Food Friday

It’s been a busy week adjusting to my new job! The position I am in is part of a completely new part of the organization and there has been A LOT of information to process. Unfortunately, I still have to work this weekend at the pizza place, so I won’t get much of a break, but after this weekend, I can look forward to a more predictable M-F schedule.

Don’t worry, I’ve still made time for exercise! The day of my “rest day” I made sure to go for two ten minute walks on my breaks; I have gone running after work two evenings this week (and did a workout video once); and I rode my bike to work today. I’m still adjusting a bit – I hope to get in more walks as the weather warms up, to bike in more often (I haven’t located the locker room yet), and to take advantage of the on-site gym.


Anyway, since this is Food Friday, I do want to focus a bit more on food.

Packing my lunch and continuing to cook healthy meals has gone well, overall – Kris even cooked once this week while I was on a run (I normally don’t let him near the kitchen)! I am going to experiment to see what sort of healthy fare I can find in the cafeteria today, as I am out of bread to make my normal PB&J sandwich. Hopefully I find something suitable and avoid the coffee shop – I’m not sure if I can, though – they have BOTH coffee and ice cream (in some of my favorite brands).

I would like to reflect a bit on what exactly I have been eating this week and what has/has not been working well for me:

  • Speaking of coffee, drinking coffee only at home is not going to work out. If I don’t actually want to spend half of my salary at the coffee shop, I should probably invest in a thermos. I have had a caffeine headache everyday!
  • My breakfasts have been holding me over – every morning I have been having a bowl of oatmeal (made with half water, half milk) with maple syrup, craisins, and cinnamon mixed in. I haven’t felt hungry until lunch time AT ALL. I’m honestly amazed. As it warms up I may switch to Greek yogurt; we will have to see how that compares.
  • My lunch so far has been a PB&J sandwich, carrots with hummus, a piece of cheese, and a piece of fruit. It seems small when I eat it, but I have felt pretty full. I usually only snack in the afternoon so that I’m not hungry later, not because I’m super hungry when I have the snack.
  • Working out at night might take some adjustment. I usually eat some sort of granola bar in the afternoon for a snack to give me energy for the workout, which works well, but then after the workout I am STARVING. I eat dinner and immediately feel hungry. I’m not going over my calories but I feel like I’m shoving all of them into a 2 hour post-workout period.
  • I need to plan better for nights I go out to eat. We went out for dinner on Tuesday, and I made it my rest day because I didn’t have time to do both. In theory, that was a good idea; in practice, my reasonable for a restaurant dinner (a falafel gyro with a side of fries and 2 beers) made me go WAY over my calorie limit for the day.

I also wanted to take this as a chance to talk up the Aldi brand granola bars I bought last week. They are amazing! I bought two kinds: a Clif and a KIND knockoff. Both taste pretty much as good as the originals (I might even prefer Aldi’s crunchy peanut butter Clif-type bars), and are significantly cheaper. My only complaint is that they don’t have more flavors. Hopefully people start buying more of my favorite flavors in the name brands so they trickle down to Aldi!

 

Active Jobs and Weight Loss Maintenance

I had a fairly productive day today!

Kris and I have been practicing getting up early because… I start a new job next week! I’ll need to be there at 8 am everyday, and while I’m used to getting up to take Kris to work by 8:30, I’m not quite used to getting up early enough to get both of us ready and out the door half an hour earlier! The good news is that the weather is warming up so we should both be able to bike to work, cutting down on the inconvenience that will arise from having 1 car and slightly different hours. Today getting up early was necessary, because Kris had a doctor’s appointment in another town at 8:30. No worries, just some boring (because they were normal) bloodwork results.

After we got home, I had to really motivate myself to go for my run (the rest of this post will get more into why I was so demotivated), but I went out and got in 4 miles before our “100% chance of rain” weather started around lunchtime. Then, after I got home, I set to work making a lunchbox for my bike that I adapted from this tutorial (I lined mine and put in insulation so that I can keep things cold with an icepack). I have panniers, but liked the idea of a bag I could attach somewhere else if I needed more room in the panniers or if it was a more casual day and all I needed to bring along was my purse and a lunch! While constructing it went very well (I made Kris one for Christmas so I was practiced at all of the quirks of the project), I did run into a couple of obstacles:

Misty trying to help. She also tried to climb into my sewing machine case! Oh, and that cute shoe fabric is the lining.

The bag is bigger than the triangle below my top tube 😦 I told Kris I’ll just have to buy a second bike so that I can use the lunchbox 😉

After all of that I even made a “nice” dinner of lentil curry for us. Now I’m sitting at Panera Bread relaxing. Warning: they somehow put twice as many calories into their baked goods as other businesses. The carrot cake muffin I had was almost worth it, though. The cinnamon crunch bagel (which I should have had instead) is more than worth it.


Now, on to the topic of this day’s post. When I started working as a server, I knew it would be a more active job and was glad that might help to burn off some of my winter fluffiness I’d packed on. I soon realized, though, that I was insatiably hungry all of the time and regularly going over my calorie limits – and still going to bed hungry! I felt very guilty about all of the breadsticks, mozzarella sticks, and wings I was devouring at work on top of all of my other food, and, as I mentioned a couple weeks ago when I set myself some short-term goals for the month, was guessing rather than losing weight I had probably gained it.

When I weighed myself at the beginning of March, though, I hadn’t gained a pound – I had to ask myself “why?”

When I began to think about it more seriously, I considered the fact that most calorie counters have an adjustment for how active your job is. I’ve always put in “sedentary” even though my jobs (teacher, retail) could probably be classified as closer to “lightly active” because I did not believe that I was burning the 200 extra calories that MyFitnessPal claimed per day at those jobs – I figured an extra active day was just an added bonus.

When I began working at the pizza place, I operated under the same assumption: perhaps I’d burn a few extra calories, but I’d just consider it an added bonus. When I realized that I was maintaining my weight pretty well despite my terrible diet, I looked to see what MFP thought I should be eating in my new occupation, which it classifies as “active” and was at first surprised to see it was 400 calories! But then I thought about it – I burn about 60 calories on a 20 minute (1 mile) walk. If I am walking for, say, 3 hours out of my shift, that would be over 500 calories burned – plus I am usually carrying heavy things around while doing it! I haven’t made it a habit to add 400 extra calories in a day, but I’ve felt WAY less guilty about munching on a breadstick if I am truly hungry since making that realization.

I would say that there are cons to having a more active job, though. If one’s active job is at a restaurant or retail store (well, one were food will be available), the temptation to eat food that is “bad” for you will be high once the insatiable hunger hits. Now, a breadstick isn’t inherently “bad,” but it isn’t very filling so if I eat that instead of a more filling snack, I am more likely to be hungry and eat even more calories later. I am also more likely to eat things that are calorie bombs, sending me well over my calorie limit even with the extra calories I burnt at my job, such as multiple slices of deep dish pizza (that I don’t even like! I’m just starving!).

If one doesn’t work at a restaurant, I’m guessing the opposite problem occurs – you are starving, but are too busy at work to get food, and are therefore under-fueled, irritable, and likely to grab fast food on the way home. I’m guessing in either scenario you are also more likely to want to come home and relax with a glass (or two) of wine/beer! I am guessing that you can connect many of the goals I have set myself for March with these particular problems that arise from working an active job at a restaurant, such as allowing fewer calories to be “empty” calories and trying to eliminate eating without purpose while at work.

My main approaches to combating this have been to bring healthy snacks along with me and to make sure that if I have a calorie bomb at work, I use it to replace my dinner (usually it turns out I’m not hungry after eating something like half a stromboli and 4 mozzarella sticks anyway).

Another problem I have found is that burning all of those calories at work is physically exhausting. Often, when I head out for a run, my legs are tired, stiff, and painful the whole time. The tiredness in my legs really slows me down – on days they are fresher, I am much much closer to my old paces; days like yesterday and today, I’m struggling to stay under 10 minutes per mile. My legs aren’t the only part of me that is sore, either – I’ve found that simple workouts with 3 lb weights as part of workout videos are more difficult now, even though I’m stronger, because my arms are always worn out! In general, I think that trying to work out 6 days per week AND work such an active job has really taken a toll on me – I don’t get any “real” rest days, so I always feel a bit run down. My run yesterday was miserable – my legs were in pain the whole time, and I felt sick to my stomach, which made it hard to motivate myself today. I felt a bit better today, but my legs still felt like crap, so I might give myself some “rest” tomorrow (I have an 8 hour shift) by skipping my 45 minute home workout I had planned to see if that helps at all.

Now, the fun part of all of this reflection will be that I’m moving to what is going to be, at least in comparison, a very sedentary job next week. Don’t worry, I have some plans for that I am working on to stay active and healthy 🙂

Food Friday

I know I haven’t been posting much lately. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything noteworthy enough to post about.

I run 4 times a week and do a workout video 2 times a week. Sometimes the weather is cold and unpleasant – the wind slowed me by over 1 minute per mile when running into it the other day; sometimes the weather is better – a 60 degree day is in the 5 day forecast! At least my new March goals have been going reasonably well. I’m not doing perfectly, especially at the 80/20 rule (Good “Fastnacht Day”), but I have been more mindful, especially about getting my workouts in and not eating without purpose at work. I’ve also been getting “back into shape” (not that I was really ever out of shape) and have been blasting out 5Ks in under 30 minutes (now let’s just get that back down to under 25 minutes…).

Short post for this Friday – I didn’t really cook too much this week. Mostly we chowed down on homemade veggie burgers and pizza (from various sources). I did want to do a Food Friday post to share my first experience making Thai style curry, though! I made this recipe, sans pineapple, and it was really simple and turned out great! Next time I might add some red pepper flakes and/or sriracha, though – I love spicy food but wasn’t sure how spicy the curry paste would be, so I wanted to try it plain, first. Of course it wasn’t spicy enough for me (I used to eat homemade horseradish for fun as a child…).

I’ve been making an Indian style lentil curry like, every week because it’s super easy and cheap (it’s onions, carrots, potatoes, and lentils….I’m not sure you could make something cheaper). Kris has always had this weird dislike of Indian food, though. I swear he is the only person who finds it “bland.” Maybe he has the equivalent of being tone-deaf to curry powder or something? He is very picky about which Indian restaurants we go to and so it comes as no surprise to me that my  Indian cooking talents (read: dump in copious amounts of curry powder) do not match those of the nicest India restaurants in town. I asked him for an honest opinion of the Indian lentil curry and he responded with “why can’t you try peanut curry like we get at the Thai place?” I’d be interested in trying that out anyway – any excuse to eat more peanut butter – so I gave it a shot.

The downside: it resembles Hamburger Helper while cooking. To be fair, I kind of love the cheeseburger macaroni kind…

In addition to being easy to make and quite yummy, I would like to add that the coconut-peanut curry was an incredibly healthy and filling vegetarian dish. I split mine into four servings which came to about 400 calories each, following the recipe exactly (with the exception of excluding pineapple, which just sounded weird with it). That means that with a whole serving of rice, this was a 650 calorie dinner, which is pretty reasonable. It also had several servings of veggies in it (a whole cup of broccoli in each serving!), which is good for me because although I LOVE veggies I basically just forget to eat enough of them. There are only 13g of protein in this version, but if you wanted to I am sure you could add in some tofu in place of some mushrooms or just use chicken if you aren’t vegetarian, and if you added that protein you could probably stretch this out to 6 servings to reduce calories. There is also a reduced-calorie recipe available on the website that I linked.

Sorry I haven’t been making more exciting food choices lately. There might be some changes in my life soon (hopefully good ones) so maybe they will change up my food routine a bit 🙂 I do plan on trying out a local grocery outlet tomorrow, so maybe I can at least write a bit about my cheap grocery finds…or my horror at everything being out of date.

Happy Friday! My parting gift to you is a picture of Belle trying to sleep in Misty’s bed and a picture of Misty sleeping on anything but her bed. Note: she has never used her bed.

There is a dog-sized bed in this room.

The pillow in the upper-right hand corner says “not tonight” on the other side. That was an embarrassing bridal shower gift to receive from one of Kris’s aunts!

 

March Goals

I typically don’t set monthly goals, but I’ve felt quite blah about my fitness progress lately (in addition to 1,000 other things), and I have a race coming up at the end of the month, so I thought setting some concrete goals for myself would help me to a) get my ass back into gear and b) be slightly less miserable to be around.

My first step in preparing for this month of getting back on track was to weigh myself. I do this rarely, not only because I don’t like to fixate on day-to-day fluctuations in weight, but because I only own a Wii Fit, not a real scale, so weighing myself is annoying and innacurrate. It is  usually better to just get on it once in awhile to make sure I’m not trending dangerously up or down and base my assessment more on how my clothes fit.

The problem with losing 110 lbs, though, is that because I am almost constantly afraid of gaining my weight back, I imagine that my clothes are becoming tight/ I am becoming fluffier even when that is not the case. I assumed that based on my “terrible” eating over the last 2 months since I last weighed myself, I was going to have to set a weight loss goal (I was guessing I had gained at the very least 10 lbs). Imagine my surprise when I got on the scale to find that my weight my exactly the same as it was in early January (128ish). Now, I’m sure I haven’t exactly maintained my weight to the ounce, but it was a signal to me that I have been overreacting about my “bad” eating, especially with all the activity from my occupation that I do not account for.

I am very glad to find that I don’t have to set a weight loss goal for the month! That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try to fix up my diet a bit, though – I probably have been eating a bit too much pizza and ice cream for the sake of overall health and nutrition, even if my waist line has been spared the consequences thus far. With that being said, here are my goals for March:

  • Work out at least 5 days per week (4 runs and 2 days of strength training, one can be doubled up)
  • Actually stick to my calorie goals  on a weekly basis – perhaps try to figure out how much more I should be eating now that I have a more active job if I want to be able to eat more to reflect that
  • Follow the “80%” rule – the idea I often see touted on the internet that a “diet” should allow for 80% “good” eating and “20%” bad if you want to actually be successful and non-miserable. While I am obviously not going on a diet, I would like to try to pay more attention to how many of my calories are coming from completely non-nutritious snacks, like Cadbury Creme Eggs (side note: their calorie amount just isn’t fair)
  • Don’t eat anything that isn’t “worth it” from the pizza buffet at work. While this is a more subjective goal, what I mean by this is don’t just randomly eat pizza rolls and dessert breadsticks just because they are there; rather, do something like eat a couple slices of pizza and a couple mozzarella sticks because I haven’t eaten lunch yet. Basically, only eat with actual purpose.
  • Only drink 5 alcoholic beverages per week. While I don’t have an alcohol problem, it is basically empty calories, and I usually have at least 1-2 drinks (usually just non-exciting beer like Yuengling, too) per night, which is at least 150 calories of actual nutrition I could get per day. This allowance gives me enough slack to have one after a stressful night at work or when relaxing on an evening off.

March is off to a great start so far! The weather is good (until tomorrow); I’ve set some goals; and I got in a TON of exercise today – a 5K run (under 30 minutes for the first time in months) AND a 5K walk with Kris and Belle.

Bit of a short post today. I’ve been very busy this week! I was only supposed to work today and Tuesday, but I was called in to work for 2 hours on Wednesday and 7 on Thursday. Our weeks at work start on Tuesday, so my only day off this week is tomorrow, which should be quite busy as well – grocery shopping, 3 mile run, dropping Kris off to play Warhammer at some point, and then going to a reunion party with the awesome people that I interned with 4 years ago when I moved here. I have lots of good news, though:

  • Our Roku arrived! It cost more than an Xbox live subscription (we opted for the Roku 3 so that we could wire it in to the internet), but in the long run should keep us from having to pay that subscription again and again. We successfully watched 2 episodes of House of Cards on it. That show is just TOO intense.
  • Our cell phones arrived, too! Wow, now it sounds like we are big spenders. It just happened that both our cell phone contracts and our Xbox live expired in the same month. We have been planning these purchases for a long time and we will actually save quite a bit of money in the long run. Plus, these are used Nexus 4’s off Ebay, not like, brand new whatever phone is fancy now.
  • I got a hair cut! I always neglect this but I want to make sure I am looking nice and neat in case I ever get any more job interviews. Plus it always makes me feel nice 🙂
  • Belle and the cat, who shall be dubbed “Misty” unless the vet reveals that her fur was in fact thick enough to conceal her manliness, are doing much better together than we anticipated they would.  Kris let her in during the middle of the night last night and Belle did not fuss about her sleeping on the bed. I went out and bought all of the necessary cat stuffs today, so I guess she is ours now. Fun story: it took me 10 minutes to check out at Walmart because the lady did not want to use my coupon that applied to 20lbs or more of Tidy Cat cat litter for a 35 lb container of it. I apologized to the other people in my line.

Look how well we are all doing 🙂


Now, on to the food!

I didn’t make anything new this week, so I thought this might be a good time to do my Clif vs. Luna vs. Luna Protein vs. Larabar comparison. I touched on some of this in a previous post, but I’ll provide a fuller version here.

I have always been a pretty religious adherent to Clif bars, but mostly because I heard of them first, did not think they were gross when I tried them, and then only tried gross things like Quest bars.

I happened to try the Larabar Alt bars once when I had a coupon for them, and found that I enjoyed these quite a lot as well. I then basically bought combinations of my favorite flavors of those and Clif bars based on price.

I had been completely avoiding Luna bars because I felt that it was silly to have a protein/granola bar “for” women. When I was picking out bars at my local grocery store, though, I decided to give their “Luna Protein” line a try because they were much lower in calories than Clif bars with a similar amount of protein. I then noticed, though, that the regular Luna bars had a decent amount of protein, so I grabbed one as well, just to compare. My comparisons are based off of eating these different bars in the middle of long shifts (we don’t get breaks).

The verdict: I have now tried all of these kinds of bars, with the exception of the regular version of Larabars, and the only one I am not a fan of is the Luna Protein bar. First of all, it looks like this:

It bothers me that it is trying to look like a chocolate bar instead of something that is pretending to be healthier than a chocolate bar. Also, the appearance is misleading, it is nothing like a candy bar.

I also did not like the taste of the Luna Protein bars. I had chocolate peanut butter and cookie dough flavors and did not think either one resembled its namesake. Furthermore, the texture was off – I feel like these had a similar texture to Quest bars, which are extremely grainy. Perhaps I am the only person with these texture issues, but it was a huge turn off for me. Finally, I did not see much nutritional benefit to eating these fairly gross bars over the others – I think they only had 1-2 extra grams of protein. I know other things matter, but I primarily eat these bars as large snack/small meal substitutes when I lack access to normal meals for hours at a time, so I am looking for something that is filling rather than something that provides empty calories, which typically means something quite high in protein and/or fat. Despite the high protein, I actually did not feel very full from these at all, perhaps because I did not find them satisfying to eat.

The verdict: I will probably keep Clif and Larabar Alt in my rotation (especially the peanut butter cookie Larabars…I swear they are just mushed up coookies), but I will be giving Luna more of a chance. I found that some of the Luna flavors, like white chocolate macadamia nut, are actually tastier and more aesthetically pleasing than the Clif version, plus they seem to have more nutritional bang for the buck (less calories, core 4 vitamins, and about the same amount of protein). There are also some unique flavors! I’ve had lemon and peanut honey pretzel now, and there is a box of “nuts over chocolate” downstairs that I picked up on sale at Target to work my way through. My personal opinion is that it is silly for them to market them as a women’s bar, though – why not just make all Clif bars more like this? I will never understand!

Long Weekend, Long Run

Kris and I had quite the interesting and eventful long weekend!


Saturday

On Saturday, we woke up to….more snow! Apparently 10 inches on Thursday wasn’t enough.

I was supposed to work noon – 8ish but I ended up working more of a 3-7 shift because we were so slow that they had me come in late. This gave me time to join Kris and Belle for a walk, which was fun because Belle LOVES fresh snow, apparently. On a typical cold day, Belle barely wants to go outside; with the fresh snow lately, she has been SUPER excited to go for walks and jump around in the snow, even if it is too deep for her properly walk through.

I also ordered a Roku 3 on Saturday morning! For the last several years, we have been using our Xbox live subscription to watch Netflix on our TV. Kris hardly does any console gaming anymore, though, (he has converted to mostly PC) so the subscription seemed like a waste of money. Technically, a Roku 3 costs more than one year of Xbox live, but the goal is for the thing to last more than one year. Our only hang up: it is supposed to arrive on Friday, and our last day of Xbox live is tomorrow! I am hoping the box arrives early so we don’t have to huddle around the laptop to watch House of Cards.


Sunday

Sunday was the day of my long run. I was DREADING going for this run… 5 miles on the potentially icy sidewalks?! I knew I had to do it, though – I haven’t run that far in nearly 2 months, and in a few weeks I need to run twice that distance! The run went better than I had anticipated, with only a few random blocks that had not been shoveled. I will say that after my 5 mile run yesterday and 3 mile run today on those uneven surfaces with varying degrees of traction I am quite sore.

This was the worst – completely snow covered for an entire block. Fun fact: my GPS thinks this is a 300 foot elevation change, for some reason.

When I got home from work, which was fortunately not cut in half (remember, I am a server, so a short shift on a Saturday + slow business from the bad weather meant a HUGE cut in wages for the week), Kris and I tried letting the “stray” kitty that has been coming around. We noticed she was friendly and started regularly leaving food out for her about 3 weeks ago. Our landlord recently told us that she was abandoned by some neighbors that moved out which helped us to understand why a “stray” was so friendly and dependent on people for food. She is so friendly that we were worried she had been de-clawed because she has never tried to scratch us! She is very scared of Belle (I don’t blame her – Belle is not directly aggressive towards her, but is confused and distressed by her presence) but we are slowly working towards acclimating the two of them.


Monday

Today was incredibly eventful!

Since Kris is a government employee, the hardworking taxpayers of our commonwealth paid him to stay home and celebrate the most important of all holidays, President’s Day (that was sarcasm). We started out the day with some cinnamon rolls and attempts at cat-dog diplomacy. It went ok. The cat was too nervous to eat, but she successfully swatted at Belle’s tail and stepped on Belle once without anything terrible happening.

What a scaredy cat! She doesn’t have a name yet. We are considering both “Turtle” and “Gandalf the Grey” to suit her coloring.

We then finished watching Battlestar Galactica. I know we are about 10 years behind, but Kris and I are terrible at watching TV. And by terrible, I don’t mean that we watch so much TV that it is a bad habit or something. I mean that we actually struggle to watch TV. It is difficult for us to watch more than 2 episodes of a show in a row so we are incredibly slow at these things. It has been several years, so I shouldn’t worry about spoilers, but I am talking about the end of a series, so all I will say is that while I liked the “big picture” ending in terms of where they ended up, there were several elements of the last season, especially in the last few episodes, that I found pointless or that tarnished previous events in the show.

Because we finished this show we were able to move on to our two episodes of House of Cards for the day! As a political scientist, I obviously love this show. I will also say that as a political scientist I find none of the characters on the show surprising. What can I say – my discipline fosters political cynicism. Obviously no spoilers here, but my only concern with the show right now is that I am afraid they are too conveniently disposing of certain plot points from the previous season. I am willing to watch the whole season before finalizing that judgement, though. Also, no matter what Claire does, I will always admire her fashion choices. If I had a bazillion dollars I would probably dress exactly like her.

I think these looks would work just fine with curly brown hair and freckles. I already own big plastic glasses and a blue button down. Mine might have been $4 at Goodwill, though. I don’t really have an image source, I found it on Pinterest.

I also committed to a major decision today…”new” smartphones. Kris and I have had smartphones with Verizon for about 4 years, and our contract expires this week. When we originally got them, it was the best deal because he gets an employee discount and we had truly unlimited data. Obviously the cell phone service provider market has changed over the last 4 years, though, and now we are paying nearly $200 a month for two phones and if we renew our contract we will lose unlimited data. One of Kris’s coworkers recently switched his family to T-Mobile, where he is paying less than half of what we currently pay. The data won’t be as “truly” unlimited (our speeds will be slowed at a certain point), but there won’t be a sharp limit like we would have with Verizon, and we will save A LOT of money. His service in our area is perfectly fine and a friend with T-Mobile was able to use her phone at my parents, so I feel fine about switching away from the coverage that Verizon provides (always a concern because they live in the middle of nowhere; so do Kris’s parents but not a single provider gets service at their home so that is irrelevant). I had been putting off committing to the T-Mobile decision because of the upfront cost, though – while we would still save money with the financing plans they offer for phones, we knew we would save even more if we brought our own purchased phones on in the long run. At the suggestion of many things I have read on the internet and Kris’s coworker, we broke down and purchased 2 used Nexus 4’s today. We got the phones for less than $200 each so after 4 months the phones will essentially be paid for in savings – less time if we can sell our own phones – but because we have always relied on Verizon phone subsidization and always purchased brand new phones it is a little bit scary to be doing this. I hope that it works out!


Unfortunately, this weekend was not all fun and excitement, at least in terms of health. I am very proud of myself for sticking to my commitment to run, despite the snow and ice – trust me, it was tempting to give up while slogging through 12 inches of snow only .6 miles into a 5 mile run on Sunday – but my diet has been terrible lately. I will have one or two “good” days a week where I stick to my calorie limit, but the rest of the days have been relatively bad.

I will start out strong in the morning, and most of my meals with be healthy, but a big problem has been my work schedule. I have to eat before my shifts or I will be STARVING and eat a bunch of unhealthy pizza place food, and sometimes I end up eating a bunch of it anyway (especially if I work during the times when we have our pizza buffet and I am encouraged to take food home that is being thrown away); sometimes my shifts are long so I have to eat during them anyway; and I am invariably hungry when I get home from work. I feel less “bad” if I come home and have something like nuts, hummus and crackers, or fat-free popcorn, but “good” calories still count. I just hope I am burning some extra calories with my more active job.

My general attitude has been a problem as well. I am still on the hunt for a full-time job, obviously, and despite the fact that I should be elated that I have had numerous interviews after only being on the job market for about 6 weeks, I can only feel fear that I will never get a job offer and I will spend the rest of my life waiting tables with a master’s degree. I have expressed this fear on here several times, so I apologize for being repetitive and whiny, but it has been a major issue with my diet. This was especially true this weekend – I had a really bad night at work on Saturday (pissed off a table) and spent most of the night crying after I got home. Yesterday and today were a lot better, but a lot of today’s “fun” came from eating unhealthy food – we started with cinnamon rolls, went out for Mexican and ice cream, and I have eaten about 2 lbs of chocolates I bought when I was feeling miserable still on Sunday morning. I just want to eat out of nervousness, boredom, and sadness all of the sudden, which is surprising to me because this has not been a real obstacle before. I know I am just making excuses and that it might actually help me to feel better if I were to increase the healthiness of my diet but it has just been a bigger obstacle lately. Hopefully I can stick to my goals a little better in the coming week. Who knows – maybe I’ll even get some good news on the job front?

Exercises I “Can’t” Do

First things first – I found another article today. This one, however, is from only 2 days ago, so I’m not late to the party, and I am going to praise it rather than rant about it. I really like this article. Too often, I find that articles about the “obesity epidemic” either make it seem like anyone could lose weight if they just followed this one set of particular advice backed up by SCIENCE, or like no one could ever lose weight because statistics say they can’t*. Instead, this guy gets the point across: our knowledge on the link between nutrition, obesity, and other diseases is very limited, there are reasons for these limits that could be addressed if we really wanted to, and the implication is that we can’t fix the “problem” until our knowledge expands. I do have a couple of minor issues with the article – despite his insistence that we don’t know much about the topic, he is acting like the link between diabetes and obesity is obvious – but overall it is refreshing to read an article that doesn’t fall into one of the two camps I mentioned.


Now, on to the topic at hand: exercises that I somehow suck at.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I was reminded of some of my limits by the stair workout I discussed Friday. Namely, I am terrible at push-ups and lunges. These both baffle me – I can do hundreds of body weight squats, and can do a bazillion push-ups on my knees, but these two moves elude me. I can maybe do one regular push-up before I fail, no matter how many sets I do on my knees; when I do lunges I become wobbly and hurt my knees, though I seem to do lunges slightly better with my right leg forward. Here is my plan to address these issues:

  1. Figure out why I’m having the problems. I think this step could be considered done-ish. I think that there is just too big of a step between knee push-ups and regular ones for me to make the jump, and I need to find something in between to work on for now. The pain in my knee during lunges suggests to me that I lack proper form. The wobbliness and pain together suggest to me that I am probably lacking balanced strength in some muscles somewhere.
  2. Figure out potential solutions. This is the step I am working on now. I remembered that NROLFW suggested incline push-ups over knee push-ups, so I am going to see if that helps. So far, these feel more difficult than doing them on my knees, so hopefully this solution checks out. For the lunges, I am going to start reading up on form and trying to figure out if I have any particular weak muscles that might be leading to my issues that I could try to strengthen with alternative exercises.
  3. Use the solutions to fix the problems and be finally able to make the most of these workouts. Once I figure out solutions, I am going to devote myself to practicing these workouts. I am going to set a goal to do push-ups and lunges 3 times a week, even if I only do like 5 of each (2 times will be as part of my goal to strength train 2 times per week, so I won’t ONLY be doing these moves). My hope is that every time they come up in a workout I won’t feel miserable and panic and just wait for them to be over because they are so difficult for me.

On a more positive workout related note, I went for a (very slightly) faster 5K run in the ice today! I am glad I pushed myself to get out there – now that I got over it and did it one time, the second time was so much easier. I am just hoping that we don’t get the 8-12 inches of snow they are calling for on Thursday. Yeah, right. At least if we do I will get more hours at work since none of my coworkers have the ability to drive in the snow.

This reminds me – because of my work schedule, Kris and I will need to do Valentine’s day on Wednesday (read:tomorrow), after I get off work on Saturday at 8, or on Monday, and we have made zero plans. What should we do?!

*Mini-rant about these statistics: First of all, where does the statistic that 90% (or 95%, or whatever it is right now) of diets fail? Did they take a survey that asked people whether they were on a diet and whether it had worked? I bet 90% of people are constantly on a “diet” that they aren’t really trying very hard at which would really skew that measurement. Second, how long do I have to maintain my weight loss for it to count? One year? Two years? Five years? Until I die?! If I gain weight when I’m pregnant or injured and then lose it again how does that fit into the stats? Sorry, this is the stats nerd in me coming out to yell at others for lying with statistics.