Thanksgiving

I used to call today Turkey day, and I still do on ocassion. But it truly is so much more than that. I just wanted to take a moment and remind everyone that today isn’t about the food. It is in the end just one meal.
Today is about reflection. Reflection about the past, reflection on what we have be it family and friends, or experiences, some are thankful for things, even challenges in our lives. Just make sure you are taking the time to reflect on all the things you have to be thankful for.
As I put my she’s on this morning I thought for a moment how
thankful I was that its easier to put my shoes on now than at 400+ pounds.  I was thankful that my back was strong enough that I can get up today, and that I can challenge myself to keep pushing for answers.
From the bottom of my heart I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and I wish for you to be present in your holiday. Put your phones, video games, and ipads away and be there.  Experience the days, because you need to be thankful for what you have at this moment because you may not get another.

Anybody Out There?

Is there anyone still out there?  Apparently there are still a few of you out there lurking, looking for me.  Yes I am still here.  Lurking, living, surviving… I can’t really recall anything I have written… and I am guessing if you read in google reader you don’t recall the last thing I wrote! So here is a stream of thought from my mind to your eyeballs!  

For those of you that have seen me during this holiday season, I thank you.  You saw me through one of the very darkest times of year for me.  You will hear me say over and over again I don’t do well at holidays.  Too many years of being told “Way to go, you just ruined X.”  X being whatever holiday it was, be it Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or even Easter a few times. 

I can recall a few happy traditions from the holidays.  I sat in the mall at Rosedale this year waiting for my dear friend Jenn, sipping coffee and chatting on twitter about holiday traditions and remembered about getting a clementine in my stocking every year.  I still take part in the clementine, or orange in my stocking tradition, even if I don’t get myself a stocking.  You will always find a bag of clementines in my fridge this time of year.  You will also find some cherry chapstick, or Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers. This year I bought a chocolate mint flavored one!  MmM! It is like girl scout cookies without all the guilt! 

I trudged through Thanksgiving, taking my own food.  As many of you know I planned to do this for a long time.  After my food poisoning bout it was definitely a safer route knowing what my tummy would tolerate. I was not however prepared to feel the way that I did at dinner.  I felt as though I was being scrutinized for my decisions.  I felt (feeling words here, I am allowed to feel) that bringing my own food was not welcomed but i need to do what I need because not taking my own needs into consideration is what got me into trouble in the first place) I did take food to share, and people very much enjoyed my green beans with caramelized red pearl onions and balsamic vinegar.  They were certainly no traditional green bean casserole but they were a nice change of pace from the normal heavy sides that go with dinner.

The trip east to visit my parents… There are no words to describe how bad some points of this trip were.  I will leave it at that.  There were however some amazing highlights!  I got to see my Aunts from my mom’s side of the family which was awesome!  Even better was the day (the entire day!!) that I got to spend with my Aunt Paulette!  Ever since I was a tyke she and I had a special bond.  As I have gotten older we haven’t been able to spend as much time together.  She is a busy woman with an amazing career and I have been living a crazy life at one point 100+ miles away and now in another state. 

We spent a while chatting and catching up, then lunch in the mountains, and shopping and dinner.  It was amazing.  Spending time with her made me realize that while there is so much bad in my life from that whole area, there is some good that I can look back and find.  Shopping trips after christmas were always with Paulette.  I look forward to planning many trips back, to match with her schedule so that we can work on our bond together. 

Back here in the real world, Christmas was fast approaching.  Cookies were being baked… probably close to 30-dozen or more came out of my oven this year.  Food is love where I come from.  Or more specifically, this is how I can show my appreciation for people.  I took cookies to co-workers and friends.  I tried to stay busy.  I shopped, and wrapped, and prayed for no snow.  I did my job, and busied myself with lots of outings with friends. 

I tried to ignore the fact that Christmas is a holiday.  I try to treat it as if it were any other day.  I bought my Christmas ham as soon as they went on sale.  In Minnesota we are a Turkey on Christmas house, I grew up as a ham on Christmas person… so this year it was both.  A Turkey and a Ham on Christmas… with lots of leftovers frozen off. 

My December calendar looked much like my July.  Packed to the gills with gatherings of friends.  Avoidance of feelings perhaps.  Sushi or coffee, or walks around the mall.  Movies or outings any reason at all.  Any excuse not to feel the feelings that surround the holiday. Not to feel the hurt that is in those wounds that sit there.

A few days before Christmas an angel was sent to remind me that the holidays aren’t so bad.  I was in Target when a friend spotted me near the entrance.  He once again invited me over for Christmas.  December 24th.  I had to work my normal 4p-4a shift.  I respectfully declined, I needed my sleep.  We walked and talked for the better part of an hour.  I was reminded of how important it is to be with people who care about you, and how important this person truly is in my life.  I dropped my purchases off at home and spent the next few hours with him doing some last-minute shopping around St Paul.  Christmas eve morning, he called again to invite me to dinner, and I said okay.

So December 24th I went to dinner, with my family, the family you get to pick.  The family I choose, the ones that matter, the ones that warm my heart and lift my spirits.  The family that seems to always know the right thing to say, even when they are booger and fart jokes.  I went off to work filled with love. The rest of the weekend I rode on the high I was given by my friends that lifted my spirits.

The New Year is nearly upon us now. That means new things for me!  Did you know I will be starting a new position at my job?  That’s right! On January 2 I will be starting at 8:00am.  Day Shift?! Normal Hours?! I will have to do things like Pack a Lunch, Schedule Workouts, Sleep Normal Hours.  Oh My Goodness! 

I think this is actually the piece of the puzzle I have been looking for.  I kept trying to get a piece to click, one piece of the puzzle needed to slide into place for me to get my life to slide onto the tracks to move faster in the right direction.  Guess what folks, the bullet train is about to head off on the fast track! 

I am excited and nervous about my job.  It is with the same company, doing relatively the same job, but with more responsibility etc.  So it is definitely a positive thing.  Plus no more Zombie-Kris at the PriorFatGirl events!  Plus… Weekends Off!  It will take some getting used to as everyone at work adjusts to getting the scheduling worked out, but this shall be exciting.

That’s all for now… work duties call!

Leftovers

So after the turkey is roasted and you have eaten the same roast turkey dinner for the third meal it is time to start your mind churning to come up with some ideas for those leftovers right?

Now some options are buy a smaller turkey, (not in my house!) or don’t take home leftovers!  Other options are to make lunches and dinners and freeze them off for future meals.  Let’s be honest though I can only eat so much turkey as plain turkey.

So what do you do with your leftovers?  I am a big fan of making things that pull double duty, meaning I can cook them for a meal and make enough of them to freeze half off!  There is the ever popular Turkey Noodle soup, or here in Minnesota Turkey wild rice soup.  Something with lots of mushrooms and veggies to stretch it out.  There is turkey pot pie, where you can substitute out some filo dough instead of that pie crust to cut down on some of those calories.  I generally make just the filling and freeze that off so it is ready to thaw and top with dough!  You can also make a turkey chili either traditional red chili or white, and that freezes great!

Tonight on my menu is Turkey nachos!  Yep that’s right lots of veggies (and beans) and some spices and seasoning and I will be in heaven! I will very likely make a turkey hot dish (called a casserole where I come from) for dinner tomorrow night.  There really is an endless stream of possibilities for leftover turkey that even extends to things as easy as sandwiches both hot and cold.  Also don’t forget to freeze off some turkey by itself to add to your salads over the next few months.

Now you know why we never buy a smaller turkey around the holidays, and actually we buy a bigger one than we need!

Do you have a favorite thing to do with your turkey leftovers?  Care to share a recipe or a tip?  I would love to hear it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Off To The Races!
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This morning I will be taking part in my first annual Thanksgiving 5k.  I will be making this a reoccurring part of my future holiday plans.  I feel that it is important to start these traditions as part of my healthy life.  I love that I get to spend my morning with my friends since I don’t get to spend the dinner portion of my night with them.

I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank You to everyone that stops by my blog, thank you for your support along my journey!  Thank you for being here with me.  I am so thankful to have such a great support system with my friends here in blog-world and on twitter and Facebook.  I am also so blessed to have such an amazing community here in Minnesota.  Without Jen over at www.priorfatgirl.com I dont think that I would have such a far reaching support system.

I am also thankful for the #f2fpack, they were there with me, through my first 5k all those months ago.  We all have our ups and downs and we keep trucking on through our journeys!

I am also thankful for the Charities Challenge and Gary Westlund in particular for being so amazing and supportive of those of us trying to make exercise a part of our lives.  If you are in the Twin Cities (or are coming into town) this is an AMAZING group to do a race with and I highly encourage you to.  They celebrate everyone finishing, because there are those of us for whom finishing really is a victory alone!

I am thankful this year that I continue to make the choice to keep being healthy in the face of negativity and criticism.  I am strong in my convictions and that I have found my voice.

I am most thankful that I am finally regaining my life and health.

I hope everyone has a spectacular day whether it is spent with family or friends, whether you eat a Turkey or Tofurky (yum!)! remember today isn’t about the food, it is about giving thanks for how blessed your life is.

Welcome to Hell Week!

~Sirens Wailing~ Red Alert Red Alert! ~Sirens Continue~

Another major food holiday is about to land upon us!  Halloween is squarely in the rearview mirror, and the candy dishes are starting to run low.  Everyone has gotten back on track right?  Regular workouts of whatever variety they like, be it swimming or running, bike rides or roller skating have been resumed, or continued by most everyone I have been in contact with.  Everyone is getting set up for success right? RIGHT!!!

So are you worried about Thursday?  This week tends to be where diets are often thrown out the window.  I have every intention of not letting that happen to me!  As I have mentioned before I will be taking my own food with me to dinner on Thursday.  I have some things planned and I may have a few last-minute substitution plays in place as well.  I will also be roasting off my own turkey to have to make soups and such with for the subsequent week.

I also have my battle plan in place for Thursdays exercise.  My gym is closed on Thanksgiving.  This is one of the things that I really dislike about my gym.  It isn’t open 24/7, the hours can become a terribly difficult issue at times with my schedule.  So I will be participating in a 5k on Thanksgiving morning.  Currently there is a nice thick layer of icy gunk on the sidewalks and roads here in Minneapolis.  It makes me worried about my race.  I have had several slip and falls resulting in some serious injuries, but I will be playing the wait and see game about how I will handle race day.

I am hoping to find a way to make the food not the focus of Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps taking a game along might help.  I may stop at a place like Half Price Books or even Target and see if I can pick up Apples to Apples or something like that which we could use to break up the food-food-food feeling.

With all this being said I do want to remind everyone that Thanksgiving is just another day of the week.  It is just another meal and there is no reason to treat it as anything more than that.  It is very easy to blow things out of proportion when you have family or friends getting together and you want to put out a huge spread.  Remember to take things one decision at a time.  Start today with a big glass of water before your coffee or tea.  Remember that this is not an all or nothing pass fail system for life.

It feels like it is going to be an oatmeal kind of week, as the first snow has fallen in the Twin Cities.  Warm my insides and keep me full and moving as I hit the gym and stay on track.

Remember you have the power to forgive yourself and continue on even if you make a bad decision! Happy Monday everyone!

I Challenge You!

So as those holiday months of nonstop eating have started, the end of year battle of the bulge that leads to all of those famous New Years resolutions.  Those resolutions that so many people make year after year to go to the gym more, to lose weight (but never making a measurable goal) are always going to be made.  How are you doing on last years resolutions, or commitments to yourself?

It is too early for me to be jumping on the New Year New You bandwagon, we aren’t even to Thanksgiving.  What I wanted to remind you of today is that so often during the holidays we pile our plates full of food with no regard to how things look.  Pile on a few slices of turkey, and a small scoop of this and a tablespoon of that.  Three bites of stuffing and just a taste of grandma’s corn and soon your plate becomes a sloppy mess.  Perhaps it is a bit of the fact that I am one of those people who dislikes my food to touch unless I decide that it should and I am mixing it in a certain proportion.

SaladNomsSo perhaps now is the best time to start a new habit.  Eat with your eyes first.  We have all heard, without a doubt, hundreds of times that you eat with your eyes first.  I know it takes time to make your plate look pretty.  It takes time to make your plate look good, set your table, and set the ambiance of your dining area.  Did you know that I think you are worth the time it takes to do those things?  So my challenge to you is the same one that I am undertaking for myself.  Make your food look good!

Take photos of your awesome plates of food, and perhaps share your recipes along the way!  How long are you willing to try to go?  One day? Twenty-four hours? 7, 14, 30-days? Part of what taking the time to make your food look better will do for you is allow you to connect with your food.  It allows all of your senses to become immersed in the experience of enjoying the meal.  It will help you feel more full and it will extend the length of time you deem as your meal time.

So no more sloppy plates! Think Top Chef, Iron Chef, and any of those cooking shows we all watch.  You are getting hunger satisfaction points for presentation! What do you say?  Give it a shot!

My food pictured above was a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, peppers, banana peppers, onions, cucumbers, egg, blue cheese crumbles, Cholula hot sauce, and Gardein brand vegetarian chicken wings

#c25k Cult

So for those that have followed my blog for a while you remember the launch of the pack, we tag on twitter as #f2fpack now, back in the day we were the #priorfatpack.  We did a 5k together back on Memorial Day… it was a long time ago.

Prior to memorial day I had started to train with a #c25k app on my iPod to get ready for the 5k run.  I pushed so hard to try to get ready for that run and my body just wasn’t having any parts of it.  I went back to training again after that 5k and pushed for the Fathers Day 5k… and again my body rejected my advances.  Every time I pushed to try to move past week 3 my body was shutting down.

On this journey I have learned many things.  One of which is I don’t quit things anymore.  So once again I started pushing myself through the #c25k starting again with week 3.  Guess what?  I have been making progress!  Not only have I made it through week 3, I passed through week 4 and I am working the week 5 program right now!  Thursday morning will be my first “no walk” day.  20 minutes are on tap.  It would be a lie if I said I am not scared of that run.  I mean, the though of twenty minutes of running is terrifying!  I guess I just need to make sure I have some good music loaded up and that I don’t watch the clock.  I think that has been the biggest positive thing lately, not watching the clock as I run my intervals.  That and remembering to puff on my albuterol before I go to the gym, without that stuff I am in trouble.

I hadn’t really looked ahead in the #c25k program to see what was coming up so finding out I had a 20 minute run this week came as a bit of a shock!  Up until now most of the weeks had been the same intervals over and over again… for well weeks at a time… I redid week three so many times… SO MANY times.  There is nothing wrong with repeating weeks is what I am told.  There is no set rules for how this works.

At this point I have given myself over to the program.  It almost feels a bit like a cult.  I don’t ask why things are the way they are, I accept the program the way it is.  I know that there are reasons why I have a 20 minute run Thursday and then Sunday’s run will be intervals again.  Why ask why?  When I tweeted about the run and mildly questioning the run I did hear that many training programs have longer workouts one day and then it backs off the next.  I also was told that this is the turning point of the program… this is where you find out that you can run.  Well I figured that out last week when I ran my mile!

I have an upcoming 5k on the books, it isn’t the big Thanksgiving 5k through downtown Minneapolis I am planning to do the Charities Challenge Thanksgiving Day Giving Thanks 5k. I really am torn because I want to do both races.  I really would love to spend the morning with my friends downtown because I have never done a race there, however I know there are like 10,000 people signed up for that race and we won’t be sticking together, and I wouldn’t want to.  I never want to hold anyone back.  The CC group is just amazing, they celebrate everyone crossing the finish line because it is a goal just to finish for some of us.  I am so thankful for them this year so it is only appropriate that I spend Thanksgiving with them.

I will likely join CC for the Christmas and New Year run’s as well.  Nothing set in stone, finances will be a determining factor as will the weather and my overall health by then.  I am excited to be moving forward with my jogging though.  I am happy to be an actual athlete, or stating to feel like one.  Slowly, one step at a time I am changeing, creating my new self from the lump of clay I was given.