Friday, October 14, 2011

Breaking dawn

Move that body: 3.5-mile run

Guess who has the day off today?



I’d call him a stupid butthead and be totally envious of his teacher’s schedule had I not had full intentions to take advantage of him being home. As in, I had plans to run on my schedule without the BOB.

Emphasis on plans.

Seeing as I had the opportunity to run on my schedule, I decided that I would rather go running after Miles’ 4:30 a.m. feeding rather than sleep.


Yeah, I was uploading stats from the Garmin at 5:59 and still managed a smile.

I can run at 5 a.m. any day of the week, leaving Mark and Miles to get another hour of sleep, so I’m not so sure why I felt compelled to go out.

Actually, I do. I was so hungry at 4:30 that I was going to have to get a snack. If I was going to get up for food, I might as well get up to exercise as well.

I devoured a banana with Nutella and went on my way. It was a pretty mediocre run but I so enjoyed being out on a quiet, fall morning. It was just Denali, me and the leaves crunching beneath our feet.

Of course, now that I’ve done this once, means I could do it again.


What’s the earliest you’ve gotten up to workout?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall, is that you?

It seems the straggling days of summer are gone and fall is here.

The sky is hazy and gray. The green has disappeared, replaced by red and orange. Sidewalks are lined with the "helicopters" of the maple. The air ... the air has a certain chill.

And I'm wearing my first sweater of the season and a pair of brown cords though I'd much rather be on the couch in an oversized pair of sweats, drinking a hot chocolate.

Here are some of my favorite (no-guilt) twists to enjoy hot chocolate. With all of these ideas, I start with a packet of Diet Swiss Miss and use half unsweetened almond milk and half water. However, you could use any mix and whatever water-milk combo you like best.

Pump up the Pumpkin. Add 2 tablespoons pumpkin and a hefty dash of pumpkin pie spice. I usually pour in about a quarter-cup of the liquid, stir and add pumpkin. Add another quarter-cup of liquid and return the mug to the microwave for about 45 seconds to warm the pumpkin.

On top of the Andes. Add a drop or two (no more) of mint extract to the hot chocolate mix and add the liquid. Top with whipped cream and crushed Andes mints if you are feeling sassy. You could also sub out the mint extract with a creme de menthe syrup, like this one from DaVinci.

Samoan retreat. Add a drop or two of coconut extract to the mix and add the liquid. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. In place of the caramel sauce, you could add a caramel syrup to the mix, like this one from Torani.

Almond joy. Add a couple drops of almond extract to the mix and replace almond milk with coconut milk, such as Silk.

S'more please. Top with Marshmallow Fluff, drizzle of chocolate sauce and pieces of graham cracker. I would recommend using a non-diet mix for this as the diet has an after taste that the extracts masked.

Hot chocolate mix tip: I mastered the following method while waiting tables at Cracker Barrel. Add just a quarter-cup of the water/milk to the mix and stir vigorously with a fork. Gradually add the remainder of the water/milk, continuing to stir with a fork. It might seem weird but it makes sure the mix is well incorporated and prevents a mess.

How do you like your hot chocolate?

Weighing in: Stopping by Wendie’s

Anyone miss last week’s weigh in?

Yeah, I did, too.

Actually, I didn’t miss it – I just wish I had. I was up nearly a half-pound at Weight Watchers and, to be honest, I wasn’t surprised. Mark and I ate out a lot while we were in Cincinnati – like every meal – when we were there for my brother’s wedding.

This week there seems to be no change, which is a bit disappointing. I felt pretty good about my efforts, getting in my four Huff training runs and having taken a stab at the Wendie plan to jumpstart things. The Wendie plan “uses your extra weekly points in a certain distribution to help increase your metabolism so you can start losing that weight again.” [source]

What’s working: The Huff training schedule. Last night, I went down to the basement at 9 p.m. for a treadmill run. It wasn’t necessarily because I felt exercise guilt but because I didn’t want to skip a run so early in the plan. The Huff will help me exercise for a purpose other than weight loss, which I find reduces stress and makes it more fun.

What’s not working: My recent re-discovery of the fabulousness that is the McDonald’s ice cream cone.


While I will tell nearly anyone that the McDonald’s cone is a reasonable indulgence, it is NOT a reason to makeup an errand in order to leave the office and get one. 

Plan of action: Different version of the Wendie Plan and do Jillian Michaels once this weekend.

Now, with all of that said, I’m beginning to realize, more and more every day, that 9+ months pregnant = 9+ months to lose weight. And you know what?


Seeing this guy smile is worth it.I think.

How has exercise changed your perspective on weight loss?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday: The highlights

The big three: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Growing up, I thought you only needed big three. Snacking … well, snacking was bad. You didn’t need it.

It made you fat. It’s not to say that I didn’t snack – I did – but it wasn’t something that was encouraged.

Now, I couldn’t make it through a day without snacking. There’s the pre-exercise snack, the mid-morning snack, the 3 kajillion afternoon snacks and an evening snack. All day, I snack, snack, snack.

Mini-meals are often encouraged during weight loss as a way to stabilize blood sugar and prevent that insane hunger that makes you eat a bag of chips with a container of French onion dip and a sleeve of Thin

Mints for dessert. However, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I should be eating more at the big three to keep from snacking so much.

Hear me out. As a nursing mom, I get 43 Points+ a day (with a total of 49 Weekly Points+ to use at my discretion).

Yesterday, my breakfast was this Cauliflower and Feta Omelet.


It clocked in at 4 Points+.

Lunch was a mish mash of leftovers.


Spaghetti squash and salsa chicken, warmed up with two wedges of Chipotle Laughing Cow to make a creamy “pasta” and topped with 2% reduced fat Cheddar cheese. I had this at 8 Points+.

Note: I am not one of those people who think you can just sub out noodles with spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is NOT pasta. It’s just not. I just like the taste and texture of spaghetti squash.

For dinner, I made tilapia seasoned with Old Bay, turnip “chips” and lima beans.

My meal came to 8 Points+.

All together, the big three came to 20 Points+ – less than half my daily allowance – giving me room to eat a Pumpkin Banana Muffin, popcorn and … I don’t remember and I’m too lazy to get my tracker.
So what about you? Do you eat big meals and few snacks or smaller meals and lots of snacks?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take 5

Move that body: 3.5-mile run with Denali and Miles

I just stared at the training schedule I had posted on the fridge.

3.5 miles? 3.5 miles!

Hal Higdon could not be serious. I mean, how am I supposed to fit in 3.5 miles before work? Three miles was doable but 3.5 - no way! Not. Going. To. Happen.

At least until I slapped some sense into myself. Three-and-a-half miles is only a half-mile farther than the 3 miles that seemed so easy to fit in before heading into the office, and that half-mile should only take 5 minutes (give or take). And though my mornings lack the leisure of my pre-Miles life, I do have 5 minutes to spare and, if I don't, being 5 minutes late to work isn't the end of the world. After all, one could always tell her boss that she bumped into [important person's name here] on the way in.

So I got myself dressed, Miles bundled and Denali leashed and headed out a few minutes shy of 7 a.m.

The run itself was fairly average - I felt good, for the most part, unless I had to push that dang BOB up a hill. Hills suck.

Along the course, a nearly out-and-back through the neighborhood, I did get cited by the snark police. I was running against (the zero) traffic when a woman sitting in a parked van rolled down her window to tell me that we were hard to see. We were hard to see - me in that bright shirt and Miles in a yellow stroller - as opposed to her, sitting in a parked van with no lights on.

Instead of telling her to shut up, put the doughnut down and run herself, I politely nodded and said "Umm, thanks."

OK, she didn't really have a doughnut. At least one that I saw.

While I do appreciate the "concern," the woman's tone was more snarky than polite. I just don't think she understood. It's not as if I choose to run in the street to see how many cars come thisclose to hitting me. The street is easier and, dare I say, safer to push the stroller on than the sidewalk, which is usually full of uneven ground from mature tree roots pushing up under the cement.  I was also taking measures to keep my clan safe - running against traffic, wearing bright colors, running on a street with street lights and moving over whenever possible.

With that said, though, I do plan to buy some kind of light to wear or strap on the stroller to be as safe as possible, especially as the days get shorter.

How do you stay safe while running? Anyone have a light/reflective gear to recommend?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The mother load

Guess who's no longer a newborn ...


Guess who's a happy boy  now ...


Guess who's 3 months old ...

Miles! Miles! Miles!

Reader Lee asked me the other day about how I'm fitting in running with motherhood so I thought I'd take the opportunity to take questions about motherhood, my running comeback, my status as an unenthusiastic breast-feeder and whether I ever really give up dairy. Anything you want to know, just ask.

Of course, feel free to amuse me as I post super cute pictures of my lil guy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Makin’ it big time

Today is a big day. Huge.

While I can’t really tell you why – not yet, anyway - I promise that it really is big.

And a big day like today deserves a big breakfast. Growing up, that term meant homemade biscuits and gravy, over medium eggs and bacon. My mom made a mean biscuits and gravy.

A moment of silence, please.

Rarely, though, did she make french toast or pancakes – sad because pancakes are so yummy and so worthy of the big breakfast term.

Especially these Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes.




1 cup baking mix, such as Jiffy or Bisquick

1/2 cup oatmeal

3/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1 egg white

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon, depending on taste

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 packets Truvia or 2 tablespoons sugar

Raisins or other fruit


To make:

Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to skillet and preheat over medium heat.

In a bowl, gently mix together baking mix, oatmeal, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and sweetener. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes. I find that this resting period is key to getting a fluffy pancake. Also, as you are using uncooked oatmeal, it allows the cereal to soak up some of the milk and soften up a bit.

Spoon batter onto skillet and sprinkle with raisins (or fruit, like bananas, if your husband has a weird sense of what tastes good). Allow the pancakes to cook until they get a smidge dry on the sides and have bubbles in the middle. Flip. Cook all the way through.

Serve with butter, syrup and a glass of ice cold milk.

Note: If your raisins sort of suck, allow them to soak for a half-hour or so in some water – which will give you time to make some coffee and feed your screaming 3-month-old.

How do you like your pancakes? What are you doing today?