Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 5 - Food fight

This morning I went grocery shopping for the next week at my neighborhood supermarket.

(Technically, there are 4 grocery stores within spitting distance of each other in my neighborhood, but we'll just forget that fact for the moment.)

Let me tell you, grocery shopping on Halloween is a challenge. Everywhere I look, there are bags of heavily discounted candy intended for little-kid-mouths (but that could easily end up in mine!), not to mention all kinds of seasonal treats such as candied apples, caramel dip (in the produce section!), and fruity fall pies. I think I did well, though - I arrived armed with a list and was prepared to stick with it. 'Let's get in and get out, team', I said to myself (I'm the 'team').

I stuck to the perimeter of the store and stocked up on fresh veggies for salads, frozen chicken breasts, low-fat cheese, egg white-in-a-carton (kinda weird!), and non-fat greek yogurt (yum!).
I also took advantage of the 'Thanksgiving is coming' sales and stocked up on canned pumpkin. I started using canned pure pumpkin about a year ago after buying a cookbook and subscribing to e-mails that have an abundance of very low fat/low cal recipes using pumpkin instead of fat. I really like her stuff, so I'll be happy to share her website with you.

I'm planning to take the advice that I've been given on this blog and start to be more proactive this week about eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day to keep my energy and metabolism up. One of my biggest problems is that I eat so quickly. One of my work friends says that I'm the president of the 'fast eaters' club. She isn't exagerating. I tend to wait WAY too long to eat - I'm starving by the time I realize it and then I just start shoveling food in without noticing what it even is, or how much, that I'm eating. At work, I also often face the challenge of having my food stuck in a room that is frequently used at non-opportune times (such as 11am-1pm) for 'closed' meetings.

So my challenge this week is to do the following regarding food:

-Plan ahead for meals.

-Pre-prep for said planned meals. It's nice to plan to eat a big salad 4 out of 5 workdays, but do I feel like rinsing and chopping lettuce and cucumber at 5:45am? We all know the answer to that one. So I'll prep all the veggies that I need for the next few days today and store them in a big container that I can easily grab from while I'm stumbling around the kitchen half awake in the morning.

-Pack my lunch, or at least part of it, in a mini cooler bag so if I get 'locked out' of the sacred food storage room, I won't be tempted to sneak over to my co-workers desk and snag candy to appease my roaring stomach.

-Record everything I eat, all week long. Now this is a big challenge for me. I've used a variety of those free calorie counting websites and applications before, and they're oh-so-helpful. The issue is actually using them consistently. So let's try it for a week, starting today, and see how it goes.

And of course I plan to continue my little workout streak I've started. I walked around the lake yesterday with Tyler, and it was a lovely opportunity to get some natural Vitamin D and catch up on life. I think a key to continuing workouts is to schedule them into my calendar and stick to it! Let's embrace the irritating OCD planner in me and use it for good!

And by the way, I weighed myself today, and it appears that I am one pound lighter! Hooray! Now let's avoid the pitfalls of shoving Halloween candy into my mouth tonight and keep it in the little hands of sweet trick-or-treaters.

...well, maybe just one peanut butter cup....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 4 - The sweetest thing

It's the weekend! The time for relaxing, winding down, doing chores, lazily sleeping in is finally here!

Have you ever noticed that you work all week long looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday morning, which finally comes around, only to have your eyes pop open at 6:30am?

A mere hour later than you (or I at least) usually wake up?

That happens to me just about every week. I typically fight it and try to go back to sleep without success. This morning, though, I didn't fight it, and have a cup of deliciously smooth coffee next to me while I draft my telling of the failures and successes of yesterday to share with you.

Last night, after I finished a fairly decent workout at the gym, Tyler and I went to dinner to celebrate his birthday and our one year anniversary, despite him not feeling all that well after a much-too-long-week at work.

We didn't just 'go to dinner' - we patronized Chef Mavro, a rather lavish fine dining establishment, due to my having a gift certificate that I bought for half price on one of those internet deal sites. We don't usually go places that nice, and neither of us really knew what to expect.

We drove up, and there was a guy with a 2 liter bottle of soda and a laptop sitting under a little tent. Tyler and I didn't understand this, as it was self park. We thought that perhaps he ensures that only restaurant patrons park in the lot - but as we were walking towards the restaurant, he disappeared magically, like a leprechaun. I was commenting on this when we realized that he had gotten up to hold the restaurant door open for us. I think it was at that point that we realized my gift certificate was, err, not quite going to be enough for dinner.

Regardless, we carried on.

We walked in, and the restaurant had the air of wealth to it. There was not just one host, but two (which is unheard of at a small restaurant, at least any restaurant that I've ever worked at) available to walk us to our intimate table by the window. We were not given menus, which made me feel slightly nervous. 'They can tell we don't belong here', I thought...

Finally we were given menus, which were laid out rather uniquely - you had an option of a 3 course meal, a 4 course meal, a 6 course meal, or to try ALL the dishes the chef makes, in tasting portions. I laughed remembering a great movie I once saw where the main character went to the restaurant of her dreams and ordered ALL the menu items. I considered doing this until I saw the price of that option. Yikes. Is there gold in the dishes or something?

Long story short, we both ordered the 4 course menu and it was delicious. I had this whipped brie cheese on a small pat of sweetbread with figs and wine reduction sauce and just YUM! They served opakapaka with some lightly foamed sauce over a large homemade crouton with tempura asparagus, and pork medallions wrapped in oyster wraps with paper-thin sliced veggies and quite possible the most amazing au jus sauce I've ever had.

And dessert.

Are you ready for this?

Well, let's back up a bit and have me say that I LOVE dessert.

When I was a little girl, and my mom can attest to this, I used to eat dessert first ALL the time when we would go to restaurants.

'Why wait until you're full', I would think to myself in a shrill 6 year old voice. I think I was afraid I wouldn't have room for it and wanted to be sure that I was able to enjoy my favorite part of the meal. (I guess the concept of self control wasn't really familiar to me.)

So I pretty much live for dessert. But, I won't eat it unless it's really, really good. I once heard someone say that when you eat something that's unhealthy, ask yourself, 'Is this as good as I thought it would be?' If the answer is 'no', then stop eating it right then. If it's 'yes', then continue on. And if it's 'better than I thought it would be', then savor it and remember!

Last night's dessert was a rendition of s'mores. As a former girl scout, s'mores carries quite a bit of nostalgia for me. It reminds me of camping, cabins, scary story telling with flashlights, slumber parties, lakes, cold weather, and warm fires. I recall many nights of girl scout camping and always looking forward to the end of the campfire where we would look for sticks to mush our marshmallows on, and then roast them over the fire. I was always that girl that would take extra care roasting it - never setting it on fire, and patiently waiting until the entire exterior was golden brown with the inside an ooey, gooey melty mess. Sometimes I'd throw a piece of the chocolate bar into the marshmallow to ensure that it would melt right along with the marshmallow, then sandwich it immediately between two honey graham crackers and take a giant bite. Mmmmmm. Memories.

So I was very excited about this dessert. And when they brought it out, my eyes bugged out like a cartoon. It was like Pavlov's conditioning experiment - I instantly started salivating. That's because it looked like this:

The lovely server started to describe my dessert, as they had done with each dish. On the upper left is a rosemary toasted marshmallow resting on top of a rich dark chocolate mousse, married with a gingerbread sauce. On the bottom right is a 'graham' cracker (but very thin and not at all graham like) sandwiched with homemade mint ice cream and dark chocolate sauce.


And it was much, much better than I thought it would be. So I ate the entire thing (Tyler got a bite, too), even though it was likely an entire day's worth of calories.

Guess I'll be eating all veggies today to make up for it!

But that's ok. I had planned for this, and I've been eating really well (besides the cookies on the first day). Yesterday at work there was an abundance of cookies and candy and all kinds of delicious looking treats that various co-workers had brought in for Halloween. I was able to resist them because I knew I had something else to look forward to.

And I think that's key. It's important for me to eat well 90% of the time, and to plan in 'treats' - not necessarily food - but something. Several years ago I was on a major exercise kick at the start of a new year. I had a goal of running a marathon (I didn't. I discovered I hate running. Though I did stick to my workouts!), and I knew that I would need some sort of reward system in order to maintain my heavy workout schedule.

I needed new exercise clothes anyway (as I had none), so I went to a discount store, bought about 8 new things, and wrapped each one individually in tissue paper.

Each week, as I completed my goals for exercising, I would get one of them as a 'present'. Yes, that's right - sort of like you would do with a child that you were potty training. I do realize how ridiculous that sounds.

But, hey, it worked! And I didn't run the marathon, but I did run (half, the other half I walked) another 8 mile run. And that was quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately, I don't have the funding available or the need of clothing to justify implementing another reward system like that - but I think getting married in 51 days is reward enough.

I'll talk tomorrow about my eating plan for the next week. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Thank you for all of the comments and encouragement, it really helps!

Enjoy your Saturday, and eat something delicious!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 3 - I think we're onto something here....

Disclaimer - do not only read this post halfway. I am not just making excuses. Mostly.

Thursday was an interesting day. I woke up late and in a major rush to get to work... so much so that I unintentionally forgot my workout bag. (Don't worry, I have it today!)

This presented a problem because my plan was to go to yoga right after my dermatologist appt (I have bad skin. See yesterday's post.), and my dermatologist appointment was right after work. With no lag time in between. Apparently I like to plan things on top of each other.

I rush home after work, grab my yoga gear, call the dermatologist to tell them I'm running late (with a hands free device, of course - safety first!), arrive at my appt only a few minutes late, rush to the gym with my yoga mat in tow, only to find... a very strange looking gym covered in fake cobwebs, with candy everywhere (what's WITH all these health providers giving out candy? Is it insurance for continued customers or something?), unhealthy treats set up on tables throughout the gym, and... a Zumba class going on.

Instead of yoga.

Even though it said '5pm, Yoga' on their website.

Now, you may be thinking 'So what? Do Zumba instead of yoga, slacker!'

I tried. They wouldn't let me.

Here's the issue - in yoga, one is barefoot.

I? Was wearing flip flops.

Because I thought I was going to do yoga.


Not Zumba.

On top of all of that, I had plans to eat dinner and visit with my 'second' family right after yoga, so there wasn't really time to make the half hour trek back home, grab appropriate footwear, book it back to they gym, workout, then make it in time for dinner.

So what did I do?

I went to dinner. And I stand by my decision! People are important, and workouts should not be prioritized at the expense of friendships.

And you know, I probably would have eaten dinner and then gone home to read or work on entering in wedding RSVP's to my spreadsheet or something....

....IF it weren't for this blog.

That's right! Because of all of YOU, my faithful 11 or so readers, I knew I had to power through.

I had to make the choice.

I had to carry on.

I had to.... do a workout at home after eating dinner complete with a glass of red wine.

That's commitment.

Or a recipe for disaster.

I was debating about doing a yoga video (I was afraid I'd fall asleep), or walking around the lake again (I had visions of a car running me over). I then remembered this latin dance exercise dvd that one of my favorite co-workers gave to me the other day! We have a winner, people! Latin dancing, it is! After all, sometimes people go out dancing after eating a big meal and having a few drinks - shoot, I used to be one of them back in my younger, fitter 20 something days (I'm only 29 now. But I'm old. I like to be in bed by 9pm.). 'I can do this', I thought to myself, mentally doing a little cheer.

I pop in the latin dance dvd with great anticipation. The leader of the exercise has a latin-ish accent! 'That's a good sign', I thought, 'Maybe I'll even learn some great dance moves that I can use at the wedding!'

I select the 'full abs' series on the dvd, though I must say I was tempted by the '5 minute abs in a hurry'.

I got through about 15 minutes of it before I felt like I was going to die. I started fast forwarding at that point and realized that it will take a fair amount of work and a likely miracle before I'm able to do these moves with the same ease and grace as the leader-accent-girl. At one point, I just started to make up my own dance. Thank God I live alone. Finally I had enough. Plus my abs hurt.

So I didn't do very much.

But the point is, people, that I DID do something. And I wouldn't have otherwise! Having friends to report to, regardless of whether they are virtual or not, is in fact an effective tool to help with motivation!

At least so far.

Thanks again for tuning in, and there will be much more to read throughout the weekend! Any suggestions on exercise to do tomorrow or Saturday? What's your favorite exercise?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 2 - does laughter count as exercise?

Day 1 started off with a bang. And by bang, I mean slow, lazy beginning.

I did well-ish with eating yesterday, until about 10am when my favorite-volunteer-friend-in-the-world-Brian shows up to help me at work with a carrier tray of delicious smelling peanut butter cookies rolled in sugar then drizzled with melted chocolate. 'Oh no', I thought, 'Sabotage!' Then I remembered my '90% of the time' rule. 'I can have ONE cookie', I thought to myself. 'After all, it would be almost RUDE not to! Look at how hard he worked!' So when he offered me a cookie, I graciously accepted, and took a heavenly bite. The cookie was just as I had dreamed it would be - soft, but not underbaked, sweet, but not sickly so, chocolate slightly hardened but not too firm. It was like paradise in a cookie. Unfortunately, after 2 bites, it was gone.

You all know where this is heading, right?

At least I didn't eat 90% of the cookies. I only ate 3.


I decided to compensate by only eating a small salad for lunch, 30 minutes after which I'm promptly starving. The cookies continued to taunt me and call out with their siren song, but I resisted and sunk my teeth into a shiny red apple instead. Yummy! Crunchy! But, not a cookie.

A few hours later, I'm heading home to start on my workout. Being the multi-tasker and planner that I am, I had a pre-arranged date with a girlfriend to walk briskly around the lake (about 3 miles). I must confess that I had planned to walk with her, catch up, then be a workout-superstar and continue onto my weekly weight lifting class (which I have a love/hate relationship with) at the gym. I had even written the start of a blog for today about it, hoping that by doing so, I would be motivated to actually stick with my double-dosage of workouts. I had big plans to wow all of you with my incredible drive and gumption.

It didn't happen. I arrived home, looked at the clock, realized how sweaty and tired I already was, took a shower, and ate a boca burger.

An hour or so later, Tyler (my fiance) stopped by on his way home from work to say hi, and we had a rather amusing conversation, albeit irrelevant to this blog. I'll share it with you anyway, and I'll work in an angle somehow.

Tyler has this baby's-butt-perfect-skin. You know, the kind that teenage girls (or myself) dream of and pray for. I think I've seen him with one small pimple in the year that we've been together, so it is understandable that he isn't familiar with acne medication terms.

I, on the other hand, sometimes think I should go into repping for pharmaceutical acne medication companies, I'm so familiar with them all.

But I digress.

While Tyler and I were chatting about our days, he mentioned this microscopic pimple on his nose. It was so small that I couldn't really even see it, but I felt the urge to try to help anyway.

Here's how our conversation went:

Him: "Look, I have this pimple on my nose, it's so weird!"

Me: "Do you want some salicylic acid to put on it?"

Him: "What I want is for you to never say that word again."

Me: (genuinely confused) "What? Salicylic acid?"

Him (imitating me in a mocking higher pitched and very funny voice): "Do you want to put some battery acid on your face? Not only will it take away your pimple, but it will also take away your flesh. You'll be a bone face! You won't have to worry about your skin anymore because you won't have any."

Me: (cracking up hysterically) "You're ridiculous. And I'm so putting this conversation in my blog.

Him: "Think of all the calories you just burned by laughing so hard!"

And there's the angle. It's stretch, I know. Hey, there's only so much I can say about exercise and diet.

So today's poll question is, just how many calories does one burn by laughing? Any guesses?

Day 1 - the experiment begins

In exactly 54 days, I will be walking down the aisle. I said walking, not waddling. At least I hope.

I've been struggling with my weight and fitness level for several years now. "Kate, you look great!" is what I always hear when/if I share about this. But I don't, not really. I'm about 25 pounds over what I would like to be - and I bet you women out there can relate to this. 25 pounds is just enough to make you feel gross without looking totally gross. To the untrained eye, I may look like I'm just a bit chubby, slightly big boned, or, my favorite, curvy.

Over the past 6 or so months, I've stepped up my workouts, lost some weight, went on a 3 week long vacation, gained some weight, came back home, counted calories, drank wine, ate fried food, ate salads, worked out some more, and pretty much look exactly the same. I love all things sweet and salty. I'm the girl that eats a lean cuisine and adds salt to it. I was at the dentist yesterday and they gave me an oh, so delicious chocolate chip cookie cup with peanut butter in the center because they know I love sweets so much. The dentist, people. This means something is wrong.

What in the world will make a difference? I'm not sure, but I have an inkling that blogging from now until the wedding will help with motivation, and hopefully provide some warped sense of accountability.

Here's my challenge.
54 days.
54 workouts.
54 days of eating right 90% of the time, with some room for the occasional delicious meal out (like an anniversary dinner with my fiance this weekend!).
54 blog entries.
And 54 supporters!
Are you with me?