Mar 3, 2011

New Blog - New Home

Check me out in my new home over on Wordpress here

Losing to Win

Thursday Review: Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea

Years ago, my pilates instructor recommended this tea to me and I fell in love with it instantly.  I recently rediscovered it and have been craving it daily.  I tend to stay away from caffeine after lunch during the week so I love that they also offer a caffeine free herbal blend.

Ingredients:  Red Rooibos, Chicory Root, Natural Flavors, Rosehips, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Papaya, Chamomile, Panax Ginseng, Anise Seed, Dandelion Root, Ginger Root, Orange Oil, Orange Peel.

With quite a varied and interesting list of ingredients, this tea could certainly go either way.  Either blend spectacularly or taste like the equivalent of a train wreck in a mug.  Luckily for you and me, it works deliciously!

Aroma:  The tea steeps quickly and even though they advise 3-4 minutes, within a minute you can really smell the tea.  I usually brew it for 2-3 minutes and the flavors are all really present.  The longer you steep, the spicier and sweeter the tea becomes.

Before you even take a sip, the aromas draw you in.  Intensely cinnamon with a hint of mint underneath, I anticipate my first sip every time I brew this! 

Taste: As promised at first sniff, the scent of the cinnamon represents a huge flavor boost to the tea.  The spiciness of the cinnamon blends with a subtle peppermint and anise flavor, with the ginger and papaya peeking through.  The tea is fairly sweet, as the name implies.   You may wonder if there has been a sweetener added, but the tea is as is.  Delicious, sweet and spicy.

Recommendation: Perfect for cinnamon lovers!  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Sicky sick

After battling a cold for the last week, I'm finally feeling better and actually faced the treadmill for a run today.  I was feeling anxious as the last time I tried to run, my legs felt like tree trunks and I could barely run for a minute.

But I had a FANTASTIC workout today.  I felt good, I felt strong, my breathing was even and my body felt happy to be working hard.  Just what I had hoped for!

At the time of that less-than-stellar workout last week, I didn't realize what was going on.  But the heavy legs and the desire to slow down made me feel insecure.  I felt "fat" and I felt "lazy".  Of course as I looked deeper and tried to see the positives,  it was just that my body was fighting something off and I was getting sick.  But I struggled to stay positive and keep telling myself that the tired heaviness was not about my fitness level or my weight loss success, but it was solely my body telling me to slow down and get some rest.

So often in the past I've heard the saying that your body is a machine.  Give it the chance to work for you and it won't let you down.  More than ever I believe this and live this now.  It's amazing the things I can accomplish when I simply ask my body to do something and believe that it can.  Sure, sometimes I have to work up to a certain thing.  But it's there to work hard and to feel good.  And I'm grateful for that.

Feb 9, 2011

Big day

Today I:

 - Made it to the orange level on Nike+

- Hit my 10% weight loss (from my original and highest weight ever)

- Realized it's been almost 6 weeks since I've binged

- Wore a size 12 pair of pants

Not bad for a cold day in February!

Jan 24, 2011

Day Zero List - 1001 things to do in 101 days

So many of you have inspired me to do my own Day Zero list
These are 101 things I'd like to try to accomplish/try/do in 1001 days.

Starting Date - January 24, 2011
Day to Complete - October 21, 2013

Those in progress are in italics

Those completed are in red

1   Take a photography class
2   Learn how to play my banjo
3   Do a 365 photo project
4   Attend a knitting meet-up
5   Learn how to crochet
6   Learn how to use my sewing machine
7   Take a photo of myself every day for a month
8   Complete knitting a pair of socks
9   Hand make Christmas gifts for everyone
10   Paint something I can hang on the wall

11   Get married (this one's easy, but SO important and exciting!)
12   Go without internet for 24 hours
13   Pay off credit cards
14   Have a conversation fully in French
15   Wear makeup every day for a week
16   Volunteer at the community garden
17   Apply to nursing school
18   Volunteer at the hospital
19   Save at least $3,000
20   Write a personal letter or thank you card once a day for a month
21   Move to a house that has a fenced in yard
22   Blog at least once a week for a year
23   Create a vision board
24   Organize my dressing room
25   Give away all the clothes that no longer fit me.  Don't hold onto them for sentimental reasons!
26   Keep the kitchen table completely cleared off for a month
27   Have people over to our house for dinner
28   Have my nieces over for a  sleepover/dance party
29   Have boudoir photos taken
30   Have a dress designed and custom made just for me
31   Go without TV/Netflix/Hulu for 48 hours while at home
32   Track my weight loss by taking full-body pictures once a month
33   Track my weight loss by taking my measurements once a month
34   Take my mother on a lighthouse tour
35   Get my teeth whitened
36   Try meditation
37   Write my 2011 self a letter from my 2012 self
38   Travel to Europe
39   Take a road trip
40   Spend a night in a treehouse
41   Pay off my public library fine!
42   Write a poem a week for 3 months
43   Write my will
44   Get life insurance
45   Take a girls' trip
46   Go to the Peabody-Essex Museum
47   See a play
48   Keep my bedroom floor uncluttered for two weeks straight!
49   Sleep on a houseboat

Health and Fitness
50   Go to spin class every week for a  month
51   Go ice skating
52   Go another month without processed foods
53   Get a physical
54   Have an eye exam (instead of waiting another 7 years!)
55   Try rollerblading
56   Try wearing contact lenses
57   Floss every day for a month
58   Complete the C25K training program
59   Wear a bikini in a public place
60   Try a BodyVive class
61   Take a beginner yoga workshop (Rasamaya Yoga workshop - February 2011)
62   Go on an overnight backpacking hike
63   Go swimming at the local lap pool
64   Hike one of the Presidential mountains in NH
65   Take another rock climbing course
66   Go to the indoor rock climbing gym
67   Run a mile
68   Run a 5K
69   Go to the gym every day for a week
70   Ride my bike to work
71   Go cross-country skiing

72   Bake 4 different types of yeast breads
73   Make coq au vin from Julia Child's cookbook
74   Learn to make a great salad dressing from scratch
75   Try one new fruit a month for a year
76   Don’t eat out for a month
77   Have friends over for a dinner party
78   Go to a wine tasting at a local winery
79   Join a CSA
80   Go to a cheese class
81   Eat only locally grown/made food for a day
82   Make a recipe from at least every cookbook I own
83   Make and decorate gingerbread men from scratch
84   Make grilled pizza
85   Learn to make yogurt
86   Take dinner leftovers to work for lunch for a week
87   Make ice cream
88   Plant a vegetable garden on my patio
89   Eat at the dining room table every night for a week
90   Take a cooking class

Being a Good Do-Bee
91   Pay for the person behind me at a toll booth
92   Do "trail magic" on the Appalachian Trail
93   Spend a vacation day volunteering on a project
94   Leave a 100% tip
95   Plant a tree
96   Throw a Naked Lady party and donate all the extra clothes to a woman's shelter
97   Write a letter to the editor
98   Donate an amount of money that makes me feel uncomfortable
99   Fill someone's freezer
100   Volunteer at a soup kitchen
101   Donate money to my alma mater (completed: Jan 2011)

Jan 12, 2011

Recipe Ready: Vegetable Barley Soup

This is a quick and easy vegetable barley soup you can make as below, or substitute veggies and grains based on what you have in your refrigerator and your pantry.

8 cups of fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth OR vegetable broth
1 cup canned carrots (drained) OR two whole carrots (peeled and sliced)
1 cup canned or frozen peas
1 cup canned or frozen lima beans (drained)
15 oz can of diced tomatoes, including juice
1 cup canned chickpeas (drained)
1/2 cup uncooked barley
1/2 diced onion, or 2 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp garlic powder
3 bay leaves
2 tsp salt (add more as you cook, to taste)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper (add more as you cook, to taste)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sugar (reduces the acidity from the tomatoes)
1 tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for 60-90 minutes and serve.
You can make the soup thinner by adding more broth or thicker by upping the barley to 1 cup.

(This soup makes 7 servings - 2 cups per serving.  Total PointsPlus value per serving is 4.)

Jan 11, 2011

Couch to 5K - Week 2

The fab folks over at the Couch to 5K site have even posted a handy treadmill version of the plan so you don't have to think at all - just run!

Headed off to the gym for the first of three days of this workout:

00:00-5:00: Warmup walk
5:00-6:30: Run
6:30-8:30: Walk
8:30-10:00: Run
10:00-12:00: Walk
12:00-13:30: Run
13:30-15:30: Walk
15:30-17:00: Run
17:00-19:00: Walk
19:00-20:30: Run
20:30-22:30: Walk
22:30-24:00: Run
24:00-26:00: Walk
26:00-30:00: Cooldown Walk

Slow and steady wins the race?

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to achieve my weight loss goals lately.  How to focus on the here and now and the baby steps rather than seeing this giant looming number (60 lbs!).  Previously and repeatedly, I would plan for an exact date I need to reach that goal or else I should consider myself a failure.  I never took into account life, schedules, cold and flu season, exam weeks, anything that could possibly hinder my perfect plan.

What that meant for me is that if I had a bad week or two, I would give up and declare myself a loser, a failure, not fit for even trying.  And I did this to myself over and over and over again, never really learning that  this wasn't the way to achieve anything.  But I finally realize now that by focusing on the place I'm at, week by week, I'm making strides towards the bigger goal.

I started the Couch to 5K program last week and am really enjoying it.  I'm actually enjoying the process of taking the time for myself to go to the gym, get on the treadmill and check out for a half hour while I accomplish a goal. A goal of FINISHING one piece at a time.

Last week I was dealing with a lot of anxiety - work, wedding planning, school, hormones.  It was all a little too much for me and I was cracking a bit.  But in spite of that, I still completed Week 1 of  the C25K program, I still tracked every bite of food I consumed, I still lost weight.  I realized that the anxiety was only going to get worse if I didn't treat myself well.  So when I was feeling rotten, I'd go to the gym and bust out a few miles on the treadmill.  Or I'd eat a handful of raspberries instead of a bag of chips.  I gave myself the gift of health and it made me feel better!

I know that I have to just be patient with myself and give me the room and time to achieve my goals.  Some weeks will be tough, but some weeks will be great.  And it's taken me 32 years to get here, I can't turn it around overnight.  But I'll keep trying because I deserve it!

Stretching after a C25K workout on the treadmill.