Archive | May, 2012

Hiking… How strange!

29 May

If you had told me a year ago that I would choose to go hiking as my birthday weekend getaway, I would have told you that you are crazy. Birthday getaways tend to be city and food oriented, more about luxury than health. A reason to celebrate.

Lately, our trips have been about health and exercise. How weirdly exciting! This month, we went to stay at Harper’s Ferry for the night, and decided to hike a new trail the next day. The trail is 4.7 miles (that doesn’t count the mile or so to get to our parked car!), pretty much vertically inclined, and super rocky. We were literally climbing over boulders. It was crazy.

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The view was pretty though. It sure was hot! Over 90 degrees… And nearly fainting taught me a little something about needing to hydrate properly.

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Part of the trail was the same trail we hiked a month ago on our day trip out that way. Even though it was much hotter this weekend, we were able to do this more difficult, longer trail with less stops and feeling better. It’s good to feel more fit and to see the results of the gym! And it’s good to feel grateful and appreciate of my body– a body that couldn’t even consider hiking or any sort of exercise as a gift a year ago.

I hope everyone else had a great memorial day weekend! I was glad of some moments to reflect on those who have served or are currently serving, especially my family members.

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(here is a gratuitous picture of us from the weekend… Basically I’m trying to show off my hat!)

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Working from Home

23 May

With my new job, I can work from home one day a week. I just started doing this, and it is basically my favorite day of the week. I wear pajamas and workout clothes all day. During lunch, I marinate meat for dinner and I go to the (basically empty) gym. I start cooking earlier, without having to sit through traffic. It’s basically the best initiative!

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I made these delicious eggs yesterday for lunch. A half tablespoon of butter, a handful of heirloom cherry tomatoes and spinach, sautéed over low heat. Poured in the eggs scrambled with a bit of fresh Parmesan and a splash of milk… Cooked low and slow. Delicious! Sprinkled fresh thyme over the top.

I cannot make stuff like this during the other four days a week… Unfortunately.

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In other news, I was able to join the gym I’ve been going to (thanks, Mom & Dad for the generous birthday gift!). I am also officially post-plateau, at my lowest weight to date on Weight Watchers. Still have 15 lbs until I reach goal, but I will be happy losing just 10 more before my wedding and honeymoon in September. So excited to finally break through to the other side!

Birthday Happenings

17 May

Tomorrow I turn 24.  I cannot even handle it.  I mean, granted, I am basically the youngest person in my circle of friends (my fiance is 10 years older than me!), but still, I feel so old.  What’s pretty amazing is checking out my pre-weight loss pictures from my 23rd birthday celebrations, and comparing those to my 24th birthday celebrations now.  

 

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23rd birthday party with my lovely aunt.

 

She takes me out for my birthday every year, and tonight we went to this amazing (fancy!) Indian restaurant in Baltimore (anyone familiar with the Ambassador Dining Room? so divine).  

Here we are today:

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 Please excuse my awkward pose. 

 

The other night, I went to the mall in hopes of finding some fancy clothes.  I did buy a dress to wear to one of my best friend’s weddings.  I found this dress (for 50% off, no less!) at Cache, a store where I couldn’t find anything to fit me AT ALL a year ago.  

 

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You know what? I don’t hate it!  

 

I think it’s easy to look ahead and see how much further we have to go.  New Years resolutions are a great example of that.  However, it’s equally important to look back and see how far we have come.  So yes, I have struggled the last few months, but overall I lost almost 20 lbs and kept it off in the course of less than one year.  I have started to incorporate exercise into my daily life.  I try to eat mostly whole foods and have eliminated artificial sweeteners.  I try to eat only what I want to eat, and I don’t let emotional eating control me… most days.  

I’m going to take a moment to be grateful today for a body that works.  Even a sore body (thanks, Couch to 5k training program!) is better than the unhealthy, dying body I had a year ago.  I am starting to feel better day by day.

As for the age thing?  Well, I guess I’d rather be a healthier 24 year old than a younger, unhealthy 23 year old.

To celebrate healthfully this year, I have been mindful of the points I’ve been consuming during the week, and I have tried to save up my anytime points for this weekend.  Tonight we had the Indian dinner, and tomorrow we will be going to Woodberry Kitchen (!!!) for my birthday dinner.  Next weekend my stepkids will be at their mom’s house, so we are going to do some intense hiking, instead of the usual food-focused birthday weekend plans.  I am looking forward to conquering some mountains!

It is my birthday hope/dream/wish that by my 25th birthday I can say that I’ve reached some fitness goals and I’ve continued to integrate healthy habits into my everyday life!

Simple Strawberry Salad

9 May

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t do so hot for dinner last night or at lunch today.  My honey and I had some surprise date time together, so we splurged, both financially (eeek! stinking budget) and food-wise.  We went to this great Asian place (and usually I don’t like fusion-“Asian” places that aren’t specifically one culture, like Japanese or Thai) for dinner Monday and a gourmet burger joint for lunch on Tuesday.  I guess something about quality time with Chris, especially when it is unplanned for, makes me feel like I can splurge and it won’t count?  I need to remember that the temporary pleasure of eating something decadent is less important and ultimately less satisfying than the long-term pleasure of eating well and feeling good about myself.

And by remembering not to overeat by going out, I will also work that pesky budget… we have so many expenses coming up (elopement, post-elopement reception, honeymoon, house), we really should not be going out to eat very often.

Anyway, after our decadent meals (which I did track accurately!), I thought that I needed to eat something after going to the gym, but it needed to be light.  It also needed to resemble restaurant gourmet food that I would actually want to order.  Thus, the strawberry salad.

(Yes, it does feel silly posting a recipe for something so simple…)

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 2; 3 WW pts. plus per serving

Ingredients:

  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • 5-7 strawberries, thinly sliced
  • a bell pepper, chopped finely (I used red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, just a few chunks out of each pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Toss so that all ingredients are mixed together and serve.

Weekly Wrap Up

6 May

Well, some positives about this week.  I had some non-negotiable dinner plans for a few nights — Thursday, Friday — and I had some other commitments on Wednesday and Saturday.  I managed to stay on point!  Very exciting.  I also worked out:

Sunday – hiked up a mountain.  Was sore for two days afterwards… too sore to workout on Monday.

Tuesday – tried zumba at the gym and really liked it!  I worked out a lot harder than I did at the other zumba classes I used to go to.

Saturday – elliptical hills training for 30 minutes, high intensity.  Let me tell you, this worked up a SWEAT.  So tired afterwards.

Sunday (today! will count this towards next week’s fitness though) – did a zumba toning class for an hour.  Zumba toning is zumba with weights.  Our instructor was this woman in her late 60s… she killed it.  My arms felt like rubber bands afterwards.

I joined a challenge on WW online — On Point for May!  Very excited to check in and stay on track every day this month.  This is the type of jumpstart I need to get back on track.

Goals for next week:

  • cook more.  We ate out a lot last week due to laziness and not planning ahead enough
  • work out 3 -4 times
  • drink more water!!! felt dehydrated this week

 

about to work out… I hope to be able to see the difference in how my body looks in workout clothes in the next few months!

Baked Scallop Pasta

6 May

I hope everyone had a fun Cinco de Mayo!  Personally, even though I had a themed bridal shower to attend, I managed to stay on point and on track with my weight loss!  Weigh in day is tomorrow, so hopefully it will be a great weigh in!  I’ve successfully navigated dinners this week and I’ve managed to make it to the gym several times (3 times last week; I will “start over” today so one workout in this morning!).

Sometimes I want to feel decadent while on a diet, and the person I look to most often for decadent recipes in the Pioneer Woman.  When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to adapt it for Weight Watchers.  Soooooo good.  (See the original recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/03/seafood-pasta/)

Baked Scallop Pasta

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Serves 2 —  good for a date night spent in! 12 (hearty!) points plus per serving; feel free to adjust amount of pasta and scallops if you want less points.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. uncooked whole wheat pasta (I chose linguine)
  • 2 cups of fresh tomatoes, diced (I love cherry tomatoes… super sweet!)
  • 1 tsp light butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup canned chicken broth
  • 1 pound scallops
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • pinch of red pepper, to taste
  • basil, cut into strips
ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and throw a pot of water on the stove for pasta.
  2. Cook pasta a little over halfway to al dente… it should still be somewhat crunchy. Set aside. (It helps if you have a cute sous chef to do the heavy lifting for you!) sous chef
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 tsp. of olive oil and 1 tsp. of light butter in a pan.  Add cleaned scallops to the pan and cook for about 1 minute on each side. They should have a little color.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  
  4. In the same pan, heat another tsp. of olive.  Throw in some garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and let simmer for about two minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour in the tomatoes and their juice, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and stir the pan, letting all the flavors simmer together for about 10 minutes.  
  6. Take two pieces of aluminum foil and overlap them in an oven-proof baking dish.  Smooth down until it makes a little pouch
  7. Add pasta to the aluminum foiled dish.  Next, add the sauce.  Finally, pour the scallops on top, including the juices.
  8. Fold over the foil so that everything is enclosed in the little packet.  At this point, put everything in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. After everything has cooked, top with your basil.  Enjoy!

 

 

Exercising Today.

1 May

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This is how I felt tonight at zumba class (which unfortunately had a huge mirror for us to dance).  However, it felt so good to be active and keep pushing, even when I felt like stopping.  Yay, endorphins!!! And pushing past the soreness from Sunday’s mountain hike felt great.