Back to Basics

I’ve been whining a lot about my crazy schedule, but I’m pleased to say that this has been a better week for me. My schedule is still all over the place, but I’m feeling very much on point with my nutrition and exercise. That alone helps combat stress and fatigue. I’m hoping it will also help with getting the proper amount of sleep.

One of the things I’ve done to feel more “in control” is to return to full meal logging in sparkpeople. It takes only a few minutes a day and should be helpful for peace of mind, if nothing else.

I haven’t made any changes to what I’m eating, and if the first three days of logging are any indication, I won’t be changing much at all. So far, all I’m picking up on is that I’m still overestimating calories and portion sizes. Example: those roasted green beans I mentioned in my last post, saying I reckoned they were 100-125 calories? They’re actually about 75 calories. I’ve also learned that I need to up my calcium and my fiber intake, but I’ll figure out how I want to do that later.

Another back-to-basics move was to get myself back to the gym for strength training! Be still my heart! I’ve been getting plenty of exercise, but not as much of the “official” variety as I’d like. Between work-work, working on my kitchen, and working on Memaw’s house, I’m up and moving for about 8-10 hours a day, but there’s something about a structured workout that gives me more of a sense of control. I think I’ve figured out a way to get in at least two workouts a week and possibly the third one on weeks that don’t require yard work. (I count that as a workout since the power bar on my mower is out. :) )

It’s only been three days, but I’m amazed at how focusing on those two basics–nutrition and exercise–carries over into other areas. I feel much more “in charge”.

I must give credit for this re-focusing to Sally, with whom I spent some quality time this past weekend. This is always good for my spirits, because in addition to being exceptionally cute, Sally is a very good listener. :) sally playing with a ball

Sally has lots of interests, but three rise to the top: dinner, walks, and playing with the ball. As long as she has those three things in place, she lets everything else fall into its proper place. When I think about it, my interests aren’t really all that different from Sally’s, and that’s why I’m following her excellent lead and focusing on getting the basics in place. :)

Sadly, this might have been my last Sally visit for awhile. Her parents have selfishly decided that they’d like to live on the coast with its silly beaches and average winter temps in the 60s. Even more selfishly, they’re taking my dog with them! Okay, so technically, she’s their dog, but still. It’s just not right.

The upside is that they’ll still need a pet-sitter from time to time, and this one travels! :)

Besides Sally-sitting, another stress release was the selection of a yellow paint color for my kitchen and laundry room. I’m not yet ready to call it The Perfect Shade of Yellow. For now it’s just the yellow that’s going on the wall. I’ll know more when it’s actually on the wall.

yellow paint test strips on the wall

I’ll share the final (I hope!) results when the paint is up. It’s one of the colors shown above.

On that note of suspense, I’ll close this out. I’ve got a 4:30 a.m. alarm tomorrow, which means I’m already up too late. I hope you’re having a lovely week!

On the Menu: Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

One of my favorite things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. In this particular crazy summer, my schedule and meals have been so scattered that I’ve hardly even taken the time to enjoy the season’s bounty. A few tomatoes, a bit of watermelon, lots of strawberries–and that’s about it.

Fortunately, I had time to make a decent grocery run last weekend and picked up some fresh produce, including the subject of today’s post: fresh green beans! Even better, I actually had an opportunity to prepare them tonight!

As you might expect, this is one of those “methods of cooking” more than it is a recipe, but we won’t get all caught up in semantics. When they taste this good, who cares what we call it other than done?

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans, Cammy-style

Ingredients for one serving:
1 handful fresh green beans
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon parmesan cheese (I had to use the powdered stuff because my shredded cheese bit the dust. Fresh would be better.)

Optional: any other seasonings or spices you’d like

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Wash beans and pat dry, then trim the ends.
3. Toss beans, olive oil, salt and pepper (and other seasonings as desired) in a bowl until well coated.
4. Spread beans on cookie sheet (I lined it with aluminum foil for ease of clean-up)

green beans in oven

5. Bake for about 20 minutes, giving the pan a good shake after 10 or 15 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

I have no idea how many calories this single serving has, but if I had to guess, I’d go with 100-125.

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans with beef patty and broccoli slaw

Pretty, and tasty too! That it’s so super simple to prepare makes it a trifecta.

As you can see, I served these jewels of cheesy goodness with a simple beef patty and broccoli-pineapple-raisin slaw. My taste buds were very happy with the balance. (They would have been ecstatic if I’d remembered to add a little apple cider vinegar to the slaw.)

Before moving on to dessert, I wanted to mention that I took advantage of a sale at Aldi’s last week to try their grass-fed, no “extras”, brand of beef. It’s really good, but I’m not sure if that’s because it’s grass fed or because of it’s 85/15% lean/fat ratio. I’m so used to eating 93% lean that I’d forgotten how scrumptious the fattier mix can be. Anyway, there’s your mini-product review to go with your not-really-a-recipe green beans. LOL

In case you’re wondering, there was a dessert:

frozen yogurt fruit cup with chocolate syrup drizzle and pecans

I made a whole bunch of banana split fro-yo cups a few weeks ago, and this was the last one in the freezer. I didn’t want it to get lonely, so I ate it with a drizzle of syrup and a couple of pecan halves. The perfect ending to the meal!

Hmm, in writing about it, I think I’ve talked myself into having this meal again on Sunday. Must get more green beans. :)

Have you taken time to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of summer?

AIM: Changing the Plan

logo: Adventures in Maintenance with photos

Change is an inevitable part of life, but it takes on a tricky note when it comes to weight management. When we want to lose weight, we’re all change! change! change!, but once we reach our desired weight, the dialog shifts to stay the same! stay the same! stay the same! But life has a tendency to get in the way of that, and that’s the subject of this month’s AIM post: how our maintenance plans have changed over time.

When I began losing weight, I focused on building a plan that would carry me through maintenance. Not TO maintenance, but THROUGH maintenance. Previous experience had taught me that I needed to lose weight the same way I planned to maintain it. I understood the folly of losing weight by doing things I intended to stop doing once I reached goal, and also, I was more focused on living healthy than living thin. So I set out to build a plan I could keep for a lifetime. What I ate, how I moved, the habits I adopted–all of these (and more) would look the same, with room for a few more calories in maintenance. A simple plan, really.

In trying to figure out how to describe THE PLAN, I had the idea to use a visual. My business-y brain immediately thought, pie chart!. How often do I get to make one of those these days? But then, since I don’t absolutely love pie, I decided to build a pizza chart instead:

pizza pie chart

Clearly I’m no graphic designer, but this should give you a pretty good idea of the major components of my plan, as represented by my DIY pepperonis. In losing mode or maintaining mode, each of those segments is important to my success, and for the past seven years or so, this is how I’ve lived. Mostly. I’ll confess that it took me a while to allow that “living” piece of pizza to have its equal share. I had to learn to relax and trust myself to pull it back together if I lost my focus, and for the most part, I’ve been able to do that.

As I mentioned in my last post, the past few months have been abnormal. It’s the same plan and while it’s mostly okay, one (or more) of my pizza slices has one of those annoying dough bubbles on them on any given day. Either the healthy eating isn’t quite so healthy or the “vigorous” part of the exercise doesn’t happen or I’m not getting enough sleep. Or, on a couple of days, all of the above.

If I didn’t know that this blip is temporary, I’d adjust the plan to accommodate the change, but “living” is a part of the whole pie. The trick is to work around or through the bubble bits and do the best I can until I can live the WHOLE plan more fully. I can’t help but feel like I’m on my way!

While we’re on the subject of change, our AIM posts will be changing as well. Shelley is going to roll out of the group, but she’ll continue to post on her own blog. The rest of us will continue with our AIM posts, just not as frequently. You read our blogs and know that we’ve all got a lot going on right now, and quarterly posts seem more doable, at least for now. Who knows, though, that could change again sometime in the future. :)

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the other AIM bloggers to find out what’s changed in their plans:
Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh
Lori @ Finding Radiance
Debby @ Debby Weighs In

And you should also check out Shelley @ My Journey to Fit, just for old times’ sake. :)

Posted in AIM