring (lasts about 2 weeks) and then the humid season. Humidity causes many problems - higher AC bills, bad hair days, and auto's that are instant saunas.

The one good thing they a lack of hunger.

This is the season where I sometimes could care less about eating dinner. Or, I'll be craving something light. So as I was eating some cereal for dinner --I thought, hey, I'll try the Special K plan.

After a quick search online - I was pretty disgusted with their suggested plan. If diets were made to be all carbs - then it might be a great idea. It was (of course) full of Special K suggestions to eat - but I failed to see where it encouraged enough fruits and veggies. But searching the nutritional info it became quite clear that they do not know the meaning of "high fiber" AND that they have a love affair with some hidden trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.

So, now I'm trying my own version of the Special K diet. 2 bowls of cereal and one regular meal. Veggies and fruits are "free" in between or with meals. Limited drink calories.

I know it's not a long term plan - but it has some advantages. First, it allows me to eat less - since this is what I'm wanting to do anyway. Second, it is easier to track calories when 2 of your meals are mostly the same every day. Third, it's pretty easy because it's short term (they suggest 2 weeks) and once you select your variety of cereals there isn't much question of what you will be eating.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Was Told There'd Be Cake

That happens to be the title of a very funny bookthat has nothing to do with losing weight. In case you're interested.

I had an epiphany yesterday about cake. (Yes, that's what I said, an epiphany about cake. I don't claim to be deep.)

I've been sick this week. Well, actually for two weeks. (I'm finally starting to get better, thanks for asking.) And I had to work yesterday, which kinda sucks. Then after work I was driving to a birthday party for a special seven-year-old and thinking of how exhausted I was, when I found myself thinking, "I hope there's good cake."

And then I got to thinking about all the events where we serve cake in our culture. Birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, retirements, basically any cause for celebration is cause to eat cake.

Here's the thing about me and celebrations. I'm very happy for whomever is celebrating. And generally I'm going to the celebration because I love the person being celebrated. But celebrations mean large groups of people. And as R likes to say, "Janet doesn't like people."

That sounds bad, I realize. And I guess the truth is, I love certain people. And I love those people one-on-one or in small groups. But you put any people in a large, loud, chaotic group? I'd really rather be at home.

So, I realized yesterday that I tend to say to myself about every time I'm faced with one of these situations, "Well, at least there will be cake." Cousin's wedding? Grandparents' 75th anniversary? "At least there will be cake."

This cake coping mechanism is a classic example of me using food to numb whatever feeling is making me uncomfortable. I'm grateful that I live in a culture which serves cake. Otherwise, I'd be forced to feel uncomfortable without assitance.

Do you suppose this is WHY we serve cake at these things? Because generally they involve seeing family we don't like? Or being around large groups of noisy children? Or co-workers we'd rather not spend our social time with? Do we serve cake to medicate people into being able to stand the pressure?

At any rate, I know that I personally look forward to the food at these things. And I'll admit, good food is a good way to motivate me to do something that makes me uncomfortable. Which is something for me to think about.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lost Causes and Plan B

I'm not sure when it happened - but I think I was robbed.

...Robbed of my ambition and motivation.

But I think someone returned it recently. So I'm looking forward to getting back ON track!

All things considered - I guess I haven't done too bad...assuming you will forgive me for my silence.... *slap on the wrist - bad blogger, bad!*

My numbers are still hovering in the same area. My soda consumption is still around 1 per week - often less. (And at this point, usually when I drink it - my body tells me "no thank you" and it's not nearly as good as I remember it to be.) I'm looking forward to ice cold water with lime and mint (a virgin mojito?) on a nice sunny deck.

I'm eating okay but as always need to ramp up the veggies and fruits.
I have a planter full of homegrown lettuce that is soon going to be on my diner plate!
And a garden of veggies that I hope will inspire me to eat better!

I've been doing a lot of gardening - and I know that counts for some kind of workout because I FEEL the BURN, but it can't be my ONLY form of exercise. This is the season of "slowness" at my position - so no excuses not to get back in the habit of desk push-ups and taking my break on the treadmill or walking around the block (and possibly getting lost to meander a bit more freely through the town).

AND - I'm planning to kidnap my hubby a few times a week to make him walk with me in the evenings while dragging the poochies along for the fun.

That's the plan - try, try again?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Do Not Have a Cold but I Do Have Thai Soup

Last night we ate our fourth meal from Self Magazine's recipes. This one was Spicy Thai Soup with Lime Shrimp. Except I don't do shrimp, so mine was technically Spicy Thai Soup with Lime Chicken.

This was one of the recipes I was a bit unsure of. It involves sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli, and red peppers pureed in a blender. And curry (it calls for green curry paste, which I defy you to find in a small Missouri grocery store) and the juice of two limes.

It seemed an odd combination to me.

But I actually thought it was really good. Though I'm warning you, it might have something to do with what I have finally accepted is a cold, and not allergies.

I came home last night thinking that what I really wanted for supper was homemade chicken soup. And then it occurred to me that I had homemade chicken soup in the freezer. Sort of. If my grandmother was from Thailand, this might have been what her soup tasted like.

In my state of trying really hard not to have a cold, the combination of spicy, and hot, and limey was really good. And it was technically chicken soup. With garlic and onions, which are good for colds.

So, I'm giving it a thumbs up.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What I'm Not Doing to Lose Weight

I had a pretty good week in terms of eating healthier and exercising. R and I ate three of our five Self Magazine meals. I walked five out of seven days, and three of those days I also biked.

I was only able to go to yoga once because I had to work the other night, but it feels really good to be back into going regularly. Moves are getting easier, and I feel better about myself after going. Plus it goes a long way toward reducing my stress, which I know is a huge factor in my health.

At yoga that one day, I did something revolutionary. Or rather, I didn't do something revolutionary. I started to weigh myself at one point, and then I stopped.

I know there are two schools of thought on scales and weight loss. One philosophy says, "The scale doesn't mean anything. Focus on how you feel. Focus on how your clothes fit." The other idea is, "Weigh yourself regularly so you can quickly tell whether you're making progress or need to make some changes."

The way my mind works is, if I weigh and I did lose weight, I feel fabulous, and I'm motivated to keep going. BUT, if I weigh and I didn't lose weight? I feel like crap. And if I have actually been doing a lot of the right things, and the scale doesn't show it? I decide that this eating right, exercising regularly nonsense doesn't work and isn't worth it, and let's just go get ice cream.

And the thing is, this past week or two? I KNOW I've done better. I know I've been more active. I know I'm getting stronger and more flexible. I know I have more energy, and I'm feeling better about myself. And I also knew that if I stepped on that scale and didn't like what it told me? I'd feel awful and want to quit.

So I saved myself the trouble and didn't weigh. And I don't think I'm going to for a while. Maybe when I reach the point where my clothes feel looser, and I know that number will be motivating, rather than potentially discouraging, I'll step on.

But for now, I'm just going to keep doing those things I know are making me feel better.

How about you? Never step on a scale? Weigh every day? Do you feel like it helps or hurts?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shepherd's Pie and My Yoga Class

Last night R and I ate meal number three from Self's Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week. This one was Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie, and it was YUMMY!

This was the one meal R said he was unsure about. (The one I'm most unsure about is the Thai Soup. Coming soon to a blog near you!) But even he loved it. This is one recipe I think we will make again, maybe with a few modifications.

As with the previous two meals, this one was hot. Darn those chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (What is adobo sauce anyway? I should warn you, that link won't help. It basically says that "adobo" means "sauce" in Spanish. Which makes me wonder, does that mean that "adobo sauce" is just redundant?)

Anyway, before we ate this, we took our longest bike ride to date, and my thighs are feeling it today. Two and a quarter miles, knocked out! Yeah, I know, that's nothing on a bike, but it's more than we started out with.

And tonight we will not be bike riding because I walked over lunch with EG, and I went to yoga tonight. Nobody else showed up for class, so I essentially had a private one-on-one session with my teacher. It was a little bit awkward, but mostly it was good, and she was able to give me little personal tips on a couple things. Plus she did all my favorite poses, since it was just me.

There will be no Self meal tonight. Tonight, in honor of Cinco De Mayo, R is in the kitchen whipping up some fajitas for me. He brought me a margarita a few minutes ago. I know, he is "un novio fabuloso."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meal Number Two: Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Bake

We ate our second meal from Self's Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week article last night. This one was Cheesy Shrimp Enchilada Bake. Except I don't do shrimp, so ours was technically Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Bake.

As with the sauce from the meatloaves, this meal was HOT. I kept thinking it needed a nice dollop of sour cream to balance out the hot, but we didn't have any, and that would have defeated the healthy purpose somewhat. (Of course the brownies we ate for dessert probably did that anyway.)

I will say, it was lovely to simply decide which meal we wanted to eat, from the four we had conveniently placed in the freezer Sunday evening. R complained a bit that it took 30 minutes in the oven to heat these back up though. But he loved them once they were ready.

We biked for the second time last night too. I'm tellin' ya, it's been too long since this woman has regularly ridden a bike. I had to stop and rest after every tiny hill. And by the time we finished our mile and a half route, my thighs were twitching something awful. I walked about 3/4 a mile just to try to calm them back down.

Miraculously, my legs haven't been sore though, at all. They hurt like crazy while we're pedaling, and they twitch for hours after. But I haven't had any soreness. Well, except in my behind. But that's from the seat. But it hurts.

Anyhow, we're keeping it up. I think R is liking it much better than walking. He seems to look at bike riding more as play than as exercise. Which is probably the point we all need to get to in our routines, yes?

I walked today at lunch too. And I heard this Most Awesome Song I Heard While Working Out: I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas. I think I love this song so much because I remember how incredible it was seeing that flash mob on Oprah, and seeing Oprah not know what the heck was going on. It was fabulous. It makes me tear up every time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Cooking Project that Destroyed My Kitchen

We completed the cooking phase last night of our Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week project last night, and I lived to blog about it. Barely.

First of all, let me tell you that it took time. Lots of time. The article specifically says you can do all this, "In less time than it takes to watch Dirty Dancing." Now, I'm not sure how long it takes you to watch Dirty Dancing, but this cooking thing took us over 3 1/2 hours last night. Us, as in two of us working together. I cannot imagine how long it would have taken one person to do this alone, but I'm guessing it's about as long as it would take to watch Dirty Dancing, then watch all the special features, including watching the movie a second time with the director's commentary turned on.

We were exhausted and starving by the time we finished. And it ceased being a fun activity for us to enjoy as a couple by about the end of hour 2. That was about the time I became incredibly confused and stressed from following directions such as, "While the loaves bake, prepare the sauce for the enchiladas, then begin the Thai Soup, then recite the entire Gettysburg Address while standing on your head."

My other complaints: We ended up with way too much of many of the "building blocks." You start out the adventure by making four different concoctions that then go into the various recipes. One of them called for three large onions, and five cloves of garlic, which are chopped and sauteed in a little oil. Then each recipe calls for a varying amount of this "onion garlic mixture." As I chopped and chopped and chopped (and cried and watered and teared) I kept thinking, "This is a lot of onions." And it was. As in we ended up not using about 1/3 of it. Same with the broccoli/red pepper mixture. So, if you decide to try this at home, my advice is don't make as much as they say. Or, do what we did, and freeze the leftovers in appropriate stir-fry fixin' proportions.

And this "building block" concept is one other concern of mine. If you don't like any one of these mixtures, you're out of luck, because these things in varying combinations make up all five recipes. So, if you're not an onion eater (which I'm not so much), you may end up not liking anything you've fixed all week.

My final complaint is that by the time we finished, I swear to you, every single pot, pan, bowl, measuring device, knife, spoon, cutting board, and Tupperware dish we own was dirty and scattered about my kitchen. Many of them were actually washed multiple times and used again and again. I don't handle mess well. And believe me, this was A MESS.

When we finally finished the last recipe at midnight (okay, it was only 9:30) we decided to sit down and eat the first meal, which was Adobo-Glazed Mini Turkey Loaves. They were okay. That's about the best I can say for them. The sauce was HOT. We like spicy food, so it was okay, but I'm warning any faint of tongue in the audience, HOT. We made some instant mashed potatoes to eat with them, so that may have cut down on the healthy quotient, but it also balanced out the hotness, and seemed to make more of a "meal" than just a mini meatloaf.

I'll keep you posted throughout the week as to how we like the other four recipes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish cleaning up the kitchen. Ugh.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week

R has gotten on board with both of us getting healthier. I got him started walking with me most evenings, and doing push ups and sit ups with me every other night. On about day three of this plan, I was trying to get him to do the push ups/sit ups, and he was acting pretty pissy about the whole thing.

Finally I asked him if he just didn't want to do this, and he said, "No. I don't want to do this. I want to be healthy, but I think it sucks that you have to do all this to be healthy. Bastards."

Which I guess pretty much sums up how most of us feel at one point or another in our weight loss journeys.

Anyway, today he talked me into both of us buying bicycles. Now, I used to ride a bicycle all the time. I could go miles and miles on my bicycle. When I was 10. I am considerably older than 10 now.

Honestly, I was trying to think back to the last time I rode a bike, and it's probably been when I was a teenager. And it's been since I was 10 that I was riding regularly.

Today we rode a mile and a half. That was an hour ago, and my thighs are still twitching. I hope I can even walk tomorrow.

Also, as a part of our getting healthy plan, we decided to try this series of recipes from Self Magazine titled "Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week." We bought all the groceries today. I was afraid it was going to cost me $100, but it was more like $60. Granted, I had some things at home already. I'm doing chicken breast instead of shrimp in the two recipes that call for shrimp. R loves shrimp, but I can't do it. I don't like the texture.

We also had trouble finding some of the ingredients. My local Wal-mart doesn't seem to carry almond milk. I was a bit skeptical about buying a half gallon of almond milk just to use 1/4 cup anyway. So I bought soy milk, which I will use in coffee, cereal, etc... And we couldn't find green curry paste. I just bought some curry seasoning, and I hope that works okay.

I will keep you all posted on how the recipes turn out, and on how well our biking adventure goes. If I can walk enough to get back to the computer tomorrow.