Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Goals

I normally do not make New Year's Resolutions. But, in the past I never made them because I never would keep them. This year, it's very different. Spark has taught me the importance of goal setting and I know this year that I can complete anything I want. My plan is to make blanket resolutions (which I will call goals) for the year that will be easy to maintain. Each month, as I make my monthly goals, I will spend a little time focusing on these yearly goals and making monthly goals specifically tailored to them. So here are my goals for 2010!

1. Run a 10K.
This one is pretty self explanatory. I have a 10K lined up for July, so that's the race I am shooting for!

2. Take better care of my skin.
This is actually the ONE resolution I make every year. I am very inconsistent about taking care of my skin and that's AWFUL. I generally get lazy and tired and don't want to wash my face at night. If I do wash my face, I almost never moisturize or use eye cream, etc. I know I need to start doing these things in my 20s so I can have beautiful skin as I get older! Part of taking care of my skin is actually wearing makeup. I have very oily skin, so I use acne fighting foundation and powder and it keeps my skin SO much clearer! Wearing makeup also gives me an incentive to wash my face. So wearing makeup more regularly and taking care of my skin are priorities for me this year! If anyone has good recommendations on moisturizers/eye cream/etc let me know please!

3. Make a 4.0 in school.
I've never made a 4.0 in college and this year is the year I will do it. I have three semesters to accomplish this and I just want a 4.0 in one of them. The old me would put a lot of pressure on myself and said I needed to make one every semester, but not this year! Making a 4.0 just once is good enough for me and if it happens more than one semester, I will sure be thrilled!

4. Continue my work with stress/anxiety.
I have made significant progress with managing my stress and anxiety over the past 6 months, but I still have a long way to go and I'm about to enter a very difficult time in my life - going back to school! So keeping up with my work is imperative. Some of the things that help me manage my stress and anxiety the most are: exercise, planning and maintaining a routine. I'm not going to make specific resolutions for these things, but these will be a part of my monthly goals that I make.

5. Become more realistic with myself about my goals.
Everyone that knows me knows that I make RIDICULOUS goals for myself and I am really really hard on myself when I don't meet them. I have to be more forgiving and sympathetic to myself, without becoming a total softie and not pushing myself out of my comfort zone. So I will really work on this in 2010. The first step for me is recognizing that a 2 pound loss per week is not realistic for my body. I am moving my expectation to 1 pound a week and I will go from there. Although my focus is no longer on the scale, I still will weigh-in and shoot for 1 pound a week loss in 2010!

6. Build my blog.
Blogging truly is an emotional and spiritual outlet for me. It helps me to get my thoughts out of my brain and onto "paper" so I can focus on something else. It also is a means of analyzing my behavior and making plans for the goals I want to reach. One of my goals after becoming a dietician is to have a blog where I post food facts, new recipes, cooking demonstrations, general health news, etc. So this year I want to focus on improving my current blog and creating several blog series and maintaining them. As I build these series and become more dedicated to blogging, I believe it will be easier for me to have a successful blog as a dietician!!

That's it. Light and simple and focusing on the key aspects of my life that I would like to change and goals I want to achieve. Rather than focus on the bad habits I have now or the things that I feel like I need to fix, I just want to focus on the possibilities in my life and the goals that I have. Taking a positive approach is putting me in the right step for both #4 and #5! As I mentioned, these are my general blanket resolutions/goals for 2010 and each month I will spend time making monthly goals that reflect these yearly milestones.
One thing I did want to mention is my new reward system for 2010. Many of you know I used to put quarters into a jar based on specific goals (working out, calories and alcohol) for each day. I am done with this system because I was never giving myself anything! haha! I was just stocking up on the quarters with no reward in sight. So a few weeks ago we rolled all the quarters ($300 worth!) and put them into the bank.

The new reward system focuses on running, because I find when I'm focused on my running I'm the most successful. Now I will "pay" myself $1.00 per mile that I run/walk. I will have a reward set in my mind and once I have enough money accumulated to buy the reward, I will buy it and then start over and pick a new reward! The rewards must be things that I wouldn't buy for myself otherwise. My first reward is a dutch oven for my kitchen. These are very heavy cast iron stock pots and I have wanted one for the past 1.5 years SO much. They are approximately $50-$75, so now I just need to find the one I want and run for it! I have $2.00 accumulated since I started this new program!

Here's to health, happiness and love in 2010 to everyone!

Dinner + Random Pictures

Well, I made it to the gym tonight! I was very pleased with my workout. I felt fantastic afterwards. I think it’s ridiculous how I sometimes don’t want to go work out, but I feel so great afterwards. I spent 15 minutes on the elliptical, 18 minutes on the treadmill (.5 mile walk, .5 mile jog) and about 5 minutes on the stair stepper. It was a nice easy workout to get me back in workout mode.

Then I came home to make a very easy, random and tasty dinner.

12.30.09 109Seasoned brown rice with parmesan cheese, caramelized cabbage, celery with hummus and a hard boiled egg. 

Random, I know. I seasoned the rice with dried chopped onions and this fantastic Mrs. Dash seasoning that I bought a few weeks ago. Then I topped with a little shredded parmesan cheese and mixed it all together.

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It’s seriously good. I added the hummus and the egg for extra protein. I sometimes have big problems eating enough protein when I don’t eat meat. I’m trying right now to eat more eggs. Hard boiled is my favorite way to eat an egg, so I didn’t complain tonight. I grew up eating a lot of hard boiled eggs and we always had an egg timer to tell us when they were done. I had an egg timer at my house, but somehow it got lost in my move at the beginning of this year. I was very happy to receive a new one for Christmas this year!

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If you’ve never used one of these, I really recommend buying one! I love it. I also had caramelized cabbage, aka my favorite veggie ever. I used a little less EVOO than normal today, which resulted in slightly more “burnt” cabbage. It was fantastic this way!

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Dessert was a cup of Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride (PS Candy Cane Lane is my favorite tea now) and a small bowl of peppermint ice cream. This peppermint ice cream is like my favorite thing in the world and I definitely should not be trusted around it. I’m really glad sad this container is almost gone.

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It was an awesome dinner! My stomach is feeling a little off right now, but that happens with really intense exercise, so I’m just riding it out.

Now time for some random pictures! I uploaded pictures to my computer today and found several from the past few weeks!

12.30.09 031My new Garmin with my first run/walk on the display

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This stuff is incredible. I’m obsessed and bought a huge bag to last me through the year.

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An authentic Philly Cheese Steak from Jim’s Steaks in downtown Philly. We had these right after we flew into Philly to get to Matt’s mom’s house in NJ for Christmas vacation. This steak was INCREDIBLE.

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A random little casserole I made a few weeks ago. I roasted broccoli and added it to cooked lean beef and whole wheat pasta. I topped it with mozzarella cheese and broiled it in the oven. I definitely added too much cheese to this but I only had a tiny bit left in the package, so I threw it on there.

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The Christmas Tree in Rockefeller center in NYC. Is it sad that I wasn’t really impressed? I thought it was going to be much bigger!

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Carrie’s stoop from SATC. Yes, we went to find it while in NYC last week!!

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Matt and me at the Yuengling Brewery in Pottstown, PA. It’s America’s oldest brewery!

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Matt and me on my 24th birthday at lunch. We both look ridiculously tired because we got in very late the night before from Christmas vacay in NJ.

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Lexi and me on my birthday. She didn’t really want to pose!

Coming up are my 2010 goals and tomorrow I’ll have my January goals up for you guys!!

Post Holiday Tips

A quick note first:

The Spark came out yesterday. This is SparkPeople's first book and I recommend everyone buy it! I pre-ordered my copy back in September and will be receiving it next week! In case you aren't familiar with SparkPeople, it's the largest online diet and fitness website that teaches people to lose weight through diet moderation, exercise, goal setting and an online support community.

I've been a member of SparkPeople since October 2008 and I can't sing enough praises about how much this website has helped me. Although I've already been through the 28 day plan that is taught in The Spark, I will still read this book and be using it as a reference guide and as a refresher for some healthy habits I have slacked on as of late. I really recommend all of you to check out the book, or at the least check out SparkPeople. If you decide to join, let me know and I'll send you my information so you can look me up there!

And with that, I NOW can tell you that I'm REALLY excited the bulk of the holidays are over! I still have a few special holiday events planned over the next few weeks, but the majority of the holiday rush (and travel!) is over and it's time to get BACK on track. Unfortunately this year, I didn't do as great a job of maintaining my healthy habits and practicing moderation as I had hoped I would. But, I'm not going to let that get in my way right now. It's time for me to focus on my health again and start feeling fantastic as we all move into 2010 and I move into this next year as a 24 year old (still so weird!). In the past, I would feel like focusing solely on healthy habits would be difficult with the few holiday engagements I still have pending. This year, I'm choosing to remember that a healthy lifestyle is about balance and every little bit counts for something. I don't start school until January 19th, so until then I have to juggle these last few events with special conferences at work and can't really settle down into a solid routine until school starts.

So what am I doing to balance a healthy lifestyle with the next few weeks of spotty post-holiday engagements? Here are a few tips, plus how I am integrating these tips into MY life.

1. Take charge of the events you have left.

You still have a few friends you need to meet up with, right? And of course there is the NYE celebration, along with a few stray holiday parties in January or birthday celebrations you need to attend. When and if possible, take charge of these events and plan it yourself! There's no better way to control the menu, location and timing of these events than taking it on yourself. When you are in charge of the planning, you can make sure everything works for you! Plan a healthy menu, ensure the party will be somewhere convenient for you and time the party around your exercise routine.

I am definitely doing this! I had plans to go out to dinner with an out of town friend last night. Rather than going to a restaurant and being subjected to their menu, I asked my friend if she would like to come over for a home cooked meal! She of course obliged and I prepared a taco bar with healthy ingredients for everyone. I'm doing a similar thing for NYE. Instead of going to a party or worse, a bar, I invited a friend over to my house and suggested we stay in for the night. I'm planning a healthy menu as well as making my own cocktails. It's going to save me time, calories and the hassle of being out that night!

2. Resume moderation with the treats and drinks.

The sweet treats are mostly gone, but there may be a few strays left around your house or office. Or maybe you did a lot of drinking over the holidays and feel like you can still drink that way now. Think back to your summer self and recall that you practiced moderation with treats and drinks in your life and did not always indulge. Practice this mindset again! Obviously going from a treat eating machine to quitting cold turkey is a horrible idea (you'll SO binge!), so just resume your normal treat schedule. Freeze any left over treats in your house and you can enjoy them year round (in moderation of course)! If you feel the craving for a drink, try having a "mocktail" first. You might be surprised to find that you won't miss the alcohol in the mocktail!

Leftover chocolate and treats are in my freezer so that's a check for me! I did still allow myself a cupcake for my birthday that a coworker brought in yesterday. I am definitely on board with the mocktails right now. My birthday this year was the first birthday I've had in 6ish years where I didn't have a drop of alcohol. To be honest, I am alcoholed out from the holidays this year! In the past, I would feel obligated to have a drink at my birthday dinner, but this year I ordered what I really wanted - a club soda with a splash of cranberry juice and a lime. I DID NOT miss the vodka at all. It was refreshing and fabulous.

3. Hydrate.

Hydrate that body people. With all the extra salt, sugar and alcohol you put in your system over the past few weeks, your body will really appreciate the extra water. Try adding fresh limes or lemons to your water. It will not only boost the taste and vitamin content of your water, the lemons are a natural diuretic and it will keep your body from retaining the water. If you are retaining water right now, you definitely want to keep hydrating. It sounds counter-intuitive but your body is holding on to that water because it thinks it isn't getting any more. Show your body you will give it water and it will stop retaining!

Yesterday I had roughly 12 glasses of water - split across lemon/lime water, hot tea and club soda and today is chugging right along the same path!

4. Exercise.

Even if you think you don't have time, 10 minutes of exercise is better than 0. If you took off the past few weeks of exercise, then slowly build yourself back up this week and next. Even if it's a walk around the block, 20 minutes on the elliptical or a few sun salutations before bed, it's worth it and it will push you to workout harder when your schedule allows for it.

This time of year, I prefer to integrate a few shorter workouts into my routine so I don't feel SO busy. I have plans to spend about 20 minutes on the elliptical tonight at the gym, as well as walking 1-2 miles on the treadmill. It's light exercise, but it's still exercise and it's a lot more than I've done in the past week! :)

5. Set realistic goals

It's about to be 2010, which means a new year and new resolutions for everyone. This year, make goals, not resolutions. Make yearly goals that will require a little work each month and are attainable. Then each month, look at your yearly goals and make monthly goals based on what you need to accomplish to make these goals happen. Maybe a goal for you is to have an organized house. Each month, write down one or two areas of the house that you can tackle and by the end of the year, you'll have everything organized (also you should make a monthly goal to tidy these areas daily or weekly to keep them organized.. just saying). Make sure that you are setting goals that are realistic and meaningful to you. Can you devise a plan that will accomplish these goals but fit into your daily or weekly life? Is it something you will stick with? Don't just say you want to lose 50 pounds and drop off the goal by the end of January because you only lost 5 pounds and feel discouraged. You see what I mean?

My 2010 goals and my January goals will be posted on the blog today for you to read!!

6. Realize that most of the weight gain is temporary.

Most of the weight you gained (if any) over the holidays is temporary. It's from water retention, a little lost muscle mass from not working out and TOO MUCH SUGAR. It will easily come off if you give it a few weeks and don't do anything radical. Focus on the things I mentioned above and remember that the holidays are over and you can get back on track and be healthy.

I'm not even going to talk about my weight gain because I am focusing on this tip myself and remembering that it WILL come off soon ;)

Those are just a few tips that I have for getting back on track post holidays and starting the new year off right!

What tips do you have for the post-holiday weeks and how do you balance any damage you did to yourself over the holidays?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Never give up

I'm still struggling. It's been an awful 2-3 weeks and I don't like what I see every day when I wake up in the mirror. I've been uber emotional, stressed out, pissed off, sad, crying, yelling and feeling disgusted. Instead of turning to exercise or talking to someone about what is going on, I've been turning to food. I feel bad in my clothes, I feel swollen, dehydrated, fat and gross.

So WHY can't I get my act together and stop this behavior?

I honestly don't know. I have made every excuse in the book for the past few weeks about WHY I can't do this. And about it's not good enough that I've only lost 30 pounds in the past year +. I've become hateful to myself and I keep putting myself down because my progress doesn't compare to what other people have done. I think I should be farther along than I am and thus, I just want to give up because I don't feel like right now I can keep going. What's the point I keep saying?

But I'm not a quitter. And as much as I feel like I'm giving up and I can't keep going, deep down I know that I can't let that happen. If nothing else, I'm about to give up my current life and career path to take one of the biggest risk's of my life and become a RD. Being a successful RD hinges on my own health and my own ability to motivate myself and others, and I can't do that if I give up right now.

As much as I've made excuses, I know what several of the reasons for recent demise are.. I just have no idea HOW to fix these problems. Recently I feel like I've lost a big portion of the really personal support I had for becoming healthy. If you aren't trying to lose weight right now, you have no idea the support you find in others that are doing the same thing as you - especially the people that are doing it the RIGHT way. Over the 1+ years I've been trying to lose weight, I've constantly had a huge support system in place via sparkpeople. Lately, I haven't felt like I had all of this support and I feel myself slipping because of it. Spark obviously offers a blanket level of support but I have been used to some really up close and personal support that has recently stopped. Without spark, it's mostly just Matt and he cannot support me the way I need him to when it comes to weight loss. And frankly, that's fine. He supports me through a lot of other things in my life and this is not one area. So clearly I need to get this support back, but it's not that easy. I don't want to dedicate time to challenges on spark.. those never really work for me. A lot of the friends I have on spark are much farther along than me and sometimes seeing their progress makes me feel depressed about my own. Lately in fact, seeing anyone's progress that is greater than mine puts me into a dark hole (so much in fact that Matt has forbade me from watching the newest season of Biggest Loser). I know I still have the broad level supporters and friends on spark that are there for me (as evidenced by my latest blog which I will discuss in a minute), but it's not the level of personal and instantaneous support that I have grown accustomed to.

I have to be my own person though and I can't blame my lack of progress on others. Ultimately it's my decision to be healthy, not anyone else's. I'm not doing it for other people, I'm doing it for myself and I just have to prove to myself I can do it. Matt and I have talked about my expectations and how my expectations are too high. As much as I THINK I should be someone that can lose 2 pounds a week, I can't. So we have talked about redefining what my expectations are and possibly taking a break from some of the things that are discouraging me right now (insert no more Biggest Loser). He suggested taking a break from spark. I'm not really sure if that's the best idea for right now. I still need the food tracker and fitness tracker to FEEL in control of my health. I still have a LOT of great friends and supporters on spark that are always there to offer me a kind word and I do appreciate those people more than I can say. I feel hesitant to make a lot of changes right now and would prefer to wait until I start school and have that situation figured out, but I know that I can't keep putting it off until then. I need to do SOMETHING right now.

The last time I hit a plateau and felt myself slipping and becoming discouraged, I focused all my energy back into running. I had taken a break from running at that point and I told myself that I WOULD run a 5K. I signed up for one, I trained for it and I felt amazing for  the months I worked towards that goal. I ran a second 5K, shaved 5 minutes off my time and really felt incredible about the experience. But now, with no goals in sight other than weight loss, I just feel lost. I am discovering that I am definitely someone that NEEDS a goal to work towards and that goal has to be something tangible and something I can control, like a race, other than a particular weight loss goal.

SO the plan for now is to focus back on running. Dallas has a running club with a low membership fee that offers like 8 races for free in 2010. I think Matt and I are going to join. His goal has already been to run a half marathon before the summer is over, so I think I'll run a 5K in February and he'll run a 15K in preparation. I want to complete this 5K in 35 minutes. That means I need an average pace of 11:30 and right now I'm at 12 minute mile. Doesn't seem too hard right? Well that 12 minute mile pace is for ONE mile and not 3, but I'll give it a shot anyway. I am going to go ahead and order the garmim I've been wanting. I feel like it's going to help me tremendously and that's really what I need right now so I'm going to do it. In all honesty, I need to reward myself more. I have this reward jar that I have never emptied and I only have rewards based on weight loss, which is not working, so it's time to start reinstituting rewards. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to reward myself and for what accomplishments, but I know I'll figure it out. For now, I will come up with a reward for a sub 35 minute 5K and focus on that until I've completed it.

As far as the personal support goes.. I don't know. I spoke with spark BFF Stef this morning and we made a plan to make weekly goals and check in with each other more often. We both are swamped now and will be even more swamped as we BOTH start school next semester, but we're going to try. I hope we can both commit to it and help each other out. I think both of us have been missing the level of support we were used to and so we are going to try to fix things (as much as we can). I don't know if this is going to help me feel the level of personal support I need, but all we can do is try!

I want to end by saying that I don't write blogs to become famous. The point of my starting this blog is nothing more than getting my thoughts out there for my friends and family to read and if the occasional stranger pops in - so be it. I'm not longing to become blog famous and I definitely am not actively trying to gain new readership. I do, however, love to hear responses from those that I care about and love. Knowing I have the support of my friends and family means the world to me and it really pushes me through the difficult times. For those of you that responded to my last blog (mostly sparkers but there were a few others), I REALLY appreciate it. I appreciate anyone that took time out of their day to say kind things to me and to show me their support. I read everyone's comments and felt like I was not alone in my struggles.  Obviously I love this support and I can't tell you how many nice things were said to me after the last blog. So thank you to all of you!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fighting the fight

When I said that I was excited about December and excited about the holidays last week, I was completely lying. In fact, I've been lying to everyone (and myself) for weeks about how excited I am for the holidays this year. The simple fact is that I don't even want to celebrate the holidays this year and I just want this time to be over. But in my quest to live a less anxious and stressful life, I tried to mask my anxiety about the holidays with excitement and it worked for about.. 2 weeks. And then it stopped working. And instead of acknowledging that it had stopped working, I just buried all my feelings inside of me and didn't talk about it and didn't think about them. This doesn't really work though because things have been ROUGH for me the past few weeks. I feel myself slipping into my old ways of not working out, eating whatever I want, eating all the time, eating to feel better. I tried to tell myself that I was just being hard on myself and I tried to make myself realize that healthy living is about balance and there isn't any reason to feel bad for having that balance. But, that didn't really work either because I still found myself slipping to the bad side too often. And I hit rock bottom this morning when I decided I was going to stop watching what I was eating and stop making myself work out when I didn't want to (which is every day, by the way).

I don't want to focus on what I've been doing and what I haven't been doing. I just want to tell you that the holidays are a really hard time for me every year. This is going to be my 6th Christmas since my dad passed away. And even now, 6 years later, I am still brought to tears as I type this. This particular year is one of the hardest years yet because I lost not only my uncle this past year, but my Oma (grandmother). Since my dad and my Opa have passed away, the two single most important people in my life have been my Oma and my brother. They are the only direct ties that I feel to my dad now. And now that my Oma is not here, my worst fears are being realized and I can feel my dad's family slipping apart. We didn't have Thanksgiving together this year. I'm going to spend Christmas with Matt's family, but even if I wasn't - I don't know if my dad's family would be celebrating together. I was always terrified that Oma was the only reason we still got together, and this year it's proving true. I know that everyone has had a horrible year and probably for some people - like my newly widowed Aunt (who also lost her mom a month later), putting together a holiday celebration is the last thing she wants to do. But unfortunately, for me, that's what I need. I need to feel as close to my dad during the holidays as I can and this year I am not feeling that.

But like I said, I haven't been acknowledging these feelings. I've been burying them. And so they are showing up where I don't want them to show up - in my dreams, in my habits, in my attitude and demeanor every day. My heart feels broken and I feel empty inside. All I want to do every day is go home and lay on either my couch or my bed and just sleep. All I want to do is eat. I can't be bothered to go to the gym. I don't want to do ANYTHING social. Yet, I've been fighting myself. I have still been attending as many social events as I can and I've been scheduling more. I still pack my breakfast and lunch for work every day and make a solid attempt to eat as healthy as I can. I still plan my menus for the weeks and shop as if I'm going to be my normal healthy self. And some nights I still prepare those healthy meals I've planned and purchased. But then I'll have times when I lose the fight with myself and I give in. I eat my emotions. I lay on the couch the second I get home and I don't get up until it's time to move to my bed to sleep for the night. I don't go to the gym. And worst of all, I've been consumed with fear and anxiety for the past few weeks about my own life and when I'm going to die and what if a tragic accident happens to me and feeling like every single day that I wake up is another day closer to the day that I die. It's been eating away at me. And of course, I didn't tell anyone because I just wanted it to all go away.

This morning I woke up and I cried the entire way to work. I cried because I know exactly what I NEED to be doing, I just don't feel like I have any fight in myself. I debated blogging and I debated how much I would share on my public blog. I debated if I could deal with everyone's comments about "how to get back into it" and I decided I didn't want to hear what anyone had to say about it because I HATE cheerleaders and I don't want to feel positive right now. Then I played the scenarios in my head and decided the best thing to do was to give up for right now. To stop tracking my food. To stop pushing myself to get to the gym. I told myself that I could eat intuitively and I could handle not losing weight right now, because frankly I'm NOT losing weight anyways. And when I started to think about what would happen if I GAINED weight from essentially giving up, I just stopped thinking about it and cried more because it was too hard.

And so I got to work and I opened my email and I had an email waiting from one of my very good friends that I do not speak to very often. She had sent me a link to an article talking about "diet" blogs and about how these bloggers show the world that you don't have to be perfect to be healthy. Because these healthy lifestyle bloggers share both the good and bad, it helped one blogger in particular to realize that everyone struggles and that we shouldn't give up. The one thing that really struck me as I was reading was the woman's pictures of her body where she had put the great things her body CAN do for her. When I read that on her stomach she said she had lost over 100 pounds I was immediately inspired. Reading that article helped me to realize how far I have come and how I'm not ready to give it up. I don't want to gain weight because I'm not paying attention. I don't to lose my fitness because I stop going to the gym. I've worked very hard to get to where I am and I still have a long way to go. I'm going through rough waters right now but it's not the first time I have and I can get through it. Giving up on myself and allowing myself to avoid my health is not the answer though.

You all know I have an extremely all-or-nothing personality. Right now I'm not all in. And that's an impossible feeling for me because when I can't give something my all I'm very inclined to give it nothing. I'm done being naive with myself and pushing myself to do things that I don't want to do right now. It's time to tell myself that right now is a time that is hard for me and sad and I need to be sad. I need to have some days where I indulge myself and just exert all my energy on making it through that one day. But on the good days, I need to focus on being healthy. So I'm just going to work at finding a balance between doing everything and doing nothing. I don't know how to do that. I have a bag full of tricks but none of the tricks have been working lately. I'm not ready to give up but I'm not exactly full of the fight that I have been in the past. That's an impossible place for me right now and I'm just doing my best to get through it as I can.

I know I'm not the only person having a difficult holiday season this year. And I know I'm not the only person that is struggling with my emotions and fighting myself to be healthy. I just want everyone to know that is what I'm personally going through and that it's okay. It's okay that I'm having these problems and it's okay if you are too. But if you aren't talking about it and it's eating you away inside, maybe it's time that you confront your emotions and try to process through them. I'd be lying if I told you I feel better right now after writing this because I don't. In fact I've been crying at work (yippee) as I write, but I know, for me, I just need to get it out. I need to acknowledge and share my struggles. And so I thank you for reading this and I hope that all of us have as safe and great of a holiday season that we can.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Foodie day 2

Don’t laugh at me, but I forgot my camera this morning. The worst part about forgetting my camera is that I saw it on top of my computer last night and I told myself, “you’re going to forget that if you leave it there.”

And so what did I do? Yeah, I left it there and then I forgot it.

It’s okay, you really didn’t miss much. In fact, the only thing you missed was a banana and an orange La Croix because those were the only things different about what I ate today vs. what I ate yesterday while at work. I told you – I do this all the time. I eat the same breakfast for a month at a time. I eat usually the same lunch as my dinner the night before. If I don’t have the same dinner as the night before, I typically have a sandwich – like you saw me have yesterday. I don’t know why I do this but it works for me and I’m okay with that. I’m horrible at re-purposing leftovers, so I just make things that I won’t mind eating two days in a row.

So today – breakfast was Blueberry (okay another difference) chobani with 2 TBSP flax meal and 1 TBSP vanilla almond granola. I had spanish peanuts on the side and they were extra tasty!

I brought a banana for my early snack before lunch, but wasn’t really hungry so I didn’t eat it. This was a HUGE mistake because as soon as I found myself Christmas shopping at Target I was so hungry and eyeing all the delicious treats in the store. It took a LOT of convincing on my part but I stayed away from everything and waited to get back to the office to have my sandwich. Same as yesterday – hummus and cheddar cheese on WW toasted bread with pickles. Food should taste good sweet potato chips and carrots on the side. No kiwis today – I only had one left and was too lazy to peel it this morning.

I did have an apple and a string cheese for my snack. The apple was a weird variety I’ve never had before. I looked at the label before I got on here to write, but of course I’ve forgotten the name. I’ll get back to you with it. They were VERY soft, almost fluffy and I was not a huge fan. Sigh. I have 3 left so I guess I’ll eat them anyway.

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Dinner was nothing short of brilliant but also random. I had originally planned to have Falafel and rice pilaf, but my rice that I pre-made yesterday was left out all night on the counter. Since I made it with chicken stock I was not taking that risk. I remembered I had most of a can of refried beans left in the fridge, so I should do something with them. I was also craving zucchini so I had to come up with something. The results?

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That is a bean and cheese quesadilla, roasted broccoli and some very special zucchini on the side.

Let’s start with the quesadilla.

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Very easy. I took refried beans (I buy Amy’s organics low sodium. My favorite are the black beans but I can only find pinto right now) and heated them a little in the microwave. I put some butter (the real deal folks) into a skillet and rubbed my tortilla in it. Then I put the beans and some 2% cheese on top and folded the tortilla over. I don’t eat butter on much besides toast, but anytime I make quesadillas or tostadas I use it. It makes the tortilla extra crisp and brown on the outside.

Next, roasted broccoli. Don’t know how to make roasted broccoli? It’s SO simple and so delicious. It’s the only way I’ll eat broccoli right now.

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Just cut the broccoli and put into a 400 degree oven with some EVOO slathered all over it for like 20-30 minutes. Viola!

While the broccoli roasted, I also roasted a bulb of garlic. Yeah, just cut off the top 1/4 of the bulb, drizzle with some EVOO and wrap in foil. This takes a full 30-35 minutes to roast but I got impatient and took it out around 27 minutes. Next time, I’ll just suck it up and go a little longer.

Dec-2-09 001You want it just a little more golden than this, so next time go for longer than I did!

I pulled two cloves out and minced them as much as I could and added it to some butter and melted it all in the microwave. (I promise, I usually don’t eat this much butter!) I drizzled this over zucchini that I had very very thinly sliced and steamed. It was DIVINE. Next time I will definitely roast the garlic more and probably make a paste of it and slather it on the zucchini.

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I finished the meal with 2 dark chocolate hersheys kisses because I had been craving chocolate ALL day. I don’t really care for chocolate much so when I crave it, I always give in since it’s easily controlled. Lexi thought these were for her so she was all up in my face when I was trying to take the picture!

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After dinner I went to the gym for 20 minutes on the elliptical then yoga. I HATE the elliptical but I can stand it for about 20 minutes if I’m pushing it. My heart rate was in the 160s the entire time. I’ve figured out that if I want to do extra cardio with yoga I should plan to be at the gym the entire time and not go home in between. I will never make it back to the gym. So going to the gym 30 minutes before yoga works perfectly and I think I’ll be doing that for a while now! Yoga for the FIRST time felt a little easier. I felt much more comfortable in my downward dogs and I actually did a real plank for like 5 seconds. Hey, that’s 5 seconds longer than I’ve been able to do. Suddenly, it’s seeming slightly more attainable!

After yoga I came home and had a yogurt with some grape nuts in it. Cascade Fresh is actually my favorite yogurt out there. It’s much more of a snacking by itself yogurt than greek yogurt it. It was SO tasty.

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Also, I should tell you that I use pure salted whipped butter instead of any butter substitutes. I love that the only ingredients are cream and salt! Tonight between the quesadilla and the zucchini I used about a tablespoon, which is only 50 calories and 6 grams of fat since it’s whipped. Check it out if you like!

Also tonight I have typed both blogs from Windows Live Writer. It is DIVINE and has saved me so much time on the formatting. It easily picked up my blogger account and is beautiful. I’m using the new Windows 7 on the new laptop so this could be why – but if you are looking for an external blogging software check out this one. If you can’t see my test post from earlier tonight can you please let me know? I can see the blogs but I want to make sure everyone can.

Matt is out of town for work tonight so it’s just me and Lexi and it’s way past our bedtime! Goodnight!

You are worth the struggle

One thing that I will never deny is the fact that I’m hard on myself. And I mean really hard on myself. I’m a perfectionist by nature and therefore I have ridiculously high standards I hold myself to. When I don’t meet these standards, I’ve been known to feel negatively about myself and put myself down.

Lately, I can’t help but feel like I’ve been struggling with the “healthy lifestyle”. And while most of this struggle HAS been due to no weight loss due to an obvious plateau, even more of the struggle has been all the negative self talk I’ve been giving to myself. I can even catch myself doing it. This morning is the prime example. I woke up with a little tummy ache and after finishing my weekly weigh in and seeing a 2 pound plus from last week, I just felt defeated. And I blamed the extra 100 calories I had over my max range from my snack attack after work. I also blamed the fact that I skipped my spin workout due to getting really sick the night before from pushing myself too hard during that spin class.

Let’s back up for a second. A few weeks ago one of my very good spark friends wrote a blog about how she has a hard time asking for help and was having trouble asking to work out with a trainer at her gym. About a week after she posted this blog, I responded telling my friend that I felt the same way! I told her I felt like everyone in my gym judges me because I feel larger than everyone in my classes. I told her I felt like a lot of people judged me because it took me one year to lose only 30 pounds. I also confessed to her that I had a breakdown a few days prior to my reply about how I didn’t see the point of this journey anymore because I've stopped losing. None of the thoughts I had during this breakdown were logical, so I will spare you the flawed logic I was experiencing.

You see, lately I have been struggling with these certain ideas I have in my head of what I should be doing and since I’m not doing these things, I’m not losing. Some of these things include eating at the bottom of my calorie range, which I physically cannot do right now. I’ve been at the top of my range for weeks because I’ve been SO hungry and I’ve been trying to meet certain nutrient goals that require more food. I also have this idea that I should be working out or doing something highly active every day. I make these overly ambitious workout plans for the week and when I’m feeling exhausted, I of course skip a workout (usually my runs) and then I feel guilty all day.

But I didn’t realize HOW flawed my thinking has been lately until earlier this afternoon. I received a sparkmail from a sparker I had never spoken with. I opened the email and the woman told me she read the comment I left on my friend’s blog. She said that she was judging me because of how much I have accomplished and how I am so determined to become healthy. She told me to keep up my great work and keep striving for my goal. After reading this message a few times, I took time to reply to the woman telling her, “Thank you so much. I really needed to hear this today. I’ve been having such a rough time lately.” The woman promptly replied to me, saying: “Becoming healthy is a struggle. But remember, you are worth the struggle. So keep working towards your health.”

An entire football field of lights came on in my head as I started to analyze what this woman had just said to me. I realized that I’ve completely lost sight of the goal: To become healthy. Yes, losing weight is part of the process of becoming healthy – but right now I’m the healthiest and fittest I’ve been in my life. For example, the first day I went to Curves in September 2008 my resting heart rate was in the 78-80 range. I hardly worked out then. Tonight, as we were cooling down in yoga my rest heart rate was 59. 59!!! That’s absolutely incredible.

Eating in my calorie range and working out are two tools that have led me to improved health and will continue to improve my health. But they are not the be all end all of becoming healthy. I HAVE to switch my outlook to one of a healthy person. There are no “on and off days” in a healthy life. Every day is an on day and some days are better than others, but that’s why “balance” and “moderation” are two of the most important principles of becoming healthy. My healthy lifestyle doesn’t stop the day I indulge myself with an out of the ordinary meal. My healthy lifestyle doesn’t stop because I take the day off of exercise. I have to give myself more slack and more time to relax. As of right now, I put too much on my plate and I typically become overwhelmed before I even start and mess up. I eat things I shouldn’t eat, because I know I shouldn’t eat them. I also skip workouts because I’m feeling so overwhelmed in my head about the rest of the workouts for the week. It’s unacceptable!

So, I want to thank the random sparker today that really made me take a step back and re-evaluate my outlook. I am worth the struggle. And so are you. So let’s stop being our own worst critic and start becoming our own best friend. You deserve a night off exercise. You deserve dessert or a glass of wine or that handful of chips. We deserve these things because we practice moderation and balance and we realize that having an indulgence one day does not mean that it has to continue.

You are worth the struggle.


This is a test post using Windows Live writer on the new laptop!

Is it going to work? Let’s see!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Foodie for a day

I was such a good food blogger today (minus my snacks). I don’t know if it was knowing I could easily post a picture blog on the new computer, or what.. but I was all about it. So here are my eats for the day: (also apologizes that these are not very pretty - I eat over half my meals for the day at my desk at work!)

Breakfast: Strawberry Chobani with 2 TBSP flax meal and 1 TBSP vanilla almond granola. (BTW I love flax meal and I highly recommend you eat it. Also, it really cheap. I buy flax seeds in the bulk bins at the natural foods stores. I can get half a pound for less than $1. Then I grind it up in a coffee grinder myself at home and refrigerate the meal to keep it from going rancid). I also had some spanish peanuts on the side. I've been insatiably hungry the past few weeks and my doctor told me to add more fat to my breakfast. Since I naturally prefer non-fat dairy, I'm having to add it in the form of nuts. I don't mind! I ate this around 8:30 am

Then around 11, I had half a grapefruit. I’m really sad this is my last one! In Texas we grow GIANT grapefruits that are so sweet and juicy. I love them. I topped mine with truvia. Super yummy!

Lunch was around 12:45. This is not a typical lunch for me – normally I have leftovers from the night before. But last night’s meal (grilled bean and cheese/sweet potato fries) did not transport well so I had this instead. The star was a hummus/cheddar Sammie with pickles on toasted WW bread. Alongside I ate Food Should Taste Good (my favorite right now) sweet potato chips. I also had some baby carrots and two kiwis. I also had a pure La Croix on the side (yummm)

For the first part of my snack I had this baby apple I stole from sweet tomato’s dessert bar last Friday. Then I came home and couldn’t keep my hand out of the pantry. I hate having days like that! No matter what I ate, I didn’t feel satisfied. I had a few small handfuls of tortilla chips, a string cheese and some Spanish peanuts. I did not photograph these, I apologize!

Dinner was a frittata that I made for the first time. The recipe is from eating well and it’s a Potato and Zucchini frittata. I don’t eat white potatoes very often so it was nice to have them. I am trying to eat more eggs because they are cheap, full of protein and fat! I am running low on protein and fat since I’m not eating as much meat lately. So I’m working to like eggs more (I’ll tell you why I don’t really like them another day). I made the frittata with home fries, sausage and toast on the side. I originally didn’t plan on making the home fries, but found myself with two extra potatoes from Thanksgiving last week and thought they sounded good. This is a HUGE dinner for me normally, but I still thought I would share! It was GOOD!

This is 1/4 the frittata


New Computer!

I know I have told you guys MULTIPLE times that I am horrible about taking pictures and uploading them to my computer. More recently, I explained that this problem was because my computer was so freaking slow. Also, it's because I usually forget to whip my camera out to take a picture (but that's besides the point). I generally don't get online at home anymore because of my slow computer. Thursday night (Thanksgiving) I had some time to kill so I logged onto my computer to download new music for running. To make a very long, detailed story short – I lost over half my Itunes library. This had nothing to do with my computer itself – rather some settings and my own lack of paying attention. I was devastated! Friday morning I had to work, so I lugged my laptop and all my CDs to work with me and started the process of uploading the CDs back to my library.

Imagine my dismay when I was notified that my CD rom drive was not working. Ummmm. Come to think of it, I had been seeing a "modular bay" warning pop up every time I started my computer, but I just ignored it. I don't know much about computers because my mom works on computers for a living, so I generally just hand the computer over to her and she fixes it for me. I was meeting my mom and brother for lunch and I asked my mom to bring her computer tools so we could take out my CD rom and try to re-position it inside of the computer. That did not work.

Over lunch, I was obviously feeling anxiety about a non-working computer. Furthermore, I was feeling anxiety over the computer itself – CD rom or not. My computer is 4 years old. It was a very nice computer at the time, but since then – it's gotten its fair share of wear and tear. It is a Dell and I am seriously convinced that Dell computers are some of the worst made (externally) and therefore have sworn to never buy another Dell. But, I am taking 4 internet classes next semester and I don't have the money to be buying a new computer. I'm very much a save and pay in cash kind of person when it comes to big ticket items. I like to make calculated decisions and weigh all my options before making a purchase. I also don't want to have ANY debt that I don't have to have. Therefore, buying a new computer wasn't an option for me.

I have to say though, as my mom and my brother tried to explain to me how important it was that we go look at new computers, I really started to feel swayed. I, also, felt VERY stressed out VERY fast and probably called Matt to talk over the decisions with him a thousand times. In the end, we went to Best Buy "just to look" and within 10 minutes of being there I found a computer I wanted. Luckily it was Black Friday so the deals were there. While I didn't get the exact computer I wanted, I actually bought a much nicer one that was a better pick for the price and spent a little more than I had hoped. I also opted to open a line of credit at Best Buy to get their 18 month 0% interest deal. At least if I'm putting this on credit, I'd like to not be losing money in the process. I'll only have about a $50 a month payment and as long as I pay it off in 18 months, I'll pay $0 in interest.

While this was definitely a purchase I wasn't expecting to make, I've decided it was a necessary one. I already have been on my computer more than I used to be. My blogging has improved! And really, there was no way I could take 4 internet classes next semester on my old computer. It took about 10 minutes just to boot up! Another 10 minutes to get the internet to boot up. That is not time that I have folks. Matt and I actually decided to keep my old laptop around for a while, until I quit my job, since it has my VPN access for work. I don't want to put that on the new computer so we'll just keep the extra laptop around.

So here is my new laptop – which we have named Jonathan. I wish I could tell you the specs, but I have no idea. I think it has 4 gigs of ram? It also has windows 7, which I haven't decided if I like yet. It has a wonderful touchpad that is ribbed. This is my favorite thing because my old touchpad would get hot and make my finger feel like my skin was melting off. Also it has a really really cool fingerprint technology where I can sign into my computer and websites by just swiping a finger! I love that and was really really surprised about the feature when I got home. It's already helping my blogging (3 blogs in one day, all three with pictures? Amazing!) and I know it's going to be a tremendous help with school. The computer is SO fast! I love it!

Also I have decided I need blogging software if I'm going to blog more. Blogging in the blogger website is horrific and I spend more time trying to get the formatting to look correct. See how the top font is different from the rest? I can't get it to change! It's awful. I'll have to research this!

That thing in the middle is the fingerprint reader

Dear December: I love you

I am STOKED that today is December 1st! December is my most favorite month of the year. Why?

Well, first of all - it flies by!

Second of all, it has the wonderful holiday of Christmas in it. Christmas is actually my second favorite holiday (Thanksgiving is first), but it's the one I get the most excited about! I absolutely LOVE shopping for other people and finding the "perfect gift" for my loved ones. I spend all year making mental notes about things my friends/family mention that they would like or need and I save them all up for Christmas and surprise them with those perfect gifts!

Third, my birthday is December 28th and I love my birthday.
(on a side note: I think that everyone should make a big deal about their birthday. After all, that's the ONE day a year that everyone celebrates you and your life! Also I think you should really take time to be appreciative of your parents on your birthday. After all, you wouldn't be here without them and the day of your birthday should be just as special to them as it is to you! I have a tradition of NOT working on my birthday. Don't care what I have going on, I take off that day no matter what. It's MY day and I'm not letting anyone tell me what to do.)

Fourth, it's the final month of the year and I look forward all month long to the new year starting!

This year I'm especially excited it's December because it's the last month I have before I start school again. I'm sure you know I've been feeling a little anxious about starting school, but now I'm just making myself be excited. The sooner that school starts, the sooner the Spring semester ends and the sooner I can start FULL TIME to summer school and quit my full time job. I feel like quitting my full time job and actually attending all my classes (rather than taking them on the internet) is going to be the time when I REALLY feel like I'm making a change in my life for the better. So instead of focusing on the stress of taking 16 hours + working 40 hours in the Spring, I'm just focusing on how fantastic next summer will be! And since December is the only thing standing in my way of starting school, and starting school (and I guess being IN school) is all that is in my way of next summer - I'm READY!
Alas, I have 14 work day (after today) left until my Christmas vacation starts and I'm READY for these days to fly by! I made a brief to-do list this morning of the work tasks I need to accomplish in order to hit a huge deadline I have looming at the end of this month. I'm feeling good about it because it's totally accomplishable and as long as I stick to my (not ambitious) schedule, I'll be finishing early! Having that planned out and not over my head makes me feel not only more productive, but it gives me a purpose to be in the office each day. I'm loving that.

December will be busy. There are several major happenings in my life going on, including (but not limited to):

*Birthday parties (ALMOST all of my friends and a lot of my family was born in November/December/January)
*Holiday parties
*Holiday events with my little sister (Big Brothers Big Sisters)
*My mom is having major surgery (this one is kind of a bummer)
*Matt and I are flying to NJ to spend Christmas with his family
*MY birthday!

*and of course, New Years Eve!
There are a few other happenings like Christmas shopping, events with friends, etc... but they will all fit into my schedule with no problems. This December I am simply focusing on my 100 day challenge and to enjoy this time. I am determined to have a stress free Christmas!

Basically, as you can tell, I'm READY! I was so ready that I put up my Christmas Decorations the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving :) Stef asked me to post pictures of my tree, which I am posting below. My tree is VERY special to me. About 95% of the ornaments on the tree have been given to me by my Grandmother over each year of my life. She has made it a tradition to give her grandkids hallmark ornaments every single year and even now, at the (almost) age of 24 I can expect 3-4 new ornaments a year. If you have kids that are young or maybe grandkids coming, this is a great thing to do with them. I will absolutely do this with my kids and my grandkids. Every year when I put up the tree and see the ornaments, I get reminded of my each Christmas when I opened each box. I have favorites, of course, and seeing those ornaments help me to relive those precious years of my childhood and it makes me even MORE excited for Christmas. (My grandmother's tip is she visits Hallmark the day after Christmas and buys the leftover ornaments that are 50% off and gives them to us the next year!). Some of the ornaments on that tree are as old as I am and it's incredible to be holding something that you were given at your first Christmas!

My beautiful tree!

Close-up of some of the ornaments

One of the oldest ones - from my very first Christmas

One of my favorites - Santa on a hammock watching, "All My Reindeer"

Another favorite - Ballerina Mousey

My fireplace set-up. Those are Matt's (we can't find his real one), mine and Lexi's stockings.