Monday, April 27, 2009

More dreams than food

Good morning everyone.

It's a monday, and I guess that's about the best way to describe it. The past few weeks have been wrought with lack of exercise and indiscreminate eating. I couldn't care.

My best friend is in medical school right now and she and I have had a million conversations about eating right and having time to work out and feeling a million times worse about slipping up for a day/week/month than we do about feeling food for the one day/week/month that we did well.

Perhaps it's been my inability to care, or maybe it's that God loves me that much to know that this week is going to be hellish enough without weight gain. So he let me lose a pound.

By the mathematical rules of addition and subtraction, I would have gained weight. I probably ate more calories, and I know I burned fewer. I should have, be all accounts, gained weight.

This entry serves a few purposes:
1) to remind everyone that as much as we'd love to make weight loss black and white, we can't always account for that random gain or loss of a pound
2) stall from having to get my monday started.
3) talk about something entirely different.

And now for something completely different.

I mentioned a while ago that I've started my own business and that I was excited.

Words probably dont' do that justice because now that I've gotten to a point of pain with my job, and this is my way out. I think a lot about what I'll do when I quit working here. Rodan + Fields will likely be about a 20 hour a week requirement, which is fine by me. Chadd and I talked for a bit about grad school this weekend and I determined that when R+F takes off, I might decide to go back, if I want. I know I want to get my degree at some point, but now that I have another way out of my current job, I no longer feel the need to go as soon as possible.

I day dream a lot about how the future will look. For your viewing pleasure (and for a break from reading about food), here it is:

8:30: wake up, stretch, feed kitties
9:00: depending upon weather, go for walk or run, maybe make it to the gym
9:30-10: return home depending upon duration of outting
10:30: showered, at my desk, email opened
12:00: Several emails, a few phone calls, and some training review later, I have lunch.
1:00: Present the business
3:00: Return home
4:00: Finish reading the paper, my afternoon coffee, start thinking about dinner.

The reality of that schedule is that this is what will happen. If Chadd is still working his insane hours, my days will really look like this:

11:00: Roll out of bed, open laptop and feed cats
11:30: Shower
1:00: After some kind of breakfast/lunch combo, drive chadd to work
2:00: Present business to someone
3:30: Return home
4:30: finish watching daytime TV
5:00: Start thinking about dinner
2:00: wonder where my day went, wait for chadd to come home, fall asleep immediately once he gets back.

I really want the first lifestyle. I think I'd probably work at a gym part time to get experience in gym management. But for now, these are all hopes and dreams and projections when I really don't know how things will go. I believe that we will have incredible success, that this lifestyle is possible and that freedom is possible next year.

I am making the promise to myself that in pursuit of this dream, bad days, set backs, and discouragement will not change my mind. is my ticket out of here.

Next time, I promise to talk about food.

Monday, April 20, 2009

You wine some, you lose some

Good morning from rainy, nasty Washington.

I have not actually fallen into a pit, eaten myself into a coma, or otherwise abandoned my blog as I'm sure many of you had assumed.

I've just been consumed by other things. Which actually leads me, in a strange way, into what I want to write about today.

I've figured out how to eat normally without totally blowing my diet.

This all started when Chadd's mom came into town a little more than week ago. Since Chadd works night and Kimberly and I have the benefit of getting along very well, we decided to go out for drinks and dinner.

But before dinner, we took about a 45 minute walk up to the zoo and back. Then we perused the Dupont restaurant selection, and finding nothing that made us go "ooh" on Connecticut, we moved over towards 18th and found a little bistro called Rosemary's Thyme that combines American grill with Mediterranian (sp).

We sat down, had a glass of wine, then ordered a salad to split. That was it and because we had all the time we needed, we decided that if we wanted more food, we'd order more.

Halfway through the salad, we decided that we probably needed another bite of something. So we ordered a roasted vegetable pizza. Having seen a pizza that went by earlier, it appeared that these were thin crusted, mostly topping laden pizzas. Good news on the roasted veggie front!

Because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to register how much food you've eaten, by the time the pizza showed up, I was approaching full, but needed a topper. I probably had a slim slice and a half and was done. It didn't hurt that we were talking a million miles an hour, either. Always eat with people you like; it not only makes the meal more enjoyable, but the more you talk, the slower you eat, and the more likely you are to realize that you're full.

The weekend progressed in a similar fashion. When we ate, it was punctured with conversation, we ordered by courses, and had an enjoyable. time. I'm sure I made up all my calories in wine...but you wine some you lose some (ha ha....okay, give me a break, it's monday.)

Regardless, what helped too is that since we were so busy, we were mostly just eating little bites of things here and there.

Things continued well last week as I cut back on my snacking, stayed good for lunch and dinner (I had made soup on Tuesday along with some eggplant something something).

Saturday was an epic fail, though. After a day of painting and tooling around the apartment, both Chadd and I realized we were really hungry and it was getting out came the papa john's coupons and I pretty much inhaled pizza.

And that's okay.

This week I'm back on track, continuing to watch what I eat. Always ordering a salad before I have anything else (90% of the time, I'm satisfied), and trying to get back to the gym while work fights aggressively to keep me lazy.

Bottom line: once you know what you're eating down to the ounce, scoping outward is more of a challenge of maintaining scrutiny, eating less when eating worse, and not throwing a plan of attack out the window.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chocolate indulgences

This morning I woke up late. Rather, I hit snooze until really late. This made me fuzzy all morning (this is important to keep in mind.)

I got to work and boom, like clockwork, right after I had gotten my coffee (19 calories with the skim milk), someone was in our office with post baby shower treats. These included beautiful, designer chocolate bars.

In case you didn't know, chocolate is my weakness. I love chocolate about as much as I love good restaurant bread--which is a lot.

This basket had the most beautiful bar of dark, coconut filled chocolate. Yes please.

Without a thought of "I shouldnt' eat this," I did. (Remember: fuzzy brain syndrome)

And man was it amazing. Chococlate surrounding the lightest, most flaky coconut layer. It quite literally melted into butter, sugar, and cocoa in my mouth. (Do a test, are you salivating? Are you craving chocolate? Okay, now skim down and read my entry on cravings. Go drink that big cup of water).

Not only was it amazing, it was 250 calories amazing.

Did I care? nope!

And then I got a ridiculous raging headache. So much for me and my chocolate dreams. I'd have been a lot better off having a 50 calorie square of it, saving it and savoring it...and avoiding the headache.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Magazines Health Tips: good for...!

Hold tight, I need to brew some coffee...

Okay. Coffee, check.

Let's talk about girl magazines. I admit, I read Glamour and Cosmo and all those crappy magazines (really, just those two).

For a while, I was pulled into the magazine "Lose 10 pounds--THIS MONTH!" type articles. And then...I wasn't. Because I realized my pattern. We read the promise, we skim the section and despite their best efforts, it's almost setting women up to fail. I actually got...2 workouts into something from Shape, once.

That's not to say that the health tips they provide aren't wonderful, and the "fat blasting beach moves!" aren't also legit--they are. But here's the problem: it's not a program.

If you want to add a new move to your routine, cool. If you typically eat at McDonalds and you see their "eat this not that" tip of the month (provided you like eating 710 calories), then excellent for you...and you will probably not identify with me at all on this one.

But I think the problem is not with the magazines, it's with our culture. (no...really??) These magazines are not health magazines (and even the ones that are, they're for the group of people looking for tips--not plans) but people treat the tips like they are. At least, my mind did. I never followed through on the Self get fit club, and I don't like to be on a bright pink website at work to go through Cosmo's beach body club. I guess I'm just a believer in a lifestyle change.

The golden answer to the weight loss conundrum is this:
1) Watch what you eat by knowing what you eat: keeping a food journal really is truly the key. Magazines do tout this one, but they don't tell you why. Or if they do, I really want to push it into everyone's brain.

I was guilty of "this is kind of...a cup...(when it's really 2)" and "i don't have to write down these five hershey's kisses" (which total to about 100 calories). These little cheats add up (trust me, it's depressing when you realize you're doing all that work and cheating yourself). And being honest with yourself, not fudging, and not trying to change that food diary in your first week of keeping it will keep you on track. I don't think you need to keep a food diary forever. I fall off the wagon now and then since I've been doing it for about a month--because I'm hyper aware. But to do something mentally, you have to have had a lot of practice at it to get it right in the first place.

2) Get your ass in gear. Food is 70% of your weight loss regiment. Sucks, I know. I'd rather eat whatever I wanted and work out to burn it off...but it doesn't work that way for whatever horrid reason. For some people, getting in gear is a 20 minute walk. For the fortunate/unfortuate like me, who already have a gym habit (or gym job)...we have to bump it up a notch. Try for something every day. Last night was my epic fail...I skipped the gym to clean my apartmetn until I realized I'd probably done at least 15 minutes of stair climbing doing my laundry 6 out of the 8 floors in my building. (it's still a cop out)

I'm not a big believer in the lists of things that burn calories that you "don't even know you burn." Because calculating your caloric needs already take that into account (I'll put up that formual later). You have to dedicate yourself to sheer physical activity once a day.

3) Balance it out. I am not a person who will ever be able to banish pizza from my life. And I'm not talking about substituting in lean cuisine pizzas. I love pizza, pasta, chocolate ice cream, cake, good desserts from restaurants, etc. I love it. And I'll never give it up. I am still struggling with where that line is for me. Where is the line between blowing it and indulging. I know I talked about it last entry, but it's still something I'm concerned about. It's about experience, I guess.

And that's all it is. At least, thats all I think it is. It's not about fast fatty flab busting moves, or eat this not that for one dish. It's about education and dedication. I sound so old fashioned. But it's true. It's also about professing your love for all that is bad in food and moving on.

On a fun note: Glamour asks their staff: "Which health habit are you proudest of?"
(it's it most proud?) Journey with me through their eye rolling answers.

1) "I meditate every morning. It helps me mentally prepare for my day."
Realist response: I meditate...while I'm hitting snooze. (Honestly, I wish I could get up and get myself together before I had to go to work)

2) "I don't drink coffee: instead, I drink 64 ounces of water a day."
Realist response: $#!#% you're either an alien, cheat by drinking diet coke, or you life is much much easier than mine. What a nut ball. I will never give up my coffee (Ps. they say that 1-2 cups a day helps boost metabolish. whether that's true or not, I don't really care. I'm going to continue to drink it.)

3) "I laugh a lot. Staying happy keeps the stress away!"
Realist response: this was a cop out answer. I bet she smokes, throws back a few cocktails every night, and uses laxatives. People like her provide me with a good laugh.

4) "I stopped ordering takeout. I like knowing exactly what I'm putting in my body."
Realist response: I'm actually about 80% with her on this one. But I believe in keeping your options open, because I'm a real person who has a real life that is usually not 100% in my control. Order from a place that will provide nutritional information or do your google research. We're all busy people. I'm one of the least busy I know and I still struggle to make dinner at home some nights. Take out knowledge is the trick.

5) "I wake up at 5 am to work out. It's challenging but rewarding!"
Realist response: Okay. You got me. The only thing here that bothers me is that "!" at the end. I get up early to go to the gym, too. It's the only time I have sometimes (this after I say I'm the least busy person I know--I know a lot of really really busy people who don't sleep). When people ask me when I work out, I do not add a "!" to the end of my answer. It's just assinine.

6) "I quit smoking. My life has improved in so many ways."
Realist response: Good for you. I'm proud of you, random staffer.

7) "I get my beauty sleep. I need eight hours every night so I can recharge."
Realist response: You either have a very very cushy job, a very rich boyfriend/husband, or absolutely no life...or all of the above. I wish you ill, as does everyone else in this world who has a life.

8) "I gave up fried foods a year ago and haven't eaten any since!"
Realist response: STOP WITH THE "!!!!" aaauuggh. People who do this stuff are so superior sometimes. Eat the fries. Just...don't go overboard, okay?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Crispy Tofu Trials

Days just slip by, don't they?

So update on the hectic 50 hour lifestyle. The benefit of getting up early has been that I'm at the office early. It reminds me how much I prefer getting a start on the day. Once I'm off the 50 hours/week, I am telling myself that I will continue to get up early so I can spend an hour drinking coffee, getting ready, reading the paper. This is, of course, a pipedream.

Once my gym buddy stops traveling for work, I'll get back on my morning work outs, which will be supremely beneficial for all involved. And I'll be up early for that anyway.

I've continued to be good eating, aside from a slip up at work yesterday where I had a small square of cake. My brownie-craving friend, hence known as Brownie, and I went to the gym together last night and I told her about the slip up and about how I was pretty close to my calorie requirement anyway and that whatever, we all need chocolate cake now and then.

I was wrong. Very very wrong.

Because I felt sick running on the treadmill. I had chills then hot flashes then waves of naseau. It's true that once your body gets used to healthy food, it really doesn't like bad food. Mine really really didn't. I felt even worse later in the night. My sugar levels were totally out of control. I eat sugar. I eat a lot of natural sugar--fruit is quickly becoming my depedency as are 100 calorie packs. But that cake was so not a good plan. My co-worker and I have agreed to remind each other how sick we felt next time there is cake involved.

So far, 2 of 3 days, I have gone to the gym. Tuesday was church, so I was exempt. I still have to go tonight and either Friday or Saturday, which will take some convincing of my will.

In food news, I'd like to share with you my latest escapade into the real world of dieting.


I actually really like tofu. I've always preferred it in my chinese food more than I have the meat of whatever variety. Call me suspicious. But I dont' really cook with it. I like fried tofu, which I can only assume takes lumps of almost nada calorie bean curd and load it with calories.

I had a block of tofu in the fridge from a previous dream of making my volumetrics pad thai tofu. Didn't happen. So I opened it up, loaded up google and did a search "lo cal tofu recipes." I eventually found something that applied to what I could make with my limited supplies. I basically have spices, some lettuce, tofu, and a few random veggies.

I took the tofu, sliced it into about 1/4" slices, threw it in a pan that was sprayed with vegetable spray, coated with chili powder, garlic salt, peper, and salt. I had some spicy sauce stuff that I threw on there (adding 25 calories) and gave ti about 5 minutes a side. Not really crispy. The recipe online said to throw it in the oven at 400 degrees--that would make it crispy. Did that, no go. Set to broil, 4 minutes later.

I threw together some lightly stirfried veggies (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms) and dumped the tofu on top.

I wouldn't serve it in a restaurant and I still have no idea how to make a healthy crispy tofu...but it wasn't bad. I give it a weak three stars. Filled me up, it was spicy (which, for me, is a plus) and reheated well for lunch. Everyone said it smelled good, so I get points there.

Now, I just have to tackle texture, which, as Brownie would say, is the most important part.

Lesson: I like tofu, but I think I need more research and a better stocked fridge.