Monday, January 5, 2009

the first week

So, today officially marks a week into the Health Quest 2009! (I started a couple days still in 2008). I am planning to weigh myself each Monday morning to chart the progress, and this morning I was down by 5.4 lbs! Woot! That's encouraging to see! I attribute this all to all the water I've been drinking. And, I was thinking that I'd start to keep a list of some tips that are helping me.

1. Drink LOTS of water. I'm trying to make sure that I drink, at bare minimum, 8 cups of water per day.
2. Track everything I eat. For one, I find this fun, for two, I'm less likely to mindlessly snack when I know that I have to log everything.
3. Try to be flexible.

Number Three is a hard one for me. I'm rigid by nature, and I find this trait to be both a positive and a negative, depending on the circumstance. When I began my Health Quest in 2007 I was so strict that I ate no (zero) processed foods. I didn't eat out. I didn't eat at other people's houses. I spent pretty much all my time cooking and logging and blogging. Which did help me learn to cook a lot of things that I'd never attempted before, but also contributed to my feeling of being so completely invested in the strictness of my program that when I fell off the wagon, it felt overwhelming to have deviated from the plan.

So, I'm trying to be much more relaxed about it this time. The truth of the matter is that it's going to take a long time to lose the weight and gain the health that I want, so I need to be realistic in settling into something I can live with for a long time. So, if I eat something out that is higher in fat or calories (or whatever), then I just need to balance that the rest of the day(s) to make sure that I'm continuously heading in the right direction, but not feeling constantly hungry or deprived. I don't want food to be a reward or punishment tool anymore. Instead I want it to just be something that I love--to cook, to learn about and to eat.

To those ends, I did a little cooking this weekend. Just some simple things. I made the Caesar Salad from Veganomicon (just tweaked a tiny bit to cut back on some of the oil while retaining the fantastic flavor), some egg salad (replaced half of the mayo with greek yogurt), and some awesome peach frozen yogurt that I made with some home-canned peaches I got as an xmas gift (in the work Secret Santa exchange from Chef Bill Fuller). I love yogurt. I especially love frozen yogurt. And, I especially-especially love having the taste of REAL peaches in the dead of winter.

Here's my uber-simple peach fro-yo recipe. I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker, but here's a great article by David Lebovitz about making frozen treats even if you don't have a machine.

Peach Frozen Yogurt
makes 6 servings

8oz 2% Fage Greek Yogurt
8oz 0% Fage Greek Yogurt
4 peaches (separated)
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Using a food processor or blender, combine the yogurts, 3-3.5 of the peaches, the sugar and the lemon juice. Taste, and adjust sugar and lemon juice as necessary.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. About halfway through the freezing, throw the remaining peach (cut in small chunks) into the mix.

My machine finishes in about 20 minutes, and comes out the consistency of soft serve. If I can wait to dig in, I freeze it for about a half hour to firm it up a little.


Oh, and Number Four is a big one: Plan my meals for the week in advance! I've always just sorta cooked by inspiration, and by digging around in the pantry, but I tend to WAY overbuy groceries and often don't have that one ingredient I'd need for whatever it is. But, again, I don't have to be super rigid in the plan. Things can change. The loose sketch for this week's dinners is:

Monday: Beans & Greens with pasta and a salad
Tuesday: Butternut-Bean veggie burgers
Wednesday: Big Salad
Thursday: Thai Pineapple Curry over jasmine rice
Friday: leftovers or a stir-fry or big salad
Saturday: Wheatberry Salad & Sloppy Janes
Sunday: Veggie Chili and corn bread

I'm trying to think about what ingredients may be used in various meals, as well as planning for lunches to take to work. Another project for this week is that we're going to start washing and prepping all our veggies to have them ready at a moment's notice for salads, stir-fries, etc.

Anyhow, keep on keepin' on, peeps. And again, please share any little words of encouragement or tips you have up your sleeve. It really does help.


ellen said...

I can almost taste that fro-yo, nothing better than the flavor of summer in the dead of winter.

I like your week in advance plan, I want to start doing something similar to that to make sure I eat healthily while I'm training and not just reach for convenience foods all the time.

I think it's awesome that you have re-dedicated yourself, it may be a slow process but the rewards are great. Much love!

Ashley said...

How was the egg salad with the greek yogurt?

I'm trying to think of ways to help Jake diet . . . he's heavier than he's ever been, going through a stressful time in his life right now, and I worry about him. He has heart disease in his family, and I want to help him develop good habits now, without denying him things he loves . . . giving up the foods you love when life is tough enough anyway? Sucks. I'll definitely be following your blog for tips. Keep it up, Ehrrin! You rock my socks.

Ehrrin said...

Hey Ashley--

The egg salad was great! I'd tried making it before with ALL yogurt, and it wasn't good, but doing half was perfect. It had the right consistency, and still the mayo-y goodness flavor. I don't think you'd be able to tell if you didn't know.

I'm definitely trying to work the balance of having things I love, but in a healthier way--like the egg salad thing, or having fro-yo or sorbet instead of ice cream. Also, by making the stuff myself, I have more control over the ingredients.

Alan said...

Man. We are always trying to pick one or two new things out of cookbooks so that we plan our shopping trips around those things, in an effort to not buy stuff that's just going to end up in the compost bin. We still have a ways to go, but we're doing a lot better than we used to.

Karen said...

I've started on a healthy 2009 track myself. If you want to swap recipes, take a walk or hit the pool (in the summer), just give me a call.