Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Post: Lisa's Five Truths of Maintenance

I'm very excited to provide you with a post written by a fellow maintainer, Lisa Eirene. I stumbled upon her blog last summer and have been following her since!
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A big thank you to Sarah for asking me to write this guest post for her! I love her blog and can relate to her story of being overweight as a teen. Her story is much like mine, where she had a tipping point where she realized she was not happy with her weight. Here is my story and my tips.

My name is Lisa and I blog at 110 Pounds and Counting about how I lost over 100 pounds on my own. At my peak, I weighed 255 pounds. By the time I was 25 years old I was developing diabetes, I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I had to make some changes and I knew my life depended on it.
I decided I had to choose an exercise that I would enjoy and stick with. I always loved swimming as a kid and was even on the swim team as a teen. I knew it was something I’d love. I did what I could and built up my stamina.

I also started counting my calories. I went from eating over 5,000 calories a day to eating less than 2,000 calories a day. I wrote it down the old-fashioned way—pen and paper—for two years. Eventually I upgraded to using an iPhone app (which I love and use every day).

It took me just under 2 years to lose the weight. There were a lot of plateaus and struggles. I had a few setbacks, but eventually I reached my goal and continued to lose even more. I’ve now maintained my weight loss for nearly 4 years.
My life has changed in so many amazing ways with my weight loss. I ran the Hood to Coast Relay Race, I biked 55 miles in Reach the Beach, and I biked 72 miles in the Portland Century. I love trying new things and challenging myself in ways I never thought I would at 250 pounds.

Five Truths of Maintenance

1. It Will Be Hard. But it’s worth it. Maintenance is almost harder than the weight loss. With the weight loss I was motivated by the numbers on the scale and the size of my jeans shrinking. The attention I received from friends, family and coworkers was motivating. I even got attention from complete strangers on the street!

It felt good to suddenly have positive reinforcement about my body and its changes. Unfortunately, after you keep the weight off for a few years that becomes the norm. I now meet people that never knew me as the 250+ pound girl. Not having that positive feedback anymore can sometimes make you wonder things like “Have I gained some weight?” and “Do I not look as good as I used to?” Somehow you have to find peace with your body and not NEED that outside reinforcement to feel good about yourself. It’s hard work and something I work on all the time.

2. This Is Not A Diet: It’s A Lifestyle. A lot of people look at weight loss as a short-term thing. Unfortunately, most of us are not blessed with magical genes that let us eat whatever we want and not gain weight. I never looked at my journey as a diet, it was a lifestyle change. I was once a complete couch potato that could eat an entire pizza in one sitting. After losing the weight and becoming athletic, my lifestyle was no longer conducive to spending entire weekends on the couch. My healthy lifestyle stuck around AFTER I lost the weight.

It’s crucial to look at the changes as permanent, life choices and not fads or diets or short term fixes. Keep that lifestyle fresh by trying new things—yoga, pilates, Body Pump, etc.

3. We Must Continue What Worked. Counting calories worked for me. I exercised and counted all of my calories in order to lose the weight and I STILL do that now! I swim 2 days a week and I exercise 3 days a week (weight lifting, cardio and biking). My hobbies are now things like hiking and snowshoeing in the winter.

The cold, hard truth about maintenance is that I will always have to count my calories. I took a short break from it after reaching my goal and tried “intuitive eating.” This did not work for me because “intuitively” I wanted to overeat! I quickly learned my lesson and went back to counting my calories. Now, I don’t even think about it—I just do it.

4. It’s Not Always About A Number. When I was losing the weight it was all about the calories. I was eating numbers instead of food. I ate a lot of processed, diet foods because they were portion controlled and I knew how many calories I was eating. Eventually I realized that I needed to eat REAL FOOD instead of numbers. I had to learn how to eat healthy, unprocessed foods and stay within my portions and calories. It worked and my body feels a million times better now. Food should be fuel, not numbers.

Sometimes the gauge of our health is not solely what the scale says. I care less about that number and more about how my jeans fit. Am I still fitting into my size 4 jeans, or are they a little tight? Can I still swim a mile without stopping for a rest, or have I slowed down? When I go hiking, am I out of breath or is it easy for me? When I lift weights, can I lift MORE? Is my blood sugar stable? All of these are tests of fitness. I keep tabs on my endurance levels, my blood pressure and cholesterol. These are all signs of fitness and health!

5. It Can Be Fun. Weight loss maintenance is all about MODERATION. That is my key word and my secret to how I’ve kept the weight off. I do not deny myself the things I want. I don’t believe in “Cheat Days” or binge days. That implies that I’m dieting, and I’m not. I do not deny myself the foods I want; I just eat them in portion-controlled servings. If I want dessert, I eat some ice cream. If I want a cold, frothy beer, I drink it. But I don’t eat a huge bowl of ice cream, or drink a dozen beers. Enjoying two slices of pizza once in awhile keeps me sane and keeps me from going crazy and eating the whole pie!
The bottom line is that maintenance takes just as much work as the losing took, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. Choosing activities that are fun and eating foods that taste good makes it easy to do!

QUESTION: What is your secret to maintaining your weight loss?

Lisa lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend Michael and two cats. She’s kept 110 pounds off for 3.5 years and is looking forward to new challenges. She will be biking a full Century in 2012 and hopes to train for a triathlon. Her weight loss story has been featured in magazines, Yahoo! Health, Woman’s Day, Glamour and KATU News. You can find her at 110Pounds.com.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Fresh Diet: A Review

A few weeks ago, Eric was poking around on Gilt City Boston and found a deal for a week's worth of The Fresh Diet. We'd seen it on the Gilt City NYC site before and thought it was a clever and interesting idea. The Fresh Diet delivers three freshly prepared meals and two snacks to your door every morning. As I'm no stranger to delivered food services (I did Nutrisystem for 1.5 years), I was interested in giving it a try. The idea of freshly prepared gourmet meals for a week enticed me. Everyone needs a vacation from meal planning once in a while! It was also an excellent deal at 60% off of the normal price so it was a bit of a no-brainer once we found out they serviced our area.

We had some difficultly setting up our accounts. We each ended up having to call to get them correctly activated so that we could pick out our meals. The customer service was friendly and helpful so despite the inconvenience I wasn't too bothered.  Once I had access to my account, I was able to pick the menu for my week. Upon seeing the options available to me, I was pleasantly surprised. They have plenty of variety and I didn't have the same meal once during my week. With all my selections made, all I had to do was anxiously await the arrival of my first delivery.

Which never arrived.

Much to our dismay, our first delivery did not arrive on its scheduled day. Eric got in touch with customer service for both of us. We clarified the directions for the next day's delivery and they credited us a day. Our customer service representative was apologetic and pleasant, so again I wasn't too put out. Everything was all straightened out the next day because when I woke up that morning, I ran down to find both our bags of food waiting. We only had one more delivery glitch, due to snow, over the course of the week and they also credited us that day.
The food arrives in a cooler bag every morning.

The quality of the food was as good as promised and I didn't have a single meal that I didn't like. However, because this is food delivery service that is meant to enable you to lose weight, the portions for a female are tiny. A woman's daily caloric intake ranges from 1200-1400 calories and a man's is 1600-1800 calories. They don't seem to have a program for someone who doesn't want to lose weight, but honestly, I can't really fault them for that. I did have to supplement my food deliveries with a morning snack to appease the angry hungry noises my tummy was making.
The meals arrive prepacked into microwaveable containers.

What's the takeaway from my week's experience with The Fresh Diet?
  • The food was good.
  • The portions were small, obviously since the program is designed to promote weight loss.
  • Without the discount, it's very expensive. This is not a program everyone can afford.
  • If I were trying to lose weight, I would happily use this service again. The food really was that good.

Have you tried The Fresh Diet? What did you think? Have you tried any other food delivery services?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In: 1/27/2012

Weight: 127.8
Body Fat %: 20.6 + 3 = 23.6%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"
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Sushi = Sodium
I love (love, love) sushi but wow, what a sodium laden meal. I always seem to hold onto a couple extra pounds of water post a sushi meal. At least I'm getting my weekly fish serving though!

Zumba!
It's really great that the Zumba class I go to is gaining in popularity. It's cool that we had a photographer come take pictures of us last night. However, it's not very cool to have my normal spot in class taken by a new person. That alone was enough to make me a little bit irritated, but then the new person decided to simply stop walking during the walk part of Pause while I was behind her. I kept telling myself not to let it bother me but seriously, if you are new to a Zumba class and your default response to not knowing a move is to stop in the middle of everyone, then put yourself somewhere that's not going to cause people to trip over you.

Anyone have anything interesting planned for this weekend so that I can live vicariously through them? Lemme know down below!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Surprise January Foodzie Box

Every month, I impatiently await the arrival of my Foodzie box. Ever since college, I have this thing about getting boxes in the mail. It always cheers me up; it's always exciting. Yeah, I'm a weirdo, don't judge!

About two weeks ago, I received a voicemail from Foodzie telling me that due to a system glitch, they didn't ship the right box. My heart sank for about 10 seconds, but then I listened to the rest of the message. Despite the system glitch, Foodzie sent me the box that I had selected and that I would be receiving both boxes this month. They apologized for the mix-up and told me to enjoy both boxes this month.

Foodzie, you rock. Seriously, I am one happy customer! Thank you!

The accidental box was the "Jump Start Your New Year" themed box and had a bunch of things intended to kick the New Year off on a healthy eating note.

Inside this box:
  • Somersault Crunchies
  • Vanilla Blueberry Energy Bar
  • Sea Salt and Nibs Bar
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Sun Ripened Pu'er Tea
  • Roasted Almonds
  • Quite Cheesy Kale Krunch
I've never tried coconut oil. I've never seen any recipes that use coconut oil either, but I've been rooting around the internet looking for something to do with it. I'll be sure to put up a post about it when I finally figure out what to use it for.
I really liked these! I didn't like the sea salt as much as the cinnamon, but they're both pleasantly nutty and crunchy. I'm going to have to check out the Wegman's to see if they carry them.
As you probably all know already, I'm the furthest thing from a tea connoisseur as possible. So I turned over the reviewing of this tea to my resident tea expert, Eric. He had two cups of the tea hoping to prove his initial analysis wrong but it didn't help. He thought it was rather weak for a green tea. He did use a lot of leaves too. Oh well!
I contemplated taking this to work for my morning snack today but decided against it. I'm actually not a big fan of energy bars. I prefer to use my calories for something with a bit more volume. It tricks me into thinking I'm actually eating more. I will eventually get around to eating this though.
I normally love the sea salt and chocolate combination usually, but this didn't hit the right note for me. The chocolate, while good, was a little too gritty for the combination to work perfectly. I find that sea salt and chocolate work best together when you have large crunchy crystals of salt and a smooth dark chocolate.
I love almonds. All I have to say here!
I haven't tried this kale krunch yet, but I did notice that they use nutritional yeast as a flavoring. I recently tried one of the Pirate's brand snacks that also uses nutritional yeast and loved it. So, I'm definitely looking forward to eating this. It'll also be the first time I've had kale.

Does getting packages in the mail make you happy too? Lemme know down below!

Monday, January 23, 2012

January Foodzie Box

Unsurprisingly when the e-mail to select my Foodzie box theme this month popped up in my inbox, I went with the Cooking Box again.This month the Cooking Box's theme was breakfast in bed.
As I was photographing the little theme card that comes with every box, I noticed that the first sentence remarked on how fortunate San Francisco is to have a rather mild winter.

I thought that was particularly funny given that as I was taking the pictures for this box, this is what it looked like outside:
Yeah, San Francisco's got it pretty easy.

Anyhow, since I've been trying out the Fresh Diet with Eric for the past week (my review is forthcoming this Thursday), I haven't had a chance to really eat any of the things in my Foodzie box. That hasn't stopped me from contemplating what I intend to do with each of the items, though.
This month the Cooking Box included:
  • Granola
  • Bloody Mary Mix
  • Maple Syrup
  • Raspberry Jam
  • Hazelnut Pancake Mix
The granola is one of the few things I was actually able to try. It's a very simple granola, not fancy like my Kashi Cocoa Beach granola. It was good with unsweetened almond milk and in yogurt. You probably shouldn't trust my opinion on this matter though. This granola contains oats and I'm a known oat-fanatic.
So as you probably know by now, I don't drink. And I don't intend to start, even though the ingredient list on this Bloody Mary mix looks pretty tasty. I've been going back and forth about whether I'll use it as a dipping sauce for my turkey meatballs later this week or turn it into a soup.
The amount of maple syrup I've received since I started my Foodzie box subscription only serves to remind me that I am an extremely odd individual for not liking it. It is nice to have maple syrup on hand for the few mornings Eric allows me to make him breakfast though.
I haven't gotten to try the jam yet, but I have two English muffins in the fridge just waiting to be slathered with delicious raspberry jam.
I think that hazelnuts are an underrepresented nut in the States, so I was quite pleased to receive this pancake mix. However, I'm a little put-out by the lack of nutritional information on this package. I contacted Freddy Guys to see if they had the info anywhere but unfortunately they don't. They did tell me that approximately 20% of the mix is hazelnuts though. I guess I'll use my food diary to attempt to generate some nutritional facts when I get around to eating it.

Which item of this month's Cooking Box interests you the most? Let me know in a comment down below!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In: 1/20/12

Weight: 125.2
Body Fat %: 20.6 + 3 = 23.6%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"
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The Fresh Diet
It's been a bit of a fiasco. I'm planning on doing an in-depth review of the service after our 7 days are up. My current opinion of it is that the food is pretty good but delivery seems to be a pain.

Tushy pain is fading..
My glute is feeling better this week but I am still taking it easy. I don't start training for the 10K until the week of my birthday in February, but I would like to get back to running sooner rather than later. I haven't had a really good run in a while. Perhaps tomorrow I'll don my winter running gear and head out for a snowy run.

Cutest Art EVER!
Check out Gretchen's blog today for the cutest Chinese zodiac calendar ever. I love GIR!


Interesting link from this week
The Incredible Unaging Triathlete at Sweat Science

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One of The Many Reasons I Love VW

Last year, I thought the cutest Super Bowl commercial was the Darth Vader Kid trying to use the force to turn on the Jetta. It made me happy to be a VW owner.

How could they possibly top that?

With doggies.


<3 this!

Are you looking forward to the Super Bowl for commercials?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How-To: Healthier Egg Salad

I've been on an egg kick for the last half a year. I think that's probably pretty obvious because this is the second egg post in two weeks.After I did some research into the whole "eggs raise your cholesterol" myth and found it sufficiently debunked, I've been eating two eggs a day at least five days a week. Despite all my research, I was still a little concerned that it might have a negative impact on my LDLs but my visit to the doctor back in October proved me wrong.

One of my favorite egg dishes is egg salad. However using real mayonnaise to make it simply results in a dish with too many calories and using light mayonnaise tastes a little funky. It took me a little bit of time but I found a suitable compromise.
Sarah's Single Serving Egg Salad

Ingredients
2 eggs, hard boiled
1 lemon wedge
1/2 tablespoon regular mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fat-free greek yogurt
Paprika
Ground Red Pepper
Chili Powder
Set up your prep area with the two unpeeled hard boiled eggs.
Gently peel hard boiled eggs.
Slice the peeled eggs in half lengthwise.
Pop the yolks and place them into a food processor, tiny or otherwise.
Add the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lemon juice and season to your tastes. Process until it achieves a creamy pale yellowy-orange color.
I quarter my egg whites at this point and toss them into the processor and pulse it a couple of times at this point. However, if you prefer a chunkier egg salad, you could use a spatula to remove the yolk mixture, add the whites and smash them into bits with a fork. Or you can dice them up nice. It's up to you!

What do you think about "healthifying" dishes like this? Would you rather just have the traditional egg salad or is the healthier version a better option? Lemme know in a comment down below! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Troublesome Jeans

I would like to tell you that I was always a lean child, but I don't think it would be quite true. A quick glance through each of my grade school photographs would show you a progressively chubbier child; one who never quite fit comfortably into a pair of jeans. This did not foreshadow a easy relationship with that particular article of clothing.
Image: Worakit Sirijinda / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I remember the first pair of jeans I was absolutely thrilled to be able to wear. I was in 6th grade at the time and after many difficult shopping trips (anything she called cute was essentially a death sentence) with my mom, I finally found a pair I liked.  I remember going into class that day feeling so proud of myself for wearing a pair of jeans. I felt like wearing them automatically made me cooler.  I was able to keep wearing jeans for a couple more years, until puberty and weight gain kicked in.

Most of my high school years were spent in extremely baggy khakis and loose skirts. Try as I might, and believe me I tried, I could not find a pair of jeans that was comfortable. More than that, I didn't want to wear fashionable, trendy and cool things. I didn't want to be noticed anymore than I already was. The scrutiny of being fat in high school was too intense. During my junior year, I lost a significant amount of weight and found a pair of jeans that I loved. They fit me and I felt good in them. It felt like a huge success and I always loved wearing them around.

Over the course of my first two years of college, those jeans stopped fitting and got tossed. I bought a new, bigger pair of jeans but I didn't love them. They never fit quite right. Even after my stint with Nutrisystem as a senior in college resulted in a significantly smaller me, my jeans never fit quite right. Five years after Nutrisystem and 2 years into maintenance, they are still the most infuriating, frustrating article of clothing to fit. If they in the waist, it's too tight in the thighs. If they fit in the thighs, the waist is too big.

I think I will forever be on a quest to find the perfect pair of jeans. Or perhaps a seamstress. I think I like that idea better.

Are you always looking for the perfectly fitted pair of jeans? Have you had success? I'm curious to know! Leave a comment down below. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kitchen Adventure: Cherry-Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

In anticipation for receiving my January Foodzie box, I decided it was time to take care of the remaining ingredients in my December box. I still had the whole wheat flour, the bar of dark chocolate, and a bag of dried cherries. The whole wheat flour was eliminated immediately; I had my mind set on oatmeal cookies and those are grainy enough already. That left me with  the cherries and chocolate, so I set about assembling the necessary ingredients.

Cherry-Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Quaker Oats
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups old fashioned, uncooked
1 cup (8 oz) dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 bar (2.75 oz) dark chocolate, in chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Cream the butter and sugars together.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined.
5. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until combined, then add the oats and beat on low until combined.
6. Add the cherries and chocolate and fold into the dough using a spatula.
7. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet that covered with parchment paper (or sprayed with cooking spray) and bake for 8-11 minutes.
8. Enjoy!

Liking the new kitchen adventure format? Let me know in a comment down below!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In: 1/13/12

Weight: 125.6
Body Fat %: 21.0 + 3 = 24.0%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"
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I need a more creative name for this post. I mean, "weekly weigh-in" is accurate but boring. I want something alliterative and snappy, something memorable. Unfortunately, I'm fresh out of ideas. Any suggestions?

Why you gotta be such a pain, right glute?
Image: blackstock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For the past two months, I've had a slightly niggling pain in my right glute. It gets worse when I run and even more uncomfortable after speedwork. I suspect it's because I've been very bad (read: not at all) about stretching post-run. I also hadn't been going to any sort of yoga classes and doing a lot of speedwork while training for my 5K in November. I'd been hoping that I could just add some stretching/yoga classes into the mix and continue along my merry way.

Wrong.

Grr.

Sooo, in an effort to have a good 2012 racing season, I've decided to take a week off from running. I'm scaling it back to simple things like walking and maybe cycling, possibly the (horrible, awful) elliptical. I'm avoiding squats for the time being and stretching the whole area 2-3 times a day, with a yoga class thrown in there for good measure.

I even booked myself a deep tissue massage for today, in the hopes that will help alleviate some of the tension. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The Fresh Diet
Eric was poking around Gilt on Monday and found a coupon for a weeks worth of service from "The Fresh Diet" at 60% off. He found out that they do service the area where we live and we bought bought coupons. It actually seems like a pretty good service; they deliver gourmet meals made fresh each day that are designed to help you lose or maintain your weight. It's almost like having a personal chef. It's a really good deal, the company has great reviews and it means I don't have to cook my own meals for a week. It'll be like a vacation from thinking about what I have to eat, I could definitely use that every once and a while.

Anything interesting planned for this weekend? Have you ever done a food delivery service? Did you love it or hate it? Lemme know in a comment down below!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kitchen Adventure: Thick And Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated

3 cups (15 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (5 1/4 oz) dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup molasses
2 tablspoons milk

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
2. Evenly place the butter pieces over the flour mixture. Process the butter into the mixture until it looks like fine sand, about 15-30 seconds.
3. In a liquid mixing cup with a pour spout, combine the molasses and milk. With the food processor running, slowly pour the milk-molasses mixture in in an even stream. Process a few extra seconds to ensure that the mixture is fully combined.
4. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper to baking sheet size and set aside. Turn the dough out onto the counter or a silicone baking mat. Divide it into two equally sized balls and set one aside. Place one dough ball on a sheet of parchment paper. Set a second sheet on top of the dough ball and gently flatten it a bit so that it will be easier to roll. Now take a rolling pin and roll the dough between the two parchment sheets until it's 1/4" thick. Place the rolled dough (still with its parchment paper) on a baking sheet and repeat the process with the other dough ball.
5. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes to chill the dough. Alternatively you can leave the dough for 2-24 hours in the fridge.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. Remove both of the dough sheets from the freezer/fridge and remove the top sheet of parchment. Note: I recommend using this sheet to bake the cookies on as it saves parchment paper. Using whatever cookie cutter shape you prefer, cut out the cookies and place them on a baking sheet, setting the scraps aside. Reroll the scraps between the parchment sheets (chill if it gets too warm and stick) and repeat until no more dough remains.
8. Bake the cookies until they're just set, 8-11 minutes. Gently touching a cookie with a finger should barely leave an imprint.
9.  Eat or decorate if you want, enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How-To: Soft boiled eggs

When Eric and I first started dating, I used to proclaim my dislike of eggs with runny yolks rather vocally. I didn't even really like eggs fully cooked. I'm not sure what exactly caused me to dislike them so much. Perhaps it was all of my trips to Norway where the heavily cream laden lunch-time cafeteria food forced me to consume a lunch of two bread slices with butter, a hard-boiled egg and a side of fruit for three weeks straight.

Whatever the reason was, I decided to give eggs a chance again. I even gave sunny-side up a try and found that I loved the runny yolk. However, there is this one small problem that I've found with cooking them sunny-side up: the little bit of white that surrounds the yolk doesn't always get completely cooked. It stays runny and not in a pleasant way. It repulses me to the point where I actually have to gently scrape it off into the garbage disposal. I dislike wasting bits of my egg so I contemplated a new method of cooking them, a way that would result in completely cooked whites but molten yolks.

The method?

Soft-boiling!
Step 1: Bring enough water to cover the eggs to a rolling boil.
Step 2: Gently place two eggs straight from the
fridge into the water.
Step 3: Boil for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Remove eggs from water and set aside.
Don't bother drying them; they will dry themselves.
Step 5: Put the (hot) egg in a paper towel so you can hold it while
gently tapping it with a spoon to crack the shell. Peel!
Step 6: Prepare the eggs in whatever manner you want to eat
them. I like mine on a toasted bagel thin with some paprika
and chili powder.
Step7: Enjoy!
What's your favorite way to eat eggs? Let me know in a comment down below!

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's your secret?

If you've recently paused and looked around at the magazine covers in the checkout aisle at the grocery store, you may have noticed that almost all of them claim that they have the article which will help you shed x lbs in y days. It's a tempting promise that seemingly distills weight loss into something simple and easy. It plays strongly on a desire every person who has struggled with weight has: the desire for the secret to quick, easy and permanent weight loss. It should come as no surprise then that when people hear I've lost and kept off a significant amount of weight, the first question is, "What's your secret?"
Image: winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One of the most important factors to successfully maintaining my loss so far has been avoiding radical change, both dietary and fitness. I didn't (and still don't) cut entire food groups from my eating habits. Over time, my diet has evolved from making small changes and allowing them to accumulate. My favorite example is how I take my coffee. Two years ago, I couldn't tolerate my coffee without two tablespoons of creamer and two packets of Equal. I had decided that I wanted to reduce the amount of artificial sweeteners in my diet so I started out by cutting my Equal packets down to one. I noticed one day on the back of the packet that a single packet of Equal was three teaspoons of sugar, so that day I put in those three teaspoons of sugar instead and logged it in my food log. After some time had passed, I noticed that the sugar in my coffee was a lot of empty calories that I could be using elsewhere, so I halved the amount. Eventually I simply stopped putting sugar in my coffee at all. It wasn't long after that that I realized the creamer didn't add much either, and now I drink my coffee black. It took just over a year to achieve that by making tiny little changes that didn't feel like a big deal at the time.

One of the tougher aspects that I continue to struggle with is how I handle my negative emotions. I never used believe that I was an emotional eater, but now I know that's simply not true. In tough times, when I'm feeling low, my first inclination is always to reach for the chocolate chip bag or the chocolate peanut butter container. Intellectually, I understand that this is not the solution to whatever is causing my feelings. But like an addict, I want the fix that chocolate sugary goodness provides. I've learned at those moments the best thing I can do is get up, go for a walk (or a run) and ponder over what the root of the emotion is. Food has never once been the answer to handling these problems, but it's not always easy to be that introspective and stop yourself.

Given the previous paragraph, it's obvious that situations where I find myself eating too much still occur. I used to beat myself up a lot when this happened. I still do feel guilty when it happens, but I have come to realize that one mess up once in a while isn't going to make me fat again. Truly letting go, and not caring at all about the fuel I put into my body every time I made a food choice would make me fat, and that does not seem likely to happen. Forgiveness and acceptance are the best responses to these situations. Forgive the mess-up, accept that it happened and move forward remembering to try and make a better choice next time.

Maintenance is certainly not easy, and there's no secret to make it easy. It's about learning learning how to cope with negative emotions, seeking balance by avoiding radical change, and forgiving yourself when you inevitably slip up. In truth, everything I've learned in maintenance has helped me live a happier and more balanced life.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In: 1/6/2012

Weight: 127.2
Body Fat %: 20.0 + 3 = 23.0%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"
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It's been a few months since I did a weekly weigh-in post, so I think it's time to bring them back as a sort of recap for my weeks since I don't do the daily posts anymore. As I was weighing in this morning I was curious what my weigh-in looked like a year ago so I took a peek. It's interesting to have a history of weekly weigh-ins like this since it gives me insight into how well my training is working for me. I actually have over 2 years worth of this data in CalorieKing which I occasionally dump to a spreadsheet and play around with. I'm a geek, I know.

Four-eyes
In other news, I am a proud new owner of a pair of these:
They're my first pair of glasses (ever) and fortunately I only need them for driving or watch movies with subtitles. I enjoy being to see with the crisp clarity that I used to be able to but wearing them feels odd to me. It's definitely going to take some getting used to.

Blisters, ow
Over my holiday break, I stopped by a DSW and picked up a pair of these:
I love them; they're cute and they aren't high heels but...
I don't love that after one work day of wearing them my heels were so badly wrecked up that bandaids were necessary. I don't know what the solution to this particular problem is yet, but I definitely intend to figure it out. I really like the shoes!

How's your weekend been so far?