Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fitness Update: Level 7!

Despite my less than stellar eating, I notice some small signs of strength and muscle definition in my body, much to my surprise. I've never been one to have definition (apart from my stomach muscles, which get definition quickly, but since i a) never wear midriff-wearing clothing, and b) i have a nice layer of "protective" belly fat, aren't so evident anyway. still, my shoulders look strong, not in any record-breaking way, but in comparison to my norm. my inner thighs, too, have shape in a way that they never did before. not defined, but not just an inverted cone, either. all very surprising to me! Exercise has never done much for me, beside boosting my mood, so this is all a bit thrilling. Of course, this workout is ever so much more challenging than reading my Ipad while mindlessly pedaling on the elliptical. It's hard to keep my focus sometimes when I'm in a really challenging segment, but I'm trying to remember it's the focus and the effort that matters, not how high I can jump or how much weight I can lift.

I moved up to Level 7 this week, though I'm still not perfect on every aspect of Level 6. But Level 7 is shorter, which is a nice change -- from Level 1-6 it's gone from 51 minutes to 1 hour 6 minutes and I really feel the difference in my morning. Today was well under an hour and I really noticed the difference, about fifteen minutes from Level 6. Very nice for pre-work workouts. Hopefully I won't lose anything from my fitness as a result.

I've successfully maintained working out three days in a row over the weekend (including Mondays, which has been a day off for me the last two weeks, due to MLK Day and then the nanny needing a day off yesterday). I then do one day of Tabatta -- which is a very short, in time, but very intense workout on the elliptical, then one additional day of Rip 60 and two non-consecutive days off. Eliminating the leisurely elliptical workouts has made all the difference, and now my body is mostly used to more days of intense workouts. Even my brain is starting to get used to the difference. Even Tabatta doesn't feel all that challenging anymore, because it's so short in duration, even with the 110% effort.

My eating has not been so great lately, as i mentioned. it seems to be somewhat cyclical, where I do great for a while, then I just can't seem to maintain it for a bit (at least my exercise stayed consistent!). diets have never made me lose more than a couple pounds, so i don't bother with them, but just try to eat healthy. i experimented for a while with being gluten free, but didn't notice any benefit. I think it's about quick versus slow carbs, not whether they have gluten or not. In fact, it seems like gluten may be more filling than I realized, when eaten with protein and fat, also.  

This weekend, i made a quiche for a brunch I went to. I got the recipe from French Kids Eat Everything (fascinating memoir of a Canadian family living in France for a year, and how it changed their kids' eating). The recipe is designed to be quick and easy, so instead of making pie crust (because of course French people would never use, gasp, pre-made pie crust!), the recipe calls for a cup of flour mixed right in with eggs, along with a goodly portion of milk. I also added cheese and spinach (frozen, and thawed in the microwave -- easy peasy). These are both supposed to make the egg flavor more mild and thus more palatable to children. (My own egg-abhoring child wouldn't taste it so I can't say whether this is true or not.) Anyway, I was surprised to find that the cup of flour made it much more filling. I was (?am) a relatively low carb kind of girl, but I think the quiche is way more filling than a typical quiche would be. So I am planning (hoping) to start making a quiche every weekend and then bring a slice to work for breakfast. Though I think i will try switching to whole wheat flour and see how that comes out. It does seem that whole wheat products are a lot more sustaining than things like squash, whatever the "nutritionistas" may say, at least for my quirky body.

I've also been craving Oreos, and have fulfilled that craving. But, last night I was able to eat fewer than in previous nights. I don't believe in outlawing anything, but instead am trying to really savor them so that I won't "need" as many. I think the craving also came from, perhaps, not enough sleep (the body often craves extra calories when one is tired), so I went to bed extra early last night. I also made whole wheat Israeli couscous last night as I think my efforts to eat low carb were backfiring... seems like more of the relatively healthy carbs translates to fewer of the less healthy one, so it's worth the trade off. I think I'm ready for an upswing in paying attention to my eating -- I suspect the longer days also has something to do with that. 

I've also experimented the last couple of weeks with eating fruit in the evenings. I love fruit, but have gradually reduced it in my diet because I've noticed it doesn't fill me up for more than a few minutes, and often leaves me more hungry in the long run. I was hoping that having it after dinner would lessen that effect... and it doesn't make me very hungry, but it definitely doesn't leave me more full. So I think i'm going to reduce or eliminate it -- maybe a Clementine instead of a big orange, or berries when they are in season.

So more wheat -- whole wheat, that is -- and less fruit. And reducing but not eliminating my oreos. Which I would preferably eat without doing anything else, so that I really savor them and thus, need more.

It's all about small changes, right?

here's the recipe for the quick and easy, child friendly quiche. You can add whatever fillings you like -- veggies, cheese, ham, etc. For older children (or those who like eggs), you can add more egg and less milk.

8 eggs
1 cup milk (or 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream -- this is what I did)
1 cup flour (don't make the mistake that I did and dump the whole thing in at once!)
salt and pepper

1. preheat oven to 325
2. combine eggs and milk
3. slowly whisk in flour

pour fillings into pre-buttered/greased 12" pie pan (put on a cookie sheet so if it runs over, you won't have a mess on the bottom of the oven). bake approximately 30 minutes, until the top is puffy and a bit brown. 

note: I waited more than 30 minutes before taking it out and it was still slightly runny in the center, so I will probably try at least 35 minutes next time, but it was still edible with the center a little runny. of course, I use organic grass fed eggs so I know my risk for salmonella is minimal, though perhaps 325 for a half an hour would be fine even with supermarket eggs; I'm not sure about that.


  1. Oh, that sounds yummy! And I love the idea of taking it for breakfast; 'm getting really tired of sausage for breakfast, but it's the only thing I've found that fills me up and doesn't have me craving sugar the rest of the morning. I have a "quiche" recipe that I love that is just a few eggs, a lot of chicken and spinach, and a crust, I should try making that, too. I wonder if I could adapt the recipe by adding the flour instead of doing the premade crust...

    Like you, I found that gluten didn't seem to be much of a culprit, but simple carbs definitely keep me feeling bad and make me gain weight.

  2. I am so impressed by your ability to prioritize exercise! I really need/want to figure out how to add some into my life--partially for weight control but also because I want to be sure I am healthy so I can be around for a long time.

    I have a bad knee and didn't rehab fully following knee surgery 10 years ago. Just saw my doctor this week to ask for a PT referral so I can get some exercises to do at home so I can work on strength and mobility. I want to be able to ride bikes with Rowan when she gets older!