Charting life's circuitous path

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Eat. Live. Be. for a Better 2011 – ELB 2011

My Update: Sadly, I missed a post last week.  I also missed the laundry, the weekly cleaning, and ironing.  But I didn’t miss those things quite that much.  Sure, we had to do our laundry Christmas Eve, but that’s ok.  It got done in the end and that’s what counts.

Christmas is over and that means goodbye tree, goodbye cookies and goodbye allowances.  I allowed myself small leeway this past weekend – I didn’t exercise on Saturday.  I ate a LOT of cookies and banana pudding yesterday but I cut pieces of pie in half and only ate a couple of slices of pizza.  I biked for an hour last night and loved my hubby for letting me do so even though it was Christmas night and we had an exhausting day with family.

It was a crazy weekend, but filled with tons of fun, great presents, good weather, yummy cookies, cups and cups of tea and a mountain of empty boxes.

This is what I felt like after the near dozen cookies I ate yesterday.

I’m glad it’s all over since it lets me get back on track, but I always miss the holidays when it’s all over.

Next week is the new year.

I can’t believe it.

It’s scary.

It’ll be my first year into my new life.  New job. New fitness goals. New outlook.

And I’m hoping to stay on track and be proud of myself when the next holiday season rolls around.

I loved being able to splurge this weekend without worrying about my health because I was confident that I’d be okay.  Sure, I still felt compelled to bike yesterday even though it was 10 pm at night, but it was a day of feeling confident in my skin.  I’m in love with this confidence and want to keep it around for the new year.

Homemade christmas cake was eaten by the platefuls until all gone. Alas. It was delicious!

iChallenge Week 52 Topic:  ELB 2011

I started this year with high hopes.  I wanted to change some pretty bad things in my life – my health, my outlook and my habits.

Things needed rejigging and in order to get myself together, I started iscribblings when I heard that a group of women whose blogs I loved to read were going to start a new group to inspire others to live healthily and happily.

This new group turned out to be Eat. Live. Be. and I was super excited to get in on the momentum.  This would be just what I needed to motivate me to keep up with my new choices and to stay dedicated.

  • I planned to eat less dessert than my husband.  I give myself a B -/C+. Some days I was brilliant and gave hubby the larger slice or skipped pieces of chocolate.  Other days we shared equally sized portions.  I rarely ate more than  him, but I could have done better.  I should have turned down more than I did.  I should have stopped buying all of that cheap Halloween candy or the discounted donuts.  I should have had more restraint.  Still, it wasn’t quite that bad, so I think I pass.
  • I vowed to buy grass-fed beef for my husband.  A+, baby!  😀  Oh, yeah! We scored on this one every time and I’m even considering upping the humane meat purchases to other types of meat.
  • I hoped to exercise every day.  You know, I think 6 out of 7 is a good score.  🙂 Perhaps an A-?  I definitely exercised 6 days of the week and my seventh day was always an intense day filled with grocery shopping, cleaning and a lot of movement.  I was even able to squeeze in yoga these off days, but lately I’ve been dropping the ball on the yoga and I’ve MISSED it like cheese on potatoes.
  • I wanted to cook more greens and I give myself an A on this one.  I ate a green filled stir fry almost 3 times a week before my job started.  Once the job started I was able to eat my stir fry at least once a week, but it wasn’t quite as consistent as before.  Still, I take every opportunity to throw in greens or a salad when the chance presents itself, so I’m doing the best I can under the circumstances.
  • I thought I’d cut down on the high fructose corn syrup, but I have to say that I haven’t been reading my labels quite like I used to.  Not that this is a bad thing, exactly.  My pantry is completely different than it used to be and most of the stuff I used to buy isn’t there anymore.  This means that label reading isn’t as important since most of my goods are good for me, but I need to get back to monitoring the stuff I buy.  So a B- it is.
  • The last thing on my list would be the hardest and I knew that when I wrote it.  For the longest time, I struggled with body issues and when I dreamed of loving my body again, I wasn’t sure what this would mean.  I didn’t realize how much I would have to get through and how much more needs to be done.  I didn’t anticipate how losing weight through healthy choices would make me even more aware of my body than before.  I didn’t anticipate how others would view my choices or how embarrassed I’d feel for having lost weight and staying healthy.  I had to relearn who I was in this new body and accept what I had (or didn’t have).  I’m not sure where I really am in this goal, but there are more good days than bad lately, so perhaps I’m more of a C or C+.

Even though the ELB group fell apart mid-year and then reformed again earlier this month, the group helped me to get started on this journey and for that, I’m proud to be a member.  I’m glad I decided to stick with posting my weekly updates since it gave me a reason to share my ups and downs and goals with others.  I hope to continue on this journey next year, although I’ll be jumping off the ELB wagon and start my own sled ride towards a healthier, happier me.

So thank you ELB.  Thank you blog. And at the top of my thank you list: you, the reader.  Thank you for following me on this journey and I hope you stick around next year as I set my sights on new goals and building on the old.

Here’s to a better 2012!

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Eat. Live. Be. for a Better 2011 – What I learned this year part 2

My Update:  This week has been like a bag of pick ‘n mix.

It’s been a “quasi-binging toffee” here and a “double 3 mile run hot red” there.  I’ve had “highly motivated chocolate” days while others were more “bummed out butterscotch”.

I’m not quite sure why it’s all up and down this last week, but it’s chipping away at my motivation.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still motivated to exercise and be healthy even while eating two donuts and a piece or three of delicious stollen.

What’s becoming affected is my will to exercise.  My enthusiasm is slowly leaking out of me like a melted Junior Mint.

I can bully myself into doing the routines and usually once I get started I find myself completing them just fine.  But I don’t want to have to kick myself into a routine in order to do it.  I want to leap into my exercise clothes and bounce around the house like I used to.  Now, all I can think about is how much more sleep I could be getting if I didn’t wake up so early and how I’d love to just sit there and veg in front of the computer checking blogs than lift weights.

Perhaps it’s the season.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been doing this for a year and I’m starting to get worn down.  Perhaps it’s a fluke and I’ll be all up and at ‘em come New Year.  I just wish I felt more pep than I currently do so that my exercise times become my ME times again.  Fun times.

 iChallenge Week 50 Topic: What I learned this year part 2

Last week, I talked about how I learned to re-love old hates.  Things like natural peanut butter, 100% whole wheat bread and asparagus were put back on the menu after a very long banishment.  My tastes have been changing and I’m liking it. Rather than sink into predictability, my brain is rewiring itself to this new lifestyle – something I didn’t expect at all.

Something else I didn’t expect was how I would react to my new “me”.

Starting back in January, I never really thought of myself as “fat” per se.  I knew I wasn’t in the skinny range, but my dress size was about “normal” and I honestly thought that I would never be any size than I was.  I even told the doctor that I “watched what I ate” and that I couldn’t imagine why it was that I couldn’t lose weight (after she told me to drop a few pounds to help out my cholesterol).

Ha!  What a laugh.  😛  Looking back on the old me, I can easily spot where I was going wrong.

  • Too large portion sizes – I was eating a cup and a half of white rice with my stir fry and all of my fries at fast food restaurants.  Now I eat about a half cup of brown rice with a lot of veggies. And I cut my fries down when I know they exceed 300 cals a portion.
  • Too many carbs – I still struggle with this, but I do limit my portions of pasta and other carbs that are unnecessary.  Place a sweet bun within eye sight, though, and you can kiss that bun goodbye (I REALLY need to work on this, but it’s so hard.  😡  )
  • Too little protein – I was eating all the time and large portions of it, too, but it was mostly empty calories.  While I was eating a lot of cheese (and still love my cheddar and mozzarella), I found that my protein levels weren’t sustaining me through the day.  Now I snack on peanut butter and Kashi Go Lean or greek yogurt.  I make sure that all of my meals have a source of protein as well.
  • Still too much processed foods – Prior to my doctor’s appointment, I was making great strides in cutting out processed foods from our pantry and diet.  Even so, there were still things in there that just needed to go – like instant ramen and soups.  Over the year I’ve been able to cut them out of our diet and we’re eating a lot more whole/natural foods rather than processed foods.

These changes didn’t happen overnight.  I remember the first time I cut down on my carbs – I thought for sure that I couldn’t survive the night due to the hunger pangs.  So I learned my lesson and didn’t try to starve myself but adapt.  Little by little, I made small changes.  I didn’t strike everything out and go cold turkey.  We weaned ourselves  off bad habits and instituted new habits that left us feeling better and more satiated.

So, the biggest thing I’ve learned this year? To be honest with myself.  Not in the cruel sort of way that wears you down, but in the critical way that doesn’t hide the truth because you want to think you’re doing everything right.

Look at what’s actually happening in your life, evaluate and make changes.

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Eat. Live. Be. for a Better 2011 – What I learned this year part 1

My Update:  For the next two days I’m on vacation!  While sandy beaches aren’t in our future, we plan to make the most of the short break and have some fun before the holiday chaos arrives.

So, we had a great stop at our local Barnes and Noble and scored this for 50% off:

Davison in the commentaries? Totally worth it!


I also tried the Skinny Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks and their Cranberry Bliss bar at the Cafe.

Delicious! The peppermint isn't overpowering and it's just the right amount of mocha and sweetness. Definitely better than the (okay) Pumpkin Spice Latte.


Not quite as nice as it looks. It's okay, but nothing to rave about. Their cream puff is amazing, though!


We chatted about work, family and life, and we had a wonderful time sipping our drinks while nibbling our sweets as the river flowed by down below us.  I love how we can chat about things even though we’ve been together for 7 years.  🙂  It makes me sad to see couples just eating and ignoring each other at restaurants.  Life is so much fun when your partner is enjoying it with you.

iChallenge Week 49 Topic: What I learned this year part 1

December, for most of us, is a whirl.  We enter it at Thanksgiving and we’re only allowed to leave with shaky (and jiggling) legs in the middle of January when we finally get time to take down the decorations and crash tinsel-free onto our couches.  Wrapping paper is cleared away and the next year’s supply is happily waiting for the rush to begin anew (at least in our house – I love after Christmas sales).

Since December can come and go and memories made and remade, I want to spend the next couple of ELB posts talking about what I learned this year before the New Year arrives with new goals and new experiences.  Reviewing the year will also help me put into perspective what I need to work on and what I was successful at (even though some days I felt more like a fail than a win).

New Thing # 1:  I actually like plain, no added ingredient peanut butter.

For those that know me, this will be a shocker.    😯

I remember disparaging this particular food just over a year ago and likening it to “bird food” since Eddy is quite keen.  (Unfortunately he can’t have it anymore due to his low-fat diet.  Lucky me!)

I now apologize and hang my head in shame.  You were all right – this stuff is the best!

I will preface this New Thing by saying that it’s the Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter with Sea Salt that I like.  No substitutes!  I’ve had other “all natural” peanut butters and they’re still icky!  😉   But this stuff?  It’s like heaven in a jar.  Totally creamy, just this side of sweet without being sweet and so yummy that I could eat it out of the jar.  I wouldn’t have thought that a change in peanut would make such a difference.  Ignorant me.

This is a big thing for me.  For one, I used to swear by the other more “standard” peanut butters that could sit in the pantry for years (due to all of the added preservatives).  I would claim that I “hated” the natural stuff because it lacked the “yummy” added ingredients of oil and sugar.  Now I have to eat my words (or peanut butter).

It also represents a change in attitude:

  • I’m more likely to buy healthy, down to earth versions of “typical” goods, like pb. Still not fully onto the “organic” bandwagon, but I am on the “pared down to the basics” trolley.  Other foods we’ve swapped: grass fed beef for “regular” beef, unsalted butter for margarine sticks, non-fat plain greek yogurt for sandwiches, and carrot sticks with hummus for chips.
  • I’ve learned to give things a second chance, even though I would have sworn the previous day that they were disgusting.   Something I would have never guessed at the beginning of this year was how much my view on food and tastes have changed.  Items that got a new breath of life:  whole wheat bread.  I know, I’ll give you a minute to recover from the shock.  😉  I’m a white bread purist, or at least I thought I was.  Then I tried out this particular whole wheat version from Healthy Life breads and fell in love.  It’s whole wheat, but it’s just as soft and moist as white bread.  Another?  Almonds.  Or, at least, sliced almonds.  Still not so keen on the whole or chunky nut thing, but I’m trying!  I can handle munching on sliced almonds with food, and it’s honestly opened up new vistas of food experiences.  Still working on the whole nut thing.
  • The more healthier me picks her battles with ingredients wisely and doesn’t let the “baddies” into her system unless they’re worth it.  You won’t see me passing up a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, but you will see me walking right past the frozen dessert aisle at my grocery.  Refrigerated cinnamon rolls?  No thanks.  Homemade cinnamon buns with extra icing, sure!  Those extra calories and fats have to be this side of mind-blowing if I’m going to consume them and let them interfere with my body.

I’m loving these new experiences and while this change in tastes is taking some getting used to, it’s made life even more exciting.  Who would have thought that actually caring about what you were eating would open the doors to so much more!