November 12, 2012

A Better Motto

Today is a holiday, it's snowing outside, my kitten is laying on my lap purring, I'm still in my pajamas, and I'm tired from not sleeping well last night. Don't all of those sound like great excuses to stay home snuggled under a warm blanket? I think so too, but alas, I can't. I've made a commitment to workout today.

One of the easiest commitments to break is the one I make to myself to workout. I've done it often. So this time, in order to keep my word to myself, I'm also telling someone else and making a definitive plan. I've created a workout calendar so I'll know what I'm supposed to do each day and can mark off the days I've accomplished my goal. I'm adding my workouts to my electronic calendar that syncs with every device I own. Now it will be an official appointment with myself, instead of just a vague idea of something I mean to do. I've told Steven my plan, so now I'm accountable to someone other than myself. I also have a friend at work who is going to help me by pushing me beyond what I believe are my physical limits.

We all have good intentions when it comes to working out or losing weight. We think we can do it on our own and often without a clear plan, but it takes more than just good intentions and hope that we can make it to the end. We have to know how we're going to get there, and we have to have people who can help us along the way.

S.E.L.F.    R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

It's fairly simple. Set goals. Exercise. Love yourself. Focus on fitness. Rest and relax. Eat right. Smile. Portray positive. Enjoy life. Care for others. Tell yourself you can do this.

I can follow those guidelines, and I've started by setting my workout goals and making them concrete, for the first time in my life. I have a plan.

October 22, 2012

13 Isn't Scary At All

In case you haven't been paying attention, I've now lost 13 pounds. It hasn't been the fastest weight loss in history, but I claim victory over that unwanted poundage. Soon I will say goodbye to more in my quest to become a healthier me.

Someone asked for one tip that's helping me lose. Here's an easy one. Most of the time I cook and eat at home, but now and then it's fun to eat out. Before I go to a restaurant, I visit their website and check out their menu and nutrition listings. A few places allow you to mix and match items so you can build your own meal. By doing this, you'll know exactly what to order before you arrive and you won't be tempted by items that aren't goal friendly. Steven and I did this while dining out and it was nice not having to stress about what I could or couldn't order. We were able to relax and enjoy the meal.

September 24, 2012

Slow Going, And It's OK

For anyone keeping track, you'll notice my weight didn't change last Monday. That isn't because I didn't weigh in or log my progress, it's because I didn't lose anything. I maintained for the week. It happens, even when I follow all the rules. Of course I'd rather lose something rather than nothing, but at least I didn't gain. This week I seem to be back to my 1 pound weight loss. I'll take it. Last week was stressful and hectic at work, but I did my best to stay healthy and it apparently paid off.

We're all going to have weeks when we don't lose anything or we gain back a pound or two. Sometimes it will be because we had some missteps during the week, and sometimes it will happen even when we do everything exactly right. No matter what the scales say, we have to keep exercising and eating right.

Last night I posted a new recipe in the Recipes section. Check it out when you have time. It's one of my favorites. I love Chinese food and this satisfies my craving while letting me control what goes into my dish. Prepared as posted, it tastes like something you get from a restaurant. Feel free to add veggies you enjoy. You can never go wrong with more veggies.

Good luck to everyone in the coming week!

September 10, 2012

Progress

I'm making slow, but steady progress in my goal to lose weight. I'll take 1 pound per week. It's a healthy rate at which to lose. How is everyone else doing? Are you hanging in there with me? Still losing?

This week I plan on posting a new recipe on my Recipes tab and a new post here about misleading food labels I've found recently. More later...



August 27, 2012

I Want My Half Pound Please

I love MyFitnessPal, but I feel cheated. I lost 1.5 pounds this week; however, the program doesn't display half pounds. Sigh. I'm sure it all equals out in the end and I'll get my half pound back in my public results later, but I'd like every bit of credit I deserve. I worked hard for that half pound.

So the real grand total of weight loss for last week is 1.5 pounds! Yay!


August 23, 2012

The Art of Lunch

I've become fascinated with bento boxes. If you're not familiar with them, I highly recommend you do a Google search and check out a few images. Some are fantastical art that only resemble food when you look closely.


What I like most about bento boxes is that they seem like little lunchtime gifts. Most aren't elaborate art, they're simply lovely food divided into small containers in a lunchbox. Simple enough isn't it? But how many of us take the time to package our lunch so it's a wonderful treat when the clock strikes noon? I don't. I throw things into baggies with one hand as I use the other to pour water into the cup that goes with me everywhere. Then I dash out the door to work. When lunchtime rolls around, I eat at my desk and hope people have the decency to leave me alone for at least 30 minutes while I wolf down whatever happened to land in the lunch bag that never keeps anything cold or warm enough.

No longer. Bento boxes have made me realize lunch isn't just about satisfying the gnawing little hunger in my stomach I keep trying to ignore. It's about taking a break, breathing deeply, relaxing, enjoying what I'm eating, reading a book, writing a story, talking to a friend, listening to music. Perhaps one of the things that's keeping me from truly being satisfied at lunchtime is that I'm not stopping to actually participate in the art of taking a lunch.

So I purchased my own version of a bento box, and today I filled it with my favorite yogurt, apple slices, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, tuna salad, veggie chips, pita bread, and string cheese. I brought a placemat, real silverware, and a cloth napkin with me to complete the experience. It's the same lunch and snacks I had yesterday, but it was so much better today. Music played as I relaxed and enjoyed my meal, which was arranged nicely in burgundy bowls. I didn't think about photographing it until I was finished, but this is the lunchbox I'm using, purchased at Amazon.
Today's experience proved to me that it's worth taking a few minutes each night before I go to bed to make my lunch so I can have an enjoyable meal every day at work. If I'm more satisfied with my meal and less stressed overall, I'll be less likely to want to have an unplanned snack later in the day.

Thank you, little bento boxes!

August 20, 2012

Monday, Monday

I may be a little nuts, but I decided to make Monday my official weigh-in day. Whether the results are good or bad, I'll share them once a week, and hopefully we'll all watch the pounds lost add up on the MyFitnessPal badge to the left. 

I'd love to know how all of you are doing too. If you've lost, share and let's celebrate together. If you've gained, let us know and maybe we can encourage you to keep trying. Your day doesn't have to be Monday, but it should be the same day every week.

And the grand total lost for week one is...


August 17, 2012

That Naughty Four Letter Word

I celebrate, mourn, kill time, and console with it. At times it feels like my best friend, and then it turns on me. The variety of it is endless, and yet I often stand frozen, staring, waiting for the perfect thing to jump out at me as I search the kitchen with my eyes and stomach.


It haunts and taunts me, making me feel like I have no more control over my appetite than I do the weather. The mere notion of being on a diet is enough to send my body into hunger shock. If I dare to take action and limit the amount and types of food I eat, my stomach rebels, going into a Hulk-like rage until I give in and down the nearest unhealthy treat within reach. I slump in disgrace as my stomach gurgles, "Puny human." I am no match for the lure of food. 

Still, I try. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Weigh Down, Slim Fast, and The Christy Knight Starvation Plan. Of them all, the best for me was Weight Watchers. I learned that I didn't have to deprive myself of things I love to eat and drink, as long as I did it in moderation. It worked. Again and again and again. But counting points or calories, and analyzing every morsel or drop that slips past my lips is simply no fun. Eventually I near my goal and grow tired of the chore that eating becomes. I think B.B. King was singing about food in his famous song. The thrill is gone indeed.

But here I sit, ready to give it another try with yet another program...make that programs. And this time I'm making it more public. Perhaps sharing on my blog how much I've lost or gained will help me keep my resolve to be a healthier person at a healthier weight. Maybe it will shame me into submission when I feel the need to rebel.

So look up and to the left. You'll see an indicator from MyFitnessPal that will show how much I've lost in total. I'm starting at zero so we have a clean slate. Along the way I'll blog about topics that are on my mind, share things I find that are useful (or not), and post recipes on the "Recipes" tab (always with nutrition info). If you're interested in joining me, MyFitnessPal is free. I'm also going to use some of the USDA SuperTracker tools. It's also free, and if you've never peeked at it, you should. I like them for different reasons. Both were very revealing to me and helped me see where I need to improve.

I'll leave you for now with a clip of a gentleman named Aaron Wilburn singing part of the lyrics to a song called The Diet Song, written by Shel Silverstein (modified by Mr. Wilburn). Wish me luck in my new journey. Join me if you dare.


May 30, 2012

Recipes Section

If you haven't checked out my new Recipes tab (see above), take a quick look for some delicious delights. I have several more to post in the coming days.

The latest?

Sirloin with Mushroom Sauce


March 19, 2012

Recipe: Easy Breakfast Casserole

Photo by Christy Knight

Let's try something a little different for my blog today. I have a favorite recipe I like to make on the weekends for a quick warm-up breakfast during the week, or when we have an office potluck. It's easy and you can modify it to suit your taste. I've even included a lower fat version for those who might like a healthier breakfast.

Enjoy!

Easy Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

1 12 oz. package sausage
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Bisquick mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups milk
4 eggs

Directions

Brown sausage, cook until done, then drain. Arrange crumbled sausage in bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Arrange cheese on top of sausage.

In a separate bowl, beat milk, eggs, Bisquick, salt, and pepper, until smooth. Pour mixture over cheese and sausage.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Optional Add-ins: Onions, mushrooms, spinach, etc. I've tried them all and they each give the dish a different twist. Have fun trying new things!

Number of servings 12


Lower Fat Version

Ingredients

1 12 oz. package 50% less fat sausage
1 8 oz. package fresh mushrooms (optional)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (lowfat)
1 cup Heart Smart Bisquick mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups skim milk
4 eggs

Directions

Brown sausage, cook until done, then drain. Arrange crumbled sausage in bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Arrange cheese on top of sausage.

In a separate bowl, beat milk, eggs, Bisquick, salt, and pepper, until smooth. Pour mixture over cheese and sausage.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Optional Add-ins: Onions, mushrooms, spinach, etc.

Number of servings 12

March 5, 2012

Please Stand By...

Lately, Steven and I have had several conversations about the dumbing-down of television. It seems that smart TV is becoming more difficult to find. I'm not talking about shows that delve into the meaning of life or that explore the deepest of scientific theories. I'm simply talking about programs that give the audience credit for being intelligent enough to pick up on subtle clues or facial expressions without having it explained minutes later or telegraphed seconds before. As we say in writing -- show, don't tell. (We won't even talk about the atrocity that is "reality" TV.)

So when I come across a TV show that gets it right, I'm excited and become a devoted fan. The shows I feel warrant making it onto my list is sadly short.

Fringe

Forget the fact that we're keeping up with four versions of the same characters living in their respective universes. Let's focus on the fact that the writers know they don't have to explain everything or explicitly point out every nuance. And they aren't in-your-face things. They're subtle. Example: Walter, a main character, was at one point considered the most hated man in the world. He was taken out in public wearing a protective vest in a quick scene. They didn't linger on it and no one mentioned it. It was a subtle reminder of his status.

All in the Family 

This was without a doubt a ground-breaking show. It was a comedy that dealt with serious real world issues without apologizing or trying to soften the message. The audience was given credit for being able to handle what they were offered. I'll never forget the episode where Edith opened the door to a man who raped her. What other comedy would do that to a beloved character? It was a tough episode to watch. I'm not sure a show like All in the Family could be done on network TV now. We'd have to watch it on HBO or Showtime.

The Twilight Zone 

It's a shame this one didn't last longer. It often managed to deliver a social message, masked as sci-fi; something that was done quite a bit in the 1960s and 70s. Each episode led us down a twisting path, keeping us guessing about what was really going on, and giving us credit to understand it in the end. Sometimes what we didn't see was more important than what was on our screen. At times, not hearing dialogue at all was extremely powerful. If you've never seen an episode called The Invaders, you should. Not a word is spoken until the end.

Prime Suspect 

Alas, this one was just canceled. It's a shame because it featured a smart female cop who wasn't trying to look like a supermodel in hooker heels and a low-cut shirt while chasing bad guys (I'm talking to you, Poppy Unforgettable Montgomery). Maria Bello played Detective Jane Timoney, and was my favorite female cop since Cagney and Lacey. She was blunt, dedicated, and had a realistic relationship with her male counterparts. I wish more people had given the show a chance.

Mad Men 

The 1960s were an interesting time in American history, and Mad Men gives it to us in all its ugly glory. They don't try to pretty it up by playing down racism, sexism, alcoholism, smoking, homophobia, etc. Instead they embrace it, and tell us this is what was happening during the times and the characters are flawed. They've made me appreciate what the women before me did to make my life in the work world better. It's been fun watching Peggy rise through the ranks of a male-dominated business. Somewhere there are more than a few real Peggys that deserve a thank you.

Lost

Those who know me knew I had to comment on my favorite. Even if it weren't my favorite, it had to be on this list. On September 24, 2004, millions watched a plane crash on an island. Before the end of the program, it was clear this was no ordinary island. We were given mysteries to unravel and debate. Titles of books seen on the show became must-reads, just in case they contained clues about our Lostees or The Others (Watership Down, A Wrinkle in Time, Of Mice and Men, Fountainhead, The Third Policeman, and many more). The creative team rarely made mistakes. But when they did, they copped to it and were quick to correct by, for example, giving James (Sawyer) Ford glasses or swiftly and diabolically killing two very unpopular new characters (buh-bye Nikki and Paulo). Theories in science were introduced, and fans argued the possibilities. Religious themes set off more debate, as did questions of morality and the ever-fun choice vs. destiny. Viewers paid attention to all the details and the creative team paid attention to the viewers. Both were rewarded with a show that was fun, interactive, and had excellent writing, acting, and directing. It remains, as you can probably deduce, my number one show...for now.

Of course there are so many more...
  • M*A*S*H*
  • Person of Interest
  • The Good Wife 
  • Firefly 
  • The Killing 
  • Hill Street Blues 
  • Flash Forward (canceled way before its time) 
  • Mad About You 
  • White Collar 
  • Frasier
  • Modern Family 
  • Once Upon a Time
  • House (until it jumped the shark) 
  • The X-Files
  • Castle
  • The 4400 (also canceled before its time) 
  • Star Trek (the original series)
  • The Big Bang Theory 
  • Lie to Me (another canceled too soon)
A few new ones could make the list eventually. I'm sure I've forgotten several, and as soon as I post this, I'll want to add them. But these are the shows that came to my mind first. They're the ones that have left an indelible impression on me. I wish the entertainment industry would give me more new shows to add to the list. Sadly, they seem intent on feeding me reality silliness and scripted TV full of plot holes, but I'm not going to bite.

March 1, 2012

January 15, 2012

My Private Paradise

The city where I live built a wonderful little park for me. The winding walking trail begins across the street from my front door and progresses down a small hill. Tall trees stand guard as the trail leads to several small grassy areas with shorter trees, planters, boulders, and flowers. Soon they will fill my private paradise with new plants, trees, art, and a small foot bridge.

As I walk through the little park, I'm greeted by various birds. During the spring, summer, and fall, a trio of doves were always there to greet me and make my day brighter. Today a gaggle of geese looked at me briefly, then went about their business. When the weather is warmer, butterflies float across my path, and grasshoppers bound joyously in the distance. It's a place of peace. It's a place where I'm usually alone and can think.

The view from below.

Of course the city didn't build it just for me, but because I'm usually the only person walking through the park on any given day, it often feels as if they designed it with me in mind. Occasionally I'll cross paths with a wayward family riding bikes or out for an evening stroll, but usually it's all mine. I never thought I'd have my own park.

We all need special places that feel as if they're all ours. These little oases give us comfort and help us recharge our batteries so we can deal with the world in a civilized manner. They help those of us who are creative reconnect with our muses. My place is a park across the street. For others, it might be a busy coffee shop or a room in their home.

Now you know mine. I hope you have yours as well.