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.

Friday, May 01, 2009


So WHAT if I didn't work out every single day this week like I promised myself I would.

So WHAT if I ate french fries for dinner last night (and half a bottle of wine).

So WHAT if I sometimes don't shower until 5pm (I work from home).

So WHAT if I am sitting in my kitchen without any pants on.

So WHAT if I talk to my cats (and I'm pretty sure that Charlie has an imaginary friend).

So WHAT if it has taken me 4+ months to get 3/4 of the way through Atlas Shrugged (and so WHAT if I don't think its the greatest book I've ever read).

So WHAT if I did all the laundry and then didn't fold it (for over a week).

So WHAT if I forgot my reusable grocery totes when I went to the store (just this ONCE).

So WHAT if I hate emptying the dishwasher.

So WHAT if I drank 3 cups of coffee and still want to take a nap on my lunch break.

I'm not angry. Its just Friday. So I'm giving myself a break. Nobody's perfect.
Happy May Day!
(feel free to add your own "So WHAT's"