Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Joy of Meal Preparation

One of my favorite cooking shows is Barefoot Contessa, mainly because it offers me a glimpse of a fantasy lifestyle where one lives in a beautiful mansion, visit quant stores to pick up ingredients, and entertain (mostly well-mannered adults) in a cosy but elegant setting. There’s something tremendously peaceful about Ina Garten as she brings attention to the lush sights and sounds of preparing a meal. She makes preparing for company seem peaceful and enjoyable, unlike the hustle and anxiety of what is real for me. I know with my kids and income, I can never live Ina Garten’s life, but I would like to strive for it more.

Living to Feel Good enjoys her life. Her name (which is the same name as her blog) says it all. She writes about stuff that she enjoys. Not high intensity, crazy stuff that my cousins and friends (before they had kids) think is “enjoying life”. The simple stuff. The stuff I would normally miss, because I’m too much in my head. Recently she wrote about her excitement over preparing the Thanksgiving meal. I can't imagine ever being excited over preparing a meal, and it reminded me of the life I wished I had.

I would like to entertain more. I mean voluntarily prepare a meal for guests. Normally, I’m cornered to do it, Ly inviting his co-workers to our house and friends and family visiting out of the blue. I would actually like to NOT make something on the fly, while the kids demand, the husband leaves things on the kitchen counter, and the house still needs cleaning. I would like to make something delicious that my guests would wonder why they would ever consider going to a restaurant again. I would like to live a cosy but elegant life. And like all my dreams, I should probably start small.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Our house has been chaotic and busy lately. Ly is working on the bathroom with the only bath. Additionally there are tools, construction materials, and debris in the hallway and by the entrance. The kids are leaving toys on the floor in every room. Ly isn’t bothering to put away his things, which seems to happen more frequently when the house is in disarray. Additionally, Ly’s good friend Trung’s wedding is right around the corner, and having Ly and Hunter a part of the wedding party has monopolize a lot of our time. On top of that, there is Teresa’s upcoming birthday party that needs my attention. With these things vying for our time, a lot of things that still needs to get done on a regular basis is not getting done. Right now, laundry is a pressing matter. We are at a point were we are sending Hunter to school with dirty pants. Ly was concerned regarding what others would think about us as parents. I felt we were in desperation mode, which means “others” can suck it.

Today I left Trung’s bachelor’s party early, since the kids were geared to destroy Trung’s sister’s museum-like home. Additionally, I didn’t want to be around when the strippers came. And, come on! Why the hell were the kids and I at a bachelor’s party in the first place?! I’ve really got to learn not to say yes to every invitation that comes my way.

As I was driving home, I was actually anxious and looking forward to starting the laundry, when I started to think about grocery shopping. I haven’t gone grocery shopping in TWO WEEKS! I had planned to do it this week, but I needed to use my kid-free days to work on the bathroom and complete my TB screen so that I can go to Hunter’s upcoming field trip. And I couldn’t get any errands done when Teresa was around, since the car left to me had no backseat to put the car seat in with Ly using it to store backer board. I could probably make it another week, but many essentials had already run out, and I longed for fresh ingredients. It was a tough decision, but I decided to go to the grocery store. We’re going to have to “wing” something, and I rather it be our clothing than our food.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Body Fat Percentage

I had my body fat checked yesterday, and something seemed strange.

Here is all the body fat percentage I have measured with the weight I had weighed at the moment.

5-22-07 35%, 132 lbs
7-16-07 32% (-3%), 126 lbs (-6lbs)
9-3-07 30% (-2%), 120.2 lbs (-6.2lbs)
10-18-07 28% (-2%), 120.9 lbs (-0.7lbs)

I had assumed going in that there wouldn’t be a change, since I had only lost 0.7 lbs from last time. So I was surprised when the trainer said that I lost 2%. That’s exactly the same amount I lost when I had lost 6.2 lbs. This seemed odd to me. How can I be gaining the amount muscle mass the numbers are saying I’m gaining at this time when my workout has been cut back?

I’m really bad with math, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m at a lighter weight. Maybe body fat percentages decreases at a faster rate the lighter you are?

Another reason could be because of the measurers. The trainer said that each trainer has a different way of measuring, causing some inaccuracies. This might be the case. Each measurement had been with a different trainer. I’ll see if I can get the same trainer next time.

The trainer this time asked what my goal was. Each time a trainer asked me this, I felt uncomfortable. The truth of the matter was, I’m not really invested in my body fat percentage goal. There are too many different schools regarding how to interpret the results. I’m relying more on my BMI to set my goals, since the interpretation of those are more clear-cut. If I don’t reach my body fat percentage goal by the time I reach my weight goal, I wouldn’t mind. Additionally having both of these goals have been too confusing for me, so I decided to drop the former. I’ll still have my body fat percentage measured, but only for the purpose of gauging progress.

I was reading this post and I realized that I had made a mistake. I had actually gained (not lost) 0.7 lbs. This actually makes the 2% loss even more of an oddity.

Marshmallow - You made a really good point. I think I will need to re-think my goals.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Self-Medicating on Chocolate

I gained 0.9 lbs this week. Although I know I can shrug it off as “fluctuation”, I don’t think it is. I’ve been trying to weigh daily again after I discovered Google 15, which creates a trend line. It’s difficult making it a habit and I’m thinking of abandoning it again, but from what little I’ve gathered, the trend is definitely going up. Another thing that I know is that I’m definitely eating too much chocolate. I had hoped that abstaining for two weeks would help me get a handle on it, since it helped when I did it for Lent, but I was wrong. My difficulty could be because of the season. Lent leads to warmer weather. After my recent break from chocolate there was just more cold weather. I’m thinking that the colder weather could be making me depressed, and I may be using chocolate as an anti-depressant. My therapist back at school had suggested I was doing this, and she may have a point. She had suggested that I take a “real” anti-depressant. I thought she was making mountains out of molehills. I know I’m still green in the mental health field, but I’m almost certain that my “depression” is hardly enough for medication. My life is not disrupted enough by it, and since I’m not morbidly obese nor diabetic, tempering my chocolate addiction doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to get tied up in the system and all it’s troubles. So medication is out of the question, but I still need to figure out how to deal with it without falling off the wagon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Adjusting to my New Exercise Regime

I’ve gained weight, which wasn’t surprising. None the less, it was disappointing. I was right at my target weight and it slipped away. No matter. I’m still within healthy BMI status, and I’m confident that I’ll get out of this recent binging bend. Another thing that also contributed to my recent gain was that I’ve been slacking with exercise. A part of it is because I had fallen out of it from my exercise hiatus due to illness. Then right after I recovered I had a bout of Achilles tendonitis, so I had to rearrange my routine to accommodate for that. The other part is because I’ve changed my exercise regime in general, and with every change there’s always that awkward adjustment period.

The first change actually occurred over a month ago. I decided to change aerobic exercise from 5 days to 3-5 days a week. Before, it HAD to be 5 days a week with NO excuses (except sickness or injury that is). I had decided this exercise regime in the beginning of my weight loss efforts, when losing weight was the ABSOLUTE priority. Now that I reached a healthy BMI, it doesn’t feel like such a priority anymore. The books have said that 3-5 days was what was necessary, so I decided to ABSOLUTELY do aerobic exercise 3 days a week with an optional two more days if time allowed. It felt uncomfortable doing this. I was afraid that allowing myself to exercise so little would cause me to fall out of it, but I don’t think it was the case.

The second change was my letting go of the weight machines. Much to my surprise, I recently discovered that they were NOT safer than free weights and bodyweight exercises. Go figure.

Letting go of these machines, however, has been a challenge. I found myself lost in the gym, when before I felt like an expert. I had mused to myself when personal trainers offered their services. I mean, come on, the instructions were right on the machines. Now, I’m not so sure. I went into the free weight room this weekend for the first time, and there were no instructions. Just a bunch of benches in different shapes, dumbbells, and barbells. I was stupid enough to go in there with no plan. I thought that I can make my own routine with the wealth of knowledge I had accumulated through different group exercise and DVD instructors. No such luck. For one, the lowest weight was 8 lbs. The most I’ve ever used and that all the instructors always recommended was 5-lb weights. There were barbells, but I’ve only ever tried them once before with guidance. I was concerned with hurting myself. I was also concerned with looking like a total idiot. Everyone else seemed to know what they were doing, and I felt strangely watched. However, it could have also been because I was one of three girls in what I deem as No Woman’s Land. No matter I was determined to utilize what I believed was my right, so I ignored my feelings of intimidation and trudged on. I did two exercises in No Woman’s Land. The rest, I scurried back to Weight Machine Land. Not because of intimation, mind you, but because of plainly not knowing what to do. That evening I used Women's Strength Training Anatomy and and I created a routine that I plan to use next time.

The last change I’ve made have been the hardest to implement simply because I'm having difficulty remembering to do it. I’ve decided to stretch my calves and hamstrings every day. Because my calves are extra tight, I’m prone to plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. My recent bout of Achilles tendonitis had puzzled me because it came on when I wasn’t doing any high impact exercises at all. I realized later that I only stretch after a workout and being on exercise hiatus has also kept me from my stretching routine. This was when I decided to stretch my calves every day. I decided to also stretch my hamstrings while I’m at it. Even though they haven’t given me any problems, they are also extra tight and I’ve heard that extra tight hamstrings can result in back injures. The only problem now is figuring out a good time to do them.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mad Dash

Today I weighed in at 116 lbs. That’s three pounds lost and a whole inch off from last week. Talk about a mad dash to the finish line, although what I’ve been doing to achieve this incredible loss hardly seem anything like a “mad dash” or any sort of movement at all. I’ve had strep throat. Eating had been a struggle, since everything tasted and felt like rusted nails. It’s getting better, but this is where I should be careful. Not only in overdoing with the food, but in getting back into exercise. I will most likely gain some pounds back, but I don’t want to backtrack too much. On the flip side, certain family members are definitely voicing their concern regarding my weight loss. I understand, but I’m also starting to get annoyed.

On other news, while I was sick I was also out of Internet Land and unbeknownst to me, Crabby had posted my guest post. I can’t believe all of the positive comments I received! I just wished I was cognisant at the moment, I could have responded in kind. It was a how-to regarding procrastination. Much different than anything I’ve ever posted before, but I thought it came out okay.

I fear no one’s opinion! I am knowledgeable, focused, and efficient. I make this priority and build from experience. I do this for my children and myself. Supported by love, I will persevere.