Still kickin around

I’m depressed because I’m fat, I’m fat because I’m depressed.

I’m basically Rob Kardashian right now.

I am more frustrated and conflicted than ever. Around the second week of January, I started following a weightlifting program, loosely supervised by a trainer. I say loosely because she gives me the exercises and I do them by myself, and check in with her every two weeks. I’ve been doing really well with my strength workouts and doing them regularly, about 3-4 times a week. My strength is improving pretty quickly, and I’m seeing more definition in my legs and arms. My arms feel like they are getting huge; I don’ t know if that’s good or bad.

 

Food-wise, I’m off an on. At first, I was perfect as I could be. But after four weeks of being strict and not seeing any changes, I fell off the wagon. Spent a week eating whatever I wanted. And I’m still the same. So here we are, 6 weeks of this, my weight is UP. I know, muscle weighs more than fat, yada yada. But I should still be seeing the scale fall even as I put on muscle. I haven’t been doing enough cardio, so maybe that’s it.

 

Things I need to do:
– more cardio
– figure out the diet

 

Outside of the gym, I’m kinda bored with my life. I’m looking for a new job. And this record amount of snow is making life suck more than you’d think. I can’t walk to & from work like I normally do. I’m stuck in my windowless office all day at work because it’s too snowy or cold to take midday walk breaks. Driving 2 miles to the gym sometimes takes me over 30 minutes (each way) when you combine snowy roads + rush hour. Social events keep getting cancelled, everyone is trapped inside, and even when we do go outside the sun is completely covered up. I’ve got the Snow Sads. Sorry to bring it all negative, but I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still here, still kicking around. Just a few. more. weeks. til Spring…. hopefully things should brighten up.

Super Bowl of Food

On Sunday, I woke up and for once I did not have to ponder what I should wear:
retro patriots shirt
Patriots all the way!

Even though I don’t like sports, I’ve realized that Super Bowl Sunday is vastly underrated as a food holiday. Over the past few years, I’ve been actually excited about game due, due to all of the awesome food I get to eat. While Super Bowl parties are a lot of fun and have the best food, my old ass does not like getting home after 10 on a Sunday night so the past two years I’ve stayed home. It’s just a party for two but I don’t mind cooking up a storm.

We headed out early to Beer’d Brewing to pick up some beers for the game and I became a champion of my own via the sampling room. Look at the badges I got:

untappd badges

For apps, I made guacamole from scratch, chili cheese dip with homemade chili, and the salsa is the stuff I canned a while back. Most smug nacho platter ever? Sorry.

chili dip, guacamole, salsa

In keeping with the Mexican theme, dinner was carnitas using a recipe from Patti’s Mexican Table. Have you ever seen her show on PBS? She’s funny but her food looks legit!

sb20156

Made in the crockpot. I topped it with my homemade pickled peppers, but the next day for leftovers we made pickled red onions and it was even better. In between all of my cooking, I meal prepped lunches for the week: lime chicken and veggies. Each bowl has some cauliflower rice, steamed broccoli, 4 oz chicken, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 of an avocado, and salsa.

meal prep chicken bowls

Um, I’m not gonna lie. It’s not that good. I think it’s the avocado rice and flavorless steamed broccoli. However, I’ve found that it’s easier and cheaper to meal prep when I’m using the same themed ingredients as other meals.

It’s shaping up to be great week. My imaginary best friend Katy Perry was on TV, we had a snow day the day after the Super Bowl, so I got to sleep in, and the gym is suddenly 1/3 less crowded now that the calendar flipped to February. I will leave you with a picture of me & my other imaginary best friend:

me and rob gronkowski

Fun at the Home Brew Store

My husband brews his own beer, and when I tagged along with him to the home brew supply store, I saw a wall of herbs and flavorings that some curious ingredients that I might be able to use for my hippie crafty projects.

brewing supplies

I decided to grab some rose hips and cacao nibs. I’ve seen rose hips used in DIY face products, and they have a ton of vitamin C which is great for preventing wrinkles. I think I will use them to make facial toner and face oil, so stay tuned for that experiment. I think this package was a little over $3.

I’d never eaten or tried cacao nibs, but I’ve been seeing them everywhere so I was interested in what they’d taste like. A 4 oz package was pretty small so I could take the tiny risk. Plus it was under $5 too. Tasted raw, they are similar to eating a roasted espresso bean. It wasn’t as unpleasant as I expected it to be, and kind of addicting once you get used to the taste. One way I’ve been eating them is spreading a lavash wrap with 1 tablespoon of nut butter and a sprinkle of cacao nibs. It makes for a nice post-workout snack. I also tried making protein muffins for the first time and added them in.

EAS protein muffins

The recipe needs some tweaking before I post it, but the banana and cacao nibs were yummy together.

It seems like the Wall o’ Flavorings changes every time I go, so I look forward to playing with other herbs and flavors. Or who knows, maybe Brian will put them in his beer sometime?

Waiting for something

… or should I say, weighting?

I had kind of a crappy and hectic December, which bled into January. On top of that, I was feeling down about ending the year feeling like I failed fitness-wise. January has evened out but it’s still not on the upswing yet.

I’m one week into my 12 week weightlifting program. Everything feels so new and different. A trainer gave me my exercise plan and told me what “macros” to eat, and I’ll meet with her twice a month to go over progress. Other than that, it’s up to me to do everything else. The first day was scary as hell. I was terrified to be on the weight floor with all the giant muscled dudes. I imagined them all laughing at my red puffy face, trying to lift 20 lbs. However, now that I’ve gone about 4 times, that feeling has calmed down a lot.
I know, it’s only one week and you can’t judge anything by one week but after all of my rounds of “dieting” it feels drastically different. Every other time, I’d be hungry the whole week and then feel lighter, and the scale would usually move quickly the first couple of weeks. This time, I spent the whole week in pain, sore from the new exercises, and all I wanted to do was sleep (even though I got my usual 7-8 hours). I was also eating more calories than what I’d normally eat on a “diet”. Normal diets usually give me 1200-1300 calories; this time I get to eat around 1500. Just 200 calories – one protein bar of a difference, yet it makes me feel a lot better. I’m not as hungry. BUT I don’t feel any lighter or tighter; I actually kinda feel bloated. And the scale did not budge, despite being 90% clean on my diet. In fact, I think I gained 1 lb last week. I’m trying to resist the urge to drop down to 1300 calories, because you aren’t supposed to go too low when trying to build new muscle. But man, I feel so heavy. All of these unknowns are giving me anxiety!
The good news – according to my heart rate monitor, I burned 350 calories during the ~45 minutes I spent on legs the other day. Unfortunately today I think I injured myself trying to to do barbell lunges. On my first set of lunges, I did something wrong and then I couldn’t finish the workout. It hurts just going up the stairs now. Ugh.

 

Recipe: Tofu and Kale Rice bowl

Last week was great for me. I eased back into cardio with three days of easy jogging. My eating was on point up until the weekend, when I drank a few beers and had a cheat snack of poutine but I still stayed within my calorie goal.
There is a funky, veg-friendly joint in Providence (AS220) that makes a most delicious dish they call RKT – rice, kale, tofu. I was craving that the other night but didn’t want to venture out, so I improvised something similar. It’s not an exact duplicate; the real restaurant version uses tons more oil, garlic, and salt but it was enough to satisfy my craving. I had never done tofu this way before and it came out really tasty.
tofu rice bowl

Tofu and Kale Rice Bowl

4 servings
  • 1 block of firm tofu, pressed and cut into cubes
  • Tofu seasoning: 1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano, smoked paprika, and kosher salt; 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice (yield 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (sub olive oil for vegan)
  • 1 bunch of dinosaur kale
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • spray oil
  1. Press the tofu and cut it into cubes. Mix the tofu seasonings together in a bowl and sprinkle it over the cubes. Toss it around to make sure it’s evenly coated, and let it hang out while the rice cooks.
  2. Start cooking the rice. (no salt with the rice) 
  3. About 30 minutes after the rice has been cooking, start the main cooking. Heat a pan over medium-high and spray it with oil. When it’s hot, add the tofu. Let the tofu cook until it looks brown and seared before you start flipping things over. This step takes a while to get most of the sides done; about 2 mins per side so be patient.
  4. In between turning the tofu, wash and tear the kale into bite sized pieces, then mince the garlic. When the rice is cooked, stir the butter into the hot rice. Since this doesn’t have any sauce, the butter helps give it a good flavor.
  5. When the tofu is done, dump it into a big bowl and put the pan back on the stove, but turn the heat down to medium. Add the olive oil and garlic. After a minute, put in the kale and let it cook for another minute, then add the almonds.
  6. Add the kale mixture to the tofu in your giant bowl, then carefully mix in all of the cooked rice. Divide it into four servings
Hearty, nutritious, and delicious. Almost vegan. MyFitnessPal tells me that each serving has 414 calories / 47g carb / 17g fat / 23g protein.
It’s not great on sodium but if I reduced the salt, it would taste like cardboard. It feels good to be eating nutritious food again.  I lost one pound from last week, so I’m on my way back to normal.