Thursday, June 24, 2010

A new day and a new dish

A night's rain really makes it hard to wake up the next morning. I was quite comfy in bed when the alarm went off at 7am this morning. But breakfast was going to be good, for I was excited to try my first "Overnight Oats in a Jar" concoction. Here's the scoop:

Overnight Oats in a Jar
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup Red Mill high fiber oat bran hot cereal
- 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 tbsp of reduced fat peanut butter

I prepared it the night before, so the oats would soak up the milk and water. In the A.M., I had a cold, hearty oatmeal-like mix and it was mighty good. I also had a mug of Revolution Pear White Tea prior to diving into the Internet.

As I've mentioned before, I log my calories and meals via SparkPeople. Well today was my first day analyzing the nutritional data that went into my Overnight Oats in a Jar. After a bunch of fiddling around with measurements, various programs and other web research, I settled on SparkPeople's recipe creator. I was suprised to learn that my newfound breakfast dish was 528 calories and seemed high in fat at 16g. Protein nearly matched that at 15g, but I was a little bummed. But at the same, this was my first time figuring this kind of stuff out, and I decided I had the rest of the day to keep things healthy.

I had a job interview in the West Loop this afternoon, so lunchtime came very late. I kept with my curried butternut squash soup and quinoa tabbouleh. A glass of Rishi's Mint Rooibos gave me a bit of a break from water.

Come dinnertime, I also dove back into last night's leftovers of jerk chicken and cool cucumber salsa. Add a two cups of mixed herb greens, a few cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions and basil, and voila!

I kept myself busy much of the evening with some well-needed kitchen cleaning. I think I'll close things out with a square of 72% cacao Ghiradelli chocolate and a stack of magazines.

I did skip my workout this morning ... but Friday is my day of intense Yoga. Back at it again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away

Here it is hump day and the Chicago rain finally arrived first thing this morning, so no bike ride for me. Instead, I focused on yoga and strength training with my Wii Fit. I worked a total of an hour and 17 minutes and burned 260 calories. Calories ... I never know how much is enough, but I suppose my total for today is much better than nothing, right? Either way, I sweated my booty off and that's always a good sign.

Today's lunch menu included a half cup of quinoa tabbouleh and curried butternut squash soup. I have also jotted down an individual list of tasks to complete this afternoon (as compared to my usual weekly list) in order to keep away from snacking. Last night, Ryan and I completed dinner before 6pm, which is a huge accomplishment after years of working in New York City and dealing with other daily life activities, which always led to eating around 8pm or after. We capped off the evening with a walk on North Avenue Beach. But unfortunately, the snack voice inside my head (and Ryan's) came around 10pm and I drank a 3/4 can of Vernors and Jane's Popcorn when I got home. Boo!

I am headed outside for a quick walk in a few to pick up some dry cleaning and run some other errands. I have some other house cleaning to take care of as well, which means a few more calories burned. Hooray for that!

I see the sun is trying to peek its way out beyond the gray clouds. C'mon!


Come dinner time, my hubs treated me to some fabulous jerk chicken with cool cucumber salsa. It's one of Ellie Krieger's recipes from her first hardcover cookbook, The Food You Crave. This was the first time we had this particular dish, and it was sooo good and the salsa was very refreshing. I kept the serving size to a deck of cards for the chicken and roughly a 1/2 cup of the salsa. We also had our usual mixed greens herb salad, this time with a tablespoon of scallions and basil, from our backyard! I topped that with two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and water to drink, and that was that.

A second batch of storms rolled in later and the Chicago sky looked like 18 different colors. Things eventually cleared around 9pm and myself and the hubs headed to Whole Foods to grab some oats and other odds and ends. Earlier that afternoon I had stumbled upon the most amazing food blog, Carrots 'N' Cake. That's where I found the recipe for the much-blogged about "Overnight Oats in a Jar" dish, hence our trip for additional oats.

I also think I am going to start taking photos of my meals. Perhaps it'll give this blog a little more umph.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday, No Bluesday

Despite going over my calories just a tad last night, I did eat within the appropriate means for all fat, carbs and protein on Monday. I ate well under 2,000 calories, too. Do I sound like I'm trying to justify my behavior? If so, tell me. I think I'm doing waaaaay better than I was, say, six months ago.

I'm plugging along on this fine, muggy as all get out Tuesday. I did my required bike ride this morning, but only completed 35 minutes due to the insane humidity (It's supposed to be 90 today). A friend of mine's father recently underwent surgery for brain cancer and I had just found out prior to taking to the Roscoe Village streets, thus I was also quite distracted during my ride. I found out afterward that doctors removed everything and he is on his way to recovery.

To avoid any thoughts about food, I focused on getting through Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. Being unemployed leaves you with A LOT of time on your hands. But I'm trying. I am going to whip up some cranberry and almond granola for the husband. It's one our latest breakfast options and my hubs can't seem to get enough. I enjoy it as well, but it leaves me with about 400-some calories at breakfast. I'm sticking with my usual Cheerios for now.

See ya on Wednesday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Keepin' On

I've developed a nasty habit of not logging my calories during the weekend, but I stayed true to eating healthy this past weekend as compared to the previous one: chicken kebobs, corn on the cob, lean sirloin for a hamburger, sweet potato fries, lots of salad and tons of water.

It was back to biking this morning and I completed my 45 required minutes. It's been raining a lot lately in the Windy City, and Monday wasn't supposed to be any different, so I didn't think I'd be able to start my week off outside. But I went against the weatherman and headed outside. I anticipate the thunderstorms will finally roll in come dinner time.

Since I've been off from work, I've been the one planning meals and the groceries each week. Sunday is our usual grocery day, but my husband went ahead and planned the dining courses this week. I wasn't so sure, only because I've been the one taking care of things. But I do trust my husband's tastes and choices and he is a wonderful, healthy cook. We'll rock butternut squash soup for lunch this week, and rotate between Thai Basil Turkey (ground turkey, veggies and brown rice) and jerk chicken for dinner. I stick to my regular Cherrios, skim milk and blueberries for breakfast. It's only 3:26pm and I feel like I've succeeded so far today ... as long as I keep busy and stay away from snacking, I'm good.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Back in the Game

Well, well, well ... surprise, surprise. I let the game of life get in the way of me posting to my dear blog. But I'm BACK ... even though it is the end of the week.

I got a fresh start today with 90 minutes of Yoga this morning, for Thursday wasn't my best performance. Despite starting the day off bicycling around my neighborhood and beyond for 45 minutes, my mid-afternoon cravings kicked in (thank you PMS).

I chart my daily food and calorie intake via SparkPeople and have been doing so for a little over a month. Lately, the weekends have been a struggle, but I've stuck to it throughout the week. Well yesterday, all I wanted to do was snack from 3pm until dinner. It seems like I grabbed anything I could find, like Quaker's Cheddar Cheese Mini Rice Cakes. Pop Chips, and peanut butter. While I stuck to the serving size of three chips for the Pop Chips (ugh!), I bent the rules and had three servings of the rice cakes. Although I used reduced fat Jif and only one slice of whole grain bread, the peanut butter sandwich put me and my calorie count waaaay over the edge. BOO!

My husband and I had a great dinner, with flank steak and cooked, sliced carrots. I've been trying like mad to measure absolutely everything, thus my flank steak was only the size of a deck of cards and I had about a half a cup of carrots. But we topped that off with some ice cream from the neighborhood creamery down the street. I know you are a beloved established around Roscoe Village, Scooter's, but I really shouldn't be your friend. Ice cream kills me in the summertime. Desserts in general do. I told my husband last night that that was my last hurrah in dessertland. Seriously. It's just too tempting and such a distraction when it comes to analyzing my overall goals of getting fit.

On Monday, I visited my primary care physician for a follow-up appointment for my allergies and I brought up my weight issues. That's where the bicycling comes in. She has provided me with an exercise challenge of bicycling for 45 minutes five times a week. Typically, I shoot for three times a week of exercise, but since I've loved riding my bike since childhood, I am going to do this five-times-a-week thing! So far, so good. Bring on next week, baby!

But if it rains, my back up plan is the Wii Fit. I fell in love with the Wii Fit in April, when my husband and I were getting settled into our new place in the Windy City. I did it regularly for an hour four times a week for nearly three weeks, but then my dedication started to wain. I am committed to fighting against that now, for the summertime weather makes it much easier to be outside and ride. Come a rain day, the Wii Fit will provide enough of a variety, I believe I can stick to it.

My doctor also suggested I start logging my exercise and times like I do with my meals. I should have been doing this all along. The tandem thing is perfect for my organized, having a plan-centric brain, so I am committed to making this happen. She says I should be able to lose 15 pounds in three months time. I am definitely good with that.

Ok, I'm 5'1 and I'm tipping the scales at 153, which is my heaviest. My mother has always been thin and not much of a foodie, since she's a smoker and has IBS issues. But I LOVE FOOD! I love hummus and pita bread, cheese, cake and pie, beer, wine, and other stuff you shouldn't eat regularly. But I don't have to be a size 4, although I was for a hot minute in college (all that biking around campus really helped!). I just want to feel good and fit into some of my cute clothes from my days working in New York City. Ideally I'd love to be a healthy size 8, but would be ok with being a 10. I'm so close ... but not close enough.

Alas, here I am ... fully committed and determined to have a much better day today. I am a snacker. It's one of my many weaknesses. But if I keep myself busy, I can avoid thoughts of snacking. I am heading out this afternoon for a haircut and a facial, and then I am going to soak up the Chicago sun for as long as it lasts ... more rain coming this weekend.

Here are some helpful suggestions, courtesy of the exercise challenge provided by my doctor, to fight against the urge to snack:

- Take a nap or go to bed early
- Read a book or a magazine
- Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle
- Do an exercise video
- Pain your nails
- Listen to the radio or audio book
- Call or email a friend
- Write in a journal
- Look through old pictures
- Brush your teeth and/or floss
- Be creative: knit, paint or draw

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week 2

I didn't get to my workout until almost 9pm. Chest and Back, + Ab Ripper X were still tough. I put 100% into Chest and Back, but Ab Ripper got cut in the last 5 minutes; I just didn't have the steam. I will try doing the rest of my workouts in the the mornings this week to see if that makes a difference. Keep on going, keep on going. Still feeling motivated, so that's good! I think I am just finally in a place where I want to get my body back. 30+ definitely shows changes in the body, and I notice my friends mentioning the very same on facebook. Glad it's not just me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I completed week 1 of P90X! :-)

I just successfully completed my first week of P90X! It was seriously rough going after Plyometrics on day 2, as always. I was expecting to be in loads of pain, and I was! That’s what kept me from ever getting to the end of the week. I did have to skip my 3rd day workout because I simply could not move! Yoga was a wonderful relief for stretching my muscles, but as Tony refers to it, Yoga X is not easy all in itself. I just happen to really enjoy yoga, so I knew it would make me feel better. But seriously, it’s too long, 1hr and 20 minutes.

It may seem sad to some, but it was a huge accomplishment to finish this week. The World Cup started Friday, so some drinking ensued as our divided house cheered on England and the USA Saturday. We tied!! Felt like a win to me and a loss to my husband. I kept it down to 2 beers, don’t need those empty calories.

So here’s to week 2! Tomorrow is a rest and stretch day. I begin anew on Tuesday.

The cruise is next week, so I hope I can stay on track and do my work outs on the ship every day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I think I can, I think I can!

My goal is to kick P90X in the you know what! However, it is definitely kicking mine! I started P90X with such enthusiasm last fall, but lost my hubby as my workout partner because of time commitments. Then the random exercise and excuses started all over again for myself. I have ALWAYS been a swimmer and gym person, but I don’t want to waste my money, especially since I know this is a good workout routine that can work. I have so much trouble staying motivated at home. I feel like you have no idea world! But a happy pocketbook makes for a happy husband! Very important to me!

Now that school has finished, I have much more time and feel so much less stress. Even my chiropractor noticed how relaxed I looked sitting in the waiting room on Monday as compared to the last month!

So, I only took one day for myself, then joined my neighbor Jen at the gym Sunday, and tackled both a spin class and a yoga class. AWESOME!
LAZY the next day! I was so sore. Thank goodness for Stephen and the dog. Only thanks to them did I walk 1.5 miles, a bit too leisurely I must admit. Better than nothing, right?

Then came my girl Mack! We started this blog to not only motive ourselves, but to also battle the bulge together. I decided yesterday to give the P90X a real run for it. I get bored with some of the exercises, but love others. So here’s to it!

Day 1

Chest and Back, Ab Ripper X = great 1st day workout. Hard but feeling accomplished.

Day 2 (Today)

Plyometrics (aka: jump training). I always whine through this one. I was tired, plain and simple. I love wearing my heart monitor with this one though. It really lets me know if I am truly giving it my all. Some of the jumps kill my knees, so I know I have to modify, but some are fun. I will be glad not to do this one for another week. I have had many 1st weeks, so I know this DVD well!
Here’s to completing week 1 and actually starting week 2 without giving up!

As far as eating goes, I have been quite good with that. I only drink 1 cup of coffee in the morning, and usually don’t finish it. I don’t buy pop because it’s like chocolate for me. I am eating Special K for breakfast and lunch with fruit and Special K bars for snacks. Important because I have low blood sugar and have to watch that. We cook pretty healthy food for dinner most of the time, so I am not too worried about that. Making chicken stir fry with white rice for dinner. Yum.

Storm is moving in, better walk to dog!

Making our debut

Fighting the pudge. We all know what it is. Getting in shape and the countless means in which an individual goes about doing so is a constant discussion in today's society and for most women, a regular battle. "Fighting the Pudge: Two Friends Finding Their Way to a Healthier Life" is the place created by and for two hardworking, passionate, giddy gal pals--who love rock'n'roll, laughing, their family and friends--who want to get a handle on some of that extra poundage. With one down south and another in the Windy City, we hope we can inspire each other and maybe others to remain in the game.

We know we're gonna have good days and bad days. Life isn't perfect. But using the motivation of friendship has put us here ... so let's do this.

[Thanks to Toothpaste for Dinner for the image.]