Monday, November 30, 2009

022. Sick

So, I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with a flu or something. I feel terrible. I'm not even sure if I'm going to make it out to Chris's dad's house.

Oh wait, I was supposed to leave almost 3 hours ago. Why am I still at home you ask?

Well, apparently, someone hit Chris's car in the parking lot while he was at work. Thankfully someone saw it happened and got the cops there before the person who hit his car could get away. Chris's are is still driveable, but he didn't want to take it out on the hour drive to his dad's.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), as the night as gone on, I've started to feel much worse. I've got chills and I keep getting this horrible stomach pains. They're awful.

I look so sick and pathetic don't I?

I'm considering walking over to the CVS across the street to buy a thermometer (I lost mine in the move.) and possibly some meds. I'm pretty sure I have a fever. I don't know what to buy though. I want my mommy. :( I am such a huge baby when I get sick. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often.

021. Totally Random Smattering

So, first of all, I've got a few photos of random eats photos that never got posted. These are from the last two weeks or so.

Broccoli, onion, canadian bacon, and sharp cheddar cheese omelet.

Homemade whole wheat toaster waffles with pomegranite arils and a pumpkin sauce.

French toast stuffed with cream cheese frosting.

Lightened up Chicken Parm - there was also a heaping pile of spaghetti squash that was eaten later due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. Chris bought a squash too big to fit in the microwave so I had to bake it.)

Alright, now on to today's eats.
Breakfast was an Arnold Sandwich Thin with Trader Joe's Almond Butter and Sorell Ridge Black Raspbery 100% Fruit spread.

The photo is actually from dinner last night, but lunch today was leftover Pasta e Fagioli.

Dinner was just some scrambled eggs. My stomach has been bothering me most of the afternoon so I opted for something pretty bland.

I believe I also promised pictures of my Christmas decorations thus far.

From the inside...(I apologize, it's a pretty poor picture)

and from the outside...

Obviously, I'm the top left unit.

I need to get going. I was supposed to be on the road to Chris' dad's about an hour ago, but since I overslept this morning and was late for work, I ended up staying a late. Time to pack up and head out for more Christmas decorating tomorrow!

I've got the camera packed!

020. Financial Health is Important Too!

I’m pretty sure Caitlin is a mind reader. This afternoon she posted her Responsible Spending Challenge, and the post couldn’t have been more timely.

I’m not bad with money, but recently my spending has been out of control. I actually saw a “negative number”* in my checking account for the first time ever!

I know the two primary reasons I’ve been spending so much lately, but it really needs to stop. The first reason I’ve been spending so much is my condo. I’ve bought a lot of stuff for the condo in the last two month. A lot of that spending was a one time thing. Now that we’re getting settled things should start to taper off. The second reason I’ve been spending a lot is my weight loss. In the last two months I’ve bought a TON of clothes – way more clothing that I would ever buy in the same time period – because I’ve really needed them. My work clothes were starting to look really sloppy because they were just too big. I’ve got enough clothes now, and I shouldn’t need to buy more for a while.

So what are the goals of my responsible spending challenge?

- Limit eating out to once a week. – I/ We really don’t eat out that often, but this is a quick and easy way to cut costs.
- Find a plan for splitting grocery costs with Chris – for the most part I’ve been footing the grocery bill because I make more money. I really don’t mind this; however, after seeing how much we actually DO spend on groceries in a month, I realize we need to come up with a set split for the bill.
- Set up a account to analyze spending.
- Create a monthly budget. – I am horrible at budgeting. Seriously. I’m awful at it. Hopefully after my analysis, I can create something.
- Figure out a workable amount to put into savings each pay period and set up my direct deposit to automatically deposit that amount into my savings. - I spent about 75% of my savings on condo stuff (paint, a drier, etc.), and I haven't put anything back into it. Luckily, my savings account has a minimum balance of $2,500 so I do always have that cushion if I get into a pinch.

I may add goals after I do my spending analysis and create my budget.

*As a side note, I deduct my bills from my check register really far in advance. Most of the time I have my bills subtracted so far in advance, I get at least one pay check before the bills actually clear. Because of this, the balance in my check register is always significantly lower than the amount of money actually in my account; so while my check register showed a negative number, I actually had plenty of money in my account.

019. Shorty Post

My most recent Operation Beautiful contribution was posted today. Operation Beautiful is such an amazing movement! Seriously.

My whole day is off due to the fact that I overslept this morning. I re-set my alarm last night (after a glorious 4.5 day weekend!), but I forgot to turn it back on! Ooops! I ended up oversleeping about an hour and was late for work.

I promise a weekend recap and some photos when get home tonight. I wanted to get it done yesterday, but I got distracted by Bride Wars on TV.

Tonight Chris and I are heading out to his dad's house to help put up Christmas decorations. 'Tis the season! I always love going out to see his dad and step-mom. I'm planning to go for a run out there tomorrow morning and conquer the giant hill they live on!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

018. Happy Thanksgiving

This year I went with Chris to Thanksgiving with his dad's side of the family. It's always interesting to experience the holiday traditions of other families, and sometimes it's a little frustrating too! My family is small, and Chris' family is, well, not small. I think it takes a lot more work to orchestrate a meal with that many people.

My camera battery was dead and then I forgot to take it with me so I didn't get any pictures from turkey day, but c'est la vie.

Chris and I started Thursday morning with omelets and hash browns. I made hash browns from sliced baby red potatoes with onions and chopped garlic, and we at them with our Canadian bacon, onion and cheese (and broccoli for me!) omelets. We ate breakfast around 10:30 or 11:00 am (we slept in and it was glorious!) and dinner was planned for 6:30. Since breakfast was incredibly filling, I had a snack of an apple and almond butter around 4:00. I figured I would be fine, and I would have been...except dinner didn't hit the table until almost 8pm! I snacked on some cheese when we got to Chris' cousin Annie's house. I had maybe an ounce or two, but I was totally famished by the time we actually sat down to eat! We had the usual Thanksgiving fare - turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberries - as well as some traditional Korean dishes since Annie's fiance is Korean and his family came to dinner as well. Overall it was pretty phenomenal.

I've had some really good runs lately. Thanksgiving morning I went out and ran just shy of 4 miles around the neighborhood. Yesterday and today I knocked out about 3 miles each running through the St. Xavier University campus. For having lived so close my entire life, yesterday was actually the first time I'd set foot on the University campus. It really is a gorgeous campus. There's a small lake, Lake Marion, on campus with a trail around it. It really is gorgeous.

Yesterday I ran all over campus and down around the Br. Rice and Mother McAuley high school campuses which share the same area with the University. Today I stuck to running the trail around Lake Marion. I also integrated some strength training intervals on one of the benches along the lake.

It's about 1/3 of a mile around the lake, and it's about 2/3 of a mile from my house to the lake path. I ran there, did 5 laps, and ran home for an even 3 miles.

First lap around I did some incline push-ups. Second lap I did calf raises. Third lap was seated knee lifts, and the fourth lap was tricep dips (which are incredibly hard!)

I'm going to take tomorrow off I think, but my next run, I'm going to do a strength interval at each of the 6 benches around the lake.

I think I've finally figured out the key to getting myself to do strength training. It needs to be in short intervals. I hate the idea of going to the gym and moving from machine to machine. I also don't like the concept of having a 30 minute strength work-out. If I can do strength exercises here and there - like the 30 Day Shred video a couple days a week, 5 - 10 minutes of ab work in the evening, strength intervals in my runs - I do them. If I set out to "do strength training" I totally blow it off.

Today I'm heading to my parent's house to put Christmas lights up on their roof. My dad and Nick (the older of my two brothers) are afraid of heights so they won't get up there. Alex will go up there, but he won't go alone. I've also got to go steal some Christmas decorations for my place. It's Nick's (22nd) birthday, and as his gift, I'm his designated driver for the evening. My camera battery is in the charger so there will be plenty of pics tomorrow!

I should make myself some lunch and get on with my day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

017. Back in the Groove for Real

So, recently I’ve been eating WAY too much processed junk-foods. I’m really starting to feel gross. I’ve also started to notice a pattern over the last couple months. I start the month really strong with a lot of ambitious goals. Near the middle of the month, I fall into a funk where I start slipping on my work-outs and not eating as well. After a week – week and a half, I get my act together again and finish the month off strong. Even my blogging has suffered this month which rarely happens because I really enjoy blogging! Of course, I do manage to do a lot of damage in the week – week and a half. So, in attempt to remedy this, I’m going to stop focusing on monthly goals try to set goals for a longer period of time.

I haven’t talked a lot in this blog about my specific weight loss goals or goals I’ve been setting to get to my goal weight. There are two reasons for this. First, this is more about getting healthy than loosing weight. I’m really not in much of a hurry to loose the weight. I’ll get there when I get there. Second, I started this blog after I set my November goals and I just never posted about it. I want to start monitoring my goals more actively on this blog.

As a way of managing these three things here are my goals for the next 6 weeks (until the end of the year.)

  1. End the year at 150lbs (This is about -6lbs.)
  2. Track all meals here and track calories over at SparkPeople
    2 a. Limit eating out to once per week
    2 b. Stick with weekly meal plans
  3. Track all Work-Outs here.
    3 a. Work on including more cross training (spin class and swimming)
    3 b. Strength training (including 30 Day Shred) at least 3 days a week.
    3 c. Keep up with Whittle my Middle Challenge
  4. Log 75 miles between now and the end of the year (I still have a couple left in the Pile on the Miles challenge!)
    4 a. Run 10 miles at least once.

So there you have it. My goals for the next 6 weeks. I tried to keep them simple and not too overly ambitious. I figured I should ease myself in to this.

There is one other challenge I want to do for myself and that is going vegetarian for a week. At this point, I have no intention of ever going totally vegetarian, but recently I have found myself wanting to reduce the amount of meat I consume and find more creative ways to integrate protien. I've been wanting to follow a more "flexitarian" model over eating - especially after Laura posted about it last month. I'm going to wait until after Thanksgiving to start that challenge though. We're going to Chris' counsin's house for T-Day, and since a) I love turkey and b) I have no control over the food, it seems like a bad day to be experimenting with vegetarianism.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

016. Back in the Grove

I’ve had a pretty terrible week so far. Yesterday I had a minor melt-down in my one boss’ office. I didn’t intend to become a crying disaster when I walked in there, but things went south fast.

Before I go on, there’s probably one thing you need to know about me. You know how some people laugh at inappropriate times – when they’re nervous or stressed or in an awkward situation? Well, I cry at inappropriate times. This is amplified when I’m tired or stressed out. Anyway, on to the story…

I’ve been really swamped at work lately. It was getting to the point where my desk was so cluttered it was nearly invisible. Yesterday I couldn’t handle it anymore. I felt like things were starting to encroach on me. It was making me really claustrophobic and stressed out. I went into my boss’ office to tell him if there was anything that he needed me to take care of right away to hand it directly to me because I was going to spend the day trying to get my desk in order. He asked me what was up, and I just lost it. Next thing I knew I was sitting in his office crying and letting it all out. He let me hang out and just chatted with me until I got myself collected enough to return to my desk without looking a hot mess. Just getting things out made me feel loads better, but I also spent the day reigning in the chaos of my desk. I pitched 4 months worth of old files we no longer needed. I never fully realized how incredibly cathartic I find throwing things away to be. (I think this is part of the reason I’ve had to buy all new clothes as I’ve lost weight. I never saved the too small stuff because I love getting rid of things!) By the end of the day I was much more relaxed!

Of course there were other co-worker related factors that were stressing me out, but because of the disaster that was my desk, I have having a very difficult time just letting those things go. It’s amazing how much stress our environment alone can cause us!

As a result of all the stress I’ve been feeling lately, I’ve also been slacking on the exercise front. I haven’t run at all since my race on Saturday. I have been keeping up with some strength training, and I did start, albeit a week late, the Whittle My Middle challenge. For the most part I’ve been seriously slacking though. Of course, I’m sure skipping my work-outs probably only added to my stress. It really is a vicious cycle isn’t it!? I skip my work-outs because I’m stressed, and I’m stressed because I skip my work-outs.

However, after yesterday, I’m feeling much less stressed, and I think I’m back in exercise mode. This morning I got up at 5:30 to do my Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. I am not a morning exercise person at all, but I got up this morning and did it. I have plans to go out tonight, but I think I’m going to try and squeeze in a shorty 2 mile run.

Last night I made a really great dinner. I’m pretty proud of myself because I came up with it all on my own. I had two goals with this recipes: 1) Make it vegetarian because I’ve been trying to integrate more vegetarian meals into my repertoire; and 2) Use tofu. This is also the first time I’ve used/ made tofu. It could probably use a little tweaking, but I’m still new at the making-it-up-as-I-go-along game.

Tofu, Spinach, and Cheese Quinoa Stuffed Squash

1 medium acorn squash
½ c. quinoa
1 – 2 servings of extra firm tofu
2 c. baby spinach leaves
Swiss cheese – enough for ½ c. grated
1T. olive oil
Seasalt, to taste


Part I. To get started…
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Cut squash roughly in half. – I did more of a ¾ - ¼ split so I had one side deeper than the other. – and remove seeds and guts.
Place facedown on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes.

Part II. While squash is baking…
Prepare quinoa as directed.

Part III. While squash is baking and quinoa is cooking…
Cube tofu and grate cheese.
Combine tofu, cheese, and spinach leaves in a bowl (I chose to tear up my spinach leaves.) and toss with olive oil and seasalt.
Add quinoa to this mix once it is finished cooking.

Part IV. Once squash is done baking…
Remove squash from oven and stuff with the quinoa mixture.
Return squash to the oven for an additional 25 minutes, until squash is tender.

I only filled one side (the larger) of the squash with the quinoa mixture. I chopped up and apple, mixed it with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stuff the smaller side of the squash with that mixture for dessert. The recipe does make enough filling to cut the squash evenly in half and fill both sides.

Review: Chris (my not super picky, but definitely a junk-foody boyfriend) really liked it except for the tofu part. He didn't dig the tofu.. There are a couple things I would tweak for next time. First, I would probably bake the tofu a little while before mixing it in with the other ingredients. Second, I might use a stronger cheese. The Swiss tasted fine and it worked (since it was all I had in the house), but I think it could use a stronger flavor.

Last, but certainly not least, My Whittle My Middle work-out from last night.

  • 60 second plank

  • 15 jackknifes with swiss ball

  • 5 kneeling rollouts with ball (I have a REALLY hard time with these!)

  • 30 second side plank on left; 30 second side plank on right

  • 30 second plank with swiss ball

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

015. Mid-Month Funk

I'm defintely beginning to notice a pattern. I always end up in a sort of funk near the middle of the month. I need to figure out how to avoid this. Any suggestions?

This morning was one of those mornings were I laid in bed seriously considering calling in sick. I just did not want to get out of bed and go to work. Ultimately, I got my butt out of bed after about 10 minutes because calling in today would have made tomorrow that much worse. As much as I generally do like my job, that is a major down side. If I'm out of the office unexpectedly stuff seriously piles up.

As a treat for getting myself out of bed, I decided to make some stuffed French Toast for breakfast. Last week I made Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting, and I've had the leftover frosting in my fridge ever since.

I spread 2 T. of the frosting on one slice Pepperidge Farm Double Fiber Whole Wheat bread, topped it with the other slice sandwich style and dipped it in my egg mix. The egg mix was 2 eggs, a splash of skim milk, some vanilla extract, a few shakes of cinnamon and a couple shakes of nutmeg. This was the first time I'd put nutmeg in my French Toast egg mix, and it was brilliant. I'd really forgotten how much I enjoy nutmeg.

Tonight Chris and I are going to do some shopping; he needs new shoes and I'm pretty much always in need of new clothes since I keep shrinking. Afterward, we're heading to Chris' mom's house for dinner since his Grandma is back from Florida. Hopefully whatever she makes isn't too much of a caloric nightmare.

I was a a bad girl yesterday and skipped my planned 6.5 mile run. I ran a bunch of errands and then when I got home my toilet would not stop running so I had my dad come over to look at it. That unexpectedly consumed a good chunk of my evening.

I did do my first day of the Whittle My Middle challenge though. I'm a week late in starting, but better late than never. I also kind of threw it together last night while watching TV. I'll post mesurements today when I get home, and I'm going to start tracking it here daily.

Lsat night I did...

  • 60 second plank
  • 30 second plank
  • 15 Stability Ball Crunches
  • 15 Stability Ball Jackknifes

I also did a couple Sun Salutations before I went to bed. Tomorrow's plan is to get up early for another day of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I also have yoga class in the evening and the I'll be doing some speedwork on the treadmill afterwards.

Also, you can expect a pretty big post soon which more or less explains why I haven't been posting as much lately.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

014. Girls on the Run 5K

I know I've been super lame about posting recently. I've started about 4 blogs that haven't finished. I've had a lot rolling around in my head lately. Add to that the fact that I've been super busy at work (which, let's be honest, is where I type up a lot of my blogs!) There will be a major coming soon. I promise.

In the mean time, I ran the Girls of the Run 5K this morning. It was seriously an amazing event! It was so awesome to see all these girls out there running with their parents and coaches and friends. It makes me want to get involved with the program even more! The race took place at Toyota Park which is home to the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Red Stars. I'm not a soccer fan at all (in fact it's quite possibly my LEAST favorite sport ever), but it was really cool to get to finish inside the stadium. I could only imagine how totally awesome it would be if I were 10 years old!

And now what you all really!!!

Walking up from my car. I got there about 45 minutes before start time and there were a TON of people there already!

Toyota Park main entrance.

The pink signs where the meeting places for the various program groups. There were over 50 schools represented. It was massive and totally awesome!

They had face-painting and tiara decorating. No, I didn't do either. I figured I'd save that for the girls.

We all know how important it is to warm up before a race. The three photos above are some girls getting their stretch on, the group leading the warm-up (two girls from Bally's Total Fitness, The Chicago Fire mascot Sparky, the Chicago Wolves mascot Skates, some superhero type guy, the Fox weather-woman Amy Freeze (Yes, that's actually her last name), and Ella Masar from the Chicago Red Stars.

The starting line. I made sure I was toward the front because I hate feeling like I'm going to step on someone!The sea of people behind me at the starting line. It was amazing how many people were there. You can't even see all the shorty kiddos that were there!

Here's the finish line inside the stadium. I was a little disappointed we didn't get to finish on the field, but the Fire does have a game tonight so we wouldn't wanna mess up the grass.Some of the runners coming around the final bend to the finish line.

They were broadcasting the finishes on the jumbo-tron which was pretty cool. Sadly my mom didn't come with me so there was no one there to take a picture of me finishing. It's cool though.

Here's my Operation Beautiful-ized race number. It says "You are STRONG! You are POWERFUL! You are BEAUTIFUL!" You are strong and you are powerful are both GOTR mantras.

Seriously, coolest.goodie-bag.ever! Awesome long sleeve t-shirt, some yummy mini-luna bars, ponytail holders, a GOTR/ New Balance water bottle (which is awesome since I can't find my water bottle!), and an issue of American Girl Magazine. I used to love AG Magazine. I subscribed to it forever!

Those are about half my pictures from the event. It was so awesome, and I will definitely be looking for a way to be more involved next year!

Oh, and as for how I did. I finished in 30:10 which is 40 seconds slower than my first 5K. I'm happy with it though. I was running alone, and my pacing was definitely a little off. I thought we were a lot closer to the finish than we actually were so I picked up the pace a little too early. Either way 30:10 is still a really great time so I'm happy about it. Besides, I knew it would be hard to be my first 5K time anyway!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

013. 30 Things I've Learned on my Weight Loss Journey

30 Things I’ve Learned on My Weight Loss Journey

1) I am the only person that can change me.
2) Friends are an invaluable resource – even if they’re “only” internet friends.
3) With hard work and dedication, there is nothing I cannot accomplish.
4) Life is all about balance.
5) I can run.
6) Anything worth doing is scary.
7) There are no short cuts and no “easy buttons;” the hard is what makes it great.
8) Nothing is off limits as long as I can find balance.
9) Making a change to improve my health has motivated me to make changes improving other areas of my life.
10) Life is short, embrace every minute of it.
11) Losing weight has given me the confidence I need to make myself happier.
12) Living healthy is worth it.
13) Eating like garbage = feeling like garbage
14) Exercise truly is the greatest stress reliever.
15) I want to be an inspiration and motivation to others, and I want to lead by example.
16) Somewhere along the line, I forgot what it was like to feel passionately about something. I’ve remembered because I’ve found a passion for healthy living.
17) I’m not as picky as I thought.
18) I like vegetables. I also like oatmeal.
19) I’m not going to like everything I try, but that doesn’t mean these things aren’t worth trying.
20) Most fast food is overrated.
21) I really do love to cook.
22) There is no such thing as perfect.
23) Exercise is addicting.
24) I want to help others find, understand, and appreciate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as much as I do.
25) I love tea.
26) Yoga is amazing.
27) Start small. Small changes lead to big accomplishments.
28) There’s nothing wrong with being afraid as long as fear doesn’t stop you from accomplishing your goals.
29) Weight loss can be a slow, and sometimes painful process, but it’s worth sticking with it.
30) I know I have it in me to take that extra step when I feel like I can't make it any futher.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

012. It's all about Pizza and Fro-Yo

I don't know what it is, but I've been on a huge pizza and fro-yo kick recently. Seriously. I could probably eat it 3 times a day! At least I'm making it work for me though.

Well start off with the rest of yesterday's eats. Lunch was the left over BBQ chicken pizza from Uno's.
After I ate lunch, I went with some co-worker's who were grabbing lunch, and I got some Freshii fro-yo with shredded coconut and organic granola. Once again, the staff could not grasp my trying to order half the usual serving. Once again, I threw half of it in the garbage.

My afternoon snack today was a 1/4c. of Trader Joe's ABC Trek Mix. I love it because it's a mix of almonds (my most favorite nut ever!) and dried blueberries and cranberries and some golden raisins for good measure. Yummy yummy! I actually wrote a blog via email about this, but it never posted. I'm going to have to work on that because what's the point of having a super sweet iPhone if you can't even blog from it right?

Dinner was a "burrito bowl" with brown rice, black beans, corn, ground Boca "meat" and some sharp cheddar. Sadly, I didn't have any avocado in the house. :( I took a picture but this meal is seriously lacking in the visual appeal department. Actually, it looks kind of gross. It was yummy though (and at least I have cute plates!)

The base was a mix of minute brown rice, organic black beans, organic frozen corn, and about a quarter cup V-8 because I didn't have any tomato sauce. then I added 1/2c. Boca crumbles and 1/4c. reduced cheddar.

After dinner I had some of the Trader Joe's fro-yo. I said I was on a kick didn't I?

  • 1/2 c. TJ's non-fat Plain Frozen Yogurt
  • 1/4 c. pomegranate arils
  • 2 T. shredded coconut
  • 1/4c. oats.
Unfortunately yesterday took a turn for the worst. They were predicting gorgeous weather today so I decided to blow off my 6 mile run at the indoor track in favor of heading out this morning for 6 miles outside. Chris and I ended up laying on the couch watching Season 1 of How I Met Your Mother on DVD and noshing on the Halloween candy his mom sent home with us. Too much eating definitely occurred.

However, as promised, I got up at 7:45 and went for my 6 mile run. I really wish I'd had my camera, or at least my phone with me, because it was absolutely gorgeous, but since I run with as little stuff on me as possible, I didn't. Maybe tomorrow I'll ride my bike on the route I rant today and take some pics.

The run itself was really well. Previously the furthest I've run outside was 4.75 miles, but I figured 6 wouldn't be a problem since I had run 7 on the indoor track without much problem. I've always struggled more outside than anywhere else. I started off pretty slow, but I finished the whole run (including a short warm-up and cool-down) in 65 minutes so I managed to maintain about a 10:30 minute/ mile pace. I'll totally take that. I also wasn't hurting too much. I was definitely feeling it in that last mile, but it was a good push.

After my run, I toasted a homemade toaster waffle and topped it with the pumpkin filling Caitlin used in her Sweet Breakfast Burritos. I was too lazy to make pancakes and too hungry to take pictures, but it was delicious. After breakfast I did some serious shopping. I ended up getting 3 pairs of dress pants (size 10!), 3 camis (M!), a cardigan sweater, and a pair of jeans (size 8!) from Penny's and 5 Old Nave Fleece scarves (Hey it was $1 scarf day, and my BFF works at Old Navy!) Check it out!
Post shopping lunch was mini BBQ Chicken pizzas! Seriously, I think I've developed an addiction or something! I'm going to need pizza rehab soon.

  • Arnold Sandwich thin
  • 2 T. Culinary Circle, Sweet Applewood BBQ sauce
  • 1.5 oz grilled chicken breast (It was left over in my fridge)
  • red onion
  • 1/4 c. reduced fat sharp cheddar
  • 1/4c. part-skim mozzarella
Put it all together and popped it in the toaster oven for about 7 minutes at 425.

I've got a birthday party for a friend tonight in Indiana. I'll try to take some picture for you all to enjoy. Right now I need to pull together some dinner and get myself ready.

Friday, November 6, 2009

011. A Whole Mess of Random

(Warning: this blog ended up pretty lengthy and random. Sorry in advance, it’s kind of scattered. Also, photos will be added once I get home from work. - Sorry I'm late with the pictures!!)

Breakfast this morning was not a success. The upside is even though I only ate half of it I made still made it to 10am before I needed my morning snack. I’m going to have to work on perfecting this breakfast as it clearly keeps me pretty full. So what was my breakfast flop? Pumpkin-Pie Yogurt
1 container Trader Joe’s Organic Non-Fat Greek Style Yogurt – vanilla
½ c. canned pumpkin
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 T. rolled oats
2 T. shredded coconut (which was added a few bits in)

I think I may have gotten a bit over-zealous with the pumpkin pie spice. It wasn’t bad – it was good enough for me to eat half of it, but it definitely wasn’t great. Live and learn right?

I’ll try it again adding the various ingredients slowly until I get a good flavor combo. I might also try plain yogurt instead of vanilla. I’m still getting used to combining flavors and finding things that work well together. Truly, this was my first attempt at putting something together on my own so I’m proud that it was at least edible. I can cook, but I’ve always been a follow the recipe kind of gal. I’ve also spent most of my life being INCREDIBLY picky when it comes to food. This has resulted in a pretty redundant meal repertoire. I’ve been so inspired by recently by the food blogs I’ve been reading (Healthy Tipping Point, Carrots n Cake, Oh She Glows), and other resources out there. I’ve got such a strong desire to expand my horizons when it comes to cooking and eating now. Maybe I jumped in head first a little too soon. Oh well, like most things, this is guaranteed to be a learning experience.

My morning snack today was my old standby Kashi Trail Mix Chewy Bar. I do love me some Kashi products.

Lunch today is leftovers from last night’s dinner out – which I need to discuss, right now. Last night the BF and I did dinner and a movie. We went to dinner at Uno’s Chicago Grill, and it ended up being a perfect dinner out. We struck fantastic compromises and split everything. The food was delicious, and it didn’t destroy my calorie count for the day too badly. We started with a mozzarella sticks appetizer (his choice), but they were the best mozzarella sticks. They were really crispy, but they weren’t super greasy. I enjoy mozzarella sticks, but I don’t like when they come swimming in a pool of oil so I generally don’t bother with them. I didn’t get a picture because I keep forgetting. (One day I’ll get used to this!)

We split the BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza (my choice, but I compromised on the regular crust instead of the 5 grain, whole wheat they offer) which was also phenomenal. Again, I didn’t get a picture before we dug in, but here’s what it looked like re-heated on my plate for lunch today. I’m sure you can imagine how amazing it must have looked fresh on the table.

Dessert was the highlight of the night though. Generally I avoid restaurant desserts since they’re usually caloric nightmares and aren’t anything I couldn’t throw together at home. (Plus, I’m usually plenty full when dessert time arrives anyway.) However, when I saw this on the menu, I knew I would be angry with myself if I didn’t order it so I made sure to save room. For dessert we had pumpkin tiramisu. This was hands-down the most amazing restaurant dessert I’ve ever had. Seriously, I didn’t want it to ever end. I don’t think I’ve even eaten something so slowly in my life. I almost didn’t get a picture of it because I was so enamored with it, but Chris actually reminded me. So here it is in its half eaten glory…

When I got home, I looked up the calories online to assess just how much damage I had done, and I was pleasantly surprised. The dessert was two servings and each serving clocked in at 390 calories. Yes, this is more than I usually eat at breakfast, but if you consider the fact that some restaurant desserts have an entire day’s worth of calories in them, 390 isn’t so bad. It was totally worth every single calorie.

I’ve failed at blogging my food recently so here are some eats from the last couple days.

This morning’s Kashi Trail Mix bar.

Wednesday’s breakfast – homemade toaster waffle with ¾ c. frozen mixed berries, 1T. light syrup and 1t. flaxseeds.

Wednesday’s dinner and Thursday’s lunch – Sausage and Apples on Whole Wheat Rotelle pasta. This is something my college roommate Emily and I created (mostly Emily) when we had an excess of apples and a tube of breakfast sausage in our apartment.

Tube Reduced-Fat pork sausage
½ an onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 T. of light maple syrup
2 T. water
3 T. white wine
2 medium apples, chopped
½ c. reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar
½ c. rotelle pasta
The recipe is linked above.

Thursday’s breakfast was inspired by Carrots n Cake – ½ c. oatmeal, ½ of a leftover baked apples and acorn squash.

I have a 6 mile run on the indoor track planned for tonight. I’m hoping it goes well. I’ve had pretty solid runs so far this week, but I haven’t been able to break 4 miles since I ran 7 a couple weeks ago. I’m hoping since my running funk seems to have lifted tonight’s run will be awesome.

I’m going shopping this weekend. I’ve been holding out on buying dress pants, but Wednesday a co-worker said to me “I hate to break it to ya girl, but you really need to buy some new pants.” That’s the downside of living a healthy lifestyle and loosing weight. Your clothes get too big and you have to buy new ones. Okay, I suppose that’s really only a downside if, like me, you don’t have a lot of extra money to be spending on new cloths because you recently acquired yourself a mortgage. Anyway, back to the point, I plan on leaving a whole mess of Operation Beautiful notes on fitting room mirrors since I’m sure I’ll be trying on many things.

That's enough for now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

010. The "Fat Gap"

If you haven’t noticed, I tend to blog in spurts. I have a lot to say for a day or two and then nothing for a while. Maybe one day I’ll balance that out, but until then, here’s post #2 for today.

This morning on the bus I was reading this article in the RedEye. The article, which originally ran in the Miami Herald, is about the “fat gap.” While there’s nothing ground-breaking about the article, and it certainly didn’t come as “news” or a shock, I could relate.

I was definitely one of those people who didn’t see me as obese (even though my BMI said otherwise) because I was still smaller than a lot of people I knew or would see on the street. Sure, I knew I could stand to loose a few pounds, but to call myself obese seemed a little over-dramatic to me – like when the girls in high school who weighed 95lbs soaking wet would talk about how they really needed to loose 5lbs.

Even when I started my journey to a healthy lifestyle, it wasn’t about loosing weight. I still wasn’t totally convinced I needed to loose weight, but I was convinced I needed to get myself healthier. After all, I didn’t want to be 25 years old with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a future filled with prescriptions and doctors appointments and hospital visits.

Even now, with everything I have learned in the last year, I’m still a victim of this “fat gap.” My perception is still skewed, or is it? Where do we draw the line between realism and skewed perceptions of ourselves? I’m still considered overweight by BMI standards, but I don’t feel overweight at all. I feel fit and healthier than I have since high school. Heck, I feel better than I did in high school because I’m eating so much better. My blood pressure is normal – good even. My cholesterol is still high, but my ratio of HDL to total cholesterol is good. (I’ve got a giant genetic uphill battle to fight on this one. I’m pretty sure EVERY member of my family has high cholesterol. My grandmother’s is over 300 hundred and she doesn’t have any of the problems that are caused by cholesterol levels that high.) Is my perception that I’m “not” overweight still a skewed perception based on the “fat gap” or is it caused by the fact that I am getting healthier and fitter (and closer to a normal BMI) every day. I may still be overweight, but I could out run some of the skinny girls I know any day of the week.

My first instinct is to ask how in the world we, as a society, got to a place where this “fat gap” even exists. But if you spend even half a minute considering that, the answer seems pretty obvious. So I guess the question becomes not how did we get here, but how do we get away from here.

The one thing I find ironic about this idea of the “fat gap” is the fact that while our perceptions of what is a “normal” body size/ weight have gotten larger, or beauty ideals have remained the same, or even gotten smaller and more unrealistic. There has been some movement in getting real women into magazines and advertisements (think Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty), but on the whole magazines and ads are airbrushed to the point where models/ celebrities are too perfect looking to even be real. It seems to me that the opposite should be happening here.

What do you all think of the “fat gap?” Have you experienced this in your own lives? How do you think society can get back to a place where “normal” really is “normal” or are we doomed?

009. Girls on the Run

I just recently heard about the Girls on the Run organization (I saw an ad on a CTA bus actually.), and I am totally in love with it. I really want to volunteer as a coach, but right now it's not an option due to scheduling (and also winter in Chicago).

Girls on the Run is an afterschool program for girls ages 8 to 12 that combines 5K training with lessons in self-esteem and self-acceptance. As a feminist and someone constantly striving to live a healthy lifestyle, I think this is . Monday night I signed up to run the Girls on the Run 5K. Today Fit Bottomed Girls featured an article about the organization and an interview with the founder Molly Barker.

If you haven't already, you need to go to the site, read the article, and comment on it. For each comment left, FGB will donate $1 to GOTR up to $500. In addition, New Balance, who is a major sponsor of the GOTR 5K (and running shoe maker of my choice), will match the FBG donation and donate an additional $1 up to $500 for each comment.

So start your day by making a difference. Go comment!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

008. Just a quicky

I went for a quick run today. I had no energy (and there for no desire to run) because I didn't sleep very well last night, but I'm really trying to stick to the training schedule I developed. I did the 2 miles in 18:41 which is a 9:20 min/ mile pace. I did do my run outside. I'm definitely going to make sure I'm doing at least one run a week outside as it gets colder; otherwise I'm going to have a really hard time breathing during the Santa Shuffle 5K on December 5th. The cold air really stings my lungs.

I was really in the mood for pizza tonight. I think it was Caitlin's Vegetarian BBQ Pizza post that got it in my head. I made a Hawaiian pizza tonight for the BF and I. It clocked in at about 185 calories per slice which isn't too bad. Plus, I have leftover to eat for lunch tomorrow!

Not the most appetizing picture - I forgot to take one before I cut it up - but it was really yummy. I used a pre-made crust like Pillsbury's only I bought the generic brand (which actually had fewer calories and less fat.). The crust was a total nightmare. I tried rolling it out myself because I like a really thin crust. That ended up being my worst idea of the night and nearly resulted in my rolling pin getting tossed across the room! Anyway, I topped the pizza with
  • 55 g red onion
  • 1/4 c. reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz of pineapple chunks
  • 6 slices of Rose Canadian Bacon
  • 1/2 c. Culinary Circle Sweet Applewood BBQ Sauce
For dessert I had 1/2c. of Trader Joe's Non-Fat Plain Frozen Yogurt with 2T. sweetened shredded coconut, 5g of goji berries and 1T of rolled oats. It was really yummy!

Well, I don't have much else to say today. I also want to get to bed a little early tonight since I didn't sleep so well last night. I promise a more exciting post tomorrow!

Monday, November 2, 2009

007. Girl Can Run...again!

I haven't talked much about my running in this blog yet, and that's primary because I was in some sort of running funk recently. Last Monday I had the run from hell, Wednesday I did okay with the interval training, but I didn't feel good about it, and Friday when I tried to run I had absolutely nothing in me. I wanted to do a quick two miles, but I ended up just walking the last 1/2 mile home. I literally had nothing in me to finish - physically or mentally. My legs were like lead weights and neither my heart nor my head were in it. It seems (hopefully) the funk has been lifted as off today.

Today as I was writing up my October recap/ November goals blog, I decided I need a more structure running plan. It's getting cold here and race season is basically over so I'm not training for anything in particular, but I felt like the only way for me to keep making progress is to pretend like I'm training for something. I decided to Google 15K training plans since my goal for November is to run 9 miles by the end of the month and log at least 50 miles run. I ended up kind of creating my own training plan based on the Novice and Intermediate plans on Hal Higdon's website. This is my training plan for now. I'm sure it'll vary a little from week to week depending on my schedule.

So, per the plan, I ran 4 miles tonight at the indoor track. It started out a little rough, but toward the end I was feeling good. I did figure out part of my problem is I'm starting off too hard and not pacing myself properly. I ran my first mile in about 9:15 which is really great, but that's not a pace I can maintain for 4 miles (not yet anyway) once I realized this I forced myself to slow down some. That was when I started hitting my stride. I finished the whole run in about 40 minutes. I was okay maintaining the 10 minute mile pace, but I'm definitely going to need to slow down to start increasing my distance.

I also realized I need to stop going to the Pavilion during "peak hours" because I am seeing way too many people I never wanted to see again! Tonight there were three guys I went to junior high with in the weight room (which has windows to the track.) Let me just say I now understand how goldfish feel. I could feel them looking at my every time I ran past. It made me feel really awkward for about the first 2 miles until I was finally able to just ignore their presence. I felt like I was being judged, but I wasn't going to leave and let them ruin my run. I'm too old for that crap.

And finally, last but not least, my food for the day. I didn't get photos of breakfast and lunch because a) I forgot and b) they were lame anyway. Breakfast was a bowl of Kashi GoLean Honey Almond Flax and lunch was left over mac n cheese from yesterday. Dinner however, was a pretty tastey Crustless Broccoli, Bacon, and Cheese Quiche with a honeycrisp apple.

In the on the plate...

006. Taking a Tour of my Kitchen.

Those of you from Spark know I recently (end of August) bought a condo. So, I wanted to give you all a little tour of my kitchen. Where all the deliciously edible magic happens.

Looking in from my dining room...You can't see most of the paint here, but the doorways and soffit are red and the right wall and soffit are a golden yellow. Yes, it does bring to mind McDonald's, but I love it anyway

A closer picture of my stove. It's an electric which I'm still getting used to, and I'm pretty sure it may be older than I am. The second picture features my awesome red toaster/ toaster oven combo and my sweet KitchenAid mixer which was a hand-me-down from my mom when she bought her professional grade mixer. (It pays to have a mom who is a foods teacher.)

This is the right wall with my sweet red microwave. This counter makes a really great prep space. It is bigger than it looks in this pic. Also here are my lame-ass knives. One day I will get the money to buy good ones. Until then I'll deal.

Here's the fridge and sink. Nothing too special, but I wanted to give you the full 360 view. You can also see the corner of my dishwasher which sounds like a truck driving through my kitchen when it's running.

My poorly stocked and even more poorly organized spice cabinet. If you haven't noticed, spices are expensive so I generally don't buy them until I'm making a recipe that calls for them. Or if I can find them at Sam's Club because those giant cans are about $4 at Sam's.

Most of my pots and pans were in the dish drainer a few pictures above, but this cabinet is home to my sweet Calphlone non-stick pans (again, my mom's a foods teacher), my Foreman grill, and microwave veggie steamer. (This is under the prep-space counter.)To the right of the pot and pans lives bake-ware! (which is also poorly organized)
And in case my lack of organization hasn't driven you crazy yet, here's my drawer full of kitchen gadgets, tools, and knick-knacks.

There's nothing horribly exciting about this picture except it shows you a good visual of my ridiculous addiction to "tupperware." I have about 70 pieces worth of this stuff.
This is my WALK-IN pantry! Keep in mind I've only lived here 2 months. I haven't had a lot of time to accumulate a lot of stuff in said walk-in pantry. I'll bet you can tell what crap in here belongs to the boyfriend though! :-)

Last, but certainly not least, a couple shots of the dining room where the food gets eaten. om,nom,nom.

Speaking of eating my dinner is finished so I'm going to go eat it. I'll be back with some photos and the recipe in a bit.