Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Plated: A Food Review

I got caught by one of the facebook ads that look like a post. However, I’m rather enjoying it so far.

Plated is yet another shipped box of goodies. This time, it’s ingredients and recipes.

For my first box, I ordered 2 plates each of 2 meals. We had Pollock with marinated cucumbers and dill yogurt sauce the night the box arrived. The recipe card is a full sheet that has easy to follow instructions and pictures for each step.

You supply the dishes and a couple basic ingredients like olive oil, salt, and pepper. Read through your recipe before doing it, then just follow the steps, and voila! Dinner.

The Pollock was very delicious. It had Israeli couscous, which I had never had before but enjoyed. We loved the yogurt dill sauce, and Pollock is often used for fish and chips, so it brought back fond memories for me, without the breading and grease.
Pollock, marinated cucumbers, yogurt dill sauce and Israeli couscous
We just had the other dish, Green Goddess roast chicken, tonight. I love it. J, not so much. Green Goddess sauce is a combo of basil, chives, lime, buttermilk, and anchovy. It’s the anchovy that we think threw J off. He said it tasted fishy and he really did not like the sauce. I might try it again someday without the anchovy and see if he likes it then.

Our sides tonight were purple potatoes and roasted scallions (green onions). I was surprised at how much I liked roasted scallion. It didn’t have much onion flavor at all, and was actually quite sweet. Just spray with olive oil and sprinkle on a little salt, roast, and enjoy.

Green Goddess roast chicken with roasted scallions and purple potatoes
All in all, I think I will use Plated again. One of the biggest selling points can be summed up in their Manifesto, so I’m copying and pasting.

We believe food should be really fresh and really real. For us, living well means eating healthy, high quality foods that are fresh and full of flavor. We keep our ingredients whole to ensure everything arrives in nomnom-worthy condition.
We like knowing exactly what is going into our meals by seeing, holding, chopping and cooking the raw ingredients. We avoid processed foods because we prefer our mashed potatoes without a heaping tablespoon of carcinogens.
We use local and seasonal produce whenever possible and source our meats from local, family-owned purveyors. We partner with responsible companies like Sea to Table to make sure that our fish is always fresh, and wild-caught when possible.

Why did I fall for this? I am trying to move away from processed foods and use more whole produce in my cooking. This month I barely had time to get to the store, let alone cook much. I saw this as a chance to get at least 2 dinners delivered to my door and all I had to do was cook it. Healthy dinners, with fresh ingredients. 
The box was delivered overnight and fully insulated with 4 ice packs (which you can keep and reuse). The food is portioned and labeled so you know what's what. It really makes it rather simple, and I think someone who struggles to cook could learn a lot from this. I didn't use it, but they say they have some how-to videos on the website as well. 
I won’t be using Plated all the time, but once a month might be a nice treat and help us build a clean recipe collection using all fresh ingredients. If you want to check it out, please use my referral link!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Workin On My Fitness

I tracked 5 days of food for Sasha and she came back the next day with a nutrition and fitness plan. I have a list of good foods and a list of suggestions for swaps and healthy cheats. She also included some herbs that can help migraine, so I picked those up and will be giving them a try. One helps calm you when you're anxious, the other works similar to aspirin (anti-inflammatory). 

Now, Thursday and Friday didn't go so hot. I ate too much. Ugh. 

Saturday was the Dehydrator bike ride in Duncan, OK. Jason did the full 80 miles. I, however, hadn't been on my bike in 2 weeks, and not much before that either, so I only did 25. I tried to push my speed a little and managed a 16mph average pace. That's good for me. I felt like I could have gone farther, but not 50 miles, which was my next step up on approved routes. 

But I finished strong and felt good. J finished a little over 4 hours. I tracked all my nutrition that day and noticed that I was eating more than I was putting out. I can see a few easy adjustments I can make that will keep me fueled on my ride, but still give me that calorie deficit needed for weight loss. I also have to remember to not always listen to that little voice named Jason that wants to tell me how to fuel a ride. What works for him won't always work for me. 

Sunday was our rest day, but I still did pretty good and watched what I ate. Today (Monday) I got up and hit the gym. It was rainy, so it was a full gym, but I had plenty of room for a lower body day according to the plan from Sasha. I added one exercise to it and it rounded out to 6 total, so I split them in half. I did the first 3 in a row for 3 sets, then the next 3 for 3 sets. It worked. My legs feel worked, even now after grocery shopping. 

I think I will be going to the gym on strength days, even if it's stuff I can do at home. I find myself more motivated at the gym. I think I push myself harder there. She wants me to do 15-20 minutes of cardio first, and I can set the treadmill at a higher speed and push myself on there, or I did the bike today and tried to keep the MPH setting at 15-16. (Now if only they would let me use the nicer spin bikes.) Tomorrow I'm going to run. I might do the 5k track twice, or I might try a different route and just watch my time. Have to go for an hour. And I'm still walking the dog at least once a day.

I'm trying to really push myself to eat lots of fruit and veggies. I tried to buy fruits that I can eat as snacks during the day. I need to find sugar snap peas, but they didn't have any at the commissary today. I love those things. I like smoothies, but they work like a laxative. Not always feasible. 

I'm only working at the RecPlex now, so I have mornings to work-out. It's helping. I tend to do opening shifts as well, which I like; it means I'm home to have dinner with J and walk the dog in the evening. 

Still no news on where we are headed next. It makes me anxious, but there's not much I can do about it. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Busy Busy

I have been busy.

I I told you that I got a job here in OK. Did I mention I got 2 jobs?

At the very tail end of June, I started working at JoAnn’s and at the Fort Sill RecPlex. The RecPlex is a place for Soldiers to hang out. It’s only open in the afternoon and evening, so I’ve been working mornings at JoAnn’s and afternoon/evenings at the RecPlex. This lead to 40+ hour weeks for the past couple weeks.

I decided I will not be staying on at JoAnn’s. I’ll stop working after this week, along with the other temporary employees.

I thought this would set me back on my fitness and weight loss, but I was wrong. I am on my feet all the time at JoAnn’s, and even do some heavy lifting. I get in a run or ride when I can, even made it to the pool for some laps. And I’ve been sticking to the calorie goal that the Wellness Center gave me. I’m down 5 pounds. Go me!

Now to keep this up. In August, I’ll have mornings free to workout. I was researching and looking for programs to follow, because I like having guidance in my strength training, when I remembered that I have a couple friends going to school for that kind of thing. Ok, one going to school and one just finished school. Turns out the one who just finished is looking for some people to personally train so she can build up a client base and reputation.

So I have a personal trainer now! My friend Sasha is going to help me with both fitness and nutrition. She understands my fears about losing it all during the move, since she is also an Army wife and just moved. She has a blog over at mountaingirlsoul.com.

The other day, we talked on the phone about where I am and what I want. We talked about how often I work out, what I like to do, and what kind of things I have access to. We talked about food, what I do and don’t like, and what I struggle with. I’m going to keep a food journal for 5 days (track on myfitnesspal) and send that to her so she can see my habits. From there, she’ll work with me on a nutrition plan and we’ll set up a fitness schedule and exercise recommendations for me to start on. The goal is to get me into a routine that I can keep up during the transition to our next location.

I’m rather excited. I get a personal trainer, that I like, for free. I’ll weigh myself once a week. I also need to get back into the Wellness Center for a body comp test. It’s been a month and a half. That’s ok. Life was rather busy this month.

Here are some “before” pics, taken Saturday morning. Let’s see if I can remember to take new pics after a month or two and compare.

I don't know what I was looking at

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stupid Obstacles…

J and I were having a discussion while running a couple errands this afternoon. I’m on day 2 of a migraine that gave me signs it might be coming for a week.

Yesterday I had a queasy stomach that only felt better when I was eating. It felt worse when I moved around, so I mostly sat on the couch watching old episodes of Supernatural on Netflix.

Today felt better when I woke up, but I could still feel some pressure. I took pup for a walk and went to the farmers’ markets. This afternoon, I started getting pain. J drove for our errands, because I’m having brain fog, too.

So, our discussion—

My migraines are a huge detriment to my fitness. I can’t workout. Sometimes even just walking can trigger a pain spike. And if my heart rate goes up, I swear I can hear my pulse echoing in my head, and feel the whole thing throbbing. Not fun. So I basically can’t workout when I have one. And then I have migraine hangover for at least a day. I can workout, but not too hard. Let’s not even talk about the food issues for now.

J was saying that he doesn’t know how I can overcome this. I said the truth: I can’t. I cannot stop having migraines. There is no magical cure. And with multiple triggers, including weather changes, I can’t just eliminate or limit exposure to my trigger. Sometimes, like with this one, I can’t really pinpoint a single trigger for the migraine. I’m not very stressed, there’s no storm moving in. I just have a migraine.

The reason J worries is that a break in a regular fitness routine or training regimen is a big setback. Whether from injury, sickness, or laziness, once you stop working out, it’s harder to get back to where you were before. You lose fitness faster than you gain fitness. That’s why being fit requires a lifestyle change and not just a “for now” change.

Now, to touch on those food issues. I think I’ve mentioned my usual bottomless pit that replaces my stomach when I have a migraine. I just can’t seem to eat enough. I’m always hungry, and I crave things that aren’t good for me: junk food, especially cake and cookies, chocolate, fast food, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes… yeah. All those.  Other times, I am not hungry and don’t want to eat at all. The thought of food will make me queasy. More rare are days like yesterday, where I’m not so much hungry, but my stomach is upset and only feels better with food, so I nibble all day.

These are all issues that may change with time, since my migraines change as I age. I highly doubt they will ever go away on their own. Instead, I will do all I can to avoid migraines, prevent migraines, and get over them as quickly as I can. This one is welcome to leave any second now.

this guy understands

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A "Death" In The Family, and Health Update

Today was the last test at the Army Wellness Center. I did my VO2 Max. You walk/run on a treadmill for 6-11 minutes, wearing the silly mask and a heart rate monitor, until you reach 85% of your maximum heart rate. This is an accurate estimate – that is, not exact science, but better than other methods of guessing.

Your results are your cardio-respiratory fitness number. I got a 37.6 this time, but had a 41.5 last time. So my cardio healthy has gone down a bit. I also weigh more, and haven’t been doing as steady of a cardio workout. Excuses aside, I can get this back up there. 38.6 is the dividing line between “good” and “excellent.” I want to be excellent. Let’s work on that.

I also did some simple tests for strength and flexibility. First was the hang strength. You just squeeze this large device that measures your force applied. For back strength, you stand on a square that looks like a scale, hold a handle in both hands, and pull up. And flexibility is the dreaded sit-and-reach from grade school PE. Only this time, there was no set number to reach for, you just reach as far as you can.

I got a nice print-out of all my results, and comparisons to previous results that were in the system.

Now all that’s left is to meet with a dietician. I have MyFitnessPal set up and it’s working pretty well. So far. I did not do yesterday’s workout. I ran in the morning (sorta, with pup) and REALLY didn’t want to work out in the afternoon. I did do a half hour yoga session and felt better after that.  I did work out this morning, since today was some squats and a run.

That’s my other news. My phone died. I got his by a rain storm about half-way around the 3 mile track. I was SOAKED. Like, completely. I took my shirt off and wrung it out before getting in the car. Pup was not with me, or my car would still smell like wet dog. Phone was in my armband, which was also quite soaked. My music played the whole time, but I couldn’t swipe to unlock. I figured it was just my wet hands on a wet armband. In the car, I still couldn’t swipe. I tried drying it off with a tissue, but that didn’t do much.

So in the rice it went, soon as I got home. It sat in rice for 7 hours. After my test, I ran a couple errands and was near the Verizon store. In trying the phone, a piece of rice got stuck in the plug in. The Verizon girl got the rice out, but wasn’t able to save the phone. Ugh. She pronounced it dead and told me how to file a claim online. I pay the extra $10 a month for insurance on the phone, but this is my first time using it.

Did you know there’s a deductible? It’s probably different depending on what phone you have. Well for an iPhone 5c, it’s $170. Right now, I’m very glad I used an upgrade-trade-in combo to get this phone, because I had to pay to replace it when it died.

Don’t ask J about it. He might pop a blood vessel.

I’ll update on this again when I get to see a dietician. Until then, I can be found in the usual places. If you use MyFitnessPal, my username is char362. Look me up. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sometimes, It's The Small Things

Today was my “Upping Your Metabolism” class, where I got my metabolic test results.

The good news – my RMR has increased! I went from 1472 back in September to 1711 this month. I learned today that every pound of muscle could increase your RMR by 35-50 calories. So this means the strength training has been paying off, right?

But then there’s my increased weight and body fat. Which probably, in the end, comes down to poor eating habits.

Hello. My name is Charla and I’m a carb addict.

Bread, pasta, potatoes, and don’t forget the cake and ice cream – I love all the stuff that’s bad for me.  I don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. I don’t drink enough water, lately.  As I type, I’m eating a bowl of pasta for lunch.

Let’s focus on the positives. Today’s class felt better than the one I took back in September when I first did all this. The instructor seemed more knowledgeable, and like he actually wanted to be there, teaching us this stuff. He’s a former body builder, so he knows something about the struggle with weight (mentioned an injury as the end to that hobby). He made sci-fi movie references, and used metaphors that made it easy to understand. He wasn’t boring. I like him. I would love to have gotten him as my “personal trainer” for all of this (that’s their term, not mine).

While the dietician wasn’t there today, we received prints of her slides, including the number to call for an appointment. Also, the teacher that was there highly recommended seeing a dietician. He said that the ones to visit the dietician have the highest success rate.

I would like to take a moment to thank the Army for doing this. It’s a great resource and tool for Soldiers, and they didn’t have to make this available to dependents as well. I am so glad they did. It would cost me hundreds of dollars to get all this elsewhere.

I also want to thank my friend Jessica Bergin, who started doing MyFitnessPal and has been simply “liking” the things I do, like workout and complete my tracking for the day. I was rather surprised at how motivating I found it. I may not be good at reciprocating, but I’m going to try. Just knowing that someone else is following it, that someone else cares, has kept me tracking for a few days. I like seeing that she’s on there and paying attention. So thank, Jess, and keep up the awesome work on your own health!

Back to the post. It’s time to go into MyFitnessPal and change the calorie settings for my new recommendations. I’m going to give it a try the way they suggest – just track my food. I might still log exercise, just to see how much I’m burning and make sure I’m getting my weekly goals, but the focus is on the calorie amount they suggest. And it really is a suggestion, not a set number I must reach every day, no give or take.

I’ll head back for the VO2 test in 2 days. I’ll call the dietician office and get an appointment with them. And I start work soon, which will keep me on my feet more.

OH yeah, one last thing. I’m on week 4 of my 6 week challenge. I missed 2 days total: one in week 1 to a 10K run, and one in week 2 to a migraine. I like most of the workouts, and have been doing them in the afternoons, around the time I usually get sleepy. It’s keeping me awake and allows me to do yoga or run with pup in the mornings. So far, so good.