Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dreams do come true

Freezing my butt off at the season opener this year, I never thought I'd be celebrating a World Series championship. The Phillies lost that game -- and every game I attended this year, including the one at Shea Stadium in New York. Baseball is a very superstitious game, and I started to feel like I was a bad omen. When the Phillies won the division, I promised not to go to any more games this year!

But I did sit and watch every single post-season Phillies game from the comfort of my living room (or my in-laws'). All I dared hope for was ONE post-season win -- that would be one better than they did last October. When they won Game 1 of the Division Series, I was happy. But the Phillies had other plans: ELEVEN post-season wins, and undefeated at home!

It was officially the weirdest World Series ever -- but hey, that's Philly. I am SO proud of my guys right now! I can't wait for the parade on Friday!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Inspiring... Beautiful.

These two videos just moved me to tears... the idea that we might, just six days from now, change the direction of this country, overcome the politics of hate and fear, and unite behind a truly great American president, gives me so much hope for the future. I'm so happy to be alive at a time when we have a chance to put a man like Barack Obama in the White House!

Yes we can give America back to the People. Yes we can overcome what divides us as a nation. Yes we can.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mmm... pasta. Mmm... pie.

Tonight I had pasta for the first time since starting Weight Watchers. Honestly, I was a little worried about it, because pasta is a weakness of mine. But I decided to give it a try. I tweaked my famous spaghetti sauce recipe a little to make it WW-friendly, and I bought some whole wheat linguine at Whole Foods today.

Whole wheat pasta isn't as scary as I thought. Actually, it tastes pretty similar to the regular stuff. Also, a cup of pasta is bigger than I thought. With the sauce and some crushed red pepper, it was pretty yummy!

I also made a WW-friendly apple pie earlier this week, with fresh local apples from my favorite fruit farmer. It was the first time I'd ever made a pie, and I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself. Pie crust is actually really simple to make (who knew?) and it didn't have any scary ingredients like artificial sweetener or fake fat.

Trying new things in the kitchen makes me happy ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Changing the game plan

I'm still not keeping up with this blog like I want to, but my life has been very busy lately -- which is definitely a good thing!

As most of you know, over the last year and a half I've lost a lot of weight. For the first sixteen months or so, I lost almost sixty pounds simply through exercising -- I started out with two half-hour sessions a week with a personal trainer (focusing on strength training and cardio), then later increased those to two one-hour sessions, and added in a yoga class and an extra day of swimming or biking here or there. No surgery, no pills, no starvation, just exercise.

This summer my weight loss began to slow down, then pretty much stalled completely. I stepped up the exercise routine to 3 days a week of strength training and cardio, one yoga class and an extra swim, but I was still stuck. I had my trainer change the routine, but nothing changed. Finally I had to face the truth: I had to change my food intake if I wanted to lose more weight.


Here's the thing: I think I've read and tried every diet book known to womankind. They're all good in theory, but you get to a point where you just can't take it anymore. Every time I lost any weight dieting, I would wind up gaining twice as much as I lost when I stopped following the diet. And of course that would make me feel terrible about myself. So at some point I promised myself that I would never diet again.

So I found myself with a dilemma. I don't want to diet; I want to make healthy changes to my eating habits so that I can continue to lose weight, but I don't want to feel deprived or restricted. I started by keeping a log online of everything I ate each day (there are a bunch of websites where you can do this, and they count the calories for you -- yay!) I've always thought of my diet as pretty healthy -- I make sure to eat lots of fruits & veggies, protein, more whole than not-whole grains, and very little processed food. The problem wasn't the foods I was eating, but how much I was eating. At that many calories a day, even with all the exercise I was doing, I was just maintaining my weight.

I thought about it for a while, explored my options, and I decided to try Weight Watchers. I made this decision for a number of reasons, the main ones being 1) I needed to learn portion control (what exactly *is* a serving, anyhow?), 2) there aren't any strictly forbidden foods, which means I won't get obsessed with what I can't have (like when I did low-carb and all I could think about was pasta and cake), and 3) I have an appointment with the scale every week, and I have to pay for it, so there's a lot more accountability than if i just read a diet book. Plus, WW have been around for a long time, and I think their plan actually works if it's done right.

I was scared. I could think of as many reasons *not* to do WW as I could *to* do it, but I sucked it up and went to my first meeting almost two weeks ago. The first week was hard as I adjusted to smaller portions and low-fat versions of the "regular" foods I enjoy, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It forced me to get creative in the kitchen and eat lots of veggies, which I enjoyed. And at my first weigh-in, lo and behold, I had lost 7.75 lbs. Very cool.

I'm almost finished with my second week now, and I've been presented with a few challenges, such as going out to eat, and birthday celebrations -- but I'm surviving. And every day that I work out, I get to eat a little more than on other days :)

But most importantly: I'm resigned to not buying into the whole diet mentality. I don't hate my body or think that happiness can only come from being thin. I love my body and I want it to be healthy so that I can live a long, happy life. I've been amazed at how my body has responded to exercising, and I know now that it's a permanent part of my life and not just a means to an end -- and I'm going to treat WW the same way.


Wednesday Mind Hump 10/15/08

Today's Wednesday Mind Hump:

Write about . . .




The subject, length, focus, etc. I leave all up to you. You're free to write whatever you like.

Over the past year, I've become a big fan of Kelly Clarkson. She won the first American Idol competition in 2002 and has since released three very successful albums. I took my best friend/sister-in-law, Becca, to see her in concert last year on her birthday, 10/18. This year, oddly enough, Kelly's playing in our area again on 10/18 (this Saturday!), so needless to say, Becca is getting the same present!

I only knew a few of Kelly's songs when we went to see her last year, but I loved her concert so much that I downloaded all three of her albums after seeing her. Her songs really speak to me, and I just love her voice and her energy.

Lately, I've been listening to her music while I work out at the gym. Know what's really cool about her songs? Not only are they great for cardio (I maintain 100 RPM on the bike during the verses, then do a quick burst of speed up to 115 RPM during the high-energy choruses) but a few of the songs are actually fun to sing about the weight I've lost. I'm serious!

Like this one:

Since u been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on
Yeah, yeah
Thanks to you
Now I get
What I want
Since u been gone

And this:

I'll spread my wings
And I'll learn how to fly
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway, breakaway, breakaway

See what I mean? ;)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Mind Hump 10/08/08

Today's Wednesday Mind Hump:

Name your favorite movie, your favorite character from that movie, and why you like that character so much.

This is a toughie, as I have soooo many favorite movies, and it's tought to pick one favorite character from any of them! I'm going to go with Guido Orefice from Life is Beautiful.

The movie is set in Italy in the 1940s. Guido is an Italian waiter, who happens to be Jewish. He falls in love with a gentile woman, Dora, and works very hard at capturing her attention by making her laugh. She eventually falls in love with him, and they get married and have a son, Joshua.

When Joshua is five, he and Guido are taken to a concentration camp. When Dora finds out what has happened, she demands to be taken to the camp as well, although she is held in the women's section and doesn't have contact with Guido and Joshua.

Guido doesn't want his son to be afraid, so he tells Joshua that what's happening is a game, and that if Joshua plays along and follows the rules, he will win a tank. Even when things are terrible in the camp, he is able to keep Joshua's spirits up by reminding him that they are in the lead and will win the tank when they leave.

I love Guido's character because of his love for life and his incredible ability to maintain a positive outlook even in the worst circumstances a person could find themselves in, for the sake of his family. And of course, at the beginning of the film I see parallels to my own life, because Matt used his own silly sense of humor to grab my attention back when we were kids.

The movie is, at times, side-splittingly hilarious, and at others, gut-wrenchingly sad. I saw it when I was almost at the end of my pregnancy with Jacob, and I remember Matt and I holding on to each other, weeping, as we left the theater. It won the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor in 1999.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday Mind Hump

I'm trying out a blog meme to help get me into the habit of posting regularly. I had to do this one because I loved the name ;)

Wednesday Mind Hump
Greetings! Today's hump is about World Vegetarian Day.
Name your favorite and least favorite vegetables.

My Favorites:

1. Brussels sprouts! One of the most reviled veggies, yet undisputably my favorite. This may have something to do with the fact that my dad always said they were "Barbie cabbages". I love them quartered, tossed with olive oil and kosher salt, and roasted in the over... yummmm.

2. Zucchini! Nothing says summer to me as much as this veggie, and I buy loads of it at the farmer's market. (I also love growing it myself!) I like it steamed, grilled, stir-fried, broiled, grated and mixed with egg for "zucchini latkes", and -- yummmm -- baked in zucchini bread! This summer, Jacob was frequently heard complaining, "Why do we have to eat zucchini every night?"

3. Baby bok choy! Sauteed with garlic and sprinkled with just a bit of soy sauce. Mmmm.

Least faves:

1. Raw onion. I can't even swallow it... it triggers my gag reflex the moment it enters my mouth.

2. Celery. I have tried so hard to like celery ever since I found out it's a "negative calorie" food, but I just can't. It's mostly a texture thing.

3. Bell peppers. I love hot peppers, but for some reason I just really don't like bell peppers, of any color. Yuck!

What are your faves (and least faves?)