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

up

August 30, 2010 § 1 Comment

I finally went to a weigh in after 5 long weeks. Up 3.6 lbs. Left with a curled lip and almost a tear in my eye. Let myself go so badly. Can’t wait to start working out again.  I suppose I can’t emotionally abuse myself too badly for this one, after all, I’m still down multiple pounds and I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been in my life so a few pounds will be easy to take off if I readjust my POINTs and pep up my work outs during this month “off”.  I’ts ok.

Might start it off with spin class tonight and some Yoga. I need Bikram so bad.

Some Goals:

I really want to be a foodbuzz Blogger. Unfortunately I don’t think I have enough entries on food or recipes so I guess this month I’ll be experimenting with healthy versions of the recipes in this months issues of Bon Appetit, Food and Wine and sticking with what I find in Cooking light.  I think I’ll also describe more of my restauranting, post pics of me and my cohorts enjoying our rare bits of time off, and post more pics of the upcoming Mount Snow Brewer’s festival on Saturday as well as the Saratoga Food, Wine and Ferarri festival.

Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make this  a more interesting read and bulk my visit numbers. 🙂

SLUG

August 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

FAT

It’s been days since I’ve worked out. I’ve gone on a run but I haven’t been able to keep up with my C25K.  I thought it was hard to exercise while working nights but this….THIS nonsense is just insane.  Working upwards of 80 hours/WEEK…yes, WEEK makes it damn near impossible to get a decent work out in. I typically wake up at 4:15 am, get my self all gussied up, grab my coffee, head to work to round before 7am. The fatigue. I’m perpetually exhausted, but not in the miserable  way that I was at the VA last month.  This month has been awesome because I can actually use what minimal brain cells I have, but I digress.

SLUGGGG

I’m feeling super sluggish because of my zero booty shaking.  I haven’t done any yoga recently, I was going to start P90X but my lady-friend still hasn’t mailed it to me yet(we’re over a month late on that ), I have barely seen the gym doors, no pilates, no weights, no walks, just a few random jogs. My legs feel like giant 1000 lb LOGS.  I do my best to shake my ass when i can, luckily my sister is in shape and loves to run so she’s a great buddy to have.

Luckily eating has not been as much of an issue. I’ve lost some weight but my gut is becoming a bit more protuberant. Bluuurp.  I really hope my double chin doesn’t make a comeback. yuck.

All for now. Feeling gross. Also haven’t been to a WW weigh in for 3 weeks. nice, right?  Whenever I’m able to make it their doors are locked. Boo.

For the Birds

July 30, 2010 § 2 Comments

This month of night float is almost over…THANK GOD!

That lifestyle is for the birds

The things that this schedule has done to my metabolism, mood, waistline, circadian rhythm, personal relationships, work ethic are catastrophic.  I have never felt more out of touch with the world, even while I made my monthly cross country treks during my last two years of school.

It’s such a struggle for me to look on the bright side of things right now.  I hate seeing these changes in my life.  I have been venting non stop to one of my favorite people how my life feels so out of whack right now and how I’m not sure how much more of it I can take – having second thoughts on a daily basis and wishing I had chosen surgery or ER over internal medicine.  Dammit, I had the scores (I think).  Why did I choose internal medicine out of the fear that I wasn’t cut throat enough to survive a surgical residency or fear that I wouldn’t get interviews? Why didn’t I tell the program director at my ER rotation that I would do anything to switch to his program because it was so strong in both didactic and clinical areas? I’m so damn sensitive.  Why the hell did I settle? Maybe these ridiculous questions are just part of this treacherous territory. It’ll most likely all work out in the end…only if I get that cardio fellowship (fingers crossed).

The main goal of this post was to highlight how my body and mind have changed drastically this month.  I have to look on the bright side and congratulate myself for the strides I know I’ve made.  I started spin class when I knew my stress level was a bit high, fell in love with it and now I can’t get enough.  I  spin about 3 times a week and I’ve continued my C25K on days opposite spinning, almost right on schedule. That’s pretty stinking good, right?  I typically only leave one day out of the week to rest my muscles one weekly.  I’m so f^&*ng proud of myself for the determination that takes.

There’s a but….

Despite how much more exercise Im getting and how the scale reassures me that things are going well overall, I still look at my gut and overly large chest in the mirror and wonder why they won’t budge.  Aggravation!  I have attributed it to a few things, all related to night float (for the most part). I’m not doing nearly as much yoga/pilates as I was during my slightly flatter belly days, not eating on a normal diurnal cycle, and not eating the most of the healthy foods I used to crave – simply because night shift is such an abusive schedule on the body.  I used to eat once every three hours and barely ate carbs simply because I didn’t crave them.  I would have one of the major meals of the day and creaking it up with a Kind bar, fruit, little yogurt shakes, SOMETHING of substance.  I can’t eat on my normal schedule when I’m sleeping at odd times and eating when I can.  These days all I crave are bagles, Dunkin’ donuts grilled cheese flatbreads, chocolate, sweet breads, chips and salsa, chinese food, salty, and more chocolate.  What the F*** is that about?  I suppose my body is just in freak out mode because of the change in cycle – I think that’s why the carbs are being over desired.  This is no bueno.

so….

I’m going to attempt to take these changes in stride.  It’s OK that I put on pound on this week – after all, the nurses loved working with my co-intern and I so much that both the ICU and the ER had little parties for us. That meant pizza, wings, ice cream cake, garden fresh veggies, homemade brownies/choc chip cookies, and my favorite – cheese and crackers.  This, by the way, is an extremely rare thing for nurses to do for interns (so I’ve heard) so I’ll give myself (and my co-intern) a huge pat on the back for keeping the RNs happy. (Plus of the month) It’s OK that I ate that way.

I’ll also have to learn to forget the scale for the time being.  I didn’t go for my weigh in this week because I knew what the situation was and I didn’t want to be too much harder on myself.  I know what this night-style is doing to me so I’m letting it go. Along those lines, I’ll have to let go the negative feelings I have about my job right now.  I think the mental and emotional hardship is part of the game at this point and I have to remember that I’m still learning.  I think it’ll all be OK at the end.

My main goal of the week will be to add more of my Yoga or Pilates as my schedule changes to day team, finally.  I’ll see how that schedule works out and if I have time for the yoga, I’ll do it; if not, then so be it.

Happy Reading 🙂

Down again!

July 13, 2010 § 5 Comments

After all of my endless whining I had my weight in today and was down 1.6 lbs!  I couldn’t really believe it; I thought for sure I was either steady state or up a few tenths of a point.

Changes I made this week that may have contributed:

-continued with C25K

-added a yoga session after my run or just a few extra minutes of walking

-instead of hopping on the elliptical on my cross train days like I did in the past, I started adding spin classes into the mix.  Three days this week.  I still have slight saddle anesthesia, too. 🙂

I haven’t had AS much to eat at work (still eating at night tho) but the only big difference is my my liquid intake.  I’ve been trying to save more money so instead of my pre-shift stop at S-to-the-bucks I’ve started brewing my own jasmine or pomegranate green tea.  I make it about 30 min before work, add ice to my 32 oz travel jug, add a stick of honey with some Stevia and I’m on my way.  Getting that extra fluid really does stave off some hunger.

Thanks for the comments on the last post.  Having that extra bit of motivation when I’m feeling defeated by the scale really helped push me to my ultimate 1.6.  Thanks 🙂

Side note: while I was at WW for my WI today I noticed they had some chocolate shakes and immediately thought of a new concoction I might try; 1 packet WW chocolate smoothie mix, 1 mini banana, 1 tsp almond butter, 1 tsp instant coffee, 1 packet Stevia.  1/2 cup crushed ice + blender.  I actually will try using chocolate almond milk instead of the mix because I ended up buying the pomegranate blueberry smoothie mix instead, with a box of the ranch crackers.  I’ll try ’em out and make a few comments later.

totally random, but as I was searching for images to add I came across this little clinical gem and it reminded me how much I love fiber.

Happy…..something 🙂

I am what I eat

July 11, 2010 § 5 Comments

Gross

I feel so gross.  Residency finally started and I’m working night float so that means I’m not really eating much because I’ve never been a night eater, right? I thought that when I shifted my sleep schedule that I’d also eat much less  and I’d be busy enough to stave off cravings.  I couldn’t have been further off.  The only accurate part is that I’m not, or at least I didn’t think I was, a nighttime snacker.   Working nights has made me soft, literally.  Some how I’m hungry every hour. I have been trying to stick within my WW points and pack little 4-point almond butter and banana sandwiches, apple, greek yogurt with granola and fruit, and by sticking to my all bran in the AM.  I have even stuck with my eating every three hours rule and have an eating schedule planned out in my head.  None of this is helping.  For some reason I’ve re-developed my love handles and my abdomen looks like something I’ve only come across on maternity units.  My measured weight is actually continuing to decrease while my image in the mirror is NOT what is was when I graduated last month.

I’ve been eating so much more…and not just when I’m at work, it’s mainly when I wake up in the afternoon. I’ve completely let myself go to the point I had TacoBell two times last week while hanging out with the little bad influence Runt-my sister.  I hadn’t touched bad-for-you-nutrient-deplete fast food in months. MONTHS.  Then she introduced me to the crunch wrap supreme. 12 fucking points.  12!!!!! Mind you, this was at 1 a.m. It’s been downhill from there.  I had tiramisu, went to a wedding and had cake and a cannoli, multiple sweet mixed drinks, I’ve even gone back for more TacoBell.

I miss my last few months of people making fun of me for eating so healthfully and for my self-control around desserts/junk at work.  I’ve never had control like that before.  As much as I say I want to get back where I was with my self control i feel like it won’t be as easy this time because i don’t have a particular goal.  Last time it was that I didn’t want my classmates seeing me as a fatty at graduation.  I haven’t been able to find a new short term fitness goal.  I know this is what works best for me.

The only thing I’ve go going for me lately is that I’ve been exercising A LOT lately.  I’ve been doubling up on spin and running; a little speed-junkie I guess.  The only thing I really miss is my hot yoga… and I guess pilates.  I’m pretty sure those were the two things that really helped me tighten up and tone…the only issue is that I can’t afford the Bikram anymore and I have no patience for pilates.  It’s just not what I need these days.  I’ve got to get back into it.

I need some tips and encouragement/motivation ASAP.

happy Eating…. 🙂

Where’s my MoJo?

June 22, 2010 § 3 Comments

What the hell, my muffin top is back!

I have no idea where my motivation to exercise disappeared to!  I was doing really well when I had a goal in mind.  I wanted to be in the best shape I could be before going to FL for graduation but now the event has passed. TWENTY EIGHT pounds down and I gave up after proving to myself that I was awesome enough to be healthy.  Now what? I feel so hypocritical starting a fitness blog but not having the motivation to exercise at all.  Haven’t even gone for a walk until today.  It’s been two weeks and I’ve only worked out THREE times.  T-H-R-E-E!  I’ve noticed a bit of a pudge re-developing around my belly and arms.I’ve noticed that my weight is continuing to drop but I think this is mainly from muscle loss (possibly?). Yikes-o-rama!  Well, maybe it’s also because I reduced my points allowance knowing that I was in no mood to exercise.  No Bueno. This is not shaping up to be a very peppy, positive entry.

I keep trying to be mindful of the need to take care of myself before I care for patients but, man, this is tough!  My exercise was my haven – my little place to run, hide and feel like a new person.  I think this will be a good motivator to get my ass in gear and away from the computer.

This hot and humid weather isn’t helping…I love being in the sunshine but cannot tolerate the heat. Exercising in the fresh air is the best but i get pretty cranky when I feel drained from the humidity.  I drink plenty of cold water and carry it with me but that doesn’t seem to cut it.  I know it’s not my thyroid, it can’t be – because I said so… 😦

I recently connceted with a lovely fellow-tweeter who began C25K so maybe this will be my motivation to get back out there. I notice that if I keep a particular event in mind (such as a wedding) , I’m more apt to work towards the goal and succeed.  I have a wedding coming up in a few weeks.  That’s it.  I’m gonna be a hot-mama by then. DONE.

I think I need a few reminders about this goal and how important it is to feel good while I’m there, comfortable in my dress and on the dance floor….not sitting by the dessert table.Speaking of which, my appetite is also on fire (again, I refuse to blame my thyroid.. this is summer heat and laziness…NOT a medical problem. -which i must remind myself often being that sometimes an education can be a deadly thing).  I’ve been noticing that I have been way aboive my daily points allowance these past two weeks; summer parties, BBQ’s, MexiFests, Boozefests, birthday parties, having a kitchen again. It’s been a rough start to summer health thus far!  I’ve consumed many points via beer and fattening dips, which is totally OK, but I need to moderate a bit better.  It’s OK.  I keep telling myself that I’ll get back in gear.

I’m also going to look for a few motivational quotes, write them on little post-it notes, and make sure I see them when I get home from work or head to the fridge.  It’s a plan.

How do you all keep your self motivated to exercise?

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