Tuesday, 15 January 2013

On food...

A couple of pounds down this week. I'll take it. The weather here this past week has been beautifully mild so I've been outside walking more often and longer than usual. I was able to borrow a pair of 8 lb weights from a colleague at work, so my arms have been achy getting used to the new weights.

I am faced with an odd injury, a nagging owie. My Achilles tendon and lower calf muscles in my left leg have been aching on and off and I've been have a stabbing pain every so often sometimes in the middle of the night. It doesn't last long, so if I'm exercising, I just wait a minute or two and it fades away. The doctor said it's probably just a strain and to keep it elevated when possible and to take it easy, just walking, no jumping. It doesn't really feel like a strain to me, but if it's still hurting in a couple of weeks, I'll ask for a referral to a specialist.

Food-wise I've been good. Typical day...

Pre-workout: Banana or an orange.
Mornings: Steel-cut oatmeal with cardamon, ginger and almond milk. Sometimes with berries. Lara Bar or dates and a yoghurt.
Lunch: Usually left-overs from the night before. Or big salad with a lean protein.
Snack: 1 tbsp Sunflower seed butter on apple slices or on celery. Or carrots and hummus.
Supper: Lean protein and lots of veggies. (In winter roasted veggies.) Couscous.
Optional evening snack: Air-popped popcorn or a piece of toast and 1 tbsp nut butter.

I change this up from time to time... some smoothies, soups, baked beans, or chili, eggs, avocado or  look out, nuts in the  salad, that's fancy! I don't enjoy baking or labouring for hours preparing a meal, I just don't have the time  or patience for it. Although I can follow a recipe, bake all sorts of pies, cakes and other stuff, I prefer cooking simple meals that are flavourful, quick and easy. In winter, my crock-pot is my best friend :-)

On Saturday night, I made a healthier version of East Indian Chicken Tikka Masala loosely based on this recipe :

Tikka Masala Recipe For 6 People

    * 4 breast organic chicken in cubes
    * 2 large red onion thinly sliced
    * 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
    * 2 tablespoons crushed ginger
    * 1 can 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
    * 1 cup of yogurt
    * 1 cup heavy cream (optional) I used a bit more yoghurt and a bit of water
    * 2 tablespoons cumin
    * 2 tablespoons garam masala
    * 2 tablespoons turmeric
    * 1 tablespoons chili powder
    * Salt Just a wee bit

Heat 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and start caramelizing them until brown. Add the crushed ginger stir for 5 minutes,saute the garlic for 1 minute. Add cumin, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, and mix well, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and yogurt. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add cubes of chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Season it with salt and transfer to a serving platter, garnished with cilantro. Serve with Bamati Rice or Naan. Instead of rice, I just stir-fried some chopped mushrooms, broccoli, green and red peppers. Delish!

I've been thinking that it has been a very long time since I ordered in some fast food or have grabbed take-out. Frankly, I do not miss it at all. Most times I'd wind up with a tummy ache from overeating. And bloated and dehydrated the next morning.  My old faves last year were pizza on Fridays and rotisserie chicken and fries (St-Hubert or Swiss Chalet) on Tuesdays. I've never been much of a McDs or a diner kinda girl. My man and I used to go out to nice restaurants once or twice a week, but due to our shrinking finances and our expanding waistlines, we now head to the grocery store instead.

My go-to quickie: Grilled chicken or fish on greens.
His: Prosciutto and smoked gouda cheese on in a panini with a big salad.

This week, I also did check out juicers but didn't find any on sale. I'll keep looking because it'd be nice to drink some green veggie juices. That's ok, I still have my blender... it's reliable and though it's not perfect, I can make smoothies.

Goals for this week: Water! I've found myself a bit dehydrated  this past week, especially at work. I read a good tip this week on someone's blog (sorry I've forgotten... maybe Alan) to drink at least 1/2 your weight in ounces of water per day, so for me that means just over 11 cups.  And in metric, because I'm a Canuk, 2.8 litres. I've been drinking maybe half that. Will do better and I'm sure I'll feel better.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Something has changed

With my father's death and the New Year, during this past month I've been looking back at what I've accomplished. And what I haven't.  Honestly. Without rose-coloured glasses. I'm looking long and hard in the mirror and I don't like what I see. 

Even though I have lost 25lbs, I still see an overweight and deeply sad person, whose true self is lost in rolls of fat. Is this the real me? No, it is not!

There's no magic secret, no thigh master or protein shake that will get this jiggling flab off of me. I know what needs to be done. What will get me to my goal is dedication, hard work, daily exercise, and eating clean and portion control.

I hadn't been pushing myself to get some exercise and when I did exercise, it was without passion or intensity. I have to be present and on point 100% not just part-way.  Eating well and watching my portions sometimes is not good enough. Good enough... I didn't feel like I was worth it some of the time. Thing is, I know when I lose the weight, I will feel so much better about how I look and feel.

Another catalyst for change is the holiday supper I was invited to. The hostess, an older family friend, presented a "healthy" meal of ham and potato casserole, salad with loads of caesar dressing, and cookies and ice cream for dessert. Out of politeness, I did eat some of the supper, had a cookie, but by the time I got home, I felt so sick and bloated. I usually don't eat any of those foods except the salad minus the dressing. I woke the next day with a headache, extreme thirst and puffiness, especially my face. Fat and sodium overload! 

What a reminder of how I used to eat. Don't want to go back to eating like that. Staying fat and unhappy for years and years and shortening the quality of my life is not what I want. Who would?

Steps I've taken in the past month:

Daily exercise, at least 30 minutes, one or more the following:
  • Full body workouts with weights and stability ball
  • Indoor cardio on the elliptical
  • Mini-tramping
  • Power walking in my hilly 'hood 
  • Yoga
  • Shoveling snow, it's deep winter so I can be out there for an hour or more, followed by yoga
  • Paring down portions
  • Trying a variety of veggies
  • Eating more veggies than fruit
  • Limiting sodium
  • Limiting my intake of bread
  • Limiting sugar, eg. no more sugar in tea, still working on the morning coffee.
  • Daily calcium supplement

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Getting it done

Morning power walks are brutal. I've been doing a 15 minute warm up on my elliptical in the basement, then head outside and after 30 minutes, I'm a mucky sweat ball. Even at -15C, I'm really working it over the hills here in my neighbourhood. Feels good. Happy my crunchy knees are not suffering!

This week's goals are 
1) to find some heavier hand weights I can use at home for my evening workout. I'm up to an 8 lb but it's not enough.
2) look into the costs and pros and cons of a juicer.

Food wise, status quo. Tracking everything. About 80% clean. No recent emotional eating. I've noticed a lot of bloggers are trying the Whole30 and want to learn more.  Might give it a try.

Emotionally things are leveling off. My workplace offers free short-term counseling and the psychologist gave me some exercises to do to help me with the ever-present grief. This past couple of weeks were difficult, but it's getting easier to get a good night's sleep.  Making good choices throughout the day is a good step in the right direction.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Year in Review

Last year I weighed about 25 lbs more than I do now. I'm ambivalent about this. On on hand, it's a loss... meaning I have made progress but on the other hand, I could have lost more.

I have not put in the time necessary to exercise.

Nutritionally empty food has crossed my lips more times than is good for my body.

I have sabotaged my own efforts. I let my emotions guide me instead of logic.

Since my father passed away in November, I've been really trying to care of my mind first, feeling my feelings, not eat them. Then taking care of my body. It seems to be working for me for now. Although this is the saddest event so far in my life, his death has made me realize how short life really is and that if I want to live a long healthy life, I have to take the steps NOW to slim down. I have to stop abusing my body.

Honestly, for this past month of December, I thought I would gain the usual 10+ Christmas poundage, but I actually have lost a few pounds.

This year I learned about Mindful Eating. This has done me the world of good. Following various exercises and breaking old food eating habits have really opened my eyes to how twisted my use of food really was. I still have a ways to go, but I'm better off physically than I was last year.

I'm not making any resolutions for this new year, but I'm keeping a promise to myself to do my best every day.