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Prepping for the hard work

Monday, December 07, 2009

That's what Amy Bento says in one of my exercise DVDs. I shoveled a driveway for the first time in about 30 years yesterday. There wasn't even all that much snow, as it took a long time for it to stick to road surfaces, but it had iced up underneath. And it's a big driveway. Unfortunately, on an incline. We didn't think a lot about that when we bought the house, altho frankly I doubt it would have changed our decision, but this is going to be interesting. Because I've got to walk down it to walk the dogs. And it definitely has the makings of becoming an ice rink.

If exercise hadn't become such a big part of my life, I seriously doubt I would have lifted a finger to shovel that driveway unless under much duress. As it was, I told DH to take the dogs in after our walk, after he'd shoveled just a tiny bit so we'd have a walkway. And then I started in on it. Got maybe about half of it done, and then it was already way past lunchtime and I was starving. DH did some more, altho I doubt he finished it.

Chester doesn't look real happy, does he?

His first real snow. Poor guy is not going to be a happy camper. Gotta get the dogs some booties. I have some video of Lola, but gotta figure out how to change it out of Quicktime mode. I used to know how to do that.

Looks like our own personal Christmas tree lot, eh?

Being a little arty, taken from underneath one of the pines.

The sun came up, making everything pretty. Only it didn't stay out, so not too much melted.

We figure we got around 4 inches. They were predicting 1-2. This is the grill on our deck, where DH grilled last night. Yup, he's officially a crazy person now. I warned him it would be cold this weekend (at that point we didn't know about the snow). I also told him he didn't have to cook this weekend, but he chose to. Except he was in a surly mood all weekend long and it became very draining on me. No pics of him grilling out there because I was exercising while he was out there.

And yes, I made him come on the dogwalk with me yesterday. None of them were thrilled, but too bad!

Exercise truly isn't just about burning calories. It's more about having the strength and energy to get thru your days. The stress reduction ain't bad either.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_GRIZZ 12/7/2009 7:45PM

    Love the pics - sure is pretty around there :) Kind of reminds me of here. We have a very long driveway too - it's terrible when the ice gets on it. Good for you for picking up that shovel - woo hoo! Way to go :)

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HEALTHY4JEANNE 12/7/2009 11:50AM

    The pictures are beautiful!
Good job shoveling and going for the walk!
:) Jeanne

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KEAKMAN 12/7/2009 9:43AM

    You are right - one of the best things about exercise is what it does for my MIND! It relaxes me and makes me feels more fit and confident. Glad you are finding the lemonade in the snow and sloped driveway lemons! Hope you get some doggy boots soon and maybe the dogs will not mind the snow so much!

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MARLENE2995 12/7/2009 8:01AM

    Beautiful pictures!! I love snow and especially on pine trees.

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FLAWLESSCUBE 12/7/2009 7:45AM

    Gorgous photos and Your poor poor puppy, He must of had a heart attack dealing with all that white stuff.

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NUTRON3 12/7/2009 6:02AM

    Love that attitude

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Raw desserts rock & other ramblings

Saturday, December 05, 2009

One of the many things I miss about Austin is the farmer's market I used regularly. It was open year-round (the joys of living in a temperate climate!, altho I must admit there's a farmer's market here that's open year-round that I need to check out). It had more than just food -- there were artisans, people selling clothes, all sorts of cool stuff. I could buy free range chicken, bison, grass fed beef and more.

And then there were the prepared food stalls. They gave me my first taste of raw food. Over the years there were several different raw food vendors. I really enjoy raw food, but it's time consuming. Being me, of course I went for the desserts first. And they were awesome. They opened a raw food bar at Whole Foods, too. I used to buy their peach crumble, loved it, and I don't even like peaches! And they made this absolutely awesome chocolate peanut butter thing.

I bought a new raw desserts cookbook -- ironic, eh? -- this week. And couldn't wait to try out the raw chocolate lava cake. OMG. Yes, it's very, very rich. In fact, it was supposed to make 2 serving, which I thought was a good thing -- no leftovers. But neither one of us could finish it. In fact, DH had only a few bites -- he liked it, but found it to be too rich. I wish I had the same problem, but I still couldn't finish it. And unlike the several baked lava cakes recipes I've tried, this one was actually molten!

Most raw desserts rely heavily on large amounts of nuts. So yes, they should be an occasional indulgence. My biggest problem with desserts in general is that I want them all the time. I want them after lunch AND after dinner.

I can't wait to try out more of the recipes. Apple pear crisp. Key lime tart. Ginger cookies. One of the things I like about this particular cookbook is that it doesn't rely a lot on dehydration. I've tried dehydrated cookies & bars, and I don't normally like them. I also got a book on raw food basics from Amazon this week. So I'll be trying out a few of those, too -- and probably not the dessert recipes, either.

My green monsters are raw. Salads are raw; altho I just don't crave salads at this time of year. There are raw soups, but I'm not sure they're what I want in the winter.

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen yesterday, because I also made pseudo- vegan stuffed shells (pseudo because I did sprinkle them with some parmesan -- I do have a weakness for cheese, and am not particularly fond of the ingredients in most vegan cheeses). DH was not impressed, but I thought they were awesome.

I like it when I expend a lot of energy on cooking and it all turns out good.

Now that I've made you drool, it's on to other ramblings. While I am frustrated to be stuck in this plateau, I am still very, very happy with the changes I've wrought. I'm happy when I look in the mirror most days. I tried on a size 4 dress the other day and it FIT. Keep in mind I'm smaller on top than I am on bottom -- a typical pear -- and it had a loose and flowy skirt. I like what I see. It truly isn't about the numbers, it's about how I feel -- but I am definitely not throwing in the towel, either.

I have been procrastinating about several things in my life lately, both big and small. I am slowly tackling those things. Like the laundry I finally tackled yesterday. Good thing I have a lot of underwear!

In conclusion, all I can say when it comes to food is to keep an open mind. I'm willing to try most things, and I like most things, too. You never know til you try. Just like weight loss.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHY4JEANNE 12/7/2009 11:52AM

    Yes, you made me crave chocolate. I am going to have to make a diet dessert or eat a diet pudding now. Hmmm. Maybe just go eat lunch a little early.
Soup, sounds good!

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MOMMA_GRIZZ 12/5/2009 10:40AM

    Size 4?!? Woo hoo - way to go! The chocolate lava cake sounds divine.....sigh. :)

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KEAKMAN 12/5/2009 9:16AM

    Okay, you have piqued my interest in raw foods....your chocolate molten dessert sounds wonderful! I LOVE chocolate. Although my DH is allergic to nuts, so..... But I may have to check out our library. Portland is the land of alternative anything and everything, so I bet we have a ton.

A size 4! What a wonderful thing to say - you tried on a size 4 dress and like how you looked in it! The "liked how you looked" is the best part, though! CONGRATS!

Have you decided on a new team or new challenge or some something to get you fired up and ready to go? I am curious since I am in the serious doldrums right now....any ideas are good ones.

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Ch, ch, ch, changing

Friday, December 04, 2009

I firmly believe that we only stop learning and growing when we're dead. Sometimes I have to feel sorry for my husband -- he's such an entrenched omnivore, and I was, too, when we got married (altho I always loved my veggies). But the changes in my eating habits have been huge over these almost 25 years.

Last night I made us tacos. Pretty healthy really, I used ground turkey, altho I did use flour tortillas. I don't always, but once in a while a white flour product won't kill you. He was so happy I swear I almost saw a tear -- because it was "meat", and not soy crumbles or lentils or some other veggie thing (next time maybe, dear, I actually thought the sloppy joes I made last year with lentils were excellent).

Which is a pretty big change for him, too. To be happy to see ground turkey on the menu. To not be complaining that it wasn't beef! They were pretty good -- even HE admitted that -- altho they did need something more in the spice department.

It's really too bad for him that I'm in charge of the cooking. Maybe that's why he's agreed so readily to cook once a month, because he gets to choose what to cook. This weekend he's actually chosen to grill a steak -- despite forecasts of temps in the high 30s!

It takes time, sometimes decades, but you really can change your taste buds. Well, sometimes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHY4JEANNE 12/7/2009 11:54AM

    OMG, my husband gets nasty if he goes more than 4 days with out red meat. I make sure that every 4 days he gets a beef product.
Good job changing his tastebuds!!!
Lentil sloppy joes. hmmm.

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LEONALIONESS 12/5/2009 9:54AM

    Having had not one, but two, of my SOs go vegan or near vegan while with me (ex-husband, while an arse, went vegan quite easily - not for animals but for health/human stuff/environment. Current SO is about 90% vegan, totally veg.) I'm constantly amazed at how some men kick and scream about "needing meat". It's such a fallacy and one that never ceases to make me eye roll.

However, as I'm totally vegan myself, they have less choices. No way in HELL am I cooking animals and my ex-husband, lazy sod in the kitchen, ate what I cooked. That he stayed vegan outside the home (and is still vegan even after a messy divorce about 3 years ago) does show that he did take the whole thing to heart.

Current SO also really doesn't even consider meat food anymore. Loves vegan food but will eat packaged/baked goods that have dairy/eggs. He doesn't tend to eat "visible" eggs/dairy preferring vegan milks and never liking eggs anyway. I can see him transitioning to vegan eventually, perhaps. If we end up living together the house would be a vegan food only zone (my basic rules) which I'm sure he'd be fine with. That leaves eating non-vegan desserts/packaged stuff only at work or restaurants which I'm cool with.

Both men ended up feeling SO much better once cutting all or most animal products that neither wanted to stop. I think that feeling of "wow, I FEEL so much healthier and less sick" really goes a long way towards change sticking. Like how spark makes us feel when we lose weight and make positive changes. :)

I'm glad DH is making small changes. Heck, I made garbanzo bean taco "meat" recently and my SO flipped out. They were delicious. I also think that the Smart Ground stuff from Light Life or Yves is darn near identical to meat. I doubt he could even tell the difference if you didn't say anything. :)

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SEKSUNSHINE 12/5/2009 6:35AM

    I think the bottom line is even at a plateau, which I seem to be at also, if you are happy with what you see and how you feel you are winning and you know this will pass and your goal will be met. It is hard to realize that at times but it is true. I keep saying this to myself every day. I know how hard this part is. Keep moving and trying new things and you will be there before you know it!

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EOSTAR_45 12/4/2009 7:21PM

    Wow he is making progress to be glad to see ground turkey. The tacos sound very healthy too. I love ground turkey and started it using a few years back. Now I use it in all my dishes that call for ground beef.

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MOMMA_GRIZZ 12/4/2009 10:28AM

    That's great (a tear in his eye for ground turkey - cute). It is amazing how much our taste buds change isn't it? And that we find, foods we never ate before, we actually really like. It's a good thing.

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KEAKMAN 12/4/2009 7:51AM

    I am constantly amazed by what I will eat, and enjoy!, these days. All the healthy foods, the wider variety. I still haven't found a liking for tofu, and I don't think I will ever eat a pea or lima bean on purpose, but then again, 18 months ago I couldn't imagine liking yogurt! Who knows?!

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SEKSUNSHINE 12/4/2009 6:30AM

    Good for him and you. I don't think there is much difference in using ground turkey in place of beef for most dishes. The best seasoning I've found for tacos no matter what meat you use is the Taco Bell taco seasoning packets. Here they are with the shells, refried beans and all that they run about .90 and I use a packet for 2 pounds of ground product.

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She's got it going on

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I know that's what some of my spark buddies think. If only! Sometimes it's true, maybe even most of the time, but lately I have to admit to feeling like I'm floundering. I think it's a combination of many things: 3 trips in 3 months, not enough sleep, a plateau, maybe even a little SADD thrown in there.

I know, without a doubt, that I am a very different person than I was 20 years ago, which was the last time I live din the Northeast. And maybe I'll sing a different tune once winter actually arrives. But I truly do think I'm a much more optimistic, much more balanced person now. I used to be plagued with mild insomnia, waking up in the wee hours to be up for hours.

While I may have the occasional bad night now, it's nothing like what it used to be -- I chalk that up to the exercise. Nothing like exercise to help you sleep! Except when your husband has a night meeting and you get woken up by barking dogs trampling over you like last night, for example.

I tamed my WIM (weigh-in madness) today. I ate a normal breakfast and I even drank my normal 2 cups of water & 2 cups of tea before I left. I even wore a different pair of jeans, like a crazy person. Result? Up 1.2 lb. Which isn't that bad. I could just be up, it could be the jeans, and I'm sure that extra glass of tea contributed. We'll see what tale next week tells.

The problem was afterwards. I don't know if it was the tiredness, but I decided to have a hot pretzel at the mall for lunch. Yes, I know, not exactly the best decision. Was it a way to deal with my frustration with my WI? Maybe; maybe not. Was it due to pre-TOM? Maybe; maybe not. At least I did sit down and eat it mindfully.

I haven't been journaling my food the last couple of weeks. There was no time while I was in Seattle. My FIL still gets great pleasure out of food, which is great, but he hovers over you while you're preparing it, and you've got to make sure he doesn't grab a hot pan or just whatever's sitting out on the counter -- or your food, for that fact. It helped that my husband was there, but there really wasn't much time to be recording food.

This week I made a conscious decision not to journal my food. I kept a sort-of running total in my head, and I do truly believe that I ate pretty well. However, it's back to journaling for me. Especially since we have a holiday party the night before my next WI.

And yes, this plateau has been frustrating. Back & forth & back & forth -- good thing I don't get seasick. It's time to join a new spark team I think -- one for people who are within 10 lbs of their goal weight. Anyone know a good one?

When I began this journey, most of the time I felt very satisfied. Lately I find myself hungry sometimes. The smaller I get, the less I can afford to eat, so I've really got to figure out something that works for me and satisfies me, too. Or perhaps I just need some patience.

Anyway, the one thing I never doubt is that I will get to my goal weight. I AM going to get to my goal weight. Not all my life's problems will be solved by doing that, but I am going to get to my goal weight. I can figure out a way to eat that satisfies me, allows for some treats, and is healthy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KEAKMAN 12/3/2009 9:36PM

    Hang in there. I have no great ideas to offer, just my confidence that you will find your way. The past few months have been pretty stressful and hectic for you - moving, two trips (or it is three?), and the decline of your FIL - you have a lot to deal with.

I am out here cheering for you. Do what seems best to you - try a new team. It could be just the boost you need!

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DDHEART 12/3/2009 7:28PM

    I agree with your idea to find a new team....sometimes it's a little spark when you have some new interactions and challenges. Like you don't already know it....try to get outside in the morning.....dogs ought to help with that....my best tx for my SADD is to get a dose of sun....even when the sun doesn't seem to be very much in attendance it helps.

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SEKSUNSHINE 12/3/2009 2:55PM

    You will get to your goal weight. I just have one question. Do you really think a new team will make that happen? Hang in there I'm in the same boat. These last 10 are by far the hardest and frustrating, but we will both get there.

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    I weigh myself in the morning before I drink anything. That gives me an accurate measure of weight without food or water in my stomach.

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My first outdoor run

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Which is a bit of a misnomer, because I actually got into running by doing it outdoors. I'd tried on and off, over the years, always hating running (still almost hate it), but a couple of years ago I started to do some very short intervals while walking the dogs. They felt like at least a couple of minutes, but were probably only 30 seconds at a time.

The difference was that I kept up with it. Through the heat of the brutal Austin summers, I kept running intervals. They got longer and more frequent, but never amounted to much -- other than the fact that I was consistently running -- well, jogging, really. I consider it jogging when you're as slow as I am.

I debated selling my treadmill before our move, but I'm slow glad I didn't. I began to run regularly on it, starting with a couple of times a week. It was maybe a year ago that I actually ran my first mile on my treadmill.

This past spring I did the C25K -- I completed it, but I sure couldn't run 5K (I told you, I'm slow). But I just kept slogging away at it. I can run 5K now with some walking intervals in there. I've increased my speed.

One thing was left to tackle: running outside. I had all sorts of excuses: I can't run with the dogs; I don't have time because I have to walk the dogs; I can run with the dogs, but only for a few minutes at a time (they're sprinters); and on and on. The truth was I was afraid to try -- afraid to look ridiculous, afraid I couldn't do it.

Today, for whatever reason, I decided to just do it. I've been tired all week -- readjusting to East coast time, one of the dogs kept us up most of one night, etc. etc. I walked them this morning, then went out for a couple of hours of food shopping (checking out BJs). Yes, I was still tired when I got back. I relaxed for a while, changed my clothes, stretched, and just did it.

The first 5 minutes felt easy. I even passed a "real" runner (a young teenager) who gave me a broad smile (no, he was going the other way, of course I didn't run past him). Then the huffing and puffing and the watching the clock started. But I managed to eek out my 20 minutes (plus another 5 minutes warmup & cooldown each), which was what I'd planned -- running all the time except fo the warmup & cooldown.

I'm glad I did it. I'm really glad I have a treadmill! But I will run outside again. At least til it really snows here. If I'm ever going to enter that 5K, I've got to get used to running outside, too.

I almost titled my post something along the lines of I love when things just work out. For instance, yesterday I made a humongous green smoothie. With the intention of drinking a smaller one, but more often. And then I slept late (for me) this morning. No time for breakfast before feeding all the animals, but time for a smoothie! It worked out perfectly.

Or the fact that several years ago I bought some fleece lined workout pants with a gazillion pockets. They were too tight then, but they fit fine now, and I was able to easily store my phone (which doubles as my MP3 player) and my keys. And most importantly, they kept my legs warm.

Of course, sometimes things don't work out. Like the boots I ordered. Only the order got screwed up, and I just received two of them. So now I have to send one back. Luckily they have free shipping & returns, but it's still kind of pain. I've got some other stuff to return to a different place, so maybe I'll finally get around to that -- we definitely could use that money!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUPPYWHISPERS 12/3/2009 9:35AM

    I think 20 mins. is fantastic! Good for you!! I hear ya about the snow, and I too am glad to have a treadmill. But there's nothing like feeling the wind at your face and enjoying the outside sounds. Great job! emoticon


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LINDYTHALIA 12/3/2009 12:20AM

    Congratulations, that's great! Like you, I've never been much of a runner. Back in 2004, I started doing it as part of a boot camp class at my local YMCA. I found I actually liked it! Then I developed plantar fasiitis because of my gait (long story) and I haven't been able to run since. I really miss it. I am hoping that as I drop some weight, the pressure on my feet will ease up and I'll be able to do it again, because I would love to do a sprint triathlon someday.

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DDHEART 12/2/2009 10:20PM

    I love this! I think it's a great thing when you get out there in gulp public and find out that other "real" runners are just happy to see other people out there running and hey you know the young person probably thought how cool it was that someone um more mature would be out there. It's very motivating to do something we were reluctant/afraid to do. I am super happy for your great day! How was BJ's?

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MOMMA_GRIZZ 12/2/2009 8:35PM

    Whoo Hooo! Way to go! That's fantastic :)

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EOSTAR_45 12/2/2009 6:27PM

    WOW! What do you mean you are not a runner? Running 20+ minutes is a runner in my book. I enjoyed walking/ jogging too but stopped--I need to start back again. Running does feel good.


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LEONALIONESS 12/2/2009 5:09PM

    WOO HOO!

I love running outside.
It's starting to get COLD in MN, though, so I'm worried I won't be able to muster up the gumption to keep doing it outside once the snow flies.

Then I'm trapped on a 1/16 mile track like one of my rats on the wheel.
Not appealing! Especially since I'm getting up to double digit long runs.

Way to go on conquering your 'fear'... running outside does take some courage. But, once you're out, it's so nice. I love seeing my fellow runners and sharing a quick hi or a smile as we pass. Feels good. :)

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/2/2009 4:53PM

    Good for you. One of these days, I'll be inspired to try running (which I used to do) again. Really never got into it.

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RUN_KELLI 12/2/2009 4:53PM

    Congratulations on taking taking up running! I'm a wanna be runner, and your blog gave me hope, Good luck!!

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SEKSUNSHINE 12/2/2009 4:28PM

    The most important thing is you did it and good for you. You would have to beat me severally to get me to run. I am very proud of you! You do realize because of this you will do the 5K with no problem!

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