Monday, June 28, 2010

What I'm Running Away From

We always hear that it's not good to run away from your problems, right? Well, I have a new twist on that old advice that says it's just fine, as long as you're sneakers are in good condition.

Yesterday I ran four miles on my treadmill (in about 43 minutes) for the first time in at least five years. Though I am still not at the pace I'd prefer, it felt really good, and I ended up with more energy than when I'd started.

I realized, as I huffed and puffed to my favorite play list, that I'm running away from some things:

  • Overly stuffed fat cells
  • Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and early death
  • Depression and anxiety symptoms
  • Sore feet that carried too much weight, and rusty joints
  • Missed physical opportunities with my children
  • Missed physical opportunities with my husband ;)
  • The shame that follows a binge
  • The embarrassment the comes with being heavy
  • The sadness that comes with feeling like a failure

I'm sure I could add to this list, and perhaps I will, as I think of more. But to focus on the positive side, here's what I'm running toward:

  • The healthiest and longest life that God is willing to give me
  • Special memories made in all sorts of locations, during all kinds of activities with my precious family and friends
  • Long days at the pool, in a SWIMSUIT, rather than in pants
  • Happy times shopping for clothes that look nice and fit me well
  • A good example set for my girls
  • A body that is capable of running and playing and lifting things
  • Days that don't revolve around food and its over-consumption

Again, I'm sure this list will grow as I think of more benefits that come with the direction I'm running.

How about you? Are you running away from something and/or toward something else?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fruit Like Candy

I really hate some things about summer: the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, Japanese Beetles, monstrous weeds, etc.

But then there's the fruit. The sweet, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth ripe fruits that only come this time of year. I'm certain eating healthfully is much easier in summer than any other season.

First, your bathing suit is quick to remind you if you're backsliding. Second, it's almost too hot to want to be too full. And then there's the amazing selection of fresh produce to enjoy instead of munching on less healthy snacks.

My lunch today is pictured. That's a heap of plain Greek yogurt on top of a whole peach, and several scoops of watermelon. Yummy. And I am crazy full now. I may have overdone the watermelon scooping a tad.

On a less healthy note, I found an ice cream brand I've been looking for lately. Clemmy's makes a full-fat sugar-free ice cream that's not made with any artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. I believe they're using sugar alcohols for most of the sweetness.

I bought a little container of chocolate and one of vanilla. It'll take 200 calories from my daily budget for one little half of a cup, so I won't be eating this often! I give my girls one scoop of ice cream each week, and I think I can go with that schedule too. I took a little spoonful, and it was amazing...It's a good thing I'm not an ice cream fanatic. On the downside, the creaminess comes from cow fat, and I try to limit how much of that I eat. I prefer the coconut milk ice creams, because I believe that fat is healthier...but I have yet to find our favorite kind made with anything other than agave syrup, which I've come to find is not much better than sugar or corn syrup :(

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm a Food Sneak

Not the kind I used to be: sneaking food behind the backs of my children, husband, friends, and parents. Boy, have I eaten my share of calories in junk food behind the backs of others.

The kind of food I've been sneaking lately has all been healthy. I sneak some extra protein into a smoothie, or some extra fiber into my oatmeal. I sneak Omega-3 oils in the form of a capsule, because I really can only eat so much salmon.

I snuck some eggs into my girls today, in the form of "bread pudding". I didn't really know what to call it, so that's what it became. My oldest daughter (almost 9) asked me if I was using a recipe. "Yes", I said. (My own, as I make it up, loosly based on something I may have seen in Fannie Farmer!). She was skeptical about what I was making, and didn't want me to force her to try something she might hate. Like spinach, gasp!

I snuck in a bunch of 'heal' ends of the loaves of bread I was saving for the birds :) Sorry, birds! My girls ate your whole wheat crustiness without even knowing it.

I snuck in 6 eggs, a bunch of cinnamon, some nutmeg, and a couple of bananas. Then I threw in a handful of raisins and about 1/4 cup chicory root extract, and baked it all for about 40 minutes.

They LOVED it. There's only one serving left, which may be split between them for breakfast before church tomorrow.

I wonder if I could get some spinach in there next time without their knowing???

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Do You Do With 8 Pounds of Blueberries?

You make Blueberry Crisp!! (Lots of it)

You are looking at a 9x13 dish that is nearly empty after I took another serving after this photo was snapped.

But there is redemption for the four of us who are responsible for downing nearly the entire batch! It was healthy :)

Here's my recipe, if you want to give it a whirl:

  • 2 pound box of blueberries (hubby brought home 4 of these boxes from a youth group fundraiser at work!) or 6 cups-worth of fruit
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tsp Purevia or Truvia

Mix all of that together (I did it right in the dish).

  • 1/2 cup Fava and Garbanzo Flour (hubby is gluten-free)
  • 1 cup rolled old fashioned oats (some GF people are sensitive to oats, but hubby is not)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 hand fulls of chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 stick of grass-fed organic butter
  • 1/3 cup maltitol syrup

I am guessing on the amount of maltitol syrup I put in. I just poured directly into the mixer as it was going, and I think I used that amount. I tasted a bit of the topping, and it was just a tad sweet. I also probably used more than 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. We love cinnamon, and it's good for blood sugar control, so I'm generous on everything with that! Finally, I think chopped pecans would taste better than the walnuts, but I don't have any of those in the house right now.

Mix the topping ingredients together until crumbly, and then spoon it onto the berries. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes (berries are bubbly). This makes a dessert that is not that sweet. You can really taste the berries because they're not overwhelmed by gobs of sugar.

One of my girls suffered through eating the berries because she wanted the 'crisp' part. She's not big on cooked fruit. The other daughter is responsible for eating about half of the entire pan. (She's stick thin, and ate a good dinner, so I let her get another huge helping).

I guesstimated about 280 calories for a 3/4 cup serving. I've had three. Ouch.

But I ran 3 miles today, so I certainly earned at least one of those servings :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Protein Bar Advice Needed

Check out that ticker! I may be solidly in the 160's after all. After hitting 169.8 for the first time yesterday, I was prepared to see a hop back and forth into the 170's for a while, but perhaps I was wrong, and I'm done seeing that nasty little 7! One can hope :)

So I have a protein bar dilemma that I was hoping one of you might be able to help me solve.

I'm picky. Not with most nutritious foods, mind you. But with what I'll probably eat on a daily basis, I need to be selective. I am a protein bar junky- meaning, I eat one for most breakfasts. It's easy, and cranky-hungry-must-eat-now me, can handle unwrapping a bar, first thing, rather than whipping up some gourmet and healthy breakfast that I know many of you do on a regular basis. I'm just not there yet. Hence, my reliance on protein bars. Plus, I'm a night owl, so when I'm running late in the morning (which is usually the case) I can easily grab a bar on my way out the door, and eat it in the car. Try doing that with your gourmet breakfast, would ya?

Anyhoo, I do have standards:

  • It can't taste too much like dog poo
  • It can't be soy-based (if it has a little soy protein, fine, but the main protein should be something else)
  • It can't be sugar-laden
  • It can't have artificial sweeteners. I'm okay with a little sugar alcohol, or chicory root extract.
  • It should have close to 20 grams of protein
  • It should have some fiber
  • It shouldn't be over 250 calories, or so
  • It shouldn't have artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

So, I said I was picky.

Know of anything that fits these criteria??? I would be so very grateful for your input!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm Just Overweight!!

I'm a cheering maniac today!!!

I finally hit the 160's after waiting for what felt like an eternity to do so. If you look at my BMI tracker, you'll see I am also officially overweight, rather than obese. I never thought I'd be happy to be overweight, but considering the alternative right now, I'll take it!

Also, today I completed a 40 minute incline/jogging program on my treadmill. It's the toughest one the machine offers, and a couple of months ago I tried it and had to quit about ten minutes in. Today? Finished with flying colors, drenched in sweat. It felt so good to know that I've made progress, cardio-wise. I know it helps that I'm lugging a bit less weight up that 10% incline, but still I can see my hard work paying off!

Finally, I'm having a hard time taking compliments. I actually rolled my eyes at the sweetest friend at church today, when she walked by and told me that I, "look[ed] really good". I felt so bad, I walked right back to her and apologized. She didn't even realize what I'd done, and totally understood. But it emphasized my problem with praise.

I know things are better. I know, compared to Frump Mama that I was prior to these last several months, things have gotten better, and an hourglass is starting to emerge. BUT, I know I'm not done. I still have a good chunk to lose, and that is probably where my unwillingness to acknowledge compliments originates. I suppose I must work on this...

Finally, a question for you healthy-eating bloggers: what are your thoughts on the Vitatops/Vitamuffins. Do you buy a mix and make your own, or buy them in the store? I'm new to the Vita scene, and have enjoyed them so far, but they are so pricey. I'm may experiment with a recipe of my own and see what I come up with.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Outback Steakhouse Diet

As we drove to Outback for dinner last night, I thought to myself, It'll figure if I finally lose weight after a big meal tonight.

Well, sure enough, I did. After two weeks stuck at the same stupid weight, I dropped a wee little bit. After eating: a 6 oz sirloin, a fairly dry salad (with croutons and cheese), a dry sweet potato, my daughter's mashed potatoes, and two slices of bread without butter.

Then? We came home, and I ate about 10 marshmallows (no sugar/sweetened with maltitol, they're GREAT!) and went about 1000 calories over my budget for the day. Go figure.

I did jog 3 miles in the morning, so maybe that helped a bit?

Today, I'm all about eating my veggies. I made stuffed red peppers, which, if I do say so myself, are super-yummy. The only problem, is I can't fully enjoy the flavor, because my tongue is still injured. By whom or what, you may wonder?

One of my Body Pump instructors, that's who. She thought throwing Fire Balls (you know, those super hot, cinnamon balls from childhood...they still make those!) during our class, perhaps to signify our burning muscles, would be motivating.

Well, motivating, it was not. What it did do, other than overshadow the pain in my legs, with a pain in my mouth, was destroy my sense of taste for the last few days. You know how hard that is on this Foodie?

Monday, June 7, 2010

3 Mile Run and a Pic

I hopped on the ole treadmill for a 3 mile jog yesterday, and it actually felt pretty great! I think the cardio work I've been getting at the gym has really helped me use oxygen more efficiently. Less gasp, more huff.

I started off at 5 mph, and worked my way up to 5.3 at the end. The entire she-bang took me 35 minutes. Since I'd like to do a 10K race next summer, and perhaps even a triathlon, I figure I should start keeping track of my pace-progress. I'm still feeling a little shame about my slow pace. I used to be ashamed of my 10-minute mile pace during soccer season in high school, and I can't come close to that now. Oh well. At least I have a goal in mind, right?

The best part? I burned 450 calories, and used most of them up on a big hunk of Irish Cheddar cheese. Tisk, tisk.

Although my weight has been fluctuating (mostly in the UP direction) lately, I am feeling a little less self-conscious about swinging my derriere around at Zumba class. Our gym is doing "summer" themes this summer (you don't say!), and pictures were taken of us this last Friday night. And posted. On Facebook.

I'm not one to complain or anything, but the gym prohibits the use of camera-phones for "privacy" reasons. Should this not extend to the classes themselves? Where some of us are wearing skin-tight pants, and contorting our bodies into the least ladylike positions known to man?

Well, I'm past all this now, and since I'm on the web, I figured I should share the fun here too: I'm that tiny figure in the blue shirt, over on the right side of the photo, a few rows back. What you can't see, is the Zumba scarf I'm wearing on my backside that jingles when I shake and shimmy. Many of the ladies wear these scarves, and I love that they'll all throw reason to the wind, and be willing to make idiots of themselves along with me, all in the name of fitness and fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Harsh, but True?

I came across an email written by a natural health-guru/doctor, and it struck me, not only with it's harsh nature, but also because I've read some blogs lately that have mentioned childhood obesity and parental responsiblity. I'm interested in your thoughts...

Angry meals on the menu

If you hate your child or grandchild enough to let him stuff his face with Happy Meals, then nothing the health police say will save your little critter.

But that won't stop them from trying. Santa Clara County in the nanny state of California has banned toys in junk-food meals that don't meet targets for fat, calories, sugar and sodium. Soon, restaurants there will face a $1,000 fine if they dare to serve up a plastic toy with their plastic food. That'll teach 'em!

But really, I can't think of a more perfect little message for the age of ObamaCare, where nutrition will be legislated and anyone who doesn't meet some D.C. bureaucrat's carefully negotiated vision of good health will be forced to pay, pay, pay. And believe me, you will pay.

Listen, I know a Happy Meal isn't much more than death in a cute little box... but I don't trust a bunch of politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats when it comes to setting the rules for a healthy meal. You know they'll get it wrong every single time.

Besides, teaching your kid good eating habits is YOUR job, and if you don't want it -- tough. For most parents and grandparents, a Happy Meal isn't even a meal anyway -- it's a contract with a child: "If I give you fries and a cheap toy, will you shut up for half an hour?" But kids are like terrorists -- you can't negotiate with them. And if you don't have the nerve to tell your child he can't have a Happy Meal, then you're badly unprepared for everything else heading your way as your tot grows up. Remember, hell hath no fury like an overweight sack of raging teenage hormones.

Would you like fries with that?

Never coy when it comes to these toys, William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

So does this guy have a good point, or has he fallen off his rocker?