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?