Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Evening Snack : Tuesday : 12/30/08

I had a pretty big lunch today. No picture, of course, because I seem to suck at that lately. However, it was a BBQ chicken sandwich with wilted spinach and squash bake. I'm not very hungry, but I was craving something sweet so I made myself some hot cocoa.
We got an espresso maker for christmas, so it's been fun using the steam feature. I mostly suck at making lattes so far, but the accessory made for the most DELICIOUS hot cocoa. Steamed milk probably makes most things taste better. Also, it didn't really add any points, since there's only 1/2 a cup of milk there, plus 1/2 cup hot water and the diet cocoa mix. All a total of 1 point for the big mug. Yum.
I've been feeling the effects of this "plateau" lately. I'm in my 20th week of the 150s. That's almost half of the year. It's so incredibly frustrating. To try to ease some of the pain, I went to look at earlier progress charts... you know, back when I was making progress. I can't figure out where I went wrong. Obviously my fitness has taken a bit of a nosedive due to lack of time, but it's not like I sit around doing nothing. When I'm at the gym, I'm covered in sweat. I work hard. A new year is coming in less than 2 days, and I intend to make some serious progress. No more of this half-ass stuff. I'm all in. I KNOW now that I can maintain (obviously!) so I'm going to sacrifice the fun stuff for a while to get where I want to be.
I've really enjoyed my december resolution to drink only on Sundays. Kind of a reverse sabaath thing. It's worked well, I feel great, and I'm sure I've saved a whole bunch of points. I did break it last night on date night. Justin and I tried the new Pop!! in St. Paul. It was delicious. I had a champagne cocktail, trying to get in the mood for New Years Eve. NYE if tomorrow... I'm a bit nervous because it's going to be a very long day. It's also the first NYE ever that Justin and I will spend together. He's always working, but got the night off this year, so that's kind of a nice sign going into 2009. I have to get up at 5am (as usual) and work, somehow make it to the gym, and then figure out how to stay up past midnight. The stress of work is really getting to me. This is our busiest season and my boss, who is also insanely busy and oversees ALL of us directors (there's 12 now) has no idea how busy we all are. A lack of sympathy and/or slight reward is doing me in. My one great hope for 2009 is that I am presented (and earn) some serious career advancement. I need it and I really feel I deserve it.
The weird part about that (the career stuff) is that I feel like now that I'm smaller, I genuinely have a better chance at getting a job I interview for. It's no secret that people tend to like and trust attractive people more. It's a weird statistic but it's true. It's also easier to look polished when you can fit into clothes instead of wearing a tablecloth.
2009 is going to be a lot of hard work, but I'm ready. Even excited.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weigh In : 12/29/2008 : Up Up and AWAY

Weigh In : 12/28/08 : +1.6lbs
Well I gained. I shouldn't be suprised, I didn't really try the way I promised myself I would. I think a gain is to be expected when you tuck yourself in with a ball of cookie dough. Oh well.
It's a new week with a less food-oriented Holiday to come. The challenge this week will be: try not to consume 2009 calories on New Years Eve. We still don't have plans, but I'm sure it will involve sugary drinks and stupid free appetizers. I DO have a game plan however and I've rearranged my schedule to fit in extra gym time in the afternoon.
I'm back to my old horrible "no breakfast" habit today. I made a latte with my new impressive espresso maker. It was pretty much gross. I haven't gotten the hang of the thing yet, but practice makes perfect. I have no plan for lunch at this point, but the fridge is literally full of healthy choices so it shouldn't be a problem. I forsee a loss for the first weigh in of 2009.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts from the Desk : pre-gym, post holidays.

I ended up throwing caution to the wind this week. It's Christmas! With a split family and a long-term relationship, it's hard to avoid certain things and temptations when you have 3 days of celebration.

I tried to just keep it in my head to stop eating when I was full and only take one (or two) of the things I REALLY wanted and fill up more on other low-point goodies that were there.. like shrimp. I ate lots of shrimp this week. I feel ok about the screw ups I had, like sitting in bed and eating a big ball of sugar cookie dough. Of course it wasn't necessary! Of course it was kind of a weird thing to do! But... it happened, I did it, and that's that.

I did manage to fit workouts in both Wednesday and Thursday, so I'm very proud of that ambition and goal meeting. However, on Friday - which was to be my "serious workout" day, I slept. All day. Literally there was not a point in the day where I was awake for more than 40 minutes at a time. It was horrible. I feel like I've been fighting off a cold or the flu or something, anytime I have a day to relax, I have no energy. Oh well, when I'm busy, I feel fine.

I'm headed to the gym in about 20 minutes. I just snuck a peek at the scale to see how much damage I had done to my new beautiful lower weight and it looks like after all that (cookie dough ball and all) I may have maintained over the week. If this ends up being true tomorrow, I am going to cry with joy. Hopefully my workout today, the extra water and eating smart will help me fake out the scale tomorrow.

I'm going to regular Sunday trivia tonight, but the catch is I'm reuniting with an old old friend whom I worked with at Value Village 10 years ago. His name is Nick, and he found me on Facebook. He's only in town for a couple more days before he goes back to his super impressive life in Washington DC... where he's a lawyer. I'm sure I'll feel really crappy about my accomplishments after hearing about how successful he is tonight, but I'm really excited to see him.

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Christmas Dinner : Down.

Wells Family Christmas Dinner : 12 points
This is technically not true. I ate way more points while hanging out with Justin's parents. I made the mistake of putting out stupid snacky appetizers and because I had a super busy no relaxing type day, I ate a lot of them. I ended the day using 7.5 points over my target, however, I had made time to get to the gym where I earned 6 APs, so I actually feel REALLY great about how my night ended.
For snacks I put out gouda and medium cheddar cheese slices with artisan red wine salami and crackers. I only allowed myself to have 3 slices of cheese. Cheese is my ultimate downfall. I love it more than anything. They should make a rehab center for cheese lovers. The biggest problem was the candied walnuts I made. They're damn delicious. And full of points, but I consider them good points because walnuts and nuts of all kinds are full of essential good fats, however, the sugar coating is rather unnecessary, but hey... it's Christmas. I had about 8 points worth of those, oops. The bad/plus in all this is that I never ate lunch. In fact I barely ate breakfast, and that's how it evened out. I wouldn't recommend it.
The main meal was roasted pork tenderloain, a hungry girl squash bake recipe I found and mixed vegetables. There was also salad and biscuits. During the sit down dinner portion, I only ate 9 points. Other points came from a glass of red wine and a tiny glass of espresso stout.
Yesterday was also the first round of spoiled Eli time where Eli gets way more presents than any kid should ever have. Kids and presents makes me kind of sick. They can't even remember what they get because they get too much. I only bought him one thing, Justin got him about 10 (would have been 20 but I stopped him) and Santa brought him a snowboard and a few stocking trinkets.
I am just getting back from the gym, where I went at 5:45am. I had to make time to get activty because it's Christmas Day number 2 : My Mom's house. Not only is my mom's house a trap for snacking in the first place as it was my haven when I developed ALL of my poor eating habits, but - the holidays stress her out, and she stresses me out, so it's bound to be a stressful day. I am bringing my waterbottle in hopes that I'll get in twice my daily amount of water to balance out other things and I'm going to try to be very choosey with my snacking.
Christmas makes me nervous this year! I am only 1.8lbs away from FINALLY leaving the 150s behind after 18 weeks of hanging out with them. I really want to do that. I realize it may be unreasonable for me to expect a 2lb loss after consistantly losing for 3 weeks now, but I'm trying either way. Having that be so close is such a great motivator to stay on track this holiday season. I can do it, and if I don't, at least I didn't set myself back too much.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weigh In : 12/22/2008 : SCALE VICTORY

Weigh In : Monday 12/22/08 : -3.0lbs!

All of my hard work did show up on the scale! I finally feel like I've broken this ridiculous plateau. However, it is still my 18th week in the 150s. I'm quite confident that regardless of how "good" I am over the next few days (you know, christmas...) I won't make it into the 140s, but there's a possibility that if I stay on top of my game, I might make 50lbs lost by New Years.

Wouldn't that be fabulous?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lunch : Sunday : 12/21/08 : Comfort food

Tomato Basil Soup + Grilled Cheese Sandwich + Kale cooked in oil = 6 points
It is literally freezing today, so this was the perfect lunch. I made it to the gym this morning and finished out my week with 28 APs, which is pretty darn good considering I took 2 days off from the gym due to TOM complications. I worked hard, I hope the scale shows that tomorrow.

I have no idea what I'm doing for the rest of the day. It's very early afternoon and Eli and Justin are watching a movie with Jack.. they're all hogging the couch. I guess I'll clean up a bit, might be worth it for the extra activity to show tomorrow. Haha. I don't actually count that as APs, but it couldn't help to just do it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weekly Goals : Starting late... or early.

In an effort to hold myself more accountable, I'm going to try to make a list of weekly goals rather than mental monthly goals. Trying to plan a month out is too difficult for me to accomplish, I've decided. These lists will include things that are important to my weight loss journey, but also just some things I really have to get done.

I'm making an early list for next week, the week of Christmas... which is sure to be a tough one.

Goals for the week of December 22nd

+ Meet the GHGs (good health guidelines) at least 5 days this week

+ Eat smart on the 24th and 25th

+ Earn at least 20 APs

+ Try to stay relaxed and calm amidst family gatherings (which tend to get heated, sometimes)

+ Power clean the house, my office and the office closet by Sunday (When we host Justin's parents for xmas)

I'm really hoping I can accomplish all of these, as they really need to be done.

As for this week, I had my employee party yesterday afternoon. It didn't go well. I feel like, given the circumstances, I did WAY better than I would have a year ago. However, I did make it home to eat lunch before hand, but I went back to help prepare the food. We have a master chef on staff so our employee party food is decadent and awesome. I helped make buckwheat belinis with creme freshe and dilled smoked salmon, latkes with blue cheese moouse, olive tapenade, fresh focacia, and so much more. I didn't sample a SINGLE THING while preparing (keeping my hands clean while cooking is really important to me for some reason, even though I don't even wash them after I go to the bathroom in public restrooms...).

However, once the party started, I was eager and ready to eat some crackers and cheese. I said I'd have ONE piece of each kind of cheese. That didn't happen, but I did only have 1 piece of swiss and 3 pieces of something else that I still don't know what it was but it was super ultra delicious and had raisins in it or something. I took a bunch of fresh veggies with no dip, and I had tapenade on a piece of buttered crusty bread. That was it for that. However, all employees were instructed to bring desserts. I made those gross mini pies, which were by far the only "safe" thing on the table, but they were disgusting so I skipped them. I ended up taking a piece of chocolate from a box, and tiny tiny slivers (literally, they were almost see-through) of each pie (sweet potato, pumpkin, oreo and lemon meringue) as well as half of a sugar cookie and a brownie.

When it comes down to it, writing it out, it doesn't seem that bad, and it probably wasn't. I barely ate for the rest of the day because all of that was very filling, so - while I didn't track it, I probably didn't use many extra points. The guilt comes in when I decided that watching t.v. was more important than braving the gym at rush hour and then the t.v. I actually did want to watch kept me home. Apparently I love t.v. now. After 4 years of barely watching it, ever, I watch it often now. I'm a loser.

I'm going to the gym today, for sure. It's very important to me that I end the week with at least 20 APs. I'm at 9 right now, but I only have 3 days so I'm setting the goal low - just in case. I've been averaging about 500 calories in 1.25 hours at the gym, so I know it will be hard to even get 20 in the 3 days if I don't have a lot of time to spare, but I'm going to try to find a spin class that I can go to because those burn major calories for me.

Anyhow, off to work.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thoughts from the desk : Pre 6am

Last night, I made 65 mini-pies. The idea sounded super delicious, but the actual final product was really exceptionally ugly. My quick fix, made what was an another wise good-tasting but horrible looking dessert into a nightmare. Now they look good, but they taste horrible. I'm frustrated. I'm going to bring them to the employee party either way, mostly because I can't bear throwing them out and some people like some weird stuff.

Hopefully no one knows I made them.

I sat down last night to pay bills. This is always the most frustrating part of my week. I try to do this every Tuesday night - that way the bills are paid as soon as they come in, my checkbook is always balanced and everything is in order. I think paying for anything around christmastime frustrates me. Obviously, the economy is bad, I have never made enough money to begin with, and I can't stop spending it regardless of if I have it or not. Our gas bill was near $200, which is almost completely due to the fact that our house is so old and rickety that we basically live outside. Our windows are useless, they let in full blasts of air.

I went around the house on Sunday with foam insulation tape, stuffing cracks and trying to seal things up. I folded some ugly towels and taped them up into little rolls to put at the bottom of door jams to the exterior doors. I've been religiously keeping the thermostat below 70 degrees, which is VERY hard for me because I am one of those people who is always cold (now... I used to always be hot when I had some nice fatty insulation myself!). I'm hoping to see an improvement because of this. The bedroom is already at least 10 degrees warmer on its own because of the window tape.

Today is the employee holiday party at work (hence the mini pies). I'm not very excited because it will mostly just be a big glob of tempting food and drink and dessert. I'm PLANNING to go home inbetween finishing things in the store and the beginning of the party so that I can eat lunch, but the way things have been, I'm not sure I'll have time. I need to just say no to anything at the party. Truly. The only reason I want to be there is to socialize (I've been out of the office for 2 weeks) and collect my xmas bonus (which isn't anything to get excited about, but very exciting to receive either way).

I guess I should go start my day. I have zero energy due to TOM and I have no idea how I'm going to get through.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weigh In : Monday 12/15/08

Weigh In : Monday : 154.8 = -1 lb!
Ok, so I'll readily admit that I was expecting a bigger loss, but as I was adding it to my weight tracker I realized I had a pretty big loss last week (1.6 lbs) so this is actually a fantastic follow up. Lately, when I have been having bigger losses (which I consider to be anything over 1 pound) I have been gaining. Therefore, this is a complete and total victory over the scale.
I do wish Weight Watchers would try to be a little more encouraging for me though. Maybe they've given up on me because I've been bouncing around the same weight for so long. I lost a pound, and here is the message I got after I had input that information:
Thanks for tracking your weight. Are you satisfied with your weight this
week? If yes, keep doing what you've been doing. If not, the suggestions
may lead you in the right direction. Best of luck and see you next

Thanks a lot, jerks.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Workout Stats: Sunday : 12/14/2008

Workout Stats : Sunday : 609 calories burned
+ 5 minutes jump rope
+15 minutes bicycle
+20 minutes elliptical
+60 minutes BodyFlow
Even though I wasn't expecting this workout to earn me much more than 3 APs, I got 6 - which is great. I am ending my week in activity at 33 APs, which is FANTASTIC! I'm so proud. I'm glad that I took some of this free time and channeled it into fitness. I really needed to nourish that relationship with the gym again. It's been so boring.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 17 of Vacation = Day 1

Today I literally did nothing.

I haven't changed out of my nightgown/sweatpant combo I threw on this morning at 8:30am when I woke up. That is also a serious "sleep in" for me, as I generally wake up between 5a-6am every single day of my life. I wrapped up some gifts to give me the feeling of being productive, but otherwise I have taken 2 naps, watched about an hour of t.v. and started my new book I bought at Patina yesterday.

There has been a lot of coffee consumed, tomato soup and grilled cheese - which was an odd choice for such a WARM winter day. It's Saturday night and I have no desire to leave the house, and I'm completely ok with that. There are magazines and books here, and there's no point in spending money when I'm completely content.

The stress of holiday shopping is gone. I had a few scuffs with Justin as we shopped the day away yesterday trying to convince him that he was buying WAY too many presents for Eli. He finally agreed and that was that. They're all wrapped and under the tree. It's an exciting time of year! My mom and I are getting together to bake cookies on Friday afternoon and I can't wait. Cooking and baking together is one of the only cooperative things I can do with my mom. Our personalities just don't work well together, but at Christmas, that gets set aside for some serious deliciousness in the oven. I'm very excited to try all the new recipes I've found for cookies that are just 1 point each. Each recipe makes about 80 cookies, so it will be perfect for gift giving. I have 5 plates to make, and I think it will be a great mix. I just have to go to the dollar store to buy some cute mini-platters so they look more gift like. Gladware isn't exactly nice to look at.

I'm happy to be taking a day off from the gym. I have been there every day this week, and I'm surely go tomorrow for my favorite class - BodyFlow. I have earned 27 APs so far this week, and with tomorrow I should end the week over 30, which is a giant accomplishment for me. I was getting 30-35 this time last year, and I was happy with that level, I just don't have the time I did last year, but I'm attempting to make it a priority again. I hope the scale shows it was worth it.

Justin and I went out last night for a dual-birthday party at the Independent. My SCLI friends Kelly and Ruthie had rented the private room. It was a good time, there was food, and that was dangerous. During our shopping adventure, Justin and I stopped at Broder's deli to have lunch because he has never been to that side of the street. We've eaten at the pasta bar many times, but I grew up on Broder's breads and pastas so I was excited. I played it safe and ordered Minestrone soup (hold the delicious bread) and half a caprese panini, which has a lot of fresh mozarella - so pretty high in points. At the party I had 3 pieces of chicken satay, the equivelent of one pita with hummus, and 3 cream cheese wontons (whoops.) I'm pretty sure wontons will be my downfall at any appetizer party. They are so damn delicious I can't pass them up. All in all, I think I made good choices, and that was my dinner, so I think I might have even been ok with points (I didn't track. Uh oh).

I also stopped into NuLook (my favorite consignment store!) yesterday. I had some money in my account there, where I sell the clothes that are too big for me, and I found a great mustard clutch, an adorable gray leather jacket FOR $8 and a pair of Adriano Goldschmied jeans (they retail for like $179). The AG jeans are "the Nicole," which couldn't be more fitting (obviously) and they fit like a glove. They're beautiful. Because of my consignment account money, all of this only cost my $7.99. Thank god people want to buy my old clothes so I can buy their old clothes!

All in all, it's been a good beginning to the weekend. Tomorrow morning I'm headed to the gym, and after that I'm helping my mom get a few things done around the house.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dinner : Thursday : 12/11/2008 : Super Burger!

Turkey cheeseburger + Butternut Squash fries + wilted spinach + corn = 9.5 points
Super ultra delicious dinner. I timed this perfectly. Everything was finished at the same time and just 1 minute shy of the beginning of last night's Top Chef that Justin missed and wanted to watch. I've been trying to eat slowly, and eating in front of the t.v. is pretty hard for me with that, but I managed to stretch dinner over half of the episode. I was trying to make sure to eat only one thing at a time, take tiny bites if bites were warranted and chew chew chew.

For dessert I had a glass of chocolate milk, or rather 8th Continent Light Soy Milk + Sugar/Fat free chocolate syrup that Joe Mahon bought for zombie blood. It was awesome, totally cured my craving and only 1.5 points.

Tonight I'm headed to Big V's to see Lucas' band play. I don't know how long I'll stay. I'm thinking about having a drink too, even though I've only been drinking on Sundays for the last 2 weeks - kind of like a reverse sabbath. I've had a really really awesome week so far (staying OP[on plan]-wise) so I might indulge in something I can nurse all night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Workout Stats : Wednesday : 12/10/08

Workout Stats : Wednesday : 479 calories burned
+ 25 minutes stationary bike intervals
+ 12 minute run (straight through!)
+Ab ripper 100
+Extensive stretching before and after
This was a short but very sweet workout. I had already taken my dog, Jack, for a run outside (in the snow, in 8 degree weather) this afternoon, but I had only burned 195 calories and I was going to leave it at that. The gym gnome punched me around 5:45pm, so I took off with my backpack and decided to power it out. I'm so glad I did. I am already at 16 APs for the week and it's only my 3rd day, so I am definately rocking it.
I realize I haven't posted many food pictures lately. I am currently simmering some rissoto with zuchinni, red pepper, edamame and parmesan - I will surely upload the deliciousness later, but for now... I have a date with my other boyfriend - Fabio of Top Chef.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lunch : Tuesday : 12/09/08 : Meeting with the Directors

So, I am a Program Director at a rapidly growing nonprofit here in Minneapolis. Today, our annual Lunch Meeting of Minds is happening - where all of the Program Directors get together and chat casually (and hopefully not about work) over lunch. This year we're going to Penninsula Malaysian Cuisine. It's in the neighborhood of our campus, so it's fitting.

I checked out the menu ahead of time and decided on these two appetizers as a meal. (Click to see)

I should get away with only "spending" about 4-5 points on this, which is perfect. I'm also going to bring along the picture of me, Justin and Eli from our visit to Santa last year so I can brag about my progress in 2008. It's very exciting. Probably the only person who will *actually* care is Cynthia, a co-worker who calls me her "inspriation." I think it will be helpful to her to see that this actually pays off. She's joined the YWCA and is trying to correct some of her eating (but she's not really ready). The fitness aspect is doing wonders for her health, so she'll add the "diet" when she's prepared.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tales from the Weekend

I forgot to mention that this was our Pre-Christmas Christmas weekend. I briefly touched upon it when I mentioned the Macy's Display, which if you're not from Minnesota, you probably don't know what it is and I don't feel like explaining it.

Saturday we put up our tree after Justin and I arguing for a while (over an hour) about where it should go. I won, and it looks awesome. Here's a picture....

Workout Stats : Monday : 12/09/08

Workout Stats : Monday : 709 calories burned
+ 30 minutes Run/Walk intervals on the track (every other song, entire song)
+15 minutes Stepmill variety trek
+15 minutes Jumprope/Side jumps on BOSU
+15 minutes Elliptical hill climb

That was a great workout. The track really set the tone for the whole thing. There was barely anyone there, the temperature was great, it was bright but not blinding and I actually had a lot of energy. I was also working off a little anger from a bad encounter I had with a friend in the lobby - who for no particular reason I can gather was acting like a giant butthead.

I am starting the week off on a good note with 7 APs. Now, to keep that up.

Weigh In : Monday : 12/08/08

Weigh In : 12/08/08 : 155.8lbs (-1.6lbs)
I am headed into my 17th week of being in the 150s. I have no idea why my body is resisting the fact that it still has a lot of weight to lose - but it seems determined to hold on to a good amount of fat.
I've been very dilligent this week. I ate well and according to plan, I was thoughtful in my food choices, though I did splurge twice on some REALLY delicious ice cream and also on a gingerbread cookie at Macy's for the display.

I exercised and earned 24 APs for the week, which is great for me lately.
I was hoping to see a bigger loss, but that's the idiot in me that thinks I can keep pulling out huge losses. There's no benefit to that, really. So... slow and steady wins the race. Or, at least I'm hoping so as I pout here on my 17th week of being stuck in the 150s. There has to be a better way to break a plateau. I am literally losing and gaining each week without changing much between the two weeks. I've gone back and studied points trackers to see what I'm doing that might be screwing it up, and I haven't found much. My solution, for this month anyway, is to reserve drinking only for the Sunday night trivia I enjoy so much - and even then I will only have the one drink that is very low in points or a glass of wine. I did that this week, I passed on 2 happy hours and went to one and had a very large glass of diet coke with lime, which I enjoy much more than diet coke with rum anyway.

I'm going to try to step up the exercise this week, since I go back to work the following week and it will be a very busy time for me. I'm trying to think of creative ways to burn a lot of calories as those two weeks (the week before and the week of christmas) are really difficult for me. My family loves to eat, and I am making cookies in an effort to save money on some presents - they're very fancy cookies, probably the equivelent of like a 5-10 dollar gift, but there's nothing "good" you can get for $5-10 any more, except some lil' homies.

I should start my day. I am getting the remainder of the work out of the way today so that my vacation can really start - hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Workout Stats : Friday : 12/05/08

Workout Stats : Friday : 422 calories
+40 Minutes Strength Training (Love Your Shape)
+5 Minutes Jump-rope
+15 Minutes Treadmill Dance

Awesome workout. That was really great to start the day in that manner and now I have loads of energy to go sit in a boardroom all day at SCLI. It's going to be rough.

My reference to the "Treadmill Dance" is this thing I started doing when I know I should run but just don't feel like it. I'll only do the Treadmill Dance if I'm at the gym at a time I would never normally be there because it makes you look absolutely foolish. Ipod required, you make a small playlist of shorter songs (around 2 minutes is perfect) and "dance" to each song. Today I walked uphill for the first song (a funk song, perfect walking beat), skipped to the next song (yep, I skipped on the treadmill), ran for the next, hopped (literally... bunny hopping on a treadmill. This annoyed a lot of people. Try at your own risk), ran for the next, walked up another hill, and skipped one last time before walking normally for the last song. Because you're mixing it up so much and providing strange intervals, I think it does a lot for your body. I'm not a fitness expert, but I'll try anything that keeps a damn treadmill interesting.

Strength Training was also great today. I gave it my all and burned the majority of my calories there. I've been pushing myself at the gym and I feel really great about it. I can't believe how much stronger I feel (and look!) and I'm excited to be thinking about what 2009 has in store for me. I have literally made a giant life change.

I think it's time for another one.

Thoughts from the Desk (pre 5:00 am)

I am awake before the Morning Show has started on MPR, which is awfully strange for me. It's my routine, every morning, to wake up to it and listen until it is off the air. It will be, off the air that is, in a matter of days and I'm slightly heartbroken. I'm not going to claim to be a die-hard lifetime fan, but I have listened religiously for the last 3 years, and there's hardly a day that I miss it.

The reason I am up so early today; Today, the day I don't have to be anywhere until 8:30 (another rarity); is to get my butt to the gym. There is no way I could fit in a workout today if I didn't do it this morning, so I set my sites on a spin class that's happening at 6am. Chances are that's not what I'll end up doing, but it gave me a goal and I managed to do it, despite my never getting to sleep in.

So, I'm headed out to the gym, then to my Strategic Connector's Leadership Institute (SCLI) for the month which is at the McKnight Foundation today. I love that office, it is so modern and full of light. We're discussing government involvement in the nonprofit sector. Should be an interesting day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Breakfast : Thursday : 12/04/08

Morning Coffee + Egg Beaters Omelette with Tomato, Red Onion, Spinach, Shrimp and Laughing Cow Cheese + Hashbrowns + WW Amaretto Cheesecake Yogurt = 6 points
This is a very protein packed breakfast. My entire omelette is part of the new "Filling Foods" list on the Momentum Program. The list is chock full of the recommended foods that will... fill you up. Each item that is a part of the filling foods list will be designated with a little green diamond in my points tracker, and every ingredient going into that omelette had one.

Also, WW Yogurt - Amaretto Cheesecake is TOTALLY DELICIOUS. Again, I don't taste the cheesecake, but wow - this a winner. I love it.

The hashbrowns were leftovers and there was literally about 1/4 cup, if that, so I decided to eat them. They were Justin's... I doubt he'll notice.

A Year for Change: WW New Program : Momentum Plan

Weight Watchers Momentum Plan

This morning when I went to track my morning coffee, I forgot that WW was rolling out a "new" plan today. Rumors of all the changes had spread across the message boards, but it turns out there really isn't much difference between the Flex Plan, which is what I was following, and the new plan which is supposed to be a combonation of the Core Plan and Flex Plan.

The most useful change that I am excited about is the addition of a "Hunger Scale" onto my points tracker. The points tracker is where I log every bite of food I eat during the day, it is assigned a points value and keeps a running talley of the amount of points I have eaten so far for the day. It also keeps a talley of my Activity Points earned and the Weekly Flex Points I have remaning.

I feel that the Hunger Scale will be useful for me. Once available only to the Core Plan followers who ate from a certain list of "Core Foods" and tracked only how satisfied they felt after eating rather than "counting" points, I am now able to rate how hungry I was before my meal, and how satisfied I am after. The simple addition of the scale to my tracker will help me evaluate what I REALLY want to eat and IF I really want to eat. I have a boredom snack addiction.

Another new aspect of the plan that I am not a fan of, but will certainly get used to, is the Activity Points bank. When you are on the Weight Watchers program, you are assigned a "Points Target." This target is a formula based on your age, weight and activity level of how many "points" (formula of calories/fat/fiber) who SHOULD eat each day. Additionally, you are granted "Weekly Flex Points" in the total of 35, to use how you please. You are able to earn Activity Points (or as I refer to them "APs"), which can be swapped for food, or not used to increase your loss for the week. On the "old" plan, APs could only be used on the day you earned them and would be "used" (on food) before any debit of your Weekly Flex Points. Now, on the "new" plan, they will be stored in your tracker for the week and you are able to use them after your Weekly Flex Points have been eliminated.

That was a mouthful.

The part that I don't like is that my Flexies will diminish before my Activity Points. I enjoyed the accountability of having to work out if I wanted to have an extra dessert or go out for a drink with the girls. I had to "earn" it, that kept me on track. It was also a goal to keep my Flex points number AT 35 at all times, and failing that, to keep it above 25 - never using more than 10.

I'm sure I'll figure it all out. In the meantime I will probably complain until I do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dinner : Wednesday: 12/03/08 : Restaurant Wishes

Chicken Breast Sandwich with Spicy Mayo + Butternut Squash Fries + Wilted Spinach and Cranberry Sauce Dessert = 9 points

I was seriously considering going out to eat tonight, it just sounded good. I didn't feel like cooking, I wanted something easy... etc. I realized how easy it would be to just recreate a "restauranty" meal at home, so I went with a grilled chicken breast sandwich with tomato and spinach and a spicy mayonaisse with a small side of wilted spinach (it's my favorite side after all) and butternut squash fries. I finished up the last of my super excellent ultra-delicious cranberry sauce for dessert (I am making more tomorrow!).

I was happy to have SO much food for dinner for not that many points. I still have 6 points left for the day, plus 4 APs that I earned earlier, so I think I might treat myself to a reasonable amount of frozen yogurt.

Snack-time! : WW Cherry Cheesecake Yogurt

Weight Watcher's Cherry Cheesecake Low Fat Yogurt = 1 point

I'm really not sure where the "cheesecake" part of this yogurt's name plays in, but it's tasty either way... in a completely cherry, not at all cheesecake, kind of way. It's also a nice change from the FiberOne yogurt I've been eating, which is also only 1 point, but is 2/3 the size of this package.

Breakfast : Wednesday : 12/03/08 : Oats and Apples

Quaker Lower Sugar Oatmeal in Apples and Cinnamon = 2 points

Obviously being instant oatmeal, the bowl I'm eating out of is more exciting than the meal itself. For something quick and hearty, however, this is an excellent choice. I eat a lot of oatmeal out of little brown paper bags. Perhaps it's because I'm lazy... well, not perhaps, it's certainly because I'm lazy. Anything that makes eating breakfast easier for me is OK in my book. I tend to have trouble with that first meal of the day. My idea of breakfast is apparently 7 cups of coffee.

Justin and I went to Cub Foods yesterday. My bank has a location inside their stores and I needed a small list of groceries to bring us up to speed on meals for the week. That small list tripled while we were in the store and we ended up filling the cart. However, this wasn't a bad thing. We got a lot of food for about 1/2 what we spend at Rainbow for similar items. We also found a lot of variety that isn't in our main grocery store (Rainbow Foods). I was excited to find an array of WW yogurt cups in flavors I'd never seen. I chose "cherry cheesecake" and some sort of "ameretto pie*" (*not the correct name).

The day is off to a good start, I've gotten a lot of work done and I plan to keep on cranking it out until I head to the gym in about an hour to have a 100% cardio day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dinner : Tuesday : 12/02/08 : Chilly Outside, Chili Inside

Hormel Vegetarian Chili + Fat Free Cheddar + Homemade Pita chips and hummus + Spinach = 11.5 points
This meal's points value would be significantly cut if a) I were not eating 2 servings of chili because I've consumed only 6 points today and burned those same 6 points at the gym and b) I didn't accidently use TONS of olive oil when I meant to use a little.

Not literal tons of course, but I meant to use a teaspoon and ended up using about 2. This is seriously not a big deal, especially because it's rare that I use olive oil at all anymore. I've probably stayed around the same weight because I keep using Roundy's Light Cooking spray instead of oil for everything (except salad). Any oil that sprays out of a can concerns me.

I'm excited about this meal. I haven't eaten it yet because it's so hot.

How's that for an update?

Workout Stats : Tuesday 12/02/08

Workout Stats : Tuesday : 629 cals burned
+45 minutes strength training (supersets routine)
+15 minute run
+25 minutes elliptical

This was a really great workout. I was expecting to burn way more calories, but I'm happy with the effort I put into the entire hour and a half. The strength training routine that I love/despise so much is really the only one I feel does justice to the parts I am trying to actually strengthen and not just tone. It is very challenging and burns a significant amount of calories simultaneously because of the "supersets." It is based on a series of moves with a different amount of reps/sets based on your body type. I pulled it (physically) from a Fitness Magazine that my mom gave me a while ago. Later, as repayment for a favor I was not expecting any sort of repayment for, she bought me a subscription. Now I patiently (hah!) await one of my favorite publications every month in my mailbox.

You can find the program here.

I apologize to any readers I might have who actually noticed that I haven't been updating frequently; I have been busy. I have blocked out a significant block of time in the next two weeks to get organized and de-stress. I imagine this blog will have a large jump in updates due to the whole "at home for 2 weeks" thing, rather than the running around all over the city thing.

I'll keep you posted.