Walking and Weigh-ins

So, I’ve stuck with the elliptical and walking since my shin/calf STILL hurts from that run I did forever ago. I am bummed not to be able to run still, because I do enjoy running. Well, not running, but the period of time afterwards where you’re smug as hell because you did it.

But I also enjoy walking and hiking a lot. We discovered that the walking path we’ve been exploring goes all the way to a nearby park, but because you’re cutting through forest and not following the roads, it’s a LOT more fun and a good way to kill an hour and a half after work :) and the best part about walking is, it doesn’t feel like exercise when you do it. You can wear jeans!

We also got a National Parks parking pass thingy, so we can go to a nearby Park and follow their hiking trails. It does take 45 minutes to drive there, which makes it more difficult to fit in a quick hike after work, but you bet we’ll be there next weekend! The leaves have already started to turn, so I can’t wait to see the forests all red and pretty. I’d also love to try out hiking while the sun is setting and a little after, so once we’re used to the trails, I’m hoping we can strap some lights onto our hats and walk at night.

And remember that time I stepped on the scale one day and weighed my new lowest weight, logged it, then stepped on it again 24 hours later and it was 3lbs higher? No? Well, I probably didn’t mention it because I knew it wasn’t fat – 10k calories above maintenance calories in 24 hours IS possible for me to eat, but I don’t recall eating 2 pizzas and a crate of ramen noodles that day. So I was like pff, it’s just water. I’ll hydrate and it’ll be gone soon enough. Well, 11 days later, I am finally at my new lowest weight! 203lbs exact (previous lowest was 203.7 according to my scale).

Part of it was mental – it’s easy to tell myself I didn’t gain 3lbs, but almost a month of hard work being masked on the scale is willpower-destroying stuff, along with my new-found leg pain. So yes I may have overeaten a couple of times during those 11 days. And me and hubby had our 3 year anniversary, where I ate and drank an excess amount of fancy restaurant fare. Plus, they offered us a free dessert. So I’m not saying that water weight naturally sticks around for 11 days, boo hoo for me. I’m saying, hey, I’m still losing, despite natural and self-made obstacles!

So I feel like I’m at a place right now where I’m happy with the exercise I’m doing, and happy with my calorie deficit, and overall doing pretty well at this whole thing.

OH OH AND AND. I had all my pre-pregnancy jeans dumped in the bottom of my closet all inside out, from trying them on and ripping them off in a huff because they didn’t fit. And hubby went on a mission to gather up and donate/get rid of all his XXLs that are now way too big for him, so while he was doing that he sorted out all my jeans and laid them out for me. And one of the pairs fits!!! Zips up, no muffin top!! I am wearing them right now!!! Wooo!

It’s hardly a victory to fit back into my ‘fat jeans’ considering my hubby has lost 40lbs this year compared to my measly 7, but I’ll take it!

Ouch

I think I pushed myself too far while running. Right after my run both shins hurt, which is normal, but then my right shin pain eased up and left shin pain got really bad. It feels a lot better today, on day 3 of no running, but it really knocked me off my feet for a while.

So I think I will start using the elliptical until the pain is 100% gone.

But not going to the gym for the past couple of days has mentally thrown me off track too. I ate so much food the past couple of nights, knowing it was waaay more than I needed. I seem to do okay in the daytime, but I think as I get sleepy, my inhibitions are lowered and I just crave silly things, like ice cream and chips. And a donut. And a snickers bar. I was too ashamed to log them in MFP but I think I went over by 1700-2000 yesterday, easily.

But I’m not going to beat myself up about that, I’m just going to do better today. I know the excess food has wiped out almost my whole deficit for the week, but I can still achieve ‘maintenance’ by exercising and keeping to my calories for the rest of the week. So I won’t be stuck in the cycle of losing/gaining/losing/gaining.

I just wish running didn’t cause me this pain! I may need to slow WAY down again, if I want to continue running for 20 minutes at a time. Or I may need to just do 1 mile instead of 2, and then add in other cardio. I may need new shoes, but that’s a big investment right now (if I had a spare $100, there’s a number of things I’d buy before shoes). I love running, for the mental aspect, but I may be able to get the same thing from cycling or going on nice long walks.

This whole weight loss business is hard, and it’d be so easy to stop caring right now. I feel like I’ve been ‘stuck’ between 203-207 for forever now. But I am still really excited to get below 200 some time soon, so I am going to drink plenty of water today, and weigh in fresh tomorrow morning to get me 100% back on track.

Running & Eating

This post is about my 2 favourite hobbies! Of course, I have always liked eating, but I am actually starting to look forward to my runs! It helps that I can breathe properly and no longer want to die. Yesterday, I increased my speed to 5.1mph on the treadmill, and it definitely feels like (slow, very slow) progress. I feel like I’ll be ready to run outside when the weather starts cooling down properly – 60ish degrees and a stiff breeze are perfect running buddies!

And even more good news – yesterday sucked. Why is that good news? Well, read on, I’ll start from the beginning.

So, yesterday, I had a 500 calorie breakfast, and 300 calorie lunch. I did my running & lifting at the gym, and ended up with perhaps 1300 calories left for supper & a snack. Which is about normal. But then hubby & I went to check out some stores and try on dresses. Our 3 year anniversary is coming up, and we have made reservations in the fanciest restaurant in town. And the only dress that actually fits me right now is the one I wore to my daughter’s funeral. So, even though I hate shopping, we went to try stuff on.

And I’m in the very awkward position of being kinda-too-fat for the regular size clothes, but the smallest things in the plus-size section are swimming on me. I’m sure it’s not my imagination – there seems to be very little overlap. So I tried on a zillion kinds of dresses that were too big or way too tight, had seams in weird places (under the bust? Are you TRYING to make me look pregnant?) and I was getting frustrated and depressed. And each time I passed by the baby section (which they seem to conveniently put right next to the women’s clothes), I just felt worse – here I am, 7 months post-partum, still flabby, but without my gorgeous baby to show for it. It’s a heartache like no other.

Anyway, after much pissing off of my husband (who actually loves shopping with me, and watching me try on loads of clothes, and spoiling me) because of my terrible attitude and whining, we decided we’d hit the buffet, then go to a nearby bigger city to find more clothes stores with more variety. So on top of feeling fat and terrible, I totally trashed my calorie count for the day.

Anyway, we ended up shopping until about 9.30pm, after trying on another zillion dresses and eventually finding a red & black dress in XL that looks pretty and skims my curves/lumps. We also found a red shirt that matched the colour exactly for my hubby to wear, so that was a nice bonus.

We got home at about 10pm, exhausted, and I tried to remember what I had eaten at the buffet (big salad, 1 plate of dinner-foods, then I went crazy at the dessert table) so I could log it in MyFitnessPal. Some people don’t log these indescretions, but I can’t hide it from my fat cells, so why hide it from MyFitnessPal?

Anyway, obviously it put my calories over, but I figured I should cut myself some slack because we walked around that shopping mall for HOURS. So I put in 1 hour of walking at 2.0mph (I’m sure we were going at about 0.5mph, so I didn’t log 4 hours of it). And my calories kinda balanced out. Which NEVER happens after I hit the buffet.

So I just figured I’d forgotten to log something that I’d eaten and went to sleep.

Woke up this morning, weighed in to assess the damage, and taaa-daaa here’s where the good news finally comes in – I lost a pound! Well, 0.9lbs. But still! I know it wasn’t because of the buffet – but I’m glad that the buffet didn’t halt my progress. I’m glad I could eat what I wanted, but that no longer means “eat until the point of pain”. It’s progress!

Too Fat To Run – Part 2

Weight: 205.5lbs. Still plodding away on the treadmills in the fitness centre – I have successfully worked my way up to running for 20 minutes without stopping, which is a huge achievement for me! I remember when I’d be ready to die after 2-3 minutes. Granted, I had to slow down to a 12-min mile pace, and I end up only running 1.6 miles (ish), but it is nice to know I am taking steps and achieving these mini goals.

I did immediately try to speed up to 6.0mph in order to reach my goal of 2 miles in 20 minutes ‘quicker’, but my shins and calves hurt SO much after 5 minutes, and I couldn’t push past it so I stopped after 8 minutes, and ended up hurting so much that I took 2 rest days from running. I kind of felt like I was taking one step forward and two steps back – but yesterday I repeated my 20 minute run at 5.0mph, which proves that I can do it if I pace myself, and rushing doesn’t help my progress! 

So now, in order to improve, I will run at 5.0mph for a while to really get used to it, and then increase my speed slowly – trying 5.1mph next time instead of jumping straight to 6. One of the main benefits of a treadmill is that you can focus your training quite specifically. Once I can comfortably do 6mph for 20 minutes, I think I’ll be comfortable enough to run outside.

I have been thinking of trying to train with intervals of sprinting and intervals of running/walking, but based on my shins/legs I might not be there yet. Plus I have an unholy terror of trying to go too fast on the treadmill and falling off – so maybe sprinting is best done outside? 

RUNNING

Too Fat Too Run – But I Do Anyway!

So, right now I’m 207lbs. I struggled to run even when I was 180lbs with zero baby-jiggle. Almost 2 years of no exercise, and medical lifting restrictions later, here I am. Too fat, jiggly, out-of-breath and slow to run.

But our apartment building has a fitness centre that is very rarely used in the daytime, so I figured I might as well start using it. At least on the treadmill I don’t have to worry about being self-conscious. It is air-conditioned and has cable TV, but neither of those matter as I still sweat red hot buckets, and have my headphones in to drown out the sound of my own wheezing.

Right now, I can only run one mile. Going full pelt for that mile takes me over 10 minutes. It took me weeks to even run one mile without stopping to catch my breath/re-inflate a lung. It hurts like heck for the first few minutes, and time slows to a crawl for the next 7-8 (while still hurting like heck). I am super sweaty, red in the face and tremble-legged when I am done. I don’t care! I’m proud of all my crappy accomplishments!

My next goal is to run for 2 miles without stopping. Starting to believe I can do it :)

The Secret To An Amazing, Low-Cal Lentil Curry

Now, I’ve been putting off posting my curry recipe, even though it is amazing, because I’m worried that Americans aren’t big curry eaters? My only experience is my hubby and his family though, who eschew most spicy foods. Though hubby has an admirably open mind when it comes to trying new things, and he really likes my curry, so I should be open to bragging about the recipe in front of Americans.

So, my curry is inspired by Indian Cuisine that I partook of in England, but it is certainly not faithful to any particular type (i.e. jalfrezi, tikka masala, biryani, etc.). It also does not contain much for oils & dairy, which really cuts down on the calories. Adding meat or not is entirely the dealers choice – you’d simply brown it, and then simmer it in the sauce for at least 10-15 mins. I leave mine for an hour to really absorb the flavours and start to break down.

So, onwards with the actual recipe!

To serve 4 (with BIG portions) you’ll need:

1/2 an onion, chopped

2tsp minced garlic, or 2 chopped garlic cloves

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 cup water (optional: use chicken stock or add 1tsp of chicken stock powder for extra ‘body’)

1 tbls tomato paste

Seasonings: cumin, turmeric, curry powder, ginger, garam masala (in the spices section of most grocery stores now, but not Walmart. If you can’t find it, leave it out), chili powder, salt & pepper. I use onion & garlic powder on everything so feel free. You can also add coriander but I hate that stuff.

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 carrot, cooked (boiled/steamed, your choice)

1 cup lentils

Instructions:

First, cook the onions for a few minutes. Add the pepper, you want to kind of soften it, but I get impatient and toss in the garlic a couple of minutes later. I use that 0 calorie cooking spray to lubricate, or you could use your preferred oil, or even a bit of water on the bottom. Once your onions/peppers are softened, add the water. Then mix in the tomato paste & seasonings. I don’t measure seasoning, so my only advice is, go very lightly on them, at least at first. A lot of cumin gives it too much of a spanish/mexican aroma. Too much chili powder and you’ll be steaming from the ears before you’re done eating. So a sprinkle of each will do. Add the peas and steamed carrots, and simmer this mixture for however long the peas take to soften (shouldn’t take longer than 5 mins).

Now, here comes the secret part, mentioned in the title, that only the brave, faithful warriors who read this far will get to see. When I first made this dish I was totally winging it, using up what I had, and at this stage my curry looked awful. Lumpy and watery, like a baaad soup. And I have no idea what normal culinary tricks are used to thicken sauces. So, I got out my blender! And I blended it! And it became this thick, creamy-looking, orange thing that looked like curry! With flecks of green and red! Then I tossed it into the slow cooker (optional, you can go straight to simmering it on a low-ish heat), added the lentils, and an extra cup of water for them to absorb, and set it on high until hubby got home (about 2 hours).

Then I mixed in some fresh parsley, scooped it on top of wild rice, and hubby and I went to town on it! Calorie-wise, it is amazing because it’s all veggie!

Daily Prompt: A Stay At Home Wife’s Answer

Work? Optional!

Q. If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

A. As a woman who doesn’t work, it’d be easy for me to say, well money is obviously out of the equation already! We can survive (and thrive) on one income, so that must make work ‘optional’ for me, right?

But it is not quite that simple. I am not a Housewife because of any religious or political reasons. It is a mix of happenstance and misfortune (I quit my job to become a stay at home mother, and then my baby died), and part of me feels guilty for not bringing in any money, but sick at the prospect of working out of the house and facing the general public every day – the idea of having to fake-smile and keep my mouth shut about my internal pain is abhorrent to me. So on most days, work isn’t an option for me. I am not strong enough.

Staying at home is definitely what I really want to do – I feel like I’m not very good at it yet, but I have found my dream career (add a tonne of babies and we’d be golden). And I know I am lucky to even have that option – lucky and smart, because we aggressively paid off debt and refuse to take on any more, and we have always (usually) kept our living costs as low as possible for this very eventuality. We practiced living on one income, and will continue to do so whether I am able to work or not.

So all my time is now ‘free’, and I use some of it to write, some of it to do general housekeeping chores, some of it to play games on Facebook. My goal is to stay on top of all the chores, wake up early and get started, and have supper prepped and ready to go when hubby is hungry (he gets home anytime between 2pm and 6pm, so I can’t have it on the table for when he gets home). But that’s management-level housewifing, and I’m still a rookie.