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Secret Calories

First, it was the confused employee who couldn't understand how a credit worked for a customer, saying the customer was upset over a charge and that he wasn't making matters better because he didn't understand and was explaining things badly.

Then it was the email from the teacher saying my son had lines to learn by Friday or he'd lose his part as Santa in a winter musical oh so many months away.

Following that was the call from the aforementioned disgruntled customer who, after explaining the situation for a good 10 minutes, was still disgruntled and not really clear as to what upset him the most, the credit card charge itself or the miscommunication about the charge.

After that was the call from my salesguy saying another customer didn't use us anymore because they were unhappy with the way their account was handled. This was news to me because their account looked clean and there were little to no notes about payment issues or calls for collection. And I would know, I'm a proficient note-maker-upper.

Sigh...

Once I left the Office of Doom and made my way home to The House Of Horrors, I battled through a load of towels in the dryer, a new load of dirty clothes and realized I still needed to wash the dishes necessary to make dinner, actually make the dinner and help with homework. And let's not forget that Santa's lines needed to be memorized.

My evening was looking bleak and there was still the issue putting away the clothes on the floor into the new set of drawers in the master bedroom. That mess was now going on 3 weeks and I was so overwhelmed I avoided my bedroom at all costs.

My work day had been rather stressful and harried, causing my energy and emotional reserve levels to dip dangerously low, leaving me with little to manage the rest of my duties at home. So when I walked into the kitchen and saw that the trash was full and the dishes a mess, I think I hit bottom. 

That's when the garlic bread left over from the dinner the previous night started to look like chocolate cake. And not just a slice but the whole damn thing. Without thinking about calories or the fact that my evening was planned out all healthy and whatnot, I grabbed the bread and bit into it. 

As I worked through the dishes, plopping a good portion of them into the dishwasher to be cleaned while I hand washed the few I would need to complete dinner, I snacked and picked away at the leftover bread. 

When I reached the ends of the loaf where the bread became crusty and tough, I realized I had just consumed a good half of it and that would not look good. So I guilty wrapped up the remains and shoved them down into the trash can, hoping to hide the evidence of my little indiscretion. I quickly logged my calories so that I could shame myself into realizing it was not a good idea and that I let my emotions run wild.

That would be the end of my story. At least in the eyes of my friends on MFP because I logged it, I shared my issue and my stress and that was that.

Except...it wasn't.

After bedtime and reading a chapter of Ralph S. Mouse to my son, I went  into my room, slipped quickly into my sweats and made my way to the couch where a load of towels waited to be folded. I turned on a show I had been trying to finish for sometime and worked my way through the laundry pile next to me.

While I worked, I started to remember the cookies in the fridge. They started calling me and I slowly stood up, dropping the gym towel I had folded in half and like a half-dead minion of the dark world of secret snacking, I walked to the fridge and ate a cookie. Then another. And then a third one.

Of course then I was thirsty and like that book says, if you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk. And not just any milk, but a cold glass of dark chocolate almond milk. That hit the spot.

I threw away the evidence of the demolished cookies and rinsed my glass clean, leaving no trace of the snack I had just eaten. I made my way back to the couch and started to fold again.

I never logged them. I blissfully forgot about them. 

They were my sneaky little secret calories, all to myself.

The sabotage I never acknowledge.

Where I learned this behavior, I can't say. But it's nothing new. It's just something I need to recognize and work on fixing. I need to see that this isn't helping. Not just my weigh loss but it doesn't help my emotional development. Hiding and sneaking food and not counting the calories consumed into my daily figures only hurts me in the long run.

Now there will be no more secret calories because they aren't a secret any more.

 

A Special Batch Of NSV Cookies

I like to torture myself. I will buy sweets for my guys and snacks for my son's lunch. I'll purchase things I shouldn't have in the home knowing that my resistance to snacking on sweet stuff is very, very low.

But I live with two men, one big and one small, that have healthy metabolisms and no issues with sugar addiction. My big guy can eat all day and still lose weight while my son loves veggies and salmon with a healthy side of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

I'm jealous...

For the most part I cook our main meals and keep healthy snacks in the house for all of us. On the rare occasion we have some kryptonite in the house (for me it's anything chocolate) it's a struggle for me not to over indulge. 

When I'm good, I'm good. I'll eat in moderation and I'll log it. But when I'm bad, I'm oh so very bad...I'll finish off a bag of chocolate chips meant for muffins or cookies just because "The bag was open so I had to finish them. I didn't want to waste them." Yes, I've said these words to myself in defense of munching on a half finished, open bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Sigh...

Last week, out of the blue, I picked up a box of cookie mix for peanut butter cookies. My intention was the surprise my big guy because he LURVES peanut butter anything. But I never got around to them. Then I got sick and the hot weather returned so turning on the oven to bake didn't seem appealing at all.

Then last night while I was making dinner, I decided to make that damn box of cookies so it would stop taunting me from the counter. I mixed the ingredients and added some peanut butter chips because, like I said, I like to torture myself.

On several occasions while kneading the ingredients into dough, I subconsciously lifted my fingers to my mouth to lick away the delicate smudges of peanut butter goodness. That creamy cookie dough was all over my hands and it would have made sense to just nibble it away instead of washing it down the drain. Up went my hand, closer and closer to my lips when suddenly I stopped.

I had already logged my food for the day all the way through dinner! I couldn't snack on cookie dough! How would I log that little smidge of sweetness? Would I, could I be able to lick it away and not log it without the soul crushing guilt that my diary was a sham...A LIE!

No...I would be controlled about this. I was an adult, by god!

So I washed my hands, baked the cookies, served dinner to rave reviews from the peanut gallery and shared a baked cookie as a dessert. 

I even logged it.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I did burn half the batch but the ones that didn't burn were very good. And, I survived.

Not a morsel of peanut butter uncooked goodness passed my lips. I didn't even pop a peanut butter chip into my mouth as a reward for being such a domestic goddess. No, I put every spilled chip back into the bag and left it wrapped tightly in the fridge for granola to be made another day.

I survived The Cookie Ordeal of 2012!

Burn-Out

This week I've pushed harder in my running and keeping to my routines more than I have in the past year. I've logged my food, made good choices, allowed for a little guilty pleasure here and there (aka wine!), and I've made it out for a run everyday so far. I even worked through a cold that maintained only a mild status and never went full-blown

And yet today I'm feeling run down and tired.

As frustrating as this is to state out loud, I need to take a break.

I need to rest and take it easy tonight. While my cold hasn't settled into my chest and never elevated past sniffling and annoying, I can still feel my body fighting it off. And running has been a blessing, giving me just enough umph to push this bug out of my system and keep going.

Why is it so hard to get some rest, go to bed earlier, and take it easy for a moment? I know how important it is yet the notion of not running tomorrow and instead getting a little more sleep in the morning is terrifying.

Ok maybe not terrifying....that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But I'm still apprehensive to give myself the green light just to lay around and recover.

That there is the truth. Somewhere in my tired, run down little brain I'm afraid of letting go for a night only to find my motivation and momentum gone. But I need it. My body is telling me so with the lethargic overall feeling, lack of appetite, and the stuffy buzzing sound in my ears. 

So I'm listening. I'll take the night off.

Begrudgingly...

Running To Cure A Cold

Accchoooo!!

Yes, that's me. I'm a sniffling, sneezing, aching mess. 

No fever or stomach pains. Just a simple head cold causing me to sound like a 70 year old man. My ears are doing that thrumming thing, too.

Since my symptoms are all above my shoulders and I have no fever, I decided to get outside and run last night. 

This running thing has me by the balls and I can't seem to shake it. I'm addicted. 

My run wasn't fast or anything extra special. What WAS special was that I didn't stop and kept going. I finished Week 2 Day 3 of my C25k program in 28 minutes. I'm still switching between running/walking but hey...I'm out there moving so I'll take it.

As of this morning, I'm still a space cadet and I'm not feeling great but I'm no worse. Still no fever or stomach issues and the good news is my head doesn't hurt. I'm just stuffy.

And snuffly.

Down goes the water and tea. Let's home this bug has evacuated by tomorrow!

On goes the running!

Fripples

A change in season is very rare here in southern California. We know it happens because our calendars tell us when the seasons change and lots of our friends and family in other parts of the country start sharing their stories of colder weather and the changing of their leaves or the blooming of flowers and the melting of snow.

Us? Not so much. We go from hot to warm to mild to chilly. But that's about it. We have our rare days when it rains or when it's cold enough in the morning to put on a hoodie and a beanie. But that's about it.

Winter coat? Not sure what that is... Rain boots? Don't own any...

My early morning routine is still in place and I continue to get up at 5:00am to run a quick jog around my neighborhood before I start my work day. It's been in the mid 60's the last few mornings, chilly enough to make me want to get home faster but not enough to make me turn back around and say "Forget it! It's too cold!"

But last night we had some rain. An odd storm front moved through and brought thunder and lightning and hail to certain parts of our precious portion of southern California. We didn't get to see or hear the show BUT we did get a little wet.

It was exciting to watch the clouds roll through and listen to the distance rumble of thunder, waiting for our turn to be soaked through with the cool rain of Fall. We got a little downpour but that was it. 

I wasn't feeling good and didn't expect to wake up feeling well enough to run. But my alarm blared at 5am and up I went. Not 100% but not sleepy enough to stay in my warm bed.

Lacing up my shoes and getting out the door was one thing. But once out there I noted a distinct change in the air. The ground was a little damp. Water dripped from the eaves of my roof and fallen leaves lined the base of my fence.

I stepped away from my front door and turned on my running apps when I realized it was cold. Not chilly, not mild. It was cold. 10 degrees colder than my last few runs

It was cold enough for my arms to prickle and other body parts to harden in response.

Fall was here and it was only the beginning.  I'm not prepared to run in cooler weather.

But I ran anyway and made a mental note that winter running gear might be necessary. Especially if I want to continue running 4-5 days a week before 6am.

Because nothing is worse than running with fripples.

A Date With The Pavement: A Running NSV Story

I run. It's what I do. And it's ironic because I never liked running.

In my youth, I played soccer and only defense positions, including goalie. As a defender I needed speed in spurts but rarely for long periods of time. I was mostly there for muscle, not for stamina. 

When I ran my first race in 2011, I found a satisfaction I wasn't expecting. Heading off when the gun sounded and then completing a race by crossing a finish line gave me a feeling of elation I would NEVER have associated with running.

Running was taxing and exhausting. And it hurt. It hurt my knees and my hips and my breasts bounced too much and my feet grew numb.

Like a virus, I caught the bug and it hasn't left my system since. Almost 2 years and over 15 races later, I'm still running. No longer do my hips hurt as much and I've learned to shop for gear that helps with my bouncing beauties. My feet stay happy in my comfortable running shoes and my knees are ok after a little stretching before and after each run.

And now I'm on a new kick: early morning jogs. My alarm goes off at 5:00am and I try to be out the door before 5:30. I run 5 days a week and I may not be skinnier for it but I'm definitely stronger.

Yesterday, I had a date with the pavement and my partner in crime. My sister runs, too. She encourages me when I don't feel like strapping on my sneakers and I push her when a nap sounds better than a run. We head out together, me and my need to walk, run, walk, run and her instinctual need to just run at top speed. 

Together we run and talk until I can no longer get a word out, then we run along in silence as she pushes me and as I encourage her. Our feet strike against the sidewalk, her longer strides and my staccato steps. She chit-chats at me and takes my single worded responses as I keep my breath in line with my running.

All of our whining and bitching about running during the stifling hot summer days and the long hills we traversed together have paid off. Yesterday, on a whim, we got together and did a short 3 mile run. Well, almost 3 miles. More like 2.98 miles. But we'll round up just for the sake of my story.

At about the time my sister was to show up, I got a message from her saying she had fallen asleep. I read this while I was lacing up my running shoes and I laughed. A few minutes more wouldn't be a big deal so I instructed her to come on by and we would run when she arrived.

When she arrived, we headed out into the quickly greying day. We ran up a slight hill, through a beautiful park and around the lake, out the other side and along the straight sidewalk back to my home. And we ran without walking.

3 miles in 35 minutes with little to no stopping. A huge milestone for me.  

 

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Look at all the greeeeen!

And to think I told her before we started that I can't run continuously for long periods of time, yet. That I still needed to break up the running with walking when I got tired.

How wrong I was and how happy was I to be wrong.

12 In 2012: Into The Wildlands 12k

This weekend I ran my 9th race of 2012. My goal is to run 12 races this year. All of the rest are scheduled, now I just have to get out there and run them. Not such a big deal except this last race.

As the date for this 12k grew closer, I suddenly had second thoughts. Could I run the distance? How hard was this course? Was I biting off more than I could chew?

About 3 days before my race, I actually considered not going. I was getting way to stressed out over not knowing how this trail race would go and I knew little about the area and every email sent to me from the racing team setting up the event had me chickening out fast.

But lots of my fitness friends here encouraged me to stay the course and go through with it. They reminded me that if I didn't go, I'd regret it and some reminded me that I don't have to break any records, I just need to cross that finish line.

Even at home I was being gently encouraged to not back out. Although I was still nervous and concerned about this race, I promised I would not skip it. That I would get up and go.

So I did.

I got up and got myself ready. My stomach was a little uneasy due to nerves but I still managed some cereal and coffee. I gathered my things and headed out. The morning was crisp, something we haven't felt in awhile so I enjoyed the clear morning and the cool looking clouds on my way to the canyon. 

I was blessed to get a new phone that has a few new-to-me gadgets and apps. Like a panoramic photo option. See?

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

So there I am, all nervous and jumpy and it was chilly so I start to warm up after I snapped some pictures of the morning sky and the area we were in. I love new toys!

Then they had us gather so they could explain the course. It was a small group so no mics were used and no sound system. Just the organizer and his iPad. I remembered my March race and how I found it refreshing to run such an intimate event where you felt like family and friends gathering not just a herd of race numbers.

We were told that the 12k race was marked by yellow ribbons and to follow along till the yellow ribbons separated from the pink ribbons (20k) with a left hand turn. We were told then that it would be all downhill from there for the 12k racers. We laughed politely and continued to listen. I didn't realize how true that statement would be.

Without a gun or a bell or a whistle, they sent us off with waves and wishes of "Good luck". I took up the rear of the crowd and got myself set at a slower pace with the intention of running straight through as best I could. 

The first mile was simple and I quite enjoyed it. We ran along a fireline in a single conga line type progression. It was kinda cool to look ahead and see the other faster raceers all in line trailing up the hill side in single-file. We crossed a bridge and climbed some steep little jumps then came down a bit to join a double wide path on the other side.

That was when I saw it. "The Hill"....I have no words to describe the monstrosity of the climb I had ahead of me around mile 1.5. All I know is that I started up with a quick paced walk that dissolved into a crawl about 3/4 the way up. At that point I made a mistake and looked behind me. Vertigo set in so fast I teetered a bit. 

Yeah...no more looking behind me.

For the next 3 or 4 miles, it was mostly uphill. I felt like I would NEVER stop climbing. At about 4.5 miles I seriously stopped and wanted to scream. I was frustrated, tired, and sore. My calves were burning and so was my chest. Our 12k course reached an elevation of 1600ft and I was feeling it with every breath.

Twice I rolled my right ankle but refused to sit or give up because I knew it only meant that my muscles would tighten up, making it tougher for me to finish.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Around mile 5 I saw the fork in the road and knew to go left and start my descent. Now if you've already done the math you can see how this will end. If not, here it is: A 12k is 7.4 miles (roughly). For 5 miles we went up, up, UP! That leaves about 2.5 miles to descend. Ah yup! That's a pretty steep descent. For 2 miles we went from 1600ft down to our base level of 850 ft. For 0.5 miles it flattened out and I just kinda limped along slowly, tired and sore but so so so ready to be finished.

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And there it was. The end of the course. There was two girls calling out our bib numbers as we neared and they cheered for us as we ran past to the organizer who clocked us out on his trusty iPad. I gotta say, for a simple set-up, they do a great job of keeping things organized and well run.

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I finished in 1:47:17 with an average pace of 14:17 minutes per mile. That's not too bad when there were sections of the course that I was literally crawling up.

It was the most technically difficult race I've completed yet. But complete it I did. Not more than a few minutes later did I send my boyfriend a text and tell him I could do a half marathon. Not because I know I could do the distance but because I know no matter how hard the course is, I will finish it.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Stuffed Bell Peppers For Dinner!

My house is a disaster of epic proportions. The Guy moved in this weekend and we closed up his old apartment on Sunday. For the last couple of months, I've been weeding through our stuff and making room while we slowly moved things over and stored them at our house.

Then the day finally came to make the big move and get all the furniture out. Everything was done in a weekend and now we're swimming in stuffs. Lots of stuffs. So much I'm overwhelmed every time I go home. But I'm making my way through the muck and taking on one box at a time.

Oddly, I'm in a cooking mode. Even though we have lots of utensil and pots and other kitchen things in boxes all around the kitchen and garage, I'm itching to cook. So I pulled up the chili recipe my guys love and found another recipe I wanted to try: stuff peppers. Last night I made the peppers and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

The ingredients from Skinny Taste:

For the filling:

  • 1/2 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cups frozen corn
  • 1 hot pickled serrano pepper, chopped (or jalepeño) more to taste
  • 1 large diced tomato
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt to taste

For the peppers:

  • 3 red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 9 tbsp shredded reduced-fat Sargento Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped scallions, for garnish

I used all the ingredients except the pickled serrano pepper.The majority of my household does not like spicy so I cut it out and just upped the cumin, added some paprika and chili powder. That was more than enough flavor for my guys.

I also cheated. I did not measure a single damn thing. I used the whole package of turkey meat, the whole can of beans and the whole package of corn. I couldn't find my measuring equipment so I just dumped the whole thing together and decided anything extra would just be for lettuce wrap filling or some other off-the-top-of-my-head concoctions.

  Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

It came out great! Because I only made 4 stuffed peppers rather than the full 6, it cut my cooking time down.

The only beef I had is that even with the added seasonings, it comes out mild in the flavor department. Now this is not a new issue. I make a lot of meals based on the Skinny Taste recipes I find and many of them need a boost in flavor probably because they are made to be low sodium and low in calories/fat. Healthy food, you see. So that's my one complaint. Otherwise, the guys all liked it!

My Little Buddy and Me

"Mama, I want to run with you tomorrow."

"Really? You want to get up in the dark, super early and go with me?"

"Yep. OH! And I can sleep in my running clothes so I'll be ready!!"

"Ooook. Well I can wake you up and if you want to come, you can. But if you don't want to, it's ok, too."

Nothing surprises me more than my son. Everyday it's something new. From the time he was born up to this very morning, he has me on my toes and always impressed in some way shape or form.

Last night was no different as around the dinner table he told me he wanted to join me on one of my early morning runs. 

Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure, I said. I wasn't quite positive he would stick with it when that alarm went off and it was still dark outside but I was willing to give him the chance. It couldn't hurt to at least wake him and let him choose whether he really wanted to run or not.

After his shower, he promptly picked out a loud orange tech tank and his basketball shorts and pointed out that if he went to bed with his running stuff on, then all he had to do was get his socks and shoes on in the morning.

I was impressed. This kind of planning and forward thinking is rare. More often it's me repeating myself over and over to get him to remember his lunch, let alone him thinking ahead about what he'll need to be ready.

Off to sleep he went and I soon followed. We're still living in a chaotic mess of boxes and bubblewrap so my bedtimes have been earlier and earlier. In the wee hours of the morning, I heard his little feet next to my bed and his warm little body cuddled in close to us as he joined the fray of blankets, pillows and limbs in the big bed. Then I heard him ask if it was time to get up and run. 

I reached for my phone and realized it was 1:45am. Not quite my son, I thought. I shooed him away to his own bed where I told him to sleep a little longer. I guess he was excited.

At 5:05am my alarm sounded and I snoozed for a bit. At 5:15am off it went again and this time I dragged myself from the comfort of my bed and began to get dressed quietly. Once I was ready, I left my room to wake up my son.

Well, it was too late! He was already up and rubbing his sleepy eyes. He asked if it was time to run and I told him yes. Then he hopped down from his bed, mentioning he just needed to let his eyes wake up as he slowly made his way to the stairs. 

Together, we made it down to the first floor where we got our shoes on together and headed out the door.

The novelty of running so early has not worn off for me. I still get a thrilled went I step outside to see the moon and stars and a few planets. It's breathtaking to be alive and awake on such a clear, cool Fall morning. My son, very much my mini-me, was just as enamored by the sights and sounds and smells of the early morning.

We worked through Day 2 of my C25k app and he did well for the first mile. We ran and walked as the app told us to do so and we talked and laughed about sprinklers and bodily functions, because that's funny, you know?

After we hit our halfway mark, he started to get tired and a little whiny. He was done, I could tell. The novelty was now gone and he wanted very much to be home. But he kept up and we finished our little 2 mile lap of our neighborhood.

While he has expressed no interest in getting up again, I'm proud of him for not only thinking of it but also for executing it. He was ready and up in time and he stuck with me through the whole thing. 

There are no words to express how proud of him I am. We celebrated with bacon and eggs and lots of laughs around the breakfast table.

He may not run with me again any time soon but at least he did it with me this one time. I couldn't be more proud of him if I tried :)

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Everyone, be good to your girls.
 
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