Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Healthy Thankgiving & a New Obsession!

(It's starting to get a lot colder and the days are a lot shorter-Corny and I decided to go out on a chilly jog/walk even though it was pretty cold!)

I think it runs in my family to become obsessed and fixated on things.  I think I get it from my mom.  My brother has it too.  Several years ago, he became obsessed with health and fitness and I thought he was crazy.  When he started going to Cross Fit gym, I thought he had joined a cult.  When he and his wife were expecting a baby, I told my mom that they would have to sacrifice it to Cross Fit.  Mostly joking, but kind of serious.  Cross Fit is no joke.  However, I don't really give him a hard time about it anymore, because now I understand it a little  better. 

Over the past month, I have been attending a local gym on a Groupon coupon that I purchased this summer.  I don't really use the equipment at the gym, but I go to a lot of the classes.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that I chose the "boot camp" class as my very first class. 

(Photo Source: Phundeals.com)

It was very hard, but the feeling I got afterward was so rewarding.  I accomplished something that I didn't know I could do and I don't think the instructor thought I could do at first either.  When I went into the gym that day,  I said I was there for the boot camp class.  She said, "Have you ever taken this class before?"  I said, "No."  I didn't really know what else to say.  I said I had recently done a 5K and she asked me what my time was.  When I said I did it in 32 minutes, she backed off a little bit but all she said was, "Well, you can give it a try."  In my mind I thought, she doesn't think I can do this and I am going to prove her wrong.  That kept me motivated over the course of the next hour when the exercises got really tough.  I kept thinking, I have to prove her wrong.  I will show her I am capable of this.  After the class she complimented me and said the only reason why she said any of that was because a lot of people come for the class and they really can't handle it because they don't realize what it is.  I decided I would be coming back for more.  I also decided to give kickboxing a try a few days later. 

(Photo source: Kravfitnow.com)

Kickboxing starts off my Saturday mornings now.  Rather than being lazy, sitting around drinking coffee (I'm still caffeine free!) and not getting out of the house until noon, I have started going to the class that starts at 8:45.  It's a great way to start off the day.  I will usually go to the farmers market and grocery shopping after the class too.  I love that kickboxing is a great upper body workout....yes, I know that sounds crazy that  I am saying upper body workout when it's kickboxing but we do a lot more punches than kicks.  My upper body is one of the areas of my body that I feel really self conscious about.  I really want to tone my arms but I am just not crazy about lifting weights.  This is a great way to get an upper body workout and cardio at the same time.  I also feel really tough and powerful when I am punching the bag. 

(Photo Source: Southernliving.com)

Last but certainly not least, I decided to give spinning a try.  In my mind, I always thought that spinning would be easy and kind of boring. Haha....I was SOOO proven wrong!  Spinning is no joke.  Last night, I burned almost 800 calories in less than 75 minutes!  That's a workout!  The instructor (same as boot camp) pushes us so hard and I really think I respond to it.  I love the challenge and I love the feeling of accomplishment when the class is finished. 

My Groupon runs out in less than a month but I have pretty much decided to stick with this gym for the classes.  The gym is pretty basic but the classes are well worth the membership fee.  I feel like when a drug dealer gives free drugs to people to get them hooked.  This Groupon coupon got me hooked on these classes and now I crave going to them.  I love how I feel and how hard it pushes me.  It's hard but exhilirating at the same time.  When I go out walking and jogging, it just doesn't feel the same anymore! 

Along with going to the gym, I had a great Thanksgiving break.  I got to go to Plant, my favorite vegan restaurant in Asheville, for a benefit Thanksgiving dinner.  The food was amazing and so much better than cooking a big Thanksgiving feast!  I worked my ass off for several days earning activity points so I could enjoy the dinner without even thinking about points.  I got on the scale the next day and showed a loss!  Yeah! 

(Excited about going to Plant!)

Another fun picture I thought I would include is of some "Red Giant Mustard" greens from the school garden.  The high school  I work at has a garden that we can go and pick greens from.  It's awesome!  I have been picking collards, kale, turnip greens and mustard greens. 

I haven't tried these yet, but I am very curious about how they taste.  I have never even seen these greens before!  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday filled with lots of great things!  Happy holiday season!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back To My Weight Loss Roots

(Above the clouds-heading back home to see my mom)

It's been awhile since I last made a post!  It feels like life is just moving so fast  right now.  In the past couple of weeks, I found out my mom had the beginning stages of uterine cancer, she had surgery, and I went home to be with her for a few days.  It was a completely unexpected trip home.  It had been less than a month since I was last home but I was so happy I was able to be there with her. 

As soon as I got back home from my trip, I decided to go back to my weight loss roots.  I decided to go back to Weight WatchersWeight Watchers is what I lost the majority of my weight with and I was been struggling so much recently that I really felt like I just needed to go back to the beginning.  Unfortunately, I have gained about 10 pounds since moving to Asheville and I am not happy about it.  Little by little, the weight has been creeping back up and I am not okay with that and it's time for me to do something about it.  So, that's what I am doing. 

(I did my own version of the WW Food Journal to save some $)

Currently, I am not really at a place where I can afford the $40 a month for WW Monthly Pass so I am pretty much doing it on my own.  I printed off my own version of the food journal and I can still access the message boards which was the only thing I really used from the e-tools when I paid every month.  Plus, I am going to a local gym right now and taking quite a few classes.  I feel like that gives me some accountability.  I purchased a Groupon this summer and decided to save it until it got cold outside.  It will last until the end of December and then I will have to decide if I will continue with the gym or try out some specials at other gyms around the area.  I really do love taking the class though and I think I might want to stay with this gym.  I am currently taking Kickboxing, Spinning and Boot Camp.  I love how I get pushed to work harder in classes.  It's a great sense of accomplishment! 

My first week back on Weight Watchers felt successful.  I used all of the activity points I earned and only 3 of the extra weekly points.  I feel like that's a success.  I haven't weighed myself yet though.  I plan to do that either tonight or tomorrow.  I think Tuesday will be my WW weigh in day. 

I did a lot of food prep this weekend along with taking a spinning and kickboxing class.  I tried out two new recipes that you can find online!  Here they are:

Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna from the Peas and Thank You Blog

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers from Vegetarian Times Magazine

I loved both of these recipes.  I doubled up on the recipe for the burgers so I could freeze a lot of them.  I love doing this because it's so much cheaper and so much less processed than frozen vegan burgers at the store.  I also loved the idea of the zucchini as lasagna noodles.  It worked perfectly and it tasted delicious.  I didn't even miss the pasta especially since there's quinoa in the lasagna.  I would definitely recommend both of these recipes. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Random Post: the Weekend, Eat to Live Thoughts, a New Recipe and More

(Hooker Falls-Dupont State Forest, NC)

I feel like I should start off with the positives of this weekend.  I got a lot of great activity in!  On Saturday, I went to my second kickboxing class.  I still loved it and it was a great workout!  I burned even more calories this week because I pushed myself harder.  I love that I am getting a great upper body and cardio workout at the same time.  When I was finished, I had burned 700 calories!  

Then on Sunday, we drove out to Dupont State Forest and hiked out to many of the waterfalls within the area.  The hiking is pretty easy out there with some inclines but we hiked for almost 3 hours.  I burned over 600 calories when we were finished hiking.  

R is way more adventurous than me....when she found out that you could "walk" behind Bridal Veil Falls, she had to go back.  I knew when we went out to Dupont State Forest yesterday, that she would be doing this.  I decided not to hike behind it but I still enjoyed hiking to the top of this waterfall. 

(The only reason why I included this picture is because there's a heart shaped water puddle if you look closely...I just thought that was cool.)
I also had 2 recipe successes this weekend.  I made gluten free pancakes that were a success and I made the Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup from Appetite for Reduction.  The gluten free pancakes were exciting because I have tried this before with no success.  This time, I used the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour with a little bit of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour is it was a great success.  The consistency was fine and they didn't fall apart.  I know R was excited because she eats gluten free all of the time and I think this was the first success for gluten free pancakes. 

(Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour--Photo source:  navanfoods.com)

The picture below is of the Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup from AFR.  Have you checked out this blog before?  She is working her way through Isa's entire cookbook and taking pictures of everything she makes.  I love it!

(Photo Source: The Reduction Project)

I guess I should just go ahead and talk about my Eat to Live-Week 3 results.  I still lost a little bit of weight.  I lost 0.4.  It's better than nothing.  I will be honest, I am struggling with Eat to Live and I just have myself to blame for this.  I have become too relaxed and eating things that Dr. Fuhrman would probably not approve of (Starbucks Decaf Soy Misto).  Starbucks soy milk has quite a bit of sugar in it and I know that's why I like the drink so much.  Also, I have started using some stevia again to sweeten things.  Part of this is because I don't really think stevia is bad for me and part of it is because we were using way too many dates to sweeten things.  Not only do the calories add up, but it's expensive.  (I will talk about budgeting in a minute.)  So, I am going to do my best with Eat to Live for the final 2 weeks of the program, but then I am seriously considering going back to my weight loss roots....Weight Watchers.  I have taken a break from Weight Watchers for about 9-10 months and have been struggling to lose weight for about the past 6-7 months.  It's just something I am thinking about right now.  Now that I have a better grasp of calories, I might be able to be more successful with Weight Watchers and not abuse the whole "free fruits and veggies" thing.  We will see. 

I said I would talk about budgeting in a minute.  I was pretty shocked when I did the math for last month's grocery spending.  For two people, we spent over $700 in groceries.  Yikes.  I have set a goal for us this month to spend $500 or less and that will include going out to dinner if we choose to do that.  That way, if we decide to go out to dinner, we know that we might be struggling a little bit more with our grocery budget and we might have to work more on making due with what we already have.  We want to move out of our current rental place and get a better place that has more space and is nicer.  But in order to do that, we know we will be spending more money.  Money can be so frustrating!