Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Hate Thinking of Titles for Posts

I don't watch the Biggest Loser religiously. Mostly because EVERY SINGLE episode makes me cry (which equals Andrew making fun of me in weepy voices), sort of because it makes me feel like a fat, lazy slob, and only a little bit because it makes me super jealous that these people can lose 100 pounds in the time that it (hasn't) taken me to lose 20.

But last night I caught the "Biggest Loser, Where are They Now" show and I have to admit that while I did cry a little bit, it was actually pretty inspiring (and relieving).
It was inspiring to see how many contestants have taken on fitness for OTHER people. So many are trainers, coaches and fitness instructors now. It was really cool to know that they took what they learned and then passed it on, making sure the cycle doesn't stop. I really dig this about the way the show changes lives. It seems hokey on tv, but when the cameras are off and everyone goes back home, its nice to know that the impact continues.
It was relieving at the same time to see that many of the contestants have gained some weight back. I don't know if you caught this season's finale, but at least two of the contestants (ahem Rebecca and Tracy) looked flat out disgusting. As in, lay off the roids, disgusting. They looked so unnatural and dare I say, almost unhealthy?
So its nice to see that even with extreme weight loss, people still find their "happy weight." I mean, while they're on the show, they're trying to win money. That alone I'm sure drives people to weird eating and over exercising (one contestant said she works out 6 HOURS a DAY! SIX?! Seriously?! Doesn't she have a JOB?)

But when all is said and done, it is relieving to see that people can put on a few pounds, enjoy their lives and still be fit. That's what its all about, after all. MAINTENANCE. Enjoying life. NOT obsessing.

Which brings me to the reason that I'm posting this (FINALLY!) As I was watching last night, one of the former contestants was competing in the Kona Ironman (hard.core.) but he had put on some weight and wanted to do it to really prove to himself that he could. He finished dead last. But he finished. And I was totally inspired and jazzed by him saying "sometimes you just have to push yourself beyond what you think you can do just so you can see that you can, in fact, do what you thought you never could" (that's not a direct quote, i paraphrase).
So I decided to take his mentality to the gym with me today. I'm still recovering from surgery but have been cleared to run. So I still have some physical limitations that I'm struggling with. Like not being able to put my hand behind my head to do a sit-up (I didn't know it meant that much to me until now).
Anyhow, I got on the treadmill and just started going. My goal was 5 miles, which is half of the Broad Street Run that I intend to do in April. Everytime I felt an ache (every 40 seconds, basically), I remembered this contestant(who weighs 273 pounds, by the way) doing a FUCKING IRONMAN! I said to myself "you can absolutely do this. The only reason you don't is because you let aches and pains stop you." (Side note: I know that aches and pains mean your body is telling you something and I almost always pay attention, but this was about pushing myself so I worked through them. I do not advocate doing this all the time.)
And that was it. I talked myself through every instance of wanting to just get off. I slowed down for a bit and that's okay. I didn't stop running. And 55 minutes later, I was done. I didn't fall apart, I didn't die, I didn't even take more than a few minutes to get my heart rate back down to resting (which is good but means I didn't push hard enough).

I have really been thinking a lot about what stops us. Why do we decide to quit after 30 minutes and not do 10 more? Why do we skip that extra set of reps? Are we just lazy? Afraid we'll fail? (my trainer says, by the way, that lifting to failure is a good thing sometimes. Its still weird to hear him say "do reps until you fail" though).
What stops us??

My biggest stoppers are:
time (when I'm rushed and squeezing my workout in)
hunger (if I know I have a meal waiting)
just plain laziness (where I promise myself I'll do more tomorrow)
aches and pains (my knee, my back, my name it, it hurts)

What stops you from pushing a little harder? Running an extra mile? Lifting an extra 10 pounds?
And what would it take for you to not be stopped?

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Could Get Used to This

For the past week, while I have been "recovering" from my surgery, my doting fiance' has done (literally) all of the housework.
I have not so much as folded a piece of laundry (although I did carry some downstairs), washed a dish, or lifted any object weighing more than 16 ounces.

The best part: he's actually secretly VERY GOOD at housework.
This is the man who puts his dirty clothes on the floor IN FRONT OF the laundry basket, and occasionally ONTOP of a basket of clean clothes, and leaves piles of dishes in the sink (to do "later") and considers Roomba a valid substitute for vacuuming (its not. Roomba always dies mid floor sweep. And in random, hard to find places, too.)

So I was just tickled this morning to have this conversation:

Him: Are those your clothes on the bathroom floor?

Me: Probably. What would you like me to do with them?

Him: Well, if they're dirty, you should pick them up and put them in the laundry basket where they belong.

(the clothes were on the floor in front of the basket)

It was the moment when our experience of living together had finally come full circle.

All of that aside, I couldn't ask for a better partner in crime. He really has been comforting and helpful (I can't even hook my own bras) and just all around incredible. I am the luckiest girl there is (named Becky. In Philadelphia.)

Even though his secret domesticity is out, I have a sinking feeling this reversal of roles is all too fleeting.

I may have to drag out this injury a little longer...

Monday, December 07, 2009

One Armed Blogging

You have no idea how long it took me to write this, bloggies.

I am officially a gimp, one armed, helpless human being. I hadz my surgery last week and leave it to me to be the one person who goes in for outpatient surgery (in and out, they say) and ends up staying the night in the hospital. Which sucks, btw. Not only did I miss GLEE (thank you drug induced dizzy haze), but I got woken up every hour to have my "vitals" taken. Dude. I came in for elbow surgery. The anasthesia made me puke a lot. But aside from being overly sensitive to fun drugs and embarrassed that my ability (or inability) to pee was not up to standards, I was not dead. There was really no reason to even think that I would be.

Side note: my doctor told me when I came out of surgery I was telling everyone that I was a rockstar. Not sure where I got THAT idea.

So here is my post. I'm too tired to write more. This took long enough already.
Later, gators.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Jill sent me the link a blog this week and I am so impressed by it, I have to pass it on.


"Weightless is about well-being, not weight; about fostering body image, regardless of your size. It’s about exposing women’s magazines, other mediums and so-called experts, when they’re touting unhealthy tips and promoting restrictive standards.

The goal of Weightless is to help women develop a better body image and work toward accepting themselves as they are, while being healthy and happy (fad diets and skinny-mini standards prohibited!); and to become sharp consumers, who can pick apart a commercial or magazine article and know which advice is helpful or harmful."

This is the kind of blogging I can get behind.

What say you?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Does it Matter?

Today I read this article about counting calories and how "it doesn't matter."

I'm kind of conflicted by it, actually.

I get what the author is saying, in a way. But I also feel like the article is misleading in that its directed at people who are interested in maintaining their weight, not losing.

I think counting calories DOES matter. I have tried every weight loss gimmick on the market and the only thing that has EVER worked for me was counting calories eaten vs. burned.

Working at a calorie deficit works. Its science. And the thing of it is, is that is doesn't necessarily mean working out every day for hours. A friend from high school and I both used this method differently, with similar results. We both counted calories we ate and calories we burned. I did about 30-40 minutes of cardio every day with very little weight lifting and lost 20 pounds. She walked her dog twice a day for an hour or more and lost the same. She didn't go to the gym once. She chose to do longer, lower impact things to keep her moving and I chose shorter high impact workouts and they both worked.
Being mindful of calories is what we both did the same.

When you are trying to lose weight, calories DO matter. I'm not suggesting you kill yourself to account for every sip and bite. But (I think) having a nonchalant attitude about calories is what resulted in me putting back on the 10 pounds I had already lost. A daily calorie surplus of 250 calories each day will result in the gaining of half a pound in a week. I'm not making this stuff up. 250 calories a day may sound like a lot, but its only a small non fat latte with no whip cream.

I am not suggesting restricting anything. As a former eating disordered person, I know that restriction leads people down dark and dangerous pathways, many times without them even knowing it.
I'm suggesting working the things you love into your daily calorie goals. Its a give and take and you can do it without over eating. I remember there was one night where I was just hankering for a soda. I never have cravings for soda but when it didn't go away for three days, I decided to give in. All I did was take the half and half out of my coffee that morning and skipped the feta cheese on my salad. I got to have what I wanted and I didn't blow my day by tacking on extra calories.

Just to be clear, I do not advocate counting calories for a lifetime. (Who even has TIME for that?) But while you are losing, it is the most effective way (I've found) to get results. (Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am just a regular old person trying to lose weight safely and effectively.)

Once you are in maintenance, then you can adopt the "it doesn't matter mentality" that the article refers to. That's just my opinion but this is my blog, so deal.
Although I am always interested to hear what y'all think, too. :-)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Surgery is a total bummer, yo

Today is November, which means the holiday season is officially upon us.

I love Christmas music and things that smell like cinnamon and pumpkin and all that good stuff. I love the holiday season.

And for the past few holiday seasons, I have managed to not turn into a total cow through the cunning use of exercising whilst enjoying all the tasty treats of the season.

But, this year, on December 2, I'm having surgery. Which means exercising is going to be out of the picture for at least a week. I know I sound totally psycho, but I seriously cannot go more than 3 days without exercise. Its a mental health thing, really. I'm not "too" worried about that one week of total rest, as I fully intend to spend it in bed completely hopped up on Vicodin. I'll probably feel more like sleeping and chatting about my drug induced dreams instead of eating, if past experience is any indicator. ( I had a similar injury circa 2003).

Its the several weeks after that one week that I'm panicking about. Because I know I'm not going to be able to just hop on the treadmill and take off, good as new. I'm looking at months of physical therapy and I'm TOTALLY bugging out about it.
Especially with all that delicious food/wine/beer/general merriment everywhere!!

Sooooo I'm in the market for some good post-op workout ideas. I am sure that walking will be a large part of it. But if anyone has any other suggestions on how to burn some calories without there being any weird jerking motions that could mess up my good 'ol 'bow (elbow)....please let me know.
Because, by the time that surgery happens, it will be t minus 5 months until my wedding and I really can't afford to buy a bigger dress.

I know it is going to take a lot of energy to stay positive and eat as cleanly as possible post-op. But I am committed not only to that dress fitting, but to not blowing all of my hard work away on a pity party for myself. I will just remind myself that when I'm all better, I'll be able to lift even more than a could before, since my elbow will no longer be as messed up as it is now.

Injuries definitely suck. Surgeries are a total bummer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

For People Who Are Far Busier Than I Am

Now you can subscribe to this blog via RSS feed!

The fancy technology thing will send you new posts in your e-mail so you don't have to keep coming here (and being disappointed at the lack of posting I'm doing).

Just click on the "Subscribe" thingy over on the right.

A shout out to Andrew for helping me with this. I am so far from tech savvy, its just embarrassing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Fought the Law

Okay, not the law.

The PPA.

For those of you not from around these parts, that's the Philadelphia Parking Authority. You may have seen them featured on a terrible show called "Parking Wars" on A&E.

They're dicks. There is no other (polite) way to put it. They take absolute pride in issuing tickets to meters that have expired only seconds before. They find insane joy in booting cars (sometimes even in front of the person's own home-ahem). They LOOOOVE to tow cars to the impound lot and then stare blankly at you when you provide 5 types of proof that your car was parked legally.

They are notoriously nasty, cruel, indifferent, miserable human beings. I'm not kidding or exaggerating. Ask anyone who lives in Philly.

So a couple weeks ago, when I had to drive to an appointment in the rain, I brought 3 dollars in quarters with me for an hour appointment (note: in this particular part of the city I was in, 1 hour of parking equals one dollar. But its different everywhere. Another reason the PPA sucks.).

Anywhooo, I park at a meter and put in my first quarter. The meter reads 15 minutes. I put in my second quarter. Nothing. I put in my third quarter. Nothing. I put in my 4th quarter, it gives me 15 more minutes! I put in my 5th quarter. Nothing.
So it goes on like this. I put my ENTIRE 3 dollars of quarters into the damn meter and ended up with a little less than 1 hour (after I had wasted 6 minutes or so fussing with quarters).

So I write a note to the PPA man and leave it on the windshield. It reads " Dear PPA Man, I just put 3 dollars in quarters into this machine and it only gave me an hour of time. Time now 4:15, back in 1 hour.
I then return 1 hour and 4 minutes later and on my windshield, right under the note, is (you guessed it!) a TICKET!
I said every curse word I could think of and got in my car (pissed as all hell) and drove home.

But instead of just paying it like I would have maybe 3 years ago, I called the damn PPA to report a broken meter. The woman on the phone advised me not to pay the ticket. She said they would send someone out to investigate my claim and let me know of their decision in writing.

I was about 98% sure I was effed. Because, really, these people are evil and it would be totally easy (and like them) to just tell me that the meter works fine. But then, about two weeks later, I got this:

It was pretty much the most exciting day ever.

It can be done, folks. At least the administrative side of the PPA is honest.

But I still HATE the stupid PPA ticket writers. They are total jerks.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Swine Flu, Maybe?

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I think I'm getting sick. It always starts in my throat, with that weird phlemgy, scratchy feeling. And then it moves on to aches, and that god-awful symptom where your skin kind of hurts (does anyone know what I'm talking about?)

Anyhow, I didn't get a flu shot because I never get flu shots (my immune system is a beast!) and this whole Swine Flu pandemic (or whatever it is) doesn't actually concern me that much since I'm not a toddler or pregnant. I'm not worried that I'm getting Swine Flu (even though it has been discovered all over Philly and at some local schools). I'm just super pissed that this cold-potential-flu threatens to ruin my camping trip this weekend!!!!
'Cuse there's nothing that sucks more than shivering through a fever in the wilderness.

I even got new hiking shoes!

So, right now, I am chugging herbal tea and Emergen-C, and munching handfuls of echinacea drops (like cough drops, but better) to ward it off. Tonight, I'm staying in and taking Nyqil...just in case (and also because it makes me have the coolest dreams!)
I'm going to run today but I may skip lifting tomorrow so I don't take any energy or resources away from my immune system.

Please, pleeeeease, PLEASE don't let me be sick on this trip! Ordinarily, I would welcome being a little sick. I never mind having an excuse to curl up on the couch with tea and watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Usually, when I'm getting sick I just ride it out, take some Nyquil, start a bubble bath (ooh I should do that, too!) and call out of work for a day or two.
But I REEEEEALLY want to go camping this weekend! (said while running upstairs for a glass of OJ)

I hope all my attempts to fight this off work! Anything else I should be doing (drinking/eating/sniffing)? Do you fight it when you know you're getting sick, or do you just go with it, put your cell phone on silent, and cozy up with the remote?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Let's Just Pretend

..that I was doing something TOTALLY amazing instead of just plain old not blogging.

It's been a month and a crap load of stuff has been going on, so I'll try to keep this brief and as interesting as possible.

1) I Overtrained
A few weeks ago, my body had a total breakdown. I did some research and determined that I was more than likely over training. I was actually starting to put weight on and my workouts were becoming a lot less effective. Turns out, its not a great idea to do an intense cardio workout before an intense lifting session. That seems obvious, bu for some reason I thought that I was "kicking it up a notch." I wasn't. So I backed off a bit, added in an extra rest day and separated intense cardio days from intense lifting days. I feel much better, my workouts are far more productive (except yesterday, but I was just not feeling it).
I don't know about you guys, but when I get into a workout routine, I get a little obsessed. I bug out if I take more than 2 days in between workouts. Its a problem because I never give myself enough rest. I think I'm really pushing myself if I workout everyday, but it really isn't doing me any favors. There are a bunch of competing theories on rest and how much is appropriate, but everyone in the interwebs agrees that rest (at least 1-2 days) is essential to great workouts. So I'm trying that now and it seems to be working. My performance is improving and I've been able to really stretch out my cardio days and do a solid hour of running or elliptical a couple times a week.

2) We Went to Some Weddings
We have been to a lot of weddings recently. I love weddings! (Going to them, not planning them).
We have had way to much to drink and have consumed far too many calories. But we danced! Oh, how we danced (and fell. And danced some more).

Only one more wedding to attend and then OURS! That means I have only one more chance to try and catch a damned bouquet! Ever!

3) I Have Been Working Like a Crazy Person
This time of the year is SUPER busy for my work. This means I have been running all over the state of Pennsylvania attending various events for my organization. I have probably had way too much coffee and have over done it on the free meals. On top of the craziness of my job, I have to find time to schedule in surgery on my elbow, attend various community events, be a coach for a seminar we have coming up, and find time to see friends (I know you're out there!).

4) Guests, Galore!
We also had some house guests. First, Matt came for a weekend (Hi, Matt! Look! A new post!). We did a power hour, ate pizza and watched movies. Totally unproductive. But fun!
Then Andrew's brother came for an entire week. I will not elaborate on this week other than to say that it was very, very, very long.

5) I Had Some Fun!
*We went to see Allison's show for the Fringe Festival and it was great! Hil. Arious.
*We attended a seminar on "Reimagining Vacant Land" wherein the city of Philadelphia took some pointers from Flint, Michigan. A sad day when Flint, Michigan is doing better than Philly. (No offense, Flint. Actually, props to Flint. They are efficient and effective. At least when it comes to vacant land. I was impressed.)
*We went to a fundraiser for Neighborhood Bike Works, complete with a happy hour!
*I had my first MRI. It was awful. I guess this shouldn't be under the "fun" category...
* We went to open mic light at the comedy club. The first acts were terrible but the later ones were GREAT! And it was free!
* I got a massage. It wasn't great but it made my mind feel better.
* We got an honorable mention in the City Gardens Contest! Not bad for our first year! It also gets us free tickets to the Flower Show! Score!
* I have had had some delicious Oktoberfests, and pumpkin beers, and apples! I LOOOVE fall!

Soooooo, that's what I've been up to. What about you?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

On Beauty

By now, pretty much everyone has seen this picture:It is model Lizzie Miller. This picture appeared in the September issue of Glamour, and has since received attention across the globe.
The letters of praise have been piling into Glamour offices, thanking them for finally portraying an image of what a woman actually looks like. The influx of support has prompted the magazine's editor to give serious reconsideration to each of the images that go into the magazine and to pledge that they will continue to celebrate all kinds of beauty. (Don't be surprised if you see more models like this in upcoming months.)

I, personally, am in love with this woman. She is sexy, confident, and happy. And she's only 20!

I suppose that I could turn this into a debate about healthy body image, the media and why skinny sells, but instead, I'd just like to take the opportunity to give a HUGE shout out to a magazine who (maybe) actually understands that while we may be somewhat disturbingly obsessed with thin as a culture, underneath it all, what we really want is to know that we are okay just the way we are: unairbrushed, untouched, and unapologetically ourselves.

Kudos to you, Glamour!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lifting and Losing

I was feeling pretty adventurous this morning after getting up (a whopping 4 minutes) before my alarm went off. Poor Andrew begs me every morning to come spend 10 minutes with him drinking some coffee and I (almost) always choose the 15 more minutes of sleep (I'm not a morning person, what can I say?)

But today I did not. And so I decided to go all out and step on the scale, too! I haven't weighed myself in several weeks because it was starting to upset me that I was lifting weights (and still doing cardio, of course) and not losing weight very quickly (if at all). I promised myself that no matter what the scale said, I would be okay with it since someone just told me on Thursday that I was looking like I was losing weight and that was more important than the numbers.
So I stepped on aaand, low and behold, I've lost 3 pounds since the past time I was on it! HOO RAH! Since I have started weight training four months ago, I have lost 13 pounds, which doesn't seem like much. But I keep reminding myself that the slower it comes off, the longer it STAYS off. Not to mention, I am totally loving weight training. So weight loss or not, getting into (and staying in) good shape is actually enjoyable. Who'd have thought?

This picture is old but you can still tell how hardcore I am ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Can't Help It....

Okay. I have some things to say about the Eagles signing Michael Vick. And this is my blog so I'm going to say them here. I will admit that when I first heard the news, I was less than excited. But I have been mulling over the decision for the past 12 hours or so and here's my opinion:

First of all: Yes, Michael Vick is a HUGE douche. He did a REEEALLY shitty and disgusting thing and was punished for it. Some people may argue that he wasn't punished appropriately, but (as someone who knows first hand what prison can do to a person and their family) I can assure you that shame, ridicule, and regret will follow him wherever he goes for many, many, many years to come. He lost his job and the respect and admiration of the people who loved him. That is a HUGE price to pay, for anyone.
Second of all: I am a HUGE animal lover. At any given time there are 3-6 cats and dogs wandering around my (very small) rowhome. Andrew and I have fostered many a dog and kitten, including the 100 pounds of clumsy pitbull love we called Summer. (I just want to make sure that's out there should anyone accuse me of being an animal hater in what I'm about to say).

Philly, CHILL OUT! We are notoriously fickle as fans. So we're pissed that we got stuck with Vick and now angry fans are selling their season tickets on craiglist as if they've all been dipped in anthrax. Mark my words: if Vick starts winning some games, they'll all be crying to get them back. Win games=happy Philly fans. Lose games and/or have shitty attitude=angry, bitter fans. We stick by the team that wins, that's just how we roll.
Vick has something to prove, both personally and professionally, and I won't be surprised at all if he gets on that field and wows the shit out of everyone. And I'm willing to bet he'll play with class (ahem, T.O.)

PETA, CHILL OUT! Maybe you could approach Vick about doing a campaign to help support your cause instead of picketing and rioting everytime his name is even mentioned. There is an amazing opportunity there, use it for good instead of fostering more hate. Please? Maybe?

Another thing that gets me is the standards to which we hold these professional athletes versus other public figures. They throw balls around and we hold them to this god-like esteem. The Linc holds over 76,000 seats and you'd be hard pressed to find a single ticket during the regular season for less than a few hundred bucks. Meanwhile, in the last election in Philadelphia, voter turnout was less than 13%, the lowest in 23 years. These people we're (barely) electing RUN OUR CITY AND COUNTRY and we care less about them than we do our football players? Really, Philly?!
I would be willing to bet that if we held Congress to the same standards of behavior and ethics that we hold our professional athletes, about 2/3 of Congress would be suspended indefinitely.

I must also point out that the irony of the Birds signing a huge, violent douchebag is not lost on me. This is a city who's fans beat each other to death in the staduim parking lots and shoot each other over an ipod. He killed dogs. We kill each other. Brotherly love, my ass. Get over yourselves, Philly, we're not any better than Vick. At least he's willing to admit his crimes and atone for the mistakes he's made. We turn a blind eye and pretend that because it wasn't OUR friend, or OUR neighbor that we are somehow exempt from responsibility. This is OUR city. We are ALL responsible. And until we get that, and actually start fighting back against the violence and hatefulness that is the pulse of this city, we aren't in any position to point fingers at anyone, including Vick.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Musings: Family Time & Skinny Fat

So far August has been a really fantastic month!
I have had visits from my dad, my brother (twice!), my sister, my most gorgeous and adorable niece, and my favorite Monkey! I truly feel so happy and blessed to have such wonderful peeps in my life!
Visits are great for fun but very, very bad for good, clean eating. I mean, you can't have someone visit you in Philly and NOT take them to get a cheesesteak, right?! August(so far) has been filled with the occasional hoagie, the discovery of a new pizza place in our 'hood, Flying Monkey cupcakes, wine, cheap champagne and, plenty of River Horse (probably one of the best things that has ever come out of Jersey).
Aaaand I also had the pleasure of some delicious dining out, where I can assure you that even though I probably ate too much bread, my dined in moderation. Some of the places I went were:

Tasty! I'm spoiled! But we have also done lots and lots of walking around the city.

Last Friday, my niece Grace turned 1!! She had a blast eating her first cupcake and then was pretty much up the entire night. Yay for sugar!
Then on Saturday we took her to the Please Touch Museum! I'm pretty sure all of us "adults" liked it just as much (if not more than) she did.

Learning to garden like Uncle Andrew!

Aye, Captain!

I just loved every minute with Grace! She is so well behaved and happy. I think the cats were less than enthused with her (she REEEALLY liked them a LOT), but they did appreciate the remains of her birthday present

This week and last I have been back on the low weight, high rep resistance training routine with my trainer. It is more of a mental challenge than a physical one, but I my muscles are definitely burned out when we're done. Next week, we go back to heavy lifting, which I LOVE. It makes me feel really hardcore and reminds me of when I was in college and lifting almost everyday.
The week before last, I leg pressed 355 pounds! I was really proud of myself! That was more than I ever leg pressed in college, for sure!
Sometimes I get a little frustrated because I don't think I'm seeing physical results as fast as I think I should be. But when I do something like that, I don't even care what the mirror says. I just know that I am strong and I remember how amazing my body is (even if my stomach is a little flabby). I can FEEL the difference in my body; my runs are faster and stronger, my arms don't have any flab on them(!) and I can hustle up and down the stairs with ease. I personally think those little things are what make the biggest difference. Sure, its nice to look in the mirror and notice that you're 20 pounds thinner; but looking 20 pounds thinner doesn't mean I'm any stronger or healthier.

Lately, I've heard the term "skinny fat" used. I'm still not sure what to make of it. I can't tell if its something heavier in shape people invented to make themselves feel better, or if it really is a genuine health risk, like some have suggested.
The idea of "skinny fat" is twofold: the first is that there are those people who are naturally thin, look great in clothes and once clothes are removed, are either flabby and not so trim. The other refers to those who are thin, look thin but store their fat around their organs instead of their extremities and are, therefore, in danger of heart disease and other health problems because the fat stored around organs is known as "visceral" and is far more dangerous than fat stored near the skin's surface.
I think the latter is a valid health concern that should be addressed, and the first is probably more like tabloid BS. But this label of skinny fat raises two issues, as far as I can tell: first, who is genuinely at risk and second, how do we enroll skinny people (skinny fat or otherwise) in the benefits of exercise?
Now, I know that most of us who read health magazines and food blogs know about the benefits of exercise. But, let's be honest, if you were skinny (healthy weight skinny, not emaciated) would you still work out? Seriously. I want to know. I feel like, if asked, we would all say "of course we would!" but I feel pretty confident that if I were thin, my workouts would be a lot less intense. Sure, I would DO them, but I wonder how hard I would really push myself. See, when I workout now I'm not just thinking about being able to run my next 5k or chase after my kids or play in a soccer mom soccer league, I've still got my eye on the prize: that 20 pounds. I may or may not ever lose all of it, but the idea of the loss keeps me far more motivated than my other more long-term goals. If I didn't have to work so hard for that goal, I wonder if I would really give it my all. What do you think?
The other thing that concerns me is are we getting the correct message out there to those who ARE at risk for the kind of health related problems associated with visceral fat? Is the medical community even addressing it? I, for one, see a hell of a lot more information out there geared towards heavy people, BMI's and obesity but very little about less visible fat-related dangers. Just some food for thought...

On another unrelated note (this post is really all over the place, sorry): Andrew and I are still waiting on the final results of the City Garden Contest! Final judging was on Saturday! I am SO proud of Andrew, he really has made the garden his labor of love and it is creative, beautiful and sustainable all at once. He's first place in my book!

You can all go excuse yourselves to throw up now. I'm done.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Has Anyone Seen My Motivation?

I think I have officially hit my mid-summer slump.

Nevermind that I have only been to the beach once even though I have an adorable new bathing suit I would LOOOVE to be wearing every day, or that every time I look at the calendar it's a new month, or that I still haven't lost those few pounds even though I work out enough that it should be my job, or that I just got over a headache that literally lasted 6 days but I just can't help feeling a little unmotivated.

My dad and brother came to visit this weekend and it was a great time! I very rarely get one-on-one time with my dad and my brother would visit more often if he had a car, so it was really cool to hang with them. Of course, this meant playing tour guide and walking a lot and eating WAYYYY too much (all while nursing this ridiculous headache). I loved every minute of it, but boy am I BEAT! I never realized how steady the rhythm of our household is until they were here. Not that the disruption wasn't a little welcome, but it was interesting to notice how comfortably Andrew and I move about our space; and how accostomed we are to each other's habits and nuances. It felt weird to have to put pants on to walk to the bathroom.
But still, it was nice for them to see our home. And I was really proud when my dad was actually impressed with it (its hard to impress someone who builds houses for a living).

Sometimes when I'm on a looong run, I will run hard for the first half or so, then slow down in the middle mile so I can save all my energy to bust out at the end. I don't know if this is a good way to run or not, but this is how I've been approaching my summer. We jam packed every
weeked in May and June with fun things to do. And now I'm puttering along through the middle of summer and as soon as I realize it's almost over, I'll go back to the cram and be exhausted come September. And then I'll remember how much I hate cleaning up after a party and not have people over until December.

I mean, I can't even finish this book I've been reading and I am less than 50 pages from the end.
I won't even MENTION Atlas Shrugged, which I have been reading since January (I'll get it back to you eventually, Emily)

If it weren't for my scheduled appointments at the gym, I doubt I would be getting there too much, either.

I think I need a vacation...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1 Week Gluten Free

Aaaand I feel pretty good! I am tired this week from staying up wayyy to late to watch True Blood and beat Andrew at "Set," but I have noticed some obvious improvements, which may or may not (I'm hoping its the former) be attributed to the lack of gluten in my diet.

The pros:

For starters, my stomach and I have not been at war, which is always nice. In fact, my entire GI system seems to be functioning pretty normally. (I should note that I don't actually know what normal GI function is, but I'm guessing this is closer to normal than it was).

Secondly, I have more energy. This was something I noticed pretty quickly, only about 4 days into gluten-free life. For once, I didn't crash mid-afternoon and ache desperately for a nap (this happens to me every. day.) I started Tuesday, by Friday, I was on FIRE (in a good way)!

My scale is inching downwards. This could be because I have been eating a little less. I will admit that wheat and carbs are my go-to snacks and I pretty much always include them in a meal. Instead, I've been having potatoes (hooray for potassium!) and rice and corn based products. And tons and TONS of fresh fruit and veggies. I don't think most people tolerate corn too well either, being that it's usually mass produced and over processed, so I have been trying to stay away from falling into the "I will eat everything corn instead" trap. But its nice to know that things like tortilla chips are still an option. For the most part, sweet potatoes and ketcup have become my new best friends.

Now for the cons:

I want an effing cupcake like my it is nobody's business! Temptation is everywhere. It is hard to say no to that deliciously huge brownie sitting on my counter (thanks, grandmom!). I did indulge in some pasta on Sunday (less than a half a cup) and I did have one tiny nibble of a cookie that my neighbor made on Friday. Here's my justification: I don't have Ceilac's disease so I can, in theory, eat gluten without dying. But I know myself well enough to know that if I give myself too many allowances, I will go overboard. I also know that if I don't allow myself ANY tasty wheat stuff, I will go overboard (as in, restricting. which is no good for former eating disordered peeps). So for me, its about balance. Just a taste is enough. And when I have been tempted to have more, I remind myself of how shit-tastic my stomach is going to feel in about an hour.
That has been pretty effective so far.

Gluten-free stuff is mad expensive and tastes like SHIT. I tried a gluten-free pizza yesterday. It took HOURS for me to get the taste out of my outh. Never. Again. NASTY. NASTY.
I find that whenver food is made to tast like something that it clearly is not, it is crap. Oh sure, they make it look nice, but do not be decieved.
I did read a good review on the gluten free waffles at Trader Joes, so I picked some up. I hope they don't suck as bad as the pizza.
But I don't intend to start consuming mass amounts of gluten free bread and cake. I can't afford it and it's not worth it. I'd rather just have a taste of something WITH wheat in it and stick to things that are naturally gluten free (and a hell of a lot tastier!)


I feel better. I really do. I am pretty convinced that I do have at least moderate sensitivity to gluten. And I fully intend to continue to eat a diet that is fairily restrictive with regards to gluten. The challenge now is to figure out how much gluten my body can tolerate without pissing of my GI system. In the next few weeks, I will work tiny amounts back in and continue to log how I feel day to day. I love self-experimentation!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Evil Gluten

Sorry for the absence, oh devoted five followers! I am trying to enjoy summer and escape accountability..

Anyhow, its been a busy couple of weeks. Andrew, our friend Anthony and I completed the Philly Tri a few weeks back (we had a relay team). Yours truly got to be the runner and cross the finish line at the end (coolest thing EVER!). It was a lot of fun! Hot as hell, but fun! And we each got medal so big, you would have thought we won the thing (we definitely did NOT). Next year, I am going to do the whole tri myself. I figure that I can use the crappy winter weather to spend sometime inside at our gym's pool, working on my sweet swim strokes! I bike and run all year long so I think I really need to focus on my swimming.

Anyhow, the past few weeks I have been feeling really yucky. I know awhile back I posted about a b12 deficiency that I have that tends to wear me down pretty quickly. I haven't been taking my supplement as religiously as I am supposed to (gasp!) so I figured that was the problem. And I have been drinking copious amount of iced coffee (I love you, summer!) so I was sure that wasn't helping. But twice last week, I found myself doubled over in pain, fatigue and nausea (and other fun GI grossness). I am NOT pregnant (don't pretend the thought didn't cross your mind) so I knew there must be something else going on.
I love to self diagnose and experiment with myself so I made a list of everything I ate and drank that week and started to do some research on my symptoms.
I think I may have a gluten allergy. I'm not talking about Celiac's disease, which is essentially the inability to tolerate gluten at all. Just an allergy. As it turns out, about 1 in every 100 people has a gluten allergy and doesn't know it. In addition, gluten allergies are more prevalent than they were 50 years ago, thanks to the uber processing of the food that we eat. This article has some interesting findings:
Gluten Allergy Article

If you've ever read the Omnivore's Dilemma or seen Food, Inc. you know that this makes complete sense (and if you haven't, you REALLY should). For many reasons outlined in both book and film, the bulk of American food has become increasingly processed. Not only does our government heavily subsidize the corn and meat industries, but the creation of artificial preservatives and sweeteners (ahem, high fructose corn syrup) has resulted in foods that are, literally, fake. HFCS doesn't occur in nature, it is completely man made. And its in EVERYTHING. Michael Pollan, my God of food, suggests that just the mere listing of HFCS on a label is the sign of a highly processed food (and should be avoided).
I get how the food industry became this way; its symbiotic with the widespread use of cars, the collpase of manufacturing cities, the development of the federal highway system, and introduction of urban sprawl. Its all connected, my friends. As people moved out of cities, they had to go farther to get food, which cost more. Because fresh food isn't ridden with preservatives, it doesn't last as long. So rather than walking across the street to the city market, people had to drive (perhaps several times a month) to get fresh food. My god! What a PAIN!

Cities became cut off from the suburbs (pretty much on purpose, but that's a topic for another day). Now that people had cars, they could travel long distances much faster than ever before. Our country became obsessed with speed and efficiency, traveling farther and faster than they ever had before. How inefficient it was, then, to have food that went bad so quickly and didn't keep. And how expensive it became to feed this new generation of baby boomers with real, fresh food.
So the government says, hey farmers, why don't you increase production? We got a lot of people to feed and if you make more food, it will drive down the cost and you'll sell more. And the farmers say, but we can't. We don't have the means to increase production. Animals only grow so fast, and they need all of this ROOM to roam and eat. And the government says, we'll give you the money. You just make us as much of the cheapest meats and foods you can. Naturally, this meant cutting some major corners. And thus began half a century of BS. You can read more about the development of the fast food world (which is a HUGE contributor to the decomposition of American food) in Fast Food Nation.

I will spare you my play by play of the disgracing of America's food supply, but you get the idea. The government literally pays farmers to produce ridiculous amounts of corn, which is then fed to the livestock (a diet which makes them terribly sick and necessitates insane amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive), which is then sold to us. Cheap. And fast. And then the leftover corn is thrown into whatever other foods we happen to be making at the time.

Sooooo, it is no wonder that we are seeing a increase in not just obesity, but Autism, food intolerances, cancers and a whole slew of behavioral and developmental issues in kids. There is nothing natural about our food in America. At least not the stuff that you buy at the Acme/Superfresh/ShopRite.

The point of this whole, long winded post was to say that as of today, I am going gluten-free (for at least a couple weeks). I am probably going to be a super cranky bitch for awhile. But I am hoping that the switch improves my overall well being.

My friend Jill (Hi, Jill!) is experimenting with THIS diet. Which I think sounds super interesting, albeit a bit more restrictive. I like the idea of getting back to basics with food. If this gluten thing doesn't work out, you can expect that the Paleo Diet will be my next experiment.

Adios, gluten, for now. I cannot imagine a life without beer. Honestly. But if I must choose, I would prefer a life (or even a week) without diarrhea.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Expect some ranting and whining at first....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Running Fool. Drinking Veggies

So Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run has been swearing by this Amazing Meal stuff for weeks now. Both her and her boyfriend have been drinking in in place of their morning coffee, and both have lots more energy for the day. I am SOOO envious of this so I'm going to get myself some (it can't be any worse than all the other supplements I try to take for energy), but in the meantime, I have been experimenting with ways to make sure I get all my greens and vegetables in.

This weekend, our friends went on their honeymoon and dropped off all their produce for us so it wouldn't go bad. Then, we had a CSA pick up on Saturday. Needless to say, we ended up with produce out the WAZ-OOO!

I really have to give props to Andrew for most of this, he has come up with some amazingly creative (and TASTY) dishes for us.
On Saturday night, we took zucchini lasagna to a friend's going away party. Instead of using pasta lasagna, we sliced them thin the long way and layered zucchini in between marinara sauce and ricotta/mozzarella cheese. Just bake and viola! It was a hit at the party. Although I don't see how anything that includes cheese can not be a hit.

Side note: I have discovered smoked gouda. WHERE has this stuff been all my life?! I'm obsessed! It's my new favorite cheese. Sorry, Laughing Cow.

Earlier on Saturday, I wasn't feeling so hot so I decided I needed a veggie pick me up. I blended a couple strawberries with some watermelon cubes, a HUGE handful of spinach, and some protein powder to make a delicious fresh drink. I swear it was an instant energy boost!
This is the protein powder I use. Its got all kinds of good stuff in it and it has a yummy vanilla-ish smell to it. (It doesn't taste as vanilla as it smells, though)

I highly recommend this site Vitaglo for all your vitamins, supplements and so on. They have a great selection and even better prices!

The most delicious part of my drink was the blended watermelon. SO fresh and juicy. I've read that Kath has made a drink with blended watermelon, but she adds a little vodka to hers. A girl after my own heart....
I've been having these spinach protein drinks every morning and I have been feeling good (and, er, regular).

Today, I feel like I got hit by a bus but I had a hard workout yesterday...and ice cream, so it's my fault.

Anyhow, as of last night, we had turnips, two bunches of asparagus, a bunch of carrots and a huge bucket of kale that was all in danger of going bad. So Andrew whipped up a delicious creamed vegetable soup. I didn't pay too close attention, but I know he started by sauteeing the turnips and carrots with onions and then added the asparagus and some chicken stock. When the veggies were soft, he blended them up and added in some half and half and seasonings. We froze most of it, but oh boy, was it ever yummy! In fact, I'm having it for lunch right now!

(with half a banana and peanut butter, a laughing cow wedge and a couple crackers-don't worry, I'm saving my veggies for dinner)

I know this soup doesn't look like much but it is DAAAMNN good! Thanks, Andrew!

Also, thanks to whoever left those beautiful orchids on our front steps this weekend-SO pretty!

On the exercise front, this weekend is our relay triathalon. I'm excited and a little nervous. My running sneaks have been giving me blisters and I know its time for some new kicks (b/c they have also been irritating my ankles) but I have to get through the race with these ones. Buying new shoes five days before a race is a BAD IDEA. Andrew is going to pick me up some inserts today and maybe that will help. Then, next week, I'm off to Philadelphia Runner to get refitted.

Yesterday, I ran 3 miles in 30 minutes flat, so I'm thinking that I can do my 5k portion of the race in 32 minutes, maybe less since I usually sprint the end of races and not my training runs. That's my goal. If there aren't any hills on the course, I'm golden. If there are, I may come in around 33 minutes. I plan on it being very hot and humid but I have a sweet mp3 mix to get me moving. I'm the last to go (after the swim and bike), so there will be plenty of time to stretch out, sit around and let the adrenaline build up. Then afterwards, we drink! Beer!

Geeze, is it only Tuesday?? This week's gonna be a dragger, I predict.
Make sure you eat (or drink) your veggies!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nibbles and Bits

I'm flyin solo for dinner tonight 'cuse my hard working fiance' is meeting with one of his freelance clients. I like to take these opportunities to eat a little less traditionally than the way we do when we eat together.

I am on a mission to eat up random leftovers in our fridge and, for some reason, we have a lot of produce that's going bad. (Well, not for some reason. The reason is because its produce and it never lasts very long). Anyhow, I love veggies but I'm not a fan of eating them plain and raw. I need something to dip them in, at the very least. So I opted for a tasting plate as my dinner. This is hands down my FAVORITE way to eat. I confess, I am a nibbler. Sure I'll eat a big ol plate of meat and potatoes, but defnitely prefer nibbles of lots of different things. Tapas restaurants are right up my alley. Right along with cocktail receptions and tasting events.

Here's the spread:


Green Peppers


Leftover bruschetta that I made this weekend

Basil hummus (for dipping)

I also had a couple slices of fresh Italian bread and a glass of wine

This was perfection. I was satisfied but not stuffed AND the only thing I actually made new was the hummus. (But it was DELICIOUS so I doubt it will last very long)

I feel silly taking pictures of my food anywhere but at home otherwise I would have snapped a pic of the amazing bento box I had last night for dinner. It was fresh and healthy and di-vine! The place we went has the BEST spicy tofu!

I had a pretty tough workout with my trainer yesterday which has left me with some serious aching in my neck. Obviously, I was not doing my 1 million crunches correctly.
I put in an hour on the elliptical today at a nice high resistance and crossramp and sweated it out through two gossip rags. I am SO ashamed that I read these. I am such a sucker for pop culture and celebrity gossip. My random knowledge did, however, earn my Quizo team a decent amount of points last night, which had us finish in a VERY respectable 2nd place. I was the only one who knew that Miley Cyrus broke up with her boyfriend and went back to her Jonas brother ex-boyfriend. For shame, Becky. For shame.
I read a lot of NY Times and today to make up for it.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I have been struggling to make my commitment to health and fitness "fit in" with the rest of my life. I've been thinking about this a lot the past week and I think what has me so frustrated is my "either/or" mentality. I have scheduled appointments with my trainer twice a week. The rest of the week, my workout routine is planned, so to speak, but I don't have any accountability to anyone else to be anywhere at any particular time.
Now that it's the summer, I am finding that my nights are filling up fast with fun events and time with friends. I would be lying if I said the weather wasn't a HUGE motivator in getting me up and out of the house after work hours (although it probably helps that I work from home).
Several times over the past month or so, I have had to decline invitations becuase of my appointments with my trainer and even becuase I was busy at work and hadn't had time to get in a workout during the day. Yeah. I opted to workout over spending QT with my friends. SO LAME. Of course working out is important to me, but when I really thought about it, I do not want to be bailing on my friends under those circumstances.
So I've been struggling with this idea that I have to do one or the other. After a couple of "deep" conversations with Andrew, I realized that I'm getting in my own way about this. This is as you know (if you have read this blog more than once) ALWAYS the case with me. Sometimes I am my own biggest obstacle. So I have deciced to make a conscious effort to re-think the way I think (I know that sounds a little wacky, but its what I'm going for). Instead of thinking that I HAVE to pick this or that, I am training myself to think "I am going to do both of these things. How do I make it work?"

I have to remind myself a lot. But to be honest, it is really working. I sometimes have to rush, and forgo drying my hair or putting on that extra bit of makeup in order to get places ontime, but (so far) I haven't declined any invitations. It has meant working out on my lunch break and doubling up on workouts in my less busy days, but I have somehow managed to fit everything in. And the best part? It has encouraged a little creativity and flexibility in me (which is something that has been a little lacking recently. Right, Andrew? :-)).

I am sure there are people who have been doing this successfully for many, many years. I bet moms are amazing at this. And I think its great practice. Not only for when I have kids, but for how insanely busy my work schedule is going to be come September. Then I'll have to figure out not just when to hang out with friends, but how to work out on a train (or in the car or while sitting at a meeting).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time to Smell the Roses

I have a confession, devoted blog followers. This whole healthy lifestyle thing is really a lot of work for me. I know for some people it's something that just comes naturally. Maybe they were brought up eating clean and having exercise be a part of their everyday routine. I was not one of these people. And so it is something that I work at (literally) every moment of every day. I mean, I created this blog as part of that. To hold myself accountable for actually doing the work.

And, honestly, I'm beat. I sometimes feel like I'm running (again, literally) uphill. A really steep hill. With potholes. I sometimes feel like I spend so much time counting calories and planning workouts that I'm missing something else. Maybe even something more important.

"But what could be more important than my health?" I ask myself.

Where does one draw the line between enjoying life and giving one's self a break and staying committed.

Like today.

This week has been a bit of a nightmare. Our property taxes skyrocketed, the IRS lost the amendment that I sent in as part of last year's taxes and now I owe them a butt load of money, I'm trying to plan a wedding (kinda sorta), my work is wonderfully hectic and I haven't had a good night's sleep in at least 3 weeks (think awful back pain and lots of tossing and turning). I've pretty much been crying for the past two days and I don't even know why. All I wanted to do tonight was sit on the couch and watch a movie, maybe take a bath, read a book. And I started to do just that. But then this god awful guilt kicked spoke up. "You skipped your workout on Monday," it said. "If you skip today too, then you'll have to workout Saturday AND Sunday to meet your goal."

"But I'm exhausted!" my real self said. "I have had such a long week and I even lost two pounds this week. I deserve this night off."

"If you take tonight off, those two pounds will be right back on your ass next week," it continued. "You can take days off when you're 20 pounds lighter. Or dead."
It went back and forth like this for a bit until eventually my real self agreed with my guilt that I would, in fact, feel much better after I went for a run.

And so I draaaaaagged my butt of the couch and put on both of my sports bras (yes, I have to wear two and yes, it is a HUGE pain in the ass) and laced up my sneakers for a run.
I let my real self catch a break and I only ran two and a half miles instead of three. "Big deal," said my real self.

And half an hour later, I'm sitting on my back patio (WHEN did it get so NICE outside!?) drinking some water and watching the cats roll around and chase bugs. Turns out, I didn't miss anything more important, except maybe the last few minutes of "What Not to Wear."

I feel better that I went for a run. But I don't know when I'll ever give myself a break. I want to lose these last 20 pounds SO BAD. And not just lose them, KEEP them off (which, as we all know, is the toughest part).
I know that in order for this all to work, I need to make it a part of my lifestyle and I have. But not inasmuch as it doesn't require thought or planning or effort. And that worries me a little. Am I always going to have to work THIS hard?
Will it ever get easier?

Ahhhh, life's persistent questions.

Even as I type, I'm sitting here planning what to eat for dinner, and then breakfast and then lunch tomorrow, all while doing quick caloric adding in my head.

I know it's important. But I only get a few short months with blooming roses in my backyard. I really should worry a little less about calories and a little more about taking a few minutes to enjoy the gorgeous utopia of a vacant South Philadelphia lot...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kick Ass Salads

In my house, we usually eat heavier in the evenings. I know you're not "supposed" to eat heavier at night, but I live with a dude who isn't a big fan of salads, so I have them at lunch when he's not around.

This week, I had two AMAZING salads so I wanted to brag, er, share.

First, a taco salad:

I started with a bowl of spinach and added:
black beans
green peppers
roasted red peppers
about 1/2 ounce of shredded pepper jack cheese
a couple spoons of salsa
a handful of crumbled up tortilla chips (great way to use up the crumbs at the bottom of the bag, which, for us, usually end up in the composter). I would have added avocado if we had one, but we were out.

I added some hot sauce on top too, for a little extra kick. I had this last week and then made it for Andrew to take to work this week and he LOVED it. Since he usually hates salads, I consider this a victory. You could add some chicken or beef if you want a protein boost. But this was perfectly satisfying for me AND kept me full until dinner.

Then, there was this summer salad:
Sorry the photo is crappy, I took it with my blackberry (which I still don't really know how to use, but at least I look cool trying).

Anyhow, this is a lighter version of a salad that I make in the fall, it doesn't have a name.

Again, I started with a bowl of spinach. Then I added:

1/2 chopped apple
a few tablespoons of dried cranberries (these are awesome in ANYTHING, but best in salads and yogurt parfaits. You could use any dried berry, really.)
cherries (fresh ones. with the pits. they're a pain in the ass to cut up, but totally worth it).
1/2 ounce of gorgonzola crumbles
a tablespoon of almond slivers
dash of balsamic dressing (I'm obsessed with Trader Joes').

I've also made this salad with strawberries and onions (a tasty combo) or any other berries that I have on hand.

I should also mention that for me to really enjoy a salad, it needs to have something a little creamy in it; either cheese or a creamy dressing or something like avocado or chickpeas (which have a similar consistency). This is also an easy way to cut calories because often times, I'll use it in place of a dressing (like in the taco salad). For the second salad, I only use a dash of dressing, but I could have easily just used plain balsamic vinegar and it would have been just as tasty. AAAAND 1/2 an ounce of shredded or crumbled cheese has about half the fat and calories as an oil-based dressing.
Things like salsa, hot sauce, lemon juice and salt and pepper also give salads a kick with minimal calories (I might skip these on any salads with fruit though. Balsamic is really the best compliment to fruit, I think).

As a rule, I always ask for dressing on the side when I order salads. Not only do I end up using less, but I really hate the puddle of dressing at the bottom of the bowl, and too much dressing makes the greens soggy, which I think is kind of gross and really unappetizing.

I think salads are a super quick and easy way to get creative with meals. And I'm a little lazy like that.
What are your favorite salad combos?? Maybe I'll try some new ones and "review" them here!

Oh, and have an awesome loooooong weekend! My goal is to not overdo it with delicious BBQ food and beer. At 4:30, I will have achieved my workout goal for the week, so I'm feeling pretty good heading into the weekend. But, beer has been known to ruin pretty much everything I plan to do (like workout, sleep, and be responsible).

Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Creative Juicesssss

I'm wondering what all (5) of you do to get your creative juices flowing.

What inspires you?
Do you make crafty things? Do you build? Cook?

Do set aside time to do these things? Or do you just wait until the mood strikes?

I think I need some new hobbies.

So please share!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I love Laughing Cow!!!


35 calories and 2 grams of fat in each wedge!

Finally, my cheese addiction can coexist peacefully with my goal of losing 15 pounds before my wedding.

Get some! (I recommend the garlic & herb)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Even if this looks like a cop-out post...

it isn't.

The always insightful MizFit has an awesome post today about this book, You'd Be So Pretty if...

II haven't read it but I know that it is a MUST read for everyone, dudes included.

I know I'm not the only chick who's ever been afraid that she's going to mess her kids up in a zillion possible ways. But something about the topic of body image and acceptance really strikes a chord in me. It's no secret that I dabbled with an eating disorder for many years. And I have spent thousands of dollars in therapy wondering where it came from. I would be lying if I said my mother had nothing to do with it. No, I don't blame her for it. But watching her eat in secret and then not eat at all and then go on an Arby's binge definitely set the stage for my bizarre relationship with food. It was like food was evil, or bad, and would inevitably make me fat.

My mom was 130 pounds when she married my dad. I hit 130 in like, 7th grade. As a mom struggling with her own weight, that must have been disappointing for her on some level. Maybe she was trying to protect me from the name calling and the ostracizing, but to me it felt like disapproval.
She never shied away from saying things like "you could live off the fat of the land for awhile" and she never, ever let me wear horizontal stripes. She never outright called me fat, but I knew what she thought. I knew by the way she looked at me when I decided to have a Pop Tart for a snack instead of an apple. I knew when I'd try on clothes and she'd give me this look of disgusted indifference as she said "its just not flattering." At first, I hid behind food. But after years of being picked on, not having a boyfriend and never being able to borrow anyone's clothes, I turned away from food altogether. I clearly had no willpower to only eat good things so I decided to just not eat at all. But I didn't have the willpower for that either, and thus I began the life of a "functional" bulimic. Sure I was a cranky bitch all the time, but I was thinner than I had ever been and it was worth it. Then.

When I look back I am horrified at how it all transpired. I was so conscious of what I was doing; it was like some giant cost benefit analysis of my life. That made me cry a lot.

I see now that there was a definite lack of education around food for my sisters and I growing up. And our only feminine role model was painfully insecure and unhappy herself. We didn't exercise; no one in our family did. Because when you're 6, you can only ride your bike up and down the driveway so many times by yourself...

I do think that I have a healthy relationship with food now. I'm not skinny, but I'm active and healthy and slowly learning to appreciate all of the amazing things that my not skinny body can do (I've heard childbirth is going to be a breeze).
But I'm still a little nervous. Because I know that healthy active lifestyles start at home. And they start before the baby is even born. Am I properly equipped to raise healthy, active, intelligent children who love themselves? What will I do when my daughter comes home crying because some 6th grade boy called her fat? What will I say? How do I suggest a healthy alternative to a Twinkie without judging, or hurting feelings, or adding in all of the personal meanings that a suggestion like that would hold for me?

I have given up my disordered eating, for sure. But there is a part of me that knows if things get REALLY bad and I get REALLY fat, I always have it to fall back on.

Messed up, I know.

But I also know that having kids takes that fall back plan out of existence. Kids see, hear, sense and REPEAT everything (if you don't believe me, I'll introduce you to my nephew, Nathan). I know that to lead by example means that I don't get to take the easy way out. And that makes me a little nervous, too.
But in a good way.

So if I don't win the book on her site (because, I seriously never win ANYTHING), I'm going to buy it. And when I'm done, I'm going to make Andrew read it, even if I have to hold him down and paper clip his eyes open.
Because this is a topic far too overlooked in this age of airbrushing and Top Models and Maxim. And it is about time we (men included) started to have a conversation about it.
And because I don't want any daughter of mine (or yours, or anyone) to go through what I(and millions of other women around the globe) did.