VALLOUGH   11,281
10,000-14,999 SparkPoints
VALLOUGH's Recent Blog Entries

Profile and Goal Updates!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I updated my profile today! It's a fine Saturday to do it, too-- I had been valiantly fighting off a cold that a visiting friend thought he'd leave me with but succumbed to it last night. Dang! I had a delightfully full day ahead, too. So it goes.

Even though I'm not in a fit state to get out and run around the forest, I am pretty pleased that I am still sparking in a sense. Here are some of the goals for my year and the updates made to my page:


Member Since: 11/29/2009

SparkPoints: 9,838

Fitness Minutes: 19,547

My Goals:
*To count calories and exercise each day while in Washington
*To take advantage of the awesome outdoors rather than the restaurants while in Hawai'i! Running, hiking, swimming, surfing, and Water polo! My favorite things!
On the farm:
*To keep snacks, beers, and sweets to a minimum
*Portion Control!
*To be a strong and svelt 165 by the end of the season.

*To record every book I read and buy
*To apply for graduate school in the Fall
*To work on my short story project consistently and to seek advice, editing, and support

My Program:
Cook fresh, healthy, and delicious eats, do some sort of exercise everyday, right now it's trail running or zumba.

Personal Information:
Currently Piled Around my Couch and nightstand:
"Troubles" by J.G. Farrell, "Inventing Ireland" by Declan Kibbard, "Feast for Crows" by George R.R. Martin, "At Home" by Bill Bryson.

My Digs for January 2012:
Adele "19", Wye Oak "Civilian", my Kindle (and reading the New Yorker on it each Monday!), Seattle Deli Mart!

Thrilling yes? Learned a bit about me, yes? Think it's time to go watch some BBC miniseries, YES! Fingers crossed I can run tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Ugh on the cold - I hope you have a speedy recovery.

Loved the update! Good luck with those goals. How cool is is that you will be in Hawaii!!

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BABY_GIRL69 1/14/2012 7:05PM

    I lov your blog! When we go on vacation we try to make it more about sightseeing. Its a great way to stay away from food. Carbs are my weakness. :-)

God bless & feel better.


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Look Ahead, 2012 edition

Monday, January 02, 2012

I just updated my sparkpage and added the following little intro to my rolling intro-log I started in 2010. I hope everyone is starting their new year in an amazing and hope-filled way!
(and now, on with the Intro!)


It's now "Ahead"! Welcome, Val, to 2012, an amazing year-to-be, I'm sure. I want a lot this year, not limited to body stuff, but I definitely want to really hone this lifestyle change I started back in early 2010.

I am my biggest motivation. The few months between January and April 2010, I managed to successfully lose weight that has plagued me since childhood. And not only that, I did it wisely, by using the tools and support in Sparkpeople and by educating myself about fitness and nutrition. I lost weight but rekindled my love of sports and physical activity and developed a love for food that fueled many an awesome potluck or cafe special. Right now I am sans-plan, that is, I am not following anything remotely rigid aside from the now-ingrained "do what your body feels is right" that, for the most part, has served me well the last couple years. Did you know I almost never want grains or breads for lunch or dinner? That I want eggs for lunch and a huge, heaping plate of greens for dinner? I am uncontrollably in love with sweet potatoes. I just follow my urges. Who would have known....

So now that I am on farm sabbatical until March, I need to do some major controlling of said urges and I need to consciously make time for physical activity in my day. So... hello again and I can't wait to write you some silly blogs soon!

and, just because I love you guys as much as I love wacky food (maybe even more, depending on the food and wackiness level, I'm sure) I'll leave you with one of my new favorites: Okinawa sweet potatoes!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VALLOUGH 1/6/2012 1:40AM

    Yeah, they taste pretty similar, though they are just a tad drier and have a vanilla/cake taste, too. SO GOOD! You can find them in Japanese grocery stores every once and awhile.

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    You are doing fantastic!! Those sweet potatoes are beautiful!!! I wish we had them here.

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CHEFSOPHIE 1/3/2012 2:32PM

    I don't think I have ever seen them in the market. They look interesting. I'm also a big fan of sweet potatoes.

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JILLSMYTH 1/3/2012 2:17PM

  Those things look CRAZY! Do they taste like regular sweet potatoes?

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I must be the only person in the history of this place....

Monday, August 29, 2011

that freaking has GAINED weight while working on the farm! Alright, that's not true. Last year someone moved here from Africa and he managed to put on some pounds but aside from him, there is only me. And I thought the pounds were going to melt right off...

To recap, since it has been (erm) awhile.:
I now live and work on an 11 acre organic farm outside of Chicago, where I work long days, full of physical labor and delicious and nutritious food. So what's the deal? How on earth did I weigh myself this morning and weigh ten pounds more than I did in March?

Reason one: super big meals: We eat good here, and I eat like a dude, truth be told. I have two roommates, both guys, who have that enviable ability to eat anything and everything in front of them, then have another portion, then still lose weight. And I've followed suit, without the blessed boy-metabolism. dang!

Reason two: so many treats!: Or I should say "reason two: uncle bob's ice cream shop" because we go there every week and I get a monstor waffle cone full of homemade ice cream. then wednesday one of our volunteers brings us some kind of treat, Friday is our potluck lunch, and super early saturday morning I visit the dunkin donuts before the farmers market. And of course there are other treats sprinkled in there. sigh. the sweet tooth is back with a vengence.

Reason three: Different exercise "routine" : Before coming here, I walked everywhere, ran, swam, lifted weights (sometimes...) and played sports. Now I dig, walk, weed, rush around, but I hardly ever get my heart rate up the way I used to. It's funny-- everyone said that once they started working on the farm they lost so much weight but turns out they were going from no physical activity to 10 hours of outdoor physical labor. I thought I'd be the same, but alas, I already had a lot of exercise under my (now much tighter) belt.

so.... the plan is:

duh. I need food to keep my strength up, but not the same as these dudes who need to put on weight if they don't want to freeze come winter. One helping, tinier plates, vegetables for every meal. done.

I told you the four and those will be my only four of the week. It's not a complete break, but I'm not looking to lose a ton of weight, just eat better and stop gaining already! And I'll be smart-- instead of monster waffle cone, I'll have a cup, instead of three or four of whatever cookies or cakies the volunteer brings, I'll just have one.

so we have these hills here... why not run/super fast walk up them? If I need to cross the field, why not do it at a bit of a run? There is ample opportunity for me to move faster here, whihc will up the heart rate ad also make my boss happier, I'm sure.

Ladies! Wish me luck! I'm at a pitiful 195 right now (albeit pretty toned) and am wanting to drop some trunkage with out the help of ready internet access. I'll update you next week/ next time I'm online. Bye!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUGIRL06 9/8/2011 10:10AM

    Hey there Val!!! I have been reading your blogs on your other site when you post so I am in the loop. It looks like an absolutely fabulous place! Want to come here next year and teach us how to farm our little 6 acres??? LoL. I like your plan to "speed up" your work. Brilliant! And agree about the treats, still have them, just smaller. I am in the "if I'm going to have a treat its going to be HUGE and multiple times a week!" stage right now also. LoL, but no more! So glad to see you here! Miss reading your blogs!!!

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JMEPAYNE 8/30/2011 2:19PM

    that sounds like an interesting job!!!

just keep your portions in check, REMEMBER WATER! and you'll be back down those 10 pounds. also, you might have gotten some new big muscles in there along the way.

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THATWEIRDGIRL 8/30/2011 1:40PM

  Good to hear from you! You can do this! (Keep us updated!!)

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KARVY09 8/30/2011 8:42AM

    Good to hear from you and glad everything is going well! Don't worry, you'll get back into a routine that works for you. Hugs!

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    It sounds like a really cool job even with all of the temptations. Your plan is great and you should peel the weight right back of.

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NODOOVERS 8/29/2011 8:39PM

  we're 195 together, darling, and i bet you're rocking it/foxier than me and my dang beer belly. i think these plans you have in place sound great, and if you keep drinking enough and eating enough veggies, you'll be too full for too much junk! least that's my ideal/plan these days. so good to see you on the internet!!!

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CARRES1973 8/29/2011 3:43PM

  Even though you are 195, do you FEEL better? You did mention you were more toned. Do you feel healthier?

I do know (somewhat) how you feel. I was the only person in my entire basic training class (Air Force) that GAINED weight throughout basic training!!


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LOLEMA 8/29/2011 3:22PM

  You can do it! love your pics of the trees!

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Gains, Pauses, And Adventures To Come

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hello friends!

Yes, yes, it's been ages. I moved to a new apartment, one without internet, and I continued my tasty, healthy eating and my running for awhile. Then it got a little colder out, the growing season petered to an end and I started eating my storage root vegetables as my staples (which means, stewey things became my staples... and donuts, let's be real) and my exercise scaled back to riding my bike the 6 mile roundtrip to work, until the snow and ice got in the way and I walked that route. And now? I'm in my second week at my mom's house in Washington state, where I've gone on some nice walks and did a kickboxing class or two, but boy am I using a lot less energy here than I normally do and my body is revolting. Not Revolting as in "ew! Val! hit the freakin' gym already" but revolting as in "Why, val would you try to run yourself up these freakin' hills when you haven't run in 5 months and almost never, in your running life, conquered the least hill?" Oh, and I'm eating way, way, way too much. Well, revolts can turn to revolutions, as history and the modern news tells us, so back to Spark, to a degree, I go.

I don't think I'm going to track. Or at least I'll try not to track, but I am going to be moving to work on a farm Sunday and won't have access to the internet. Also... I'm going to work on a farm. An organic farm, which means the majority of the next year will be spent with a hoe in hand, weeding beds, bending, lifting, generally getting super beefy. This foreknowledge has definitely contributed to my gain. Oh my gain! Not sure exactly but I'm definitely back in the 190s. Sigh. That feels pretty terrible, especially since I did so well for so long. Bah-hahaha. ((tears... but not really))

So here I am. Take me back? Oh I know you will. I'll rid myself of sugars for a little while, I'll up my protein, and I'll go to the grocery store and buy some leafy greens (fine, fine). And I'll talk to you fine folks more! My stories will be briefer, but I'm sure they will be full of successes and hijinx. Excellent sparkreading to come! And good luck to all of you!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATV865 3/28/2011 2:43PM

    Your job sounds amazing! Hope you have a great time, and enjoy getting super fit!

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SEESTARS 3/1/2011 2:48PM

    We have missed you. I'm so jealous of your so-to-be farm life. It sounds wonderful. You are gonna get so strong and tan. Wishing you much luck, fun, and hijinx. emoticon

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DARWINISTA 2/26/2011 2:37PM

    I'm jealous of the farm! There's been a lot of stress and issues in my life the last 6 months, and I actually gave away all my seeds in the conviction that I wouldn't have time to garden this summer. We might even be selling our house. Now that the weather is warming up, and the first crocuses bloomed today, I'm thinking the divestiture of seeds was premature.

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    Welcome back! Working on a farm sounds awesome! Just thinking of all the tasty, fresh food you're going to be eating makes me envious :0) And yay for all the free, not to mention rewarding, exercise you'll be getting. Good luck in your adventure!

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    Welcome back and of course we still love you!! This winter has been a diet buster for most of us. I have struggled as well but we can get this under control. It is so neat that you are going to work on a farm. I love fruits and veggies.

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BECOMINGDEB 2/25/2011 3:31PM

    It's good to see you, and I look forward to hearing from you whenever you can check in. I hope things go well for you with the new job!

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THATWEIRDGIRL 2/25/2011 12:30PM

  Good to see you back!

(And make sure to wear sunscreen while working on the farm!)

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VALLOUGH 2/25/2011 11:57AM

    Yes, I'll probably go to a cafe that has internet at least once per week. Luckily my little farm is pretty close to a couple college towns, so my weekends have the potential to be pretty fun. This is the same farm I worked at on Saturdays this past year, doing the farmers market in my town. Now I'll work 5 days a week and only about once a month go to market. And I'll get paid a little more than just vegetables (which, truth be told, was an absolutely awesome set-up for 6 hours work each week). I'll get those same vegetables, but also free housing and a stipend. Yay! No money stress! The freshest of fresh food! And being outside all day long. good life.

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MAIA2011 2/25/2011 10:41AM

    Here's a happy SparkReturn! Have a great time on the farm. That gig sounds so cool!

Spark when you can. I miss the pics of beautiful food you used to post.


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SUGIRL06 2/25/2011 8:12AM

    Glad to see you back!!! How will you find internet if there isn't any at the farm?? Is there at least a cute little coffee shop somewhere? ::sigh:: Sounds like such a fun adventure working on this farm! Is it someone you know or some sort of work thing? Just super curious!

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JO88BAKO 2/24/2011 11:58PM

    Oh how fun to work on an organic farm!! All I can think about is putting my garden in, and now it's snowing again. Yuk!! Good luck and have fun!

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Long Bike Rides, New Running Routes, Minus 2 pounds, and FOOD!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hey peeps!
Thanks for all the positivity since last we've spoken-- I check my email every other day or so and love to see the comments from my last blog, which feels like it was posted AGES ago. Since then I found someone to sublet my old apartment and have successfully freed myself from the mondo stress that was straddling two places with the 1st of the month ticking ever closer. Amid my stress, there was some eating, not gonna lie. There were brownies. There was ice cream, but certainly nothing like what would have been tossed down the gullet this time last year. I also slacked on my exercising, even though I KNEW that a run would make everything better. But those days are gone! Luckily I actually lost 2-ish pounds, thanks to a 45 minute bikeride everyday! Imagine what October holds with that on my side!

I have a new running route that is about 3 miles and live next to my buddy who will run along with me! I've never actually ran outside with anyone in my life, aside from junior high forced-to-run-the-mile-time. I reckon it will be wonderful, also something that would never have crossed my mind this time last year.

I think I'm going to revisit the shred this month, only more of a 20DS, if ya knowwhadimean? But there really is nothing like Jillian to get your bum in gear.

Okay, enough of fitness. Let me tell you about how AWESOME I've been eating since going on a super budget. I work for an organic farm and get paid in vegetables. Aside from my daily oats, I've been constructing almost every meal from farm food and it is wonderful. I've been making the best kale ever, starting with caramalized onions and apples, adding the kale and then serving up with sweet potatoes (or squash! tis the season!) and pork. I never used to eat pork-- the other white meat of my youth was tough, gray, dry, and flavorless. I managed to make a mean pork tenderloin and have been reaping the benefits of leftovers for the last few days. Yesterday a non-pork-eater came over for dinner so we instead made eggs florentine with sorrel instead of spinach, leeks, and heirloom tomatoes. I had leftover baby purple potatoes and then made some okra as yet another veggie side. It was so healthy and so delicious! Needless to say my friend was rightly impressed (this is the friend I'll be running with, too! Hooray healthy gals!)

Monday I'll start 20DS, Fall Edition, and will check back with you fine folks soon enough. Thanks for keeping my accountable super-virtually.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEESTARS 10/14/2010 10:22AM

    All that food sounds so yummy!

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NYMERI 10/5/2010 5:48AM

    It all sounds so yummy Val, I need to be your roomate haha!

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THATWEIRDGIRL 10/2/2010 3:01PM

  Thanks for checking in! Great to know what's going on in Val-land.

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BECOMINGDEB 10/2/2010 11:43AM

    Thanks for checking in! Glad to hear things seem to be going well for you!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/1/2010 10:24PM

    You are doing great. Even the ice cream and brownies can't hurt you. The veggies sound wonderful. Congrats on the weight loss!!

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CALLIKIA 10/1/2010 8:40PM

    It all sounds wonderfully delicious! You sound like you handled the stress pretty well and that you're moving toward the next chapter with vigor and flair! Keep going, girl! You are LIVING that healthy life you wanted!

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MAIA2011 10/1/2010 7:03PM

    I forgot! You're the gourmet girl! Now I'm starving. Thanks a lot.


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