Friday, February 26, 2010

Stat Update

Upping my cardio (and possibly drinking loads more water) has worked! 2 pounds down this week!

Plan for the coming week: continue with the added cardio and water, decrease food consumption.

I am going to invest in some sugarfree gum, for those times I just feel like grazing. I don't eat nearly as much as I used to, but it's still more than I need. I tweeted this yesterday: "Man, I wish jelly belly made sugar free gum... I'd be all over buttered toast, espresso, and toasted marshmallow," followed by: "P.S. I know they make a range of sugar free jelly beans. But you can't chew those for ages." I also wish they existed here (there's just no sugar added ones in the UK).

Seriously though, buttered toast sugar free gum (if they got the flavor right)? That would be killer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

(Slightly Healthier) Chocolate Cake in Five Minutes

I promised a few posts ago to share my modified Cake in Five Minutes, so here we go! I found a link to the original recipe on a forum I frequented a while back. It was pretty tasty... but as an amateur baker, I can't be given a recipe and not modify it. Plus, it's VERY easy to make a few exchanges and remove a lot of calories.

* * *

(Slightly Healthier) Chocolate Cake in Five Minutes
4 tbsp flour (all-purpose or strong works fine, you could probably even use whole wheat!)
4 tbsp sugar (I usually use 50/50 white and soft dark brown, but you can easily use Splenda)
2 tbsp cocoa (Make sure it's UNSWEETENED)
1 egg
3 tbsp milk (I use 1% or 2%, or semi-skimmed... not sure if skimmed would work, but it's worth a try I suppose!)
3 tbsp applesauce/fruit puree (The original recipe calls for oil, but it's just for moisture, so this works just as well. Last time I used apple & strawberry puree, as I can't find applesauce here)

Chuck all the ingredients into a bowl (or a mug, as per the original recipe) and mix thoroughly. At this stage, you can add some nuts or dried fruit, if you like.

Stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes. (If made in a mug, let the cake settle and then tip it onto a plate or bowl).

Top with fresh fruit (like raspberries) or leave it as is. Enjoy!

* * *

The texture is a bit different than normal cake, because it's microwaved, but it's still pretty tasty. I bet it's possible to bake it in the oven though. Experimentation must be conducted!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Race for Life 5k

I've finally signed up for the Race for Life 5k in Milton Keynes! I kept putting it off for a few weeks, but now it's done. It takes place on the 6th of June, so I have plenty of time to train... I know I can WALK five kilometers, but I'd love it if I could jog or run, at least for part of it.*

I've added a button on the sidebar, if you'd like to sponsor me. It's for a great cause: Cancer Research UK.

* * *

Today has been a good day. I've eaten well, drunk more water than I have in a long time (about 6 pint glasses full!), and I managed to do both weight lifting and cardio. I'm really happy about that. Just need to keep it up!

I also listened to the latest Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone podcast, which was great. They answered my question about protein powder (I've decided to stick to real food), and I learned a few other things as well. Have a listen if you haven't yet.

*The only thing I'm concerned about is my arthritic knee. I may have to just power walk it in the end, but I'm going to try to jog/run as best I can without injuring myself or making my knee worse... With any luck, by then my legs will be small enough that I can wear once of those slide on knee support thingies.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stat Update

It really shows that I haven't been doing enough (any) cardio (save last night), and at the beginning of the week did nothing for three days. Plus there were a couple of indulgences on my birthday... considering all that I guess, the fact that I gained 1.6 pounds back isn't that terrible. It's not great, but it could have been worse.

This week: stepping up the cardio. We'll see how that goes. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Exercise TV

Today I wanted something different for my cardio. Jen over at Prior Fat Girl has been singing the praises of Exercise TV, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. They have a ton of full length exercise videos. I ended up trying this one, called 20 Minute Dance Party:

It was great! I love dance-based workouts because learning steps is more entertaining for me, and I tend to push myself a bit harder (because I want to figure out how to do the steps). I am covered in sweat, and I feel great! I want to try some of their longer workouts too, but this was a good quick one.

Thanks again, Jen, for linking them on your blog!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feeling a bit 'meh.'

Yesterday was my birthday, and the end of the chocolate ban. I enjoyed a couple of small pieces of chocolate, as well as Cake-in-five-minutes*, because birthdays need cake. I didn't go hog wild and down several bars of chocolate on my own. So in that sense, it was a bit of a triumph. I did happen to drink a little over half of a bottle of wine on my own during the course of the evening, though. Oops!

Today, though, was my weigh in at the medical centre. It was less than inspiring. According to that scale, I'm just a half a kilo down from two weeks ago. Granted, this is in the afternoon, with clothes on, but it's still discouraging. I suppose, though, that it should be.

I'm doing really well with my weight lifting program, but I'm not getting in near enough cardio. And though I am eating generally healthy things, I'm still eating too much. I really should switch to Splenda in my coffee, or at least cut down on the sugar I use. I need to up my water intake. I used to be really good about drinking loads of water every day, but lately I'm lucky if I manage to get two or three pint glasses down.

What it all comes down to is that I need to step up my game. I'm trying not to beat myself up over this, because it's not worth it. "Trying" being the operative word. I'll still have my official stat update weigh in on Friday morning, so we'll see how I do then. If I have a gain (which I'm pretty much expecting), then so be it. I'll work harder.

* * *

On the good side of things, I have a job interview tomorrow for a part time manager position at a nearby charity shop. I have good feelings about it. If I get it, I'll be able to afford to join the gym down the road. That would completely solve my lack of cardio problem... I'm one of those weird people that LOVES zoning out on an elliptical machine (or a stationary bike) with a good audio book (David Sedaris books have been some of the best gym companions I've ever had) and really pushing myself with the interval training programs. Not to mention the fact that because ellipticals are low impact, I can go on for ages without my arthritic left knee flaring up (unlike with running).

That job will also get me out of the house more, and I'll meet a hell of a lot more people, which I could really use for my sanity. Cross your fingers for me!

* * *

In the meantime though, I need to get some more exercise video goodness happening. I have the New York City Ballet Workout (volumes one and two) and that should be okay once a week or so, but I'd like some others for some variety. Maybe I can take up Tae Bo again. I've tried Pump It Up from Ministry of Sound, but it's a bit advanced for me at the moment and the movements are a bit too quick. Does anyone else have recommendations?

*I'll post the modified recipe I use, as well as a link back to the original, at some point in the next couple of days.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stat Update, Tofu, and Memories of Good Food Back Home

I  lost nearly two pounds this week! WOO!

Stats have been updated on the sidebar.

*   *   *

I'm waiting for my groceries to be delivered. They're supposed to arrive between 11 and 12. I'm really looking forward to eating some tofu, as it's been ages since I've cooked some up. I've had the weirdest craving for it lately! Maybe we'll have a tofu stir fry for dinner. I really need to look up how to get the outside of it nice and crispy though. I also want to try cooking it in beer, like a lovely roommate of mine used to do.

I miss the rad vegetarian restaurant I used to go to in San Diego, Jyote Bihanga. It's on Adams Avenue, my favorite street, just across the way from Lestats, my favorite 24 hour coffee shop... which is a far cry from the Costa in Newport Pagnell that closes at 5:30 or 6. But then, coffee culture isn't that big here. ANYWAY. Jyote Bihanga. They have awesome fake meatloaf (neatloaf), mock bacon BLTs, messy and delicious barbecue tofu sandwiches, and delish lentil soup. They also do a lot of vegan dishes as well. So if you're in San Diego for any reason and you're vegetarian, vegan, or if you just enjoy good veggie fair (like me!), check them out. And then get a latte at Lestats and gawk at the goths and scenesters.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lifting and Porridge

I bought a book called The New Rules of Lifting for Women* right before I left the States, as a friend of mine who had been using it highly recommended it. I only got around to starting up the program a week and a half ago (yay culture shock and depression and moving to a new house, oh my).

I'm really enjoying it so far. I have had to make a few adjustments (as I have no barbell or access to weight lifting machines at the moment), but thankfully they offer many variations on an exercise so that you can work with what you DO have**. It helps to be resourceful as well. I have no step and no stairs in my house so...

I've been using a couple of Harry Potter books as a step. It works pretty well! Plus I can add more volumes if I want to make it a bit taller. (I'm currently using Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix... and yes, I shipped my American copies over here, because I am INSANE.) In the past week and a half though, I've been able to progress from 60 degree pushups using the kitchen counter to 45 degree pushups using a window ledge. And the evil prone jackknife*** (though still VERY difficult), is finally starting to get a bit easier.

*   *   *

In other news, I have porridge and cereal from Dorset Cereals! Shauna aka DietGirl had a giveaway bonanza last month in celebration of her blog turning 9. I was lucky enough to win one of the random draws and received these in the mail yesterday:

I haven't gotten a chance to try the cereal yet, but I pounced on the porridge this morning. Back in the States, I loved me some oatmeal. I'd started buying the big canisters of Quaker Oats and tossing in a bit of brown sugar and nuts, sometimes some dried fruit. I made it with water (as is the standard over there), and instead of cooking the oatmeal itself I heated the water up and poured it on the dry oats. This ensured that I would not end up with a goopy, sticky, paste-like consistency. I am a texture person. If a texture is wrong for me, I won't eat it.  

Since I'd moved to England, I had yet to eat porridge that didn't end up horrible and glue like, no matter how I made it: with water or milk, cooked in the liquid or hot liquid poured over. This made me sad. HOWEVER! Dorset Cereals Fruity Porridge with apples and raisins? Perfect. I'm loving oatmeal/porridge again! I even had it with milk (which still seems a bit weird to me). The only thing I would do differently is to add just a touch of muscovado sugar (for those in the States: think dark brown sugar's much darker and denser cousin) to give it a bit of sweetness.

*   *   *

Michael and I are going to be doing our first online shop today. So we'll be loosely planning a menu for the week. Exciting! Plus, this way, I don't have to eye all the chocolate in our local shop (less than a week to go on the ban). I'll report back on how it went after we get our groceries.

*The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess by Lou Schuler with Cassandra Forsythe, M.S. with workout programs by Alwyn Cosgrove. It can be found on Amazon both in the US and the UK.
**The only one I've been having a hard time adapting are the lat pulldowns... I have been making sure to replace it with another pulling exercise and try to make sure it works the same muscle group, but it's been a bit difficult. 
***Don't know what a prone jackknife is? Check out this handy youtube video!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Moderation != Deprivation

Moderation is not the same thing as deprivation. I JUST figured this out, and am still struggling with it occasionally.

In previous attempts at weight loss, I deprived myself of many things I liked, demonizing them as "bad foods" that were "off limits." I also ate very little at times. While I did learn that I liked many new and healthier things, eventually the cravings would drive me bonkers and I'd go on a bit of a binge. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I'd think, "Moderation is HARD!" without realizing that it wasn't moderation at all.

I've only just realized that I don't need to take an all or nothing approach to losing weight and being healthy... because, for me, that's NOT healthy! It's okay to have a cappuccino with full fat milk or even a biscuit or two, just as long as I don't have them everyday (or several times in a day). I find a lot of comfort and relief in that. Having a treat now and again is not a failure... it's enjoying my life!

I may lose weight more slowly this way, but I think I'll have a better chance of keeping it off this time.

Stat Update

Weighed in just a few minutes ago, and lo and behold! I DID lose weight! HUZZAH!

Only about a pound, but hey, I'll take it.

That's all for now, but I'll post another entry later today, after I've run some errands.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

No longer living in the dark ages

And by dark ages, I mean only being able to access the internet from my fancy touchscreen phone. Heh. At any rate, BT has finally sorted out our broadband connection! Hooray! Now I can get some serious posting done.

* * *

I did get weighed yesterday. Sadly, it looked as though I gained back the kilo I lost two weeks ago. I was a bit upset, as I've been eating well and doing plenty of exercise, but it didn't immediately make me want to run into the shop across the street and buy half of their chocolate supply. That's a plus.

I know weight fluctuations are normal. However, this has prompted me to finally go out and get a scale for home because I realized that I was being weighed in the afternoon, and that (pardon the TMI here) I hadn't had a poo that day. So I'm going to grab a scale tonight when we're in town, and report back tomorrow morning and update my stats on the sidebar. If I really did gain the kilo back, so be it. But then I'll know for sure.

My blood pressure was fantastic though. WOO!

* * *

After just over two weeks of the Chocolate Ban, its still going strong. The only instances of cocoa that have passed my lips were a few mugs of Ovaltine, some cocoa powder on a couple cappuccinos, and some itty bitty flakes in little pots of nonfat yogurt. No chocolate bars, no chocolate biscuits or muffins, no chocolate cereals, no Cadbury cream eggs or Terry's chocolate oranges. There has been some whining and longing looks in the shops, but that's where it would always end. Overall, I'm very pleased!

* * *

Since I've already mentioned poo in this post, I think it's safe to mention farting. My goodness, the farting. Since I've started including a ton more veggies in my diet, I have had the Worst Gas Ever [TM]. Noxious, vile stuff. It seems to have calmed down a bit, and I've read it eventually goes away after your digestive system gets used to it. Here's hoping that happens soon!

* * *

That's all for now. I do have a handful of other posts (with photos and everything! ooh!) lined up, so check back in the next few days!