Disrupting the routine

May 26, 2009

My week has been crazy so far and it’s only Tuesday!

I started my new research job, which involves driving to Stratford a couple days a week. It’s a pretty long day considering I’m up early and then not home until just before dinner. After being out of school for a little bit and not having regular work, it kind of threw me. I’ve been so used to working out in the mornings, but I’m not crazy about getting up super early to work out before heading out, so I’ve missed out.

Plus, my right leg was bothering me a lot today, after being a little sore over the weekend. I have a suspicion that it’s from my new shoes – I think they’re lacking in support overall so standing for a good part of the day probably didn’t do it any good considering it was already hurting a bit. That and I was lugging around several cameras and tripods so I was probably putting an extra 20 pounds of weight on it. At any rate, I’ve been resting it as much as possible over the past couple days. The most I’ve done other than necessary walking, was taking a trip down to the grocery store a couple blocks away. It held up pretty well but it might be a little longer before I get back into running. I don’t want to end up with a severe injury, considering right now I think my muscles are just a little overworked and sore.

As a result, I’ve been trying to eat a little lighter since I’m not burning an extra 300-400 calories per day through exercise. It’s a little tricky, especially considering I’ve been stressed about finding another part-time job lately, and I’m definitely a stress eater! Thankfully I’ve been taking salads for lunch instead of eating sandwiches and I don’t typically have an afternoon snack when working because I’m in the middle of note-taking or driving at my usual snacky time.

Hopefully my leg starts feeling better ASAP. I’m feeling a little stir crazy when I get home in the evenings because I’m missing exercise but obviously I don’t want to push things. I might go for a short 10-15 minute walk on the treadmill tomorrow afternoon if things are feeling beter and work upwards from there if it’s all good.

I also have to buy a bridal shower gift for my friend. She’s getting married next Saturday (geez that came up fast!) and her bridal shower is this Friday. I’ve never been to one before so I’m excited and it’s at this place that serves amazing desserts (or so I’ve heard). Sounds like it might be a test of my willpower but it’s a special occasion so I’ll see if I can find room for a treat!

I’m off to bed – no work tomorrow but I signed up for a research study so my time slot is bright and early tomorrow. Thankfully I’m getting paid!

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Bean burger recipe

May 23, 2009

First things, here’s the bean burger recipe:

  • 1 can (540mL) mixed beans (I used a 4 bean blend)
  • 3/4 c breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped (do more or less depending on how onion-y you like things)
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of spinach (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is fairly tender. If you’re using spinach, add it now and cook for about 1 more minute.
  2. Let the onion mixture cool for a few minutes. Then put the beans, onion mixture and salt and pepper into a food processor and whirl up until things are pretty well chopped up. It doesn’t need to be entirely smooth.
  3. Put the bean/onion mix into a bowl and add the breadcrumbs and egg. Mix up until it comes together.
  4. Form 4 patties. To cook, I used a Foreman grill, but you can cook them in a pan or probably on the BBQ (although they are a little fragile until cooked well). Cook for about 6 minutes per side or until the burger is fairly firm and golden brown.

They’re pretty simple and hopefully they freeze well since I have two cooked patties in the freezer right now!


It’s official…

May 20, 2009

…I’m finished 4th year! Yay! Well, to be exact, 4th year: round 1. I still have 4th year: round 1.5 to do in the fall but the major thing is that my thesis is DONE! I can’t even begin to explain how much of a relief that is! After working on this thing for about nine months, I’m finally glad to have it handed in. Now I don’t have to look at it ever again! Well, maybe I’ll sneak a peak at some point. But for now – not a chance!

So having said that, my absence in blogging was not due to my thesis (I actually finished it earlier but it took my mark a while to get posted) but going home for the Victoria Day weekend! So I trekked up north on Saturday night to avoid the insanity that is Highway 400 on a long weekend. The weekend was pretty uneventful. I tried to stick to eating healthy but I had the best dessert ever created at a favourite hangout – a cookie skillet! It’s basically a gigantic cookie served warm out of the oven with ice cream and chocolate sauce. I split it with Josh but I’m pretty sure the entire thing went straight to my hips! I also slacked off on exercise – oops. Thankfully I have a couple days to get back on track before I weigh-in to see how I did this week.

I’ve been eating healthy since getting home. Actually, yesterday I made a dinner that would probably make my mom pass out from the shock that I would eat such a thing. I made bean burgers! There was a recipe in a magazine thinger from Sobeys (that I will post tomorrow) and I decided I’d try it. So I did. And the verdict? Not too bad. They don’t taste like a “real” burger but the taste was good and the texture was alright too. I just had to keep in mind that I wasn’t eating a beef burger so of course it’s not going to taste exactly like one. But I think I’ve found a great high fibre alternative to beef burgers! I’ll have to sneak a picture in here at some point. Unfortunately I suck at unpacking so my camera is still hiding in my suitcase and I’m too lazy to find it right now! Honestly, it takes me several days to fully unpack because that’s how much I dislike it! But next time I’ll snap a picture of a burger.

So, anyway, this was my first venture into experimental (and healthy alternatives) cooking this summer! It’ll probably be the first of many since I now have the time to play around in the kitchen. I’m planning on making some Thai lime chicken from a recipe I found in the same Sobeys magazine but I need to pick up a few ingredients first. It sounds awesome though so I’m excited to try it!

In other news, my car had a random issue. I was pulling out of a parking lot after going over a couple mean speedbumps. As I was accelerating, I heard a car with a super noisy muffler, what my friends and I (and probably others) called “ricers” – you know, those mid-range cars that usually have specialty rims and custom paint jobs to go along with a muffler that would set off car alarms. So, naturally I start looking around for this car. It was then I realized the car was mine! Ohhh boy! It sounded pretty sick!

Josh checked it out when we got home and apparently there was a disconnection so my muffler wasn’t doing a whole heck of a lot – hence the roaring noise every time I hit the gas. Thankfully I went to the mechanic first thing this morning and got my car all fixed up. I hope it’s happy now – it’s been pretty darn demanding with repairs over the past couple years, but I guess that’s to be expected considering it’s 9 years old!

After this busy day, I’m off to bed! I have another busy day ahead of me so I’ll need the sleep.


Hello long weekend!

May 16, 2009

The long weekend is officially here! Later today, I’m heading up north to visit home for a few days. It will be a bit weird this time though. One of my best friends is in China! He left on Wednesday and is gone for a month!! I have to admit that I already miss him even though we live in different towns and don’t normally see each other that often. It’s probably because I know I can’t see him or phone him or talk on MSN. I can’t even text him because he found out that texting charges there were 50 cents per message (sent or received).Yikes! So obviously he’s not planning to use his phone while he’s there. It will definitely be weird to have a visit home without seeing him once.

I don’t have too much planned for at home. Probably a coffee date with some friends. Having dinner with my parents on Sunday night. Maybe a shopping trip to Barrie. I’ve realized that I still don’t have too many things that fit – especially bottoms. I only have a pair of jeans, a skirt and a pair of shorts that are size 8. Everything else I’ve been wearing are size 10’s and they are baggy in some areas.

I feel like I’ve been a shopping maniac in the past five or so months. I’ve probably spent more on clothing during that time than I typically do in a whole year but obviously it’s for good reason! Usually my dad grumbles about giving me $30 to buy a couple shirts but now he’s telling me to go out and get new things and not to worry. It’s nice to have the support of him and my mom! But as I said, I feel like I shop so much now.

Another weird thing is that I’m becoming a little more interested in the more feminine clothing styles. I’m usually a jeans, T-shirt and flip flops girl. But I bought a pair of dressy-ish flats from Spring the other day. Afterward I was thinking “Wait, what the hell did I just buy? Really?”. For one thing, if I walk into Spring (or Aldo, etc) it’s usually to buy a pair of shoes for a dressy event and I’m not super into it. But I actually wanted to buy a pair of flats. I also bought a couple shirts the other week that were totally out of my usual style file. I don’t know, I think maybe it’s because shopping used to be a chore. I’d always be afraid of shopping at new stores in case the biggest size didn’t fit – that’s always a huge downer. And I definitely couldn’t pull off a lot of the really nice trends. I was pretty much stuck in jeans and T shirts by more than just my own choice! But now shopping is enjoyable. I can go into any store and fit into their clothing and I no longer wear the biggest size!

So maybe that’s where my change of heart about shopping has come from. The only problem is whether my bank account will be completely happy about it!

I’m off to finish packing – I’m such a procrastinator and it honestly takes me all day to pack. I’ll throw a couple shirts in my suitcase and then get distracted be something, like the computer, making some tea, having a snack. So here we are three hours later and I’m still not done! Time to make it happen!


The goal is healthy…

May 14, 2009

I’m putting on my serious face for this post, since I’ve been in a reflective mood lately.

When I started losing weight, I’ll admit that my goal was to be thin. It was mostly a superficial type of thing. I wanted to lose 30-40 pounds and get back to the way I looked in high school.

My goal in cutting back on pizza, pasta, burgers, etc was to lose weight, not to eat healthier. My goal with exercise was to drop pounds, not to improve my fitness level. The goal was to see physical changes, to see myself getting thinner.

But as I’ve been reflecting on the changes, I’ve realized just how many there have been. Of course, there are the obvious physical changes of losing weight, and I would now say I’m thin, although hesitantly as my mind is still catching up with how I look now. There are other changes too.

Changing my eating habits is now about eating nutritious, healthy foods. I may sneak bites of processed foods on occasion, but I have no real desire to build a meal around them, especially not on a regular basis. It’s completely normal for me to eat lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables at meals now and my goal in doing so has changed from losing weight to being healthier overall. And I know I’m healthier – I have more energy, I sleep better, I”m fuller longer.

Exercise is about improving my fitness level. It’s not just a way to burn calories. And I’ve come so far. I’m running three to four days per week. I ran 2 miles straight the other day. Another day I ran for 25 minutes straight. I’m setting my own personal bests with regards to distance covered and time spent running. And I feel so accomplished every time I set a new personal best. Dare I say that I even feel like a runner? Like an athlete? My goal of running a 5K that once seemed so far-fetched now seems right around the corner. I never thought I would be doing all of this.

I think the most drastic change is how I feel about myself. I have struggled with this a lot, and although I still do, my self-esteem has increased greatly. I’ve gone from avoiding certain social situations and hiding my body to becoming a more outgoing and assertive person with the confidence to do things I never thought were possible before. After tackling the “impossible problem” of losing the excess weight, I feel like I can accomplish so many things. I feel confident in new situations and don’t feel as though people are looking at me in a judgmental way. But the most important thing is that I feel worth it. I feel like I’m worth the time it takes to eat healthy and stay fit.

My goal now is to be healthy overall – mind and body. I’m definitely achieving it and I think it’s more important than focusing on a number on the scale. That’s not to say I’m going to completely ignore the scale quite yet, but once I get used to listening to my body and get comfortable maintaining my weight, I’ll probably say goodbye to it!


Out and about

May 12, 2009

What have I been up to the past couple days?

Well, Sunday afternoon, I headed over to the park near our house with Josh. It wasn’t the warmest day but it was nice and sunny. I decided I was in photographer mode that day so I ended up taking some pictures at the park:

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Cute little bridge over the water.

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Some mallards just chillin’.

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Pretty stream.

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Oh, hey!

Yesterday morning I weighed in after my first week on maintenance and was at 136.2. So up a bit, but I did go a little crazy this week and had a mini chocolate binge on Sunday night. I feel like I have things back in control now and I’m aiming for a loss of that small gain, but I’m not actively in weight loss mode – just a bit lighter on eating this week with maybe an extra day of exercise to help balance things out. I’m still getting the hang of things so it may take a bit of experimenting to figure out what works best.

Also yesterday, I participated in a research study for a psychology grad student at school. Not the most exciting study but I got paid $11! Oh yeah! Basically I pressed buttons on a keyboard anywhere between 1 and 6 seconds, but earlier if I heard a beep. I did this for a half hour. But like I said – $11! Plus I get to help out my fellow students since they don’t have the convenience of first year psych students during the summer. During the regular school year, first years have to do 5.0 credits of research participation – that’s how I recruited them for the study I was running for a prof.

Today’s agenda involves meeting about that research assistant job and getting in a treadmill workout!


Rediscovering chai tea

May 10, 2009

As I was making tea this morning, I realized I was almost out of earl grey. I went digging through the cupboard to see if I had any other tea and I discovered some chai tea! I absolutely love chai, so I jumped at the chance and now have a wonderful cinnamon-y mug of tea in front of me. Adding a bit of vanilla soy milk makes it so yummy!

I finally have some exciting news on the job front. For the past several months, I’ve been sending out resumes only to hear nothing back. Thankfully I have a part-time job (but it’s really, really part-time) at the kids camp my university runs, but I really need something else since working a couple hours a week doesn’t even pay for groceries. So knowing this job would be really part-time, I had to think of other options. Back in late March/early April, I emailed a prof about working in her lab this summer, even for only 5 hours per week. Unfortunately she said she didn’t have anything available at the time. But now – well, enter the email I received last night. One of her grad students is interested in hiring me for 10-15 hours per week, possibly more!! I’m meeting with her this week so I hope everything works out! And to think I was hesitant to email the prof in the first place, figuring she wouldn’t likely have anything. Well, it clearly paid off!

I don’t know if anyone else is as into Hell’s Kitchen as I am, but I got a chance to watch Thursday’s episode last night. I’m still so conflicted about who to cheer for. Paula is clearly an amazing chef and I’ve always liked her, but Danny makes me laugh – I love his plaid jackets and camo hats. Totally reminds me of home – yeah, there’s a little redneck going on! He’s also an amazing chef too and is really passionate about his work. In the past I’ve always had a solid favourite, but this year, I don’t think I’ll mind either of them winning. I think it’s going to be a close one too!

Finally, a video to share. This is a piano/cello arrangement of Taylor Swift’s Love Story and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. Sounds strange, I know, but trust me, it’s awesome even if you a) don’t like either song or b) haven’t heard one of them. The piano player totally rocks!

I can’t wait until they release an mp3 of this! For now I’m adding to the views on YouTube by playing it several times a day. And I can’t believe how many views there are. When I first watched it yesterday – just under 500,000. As of right now, 622,000! This guy is an overnight YouTube celebrity.

Have a great Sunday 🙂