Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 10/29/2010

Weight: 124.2
Body Fat: 19.4%
Measurements: 34"-26-33.5"-17.5"

I have a relatively calm weekend ahead of me.  I've got 45 minutes of studying to tonight to complete my 4 hours of PT material study for this week, then I am going to watch the first episode of Riese: Kingdom Falling. It looks like it should be pretty good and my head nearly exploded with geekery when I read about it.  It looks like some of my favorite fantasy novels come to life on screen! And it has Emilie Ullerup as a badass, win!

Look forward to some new recipe reviews from the November 2010 issue of Cooking Light next week! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Pielets

I have a thing for deconstructed desserts.

I also have a thing for turning traditional desserts into single serving desserts.

I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my apartment this year (eek!) and as I was planning my menu a thought occurred to me.  Why couldn't I perform a simple deconstruction of pumpkin pie, thereby making it healthier and easier to prepare?! Well I could, and I did.



Recipe and commentary after the break.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Personal Training

I've figured it out!

I know what goal I can strive for that will help keep me on track during the SAD time of the year.  Eric's right; what a fitting acronym. I can work towards obtaining my personal trainer certification.  Earlier this year amidst an extremely stressful time for me, I decided that I wanted to get my person trainer certification through ACE. I didn't really dedicate myself to studying it at the time, but now I've realized that I can fit it into my schedule.  It should take me about 12 weeks to get through all the material.  I started studying last week. I've been taking notes using Microsoft OneNote, which I am now completely in love with.  It'd be even cooler if I had a tablet PC, but alas, the netbook shall simply have to do.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The SAD

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately.

I'm always tired, even though I sleep at least 7 hours a night. Even when I do fall asleep, it's restless sleep and I wake up with a headache.

This isn't uncommon, in fact, it happens at the same time every year.  Late fall/early winter is the worst for me. My energy levels plummet, my motivation wanes and all I want to do is sleep.  It occurred to me last year that I might have a case of the SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

I noted last year that keeping a regular exercise schedule and have a particular goal to focus on helps me stay sane.  Last year it was making goal weight, but this year I don't have such a pressing goal.

So what can I do this year that will keep me focused and sane?

I can take it one moment, one day, one week at a time. I can focus on the little things that give me satisfaction, like checking off items on my to do list on toodledo.com or finishing a run.

I think I shall start by running at lunch today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recipe Review: Greek-Style Skewers

I have chicken for dinner almost every night of the week, so I'm always in search of different ways to prepare it.  I've never made skewers before, and I love everything Greek so I decided to give this recipe a go. The sides were orzo pasta with feta and sauteed spinach.

It was more colorful than this picture shows.
Recipe and commentary after the break.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in: 10/22/2010

Weight:  125 lbs
Body Fat: 19.6%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
--------------------------------------------

I finally got around to reading The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Could Be Putting You at Risk article on Marie Claire's website.  Yeah, I know, I'm late to the party on this one but here are my two cents.

What in heavens were you thinking Marie Claire editors? You promote an unhealthy female body image ideal every time you release a magazine with images of emaciated models in it and then you publish an article railing "young, educated women hell-bent on achieving sylphlike physiques."

Hypocrisy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipe Review: Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins

I've decided that muffins are for people who want to eat cake for breakfast and I certainly like cake.  These have jokingly been referred to as "life muffins," because some of my taste testers informed me they required them to live from that moment on.  They're even my most requested cupcake at work, despite the fact that they're actually muffins!

Pretty and tasty!
Recipe and commentary after the break.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Unfinished

I have a problem.

Over the years, I've picked up a few hobbies. They're mostly crafting hobbies: knitting, shaping polymer clay, resin figurine painting, card making etc. They're great hobbies to have, since they keep my hands busy and out of the proverbial cookie jar.  And yet, I have a problem.

I start projects, and I never finish them.  They sit around in my storage closet or in a bin underneath my coffee table, just waiting for me to pick them up again. 

What's a woman to do with all this unfinished business?

I have a plan, a simple one in theory. I will start by documenting the unfinished projects that I have lying around and all of the crafting supplies. It's a large undertaking and probably one that I will have to do on a weekend. It will likely be a Google spreadsheet of , and then I will share it here.

Once I know what I have, I can make an informed decision about what to do with everything.  I'm sure there's a few things that I could give away, so perhaps I'll try that first.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How-To: Popcorn

I enjoy popcorn every once in a blue moon and lately I've been having a craving.  However, with the recently exposed dangers of bag popcorn, and the inconvenience of owning (and storing) yet another kitchen gadget, I went hunting for an old-fashioned style cooking method.

The basic ratio of popcorn to oil is 1/2 cup kernels to 3 tablespoons oil in a 3-quart saucepan and it makes a little over two servings total.  I actually found that the 3-quart pan saucepan wasn't large enough and next time I will either cut back on the amount of popcorn I'm making or get a bigger pan.

First thing's first, you're going to need a 3-quart saucepan with a lid (lid not pictured!):

Monday, October 18, 2010

A recap: The weekend

Friday

I know I said I was planning to do my 6.5-miler on Friday, either on the treadmill or outside depending on the weather. I got home from work a little early, and spent about 10 minutes pacing in indecision. It was quite windy and rather chilly, so I ended up deciding I'd use the treadmill a bit later that evening.  Since I had suddenly found some time, I picked up my Kindle and started reading around 4pm. I promptly fell asleep and didn't wake up until about 7pm. Oops.  After that it was a pretty terrible night foodwise.  I gorged myself on chocolate peanut butter and some other food.  I have no idea what exactly triggered it. Friday night was pretty much a big bust, so I went to bed early to force myself to stop eating peanut butter.

Saturday


I woke up feeling pretty off.  My brain just wasn't firing on all four cylinders. I ended up getting a mild migraine, which made my day pretty crappy.  My friend Mike and I went apple and pumpkin picking, despite my head and it actually left me feeling a little better.  I managed to get five miles in before I went over to Eric's, but otherwise I didn't do much for the rest of the day.  It was a pretty lame day, excluding the apple and pumpkin picking.

Sunday


What an exciting game! Pats won in OT over the Ravens. :) I made popcorn in a pot during half-time and I documented it but forgot the cable to get the pictures off at home.  I should have that up by Thursday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in: 10/15/2010

Weight: 123.5
Body Fat: 19.8%
Measurements: 34"-26-33.5"-17.75"

The bloat from last week has left me, thankfully. I think I'll lay off the cafeteria food at my work for a while since I'm pretty sure that was the culprit of the previous week's 126.4 weigh in. I did enjoy eating my homemade dinners and lunches so hopefully I can keep up with that trend.  It's actually therapeutic to spend my time baking, cooking and cleaning on the weekends. It certainly feels less wasteful (to me) than playing World of Warcraft for hours on end.

I have to do my long run today, but I'm waffling on the location of said run.  Evidently the Northeast is having an early season Nor'easter (see: Nor'easter) which generally means some pretty strong winds and relatively cool temperatures. I'm not sure that I particularly relish the thought of 19 mph gusts while I'm attempting to log 6.5 miles.  Alternatively I don't exactly relish the thought of spending that much time on the treadmill either.  It's a conundrum.

I've got an appointment at the Weymouth Club to get my body fat tested in one of the Bod Pod machines, like the ones they have on The Biggest Loser.  I'm pretty excited about it because I know for a fact that my handheld fat loss monitor can be off by roughly 8%.  I doubt that it's off by that much for me, but I love having all sorts of information about my current health.  In addition to providing you with your body fat percentage, they estimate how much energy your body expends on an average day.  It will be interesting to see how that aligns with my current intake.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Assumptions

I'm sure that we are all acquainted with the popular idiom that assumptions "can make an ass out of you and me."

Even still, the idiom does not seem to stop some from thinking that their quest towards health and fitness are infinitely more difficult than another person's.  I should know as I spent many a covetous year comparing my trials and tribulations to those of others. Never did I realize how foolish it is to compare something of that nature.

I realize now though.

Forgive me in advance for this analogy but let's say that you and a friend are attempting to solve a difficult computer programming problem. Your programs both produce the same results in the end, and yet they take vastly different approaches to get there. You each encounter bugs in your code while you are writing it, and though you can consult each other for possible fixes, ultimately you have to fix the bug in a manner that makes sense to you. It might take you twice as long as your friend to solve it but eventually you both reach the same point.

Weight loss is a unique and deeply personal journey, to compare yourself to another's successes or failures is meaningless. No two people have the same frame of reference. Only you can define what success is for you.  However, success without humility is hardly success at all.  When offering advice, I have found that it's important to remember that just because I was successful in my own way does not mean that my way will work for anyone else, and that someone else's struggles are no harder or easier than mine were.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Recipe Review: Ciabatta French Toast with Marmalade Drizzle

I pretty much eat the same breakfast every single day, a serving of McCann's Steel Cut oats with some peanut butter and a banana cut into it.  It's hard to describe the feeling of joy and excitement that I feel every single morning I get to eat my oats.  I even get cranky when I don't get to have them. So in order for a breakfast recipe to distract my attention from my precious and beloved oats, it must be pretty darn awesome. And this one is!

With a slice of orange and cup of coffee,
this breakfast receives two thumbs up!
Recipe and commentary after the break.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Body Image

Everyone has days where they like their body. And they days when they can't seem to find anything they like about it regardless of the success they've had in reshaping it.

I'm having one of the latter days.

Most days I can stand naked in front of the bathroom mirror and be, if not happy, at least content with my body. It's strong and lean, a runner's body. It gets me around at a roughly 9:47 minute mile these days and it can get me through at least 14 military style push-ups. And yet, on this particular type of day, I can't seem to make that enough.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recipe Review: Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples

I hadn't been grocery shopping in over two weeks (this seems to be a trend lately...), so I decided to spice my Saturday dinner up. I picked up ingredients for the Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples recipe from my October issue of Cooking Light.  The recipe suggests a spinach side salad, but I simply could not turn down the yummy looking brussel sprouts.

Mmm!
Recipe and more commentary after the break!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weigh-In: 10/08/10

Weight: 126.4
BF: 20.6%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.75"

It's a little close to my ceiling weight for comfort this week, but I think it's due to fluid retention. I'm still sore from my Wednesday/Thursday workouts and I slept like crap last night.  In fact, I feel like the walking dead today.  I could barely make it to work and all I can think about is sleep.

I've got a lot of baking and reading planned for this weekend, which will give me several posts for next week. You'll probably notice that I've gone with a M-F posting schedule and am taking the weekends off to prep for the next week.  It's much easier on me, and my posts are of a higher quality.  Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today was a good day even if my car hates me

So while I'm sitting here sipping on my Daily Green Tea in the Pineapple Ginger flavor, here's a brief bulleted rundown of my day:
  • One of my VW flippy keys went through the wash on Tuesday and subsequently shorted out today so that every single button triggers the panic alarm. Oh, right, except the actual panic button. That does nothing now.
  • I got my 2010 Flu shot. My arm hurts. A lot.
  • I got paid today. Yay money!
  • My body is sore from the exercise class I'm attending on Wednesday nights now.  Apparently the 10-lb weights are where it's at for me. Seriously though, I am moving about as fast as a granny today.
  • Despite the previous bullet, I ran roughly 3.2 miles in 31:00 today (fast!). With hill sprints. My glutes are so mad at me right now.
  • I made the most delicious chicken nuggets from scratch for dinner!
And now it's sleepy time for my sore self.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Identities

Everyone identifies strongly with something, be it a sport, a hobby or a particular role in life. People can have many things that they identify with, and give themselves different labels accordingly.  All of these labels combine to help create a person's identity, and they often form in the teenage years.

You know what I'm talking about.

The geeks hung out with the geeks, the jocks hung out with the jocks.  I was a geek, but I was a gamer geek.  I've been playing  massively multiplayer online video games (MMORPGs) since I was 13. I loved the intricate nature of the environment, the endless possibilities and the luxury of not having to see the people I was interacting with in person.

Why, might you ask, was it a luxury to not have to physically see the people I was interacting with?

At nearly 200lbs and the heaviest I'd ever been, my teenage years were filled with bullies.  Compassion is not frequently found among teenagers and it was difficult to not let it get to me.  I took solace in my interactions with people online. It helped me realize that I was worth knowing even if I was physically unattractive. My first boyfriend was even someone I met online!

Flash forward to 2005, my sophomore year of college, and I was still playing MMORPGs.  Only now they helped me bond with a group of people I still call friends to this day.  It was something that we could talk about and play together. It was one of the happiest times of my life; I learned that I could interact with people in person and online without being scrutinized for my physical features.

These games were a saving grace for me while I was growing up.  They guided me towards my career path as a software engineer and helped me find friends.

However...

There comes a time in life when letting go of a particular identity helps you grow.  I've reached that point with MMORPGs. I've decided that I would rather let go of being a gamer, than stop being a runner. In truth, I no longer have the time to dedicate to gaming to make it worthwhile.  My health is extremely important to me and I cannot fathom giving up my exercise.  As such, I will not be purchasing the World of Warcraft expansion pack in December.

On that note, for any of my readers who have gamed with me in the past, I will miss you. Please keep in touch! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Icky, cold, wet weather

I went for a long run today.  I think it was about 6 miles but I haven't been plotting my runs lately.  I've mostly been running just to run, with my five year old running watch as my only gadget.  I've been trying to focus on how I feel and get in touch with my body because I've been experiencing a period of low motivation with my running despite the obvious pace improvements. So, I'm trying to get back to the basics of just running for the sheer joy of it.  It was a bit difficult to be joyful on today's run though, due to it being 54 degrees Fahrenheit and rainy.

Tomorrow I have my strength training class and I'm actually pretty excited about it.  It's much different than I expected it to be and since you have to bring your own weights, it can be geared towards each person's individual fitness levels.  I've already packed up my eight and ten-pounders for tomorrow. :)

The Pats won last night with a great turnout in the second half, but I am beat today from staying up to watch it, so I think it's off to bed with this squirrel

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weigh-in: 10/01/10

Weight: 125.4
BF: 20.2%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.75"


I know I said I'd post pictures too, but after looking at them I've decided I'd rather just keep them for my own viewing. I find them to be a bit embarrassing.

This weekend did not exactly get my fall challenge off to an auspicious start. Food-wise I was a little off but I'm okay with it. I had a good time this weekend, and I don't really think I went completely overboard. However, I have realized that running on a day that I've had Chipotle chicken tacos and a small serving of ice cream is a terrible idea.  I spent the entire evening whining and in severe gastrointestinal pain.  If I laid completely still, I was alright but it's pretty difficult to lay motionless.

I was introduced to Marshalls/TJ Maxx this weekend.  I have to say; I'm hooked.  I found an adorable coat for $20, when it was originally $50. I also got an Express sweater that I've been looking for about 55% off. I actually went to the local one during lunch to hunt for some more bargains. I found an adorable purple scarf with a tiny felt squirrel on it and a cute grey sweater dress.

I am hoping to get some more recipe reviews up this week but tonight I've got to watch the Patriots game.

GO PATS!! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Fall is my favorite season. I love the rich flavors and fragrant spices, and I especially love pumpkin!  This recipe was given to me by my mom a few years ago. I've updated it to use a mixture of white whole wheat flour and regular all-purpose flour.

Recipe and photos after the jump.