Friday, September 30, 2011
Ha ha ha. Just when I thought I had me all figured out...I pulled back a hidden curtain & found another layer of cuh-ray-zee. Y'all ready for this?
I don't want to get to goal.
I've really struggled with this for the last week. Why in the world would I pour so much time & heart & energy into a task to not finish it? Why would I work so hard to crave failure? It's so crazy that I didn't want to write it out because 1) it confirms that I'm truly certifiable & 2) it's offensive. Offensive? Yes, offensive. I'm most assuredly offending myself with this attitude...& quite possibly also the people who have read my musings, shared in my story & cheered me on, in particular those who are marching on to similar goals themselves.
On the heels of two spectacular weeks, I repeatedly & purposely made bad choices this week. A little more sleep, a little less running. A little more frosting, a little less spinach. It was one fail after another & it was conscious self-sabotage. At one point I remember thinking, "Yup, I'm gonna do that even though it's stoooopid." At least Old Sara was ignorant--aaahhh, the bliss.
I've built a life over the last 20 months that I really love. I'm more outgoing (not in fact ACTUALLY outgoing, but more-so), I try new things, I work hard & I lose weight. They're all tied together in the crazy-soup that's in my head. I don't know what happens when one of those is gone. Might it all go away?
And what about my little rag...my slice of internet in which I bear my soul for the purposes of staying off the couch (both literally & figuratively)? I absolutely adore blogging. It has become one of my favorite leisure activities, but isn't "A Weight-y Life" predicated on a weighty life? The thought of losing my voice terrifies me...to the point of actual tears.
This is definitely a "To Be Continued..." arc in the story of New Sara. Quite frankly I don't know what life as New Sara 2.0 will look like & I have no idea what New Sara 2.0 will have/want to say, but I guess that's not a good reason to not give New Sara 1.0 her finish line. So, I can't offer you a resolution, but I can offer you an apology for not giving it my all & honoring your readership with my best. I'm sorry, to myself & to you.
To Be Continued...
Thursday, September 29, 2011
This morning while I was running, I crossed paths with a fellow who was walking. His sides were heaving & he was sweaty & he had the typical runner's build. And he gave me the international sign for this-is-my-cool-down-walk-I-swear-I-was-hauling-hiney-a-second-ago: arms lifted up & wrapped around his head. It was awesome. Even before he flashed gang signs, I knew he had been running, but he wanted to make sure that I knew because I was currently running...me. He wanted respect from ME. This is a crazy, mixed-up, turn of events. Or is it?
I have become comfortable with myself as someone who has largely conquered the food beast. Oh, I still slip up to be sure (Exhibit A: the extra frosting in my fridge that I have not left alone this week), but as general rule I believe to my core that I am in control of what I eat & when I eat & I have the knowledge & tools to make the best choices possible in any given scenario. What more can I ask for?
However, I certainly have NOT come to grips with myself as someone who is athletic...let alone an athlete. Geesh. The very thought of that word sends me straight back to high school. Picture it: band uniform, braces, 90's glasses, overweight, under-encouraged. I didn't play a single sport...ever, not even T-ball. I was the kid who mysteriously developed whooping cough whenever it came time to do Presidential Fitness tests. My only sports-related glory as a child was winning first place in the Third Grade Track & Field Day...wait for it...Shoe Kick. I still have the ribbon. So sad.
When people ask me about running or working out, nine times out of ten I'll make some sort of joke or dismissive comment & gosh durn it, that isn't fair. It isn't fair to the person I'm talking to, it isn't fair to my husband who has sacrificed so much to let me have all of the time & resources I need to exercise, it isn't fair to my son who clearly idolizes BOTH of his parents as "racers," & it most definitely isn't fair to me. It's not that I'm not "there" physically, it's that my head hasn't caught up with this new stage of me. *sigh* More mental work to do, which goes to show that this whole process is so much more about what's in my head than what's in my mouth--or what I'm doing with my feet.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
As I while away the hours/days/weeks/years on this stage of my journey, I've built a lot of new habits, changed some thought processes & accumulated some "best practices" that work for me...I've also periodically realized that I've FORGOTTEN some of those best practices as time goes by. Then one day someone asks me, "Hey, Sara, what do you do about ____?" & I realize that I've biffed again. So, in the hopes that I can capture some ideas for my steadily daffier self & possibly spark some ideas in others, I'm starting something new: Voodoo Tuesday. Why voodoo? A) it's one of my favorite & most overused words & B) because none of this is rocket science, most of it is trial & error & all of it is stuff that has worked for me but might make others want to poke their eyes with swizzle sticks. Just a little voodoo. And so, for my first piece of Voodoo:
*Renovate Your Favorite Recipes*
I have often said that I am quite thankful that I didn't cook before I came to my quest for healthy & slim. I didn't have a whole lot of bad habits to fix in the kitchen...mostly because I was never in the kitchen. That being said, when I did bother to cook, I would blindly follow a recipe without giving it another thought. It didn't occur to me that I could practice a little critical thinking & make some better choices. Now when I'm trying a new recipe, I read it over & make the following non-negotiable changes right off the bat:
- pasta = whole wheat pasta
- rice = brown rice (not instant)
- milk = skim milk
- sour cream = non-fat, plain Greek yogurt (click here for my recipe)
- flour = whole wheat flour
- cheese = 2% milk, reduced fat cheese
- cream cheese = reduced fat cream cheese
- cream soup = 98% fat free, reduced sodium cream soup
- fried = baked
- salt = omitted (I can always salt the food on my plate after I take a bite)
Depending on the recipe or type of food, I might also stir in a couple of these changes, but these are on a case by case basis:
- oil = unsweetened applesauce (works great in cake mixes on a 1:1 ratio)
- sugar = stevia, honey or agave nectar
- ground beef = beans (I make my taco meat with half meat, half kidney beans...mmmm)
- eggs = egg whites
Then I'm going to put a critical eye to the quantities that the recipe calls for:
- Can I use less oil?
- Can I use less sugar?
- Can I trim the meat or use a leaner cut?
- Can I use less pasta/rice?
- Do I really need the butter?
After I've done all of that, I get to the best part...the piece of the puzzle that helps me the most. I'm a volume eater. I like to have a quantity of food. Portion sizing is one of my biggest hurdles. So, how's a girl to get a pile of food at a bargain caloric price? Vegetables! The final step in my recipe renovation is veggetizing the crap out of my food. Allow me to demonstrate with an example straight out of tonight's dinner (Happy Birthday, Dave!): Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef.
For comparison, the original recipe can be found here. Because I have a disease that leads me to believe that I'm always cooking for an army, my version is 8 servings, so keep that in mind if you're flipping back & forth.
- 1 1/4 lbs flank steak, trimmed
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbs minced garlic (in water, not oil!)
- 1/3 cup unpacked brown sugar
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 bunches green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 15 oz water chestnuts, drained
- 15 oz bamboo shoots, drained
- Place flank steak and cornstarch into a resealable plastic bag. Shake the bag to evenly coat the flank steak with the cornstarch. Allow to steak rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir steak until evenly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Place garlic, flank steak, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and hoisin sauce in a slow cooker. Cook on Low setting for about 4 hours.
- Add vegetables in final hour of cooking.
- Serve over 1/2 cup cooked brown rice.
The bottom line, if I don't like the food I'm eating, I won't feel satisfied & I won't continue eating it. But I will go lie in wait for the Krispy Kreme truck to deliver the doughnuts to the gas station at 3:00 AM. Sooooo, I've found that the far superior choice is to modify the foods that I already love to make them healthier & workable in a lifetime of great choices as opposed to eating rice cakes & celery sticks for a limited-time-engagement diet of misery. So let's hear it, what are some of your sneaky substitutions or trimming tricks? How do you make the food you love work harder for you?
Monday, September 26, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Here I go begging for trouble: I *think* I'm tee'd up for another good numbers week again. Now, it could be that I'm reaping the benefits of my kicked up workouts from the prior two weeks, it could be that I've been eating more produce, it could be that Jupiter is in the Seventh House...but I'm wondering if it MIGHT be that this is week two of "No Soda in the House."
I love Diet Coke. I have loved it since I was 8 years old & I saw a friend's mother drinking it. I thought she was the bees knees, so I wanted to drink Diet Coke, too. One sip & I was hooked, I just loved the taste. The rest is history.
I'm the only one in my family that drinks soda (or "pop" since I'm from Iowa). While I'm pretty good at watching for sales, it's still a ridiculous expenditure, especially when I had started pushing 2-3 cans each day.
So, having nothing to do with my goals or my health (I know, it's terrible & the artificial sweeteners should have been what drove me away...blah blah blah) I decided that I would no longer keep pop in the house. I can have it when we're out, but I don't need to keep it on hand. Because I stopped drinking it for fiscal rather than physical reasons, it didn't occur to me to even mention that we were going pop-free at Casa de Hurler, until now. As I was pouring my glass of MILK (wha-ha?) for lunch today, an article I read (& dismissed) a while ago "popped" into my head. This isn't the exact article, but it's the gist of it.
Perhaps I've inadvertently been sabotaging my efforts with diet soda? I'm not saying that I won't ever drink diet sodas, I'm not advocating for others to be soda-free, but I am pretty happy that no-soda-in-the-house is not only good for my bottom line, it's apparently also good for my bottom.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I've always been a denim lover...in fact the Recessional at our wedding was "Forever in Bluejeans." Quite a few of my milestones have been marked by my blues (such as here & here & here).
Since I've exhausted my stash of "Someday" jeans, I decided tonight was the night to treat myself to a fresh, new pair. It turned into quite the red letter day. Here they are, with the jersey I treated myself to now that I'm close enough to goal to feel like it was worth the money:
All of this comes after a spectacular fail on Sunday in which I consumed 2/3 of a sleeve of Reduced Fat Club Crackers with what I'm estimating to be 3/4 cup of peanut butter. *blurg* Emotional eating is still alive & well, but here is my take away: I am not defined by my actions on one lousy day. I am defined by the accumulation of my actions over time. Not that the size on my pants is a defining thing in my life, but it is a tangible reminder of that which is: my hard work, effort, & determination. And there's NOTHING blue about that!
Monday, September 19, 2011
I had a pretty decent week last week, numbers wise. At this point in my process, anything over 1 lb in a week is cause for celebration--& reflection. What was different about last week?
Last week I cut myself free from packaged snacks. This is not to say that I didn't eat any packaged or processed foods, but I didn't eat any of the following (that had crept back into regular rotation):
- 100 calorie packs of any description
- Special K bars touting their protein-tastic-ness
- FibreOne products
And sometimes I just want something sweet at 3:00 & that peach just won't do. This week I made cookies with oats & whole wheat flour & chocolate & butterscotch. One of those cookies scratched the sweets itch & had actual real food in it to boot. I ate a cookie almost every day this week. True story.
So, New Sara, let this be a reminder to you. Real food...real food...real food. Sometimes you forget & are prone to believe the lies on packaging that promise you the benefits of food in something made in a factory. Fat chance...literally.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
As I was galumphing through a morning run on my nearby trails, imagine my surprise when I was greeted by this:
As documented here, deer definitely have a presence in my suburban neighborhood. Along with our lovely wooded trails, we get a front row seat to witness the majesty of wildlife.
My first thought was to burst into a Leonard Bernstein song, "When you're a deer, you're a deer..." accompanied by some sort of dance fighting. But my second thought was "oh, crap...that's today." I'm smack dab in the middle of a turf war & I don't have a thing to wear--or at least nothing in that very fetching shade of hunter orange.
As if I don't have enough to worry about while I'm running & just trying to remain alive, now I have to stay on the lookout for whizzing arrows & I'm reasonably certain that the deer are wise to man's efforts to thin the heard because I had to dodge an inordinate amount of deer poop right on the trails & sidewalks. Maybe a treadmill wouldn't be so bad after all.
Oh, Officer Krupke...
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I have a well documented hatred of shorts. While it's original iteration was based on the size of my legs, the current hatred is rooted in the tone. Loose skin...I hate you.
I am trying very hard to move past my skin issues as circumstances warrant. Yesterday, my run teetered on the edge of not happening because my compression shorts were dirty.
I'll say it: I heart spandex. I would wear that on a t-shirt. Compression workout gear is the A-Number-One reason that I have stuck with exercise. The support that it gave in the beginning for the fatty areas around my tummy/hip/thigh region segued into the support that it gives to the corresponding loose skin. The idea of running without my spandex was enough to make me want to throw in the towel...let alone contemplating the alternative: running shorts. barf.
But, I did it. It was too beautiful of a day & I had too much willing, loving help with my kids (thanks to a visit from Grandma!) to pass it up. So *gulp* I put on my "new" running shorts that had been sitting in the drawer for 5 months while I screwed up the courage to take them out.
|Photography by Lincoln, age 3|
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I found myself in the middle of a truth bomb yesterday afternoon. Let me treat you to a little readers' theater:
Rebecca: "Sara, you look great!"
Sara: "Well, I've still got..."
Rebecca (gently but firmly): "Just say 'Thank you.'"
Wait, what? Not qualify a compliment with a laundry list of reasons that the compliment is null & void? Not offer an escape route to the giver of said compliment? Not laugh openly in the face of flattery? I'm confused.
I've known Rebecca for a long time & she has a heart of gold & knows a fair bit about the process of changing your body...& she's kept up her changes for a long time! I also know that she has probably struggled with the same feelings of unworthiness in the wake of a sincere compliment, not just because she has lost weight, but because she is human. It was so fantastic of her to call me on my bologna & remind me that the best thing to do in the face of a sincere compliment is to appreciate it for what it is & show my gratitude outwardly by saying thank you & inwardly by believing it.
New Sara: "Thank you."
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
On the list of things I did not do today:
- I did not make my bed.
- I did not put on make-up to take my kids to their gym class.
- Heck, I did not shower to take my kids to their gym class.
- I did not put the next coat of Polycrylic on my counter.
- I did not help my kid decorate his school bag.
- I did not do the two loads of laundry that I had planned, nor did I fold the two loads sitting in the basket from yesterday.
- I took my kids to their gym class & ran & threw & kicked & obstacle coursed with them.
- I took my kids to see GG (an hour away).
- I got my hair cut.
- I drove home from GG's with a couple of fussy, then sleeping kids.
- I went to Zumba.
- I ate dinner at home from the nutritious (if monotonous) dinner that I had planned & prepped ahead of time.
- I did not give in to the strong desire to "grab something quick" for dinner.
- I did not ditch Zumba because I was "too tired."
Here's what I did to cope. I decided that I wasn't going to be a foregone conclusion. I sent an email to a few sisters-at-arms to keep me accountable. And I pre-wrote this post...as I "speak" it is 7:00 AM. I'm posting it either way, but here's to hoping I don't have to add an embarrassing coda.
Great Scott!--Flux Capacitor, don't fail me now.
Literally as I was sitting putting the finishing touches on this post at 5:00 this evening, I got a call from my hubby. "Working late, eat without me, sorry about Zumba." It took me five hours to get up the gumption to say this...
Today I did not:
- I did not go to Zumba.
- I did not go out to eat. (I am counting this as an even bigger victory than previously planned because I RE-HE-HE-HEALY wanted to scoop the kids up & find a drive-thru.
Poor Dave, he feels like a heel, but I'm not upset. I did the best with the cards that I was dealt & that's what life is all about. Flux Capacitor...fluxxing.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
About 10 years ago I went to an N*Sync concert with a good friend. To deck ourselves out for the occasion, we purchased some thrift store jeans, some bleach, some safety pins & some sequins & went to town. This was the result:
This illustrates my point made in a previous missive, I was a bit addled when I selected which clothes would make the cut for future use. Thus, the jeans were saved. Not that I would want to get rid of them, because they make me smile really wide, but it seems that they belong in some sort of keepsake box, not in the box of clothes I hope to wear again. Or maybe I'm off base--I suppose paired with the right twin-set these jeans would just scream "Dropping the Kid Off at Preschool."
Anyhoo, they have fit for a while, but I realized that I hadn't taken a picture to capture my return to 21, so here's to saying "Bye, Bye, Bye" to my pride...
And because the awesome is in the details...
Here's what I'm loving about rocking these wear-nowhere jeans:
- The original picture was taken at my approximate lowest previous weight. I'm pretty sure that I weighed less in that picture than I do now...but notice the hips are MUCH bigger in the older picture. Have I mentioned that I Heart Zumba?
- Two babies later, these bad boys are hanging lower than they did in college.
- They make me want to sing "Pop" at the top of my lungs all day...even the crazy beat box segment at the end.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I reeeeaaaaalllllllly didn't want to go to Zumba this evening. I was feeling grumpy about two completely unrelated things:
- I finished Lincoln's leftover mac & cheese when I wasn't hungry in the slightest.
- I botched my counter painting project & I have to sand it & start over.
Why yes, those ARE my Ames Middle School P.E. shorts circa 1992, & yes, they are a little baggy. To be fair, 1992 was the beginning of the grunge era, so I likely wore them baggy then, too...but still! For perspective, when last I wore these shorts, Wreckx-N-Effect was serenading us all with a classic little ditty called "Rump Shaker."
And shake 'er (ha ha ha) I did. I went to Zumba solely so I could wear my "new" workout shorts, but at least I went. Never has something out of my mother's rag bag (yep, that's where my husband found them!) been so inspirational...a real rags to riches story. Only instead of riches it was sweaty Zumba, but that's rich enough for me.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
|I asked Link to strike a runner's pose & this is|
what I got. I think he captured me spot on.
- Break my fastest mile time: 10'59".
- Break my previous W5D3 distance & pace: 2.22 miles at 14'33"/mile pace.
This morning I was ready to redeem that experience & get my first peek at how much progress I have made on my second go around.
- I officially broke my fastest time: 10'37". However, the caveat is that I start my Nike+ on the warm-up walk, so by the time I get to running I'm at about 0.5 miles. Therefore I had already run 0.5 miles before the clock "started" on my fastest mile (which was mile 2 this morning). Saturday I think I'm going to see what I can crank out as an independent mile, just for giggles.
- I killed my prior W5D3: 2.72 miles at 12'00"/mile pace. Considering that counts 10 minutes of walking with the combined warm-up & cool-down, I am thrilled.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Does a year & a half of hard work & nearly 120 lbs gone mean I have this crazy game figured out. Resoundingly, no.
New rule to live by for New Sara: Thou Shalt Not Go to the Store Un-Chaperoned. Appropriate chaperones include, but are not limited to Dave, Lincoln, Coraline, that "Perfect Mom" that makes me feel so envious of her abilities to simultaneously be fun & orderly, anyone who has perfected a judgemental stare--really anyone who will make me think twice about what I'm putting into the cart.
Saturday I made a quick, solo run to the store. Bananas & buns...that was the list. Just as I was pulling into the parking lot, an ad came on the radio for Blue Bunny Ice Cream Treats, "you know, the ones in the blue cooler." By golly as soon as I could picture that pesky blue cooler I KNEW I was walking out of that store with a Big Bopper.
You would think that the name alone would have been enough to dissuade me from the poor choice at hand. It's not like this particular item was veiled in confusing packaging spattered with meaningless words like "natural," "fresh" or "low-carb" (that one is my personal favorite as it can be seen on such healthy living staples as full-fat mayo & ranch dressing). No, no, my poison was well labeled with the name "Big Bopper." If you've never succumbed to such treats, it's an ice cream sandwich made out of two chocolate chip cookies...big ones (hence the name). Old Sara had the Big Bopper in regular rotation. New Sara had one on Saturday.
I knew it was a horrible choice. I purposely dug it out of the bag & ate in the car (another of my rules to live by--Thou Shalt Not Eat Alone in the Car) without looking at the nutrition info. By the time I got home from the store I had polished it off & stuck the wrapper in the trash.
Crossroads: I could take the trash bag out of the car & stick it in the big trash can where Dave would never see it & I would pretend like it never happened OR I could fish the wrapper out of the trash, look at the damage, track it & move on. I'm proud to say I chose the latter. Here's the damage if you're not too horrified to look. I was pretty horrified myself. So horrified that I avoided the internet all weekend because I knew I had to write about it.
But, here's the thing. Contrary to what human nature tries to convince me of, fessing up to my missteps isn't what made them happen. The damage was already done & whether I say it out loud or not, it happened & I let it happen. Saying it out loud (which I did when I told Dave about it late Saturday night) is what makes me able to move on & not slip down the slope of "It's Too Lates." I started over with the next bite & the next choice which is all I can do. That & never listen to car radio again.
Friday, September 2, 2011
In Drivers' Ed, they made us watch a video that was titled something akin to "Managing Hazards." In said video, a hapless driver managed to encounter every imaginable tricky driving scenario in the scope of approximately 15 minutes.
I am 95% certain that they were filming a candid camera runners' version on me this morning. I went out at about 7:00 (30 minutes to an hour later than is my custom), so there was substantially more traffic to watch for. There were school buses EVERYWHERE. There were gaggles of sullen tweens waiting for those buses (in the same hilariously spaced out clumps as when I was a middle-schooler, awwww). The pavement was wet. The enormous oak & walnut trees on my route--previously so friendly & shady to me--suddenly dumped their whole harvest of nuts on the sidewalks (just the sidewalks, mind you). There were dogs on-leash, dogs off-leash & dogs in yards lunging at the fences as if to let me know that all 10 lbs of their Pomeranian fury were headed my way. There were bikers who waved & bikers who tried to run me down & bikers on the streets wearing the most distracting array of neon paraphernalia. And it was HUMID as a sauna in the Everglades. Again.
And in spite of all of that, I rocked it. My average pace was 12:13 min/mile...that's counting the walking intervals. I am actually excited for W5D3...the first interval-free run. I'm curious what kind of mileage I'll get as compared to my first W5D3 experience in which I did 2.22 miles on a dread-mill with an average pace of 14:33 min/mile (including warm-up & cool-down). I am sooooo glad that I decided to do C25K over again, if only for the concrete proof that I'm getting fitter & stronger every day. What a lesson in the benefits of sticking with something & putting your nose to the ground.
It's also been a great science lesson. For those of you on skunk carcass watch: it's still there, but it's just a few tufts of ratty black fur now. The buzzards & other scavengers seem to have decided they are too good for Senor Skunk, but I've gotten a front row seat to the miracle of decomposition. It's played out like a slo-mo version of the Wicked Witch's big melting scene, only stinkier & less green. Never stop learning, folks.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Get your head out of the gutter...I'm not talking about the "Chasing Amy" kind of finger cuffs, so let's just get that out of the way right off the bat.
I have long used the idea of finger cuffs to describe my personality. As a kid, we would get these little straw or plastic mesh sleeves that, when put on your opposing index fingers, would tighten if you tried to then pull your fingers out. They were the kind of high-class, high-quality toy that came from school carnivals or nickle vending machines outside of K-Mart. I found them fascinating--I couldn't get enough of the idea that the thing you wanted most (to be pulled out) was the thing that got you more stuck. Pull with your left hand & feel it tighten on both your left & your right.
Back to my personality flaw. When someone tries to pull, push or otherwise maneuver me to do something, any guesses what I do? I pull right back. I don't know if it's an introvert thing or if it's an obstinate thing, but it's a detestable character quality. Most of the time when I find myself stuck in an epic battle of wills, I realize I was just pulling back for the sake of pulling back.
How does this relate? Key to my journey has been realizing that I don't do well with firm ultimatums or mandates from on high. On top of that, once I do submit to a rule or authority, it's binding & I can be a heinous rule monger. So, here's my one iron clad, take it to the bank, never going back on it food rule:
There are no off limits foods, just off limits portions.
It is very important to me that most of my food be "real" food & be chosen on the merits of its ability to fuel my body, but it is also important to me to not feel trapped. I need to know that I can have any of the foods that I like, I just can't eat them in the quantities or frequencies that used to be my norm. I'm not "on" a diet, I eat a healthy diet. I will not do anything on this journey that I'm not willing to continue "in real life", because that's what this process is: real life.