Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Operation Favorite Jeans: T-29 days

Two days down. Workouts accomplished, on track with the healthy eating. So far so good...

Breakfast Bean Cookies

Sister sent me this recipe last week and of course I had to try it out. I whipped up a batch on Sunday and they are pretty good - Husband gave his thumbs up too. Maybe they will help me get out of this Coffee-Shop-Muffin-For-Breakfast habit I seem to have got into these past couple of weeks...

Breakfast Bean Cookies

2 cups oatmeal
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 - 14 oz can white kidney, navy or cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 Tbsp ground flax seed (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Place oats in bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse flour. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix till combined. Transfer to large bowl.
Put the beans into the food processor and pulse until smooth scraping down the side of the bowl (or mash the beans). Add the brown sugar, egg and mix till smooth.
Pour the bean mixture into the oat mixture and stir by hand until combined. Add the remaining ingredients.
Drop large spoonfulls of dough into cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and flatten each one a little with your hand.
Bake 14-15 mins. Cool on wire rack.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

I found the recipe in SparkPeople recipes; someone entered it into their recipe calculator and it works out to around 154 cals per cookie.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Operation Fit Back Into Favorite Jeans: T- 30 Days the main message seems to be that I finally have a decent doctor again! I have to agree, I like this one much better than doctor #2.

As for the rest of it, I have mixed feelings. It's good to know that, yes, I can be considered healthy even if my weight falls outside of the healthy range. Everyone is different and the important thing is to live a healthy lifestyle. I feel somewhat vindicated.

On the flip side, I'm still not happy with where I am. The idea that I can't lose weight makes me want to cry.

Even worse is the fact that I definitely have gained some weight. My favorite jeans have been feeling uncomfortable lately and I don't like it. I may have to accept that my skinny days are behind me, but I'm damned if I'm going to let myself get more chubby than I already am.

So, my sister and I are embarking on Operation Fit Back Into Our Favorite Jeans. I set the deadline for April 29, which is 30 days from now and happens to be my birthday. Convenient,no?

I am less concerned with the scale at this point, I just want my jeans to be comfortable again. After that, well...I guess I evaluate and figure out where I want to go from there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What we chose to hear - Part 3

~ Sorry I have taken so long to get to this, but here it is ~

So where were we? We discussed Husbands visit with the doctor, and how we each heard different things. Next up, I promised, would be a recount of my conversation with the doc. So I will do my best to give a neutral account and keep my thoughts to myself - which seems only fair, since that's how I presented Husband's story.

But - here are my concerns:
- I gained weight in my late 20's/early 30's...One of those situations where it just sneaked up on me. I don't know how you can not notice, but obviously I didn't. I started trying to lose, I exercised off & on for quite a long time, but since around Nov 2002, I've been pretty regular. I have gradually worked at my diet, trying to reduce calories and eat nutritious food. It seemed the most I ever managed to do was keep from gaining more. Up until the past couple of years, where it seems like I keep gaining. A little at a time, but there it is. Lately it seems I am putting weight on in my abdominal area, where before I've always carried it pretty evenly. I'm frustrated. I keep growing out of my clothes. I don't know whether to blame myself - that I'm still doing it all wrong, or if it's just that I'm getting older, or if it's something else. So, on to what the doctor had to say...

First off, the results of my blood work. Overall, everything was fine, but my cholesterol is a little high. Nothing to be overly concerned about, just that it is a little high for my age and I should be aware. "You should maybe try to be a bit more active," he said.

I confess, I kind of laughed. I couldn't help myself.

I then responded that I do work out (granted, these past 3 months have not been exemplary, but normally I am a pretty regular exerciser), but high cholesterol does run in my family. And he agreed that it can be a hereditary thing.

Then he asked: Did I have any health concerns?

So I launched into my weight-loss woes: I have been trying to lose weight. I work out regularly and I try to eat healthy and watch my calories, though I admit to not being perfect. But I can't seem to lose, and it actually seems like I am gaining weight. I did not really going into as much detail as I did above - and maybe I should have, but I had been arguing with myself over whether to bring it up at all so at least I managed to say that much.

I was sure I sounded like a bit of a nut, but he listened. Then he did the same thing the last doc had done - consulted the file to see what weight the receptionist had written down; pulled out a height/weight chart to see what I should weigh.

Summarizing what he said:
- my perfect weight is 130 lbs
- yes, I am overweight but not by that much
- because I am not that far off from where I should be, losing weight is going to be difficult.
- keep doing what I am doing in terms of trying to lose weight (eat healthy, exercise) but don't panic if I can't lose
- the charts are a guideline, but they don't fit everyone. Some people you might look at and say yes, they are overweight and need to lose some fat. Other people have more muscle, heavier bone structure, etc, so they might weigh more but still be healthy.
- he also went into some explanations of weight loss in term of water loss/fat loss/muscle loss, which is stuff I knew, but I appreciated.

Which was an interesting contrast to what the other doctor said:
- you are overweight according to the chart.
- you should weigh 122-125 lbs.
- lose the weight.
- exercise and don't eat junk food (after I had just finished explaining that I work out regularly and try to eat healthy).

So that was pretty much it. Audience participation time again people. What's the message? What should I be hearing?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Warrior Workout

Ten degrees! It's supposed to go up to ten degrees tomorrow! It's supposed to be -10 tonight, which likely means chilly morning walk to work, but ten degrees tomorrow!

Now that's out of my system...

Trying to bust out of the workout rut I'm in lately (which mainly consist of No Workouts) I came across this and decided to give it a try last night: Warrior Workout.

I did modify some things...stuck to regular pushups for now, and I don't have a chin up bar (not that I could do a chin up to save my life, most likely), so at that point in the workout I just did some bicep curls and overhead presses with dumbbells. And I had to substitute some equipment (no plate or medicine ball).

It took me 30 minutes to do the circuit twice through, so I left it at that because that was all the time I was willing to give to it last night. If I did it enough times to know the routine, so I wouldn't have to keep stopping to check, I could probably get through 3 times in 30 minutes.

I may do it again. I didn't exactly feel like a warrior, but it was fun to do something different. I'm feeling my shoulders a teensy bit today, and I think I probably don't work my shoulders enough, so that's a good thing.

The cold weather is still making me cranky. Tired of it. It is warmer today, and the sun is shining, so that makes me feel better. And did you hear? It's supposed to go up to 10 degrees tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


This continuing winter weather is sapping my will to live.

That is all.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Slow Cooker Adventures - Chapter 3

I've had my slow cooker for almost 3 months now, and having experimented with recipes from 2 different cookbooks, I seem to have moved on to that inevitable next chapter: What can I find in the kitchen to throw in the pot?

Sister & Brother-In-Law were visiting last weekend, which was lots of fun, but it meant I didn't do my usual meal planning and grocery shopping. When Monday rolled around, I decided to see if I could just make do with what was on hand. Frozen shrimp was defrosted to become supper on Monday night, and a package of chicken breasts was defrosted for Tuesday. I had some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce leftover from Mexican night (seems to have become a tradition for when Sister visits), so I scrounged around and came up with this:

Chipotle Chicken Chili Soup

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 small carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 small potatoes, diced
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
3 chipotle peppers, chopped (or amount to taste)
To taste: oregano, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth (approximately)

Add all ingredients to slow cooker dish and stir. The amount of chicken broth is approximate because I added it last and just poured from a 900 ml tetra pack until the slow cooker dish was full. Turn on low and let it cook 8 - 10 hours.

Husband had his plain. Since we had some grated cheddar and some sour cream leftover from the weekend, I garnished mine. It turned out to be quite tasty and I may just do this one again on purpose! We got two meals out of it - a meal being 1 bowl for me and 2 bowls for husband, so 6 servings.

My parents are coming tomorrow, to stay the weekend. This it turning out to be quite the busy month!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What we chose to hear - Part 2

Thanks to everyone who left a response to my question the other day. I was interested to read what everyone had to say.

So what did Husband and I hear?

I heard that if Husband starts exercising and loses some weight, he may be able to stop taking the blood pressure medication.

Husband heard "Lack of exercise is not the cause."

I found it interesting how we could come away with such different messages. The doctor may have said that lack of exercise and carrying too much weight is not the cause of Husband's high blood pressure, but he also related an example of how taking steps to improve one's health can help to turn things around. They have not identified a cause for Husband's high blood pressure, so who's to say that this is not the fix?

Of course, I like exercise whereas Husband thinks exercise is torture.

When this whole high blood pressure thing first came to light, Husband was scared. But now the doctor is prescribing pills that are making him feel better and bringing the blood pressure down; it's getting more comfortable. I'm still hoping he will come around, but I think it will take some nudging.

Next up, now that we've dealt with Husband, you can all come back and tell me what I should be hearing...once I get around to writing the post.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What we chose to hear - Part One

Picking up where I left off - our second doctor's visit went well. Husband was quite worried about getting the results of the blood work after the blood pressure scare, but as it turns out everything is good. The one slight issue is that Husband's good cholesterol is a little low. Nothing serious, but something to keep in mind. In discussing how Husband could improve this, the doctor mentioned diet and exercise.

Husband knows that lack of exercise is his biggest problem. He gets none. He commented to the doctor that his blood pressure problem is probably due to lack of exercise as well.

Here is - more or less - what the doctor said:

Lack of exercise and being overweight is not/may not be the cause, but they are contributing factors. The doctor had another patient who was very overweight and ended up having to go on medication for blood pressure, asthma and diabetes. So, the patient made the effort to lose the weight, and was able to stop taking all of the medications. The patient has since had some very stressful things happen in their life, has put the weight back on, and now is back on all the medications, but the patient is determined to get their weight down again because the patient knows the medications wouldn't be necessary if they hadn't gone back to their old habits.

If you had been on the receiving end of that response, what would you take from it?

Let's have some audience participation. I want to know! What would you hear?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bring on the weekend!

This week has flown by. Worked from home Monday and Tuesday, and that makes the week seem so short. Husband is still not feeling great, I was a little under the weather myself at the beginning of the week so have been feeling very tired. As a consequence, not much has been happening in the way of exercise. Make that nothing has been happening in the way of exercise. My eating has actually been quite good over the past couple of weeks though. Just seemed to get into the groove. Hope I can stay there for a while.

Husband and I had our second visit with Doctor #3 today, to go over the results of our blood work. Everything looks good. My blood pressure is good (110/70) and Husband's is much improved.

I do have other things I want to say about this and am conflicted. I don't really have time tonight, but I am aware that if I wait it may get put off like every other post that I think about writing these days - just seem to have a hard time settling down to it. But, I have a million things to do so it will all have to wait and if I don't get back to explain it all in a timely fashion, you all have my permission to give me a hard time about it.

For now, hope you all have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Saturday was a beautiful, warm day. I went out for groceries in the afternoon and felt so light wearing fleece, instead of my winter jacket. Came home and the cats wanted to go outside. Couldn't blame them really - who can resist a warm sunny day after the winter we've had?

I opened the window for the cats and went up the stairs. When I got to the landing, I decided to step out on the front step and watch the cats in the yard. I saw Fred on the opposite side of the yard against the fence. He looked like he was wiggling around against the fence and I was looking thinking: He looks like he's outside the fence...He can't be outside the fence...But yes, he was:


Of course, he took off into the woods so I had to wait for him to come back. As soon as he did come back, I went out with scissors and twine.

From the paw prints in the snow, I'd say that my boys have been sneaking out the back door for a while.


So for now, I've woven the hole closed with some twine. I'm going to have to keep an eye on at as the snow melts, and then we're going to have to figure out how to fix it.


I walked around and found 3 more spots where I could see holes starting. I wove some twine around those too. I'm not very happy - I'm pretty sure this fencing is supposed to last longer than three years. Hopefully we will be able to get it fixed somehow. The whole point of this fence is to give the cats a safe place to enjoy the outdoors; holes in the fence just will not do.

It was quite a nice afternoon...


And then I got up this morning and saw this:




More snow. For the love of Pete. When will it end?

Friday, March 6, 2009

I May Be Crazy

I just did my Burn and Firm Pilates DVD followed by 20 minutes of Core Yoga #1. Can't wait to see if I can actually move tomorrow morning.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mission Accomplished - Got in my run

Husband has come down with a cold and he's feeling yucky. Due to the high blood pressure there is not much in the way of medication he can take. We stopped by the pharmacy on the way to work this morning and spoke to the pharmacist - basically he's got cough syrup and tylenol.

So we got home from work and I fed the cats, went downstairs and lit a fire, came back up intending to ask Husband if he minded waiting for supper so I could exercise. Found Husband snoring away in bed. I took that as permission to do my thing.

The running has been going pretty well. I'm just doing my own thing, not following any specific program or schedule. I am taking it slow and easy - even when I think I want to do more. It's been feeling pretty good. Today started out not so good; a few muscle kinks for some reason. So I decided to take it a bit easier. Once I got warmed up it was better. I was listening to a CD while running, and almost at the end of my last interval when a song came on that was just perfect for my pacing...I ended up running an extra three minutes because I didn't want to stop, and I was grinning the whole time. Goes to show how finding the right music can make a huge difference I guess. Any of you out there who still happen to have a CD around with Haywire's Short End of a Wishbone should give it a try. And yes, I realize I am dating myself.

After my walk/jog I did a 20 minute Yoga for Runner's session to finish things off.

Then we had something new for supper. Husband and I came across these Ocean Classic frozen fish fillets. They are single serving packages of sole. Husband, being all health conscious now, was interested in trying them out. So tonight was the night. We also had McCain Sweet potato fries, again Husband's choice. Shocking secret - I'm not that big a fan of sweet potato. I know, everyone else in the world loves them and they are a super food, but I am not crazy about them. I will eat them, but they have to be prepared certain ways. In this case, since they were fries, they had to be really well done. Ketchup also helps. A side of raw red bell pepper & cauliflower with a little bit of Renee's Cucumber Dill (actually my favorite part of the meal) and we were good to go.

The fish fillets are small. If Husband was feeling his usual self, I'm not sure it would be enough to fill him up. They tasted ok. Nothing to write home about, but nothing disagreeable either (just a little bland I guess) and they were easy to prepare, so that was good.

I consider myself to be a decent cook - meaning that I am able to cook food that I enjoy eating. Other people seem quite happy to eat my cooking as well, so I think I do ok. But fish is one of the things that I am not at all experienced in preparing and I feel somewhat at a loss when it comes to trying to work it into our diet. So this may be a step in that direction, who knows. Have yet to hear what Husband thought of the fish. He is looking pathetic and not saying much, poor boy. Hopefully a good night's sleep will help.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

View from my window this morning...

I'm always posting pictures that I take through my living room window. I have a pretty good view really. This morning it was quite pretty because of all the freezing rain we had at the beginning of the week. I actually took one with the window frame to give you a bit of my perspective...


And the rest using the zoom, still from my seat on the couch...




I had planned on today being a walk/jog session, but things didn't work out. Really late getting home from work, hungry Husband to feed, hungry self to feed because I didn't quite pack enough food for my lunch/snacks today. So we opted for dinner as soon as we got home from work and I don't like running on a full stomach. Hopefully I can get the jogging in tomorrow after work, but for today I did another yoga session. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

More from The Healthy Slow Cooker

The Healthy Slow Cooker

Time for an update on The Healthy Slow Cooker. We've tried two more recipes and they both turned out really well. Though, as usual, I took some liberties with the recipes.

The first was Turkey and Black Bean Soup, which I adored. We actually used chicken instead of turkey because we very rarely see fresh boneless, skinless turkey breast in the stores here and I figured chicken would work. The recipe called for chicken broth and tomato paste; I reduced the amount of broth and added a can of diced tomatoes because I love tomatoes! And of course I added some red pepper flakes because it's what I do. I made a batch of cornmeal muffins to go along with the soup and it made for a very satisfying meal.

Yesterday we made the Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Shrimp. I figured this would be a winner because we enjoy curries, and Thai green curry is one of my favorites. I added more curry paste than the recipe called for (we make curry fairly often, so I know how much we like) and I also added some sliced bell peppers and bean sprouts at the end. The sweet potatoes pretty much cooked down to nothing, so it was good to have the veggies in there for texture. It tasted good though, served over Jasmine rice. We had bagged coleslaw mix with Asian Sesame dressing as a salad along with it (this is my lazy salad, fast way to get in some extra veggies). I will say that I prefer our usual way of making Thai Curry, but this was definitely tasty and it was an easy meal.

So the first recipe we tried from this book may have been a little disappointing, but the next two were really good. No doubt we'll find some other good ones too.

Weather-wise, it's been freezing rain all day. Quite a mess out there. And it's still coming down. March is coming in like a lion...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Good-bye February...


February may be the shortest month of the year, but it felt long to me. It's been an extreme winter, that's for sure.


It is also the end of Yoga Month and I'm feeling like I've found my yoga-groove again.

When I first started doing yoga, it was with a DVD. I had bought a Kathy Smith Personal Trainer DVD that included a half hour yoga workout. That DVD routine was enough to make me want more.

The first class I tried was a Kundalini Yoga class that I went to with a friend. It only took one class to know that Kundalini was not for me. When I eventually joined a gym, I decided to try out the class there and was fortunate to land in a class with a really excellent instructor.

I also happened to be experiencing a serious case of "Mouse Arm" around that time. My arm hurt from wrist to shoulder and the pain would even keep me awake at night. I ended up switching to use the mouse with my left hand, which helped with the pain, but my right wrist was weak and it wanted to twist. Getting down on all fours and having my right hand flat on the floor was hard work - my arm would twist. It took a very long time to get my arm back to normal and yoga was excellent therapy.

In the beginning, the classes weren't that challenging - which is probably good considering the condition of my wrist - but as time went on they became more and more challenging. It was hard work, yet at the end of the class I would feel energized.

When I eventually gave up my gym membership, I missed the classes. But for some reason I've had a hard time working yoga into my routine at home. Now I kind of don't want to stop! So it's been a good month.

I'm not ready to give up the yoga yet, but I am going to try and work a few different things in. I'm ready to try running again. I'm going to take it slow and easy, no more than twice a week for now. Hopefully that will work out ok.

Feb 28: Treadmill walk/jog + 1/2 Gentle Hatha Flow #1[36 mins]
Feb 27: Treadmill walk + Yoga for Buns & thighs[65 mins]
Feb 25: Gentle Hatha Flow #2[45 mins]
Feb 24: Treadmill walk/jog[26 mins]
Feb 24: Power Vinyasa Flow #1[30 mins]
Feb 23: Treadmill walk + Power Yoga #3[70 mins]
Feb 22: Detox Yoga #1 + Gentle Hatha Flow #1[40 mins]
Feb 21: Treadmill walk/jog[26 mins]
Feb 19: Joy of Yoga + Gentle Hatha Flow #1[55 mins]
Feb 17: Treadmill walk + Gentle Hatha Flow #1[65 mins]
Feb 16: Element PM Yoga[30 mins]
Feb 14: Fat Burning Yoga[40 mins]
Feb 10: Treadmill walk[45 mins]
Feb 09: Candlelight Yoga[40 mins]
Feb 05: Joy of Yoga & Lunar Flow #1[50 mins]
Feb 04: Fat Burning Yoga[40 mins]
Feb 03: Candlelight Yoga[40 mins]
Feb 02: Treadmill walk + 20 Yoga for Buns & Thighs[65 mins]
Feb 01: Detox Yoga #1[20 min]


We had some warm weather this week, with temperatures actually climbing above zero. Friday night and Saturday morning we had rain and it's amazing how much snow melted away over night. It did start snowing again yesterday afternoon, and then again this afternoon. The forecast is not calling for much snow, but there is a freezing rain warning for tonight.

Looks like winter's not quite over.