Friday, November 06, 2009
It's definitely true -- portion sizes are so much larger in the US. Sorry, I wasn't taking photos of my food while I was in Europe. I sort of wish I had! That amazing beet salad inspired me to get some beets this week, with the intention of making a roasted beet dish I found in a WW booklet.
As I mentioned, I collect mugs. It wasn't really a conscious decision, it just sort of happened as I traveled and would need a mug for my tea, and now I seek them out. One of my favorites was a little cat mug I bought in Delft, that ironically one of my cats broke quickly (they don't break things too often).
Even the mugs in Europe are smaller! They are just the perfect size for a cup of tea, and I love them (and hope that the current crop last longer).
You'll notice that I don't generally use large pates for my food. I even started going to a smaller bowl again for my oatmeal -- the difference in seeing a full plate & being satisfied is real.
It's funny, I always thought I would know when I was slipping if I started ignoring the basics: drinking water, exercise, eating mindfully, etc. etc. I guess most of those habits are just too ingrained in me. As I had my artist's date yesterday, I realized the true sign of my slipping was not putting myself first. Not allowing me enough me time.
This is ironic too -- because the truth is, it would seem to the casual observer that I have nothing but me time. I don't work (outside the home, that is) and I don't have kids. But I wasn't knitting, I wasn't painting, I wasn't meditating . . . so many wasn'ts.
For my artist's date I just went to Michaels. And wandered around. Whenever I go shopping I always feel time pressure to get back because of the dogs. But I gave myself an hour to wander. And it felt so good. I also picked up supplies to make something to help me on my weight loss journey at some point, and I gave myself a budget of no more than $10. I almost made it -- spend just a tad over $11. It would've been so easy to spend twice that amount or more!
So in this busy holiday season, please take time out for you. Don't forget yourself and don't put yourself last. I loved what I heard on Oprah yesterday (maybe that's why I had such a weird dream about her): if your glass is empty, you can't give anyone else anything to drink.
This is my WI day breakfast. A vitatop with 1 tbsp almond butter -- I even measured my almond butter yesterday.
Because I have a light breakfast before WI (maybe someday I'll get back to just eating what I want before weighing in!), I always bring a snack with me. I made a larabar from a recipe ai found on the Web -- and it was awesome. In fact, I was full enough afterwards that I didn't have the chocolate covered figs I'd made.
Deciding to get myself some figamajigs (dark chocolate covered figs) as a reward made me think why can't I make my own? So I tried. I already know how to make chocolate covered strawberries, after all.
Lunch was the last of my chickpea curry. Man, that stuff is so satisfying!
I had a late snack of the other half of yesterday's green monster. This is my shaker bottle. I bought it to bring to Europe with me -- and used it! It did taste a little weird the second day. I was going to try out those figs, but decided I could probably use the veggies in the green monster instead.
Only suddenly I was hungry so I had a couple of chunks of dried papaya. Oh, those would be awesome with a little chocolate on them . . .
I think everyone thought I was making my own sushi yesterday, but I just bought the kit and will try it for lunch someday next week. No, we were going out to dinner with some of my husband's coworkers. This is quickly becoming our go-to restaurant for guests -- it serves both Chinese and Japanese, and is really close to home. It's the only restaurant we've been to three times already.
Anyway, that's seaweed salad above. Guess I really didn't have to worry about those veggies . . . it's really good, and it's full of calcium.
Ah, sushi. My husband likes to joke that introducing me to sushi was the worst thing he ever did. If only it weren't so darn expensive! One reason I love going out for sushi is that it's fairly healthy and low fat, so I really enjoy my meal but I'm making good choices, too!
For those that to know, it's an Alaska roll (salmon & avocado), a candy cane roll (salmon wrapped in tuna), and 2 pieces of salmon nigiri. Yes, I love salmon!
We split the last of the Viennese chocolates for dessert. Time was I would have bought a lot more chocolate in that store. It was still really tempting. But I know myself -- if it's there, I'll want it. With my Lindt chocolates, I am usually satisfied with a square or two. But with "real" chocolates -- I may start out well, but eventually I'll start eating more than I should. I'll miss the Viennese chocolates, but I'm glad I didn't buy anymore.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
And we are already deep into the baking season. I used to start baking Christmas cookies in August. I'd bake one type almost every week, and freeze it. Then I'd send everyone cookies, bring in cookies, and send cookies with DH to work during the holidays. I don't do that anymore!
Holidays used to be all about the food. What new recipes would I try? How would my favorites turn out? Just how many desserts could I bake for one dinner, anyway?
Holidays are still about food, but I've learned to reign myself in. To some degree. I feel the siren call of the cookie monster. Actually, I want to bake a chocolate pumpkin pie to bring to my folks this weekend (incredibly good, incredibly easy -- not too terrible). I found myself wanting to make my corn buns, too. It's something I only make at Thanksgiving.
I wanted to bake them this week so I could bring them to my folks, too. Hey, I'm the baking gal. Of course, my mom's a pretty good baker herself, not to mention she's not supposed to have sugar. I will still make my corn buns -- it's tradition! -- but not this week. Assuming I can find the recipe. I know that cookbook is still residing in a box in our garage. I think I veganized a version and put it up on my cookbook maven site, so I'll have to go look.
I pretty much lost the weight I'd gained over vacation this week (forgot to take the pedometer out of my pocket -- AGAIN, and walked out without my water bottle -- AGAIN; I swear I'm losing my mind here).
It's nice to know that I can indulge a bit on occasion, gain some weight, and lose it pretty quickly once I get back to my healthy habits. Now if only I could figure out how to go on vacation and not gain weight at all! Especially with the next trip in just a couple of weeks.
My healthy habits challenge is going well. I'm excited about it! I set up "other goals" on my spark points page so I could check them off. Dog training is done; one artist's date is done; I'm on track with my veggie/fruit consumption, and as long as I get in one short extra ST session this week, week one was a success!
I've come up with most of my rewards, too. Decided I would do a reward for each category, and try to make it something meaningful to that category -- but be careful not to spend a lot of money, either.
Mind: get the book "Eat to Live" from the library
Spirit: Download a session from yoga download (the 20 minute classes are free! Wish they had some 10 minute ones)
Body: still pondering this one. Maybe a sweaty band -- I've been wanting one for a while; maybe a new workout DVD.
Food: try a variety pack of figamajigs. I'd read about them a while back, but came across them again recenlty.
Another oatmeal breakfast. Yesterday I managed to go from breakfast to lunch without a snack.
I swear, some meals are just sooooooooo good, even if they are simple. The last of my asparagus frittata, with the last of my roasted brussel sprouts (never fear, I already bought more -- now just gotta roast them), and a home made chocolate muffin. It's been forever since I had a home made one (I had one chocolate muffin during vacation -- the only time I had anything sweet for breakfast, and that was with some herring, I think). Bliss.
My green monster yesterday. I used 1 cup soy milk, 2 cups kale, 1 banana, and 2 scoops of Amazing Grass chocolate superfood. Probably should have used 2 cups of soy milk. I drank half yesterday, and put the other half in my new shaker bottle to have some other time. I was surprised that it lasted me til dinner.
Look closely at that picture. Notice anything strange? Like it's all gooey & cheesy on top, but almost no cheese on the bottom? Anyway, it's an Amy's Margherita pizza with baby carrots. I bake them right in the oven on a pizza stone. Only one of them slide off, flipped, and now I have baked on cheese all over my oven bottom. I am not happy. I've been working on it, but this is almost impossible to get off.
Since I made 2 individual ones, we just split them, and each of us got half of the okay pizza, and half of the cheeseless pizza. Since I had much less cheese than planned, I decided to have a square of Lindt Fleur de Sel and half a Viennese chocolate for dessert.
So there you go. Pizza several times this week, chocolate pretty much every day, and I still lost 1.4 lb (I think without the pedometer that would have been 1.6 lb). I do think having a photo blog of my food is helping . . . and I think I'll revive cookbook maven & probably move it over there eventually.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
First, I MUST thank my spark buddies who suggested I design my own challenge. It has been challenging, but I think I've come up with a good one. Still working out the details, but I put a lot of thought into it and I think it's going to be awesome.
After reading Jeanlecuy's blog about grading herself in 4 parts (25% for each component), I just knew that I had to steal/borrow her idea. My original idea was to retake the health habits quiz from the week 4 WW booklet -- it tells you which habit you need to work on -- but wouldn't you know it's the only one I don't have. I think I'm glad; I think what I came up with is even better.
So, the 4 components of my Healthy Habits Challenge:
Sometimes there's some overlap -- some things could fall under both mind and spirit, for instance. But I just pick one and go with it. My idea right now is to try to come up with enough ideas for each category to keep this going for a whole year! I'd welcome any suggestions. I've written down some thoughts, but I'm definitely not up to 12 for every (or any!) category yet.
1. Mind: work on new tricks with the dogs. This may seem silly, but even for the simplest tricks, there's a lot of thinking and planning. I actually did start this yesterday. We worked on doing our downs with their head down on the floor. Chester already sort of knows this, but Lola doesn't at all.
The trick to teaching tricks is the same as sparking -- break everything down into baby steps. Lots of treats (rewards). Reevaluating when things don't go as planned. And patience, patience, patience.
Now, this may seem a silly goal to you, but it's one I've only been doing haphazardly with them. So making it a goal will keep in in my thoughts.
I will aim for at least 3 sessions a week. It's hard, sometimes, because when the treats come out, the cats want in on the fun too.
2. Body: an short, extra session of strength training at least 2 times a week. Cardio is often more fun for me, so while I do my ST, sometimes it's easier to shirk it. And it's holiday season. Being Jewish helps me escape from some of it, but not all of it. I have the challenge of going to my inlaws for Thanksgiving, going to see my folks this weekend, and the really big challenge of DH having 2 weeks off between Christmas and New Year's. And oh, of course it's dark & cold, too.
3. Spirit: artist's dates! Are you creative? Then you should read the Artist's Way. In it, Julia Cameron recommends artist's dates. A 2 hour block of time each week to renew & recharge your creative side. I think they're supposed to be 2 hours, but I'll be happy if I can get one 1 hour artist date in each week.
4. Food: after photographing my food for several days, I can easily see it's seriously lacking in fruits & veggies. Well, maybe not seriously, but it's lacking. Which is sort of strange, because I love veggies, but not so strange, because they do take more work. So I'm going to aim for at least 3 veggie servings and at least 1 fruit serving at least 5 days a week. Hopefully I'll get more than that, but slow and steady really does win the race. I guess I've got to believe that, since I'm so slow!
One way I plan to get in those veggies is with green smoothies, which have become known as green monsters on the Web. It's an easy way to get in your fruits and veggies (although not quite as satisfying sometimes because it's a drink).
And I found this cool Website -- greenmonstermovement.com/ , started by one of my new favorite blogs, ohsheglows.com/ .
So now I'm thinking about rewards. Specifically 4 rewards that won't break the bank!
I'm excited. I never lost my spark or my motivation, but in hindsight, I can see that it's dimmed a bit. That I've been losing myself in all the moving stuff. It's really hard, sometimes, to remember you deserve to do stuff for yourself, when you've still got so much decluttering, unpacking, and organizing to do. But it's easier to do all the boring stuff when you're also doing stuff for yourself.
Not too many photos today; lots of repeats.
Breakfast was oatmeal. I was going to change it up today and warm up my frittata, some brussel sprouts, and a muffin, but I got caught up down here so I guess today will be oatmeal, too. Gotta make some waffles -- it's been a long time and I'm missing them!
I made some hot cocoa post-dogwalk. Yup, it's hot cocoa season, and I love it. They say chocolate milk is the perfect recovery drink, so surely hot cocoa is even better? I use Ah!laska, which is a non-dairy cocoa mix.
Lunch was the last of the mac & cheese, an apple, and 1 square Lindt Fleur de Sel chocolate. Lola has these gagging fits -- usually at night -- that last a long time, and she woke me up early the night before. So I was really exhausted yesterday.
I snacked on tea with some HV Amaranth crackers again.
Dinner was chickpea curry (from FBD -- awesome) with brown rice, a dollop of yogurt and some brussel sprouts. Then I shared a couple of Viennese chocolates with DH again.
I would call this a good day -- a bit light on fruit & veggies, but it actually did meet my goal for the day. I probably didn't need those Amaranth crackers, but I was getting hungry. In fact, I ended up eating before DH got home (very unusual) because I knew he was getting home a bit late, I was making something different for him, and I was just really hungry.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
One thing I didn't plan for when I went to Europe (I know, the mind boggles) was the fact that the treadmills would be in kph instead of mph. I started out a little slow, doing 3.5 kilometers in half an hour my first workout.
Then I had almost a week off before I was able to run again. They say that you lose your endurance and speed quickly if you're not running at least 3 x week, but I seem to find that I can go faster, easier when I've had some time off.
By the time I finished, I was doing 8.7 kph for my fastest interval, which I was astounded to find out was 5.4 mph! Okay, so that's still really slow by most runner's standards, but for me, it was lightyears away from my fastest interval of 4.7 mph before I left! I was very pleased.
Although I haven't registered, my plan is to do the Freihofer's 5k next June. It's apparently a big deal with elite runners & an expo. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing for my first race (oh, and it's women only).
I'd like to be able to run the entire thing, and I really like not to come in last. As long as I'm not sick, I think I can manage both of those. Maybe. I'd also like to take no longer than 40 minutes -- which might be doable. Yesterday I ran/walked 3.23 miles in 45 minutes, which is the first time I've actually broken the 5k mark, so I'm happy with that.
Now I have to figure out how often do I take a break -- it really does seem to do me good. Once a month? Every other month?
I also think I was able to run faster in Europe for a couple of reasons -- the primary one being that it was my first exercise of the day. Usually at home I'm running after I've walked the dogs, and often after I've done some other stuff around the house, too. The dogs really need their walk in the morning, and DH ain't going do it, so I'm kind of in a bind there.
I am reluctant to run outside, but I think I'll get to that in another blog.
By most people standards, I am still slow. But that's okay. The only thing that matters, really, is that I'm racing against myself. A year and a half ago I couldn't run a mile. Now I can run/walk more than 2 in 30 minutes, and for me, that's HUGE.
Yup, oatmeal for breakfast again. Yesterday was still a weird eating day. Didn't sleep well last night, so I don't think I'll do my grocery shopping today, even though I really need to and have absolutely no idea what the heck we're going to have for dinner.
I had a post-dogwalk & pre-run snack of a PB spiral from the FBD (flat belly diet) cookbook.
An Ezekiel pita with half a banana, 2 tbsp PB, some honey, wheat germ, yogurt, and cinnamon. Yerba Mate Latte in my new cat/dog mug from Prague (I collect mugs). This kept me full way past lunch time, past bagging leaves for 45 minutes.
So I never had lunch. Instead, I snacked on yogurt with the other half of the banana and Kashi granola (usually I make my own, but I'm pretty happy with most Kashi products).
Only I was still hungry, so I had some coconut cocoa tea with a mini clif bar afterwards.
I've really gotten into Larabars recently, and am very excited that some googling brought up lots of recipes, so I'll be trying my hand at making my own once I buy some dates. If I ever get to the food store.
Dinner was whole wheat pasta with home made spaghetti sauce. Kind of light on veggies and fruits yet again. And dessert was one square Lindt Fleur de Sel and one square of their dark chocolate truffle bar.
Yup, I see a pattern of not enough veggies and/or fruit and not enough calcium. I used to take an awesome calcium supplement -- it was a chocolate, a real one -- but they've discontinued them! Which I found out right before our trip. I'm heartbroken!
Monday, November 02, 2009
I firmly believe that. In all areas of our lives. For instance, I just realized that I got up an hour earlier than I needed to -- because my husband hasn't changed his clock yet (I would have done it for him if I knew how). It would have been really nice to know that so I could have stayed in bed a bit longer!
So to be powerful, you've got to know yourself. I know, for instance, that I don't do well traveling if I don't bring food with me. I know that I need a good breakfast to start my day -- so yes, I'm willing to give up precious space to lug around protein bars, oatmeal, single serving packets of peanut butter, nuts, and dried fruit. Even a blender bottle!
I know that when I go out to eat, I don't want a simple grilled fish and steamed veggies most of the time. I want something I don't normally good -- usually something that's not all that great for me.
I know that I'd rather have dessert than an appetizer when I go out to eat -- sometimes. Altho sometimes I'll go with an appetizer because I've got a healthy dessert at home. And sometimes I don't need either.
I know that I'd rather sit and knit all day long, but my pedometer tells me I need to move more. It's really a great little reminder to move.
I know that if I don't drink enough water, I get hungry AND tired; never a good combination. Which is why I drink almost half my water before I take the dogs out for a walk in the morning.
I know that despite the fact that I love vegetables, I still often fall short on them because they take work. Chopping, sauteeing, roasting -- it all takes time. Which is why baby carrots appear so frequently in my food -- they're grab and go. I don't even have to cut them up!
And I know that if I'm not very careful on vacations, or during the holidays, it's really, really easy to pack on the pounds. Probably not a whole lot at one time -- a pound here, 2 pounds there. But before you know it, you're 40 lbs overweight because you just didn't pay attention. Or more. I need to pay attention. And I'll admit it: sometimes I'm tired of paying attention. Some days I want to eat whatever I damn well please.
But the truth is I'm not really tired of it, because I like how I look. I definitely have more energy. 2 years ago, all the walking I did on vacation and all the raking I've done since I've been back would have killed me. I see how tired it makes my husband. Poor guy can barely move, but that's because he IS so sedentary. Of course, it wasn't a vacation for him, either; it was work. But he still doesn't get that my strength training isn't just about looking good -- it's about having the muscle you need to get through your days without being exhausted.
I know a lot of things, but I'm always learning new stuff, too. What do you know?
Yesterday's breakfast was my reese's cup oatmeal. I really do love it so much that I could eat it every day, but I do eat other things occasionally, too. I want to do some baking this week -- going to visit the family this weekend -- it's starting already!
I need a snack in between breakfast and lunch. I know I should have had something like some fruit and nuts, but it wasn't what I was in the mood for. I had some Health Valley amaranth crackers (they're good!), a slice of dried pineapple, and coconut cocoa tea.
Lunch was leftover white pizza with baby carrots. I love veggie pizza, but unfortunately I really love white pizza too. It is loaded with calcium due to the ricotta, at least. Someday maybe I'll be able to be satisfied with just one slice.
Not pictured: an apple for dessert.
Dinner was home made mac & cheese with roasted brussel sprouts. the mac & cheese also has a lot of calcium, so at least I got my calcium in. It's also got some butternut squash in there (even DH likes it!), and I use whole wheat elbows. So yes, a bit of an indulgent day, but not terrible. And I did do an hour of raking.
Dessert was shared chocolates with my husband again. Only I was still a bit hungry, so I had one square of Lindt's Fleur de Sel chocolate, too.
We're still a bit light in food in the house. I probably should do some food shopping today, but will probably wait til tomorrow.
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