Monday, March 12, 2012
A theme as old as weddings itself.
The wedding diet.
First, I want to thank everyone who took the time to post encouragement about my wedding anxiety. I don't like being in crowds, and I definitely don't like being in front of an audience. I always feared the 'presentation' part in school. Even though this will be my friends and family, the idea of everyone staring at me gives me the jitters.
Last week I wrote about 'rebooting' my diet. I gained a few pounds by reverting back to eating too much fast food.
The rebound was kinda rough, though. I went through another round of minor low carb 'withdrawals'. I got these really nasty headaches, and at a really bad time. I had a really tough assignment to finish for school, and the headaches were frustrating. But I knew it was temporary, and just hung in there.
Resetting my diet and exercising last week did the trick. I managed to lose about 2 pounds.
Since I'm not working and have to pay for tuition, we've had to tighten our budget. I'm eating a lot of eggs and canned salmon for my protein. When we went shopping over the weekend, I bought frozen salmon and smoked salmon for my meals this week.
My wedding dress arrived today! It came out great. I don't like the rhinestone embellishment that were put on, but they are easy to remove. Everything fits great, except for the shoulder straps. The way it was stitched makes it easy to undo and alter, though.
If you're curious about the dress, I went with an unorthodox method. Originally, I wanted to make my own, but time slipped away from me. It was to late for me to go to a bridal shop. So...since this is the 21st century and all...I went with a 21st century solution.
I found a dressmaker, picked out a dress pattern that I liked, and sent them my measurements. This dress probably would have cost thousands and taken 6 months or more if I bought it at a retail shop. For $180 dollars and 4 weeks later, I have a dress that I am very happy with. They did a very good job - it's a near perfect fit. The only thing I have to do is remove the trim that I don't like, and adjust the straps. I couldn't be happier.
Now that I have received the dress, and tried it on, I'm a little more excited about the wedding. $180 is still probably the most I've ever spent on a dress (I'm a Maxxinista kind of shopper). I'm not a girly girl, and there probably is no other occasion in my life where I would wear this kind of dress. (I did not go to prom in high school).
The dress is pretty simple, compared to many of the dresses on the wedding shows on TV. It has a V neck, and a delicate train that comes off each of the shoulders. Kind of like streamers - lol. I'm getting married on a beach, so my hope is the train would flow and catch the breeze.
I feel like a little more progress has been made, now the dress has been taken care of.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
"He who fails to plan is planning to fail" - Winston Churchill
This is certainly true for me. When I set out to do something with intention, I go after it with gusto.
The problem is, I tend to be hyperfixated on it to the exclusion of all else. Then suffer massive burnout.
But the burnout isn't what I'm here to talk about today. Today, I'm talking about getting back on a mission.
1. Daily morning exercise 30min minimum. I like to exercise first thing in the morning so that it's done and out of the way. Later in the day its easier to make excuses.
2. Breakfast after workout. I know there's lots of debate about this, but this works for me. You shouldn't do this if you experience an energy crash, but this isn't a problem for me.
3. Prepare meals in advance. I'm super busy at the moment. If I don't have anything prepared, then I head for fast food. I'm sure this is a familiar problem to many.
4. Eat when hungry. I don't eat set meals anymore. But I still need to have snacks available for when I do get hungry. If I'm hungry, I eat. If I'm not, I skip it.
Last night while I was preparing dinner, I made my snacks and lunch for today. I made egg salad and tuna salad. Since I eat low carb, I eat these with romaine lettuce and cabbage leaves for wraps instead of bread.
I've got a lot of work to do this week, but I'll try to report on progress at the end of the week.
Monday, March 05, 2012
Somehow I managed to survive the holidays and travel abroad without weight gain.
I focus more on bodyfat percentage rather than weight these days. I went from 23% to 28%. 8lb gain. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it is enough to go from fab to noticeable flab.
For the record, though, I'm still lower overall than the same time last year. Last year I hovered near 140. This morning I weighed in at 131.
The problem is I got super busy and I found myself eating more and more fast food.
Ugh. I hate fast food. But I need to eat.
I wish I still lived in Seattle. I used to eat pho soup as cheap fast food.
While I skipped the french fries, the carby burgers was enough to switch around my body fat ratios. I suspect due to lower exercise activity in the winter.
So it's just time for a reboot. I've reenrolled in college so that is why I'm so busy, but it is no excuse. I know how to make meals on a busy schedule, so I just have to do it. Back to veg and protein, and paying more attention to limiting starches.
I have a wedding dress to wear in 3 months! The nicer weather is more motivating to get up and moving around.
This morning, it's a cup of coffee and back to the gym!
Monday, January 09, 2012
I wasn't abroad very long, but I have to break up my blogs about them separately, or it will be too long.
Unfortunately, I don't have too many pictures of me because my fiance has the worst unsteady hands. I think what happens is, he tries to take a picture quickly, and drops his hands before the shutter finishes. This is why there isn't usually a lot of pictures of us on vacation. I also tend to look annoyed in the pictures because it's usually the 100th attempt to get a non blurry picture - lol.
Most people who travel to the UK have London in mind, I imagine. My fiance's family is from the Black Country, so I get to see more of daily life in England. Birmingham, I am reminded by the locals, though, is NOT part of the Black Country. It is the closest nearby metropolitan city.
We met with the future in-laws and family for Christmas celebrations and evening meals. My fiance was trying to balance family time with some tourism, since we don't get to travel often with our meager 10 days a year American vacation time. We went to the Black Country museum on Christmas eve, which I really enjoyed. This was the heart of the industrial revolution. Coal mining, steam engines, industrial iron/steel work - it all started here.
It was a very hard life for those in the Black Country. Average lifespan was about 30 years. You either died in the coal mine, or from lung cancer from the coal soot. The Black Country was described as black by day from the coal soot, red by night from the iron forges. JRR Tolkien got his inspiration for Mordor from the Black Country.
It is not that way anymore, obviously, but the Black Country museum was a very interesting step back in time to the early 18th century. There was a small block of shops that were set up to approximate 1930's Wolverhampton. There was a fantastic fish and chips shop where I had lunch. They made the battered fish the old fashioned way - with beef tallow. It was simply marvelous. Probably the best fish and chips I've had yet in England.
It was very cold, and we stopped the Women Worker's Union Hall for a coffee. I had a traditional Christmas treat with my coffee - mince pie.
Warmed up, we explored more. Did you know Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice? Tis true. Transporting coal and iron works from the Midlands to the ports of Liverpool and London used to be the most efficient means. Canals were highways of the 18th-19th century.
Because it was winter, our day was cut short by the sun. The sun started to set around 4:00, and it was dusk by 4:30. We stopped into a small pub at the museum, where I warmed up with mulled wine.
The anchor for the Titanic was made in the Black Country. We drove by the replica.
With night setting in, we went into Birmingham town center for a wander, and last minute Christmas shopping. The streets were made up with Christmas decorations.
Inside the shopping mall, I found a jelly bean replica of the Bullring bull that is in the center of Birmingham square.
The next day we enjoyed Christmas meal with the fiance's family. After dinner, we went for a walk around a local pond and fed leftover Christmas bread to the ducks, geese, and swans.
The following day we took a trip way off the beaten track to Warrington, Lymm, and Chester. It wasn't entirely all for fun - since my fiance is there once a year, he often has to run a few errands. Once we got his details sorted, we went for lunch at a gastro pub in Lymm. It is Aiden Byrne's Michelin starred restaurant called "The Church Green". Those in the US might not be familiar with him, but he is basically a British "celebrity chef".
We started with a bread and olive tapenade that was simply amazing. I'm going to have to try and replicate it soon. It used a little orange zest/juice for a little sweetness/acid. The olive oil tasted like fresh olives.
I had a frois gras plate for my starter. My fiance had a salmon chowder. The chowder was so good. The grayish color might look a little odd, but believe me. It was fantastic. I should have taken notes on what I tasted. I wish I could make soup like that.
I had a braised lamb for my main meal. The lamb was sooo tender, it almost literally fell apart in the mouth. My fiance had a beef and onion pie with a split pea soup. He said it was the best beef and onion pie.
For dessert, we had coffee and split a chocolate mousse with poached pears.
I have to admit. Maybe because of Sparkfriend Ronna and her amazing talent as a pastry chef, I had very high expectations on presentation at a Michelin rated gastro pub. The dessert was delicious, but I was expecting more oomph on the plating. A little sliver of cake with pears on the side - ho hum. I'm certain Iron Chef judges would agree that the plating was not as inviting as the dessert tasted.
Dining at a celebrity chef, Michelin rated gastro pub sounds pretty expensive, eh? Not as much as you might think. If you don't have a Paris Hilton budget, but like fine dining, going at lunch is almost always the affordable option. We were in Lymm, which is an urban district of Cheshire, but it is not London. Before beer and wine, our bill came out to just under 50 pounds, or $65 for the two of us.
I was a big fan of Rachael Ray's travel show, "$40 a Day", and this is pretty much the way I travel. We ate light in the morning so we could eat at this pub for lunch. We were well under food budget for the day. Even though the portions were not oversized, they were quite satisfying, and we didn't end up eating dinner later because we weren't hungry.
Next up, Paris!
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