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What have I been doing since August 2009, you ask?

Well, having a baby who is almost 1, for one.

Thinking of loads and loads of posts that I never get around to for another.

Today I was possessed with a manic urge to talk about my lunch on Facebook. I suppressed that urge, but it dawned on me that I do have an actual, already set up, outlet for such nattering. So here we go.

Yesterday for Easter dinner, I hastily threw a pork loin on the grill and threw together a pasta salad to go with, as  we really hadn’t thought through anything and had virtually nothing on hand. I had some lemon pepper fettuccine in the cupboard, so I cooked that up, whipped up a lemon/olive oil dressing with some fresh ground pepper, thyme, rosemary and a wee pinch of sugar to offset the tartness (thinking it over, a pinch of lemon zest would not have been amiss either), and tossed that all together with about a third of a finely diced yellow onion, some fresh chopped carrots, half a can of corn and some fresh spinach. It was actually pretty darn good for something I threw together out of the pantry at 11 am Easter morning.

It’s also made for some lovely leftovers. Lunch was a dish of the pasta with some lemon pepper tuna tossed in and a hard-boiled egg on the side. I tried to add a clementine, but they’ve turned, alas. But overall, it was a healthy, refreshing lunch, especially eaten outside at a shady table overlooking the Potomac.

As for me overall, I feel like I’ve turned a corner in the past 4-6 weeks. One big change that we made when I was pregnant was to start actually having salad with dinner several times a week, which really helps get fresh veggies into all of our diets.  I still struggle to find time to work out, but I find myself doing more scattered exercise – I get out and walk with the baby a few times a week, and I stretch in off moments, even at the office. But the biggest thing that I’ve managed to do, that I never thought I could, was to cut down on my sugar intake. It wasn’t even conscious, which seems to be the way that I best make these sorts of changes. If I think too much, I obsess and get ornery. But I happened on chocolate dessert teas around Valentines Day and just kept drinking them. And discovered that if I had a cup of tea around the same time I hugely craved chocolate in the middle of the day or after dinner, the tea satisfied a lot of the same urges.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still eat sugar (and chocolate, natch), but I’ve gotten to the point where treats are just that – treats. And where, if I have an ice cream cone with my son when we’ve walked down from the park, that’s it for the day. I don’t give into the momentary thought of baking brownies on the weekend and we’ve had two boxes of Ghirardelli mix in the pantry for at least 2 months. And there’s a big tray of Easter candy sitting not 20 feet from me right now – and I’ve not touched it and don’t feel much of an urge to.

This is HUGE for me. GIGANTIC GLITTERY LETTERS huge. I’ve always been the person who grabbed a piece of candy from any open dish I passed. I’ve always been the one who orders dessert and who absolutely needs something sweet after every meal. I’ve spent most of my adult life wondering how I could be like virtually every person around me (in my eyes, mind you) and not slavishly haunt any possibility of sweet treats. And more importantly, how I can realistically model healthy eating for my children.

A side benefit of all of this is that, yeah, I do seem to be losing some weight and yeah, my clothes do seem to fit better (or worse, in some cases where they are too big). But I *feel* better. And I feel like I have some say and control over what I put in my mouth. And that’s the real point.


(As an aside, I’ve noticed a tendency for me to use very similar titles now and again on posts here.  Food -HA!- for thought.)

Anyway, it has long been clear in our household that exercise and mood have a strong correlation.  However, I’ve never consistently exercised for more than a few months, so it’s been less noticeable with me.

Now that I’m trying to work out in the morning, though, I notice a huge difference when I go for days without doing anything other than Friday evening yoga.  Friday evening yoga – while sometimes annoying timing, in that it interferes with things like Friday evening TKD for the Kid or certain activities at his school – is a huge boon in that it gives me something a) to look forward to all week and b) gives me a huge stress relief outlet at the end of what is usually one of the most stressful days at work. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love my job – but it is still work and problem solving for people that have often created their own problems.

So, Friday Night Yoga = GOOD.

Morning cardio = also good. 

Who’d have thunk it?  Getting up an hour earlier and doing 40 minutes on the bike a couple mornings a week is proving harder than I’d like in terms of the actually getting to bed earlier and thus getting up, but when I do, it is awesome.  Seriously.

Today, for example, I feel like hell.  I’ve been fighting something off for a while now and either coincidentally, or due in part to getting some travel vax last week, I’m really fighting this week.  Laryngitis, sore throat, chest heaviness. It’s ebbing and flowing, but really, no fun, and today is the worst so far.  Work has also been super stressful for a variety of reasons this week.

But even though I feel the worst physically today that I have all week, mood wise, I feel better.  I feel more relaxed.  Part of that is probably pride that I did something, anything, to try to help my body.  But part of that is a symptom of what I did.  I got to sleep before 10.  I got up at 5:30.  And I rode the damn bike.

Now, frankly, I’d like a hot bath and a long nap.  Instead I’m getting lavender earl gray and contemplating mashed potatoes and meatloaf for lunch.  Little things.

I keep trying to convince myself that this is not about the numbers on the scale.  Today is a good example of this.

I used the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes Tuesday night and I used the wii for 40 minutes last night – if I can keep focused on it, the bike is a better pure cardio workout – I’ll ride at a moderate to hard pace for approximately 43 minutes – the time it takes to watch a DVD of an “hour” long tv show.  Only allowing myself to watch these shows – starting with current shows like Lost and Grey’s Anatomy that I’d missed out on when they started and now things like Buffy and HBO series that we don’t get like Deadwood and Carnavale – while I exercise was a great motivator when I was just getting started and still is sometimes.

The thing about the Wii, though, is that it gives me more variety and I tend to be highly focused on whatever I’m doing while I’m doing it.  So, I work in fits and starts but that 6 minutes I spend hula hooping is an intense 6 minutes.  The 6 minutes I’m boxing is an intense 6 minutes.  The 5 minutes I’m stepping is an intense 5 minutes. 

I’m not loving the Wii yoga so much – part of that is the limitations of the space in our family room – there’s a drop ceiling, so upward stretching involves popping a tile and working around the support beams and there’s not as much floor space as I’d like.  But I think most of it is just how much I love doing “real yoga”.  I absolutely loved the class I took last Friday and am estatic that I have 10 more.  I’ve registered for that particular class, so now I get to end the work week with almost an hour and a half of yoga that is for all levels, so I can make it as intense or as relaxing as I want/need on that particular day.  The class was super small last week, between the weather and the long weekend, and we all got lots of individual attention, pose correction and adjustment, etc.  Afterwards the instructor mentioned that my body seemed very open and it was clear that I had a lot of experience doing yoga.  My immediate response was to say not really -which is true on one level.  Then again, I’ve been doing yoga off and on for 10 years.  10 years?!?!  How does that happen?

Anyway, I am really looking forward to class again tomorrow.  And I find myself fitting modified stretches and poses into my everyday life more.  I feel more relaxed and less tense and more powerful.  This is something that I notice whenever I start exercizing with any regularity – I start to feel straighter and stronger and healthier.   Also, while the scale is actually up a few pounds from last week’s weigh-in, my pants are looser and my body feels smoother and firmer.

So, maybe it doesn’t matter so much what it says on the scale.  My pants are loose and my back is straight and I look damn good.