Thursday, December 29, 2011

Now For A Little Backtracking...

Oof- I knew the weigh in after Christmas wouldn't be great.  And it wasn't.  I wasn't as good as I was on Thanksgiving- didn't track my food for five days, and kind of just ate... everything.  But that's okay- it was a wonderful holiday.  This is what it looked like: 

Friday- Pre-Christmas Papa John's.  (totally unnessecary, a great example of stress eating)
Saturday- Christmas Eve dinner, followed by a family party. 
Sunday- Christmas breakfast!  Christmas lunch!  Christmas snack for dinner.  My belly was so full.  Christmas cocktails.
Monday- Kraft Mac and Cheese lunch, Christmas Dinner, part three.  (or so)
Tuesday- Tallboy's Birthday Breakfast, Birthday Lunch, Birthday Dinner

Sometimes, the schedule is full of family eating, and your only choices are sauerkraut and bacon wrapped blood sausage.  So, I ate it and loved it.  I'm headed back to the gym tonight for the first time in over a week.  I'm so tired and worn out, but it was so nice to see SO much family. 

Our plans for New Year's Eve?  Stay in.  Cook our favorite dinner and drink some champagne.  I'm really looking forward to taking it easy. 

This week: +1.6 lbs
Total: -9.8 lbs

I still have two weeks before my final weigh in for the year- hopefully I can nudge the scale back down a bit. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Good Start To The End Of The Year

She's a beaut, ain't she?
A few weeks back (pre-Thanksgiving) I made a list of guidelines to help get me through the holiday season.  Now- I haven't followed them to a T- but I have kept the list in mind the past few weeks, and it's really helped.  I've gotten in some extra workouts- trying out new classes and new exercises to keep myself entertained; stuck to eating homemade and healthy whenever possible; and continuing to keep myself hydrated.  It's been a rollercoaster on the scale, but I've managed to get back down to my pre-Thanksgiving weight almost every week.  Now, keep in mind, this is pre-Christmas now- deep territory.  Christmas eating won't just be one night or day- it'll be a whirlwind of four (yes, FOUR!) large Christmas dinners followed directly by TallBoy's birthday.

Before Thanksgiving, I was really nervous.  I guess this is the first year I've made a consious effort to try and maintain my weight through the holidays, instead of just throwing caution to the wind and passing out in the stuffing like usual.  It felt weird being nervous about eating before Thanksgiving- it was the wrong thing to be feeling before such a great day.  For Christmas, I feel like I can go in and make it about family and friends, and not just about the food.  I did it at Thanksgiving, and I can do it again.  I know this is a longer string of meals, but I have faith in myself for the next week. 

I'm going to make my official year-end weigh in day on January 12, 2012.  That'll be almost exactly a year from the day I started this blog with my first weigh-in.  Hopefully by then I'll have managed to be back to my pre-Christmas weight!

This week: -2.0 lbs
Total: -11.4 lbs

I'll be back after Christmas- most likely for next week's weigh in! 

Merry Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011- Looking Back

Get it?  LOOKING back?  Waka waka!
We're closing in on the end of 2011, I was thinking this morning about all the things I've learned this year about myself and my health.  I may not have reached my goal weight by the end of this calander year, but I do feel as though I've changed as a person in a really good way.  I wanted to start wrapping up the year with round up of the things I've gained this year- thankfully it's not weight!

1. You can start over any time you want.  The phrase "I'm starting over on Monday" will never cross these lips again.  Seriously.  Why wait until Monday?  Or tomorrow?  If you ate poorly at lunch, just eat well for dinner.  It's seriously as simple as that.  If ALL that's available for dinner is pizza, just have a slice.  It won't kill you.  Just make a serious effort to eat well at your next meal-  it will get you back on track.

2. Junk food REALLY makes you feel like crap.  If you want a reminder of this, spend a weekend eating pizza, drinking beer, and eating fast food.  I recently spent a Saturday with college friends, eating college foods.  It was super fun, but when Sunday morning arrived with a headache, I said, screw it.  I'll eat bad again today.  Guess what- Sunday night?  The WORST.  I really haven't felt that sick from food in a LONG time.  It was the reminder I needed that eating healthy does make me feel better, all the time. 

3. It's never all or nothing.  Practice moderation.  Like I said before- if you eat poorly or skip a workout, it's not the end of the world.  You don't have to throw all your effort out the window just because you ate worse than usual.  Take it in stride, and move on.  Don't give yourself an ultimatum- you won't stick to it.

4. Exercise can be enjoyable.  This was hard for me to learn, because I thought that if I wanted to get fit, it meant being miserable at the gym, or running outside, which I hate even more.  I spent a good three months trying to get into running, hating every minute of it.  So I started taking classes at the gym and realized I could get cardio and strength training in another way.  I've always loved dance, and taking aerobic dance and zumba classes has been awesome.  I LOVE going to work out, and while I'm sweaty and look disgusting, I feel awesome and can't wait to go back for more.  If you don't enjoy exercising, you won't do it.  Period.  How long can you keep doing something you don't enjoy?  So find something you actually like, and you'll go.

5. Losing weight will never be (and should never be) fast and easy.  Let's face it.  I would've loved to be twenty pounds thinner overnight.  Hell, I would've loved to be twenty pounds thinner this year.  That being said, I have learned so much about nutrition and exercise and cooking that would not have stuck if I had gone down some easy route.   If you woke up twenty pounds thinner tomorrow, how would you have any idea to keep it off?

6. Get to know (and love) your own body.  I will never look like a twig, I will never be a supermodel.  But I know I can look and feel better in my own skin, with my own body type.  You have to love and appreciate your shape, and work on making it the best you can.  Don't base your goals off of a J. Crew model, base them off of a healthy version of you.  I can't rock skinny jeans, but I also have leg muscles that can kick your ass.

7. Find a way to make yourself accountable.  It's hard to admit, but staying healthy really is all about will power.  For me, tracking my food intake and blogging about my struggles and triumphs has really helped me to stay on the right path.  Having support from friends and family is really important, but if you don't believe in yourself that you can get there, it won't happen.  It comes down to you, so do it for the right reasons.  Stay healthy, stay happy, and stay on track.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weekend in NYC

TallBoy and I got each other a trip to New York for Christmas!  We went last weekend and had a blast.  I had really prepared myself to walk a ton and eat healthy, and the former was accomplished.  I just have such a hard time being good when I'm not at home.  It's something I really need to work on.  I got to see one of my best friends from my time in DC, spend copious amounts of time with TallBoy's sister and her husband, and even got new glasses!

That being said, it didn't make for a great weigh in this week.  I was hoping the hours and hours of walking we did would offset the burgers and pizza and beer (and I'm sure it probably did to some extent)- but I'm still up this week.  I didn't log last week either, since we were leaving for NYC and I didn't want to do a blog post at 4 am- so here's how it went:

Last week: -.6
Total:  -11.4

This week: +2.0 lbs
Total: -9.4

So... up and down.  Unfortunately more up than down.  I have a few holiday festivities, but I will be able to clock some gym time and eat most of my meals at home, so I think I can hopefully shed some of that gain this week.  It's HARD getting through the holidays when you're really concerned about gaining... especially since you don't want to bring everyone down with the whole, "oh, I'm trying to watch what I eat" thing.  That being said, I also don't want to start over again on January 1.  Will power!  I need you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Can't Be The Only One THIS Excited About Brussels Sprouts.... Am I?!?

Seriously though- the fact that they're back in season is making me giddy.  The 8 year old me is punching my face; the 27 year old me is loving it.  And I don't care who knows it!  There are about a million recipes out there on the blogosphere, but the one that I default to when those knobby green heads are all over at the grocery is just a simple grilled mustard recipe.  I should be attributing it to someone or something... but I've kind of adapted it and changed it and forgot where it came from.  When I make it I'm the furthest thing from being exact, so adjust to your taste.  I kind of just throw everything in.  So here goes:

Heather's Grilled Mustard Brussels Sprouts
A pound of fresh brussels sprouts, stems removed and halved
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp spicy mustard (I use Dick's Horseradish)
2-3 cloves chopped fresh garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Wash, stem and chop your sprouts.  Pat dry, then put in a microwavable dish, and microwave on high for approximately 3 minutes.  (This steams your sprouts and cooks the middle, which the grill won't do on it's own.)  Take your steamed sprouts and coat them generously in olive oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.  Like I said before- I just kind of squeeze everything in and then toss the sprouts around.  Once coated, put them in a grill pan.  I usually grill these on med-high for about 7-10 minutes.  Since grills vary a lot, just keep an eye on them, and when they start to get a little brown and crispy looking, they're done.  Once you take them off the grill, put them back in the bowl that you tossed them in in the first place and give them another go around with the leftover mustard.  Serve immediately.  Serves 3-4, or 1-2 if you're being greedy.  (Or realistic)

I've paired these with everything from turkey burgers to chicken to steak, I swear, they're good with everything. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

This article, by one of my favorite authors, Mark Bittman, covers a common question- 'is junk food really cheaper?' If you're familiar with this subject- you know the answer is a resounding NO!  When it comes to our wallets, waist lines, healthcare, etc, we're killing ourselves with fast and cheap 'food.'  As someone who spends a lot of time and money cooking for myself and loved ones, sometimes I need a reminder of WHY it's important to cook at home and know what you're putting into your body.  Yes, in some sense we're all 'addicted' to food since we need to eat to survive; but what you might not realize that addiction to certain kinds of processed and fatty foods is a very real thing that we, as a culture, NEED to back away from.  Some of my favorite excerpts:

"This addiction to processed food is the result of decades of vision and hard work by the industry. For 50 years, says David A. Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and author of “The End of Overeating,” companies strove to create food that was “energy-dense, highly stimulating, and went down easy. They put it on every street corner and made it mobile, and they made it socially acceptable to eat anytime and anyplace. They created a food carnival, and that’s where we live. And if you’re used to self-stimulation every 15 minutes, well, you can’t run into the kitchen to satisfy that urge.”
 "HOW do you change a culture? The answers, not surprisingly, are complex. “Once I look at what I’m eating,” says Dr. Kessler, “and realize it’s not food, and I ask ‘what am I doing here?’ that’s the start. It’s not about whether I think it’s good for me, it’s about changing how I feel. And we change how people feel by changing the environment.” 

"To make changes like this more widespread we need action both cultural and political. The cultural lies in celebrating real food; raising our children in homes that don’t program them for fast-produced, eaten-on-the-run, high-calorie, low-nutrition junk; giving them the gift of appreciating the pleasures of nourishing one another and enjoying that nourishment together." 

Cooking at home not only gives you the knowledge that you're doing something good for your body- but you're also doing something good for your family.  If I'm spending an hour preparing dinner, you better believe we're not eating in front of the TV.  We're sitting at the table and talking like real people.  And it's awesome.

Read the full article.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wading Into the Holidays

My favorite moment from Thanksgiving
I was nervous for Thanksgiving this year.  I think I freaked myself out that I wouldn't have the willpower to NOT eat a thousand plates of food, and then I freaked myself out that freaking out wouldn't let me enjoy Thanksgiving.  Turns out, neither were totally true.  I enjoyed Thanksgiving, took it easy, and ate well at the meal.  The problem for me was the following few days.  Regardless, I managed to get back on track this week.  Last week I was really proud to have lost 1.2 lbs on my weigh in day! (Thanksgiving morning!)  I knew this week would be recovery from the holiday, and I was okay with that.  I was expecting a gain this week, and that's what I got (self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone?)  However, it's a manageable gain that I can get past.

This week: I will NOT beat myself up over a gain, instead, I will let it be that carrot in front of my nose at the gym.  Speaking of carrots, I will eat more of them.  I will go out of town for TallBoy's college makeshift reunion and enjoy myself, but immediately get back on track the moment I sober up.

This week: +.4 lbs
Total: -10.8 lbs

*also!? Today is DECEMBER 1st?  I think I've been a day off for at least a week.  I totally thought it was November 30th.  Whoops?*