Monday, February 17, 2014
Like many of my sparks friends doing this challenge, I really struggled with writing this but then I went to write to someone else "It's because it's hard that it's important to do" and realized that I should be saying this to myself.
So here's mine.
I know it's sometimes hard to see, but you are strong, stubborn, smart, capable and nice. I know right now you are feeling overwhelmed--anyone would feel overwhelmed with what you are juggling! You've talked to enough other people in grad school to know that this stage IS really hard, and yow know that you have had the extra challenge of juggling the redone comps and the deadline for the dissertation at the same time. You have conquered all... you know this material inside and out.... you are articulate, educated, and informed.
You are not as invisible as you think you are! I know that, too, is hard to believe, but enough people keep saying that so it must be true. You may not be the best fencer on the list--give yourself a break, girl! Many of the people you fence have been doing this for 15 or more years... and try not to compare yourself to the young'uns who are almost 20 years younger than you are--they may be stronger, more flexible, and have more endurance, but you are tempered steel. You know how to overcome, how to be determined, and consistent, and to not give up. You've already overcome challenges that they haven't even faced yet. That counts too. And the fact that the young new fencers still have to work to keep up with you--own that! You do not suck. You've even had people compliment you on your progress and tell you that you are a fun person to fence, and even that you are good at teaching without being patronizing or intimidating.
You are not invisible in other ways. You love to teach and you are good at it--believe people when they say so! People remember your kumihimo--especially the karakumi. They remember that you are friendly and willing to answer questions and to show them how to do it and to learn kumihimo and other crafts. They recognize your willingness to help out when you can--behind the scenes is not the same thing as invisible! So stop hiding. You don't need to hide.
Learn a lesson from one of your friends this weekend and learn to take compliments without trying to deflect them, because they are sincerely meant. It's fine---and even good to be humble--but you are too hard on yourself. You would never be so critical of anyone else--why do you insist on setting impossibly high standards for yourself and then berate yourself because you don't achieve them?
Remember the most important thing--you ARE loved and you ARE worth it. You are worth the effort. You are worth the effort it takes to get fitter and stronger. You are worth the effort it takes to buy and prepare good food. To get a good night's sleep. You have people who are willing to help you out--let them! You are worth talking to. You are worth taking the time out for yourself sometimes.
*hugs and love and tea* Because I know tea is what is keeping you going right now.
Oh, yeah, and go eat, silly!
Monday, February 03, 2014
It was suggested that I post ideas of foods that I like/that work for me to help people get ideas.
Some reminders of things I am looking for:
VERY easy and quick HOT meals that are suitable for lunch, mostly. I'm overwhelmed right now with school and struggling to even remember to eat, and the more work that goes into preparing lunch frankly the less likely I am to eat. This is also true for weekends--if I take a weekend day off from work, that almost always means I have something I else that I need (or desperately want to do, like spend some much needed quality time with friends.). While left overs are an awesome thing, I can't really do a lot of batch cooking, either--not only do I not have a lot of time for it, but our fridge is VERY small and it's already pretty full (fridge and freezer both) with the basics. I also do best if I have a recipe or at least pretty easy to follow directions--I am not adept at making up things as I go along with food. I can cook reasonably well with a recipe.
Some things to avoid: I can't handle spicy foods at all right now--not even mildly spicy. Stress is eating holes in my stomach (not literally, I hope!) and spicy foods or acidic foods (such as tomato sauces, lots of pineapple, etc.) tend to make it worse. Sometimes tomatoes even raw are a problem right now (which makes me sad because I love fresh tomatoes). I can't have bananas in the apartment at all, nor any fish or seafood other than canned tuna because of my husband's food allergies, and carrots are very, very difficult because of his allergies. I also would like to avoid sour cream, unsweetened yogurt, mangoes, and avocados because I *really* hate them.
That said, there are lots of food I enjoy that I probably can still eat.
SOUP. I love soup. I eat a lot of soup, but it's mostly canned. Sometimes my husband makes soup and I get left overs, but his soup takes forever to cook. Sometimes my mom sends me soup care packages (I love my mom!) because I adore her soups but it takes pretty much all day to cook and produces TONS and I just can't deal with either the time nor the volume right now.
bibimbap. It's a dish a friend introduced me to, though I have no idea how to make it. She calls it the Korean kitchen sink dish (as in everything but)... it's supposedly a great left over dish. Don't know, but it's yummy.
Olive oil, herbs and bread... a suggestion someone had so that I would get more healthy fats. I don't know whether or not I'm getting enough healthy fats... but I know I like herbed oil and bread.
Rotisserie chicken... another thing someone suggested that I thought was a great idea. And the local grocery store makes husband-friendly versions, which means we could even get that for dinner and I get the leftovers... a sort of win-win. We've done it before, but not for a long time and I completely forgot about it.
Black beans and corn/black beans and rice--no idea how to prepare either dish but I like both when other people make them.
Eggs are a staple for me, though I only know how to scramble, fry, poach, and hard boil them. Eggs make the world go around--full of vitamins and minerals, easy on the stomach, quick to cook, and inexpensive.
Chicken--we often buy chicken for dinner and my husband will save me a breast for lunch.
Turkey--assuming I can get it in small enough quantities. I've never cooked turkey but I like it; my husband is allergic to it.
Canned tuna. Which sadly is one of the few fish I like.
beef (though we do tend to eat a fair amount of beef for dinner so I tend to avoid it for lunch).
rice. Love rice, and think maybe I can try making now.
noodles. I eat a lot of *blush* ramen noodles because they are easy, and a lot of egg noodles, but we do try to eat some multigrain ones too (not as fond of whole wheat ones, sadly).
Quinoa, though I have no clue what to do with it.
Most fruits, though I'm not as fond of cooked fruit; I tend to just eat it as is... what we get typically varies by season, but ideas are oranges, clementines, apples, grapes, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, melons, pineapple when my stomach will let me, strawberries, pomegranates, kiwi, plums, pears, real peaches (not canned), etc.
Most veggies, though I'm not adept at cooking them and tend to just eat them raw--usually not even in a salad. Just munching, usually plain. Common ones we get (for my lunches/snacks; most of these are not husband-safe): cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, snap peas, tomatoes (when stomach can handle them), broccoli, frozen peas, jicama, baby spinach (only raw, though; hate cooked spinach) mushrooms, green peppers. I don't get them often but I also discovered that I love sweet potatoes if they are cooked savory rather than sweet--candied yams are overpoweringly sweet to me. I'm not a big fan of onions--prefer the milder flavor of leeks, and only eat onions if they are thoroughly cooked.
While spicy foods don't settle right now, I have a ton of herbs. No more fresh herbs as it's winter (sniff) but we have a pretty extensive herb selection. My go to one tends to be Italian seasoning though (not sure what all is in it--rosemary, basil, oregano, sage?)
I love cheese and right now cheese is loving my stomach (probably because it's naturally basic). I hate milk unfortunately--it always tastes like it's turning to me--so while I can cook with it, I won't drink it, so most of my calcium comes from yogurt, cheese, and supplements. The exception are the blue cheeses--I'm allergic to molds and i think blue cheese just pushes that limit too far... can't stand the stuff. But I like brie, cheddar (preferably mild), Gouda, Havarti, Parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, colby jack, etc.
I like sweetened yogurts fine (such as the Dannon ones with the fruit on the bottom). I've never tried Greek Yogurt. I've never cooked with yogurt though.
Nuts: I like pistachios, almonds, and cashews. And peanuts, though they are technically not a nut. I do not like pecans or walnuts.
Legumes: I like most legumes but have no experience at all with cooking with them if they don't come in a can (I don't like kidney beans or lima beans and have a mild allergy to soy, but I think I like pretty much everything else) and the only recipes I have for them are the kind that takes all day to cook. So I never think to cook beans etc. because I don't know what to do with them.
I confess I'm embarrassed to be even asking for ideas--I'm just really overwhelmed by everything right now and as a result I'm not eating, or eating crap (or if not crap, not what I really need either). I'm either not getting enough calories (by a long shot) or I'm eating too many calories because I grab something fast but loaded. And since I'm trying to lose weight even though I swear my body is gaining weight by osmosis or something, I'm trying to avoid calorie heavy foods... but it's not healthy for me to under-eat either. Because of my stomach issues (mostly due to stress), I'm tending to eat too many carbs because they settle the stomach... but then I'm having problems because I'm not getting enough protein.
This is not a definitive list.... I like a pretty wide variety of food, to be honest. These are however mostly foods my husband CAN'T have (his veggie list is mostly limited to baby spinach, turnips, parsnips, rhubarb, and rutabaga, for example, though he can sometimes have foods that he has to be careful with, such as tomatoes if they are really cooked down or kale. He also can't have corn, or any legumes, any nuts, any seafood, etc.). So these are not things that we can cook for dinner and then me have leftovers.
Friday, January 31, 2014
I took a silly quiz today in the Azure thread that said, among other things, that I viewed my body as a temple and take care of it. And I realize that while I suppose in some part I do view my body as something to take care of, when it comes to food, I'm doing a less than ideal job these days. Oh, calorie wise if anything I'm under eating (bad, I know, but stress is killing my stomach) and I'm remembering to eat fruits and veggies when I can, and trying to get enough protein (probably failing at that, too, but trying).... where I'm failing is that I'm eating far too many processed foods.
I confess I'm really struggling with food, in general. Specifically, I am having a harder time remembering to eat lunch, finding the time/energy to actually do something about it when I remember it, and when I do actually preparing and eating something healthy.
For those of you who don't know me well, I have always had a hard time remembering to eat, especially breakfast and lunch, because the normal cues of when to eat are... unreliable. (I wish this at least translated into weight loss, but sadly, the opposite has been my experience because I'm killing my metabolism). Stress is making this worse, in part because it's making food very unappealing and in part because I have so many other things on my mind that even when I think "hey, it's noon, I should probably eat" the next thing I know it's 2 pm and i'm still working.
Um, like happened today.
It's also making it worse because I just don't have time to spend much time prepping food. Please don't tell me it's just a matter of priorities--my #1 priority right now is graduating, and I'm struggling just to eat, exercise, at least be active on Azure, and you know things like sleep as it is. I know from past experience that if it's not simple and quick to cook, it just won't happen. I'll keep putting it off (easy to do since I'm not hungry and work is always pressing) until my blood sugar has dropped to the point I'm barely functional or I cave and grab what ever is easy. I bet you didn't think a handful of pistachios, some fruit, and potato chips could make a lunch (not what I had today, but I've had lunches like that in the past).
It was easier over the summer and into the fall because I ate a lot of salads--all I had to do was dump the pre-cut/measured ingredients into a bowl, apply dressing of choice, and take to my desk (yes, I know, eating at my desk is bad. Not eating is worse, so I chose to eat at my desk). But with this cold weather, I want hot food... and too often that means canned soups, mozzarella chicken on ramen noodles (very tasty, but not particularly healthy) or something with eggs. Sometimes I make quesedillas with corn tortillas and sauteed mushrooms (not sure that really counts as healthy either, since it's a lot of cheese, but it's tasty and quick).
I am not a particularly good cook, though I can cook basic things if I have a clear recipe (I stink at cooking vegetables, though--which I'm mostly okay with since I prefer most veggies raw anyway). I have no patience for it, for one thing (I do best with things I can walk away from. I even walk away from cooking up eggs and browning chicken). We also have a very small "apartment sized" fridge/freezer, which means space is a major issue... otherwise I'd just batch cook and then eat that all week.
My husband has a ton of food allergies, which also complicate things, though less so for lunch as he doesn't eat it--but we can't have bananas and most fish/seafood (other than canned tuna) in the apartment. Carrots are really, really hard for me to work with, because he's so allergic to them, and tomatoes are almost as hard unless canned ones will work (or I can use them whole, like cherry tomatoes). I can't stand unsweetened yogurt, sour cream, mangoes, and avocados. I also have stressed-out-stomach issues which means I'm pretty much limited to eating easy on the stomach, simple foods--chicken and eggs work well, as do carbohydrates. I have a low spice tolerance on a good day, but right now all spice and acidic foods (like tomato sauces) are pretty much out. I've never mastered the art of cooking rice, I'm afraid (and I can't talk my husband, who cooks our dinners, into buying a rice cooker because our kitchen is small and space is already an issue).
I am not sure what to do but I'm hoping I can figure out something--even a couple of quick, moderately healthy meals. Obviously, I'm okay with dairy, wheat etc. I have herbs. I like most vegetables and a lot of fruit, though I tend to just eat them rather than use them as ingredients in meals. I love soups, but the only soup recipes I really have take hours to cook and can feed an army.... and my husband can't eat them (they can't even be modified to the point he can eat them.) We don't have stock, and no way to store it if I made it (I really, really hate the small fridge. It's the thing I like least about this apartment! Especially the very small freezer). I like eggs but I don't know what to do with them except scramble, poach, fry, or occasionally hard boil them. I do eat left overs when we have them, but lately we just haven't been making things that resulted in left overs.
I feel like I'm being one of those people who is trying to fail (you know the type... the type that always has an objection no matter what you suggest) but I just feel... stuck. I've already thought of most of the obvious suggestions, but still end up eating fried egg sandwiches or canned soup. I'm not a naturally very negative person--I try really hard not to get trapped on the "can'ts" and to focus on the "cans." I'm just having a hard time finding very many "cans" that are quick, easy, warm, AND healthy.
Friday, January 17, 2014
I always think about new years resolutions this time of year--or rather, as I prefer to think about it, to reassess what I what from life, what I'm doing, and whether the later leads to the former. If not, try to figure out what needs to change so that they do, and then focus on those changes.
This is also the start of a new BLC round, which is another good time to rethink what I want, what I'm doing, and what I need to do differently.
But this year/round, I'm really struggling.
To be honest, my only real big goal/resolution this year is to graduate. That is my #1 priority. And while there are other things I want/need out of life--a healthy diet, consistent exercise, to be stronger, to be pain free, to lose this stress that is weighing me down (not to mention about 70 pounds!) and find the person I used to be, the person who wasn't stressed out all the time. Oh, and to find time for the things I really love in life--friends, family, arts/crafts, creative writing, reading, etc.... I want to learn to crochet, and to do bobbin lace, and I want to step up and become a fencing marshal in the SCA (kind of a safety referee for fencing events).
But balancing all of that against my number one priority of graduating is.... hard. But if I don't make graduating #1, chances are I won't graduate in May, and if I don't graduate in May, I'll have run out of time and I won't graduate, period. And I've been working toward this degree for a long time (about 16 years) and I don't want to throw all that away.
A friend of mine linked this comic to my facebook account awhile ago....
And there are a lot of days--months even--when I feel that way.
So I have decided that I am going to focus (besides graduating) on 6 simple, very basic goals for until the semester ends:
1) Lose 6 pounds
2) eat breakfast every day, even if it's something small, like a hunk of cheese.
3) drink tea every morning instead of pop for my morning caffeine
4) Exercise a minimum of 20 minutes 5 days a week every week, Wed.-Wed.
5) EITHER read for 15 minutes or one chapter (which ever comes first) of a spiritual book (theology, meditation, etc.) OR meditate for 5 minutes every day.
6) Get at least 15 minutes every day of "me" time (such as reading, watching a movie, or playing a video game).
And my #1 goal over everything else? Graduate.
Friday, December 27, 2013
If anyone has been thinking about joining the BLC, now is the time to do it! Don't wait, however; this time we have a very short window for registering before the next round starts.
This will be my 9th round of the BLC, and it is one of the best things I've ever done for myself. It is a 12 week challenge, and there are a number of subteams that compete with each other. While it is a weight loss challenge you are required to weigh in weekly (on Wednesdays), these teams have a wide variety of focuses. Some teams are really competitive. Some teams are really focused on exercise, or nutrition. Some teams emphasize supporting their members. It's okay if you are like me and lose weight very slowly, or if you are like me and need to modify a lot of the challenges because you have physical limitations; just pick a team that is compatible with your needs and they will adapt. This isn't about everyone competing in P90X; this is about *you* challenging *yourself* and doing the best *you* can do.
Most teams have a series of weekly challenges... for example, many teams have a "last chance workout" (typically cardio) on Tuesdays and a strength training challenge on Thursdays. Weekends (Friday-Monday) are often challenges against other teams which can focus on exercise, nutrition, stress relief, or other aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. Team members are asked to post a minimum of 3 times a week, but the more you post and get to know your teammates, the more you will get out of the challenge. I'm a member of Azure Destinations, which is an unusual team. We emphasize support--but not just support for our own team members, but for all of Azure. We visit other team threads to spread inspiration, encouragement, and just plain fun. We don't tend to do a lot of challenges of our own, like the other teams do, but we do try to participate in whatever challenges the team we are visiting is doing.
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