Thursday, October 3, 2013

3.1 Miles - Check!

Ok, better late than never, but I did it! On Sunday, I ran my first 5k - the Pittsburgh Great Race. It was awesome!

The race was very well organized (other than the porta potty line I was in - people weren't willing to fight for their right to pee), and the view heading down from Oakland into Pittsburgh was amazing. It's such a different feeling running in a race surrounded by a crowd all supporting you and each other than running around the neighborhood.

Best part? I shattered my per mile pace. When I started this little running adventure, I was averaging almost 18 minutes per mile. Sunday? 14 and change. I was thrilled. I know for many that's not a fast pace, but for me it's a huge improvement.

My wife after finishing her first 5k
Me after I crossed the finish line.
Naturally, we celebrated my first race with my first post-race beer. Mmm...Pumpking.
A celebratory beer for my wife
Primanti Brothers and pumpkin beer. I love fall.
So what's next? I'm registered for the Freaky 5k at the end of October (taking costume suggestions now). And after that, I don't know exactly. I've been tossing around some longer-term goals, but nothing I'm really ready to commit to or even talk about yet. You know, superstitions and all that. But there are big things on the horizon. I can feel it!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

T-minus 24 Hours

Well...a little less. But let's go with it for dramatic effect.

The Pittsburgh Great Race is tomorrow. My first ever real, true race. (Not the first one I registered for, but the first one I'm actually going to do.) 

Today was packet pick-up and expo day. The expo was definitely smaller than the one we went to when Joe ran the marathon last year, but it was still fun. Picked up a new pair of running sunglasses (not risking losing my Fendis on the course!), snagged my bib and race shirt, and we're ready to go!

Then we headed to Fat Heads for some pre-race beers and sandwiches, and an amazing WVU win. 

Tonight we have a charity function to go to, then it's home to get ready. It's almost 5k time!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Power to the ME!

I'm a liar. A big, dirty liar. And not just because I said that I was going to be a more faithful blogger. Let's just overlook that little white lie, kthankx.

No, I lied in this post, when I said that I can't run. Or, more accurately, that I hate to run. Because I got inspired, and next week, I'm running my first-ever race, the Pittsburgh Great Race 5k. Here's what happened.

Have you seen the Athleta Power to the She ad campaign? It's empowering, it's beautiful - I absolutely love it. And one day I was flipping through Joe's Runner's World, because naturally, there can't be written material in my house I haven't read yet. And I saw this ad:

Be fierce. Be vibrant. Be energized. Layer up. Fuel up. Get outside. Run. Visualize. Run. Take a new path. Sport a new color. Hit the gym. Hit your local barre.Get motivated. Get invigorated. Get out and discover. Power to the She.
Image Source

And I thought to myself, I love fall. But yet I watch it from inside a building - inside the house, inside work, inside the gym... I want to smell the fall air and hear the leaves crunching beneath my feet. And I want to wear some hot fall running clothes like that chick. So I think I need to run.

The next day, it was a fluke low-60s August day. So I laced up my shoes and trusty ankle brace, and started off. Walking. Not running. And it felt AMAZING. So I picked up my pace. And ran a little, walked a little, repeat. And by the time I looped our 'hood and made it back home, I'd covered more than 2.5 miles. WHAT?!?!?! Hellz yeah!!

And you know what? I was sore for a couple of days. And it was hard. But I did it. And two days later, I did it again. And two weeks later, I did three miles. And it's amazing. The sense of accomplishment in doing something that I always thought I sucked at is incredible. Yes, sometimes it still hurts. It hurt this morning, in fact. But I am sticking with it.

Why? Because I can. I'm doing it for me. To paraphrase the ad with the super cute shirt, Power to the ME!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where ya been, girlfriend???

So I admit it. I took a blogging break two whole months after I started. Way to be, right? Why did it happen? In a quasi-nutshell, here's my story.

March - early April
Started comparing my successes (and, more honestly, failures) to the rest of the blogosphere. Why aren't I eating more kale? Ehrmagerd, she ran a half and a sprint triathlon in one weekend, and I didn't make it to the gym at ALL. Gah, I'm such a failure! Good grief!

That spun into obsession in other areas of my life: Why haven't in redone my kitchen cabinets with reclaimed wood from an old cathedral? Last season's shoes? I'm wearing last season's shoes AND I didn't make my own puff pastry and milk my own cow? AHHHH!!!!!

No matter where I looked, I was falling behind, so I took a self-imposed break from the blog world. And then...

Thanks federal government. (Yes that's a lowercase "f," compared to the big uppercase "f" I wanted to give them in another context.) Because of sequestration-induced lack of work, I was laid off effective May 1. Fabulous. Cue the stress eating.

Officially out of work and living off the state. But I spent time at the gym, submitted applications, and played with my little man, but I couldn't shake a horrible anxiety that kept increasing. Then, mid-month, the phone rang. My sister-in-law, husband Joe's only sibling, was gone. Pulmonary embolism while getting ready for work that morning. Thirty-nine years old, a husband, and a whole life ahead of her, cut short. And our world crashed down as I helped Joe heal and Nicholas to understand why Aunt Jodi wouldn't be around to play with him anymore. And we're still working on all of that.

Started a great new job with amazing new people doing just what I've dreamed about since I was in college. And while that's all fantastic, starting a new job is definitely one of life's top stresses. So I ate.

July 4, then a week at the beach, from which we just came home yesterday. And this morning I got on the scale. And do you know what it said???

Stress eating will make you gain weight. 

Well balls, who didn't know what was coming? So I'm back, because getting these thoughts out and being accountable to something larger than myself, good and bad, is important. And I will succeed. Screw bathing suit season, I have my eye on some amazing designer jeans. They will be mine.



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

33 While 33 Update and Progress Check

I've been 33 for 2 months (and 3 days, but who's counting), so I wanted to check in and see how I'm doing on my 33 while 33 goal list. I've made some progress on some goals, but even more, I wanted to add one to the list. The new one (and it's a biggie) is highlighted below in pink because, you know, pink is awesome.

1. Start a healthy living and fitness blog.

2. Track my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal daily.

I've had good and bad days with this one. But I'm making a concerted effort each and every day to be mindful and track what I'm eating.

3. Try one new recipe every two weeks.

The latest one: SkinnyTaste's Crockpot Sesame Honey Chicken. Amazing, like eating takeout without the guilt. Love that!

4. Make hitting the gym an appointment I'm not willing to break.

5. Go back to Spinning class.

6. Try a new group exercise class at the gym.

7. Do one thing for just for me every week.

8. Swim one mile in the pool at the gym.

9. Return to Onederland. If you've ever been to WW before, you know EXACTLY what I'm saying here.

10. Get organized - paperwork, closet, laundry room.
11. Turn the basement into a divided laundry room-gameroom.

12. Paint the baseboards.

13. Finish the kitchen wall redo. (beadboard? Like I said, some are lofty!)

14. Read a new book a month.

Doing well here: I started Jillian Michaels' new book, Slim for Life. Love it. And I love her because, well, you know, she's awesome.

I'm such a dork. And why is this pic so orange and weird? Whatevs, too lazy to take another. 

15. Toy overhaul.

16. Focus on eating more seasonal vegetables.

17. Plant a vegetable and herb garden this summer.

18. Play outside more often with Joe and Nicholas.

19. Take a family vacation.

20. Ride a bicycle outside. (I haven't done this since they passed a helmet law in my hometown when I was 12. I was afraid of helmet hair. Yes, that's 21 years, no bike.)

21. Go to the movies. I haven't been since The Hangover. The first one.

22. Go to a farmer's market.

23. Try more local restaurants. (aka, fewer chains)

24. Get a pedicure before summer.

25. Get up earlier. (Getting to work earlier = coming home earlier. Score!)

Ugh, drowning on this one. I am SO bad at getting up. And being sick for the past week has not helped matters, either. Can't breathe = can't sleep = can't get up. 

26. Take more pictures!!!!!

27. Post my recipes on this here blog. Healthy and not - moderation is key!

28. Be more independent.

29. Don't allow myself to feel guilty.

30. Overhaul my closet - if I don't feel good in it, it's gone. Life is too short to feel frumpy.

31. Stop allowing people to push me around.

32. Take Nicholas to his first baseball game.

33. Enjoy the moment when I'm in it. Life is too short to look back and wish you'd enjoyed it more.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Warning: Heavy stuff ahead.

Remember the old '70s TV show MASH? They lied. Well, more specifically, the theme song lied. The title of that instrumental little ditty is "Suicide Is Painless." But I'm here to tell you that's not true.

Suicide is not painless.

Sure, the person who dies escapes their pain. But those who are left behind face a lot more pain than they ever imagined.

Case in point: My mom. Her heart cath went great on Friday (YAY!) - minimal blockage in one artery, not even enough to treat. So they closed her up and sent her home. And while that is wonderful news, what's causing her pain and health issues? And I firmly believe it is my nephew's suicide, one year ago.

Emotional pain and stress takes a great toll on the physical body. And the pain of losing someone who had so much going for them, and so much to live for, is immense. When there appears to be no outward reason, sometimes it can feel like you've just been kicked in the gut. Repeatedly. Hard. And it sucks. And dealing with that pain can cause health issues you didn't even realize are connected to the loss. 

Suicide is not painless. It leaves so much pain for those left behind. If you or someone you know is struggling with these kind of thoughts, get help. Call a friend. Call your doctor. Call a counselor. Call ANYONE. Because it can get better.

You have options.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Climbing Up from a Downward Spiral

Last week was rough. Like I felt like a total Debbie Downer and didn't want to pass that on to you via the Interwebs kind of rough. It was contagious like a night with the sorority skank. So I didn't write. And that was wrong, and I'm sorry. The whole purpose of this here blog is to write about how I'm doing and now I'm feeling, etc. etc. etc. Fail. Forgive me? Pretty please? I know, you can't resist my face.

So here's what's up:
1. I work for a government contractor. Life in this world is uncertain now, what with all the talks about sequestration and furloughs. Stress.
2. After a few rounds of tests, my mom found out on Thursday she is headed for a heart catheterization this coming Friday. Perhaps they'll put in a stent, perhaps they won't need to do anything, or, God forbid, if something is really blocked they'll do a bypass then and there. The orders are to come prepared to stay. Stress.
3. My sprained ankle is still there, still sprained. Healing, but still sprained. So my gym time (and the ability to blow off steam that accompanies it) has been nill. Stress.

Needless to say, all of this, along with the normal stress of everyday life, has put me in a funk. A fonk, as I prefer to put it. And that's not right, and I know it. But it's a downward spiral. I have been losing the same 2 pounds, then gaining them back over the weekends, for the past couple of weeks. It's time to break the cycle. And I'm working on it, really I am. So bear with me, please. Because I need you and your support, too.

Have you ever had a stressful time that has derailed you on your trip to healthy living? How do you handle it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A River (of Cookie Butter) Runs Through It

Today's breakfast showcased my love of oatmeal. On tap this morning? Pumpkin pie oatmeal. Warm, comforting, healthy and all-out amazing.

First, the mix-ins - not too attractive, right?

Admittedly, not super attractive

1/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon sugar mix
1 Tbsp Trader Joe's cookie butter (if you don't own this, WHY?!)
Sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice

Mix into a bowl of cooked oatmeal, and voila. Pumpkin pie in a bowl:

Much better
And the best part? When you get partway through, you find a river of molten cookie butter running right through the middle. And that just makes your entire morning a little bit more awesome.

Finally, today was my almost 6-month follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon. Time to figure out why my foot is hurting me again. My prize for today? Another ankle brace to add to my collection. Looks like I sprained my ankle. Again. But it's nothing structural, so as long as it doesn't hurt, I can work out as comfortable. A better result than I was worried I was going to hear, but can I just say, I am sick of this stupid foot. Anyone want to trade?

Do you own cookie butter? Why not?!?!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Date Night and Menu Planning

Last night Joe and I went to the Bonefish Grille for a belated Valentine's Day date. (Well, not really belated for us - we always go on the weekend around V-Day because who wants to feel like you have a curfew on a work night?)

White cranberry cosmo - hello lover.
Dinner was amazing. I know a lot of people are anti-chains, but BFG (yes, we're on initial terms) is fresh and awesome. And the martinis and bang bang shrimp alone are worth it.

We both had the imperial wolf fish special. It was stuffed with shrimp and crab, and just fantastic. (And no, I didn't take a picture. I forgot. See picture above.) Then we came home and watched Skyfall on demand. Awesome - one of the best Bond movies I've ever seen and I've seen three. So no, I didn't track calorie one last night. But you have to have times like that - times where you just enjoy being with the person you love and don't think through every bite you put in your mouth. I know, I know, that contradicts one of my 33 while 33 goals, but that's why they're called goals.

This morning was spent menu planning so we can hit up the grocery store this afternoon when we pick up the short man. (If we go without him and he can't go in the playland, we're gonna be in for a rough ride.) This is how this week is shaping up:

Sunday: Rotisserie chicken and macaroni and cheese with peas
Monday: Steak salads
Tuesday: Shrimp fajitas
Wednesday: Penne with vodka sauce and salads
Thursday: BBQ apple chicken bacon quesadillas from Iowa Girl Eats
Friday: White pizza

Do you menu plan and attack the grocery store with a list? Or do you go all Food Network and just let the food speak to you?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

33 While 33

I apologize for my absence these past couple of days - I was in a foul mood and followed the M.O. if I don't have anything nice to say, I wasn't saying anything at all. So I went radio silence, but I have been thinking a lot about this post.

33 While 33

Ok, I turned 33 on January 3. But rather than spending this year just working toward an overall healthy living goal, I want to focus on 33 goals. Some are smaller, some are more lofty. Some are related to healthy eating, some to fitness, and some are more life-focused. And because my birthday is a little more than a month past, I threw in some gimmes - a few that I've already accomplished this year that I can cross off the list. A little bit of a jump start. So, without further adieu...

1. Start a healthy living and fitness blog.

2. Track my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal daily.

3. Try one new recipe every two weeks.

4. Make hitting the gym an appointment I'm not willing to break.

5. Go back to Spinning class.

6. Try a new group exercise class at the gym.

7. Do one thing for just for me every week.

8. Swim one mile in the pool at the gym.

9. Get organized - paperwork, etc.

10. Organize my closet.

11. Turn the basement into a divided laundry room-gameroom.

12. Paint the baseboards.

13. Finish the kitchen wall redo (beadboard? Like I said, some are lofty!)

14. Read a new book a month.

15. Toy overhaul.

16. Focus on eating more seasonal vegetables.

17. Plant a vegetable and herb garden this summer.

18. Play outside more often with Joe and Nicholas.

19. Take a family vacation.

20. Ride a bicycle outside. (I haven't done this since they passed a helmet law in my hometown when I was 12. I was afraid of helmet hair. Yes, that's 21 years, no bike.)

21. Go to the movies. I haven't been since The Hangover. The first one.

22. Go to a farmer's market.

23. Try more local restaurants. (aka, fewer chains)

24. Get a pedicure before summer.

25. Get up earlier. (Getting to work earlier = coming home earlier. Score!)

26. Take more pictures!!!!!

27. Post my recipes on this here blog. Healthy and not - moderation is key!

28. Be more independent.

29. Don't allow myself to feel guilty.

30. Overhaul my closet - if I don't feel good in it, it's gone. Life is too short to feel frumpy.

31. Stop allowing people to push me around.

32. Take Nicholas to his first baseball game.

33. Enjoy the moment when I'm in it. Life is too short to look back and wish you'd enjoyed it more.

Wow, that was harder than I thought! Like I said, some are more concrete than others. But that's ok, it's my list. Here we go!

Do you have any goals for this year?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Girlie Saturday

It's time once again for one of my favorite days - hair day! A few foils and a trim later, and I'm back to my blonde(r) self. So thrilled, I even took a car picture.

I'm from WV - big hair don't care.
The husband had a 12-mile marathon training run scheduled at the same time I was at the salon (yes, sometimes I even still call it the beauty parlor), so the little man was at Grandma's from late morning through early afternoon. So you know what that means: impromptu lunch date! We headed to a local bar/restaurant that has long been one of our favorites. On my menu? Smithwicks, a cajun chicken sandwich (half the bun) and five onion rings. And how did I feel afterward? Amazing? Like I could take on the world? Eh, not so much. More like I could feel the cheese hardening my arteries as I walked out. That's the trouble with focusing on eating healthy 90% of the time, then reverting back to the WAY old ways - you remember why you transitioned away from that lifestyle. Not saying you can't have some splurge meals; but it helps you harness that feeling of ugh when the journey gets rough.

So dinner tonight was bite size: buffalo chicken wontons. Because everything is better in wonton form.

Eat me.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Excuse me while I engage in a bit of a pity party. My evil ankle (my new name for ol' righty here) has been giving me problems for a while now. What started out as a few awkward steps has turned into a more consistent ache and swelling. Maybe those awkward steps caused a sprain, I'm not sure. But what I do know is that my gym time has been severely limited for the past couple of weeks. Even riding the stationary bike has been a challenge. So I've been focusing more on swimming workouts. Fantastic, that's my favorite anyway. Except my gym has scheduled a class for 6 p.m. EVERY WEEKNIGHT, which occupies the entire pool, no lap swimming allowed. Are you freaking kidding me? Everyone has a right to workout, I totally support that. But come on! Allow us lap swimmers to come in a couple of days after work too! All's fair, right?

So with limited workouts this week, along with fun body issues we shall not discuss in public, my weight has been all over the place - up one day, down the next, and so on and so forth. And I get to that point of frustration, where it feels like all of the work that I AM able to put in ends up being for naught. Which I know isn't true - every positive decision I make is a step in the right direction, whether I realize it at that moment or not.

I have to get out of the instant gratification mindset. Maybe I don't see a lower number on the scale this week, but maybe my skinny jeans fit just a bit better this week than last. And I'm making healthy decisions for my body, which is making me a healthier person overall. And that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Your turn: When you have a week that doesn't go as planned, how do you cope? Do you just throw in the towel? Or do you find other ways to keep pushing toward your goals?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Not Without a Fight!

Sometimes, getting healthy is hard. Sometimes it just plain sucks. There have been times when I've made something that promised to be healthy AND delicious and ended up tasting like yard when I've thought to myself, why? Why can't this just come naturally? Why can't I just eat whatever I want, go for an occasional walk and still look ah-mah-zing in a bikini? This sucks, I'm not doing it. I will just learn to be happy with who I am.

But then I hear this: Heart disease is the number one killer of women. And then I think, I wouldn't ride in a car without a seatbelt. If I'm drinking, I give the keys to someone who isn't. So why would I let a love of nachos take me away from my family? And I decide that I will not go gently into that good night! I will stand up and fight! Because getting healthy isn't just about skinny jeans, it's about continuing to live this amazing life that I've built for myself.

If you haven't already made up your mind to take your life back, do it now. February is Go Red for Women® month, and the Go Red for Women Web site is full of resources about how you can change your life for the better. Fight back - you're worth it!

© 2012, American Heart Association. Also known as the Heart Fund.
TM Go Red trademark of AHA, Red Dress trademark of DHHS.
(image source)

Please note: This is not a sponsored post. It just reflects my feelings - I want you to join me in getting healthy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Surviving Super Bowl

HA! Did you think by the title that I was going to recap the actual game? Unless you're talking about Beyonce's performance or the commercials, maybe even the blackout, I got nothin'. I may live in Steelers country, but when it comes to sports, I'm a college fan more than the pros. Nevertheless, Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday of sorts, and that means the food and drinks will be flowin'.

So to kick the day off, after some peanut butter banana stuffed French toast (argh, I keep forgetting the pics!), I headed to the gym for a swim. Half an hour and 700 meters later, I came home like this:

Hawtt, right? Complete with bad camera angle!

I then made baked crab rangoon to take to my in laws to watch the big game. These are modified from Iowa Girl Eats' recipe, and they're fantastic. Like can't stop at 7 1 fantastic. But at around 40 calories apiece, go ahead! My thought is, if it keeps me out of the nachos, it's a win! I totally cheaped out and used imitation crab (I'm hooked on these things - have been for years), but the taste is still there and they totally hit the spot.

Baked Crab Rangoon

24 wonton wrappers
1 package (4 oz) imitation crab chunks (Crab Delights)
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek  yogurt
2 green onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Spray mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place one wonton wrapper over each muffin cup and press until it forms a little bowl.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Place a tablespoon of filling in each wonton wrapper. Wet the edges with water and press together to form a little pocket, like the picture above. Mist wontons lightly with cooking spray. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

How did you handle yesterday? Lights stay on where you were?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Warm Food on a Cold Winter's Day

Annnddd I'm officially over winter. I woke up this morning to a 7 degree day with a wind chill of -15. Usually about February I'm done with winter, and this year is proving to be no exception.

Still battling trouble with my ankle, today was a self-imposed rest day. So I warmed up with calorie- and waistline-friendly fare that still hit the spot on a cold winter's day.

Have I mentioned how much I heart oatmeal? No? Must have been waiting for our third date to reveal that one. Yup, me and Wilfred Brimley can't get enough of the Quaker man. But I like mine with fun mix-ins - a Tbsp of peanut buttter for protein, and a Tbsp of white chocolate chips because they're damn awesome. And still around 350 calories, give or take.

Lunch was Nicholas' choice, so chicken tenders and fries it was. Nothing too exciting there, we all know what a nugget looks like. So no picture. Just close your eyes and imagine it.

I know I've mentioned my love for SkinnyTaste. I have yet to find a recipe that we all didn't love. Tonight's was no exception - crockpot chicken cacciatore. 

Rather than restating her recipe, since I didn't make any changes, I'll send you there to read it. And take your time to look around - plenty of awesomeness to go around on that site. (Love, a Groupie.) 

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get a swim in before heading to my in-laws to watch the Super Bowl. Don't you love trying to eat healthy on what is essentially a national gorge-fest holiday? What are your strategies for making bypassing the nachos? Or do you just dive in headfirst, and only come up for air on Monday morning?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Foot Fault

Thursdays are usually a workout day for me. But my bad ankle has been giving me trouble over the past week - causing me to stumble going downstairs, giving out on me mid-step, etc. Truthfully, I think I have been pushing it a bit to hard. Since New Year's, I've been working out around 4 times per week - maybe a bit too much 4 months post-surgery when I'm still battling swelling and instability.

Message received. So today, I focused on watching my food intake to stay in my target range, and came home from work and put my feet up.

So I don't have a workout to share, but I do want to share one of my favorite breakfasts with you: peanut butter cup CoCo Wheats. Be prepared - this one is a hard one! :-P

3 Tbsp CoCoWheats
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp PB
1 cup water

Microwave the CoCo Wheats and sugar in the water in 30 second increments until it reaches your desired texture. Stir in peanut butter and enjoy! (Once it cools - this stuff gets HOT!)

And the best part is, this tastes like you're being really bad, and it's not bad at all - less than 300 calories for one bowl. Love!!!

Mmmm, peanut butter cup-y goodness!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No I Can't Run

Remember that old Phil Collins song? "I can't dance. I can't walk." Well I can't run.

The winter after Nicholas was born (what was that 2010? gah), the husband and I decided to do a 5k to help us get back into shape. So we started a Couch to 5k training plan. About 3 weeks in, I stumbled on the treadmill, and stumbled again the next day. That started a 2.5-year cycle of pain in my right ankle, orthopedic surgeons, X-Rays, MRIs and one evil cortisone injection, all culminating in a foot surgery to remove an extra bone that was jabbing into a cyst caused by - you guessed it - the stumble on the treadmill.
Scars are awesome. Ignore the cankle-esque look of this picture - I do have foot bones.

Along the way, I kept saying that I wanted to run. I wanted to be a racer - the race culture seemed so awesome, with people in costumes and crowds cheering you on as you push toward a goal. But in the end, I have to admit to myself that I hate running. What's more, I have a hard time doing it. Between the surgery and the tendonitis running rampant through my foot, a couple of miles on the pavement often  = a couple days of pain. And maybe that will change as the pounds drop off. But in the meantime, I need to focus on what I do enjoy.

And what is that? Swimming. And cycling. I have taken Spinning before, and I will again. And I'm happiest and most at peace when cutting through a cool pool. And maybe that's ok. Maybe I need to come to terms with who I am and what I enjoy, not what other people decide is fun. Accepting myself - a novel concept!

Are there any workouts you enjoy, and any that you avoid like the plague? Want to come to Spinning with me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Workouts a la Pinterest

Typically, I work out in the gym. I'm one of those people who likes the atmosphere, and finds it easier to focus on working out there rather than churning on the treadmill in the basement. But yesterday, I couldn't make it. It would have been so easy to blow it off with some jalapeno Tostitos and salsa, but instead, my mind went to the 800 workouts I've pinned to my Fitness Pinterest board. Specifically, the Tone It Up Lean Arms Pyramid.

I pinned this via Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers, originally from here
I like the sound of a pyramid workout - start out with a set of reps, change exercises for each set of 10 on the way up, then repeat in reverse. I changed it up to make it work for me (aka, my free weights were buried somewhere in the basement, so I had to make modifications, and did one pyramid for each body part I wanted to focus on - arms, legs and abs).  In the end, it was a solid, sweaty, 30-minute workout.

10 pushups
20 dips
30 uppercuts (both arms punching = 1 count)
40 cross body jabs (both arms punching = 1 count)
50 count plank
**repeat in reverse**

10 calf raises
20 squats
30 lunges
40 toe touches (1 set standing, 1 set sitting)
50 count wall sit
60 jumping jacks
**repeat in reverse**

10 standing knee raises
20 reverse crunches
30 plank jacks (when I couldn't finish the last set of these, I supplemented with 10 count superman)
40 crunches
**repeat in reverse**

I love that I can swap in exercises that work the areas I need to focus on most. And today? I'm sore. Like SORE. Successful at-home workout!

Your turn: Do you exercise at home? Or are you solely a gym rat?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lucky Number Seven

I've had a couple of good weeks on the scale - down 1.5 last week and 1.9 this week. Grand total, as if you couldn't tell from the title of this post? Seven pounds! Around five since I started this blog, but seven since I registered with My Fitness Pal. So rather than quibbling over the timing on a couple of pounds, I'm going to just go with seven. Sah-wheet!!

What have I learned? Well, as much as I enjoy watching the scale go down, I can't be overly strict. I know, you hear it all the time - if you don't allow yourself to indulge once in a while, you'll go overboard and binge. So I'm still trying to strike the right balance for me. It's a learning process. I think I said before that I was getting pretty cocky with WW, and it's easy to do in general, to think that you can splurge more often than not and still keep it in check. But it's a delicate balance, and I'm still working on mine.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy my -7. Whoot!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WW vs.s MFP: The Battle Rages On

As I said in my About Me post, I did Weight Watchers for a few years with great success. I lost around 30 pounds, and when I was following the program, it mostly stayed off. But the key to that sentence is following the program. I paid them a lot of money to run well over my weekly points allowance and gain and lose the same 2 pounds over the course of a year or so.

So now I'm using the My Fitness Pal site/app to help me on this phase of my journey. Why MFP vs. WW? Here's a lowdown of my reasons. Remember, these opinions are mine and mine alone, so don't carve them into your arm take them as law.

The Price
I like shoes. And saving money to buy more shoes? I like that even more. The thing is, if I was struggling to stay on track, I'm not going to donate money to the WW bottom line. MFP is free. So the only thing getting padded if I don't follow it is my rear end.

As weird as it sounds, I started to consider myself somewhat of a Points expert. I thought I knew enough about WW Points values to estimate what I was eating without looking it up. Every day I was on track, yet I never seemed to lose. Hmmm...something's not adding up there.
The Plan
At the risk of offending Jennifer Hudson, I didn't like the new Points Plus plan. The shift away from calories and toward macronutrients, I didn't care for. I don't like low carb, and that was definitely pushed on the PP plan, at least at the meetings I attended. Couple that with what came to be known to me as "punishment points" for alcohol (e.g., giving booze more points to discourage you from drinking it and eating a mozzarella stick), and it didn't suit my lifestyle before. Momentum worked for me; PP didn't.

I miss WW, because I felt safe and successful there. And maybe some day I'll go back when I'm tired of MFP. But for now, that's where I stand in the never-ending battle between weight loss plans.

Your turn: Do you prefer WW over MFP, or vice versa? Or do you even track at all? 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pick Up...Dust Yourself Off

So as I said, yesterday was a rough one. How rough? See for yourself.


Yes, you see that right, I was 809 calories in the red yesterday, according to My Fitness Pal. Why? Because I ate my feelings in the form of Red Robin. I knew I was doing it, and I knew that I was going to feel guilty for not choosing one of the healthy options they have, but I did it anyway. I was having a rough day mentally and emotionally, and I did it.

But today is a new day. And I had a healthy eating plan, culminating in Greek stuffed peppers - orzo, feta, chickpeas. Delicious, right?

So pretty!
 Negative. Too much oregano and too much red wine vinegar combined to make me feel like I was licking a cologne bottle not that I've ever done that. Ick. So scrap that and we're having pita pizzas. An old Weight Watchers standby, but it got the job done. And I'm under calories for today, so I'm happy with it. Although I'm starting to feel like I'm in a funk about traditional "healthy" food. I need to find something amazingly delicious and decadent feeling, but that will still allow me to stay on track. 

Any suggestions? I'm a fan of SkinnyTaste - I need to check and see what Gina has. But does anyone have any other recommendations?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rough One

Today was a rough one in my journey. I knew it would be. I'll go into more detail about the derailment tomorrow, but suffice it to say, chocolate chip pancakes with my little man were just what I needed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Emotional Eating

[Warning: heavy stuff ahead.]

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the hardest weekend in my life - the sudden death of my nephew, JT. He was only eight years younger than me - like the little brother I never had. And one Saturday morning, the phone rang, and he was gone. No farewell, no chance to say goodbye. Just gone. And it has been a long year, full of emotional eating. And I think that brought on some of the weight I'm battling today. Not all of it, but certainly some. And I often struggle with it - I'm sad, I want to eat something that will make me feel better. But it's just food. It doesn't control how I feel, and it can't heal the pain, no matter what that pain is from.

As my family marks the solemn one-year anniversary, it would be easy to fall back into that pit. But from that perspective, I consider today a success. I started the day with Starbucks' Perfect Oatmeal topped with brown sugar and nuts...

...and a grande nonfat latte. No syrup, no white chocolate mocha topped with whipped cream (my one-time drink of choice). Nope, just a plain latte with a packet of sugar and some cinnamon sprinkled on top. And it felt good. What's more, it tasted amazing.

Lunch was a vegetarian chili from Aladdin's Eatery, with feta and half a pita. Chinese takeout sounded amazing. Pizza? Awesome. But the bad food would only have fed the bad feelings, and I resisted.

This weekend will continue to be difficult. But my goal is to stay strong. Maybe I'll throw in a Spin class - I have extra emotion to burn. Better there than at the bakery.

What about you? Do you "eat your feelings?" Or do keel your emotions separate from what you put in your body?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Healthy Decisions - On the Fly

So how's this for a weird injury: Today, I pulled a muscle in my bum. Well, more my hip, but it's all that general bum-ish area. So what started out as a plan for stuffed buffalo chicken breast a la SkinnyTaste turned into me calling my husband and saying, "Can you grab something?" My first thought was something nice and unhealthy - if I'm going to blow my plans, then I'm going to blow them right. But then I remembered something I saw in Self's December issue on my Kindle Fire: The No-Cook Diet.