Checking In

Let me start off by saying, this is a way for me to get it out, a way of journaling. By sharing it here I feel like I might help someone else know they aren’t alone in feeling the way that I do. I talked about this last night with my husband and he listened – but I really think he just doesn’t understand all the emotions (or lack there of) that I’m experiencing. So if you aren’t into reading about all my current woes then here’s your chance to bail.

When we started “stay home, stay safe” for COVID back in March, I thought it would be fine – temporary. I figured I was home most of the time anyway. How hard could it be. Then weeks turned into months and shit just kept getting weirder in the world. All of the things I enjoyed doing – grocery shopping, regular shopping, visiting state parks, geocaching- the list goes on, became an unpleasant experience. Grocery Shopping felt like the Hunger Games and only now feel slightly better. Shopping at Target or Walmart is depressing – shelves are bare and everyone looks sad. I haven’t even tried to go to one of my favorite places – IKEA – because I just don’t want to ruin it for myself. I just don’t find it to be an enjoyable experience anymore – now I only go to the store for purpose or necessity. State Parks are busy and limited capacity – when before some of my favorite places were near empty. I haven’t even gone to some of my favorite nearby places to visit for the same reason – not wanting to ruin the memory of it. I miss my summer trips to Newport, Salem and Mystic.

We’ve also had some crazy family stuff happen during all this and there’s all sorts of emotions that happen with that. I only mention them to add to “where I’m at”, but haven’t really shared much outside of my house. There are some things that are meant to stay in house. It’s just been… emotional.

I’ve been trying to keep my boys out of the general public during all of this too. I hate seeing them wearing masks. Yes, I know the importance for wearing a mask – so don’t come at me for that. That’s why I just keep them home as much as possible. I don’t take them out for errands if at all possible and we are keeping them home this fall to continue distance learning for this same reason. I think the mask wearing and social distancing will be more detrimental than keeping them home with me. I am hopeful it’s short term. Most of my friends are sending their kids back in person. I respect them for that. It’s a tough decision either way. I wish I could do it too, but I also think my anxiety would be in high gear all the time. Keeping them home with me if for my mental health too. Hopefully I won’t have to fight with them as much this time around to do the work!

So after all of that, I completely lost my mojo about a month ago. I took a week off from working out, that turned into two and now I’m pushing four. I’m sleeping late and can barely find the motivation to do the simple day to day stuff. Yesterday was the eye opener for me that I am on depression’s doorstep y’all. I’m about to knock to have her let me in to join in her misery. I’ve got all the classic signs. I know them well. I’ve travelled this road a few times, it’s been a while since my last visit and I’m really wanting to bypass this stay. By classic signs – for me – I mean – no joy in the things that used to make me happy, not working at my fun job (my Etsy shop) as much as I would like, feeling empty, stopping working out, getting up late, going to bed early, not wanting to socialize with friends as much, not wanting to leave the house, eating…a lot, but then not wanting to cook dinner. There’s some of the things I’ve noticed. There’s also a lot of negative self talk happening and constant jealousy of anyone experiencing success-in anything- I have no limits on that one. It’s an awful trait that I tend to have. Comparison to others is a toxic trail to take. I need to pull a u-turn and come back to home base on that. It makes me feel ugly and pulls me deeper into where I don’t want to be.

I’m hoping that by writing this and sharing what I’m trying to do will help me climb out and get back to “normal”. I want to workout (weirdo right?) because my awful body issues are also rearing too. I keep thinking – “if I lose 10, 20, blah blah pounds I’ll for sure feel better” – then I eat two snickers ice cream cones – yep that happened yesterday. Here’s the thing, my brain knows that working out provides endorphins. Those endorphins after 30/60 minutes of exercise can be similar to taking an antidepressant. It’s proven to work if you can get your depressed ass moving. BUT THAT’S THE STUPID CRAZY PART! You’re so deep in your head that you talk yourself out of getting those endorphins!

I committed myself to a 18.9 mile virtual race this month. That I told myself I would complete by the last day of September. That means I have to move at least the amount of time it takes me to complete those nearly 19 miles. If I walk for 15 minutes a day I’ll hit my goal. I have to do something to motivate myself because the idea of being uncomfortable in my skin isn’t quite enough right now.

At the same time I’ve been trying to eat a little better. But that’s truly laughable, because who eats right when they’re stressed and feeling miserable. I’m trying to track what I eat and I even signed up for a nutrition webinar in about a week. We’ll see how that goes.

If you’re still with me-thank you. I’d like (to try again) to update more regularly. I mean I pay for this freaking blog, you’d think I’d publish more. (Facepalm) My kids are heading back to school (in my office) on the 10th – so wish me luck. I need to find that “me” time quickly in order to manage having them here all day again. Just sitting in the office with me from 7:30 to 3 every day. At least the first two days are early release?

My New Workout Commitment

On December 17, I began my Body Revolution journey. It took me 5 weeks to complete Phase 1 because I decided to repeat a week that I slacked off on. I’d say I’m pleased so far. I’ve lost 14 inches overall and I’m down .4 pounds. I’m thrilled over the inches, but wish the pounds were more. I know my eating was completely off. I fooled myself into thinking I was eating right, not tracking my foods. When I began Phase 2 on Thursday I committed myself into tracking every bite, lick and taste no matter what they add up to. In the past of be good for eating a snickers, not counting it for some random reasoning like I was on the road with the kids or because I was stressed. Travel and stress points count too. I’ll never be satisfied on the scale if I’m not true to myself. 
I’m excited to start Phase 2 (even though my body is screaming no you’re not after the first workout yesterday). 
Here’s my measurement chart so far, I’ve decided to do my measurements every four weeks matching the phase change. I’m looking forward to an amazing transformation and loss to share over this next month. 
Here’s my before pictures. Ugh. 
My Instagram, Twitter and Facebook chronicle my daily food and exercise battle. Follow along if you’d like. 

Heathly Eats

I’d like to begin a weekly series called Healthy Eats, where I post all the recipes I’ve tried during the week and my review of them.  I’ve been doing something new at my house for the past three weeks, where I plan out dinners for the whole week, then go grocery shopping for the ingredients that I need.  This helps me in a few ways.  The most important is that I am making a healthier choice for dinner each night-which not only benefits me, but my family and it also stops me from wasting groceries.  I had a knack for buying a whole bunch of foods with the best intentions, then I was too lazy to make them and we always seemed to deviate from “the plan”.  This hasn’t happened yet.  We’ve swapped around some of the days to make them fit our schedule-but that’s about it!

Below you’ll find the picture, link to recipe and review of what we had at “The Longs” this week (with a few keepers from previous weeks):

Scalloped Portobello & Cauliflower
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/scalloped-portobello—cauliflower/print
Scalloped Portobello & Cauliflower Recipe
Review:  We’ve had this countless times.  It is one of my newly found favorites.  You can pair this with any meal and have it be a crowd pleaser!

Cheeseburger Salad
http://paleoleap.com/hamburger-salad/
Hamburger Salad
Review:  I made a few small changes to this recipe.  I omitted the dill pickle in the salad portion and used relish in the dressing when I made it.  Oh and I added crumbled cheddar cheese to garnish the salad…making it a cheeseburger salad!

Honey-Dijon Salmon with Creamy Cauliflower Mash
http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/honey-dijon-salmon-creamy-cauliflower-mash-182826.aspx
Honey-Dijon Salmon with Creamy Cauliflower Mash Image 1
Review:  The salmon was fairly tasty.  No need for any additional spices or sauces while eating.  The cauliflower was the overall winner for me on this recipe.  I’ll definitely make at least the cauliflower again!

Balsamic Roast Beef
http://paleoleap.com/balsamic-roast-beef/
Balsamic Roast Beef
Review:  This one was not a keeper at our house.  It smelled amazing in the crock pot, but once we served it…it was a disappointment.  It tasted like it was missing something, flavor was one of those things.  I’ll definitely be looking for more crock pot meals for the winter time that are paleo friendly.

Maple Glazed Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
http://www.honeygheeandme.com/2012/08/maple-roasted-chicken-sweet-html/

Review:  This one was a keeper.  Very easy and fairly quick to make.  One dish cooking which is always my favorite.  We happened to have company that night for dinner and I warned them I was trying something new.  They were impressed at how flavorful the potatoes were and how juicy the chicken was.  The kids really enjoyed this one as well.  I will definitely be keeping this one in the rotation.

Creamy Dill Salmon (I paired this with broccoli florets & brown rice-seasoned with butter & chives)
http://paleomg.com/5-ingredient-10-minute-creamy-dill-salmon/
IMG_1198
Review: This one was also a keeper.  It was amazing.  Once again all the family enjoyed the meal and it was quick and easy to make.  Ten minutes was not an understatement.  I had my entire meal on the table in less than fifteen!  The Creamy dill sauce was the perfect pairing for the salmon.  We’ll be keeping this one on the rotation too!

Garlic Roasted Shrimp with Zucchini Pasta
http://cookeatpaleo.com/garlic-roasted-shrimp-with-zucchini-pasta/
This quick and easy garlic roasted shrimp with zucchini pasta recipe is a great weeknight paleo dinner — you can have it on the table in 20 minutes. | cookeatpaleo.com
Review: Another quick easy meal that our dinner guests enjoyed.  The prep for this meal took longer than cooking and serving!  Every single ingredient blended together seamlessly.  Another quick weeknight meal for the rotation!

Marinade for Chicken (I used boneless chicken breast and paired this with a German potato salad & corn on the cob)
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/30523/marinade-for-chicken/
Marinade for Chicken
Review: Fantastic!  The chicken was so tender after using this marinade.  The comments on the recipe basically say the longer the better when using this marinade, I did about 6 hours.

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Grilled Acorn Squash Wedges

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

SMOKE SIGNALS SEP 25, 2013

Few foods conjure the fall season like acorn squash. It’s a gourd, for one thing, and we associate gourds with autumn; and its orange-y flesh suggests the season’s signature color. The sweet flavor of the squash is brought to the fore by the simplicity of the preparation.


SERVINGS: 4 – 6
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 small (48 ounces) acorn squash, seeded and cut into 1-to-2-inch wedges
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the grill for indirect heat: If using charcoal, when the coals are ashen, dump them onto one side of the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill with all burners on high. When it reaches a temperature of 500 degrees, adjust for indirect grilling. With a two-burner grill, turn off one of the burners; with three or more burners, turn off the center unit.

You want medium heat. For charcoal, you should be able to hold your hand about five inches above the grate for 5 to 7 seconds. For gas, the temperature should be 400 degrees.

Toss the squash wedges with the oil and season them generously with salt. Working in batches as needed, cook them (uncovered) directly over the fire until deeply charred, 6 to 10 minutes per side.

Move the squash wedges to the cool side of the grill. Close the lid and cook until they are soft, 10 to 20 minutes. Transfer the wedges to a platter for serving.

**Modifications I made…

I lined my top rack of the grill with tin foil and put the squash on it in a single layer. I sprinkled a little sea salt over them and shut the lid. The temperature of the grill was about 350. 

I let them cook for approximately 10 minutes-while I was cooking the boneless marinated chicken breasts on the bottom rack. I left them on the top rack until they began to get tender. 

I then took them from the top rack and made a single layer on the grill surrounding the chicken. I left the top up on the grill during this part. I let them cook for approx 3-5 minutes on each side. By now they were nice and tender-ready to serve. 

I chose this as the alternative to charing them, simply because I don’t care for that taste. 


The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/recipes/grilled-acorn-squash-wedges/13618/

Can Eating MORE Meals Help You Drop Pounds?

iStock/Thinkstock

You may have read in the past that eating mini meals throughout the day is a smart way to lose weight. The thinking there is that by grazing every couple hours, you never get to that point where you’re starving—meaning you’re less likely to wolf down way too many calories in one sitting. But a new multi-university study, published in journal Appetite this month, claims that all of the research thus far on eating small meals throughout the day is inconclusive—and as a result, mini meals should not be touted as a smart weight-loss strategy at this point.

So how’d the researchers come to this conclusion? They analyzed all of the previous studies done about meal frequency and found that the majority of them used self-reported data—which, in the dieting world, is considered pretty unreliable.

So we asked Keri Gans, R.D., author ofThe Small Change Diet, for her take on the results. “Most people don’t understand what a small meal is—so the people in the study may have reported eating one thing when in reality they were eating full meals every couple of hours, not mini meals,” she says. In other words, the danger with this strategy is that you may end up overeating because you take in too many calories at each “mini” meal.

Gans’ suggestion: If you’re trying to slim down, eat a 400-500 calorie meal every three to five hours. Also, have a 200-calorie snack, like a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit, between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner. And be sure to get your workout in, too.

Women’s Health Magazine