Friday, 30 October 2009

Sooo sleeeepy...

Still not sleeping at all well! Today became a rest day, though it wasn't planned to be. I was going to train this afternoon, on the elliptical walker, which has a very high intensity interval workout lasting 20 mins; I got as far as going to the bedroom to change, and ended up lying down for an hour reading and trying not to nod off and disrupt my sleep even more instead. Its the 4th night in a row I've woken up around 1 am and stayed that way for a couple of hours at least, and I don't know why.
Still, I haven't over-eaten tooo much as a result, which is quite impressive for someone in need of an energy boost, I think.
Though something naughty slipped into my trolley at Tesco this morning - and from there onto a plate and into my mouth Evil_Grin Emoticons
Breakfast:
All bran with peach
Lunch:
The last portion of this week's vegetable soup, with something new... Spiralized courgette 'pasta' with a low cal pasta tomato sauce and feta cheese, based on a recipe by The Fitnessista (I had no fresh basil, hence the feta cheese.) It was good, and fun too! Obviously mine doesn't look as pretty as her's though, that girl is an artist!!!


Dinner:
Butternut squash stuffed with the last portion of my quorn and bulgar wheat 'bolognese' sauce, and a biiiig salad. I've enjoyed this vegetarian pasta sauce a lot, so I'll be making it again before long I think.

Snacks:
Protein smoothie, Muller Light Wild Blueberry yoghurt, Babybel Light, a couple (or 5) of my home-made crackers, and (cough) a jam doughnut from Tesco... Evil_Grin Emoticons

Weight today: 10 st 1.5 lbs (141.5 lbs)
Here's hoping and praying for a better night's sleep tonight...
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Thursday, 29 October 2009

No dinner photo today, sorry!

Quite a lot of food today, but I earned it with a walk into Chepstow in the morning. It wasn't a very nice day, but I feel like I shouldn't waste any dry days at this time of year because they're going to get more and more rare, especially in Wales! It was a bit silly though as I've had two nights in a row sleeping very badly and now I'm knackered... and had to take a relaxing bath this afternoon! I'm not sure why I'm not sleeping very well but I seem to be waking up around 1 am and taking hours to go back to sleep. So frustrating! And probably the reason I forgot to photograph my risotto at dinner time!
Food today:
Breakfast:
All bran with peaches
Lunch:
Vegetable soup and a 'french bread pizza' - a wholemeal petit pain spread with low cal tomato pasta sauce, topped with sauteed mushrooms, onion, broccoli, peppers and spinach, topped with low fat mozarella and baked in the oven for 10 mins.


Dinner:
Spinach and mushroom risotto made with short grain brown rice, thawed frozen spinach, fresh and dried mushrooms, laughing cow, grated parmesan, low fat creme fraiche, served with a big salad
Snacks:
Protein bar, protein smoothie, ryvita goodness bar, and a couple of my spelt crackers
Weight today: 10 st 1.1 lbs (141.1 lbs)

Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Wednesday

First thing, sorry guys I'm about to disappoint you if you've been hoping for a healthy and unusual sausage casserole recipe - I have to be honest, I use a packet mix to make it - its my go-to store cupboard favourite! To be precise, a Colmans Classic sausage casserole 'add water to the powder' and add sausages, onion, bell pepper & mushrooms. The only change I made was using one sachet to make 3 servings instead of 4 so there's more sauce... it is my laziest meal of all my meal plans! To make up for this lack of excitement I will try to come up with a more interesting sausage-y dish soon!

I did some more adventurous cooking today though - I made my spelt crackers as promised! I have to admit they weren't an unqualified success this time. I made a big batch, flavouring half with mixed seeds and half with Schwartz Garlic Italian seasoning. I made the seeded ones first, and made a few mistakes - firstly, the recipe used white spelt flour and I bought wholemeal. Second, I didn't roll out the first batch quite thin enough. Thirdly, I didn't stick the seeds on as well as I could have. Because of 1) and 2)above they weren't very crispy at first except round the edges - so I ended up breaking the batch into ever smaller pieces and putting them back into the oven to bake some more. Eventually most of them crisped up, but there were some bits that remained a bit leathery. Ah well... Plus some of them weren't seedy enough. But I'll do better on all those things next time. The Garlic Italian ones, however, are very good, because I rolled them out thinner and baked them slightly longer up front after seeing the issues with the seeded ones. Once again I've gone more rustic than sophisticated - but I like that! What do you think? I will be aiming for less excess flour on the next lot though!


Food today:
Breakfast:
Overnight oats - Rude Health date & apple porridge soaked overnight in the fridge with soy milk, vanilla whey and fromage frais, to which I added chopped strawberries this morning.
Lunch:
The same home-made soup as you've seen for the last several days - the only difference being that I blended it to give me a creamed soup for a change. It doesn't looks as nice obviously! With it I had a laughing cow salad wrap and a few spelt crackers.

Dinner:
Trout fillet sprinkled with a sea salt & seaweed seasoning, with roasted Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower.

It was very tasty but small, so I had an apple for dessert.
Snacks:
Lots of 'em! And all well within calories! A protein bar, a protein smoothie, fromage frais with raspberries, cottage cheese with tinned peaches.

All delicious and my protein today is astronomical!
Weight today: 10 st 1.5 lbs (141.5 lbs) - again!!!
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A good but not interesting day

Food today:
Breakfast:
All bran with strawberries now that things have settled down. But because things passed through me pretty quickly yesterday I was still hungry, so I added a couple of slices of toast with some laughing cow and reduced sugar jams

Lunch:
The homemade soup, a salad with feta cheese, and a few crackers. The crackers are all gone now!!!

Dinner:
Sausage casserole - the last portion, but I'll be making some more before long as I love this! With puy lentils, green beans & sweetcorn. I have to say I was AMAZED by how much flavour the lentils had! All I did was cook them in vegetable stock with some garlic Italian seasoning added half way through and they were great - so you'll see them again in salads soon!!!

Snacks:
Fromage frais with honey and a protein smoothie. And some spicy cheese polenta crackers to use them up! Tomorrow I plan on buying some mixed seeds and the next time I mention home-made crackers they'll be spelt crackers with seeds! Can't wait to bake them tomorrow!!!
I'm a bit p*ssed right now after a few rum & pepsi maxes so excuse any spelling / grammatical / sensical mistakes - I can't help it!!! But I'm fairly happy right now, so I'm not tooooooo sorry!
I tried out a new elliptical walker today - a program called Glute burn. It was good, and tough, and I enjoyed it apart from when my thighs & ass were screaming!!!
Weight today: 10 st 1.5lbs (141.5 lbs) It will NOT be this tomorrow after the rum!!! and right now I'm fine with that, though tomorrow I probably won't be!!! Ah well, a healthy life is not obsessing about this stuff, right? Well I think so anyway!!!
Be happy & Stay Healthy.... that's my plan anyway. Being happy comes first...

Chrissie

Oh dearie me

Remember how I said that the spicy cheese-polenta crackers would keep for 2 weeks, so I had plenty of time to gradually eat them? No, I didn't eat them already. But now that I'm no longer intimidated by baking my own crackers I've found a recipe that looks like it could recreate my beloved seeded spelt crackers from Dr Karg. How do I wait another week to try it out? Yet I can't bake them before finishing the
spicy cheese-polenta crackers because that would mean they didn't get eaten before they went off... If this sounds like an excuse to eat lots of spicy cheese-polenta crackers in a short time, its because that's how I'm feeling... I don't know why I'm suddenly so keen to bake again, but my spelt flour is calling me... Must. resist.
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Monday, 26 October 2009

Not a marvellous day today

Because I was up at 4:30 with an urgent need to dash to the bathroom - and that was followed by several more urgent dashes though the morning. Sorry to share too much, but after several days of being 'backed up' things shifted today - a little too far in the opposite direction. So much in fact that I felt quite weak and wobbly for a while there. As a result I haven't trained today or gone for any walks.

I have had a couple of tests for my self control that I have passed - so far anyway!
M also wasn't well this morning so he decided to soothe his problems with a really healthy lunch from the fish and chip shop.... Fish & chips have always been a major love of mine - until I started the diet that finally lost me all this weight, chose to go fairly low fat as an easy way to cut calories without cutting portions too much, and trained my body not to tolerate the fats as well. I often struggle to get enough fat in my diet to keep my skin and hair healthy - but that's another story. Anyway, the problem is that although I can't really tolerate this fatty food so well now, when I smell it I have trouble remembering that fact, and as a result have trouble resisting it. Then I regret it for the rest of the day. Well, not today! I went to the fish & chip shop for him and did some shopping next door at the same time (without buying myself any 'you've been ill consolation' chocolate!!!). But I made him wait till after I'd had my healthy lunch, so I was full when I got to the chippy, and the spell was broken. I did steal a couple of his chips when I got them home, but everyone knows stolen food has no calories, right? Right. So that was victory #1. Victory #2 was a second shopping trip, to Waitrose, when I wandered around for a while looking for something evil to buy to cheer myself up - and didn't find anything, so didn't bother!
I'm claiming victories for those even though I know it helps that I didn't fancy eating much bulk, and was actively avoiding fibre, to avoid exacerbating things...
Food today:
Breakfast:
Cottage cheese griddle cakes, 2 with berries & cherries and 2 with orange marmalade-style reduced sugar jam - a couple of them also had a smidgeon of low fat creme fraiche in an attenpt to capture that scone, clotted cream & jam feeling - it didn't, because nothing else is as good as clotted cream, but it was still delicious (and very importantly, a lot lower in fibre than the usual all bran)
Lunch:
Home made veggie soup with a laughing cow salad sandwich. I added a quorn fillet into the soup, and crumbled a piece of firecracker cornbread on top.

Dinner:
Stir fry with tofu - yes, I'm still trying with the tofu! This time I marinaded it all afternoon in a spicy marinade of soy sauce, garlic, rice wine vinegar, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves and a touch of reduced cal. sugar.
Followed by a sugar free jelly!

Snacks:
Fromage frais with honey, Tesco Light Choices mandarin cheesecake.
Weight (definitely a false low due to my state of health) 10 st 1.5 lbs (141.5 lbs)

Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Ate too many home-made cheese-polenta crackers today!

And I've gone over calories because I ate them as well as the other food rather than instead of... ah well! I think I was due a day of relaxing, and I haven't gone binge crazy, just nibbly. Its been a rest day because my hamstrings are remembering yesterdays downward dogs (for Bearfriend, this is a downward dog (photo courtesy of http://www.yogajournal.com) This is a good downward dog - I can't get my heels to the ground, my ass as high or my legs as straight as in this picture unfortunately - but I'm going to work on that!)
Food today:
Breakfast:
All bran with strawberries and a couple of tiny slices of sprouted wheat toast, one with bertolli light olive oil spread, the other with reduced sugar marmalade.

Lunch:
Home-made veggie soup (with home-made cornbread crumbled on top) and a grilled laughing cow & apple sandwich (very unphotogenic as the health grill squashed it flat - so I'm just showing you the pretty soup!)

Dinner:
Baked beans on toast & sauteed mushrooms & spinach. After eating all the crackers I didn't want a proper meal so I resorted to nursery food! But added the mushrooms and spinach to make it a bit more healthy!

Snacks:
One or two or 5 or 6 or maybe 10 crackers.... some of them dipped into lemon & coriander houmous, which turns out to be a greeeat combination!!! protein smoothie and mango & passionfruit protein bar... and ooops, mini mince pie from Waitrose. It was so cute!!! And only 2, maybe 3 small mouthfuls!
Anyway, part of being healthy is listening to your body, and mine was saying that it was time to take a day's relaxation...
Weight: 10 st 2.1 lbs (142.1 lbs)
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

I baked my cornbread!

Its called Firecracker cornbread and OMG does it live up its name - hot, hot, hot!!!


It was fun to make, and fantastic crumbled on top of soup at lunch time - and all the buttermilk is gone!
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Did a new Yoga DVD today

Beginners Vinyasa yoga.
I may offend some people when I say it included a fair bit of annoying (to me) touchy feely stuff - the spiritual side of yoga I guess you'd say. But the actual work out - well, that was a different story. I can't do downward dog. I'm not convinced the human body is built to do it. This routine had about 1,000,000 downward dogs - and I finished the routine, and while my downward dogs were bad, they weren't as bad as they usually are, which was good! It made me sweat a really lot, which yoga doesn't usually, so that was good too. Less good was feeling wobbly afterwards - that drove me to drink a big glass of water and eat a protein bar straight after my shower, and then I felt sick (as in nauseous) for half an hour or so. Just means I need to time things better next time I guess. I watched it all the way through before doing it, and that meant my afternoon snack was late as well, plus I didn't drink anything for about 3 hours, which given the sweating may not have been a good idea. I can't say I enjoyed the routine, but I will say it was challenging, satisfying, and I think it would continue to stay challenging for a while. So I plan to try it again tomorrow, if I'm not crippled, and then possibly buy the dvd - at the moment I'm renting it from Lovefilm.com.
Also, I may well be reporting some more baking tomorrow - I found an interesting cornbread recipe on the same website as the crackers from this morning, that will use some more of the buttermilk and instant polenta up - I'll let you know tomorrow! Does anyone know if cornbread freezes well, as I don't want to bake it if it needs eating very fresh (the recipe makes 10 portions)
And I am annoyed with the weather today.... its mostly rained, with just enough sunshine to give hope for an improvement, and then more rain... AARRGGHH
Food today:
Breakfast:
All bran with strawberries
Lunch:
Vegetable soup with a laughing cow salad sandwich
Dinner:
Huuuuge salad with spinach, chicory, strawberries, mushrooms, peppers... and wildebeest fillet steak!!!
Yummy - but not as good as really good beef fillet or roe deer venison fillet steak. It was coated with garlic pepper (my new favourite seasoning) and pan fried in olive oil. I grilled some sweet potato 'chips' to go with it, and dipped them in banana ketchup that I bought in St Lucia last year. I really hope they sell it in Cuba too, as its delicious but I'm running out.

Snacks:
Protein smoothie and protein bar.
Weight today: 10 st 2.4 (142.4 lbs)
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

I baked today!

I may have mentioned once or twice that I like to bake - but can't let myself because I looooove to eat the results!
I've also frequently mentioned that I'm slightly hooked on a few crackers that I've bought. (Dr Karg, I love you....) But they're expensive, and I'm trying to cut back - so I decided to make some. I chose spicy polenta cheese crackers because 1) I had all the ingredients except for buttermilk in the house and 2) I'm not as big a fan of cheese-flavoured savoury baked goods as I am of many others - so I'm more likely to be able to resist them.
I've just tried one, and though I do quite like them, this remains the case! Still, they'll keep for 2 weeks, and I will definitely be willing to eat them in that time. Now I need to find another recipe to use up the pot of buttermilk, as I used relatively little of it. I halved the recipe in case I didn't like the cheesiness. This is the first time I've baked my own crackers, and it was fun - but next time I'll make seeded crackers or flavour them with herbs instead. Maybe sea salt and rosemary would be nice... See, there will be a next time...
I made them kind of rustic and home-made looking, aren't they pretty?

Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Friday, 23 October 2009

Hungry day today

Not bingey, just hungry - so I am eating a little more, in a controlled way. So far anyway! But I have wanted to eat more all day...
It rained most of the day, and when it stopped raining it was mostly grey and depressing, so I didn't go out for a walk. I used the elliptical walker for an hour instead. I did the yogalates dvd yesterday with no back pain, so I thought I could risk it!
To cheer myself up a bit this morning after a trip to Tesco for my grocery shopping I watched Mamma Mia, recorded off Sky +. So much fun!!! I can't believe they persuaded that cast to sing and dance to Abba - and didn't cast a single singer or dancer! But I am unashamed of loving Abba's music, so I sang along (which did nothing to improve the sounds from the TV) and occasionally danced along as I made my soup... it was a lot more fun than looking out the window! I also tried watching Knocked Up, which didn't really grab me, and Ride With The Devil, which I didn't like. So now I'm catching with season 3 (I think) of Heroes, that's been recorded on my Sky + box for months and months!
Food today:
All bran with strawberries
Lunch:
An all new home made soup with lots of veggies, a few black beans and some quinoa in it, plus a failed attempt to do something new with my quorn bulgar bolognese. Last night's dinner only used half the portion, so the other half I put on one side of a Weightwatchers wrap with some grated parmesan, then toasted it in my health grill. The bolognese was too wet to work well and the wrap didn't grill very well - it went a bit leathery. It was fun to try it though!

Dinner:
Chicken and vegetable curry with brown rice, tomato & cucumber. Followed by a Tesco Healthy Living mandarin cheesecake...

Snacks:
Protein smoothie, fromage frais with the other half of the baked apple I made yesterday,
some popcorn and a little peanut butter.
Weight 10st 3lbs (143 lbs)
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Working in Dallas

When I finished my MSc course in Computer Science a hundred years or so ago, my first job was a permanent job with a computer software consultancy owned by Deloitte & Touche (as it was called then) - obviously a major international company (Big Six as they called before the demise of Andersons). On my first day at work I met M, and we started seeing each other within a month. After a year he left Deloitte to become an independant contractor; I was still working for them and spent a lot of time on client sites, so I hardly ever saw him, and after a little while the whole long distance relationship thing got to be too much for me, so I ended things. The problem was, we never had a row, he didn't do anything to me to make me hate him, so we stayed friends - email penpals really - and I found it really hard to get over that.
It was about 6 months after that we were asked if anyone would volunteer to spend 6 months in Dallas, working on a project being run by a partner from the Dallas office in the pharmaceuticals sector (which was my area, because I'd taken my first degree in Biological & Biochemical Sciences). So, I admit it, I volunteered to work on the project just to get away for a while because I was still so miserable all the time - and instantly fell into a state of terror at the idea of going so far away!
It was one of the best experiences of my life in the end! I will admit that at the time I wished it was New York, San Francisco or maybe Seattle rather than Dallas - Dallas really isn't designed for people who like to walk! In fact I rarely tried, but when I did people driving past looked at me like I was insane!
The first thing that struck me when we landed was how much sky there was everywhere - it actually felt a little bit intimidating to jetlagged me because I was used to the horizon being blocked or broken up by trees, buildings, hills... as we drove to the hotel where I spent the first week (my boss had hired a condo for me but it wasn't ready for me on arrival) everything just seemed to be unbelievably huge and the distances really enormous. I was very lucky that there was a team of English people working on the project, and though I didn't know them well at the beginning they provided some familiar accents and attitutudes to help me get used to being out there fairly gently.
Once I got to know the people at Deloitte & Touche, I felt much more at home. There were some lovely people working there at the time, and I'm sorry to say that I've lost touch with them. The one person who really stands out for me was a tester called Purnella - we did try to stay in touch after I came home but I lost her address and couldn't find her again.
I loved my condo, with its rented furniture on a development with a pool and gym - but I only used the pool once, and never went in the gym because on the rare occasions I was tempted to there were people in there and I was too shy and intimidated by their fitness and the strange machines I didn't know how to use. I'd do that differently now!
Work was just work, though it was very noticeable that there is a difference in work culture in the States. I never saw so many people work such long hours on client sites in Britain - or not without a lot of complaining!
I tried to make the most of the opportunity of being over there, but again I must admit that I would have done more if I were there now. At the time I didn't have a lot of money saved, and I couldn't drive (on either side of the road!) - a major handicap in a city as sprawling as Dallas!
Deloitte & Touche were willing to pay for me to go home about every 6 weeks. I swapped one of those to bring my Mum and her OH out for a week, and a friend of mine from school came out for a fortnight as well; my Dad claims I came home just as he was about to come out for a free holiday!
In between trips home I did some travelling at the weekends. On the first weekend I went to Galveston (which at the time was a bit of a dump, no offence, we are going back to May 1997 here and I'm sure its improved since then), did a tour of the historic homes, and on the way back to Dallas went to the Houston Space Centre - an amazing experience, including touching moon rock (anyone whoe believes in the conspiracy theories about how the lunar landings were fake can keep it to themselves - I prefer to believe it!)
Another weekend I flew to New York with my boss, and we had dinner in the revolving restaurant - Top of the World? before going to see Les Miserables on Broadway - a show I'll never forget! I also went out to Ellis Island on the Sunday while she was in church, and we met up for subs in Central Park afterwards - it was a great trip, though I developed a migraine mid-afternoon and that spoiled things for the rest of the day.
While my Mum and her OH were visiting we took the steam train from Dallas to Fort Worth Stockyards. Her OH is mad about the old Westerns - John Wayne era - and enjoyed the reconstruction of a train robbery that was staged along the way!
And while my friend D was staying with me we spent a weekend in San Antonio with a co-worker and friend. I loved San Antonio, especially the restaurants alongside the river. We did a tour while we were there and I've been to the Alamo!
My only other weekend trip was to New Orleans. A group of 4 of us went together, we stayed in a lovely B & B in the French Quarter. We went on the river in a paddleboat, walked through the streets listening to jazz, hid in a bar from a sudden rain shower... the only problem we had was that my boss was vegetarian and New Orleans doesn't really seem to get vegetarianism - in fact in honesty, nor did most of Dallas at that time - so we had trouble finding food she could eat! (no, soup made with beef broth isn't vegetarian even if there are no chunks of beef in it... nor are baked beans with the ham picked out....)
We also went to a couple of rodeos, a play in a park, and did the tour of Southfork while I was out there - interesting even though I never watched Dallas! And I still have my small collection of (sadly machine-made) 'Native American' pots that I bought while I was there!
It really was a great 6 months. I loved the local supermarket, where I discovered arugula for the first time! And as someone who'd never lived in a major city before I really loved the choice in restaurants - there was a great Mexican place just down the road from my condo. And I really loved the bookshops! Barnes & Noble was my home from home then, as I was discovering new authors that were hard to find in Britain. This was before it became common to have coffee shops in British book shops, and I loved the idea of being able to have coffee surrounded by books!
I loved the air conditioning in my condo - I would walk in and just sigh with relief! I didn't love the heat that made it necessary as much - I was heavier then, and the heat really bothered me, in fact while my Mum was out there the three of us took a bus downtown to look for the farmers market, and I got heat stroke that day - even though all the restaurants were spraying cold water out onto the pavements to cool things down. And I remember getting sweaty just waiting outside my condo for the colleague who drove me to work every morning - that wasn't very pleasant!
I was offered the chance to stay on in Dallas for another 6 months and I must admit that I wanted to at first - but at the point when my initial 6 months was running out, M changed contracts back in the UK, his new clients were building quite a big team... and he suggested that I apply. I had a phone interview while still out there, and a face to face interview on a long weekend trip home, and they offered me the contract - so I took it, for 3 times my salary and, yes, the chance to be with M again. And the rest, as they say, is history...
If only it were easier to get contracts in the US without moving there I think I'd go back in a heartbeat, and I still love visiting the States. I haven't been back to Texas but I'd like to - I never saw any oil fields, deserts... I wanted to go to El Paso, maybe Christchurch... some day maybe!
I'm afraid that's all I remember now - I wasn't a blogger then obviously, so I wasn't used to keeping records back then. Hope you enjoyed it anyway!
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Normal

I enjoyed writing my post earlier today, so I've decided to start adding the odd off-topic post every now and again. (Tomorrow I'll try to write a bit about working in Dallas to answer your questions, Roxie). If anyone has anything they'd like to ask or talk about, feel free to leave comments, its good to have new topics and I want you to be glad you stopped by!
Food today:
Breakfast:
Porridge oats mixed with muesli (the oats ran out. the muesli was just oats and seeds because I'd picked out all the fruit when craving dried fruit Embarrassed Emoticons What? Doesn't everyone do that? Hmmm), mixed with chocolate orange true whey protein powder, a little wheatbran, and some soy milk. I left it soaking in the fridge overnight, then briefly heated it in the microwave to take the chill off. It started to cook around the edge, which reminded me of the breakfast cookies I've seen online - I think I may try them one of these days! It tasted quite good, though I think this was my least favourite flavour of true whey that I've tried, but I didn't bother photographing it because it looked like a rather unappealing brown splat that reminded me of things I won't name in a polite blog Embarrassed Emoticons
Lunch:
The last portion of the vegetable soup I've been eating all week (spiced up with some Thai yellow curry paste and made a little more colourful with some fresh spinach leaves) with a wrap containing a little caramelised onion houmous, some red pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber.
Dinner:
Quorn and Bulgar wheat bolognese served in a courgette base, with salad and a rosti-like cake made of cassava (remember I bought a cassava root several weeks ago? Have you wondered what happened to it? Now you know - I stuck it in the fridge and forgot about it! Until now!)

Snacks:
Protein Smoothie, fromage frais with apple baked with raisins, almonds and honey (thanks for the idea Bearfriend - I made substitutions based on what I had and it was yummy, next time I'll make it as you suggested since I prefer sultanas anyway), some air popped popcorn flavoured with garlic pepper and a tiny tiny smidgen of peanut butter (no, not enough to finish it!)


Weight today: 10 st 3 lbs (143 lbs). Looks like my natural maintaining pattern may involve a 0.5lb fluctuation, but its too soon to say for sure.
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Books 'n' Stuff

Hi!
In one of yesterday's comments Bearfriend asked me about my reading material and it appealed to me as a topic for a new post that has very little to do with food or weight!
However, if you're expecting to find something deeply profound here you might want to skip this one - I read for entertainment most of the time, and for escape from a fairly boring real life, so I'm not really into anything too heavy - though every now and then I get into a totally non-fiction mood, most of the time fiction owns me heart and soul!
I mentioned one of my favourite authors in a comment I posted on Bearfriends blog . She's an Irish author and journalist called Marian Keyes. Her first really successful novel (and the one I discovered her from) was called Rachel's Holiday, and its about a drug addict in rehab following an accidental drug overdose. Marian herself is a recovered (maybe that should be recovering? I'm not sure if you're ever really considered to be recovered) alcoholic who spent time in rehab, so she does understand what addiction and rehab are about. It sounds depressing, but its handled with an amazingly delicacy of touch that might make you cry, but also laugh. Others of her novels have dealt with depression, fear of losing someone close, betrayal by a loved one... but she writes for entertainment, not to educate or traumatise her readers and I've read her books over and over again, though Rachel's Holiday is my favourite. She is often dismissed as a writer of Chick's Lit, but if you pay any attention at all there's a bit more depth to her books than most in the genre.
Aside from her, I mostly read crime fiction, some supernatural / science fiction, and sometimes historical fiction; also autobiographies and I admit books about dieting and weight loss (bet you didn't guess that!)
I love Barbara Michaels for her romantic suspense thrillers (she seems to have stopped writing new ones at the moment but has a big list of past titles) and Elizabeth Peters - Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters are the same woman, an Egyptologist called Barabara Mertz. As Elizabeth Peters she writes a lot of books set in a context of Egyptology, Art & Art History, and Novel writing. They're funny, they offer palatable snippets of fact without you realising that you're learning about the subject, and she has some excellent heroines. My favourites are the Amelia Peabody series, about a Victorian family of Egyptologists, deliberately written in a slightly florid, Victorian style to reflect the fact that they are pretending to be based on the diaries of Amelia herself.
I also love the Marcus Didius Falco series of crime novels set in Imperial Rome by Lindsey Davis, a British writer I actually discovered while working out in Dallas. Again they are funny, set in a detailed and convincing historical context, and therefore allow the reader to pick up scraps of information without ploughing through a textbook. In my case, they have inspired me to read text books about the Roman Empire despite finding the whole historical period really tedious when I studied it at school (I know the road systems were important to the country, but when you've heard it once you've heard it, already! Now tell me about the scurrilous graffiti attacking corrupt politicians on the pillars at the Forum!)
My current obsession is the novels of Nora Roberts / JD Robb. The books you've been seeing in my recent photographs are by JD Robb. The description I'm about to type might put you off - I started reading Nora Roberts first, and didn't touch her JD Robb oeuvre for a while, but now I'm hooked - JD Robb writes crime fiction set in the New York of the future, in a world where the 'Urban Wars' of the 21st Century have changed the face of cities and some crimes, but people are still people. Some of her books about Homicide cop Eve Dallas investigate murders that could happen now, with casual contextual commentary about technology and laws that we don't yet have to place them in the future, while others are based in that technology and offer disturbing suggestions of how current developments could be misused in the future. As both her key characters were abused as children, and are still suffering from the memories, and of course the murders are often gory or brutal, they have a darker side offset by a great relationship between Eve, her husband Roarke (the sexiest man in fiction IMO) and the other people in their lives. She also writes excellent fiction as Nora Roberts, but I love the way that characters and relationships develop when they are used as the centre for a whole series of books, so the Dallas books hold the closer place in my heart. Whether she writes as Nora Roberts or JD Robb, she also writes some pretty intense sex scenes - my mum reads these novels too, and we've long since agreed you don't want to read those scenes on buses or in hospital waiting rooms! Embarrassed Emoticons. At the moment I'm working my way through the series as I recently borrowed some new ones from the library, and one of my more anally retentive traits is that I like to reread the full series so they're fresher in my mind when a new one comes along!
Oh yes, and of course I've read and loved the first 3 Twilight books (on my ebook reader, which is great by the way) and the Kelley Armstrong books set in a world of vampires, werewolves, necromancers and all things spooky. I haven't read the Sookie Stackhouse ones yet but after seeing series 1 of Trueblood I will be doing so shortly.
And my favourite classics: Pride & Prejudice, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, Dracula...
This has turned into a massively long post that a lot of people might not find very interesting so I'll quit now and maybe wrote another post about my non-fiction reading in the future (if I'm low on inspiration for posts or if any of you managed to stay awake through this one and want to know more!)

Stay Healthy - and read a lot!

Chrissie

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Back to walking!

I only walked into Caldicot but it was good to be out again (even though I got slightly wet in a little drizzle). Yesterday I didn't do any real training as you know, and by evening I was feeling restless and dissatisfied with myself - so as we watched a recorded episode of Diet Tribe I walked round and round my kitchen for half an hour - just took the edge off! I think I probably looked a bit like a caged animal on the prowl, but I just couldn't sit still any more! Hard to believe, but I get that way on rest days, even on special days like Christmas Day itself (last year I took a 2 hour walk with my father in law after lunch - and another one on Boxing Day!) I was going to do the yogalates dvd again today, but decided to wait at least one more day as I had some backache again today - I did my back in playing volleyball (insufficiently warmed up) at school, and I don't like to risk going back to that.
Food today:
Breakfast:
Porridge made with quakers oats, toffee fudge true whey, a snack box of raisins, teaspoon of linseeds, tablespoon of wheatbran and soy milk. It was too runny again, but tasty!

Lunch:
Grilled vegetable wrap and vegetable soup with quorn 'chicken style pieces' added. As you can probably tell the wrap wasn't big enough to actually 'wrap' around the vegetables, but I mostly managed to hold it together long enough to eat it!


Dinner:
Sausage casserole with baked sweet potato, roasted broccoli and green beans. Only one portion of sausage casserole left now!

Snacks:
Protein bar, nakd pecan pie bar (small), popcorn (air popped with a little oil spray & salt) and some peanut butter... I have to stop keeping peanut butter in the house! Usually I have it for M, but now he's on a diet so I don't need it for him - and I can't resist it myself! I won't replace this jar when its finished (probably tomorrow...Free Emoticons)
Weight today: 10 st 2.5 lbs (142.5 lbs)
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Rest Day

Took a quiet rest day today - in fact so quiet I haven't left the house! And amazingly I haven't binged ridiculously (apart from some excessive peanut butter this afternoon. I decided to let myself relax a bit - usually I'm a bit below my WLR target calories but given how amazingly whipped I felt yesterday I figured it would be better to give myself some extra fuel today.) Its been fairly quiet here generally - some housework, some budgetting work :-( Hate hate having to be responsible about money!!! And some movie watching - I recorded Dreamgirls a few weeks ago and finally watched it this afternoon. Really enjoyed the music! It almost took my mind off the deep penetrating ache in my right trapezius muscle (I think - I'm not familiar with muscle names myself, but I looked it up on the wonderful web!) I am now very convinced that its worth working at the yogalates!
Food today:
All bran with strawberries
Lunch:
Home-made vegetable soup with a laughing cow salad wrap (wow, shaking things up huh???)
Dinner:
Leftover beef curry with millet instead of rice. There was only a little bit of beef in this portion, but it was chock-ful of cauliflower, sweet potato and spinach instead. And I topped it with chopped tomatoes and cucumber for a little cooling effect and crunch.
Snacks:
Fruit smoothie with protein and a slice of home-made multigrain bread topped with half a laughing cow wedge and some reduced sugar Waitrose jam in a feeble attempt at a 'cheesecake' substitute - it was quite tasty!
I have photographs of the food, but not on the laptop that I'm now using to post this blog and you've seen most of it before - so I'll maybe add the pictures in tomorrow, but I'm leaving it for today I think. Sorry for the boring text-only post!!!
Weight today: 10 st 3.25 lbs (143.25 lbs).
Stay Healthy

Chrissie

Monday, 19 October 2009

God, I'm tired!

I think all the recent walking has caught up with me! After my second walk to Chepstow in 2 days yesterday I decided to give myself a rest today - and instead do a yogalates dvd this morning. After an hour of that (which made my arms buuurn) I thought I was done... then I realised I needed some eggs and bell peppers, and because I'm stupid I loaded myself up with the weighted back pack and walked over the fields instead of driving like a sane person! Now typing is making my arms ache, I've had to rub Instant Refreshing Gel into my shoulders, and I've eaten quite a lot of peanut butter and frozen banana. This is not just because I did yogalates & walked 5 miles today after the busy weekend (over 3 days I think I've walked the equivalent of a marathon - and can't remember my last rest day) but also because I got about 3 hours sleep last night. Ah well, I think I see an early night in my nearish future!
Food today:
Breakfast: All bran with strawberries and maybe 1 little cottage cheese griddle cake
Lunch:
Veggie soup (added peas and corn to the basic soup) and laughing cow salad sandwich

Dinner:
Red pepper stuffed with the other half of my Ainsley's Moroccan Medley cous cous and roasted, with an enormous salad & feta cheese!
Snacks:
Well, I already owned up to the peanut butter... also a protein bar, a protein smoothie, and some fromage frais with warm stewed apple flavoured with cinnamon. And a dried pear or two, some raisins and a small number of currants. All healthy stuff! Unfortunately I may be setting myself up for another disappointing weigh in as I've noticed that the trend seems to be to eat more bulk - even if its healthy stuff and the calories have been earned - on tired / hard working days and then find its still hanging around the next morning. I've been under-drinking as well, and that I'm working on today. Its an annoying trend, but you can't do loads of exercise and expect your body to get by on normal sedentary-level calories, so that's not much I can do about it unless I want to stop training... hmmm. No, I can't do that! But a rest day may be overdue! (Just looked it up - although there have been a couple of days with just a light yoga dvd in, the last real rest day was 2 weeks ago today - oops!)
Weight: 10 st 4lbs (144 lbs)Mad Emoticons
Stay Healthy

Chrissie