Monday, March 24, 2014

Fire Starter

Hi Everyone!  I hope your Monday isn’t treating you too poorly.  I am a little tired today after a long weekend but things aren’t all bad.  I’m going to see Gavin Degraw in Birmingham tonight with friends so that should be fun.  Cassandra and I went out of town this weekend for her brother’s wedding.  We always have a fun time together so it had a little road-trip vibe to it.  The wedding was pretty and Cassandra and I finally made our marriage official.  I’m only joking.  Apparently we kid about our common law marriage so much a couple people didn’t think it’s a joke.  Thanks to my parents for watching our dog. He now has a Great Dane as a BFF. I haven’t weighed in a while and I’m feeling pretty gross about myself lately.  I tried not to completely lose it this weekend.  The only options were fast food so I chose a turkey burger with no mayo and no cheese once and then a grilled chicken sandwich the same way another time to try to avoid burgers every meal but that doesn’t mean I was good.  Cassandra’s mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies so those were definitely my weakness this weekend.  I don’t know why I can’t start a fire under my butt and find some motivation.  I spent the day yesterday coming up with a little bit of a different plan. I am so burned out on counting things that I’m hoping altering the plan will help.  I know what I should and should not eat.  I’m just hoping I can become stronger over the next few weeks.  It would be really nice to lose a little weight before the summer.  With all the travel I’m doing, it’s getting so hard to do but I have to just keep trucking…discouraged or not. I have this recurring dream where Jordan and I go to see a play.  Rather than sitting with the audience, we sit on a ledge, high above the rest of the room.  Every time, I am sitting there, fine, then I want to get down from the ledge.  Each time, I try to climb down but I’m too terrified to move.  I’m always scared I’m going to fall.  I wake up with so much anxiety after this dream.  I’m always worried I’m going to fail.  Gaining weight is my biggest fear.  So, I’m with you guys.  I’ll do my best to do things I know I’m capable of doing.  I have a doctor’s appointment Wednesday that I’ll have to weigh for and I’m sure he will be on my butt about losing weight so that should be a big ball of fun. 

I don’t have a recipe but I want to share some products with you.  I may have shared these in the past but the combination of ingredients makes a nice, low fat lunch.  First, you can always find light bread or buns at the grocery store.  To me, they taste great.  Also, I love Sargento’s newer line of thinly sliced cheese.  The serving size is three slices but I usually just eat one.  It’s not low fat so it has full flavor but it’s sliced so thin that it’s only 45 calories.  I am obsessed with Oscar Mayer’s Carving Board chicken.  It’s moist and has the best flavor.  It reminds me of the leftovers you get from the Thanksgiving turkey.  Finally, I love mayo and since it’s so bad for you, I never get to have it.  In my opinion, the French Onion Dip from Oikos is the best thing to spread on a sandwich instead of mayo.  It’s made from Greek yogurt and it has a lot of flavor.  I’d much rather use that than fat free or low fat mayo.  I’m not a huge yogurt fan and I can’t eat it in big servings but it works nicely as a sandwich spread or veggie dip.

Jordan and I are going to Nashville this weekend and I’m so excited!  We are seeing Demi Lovato on Saturday and Cher on Monday night.  It should be a nice little getaway. 

There won’t be a blog next week because of the trip so I will write again on April 7th.  By that point, I will have been to 4 concerts, a play and another wedding.  I’ll also be getting ready to go to Atlanta the following weekend.  See how impossible it is to diet with all this stuff going on?  I know it’s possible.  I just have to find some sort of inner strength that I didn’t know existed.

Have a nice couple weeks!


“I’m a wild card, I’m about to take my aim
You better watch out, watch out…” Fire Starter-Demi Lovato 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Soup's On!

So, going to restaurants is the most difficult part about being on a diet.  You’re with your friends or family and everyone is eating and you are eating your 50th dressing-less chicken salad of the week because there are no other options.  There’s a chance I’ve mentioned this before and I know I told you a couple weeks ago about the new line of frozen soups from Weight Watchers but soup is always something you can check out at a restaurant that may be a better option.  I don’t eat a whole lot of soup at home because I eat so much of it when I go out.  The reason is, you can often have a cup or bowl of soup for way less fat and calories than other options at restaurants.  Now, obviously, you want to stay away from cream or cheese based soups because they will be higher in fat AND you don’t want to eat soup every meal because it tends to be high in sodium and you’ll get tired of it.  However, soup can have a lot of flavor and it takes you longer to eat which makes your mind convince itself that it’s full. I get soup a lot for lunch a lot at places like McAlister’s, Roly Poly and Jason’s.  I think the best soup option though is the Chicken Noodle from Panera.  It’s not bad for you at all, low in points and it’s delicious.  I also recommended checking out the soup menu at Olive Garden.  It’s difficult to eat pasta on a diet so if you go to Olive Garden, perhaps you could try the soup and salad combo.  I LOVE the Zuppa Toscana.  It’s got cream in it but it’s also mixed with broth so it’s not bad at all.  Most places have soup so I’d always check that part of the menu.

I got the wonderful opportunity to see the legend Elton John in concert on Saturday night.  He was amazing! He played for over two and a half hours.  I’m so glad I can say that I got to see him.  Honestly, it was just a great weekend overall.

Have a great week, y’all!


“Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind

I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah…” I’m Still Standing-Elton John

Monday, March 10, 2014

So fill up your lungs and just run...

Well, you guys, I did it! I managed to jog 13.1 miles without stopping in the 2014 Tuscaloosa Half Marathon this past weekend.  I finished in 3 hours, 8 minutes and 55 seconds.  I moved like a turtle with an average pace of 14:28 per mile but I did it.  I also took videos and pictures while I was running which should surprise nobody probably because I’m such a diva but you can see those above.  I would say that the race went smoothly until I got about half way between miles 9 and 10.  It was warm out and I had eaten this energy gel about halfway through which was disgusting and had the consistency of Vaseline.  I think that, combined with all the jostling around that my stomach was doing, caused me to almost lose my breakfast.  I was able to hold it down.  There was a significant hill towards the end that wasn’t that steep but steadily inclined for a very long time.  I got really fatigued at that point.  Around mile 10 or 11, I seriously considered stopping and walking the rest of the way.  I was exhausted and in pain.  I gave myself a pep talk and reminded myself about how far I’ve come.  It was at that point I started to get a little emotional. I was able to motivate myself to keep going.  At mile 12, I saw several people that I work with.  Our company had volunteered to sit and cheer at a water station.  They were perfectly positioned because I needed their encouragement to get me through the last mile.  I was coming around the corner near the finish line, I saw my Aunt Kris and my Dad filming me, holding up a sign and cheering me on.  They were cracking me up because my Dad almost fell and my Aunt’s filming skills leave a bit to be desired but I was so grateful to have them.  When I was approaching the finish line, I saw my mom, Oma and brother, also cheering me on.  I got a tiny boost of energy and was able to run across the finish to get my medal. 

When I got done, it took me a couple minutes to catch my breath.  I was having trouble breathing at all so I was a bit panicky but I tried to calm down and take deep breaths.  I finally ran into everyone that came to support me at the finish line and when I hugged my Dad I will admit, I got emotional and may or may not have shed a tear or two.  I had six people at the finish line and a multitude of people supporting me via text, Twitter and Facebook.  It means so much to me that I have so much support in my life.  The hardest parts probably came that night and Sunday.  I have never been more sore in my entire life.  I could barely get up on my own yesterday.  I’m still incredibly sore today…mostly in my back and thighs but it is getting a little better.  My plan was to jog a bit yesterday because I read that you were supposed to do that to keep your muscles loose.  I couldn’t do it.  It was probably the first workout I’ve skipped in 5 years.  I am going to walk today and try and jog a bit tomorrow.  I’m going to let myself heal a bit this week but get right back at it next week.  I think I want to switch it up some.  I doubt I will ever run another half marathon or try and run a full one.  I guess I won’t say never but I have to say, it’s not anywhere on my radar at this point.  I will say that I figured out the secret to eating and drinking what you want.  I burned nearly 2,600 calories as you can see in the picture from my Jawbone Up app.  Unfortunately, it’s a bit unrealistic to do that every day but if you are wanting to know what it takes to get away with eating pizza and burgers all the time, I figured it out.  I am also dedicating myself to a diet renewal.  I can no longer use the training to justify all the food I’ve been eating.  I need to buckle down and reach a goal that I’ve been trying to reach for over a year.  I haven’t weighed in a while and I may wait a couple weeks before I do, just to give myself some time.  Obviously, I’ll update you all about that as I’m working on it.  I encourage you to set small and large goals for yourself.  There are few things in life more rewarding than setting a goal and accomplishing it.

In the spirit of eating better and being a less lazy blogger, I actually have a recipe for you.  It’s from Hungry Girl because she’s my favorite.  You can make this recipe with squash or zucchini but if you don’t like those, you can use the idea of making creamier vegetables by incorporating Laughing Cow cheese.  Essentially, you just slice the squash really thin, add light butter, spices and Laughing Cow cheese.  You put it all in a little aluminum foil packet and bake it.  It calls for onions and I used frozen, chopped onions.  Unfortunately, because they were frozen they made the dish a little more watery and less creamy but it still had good flavor.  It’s a simple and tasty side that I’d probably make again. 

I have so many things planned over the next few months.  I’m going to see Elton John on Saturday which I’m super excited about.  I’m busy as usual! I’m hoping to set more goals and accomplish them and share them with all of you! Thanks for all of the support! Until next week!

“You said, remember that life is
Not meant to be wasted
We can always be chasing the sun!
So fill up your lungs and just run
But always be chasing the sun!” Chasing The Sun-Sara Bareilles

Monday, March 3, 2014

If it kills might kill me...

Hi Everyone! I’m sorry I didn’t post last week.  I was not feeling well at all and everything was extremely hectic.  So, I’m going to try to cram a lot into this one.  I haven’t weighed in a few weeks.  I’m being persistent with my pattern of eating like I should during the week and then losing it all when I get to the weekend.  My half marathon is this Saturday and I’m hoping that once it’s over and I can return to a more normalized and less rigorous workout regimen so that I can stop eating so much on the weekend.  I am growing more concerned by the day about my eating habits on the weekends.  I know it’s probably a coincidence but two pairs of pajama pants busted at the seams yesterday.  I had a mini breakdown.  All of my clothes fit but they are tightening so I know that I have to get everything back in order quickly.  I will definitely keep you in the loop over the next few weeks.  I’m going to set a goal for May and try and trim down as much as possible for the summer months. 

I wanted to share a snack with you that I found at Target.  It’s from Angie’s and it’s called Boom Chicka Pop.  It comes in a big bag but I managed to find it in single-serve bags which is always nice.  It’s especially nice because the smaller bags are only two points.  It’s got some flavor which is unusual for light popcorn and you get quite a bit so if you can manage to find it, I recommend it.

So, Saturday is the big day.  It’s the day that I will attempt to run 13.1 miles in the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon.  I have been training for this for over two months.  I think I was experiencing some burnout last week.  I was sick and exhausted.  I couldn’t get out of bed.  I rested all weekend and I was finally able to complete my final big run before the actual race.  I think I’m about as ready as I’m going to get.  I have a couple short runs this week because you are supposed to taper down as you approach the big event.  I did the Glow Run which is a 5K with friends and I think that’s what gave me a clue I was burned out.  It took me forever to run it and I was sore.  Afterwards, I just wanted to sleep.   I feel better now.  I plan to carb up on Friday and go to bed early.  The race starts at 8.  I’m scared.  I keep envisioning myself being last and passing out somewhere and nobody will be able to find me.  I know this isn’t going to happen but this is a much bigger challenge than I ever anticipated.  We will see.  Obviously, I’ll report the highlights on Monday.  Wish me luck!

Jordan and I always watch all of the Oscar nominated movies in preparation for the Oscars.  We did that again this year and we had ourselves and Oscar party for two last night.  I had a blast as usual with him! He even rolled out the red carpet for me. It was one of the better shows that I’ve ever seen.  It had a tribute to the Wizard of Oz and I got to see performances from Pink, Bette Midler and Idina Menzel…so many of my favorites.  Typically, I post comments about the movies BEFORE the actual show but because I was sick last week and midterms were due it’s just been crazy.  I decided to still give you my two cents on the major movies so if you don’t want to see those, feel free to stop here.

There are certain movies in my life that I’ll never watch again.  “War Horse”, “Schindler’s List” and “The Impossible” are a couple examples.  “12 Years a Slave” is now on that last.  These movies don’t acquire a lifetime ban because they are bad or poorly made, it’s because they are incredibly gut-wrenching and borderline impossible to watch.  I think the point in making the viewer uncomfortable is to get the message of the film across.  “12 Years a Slave” accomplishes this perhaps more than any other movie I’ve seen.  It’s a brilliantly told true story.  The acting was amazing.  The real-life scenes of violent abuse are so hard to watch, I considered leaving at one point.  I sobbed the entire movie and was effected for days by its impact.  I think everyone should watch it.  It’s important to remember our history and learn from it.  Now that I have seen it though, I’m done.  It won for Best Picture and Best Actress and rightfully so.

“American Hustle” had some nice moments and Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence both gave awesome performances but the movie fell a little flat for me.  It was really long and I stayed with it the first hour but at the end, it all seemed a bit slow and pointless for me.  It got a lot of buzz and was even up for best picture.  The buzz softened a bit during the actual show and I think that’s the right call.  There were many more worthy performances and stories told.

I loved “August: Osage County,” y’all.  It’s probably my second favorite.  First off, it’s relatable.  Everyone has family members that they can see in some of these characters.  I would own this movie in a heartbeat.  Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and the entire cast were spot on and believable.  Even though I thought Cate Blanchett was fantastic, Meryl Streep deserved the award.  This movie goes beyond typical family drama.  It’s dark but funny at times and I recommend everyone watch it.

“Before Midnight” is part of a series of movies and it’s the only one I’ve seen.  After watching it, I’d say it’ll still be the only one of the three that I will see.  Nothing in particular against the story or movie but I found it boring.  The characters were static, there was far too much unnecessary dialogue and I was unimpressed overall.  Maybe I need to see all of them to appreciate it but it’s unlikely that will happen.

I would say “Blue Jasmine” is my fourth favorite movie of the year.  I am not a fan of Woody Allen movies…at all.  This is by far the best one I’ve seen.  Cate Blanchett is great in this movie.  She is an anxiety ridden woman whose rich husband turned out to be a crook and she is forced to slum it awhile with her sister, Sally Hawkins.  Hawkins was also nominated though I’m not sure why.  Even though I thought Meryl was a little stronger in this category, I was happy for Cate Blanchett…she does crazy really well.

I rank the movies a little but it’s hard to do considering they are all so different.  If I had to, I’d put “Captain Phillips” right under “Blue Jasmine.”  This movie is so suspenseful and well-done.  It’s based on a true story and includes breakout star Barkhad Abdi who was nominated for Supporting Actor but didn’t win.  My biggest beef with the academy this year was the snubbing of Tom Hanks.  He was fantastic in this movie and it’s one his best performances in my opinion.  He was also snubbed in a way because he was in “Saving Mr. Banks,” the story about Mary Poppins which I LOVED and got no accolades at all.   I thought that Tom Hanks should have definitely been nominated over Bruce Dern from “Nebraska” for his portrayal of “Captain Phillips” but snubs happen.

“Dallas Buyers Club” was probably my third favorite movie.  Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey were so deserving of their wins.  They were committed to their roles completely.  The movie isn’t overly sentimental and tells another true story.  It raises awareness about the ever increasing problems with the pharmaceutical industry and allows people to remember all of the lives lost to the horrific disease that is AIDS.    I loved this movie and all of the layers of complexity that it has.  I would definitely watch it again.

“Gravity” is a movie that was spectacular in looks and intensity but the dialogue was cheesy and the acting was overrated.  I love George Clooney and Sandra Bullock but I wasn’t that impressed with the performances.  That’s all I have to say on that one.

“Her” was a story that had intriguing concepts and made me think hard about relationships and the future but overall, my experience with “Her” was just awkward.  It was a little too weird for me.  I’m rarely going to be on board with a sex scene between Joaquin Phoenix and an operating system.  Maybe I lack the sophistication to find this movie profound or maybe I’m right and it’s just weird.  I also didn’t think the ending of the movie was that great.  It’s not that I can’t see a future in which Operating Systems have intelligence that they don’t have today I just didn’t see the beauty of it with this example.   Spike Jonze won for the screenplay…not sure I agree.

June Squibb ran away with the movie “Nebraska” and if not for her, I don’t think this movie gets the recognition that it got.  It’s a simple artsy movie.  It’s in black and white the entire movie and I didn’t understand the artistic value of that.  Will Forte didn’t impress me as a serious actor and I have no clue why Bruce Dern was nominated.  After watching the Oscars last night, it’s clear playing an old man isn’t that far of a stretch for him.  Having said all of that, the concept of the story is nice and it certainly has relatable aspects when it comes to family.  June Squibb is hilarious in it and steals all of the good lines but I think overall the movie was a bit overrated. 

If I had to have an honorable mention outside of my top 5, it would be “Philomena.”  This story is heartbreaking and revealing.  It speaks a lot about the style of the Catholic church back in the day.  It’s another true story and Judi Dench’s portrayal of Philomena is wonderful.  The movie made me tear up quite a bit and I thought it was nicely done. 

Finally, my favorite movie of the Oscar season has to be “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  I loved “August: Osage County.”  I’d buy it and whether I would purchase it or not is usually my main criteria.  However, I can see myself watching “The Wolf of Wall Street” multiple times a year.  I’m obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio…have been over half my life.  I wanted him to win the Academy Award but maybe next time.  The movie has everything.  It’s funny and addresses the crime that happens on Wall Street.  It’s never boring.  It’s racy and edgy and unique. Loved it.  Watch it.

This was a good Oscar season.  I never have the best predictions but I have my favorites and this year, it was tough to choose.  I didn’t despise any of the movies which is unusual.  Have a good week y’all and I’ll report on the half marathon next Monday! Bye!

“All I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me…” If It Kills Me-Jason Mraz