Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Great Falafel Experiment

This week, I missed my meeting. I *hate* missing meetings more than you know. Even after all this time, I still love the weekly meeting. I have missed maybe 7 or 8 in nearly 3-1/2 years, two this month alone (one to illness, and this one).

Yesterday at work, we had not only Dress-Up Costume Day but Ethnic Luncheon Day. We were to bring a food that's either from our heritage, our specialty, or otherwise connected to us. For instance, two folks brought things from their spouse's heritage. Really, my heritage is "Southern" -- we've been over here for so long, there's no special dish that's been passed down over and over except for those delectable (read: fattening! tasty! bad for me! fantastic!) Southern casseroles and desserts. But I do love good Mediterranean food, so I thought I would bring that.

As luck would have it, I discovered a homemade falafel recipe in a magazine. VOILA! Inspiration struck me, and so I signed up to bring falafel, tabouleh, and hummus. I knew I'd bring the last two from a mix. I'm not dumb, but I figured I could at least do the homemade falafel. This was a recipe for baked falafel -- way healthier than fried!

What I learned:
1. Use a falafel mix.

Really. The recipe is fine if you make it as faux-burger patties. Or if you ball it up and deep-fry it. But otherwise, no. Not really good. And honestly, I just didn't have enough time to make umpteen falafel patties. And the recipe also had WAY too much turmeric; a half-teaspoon? No. A quarter-teaspoon, or even an 1/8-teaspoon would be plenty. This made the whole dish a nasty baby-poop-yellow. And worse, it wasn't even tasty. This one is getting tossed. Or revamped at least. Sorry to the author, but yeah, it was yuck. In good news, the tabouleh and hummus were GREAT. I still have a ton of it. I love hummus, but WOW do I still have a lot.

The other bad news is that I went on a slight eating binge yesterday. One of the coworkers brought lumpia (her MIL's specialty) and something I fell in love with over the summer when my friend Kathi made some for us on a trip. OMG, it's so good. Another coworker brought his wife's Croatian turkey roll-up dish, which appeared to be fairly healthy. And I can certainly vouch that it was very tasty! Another coworker brought noodle kugel .... tasty but OY VEY for the waistline. But so tasty......

Thankfully, this is stuff that only happens on rare occasions. I have tried to be better today.


Other news: I have been to Fitness 365 three times this week -- Tuesday at 7 (fairly quiet), Thursday at 5:30 AM (definitely quiet) and Friday night at 7:30 (DEAD). And by D-E-A-D, I mean I was the ONLY member there for the entire hour I spent there. I had every machine to myself.

I did the recumbent bike and 20 minutes was enough to send my legs into "no mas" mode. I did a circuit on the machines and then attempted to do 10 on the Precor elliptical. 2 minutes and I was definitely screaming "no mas!!" Holy cannoli........

I'm definitely going to enjoy my membership there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One of the newest members of.....

Yep! I joined Fitness 365 here in town this week while they are still having their "no joining fee" special. And last night, I worked out there for the first time. I am very pleased. It's a fairly quiet facility -- for 7:00 PM, there weren't a whole lot of people. Of course it was also raining, so that may be why it was so quiet.

It's a nice facility and I'm really looking forward to working out there. In fact, I'll be heading there early tomorrow morning for a pre-work workout! I wonder how busy it will be at 5:00 tomorrow morning........

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm walkin', yes indeed

Today, I was honored to take part in a 5K -- my fifth this year! Now, I am all about a good cause, and a good walk, and charity 5K's are the best of all worlds. This one was for an awesome cause, finding a cure for juvenile diabetes.

I remember when my friend Tee's brother was born ..... and now he's grown with kids of his own, the youngest of whom has this disease. Another friend from Girl Scouts through high school has a teen daughter who was diagnosed within the last year. These are children who, through no fault of their own, have a body part that decided it wasn't going to do what it was created to do. So I was very pleased and happy to help this cause out and be part of Team Gabriel!

There are a few other 5K's coming up before the year ends, and I really want to take part in another one. There's one I know on Thanksgiving Day -- I just may do that one. But there is another coming up sooner for lung cancer, and I would love to help with that. If I can do one a month, I'll be feeling really good.

I also had a "sign" of sorts today -- a new 24/7 fitness center opened up in town, and I got the membership information. I just didn't want to have to shell out an initiation fee along with the monthly fee. Guess what? Saw a sign today -- "Fall Special: Join Now And NO Initiation Fee!" Just what I was looking for...... Okay, God, I get the hint. You've been dropping a few of them my way anyway........

If you've been thinking about doing something with your walking routine or just starting one, I encourage you to do a charity walk/run. It is well worth it!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hanging in....

There isn't much to report. I've been monitoring my weight this month, and so far, so good -- I'm still within my 2-pound range, so I'm happy about that! This is birthday weekend -- dinner tomorrow night with the family, a benefit 5K on Saturday morning (for JDRF: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), shopping with Mom Saturday afternoon, church Sunday, and then my godson's birthday party on Sunday. I know it's going to be a wacky weekend, so I have to step up the exercise next week to help compensate. I miss the biking.... seriously! So I'm going to work on even more of that.

I'm working with several of my medical team .... ha, I have to laugh at the idea of a medical team.... to figure out just how the heck to get insurance to see that carrying around 30 extra pounds of flab is not healthy and I gotta get rid of it and I'd love them to kick in. Don't get me started. I am on a tear about the SORRY state of things when insurance doesn't want to pony up a discount or an incentive to get healthy, but they'll (expletive deleted) pay for your heart attack after you've bellied up to the buffet a few million times too often. Oh God, I could go on forever, so I had best shut up now.

And if you're looking for pretty decent workout gear at a good price, check out Danskin Now available at (are you ready?) Wal-Mart. And that includes the moisture-wicking stuff. I had a Wal-Mart gift card that I finally got around to using, and bought myself a new long-sleeve tee and pants for the fall/winter. WAHOO!!!! The whole thing was about $18 -- and the shirt was only $6.00!!!! Worth checking out! No, you don't need fancy workout gear for exercise...... but trust me. Work out a few times in a 100% cotton shirt and then work out in a moisture-wicking shirt a few times. Guess which will feel better. At least for me, it does........ A good price, folks! You can't pass it up!

Oh, and later I will share my adventures in cooking apple butter...... :D (It's SOOOO good!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Take care!

This week's topic was "DIY: Project ME!" about taking care of yourself as a priority in weight loss. What? you might say..... What difference can it make in weight loss?

Plenty. So here's the deal: take care of yourself because no one else will.

It doesn't matter if you're married or single, in good health or struggling, childless or Michelle Duggar ........... if you learn nothing else in life it's that no one else can care for you. You have to care for yourself first and foremost. Oh sure, there may be people around (spouse, child, etc.) to help you in your self-care, but you have to do it for yourself.

I don't know why exactly, but sometimes we have a lot of trouble with this concept. Maybe because we're women -- generally, the nurturers, caretakers, etc. It might be because we're Southern and it's drilled in us that the key to JOY in life is to put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. There's guilt for not handling everything life throws at us. There's difficulty in saying no to people we care about (and then feeling resentful for not saying no to those who need to be told that, but we just can't bring ourselves to be meeeeean to them).

I know. Believe me, you've no idea how difficult it is for me to set a boundary because I want everyone to like me. However, the older I get, the more I realize I need to say "no" in order to really care for myself as I should. I mean, seriously, where in the Bible does it say, "Love your neighbor better than yourself?" It doesn't, by the way. It's "as" yourself. So really -- are you helping people by always giving in, and feeling resentful? Really -- do those whom you love truly benefit from you being sick and tired of being sick and tired? And really -- are you helping yourself when your inability to say "no" to others means you can't say "no" to the Twinkies calling your name?

If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will.

This is my mantra. I am 10 days from turning 40. I am single -- partly by circumstance, but mostly by choice (I am so incredibly choosy, I make Jif look like a floozy. Word.) I have no kids, and Maddox ain't gonna be around when I'm 80. I have a brother, and lots of friends, and right now, my parents are still here. But when it comes right down to it, there is only one soul on this entire earth who has the responsibility for my care: me. I have to do this and do it right because I'm all I have. That's it, that's the list.

Do I still have trouble with boundaries? Sure do. We all want everyone to like us, but I'm learning to appreciate being respected rather than liked. And I'm learning that it's okay to be a little selfish for the greater good.

And isn't your care -- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and every other way -- really in your best interest?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

So .... are you "All In"?

Okay, let me preface this by saying that as a very loyal Gamecock fan, it breaks my heart and spirit that I am resorting to using a phrase loved by Clemson's head coach. But it is apropos for this post.

When Dabo Swinney was named Clemson's interim head coach last year, one of his catchphrases was "All In." It's not a bad philosophy, truly. If you know anything about gaming (mostly in poker), you know that "all in" means that you are betting everything you have at hand that you will win. If you don't win, the other player(s) at the table get everything you have, and you must walk away. So what does that have to do with weight loss? Quite a bit, actually. And it applies to so much more than just weight loss, but I'll just stick to that.

Being "all in" means that you are determined to reach the goal. There isn't an obstacle that can stand in your path and cause you to lose. Winning is non-negotiable; it's a done deal, the only thing you don't know yet is the exact end date. You may temporarily lose focus, or need to stop to figure out a way around your problems, but you are dead-set on getting to the other side, no matter what.

You also know when you aren't "all in" -- you take your eyes off the finish line. The prize suddenly doesn't mean as much to you. Things that were easy to do in the past suddenly become burdens. You decide reaching whatever goal just isn't worth it.

But really -- is it the goal that isn't worth it, or are you telling yourself that you're not worth it? Are you trying to say to your heart of hearts that these obstacles, this self-discipline, a little time used and energy expended are all bigger, more important, than you?

I can't give you the answer. Each person has a different need, a different reason, a different motivation for starting the journey, for staying on track, for seeing it through to the end. Motivations change: it started with fear and shame and guilt, moved to being thrilled at the progress, and during my worst times, pure stubbornness -- by golly, I was tougher and the setbacks were NOT going to get the best of me. And a primary motivation for me was knowing that in the end, I'm the only person I can count on to care for me in my old age. I need to be in the best possible health I can be in to enjoy all life has. Your answer may vary -- it all depends on your life and situation.

All I can ask you is this: are you all in?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Huge, huge sigh of relief....

After yesterday's disastrous day, I weighed in this morning at my usual center. I wasn't sure what to expect. I hopped on the scale at home before eating breakfast -- below goal, so I realized I could eat and still be within my Lifetime threshold. I stepped on the scale at the center, and there it was: only 0.2 pounds above real goal. WOW!!!!! The first time in ages I've had that much room to spare. YES!!!!! I am thrilled, over the moon.

To celebrate (ha!), I had a cookie from the luncheon we had today. I have to applaud Publix bakery: they at least put a calorie count on their packaging! A lot of places don't .... just an ingredient list and a hope that you just throw your hands up and say, "The hell with it" as you indulge. The cookie was a little higher in points than I would ever like to go for such a small snack: for the same 120 calories I could have had a buttload of grapes or an apple and a half. But you know, I haven't had a bakery cookie since my Virginia girls' weekend. So I took it and enjoyed. And it was tasty. Strangely enough, I'm not really dying for my usual 5:00-5:30 snack. Huh. Maybe that one or two extra fat grams that drove it into 3-point range might just be helping to hold hunger at bay.

That's the one area I fall short in again and again: eating enough fats. Even with the good health guideline to get in my oils, I don't always. It is brutally hard for me to give up a point just for some oil. Let's see, for one point, I can have a teaspoon of oil or a whole cup of egg drop soup. Well, DUH -- the soup! (ooh. Egg drop soup or even hot & sour sounds REALLY good right now. Nasal passages are still blocky and my throat is still scratchy....). But I do find that when I put good fats in, I don't go quite as insane with the snackie-poos or the gimmes. Gee, think there's something to this theory after all?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Something about pride and a fall?

Okay, obviously, I am not at my WW meeting; nor am I at the Peace Center for the PostSecret event as I had planned. I am at home, trying to get my bearings, having been hit by a freight train. I don't know if the name of the train was "Seasonal Allergies," "Common Cold," or "Reaction to Flu Shot." But let me tell you -- whichever it is, it's a lulu.

Around Tuesday afternoon, I started feeling the familiar stuffiness (but that's a given), alternating with a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. That's usually an allergy thing for me, and I didn't feel exceptionally rundown like I would with a cold. That was in my favor. I was scheduled for a flu shot on Wednesday at work, and I read the CDC Q&A that the clinic provided -- mild illnesses were okay. I felt the sting of the needle and the slight burning that I was told to expect. But nothing else.

Until noon today. I ate my usual morning snack, a little later than usual. By noon, my stomach was churning, I felt absolutely queasy, and within a short time frame, my body was sending definite signals that I was not long for the work world this day. By 1:00, I knew the only place I would be going was home. After finishing up some necessary things at work, I got home by about 2:10 -- straight to bed, where I do not recall anything else until I looked at the clock and it said "5:13." Okay, one thing, I remember my dog coming in to sniff in my ear on his way out to potty.

I got up and I was hungry. It wasn't just Hungry, the orange monster from the WW ads on TV. It was HUNGRY, his older brother. Well, why not? I'd had no lunch. I'd only eaten 7 points all day. And in this one large meal, I planned to eradicate about 10 of them............. right? Wrong. The sweet potato I had cooked last week (maybe the week before? I lose track of when....) was still well cooked but obviously lost a lot of flavor along the way. I mean, completely, totally tasteless. No sweet, no sour, no NOTHING. So into le garbage it went, along with the leftover Greek food for which I now had no stomach at all.

I hate, absolutely hate, to waste food -- I have learned to waste food (so to speak) and allow myself the luxury of ordering something, and being able to say, "I can't eat it all; yes, I'm done, take it away" or "I'll need a to-go box." But when I've cooked it myself and I know all the work that's gone into it........ that's different. Such is life, though. I substituted some green beans, red cabbage, and roasted white potatoes that I had. They were good -- but that gave me back 3 points I didn't expect. I don't like gorging late at night just to eat up points, you know!!!

I'm really hoping I will feel good enough to go in tomorrow, weigh in on the way to work, and be all set for October. This morning, when I stepped on the scale to check, I was under that 2-pound limit. Oh Lord, please let it be so tomorrow morning. I don't feel like exercising tomorrow like a madwoman just to hit a goal................. I also have a feeling I will be doing some extra sleeping over the weekend.