Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ten in 10 Challenge – 4 Weeks In

So, I’ve been avoiding this update because I haven’t been doing as well as I wanted to….
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I signed up for Recipe Girl’s Ten in 10 Challenge back in December, mostly because participants set their own goals.  I’m notorious for wanting to participate in something like this but then forgetting about it or not giving it the attention it deserves.  I don’t want to disappoint people, so I avoid challenges altogether, but this time, the only person I’m really letting down is myself.

So enough self-bashing, what was my goal?  To develop a regular habit of exercise.  I kept it vague for a reason; I didn’t want to say “go to the gym X times a week” or “run or bike X miles a week” because I know setting a quantifiable goal like that was just setting myself up for the failure-disappointment-depression cycle again.  However, my “start exercising” goal is good enough for now because after my shin splints, I wasn’t doing anything regularly as exercise goes.  It takes awhile to make something a habit, so I’m good with this. Open-mouthed

Here’s what I’d ideally like to accomplish in 6 more weeks:
  • Do 1 active thing a day.  If I were perfect, I’d say “do cardio and strength training every day,” but that’s not realistic just yet.  I have to get used to moving more before I can set my sights higher.  My 1 active thing can be yoga or strength or cardio, but I have to do SOMETHING.
  • Be more comfortable with catching short stints of exercise.  I’ve always been (and still am to an extent) of the mindset that exercise is a chore, that I have to set aside all this time to do it, and that it’s such a huge ordeal.  I’ve always been aware that’s not the case, but I’m still in that mindset.  I’m trying to wrap my head around doing several short sessions instead of schlepping it to the gym for an hour.  I could walk around the block for 10-15 minutes, I could do a short program on the Wii, I could do an interval DVD…there are so many short exercises I could do, and I don’t have to psych myself up to “switch gears” to do them (which I’ve always done in the past).
  • Do yoga twice a week.  This is another goal I’d like to bump up, but I have to start small if I want to succeed.  When I was doing yoga every day, I felt stronger and more present, like my mind and body weren’t trying to secede from each other like they are now.  I feel better when I do yoga, but like that 2nd bullet point up there, I need to realize I can do a few asanas and it’s not a huge ordeal.
So, that’s not asking much, right?  Why haven’t I been able to accomplish it in the 4 weeks I should’ve been working on it?  Because I’m not giving myself the proper chances, and I’m not holding myself accountable.  Like I talked about in my post about self-efficacy, I need to believe I CAN do these things and succeed and that they’re not a big deal.  The only thing getting in my way is my own stupid psyche.  These things are not beyond my abilities, and I can’t make excuses for not doing them, because lately I’ve shown myself that I’m more than capable of exercising.

I went to the gym with my friend again on Friday night (and dragged Mom along, too!)!!!  Rachel and I did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine (and again, the time flew by!!) and then we tackled the scary weight machines because there were so few other losers dedicated exercisers at the gym on a Friday night.  I did the deltoid press, the butterfly pectoral press, the abductor, and the adductor machines.  Usually when I did do strength machines, I’d stick with only arms or only legs on any particular day.  However, I knew I wouldn’t be going back to the gym until at least Monday, so I just went for arms AND legs.  And I overdid it.  I don’t remember how much weight I put on the adductor machine, but it was tooooo much.  It’s killing me to stand and walk today, two days after working out.

So, blah blah blah, what’s my plan?  In the same way that planning helps your eating habits, I’m going to try scheduling to aid my exercise habits (I’ve never been good with planning meals, though, so this will be quite a task).  Part of my problem is that I have this nebulous voice saying “must exercise” in my ear, but I don’t know or can’t decide what to do, so I’m going to give myself some direction.  I’m going to schedule myself a few options every day, and I’ll record exactly what I’ll do here.  And hopefully y’all will read it.  Smile

So, there’s my problem, there’s my goal, and there’s my plan.  I should’ve done this 4 weeks ago, but February 1st is better than never.  Let’s hope I’ll set myself up for success this time instead of failure. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Self-efficacy

During my 6 years as a health science student, we talked a lot about self-efficacy and how it contributed to behavior change and positive health outcomes. 

This sounds boring.  I’m sorry.  It gets better.

Self-efficacy is the belief that you can perform a certain task, and it’s a key factor in making lasting, healthy changes that will lead to weight loss or improving your overall health. If a person believes they can quit smoking, that puts them even closer to the goal of actually quitting.  If they believe they can cook healthy meals at home, their confidence allows them to try without fear or reservation.  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…

Why am I yammering about all this?  I haven’t been to the gym for over 2 months.  First it started with shin splints, and then it was the diet and a doctor’s note not to exercise that kept me away.  The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to go back (this leads to so many other facets of my life, but let’s not open Pandora’s Box this late at night, shall we?).  Long story short, I went back to the gym tonight for the first time in way too long.  It took a friend going with me (hi, Rachel!!!!) to actually get my butt over there, but I went (and at its busiest time, too!!).  I’ve usually shied away from working out with friends because, in the past, I’ve slacked off on exercising in favor of socializing, or I’ve cut it short before I needed to.  It’s weird when I drive there with someone else, because it’s difficult to gauge how they’re doing and when they want to leave, so I would usually finish quickly and use them as an excuse to leave early (does that even make sense?).  We met there, though, and I wanted to get some stress out, so I was ready to WORK!

Tonight we did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the rowing machines.  That might not seem like a lot to all you gymrats out there, but while I’m on less than 1000 calories a day and haven’t worked out really hard in a long time, it was plenty.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my friend or that I’d feel faint and have to cut it short early on, but I held my own. 

We hopped on two side-by-side elliptical machines, one earbud in, one out so we could chat, and decided to go for 15 minutes.  We talked the whole time and those 15 minutes FLEW BY.  We agreed to go for 5 more minutes to see how we felt, and I only felt woozy once.  I slowed down until I felt better, then sped back up.  I rocked it the entire time!  I was able to talk, but just barely, so I was working at just the right intensity.  When we had done 20 minutes, we moved onto the rowing machines and busted out a solid 10 minutes, and I only slowed down a couple of times!

So, back to self-efficacy, going tonight with my friendly support helped me realize that I was just being a pansy and that I CAN go to the gym and not be afraid.  I can be successful at working out in public, and nobody’s going to stare at me or call me names, and I (probably) won’t hurt myself.  A little hand-holding never hurt anyone, and in fact, it made me stronger.  I could’ve kept going (with a rest break), but the crowd was just too much to deal with, and I didn’t want to overdo it my first time back.  I felt amazing afterward (as I always do…if only I could remember that when I’m trying to get my ass there in the first place!) and might even go back tomorrow! 

And again with the self-efficacy: we looked in on a Zumba class and declared we’ll try it next week.  I hope Rachel still wants to go, because I need her to hold my hand and increase my self-efficacy!  It’s such an asset to have a gym buddy, but only if they hold you accountable!

What kinds of things have you done (or want to do) to increase your self-efficacy?  From watching cooking or exercise tutorials to practicing self-affirmations and budgeting exercise time, what steps do you put in place to ensure success in different areas of your life?

PS – I watched Julie & Julia tonight and it was super cute, but the ending/outcome frustrated me!!  I also made a new killer crockpot dish that I’ll blog about tomorrow.  I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine (I hope this post was coherent enough!) and am about ready to PTFO.  Night, all!!

Buffalo BBQ Chicken Salad

The other day, I tweeted about a successful buffalo chicken salad:

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And The Scorpio Woman asked me to post the recipe.  I can’t post that exact recipe, because the basis of it was store-bought fried buffalo chicken chunks – not healthy, but way awesome.  However, a very similar salad has been my go-to meal for the past couple of months, especially for lunch.  I’m not always in the mood to have hot stuff (especially vegetables) in the middle of the day, so this salad is perfect.  Also, I’m a big fan of juxtaposing flavors and textures, like salty and sweet, creamy and crunchy, and cool and spicy.  This salad definitely fits the bill.

“Buffalo BBQ Chicken” Salad

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  • I take a ginormous bowl and dump in half a bag of salad – I usually use torn romaine, butter lettuce, baby spinach, and/or spring mix.
  • Add some kind of cooked chicken or chicken substitute; I tend to keep the pre-cooked fajita-type strips on hand, but today I used half a leftover breast from a couple of nights ago
  • On top, I drizzle some of my Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch dressing (I keep this dressing in an old-fashioned squeeze bottle, like the ketchup and mustard picnic table bottles, because the bottle it comes in has a huge opening that makes it difficult to get a small amount out)
  • I also add a drizzle of barbeque sauce (my favorite is Sticky Fingers Carolina Sweet – it’s got a sweeter flavor, not hickory like a lot of others, and it’s thin enough that you can pour out a small amount at a time)
  • Then I add several shakes of Tabasco sauce, depending on how saucy I feel that day.  I was using the green jalapeno variety which is a little milder and smokier, but I’ve recently started using the classic red variety for more kick.
  • Then add blue cheese, cheddar cheese, bell pepper, celery, or anything else you might like.  I like adding red bell pepper (if I don’t forget it like I did today!) because it’s sweeter and not as bitter as green bell peppers.
  • Also I just discovered this last week - adding Fiber One cereal as a crunchy topping isn't a stupid idea as I had originally thought!  It still has a "cereal" flavor, but it adds a little bit of sweet crunch to it all!
If I was really on top of my game, I’d mix the ranch, BBQ sauce, and Tabasco ahead of time and keep it on hand in its own bottle, because it makes an awesome dipping sauce for chicken or fries!

I eat this salad a few times a week, but I’m not sick of it yet, and I don’t see myself getting sick of it any time soon.  It’s easy enough to throw together in a few minutes, and the flavors are interesting and classic enough to keep me “entertained.” 

Do you have a go-to meal like this that you’ll never get sick of, or would you consider yourself in a rut if you ate the same thing a lot?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crockpot Pulled Chicken

I wanted to try making pulled chicken in the crock pot, so I perused a few recipes online to get a gameplan (specifically, how long to cook them and at what setting).  The end result was pretty good, but I have a tendency of throwing “a little of this, a little of that” into the pot and then having a flavor that’s a bit…off.  I’ll try to remember what the heck I did as best I can…

Crockpot Pulled Chicken

  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • ~3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ~1/3 cup ketchup
  • ~1/8 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ~1 Tbls lime juice (forgot about this!)
  • A few dashes of cumin
  • ~1 tsp green Tabasco sauce
  • ~1 tsp red Tabasco sauce
  • ~1 Tbls brown sugar (I used Splenda)
  • (I tossed in a couple of dashes of curry powder, and I probably shouldn’t have)
  • chicken bouillion cube dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
I mixed the garlic and onion in the base of a crock pot and laid the chicken breasts on top.  In a bowl, I combined all the rest of the ingredients, whisked them, and poured the sauce on top of the chicken.  I set the crock pot on low and let it do its thang for about 6 hours.  Then I took two forks and tore it all up.
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I made it ahead of time to eat a little at a time over a week or so.  It’d be great in wraps, tacos, soups, sandwiches, or on a salad
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Next time, I think I might try the Occam’s Razor approach (my “little of this, little of that” habits can sometimes be a bit much) and just dump some chicken stock and a pack of fajita mix in there and see what happens.  I was going for a spicy Mexican-type taste and almost achieved it.  Also, I could go for some Italian flair and throw in some tomatoes and herbs.  I’ll definitely be visiting this concept again soon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bleu Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

This post was supposed to be written last night, but then that damned Pregnancy Pact movie got in the way.  I had no idea Thora Birch was in it!  At first I thought it was someone else who just looked like her!  Her voice is so much deeper now…I wonder if she smokes? I digress…everyone on Twitter was abuzz about this stupid made-for-TV movie, so I had to see what it was all about.  Meh.  At least that solidifies my decision to not get sucked into dramatic TV programming…only comedy for this chick (save for Lost, which we’ll discuss more in a moment).

Before all the knocking up went down, I made an AWESOME dinner…as y’all know, I’m not 100% or even 75% happy to be eating meat for the short term, but I chose this program, and I’m  not whining.  It’s very rare that I eat red meat, but sometimes you just have an urge for a burger!  I decided to make this:

Bleu Cheese-Stuffed Burgers with Onions and Peppers and a Balsamic Reduction

  • 2lbs ground beef
  • container of blue cheese crumbles (I used Publix brand…I think it’s 8oz?)
  • 1.5 onions (I had an unused half in the fridge, and I added another)
  • carton of baby portabella/crimini mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Divide the beef into 8 equal portions and form into loose patties.  Ppace ~1-2 Tbls of crumbles in the middle of each patty and seal by shaping and closing the patty around the cheese, flattening into a normal(ish) patty shape.  Repeat with the remaining meat wads.  (Mine were pretty thick…I was afraid if they were on the thin side, the cheese would escape)

Slice the onions and mushrooms and sauté in EVOO until they’re brown and caramelized.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Pour balsamic vinegar into the hot pan and reduce on medium-high until its viscosity resembles oil (but not as thick as syrup; bottom line – you just want to thicken it a bit).

Grill the burgers for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  When you assemble burgers, top each patty with some of the balsamic reduction and a spoonful of the onions and mushrooms.  

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[Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here]  It was pretty good served alongside some oven-roasted zucchini! (Yeah, we're still using Christmas china.  It'll get packed away this week!)

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Oh, remember when I mentioned Lost a couple paragraphs ago?

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Doesn’t my swirling balsamic vinegar look like the SMOKE MONSTER???

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Source

No?  Oh c’mon!  I sat there swirling that pan for a long time and took a dozen pictures!  Just leave me here in my islandy delusions.  We’re at EIGHT DAYS, PEOPLE!!!!

Who else watches LOST??

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Indulgence play-by-play

Hi, everyone!  I hope you’ve had a great Saturday!  I just got done doing a Tweetathon with Heather and Olivia – we were watching the SAG Awards and doing a semi play-by-play of the outfits and outcomes, and I might’ve been partaking in a vodka-based drink.  I think my tipsiness has worn off in the past hour it’s taken me to write this post, so let’s get to that recap, shall we?

I’ve indulged a bit this weekend (and it’s only half over!) but I’ve not fallen off the wagon.  “Off-plan” doesn’t necessarily mean “an entire pizza” or “giant pitcher of beer,”  and it doesn’t necessarily mean FAIL.  As much as successfully losing weight means following the rules, it also means understanding you’re not a failure when you don’t follow them 100%.  I’ve always been an all-or-nothing, black-or-white thinker, and I’m working at correcting that, one little (controlled) indulgence at a time!

Last night, I made a cocktail for Mom and myself.  This little blue wonder, a.k.a. indulgence #1,…
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…contained a splash of blue Curacao, a splash of peach schnapps, a generous splash of vodka, and a bunch of Sprite Zero, all contained beautifully in the martini glasses Mom gave me for Christmas.  True to trend as of late, it gave me a headache about an hour after finishing it.  Bleeech.

Later for dinner, I had a crab cake I bought from Publix, alongside some steamed broccoli, some rice pilaf (indulgence #2), and a poor woman’s “remoulade” made from fat-free thousand island dressing + spicy southwest mustard (indulgence #3).
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This morning for breakfast, I attempted to make an omelette and butchered it terribly.  I’m just not a good flipper.  So I took lemons and made lemonade a ruined omelette and made scrambled eggs.
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With onions, red bell pepper, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese (indulgence #3.5), and some iced coffee made with half a packet of my diet shake.

Mom and I visited my storage space today (where all my homeless stuff lives) to drop off a couple of boxes and to go searching for clothing.  I brought home two big boxes of clothes I have yet to go through as well as a beautiful lamp I forgot I had!  Perfect for someone who’s “outgrowing” a bunch of fat clothes and who was searching for a new lamp for her rearranged room!  While we were out, I got a small nonfat, sugar-free latte (indulgence #4), and had half a Reese’s Christmas tree in the early afternoon (indulgence #5).
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After working on stuff around the house, I made a mocktail with Sprite Zero, a splash of lime juice, and a splash of marachino cherry juice (with a cherry!).  It wasn’t exactly on-plan, but it wasn’t as bad indulgent as the other things I’m counting. 
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This afternoon I got hungry, probably because A) I didn’t have the proper breakfast/lunch I’m used to having, and B) I’m not used to sugar crashes!  I had a leftover chicken tender from the other night with some ranch + Tabasco:
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I shared 1/4 to 1/3 with my dog and cat.  Aaaand those two rascals also got about 1/3 of my barbequed chicken at dinner.  I’m such a sucker.
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The dog also got half of that potato salad (indulgence #5).  After dinner is when I indulged (#6) in the aforementioned Sprite Zero + vodka + grenadine cocktail and SAG awards…and after the awards is when I indulged in gelato:
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Tiramisu + peanut butter cup = lucky indulgence #7

So while this weekend’s 7 indulgences thus far don’t nearly match those that I used to partake in OR throw me completely off-course, they were definitely out of the ordinary.  I’m trying not to beat myself up, especially because I made conscious decisions to eat or drink all these things, but it’s difficult when I’m used to thinking in terms of SUCCEED or FAIL

I’m all out of cleverness for now (and my attention is being stolen by Meet the Parents, so I’ll just ask: can you identify with the “purposeful indulgence/guilt” cycle I’m trying not to get caught up in?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fiber One Baked Chicken Tenders

First off, HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!  I hope everyone has had a great week and has an even better weekend!

I had an appointment with my doctor on Wednesday where I found out I’ve lost 6.4lbs over the past two weeks!  It’s great, but I keep imagining what it’d be if I regularly exercised.     I’ve been better this week about sneaking in strength exercises – doing squats and lunges and lifting weights while I watch TV – but it’s not enough.

One of the things that’s hindering me is that my blood pressure is quick to drop when I stand or do really active things.  It’s no excuse, but it kind of weirds me out a little.  I don’t want to faint in the middle of the road, or fall and crash into a piece of furniture!  The blood pressure drop thing is usually to be expected when you cut calories at first, but my doc is concerned that it’s lasting this long.  Also, my blood pressure was a little high on Wednesday, so I’m going to try to cut down on caffeine and check it at home to see if it’s any different.  It’s always been pretty normal, so it’s bugging me that it’s high.

My meals have been looking a bit boring lately…I’m not sick of them yet, but I might be soon, so I decided last night to whip up a new recipe.  I’ve been craving something with a little crunch, so I tried to use a sample of Fiber One cereal I got from the doctor’s office to make “battered and breaded” chicken fingers.  The end result left something to be desired, but it’s a good starting point for trying new twists!

Fiber One Baked Chicken Tenders*

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2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1-2 eggs (I had to crack open a 2nd, but had some left over)
~1 Tbls dijon mustard per egg
½ cup Fiber One cereal, pulsed several times in a food processor or blender
~3 Tbls ground flaxseed
Salt & Pepper


Combine the eggs and mustard and whisk together.  Place the dry ingredients into a shallow-ish dish.  dip each chicken strip into the egg mixture and then dredge it in the dry coating.  Lay the pieces onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on how thick the pieces are) in a 350° oven.

When I do this next time, I’ll add more spices to the dry coating, and possibly Tabasco sauce to the wet mixture.  The “cereal” flavor was still pretty evident, almost sweet, and I’d like to try to mask it more.  It wasn’t as crunchy as I’d hoped, so maybe increasing the oven temperature would help that?  Any ideas or suggestions for me?

I served mine with ketchup, but a mustard sauce of some sort would go swimmingly with it, and if I did use Tabasco to wet and dredge it, a ranch/Tabasco sauce would be awesome!!

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I had roasted asparagus with mine, and a taste of a beef pinwheel filled with spinach and mozzarella that Mom had for dinner.

I also made another recipe in the crockpot, but I’ll save that for another post so as not to overwhelm this one!

On a final note, I got a sweet Christmas gift yesterday from my dear friend Emily in Denver, and these two items say so much about me:

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An I Can Has Cheezburger book and a page-every-three-days sewing calendar filled with cute little projects.  These fit me to a T.  Thanks, Em!!! 


*A few people have asked me if I've seen Hungry Girl's Fiber One chicken tenders recipe (I think that's the one y'all are talking about?), and the answer is: no, I hadn't.  I just wanted to make it clear that I don't read her site (I might if it was better organized and easier to navigate and find stuff!), and I made up this recipe (if you can even call it that) because I wanted a way to use my free sample.  Having said that, I now have  Thanks for pointing that out to me, guys! looked at her recipe, and it looks a helluva lot better than mine.  AND I recently bought panko for something else, so I think I'll try out her version in the near future!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dori's Shiny Charity Auction

Hi, everyone!

I wanted to do take a moment and shamelessly plug a cause near and dear to my friend Dori's heart.

She's holding an auction on her blog TODAY (I should've posted this yesterday!) to raise money for Think Pink Rocks, a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness about early detection of and genetic testing for breast cancer and to provide funding for screening, treatment and research. Dori's mom is a survivor, and Dori will be running in the NYC Half Marathon in March to benefit this charity.

Please pop on over to her auction page and bid on something (I donated a couple of things!)! Bidding starts at $20 for each item. If you can't spare that much, consider donating what you can on her donation page. It all adds up, and every little bit helps!

And if you're broke-ass like me, could you at least spread the word? I just posted this tweet on Twitter, and I know Dori would appreciate an RT or 50. If some of the bigger-named bloggers see it and pass it on, it'll spread like wildfire!
It's auction day over on @dysterious's blog, y'all! http://bit.ly/8RxbB7 Please RT!! She's raising money for breast cancer research!
Thanks, everybody! I hope you all are having a fabulous day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Room makeover and a thumb-sucking bird

First off, mad props to my own damn self for figuring out my blog paragraph spacing issues.  I spent a couple few hours tonight messing with it and finally got it fixed.  Heck.  Yes. 

Secondly, I promised y’all a little something…

Bedroom Before and After

So here’s what my bedroom looked like on Sunday (I’m sorry for that hellaciously blue color under the chair rail…if I could go back in time and smack my 16-year-old self in the jaw for choosing it, I would):


These were taken from my door.  And the fuchsia rectangles are covering clutter crime scene evidence I’m legally bound to hide.  You can see how I had my bed shoved in the corner, taking up lots of valuable wall space.  As a result, I had several furniture pieces all shoved together on one wall.  (The thing in the corner covered in shit is an L-shaped computer desk.  I ain’t touchin’ that.)

And here’s the shot of the door:
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Complete with crappy particleboard drawers next to the door, left over from my apartment, and loootttts of crap outside the door that used to belong in my apartment.  Sigh.  Oooh, see the tall lamp next to the door?  That’s the one I fixed alll by myself.  It’s sad how proud I am.  But overall, the room looks sorry, half-assed, gross, cluttered…just nasty.

So here are my “after” shots (and there’s still sooo much clutter, but I’m slowly working away at it):

Bed is now centered along the wall where all the furniture used to be shoved in one solid row.DSC02051
Lingerie chest and TV are now in the corner; desk is next to it with my laptop and printer set up.
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The dresser just got moved down a little bit to make some more room for the desk and birdcage on that wall.  The crappy particleboard drawers are next to the door.
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And this craptastic image was taken yesterday to show where my closet is, before it occurred to me to make it look semi-tidy.  I’ll be getting rid of those boxes on the wall, and I’d like to get a headboard or make my own, but I’ve got too much on my plate now.  One thing is for certain, I’ve got a really cool wall decor project on the horizon that I’m determined to finish.
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Also, my bed has always had those plastic bed lifts under each foot.  However, it’s a queen-sized bed, and there’s a 5th foot in the middle of the bed.  Those bed lifts come in packs of 4.  We’re southern (read: classy), so years ago to support that 5th foot, we jerry-rigged a “bed lift” out of a couple of bricks that kept getting knocked out of place.  So as part of the room makeover, I got another set of bed lifts so I could have a proper 5th lift.  The problem was, I had already put the box spring and mattress back on, and the sheer weight of both kept me from lifting the bed enough to put the lift under it by myself.  So what does a classy southern broad do?  She goes and fetches her dad’s 12-ton-rated pneumatic bottle jack and jacks the damn bed up. 

Man, I wish I had taken a picture of that.  In all seriousness, I can’t believe how much better I slept last night since the middle of the bed was strongly supported and not sagging. And since I had these FRIGGIN’ AWESOME NEW FLANNEL SHEETS from Target - $10 for the set because it was a “holiday” item on clearance (the polka dots are green, blue, brown, and red).  They’re the fuzziest, fluffiest flannel sheets ever.  And I’m in love.
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Yeah, those are my teddy bears.  Gregory and Claudia are lovers.

The room feels like my little sanctuary now, whereas before it just wasn’t comfortable.  Stuff was just shoved in here, there wasn’t any order or organization to it, and now it feels like it has purpose.  There’s still SO much clutter and stuff to get rid of, find places for, but it all makes some sense now.

Dinner

Dinner was quick and easy tonight.  I wasn’t much in the mood for food today (WTF???) so I had diet shakes all day.  I ate dinner relatively early since I started feeling the pangs – I had frozen steamed broccoli and some rotisserie chicken from the grocery.  Boring?  Yes.  Quick?  Yes.  Tasty?  Yes.  Works for me!
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And to top off this crazy post with some cuteness, here’s Morgan doing that “thumb-sucking” behavior I talked about in my earlier post.  You know how kids have some comforting motion they do when they get sleepy?  Some kids suck their thumbs, some kids twirl their hair, and my bird puts her little left foot up next to her face and very slowly kind of combs her feathers and scratches her head and face.

Getting sleeeeepy…
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Foot goes on top of the head…she just stands like that for awhile and gently clenches and unclenches her foot…
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…slooowly scratching the side of her face…
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…reaching the very tippy-top of her head…
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…and she moves to the beak.
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Pardon, but I think that’s friggin’ cute.  (Jenny, I hope you enjoyed!)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Tuesday and is ready for Hump Day!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy 101

Kat at Kat’s Adventures in Dietland has passed this along to me:




Thanks, Kat!!  (Awesome name, BTW!)

I am supposed to tell you 10 things that make me happy and then hand it on to 10 people who inspire/motivate me
  • TV shows on DVD (namely The Office (US & UK), Flight of the Conchords, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, and, lately, Better Off Ted)
  • New readers and Twitter friends (and comments!!)
  • Laughing with my childhood friends until my abs ache and my throat is raw
  • Self-date nights (sitting down to watch a movie with a nice dinner and glass of wine)
  • My pets (especially Brooks’ little meek meow, Morgan's puffy-feathered, "thumb-sucking" naps, and Maddy’s lazy grumbling and groaning)
  • Actually doing something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile
  • Doctored-up coffee that tastes far from drip
  • When the scale goes down (call me shallow)
  • When my Type-A brain overrides my Type-B laziness
  • My Blackberry and all the networking, time wasting, and gossiping I can do with it

The 10 people who motivate and inspire me health- and fitness-wise are (and these are things I truly admire or appreciate about these people...I'm not just kissing ass!):

  1. Dori for kicking ass at Core Fusion, even when it sometimes kicks back (and for working hard to raise money for breast cancer and train for a freaking half marathon!!)
  2. Mary for living life to the fullest and not letting weight loss get in the way (I know she's already been tagged by Roni, but that's just a testament to her awesomeness!)
  3. Randi for celebrating non-scale victories and for balancing her health and hectic life
  4. Amanda for getting out of her comfort zone and making new friends as well as being a beast at the gym
  5. Chanelle for being such a sweet person; she makes me want to get organized and dance!
  6. Jenny for being a constant source of support, even when I just need reassurance that I'm not stupid or crazy (though sometimes I am)
  7. Candace for sticking with her goals and being a consistent commenter - two things that are a struggle for me!
  8. Monique for being such a good networker and supporter and all around sweet person (she was also tagged by Roni!)
  9. Sheryl for being a true fitness inspiration (she was part of the reason I dusted off my bike!) and for confidently being her beautiful, sexy self!
  10. Heather for always giving my brain some food for thought in her meaty posts and for working on conquering her fear of classes at the gym (I'd like to overcome that fear myself!)!
Thanks for raising my bar higher, ladies!  Y'all motivate me every day to be a better version of myself!  If you'd like to pass this along, please do, but my feelings won't be hurt if you don't!

Monday, January 18, 2010

HTML headache

Hi, guys!  My day has been soooo boring – I’ve spent the whole day on my ass, making changes to the blog.  After messing with HTML and CSS all day, my eyes are crossed and my head is throbbing.  I’m disappointed it took as long as it did, because I was supposed to do some heavy furniture moving today in my bedroom.  However, it’s probably good that I took the day off, because my arms and back are SCREAMING at me from yesterday’s demolition work

As far as the blog goes, you’ll notice I added tabs with an “about me” section, a section outlining my history with weight loss and gain, and a section where I’ll link to recipes I’ve posted.  They’re still a work in progress, so bear with me!  Plus, changing the layout kinda mucked up the formatting in my posts, so text and pictures aren’t getting along like they should.  I really like how everything is arranged now, so despite the formatting issues, I’m happy!
For lunch, I made one of my new staples – a “buffalo” ranch chicken salad.

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For dinner, I had sautéed green beans, baked chicken, and steamed cabbage.

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As well as not getting off my butt all day, I also don’t think I drank any water.  I bought a gallon of diet sweet tea (made with Splenda) yesterday to take to the lakehouse, and I brought the rest home for myself.  Aaaand I pretty much drank the rest today, along with some Coke Zero.  I like having non-water drinks in the house, but when I do, I favor them over water.  So once these are gone, I won’t be buying anymore for awhile.  Though I did get some flavored seltzer last night, so I’m excited to try that!

I know this post totally sucked, but I wanted to check in and address the blog changes for those of you who read via feed delivery.

And just to further commit ourselves to it and hopefully pique some interest, Jenny from Color Hungry and I have got something interesting and thought-provoking on the horizon!  I can’t wait to get it started!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sledgehammer

I was going to title this post, “I want to be your sledgehammer” after the Peter Gabriel song, but upon further investigation, 1) the lyrics make little sense to me, and 2) the only context in which they do make sense to me are in that of sexual innuendo.  Now, this means that between Peter Gabriel and myself, at least one of us is a pervert.  I digress.

So – what did I do today?  SLEDGEHAMMERED!  Apart from back-breaking and arm-tweaking, using a sledgehammer to bust the shit out of concrete slabs is very cathartic!  Our extended family all owns a lakehouse together, and last year, a huge tree fell on our concrete deck by the lakeside, crushing the whole platform.  The rubble has sat there for months because we could never find time to all get together and clear it out.  However, for Christmas, all us grandkids made a pledge to our grandmother to clean it up and build a new deck, so we had to make time.  This was the first Work Weekend of many to come - once or twice a month until Memorial Day, we’ll all be there at the house working on the deck until the big unveiling.  I can’t wait to get it all finished!

I’ve illustrated where the concrete deck used to be: (I’m standing on the very edge of the part that was salvaged).



The guys had mostly cleared the area of metal and concrete slabs by the time I got there this morning (save for one cousin’s awesome new girlfriend who we all just met today, I was the only chick), and we spent the rest of the day breaking up the concrete, arranging it alongside our boat ramp, and re-laying the brick retaining wall.  I also had to run a couple of errands and got to listen to NPR on the way (I always swore off talk radio but some Twitter friends got me hooked…thanks a lot, guys), so I’d consider myself the luckiest of the bunch.  We got a lot accomplished today, but it was in the mid- to upper-40s and raining all day, so we were all soaked and MISERABLE.  Between being chilled to the bone from the weather and feeling dizzy and faint from all the concrete busting and carrying, I’m beyond exhausted now. 

Today’s Eats

This morning, I started out with my usual coffee + shake combo and stopped by Publix for lunch to take to the lakehouse.  I grabbed one of these low-cal Vitamin Waters and felt my inner goth kid coming out when I realized how PINK that drink truly is.  It made me twitch.

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The taste redeemed it, though!  I only got like 5 hours of sleep last night, and when I don’t get enough sleep and know that there’s some energy-taxing event ahead of me, I tend to rationalize food and drink I wouldn’t normally consume.  So it’s good that I chose this over something filled with sugar (I know, it would’ve been great if I hadn’t gotten anything “special” at all, but I can live with this for now).  This little judgment flaw is partially to blame for my 80-pound weight gain in graduate school, so I’m glad to be changing it at least a little bit! 

For lunch, I had my turkey cobb salad from Publix (icky Blackberry picture):
 
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I could bore you guys with more pictures of what we did today, but I’ll spare you.     I’ll definitely be excited to start building the actual deck – we’re using those nifty composite boards and re-vamping our lakeside.  It’s gonna be freakin’ sweet.

Dinner

On my way home from the lakehouse, Mom met me at the grocery store to pick stuff out for dinner.  We decided to have salmon and bought some zucchini that I baked in the oven and topped with parmesan cheese.  I also baked the bulbous end of the butternut squash I made fries out of a few days ago.  I scooped out the seeds, sprinkled with cinnamon and Splenda brown sugar, and added some ICBINB spread before baking for about 45 minutes at 375°.

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The squash was kind of fibrous, almost comparable to spaghetti squash, but not quite as stringy.  I’m not sure if I baked it too long? Not long enough? It seems like every time I envision something with butternut squash, I get it kind of wrong.  It’s never terrible, just never 100% what I expected.  Maybe next time I’ll consult a recipe. 


Mom and I also split this beer

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…which wasn’t awesome.  It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t awesome.  I drank my half and subsequently got a headache about 45 minutes later.  This has been happening since I started my diet, and – just like that “sugar makes my throat sore” thing – I should probably consider it a blessing.  Nature’s way of telling me to lay off the beer.     Seriously, I need to quit eating and drinking stuff that’s not part of my diet.  My weight loss has definitely slowed down since Christmas, and I need to keep my momentum going!  (I’ve lost 50lbs since my highest weight, though!)

Alright, y’all…I’ve stayed up waaay past my bedtime (what else is new, seriously??) and am turning into a pumpkin.  I hope you guys had a great day today – did anyone do anything exciting? productive? lazy?  Try anything new this weekend?  What’s up???