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Getting Things Together, Again

It’s been a good two days! I’ve been eating REALLY well and working out like crazy! I got in an hour of cardio (20 on the treadmill doing the Couch to 5k, 40 on the elliptical trainer) at the gym both yesterday and today, with another planned for tomorrow and Thursday. I’ve also been bicycling, a bit. I decided it was a fabulous idea to bike to meet a friend in the rain Monday night. Oooh, never again.

Here’s why:
1. I wear glasses. Rain + glasses = not being able to really see that well.
2. Hello, getting REALLY WET. Duh.
3. Cab drivers in Chicago are total jerks. If they can swerve enough to splash you but not force you off the road, they will. And do.
4. Wet roads = no traction, which means it takes about ten times the work to get from Point A to two feet away from Point A, let alone Point B.
5. I’m really out of shape!

I repeated the ride (5 miles, round trip) again tonight in more favorable conditions, and let me tell you, friends, I’m WAY out of shape. A 2.5 mile ride should not be as hard as it has been! I’ve gone on longer rides! 7 mile rides! What is this nonsense? I do believe my bicycle’s a bit wonky, though. The front tire sort of squeaks. All the time. And I need to raise the seat, because it’s straining my knees. The knee pain is really the toughest part. If not for that, I’d be in a far better state.

As for the jogging training. It’s a three-day per week program, lasting nine weeks. Each week involves jogging a bit more and walking a bit less until you’re jogging a 5k. Well, let me just say that I am very, very out of shape. I’m on Day Two already and I feel like I need another two weeks for Week 1. So, I’ll take all the time I need. I’m struggling to get through the jogging segments right now, and I mean REALLY struggling. I don’t want to push myself too far, too fast, so, when my body gets used to the jogging in Week 1, I’ll move on. I’m not trying to meet any kooky deadlines, after all.

In other news, I made Tofu Scramble/Soyrizo hash tonight. It’s a little iffy, but I’m thinking a night in the refrigerator will cause all the lovely spicy flavors to meld and it will taste a thousand times better tomorrow and maybe not be as wet. Let’s hope!

In even cooler news, I am so getting to know my body and it is SO cool! When walking home from the the subway today, I was feeling a little shaky and suddenly started craving bananas and saltines. Yep, potassium and sodium, two of the compounds found in electrolytes. Apparently in my workout, I excreted a good deal of the two through sweat (which I certainly did enough of!). Not having eaten before my workout (bad, bad, bad!), I hadn’t really consumed enough of either nutrient through the day (the day’s food being breakfast!). So, I came home and made myself a chocolate-peanut-butter-banana shake and snatched a few roasted potato chunks out of the fridge. And felt better. Bodies are pretty freaking cool, guys.

This body is begging for sleep, though! I’ve got class tomorrow afternoon and then gym and more class! Here’s hoping this positive mood continues!

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The Daily: But, why?

i thought I’d add some yogurt into my diet. I enjoy eating it, probiotics are good for you, etc, etc. So, I grabbed a few last time I was at my local HFS. I was just going to put the nutritional information into my calorie calculator when I read, “Contains milk (our cultures are milk based)”. Grr. Why, why, why BOTHER if you’re just going to use animal ingredients anyway? I know, I know, for the lactose intolerant. But, still. Grr!

I mean, it does make sense. The company specializes in dairy-based yogurts, so they probably just use the same culture across the board. Still frustrating, though.

Stonyfield Farms O’Soy yogurts are NOT vegan, friends.

Edit: And Stonyfield Farms doesn’t have consistent packaging. I had another flavor of their yogurt in the ol’ fridge and it was labelled completely differently. Where the first specified the source of the probiotics, this package merely had “May contain traces of milk” in the TINIEST print ever way not near any of the ingredients. Thanks, Stonyfield Farms. Thanks for that.

So, I’ve just finished moving into my apartment…well, that’s an optimistic view. I’m living here, whether or not the place is truly livable is another story, but here I am. For the past two days, I haven’t had any cooking gas, which left me with…take out and a microwave and raw fruits and veggies. Now that I have cooking gas, I can hopefully tighten up my eating habits and eat good-for-me and delicious vegan food. I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow. But, before this morning I was going stir crazy (but not stir-fry crazy, alas) and relying on two of my “favorite” convenience foods: cereal and frozen meals. The cereal doesn’t really need to be elaborated on; it’s cereal. Woohoo.

I’ve been learning a lot about frozen meals, friends, and it’s quite a dangerous world out there in the world of microwavable nutrition. In this post, I’d like to give a few meals the old LPP review, starting with the ones I don’t like and make my way through to the ones I do!

Healthy Choice Café Steamers. Here’s the gimmick: these meals come in a fancy steamer bowl with sauce in the bowl beneath. You pop them in the microwave and your meat, veggies and pasta are steamed to perfection in a matter of minutes. Then, you dump the steamed treasures into the gourmet sauces below, stir and enjoy. That’s the gimmick, at least.
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Healthy Choice Café Steamers Chicken Margherita: This was my first foray into Healthy Choice’s steamy foods. Unfortunately, there were more as I bought two. There were a few feeble chunks of tomato, some chicken, a rogue clove of garlic and some sickly looking pasta. The meal weighed in at 240 calories, with 6 grams of fat. 19 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. This meal tasted bland and required nearly double the cooking time in my very standard microwave. And where were the veggies?! Nowhere!

I give this one a: 😦

Healthy Choice Café Steamers Grilled Chicken Marinara : First off, Healthy Choice? You are not fooling a soul with those painted on “grill lines” so you might as well leave them off. I found this to be too cheesey for my tastes and the pasta dried out in the amount of time it took to get the chicken warmed through. Glad we had a revolutionary steamer bowl! Not! This one, at least, had some vegetables! Yeah, wilted, mushy broccoli. Yuck! This one weighed in at 250 calories, with 4 grams of fat. 5 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein. Nutritious enough, but the simple starches of the pasta? Pass, please. I also found that these meals didn’t keep me full for long at all. Sad.

I give this one a: 😦

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SmartOnes Chicken Santa Fe: This one was love at first bite. Chicken, yes, but the rest of the dish was red peppers, beans, zucchini, onions…mmm! It all tasted quite delicious and the veggies weren’t too mushy at all. And all for 140 calories and 2.5 grams of fat! 4 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein. And a FULL serving of vegetables. Clearly, this kicks some nutritional butt! And it kept me full MUCH longer than the Healthy Choice meals.

I give this one a: 🙂

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Kashi Southwest Style Chicken: Filling and delicious. I can’t rave enough about this one! Chicken with a hint of spice and lime juice, onions, peppers and corn and Kashi’s delicious 7 grain pilaf, topped with a yummy sauce. It’s an all around enjoyable eat and doesn’t taste like a typical frozen meal. It has: 240 calories and 5 grams of fat, 6 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein. For the calories, it’s definitely a good amount of food, and tasty too. The stats aren’t as good for this meal as for the Healthy Choice ones, but this one actually tastes decent and kept me full all afternoon. And I can pronounce all of the ingredients.

I give this one a: 😀

Today was something of a disaster, a very horrible sort of disaster. It started last night with a general anxiety attack (dying alone, as a fat, awkward bum because I’m not smart enough to get into grad school and everyone around me is about a billion times smarter. Geneeral twenty-somethings angst, I guess). A truly pitiful amount of sleep and a emotional “hangover” and I faced today utterly naked, no sword, no shield, no strength.

I ate meat today, twice. All I wanted was really, truly delicious and hearty vegan food, but I knew to get that around here, I’d have to cook it myself, and I didn’t have it in me. I therefore ate what was available out of a fit of laziness and general apathy. I feel like I’ve been through the reamer now, actually. My insides are more than upset at me. They are punishing me. I feel the general slow, sluggish, blocked, lifeless way I feel when I eat meat. Ugh. It feels dreadful.

I have been a nutritional wreck lately. Not getting enough vegetables, not getting enough fruits. I haven’t been drinking enough water. And for all of this “bad behavior” I feel like trash. I know the formula for feeling good and losing weight and I’m not applying it right now. And, as the story goes, I’m physically suffering for it. I have to buck up and realize that my physiology has changed. I can’t stomach meat and large amounts of dairy anymore so I shouldn’t touch it. Funny thing, really, convenience.

Tomorrow is a new day. And I am still smoke free.

End of Week One!

One Week Smoke Free!!

7 days, 4 hours, 24 minutes and 49 seconds smoke free.

86 cigarettes not smoked.
$25.20 and 15 hours of your life saved.

Hooray! Unfortunately, I didn’t leap into eating well today. Didn’t have any food in the house! But, it’s all about the baby steps, anyway. I’m pretty pleased, though, overall. I haven’t been eating HORRIBLY, but I did have cream cheese on a bagel this morning. Not vegan, obviously. I’ve been meat free (totally) for more than a week now, though. Baby steps.

Week One [14 August 2007]

Week 1 [14 August 2007]: Start to quit smoking. The first week is supposed to be the hardest. My Quit Day is “8/14/2007 3:00:00 PM” and I am logging my progress on QuitNet.com because I like logging things, obviously. Drink 64oz of water a day.

19 August 2007: I have not been dilligent about my water, thus far. I feel as though I have been doing fairly well, but I have not been making a conscious effort. Smoking, however, I have been doing quite well on. Temptation struck multiple times, but I have remained strong! My solution has been eating clementines (yum!) and chewing on ice (my mother reminds me that chewing ice means you’re sexually frustrated. Um, YES). My biggest fear was to gain a bunch of weight when I quit smoking, but as long as I avoid snacking, I think I’ll come through okay! I know that clementines count as snacking (duh), but they fulfill all the requirements smoking did for me: something tactile (peeling) and something oral (eating, duh!). So, it’s okay.

Today is good for another reason: my best friend has signed on to try doing a 20 (well, 19, now!) week challenge with me! We are going to be goddesses of sex. C’est vrai!

If I work my tushy off, by my birthday (6 February), I could have an entirely different body. And, with all the money I’ll have saved by not smoking (currently $18), I could have a fabulous new wardrobe! So, hooray!

20 August 2007: Last night was the biggest overcoming of smokey temptation ever. I was back in an environment where I used to smoke all the time, but I didn’t! I did, however, have a third of a milkshake. My body, keeper of dairy-justice, retaliated by making me feel like trash ALL NIGHT. Okay, okay. Lesson learned!

In happier news, 174.2. Oh thank goodness. That monthly spike (and gain) scared the buhjeezus outta me! I’m back down and I feel like I have an entirely different body! There is a difference in 7-8lbs. There really, really, really is.

21 August 2007 (Wee Hours!): Today is supposedly when I start eating well. Can we talk about how unprepared I am? I have practically no food in the house and nothing cooked up. What ever will I eat? It’s really a good question. I think tomorrow may be Tofu Scramble’s maiden voyage. And God only knows what else. I have to get on making food. Eugh. Life is just so nuts right now with school and renovating the apartment. Jeez.

20-Week Program

I found a thread on SparkPeople.com today about it being just 20 weeks until New Year’s! The whole idea was to have a whole new body and lease on life by the start of the New Year. I think it’s a lovely idea, really. The week’s challenge was to eat three servings of vegetables a day. While I’ll probably follow that challenge, too, I decided coming up with some new goals would be apt. I tend to work the best when I have some sort of plan. So, here it is! It mainly focuses on fitness because that’s my real problem–I hate exercise. But, I want to be a bicyclist and I would like to be a runner, so, here we go!

Week 1: Start to quit smoking. The first week is supposed to be the hardest. My Quit Day is “8/14/2007 3:00:00 PM” and I am logging my progress on QuitNet.com because I like logging things, obviously. 😀 Drink 64oz of water a day.
Week 2: Really crack down on eating veganism. I’ve been so lax lately and it needs to stop.
Week 3: Fitness Starts Here Week! Bike five times a week, 30-45 minutes a day. Drink 72oz of water a day.
Week 4: Couch to 5k: Week One! Drink 80oz of water a day. I’ve stepped up my water with each exercise surge. 🙂
Week 5: Couch to 5k: Week Two!
Week 6: Couch to 5k: Week Three! Start doing yoga at home: 4 days a week/30 minutes a day.
Week 7: Couch to 5k: Week Four! Continue yoga at home: 4 days a week/45 minutes a day.
Week 8: Couch to 5k: Week Five! Start strength training. Alternate yoga and strength training.
Week 9: Couch to 5k: Week Six!
Week 10: Couch to 5k: Week Seven! Start physical therapy for left foot–daily 20 minutes.
Week 11: Couch to 5k: Week Eight!
Week 12: Couch to 5k: Week Nine! Congratulations 5k Runner!
Week 13: Start running four days a week instead of three. Drink 88oz of water a day.
Week 14: Start Bikram! Drink 96oz of water a day.
Week 15: Bikram Week 2!
Week 16: Bikram Week 3! Pick up running another quarter mile a day.
Week 17: Bikram Week 4! Pick up running another quarter mile a day.
Week 18: Start running five days a week instead of four.
Week 19: Pick up running another half mile a day.
Week 20: Pick up running another half mile a day.

And, P.S. Here are my quitting stats!

1 day, 5 hours, 28 minutes and 22 seconds smoke free.

15 cigarettes not smoked.
$3.60 and 2 hours of your life saved.

Your quit date: 8/14/2007 3:00:00 PM