Saturday, June 20, 2009

Love. This.

How often do we as women, especially women who are carrying extra weight, find looking in the mirror to be painful reminders of all the ways in which we find ourselves to be imperfect? How many times do we leaf through fashion and health magazines and wistfully sigh, "if only (fill in your poison here--for me it's "If only I weighed 30 pounds less than I do now")? How many times do we not take a chance or try something new because we feel like putting ourselves out there for the world to see will be an embarrassment or humiliation?

This site, and it's message, is so empowering and affirming. I love that, even though the little notes are on mirrors, it's not about how you look. It's about the fact that you are beautiful on the inside, you are a beautiful person. In the past few weeks, I've really worked on changing my perception about weight-loss to be one of health and longevity rather than "oooooh, I want to wear skinny jeans!" (which are so out now anyway, right? right? honestly, I have no idea. Maybe that's just wishful thinking). So the reminder that the best of me is who I am, not how I look, and that that's how it really should be, is refreshing and motivating.

I love that it's women reminding other women. We are taught from such a young age to tear each other down. If she is self-confident and sure of herself, she might get what I want. I'd better make her feel at least as shitty about herself as I feel about myself. Believe me, I went to an all-girl high school. I know. I've been on the giving and receiving end of that nasty little dynamic more times than I care to remember.

I just wanted to pass that link along. I'll be carting around my own little post-it note pad & pen from here on out. I plan to spread a little Operation Beauty around myself.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nothing side-tracks an emotional eater like infertility

Sure, probably just another in a long line of excuses as to why I practically found myself face down in a banana split yesterday afternoon. A banana split I told my 3 year old we were getting for him because he'd been so good at the doctor's office. You know, for the appointment I went to to find out there was no chance I was going to be pregnant this month. AGAIN. gah!!!!

Anyway, this has been a particularly interesting experience for me in terms of understanding how my brain works when it comes to food, and realizing that I can actually take some control over it. Yeah, I ate 1/2 the banana split (and when I say 1/2, I really mean two-thirds), but later on in the evening, when the glum was settling back in, I went to the gym and ran. Oh. my. god. So, so, so much better than stuffing my face.

Now, I'm not saying I won't find solace in food ever again or that I"m going to run a marathon next week to heal my broken heart. I'm just saying that it was nice to realize that I have other options than a bowl of ice cream the size of my head or a slab of ice cream. And that's got to be good, right?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back on Track...

It's been a long few days. I've been wallowing in self-pity (and, not so coincidentally, cake) for the past few days. It's amazing how cake just seems to find me (har har) when I am so down.

But I've managed today not to let any cake break down my front door and force me to eat it. I did my oatmeal, sandwich wrap, healthy snack routine. I'm not hungry, which is a good thing to sit with and realize. But I"m still miserable. And it's hard to keep myself from going to the kitchen to find some reasonable substitute for cake, or cakey-like foods.

If you are a "recovering" emotional eater, WHAT do you do when the pull to the pantry is so strong it takes everything in you to fight it?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lost Weekend...

Well, not really. But I do often struggle with exactly how to go about eating during the weekend. I guess it is the dieting mindset that I've lived with for so long--the idea that if you are "good" all week, you can treat yourself during the weekend. Well, I've been trying to work my way out of that way of looking at eating--but it does leave me wondering how to go about eating Friday night through Sunday. Which really? Sounds weird now that I see it in writing.

I've not been good about carting my camera around everywhere with me. Which is a shame, because a couple of nights ago, I ate at one of my favorite sandwich and pastry shops and split a slice of something called "princess cake" with a girlfriend. Dear god. I found this picture, online, of what a traditional princess cake looks like:

Lemon cream, raspberry cream and fondant icing? Dear baby Jesus, that stuff is good. Thankfully I asked for a small slice, and shared it with a friend who was equally as excited by the prospect of just flopping her face right into the cake. Still, very indulgent. But so worth it. I'm trying to find a new relationship with foods like this, too. I'd rather save up the "junk" food for something impressive and special like this than have something like ice cream every night, just for the sake of eating it. So this was actually one of the first sugary treats I've had in a long time that didn't come with the invisible but suffocating side 'o guilt.

Last night, Husband and I took Ethan and a good friend of ours to our favorite sushi restaurant.

watermelon and cucumber mojito. For real.

This bowl of edemame was as big as my head. Maybe bigger. And delicious.

I wish I was a good photographer so you could really see how vibrant that masago is. It was gorgeous. California rolls are possibly the world's yummiest food.

Sunset roll (eel and avocado--where have you been all of my life?) and a spicy yellowtail roll.

So, okay. No Luna bars or fruit. Not the most healthy foray into the culinary world, but it's all good. I did have a delicious bowl of Starbucks oatmeal this morning with nuts, brown sugar and dried fruit (yes, I ask for all the toppings--old habits die hard).

With my tall decaf skinny vanilla latte, the perfect breakfast...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday Wobble...

Okay, so it wasn't a banner day. Husband got home a bit late and I just didn't have it in me to go out for a run. Probably because of the, erm, chocolate chip and coconut cookies Ethan and I made this afternoon.

Yeah, I know. But actually, it's kind of a good thing that I feel like crap. I ate too many cookies and it just doesn't feel good. Tasted awesome. Feels yucky. That's a serious lesson for me because I tend not to listen to my body---I eat when I'm bored, freaked out, pissed off, sad or any other emotion you can think of---eating is a huge mental thing for me. Need to calm down? Grab a bite. Need to take my mind off of something that's bugging me? Grab a bite to eat.

I'm trying very hard to move away from the mindset that food is comfort or a replacement for dealing with emotional needs and recognizing it as a fuel for my body. The past few days have been a good step in that direction, but how realistic is it to think that I'd just POOF! suddenly be able to turn off years of conditioning?

Today I found out that my body didn't respond any better to the higher dose of clomid and that our chances of conceiving this month are no better than they were last month, or any of the other sixteen months that we've been trying. So I guess it's actually pretty impressive that I only ate 3-4 small chocolate chip cookies instead of all of them, or instead of grazing all day long on whatever I could find in the kitchen. Food has an incredible emotion-numbing power for me that is very hard to shake. I'm finding though, that for the most part, I am really enjoying the more healthful foods I've been eating over the past several days and that running clears my head in a way that stuffing my face never has.

So, let's see what today looked like.

I didn't get a chance to have breakfast this morning because I had to be at the reproductive endocrinologist's office @ 8:30 am and I chose showering over eating (as would any sane woman who knows she's going to hear "take off everything from the waste down and cover up with that paper" at some point during her morning). So on the way to the office, I grabbed a sugar-free chai tea latte @ Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. But when I got home, I enjoyed a cup of yogurt and a crushed up Kashi TLC bar--delicious.

For lunch, I made my standard wrap, but I added cucumber spears to it--crunchy! I finished the snap peas from the farmer's market, too. The problem with farmer's market produce is you have to eat it almost immediately or it's mushy and gross. The tomatoes? The 3-year old ate them all. Thanks, bud.

Also the grapes? I think I ate 3 of them. Ethan is a freak for the grapes. I would have to take the bowl into a closet somewhere in the house if I wanted them to myself. So instead, I had a LUNA bar, but forgot to take a picture of it.

These are the cookies we made--nothing fancy, but a perfect distraction towards the end of the day.

Ethan helped with the pouring and stirring. I wish I weren't such a freak about salmonella or I'd have let him taste the cookie dough, but alas, I am terrified of food poisoning, so I'm a mean-mommy when it comes to licking the beaters when mixing batter or the cookie dough spatula. He can deal with it in therapy later in his life...

We added coconut to the dough. I thought of adding crushed almonds, but my food processor was still soaking after last night's avocado topping and I didn't have the motivation to scrub it.

He's a stirring fool.

Aaaaand after making cookies, he opts for a strawberry. He'll be starting his own blog on healthy eating any day now....

I made the cookies tiny and packed most of them away in tupperware for Husband to take to work with him tomorrow. But I kept a tiny stash for us, and promptly ate half of them. Tasty, but tummy-ache-inducing.

This is what dinner was supposed to look like, according to Rachael Freaking Ray.

But I used lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, so it looked a, paler.

I have yet to eat any. Husband has downed a good portion, so it must not suck (or he's being really nice). But it's really nice not to feel like I have to eat if I'm not actually hungry.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Farmers Market Day

One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is the fact that you can barely walk down the street without finding yourself strolling through a farmer's market of some kind. On Sunday mornings, we go to the one 3 blocks away from us, which takes over a city block, complete with fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, fresh honey, artisan crafts and bounce-houses and pony rides. On Tuesday afternoons, Ethan and I jump in the car and drive a couple miles to another one, which pops up in an auxiliary parking lot of a local mall at 3pm, and features fresh eggs (and the rooster, to boot), a climbing wall, the best shave-ice this side of Hawaii and an assortment of produce and yummy baked stuff.

File this one under "you learn something every day," I had NO idea that artichokes flowered.

How freaking gorgeous is that?! And I'm a lousy photographer and this is on my lousy little digital, so you know they are 100% spectacular looking in person.

These are my delicious farmer's market buys:

The strawberries are insanely juicy and the snap peas may as well be made of sugar. Being more mindful of food made me really appreciate the farmer's market today. I sampled more fruits and vegetables today than the baked goods, although I did sample on baker's sweetbean pie. I have no idea what is in that stuff, but sweet fancy Moses, that stuff was BEYOND heaven. It was everything in me not to buy a whole slice (or, erm, pie). I promised myself that if I was still fantasizing about it by next week, I'd let myself have a slice. :-)

Today's menu:

Old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant---wayyy too much sodium), brown sugar, almonds and bananas.


lunch was a turkey and cheese wrap (yes, there's mayo in there, but please, people, it is the condiment of the gods, so don't expect me to give it up any time soon).

Dinner was another experiment. This one went better than the cardboard and paste (chick pea patty) disaster of last night. This is a beef and black bean burger with a lime, avocado, onion and light sour cream topping, on a whole wheat bun. It wasn't a ton of work, but the taste-to-effort ratio wasn't really that worth it. But at least it was busting with protein.

Thanks for the advice on getting enough protein. If I ruled the world, foods high in protein wouldn't also be so high in fat.

Monday, June 08, 2009

What's a girl got to do to get enough protein???!!!

So I started the photograph your daily food intake thing today---that in an of itself is a lifestyle change. I thought I carried my camera around with me alot, what with the freaking adorable 3-year old I spend my day with. But when one is supposed to be snapping pics of every bite that goes in one's mouth, it becomes painfully obvious how much one is actually, erm, um, eating.

I admit that I didn't photograph everything---I forgot to take my camera with me a couple of places and my dinner was so gross I didn't bother recording it for all of the world to see (chick pea patties that I must have somehow botched because they tasted like cardboard).

but let's see---

Breakfast was a a 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal, a handful of raisins and almonds. I also slicked up a granny smith apple and a added a bunch of grapes--more than I would eat because I knew the grape-hoarder (Ethan) would strike the second he saw me walk into the room with plate o' grapes.

And the cup of Dunkin Donuts decaf with the fat-free hazelnut creamer and one splenda...

Then there was the trip to IKEA for the 99-cent breakfast for Ethan and his friend Penny. I ended up eating about 2 bites of the egg and 1/2 a strip of bacon.

since I had the extra eggs and 1/2 piece of bacon, I only had a bite or two of left over chicken curry from Husband's dinner last night. But I forgot to photograph it.

But this? This Luna bar? Heaven in a wrapper. Tons of protein, calcium and folic acid (in case my freaking reproductive system ever decides to gestate again). And the "Lemon Zest" flavor? Delish.

Dinner was supposed to be a lovely chick pea patty and Greek salad, from the pages of Real Simple's April '09 issue. I read the recipe, I followed it, I thought it was going well and then....bleugh. It tasted like we were eating cardboard and paste. So instead of the chick peas, I ate my salad with this obscenely tasty Greek yogurt...

This stuff is...well, I was going to say heaven in a cup, but I realize I just used "heaven in a wrapper" for the Luna bar.

So all in all, not a bad day. I discovered two new amazing foods and I managed to get outside for a run tonight. After Husband came home, I was out running for another 25 minutes---felt great.

One thing I'm struggling with is getting enough protein. I managed to get enough today (I track on, which is awesome!), but in general, I feel like I always have to be shoving almonds in my mouth or a hunk of chicken. It feels as though all the high-protein foods are high in fat, too. I wish I could eat cottage cheese, but it's got so much sodium in it, I might explode. Boo.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Back in the Saddle, er, uh, the running shoes...

So this cold that's been bogging me down for the past 3 weeks and has sent me to both my primary care physician and to an urgent care clinic (ohmygodmakemyearstophurting!!!), seems to be singing (read: coughing) it's swan song.

I decided I'd had enough of sullen disappointment on the couch and I'd take my chances with a bit of a run. At first I thought I'd just walk, get myself warmed up and see what type of lung capacity I had with this lingering "irritation" in my bronchial tubes that make a deep breath challenging. I didn't want to push it too hard on the first time out after not doing anything for the better part of a month.

But I hadn't gotten more than two blocks before I found myself jogging. And continuing to jog. And not coughing. At all. So I ran. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that felt good.

It wasn't an epic run or anything like that (and "epic" for me at this point is probably 3 blocks without switching back to walking). I was only out for about 20 minutes, just zig-zagging through the neighborhood, and I certainly did walk a portion of it---but a much, much smaller portion of it than I'd thought I would. I coughed a little bit when I came home and I"m pretty sure I'll have to use my inhaler tonight before going to bed so that I can lie down and sleep w/out coughing. But I ran, and that is enough for me for right now.

I'm so thrilled that it's staying light out later these days---from now on, when Husband rolls in after work, I am out the door for 25 minutes of running.

Starting tomorrow I will be adding pictures to this blog. Not of me. Not yet. I wish I were brave enough to share "before" and "after" pictures, but let's face it---this blog has been in existence for three years now, and I've yet to move far enough away from the "before" to even merit a picture called "after". It would just be---"more before". Boo.

I've actually been following a few blogs lately of women who are dedicated to living a healthy and mindful lifestyle. You can find them, See Sarah Eat and The Healthy Tipping Point, in my blogroll if you don't already know about them. They have a practice of photographing their meals and snacks, sharing recipes and product reviews, etc. I have to admit, initially I thought this was eating disorder-y obsessive. Taking pictures of every bite you eat? Documenting it all for the world to see? How....crazy!!!

But actually, as I've followed the blogs, I've realized that they are doing something I promised myself this past New Year's Eve that I would do more of this year---live mindfully. Live in the moment and appreciate what is in front of me as it is there. Honestly, I've made a lot of progress on that in many facets of my life---but not in eating. Eating is the most mindless thing I do---in terms of what I choose to eat, when I choose to eat, and how. I can honestly say that I rarely ever walk through the kitchen without grabbing a handful of whatever. I throw it in my mouth and go back to whatever I was initially trying to do. When we go out to eat, I often just get the same thing I always get, or I don't know what I want, so I get flustered, order something obscenely bad for me and end up regretting it.

But by preparing meals and snacks that keep their bodies needs in mind, and by taking the time to prepare the food on a plate or in a bowl and taking a beautiful picture (seriously, they make sprouts look good), it seems so very in the moment and present in the experience of creating good food. I can only imagine what it's got to be like to feel that kind of appreciation for your food and what it can do positively for your body. My mind has been wrapped around the negative of what food can do to my body for so long, the idea of celebrating good, healthful foods and appreciating them is a step I need to take as I move forward.

So from tomorrow on, I am going to be following their lead---photographing what I eat and sharing it with you all (or you one, or you nobody). If nothing else it will bring some color to this otherwise drab looking blog!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Back to the Drawing Board...

Turns out, I did not have the stamina to keep up with pain-whore bitch Jillian Michaels. Well, that's not entirely true--I was doing fine, but got a cold and then life took over. Illness, family vacation, an apparently far too booked social life for me and the three-year old. It became such a hassle to carve out 20 minutes during the day because I always found myself saying, "Sure! We can go to the Farmer's Market! I can always do my workout later!" Because honestly, after the first few times, Ethan grew pretty tired of the whole "making my muscles" thing. And would do things like try to sit on my back while I was doing push-ups. Perhaps Jillian would have approved of such weight training, but my back did not. So, doing the work out during Ethan's waking hours proved too annoying (and perhaps I grew bored by it, too, and am using his boredom as an excuse? could it be????)

I did, however, participate in a 5K towards the end of April and through it, I found what I want to do in terms of exercise. I want to run. The 5K was our synagogue's main annual fundraiser and I hemmed and hawed over participating for days. In early March when I heard about it, the moms and I talked about it and I said, "Oh, absolutely I'm doing it!" As though I was a runner. Ha.

The morning of the race, I laid in bed wondering, as I used to as a kid in junior high, if anything on my body hurt enough to merit staying bed---avoiding the race (or, as the kid in junior high, school). But that day, as all those years before, there was no pain or illness present, and so I hauled myself out of bed and drove to the race.

I'm not a runner. I have massive calves that have always drawn questions (even from random strangers) about whether or not I took ballet, or what I ran in track. My answer? Um. No. No ballet. No track. Nothing remotely athletic---just genetics. But the questions have always led me to ask myself, "could I?" I mean, clearly ballet is out of the question---there is little market for a 165lb, pushing 38-year old ballerina out there. Let's talk a minute to imagine that. It's a little bit hilarious.

But running? I could do that, right? I mean, sure I'm out of breath before the end of the first block and can see my heart beating through my sports bra after the first lap. But I mean, those are things I can work on, right? Run a little, then walk a little, then run a little more, then walk a little less, and so on....

And so that's what I did. When the race started (to the sound of a shofar blowing. I kid you not), I took off slowly, setting my eyes to a mailbox at the end of the block----I'll run to that mailbox, I told myself. And I did. Then I'd walk until I could take a good, deep breath, and then I'd take off again, finding another point in the distance to challenge myself with.

My time wasn't great. 45 minutes for a 5k. I probably walked almost as much as a I ran. But I finished it. And I still have my number pinnie and the little "medal" I received at the finish line as a reminder---I can do this. I might not be skinny, or even get skinny doing this. But with running, it's not about that. With every other exercise I've tried (with the exception of yoga), the end result is the weight loss---that's the entire focus, so if the weight doesn't come off---I give up.

Running isn't about losing the weight. It's about going a little farther each time, just like how in yoga, it's about getting deeper into the pose and the breathing each time. Same thing. It's a challenge of endurance, not calorie-burning. The focus on the breathing and the fluidity of the motion remind me so much of yoga, it just feels natural to me.

Right now I am dealing with a 3-week old cough that has kept me from doing anything but walking lately. The doctor prescribed me an inhaler to help my "irritated bronchial tubes" relax and breathe easier. It couldn't happen at a worse time, a time when I want to really be out there, on the pavement, challenging myself to run a few steps further. But whatever. I'll get there.

If you follow my other blog, Life @ Forty-Five Degrees, you know that Husband and I have been trying to have a baby for almost a year and a half. We're giving it a few more months of fertility treatments and if we're not pregnant, we're done trying. While I want more than anything to have another baby and I'd happily deal with the weight gain and the bed rest and all of that if it meant I could have another healthy child, I have set a goal for myself if that shouldn't happen. I've promised myself that if we are not pregnant by September, I will be prepared to run a 10K by what would have been my due date if I had conceived in August. So much of trying to get pregnant and fertility treatments is giving over your body to the process and to the professionals. If I end up unable to conceive another child, I want to do something for myself and by myself that reclaims my body and my mind. I think I know now that running can do that.