Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greetings from Beantown

Well... who said I wasn't going to get much exercise here? E and I are staying in one of the conference overflow hotels, and when I booked this for us, I assumed it was a 10 minute walk to the convention center. Uh, haha!! That's a joke. It's easily a 30 minute walk up there, and I think they estimate it to be about a mile and a half. That means, because I got lost yesterday while walking up there (I have no concept of direction) I probably walked about 6 miles. Then, E and I woke up early today to go for our C25K runs in Boston Common. Can I say OW? I wasn't wearing the right shoes for my six mile walk yesterday (ballet flats not really supportive much) and so my calves are extremely sore. But it was worth it.

After our runs, we went to Dunkin Donuts. I have two raves to share with you. First, E had one of their new flatbread egg white sandwich. She said it was really great, with a subtle flavor of turkey sausage (not very chunky) all for less than 300 calories! I've fallen in love with DD's Toasted Almond iced coffee. I get it with one packet of Equal and no cream. No calories! Gotta love it! So, while we behaved this morning, we did have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I ordered some sort of pasta with eggplant, artichoke hearts, broccoli, kalamata olives and all sorts of goodies in there. Um... when it finally came out, it was HUGE. Seriously, I barely put a dent in it when I asked the waiter to take it away. E observed that I probably had a whole box of pasta placed in front of me. Seriously! I've always said that I would rather pay a bit more for a more reasonable portion, but restaurants seem to be concerned that we're getting more bang for our buck. Hmm. I wonder if they feel bad throwing out all my pasta that I didn't eat and that I couldn't take with me back to my fridge-less hotel.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When I Grow Up

I want to be a runner. I'm not there yet. I think I might be getting close :) I went for a run this morning, and was really consciencious about paying attention to the time (still haven't picked up a cheapo running watch at Walmart, even though I was there on Sunday). I ran for 25 minutes today... WOOT! There was a 30 second lull around minute 17 where I was running uphill and about half way up, I decided to walk it instead of run the rest of it. I'm glad I did it because I was able to last for the next 8 or so minutes with no problems. Week 7 Day 1: Complete. And thanks to those of you who pushed me to take my running outside. This morning was gorgeous with a nice breeze in the air. It definitely helps me feel strong and powerful, and not worried about falling off the back of a treadmill.

So... I won't be posting for the rest of the week. I'll actually be in Boston at a work conference. To me, there are two staples of any good conference: Subway lunches (cheap and nutritionally okay) and decadent dinners. I'm sorry, but when I go to a *real* city, I like to indulge myself with some great food. My attitude on weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle is that once in a while, you have to indulge! How can you keep going if you cut everything great out of your diet? Speaking of, Bob and Jillian seem to agree with me in this article. Treats are necessary to keep on keeping on. Now if I was eating rich dinners every night... not good. But once in a great while? Why not? So, no weekly weigh-in on Friday. . . we'll get back to that next Friday. Have a great week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Need Some Motivation!

Okay, not some real motivation (although it always helps), but some motivational songs. What do YOU have on your Ipod? One of my friends emailed me last week and asked me for some songs that I have on my Ipod that keep me moving along and the reasons why I love them. Here's five from me:

1) Ex-Girlfriend by No Doubt: Do we even need to explain why I love this song? And imagining Gwen Stefani's rock hard abs while I work out makes me push it just a little bit more.

2) You Can Do It by Ice Cube: I adored this song when it came out in the late 1990s, and of course, I love the movie Save the Last Dance which featured this song. It also has one of the best lines that keeps me going: "Life ain't a track meet, it's a marathon." Sure, Ice Cube didn't come up with that himself, but there are some songs with lines that I wait for.

3) Stronger by Kanye West: Another song with a great beat and lines that I love. "That that don't kill me can only make me stronger." This is a great running song. I usually set my Ipod to play it for my last 5 minutes to get me through that feeling of quitting before I finish my run.

4) Four Minutes by Madonna and Justin Timberlake: We all know that I want abs like Madonna's, and maybe a boyfriend who can dance like Justin Timberlake. But this song is so... I don't know, militant? Hectic?... that it gets me moving. We only have four minutes to save the world. I better get my butt in gear!

5) Canned Heat by Jamiroquai: No, I didn't fall in love with this song thanks to Napoleon Dynamite. Actually, it was the movie Center Stage, also known as the 2000's version of Fame. I love dance movies (see number 2 above), and the ballet they do to this song is awesome! It just makes me move and keep going.

Don't think I only listen to pop... I have some Hole, Van Halen, and ACDC on my Ipod as well. But these are the songs that right now I love the most. So... what are your top two, three, or five motivating songs? What gets your butt in gear and keeps it going?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Adventures in Butternut Squash

The butternut squash. An interesting looking creature, but from what I understand, hard to handle. I'm so intimidated by it that I prefer to buy the Campbell's Select Butternut Squash soup at the grocery store and call it a day. But, I was given this bad boy last week and I've been staring at it, wondering what to do with it. Finally, today was the day I gave in.

I read on Hungry Girl that you should first cut one in half width wise, and attack it with a vegetable peeler to get rid of its thick skin. This part wasn't so bad, although it took a while to get to that yellow-orangish fleshy part. When that was finished, you cut your pieces lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds, like a cantaloupe. I was going to try two recipes today, but after I cut the squash in pieces, I decided against it. Because I had a *lot* of squash!

I decided to do something with the cubed squash on the right and freeze the ones I cut in strips. Well, squash is very watery, and so I read online that you should blanche the squash and cool it before you freeze it. I brought some water to a boil, and then blanched the squash for three minutes. It's now sitting on my counter, waiting to cool and be put in freezer bags and saved for later in that wintry little cabin :)

With the rest of the squash, I used E's suggestion for Roasted Butternut Goodness(1) cube the squash (1 inch), (2) lightly toss in flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper,(3) drizzle with olive oil, and (4) roast in a 400 degree oven. The natural sugars in the squash caramelize and make a crust with the flour and spices. I have to admit that I think I put a little too much flour on it (d'oh! but at least I know about it for next time) but... geez!! That filled me up like I ate four potatoes! And I loved the flavor of the onion and garlic powders. I really recommend trying it. I ended up roasting it for about 20-25 minutes, flipping the pieces over in the middle. So, don't be scared of that weird shaped squash! It tastes yummy and can be easily handled. Because trust me, if I can do it, so can you!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Are you kidding me????

This morning's run was up in the air when I came home last night. I had dinner at a friend's house, which wasn't so bad on the eating end, but I ended up having WAY too much wine. I'm such a sucker for good wines, of course I couldn't say no. So, I went to bed, feeling sluggish and tired and not setting my alarm. Surprisingly enough, I woke up this morning at 7:30. Hmm. Maybe I will go for a run. After setting my Ipod up with enough music to get my through my 25 minute run, noting the halfway point in the music where I should turn around and run back to my car, I drove to the stadium. Where I live, there's a nice little path around the football stadium, the university hospital, and the other campus of the university. I thought that would be a good little run.

Well, it was. My buns are burning though (did I mention that there are hills where I live?). Anyway, the first leg, running out, was fine. When I turned back, it seemed to be all uphill. Ugh. So I slugged it out, running very slowly, getting back to the point where my music supposedly signaled the end of my 25 minute run and beginning of my cool down walk. Cool. Walking, walking, walking... and another song comes on. D'oh! I remembered that I had added another song to this playlist to make it a 25 minute run, not a 20 minute run. So... I only ran for 20 minutes today. Grr. I'd say that I would do the run over again, but considering C25K Week Seven is all a bunch of 25 minute runs, I guess I'm just going to start Week Seven.

And running outside was nice. The sun was shining, there was nice little breeze at 8:30 in the morning, and as a reward, I drove downtown to the farmer's market to get some goat cheese that all my coworkers have been raving about. Well...what they didn't tell me was that Mr. Goat Farmer is a hottie. I'll definitely be adding this on my things to do on Saturday mornings :) Hope you're having a good weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekly Weigh In: Ladybugs

Growing up, when I would find a ladybug crawling on me, my mom would tell me that was good luck. Well, that was until I moved to West Virginia, a state that is overrun with ladybugs and actually, an allergy practice in town focuses on ladybug allergies (as in you're allergic to them, not vice versa!). I haven't seen any of them since I moved into this new place last year, so yesterday, when I came home from the gym and saw one sitting on the top of my doorway, I had to smile. I had some good luck this week, in all aspects of my life. Thank you little ladybug :)

I lost 1.4 pounds this week. I'm a little less than a pound away from my pre-Spain/summer weight. I'm really happy about that. I've been working hard at the gym and watching what I eat, and it's paying off. Today was one of my weight training days, and I seriously spend 45 minutes going around the gym, using the machines and free weights. I sometimes think that people look at me like I'm a mad woman, sweat dripping, holes in her t-shirt (it's one of my favorite t-shirts and for pete's sake, I'm at the gym!!), lifting weights like her life depended on it. If they only knew.

Tomorrow is my last C25K Week Six run. It's a 25 minute run. It's supposed to be really hot outside tomorrow, but I'm hoping to get up early enough to do my run outside. I'm really starting to hate running on the treadmill. Yesterday's run wasn't so bad. It was two intervals of running for 10 minutes and walking for 3. I've finally started inching my speed up as well. We'll have to see what happens. Saturdays are my only days to sleep in, and I definitely don't want to miss that opportunity :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Skeletons in My Closet

Throughout my grad school years, I collected a lot of clothes. Sure, I'm a girl, I like to shop. But I was also a lazy grad student who hated to drag her butt (and her dirty clothes) to the laundromat and sit there for hours while her clothes were washed and dried. I've luckily moved onto bigger and better things. Well, sort of. Even though my current apartment is about the size of my first apartment in grad school, it has a washer/dryer combo, which is what made me rent this apartment in the first place (along with central AC, but that's another story). So, I had all these clothes, but there was no reason not to just wash my clothes weekly, unlike the one every two or three week trips to the laundromat.

Not only did I have way too many clothes, but... they're too big on me. They were all Lane Bryant or Old Navy Size 20 Plus or XXL. Nice clothes, dress clothes. I have about four suits that I wore on job interviews and at conferences. Some of these clothes (I am ashamed to admit this) still had tags on them. It worked out well that my mom was here this weekend, because usually, I hand off my "fat" clothes to my cousin's wife, who is about the same size as what I used to be. Also, MizFit inspired me to get rid of them (though she hates using the phrase "fat clothes", but I believe in calling a spade a spade) because, if they hang around, that'll just be the un-motivation I need to let go of my progress. So I did. I went through ALL my clothes in my closet. One huge Rubbermaid tub and two copy paper boxes later, this is what my closet looked like:

Half empty! I only have one suit left, that grey one in front... and it's a summer suit, so it got me through Spain and it'll get me through my last conference at a size 14 next week. I have plenty of pants, most of which are too big on me, but are still wearable until I move down to a size 12. I figure having an emptier closet will just give me more room for my sexy heels collection. Did I show you the HOT divorcee shoes I bought for my hearing??

Yes, readers, that is a FOUR inch heel. They look gorgeous. I wore them with a black pencil skirt on Monday to my first class, and yesterday I wore them with black dress slacks. I am in love with these shoes. I don't care how much my feet hurt after a 75 minute lecture. The fact that I can stand and walk in four inch heels (again, something I couldn't do when I was at my heaviest) brings a smile to my face. And yes, these puppies are so being brought to Boston for the conference next week for when I see my dissertation chair and most of my old grad faculty at our annual reception. I haven't seen these folks since April 2006 (see that before picture? yup, pretty much on that day) and I can't wait to see them now!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Obesity Epidemic

I've taken to listening to NPR when I wake up in the morning and get ready for the gym. This morning, they mentioned a study released yesterday that said that Mississippi was the most obese state in the Union, with the state of West Virginia (where I live) a close second. The study said that 30% of people in West Virginia are obese, with the national average being somewhere in the high 20% range. How awful is that? I know that, according to my BMI, I'm still considered obese, and am about 20 pounds away from being just "overweight". And that's with losing close to 50 pounds!

Someone made a comment last week after I posted the Biggest Loser preview video, that fat people are scared to move and really push themselves. I have to agree. I can't believe how many times people have told me to take it easy with my workouts, that I couldn't try running because I would hurt my knees with my weight, that I need to just take a few walks a week and I'd be fine. Then, last fall, I remember watching Jillian make Brittany RUN RUN RUN on that treadmill, and made her do it until she completed the time that Jillian gave her. And I thought, I can do that. I'm amazed at people at the gym who are obese and come in, walk for a half hour, and leave. Sure, that's better than nothing, but it's not going to help you lose signficant amounts of weight. I fell prey to that years ago. I joined a gym while I was in grad school, and would go walk on the treadmill because that is what my doctor who was treating my high blood pressure actually told me to do. And I never lost any weight. And I couldn't understand why... I was exercising! And, not surprisingly, I quit after a few months. It wasn't until I made myself sweat that I realized how capable my body was. So, if you're scared of pushing your body too much because you're heavy/fat/obese, don't be (unless a doctor specifically told you not to). You know how much your body can take. You can feel when it's too much. When you get there, stop. But if you don't push yourself, even just a little, it's easy to slide right back to where you were.

That being said, I started my C25K Week 6 runs yesterday. It was a 5 minute walk, 5 minute run, 3 minute walk, 8 minute run, 5 minute walk, 5 minute run, 5 minute cool down walk. Yes, I literally wrote that on a piece of paper and took it to the gym with me, or I would have forgotten. I was exhausted at the end of this run. I don't know if I was tired because it was the middle of the day and I like to run in the morning. I don't know if I was tired because I had a large dinner the night before. I don't know. All I know is that I completed it, and I'm moving on. Tomorrow's a bunch of 10 minute runs. We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HYC Update: Growing Garden

Since my last HYC update, the scale definitely moved a bit in a GOOD direction :) However, I did go out for a celebratory dinner last night that included some mixed drinks and tiramasu. It was well deserved, and I'll be heading to the gym in the next 30 minutes to do my C25K running for today.

I really do hope that you guys are getting your fill of the great fresh veggies and fruits that are available at farmer's markets and maybe in your own backyard! I had a tomato plant on my patio at the beginning of the summer, but it has since been adopted by one of my friends. I was gone for most of July (it was supposed to be three weeks, and then it ended up becoming a five week absence) so my friend was going to just babysit my plant at her house. She ended up replanting it and since it's become so big, I told her just to keep it and give me some of its fruits. Well... this is what I got last week:

A huge butternut squash (any ideas on what to do with it???), zucchini, cucumbers, fresh onions, tomatoes, and green plums. Her daughter had stopped at a friend's house whose father owns a farm (got that? it's like six degrees of gardening) and brought all this stuff back for her mom to share with whoever wanted it. That's my share.

Since I'm first generation American (my family emigrated from Italy in the 1960s), there are a lot of dishes and salads that I was able to experience outside of normal American cuisine. One of these includes my favorite summer salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, and various spices. The day that I got all this home, I *had* to make this salad. And I did. And it was delish. A nice fiber-y dinner.

Definitely take advantage of this summer's great foods. Before you know it, it'll be winter and we'll be wishing for fresh tomatoes from the vine, and not the ones that you find in the grocery.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Love Yourself a Little!

I was watching the Olympics last night, and I've come to the conclusion that Shawn Johnson is an awesome role model for young girls. She's sixteen, and has an awesome body, even though she's a tiny little girl. Seriously, seeing her up against some of the Chinese and Romanian gymnasts, she looks like a REAL person: strong arms and thighs and pulls herself up to show off every inch of her height. I know my thighs are never going to be the size of Giselle Bundchen's, but I would *love* if my thighs were as strong and capable as Shawn's.

And, as a side note... everything went perfect today. I had my divorce hearing, and for a while I wasn't sure if my ex was going to show or not. Unfortunately, things were hanging in the balance as to whether this was going to be a final hearing or a preliminary hearing all based on whether he showed. He did. He wasn't very civil to me and barely said 10 words to me, but you know what, that's fine. I'm not the same woman he knew and married. I'm different, in a good way, on the inside and out. This year has been a year of growth for me, and I know I'm strong. I just didn't want this to drag out any longer than it needed to. Thanks to all who wished me well. I think your positive thoughts helped make things go as well as they did today.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ramblings on A Sunday Morning

Tomorrow, I'll be going through something pretty personal. Some of you know about it, but for those that don't, I'm not ready to share about it here, but it's something that I've been dealing with for a year and it's all culminating tomorrow. I'm worried that things might not go well, that somewhere along the line this will all be delayed further, which is my worst nightmare. All I want is for it to be finished. Therefore, I'm asking all of my readers to say a little prayer for me/think good thoughts/send me some good karma/whatever groove you flow to in order to help me through this tomorrow morning. I'm lucky that I do have a good support base, between my friends and family. My mom has even driven in to be with me tomorrow, which is something I really need. I'm going to take today off from eating and exercising, although I can't promise that you won't find me out for a walk with my mom later to take my mind off things and to enjoy this gorgeous weather that we're having. One of my favorite books, "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, has this story in it which I love. At one point, she feels like she is all alone, but one of her friends makes her realize that she is not, that even though there are people out there who love her and don't know what she is going through or even people who don't know her at all, we all want what is positive for our universe. And for me, everything going well and straight forward tomorrow morning is what I need. So, please send me some good vibes. And if all turns out well, I'll share more with you after this is all over. Thanks :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weekly Weigh In: I Feel Like I Win When I Lose!

If you can't tell, I saw Mamma Mia last weekend, and between that and my obsession for the song Waterloo, I've been waiting to use that line for a big loss. Well, it's here. I lost 2 pounds this week. Woot! I'm feeling so good about myself right now. I think my self-esteem is coming back little by little... I might even wear the shirt that I felt showed my tummy tire for a get-together tonight at a colleague's house!

Today was Day Three of C25K Week Five, which you run for 20 minutes straight. I timed my mile and it was a 14 minute mile. Um, that's embarressing. Sure, I'm a beginner, and I know I can't run a 10 minute mile, but at the same time, I'd like to be at a 12 minute mile for my 5K in October. All I have to say is that today, I ran for 20 minutes straight, minus a little 30 second walk. It felt good. I already feel tired and sore. I wonder if my training is off because I'm running on a treadmill and I still have that strong fear of flying off the back of it because it's going too fast. I think I'm going to start going to the track and working on my time. What I really need is a sports watch so I know how long I've been running. Maybe that's what I'll buy myself when I hit my 50 pound mark instead of a silly Vera Bradley bag.

Well, I'm going to hit the showers because I'm meeting one of my students for lunch at Subway (Eat Fresh!). I'm going to leave you with this video on body image in America. I can't wait for this documentary to come out on DVD. You wonder why women like me have a hard time seeing themselves for who they are now, rather than the person they were 40 or 50 pounds ago.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Talk about Inspiration

One of my coworkers was featured on the local news last night. He's raising $25000 to start a cancer fund in memory of his mom who passed away recently. What's really amazing is how much weight he's lost and why. When I first started working here two years ago, he was extremely overweight (in the story, I think he estimates about 100 pounds). And now... he's training for the Marine Corp marathon this fall. Wow. He's offered to go on a run with me, but I'm so not ready for that yet! Anyway, if you click here you can check out his story. Unfortunately, I can't link the video, but when you go to that page, there is a link that says "Watch Story Video" which shows some before and after shots of his weight loss. And if you're really interested in his running, you can visit his blog here. My favorite quote on his blog is that he's running away from a fat man. That thought has made me smile all week because I'm now running away from the fat woman that I used to be :)

Christmas Came Early!

First off, WeeLittleMe nominated me for a blog award! This is my first blog award nod of any kind! I'm so excited even if I just get to put this little dohickee in my blog for today:

WeeLittleMe is from the other side of the world (another one of our Kiwi bloggers!) but at the same time, going through something very similar that I did... fighting a battle against weight gain while working on a PhD. Some of you might think that's an uphill battle (and lord knows that I didn't win that battle, especially if you check out the before picture on the right from my PhD graduation), but I believe in WeeLittleMe, and I know that she can pull through and succeed on both fronts!

Part of being nominated means you get to nominate some other people for the award.

1) Lose 80 Pounds has been someone who has been commenting on my blog since almost the beginning. I'm amazed at her dedication and success at her weight loss. Check out the new sexy mama pics that she posted on her blog a few days ago. She keeps me going :)

2) Cammy is another source of inspiration. My favorite thing about Cammy is her attitude towards weight loss. I can hardly remember one post whether she had gained or not where her attitude was somewhat negative. And I love her Makeover Monday posts.

3) RooBabs is someone whose blog I've just begun reading after she commented on my blog. Thanks for your thoughts on my blog... now expect some of mine on yours :)

4) ptg gets nominated for this award as well for egging me on while I was gone last month. It was really nice to get that comment "are you back yet?!?!" which really made me come back to this little life that I built for myself that includes eating healthy and getting my butt out of bed in the morning to go workout.

5) Finally, C's blog is going on hiatus. She's kind of hit a roadblock in her weight loss journey, but I'm hoping that this award will help her get back on the horse faster than she plans to. Mainly because I'm selfish and I like to see her comments and her blog posts, but also because she's come so far that I don't want to see her regress either.

I picked five.... but I love everyone who posts on here regularly and even those of you who don't. It's just great to know that people are interested in what I've been doing and providing encouragement when I need it the most. Who would have thought that this weight loss community would be just what I needed to get through this?

For those of you nominated, here are the rules:-Put the logo on your blog-Link to the person you received your award from-Nominate at least 7 other blogs-Put links to those blogs on your site-Leave messages on the blogs you’ve nominated

Okay... off to the gym for some elliptical excitement!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Biggest Loser Preview

Is it wrong that I totally just teared up watching this preview? I can't wait for my biggest inspirational show to come back in a little over a month!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

HYC Check In: The Food Edition

I have to say that I'm much more on track with my eating and exercise than I have been in weeks. Last night I wrote in my journal (you know the one that I physically write in, not just my blog here for all to see!) that I've been having some body image issues. I'm only four pounds heavier than what I was at the end of June, and yet those four pounds weigh on my mind like the 44 that I've lost. It's so annoying. I think that hitting the gym and putting my body to the test day after day helps me feel better about myself. Funny, but when I was sweating and out of breath on the elliptical this morning, I didn't think to myself, ew, you're disgusting and fat and you can't do it. Instead, I finished my elliptical 5K in 36 minutes and gave myself a mental pat on the back, preparing myself for my next C25K run tomorrow. I'm definitely sore, but at the same time, no pain no gain, right??

Food... my favorite topic. I'm not going to talk about the pint of Ben and Jerry's that somehow snuck into my house over the weekend and disappeared in less than 24 hours. Whaaat??? Kroger sent me a free B&J coupon. Did you really think I was going to pass that up?? No, instead, I'm going to talk about some of the healthy foods that I tried while I was gone, and love to no end.

Fiber One Strawberry Bars I'm in heaven when I eat this bar. This bar is better than the chocolate. Even better than my beloved peanut butter F1 bars. They are sweet and good and filling. I also tried the Apple Struessel bars, but they weren't for me. Not that they didn't taste good, but the Strawberry ones had my attention. Sorry Apple Struessel.

Fiber One Yogurt I love the commercial with the lady that says, I have to eat the box to get the fiber? Nope, not in these yogurts. I really like the strawberry flavored ones. My big complaint is that the yogurts themselves are 80 calories a pop, but they are in such tiny portions! I can buy my Kroger light yogurt for the same 80 calories and have a much bigger portion. I would say that those of you that need help in the fiber department should definitely check this out, but if you have enough fiber in your diet, then just eat the regular light yogurt and have more of it!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken I've seen this recipe floating around the internets (haha) and since I finally bought myself a slow cooker for one (or I guess two), I thought I'd try some thing out. This is what you need if you have a regular sized crock pot: four chicken breast, boneless and skinless; one jar of salsa (I used medium for some kick but be careful because your chicken is going to be cooking in this stuff); and one packet of low sodium taco seasoning. Throw it all in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. The chicken was so tender when it came out of the slow cooker that it literally fell apart. I topped with a teaspoon of low fat shredded cheddar (I hate fat free cheese) and ate it with a side of corn. YUM. According to the recipe calculator, each serving (which is one chicken breast) has 337 calories, 3.4 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber. So, those of you on WW, that's 6 points per serving. Not bad for dinner time!

I've also taken to liking these roasted peas that I found at my mom's local grocery. I can't find them here where I live, so I'm lucky enough to stock up on them when I'm at home and bring them back with me. They are crunchy and perfect to snack on at night when I'm in a noshing mood. I also loooooooove roasted chick peas, so these aren't too far off of those. Happy munching!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lions and Dogs and Goats... Oh My!

Yesterday E and I went for a walk around my neighborhood. Um... it must have been a full moon last night because the dogs were WILD. On one block, a collie literally threw itself against the fence to try to get at us (and we were on the other side of the street) and next door, a big black lab mix got himself into a barking frenzy. Next block over, a huge brown dog who was in his yard with no fence and not on a leash also barked at us until his owner walked over to the door and told him to shut up. On the other side of our loop, a brown lab came up and sniffed at us, and seemed kind of skittish. And a terrier basically ignored us as he crossed the street on his own. Um... where are these dogs' owners?? Seriously, do people just let their dogs wander around like this?? The best part of the walk was when the goats were loose. Yes, those darn neighborhood goats. So on my way home, I tried to avoid the eye of the billy goat whose head comes to my shoulders. Getting rammed by a goat is not something that I want to experience in my life time.

Today, I went to the gym. I've decided to start a routine in order to get me back on track fitness-wise. This is what I plan on doing:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 30 minute run, weights for arms and legs
Tuesday and Thursday: 45 minutes of cardio on various machines (elliptical, stairmaster, rower) and abs
Saturday: Whatever I feel like doing!
Sunday: OFF

It's similar to what I was doing before the ill-fated month of July, and plus I won't be at the gym for longer than two hours each day. Completely doable. Today, I started back on the C25K program since it's been so long since I ran that I don't want to hurt myself. I started back on Week 5, Day 1, which is a 5 minute warm up, then three intervals of a five minute run followed by a three minute walk, and then a cool down. I kicked up the intensity on the treadmill by running at a faster speed. I was so proud of myself for getting through 2.5 of the intervals at that speed... the last 2 minutes of my last interval was at a slower pace, but I'd rather make it through the interval than just quit. Wednesday's run is 8 minute intervals, so I'm going to make sure that I can just keep chugging through this. Weeks 7, 8, and 9 are timed runs, not intervals, so I want to ease into that transition than just failing miserably by trying to get my butt going for 20 minutes straight the first time out of the gate.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Wow guys! Thanks for all the supportive and positive comments that you've left for me. I have to say that you guys are and always have been a motivational bunch, between what you leave for me here as well as reading your own blogs and emails you send me. Thanks for the good vibes!

So... October 19th. Nine weeks away. The day that I plan on running my first 5K. I've been running on and off since April, and I figure that running towards something is good idea. This afternoon, while I was at a coffee shop with a friend, I got a phone call so I walked away from the table not to disturb him and stood at the front of the store, where there was a poster about 5 and 10Ks in my area! Just the information that I've been looking for!!! This should definitely help me get out of bed and to the gym tomorrow.

Okay, there is one other thing that's been motivating me to get to the gym. Dates. Dating. Yeah, that whole shabang. For some reason, since I've come back from Mom's and gained these 5ish pounds, my self-image has declined ridiculously. I feel fat. Why I was more self-confident 45 pounds ago is beyond me, but this little voice keeps visiting me saying, who's going to want to date some girl who's size 14s are fitting a little tight? I'm playing the online dating game again, not that I had a superb experience the first time around with it. May's guy was such a bust... one of those "I should have dumped him long before he stopped calling me" situations. August brings two guys around, but it's still in the early stages. No real dates yet, but a bunch of back and forth on the website. I'm a big believer in the necessary "click". I don't care how great you sound on paper, but if there is no "click" when we meet, then let's not waste our time. Here's hoping for some clicks this time around!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Weekly Weigh In: The Summer of My Discontent

I gained. Again. I think this is a more accurate reading of how much I gained while I was home. For some reason, my weight is always "off" the day after I travel, which I why I thought I had only gained 2 pounds while I was home. Nah... the real number is closer to 4.2 pounds. It still isn't that bad for being at home for five weeks and not exercising. I think coming back here made me take off my rose colored glasses and see things for what they are. The muscle and toning that I gained while I worked my booty off in June is gone. I have a tire around my middle which looks less flattering in certain clothes. It needs to be gone by the time I go to Boston in 18 days. I think if I follow a routine, I'll definitely lose these 4 pounds by then. I hope they go off as easy as they came on.

Today, I finally received the motivation necessary to get my butt out of bed and to the gym at 7AM. They're called McWives. These are the type of women who are on the Real Housewives of Orange County... pampered little princesses that drive ridiculously expensive cars when they emerge from their ridiculously expensive McMansions. Every town has them. I got to the gym today, and was walking from my car to the door when this huge Suburban-esque type SUV came careening around the corner and slammed to a stop about 15 feet from me. A woman, about 110 pounds, talking on her cell phone, was driving. Two kids got of the back and walked military style into the gym (there's a basketball camp going on in my gym for kids right now). I guess I would be silent too if my mom talked on her phone while I sat in the back of the car.

Then, in the gym, another McWife comes in, carrying IN HER HANDS the following: her wallet, her designer sunglasses, her cell phone, and (I don't get this) a little container of what I think is salad dressing. It takes her five minutes just to arrange them safely around the ab machine that she is going to use. I don't really pay attention to what happens next, but when I move from the machines to the free weights, she's standing at the counter with the bleach wipes WIPING DOWN ALL HER THINGS. Huh? So, I stand in front of the mirror and do my bicep curls with my usual 8 pound weights, and she comes over and picks up these 20 pound weights and do bicep curls a little down from me, but she does them in HORRIBLE form. I can't imagine she's going to get anything out of it other than injured. Then, some dude who she knows comes in, and they stand in front of the free weight rack having a conversation. I'm done. I want to put my weights away and go. I say, excuse me, and I'm hardly acknowledged (it must be my Walmart and Old Navy workout gear). So, I push through, put my weights back on the rack, and walk away, only to receive a mouthful of McWife's expensive perfume. Who puts perfume on to come to the gym??? Seriously??

Okay, I'm done venting. But seriously, no more mid morning exercising for me. I liked my early bird crew from last semester, people who looked like they had jobs and things to do during the day and that's why they were there early. Those are my kind of people. No McWives need apply.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Fancy Shoes

While I was at home, I finally broke down and went to a running store to be fitted for running shoes. I had planned on doing it, but as someone who is on a nine month contract at work, summers make my finances a little tighter than most. But what really started pressing me to find a new pair of shoes was that when I started running at home, I began experiencing some knee pain, not in my actual knee, but kind of behind it. I actually had to ice my knee down a few times (which again, contributed to my five weeks of laziness and weight gain!). One night, I went to the mall with my mom, and figured I should just buy another pair of New Balance, since that's what I've always worn, because I get them on the cheap side at a Shoe Depot type store. Well... they just didn't feel comfortable. Plus my mom was really getting on my case about my knee pain (doesn't help when your 55 year old aunt just got a knee replacement and a cousin who had ACL surgery at 15 and still experiences knee pain). So, I figured since I would be paying $80-100 for a new pair of good sneaks, why not just go to the running store?

And so I did. Luckily for me, there is one in my hometown, but I'm not sure if there is one where I live now. Anywho, the guy measured my foot, told me that because my foot was so flat, I had a pronation problem (which is true, just by looking at how my normal shoes wear, you can see that when I walk, my foot is twisty), and recommended four pairs of shoes for me to try on. I ended up going with the Asics. These are them. Aren't they pretty??

Today was my first run with them. My body is already crying. It's been a good month since my last run. Let's just say that it's time for me to pull out my C25K podcasts again and see what I can and can't do. I woke up this morning, stepped on my patio and said, "What a beautiful morning for running outside!" So I drove to my university's track and proceeded to loop around 3 times before I was dying (that's about 3/4 of a mile). I ran/walked for about 1.5 miles, which was about 30 minutes. Then I came home and did some lower body and ab exercises (still on the Swizzlepop plan from earlier this summer). Now, I'm sucking down coffee, hoping that my body doesn't want to crawl back into bed instead of heading into the office to put a few hours in.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Starting Over Yet Again Redux

"The triumph can't be had without the struggle." This is a quote from Olympian Wilma Rudolph, which I picked up in one of my many Sparkpeople emails that I receive every day. However, this quote really hit home with me today, as I stepped on the scale to find a number that I wasn't really expecting. At this point, it would be really easy to just give up. I've already been off with my eating and non-existent exercise. Yesterday, I wore a shirt that earlier this summer was really flattering... yesterday, I looked like a sausage in it. I went to do my usual Tuesday trivia with some friends at a local bar. All summer, I usually ordered a Killians and sipped it all night. I'm not a beer drinker at all, and one beer lasts me about two hours. However, last night, I threw caution to the wind and ordered a Malibu and Coke. And then another. And then another. I figure that by ordering regular Coke with it instead of diet Coke, I probably wasted around 500 calories. Not only that, but all that caffiene between 8 and 11PM threw my sleep schedule off and I woke up this morning with a headache. Classic. I've definitely learned my lesson.

So, this morning, I decided to really commit. I pulled up my SP page and planned my meals for today. I had been doing that throughout June and it worked. I skipped the gym this morning because I'm feeling a little sore after yesterday's workout, and plus E and I are going to walk the RailTrail later as long as the weather holds up. I even checked with the next season of the Biggest Loser is starting (Sept. 16!!!) because that show really inspires me.

And if that isn't proof enough that I'm raring to go, how about my horoscope for today: If you've been waiting for the right time to get started on that big project, go for it now! You're feeling pretty restless in some ways, so a new distraction might actually be perfect for you. That's all the motivation I need :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Starting Over... Yet Again

This is me having a cafe con leche in a cafe in Spain!! I love how thin I look here!

The hardest thing about falling off the horse is getting back on, right? Well, that's what I'm faced with this week. I fell off the horse while I was home, big time. We're talking about nightly bowls of ice cream (I'm sorry, but Turkey Hill Eagles Sundae ice cream is da bomb), occassional trips to Rita's Italian Ice for their famous gelatis (YUM), and of course, my mom's great home cooking. What goes best with that home cooking? Bread. Lots of bread. And of course, since I was on vacation, I didn't exercise. Okay, that's not completely true. I think I went for three runs while I was home, but then my knee started to hurt (more on that in a later post), and I did also occassionally go for a walk with my mom at night. But most of my days were spent sleeping until 9, watching the Golden Girls, Frasier and Will and Grace on Lifetime, and then working in the afternoons until my mom came home from work.

Surprisingly enough when I weighed myself this morning, I was only two pounds heavier than what I was when I left in June. Sure, it's frustrating once again to move away from that 50 pound mark (I swear, this blog is going to have the biggest party once I hit 50 pounds gone!!), but it could be worse. When I left, I weighed in at 182.4. I'm now 184.4. When I weighed myself at home, the highest I got to was 186.6. That was my worst nightmare... that I was going to come back here and weigh myself on my "official scale" and find that I had gained 5 whole pounds. Luckily, that didn't happen. Phew! I can't tell you how relieved I am about that!

Last night I went grocery shopping and bought foods that are going to help me get back in the saddle again. I even went to the gym this morning and did 30 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes on a bike. Now I'm off to spark people to plan my food for the day, and then I'm heading into the office for a half day of work... I gotta ease back in after being gone for so long :) I'll leave y'all with a picture of me standing in front of a wall in Spain that dates back to the 1200s: