August 6, 2011

Maintenance

At different points in my journey, I have tended to focus more on certain blogs - though I still read the whole gamut and try to comment and support people no matter what their personal goals are. When I first started reading blogs, I sought out only bloggers "like me" - folks with over 200 pounds to lose, and exclusively female writers. As I've continued on my journey, though, my blog reading horizons have expanded. I credit this to realizing that when I look beyond the physical, a lot of people are "like me" - even in the least likely of places, I can find something I relate to.

In the beginning, I wanted to read as much as I could by people going through the same experience as me - because even though the hundredth pound is as hard to lose as the first one, the strength required of you when you're getting started feels incredibly overwhelming compared to the strength required of persevering through the middle stretch. That's part of how I got that big to begin with - it's easier to stick with a harmful habit than commit to making the right choices and changing my lifestyle. There were always excuses for eating garbage and not being active, and the weight climbed accordingly. Suddenly, you're 23, just shy of 350 pounds, and going to the bathroom or tying your shoelaces are exhausting. So I looked to read what other people had to say about getting started, so that we could support each other.

As I started running, I looked for C25k and running blogs. I was 296 pounds the first day of C25k, and truly felt like a fit person as I jogged and walked in 60 second intervals. I wanted to read more about people who had done the program, to see what advice they had and how they were feeling as the weeks carried on. Around week 5 of the program, the game changes a little - you start running full miles without walking intervals, and for someone who had never ran a mile without stopping in her life, that made me feel like a real athlete. I started looking for people who wrote about the races they had done, because I understood what they wrote about. I knew how it felt to train, and I knew the incredible feeling of the "runner's high" that they described after hitting their longest distances, logging their fastest paces, and finishing race after race. I looked to read what other runners had to say about the sport, so that we could support each other.

Recently, my focus has been on maintenance blogs. It's time to start actively thinking about my plan for maintenance - it hit me a few weeks ago that I'm in the final stretch of the losing phase - I have 37-57 pounds to lose still, which is quite a bit of ways to go, but at the same time, I've lost about 3-5 times those figures already. This realization, I think, also contributed to my slowed/stalled weight loss.

It might be a silly analogy, but the most perfect image I can think of is that I feel like the part in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" when Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe drink the Fizzy Lifting Drinks and start floating - they tumble and float carelessly, enjoying the ride and feeling fantastic - until they realize they're about to be chopped to bits by a gigantic oscillating fan, and they start grabbing fruitlessly at the walls of the tunnel they've been floating in. Losing weight has felt incredible and I've enjoyed so many non-scale victories, but now the end is near and I feel like clinging for dear life to avoid reaching it. Unfortunately, burping won't save me like it did for those two - I have to keep moving forward.

It's really conflicting: I want to lose weight, but I'm scared of actually losing down to the beginning of my life in maintenance. I cried myself to sleep the other night because I lost 150 pounds in one year when I thought it would take three. I thought I would have more time to get ready for "the end." I got upset, mad at myself even, for doing "so well." It doesn't always feel like I'm doing a good job - the uncertainty of the future overwhelms me.

For my whole life, I've wanted to lose weight. I'm actually doing it now, and before I know it, that won't be one of my life goals anymore. It's a major part of my identity that I'm frankly a little scared of losing. I've made great strides in the past year, but there were also 23 years where I was a big girl who wanted more in life. I'm really afraid of regaining the weight, not because I want to be big again, but because as long as I have weight to lose, I'm still Mary. I know it seems ridiculous and illogical to fear the end - because it isn't actually an end. I'll have new goals. Weight maintenance is something I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. This is my sobriety - no matter how much weight I lose, I'll always be a formerly super obese person in recovery.

So even though I love reading about the experiences of all different points on their various journeys, I've been focusing very closely on maintenance blogs, on people who have lost the weight, who are keeping it off, who show that it *can* be done, and with grace and balance. And soon enough, we will support each other.

What about you? Do you have any fears, secret or not, about weight loss and/or weight maintenance? I know I can't be alone in feeling this way - I haven't been with anything else so far on this journey!

August 5, 2011

Roses and thorns

With the internet in my apartment down for the better part of this past week, I've been getting a lot accomplished. I headed to the university library a few days to write articles and enjoy the air conditioning. I had some great workouts, including a pretty good run where I got awkwardly sunburned around my iPod armband. And I've deep cleaned pretty much my entire apartment - I'll be finishing up today, and that's something to tick off on my 101-in-1001 list!

(My bed still isn't made yet, though. It's 6:30 a.m., I can only be so wonderful right now. I'm too tired to even put my glasses on.)

The cleaning started because I was frustrated, and continued because I realized it was incredibly necessary. I'm not usually very messy, but I've been so lazy lately - my laundry from Monday was still piled on the couch until last night when I finally put it all away! Another part of the mess problem is that my neighborhood doesn't have the cleanest air, so having the windows open all the time makes everything dusty very quickly.

It's a good thing that I started tidying up, too, because this morning I have a girl coming to check out the apartment to rent my spare bedroom! She is a French exchange student who will be attending the university where I teach. I hope she's a nice girl - she sounded very kind in her email. We're the same age, both quiet, and she said she will be busy with studying and teaching but is also looking forward to exploring her new city. I'm a little nervous, because I never had good luck with roommates in college - I somehow ended up in a suite with seven girls who were all only-children and had never shared a space before. This girl mentioned in her email that she lived with four roommates in Dublin a few years ago, so I'm hopeful.

The other good thing about all this cleaning and reorganizing is that it's kept me active - I took two rest days in a row this week, one because it was too hot to function and the other when I got my temporary bad news from my boss and I knew any attempt at a workout would've been a flop. But moving my office into my bedroom and cleaning everything up kept me moving and out of the kitchen (unless it was the kitchen I was mopping and dusting at the time).

This week's weigh-in is a good one: I'm at 192 today, a 3 pound loss for the week. Finally! More than one pound! My week started tough, but apparently the decade challenge with Meghan is just what I needed. It's going really well so far! I'm so glad - I'm dying to get out of the 190s. I've been here for what feels like forever. I couldn't think of any way to celebrate my 150 pound loss, and I was too overwhelmed with life whatnot to throw the rebirthday party I'd dreamed of for six months or so, but finally getting into the 180s definitely calls for some sort of reward, I think!

What about you? Do you have rewards scheduled for reaching weight loss goals? (If so, what are they? I need some ideas!) What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Also - I'm super behind on blog reading - I usually clear out my Google Reader before bed, and it's just been piling up for days ... over 200 unread posts right now. So I'll attack that at the library this afternoon. Any particularly good posts from this week that I shouldn't miss?

August 4, 2011

Shadow

I had great intentions for a post today, but my internet has been spotty at home and I can get online for ten minutes at best. So instead, I have been cleaning my apartment to get ready for a roommate. I also worked on a craft project last night! It felt good to disconnect a little and create something tangible.

So for today, I just wanted to share this picture:


This is my shadow while waiting for the train home yesterday. I had gone to the university to sign my contract, and I stayed to get some work done on the computers in the library. While at the school, I ran into two people I knew who hadn't seen me since school got out, and they both commented on how terrific I look these days. My progress this summer has felt incredibly slow, but looking at my weigh-in data, I'm reminded that when school ended, I was well over 200 pounds still - there are a good twenty pounds between yesterday and the last time either of these people saw me. As I get smaller, the physical difference between weight decades becomes more and more apparent - and even I can recognize the changes in my body over the past twenty pounds.

I had felt very comfortable and happy even before I ran into those two, but once I saw them, I was absolutely floating with confidence. And then, as I waited for the train home, I caught a glimpse of my shadow. My hands confidently on my hips, per usual lately, and my skirt blowing around a little with the glorious evening breeze we had, a fantastic reprieve from the heat the day earlier.

It's a lousy cell phone picture, but it captured the moment pretty well for me, I think. I felt really lovely and confident, and my little shadow with its healthy curves made me smile incredibly. I have struggled a lot this summer, and I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm so grateful for days like yesterday, when I can look at myself and appreciate how far I've come.

What about you? What's your favorite recent NSV? What compliments have you received lately?

August 3, 2011

Consider the alternative

It was very hot again yesterday, so I decided to head to the university library. It's air conditioned there, and they have more functional computers than the Chicago Public Library (I wanted to get some work done for the article writing job, but the CPL computers only allow basic internet use, no word processing. That's weird, right?). I took a shower and made my leftover meatloaf sandwich, and sat down at my desk to eat and check the bus tracker to see when the next bus would arrive.

I usually keep Gmail open in one of my browser's tabs, and while I was updating my Twitter about the deliciousness of the sandwich, I noticed a new email. It was from my boss at the university.
Subject: VERY sorry for mix up, please forgive me
It took a moment for the reality of it to sink in.
"... there was a misunderstanding ... I miscalculated ... we do not need any lecturers at all ..."
Did she really just say that? Then it clicked, and I suddenly felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

Adding insult to injury, I got two more email within the fifteen minutes that followed: more rejection letters. One was for a full-time academic advisor position at a different local university, the other was for a part-time cashiering job at Whole Foods.

I just sat there at my desk, staring at nothing in particular. My breathing was shallow and my heart was racing. I still needed another job on top of the two I have now in order to make my rent and pay my bills, and since this was my fifth grocery store rejection of the summer, it wasn't looking great. To need two jobs when one is hard enough to come by?

Needless to say, I didn't make it to the library.

I didn't binge, which I'm proud of. I felt too queasy and nauseous, to be honest. Food didn't even cross my mind. I was dizzy with confusion about what the heck I'm going to do to get by.

I looked over at my bookcase, and saw a little white plastic card, the size of a credit card, with the words "Stop & Shop" on it, along with a series of numbers. It's my employee time card from the grocery store I worked at in high school, college, and the summer before I relocated to college. The card had been taped up over desk all during grad school with a note that said Consider the alternative.

No matter how tough grad school got, no matter how stressed out I was by teaching or homework or paper writing, I had to remain positive and keep going, because it was what had to be done in order to avoid being trapped in a minimum wage customer service position for the rest of my life. I got very lucky last year with the full-time job at the university - I didn't make nearly as much money as someone with a master's degree should, but it didn't matter because I honestly felt like the happiest girl in all of Chicago. I made enough to get by, and I felt proud of the work I did and the effect I had on my students.

I read an opinion piece earlier this summer about the "boomerang generation," the kids who go off to college and get degrees, only to wind up living back at home. The author said something that really hit me:
Not everyone needs a degree. Having one isn't a right. Someone needs to stock shelves, drive trucks, and mop floors. A post-high school education is an investment. Investments don't always pay off.
The idea of making a bad investment has been rolling around in my mind for weeks. I pursued a degree in something I'm passionate about, and it seems to have ended up hurting me more than helping. I can't find a full-time position in my field, and because I have a graduate degree, most places won't even hire me for part-time work because I am overqualified. I feel very trapped.

I tried to call my dad, but his phone went to voicemail. I sent my sister Lisa a text message and asked her to call me when she got out of work, and she called back almost immediately and asked if I was alright.
No, I'm not.
And I started bawling, and I let it all out.
My boss emailed me and said she made a mistake and she can't rehire me and so now I don't have a job for the fall. I'm not going to be able to pay my bills. I'm going to be homeless. And I'm stressed out about everything that's going on with our family and the fact that I can't be there right now. And I broke up with Matt and even though he was a jerk and it was the right thing to do, it's just another thing that I've lost right now. And I feel so unbelievably alone. Nothing is going right for me right now, and I feel so incredibly scared.
Lisa and I butted heads for most of our lives - it's our very strong firstborn/secondborn complexes - but we've become closer over the past year or so, and she talked me down from my hysterical sobbing while offering advice and support.

I ate dinner. I took a shower. I took a nap. And I woke up feeling just as scared, but a little more rational. It's okay to be a little terrified of the unknown - but it isn't okay to let it consume you. So I took another shower to cool off, then decided to pull an activity from my binge canister - I wasn't feeling like a binge, per se, but I needed to be distracted. It said to dust under my bed, so I grabbed the dustpan and broom and got to work.

Dusting under the bed turned to bagging up the pile of clothes I've been meaning to donate. And that turned to reorganizing my closets, which turned into the megahuge project of moving everything from my home office into my bedroom so I can clean it up and get it ready for a roommate to move in. Suddenly, five and a half hours had passed. I'm not sure how many calories I burned, but if it's directly proportionate to how many books I own, I think I ended the day pretty well.


(That is not all my books. I might be a hoarder.)

I set up my computer and cleared off the couch since my bed was still covered in things to sort through (that's this morning's project), and signed into my Gmail account. There was another email from my boss at the university, with this one's subject reading "NEVER MIND, all is fine" The secretary had misspoken, and my offer for one class is still valid. I felt a little relief, but in the back of my mind, I can't let go of the idea that this is all so fragile. That I can't count on anything right now. That things can still change.

Today, I'm holding on for dear life to the things I can control. I have one more full-time paycheck coming to me, and I'm actively looking for jobs still. I'm going to get a roommate and that will help with some of my expenses. I'm paid up at the gym through October, so that's something I don't have to worry about. And I am intently focused on nourishing my body and not feeding it garbage because I am sad and it is cheap. My job situation is not ideal, but the worries are not going to last forever. I am a hardworking girl who is passionate and dedicated, and something is going to come along for me. It has to.

What about you? How do you deal with feeling out of control - with jobs, relationships, weight loss, anything - without turning to food?

August 2, 2011

Workouts: July

On July 1, I stood on my blog soap box and declared that you could expect great things from me over the course of the month. Looking over my charts, I'm feeling quite pleased with how it all turned out. Lots of great sweats this month.


Definitely trying to channel Bitch Cakes here. I'm on my way!

I had a summer goal to make the Ironman distances for swimming, biking, and running in one month. That means 2.36 miles of swimming, 111.85 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running. Well, I fell short this month. I swam twice, for a total of 1.09 miles. And for the time being, I have sworn off swimming entirely. I don't have proper form, and spent over half the month nursing a misused knee. I'm stepping away from this goal for now - it's not going to happen before the end of summer - but it's definitely something I intend to come back to once I learn how to swim correctly.

For fear of increasing the knee pain, I biked exactly 0 miles this month. And I have absolutely no regrets about that. I listened to my body and did what I felt was right. August goal: get back on the bike. Anything will be progress over July's nothing.

For running, though, I logged the most monthly miles than I have yet so far - 56.62 - which brings my total miles for the year to just shy of 280, or about 81% of my 2011 goal. And I set an amazing personal record for the 8k distance at the Bastille Day race when I took nearly eight minutes off my Shamrock Shuffle time, so I'm happy with July. However, my half marathon training has been exceptionally tough - my longest run so far has been 7 miles, and it was on a treadmill so it was broken up into two runs of 4 miles and 3 miles. I keep trying to run it outdoors, but I can't seem to get distances in this humidity - it gets hard to breathe. My longest non-stop run was a 6.4 miler about a week ago, and it took almost everything out of me. I'm not sure if a half marathon this fall is a feasible goal, but I'm still going to press forward with trying to increase my distances - whether I run it this fall or in the spring or whenever, I'm going to be a half marathoner. August goal: keep running. (And - find a timed 5k so I can try for my official sub-30!)

I did 10 whole minutes of weight training this month - granted, it was ten more minutes than last month. But still, I want to be doing more. I want to tighten and tone, darn it! August goal: at least 20 minutes.

I used the elliptical a lot more this month than I did last month, and burned a total of 5750 calories on it. I've been burning between 700-1000 calories each time I use it, down from the 1000-1200 I used to see when I first started going to the gym in October - I'm also using the machines at a higher resistance/incline now than I was then. Smaller bodies burn fewer calories doing the same exercises. I have no complaints. August goal: keep up the good work.

I used the Wii Fit a few of times this month, for a total of 124 minutes and 606 calories burned. I have wanted to use it more lately, but it's too hot in my apartment - I'd rather go to the air conditioned gym and sweat on a machine there than be in my living room, sweating even before I begin my routine. No August goal for the Wii Fit, I guess - it depends on the weather. I'll do what I can.

I had six rest days in July, most of which were actual "complete" rest days since I was trying to rest my bum knee. It feels fine now, so I am confident that I made good choices with rest and exercise this month.

All in all, I think I succeeded at my July goal of making great things happen. I wish my weight loss was as good as it should have been given the exercise statistics, but I ate for maintenance a lot this month. Not to mention I ate out more times this month than I have in the past year - something that really frustrated me.

I keep talking about my scale-based frustration lately, and while I stand by my feelings of discontentment and my certainty that I could be doing a lot better, I was brought back down to earth a little by looking at my June summary and realizing I weighed 203 pounds on July 1. An eight pound loss for the month of July means two pounds a week - a healthy two pound average loss per week. I wish it were 2-2-2-2 and not 5-1-1-1, but I'm not going to split hairs. Losses are losses, and I have a plan for August to work on more consistency with them.

Meghan and I have set up a personal challenge for ourselves, as we both find ourselves frustrated with spending what feels like forever in our current "decades." Meghan is a fantastic lady - amazingly supportive, totally inspiring, and incredibly raw and honest on her blog - and I'm very excited to be working alongside her on this. I don't usually set weight-based goals, but I've been feeling lately like enough is enough - I've had enough of the 190s, and I want to be out of them by the end of August. So, we've got a little plan to help each other stay consistent and focused, and it should get us where we want to be over the course of the next five weeks. The Plan has a few components to it, from water consumption to a very reasonable calorie limit to a weekly exercise quota - plus some small food challenges and a weekly emotional workout, which I certainly need lately!

What about you? What are your workout goals for August?

August 1, 2011

BTH: Week Five

My positive picture for the week:

A few of the friends I met at the Do Life event were running in a 5k race on Thursday, and I wanted to be there and support them, but I couldn't afford to run it myself. So, I volunteered to help out. It was really interesting being on the other side of a race - I was a course marshal. The race took place along the lakefront running/biking path, just south of Soldier Field. I don't bring my camera when I run down there, so I took advantage of having it with me this time.


Absolutely lovely. When I run the path, I start way up north where you can hardly see the city. As I run, it all gets closer: first I can see the John Hancock building, then I run past Navy Pier, and I end up across from either Millennium Park or Buckingham Fountain, depending on how long my run is. As my runs get longer, they'll get even more scenic: past the aquarium and natural history museum, past Soldier Field, and into personally uncharted territory.

What have you done this week to work towards your goals?

This week, I worked on goal #4 - start scaring yourself. Stanier's explanation of this is as follows:
Explore the edges. Dip your toe in the bold, the outrageous, and the unthinkable. Seek out and have adventures.
I knew the goal before I read the explanation, and I was nervous about it. Could I possibly be more afraid than I am right now? I'm already pretty scared these days. I'm scared about not being able to pay my rent or my bills. I'm scared about the uncertain future for my family situations. And I'm really scared about weight maintenance, something I realized recently and will expand upon later this week.

I think this goal isn't so much about becoming afraid in a anxious/fearful/terrified sense as it is about pushing yourself into the unknown, challenging yourself, and discovering your limits. As a generally cautious person, I don't usually step out of my comfort zone and do things that are "scary," in a spontaneous and unplanned sense. I'm not sure of the source, but there's a quote that says if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space. I like certainty and organization, and these things are not found "on the edge" - they're safely a few feet away, behind a guard rail.

So, I'm still trying to figure this one out, to be honest. Today is the first day of August, and I'm stepping into the scariest, most challenging month of my life, and not just on my weight loss journey. There's a lot to figure out between now and September, and I'm a nervous wreck - but I'm facing it, head-on. I've made a sub-goal to do two "scary" things this week - and I'll report back next Monday.

What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

Chocolate mud masque! It smells delicious enough to be fun - but it smells artificial enough to not trigger anything. Like chocolate scented markers, kind of.

How are you finding your goals this challenge? Do you still think you can achieve them?

Love them - they're honestly a challenge for me, and I like taking a little time each week to sit down and think about my non-scale progress.

Freebie! If you want to change one goal, change it. Explain your decision even if you don't change any.

My goals are sort of non-traditional and all go together, so I'm keeping them all!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Your funds are unlimited!

I'd stay in Chicago - I love it here so much. Though, maybe I'd get a fancier apartment, one with more space for books and a window with a built in seat that I could curl up on and read. But since I'd have unlimited funds, I'd also have a vacation home in the French countryside, of course.

July 31, 2011

Turkey meatloaf florentine

Today's the day! Happy re-birthday to me!


Tim asked me the other day what my favorite moment from the year was. Honestly, I'm not sure if I could pick just one! This whole year has been remarkable - like all other one-year-olds, Healthy Me has grown incredibly in her first year, but she still has much to learn. I've grown as I shrank, learning an awful lot about myself in the process. I've made mistakes and I've had terrific victories. I've worked hard to discover what works best for me and what doesn't. I've accomplished things I never, ever thought I was capable of.

So, here's a little recap of my first twelve months - a "baby's first year" album, if you will.

August, September, October

In August, I met my first weight loss goal: I lost enough weight to use the Wii Fit my parents had bought me for Christmas a year or so earlier. I also had one of my first big challenges when I went on a road trip with a few of my cousins to the Illinois State Fair - I packed a Larabar for car breakfast and avoided the worst of the fair food. To not go buckwild in a place that was meant for edible excess was a huge test of my resolve, and it felt so good to ace it.

In September, my friend Ellen asked me to walk the Race for the Cure 5k with her as part of her boyfriend's family team. It was exhausting. It took me over an hour. And I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment afterwards. I got interested in walking races after that, to feel that intense pride.

In October, on the day of the Chicago Marathon, I raced up 26 floors of stairs in my office building. I trained for it after work for about a month and a half before, starting with five floors at a time. It took me 8 minutes that first day, and my lungs felt like they were going to give out. On race day, I did the 26 floors in a fraction of a second over nine minutes flat. Then raced up the last two floors, just to say I conquered the whole building. Afterwards, we enjoyed a healthy snack of apples, and I announced to my friends and family that I was going to learn how to run so that I could run a 5k race.

November, December, January

In November, I started to see a change in my features due to my weight loss, and began to struggle a lot because of it. I had a hard time recognizing myself in the mirror, since I hadn't been under 275 pounds since high school. My iPod broke, and I had an emotional breakdown in the Apple store when I made mental connections between the old/new look of my body and my old, big, reliable mp3 player/the small, fancy new one I bought. Not as jump-for-joy-ful as the races, but a very important experience for me on my journey.

In December, I headed back home to Connecticut for the holidays. I was very nervous about going back and being able to stay active and on-plan. For my first holiday season, I did well - I made a great plan, stuck to it as closely as I could, and enjoyed being with my family.

In January, I ran my first 5k. It took me less time than I had anticipated, but that hardly mattered - I ran the whole thing! And when I finished, my kid brother gave me a gigantic hug. It was an incredible day.

February, March, April

In February, I had my first binge since August, triggered by my dad going to the hospital in Florida. We also had a huge blizzard, and I was very proud of myself for staying on-plan and in control when leaving the house wasn't an option!

In March, I took an overnight trip to St. Louis to enjoy my spring break a little - and to take some vacation photos of my smaller self.

In April, I was very busy. My mom and brother came to Chicago to visit, I found out I wasn't getting rehired at my teaching job, and I went to Connecticut for one day to visit my best friend Jill, whom I had not seen at all since I started to lose weight - I was down more than 125 pounds at that point.

May, June, July

In May, I went vegan for a whole month, and was surprised at how much I didn't miss meat or dairy. It's something I'd consider going back to in maintenance, but in the losing phase of my weight journey, it didn't work for me.

In June, I ran my first 10k - and in less than a minute longer than it took me to walk the 5k back in September. And I got to onederland for the first time since middle school!

In July, I met Ben and a ton of other incredibly inspirational people at the Do Life event in Chicago. We ran, we talked, we bonded. I left the event feeling fully charged and ready for my month of anniversaries.


To tell the truth, looking through all the pictures I've taken over the past year has brought tears to my eyes. Partly because I see that big girl and I don't really recognize her anymore, but also, because my vision of the whole journey has been so blurry lately. I've focused so intently on short-term struggles and failed to adequately acknowledge just how much success I've seen this year.

I hope I don't sound boastful, but I'm honestly in awe of myself - this year, I have done some really incredible things. Yes, my weight loss has slowed in the past few weeks (I've been looking over my food and exercise journals and have been drawing some conclusions), but I can't honestly look back over the past year and call any experience a failure - and even if they were, it all comes back to one of my favorite Rilo Kiley quotes: All of your failures are training grounds. These experiences are teaching me and preparing me for the next year of weight loss - and a lifetime of maintenance. I am not failing by any means - I'm figuring out what works for me, what I need to do to ensure that these changes are not only successful but sustainable in the long run.

So, happy re-birthday to me, and hopefully many more. I can hold my head up on my own, so to speak, and I'm ready to start trying to walk on the legs I've been strengthening in my first year.

I invented this week's recipe. It's still quite hot out, but I've wanted to make turkey meatloaf lately. Mostly because I wanted a sandwich made with leftover turkey meatloaf. I know it's a small departure from a turkey burger, but it was different enough to inspire my newest favorite recipe.


It may not look like much, but it was incredibly delicious. The flavor was spinachy-y and bacon-y but neither overwhelmed the other. I didn't add any other spices, so you could really taste the two flavors pretty well. I had a piece for dinner last night with some fruit; two of the leftover slices went straight into the freezer, and one has a date with destiny on a whole wheat sandwich thin either today or tomorrow.
16 oz. lean ground turkey
1.5 cups fresh spinach
4 strips turkey bacon
1 egg
1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. In a food processor, finely chop spinach. Add bacon and process to chop/combine. In a medium-size bowl, combine all ingredients (be careful not to overmix). Spray the bottom/sides of a 9"x9" baking dish with non-stick spray, then place in meatloaf mix, spreading level to ensure even baking. Bake for 25-35 minutes.

So yummy. I used the same thin strips of turkey bacon that I used for my sandwich swap and was amazed at how prominent the flavor was.

The best part of this recipe? With my ingredients, a quarter of the meatloaf is 250 calories - a great lunch, especially paired with some more spinach for a salad! I've been using MyFitnessPal for a couple of weeks. (If you use it, feel free to add me! I'm oh_mg - I love seeing people's food diaries, first to get ideas for menus, but also to get ideas from how people maximize their calories). I love it, and one great feature is that you can add in your own recipes by listing the ingredients and how many servings it makes, then you can add it to your daily meal tracker. Amazing!

What about you? What's your favorite meal to have as leftovers?