Friday, February 07, 2014
So I might be a fan of ye olde treadmill. What's not to love about being in an air conditioned room with a fan blowing air, watching tv and getting your minutes in? Or, skip the tv and read a book. Well, it's kind of gotten a little boring.
Once upon a time, back in high school, they did that cliche career placement quizzes/surveys/etc. Ours was supposed to assess our interests as well as strengths and give us a direction on options for careers. Well, mine was really useful. It taught me a lot about myself. My official results?
--You can be good at anything, just don't be a forest ranger.
I kid you not. "You wouldn't make a good forest ranger." That's the ONLY feedback it gave me. Well, that might be because I'm nervous about and do not enjoy a lot of aspects of outside. I burn easily. I'm allergic to half the plants in the world. I'm allergic to bees, so I'm always worried about them and watching out for them. I'm terrified of snakes. This all boils down to... maybe indoors is a good option.
But, putting aside all of those negatives, sometimes it's nice to get out and enjoy outside. It makes you feel good, ya know?
So anyway, since moving to southern California, I've discovered one of the best perks of the area. Within a couple miles of me, there are SO MANY parks and trails available. One is within walking distance of our home, but it is a very strenuous hike that I'm not ready for. I did find one that's a couple miles away, though, that has several options... and I decided it was time to explore this afternoon.
I drove out with my hiking bag packed with essentials: water, inhaler, benadryl for any bites/stings/etc, phone, headphones... got to the trailhead where I parked. Started out walking and promptly got lost.
The start of the trail I wanted to take is a little hidden & confused. You might be able to tell from the picture that there's four or five paths crossing and I had no idea which I wanted. But the mountain was pretty!
And the other mountain was nice too! I was enjoying watching cloud shadows on them. Because I'm easily entertained. SHHHH.
A little ways down, there's a bridge that crosses a little stream...
And then after that, there was more lovely flat-ish trail that I was enjoying. You can see some more hills/mountains in the background and just barely make out a lake that I was approaching.
It wasn't much of a lake, but the marshy area in between me and the lake kind of reminded me of the elephant graveyard in Lion King. If the elephants were stalks of woody grass stuff.
Here's a tree with some rocks and stuff. At this point, the scenery wasn't as impressive as the SOUND. This was starting to get blocked in on 3 sides by rocky hills and there were some amazing bird calls going on. Plus, you could hear running water but not see it!
And then you could see it! It was a cute little waterfall.
And then the trail decided it wasn't kidding anymore. The rolling hills turned into steep switchbacks and the trail climbed pretty significantly. I took a picture during a waterbreak halfway up the hill. If you look closely, you can see the trail wrapping around the hill on the right. At the farthest part of the trail you can see is where I took the lake picture!
The trail kept kickin my butt for a while, but then it gave a nice break from the sun with some trees and a little foot bridge over the stream that drops down to the waterfall.
I kept going until I reached a point where a new trail started for a loop that would add another mile to the total hike. I decided against the loop for today but here's what I have to look forward to next time!
Overall, definitely a step up from the treadmill. Except for the sunburn. I could do without that.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
One of the biggest ways I've made poor choices that work against my goals is to fall on "fast & easy" food instead of making it myself. With the potential of grad school coming up this summer and added expenses, we've been looking at ways to cut costs. I told my bf that I thought we could cut about $200 a month from our food budget by doing the Once a Month cooking stuff because of a few things:
1) We waste a TON of food. We probably have to throw out as many bell peppers as we use because we'll buy them then not use them right away and they'll go moldy. Which is silly since SO many times, the hold up on a recipe is 'I can't make that tonight, we don't have a pepper.'
2) Reduce/Eliminate eating out. Originally we said we could just eat out as a treat. After this weekend, it's seeming more like there will be at least 2 nights of takeout or eating out per month. The LAST thing you really want to do after a day of cooking nonstop is cook dinner.
3) Things don't generally come in convenient sizes for 2 people, so we end up throwing out a lot. For example, our ground beef comes in roughly 1 pound containers. If we're lucky, we can find packages of 0.8 pounds. We'll eat probably 2/3 of that depending on the meal and the rest gets thrown out. What a waste!
So... earlier this week I used a website (onceamonthmeals.com) to build a menu and plan a month worth of meals. Their system gives you 3 breakfast recipes, 4 lunch recipes, and 8 dinner recipes. You're meant to eat each of those twice. What we actually ended up with was 3 breakfast recipes, 3 lunch recipes, and 7 dinner recipes that we'll eat four times. We started our journey to the commissary with the nifty shopping list it gives you.
We had a pretty full cart with what seemed like an ABSURD amount of some items. About 20 pounds of meat went into the cart total between chicken and beef. For the shopping list given, minus the things we already had in the pantry & freezer, we got a month worth of meals for $156.
And then the fun began. Of course, we had checked out at self checkout because Friday evening right after military payday at the Commissary... NOT the best time to do a grocery run! The line to check out extended from the front middle of the store at the register all the way along the front of the store, then down the dairy aisle and around the back to the meats. So self checkout it was (It had a sign saying unlimited!) Of course, then we have people behind us giving us dirty looks, so we were in a rush. So that means things got a little rushed.
We walked out to the car, loaded it up, and bf asked where his credit card was. No idea. So we got to run around the parking lot spazzing out trying to find it. Went back to the checkout, not there. Went through the trunk full of groceries, not there. Luckily somebody turned it in and we got it, no harm done. Just a little bit of a nervous breakdown! lol
The night before the "cooking day" you're supposed to do all of your prep work. Chopping, any simple things that can be done ahead of time to make things easier. So I chopped. And chopped. And put things in baggies. And chopped some more. It took about an hour and a half on my coffee table watching a movie, not the biggest deal, but chopping 9 onions was NOT A LOT OF FUN.
Off to a good start, all good and organized right?
Got up this morning, got my coffee, and started to work. And promptly got halted. Somehow, we were missing some groceries I distinctly remember buying. And I need them RIGHT NOW to make this food! Had to stop, rearrange, and send bf to the store. Things were pretty organized at the beginning. Starting to make a mess, but I got a SYSTEM dammit!
On an unrelated note, I'm a huge fan of post-it notes on cabinets with recipes. Seven hours and 3 loads of dishes later, this is what my kitchen looked like:
After just a little bit more work (at a much slower and relaxing place because most of it was just waiting for things to cool down), we finished up with all of the meals packed away nicely into the freezer. ISNT IT PRETTY!?!?
I had to take out the ice bin, and the door is full of my frozen fruits & veggies that used to reside in my freezer... but HOLY MOLY that's a lot of food!
What we made:
--Greek Egg Bake (Egg white souffle-y thing with spinach, olives, feta, tomatoes, onion and other yummy things!)
--Breakfast Pizza (thin crust with egg, bacon, cheese)
--"Beefy Chili Pockets" (like homemade hotpies, I think bf will eat all of these because they're a bit hefty on the calories. Haven't done a count yet, but 2 biscuits = broke the bank I think!)
--Mac & Cheese (super tasty with relatively low calories, small portion so I'm thinking that with some cut up veggies for lunch would be reasonable)
--Pizza Muffins (OMG THEY ARE SO TASTY. I have to run the calories on these to see if they're evil or not.)
--Cheez-it chicken tenders (They sound super unhealthy, but they are baked with no oil and have about a quarter serving of cheez-its per serving of tenders, so they shouldn't be too bad)
--Chicken a la King (I'm not excited about this recipe. I can't see much nutritional value, and it just smells funny)
--Chicken Fajita Melts
--Garlic chicken pasta salad
--Greek Chicken Packets (Foil wrapped chicken, lemon slices, a few red potato pieces, olives, tomatoes, and feta... all baked and yummy!)
--Meatballs in marinara
Overall I'm really excited. Next month, I'm going to choose recipes that look tasty but are healthier. Some of these I won't be able to eat a whole serving, or will have to let bf eat as his meals instead of mine. I haven't done the calorie calculations yet, but I'm eager to find out! I'm eager to see how this works out as we try the warmed up versions over the next few weeks.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
It's no secret that I'm a stressaholic. I stress about being behind on work. I stress about not being AHEAD on work. I stress about not having ENOUGH work. So yeah, that's a little crazy. But, on the plus side, I am officially ON TRACK with my work! That means I can start stressing more fun things like planning the heck out of the next year and school and such!
I have been having trouble getting to sleep because I'm too busy thinking. Last night, I fell asleep writing a mental outline of my Personal Statement for my grad school apps. So what I'm thinking is that I should get my butt in gear and finish up the applications so I don't have them to worry about! Not only does this mean I won't be waiting until the last minute, but it also means I won't be stressing about it for 3 more weeks! Crazy how that works, huh?
So, I was 'good' for about 6 months last year and then got lazy and slacked off. I claimed to be 'maintaining' but in reality, I gained about 10 pounds back. To be honest, 10 pounds back is pretty damn great considering how much junk I ate and how little effort I put into staying healthy. What I'm really impressed by, though, is how much I've changed mentally. I wrote something about that last week, but I found myself surprised again today.
When I called my mom to gush about grad school stuff, I mentioned that I got new foundation that reduces redness and looked good at my meeting. So of course, she didn't care about the content of the meeting, she got stuck on "OMG I WANT TO SEE YOUR MAKEUP AND OUTFIT AND AWESOME!" She wanted a picture immediately. Well, she had to wait until today for me to try to take a picture because I refuse to put on makeup and straighten my hair to sit around working all weekend.
So, I got dressed for my day of fun today and tried to take a picture. It didn't turn out well. In the past, if this happened, I'd probably go, "Wow, I look terrible. I'm a fattie. My face look icky and pale. I hate myself." Today, those thoughts didn't cross my mind until I was thinking about it a little while ago. My first thoughts were MUCH healthier, in my opinion. "Wow, that's a terrible picture. I look way better than that. This is terrible light for a picture, I'll have to take another one later outside where my mom can see how great I look."
I may not be a healthy weight yet. I may not be some gorgeous beauty. But my self-image is in a MUCH better place than it has been in forever... and you don't have to agree with me dammit! I'm proud of me, and I'll be even prouder in 6 months when I'm that much closer to my goal weight :)
Friday, January 10, 2014
They say that losing weight won't change you. I swear I've seen it on several SP quizzes, especially the one that's "Are you ready to lose weight?" I can completely see where they're coming from--your weight doesn't make your personality. There are confident girls who weigh a lot, there are un-confident ladies who weigh next to nothing. I get it. But I also think they might be wrong.
Here's where I'm coming from. I feel COMPLETELY different than I did two years ago. I started at SP a year ago or so, but I say 2 years because of similar experiences. In the past, I have gone to interviews and had to fight hyperventilation, my heart feeling like it's going to burst out of my chest, etc. In addition to just the nerves of how the people I'm talking to will think about me, I honestly just felt uncomfortable not just in the clothes, but also in my skin.
Now, this is a little on the silly side, but until this week, I have NEVER gone to an interview feeling like I'm presenting my best. Not only did I meet with the admissions director at the school I'm hoping to go to this coming summer and feel comfortable, but I left the 3 hour chat confident. A direct quote was, "I rocked the fudge out of it" (except with more profanity because I live with a sailor and I can't help it okay?).
It HAS to be a good sign with then admissions director is BRAGGING ABOUT YOU to the program coordinator. In front of a room of other potential applicants. It may have made THEM uncomfortable, but it made ME do a little dance on the way to my car.
So no, losing weight doesn't change who you are, how you feel about yourself, etc. But I have to argue that it helps. Being able to wear shoes that don't rub blisters in 50 feet helps a bit. But more importantly, the confidence I've gained from making goals, keeping them, and seeing that YES I CAN... are all part of losing that weight.
The admissions director promised me personally that I could expect an admissions decision by the end of February. That means that in 7 weeks I should be 12-15 pounds lighter and making plans to go back to school!
Sunday, January 05, 2014
I haven't been active on SP for probably close to 6 months now. I gave in to excuses and stress and changed my priorities. I found myself thinking about "starting over" with the new year. I think it's a great time to dive back in because you're usually surrounded by lots of people in the same boat, with lots of enthusiasm. It seems a lot easier to stay motivated.
I caught myself thinking negatives about "starting over"--but I'm not really. I still have most of the progress I made last year. I still have several of the good habits I worked hard to create. More importantly, I don't dread the idea of exercise. What it really comes down to is tackling the time/stress issue.
The main excuse/reason I shuffled my priorities and put exercise and good healthy choices lower was because of testing to prepare to go back to school. I have successfully completed all of the exams I needed to do to pursue a Master's and get my teaching credential. All that's left is a couple final hoops to complete the applications and then I'll find out if I get in later this spring. It was a major, stressful goal for me.
In the past 6 months, I've not been good about handling my physical body, but I feel like I've made a ton of progress in the mental game. Here are some of my wins:
--I feel confident going to a meetup with the faculty at a university in a few days. Previously, I had panic attacks about these kinds of situations. Now, the most stressful part is realizing that my dress pants are 4 sizes too big!! Woe is me, I must go shopping.
--I got new shoes for Christmas. Last Christmas I got new shoes for working out and walking that did well, but I noticed they were hurting my feet more and more over the past many months. Guess why? Because my feet aren't fatties anymore!!! My feet used to be E width, now they're B (Normal!!). I used to have little to no arch, now I have "normal" arches!! My feet still aren't perfect--I put too much weight on my heels and favor my left side. But holy cow is it inspiring to not wear shoes that look like they belong on a clown.
--I don't drink soda. I have replaced all of my sugary soda intake with either water or seltzer water (I found I missed the bubbles more than the sugar!). Every once in a while I will have a soda as a treat, but that's totally reasonable.
--I am regularly waking up at hours that end with 'am.' Okay, this makes me seem like a TOTAL bum, but working from home makes being a total night owl very easy. I continue to work on this and my goal for the next 6 months is to get my wakeup time down to 7 am with workouts in the morning.
--I met new people and was not concerned about whether they thought I was fat. Another HUGE win for me.
I'm really optimistic for the new year. I'm eager to get to work. Happy 2014!!
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