Sliver of Green

I knew that my old scale was inaccurate, by at least 2 pounds. So far the new scale seems to be much more on the money and closer in line to what I see when I’m at the doctor’s office. Because of this, I threw out all my old weight data and started fresh on physicsdiet. It isn’t pretty on the whole, but today I have a small sliver of green.

You can see it there at the end. Just a small slice. I’ll take it! now to get my day going and go walk some stairs up to lab.

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Weekend Warrior Challenge – Braveheart edition

This coming weekend is another weekend warrior challenge. As I’m getting ready to go into the field in less than two weeks, and next week is the last week of the semester, and I need to be thinking about aims for my prelim, I’ve got a lot on my proverbial plate right now. But there are some simple things I can still do.

1. Go to the Farmer’s Market Sat morning and pick up produce and other local foods.
2. If/when I’m in lab, take the stairs all the way up. And maybe do it a second time just for shits and giggles.
3. When eating, eat my veggies/fruit portions first, then other things. (so, I can have ice cream *after* I eat those grapes. I can have my regular lunch after I eat the orange, etc). Simple food choices that can help me fill up easier and still get what my body needs.

Eat local

There are a few things I’d like to write about, and hopefully they won’t be too disjointed.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t really have a lot of extra time right now. I don’t have time to sit and really research what I feel I need to in terms of my diet and the amount of exercise I get. Hell, I’m not sure I have a ton of time to really get the exercise I likely need. But what I do have time for is time to make small easy changes. Such as always taking the stairs at work, no elevator. Or riding my bike to campus. Tonight, I had a few handfuls of grapes *before* I had ice cream. I can also stop buying certain junk, like ice cream (even if the ice cream I buy is ‘better’). Individually these ideas aren’t likely to make any real impact, but together they can likely take care of that 400-ish calorie surplus I’ve been running that has been adding more girth to my frame.

The other novel concept I’m grappling with is the idea that it is ok to be hungry. With blood sugar issues, I sometimes confuse the times when I truly need to eat with times when I just want food (for whatever reason). Just because I’m hungry doesn’t mean I need to eat. Add in some subtle food changes and I’ll likely deal with some of the blood sugar issues I’m blessed with.

I just finished finally watching Food Inc. I’m usually slow to jump on these bandwagons. I waited until ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ was in paperback. I still haven’t read ‘In Defense of Food’ despite it being $5 on campus because it was the chosen book this year. So it’s taken me a while to watch Food Inc. I know our food system is fucked to put it mildly. The vast majority of food in the US these days is not sustainably raised. This I knew. But to see some of the pictures and have some numbers put to it has really rattled me. I have contemplated giving up soy for quite some time, and I now think NOW is a good time. This one mostly because of Monsanto’s business practices, which I don’t agree with. I’ve also contemplated giving up high fructose corn syrup. There is clear evidence now that shows that high fructose corn syrup is not processed the same way in our bodies as glucose or sucrose. So it needs to go. These things will likely be easy for me to do.
I’d also like to start asking the butcher I shop at where my meat comes from and who actually butchers it. I’d like to know how it’s handled.
And I’ll be back at the Farmer’s Market this weekend voting with my dollars. The Farmer’s Market that I like here is producer only, so I can actually ask someone from the farm questions (if I so desire).
It really saddens me to know what my dollars have supported.

Along these lines, I’d like to start writing my representatives, whether they be my senators or people in the local government, to let them know what ideals I support. As a voter, if I don’t tell them, they’ll never know (and I watched a short TED video last week that suggested that it is hand written letters that make the most impact, not emails, not phone calls). I figure a letter every month or so to various people and I’ll have my bases covered as best I can with the time I have (which as I said above, isn’t much right now).

Apparently I don’t know how to use tags on here. On other sites I’ve used, when you tag something with lets say, carrots, and you hit the carrots tag, you find all your posts about carrots. Apparently that isn’t how this site works. So I may need to go back to each post and redo some tagging/categorizing.

Speaking of carrots, a recipe finally. I have no clue where this recipe came from, but it used to be commonly made in my family.

Carrots (in the oven)
You can cook this two ways, in foil packets or in a dish. I’ve done both, they work fabulously. Depends on how much clean up you want to do and how disposable you’re feeling.

Cut up a few carrots into thick-ish slices (like you would for dipping them in dip). I love carrots, so I cut up 5.
If you’re using a baking spread them in the dish in a thick-ish layer. If you’re using foil packets, divvy the carrots up enough so that they aren’t thin, but not all your carrots are in one packet.
Top with a few pats of butter. More or less to taste.
Sprinkle with salt, ground mustard, ground ginger, and brown sugar.
If you’re using a baking dish, cover it somehow (aluminum foil). Packets – just fold them closed.
Bake.

How long you bake and what temperature is really flexible. If you’re baking other things (say baked chicken), put the carrots in the oven with 20-30 min left. More if you like them soft, less if you like them crisper. Somewhere in the 300-low 400F should be fine for a temperature.
If baking on their own, I’d suggest 350 for 30 min.
The batch I made tonight to go with baked chicken went in for 30 min at 375F. They were slightly crispy.

self control; and chicken

Where diet, exercise, self control, and saying no collide.

Anyone who knows me in person knows that I have little apprehension about telling someone no. If I don’t want to do something, I’m not doing it. If I can’t go, I don’t hem and haw and tell you maybe. I say no. If you ask me if I like something and I don’t, I’ll tell you. But treat me nice by bringing in gluten free treats? That is my weakness. It isn’t so much the food itself. It’s that you’ve bought something for me, just for me likely, and since I can have it, I should have all of it, right? Needless to say, I ate WAY too much in the sweets junk food category today. But I’m telling you (if you’re gluten free), if any of the other Shabtai products are like the Swiss roll, they must be fabulous. And would likely wreck havoc on any exercise plans I have, as I’m sure what I ate alone today did. Way too much sugar, way too many empty calories.
These lace cookies particularly speak to my heart. I grew up eating them from the ever present NY bakeries and oh how I miss them. They are easy to make gluten free, and not really that hard to make yourself as far as technique, but the process is time consuming. I’ve made them once since going gluten free. Honestly, some times I’m thankful I can’t eat many of these types of foods, as it makes it easier to chose healthier foods more often (which isn’t to say I don’t eat junk food, because trust me, I find ways). I need to learn to have one piece of something and be ok that I’m not eating the rest of it, just because I can.
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Also, more evidence that what you eat is more important than the exercise you get, to a degree. *sigh*
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I gave myself a minichallenge this weekend, in my head, to see if I could commit myself to some fitness goals without having to tell the world. It went well.
1. I’ve given up alcohol for a month. Easy source of crappy calories that I won’t miss (at least for a month). I even went out Fri night to a bar. I had one glass of soda and that was it.
2. Walk the stairs at work. This one isn’t new, but I did the stairs TWICE while I was in on Sunday, including once *after* doing #3.
3. Go for a walk. I went for a lovely 3 mile walk on campus Sunday. I could see this becoming a habit. Eat a late-ish breakfast, drop my stuff in lab, go for a walk, have lunch in lab, get some work done. Made for a fairly fabulous Sunday, even if I did work the afternoon away.
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And now for a recipe. This chicken will make it’s way into my regular rotation, as it was very tasty. The next time I make it I’ll be taking the skin off. It was fine (and tasty) with the skin on, but I have to wonder if the meat would have had more flavor with the skin off. Plus, if we’re talking about cutting extra unnecessary calories, cutting out chicken skin is one more way to do it (though I do love me some well crisped chicken skin).

Sweet Curry Oven Baked Chicken
This is where the recipe came from.

1. Preheat oven to 375F and spray a small baking dish with cooking oil (or however you make things not stick to your pans).
2. 2 chicken quarters (as in a leg attached to the thigh), skin removed
3. Combine 2T mustard (I used a combo of honey and dijon), 2 T brown sugar, 1 t curry powder.
4. Crush 1/2 c corn flakes into crumbs.
5. Smear chicken with mixture on the bottom side and sprinkle with a bit of corn flakes.
6. Place in dish “good” side up and smear with the rest of the mixture and sprinkle with the rest of the corn flakes.
7. Bake 40 or so minutes.
8. Nom.

Priorities

This is quite scattered, but it’s all things I’ve been thinking about and it’s about time I get them out of my head.

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.”
I have no clue where that quote actually originated, but it’s stuck with me since the first time I read it and is a good reminder to me to try new things/behaviors sometimes.
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I’ve been gluten free for over 7 years. In this time, cooking has of course become a big part of my life. Especially in the beginning, if I wanted something decent, I had to make it myself. So when I heard people say they didn’t have time for cooking, I knew it was really that cooking wasn’t a priority for them and that if they really wanted to cook, they just needed to prioritize it and find the time.
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Such is my life. Some could say that the reprioritization I’m going through right now is just like spring. A rebirth. Fuck that. I’ve hit bottom with some character defects, I can see how they harm me, now it’s time to change. What is important to me? My physical health, including the food I put into it and the exercise I get. After all, if I want to loose weight, these are the two things I need to pay the most attention to. My mental health. My boyfriend. Grad school. That about sums it up.
So the things I’m trying to make more time for include exercise, cooking, “school” work, the mental health activities I participate in and my significant other. It’s a short list, but we know it will keep me plenty busy as it entails quite a bit.
What isn’t important to me? The vast majority of what goes on on Facebook (I did a massive cull this evening cutting 3/4 of my friends list). People who don’t have time for me. Inconsiderate people. I guess it goes to the idea of “How important is it?” If it isn’t important to me, it just needs to go.
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I’d like to start learning how to count calories. Not really because I want to count calories long term, but I’d like to get a week or so snap shot of what I’m eating and where my calories come from. I know that cutting a few things down or out would likely help me loose weight and honestly, there are some crappy things I eat. But how do you count calories when you make the vast majority of your own food? If anyone can be of assistance here, I’d really appreciate it.
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I’ve been feeling like I need an exercise sponsor. Something like a 12 step sponsor, someone I can talk to about how things are going and someone I can get ideas and suggestions from, as we can see where my best efforts got me. I know a lot of times my biggest problem isn’t that I can’t figure out what the problem is, it’s that I can’t figure out what to do with it that is reasonable. And then I get stuck and overwhelmed.

Weekend Warrior – how’d I do?

As stated Friday, these were my three fitness goals for the weekend:
1. As usual, if I spend any time in lab, I need to take the stairs up and down. And now that we’re on the sixth floor, this is even better for me exercise wise.
2. Go to a yoga class. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just get out and go. Tomorrow morning would be ideal for this.
3. Assuming I go to yoga Saturday, and it doesn’t rain Sunday, go for a walk Sunday. 3 miles would be good, as that seems to be my current limit, but farther is certainly ok if I’m feeling up to it.

How’d I do?
First, number 2. Made it to a yoga class Saturday morning. The good news is that I went and survived and my coccyx injury didn’t get in the way. The bad news was that my left foot was in a lot of pain about half way through the class. Enough so that I’ll be taking to my physical therapist about it. I’ve been wearing orthotics that are supposed to help for the past 6 months or so, but this is the worst pain my foot has every been in from doing something like yoga. I hope something more can be done for it.

Stairs? Done! Took the stairs at least once all the way up Friday, Saturday and today.

Walk? Not so much. I wasn’t feeling well this morning and honestly getting ready for my test on Tuesday was much more important than this walk. However, I’m not calling this one a full fail. I went out Sat night and danced my ass off at a friends house for a few HOURS. So that was a lot of exercise right there and likely the most aerobic exercise I’ve had in a long time. Additionally, one of my “walks” up the stairs today I actually half ran. I made it up to somewhere between the third and fourth floor before I had to slow down and walk the rest of the way. My lungs and legs just weren’t having it after that.

So while I technically didn’t complete all three of my goals, I’m still calling the weekend a fitness success. I got a lot more exercise than I normally do. I’ve also managed to do my coccyx exercise from my physical therapist a few times. Now if I could just do this on a more regular basis…

Weekend Warrior Challenge – slow poke edition

Last weekend was April’s weekend warrior challenge, but for various reasons, I didn’t participate.
But a few people are doing it again this weekend, so I’m joining in.
With a new (likely more accurate) scale in hand, I can really see how crappy things are right now, and how much more work I really need to start doing.
So, my goals for this weekend (which I’m counting as Friday, Saturday and Sunday):

1. As usual, if I spend any time in lab, I need to take the stairs up and down. And now that we’re on the sixth floor, this is even better for me exercise wise.
2. Go to a yoga class. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just get out and go. Tomorrow morning would be ideal for this.
3. Assuming I go to yoga Saturday, and it doesn’t rain Sunday, go for a walk Sunday. 3 miles would be good, as that seems to be my current limit, but farther is certainly ok if I’m feeling up to it.

There you have it. I’ll let you know Monday how I did.