Oct 7

Week 2: No Gain, No Loss

Posted by Lindsey.

I don’t know what I have to say for this week. On one hand, I’m enthusiastic that I didn’t gain weight. On the other, I know I really didn’t try hard enough to lose weight. I mean I did lots of good things. Healthy things. But there’s a point where you have to do enough healthy things to really lose weight. Or, at least that’s the way it is for me. I know some people can just think about losing weight and *bam* they are down five pounds. Not me. It’s a process, a complicated process where I have to balance the amount of homemade cookies versus overall calories and calories burned in exercise. Details, which at this point, escape my concern. I mean I know I’m trying to be the healthiest I can be but I’m really not sure how hardcore I want to be to get there. So let’s just put it out there, I hate week 2.

I think I hate it because at two weeks in I want to see progress and I don’t see it. Lots of doubt and frustration because it’s not easy to make sacrifices or make changes for the better and not see results. And not seeing results raises the stress level and we all know stress is not good for weight loss. Insert a big fat sigh here.

I did learn some things this week:

  1. I need to find ways to be active because my desk job is so sedentary and it can’t all be through hardcore exercise because then I get too sore to move and that’s not conducive to regular working out.
  2. Wow, I eat a lot of healthy protein and fiber. I’ve been logging my food into LiveStrong’s My Plate. I’ve been looking at the details and learning a lot. More on that in an upcoming post.
  3. I really look forward to when I get to run with Phil. Am I becoming a social workout girl?
  4. I love baking too much to give up desserts completely. Can a healthy balance include homemade treats?
  5. Scales don’t measure health or self-worth.

Action Items for the Upcoming Week:

  • Get more sleep. Yes, I still struggle with an earlier bed time.
  • De-Stress! Try new workouts, rest when needed, and be more spontaneous.
  • Log my food onto MyPlate but don’t worry about food choices just yet.
  • Fix my Nike+ 🙂
  • Bake an apple pie!!!

Yeah, bake an apple pie isn’t really about weight loss but it is about living a balanced life and learning how to make delicious pies is on my baking to do list. I am excited! And shouldn’t life include some excitement?

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Oct 7

Can You Say Nike+ Fail?

Posted by Lindsey.

I bought new shoes. I put Nike+ chip in a pouch on new shoes (just like I did with old shoes). Uh, no, this isn’t an accurate recording of my workout. I ran and walked over 3.5 miles in those 50mins. I mean, really? A 71:45min/mi pace, is that possible?

I adjusted the chip to be under my shoelaces so it would record correctly. Uhhh nope, still Fail.

Investigative work to be continued…

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Oct 5

Homemade Italian Wedding Soup

Posted by Lindsey.

Perhaps this post should be titled “I love Kale” or “Girl Falls in Love with Kale” or “Thank Goodness Fall is Back So We Can Enjoy Soup Again.” Either way, I asked Phil this past weekend to pick us up some kale because I have been loving it lately. Plus, as a bonus, it’s a super cheap vegetable. At Whole Foods, it was 2 big bunches for $3 or at Publix, a big bag was only $2.

Then, I asked Phil to figure out a recipe to use the kale in or I was going to make more kale chips. He decided in honor of our cooler temps and our passion for all things soup to look up a good recipe. And tada, he made Italian Wedding Soup.

He based the recipe off of an Ina Garten recipe on the Food Network website. Although as you can probably guess, he made substantial changes.  Who can follow a recipe exactly when you’re having fun in the kitchen?

Notable Differences

  • Buy pre-made meatballs or ground lean beef from the store. We used half the amount of meatballs as well. Only .84lb.
  • We substituted our favorite vegetable of the moment… kale for the spinach.
  • 1/2 cup dry Italian seasoned bread crumbs to help solidify the meatballs before you add them to the soup. We didn’t use fresh bread because we figured no matter what the meatballs we’re going to get wet in the soup.
  • No dill (Phil isn’t a fan).
  • No homemade chicken stock. We just used the low sodium chicken stock from the store.
  • We used Chardonnay we had leftover in the fridge for the dry white wine.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, combine with the breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes, or until almost cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the low sodium chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and kale to the soup and simmer. Simmer for as long as you can (20-30min) to really help the kale break down and become more flavorful.  Taste for salt and pepper. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Wow, let me tell you it tasted so great. So good I had a second bowl where I sneakily tried to leave the pasta in the pot and get as much kale as I could. Totally bizarre for me I know, but I just seem to really love this vegetable right now. Doesn’t hurt that it’s a vegetable superstar and totally good for you.

Best of all? We had the windows open and a cool Fall breeze was coming in. Thank you Fall for coming back. We get to have more SOUP!

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Oct 4

Keeping it Real: My Healthy Lifestyle Theme

Posted by Lindsey.

I’m not one to shy away from the truth especially when it comes to being honest about living a healthy lifestyle. It’s not easy. Or well, it’s not easy when you’re not genetically gifted and really enjoy cooking and baking. So therefore, it hasn’t been easy for me.

But after all I’ve been through and learned trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I’ve come to appreciate one thing.

If I’m going to live a healthy life and when needed, lose weight, I want to do it the natural way. Exercise and eat well. Eat less calories but not so little to slow down my metabolism. I’ve got the exercise nailed down. I’ve found several different activities I enjoy and sometimes – love! Yes, I sometimes love running especially those moments after a good, hard run.

But when it comes to eating less but eating more healthy food, I’ve found I don’t like going the chemical laden low calorie, fat free foods that seem to plague the market. I don’t even like to do frozen meals full of sodium even though they are convenient.

I’m not saying others shouldn’t eat pre-packaged or processed foods. By all means, when you’re learning try a number of different ways to see what works for you.

For me, I am really trying to learn how to eat healthy and lose weight eating real, whole foods. For example, sometimes it means having a little less organic half & half than having the lower calorie, but weird ingredient list of fat free half & half.

I’ve also learned I need to:

  • Read ingredient labels. Look for ingredients I understand and the less the better. A long list is a scary list to me. Keep it as natural as possible.
  • I also look for scary words like partially hydrogenated, high fructose corn syrup, and the word sugar too close to the first ingredient listed.
  • I need to shop more on the outside of the store and know what I’m looking for in the aisles.
  • Pay attention to the sodium labels. More information is coming out about the dangerous effects of high sodium and your heart health. And, as I learned from Phil’s experience, you want to do your best to keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure low.
  • When in doubt, find ways to make something yourself with whole foods. It may save time and be easier to buy a food item already prepared for you, but then do you really know how they made it?
  • Buy organic whenever I can afford to and in some cases, always no matter what. I always buy organic milk and cage free eggs. I try to buy organic vegetables when I can and yes it’s true, they do taste better. And sometimes I even welcome the high cost of organic because then I really appreciate the food I buy and don’t let it go to waste.
  • I stopped shopping at Walmart. It finally came down to an ethical choice and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I need to support diversity in the grocery store!
  • I need to try recipes and find ways to try ingredients I would have never heard of or tried otherwise… quinoa, cubanelle peppers, kale, okra, panko, pluots, old fashioned rolled oats, Zevia, Food Should Taste Good chips, flax seeds, whey protein powder, etc. In the past couple years, I’ve expanded my food knowledge at least a thousand fold.
  • Don’t give up the foods you love or even baking. I have found a great passion in baking but living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean I have to give up breads, cookies, or other homemade baked treats. When I make it, I know what’s in there including no weird preservatives. It just means I share more, freeze more, and consume less. I made a new chocolate chip cookie recipe last night with oats and coconut. They tasted pretty damn fantastic but I know in the past I would have smashed 3-4 cookies. I ate one and split another with Phil. I am still learning how to portion out my desserts and make them last longer.
  • Try whole, natural foods you think you shouldn’t have. For example, I try to include on occasion pork and beef into my diet. We’ve all heard how bad they are but really when you look at it, you can buy lean pork and lean beef and it adds different flavors and good proteins to your diet. You just have to keep an eye on portion. I’m not going to order a 16oz steak but a small filet might be nice.
  • And finally, I’ve learned it’s always a journey and not a destination. I am constantly learning new things and trying new things and figuring out what’s important for me. I make a lot of mistakes. I fail. But, I like to think I’m on a path to a better place. And, I’m one of the lucky ones because I’m surrounded by many, wonderful people who love and support me.

So when you’re struggling, think about that. You’re never alone and there are many of us imperfect people out there working hard to live a healthy life also. You just can’t give up.

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Oct 4

Welcome New Shoes

Posted by Lindsey.

I welcome into my life my new running shoes (Brooks Glycerin 8).

But, it doesn’t mean I love my old running shoes any less.

You did a great job for me and I’ll still wear you when I can but not when running cause you make my legs hurt.

However, what doesn’t hurt is my wallet. Thanks TrySports for offering your rewards program. I used four gift certificates to bring down the expense of these awesome running shoes into a manageable range.

And yes, I thought my new shoes were ugly at first but now the ugly “ness” is growing on me. And per Phil’s theory… the uglier they are, the faster the runner.

Sub 30min 5k here I come!

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Sep 29

Week One: 1 Down, 29 to Go

Posted by Lindsey.

Week 1 Weight Loss = 1 lb

Well, week one was a fast one especially when you include a trip to Buffalo and back. Buffalo was fun and I had a great time. More info on that in a follow-up post. But, with all the fun it did present some challenges to my first week. Wedding cake? Beef on weck? Buffalo Wings? Starbucks? Oh my. I suppose I’m lucky it’s a minus 1 instead of a plus 5.

Here’s some observations from the week:

  • It’s brilliant to have a Starbucks within walking distance of your hotel. I enjoyed several skinny lattes and they helped with the lack of sleep. I probably should have gone with a plain coffee but I am a sucker for a really good latte.
  • Watch the salt! On Saturday after the wedding ceremony, we ate lunch because we were starving and dinner was several hours off. So, I finally tried a beef on weck – a Buffalo tradition. It’s roast beef on a kimmelweck roll. The roll has a lot of salt and caraway seeds on top. It was really good but… when we went to lunch my shoes were fitting big. Within an hour and a half we were sitting down at the wedding and I took my shoes off for a minute to relax the toes and I almost couldn’t get my shoes back on. I swelled up!
  • There’s always good food around when you’re trying to say “no.”
  • Still maintain that the best way to see a new city is to go for a run. I had a superb time running around this quaint city on the outside of Buffalo.
  • I’ve started using my LiveStrong app on my phone more to track what I’m eating. It’s been helpful to get a realistic view of how many calories I’m eating in a day.
  • Niagara Falls is cool!
  • I think it’s time for new running shoes. Ouchy legs.

Week 1 Objectives Review

  1. Drink at least 64ounces of water a day.
    • Did Great! Even traveling I really focused on drinking a lot of fluids every day.
  2. Exercise 4 times.
    • Another objective accomplished!
    • Wednesday = Run, Thursday = Elliptical at hotel, Saturday = run, Tuesday = run
  3. Find 5 new ways to be more active in my day.
    • I did not do great with this objective.
    • I really realized how inactive my work day is. I so far have only thought of a couple more ways to be active. 1) Take several walks around work each day. 2) Park further away from the door.
  4. 1 dessert only this week.
    • Technically I did okay with this. I only ate one full dessert on my own this past week. It was a bowl of frozen yogurt with a little Hershey’s chocolate on top. However, on the trip I did share dessert with my fellow travelers a couple times.
    • So yeah, I guess objective failed. Will try again next week. However in my defense, it’s hard to just say no to dessert when you’re on a trip.
  5. Make good choices when traveling.
    • I did good and bad with this one. I sometimes made good choices and sometimes not so good but at least I was being more aware of my choices.

Week 2 Objectives

  1. Go to sleep every weeknight at 9pm and get 8+hours of sleep on the weekend.
  2. Eat only 1 dessert this week.
  3. 2 walks a day at work (except when raining)
  4. 4 30-day shred workouts this week (in addition to my normal running, spinning, and yoga)
  5. Try a hot yoga class.

Wow, I was so tired last night I fell asleep at the beginning of the Biggest Loser.  My 5:30am alarm is still taking some getting used to. Love the new schedule but not the sleepiness that accompanies it. As well, I know sleep not only helps you lose weight but keeps cravings under control so I’m going to work on getting a lot more rest at night.

Still want to work on limiting how many desserts I eat during the week and in general portion sizes for dinner.

For workouts, I still want to maintain what I’ve been doing as far as running goes. I’m loving this 3.5 mile route Phil and I do at least once a week together. However, I think Jillian’s 30-day shred is a great addition because it works different muscles. Also, I’ve been curious to see if I would love or hate a hot yoga class so I’m trying one tonight. Getting my fluids in all day today to be prepared for the sweat session.

In general, I also want to think of some incentives to help keep me motivated. Any thoughts?

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Sep 22

Next Phase of My Health Journey: Setting New Goals

Posted by Lindsey.

Well, I’ve been meaning to share my story on the about me page of this blog. But, I keep putting it off because it’s long and I want to find a shortened way to bring you up to speed on my journey. I also want to collect photos and show you the visual journey.

But, let’s give you a short recap here. I grew up very athletic. Competitive gymnast. Softball. Basketball. Quit competitive gymnastics. Grew 8 inches in less than a year. Started high school gymnastics. Diving. Senior year of high school I tore my ACL and required reconstructive surgery. Add a bum knee and college and I gained weight. A lot of weight. Not just the freshman 15. I gained more weight in grad school. I started to lose weight. I lost 40lbs on my own. I graduated and got a job. I gained back most of it. I went through a local hospital’s weight management center. I lost 80+lbs. They taught the weight loss method I did and still do believe in. Make behavioral changes, watch what you eat, and exercise. I made big life changes. I started dating again. I fell in love. I fell in love with a man who makes food taste like heaven. He’s also a baker for a living. We really enjoy food together. Not bad food like fast food or processed food. But natural food. Organic food. Homemade food. But, too much food. In love, I gained back about 25lbs. I still work out. I ran a half marathon. I stay active, but active enough? We alter recipes and make healthy choices but not enough healthy choices.

I suppose it’s time to really focus on what I want. I learned through the first major phase of my journey you need to set long term goals and then make weekly objectives to help you get there. You also need to be accountable. So, you are part of my journey. You’ll help me be accountable. (If you don’t mind, of course)

Getting Started

  • Goal #1: Lose 30lbs
  • Goal #2: Find a method to maintain weight loss in a way that works for me.
  • Goal #3: Complete another triathlon (#2)
  • Goal #4: Run a sub 30min 5k

I don’t know if me-30lbs is my final goal weight, but I figure it’s a big start to getting there.

Week 1 Objectives

I’m going out of town so some of the action items I’d like to set I’ll probably do week 2 when we won’t be traveling so much. With that in mind, here’s some of my objectives. I like to try to set at least one food, one exercise, and one behavioral each week. Also, I try to be specific enough in the goal so it can be measured.

  1. Drink at least 64ounces of water a day.
  2. Exercise 4 times.
  3. Find 5 new ways to be more active in my day.
  4. 1 dessert only this week.
  5. Make good choices when traveling.

My week begins on Tuesday night at 8pm when I weigh in. Why such an odd time? Phil and I love watching The Biggest Loser so I’ll weigh in during the show. Isn’t there a risk to weighing in after dinner? Yes, but if I weigh in after dinner each week I should see a difference from week to week. I’ll also weigh in other mornings just to keep track of progress so if I seem something totally wonky on a Tuesday night, I’ll know what’s up.

I weighed in last night and took my measurements. So this morning starts my week. Time to get working before Tuesday at 7:59pm!

If you’re up for a challenge, join me in my journey and share your progress in the comments.

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Sep 22

A Little Wednesday Inspiration

Posted by Lindsey.

I first saw this video on Healthy Tipping Point’s blog and I just had to share it more! I love how this guy portrays his journey.

I think this video came at the right time. I have some more progress I’d like to make in terms of my health and this gave me a great boost of encouragement. Week one of the next phase in my journey starts today. Look to my next blog post for more details.

🙂

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Sep 21

Restaurant Review: Samos Taverna

Posted by Lindsey.

A few weeks ago, Phil’s parents invited us to dinner at a new restaurant they’d been enjoying recently. Samos Taverna is a Greek tavern in Mt. Pleasant, SC. They especially wanted us to join them for half price bottle of wine on Wednesday nights. Who can pass up that offer? Although, sadly I did forget to take pictures. I’ll blame the wine for distracting me.

Samos Taverna | Mount Pleasant, SC

We met them at 7p and had no problem being seated immediately. However as a word of caution, bring some cash (small bills) with you. They have limited parking and therefore offer complimentary valet parking only. So you’ll want to have some cash to tip the valet service. Honestly, it’s not that much of a bother because it is nice not to worry about parking.

Overall Rating =

Good food, worth another taste.

Environment

It’s not a big restaurant from what I could tell and it was nicely decorated. However, I did have some difficulty with their booths. I just couldn’t find a very lady-like way to crawl to the inside spot in the booth. The seats were very squishy. Also, depending on who you eat with, the noise could get loud in there but on our night we didn’t have an issue. I thought the temperature and lighting were good though. It was a very clean feeling. Although, one negative for me is that it really was rather, for lack of a better word, douchey. It could have been a result of the clientele or perhaps it was what they are hoping for but it’s not really my kinda scene. I think you can offer nice food or even expensive food without being pompous. Oh well, I’ll give it another shot and see if I get the same feeling about the environment.

Service –

Our waiter was nice enough. His timing was pretty good and our food came out with good timing. Only Peter’s entree was delayed but he was a good sport and it came out soon enough.

Food –

I thoroughly enjoy Greek food. I also thoroughly enjoy a good Malbec. I enjoyed both on this night. Phil and I took a different path on the menu. It seems you can either order several appetizers (Mezethes) and share for dinner or go for entrees. Wanting to try more food, we ordered a couple appetizers and then shared an entree. From the menu, we ordered:

  • Appetizer #1: papou’s souzoukakia | meatballs, tomatoes, garlic
  • Appetizer #2: baked goat cheese (not on current menu)
  • Entree: souvlaki gyro | grilled pork, pita, tzatziki with a side of french fries (now on appetizer menu)
  • Dessert: baklava (of course)

Let’s start with the most important, the dessert. The baklava was perfect, more on the nutty side than the sweet. The layers perfectly light and crunchy. I loved the addition of the strawberries and cinnamon whipped cream.

I thought both our appetizers were really good but more than anything they made me curious to try the more adventuresome items on the menu. And, we both really enjoyed our half of the gyro.

I definitely would come again. Most likely on a Wednesday night because I really can’t pass up half price bottle of wine. Deciding on which wine might be more of an issue than anything else (lol).

I would suggest bringing some fun friends and trying a bunch of the Mezethes. Think of it as a Greek Tapas night. Also, hope for a cool night. They have some swanky fun outdoor seating I’d love to try. We’ll be back when the Fall weather kicks in, want to join us?

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Sep 15

Cranberry Bean Pasta Fagioli

Posted by Lindsey.

Flipping through my new Food Network magazine, an Italian soup recipe caught my eye. Pasta Fagioli!

In the past, I have loved loved ordering this soup in Italian restaurants. It has such a great combination of flavors between the veggies, pasta, beans, and meat. I mostly followed the recipe but with a few shortcuts and substitutions. Variations are marked with an asterisk. You didn’t think I’d follow the recipe exactly did you? I knew I wanted to include a leaner good protein, so I substituted extra lean ground chicken breast for the pancetta . That’s the biggest change, others were more minor preferences.

Here’s an important tip. If you have a hard time finding fresh or shelled cranberry beans. I found them at Whole Foods in the canned bean aisle as Borlotti beans. I used two cans and rinsed them off before throwing them in the pot.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil* (use as needed, but not as much as recipe calls for)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • medium white onion
  • fresh rosemary (tsp)
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • lb of ground chicken breast*
  • Big can of Cento San Marzano tomatoes* (not crushed)
  • 2 cans of Borlotti beans, rinsed off with water*
  • 3 bay leaves*
  • hunk of Parmesan cheese* (we didn’t have a Parmesan rind)
  • 2 cups of pasta (we used sea shells)
  • 1 bunch of Kale, stems and ribs discarded, leaves chopped
  • fresh parsley (to taste)
  • ground pepper and salt to taste
  • dried oregano, dried basil, and paprika*
  • (5) bouillon cubes or beef stock*

Directions:

  1. Find the largest pot you have, you’re going to need it. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. When up to temperature, add the ground chicken breast.
  2. Season chicken breast with: salt, ground black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, paprika, and crushed red pepper.
  3. When chicken is cooked through, stir in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the beans, ~3 quarts of water (we could only fit about 2.5 quarts), bouillon cubes, bay leaves, and a chunk of Parmesan. If you have beef stock, substitute some of the water for beef stock.
  5. Cover and bring to a boil. Since beans are already cooked, you just need to allow the flavors to get to know each other.
  6. When the pot is boiling, add the pasta. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  7. Reduce the temperature to medium-high heat and add the kale and let it wilt down. Stir occasionally.
  8. Let the soup cook for at least another 10-15 minutes. The longer you let the soup sit, the better it gets.
  9. As you stir, remove the bay leaves.
  10. When ready, ladle into bowls. Top with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
  11. And now you are ready to eat. We recommend you accompany the soup with a side of fresh bread to dip in the soup!

Here’s what it looked like:

I totally hated mine! 😉

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