ANNIKBIRNBAUM's SparkPeople Blog ANNIKBIRNBAUM's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community A lot has happened! I moved to Sweden! Wow! Okay, so my last update was in January 2015 when I had just returned from Hawaii and booked my tickets to go backpacking in Europe. <BR> <BR> What's happened since then? <BR> <BR> A few months after that, I met someone online while trying to make friends to meet during my summer 2015 travels. He lives in Sweden and we were supposed to meet during my backpacking trip, but we liked each other so much that I flew out two months after we started talking. We hit it off! I quit my third job ... Mon, 18 Jul 2016 04:01:58 EST Update Wow. It has been a long time since I've updated. I was reading my last blog post here to see where I was when I last wrote. Apparently in a place of overbearing despair. <BR> <BR> Things have gotten better. My last boyfriend and I broke up due to his narcissistic, controlling, manipulative, and emotionally abusive behavior back in January 2014. It was a year and a half of what felt like the worst relationship I had ever been in. <BR> <BR> January and February 2014 were months of eliminating... Mon, 26 Jan 2015 23:59:14 EST Post-divorce woes, refocusing, and time-fillers Life immediately after a divorce seems so empty. I often wonder if this is how it's going to be for the rest of my life, but statistics say that it won't. It's just a phase. It has only been two months or so, but it feels like it has been an eternity. <BR> <BR> I have not been sleeping well since I moved out in the beginning of September. I wake up very groggy, I get dressed, get my morning espresso, go to work, come home, cry, go to sleep. At least that's how it was for September and most o... Thu, 7 Nov 2013 17:45:26 EST Update It has been a long time. Rather than just make small talk, I will cut right down to what has been going on since I last blogged in April. <BR> <BR> A lot of drama and presently, a lot of uncomfortable calm. <BR> <BR> I filed for divorce in March and things were amicable for a while until we began dating other people, then things got ugly. Lots of shouting matches, lots of crying, anger, threats, during which time my current boyfriend and I grew apart and there was also a lot of drama with t... Wed, 9 Oct 2013 23:41:42 EST Something's gotta give Something's gotta keep my motivation going for SparkPeople. It worked out soooo well for me a few years back, I don't know why I can't stick with it. I have surprisingly grown comfortable with my weight in the last several months, so I don't have a real motivator. But it's not even about losing weight, it's about keeping healthy. My diet has consisted of espresso and ramen noodles for the last couple months. Money is a big thing, but not enough to justify eating a crap diet. <BR> <BR> What w... Tue, 30 Apr 2013 15:23:55 EST And so it begins... I am filing for divorce. <BR> <BR> I finished filling out the paperwork last night. I just need him to fill out some paperwork and sign and date a few things. I am giving him everything. I just want my freedom. <BR> <BR> The beginning of the end of a four year saga. Welcome to 2013. Sun, 13 Jan 2013 15:55:52 EST OMG, officially grossed out by meat I say it every year after the holidays, but I think I mean it this time. Thanksgiving turkey was meh, but Christmas turkey was grooooooooooooooooooooooooooooss. It tasted like straight up turkey and it smelled like FLESH. BLAH. I almost puked a few times. I didn't even eat much of it. I ate mostly veggies and stuffing. I can't even think about meat now without wanting to PUKE. WhatamIgonnadoooooooooo? Thu, 27 Dec 2012 01:28:02 EST I had a dream last night... I had a dream last night that I traveled to Waterloo, Iowa to visit the parents of my dead ex-boyfriend. It was only in the dream that I realized how many holidays they've had to spend without him, his gentle spirit, and the nephews he never got to meet since he's been gone. It should be fairly obvious that I still miss and love the guy. <BR> <BR> When I woke up, my first thought was, "Stop being depressed. Your life could be worse." So, after working three hours (and getting paid for eight)... Mon, 24 Dec 2012 16:43:35 EST Ahhhhhh, work out schedule and stuff I've been at my new job a total of two days and I think it's going to work out just fine. I won't be leaving any time soon. The work is easy, and extremely similar to my last job. I guess I just suffer from new job anxiety. I've also never worked in a place that had a high standard of professionalism. Like, I have to wear business clothes and I only have one or two sets of those, so I guess I am going shopping to acquire more once I get paid. Also, because of the nature of the environment (it... Sat, 22 Dec 2012 23:39:44 EST Life is short... ...but love is strong <BR> There lies a hope that I have found <BR> And if you try, you'll find it, too <BR> Remember why I'm telling you Sat, 22 Dec 2012 22:52:45 EST Winter is one of my favorite seasons for two reasons 1) Eggnog lattes. <BR> <BR> Love 'em. Too bad they're like a billion calories... it's like drinking cheesecake and espresso! <BR> <BR> 2) EXTRA LARGE NAVEL ORANGES ARE IN SEASON! <BR> <BR> I think I love oranges more than I love eggnog lattes. Specifically, extra large navel oranges. Why can't they be year round? Sigh. <BR> <BR> Also, I need to get into the habit of drinking at least one cup of green tea per day with honey. Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:54:40 EST Wieder krank! (sick again) Best canned chicken soup? Cold relief tips? Ahh, my favorite time of year when I start to get sick with the flu because I keep forgetting that flu shots exist. <BR> <BR> I know cooking soup from scratch is better, but I am a bit strapped for time. What's the best canned chicken soup you guys recommend? In terms of health, tastiness, and some darn cold/flu relief? <BR> <BR> I stocked up on green tea, honey, and I've been taking vitamin C pills daily. Any other recommendations for relief? I'm congested (nose), slight runny nose sometim... Thu, 20 Dec 2012 02:58:55 EST New job with added perks! After six months of not working, I finally decided to go back to work. I'm amazed at how quickly I found a job after just two weeks of looking. I actually have two jobs now - I went back to my old Blockbuster (before you say anything, yes, they still exist) and got a new, day job in the Pico-Robertson/Century City/Beverly Hills area of Los Angeles. <BR> <BR> Yes, I'm still in school. I decided to work two jobs because I got tired of us not having any money and two jobs will ensure we have ex... Mon, 17 Dec 2012 01:35:24 EST Down 5 pounds Down 5 pounds since I re-started SparkPeople, which wasn't that long ago. That means there has been a significant drop in calorie intake, so I was probably right in assuming that I was putting in between 5,000 - 6,000 calories a day before counting them. <BR> <BR> I went to go eat Berliner Currywurst yesterday for the first time with a friend over in Silver Lake. It was DELICIOUS. Before that, we indulged in coffee at LA Mill, where I had an iced Valrhona Mocha. At the Currywurst place, I h... Sat, 6 Oct 2012 13:20:18 EST Guilty of wasting my youth Talking to a 29 year old German fella who just started at UCLA as a PhD candidate in computer science. Focus is on robotics, specifically perception and estimation. I'm 27 in a month and I'm still in community college AKA the 13th grade. GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. :( Tue, 2 Oct 2012 23:31:32 EST Does this sound like a good breakfast? Fresy & Easy Eat Well High Five! Honey, Almond & Whole Grain Clusters with Flax Cereal: <BR> <BR> Serving size: 2/3 cup <BR> Calories: 180 <BR> Calories from fat: 25 <BR> Total Fat: 3g <BR> Saturated: 0 <BR> Trans: 0 <BR> Polyunsat: 1 <BR> Monounsat: 1 <BR> Cholesterol: 0 <BR> Sodium: 120mg <BR> Total Carb: 34g <BR> Dietary Fiber: 8g <BR> Soluble Fiber: 5g <BR> Insoluble Fiber: 3g <BR> Sugars: 10g <BR> Protein: 9g <BR> <BR> With Trader Joe's original almond milk (half serving with my cereal... Tue, 2 Oct 2012 13:45:06 EST Yeow, I fudged up! I don't know if any of you Android users have this problem, but every so often, apps on my phone will freeze up. This morning, the Alarm Clock app froze up and I woke up late. I usually wake up at 5:30am, but this morning I woke up at 6:59am which meant I had 20 mins. to get ready and get my butt out the door and AT the bus stop at 7:30am exactly... so, no time for breakfast (boo). But I DID manage to grab a Trader Joe's Fiberful bar to eat on my way out (yay!). Then I got really hungry and h... Mon, 1 Oct 2012 17:12:06 EST Foods I will miss <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 30 Sep 2012 20:16:02 EST Went back to the grocery store and resisted... ...temptation! <BR> <BR> I admit, I am a pretty poor grocery shopper when it comes to impulse buying. <BR> <BR> I had to go back because I forgot to buy deli slices and I wanted to pick up quick-cook oatmeal, plus celery and carrots for more soup. I had a difficult time wandering past the pastries without picking one up, but I did it! Instead, I impulse bought high protein, high fiber, low cal cereals and oatmeal, so I won't have an excuse to NOT eat breakfast. I almost impulse-bought choco... Sun, 30 Sep 2012 17:43:01 EST I went grocery shopping today! A change in perspective... I picked up some yummy, hopefully healthy stuff, haha. It's a long list, but I think it was $250+ well-spent. In no particular order: <BR> <BR> * Chicken breasts <BR> * Baby and regular carrots <BR> * Whole wheat bread <BR> * Whole wheat tortillas <BR> * Deli slices <BR> * Avocados <BR> * Trail mix <BR> * Chicken drumsticks <BR> * Chicken thighs <BR> * Pork ribs <BR> * Eggs <BR> * Romaine lettuce <BR> * Onions <BR> * Almonds <BR> * Frozen blueberries <BR> * Frozen strawberries <BR> * Frozen ... Sat, 29 Sep 2012 21:56:29 EST RE: My sister's disturbingly atrocious diet I had my sister and her friend over on Thursday night for dinner. We cooked good quality NY steak topped with mushrooms and onions with a side of steamed broccoli. When we went shopping for the ingredients, she seemed shocked that my husband and I don't keep A1 sauce or ketchup in the house. We've never needed it. We have a full spice rack and the way I cook a steak, you don't need to add any sauces because it's so flavorful (garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, pan-sear, oven roast, then done!).... Sat, 29 Sep 2012 18:32:13 EST My sister's disturbingly atrocious diet Let me preface this blog with: <BR> <BR> I love my sister to death. She's my best friend in the whole wide world and I will never, ever judge her and I will support her no matter what she does. <BR> <BR> I'm the youngest child and the sister I am referring to is one up in the hierarchy above me. She's 31, I'm 26, so growing up, we were relatively close. She and I were always the heavier girls in the family (some correlation between having been born and raised in America while my other siste... Sat, 29 Sep 2012 17:52:04 EST Oh, good! I'm getting sick a week before the New Order concert. You know, my most favorite band ever in the whole wide world, who only tours North America once every one hundred years because they hate traveling outside of Europe. <BR> <BR> Good thing it takes me two weeks to recover! (sarcasm) <BR> <BR> Ahhh, and Oktoberfest at Alpine Village is the weekend after... noooo, I don't want to wait another year! Sat, 29 Sep 2012 12:27:44 EST This is embarrassing, but how do I make soup from scratch? So, if you haven't read my previous entry, I'm getting sick! I'm really starting to feel it now. <BR> <BR> I've made soup before, but I've always followed a recipe and it was always some kind of special soup that wasn't too brothy. Like, black bean bacon soup, split pea soup, Indian/Cambodian/Thai curry soup... but I've never made basic broth soup, haha. Here are my ingredients: <BR> <BR> Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs <BR> Vegetarian "chicken" powder bouilion base (got it at an Asian mark... Sat, 29 Sep 2012 01:01:53 EST I'm OK alone I don't need a gym partner. I can do this! I just need a little extra push and stop being afraid of going there alone. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Fri, 28 Sep 2012 02:15:06 EST Super excited to go grocery shopping this weekend! I'm always excited to go grocery shopping, actually. But I'm super excited this time around because I get to pick and choose healthier choices! Let's see... <BR> <BR> * quick oats <BR> * peanut butter <BR> * kashi go lean <BR> * frozen fruits <BR> * frozen veggies <BR> * lean meats <BR> * extra virgin olive oil <BR> * sandwich stuff for my husband <BR> * tortillas to make wraps <BR> * some fresh produce (I explained in an earlier blog that fresh goes bad really fast in my house) <BR> * almon... Thu, 27 Sep 2012 16:32:30 EST Soooooooo addicted to the decadent chocolate chunk muffins from Subway I grab one every morning before taking the bus to school. They're only $1.25, but they're so high calorie (490, I think) and I'm hungry again two hours later. But I guess it's better than NOT eating anything. Before this little Subway run, I wouldn't even bother eating breakfast or eating anything at all until 2:00 PM. <BR> <BR> Oh well. Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:53:07 EST OMG, I think I'm getting sick Ugggggggghhhhhhhhhh, this is a BAD time for me to get sick. Noooooo! I should have eaten healthier all these months. :-( Thu, 27 Sep 2012 00:27:41 EST Sooooo hard to find a female gym partner... ...especially when everyone on this side of LA is already beautiful and fit, hahaha. <BR> <BR> It's difficult because the gym I go to is a top-tier access 24 Hour Fitness and not many girls in my situation can afford the $60 a month. When I say "my situation," I mean girls with weight loss goals similar to mine. I have a good 40-60 pounds to lose overall. I also have a weird schedule with school. I can go either late at night or really early in the morning. <BR> <BR> If anyone in the Venice... Wed, 26 Sep 2012 19:39:16 EST What fresh fruits / fresh veggies / other foods freeze and keep well? And how? I'm kind of a newbie when it comes to freezing fresh produce. I stopped buying fresh vegetables because with my busy schedule, I forget that they're there and they end up going bad... it was like tossing $5 in the trash. I just buy frozen and canned, in that order now... but there are certain things I just loooove to buy fresh and I do enjoy getting local deals at the farmer's market. <BR> <BR> People have also been telling me that smoothies freeze well. Is that true? <BR> <BR> Also, how wo... Wed, 26 Sep 2012 18:29:21 EST RE: Tips on cheap, quick, and healthy breakfast foods, snacks, and study-friendly foods? I forgot to mention that I don't have a microwave. Just a stove and pots and pans for cooking. :-) <BR> <BR> Original blog post below: <BR> <BR> Breakfast: <BR> <BR> I live in a tiny studio apartment and I'm up at 5:30 AM every morning, well before my husband wakes up. I'd love to make a smoothie except the blender is sooooo loud and he is a super light sleeper. I'm open to the idea of plain ol' cereal and almond milk, but the only cereal I've enjoyed is Trader Joe's granola clusters and t... Tue, 25 Sep 2012 23:15:22 EST Tips on cheap, quick, and healthy breakfast foods, snacks, and study-friendly foods? Breakfast: <BR> <BR> I live in a tiny studio apartment and I'm up at 5:30 AM every morning, well before my husband wakes up. I'd love to make a smoothie except the blender is sooooo loud and he is a super light sleeper. I'm open to the idea of plain ol' cereal and almond milk, but the only cereal I've enjoyed is Trader Joe's granola clusters and those things are like, 250 calories per tiny, tiny handful. I've already banned those (reluctantly) from the house. Suggestions? Something relativel... Tue, 25 Sep 2012 18:43:17 EST I haven't written since June. Yikes! What's new? Wow, I fell off the wagon again, as I tend to do. I'm back up to 180 pounds, although people tell me I look lighter than 180. I've still retained a lot of muscle from my swimming days, so I guess that's where a lot of the weight is sitting. <BR> <BR> My gym surge obviously died out, but it's starting up again (I'll get to that momentarily). I had a really, incredibly fun summer meeting new people and sitting on the beach near my apartment in Venice, drinking cocktails, getting drunk, seeing ... Tue, 25 Sep 2012 01:44:57 EST Screw the haters Tell them "F U" and be your own woman. <BR> <BR> Or man. <BR> <BR> Or android. Fri, 22 Jun 2012 13:22:06 EST How much money do you save by eating at home? I'm a married college student whose financial situation has changed recently. My federally funded campus job has been cut, so it will be just my husband's income after the summer (half of his monthly income goes to rent). We've always been frugal, but we typically eat out for lunch since I'm on campus and he's at work. Now that I'll have some extra time to prepare meals, I can finally start cooking full-time at home and start packing lunches. My problem is that my husband is an active 6'3" Eu... Mon, 18 Jun 2012 16:54:03 EST Stop fearing... ...and go to the gym! <BR> <BR> That's been my motto this week. Several entries back, I wrote about my slight social anxiety and how everywhere I go, I think that people are judging me and laughing at me. Like, if I walk by two or more people and I hear them laughing, I automatically think they are laughing at me. Surely a product of being bullied all throughout grade school! <BR> <BR> I thought the same thing about going to the gym, which is why my membership had been collecting dust for t... Fri, 8 Jun 2012 13:33:51 EST First time doing pilates And my legs are sooooooooooore! I took a nap and I woke up to this nonsense. Hahaha. <BR> <BR> I actually like pilates! It's like a more intense version of yoga, I guess. Time went by very fast. I was going to work out tomorrow, but if I am still too sore, I'll skip out. I could find a work out for an area that isn't too sore though. I did go swimming last night at 10:00 PM at the gym. I swam maybe a quarter mile by the time 30 minutes hit and I was exhausted. I was like, "HAY GUISE, REMEMB... Thu, 7 Jun 2012 20:49:31 EST Drinking water to feel full? After a meal, I'm almost always within my calorie limits but I still feel SOOOO hungry. How do you guys curb this? Is it true that drinking a lot of water helps? I've been drinking a lot of it but I don't feel a difference. :-( Thu, 7 Jun 2012 17:51:51 EST I just unleashed unbridled Asian rage on 24 Hour Fitness customer service. That was pretty awesome. [NOTE: IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED BY FOUL LANGUAGE, DO NOT READ THIS BLOG. THANK YOU] <BR> <BR> This is something else, because I am usually very, very polite to customer service since I know what it is like to deal with sh*tty customers all day. But I was absolutely furious. <BR> <BR> I've been a continuous member of 24 Hour Fitness since June of 2010. I hold a Sport All-Club access membership at the fee of $30 a month. I opened my membership at the Super Sport club in Hollywood because I ... Mon, 4 Jun 2012 18:51:30 EST Quite possibly the best meal I've ever cooked at home <link><BR>serious-eats-halal-cart-style-chicken-<BR>and-rice-white-sauce-recipe.html </link> <BR> <BR> No freaking lie. Oh man. I am so stuffed. I'm going to bed happy. <BR> <BR> I'm sure a few tweaks could be made to make it a bit healthier without compromising the taste. I used a nonfat plain Greek yogurt, vegan butter, and I used chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs and it was STILL AMAZING. Wed, 2 May 2012 02:38:21 EST "Weird vegetarian" I know this girl who describes herself as a vegetarian, but a "weird vegetarian," she says. <BR> <BR> She doesn't like meat; it grosses her out. But she also doesn't like fruit or vegetables. So she basically survives off of starchy carbohydrates and dairy. More specifically, boxed rice and pasta. Yet she's 5'8" and 123 pounds with an AMAZING body. Really strong abs. <BR> <BR> I HATE HER. (not really) <BR> <BR> Pfft. Tue, 1 May 2012 18:42:47 EST Another product on my "good" list! Hmmm. <BR> <BR> Tofurky is awesome. <BR> <BR> Daiya "cheese" is awesome. <BR> <BR> Bread is awesome. <BR> <BR> Put all three together, it's like one giant orgy of awesome. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Tofurky has a line of frozen pizzas and they teamed up with Daiya to create an awesome melty frozen pizza. Tofurky isn't stingy with toppings either. Amazing stuff. I just wish I bought another box! <BR> <BR> Amy's frozen meals are good too. Very convenient. <BR> <BR> Hey, loo... Tue, 1 May 2012 00:06:08 EST Long time! Vegan and other stuff So in general, I favor the vegan diet because I'm lactose intolerant and meat kind of grosses me out. I enjoy some meat dishes but overall, I don't think it's sanitary considering where the meat comes from. I could buy meat from humane farms but it's very expensive so overall, I just choose not to eat it. I also feel like a lot of the health problems Americans seem to have are connected to eating meat. Heart disease, cancer, and then there are are things like food poisoning and Mad Cow diseas... Tue, 24 Apr 2012 17:54:20 EST Still at 173! Even after Sunday's damage, I didn't gain anything. YESSSSS. Ugh, but I am DYING to get back to 150. Tue, 6 Mar 2012 02:10:57 EST Sunday at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market I went with my oldest sister, Nancy, to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Main Street today, which is just down the road from me. I am SO glad I went -- it was such a gorgeous day! I kept hoping to run into Christoph Waltz (Nazi guy from Inglourious Basterds) since I heard he goes there on occasion. I am in celebrity-love with that guy. Anyway, I admit, I was REALLY terrible with my diet today but it was DAMN worth it because I never, ever leave the house except to go to school. <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 5 Mar 2012 03:04:00 EST Lo and behold... I stepped on the scale this morning at 173! Finally! So I think I'm down 11 pounds since January? <BR> <BR> However, I probably ruined it tonight by cooking and eating Asian stir fry (sodium bomb) and white rice. I went a little over my limit. But it was sooooooooooooooooooooo good. <BR> <BR> According to SparkPeople, I should be at 166. :-( Kinda discouraging but I gotta keep plugging. Sun, 4 Mar 2012 00:09:55 EST Stuck at 174 I've been stuck for a couple weeks now, if not longer. I've been counting calories vigorously, although without exercise since the pool is still closed to the public. It's supposed to open up again on Tuesday, so I'll be able to start swimming then. <BR> <BR> Hopefully exercise will fix it. Fri, 2 Mar 2012 00:02:30 EST I sold my treadmill I had to. It was just sitting there, collecting dust since 2009. I used it a few times, but ended up getting a gym membership -- and surprise, I didn't use either of them. I'll keep the gym membership though. I was kinda sad to sell it, but it was also taking up space in my tiny beach-side studio apartment. The apartment definitely looks brighter without the treadmill blocking part of the window. <BR> <BR> I'd rather swim than run anyway. :P Sun, 5 Feb 2012 16:48:24 EST Oh yeah... I have this crazy, crazy craving for a milkshake right now... any healthy substitutes one could recommend? Sun, 5 Feb 2012 02:24:28 EST 178 pounds Sooo cool. I actually weighed in at 177 the other morning, but I'm gonna say 178 because I had coffee the other day and my appetite was gone. I started off on Jan 2nd at 184 pounds and now on Feb 4th, I've been making really steady progress. I haven't even been working out, to be honest. I'm just counting calories. Once the pool opens up again, I'll start swimming and then the weight loss should really take off. <BR> <BR> I plan to spend a week in San Diego for Spring Break in April. SparkPe... Sun, 5 Feb 2012 01:27:31 EST