Monday, June 30, 2014

The Great Debate

I have been having this debate with myself for a week or two. Today it has greatly intensified.

I have been very diligent about keeping in my calorie budget. I use MyFitnessPal which tracks calories and adds extra calories if you exercise. I currently eat between 1300-1400 calories a day. In the past 6 weeks I have gone over my set calories a couple times, but have never exceeded my additional exercise calories. I normally try not to use my exercise calories. If I am going to sweat (or glow) I want that extra work to help me reach my goals faster. 

I honestly haven't had too much trouble staying in budget.  However, there are some foods that I have been missing and they would make it much more difficult for me to not go over budget.  For example, a local place has the most delicious Butter Pecan frozen custard. I don't know how many calories it has so I am "afraid" to eat it. I would love a plate of nachos, but by the time I "slim them down" they aren't quite the nachos I was craving. 

I had been thinking that since my birthday is coming up and it happens to be on a weigh-in day that I might splurge a little after weigh-in and not worry if I go over calories. It would be one day and I would have a week to recover before my next weigh-in. Now that it almost here I am having second thoughts. I still want what I want, but I am struggling with being perfect. Does going over my calories one day out of 6 weeks make me bad? 

I don't think an occasional splurge is bad at all.  However, setting a precedent could be dangerous. What is a justifiable splurge. This week my birthday, next week it might be that the sun is shining. I know I am being a bit ridiculous. We are doing great and I have no real reason to think a splurge is going to throw me completely off track. 

So the debate rages on.  Full report tomorrow...

On a somewhat related subject.  I was quite annoyed today.  As I was waiting in the checkout line at Walmart I had plenty of time to peruse the snacks. It seemed like at least half of the packages were labeled as two to three servings. Seriously, who doesn't eat the whole packet of Bacon Cheddar pretzel nuggets (300 calories)??  I can't tell you the number of times I have eaten the box of Reese's Pieces (600 calories) by myself in one sitting.  I didn't even look at the a Grab Bag of chips - I know that thing is 3.5 servings and I owe at least one thigh to that marketing strategy!! Bottom line is that if I buy and open one of those snack items I won't have the strength to eat a so called one serving.  So instead I buy nothing and continue to long for the treats :(

Had a good walk this morning - 3 miles at 15:20/mile average.  Then tonight a mini workout at the gym while my husband was doing weights. I did 7 minutes on the elliptical. Then I did 20 minutes on the bike. I tried the random hill program. I had to reduce the difficulty a couple times at the steepest hills. Wish I could do that on my real bike :)

So I have done what I can for the week and tomorrow we will see how the scale plays out.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Whew - Busy Weekend!

We live in a great neighborhood and walking/running/biking around it is nice, but the way it is set up we end up doing several loops and it can get a bit boring. On the weekends we have been trying to make our workouts a little more interesting.

Saturday morning we chose the levee.  My husband planned to run 5 miles and I thought it would be fun to take my bike and ride with him while he ran. I made games of riding ahead and then back to him or letting him get ahead and racing to catch up.

I ended up getting very sidetracked by a barge going through the lock. I had never seen that before. It is incredible they can steer that massive barge through the lock. Of course, I was too far away to tell for sure, but it looked like there was only a few feet clearance on both sides of the barge.

Is he going to make it??

No problem!

I had to really move to catch him after I had dillydallied around watching the barge go into the lock.  He was probably a mile ahead of me. I don't think it was possible for my feet to pedal any faster.

Sometimes when you are taking pictures while riding a bike this happens. A couple of times I thought I might go over the edge of the levee down to the road..yikes!  Maybe as dangerous as texting and driving.

I caught him!!  This is actually one of my favorite pictures so far.  Love the lock and barge. Love how strong my husband looks.  Love how I felt riding along with him.

After our workout we came home had breakfast and headed out to the farmer's market. Going to the farmer's market has become one of our favorite activities. We take the dogs and just wander around checking out the new in-season produce. It seems they are just a little ahead of my garden. We bought some of our favorite tomatoes - yellow cherry (Sun Gold).  We grow them in our garden, but they won't be ready a week or two. Seriously, they are like eating candy (without the guilt!)  The farmer's market has more than produce - lots of plants and other crafts.

I am loving this rings - especially the blue stone in the center and the orange one above it. I am thinking of a (or two) of these rings will be my reward.

My in-laws live out in the country.  The dogs LOVE to go out there to run and play with their dogs.  Well, Millie loves to run and play.  Zommie more likes to follow my mother-in-law around waiting for treats to "fall."

Millie had a great time chasing sticks in the creek.

Zommie is more of a sit on the beach kind of gal.

Before we left the farm my mother-in-law walked down the road about a 1/4 mile to take some pictures of a beautiful sunflower field.  And of course, I founds some other flowers I couldn't resist taking a few shots of too.

Queen Anne's lace.

In the evening, I went with my sister, mom, nieces and a friend to see Tarzan (musical).  It was a good production.  Before the show we had a picnic in the park.  We call it our French picnic - bread, cheese, fruit, pastry, sparkling grape juice.  It was so good.  I stayed in calories but it was, love, love, bread and cheese!! In unrestricted eating I can only imagine how many calories I would have eaten!

Sunday morning I lazed in bed while my husband went running. He left about 6 a.m. I should have gone, but I was so tired after not getting to bed until midnight. I am trying to find balance. If I am working out everyday I think it is okay to take a day off. I just fear falling off the wagon...first one day, then another, etc.

When my husband came back from his run he made breakfast and brought it to me in bed...awww!  He made me an over easy egg on toast and some apple slices. One of the best breakfasts ever!  He has definitely paying attention to how many calories I like to use for breakfast and hit it perfectly.

By the time I'd had breakfast it was almost 9 a.m. and I realized I wanted to do something.  I just didn't want to lay around like a slug :)  I suggested taking the bikes to one of the many bike trails. We chose another part of the trail that goes on the levee. This particular part actually had limited river view. We rode south a couple miles then back to the start...then north for a couple miles and back to the start. Let me just say the final two miles was ridiculous - a head wind came up.  I couldn't believe the difference it made going into the wind. I could not wait to be finished. We ended up having ridden 9 miles...and my hiney survived!

This part of the bike path needs a little work.I didn't really like riding under all those power could hear them sizzle.

We are not going downhill - just the crazy angles of a biking photographer.

I would have liked to show you a picture of me on the bike.  I had my husband take a couple.  But oh my, I did NOT like the way I looked on that bike. I will keep those pictures for the dramatic before/after post. I did have him take this picture of me standing by the canal. You get the idea of my shape without my feeling mortified at the thought of it being on the internet forever.

And a lovely rear view :)  After the bike ride I was debating going into this fountain.  I chickened out.  I didn't realize I was being photographed so this is authentic as it gets.

It was a wonderful weekend filled with fun activities and good food...and no guilt :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Men Sweat - Women Glow?

Ugh! This morning's walk was tough. I was convinced when I checked my Garmin stats that the temperature was much warmer and higher humidity than yesterday. Only 2 degrees warmer and 100% humidity both days. Why did it feel so much tougher this morning? I walked 3 miles (a little over 16 minute/mile) and the last 1/2 mile I really just wanted someone to come pick me up. I made myself grind it out.

The first mile I walked by myself.  Then my husband passed Millie off to me so that she wouldn't have to run the whole time. He is up to 4-5 miles and that is just too much for her I think. We have been walking/running on a loop in the neighborhood that is about a mile. Since we at different paces, we walk opposite directions on the loop so we meet up every lap to encourage each other. I think it makes us speed up a little too.  We both seem to be trying to meet sooner than the other person expects.

Mile 2 was my best, even though it was the first mile I had Millie - she is a bit of a distraction. I felt bad for my husband when he left the house with her.  She was so excited and jumping around he could barely run straight.  Then by my third mile I think Millie was getting bored with me and looking for my husband again. Maybe she wanted to get away from grumpy me - I just wanted to be finished.

You know how they say "men sweat and women glow?"  Well by the time I got back to the house I definitely had my "glow" on!  Despite it being a tough morning I was happy to have done it. Seriously, does anyone ever look back and say "I wish I hadn't worked out today?"

Tonight I went to watch my nephew's wrestling tournament. I like to watch him wrestle but there is so much waiting time between matches. I think it might have been the first time we have been on our own for dinner since we started watching our calories. It felt weird to not be making dinner for my husband. Of course, he did great on his own and I stopped at Subway on my way to the tournament.

Busy weekend planned. I hope I can keep up with myself :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hair Bands

Okay, whose first thought was the bands used to tie your crazy hair up or down while you are working out?  Fleurty and Fit makes some cute ones you should check out (I haven't ordered one yet but it is on my list).

When I say Hair Bands I am speaking as a child of the 80s....Poison, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, etc.  This morning while I was walking I had enough of the lightweight 80s bee-bop music from my current Pandora station. So I created a new station on my Pandora app. I used "Shot Through the Heart" as my sample to create the station. It was fun to hear some more powerful music - Scorpions, Europe, etc. It made me feel stronger.

Speaking of knee seems to be recovered. I had a twinge or two while I was walking but nothing that concerned me and nothing afterwards. My happy walking feet burning up the pavement!!!

I wish my cell phone would truly capture all the beautiful sunrises I am enjoying during our morning workouts. This morning the sky was so pink. I loved this shot anyway because it shows the road out before me. And who doesn't love a pink road?  Made me so happy knowing that I am back on my walking regimen.

I was very satisfied with these times for the first time back in almost a week.  I wanted to test my knee and still get a good workout. I think I am accomplished that goal. Even though the times don't really reflect it, it took my body awhile to warm up this morning.

Avg Pace

This evening after dinner we took the dogs to the prairie at a nearby park. Started in 1977, the prairie has been planted with tons of beautiful native prairie plants. It is fun to go throughout the season and see all the different plants in bloom.  Many of the plants are taller than me already.  (See end of post for just some of the beautiful plants we saw - photography is one of my passions.)

This guy was not at all happy to have us in his prairies...I think he said lots of bad words!  Redwing blackbirds are one of my favorites...

Millie and Zommie (our 13 year old dachshund) had a good time checking out all the interesting smells. And afterwards we let them run and play ball.


It was a nice evening.  I was surprised that Millie tired out before us!!

I took the following flower/foliage pictures this evening as we walked through the prairie. You might think this is a boat load of pictures but I assure you it is just a fraction of what I took :)  They do a guided tour a couple times a month. I need to remember to go sometime to find out what all the different flowers are.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Return of the Morning Workouts

I can not tell you how happy I was to be looking over these handlebars this morning. Although looking at the picture now makes me a little dizzy.

It felt so good to be getting a morning workout with the cool air blowing over me as I zipped through the neighborhood.  Okay, not exactly zipped...I rode just over three miles in about 25 minutes. A little pokey, but I will take it. I originally planned to ride four miles, but my tender hiney said no. I need to work on those buns of steel :)

My knee feels pretty good before and after the ride. There is a tiny twinge that I think might be from favoring it and using the brace. The brace is staying home today. I do hate wearing it because it just doesn't seem to fit my chubby little leg that comfortably.

Pretty purple bush...I missed you!  I might need one of these for my yard. Does anyone know what it is?

On the bike again this evening. Quick half mile ride to my sister's house to take a dip in the pool before dinner. I didn't wear the brace to work today.  My knee feels good...not feeling any sort of pain.  Tomorrow there will be walking :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weigh-In & Date Night!

Today was our 5th weekly weigh-in.  First, I would like to say we have done so much better staying on track this time. Since we've been married we have "tried" a few times to lose weight and always seem to make it somewhere between 10-14 days before we crumble. I am super proud of how committed we both have been. It makes a world of difference to both be on the same page working for the same goal. Now if I could just lose as fast as my husband I would be even happier :) 

So, the weigh-in....2.6 pounds lost. That brings my total to 15 pounds or 20% of my "lose my puppy" goal.  Way to go, me!

I know I have been a bit in the dumps the last week or so about my knee situation. I am not sure when it will be ready for some serious walking again. I will definitely be holding out a little longer on my dreams of starting to run. Tomorrow I am planning to try the biking in the neighborhood for my workout.

Despite not working out like I want I have kept my calories in check. I feel really good about my eating. My calorie range is 1300-1500 - it has not been too much of a struggle. We eat lots of good healthy foods and work in enough "goodies" that we don't feel punished. Although, I might be glad when June is over - we have so many birthdays and events in May & June it has taken most of my extra energy to just navigate all the goodies.

I have made a discovery that seems to help me - I have been entering food into MyFitnessPal in advance. By doing so, I know about how many calories I have for the rest of the day. If I know a that piece of piggy cake is going to cost me 445 calories (see Sunday's post) I make better choices earlier in the day (fruit smoothie for breakfast - no snacks). Also, having a plan of what is a reasonable meal helps control the impulse eating. If I just wait until I eat it to record it I am concerned I won't make as rational of choices.  I'll be honest, I have not been to a party yet where I stuck completely to my plan, but I have stayed pretty close. I knew I didn't have much wiggle room and it certainly curbed the damage I could have done.

To celebrate a good weigh-in, I planned a date night for my husband and me. I didn't tell him anything about what we were doing other than to tell him to reserve extra calories for dinner...pretty romantic, right? We drove to a town about 20 minutes away. I told him we were going 4 places...he was so confused. He is so funny cause he usually likes to be in control and not knowing the plan was a bit disconcerting for him...and super fun for me.

First up...Go Karts :)  I asked for the fastest car, but it turns out speed is wasted on bad drivers. I was bringing up the rear the whole time...well, until my husband practically stopped and waited for me to catch up. I was trying to go as fast as possible with out crashing at every turn. There was another kid on the course and I think he was out to get me. Please keep in mind the following picture is taken from my "speeding" go kart. I wasn't afraid of dropping my camera but I was worried about careening out of control while taking pictures.

After go karts we tried the bumper cars. We were the only two doing it so a couple employees jumped in cars and joined us. It was so much fun! Check out that smile.  I wish he had had a camera too so I could see my face...I bet I was a sight!

After we played for awhile we headed off to location 2 & 3.  Location 2 was a restaurant we've been to a couple of times. I love, love their Gyro Salad. My husband thinks the place is okay, so I got a salad to go and we headed to location 3 - one of his favorite pizza places. I had called in an order for his favorite (sausage jalapeno).  I ordered a small pizza - gasp!  Earlier in the day I had worked my geometry skills and figured out the calories for a small pizza based on a slice of the large pizza.  Yes, I was pretty impressed with myself :)  Once we had gathered our food we drove to a park where I whipped out the picnic stuff from the trunk. My husband was very surprised and happy.

I took a picture of my salad, but turns out it is NOT photogenic. It was delicious and the ambiance of the park was perfect. We had a shady spot on top of a hill overlooking the lake. There was a light breeze. Seriously perfect.  We both had food we loved. Guilt free because we worked it into our daily calorie allowance. After we ate we fed the ducks and geese by the lake. I even remembered the bread. Loved this baby goose getting its grown up feathers. I will say for a baby it was a bit of a bully...bad goose.

The obligatory selfie and our date was complete....

It was the perfect evening and exactly what we needed. We have both been so caught up in the calorie counting and exercising (or not exercising in my case) it was nice to just relax and enjoy each other The whole reason we are doing this thing is to maximize our health so we can enjoy our life together even longer.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Birthday Party

I am struggling with this post. I have started it several times.  Bottom line is that I am struggling with my feelings today. I know I am doing very well overall, but I am frustrated with my body at the moment. I wanted to have a really great workout today because we are going to a birthday lunch today. I wanted to have a little flexibility in what I eat without feeling like I am splurging too much.

Unfortunately, my body is not cooperating. I have had a little concern about my right knee for awhile. Nothing major just at times it feels a bit tight and/or tender. Yesterday it started bothering me in a new way. Every now and then it would kind of pop - like it extended backwards. Then it would hurt quite a bit for a few steps. Then it will be fine again. 

I thought maybe I aggravated it with all the bending and pulling from the weeding frenzy yesterday. So, I rested it last night and hoped that it would feel better in the morning. Overall, it feels okay. Just every now and then I have the pop/pain incidents. I made the choice to not walk this morning to rest my knee. But I am really hating not getting in a good workout today. My husband ran this morning (his foot is doing better) and he is at the gym now doing weights. I feel like a big ol' slug. I know I am working hard and am not a slug, but I can't shake the feeling.

To be honest I am a bit envious of how well my husband is doing. Please don't mistake me to mean I wish he weren't doing as great as he is. I am thrilled and proud of him - he is seriously working hard.  It is just difficult to be side by side with someone who has much more visible success when you know you are working hard (and succeeding). It is just not noticeable to others quite yet.

I am trying to concentrate on how much better I am feeling (apart from my knee at the moment). Yesterday when I was doing the yard work I thought several times to myself that it was not as painful as it has been in the past. I know my legs are stronger. This morning I was a bit sore from the yard work, but nothing like I have previously felt after yard work.  

So here is the plan for today. Birthday party for my sister and niece. We made the birthday cake this morning. I have been wanting to make this since I first saw it on Pinterest. I wish I could give credit to the original creator of this adorableness, but I can't seem to track down who started it - many many people have recreated it and now we have too.  Now you can see why I am more concerned about missing a workout knowing that I am going to indulge in a piece of this chocolate extravaganza :) 

On the upside, my niece requested Subway and chips for her birthday party - I thought for sure she would want the dreaded hashbrown naughty and so yummy.  Subway sure makes it easier for us to stay on track. To help with the chip situation (another of my downfalls), I bought the little individual serving bags. That way we know exactly how many calories we are getting, everyone can choose their own flavor and no one is stuck with big open bags of leftover chips. It may cost a bit more, but it is worth it to me. 

I am going to make good use of the pool this afternoon. People will think I am playing, but I will be giving myself a good workout that won't stress my knee.  

Well, off I go... Happy Sunday!

Birthday cake!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Eyes to the Sky

Good morning!  I wanted to share a couple pictures from yesterday before I get to today. When I got home from work I realized I forgot my cell phone at work. So after dinner my husband and I drove to get it. I am glad I we went to get it when we did. Got to see some incredible clouds as a storm rolled in.  Hopefully you can tell from the angle that I am not driving. I am sticking my camera out the window and holding it above the roof snapping pics like a fool. It was so pretty with the light and dark clouds.

On the way home we drove straight through the rain. It was a torrential downpour. I was so thankful that my husband was driving. The rain stopped and we were almost home when I asked my husband to pull over so I could get a shot of this. It is not often I see the whole rainbow. I don't think I've ever taken a picture of one.

On to this morning. It has already been a busy day. We got up at 5 a.m. because my husband was meeting his friend, his friend's son and our nephew to go golfing. Of course, we had to get a workout in first.  I walked two miles 16:15 & 15:30 - not particularly fast but I was okay with it. I thought about going three miles but decided to head home so I could get my husband breakfast before he headed out the door. 

This weekend is turning out to be the weekend of the sky. Check out this picture from this morning. Another reason I love my morning walks.

Maybe I would walk faster if I left my camera at home. I can't resist reflections...
Practicing selfies for my next race.  The one I took during the 10K was horrendous. This is a little better. 
With my husband gone and my walk finished, I decided to get to work. The flowerbeds (iris, daylilies, hostas) have become desperately overgrown. I don't know how it gets away from me so fast. Not to mention all this morning exercise has really cut into my morning productivity. I think it will be worth it in the end. I spent an hour and a half weeding like a madwoman. That has to be worth at least 18 zillion calories, right?? That should come in handy tomorrow when I am having a piece of chocolate birthday cake.

I just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. I didn't do the best job, but it is definitely an improvement.



The "what am I going to do with it now?" pile.
Did I mention my husband went golfing?? Seriously, I am happy he went. In the summer his work is pretty strenuous and he doesn't get near enough time hanging out with his friends. On an unrelated note - he is looking so good!!! Down 30 pounds :)  He has been doing great on calories (cut out fast food) and working out like crazy. Kicking the soda habit has been a big help too,

I better get myself out of this chair and moving again before all my muscles tighten up.  Tomorrow is the birthday party for my sister and niece. We are making the cake (pictures tomorrow) and I have a little shopping to finish up.  Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Garden Goodies

This deliciousness is exactly why I love my garden. Seriously it makes me wonder how I survived the winter. I made this Lo Mein tonight for dinner. It is one of our go-to meals based on Eating Well's Edamame Lo Mein. I have made it several times as the recipe is written. Then over time we have adapted it to our taste. I have replaced the edamame with chicken. I figured out how many calories for the edamame and then used the same calorie amount of chicken. I switch out the veggies as I have available. For the record we loved this recipe even before we were counting calories.

From our garden, tonight's version featured broccoli, zucchini, snap peas and green onion. It was perfect! We didn't plant any sweet peppers this year so these came from the store. If you like Chinese food this is a recipe you must try. As written the recipe is 417 calories.  I bulk up the veggies a bit and add those additional calories.  A serving is 2 cups!!  (Plus an additional cup of veggies per serving.)

Eating Well's Edamame Lo Mein (without edamame + chicken and more veggies)
After dinner I picked a few more things:

The last of the lettuce being washed.  I am sad to see it go, but the weather is too hot. It is getting a little bitter and trying to go to seed. I have never replanted for a fall crop but I am going to try it this year. I think I will plant around mid-August.

Broccoli was picked last night. I only had 4 plants. I got them on a whim and wasn't sure there were would be enough time for it to develop. It doesn't like the hot either. Fresh broccoli is tastier than store bought...who knew?

I also picked cilantro, zucchini, a couple jalapenos and the rest of the beans and snap peas. Most importantly....2 tomatoes!!!  Tomatoes are our most anticipated crop. This year I inadvertently bought 19 plants. The nursery I go to has so many varieties and you can get two-packs for less than a dollar. I just kept shopping.  The tomatoes are going slow but hopefully I will have pictures of all the varieties to share in a few weeks.

These zucchini plants are out of control, but not producing as much as I would like. Hopefully they are just getting a slow start. Somewhere I saw a recipe for a zucchini boat using spaghetti/lasagna flavors.

Okay, enough gardening. Our walk was good this morning. I didn't go as far as I wanted. I think Millie was too warm - her tongue was down to her knees. Then she started coughing a bit. I stopped about 1/2 mile short of my goal. Thankfully, Millie was fine when we got home. I guess we will try again tomorrow :)

I don't feel too badly about not finishing my walk. Today at work I was moving offices so there was plenty of exercise in moving furniture and all my other stuff.  Tomorrow I have to try to get it all organized again.

When we got home we went to my sister's house for a quick dip in the pool.  My poor husband ended up hitting his face on the edge of the pool...didn't realize he was so close to the edge when he popped up from swimming underwater. He got a pretty good scrape on the bridge of his nose...OUCH!