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Day #3 Thanksgiving buffet, cardio.....and a bout of sheer genius I tell you!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I don't know about you (or y'all as my Florida panhandle friends say), but when I workout in the zone, I tend to let my brain go into freewheeling mode. I find this very therapeutic and it also gives me a nice, imaginative mental workout as much as a physical one.

When I get in the zone, working out sufficiently hard that my HR is up with a good sweat going, but at what feels like a sustainable pace, I don't so much let my mind wander as I let it roam free. I do everything from visualizing tracking and hunting wooly mammoths to being chased by hungry wolves to finding the answer to the ultimate meaning of life, the universe, and everything (not 42).

Today I came up with "How to thwart my mother from cooking up a big dinner after we have already eaten a huge Thanksgiving lunch"

But first the day's update:

Thanksgiving lunch turned out to be totally survivable!

Putzed around most of the morning, made smoothies for mom and me to start out the day, especially since I had made reservations for our Thanksgiving buffet at a local country club at noon.

They had a very nice spread and I executed my strategy just about right. Started off at the raw veggie bar, loaded up with some zucchini and celery sticks. Saw a very nice looking bowl of Caesar salad....and diluted it down with some regular salad greens to avoid excess dressing. Then moved on towards.....the buffet line!

I passed by the rice & stuffing, heaped up half the plate with the sauteed veggies, got a serving spoon full of mashed potatoes and augmented it with some pureed squash (I love squashes!), then moved on to the meat line....turkey, ham, fish oh my!

Of course I had some bird. I asked carving guy to slice me two thin slices of breast meat, and to chuck in an equally thin slice of roast pork as well. And Voila, I had an artfully crafted plate adhering to the 1/2 veggies, 1/4 starch, & 1/4 meat rule!

Yeah so I had a slice of cheesecake and a brownie afterwards, but I think I walked out of there for under 1000 calories total.

We got back home around 2:30, where I promptly crashed, taking a 2 hour power nap, then got up and hit the gym for an 80 minute bout of cardio where I also resurrected my 100 pushup, 200 squat, 200 situps app on the iPhone, picking up almost where I left off a month or 2 ago (more like 2).

That's where the genius thing happened!

My dilemma is that no matter how stuffed we were at lunch, it made no difference in dear mother's plan to cook up a big dinner.

But my muses sang to me during the workout, revealing to me in three-part harmony the answers I was looking for.....I just had to interpret their riddle

"What is it your mother hates in equal measure to that which she loves"

Christ sake, how the hell should I know!?!? What are you talking about muse-bitches?!?

Obviously, that thought got me out of the zone, so back to focusing on the workout, the sweat, the breathing, the rhythm of the elliptical.....what, what indeed does she hate in equal measure to that which she loves? The answer was there, I just had to stop wasting effort and let it flow to the top of my consciousness.....wasting effort......wasting effort.....WASTE......that's it!

My mom hates to waste anything!

Luckily I walked into the house just as she got started cooking and I said, "let's re-think what we're doing for dinner tonight"

I went through her vegetable crisper and said, "Hey look, you've got all this fresh spinach, all sorts of bell peppers, tomatoes, leeks, and other goodies that are about to go bad. Forget about cooking up those steaks. And no reason to cook up a big pot of rice and forget about making chowder, let's saute up these veggies before they go bad. Hmmm, does this yogurt smell bad to you? Maybe you can make up a nice tzaziki sauce we can pour over the veggies, that way you won't have to THROW ALL THIS STUFF OUT"

Sheer genius I tell you!

She got to washing leaves and cutting up garlics. We prepped, we sliced, she got out the tub of yogurt and went to town on the tzaziki sauce.....and for dinner we had a very nice ratatouille-like concoction at a fraction of the calories of her normally planned meal. Cha-Ching!

So overall we had very nice day, I think I stayed within limits, but there's no way to know exactly.....and I re-affirmed another very good reason to workout.... when done correctly, the mind gets as good a workout as the body!

Good night Spark friends, hope you all had a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 11/28/2011 1:48PM

    Wow!! Awesome strategy with your mom. My mom hates waste too, I will have to try to figure out a way to make this work for me in the future!

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ERIKO1908 11/26/2011 3:14PM

    thinking on your feet & drawing your mom in...LOVE IT!!! :)

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HEALTHIERKEN 11/26/2011 12:31AM

    I'm in awe of your dedication to proper nutrition no matter what your circumstance!

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BEATLETOT 11/25/2011 11:08PM

    I love this! That is so smart! I need to do this with myself and my husband!!!

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JSPEED4 11/25/2011 10:18AM


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BELSNICKEL 11/25/2011 8:24AM

  Great story. Do you talk really fast. Your words seemed to jump off the page. emoticon

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MOBYCARP 11/25/2011 5:44AM

You found an effective, politically feasible, and actually kind solution to the food riddle of the day!

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GOODGETNBETR 11/25/2011 4:41AM

emoticon blog and sounds like a great day. emoticon

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CHANGING-TURTLE 11/25/2011 12:08AM


emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PRAIRIECROCUS 11/25/2011 12:01AM

    I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving !

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Day #2 of a cardio streak and Thanksgiving vacation

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Well I survived another day of home cooked temptations here in New England.

I've got mom trained now to realize that me having a smoothie for breakfast is all I need and that eggs & toast & cheeses & meats are not the best way for me to start my day. As a matter of fact, up until dinner, we do pretty well. Dinner is her favorite meal where she goes crazy with the cooking.

But I got in a good 80 minute workout in her quite nicely furnished apt complex gym. They have a cardio room with decent Lifecycle equipment (4 treadmills, 2 ellipticals and 3 bikes), a nicely furnished weight room with a couple of racks, some decent benches and a full up dumbbell collection, as well as a whole wall full of older Nautilus pulley systems. So I got the heart rate up, sweated a decent amount, and exerted enough muscles to bring me to peace with my surroundings.

Tomorrow I take her out to a Thanksgiving buffet at a local club with a reputation for a fine traditional Thanksgiving meal. We'll eat at intent is to make it back here and get in another good workout before dark. And hopefully dinner for us will be a few slices of fruit and some veggies.

Have a great Thanksgiving Day Spark friends....let's all meet up here and compare notes tomorrow night!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERIKO1908 11/26/2011 3:07PM

    sounds like you and your mom are having a wonderful time!! :)

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PROT358 11/24/2011 8:02PM

    Wow, look at that self-control. I'm proud of you! Yes, we'll compare notes. Here's where I stand so far:

last Friday: 152.0
two Thanksgivings on Saturday and Sunday
Sunday: 150.0
Wednesday: 149.2
Thursday: 148.6

I have been burning an average of 1000 calories a day since last Friday to compensate for the extra food, and it looks like I'm coming out ahead! Knowing how determined you are I think you'll come out ahead too. I couldn't be more proud!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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BILL60 11/24/2011 8:18AM

    And a Happy Turkey day to you too.

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HAKAPES 11/24/2011 1:24AM

    Wow, in such a home gym I would go crazy excercizing. I am just hezitating to save up for a treadmill OR a turbo trainer OR a gym pass. Is she active on those equipement?

I like how you get through these troubled home bays of the calorie ocean!

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Day 1 of the war.....cardio, blogging, and in calorie limits!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So today's food war went well....not so much a battle of attrition as a series of minor skirmishes.

I got up pretty early so I could drive cross-town to my meetings. I had hoped to sneak out of the house quietly by 7:00 AM, but my mom was up and about by 6:00 herself. Luckily I stopped her from making breakfast and got by with a few token pieces of fruit before heading out the door.

Back to back meetings all day (that's what I came here for anyway) with a few quick pieces of sushi for lunch. I hit the gym before driving back home for 45 minutes of hi-intensity cardio, then plunged into what I really hate about Boston.....rush hour traffic.

For those familiar with the area, I got caught up in the classic 128 to 93 crossover. It took me 90 minutes to travel 25 miles. The good news is that Boston radio stations are probably the best in the country and so I pretty much blew out the speakers in my Chrysler 300 rental.

Came home to a house filled with the aroma of a day spent cooking! Spices and oils, charred meats and sweets, where does she find the energy!

I figured out a way to fake her out though.

I first started out with a big glass of water. I then made a big show of putting some small portion of everything on my plate, with a big portion of salad greens heaped on to make it look even bigger. We ate, we talked, and I made a big show of taking seconds. Of course her basic comment to me was, "Well since you worked out today, you should eat some more"

Where does this come from?!?!?!?!

Anyway it's all good. We sat around watching the Big Bang Theory marathon and I avoided her pushing a bowl of Rocher chocolates my way and opted for a fistful of almonds.

More to follow tomorrow Spark friends.

Day 1 of the war complete.....cardio, blogging, and calories firmly within limits!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERIKO1908 11/26/2011 2:57PM

    i love how you fooled her with the composition of your plate...but she is probably a smart cookie & saw it all & knew...and just let you think you were fooling her...that is what moms do... :)

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FANGFACEKITTY 11/23/2011 8:18PM

    Score one for a healthy lifestyle. As I sit here watching an advertisement for IHOP's new seasonal pancakes of doom on a TV I cannot turn the channel on I am inspired by your success to NOT go home and recreate the eggnog pancake and thereby stay within my limit for the day (by a single calorie but under is under!).

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BELSNICKEL 11/23/2011 11:17AM

  we do have the most beloved pushers. emoticon

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AMEDEAU 11/23/2011 4:06AM

    I agree with Beatletot... you are doing a great job. When I'm in a situation surrounded by food, I often give in. Keep up the great work! emoticon

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BEATLETOT 11/23/2011 3:25AM

    Great job! I'm always so impressed with your ability to stay within your calorie limits, no matter how tempting!

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Blogging from my mom's house.....let the food wars begin!

Monday, November 21, 2011

So I made it to Boston tonight....balmy, blustery, wintery, Boston...I love it!

This is home, this is where I grew up, and there's nothing like the cool, dry, wintery New England night air. Makes me yearn for a bowl of hot clam chowdah and a roast beef sub toasted in the pizza oven!

But enough of food fantasies....this is war! I'm on a business trip, but staying at my mom's for Thanksgiving. And my mom means food....lots of food.....all-the-time.....around-the-clock food. 83 years old and still, her greatest joy in life is cooking for and feeding her kids.

I'm in big trouble here people!

Tonight was OK. She baked some salmon fillets in the oven, made some asparagus, but also whipped up a batch of her famous rice pilaf.....cooked with sticks of butter at a time. I resisted as best I could, but I've had a childhood fondness for her pilaf, and so........

It's post-dinner that things get rough. Out comes the chocolates, the nuts, the cookies, and every other thing she equates with good mothering and good smothering. I stood my ground till about 9:00 PM, then conceded defeat with a few handfuls of far, so good.

But she's spent the last 2 weeks planning her menus and most of them include lots of butter, olive oil, sweet, syrupy desserts, all cooked in sufficient quantity to feed a starving army of marauding cossacks.

So I fall back upon my only defenses in this battle of 2 powerful wills; blogging and exercise.

As always in these tough times, Sparkepeople offers me an outlet where I can carve my daily travails into the fabric of cyberspace, acknowledging my weaknesses, heralding my victories, and facing the hard truth of each day's caloric totals. And even though you can't work off a bad diet, I've found it very therapeutic to commit to a daily cardio routine on these oh-so-public pages.


This Thanksgiving season will see your humble author working off all the madness his ever-loving mother throws his way! Yes, there'll be set backs, but for every sugar pill mom throws my way, there'll be an extra 20 minutes on the bike, or another 5 reps with the dumbells, or whatever it takes to keep those demons at bay. And you, my trusted Spark friends, will be able to read all about it....all the news that's fit to print!

A blogging and cardio streak....all this week!

Pahk the cah at Hahvahd Yahd.....hell no, no driving for me, I'll run all over Harvard Square if I have to!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERIKO1908 11/26/2011 2:38PM

    oh for the love of mothers... :) gotta love them!!

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FANGFACEKITTY 11/22/2011 7:23PM

    Stay strong & good luck!

Fortunately for me my mother is not a great cook so I'm generally pretty safe when I visit my parents.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 11/22/2011 2:20PM

    Woohoo! Great commitment! And good luck avoiding all those goodies! You can do it!

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BILL60 11/22/2011 10:01AM

    Hang in there and enjoy it. Your Mom will love you all the more for it.

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JECKIE 11/22/2011 9:35AM

    My mom is the same way. :) "Oh, I know you're watching what you eat, so just have a few cookies!!!" *sigh*

I must say, though, I wouldn't be able to resist hunting down some chowdah. With the butter floating on top of the cream... yum.

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COLLINSCJ2009 11/22/2011 2:40AM

    I watching a comedian talk about food issues and he would throw bites of food into a napking on his lap when people weren't looking. Just a thought.

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HEALTHIERKEN 11/22/2011 1:23AM

    Two thoughts: drink water and lots of it! and be thankful you still have a mother--many of us do not and would gladly trade a few days of prepared-with-love, bad-for-us food to have her back. (he says with a gentle smile)

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ADVENTURESEEKER 11/22/2011 12:52AM

    Good luck! Hold it together, stay strong! emoticon

Oh, and enjoy the family time emoticon

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JUDYAMK 11/22/2011 12:26AM

    My Mom is the same way about feeding us,no matter how many times I tell no sweet stuff, she comes off with something. I know she means well & she is 81, goes to all the work of making something & I say no I feel bad & take it anyway. I feel I will not have Mom forever so I know when that time comes I will be wishing I had my Mom back for just one more meal.What I do is eat half & take the rest home for the next day. I will have Thanksgiving dinner at my home.Mom cooks everyday & everyday she wants you to have something I visit her all the time.Even if it is after Dinner she will have something wrapped up for me. That's our Mom.'s Have a Blessed day with your Mom
Judy emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/22/2011 12:27:29 AM

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MARYHENNIG 11/21/2011 11:24PM

  Drink lots of water!!!!! Your blog is way too funny. I feel for you. Hang in there and good luck. emoticon

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Getting comfortable with hunger

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gosh this has been a busy week! So far I've just been able to make my regularly scheduled gym times Mon & Wed night. Got too busy Tuesday, I'm hoping to do better and make it there Thursday, but La-De-Da.

Somehow I went non-stop from about 11:30 till 5:00 today with nary a break to fill up a cup of coffee or grab a bottle of water. Back-to-back meetings kept me on the go. But I finished up and was shutting down the computer when I looked over at my lunch bag and said, "Holy moly, I didn't eat any lunch!"

So here I am 30 minutes before lifting weights and on the horns of a dilemma; go to the gym hungry and weak, possibly jeopardizing effective training, or eat and go in well nourished, ready to lift?

Of course I ate my sandwich.....I chose poorly.

Aside from going zoom-zoom-zoom all day and jumping right into a physically and mentally demanding workout (see 24 Oct blog about evil, sadistic bastard trainer guy...
) I ended up lugging around an extra pound or 2 that should have stayed in the office.

Which leads me to say out loud a thought I've had running around my head lately.....being hungry is not really a bad thing.

As I look inward during those ever brief introspective moments and ask myself, "what's really going on here with this food & weight thing" I realize that I spend a lot of effort avoiding hunger, even the slightest pang of hunger. I'm not sure why. I've never lived through a famine, I grew up with most all of my basic survival needs met, and I've never been stranded in the wilderness having to hunt lizards and bugs to stay alive.

So why the fear, why the worry, why the extraordinary concern with NOT GETTING HUNGRY?

Hell if I know!?!?

But I think at some level I need to get comfortable with being hungry. I need to avoid wanting to always be full. We do fairly well and lack for nothing. We've got way more food in our house than we need, and I'm fairly confident that I can make due even if an asteroid hits the planet.

I need to dig into this some more, but that's why I like blogging, it helps me clarify the thoughts that have been floating in my brain, typing them out into some semblance of coherence.

Stop avoiding hunger......there I said it!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYHENNIG 11/21/2011 11:30PM

  I was told once that when you are hungry is when your body is feeding off the fat. This is probably totally untrue, but that's my story, and I am still going to stick to it...because I can tolerate hungry if I am dropping pounds (millipounds!!!).

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REBECCATKD 11/20/2011 9:37PM

    "Stay hungry...Stay foolish." -Steve Jobs

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JUDYGREG 11/17/2011 1:05PM

    I think eating BEFORE the workout was a good idea.

You do need some fuel to burn when you are having a serious workout. Better than thinking about the food you should have eaten.

Not eating all day is not supposed to be good for you. But it happens when we are distracted.

Not thinking about food and not being hungry is a good thing, but once you remember, the urge to eat can become overpowering, and if there is no healthy choice nearby, watch out! I know this happens all the time to me when hubby reminds me to eat. If I am not in a good spot, I choose unhealthy food, rather than the planned meal I might have had if I had thought about eating before I got very hungry.

There is nothing wrong with eating when you are hungry, or not eating when you are not hungry, but try to hold off the really bad munchies, when you do get really hungry.

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JULIAMOONCHILD 11/17/2011 12:49PM

    Whoa! I think we are siamese twins!

I actually FELT hunger, yesterday, too. I mean, REAL PHYSICAL hunger! Maybe for the first time ever in my (wanting for nothing) life!

Not busy on a job (a real job) like you, but, nonetheless, sitting here on my kister for nearly the entire day, yesterday, blogging my arse off for all of my well deserving fans emoticon until I realized that I HAD TO leave my comfy chair and head for the gym (had to rack up more points, ya know). And, like you, I had to ask myself the same question - to eat before I go - or not to eat.

I ate.

Now, unlike you, had I not eaten I would have died. (sad face).

Yes, I am telling you that my hunger was so great, without food coming before the gym, my hub would be cashing in on my life insurance right now.

However, like you, (my twin), that feeling of real HUNGER was actually quite nice, and even though I gave in to the screaming demands of my hungry body, the food, so quickly consumed, seemed for the very first time ever like real fuel. And that was a dang-good feeling!

Wow, I sure hope that I can get hungry again some day ... emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/17/2011 12:50:00 PM

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BILL60 11/17/2011 8:48AM

    Well said.

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BRADOS 11/17/2011 8:15AM

    there is something to that.....or at least, something on the other side of that equation that I always dislike, never seems like I am running at peak efficiency wherever a "full" feeling is in me - I notice that when I am really watching my calorie intake, I seem to be firing an all cylinders when engaged at work, where a full feeling from lunch is much more lethargic....

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SMILDE 11/17/2011 7:55AM

    I've actually learned to like the feeling of being slightly hungry. Not hungry like "I skipped a meal" or feeling hunger pains, but just a little hungry. I find if gives me more energy and makes me feel lighter, and not like I'm being weighed down (the way I feel when I've eaten a bit too much). I say embrace the hunger feelings!!

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ERIKO1908 11/17/2011 12:11AM

    very insightful blog...made me wonder on the hunger vs. low blood sugar feeling...quite often the line is not that wide for me, especially when I'm doing a task that takes brain power. I find it amazing how quickly my blood sugar will go low when all I've got going on is the stress of actually thinking about something or through something...being hungry only puts me at a point where I feel more susceptable to this...I think that is why I snack through the day...mostly healthy I will add...but snacking I said...insightful blog...I will think more on it...

Have a great night!!

Happy Sparking!!

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ADVENTURESEEKER 11/16/2011 10:00PM

    Exactly, right?? I can so relate to this blog. I've never actually died of hunger, a hunger pang or two won't kill me. lol Be one with the fuzzy hunger feeling. Ommmm...


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BEATLETOT 11/16/2011 10:00PM

    Very interesting way to look at things...and very valid. Definitely food for thought.

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