Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just A Monkey Rattling The Cage

So, getting on the scale was hard for me this morning, simply because I knew.  A person cannot have the sort of eating weekend that I had and not have it reflect in some way.  Especially not 1,016 calories of Chunky Monkey.

Every single fiber of my being did not want to weigh in. But I went ahead because unless I decide to drop out of the My Long Hot Active Summer Challenge, it's something I need to do.  Besides, facing the music is somtimes the only way to get the (Chunky) monkey off your back.

Now that this is said and done, I have a couple of thoughts which I've decided to share even though some of you may want to skip straight to the comments or to the next blog you'll be reading today.

1.  My body l-o-v-e-s that damn weight.  If you haven't figured it out yet, the whole reason this blog is named Doing A 180 is because of my sincere desire to get as far away from that weight as possible.  But it just keeps repeating on me like a good bean soup.

2.  While some people do not care what they weigh, I do.  I am 5'6" tall.  I don't care what anyone says (including my doctor who thinks I need to only lose around 10-15 lbs.), I need to weigh around 30 pounds less than what I do right now.  In fact, 150 is not even my dream weight, or even my pre-thyroid issues weight, it's just what I know will be healthier for me.

3.  The reason I mention my doctor:  some of you may remember that she suggested I go on a 1,000 calorie a day eating plan for two weeks.  Her reasoning is this:  thyroid patients have horrible metabolisms even after getting rebalanced with meds.  Active thyroid patients seem to have an even harder time.  Her opinion is that my body has gotten used to 1500 or so calories a day and is now running like a well-oiled engine on this amount.  The only way to "fix" that is to completely shock my system.

4.  However, because I am extremely active and somewhat fit (I don't care what the body fat thingy on my scale says!), I honestly cannot wrap my mind around eating less than I do right now.  Last week I burned over 3500 calories in exercise alone. Currently I take Muay Thai Boxing 2-3 times a week (1 hour classes) and I'm running 25 miles a week. 

5.  I have been thinking HARD about food this week. Longer followers of this blog will remember that I really don't remove any sort of foods from my eating plan as I feel anything in moderation is ok.  My issue is the moderation, but it's not even a regular problem.  Prior to Sunday night it had been so long since I had a food tantrum that I couldn't even remember the last time.  Sure, I'll make my jokes with Charlie about the Cheez-Its (I do really, really like them), but honestly I work pretty hard at not thinking of anything as being forbidden.  Because when I do, is when trouble starts.

6.  So I've been pondering the thought that maybe I should stop tracking all together and just eat.  As a thyroid patient and someone who feels completely betrayed by their body, that is a very, very scary thought. But I haven't run away from it completely.

7.  My other thought all week long has been that I AM NOT WHAT I EAT - DAMMIT!  All week long I've been clinging to the idea that I might not actually be a bad person because I lost it with some ice cream. I mean, yes, my body may show the effects of poor choices versus healthier options, but ME, the woman I am right now today, the woman I so much want to be, is not about the food I've put in my mouth.    And that's just a fact that, at 50 years old, is time for me to come to grips with.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Ten, The Photo Edition

1. After I ate all that Chunky Monkey on Sunday night, this is how I felt. Actually this is how I felt most of yesterday too:

2. Remember the fresh coconut cake I mentioned? It’s the most requested birthday cake in my family. I have the first birthday and usually request it first so then the others pick something else. This year because of my grand 50th I didn’t have it. But here’s a picture of me on my birthday last year with what was left. I seriously could have just buried my fork and face in that cake and inhaled, it’s that good.

3. What a nice surprise to come home yesterday and find my gorgeous handmade bag that I won from Leslie!

4. We’ve been having Texas-style heat and humidity around these parts lately. Unusual for where I live because we normally get the sea breeze. Yesterday I took to looking at this picture taken last summer of my brother holding his baby girl:

5. Speaking of Texas, I had the opportunity to actually speak to Shelley yesterday. After that conversation, I decided that getting to San Antonio can no longer be on my wish list. It has to be moved to my Bucket List because Shelley and I need to camp out in a hotel for a weekend and get our talk on!

6. Speaking of the heat, it was 80 degrees in my garage this morning. Unfortunately that’s where my treadmill is. Unfortunately, today was a speedwork day for me (8 x 400 5K pace, 8 x 400 rest pace) and I had to use my treadmill. I turned a fan on full blast and went for it. By the end of the 45 minutes I looked like I’d run through a sprinkler. Still, I’d rather look like that than this anyday, which is how I look at end of a winter run:

7. After my run and shower, this is how my right ankle & foot looked.

The thing with 2 wooden ends is my Pampered Chef rolling pin. I use it in place of a foam roller when I feel something acting up in my legs. About a week ago I started having an issue with a tendon that goes right by my ankle bone and wraps under the foot. I’m not messing around because 4 years ago that same tendon got so bad I couldn’t run for 6 weeks! Now after every run it’s roll, ice, ibuprofen.

8. Here I am running my fourth marathon in 2008. I was running away from my family at mile 23 and blowing them kisses telling them I’d see them at the end:

9. After I completed that marathon, I got this, because I finally felt like I was a “real” runner:

10. What have you done or what will you do today to make yourself proud?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Warrior: It's A Long Story

I can't believe it's Monday already!  Why do the weekends go by so absolutely fast and the work week can seem interminable? 

I had a super busy weekend full of fun, friends, family and food. While I can never have too much of the first three, the food was way too much and by last night I felt it.

We started off Friday evening, immediately after work, by going to watch our dojo owners and mentors test for their 6th Degree Black Belts!  A 10th Degree had flown in especially to do their testing.  These folks have been in the martial arts for around 30 years and let me just say, even if you don't really understand what you're watching, you'd know you were watching something really precise and beautiful.  It was a sight to behold. 

We left the dojo and went straight to our best friend's home for an evening of hors d'oeuvres and, of course, cocktails.  I'm sure I did ok (but not great as I would have preferred) with both. We stayed on their deck until well after midnight!  That's not something we do often at all.  By the time we got home and washed the bug spray off it was almost 1 AM before we hit the sack.  I had made plans weeks ago to meet up with a friend for a late breakfast on Saturday morning at 10 so I immediately knew that my planned 3 mile recovery run wasn't going to happen.  I need my sleep so I went down and set the alarm for 8:30.  I actually slept until the alarm went off! 

I met up with my girlfriend and we had a great breakfast at my favorite place - When Pigs Fly.  Isn't that a cute name?  I love this place because it's not a 'greasy spoon' at all -  they always have healthy options.  My plan was to eat a good breakfast and then I wouldn't eat again until dinner.

After breakfast, which lasted until a bit after noon, I went into breakneck mode to get my errands done and my house cleaned before we took off to go and celebrate 2 birthdays in my family.  It took every bit of the 5 hours I had to accomplish everything.

My mother cooked the birthday meal that we ate although by our family tradition the birthday person gets to choose the menu.  Since we were combining my sister and brother's birthday's, he picked the meal and she picked the cake.  We are all pretty health conscious so when we sat down to eat, I took one look at the meal and said, "Holy Carbohydrates!"  and everyone started laughing.  This is what was on the table:  fried chicken, a green salad, coleslaw, potato salad, cheesy polenta, homemade rolls, and corn on the cob.  Did that stop me from having a spoonful of each thing though?  Unfortunately no.  And, I topped it all off with my mom's famous Fresh Coconut Cake.  I double cross pinky swear to you, I woke up Sunday morning with a Carb Hangover.

Sunday, I finally got in the run I had wanted to do on Saturday and boy did I need it.  Simply to burn off some of the carb sugars - lol!  Then I returned to preparing for this week by grocery shopping and doing some menu planning.   Mr. Helen was off and wanted to get out of the heat and humidity and watch a movie during the afternoon.  That also meant he wanted popcorn.  So I pulled out the Whirley Pop and cooked us up a batch.  Before owning this popcorn maker I always did the microwave thing.  Since I got it as a Christmas gift a couple years ago, I don't believe I'll ever use anything else!   We watched Invictus - good movie if you haven't seen it.

After the movie we went outside to enjoy our patio.

We ended up sitting out there the rest of the afternoon into the evening and eventually ate our dinner out there. It was a nice healthy low carb dinner - lol!  Grilled chicken, salad, half a baked sweet potato.  We didn't come inside until around 8 - because my FIL called which sort of interrupted the flow of the evening and besides, I needed to start thinking about bedtime.

That's when I got attacked by a Chunky Monkey.  Well, not "a" chunky monkey but by a container of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey.  Here's the thing.  If I had just taken a portion out and eaten it, it all would have been OK - I even would have been within my calorie budge for the day.  But I didn't. I opened the container (it's not even a pint anymore, did you know that?) and began to eat.  And I didn't stop until the whole container was gone.   I wasn't even mad or disgusted with myself - like I should have been.  I simply ate it almost mechanically until it was finished, then got up and went to bed. 

Two hours later, I woke up with the WORST stomach ache - which I obviously deserved.  I didn't sleep at all last night due to the tossing, turning, and at one point, consideration of if I could make myself be sick just so I'd feel better - which I ultimately didn't do because I was too damn sleepy and sluggish from the ice cream to get out of bed.

This morning when I got up and went out for my run, I spent a lot of time thinking about the whole weekend.  I'm not going to excuse it, but I do believe I ate from stress. I haven't mentioned it too much but Mr. Helen is having a really, really, really hard time over his sister's death.  Specifically this weekend he was struggling with her last moments of life.  And he kept wanting to talk about it.  But he didn't want me to say anything back or try to comfort him.  He just kept wanting to talk about it.  On top of that, my FIL has become VERY needy himself.  My MIL has advanced Alzheimer's and he has no one to talk to.  So he spends his evenings calling his kids.  I know it's selfish of me, but sometimes I want my husband to be able to have an evening with me, talking and whatever, without an interrupting phone call (that usually lasts anywhere from 30-60 minutes).  All of this combined, really, really, really stressed me out.  To the point where I ended up doing what I have always done... obliterate it with food.  Eat until you get that "ahhhh" feeling in your brain, even if it means you have a stomach ache later.

Obviously today I am licking my wounds and trying not to beat, beat, beat myself for doing what I've always done.  I don't WANT to do this sort of thing anymore because I DON'T WANT to get what I've always gotten, which is NOT TO GOAL!

Yes, I was a warrior and managed to fight through the weekend, but ultimately not only did I lose the battle, I lost the war because I didn't honor my own good intentions of choosing life versus food. 

I guess I've still got a loooooong way to go.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I decided earlier in the week that I would do this week's longest run today, because there were thunderstorms predicted for Saturday when I would normally do it.  Of course, Connecticut weather being what it is, we had a tornado yesterday, just an hour away from where I live, and it only sprinkled where I do live,  and it's not going to storm at all tomorrow - or at least not until later in the day.  Still, my running week was planned so I decided to stick to it.

The alarm went off and I jumped out of bed and got my running clothes on.  I've written about this before - it's sort of a semi-dark bumbling thing I do, although after that incident, I do check to make sure my shorts are on right side out.  Anyway, as I was dressing, I kept wondering if something was wrong because I wasn't hearing the birds.  Yep, those little suckers start chirping around 4 am.  I don't know what made me do it, but I glanced at the clock in the spare bedroom where I get dressed and it was only 3:05!

Obviously, when I was setting my alarm last night I had somehow moved the regular clock up by an hour.  Good grief.

I did what any smart girl would do and I promptly went back into my bedroom, reset my clock and went back to sleep for another hour.

At 4:05, I jumped up again, but I was already dressed so I staggered down the stairs to get a cup of coffee. I sat on the sofa sipping coffee and watching the news including a crazy photo of Kate Gosselin who has gotten Botox and doesn't currently look like herself!  That's enough to get anyone wide awake.

At 4:45, I headed out for what was supposed to be a 10K (6.2 mile) run and ended up being 7.2 because I actually started daydreaming and ended up running an extra mile away from home.  Which is ok because this training is all about endurance anyway.

What is surprising me though, is that ever since I finished that run, I feel like laying down and taking a nap.  This is a fairly common phoenomena with new runners exploring long distances.  In fact during my first marathon training on my very first long run of 9 miles, I came home, showered, ate some toast and could not keep my eyes open, so I went to bed.  Mr. Helen had a friend visiting for the weekend and they were out fishing.  When they got back, he tried to wake me up and I grumpily told him I was never running again, I wanted to die, and to leave me alone!  He kept coming back every couple of hours between their activities - he'd never seen me like this and it was scaring him - but I slept on for 6 straight hours!  I've never had that happen since, though I've run up to 27 miles at once.  My guess is that today, between the (first) 3AM wakeup and all the stress of the past couple of weeks, my body is a teensy bit in shock.  Too bad I'm at work.  Seriously, I'm sleepy enough that I'm contemplating setting the alarm on the iPhone and locking my door at lunchtime!

So, now I have my longest run of the week done, which leaves me only a short 3 mile recovery run tomorrow.  Good thing because this is one of our jam-packed weekends and it starts tonight right after I get out of work.  Maybe I should take that lunch time siesta?

I know this isn't my usual blog full of goodness but really people, I'm trying to stay awake here.  Yawn.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's All About Satisfaction

By the time I got home last night I only had around 500 calories to spend on food for the rest of the day.  I know this sounds like a lot but the way I tend to eat, I generally eat around 700 or so between dinner and my "dessert" whatever that may be.

I was tired so I had to think quick on my feet because Mr. Helen wasn't around and that can be dangerous for me.  It's quite easy for me to say the heck with it and eat my way into overload. There's nobody there to watch and see what I'm doing, right?

I opened the freezer to grab some ice and saw these:

I get these at BJ's which is a warehouse style club.  They are awesome because they are big, i.e., enough to satisfy me, and have only 110 calories, 3g fat and 7 g fiber per wrap! Normally I wouldn't buy anything that has 12 in a package, but I discovered that these freeze exceptionally well.  Pull one out and around 5 minutes later it is thawed and ready to use.  As soon as I saw them I knew I would make my Pesto-Caprese Pizza. I had beautiful tomatoes and had just made a batch of fresh pesto from the basil growing on my patio.  Besides, just one pizza satisfies me and, shamefully, I could have a glass of wine with it and still be within my calorie allotment for the day.

Preheat your oven to 425.  Lay the wrap on a cookie sheet.  Spread 1 1/2 Tablespoons of pesto over the wrap.  Sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese.  Slice a tomato thinly then cut the slices in quarters and layer over the cheese.  Sprinkle a little salt on the tomatoes.  It will look like this:

Put the pizza in the oven and cook for 7-10 minutes until the edges of the pizza are crispy, the bottom lightly browned and the cheese is gooey and yummy.  If I want the cheese browner on top I leave it in longer.  When it comes out it will look like this:

Tell me, what's not to love?  A pizza that brings together all the fresh goodness of summer! Plus, the whole thing is 325 calories, 19g fat, 23g carbs, 23g protein, 8g fiber.

I know the fat sounds high but you have to remember that pesto is made with olive oil and is a good fat.  So it's not a bad thing to have occasionally.

Often, when I have more calories to spend I will make this as a side dish - and cook it on the grill rack -  and have a piece of grilled chicken or fish or steak with it.  It's a nice changeup from rice, potatoes, or pasta. I've even taken the ingredients to work and done it up in the toaster oven.

With my glass of white wine, my whole dinner was 445 calories - right on time!

After I had that, I didn't want another thing, because I was really and truly satisfied.  I've said it before:  there are things that I just won't eat or substitute because I get absolutely no pleasure from it, then eating begins to feel like a chore and that is a very slippery slope for me.  For me to be successful, I have to take the time to figure out what will satisfy me - even or maybe especially when I'm tired.  Last night 400 calories of salad just wouldn't have done it.  Being gentle, listening instead of rushing to stuff my face, taking good care, are all part of my building blocks towards success.

 "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."
Robert Collier

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Secrets to Success

Today's weigh in shows a small uptick of .6 pounds.  It's the result of traveling and having absolutely no control over the food put in front of me - except for one meal at a restaurant - and not being able to exercise as normal.  As I said yesterday, I did the best I could in the situation I was in.   I'm calling that maintenance because it really is fake weight.

While I was thrilled with my weigh in, after all I STAYED UNDER 180, I also knew how it was going to turn out.  I can usually tell whether I'm losing, gaining, or maintaining. Even when I express shock at a weigh in where I feel the numbers don't match my effort, deep down inside, I know.  Don't you?

I looked at our calendar last night and realized that, as of right now, we only have 1 weekend between now and Labor Day when we do not have an event!  This is why I know it is of utmost importance for me to keep on keeping on.  Because life (and death) continue to march on and there will always be "something" that is there ready, willing, and able to sabotage or sidetrack my efforts at making my goals.  That's why I think an adjustment in thinking is necessary.  Splurge days can get out of control with so many social events.  The gist for me is that I have to continue to look at all my options and ask: Is this what is best for me right now?  Will this choice get me closer to my goals.  In other words, I need to be kind and gentle with myself and make the best choices possible, continuing to string together good "one days" into that ultimate necklace I so sincerely desire.

Robert Collier said, "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."

AKA -  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

That's where I'm at.  What about you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Ten, The (Semi) Traveling Addition

1.  First some surprise good news.  As you know I love my challenges and in addition to Biz' 101 Days of Summer Challenge, I have been taking part in Exquisite Christine's My Long Hot Active Summer Challenge.  This challenge focuses specifically on weight loss and exercise minutes.  Each week the top losers and exercisers are inducted into the Hall of Fame.  I got in for weight loss for week 6!! Here's my pretty badge:

Yay me!  I am proud of that.

2.  My daughter travels all over the US for her job.  While she was home I remarked at how much she was running.  She replied, "Well I don't have any desire to race, but you taught me that running is exercise you can do almost anywhere."  I'm proud of that too.

3. I ran another 4 miles for Pam on Saturday morning prior to her memorial service. When she could no longer run, her favorite walk was a 2 mile path along the River Raisin. When we visited in 2008 she and I had taken that walk together. It was a joy to run it for her.

4.  When I go on vacation, I don't track food or plan exercise.  My reason for doing this was reiterated during our quick non-vacation trip to Michigan.  When you travel and you're in charge of your food choices, it's still not always easy.  When you're not in charge of your food, it's impossible.  That's why I believe this whole heartedly:  Do the best you can in the situation you're in.
5.  Why do people wait until the flight attendants get into the aisle with the drink and snack cart then try to get up and go by them to the restroom? 
6.  Airline travel pretty much sucks these days.  Even if you have direct flights.  It's so much hoopla.  While I am glad for the extra security, I still don't understand how putting liquids, gels, etc, in a QUART ziplock bag is going to protect me.  My father-in-law had put his travel sized shaving cream and toothpaste in a gallon bag and they made him dispose of it.
7.  Just as I got into the security line at La Guardia, a gentleman stepped in between me and my husband and daughter.  I noticed he had a bottle of water in his hand.  I figured he was going to drink it before he got to the machines.  He did not.  My daughter said the security people freaked out and swooped in like the man was carrying an open bomb.
8.  When we arrived in Michigan, one of my SIL asked if I had any hand cream.  I reached into my purse and pulled out the 2 oz. tube I had in there then laughed because I had gone through security without it being in any sort of bag at all.
9.  One of our traveling companions took a liquid cigarette lighter and matches through security in her pocket.
10.  It's true, there is no place like home.  Especially when it's not a trip you wanted to take.  I am so glad to be back in the land of the living - and Blogland!  Even though it means cooking, cleaning, and a return to work, there's nothing like your own space, your own food, your own schedule. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Run to Remember

A few years ago, my SIL Pam was at the YMCA running on a treadmill when suddenly she just fell off of it into a seizure.  She said it was the weirdest feeling because she was perfectly aware inside her body but was completely unable to express to the emergency responders what was going on. They thought she was having a diabetic seizure or something and were asking her questions to which the only way she could respond was to shake one finger. The seizure subsided a bit and she was able to gasp out "Cancer Patient."  They rushed her to the hospital and her team met her there.  In doing scans they found a teeny, tiny spot of cancer that had metastasized just above her ear.  By teeny tiny I mean this thing was no larger than the end of a sharpened pencil according to the doctors.  She ultimately had surgery and chemo and it got rid of it, but Pamela was never able to run again.  In fact, it took her quite some time before the leg on the seizure side would cooperate enough for her to walk for exercise.  When she came home that Christmas after that incident she pulled me aside and said, "Helen, I am never going to be able to run again so I'm passing the Lancaster Family running torch on to you.  Run for me, will you?"

This morning, I ran 8.02 miles for Pam.

Normally I do my long training runs on Saturdays but we will be in Michigan on Saturday and I'm not sure how or if I will be able to fit in a run of any distance.  Since today is Pam's memorial service here, I thought it appropriate to flip my long run to today.

I think Pam was powering me too because once again I finished minutes faster than I had planned on and my pace on this run was a few seconds per mile faster than my 7 miler last week.

I'm pretty sure Pam approves.

So, after my revelation last week of taking it one day at a time from Mrs. Fatass, taking baby steps from Shelley, and making deliberate choices from Miz then putting that all together in a necklace of "One Good Days," I have now had 8 good one days strung together in a row.

I got a lot of comments about the 1000 calorie thing on the blog yesterday - most of them being horrified.  After doing some research on thyroid patients and weight loss, I actually have been eating a bit more than I was before - not a lot - but good, clean, healthy choices - 150ish extra calories per day.  This result would be why I told my doctor I want to think about what she's asking:

That would be a 3.2 pound loss in the last week.

I think I want to keep trying my new way of putting together my one good days for a bit longer before I try something so drastic.

Besides, Pam always used to say that the race doesn't always go to the swift, but to the strong, to those who endure.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Ten

1. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go straight to Debbie’s place and congratulate her on her 100 pound weight loss mark!!!!

2. Headline I saw when I opened my browser the other day: “Would you pay $180 for a bird-poo facial?” NO WAY. Would you?

3. One of my favorite lunches last week: fresh green beans that I had cooked with smoked turkey, smothered in hot sauce with a side of my red potato salad. Perfect amount of protein, fiber, and carbs to power me through my Thai Boxing classes.

4. Dave asked me to speak at both of Pam’s memorials about what it takes to get through a distance race. Because she had endured her race against cancer for 8 years. He told me that Pam was always so proud of my running and admired that I had not only tackled running but had taken on the marathon distance as a late-in-life runner. I couldn’t be more honored because she was a tremendous athlete – as an adult, she actually got a hole in one in a golf tournament one time!

5. We’re just two weeks away from 2010 being half over. I looked at my goals from January 1st and now I’m depressed. Why is it the older I get, the more I want to accomplish but time seems to go by faster?

6. Why is it that my THIRTY YEAR OLD turns into a child when she returns home? I can tell exactly where she’s been in the house based upon the stuff strewn around. When she was younger I would collect the stuff and make her do chores to get it back. But what on earth can I do now except ignore it and remember it’s only for 3 more days.

7. I’ve been considering weighing myself several times a week, instead of just once. I would keep my “official” weigh in day but I’m wondering if it would encourage me to stay the course. Plus, you know I recently acquired my fancy new scale that shows not only weight but also body fat percentage and hydration level. I think my fear is if I have an up-tick day and I’ve been doing well, I’ll get discouraged and it will all go to hell in a hand basket.

8. My doctor’s visit went so bad last night I can’t even begin to tell you. And I won’t because honestly, you probably have your own issues you’re trying to deal with.

9. I will share with you that she wants me to go on a 1000 calorie/day eating plan for 2 weeks. I told her that I’d think about it but not right now, this week or next. I have other things I need to get through before I’m dealing with that. Because I do think it will be an ordeal.

10. This morning half asleep and sipping coffee before my run, a voice over came on the TV saying “This is very important information for people age 50 & over.” At first I started to drift into my own world and wait for the news to come back on. Then I thought, “Holy Crap! That’s me!”

Monday, June 14, 2010

One More Week

This is the week we lay Pam to rest.  Wednesday we will hold her memorial service here.  Friday we fly to Michigan for a Saturday service there.  I am ready and almost anxious to have it done.  One more week and perhaps we can begin the business of moving on.

The weekend was good.  My run on Saturday was almost textbook perfect for a long run.  Good pace, good hydration, good recovery.  Because I'm training for something longer than a 10K, I pay attention to pacing and hydration and stuff like that on my long training runs.  I used the McMillian Running Calculator to set up what paces I should be running my tempo runs, speedwork, easy runs and long runs at.  Saturday I actually ran 30 seconds per mile faster than my fastest long run pace.  While that could have been a point of concern, the run felt easy and when I got home and looked at my HRM I realized that, indeed, I had just been "in the zone."  Gotta love a run like that.  Not to mention the 857 calorie burn!

Saturday night Mr. Helen asked me out on a date!  It has been weeks and weeks since we went out for leisurely drinks and dinner just the two of us.  We really did have a wonderful evening - one that was much needed.  I carefully planned my choices of food and beverage and managed to stay at 2000 calories for the day even with the extras of wine and dessert.  Since that's around maintenance calories for me, I was really pleased with that, especially considering the calorie burn I'd gotten on my run.

Sundays are always a back to routine day for me.  Mr. Helen works so I usually spend the day running errands and cooking in preparation for the upcoming week.  Sundays are also a rest from planned exercise day too and I'm usually more than ready for it!  Eating was good and within weight loss range.

My daughter arrived home and will be here all week.  She is also flying to Michigan with us.  We've had an empty nest for a long time so even though she's my child, things always feel a bit different when she's home, especially when it's for a full week!

Today I see my doctor and hope to get the referral to the endocrinologist.  I definitely think I need more help than what I can give myself with my metabolism and thyroid issues.

Still planning on going at this one day at a time.  Seems to be working for me, at least for now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Woo Freaking Hoo!

F-I-V-E days.

R-O-C-K-E-D my 7.2 mile training run this morning.

I think I should get a diamond AND a pearl,don't you?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Diamonds and Pearls

This has been a really hard couple of weeks.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any harder, it did.

Yet, in the midst of all this hardness, something clicked with me and I have now strung together FOUR "one good days!"  FOUR.  I've been thinking about that.  A lot.  Because you know today is Friday and the weekend will be filled, again, with family gatherings and food and wine.  Everyone is hovering at my in-laws right now - rightly so. But the thinking has been more because I want to keep this up.

Two bloggers have given me hope in different ways.

MizFit who said
"every day its a choice.

some days choices are better than others.
all in all I just strive to string em together like a necklace and hope the GOOD CHOICE DAYS outweigh the 'bad' and that the BAD CHOICE DAYS are choices as well (not mindless occurrences)"

because well, Saturdays are really hard for me even when it's not a hard week. We usually go out to eat, have drinks, etc., etc..  It's the one day that Mr. Helen and I share as a day off.  But in the process of thinking and thinking and thinking, I have decided no mindless occurrences - even if I do 'relax' a bit I am going to stay present and make choices!  So, even if the choices aren't the best, they will be deliberate.  Thanks, Miz.

and Shelley who said
"you are in the midst of a very stressful situation and now is probably not the best time to make any drastic changes...wait until after the funeral and memorial services. But you said it - you are going to have to give up certain things (wine is a biggie) and you are going to be hungry for a little while - but you will adjust if this is truly what you want.

And sometimes? One day at a time needs to be one hour at a can do anything if you take enough baby steps."

because, well, when families grieve you know what they do?  They gather, they eat, they drink, they fellowship.  Not the ideal situation when the food you are eating is a gift from someone and you have no clue as to it's prepration.  So, I need to just take it minute by minute by hour by day, whether it is about grief, food, wine, exercise whatever.  It's all going to be OK because I do want this, I do!  This also brought to mind (because Shelley is becoming quite the runner) that the exact way I learned to run was to take it a little bit at a time.  It wasn't a big huge sweeping all out woo hoo look at me 3 mile run - it was me struggling to run even 1/4 of a mile.  That's right I couldn't even run 1/4 of a mile.  But I took the baby steps and now I've completed a myriad of distances. One little thing at a time is all I have to do.  Thanks, Shelley.

So now, I baby step my way into this weekend with the four diamonds and pearls on my necklace of 'one days' hoping to come back next week with as many more as I can manage to gather. Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

If the Food is Really Good, It Helps

When I wrote in this blog about not substituting carrot sticks or celery for other things in my diet, Tami from the Nutmeg Notebook made this comment:

I have found that I am not hungry when I eat nutritious food. Refined carbs leave me feeling hungry but not chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, plain yogurt, brown rice, wheat pasta,beans,eggs, lentils fat free milk and good food like that!

Of course, I totally agree with that and that is generally how I eat.  But almost more important to me is that my food is flavor packed.  When it is really good and flavor packed, my satisfaction quotient goes up so high that I don't even want the cheesecake so to speak.

While I am not a food blogger, I do enjoy cooking and creating meals - a lot.  So, I am constantly clipping recipes from newspapers, magazine, food blogs, etc. and saving them.  On Monday, after I got the "one day at a time" fever I was thinking about dinner and realized I had all the ingredients in the house to try one of the recipes I had been saving.   Later on that same day I commented to Katie J that I was going to try this new recipe and I promised her if it was any good I would share.

These burgers are not just good, they are EXCELLENT.   Even the beef burger loving Mr. Helen has asked me to add this recipe to our regular rotation.  They were so good, he asked me to make a double recipe next time!  I served them with my low fat, high flavor red potato salad and we thought we'd gone to food nirvana by the end of this meal.
So, Katie, as promised here's that recipe.

Curried Chicken Burgers With Chive Mayo
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
½ cup mayonnaise (I used Hellman's Olive Oil Mayo - it's low fat & healthy!)
½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 large egg
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon curry powder
1¼ pounds ground chicken breast

4 hamburger buns
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
Heat a grill to medium. Oil the grates, or coat them with cooking spray. 
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ginger and chives. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and curry powder.  Add in your chicken breast and mix together well.  (I used my hands!)
Form the meat into 4 loose patties. They are going to be really wet.
Use a spatula to carefully place the burgers on the grill and cook, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers - they should be firm enough to move easily now - and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until an instant thermometer reads 165 F at the thickest part of the burgers.
To serve, place each burger on a bun, then top with mayonnaise and avocado.
Notes from our experience:
I bought Perdue ground chicken breast filet but the original recipe suggested pulsing chicken breasts in a food processor.
To cook the burgers and not have them fall through the grill grate, we actually put one of those mesh cooking grates with a handle over our grill. I wiped the grate with a paper towel that had canola oil on it.  Mr. Helen suggested next time that we try a clamping basket so the whole basket could be flipped.
It is very, very important to just let the burgers sit for 4-5 minutes.  Don't mess with them.  You'll be amazed at how easy they flip over.
We also thought these would be really good with a Tzatiki sauce or a Yogurt Tahini Sauce.
I only used 1T of the mayo mixture on mine so the nutrition facts reflect that.
The Nutrition Facts (includes everything but the bun!):
262 calories; 13g fat; 134g cholesterol; 493mg sodium; 4.6g carbs, 3.1g fiber, 32.5g protein.
If you don't use the mayo and the avocado, 5 oz. of the ground chicken breast alone only has 125 calories and 0.6 g fat.
Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Please Bear With Me

I'm sorry friends.  You know I am not usually a down person. Please bear with me.

My 52 year old favorite cousin died last night.  She had cancer in her hip.  She was in a nursing home and was doing OK except she had to have a feeding tube.  After a lot of thought and prayer and consultation with her family she decided last Friday to remove the feeding tube and let it be.  My mother did not tell me because she knew I was already reeling and dealing with my sister-in-law's death.  That makes two of my family members 50 & 52 years old who have died in the last 6 days. I honestly do not know how I'm not going a teensy bit nuts right now, except I have been leaning on my faith to sustain me.  Because, for me, my human mind cannot understand this.  At all.

This is my check-in post for the My Long Hot Active Summer challenge.  I've got to say, I was pretty surprised when I stepped on the scale this week:

Which is exactly a maintain.

The reason I was suprised is that on Monday when I went out to run, my run was so awful and I felt so heavy and sluggish I weighed myself, which is not normally something I do (weighing on an "off" day).  I weighed 184 - horrifying!  I was so upset and discouraged because I knew stress and too much wine over the weekend had done me in.  Then I read Mrs. Fatass' post about taking things One Day At A Time, but trying to string those "one days" together.  I decided right then, that instead of beating myself up, that is what I would try very hard to do.  So that drop of 2.6 pounds is from stringing only two "one days" together.  Of course I also know that means it was "junk" weight.  Still, I am encouraged that if I can just keep stringing those "one days" together, one day at a time, I can do no more harm to myself.

Also, even with all the stress from last Thursday-Today I managed to get in 225 mintues of exercise. 

Anyone else been thinking about that one day at a time thing, whether it has to do with food or exercise or whatever? 

Please don't forget to send me your mailing information if you won anything in my giveaway. Some of you have said "whoopee I won" but have not gotten that to me.  Like they say in our state lottery, "You can't win if you don't play" (or send me your address)!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday Ten

1.  As you can imagine it has been a tough few days, with more to come.  My sister-in-law's memorial service here won't be held until June 16th followed by one in Michigan on June 19th, which I think we're travelling to.  I really have no words to say how much all your expressions of sympathy and caring mean to me. I will use your lovely sentiments to prop myself up over these next days.  I love our blogging community. You guys rock!

2.  Did you win anything in my GIVEAWAY?  Don't forget to check... you wouldn't want to lose your valuable prize to someone else would you?

3.  I'm tired.  No, not tired.  Deeply fatigued and weary.  I'm sure it is stress related and I'm doing all I can to not hold the stress but boy could I use a huge break.

4.  And I think the stress is definitely affecting me.  If my scales are being honest, I have put on almost 10 pounds in 3 weeks, doing nothing different.

5.  Not to mention that I have to get some weight OFF if I am going to make my goal of running a race this summer.  My body can't take the beating of trying to run at the weight I'm carrying right now. I can't get to an endocrinologist fast enough, I think.

6.  Jenn at Slim-Shoppin does a feature on weight loss superstars (meet Lisa!).  I commented on that blog that I needed to just get determined and get this thing over with, finish it to the end.  I need to focus and stop taking breaks and having splurges, etc.  I want to be done.  I think I hesitate because when I get into that sort of focused mode, it sometimes causes agida between me and Mr. Helen.  I've got to figure out how to explain this to him so he can truly understand what I'm going through here.

7.  The mental problem I have with getting determined and getting it over with is that I'm going to be hungry.  At least for a bit.  I just know it.  I hate being hungry.  And please don't tell me to eat carrot sticks or celery or whatever.  I don't want them.  I want cheesecake if the truth be known. But even then I don't want cheesecake all the time.  I want a variety of real food and don't like "substituting" foods.  I think substitutions might even be one of the reasons I've never completely kept off any weight I've lost.  Substitutions don't make me happy and are not a lasting solution because eventually I stop substituting.

8.  I think the lasting solution is either 1.  To each myself to stop eating so fricking much (and, of course, the wine, the wine!) - I'm talking volume here people or 2.  Say the h*ll with it and see if I can become the next Paula Deen.  She's chubby, she seems to be happy and she eats butter and mayonnaise to her heart's content.

9.  To that end, Mrs. Fatass had an excellent blog yesterday One Day At A Time.  In it she talks about just making it through one day and then stringing the "one days" together. AHA!  I know if I can do that I'll get myself underway once and for all and I really can be done with it, without resorting to butter and mayonnaise.

10.  Finally, on a lighter note, I rediscovered sorbet this past weekend.  Holy Yum is that stuff good!  The one I'm eating now is Ciao Bella Blood Orange and has only 60 calories for half a cup!  So refreshing on a really hot/humid day.

Talk to me people:  any big revelations in your life?  any stress?  any new food finds? how are you focusing these days? do you love butter and mayonnaise?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Giveaway Winners!!

For a small blog, I was really happy with the response to my first (and maybe last?) giveaway post!  There were a few books that only one person wanted.  If that was the case - you won automatically.  All the rest were pulled out of a hat by Mr. Helen. Winners have until Thursday, June 10 at midnight to contact me at with their mailing information.  If you do not, the second place winners (who we already picked) will be given the opportunity to take the prize.  If you've not seen the winner's blogs, I've linked them here so you can check them out.

1. The Abs Diet for Women goes to Kristen!

2. The South Beach Diet Supercharged goes to Leslie!

3. The GI Diet Clinic & The GI Diet Express goes to WannaBeAmy!

4. The Belly Fat Cure goes to Elaine! (Sorry, wasn't able to link you.)

5. The Fat Flush Plan, Cookbook & Journal and Shopping Guide is going to my local library because no one wanted it.

6. The Spark goes to Biz!

7. Making the Cut goes to Corletta!

8. Such A Pretty Fat goes to Roxie!

9. Why Your Last Diet Failed You & Cooking Light Chicken Recipes goes to Exquisite Christine!  (Sorry Charlie, do you want me to autograph it for Christine?  I could fake your autograph if you want. Does it make you feel any better that your book was the 2nd most requested giveaway?)

10. Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009, which was the most wanted item, goes to Debbie Does Dinner Healthy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Until We Meet Again

 She suffers no more.
Farewell, until we meet again.

In loving memory of Pamela, my beautiful sister-in-law.

Life Is Hard.

A while back I shared with you guys about my 50 year old sister-in-law Pamela and her brave fight for life.  Recapping, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2002.  She had major surgery and has been receiving treatments off and on and battling with winning results for the last 8 years.  Around Christmas 2009 her platelet counts in her blood kept dropping so she started having treatments for that.  Then she started having to have transfusions. At the beginning of February she came back here because her father-in-law passed away.  (Pam's husband David grew up here too - actually graduated with Mr. Helen - so we two couples are the exact same ages.) After the funeral, when she started her trip back home she got really sick and had to be hospitalized for a week before she could get back to Michigan.  At the beginning of March she was diagnosed with chemotherapy-induced leukemia.  By the end of March we were being told there was nothing to be done anymore and that she would live as long as she could withstand the blood transfusions.

By the end of April she was asking her siblings and her dad to come and visit her.  She wanted to come here in her final days but the doctors absolutely refused to let her travel.  Two weeks ago, family members started rotating out there.  Mr. Helen's oldest sister has been there since the week before Memorial Day and has been calling us daily with updates.  This past Thursday, I arrived home from work and Mr. Helen told me that Pamela's mother-in-law had passed away that day.  All I could think about was David.  What I haven't told you yet is that David had colon cancer.  He had surgery 3 years ago then 2 years ago it recurred.  He had a second surgery but has had some major issues from it.  He still is having treatments because of it. How can this man deal with losing both parents within a few months of each other while his wife battles for her life?

Then Mr. Helen told me Pam was not doing well and he needed to get his tickets to get out there to see her.  Monday morning we bought him tickets to leave on June 10th.  Monday night his other sister called to say that Pam had been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.  Tuesday, the doctor told the sister that Pam is really suffering and can't make it much longer.  Tuesday night we changed Mr. Helen's ticket.

This morning, he flew to Michigan to say his goodbyes.  It is hard to watch your husband weep for his little sister.  Hard.

Our brother-in-law David is flying here to bury his mother on Saturday.  We are hoping and praying fervently that Pamela does not pass away while he is here. 

In the meantime we found out that several of the adult grandchildren had no idea this was going on.  I don't understand why the parents would make the choice not to tell ADULT grandchildren about their Aunt!  I was concerned in particular about Mr. Helen's brother's daughter.  The brother is a teensy bit estranged from the family (his choice) and sometimes goes for months without contacting his daughter or granddaughter.  This girl is like a second child to me.  She and my daughter are the same age - in fact, when they were younger they were best friends - inseparable.

So, this morning, I called her.  She knew nothing.  I had to tell her everything.  It is hard to hear your niece weep for an Aunt who is also her daughter's Godmother.  Hard.

Life is hard when you have to deal with death and loss. Hard.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tales from the Scale

First of all, if you haven't done so yet, please enter my GIVEAWAY!

I ended up ordering a new scale, which arrived yesterday - in the nick of time -  because I wanted one that would give me more information than just weight.  While I know the body fat measurements done through electrical impedence are not as accurate as other measures, I still wanted an idea.  The scale I ordered gives weight, body fat percentage and water percentage.  It also appealed to me because it has an "athletic" mode for super fit people.  While that is not me - yet - it is Mr. Helen.  Or at least that's what I thought.  I have always known that his body fat is low simply because you can't really "pinch an inch" anywhere on him but he's not skinny - the man is 5'10" and weighs 185ish.  

Let me just say that if you need an ego boost or to not feel like bird doo doo on the ground, DO NOT set the scale up and weigh/measure your Very Fit Husband first.  He jumped on - at the end of the day - with his gym shorts on, and the scale said 185.6.  OK so maybe he's 184 nekkid in the morning.  Then it flashed his body fat percentage - 11.2Are you freaking kidding me?  Get on that again!  11.2Again!  11.2.

So, so SO UNFAIR!  This man eats butter by the Tablespoon full, he eats a GIANT bowl of ice cream every single night!!  If I let him, his main food groups would consist of hamburgers, brats, chicken wings, spaghetti with sausage and meatballs and pizza for goodness sake!!!

Decide now:  laugh or weep hysterically.  Because you know darn well your reading isn't gonna be pretty.  The plain truth is, you can't fight genetics and honey, let me tell you, I ain't got 'em.

I knew I had to face the music but decided I'm not going to even check the body fat thing until I lose around 5 pounds.  I don't want to feel any worse than I already do.  So my weigh in this morning was an adventure because the new scale flashes the weight.  So there I was feet on taking photos furiously trying to get one that would show the number. This required around a dozen shots and me getting off and on twice because, of course, every time I'd shoot, I'd get the blank screen then it would flash.  OY!  Anway, here you go:

 Which would be a 5.4 pound GAIN from my last weigh in two weeks ago.  That is absolutely ridiculous because there is NO WAY I overate 19,600 calories!  There is also no way it's water weight.  This is simply "Different Scale Syndrome."  What it does mean is that I have to treat this like a new start for my challenges, which sort of sucks but I'm not going to let it rock my world.

Speaking of Challenges, I have joined with around 25 other bloggers to take part in Biz' 101 Days of Summer Challenge.  This challenge started Memorial Day and goes through Labor Day.  It's very cool because not only did participants pick their own goals, but can change them even weekly!

My goals for that challenge are:

Track food, even on my relaxing day.  The reason is because my second goal is
Consume no more than 11,200 calories over a 7 day period
Burn at least 2500 calories through exercise

Entire Challenge:
 I'd like to lose (at least) 8 pounds and do one road race!

That's a nice mix of short and long term goals, I think.

By the way, have you entered my GIVEAWAY?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday Ten: The Giveaway Edition

Before I start the 10 let me just say I thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend.  Probably - no definitely - indulged too much.  But I'm happy and content today and ready to get the show on the road.

As promised, when I hit 100 followers or 200 posts I said I was going to do giveaways.  This really came about because when I put our family room back together after the flooding, I cleaned out the bookcases.  These are books that I have either bought or had given to me as I've tried various approaches to losing weight.   Here, in no particular order are this Tuesday's Ten - which you have an opportunity to win and with which I've included a link where you can see a full description of the item:

1.  The Abs Diet for Women paperback purchased by me because having a flat belly sounded like a nice idea...

2.  The South Beach Diet Supercharged purchased by me because I lost my original SB book. Then I found it when I had to pack & unpack after the flood.  So this is almost brand new and is a hardcover.

3.  The GI Diet Clinic & The GI Diet Express one purchased by me, one given to me as a gift.  I've taken everything I want out of them so if you've been curious about the glycemic index way to lose weight, here it is.

4.  The Belly Fat Cure purchased by me because, well see item #1.  Huh, I definitely have belly issues.

5.  The Fat Flush Plan, Cookbook & Journal and Shopping Guide purchased by me because a friend lost a whopping amount of weight using it and well, I wanted to too!  Not my thing though - you'll see the books are like new.

6.  The Spark given to me by a blogging friend because they knew I use SP to journal food.  I've read it cover to cover, took what I want but don't need to keep that book!

7.  Making the Cut purchased by me and I didn't like it, maybe you will.

8.  Such A Pretty Fat given to me as a birthday gift.  This book is brand new because I already had it.  Jen Lancaster is one of my most favorite memoir writers!

9.  Why Your Last Diet Failed You purchased by me, and written by Charlie Hills, who has a connection to our blogging community.  Besides writing on his own blog sporadically, our favorite food blogger Biz is his sister!  Chapter 14 "A Walk in the City" is the chapter where he describes going by himself to walk a marathon - a marathon Biz talked him into doing, but then had to back out of because she got sick.  Let me just say, when you read that chapter, wear a Depends.  Yes, that's right.  I laughed so hard I peed. Along with this, because I want you to be successful at your diet after you read Charlie's book, you'll get Cooking Light Best Chicken Recipes which I purchased but cannot link for you because it is one of those specialty magazines that I bought going through a register when I was hungry. It has beautiful full page color photos and chicken done every which way but loose.

10. Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009 which I purchased.  I've taken out the recipes I want and now it can be all yours.

The giveaway is open to US and Canadian citizens.  You will have to be willing to send me an address to mail things to!  Enter by leaving a comment stating which item you would like to win - or if you have more than one thing you'd like put them in order that you'd like to receive them.  If you want to comment but not win, please say so!  Also, anyone who is willing to link this on their blog gets an extra entry but you've got to tell me you did it. I'm going to throw names in a hat and pull them out so you could win twice!!

Enter until Friday at midnight Eastern, winners will be announced next Monday, June 7th.