My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

In Search of Deliciuosness

I’m on Day 18 of My Pursuit.  So far, I think it’s going fairly well:

  • I’ve made all but 1 of my training runs and I think I’m getting a bit better.
  • With the exception of last Sunday, each run seems to be getting a bit less painful, so I think that is good progress.
  • I’m still loving the Couch to Half Marathon training app that I’ve got on my iPad.  (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should. It’s great.)
  • I’m getting caught up on all the TV I’ve missed as each morning I pick a show to watch while I run.
  • Today I was able to wear a pair of jeans that were too tight 3 weeks ago. Yay!!!

All of this is helping to keep me motivated and gets me out of bed so early each morning. So, I think the training part of my Pursuit is in a good place and I’m confident I can keep it going.

The next part of my Pursuit that I need to keep moving along in the right direction is the healthy eating.  As you know, I’ve recently started to try the “Eat Clean” approach.  I’ve made 5 recipes so far, and all of them have been really tasty.  So, now I’m digging out my back issues of Clean Eating Magazine and searching for more fantastic recipes.

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I really wish I had all of these digitally.  I’m loving going through the 2 months that I have digitally and bookmarking all the recipes that I want to try.  Too bad Clean Eating doesn’t follow the same philosophy as Golf Digest and Wired magazine…if you subscribe to the paper edition of these magazines, they give you the digital version of it for free…and the digital versions have some really cool additions that work on the iPad.  Maybe it’s something that those at Robert Kennedy Publishing should consider??

Anyways, I’m off to bed with my magazines in search of deliciousness.  Feel free to pass along any clean recipes that you’ve got. I’d love to try them.

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A Day of Running into Walls…Except During My Run!

Today was a good day on the training front: 2.5 miles, followed by a core workout of 30 second plank, 30 Patrick Abs, and 20 Air Squats, two rounds. The run went really well. I think I’ve figured out what I need to do to have a good run…ease my way into it…who knew warm-ups worked! I started with a couple of minutes of brisk walking, a couple of minutes at 5 mph, a good chunk of my run at 5.5 and the final couple of minutes at 6.0! I am not known for my speed at all, so to be able to do anything at 6.0 is quite a feat for me. There were still a few times during the run when I wanted to stop, but I just kept telling myself to run…run….run…and before too long, 2 miles done!

So, now onto the “walls”. The first wall I hit was at work, at around 1:30pm. I’m not too sure what it was, but I suddenly had absolutely no energy, felt a little queasy and so desperately wanted a nap that it almost hurt to be awake. I do wonder a bit if it had to do with what I ate for lunch. I was really looking forward to my lunch – leftover stuffing from my stuffed squash eat clean dinner from Monday. I warmed it up in the microwave and thought I would just add a bit of salt…bad move…the salt grinder in the office was broken and when I gave it a crank it just dumped a bunch of salt crystals onto my meal. I tried to pick off the big chunks, but it was quite obvious when I ate it, that there was still a lot that I missed. It really was just too salty, but I was starving, so I still ate it. I’m not sure if that was part of it or not, but maybe??? Anyone know if too much salt can make you feel horrible? Eventually I got my second wind and had a productive afternoon, but that half hour was a bit rough.

I did not do any Eat Clean cooking tonight. I had a meeting for the EWGA golf league that I play in, so planned to have leftover Mulligatawny soup when I got home. We were meeting at Starbucks, so I had budgeted calories to treat myself to my absolute favourite Grande Non-Fat, No Water, Extra Hot Chai Latte. I absolutely LOVE this drink, but I’m trying to cut back on my consumption since they are so high in sugar (a grande has 43g of sugar!!!). I haven’t had one in over a week, and that first sip was just so good. I miss them, but I know it will be better for me to keep it to one a week.

After the meeting, I went home planning to eat, but wasn’t really in the mood. So I will have my soup for lunch tomorrow. Instead, I watched a movie with my youngest and got caught up on some of the shows we PVR’d while away last week. We had our usual Wednesday night TV snack of popcorn (oil popped with salt and butter). I probably shouldn’t be eating this either, but figured since I didn’t eat a proper dinner, I had the calories. I will do better with my eating tomorrow. My Fitness Pal tells me based on what I ate and how much I exercised, I have 3 calories left for today, so hopefully all these “treats” I had today won’t come back to bite me when I step on the scale tomorrow. So far, I’m down 3 pounds!

My second wall of the day was trying to figure out what to write for today’s blog entry…and what to call it to peak interest. I’m trying to write a post every day, to keep myself accountable in my training and eating. This is sometimes challenging, since really, my life is not all that exciting. Coming up with things to write about that will keep readers coming back doesn’t always come easy. Hopefully today’s dull, no yummy food picture blog isn’t going to drive people away.

I wrote this while watching last night’s TOSH.0 on PVR. He showed a video of a kid skiing that just made me laugh. The kid gets totally out of control, going way too fast, and the dad who is videoing chases the kid down the hill screaming “Pizza, Pizza, Pizza”. For those that don’t ski, this may seem like a crazy thing to yell at your kid when they are obviously having trouble…but if you ski, this is hilarious, because this is how kids are taught to ski these day. Pizza means snow plow, which is putting your skis in a wedge shape to slow you down. When the skis are parallel to each other, they call that French Fries. Eventually kids will Pizza through the turn and go French Fry between the turns and then work their way up to being parallel or French fry through the whole turn. The young boy in this video still has a way to go:

The best part of this video is the dad trying to get a high-five out of the kid after the crash “Dude, you survived!”

See you tomorrow!

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Super Tuesday!

Today’s training schedule called for 2.5 miles. After my disastrous run on Sunday, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect today as I headed down to the treadmill, armed with a bottle of water and the latest episode of New Girl to watch on my iPad. I started off slow, actually giving myself a few minutes of walking to warm up, then went up to a slow jog at 5 mph.  After a few minutes at 5, I kicked it up to 5.5mph and was able to run at that speed fairly easily.  For the last half mile I even boosted the speed up to 6 mph and was able to keep going to the end of the 2.5 miles.  There were times that I wanted to stop, but instead, I just thought of a comment a friend of mine made about her run yesterday:  “I ran like I stole my neighbours car”…and aside from making me laugh, it really helped me get to the end and be able to run faster than usual at the end of the run.  So, thanks Char…you made me smile and helped me get through the run 🙂

With the training portion of my day complete, it was off to work where I was going to have some food challenges today.  I work in a small office of 8 people and we always go out to celebrate everyone’s birthday.  A very nice perk!  Today we were off to Coppi Restaurant in Toronto for my boss’s birthday lunch.  This is an Italian place that serves great food, but I was a bit worried about how I would stick to my  Eat Clean routine.  I checked out the menu ahead of time and decided that although lots of the pastas sounded quite delicious, I would have an appetizer green salad to start and then have another appetizer, beef carpaccio, as my main course.  I was very pleased with myself for sticking to my plan and I quite enjoyed both dishes.  I was even more impressed when I managed to skip desserts…and the creme brule and pannacotta both looked fantastic!  It was a bit odd to leave a restaurant still being a little hungry, but I just had a few garam masala chick peas as a snack a little later in the afternoon to tide me over until dinner.

Tonight for dinner I attempted another eat clean dish, this time making the Mulligatawny from pg 54 of the April/May issue.  Once again, I did my Food Network prep and was all set to go:  cut chicken into pieces, mince garlic, dice onion, slice leeks, dice carrots, grate ginger, cut apple, chop cilantro and have rice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, curry powder, chicken stock, coconut milk and lemon juice ready.

ImageAssembly/cooking was fairly simple. Cook the rice, brown the chicken and remove, saute the onion, leek, carrots, garlic and ginger for a few minutes, add the curry powder and stir for 2 minutes, add the chicken back in and the broth and cook for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove from heat, add apples, coconut milk, lemon juice, S&P.  Spoon some rice into the bowl, and top with the soup. Garnish with cilantro and ENJOY!

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This was another Eat Clean hit, with adults and kids alike!  So good and the house still smells amazing!

And once again…leftovers!  There was just enough rice and soup left for 4 more servings…bonus!  I’m out tomorrow night, so the boys will have that for dinner. I’ve got leftover soup from today and the filling from the stuffed squash from yesterday as well, so there’s lunch at work and dinner when I get home from my meeting.

So far I am loving this whole Eat Clean thing.  Do you have any good Eat Clean recipes that you can share?  I’m looking for more good eats!

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I’m Cooking Clean!

Today was a rest day in my training schedule…woohoo!!!  Since I didn’t have to get up and run before work, that meant a bit of a sleep in, which was desperately needed as I try to get back into the groove of work, school and all the insanity that is my daily life.

So, my main goal for the day was to cook a clean meal for dinner. During my shopping expedition on Sunday, I bought all the fixings for Guy Fieri’s Stuffed Acorn Squash from the April/May Eat Clean magazine.  It looked so good in the picture and I was actually excited to get cooking!

In good Food Network style, I did all of my prep and got everything organized and ready to go:

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Ingredients included:  acorn squash, squash seeds (to be roasted and used to top finished product), turkey sausage (recipe called for making it from scratch, I cheated and just used store bought turkey sausage removed from the casing), cabbage, red pepper, yellow pepper (I didn’t have yellow, so I used green pepper instead), sweet onion, garlic, and ricotta.

The recipe was very easy to follow:  roast the squash and toast the seeds, fry the sausage, then saute the cabbage, peppers and onions, combine with the turkey, stir in some garlic and blend all the flavours.  Final step, is to stuff the squash with the turkey and veggie mixture, top with some ricotta and the seeds and broil for a few minutes until the cheese begins to melt.  The kids are not big fans of squash, so I just put theirs into a baking dish to broil.

The finished product:

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And the verdict:  AMAZING!!!  it was so good.  The kids even liked it. This is recipe is definitely a keeper!

The best part of this cooking adventure might be the fact that there are leftovers!  Yummo!

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My Run and My Snacks…the snacks were more fun!

Today was a “long run” day, with 4.5 miles.  Every second of this run sucked HUGE.  I don’t know what it was, but I never got into a groove and struggled to complete every step, walking way too much.  I was never so happy to be done a run and never so discouraged during a run…ever!  I’m hoping that my rest day tomorrow will shake whatever bad mojo was working on my run today.  I sure hope so, because if I have another run like I did today, I’m not going to be pleased.

So, after shaking off a terrible run, I got on with the rest of my day, which included watching my youngest play hockey, enjoying some time outside on the patio visiting with friends, doing some gardening and just relaxing.

Today also included making some Eat Clean snacks.  I made two snacks from the April/May Clean Eating magazine:  Spicy Kale Chips (pg 62) and Crunchy Garam Masala Chickpeas (pg 66).  Both were very easy to make.

The chickpeas were the easier of the two recipes.  It was basically open 2 cans of chick peas, rinse, spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat, then bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and garam masala spice.  They are delicious hot right out of the oven and at room temperature.  These will be a great snack for me tomorrow at work.

The kale chips were a bit more work.  This was the first time that I have used kale.  I found a YouTube video about how to clean and prep kale since I wasn’t sure what parts of it are good to eat.  Turns out you need to remove the whole centre rib, not just the stalks.  This wasn’t hard, but did take a little bit of time to complete. Once I had my kale cleaned and torn into roughly 2 inch square pieces I was good to go with the official recipe.  Arrange the kale on baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Then sprinkle with cayenne pepper and again toss to coat.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy.  The kale chips met with mixed reviews at my house.  The kids did not like them at all, I might learn to like them!

So, week 2 of the training program is complete.  I managed all but one of my runs, started down the eat clean route, and realized that I need to put some serious attention to the mental side of my running.  Somehow I’ve got to make my mind think I like running and it isn’t the worst part of my day.  Any suggestions?  I could use all the help that I can get.

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On My Way to Eating Clean

Week 2 of my half marathon training is almost over.  I ran today’s 2.5 miles this morning, and I’ve got 4.5 miles to do tomorrow.  Of the 10 runs that I was supposed to do these past 2 weeks, after tomorrow morning, I will have completed 9 of them.  That’s not too bad, considering I was on vacation last week.  So, it seems that I’m moving in the right direction with my training, and towards my 3rd goal of sticking to my “Couch to Half Marathon” training program.

With the training under control, I’m ready to start putting more focus on my eating and making better, more healthy food choices.  This is not the first time that I’ve thought about making a change in my eating habits, and I’ve got all the books to show for it:

The Books

I would buy the books, and I’ve even read most of them, but I’ve never really put anything into action based on what the books said.  Well, I’ve pulled the books out again and will make a real effort to use some of the tips and recipes in them to update my eating routine.

I also have a subscription to Clean Eating magazine and have changed to a digital subscription (which I really like so far). Today I went through the April/May issue and picked out a few recipes to try this week.  I’ve also started following Joy McCarthy’s “Joyous Health” blog and website – http://www.joyoushealth.ca .  She is a Holistic Nutritionist who has some great tips for healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I pulled a few of her recipes off her latest mail out that I’m going to try this week as well.

Armed with my new recipes and outlook towards food, I hit the grocery store and bought so many things that I’ve never used before:  kale, coconut oil, garam masala spices and quinoa to name just a few.  $338 later, I left the store!  Yikes!

I’m going to be tackling the whole cooking thing tomorrow, tonight I made some yummy apple chips from the magazine.  They were almost too easy to make (slice apples thinly, put on parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 275 for 2 hours).  The hardest part of making them was waiting the 2 hours for them to be ready….but it was worth the wait.  They were quite tasty and a very easy on the diet:  1 apple/30 chips:  77 calories, 0g fat, 21g carbs, 4g fibre, 15g sugar.  They were a hit!

Apple Chips - a yummy, healthy snack

So, wish me luck with the whole eating clean and cooking clean thing.  The recipes all sound so good, I’m actually looking forward to trying them out.  On the menu for this week:  Mulligatawny Soup, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Kale Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl, and some Spicy Kale Chips and Crunchy Garam Masala Chickpeas for snacks.

I’m looking forward to eating well this week.  Do you have any clean recipes that you can share? I’d love to try them.

 

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Fun Day, Run Day

This was Thursday’s post…for some reason it didn’t load…here it is now.

 

Today I set my alarm to get up early and go run my 3 miles. The alarm went off, I turned it off, rolled over and went back to sleep for 2 hours! So the pre-ski run did not happen. I was a bit worried about this as I didn’t run yesterday after giving myself an extra day off.

It seemed everyone was a bit tired this morning, because when I finally got up, both of my kids were still sound asleep. We all eventually got moving and out the door, and it’s a good thing we did. The skiing this morning was the best all week. Finally it was cold enough that the snow stayed in great shape until early afternoon. We were all over the mountain this morning and had a great time skiing together.

We headed back out after lunch with the plan to do a few runs and then meet up with our entire extended family group of 20 for waffles at the famous Okemo Waffle House. This is a little shack in the middle of the hill that makes the most amazing fresh waffles ever. They are warm, delicious and come drizzled in melted chocolate. They are an annual tradition for our trip to Okemo. I thoroughly enjoyed mine and could have easily enjoyed another one, but I was good and just had my one super delicious treat.

My mom and I at the Waffle Cabin

After waffles we made a few more runs and then it was off to take a ride on Okemo’s Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster. This is a roller coaster with individual cars that takes you on a fun-filled ride down Okemo mountain. The kids have been dying to take a ride since we didn’t get a chance to do it last year when it first opened. It was quite fun and the kids liked it so much we forked out another wad of cash so they could all go again.

Everyone then went down to the pool and hot tub for some relaxation. That is everyone except me. I laced up my runners, grabbed my iPod and headed out the door for a 3 mile run. My husband commented that he was impressed with my dedication to training while we are away. I’m impressed too. I planned to do most of the runs, but I wasn’t too sure if it would really happen. I’m glad I was able to stick to it.

So, once again it was me, Vermont Hwy 100, and this time a sunset. 3 miles is not that far, but Vermont is not flat (at least not around here!) and my legs are so tired from a week of skiing, so the run was really not all that fun…but i did it! I am quite pleased with the amount of running I got in while on vacation. I did all but 1 of my scheduled runs and I think that is pretty good. Tomorrow is a rest day (yay!!!) and I should be home Saturday by late afternoon to finish my training week off there.

It’s supposed to rain here tomorrow, so we may just get up, pack the truck and head all the way home. If that is the case I should have no problem getting Saturday’s 2.5 miles in. If we do ski tomorrow, then I won’t be home until Saturday night and that 2.5 miles will be a bit more of a challenge. Regardless, Sunday is a “long run” day with 4.5 miles. I’m almost looking forward to it. It will be the farthest I’ve run yet. Hopefully I’ve got some legs back by and I won’t have to walk too much of it.

All in all, it was a pretty fun day at Okemo!

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Too Many Calories!!!

It was raining today when we woke up in Vermont, so instead of skiing, we packed up the car and headed for home.  The drive was good, but driving all day meant eating rest stop food, which is not the healthiest option.  For lunch we stopped at Burger King right on I-90, and I had a Whopper with cheese combo.  According to My Fitness Pal, it was 1200 calories – my entire daily allotment done in one tasty, but guilt laden meal.  At dinnertime we were still on the road, but managed to find a Swiss Chalet, so the food was a bit healthier.  I had a quarter chicken (white meat), winter vegetables, rice and roll for 760 calories.

All in all, way too many calories today and no exercise to burn any of it off.  I’m feeling rather crappy about the food situation today….but there is nothing I can do about it now.  Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll do better then.  It will help that I’ll be eating at home and preparing my meals again.

Today was a rest day in my training, so no run scheduled.  I’ve got 2.5 miles to do tomorrow and I’m looking forward to them.  I’m going to push myself to run the whole thing to make up for the horrible food situation of today.  I’m hoping that since I’ve had a rest day today maybe my legs will have recovered from the crazy week I put them through and be good to go the whole 2.5 without any walking.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Another Beautiful Day

We are on day 5 of our ski vacation and it was another fantastic day on the slopes.  The warm weather is starting to take a real toll on the mountain.  When we arrived there were 104 runs open…at the end of today, there were 86.  It’s almost as though you can see the snow disappearing as you ride up the chair lift.  Regardless we are still having a great time.

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I have been getting lots of exercise with all the skiing/snowboarding and my legs have been getting quite the workout, so I decided to give myself the day off from training today.  I came on vacation fully expecting not to make all my training runs, but managed to do pretty well sticking to the schedule, so figured I would give the legs a bit of a break and skip today’s 2 mile run….and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.  It was so nice to get to bed last night and not keep thinking about getting up early to run.  The extra hour of sleep was fantastic!  Now the tricky part will be to get back on track tomorrow and run the scheduled 3 miles.  Tomorrow is also a cross training day, which I’m pretty sure I’ve got covered with the skiing/boarding.

Along with the exercise, I have also been trying to watch what I’m eating this week and I think I’ve been doing fairly well.  I have been limiting the sugar and carbs, and watching my portion size.  I’ve had a few beer each day as we come off the hill, which probably isn’t great, but it is a vacation, so I don’t feel too guilty about it!

I guess I will see how this all nets out when I get back home and have a chance to step on the scale.  I usually weigh myself every day, so going this long without knowing is driving me a bit crazy.  I know lots of people say you shouldn’t do that, but I like to know where I stand each day.  It helps me get back on track if things get moving in the wrong direction.  It also keeps me motivated when things start to go in the right direction.  According to my iPad “My Fitness Pal” app, I am burning up calories like mad with my skiing and snowboarding, so hopefully I won’t be too unhappy with the number when I see it on my scale on Sunday morning.

Is anyone else using the My Fitness Pal app or website?  I’m loving it.  It is such a great way to track what you eat, exercise and weigh.  The database of foods is amazing and with the iPad version, you can scan in a bar code and the exact food and all its nutritional information comes up.  I’m not sure I believe the calorie burn it’s giving me for skiing/snowboarding, but the calories it tells me I burn during a 2 miles run match fairly closely to what my treadmill and Garmin tell me, so who knows.  If it is true, then I am definitely burning enough calories during the day to more than cover a few apres ski beers!

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She’s Got Legs…and they’re very, very tired!

We hit the hill just before 9am and skied and boarded like crazy before the sun and heat turned the hill to mush. I was on my snowboard this morning, and for the first time, tackled the whole hill with the rest of the gang. I was quite pleased that I could board the black diamonds and all the good runs that I normally do on my skis. I’m still relatively new to this whole snowboarding thing, and don’t like to get going too fast or get out of control. I’m very nervous about taking a big wipeout and really hurting myself. I don’t bounce back quite like I used to. As the body gets older, recovery takes quite a bit longer and the aches and pains take more out of me.

My quads were burning like mad as we came down that last run that seemed to go on for miles as we made our way back across the mountain to our condo base. I had a great morning “shredding” all over the mountain, and made it back in one piece, with a pair of legs that felt like jello.

I decided not to go back out after lunch, but rest my legs for a bit before I went back to the fitness centre to get my run in. I was able to get a treadmill and managed to complete the 2 mile run. Man, we’re my legs tired. I had to stop and walk a few times (which frustrates the heck out of me), but I got them done. I also did the core workout that was part of today’s schedule:  a circuit of 5 push ups, 20 walking lunges, 20 hip raises, and 5 more push ups, completed twice.

I was so happy to get to the end of today’s workout!  It was such a short run and I’m disappointed that I still can’t run the whole thing yet.  Hopefully it’s just the fact that my legs are doing double duty each day with the skiing/snowboarding and the running on top of it that I can’t run non-stop yet. Hopefully when I get back home and it’s only the running I will be able to run some of these shorter runs straight through.

I’m writing this as I sit at the bottom of the hill, enjoying some sunshine and waiting for the rest of the gang to come off the hill.  I came straight out from my run, so I’m just in shorts and a t-shirt and it is so warm. That won’t do good things to the snow on the mountain, but it sure is nice to relax and catch a few rays!

Enjoying some post run sunshine!

Tonight we are having dinner with the whole group of family and friends that we are skiing with. It’s pulled pork for 23!  There will be bodies scattered all over the condo, but it should be a fun get together with more than a few good laughs.

Another 2 miles scheduled for tomorrow.  I will have to get up a bit earlier if i want to get a treadmill so I can run before we hit the slopes for the day.  I could run outside, but it’s very hilly around here and I prefer to ski them, rather than run them!

One more thing…my hip flexors are super tight.  Anyone know a good stretch so I can try to loosen them up a bit?  Thanks!

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