How do you do it?

September 23, 2010 § 4 Comments

This post will be sort of a hodge-podge but the meat and potatoes are in the middle…it’s my deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie, if you will.

Luckily I’ve had plenty of time to blog over the past few days.  It’s given me an alternative way to unwind in ways that exercise and my daily prancing around the stove have been (unusually) unable to.  Somewhat of a side note – I had initially planned a flight to Sacramento which would allow me about 3 days in Lake Tahoe and 3 days of wine tasting in Napa.  The plan was set but man, I had a VERY difficult time parting with money that I had saved.  So much time, sweat and sleep deprivation had gone into making that money that I couldn’t part with it.  I know, I know. This seems foolish because I know I’ll burn out before my next vaca, but I’ve developed a little bug in me that already wants to start saving for my childrens’ education (mind you, I have ZERO children/pets/nieces/nephews/godchildren/not even a pet cockroach and no potential to have any in the next few years). So I’ve spent some time doing a little local travel and mainly spent my time put-sing around the kitchen, trying out new recipes and taking in as much of the local fare I can.  Festivals and farmer’s markets galore!  With all of this free time and writing also came time to read some blogs that I had never read…

On to the meat

Being a sort of successful weight watcher’s gal, I tend to stick close to home and read the blogs of fellow WW girls.  I can commiserate with their struggle, get ideas on snacks and healthy lunch or dinner items, and get some fab work out ideas.  Overall I find this soothing in a way; knowing that I’m not totally alone in this battle of the bulge.

This time off from work has made me curious  and I’ve been able to read through the blogs that I’ve never visited…I won’t name names – they’re excellent blogs), but what I’m finding is….they’re pretty impressive!  There’s an astounding number of people who can challenge weight loss on their own.  How do they do this?  How/where do they find the motivation?  How do they figure out what’s right for their body and what limitations to set?  In other words, how do they do this on their own?  Many of these “independent” fitbloggers don’t point this out.  I’ve tried elucidating this from the “about me” sections but they seem to be similar to mine – meaning that they basically felt some sign or urge to make a general change and just moved forward.  What made one turn to weight watchers and the other turn to him/her self?

now the potatoes

Eating healthy and exercising seem incredibly simple if you have a little motivation and time but in reality, it’s really not.  Not at all.  I’m sure you’re reading this thinking “Good job, little doctor.  Your 1/4 million dollar education seems to have really paid off (giant eye roll).”, but here’s the thing, medical school doesn’t teach us HOW to be healthy, it actually does quite the opposite.  I will rant about this in a later post.  In all of my years of schooling I of course knew that calories burned must exceed calories consumed, but I could not practice this for a multitude of reasons.

  1. No motivation,
  2. Literally never took the time to take care of myself because I’m disgustingly competitive and felt the need to study for 10-16 hrs/day (and FYI I was no where near as successful as most students who were just as intense and obnoxious as I was…probably because I never took care of myself – didn’t sleep more than 4 hours, didn’t eat well at all, ever, and was just miserable…you get the ugly picture).
  3. I didn’t have a supportive network by any stretch of the imagination,
  4. I wasn’t willing to take the time to prepare healthy meals.  **Message to pathetic old Me, how much time does it REALLY take to make and pack a sandwich, as opposed to the daily nonsense of stopping at Panera/subway/Moe’s, etc  for almost every meal?  Hello – waste of $$$$ that you don’t have!**

Back to my original thought….

If I didn’t pay someone to basically teach me what I already knew about health and wellness, to weigh me weekly, or  to set limits for me in terms of exactly how much I was allowed to eat daily, I would not have lost 35 lbs. I know it.  Not on my own.  I just don’t know if I have that determination in me.

How do you self-propelled people do this?  What triggered your mind to become structured and to stick with it? How did you determine (aside from the clear calculations of kcal/kg/day along with carb/fat/protein breakdowns) how much and what to eat daily? How do you not just give up when you don’t have a monthly WW bill hanging over your head? (Mind, I know WW has helped me to this point and it’s not only about paying to lose weight..some days it is, but 90% is wanting to be healthy and to look/feel like $4 x my tuition).  I really give you all a lot of credit for being so successful on your own.  I wish I could harness an ounce of that determination to succeed on my own.

Another thought. I wonder if long term success rates differ between self-propelled and weightwatchers people.  I wonder if I would have stuck to a plan this long if I hadn’t been shelling out $40/month to get my self in gear.

Any feedback or thoughts? (about that pesky topic of medical school and nutrition, more on that in another post)

Now for something fun and random

Also, I thought if I had time I’d start posting new recipes in the body as opposed to a separate recipe page.   I love my new camera and have been making great use of it (in the kitchen) so why not share the photos and the food?

I had some left over potatoes from a previous meal along with some carrots and a new BAG (hangs head in shame) of butternut squash.  I had been craving butternut squash soup as it’s healthy and nicely accents the new seasonal changes underway.  I typically only use squash and potatoes but having the carrots on hand was a great change.

Spiced Butternut – Carrot Soup


  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 cups frozen (preferably fresh) butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 cups carrots (or parsnips), chopped
  • 1 cup peeled boiled potatoes
  • 1 cup LIGHT cream
  • 1 and 1/2 cup fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger root
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • s/p to taste

*hand held mixer or food processor

My Method

In a 5 quart pot, heat oil and add onions and carrots.  Once onions develop translucency, add squash and potatoes and heat until squash becomes soft.  Add cream, stir to incorporate, and add broth.  Allow to simmer for approximately 15 min.  Carrots should become soft at this point.  Now either remove mixture and add to food processor or blend with hand held.  Consistency should be that of farina o…or to your liking.  At this point add herbs and sugar. Allow to simmer for another 15 min.

I garnished with toasted Thomas’ Bagel Thin (cinnamon raisin- with a light spray of light olivio and sprinkle of cinnamon/sugar) crostini, a dallop of light cream cheese and chives.  It definitely hit the spot.

I also found a great deal on some organic figs and figured the best way to celebrate the season was so preserve them to enjoy all week month long.I ended up making a cinnamon fig/apple/walnut jam as well as a raspberry/nectarine jam infused with orange.

Such beautiful figs

decorating a piece of Manchego

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§ 4 Responses to How do you do it?

  • I don’t know how I’d do anything without WW or Sparkpeople. The community and accountability are too valuable to leave behind and try to do it on my own.

    Also, I’d like a jar of that jam, stat.

  • Rita says:

    I would be a self proclaimed do it on my owner I think. I guess I did a ton of reading, about nutrition and I tried tons of different foods, ways of eating etc along the way until I found what worked for me. That happens to be vegetarian low amounts of processed food.

    There were so many questions up there, that’s almost a blog post so I won’t hijack your comments. I thrive on finding what works, the journey and the discovery. I cannot deal with people telling me the write way to eat. It makes me want to eat the very thing I’m avoiding.

    I think motivation is often misused. I don’t have anymore motivation than anyone else but I do have loads of commitment. On the days I don’t want to work out or eat properly I’ve still done it because my word, my commitment to myself just won’t let me quit anymore.

    And then sometimes I think it’s like a perfect storm and everything combined at the right moments to help me lose it and keep it off for almost a year now. There maybe isn’t one easy answer.

    Wow that was long winded and confusing! Sorry about that.

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