Friday, October 10, 2014

Soup, and Veggies, and Work, and Keeping it Simple

I'm pretty sure we all have a certain capacity to get things done.

I wonder if it's constant or if it ebbs and flows.  I think it probably changes.  For example: I've been so busy with other things that I have neglected the blog.  I have mentally written many updates, that have never actually made it to paper.

As many of my fair readers know, I've been working hard over the last year or two to lose the 2nd baby weight.  My baby is 2 yrs 3 months.

It's ebbed and flowed. I got pretty good at losing the same 15 pounds 3 times, but work and life stresses seemed to get in the way.

Well, I'm not sure what my personal capacity is right now.  Here are the big things on my plate:
1.  Two kids (8 and 2)
2.  Full time job
3.  co_VP of fundraising for school PTA
4.  Regular exercise (daily) for health and weight loss
5.  Weight loss (attempting to lose 15 to 20 more pounds).  This requires daily calorie counting and measuring.
6.  Food prep and cooking.  I am the main cook in the house, so I do the grocery shopping, meal planning, lunch packing, etc.

So my challenges on the food front are many -
When I am in weight loss mode, I eat a lot of vegetables.  Think about 4 cups a day.  A typical day would be 5 small meals.
Meal #2: a cup of raw veggies with hummus or dip
Meal #3 (lunch): salad with two to three cups of lettuce and some veggies (and hard boiled eggs)
Meal #4: leftover cooked vegetables from the prior night, or more raw veggies
Meal #5 (dinner): a steamed or sauteed veggie or veggie soup of some kind.

It is a lot of work to prep all those vegetables. I  have taken to prepping 5 baggies of vegetables on Sunday, so I can grab and go for my lunch.  Still, each night I spend 20 minutes (if not more), packing for the next day.

On top of that, my meals are somewhat uninspired.  When you are focused so much on weight loss and calorie counting, it's hard to muster the energy for new recipes or fun meals.

Next, of course, is the CSA.  I do not like to waste food, so when we get our weekly ration, I have to figure out what to do with it.  This is where the soup comes in.  I have the following soups in my freezer due to the CSA:

carrot ginger
roasted tomato and pepper
chard and potato

And next up this weekend: butternut squash soup.

If only it weren't 80-95 degrees right now, I could ENJOY the soup.

Of course this week's CSA is rather uninspiring for me:
spaghetti squash - don't much care for it, and of course, it's not a "soup" or "crudite" vegetable.
fennel - I just don't like fennel
cherry tomatoes - don't care for these either, so I always roast them
chard - I don't like chard, and I don't feel like making MORE chard and potato soup
eggplant - I like eggplant, but I have a pound of teeny tiny eggplant, so that is a lot of work
green beans - not a soup or crudite, but easy to saute or steam.  Of course, I have 2 pounds to clean and trim.
pomegranates - sigh.  Great on salads, but a PITA

What does this all mean?  Well, it means double duty cooking:
spaghetti squash, fennel, and cherry tomatoes: some sort of Italian dish with meatballs
butternut squash: soup (these are from the last 2 weeks of the CSA)
chard: I guess maybe I'll make bean burritos and hide it in there.  So I have to make refried beans.
eggplant: caponata
pomegranates: sigh
lettuce: two heads to wash
raw veggies: as usual, I have to make up five big bags of veggies
Other: of course I have to buy other veggies (for my raw veggies and for other dinners).  This week, I actually ran out.

It also means that I don't have the energy for much else.  So much of my time is filled with just "getting by" cooking wise - both making sure I use the CSA and making sure I have prepped everything in a timely (for dinner and lunch) manner, that there isn't much time for fun cooking.

And of course, there's the weight loss.  Unfortunately at my age and activity level, I can only really have 1200-1500 calories a day and still lose weight.  That means careful weighing, measuring, and planning.  If I cook something new, I have to figure out how to count it!

Activity wise, I exercise 30-45 minutes most days: swimming, DVDs at home (21 Day Fix, PiYo, P90X).  I usually walk on my lunch break most days also (30 minutes).  Weekends I generally get a walk in on at least one day, usually 3-4 miles.

At 1200-1500 calories a day, every calorie counts.  Right now I'm carb cycling using Chris Powell's plan.  It's similar to the "21 Day Fix" plan, but with a rearrangement of what you eat on what days.  I don't think there is anything magic about the 21DF containers, except they are portion controlled and well balanced with respect to fats, protein, and carbohydrate.  Whether you carb cycle, use the 21DF containers, use Weight Watchers, or simply count calories, they can all be effective - the answer comes down to your own physiology and your own psychology.  Carb cycling is working for me right now because I get a "cheat day" where I don't have to think about it.  That may change.  It's important to note that it's working very slowly, and it's painful - all this planning, and I'm STILL hungry.  I go to bed hungry, wake up hungry, and swim hungry until it turns into a massive headache.


Well, currently I am down 17 pounds from this time last year.  2 pounds above my recent minimum, which was in May.  151 in case you were wondering. :)  My coworkers ask me if it's worth all of the pain and suffering?  I don't really know.  Ask me if I get to my goal.


Joanne said...

Keep up the good work! Sounds like your meals are all super healthy and veggie-filled so at least you know you're fueling your body with good things no matter what the scale is showing!

Lisa said...

I LOVE soup weather! And always looking for a good recipe to try.