Journey to a Healthier Me

Living life and getting healthy one step at a time.

Feeling Lucky August 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cyndi @ 9:54 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hey Guys!

(source)

I hope this Friday the 13th is treating you well. Growing up my Dad always told me that Friday the 13th was lucky for him, and I guess because of that I’ve never bought into the superstition. And actually Friday the 13th usually ends up being a pretty good day for me. Or at least it has the past couple of occurrences.

That being said, I had a pretty good day today. I worked, and then came home to clean-up because we had some awesome company coming.

I got to go out to dinner with the husband’s family. (Hi Becca and Susan!)

I took today as a rest day. My legs were feeling pretty sore from my run, and I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about exercise when I’ve been up since 4:30 in the morning. Do you have a hard time exercising if you need to be up early?

You should always listen to your body about when you need a break. I know that if I push myself to exercise too hard when I’m already sore, it is only going to make me grumpy, and open me up to injury. I can’t afford an injury 2 months out from my 1/2 marathon. Well, who can afford an injury ever?

When the husband sprained his ankle last November the hospital bills were nearly $12,000! Thank goodness for health insurance.

Can we be honest with each other right now, reader?

I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately. Between working a full-time job, running about 20 miles (and counting) a week, cross training, arranging everything for graduate school, and keeping the house clean, dog fed, and husband happy, I’m exhausted.

I feel like I never have any time for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, when I exercise that is time that I’m spending on myself, but sometimes exercise feels more like a chore than a fun activity. Do you ever feel this way?

I find myself worrying a lot about what my life will be like once grad school actually starts. I have no idea how I’ll be able to fit my internship, classes, homework, work, exercise, and quality time with the husband into my life. It’s a scary prospect. I feel like I’m losing control of a situation that I am not even actually dealing with yet.

How do you cope with hectic times in your life?

I’m trying to tell myself not to worry about these things now. I really need to not go borrowing stress and just take things as they come. But it’s in my nature to worry.

I think I need to make a schedule of some sort, so that I’ll be able to look at it and know where I’m going and what’s expected of me.

But I’m worried about being able to live a healthy lifestyle and keep up with a hectic work/school schedule.

So I’m asking you, dear readers, for help.

What are your best tips/tricks for dealing with stress?

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Keep on Truckin’ August 12, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Cyndi @ 10:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Greetings Earthlings! (Now I’m an alien. Sweet.)

I finally did my 7 mile run!

I tried a new pair of contacts after work today, and there was no pain in sight so I took the opportunity to hit the road. Ridiculously, when I opened the garage door I was greeted by rain, but I didn’t let that deter me. I was itching to go for a run.

But let me tell you, I must have been channeling my brother-in-law when I mapped out the route I ran today. I can’t think of any other reason the last 2 miles of my 7 mile run would be in the woods, on a trail, climbing steadily uphill.

Needless to say I took some walk breaks, and I’m not really sure what my official time was because my GPS didn’t work in the woods, but it was probably about an hour and a half.

I was sweating, and panting like a mad woman going up that Tower Path, at Sleeping Giant. But when I got to the top and saw this:

It was all worth it. I even found the energy in me to run up to the very top of the tower and take in the scenic views.

Even though it was a little cloudy.

And you know I had to look down.

I munched on a Kashi protein bar while I was up there. I’m trying to get rid of the ones I have,  but they’re just so dry, and they sit so heavy in my stomach that they don’t make good fuel.

Then I began my descent, and ran into the husband on the way down. I guess he didn’t want to wait in the parking lot, which is fine with me. I enjoyed the company on the way back down.

Trail running is a whole other beast than road running. My legs burned like crazy while I was doing it, and I had to keep a constant eye on the ground in front of me so that I wouldn’t trip. It’s making me worry a little about the race on Sunday, but I’ll worry about that later. Have you ever done a trail run before? Did you enjoy it?

Dinner tonight was EPIC!

I transformed this:

Into this:

And then finally into this:

I made the zucchini into noodles (zoodles!) by using this nifty julienne tool from Pampered Chef that my mother-in-law (Hi Susan!) gave me for Christmas.

I topped said zoodles with this Raw Mediterranean Sauce and then with marinated tofu, and a balsamic reduction.

The tofu was marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, 5-spice powder, garlic powder, turmeric, and sesame seeds.

My whole serving was about 5 Points Value, but it was huge. It could easily be cut down.

This was my first experimentation with Raw cooking, even though it was not entirely raw because of the reduction. Is it still called cooking when the food is raw?

This meal was so light and fresh. I loved the way the flavors of the sauce came together, and the zucchini had this awesome crunch. I am thoroughly looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow. And the best part is that putting it together literally took 10 minutes. That is my kind of meal.

I was skeptical at first about eating raw zucchini, but slicing it so thin makes it nice and light, and the flavor is really mild.

I guarantee you this will not be the only raw recipe that you’ll see on this blog. Do you eat raw food? Any recipe recommendations?

Okay cool cats, it’s time for this blogger to go to bed.

Goodnight, Blogland!

Question for you:

If you could be in any movie what movie would you choose and why? Originally I was going to ask what horror movie, and then I realized that could get pretty gruesome.

I would be in Harold and Maude. I’d play Maude naturally. I hope I’m an eccentric old woman someday.


 

Egg-cellent Choice August 11, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Cyndi @ 9:10 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Well hello there, lovely readers!

Today was another crazy day in Cyndi-land. After working 12 hours my legs felt like crud and I didn’t have the heart to make them bust out a 7 mile run. But it’s coming tomorrow hell or high water.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a little burnt out. How can you tell if you’re burnt out from training? How do you recover?

The eye doctor couldn’t tell me what was wrong with my eyes, although he was able to rule out that it isn’t the actual eye itself that has the problem. He advised me to throw out my old contacts, the cases, and the solution and attempt to start fresh with a new pair.

I’m going to give that a shot tomorrow (fingers crossed) and I have a follow-up appointment Saturday morning where he’ll put a fresh pair in, that they’re getting delivered to the office, to make sure it’s not my batch of contacts. I’m relieved that he’s willing to listen to me.

Sometimes I worry that my doctor’s won’t listen to my concerns. Do you ever worry about that?

Anyway, onto what you really came here for:

Summer-Fresh Frittata

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup baby portabella mushrooms, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1 small jalapeño, chopped

4 eggs

4 egg whites

splash skim milk

2 tbsp grated romano

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8 cup crumbled feta for sprinkling on top

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray.

Place all the vegetables in the pan, and cook until golden and delicious looking.

While the veggies cook, crack the eggs, and egg whites into a bowl, add the milk and whisk.

Once the yolks are broken up, add the romano, salt and pepper, and give another quick whisk.

When the veggies are softened add the egg mixture.

Stir with a rubber spatula, and cook until set. Approximately 5 minutes.

In a 400 degree oven bake until fully cooked, approximately 5 minutes.

Then sprinkle the feta on top of the frittata, and broil for a couple of minutes until the top is golden brown.

Cut into 8 wedges and enjoy!

Makes 4, 2 wedge servings.

Points Value 3

This was so delicious! I loved that it came together so simply, but tasted so fresh and light.

The feta added a nice saltiness, and broiling it gave it a little crunch.

I can see myself making this over and over again. Feel free to use whatever veggie is in season, I think asparagus would be amazing in this dish, especially if you roasted the asparagus first. Oh man, I have so many egg-based dish ideas right now.

I promise to share.

Best of all, I get to have the leftovers for breakfast.

In other food related news, I have an amazing idea for a dinner. Hopefully it will come to fruition tomorrow. Stay tuned for that. It could either be a success or a failure. Only time will tell. (Cooking is kind of like a soap opera, huh?)

Here’s a hint: it involves zoodles.

Alright friends, it’s time for me to make some dinner, and maybe do some yoga.

Sleep tight, Blogland!

Question for you:

What are your favorite vegetables to put into egg dishes?

 

The Long Run That Wasn’t August 10, 2010

Filed under: Weight Watchers — Cyndi @ 9:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hey Guys!

I hope your day treated you better than mine treated me. Have you ever had one of those days where things just don’t go your way? That was my day.

I got up early this morning in the hopes of doing my long run only to see dark rain clouds. I’m not afraid of rain, but I can’t run with my music in the rain or GPS, so I waited for the clouds to clear. Once the clouds cleared I went to put my contacts in (I hate running in glasses!) and found that as soon as the contact touched my eye I felt this immense pain.

I’m calling first thing tomorrow, since the eye doctor is closed today, to figure out what the problem is. I even opened a new pair of contacts, and waited several hours before trying again, but no such luck. And in both eyes too! My husband says it could be a scratch or something. I hope it’s nothing serious. Wish me luck.

Then after many frustrated attempts at putting my contacts in I headed to the DMV to stand in line for 2 hours. It’s sad that it takes 2 hours to get to the counter for a 5 minute transaction. But at least all of the employees were really nice, that made the wait slightly less awful. Do you dread the DMV?

After the DMV I had lunch with Lauren, so my day wasn’t all bad things. We ate this delicious frittata that I made with zucchini, green pepper, and jalapeño from the garden. (Look for the blog tomorrow.)

Then I went to my Weight Watchers meeting. Honestly, I gained this week. I can’t say that I’m surprised by the fact that I gained. I know that I ate a lot of food last week, and some of those foods were not very healthy. I just need to recognize that one bad choice doesn’t have to lead to another.

Coincidentally, the topic for this week happened to be dealing with seeing a higher number on the scale. Robin, the meeting leader, had some really encouraging things to say today. She reminded me that just because I gained some this week, that doesn’t mean that it negates all of the hard work I’ve done over the past year.

You can’t always judge your success by the number on the scale. I’ve watched myself become so much healthier. I’ve found that I can be athletic, that I can race. I’ve learned that there is nothing that I cannot do, if I put my mind to it.

And as I sat in that meeting room I realized that I’m not upset about my gain this week. I’m not perfect. My weight will fluctuate for the rest of my life, but that’s okay.

I am not defined by the number on the scale.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to write that.

I guess today hasn’t been so bad after all.

Hopefully, the doctor can help me figure out my eye problem, and I’ll be back on the asphalt in no time. I’m going to fit in my long run, even if I need to have my husband ride alongside me on his bike to show me the way. I’m determined.

I want to share this fortune that my sister got at the sushi place yesterday:

These fortunes are getting pretty sneaky.

Goodnight, Blogland!

Questions for you:

How do you cope with a bad day?

Do you tend to focus on the number on the scale? I just want you to know that you’re beautiful no matter what the scale says, and I bet you have a million amazing qualities that make up who you are, and none of those reflect on the scale.

 

Bookworm August 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cyndi @ 2:54 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Howdy Partner! (Look, now I’m in a Western!)

I’m blogging from my sister’s kitchen table. I have to pick up the husbands family at the airport this afternoon, so I figured I’d come spend some quality time with the family. I’m taking the opportunity to blog while the munchkin is down for a nap. I feel like I don’t get up here enough, but I try to visit as often as possible. Do you live near your family?

In super awesome news: I just registered my cousin Kena, and me for the West Rock Challenge. It’s a 5k trail race. The website describes it as “flat to rolling hills on both single and double track.  Both events are off road with very little pavement.” (source) You have the option of doing a 9 mile race as well, but neither of us is ready for that. There’s always next year!

I’m very excited because I enjoy trail running, but never really get a chance to do it. Have you ever done a trail run?

I woke up semi-early this morning (what? I don’t have to work today) and stuffed my face with peanut butter toast. It must have been that post last night, but I definitely had a craving, and who am I to deny a craving? Then I did a nice 45 minute bike ride. I didn’t push myself too hard, since I have my long run tomorrow morning. I want my legs to be nice and fresh. Do you workout the day before a long run?

We went out for a sushi lunch. Since I roll as a vegetarian now, I had miso soup, a cucumber roll, and an avocado roll. Sushi might be the one thing I miss as a vegetarian.

As the title suggests, I’m kind of a bookworm. I didn’t get a Bachelor of Arts in English for posterity. Here are some of my recent reads that I think you might enjoy:

Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (this is in the wings, I haven’t actually read it yet, but it comes highly recommended.)

I’ve been hooked on reading books about the food industry lately. Since I started out on this journey to become healthier I’ve gotten really curious about where my food comes from. I do have to tell you though, once you learn what’s in these books you can’t unlearn it. Reading Eating Animals is part of the reason I decided to become vegetarian.

Cookbooks:

The New Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman

The recipes in this cookbook are so delicious. You should definitely check out the sweet potato quesadillas with black bean salsa. I intend to blog this recipe in the future as well.

That’s all I have for a book list right now, but I’m constantly reading so you can expect to see more of these posts in the future.

I’m off to pick up the in-laws, see you tomorrow with a long run recap, and a weigh-in post.

Peace out, Blogland!

Questions for you:

What books are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

 

On the Run: 7 Tips to a Successful Run August 8, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Running — Cyndi @ 9:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Bonjour! (see yesterday I was Spanish, and today I’m French. So fancy.)

Another weekend has flown by in the blink of an eye, huh?

Well, unless you’re like me and work weekends, then it has probably dragged on. But either way it’s over now, and I have the next two days off. *big sigh of relief*

So as promised, today I’m going to share with you my tips for a successful run. Keep in mind that these are just the things that work for me, they may not work for you, but I encourage you to have fun trying out different routines.

My first tip for a successful run is to get a good nights sleep. It makes a big difference for me, if I go to bed a little earlier the night before a long run, I am ready to go when the alarm goes off. Also, I try to wake up fairly early for my runs, that way the heat isn’t too intense when I go out the door.

My second tip for a successful run is to eat something that will give you energy, but not make you overly full. (Nobody wants runners trots!) I try to eat something that has carbs, protein, and a little sugar. I always drink a mug of coffee, and follow that with peanut butter toast.

(Source)

Just seeing that pictures makes me want to plan a run so I can eat it.

My third tip for a successful run is to wear the appropriate equipment. This picture pretty much sums up how I look for every run:

You want to wear comfortable clothes, preferably moisture wicking, so that when you start to sweat it pulls the moisture away from your skin. The witty phrase is optional, but if you like your running clothes you’re more likely to want to use them.

Good shoes are also a must. I’ll be honest with you I rock some Champion’s that I bought at Payless, but they’re the only shoes I’ve found with a firm enough sole that doesn’t cause me trouble. Some day I plan on getting myself professionally fitted, but for now these will do.

The black band around my arm holds my iPhone, which doubles as my iPod, and I use Runmeter to track my runs. I like having my phone with me that way if something happens it’s right there. And I have to say getting an update on my pace, distance, and the time I’ve been running is really helpful. I find that if I go wireless I tend to way over-estimate my speed and distance. Do you like to run with headphones or without?

My fourth tip for a successful run is to pack fuel if you need to. I’ve only started worrying about this now that my runs are getting longer, but on anything over 4 miles I bring this:

(Source)

You don’t want to get dehydrated while you’re out there. I got this particular water bottle because I can put whatever fuel I’m using (generally a Kashi protein bar) into the pouch.

It felt a little cumbersome at first, but now I can’t imagine running without water. The coolness is a definite pick-me-up when the sun is beating down on you.

My fifth tip for a successful run is to stretch. Like all beginners I didn’t use to stretch, until one day when I was reading another blog about the benefits of stretching. I decided that before my next run I was going to do it, and let me tell you my legs felt so much more limber. If you need ideas on what stretches to do check out this website: Runner’s World.

My sixth tip for a successful run is to listen to your body. If your knees feel out of whack, or you start to feel light-headed, dizzy, or have a hard time breathing, it’s okay to stop. You won’t win any medals for collapsing on the side of the road. To be a successful runner you need to know your limits, because only by knowing our limits can we begin to push them. But there is a big difference between challenging yourself and setting yourself up for injury.

And finally, my seventh tip for a successful run is to have fun. Hopefully, the whole reason you’re running is because you enjoy it. My advice to you is to go with the flow. If I start out a run and realize part way through that I just don’t have the energy to make it, then that’s fine. There is always the next run.

In my opinion when exercise becomes a chore, that’s when people tend to stop. I want to make my exercise fun, because I know it will keep me interested.

With that said, go out there, lace up your sneakers, and hit the pavement. If it wasn’t pitch black outside I would be doing the same. I hope something I’ve said is helpful, have fun out there.

Happy Running, Blogland!

Questions for you:

Do you have any tips for a successful run? What works for you?

 

Short and Sweet August 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cyndi @ 10:29 pm
Tags: , , ,

Hola Amigos!

Like the title says I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. It’s been a killer day, and I’m feeling a little under the weather, so all I really want to do is go to bed.

First of all a link to my Operation Beautiful post appeared on Caitlin’s Blog. I may or may not have let out a little *squee* of excitement when I saw my name in the links. It’s cool to be a part of such an amazing movement.

I banged out a 4.89 mile run in 1:00:02. So close to an hour flat, oh well. My legs felt like lead weights today. Have you ever experienced this? How do I combat it?
I always feel like my runs go better if I haven’t been on my legs for 8 hours working. Maybe it’s time to switch to morning runs, huh?

In other news, has anyone else noticed that it’s near impossible to find a vegetarian dish at a chain restaurant? I find it pretty disappointing that everything has meat in it, even the salads. Never mind the fact that the salads are the size of a feeding trough. (Quick tip: when eating out ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal arrives, cut your food in half, and pack it up. That way the food is out of your face.)

I guess it’s time to look for new places to dine. I need to expand my horizons, and live a little.

I hope your weekend is treating you well so far. Tune in tomorrow for a post on tips and tricks for a successful run. (Not that I’m an expert or anything.)

Smell ya later, Blogland.

Questions for you:

Do you find yourself going to the same restaurant over and over again? Do you eat the same thing every time?