Confession time: Exercise Edition

Forgive me Leo, for I have sinned. Also - this is what happens when you work from home. Pictures with cats.

Tonight I was lamenting how I feel like I have blogger’s block lately – and to my credit I’ve been very, very busy with starting a new job, traveling for said new job, working on my thesis, and just living life in general. So, the blogger’s block is pretty much just from exhaustion, not wanting to quit my blog or anything, so no worries! Matt suggested I blog about exercise, and I felt myself cringe because that would mean a CONFESSION. Dun, dun, dun. So here it is – a confession.

I haven’t exercised in… a really long time. Like more than a couple weeks. Like, the last time I can remember was some time in early August, probably when my grad school buddy Virginia and I hit up water aerobics. I have no good reason, because everybody in the world is really busy, and I need to make time for it. But there’s just something about actually DOING IT that gets in the way. Maybe it’s having to dig for a sports bra, and then finding the stretchy capris that don’t give me a wedgie, and then having to find socks, and then having to put on shoes, and then having to actually exercise and deal with the sweat and the out of breathness and the tiredness. But see, those are all excuses, because we all know nine times out of 10 you finish a workout feeling great.

In an effort to make exercise a little less tiresome and daunting, I decided to purchase a used Wavemaster Boxing Bag. It was $35 on Craigslist, and really, truly the only exercise I have ever enjoyed is boxing. I haven’t used it yet, but it’s waiting in the backyard for the first day that’s less than 100 degrees. I figure even if I can get out there for a measly 10 minutes every now and then and work up a sweat, it’s better than what I’m doing now, which is nothing. (Cringe).

Whew. Ok. I feel better now that everything’s out in the open. Now I just need to do a weigh in post too – I’ll shoot for one early next week. Surprisingly, for a week of eating restaurant food, I weighed in only a couple pounds up. I’ll be back on track these next few days so I have a good reliable number to report back. So – it’s your turn now. Anything to confess?

My evening at Poggio

The view from my hotel room. I could get used to this....

Hello, Double Chinners! I’m writing to you on my last night in Northern California before heading back to my hot, sunny city to begin working from home. I’ve had a great time up here training for my new job, but one thing I’m ready to get back to is being in my own kitchen preparing my own meals. We get lunch every day at work from local restaurants, but sometimes you just want home cooked meals. Tonight’s meal, however, broke that stride, and I’m now wishing the chef of Poggio could come live in my kitchen.

My brother, his lovely girlfriend Allison and I decided to send off my trip in style with a memorable last meal at Poggio in Sausalito, the restaurant right below the Casa Madrona where I’m spending my last night. Initially I was skeptical because the menu had very courageous sounding italian dishes like “pumpkin walnut ravioli,” but we decided to be adventurous and give it a go. First, they came out with salted rosemary rolls fresh from the oven with pressed sweet cream butter. They were insaaaaaaane. We ordered bocconocini, a hand pulled mozzerella with heirloom tomatoes and castalvetrano olives. It was incredible and we found out that there is an organic garden behind the restaurant where almost all of the vegetables are grown. The bocconocini was served with freshly cracked black pepper and a grassy, tart olive oil.

For my main course I ordered gnudi, spinach ricotta pillows with beef ragu and parmigiano. The gnudi were like savory marshmallows – super soft with a slight spinach taste, the perfect backdrop for the salty but so tender beef ragu.They were basically cheese dumplings with meat – the perfect dinner for this Midwestern, corn-fed girl.

For dessert, I had a vanilla creme brulee with fresh cherries. I believe when I took the first bite, swirled it around on my tongue and allowed myself to really soak it all in, I said “the angels sang.”

We all enjoyed our meal with a bottle of Verdiccio Del Castelli Di Jesi, a slightly sweet wine with an aromatic of peach. It had a lovely perfume and as we took turns drinking and telling stories, it was the perfect drink to lull us through a rich and decadent meal. Tonight was definitely a meal that will set me back on my weight loss goals, but on some strange level, I’m always ok with that if it was enjoyable and worth it. It was wonderful to eat amazing, authentic Italian food with my brother and Allison and to have an awesome last night in the city.

What are your thoughts on decadent, splurge meals when you’re trying to lose weight? I have a lot to celebrate right now with my awesome new job, but I also know part of being serious about losing weight is learning to celebrate in other ways. Thoughts?








What I Ate Wednesday!

Hello everybody! Today I’m participating in the “What I ate Wednesday: Summer Staples” version. I’m traveling for work so my eating has been a little wacky -thankfully as I prepared for this post though I realized it hasn’t been too bad!

What I ate today!

I started the morning with my “Summer Staple” of yogurt. I’ve been obsessed with Greek yogurt for awhile, but since I’m back in the North bay, I treated myself to some organic Clover Stornetta cream top. Clover Stornetta is a local creamery from my hometown of Petaluma, so I always love to support their dairy when I’m in the area. It’s so tasty and that little bit of extra cream is super decadent and feels like a nice morning treat. I also had some English breakfast tea and a plum (not pictured).

One of the benefits of working for a techy company is free lunch! Today I ordered traditional curried chicken tenders with grilled vegetables over basmati rice. The flavors were amazing – simple yet exotic, and the little bit of spice was great for this cold I have that just won’t go away. (Any tips for me?! I’ve tried Emergen-C, sleep, dayquil, tea, honey and lemon, rain dancing…)

I had a cup of fresh mixed berries as a snack – perfect fuel for energy without being too heavy or sugar-dense.

I worked late and came back to my studio searching high and low for delivery since I was too lazy to walk anywhere (truth). I finally found a highly-rated Chinese place and ordered spicy green beans with chicken and vegetable chowmein. I was too stuffed to hack into the chow mein after my spicy green beans, but I did eat two fortune cookies with some Oolong tea.

It was a yummy day of food, and if there’s anything I can thank this cold for, it’s that my appetite is not its usual guns-a-blazing. I’m still eating plenty, but I’m focusing on the right portion sizes and trying to remember to balance out protein, vegetable and starch. High 5 for healthy eating while out of town! How’s your week going, food wise?


Musings on Massage

Matt snapped this shot on our honeymoon of a real live Rastafarian. Do you see me in the background?

This weekend, I treated myself to a massage. I had my first massage on my honeymoon in St. Maarten, and the masseuse had garlicky breath that washed over my face like a hot wind as she said “Breaaaaafe, breaaaafe”, in a Caribbean accent that made me think of Bob Marley and coconuts. It was not amazing, but it felt good enough, but I chalked it up to inexperience, kind of like the first time you have sex. (Sorry, Dad – I’m a married woman now.) There was room for improvement.

When I moved to Los Angeles and got my first big girl job, I splurged and got a deluxe gym membership that included a monthly massage. I fell instantly in love with my masseuse Armissity, a spunky girl about my age who always commented on my pedicure and wore a fake plumeria tucked behind her ear. Her hands felt like magic gliding over my knotted back, and as I felt muscles pull and crack, tension melted like Reeses pieces on a hot summer day. Despite the anti-stress and healing properties of massage, massage has taught me to know my body. Not in the “Fried Green Tomatoes” let’s get hand mirrors and explore type of way, but in the “Wow. This is your body. It does stuff” type of way.

There’s this misconception that some fat people have, or at least I did, that because my body is covered in excess weight, my muscles don’t exist. I have grown used to a body that’s pillowy and soft, never known for rippling biceps or toned, taut calves. Of course I knew I had muscles, they just ceased to exist in my mind. As I became accustomed to massages, I realized that I had muscles – and I didn’t just have them, they DID STUFF. Those tight muscles, that tiny little web that makes up my trapezius – so glorious, so firm, so full of tension. That trapezius holds up my neck and head all day, letting me write this blog or lean forward to work. As she traced my muscles with her finger tips, I could feel the outline of this anatomy, working, breathing, living – trying to desperately to relax, to release the accumulation of weeks of stress, anxiety and thought.

The next most amazing part of a massage is feeling all of the muscles in my arms. My arms are one of my trouble spots – as a heavy woman, I tend to carry a lot of extra weight in my arms, giving me the unfortunate look of wings. I was amazed the first time a masseuse rolled her hands over my upper arms, and muscles emerged like tiny hamsters, poking out of the fat to be released and relaxed. A massage is always worth it in my mind, not just for the “ahhhh” zen moment that emerges, but for showing me and proving to me that despite some 40 extra pounds, my body is full of muscles – glorious, amazing muscles that carry me through my day.

Have you ever had a massage? What’s your favorite part about it?



Winner of the Bag O’ Awesomeness – and More Awesomeness!

Hey everybody! Two pieces of good news today! The first is the winner of the 150 fan giveaway – Heather!

Heather was lucky #15, the winner generated from the kind folks at Congrats, Heather! I’ll contact you to hook you up with your prize!

Thank you to everybody who played! We’ll have more giveaways coming soon. My second piece of good news is that after about a week and a half of the scale staying EXACTLY THE SAME… the scale shifted today in the downward trend of 1.6 pounds, bringing my total weight loss to 10.6 pounds. YAY!

I managed to lose weight despite eating some yummy things like steak and watermelon margaritas, but I think most of it can be accredited to my portion control lately. I’m really trying to remember that just because it’s on my plate doesn’t mean I have to eat it – challenging, but doable.

What’s your good news for the day?


Crazy for Cookie Butter

Speculoos Cookie Butter is crack in a jar.

Dear Friends:

When I step into Trader Joes, I’ve entered a magical land full of intriguing things like baked onion rings, coconut oil, confetti rice… and COOKIE BUTTER!!!! My friend Jason discovered this first and posted all about it on his Facebook page, and I thought to myself “Oooh… I want that.” But, in the name of weight loss (which has since stalled.. I’m hovering right at 9.4 pounds… COME ON!), I resisted. Until yesterday, when my willpower was weak, and the 104 degree heat sent my husband and I into the air-conditioned shelter of shopping.

It’s freaking delicious. It’s basically crushed biscuits in a paste form, and it tastes like cookie dough. You can put it on pretzels, celery sticks, toast, cookies or english muffins – or just eat it from the jar. Not that I would do that or anything. Not like my husband caught me yesterday with a spoon in my mouth, moaning with the sinful deliciousness of a cookie butter that has zero nutritional benefits.

It’s 90 calories per tablespoon, so I’m not really doing myself any favors. But it’s so damn good. However, as soon as this jar is gone, I must resist buying another, because this stuff has cracked my “I don’t crave sweets” code. And that’s some powerful stuff. Because I believe in hedonism, I’ll be including a jar of this stuff in my 150 fan giveaway. Evil, right?

Have you entered yet?! HURRY!

The contest ends Wednesday night!