Thursday, October 25, 2012
This weekend past I cooked up the Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili. Except, I made a couple changes. One of the changes? I used beef stock instead of vegetable stock. Also, a couple of days I've browned some lean ground beef to eat with it.
Literally ... I beefed it up.
For some reason this amuses me.
The chili has been plenty delicious. It didn't "need" my adjustments to be good food. At the same time, it didn't "need" to be held to purely vegetarian to be good food.
I actually like trying some things labeled as vegetarian. A spinach lasagna was quite tasty. (Though, I must say that for as much as I love spinach ... I can't abide it in my smoothies.)
This chili, as I said at the outset, didn't need the beef stock and ground beef to make it taste good. It's an excellent mix of flavors already. I also chose to modify the recipe by using replacing the 1 green bell pepper and red pepper flakes with half each a green, red, yellow, and orange bell pepper. More veggies.
I do definitely have a button on how it can feel pushed as an idealized lifestyle. Which actually isn't quite right - it's more of a perception because there isn't a balanced opposing push. Even options such as Paleo or Primal aren't the opposite - they're shifts in a different direction (eat meat, avoid grains, limit dairy).
I'm not vegan or vegetarian. I have zero plans to ever experiment with either lifestyle (or any variant) at any point in my life. But that makes it sound like I'm anti-vegetable, which is absurd. I've always loved vegetables. I eat carrots, corn, peas, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, and so much more. It's just part of a healthy mix of foods, more flavor.
What does that make me? There is no special name for a healthy diet that includes meat and other animal products along with fruits and vegetables, grains, and more. Recipes don't get labeled some word that means non-vegetarian or non-vegan. They simply have beef, pork, chicken, fish, milk, egg, cheese, and more in them.
And on the heels of thinking and writing this comes another BLC#20 weekend challenge ... with points I won't even try to earn because it edges into this area for me. No max points for me.
"Clean eating" is a term that makes me . (By implication, if I'm not eating clean according to some definition, what am I eating? Dirty?) The problem is that it's an -all or nothing- kind of approach. Eat one processed food and fail? And whose decision is it just how far that goes? After all, search enough and you'll find someone ranting about bottled orange juice - how dare I actually drink that poisonous mixture of flavorless year-old juice mixed with a flavor pack? *GASP* Obviously I don't care enough about my body and health.
Another one I won't bother trying for the points for? "No snacks after 8 pm". It's a rule I consider utterly meaningless. Half the time, if not more, I'm eating DINNER after 8 pm. That's just the way my schedule works. I'm up till midnight or later. I'm not going to bed hungry. I often plan for an evening snack. Sometimes it is a dessert. Other times it is half a cucumber. What time I eat is pretty much irrelevant compared to how much I eat.
On the flip side, I'm going to have an interesting time with the rainbow of freggies. (Hehe, when I first read it, I was thinking with veggies rather than fruits and veggies ... and some colors would have been tougher to find in a veggie.)
Yeah, I planned to push myself on these challenges. But I also stated in my original application that there were ones I just flat out would not do - and hello, here they are. I'll eat veggies galore, try new recipes, I'll overdo the exercise (to the point of ... almost 600 cardio minutes in one week on top of 270 ST minutes and 10-25 stretching minutes each day) but I won't bend to "food rules" if they aren't rules I would choose for myself.
Guess I'm a Bad !
Monday, October 22, 2012
It has been a long time. I used to head out to nightclubs simply because I loved dancing. I put up with the meat market aspect just so I could enjoy the music and the energy. Last night I decided it was time to get out there again and "dolled" up.
Okay, maybe not that much. I did use a little makeup, for the first time in I can't remember how long. Nothing much, just mascara, lip gloss, some green and gold over my eyes, some rose on my cheeks. Just enough to look like I did something. I slipped my running shoe custom insoles into my boots (oh, was I glad I thought to do that!) and off I went.
That's actually after I got back home because my bestest friend wanted pics to see how I looked.
Oh, I dug into jewelry I never wear any more. Found some super cute tiny golden dragonflies I'd forgotten about, and simple golden necklace and ... my wedding band?! Tried it on. I remember it fitting snug enough to take some effort to slide off. It went on and off my left ring finger too easily, so easy I'd be afraid of it sliding off if I were to actually wear it there. Nice to know my fingers are slimmed down completely.
I wandered my way along our downtown, passing a club here, a club there, not really knowing where I wanted to go. Finally picked one that was playing Latin music - I do like my salsa and cumbia and merengue. Unfortunately, I picked up a quick prowler who wanted to dance, but had no interest in respecting personal boundaries. *SIGH* I danced a couple of songs, but then they stopped the music to do some really stupid stuff on a small stage (a la girl in super short skirt shaking her "culo" and comments about whether she was wearing a thong and so on. I used that as my excuse to exit stage left (literally!) and also escape Mr. Paws.
The second place I chose was smaller, more a bar with a couple floor areas with DJs playing dubstep. I stood near the wall, dancing to myself for most of the time. I did have someone come over and join, but thankfully just dancing - no hands reaching.
After last call (for drinks), I headed out. It's about 1.5 miles from that downtown area to my place. I walked. That was actually a very nice way to end off the evening. I had my headphones and "dance"-walked my way home. Not as fast as I usually walk it, but more fun.
The best part of all that? I planned ahead, so the two drinks and a shot I did have were tracked and still nicely in range. I'd eaten well beforehand, was well hydrated, and after the walk home I drank more water. (I've never had a hangover in my life, even the two times I've gotten seriously drunk. I credit the amount of water I guzzle when I'm drinking. I get thirsty - understandably - and often drink a liter or more after I get home.)
Even better, that whole outing included a couple hours on my feet dancing, and probably close to an hour walking (to the first club, between clubs, and home). No, it wouldn't have made up for drinking that went over my range, but because I stayed in range it was all bonus activity.
Just a nice reminder to myself that my lifestyle can be "normal" as long as I focus on being active and not eating (or drinking) to excess.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Wow, where is the time flying? Seems only a couple weeks ago that we were readying our spurs waiting for the signal to race out of the corral. Halfway?! How can we possibly be halfway?
This weekend's challenge is all about making sure we aren't losing momentum (or regaining it if it has been lost). The first step is reviewing the goals set at the beginning. My blog with those goals: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
So, where am I at on these goals?
- To work toward a full military pushup, I'm going to add doing 3 sets of modified pushups one of my three ST days each week.
I'm doing these consistently for TNT on Thursday and definitely am getting stronger. I don't know if I'll be able to do a military one, but it won't be for lack of working toward it.
- To lose my pound a week, but also look toward future maintenance, I will be decreasing my cardio on my ST days and adjusting my fitness minutes to get an updated calorie range.
Welllllll ... I'm trying? The funny part on this one is that it is at odds with the BLC challenges - doing less is not the usual goal. I have gotten away from 60 minutes of cardio followed by 90 minutes of ST, so that's good. It is still reasonable at 12 weeks / long-term, but is being implemented more slowly.
- Space out my snacking at work more. They're becoming more habit than just available if I get hungry. Some days I seem to be eating so much that dinner is really small to compensate.
Completely forgot about this one. My snacking at work hasn't changed much. It's not bad, exactly. I stay in range. It's just that I rarely go more than an hour or two without another snack so I'm eating more from habit than hunger. I'll refocus some attention on this one.
- Expand my lean protein options beyond beef, egg, tuna, and the rare chicken breast.
I read that now and wonder ... "to what?" I tried salmon while doing one weekend challenge and determined that I still don't care for seafood. About the only other source I can see adding is beans, which do seem to be common in slow-cooker recipes, so maybe a chili. (I won't touch soy.) But really ... with four sources already, plus cottage cheese/dairy and my protein powder smoothies, what did I think I needed?
- Look at more slow-cooker recipes to see if it's an option worth considering.
I've bought said slow-cooker (and an electric skillet) and made one meal. It was decent, but did show me that it may be best for a weekend meal prep than trying to cook during the week (since I'm out of the house nearly 12 hours).
- Check in with the team at least once a day - looking for new posts and blogs by teammates.
There have been a couple of days when I didn't have time to reply to everyone, but I've generally caught up (and even when I don't reply, I do read).
- Don't back down from a challenge just because it's uncomfortable. Push my boundaries a bit every time. (In fact, if a challenge is "too easy", try to find a way to go one step beyond.)
I ate salmon. That right there ought to earn me enough brownie points. There has only been one item in one challenge that I flat-out refused to participate in. I might want to push a little more.
- Live by the rule "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" and expand it to saying something positive and encouraging.
I definitely try to live this.
- HAVE FUN! If this isn't fun, MAKE IT FUN!
I'm certainly having fun with this, but this was a good reminder to see that as one of my goals.
Not too shabby at all.
New Goals I'll add:
Add 5 minutes to my stretching to focus on flexibility. I stretch quite a bit. I love getting it done at the end of every workout or walk. But, all of my stretching to date has been focused on the muscles and avoiding soreness where possible.
Use the slow-cooker at least two weekends a month to make food for 3-4 meals in the following week.
Expand my protein smoothie options. (One I'm going to try is with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices.)
Cut out the hidden calories by bringing my old food scale to work and making sure my portions = servings and match what I track as exactly as possible. It might not be much, but it is a slippery slope to say "a little over won't hurt".
Organize my time so that I can do NaNoWriMo this year. I found my past year's account, it's active and set up, but I need to make sure I don't let that cut into my BLC time or BLC cut into my writing time. Balance!
I so don't really pay close attention to scale numbers. I know I've been flat or down every single week of the challenge, but until today I hadn't looked at the change.
Pre-Start = 179.5
Start (12 Sep) = 177.5
Wk 4 (17 Oct) = 173 (wait ... I was 172.5 ... why does the BLC data say 173.0? Rounded?)
So, 7 pounds - 4.5 of those during the challenge. Nicely on track, given that is called Week 4.
*EDIT* Oh! Duh - the whole Week 4 thing. Week 5 simply isn't all included yet. My Week 5 weight was 172.5, so 5 pounds in 5 week. Nailed it right on target for a pound a week.
I think I can call the boots in my previous blog my reward for a job so far.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Here it is, middle of another month and time for another set of pictures. Thirteen months into this fitness journey and so many small changes made that have really added up to a lot. I think my regular camera is out unless I want to spend the money to have a special USB cable shipped to me. Haven't decided on that yet. So these are again taken with my smartphone.
17 Oct 2012 @ 172.5 pounds
Side view. this swimsuit is a size 22W. While that worked okay when I started out (somewhere in the 24/26 range, I think), it definitely is roomy.
( I'll get them up on my SparkPage soon, but the BLC#20 International Travel is supposed to stay up through tomorrow. )
Yep, those are thigh-high boots hanging up in the first picture. I went shopping over the weekend. They're nowhere near the holy grail of perfect boots - far from. But I did pick up two pairs. (The other pair is mid-calf and has a thick heel - maybe 1.5 to 2".)
I did a little more shopping than that, in fact. I had need of smaller underoos. Upper half I had to special order, and have taken care of. Bottom half I'm now in "normal" sizes, so I just had to figure out what store to go to and which size to grab. Target's where I've gotten towels and kitchen stuff, so why not. (Amusingly, I remember what store I used to use for similar purchases a couple decades ago - Mervyn's. Looked them up and ... they were owned by Target Corp for a while? Small world.)
Took care of that need and picked up a couple sweaters in mediums. (The very first picture I posted here in a green shirt was an XL bought from Target, definitely a very snug fit.)
I don't actually plan to wear those boots with my blue jeans (jeggings), but did for the pictures so the boots are easier to see.
I did not expect the results of wearing boots, though. Without changing ANYTHING else about what I was wearing, just putting those boots on ... ugh.
First was the guy at the bus stop outside the grocery store. For lack of a better word, he was gushing. I had on headphones and was doing my little mini-dance to myself, so he was complimenting my legs, asking if I liked dancing, was I going dancing, my legs looked strong, blah blah blah. At least he was occupying himself as long as he talked.
Then he stopped for a moment ... and scooted closer on the bench. O_o
More about my legs looking strong. Starting to say I was giving him a free show. Could he touch them and feel how strong they were?
Do I need to buy MACE?!
Thankfully I made some comment about the leg press right after saying "No, absolutely not!" and got his eyes up higher than my waist to talk gym workouts.
I always stand and dance (not like serious dancing - just moving side-to-side kind of thing) like that at bus stops, but usually I'm wearing my running shoes because I walked to the store and they're comfy. I've had people make comments about my legs being strong when they see me walking a lot. This, however, was just over-the-top.
And he was just the first and worst.
On the plus side, I'm not feeling an urge to go back to being "invisible". I just need to figure out a better way of politely accepting a compliment WITHOUT the slightest amount of friendliness being perceived as an invitation.
I am liking how physically capable I'm feeling. My legs ARE strong and that's a very good thing. I like being able to FIND boots that fit and that I like the style of.
I'm getting a little excited by my BMI. I'm only 1.5 away from the "healthy" range (25) and below the "risk factor" level of the overweight range (27.3-27.8). Given that I started out at 37.4 that is notable progress. Even better, I'm only about 10 pounds away from hitting "healthy". SHINY!
Saturday, October 13, 2012
One year ago I did my first ever 5k - Oktoberfest held by the City of Campbell.
It seemed an appropriate choice for a first race. My early years were spent in Campbell. I remember summers in the Book Club at the library, checking out the canning and prune-drying equipment in the basement, walking to school on my own, the local park and pedestrian walkway that went up from the park over the freeway. I remember a jet at Campbell Park, knobs and dials left "working" so we could climb in and play fighter pilot. (One of my brothers had his picture taken and published in the local paper when they were removing it - with a story about how we'd miss it.) I remember the orchards less than a mile away, long gone. I remember the steam boat car wash, still there. (I'll actually have to take a picture of that one of these days.) I remember climbing the trees - both in front of the hosue and in the back yard.
It's like coming home every time I walk out on the Los Gatos Creek Trail or head to Campbell's park or library or just through their downtown.
Anyway ... a year ago, there I was, bright and early with no real idea what to expect from the experience. I didn't have any real concerns about finishing. I'd never stopped walking even when I was trying to gain weight. (It's probably what kept me healthier than otherwise.) Though I hadn't done it more recently, I'd walked 10+ miles non-stop in my younger years, in heels even, and knew it was possible to just keep going long after the body wants to quit.
I picked up my XL t-shirt, put it on and took a quick snapshot with my phone, posted on my blog back then. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4537111 My official chip time last year? 50:52. I was so excited by because I thought I was on a 17 minute per mile pace, more like 52 minutes.
Sadly, this year I didn't have the money for the registration until after it was too late for pre-registration - so no shirt unless I wanted one of last year's XLs. Haha, no. I already donated that a while back because it was too big. I didn't even THINK about taking pictures until I was almost to the train (light rail) station post-race. Oh well. We'll see if I can find any pictures on their website or what the race photographer's shots look like.
Not being pre-registered meant getting there earlier. Awake at 7:00 am, out waiting on a bus at 7:20 am. And waiting. And waiting. And getting nervous while waiting. About 10 minutes late a bus finally shows up. Luckily for me, it got to the transfer point with just enough time for me to jog down to the pass scanner as the train was showing up. WHEW!
Registering went smooth and I put on my chip and bib, made sure to take care of the necessaries, then spent the time walking around the staging area to stay warm and limber. (Speaking of warm, I had on a pair of too large sweats with a drawstring over my shorts. By the time I'd walked around a couple times, those and my jacket were tucked away in my backpack. I was wishing I'd thought to bring my gloves earlier, but stayed in the sun and was comfortable enough.)
Soon enough we were off. I started a lot closer to the front this time than last year and did well with that. Sure, I was passed by some runners, but most serious runners were well out ahead. Last year I remember spending a lot of time getting around people.
I did have a moment of panic, amusingly enough. I brought my watch and started the chrono when I crossed the start line. As I crossed the 1/4-mile marker, I clicked the lap timer and looked. !!! 4:21.81!? I thought I was walking a much better pace than that. I tried to push a little more and it was tough. Bearing in mind I've been managing close to a 14 minute mile lately as my default brisk walk ... going from 3:45 when I'm really pushing to 4:22 had me freaked out. If that was my time for a quarter mile, my race time would have been right around last year's.
Then it dawned on me. We don't start at the line the 1/4-mile marker is based on. We start a good ways back. I didn't even thing to hit the lap timer at the START painted on the ground - only at the line for the 5k. Sure enough, my lap time at the next 1/4-mile point was 3:22.40 and the one after that was 3:26.85. My time as I hit the 5ks sign for 1 mile was 13:37.25.
I started losing track with the lap times at that point because of the disconnection between the mile signs for the 5k and the 1/4 mile markers in either direction along the trail. Also, past the 2-mile point, the trail isn't really marked in 1/4-mile sections. Only the main 2-mile loops is fully marked. But I did feel like I held that pace pretty well.
My finishing time I don't have officially yet. The race clock said 41:30 more or less, but I didn't start right at the front, so my chip time is likely to be a little lower. I hit the lap timer on my watch coming around the last corner (40:32.12), but then was looking at the race clock and didn't stop it until a bit after passing the finish line and slowing down. That gave me 41:34, which also seems to confirm I'm a little below that, but unsure by how much.
No matter what, a very sweet pace of around 13.5 minutes per mile.
Now to make sure I get pre-registered for the Turkey Trot rather than leaving it to the last minute.
*** I had to come back and edit this in.***
Went to do the SparkPeople Web Search for the SparkPoint and the motivational picture said:
WHETHER IT'S A 17-MINUTE MILE OR A 7-MINUTE MILE, IT'S STILL A MILE.
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