Saturday, February 27, 2010

Puppies, Pioneers and Petticoats

Whew. I've come to the conclusion that getting a puppy is the best diet enhancer ever.

Correction, can be the best diet enhancer ever.

Three weeks ago I became the proud momma of a little terrier mix. His name is Wally. Here he is in all his puppy splendor:

But this is what he really looks like (sans flash). A big pile of adorable, but ceaseless energy.

Now, I live on the third floor of my apartment building, and while Wally has been relatively good about being obiedient going up and down the stairs, I still have to lug my butt up and down those stairs a good five to seven times a day to take him outside. Of course I also live at the top of a relatively steep hill, and no matter which way I walk him I have to inevitably trudge back up the hill on the way back home. It's like doing a real life stairmaster all day long.

It may sound like I don't like this daily workout, that I begrudgingly take the pupper out and back in while whining like a brat about the forced exercise and sub-zero temperatures. Not true! As ridiculous as this actually sounds, my body has been getting slowly and surely stronger. I no longer huff and puff walking up the stairs, and I can actually feel the muscles in my lower and upper body tightening.

This makes me think of the pioneers (Whoa incontinuity!!!). Yes, the pioneers. Sometimes, in my freezing delusional haze I think about how they were constantly moving, lifting, climbing, utilizing their bodies in ways that we don't even really consider because we have every lazy-making technology available to us.

It probably doesn't hurt that I live in a restored mansion likely from the Civil-war era and when I walk up to the house I think that I am a' returnin' home from taking the animals for their daily exercise. I consider how hard that daily farm life must've been in petticoats and have a new appreciation for my female ancestors. (Boots and petticoats, fashionable and utilitarian! Someone should really consider bringing that look back. Side note: I'd love to see a 'pioneer' fashion show by Versace. Mark my words, it's only a matter of time my friends...) The rooster crows, and it's time to milk the cows! Oh boy, excercise may be making me delusional.

But it's also making my butt look better.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Obligatory Chocolate Relapse

So, I relapsed.

(And I'm going to warn you this post is going to be quite boring, but I'm feeling introspective so feel free to skip and read my upcoming post that will inevitably be about my new puppy. Much more fun there.)

Ah, so familiar with the term 'relapse'. The harsh truth is that no matter what kind of relapse it is, it kind of stings. Difficult to gain back resolve and redouble efforts once that threshold back to the 'bad stuff' has been crossed.

The how and why aren't really that interesting, but the truth is that I was in a place where I was unprepared to physically (hungry and didn't prepare healthy snack options) and mentally (had been traveling all day) to cope with triggers (hot dogs, Doritos and boxes of chocolates) literally a foot away from my face. Yes, I had a moment to decide whether or not to act upon my impulses, and believe me, AB and HB had a little struggle. It went something like the following:

Angry Brain: "Oooooh look, delicious!"
Stomach (chiming in): Gurgle gurgle....HUNNNNNGGRRRYYYYY!
Happy Brain: "I am really hungry, and tired and I don't know when I am going to eat next. I tried to eat a good breakfast this morning, but that was hours ago. What do I do?"
AB: "Give in! Doritos go really well with hot dogs and of course you can eat that box of chocolates afterwards! Chocooooolaaate!!!"
Stomach: "Give me FOOOOOD NOOOOOW!!! gurgle."
HB/AB: "Okay. Just as long as we start eating well tomorrow."

Now, what went wrong? I didn't have a plan. I tried in the morning to eat well, but there wasn't really a concrete plan in action for the remainder of the day until I came back home. The body wants what it wants and if there's no plan to distract or satiate it in another way, the unhealthy options will always prevail. AB really did try to put up a fight, but it was quite the weak fight due to having no other quickly available options to reach for. And then, in the end HB and AB agreed, but I see that as slightly different reasons.

The 'eating well tomorrow' argument. Now, once I was done shoveling a hot dog and some chips into my face, this is exactly what I told my boyfriend I started to open the chocolates. Chris, who listens to me all day about my trials and tribulations with my clients relapsing at work asked what I would say to a client on a drug binge that came to me and said they would stop 'tomorrow'. This made me pause for a second.

After much thought, I decided that I would ask, 'what can be learned from this happening?'. At the clinic I work at we state that relapse can and often is part of the cycle of recovery. Relapse can be taken as an opportunity to step back from the chain of events that led to the lapse to begin with and evaluate what can be done differently in the future to prevent those behaviors from recurring. In my case, I need to be prepared.

In all honesty, it took me until today to completely get back on track. It doesn't hurt that today is the beginning of Lent and I have given up chocolate until Easter. 47 days until I have to worry about the chocolate relapse creeping up on me again.....until then I think I need to pack some backup snacks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cabin Fever Pancakes

Snowy day. Ahhhh....what a perfect time for daytime TV and pancakes.

What's that you say? Pancakes aren't diet-friendly? Oh well there you'd be wrong.

Having been super obsessed over finding the perfect recipe for fluffy pancakes a'la South Norwalk Baking Company for months, I have found several recipes for white flour pancakes that I have grown to know and love. However, white flour is the 'evil devil' on South Beach, and therefore I am sadly forbidden from those fluffy pillows of goodness.

Yet, as the second phase of South Beach allows me to eat whole grains and wheat products I have pancake-base options. Yay!

So, here is the story in recipe form of how I came to test out pancakes in my tiny kitchen for two hours on this lovely frozen day.

Oatmeal Wheat Pancakes
(Credit where credit is due: Ingredient list partially ganked and modified from Recipe Zaar)

You will need....

Dry Ingredients
2 cups of oats (the Quaker man is preferable, not because of flavor just because he's so damn pleasant looking)
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Wet Ingredients
2 cups of buttermilk or lo-fat milk
2 tablespoons of good honey (optional)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Step One: Creating Masterpiece Batter
1) Place oats in a bowl with buttermilk to soak
2) Mix remaining dry ingredients
3) Separate eggs into yolks and whites. Place whites in a cold metal bowl. (This step of separating the whites and yolks is optional, but I find it yields fluffier pancakes)
4) Mix all wet ingredients EXCEPT WHITES
5) Combine wet and dry ingredients into a lumpy batter (lumps are your friend!)
6) Use electric beater to beat the whites into stiff peaks (I know, I know, 'That's what she said' Ha.)
7) Gently fold whites into the batter.

Step Two: Batter + Pan = Meant to be!
8) Spoon according to the size of your liking on a greased, pre-heated, non-stick pan. The pan should be hot but not too hot. It should be juuuuust right. Goldilocks test: take a little water and spritz on pan. If the water dances in beads, it is just right. If it just sits there its too cold, and if it evaporates immediately it is too hot.
9) Flip pancake. Now this seems like a no brainer, but usually with white flour pancakes one would wait for the cake to bubble consistently on the top and then immediately flip. With these pancakes, you have to wait for about thirty seconds after they start bubbling consistently to flip, or you run the risk of the cake tearing apart when you go to flip it.
10) Repeat as needed.

11) Enjoy! I used sugar-free syrup to stay with South Beach, but I was told (repeatedly) that the Aunt Jemima was far superior.

I love delicious Cabin Fever!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Jean-Litmus

I did laundry yesterday. This doesn't seem like such a big deal, right? I do laundry all the time (well, 'all the time' is kind of a relative term, but let's forget about that for the moment).

This morning, I tried on a pair of jeans that had been tight last time I wore them, showcasing my paunch and thighs in a sausage-like manner after washing them two weeks ago. Lovely visual, I know. That's why I chucked them in with the laundry and didn't wear those horrid jeans until today.

Today. Oh, today I decided to do a litmus test of how South Beach has been working for me.

Or, as I would like to call it the 'jeans test'.

For a moment, let's talk about every girl (and likely guys too) and their relationship with jeans. We all know about the 'skinny jean'. I'm not talking about the horrendous trend that's going on right now where even size zero models look like weirdly lumpy emus waddling around in denim. I'm talking about that one pair of jeans in the back of the closet/drawer/hamper/etc that are just waiting waiting waiting for their owners to shed some poundage so that they can be showcased in all their glory. These jeans may be a size 0 or size 22, they may be faded or ripped, worth $15 or $150. It doesn't matter.

My skinny jeans are a pair of the Express 'Editor Pant' in dark navy denim, purchased circa the winter of 2004. I had so many good times in those jeans. Indeed, at the time I had purchased them they were truly my skinny jeans as I had lost a signficant amount of weight prior to their purchase and I loved them with a fervor usually designated for the first few weeks of dating a new boy. Is that creepy? I don't think so.

Skinny jeans. They're the jeans that make you feel like you are a perfect cocktail of beautiful, handsome, amazing and confident. My favorite episode of 'Sex In the City' is the one that features my fav character, Miranda, in her 'skinny jeans'. She struts through multiple bars, flirts with gusto, and smiles ear-to-ear throughout the entire episode. How I love Miranda. How I love that episode ('The Post-It'). That's how I want clothes to make me feel.

Apparently jeans seem to be the magical piece of clothing that can make or break a diet, an outfit or even a day.

So, here I went. Trying on my $15 pair of Lee jeans that didn't fit 2 1/2 weeks ago. Oh lordy be! They fit! I wore them all day long, catching my reflection in mirrors and even drinking extra water so that I could have a valid excuse to visit the bathroom and stare at my shrinking waist in the mirror. My resolve to continue my diet was redoubled.

I resolve to love you again 'Editor Pant'! How I miss you.