Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy days

I think that everyone in Ohio gets depressed in late January through early March. The early spring is hopeful and happy, but late spring is just euphoric -- all the sun, everything bursting into deep green, the energizing storms, the birds.

I have been spending a lot of happy time in my garden. We don't have a big backyard, so I have just a few tomato and herb plants, but I have some nice big flowerbeds in front and have been reorganizing things there. This time last year, I was still working my Insane Job so I didn't have time to do much with the garden until late summer, when it's hot and there isn't as much you can plant. This year I dug out an ugly privet (just like at my old house) that was taking over an entire section of our flowerbed. I planted most of a flat of annual there, a few perennials, a spiky-flowered hydrangea, and an azalea that will get reddish-orange blossoms next spring. I wanted a rhododendron but they didn't have them at the first store I visited and I was concerned that I was spending too much money so I didn't go poking around. My husband also wanted a rhododendron because we both liked the one at the old house so much.

I work a nine-month contract so money for the summer was a worry this year. I am teaching a summer class, and am also doing some consulting, but that wasn't quite as much as I've been making up until now, even when we added in my husband's coaching pay. I was worried about whether we were going to be able to make all of our bills, but then we got a notice from our bank that we have a surplus in our home mortgage escrow account and will be getting a nice-sized check back soon. We got a small check from my parents for our anniversary, too, so I decided to go get a rhododendron after all. I planted it and now I feel like my garden is complete (until next year, at least, when I'll want a bunch of other things).

Now I just need a load of mulch and the time to spread it. I will probably take care of that after I get back from the consulting job next week. Once I get the beds mulched and give the plants a little time to fill in, I'll post photos. Unfortunately the rhododendron won't be in bloom again until next year -- it has some flowers but they're kind of faded.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The body and the shadow

I haven't had a lot of luck running with music, because I don't seem to have enough of the right kind of music for a good running playlist. I am listening to the "Speaking of Faith" podcast more and more. Each show has a different theme, and the series covers a range of ideas on religion, spirituality, and science and I enjoy musing on it as I run through the woods.

This time I was blown away by the show "Yoga: Meditation in Action." Seane Corn was the featured speaker and she talked about her use of yoga as "body prayer." At the time I was running uphill and realized that for me, these runs are a sort of prayer too. It reminded me of Laura's recent post. Seane said that most addictions are an attempt to build a wall of energy around our emotions and fears so that we don't have to feel them. The shadow self, when denied, only becomes stronger. She described her own struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and drug abuse, both ways to attempt to control her fears and keep herself safe in the world.

This month's O Magazine has a feature on an Israeli-Palestinian Weight Watchers chapter. On the one hand, I think it's great to bring people together over things they have in common. On the other, though, it seems like a weird choice of focus -- controlling the body instead of confronting deeper fears brought on by the instability and war all around these women.

Maybe they should take a yoga class together instead? The podcast introduced the idea of confronting your own shadow instead of only seeking to change the world (or your body).

Lots of food for thought in this series. I highly recommend it if you need something new to think about besides 1-point snacks.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lunch wrap revisited

When I originally posted about my lunch wrap, I got a comment asking to see the pitas and the finished wrap. So now that I have a camera that's mine instead of shared with my husband (which means I can find it on a regular basis), I thought I'd take some pictures while I made lunch today.

These are the whole wheat pitas. The brand is Jasmine and they are made in Canada (not actually that far from here). A local Lebanese grocery imports them:


Here is the wrap just before I folded it to put on the grill. This one had about 1/3 of a small avocado, 1/2 a salad tomato, fresh mozzarella, grated Romano cheese, salt, cracked black pepper, and a smear of hummus:


I folded the top and bottom edges down and then rolled up the wrap like this to put on the griddle on my stove:



To keep it from unrolling itself, I like to put my plate on top of it. That weighs down the wrap a bit, helps keep the heat in so the cheese melts better, and warms the plate. Our plates are stoneware so they're heavy and heatproof.

Usually I pair this with a salad or fruit, but I was really hungry after my run so I had a few "Garden of Eatin'" blue corn chips with a little more avocado on the side (I had half of one left over from yesterday, but it wasn't all going to fit in the wrap. I love avocado and didn't want to waste a bite. I also had a La Croix sparkling water:



It was a great lunch. Like I said in my earlier post, I vary the fillings depending on what I have on hand.

In answer to another comment question, my new camera is a Kodak EasyShare. I was rushing out the door for a flight to Washington, DC about a month ago and had no idea where our camera was so I had to leave without it. I had been wanting my own for a while anyway. I found this in a CVS and since it was only $80 with an in-store coupon, I bought it. It takes really nice pictures. Some of these were a little blurry though, because I was using the closeup setting, which doesn't seem to have the image stabilizer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A fresh summer salad




I have a new camera so I'm going to start posting a few more pictures to my blog. Baby steps -- don't expect me to photograph everything I eat like Jenna does! As much as I love reading her blog, I am not quite that brave, or diligent. Baby steps!

I was inspired to take a photo of this summer salad because it was just so pretty.

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • Cracked black pepper

It's especially great when the real homegrown tomatoes are available, but you can get by with Campari or some of the other better supermarket tomatoes until then. Fresh basil is usually available year-round but it's even better if you grow it yourself. I have a pot outside with a baby plant, but this is from the supermarket. I want to give my plant a chance to establish itself before I start harvesting.

For those following Weight Watchers, this is a great way to check off a bunch of those pesky boxes: At least a serving of veggies, maybe two. A milk serving, depending on how much mozzarella you use (1 oz = 2 pts.). Plus those two healthy oils that no one at meetings seems to know how to incorporate into their meals.

I used 1 1/2 small tomatoes for each salad, about 2 tablespoons of basil, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, a heavy pinch of coarse salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, for a total of 5 points.

I suppose you could lighten it up with fat-free cheese but I think it would be sort of a tragedy. I had this with some grilled chicken and a couple of slices of rustic Italian bread. I like to soak up the juice from the tomatoes mixed with the oil and vinegar with the bread, so that I get every drop of that oil I counted in my points (besides, it's delicious).

"The perfect is the enemy of the good."

Or if you prefer French: "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien." -- Voltaire

Someone close to me has suffered very serious health problems in the last two years, mostly complications from diabetes. Recently he has been able to start playing golf again. I saw him after a bad match, and he was talking about how hard it is to go back to being a beginner again after being so good at something. "If every day was like today, I'd quit."

I was upset, because golf is the first thing that's gotten him active again, and with his condition, inactivity is only going to make things worse. I could easily see how counterproductive this attitude was, in someone else.

But how often have I done it myself? With diet, with just about everything. In fact, the only reason I was able to finally finish my PhD was that I was able to finally stop myself from being a perfectionist. When I was doing assignments for class, sometimes I had to tell myself, "Done is good enough," instead of endlessly researching and tweaking my paper. "A good dissertation is a done dissertation," has been the slogan of many of my classmates. And often those "done" papers were really, really good, they just weren't the Platonic ideal of a paper.

The truth is, perfectionism is a cop-out.

People who are perfectionists like to think that they are just refusing to compromise their high standards. What they are actually doing is giving themselves the easy out.

Our, I should say, what we are doing is giving ourselves the easy out. It's impossible to be perfect at anything and we know that (except for me, I mean, I should be perfect even if other people can't be, whispers the ugly voice in our heads). So because we can't be perfect, we have given ourselves the perfect (ha ha) excuse for quitting when things are hard and we don't like them.

How do you counteract it? Not letting yourself take the bait. Screw up and keep going. Keep going every time you screw up. Don't start in the first place. Don't let yourself be the person who will only write in your food diary with one pen so that it all looks pretty, because as soon as you can't find that pen, ta-da, you can stop journaling. (Who does this? Not me. A friend of mine... you wouldn't know her, she lives in Canada.)

Three years ago, I decided I would train for a marathon (the perfect running distance, right?). I started a training plan that called for running four days a week, even though I knew from experience that it was better for me if I only ran every other day (but the training plan is in a book, so it must be smarter than me). Sure enough, I gave myself severe tendonitis in my right foot. I couldn't even walk, let alone run. Want to talk about frustration?

I swore that if I could run again, I'd be happy with it, no matter how slow. So that's the reason that I don't pace myself during training runs and I try desperately to beat down the impulse to consider my place in a field of runners. I have to keep reminding myself that I am running in a field of one, and as long as I don't quit, I'm winning. That isn't to say I sandbag. I just realize that my best on any particular day is exactly what I'm shooting for.

One revelation that has occured to me through this long process (three years later, I'm still working on it) of coming back from the dead as a recreational athlete is that no one besides me really cares what my time is. Sure, there are people in the race who might feel better that they passed me, but their opinion is none of my business. You don't win a race on race day, you win it in every day you spend training for it.

My goal is to be able to keep doing this for as long as I can, because my life would be poorer without it. If I'm going to do that, I have to face the reality that I probably won't be as good in fifteen years as I am now.

One thing to be grateful for is that I don't really have glory days in the past -- I have times when I ran faster, but mostly I felt pretty crummy then because I was working myself to try to reach some standard I could never meet. I honestly can say that since I gave up that attitude, I've been having the best time of my running career.

So I need to catch up my (already messed up) Weight Watcher journal and then get out there and run, even though yesterday was my planned running day and I couldn't go because of my allergies. This has definitely not been a perfect training week, but it's a gorgeous day and I don't want to miss another one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Changing body image

I need to stop shopping. I have bought a lot of clothes lately, mostly because I'm finding good sales and liking what I see in the mirror more. I tried on a skirt and a little cardigan yesterday at Ann Taylor Loft -- the full skirt and the fitted cardigan highlighted the best things about my shape. I bought a blue dress at the Gap that just lights up my skin, highlights my small waist and, again, has a full skirt that covers a multitude of sins. I got a nice pair of cotton twill pants and a couple of casual tops.

Someone stop me. But it is fun to like myself in clothes again, and because people are cutting back, stores are sending out coupons, slashing prices, and it's all drawing me right in.

I'm still having some minor trouble with allergy-induced vertigo. If there is anyone out there who has found a good solution to this, please post it in the comments. I tried Sudafed (the real kind) and it didn't seem to have much effect. The Zyrtec I tried made me feel like I was completely dried out and gave me a hacking cough.

The dizziness has affected my exercise routine. Today I swam, but I kept it short (25 minutes) and easy (plenty of breaststroke and backstroke) and did not do any flip turns. I haven't been doing as much running because after the last run, I felt like I couldn't walk straight.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The problem with Weekly Allowance Points

Weight Watchers is always changing their program to keep it fresh. The Weekly Points Allowance is something that was added a few years ago, sometime between when I made Lifetime and now. The idea was to build into the program something a lot of people were already doing on their own -- setting up a way to vary points widely from one day to the next. There were a couple of variations on this, most famously the "Wendie Plan." People would eat under their target number one day and then have a big high-points day once a week. This was considered WW heresy for a while, and then eventually incorporated into the program as WPA -- you got less points each day and then you had a bank of points you could use any way you want.

For me, the issue is purely psychological. The old plan was a daily thing -- there was nothing to keep track of weekly, other than your weekly weigh-in. On the bad days, when I had gone way over my points, I would just turn the page in my journal and start fresh. It's not as easy to do that when you're keeping track on a weekly basis. It's Friday. Thursday is my weigh-in day. I didn't track well yesterday, so I already have this sense that I "messed up" the week. I can go back and try to fill in yesterday, but since I'm doing it a day late, I'm pretty certain I'll miss something. I'm doing it anyway but it bothers me.

Yes, this is all silly. I could track the "old" way, on paper or online ignoring the WPA. I know the perfectionism is a self-defeating habit of the mind but I struggle with it. I thought I'd share the craziness in my head just in case there are others out there who feel the same way.

Maybe I need to invent some weird tracking plan to deal with my issue, call it the "Jen Plan" and talk it up on the WW Message Boards until they decide to roll it into the plan.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Better days ahead

Things have really started to turn around for me. About a week ago, I found out that I will be working my job full-time next year, which means that I'll finally be making a real salary again. Hopefully we can start catching up on a lot of things. The last time I had a full-time income was when we were paying for two houses while waiting for our old one to sell. I'm not complaining, though, I'm grateful that we were able to take the chance on this part-time gig in the hopes (now realized) that it would turn into something long-term.

Part of me would like to believe it's all working out according to plan, or because of my focus on the positive (per The Secret), but that seems unfair to all the people who are struggling right now. I file it all under "things I don't understand" instead and try to maintain a really deep level of gratitude instead. I do think there is a part of just plain dumb luck to the whole situation. The rest of it was making the best of my opportunity by working hard, building relationships, and staying positive. I made sure to act like a full-time person -- going to all the extra events, taking on projects, doing committee work -- so that people would start to see me that way.

This week is a big week on campus and has been jam-packed with meetings, but next week things will slow down a bit. I'll be teaching a summer class and doing a little consulting work, but things will be more low-key. I'm going to take advantage of the breather by working on my garden, getting outside as much as possible, and doing what I can to prepare for the big challenges to come in the fall. I should also start thinking about a new research project.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A (relatively good) day in the life

I have been, as I have said, having trouble staying within my Weight Watchers points. My tracking hasn't been the greatest, but I have been tracking today and thought I'd share a relatively "good" day for me -- even though I'm over my points. I've considered doing this on a daily basis but was afraid that a) it would be boring to read and b) I would get nasty comments. We'll see how this goes. Tomorrow is my weigh-in so it's very much on my mind.

Today has been a tough day. I have had vertigo for the last couple of days from a plugged up head and stuffy ears, which has made moving around uncomfortable. Yesterday I skipped my workout, but today I tried toughing it out. Big mistake. I felt really sick after running. I got better after I got to work and sat still for a while. I was supposed to do yoga tonight but I knew that would be even worse, so I'm relaxing at home with my kitties instead and trying not to move too much.

Morning

1 tsp unsalted butter (1)
1 cup(s) cooked corn grits (3)
1 small apple(s) 1
1 tbsp White Wave Silk Soymilk Creamer (0)
1 cup black coffee (0)
2 tbsp peanut butter (4.5)
1 serving(s) Ezekiel English muffin (3)

Subtotal 12.5

Midday
2 tsp whipped salted butter (1.5)
2 slices bread (3)
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar and oil salad dressing (3)
1 cup(s) mixed baby greens (0)
1/2 cup(s) cooked green beans (0)
2 oz cooked shrimp (1)
1/2 cup cucumber (0)
2 slice(s) tomato (0)
3 tbsp roasted red peppers (0.5)

Subtotal 9

Evening
1 medium orange (1)
2 tbsp canned artichoke hearts, without oil (0)
1 tbsp hummus (0.5)
1 serving fresh mozzerella (2)
2/3 cup lettuce (0)
2 tbsp roasted red peppers (0)
1 average white pita bread (3)


Subtotal 6.5

Snack
15 dry roasted peanuts (1.5)
4 half pecan halves (1.5)
15 item(s) Kashi TLC Honey Sesame Crackers (2)
1 piece(s) The Laughing Cow Bonbel Mini babybel (2)
1/2 serving wine (1)

Subtotal 8

Food POINTS values used =36


Exercise
30 min Running (5 mph [12 min/mile] or faster) (+4)

The Biggest Loser: Dullest Finale Ever

This season's finale was a stunning three hours long. I watched it on my DVR, and was able to start watching an hour after the show started, and finish about 15 minutes after it finished. That means that almost 45 minutes of the show was commercials.

Most of the extra hour of the show came from the producers' latest twist: They brought two potential contestants onto the show, introduced them, and Jillian and Bob worked them out live backstage while the rest of the weighing and crying and reminiscing happened. First of all, a real-time first workout is a pretty boring thing. There were some of Bob and Jillian's signature moves and a little bit of yelling, but mostly you had two smiley young women on the treadmill and an exercise bike, plugging away. The two contestants they chose were, at least superficially, identical twins. Two blonde women, one 19 and one 20, with similar smiling-brightly-through-the-pain personalities and wholesome girl-next-door beauty. The audience got to choose which one would be chosen for the show by calling in. I had no reason to root for one over the other, so that didn't add much interest to the show for me.

If they had wanted to make that angle work, they could have chosen family and friends of the current crop of contestants and let them audition for a spot on the show. Mike's brother Max would, of course, be the favorite, but Sione's sister also wanted to go to the ranch to lose weight. Aubrey's dad could obviously use some help, and maybe if he was out of her house, Aubrey's own weight loss might have been more on track... I might have had an interest in the first workout segment if there was some real, observable difference among the people auditioning.

The rest of the show was similarly lackluster. In past seasons, they showed us more from the contestants' new lives so we could see how losing the weight had made a big difference for them. This time, the only clips were ones that had already aired on previous episodes. We were supposed to just look at the before and after pictures and take it as self-evident that they were happier now. I would have liked to see the contestants talking about how their habits had changed, how they found new interests to replace their obsession with food, how they felt that exercise and healthy living had enriched their lives. It would have been more expensive to produce a show like this, but they do have the income from 45 minutes of commercials, plus the product placement cash for all the new "Biggest Loser" protein drinks and scales. They need to have something on the show for those of us who have faithfully watched every episode.

Of course there was the drama of the weigh-ins, the fun of seeing the contestants all glammed up, and the few surprises. Mike was, as he and Ron had hoped, chosen for the final three. He looked terrific and seemed ready to have a great life at college, hopefully one far enough from home for him to explore a new independent identity. Tara looked stunning. I am sure she could go back to modeling again if the plus-sized modeling industry hadn't evaporated. Finally, Helen was much, much thinner. I actually think she looked better at the previous weigh-in, because losing the remaining 15 or so pounds seemed to have aged her 15 years.

We saw that with the at-home contestants too. Jerry and Estella, the oldest contestants, had lost amazing amounts of weight. But the effect was sort of frightening. They had always had pleasant faces before, but now they look much older than their 63 years. There seems to be a bit of a conflict between getting thinner and looking young. Jerry had only one close competitor, Kristen, for the at-home prize. I was really rooting for her to steal the win, especially because she seemed to have more need for the money, but Jerry was the at-home winner.

The average weight loss among the at-home contestants seemed to be about 100 pounds. About half seemed to have just maintained their weight loss from the ranch. Aubrey even made a wry joke about it. That still seems to be an accomplishment to me, considering that at the ranch they had no distractions from their diet and exercise, and at home they had kids and jobs and other responsibilities. Nicole really made dramatic changes on her own and ended up looking gorgeous. It would have been interesting if the camera crew had followed her around on a typical day to show the viewers what a successful at-home-loser does. The contestant who had gotten the least out of the experience of being on the show was Dave, partner overweight high school student Dan. Dave was still smoking and hadn't seemed to make many changes in his diet or exercise routine. Even he lost a little more than 40 pounds, enough to have some health effects.

I had trouble staying awake during the finale, and I'm starting to wonder how much longer I'll keep watching the show. I think I'll stick it out as long as Jillian does, but not one minute more. My guess is that the producers are hoping to stretch things out for 10 seasons, which would be 3 more. Next season, 8, starts shooting almost immediately, according to Jillian's podcast. I will definitely give it a chance, but I hope the producers have learned from some of the mistakes they made this season. They went for the Biggest, Youngest, Oldest, Sickest... but what they got was Dullest. Instead of looking for artificial drama, they need to remember that the core of the show is dramatic enough: People who have lost hope find it again. Everything else is just distracting window-dressing

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kids and weight

I recently saw some pictures of me with my cousin when we were both little kids. He was six months older than me but was a lot smaller than me in all of the pictures. Seeing them brought back the memory of feeling too big. I said something to my mom and she said that he was always small for his age. Even looking at them now, I don't register him as small, I see myself as too big. I never had a weight problem as a kid but I always carried any extra weight I had in my belly. I was one of the smaller kids in my class, though I was younger than most of the others because I started school early, so I probably was about average. There were two very thin girls in my class, and everyone thought of them as the prettiest girls, and I only remember comparing myself to them.

I see adults comparing kids now and I want to make them stop. My nephew was a preemie, a very tiny preemie who didn't fit into even the smallest preemie clothes. My cousin had a son a month or two earlier, and his kid started out with a lot of baby fat. My aunt, his grandmother, worried about how big he seemed, which is really screwed up. She worried about the size of a healthy baby because she was comparing him to a premature baby! Of course the chubby baby thinned out as he started walking, and my nephew filled out as he got healthy.

I really wish that adults would think about how wrong it is to label a kid "fat" before he's even out of diapers. Once that "too big" label is out there, it tends to stick. Reading weight blogs, I wonder how many people now struggling with their weight would have grown out of their baby fat and gone on to be healthy, normal-sized people if they had never been taught to feel self-conscious and worried about their bodies when they were kids.

I'm not a parent so I know that it's easy for me to judge. Still, I'd like to see parents getting their kids out and active and having fun -- not overly-competitive sports and boring gym-class calisthenics, but playing and nature walks and bike rides. I'd like parents to give their kids a realistic amount of freedom to explore life on their own. I think parents should set a good example for their kids by buying and eating healthy foods but not make a big huge deal about it. And I'd like a ban on anyone over the age of 18 commenting on the body of a minor, whether or not the kid is present to hear it.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Biggest Loser Recap: The Finale is Next Week!

In this show, the final four contestants were at home for a month before the final weigh-in to prove that they could lose weight on their own before going to the finale. Not surprisingly, they all had some trouble adjusting. Jillian and Bob made surprise visits to their contestants to check in and found them in various states of panic, especially because of the latest twist thrown at them by the show's producers. I was really surprised (and concerned) when the contestants were given less than a month's notice to train for a marathon. I have known plenty of people -- including me -- who have gotten seriously injured trying to train for a marathon with a reasonable amount of time.

Mike had slipped into the role of caring for his brother and not focusing on his own fitness, and when Jillian found him slacking on his own workouts, she gave him some tough talk about putting his own needs first. I have to say that I feel sorry for Max, who is a minor but already weighs more than 400 pounds, just like Mike and Ron were before the show. Max didn't get any of the benefits of being on the show but got a lot of obviously unwelcome attention as a foil for Mike and Ron's amazing weight losses. He had been in a sort of comfortable position before as part of a group of three big guys, and now he's just a teenager in a lot of pain with no real hope for his own change. He did not seem to welcome Jillian's help, but when Bob visited Ron, Max did seem to feel a connection to Bob and it looked like he might have started to feel a little more hopeful that he had what it took to make changes. Bob did the right thing, I think, by getting Max to see himself as strong and determined. Up to this point, he seems to have been treated as just the object lesson of where Mike and Ron would be if they hadn't made it onto the show.

Jillian found Tara and Helen both in complete obsessive, perfectionist mode. Tara wouldn't unpack her clothes because she felt that moving back into her room would symbolize going back to her old life, so she was living in a huge mess, working out too many hours a day, and kicking herself because she wasn't eating as rigidly as she thought she should. Helen was in tears looking at the clothes in her closet and trying to figure out how she could immediately get rid of all traces of her old life. Jillian took both of these tightly-wound women out for a drink and explained that they had to find some sort of balance and peace about their weight and learn how to let go of all-or-nothing thinking.

Like I said, I had serious doubts about the marathon, but all of the contestants managed to find a way to make it a positive experience. Tara and Helen finished in respectable times that suggested that they had done the marathon by incorporating some walk breaks, which is the most sensible way for someone to attempt a marathon if they don't have a huge amount of time to train. Mike had to walk the marathon because he had gotten injured during the training. He spent the equivalent of an entire work day walking, which to me sounds like the only thing more painful than running a marathon. Ron, against the show's doctor's advice, decided he was going to actually do the whole thing. He had to stop for medical attention a few times, but more than 13 hours later, he crossed the finish line. I have to say that I was impressed with his determination to finish, even though I haven't been a fan of his performance on the show. Previous season contestants showed up to run or walk with the marathoners and lend their support, along with friends and family members. Max did several miles of walking with Mike.

The actual weigh-in went about the way I thought it might. Tara and Helen got great weigh-in numbers and are definitely in the final three. Though Mike lost 10 pounds, he was bigger so his percentage was not as high, and he ended up with his dad below the dreaded yellow line. The final spot was up to the audience to decide: Mike or Ron. Ron asked the audience to vote for Mike, and Mike said he would be happy no matter who makes it to the finale. Of course, I think Mike should win, but since I didn't watch the show until last night, I missed the chance to vote.

Less than a week to the big day! I'm pulling for Tara, since she has been just an amazing competitor throughout the show. She's just gorgeous now, and even though I find her a little annoying sometimes, I think that she's just trying to cover up her insecurity. This season has seemed longer than any of the others, and it's hard to remember some of the people who were voted off early. I will be interested to see how everyone looks on that final show.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Biggest Loser update will be coming soon

I actually have not watched the episode yet since I was out of town this week. When I weighed in this morning, I was back down to 171 despite a late-night flight, so apparently the secret to weight loss is to leave home and never come back. Not quite worth it...

See you tomorrow for my episode review.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Better than expected

...but a sub-30-minute 5K -- that's 3.1 miles for the metrically challenged-- was tantalizingly within reach and I just missed it. I told my husband before the race that I would be ecstatic if I finished in under 32 minutes, but I secretly wanted that sub-30. I finished in 30:20. I ran most of the way with someone I knew and that made it fun, but when she slowed down I decided I wanted to push myself a little harder for the last mile.

I am surprised that I was able to beat 10-minute mile pace. I hadn't been paying attention to pace in training so I didn't know what to hope for. I felt tired after the race but I think I could have pushed even harder. Still, it gives me something to reach for next time.

It was a fun little race, very friendly with lots of door prizes. I didn't win anything, but my husband won the race and got a gift certificate for a running store. He already ordered a new pair of shoes.

I bought myself some new shoes today too, but mine were some cute black flats to replace my New York City shoes, which I've worn out. I'm going to Washington D.C. next week and I need comfortable but cute shoes for my visit to the Hill. I had a long day today: Race, shopping and errands, a work party, and visiting my sister at the bar to wish her a happy birthday. I have to remember to be grateful for my body, which worked hard for me today and didn't complain about all the things I asked it to do.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A quick yogurt followup

I have been enjoying my prize from the FAGE giveaway immensely. Yesterday I had the 2% with cherries and today I had the 2% with peaches as a post-workout snack. I generally don't like fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt because it's just too syrupy-sweet, but the fruit in these containers is kept separate and has a less sugary taste. Even though the illustration suggests that you could pour the fruit out into the yogurt, they're really more the consistency of jam, so I just dip my spoon in the little pot and then in the yogurt. The cherries were a little bit tart, which was really nice with the yogurt, sort of a cherry cheesecake effect. I thought the peaches were even better, almost like a raw ripe peach.

I haven't seen either of these flavors at my local stores but I'll be looking for them. I have had the strawberry and honey flavors before. The 2% fruit flavors are 3 Weight Watcher points for a container, just like the plain 2%, though you do get less yogurt since the containers are the same size.

It might seem hard to justify spending more than $2 for a container of yogurt, but once you taste it, you'll understand. I'm totally spoiled for any non-Greek yogurt now.

And I promise, this is my last yogurt-related post for a while. By the way, Joan, I am still waiting to hear from you with an address so I can send you your prize.

Still struggling

As you might have noticed, yesterday's weigh-in did not go that well. I'm still struggling to stay in my points range on a daily basis. I think I need to do better planning. My workouts have also been a little different this week. I have a 5K tomorrow so I took it a little easier this week.

I'm going to spend some time this weekend with my old WW materials and plan things out. "Winging it" usually means I'm home from work, tired and hungry , and not in the right frame of mind to choose wisely. Last night I was making a barley risotto recipe, and in the middle of it, threw it all into a storage container and called a friend and suggested we meet for dinner at Panera. It was nice to have dinner with my friend but I was feeling impulsive and added a chocolate chip cookie to my order at the last minute -- 10 points.

My husband is home tonight and we're having the barley risotto tonight with some mussels and a salad. It will probably be a quiet night at home with the race tomorrow morning. The race isn't a big deal, but it's for a good cause. I'm probably running 11 minute miles in training, so I am guessing I'll finish in about 32 minutes. I am going to try to push a little, but it's early in the season and I haven't done a lot of pacework. Mostly I'm doing the race to support my school and have fun.
"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07