Friday, May 29, 2009

yummy dish

Ah, I just thought of something worth sharing.  Last night I made a new recipe for dinner and I LURVED it.  Alas, I can't take pictures because now it is all in my belly.  (Remember Fat Bastard from the second Austin Powers movie?  That's my natural inclination as far as approach to life: "Get in my belly!"  Anyway...)

A few weeks ago we were having vegetarian friends over for dinner and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use some of the amazing, delicious Rancho Gordo beans I had recently ordered.  I had a recipe for black bean burgers that looked good, so I threw the beans in a pot to soak and headed out to find the other ingredients.  Alas, neither the regular grocery store, specialty spice store, health food store OR Whole Foods carried farro.  Defeated, I returned home to google alternatives.  And that's where I learned that farro = spelt and realized that, duh, I have spelt in my pantry.  I prepared it according to the instructions (it's from Trader Joe's, FYI) and used about half in the burgers.  The other half went in the freezer.

Now, those burgers were good, but they are not the subject of this post.  In the current issue of Men's Health (yummy Ewan McGregor on the cover, although the article about him is hella boring), which we're getting because we did the Broad Street Run and will cancel as soon as we have to pay for it, is an article about farro/spelt and how good it is for you.  Apparently it's double the fiber and protein of brown rice.  The recipe they suggested looked so good that I tried it out last night.  I'd like to think that it's the kind of thing I would have come up with on my own some day, because it's simple and uses some of my favorite tricks (delectable red gravy, a poached egg over grains).  And I'd like to think that my version tastes better than the original chef's version because of my South Philly Gravy.  And I'd like to be a size 2 and dating Robert Pattinson.  In any case, here's the gist of the dish:

You make gravy.  (For you non-Philadelphia, non Italians out there, that's marinara sauce.  I make mine by sauteeing onions, garlic, fresh basil and red pepper flakes in olive oil, then pouring a can of crushed tomatoes in, adding salt, sugar, red wine, and anchovies.  Sometimes I don't have the fresh basil, or wine I'm willing to use in a recipe, or anchovies.  Work with what you've got.)

You take some cooked felt/sparro.  (HAHA, I mean FARRO/SPELT).

Stir them together in the gravy pot.

Crack an egg (or two or three) over the dish, cover, and simmer until the egg is poached.  (This part didn't work too well for me when I made the dish for dinner last night.  It may be because my lid doesn't quite fit on my pan, but it took so long for the whites to firm up that the yolk was firm, too.  When I reheated the spelt/gravy mixture for lunch today, I poached an egg separately and then set it on top.  Ymmy gooey drippy egg yolk.)


See?  Simple!  Easy!  And in moderate portions, quite healthy and nutritious.

Hot time, summer in the city

Heading into another summer weekend, trying to get by... Once again it's busy and will likely come with many food temptations, but I'm trying to offset the damage by signing up for extra exercise.  I went to the gym this morning and got in 20 minutes on various weight machines followed by a 4 mile run.  That's my longest gym session in the last few weeks, so it felt good.  

Tonight G and I are volunteering to help a friend pull carpet and start painting a new home. We did all this stuff ourselves last year, and I know how exhausting and calorie-burning it can be. Of course, I gained weight while we were doing it because we always ended the day with pizza or fast food--definitely a "two sides of the coin" thing here.  

Kristi of KristiSummer recently posted about unexpected exercise, and that's sort of my mindset with these summer weekends.  I'm not training for a run any more so I don't get those looong runs to counterbalance any bad behavior.  Instead, I'm trying to gravitate (and convince others around me) toward active events instead of barbecues, eating out, drinking, etc.

Wish I had more interesting stuff to say, funny stories to tell, but I don't.  Oh la.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

link: NYTimes Well blog marathon series

The title says it all, but the New York Times has an interesting constellation of posts about marathon running.  I'm most interest in Tara Parker-Pope's reports on going from couch potato to marathon runner.  She's had some critics in the comments, suggesting that this isn't the healthiest approach, but she's determined to go forward. 

My only critique so far is that she alludes to being a high school athlete and occasional runner, and then "putting on weight," but I don't really know what that means.  Is she a porker like me, or is she one of those "I had a baby so there's a little flab on my tummy OMFG!" folks?  I hear such contradictory stuff about how running affects people at different weights, and I'd like to know what her general level of health is.

Stories are here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

open mouth, insert foot

Apparently I didn't read my last post carefully because it sort of implied that I took offense to Tara's post at A Perfect Version of Myself--that is NOT NOT NOT the case.  I really appreciated her post and that she responded to a topic I was thinking through.

And then as I was thinking about ways to keep my level of motivation up, I had this twisted, sarcastic vision of a bunch of bloggers calling each other mean names (with their tongues fully implanted in their cheeks) so we didn't grow complacent.  Like, a dark comedy version of a support group, where the support consisted of saying things like, "How dare you think you look good, you size 16 porker!  Now get to the gym!"

So, sorry Tara for the misunderstanding and keep posting your thoughtful entries--I always enjoy reading them!

what's my motivation

Did you know that it takes a really long time to walk 8 miles?  True story.
Yesterday G and I and another friend met up to walk an 8 mile loop that G and I had used a lot while training for the Broad Street Run.  It was amazing how loooong and sloooow the walk felt, even compared to my snail-like running pace.  The good news, though, is that we were all hurting at the end, so it must have been good for us.

In other news, Tara over here picks up on my comments in my last entry about feeling somewhat satisfied and unmotivated.  Perhaps the best solution would be for all of us who feel OK with an unhealthy weight to call each other mean names and shame each other into continuing to lose.  

No?  OK then, never mind.  : )

Seriously, though, it's kind of funny when I think about what goes through my head in a normal day.  For example, Saturday I went canoeing and then went out to dinner for our anniversary.  I was wearing a new dress, I had a pleasant stiffness in my arms from canoeing, and I felt hott!   Then in the shower I smoothed soap over my flabby belly and thighs and felt like a fat troll. The point, then, is that those feelings are not the point.  I'm glad to have a healthy self-esteem and be able to recognize when I look good, but just because I don't "feel" motivated doesn't mean I should slack off.

Habit.  It may not be sexy, but it's a pretty good way to get where you want to go.

Monday, May 25, 2009

weigh in/month 5 reflection

Happy Memorial Day!

In spite of my bad weekend behavior I'm owning my weigh in and not shoving it off til next week.
The scale is down to 184, which means I lost 3.5 pounds this month.  As usual, I would love it to be more but I'll take it as long as it keeps going down.

This month I participated in a 10 mile run, cooked some really tasty and nutritious food, and officially settled back into almost all of my old clothes that I've been too big for in the last few years.  I'm a size 16 right now, which is the size I've been since my senior year in high school.  I feel generally fit and like myself, whereas 20+ pounds ago I felt like a heavy, uncomfortable version of myself.

All that's great, but I have to remind myself that no matter how comfortable I feel at this weight, it's not OK to weigh 184 pounds as a lady who tops out at 5 feet 2 inches.  I'm smack in middle of "obese" on the BMI index, with 20+ more pounds to lose before I'm just gloriously overweight.

So I'm off for a 8 mile walk.  Then I'm going to plan my meals for the week.  

Hope you're all finding new ways to make yourself keep going with whatever it is you're working on!

Current weight: 184
Pounds to goal: 61
Pounds lost: 27.5
Current BMI: 33.7

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I like to move it move it

Currently trying to battle through Memorial Day Weekend, nervous about tomorrow's weigh in. Spent almost 4 hours in a canoe yesterday, paddling hard instead of drifting.  But ate some pizza Friday night and a burger and hot dog at a neighborhood barbecue today.  Made plans to run tomorrow morning.  Sometimes all you can do is keep moving, even when you screw up what you put in your mouth.  

Friday, May 22, 2009

why I've been MIA

Hello!  I'm here!  I haven't disappeared into a vat of bacon grease or anything, just had a busy week.  I started teaching my summer class, which meets Monday through Thursday, and I've been working in the evenings as well.  The good thing about my schedule is that it works really well to get to the gym on campus as soon as I finish teaching.  I've been doing some upper body weight machines and spending a little time on the treadmill.  As much as I did actually appreciate training for the Broad Street Run, it's so much more enjoyable to run shorter distances and do other things.  Yesterday I did get up to three miles, the longest I've done since the run, and it actually felt good.

The other reason I haven't posted in the last week is because...(OMG, so embarassing, seriously, I'm trying to screw up my courage but this is SO LAME) I've been reading the Twilight books.  Nonstop.  For the last week.

Here's the thing, and by the way the rest of this post will have nothing to do with fattie-related stuff.  Anyway, I'm in grad school STUDYING LITERATURE.  I read heavy, excellent shit all day long.  For so many reasons, these vampire crack books are problematic--poorly written, uncomfortable messages to send to teenagers, etc.  (Like, hey, your boyfriend stalks you!  He must lurve you super hardcore!  Go get married!)  But I don't care.  It's kind of like how, after eating beans and veggies for a month, you can eat some pizza and not feel guilty.  

Anyway, one of the reasons I mention this is because if you too have read these books and been unable to put them down, check out these hiLARious recaps.  I was reading them last night and giggling uncontrollably, wishing I had someone to share them with.  

That's all.  I'll be weighing in again Monday, and I will get back to posting about things other than sparkly vampires.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My, what big teeth you have!

What have you done today, to make you feel proud?

It's over folks.  30 days, 10 countries, 1 survivor.  Wait, I'm getting my reality TV finales all mixed up--clearly being a couch potato is one of the reasons I'm overweight.

The Biggest Loser is Helen!  And the at-home winner is Jerry!  I would not have predicted either of those, even up until last week.  But let's back up.

First of all, Tuesday night G and I helped some friends move into an apartment.  We spent two hours unloading their moving truck, and I am still sore today.  Seriously, if you know someone who's moving, volunteer to help.  You'll be doing a good deed and getting a serious effing workout.  After the moving, we went to dinner at Chili's.  I have a whole ranting post in my mind about why it's a terrible idea to waste calories at Chili's, but I'm going to focus on the Biggest Loser now and try to let the fajitas go.  In any case, we didn't get home til after 11, so I watched most of the finale on fast forward, pausing only for a few comments and the weigh-ins.  Therefore, this breakdown is going to feel kind of scattered.

First, congratulations to everyone.  With one or two exceptions (David and Aubrey) it looks like everyone managed to lose weight at home.  Kristin in particular came very close to Jerry's percentage, and her progress is inspiring.  While most of the people sitting on the bleachers still looked overweight, they all look much healthier than when they started.  Also a huge kudos to Daniel for losing over 100 pounds, mostly on his own, and for having such a positive outlook about moving forward.

On to the finalists.  While watching them (and Jerry) weigh in, I was struck by how much I really hate certain aspects of this show.  Seriously, those people looked like they had been eating asparagus and sitting in steam rooms for weeks.  Helen, Tara, and Jerry looked like they had been in the gym until the moment before they came onstage, when they changed into their glamour clothes.  Was anyone else a little bit unnerved and distressed at how unstable they all seemed?  I've read a few articles where previous contestants explain how the week before the finale, they pretty much don't eat anything, and that hunger has got to account for the deranged look in all of their eyes.  I'd be willing to be none of them had had a sip of water in several hours, if not a full day.

And, I get it.  It's $250 grand, and if I were a contestant who had made it to the finale, I'd starve myself too, and then start eating as soon as the finale wrapped.  I can't fault them at all.  But I do take issue with the show itself, for implying that 117 pounds is a healthy weight for someone like Helen.  To be clear, I'm not trying to hate on skinny people here, and I know some people struggle with being underweight.  But that's not the case with Helen, or anyone up there.  They (most likely) have been extremely unhealthy for the last few days, not taking in calories, consuming only diuretics, trying to sweat out every last ounce of water weight in their bodies. 

For me, last week's episode was much more worthy of a celebration.  These people who weighed over 300 pounds can now run a marathon.  That is the accomplishment.  Starving themselves to the point of exhaustion is not.  

I'm sorry if my tone is way off base here.  I did enjoy seeing everyone, and I don't want to take anything away from what the finalists did in the weeks between leaving the ranch and returning for the finale--again, that's the accomplishment worth celebrating.  It's just that the visual of Helen looking downright wasted away really bothered me.

Holla back in the comments if you think I'm rude and mean, I can take it.   

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the binge diaries

A while ago I wrote a post categorizing the different kinds of temptation that are out there (for me at least) and recent events have inspired me to do the same for the different kinds of bingeing I do.  While this is a fairly lighthearted post, I do realize that binge eating is a serious problem, and I'm not trying to disregard that.  Rather, I'm just recognizing my triggers, which tend to be more situational than a specific kind of food.

the Fridge Binge:  You're standing in front of the fridge, fully intending to put together the healthy lunch you planned.  After all, you just got back from the gym: why sabotage yourself? Then you see the leftover pasta from last night.  Can't hurt to have a quick bite, just to hold you over while you assemble your salad, right?  Three bites later, patting yourself on the back for your willpower, you put the pasta back.  But then you see an unidentified container--what might be in there?  Oh right, it's the chicken sausage you made for dinner last week.  Probably still good--it would be a shame to throw it away.  Gulp, gulp.

The deal with the fridge binge is that, in my fridge, there usually isn't a lot of crap.  I'm too smart to have a fridge full of cakes and pizza and other delicacies.  Which is why the fridge binge is SO FREAKING STUPID.  Why waste a quick 300 calories on gross, chilly, halfway expired leftovers?  I know the answer: I do it because I feel like it doesn't count.  A quick bite here and there doesn't feel like cheating, particularly when the bites are relatively healthy foods.  Still, SO FREAKING STUPID.

the Sandwich Binge:  I mentioned this in my last post.  The Sandwich Binge is what you do in between two events you plan to let loose at.  For example, if you have your best friend's wedding one weekend and guests from out of town the next weekend.  While I try to prepare myself to show restraint at some such occasions, there are others where I know I'm going to cheat, and I don't care.  The problem is when you allow that cheat to bleed into the days after, and then pick up a few days ahead of the next cheat.  This is classic Forthright Fattie behavior, and it is SO FREAKING DANGEROUS.  G and I have seen whole summers turn into Sandwich Binge sessions, and I know a lot of my weight gain in the last 4 years has happened on those Sandwich days.  Because by the time you've been "bad" for 8 days in a row, you know you've gained weight, you feel like crap, you convince yourself you've lost all muscle tone and endurance, and stringing together even two days of good behavior feels like a monumental achievement which should be rewarded (with a cheesesteak).  And you're off again!

Conversely, last week I was faced with the Sandwich, but I didn't binge on those in between days.  I got some exercise in, and made good choices.  I still made bad choices on the weekend, but at least I didn't throw away the whole week.  I have a recent, bodily memory of how good it feels to be on track, and I can draw on that memory to get back to the good place.

the Stress Binge:  This one's pretty obvious.  Everything else in your life is going to hell so why not eat a burger?  You don't have time to cook, you didn't get to the store, and the pizza delivery guy is kind of cute anyway.    And it will make you feel good.

I've gotten a little better about avoiding this kind of binge, largely because I am blessed enough to lead a fairly stress-free life.  However, I still face that end-of-semester crunch periodically, and there is always the temptation to just let this one part of your life be easier for the time being.  The trick is remembering that bingeing most certainly does NOT make your life easier.  This is a big one for G--when he's stressed, he's liable to call with a confession that he's eaten a muffin AND a shake AND a sandwich on the way home.  My job at that point is to spring into action--do what I can around the house to relieve him of some his duties, and put a healthy meal on the table, refusing to allow him to sink further.  In other words, if at all possible, when facing the stress binge make other people pick up the slack.

What are your binge patterns?  

weigh in/week 18 reflection

Last week was another crazy one.  I gained half a pound, and I'm shocked it wasn't more.  In fact, I'm assuming I'll go up a bit this week, at least in the next few days.  

After my mom left Tuesday, G and I tried to be good Wednesday through Friday.  I got to the gym twice and counted points.  G called it a Sandwich Week, because we had stuff going on both weekends and nothing but willpower to get us through the days in-between.  In the past, this would have meant that we used those days to satisfy every craving we'd ever had, but we managed to do pretty well.  But only for those three days.

Once the weekend arrived and our friends from out of town showed up, it was an eating and drinking orgy.  I ate terrible and I felt terrible--not mentally, but physically.  There were some positive things--we walked a lot, and I made myself stop eating and drinking at different times because I knew I would get sick, but basically it was the old Forthright Fattie.

Luckily, yesterday was perfect--counted points, ate fruits and veggies all day, got a 3 mile walk in.  Right now I'm heading to the gym.    I have a month before my friend's wedding in Indiana, and I'd like to be right at 180 by the time that rolls around.

Current weight: 186
Pounds to goal: 63
Weight lost: 25.5 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A rainy run day

So, yes, the Broad Street Run. I did it.

Oh, you want to know more? Well then, here goes.

The Buildup

As I mentioned before, my mom and sister flew in from Indiana to join G, me, and our friend Jim on the run. They arrived Friday night. Saturday we prepared for our carbo-loading party. We had various in-laws and friends come by, and we served broccoli rabe pizza on whole wheat pizza dough as an appetizer and pasta with olive oil, garlic, and basil as the main course. My mom made a coconut cake which we tried not to pork out on too much.

Race Day Morning

Sunday morning the alarm went off at 5:45 am. The four of us took turns in the bathroom while we sipped coffee and ate our breakfast of choice for a run. Mine was a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Then we slathered ourselves in body glide, pinned on our numbers, and hit the subway. The ride was free for racers, so thank you city of Philadelphia. With every stop, tons of fit looking people in athletic clothes crammed in. My mom and I were getting a little nervous looking at all the racers--I didn't see anyone close to my weight, and my mom didn't see anyone near her age. Truthfully, though, I wasn't nervous. I felt like I didn't have anything to prove. I had done the training, and this was just another run.

Bathroom Stuff

When we emerged from the subway, it really hit us how many people were running (over 22,000). Jim and my sister took off for their starting corralls. G had signed up for the last corrall without really thinking--he could have moved up, but decided to just start in the grey group. However, we needed a pit stop before the race. Here's the thing--everything about the race was smoothly run and nicely planned except for the port-a-potty situation. You'd think for 22,000 people you'd try to get a couple hundred toilets, right? I didn't count, but I don't think there were more than 50. The lines were insane, backing up to the far side of Broad Street, weaving through all the corrals. As we waited and waited, the clock crept closer and closer to starting time. We decided not to worry about it since our times wouldn't start til our chips crossed the start line, but it was still kind of stressful to see the racers inching, then surging, forward, while we waited for our chance to pee. Those bathrooms were absolutely disgusting, too.

Ready, Set, Go!

Because of all that, we started at the absolute back of the pack. Ahead of us was a mile long wall of bodies, and behind us were one or two stragglers. The good thing about this scenario was that it let us feel like we were passing more people than were passing us. As we crossed the starting line, the mayor was there urging us on. I took the opportunity to yell at him not to allow casinos in the city, my pet issue. My mom laughed, G sped ahead of us, and we were off.

All About My Mother

My mom is 51 years old, and weighs about what she did in high school. G says she is the most healthy person he knows. All I know is that I have been training for this race for months and she has not. Nonetheless, she kept pace with me the entire time. In fact, she easily walked next to me while I ran. Having her beside me was the absolute best thing I could have hoped for. We took it nice and slow, enough so that we were able to chat and make jokes. I do not know where she gets her energy, but I want some. I plodded along with my head down, just trying to keep moving. My mom, on the other hand, was skipping, jumping, high-fiving the spectators, thanking them for their encouragement, waving her hands in the air--I've never seen anything like it.

Steady On

Once we got moving, the miles passed pretty quickly. We ran through the grimy streets of North Philadelphia, then past Temple University, where I spend most of my days. At some point we were able to make out City Hall through the mist, and eventually we ran around it. From there, we ran down the Avenue of the Arts and all the performance venues, then hit South Philly (aka My Hood). When we passed my street, about 7 miles into the race, we joked about peeling off and heading home, but we kept going. I anticipated that the last stretch would be miserable. In some ways, it was. We could see people who had finished the race heading back up Broad Street, and every part of me was beginning to ache. But the miles kept coming.

I really owe a debt to everyone who stood out in the rain and cheered for us. Some people were there with groups, and there was one particularly annoying woman with a megaphone who was urging us to vote for her candidate in between her shouts of encouragement. But there were also little old ladies in wheelchairs and people standing by themselves with signs. I don't know what convinced them to come out into the rain and watch people run by for hours, but I really appreciated it. I drew a lot of energy from their cheers. Sometimes I yelled back at them, like when one woman said, "Start running, folks, the end is close!" I yelled back, "I AM running!"

The Finish Line

Finally we passed ths sports complexes and saw the Navy Yard in the distance. My mom told me to go on ahead, but she still stayed next to me until the very end. I knew that you had to keep going about a quarter mile after entering the Navy Yard so I tried to pace myself. But once we entered, I just couldn't go slowly any more. My legs picked up speed of their own accord, and my arms started pumping. I saw people on the sidelines pointing at me, noting my sprint. I saw the finish line, and between it and me, a group of about 5 girls. I charged, plain and simple. I wanted my name above theirs on the results list. In the last second, I crossed the line right before them, feeling like a total champion.

My mom came through about 20 seconds behind me, and we quickly found the rest of our party, who were chilled to the bone by that point. We grabbed some snacks, and then set off for the mile walk to the subway. Honestly, that mile was by far the most difficult, painful part of the whole day. When we climbed down the stairs into the station, I had to take them sideways and one at a time. But eventually we got home. Jim, ever the patient one, chewed some Ibuprofen gel caps and washed them down with beer. I swallowed mine, and then had a bit of coffee. We all showered, warmed up, and headed out for a well-deserved burger and fries.

The Results

Jim's time was the quickest, then G, then my sister. They all did under 10-minute miles. My mom and I finished in 2 hours and 13 minutes, just under 13.5 minutes miles. My main goal was just to finish, but I had hoped to do it in under 13.5 minute miles, so everything worked out perfectly. If you had asked me around mile 8 whether I would ever do this again, the answer would be an unequivocable NO. But then I watched the Biggest Loser the other night and they ran a marathon. Hmmm.... : )


I hadn't said this clearly: I did run the whole thing. It was slow, but there was no walking involved.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

weigh in/week seventeen reflection

Whew! It's been a while. Things were so crazy last week prepping for my meeting with my advisor that I didn't have time to post, and then my family arrived, another houseguest arrived, we had a party, we ran a race. My mom took off last night, so it's back to business. I'll be posting about the run a little later.

First, though, time to take stock of my eating over the last week and a half. My weight on Monday was 185.5, down two pounds from the previous week. However, it's up a bit today because there was a lot of eating out recently. G and I did very well during our crazy week, largely because the race was staring us in the face and we didn't want to screw it up. I didn't necessarily count points every day, but in the past all that stress would have been an excue to eat pizza every night, and instead we ate moderate portions of rice and beans. We carbo-loaded Saturday. Sunday after the race we celebrated with the best burgers in the city at Royal Tavern.

A friend who is moving to the area stayed with us this weekend, so of course we had to take him to our favorite restaurant (Penang) Monday night. I ate a banana for breakfast and a salad for lunch, so I didn't feel too bad about enjoying the meal. Yesterday, my mom and I went shopping (more on that in another post) and had lunch at Chick Fil A. I ordered the side salad instead of the fries, and felt good about that. Then G suggested we go out for Cinco de Mayo...whoops. Nachos, chicken wings, and beer.

Today I am back on track, eating fruit and a Mojo bar for breakfast and heading out to the gym for my first post-race workout. I'm determined to hit the gym Thursday and Friday. However, we have another set of houseguests arriving Friday night. They're here to hang out and enjoy the city, and that will mean restaurants and bars. I'm going to try to come up with some willpower and not go nuts, but realistically speaking, I'm not going to eat a salad and drink water while everyone else is chowing down. I just hope that these good days will do something, and that I don't gain more than a pound or two next Monday.

Off to the gym!

Current weight: 185.5
Pounds to goal: 62.5