Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good riddance

I was listening to NPR on the way home from work the other day (go ahead - yuck it up), and I was struck by a story advancing New Year celebrations. It wasn't about resolutions or goals. It wasn't about what people accomplished in 2011. And it wasn't debating whether Dick Clark will manage to stay awake to see the ball drop.

No. The story was about Good Riddance Day in Times Square. It was the fifth year for the event, where visitors are "encouraged to 'shed and shred their bad memories of 2011." Some people tossed photos of former lovers, medical bills, the names of people who had been unkind.

And while 2011 was a very good year (hello, Miles), I couldn't help but think of the things that I would like to leave behind as I look toward 2012.

The negative self talk. I spent half the year pregnant and while people will say that they felt so beautiful and gorgeous and great while they were pregnant, I felt like a cow. All. The. Time. I never had anything nice to say about my pregnant body and often times I resented it. After I had Miles, the Kim bashing continued as I adjusted to a body that didn't feel like it belonged to me. Even though I've lost most of the baby weight, I still find myself saying things like, "My fat @ss doesn't need that cupcake." I would punch someone in the face if they said it to me so why do I say it to myself. It's not fair to me, the work I put in, the people who love me and that little guy for whom I desperately want to set a good example.

Laugh and Learn Puppy. Miles hasn't even played wit it yet, and I already want to beat it with a sledgehammer. If you even move this toy in the slightest, it starts to talk. "Ear!" "Yellow foot!" "Let's sing and play games!"

"Let's watch Mommy shoot herself in the foot" is more like it.

Health scares. From my grandma's heart troubles (she had a pacemaker) to my emergency (for lack of a better word) induction and subsequent C-section to a friend of the family's health issues, we were at the hospital more than I would have liked. I'm praying for health for all my loved ones in 2012.

The remainder of the baby weight. It's only 5 pounds but I don't really want it around anymore.

Oh, if it were just that easy ...

Self doubt. There was a time, albeit a short one, when I believed I could do anything. Run a sub-8 minute mile? Hells yes. A 16-mile race with little training? No problem. And then I got pregnant, had a baby and had to basically start from scratch. All of that confidence I worked so hard to gain was lost, and each run I struggled to get through chipped at what was left. In fact, my problems and near DNS at my most recent race - the HUFF - were not necessarily because of the conditions. No. It was because I didn't believe in myself. Such doubt seemed out of place, according to my friend, because I have accomplished so much. In 2012, I am going to set goals and believe that I can accomplish them because if I don't, no one else will.

What would you like to say good riddance to?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday musings

Terrible. Just terrible. That was basically the forecast for this winter and yet, on Dec. 30, it was 37 degrees when I headed out for a 4-mile run this morning. It was glorious. The weather, that is. The run ... not so much. Two middle of the night feedings and a 4:45 a.m. wake-up call will do that to a girl.

By the way, if the late start to the terrible weather means that it is going to be cold for my April birthday, I may have to kill someone.


I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and I'm currently reading "Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer." It's a weight loss memoir of sorts by one of my favorite authors, Jen Lancaster. I'm about 49 percent in (thanks, Kindle) and I'm loving it. It's snarky and relate-able all at the same time.
 "But ever since I made the decision to drop a few pounds-way less easy than it sounds, by the way-I've become obsessed with my size and in so doing I've inadvertently allowed my inner critic to have a voice. And you know what? She's a bitch. Like now when I see my underpants in the laundry, I no longer think Soft! Cotton! Sensible! Instead I hear her say, 'Damn, girl, these panties be huge.'”
Of course, it's not all laughs. There are some inspiring moments in there, too.
“As I paddle along, I slowly become aware that it's been fear keeping me out of this pool for so many years. I never came here before because I was afraid I'd make a fool of myself by not having the endurance to complete a lap. The swimming wasn't what scared me; failure was. My fear locked me in a state of arrested development for so many years. Fear kept me from tackling my weight, which I understand has simply been symptomatic of my greater fear, growing up. I glide down the lane on my back and reflect on how good I feel right now. It's not because I've lost more than thirty pounds. I feel incredible because I've stopped being afraid.”
Salt and vinegar almonds are delicious. As is popcorn, grapes and my Unstuffed Green Pepper Soup. All of which I've nibbled on in the past hour. If I didn't know any better, I would think I was pregnant again.


Last night, I did week one of Jillian Michaels' "Ripped in 30" in my my sweet new workout space. Sure, it's in the basement, which happens to be unfinished, and it smelled vaguely of dog urine because Denali thinks it's his new toilet. Oh, and the concrete is a bit tough on the feet but it beats doing butt kicks in front of Mark as he plays Angry Birds on his iPad.


It's my Monday morning ritual: After I've finished nursing Miles, I plod upstairs to the bathroom and weigh myself. It's been a relatively pleasant experience since I've quit Weight Watchers but I was a bit nervous this week. You know, having eaten a pound of cheese and four 10 million Triscuits on Christmas. I was so nervous that it took me five days to finally step on the scale.

You know what? I lost a half-pound! Huzzah! I guess it goes to show that staying active is key to avoiding holiday bloat.

Now to just get through this weekend ...

Who has exciting plans to share with me? Really. Share. I beg you because this girl is certain to be in bed when the ball drops unless Miles decides it's time for a snack.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pep(per) squad

 I got my first library card at the age of 5.

I was the queen (queen, I tell you) of Book It awards.

 I have a journalism degree, I edit people's writing for a living and I've done my own professional writing.

And yet, for the life of me, I cannot read a recipe well enough to purchase the proper ingredients. It's quite ridiculous.

I've had the recipe for the Unstuffed Green Pepper Soup bookmarked for, like, a year, and I finally decided to make it this week. I looked at the recipe, added the necessary ingredients to my grocery list and purchased green peppers at my local Kroger. To say I was excited to make a twist on a childhood favorite would be an understatement. The fact that it was a slow cooker recipe nearly sent me over the edge but I managed to hold it together.

Last night, I opened up the recipe and began to gather ingredients.

Ground beef (slash turkey) - check.

Two cans chicken broth - check.

Three bell peppers - check.

An onion - check.

Diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano - chhh. Shit. I got plain tomatoes. Whatev. I'll add Italian seasoning.

Two cans tomato soup -&*&^%$^^. I only bought one. @$%^#$#$#$@#@

1.5 cups cooked rice - I have to cook the rice. Seriously? Seriously!  Damnit. It's 8:30, and I want to go to B-E-D.


"I guess I could stay up for 20 minutes," I thought to myself. "The soup will surely beat anything else I can take for lunch tomorrow. I sure hope it works." (Read: My only options for lunch were the hospital and a can of Spaghetti-Os leftover from pregnancy cravings.)

Makeshift Unstuffed Green Pepper Soup

3/4 pound lean ground meat of choice, cooked and drained
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10.5-ounce) can condensed tomato soup
2 cans chicken broth
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1.5 cups cooked rice
1.5 cups 2% shredded cheddar, divided

Combine everything but the rice in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Stir in rice before serving. Sprinkle each bowl with 1/4 cup cheese because my mom always put cheese on stuffed peppers. And because I said so. Makes 6 (2-cup-ish) servings.

Nutritional information (based on 6 servings): 334 calories, 12 grams of fat, 33 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Make it work

It's Wednesday. Wednesday night to be specific.That might not mean much to you but, for me, it means boot camp.

Or at least it did for the past three weeks.

My pre-holiday 3-week session is over and, to be honest, I'm a bit sad. Don't get me wrong - I'm more than happy to not be doing the following: the crab walk, burpees and mermaid crunches. What I do miss is a guaranteed good (and uninterrupted) workout that I got to do twice a week with a good friend and a good group of ladies. Watching "Jeopardy" with a cup of Splenda-spiked Rocky Road ice cream just isn't the same.

And, I tell you what, if this eight-day champion Jason doesn't lose soon, I'm going to jump through the screen and punch him in the throat.

Anyway ... I'm feeling a void where boot camp once was and an itch to fill it.

The center where I took boot camp is going to offer Body Pump in the new year, and I plan to meet L once a week for a class. I could go more often but you pay per class and I'm already feeling the pinch as I eye 2012 races.

So what's a girl to do?

Use her adorably cute son to bribe her mother-in-law.

Confused? Well, Mark and Miles have been going to the MIL's house on Wednesday for food and fun while I was at boot camp. Mark got pasta, MIL got kisses, Miles got to be held to his heart's content and I got to workout. It was truly a win-win situation for all involved.

As Mark and I discussed what's next for me, workout-wise, I realized that this little setup didn't have to end. Mark and Miles could still go to MIL's, and I could still workout during that time. I'll just do it at home, for free, with Jillian or Bob.

Next week, of course. My brilliant mind needs a rest.

How do you make exercise work?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Notes from a Healthy Strides holiday

1. It is advisable to start your day off on the right foot, even a holiday day. On Christmas Eve and Christmas, I was able to coerce a nearly recovered Mark into running with me. I covered about 7.5 miles between the two runs - nothing crazy but enough to offset the pound of cheese (and couple Triscuit crackers) I ate on Christmas Day.

2. Nutella + Orange marmalade + English muffin = a DELICIOUS yet festive post-run snack/late-morning treat/early lunch.

3. If you know you are going to relax dietary habits for one meal, it's best to keep an eye on things during other meals. I made light wheat french toast Christmas morning, saving calories for the pound of cheese and three Triscuits I snacked on Sunday afternoon.

4. Still have room for dessert? Bring your own to avoid any feelings of guilt. I made a peppermint ice cream pie using low-fat peppermint ice cream (half a 1.75-quart container) mixed with a tub of light whipped topping and mini chocolate chips and dumped into a ready-made chocolate pie crust.

5. A screaming, nap-refusing baby is a sure-fire way to miss dessert. Not necessarily bad since you ate a pound of cheese and three four Triscuits.

6. Babies do not care that it is Christmas nor do they care about presents under the tree.

7. Lucky for me, too, because it meant Santa could bring me a Kindle Fire.

8. Instead, Miles was far more interested in Nana's kitten and tried to take it home. Not so fast, buddy.

9. He managed time to break from leg and tail pulling and general cat torture to show some interest in sweet potatoes. He was a fan.

10. So much so that he refused to share said sweet potatoes. A shame, really - it might have limited the cheese consumption to a half-pound.

How did your holidays shape up?