Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pre-Hawaii Assessment

Back in January, I set a goal to lose 19 pounds, or 10% of my weight in an effort to reset my set point and feel more confident in my body for our trip to Hawaii.

Well, I didn't quite lose 19 pounds. As of this morning, I am down 7 pounds from that January starting point. If you've been reading, you know why. Suffice it to say, I kept getting sick and wasn't really up to regular working out status until February. Then, despite workouts and eating relatively well, the scale refused to get out of a 4 pound range and definitely didn't show signs of going down. This is the plateau I've been fighting for almost 2 years.

The 7 pounds I've lost have all been in the last 3 weeks. The ONLY thing I've done differently, as I also mentioned, is stop taking the birth control pill for the past 2 weeks. I've been eating the same foods (higher protein and fat, lower carb) and doing the same workouts (HIIT elliptical, strength training a couple times a week, lap swimming). I haven't yet determined if there is a true connection between the weight and the synthetic hormones, but after showing 183 on the scale this morning, I'm tempted to point the finger squarely at that little green pill.

Despite not having lost 19 pounds (which would have been AMAZING!) I feel great with 7 fewer pounds. I feel more toned and fit. I feel healthy. I feel comfortable in my clothes.

I am hopeful that I'll be able to stay in my healthy routine while we're in Hawaii. Jason and I have both scoped out the places we're staying and noted that they both have gyms, and the whole family plans to have a very active trip full of hikes and snorkeling and all sorts of fun. I'm taking a big bag of almonds and a bunch of Larabars for snacks on the go.

Plus, I feel like there's just been a change in my mindset lately. I find myself really evaluating whether I truly want to eat something, or if it's just boredom or laziness talking. Today I got a big salad for lunch and it came with a bunch of onion rings on top. In the past, I have LOVED onion rings. I ate one, deemed it super greasy and not worth it, and removed the onion rings to get to the yummy salad. An hour later, I could STILL feel the grease of that one onion ring coating my mouth. Gross.

When I'm full, I stop eating. I usually have leftovers now wherever we go.

I've even found that I can eat a square of dark Ghiradelli chocolate or a Lindt ball and I'm all set.

The key is to remember this focus, and to not be enticed by a big bowl of M&Ms, which, if I'm being honest, really aren't that good anyway and not worth the slightly sick feeling I get now if I indulge in too many sweets.

I will say one thing - I'm looking forward to the produce in Hawaii. Yum!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can It Be True?

This morning the scale said 183.2.

Granted, yesterday I had a very bad day. So bad that I never ate lunch and only kind of nibbled at my dinner.

Still, though, I haven't seen anything below 185 in I can't remember how long.

Today has been a more normal eating day so we'll see where I stand tomorrow. I usually weigh and measure on Saturday, but since we'll be on a plane Saturday morning, I'll be doing it tomorrow.

Regardless of weight, my waist and hips are already measuring less than last Saturday. I'm feeling thinner (even if it's all in my head).

So, not to overshare, but I stopped taking The Pill. It's only been a couple of weeks, but I'm starting to think that might have been the key to my 2-year plateau. Stupid synthetic hormones. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Busy Weekend

(Saturday night dinner. A HUGE dosa. It was fantastic, but rest assured, I didn't eat the whole thing. For Boston people, I highly recommend the lamb dosa at Diva in Davis Square.)

So I wrote a whole post about how weekend workouts are great and then I didn't workout on either Saturday or Sunday. Saturday morning we took off for Warwick and Cranston to get some last minute shopping done for our Hawaii trip. We don't leave until Saturday, but we have a busy week ahead of us and Saturday morning/afternoon was the best time to be out and about.

Saturday night we went to a concert in Boston that we thought would be done at 10, but which didn't end until 11, meaning we got home at 12. It was a fantastic show, but the late night meant I just couldn't wake up to get to the gym before church. We did a lot of cleaning yesterday so that counts for something, right?

The good news is, it looks like I'm finally doing something right. I was down 2 pounds this week to a new low I haven't seen in over a year. And after a carbtastic Saturday and Sunday, I'm up today, but my water-retaining baseline is now 187 rather than 190.

Also, I lost a half an inch off both my waist and my hips this week, but my chest seems to have stabilized. I'm thrilled to finally be seeing a change in my lower body.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekend Workouts

Do you work out on the weekend?

I know a lot of people take weekends off, but I'm discovering that Saturday and Sunday mornings may be my absolute best guaranteed times to work out.

First of all, I can sleep in a bit more on Saturdays and Sundays. Working out at 7 or 8 AM is WAY different than working out at 6 AM. It's so easy for me to turn off the alarm on the weekday mornings and let myself sleep through my allotted workout time. Sometimes I turn off the alarm in my sleep (like, ahem, this morning). It's just hard to get to bed before 11 or 11:30, what with busy days at work, cooking dinner, trying to keep some semblance of a handle on cleaning and wanting to spend at least a couple of hours hanging out with Jason.

Because I get some extra sleep on the weekend mornings, I find my workouts are more effective and I can go longer and harder. I've never had a problem with working out on Saturdays, but have always shied away from Sundays because of the whole religious thing. Suffice it to say, in my religion, we're taught to "keep the Sabbath day holy." What "holy" means is generally left up to personal interpretation, though some people have VERY SOLID IDEAS on what that means. But I don't think working out is necessarily anti-holy.

Enter the justifications:
1) We're supposed to take care of our bodies (the body is a temple, etc). Exercising makes my body healthy.
2) Exercising ultimately puts me in a good mood, helps me stay focused on the things I need to do and is a stress-reducing and relaxing start to my day.
3) I find exercising on Sunday mornings peaceful because there is seriously no one else out at that time of the morning. It's me and maybe 2 other people at the gym. No one is on the street.

I suppose I don't have any more justifications. I know some people who would probably argue with me, and others who are thinking, "I seriously don't get what the big deal is." But I think I'll keep working out on Sunday mornings because it makes me feel good and it is really a good time for me to get it done.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Suit!

Not a swimsuit this time, but a real lawyer suit.

So, I'm not really the kind of lawyer who goes to court much, and our firm has a business casual dress code (except on Fridays since I single-handedly instituted "casual Fridays" in the Providence office. Yay jeans!) So I own one suit. I have a notoriously hard time finding suits that fit me well because of my body shape. Two main problems: 1) it's hard to find suit separates and I am two different sizes on the top and the bottom, and 2) my booty fits horribly in pencil skirts, which make up 99.9% of the bottoms available with women's suits.

Let's not even get started on trousers. I've determined that once I'm too small for the Lane Bryant trousers, I can never wear pants again. Regular stores just don't make pants for women whose hips are 12 inches bigger than their waist. Even when I was my thinnest, I had an awful time trying to find pants or shorts that fit because my hips were still 12 inches bigger than my waist. I always had huge gaps at the waist.

Anyway, yesterday I was at a hearing for most of the afternoon, in my suit, the pencil skirt stretching TIGHTLY across my hips and thighs. The hearing was continued until today. Crap. I can't wear the same suit 2 days in a row.

So I dashed over to Macy's after work to try to find something before the Young Women's activity. Now, the last 2 or 3 times I've tried to find a suit, I have left empty-handed. They just don't make suits for a girl shaped like me.

Or do they?

Yesterday I found the PERFECT suit. Calvin Klein suit separates. Kind of a medium charcoal gray with a slightly A-lined flared skirt. A-line? Yes, please!

Only the largest skirt they had was a 10. I tried it on, just in case I had magically shrunk. It was just a touch too small. Oh, if only they had a 12! Then I swear to you, a voice in my head said, "Go look through the sale racks and see if someone dumped a size 12 skirt there." Sure enough, I walked up to the sale racks on the other side of the suit department and perched right on the end of the long line of skirts, was the size 12 gray Calvin Klein A-line skirt.

I am not kidding.

Jason joked that it must have been the Holy Spirit guiding me. I am not above claiming that. Why wouldn't God want me to look good in front of my colleagues in court?

So I got my suit. Sadly I'm wearing it with an old shirt because apparently Macy's doesn't think it worthwhile to carry shells to go with its suits. Seriously, could someone just make a plain scoop-necked shirt? Why is that so hard?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nutrition Night

Wednesday nights are activity nights for the Young Women (age 12-17) at church. Tonight my friend Rachel is coming to talk with the girls about nutrition. I'm hoping that the fact that she's young and peppy will keep the girls interested and that they will take in some of what she says.

A few months ago, one of the teachers gave a lesson on Sunday about nutrition and being healthy. She asked the girls whether going to McDonald's would be a healthy option. Obviously, the answer is no and we discussed why. Then one of the girls piped in and said, "Well that's ok. I go to Burger King." And she was completely serious. So then we took a few minutes to talk about how all the fast food places are the same.

But that kind of shook me a little. I know not everyone is into nutrition and has the knowledge base that I do. Although I wasn't always as into the whole foods idea as I am now, I tried to be mindful of what I was eating - with varying degrees of success. I shudder to think about the number of Lean Pockets I consumed just a mere 4 or 5 years ago.

However, I always thought that everyone had a certain foundation of nutritional knowledge. Fruits and vegetables should be eaten. Whole grains versus white bread. And so forth. These girls have shown me, though, that not everyone has that foundation. Although we ate a lot of processed food in my house when I was growing up, in many ways my parents made a lot of efforts to get good food into me. We always had fruit around, we ate fried and battered food only occasionally, we ate whole wheat bread. I'm learning that not every house is like that.

After work I'm going home and fixing snacks to bring. Bananas, apples and celery with natural peanut butter dip. Celery and carrots with hummus. Another leader is bringing whole grain crackers and cheese. The goal is to show the girls what a simple and healthy snack looks like, and how easy it is to make.

Monday, April 12, 2010

So Proud

Jason has lost about 20 pounds since he started running and watching what he eats. "Watching what he eats" basically means not eating everything in sight, not cleaning other peoples' plates, and not eating the cookie and the chips with his Subway footlong.

Seriously, trying to lose weight at the same time as the guy in your life is frustrating business.

Sour grapes notwithstanding, I am super proud of him and his efforts. He can jog 3 miles without stopping! Amazing!

I'm still bobbing around a 4-pound spread, however I am starting to notice some changes in my measurements. Mainly in my chest. Yes, in the almost 2 months since I started measuring, I've lost 2 inches off my b**bs. Um, isn't part of the consolation of being a chubby girl that you have an awesome rack?

I've also lost almost an inch off of each of my thighs, which is fantastic. I've lost maybe half an inch off of both my waist and my hips, so those are moving more slowly.

So I'm not losing weight, but at least I seem to be losing fat. Mostly in my chest, but still.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Pasta and Sprouts

First off, Rhode Island, can we stop with the rain already? I had a morning meeting in Boston today so no work out in the morning. I thought maybe I could go swimming tonight, but then I realized I forgot to put my house keys back on my key ring last night after my walk. So I stopped at Jason's work to get his keys and then walked the rest of the way home. The 10 minute walk took me about 20 minutes as I fought the wind and rain. Umbrellas are only so useful when it's windy. By the time I got home, my shoes and skirt were soaked through. All I wanted to do was to change into my pajamas. So I did.

Then I proceeded to make a fabulous dinner for us, in my humble opinion.

First, I browned some ground beef with a chopped onion and several minced garlic cloves.
Then I added two jars of my canned tomatoes from the end of last summer.
Finally, I threw in some chopped baby bella mushrooms, some dried thyme and a splash of red cooking wine. I then let the sauce reduce down to get rid of most of the liquid.
I put the sauce over Dreamfields low carb pasta (I can't tell you how thrilled I am with the low carb pasta!) and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top.

In the meantime, I made what is now my second favorite vegetable recipes: Shredded & Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds & Parmesan.
I've been looking for a great brussels sprouts recipe, and I found it. Fabulous! Seriously, Kalyn's Kitchen is the best source for great vegetable recipes. Jason and I devoured the sprouts and I'm looking forward to making them again.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Working It Out

There are some days when I feel like I'm just not very good at my job. Today was one of those days. I felt defeated and close to tears when I left the office.

I decided that I wanted to walk. Ellipticaling was on my schedule today, but I needed to be out in the open air. I wound up walking for a bit less than an hour and a half and kept my fleece on the whole time so I was a sweaty beast when I got home.
I also felt a bit better.

And kitty seemed to miss me.
I sat down on the floor to take off my sneakers and Tiny flopped down next to me and stretched out alongside my leg, purring and rolling back and forth on his back until I patted him.

Mid-way through my walk, I started getting hungry. I was craving a big pan of roasted vegetables. Like these:
Delicious. Not to mention better than drowning my bad mood in a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

I like that my instincts tell me that after a bad day I need to take a walk and eat some vegetables.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

90 Degrees!

It's 90-freaking-degrees!

In Providence!

Rhode Island!

Last week we were being flooded and this week the National Weather Service has a fire warning out because the winds are high, the temperature is high and the humidity is low.

Please. I grew up in Arizona. We laugh at your 90 degrees and 30% humidity.

I went out for a walk on my lunch hour and it was fantastic. Until I got hot and sweaty. And realized my building's AC isn't on yet. Well, the walk was still nice.

I also swam this morning for a half hour and felt like a total lane nazi when a girl asked to circle swim and I said no. But see, I was in the slow lane because it was the only one available when I came in and was consistently swimming 3 times faster than the other lady in the lane. And I've seen the girl who wanted to get in and know that she and I swim at about the same pace. So the two of us would have had to repeatedly slow waaaay down and try to pass the other woman pretty much every lap. I pointed that out to her and she said, "Yeah..." and looked disappointed. Also, I was almost done, so I knew she'd be able to get in soon. But I still felt mean.

Although, there were 2 other lanes with only 2 people in them, all of whom were swimming at paces closer than me and the lady in my lane. So I guess I don't feel too mean.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Remember back when I started the 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 200 squats challenges? In case you're wondering whatever happened to those, let's just say that I am really, really inconsistent with actually getting them done. Basically, I'm doing the workouts 1, maybe 2 days a week, but definitely not the 3 per week that they call for. I'm trying to get better, though. I did sit-ups and push-ups on Friday morning and will do them again tonight when I get home from work.

So my next sit-ups set will be Day 2 of Week 5. I have a sneaking suspicion I could probably do 200 sit-ups right now, but I'm going to continue with the program.

I'm still on Week 1 of the push-ups. My arms are weak and puny, that's all there is to it. I don't really want to go on to Week 2 until I can honestly complete Day 3 of Week 1. "Honestly" meaning no halfway push-ups. On Friday I came the closest to actually doing it, but my arms failed at push-up number 3 on set 5.

(I have fallen on my face more during the few weeks I've been doing the push-up challenge than I have in probably the last 10 years.)

As for the 200 squats challenge - I quit. I got really, really bored doing that many squats. Plus, I did 60 for my initial test and, frankly, I'm fine with being able to do 60 squats in a row. I think that's pretty good actually.

New Week

We're always so busy on the weekends that I never seem to make a Monday morning workout. Jason fell asleep on the couch last night at 10:30 and when I woke him up he said, "Let's go to bed" so we did. And somehow I still had a hard time getting up in time to catch the 8:48 bus which gets me into work just a smidge after 9. Not ideal, but man, was I tired.

Jason had a big week with singing up in Boston for Holy Week. He sang Wednesday and Thursday, Friday we went to a Good Friday service at another friend's church, and then Jason sang Saturday night and two services on Easter Sunday. Then we had a friend's birthday party yesterday afternoon and our own Easter dinner with other friends in the evening. He also managed to run a few times this week. No wonder he was tired.

I made lamb for Easter, which I am pleased to learn this morning via SparkPeople is actually a pretty low-calorie meat. I LOVE lamb, but had never made it before. It's surprisingly easy. I used a recipe for Roast Leg of Lamb with Root Vegetables and added minced garlic and fresh sage by rubbing them on the lamb and sprinkling them over the vegetables. One tip: steam the vegetables a bit prior to adding them to the roasting pan. The lamb cooked surprisingly quickly. The potatoes were just barely done, but the carrots didn't cook through at all and the onions were still a bit crunchy.

I really need to get better at taking pictures of the things I make. I meant to take a picture of the lovely leg of lamb surrounded by the vegetables, but then forgot when we actually pulled it out of the oven. Trust me, it was fantastic.

Friday, April 02, 2010


As I mentioned before, last weekend we went hiking. We woke up, ate breakfast, then hit the road down to Connecticut. An hour and a half later, we made a pit stop and I realized I was STARVING. I thought the rest stop would have a little store and I could buy some nuts or something like that, but the only thing selling food at this particular stop was McDonald's.

(Have you ever noticed that there's ALWAYS a McDonald's at rest stops. They are brilliant with the total market saturation.)

So I got some chicken selects, got Jason a burger and got us some fries to share. Yeah, I could have gotten a salad, but (a) they didn't have the salad I like (Mandarin Chicken), and (b) we were almost there and needed to eat fast.

Here's the thing: it was awful! As I was eating the chicken selects, I could feel the grease coating the inside of my mouth and it felt disgusting. I ate maybe 7 or 8 fries, before I declared Jason could have the rest. I asked him if he thought they tasted weird and he said, "They just taste like fries." Apparently, McDonald's fries don't do it for me anymore.

I find this kind of funny since as a part of low carb, I have upped my intake of saturated fat. I use butter pretty much every day and don't sweat eating the dark meat (which I prefer) rather than the white meat. The natural fats I am absolutely fine with. It's whatever McDonald's uses (soybean oil?) that my body is revolting against.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Easter Eggs

This morning I had planned to go swimming for 40 minutes. Instead, I fell asleep with the beginnings of a migraine and woke up with the same migraine. Note to self: it's better to just take the two dollar migraine pill initially than to down 8 Excedrin migraine over the course of 16 hours in the hopes that maybe this time the Excedrin will do the trick.

Why did I have a migraine? Well, my right shoulder is doing its whole stiff thing again. That means it's time for a massage. I think I'll try to get one before we leave for Hawaii.

Also, last night we had an Easter activity at my house for the Young Women at church. Within the course of 24 hours, the activity switched from being at the church to my house and then went from 7 girls and two leaders to 4 girls and one leader (me!). Also, I had to go pick up all 4 girls and one of them wasn't there when I first got to her house and texted me 5 minutes after I drove away and told me she had fallen asleep and asked if I could still get her? Since she had been so excited to do this activity, I said sure and turned the car around.

Then we came to my house and dyed eggs and made little Easter baskets. Dinner for me was about 15 Reese's peanut butter eggs. Healthy! When I got home from dropping everyone off at 9:30, I had some chicken. But the sugar and the tension had done their trick and my head hurt.

Should have just taken the migraine pill. Then I would have gotten in a swim this morning. Oh well.

But, and here's the important part, I think the girls had fun.

Also, the two dozen hard boiled eggs in my fridge. Deviled eggs, anyone?