Monthly Archives: July, 2012

Christina Eats Snacks

Here we are once again for the weekly food check in!! The title of this post was meant to be a reference to the podcast “Mike & Tom Eat Snacks“… I guess the explanation kind of killed it but whatever. So last week I said I wanted to work on some key things in the next week: snacks, not fearing hunger, and not overeating while home alone. Two things went well, one not as well… that’s life I suppose.

While I didn’t totally pig out while home alone, it wasn’t excellent either. Maybe “excellent” isn’t a realistic goal though. I tried hanging out in bed as opposed to on the couch, that definitely cut down on mindless eating. I also tried to fill my time home alone with getting ahead on stuff around the apartment or snuggling with Fig. We did munch a little too much in front of an episode of Pretty Little Liars though. It was a scary episode! Maybe I need to just make a “no eating while watching TV” rule. That could be tough.

The “not fearing hunger” thing was a very interesting experiment and I definitely noticed a difference. The best thing of the week, though, was SNACKS. I did some research around some healthy living / eating blogs and got some inspiration. It’s difficult for me because I actually work in an office so my snacks need to be mobile and often pre-portioned (I hate doing excess dishes / lugging all kinds of containers on my 1.25 mile walk to work in the morning). I still keep my snacks relatively small (around 200 calories) but it definitely helped to have nutritious snacks that stuck with me between meals. Here’s some of what I came up with:

1/2 Cup of Cottage Cheese – 110 calories
One Medium Yellow Peach – 60 calories
Total = 170 calories


10 ounces of black coffee – 0 calories
1/2 Packet No Sugar Added Hot Chocolate Mix – 30 calories
1/2 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder – 60 calories
Total = 90 calories

Arnold Sandwich Thin – 100 calories
1 Tablespoon Chocolate Peanut Butter Better’n Peanut Butter – 50 calories
Total = 150 calories

Dannon Oikos Non Fat Greek Yogurt – 130 calories
1 Cup of Watermelon – 46 calories
Total = 176 calories


Medium Banana – 105 calories
Total =  105 calories

While I have chosen not to share my weight on the blog (I’m making steps to have a healthier relationship with food / my body but let’s not expect miracles here people), I actually have lost 4lbs! I’m still a couple lbs above my “marathon weight” but this is the lowest I’ve been since the marathon so yay!! And what is better is that I haven’t felt like I’ve been dieting at all… cha ching. I’ve got a big vacation coming up next week (details to follow later this week) and that’s going to be a big challenge (I’m going on a cruise and cruises aren’t exactly known for their lack of available food options). It’s all included too so there’s no incentive NOT to eat everything! I’ve been spending some time thinking about some strategies to enjoy every aspect of my vacation while not making myself miserable.

  1. One treat per day. I believe that vacation is a special time and definitely the place to treat yourself. My goal is to identify one special treat per day and really really enjoy it without feeling guilty!
  2. Eat the Bread, Skip the Sides. Or vice versa depending on the sides. I really love bread, but on top of a big meal it’s too much. Sometimes though, I’d rather have the bread and then just some meat / veggies. I guess we’ll call this “picking one carb”.
  3. Daily workouts. This requires no explanation.
  4. Sharing is caring! I love trying new foods and experiencing local cuisines, but that can be a lot of food to try. This trip I’m going to try sharing more dishes with other people so I can taste / experience many different foods without having to stuff myself!
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10 Minute Tacos

I love to cook. One of my favorite things in the world is to methodically work my way through creating a delicious meal, and then sharing it with people that I love (like Mike and Fig). But sometimes, cooking a big elaborate meal just isn’t in the cards. I still want to eat something healthy and delicious, but I’d rather spend less time cooking and more time snuggled up on the couch. Enter… 10 minute tacos! Literally ten minutes from refrigerator to table. Here’s what you’re going to need!

Ingredients:
Extra Lean Ground Chicken
Yellow Onion
One Packet Taco Seasoning
Steam in Bag Rice
Diced Tomatoes
Shredded Lettuce
Black Beans
Shredded Mexican Cheese

I typically prefer to make my own rice in my rice cooker (24th birthday present from my amazing godmother… best appliance ever) but these Minute Rice Steamers are GREAT in a pinch. The broccoli / cheddar flavor is a favorite treat, but the Spanish rice was perfect for this recipe. While the rice was steaming in the microwave, I thawed some frozen chopped onion in a pan and cooked up the chicken with the taco seasoning and about 1/4 cup of water (the extra lean ground chicken doesn’t produce much moisture so the water helps mix the seasoning through the whole dish). I drew inspiration from this recipe on Peanut Butter Fingers. I don’t always have the foresight in the morning to put stuff in the crock pot, but this recipe is totally doable in a pan!

While the chicken was cooking through a plated up all the extras. I bought the petite diced tomatoes with green chilies for an extra kick of spice. Mike LOVED it. I’ve been on a serious black bean kick so I loaded up my plate and they were delicious.

We could have made little burritos or tacos, but I didn’t have any of those things so taco salads it was!!
Maybe next time ūüôā

Friday Favorites

 

 

This has been a really interesting week. Early in the week I wasn’t feeling very well so I skipped my normal Tuesday yoga class in favor of going to bed at 9 pm (it was glorious). The week certainly picked up with some really great mid-week activities with great friends. This weekend promises to be no less amazing… opening ceremony of the Olympics tonight with friends, a concert with my brother and Mike on Saturday, and hopefully some time relaxing in bed with Fig.

Crossing Broad Street in Philadelphia… on the way to brunch!

A perfect Thursday evening with one of my favorite girls. Painting pottery at All Fired Up with wine and snacks! Summer To Do List item… complete! Also look at my SWEET dinosaur cup!

Something in this closet doesn’t belong… I love this little hooligan.

Screen On The Green‘s showing of “It Happened One Night“. Checking off another item on my Summer To Do List¬†with a Clark Gable movie… perfect.

Washington Monument Day and Night… sometimes I really don’t appreciate how amazing this city is ūüôā

My Week in Workouts:

Friday 7/20:

  • 60 Minute Spinning Class

Saturday 7/21:

  • 30 Minutes Hill Workout on Elliptical
  • 15 Minutes Total Body Strength Training (Clean and Press, Burpees, Push Ups, Bent Over Rows, Bicep Curl / Shoulder Press, Chest Press on Stability Ball, Crunches / Oblique Twists on Stability Ball, Dead Lifts, Squat Jumps, Overhead Tricep Extensions) I was kind of all over the place with this one but it was fun.
  • 20 Minutes Inclined Walking Workout on Treadmill (3.8 mph, Incline from 8.0 – 12.0)

Sunday 7/22:

  • Rest Day

Monday 7/23:

  • 5 Mile Run

Tuesday 7/24:

  • 60 Minute Cardio Strength Intervals Class

Wednesday 7/25:

  • Speed Workout (10X 400 M at 5k Pace, 200 M recovery)
  • 75 Minute Level 1.5 Vinyasa Yoga Class

Thursday 7/26:

  • 60 Minute Cardio Strength Intervals Class

Beating a “Running Low”

You may have noticed (if you read “Week in Workouts” on Fridays) that my running has kind of dropped off in the last month or two. I have been trying not to admit it… but I think I’m in a running rut. This spring was literally the highlight of my entire running career (which admittedly isn’t all that long… I only started running in the Fall of 2010). I felt like I was just getting better and better and better. I overcame speed barriers, accomplished goals… I mean I ran a marathon! But ever since marathon? Very, very blah. I ran a half and a 10K after the marathon and I wasn’t really pleased with either one of them. I could’ve done better. And now? Now I’m out of the groove. My runs feel SO SLOW and mentally I’m totally out of the game. Running has always made me feel good about myself, but recently I’ve been finding myself beating myself up on every run. So what’s going on here? I’m in a rut. I want to break out of this rut. I want to fall back in love with running again because, despite the fact that I kind of hate it right now, I miss it. I miss loving it. Also fair warning: there are awesomely cheesy motivational pictures in this post… you know you love them ūüôā

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Here are a couple potential reasons for my running rut:

  1. It’s summer and it’s hotter than hell. Running in the summer is just HARDER. I know this intellectually but every time I go out and run I seem to forget this and just beat myself up mentally (I’m so kind to myself and say encouraging things like “look how out of shape you’ve gotten since the marathon” “you’re fat and slow” oh yes. I am a peach).
  2. The heat isn’t conducive to my running schedule right now. The way my life is working out right now, the best time of day for me to workout during the week is the middle of the workday (lunchtime). However, today the heat index at 12:30 pm was almost 108 degrees. I like to sweat but that’s just not safe. Recently I’ve been using early AM to attend to personal matters (intentionally vague) and afterwork is either yoga or social activities. This is what works for me but now I’m a slave to the treadmill most days and that’s just not as much fun.
  3. I’m running with the wrong crowd. I’m probably the only person on the planet whose running has been negatively impacted by joining up with a running club. I have been running with Mike’s running club and I HATE THEM. I really hate to be that negative about them but I find the group to be really snobby / not inclusive and I am BY FAR the slowest person in the group. Recently that’s really been getting me down. I start out a long run by getting¬†annihilated¬†by every member of the group (including the guy who starts the run late because he’s taking a pre-run extended visit to the port-o-potties). Also everyone in this group is like allergic to wearing shirts (guys AND girls). Put some damn clothes on, I’m dealing with body image issues here… RUDE.
  4. I’ve got competition in my workout schedule. I am totally in love with strength training / interval training right now, and yoga and I have totally gotten back together and we’re better than ever. This just doesn’t leave me as much time to dedicate solely to running. I feel like I lost a little bit of my fitness after the marathon (which is normal and to be expected) but it’s hard to get that back when I just don’t have the time to run as often.

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Here is what I think I’m going to do to try and bust out of this rut:

  1. Ditch my Garmin. I can’t do anything about the heat, but I can try and reframe my focus. I’m going to stop obsessing over speed / time and focus on remembering why I fell in love with running in the first place.
  2. Try something new. I still really want to try trail running, but maybe I could also look for creative ways to break up my treadmill workouts. There’s plenty of inspiration out there… I just have to find it. I could also try listening to different things while on the treadmill. Some friends of mine listen to Podcasts, maybe I’d enjoy that!
  3. Create a schedule and stick to it. I love being in training because I have an external motivator. Without that, I’m kind of lost. With all the competition for my time / attention in my workout routine, I’m going to try and stick with three solid, challenging runs per week. I don’t have space for a lot of junk miles right now.
  4. Hang back with the group. I don’t want to stop going to the group because it’s something that I like doing with Mike. It’s also nice to have the external motivation to get up and get out for a run early on Saturday, ¬†and it changes things up by varying routes. However, instead of starting out with the group I think I’m going to hang back a few minutes and let everyone go. Then I’ll start my run on my terms, totally solo. Mike says we can look into other groups too… but we’ll see.

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Two Concerts in One Week

As you might have deduced at this point in reading this blog, Mike and I go to a lot of concerts. Even before we got together, I have always loved music. I love music in a very different way than Mike though. I often joke with him that he is a “music snob”, but what I really mean by that is Mike appreciates music for its structure and components. He doesn’t even pay attention to lyrics, he thinks of the voice as another musical instrument. I, on the other hand, love music for the way it makes me feel. I can match music to any mood or situation. It brings me up, it winds me down. Since Mike and I started dated, we have gone to a TON of concerts together. In fact, I think the first thing we did together besides eat food was see Vieux Farka Toure at the 9:30 Club.

Last Tuesday night, Mike and I embarked on our “July Date Night” to see Wilco at Wolf Trap. Public Service Announcement: if you’ve never seen a show at Wolf Trap, do yourself a favor and go! It’s an excellent venue out in Vienna, Va that allows you to bring a picnic with you… including booze! What other venue on the planet let’s you bring your own alcohol?? Most other venues include your choice of an $9 Miller Lite or a $15 margarita that will give me a hangover by the end of the show (it happened to me once… Rihanna, August 2010, it was not pretty). Don’t have a car? NO WORRIES. Wolf Trap runs shuttles from the nearest metro (West Falls Church on the Orange Line) on concert nights.

We arrived at 7 to enjoy a picnic dinner of leftover tuna noodle casserole (it was excellent cold… score!), veggies / hummus, fruit and, of course, wine!

Lee Ranaldo¬†(of Sonic Youth) opened and then Wilco took the stage. Wilco was a great band to see at a venue like Wolf Trap… upbeat enough to keep you interested but chill enough to enjoy while laid out on a blanket in the grass. (I saw BB King at Wolf Trap summer of 2010, also excellent music for this type of venue)

And if Tuesday’s concert wasn’t enough, Mike and his brother Dave picked me up from the train station on Sunday night (I was returning from Philly) and we drove out to Merriweather Post Pavilion for yet another concert. This concert was totally different than Wilco. We had general admission tickets, which I have traditionally always referred to as “pit tickets”. Pit tickets are ideal if you’re going to a lively, upbeat show where you are trying to get your groove on. This certainly fit the bill. Sleigh Bells opened the show and they totally rocked.

After Sleigh Bells, we took full advantage of the mass exodus to the bathroom / beer vendors and pushed our way all the way to the front of the crowd until we were one person off the gate for Hot Chip! They were totally different than Sleigh Bells, which was a really fun change. I danced my pants off… obviously.

Pretty sweaty post-show but very happy ūüôā

In other news, these are not pants. Don’t ever leave the house wearing something like this.

Weighing In

I swear I think writing on my blog that I never get sick totally jinxed me! I’m not full blown sick, but I’ve been battling a sore throat and general feeling of blah since yesterday morning. I maintain I’m not sick… just allergic to Mondays after a great weekend.¬†I had an awesome weekend in Philadelphia visiting my long-distance best friend Sarah. Sarah was my other half on college and we were simply devastated when post-college work opportunities found me remaining in DC and her moving back to her home town of Philly. Luckily though, it’s been two years and we’re still going strong. Sometimes it’s hard with busy schedules, but there’s nothing better than when we get together for a girl’s weekend.

But I digress to today’s post… checking in on my on-going efforts to improve my relationship with food. I didn’t write a post last week (bad Christina!) on the topic so I think I have a lot to catch up on! I want to first provide a disclaimer thatI am not a doctor, nurse, registered¬†dietitian, or medical professional of any kind. This is purely a reflection on my life, my experience, and what information / knowledge I’ve gained along the way.What is written in any of these posts should not be taken as medical advice.

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With that out of the way… things are going ok! I’ve been feeling much more at ease about eating / exercising in general, which is definitely a start. However, I think I’ve been slipping a little bit in being¬†diligent¬†about hunger / satiety cues. I haven’t been eating to a point of being stuffed, but I still think I’m eating slightly passed satiety. I have, however, been recognizing a lot of habits / learning a lot about myself. I really like the actual act of eating and there have been many occasions where I have desired to continue eating when I knew I wasn’t hungry any more. I think recognizing the difference has been a big step for me.

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One thing I’ve started doing that has been surprisingly positive is weighing myself every day. Growing up, I hated the scale. I feared it. Then I went through a pretty bad period of obsessive over-weighing. Then back to fearing / hating the scale. I literally have to psych myself up to get on the scale and I go through all those crazy thoughts in my head like “I ate sushi two days ago, maybe I’m retaining water”. I don’t want to be crazy about my weight, but I do want to maintain so I need to know how much I weigh. The problem is, the longer I go between weigh ins, the most uncertainty there is and the more scared I get. So I thought, let’s try weighing myself every day. It’s been surprisingly good. I feel like I’m taking away some of the power of the scale every time I get on it. I’m far less apprehensive every time I get on it too. It’s also really interesting to see your day to day weight fluctuations. Interesting example, between yesterday and today my weight dropped 4.5 lbs. I know that isn’t actually “weight loss”, but rather a reflection of a weekend with more cheese and wine than usual followed by a Monday of drinking a lot of water. But still… it’s interesting. I want to keep this up.

Here’s what I’m going to try and focus on in the next week:

  1. Not “fearing hunger”. I read an interesting article on Active.com this week about how hunger pangs come and go, and many people who are “afraid” of feeling hungry often eat more in a given day. Obviously I know that hunger is a cue that my body wants to eat, but sometimes I do find myself thinking that the moment I am hungry I need to eat. This week I want to try and delay eating for 30 minutes when I feel hungry just to see how that feels.
  2. Having a relaxing night alone with no plans WITHOUT overeating. I don’t know why this happens to me exactly, but when I have a night home alone without plans (social plans or just plans like yoga, grocery shopping/cooking, cleaning, etc) I always end up overeating. I think this is sometimes why I¬†over schedule¬†myself, but that’s not really addressing the real issue. In the next week, I want to take a night and try out some strategies to avoid this pitfall.
  3. Snacking smarter. I love to eat and I know that I eat less at main meals when I don’t come to them starving. Unfortunately, I’m not a good snacker. I don’t have good snacks that make me feel energized and satisfied. I want to look around this week for some better snack ideas and try them out to see how they make me feel.

Creamy without the Guilt

For whatever reason, there are few foods more comforting to me than a creamy homemade casserole.¬†I remember growing up one of my favorite dinners was chicken pot pie with rice (never let it be said we were not a good old fashion all American family).¬†I also feel like I default to casseroles because they are relatively easy to make, they make super convenient leftovers, and you can get all of your food groups into one simple dish. ¬†I really like creamy casseroles, but don’t love the nutrition facts that often come along with them. So last week I set out to make a delicious creamy tuna noodle casserole that wasn’t loaded with butter or cream. I found this recipe on Eatingwell.com and modified it slightly to my personal tastes. The main vegetable ingredient in the recipe was mushrooms ¬†and unfortunately I really don’t love mushrooms. I can deal with them if they’re in a dish for flavor, but as the main veggie I’ll just end up eating around them. I thought about the best vegetable substitute and landed on fresh spinach. It ended up being an excellent substitute. I also left out the white wine because I didn’t have any. I didn’t end up missing it.

I whipped this casserole up while simultaneously doing a load of laundry and chatting on the phone with my friend Sarah. I am the queen of multi-tasking (usually. Sometimes I set off the smoke alarm…) By the time it was cooked, my kitchen was really hot and I wasn’t actually feeling all that hungry. I portioned out a small amount into a bowl to enjoy while Fig untied my bedroom slippers under the coffee table.

In other news, Fig is a terrible kitchen helper. He did lick the pan clean because of the tuna, but he was absolutely no help when it came time to finish the dishes.

Friday Favorites

Finally gave up on Jazz in the Sculpture Garden to find a place where drinks can be purchased without 30 minute lines. Elephant and Castle is it… and a Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen

Final softball game of the summer… Evan, Bryan, Sarah, Sarah, and Me! Post coming soon about this amazing group of people I have the honor of calling my teammates ūüôā

Wilco at Wolf Trap (Post coming next week about our July date night!)

Lazy morning spent in bed snuggling with Fig. The towel is in the bed with us because Fig decided to be a real jerk and knock a full glass of water into my bed. I couldn’t stay mad for long ūüôā

Here I am settling in for a late night at work and I get this notification on my phone from Facebook. RUDE.


My Week in Workouts:

Friday 7/13:

  • Rest Day

Saturday 7/14:

  • 10 Mile Long Run

Sunday 7/15:

  • Rest Day

Monday 7/16:

  • 3 mile Run
  • 75 Minute Level 2 Hot Power Yoga Class

Tuesday 7/17:

  • 60 Minute Cardio / Strength Intervals Class

Wednesday 7/18:

  • Speed Workout [Ladder: ¬†800M (10K pace, 400M recovery); 400M (5K pace, 200M recovery); 200M (>5K pace, 30-second recovery); 1000M (10K pace). ¬†Rest 3-4 minutes. ¬†Repeat set.]

Thursday 7/19: 

  • 60 Minute Cardio / Strength Intervals Class

Bootcamp to Bust Boredom

If you follow my “Week in Workouts” you’ve probably noticed that I am mildly obsessed with a class at my gym called Cardio Strength Intervals (CSI for short). This class occurs every Tuesday and Thursday at lunch and as long as I don’t have a meeting that prevents me from attending, I’m there. I’ve traditionally found weight lifting really boring, and I definitely prefer cardio or yoga. However, this class is totally changing my mind! The 60 minute workout is an absolute KILLER but it literally flies by every time. I thought maybe I’d share a little information about the class today in case anyone was interested in¬†getting¬†into strength training or just changing up their routine!

The basic format of the class is Warm Up (5 minutes), 1 Minute Strength Training / 1 Minute High Intensity Cardio (30 Minutes), Something special like Tabatas, 5-10-15s or Progressive Sixes (10 minutes), Abs (10 Minutes), Cool Down / Stretch (5 Minutes).

The high intensity cardio is either jumping rope, high knees, or jumping jacks (I used to be AWFUL at jumping rope but now I’m getting really good at it! I can even do the boxer shuffle!).

The strength moves are my favorite part though because they’re usually combo moves (combining two exercises into one to make it more challenging) or plyometrics (“jump training”). Here are some of my favorites:

Burpees: ignore the end of the video where they start using the rings. We don’t have that ūüôā

Clean and Press with Dumbbells

Plant / Row / Reserve Fly

Box Jumps

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Push Ups on Medicine Ball (Alternating Hands)

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The best beach is the one you’re on

I grew up adoring the beach. In New Jersey, it’s not a question of whether or not you go to the beach, it’s just a question of how often. I can attest personally that most people who go to the “Jersey Shore” are nothing like the people on that horrific reality show (that has literally ruined my life… that may have been hyperbole but seriously, make me home state look worse, just try!). To me the Jersey shore means countless memories of my childhood and an unadulterated love of wasting away the day in a beach chair in the surf with a great book. My parents now reside in North Carolina and those beaches are EVEN BETTER. However, DC is seriously lacking in beach access. You can get to the Eastern Shorn (Dewey, Rohoboth, Ocean City MD) but you’re looking at a minimum 2.5 hour drive so it’s not really ideal for a day trip (and since I don’t have any friends with shore houses and renting a hotel room isn’t in my budget really, I’m kind of out of luck). Recently, my friend Dara, who is in DC for the summer (she normally lives in Boston getting her PhD in math because she is WICKED SMAHT – insert Boston accent there), suggested we take a day trip to Sandy Point State Park which is right past Annapolis but before you cross the Bay Bridge to head to the Eastern Shore. It is technically on the Chesapeake Bay not the ocean, but there is sand, water and bathrooms, and it’s only 45 minutes from DC. SOLD.

So Saturday morning after enjoying a great long run (it was blissfully only about 75 degrees when we started, Mike got in 13, I got 10), we packed up the car, picked up my friend Bryan, and headed out to Maryland. Right before exiting the highway we spotted my personal definition of heaven on earth… a Wawa! Bryan (from Nebraska originally) had NEVER been to a Wawa, so it was a no brainer to stop and get sandwiches and Wawa iced tea to enjoy on the beach.

We finally arrive at the park around noon and met up with Dara and her roommate Jaqueline. We rolled out our towels, popped down in the sand and enjoyed a LOVELY afternoon laying out, eating snacks, and splashing around in the Chesapeake.

Around 5 pm, the storms that were in the forecast all afternoon finally rolled in. We decided to pack it in and head back to DC.

To me, summer and the beach are basically synonymous and I’ve definitely felt a lack of that since moving to DC full-time. Pools are great but they’re just not the same to me. I crave the ocean. I also find that I am at my calmest when near a body of water, and whenever I run in a new city I seem to seek out some body of water to run near. I really think that long term I want to settle down somewhere a little closer to the ocean, but for now I foresee more trips to Sandy Point in my future. In the off season, it is even cheaper to get in ($5 per car load versus $7 per person for non-Maryland residents).