Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Journey to health PART DEUX

Re-reading my previous blog post somewhat inspired me to re-evaluate some of my recent food choices.  A friend of mine recently blogged about how the 6 weeks of *holidays* seem to leave most Americans with a little extra *baggage*; probably via cookies, cakes, and other rich foods.  She pointed out that Halloween is only *One day*, as is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, but in my opinion, it seems like we use this time of year as an excellent excuse to wage war on our best intentions of eating clean and being healthy.

Her blog made me realize, that in light of my recent *meh-ness* on making good food choices, that I really need to sit down and think through how I want my holidays to go.  I love to bake, and I'm good at it, so how much of these baked goods am I going to partake in?  I also love to cook, and I'm good at that too, so am I going to wolf it all down with reckless abandon, and undo all the great things I've worked so hard for over the past year and a half?

Hell to the NO!  So, in my always-anal typical fashion, I plan on sitting down this weekend, amidst the quadruple layer chocolate cake, and the caramel, chocolate and coconut torte baking, and come up with a  plan for tackling the holidays, and the great food and treats, with restraint and compromise.

The good news is that I have begun ramping up my workouts, incorporating more variety, instead of just repetitive cardio every day with a few days of weights sprinkled in there for good measure.  The problem is that sometimes I cannot burn enough calories to combat the face-stuffage that goes on daily.  So, I realize that I need to do some strategic planning to avoid a gain throughout the holiday season. 

Thanks Jo's for the inspiration and reminder!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My journey to health

So, most of you that know me may not know the transformation I started in the Spring of 2009.  It's probably more like an evolution, because I am still changing.  It started with a spark...I got sick and I quit smoking.  Yes, I used medicine as a crutch, but I am proud to say it's been a year and a half since I smoked a cigarette, and it's different this time.  I am a non-smoker for the rest of my life. 

Because of all my stomach issues/heart condition, the quitting smoking was a kind of catalyst for other healthy changes in my life.  I decided to re-join Weight Watchers to lose that weight that snuck up on me after quitting the cigs, and I made a commitment to myself, after losing 15 pounds, to change my dietary outlook and to make exercise a daily priority in my life.  After losing the weight and maintaining for a while, I decided that WeWa was a crutch for me as well, and I started journaling my food and focusing on the overall healthy picture, not just the amount of *points* something was.  With journaling, I am able to track my caloric intake, my calories burned, cholesterol, fat, carbs and sodium.  This forces me to look at the overall picture of my daily diet. 

Besides the fact that I am stalled out with the weight loss (I'd like to lose another 5 pounds), I am feeling so much healthier and I have not had a single flair up with my stomach issues in over a year.  I attribute this to all of the changes I made over the past year and a half.  I can't tell you how good I feel. So proud of myself, and of course fitting into size 2-4 clothes isn't a bad ego-boost either.  Larry, of course, is my biggest supporter and champion to the cause of getting healthy.  He kicks me in the ass when I want to dodge the gym-but he always does it so positively, encouraging me and telling me how wonderful I look and how good I'll feel to just get it over with. 

So here I sit, with 50 minutes left of work and all I can think about is the pizza and beer waiting for me at Rookies Bar.  I guess it's a good thing I really busted ass yesterday at the gym, because I had to earn that tasty treat!

The Money Pit....ME!

Sadly, it's that time of year where Larry and I haul our boat out of the water, take it home, and clean all the swampy good-time memories off of it, and store it for the winter.  I truly wish my parents had mentioned all of the *hidden* costs of a boat, but then I kind of inherited the boat with my husband. 

So let's evaluate those sneaky little extras that no one ever thinks about as they are slathering on the sunscreen and popping the top of their favorite brew while the wind blows through their hair as they are perched on the bow of the boat.  Okay, maybe it's not quite so movie-of-the-week-esque, but you get the general idea right?  And I realized recently it's not just the boat that's a money pit- LIFE is!

So recently I have learned to budget for this endless money spending because it's well worth the 4 months of enjoyment on the boat.  Not only has that stuck, it started seeping into the rest of our financial life and I found this great tool on Spark People to budget our money, and track our spending as well.  This way I have PROOF that my husband is overspending on his fishing trips!  Heh, just kidding; kind of... 

All joking aside, this Spark tracking is really awesome, and has allowed me to see where we might be overspending (groceries) and where I may need to budget for things that I didn't really ever think about (winterization for the boat).  So far, this diligent (read: anal) tracking has helped me cut down on food-hoarding and other needless expenses.  If nothing else, it makes us think twice before forking over the dough.  It's nice knowing we have X amount of money left for the week.

Every once in a while, our diligence just needs to be tossed out the window with reckless abandon and we have to enjoy ourselves.  That's why for Sweetest Day, we are going out for a Sushi lunch and then Larry is taking me shopping at the mall for some fall clothes.  Hey, I said I was *working* on it, not that I had mastered it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let them eat Cake!

German chocolate pumpkin spiced cake to be exact.  Anyone who knows me well won't be surprised that my boss elected me to be *Baker Smurf* for Halloween.  Why not Smurfette, I want to ask, but I guess those days have passed me by, and I digress.  Since I've graduated from just making cakes that taste good, to cakes that taste good and look good (okay, still working on this one a bit), I needed to find a new challenge to keep my bakers fingers from getting lazy.

I decided to play around with different flavors and came across a season-appropriate recipe for German chocolate pumpkin spice cake.  The frosting was cream cheese with a kick of cinnamon and cocoa powder.  When my mom declared there was nothing to be changed, I knew I had hit pay dirt.

So what do I do next, to challenge my developing baking skills?  Does frying potatoes in my newly acquired fry daddy count as baking?  Well, I guess not, but somebody's gotta do it