Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Squashing my buts and onlys

I’m still trying to let go of negativity, but when you’ve been a “…but…” and “…only…” person all your life, it’s hard to let go and embrace the positives.  Here are snippets of some of the talk that’s gone on in this mixed-up brain of mine lately: (edit: I came back to add rebuttals to all the negative points – I’m not letting the “buts” and “onlys” have the last word!)

I biked part of the Palmetto Trail on Friday. 
But it was only 5 miles and 1.5 hours.
You had never biked on an unpaved trail before.  There were a few times you wanted to quit, but you kept going.  You ended up having a great time and can’t wait to do it again.

I got together with several of my oldest and dearest friends and our moms on Saturday night for a bridal shower.  I wore a cute dress and felt pretty good.
But I ate too much and drank too much, and my arms are still disgusting.
You could’ve consumed a lot more than you did, and you look and feel better than you have in years.

I ran 40 minutes on Sunday in South Carolina August heat and humidity at noon with a slight spiked-punch-and-sugary-treats hangover, and the longest I’ve ever run is 30 minutes.
But it was only 2 miles, not 3 like I had thought.
With all that working against you, 2 miles is pretty damn good.  With the right conditions, you can do 3.

I ran to the end of the trail I’ve been training on for over a year.
You still didn’t run the whole way there.
You’ve never made it anywhere NEAR that far on foot.  And you ran MOST of the way there and back.

Instead of driving, I biked to the post office yesterday on main roads, up hills I’m not used to, wearing a backpack full of packages to mail.
It was only 4 miles, and the packages weren’t that heavy.
Bottom line, you were scared but you did it anyway, and you’re proud of yourself for doing it.  Next time will be much easier, and pretty soon, you can bike on farther errands.

I’ve signed up for my first 5K on Friday night with Carla and Mark.
I’ve never run over 2 miles at once, and I really wanted to be able to run my “first” 5K.
You still might be able to run the whole thing, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.  Just have fun with it!

I’m going to Clemson’s opening football game on Saturday with some dear friends.
You’ll have to meet new people and answer the question “and what do you do?,” you might run into people from your past, and you’ll be sweaty and still pretty chubby.  Oh and you couldn’t find a date to take your extra ticket.
IT’S CLEMSON’S OPENING GAME WITH YOUR FRIENDS.  Everyone will be sweaty.  Shut up and have fun.  You’ll be tailgating with over 100,000 members of the Clemson Family! One of these days, you’ll be able to bring a date; just keep being positive…nobody likes a Debbie Downer.

I’ve made plans to do some fitness-y activities with a new-ish friend I’d like to get to know better.
I hope I don’t make an ass of myself trying to impress him.
Just be yourself and have fun…it’s a waste of time and energy trying to impress people.  At least you’re doing things for fun that always scared you in the past!

I’ve made plans to do some fitness-y activities with an old friend with whom I’d like to catch up.
I hope I don’t hold her back because I’m so out of shape.
You’re not as out of shape as you used to be…you can handle this, and she won’t judge you if you have to slow down.  You’re catching up during a walk, not over food and drinks – that’s a big step.

I’ve been doing lots of things out of my comfort zone lately and my life feels a lot richer because of it.
I’m still unemployed and I’ve gained 4 pounds this month.
The more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll get back in return.  You’ll find a job, and you’ll learn to balance social events with eating right.  At least it’s not 5 or 10 or more.  Keep trying!

It’s exhausting having all this swirling around in my head, so maybe getting it all out there, confronting it, thinking logically about it all, and crossing it out will help?  I just have to let those positive rebuttals WIN.  I already feel better having written it all down!

Carla passed along a book to me about perfectionism, Never Good Enough, but I haven’t cracked it yet because I’m trying to finish up some library books first.  Listing all that stuff above makes me realize how much I NEED this book right now.  The best I can do is do the best I can do.  I’ve just got to make sure what I’m doing really IS the best I can do and accept that as my definition of success.

Any “never good enough”-busting tips that have worked for you in the past?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Epic bike ride on the Palmetto Trail

Today I went on an epic bike ride along a section of the Palmetto Trail – a trail that, when finished, will reach from the mountains in the northwest corner of the state all the way to the beach on the southeast side.  Mom and I headed to the Peak to Prosperity Passage with our bikes and hit the trail. 

May I note that before Wednesday, neither of us had ever biked “off-road.”  I’ve always stuck to paved trails or regular roads, but we tried a path through the woods at our regular park on Wednesday, had fun, and mustered up the courage to go big today.

The road to the trailhead is spooky and middle-of-nowhere-ish.

Road to the trailhead

Parts of the trail, if not the whole thing, are old sections of railroad

Trail entrance

Palmetto Trail

…which is great in part because you’ve got a nice wide, relatively flat trail.  However, it’s covered in good-sized gravel…scary for a novice biker like me who’s afraid of sliding!

Evil rocks

There are a few parts of the trail where there are embankments on either side…if you slid on the rocks and fell, you’d tumble a long ways before dying in a heap far below reaching the bottom.

Me on the Palmetto Trail

I swore I saw Bigfoot dart across the path at one point, but I think it was just the aft-end of a deer.  Maybe related to this one?

Far away deer

Can’t see her?

Close-up deer

I tried to chase her, but I was awkward and slow, and she took off way before I could get close enough for a good picture. 

There are a few trestles along the way…we made it to one at about the 2.5 mile mark before taking some pictures and turning around.

Me halfway

I’m not very good at those cute jumping photos the kiddies are taking nowadays.

Me jumping

And no, adding a second person and relying on the self-timer doesn’t help.

jump shot

jump shot

jump shot

Biking was far easier after turning back, either because I had increased my confidence and self-efficacy or because I knew I only had a finite distance to go.  Either way, I was singing to myself on the way back instead of cursing to myself like I had on the way up.  This song, to be exact.  Oh Cee-Lo, I love you.

Trestle

It started raining as we approached the trail head – one of those stupid isolated showers that doesn’t stick around long but would’ve been a nuisance had it started in the middle of our ride.

Broad River

I didn’t die, and I actually had a really good time!  As we kept going, I’d take bigger risks than I had in the beginning – not stopping to walk over obstacles, going a little faster when I felt safe – I felt much better about my abilities on the last half of the journey!

Me at the end

I can’t wait to do it again, especially when the weather gets a little cooler!  And after I invest in some padded bike pants…my little gel seat just doesn’t cut it.  Sore ladybits make me a sad panda.

Ooh, and look what I found on the way out!

STOP: Hammer Time

Sometimes vandalism is fun, kids!

Have you accomplished some scary fitness feat lately that you’re proud of?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Aiken for a Picnic

From Sunday to Tuesday, Mom and I visited my grandmother in Aiken, SC.  It was nice to get away from home for a couple of days, but lately I’ve been finding that I get bored really easily, so I tended to get a little stir-crazy.  I forgot to bring a knitting project, so I mostly played on my phone and iPod like a brat. 

On Monday, we went to Hopelands Gardens and had a picnic!  We stopped at Publix and grabbed a bunch of stuff…

picnic spread

Two kinds of chicken salad, Hawaiian rolls, potato salad, cheese, Sabra tahini hummus, tabbouleh, crackers, pita chips, and some amazing tiramisu for dessert.

Tiramisu

Gaaaaah soooo good.

picnic dates

Me

I did some yoga on the grass, but I’m definitely not flashing those pics on teh interwebs.  I WILL, however, flash a few pictures of our pretty surroundings!  We set up our spot next to this frog-filled reflection pool.

reflection pool 

walkways

statue

Hopelands Garden

Hopelands Garden

Hopelands Garden

It’s incredible that this place used to be someone’s back yard.  I want to be whatever they were when I grow up!

For the duration of our visit, our meals consisted of picnic leftovers.

snacky foods

Have y’all tried this chipotle hummus from Sabra?  Holy crap it’s so good, and it burns only when you stop eating it.  A ploy to sell more?

Sabra chipotle hummus

I was excited to get home last night and have some plain ol’ protein + vegetables in the form of another (unpictured) beer can chicken and green beans!  Now since I feel so stir-crazy, hopefully I’ll get a lot accomplished this week.  Sitting in one spot for too long makes my soul itch.

Mom’s off this week and we’re doing a staycation thing.  We renewed our park membership yesterday and are riding our bikes today!  Hopefully once I feel comfortable today, I’ll try out a new path tomorrow.  It should make for a good blog post if all goes according to plan!

What are your favorite “staycation” activities?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

You can’t expect to eat like this…

beer pizza cupcakes

…as frequently as I have been lately and still lose weight.  As a matter of fact, I’ve probably gained weight lately.  I know I’m retaining water because I just feel…puffy…but I’m sure some of what the scale is reporting is weight weight, too.  Granted, I don’t eat like this at every meal, but even once every other day is way more than my body can handle.

This stuff is addictive, and when I give myself an inch, I start taking a mile.  I’m not one of those people who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.  Just because I’ve lost weight doesn’t mean I can suddenly handle this stuff, and if I have a little here and a little more there, before too long I’ll lose my footing and fall down that slippery slope again, and that’s my absolute worst fear.

It’s not that I CAN’T have these things, I just need to space them out more and give my body what it craves more often – clean, unprocessed, un-heavy, un-sugary food.  This stuff might taste good in the moment and make me happy for a short while, but it makes me feel gross and sick and lethargic for hours afterward; not worth it.

This public service announcement brought to you by this neurotic chick. 

Meeeeee

Edit: Remember how I said I had picked my first 5K?  Fate (and Carla) intervened…my first 5K is in two weeks.  I’m registered and everything.  I’m excited and a little bit scurred!  Did you find your first 5K was easier to run because of the crowds and atmosphere?  Was it harder?  Tell me your first 5K stories!

Friday, August 20, 2010

External Motivation – yay or nay?

I’m noticing a possibly disturbing trend in myself as of late and I’m wondering if y’all do it, too.  Sometimes my success in eating right and exercising is guided in part by external motivators, and I think I’m doing it more lately as I’m getting closer to my goal weight.  An upcoming event or a potential male suitor can help push me in getting my butt to the gym or in turning down a cookie.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not saying I’m only losing weight so I can bag me a man or look bangin’ at someone’s wedding reception, but is it bad to use these ideas as a metaphorical dangling carrot?

To completely change your life and your habits, the motivation absolutely has to come from within, no doubt.  However, on some days when you just feel like Jabba the Hutt and could stay in your PJs all day eating peanut butter out of the jar, it’s ok to think, “no, put down the spoon…think about that dress you have to fit into” or “would [insert male’s name here] be more attracted to you if you bragged about finishing the jar or finishing a 5k?”  I don’t think I’d go so far as to hang a bikini from a kitchen cabinet or print out a photo of a crush to take to the gym, stalker-style, (those seem a little disordered to me) but keeping these things in the back of your mind isn’t all that bad, is it?

What are your thoughts on this? Do you encourage yourself to have external motivators/reminders, or do you think it’s more harmful to move your focus outside of yourself, even a little bit?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beer Can Chicken

First things first, I had lunch with my dear friend Kate on Tuesday at a place I’ve never been but have wanted to try: DiPrato’s.  I have a soft spot for delis, and this is a cute one!  I studied the menu before I left home and told Kate to slap me if I tried to sway from my decision – their signature salad.

DiPrato's Signature Salad

Greens, strawberries, bleu cheese, candied pecans (these were amaaaaazing), onions, chicken, and raspberry vinaigrette.  Hooray for sticking to my guns and avoiding getting slapped!

Last night for dinner, I tried something new – beer can chicken (Mom kept calling it “beer butt chicken;” the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, folks).  I’ve seen these beer rack contraptions but have never used one before or eaten chicken cooked with one.  I picked up a rack at Wal-Mart, got a 12-pack of Yuengling (the only acceptable non-beer-pong beer available in a can, IMHO), and got to work.

I mixed up a spice rub of rosemary, sage, orange zest, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and sprinkled it on the inside and outside of the chicken.  You take a few big gulps out of the beer can and set it up in the stand, then shove the chicken on top.  [Apparently you don’t need one of those stands, but I’d be afraid it’d fall over without it].  We set ours up on the grill on about 250° on indirect heat for about 1hr and 15 min. 

beer can chicken

It looked pretty…

beer can chicken

…and Mom said it tasted amazing, but I didn’t get to try any of it, because I had to rush off to trivia!  Instead of the wholesome chicken and green beans I made for my parents for dinner, I had a few fried zucchini sticks and two mozzarella sticks, along with a pint and a half of Guinness.  Dinner of champions, right?

bar food 

At least it didn’t cost us anything…it literally pays to win at trivia.  smile_wink

trivia champs

And I got to hang out with Miss Lizzie again!  I love when blogger friends turn into IRL friends!

ZenLizzie and LowFatKat

And just to prove I’m not a total slug, I went to yoga class on Tuesday night and ran for 30 minutes yesterday, only taking a couple of short walk breaks!  Carla and I joked before about me developing one jacked-up ass cheek from banking turns on the track since I can’t run on the treadmill, but yesterday I actually did pull my left butt muscle from taking the corners too tight.  I’ll be turning in circles like a one-legged duck pretty soon.

Speaking of running, I think I’ve picked out my first 5k! Incidentally, it’s the one I picked for my first race last year before I got sidelined by shin splints.  I can’t wait for the weather to cool off so I can properly train (i.e., run in a straight line outside instead of banking sharp turns in a tight circle with one jacked-up ass cheek).  I’ve got until October 23rd to get my lopsided ass in gear.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dijon Chicken Cordon Bleu

All the serving pieces are clean, the leftover baked goods have been given away or eaten, and the decor has been packed up after Catherine’s 50s bridal shower.  Only a few things are left over in the aftermath, and last night I used up a couple of them.  We had some Swiss cheese and black forest ham left over from my ham and cheese party rolls, so I decided to make up a variation of Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Dijon Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • a few slices of ham per each chicken breast
  • a few slices of Swiss cheese (I used 1.5 slices per breast)
  • ~ 2 Tbls butter or margarine
  • ~ 2 cloves garlic
  • ~ 1.5 Tbls flour
  • ~ 2 Tbls dijon mustard
  • ~ 6 oz chicken stock
  • 1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and add the garlic, salt, and pepper.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk together well.  Add the chicken stock and dijon mustard and let it all hang out in the pot for awhile, stirring every so often while you work on the chicken.  With a sharp serrated knife, cut each breast almost in half, stopping before completely cutting through it.  Open it up and place the ham and cheese in the opening, then close it back and secure with a toothpick.  [You could also pound it thin and roll it up with the cheese and ham inside.]  Repeat with the other chicken breasts and lay in a baking dish.  Top the chicken with the mushrooms, then pour the sauce on top.  Bake in a 375° oven for about 35 minutes.

chicken in dish, mushrooms on top

dijon sauce on top 

dijon chicken cordon bleu

ham and cheese in the middle 

Best use of leftovers I’ve had in months!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catherine’s Bridal Shower

Part of the craziness that I’ve been referring to lately is a bridal shower I threw for Catherine yesterday.  I LOVE party planning and entertaining, but several wrenches were thrown into this party’s gears (low budget, having to throw the party at someone else’s house, broken oven AND refrigerator at our house – thanks, Universe).  I think it went well overall, but of course the perfectionist in me keeps saying “…but…” and “…if only…”  I gotta let that go, man.

Catherine’s always had a thing for pinup-style glamour.  She grew up obsessed with Lucille Ball and Bettie Page, so I wanted to bring some 50s-style flair to the party.

Here’s the image I used on the front of the invitations (with her face photoshopped on the body!)

Catherine pinup

Remember these?

Invitation invitation

So my colors were black and red with lots of polka dots.  Originally, I wanted to have lace and feathers everywhere, but that damn “budget” thing got in the way.

I painted martini glasses for everyone to use and take home as favors.

martini glasses

Food table

I wish I had taken more pictures of the food!  I tried to stick to Americana-type fare; originally I wanted to do mini hamburger sliders, but logistics didn’t pan out.  However, we DID have those amazing ham and cheese party sandwiches, the ones with the poppy seeds and mustard – pretty sure I ate at least 5 of them.  And I made cute little picks for the red velvet cupcakes (which were decked out in polka dot liners!).

Chocolate sea salt cake truffles

Catherine loves my chocolate salty balls.  Hehehe.

Fruit skewers

Fruit skewers!  The bad thing is, people overlooked these because they just appeared to be a centerpiece!  Maybe I should’ve had a dipping sauce or a sign on the table to draw their attention?

macaroni and cheese cups

My macaroni and cheese cups got a little cold and hard sitting out…boo.  I also had a non-alcoholic fruit punch and a white sangria with peaches, grapes, and strawberries[kicking myself for not taking better pictures!!] 

We played a few games including a wedding word scramble, shower gift bingo, and the ever-popular “toilet paper bridal gown” game, at Catherine’s request.

TP Bride

TP Brides

Catherine got showered with gifts!

Nifty gifties

No tired old-lady corsages for this bride.  I got her a sassy feather boa instead.  smile_wink

Showered with gifts

Kat and Cat

I wuv my bestest friend.  smile_teeth

I only kept a few leftover foodstuffs from the party, and my tummy is glad for it.  All the sugar and refined carbs aren’t sitting too well on my stomach or my brain.  I feel so lethargic and achy and, well, hungover today.  Sugary carby goodness isn’t that good after all. 

What’s your best way to bounce back after an all-out sugar-fest?  Do you just go back to eating normally or do you take an extra step and do some sort of “detox” program?  I think I’m just going to jump back into the clean eating today…