Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finding Time

I don't know about you, but when you finally get serious about changing your life to be healthier it really cuts into your daily grind.  Before now most my free time (basically any time not spent at work, church, etc) was spent watching television or reading, face booking, etc.  Now it's spent working, working out (or doing fun physical activities) and preparing decent meals.  It was a bit awkward at the beginning but I think I have finally hit my stride.  

Me and my husband have been taking turns preparing dinners but more often than not because it's close to 7pm when we get home, we have been tossing together the easiest meals possible. Easy doesn't mean we are resorting to fast food or boxed meals though.  We try to do the brunt of our cooking on the weekend and stock the freezer for the week.  We usually end up with a meat with a side of vegetables, grains or both.  Since the meat is already prepared (and frozen)from the weekend, it makes it so much faster.

Since I've been working out, my appetite seems to have gotten out of control.  I spoke with the nutritionist trainer and she said with our type of workouts, we shouldn't be going more than 4 hours without eating. I decided that I should probably increase my workday food bag to include extra (higher protein) snacks.  Here I have green smoothie for morning snack, a salad and juice for lunch and fruit and cheese snack an hour or so before workout class.  Eating this way seems to keep me satisfied.

  Here is an example of a meal my husband tossed together for our evening.  This was a couscous/quinoa mix with veggies and reheated baked chicken thighs.  It was fast and filling.

My weekend lunches are a bit heavier than the workday lunches but they also tend to be the odds and ends of what we have leftover from the weeks' lunches and dinners.  This is a chicken salad on a flat bagel and a side of tabbouleh salad.  It was okay.

Most days I have fruit for snacking/15 minute breaks.   I don't eat all of these on the same day. I just like to have them there when hunger hits.  I don't like to be unprepared or even think of taking to the vending machines. And my co-workers always tease me about eating the prunes.

Here is a sample of the workouts I've endured in the last week and a half.  I figure keeping track of them down on a spreadsheet let's me see how I'm doing.  If I have too many blank days in a month, I know I need to pick it up a bit.  

Our lives are definitely a little different now but I think we've adjusted just fine.  Besides, who wants to always spend free time sitting around watching television or social networking when you can get outside and enjoy it by riding a bike, playing petanque, basketball, volleyball, or picnic?  It's different but it sure its fun!

Quote of the day: "If you don't do what's best for your body, you're the one who comes up on the short end."~ Julius Erving

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mindfully Working

A while back I posted about being a Wannabe.  I found it while sitting here trying to clear my writing block by reading old posts.  In it I stated,

'I want to be that person confidently jogging the trail, sweating but not panting and grunting for a sip of air. I want to be that person killing time on the elliptical without holding on.  I want to be that person that runs the track and afterwards hangs out on the grassy area doing crunches, lunges, push ups, pull ups and other insane moves....just because I can.  I want to be that person that can do all of these things because I love doing it.'

Well folks, it seems I'm on my way to achieving that status.  I wanted it and I believe I will have it soon enough.  Believe it or not, I now run the track and then knock out crunches, lunges, push and pull us, squats and other insane moves on the field.  I have put in the work and because of that, I have gotten to a point where I look forward to it.  Now don't get me wrong. When I'm on the track I'm still panting and wishing for a stronger run and an easier way to sip my air. I still hate the elliptical even though I've increased my time and incline.  I still have doubts about being able to complete a new workout or move.  But I'm working on it.  

While the husband and I were putting some miles on the treadmill this morning I discovered something that I think has helped me get to this point.  My thinking over these few years seems to be what was holding me back. I've always managed to limit myself by saying 'That's all I can do' or 'I'm not fit enough to attempt that'.  The body seems to follow through with what the mind it telling it.  Sometimes the mind is wrong.  I know this to be true because I discovered some wrong thinking this morning.

While run/walking on the treadmill I decided to challenge myself.  I decided to continuously run until I was sure I couldn't keep up the speed any longer.  It's been a while since I've done this.  I took off at a slow jog and increased my speed.  I was doing well (and my breathing was controlled for a change).  At one point I made the mistake of looking down and saw I had beat my personal time of running without stopping.  Immediately I felt like I accomplished something and that feeling was followed by the thought that I could then stop.  But I knew I wasn't fatigued enough to stop. That's when the wrestling mind happened.  As soon as I had the thought, I felt like I couldn't go any longer.  But in the back of my mind I heard 'Don't let weak defeat!'  I hate to be seen as weak...even if I'm putting the title on myself.  I heard it and pushed the thought of stopping out of my head and kept going until I couldn't fight it any longer.  When I slowed to a jog and then walk I was smiling.  I did it!  I fought past the idea that I couldn't do more than my mind said I could.    

So I think the ground I've gained on my 'wannabe' goal has a lot to do with new thinking.  Even though I still get nervous about some workouts, I fight through it and face the fear and always come out on top.  Without staying positive and confident, there is no way I can achieve a healthier lifestyle.  The mind is a powerful son of a witch but it's all we've got!

Quote of the Day: “Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I do the best I can to eat better than I did in the past.  I think most people do.  It might be incorporating more fruits and vegetables into a day or eating snack sized candy instead of an entire bar.  Whatever the method it is just a little bit better.  That's just my opinion.  I say this because today I was approached by a co-worker needing to know what he needed to do to lose weight.  I was a bit surprised.  Why would he ask me?  So I asked him.  He said because he's heard through the grapevine that I never, ever eat out and my lunches are always super healthy and he can tell I'm losing weight.  Can you say flattered?!?  But then I got over myself telling him that I am not the authority on eating healthy.  I eat what I like and I workout.  He waved me off telling me, 'Girlfriend, you ain't a modest sort.  Just tell me what you do.'  I told him I try to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal and keep the fats and sweets to a minimum.  He said surely I must do more than that and he noticed I bring my lunch even on Fridays when everyone else goes out.  I told him that has more to do with me being cheap.  I don't spend money on food if I have the ingredients at home to make it myself but that I do go out for special occasions like a co-worker's birthday for instance.  Then I stressed that I don't really have food limits.  I try to workout to make up for the crazy eating days.

I walked away with the feeling that he didn't really believe me. Why is that so hard for people to believe? One friend told me that I shouldn't deprive myself after witnessing me turn down the pepperoni pizza in the cafeteria.  She didn't quite understand the bad effect pepperoni would have on my digestive system.  No deprivation there!  I do indulge sometimes but when I do it has to be something that is worth the sweat.  Whoever said you have to say no to everything you love to be healthy?  Not me!  When someone says, 'You eat so healthy' I almost always joke back, 'But you should see how I eat at home!'  And for the most part, my at home eating is slightly different from my work lunches. For good reason too.  I eat a little bit lighter and tighter at work because I get the 2:30pm slump if I don't.  I try not to have too many carbohydrates from bread or pasta or sugar while at work.  I know they make me sleepy and that's a hard thing to fight when you are watching the clock.  Instead I mostly opt for protein with fresh or steamed vegetables.  I do have things like muffins, rice cakes or cereal bars occasionaly or cheese with fruit for some snacks.  I'm not counting anything nor am I depriving myself.  I eat what I like.

So I figured I would post some more pictures of my eats from this week.  There is nothing fancy.  Not all are healthy or even make sense, and some are downright boring but they are good.  I'm pretty sure you can tell my work appetite and home appetite are a little different.

Alloco, Tilapia and tomato puree.  That's fried ripe plantain and fish. 

Typical weekend breakfast of 'fancy' bread, fruit and tea.

What I call my 'compost' muffins.  Basically I toss pulp from juicing (ginger, carrots, apples, etc) in a bran muffin type recipe.  Nice fibrous muffins. 

My running-late-to-work go-to breakfast. This one is spinach, canned pineapple and some ginger juice.  Nice kick and it sits well on my stomach while cursing rush hour.

Another leftover throw together.  It's leftover couscous mixed with quinoa with tomatoes and onions and juice from the baked chicken thighs.

This was one of the many 'car' lunches I plan in advance.  They are usually made for days I need to spend alone and don't have to fight for the office microwave.  Fresh and cold works perfect on the warm and breezy days.

This was a half day snack/lunch meaning I didn't take a lunch because I was leaving early.  My stomach never knows anything about these days and growls regardless so I have to fill it with something.  A cherry/berry smoothie always hits the spot.

There you have it.  That's just been this week.  I obviously didn't photograph every meal. Like the handful of nuts, chocolate chips or spoon of peanut butter.  I should do a self shot of how I look when I really want junk food but don't have it and am too lazy to go out and get it.  Now that would be something to see!  Lol.  Anyway, that's about it.   I eat and I like it.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pizza and Me

Don't you hate it when you buy a frozen product because the picture looked great and then get home and find that the actual product looks nothing like it?  Me too!  I saw this pizza and thought I had to have it.  Just let me also mention I was shopping on an empty stomach.  Anyway, I bought it home and was disappointed in it's look.  I baked it (almost burning it) and turns out it tasted pretty good.  Just goes to show you can't judge a pizza by it's sloppy frozen state.  I would recommend this brand for sure. Though next time I'll just not be lazy and make me a homemade one.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Traffic Tranquilizer

I went to the workout today.  I was nervous as a....I don't know.  You can fill in the blank. There was good reason too!  I had no idea what we would be doing but sometimes I fear the unknown.  I think I had a feeling about today.  Turns out we were testing today.  It was to see where we stood on the physical readiness test.  This is a test where we can earn time off every quarter.  I'd known it existed but never put myself in a category where I thought I would ever get to the point of making it through one.

We walked in and the rowers were set up and we hung around talking for what seemed like forever.  It never takes that long to get started.  Then the Sarge was walking around with a clip board and taking names, ages and weight.  Then he told us to grab a rower and do 50 pulls at level 10.  Easy enough.  Then we had to set the display for a 2000 meter timed row. This was the test.  Row continuously until the meter showed 0. This had to be the hardest thing I've done in a couple of weeks.  We've done more than that before but never without at least a slow row at some point.  I had to pray a couple of times and kept my eyes closed even more than that.  I grunted out the last 1000 meters it seemed.  He told us not to stand when we finished.  Of course one of the macho guys who finished first did just that and fell flat on his butt.  We learn by seeing and after that everyone stayed put.

When I finished I told the lady next to me that I thought I breathed (grunted) so hard that I imagined there was blood in my lungs.  Sort of tasted like it.  We did some more things after that but I would prefer to talk about what happened on my way home.

I left just in time for the commuter train to catch me but I was so tired I didn't even care.  I sat there in an impossibly long line of cars unable to think about anything but looking straight ahead and my breathing.  When the train finally passed, we were moving again and I must have gotten cut off 5 times in 5 miles but I didn't care.  I just kept moving.  I was so zoned that I stayed in the lane I was in not caring that the other one seemed to be moving faster.  That was a wise choice.  Further up the road there was a wreck that blocked both lanes but I was fortunate enough to be in the lane next to the empty turn lane. I went around it.  The road was free and clear from there on out.  I hit every red light imaginable but i didn't care.  I got to my final turnoff before home and hit another mini-jam.  No worries.  I could only focus on the car in front of me.  I would say I didn't even really notice that car but I'd be lying.  It had a bumper sticker that said something about Rush Limbaugh being a genius.  I might have let out a small smirky sound.

So basically a hard as hell workout seemed to have a tranquilizing effect on me and my bad-assed road rage. I would say it was a good thing if I weren't sitting here afraid to talk because I think I killed my voice while rowing to hell.  But I'll live I guess. A friend suggested I try ice cubes for ice cream to soothe my sore throat.  Which do you think I chose? Hee-hee.

My quote today is a long one and I'm not a racer but that doesn't mean I don't understand it.

Have a good night!

Quote of the Day:  Marathon runners talk about hitting 'the wall' at the twenty-third mile of the race. What rowers confront isn't a wall; it's a hole - an abyss of pain, which opens up in the second minute of the race. Large needles are being driven into your thigh muscles, while your forearms seem to be splitting. Then the pain becomes confused and disorganized, not like the windedness of the runner or the leg burn of the biker but an all-over, savage unpleasantness. As you pass the five-hundred-meter mark, with three-quarters of the race still to row, you realize with dread that you are not going to make it to the finish, but at the same time the idea of letting your teammates down by not rowing your hardest is unthinkable...Therefore, you are going to die. Welcome to this life." -- Ashleigh Teitel

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Planning Ahead

I try to plan most of my meals to keep from grabbing the quick and easy when my stomach tells me I'm hungry.  This has become a habit.  Even when I've failed to do this, most times I am able to resist the drive through, vending machine or girl scout cookie seller.

It's been a good day for cooking ahead as my husband was really in the cooking mood today.  He made his sauces that he likes to eat with rice, fufu or masa.  I baked chicken, grilled fish and browned ground turkey.  Together we sliced vegetables for lunches and dinners for the week.  It's nice to spend time with him in the kitchen.  And it's a good thing we like each other because our kitchen is small.

After we finished, he was in front of the TV watching basketball so I've been entertaining myself with my camera.  I took some pictures of my meals for tomorrow's work day.

Breakfast this morning was Moroccan mint green tea with cranberry pistachio bread from the grocer.  It was fast but I decided it was just what I needed healthy or not. I would love it for breakfast tomorrow but know it's probably not the best meal for a workday.
 I try to mix up my daily breakfasts so tomorrow will be oatmeal (with scrambled egg whites) and berries.  I need to get rid of those last 4 strawberries as they are looking pretty tired.  Peaches and strawberries sound OK to me.
Since I've eaten pretty heavy this weekend and the weather will be pretty nice tomorrow, I decided to go with fresh and easy.  That's a blueberry/cherry smoothie, banana, oranges, and a bowl of veggies with sliced baked chicken.  I will also be taking a couple of rice cakes smeared with peanut butter in case I'm in need some carb-o-licious goodness.

Dinner is again sliced chicken and the veggies I will season and steam.  We've been having fruit salads for dessert for a few days so we will probably be having it again (minus the wilting strawberries).

The husband talked me into a trail walk today.  It was so beautiful out and luckily he was only interested in walking due to his back issue.  Not that I was happy he was ailing.  I just wanted to enjoy the weather and views without concentrating on getting a good sweat.  Though there was some sweating after I tried the new workout station the city put in.  And that's about it.  I think I've worn myself down enough today to get a good nights sleep.  Have a good night!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Because I Deserve It

Quote of the Week:  You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself. ~ W. Clement Stone

I like to remember this quote when things get a little tough and I am on the verge of complaining. I have to remind myself to look at the bigger picture and remember why I'm doing it.  This isn't always the easiest (or most pleasurable) thing to do.  I was discussing this with one of my sisters just the other day.  She called me at work (while she was 'working' ) saying she needed to vent.  I'm a good listener and she takes full advantage of it.  It went a little something like this:

Sister:  I hate my job.
Me:  What are you doing to find another one.
Sister:  I don't have time to be filling out applications.
Me:  Then I guess you don't really hate your job now do you?
Sister:  Whatever.  I went to the Dr. and I gained like 15 lbs.
Me:   And what are you going to do about that?
Sister:  Why can't you just pity me for a second?
Me:  Will that change anything you just complained about?
Sister:   You are not my therapist! Stop answering me with questions!  
Me:  OK.  Just pray on it and try to view everything from the positive side.  You stay at your job because you like your co-workers.  You've gotten some good friendships out of it.  And as far as the gaining weight thing.  You weren't aware that you had gained and the office scale gave you that knowledge.  With knowledge comes the power to change it. 
Sister:  What is it with you and the Mary Poppins positive stuff?!?  
Me:  Ain't nothing wrong with Mary Poppins.  She gave those kids sugar.  I'm giving you a sweeter way of looking at life!
Sister:  (laughing) Whatever.  You're crazy.

At the end of that day, I found myself complaining a little myself.  I was dreading the crossfit workout and after realizing we would be outside, I groaned and told my friend I was just not feeling it.  She reminded me that it was for our own good.  I agreed saying that it was my choice to do this so there was no point in complaining.  I was still dreading it but that reminder helped pushed me around the track.

So I'm sitting here relaxing today because I think I deserve a relaxing day and treat.  I'm fully aware that I worked my calves, abs, and arms.  I'm aware because I feel the soreness.  I'm thankful that I got through yet another workout where I pushed beyond what I thought my body could do.  It feels pretty good.  

It feels even better to reward myself with a rich dessert.  I don't do much of those nowadays and try to limit myself to fruit or sorbets.  I'm addicted to Pinterest and I've drooled over enough food pics to finally try some of them.  Last night I did the No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake.  I made a few substitutions to try to reduce the fat.  I don't know how well I did but the result were mighty tasty. 

I finally pulled out the dessert glasses and finally got rid of that Pralinutta spread.  I filled the glasses and chilled them.

The results after refrigerating all night.  Baxter is licking his chops from afar (see the ears).
Not to be outdone, Sofie got brave and close.  Don't chocolate for my doggies. 
It was sinfully delicious!

I recommend you try this as a special once a month treat.  I got the original recipe here.  My revamped recipe is below.

No Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecakes

For the Crust
2 pkgs  100 calorie Oreo Thin Crisps, crushed
For the Filling
1 (8 ounce) package fat free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Pralinutta (or Nutella or whatever hazelnut spread you desire)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) tub fat free frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used just a little over half the container)
For the Garnish
whipped topping, optional
strawberries or raspberries
1. Crush the thin crisps in the bags and evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes form a crust layer.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and hazelnut spread until smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well blended and no streaks remain.
3. Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving (or overnight).
4. If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping or fruit.