Friday, February 26, 2010

Favorite Fish?

What kind of fish do you like best? Preferably in the reasonably-priced category.

Usually we eat salmon. However, now that Costco salmon has reached a price level that we're just not comfortable paying, I'm looking for options. (Though I'll still stock up on salmon if it's on sale near me)

I've tried tilapia. Not really a fan. Maybe I'm making it wrong, but it just kind of tastes dirty to me. Our grocery store has things like frozen haddock, mackerel, pollock, etc. What's good?

Of course, I would LOVE to get snapper and tuna and swordfish, but again we get into the price thing. I'm always looking for a way to eat healthy without spending a fortune.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I've decided to take on the 200 sit-ups, 200 squats and 100 push-ups challenges. Last night I did my initial tests to see what my levels are for the actual challenges.

Squats: 60
Rank: Excellent

Sit-Ups: 80
Rank: Excellent

Push-Ups: 7
Rank: Poor

Actually, the push-ups are ranked on a scale of 1 to 7 and I fell in level 2. However, I think that pretty much qualifies as "Poor". So, yeah, I knew my arms were weak piddly things, but this just confirms it.

On the other hand, lets hear it for my thighs and abs! I could have kept going for a bit longer on both the sit-ups and squats, but I knew I had already reached the top levels, so I stopped.

After I did the tests, I also did some arm exercises and tacked on some bicycle crunches and sumo squats for good measure. I have a feeling my thighs and abs will be screaming at me on Friday (it always takes 2 days for me to feel the full brunt of my strength training.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The last couple of days haven't been stellar as far as low-carb goes, though technically I'm eating healthy. As long as your definition of healthy includes carbs. So I guess I've been healthy according to Conventional Wisdom, as the low-carb folks call it.

Yesterday I met friends for a concert up in Cambridge at a club that is also a vegetarian restaurant. For dinner I had Henry's Dinner: butternut squash, caramelized onions, rosemary, sage, goat cheese and asiago cheese. Over coconut rice. It was DIVINE! Then me and my two friends split a sundae with mint chip ice cream, brownie and whipped cream. I didn't think the brownie was that good, and I can take or leave whipped cream, but I am always a fan of ice cream. Since there were three of us, I think I got 4 or 5 bites and then was done. Satisfying and reasonable. But not low-carb.

Today the weather is rotten and there are 2 IT guys in the office installing our new computers. Our secretary decided we should all get pizza for lunch. Now, granted, when we order pizza, we get it from the fancy schmancy place. Ours had chicken breast, mushrooms and artichoke hearts on multigrain crust with fresh mozzarella. Seriously, it doesn't get much better.

Still, not low-carb.

At least I'm keeping my carbs low for the rest of the day and they're still around 100 grams per day, despite not sticking to my plan exactly. I've got to stop making excuses for myself, though. Hawaii is only 2 months away!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Need Sleep

The Olympics are not conducive to morning workouts. Neither are busy Sundays. Suffice it to say, I did not make it to the gym this morning. Jason asked me about it when I kissed him good-bye before work and I snorted and told him I can't get up for a 6 AM workout when I'm up until 12 or 12:30. Not happening.

Here's to rededicating myself to being a stick-in-the-mud and getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. I will just have to ignore my night-owl husband's ribbing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Jason and I went to the Y on Saturday and I discovered that they're doing the Swim-A-Thon again this year. (I also discovered that even with 150 pounds assistance, I SUCK at pull-ups. But that's another story.) It's to raise money for the Y itself, which has a lot of programs for the needy in the area. I had fun swimming it last year and this year with 5 weeks of lead time, I have a little more time to get into swimming shape beforehand.

Last year I swam 55 laps (110 lengths) in an hour. This year, I'm shooting for 60.

I ordered a new swimsuit last night, which is always fun. My old one was extremely faded and so eaten by the chlorine that it was almost transparent. Since I haven't swam in months, it was no biggie, but now I need to get a suit pronto.

I'm not going to stop the weights or the elliptical, but I'm going to swim 1, maybe 2 mornings a week for the next 5 weeks once I get my suit. The Swim-A-Thon is a good motivator.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Podcast Recommendation

I found a new healthy living (with a low-carb angle) podcast that's fun to listen to while I'm lifting weights (like the bad-a** I am. Wait. Can you be a bad-a** if you don't actually type the word "a**"? Food for thought)

Check out Healthy Mind Fit Body. I'm 3 episodes in and so far it's a winner.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Muscle Soreness Weight Gain

Do you gain weight when you push yourself particularly hard? When you're sore and your muscles need to recover?

Based on my stellar eating this week and my adding the regular working out into the mix, I'm going to blame the working out on my 4 pound weight gain. I really don't think I've eaten 14,000 extra calories in the past few days.

However, yesterday my right inner thigh was screaming at me. Apparently a few sets of liffing 75 pounds with the hip abductors is too much for rightie over there. My left thigh was a bit sore too, but the right one was the worst. So much so, that I took some pain relievers and sat on the heating pad for a bit last night, which soothed it a little. Today, it's still kind of sore.

My point is, I've heard that the whole process of muscle repair can make you retain water immediately following workouts. Has anyone read anything official about this effect? Like with citations to studies and such? I've found some anecdotal support, but nothing concrete yet.


After explaining to Jason what High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is earlier this week, I decided to try it out again. I haven't done HIIT since summer of 2008, and I didn't stick to it for too long, but I was losing weight at that point. Besides the fat-burning benefits, I noticed 3 distinct pluses to HIIT this morning:

1) The workout is over super fast. I did about 20 minutes of arms on the weight machines and then hopped on the elliptical. I did a 5 minute warm up, then 5 sets of 1 minute sprint, 2 minutes recovery. At that point I was at 20 minutes, but I continued for another 6 minutes for a long cool down. Actually, my heart rate was at a good level for most of that - the cool down was just the last couple of minutes. When you're watching the clock, waiting for that next sprint, the time just FLIES by. Add some good music and it's actually fun.

2) I feel fantastic afterward! I don't know what it is, but getting revved up and pushing myself for those 5 minutes of sprints really clears my head

3) On a cold wintry morning it's a great way to build up a sweat and stay warm. Sure the waking up and changing and walking over to the gym is chilly, but during the walk back and while I'm getting ready for work, I am toasty warm.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Working Out

This week is already off to a better start than previous weeks with the working out. Yesterday I had President's Day off of work, so I slept in and then went to the gym. I have a strength training plan where I alternate legs, arms and abs. This way my muscles will get adequate rest time and hopefully only one portion of my body will hurt per day, rather than the whole thing.

So yesterday I did all the weight machines that work my legs. Today, my inner thighs are killing me. I find it interesting that I can lift 120 pounds with my outer thighs, but only 75 pounds with my inner thighs. And then my inner thighs HURT later. Well, they'll get stronger, right?

I also ellipticaled for 25 minutes. Actually, I had planned to do 35 minutes, but only made it 25. I think I may have eaten too much before I went to the gym and I felt sick to my stomach for half the workout. I woke up and then dawdled for so long that I was starving. My normal 100 calorie or so pre-workout snack wasn't going to cut it. But I guess I should have waited a little longer before heading over to the gym.

Jason came home from work a little early so we went to Lincoln Woods State Park and walked the 2 1/2 miles around the lake. It was sunny and about 40 degrees - positively balmy for here. It was really lovely to have that time to walk and talk with Jason. Our plan is to get out and about even more as the weather gets nicer.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More With the Fat Head

I guess Fat Head really had an impact on Jason. We spent a couple hours this morning looking up carb counts on some of his favorite foods, and also reading about glycemic index and glycemic load.

(Found a good glycemic load chart here, although I wish they would break down more of the foods into cups and ounces and such rather than grams. I can't really visualize 120 grams of apple (and apparently am too lazy to look up conversion charts.))

This all started with Jason wondering how many grams of carbs are in his beloved $5 Footlong from Subway, which he eats almost every day for lunch. I've been telling him for awhile that it's not really as healthy as Jared would have us believe. Turns out there are 96 grams of carbs in that footlong roll. If you're trying to keep your carbs around 100 grams per days (which is what I shoot for), then there's your day. Better eat a bunch of eggs and steaks for all your other meals and snacks.

He grew more and more depressed as I looked up his favorite foods and told him how many grams of carbs are in them (Texas Roadhouse roll: 227 calories, 28 g of carbs). I told him it's ok to have a little treat now and again. He doesn't have to cut things out forever, just most of the time. I feel lucky because even though I do like Bertucci rolls and chocolate cheesecake and such, I really do like eating chicken and salmon and vegetables and cottage cheese and yogurt. I even crave those things, especially when I have too much sugar at once (like at Christmas when I just wanted a big pan of roasted broccoli). I think Jason does like those things, especially when I make it and present him with a plate of good food, it's just more of a shift for him think about eating that way.

Also, I've been gradually getting to this point over the course of several years, while I lost weight and worked on figuring out what foods made my body feel the best. He's just starting. We'll see if it sticks.

Fat Head

Have you seen Fat Head? I first heard about it on a Livin' La Vida Low Carb podcast and immediately put it in my Netflix queue. I finally watched it on Friday while I was waiting for Jason to finish up work.

First off, it's hilarious. The creator used to be a stand-up comedian apparently, and it shows.

Second, it's so interesting. The movie discusses the impetus behind the official US policy promoting low-fat, high-carb diets, starting in the 70s and continuing until today. There is a lot of science in it and I was anxious to see what Jason thought of it, seeing as he's an actual scientist and all.

(For those of you who don't know us in real life, my husband is a really smart geneticist currently researching aging in fruit flies. I have been curious for awhile about what he would think of the science behind low-carb that I've been learning about on all those podcasts I listen to and blogs I read)

Last night we watched Fat Head, and as the science was explained, Jason nodded along. Afterward, I asked him if the science was good and he said it was. He also offered up, "That's the fastest way to fatten up the flies - by feeding them carbs."

And of course, as the movie mentions, that's also the fastest way to fatten up livestock. That's why cows are fed corn, even though it makes them sick. Yet, somehow, the grain-filled diet is supposed to make humans skinny?

I can babble on all I want about how limiting the carbs in my own diet makes me feel better and helps me lose excess poundage, but I think the proof is really in the science. It just makes sense.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


FYI, when your body isn't used to simple carbs, eating them makes you feel like crap.

Today we had a church activity in Massachusetts and then the bishop took us all out to Bertucci's for late lunch/early dinner. Hello, Bertucci rolls! Also, since he was paying and just ordered a bunch of pizzas, I didn't really feel like I could be all high-maintenance and order a salad.

Then we came home and I baked some heart-shaped sugar cookies for Jason and to hand out to the Young Women tomorrow. And I ate a few.

Now I feel AWFUL. Need to remember next time, one roll and one cookies will satiate me AND keep me from feeling yucky.

At least I worked out this morning. That's something.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Who went to the gym today? That's right, me. Jason came too. I downloaded some new music last night and was all psyched to work out and listen to it. I realized that the last time I added anything to my workout mix was January 2008 so no wonder I was bored.

What are your favorite workout songs? I am all about the heavy bass and dance beats to keep me pumped.

Oh, Jillian...

Well, Jillian Michaels, who I honestly had a lot of respect for, really sold out and started endorsing diet pills. To her detriment.

The sad thing is, yesterday morning I was listening to one of her radio shows from 2007* and a girl called in asking about B-12 supplements and diet pills, which she had taken before to lose weight. Jillian recommended good old eating less and moving more. She said she's done research and from what she can tell taking B-12 won't hurt you since it doesn't become toxic in high amounts (like Vitamin A, for example). Then she said NO diet pills. No. No. No. Diet pills are a scam at best, and harmful at worst.

Oh well.

*Since she's off the air now, I'm listening to the podcasts from before I even knew she had a radio show.

Friday, February 12, 2010


As I've mentioned on here many, many, many times, we're going to Hawaii at the end of April. I want to feel more comfortable in my body, I want to be more toned AND I want a new suit. Usually I just swim in whatever Speedo I happen to be wearing at the time for lap swimming, but I want something cute.

Here's what I'm thinking:

In the blue. Or maybe black.

It's an LL Bean suit and lovely LL Bean actually has it in long torso, which means a minimum of wedgies and minimum of feeling hunched over because the straps are tugging my shoulders down in order for my bum to stay covered. Unfortunately the number of long torso suits out there is kind of limited (though there are a lot more available now than several years ago). But I thought this one was pretty cute, especially the little twisty detail on the back.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Personal Timeline

I'm holding steady at 5 pounds down. That's taking into consideration a little pop up at the beginning of the week thanks to my carbtastic weekend. I'm actually pretty impressed that I've lost weight without even working out at all. Not that I advocate this and I know that if I want to keep losing, I need to work out, but it's still nice to feel overall like I am in control of my food and that I'm eating well.

Yesterday we had the Incredible Blizzard That Wasn't! Talk about a letdown. While all my friends in DC, Virginia and Maryland are getting absolutely slammed by the snow, we have yet to see a decent snowfall since January 1. We are in New England, yes?

However, our office was closed (boss is out of town and I got to make the executive decision. Executive decision made: me and the secretary get to stay home!) so I slept in and worked from home and hung out with Jason, who left work at 1ish because it was actually snowing at that point and we thought it was only going to get worse.

This morning I was listening to a Cut the Fat podcast on my way into work about the National Weight Loss Registry and I realized that I could probably be a part of the Registry. You have to have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained the loss for 1 year. Well, I've lost and kept off 40 pounds since 2006. Granted, my timeline has been a little wobbly, but that's a solid fact I can point to. And really, I've been down 30 pounds since about 2004 so I qualify anyway. My timeline is as follows:

2001: highest weight - 235. Eeek! That was a yucky doctor's visit. My doctor was perfectly nice; the yucky part was seeing that number when they weighed me.

2003: Get down to 210ish

2004: start anti-depressants, get my life back, feel like actually doing stuff. In between Spring 2004 and Summer 2005 I get down to 180-185.

Then we start the bouncey years:

2006: Back up to 205 (sucks not having health insurance for over a year)

2007: Start year at 195, get married in October at 185. Then begins the time of being comfortable with my new husband and eating lots of treats.

2008: Start year at 195, down to 178 by Fall.

2009: Start year at 192, down to 188. AKA The Year of No Weight Loss

2010: Start year at 191, currently at 186. This is the year of resetting the set point because I'm sick of bouncing around 190.

It's interesting to take stock of where I've been. It's also nice to see that I have made progress. Maybe I'm not where I want to be right this second, but my physical and emotional health is so incredibly better than it was 8 or 9 years ago, it's ridiculous. I'm grateful for that and grateful that I feel the motivation to keep improving my health.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

No Gym

I keep saying, tomorrow morning I'm going to the gym! And then it gets later and later at night and I'm still awake and then it's impossible to wake up and get to the gym in the morning.

It's hard when Jason's normal bedtime is 2 AM. He doesn't even usually get home until 8 or 8:30 and we have a little time to hang out, watch a TV show and then I SHOULD be going to bed. Instead I want to stay up longer and hang out more. I told Jason this morning as I rushed out the door, running late for work because I overslept, that I need his help to get to bed earlier.

I know if I just get up and out the door I will love that I made it to the gym. My excuses are lame and I just need to do it already!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Oh, the Weekend

So the weekend wasn't stellar in the healthy living department, I'll admit. It wasn't absolutely horrible either, but I definitely ate more carbs than I wanted to, beginning with the bread basket at The Cheesecake Factory. Rule number 1, of course, is don't go anywhere starving. Jason and I woke up really late on Saturday and decided to have a late lunch/early dinner out because I had to pick the girls from church up for a youth dance at 6 PM.

By the time we figured out where we wanted to go and got showered and everything, I was famished. I thought about eating something to tide me over, but didn't. So we get there, wait 20 minutes because even though it's 2:30 PM, it's crowded, and then wait another 15 minutes or so while our waitress decides if she's actually going to come over and talk to us (once she did, she was great, but for awhile there I was wondering if we got lost in the shuffle). Then we got the bread, which was hot and warm from the oven. I figured I would have 1, maybe 2 little slices, but I had several more than that.

I had half a big salad and took the other half home and, no, we did not get cheesecake. So there's a small victory.

Also, because we woke up so late, we did not go to the gym. Sigh.

Yesterday was the Super Bowl and we went over to a friend's house to watch the game. Since she is also doing her own healthy living thing, the snacks and dinner she prepared were definitely on the healthy side - but I ate too many corn ships with the guacamole.

Anyway, today I'm back down to business. All in all, my eating wasn't too bad, just not where I wanted it to be. In reality, my overall calories over the weekend were pretty low, so I don't think a few handfuls of corn chips will kill me.

You know what, though? I was CRAVING protein. I think my body just likes running on protein.


I don't think everyone reads my other blog, so I just wanted to mention that I'm doing some charity knitting to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, who have been doing incredible work in Haiti since the earthquake. Read more about it here.

Friday, February 05, 2010

-5 Pounds

As the subject line indicates, I'm down 5 pounds exactly from Monday morning.

In other good news, Jason went jogging on his own initiative yesterday morning. I need to step it up and get to the gym. We're going to go together tomorrow. I like that we now have a membership at the same gym and can go together. It's nice.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Low Carb

I know I say this every time I cut the carbs out, but it's amazing to me how much my body does not like the refined carbs. In the last 2 days I've lost 3.2 pounds. I know it's all water weight because carbs make me hold onto water (as they do a lot of people). I also know because I feel less bloated and, um, have been making many trips to the restroom throughout the day.

The good news for me is that I haven't even been extreme about it. South Beach Phase 1 knocks out all carbs, including fruit. However, I've had an apple every day for the past two days. Also, I made a pork chop recipe last night that used a little bit of whole wheat flour as a "breading". Also, I put honey in my plain Chobani*. Still fine. I think the lesson for me is, fruit is fine in moderation, even high-glycemic fruit like apples, and a little whole grain here and there is fine, but no refined carbs definitely, and low carb generally.

* Maybe you can eat plain yogurt without anything, but I cannot. I had some yogurts to finish off and honey seemed like a pretty innocuous way to go.

The Biggest Loser is Officially Out of Control

I watched a whole season of The Biggest Loser for the first time last Spring, when I was totally Team Tara because she was awesome and kicked EVERYONE'S butts on a consistent basis. I loved her attitude and her dedication to changing her life. Overall, I thought that season was pretty good and focused on people improving themselves emotionally as well as physically, even if I did have qualms about the brutal workout regimens.

However, I've been watching about 1 episode out of 3 this season and I have to say, I think a line has really been crossed this time. First, the contestants are bigger than ever, which the ads leading up to the season proclaimed with pride. But the brutal workouts have not changed at all. You have Bob and Jillian, tiny little people themselves, bouncing around like crickets, leaping on top of contestants' backs, and making these 400 and 500 pound people run and jump for hours on end starting on Day One.


When the show started several years ago, the contestants were generally in the 200s and even though such brutal workouts were, well, brutal, the impact on the contestants' bodies was that much less. Now people are passing out and going to the hospital on a regular basis, or dealing with joint issues so severe that the only way they can work out is in the pool.

Last night one of the guys with bad knees was pulled out of the pool and put on the treadmill and made to run with everyone else. He's still upwards of 400 pounds. OK, let's just cripple everyone in the name of television, shall we?

Also last night, one of the contestants got her appendix taken out at the beginning of the week (as well as some sort of cyst and a mass, which they just glossed over. Um, is she dying? Should we be concerned?) Yet ONE DAY after surgery she was out walking. 14 miles. I'm sorry, but I think having surgery should equal immunity for the week. I don't really like this woman (at least as they've portrayed her because I realize editing can make anyone seem evil), but I would argue that she should be given at least a week to recuperate and not have to stress about making sure she didn't fall below the yellow line.

I guess my point is, the show has ceased being an inspiration to me and has devolved into pure exploitation. I realize any sort of reality show is exploitative, but when you are seriously risking the future health of people, all the while claiming that the ultimate goal is to make them healthy, that's the height of hypocrisy.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


This morning for breakfast I'm having a Greek yogurt and turkey sausage. A co-worker walked into my office to talk about something and said, "That smells good. {pause} {pause} Terribly unhealthy, though."

To which I responded, "It's turkey sausage! Low-fat turkey sausage."

But what I really wanted to say was, "Did I ask you?!"

And a little piece of my brain thought, did he say that because I'm overweight. Like I don't KNOW what's healthy and unhealthy?


Monday, February 01, 2010

Finally Feeling Rarin' To Go

Now that I'm all jacked up on ibuprofen, I've had a little time to reflect on how I actually feel today. The truth is, I feel pretty great. Oh sure, my nose is a little runny and every now and then a cough will escape out of my mouth, but I finally FINALLY feel like I want to go to the gym and work out tomorrow morning.

All of my let's get it started fierceness of last week was just me trying to convince myself that I wasn't still incredibly drained and that I wasn't coughing from just walking up the stairs to the apartment. This week I seriously feel like I can start getting it done already.

I had my last Skinny Cow last night and am saying good-bye to refined carbs for the foreseeable future.

So what if my New Years resolutions are starting a month late. At least they're starting.

Why I Didn't Go to the Gym This Morning


Just warning you.


That is all.