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A walk in the park


Sunday, January 08, 2012

On Saturday, I went with my husband to a recently opened nature trail nearby. It's a great trail -- fairly wide and paved, so it would be great for riding a bike. (In fact, there were TONS of families out riding bikes!) The whole trail is a 12-mile round trip -- fine for bike riding, but a long walk. We stuck to a 4-mile round trip instead.

The weather was warm and gorgeous that day; it felt like spring even though the woods still looked like winter. My husband has started getting us in the habit of taking a walk together on Saturdays, weather permitting, and I love it. It's such a good way to spend an hour or two together just relaxing and chatting. Taking a walk outside also always puts me in a great mood.

I've decided to stick to walking for now and not try to run yet. I tried to start working towards a 5K again, but managed to really hurt my knees by trying to run too far at the beginning. So I'm backing off running for now. I realize I'm really out of shape, so I'm re-strengthening my bones and joints by walking a lot, and do strength training to strengthen up the muscles that support those bones and joints. That way, when I try running again, I won't hurt myself.

In other news, my husband is wanting to develop some healthier habits himself. Yay! We ordered pizza earlier in the week. While he didn't change his pizza order to be healthier, he decided -- completely out of the blue -- to start trying some portion control. He said "I'm going to put two pieces on my plate, then put the rest in the fridge, and give it a little while after I finish those two pieces. If I'm still hungry, then there's more pizza. But I'll see how it goes with two pieces." It turned out, two pieces was all he really wanted.

It's definitely easier for me to stick with healthier habits when he's doing the same thing. I did the same thing with my pizza (though I'd taken the extra step of ordering a thin-crust, no-cheese pizza topped with a bunch of veggies and some grilled chicken breast -- I honestly prefer thin-crust veggie pizza!)

Portion control has sometimes been hard, because he used to have the mentality that after I'd served myself, the rest was all his. After a couple of times I started worrying that there wouldn't be any more if I decided I was still hungry, so I started taking larger portions to make sure I'd get enough. Like most things in marriage, this got better with communication. I say out loud "I'm going to start with a little bit now, but leave me some in case I want more later." If he goes for seconds, he'll ask "Do you want any more of this?" Usually I say no, but sometimes I say yes, and it's nice to know I have the option.

Oddly enough, when I know I can have another helping if I'm still hungry, I'm actually more likely to be satisfied with a moderate portion! I guess it's that my un-evolved lizard brain panics if it thinks there might be a food shortage and says "Eat! Eat while you still can!!", but calms down when it feels like there's plenty of food and lets my higher brain functions make good choices. Psychology is a wonderful thing....
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SNOWMENTALITY 1/8/2012 10:53PM

    Rainthief -- I've been making a ton of soup lately myself! Pumpkin soup with Indian spices and a can of light coconut milk, roasted potato-onion-garlic soup, homemade chicken noodle soup with ginger and garlic (made with homemade chicken stock), roasted beet soup (made with mushroom stock). You're right -- so much better when you can leave out all the unnecessary salt and fat and preservatives. I've been freezing individual soup portions in regular, quart-size zip-top freezer bags -- fantastic for quick lunch or dinner.

I've been making and freezing a bunch of my own stock too. Roasted a small chicken for dinner, then used the bones to make chicken stock. Boiled two carrots, two celery sticks, a large potato, a large onion, and a couple of garlic cloves, all cut up, to make vegetable stock. And used the stems I trimmed from some shiitake mushrooms, along with another onion, to make mushroom stock. (Side note: If you slice shiitake mushroom caps thinly, then saute them in olive oil? They taste just like bacon. YUM.) Having stock on hand definitely makes it easier to make soup :)

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RAINTHIEF 1/8/2012 10:43PM

    It was a gorgeous day down here, too. I do miss those NC trails; my neighborhood is crowded and I have to smell everyone's garbage when I run by.

I'm with you guys on portion control. I was taught - like everyone - finish your plate. What do people in this country do to kids when they don't finish their plate? They get in trouble or punished - no wonder we're all fat! So I just put appropriate portions on the plate, and finishing the measured portions is just as satisfying - actually more satisfying - as stuffing myself. The bonus is I don't feel fat, guilty, and nauseous.

Side note - I've been hooked on homemade soups and stews lately - yummy, lots of veggies, and you can cut out all the salt and oils crammed in the canned ones.

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