Mondays Scream for Ice Cream

The most exciting thing I learned yesterday is the Haagen Dazs makes the best java chip ice cream I’ve ever had. I don’t know if eating it too late at night will affect my sleep yet, but it’s worth it. Yum!

You’re welcome to all the people I wanted to text about this development at 9:00 pm my time and midnight their time for refraining.

Breakfast was a disappointing breakfast sandwich, but I suspect only because I have high standards. At home, I found the most delicious chicken sausage patties and paired them with egg whites, cheese, and an English muffin. Here, I had to settle on eh turkey sausage patties (lacking flavor) with the standard egg whites, cheese, and a Trader Joe’s version of english muffins which are too doughy.

Don’t feel too bad for me as I ate it before even snapping a picture.

Lunch:

IMG_5839.JPG

Beneath the cheese, black beans, and rice, you can see green sticking out. That would be spinach and there’s red pepper somewhere in there as well.

I was quite proud of myself on dinner. Grilled chicken, asparagus, and pasta to be swirled with marinara and paired with a salad.

IMG_5841.JPG

My gym time included strength training the upper body- biceps, triceps, and shoulders- along with some core action and cardio on the spin bike. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time I got home from work and couldn’t take my actual bike out for a spin.

Monday was one of those days I woke up ready for bed, but it was a good day and now we’re onto Tuesday, just that much closer to the weekend!

Bump-y Weekend of Fun

Well, hey. It’s been awhile, which isn’t intentional and I’m not quite sure what happened to delay my posting. All I can say is that I’m back now to our regularly scheduled blogging. October is busy and somehow basically mid-way thru?

Let’s continue with a little weekend recap. Saturday morning started off at work, but after, I rushed home to finish up putting a few things together before hightailing it my friend Katie’s apartment. Our college friend Erin is getting married at the end of this month and we’ve already kicked off some of the celebrations with her bridal shower in August, but this time it was all about the Bachelorette.

My friends from school refer to ourselves as “the core four” as there are four of us who are really close and we’re all bridesmaids (except for the bride of course).

IMG_4056

We started off with a delicious potluck meal that included a buffalo chicken dip, chicken parmesan, pasta, garlic bread, salad, and cupcakes for dessert. Yum!

IMG_4049

I would zero in on the cupcakes, but hey! I made them and I have a hell of a sweet tooth.

Second event on the agenda was an improv show in the city. So freakin’ funny. There’s something about improv that is so raw and re-actional. As a writer, I’m all about the planning and the wording, but it’s so important to have instincts and gut reactions. Color me so so impressed! Definitely something to do again soon! Though I will say they should work on their margarita.

IMG_4052

The rest of the night was focused on celebrating Erin with some drinking and dancing. You have to dance when you drink because you burn off all those calories and it’s just so darn fun. It’s a rule. Look it up!

IMG_4063

The next day, started off with some brunch and lots of water and coffee. I went simple with eggs over easy, toast, sausage, and some home fries. My eggs were half raw, which would never happen in my kitchen. Brunch is about the experience and the people you’re eating with (sometimes) and not always about the food (we’re going with that for now). The woes of being a cook in a restaurant!

Once I got home, I focused some more on rehydrating before I headed out for a run. I am so sick of my feet falling asleep- I know I need new sneakers but I was in denial- but I still made it through a wonderful 6.25 mile run on a gorgeous day. Seriously, the weather this weekend was phenomenal. I walked another two miles home and just enjoyed being outside and listening to my music. Good music is everything when it comes to running and getting in that groove.

I made a hunk of a salad for dinner to pair with the pizza my parents brought home from their lunch. I didn’t have the biggest appetite after running, but the meal hit the spot. For the rest of the night, I watched some episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer  studied (okay, so I did a little studying and a lot of watching). I also wrote quite a bit and ended up falling asleep later than I should have.

Regardless of my late start to sleep, I woke up early on Monday morning for our weekly grocery shopping trip. There was nothing but angst and pain when I realized the store didn’t have blueberries OR raspberries. That is a true nightmare. Thankfully, there were strawberries so I could keep it together. Also, I can eat apples again so we’re all good on the fruit front.

A strength training workout was also on the agenda. Despite feeling tired and somewhat affected still from Saturday night, I killed it at the gym with my lifting session and felt even stronger than last week when I hit a few milestones. To top things off, I worked through a body strength/plyometrics circuit that left me feeling nice, sweaty, and accomplished.

I should mention that I whacked my head yesterday too and am rocking the bruise and bump combination. It really was completely a moment of stupidity because all I did was bend over and knock it off something I knew was there. Whoops. I seemed to sleep fine last night and woke up so I doubt there’s a concussion…

Before work, I had a nap before a productive study session that cleared up a few points I wasn’t grasping before. I just used “before” a lot in that sentence. I was going to change it, but then I decided to mention it, so you can’t judge it. It’s a thing.

So here we are on Tuesday, which feels like a Monday, but we’re already that much closer to another Friday!

I started my day off with an egg and two egg white omelet with chicken sausage and cheese and a fresh homemade whole wheat waffle. Notice the grapes for fruit as there were no berries and the strawberries required a lot of moving other things around to get to them and I was hungry.

IMG_4066

Still delicious and spot-hitting!

Now for even more productivity, less head hitting, and a lovely (albeit rainy) day! Promise I won’t go as long between posts.

Sing Til It Hurts!

This morning on my commute, I decided to be festive and listen to a little Wicked-she’s green!- on my way to work. Despite the rain and being tired, I can’t help myself but sing as loud as I can whenever Wicked is playing. I may have gotten a little overzealous during my performance as mid belt, I bit my tongue. As every talented performer knows, the show must go on and I persevered, but I can’t say I was feeling 100%….

When my alarm went off this morning, I didn’t even process it and fell back to sleep, waking 10 minutes later quite abruptly and having to scramble out of bed. I was still tired after downing a glass of water, eating my hard-boiled egg and cheesestick, and drinking my coffee. I am usually fairly awake on my ride to the gym, but I was feeling the sleepiness all the way. It wasn’t until I was through my first round of my body strength circuit that I felt awake. A combination of squats, lunges, kickbacks, step ups, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches will do that to a girl. I went through the circuit four times, twelve reps each and felt geared up for my hit of cardio.

The water temperature has been great these past few times I’ve been, not too cold at the start, but not too warm that it’s uncomfortable once I get going. I swam for about thirty minutes, feeling stronger as I kept going. I was able to do a couple of sprint laps to end my workout and felt great to start my day.

For breakfast, I whipped up this delectable bowl of oats. Swirled with dark chocolate peanut butter, jelly, banana, strawberries, and blueberries, it was a warming bowl of goodness. Look at that beauty!

photo 1

I came back for more miso soup my sister had prepared. It is so good with a little chili sauce stirred in! I paired it with half of a ham and cheese sandwich and a medley of veggie sticks with a little laughing cow cheese triangle for dipping. A lime seltzer was a refreshing accompaniment.

photo 2Dinner included a spinach chicken salad tossed in poppyseed dressing with walnuts, craisins, peppers, tomato, and cucumber. On the side, I chopped up some zucchini medallions and drizzled them in a mixture of spices and olive oil. So tasty!

The weather was quite strange as it went from down pouring rain to being warm and sunny to more rain and to a touch of sun but bitter cold. I will take it all as long as there is no more SNOW (for the season).

Sleepy Days and More Snow?

After a long weekend traveling, the last thing I wanted to do was wake up at 5:00 AM for the gym, but it was just what my body needed after such an indulgent weekend. A glass of water, steaming cup of coffee, and a hard-boiled egg helped wake me up and I trekked it to the gym shivering.

Once there, I wasn’t feeling much like heavy lifting, so I decided on high reps with lower weight. I performed my usual dumbbell routine doing 3 sets of 20 reps. After each round of the circuit, I hopped on the treadmill and ran for a mile. By the end, I was feeling tired in a new way, but ready to start the day!

For breakfast, I heated up a bowl of overnight oats that I had made the day before. It was stocked with mashed banana, raisins, chopped dates, walnuts, and blueberries. It was a nice, warm way to recover from my workout.

photo 1

Lunch was a quick, delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat sour dough along with chopped veggies and hummus. PB & J is so simple and yet magically tasty. Other snacks throughout the day included a juicy pear, a sweet orange, and a cup of Greek yogurt.

photo 2

Dinner was a throwback to the warmer days of summer when snow wasn’t covering the backyard and BBQ was commonplace. We grilled up spicy sausages and hamburgers, along with some peppers and broccoli. More accompaniments included a salad and some potato chips. It was almost like it was summer again, except even more snow is lingering. Some record is about to be broken, but that is one I wish we could do without. No matter, dinner was a treat!

photo 3

Like they say about March, in like a lion, out like a lamb. By this time next month, let’s hope the snow is melted and the sun is shining and warm.

D

Attack of the Sleep Monster and What To Do For Lent (if that’s your kind of thing)

There is little worse than nights when you cannot sleep. I went to bed around 9:30 openly yawning and didn’t fall asleep well past midnight. It was one of those sleeps when you feel like you didn’t sleep at all, even though you probably did at some point. I fixed my alarm to skip the early morning workout because due to my lack of sleep, I was certain it wasn’t going to happen. Ended up I wasn’t sleeping well in the morning anyways and my alarm was an unwelcome sound blasting in my ears.

Sometimes this happens, drink coffee or tea, eat balanced meals, and suck it up.

I started my day still drowsy by mixing half a cup of milk with half a cup of water and boiling it for my oats. I tossed in some mashed banana, peanut butter, strawberries, blueberries, and cinnamon and mixed it all around until it was this delightful mixture. A nice warm bowl for another cold, snowy day.

photo 1

Lunch was a salad and soup kind of day. I chopped up some carrots, celery, peppers, and beets and threw it on top of a bed of baby spinach with a little feta, leftover pulled chicken, and Italian dressing. The soup was from Panera- which they sell in the grocery store- and it was mostly corn and black beans (supposedly chicken tortilla) but it was still pretty good.

photo 2

Dinner for the evening were steak tips, potatoes, cauliflower, peppers, and squash. Quite an arrangement of flavors and colors! Can you tell I’m obsessed with barbecue sauce lately, especially with steak? So good!

photo

One of my favorite yogurt combinations- I eat a Greek yogurt almost every afternoon- is an odd one. For awhile, I was going with the pomegranate seeds because they are so juicy and pair well with plain yogurt. Then I was being slightly lazy and running with the pre-flavored varieties. I took one look at the sugar content on those bad boys and knew it couldn’t be an every day occurrence. Now, I’m spooning in a handful of grapes- I prefer the black ones for their sweetness- and sometimes even a little teaspoon of chocolate chips. The grape-chocolate combination sounds like an odd one, but it’s really tasty!

Since it’s that time of year, I’ve been considering what I should give up for Lent. Sometimes, I’ll try to do more good things, which I’m definitely still considering, but I need to learn a new habit: staying away from the candy jars at work. This shouldn’t be so hard, but when you put something sweet in front of me and it’s 3:00 in the afternoon, I’m going to mindlessly dig into it. My hope is that by “giving it up for Lent,” I’ll learn NOT eating candy as a new habit. The other thing I need to do more of is standing while I work because sitting all day is going to detract from all those healthy benefits I gain from my morning workouts.

More suggestions for a healthy Lent? Giving up any kind of sweets or salty snacks is usually a good go-to. I wouldn’t give up all kinds though, maybe pick one or two, so that you’re mindful of what you’re eating, when, and why. Many times- I know I’m guilty of it- I’ll indulge without even taking enjoyment in it. In the end, it’s just more useless instant gratification without actual satisfaction. Another goal I’ll be working on in my life in general is doing things with intention. It sounds so much easier than it is! I’ve got a wedding to get ready for though as MOH and these pants are feeling a little tighter from the winter month and treats.

More good options are to start that regular workout routine. Dedicate time 4-5 days a week and go for 30-60 minutes every day. Exercise is my main source of stress release, but it took me awhile to get to that place. I mentioned the Elliptical machine that now RIP as my starting point. Find something, take your time, and get moving. It is so good for you and the benefits are so high!

Drink more water, less or no soda. Four years ago-AH!- when I was a junior in college, right before the moment that would kick me off on this weight loss journey, I was obsessed with soda. It was so easy to drink it every day, especially in a college cafeteria. I tried to give it up for Lent, knowing it was not a good habit, but it wasn’t an easy one to kick. I couldn’t do it then. My will was not strong, especially when I started having dreams about it. A year later and well into my weight loss journey, I decided to try it again. I haven’t made a regular habit of it since and I don’t miss it. Sure, I had my moments where I thought-NEED- but I overcame them, turned to fruity water (the natural kind with chopped lemons, limes, strawberries, etc) instead. So much of me changed just from this one little act. My taste for natural foods, like fruits and veggies, increased exponentially. My skin was clearer, I felt more energized, and less greasy. Keep in mind, I had a DIET soda habit, not regular. Both are pretty bad for you. Occasionally, especially if mixed with alcohol, i.e. Fresca with sangria, I’ll pour a little soda, but my taste for it has diminished.

Lent is another one of those times- if you choose- that help people focus on their habits and make changes. That doesn’t mean it’s the only time, but life is busy and we don’t always stop and realize what we’re doing until more of these days come to pass, i.e. New Years. Don’t see this “sacrifice” or choice as a negative thing, but as another notch in striving towards healthier, happier living.

If you’ve given something up for Lent before, then you’ll remember the feeling of Easter morning (or if you’re like my mom and aunts, Good Friday evening), and finally indulging in that tasty treat you’ve given up. You put so much care and appreciation into each bite, savoring all the tastes and morsels so mindfully. That’s how we should be eating every single thing that we eat. I’m not good at this, but I’m aware of it, and I’m ready to tackle it as my next challenge.

Mindfulness is a gift, but it’s also a skill that has to be practiced and honed. Care to join me?