Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's been awhile...

I know I haven't posted since May, but I suppose you can say life happened.  I've taken seven classes for my doctorate degree and will be enrolled for another three this spring.  The spring will be my last crazy busy semester.

I could make every excuse in the book for falling off the bandwagon this past 1-2 years in my weight loss journey.  (Actually, upon editing this post, I find it funny that I call it a weight loss journey and not a lifestyle change becuase it really needs to be a lifestyle change; a change in how my mind works and functions as it relates to food and exercise.)  I could blame it on school (started Fall 2010) and working full time, or my move to a house 14 miles farther from work (December 2009), or my failure in running a half marathon (February 2011), or my new-ish relationship (September 2010), or my volunteer work, or just the everyday preoccupation of my mind.  The fact is, I will be asked hard questions in a couple of weeks by my new trainer and I don't know if I have any answers.  My current trainer is moving his career forward and is becoming a firefighter.  I wish him the best, of course, since it's a pretty sweet gig and great for his family.  I think, though, as a friend, he may have let me slide in accountability a little.  A new trainer could (and will) be a good thing, but it also has to be the right trainer because Matt was the right trainer for me at the time I needed him.  With his guidance next week, we will discuss who may take over that role.  It's funny.  I used to always pick up and leave when things were progressing to "comfortable," but I'm afraid of the accountability, something I should have been doing every single day.  I suppose it's best to face it now rather than in my coffin.  I used to run from feelings and getting close to people, but now change (and a change of scenery) kind of scares me.  Am I growing up?  Or am I just not challenging myself enough? 

My best friend would say that I'm settling, that I see life for me as "good enough" and it's my fear of taking chances, or perhaps that I'm not afraid of failing but I'm even more afraid of succeeding.  I have to agree that my half marathon failure was probably the item that hit me hardest, and sometiems I feel that when I fail, I might as well fail the best way I know how - completely.  My best friend could possibly even call me a coward for not moving life forward; we can be brutal like that. 

What I do know is that I'm going to miss my brother (my current trainer).  I am determined that the two and half years that we spent together was not for nothing; in other words, it was for something.  Matt (my current trainer) probably knows more about me and what I have been through than anybody else, and he's completely right when he says that I think too much and that's the interference that has caused a reversal in my weight loss progression.  He and I discussed a few months ago the idea of switching trainers to get out of my stalemate because he wanted me to keep progressing.  Now, through fate alone, I have that chance and I'm going to take it.  Perfect timing for a new year's resolution, eh?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

For a literal person like myself, there is a difference between CST and CDT, especially since I work and know people who live in states that do not acknowledge daylight savings. During the summer, when you're setting up a meeting with me, use the appropriate initials: PDT (Pacific Daylight Savings Time), MDT (Mountain Daylight Savings Time), CDT (Central Daylight Savings Time), and EDT (Eastern Daylight Savings Time). During the winter, we're back to standard time which would be PST, MST, CST, and EST respectively. It's amazing how many people don't get this simple difference, but it is an hour and some states (like Arizona) stay on standard time all year. That's my rant for the day.
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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Recipe: Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken

This recipe is from the American Heart Association (originally in their 4th edition low-fat, low-cholesterol cookbook).  I received it at a conference where they were a vendor.

Ingredients
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tsp dried basil, crumbled
- 1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
- 1 14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 9 oz package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (I used canned artichoke hearts)
- 1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 2.25 oz can sliced black olives, drained
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions
1.  Discard all visible fat from the chicken.  Sprinkle both sides with the basil and oregano.  Put the chicken in a 3.5-4 quart slow cooker.
2.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cook, covered, on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.

Nutrition (per serving, serves 8)
- Calories:  162
- Total Fat:  2.5 g
   Saturated:  0.5 g
   Trans:  0.0 g
   Poly:  0.5 g
   Mono:  1.0 g
- Cholesterol:  65 mg
- Sodium:  334 mg
- Carbohydrates:  6 g
   Fiber:  4 g
   Sugar:  2 g
- Protein:  28 g

Dietary Exchanges:  1 Vegetable, 3 Very Lean Meat

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Avoid Boredom Eating

How can you avoid boredom eating?  Here are a few thoughts and ideas that may be able to help.

1.  What do you like to do?  For me, I missed reading books, so if I pick up a book to read, I will not eat out of boredom.  Maybe someday I'll get an iPadKindle, or Nook.  The Kindle that has free 3G looks rather impressive (hint hint to those who love me)!!!  I'm blogging again too!
2.  Tackle that "to do" list.  Not only does it make you feel accomplished, but things actually get done!
3.  Get out of the house!  Try something new or go somewhere you have never been to.

Any other ideas?

Monday, May 02, 2011

From the iPod: Right Round by Flo Rida

One of my favorite running songs for the trails down at Town Lake (aka Lady Bird Lake)!  What are your favorite workout songs?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Recipe: Balsamic Chicken Pasta

I'm not sure where I first got this recipe, but I've made it my own over the years and get rave reviews whenever I make it.  I love having this recipe during the summer with vegetables from the garden.

Ingredients
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Chicken
- Fresh vegetables (typically I use garlic, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, and green onions)
- Basil and/or oregano
- Pasta (I recommend Great Value Whole Wheat Pasta because it only has one ingredient - durum whole wheat flour.  I find mine at Walmart.)
- Feta cheese
- Fresh tomatoes (cherry tomatoes cut in half work great!)

Steps
1.  Cook chicken and garlic in a little bit of olive oil on stove.
2.  At the same time that the chicken is cooking, cut fresh vegetables (broccoli, yellow squash, and zucchini), and add to cooked chicken and garlic (or if you choose to remove the chicken, just add to pan).  Also, have the pasta cooking at the same time.
3.  When vegetables, chicken, and pasta are cooked, combine and toss in balsamic vinegar (if you choose to, you can add a little more olive oil at this time).  Add basil/oregano, green onions, fresh chopped tomatoes, and a bit of feta cheese.
4.  Eat cold or warm.  Typically I eat it warm on the first day and cold on the others.

Sunday Football! The NFL Draft...

I am a HUGE football fan, and even though I live in Texas, I mainly follow the NFL rather than college (but I do cheer for my Spartans and Longhorns!).  Since I grew up in New England, I am a die-hard Patriots fan.  I also cheer for the Giants because I had the opportunity to be on the field with them one summer while they practiced at the school I went to, but I follow, live, and breathe the Patriots, so of course I was watching the draft closely, praying that they select a quarterback that could be molded for when Tom Brady retires.  Let's face facts, Brady's getting older and he's been suffering from more injuries.  He still impresses me, though.  Ryan Mallett is a great choice for the Patriots, and I hope Brady molds Mallett sort of like how Bledsoe mentored Brady.  Although in this case, Brady's not going anywhere unlike Bledsoe at the time.  Other areas of need were definitely offensive linemen and running backs, in which we scored two of each.  Here's to hoping each follows through on all the hype!

(Is it weird that I'm such a Tom Brady fan, but I cheer for the Spartans?  And don't get me started on when the Patriots played the Giants in the SuperBowl!)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Little Bit About Me

Let me introduce myself to my new readers.  I am a 31 year old epidemiologist (and student) who lives and works in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area in Texas.  I moved here in 2006 after briefly living in Michigan.  The joke in my family is that I'm slowly moving west; perhaps Hawaii is next?

I work full time and am a full time doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health.  I will be taking four classes this summer, two of which I'm sure I'll be posting about because the topics are extremely interesting (occupational epidemiology and pharmaceutical industry).  I don't feel at liberty to discuss where I work; as a disclosure, this blog is about my personal journey and my beliefs, interests, and views.  I hope that the knowledge that I share with you will encourage you in your life, and maybe I will challenge your thought process as well.  Feel free to encourage me and challenge me too.

I am a cat owner and a chicken co-owner.  As an urban chicken owner, I feel the need to discuss and teach others about chickens as I learn.  I am also learning about home ownership; I've been in my house for just over a year now.  And yes, being organic is important to me; I suppose a bit of Austin has rubbed off on me.

The main reason for this blog is about my weight loss efforts - my successes and my failures.  Currently, my failures have been vast in comparison to my success; I'm back at square one in this journey.  The key, though, is that I haven't given up.  Nobody should ever give up.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Imperfections...

It's the imperfections that make us who we are. Why is it that I can accept and even love other peoples' imperfections much easier than my own? It's my imperfection, or flaw, of wanting to be perfect that has led to my "destruction" in the past. Will this time be any different? Why can't I convince myself that I will never truly be perfect and that's just simply okay?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Optimal Workout

YahooSports had an interesting article posted today (Warm Up With Cardio, Then Go To Weights. Right? Wrong.) on what the optimal workout is. Go figure, my trainer is right (shhhh...don't tell him). You do a 10 minute warm-up, and 30 minutes of weight lifting followed by 30 minutes of cardio. When I was at my best, I was doing 30 minutes of warm-up followed by 60 minutes of weight lifting and 45 minutes of cardio. I just wish I had the time these days to do that again! Working full time and going to school full time has eaten up a lot of that! Give up sleep? Perhaps that is what I need to do. Any thoughts any juggling workouts, school, and work?

Oh yeah, the article does mention that if time is restrictive, go for the weights, but at my size, I definitely need to get that cardio in!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Song of the Week: Javier - Lovin' U

We've all been there before. Other people have wanted to love me, but never knew how to. This reminds me of how lucky I am right now.

Just as an FYI - Javier is a contestant on The Voice, which I kind of got roped into tonight as I was writing up a final exam.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ready to blog again!

I miss blogging!  And more importantly, I did SO much better in my life journey when I did blog.  I am officially back!  I am going to start blogging in the next couple of weeks due to finals, but I will ramp it up as quickly as possible.  As a guideline, I'm leaning towards to posting on specific topics on certain days of the week, but this will not be set in stone.

Monday - Song of the week and/or "need to know"
Tuesday - Food and/or environment
Wednesday - Typical weigh-in day at Weight Watchers
Thursday - Physical fitness and/or the body
Friday - Data day
Saturday - Past, present, and future
Sunday - Recipe of the week

I have a few housekeeping notes before I start blogging again.
1.  Please feel free to sign up to get e-mails of my journal entries!  And don't hesitate to follow me on Twitter too!
2.  If you are a fellow blogger and would like to be added to my blog roll, please let me know, and I will take it under consideration.
3.  Lastly, I am 95% sure that I will never been adding advertisements to my blog.  If I do so, there will be strict requirements of what I will allow to be added.  Advertisements, in my opinion, take away from the blog and what I want to convey to my readers.

I'm excited to be back, and I look forward to getting to know you!!!!