Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eat to live, Merry style

Quote du jour: I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day, because that means it's going to be up all night. ~Steven Wright

By request, a typical day's menu on the Eat to Live six week plan. At least, typical for me. One thing that I like about this way of eating is that you don't have to count calories. (I'm keeping track because it's a way to study my eating patterns, for my own understanding.) The emphasis is on eating beans and greens, especially green leafies, with 4 pieces of fruit and some nuts and seeds.

Breakfast is generally fruit with a bit of protein thrown in. Today, strawberries, blueberries, and a pear, about 3 cups' worth, with a bit of baked tofu on the side. The application I'm using to track calories suggests that I should aim for eating 200 calories and 5 grams of fiber at breakfast. I'm not an especially breakfast or morning type of person, so it might take me a couple hours to eat breakfast while at my desk. If I finish before 10, I call it breakfast.

Lunch is where I go to town on veggies. I usually go for a salad with a couple cups of greens, then beans, mushrooms, sliced carrots, whatever veggie toppings are around. There's a salad bar in the cafe at work, so I tend to cruise it for things I wouldn't usually buy at the store, and add them to my home-brought salad. One thing I've noticed about the beans and greens diet is that my taste buds are much more easily pleased. Used to be I didn't especially notice my food after the first taste of an entree, but now it's different. Suddenly, each bite of something like sundried tomatoes makes my taste buds all join hands and dance around in happy circles. Eating has become a lot more interesting.

For the mid-afternoon slump, I munch on an apple and some almonds.

Dinner is where I throw in any 'bad' food, i.e. anything that's not especially nutritious. Traditionally, I eat very well during the day and blow it after I get home at night. These days, I plan my bad, so I don't go overboard. One thing about this six week plan is that grains and starchy vegetables are limited, so here's where I'll eat some fritos or a baked (nuked) potato with salsa, something like that along with my salad. I'm still trying to find the best way to include flax seed into this diet.

Exercise du jour: 15 minutes elliptical. Yesterday I did a rather long 50 minutes, the day before was resistance. Today is just a placeholder, a quickie. Because I overslept, I get to work late, which means I won't have time to organize the house and exercise both. Inner Slug will be pleased.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So far... (Week 1 Eat to Live)

Quote du jour: Nothing cures insomnia as well as the realization that it's time to get up.

Survived week 1 of the Eat to Live six week plan.

Look, I don't want to jinx anything, but so far, so good. Not really noticing much difference. Well, yes, I did lose a couple pounds this week, but my weight fluctuates wildly anyway, so it's not that significant. (In the last six weeks, I've gained and lost 11 pounds. It's a roller coaster.)

More to the point, I'm not noticing any complaints from the Department of the Interior regarding the increase in high-fiber veggies in the diet. Not noticing any decrease in energy. I am noticing the feeling that I had before, the feeling of lightness, of not being weighed down by high-fat foods.

Exercise du jour: 50 minutes elliptical. Yesterday I did 30 minutes on a higher resistance; today I want to go for endurance.

I know I should mix it up with other kinds of exercise, such as spine-stretching yoga, but until I get all the furniture moved back into my office, the living room is too crowded for me to try exercise DVDs. No, seriously. I'll have to put a picture up. I keep planning to organize things when I get home, but i don't follow through. Turns out there is something my inner slug hates worse than exercising or house cleaning: organizing. The thought of being faced with that kind of decision-making at the end of the day makes the inner slug Really Eager to get on that elliptical.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Re lent

, demotivational posters
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Update: Done! That was a looooooong 50 minutes. Much longer than 45 minutes.

Quote du jour: Change is inevitable. Except from vending machines.

I know people scoff at New Year's resolutions and things of that ilk, but all the same there is a bit of an energizing momentum feel to the start of something; it can help you get out of a rut. (Keeping going once the momentum fades, that's another story.) I've been mulling over things to do for Lent, and this morning an idea occurred to me. (Even before coffee.) I wrote a review of the Eat to Live diet for Cranky Fitness. The author, Joel Fuhrman, suggests starting this lifestyle off with a six week diet plan. I can do something for six weeks. Hmmmn... That's about how long Lent is, too. Coincidence? Well, yes, okay, so it is a coincidence. But it's also a plan.

Last time I tried eating this way, I loved it with 80% of my body. The innards couldn't handle that much fiber after a lifetime of going carnivore. So I've been gradually switching my diet to eat more greens, beans, fruit. This is not going to be as radical a change as it was before. Let's see what happens.

Note: I'm using the Net Diary app on the iPad to keep track of the nutrients, so yes, I WILL make sure I get enough protein, 'k?

Exercise du jour: 50 minutes elliptical. I know I should mix it up, but until I get all the furniture moved back into my office, the living room is too crowded for me to try exercise DVDs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Party Gras on Mardi Gras?

Quote du jour: The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.
- Wilson Mizener

Another reason to take public transportation: it is not a good idea to drive when I'm this sleepy.

Another reason to walk at lunch. I go to work every morning when it's pitch dark outside. I leave work and it's equally dark. If I don't get out for a walk at lunch, it feels like I'm stuck in one eternal night until winter is over. That feeling creeps me out.

Another good reason to keep a blog. It feels like I'm in a rut, but if I look back, I can see progress. Even though damn back gets cranky if I sit too long, it doesn't fuss so much about the elliptical. It got annoyed with me last night, because I had the effrontery to try to pick something up off the floor. (Can I get a doctor's note to excuse me from house cleaning? And would the house elves do it for me?) Once I get the place organized, I need to go in for some ritualized form of stretching and strengthening, like yoga.

Exercise du jour: 45 minutes elliptical. Pushing things a little further.

UPDATE : done!
Posted from DPad on my iPad

Monday, February 20, 2012

The garlic had it coming...

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Update: Done!

Quote du jour: Are you casting asparagus on my cooking?
- Curly Howard

It's not my fault.
Not completely, anyway.

I mean, the recipe said that you're supposed to roast the head of garlic without peeling the cloves. In my joy at that news, I kinda skipped over the part about removing the dried papery skin around the garlic. And everything was going fine...until I heard the high-pitched screaming coming from the oven. I had to pierce the skin with a knife several times before the noise went away. Okay, yes, I stabbed it until it stopped screaming. I felt guilty for assaulting a vegetable.

Who knew cooking could be this violent?

Damn back still hurts, but it's a low level of pain that doesn't seem affected by ellipticaling. (Sitting is another story.)

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes elliptical, respectfully.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Friday, February 17, 2012


Quote du jour: I'd like mornings better if they started later.

Stayed up late last night. Went a weeeee bit off the healthy eating path. I'd planned to take the day off, but they asked me to come in and work overtime, which is extraordinary enough that I felt obliged to do it.

The back didn't object to the elliptical! I'll try it again with the resistance up a bit more, see how that feels. It's not back to normal, but it's a LOT better.

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes elliptical, respectfully.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Less pain = more exercise

Quote du jour:

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Steve Jobs

Update: Done! Got the Elliptical done before midnight. Admittedly, only two minutes before, but it still counts.

Site du jour: Ever read the sarcastic science comic XKCD? Ever read and then thought "what the hell is he talking about?" There's a blog called XKCD Explained that explains the science (and sometimes the sarcasm) behind the humor.

Exercise du jour: The back pain has descended into minor irritant level, so I'm going to see if I can do 30 minutes on the elliptical. What's the worst that could happen? Wait, don't answer that. Let's see what happens.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The many uses of guilt

epic fail photos - Romance FAIL
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Quote du jour: If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
-- Anon

Site du jour: The How to Write Badly Well blog created a Random Folktale Generator. No more casting around for something to write about, the plot creates itself! Some assembly required.

UPDATE: Got the walk done!

All the comments yesterday about guilt got me thinking.

(Dang it, I hate it when you guys do things like that to me. Thinking? At this hour of the morning?)

To me, guilt is useful, so long as you don’t linger over it. Accept it, learn from it, and move on. ‘nuff said. If I aim for a goal and miss, I count that as a FAIL. Hopefully one with lessons learned, so I can make different mistakes the next time.

I use guilt as a tool in my fight against my inner slug. It gets me up in the morning, it makes me get on the elliptical or lace up the walking shoes. I use guilt whenever I put up a post about a challenge, something I want to do to extend myself. The difference is that these days, I don't dwell on a FAIL.

When I was young, I used to feel guilty all the time; it was my default position. I was the sort of person who’d say “I’m sorry” whenever people told me I apologize too much. Someone once gave me a copy of “When I say no, I feel guilty.” I just ran across it the other day, and yes, I do feel guilty that I’ve never opened the cover and read a single page. All the same, I’ve mostly learned to deal with guilt, accept that it has a place in my general scheme of things. Just not a very big place. I’ll shake the hand of guilt, but I no longer feel the urge to hug guilt to myself as if it were a best friend. Honestly, we’re not that close any more, and I’m fine with that.

Speaking of FAIL, I spent yesterday's lunchtime working instead of walking. No good reason. Since the back has improved a bit more, I'm falling back into the old standby of ignoring my body and concentrating on work. This is repeating old mistakes, which I do consider a FAIL. Today will be different.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Monday, February 13, 2012

I was not prepared

Quote du jour: It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.
-- Mignon McLaughlin

Site du jour: On the Mark Reads blog, Mark is blogging about the experience of reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time. Interesting to see it through the eyes of someone who's never seen or read the tale.

I never posted about the January challenge of going 30 days without going near a store. I did not do well. Lasted almost three weeks before I had to pick something up. I made it through the month with a couple of quickie FAILs. I know this is a learning experience, but I still felt guilty. I should adopt the motto from Mark Reads:You Are Not Prepared. I did try to be prepared. Even so,I ran out of almost everything, overstocked on a few things. I still have loads of frozen vegetables stuffed in the frig... want some? Yeah, that's what I thought. I suppose I should eat them up.

It was a tremendously useful challenge in terms of how much I learned. There are organized people out there. I am not one of them. But at least I am much more self aware. I thought I needed a lot more veggies than I did. I want to try that challenge again in a few months, see if I can do any better.

Note: the jury is still out on using Dpad. I'm getting better at working with it, but blogging on an iPad is always going to be a frustrating experience unless you have a wireless keyboard. It's better than straight HTML coding... I guess... But I'm not thrilled with it.

Still going to go Cold Carrot today. In more ways than one.

Exercise du jour: one gentle walk at lunch.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting better all the time

Quote du jour: Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music — the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

Site du jour: The Perfect in our Imperfections blog wrote a good post on Things that get in the way.

Not my best week, but I suppose it could be worse. Better than last weekend. Managed to go almost completely cold carrot this week. I don't know if it was the smartest move budget-wise, but I bought a big container of pre-washed salad and supplemented it with salad toppings from the deli counter in the cafe. Okay, yes, I did slip in an ounce of grilled chicken once, but that was it. From the point of view of being good, it's much easier if I don't have meat in the house so I am giving myself a pass on buying food from work this time.

I really feel like I'm being obsessive about the diet, but that springs from fear. I do not want to go through pain like that again. Usually I take the absence of pain for granted, but right now I am profoundly grateful for it. I actually managed to sit through a whole meeting - an entire hour sitting down! - without having to get up because it hurt. I am betting that my body will be nicer to me if I avoid inflammatory comfort foods.

It's easier to be good when you feel bad. Since I've started to feel better, the old habits have come slinking back in, acting casual like they've been around the whole time. Last night on the way home it was cold and dark and depressing. I really wanted to stop off and pick up something baaad to eat, something high-fat with no nutritional value. Maybe even get a bottle of wine. My inner child was whining and pouting and throwing a tantrum. (You'd think it would have grown up with the rest of me. Can't wait until it hits adolescence.) Managed to give my inner self a time out, i.e. I told it we'd deal with it when I got home. Then, of course, the inner slug spoke up and pointed out that it was dark and cold and rainy and who wants to go out in that? Thus inertia saved the day.

Still going to go Cold Carrot today.

Exercise du jour: one gentle walk at lunch.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Me and Shakespeare

Quote du jour: Our faults, dear Brutus, lie not in our stars, but in our selves.
- Will Baby, Julius Ceasar

Better. Could be worse, anyway. Though I do think that if I'm going to feel like I'm being stabbed in the back, I should be wearing a toga in the ides of March. Interesting to note (well, interesting to me), that beer therapy has no effect. I thought alcohol acted as an analge-, an analg- a thing that made pain go away for a while. But no.

Still going to go Cold Carrot today. No food that has even the slightest inclination to aid the inflammatory response (e.g. anything with saturated fat) shall pass these lips.

Exercise du jour: one gentle walk at lunch.

Another good reason to take public transportation

Quote du jour: Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
- G.K. Chesterton

Site du jour: I love studies that agree with what I already think. Turns out business meetings can make you dumb.

Sigh. The back continues to improve, albeit slower than a snail on Valium. And I likewise. Gentle walk again today.

I feel obsessive, minutely chronicling each goal, but it does help. If nothing else, my Stubborn muscle is getting a workout. Semi- fail on the good eating yesterday. I had to eat Bad for social reasons.

The company went through a round of layoffs yesterday. You could see how hard it was for some of the managers, laying off people they'd been close to for years. In an effort to find something positive in the day, one manager brought cupcakes into a meeting to celebrate an employee's 35th anniversary with the company. I could see how stressed the manager was, so when she passed out the cupcakes I felt obliged to take one and nibble at it. Honestly, I didn't want it. Afterward, I felt down, rather depressed. That might have been because of the re-org, I suppose.

The layoffs went on all day. No one knew how many people were let go or from what departments. There were a couple articles in the newspapers; they didn't have the details either. It's understandable that management wouldn't want to go into detail, but the uncertainty does tend to feed the paranoia.

On the shuttle ride back to the train, the bus driver filled me in on all the details of exactly how many people were let go and from what departments.

Still going to go Cold Carrot today. No food that has even the slightest inclination to aid the inflammatory response (e.g. anything with saturated fat) shall pass these lips.

Exercise du jour: one gentle walk at lunch.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Pain but no gain

Quote du jour: History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
- Maya Angelou

Wow. After four days of increasing back pain, last night the agony suddenly decreased. I'm not free of it, but it's now so moderate that I feel as if I can have a life again. I actually slept last night! (The night before, every time I tried to doze, the pain would wake me up.)

Now I'm trying to figure out what the hell that was all about. What makes a body turn on you like that? I feel like someone who has owned a fat, lazy cat for years, the kind that lounges around waiting to be fed, only to wake up one morning to find that Fluffy has turned into a snarling Sabertooth tiger with a major attitude problem.

Still going to go Cold Carrot today. No food that has even the slightest inclination to aid the inflammatory response (e.g. anything with saturated fat) shall pass these lips. Might try a walk at lunch. I'm going to play it by ear. Back, as it were, to basics. But gently. Nice kitty, niiiiice kitty...

funny pictures - basement cat  EVOLUTION!!
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I also lost another pound last night. Granted, I've gained and lost nine pounds in the last two weeks, so who knows how long this will last, but I am calling it a win.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Monday, February 06, 2012

Honest lying

Quote du jour: Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
- Lance Armstrong

Okay, change of plan. The back flared up into intense nastiness, so I spent the whole weekend lying on my back either in bed or in a hot bath. I can't sit in a chair, but I can walk and I can lie. Down, that is. So I'm thinking this is the body's way of slapping me upside the head to get my attention. I'm putting exercise on hold and switching my attention to Extreme Diet mode. Going to go Cold Carrot today. No food that has even the slightest inclination to aid the inflammatory response (e.g. anything with saturated fat) shall pass these lips.

funny celebrity pictures - You...  ...shall not pass!
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I lost two pounds this weekend while lying around. There's something positive.

Posted from DPad on my iPad

Friday, February 03, 2012

All the good things

Quote du jour: What doesn't destroy me makes me stronger.
-- Nietzche

Site du jour: Scientists are trying to read our thoughts. Mood rings are never going to come back into fashion.

Good things are happening:
  • I pulled a muscle in my back. Which is good, because now I can't sit in a chair for more than an hour at a time. I have to get up and move around.
  • I missed the connection for my second train this morning. Which is good, because it meant I was stuck at a very cold and windy transit center for half an hour and has to walk around to keep warm. More exercise!
  • So all I need now is one more good thing... Oh yeah. It's Friday! All day!

Exercise du jour: Again, the goal is to take a lunch break, back away from the keyboard and walk. No one is forcing me to work through lunch. Four days in a row!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Three Faces of Merry

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Quote du jour: The personality which swore to meditate early in the morning every day was not the same personality as the one who threw the alarm clock out of the window. - Gurdjieff (attrib.)

I think I'm three people in one:
  • There's AM Merry, who wakes up full of hopeful plans for the day. Life seems full of opportunity. Of course there'll be time to exercise, so long as I stick to the To Do list.

  • There's Workaday Merry, who devotes her hours to dancing the Corporate Shuffle (kinda like the Charleston, without the catchy tune). She resents having to stop work just to do something lame like exercise. "Can't AM Merry see how important this work is? Why stop just when I'm getting things done?"

  • And then there's PM Merry, who wants nothing to do with the other two. Frankly, she thinks Workaday Merry is a humorless killjoy, and she can't stand AM Merry, whose plans should be shredded into confetti. All PM Merry wants is comfort food and the chance to curl up in bed.
Of course, what I really need is a job that doesn't take me an hour and a half to get away from each night. And I need for it to be lighter out on the way home. Something about that long train ride through the dark night drains all energy and optimism out of me. Luckily, both of those things can be changed, given time.

Site du jour: I gotta give these people credit for a shocking headline that grabs my attention even as I think, WTF? Popping a multi-vitamin can lead to debauchery.

Exercise du jour: Should I go for it? Oh sure, why not. Trying for a third day in a row of taking a walk at lunch.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Modest goals

Quote du jour: When we die, no one remembers us for what we weighed. Our weight isn't etched into our headstones.
-- Stephanie Klein, Moose, 2008

Site du jour: I liked this post about overwork versus getting things done. Myths of the overworked

Exercise du jour: Again, the goal is to take a lunch break, back away from the keyboard and walk. No one is forcing me to work through lunch. It shall be done.
Done! Hey, that's two in a row. Not that that makes a habit. But it does make for an improvement.

Posted from DPad on my iPad