Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bananas for Bananas

It’s been brought to my attention by Janetha at meals & moves that today is National Banana Lovers Day! I’ve already begun celebrating!!!

I just ate a Banana Nut Vitatop (my fav of all Vitatops), which has a mere 100 calories and 5 grams of fiber. It also has 15 vitamins and minerals, and that sounds good to me!

I’m gonna follow up my muffintop (ha) with my daily banana. I love this fruit so much that I eat one each and every day for breakfast. Another reason I eat them so frequently is that they go bad so quickly after I purchase them. I should really have one of those banana stands that my mom has.

Do those banana stands REALLY keep bananas fresh longer? Let me know if you have any facts on that. Speaking of banana stands brings to mind my favorite TV show: Arrested Development. Any Arrested fans out there? Hollaaaa!
Why does Michael Cera look so sad?
Doesn’t he know it’s National Banana Lovers Day!?

I’ll probably have a banana as my after-dinner dessert, too. I don’t really keep traditional desserty things at home because I might go wild on them, so I always have bananas waiting for me on the counter for when the sweetness urge strikes.

Can someone eat too many bananas? Two a day isn’t bad, right? They’re a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin A, and potassium, and they have some fiber, so I say why not! Better than other snack choices out there.

Well, I mentioned at the end of last night’s post that I hoped my next post would be more focused. It sure is bananarific today! Are you going to incorporate the heavenly yellow fruit into your diet today? If I had a Magic Bullet (hint hint, Mom and Dad … my birthday’s coming up in less than a month and a half …), I would totally make a smoothie with a banana today. What are you gonna have? Go bananas!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Over the Place

My apologies for being MIA for an entire week. I had a crazybusy weekend … followed by a few days of being sick with something that’s like strep but incurable with strep meds. I pretty much spent a few days sleeping off the virus, and now I’m tip top once again!

Where to begin … where to begin …

Oh! A few weeks ago I signed up on for some So You Think You Can Dance workout DVDs. And I won! When they emailed me, I wasn’t sure if it was real, but I WON!

They came in the mail last week, but I’ve yet to try them considering my busy-ness and bed-ridden-ness. Now that I’m well, I definitely need to pop these into the ol’ DVD player. I’ve been known to dance around randomly anyway, so this will at least be an excuse :) Also, this past season of SYTYCD was my first as an every-week watcher … and I loved it! I’m superpumped to try the Cardio Funk DVD, although the Tone and Groove sounds fun, too. Has anyone done these? Any good?

I got the Dancing with the Stars Latin Cardio workout DVD from Netflix one time, and I didn’t love it. It was fun at first (and I could definitely feel it in my calves the next day), but there was nothin’ cardio about it. The only reason my heart was pumping so hard halfway through was because I was frustrated with their nonteaching.

Also, last week I won a month’s worth of kickboxing classes at a local kung fu studio. Well, I didn’t WIN them win them, but rather I bid on them through the United Way, and my bid won. $50 worth of classes for $25 isn’t too shabby if you ask me. And, the money’s going to the United Way. Even better :)

I’m nervous about attending these classes, however. For starters, the fact that they’re held at a kung fu studio = scary. I’m imagining all these advanced karate-choppers and roundhouse-kickers who could beat me to smithereens with one swat.

(photo from one of my fav sites. check it.)
But hey, who knows? My imagination tends to run wild, but I’m also living in reality and thinking there will be beginners there just like me. My free-month certificate expires at the end of January, so I’ve got a little time to work up some courage to try something completely out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to wait too long, though, because what if I love it? It could be my new thing! But first I should prob concentrate on my 5K that’s less than a month away

Brianna sent my iPod and it’s back in my possession in one piece. I’m jazzed to begin running outside again. Or, I suppose, running again at all. My being sick put a damper on things. Kinda difficult to go for a run when you barely have the energy to put on workout clothes, let alone get out of bed. But like I said, I’ll be 100% by tomorrow morning, so why not get back in action? Of course I won’t exert my full energy too quickly, but I should definitely get back to business. Maybe just a long, brisk walk with a wee amount of jogging thrown in.

My last thoughts for this post are on how my eating habits have changed. I am able to stop eating when I’m full. I am able to ask for a to-go box. I am able to enjoy the company of the person sitting across from me while the bread basket sits untouched (or not touched as often …). I am able to choose nutritious food not only because my body needs it, but more importantly because that’s what I crave now. It just boggles my mind how things have changed in the past year and a few months.

For example, I met my friend Emily for lunch on Sunday. We met at Good Earth, which I’ve mentioned in previous posts — love it! We began with water (needed it after my crazybusy weekend) and flat bread and hummus. I got a CopaBanana smoothie made of banana, mango, pineapple, coconut milk and protein powder. Shavings of REAL coconut come on top. This thing is phenomenal. (It felt even more phenomenal on my beginning-to-be-sore throat.) For my meal I ordered the Middle Eastern Medley, which is herb tabouleh, house-made hummus and herbed feta cheese with toasted flat bread, kalamata olives, sliced tomato and cucumber.
(Sorry for the annoying shadow, but the patio seating was worth it.)

SOOOOOO GOOOOD! The herbed feta cheese on the toasted flat bread was my fav part. Actually, it was all fab. Thing is, I didn’t have much of an appetite after the hummus and bread basket and smoothie. So, you know what I did? I got a box. I hardly EVER get a box. I know I won’t eat the leftovers, so I just keep eating at the restaurant even though I’m totally full. Not the new me! I got a box, and I ate almost all of the rest of it for dinner that night. Great deal!

(Don't I look like a winner on Sundays? Loooong weekend.)
Anyway, very sporadic post today. I hope the next one is more focused, for your sake, that is. Peace!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation — Part Dos

Well, I never thought this would happen … I LOST 0.2 pounds since last Monday’s weigh-in!!! Even after all the heavy food I ate this weekend, I’m still in the 150s! I’ve gone for run/walks the past four days, and I KNOW that helped things a billion percent. I don’t have food-and-drink-related events for the next few weekends, so I see myself powering right through the next few weeks. No more losing weight during the week and gaining it back on the weekends. Holla!
Now back to the recap of my vacay in Decatur, Illinois.

We went back to Mi Pueblito for lunch, but this time I craved a meal with vegetables.
I ordered vegetable fajitas.
Although I knew the veggies would be a bit oily, I just knew I needed vegetables. I made one fajita in a tortilla and just picked around at my veggies, rice and beans for the rest of the meal. The tortilla is definitely not the tasty part of this meal, so why consume the calories?

Ryan and I were very excited about Mi Pueb.

After lunch we went to a little tattoo shop to check out their books. Brianna is thinking about getting a tat … and I’m kinda thinking about getting another one, too. Who knows. Neither of us got one, but it was a fun place to go. The girl at the front desk could totally be BFF with Kat Von D or anyone on LA Ink. After that, we roamed around downtown Decatur. Nothin’ really goin’ on there, but at least we were walking around and enjoying the weather.

Before lunch, we made a quick decision to buy some corn from a roadside stand. We got 18 ears … for five people. We did think we’d have more friends join us, but still. Lotsa corn. Ryan peeled back the husks, removed the silk, and added some flava. He smeared some garlic and green onion butter on the majority of them, and put lime juice and salt on a few others. I’ve been waiting to do the lime and salt thing aaaall summer because I’ve never tried it but keep reading about it in mags. He replaced the husks and they were ready to go.

Here’s all 18 cobs on the grill.

We knew that after our uberheavy Friday night dinner and semiheavy Mi Pueb lunch, we needed a light and vegetable-y dinner.

Here’s my beautiful dinner plate.

We made light and tasty salads with mixed greens, Craisins, sliced toasted almonds, feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. The lime corn was really good! It had just a little zing to it that was perfect for summer. I also had a garlic butter one. Also amazing. To tell the truth, this was the best corn-on-the-cob I’ve had in my life! (Don’t tell my dad … oh wait … he reads this.) Grilled corn is totally where it’s at.

It did make for a very corn-y dinner table, though.

We had eight ears left over,
so I sliced off the kernels for later use.

(Quick aside: Thank you SO much for the suggestions for the leftover corn. The “Summer Salad” suggested by Andrea@WellnessNotes sounds FABULOUS! Click here and read her comment to get the recipe. I just talked to Brianna, and she threw corn in some salsa and also made the summer salad. Delish! I might just buy the summer salad stuff and make it myself! Yummers.)

Quite possibly the best part of the evening — aside from hanging out with my friends and laughing ’til it hurt — was that our dinner was chock full of vegetables and healthiness. I had three ears of corn and two helpings of salad! We were all just as full as we were the night before, but we didn’t feel like crap afterward.

We hung out the rest of the night, but my early-morning departure time was looming over my head. When we finally decided to hit the hay, I slept in my clothes so I would have less to do in the morning. Call me crazy :) Long story short, I woke up less than four hours later, packed my stuff, headed to the airport, and hopped a plane back to the Twin Cities.

I miss Brianna already. Thanks for a great vacation :)
When I got home, I ate some peanut butter toast and then slept for a long time. When I woke up, I went for a run/walk in the gym at my apartment and then made myself a dinner of green beans and two black bean burgers.

I woke up this morning and ran/walked in my gym again. You might be wondering why I’m not going outside anymore. Well, I left my iPod at Brianna’s, and I just don’t think I can run outside without my tunes. She’s throwing it in the mail tomorrow. Until then, I’ll work out in my gym and watch TV. This morning I watched True Hollywood Story: The Pussycat Dolls. Seeing those hott bods was great motivation! I’ll look like those girls one of these days …

That’s all for now. Peace, friends :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation — Part Uno

I’m back from my minivacay but not quite ready to go back to work and face the real world. Instead I’ll fill you in on what I did and try to pretend I’m still there with my superb friends.


Brianna is a band teacher, so I watched her direct her marching band for a couple of hours. I’ve mentioned that I’m envious of my music-educator friends who get to experience music every day, and I was happy to get a little taste for myself. Too bad I wasn’t out there with those kids, though, because it could have been a good workout.

We went to a little place called Donnie’s for lunch, but I’ll talk more about that later. Our friend Ryan traveled from a couple of hours away to join us for the weekend. After he arrived in town, we met Kayla and Alex at my fav little place in Decatur, Illinois — Mi Pueblito.

We began with chips and salsa. (Brianna is helping herself.)
I ordered a vegetarian combo with a bean burrito,
cheese quesadilla, and something else I didn’t really like.

Afterward, we all went to Julie & Julia. It was a cute movie, but it would be nothing without Meryl. She stole the show. We all really wanted to eat some buttery foods after seeing the movie … and we did the next day.


I woke up earlier than everyone else (typical) and went for my first run/walk of my extended weekend. Brianna lives near a beautiful park with trails. I took pictures, but apparently I still don’t know how to work my four-month-old phone, so I can't share them with you.

We went for lunch at Donnie’s again because it was soooo good the day before and we just needed to share the wonderfulness with Ryan. Donnie’s is a small, dimly lit restaurant with brightly painted walls and reggae music. They serve sandwiches, pita wraps and thin-crust pizzas.
We all ordered the tomato spinach basil melt
on veggie bread with mozzarella,
which I also ate the day before.
It came with organic blue corn chips and salsa.

Here’s a shot of the inside. I’d eat this every day if I lived there.
And if they could make a calorie-free version.
We went a liiiiiittle overboard on dinner. It was all delicious but very indulgent. We made Calischetta as an appetizer. Basically, it’s bruschetta with avocado and it was AMAZING. You need to try this! Feel free to alter the recipe to make it more figure-friendly ;) (Ryan, if you’re reading this, maybe clue us in to the exact recipe we used. It was a little different than this one and I can’t find it!) Calischetta
  • 1 baguette
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    (Alterations: We used 4 small-medium tomatoes from Ryan and Kayla’s parents’ garden. We used 2 avocados, but I don’t know why. We used green onions instead of regular. The original recipe called for cilantro, but we used basil instead because the grocery store was out of cilantro. The basil worked fabulously. I also remember adding some white vinegar to the mix, but I can’t remember how much.)


  1. In a medium bowl, mix one clove of minced garlic with tomato, avocado, onion, cheese, basil, lime juice, salt, pepper a 1-Tbsp olive oil.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Slice baguette into ½-inch slices, on the diagonal.
  5. Lightly brush both sides of the bread with olive oil.
  6. Toast bread on baking sheet for 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Rub one side with a clove of garlic.
  8. Top each slice of bread with avocado mixture.

    (Alteration: Ryan took the unhealthy route and fried the bread on the stove with a little garlic butter and extra-virgin olive oil. It made the bread crispier than the oven would have, but definitely added some cals. Soooo good.)

Ryan brought a veggie lasagna he made a day or two
before and froze. We thawed and baked that …
and made some garlic bread to eat with it.
(Haha! Like we needed more bread!)

We also enjoyed some wine with our delicious meal
(and before the meal …
and after the meal while playing Pictionary …)
Oh, and did I mention it’s Brianna’s birthday next week?
Since we were all in town this weekend,
we had cake that Kayla made and ice cream on the side.
Seriously, after all this food, I was about to pop. Since my body’s not used to eating like this, I felt really weird afterward. After the overly carby dinner, I was stuffed, but after I little while I was yearning for something else to eat. Obviously I wasn’t hungry, but my blood sugar was out of control. My cake and ice cream dessert was the last straw. I could barely stay awake 10 minutes after eating it.

OK OK this is getting long enough for today. Saturday was healthier by far (how could it not be?!), and I’ll share our adventures and eats with y’all tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, I weigh in tomorrow night and I gained a pound or two over the weekend. I’m sure I’m dehydrated and whatnot, so I’ll be back on track in no time. I’m not gonna get in a tizzy about it because my vacation rocked! (By the way, don't forget to share some corn ideas with me and Brianna! I'll talk more about our cornfest tomorrow.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

For the Love of Corn

Thank you all SO much for the advice and support regarding my last post. I went for a run yesterday and this morning. I had a bottle of water between glasses of wine last night. I focused more on the conversations with my friends than on the food in front of us. The battery in Brianna’s scale is still dead, so I haven’t weighed myself since I’ve been here. I’m expecting a gain when I get home tomorrow, but it won’t be nearly as bad as it would have been, say, two years ago when I wasn’t thinking about my health as much as I am now.

This is gonna be a supershort post because I want to tell you all about my trip, but I also want to SHOW you. I won’t be able to post my pictures ’til tomorrow, so stay tuned :)
I’m writing this post tonight because my friends and I need a little help. Well, Brianna needs help, more specifically. We grilled 18 ears of corn, and there were 8 left over. I cut the kernels off, but now Brianna has a container full of corn she doesn’t know what to do with. Of course she could just eat it on the side of meals, but what fun is that? She suggested that I throw the situation at you, and YOU can share some recipes or ideas with us!

We made the BEST corn-on-the-cob I’ve had in my life, and she really doesn’t want this wonderful corn to go to waste. Keep in mind, she’s a single gal on-the-go. The easier (and tastier!) the ideas, the better.

Thanks in advance for your help! I know you’ll throw some good stuff at us. I’ll be back in Saint Paul tomorrow morning at 8:30 (boooo early flights cutting my trip short), so I’m planning to share lots of stories and pics with you tomorrow. LOVE!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finding Balance

Alright, kids, get excited. I weighed 157.8 yesterday. HOLY COW! One minute (read: more than three months) I can’t get out of the 160s … and now I’m officially in the 150s?! I know I weighed-in in this decade at my Monday meeting, but I was still on the brink and didn’t believe I’d stay there. This means I have less than 20 pounds to lose until I reach my goal! Whoopty woop!

Here’s the kicker: I am visiting one of my best friends for an extended weekend. Right now, I’m 500 miles away from my Saint Paul home, and I’ll be here until bright and early Sunday morning. EEK! Getting together with old friends, especially out of town, is usually a no-win situation for me. You go out to dinner. You get drinks. You sit around and chat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This isn’t just for a day. Or two. It’s 3 days/4 nights.

My flight was delayed an hour last night, and I was famished when I got here. Brianna and I tried to go to Noodles & Company, but it was closed for the evening. Instead we opted for the Chipotle next door. (There was really nothing else in sight.) I got a burrito bowl with cilantro-lime rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, pico de gallo, corn salsa, a bit of cheese, a tad of sour cream, a medium-sized glob of guac, and some romaine lettuce. Definitely heavy on the cals, BUT I made a wise choice with the bowl rather than wrapping it all in a 290-calorie tortilla (with 670 mg of sodium, yikes!).

When we got back to Brianna’s, she asked if I wanted a drink — and I chose water. Not that it’s SO crazy that I passed up a drink, but the Captain on the counter and the Diet Coke in the fridge looked mighty tasty. We stayed up talking until nearly 3am and then hit the sack.

So far, I think I’m doing well on this trip of mine. Given, I’ve only been here for 12 hours and eaten one meal. But I’ve made some good decisions! I brought my tennies, and I’m planning on going for a walk in the park with Brianna … when she wakes up. I like to know the area when I venture out alone for a run, so the walk will show me where to go. THEN, I’ll get up to run/walk Friday and Saturday mornings! I’m still kinda making up my own rules for my 5K training, but Tuesday I ran a mile without stopping before converting to run/walk. Obviously not a huge deal for runners, but an accomplishment for me :)

Also, I stepped on Brianna’s scale this morning, and dun dun duuuuuuun — it was dead. Is it weird that I want to ask her to replace the batteries while I’m here?

We’ll probably have a pretty healthy day eating-wise today, but three or four more friends are getting together with us Friday and Saturday. That means drinking and eating. I insist that we go to this cheap little authentic Mexican restaurant that I love at least once. I know for sure we’re having veggie lasagna our friend Ryan is bringing on Friday. Brianna and I have talked about eating a healthy dinner on Saturday, but I’m still worried. Drinking on the weekends tends to negatively impact my Monday-evening weigh-in, too. AND I’m usually not as good about getting in the H20 when I’m out of my element, so that’s another thing of which to be mindful. I’m hopeful that my morning jogs will at least keep the gain a bit smaller.

Soooo many things to consider. Do you have any advice??? I’m in need of some feedback. I’m here to relax and have fun, but I don’t want to be kicking myself when I return to the real world.

Wish me luck! Since I wake up earlier than Brianna, I’ll sneak in some more morning posts while my host is still asleep. And I’ll have pictures next time! Peace and love.

PS I just realized that I haven't been in the 150s in five years. That blows my mind.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back in the Groove

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been incredibly busy … and I just didn’t feel like I had anything neat to write about. Until now.

As of tonight’s weigh-in, I’ve lost 10% of my weight THREE times since I began my healthy lifestyle. What I’m saying is, I lost 10% of my initial number, then 10% of the new number, and 10% of the new new number. Just losing 10% of your weight provides many benefits, so I guess I get the benefits threefold? Here’s what happens:
  • Your heart will be healthier because you can lower your cholesterol and decrease your blood pressure. High cholesterol and blood pressure are two major risk factors for heart disease.
  • You can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by improving your body’s ability to use the insulin it makes. If you already have type 2 diabetes, losing 10% can reduce your symptoms and possibly reduce complications.
  • You will have more energy, and you’ll just plain feel better!
  • You will have the motivation to keep going. Losing 10% is a great goal, and this milestone shows you that you have adopted some healthy habits and can stick with it.
There are more reasons out there, but I think these highlight some of the goodies.
Although I’m finally in the 150s (yay!), I still didn’t meet my goal for Jen and Annabel’s Challenge. My goal was to lose 10 pounds in 60 days, but I wound up losing 5 pounds. I was a bit discouraged, BUT with all the events based around food and drinking during the summer, I think a 5-pound loss is fab. My faux plateau might be gone for good!
True to my word, since I didn’t achieve my goal, I donated $50 to the charity of my choice — The VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
This nonprofit organization is dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in American public schools, ensuring that every child has access to a complete education that includes the benefits of music instruction.

Music plays a huuuuuge role in my life. I grew up singing in the car with my mom, and one of my first sentences was actually sung to a Madonna song. I loved singing and dancing in choir and showchoir throughout the years. I love belting out my favorite tunes on karaoke nights now. I’ve sung in two weddings this summer. Music helps me through times when my friends’ and family’s words just don’t seem to cut it. Music is my religion. It can capture my mood like no other. My workouts would be nothing without my tunes!

If I didn’t have such a wonderful music program growing up, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I got to go on trips that I STILL talk about like they happened yesterday. I cemented invaluable friendships. We sang and danced through the happy times and the unspeakably sad times.

Some of my best friends are music teachers, and I find myself envious that they get to experience this kind of music every day. Many school districts nationwide have poor music programs or no music program at all. I can’t even imagine this. I’m more than happy to donate to this amazing organization.

Of course, I’m still going to reward myself with this Tiffany necklace when I lose 5 more pounds. I've been eyeing it up for almost a year now!

Since I’m training to run my first 5K in September, I don’t think the necklace is too far off. So here's the plan: I’m gonna blast my tunes tomorrow, go for my morning run, and envision that pretty piece of jewelry around my neck. Woo!

(On a sad note, I lost my beloved Sigg bottle. I'm hoping to buy a new one sometime soon, but still. Sadface.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Life’s Rollercoaster

I have been going back and forth about writing a post for the last couple of days. Life’s been different since Jen told me the horrible news about her mom. She was so young. She was hilarious and insightful. She was Jen’s biggest cheerleader. As Annabel wrote, she was our online mom, too. Jen’s mom touched so many lives. I looked forward to reading her comments on Jen’s site every day and was so honored when she would comment on my guest days.

Speaking of comments, I still cannot get over how supportive everyone has been on Jen’s blog. As I’m writing this, there are more than 550 comments of love and support for my friend and her family. It truly is heartwarming.

I’ve cried about how difficult things must be for her family. I’ve thought a lot about all the people I love and how I couldn’t imagine living without them. I wonder if I tell them enough what they mean to me. I’ve thought about the things I want to do but still haven’t done. Life’s too short. Tell the ones you care about how wonderful they are. Get out there and do what you want. What are you waiting for? You never know what might happen.

When I sat down to write this, I didn’t really know what I was going to say. My friend is going through an incredibly tough time, and I’m supposed to talk about my silly life and the food I eat? I just didn’t know how to do it. I finally decided that it’s OK. Prior Fat Girl’s Mom wouldn’t have wanted the blog posts to stop! She wrote this to me a couple of months ago when I was experiencing the emotional ups and downs of weddings and a death in the family:

We need to focus,
keeping our eyes focused on what we are doing,
as we all ride the roller coaster of life.

Very true words. When we’re at a low point on the rollercoaster, we need to take it one day at a time. We need to keep breathing and know that we can get through this. Life is precious, so let’s go out and do something that makes us happy.

And that’s what I did this morning. Although I woke up with the headache I’d gone to sleep with, I hopped out of bed, eased into my workout clothes and headed outside. I began with a brisk warmup walk and worked up to a jog. I usually switch back to walking not because I’m tired, but because I’m bored or just accustomed to slowing down. However, this time when I thought about walking, I reminded myself that I am healthy and capable of running. I’m grateful that my body can move like this, so why not work it? I did take a couple of walk breaks on my morning trip, but only because I’m not completely a runner yet, and I didn’t want to overdo it.

Even though my headache stayed with me for most of the day (how annoying!), I felt really good about working out this morning. Exercise usually makes me happy for the entire day. Today I wasn't AS happy as usual, but it's been a tough couple of days. I can only imagine how much of a crabapple I would have been had I not gone for that jog.

Anyway, I’m gonna go drink some water, read my book and hit the hay early. I WILL NOT allow a headache tomorrow. I can’t wait to give Jen a big hug tomorrow. Peace and love to you all :)