Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dieting? Don't Feel Deprived, Feel Empowered!

Picture this: You've just joined a Tri Club to help you stay motivated and keep you in tip top training form until your first Triathlon. Or, perhaps you have recently decided that a Saturday morning running club is more up your alley, maybe you found a great group of people to have a nice long Sunday bike ride with you complete your 5k or Brick Workout, or 50 miler (not me, but who knows maybe someone reading rides 50 miles in a day) you guys are all shooting the bull after your workout and someone says "Hey lets go get a bite to eat"  You all agree on the local Panera, meet there and place your orders, reconvening at one of the tables with your trays.  You sit down, and they all look at your horrified when you set out your plate of Egg and Cheese on Ciabbata Bread, cup of fruit and Coffee with Cream.  You *thought* you had done a good job picking out a healthy meal, but what is actually sitting in front of you are enough calories to totally negate your entire workout (well, unless you did that 50 miler, but then you probably wouldn't be worried about your waistline either) ... whatever the situation on the path to getting healthy, there will eventually be a time when either, while out with your ridiculously healthy new friends, or perhaps meeting your non-diety friends for Breakfast you will need to face a dieters worst nightmare : The Ordering Counter or Menu. What do you pick? How do you know if it's "good" for you. All these restaurants and their appearance of healthy foods on the menu can be a major diet buster. So, what better way to strike down the Menu Monster than to be armed with good old fashioned knowledge before even walking into the situation.

David Zinczenko, author of the fabulous Eat This Not That Series has provided you with a few ideas to arm yourself with. From Panera (a diet busting sugar-house) to IHOP (who can pass up a Fresh and Fruity?) this article will give you options at many fast food and dining establishments.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Surviving Your First Triathlon

Triathlon training season is about to get into full swing. For me, full- on Triathlon training begins on Monday. If you are doing a Triathlon in the month of June your training will begin this coming week or the week after- for Tri's later in the season,  count back 16 weeks from the date of the Tri and this will be your start date for training.  If you are a first time Tri-er, I highly suggest taking the 16 week training route, and not the 12 week training route. Better to over-train than to under-train.

If in your counting you discover you have shorted yourself by a week or so, don't fret it- still start on "Week 1" of your 16 week schedule, and add intensity later on, as you get closer to Tri day. The missed week or so won't kill you, I promise.

Bicylcing Magazine has an article in this months issue called How To Survive A Tri... | Bicycling Magazine for those who have set their sights on their first Triathlon.

It's a short article and well worth the read. Just remember, your first Triathlon should be about COMPLETING the Tri, not COMPETING. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Broccoli Asparagus Voila! - Also Known As Go-To-Meal #3

It's Wednesday.  Mr. Millie has class on Wednesday nights, I have choir practice in oh- thirty minutes.  Typically on Wednesday nights, the siren like calls from Taco Bell become too tempting to resist, and deplete of Mr. Millie's looks of castigation -  Taco Bell wins out, and I usually end up grabbing something that I can inhale in the brief time that I am home while watching the cliff note version of the Biggest Loser (trust me, the irony is not lost on me).. and by Cliff Notes I mean, its on DVR from Tuesday night, and I fast forward through it to hit the main points. (easy to do considering they intro and outro the exact same things at every commercial break- this alone takes the show down to 55 minutes-  then you fast forward through the workouts - I mean, we KNOW Jillian is a ball buster, they sweat they puke, repeat)  and the show is down to 45)-  but Biggest Loser Tangent aside,  I decided to forgo my weekly jaunt to Taco Bell, and opted instead for something home cooked, because- I asked myself... do I want Taco Bell, or do I want to do a sub 2 hour Triathlon this season?  Sub 2 Hour Triathlon won by a landslide.

Today's intended feast was from My Sister's Blog  Lentils & Quinoa w/ Roasted Broccoli  but, to my dismay, the package of Lentils I thought I had in my cupboard are missing.  I'm sure they will turn up, I had a party last weekend, and a lot of things ended up getting shoved wherever there was room in the final "Oh Crap" hour before company arrived.  Twenty bucks say they turn up in a bin in the workout room, in about a month or so....   you think I'm kidding.

Anyhow, since I did not have Lentils, and I wanted to be able to do my sisters recipe justice, I decided to pass on her recipe for the day and just work with what I had.  Turns out- they are fairly similar anyway.

I had some Broccoli and Asparagus in my Fridge, as well as a can of leftover Chick Peas that I had planned to use to make a bean salad, but ended up using the Kidney Beans over the weekend, so an errant can of Chick Peas was included in my recipe as well.

So without further ado:

Millie's Broccoli Asparagus Voila (also known as "The Sh*t I Have In My Fridge and Randomly Threw Together"  ... VOILA! :)

1 Can of Chickpeas
1 Bunch of Asparagus (bottoms cut off)-
now when I'm cutting my Asparagus up, I always cut off starting where the stems change from deep green to light green.  Some people say that I am cutting too much of the stem off doing it this way, but there is nothing I hate more (okay actually there are a lot of things I hate more- but lets just go with it for emphasis)  than chomping on a piece of asparagus that doesn't want to submit to the mashing of my molars.
2 Mini-Heads of Broccoli (Trees & Stems- cut into small pieces)  - you don't have to use the stems if you dont want, but I heard once that there are more nutrients in the stems than in the trees, and it always stuck with me-  so I have learned to love the stems
Olive Oil

I just realized that this is very similar to the spinach/chic pea combo I blogged about last week.. with the whole garlic and olive oil thing- but I promise I will expand my palate when I'm not pressed for time.


My Ingredients (sans the Slim Fast that the ingredients are sitting on top of )

Start with the Olive Oil and Garlic-  add the Broccoli and Asparagus
I just realized the Chic Peas got added in here as well- but I forgot to take a picture of that one-  WHOOPS!

Boil your Quinoa-  and yes- before I get any comments on the pot *cough* Mrs Plant Food Fabulous-  this is an evil Teflon pot-  but Mr. Millie didn't "hear me"  when I said "before you go to bed, could you please turn the dishwasher on"  so when I came home from work-  all the pots were still in the Dishwasher, unwashed.  So this was all I had.  Since I was only boiling stock and Quinoa in it, I figured I'd be o.k.

And-  the money shot.  This is the completed product.  I added a little balsamic vinegar to  it right before I started eating because it seemed to be missing something.  Looking at the Plant Food Fabulous version with the lentils- there's a yummy sauce that it gets mixed with that since I wasn't following her recipe I missed :(  But I'll do that recipe another time.

I also wanted to briefly talk about portion control.  These plates have helped me immensely with portion sizes.  Instead of using large standard plates in the Millie Household.  We use pub plates.  Which are about half the size.

That's a teaspoon across the plate-  so it just barely misses the length of the plate.

Anyhow, I bought these at the Crate and Barrel Outlet for like $2 - $3 each.  (If you don't have a Crate and Barrel outlet by you-  I'd complain!  I seriously live at that place)

So, as you can see from my almost empty plate.  Go to Meal #3 was a success!  And, it was much more filling and satisfying than making a run for the border would have been!

If you haven't voted for me in the Women's Health Magazine Blog Contest  please do! I will be eternally grateful!  :)

' Til next time! :)  ~Millie

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New Discovery

I'm so excited to share with you a great magazine I found over the weekend!  It's called Clean Eating Magazine .  The magazine not only has great articles like 21 Meals under $2, 200 Calorie Snacks,  as well as interesting articles like how to pick, chop, peel and prepare Fennel.    And, its not just for the vegetarians out there.  Many of the recipes are meat based (but can easily be adapted for the vegetarian), and are all centered around the principles of Eating Clean (ie no preservatives, no refined carbs, sugars ect- staying way from processed foods as much as possible) -  and keeping foods in their most natural states.

If you have read Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism  you know this is essentially what her eating principles are as well.  In her book and on TV she says that "If it doesn't come from the ground, or have a mother'  don't eat it .  It's great advice, especially if you have Endocrine Problems like I do.

Anyhow, I found this magazine by chance at Barnes and Noble over the weekend, and spent yesterday and today reading it cover to cover.  I was so excited by it, that I wanted to share with you my find.  I also have found numerous recipes that I intend to try in here for my "Find 5 Go-To Meals" part of my Fearless Living List.  I have already discussed 2.  I have 3 and 4 in the pipes, but haven't had a chance to actually make them yet... and I'm quite sure I have at least three just in this issue of Clean Eating alone!  I don't want to get too ahead of myself, as I actually have to make/sample them first but perhaps this finding healthy/delicious/satisfying meals won't be as hard as I think it will be :)

I love sharing new finds with all of you.  I think if any little tidbit or discovery can help one, it can help many :)

And, I actually also have a favor to ask of you - insert puppy dog eyes and sweet smile here-

I was wondering if you could visit Women's Health Magazines Site Here and vote for me for weight loss or fitness blogger?  For me, this blog, and my journey is really about showing through my own actions and experiences, that YOU are so much more capable of what you think you are.  I have received so many positive notes from you guys telling me that I inspired you to finally break out the old running shoes, or try your hand at swimming, or that you signed up for your first Triathlon... and stuff like that thrills me!  I don't blog for the recognition or the accolades, but to spread that spark of inspiration on to others who find themselves in a situation similar to my own.  Receiving nationwide recognition by a magazine like Women's Health Magazine allows me to reach people on a larger platform.  I would not only appreciate the vote, but be honored and grateful that you took the time to do it.

Thank you, sincerely, for taking the time to vote.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Days Are Better Than Others

I realize that my upcoming rant only continues to show what little progress I have made in having faith in my own self worth, and allowing other people's opinions of me to affect how I feel about myself, but if I don't let it go out into the universe, I'll lose sleep over it tonight wondering how I can capture/control/change it.  It's interesting that in the classes I am taking that it switches from semester to semester from building me up to tearing me down.  Last semester I had great professors - two of three who were sincerely vested in my success and at least appeared to believe that I had true talent.  The semester previous to that, I had a-holes for professors who called my writing banal and sophomoric.  And again, this semester, I seem to back in the "You suck, I hate your writing" camp.  Writing and Singing. These are the two things that I hold closest to my heart.  I keep them protected, safe for the most part, from damaging words or condescension, because they have always been my outlet, my friend when I'm in need, the two things that I could turn to when my heart was full of inconsolable ache.   The two things that hurt more than anything when I am judged harshly based on my performance with them.

I still have an "A" in the class, but my grades paper to paper keep slipping further and further down the scale, now falling into the "B" range.  I feel like writing for this class, is like trying to clean up a jar of dropped spaghetti sauce-  the harder you try to "fix" it, the messier it gets.  And I seem be on a never ending quest to find the "right" way to do things.  That's the people pleaser in me, I'm sure of it.  
Who knows, maybe other people would say "Whatever- it's just the professor- their writing style and my writing style simply don't meld, and if they don't like it- tough" and just move on.  In the real world, not everyone likes you, so it's ridiculous of me to expect that every class I take, the professor will think I'm the next Faulkner or Hemmingway.  

In my head though, when you hear "You're such a great writer"  "You're a breath of fresh air" "I love your style" etc from professors- you actually start to believe that you have a talent... and then someone comes along, pops your self esteem bubble and says "Think again sister, you're not even qualified to write my take out order".  

It's hard.  

It's been a rough couple of weeks.  Our 9 year old lab, Bozley, has torn his ACL.  We have to keep an eye on him, and make a decision shortly whether or not to have a $3500 surgery on his knee (this, is on top of the already almost $1,000 for medicines, xrays etc to get to the point of finding out its an ACL).  And, I know this sounds selfish, but were supposed to go on vacation in 4 weeks.  And I can't tell you how badly, mentally, I need a vacation.  We specifically planned it for that week because by some divine miracle  Mr. Millie and I both have spring break the same week.

If Bozley has surgery, there's a possibility that we might not be able to have a vacation, because his surgery would occur around the same time.  We would both need to take time off to make sure they he stays immobilized during his re-cooperation period.  Or, we could wait until we come back from vacation, but Mr Vet gave us this wide eyed "you wouldn't do that to your animal now, would you?" look when we asked if we could hold off on the surgery for a month.  

At the moment though, he seems to be doing well enough with the medicines.  He still limps but at least he's putting weight on it- so I'm hoping that we can avoid having to do the surgery.

Aside from that, it just seems like right now, metaphorically speaking, I'm walking into gale force winds, instead of having the wind at my back.  Everything is an uphill struggle.  I'm hoping that one of these days, soon, the clouds will break enough for some sunshine.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Peel Appeal

Last summer, my husband purchased this magazine (Fuel, by Men's Health)  it is about $9- and you can download PDF versions of the magazine if the actual magazine is not available for purchase anymore.  Though technically marketed towards men (and carnivores- there is a very unpleasant picture of a decapitated Pigs Head, as well as various other animal parts on display the magazine itself is quite full of useful information.  For example, the article below is about the peels of fruit.  Apparently many fruit and vegetable peels that we just toss away, are good for vitamins and nutrients.

Garlic skin-  full of antioxidants which help fight aging and protect your heart

Apple Skin (I didnt realize that people *didnt* eat the skin) - but it cntains      triterpenoids which help combat Liver, Breast and Colon Cancer

Banana Peels (Never tried it, but apparently that's how the primates eat them) - Full of Lutein and Serotonin.  Which not only lifts your mood, but keeps the old bi-focal fairy at bay.  [ according to the magazine, you can blend it into your smoothie if eating a banana peel on is just too much for you to handle]

Potatoes - The skin of one potato provides half of your recommended daily allowance of Fiber, Potassium, Iron, Zinc and Vitamin C - just ONE potato.

Orange Peels-  Contain D-limoene  which not only lowers cholesterol but also reduces the effects of UV Light damage by 70%!  (the article suggests zesting the orange peel and adding into a salad or putting it on top of your baked salmon)

Kiwi Peel (if you can get past the fuzz)  - its skin contains 3x more antioxidants than the fruit inside.  The magazine suggests pulverizing this one in a smoothie too if the fuzz is too much for your mouth or look for "Gold" Kiwi fruit which has 50% less fur.

After reading this little tidbit, I went off on a quest to find out what other fruit skin benefits are out there, and here are some of my other findings:

Cucumber - The peel of a cucumber is made of silica, a building block of  wrinkle-preventing collagen.

Eggplant Skin-  Contains Potassium which helps reduce muscle cramps and also contains an antioxidant known as nasunin which has been shown to protect against brain damage

Passion Fruit Peel -  apparently according to a recent study has a bronchiodilater effect that helps relieve spasms in asthma patients

I'm seeing a whole lot of Kiwi/Apple/Banana/Eggplant/Orange smoothies in my future :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

VDay with Big G

Gunter:  Oh Millie, so sad spending Valentine's Day ALLLLL alone.

Millie:  I'm not alone, I have you don't I?  :smiles sweetly:  Because you know nothing says L-O-V-E  like an ass kicking workout right?

Gunter:  *evil laugh*  my thoughts exactly-  and I am going to show you just how much I love you.

Millie:  Bring It.

Gunter:  Okay- five minute warm up and then, prepare for pain

Millie:  Pain?  Muhahahaha I laugh in the face of pain.

Gunter: Mighty big bravado you've put on for me today

Millie:  Its not *breath* a bravado *breath*  I'm just *breath* trying to show myself *breath* that I can do *breath* anything I put my mind to *breath*

Gunter:  If you can carry on a conversation, we are not working you hard enough.  :Resistance Level 3:

Millie:  Yup *pant* definitely feeling that now *pant*

Gunter: *whip crack*  good.. but you're still talking, so clearly you still aren't working hard enough *evil laugh*

Millie:  *grunt*  ugh Gunter *huff* Resistance level 3 *huff puff*  good enough

Gunter:  Not Quite - you're mine for ten more minutes - Resistance Level 5

Millie *whimper* Gunter *gasp*  please *gasp*  maybe I overestimated *gasp* my abilities *wheeze*  perhaps I'm not ready for level five yet

Gunter:  You can do it Millie- push through.  Your wiggle and jiggle will thank me for this.  Five more minutres

Millie:  .... *wheeze**pant* *huff puff* :sweats profusely:

Gunter:  What?  nothing to say?

Millie:  *whimper* *grunt huff puff*  *whimper*

Gunter:  very well....  you're five minutes have ended anyway.

Millie:  Oh, thank God. *huff puff*  So, next time I say Bring It...*pant*  perhaps, we don't need to bring so much.  Maybe instead of bringing it, we can just like-  carry it.  Or, talk about bringing it...instead of actually bringing it.

I think my legs might not be capable of walking in the morning.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Flying Leap off the Wagon

Well, I guess it was going to happen eventually.  Stress, Frustration, general Weltschmerz who knows, but tonight, on my way home, I calmly walked into Red Robin, ordered burgers for my husband and myself, came home and proceeded to have a Burgasm.  Thanks to the incredible shrinking stomach, I was only able to finish about 2/3rds of it, but that is beside the point.  The point is, that instead of dealing with the emotions that I was having, I turned to my trusty friend the carbohydrate, and instead silenced the volcano of brewing emotions with food.  

And, it really wasn't even that bad of a day. I mean, yeah I got screamd at by some ahole, and I can't seem to get out from behind the 8 ball with classes, and my house as much as I beg it- never cleans itself... but these are miniscule things in the grand scheme.  Today's problem though, wasn't even my problem to begin with- it was my husbands problem, and when he relayed his work stresses to me, and knowing how hard he's working and how much he is bending over backwards and sideways to get done what needs to get done- I felt totally helpless.  I hate seeing him so stressed out, I hate that certain people in his company can't see all that he is doing for them or that whatever he does isn't enough.  And I know, logically its not my burden, or my issue, but at the same time- when you love someone and you see how hard they take these criticsm's and how affected they are by the constant complaints, naturally, you want to help.  And since, there isn't much I can do in the "help"ing department, instead I just have to stand by and watch him worry and fret and wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety that prevents him from going back to sleep.  

So everything just piled up- and detour off the straight and narrow into Red Light District of Dieting.  I need to learn how not to take other people's problems on as my own- I know this. At least, being aware of it is a step in the right direction, right?  And, though this was a jump off the bandwagon, tomorrow is another day.   Unfortunately, my tally towards my 30-day chip resets, and it's back to counting towards a 7day chip again.  But, I will learn from this and move forward.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dealing With Stress

I know a lot of people say "When I'm really stressed out, there is nothing better than leaving it all in the gym."    Getting a good sweat going, getting a rush in the endorphins and just slugging it out with yourself. For me though, when I have a crappy day, or things don't go the way I want, I find that working out only gets me more pissed off.  With the exception of swimming, any other form of exercise still hurts, and takes massive amounts of motivation to get through.  

For me, though, I need to find other forms of stress relief, especially considering I'm also in school in addition to working full time, so making a quick jaunt to the gym isn't always convenient or possible.  And, since it is Winter Time, it's not like I can take a walk around the block to deal with stress (well, I could, but I'd freeze my tush off, and most likely slip and break something on the ice)

Over Christmas, one of my husbands cousins mentioned how much she loves to color when she is stressed out.  So, considering that anything is better than stress-eating, I decided I would give it a shot.  I was feeling very "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" as I went to Wal-Mart and bought my Crayons and Coloring Book, but really, when we were kids who didn't like when the teacher gave us "coloring time".  It was the best.  And that box of 96 fresh crayons with their pretty points- what looked better?

So, here is my coloring book
It was $0.99
And my crayons
The box said that it had 120 colors but really it's 2 boxes of 48 and a box of 24-  I feel gypped, but what can you do!

I must confess I am a rusty colorer-  as I broke my sky blue crayon I was coloring my Care Bear-  perhaps a sign of how pissed/annoyed/stressed I was.  And, I also forgot that Care Bears have white stomachs (how I missed the ones on the cover, God only knows)

But, without further ado...  my "SuperStar" CareBear

And, cousin Nora was right... it really is a stress reliever.  I felt so much better after finishing my creation, without reaching for the Ice Cream (which I don't have in my house anyway-  but the point was to find something to help soothe other than food).

Perhaps we should all go back to the childhood days of coloring.  We could start a coloring revolution!

If you have any other suggestions for helping cope with stress, or getting over a bad day, I'd love to hear em.  And let me know if you decide to give coloring a try-  I'd love to see your pictures if you do!

Go To Meal (ish) #2

 I tried meal # 2 of my "Find 5 Go To Meals" task.  Though I don't know if you can really qualify as a "meal" but it was delicious and filling.  I thought I had a final picture on my camera but I don't :(  So, I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.
I found this at Traders Joe's

If you look at the nutrition content it is very low in fat, very low in calories and has 6g of protein per serving.  Instead of boiling it in water as directed, I actually boil most of my grains in Vegetable Stock It adds a better flavor I think to the dish, and also adds a few protein grams to the meal.
From my cooked grains, I added a dash of Maggi  (for those who don't know what Maggi is-   Wikipedia Definition of Maggi  ) essentially, it's a flavoring.  Growing up in a German family, it's the ultimate go-to for flavoring a dish.  I guess the best I could compare it to would be sort of like Soy Sauce, but tastier.  

Anyhow.  I added some Maggi and some cut up Avacado  and voila! My dinner.   Julia Childs, I am not... but it was tasty- again took me roughly five minutes to make, and it is definitely another go-to meal in a pinch.  Sorry- no finished product pic. I forgot to take it! 

Here's the breakdown though:

1 Cup Trader Joes Harvest Grains
1 Cup Swanson Vegetable Broth
2 dashes of Maggi
1 Sliced Avacado

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jumping Rope- Who Knew!

So, it's not like you would spend an entire hour jumping rope, but if you want to, you'll burn a whopping 780 Calories doing it. Zumba, 500 calories (I've always wanted to try Zumba- my lovely gym only offers one session and it's always packed :( - Has anyone ever done the DVD? Let me know how it is, maybe I'll just Zumba at home instead)

Anyhow, the point is, that even in the winter (and I am especially guilty of this considering Ive been whining for weeks about how I can't wait to get outside again) you can find ways to exercise even without a gym membership or expensive equipment. Heck, jumping rope you can use just about anything (though, I wouldn't suggest jumping rope with a purse strap, as my older sister still bears the scar from the Great Purse Jumping debacle of '80 in which she jumped rope with it, caught her leg in the strap, flew face first into the corner of a wall and split her head open- resulting in some stitches)

But, here is a link from Yahoo about some other great ways to burn calories INDOORS. Top Calorie Burning Workouts

The Top 6 Calorie-Burning Workouts - Healthy Living on Shine