Sunday, January 03, 2010
Well hello again...it's been so long!
Since I've last written, I had a really wonderful Christmas...
First, I helped get things ready:
Then my mom and me talking at dinner:
And me stuffing my face (oh, and that really cute guy in the gray sweater's gonna be my hubs in six weeks):
The morning after Christmas, we left for Europe! First, we stayed at a CRAZY hotel AT Heathrow Airport for our waste-of-time overnight layover:
(We were going to squeeze in a quick trip into London, but we were exhausted and the trains were running on a Sunday schedule because of Boxing Day. With the city being an hour away from the airport, we decided there really wasn't enough time and we'd do best to just sleep. We had to get up at 5 a.m. for our next flight the next morning!)
So we flew to Amsterdam, then took a train to Paris...finally after a day and a half of traveling, we settled into our hotel, which was right near the Arc de Triomphe:
We loved going to the Louvre:
...and seeing Mona Lisa!
Seeing the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night was memorable...
...although the trip to the top was even more thrilling!
Back in Amsterdam, we saw a whole lot of beautiful canals:
We saw where the "red light" district got its name (though we didn't take a lot of pictures there...seemed to be frowned upon!)
(This one was a bit removed from the majority...and we were across a canal so you can't see, but there actually was a... er... "businesswoman" in there waiting for customers!!!)
And the coffee shops didn't just sell coffee!!!
Happy New Year!!
(Fireworks in Leidseplein at midnight...from our view out the window upstairs in a warm toasty bar!)
Finally, after a long trip we were very weary, and didn't mind at all being bumped into first class on our long flight west over the Atlantic:
Finally, home sweet home (or at least, Jess' neighborhood in the city)... and we thought the weather in Amsterdam was bad! We came home to a two-day snow storm!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The longer I do this (been Sparking now for almost three full years!), the more realizations I make, and the more I learn about my own behavior and bodily needs, the stronger I become. Here's two realizations I've made recently:
A few weeks ago I heard a piece on NPR about willpower. It suggested that the more one's willpower is tested, the WEAKER it gets. This really resonated with me... if I have two food-centered events one right after the other, I have a much easier time showing restraint with my portions at the first event than the second. On vacation, I almost always start off strong, eating under control, but succumb to food temptations by the end. I think this realization has huge ramifications for planning to stay on track in the future. It tells me that for me, the danger zone is whenever I have more than one food-centered event in my future, so that's when I have to be on my highest alert!
The other day as I was driving home from school, I thought about what my life was like when I was off-track. Since I started Sparking, I have gone through several cycles of being on track for a handful of months, losing about 30 pounds, and then a handful of months of gaining it all back. Seriously bad, and I seriously need that to stop. When I'm off-track, I don't just get a little off...I seem to go for full-blown horrible. It's as if I'm overcompensating for having to restrain my eating by forcing even more food down my throat than I even want. But the thing is, I don't feel better by doing that. Even eating yummy treats gets boring after a while when you give yourself too much of it. My stomach feels no better over stuffed than it does slightly hungry. But feeling and looking a million times better when I'm on track is huge. So, the next time I see myself starting to enter yet another cycle of rapid regain, I will remind myself that the gaining feels far worse than staying on track would feel. Sure, that might mean a moment of denying immediate gratification, but the sting only lasts a moment. The benefits of staying on track will be with me always.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
How to have a happy, healthy birthday, SeppieSusan style:
Step 1. Treat the morning like a normal Saturday. Spend a bit of extra time in bed cuddling in the morning. Go to the gym, where when you scan your gym card instead of hearing the usual automated, "Have a good workout," you hear, "Happy birthday!" Have your normal breakfast fruit smoothie and spinach feta pasta lunch.
Step 2. Make the easiest possible meal for 8 people: Trader Joe's pesto chicken, which already is covered in pesto sauce. Whole wheat pasta tossed with olive oil, more pesto sauce, sauteed mushrooms, pine nuts, and walnuts. That's it! Have everyone else bring the apps and desserts. :)
Step 3. Have an awesome new family: future MIL, FIL, BIL, and BIL's new girlfriend. Have them all over, plus your parents, their pup, and of course your amazing fiance. Have your condo already all clean from a showing (condo still on the market) earlier in the day, so there's nothing to do to prep for guests except put the leaf in the dining table and light some seasonal scented candles.
Step 4. Portion control at dinner, of course!
Step 5. Let everyone else eat the peppermint bark, seconds on cake, take home the leftover dip, etc., so it's not sitting around tempting you.
Step 6. After they all leave, cuddle up and watch The Hangover with your fiance. Let it snow outside while you're all cozy inside.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I'm turning 32 tomorrow. Sigh. I'm getting farther and farther from 21! But you know what? I am liking my life more and more the older I get. :)
My weight has been going nuts lately - it stayed the same for a long time, then down half a pound, up a pound, down three pounds, up a pound...anyone who's tried to lose weight knows the drill. The net effect, though, is a loss! I'm currently down about 13 pounds from my highest and I'm back in the healthy BMI range once again.
My parents are starting to get the RSVPs back for my wedding. So far several highly organized people have already responded within the first few days, and so far they've all said YES! I'm getting so excited. Eight weeks left!
The next couple weeks are so busy too. In addition to my birthday, there's the last few days of school, then Christmas with my fiance's family, and then we're off to Europe!!!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Yesterday I went to a daytime party where there were tons of refreshments. I have resolved that it is easier for me to say no to everything than it is to try to limit myself to a little bit, especially nine weeks before my wedding! So I decided ahead of time that I wouldn't eat or drink anything at the party, and I am quite pleased with that decision. I feel like I've figured out my own personal triggers and dealt with them. I had my normal big, healthy breakfast, mid-morning snack, and lunch before I left, and I even induldged in a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks too, so I was good and stuffed before I got there. At the party, I didn't want any weird comments orquestions about my lack of indulging, so just before we got out of the car I made a plan with Jess. We both got drinks, but only Jess would drink them. On the sly, we'd switch glasses so that I'd hold his empty and he'd hold my full, and then he'd drink that too (yeah, he got pretty buzzed, and I was a good designated driver!). It worked - nobody batted an eye about me not drinking this time around! I don't plan on forever denying myself of everything, of course. In fact, today a student gave me a tiny wrapped Godiva milk chocolate (she called it a "prize" for her birthday). I secretly weighed it (9 grams) and entered it into my food tracker (41 calories), and I ENJOYED it.
Now on to my top three gym pet peeves:
1. When you're strength training, and trying to count your reps in your head, but a personal trainer is working with a client nearby and barking out the count to THEIR reps, and that messes up your own count.
2. When you need to use the Smith machine, but some guy drops off all his stuff by it, and then alternates between using it and doing some jumping up on a step nearby, but when you ask him if he's done with the Smith machine he just says "no." (Not "want to cut in?" or "just one more set," just "no.")
3. When the woman on the elliptical next to yours coughs repeatedly without covering her mouth. Hasn't she been watching the news? There's a flu epidemic! Cough into your elbow! Heck, cough into anything, I don't care - just not my air space!! Ick!
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