Saturday, February 27, 2010

6 Miles... and I'm Feelin' Good

I went back to the dr a couple weeks ago for a 2nd chest x-ray, just following up on my pneumonia. It had been 2 months since my first chest x-ray and to be honest, I've still been coughing and I get wheezy in the morning and at night, but for the most part I feel much better than I did a few months ago. Well, my second chest x-ray showed my right lung looked the 'exact same' since the first x-ray. WHAT?!! How could that be?!! I don't know what I can do to get myself 100% again but I figure I just have to do the best I can with what I've got. I can tell when I run I don't have the lung capacity that I used to, but that doesn't stop me from doing it. And on days like today, I feel like I've accomplished something much more than just the physical act of running a certain number of miles. I'm overcoming mental barriers too. This morning I ran 6 miles straight in 57:21 and felt really good. My legs were fresh, my breathing was pretty regulated, and most of the run felt 'effort-less'. Better news: no GI problems afterward! I tried drinking more water during my run compared to what I normally drink, and that seemed to help. I'm wondering if I should just sign-up for the SLC 1/2 marathon in April. Part of me wants to, but the other part only wants to do it if I feel I can PR and I know at this point with my pneumonia-setback, I'm just not as strong as I was after my last half marathon in August (of course the $70 is a big concern too.) I would love to do Hobble Creek again this summer so maybe I will shoot for that one. We'll see. Overall though, I'm feelin' good (bring it on, Mr. Buble.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Count Your Calories

If you remember awhile back when I started my weight loss journey, I wrote a post about calorie counting. I stayed pretty strong for a long time but when I got pneumonia a few months ago and had to take a hiatus from exercising, my diet suffered. I made a lot of 'not-so-great' choices which led to me gaining 10 lbs. ARGH! This past month, however, I've jumped back into calorie counting and I'm doing pretty well. For those of you who want to eat healthier but don't know where to start, here are five tips to get you on the right track:

1. Record what you eat every single day. Being aware of what goes into your mouth is a step toward making healthier choices. I use as my daily food journal. You can set-up your profile with your weight loss goals (setting a specific daily calorie goal) and keep track of the percentage of protein, sugar, carbs, fat, sodium, etc. you eat each day. VERY, VERY helpful.

2. Try to eat 3- 400 cal meals each day (give or take a little on the calories, depending on what your goals are). This is important for many reasons, one of them being that if you eat small breakfasts and huge dinners, that means more calories entering into your body that are not getting worked off at the end of the day. Don't forget one or two low cal snacks in-between each meal. Don't starve yourself. If you're hungry, eat a little snack (apple wedges, high in fiber and filling, or cucumber slices, lettuce-turkey wraps, etc.)

3. When you eat out (and you know you will at some point), know where you will be going in advance and check out the menu and nutritional facts online before you head out. Know what you plan to eat even before you get there so you won't be tempted when looking at the menu to order something that sounds good, but is not in your 'calorie budget'. (I have eaten out a couple times this past month and posted what I chose below. I loved already knowing what I was going to order even before I stepped foot into the restaurant.)

4. PORTION CONTROL. This is a HUGE one. Ben, my 7 year old son LOVES chicken fettuccine alfredo and usually asks me to make it at least once or twice a month. This is a killer for me. It's hard making something that I know isn't exactly the 'healthiest' meal on the planet for my family, but when it's a favorite it's hard to say no. So, it is okay to eat things once in awhile that are not super healthy, just use your head and eat smaller portions. Fill up more on fresh veggies. Drink a lot of water in-between bites. You CAN eat 400 cals of fettuccine alfredo. Yes, it won't fill your plate, but you know what... it's not supposed to! (you know how much butter alone is in that meal!) Watch your portions.

5. Find healthy foods that are low in calories but still filling. This is something I'm constantly working on, finding foods I really enjoy that fill me up but don't break my 'calorie bank.' Here are some food ideas you might want to try:

1. Private Selection Smoked Honey Turkey (wrap slice of turkey in a piece of lettuce, add a bit of cilantro, about 30 cals, yummy snack)
2. Kellogg's Fiber Plus Antioxidants Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (130 cals)
3. Whole Wheat Toast (spread 1 tsp. peanut butter, and sliced half banana, approx. 170 cals)
4. Strawberry-Banana Smoothie (blend 2-3 strawberries, 1/2 banana, 1/4 C. 100% apple juice, and approx. 10 ice cubes)
5. Yoplait White Chocolate Strawberry Yogurt (only 100 calories, great snack)
6. Yoplait Fat Free Light Banana Creme Pie Yogurt (110 cals, yum!)
7. Extra Polar Ice Gum (1/2 stick = 5 cals)
8. Pop Secret Homestyle Popcorn (about 30 cals/serving)
9. Ocean Spray Craisins (1/3 C = 138 cals)
10. Sliced cucumber (Ksenia's idea, and I love it too)
11. Apple sauce (Ksenia's idea, yum)

1. Healthy Choice Meals (most of these meals come with a main dish, side of vegetables, and dessert, very filling and only approx. 300 cals for the whole thing)
2. Progresso Light Beef Pot Roast Soup (160 cals/can)

3. Progresso Light Savory Vegetable Barley Soup (120 cals/can)
4. TastyWok All Natural Orange Chicken w/Brown Rice (can buy at Costco, 1 serving = 410 cals)

5. DiGiorno Tuscan Style Chicken Crispy Flatbread Pizza (grilled chicken, spinach, oven-roasted tomatoes, garlic and a creamy red sauce, approx. 373 cals for 1/2 of the pizza) -Thanks, Karyn for introducing me to this on Sunday, yum!
6. Kirkland Milk Chocolate Weight Loss Shake (get them at Costco, 24 cans for $15.99, 230 calories/can, I like to drink them with a cooked egg and toast, 400 cal meal)

1. Dole American Salad w/tiny bit of Good Seasons Italian Dressing, crumbled hard boiled egg (approx. 150 cals)
2. Cocktail Shrimp w/Heinz Cocktail Sauce

1. Outback Steakhouse Grilled Chicken on the Barbie, Fresh Seasonal Vegetables (no butter), House Side Salad (no croutons, tiny bit of ranch on side, approx. 550 cals)
2. IHOP Blueberry Harvest Grain 'n Nut Combo (includes two pancakes and side of scrambled egg substitute, 570 calories)
3. Teriyaki Chicken Bowl w/Brown Rice at Rumbi (ask for extra veggies, 500 calories)
4. Chick-Fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad, no croutons (ate it with 1/4 packet of ranch, and a small fruit cup side, total calories for entire meal 225 calories)

Also, here is my 'old' list (but still a good one) of my favorite low cal foods I posted on 9.12.08:

1) fruits (watermelon, bananas, grapes)
2) grilled chicken (add lemon juice and a little garlic)
3) Wishbone Italian dressing spray (1 calorie/spray)
4) orange-banana smoothie (1 C. light orange juice, 1/2 banana, 8 ice cubes)
5) grilled salmon
6) vegetables (green beans, corn, asparagus)
7) fiber one breakfast bars
8) lean cuisines
9) McDonald's fruit parfait
10) oatmeal

PS If you want to add your own favorite yummy low cal ideas, post away.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Halo... the Remake

My sister, Whitney, is in BYU's Divine Comedy, a group of students who come up with their own skits and improv stuff. It's like an LDS version of Saturday Night Live. She e-mailed me this video of her Halo skit this morning:

I also posted her Single Ladies skit on here awhile ago, but to refresh your memories, here it is:

My sister is pretty dang talented.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm Back in the Game

I was hoping to run the Ogden Marathon in May and when I got pneumonia in November I had to let that goal go... at least for a little while. My lungs are still not 100%, even 2 1/2 months later. I have coughing fits at night and get a little wheezy, but thankfully it is much better than it was even one month ago. I slowly made my way back to the gym in January and a few weeks ago I tried running 3 miles straight without stopping... couldn't do it. I did run 3 miles, but it was slow, and I stopped probably 5 or 6 times due to a hacking cough and my lungs feeling like they were going to explode. Just minutes after my run I literally was sick to my stomach and had to go straight home. I was nauseous for a few hours and had to sleep it off while the kids were napping. I felt defeated. Just 5 months before that I ran an awesome half marathon and was on my way to running a full. How did I get to this point, that running a 5K wasn't doable?!! It was horrible.

Well, I am proud to report that today I ran 3 miles without stopping. I wasn't going for time (got 29:30) because I just wanted to keep my heart rate regulated, by getting into a nice groove and keeping it there. After my run, I even felt good enough to do stairs for 20 minutes, bike for 15, and then do abs. My lungs held up and I know deep down I still have 'it'. I just need to be cautious that I don't push too hard too fast. Don't want to get sick or endure another IT band injury like last year. All in all, I feel really good about where I'm at. Yes baby... I'M BACK!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Foreign Service: Part II

So, WHY Foreign Service? Jake and I talked about the pros and cons before he left for DC in November to take the OA. Eventually we (or maybe I should say 'I') came to the conclusion that the pros did outweigh the cons and we were ready to do this. Jake already knew this is what he wanted but obviously needed a spouse on-board as well. After he passed the OA it became very clear to me that our path was being led this way for a reason, and amazingly life just seemed to make sense at that point.

For a complete list of FS benefits listed by the Dept of State, click HERE.

Here is OUR benefit list:

* Jake would make decent $. Considering we are living off of a pretty low salary to begin with (non-profit work doesn't necessarily pay the bills), Jake will be making more in the FS than he is now.
* Government health benefits
* We get to travel and see the world
* Make new friends wherever we go
* Good education for the kids
* Opportunity to experience different cultures
* Language acquisition
* Amazing family vacations
* Living in DC for training (Jake and I love DC!)
* Housing expenses paid for
* Ability to save $
* Possibility of living in amazing places where we couldn't afford to live otherwise
* Service opportunities
* Family and friends could come visit
* Student loan repayment program
* Plenty of allowances and incentives (foreign travel per diem allowances, cost of living, etc.)
* Possibly have a housekeeper (woo hoo!)
* Generous annual leave (accrual is 30 days/leave year if assigned in US, 45 days/leave year if assigned overseas)
* 10 paid holidays/year, and also observe some local holidays celebrated at overseas posts of assignment
* FS becomes family- tight knit groups wherever you go

* Most importantly, we only live once.

Of course Jake and I talked about hardship tours, the possibility of being separated, the kids being yanked out of schools and changing friends every couple years, the pain of moving often, language/cultural barriers, away from family and friends, worrying about safety, etc. Ultimately, we truly feel that putting up with the cons will just be part of the experience and we are strong enough to deal with whatever is thrown our way. I'm not saying it will be easy. I'm sure there will be days when I will be asking "Why did we do this?" But, that's life. If we never had hard times, we would never realize how good the good times really are.

Now let's just hope Jake gets on the register soon so we can get this show on the road!