Sunday, July 28, 2013

The List of Weekend Cooking Chores is LONG this week.

...but the pile of delicious, frugal, and healthy food to eat is HUGE!  Boy what a long weekend it has been for cooking.  One disadvantage of full time working is 8 fewer hours mid-week to do chores.  So then it moves to nights and weekends.  I have a memory of doing a lot of prep in the evenings after Nick went to bed.  Well my friends, I am there again.

This week from the CSA we got 5 lbs of tomatoes.  Yummy.  But that's a lot of tomatoes.  So what do you do?  You make marinara.  Do you have to peel the tomatoes?  According to just about everyone on the internet: yes.

So here's  how the weekend has panned out.

Friday night: Blanch, peel, de-seed 4.5 lbs tomatoes.
Saturday breakfast: Make eggs to go with the pancakes and bacon that we made for the family and my son's friend (sleepover)
Saturday morning: Make 2 lbs of meatballs.
Saturday lunch time: Wash lettuce
Saturday afternoon: make marinara and cook pasta
Dinnertime!  Assemble salad (basically lettuce and dressing.  At this point, I was tired.)

Saturday evening: Put crockpot refried bean ingredients in crockpot
Sunday morning: Drain, mash, turn into 9 bean burritos for the freezer
Sunday lunch time (after coming back from the 3.7 mile walk to and from the Greek festival): Make Arabic lentils and rice, and caramelized onions.

Still yet to come: Make Greek salad with purslane (something new from the CSA), and roast carrots.  Dinner is the lentils and rice and onions and carrots and salad.  Everything microwaved, except the salad.  When you are cooking in 15 min spurts, you just end up reheating everything.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 2, 3.2

Another 3.2 lbs, down 6.4.  Hey, I'm now down to where I was last September.  Ugh.  Oh well.

Trying to get a stubborn baby to go to sleep. Unsuccessfully.

Monday, July 22, 2013

On long term success

I've been thinking a lot lately about long term success. Mostly, I've been thinking about weight loss, but I think it applies to any long term, parenting, etc.

I am a member of the National Weight Control Registry.  Sometimes, I feel like a bit of a fraud. I recently filled out my annual questionnaire and I'm not particularly happy about my current weight. Especially when I admitted that I hadn't given birth in the last 12 months. I took them literally because I got the survey 12 months and 11 days after the baby was born. What upsets me the most is that i was almost 20 lbs lighter last October and I backslid. It's one thing to stall, backsliding is something else.

My good friend the dietitian told me today that she knows I've made permanent changes and the baby weight is only temporary. How does she know? And why did I backslide? I know there were several factors...lack of sleep, stress, illness, husband traveling. It's just plain hard to keep it all together.

This week, I returned to work full time...I've been PT for the last 10 months., my first day, the baby woke up with a fever.  So I'm starting my first FT week not working FT.  In order for me to lose weight, sadly, I have to count calories.  I'm not one of the lucky ones.

 I've lost weight I the past on weight watchers.  The dirty secret about WW is that every few years, they change their plan. It is, in part, due to new information on health and diet. It is also, I believe, a way to get more money.  Each change means you have to keep attending meetings, or continue your on line membership or buy new materials. Thing is? The last two iterations didn't work for me, so I cancelled my on line membership and decided to go with straight calories.

This, my friends, takes time.  I have a hard enough time cooking dinner with a one year old underfoot.  If I am counting calories, I basically need to know what I am eating a day in advance.  I managed to make a pasta dish for dinner...tasty but looked awful...brown.  Then I needed to plan tomorrow. After I got the baby to sleep, I
Scooped out pasta into three Tupperware.
Started boiling eggs...which is so bad with easily distracted, I've almost cooked them dry.
Made a side salad.
Oops, baby woke up again...picked him up, turned down the eggs, rocked him back to sleep, turned the eggs back on
Washed blueberries
Made soda water

Now I am sitting typing on the iPad because my kid and hubby have been fighting over the computer.

How can you be sure that you have what it takes long term?  For one, you have to know what works. You have to be willing to stick with it over the long haul.  For me this means planning my meals in advance, planning my exercise . When I recommit to my plan, at first I have to stay away from triggers...chips, alcohol, chocolate, eating out.  This most recent time, I've decided to give myself a day off a week, at most, from counting. This doesn't mean I go hog wild, it means I get a day off from the tedium. It also means if I have two parties in one week, I have to be very careful at at least one and count calories.

It also means you have to go with it. There is nothing I'd love more right now than to be training for a triathlon or doing P90X daily.  My life, my ankle, my knee won't allow it.  They WILL allow me to lift, swim, bike, and do short walks, so that's what I do.

How am I looking long term? Only time will tell. Week one of my recommitment saw me down 3.2 pounds, so yay me! Only 37 more to go.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Those sneaky "Special Occasion" Calories

I know you've been there.  You are trying to watch your weight, or lose weight, and so are either carefully counting every calorie or are just staying away from high calorie and/or trigger foods.

And then.  There they are.  The "pushers".

The pushers come in many forms.  Sometimes they are overweight friends who want company - they really don't want you to lose weight.  Sometimes they are skinny friends, who see you as the "fat friend" and are threatened by the idea of you trimming down.  Sometimes they are well-meaning, normal-weight friends who have never struggled with their weight.  They can eat a brownie or piece of cake, and it never goes to their hips.  Or they don't have food issues, so they can eat a single cookie or drink a glass of wine, and that's it.  They can leave it after that.

A favorite comment from a "pusher" if you turn down that cake is "But it's a special occasion!"

This, my friends, for most of us, is total bullshit.

At some point, long ago, it really made sense.  When I was a child in the 70's, we didn't eat out.  Meals were mostly cooked from scratch (with some canned soup and bologna sandwiches).  We rarely had chips or soda in the house.  Cookies were baked from scratch.  Special occasions were special - Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  New year's.  Birthdays for the kids (most of the time, 3 of us).  That's...5 special occasions a year.  Add in the occasional party or other event and it was certainly still less than 12.

But these days, how special are they?  I'll tell you how special.

Let's start with June 1.
1 year old birthday parties: 5.  I have attended 5 of these and declined to attend at least as many.
My own baby's birthday dinner: 1
My birthday (I was on a plane, there was no cake involved): 1
Our anniversary: 1
Company BBQ: 1
Retirement party: 1
Friends visiting/ French festival: 1
Days where there was cake or cheesecake at work: 2

So in 6 weeks, there were 13 "special occasions" with the opportunity to eat sweets, cake, drink wine or beer, or eat fried/ unhealthy food.  That's two per week.

That doesn't even factor in the school aged child.  He attends at least 5-7 birthday parties a year.  Cookies and chips are a regular thing at camp and school.  Sometimes he feels that  he should get dessert every night.  Every night??  We've set it at 2x a week, but still there are "special occasions" like tomorrow's concert in the park.  No, I'm not packing sweets, but if his friends are there and they have them, he will eat them.

This is why it's very important to define "special occasion" calories.  After I had my second baby, I met with a dietitian online (she happens to be a friend).  She defined various foods as "everyday", "once in awhile" and "special occasion".  And "special occasion" foods are once a MONTH.  How do you handle the "pushers" who don't get that?

I simply decline the cake and say "I don't like cake" (which is mostly true).  If it's a good friend, I simply state that at my age, I simply cannot spare the calories. 

Some people, however, will never get it.  So be strong, friends.  Understand "Special Occasion" calories and decide how often they will enter your life.  Accept that we are all different.  That 24-year old marathon runner will be able to eat a lot more than that 43-year old occasional exerciser.  Try not to compare yourself to other people's options.  It's just depressing.  (It has gotten to the point that I don't even read any blog post that is a dessert.  I will not make them.  I will not eat them.  I just press the delete button.)

And because I want to post a photo, here's a pic of my little sweet boy on his first birthday, eating his first piece of cake!  And so far, only. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We're BAAACK...

from vacation.  To an empty fridge.  I'm still figuring out what we are out of.  Like ketchup.

We spent two weeks on the east coast.  I'd say glorious, but man, we had the worst weather ever.  I enjoyed visiting family, but seriously - rain and thunderstorms every day in PA, then 90-95F and 90% humidity in NY.  Where you just sit, in a non-air conditioned home and sweat...

We've been back for half a week.  We muddled through the week and did a fair bit of eating out on the weekend, including eating at the French festival (man, $54, what a racket).  Yesterday was our anniversary (17!!) and we did nothing special, just hanging out with some great friends who were visiting from the Bay Area.

I have been getting back into the cooking groove.  For the first week of vacay, I did all the cooking.  Not much of a vacation eh?  Week two: nothing.

This weekend I have been trying to get back into the weekend prep during nap times.  I return to full time in a week (yikes) and those 8 hours a week have to come from somewhere.  Hopefully not sleep.  Or exercise.

Here's what's on the menu:
Crockpot tri-tip (yesterday)
Crockpot refried beans (today)


Pasta salad with homemade pesto, chicken, and vegetables (carrots, zucchini, roasted red peppers from last summer, tomatoes).

Lots and lots of dishes today. 

On to my fitness level: in a word: it sucks. Okay, that was two words.  I seem to have found 20 lbs since last October.  I decided to join Biz in her latest diet bet, but my computer was on the fritz - so I decided to do it on my own.  I need to lose 7 lbs in 30 days.  I put $25 in an envelope.  If I do it - I keep it.  If I don't - I donate it to the YMCA.  Boy, calorie counting is hard work. 

I am limited in the exercise that I can do right now.  I have achilles tendonitis that makes running and long walks painful.  So I figured I'd try more biking and swimming.

I want to get back into riding my bike to work 2x a week (Mondays and Fridays).  Right now with summer camp, it makes pick up/ drop off hard.  So today, I drove to work with my bike on the back and biked home (10 miles).  I will bike in tomorrow.  And it will hurt.  A lot.  Because today hurt, a lot.  In the prime of my fitness level (2009-2010), I could bike to work in about 45 minutes.  It would take 50-55 minutes to get home (bigger hills, tired at the end of the day).  Well, today, the bike home was 66 minutes.  Yucky.  Hopefully in a month the bike to work will be closer to 45 min.  A goal to shoot for! (In addition to the 7 pounds.)

Okay, is it me, or does it look like the photos from my new phone are actually better than the ones from the camera??