Friday, October 21, 2011

Truth and consequences

I feel like I’m living in the “Twilight Zone.”

tumblr_kt4f77bWZF1qzdvhio1_r2_500“My Name is Talky Tina and you'd better be nice to me.”

Wednesday night, Miles slept through the night. Like, from 8:15 p.m. to 5:45 a.m. Last night, Miles got up once, ate and went back to sleep without inviting 500 of his closest friends for a party. To top it off, he didn’t wake up until 8. Awesome.

With one exception: my run will happen this afternoon.

Just speakin’ the truth here.

Truth: Barley tastes good but it looks like boogers.

Consequence: When you wipe some off your apron, it looks like you flung snot on the wall.

Truth: Dogs will eat almost anything, including a half-tub of margarine, a bubble pack of Claritin and their own vomit.

Consequence: You will not have to wipe off the snot-looking barley because the dog has already eaten it.

Truth: I said “Thank you, God” this morning when I found a perfectly chilled Diet Coke hiding behind the almond milk.

Consequence: I am going to hell. And I’m going to have to drink water with lunch because I just “used” my one Diet Coke for the day at 7:26 a.m.

Editor’s note: Feel free to judge me on that one.

Truth: It’s always interesting great when your husband offers to the week’s grocery shopping.

Consequence: You get everything on the list plus a 24-ounce bag of shredded Cheddar cheese.

Truth: Mark loved the BBQ Chicken Pasta.

Consequence: He ate all of the leftovers for lunch, and I have nothing for dinner.

Truth: I had time to spare this morning and a 24-ounce bag of shredded Cheddar cheese.

Consequence: I found myself making macaroni penne-and-cheese at 7:30 a.m. while sipping my Diet Coke. (It also helped me use the quart of fat-free half-and-half that Mark bought.)

Truth: The last time I updated my driver’s license was three places ago.

Consequence: Mark has gently reminded me on-and-off to get a new one, especially the last six months (since we’ve been in the new house).

Truth: I finally went last week and waited a whole of 8.3 seconds to get helped by someone.

JOY: The employee asked me if my height and weight were the same. I looked down.

Uh. No.

When you wait three years to update it, you get to knock off 40 pounds.

Sadly, I stayed the same height.

What are your truths for the day?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Make this now: Breakfast barley

I have a confession to make.

I've developed a small dependency on those sugar-laden oatmeal packets. I know they are so not the best thing out there, junk masquerading as healthy, but I can't help it. The packets are convenient, make a great pre-run snack and are a great base for pumpkin oats. Oh, and did I mention they are convenient?

While my beloved slow cooker steel cut oats are also convenient, tasty and great with pumpkin, I had them for two ... three weeks in a row. Boring! I needed something new - something healthful and something not so full of sugar. And then, as if she knew I was on the hunt for a change, a co-worker mentioned wanted to try barley for breakfast.


I had barley a time or two and loved it as a cold mix-in to yogurt but the gray, rainy weather had me itching to make a warm barley bowl.

Pumpkin Chai Slow Cooker Barley
Adapted from the recipe here

2 cups strongly brewed chai tea
1 cup apple juice (I used Motts for Tots, which has 40 percent less sugar)
3/4 cup barley
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Add all ingredients to slow cooker; stir. Cook on low for 8 hours or overnight. Enjoy with splash of almond milk and garnish with raisins, nuts or favorite toppings.

Have you ever tried barley? What's your favorite way to eat it?

Weighing in: Scale confusion

Move that body: 2.17-mile run

Motherhood has made me the queen of fitting in my runs. I’ll get up at 4:30 (OK, that was once), postpone dinner, head out at 8 p.m. As long as it’s a priority for me, I’ll get it in.

Lately, I have been running my mid-week “bonus” run on the treadmill after Miles goes to bed and after “Survivor.” Read: I’m running 2 miles in the basement at 9 p.m. It’s totally not fun but I can usually motivate myself to do it with the promise of a bath.

Last night, though, it was all I could do to stay awake to see who got voted off. I’m pretty sure the only reason I managed that was I kept hoping Mark would get some ice cream and give me a couple bites. (For the record, he did not.) A run was just not going to happen. Under any circumstances.

And that’s OK. Postponing my run 10 hours wasn’t going to make or break my training schedule, my weight loss or my spirit. It was more important that I listened to my body.

Speaking of weight loss, I’m a bit baffled. I got on the scale post pumping but pre-run and I was 135.0 – a loss of 0.6 pound. Just for giggles, I got on the scale later this morning – after my pre-run snack, jaunt on the treadmill, and after breakfast and a can of Diet Coke. I was 134.2 – a loss of 1.4 pounds.

Such a dilemma -which one to count?!?

I’ll be a good girl and go with the 135, putting my pre-baby weight loss at 10.2 pounds and leaving me 10+ pounds to go.

What’s working: Ask and you shall receive. I’ve been angsting about getting in strength training and made it a goal to do it once this week. On Saturday, I asked Mark to take Miles and Denali on a walk so I could do “Ripped in 30.” You know what? He was happy to do so. Also, I cut my daily points from 43 to 40 to see if it would give me a boost.

What’s not working: The weather. I know I have a treadmill but the non-stop rain (literally non-stop) has kept us inside after dinner when we could have been out walking.

Goals for the week: Do “Ripped in 30” twice and try to go for a walk, as a bonus workout, on my lunch break once.

How do you listen to your body when it comes to exercise?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday: Picture perfect

I took a photography class once. I was in college, and I needed a journalism elective. I could have taken a basic design class but I didn’t like the instructor and I had already taken the Internet class. The photo class was taught by my fave prof and I had always wanted to learn how to develop film.
Wow, I just aged myself.
While we didn’t learn to develop film (boo!), I got schooled on a manual camera and the rule of thirds. I took photos of my brother in a cemetery – my attempt at being thoughtful – and shared shots of Israel. And that’s about it. My days of a budding photographer were done.
Nowadays, I use a point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix (I highly recommend) and use some of its scene modes to take photos. The one with a plate and fork and knife is what I use for all my WIAW shots – I’m a genius. I do wish I had the talent to do more but when you are trying to take a photo of your breakfast while holding your 14-week-old, it’s about all you can handle.
So I present to you a sample of yesterday’s eats, in pro form, if I had the know-how and equipment.
Breakfast (the second of the day):
Greek-style Egg McMuggin. Starting with this idea, I put egg substitute, a garlic and herb Laughing Cow wedge, half-slice toast, spinach and tomatoes in a mug. At the second heating, I added reduced-fat feta. It was yum-tastic.

Leftover slow-cooker ham, green beans and potatoes.

BBQ chicken pasta. It’s a family favorite. Time-saving note: I cooked the chicken breasts in some water in the slow cooker overnight, shredded it in the morning and put it in the fridge so it was ready to go for dinner. Plus, the leftovers can make Buffalo Chicken Tacos or Chicken Caesar sandwiches.
Oh, and if you were wondering what Miles looks like when someone who knows how to take photos takes his photo, well here we go.
Shot by runner, triathlete and local photographer Kelly Benton. (Kelly, I hope you don’t mind me borrowing this from Facebook – our order will be in soon!)
Have you ever taken a photo class? What kind of camera do you use?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One headlight

Move that body: 3.8-mile run

After last week's "constructive" criticism that we were hard to see, I wasn't going to take any risks when I went for a run this morning.

Please note Miles' hat and mittens. It was 48 degrees (or something like that) and I had to make sure he didn't get frostbite. It had nothing to do with how dern cute he looked in them. I am a safety gal now, thankyouverymuch.

I put on my brightest ensemble - bright pink and orange shorts, orange shirt with reflective design and the sleeves of my white compression top visible. I went through well-lit, quiet neighborhoods with wide streets. Well, what I had hoped would be wide streets.

And I managed to rig a headlight on the BOB. Sort of. I wedged a mag light between the car seat adapter and the seat of the BOB, turned it on and made sure it didn't wiggle too much.

I can't say whether it worked - after all, my awesomeness is limited and I can't run in front of the stroller - but I can say that there were no close calls and I never had to readjust the flashlight. Too bad I ran my route backward and didn't see if that lady was still sitting in her parked van so I could get her very important opinion.

Of course, it would be ideal to get some reflective stickers and a clip on light (or three) for us all to wear but until then, I have the mag.

And, in case you moms out there were wondering how well the hat and mittens worked out, here's what Miles looked like after the run.

Yep, he managed to turn his hat sideways and take off a mitten. He's so hood.

What did your workout look like today? Do you have a favorite outfit?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stuffing of the face

Sometimes I just want to eat.


The emergency cocoa-dusted almonds in my desk drawer. The abandoned yogurt in the work fridge. The plethora of candy in the vending machines. I want it all.

It’s not that I’m particularly hungry. It’s more that I’ve managed to plow through the snacks I’ve brought from home because they like to sit on my desk and stare at me.


Hello, frozen grapes. I love you, too.

Once I realize that I’m food-less, I sit and wonder what I’ll do when I get hungry. Does the  vending machine have apples? I wish I would have brought carrots today. The more I think about food, the more I’m able to trick myself into believing that I’m hungry.

Not good. Mindless eating = no closer to goal weight.

Most weight loss gurus, healthy living bloggers and websites will tell you that you can do a few things to avoid such mindless eating. Drink water. Chew gum. Go for a walk. Brush your teeth. Get some sleep.

Great. Thanks. Just what I needed to hear. I’ll be glad to drink more water. After all, drinking a flavorless liquid is totally the same as eating a candy bar. Chewing gum? Tastes just like Doritos. A walk sounds great – especially after all of that water. I wonder if I should spit out the gum before I brush my teeth. Do you think my boss will mind a mid-day nap? After all, the Spanish have siestas.

Was that too much snark?

I am sure those strategies work for some people and, yes, they do sometimes work for me. Emphasis on sometimes.

On days when I just want to stuff my face, there are a few things that work.

Finding flavor. A hot tea or (gasp) a Diet Coke will sometimes satisfy that need to taste something. Coffee is always good, too.

Getting social. Go over and talk to a friend. Or someone you want to be your friend. If you’re smacking your lips, spewing gossip, you don’t have time to eat those Starburst. Just be sure your work spouse isn’t one of those people who wave Lime Ricotta Cookies with a Pineapple Glaze in front of your face.

Be good, then bad. If I really want something I don’t need, I make myself eat the carrots I brought. If I eat the carrots and still have room for the bad stuff, then go on and get it.

Go for broke. No cash = no vending machine splurges. Just be sure that your cookie pusher isn’t willing to buy a Twix and split it with you.

Just one bite … and then throw it in the garbage. You are certainly not going to pick that sweet deliciousness out of the trash with your co-workers watching.

Pre-track. If you keep a food diary like I do, write down a day’s worth of meals so you know your “budget” for snacks. Knowing that you need to skip dinner for something less nutritionally sound (and less filling) will make you think twice.

Wants vs. needs. That’s what it comes down to, plain and simple. Do I want it or do I need it? If I want that in my mouth, I ask myself: Do I want it more than I want to be fit and healthy?

Well, we all know the answer to that one.

How do you satisfy a case of the munchies at work?