Changing my body and changing my life

Archive for the ‘Food ideas’ Category

Back in the basement again

When I woke up and looked through the narrow gaps in the blinds it looked bright, and I thought, Yay, I’ll be able to do my long run outside.

HA! Silly me. This is Manitoba. Of course we would have snow in May.

So it was the treadmill today, and this was my long run, 9.5 – 11 km on the schedule. I managed to run about 40 minutes of the first hour, but after than I was beat and could only manage to run 2 to 5 minutes at a time and needed to walk a lot. That and my right foot is hurting along the bottom. Muscle? tendon? I’m not sure but I wonder if I pushed it too hard. I was planning for 10 km today, but I was watching a movie and to finish it off ended up walking it out to 11 km.

My favourite dish of today was a simple salad. I mixed lettuce,  diced green and orange bell pepper, tomato and green onion. In a skillet I sauteed some onion with a spray of oil then warmed 1/2 a cup black beans with the onion and some cumin, coriander and garlic powder. That all went in the salad, topped off with lime juice and a sprinkle of cheddar. I had used up my fats so I didn’t even add sour cream, like I usually would, and found I didn’t miss it. that is my helpful tool – discovering I can like things in different ways – like coffee without cream is okay, and salad without a fat of some sort is okay too.

This week I will have to move my runs to the morning to get them in – we simply have too many kids activities going in the evenings. Usually we just have music lessons, but I wanted all the kids in something active for at least a few weeks this spring. What I am finding challenging is the idea that I’ll probably have to get up before 6:00 to be able to get in the running I want to do to be ready for the half marathon. Which means I need to go to bed earlier, too, and I find getting everything done in the evenings to be a challenge.


It works, it really works

Today I made sure to read my reminders, and I kept on track with eating. I even stood up and moved around when I was reading reports (Remember NEAT). So my helpful tool for the day is definitely reading the reminders. If I do it in the morning, it feels like it sets my mind in the right frame for the day.

Breakfast was a funky monkey smoothie – banana with chocolate milk and yogurt with vanilla (yes – the chocolate sauce fits in within the Mayo

plan) and an egg, cheese and tomato sandwich.


Then for lunch, some leftover turkey “lasagne” and a salad with orange, broccoli and feta.

I went for my run right after work, doing 7 km today. I stopped ever 2.5 km to stretch and it makes a difference. But my legs still hate me. I noticed later that while my toes aren’t hurting anymore, the second toe on my left foot looks reddish/purplish under the nail.

After that I had more freezer leftovers – the salmon and sweet potato patties with lots of carrots and green beans.

For the heck of it I ordered  the Atkins Starter Kit (which I refuse to link to) because they were giving away free protein bars. I had half of one for dessert. It was not too bad.

As for what I continue to find challenging – today I don’t feel challenged. Things went right.

Family Matters

Yesterday was a new high for exercise. I jogged on the treadmill for 18/30 minutes, up 2 minutes from my last attempt. I warmed up to 6.5 km/hr over 2 minutes, and then for the duration jogged 8 km/hr for 2 minutes, walked 6.5 km/hr for 1, etc. My neck started to spasm after that but some hot water in the shower and a bit of self-massage and I was good.

Yesterday I was a bit over in the carbs – on a home visit I was offered a roti, and haven’t having had one for years I decided to go for it. It only put me over by about 1/2 a carb, though, because I skipped carbs totally for supper and just went for a chicken taco salad minus the taco.

Today, I’m fairly on track. Focusing on a whole protein at breakfast seems to help me not feel so hungry over the morning. This morning it was an egg and scrambled veggies with toast (below, top) which I found much more satisfying in the long run than the previous day’s breakfast of brown rice, yogurt and apple sauce (below, bottom). Today’s lunch was a leftover turkey pasta dish, carrots and celery and applesauce. 

I had to drive out of town for a home visit and really felt like stopping for something first. Something delectable, like frozen yogurt or a pastry. This was very shortly after lunch, btw. When I really thought it through, I realized I wasn’t hungry. I was bored, a little despondent. I told myself I could wait until supper and then did. Hubby made a great chicken and vegetable curry over rice, so the wait was totally worth it.

I know I’ve written other posts about going my own way as opposed to what the rest of my family is eating. Sometimes I need to do this, and sometimes I don’t. I found myself thinking about families and food today, and I think I may do a few posts on the subject. It’s a touchy one for me. In part, I’m choosing a healthy lifestyle for my kids. I didn’t have anyone to model healthy eating for me, nor did anyone try to structure my eating in a healthy way. I would come home from school, pretty much depressed most of the time, and eat. I remember boxes of Old Dutch Chips gone quickly. I remember making entire meals of pizza buns and soups, before comsuming another supper meal. I remember being able to scarf down half a pizza by myself. Easily. Food was comfort and entertainment.

I want better for my kids. On the plus side, they ended up with parents probably a tad more emotionally healthy and aware than I had. On the negative, they are bombarded all the more with non-food masquerading as food and coming at them with marketing techniques perfected by millions of research dollars put forth by Big Food. We are in a culture saturated with unhealthy, and our soaring obesity rates show this. I don’t want my kids in those statistics.

So I eat healthy for me, and I try to also encourage (nag? enforce?) it for them, too. Generally, this is unappreciated. “Mom is trying to make us eat ‘healthy’ again,” is often said in the tone that would normally be used if someone was trying to get you to buy Amway. Once in awhile, I’ll get a breakthrough, like my middle one telling me the other day, “Mommy, you were right, the mini-Blizzard was  the right size for me,” or when they admit that too much candy feels yucky (Yes, I do allow my kids treats). At their deeper moments, they can say that they do want what is healthy, but peer and popular pressures are a lot for developing minds. It feel like it’s up to me to stand in the gap and say to McDonald’s “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” (That was a Lord of the Rings reference, btw)

So in general, I still find it challenging to guide my children’s eating. I think eating healthier as a family helps me, too.

However, I’ve come up with helpful tools that seem to move us in the right direction:

1. Put out the healthiest food when they are the hungriest. Right after school is a great time for fruit and veggie plates.

2. Don’t worry about variety. We all descend from people groups with very limited diets – whatever was local. I believe it was through Michael Pollan’s writing that I became aware that people can live successfully on all kinds of diets, as long as it’s not the modern processed North American diet. That’s one’s deadly. Youngest child will pretty much eat 2 vegetables: raw carrots and cooked peas. Middle child loves caesar salad. Both eldest and middle like cucumbers and carrots with dip. So those few things get a lot of play in our meals and snacks. It does not bother me at all to serve carrots and cucumbers every day for a week.

3. Puree away. There is a soup I make with sweet potato, a few other vegetables and peanut butter that I know my kids would never touch with chunks. I puree it with a hand blender, call it peanut butter soup and the middle and youngest love it. They also go for smoothies (fruit, yogurt and often carrot and zucchini, too) almost every day (see #2), and popsicles made only of pureed fruit are very popular.

4. Some things are easy. Whole wheat pasta is a simple switch to make. So is dropping to the next lowest milk fat amount (3% to 2%, 1% to skim). I used to only drink 2% and slowly moved down. I learned to like skim. So did hubby, who once swore it tasted like water.

5. Recipes with all purpose flour can be substituted out 1/4 whole wheat with little change to the end result.

Egg roll resistance and all-or-nothing thinking

I kept to my servings today and did better on the no-grazing policy. Breakfast was toast, an egg with veg and 1/2 a grapefruit. Lunch was toast with minestrone. Later I had a mango and cottage cheese for snack. I tried a new recipe at supper, sweet potato and salmon cakes. I liked the flavor but the consistency was too soft so they were hard to make. you can see the picture they had, here are mine with the rest of my supper plate. Hubby had done some potatoes, carrots and cauliflower on the grill with garlic and it was great:

In the evening I melted some chocolate chips and dipped a banana in.

At work someone brought in a huge pan of egg rolls. Temptation was instantaneous, so I did 2 things. First, I told myself to wait 20 minutes. They were not all going to be gone in 20 minutes, I could always decide later. Then I looked up the calorie content for egg rolls, which is somewhere around 200. I decided it wasn’t really worth it. So my helpful tool today was being aware of the calories of my choices before deciding.

What I still find challenging is learning to address all or nothing thinking. Sometimes I feel like I either have to forego sweets and treats entirely or have them in massive quantities. I want to learn to enjoy my food and not feel that it’s bad, but also to not be controlled by it. I decided to try something. My mother used to make a concoction that I loved called Broken Glass Cake. I haven’t had it for years, and found out the other day she still had the recipe. I had decided to wait to make it until I got to my goal weight. Why, I’m not sure – punishing myself for not losing fast enough? Trying to motivate myself? I decided I’m going to make it soon, and that I’m going to enjoy it, and that I’m going to eat it in a way that fits in with my eating plan. I’m also going to enjoy sharing a childhood memory with my children.

We finally got our camera back, so allow me to post some other things I’ve been eating. Why I’m doing this, by the way, is the influence of the book The Flex Diet, which suggests taking pictures of what you eat as a way of keeping track of it.

The whole wheat waffles from a few days ago:

A dessert made by using a hand blender to mix a 1/2 acup yogurt with about 2/3 cup frozen blueberries. Instant frozen yogurt. No sugar necessary.

Good day, soups and emotional eating

I spent some time deciding what my blog will be like today. I see it as having 3 purposes:

1. To keep me accountable. If I’m writing what I’m doing on a daily basis, there is added incentive to stay on track.

2. To inspire others. I hope that my journey can help others along on theirs.

3. To get inspiration. I want to hear encouragement and ideas from other people.

So each day, I’ll post:

1. How I did that day.

2. Something that has been helpful to me in making lifestyle changes.

3. Something I’m still finding challenging.


Today went ok. I stuck to my eating plan, and I got in a yoga pilates workout to a DVD and 1/2 an hour on the treadmill. I was especially pleased with my treadmill performance as I spent 15 minutes of it joggging – first for 10 minutes, then for 5. In terms of eating, I decided against some of the unhealthier options my family was going for and just went my own way.

Helpful tool:

Today’s helpful tool is SOUP! Soup is a great food when trying to lose weight, especially broth based soups. This article tells a little bit about why it’s a good tool – basically it tends to be a low-calorie filler which helps you to eat less of higher calorie foods. Quick minestrone is one of my favourite recipes. I do it up in big batches and freeze it in individual sized containers for quick lunches. To prevent the pasta from getting too soft and yucky I cook it separately and just add it before serving.


I still find it hard not to soothe myself with food when I’m feeling upset or stressed. Sometimes I am able to think myself out of it – and sometimes I forget my skills and just zone in on the nearest chocolate.

Love to hear how you handle your emotions and food.