Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What I Am


I'm just as guilty as the next parent.  I stuff my kids full of platitudes hoping that in repetition there will be retention. 

"It's hard, but who can do hard things?  Lincoln can!"
"You get what you get & you don't throw a fit."
"Our family needs big helpers...where can we find some?  RIGHT HERE?!?!"
"When you yell/whine I can't understand what you're trying to tell me."
"Kind (friends/brothers/sisters) share."
"Do kids with rude behaviour get to ______?"
"Two hands.  Two thumbs.  And shake-shake-shake." (ok, this one bears explanation: my kid really refuses to believe he can dress himself & this is the mantra that developed to get him to use his hands & thumbs to wiggle/pull his pants up)

It occurred to me that (with the exception of the latter), there is a lot of truth that we big kids can glean from some of this stuff.  Character building: it's not just for kids anymore. 

Most specifically, as I was watching this video with Lincoln, I was thinking about what a great message it has & realized that every word is applicable to me. 

I'm the only me that can grow & change & nurture this life that I am building & it is my responsibility "to be the best me that I can be"--"it's up to me to try."  It's Personal Responsibility 101.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Boom, Baby!


I just ran 25 minutes straight.  In the immortal words of Word Girl: "Wooooorrrrrd UP!"

I won't lie, I was chanting those two sentences in my head for my entire run.  I had them written by the time I had run 10 steps.  I was NOT going to come up short again.  I was NOT going learn any more life lessons at the feet of failure.  I was NOT going to feel "meh" today.

Mission accomplished.

Friday, May 27, 2011

W6D3: Mas O Menos


In First Year High School Spanish, lesson #1 is introducing yourself & exchanging meaningless pleasantries (useful...thanks, Mrs. Mickelson).  One of the few things I remember from that exercise is how to tell your new Latin friend that you are feeling mediocre.

New Latin Friend: "Como estas?" 
Me: "Mas o menos." 

Literal translation: More or less.  My translation: Meh.

This morning's run was quite the mixed bag of highs & lows--meh.  I've been slacking a bit, which had a way of compounding on itself to slacking a lot.  Last night Dave, sensing my inertia (or lack thereof) was getting to a critical juncture asked me what I needed to get me out the next morning.  Face down into my pillow, I mumbled that my sports bras were all dirty & promptly fell asleep.  He stayed up & washed, dried & laid out clean gear for me...tricksie devil.  I couldn't just ignore his effort & snooze my alarm after he did all of that for me.

When I turned on my iPod to see what C25K had in store for me, I almost turned back around & gave Dave the blow off: run 25 minutes straight?!?!  What kind of shenanigans is that?

I decided to mix my route up & just wander the neighborhood because my motivation was low & I didn't want to have a visual of exactly how far I still had to go before I would be done.  It felt like a good choice at the time...

When I finished my warm-up & started running I was 100% certain that my legs had been replaced with pool noodles filled with Swedish fish...rubbery, plastic-y worthlessness.  I pushed through those fish & found a groove & actually started to feel good.  Maybe I could run for 25 minutes--not fast, but sufficient.

I found the zone.  The area was hillier than my recent route, so it was a little harder, but it was good.  I was making good progress & was avoiding looking at my remaining time...dare I say I was feeling good until...

"Super 8?!?!  There's not a Super 8 by my house."  Dag-nabit I got lost in my own neighborhood again.  I REALLY thought I was going the opposite direction of the business district that is near my home.  Nope.  Not only did I end up running by a VERY busy street during rush hour, but it was all uphill & I KNEW that I had gone too far out to be able to be back by the end of my half hour. 

As I was gasping up the hill I had 8 minutes to go.  All I wanted was to make it to the corner & off of the busy road in the 8 minutes so I could walk the rest of the way home in peace.  As I passed multiple car dealerships, all I could do was fantasize about hotwiring a car & driving home...except I don't know how to hotwire.  Blast! 

I got to the corner in 5 minutes, which was nice, but then I completely ran out of gas.  I lost my legs & had to stop.  And then I cried (probably more like gasped & sputtered).  I only ran 22 of the 25 minutes.  Even now I am so ashamed & angry.  Did I really "have" to stop?  Would it have killed me to run for 3 more minutes?  What did I gain by quitting besides a sense of failure at not being able to complete a run for the first time?

After walking for a couple of minutes, I ran again to make up for my lost time, but it wasn't the same.  I fumed the rest of the way home feeling guilty that I probably had something left in the tank after all.  I was so mad at myself...until I looked at my Nike+.  My little detour got me my first ever 5K: 41' 46".  Hard to feel bad about that, but ultimately I guess I just feel "meh."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good Choices


Thinking about the Walk-It Challenge & comparing Old Sara to New Sara got me to thinking about all of the things I do differently every day.  This ad (though for a largely nutritionally ambiguous product) really sums up how I feel about my new life...the goodness compounds & it just keeps getting easier!

Some choices I make now that Old Sara never would have dreamed of:
  • I measure everything: peanut butter, salad dressing, milk, cheese...I go through a million measuring spoons & cups every day (thank you Dollar Tree for helping me stock up!) & I couldn't do it without my food scale.
  • I read labels.  When I'm buying a packaged food, I will stand in the aisle at the store & compare labels for as long as it takes to find the best choice.  Not all wheat tortillas are created equal!
  • I order like Sally.  It's kind of a pain, but asking for my food the way I want it when we go out is just part of my routine now. 
  • Speaking of eating out, I order totally differently now.  I was shocked to find out that a healthier meal without piles of fried food & cream sauce is still a delicious treat when I don't have to cook it or clean up after it & I don't HAVE to be in pain when I leave a restaurant.  Did you know they make these things called boxes so you can take some of your meal home?  Old Sara sure didn't!
  • I try on new clothes.  When they sometimes fit, there are a lot less tears & a lot more smiles. 
  • I cook.  To say nothing of the staples that I'm making myself (bread, yogurt, applesauce), I prepare real meals with a main dish & a veggie nearly every night.  Old Sara didn't cook.  Period.
  • I upgrade recipes.  Old Sara was so clueless about cooking that changing a recipe was out of the question.  Now I have a passing knowledge of cooking & actively look for ways that I can make recipes healthier by using lighter dairy, whole grains & adding extra veggies.  My food is NEVER pretty, but it's got nutritional value!
  • I coupon.  This may seem unrelated, but with only one income I had to make some changes in order to afford some of the more expensive, healthier foods that we eat.  Avoiding packaged, processed "diet" foods helps, but so does looking for the deals.  I used to say "I pay retail" as if it was a badge of honor...now there's nothing I love more than a good deal on a good item.
  • I talk about food with my kids.  Ok, really just kid singular, but when Coraline is ready to listen, the conversation will be on the table.  We regularly talk about good choices for our bodies & what foods are just "sometimes" foods.  Link doesn't expect treats all of the time, & the unexpected side benefit of that is that he truly savors the treats that he gets.  It is a joy to watch. 
  • I drink water.  I still don't drink ENOUGH water, but the fact that I drink any is a victory.  Consider it a work in progress.
  • I exercise.  On purpose.
  • I'm not in a hurry.  Probably the biggest change over Old Sara is that I have fully accepted that this is about making good choices for life, not a diet.  Since I would be making these same choices regardless, the pounds are just a side benefit--the effect, not the cause.  Not being driven by "losing weight" but rather by being healthy is my biggest accomplishment & my greatest legacy.

Monday, May 23, 2011



All across the country WW-ers were walking 5Ks yesterday as part of the Walk-It Challenge, a campaign sponsored by WW to get members moving.  I participated last year & again this year.  It was such an awesome reminder of how far I've come.

To set the stage: last year Coraline was about 15 weeks old.  I weighed about 232 lbs.  I was scared to death that I would die half way around the lake--I tried to manufacture any possible excuse why we couldn't go.  I didn't own any work-out clothes that fit me, so I wore jeans.  Some friends & my husband hopped in & took turns pushing Coraline because the extra effort required to push the stroller was too much for me.  I finished!--& then crumpled in a heap for the rest of the day.

Today, I am proud to say that I weigh 156 lbs & I pushed that 15 month old & her enormous diaper bag all the way around the lake & had no fears of dying.  I did try to manufacture a reason to not go, but that was because I'm a lazy parent & didn't want to deal with the fact that both of my children started to have tantrums as we were getting ready to leave.  Not only do I own work-out clothes, but they all have a little M on the tag (as opposed to an X, another X & an L).  I wasn't gasping or panting & my butt wasn't twitching.  We made it around the lake in under an hour with stops along the way to get water for the kids, let Link see Lambs' Ear, lay the stroller down to entice one baby to sleep, winch the stroller back up because one baby refused to sleep & to perform a burlesque show trying to get my top layer off when the beautiful sun proved too hot.  When we got home, not only did I not sit & recover all night, I lugged dirt around my yard as we inched closer to being Square Foot Gardeners.

The whole day was such an image of all of the ways that New Sara benefits my whole family.  It's easy for me to get caught up in all of the things that are better for me (did I mention the burlesque show?), but in actuality the biggest benefits are in the many many ways that I can be a more present & active mom & wife without being slowed down by all of the extra pounds.  The icing on the cake: Lincoln asked to get out & run like Mom & Dad for part of the way...like MOM!?!?!  Modeling is a powerful force in a child's life & it was such a thrill to see it pay off in a positive way for just one moment. 

Now, if only running a 5K would be such a positive experience...2 weeks 'til "the event."  Almost makes me wish the world had ended on Saturday...there's an excuse I wouldn't even have to feel guilty about.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Let the Sun Shine


I don't sweat.

Now, before you get all jealous & tell me to go gripe somewhere else, let me tell you these two things:
  1. I can still work up a rank smell like a hog farmer in a chum factory.
  2. People need to sweat to cope with heat...panting like Lassie just doesn't cut it.
That being said, as an adult I have always hated the outdoors, specifically the outdoors during the summer months.  In Iowa, those months would be called May-October during an average year.  Old Sara dreaded any sort of outdoor occasion or event, even playing outside with the Lincolnator. 

I've been curious if this summer would be different.  Not that I would somehow magically start sweating, but that perhaps shedding pounds would make the weather hot--as opposed to too-hot-to-handle.

Well, by Jove, I think I just might enjoy being outside now!  I just spent a couple of hours outside at a birthday party & it was delightful.  Though only 75 degrees out, Old Sara would have been miserable in the direct sun.  Maybe Old Sara was a vampire--she was awfully pale. 

New Sara is excited to be able to spend lots of time outside with the wee ones, to garden & play & have picnics--just hold the garlic.  Hmmm...maybe New Sara is a vampire, too.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm Not too Proud to Admit...


...that I stand by the dishwasher & lick every scrap of peanut butter out of my tablespoon before I toss it in.

...that I take off my watch, bracelets, necklace, earrings & *gasp* rings before I weigh-in.

...that I eat some form of sweet treat EVERY day.  Really, every day.

...that I weigh myself two times per day to monitor the state of the union.

...that I don't count the points off of ill-gotten food (ex: the M&M that Link dropped on the floor & I wouldn't let him eat?  0 points if I pop it in my mouth & then pretend to throw it away).

...that I try to get up early enough before my 6:30 a.m. weigh-in to give my body a chance to wake up & get "moving"--so to speak.

...that I absolutely count Diet Coke, coffee, tea & milk toward my water intake for a day because I'm such a baby about drinking water.

....that I wear the same type of lightweight clothing to each weigh-in regardless of season.

...that I know the exact difference between my scale at home & the scale at WW & I always convert my home weight to the more favorable WW weight...they're professionals, I'm just an amatuer!

...that I fully support the fun mental games that I play with myself as long as they remain fun.  When they become detrimental or they start to deprive me of legitimate success they have to stop.  I realize that head games aren't for everyone & I'm not advocating them, just acknowledging that I play--& I know there are others who do, too!

My Stolen Running Route


In my first couple of weeks as a runner, I consciously avoided having a route.  I was afraid of knowing how far I had to go to be done, afraid of getting bored, & most of all afraid of people seeing me on a regular basis & thinking "there's that girl with the saggy skin & the flapping arms who thinks she's running--again."

In the last week or two I have settled in on a stolen route.  Dave has loops of known distances--4 miles, 3 miles--they help him plan his work-out to the time he has available.  One of his loops uses a friend/co-worker's house as a roundhouse (for those of you who aren't subjected to "Dinosaur Train" or "Thomas," that's where the train stops & switches directions).  It's such an ingrained part of Dave's work-out routine that when the friends told Dave that they were moving, Dave said they needed to include a sweaty, out-of-breath 30 year old as part of the house's MLS listing.

I decided that I wanted to be able to do that loop in my half hour C25K runs.  I locked in on my goal.  A three mile loop in 30 minutes?  Tough, but do-able...except it's the four mile loop.  Doh!  I revised my goal.  I wanted to be able to do the loop after my 5K, before they moved.  In this housing market, that should buy me a little bit of time, right?  Wrong.  They sold their house & are moving over Memorial Day.  Double Doh (for me, great for them!). 

The surprise upshot in failing to meet my goal (I'm conceding that I won't be able to add an additional 1.3 miles in a week's time): I don't care!  I'm so used to being an athletic failure, that just having the desire to set a goal still feels like a win & in reality the timing doesn't mean anything.  I'm getting a few steps closer each day & I'll make it eventually.  Hopefully the new owners will be amenable to adding a saggy, flapping 31 year old to the list of perks of their new home.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

W6D1: I Wanna Go Fast


I'm channeling my inner Ricky Bobby...I just want to go fast. 

I was half way through a 5 minute running segment & had just come into a long straight section of my new route (more on that later) when I noticed what appeared to be a middle aged woman power walking in the distance.  But not too far in the distance.  She was close enough that I could visualize that I was gaining on her.  Close enough that I soon realized that she was a he & he was really booking.  He was doing one of those walks that has a better burn than most people do in their gym work-outs.  I was doing one of those runs that makes passersby wonder why I don't just give up & walk--it would be the same speed, but less painful to watch.  Nonetheless, I was making up ground between me & that old guy & the urge to pass him hit me like a ton of compost (did you know you can buy compost by the TON?!?--more on that later, too).  I realized that I have never passed anyone & I wanted it bad, so I kicked it up a notch. 

Looking down at my iPod, I realized that I wouldn't be able to catch him at that pace before my run segment was over.  I notched it up again.  I had him.  Geezer was going down (all apologies if you are or know said geezer, I hold you no ill will, I was just overcome in the moment).  Glanced at my iPod again.  Yup, I was going to catch him, but then I was going to immediately hit a walking segment & that would be awkward.  "Hey, I'm blowing past you just so I can walk in front of you & force you to look at my sagging rear in my compression shorts...how you doin'?"

I made the executive decision that I would slow down & then maintain HIS pace for my walk & then easily pass him at the next run.  It was a beautiful plan.  It was foolproof.  It was apparently executed right outside of his house because the old duffer turned his power walking self into a driveway & waltzed right in the door.

I'm still seething.  The nerve.  Didn't he know I just wanted to pass him--or anyone.  I want to go fast & leave someone in my dust...maybe even hurling insults or obscene gestures as I do so.  Ok, I won't do THAT, but I do want to FEEL fast, like all of this effort is yielding some sort of tangible, measurable improvement.  At some point this 5k has gone from being something nice I'm doing for Dave, to something I'm doing to jump start the scale again, to something I'm doing for the sake of running. 

So, given that I know I'm not ACTUALLY fast, if any of you know anyone fresh off of a hip replacement or an easily distracted eight-year-old or an apathetic teenager, let me know.  I'd like to arrange a walk/run with them...& I'd like to leave them in my dust.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

W5D3: On the Road


Old Sara thought that the ratty little "fitness centers" in budget hotels were the craziest things in the entire world.  Who goes on vacation to run in a dank closet adjacent to the humid indoor pool?

I DID!!!

Aside from being my first encounter with a treadmill run--a big enough accomplishment on its own--I ran at a hotel...on purpose.  I specifically chose a place on Expedia that offered a "fitness center" (complete with rickety treadmill, ancient bike & some sort of miniature stepper), I packed all of the appropriate things (even though it meant that I took three pairs of shoes for an overnight trip), & I even screwed up the courage to go to the front desk for the key when said "fitness center" was locked. 

I won't lie, it was a terrifying experience.  Beside being 100% convinced that I was going to shoot off of the back & crash into the over sized hotel "art" that was hanging directly behind me, I also had to deal with a completely glass door that looked out to the other patrons enjoying their continental breakfast.  Let me tell you, there's nothing like the scorn of sleepy Iowegians trying to enjoy their greasy biscuits & gravy to make you put a little extra get-up in your go.  The fear of falling & turning into breakfast theater kept me upright & though I was worried about holding on to the rails the whole time (Jillian tells me that you lose 25% of the burn that way), I didn't ever feel the urge to hold on...mostly because the rails were exactly 12" long & I would have had to stretch for them.

As a reward for overcoming my fears, I accomplished something I never would have thought I would even care to try: I ran for 20 minutes straight!  Maybe, just maybe, my looming 5K won't kill me after all.  Or maybe it will & they can put a memorial plaque up for me in the "fitness center" at the Williamsburg Best Western.  Either way seems fine by me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oprah A-Ha Moment Volume 2


If there was going to be a "Volume 1," I guess it stands to reason that there would be a "Volume 2."  My second Oprah A-Ha moment came just yesterday.  In her final season, it was inevitable that there would be a whole slew of lasts.  Yesterday was the last weight loss show.  I tuned in because I know someone that knows someone that was featured (the guy who lost weight to get a bigger you-know-what--per Dr. Oz you get an extra inch for every 35 extra pounds you lose...who knew?). 

I digress.  I had the TV on in the background while I was folding some laundry & I was actually feeling a little annoyed.  The people featured had all lost 100+ pounds...wait, I've lost 100+ pounds.  The people featured had all worked really hard...wait, I've worked really hard.  The people featured were all sitting on the Oprah stage flaunting beautiful hair & make-up straight from Michigan Ave...wait, I was sitting in sweats & a cami folding the aforementioned laundry.  WTF?!?!?

Then I started listening to the stories.  Each of the three women featured as individuals (one with her pre-teen daughter who has also overcome obesity) had one horrid thing in common.  Their journeys were born in death; mine was born in birth.  The overwhelming sense of blessing was a humbling experience.  Who needs new shoes & hair extensions?  No one had to die for me to turn my path around.  I don't have to live with the regret that comes with feeling like the new me came at the cost of someone else's life. 

Death & its reminder of mortality can be a powerful motivator & on some levels it's a beautiful tribute to a loved one to use their passing as the fuel to your fire, however I am thankful that I didn't have to experience such motivation.  How blessed am I to have opened my eyes through the birth of my daughter?  How thankful am I that she will be able to grow up to see the living tribute that I make to her & the rest of my family everyday, with every choice.  I can't imagine anything better--even those beautiful Louboutins that Oprah's always flashing.

Oprah A-Ha Moment Volume 1


I'm not a watch-"Oprah"-everyday-even-if-I-have-to-rearrange-my-schedule kind of viewer, but I enjoy her from time to time & I think she has done a lot of great things for a lot of people.  Specifically, I have watched two shows that have helped me along my path & in honor of the last month of the last season, I thought I would put some thoughts into words on the "Queen of Daytime."

Here is the first: while I was pregnant with my daughter, Oprah did her "Weight Loss Confession" show. 

Mentally, I was in  place where I was very excited about the prospect of losing weight once the baby arrived, but I was also celebrating that I was off the hook for 40 weeks of pregnancy.  I guess I was half-way to the right head space. 

Oprah said something on that show that really struck me & it helped me shape one of my core beliefs.  "With all the other things that I know how to do and all the other things that I'm so great at and all the other accomplishments, I can't believe I'm still talking about weight."  If Oprah (whether you love her or hate her, most can still acknowledge that she is extremely talented & smart) struggles daily & over a lifetime, why should I be any different?  And if that is a common experience, why should I be ashamed? 

It was the beginning of my idea that obesity is not a character flaw, but a serious medical condition.  As such, there is no reason for shame or guilt or self loathing.  No one expects a cancer patient to be angry at himself for getting cancer (not to say that processing whatever feelings arise isn't a healthy part of the process, I'm merely saying that there is no EXPECTATION of remorse, guilt, etc on the part of a patient with a "legitimate" disease). 

Accepting that my problem didn't make me a bad person freed me up to appreciate that I was worth all of the hard work, time, money & energy that this process has required.  For the part you played, Oprah, I thank you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Squashy Arms


There I was, ordering my Mothers' Day Subway sandwich, three-year old by the hand.  An apathetic teenager was cutting my bread & asking me for the third time what kind of meat I wanted. 

Lincoln:  "Mom, I want some of these crackers.  Your arms are squashy."  It was almost a single thought (someone should teach that boy that the way to get a woman to do something for you is flattery, not honesty).  Mr. Apathy didn't even blink as I stammered & sputtered in response. 

Me, My Kids & a Mothers' Day Bird
Yes, son...my arms are squashy.  So are my thighs & my rump & most of all my tummy.  And on today, Muh-vers' Day, I am taking a moment to appreciate that some of my squashy (not ALL, but SOME) is a testament to the greatest accomplishment that I have ever made: being your mom.  Some of my squashy is a reminder of pregnancies & labors & c-section & delivery & it won't ever go away...but neither will the fact that I am your one & only mom & I am so lucky. 

Thank you for reminding me that I am so blessed to have two healthy, happy kids who love & appreciate me, & if I have to pack a little squish that is resistant to diet & exercise, so be it.  I would do it again with full disclosure.  I just ask one thing: the next time you drop a truth bomb on me, Sonny Boy, can you do it at home?  Or at least not follow your loud proclamations by smacking the butt of the unknown man in front of us?  Is that too much to ask?  Probably.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Open Letter to New Sara


Dear New Sara,

You've come a long way in 15 months.  You've shed a few pounds, eliminated some toxic behaviors, cultivated some good habits, & rediscovered your inner light.  What you haven't done is become a new person.

I say this because it seems that you have forgotten where we came from.  You were born in the girl who could house a whole package of Spring Oreos because it was a Tuesday.  You had your beginnings in the girl who sought solace/release/celebration in a dozen Krispy Kremes.  You came from the girl who could fix any problem with three courses & cocktails at Wallaby's.

Last night you did some "good" emotional, binge eating.  Let this be a reminder: you have an eating disorder that will be with you until the day you die.  If hunger isn't the problem, food isn't the solution & you have no right to eat to medicate.  It's not fair to you, it's not fair to your family. 

Moreover, on a broader scale, it's not fair to those that would give anything to be healthy but aren't.  You have a gift in the chance at health & longevity.  Don't take your body for granted & don't squander your opportunity.  Life is short; do you really want to fritter it away eating processed poison?

Now is not the time for complacency.  You will likely never be able to eat like a "normal" person, but better to be abnormal & healthy than normal & obese...or dead.  Straighten up girl & fly right.

Old Sara

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Make-Over Day



Today I decided that I had "been on the ranch" long enough...it was time for Make-Over Day.  In a stroke of pure coincidence, I believe that BL's make-over episode is airing tonight, too.

To celebrate New Sara, I got my nails (upper & lower) spiffed & my hair did & tossed a little wax on my face for good measure.  It was a fun day...although, any afternoon where my kids are playing with GG & I can make multiple stops without buckling & re-buckling carseats is a treat.

The icing on the cake?  Maybe all of that hair that I lopped off will equal a good weigh in this week...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weight-y Eats


I am not a very good cook.  I am not a foodie.  I am, however, an eater.  I love to eat.  One of the big pieces to my puzzle has been figuring out what to eat & how much of it to eat.   

Whereas Old Sara ordered a lot of take-out & went out to eat all of the time, New Sara cooks nearly every week night & forages weekend dinners out of the frozen leftovers of prior meals.  I wouldn't say that I enjoy cooking, but I definitely enjoy the fruit of my labor: healthy food that largely tastes good. 

I've stayed away from recipe posts because the BIGGEST piece of my puzzle has & always will be the mental work.  That is what has driven me to write & what interests me the most.  I got to be 269 pounds because there were things that were broken in my head that caused me to eat in unhealthy ways.  However, ignoring food & eating seems a bit disingenuous. 

A lot of people have asked me "what do you eat?" & I always end up sputtering & stammering--am I supposed to throw out a Split Pea Soup recipe on the spot?  Or is that just another silver bullet question?  I'm not sure, but I do know that I've thrown a new tab at the top of my blog called "Weight-y Eats."  Right now, it's just a couple of ugly little links.  Maybe at some point I'll doll it up with some pictures or a scratch-&-sniff monitor feature.  Regardless, I'm going to start posting some of my favorite recipes. 

I'd love it if people would use the comments on the recipes to toss around other ideas/recipes/links.  I am a big believer in eating what tastes good & is good fuel & that combination can be hard to achieve.  Let's help each other out!