Monday, January 31, 2011

Veggie Chili with Lentils

In the mood for chili this weekend I deemed I was going to make a huge pot of chili on Sunday. I found a cookbook I had received a few years ago that had a vegetable chili recipe in it. My goal was to make something that was rather healthy and to use some lentils I had. So I took that recipe and changed it a bit :)

How yummy does that look?!

Here's the recipe:

Veggie Chili with Lentils

- 4 small yellow squash, diced
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 1 bag frozen corn
- 1 bag lentils (I used 1/2 red, 1/2 brown)
- 1 can chick peas
- 2 largeish cans diced tomatoes
- 2 regular size cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 4 cups veggie stock
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oregeno

Heat oil in large stock pot. Add garlic, diced onion, diced squash and carrots. Saute until onion is translucent.

Add veggie stock, 2 regular size cans of petitie diced tomatoes, lentils and chick peas to pot.

Puree in food processor, 2 large cans of diced tomatoes and 1 small can of tomato paste, add to pot.

Add in the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, oregano.

Cook on low for about an hour (or as long as you'd like), stirring every now and then.

About 15 minutes before serving, add the corn.

This made about 14 servings at 175 calories each!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Breakfast Experimentation

Some days I'm hungrier than others. This week I've started to ponder, does what I eat for breakfast effect my hunger level for the day? Am I fuller throughout the day if I eat a protein heavy breakfast or a carb heavy breakfast?

There are some days I believe my oatmeal breakfast will last longer. But then there are days like yesterday where I had eggs and seemed to be not as hungry throughout the day.

These thoughts have gathered and festered for enough. Time to put science to the test! For the next 4 weeks, I am going to run a little test on myself. The test?  Breakfast!

Here's how it's going to go down:
- Each breakfast will have the same number of calories.
- I will eat the carb heavy breakfast (aka oatmeal) for two weeks
- I will eat the protein heavy breakfast (aka eggs) for two weeks
- I will record what time I ate, how I felt (full/not full), and what time I started feeling hungry again, what I ate for snack and how the rest of the day went.

At the end of the 4 weeks, I will give my results. I'm curious to see how it goes.

A couple of loose ends. I usually make my oatmeal on Sunday and portion it out for the week. My oatmeal consists of a mix of steel cut oats, whole groats and quinoa. I also add a bit of chopped nuts and some cut up fruit (usually apples). So there is a mix in there, however, as you can see, it is pretty carb heavy. Eggs? I prefer them scrambled with some lunch meat, peppers, onions and reduced fat cheese. I usually cut up an apple and munch on it while the eggs are cooking. (I like apples, a lot)

Perhaps I am inspired by just wrapping up Jonas' science fair project and tons of episodes of Mythbusters, which is his new favorite TV show, but I have always been curious. I know everyone's body burns food differently. How does mine burn food?

This should be fun!

EDIT: Forgot to mention, I'm starting this off with the protein heavy breakfasts.  Mostly cuz I have a lot of eggs :) Start date? Monday 1/31!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two days after...

So here I am, two days after I did an elliptical workout with my new accessory and sore knee. Yesterday I was very achy and opted not to stress my knee. Today? I wonder why do I ache more since I got this stinkin brace than I did before?

My workout Monday produced a lot of sweat and calories burned! About 500 in 30 minutes! It felt good to do something for my body. I think I am going to enjoy doing this plan. However, I've decided to take it slow until I have the all clear and stop feeling pain. After all, I gotta use the knees for many years to come. No sense in screwing them up now.

Non-workout related news, I discovered that I function better with a mid sized breakfast, large lunch and small dinner. (with small snacks between). This has helped my meal planning so that I no longer feel so ravenous around 3pm.

I was watching Heavy the other night, seeing parts of myself in the contestants. When the lady had skin surgery, I knew the feeling of wanting the same, and wondering what I'd look like if I went that route. She had lost 50 pounds before the skin surgery and showed how much extra there was. Imagine me, after 140 pounds lost. I toy with the idea of surgery, but dunno if I'd ever do it.

I'm feeling pretty good about things right now. I'm not stressing anymore, but instead taking care of my body.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Renewed Sense of Energy

Thinking about the limitations of what I can and cannot do, I decided last night to see if I could find a decent training plan using the elliptical machine. One of the results that popped up? Navy PRT Training using the Elliptical! I'm familiar with the Navy PRT Training plans as I have a cousin in the Navy and he pointed me to them for running. The elliptical plan is something new that they've just implemented. The PRT test is a 12 minute test and your calories burned are then turned into your score. The goal is to burn as many calories as you can in 12 minutes. What?  Wait... I get to be tested on how many calories I burn?  Well, I want to burn calories!  This is a good thing!

So, I'm taking the Navy's Elliptical PRT Training Plan and using it for my own personal goal! I'm going to do the six weeks of training and then the following week do a 12 minute test and see how many calories I can burn. I'll record that number and then do another six weeks of training and do another 12 minute test to see how I improved! The only difference in the schedule is my days.  I'll be doing MTR for elliptical and WF for strength. The reason simply is: I work from home on Fridays. I don't have an elliptical at home, as my gym is at work (and 45 minutes away), so it makes more sense to do resistance band strength from home on Fridays and do my 3 days of elliptical while at the office.

I am so excited about this! I'm almost bouncing while writing this up!

I also found a resistance band workout that I think will work for strength training purposes. I'm going to try it and see how my body feels while doing it. If it's not cutting it, I'll try something else. I know with the strength exercises I need to be careful for both my knee and shoulder purposes, but for the same reasons, I need to strengthen those muscles too. Anyone know of any good exercises out there for these things? I do have a Pilates resistance band workout. That may work too!

I look forward to Monday when I get to start this new routine!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mixed Feelings about Doctor Appointment

So today was my follow-up with the orthopedic doctor. Her thoughts before I went for X-ray were an injury to my knee and bursitis or something similar to my shoulder. After the X-rays? I think that the feelings were mixed.

First, my knee. There is some deformity around my kneecap, but it's not broken and the joint looks good. She isn't a radiologist, so she's going to wait for their report before making the diagnosis. In the meantime. No impact activity for at least 3 weeks. I have to wear a brace during the day and ice my knee at least three times per day. I can do non-impact cardio and she said I should continue strength training at light weights. If the X-ray is inconclusive she will send for an MRI. And I thought it was nothing... I think this proves otherwise.

My shoulder. It's been bugging me, especially when I reach behind me to hook my bra together. (TMI?  Deal! :) ) Its been going on for a couple months.  Over the past month it's gotten worse and has hurt with other activities. The X-ray shows that my shoulder is higher than it should be in the joint. That is what causes the pain.The reason? Again she is waiting for the radiologist's report with a possible MRI if needed. What do I get to do with my shoulder? I don't get to wash windows (Drat!  I know, makes me sad too). I got a shot of steroids in my shoulder and have to do some movement exercises every day until I go back in three weeks.

My feelings are mixed.  On one hand, we're starting treatment without knowing fully what is wrong. On the other, the possible need for an MRI scares me, a lot.

In other news, I picked up the new book by Bob Greene, The Life You Want. This book interested me because of it's stress on the emotional side of eating healthy and getting over the issues most overweight/obese people have with food. I'm hoping that his words help me with recognizing my issues as well as helping through them. I'm excited to read the book!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Doctor Follow-up...

So I went to the doctor for both my knee and shoulder today. She tested range of motion, swollen-ness, etc. and then told me to not exercise (pool would be ok, but I don't have access to one), and I needed to see the orthopedic surgeon, get x-rays and the such. Eh. She also prescribed anti-inflammatory medications for me to take to help with pain, etc. I see the orthopedic doctor next Thursday.

So that's all scheduled.  Lets hope it's nothing overly serious.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hello Doctor!

Well, my knee was feeling better earlier this week.  So, I did interval runs on Monday and Tuesday. Then on Tuesday night while undecorating the Christmas tree and going in and out the back door (where resides 2 steps), I felt the pain come back tenfold. Unwilling to give up my workouts, I vowed to use the elliptical machine until I get medical clearance. I sent myself an e-mail reminder to call the doctor to see if I could get in anytime soon. Surprisingly enough, they could get me in tomorrow! Hopefully it's nothing serious.  We'll see tomorrow.

In other news, I feel mentally better. I've been fighting this battle for so long, sometimes I just need to remember why I'm doing this. Why am I working out? Why am I trying to lose weight? Why do I try to eat healthy?

Why?  To live my life! To become healthy, to stick around long enough to annoy Jonas when I'm old and gray. :)

Not only do I need to remember why, I need to keep faith in myself that I can do this.

I've lost 135 pounds in Jonas' lifetime (80 when he was 2, the rest in the past year). I've grown so much in those years. I'm no longer the same person I was back then. So much has changed, and so much for the better.

I'm active. I'm healthier. I'm happier.

I can do this!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

He's 9 Today!

My little boy isn't so little anymore.  He's 9 years old today. He's nearly 5 feet tall!

His day started with waffles & snow (aka powdered sugar). After school, I took him sledding!

For his party he decided he wanted a "make your own pasta bowl" dinner. I cooked some Rotini and Penne then made a red meat, pesto and alfredo sauces. We had everyone over, enjoyed good family times, a really tasty dinner and some homemade cake! (I made a sugar free variety and a regular chocolate cake in my bread machine!)

He's curled up next to me reading as he settles down for bed.  It's hard to believe that it has been 9 years.  Somedays it seems longer, somedays it seem like it was just yesterday that he was just learning to walk.

Happy Birthday Jonas!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My own worst enemy

My own worst enemy is my mind. My mind which today while running was at one time saying, "You can do just one more minute!" and at another saying, "I just can't make it."

Part of me knows, I ran a 5k. I ran it slow, but I ran it. My body can do this. I'm not asking too much.

Another part doubts it. I've gained weight since then, I've not stayed on top of running, and a million other excuses.

How do I get beyond my own mind? My own hurdles? I simply do not know.

The good news is, Today I recognized what is going on in my mind. Knowing is half the battle, right?

Wintertime run?

Yesterday at work was crazy busy.  Between leading a new training series and meetings I didn't have time to fit my run in during work.  So Laura and I vowed to run after work.

I got home, cooked a quick supper for the boys then donned my new sneakers

And my new underlayers... then put on my overlayers, headphones and headed out for a run!

I did have trouble breathing a few times, but I managed to get equal parts of running and walking in.  I ended at 2 miles with a cool-down and felt proud of myself. I even snapped a photo before heading inside!

I continued having problems breathing throughout the evening. Jonas even asked me at one point if I wanted his inhaler. I passed, figured I could get through it.  And I did.  I fell asleep before 10.

Today is another 2 miles, however it's at the gym on a treadmill. Today's goal is to finish the 2 miles in 28 minutes and do a 5 minute cool-down.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Food Journaling Follow-up

Firstly, let me say I lovelovelove the simplicity of dietSNAPs! Even though I'm not logging weights or measurements, I am staying accountable to myself, which is what I needed.  The other cool thing? I can e-mail myself the log with pictures at the end of the day.  The text is the tags on the pictures.  Here's my text log from yesterday:

Jan 6, 2011 10:38 AM
Large Honeycrisp apple & justin's honey peanut butter

Jan 6, 2011 12:08 PM
Roti: steak roti with rice, cous cous, hummus and cabbage; pita; chicken lemon soup (ate no rice and 1/4 of soup)

Jan 6, 2011 2:30 PM
Elliptical! 4.26 miles!

Jan 6, 2011 5:00 PM
Hungry after workout. Cheetos on train!

Jan 6, 2011 7:33 PM
2 whole wheat pancakes with sugar free syrup; 2 eggs with ham slices, 2% cheese and ketchup. And hot cocoa!

Kinda cool, eh?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Food Journaling

My friend Laura over at is doing a series of posts on accountability currently, or she made the first of a series of posts. :)

Something in her recent post sparked something within me. Over the past six months I've become lax in recording what I eat. I religiously recorded it for 18 months, ounce for ounce. Yet recently, with life changes, came a change not only in my eating patterns but in recording everything I ate. Sure I have the tools, sure they are easy to use.  Its not them, it's me. :) I need to start recording what I eat again.  Becoming accountable to myself for everything I put in my body, not just what I exercise out.

While weighing and measuring food is the way I should be doing things, right now, its not realistic. My goal right now is to do my running training and just eat healthy options. However, I do want to start recording approximations of what I eat. What is the best option for me?  Pictures of my plates before I eat? Writing down in a journal what I'm eating? Finding an app for my phone that will let me just record food descriptions and not amounts? I'm tempted by the paper journal.  Carrying it around with me.  When it's not with me, taking pictures for later recording.  But somehow, that seems like it would become cumbersome really quickly. I think the ultimate option for me is to see if I can find an application for my phone.  I found one thats seem interesting.  One is called dietSNAPs which allows you to take pictures of your food, the time, etc.  This looks promising. I think I'll try it for a while and see what happens with it. 

While searching, I found another app that looks interesting called Track & Share.  It tracks things like mood, food, water, sleep and graphs it.  Being a geek, I'm a sucker or graphs.  I might just play with it for a while and see whats what.

Here's to tracking my food with pictures!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Yesterday my friend and I decided to swap our run day for a strength training day. I devised a fairly simple routine focusing on muscles used for running. I was excited to do some strength after not doing any for about a month.

Our routine was 2 sets of 8 reps of the following: Squats, Curls, Dead Lift, Triceps Extension, Lunges, Push-ups, Heel Raises, Dumbbell Rows, Good Mornings, Superman and Crunches.

I was good until the first set of lunges.  I went into the first lunge and thought I was going to fall down. I had intense pain in my left knee. I started to try a second and decided that I couldn't do them. The second set of squats hurt, and I didn't even attempt the lunges.  I used a foam roller on my knee instead.

On the way to the train I noticed that going down steps caused intense pain, while going up caused some, but not as bad. I started to worry about my running plan.  What will I do if I have a serious injury?  How can I continue running?  Will I make it to my 10K?? I put myself into a bit of a frenzy about this.

I decided when I got home that I needed to calm down.  I needed some good old RICE.  So I did.  I took a bath to relax first then I elevated my leg on a pillow with some ice and an ace bandage and watched TV with Jonas. I tried leaving it wrapped in bed but that didn't last long.  I put some Biofreeze on and slept just fine. 

I thought I was OK this morning. I was able to do the steps to the car without much issue, but getting out of the car at my mom's I realized I was not OK.  So I snagged a knee brace and some Aspercreme from her and went onto work.  The stairs on the walk were killer, but I figured out a way to do them without causing pain in that knee.

I'm resting today and possibly tomorrow.  We'll see how the pain is tomorrow morning.  I did some reading about the type of pain and where it's located. While it says that some non-impact activity is okay if you ice for 10-20 minutes afterwords, I should say away from impact activity, ie running for a while.

My question is, how long??

Sure, I set up a 10 week training program, and there are 8 week ones out there... but I think I need the 10 weeks.  What happens if this doesn't get better?  When do I seek medical help? Is this going to completely blow my 10k training out of the water?

I'm trying to think positive on this... really.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 - Looking Forward

So I recently joined Me You Health's daily challenge and the challenge on the 30th was to make and share a resolution.  This is what I wrote:

This year, I was thinking I would make a goal for 2011, not a resolution. The difference is that a goal, for me, is attainable, a resolution is just something that people say and how many don't do them? I've never been someone who does New Years Resolutions.

What is my goal for 2011? I'm going to make 2011 a running year. In March I will be running a 10k. In June a half marathon. The fall will be a couple of 5Ks for fun with the family.

What does running give me? A sense of accomplishment. When I trained for my 5k last year, I felt so accomplished with each day that I crossed off my calendar. It was the mot excellent feeling, to accomplish my run for that day. I have my training schedule set (and started) for my 10k. I'm excited every day that I get to do this.

I have another goal for 2011 that I want to share. I want to help motivate my friends to live healthier lives. I have my own issues with eating healthy at times, but knowing that I motivate others to move and eat healthy helps motivate me to stay on my path to meet my goals.


As part of the last goal; motivating others, I want to write more.  Write of my struggles and my successes. Share what I go through. I figure today is as good of a day as any to start.

Today's running schedule is to walk or walk/run for 30 minutes. All this week I did walk/runs on the treadmill at work. To better prepare for my workout today I'm updating my playlists on my phone, getting more "hoppy" music as I like to call it. I'm excited about the new playlist and trying out my underlayers that I got for Christmas.

We're celebrating New Years and "Jonas' Christmas" with family today.  Jonas will be able to open presents he missed on Christmas morning by being at his dad's house. Mom is bringing the bean soup for good luck in the new year. It'll be a great evening of family centered time that I am looking forward to.

One other goal that I want to aim for is drinking more water. I don't drink nearly enough water.  I know I need to hydrate to keep my runs doing well. My aim is for 64 oz of liquid a day. I drink mainly tea, crystal light and water. If I do have soda, it won't count toward my goal.

I know I can do this. :)