Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This pig did not help me this week. It was a challenging week, what with a pig roast and the Great Minnesota Get Together - the state fair - on my agenda. I did well in the exercise department but was clearly a failure on the food side of the equation. Aaron and I got on the scale tonight and the numbers didn't move. To be positive, my number didn't go up, but it certainly didn't go down. I wasn't remotely perfect this week, but I thought the good had outweighed the bad a teensy bit. Guess not. Guess I'll have to stretch last week's 8.4 pound loss over a few weeks!

I ate more than I needed to at the pig roast, mostly that guy in the photo above. He was absolutely delicious. And the cole slaw was amazing. The beers, as light as they may have been, were still beers. Too much of anything is too much. Last night at the fair wasn't a big success either. I have trouble getting upset about that, though, since it comes by but once a year. Guess I'll just have to accept that I didn't work it as hard as I could have and get back on that horse, instead of eating like a horse. Hardy har.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Walk in Time or Finding Time to Walk

It was another challenging weekend for eating well! Actually, Friday night was easy because Doug made us a super delicious and light creation of his own for dinner, buckwheat soba noodles in a flavorful broth with grape tomatoes sauteed in ginger, garlic and black sesame seeds, seaweed, and crabmeat. He went very light on the oil to help me out and the result was really great. Yup, I'm a lucky lady. On Saturday morning we hit the farmer's market where I fought the urge to buy my usual Indian Spiced Mini Donuts from the Chef Shack. It wasn't easy because those donuts are about the tastiest things on earth. Since the farmer's market is winding down for the season, there's a good chance next weekend I will buy some, but I figured if I could pass them up at the time, I would. They'll be there again next weekend. I picked up some apples (and a couple of bites of Doug's Cinnamon Apple Donut!) along with my usual tomatoes and eggs from the Wisconsin Amish kids. Is it wrong that part of me thinks the Amish kids are faking it? That the girls are wearing those long, heavy dresses and delicate white bonnets over their hair, pulled back in a bun, and the boys their wide-brimmed hats and suspenders and it's not real? It just seems too Witness with Harrison Ford for me. But, as Doug pointed out, they probably are the real thing because the kids can never do the simplest math, even with a calculator. It's weird. After the market, Doug dropped me off so that I could hit the sidewalk for a walk before the weekend festivities began while he ran errands.

I had about a million things to do in a short time so told myself a twenty minute brisk walk was going to have to do, but once out I told myself that another ten minutes wasn't going to put us behind too badly and would also do me a world of good. I was really glad I went the extra ten. Doug and I then got a quick breakfast at the Spring Street, where we go almost every weekend but because of the summer agenda we have not visited in about a month. Usually I choose a fat-laden and totally delicious breakfast like hash browns topped with cheese and eggs, but for once I went with just two eggs over easy and a piece of wheat toast to soak up the yolk. You know what? It wasn't disappointing in the least, and no one could be more surprised to say that than me! I didn't miss the bacon and potatoes as much as I thought I would. I hope I remember this in the future!

Finally, Doug and I got on the road to attend my cousin's wedding reception, a pig roast and camping event in beautiful central Minnesota. It was SO much fun, hanging out with cousins and eating fresh roasted pork and drinking beer. Light beer, that is! It was tough not to eat about forty pork sandwiches with all of the sides and maybe fifty cupcakes, but I was pretty good. Not perfect, but that's not my goal. Perfection is tough. So I held back just enough to not feel deprived. This morning I woke up before most of the others and decided that I would be lucky to go for an hour long walk in this beautiful country location, so I suited up (and by that I mean I put on a sports bra), grabbed my camera bag, and headed out on the main road, rumored to be haunted. Don't worry, I came back alive, the ghost didn't get me this time. I'm especially glad because if she had, I wouldn't have seen the gorgeous horses down the road from the lodge in the photo above. It's nice to be reminded that there are benefits to walking beyond the healthy kind.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm Getting Very Sleepy...

I was so excited to eat healthy food and to add regular exercise to my daily routine because I've read so many stories of folks who've changed their habits for the better and they all express their amazement at how much energy they have now that they're eating right. I couldn't wait to have that sort of energy! So I've been eating apples and peppers and protein as well as biking and walking and for the last week not only do I not have renewed energy, I'm exhausted! I've fallen asleep by 8:00pm several nights in the past week and I've needed my alarm clock to wake me most mornings, not something I'm accustomed to.

Watching as much Mystery Diagnosis as I do, and living with an unhealthy case of cyberchondria (I have every disease I read about on the internet) that has led Doug to forbid me to watch Mystery Diagnosis (which I clearly defy when he's not around), I naturally chalked up my exhaustion to an unusual, obscure, and highly fatal disease. Worried, I told my coworker about my newfound need to constantly sleep and expressed dismay at a regimen I thought was going to bring me boundless energy. This particular coworker knows a thing or two about fitness and health, so I was quite relieved to hear her tell me that it's not uncommon at all for your body to be so tired while it's adjusting to a new lifestyle and that I should probably give it more than a week. Color me impatient! Guess I'll wait it out, most likely under a blanket on the couch.

On a super cool note, Aaron and I had our first week weigh in and we were both superstars. I lost 8.4 pounds and he lost 9.4! No, my pounds probably aren't all (any?) fat, there's some water in there and whatever, but I'll take it! And even though it is my goal to beat Aaron in this contest, I was very happy for him as well, so I kept the gloating to a minimum - this week!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I think I did a good job this weekend. It was an amazingly fun girl's day at the race track with lots of opportunity for food and drink but I, for the most part, chose wisely. Oh, there was the occasional small handful of potato chips and dip, but I concentrated most of my eating on turkey, ham, shrimp, and these amazing dates stuffed with savory goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto that my friend Treva made. Truth be told, I could have eaten fifty of those, but I held back to four or five. For the most part I'm tracking my food daily, but on a day like yesterday I was content to just know I was making wise choices and keeping a mental tick sheet in my head. It was tough not to drink more, but I kept asking myself if that next bottle of beer would be worth it, and most of the time it wasn't. A couple of times it was, but mostly it wasn't. And I still had an awesome time.

The awesome time continued into this morning when we all went to breakfast together and then got back to Minneapolis. Once home, I put everything away and, due to being up a tad late last night, felt like a nap was in order. But it was beautiful outside and I was afraid if I didn't take advantage of the opportunity right there and then, I wouldn't fit in any exercise later. So I donned my comfy clothes and an iPod and off I went for a really great one hour long brisk walk along the river where I saw a barge entering the St. Anthony Falls lock. I love it when I catch that happening. My first weekend is over and it was a good one, I can only look forward to many more of the same.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Like Food

I know I'm alone on this one, but I really like food. Ha! My weakness is for sweets, but I like food in general. Oh, I don't like every food, I'm famous (okay, that's overstating it) for my dislike of olives, cucumbers and feta cheese. But in general, I enjoy the sensation of eating and the feelings of warmth and comfort that food provides. I like trying different things and I hate food ruts. Some folks, especially in dieting mode, find success in repeating the same meals over and over, and it really works for them. They put together the same exact lunch or dinner five to seven days a week and find that it's easier to not have to give it more thought than that. I totally understand this on a visceral level, but I get bored easily and would sit in front of my third turkey sandwich and baby carrots lunch in a row and I would be suicidal. I thrive on variety.

Fortunately, I date a fishmonger. I'm telling you, ladies, if you like food, you should find yourself a cute fishmonger. Fish and seafood are notoriously high in protein (fills you up!) and low in fat and calories (slims you down!). There are a million different kinds to eat, so if you don't care for one fish, there's another one waiting to please you. One night this week I decided I wanted sushi, but I certainly didn't want all the work that is involved in making sushi - with its nori wrapping and rice and all. So I settled for an even healthier option - sashimi, just plain old raw fish. I stopped in at Coastal Seafoods and asked Doug to throw together a few samples of whatever was best that day, and I came home with raw redfish, marlin, and scallops that I dipped in a simple mixture of soy sauce and wasabi. Couldn't be faster or easier, or healthier on all levels. Last night my fishmonger Doug offered to make us some dinner and, of course, I got a little nervous because I'm in diet mode and everyone has a different idea of what that means. But I needn't have fretted because Doug put together an amazing and light soup of shrimp, sausage and poached duck egg with fresh herbs that was delicious. He made the broth himself and skimmed every bit of fat he could out of it in deference to my goals. The broth was light and flavorful and while I have a long standing aversion to soup (it acts like it's a meal but it's really just a beverage), this sort of experiment went a long way in changing my mind.

So my challenge for this weekend, food-wise, is that it's a super fun girl's weekend. I love hanging out with groups of my funny and smart women friends for the weekend, but I don't always make the best food decisions! I thought long and hard about what to bring because I don't expect anyone else to provide for me just because I'm trying to drop pounds, nobody else is responsible for my decisions. At first I thought I'd bring a veggie tray with a light dip of some sort, but then I remembered that I love a local fishmonger and should take advantage of that! Plus I like the idea of getting in some protein to fill me up. So Doug picked me up a couple of pounds of unpeeled shrimp and cooked them up simply with some peppercorns and bay leaves. I also got some homemade cocktail sauce from Coastal to serve with the shrimp. Yum. And I'm whipping up an Asian slaw. I love raw cabbage and how it holds its shape with dressing on it for a long time, unlike conventional lettuce that droops after one minute. I've never made this particular Asian dressing, but what can go wrong with tofu, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, lime, and other delicious ingredients? So no matter what other foods are at the table today, I feel confident that I'll have great go-to food that I can enjoy, and so can my friends. Win - win!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Exercise Is Hard. To Fit In.

My gung-ho exercise attitude waned a little from yesterday. What can you expect? It's been two days! Nobody can expect to be healthy for two whole days in a row! Ha, I kid. But yesterday's bike ride to and from work plus a walk at lunch didn't repeat itself today. I felt dizzy all afternoon today and when I got home I planned to hit the sidewalk but all I could do was take a pain reliever and fall asleep for an hour. I woke up at 7pm, frantic, wondering how I could fit in some exercise and get my errands done, too. So I decided to walk to the grocery store and pick up needed items for my upcoming girl's weekend in a land far, far away called "Shakopee." While not a long walk to the grocery store - it's about ten minutes one way at a brisk pace - it was far better than the alternative, finishing out the evening on the couch never having moved. And it was muggy out, so I did sweat like Olivia Newton-John in her Physical video. Felt like I really did something as a result.

I texted Aaron yesterday and told him I was pretty sure I was winning the contest already. He replied that he had already lost 40 pounds by lopping off his right arm. This competition is on!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It Starts.

It came to my attention recently, when I looked in the mirror, that I'd let a few pounds ("a few" being a relative concept here) creep on in recent years. Maybe it's been more than just a few years, I'm not sure. Well, I'm kind of sure, but not really. That's because it's just easier to not think about it, to not notice it, to not look in the mirror. But maybe doing the easier thing is what got me here in the first place, and maybe it's time to work.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not full of self-loathing. Fortunately I'm bright enough to know that my weight is not me. There's more to me - to everybody - than that. But like anyone else, or almost everyone else in America these days, I endure mornings when nothing fits right and everything feels wrong. I struggle when looking for special occasion outfits, though that might more have to do with my need for comfort than my feelings of self-worth, jury's out on that one. I purchase my clothes in what I call "uniforms," groups of the same clothes in different colors (but not entirely different colors because I like the dark colors better, or maybe I think they like me better. Again, jury's out on that one).

So what's a girl to do once she's acknowledged the obvious and decided it's really time to do something about it? That's right, she challenges her friend to a weight loss challenge. Aaron and me, a scale, a spreadsheet, and a gentleman's handshake agreeing that the biggest loser by percentage on Valentine's Day wins $200 from the other, who will also hopefully be a big loser. I went to Aaron's house last night where we officially weighed in and groaned at the number on the scale. But you can choose to let it get you down or you can change it. I'm choosing to change it.