Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I'm exhausted today. Exhausted, but mostly on track. As I'm sure it was for most of you, eating healthy over Memorial Day Weekend was tough. Being away and having other people prepare/serve food limited my control, which was mostly okay. Three things were challenging for me: (1) dessert... how can you pass on dessert? Even having only a few bites, it's easy to end up over my calorie budget for the day, (2) low fiber - with other people providing food, I found myself eating almost no beans and all white bread/pasta, so my fiber intake TANKED, and (3) wine... I can say I'm going to have just one glass, but what are the chances? Even with those three challenges, I think I did alright this past week.

As you can see, I was way over budget on Saturday and Sunday, but I still managed to drink almost 100 oz. of water, do my all of my P90X3 workouts, and get >10,000 steps. I gained 1.2 pounds from Friday morning to Tuesday morning, but am down 0.4 pounds today (Wednesday AM) and I think there may be some additional factors contributing to the fluctuation beyond the Boston Crème Pie and 3 glasses of cabernet sauvignon from Sunday.

Last week I was able to get myself in gear and go to spin class on Tuesday - woo! It was great to be back; I sweated SO MUCH and felt good afterwards. I meant to go again Thursday but I was drained from work/not sleeping enough. This week I thought I'd go yesterday, but once again I didn't get up and do P90X3 in the morning and couldn't fit them both in at night, so no spin. I'm hoping to go Thursday, but I'm really struggling to get up and workout, and if I do, I'm tired after work and the idea of spin is not so appealing. It's kind of silly, because even though I am consistently happy I went after I go, and I know that in the moment where I'm choosing to skip, I just can't will myself to do it anyway sometimes. (You would think as a clinical health psychologist I'd be able to get myself out of this, right?).

As for healthier eats, we made a lighter version of buffalo chicken spaghetti last week which was awesome and a Skinnytaste recipe - cheeseburger casserole, which was not our favorite, but wasn't bad. We made my MIL a modified version of this pork noodle stir fry over the weekend, so between leftovers from that and last week, I'm off the hook for cooking dinner all week long! Already starting to look towards next week (6-12th), I think I'll try to make a few vegetarian things because Scott will be traveling for work.

Next week, some of my P90X3 workouts require a pull up bar. Which I don't have. I also don't have resistance bands or a good place to anchor them once I buy them, so, if anyone has brilliant suggestions for modifications, I'm all ears :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2 weeks of updates

Things have been BUSY!

Luckily, I've stayed on track with my fitness and nutrition goals for the most part.  Since my last post I gave up on watching the balance of carbs, protein, and fat I eat each day. It's still saved in my LoseIt! app, but it doesn't seem to be giving me any useful information. I try to be mindful about eating enough proteins and choosing "good" carbs, but right now trying to strive for a certain balance doesn't seem helpful.

Two weeks ago (May 8th week) was my first week of it, which included my trip to NC - so I had to double up on some workouts before I left and once I got back to fit everything in.  However, when they are only 30 minutes long and some of them are lower impact (e.g. yoga), that's not impossible.

May 9-15
As you can see, I was sticking on track with all my goals until I flew down to NC on Friday morning. 500 calories over budget (and who knows what Saturday) isn't ideal, but to be honest, I wasn't that unhappy about it either. My app aims for me to lose 1.5 pounds a week, so my daily caloric deficit is around 750. Which means if I eat 500 calories over budget once or twice, I'm still not likely to gain weight. Also, Durham food... yum. My MIL took us to one of my favorite restaurants, Harvest 18, for dinner on Saturday after the hooding ceremony, and it was INCREDIBLE. They strive to have at least 80% of their foods locally sourced and have an amazing style of fresh southern food.  We also went to brunch at Rue Cler, home of my favorite beignets and a duck confit crepe that is to die for.
Hooding Ceremony
We flew back Sunday night and had a relatively uneventful week last week, except that my grant was due this week so I was stressing out about that and working all weekend.  Often times, when I get stressed about work I'm likely to decide I don't have time for exercise or time to cook, so I eat take out and don't work out. I think one of the reasons P90X3 is going well so far is that it's only 30 minutes and can be done at home easily, so I have an easier time telling myself I do have the time to workout even if work is insane.  I also keep trying to remind myself that exercise helps me de-stress, which makes it MORE likely that I'll be able to focus on work later.

May 16 -22
Usually food would be a different story and I would have eaten lots of takeout last week/this week before the grant went in. I think having splurged so much in NC curbed that a bit - I was ready for "regular" and healthier food. I also had a pretty good plan of attack. I made two dishes that had leftovers (three-cheese chicken penne primavera and shrimp pad thai) and threw in Taco Tuesday to mix it up. Both dishes were relatively easy - I made them Monday and Wednesday - and that gave me Thursday through the weekend to focus on work and not cooking. I have noticed a decline in the past week of my fiber intake, so I think I'll need to keep an eye on that to ensure that I maintain around 25g per day.

You might have noticed I didn't go to spin at ALL those past two weeks. That's probably the side effect of the stress and getting used to P90X3. I went last night - hooray! and will try to keep going 2x/week best I can. I also think I'm changing my water intake goal from 75oz/day to 100 oz/day, because I sweat a LOT with my workouts, and because it's obviously achievable based on how I've been doing.

This weekend will be another test - going to the lake means having less control over what I eat and needing to really watch portion control. BUT, I have a plan in place to get all my workouts in and there is a lovely 1.5ish mile loop to walk the dog on, so I should be able to get all my exercise in... fingers crossed I might even get to swim if it's nice enough!

Monday, May 9, 2016

weekly update

Recap of week one of being super committed and attempting to use public sharing as a means to keep my self accountable!

I've decided I'll share some weekly stats in chart format for you, so here's the breakdown of what you'll be seeing:

-Calories: I'll share how far over or under I was for my daily caloric target, taking into account how much exercise I did, so if I get in a lot of physical activity, I get a calorie bonus from my Jawbone fitness tracker
-Breakdown: just reporting this as I try to find the right balance
-Fiber: 25 g per day
-Water: 75 oz per day
-Exercise: 30 minute HIIT-style workouts 5 days per week + -2 spin classes per week
-Steps: 10,000 per day

My week, May 2-8:

Are there any other stats you think would be helpful for me to track, or things you'd enjoy seeing? Not sure if the carb/protein/fat breakdown is telling me anything useful... essentially, I eat 3 servings of fruit most days and then have a carb as part of my dinner (rice, pasta, quinoa, couscous, tortillas, etc.).

Some food I ate this week:
-Szechuan broccoli and beef, from the Biggest Loser Cookbook. This was DELICIOUS. We used store bought Scezchuan sauce, which although high in sodium, didn't have 1,000 random ingredients and wasn't too high in calories. It was quite spicy, but if you love spicy, this comes highly recommended
I swear there's spinach hidden down in there
-Fruit smoothies: For breakfast, I've been doing 1.5 cups frozen fruit, a handful of baby spinach, 1/4 cup Greek fat free plain yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, Splenda, and Vanilla extract.  I've been varying the fruit with a mix of berries - sometimes all one berry, sometimes a variety. So far it's going well and keeps me full until around 10-11:30am, depending on the day.
Mostly strawberries in this one I think
I currently have a free 30 day trial to Beachbody On Demand, so that's what I've been trying a range of workouts. So far I like the 21 Day Fix (regular and extreme) and P90X3. The other ones I've tried have been okay, but I think the combo of SO. MUCH. JUMPING. with not being in the best-ever shape made them less desirable. 21DF Regular (the sample workout was cardio) reminded me of Jillian, but finally I didn't have to listen to Jillian tell me not to phone it in. For the Extreme sample, it was Plyo, which was a significant amount of jumping, but somehow more tolerable than 22 min HC or T25... maybe because there were weights involved? I'm not sure.

I'm doing an accountability group with some ladies right now and we check in daily with #sweatyselifes, so here's my best from week 1:
Hello, early morning workout
While I have this free trial I'm going to take full advantage and I'm going to be trying the P90X3 workouts (the 21DF, you have to pay extra for the full program, which I'm ambivalent about, because, $60 for DVDs with a total of 6 30 minute workouts? seems expensive, yet, who am I to judge how much these things are worth). Anyway, for the time being, I'm going with the "Lean" block of P90X3 (there's classic, lean, mass, doubles, and elite blocks) so for the first three weeks I'll be trying:

  • Accelerator
  • The Warrior
  • X3 Yoga
  • CVS
  • Isometrix
  • Agility X
  • Rest, or Dyanmix 
This week is going to be tough because I'll be out of town Friday-Sunday and getting in a workout at all looks very unlikely, so if Sunday was Day #1 with Accelerator, I think I'll realistically only get through Isometrix this week.

I think that's all for now... wish me luck with week 2 of being on track (...ish, because with my trip I definitely won't be nearly as regimented). 

Monday, May 2, 2016

blog reset.

Hello, dear friends! It's been a while.  I stopped blogging nearly two years ago.  Life got so busy, and I wasn't doing much running, and this just kind of fell to the wayside. However, I've recently decided to get things going again on here. I think having a place to report on my successes & failures at maintaining a healthy lifestyle is good for me - it helps me feel accountable.  To that end, a few updates and goals I'm working towards:

Cooking continues to be something I enjoy quite a bit, and the more I cook the easier it is for me to eat healthy. Primarily, I'm trying to stay in a certain calorie budget each day by tracking my food intake on LoseIt!, but I've also been trying to pay more attention to my ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. My focus has been on increasing my fruit & vegetable intake and to do so I've begun relying on fruit smoothies (with frozen fruit, milk, and Greek yogurt) as my breakfast staple, I'm packing fruit as a snack/side for lunch, and I'm eating a side salad with dinner each night, but I think I might be eating relatively too many carbohydrates, and not enough proteins and fats, and am trying to figure out fixes for that. I've continued using the Betty Crocker cookbook that started this blog, and have also been using a Biggest Loser cookbook quite a bit, in combination with recipes from Cooking Light's website or random internet searches.

Food-Related Goals:
-Stick to a daily caloric budget I've chosen on LoseIt!,
-Incorporate fruits & vegetables regularly
-Eat plenty of fiber (25 grams per day),
-Try to find the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (I'm thinking 40/30/30%, but I'm not as committed to that yet).

From that first twinge of pain in 2013 until today, I've never really been able to get back into running. Physical therapy was helpful while I was doing it as a means to treat acute pain, but I never got "better." I've tried to restart several times, using the Couch to 5K plan, but I've never gotten to a point where I could run more than 1-2 miles without pain, so I've temporarily decided that running is not on the table for me and am focusing on other types of exercise.

Since moving to CT, I found a gym near my house with spinning  classes. My goal right now is to go twice a week - Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I'd love to also go once on the weekend, but have yet to make it to a weekend class. In addition, I'm trying to incorporate HIIT-type workouts - recently I was doing the 30 Day Shred, but I'm now trying to learn about some of the Beach Body options. My ideal would be to find 30 minute HIIT-style workouts I could do before work.

Also, about a year ago, I purchased a Jawbone UP!, which is very similar to a FitBit, just a different brand. My Jawbone tracks my steps and sleep, and helps me to estimate how many calories I'm burning. I don't have the fancy one that includes HR monitoring (see: my wish list), but I do like tracking my steps.

Physical Activity-Related Goals:
-10,000 steps per day
-30 minute HIIT-style workouts 5 days per week
-2 spin classes per week

Sadly, I've gained a lot of weight since I had to stop running in 2013. At first, I think the significant decrease in physical activity coupled with not changing my eating habits contributed to weight gain. Then I went through a period of time where I was traveling a lot and didn't have a very structured schedule, so finding ways to eat healthy and incorporate non-running workouts was difficult. Then in 2014, I moved to Mississippi where I never really found a good workout regime and continued gaining. Since moving to CT, I've lost a bit of that weight, but mostly have just maintained.

Weight Loss Goals:
-Return to the weight I was in late 2012 / early 2013 (that's about 20 pounds from where I am today)
-Fit comfortably in clothing I was wearing in late 2012 / early 2013 (typically size 4)

I've taken some measurements and weighed in this morning, so I'll try to update how I'm doing on my goals, share successes and failures, and let you know about any yummy recipes I discover.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cooking in Jackson

Couscous stuffed bell peppers!
Black bean and spinach enchiladas!
Baked couscous with asparagus!

What do these things have in common?  Is it... A) that I cooked them all this week, B) that they are all from the Betty Crocker cookbook that I started this blog to cook through, C) foods that Scott would refuse to eat if he were here, or D) all of the above?

If you selected D, you are correct!

One of the "perks" of living apart from Scott for the year is the opportunity to cook a wider range of food, since I don't have to cater to Scott's picky eating habits.  I started my first week off right by cooking three meals he would turn his nose up at.  First up: bell peppers stuffed with couscous.
This is a relatively simple recipe that includes ground beef, onions, couscous, and tomato sauce, all mixed together and stuffed into a bell pepper.  Then you put the stuffed bell peppers in the slow cooker for 5-7 hours, and out pops one of my favorite meals.  Yum.
Up next: baked asparagus with couscous.  This is another relatively simple meal, that is essentially a vegetarian casserole.  Carrots, onions, asparagus, couscous, some broth and cream of whatever soup...  boom!
This week when I went to grocery shop, I couldn't find bread crumbs, so I ended up toasting and making my own.  A bit more work, but don't they look beautiful on top of that casserole?  Also note, this was the first dinner I got to eat at my fancy new farmhouse dining room table.  It's 8 feet long, which will be perfect for potluck dinners with our 11-person resident class.
Lastly, unpictured, I made a casserole of enchiladas.  Pretty standard eating for our house, but I was able ot pack in black beans and spinach since I wasn't sharing with Scott.  And so you have my first week of cooking!
As an aside, I HAD planned to make a vegetable lasagna this weekend, and then freeze some of it for the future, but something happened with our electricity/circuit breakers and our oven is currently out of commission.  This house/move has just been one adventure after another... stay tuned for more!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Exploring the Neighborhood

Despite working out almost never for the first three weeks in June (oops), I manage to go for a walk or run/walk three out of the first four days I lived here.  I'm still having some foot pain and I'm not in the greatest shape right now, so I'm continuning the run/walk intervals.  I tell myself that Isis appreciates them too, since she is still getting in the running groove.  On Wednesday, I decided to try for 3 miles with a pattern of 3 minutes running, 2 minutes walking.  Garmin can very clearly illustrate the intervals for you:
In case you didn't know, Mississippi is HOT.  Moreso than hot, it is very, very humid.  So in 85+ degree weather with intense humidity, three miles is pretty far.  I didn't want to overheat Isis (or myself) so I decided to do two 1.5-ish mile loops with a water break at the house in between.
That "water break" after the first 1.89 miles turned into a 20 minute respite - Isis was panting, I was dripping, and I needed a mental break to convince myself that I could, in fact, finish 3 miles.
Our second loop turned out to be an out-and-back, since I was exploring my neighborhood and didn't want to head onto the nearby main road.  It turned out perfectly, because the out and back was 1.27 miles for a total of 3.16 miles in 44 minutes.  We aren't breaking any records down here, but that's the highest mileage I've logged in a while, so I'll take it.  I'll have to start using the 'lap' feature on my watch so I can see how fast my running intervals are, but I'm honestly not all that concerned with my pace right now.
My new running route!
After a bit of neighborhood exploration, I'm happy to say that my neighborhood seems well-suited for running: not too many hills, sidewalks when you get to bigger roads, and a decent amount of shade from tree coverage.  My plan for now is to try to run/walk 3 times per week and do strength training the other 3 times per week.  We will see how it all pans out once I get used to my new work schedule!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Adventures in Mississippi, part 1 of many

Hello, lovely readers, from Jackson, Mississippi, where I will be living for the next year as I finish my last year of graduate school.
My new desk, where I am writing this post!
I've only been here five days and I've already had a few adventures I thought I would share, in cooking, running/walking, and in life in general.
This is the house I will be sharing with two other ladies for the year - we've all left our husbands in other parts of the country and will be roommates during internship year.  Adventure number one: finding out that all those beautiful trees in my yard are likely inhibiting my ability to get Direct TV, which is going to seriously alter my quality of life come football season when the Sunday NFL Ticket isn't available to me.  But, at least I have a shady back yard for Isis to play in.  (Feel free to contact me for a long rant about how the Direct TV people on the phone are FABULOUS, but the in-person technicians are the ABSOLUTE WORST... so angry!).
View of our backyard from my bedroom window!
I'm so very grateful to have a fenced in yard and great walkable neighborhood for my pup, but it does come with some minor drawbacks. Apparently, everyon in Jackson has a dog.  That's awesome, because Isis loves making friends.  However, most of my neighbors apparently see dogs as "outdoor only" pets, which means every time I let Isis out or we go for a walk, she encounters a minimum of two other dogs barking at her.  Two dogs in an adjoining yard have literally been outside nonstop for all five days I've lived here from what I can tell, and they bark every time I let Isis out.  Sorry, peace-and-quiet-loving neighbors.

While there are many perks to this backyard-with-a-fence thing, in adition to the barking neighbors, we ran into a bit of trouble on Monday.  Warning, this is kinda gross. I have been letting Isis play out in the yard for short periods of time with me being inside.  This works well because I can watch her play from my desk in my room and mostly keep an eye on her.  On Monday, I saw her jump at / bat at a bird.  I didn't think much of it, because, c'mon, a bird is going to get away from her with it's wings... right?  A moment later, I noticed she was intensely digging/exploring in a part of the yard she hadn't really been interested in yet, so I went outside to check on her.  As I emerged, she excitedly picked up something in her mouth and joyously began sprinting all around the yard.  The item in her mouth was grey-brown, and I hoped she had just found the most exciting stick on the planet, but once I got close enough to inspect the situation, I found out I was wrong.  To my horror, my little girl was carrying a dead bird around in her mouth.  EWWW. ISIS, WHAT THE HELL???  I was not pleased.  I eventually got her to drop the bird and go inside, and then had the pleasant task of disposing of said bird.  Seriously hoping this does not become a common occurence.

Although I have technically lived below the Mason-Dixon Line for my entire life, even in Durham I didn't feel like I was truly "in the south."  Yesterday, I knew for sure that we were truly amoung southerns when my roommate and I went to purchase a farmhouse table off of Craigslist.  We got the top strapped to her car just fine (our husbands would be so proud), but the base of the table was shaped in a way that we couldn't balance it on the car without hiting the windshield.  Luckily, the next door neighbors of the people who were selling us the table had a truck, and the man who lived there was willing to drive the table base to our house for us.  Yes, it was only a half mile away and took him less than 10 minutes, but as I watched him strap in our table, I knew I was finally, truly, in the south.
We successfully attach the top of the table...
We have a table.  And one chair.
Stay tuned for more adventures in cooking in my new kitchen and exploring my new neighborhood by attempting to run in extreme heat and humidity!