Lose It Report – June 2014

“I have become fiercely determined to be fit and lose the last of the body fat. And I find that resisting the temptation to overeat is no longer the impossible chore it once was.”

Those were my words from last month’s  report, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at my calorie intake for the month of June.

Sigh.

It was a bad month.

It started off well enough, and I was within the normal range of calories during the first week, but things just got out of hand from the second week onward and I didn’t dare step on the scale until today – a predictable 2 pound gain. I could give a few excuses/reasons (increased appetite with increased cardio, dining out, ice cream stands, etc.) but in the end, it all boils down to self control.

On the bright side, my half marathon training is going well, particularly since I switched out my supposed minimalist shoes (how can they even call them minimal with all that cushioning?) for a couple of pairs of barefoot shoes. Lightening the load and allowing the feet to perform as nature intended has increased my average pace per mile by a full minute!

And now for the shameful part… the actual reports:

Daily Summary – for the week of June 2
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
6/2/14 1,693 1,434 388 1,046 -647 121.4
6/3/14 1,693 1,909 604 1,305 -388 121.4
6/4/14 1,693 1,777 370 1,407 -286 121.4
6/5/14 1,693 1,668 304 1,364 -329 121.4
6/6/14 1,693 1,581 386 1,195 -498 121.4
6/7/14 1,693 1,916 334 1,582 -111 121.4
6/8/14 1,693 1,526 463 1,063 -630 121.4
2,889 calories under budget for the week
Daily Summary – for the week of June 9
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
6/9/14 1,697 2,002 112 1,890 193 122
6/10/14 1,697 1,592 385 1,207 -490 122
6/11/14 1,697 1,718 371 1,347 -350 122
6/12/14 1,697 1,596 461 1,135 -562 122
6/13/14 1,697 2,006 100 1,906 209 122
6/14/14 1,697 2,067 261 1,806 109 122
6/15/14 1,697 2,071 0 2,071 374 122
516 calories under budget for the week
Daily Summary – for the week of June 16
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
6/16/14 1,697 1,885 1,017 868 -829 122
6/17/14 1,697 2,936* 514 2,422 725 122
6/18/14 1,697 2,461 654 1,806 109 122
6/19/14 1,697 1,700 0 1,700 3 122
6/20/14 1,697 2,165 0 2,165 468 122
6/21/14 1,697 1,733 271 1,462 -235 122
6/22/14 1,697 2,062 620 1,442 -255 122
13 calories under budget for the week. *My grand excuse? Midway food!
Daily Summary – for the week of June 23
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
6/23/14 1,697 1,431 0 1,431 -266 122
6/24/14 1,697 1,612 385 1,227 -470 122
6/25/14 1,697 2,021 261 1,760 63 122
6/26/14 1,697 2,144 348 1,796 99 122
6/27/14 1,697 1,517 194 1,323 -374 122
6/28/14 1,697 1,835 310 1,525 -172 122
6/29/14 1,697 2,218 465 1,753 56 122
1,063 calories under budget for the week

Chicken, Peas & Rice… for dummies!

…or anyone in a rush for that matter!

My apologies for the lack of recipe posts of late. Despite the undeniable fact that home cooked meals and baked goodies are far superior in both taste and nutrition, I have found myself wanting to dine out lately. Seriously, I would be eating out for every meal, 7 days a week if the budget allowed!

And so with the confession out of the way, on to today’s “recipe,” if it even qualifies as one. I threw this concoction together back in my teen years, and though I still enjoy making and eating this dish, I now use brown rice instead of instant white, and turkey instead of chicken.
IMG_0156What you will need:
Half a 425g (15oz) can of sweet peas, drained
1, 156g (5.5oz) can flaked chicken (reserve the liquid)
2/3 cup rice, uncooked.

How to make it:
Cook rice according to package directions, but omit any recommended butter or salt, as there is enough sodium in both the peas and chicken to season the dish very nicely.

While the rice is cooking, remove the chicken from the can, reserving the liquid. Crumble or mash the chicken into very small pieces. When rice is done, immediately mix all the ingredients together and spoon onto serving plates. Drizzle a little of the reserved liquid over each and serve. Yields 2 moderate servings.

I recently tried this with approximately 1/4 cup each of finely chopped green pepper and onion sautéed in butter, then thrown into the mix… very good :)

Now then, which restaurant do we hit this evening…?

Lose It! Report – May 2014

I had a very good month for both food intake and activity. Food wise: Aside from a few planned splurge days, I managed to keep the calorie intake well below my maintenance number of around 1,700. As for activity, I am running 5 days a week and strength training 3 days a week. I also want to make a point of riding my bike more often, and begin running errands with it rather than take public transit. Money saved and stronger legs, I’d say that’s great incentive ;)

I ran my second 5K this morning, which, in reality, was much, much closer to 6K… and that would be the reason they call it the “5ish” Fun Run! I ran the entire race, except for the two times that I needed to walk at the water stations. I really need to learn how to hydrate and run at the same time without drenching myself in the process!

Despite having a great time at these events, one thing really perplexes me; I run races at a far slower pace than I train. Example: I ran my last training run, a distance of 5K on Thursday morning, at a pace of 11:02, while averaging 11:44 in this morning’s race. That is a significant difference in the running world, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. The only thought that comes to mind is my fear of “running out of fuel” before the end of the race, therefore I pace myself very carefully. Apparently a little too carefully :P

Hopefully the start of my HM (half marathon) training this week, which includes tempo runs and speed work, will set things right.

I must say that ever since I finally made the decision to run a HM this year – which I am now officially registered for! – I have become fiercely determined to be fit and lose the last of the body fat. And I find that resisting the temptation to overeat is no longer the impossible chore it once was. I think this experience really drives the message home; setting goals is the single most important step you MUST take in becoming a healthier, happier person. Without them, there is no motivation to change your ways, yet a million excuses to stay in your [unhealthy] comfort zone.

Daily Summary for the Week of May 5
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
5/5/14 1,707 1,450 343 1,107 -600 123.6
5/6/14 1,707 1,589 177 1,412 -295 123.6
5/7/14 1,707 1,623 0 1,623 -84 123.6
5/8/14 1,703 1,566 343 1,223 -480 123
5/9/14 1,701 1,671 216 1,455 -246 122.6
5/10/14 1,701 2,451 612 1,839 138 122.6
5/11/14 1,701 1,486 192 1,294 -407 122.6
1,975 calories under budget for the week
Daily Summary for the Week of May 12
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
5/12/14 1,701 1,546 50 1,496 -205 122.6
5/13/14 1,701 1,421 0 1,421 -280 122.6
5/14/14 1,701 1,568 357 1,211 -490 122.6
5/15/14 1,701 2,125 599 1,526 -175 122.6
5/16/14 1,701 1,499 308 1,191 -510 122.6
5/17/14 1,701 2,053 599 1,454 -247 122.6
5/18/14 1,701 1,609 539 1,070 -631 122.6
2,537 calories under budget for the week
Daily Summary for the Week of May 19
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
5/19/14 1,707 1,465 118 1,347 -360 123.6
5/20/14 1,707 1,576 343 1,233 -474 123.6
5/21/14 1,707 1,980 729 1,251 -456 123.6
5/22/14 1,707 1,515 275 1,240 -467 123.6
5/23/14 1,707 1,650 552 1,098 -609 123.6
5/24/14 1,707 1,638 309 1,329 -378 123.6
5/25/14 1,700 1,613 389 1,224 -476 122.4
3,222 calories under budget for the week
Daily Summary for the Week of May 26
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
5/26/14 1,700 1,724 310 1,414 -286 122.4
5/27/14 1,700 1,561 384 1,177 -523 122.4
5/28/14 1,700 1,582 625 957 -743 122.4
5/29/14 1,693 1,596 577 1,019 -674 121.4
5/30/14 1,693 1,625 388 1,237 -456 121.4
5/31/14 1,693 2,324 290 2,034 341 121.4
6/1/14 1,693 1,799 486 1,313 -380 121.4
2,720 calories under budget for the week

Lose It! Report – April 2014

Here are my weekly Lose It! reports for the entire month of April, neatly condensed into one post. Yes, I know, just a tad late!

The Good: Exercise was increased a bit. The Bad: Calorie intake still not under control. The Ugly: Was well over budget 3 out of 4 weeks. The 1 seemingly good week was not at all legitimate since it was exercise calories that kept me under. That’s about as good as cheating, IMO.

I am happy to say that May will look a little better. My plans to run a half marathon this fall have proven to be a highly effective motivator to improve my fitness levels, AND bring my weight down :)

Daily Summary for the Week of April 7
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
4/7/14 1,535 1,793 59 1,734 199 124
4/8/14 1,535 1,798 551 1,247 -288 124
4/9/14 1,535 1,526 0 1,526 -9 124
4/10/14 1,535 1,782 448 1,334 -201 124
4/11/14 1,535 2,043 571 1,472 -63 124
4/12/14 1,535 1,732 0 1,732 197 124
4/13/14 1,535 1,886 0 1,886 351 124
186 calories over budget for the week
Daily Summary for the week of April 14
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
4/14/14 1,551 1,575 0 1,575 24 126.4
4/15/14 1,551 1,497 261 1,236 -315 126.4
4/16/14 1,551 1,802 100 1,702 151 126.4
4/17/14 1,551 1,633 0 1,633 82 126.4
4/18/14 1,551 1,667 0 1,667 116 126.4
4/19/14 1,551 1,810 75 1,735 184 126.4
4/20/14 1,532 1,873 177 1,696 164 123.6
407 calories over budget for the week
Daily Summary for the week of April 21
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
4/21/14 1,632 2,349 0 2,349 717 123.6
4/22/14 1,632 1,832 618 1,214 -418 123.6
4/23/14 1,632 1,960 0 1,960 328 123.6
4/24/14 1,632 1,641 137 1,504 -128 123.6
4/25/14 1,632 1,675 275 1,400 -232 123.6
4/26/14 1,632 1,838 166 1,672 40 123.6
4/27/14 1,632 793 0 793 -839 123.6
535 calories under budget for the week
Daily Summary for the week of April 28
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight
4/28/14 1,536 1,760 0 1,760 224 124.2
4/29/14 1,536 2,154 289 1,865 329 124.2
4/30/14 1,536 1,534 0 1,534 -2 124.2
5/1/14 1,536 1,825 49 1,776 239 124.2
5/2/14 1,536 1,551 49 1,502 -34 124.2
5/3/14 1,536 1,880 99 1,781 245 124.2
5/4/14 1,536 1,406 246 1,160 -376 124.2
623 calories over budget for the week

My First Official Race of the Year!

Good news… I was able to start running again this week, and, with the exception of one short walking break, I was also able to run my first 5K this morning :) Since this was a “fun run,”  there was no official timing, but according to my stop watch, my completion time was 0:37:58 for 5.2K. That would be approximately an 11:51 pace.

Yep, that's me, slow as a tortoise!

Yep, that’s me, slow as a tortoise!

I credit my ability to start running again – pain and worry free I might add! – to the brace that I purchased to help stabilize my ankle, which I figure is about 95% healed. I am so very thankful because I was convinced that I would be relegated to walking the event. Obviously that would not have qualified as a tragedy, but the prospect was still a little disappointing.

On to even better news… I am finally going to bite the bullet and sign up for my FIRST EVER half marathon! I have wanted to run one for many years now, all the while waiting for the “right” time, and I believe that time has come! The race takes place on October 19th so I will have plenty of time to train!

If all goes according to plan, I would like to run a total of 4 races this year, and here is what the schedule would look like:

May 10th: 5K. Goal: To run the entire race and not re-injure the ankle! (I didn’t quite reach my goal.) Status: Completed.
June 1st: A “5ish” fun run. Goal: Ideally, to set a new personal best, realistically, to run at an 11:15 pace. Status: Registered.
September 20th: 10K. Goal: To run the entire race – no walking breaks. Status: Planned.
October 19th: Half Marathon. Goal: To not die!! Status: Planned.

Now I just need to reschedule my training runs from afternoons and evenings to mornings. Not an easy task when you are NOT a morning person!

Stay tuned for updates :)

French Bread

For today’s post, I would like to share with you a ridiculously simple bread recipe. One that uses 5 readily available ingredients, takes very little time, yet generates one of the best homemade breads I have ever tasted. While the flavour is very good, it’s the texture that really makes this bread. Fresh from the oven, the crust is THE crispiest, while the inside is tender and chewy. Another thing that I love about this recipe is how easily it can be halved, a real necessity in a two-person household. In short, it’s perfection in a loaf!

French bread is also one of the most versatile breads. It can be used for sandwiches, bruschetta, garlic/cheese bread/toast, croutons, pizza crust, and a great accompaniment for soups, stews, & chili. I’m betting it would make amazing bread bowls as well! The only downside to this bread is that it should be eaten the day it’s baked. Since the recipe does not have a drop of added fat in it, it goes stale – FAST! No worries though, this bread is sure to disappear quickly!IMG_0020Adapted slightly from: French Bread

INGREDIENTS:
1 ¼ cups warm (~100°F) water, divided
2 tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
3 ½ cups flour, divided

METHOD:
In a small bowl, whisk the yeast and sugar into 1/4 cup of the water; set aside to proof, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, add 3 cups of the flour, salt, remaining water and yeast mixture. Knead until a smooth, elastic dough is formed, about 5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed. Remove dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place approximately 30 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Punch down the dough, divide in half and roll each piece into a 10 x 8-inch rectangle. Roll up jellyroll style starting from the long side; pinch ends to seal. Place loaves seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut slits across the bread diagonally. Cover and let rise a second time until doubled.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake the loaves 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped. Cool slightly on cooling racks before slicing and devouring! Yields 2 loaves, or roughly 24 to 32 slices, depending on how thick you like your slices.

Baked Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

So I am all signed up to run my first race of the year, a 5K, on May 10th. I should be super excited but, alas, I am a bit worried.

IMG_0695I mentioned in a previous post that I injured my right ankle last month, well eventually I had to go to a walk-in clinic to have it examined, then x-rayed the next morning. The diagnoses: Nothing fractured, just a sprain, what a relief! Ah, but in my ignorance I assumed that a sprain was the lesser of two evils, but nooooo, according to the doc, this will take just as long to heal.

Sigh.

bday_14On a happier note, I had an awesome birthday that was spread out over two days. Day one was an afternoon spent with a terrific friend, day two was an evening at Boston Pizza with my aunt and grandma. And check out the generous gifts I received from said individuals!

Oh, and there was cake. It would be criminal to forget the cake, especially when it’s one of these!

But hey, shame on me and my bad manners, you came here looking for doughnuts didn’t you? Well, doughnuts you shall have!

And these are just as good as any you will find in a coffee shop. Actually, they are better. WAY better. They are free from preservatives, GMOs, and grease. AND… they utilize whole ingredients that you can actually pronounce!

I’ve made these many times before, only this time I reduced the sugar considerably from the original recipe. The taste and texture were not at all compromised, they are just less sweet. They are still to die for even without adding a glaze or frosting of any kind. In fact, this was the first time that I ever left them naked in all their glory :D But if you’re in the mood for unabated sweetness, feel free to use the full amount of sugar and glaze them to your heart’s content!
IMG_0155INGREDIENTS:
1 ½ cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar (cut back from 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (cut back from 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously grease a doughnut pan or mini muffin tins. In a small bowl, sift and whisk together the first 5 ingredients; set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the egg along with the sugars until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Spoon the batter (which is thick and very sticky!) into a pastry bag or a plastic bag with one corner snipped off. Carefully pipe the batter into the doughnut tins. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 8-10 minutes. (Mine took roughly 6 minutes, but I used a mini doughnut pan.) Loosen the edges with a rubber spatula and turn doughnuts onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before glazing or frosting.

The recipe yielded 42 minis for me.

**They get added bonus points for freezing exceptionally well!**

Baked Chocolate Cake DonutsThese were baked in a mini muffin tin and glazed.