OPTIMIST1948   26,829
25,000-29,999 SparkPoints
OPTIMIST1948's Recent Blog Entries

The accidental vegetarian

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I was going to title this "High Carbing and Feeling Gross" but that is a sad title dont you think? This one is much more optimistic.

Normally, I keep to a higher protein diet with lower carb numbers than the tracker says. (Its constantly yelling at me.) It just seems to work better for me. However given my pending date with Hunter Mountain and what I have been reading about carbo loading, it seems to make sense to beef up the carbs at this time.

This morning: waffles with cottage cheese & blueberry, tabbouleh made with barley for lunch (I may never go back to bulgher wheat) an icecream with the child after mini-golf, and some barley & beans for dinner. After I entered all the food I realized: I was a vegetarian today. Ok, my protein is low and my fat is wicked high from the icecream, but I didnt eat any meat.

Unfortunetly, while I'd like to celebrate this, I feel really bloated and disgusting. I dont know if its the carbs or the richness from the icecream or an aftereffect of yesterday's lunch Denny's run: I had the Cheese burger Flatbread and blew my calories out of the water - almost blogged about it too, but I decided my SP friends dont need another self-flogging blog.


Tomorrow, more tabbouleh, more beans but perhaps eggs for breakfast instead. Thursday is PASTA!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 6/14/2012 10:49AM

    Could be the sugar? I always feel gross after I eat too much sugar.

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MISSIFISH 6/7/2012 5:50PM

    Vegetarian eating is what I do always, but yes, it is possible to feel bloated even when being a veggie person! I hope you feel better soon! No flogging needed - some days are just weird food days.

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DOGLADY13 6/7/2012 6:53AM

    I know I feel gross after I eat ice cream. Soda is another one.

As the wife of a vegetarian who occasionally eats fish, I know it is very hard to keep the carbs in line and still get enough protein. I'm allergic to eggs, so there goes one major protein source. It seems to me that if I eat Greek yogurt, I get pretty close to hitting the low end of the protein range. Also a handful of almonds or peanuts helps, too, but they are high in calories. But you are training pretty hard, so you are probably OK on the calorie thing.

Lots of rambling here... you'll figure it out and frankly, after your tri on Saturday, you'll be back to the routine.

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    Hmmm.... that all sounds delicious, and unless it was a crazy amount of ice cream, I don't really see why it would leave you feeling like that. I hope you feel better today!

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SCIFIMOM 6/6/2012 11:15AM

  I know that whenever I get greasy food, I feel bloated and slowed down. It seems that the more I stay away from all that fat, the worse it hits me when the fat level climbs.

Also, there's a lot of hidden salt in everything you named. I've learned that for me, salt and its resulting water bloat really make for a sad day.

You'll find what works best for you, and that's always the bottom line.

See ya, Claudia

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YDAVIS23 6/6/2012 5:37AM

    Yay for vegetarianism! I, too, had a veggie day. Maybe add some greek yogurt? String cheese? They'll both give you a punch. What kinds of beans? Yesterday I had veggie hotdogs, which I LOVE. 45 cals = 8g of protein.

I'm so excited for your weekend adventure!!!

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    Great title alteration!! Keep it positive!

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LESLIELENORE 6/5/2012 10:47PM

    Finding the right balance for your needs is an ongoing experiment. I had way to much fat and sodium yesterday, which made me feel pretty gross today, but I just learn from the experience. At least you have a reason for increasing your carbs... I just stuffed my face for no good reason! lol

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JPONCIN 6/5/2012 9:44PM

    I love your optimism! When you exercise, you absolutely need more carbs. I think you're doing a great thing. :)

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DREAVG 6/5/2012 8:46PM

    You will find your optimal balance. I have faith in you.


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An Optimist and an Ironman walk into a pond....

Friday, June 01, 2012

Or, My Adventure Getting a Wetsuit

or How I Spent $40 for a 1.5 hour 1-1 Coaching Session with a real Ironman and got this wetsuit for free!

-Hi. I'm going to be doing your triathlon on June 9th and I read on your website that the pond is 60 something degrees. Do I need a wet suit?
- Well, its not required, but we recommend it and most people wear them.

So began my search for a wetsuit. I dont own one, I dont know anyone who owns one. Purchasing seemed silly since this is a specialized activity. I'm not taking up scuba diving here. Fortunetly I found Catskill Mountain Outfitters in Kingston NY.

- Hi, this is going to sound a bit odd, but I'm doing my very first triathlon in 2 weeks. They recommended a wet suit. But here's my problem: I've never worn one before. I have no idea what I'm doing here. Normal rentals are Friday to Sunday, which is fine for most people.
- I've done 11 Ironmans and I can tell you a wetsuit is really useful for bouyancy. It will make you faster in the water. We have a little pond here on the property. Why dont you make an appointment, come up and we'll get you in one to try it out.

Yesterday, I drove an hour to meet with Donald Roth aka The Ironman.

Getting there was a comedy of errors. I packed a bunch of toys for Child so he would be entertained. I grabbed his bathing suit & a towel in case he decided to get in the water. I grabbed water. I loaded my bike onto the rack in case I was able to practice my transition. But in the packing - I forgot MY bathing suit. We got 15 minutes away and I had to turn around in order to go get it. And I still forgot my goggles.

Its a good thing we had GPS, because the store was in the middle of NOWHERE. It was a converted barn in the middle of a Manufactured Housing development. 15 minutes from Destination, Child Falls Asleep. This turned out to be a good thing. I just opened the windows and let him snooze while we did some preliminary fitting.

Putting on a wetsuit is like trying to put the sausage back into a casing. Its supposed to be tight like a second skin. By the time I got it halfway up my knees, the sweat was rolling of my head. I think it should be a cardio event all on its own. Ironman decided that this is the right fit. "Stop trying to put it on here and lets take it down to the pond, you should have an easier time once its wet."

Ironman turns out to be on "guy terms" with the 14 yr old neighbor who hitches a ride to the pond. Child wakes up as I'm pulling out of the driveway. (Good, he missed the boring stuff and will play in the water)

So I start pulling the thing on, and even with assistance from the Body Glide, I'm still trying to stuff myself back into the Sausage Casing. Ironman is assuring me that I;m doing really well for my first time. When I get it up to my thighs, we end up going to the water to scoop water into the suit and "float" it into place.

The good news, once you get it on, its surprisingly comfortable (except for the neck). The bad news, it took an hour.

Lesson #1 from the Ironman, getting on the wetsuit. This is one of the reasons you get to the area 2 hours before your wave time.

So now the Ironman says he wants to see me swim. Off I head to the end of the pond. I was surprisingly buoyant - about the same lift you get from a single pool noodle, but all over my body instead of in one place. But it changes how your arms feel on the rotation. We had talked a little about my training (solo) on the phone. So he gives me a few hand position pointers. How to sight so you swim in a straight line. How to draft on someone so you dont have to sight.

Lesson #2 If you get into a pond with an Ironman, listen and be prepared to work. You will NOT come out unscathed.

All in, we did about 3 loops of the pond, which he estimated was about 600 meters. I was exhausted at the end. He swore to me that I did much better than expected, but I was still a little embarrassed that I can do 800 m in the pool, but in open water, I was really struggling.

But thanks to the wetsuit, I know I won't drown!

Finally we are out of the pond and he gives me some pointers on transitions (no practice, just food for thought) - The hardest part is racing against yourself and not other people. My goals are different from other peoples. Then he tried to talk me into doing a mini SOS (Survival of the Schwangunks - an Ironman-Class Event). Yeah, not going to happen (this year).

Lesson #3 Ironmen have a sense of humor.

Neighbor boy kept Child entertained. Child was the last one out of the pond. Getting myself out of the wetsuit turned out to be easier than getting it on. Just turn it inside out.

We get back to the shop. Ironman has made arrangements for me to borrow the wetsuit (at no extra cost!) from NOW until after the event. So awesome. I'll be able to get at least 1, hopefully 2 sessions of open water in the Hudson River before the event to practice all of the things I learned.

Furthermore, Catskill Mountain Multisport is doing Race Support for my Triathlon, so he's going to look for me and introduce me to some real athletes closer to home who can help with the camaraderie aspect that he felt was really lacking in my training. ("You need other girls to talk to.") He'll have my Bib number and rack location.

Lesson #4, Angels look like Ironmen.

Child and I ended up going out to dinner at the Kingston Waterfront and I felt totally justified in my glass of wine and dessert flan. Well half, Child ate the other. Today is normally Brick Day, but I was so exhausted, I took a 20 minute walk, was still tired, so I took a nap the rest of the time instead. I also spent the first half of the day being a bottomless pit into which I could not shove enough food. Although whether this was due to the calorie burn from "Keeping Up with the Ironman" or hunger hormones that dont know when to turn off because you're tired. I did feel better after my nap.

I brought my camera to take pictures of all this, but in the excitement, I totally forgot. Sorry, you'll have to picture it SHRINKINGLULU style.

So if you need any Triathlon stuff, please order it from Catskill Mountain. Nice people who know what they are selling.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 6/14/2012 10:46AM

    Loved your blog. Good for you for squeezing into the wetsuit. Ironman is one of my favourite superheroes emoticon

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    I LOVE it when people are so kind and helpful! It sounds like you definitely called the right place about the wetsuit. It's nice that you recommended them on here. Hopefully lots of people will see it and the place will get some extra business.

And kudos to you for trying something new. I've told people before that I have no interest in doing a triathlon - partially because of the wetsuit and partially because I'm a little bit afraid of biking in a group. Anyway... I hope your triathlon ends up being an awesome experience!

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JTAYLOR2011 6/4/2012 4:34AM

    emoticon Rock on!

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RAINA413 6/3/2012 10:29AM

    I can't tell you how hard I laughed picturing all of this in action! I love the concept of Wetsuit Cardio!! You could put out your own workout DVD.

I am so thrilled you got to borrow the wetsuit! I am sure it will be helpful to practice with it prior to the event since I am sure it takes a little getting used to since you will be wearing a "full body noodle".

I am so proud of you for doing this Tri!! You have come such a long way and you are such an inspiration! We are already cheering for you down here in TN even though you don't race for a couple more days!

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MISSIFISH 6/2/2012 9:23PM

    Your description of getting the wetsuit on cracked me up! I can absolutely picture it. Congrats on swimming like you did, and I can't wait to hear about your success at the tri!!

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KBSPARKY 6/2/2012 10:50AM

    this was really fun to read. I am impressed with your efforts. I don't know anything about tri's - in what order are the three events? Swim first then rip off the wet suit and hit the bike and then run?

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    This sounds like a wonderful experience!! Enjoy your triathlon!

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ON2VICTORY 6/2/2012 7:05AM

    Wow. This was really heartwarming. Just down to earth people helping you reach your goal. So cool!.

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LDRICHEL 6/2/2012 6:48AM

    Now THIS was a great blog! Iron Men/Women are ridiculously amazing and, I've found, surprisingly generous and down-to-earth. They are all-around champions.

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DOGLADY13 6/1/2012 10:31PM

    OK. I'm feeling better about my decision to completely bail on you and do a tri that will take place in September and in water that will be in much warmer. I'm a selfish pig. What can I say?

You, however, are amazing. I can only imagine how hysterical and humiliating putting on the wetsuit must have been. I'm not sure I could have done it, especially since I imagine Ironman being totally hot and I'd be wishing my middle-aged body looked like my college-age body.

Have you considered writing romance novels along the lines of Nora Roberts. I could totally see that scene playing out in a Nora Roberts novel where Our Girl gets totally pissed off and attracted to Ironman all at once as he falls completely in love with her sparky attitude and wild chestnut hair as she struggles with the wetsuit.

I wish I could be in Haines Falls to watch you compete next weekend. Can your wonderful husband record every step of the way so you can post it and we can watch and cheer you on?

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SNOWANGELDIVA 6/1/2012 10:10PM

Well, the wetsuit lesson...uncomfortable, BUT, overall WAY COOL!
Triathalon training, woman, that is hardcore cuz, 60 degree water...ya, emoticon
emoticon emoticon

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IGSBETH 6/1/2012 9:51PM

    Wow, what a great experience!

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6 Month Sparkiversary - And Why One Dress Matters to Me

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pardon me while I repeat myself, but its part of the story:

My lifetime peak weight was in November/ Dec 2010: 197. The 2011 New Year's Resolution was to Get Serious. So using the simple technique of "Dont eat like a pig" I managed to loose 15 lbs in the first half of 2011.

Then Summer Came. The excuses piled on: Grilling Season. Ice Cream Stand. Too Hot to Walk. I'll get to it later.

December 2011 found me still 13 lbs lighter than my peak (I only gained back 2 lbs - not too shabby but still obese). So New Year's found me with the same resolution. I found an email my friend Raina413 sent me back in August about SparkPeople.

6 months later, I'm *almost* 20 lbs lighter. (I was hoping to make it to 20 lbs, but this whole working thing is cutting into my workout time). I only have one chin, and slowly my neck is redefining itself from my head. I looked in the mirror and saw collarbones. I looked down and saw my hips becoming slimmer. My pants are falling off me. I used to be a big 16/ small 18 and now I'm a small 14 or 12.

And oh, yeah, did I mention I'm going to be in a friggin' TRIATHLON in 10 DAYS!!!

I'm in better shape than I've ever been in my life. Note: I'm not the thinnest I've ever been, but I'll take fit & healthy for thin ANY DAY. I'm doing things I never thought were possible. And its all thanks to you.

(Insert "Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong" here)

I think the best metaphor for this whole thing is in this dress:

Its a lovely dress isnt it? You cant see so well in the picture but there is beading all over it with a sheer lace on top.

I bought this dress over 12 years ago. One of my best friends was getting married and I decided that I wanted a new "posh frock" for her wedding. Then I got bigger, then I got married and got bigger, then I had a baby and never lost the weight. Then I got a job, then I lost the job and got depressed.

Oh, I tried. But because I didnt know anything about nutrition and had plenty of excuses for not exercising, its not a surprise.

This dress, this beautiful dress, was still in the closet. I couldnt part with it, but I couldnt wear it.

(Sad music here) My friend lost her husband unexpectedly. Massive sudden heart attack. (Happy music) She got remarried and had her own child last summer.

Another set of friends recently got married under similar circumstances. Long relationship and *finally* decided to get hitched. Black tie wedding with DH in the wedding party. I decided to see if the dress fit again.

And it did, better than ever. I looked fabulous. I danced my @$$ off at the wedding. And still got up the next morning and did 45 min in the hotel gym. And even though I ate my body weight in hors d'ourves, I still lost a pound that week.

This is what this community has given me. A celebration: ongoing.

Party on Wayne. Party on Garth. Party on SparkPeople.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAINA413 6/3/2012 10:33AM


You look amazing!! I love that you have the Victory Dress! Thank you for posting the photo!! Spark is great but you really owe yourself all the credit since you worked for it. I am SO proud of all you accomplished!!

Whenever I lack in motivation for my workouts I go to your page. Thank you for keeping me going!! You are really an inspiration!

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SCIFIMOM 6/2/2012 10:04PM

  Party on the Ohio optimist way!! (grin) I am so pumped about your triathlon. You do look fab in the dress -- that's the best reason ever not to clean all those smaller sizes we used to wear out of our closets.

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XRSIZE18 5/31/2012 3:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

You look FAN-tastic! Love the blog. Keep it up and you'll be kicking that triathlon's butt!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISSIFISH 5/31/2012 12:17PM

    Party on Optimist!!! You look lovely in the dress, and happy sparkiversary. Congrats on all your victories.

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 5/31/2012 12:09PM

    Love it! PARTY ON!

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RICHILA 5/31/2012 12:06PM

    Spark On! You Got This! emoticon

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BLUE_KARMA 5/31/2012 8:59AM

    That's fantastic! You look great in your dress, by the way.
Party on, Optimist1948!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISSG180 5/31/2012 7:21AM

    That's fabulous! Congratulations!!

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YDAVIS23 5/31/2012 6:00AM

    Love it! You look awesome! Glad you got to dance. Let the countdown begin!!!

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LEMALONE1960 5/31/2012 4:28AM

    WTG, GF!!!! emoticon

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ZANNBEE 5/30/2012 11:06PM

    What a great blog! So awesome. Good luck on the triathalon! You look amazing and great job!
I too am not at my thinnest but definitely my fittest. Feels great. Enjoy this time!

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DOGLADY13 5/30/2012 9:55PM

    Can you feel the giant, huge, tight Squeeze Hug coming all the way from Massachusetts?

Some day we are going to celebrate our Awesomeness in person, together. Until then, I'm going to celebrate your Awesomeness right here in Lowell MA.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HEALTHYOTTER 5/30/2012 8:51PM

    Thanks for the inspiration: Use that dancing ass to kick the triathlon! Fit feels great! emoticon

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    A wonderful story! I agree with CRANRANA, 20 lbs is a big acheivement!!

I also love that you've realized that being fit is more important than being skinny! It's so interesting to be able to say that I'm fitter than I've been in 10+ years, but I'm also nearly at my heaviest weight (have lost some, so not quite).

And you're going to do a TRIATHLON? Wow, that's super awesome!!!

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CRANRANA 5/30/2012 8:25PM

  One dress size is an awesome accomplishment. If you think 20 pounds isn't much, try toting 20 pounds of kitty litter around all day--you'll see it's a chore. Every pound is a celebration--congrats--it IS a lovely dress!

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DESERTJULZ 5/30/2012 8:24PM

    What a great story. How exciting to put on a special dress and look great in it!

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Salads: Instruments of Fat Destruction

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yes, we all know we should be getting our veggies. I thought I would show you MY favorites to keep around in the fridge. I find the hardest part of getting my veggies in, is finding the time to prep them. Its gets annoying. Each of these takes about 15 min to make, but lasts for about 2-3 days. By making these, I have them around and really have no excuses! Great guilt free "snack" for when you have the nibbles at 4 in the afternoon!

Chopped Salad

On the left, tomato, cuke, onion, carrot, snow peas, peppers and some italian dressing (homemade here, but I've used bottle before). If you REALLY want a lunch salad that will last you all day , add some white beans here. On the right, a mixure of greens, washed, dried and ready to go. (From my garden here: arugula, spinach, kale & red leaf) When it comes time to eat, grab a handful of greens, plop some of the chopped veggies on top. They are already dressed, so you can eat in 30 sec. Or just skip the lettuce.

Fruit Salad

Add a splash (1/2 c) of juice (apple here, everything works, although I'm not a big personal fan of Orange - its too dominant) to a bowl. Add banana, pear, oranges, strawberries, mango, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi. Fresh is best, frozen is ok. You can add 1-2 dried fruits (raisins & apricots are my favorite, but DH doesnt like, so I started leaving out) to thicken the "sauce" that develops at the bottom. The sugar in the juice pulls out some of the juice in the fruit (osmosis, for my science geek friends) and ties the whole thing together. And it keeps your banana, pears and apples from turning brown.

Its a great smoothie base too. Grownups can add a dash of liquor for a party dessert. Bring a can of whipped cream and some purchased angelfood cake for some jaw dropping BBQ dessert action! (Put the cream in with the beer until its time to serve).

Strive for 5, stretch for 6, skinny with 7! (Servings a day, that is)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANIMAL_L0VER 6/1/2012 5:48PM

    Yes, I find that these easy prepping pays off in a time pinch! Love your ideas and looks so yummy and colorful!

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HEALTHYOTTER 5/26/2012 11:08AM

    Great ideas, thanks!

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MISSIFISH 5/25/2012 1:50PM

    Yes, I always get frustrated that veggies aren't faster to prepare. I do however, have a salad waiting to go in my fridge today. Yeah! Go you! Destroy that fat!

Also, I wanted to thank you for your sweet comments on my cake blog. I struggle with feeling totally un-awesome many days, so it was nice to see that on the internet at least, I come off as pretty ok! :)

Have a great day!

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ZANNBEE 5/25/2012 9:48AM

    That fruit salad looks amazing! Can I come for lunch?

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LEMALONE1960 5/25/2012 4:58AM

    YUM...I do LOVE my veggies!!!!

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FITFORMYFAMILY 5/24/2012 11:09PM


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DOGLADY13 5/24/2012 10:10PM

    I do the same for lunches. Often I roast root vegetables with an Italian vinaigrette and put on top of the greens.

I also prep veggies to pair with whole grains (brown rice,barley, quinoa) for lunch. By prep veggies I mean I cut up and steam. If you can afford it but don't have a lot of time, you can buy many fresh veggies cleaned and chopped. I default to frozen for some vegetables (corn, broccoli, spinach.) I buy interesting salad dressings to use as a sauce (tamari-peanut; sesame-ginger; ranch mixed with cilantro.) I mix and match veggies and grain in a microwave safe bowl, nuke the mess at work and then top with the sauce and I have a very hearty lunch.

It sounds like a lot, but in the time it took for me to cook a pot of brown rice, I prepped zucchini, peas, carrots, mushroom, and 2 pounds of pre-washed greens. The Hubster and I each have lunch for four days.

I also pre-cook tofu by cutting a one=pound block into 16, space them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 30 minutes. The tofu comes out with a very nice texture and is ready to be added to salad or whatever.

You are so right, OPTIMIST, if you take the time to prep, it is much easier to choose fruits and vegetables instead of bread or crackers.

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OPTIMIST1948 5/24/2012 9:17PM

    PS. Obviously I vary based on what's in the grocery store & my veggie drawer. But y'all get the idea, right?

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Oh, that you should have my problems

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A real (but embellished) problem currently in my household:

Child: What's for dinner mommy? (eats a snow pea)
Me: Chicken
Child: Ew! I dont like meat! (eats a cherry tomato)
Me: Ok, I can rock the vegetarian thing. Would you like a lentil burger instead?
Child: No, I dont like lentils. (eats a carrot)
Me: I have tofu
Child: I dont like tofu (eats a red pepper)
Me: The next time I go shopping, I can get some big portobello mushrooms for you. You could have that.
Child: I dont like mushrooms. (eats spinach straight from the garden. Dont dare put it on a plate)
Me: Well you have to have some protein. What about if I made quiche? Its like scrambled eggs. They serve it sometimes at school.
Child: No, I don't like the quiche they serve at school. I only like eggs when they are served with a dunky yolk* (eats celery)
Me: Then eat the chicken.

Other people have to play sneaky chef to get their kid to eat the veggies. I have to play sneaky protein.
Dunky eggs/yolk: Fried and you dunk your toast in.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANIMAL_L0VER 6/1/2012 5:46PM


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FITFORMYFAMILY 5/24/2012 10:52PM

    That's cute. I have a friend whose daughter would cry because she had to have meat/protein before she could have second helpings of her vegetables. Oh...and mmmm....dunky yolks. Now I want breakfast! emoticon

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Q8PRINCESS 5/24/2012 12:15PM


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MISSIFISH 5/24/2012 10:01AM

    Pretty hilarious! In my world too, if there are veggies straight off of the plants, they'll be gobbled down in the garden. If the same veggies make it into the kitchen? They are gross. My kids are vegetarians, but they'll eat cheese until the cows come home (ha!) so I don't worry about protein much. :)

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MISSG180 5/24/2012 8:46AM

    That's awesome!

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LDRICHEL 5/24/2012 6:09AM

    Adorable! This is totally my kid too!

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YDAVIS23 5/24/2012 5:32AM

    awww yay! What about edamame? Looks like a veggie, but provides protein.

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XRSIZE18 5/24/2012 1:17AM

    hehe. What a great story and a lucky, lucky mommy (and son!)

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WILSON425 5/23/2012 11:35PM

    I have a hard time getting all the protein too. Only I am trying! LOL

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DOGLADY13 5/23/2012 11:29PM

    I think I've mentioned before that Child may be one of the Cutest Boys on the planet.

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SPLODE 5/23/2012 7:47PM

  Haha cute :P I wish they served quiche at my school when I was younger!

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SOCIOSOUND 5/23/2012 7:08PM

    too funny.. :)

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