Monday, August 30, 2010

The joy of figuring out things for yourself.

It's been pretty routine lately; eat well/exercise regularly Monday through Friday. Sometime between Friday night and Saturday night, my eating and drinking habits more or less go to crap. Monday morning finds me regretful, but also ready to start life anew. I feel focused, motivated and ready to dismiss my poor weekend eating habits for good! ... That is... Until the following weekend. The cycle repeats itself. And while I feel proud of myself every Monday morning for not giving up for good, I can't help but feel like a joke for letting the setbacks continue.

Instead of letting myself go into autopilot like I usually do every week, I've been productive this morning in taking the time to capture the details of my bouts of overeating in a separate journal. I've listed just about every possible reason why I let my healthy-minded guard down on the days of the week that I do.

Such thoughts have taken place in between my usual blog and twitter reading. I don't remember how I came upon it exactly, but I found a great site called Maria's Last Diet, while my self-analysis was taking place.

I've found myself reading post after post because there seems to be a regular, common theme: weight maintenance. There really is, seemingly, a bazillion blogs or articles that break down the ins and outs of losing weight. I'm easily a part of that statistic, if you read back far enough. But for me, finding a similar amount of reliable, practical weight maintenance resources hasn't been as easy. Maria's Last Diet is less about "eat this, do that" and more focused on the psychological side of losing weight and keeping it off. I have a tendency to ignore a lot of important psychological/emotional cues and doing so sets me up to make poor choices, even if my intentions of being healthy are still in place.

I still have more to read and even more questions to ask myself, but so far, I've noticed a few things:

1) While spending over 2 years losing 90 pounds, I devoted little-to-no time thinking about how to keep the weight off. Even after I hit my "goal" weight, my immediate thought was to keep losing. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I didn't even try maintaining for a single week to see if it could even be done. I  turned into a machine.

2) The majority of magazines, blogs, articles and celebrity trainers I relied on as my primary resources during my weight-loss journey rarely discussed post-goal weight maintenance strategies. If they did, I took the information with a grain of salt because somehow, I thought I would magically have it all figured out by the time I lost all of the extra weight. Flawless logic, eh?

3) Most tips on weight maintenance include continuing to track calories and/or points as you did while losing the weight. Makes sense, I suppose. But... Seriously? Do "they" really expect me to keep thousands of food logs until I'm on my death bed? Unfortunately, while losing weight, I became dangerously obsessed with numbers in just about every possible way; daily weigh-ins to record X point X pounds, Weight Watcher points eaten, activity points earned, calories burned, calories eaten, protein, fiber, fat, saturated fat, sodium, sugar, cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, grams, milligrams, miles, minutes, beats per minute, reps, inches, body fat percentage, dress sizes, resting metabolic rate... Buh. Believe it or not, ALL of those things were being captured in my head, throughout the day, just about every damn day.

Not to suggest that such knowledge is useless, but I clearly let it control my life and dictate my happiness for about two years. In all honesty, I've tried about 3 or 4 times in the past month to track my food in some capacity, be it Points, calories or journaling and each time, I've gotten frustrated or anxious once the numbers came back.

4) Each time I give up on tracking my food (usually after a few days), I tell myself it's because I need to learn to eat well and manage my weight naturally, without being a slave to points, calories, charts and spreadsheets. TRUE! Absolutely and completely true. BUT... I also need to be responsible for my food and exercise choices. Lately, I just haven't felt responsible or fully in charge a good chunk of the time.

5) Although some of the posts on this blog may imply otherwise, a lot of what I've been doing lately (re: food and exercise) has been out of fear. Fear of having to buy bigger pants. Fear of not fitting into smaller pants. Fear of gaining. Fear of being judged by others for slipping back into my old ways and "letting myself go." Fear of never becoming a "normal" eater. While I try to eat and exercise with better intentions (just being healthy and fit, regardless of weight or appearance), the fear runs deep and serves as my main source of motivation most of the time. Obviously, doing things out of fear is a horrible way to go. What kind of life am I living if such basic daily activities like eating and exercising are done out of fear?! It's absurd.

Anyway, it's time to face some facts:

  • I've gained back some of the weight I've lost. (Not specifying the amount, as I don't currently feel it's appropriate or necessary.)
  • It's not the end of the world.
  • I can find a happy balance.
  • Self-sabotage does absolutely nothing for me.
  • I, once again, need to pace myself and not rush into things or expect change in a week.
  • As of now, I still don't appreciate myself as much as I should.
  • Life is waiting.
  • Honey-nut peanut butter, ice cream, chocolate and chips aren't going to suddenly disappear from the world any time soon (though, some days I wish they would, haha).
  • The few pounds I've gained back don't cancel out my overall success in losing a shit-ton of weight. How quickly I forget that I was once clinically obese, unable to jog for more than 10 seconds or do more than 2 sit ups.
  • If I'm free to still watch and enjoy Spongebob, I'm also free to watch what I eat and enjoy being healthy.
  • I can't live in extremes. Not for long, anyway.
  • I need to stop rebelling against myself.
  • I need to stop being so strict with myself.
  • I need to make a new commitment to weight maintenance. And I need to think it over a lot more than when I committed myself to weight-loss. Things need to be sane and sustainable this time around. No more diving in head-first. No more autopilot. No more running around in the dark.

To help get me started in drafting the ins and outs of my new commitment, I'm using this post from Maria's Last Diet as a guide:

"Does keeping the weight off once you've lost it require more of a commitment from you? It does.

Despite the fact that you lost the weight and you were certainly committed to doing that, you now have another commitment to make.

Keeping the weight off is no easy matter, as the research shows. Most people who lose weight don’t keep it off. They may keep it off for a year or for a few months or for a few weeks. But they gain it back, and it is not unusual to gain back more than you’ve lost.

So if want to keep the weight off, you have to make yet another commitment. Here are some ways to make sure your commitment is solid.

Be specific—tell how, where, and what

Set up a consequence for not following through

Make sure to tell someone what you are doing

Take your past history of commitment into consideration

Anticipate commitment spoilers

Don’t force your commitment; give yourself a choice

Set up a self-monitoring plan

Support your commitment by attributing success to yourself

You’ve come this far. You already have a lot of commitment under your belt. Commit again and be a step closer to permanent weight loss."

I'm also reviewing some highlighted notes from Eat What You Love to remind me that it's possible to have a sane relationship with food. Good resources aside though, I need to be responsible and get serious. Seriously happy. Seriously healthy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pancakes and Push-ups

This morning, I tried the beginner/20 minute workout from Bob Harper's Pure Burn Super Strength DVD. As part of my 10K training schedule, I was supposed to do a 2 mile run plus some strength training, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try the shorter workout.

It really is a beginner's workout. It's super-basic, but still functional. You work your upper body with bicep curls, various dumbbell raises, rows and push-ups. You briefly work your lower body with weighted squats and lunges. The workout ends with some basic ab crunches and then you're done.

While this shorter workout was perfect for complementing my run, it really doesn't seem like it would be much of a workout on its own. You could significantly increase the weight to make some of the moves more challenging, but I still found it to be too short and basic to be effective with increased use (it's only 20 minutes including the warm-up and cool down). But, that said, if someone truly is brand new to working out, this is a great stepping stone into learning proper form for popular strength exercises. Bob does a good job of describing proper form with every move.

I'm planning on trying the full one-hour workout in the next few days, so be on the lookout for another review soon.

Moving on to food, I had such a tasty breakfast this morning! I got my new issue of Health magazine the other day and came across a great recipe for Blueberry Oat Pancakes with Maple Yogurt.

I used the recipe as more of a guideline though and threw together my own version:
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1/4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • splenda and cinnamon to taste (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, saving the blueberries for last. Pour batter onto a heated pan, cooking/flipping as needed.

My version yielded 2 mid-size cakes and they were so good! They turned out much better than I thought. I didn't take a picture though because they weren't all that photogenic. Quick, filling pancakes that I look forward to making again this weekend! I just had mine with syrup since I'm out of yogurt.

That's all for now. I took the day off from work and need to take advantage of a cheap berry sale at the grocery store before all the good ones are gone!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Balls out with Bob.

Probably not the best title for this post, but that's really the only thing coming to mind right now. I finally ordered the complete collection of Bob Harper's Inside Out Method. I had been eying this set for a long time and decided I couldn't wait any longer to try it.

First, let me say, even if you're NOT a fan of "The Biggest Loser," please still consider trying these workouts. The level of intensity blew me away this morning. Literally.

The first DVD I wanted to try was:

Body Rev Cardio Conditioning

This disc has two options: The full, one-hour workout or a condensed 25 minute workout, which is recommended for beginners. I put on my big-girl pants and decided to go for the full hour. I must admit, after watching some of the trailers, I was a little nervous. And looking back, I had every right to be, because this. Was. HARD.

It started out innocently enough, with some dynamic stretching and some basic punching moves. Then, you're instructed to pick up a dumbbell (I grabbed one that's slightly more than 8 lbs) and start moving into deadlifts with rows. Wait, time out! Strength training? I thought this was a cardio workout? Well, be patient. The deadlift rows transition into squats with arm swings, which I later learned is a common move that you come back to as an active recovery between the crazier moves. So what are some of those crazy moves, exactly?

  • Squat Jumps (still holding the dumbbell, plus some isometric holds)
  • Walk-outs (walking down into a push-up and back)
  • Mountain Climbers (instead of taking a break in between sets, he makes you do push-ups AND hold in plank position!)
  • Jumping Jacks (both with and without dumbbells)
  • Jump Rope (with dumbbells)
  • More squats (both at regular and pulsing paces)
  • Fast Feet (these eventually lead into jump twists a.k.a. 180-jumps)
  • More Walk-outs with an added jump
  • Scorpion Push-Ups (this was definitely a "WTF?" moment for me... From a push-up position, you lift one leg up high, shift it toward the opposite side and then do a push-up. Um. Yeah.)
  • Squats with Knee Raises
  • Speed Skaters
  • Tuck Jumps
  • Various standing ab moves

That's not even a complete list, people. You just keep going. And going. And going some more. As I mentioned before, you regularly come back to the strength moves introduced in the beginning and those are pretty much the closest things you'll get to a break. Technically, there is a "water break," but it doesn't come until the last third of the workout and lasts for only a few seconds. Then, you're back to the grind. You get to see a sadistic side of Bob in this workout, clearly.

As far as the instruction goes, I think Bob could've done a slightly better job in describing form. Although, this workout pretty much dives in at an intermediate-to-advanced level, so if you're still learning proper form on things like squats, deadlifts and push-ups, you may want to train in those areas a little bit more beforehand. Also, it would've been nice to see Bob doing more of the workout himself, instead of just instructing/watching his 3 assistants (two girls, one guy).

I also found myself kind of irritated with how the assistants were regularly out of sync, even with Bob's cues, but then Bob straight up tells you not to focus on their pace and to just pay attention to your own performance. I agree, but it would still be nice to look up and see some consistency.

One thing I loved was seeing the assistants drip with sweat, run out of breath and sometimes, flat out stop because they're just plain tired. It was refereshing to see the people on the screen struggling to get through an interval just as much as me! I get discouraged sometimes when I'm doing a DVD, sweating my ass off and trying to catch my breath, only to see some chick smiling back at me with her make-up still in place. The people in this DVD are definitely working hard and not always smiling and I personally appreciated that.

Overall, I was seriously impressed by this workout. It definitely lived up to my expectations, as far as delivering a high-intensity challenge. In all honesty, I could not keep up for all 60 minutes and really struggled to put forth 100% effort. But I view that as a positive because now I know I not only got my money's worth, but I also have a new level of fitness to work toward. Not that it needs to be said, but I was absolutely drenched after it was over, as if I had just ran 5 or 6 miles. Ridiculous (in a good way).

And that was just one DVD. I still have 3 others to try, haha. Bob hasn't scared me off quite yet, but he has made me a bit anxious. I read some of the reviews on Amazon for this workout and couldn't believe some people had the nerve to say this DVD was "long and boring." Um, seriously? First of all, it says right on the DVD that the first workout is an hour, so there shouldn't be any surprises there. Secondly, I don't know what workout they were doing, but I didn't have time to get bored! Bob keeps you going non-stop, so my heart rate stayed elevated. I dunno about you, but I don't sweat buckets and drop the F-bomb multiple times when I'm bored.

As you can tell, I'm officially a fan and have no qualms telling you to go out and buy this already! The individual DVDs are trickling into Amazon for pre-order, but the best value (if you want all 4 DVDs like I did) is to order the full package available from Bob's store. Plus, you won't have to wait until October!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Meatless Monday.

Yesterday, I had a plan brewing all day for a nice, summer-y, Meatless Monday dinner.

Chopped yellow squash, lasagna noodles, a can of Navy beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, Mexican squash (? not 100% sure on the proper name) were the main players.

In a pan sprayed with cooking spray, I tossed the remaining quarter of a red onion (you could use more, that's just all I had left), some minced garlic (about 3 cloves), all of the chopped veggies, salt, fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic powder (I like garlic, what can I say?), onion powder, dried basil and dried oregano. I also added the zest and juice of half a lemon and about 2 TBS of white wine (you could use more, I was just worried about it becoming too acidic).

Once the veggies cooked through, I added the beans (rinsed & drained) and removed from the heat. Once the temperature cooled a bit, I stirred in 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese, about 1 TBS of olive oil and about 2-3 TBS of grated parmesan.

While all of that was going on, I also cooked and drained my lasagna noodles. Doug had previously mentioned the idea of cutting lasagna noodles into strips as a wider alternative to the usual spaghetti or angelhair. I don't make a full lasagna casserole often and when I do, I end up with an odd number of noodles leftover, so it was a nice way to use them up.

Final result:

Tasty, filling meal that made great leftovers for lunch today!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Best. Pork. Ever.

Last night for dinner, Doug busted out what was probably some of the best tasting pork I've ever had in my entire life.

We found a good deal on some boneless pork loin roasts at the store, so Doug threw together a bitchin' marinade which later translated into grilled meat euphoria. For the marinade:

Rough chop some green onions and mix with Trader Joe's Soyaki Sauce (or, Soy Vay's Veri Veri Teriyaki, which I've seen at Wal-Mart), Famous Dave's Apricot Bourbon BBQ Sauce, crushed red pepper and POM juice. Now, since this was more of an experiment and not an actual recipe, I can't really provide specific measurements of each ingredient. The roast was about a pound, so use your best judgement and taste preferences when mixing all of this together.

Stab the roast with a few holes, add to marinade and stick in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (we let ours sit for about 2 hours). After you remove the meat, save the excess marinade, strain out the green onions and pour it into a saucepan. Turn up the heat and add brown sugar, a few drops of Liquid Smoke and more BBQ sauce and POM juice, if desired. Cook until thickened and set aside.

Before I move on, let's see another shot of that meat:

The flame? The grill marks? The SMELL?! Heaven. We ended up having to grill this longer than anticipated, so in hindsight, it would've been better (and faster) to cut the roast into 2 or more pieces. (However you go about it, PLEASE use a meat thermometer and aim for an all around internal temperature of at least 160 *F.) On the upside though, the increased grilling time made for a phenomenal charred crust. Doug also threw some broccoli in some foil, with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper:

This broccoli had been sitting in the fridge for a while and was on its last leg, hence the lack of green color... Still tasted ok though.

Served together with couscous (seasoned with parsley & kosher salt), grilled apples and the sauce prepared from the marinade.

The sauce was so delicious that I had to add a bit more to my couscous. Those little charred bits are the apples, also brushed a bit with that Awesome Sauce. And one last time, for me, that pork:

Honestly, the two of us barely said a word during this meal because we were stunned and enamored with this pork. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it was almost as good as sex. I tried to eat slowly, but the mix of flavors from the marinade and the texture of the pork (crisp, sweet, charred crust; tender, moist, juicy, flavorful interior) just kept hitting a pleasure center in my brain and I quickly became addicted. The broccoli, couscous and apples were merely supporting acts. The pork was the headliner.

In closing, I love meat, I love my grill-master boyfriend and I REALLY love when my boyfriend grills amazing meat. Definitely a meal to remember, but also to repeat in the near future. Love.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lunch in a can.

Ok, finally, some [quick] food pics from today's lunch:

Sardines, packed in spicy tomato sauce.

Pretty maids, all in a row. You're encouraged to eat the soft, tiny bones for added calcium, but the spinal cords still make me a bit squeamish, so I take the extra time to remove them.

Toast with cream cheese.

Toast topped with the sardines, the spicy tomato sauce and a few drops of lemon juice.

Not much to look at, clearly, but so yummy. Full of protein and omega-3s!

Sunday Side Up.

Thanks to Doug, I came across a new comic blog this morning called Stuff No-One Told Me. I scrolled through all of the posts and decided to share some of my favorites:

I could definitely relate to all of these and just thought they were great and quite poignant at this particular point in my life. Whether I'm seeking motivation to run and eat healthy or need to de-stress over finances, work and relationships, these simple, cute, funny little comics help me break things down into simpler terms and refresh my perspective. The Internet is kinda rad sometimes.

Still plugging along with my 10K training. Finished week 4 today and start week 5 tomorrow. Eight weeks is flying by faster than I thought it would! My pace is definintely getting better each week, although this morning's 4 mile trek was slowed back down, thanks to too much gin and snacks last night. Not sure what possessed me to eat and drink like that the night before a long run, but I'll definitely be more cautious in the future. Although I felt kinda sick and irritated most of the time, I didn't give up and feel better now that I finished. Plus, despite feeling kinda crappy, I was still excited to give my new running shoes a try:

ASICS GEL-Kahana 3

They were already marked down quite a bit and I also had a $15 Amazon gift certificate, so pair that up with free shipping and these were a damn good deal! And the best part: they feel great! I didn't even have to break them in. I also ordered them 1/2 a size larger because I always tend to need a bit more toe room in my running shoes. So comfy. I've also broken up with my custom orthodics, and these still provide great support for my flat feet. I've been wearing orthodics since I was a kid, but lately, I've been experimenting with strengthening my arches naturally, between exercise and shoes with arch support already built in. So far, so good. It probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but being able to run long distances without my orthodics feels like a strange accomplishment, heh. It's also possible that I didn't need to rely on them as much as previous podiatrists said I did. Anywho.

Yes, I'm still slacking on original food pics. May/may not reverse that trend this week. I will share my new favorite treat with you though:

Blue Bunny's Peanut Butter Fudge Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches!

I regularly crave peanut butter, ice cream and chocolate all at once, so I thought this would be a great portion-controlled indulgence. Soooo good! I spotted them at Wal-Mart and there was an instant $1.25 off coupon on the box, so at $2.00, a box of 10 seemed like a reasonably priced splurge. They also have mint chocolate and cake batter flavors. Oh, Blue Bunny. You're a dirty whore.

That's all for today. Need to head out to the store to pick up some various produce for the week. Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Be, don't Get.

This morning, I came across a quote from a Fit-Bottomed Girls interview with Cat Cora that struck a chord within me:

"Make being an active, healthy person a part of who you are. Don’t look at it as a task or something that has to get checked off everyday. Once it’s ingrained in your daily lifestyle, it’s something you look forward to and you never dread having to get your workout in."

I think allowing "healthy" to become a part of me, rather than just an extension, has always been an internal conflict of mine.

When I first decided to finally lose weight a few years ago, I made the simple claim that I needed to "lose weight and get healthy." Makes sense, right? But I'm starting to realize that there's a difference between "getting healthy" and being healthy. For me, to "get" healthy implies that the healthy state will only last temporarily; being a healthy person implies that the healthy state will be infinite because it's not something that can easily be taken away, just like a sense of humor, or any other internal trait that defines you. (Yes, good health can easily be taken away with daily cheeseburgers and zero exercise, but just humor me and play along, eh?)

As I'm writing this post, it also occurred to me that although levels of health can fluctuate, it never goes away completely (until you die, obviously). Everyone is living in their own unique state of health, some better than others, depending on how well they eat and how much they exercise.

Cat Cora's quote, obviously promoting the ideal/high-quality level of health, felt like a light slap in the face. Even though I've been fairly consistent over the past few years in making better food choices and increasing my physical activity, most days, I treat these acts as tasks; something I have to do. Now, there are exceptions of course, like cooking a particular healthy meal because I think it tastes good and replenishes my body well, not so much because it has a certain number of calories. But still, for the most part (ESPECIALLY with working out), doing the necessary things to be healthy usually feel like chores to me. If I don't do my chores regularly, my body will get "messy." And because of this mindset, there is usually a certain level of dread when I'm chopping onions or alternating squats with lunges.

Most of the time, that level of dread is pretty low; it's certainly not debilitating, but it's still there nonetheless. And it's there because of the way I choose to think about health's role in my life.

Because I haven't taken the time to sit down and really look at what it means to me to be healthy, I tend to struggle more than I should with regular food and fitness funks. When I was overweight, I'd look at healthy people and couldn't see myself ever being "one of them." And even when I daydreamed about being thin and what it would take to get there (e.g., dieting and exercise), I didn't realistically figure health into the equation. I didn't open myself to the possibility that I'd experience a deeper internal change that involved embracing good health as a part of me. I just looked at health as an external benefit, on par with fitting into smaller clothes.

So this week (and the weeks to come), I'm going to put more thought and effort into changing the way I look at being healthy. I know that some days, it's still gonna suck, waking up at 5 am to get in a workout, but if I can at least change my attitude and not look at it as something I have to do, rather something I just DO because it's a [cool] part of who I am, perhaps it'll suck less and less and at least put a smile on my face.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

We're still BETA testing that.

For breakfast this morning, I skipped my usual sweet options and decided to go with something savory. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received some Orowheat Sandwich Thins to try. I've actually had them before, but stopped buying them for a while since I go through different phases with bread. ANYWHO, they're pretty great to have around and I love that they have 5g each of fiber and protein. After tossing around some ideas, I settled on a BETA sandwich (Bacon, Egg, Tomato and Avocado).

Pretty quick to throw together. "Fried" the egg in a nonstick pan and microwaved the bacon inside some paper towels. Technically, I used some pre-made guacamole as opposed to whole avocado slices, but BETA is a much cooler acronym than BETG. Obviously.

For "dessert," I enjoyed some iced coffee in my cool new reusable cup that I won in a contest from Trading Up Downtown (a.k.a. Tina, from Carrots 'N' Cake). On the side were a couple of Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin Cookies I made, also posted on Trading Up Downtown.

Instead of mashed sweet potatoes, I used some jars of sweet potato baby food I had left over from my baby food phase and in place of oil, I used the last of my apple sauce. Probably not the best substitutions in retrospect because the cookies ended up too moist, even after increasing the baking time and adding a couple extra tablespoons of flour. The flavor was still good though. Doug said they made great "energy balls," but not-so-great cookies. I suppose I can live with that.

Confession Time

Time for some Saturday morning confessions. Confession #1: I'm, for the moment, skipping my 4-mile run today. I'm just way too sore and exhausted. Why? Well, that leads us to Confession #2: I worked out twice yesterday. In the morning, I did an hour long cardio/strength Jari Love DVD. After work, I came home and ran two miles, ignoring the soreness that had already begun to set in my legs from the strength training. Why did I push myself and overdo it? Confession #3: I felt guilty from eating 2 cookies at work earlier that afternoon. I told myself "I want to run because I'm restless!", but really, it was because of 2 buttery cookies.

Yep. For the first time in several weeks, I experienced food guilt and tried to redeem myself (punish myself?) with extra exercise. And really, I've kinda been doing that subconsciously, for the past couple of weeks. I haven't been binging, but there still have been some occasional bouts of overeating and I think instead of acknowledging those behaviors when they happen, I've instead tried to distract myself with the 10K training. And knowing all of this is probably why my runs have been so crappy- because I'm not really running for all of the right reasons. That, and I'm tired from working out 6 days a week. On the upside, I've been losing weight, but I've been making the process a lot harder than it needs to be because I've stopped trusting myself. And really, I should know better.

So I'm taking a break today. I've had this pattern of working out extra long and hard on the weekends which subsequently leads to mindless eating, so I'm going to challenge myself to break that pattern. If I do any activity today, it'll be some walking and/or yoga. I'm also going to re-establish my hunger cues. I listen to my body pretty well during the week, but always have this urge to work against hunger cues on the weekend. So, so silly and unnecessary.

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good so far, aside from crampy legs. I've realized that instead of training to run 10K at a 9-10 minute/mile pace, my real goal should be to get back to that happy place where I don't fear food and exercise because it makes me feel good, not out of fear of fat. I've been in that balanced place before, so I know it's possible to go back.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oats and Attitude.

Another week, another food obsession. This week?

Coach's Oats!

I've been seeing this product in stores lately and grew curious. I visited the product website to read a little bit more info and was definitely intrigued, but still not completely sold that this oatmeal could be that much better than my regular ol' Quaker Oats. This week, I had the chance to try some samples and put my curiosity to rest. The verdict?

Love it!

I gotta admit, it's gonna be hard to finish off my supply of Quaker Oats because the texture and flavor of Coach's Oats is soooo much better! It has a nuttier flavor and texture that lies somewhere between steel cut oats, regular rolled oats and just a really good, hearty whole grain cereal. I added peanut butter and banana to my bowl this morning and it was just great. And the upside? They don't take any longer to cook than my regular rolled oats. Bonus!

I've seen this product in bulk at Costco, so next time we shop there, I'm definitely stocking up. I'm excited to try baking with Coach's too.

Aside from kick-butt oatmeal, I've also been kicking my own butt (mentally, for the most part) regarding my running funk. I still haven't thrown in the towel on my 10K training yet, though I came pretty close earlier this week. I tried running some hill intervals the other day and I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would. After running hills, I felt like an unstoppable beast and went on to cover 100 floors of stairs on the stair master (new personal record!). That workout gave me a good boost, so on with the show. And as usual, I've still been cross-training with some Jari Love DVDs as well.

Tomorrow, I'm scheduled for a 4 mile run. I must admit, I'm still not completely stoked about it, but at the same time, I feel like my training this week will [hopefully] improve my performance. We'll see how it goes.

On a more random, unrelated note: Cherry-flavored vodka or rum + Coke Zero makes me a happy girl. Hooray for Friday!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New recipes page.

Well, I finally organized my favorite recipes/meal ideas into a separate page. Check it out!

Quick update: BodyPump is not being permanently added to my gym's weekend schedule. Booo! It's just another set of one-off weekend preview classes. After this weekend, it goes back to the crappy schedule. Why do they toy with my emotions? Oh well. At least I have my Jari Love DVDs and aerobic barbell at home, which is the next best option.

Anywho, now that I got some of my recipes semi-organized, I think my next project will be organizing a workout DVD page. I still have the DVDs tag, but I suppose it would be helpful (and quicker) to have a central summary page with shorter descriptions... Stay tuned!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Quick recap of some pluses and minuses:

Plus: I made my first batch of almond butter this weekend! Vanilla-Honey flavored. I must say, I'm hooked. The process was so simple. Just roasted the almonds in the oven for about 10 minutes and threw them in the food processor for about another 10-12 minutes, adding a little bit of oil, vanilla extract and honey. Now I'm excited to mix up different flavors of peanut, pecan and walnut butters. After trying some of the almond butter, our housemate said he wanted his own jar for Christmas, so now I have a great gift idea!

Minus: I really, really don't like running right now. I know I bitched about it in my last post, but this morning's run didn't change my attitude. It just sucks because if I stop and take a break for a while, my performance won't improve, so when I am in the mood to run in the future, it'll just feel like a struggle all over again. Buh. I'm torn. I miss hitting the Runner's High every week, but I can't seem don't want to focus and push myself to get there. I dunno. Maybe I just need to get the bitching out of my system and move on. Two miles on Wednesday, four-miler on Saturday. It always sounds good in my head, but then I actually do it and everything (my attitude, mostly) goes to crap. Maybe I just need to start watching "the wall" scene from Run Fat Boy, Run every night before a morning run, for motivation.

Plus: BodyPump is being offered on the weekends now! Wheeeee! Saturdays at 8 am and Sundays at 9 am. Perfect. I'm so excited. I haven't been since that first preview class back in June because the schedule sucked. But now, I can get back in the game!

Plus: My new Jari Love Ripped to the Core DVD is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Seriously, this woman can do no wrong in my eyes. I was worried this workout would be similar to some of the other ones I've done, but I was wrong. The theme of this DVD is compound exercises, so you're working multiple muscle groups simultaneously (i.e., side squats with lateral raises, wide squats with upright rows, bent-leg deadlifts with bicep curls, etc.). Each interval is about 5 minutes and the entire workout is just over an hour, so I got worked over pretty damn hard. New move that killed me? Superman Planks. This was during the ab section toward the end. I've done plank and I've done supermans on my stomach, but combining the two? Tough stuff. You get into plank and lift opposing legs and arms at the same time. Maybe I'm a wuss, but I found it to be a challenge. And as a "hardcore" option, the dude in the back was doing the move while elevating his feet on the aerobic step, so he was at an angle, challenging his upper body strength even more. Crazy.

I may be in a running funk, but I'm definitely not in a strength training funk, thanks to Jari. Between my collection of Jari DVDs (I'm up to 6 now!) and the upcoming BodyPump classes, I just can't seem to stop being stoked about lifting. It's hands-down the hardest training I've ever done, but I love it and look forward to it just about every day. Coming from the same gal who used to avoid strength training like the plague, I think that's quite an accomplishment, heh.

Luckily, I can't think of any more minuses, so I suppose that's all for today. Later, kids!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Is it Fall yet?

Apparently, it's August already. Yeesh. This summer has flown by, but with the heat lately, that's totally fine by me. I'm over it.

New reads

Although time seems to be passing quickly these days, I still managed to read a new book this week:

My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World, by Jeff Garlin.

I'm a big Curb Your Enthusiasm fan, but what really drew me to this book was the fact that Garlin opened up about his eating disorder. I know eating disorders are also prevalent in men, not just women, but I had yet to really read a man's account of what it's like to struggle with a food addiction. And really, after reading this book, the struggle is still the same, regardless of gender.

It wasn't the best written book, but it still tugged at my heart strings occasionally and of course, because he's a comedian, I definitely had my share of chuckles. I also learned a bit about going green too, because the other main theme of book is Garlin's decision to lower his carbon footprint while also tackling his food issues.

It's kind of grueling to read about his binges, lack of support, well-intentioned but misguided "new starts" and seeing the cycle repeat itself. There were so many times I just wanted to hug him, shake him and give him advice because his experience was similar to mine in a lot of ways.

The ending, which I won't give away, was unexpected, but still really inspiring. Because the final message was so full of realism, it really resonated with me. I got my copy from the library and finished in a about a day, so if you're looking for a quick read, you might want to check it out.

10K Training

I'm still plugging along with my training schedule. Just finished week 2 this morning. Running is hard. Since I've started this program, I must admit, I've yet to have a good run. I've got a lot of mental blocks that keep coming up and it's having an effect on my progress. Essentially, I'm comparing my current running self to my old, much faster running self. I keep getting caught up in my speed and think "Shit, I'm going so slow! I was so much faster before! Why can't I go faster?" So instead of just focusing on running and finishing my distance, I'm getting distracted by these types of thoughts. I've wanted to throw in the towel on this training program about 3 or 4 times already, but I need to stick it out. Hopefully once I get into weeks 4 and 5, things will get better.

My days of comparing myself to other people are long gone, but comparing myself to, well, myself is just as bad, if not worse. I need to work on that. It took me a long time to build up my speed last year, so I can't expect to get back to that level in a matter of days. I can be quite impatient at times.

Other than that, life is pretty bitchin'. I've been slacking on food pics again, but hopefully I'll find some inspiration this week. I also got yet another Jari Love DVD which I plan on trying tomorrow, so a review of that will follow as well. Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!