I changed directions on this blog because I heart food. I adore talking about food. I love learning about different cultures through their food. When I travel, I enjoy gorging on the local fare. Herein lies the rub: I travel. A Lot. for work. And gorge I do. Working from home these past few years hasn't helped the situation either. I previously noted that sometimes I forgo trips to the mailbox due to laziness. Having a baby and being the only parent on a day-to-day basis has decreased my free time for exercise. Hence my metabolism has gone on strike. It's all, "Listen lady, we know you have a penchant for the sweeter stuff in life, but we don't have the gumption to keep on keepin' on. Peace!" So here I sit, the day after I was weighed for the first time in... a long time. It's not just my closet that is speaking out, people. That scale screamed at me- LAZY BONES, LET'S GET MOVING AND START TO EAT BETTER. The yell didn't fall on deaf ears.
I joined a team at my gym with six other women who also want to get up and get back into their favorite outfits. We are training together twice a week, and have all kinds of competitions. There are several teams, and we compete against each other- team vs. team. I am uber competitive: I am the person next to you at the light who will slam on her gas (and burn rubber) to beat you on divided highway; I make up pretend speed-walking competitions when I am taking out the trash. I can be a little crazy (see previous posts) when it comes to being the best. Also, because there was a hefty fee associated with the program, as well as daycare costs, new non-stick pans purchased, and a major revamp of the groceries I keep (Melba Toast, anyone?), I am firmly committed to finishing these 10 weeks with (almost) complete devotion and minimal deviance.
They gave us food journals and lists of approved foods. Majah adjustment for me. It's not so much that I eat poorly- the biggest part of my grocery bill (pre-slim down) is vegetables, then dairy, then fruits. The problem is in my portion size, when I eat and how I prepare the produce. I eat most meals alone or in the company of a picky four-year old. When I think back to when I was a much healthier weight, I was surrounded by people for nearly every meal. The conversation, back and forth banter, and just general interaction over broken bread gave me time to digest and process my food. I rarely finished my plate at restaurants because I ate slowly and stopped when I felt full. Now, I have next to no routine for meals save dinner, which I eat around 6-7 pm every night. It's also my biggest meal. I usually spend it at the table, chastising and coaxing and bribing my child to consume something, while I myself wolf down the entire plate of whatever delectable thing I made (usually prepared in quantities enough for two despite my being a Singleton). During the day, after I drop off H at school, I may grab a coffee or brew some at home. I had thwarted this habit this fall, but it came back like a sciatica attack. Did I mention I like my coffee the color of me, tan, in the summer? Oh yeah, it gets that way with the help of half'n' half. Then, I will generally forget to eat until 3 pm and/ or when I am so hungry I turn into the Incredible Hulk-cum-Stay-Puft-Marshmallow-Monster-from-Ghostbusters, and consume, while standing up and rummaging counter tops and cupboards, anything that is available: chocolate chip granola bars, pop chips, leftover tuna salad, cold roasted vegetables. See, none of the things I eat are terribly bad for a person; it's the quantity in which I eat them. And the fact that I move very little, save my fingers and mouth, during my work day (I realize this sounds like my job is "interesting"- it's actually very PG).
I also need to have something sweet every night, at about 9 pm. That may consist of hot chocolate or a piece of dark chocolate or some ice cream or one (or three) of whatever baked good I have around the house. Another killer nightly habit. I am a total late-night sweetie, and not in a good way.
I hope I don't sound like a Weight Watchers ad or one of those icky diet pill commercials, but my main motivation for getting back into better shape and a more healthy weight is because I hate the way I look in pictures lately. I don't want my daughter to grow up with few snapshots of her and her mom because her mom is vain, plump lady. My closet full of a-m-a-z-i-n-g items I no longer can fit into is also a huge help in getting my butt off the loveseat to put strictly celery in my mouth (10 weeks... 10 weeks...).
This diet is strict. But it's only 10 weeks. It's only 1o weeks. It's only 10 weeks. Oh sorry, it's become my mantra. I am thinking of this diet as reboot, a hard reset for my body and relationship with eating and exercise. It's a pretty rigid schedule of eating but there are some allowances. Like, I get to eat up to two pounds of protein a day. Um, as previously mentioned, I am not a huge carnal consumer. I much prefer eggs and yogurt to filets and shoulders. I had an 8 oz buffalo burger for lunch, and I am pretty sure it's still chillin' in my stomach. The free foods I can eat whenever I want to are cucumbers, radishes, alfalfa sprouts, and lettuce (if I were more sarcastic, I would end with an exclamation point). Mmmmm, if I were the Velveteen Rabbit, I'd be in 7th heaven. But I am not. I am someone who loves to eat radishes! On buttered toast! Sprouts are delicious! On a cheeseburger with avocado! I am a very visual person; I cannot visualize myself casually grabbing some sprouts growing in a container on my window sill and mowing down. Imagine the flossing I would have to endure!
I received the meal plan blues, I mean, news last night. After the sobs subsided and my vision wasn't so bleary through the tears (just kidding, but I did hyperventilate a little), I scoured the pages of approved foods. At this point, I am grateful I love food so much: I am going to ROCK this list with cool recipes to best showcase these foods. I had a bunch of Kale in the fridge, saved for Caldo Verde soup (linguisa-potato-soup-deliciousness), which is so not going to happen for at least 10 weeks. So, when life leads you to a diet and fridge with kale, make kale chips.
These taste a bit like seaweed in that delicious Umami way.
1 huge head of kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons course salt
fresh ground pepper to taste (I am a pepper junkie)
Heat the oven to 300F. Rip the kale apart into bite size pieces. Wash, strain and dry well. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with S&P. Toss in a large bowl until well dressed. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the kale out in a single layer (you may need multiple baking sheets or have several rounds on the same pan). Cook for 25-30 minutes. Kale will look shriveled, dark and tinier. It will feel crunchy. My diet says a half cup is all I get of cooked veg, but go ahead, eat 3/4 cup, people of free will.