The Week I Didn’t Run, Eat Healthy, Blog, or Even Study Very Much

People have commented and complimented me for keeping up with my running plan and eating well during nursing school. I feel very proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. However, if you ask me how I do it…run, study, eat, study, study, study…the truth is, I don’t.

An entire week without running is not something I have experienced since my marathon last August. Instead of finding me on the treadmill or hitting the pavement, last week you would have found me cuddled up on the couch with two blankets, little Tia on the lap, a kleenex stuffed up my nose, and a coffee cup of TheraFlu steaming from the tv tray in front of me.

An entire week without running makes me nervous. What if my endurance is gone? If I’m going to stick to my plan I am going to run my first marathon of 2012 in approximately sixty days. That means I’m going to start seeing 14, 16, 20 mile long runs pretty soon. Um, what?!

I’m going to stick to my plan though. I know if I kick it back into gear again then I will be ready come sixty days from now. Eating healthy on the other hand…that one’s always a little tricky for me.

My plan was the make one healthy change to my diet each week. I totally rocked January adding lots of fruits and veggies, minimizing my soda pop and drinking lots of water. Then I amped up the coffee…then I ran out of fruit…then I ran out of time…then I forgot to make one healthy change…then I got sick (correlation here?!)…then I stopped trying.

So I need some help here. Oddly enough, one of the hardest things to do is just decide what my one healthy change will be. Does anyone have any suggestions other than servings of fruit and veggies? When it comes to what I’m eating I can use all the help I can get! I think for the remainder of this week I’m going to try to get back to where I was at the end of January, and for next week my goal is to simply plan ahead.

Last but not least, this poor little blog…has been…oh so…so neglected. Every now and then I check in just to make sure it hasn’t somehow vanished from the internet. The funny thing is that I actually have thought up quite a few of blog posts that I’d love to write…I just never get to it. What’s even crazier is that this month is National Eating Disorders Awareness Month…and I haven’t posted one time about it. Sad face. I still have a few days left, though, and National Eating Disorders Awareness week is coming right up, which is the anniversary of my discovery of the blog world…so you will hear from me again soon…I promise!

Until next time, keep on keeping on people!

ang

 

 

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Woah January

Don’t worry people, somehow I’m still alive. Barely.

Even though somehow my stack of textbooks managed to double in size.

To be completely honest, school is ridiculously overwhelming. I thought the first week was crazy and hard…and since then, each week as gotten even more difficult. And I love it. Even though I’m lacking on sleep, quadrupled my coffee intake, and already studied more than I did in my first time through college combined, I love it.

And somehow January is ending and it’s time to start a new month. That means only three and a half more months until my first semester of nursing school is over.

With the month coming to an end, I wanted to quickly (very quickly since I have a test in fifteen minutes!) go over how great January actually was, even though I’ve been running around like a crazy lady for the past couple weeks.

Yes, I’ve actually made a better eating goal each week. I shared my first, second, and third weekly goals on here (eat breakfast everyday, eat at least three servings of fruit a day, and eat at least three servings of vegetables a day), but I didn’t share my last two. Last week my goal was to incorporate protein in breakfast. Thank you greek yogurt…goal achieved. This week’s goal is to drink the recommended eight cups of water a day. This goal, oddly enough, is a little harder to obtain…especially since my recent want and need for coffee. I’m trying here though.

Another New Year’s goal of mine was to cook a new dinner once a month. Once a month may not seem like anything to most everyone else in the world, but for a non-cooker like me with hardly any time, once a month is lofty. I did cook enchiladas a couple weeks ago, and while they weren’t as tasty as when my madre makes them, they were still delicious. And I was pretty darn proud of myself.

Lastly, I want to touch on this little subject of marathon training.

I knew it’d be hard to find the time to run, but aside from studying and spending time with my family, running has been number three on my priority list (sorry blog…right now you’re near the bottom of this list!) So far I’ve been keeping up with the majority of my runs, and I’ve gotten in each and every long run.

In my pile of assignments and to-do lists sits my training plan, all written in pencil since I still change it daily. The month of January I was able to run 114 miles…total success.

Woah January.

ang

School Week Two, Marathon Training and Eating Healthy Week Three

One week of nursing school down, only fifteen more weeks this semester to go. It sure feels good to be starting week two!

Not only have I completed one week of school, I’m also on my third week of marathon training!

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I still haven’t nailed down my training plan, but I’m loosely following one of the good ol’ Hal Higdon’s plans. When I say loosely I mean loosely. It hasn’t been the easiest thing trying to figure out when to fit in a good run in my newly acquired crazy schedule.

But again, I’m definitely up for the challenge. I’m going to have to get used to some pretty early morning wake up calls and long run dates with that wonderful treadmill…like the beautiful seven miles we spent together this morning.

I’m also into the third week of my making over my eating habits, and I think it’s definitely helping my overall stamina. I just feel healthier. This week my goal is to eat at least three servings of vegetables each day.

Vegetables are a little bit more difficult for me than fruit. I adore fruit, so three servings a day is simple. Vegetables, on the other hand, are something else completely. I’m going to have to branch out further than three servings of baby carrots or V8 Fusion a day.

Happy four day week everyone!

ang

A Favor To Ask

With the new year comes resolutions. If you’ve read my blog at all this week, or any other blog in the world for that matter, this is quite obvious. Any excuse to come up with some extravagant goals…I’ll take it!

I want to be honest here. I may not have made it known to everyone over that past few years, but losing a little bit of weight has always, in a little-tiny way, been a secret resolution of mine. Since recovery from my eating disorder I have never thought of doing anything drastic…I just maybe wanted to drop a few. Did I need to lose weight? No way…but I just thought what the heck, it wouldn’t hurt.

This is the first year in quite a long time that I’m not even secretly making that goal.

This week as I’ve joined my running gals several times at 5:30am at the local community center where we meet up for runs, the parking lot has been nearly packed full. I think that is great! It may not be the most desirable situation to have to wait for cardio machines or make your way through a crowded gym, but isn’t it great that so many people are there to make a healthy change for themselves? I think so.

With the new year I know that there are a lot of people hitting up the gym with the goal of losing weight, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing…if you need to lose weight to be healthy. However, my concern lies in the motive behind the goal. Are we seeking to shed a few pounds because we think it will make us happier?

Because I will tell you right from my heart…losing weight will not make you happier. It just doesn’t work. (Please note, I’m definitely not a doctor or a psychologist or a nutritionist or any kind of medical professional. I am only sharing my opinions based on personal experience.)

With that being said, I have a favor to ask.

In two thousand and twelve, as we seek to live happier and healthier lies, let’s not focus on the number on the scale, but rather ways in which we can truly make ourselves happy people. Like by …

…finding something you love to do. This can be anything! If you love to run (like me!), run! If you hate running but love to cook (unlike me!), find new healthy recipes to try…or even make up your own. If you love to be around your friends and family, try planning get-togethers, and better yet, plan get-togethers where you all can do something active together. Who doesn’t love a good game of bowling?!

…ditching the scale. That silly thing can be evil. Weight is not the only way to measure healthiness or if you’ve slimmed down, and it’s definitely not the way to measure happiness. It may not be an easy task, so take baby steps. If you are a daily weigher, try every other day or once a week. If you are a random weigher, just ask yourself why you are weighing yourself (a tip I need to listen to more myself). If your goal is to slim down, there are other ways to measure your success. How do your clothes fit? Have you lost inches? A number on the scale can be deceiving, especially if you are getting healthier by fitness or strength training.

…eating breakfast. I know this is my specific goal, but I highly recommend it. Eating a good breakfast makes a great start to the day, and by golly, I feel happier!

…giving yourself positive affirmations. You didn’t think I’d forget to give you your first Friday affirmation of the new year, did you?

…finding a reason to smile every day and take note of it. Did your dog just do the cutest thing (Tia always makes me smile!)? Did you finish a great run at a great pace? Did you laugh at someone’s joke? Did you make a delicious meal? Whatever the reason, remember the little things that can make you happy each and every day.

…eliminating the word “fat” from your vocabulary. You are not fat, you don’t look fat, so please stop saying it (or any other word that has the same negative meaning). It is a mean, mean word, and it should definitely not ever be in the same sentence as the word “happy.”

…being silly. Sing in the shower…or obnoxiously in your care at stoplights without worrying if the car next to you is watching. Dance. Leg-wrestle with someone. Do cartwheels. Have a food fight or throw a pie in someone’s face (as long as you’re sure they will think it’s funny, too!)

…donating clothes that you don’t feel comfortable in. Whether they are too big or too small or just don’t hug you the right way, get rid of them. Donate them. There are not many things more daunting than a pair of “skinny” jeans hiding in the closet. Why not just wear the jeans that make you feel sexy and confident and comfortable right now? Right? So do it!

…reminding yourself that you are beautiful just the way you are. You probably get tired of hearing me say this at least weekly. But it’s true. And if you tell yourself it enough, you will start to believe it. I promise…both that you are beautiful and that you will believe it soon enough.

ang

Starting the Year Off Right…

…with breakfast, of course.

I’m in love with setting goals and then achieving them, duh, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading and hearing about everyones’ wishes for two thousand and twelve. I just know this is going to be a ridiculously awesome year!

Each year I make a resolution to “eat healthier” and I can never follow through with it. I’ll start out doing well, and then I just quit. What does eating healthier mean for me anyway? Cutting sweets? Well, that’s not happening. Eating less noodles? Also not happening. Getting more protein? Well, yes…but how? Don’t even get me started about potato chips!

One of my “wishes” is to make one better eating decision each week. That means that I will be making fifty-two choices that will help me be a healthier person in the long run.

I would like to make it known that none of these changes will include cutting any food groups or restricting my diet in any way. Honestly, it will probably involve adding many, many more foods in certain food groups. Hello vegetables…we are about to become best buddies! I’m sure that this wish will entail a lot bravery as I will have to convince myself to try new foods, however, condiments will not be making the list. Absolutely. Not.

For this week my change was easy…it’s just another one of my two-thousand and twelve wishes. I’m going to eat breakfast every single day. No skipping. No sleeping in and then waiting for lunch to come around. It’s going to be breakfast, and it’s going to be delicious!

Which is why I’m glad these precious little grapefruits were on sale yesterday!

ang

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

“Who made the chocolate cookies with the hidden cherries?????”

Why, that was me!

Let me rewind. Last Thursday evening I went to a cookie party at my lovely aunt Terrie’s house. Everyone brought three dozen of their cookies of choice. We all set out our cookies and admired everyones’ work. Then we formed a conga line (quite literally due to my aunt Andrea!) and went around the kitchen taking two of each different type of cookie and putting them in our own cookie boxes to take home.

A sweet tooth’s dream.

I have a big italian family, so there were many people at this feast of sugar, so most of the cookies, aside from my sister’s super-creative melting snowman cookies (ummm…cutest cookies EVER…definitely deserved best in show!), went pretty anonymous.

That is why I was ecstatic when I received an e-mail from my auntie on Friday demanding, “Who made the chocolate cookies with the hidden cherries?????”

Me me me me me me me me me me me!!!

They were not the prettiest cookies there. Definitely not. They were just brown blobs. The icing was brown and crackly instead of smooth and beautiful looking. The cookie part itself looked dull and not at all enticing. They probably appeared overdone, although they were not. Somehow though, someone was not afraid to bite into one, and that is when the surprise was revealed…

…a maraschino cherry!

You all know that I am not creative in the kitchen, so I cannot take credit for the recipe…I can only take credit for recreating a much uglier version, but still just as good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained, reserve juice
  • 1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed mil

Preparation:

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda, blending well; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter or margarine and sugar on low speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; beat until smooth and well blended. With hands, shape dough into one inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheet. Press down center of dough with thumb. Drain maraschino cherries well, reserving juice. Place cherry in the center indention of each cookie.
  • In small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk; heat over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the reserved cherry juice. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the topping over each cherry, spreading to cover cherry. If frosting seems too thick, thin with a little more cherry juice. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until done. Remove to wire rack to cool.

I’ll admit it. I forgot to add the salt…but what difference can 1/4 of a teaspoon make, right? And at first my dough was too sticky so I just added an unknown amount of more flour. I was confused at the fact that you put on the frosting before you baked the dough, and I almost didn’t do it…but then I remember what usually happens when I make up my own directions in the kitchen. Maybe all these little facts contribute to the overall less than appealing aesthetic of the little cookies…

…but at least they tasted delicious!

Thank you to all those who braved my cookies and then actually loved them. I do believe I am going to make them again!

ang

Pumpkin Train

Yes. I know it is December, which means that all of the hype over pumpkin-flavored food, desserts, and drinks is now over.

However, I just jumped on the pumpkin train only a few short weeks ago, and I’m not ready for this ride to be over quite yet. That’s right, until this year I never ate anything pumpkin. Not even the pie. But this year I have become just a little bit braver when it comes to food…I’ve eaten jalapenos (and loved them), onions (and loved them), mushrooms (and, oddly enough, loved them), and now pumpkin-y things and yes, I also fell in love with them. That picture of pumpkin pie…I ate it in December.

A couple of weeks ago I was assigned to bring the dessert for dinner club’s Thanksgiving gathering. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend (tear!), but I still wanted to make sure my family of friends had something sweet to eat after all their ham and casseroles.

Of course, I reached for my handy-dandy phone to open up my AllRecipes app for this recipe. It’s always my go-go cooking source. I know that all of you are over the pumpkin thing, so I’m not going to bore you with the recipe, but if you are interested in these pumpkin pie chocolate chip cookies, click here!)

I was baking away when the husband got home from basketball practice, and with a very concerned look on his face he asked me, “What are you doing, honey?” When I explained to him that I was baking cookies for dinner club he asked even more concerned now, “From scratch?”

Yes. I made these from scratch, and if I do say so myself they were pretty darn tasty. The term “myself” might actually be completely correct, because even though all my dinner club friends texted me telling me my cookies were delicious, I can’t be for sure they weren’t just trying to make me feel good. I did have to force my husband to eat one…and the word “force” is not an exaggeration…and I’m pretty sure my sister never ate one.

I can’t be for sure if anyone actually ate any at dinner club, but I guess I’ll take their word for it. They must not be too afraid of my dessert-making skills because I volunteered to make dessert for next weekend’s Christmas dinner club and nobody tried to stop me.

I promise, though, I’ll jump off this pumpkin train soon (probably when my pumpkin spice coffee creamer runs out) and I’ll be jumping on a new one soon. I’m expecting some very delicious peppermint and chocolate combinations in my very near future. Maybe this one from Miss Julie!

I mean, it is December after all.

ang

Sometimes Thing Don’t Go As Planned

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. While you know I’m not the biggest fan of turkey, stuffing, especially not deviled eggs, and just Thanksgiving food in general, I have to admit that I had a magnificent time with family. Any day that gives me the excuse to see my family is a good day to me.

This year my mother (and her hubs and mother-in-law) provided us with turkey, ham, green bean casserole (the one Thanksgiving food I truly love), corn casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, homemade noodles, stuffing, sweet potatoes, two kinds of jello creations, chocolate pie, and of course pumpkin pie with the option of whipped cream. And I’m sure that I am forgetting something here. What did she ask me to contribute to this feast?

Pickles and olives.

Aside from the green beans, pickles and olives are probably my second and third favorite things to eat on Thanksgiving. I do appreciate the fact that my mom didn’t assign me a food that I’d have to spend hours preparing and cooking. That was very considerate of her. But I think that little fact might also have something to do with the fact that she didn’t want me or the guests to have to endure some sort of Angela creation, a.k.a. disaster.

It’s no secret that I’m not Mrs. Betty Crocker. In fact, I actually wanted to cook yesterday, and while I did end up with some very tasty soup and a delicious fruit pizza, I spent approximately five hours in the kitchen dirtying about seventeen different knives (all steak in style), boiling over pots (yes, plural) of water, spraying powder sugar everywhere, and I can’t forget, breaking the garbage disposal.

Sorry. No Rachel Ray here.

However, there is one place in life where I usually feel right at place and truly confident in my abilities. That would be in my art studio…which happens to be the living room floor at the moment.

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I’d say that November has been a pretty darn creative month for me…in the craft category, not food. I love creating things. No matter how busy I become as a wife, as a student, as a nurse (someday), and mom (someday), I will always find some time to be creative. It may not be very often. My families’ grumbling bellies may have to suffer, but it will be worth it.

Because being creative makes me whole.

I love finding paint dried up and hidden on the side of my hand a day later (and on Tia’s tail). I don’t mind cleaning up tiny scraps of paper, and I don’t mind when my fingertips are numb from being burned with hot glue.

However, as in the kitchen, sometimes things just don’t go the way I expect. Remember that cute fabric that I was excited about a couple of weeks ago? Well, sadly, that didn’t go as I expected.

It was supposed to be a Christmas ornament for my most recent Dinner Club get-together’s ornament exchange. I stayed up really really late the night before and made it while my husband played his video game. At one point he stated that it didn’t look like an ornament. I gave him a dirty look, told him he was mean, and insulted his own creativity…all the while I should have listened to him. Seventy-five percent through I looked at the thing myself and thought it was ugly, but decided that it’d be better when I was finished. When I was finished, the husband’s statement was confirmed.

I went to the store the next day before the party and bought a real ornament.

My creation did not look like an ornament, and there was no way in the world that I was going to give that to someone, let alone a friend. It did have some nice elements to it. I loved the colors and the combination of patterns. I adored the raw edges of the fabric and how it was rolled up into little flowers. I couldn’t let the thing go to waste…so I gave it to Tia to use a play toy.

She still needs some convincing.

Now these pieces of wood? I’m not even going to get into that. Aside from the five hours spent in the kitchen, part of which I was cleaning up to grossness that was supposed to be in the garbage disposal, I spent several more hours trying to salvage these babies.

I’m starting over tomorrow.

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Sometimes things aren’t going to go as planned. Sometimes you’ll have to scrap certain things and start all over.

And it will all be okay.

ang

My Best Dinner Ever

Last week I made what most people would think of as a pretty bold statement.

Pretty bold, right? Well, coming from me that’s not really saying much.

Nonetheless, I was pretty darn proud of myself when the husband said, “Honey, you can make this dinner anytime you want!”

I can’t take credit for the idea behind the recipe, because if it weren’t for my allrecipes Dinner Spinner app on my phone I’d be lost. Completely lost. So, via Jackie at allrecipes.com, here is my best dinner ever…

Linguini with Peppers and Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package linguini pasta (I used bow-tie pasta!)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (Removing the casings was one nasty job, but it had to be done. I also added one large, seasoned chicken breast!)
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped (I used green!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (I skipped this…I drank all the wine!)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Saute sausages in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until light brown, breaking up clumps with back of spoon. Add peppers, onion, and garlic; saute until tender. Add wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 6 minutes.
  • Drain pasta, and add to the skillet. Toss to combine. Add cheese, and toss to blend. Serve.

  • Pour yourself a glass of wine.
  • Enjoy!

ang

Scale Stories

I had a major realization yesterday. It was one that surprised me, then grounded me.

Let’s rewind about six years. I owned my own scale, my gym had two available scales, one in the locker room and one by the weight machines, and the mall where I worked had one of those crazy scales that you put a quarter in to see your weight and your horoscope or something else ridiculous like that.

I visited these above scales, whichever was most convenient, several times a day. Maybe that crazy scale at the mall was on to something, because each time I stepped on the darn thing I found out how my day was going to go. (i.e. A lower number meant good day, higher number meant bad.)

To make a long, sad (but triumphant, yes!) story short let’s fast forward to a few months later…late May, 2006. I’m trying to sound nonchalant by saying “late” May when actually I know the exact date, May 22nd. I know the exact pair of jeans I was wearing, exactly what I did that morning, what I ate, and exactly what I did the rest of that day. I arrived with my mom at the Research Medical Center’s eating disorder unit, and the very first thing we did was an assessment with the nurse which involved me changing into a hospital gown to be “officially” weighed. The funny thing is (not funny…ironic maybe?) I could have told the nurse myself my “official” weight pretty close to the tenth of a pound. Once I was changed, the nurse (I can remember exactly what he looked like and the color scrubs he was wearing) asked me to step on the scale backwards.

Backwards. Hmm.

This became routine every morning in treatment before breakfast. Change into that beautiful gown and step on the scale backwards. At first the sound of the nurse adjusting the scale was daunting. I strained my ears to decipher where…what number…the nurse might be stopping on. However, the more days that passed by and the healthier I became, the less and less daunting it became. It more or less just because a routine thing to do…just another part of the day…and before I knew it, I really wasn’t thinking about what the number was.

When I left treatment, I knew that getting rid of my scale was going to be an important part of staying healthy. I had my mom dispose of it before I got home. However, I knew there’d be other places that would tempt my curiosity…the gym, the mall, and the doctor’s office. But I successfully avoided all of them.

When I’d go to the doctor for an annual physical, check-up, or because I was sick, as soon as the nurse would ask me to come back and step on the scale I would politely decline. Only one time did the nurse ask me why, and I explained and that was the end of that.

I’m not sure the exact length of time that I went without weighing myself or actually knowing the number. It was a long time, though…over a year at least.

One day at another doctor appointment the nurse asked me to step back to the scale. I took a deep breath and I did what she asked. I made the decision to step on the scale for the first time in a long time because I felt ready to handle whatever number it threw my way. The number wouldn’t affect me anymore.

Since then I’ve wondered about what my number was, I’ve stepped on the scale occasionally, but I never let it change my mood or how I viewed myself.

Now let’s fast forward back to this week. Tuesday evening, as I was waiting for my husband to get home from basketball practice I decided to have a late snack. I whipped out a bag of tortilla chips and the rest of my homemade salsa and started munching away. After a few minutes I thought to myself Angela, you shouldn’t eat this late, you have a doctors appointment tomorrow and you’re going to be weighed. Soon I rolled up the bag and put the food away. Yesterday morning my alarm went off early to get in the day’s workout, but I really didn’t want to get out of bed. Quickly I told myself Angela, you need to workout this morning, you have a doctors appointment this afternoon. Once I was in town I called my sister to see if she wanted to meet me for lunch. When I called I asked her if she’d rather just get some coffee instead because I was telling myself Ang, you don’t want to eat too much right before your doctors appointment.

Then it hit me.

I was letting the darned old scale control my actions. I was allowing a number, a number that wasn’t even real yet, scare me.

Silly me.

I went ahead and met my sister for lunch and I ate whatever I felt like at that moment…which happened to be chips and salsa (go figure!) and mozzarella sticks. Then I went to the doctor with a smile on my face, and I stepped on that scale with a smile in my mind because I knew that I was conquering that negative voice inside my head.

The number that lit up on the scale only confirmed the fact that I know I am stronger and healthier than I ever have been in my whole life…and each day keeps getting better and better.

ang