February 10, 2012

Roses and thorns

I feel amazing.

Everything has been going really well the past few days - at least food and exercise-wise. Work and life stress have been tough, and tension was high earlier in the week. I'm really proud of my decision to go to bed early instead of eat my frustrations - a binge would've been counterproductive and just caused more stress. A good night's sleep was just what I needed!

And - I can tell I've lost weight. The tell-tale signs of being at or below my Chicago lowest weight are all here ... my loose skin on my stomach is extra loose (as are my jeans and all my shirts), my collarbones are popping out a bit more, and there's a bone or tendon or something in my forearm that sticks out more than usual.

It freaked me out when I saw it in August, and it's still pretty strange today. This time, though, I'm deciding not to self-sabotage because it. Yes, it's weird. So are a lot of things about my smaller body that I've discovered along the way. These are just things to get used to.

Oddities and strangeness aside, I really do feel amazing, and not just physically. I'm smiling all the time and back to being my almost-excessively-cheerful self like I was in Chicago. It's so nice to be back to my normal.

This weekend, I'll be grading a mountain of exams, reading for a book club meeting on Monday night, and I have a race on Sunday morning. I'm pretty nervous about the race for some reason, even though it's just 10K. I'm biking to and from the race, which is I think where my nerves come in. Today I'll be doing a trial run of biking, then running, then biking to see if Sunday's plan is feasible. We shall see.

Somewhat related, if anyone missed Katie's announcement yesterday, I'm super excited to finally talk about something we've been planning for a little while:

we are going to be running a Ragnar Relay next January!

Our team is coming together still but essentially, it's a group of all people who've lost significant amounts of weight and became runners. I'm so excited, not only to participate in such a unique event (and in such an amazing place! Miami to Key West, Florida!), but to do so with such inspiring people! Katie is one of my favorite maintenance bloggers, and I'm pumped at the chance to run with her and with several other incredible success stories. I'll be posting more about the event and our team as it all comes together.

Thinking about the Relay team has also been a motivator for me lately. I'm not nearly close to being "at goal" yet, but the Relay isn't for another 330 days (not that I'm counting) ... so I've got my eyes on the prize, so to speak, thinking about how badly I want to be in my best physical condition by the time we all come together to run. Binges won't get me there. Neither will excuses. But hard work and focus will.

What about you? What are your weekend plans? Are there any weightloss-related body changes that you've found to be odd or surprising? Have you ever done a Ragnar Relay or any other non-traditional race?

February 8, 2012

Back to basics

This first week of my February challenge has gone well! My eating has been on point, and I can tell that I've lost weight - my stomach feels looser and my winter coat fits better. It's amazing what difference a few pounds can make.

Part of my February challenge involves eating the way I did back when I first started to get healthy. I've made a few modifications to suit my current schedule, but otherwise, it's been going well. Here is an example of what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast was 32 oz. of water, a 6 oz. container of Fage plain 0% Greek yogurt, and some blueberries.

I used to have Yoplait Light yogurts, but the Fage has more protein for the same number of calories - not to mention no artificial sweeteners. I love most of the fruity Chobani yogurts, but I'm trying to eat as many whole foods as possible, so even though the calories work out to a few more by having a yogurt and fresh fruit, I feel better about it. Plus, I like the thicker consistency of the Fage yogurt!

I work out in the morning, then have 16-32 oz. of water and a Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers meal for lunch. They're not the best choice, but they're convenient and help me prevent binges since I can have a reasonable portion of the things I crave (the chicken carbonara is pretty darn good, all things considered).

Dinner also usually comes from the freezer - a portion of a premade soup or chili that I portioned out for single-servings, or a piece of chicken. When I wake up, I move it from the freezer to the fridge so it's thawed and ready to cook/serve when I get home from work. Another 16-32 oz. of water, and I also usually make some veggies to go with my dinner to bulk it up - lately, my favorites have been broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

After lunch, I have a piece of fruit for a snack. Yesterday it was a banana. Sometimes it's an apple or a pear. I also like fresh veggies - cucumber and raw mushrooms are favorites for snacking.

And my late afternoon snack to get me through office hours and teaching?

A single-serve packet of graham crackers (120 calories) and a single-serve container of peanut butter. Right now I have Scooby Doo crackers because Target was sold out of my usual choice, the 120 calorie pack of Teddy Grahams. These are good, but they look like dog bones, and even though they are delicious, I feel odd eating them. This was my snack every single day for nearly a year and I (a) never got bored and (b) never binged on peanut butter. Allowing myself a little of these things helps me not overdo it. I keep these at my office so there's no temptation - and if I still want it that badly ... well, to the office is a 5.5 mile bike ride, that burns quite a few calories, and I can't binge until I feel sick because there's another 5.5 miles on the bike to get me home. This set-up works well for me.

Adding the fruit with breakfast and lunch are changes from when I was in Chicago. Back then, I worked mornings and exercised at night, so my dinners were bigger. Now, I work out mornings and teach at night, so I try and spread the calories out more evenly. Total is usually between 1200-1300 calories, though I am perfectly okay with upping it to 1400-1500 when I work out harder.

This is what I ate yesterday; some days I mix it up, but most days are nearly identical. That kind of repetition might not work for everyone, but it's what I've found works best for me for weight loss. I like a routine!

What about you? Do you usually eat the same things over and over, or do you try and change things up all the time?

February 5, 2012

Coconut curry chickpea patties

This week, I invented a recipe!

I made bean burgers many times back in Chicago, but hadn't made them since moving because I didn't have a food processor (that barely qualifies as an excuse, but I'm sticking to it).

Another excuse, and tell me if I'm being crazy: the bake shops in grocery stores out here don't sell individual sandwich rolls. Since I don't feel comfortable right now buying a loaf of bread or a package of 100 calorie sandwich thins, I've pretty much just given up on bread for now. In Chicago, I'd walk to the store, buy one as I needed it, and was satisfied. Here, they sell bagels and baked goods, but not rolls. Is that a California thing? Or just my town? (Yes, I tried all four grocery stores.)

But all week, I wanted a bean burger, and so finally, yesterday, my plans came together and I made this:

My food photography skills are lacking. But that is a coconut curry chickpea patty, and it was incredibly delicious. I ate two of them plain, and will be having the leftovers today over fresh spinach. It would be nice as an actual sandwich on bread, for sure. But for now, it was just plain.
1 15-oz. can chickpeas
4 tbsp. coconut flakes
1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs
3 egg whites
1 tbsp. curry powder
In a food processor, pulse chickpeas until they are piecemeal - broken up, but NOT so much that they are a hummus consistency. Here is a picture of mine:

Put chickpeas in a medium-sized mixing bowl and fold in coconut, breadcrumbs, egg whites, and curry powder until well combined. Form mixture into 4 patties and cook them in a skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, until slightly browned (or, as I did, for about 3 minutes on my George Foreman grill).

Here is the nutrition information with the ingredients I used:

You could use any curry spice you like; I used one that I bought at the Spice House the last time I was in Chicago: Vadouvan, a mild French-style masala curry. Next time, I think I'll kick up the spice a bit. The sweetness of the coconut was delicious, but I think some heat would complement it very well.

What about you? Have you ever invented a recipe? What is your favorite kind of sandwich? Can you buy individual rolls at your grocery store? (If so, I'm a bit jealous, not gonna lie.)