Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No bake cookies!

I've had a little bit of skim milk leftover in my fridge from a cake I made last week, and have been trying to figure out how to use it up.  I've considered hot chocolate or a chocolate martini, but I've never quite had a hankering for either.  So, in the midst of a PMS-induced chocolate craving today, I had the strong need to make something, and realized that for once I had all the ingredients for no bake cookies in my kitchen (I rarely have milk).

We used to make these all the time in middle school when we were too lazy to actually bake.  I like this basic recipe, but I've jazzed mine up a little bit.

Almond Joy No Bake Cookies
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup sugar
1/2ish cup butter (I had the better part of a stick in my fridge and threw it in without really measuring)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp amaretto (optional)
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup Nutella (also in my pantry and needed to be used up)
3 cups of oats
1/2 cup ish of flaked coconut (I didn't measure, just sort of threw it in as I was mixing the rest)

Mix the milk, sugar, butter, and cocoa in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until mixture starts to boil, then boil for 1 1/2 minutes.
Take the pot off the heat.  Add the extracts, amaretto if you're using it, the almond butter, and the Nutella.  Stir until everything is combined and the almond butter and Nutella have melted.  Then stir in the oats and coconut.
Scoop out whatever size cookies you want on to waxed paper (I kept mine smallish and got 44 out of the recipe).  Let cool.  When they're solidified, store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

These could be healthier, but they're not terrible.  2 points plus per cookie if you make them as small as I did.
Chocolate craving: vanquished.  And now I have something to take to work tomorrow and eat instead of the Girl Scout cookies slowly invading the office.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Eating without judgment

So as the delayed onset headache from my weekend of drinking kicks in, I'm reflecting a bit on decisions made this weekend and how I could have improved.  I meant to go to yoga this morning, but felt like I would have thrown up had I gone, and I meant to go to a step class this evening, but the couch just seemed a nicer place.  On one hand this is good, as I feel I need to work on this concept of "rest days" I keep hearing about, and sometimes it's nice to be able to kick back and enjoy life.  On the other hand, if I were really forced to say whether I felt like the bad health decisions I made this weekend were worth it, the answer would be no.  I definitely could have eaten things I enjoyed more, drank a lot less beer, and spent more time at the gym and been much happier, but my boyfriend's best friend and his girlfriend were visiting from out of town, so there was a certain amount of obligation and being a good hostess and not going "Good grief, how are you still drinking?  Why aren't you passed out yet?"
And this brings me to the eating without judgment.  Of other people.  The friend that was in town is pretty much one of the most serious drinkers I've ever met.  I'm under the impression that a 6 pack a day is pretty standard for him (and we're talking serious IPAs, not Bud Light).  He plays a lot of soccer and so isn't suffering from serious beer gut syndrome or anything, but based on this weekend I would have to guess that 80% of the guy's caloric intake is from beer.  And that makes the virtuous annoying part of me want to be like "blerg, what's wrong with you?"  Ditto for anyone else I routinely see make bad food/drink/health choices.  It seems to be my instinct when I'm trying to be healthy to judge other people for not being healthy, and it's definitely not a good way to go about things.  And I'm definitely not the type to be like "Hey, let's all take a yoga class instead of drinking tonight!"  Also I wouldn't want to see a lot of the people I hang out with in yoga clothes anyway.  Maybe if I could make those gym friends that seem to elude me I'd have more people to hang out with in a health conscious way.

Holy fitness blogs, Batman!

So I tried a weight loss kick about two years ago, and did a random google search for "weight loss blogs."  At that point, I found nothing that was particularly inspiring.  Wow, has that changed.  Maybe I should have just searched "fitness blogs" two years ago and that would have led me to what I was looking for, but now I am completely and utterly overwhelmed by the number of really awesome, interesting, inspiring stories out there.  I definitely need to update my blog roll.
And I definitely need to focus more on fitness because this weekend was a beer soaked...beer fest.  I was going to say food fest, but the amount of food actually consumed feels pretty small, but the number of calories in IPA is pretty large.  And there was that bread pudding that I consumed basically by myself yesterday.  So yeah.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gym friends?

It is a simple fact about me that I am not outgoing.  I am incredibly shy.  Once you get to know me and I like you, I will not shut up, but until then, I do not have a lot to say.  Consequently, it has always been a challenge for me to make friends in situations where it is not absolutely necessary to my survival (ie, school).  So, the gym is troubling to me.  In the locker room, I hear other women chatting away about their families and their hair stylists and their spin class, while I duck in and out of my locker and about my business.
Obviously these people met each other somehow, I just have no idea how to do it.  I go to classes, but talking before yoga never feels quite appropriate, and in most other classes, I'm too out of breath to even think about trying to make friends, let alone actually speak to anyone.  And now I've been going to my gym for almost six months and so I feel like I've passed the threshold for "hi, I'm new, tell me about [insert conversation topic here]" intros.  Suggestions?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where I'm coming from, part 1

So I originally started this blog for a couple of reasons
-To keep myself kind of accountable
-To track my progress
-To figure out if I really could still keep eating all the foods I like and get into better shape simultaneously

But, with all of this coinciding with me starting Weight Watchers, it's definitely been less about eating brownies and cheesecake and more about working out and watching what I eat.  This isn't a bad thing, but it's definitely indicative of the 'all or nothing' approach I usually take toward food and fitness.  So I thought now might be a good time for me to start figuring out my food issues and how I might make sustainable lifestyle changes.

I've never really had a weight problem, but for awhile I've had a problem with my weight.  Growing up, my parents were overweight and constantly bouncing from one diet to another, sometimes dragging my sister and I along for the ride (I distinctly remember their vegan phase, where we spent a lot of time at scary food co-ops because Whole Foods wasn't a thing yet).  When they weren't dieting, my parents were incredibly lax about what they let us eat - my mom kind of figured having something for breakfast was better than nothing, which is how my sister spent most of elementary school subsisting on Mountain Dew and peanut butter cups.  I mostly stuck to the more traditional but equally sugary breakfast fare of pop tarts.
Despite this, I somehow turned out with one of those metabolisms that let me spend all of high school eating frozen yogurt for lunch and not really gaining weight. It wasn't until college, with its endless stream of ordering in and study breaks with those Costco cookies that I started sorta gaining weight.  I noticed that pants weren't fitting like they used to, but it wasn't until I came home for the summer after sophomore year, when my mom took one look at me and said "Nice muffin top," that I realized I might start having to think about what I was eating.  This summer also coincided with my parents' latest diet attempt, Weight Watchers, and this one actually was working wonders, so I let my mom talk me into giving it a try.
It was a difficult journey for me, and started out with a lot of anger on my part.  How dare that Snickers bar be 7 points!  What had happened to me that I couldn't just keep eating whatever I wanted?  Why was celery so disgusting?  Why did Fiber One bear such a striking resemblance to rabbit food?  But then the weight started coming off and I embraced WW wholeheartedly.  I lost almost 20lbs that summer.
And then I went off to England for a year abroad and the butter heavy cooking and heavy beers meant that about 10 of those pounds would come back on, and it's the same 10lbs that I've been fighting an up and down battle with ever since. 
So, that's the extremely abbreviated version of where I am.  Plenty more of me trying to talk through my food issues to come.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I'm basically over my cold and have been trying to get back into my 2x a day workout routine - one cardio-ish, one strength-ish.  Today was the first day of that, and as a reward for actually getting myself to the gym this morning in the terrible weather, I stopped at Starbucks to get myself a raspberry mocha, and then at the work cafeteria to get myself a breakfast burrito. And then I spent the rest of the day feeling terrible - not guilt or anything, just physically not up to par.  Apparently eating oatmeal every morning has actually been doing me some good.  Who knew?
So then after work today I'd planned on doing pilates and then yoga at my gym, but felt so exhausted after pilates that I gave up and went home.  I'm not sure if it's residual breakfast burrito energy drain, the fact that I didn't eat much after the breakfast burrito, or missing out on a lot of sleep last night after my cat decided to get really needy at about 2am, but whatever it was, I'm going to do my best not to repeat it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's worth it?

So I was out for Valentine's Day dinner last night at this fantastic burger place/wine bar.  I had a burger with Red Hawk cheese (stinky but delicious), caramelized onions, arugula, and garlic aoili and split onion rings and sweet potato fries with my boyfriend.  I also had a cocktail and a glass of wine.  And despite all this I'd lost almost a pound from last week at my WW weigh in!
But back to what I wanted to talk about - the tables at the restaurant last night were pretty close together, so I could hear the conversation of the couple at the next table over.  The woman decided not to have a glass of wine, citing a 6am pilates class.  This made me a bit sad for her as I watched her male dining companion order multiple mojitos.  I happened to glance over while she was eating, and I noticed that she'd pretty much taken the entire bun (and it wasn't just any bun, it was a glorious fluffy brioche bun that was entirely necessary for soaking up burger juice/sauce/melted cheese) off of her burger and was picking at it with a knife and fork.  And I just thought to myself, wow, I never want to do that.  I hate denying myself indulgences, and to me, it doesn't feel that bad to eat healthily for breakfast and lunch, but to skip out on really enjoying Valentine's day dinner seems crazy.  To each their own, I guess.
But, on that note, off to get ready for a friend's birthday dinner at a tapas bar with Nutella creme brulee!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Running off to a ridiculously decadent dinner...that was at least preceded by running two miles.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Okay, so after my little panic about the pancakes, I went and did some math.  My three pancakes works out to about 700 calories, or 19 WW points.  This is about 37 calories per point.  I get 29 points per day.  By this math, my daily allotment is 1073 calories.  Last I checked, you're not supposed to eat less than 1200 calories a day, ever.  I've long suspected this about Weight Watchers, but this is the first time I've ever sat and done the math.  I know the assumption is that I'd make up the missing 127 calories with some 0 point fruits and vegetables, but what if I didn't? 
I want to complain more about their formulas not being realistic for someone of my weight and activity level, but, to be fair, I guess they did try and reject me.

Yum, yum...guilt

I'm going to try and talk about food more.  So this morning, I made these these, with a few substitutions - I took out some of the butter, added 1/4 cup of oatmeal, and threw in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Yum.  These, plus mimosas and a DVR-ed episode of Cupcake Wars, made for an awesome morning.
Until I got home and discovered that three of these pancakes was 19 WW points.  Blerg!  It didn't help that my plans for a hike/pilates/yoga were derailed by spending most of the afternoon napping.  The half hour on the elliptical made me feel a little better, though.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

So, about those brownies...

I originally started this blog to talk about trying to get fitter while not depriving myself, but ever since starting on WW I've been trying to keep the indulgences to a minimum.  Well, not today.  Actually, not since Wednesday, when I made amazing brownies.
Here's my thing about indulging - I've learned if I'm going to do it, I want it to be for something really amazing.  I made the brownies for a coworker who has an addiction to the Famous Amos cookies that come out of the vending machine - yuck!
I got the recipe from the LA Times - check it out here.  It's not my favorite recipe ever; that would be Zingerman's magic brownies.  But, these are still delicious and have a really nice crunchy top that gives way to a fudgy center.  It is a miracle of self restraint that this tupperware of leftovers still exists to be photographed today.

Peer pressure (or, why it sucks to be a girl)

I've realized that the toughest thing about losing weight/getting in shape when you don't look like someone that "needs to" is getting other people to be supportive of you doing this.  My officemate and I have had to be really sneaky at work about how we're going to WW meetings, because, it's kind of random and embarrassing.  It gets hard eating meals with people, too, because you're sitting there with your salad and your apple, trying not to tear the bacon cheeseburger out of the hand of the guy sitting next to you.  (No, really, that happened.  It also had BBQ sauce and onion rings on it, and I would have torn his whole hand off if it meant I would get the burger, too.)  I went out with friends Thursday night and ate a sensible salad beforehand while they went and gorged themselves at food truck heaven.  I kept myself to ten french fries, which, yes, I actually counted so I could log them later. 
And then there's my boyfriend.  My boyfriend, who from day one, has told me how great it is that I actually eat, rather that sitting around picking the chocolate chips out of a granola bar.  Who told me I looked like I worked out every day at a time when I never worked out, ever.  (This was, however, during the brief golden period of my life two years ago when I was on an amazing thing I call the "hangover and distress" diet where I was drinking too much and making some nonawesome life decisions, and thus never felt like consuming solid food, and therefore fit into my size 4 jeans that have not fit since.)  When I admitted to him that I was doing WW, he was just kind of like "Why?", which is understandable.  Like most boys (and, I would argue, sane people), he has never met a meat or cheese product he didn't like.  And so it is difficult to eat well around him, when his fridge is only ever stocked with variations on sausage, cheese, and avocados.  Eating out with him also presents a challenge.  We were supposed to go for tapas last night, which I figured would be fine, but the place was too crowded and we ended up at a French bistro, where you know everything has been cooked in at least one stick of butter, and I didn't want to be that girl that orders a salad.  So I wasn't.  We split a short rib crepe (amazing! what is it about short ribs?) and I had white fish with lentils and spinach, which would have been pretty healthy if I had not known in my heart about the amount of butter everything was sauteed in.  But, the scale this morning still said 138, so I guess it's okay?  Except for the part where he wants to go to a restaurant tonight because we enjoy the fact that their bar serves a free cheese platter with their margaritas...

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's the big deal about greek yogurt?

I don't get it.  I'm trying it for the first time (Chobani, black cherry, nonfat), and it's just like thick, chalky yogurt.  Why is everyone raving about this stuff?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Exercise gives you endorphins...

endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don't stab their coworkers.  They just don't.
The cold progresses into the sniffling and gross phase, but I haven't stopped working out (Mean Girls was on as I was doing my 60 minutes on the elliptical this evening - WIN!).  This is 97% mood related, as work blows and so if I didn't do something exercise-y, I think I'd go stir crazy.  I'm going to stick with my desperate hope that sleeping a lot will be enough to kick this thing.


So, after one (one!) day of actually diligently sticking to WW, and pilates + stairmaster last night, my bathroom scale read 138 this morning.  This is the lowest it has read in quite awhile.  I'm sure I'm somewhat dehydrate from being sick or whatever (but I didn't drink last night so it can't be from that!), but still.  Hopefully this provides me the motivation I need to stick to it.
However.  I can feel the stuffy nose phase of my cold coming on, and I do not look forward to how this will affect my ability to work out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Unemotional eating

I know that everyone ever says emotional eating is bad.  In general, this makes sense, particularly if it's making you fat.  But what if it's not?  I know I'm an emotional eater.  I am a Girl Who Eats My Feelings, as are a lot of my friends, but I'm nowhere close to obese.  So is it so bad that I have eating as a coping mechanism?  If there's nothing I can do to fix my frustration/anger/sadness, what's wrong with having food as an outlet? 
I ask this because today sucked, and I have no desire to eat an entire pan of brownies to compensate for it.  I wasn't very hungry all day, and I'm pretty much having to force myself to eat now.  It is unnatural and wrong, but I seem to have broken myself, at least for today, as far as emotional eating goes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Small rant: Skinny Bitch

So I'm sure that I was the last person on the planet to read the Skinny Bitch book two months ago.  Whatever.  I still want to talk about it.
I picked it up from the library, thinking, I'm a bitch, I want to be skinny, this must be for me.  Could. Not. Have. Been.  Furtherfromthetruth.  While I'm all for no nonsense, I am not for all-vegan-no-diet-coke.  No siree.  I thought they could be straight forward and tell me not to have the donut, I just did not realize that any potential donut would have to come from Whole Foods.  I get that veganism would be better for me, the planet, etc., but any diet program that tells me I can never again have a bacon cheeseburger is just not going to be sustainable for me.
Basically this book offended my cheese loving soul and should be shelved with 'vegan hippie crap' not 'weight loss.'  That is all.

Still on track(ish)

So, WW weigh in was today, and I did okay, mostly, I think, due to wearing different shoes.  Down .2lbs.  Considering I ate terribly this week, I'll call that a win.
Trying to get back on track this week, though that's been derailed by being too lazy/sick to grocery shop.  And too sick to work out to the extent I'd like.  We'll see how it turns out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Where did my grapefruit go?

Mindful eating, take two.  Seriously, not three minutes ago I had just cut open a grapefruit and now it is gone.  Part of this is I was hungry, part of this was I just devoured it without thinking.  The same thing happened with my soup at lunch today (though I didn't eat all of the noodles, which was something of a triumph).  I think my problem right now is that I feel like I never have the time to pause to just eat, but I guess I should also factor in the time I'd save if I didn't worry so much about what I was eating.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dissecting my week of fail

So as I sit here trying to summon the motivation to remove myself from the couch and make another cup of tea, I thought I might try and learn some lessons from this week to make the next one suck less.
I think the biggest problem was that I kind of hit a wall with Weight Watchers this week.  After thinking I'd been pretty good all last week and then only losing .2lbs, I got kind of frustrated.  And the frustration leads to the moment where it's like 'wait a minute, I don't really need to lose the weight, I don't really need to be doing this, I'm just going to start eating whatever I want.'  Fortunately, I'm realizing for the first time that when I do eat whatever I want, it doesn't always feel that great.  The fancy lunch I went out for on Tuesday was good, but I feel like I ate a lot without really thinking about it and enjoying it, I just went to this crazy place where I felt like I had to inhale food for no reason.  It's been awhile since I've felt like that, so it was kind of scary.  And Thursday's mac/chz/beer disaster wasn't much better.  I knew I didn't need the third beer, and definitely regretted it the next morning, but I felt like I had to keep up with my boyfriend to prove I was still the fun, beer drinking, junk eating girl he met before I started trying to do all this health stuff.
That all said, I didn't go totally awry this week.  All of my breakfasts and most of my lunches were pretty healthy.  I resisted the temptation to drink at dinner last night, because I knew I wanted to still be able to go to the gym.  I keep wanting to stop tracking my WW points for the rest of the week, but I know that it won't actually help anything not to, so I'm sticking with it.
I've also been realizing I need to do more of this 'mindful eating' I hear so much about.  I always thought it was a bunch of bull, but there have been way too many times this week I've started eating a granola bar at my desk and the next thing I've looked down and it's been gone, and I barely remember eating it.  That is all kinds of alarming.  The problem is that a) I have a lot of work and b) I'm easily bored, so it's really hard for me to do things like just eat and do nothing else, like I know one is technically supposed to.  I think my plan for next week is to allow myself to mindlessly munch healthy things (baby carrots, fruit, etc.) but if I'm having something that actually costs points and I actually want to enjoy, I'm going to have to focus on it while eating it.  We'll see how it goes.  And, while I'm on things I should try doing, I'm going to attempt to eat only when at least somewhat hungry, instead of feeling obligated to finish off everything I've packed for lunch even if I don't want it.

Exercise conundrum

So I've read about Core Fusion in a bunch of fitness blogs and am dying to try it.  The class descriptions sound amazing, and the prices aren't completely unreasonable.  The problem is that the closest place is an hour or so away from where I live, and I know it would be really hard for me to commit to making that drive on a regular basis.  I know I could try it once just to have done it, but I'd hate to love it and not be able to go back.  I already pay an absurd amount for a gym membership because it's close to me and I'm so much more likely to go if I can just walk to the gym.  The compromise, of course, would be to do Bar Method which I believe is similar and is also closer to me, but the Core Fusion prices are actually a lot cheaper, and include yoga as well. 

Epic fail

So, my effort to recover from a couple of crappy days did not pan out so much.  It has officially been kind of a Bad Week.  A good workout day on Thursday somehow turned into too many beers and a lot of mac and cheese, resulting in me skipping Friday morning's planned workout.  Long day at work, I had dinner plans I was lukewarm about but didn't want to cancel on, and ended up going home and doing 45 minutes on the elliptical so as not to feel like a complete slug.  I had really nice ambitions for yoga/pilates/a run today, but I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat, and this morning seems to have proven that this is not dehydration related, but is in fact the onset of the cold that everyone I know except me seems to have gotten.  I made it to yoga this morning, but it did not feel great.  I'm going to be bummed about missing pilates as I really like the Saturday class, but I've got a big week at work coming up and I can't really afford to be sick for it.  So, it looks like couch + Slanket + Netflix Instant + tea = the rest of my Saturday.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The past two days have sucked.  Suuuuuuuucked.  Mostly work, and yesterday it just felt like everything went not as planned.  None of this was helped by the cat whining all night and causing me to get about 4 hours of sleep.
But then.  I actually managed to be productive at work today.  I only ate two cookies worth of feelings.  I went to pilates and yoga, and yoga somehow was shorter than usual, enabling me to get home so as to cook dinner/do laundry/get caught up on life.  I have a good plan for workouts the rest of the week, so, maybe the worst is over?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Well, there went that.
Probably ate more than I should have last night.  Not sure if it was that or my large sweater, but I only weighed in at -.2lbs from last week.  And went right from weigh in to a giant lunch out, which was delicious, but way too much food.  I started getting that scary intense "I just want to eat until it hurts" feeling, which is never a good sign for me.
Work sucked all afternoon, I left later than I planned, grocery shopping took forever, so I came home and had a giant spoonful of Nutella.  Incorrect, I know.  And I'm now following that up with a pre-workout snack of diet Coke and cheesecake (but it's light cheesecake).  This sounds bad, but at least I'm doing the workout, which the old version of me would have definitely not done.
Hoping to get back on track tomorrow, but due to an offsite thing for work I'm not going to be able to pack lunch.  If I get enough work stuff done tonight, I can do pilates and yoga tomorrow, so that'll help.