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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Next Goal

I have been working diligently all year on my next big goal. The ever elusive weight loss. I have floundered around all year with limited success, then backtrack, then try again with limited results, pause. You get the picture – basically limited consistent effort doing the right things. In August I paused and thought about what had been working and where I was screwing up, I came up with several key guidelines:

First, exercise. Yes I was exercising, but it needs to be the right exercise for my body to lose weight. Beachbody on Demand 21 Day Fix Real Time is my solution. As much as I love Barre Blend, I need the HITS of 21 Day. So I am working back through it and will move on to 80 Day Obsession next (another HITS program). Or I might just do 21 Day again for a third time. Who knows?

Don’t get the idea I am some beast at this. I am nowhere close. I huff and puff, curse and pause. I can’t do some of the moves, my legs can’t straighten out completely and I only have 5 pound weights. Hot mess, right? But it doesn’t matter, I do this in complete privacy and refuse to do anything other than be proud that I am getting this done. The last part has taken some time because I have to forget about perfection.

I have battled with my impatience and perfectionism. I want results sooner rather than later. I want to do all the exercises correctly even if I am modifying. I am learning that my body will do this on its on schedule and my brain needs to back the f*#k off.

The other area I changed has been my portions. I eat healthy – little to no processed foods, mostly plant-based, but the scale wasn’t budging. WTF? I realized it has been the quantity. I bought 4 smaller dinner plates and use only those. If I need a bowl, I have smaller bowls and even use ramekins to limit my portions. I try to eat more slowly and give myself time before considering seconds (which I rarely have).

In conjunction with the portions, I think about the hunger scale and strive to keep me right in the middle at 2+/2/2- all the time. Tonight I had dinner, very healthy and was still hungry. Really hungry. I drank water, waited and thought about why. I thought about what I ate today and it was unusually light for me. I realized I hadn’t had enough fats or protein to feel satisfied. I noshed on something that fit the bill, drank more water and feel much better.

Today, I reviewed my tracking sheet for August. Exercise, sleep, weight, measurements. I had consistent, strong results. I averaged over half a pound a week of weight loss. Even with bobbles. Even with me working through my trial and error.

It was all encouraging. When I look back at my weight at the beginning of the year, I am down over 10 pounds. This is where patience needs to come into play. I have to be in this for the long haul. This has to be a lifestyle, not a quick fix. This has to be sustainable.

My body is getting older and I need to recognize that the days of quick results are long gone. Both exercise and nutrition need time to yield results. I can’t think about deadlines. If I can just keep trucking along with my half pound a week, I will be great. That will be weight that stays off – it’s not water, not drastic. It will take over a year to get to my goal, but that is fine. I just need to stay the course. I just need to focus on a healthy lifestyle with good, clean food in the right portions and moving my body to make it strong.

As the writer Michael Pollan says, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. That sums up my plan in a nutshell once I add the exercise.

Bon appetite.

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

Reset Once Again

For some reason weight loss has been a conundrum for me this go round. When I separated from my husband, I melted off 40 pounds effortlessly. I guess it is that revenge body situation. I have been trying to remember what I did and what I need to do know.

I have been reading Chasing Cupcakes by Elizabeth Benton. It is a good book and says what needs to be said. I am not quite ready to hear her lessons. Plus last week I listened to her podcast Primal Potential and she broke my heart. She lost her 12-day-old baby in April. Enough said. She is soldiering on and applying her grief to her coaching. It tore me apart to listen to one episode of her podcast where she talked about it. Particularly because I thought of Taz.

I decided that for August I am going to focus on three habits. Very simple: 30 minutes of daily exercise, 15 minutes organizing my damn photos (I only need to do this 20x in the month), bedtime at 10:00 with 7 hours of sleep. I have a habit tracker on my frig and off we go.

However, as I sat on my patio this morning enjoying the tropical storm breeze of Isasias, I knew that this isn’t enough for the weight loss. I need more tweaks. I have been doing my daily 30 minutes of Barre Blend from Beachbody on Demand (BOD). It is awesome and I feel my flexibility and balance increasing tremendously. I sweat, it’s hard and challenging, but it’s not enough. Sorry, Elise, but I think I need more pure cardio.

I was losing about 1-1/2 – 2 pounds on another BOD program, 21 Day Fix. Instead of switching back (because I do like the benefits of Barre Blend), I am going to add in another 1/2 hour 5x a week of cardio. Back to None2Run. Ugh. Maybe not the whole program, but at least get into some steady running intervals. The cardio really helps. Step 1 – increase my exercise to an hour a day/5x a week and 30 minutes on my off days. I won’t bore you with the schedule, but my off days will be midweek and those days will only be the Barre Blend.

Next, I need to focus on the food intake. Actually, I need to take my focus away from food. I have enjoyed meal prepping, having various meal options throughout the week and all that stuff. Too much focus on food. I need to downplay it. I am not a fan of intermittent fasting. Done it, meh. I guess my plan is a form of IF, but it harkens back to my previous weight loss success.

I will continue with 3 meals a day, but dinner will be extra light. Some Greek yogurt, a sandwich – very light. Lunch will be plant-based. Breakfast will be the main meal and it will still be reasonable. I need to recognize my hunger cues and stopping cues better. One weight loss coach recommends eating half of your meal, stopping for 20 minutes and then deciding if you eat more. I agree. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to realize if it is full.

I am convinced my scale is broken, but I know it is not. It hasn’t moved in two weeks and I am so frustrated with it, but really the frustration is with me. I am being impatient. Impatient with my body both through exercise and weight loss. I am not helping my body. I am not giving it the time it needs to change. I am not providing nutrition at the levels that maximize weight loss. I am not recognizing it’s strength in certain areas or appreciating where it is gaining balance and flexibility. I love my body and need to be kinder to it. I need to appreciate all it has done (birthed and nursed 2 healthy, beautiful babies, been strong and healthy, etc.), what it is doing now (exercising, staying healthy) and what it can do (get stronger, leaner). My body can do a lot, but I just need to allow her to have the time and the right fuel to do so. Patience. Dammit, it is always a lack of patience with me. Deep breath, reset and let’s try again.

Time to change the middle part, albeit patiently…

Health Check

I just finished my first Beachbody on Demand workout program. I did 21 days in a row on the 21 Day Real Fix. I wrote about starting it. The great news is I actually finished. That alone is a big win.

My weight is down and that program has directly contributed to a weekly 2 pound loss for 3 weeks. It has put me in the middle of the pack on the work weight loss challenge. This is a big win for me because I was bringing up the rear in the previous two challenges. All in all, amazing results for a soon-to-be 56 year old woman. I have another 34 to go.

I didn’t change up my diet too much. I try to stick to mostly plants. Salads, roasted veggies and the like. I do eat carbs like rice, non-white bread, couscous, overnight oats. Last week’s lunch was a tossed salad with a scoop of homemade chicken salad (little mayo) with some homemade balsamic dressing. I defrosted some homemade chicken & wild rice soup which I had for dinner. I was craving a pumpernickel bagel but instead I got pumpernickel bread and made the most amazing sandwich with avocado, cream cheese, homemade pickled onions and nova. I know it sounds chock full of calories, but it wasn’t too bad.

Yum!

What has been an interesting change is my thought process around food these days. Food bores me a bit which is absolutely wonderful. I don’t want to make much these days, which is fine since I am headed out on vacation. I really am not interested in sweets because if I want them I have to make them (that’s part of my no-processed food rule). I have been feeling lazy, so making something is an effort. I did make some coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate. They were lovely, and since it was a small recipe I rationed them out one at a time over the week. Desserts are tasting too sweet, so a little goes a long way.

I am thrilled that I am not turning towards food to find comfort these days. To me this demonstrates that my mental health has been improving and I am keeping myself occupied in healthy ways.

Another improvement is that I now can identify if I am bored, thirsty or hungry and I know the difference of all three. I keep myself on a pretty steady schedule of eating about the same times each day which helps.

The Beachbody on Demand kicked my butt and provided a structured 30 minute exercise routine. My next series will hopefully be a little easier because at the end of 21 Day Fix Real Time, my attempts were in no way matching the instructor’s. I didn’t care except for the fact I have to be careful not to push too hard on something and hurt myself.

I am in a good place these days. My stress level is manageable, my finances are good with no debt and I am saving every month. I am eating healthy foods made from scratch with little to no takeout. This keeps me both healthy and saves money. I exercise regularly, and strive for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

Vacay is right around the corner. I want to spend time outdoors. Usually I like to take a river float or easy rafting trip, but it will not be in the cards this summer. It would probably be outside my social distancing comfort zone, so I will be content with other things.

I made some pulled pork and black beans to take along for a couple of easy meals on vacation. My son and his friends are all South Florida guys who love Cuban pork and black beans, so we will probably demolish that quickly. One of the guys is a great cook because his dad is a chef. I have a great idea on how he can earn his keep….

Let’s see how I do on vacation. Can I keep my exercise level up? Will I continue to not overeat and make smart choices? I think so, however, time will tell.

Nailed It

Have you watched “Nailed It” on Netflix? Hilarious show – take a peek. What I love about this show is that it celebrates failure. They ask average folks to try to do something that takes years of training and then everyone enjoys the failure of the effort but celebrates the minor victories within the failure.

Yes, that is how I am describing a baking show. This is a simple baking show with 3 contestants. It makes me laugh out loud. Everyone is kind with a wonderful sense of humor. None of the contestants have any artistic skills in a contest that demands artistry. It is marvelous. A wonderful pivot from perfectionism. I would love to compete on this show….I have the perfect combination of humor and lack of artistry.

Food Pics – Round 3

I am having fun with this!  Maybe there is an inner food blogger in me.  Anyway, this week is a recipe I pulled together myself.  I had an idea and went with it.

eggplant stack

Eggplant Stack

I had a lovely eggplant and was doing a week of plant-based meals.  I wanted something rich and Italian, so I thought about Eggplant Parmesan.  Here are my steps:

  • First I salted the eggplant and let it sweat off its water. All the experts say this is the best way to keep the eggplant from turning into mush. I don’t have much experience with eggplant, so I went with their advice.  Which was wise on my part.
  • Then I dredged the eggplant in multiple steps:  flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.  I let them rest a little.
  • I baked my eggplant for maybe 20 minutes (I honestly don’t remember).
  • I layered everything:  tomato sauce, then baked eggplant, cheese (ricotta and mozzarella), eggplant.  I used a toothpick to hold it all together.
  • More tomato sauce on top and then I baked it.  I forget how long I baked it.  Maybe 30 minutes.  Good grief, I will never be a food blogger because I can’t even remember how I put this together.  I didn’t save the recipe that gave me some guidance on the eggplant.  I winged it for the most part.

Anyway, it was delicious!  I had some Texas Toast to go along with it.  I made 4-6 stacks with that little eggplant and it was better each night.  Yum.

Food Pics – Round 2

It’s Saturday, so I am back with another Food Pic post.  This week features hits and a fail.  One hit was making pickled onions.

pickled onions

Pickled Onions

They are incredibly easy and add some crunch and zip to a meal.  Once again, my girl, Beth, over at Budget Bytes had a simple recipe that took me a few minutes to throw together.  I cooked my onions a little because I like them a little softened.

Then I had my fail.

quinoa

Looks are deceiving

 

This is a quinoa salad with roasted cauliflower and ground beef.  Both the cauliflower and ground beef had been cooked with taco seasoning,  I added some tomato, avocado and romaine lettuce for a packed bowl.  The dressing is a combination of salsa and Greek Yogurt.  The cornbread was made in a cast iron skillet.  Looks great, right?  Tastes fabulous.  So why the fail?

I have discovered that quinoa and I do not agree.  My stomach hurts so much about an hour after eating quinoa. Apparently this is a common side effect.  I don’t even know where I got my quinoa recipe (probably Budget Bytes, but this is not a negative reflection on Beth).  I do know I soaked the quinoa and that is suppose to help.  Nope, it didn’t.  It played havoc with my digestive system in other ways, but I will spare you details. I ate this several times before it dawned on me that the quinoa was the culprit.  Sometimes I can be a little dense.  Note to self:  no more quinoa.

However, it wasn’t a complete fail because the cornbread was fabulous.  The cast iron puts a nice crust on the bottom that is divine.  I found a recipe that uses Greek yogurt and I let the batter sit for at least 10-15 minutes to give it a chance to rise a little.  I have to cut the batch in half to freeze some immediately or else I keep noshing on it.

Anybody else have a problem with quinoa?  Now who will take the rest of my quinoa?  My poor tummy….

 

 

Food Pics – Round 1

I have been cooking constantly since living alone.  I am a batch cooker.  I like to make several things usually at once and nosh on that for most of the week.  Cooking during the week infringes on the short window of free time I have in the evenings.

Sometimes I take pictures of what I made just because I want to.  Then I realized what the heck will I do with these random pictures.  Oh, I know!  Post them on my blog.  Here we go with links to the recipes and my review.  I found so many pictures that I am spreading them out to once a week or so just for fun.

This first post will be cheese grits in honor of my Southern roots!  Twice I have made a big pot of cheese grits and paired them up with a fried egg or shrimp.  Yum!

fried egg cheese grits

Fried Eggs & Cheese Grits

I grew up being pretty picky about my eggs.  Scrambled was the only way I could eat them although I would eat them fried if I had plain grits and toast.  After half a century, I will now eat them boiled, fried, poached — I have really branched out on my egg preparation.  Scrambled still remains my mainstay.  What I did with this was make some cheese grits, sauteed some spinach and fried an egg.

What I did learn through my fave food website, Budget Bytes, is to fry an egg, you have to do it at a medium heat and be patient.  Me, patient?  Uh, no, but I learned.  Actually this recipe above came from Budget Bytes.  I tweaked it a little for me.  I like sauteed spinach for breakfast and usually brighten it with a little vinegar.  This was yummy and rich.

Since I made such a huge batch of cheese grits for one person, I wanted to have some variety, so I decided to some Shrimp & Cheese Grits would be a nice splurge.  I followed along with this recipe but since I didn’t have ham, I used bacon.  We all know that things are better with bacon.  For some reason, I love the spinach and grits combo.  It adds some color and zing.

shrimp grits

Shrimp & Cheese Grits

That is it for Food Pics Round 1.  It is nice to write about something as mundane as food.  Brace yourself, more Food Pics Posts in the future.

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