Adventure Saturday: Ocean, Body Image/Weight Concerns

Today’s Happy Note: Vitamin D overload. ¬†Sunshine! ūüôā

I ended up walking 5 or so miles yesterday; I also did a 20 minute yoga core download.  Today I did 3-4 miles walking, 2 miles running (on the beach!!!) and lots of playing in the water.

I had an awesome beach trip.  I always forget that Manhattan is so close to the ocean.  Twas lovely!

Confession: I felt so unbelievably, ridiculously fat in my swimsuit. ¬†I wanted to hide in the changing rooms and cry. ¬†I told my dad that I should not be allowed on the beach without a sign that said “whale.”

And then I hate myself for hating myself so much.  Oh, the irony.

The reality is that, between the GI illness and the hospitalization, I have gained about ten pounds. ¬†I am not someone who could afford to gain ten pounds. ¬†I’m pretty sure this makes me borderline overweight. ¬† I don’t care so much about that label as feeling good and feeling confident. ¬†I don’t feel either right now. ¬†I feel enormous.

I am not necessarily mad at myself: I have hardly been able to workout in the last month, and I have been quite stressed.   I respond to stress by eating emotionally and gaining weight easily.  Seriously, I probably even gained weight when I had my GI thing and all I could eat for three or four days was the occasional piece of toast.

I played on the beach today for hours and ended up having a lot of fun; I dug my toes into the sand, ran up and down, jumped over the waves, swam through the waves, and bothered my sister (endlessly entertaining). ¬†So I am not entirely focused on my body, but it is still there. ¬†It’s this painful, nagging thing in the background. ¬†It’s like something isn’t quite right, and my body knows this, physically and mentally.

The thing that works best for me is not obsessing, but not being lax either. ¬†Counting calories, tracking meals, only “allowing” certain food: none of this works for me. This all creates more tension and anxiety and makes me more sad and I feel worse about my body and I end up eating more. ¬†Funny how that cycle works. ¬†But at least I can recognize it. ¬†In fact, I think I do know what works: eating three wholesome meals a day (plus an afternoon snack and a small dessert), with lots of healthy fats, protein, and veggies, and not snacking in the evening. ¬†It’s as simple as that.

Pretty straightforward. ¬†That’s my plan. ¬†I do intend to use the blog to keep myself accountable. Accountability is where I have failed in the past. ¬†So I intend to do a tiny little check-in with myself when I post, mostly to note whether or not I have been mindlessly eating in the evenings.

Once in a while, I might share a full day of eats. ¬†Like today, since I figured it would be a good idea to have a baseline image of how much I need in a day on an active day where I don’t overeat.

I am sorry if this upsets anyone: if you feel like this would not be a good idea for you to read about, PLEASE skip over it.  I would not want to hurt anyone, especially if you have a history of ED/disordered eating.

Breakfast was flax oatmeal (TJ’s brand) with part of a peach (would have used it all but parts were squishy and I hate that) and a giant scoop of AB. ¬†One of my favorite breakfasts!

Lunch=giant salad with cucumbers, zuchinni, carrots, microwaved eggs, and avocado.

Afternoon snack — it was super melty since it had been at the beach with me all day and it was a hundred degrees!

A few bites of coleslaw and a giant Asian chicken salad for dinner (the size of my head). ¬†You can’t see the chicken and other toppings, but I promise they’re there!

On the left is a peanut butter cup shake I had before going to a play with my dad and sister. ¬†Right was my before blogging/bed snack of a small Godiva truffle. ¬†I REFUSE to go without dessert. ¬†Ever. Regardless of my weight. ¬†I’m sure this is some kind of dieting sin. ¬†But I don’t care.

So there you have it. ¬†I do want to lost a bit of weight. ¬†It’s very hard for me to find a balance between vigilance and obsession; I am aiming to use the blog to help me find a balance over the next few months (that won’t be the only thing on the blog though, don’t worry!). ¬† Due to my body’s natural ¬†(and rather unfortunate) chemistry/metabolism, I do need to have a certain vigilance. ¬†It sounds bizarre, but if I am not careful and I gain weight now, I could screw over my fertility in the future. ¬†Very random, I know. ¬†But I want to be a mother more than anything in the world and so I am not going to take any chances with this.

Any thoughts?

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Adventure Saturday: Yoga/Farmer’s Market and Fava Bean Pasta Salad

Today’s Happy Note: Everything! ¬†It was just a very pleasant Saturday. ¬†I need a list.

1. Turtles. ¬†I found this little pond in CP with a small dock. ¬†I ran down the dock and discovered that the pond was swarming with turtles — hundreds of them! ¬†My favorites are the big old ones. ¬†They’re such serene and graceful creatures.

2. Buying myself sunflowers! ¬†See farmer’s market pictures below. ¬†They are brightening up my dining room table.

3. Getting things done: lots of errands and tasks (calling grandparents, buying paper towels, letter writing, etc.).

4. One of my best random dinner creations ever.

5. Spectacular batch of protein ice cream (that I am currently eating).

6. Chatting with friends, even if only briefly.  Always makes my day so much better.

7. Catching up on Bethenny Getting Married, which is the best reality show ever.  I think Bethenny is really sassy and clever.  She is totally someone who I would want as my friend!

I had a spectacular Adventure this morning to a yoga class with live music. ¬†I have never had a class with live musicians and it was fun, especially since the players were kinda cute. ¬†I don’t think it really changed my experience but I did notice I felt a little more relaxed. ¬†Like there was less stuff floating around in my head interfering with my practice.

I have been thinking a lot about compassion lately. ¬†Yoga always reminds me to be kind: towards myself and others. ¬†This is one of my favorite things about it, besides the obvious physical benefits. ¬†After yoga, the Adventure continued to the Farmer’s Market. ¬†Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera since I only had my running waist pack. ¬†There was such a wide variety of vendors there today. ¬†I wanted to try so many things — fresh goat cheese, blueberry jam, sprouts, lamb, herb teas, squashes. ¬†I didn’t think I should spend my life savings at the FM though, so I had to drag myself away eventually. ¬†My little trip reminded me of Averie! ¬†I wish she could shop at the farmer’s market in NYC with me. ¬†I know she would love it and we would be buddies!

When I was done shopping, I munched on a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie from Stone Arch Farms (my favorite baked goods vendor by far) dipped in my newly acquired cashew butter! ¬†I had gotten a few things at WF beforehand. Sadly, the cashew butter was a bit disappointing. ¬†It was sort of thick and goopy and slimy. ¬†Cashews are my favorite nut too. ¬†I don’t know where things went wrong.

Loot:

Peaches, cookies, banana chip bread, eggs, fava beans, sunflowers, cucumbers, sweet corn!  WF loot:

Basil, spring greens, almond milk, frozen mahi mahi burgers (!!!), raspberries, cashew butter.  Can you tell what I was thinking of making for dinner? Probably not.  Because only a few of the ingredients are here.  And only my crazy brain would think up the bizarre concoction that it turned into.

So what did dinner turn into?

Summer Pasta Salad (this is for one)

1 serving whole wheat noodles

1/2 pound fava beans (once shelled, you’ll have about 1/2 – 3/4 cups)

2 C spinach, washed

1 C fresh basil, washed

2 Tbsp EVOO

2 Tbsp hummus

Lemon pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Boil a pot of water and add a teaspoon or two of salt. ¬†While it boils, remove fava beans from pods. ¬†Add them into the boiling water for three or four minutes; meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water. ¬†Remove fava beans from pot and submerge in ice water. ¬†Add pasta to water and cook for ten to twelve minutes. ¬†The fava beans actually have another shell that must now be removed. ¬†I took them out of the ice water and, using a dull-ish knife (I didn’t want to slice my hand open), make a slice along one edge, then squeeze the bean out. ¬†Once all of the beans have been shelled, toss into a frying pan with a little EVOO, lemon pepper, and salt. ¬†Into a blender goes the hummus, the other tablespoon of EVOO, more salt and lemon pepper, and the basil. ¬†Blend until creamy. ¬†Beans should be sauteed for about five minutes, while pasta is finishing up. ¬†When everything is complete, add pasta, beans, and sauce to a bowl. ¬†Toss together thoroughly, then add the spinach and toss again. ¬†Serve with cheese, sunny side up egg, more basil, or other fresh herbs.

The Bean.

This was such a fun dinner! ¬†I was ¬†*this close* to not cooking but decided I wanted to do a little kitchen experimentation. ¬†So glad I did! ¬†It’s creamy yet tangy yet not overpowering. ¬†I will probably make a version of this again. ¬†I need to buy more favas next time!

Do you have a favorite easy summer recipe?

Outside of my yoga/farmer’s market adventure, I also ran and lifted today. ¬†I did about seven and a half miles then twenty-ish minutes of arm strength. ¬†I was proud of myself for that distance. ¬†It felt surprisingly easy, considering that I have run all of five miles in the last two weeks. ¬†I think I should be back up to my regular weekend long runs in no time at all.

Tomorrow will, hopefully, include more Adventures. ¬†I think that’s what weekend are all about

What Adventures are you having on this lovely (albeit sticky) July weekend?

Adventure Saturday: Mermaid Edition.

Today’s Happy Note: Ocean. ¬†Water. ¬†Beach. ¬†Sand. ¬†Seashells. ¬†Waves. ¬†Boardwalk. ¬†Wading. ¬†Wet. ¬†Island. ¬†Mermaids.

I had a spectacular Adventure yesterday! ¬†Any guesses based on my Happy Note? ¬†If you don’t live in NY you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

So what am I talking about?  Coney Island and the Mermaid Parade of course!

Not really sure how to describe the Mermaid Parade. ¬†Other than that it is a parade. ¬†Of Mermaids and such. ¬†It’s just one of those random New York things that everybody loves. ¬†There were goth mermaids, dead mermaids, sexy mermaids, drag mermaids, mermen, child mermaids, pink mermaids, fairy mermaids. Any kind of mermaid. You name it, it was there.

The mermaids were all beautiful, I thought. ¬†Although some just seemed to be taking advantage of the opportunity to wear as little clothing as possible. ¬†It was hot as hell. ¬†What I liked most about the Parade was seeing so many different women — of all ages, races, shapes, heights, backgrounds. ¬†All of whom were, for the most part, comfortable in their own skin. ¬†I saw stretch marks and tummies and thighs. ¬†But I also saw dancing and confidence and smiles. ¬†To me, this is amazing. ¬†It made me want to feel comfortable too. ¬†Just being there was inspiring. ¬†Hopefully I’ll be a little less afraid to prance around the beach in a swimsuit next time!

To all the women out there — mermaids or not — you are lovely the way you are. ¬†Thank you for the vibrancy of your personality and your ability to dance.

But there was more than just mermaids!  Also:

Friends!

I love jumping in and out of the waves.  Oceans are the best thing ever.  Believe it or not, despite living in NYC for three years, I had never set foot in the ocean here before yesterday.

Next up: Wheel of Wonder.

I fueled myself with lots of yummy things!

Apples, peas, moose tracks ice cream.  Perfection.

One spectacular Saturday Adventure. ¬†I just might be headed off on another Adventure right now. ¬†You’ll have to come back tonight to see! ūüôā

Happy Sunday friends!  Plans?  Adventures?  Shenanigans?  Escapades?

Adventure Saturday: Tips For a Long Healthful Life

Today’s Happy Note: Spending time with family! ¬†I normally only see my mom’s extended family at Christmas so it was nice to get to see a few of them in the summer, even if only for a day.

Good evening dearies! ¬†I hope it’s been a wonderful Saturday. ¬†I had an Adventure, of course! ¬†I went a bit upstate on the train to see an aunt, two cousins, and my grandfather. ¬†They were here for a wedding (I didn’t go to that; we just had lunch and spent the afternoon together). ¬†We wandered around town, munched on the most amazing pita (so pillowy!), and admired the beautiful grounds and history of the hotel-manor they stayed at. ¬†It’s funny; as much as I despised growing up in the suburbs, I enjoyed myself very much this afternoon. ¬†The small-ish towns along the Hudson are wonderfully endearing and a nice break from the city. I absolutely feel in love with the city, but at times it can be overwhelmingly busy and distant.

I probably walked about two miles today and might go for another walk in a little while, or do some dancing/yoga.  I used to take dance classes at school and I am really missing it. I wonder if there are any local, inexpensive community classes near me? Dancing and yoga remind me of one another.  While I love running, I think they might be more soothing forms of movement for my spirit.

Photos from the Adventure:

Who might this be? ¬†That’s my grandfather! ¬†He’s 95 and a half! Doesn’t look it! ¬†He is an amazing man who has exemplified healthy ways of living since his boyhood in rural Iran. ¬†He has a very powerful internal drive that I have yet to find in another person. ¬†At 95, he still writes papers, read, communicates with friends and family members scattered around the world, attends conferences, and participates in tremendous charitable activities. ¬†He has truly been heroic. ¬†I wanted to take a few minutes during our visit today to ask him how he has maintained vibrancy and health for almost a century. ¬†I’m sure random genetics play a role, but so do our habits and choices.

Without further ado, I present “Baba’s tips for 95 years of healthy living”:

  • Don’t overstress! ¬†In fact, understress if possible.
  • Always keep your mind working in different subjects; for example Baba has been both a mathematician/engineer and a literary/poetic scholar.
  • Stay away from too much alcohol.
  • His super-foods: walnuts, raisins, plain yogurt, lentils, pomegranate juice.
  • It is important to eat these things — and other healthy things — as a child. ¬†Childhood health affects the rest of your life!
  • Always stay active. ¬†Baba has done many activities, games, and sports his entire life. ¬†As an eight year old boy, he found a tennis ball. ¬†This was his only toy. ¬†He kept himself active and entertained by bouncing it around. ¬†Favorite childhood activities: broad jump, high jump, pole vault, and volleyball. ¬†He actually played on the volleyball team at Tehran University as a setter. ¬†Throughout his adult life he has loved racket games — tennis, squash, and racquetball. ¬†He still plays tennis and walks (we probably did about a mile together today). ¬†In fact, he beat me at racquetball two years ago (I was trying)!
  • He has had a lot of sadness and unhappy events in his life. ¬†Overcoming these and persevering anyways has been a very powerful force in shaping his mental capacities.
  • A multicultural lifestyle with diverse interests and connections keeps you healthy because you are constantly learning. ¬†He speaks five languages and is still quite proficient in three of them.
  • Creativity is a “secret” to old age.
  • You have to learn to be satisfied with very little. ¬†Western materiality is destructive to our health. ¬†Being satisfied with little nurtures our spiritual selves.
  • Tea can be “as delicious as a special meat dish.”
  • His vice: sweets! ¬†A little dessert makes us happy and nurtures our souls.
  • He has always rewarded himself with little things. ¬†For example, when he was a teenager, raisins were a special treat. ¬†If someone gave him a handful, he would parcel them out over several days. ¬†Each time he completed a long paper or complex math problem, he would reward himself with a single raisin. ¬†Other rewards: pencils or paper.
  • He is critical of extravagance. ¬†Instead, he believes powerfully in charitability. ¬†He has established a school for 440 poor girls in Iran who otherwise would not receive an education. ¬†He endows the entire establishment (teachers, classrooms, uniforms, sports and games, etc.) ¬†He has a powerful belief in the ability of education to extend and enrich our lives.
  • The entire world can take a hint from more simpler ways of living — that would prevent a lot of bloodshed.
  • His favorite meal: yogurt with jam and walnuts, good bread with chevre.

So there you have it!  Living to 95 years from the expert.  He has an older brother who is either 97 or 98.

I didn’t take any interesting food pictures while I was out because I didn’t want to have to explain the blog. ¬†I did, however take pictures of a major dinner fail:

My blender failed in the middle of smoothie-making! ¬†Grrr. ¬†I can’t get it to work now at all. ¬†Perhaps it overheated? ¬†I didn’t eat all of the above mess, but did eat out the frozen berries and some of the liquid. ¬†It was actually quite tasty! ¬†Better flavor than most of my smoothies for some reason. ¬†I remedied this little failure with some comforting OIAJ…

Nature’s Path hemp oats in a Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter jar with a handful of trail mix and a serving of TJ’s chocolate covered pretzels! ¬†I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a serious statement: NN Vanilla Almond butter is the best nut butter I’ve ever had. It truly is amazing. ¬†It does have some sugar, but only 5g. ¬†The flavors just work wonderfully together. ¬†It tastes like a really premium vanilla almond frosting.

Not sure why, but I was feeling guilty about everything I ate today. ¬†I didn’t have anything “bad” for me at all, but I do think I wasn’t eating mindfully. ¬†Need to work on that; not because I’m trying to be obsessive but because my mind and body feel best when I have a clear, conscious relationship with food.

Any fun Adventures from today?  Adventures tomorrow? I have plans for a long run, yoga, and possibly a movie!

See you tomorrow!

PS — Go enter the most awesome giveaway ever here! ¬†Evan is giving away an ice cream maker!

Super Saturday Adventures: Swim Sandwich And Seafood Throwdown

Today’s Happy Note: Watching a TV show about giant river fish right now! ¬†I love fish. ¬†Fascinating creatures! ¬†Other animal loves: all birds (especially cardinals), elephants, unicorns, and dinosaurs. ¬†Which are so totally real.

Mental Health Note #1: It’s been a spectacular, head-clearing Saturday! ¬†I love that about summer: Saturday is time for me to do what I want, to be free all day from work and school. ¬†Sometimes I spend it with friends. ¬†Other times I’m content by myself. ¬†I like to do things that I want to do; things that will make me happy; try new things. ¬† Saturday — and all the fun opportunity it holds — is not something that I will ever let depression take away from me!

The morning began with an awesome, “new” ¬†workout. ¬†New in the sense that, while I have done plenty of running and swimming, I’ve never done a real “brick” workout. ¬†Actually, I like to call this a sandwich workout: I wanted to do a long(ish) run and I also wanted to swim (it was terribly hot). ¬†I planned out a fun route to an NYSC with a pool. ¬†I ran 6 miles there (the gym is 4 miles away but I threw in extra bits), swam for 30 minutes, then ran the 4 miles back. ¬†I actually ran the way there wearing my swimsuit under my shirt and shorts. ¬†I carried a small running backpack with my cap, googles, emergency cash, phone, keys, and clean undergarments in it. ¬†It was easy peasy to hop in the pool when I arrived, and I just dried off with the towels there afterwards, put my clothes back on and headed back out the door. ¬†There you have it. ¬†A Run-Swim-Run Sandwich.

After speed showering and inhaling a mango-vanilla-peach smoothie, it was time for an Adventure! ¬†In case you didn’t read yesterday’s post, I have changed Adventure Fridays to Adventure Saturdays for timing purposes.

The Adventure involved the Union Square Greenmarket. ¬†And food. ¬†And cooking: ¬†A Seafood Throwdown! Sounds random, but it also sounded fun and I’m so glad I went. ¬†CENYC and NAMA put together a competition between chefs from Colors and artists from¬†SPURSE (a very random, very strange, spacey arts collective). ¬†The goal of the event was to promote sustainable, local, aware seafood consumption. ¬†We often fret about where our tomatoes come from, but we don’t know so much about our seafood. ¬†The event was literally a throwdown style format — like Bobby Flay, just less formal. ¬†There were even food network judges (although I had NO idea who they were — anyone recognize them from the pictures???).

The Secret Seafood is…Black Sea Bass!

Above right: a seafood paella and sea bass ceviche with strawberry-cucumber salsa from Colors.

Okay, so I’m not showing you all the dishes from the SPURSE team because…well, some of them were a little kooky. ¬†I’m all for holistic living, but these people were a little much. ¬†The guy who talked about them struck me as straight up crazy. ¬†No other way to put it. ¬†He said things like “we try to incorporate the idea of the air and the sea and where they meet into our idea of cooking…and it’s not cooking it’s art.” ¬†They believed in using the entire fish in their cooking. ¬†In theory, I agree with this. ¬†In practice, I don’t: they made a soup out of blood and a stew out of mushrooms and the fish’s tongues, cheeks, and eyes…yeah. ¬†I just wasn’t into it. ¬†I must say, however, that their simpler dishes — like poached sea bass with roasted potatoes and ceviche with fresh sweet peas — seemed great.

Judges judging. ¬†And the winner is….

Okay, so I don’t actually know. ¬†I was near the front and getting really tired from standing in the sun and wanted others to see, so I left to do my greenmarket shopping. ¬†I looked on the website but it didn’t say the winner. ¬†My vote would go to Colors for simplicity, elegance, presentation, and some degree of normalcy. ¬†If this were based entirely on creativity, on the other hand, I might be rooting for SPURSE.

It was really fun to watch the chefs collect local ingredients from the farmers, prepare and cook their dishes, and present and explain them. It was just a fun — if ridiculously hot — event. ¬†It made me feel like I was on food network or something!

The day didn’t end there though; I would have liked to just relax, but had to do some work stuff (GRRRRR MTA bus system) that took forever. ¬†And I meant to do laundry but didn’t. ¬†Crap.

There were loads of fun eats to keep me going through such a busy day! ¬†I was in and out constantly from 8 to 6! ¬†I probably walked another 3 or 4 miles in addition to the workout described above…

Fueled myself with good eats of course!

Greenmarket nibbles!

Plenty of cereal with pb and chocolate (my favorite post-long run snack!).

I knew I wanted loads of veg and some solid protein for dinner. ¬†But for some reason, this just made me feel sick. ¬†Sometimes when I have a lot of veggie servings at once, this happens. ¬†Also, it’s just so hot. ¬†Even warm food wasn’t a good idea. ¬†I’ve been having smoothies for dinner every night for a reason, apparently.

Mental Health Note #2: Adventures are good for me. ¬†Good for all of me. ¬† They make me happy and give me something to focus on and look forward to — sometimes, depression makes me retreat inward. ¬†This tends to make things worse. ¬†Going out and seeing new people and fun things and just exploring the world takes me outside of myself for a little while. ¬†Yes, I come home in the evening and still feel a bit lonely. ¬†Sometimes I long to meet someone on an Adventure. ¬†Like my soul mate might also be having an Adventure too. ¬†But my time will come. ¬†I know that. ¬†For now, I just need to make myself happy. ¬†That’s all I can really do!