Saturday Morning is the Best: a Salute to Breakfast

Saturday morning is arguably my favorite time of the week. I long for it on Tuesday night. I imagine it on Wednesday morning. I reminisce about it on Thursday afternoon. [FOOD PICTURES BELOW! OMG!]

Saturday breakfast

Saturday morning is also a great breakfast day. Earlier in the week I’d planned to attempt a sweet potato hash brown type item. Maybe tomorrow post-run. I was inspired by two things this morning:

1) a friend who posted about pumpkin flavored things on Facebook yesterday (pie = excellent; coffee/lattes = barf-o-rama). I happen to enjoy pumpkin-flavored beverages, but I also enjoy pumpkin in my oatmeal. The first time I made it was not so great, but since then I’ve learned a few things that make it delightful.

2) a new week of daily challenges started today and the theme of the week is small goals to accomplish bigger goals. A lingering thought was with me about getting vegetables in at breakfast and making sure to eat veggies at 2 meals per day minimum. I haven’t been doing as well with my fresh veggies lately.

Okay, so today’s Saturday Breakfast turned out to be Pumpkin Oatmeal and Super Green Salad with Fried Egg.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Oatmeal

[Note, I made a full serving but I only ate half this morning because I was also eating the egg with the greens. Now I have enough oatmeal for a snack or to eat as part of my Sunday Breakfast! I realized I didn’t have enough protein going on with my breakfast with just the oatmeal, hence the egg.]

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats (You can use regular old fashioned oats of course)

1/2 cup Libby’s Canned Pumpkin (or other canned pure pumpkin – or fresh pumpkin if you are so included! Tis the season!)

1 TBSP Silk unsweetened almond milk + 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (make sure you have pure vanilla extract and not the kind with corn syrup!)

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (adjust this as needed for sweetness but I encourage you to start with 1 tsp)

To taste, but start with 1/4 tsp of each: ground cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg (play with these to get the flavor combo you like)

Directions:

  1. Measure and cook the oats in a good size bowl according to directions. (I cook mine in a big soup mug in the microwave. Takes 3 minutes.Water to oats ratio is 2:1 (so, 1 cup water for 1/2 oats))
  2. Add the following to the oats: pumpkin puree, almond milk, maple syrup, spices (so, EVERYTHING else.) Mix well.
  3. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes (depending on desired temperature and thickness of mixture. If your oats were a little thin and watery you might need a wee bit longer cooking time to get the consistency you want.)
  4. Stir, cool (don’t injure yourself!) and ENJOY!

Super Green Salad with Fried Egg

Super Green Salad with Fried Egg

[Greens are so good for you. They are filling and full of vitamins! I am trying to get back on track with eating them at 2 (or more) meals per day instead of just one.]

Ingredients:

2 large handfuls Organic Girls Super Greens (or your preferred mix of greens – plain spinach, mixed greens, whatever as long as it’s not just plain old lettuce. I think that would be icky. I love OGSG because the colors are so vibrant they make me feel healthier just looking at them!)

1 TBSP Shredded parmesean cheese (you can shred your own from a block or buy it pre-shredded. I look for the lightest, least chemical-laden kind possible.)

1 large organic cage free brown egg (or you know, an egg – I choose to eat the organic cage free but that doesn’t mean you have to – but consider it!)

2 pieces sun dried tomato (I prefer the kind the grocery store makes and puts out in the veggie section, but there are good brands – just look at the ingredients and such before you buy – some of them have way too much added sodium and oil.)

Directions

  1. Get that egg started! Heat a small non-stick skillet and once hot, crack open that egg and let it cook.
  2. While the egg is cooking (5 minutes or less), tear up the greens into managable pieces (you can omit if you really like eating big leafs or if you do a good job cutting them up when you cut up the egg. For me, it’s just second nature to tear the greens as I pull them from the container and dump them on the plate.)
  3. Cut up the sun dried tomato pieces (you need a sharp knife for this due to the toughness of the skin) and drop on top of the greens.
  4. Measure and sprinkle the parmesean cheese on the greens and sun dried tomatoes.
  5. Once the egg is finished cooking (I recommend you cook to the point of a runny yoke) lay it on top of the salad.
  6. Cut up the egg (this is where runny yoke is delightful) so you can eat it! ENJOY. (I end up with everything all mixed together. No need for any dressings or goo – plenty of flavor!)

I Guess…Rambles

I’m convinced I have a six-pack under about 30 lbs of belly.

Whenever I read Facebook updates, blog posts, tweets or other forms of communication from people about body image I stop and think about how silly it all is. Do other mammals have these feelings? I somehow don’t think my cats are self conscious about their bellies. And I like their soft bellies. So why don’t I like mine?

Tomorrow Is Another Day

I awoke today with joy. I felt lighter.

Something I should clarify about last night’s post. (other than the fact that I was drugged when I wrote it – so please,  consider that when critiquing.) Actually, this came up when I was working out with Cheryl this morning.

[SHAMELESS PLUG:  Cheryl is awesome. I would NOT be where I am today without her help. Not just the exercises she makes me do. (Sometimes I am enjoying chatting so much that I have to stop myself when I’m working out and remember I’m working out. Anyway.) The guidance, the accountability, the nutrition help, the encouragement, the ideas for just every day healthful living. If you can’t workout with Cheryl in KC you can sign up for her daily emails. You’ve seen me blog about them before. The extra cool thing about the emails is this: they aren’t just emails. You get interaction with Cheryl. And with that, we are back on track for the topic of this post…]

I ate a lot of M&Ms. I sought out and purchased the medium size bag of peanut butter M&Ms and plain M&Ms. (I didn’t share that particular piece of information. It wasn’t just one bag y’all – it was TWO.) I also thought it would be a great idea to have tortilla chips and salsa for lunch on Sunday. I love love love (oh mi amore!) chips and salsa. I didn’t write last night’s post to celebrate my foray into binging. That’s what it was. It was a binge. It should not be celebrated. It was different from an indulgence or a treat.

One of the hardest things about overcoming an addictive relationship with food is understanding what is happening when it is happening and before it happens and finding a way to alter the behavior and the thinking. I didn’t want to alter the thinking on Sunday. I just wanted to eat my chips and salsa and my M&Ms dammit! It was a slip.

Having someone to talk to about it can remind you of things that need to run through your brain: Have a plan. Think about it before it happens. Have alternatives. Think about how you feel after. It isn’t easy. Sometimes you will give in. (Like I did.) But most of the time you won’t. And the feelings you will get about not giving in will bolster you. And it builds up.

Figuring out why you want to turn to comfort foods helps too. I was feeling bad about a decision I made and bad about my run. I’ve also been feeling uncertain and scared about my progress. This is the point where I usually fail. And I so badly want to succeed. I so badly want to be proud. I’m humbled every time someone says something nice to me or about me. But it also puts pressure on me. I feel like I have to be great not just for me, but for other people. But that is a powerful thing. I want to help people. (I’m also a total glory hound – HA! not really) I want to help me. It’s all just one small decision at a time.

After opening up about my tryst and acknowledging the feelings and thoughts that were driving the desire, I felt so much better. It allowed me to wake up today full of joy and hope. It made me feel lighter.

FACE IT. Plan for it. It’s not going to go away. If you are an emotional eater, that part of you isn’t going to go away overnight. You are going to have to work on the thoughts and behaviors. You are going to have to face it. Slay it. Pick it up and hug it close. Look it in the eye.

Enough.

I Ate a Bunch of M&Ms

I’ll write fast and fluid because I’m getting a little woozy and heavy lunged from Benedryl.

Losing a lot of weight doesn’t lighten everything. I’ve been in a plateau-like place with my weight for the last month – 2 months. I feel stronger. I have better cardio endurance. I think I’m smaller. But, my weight is not going down like it was.

I also still eat. Being so careful and tracking (and measuring – yes, people, measuring – and BEING HONEST with those measurements – is a huge key) sometimes becomes constrictive.

I eat clean and avoid the foods and food-like things that my body doesn’t like because it makes me feel healthy and it helps me stay strong. But sometimes I say yes to the foods. Like yesterday I was feeling melancholy and I ate comfort foods. And felt like shit.

And today, I ate more. And felt like shit.

I won’t feel better until I flush all the crap out. (ha) [this is also the only time I will admit to finding some redeeming factor in the idea of the “cleanse.” I don’t believe in any of that stupid “only eat this this day “etc bullshit. No, I simply believe in eating real, whole foods that you prepare yourself and that don’t come in packages. No pop. Water, coffee, tea. Minimal dairy. No meat (but that’s me.) It’s only a “cleanse” if you haven’t been eating healthfully. I hate the idea of the “cleanse” because people look at it as a temporary thing. A quick fix. And the only quick fix to health is through habit. Consistency. Nutrient dense, whole foods. Water. Exercise. That’s it. So simple. Also, rest. (I can tell when I’ve had something processed or at a restaurant because I get thirstier.)]

Anyway, it’s important for people who are trying to change their lives through more healthful eating to know that we all indulge. We all stumble. We all hate it. We all enjoy it. But the thing that makes the difference is what you do after. Making sure it doesn’t define you.

I’m more than this. I’m more than what I eat or why I eat. I’m more than a crazy runner girl. But I’m those things too.

Keep pumping the iron. Keep squatting. Keep running. Keep remembering how good you can feel. Keep remembering how proud you are. Keep loving yourself. Keep remembering why you make the choices you do. (and sometimes those choices are an indulgence. Understand that.)

Your weight will go up. Your weight will go down again. Your weight will go up again. And it will go down again. It’s normal. Let it go. Be honest. Track. Measure. Eat whole foods. Mostly plants. Exercise. Drink water. Do it consistently. Don’t beat yourself up when you deviate.

Blah blah. My stomach hurts. (Actually, it’s my intestines.)

See.

weight chart
See? Up and down. Just don’t give up.

10:46 pm. More thoughts.
It’s not all “BOOM! I’m skinny!”. Or “BOOM! I only wanna eat veggies all day long!”.

Sometimes I think having food intolerances and being meat-free make it easier. But really, no.

I’m not trying to be preachy. Just letting you (and me) know (remember) that I’m not defined by food. I’m not suddenly going to be 70 lbs heavier again. I’m going to succeed. And so can you.

Also, I’m going to look for a cooking class or culinary event that caters to my dietary requirements. Also, thinking about giving up dairy and eggs. And fish. But not honey.

Dedication

Dedication. Obsession. What is it?

I ran eight miles on Sunday morning. Running is not an obsession for me. It’s dedication. I set a goal to run a half-marathon and I’m going to do it and do it better than I think I can.

Dedication is what gets you out the door on a chilly, rainy evening.
Dedication is what gets you up at 5am on a Sunday so you can meet a group to go running.(On those runs I often think about how I go to the church of running – it’s a time for reflection, struggle, gratitude, faith, praise)
Dedication is what gets you from half a mile to 5 miles when you really wanted to quit at half a mile.
Dedication is what makes you run up hill for a mile because you know it’s worth it.
Dedication is what makes you get okay with spitting in public. (okay, it still makes me feel gross but the alternative is worse)
Dedication is what makes you push harder and go faster when you are dead tired but you only have .17 miles left to hit your next benchmark. Actually, that’s not dedication – that’s being competitive. Also, sometimes crazy.
Dedication is what makes you get the fuel belt thing that looks like a mini fanny pack – because it’s functional.
Dedication is what makes you say no to the cocktail you really want because you know yourself too well and you just don’t want to risk doing anything that will throw you off because you have to get up and run. You have to do it because you have a goal.

Dedication is being okay with blistered, callused feet.

Dedication*:

  • increases your confidence
  • increases your self esteem
  • increases your joy
  • increases your bond with other people who share the same dedication
  • increases your desire to try new things

*may also result in forgetting to water your beloved plants, forgetting to unload the dishwasher, air high fiving someone about a specific type of spinach mix, posting in all your social networks about your progress, reading about other people who share your passion, being creeped out by your cats because they lay down on your dirty workout clothes, and being happy about being sore

My Rapid Heart with Joy Teams My Soulful Feet

When I started running it was about being able to move my body. While that is still true and a big reason I keep running, it isn’t the only reason. Or even the biggest reason.

Running fills me. It empties me. It releases me. Running moves my thoughts, my heart, and my soul. It pushes me to do things that seem impossible.

When this year began, I couldn’t really run a mile. When I finally did, it wasn’t what anyone would call fast. It was gut wrenching. It hurt. But I did it.

Yesterday, I ran 4 miles. And my pace is picking up. Last week, I ran six.

For most of my life I’ve looked for ways to feel like I genuinely belong. To something, to someone, somewhere. I’ve longed for feelings of true connection to all parts of my being. Last night was one of those full circle nights. I hated running. I loved running! I was miserable. I was gleeful! What I’m really beginning to understand is how important the mind is. But it’s not just the mind – it’s your entire spirit. Your entire attitude.

Take this story of my run last night:
By the time I left work to go to the track for the workout with my running group, I felt shitty. So shitty. Take benedryl and ibuprofen with ginger ale and crawl into bed shitty. My head started hurting out of nowhere and my stomach started lurching. I suspect this was in large part to do with the weather (heat + humidity + rapid shifts in weather + seasonal allergies.) I also didn’t snack appropriately so I felt off in that respect. I decided I was still going to get on that track and do what I could. I am training and I plan to succeed. If I ever want to be able to make it through a marathon, I’m going to have to push myself.

I was dripping sweat before I even started the workout. After my one lap walking warm-up, I ran my warm-up mile – and felt…eh. (The workout was 1-mile warm-up, push-ups & sit ups, 3 or 5 x 1000, 1-mile cool down — with stretching in appropriate places.) I tried to get into the groove of the workout. I was pouring sweat in a way I forgot possible. I felt gross. I was deflated. My stomach was cramping. I stopped. I full on stopped and sat down. After my break (where I almost started crying) I completed one set of the workout (partly motivated by the 2 REALLY fast guys in the group – one of whom was in nothing by his short black shorts – I don’t want to look like a quitter or be the stereotypical “fat kid” in front of these guys who are running their guts out.) I walked a little. And then I stood around and chatted and knew I was quitting. The sun and sweat and saddness did me in. Enough.

The drive home was a battle between my head and my heart. What went wrong? Why couldn’t I do it? Why didn’t I try harder? Could I have done more? YES! What if Scott Jurek gave up? What if Jenn Shelton gave up? What if Ann Trason gave up? If they can do what they do, then I should be able to run speed drills in the heat and humidity. Okay, sure, I’m still overweight and haven’t been running that long. But I am strong. My muscles are strong, my heart (both hearts) are strong, and my mind is strong. The 40 minute drive home was all I needed. I was rested and I had a renewed sense of challenge.

So, here’s my update from my DailyMile account. I can’t say it any better than I did there:

#halfmarathontraining This was an emotional run. Actually two runs because the last 1.5 miles were done at home, away from the blaring sun, just me and Natasha Bedingfield. (If Jenn Shelton can find her running groove to the beat poets, I feel no shame admitting that I found my peace and buoyancy to “A Little Too Much.”) I was a river of sweat at the track – headache, stomachache – DEFLATED. I almost cried and no one would have known because there as so much sweat pouring off of me. I kept talking through it on the way home and I KNEW I was better than that. I KNEW I could do more. So, I laced my shoes back up when I got home. Busted out another 1.5 and redeemed my faith in myself. This is why I love running. LOVE.

I found myself again on the darkened sidewalk. It was still 90 degrees, but that sun wasn’t beating on me. There was no one around. Just me, my feet, the pavement, my music and a need.

What I’m learning about running is it isn’t just a physical act performed by lanky people. It’s a physical outpouring of the soul. Runners are tall, short, fat, thin, rich, poor. They are survivors. They are my people.