Alas, I promised a blog and a blog ye shall get. Unfortunately though, I'm not feeling particularly brilliant tonight, so I'm throwing together a hodge-podge of things that I'm thinking that may or may not have any relation to each other, but that I find interesting nonetheless.
I was hoping to be able to write a blog today entitled "Surviving the Conference 101" but quite honestly, I don't think I made any great finds that are particularly Spark friendly over the past weekend, and I did well just to make it out of there without any significant damage - consumption of a WHOLE Vosges chocolate bar (2.5 servings worth - yikes!) on Friday night aside. I had many good intentions - I left my house on Thursday morning with my water bottle in tow, a baggie of almonds, cherries, carrots and a couple of low-cal pumpkin muffins to keep me on track since I knew we weren't being given a lot of time for lunch and dinner was going to consist of hors d'oeuvres and beer. But when I went to eat my snacks I discovered my muffins were moldy - ick - and quite a few of the cherries had gone bad as well. So much for that plan. So I ventured out to Corner Bakery for lunch and chose what I thought would be a healthy option - a vegetarian panini - only to find out later that it was one of the highest calorie and fat options on the menu. Ugh - just because it's veggie, does NOT mean it's healthy. For the record, I could have gotten a chicken salad sandwich, mayonnaise and all, for fewer calories than this bad boy. Dinner was as I suspected - fried hors d'oeuvres and an open bar - and since they had really given us no break time during the day we were all starving. Down the hatch with mini sliders, egg rolls, dumplings, potstickers, and home made potato chips that were to die for. But I wrote everything down and tracked it all and at the end of the night only ended up going over by a couple hundred calories...I think. Eating out is always so hard to track! But I was enjoying the company, the fabulous views of the Chicago skyline from Navy Pier and the fantastic entertainment for the evening provided by some of my local theatre friends. All in all, not a bad day.
Friday, I vowed to be a little more successful at staying on track than I had been on Thursday, but this was going to be tough since all meals on Friday were provided by the conference which meant I didn't have much control over what was served. But I DID have control over what I chose. Fruit salad and a bagel with light cream cheese for breakfast. Not too bad, except that on a second pass of the table I grabbed a mini chocolate scone - it was calling my name...seriously. You should have heard it! Lunch was at a local Mexican restaurant at which I selected a salad topped with skirt steak. A great choice, with a nice honey mustard vinaigrette option to top. Too bad I also bowed to the power of the chip basket. Doh! And then there was dinner...it was supposed to be another night of food and wine on board a cruise boat on the lake, however, at about 4pm the skies opened up and the apocalypse happened in downtown Chicago so I decided that maybe the boat would be better saved for another time. I grabbed an apple and a power bar from the snack buffet and made my way to a show at my theatre. By the time the show was over, my stomach was growling again. I caught the bus home, thinking of what was in my fridge that I could throw together quickly for dinner. As I rounded the corner to my house I noticed that the neighbourhood looked strange - this eerie light cast over everything. And the bank parking lot lights beside my house were out - hmmm, must drop by the bank tomorrow to tell them that's unsafe. I opened the door to my place, flipped the light switch on - nothing. Flipped it up and down a number of times (like it was going to change the outcome) - nothing. Ugh. The storm had knocked out my power. I lit a candle and sat on the couch. Now what? Besides peanut butter and bread I didn't have anything that didn't require cooking. Foiled again. So I sat in the dark and ate the chocolate bar - a gift in our conference swag bags that also came with a huge bag of jelly beans and Frango Mints. After calling my boyfriend to have him log into Spark and spin the wheel for me (I couldn't break my streak!!!) I flopped into bed early and decided to call it a night. Who knows how much damage I did?
Saturday was the final day of the conference - I knew we were getting breakfast and lunch on them so again I braced myself for a day of making tough decisions. The continental breakfast buffet had an assortment of fruit - yes! but nothing else besides calorie laden muffins (not a whole grain or bran in sight) and those dreaded croissants (why are you the bane of my existence, you sweet, buttery, flaky goodness). Thankfully they were all mini, so I grabbed the healthiest looking mini-muffin, ONE mini-croissant and a banana and made my way to the first talk of the day. Lunch was a choice of assorted pre-prepped bagged lunches, so I opted for the Pesto Chicken wrap. To my dismay, even the veggie salad option was served with chips and a cookie and no fruit. I ate what was put in front of me, cookie and all, because breakfast had left me a good hour and a half ago and I was starving. Where were my cherries and almonds when I needed them? At least I still had my trusty water bottle and made good use of the new one they gave all of us in our swag-bag. I was definitely thankful for something!
By the end of the conference I was craving hot dogs because of all the junk I had consumed over the 3 days, but I pushed aside the craving and ate the last helping of chicken ceasar salad that I had in my fridge. It tasted good. And healthy - even with the dressing.
So there's my Conference Survival Kit in a nutshell. You know you're going to be put in positions where you have to decide. You also know you're going to be thrown off your normal eating schedule and will likely be hungry by the time you eat. You could say the same thing for vacations, or trips home, or any other day of the week that doesn't look "normal". I made the best decisions I could for what I was given and I feel a sense of accomplishment for that. All in all, I didn't end up going over on Friday or Saturday, even WITH the chocolate bar. But I was definitely happy to get groceries on Sunday and prep my lunches for this week. "Back on track" as they say, although I don't think I was ever really "off-track" - just removed slightly from the path I wanted to take. Still moving forward though. And realizing that every decision I make, in whatever situation I end up in, is still me moving forward with this journey. So maybe I take what I said earlier back - maybe I DID make some great Spark-friendly finds this weekend. I found my ability to stick to this through the paninis, and croissants and tortilla chips. And after all - isn't that what we're all really here to do?
And here are a few things I've noticed that will serve as a commemoration of where I am right now, today:
- I have a problem in that my pants are falling down and I don't own a belt. It's a GREAT problem to have.
- I walked home today even though it was threatening rain and 83 degree heat with a humidity rating of high 90s.
- Two months ago I couldn't do this:
or even this:
because my stomach was too big and my legs and arms were too short and fat to reach - but I can do all of them now with ease!
- I am marveling at my interactions now with people I don't know and really starting to see a difference in how much more confident I am when I talk to them, when before I would look at the ground and mumble.
- My energy is higher, my mood is better, and my brain is clearer to accomplish the things I need to get done in a day.
Even though I have taken a bit of a break this week from the vigorous exercise of the past two weekends, I can't feel bad about that. I'm settling into my 20 pound (so far) weight loss for a little while. I think mentally I need some time to catch up. I'm not expecting the scale to move much this week - and maybe it shouldn't. I'm half way already to the most weight I have ever lost on a "diet" and I will admit that that freaks me out a little bit. I need to be in the right place mentally once I get there to shatter that record and keep on keeping on. Because once you really start changing in this incredibly positive way, you really can never go back to the way it was before. And this weekend, I proved that to myself!
I guess I made more sense out of this that I thought I was going to :)