Category Archives: Cooking

How Did I Let This Happen . . . AGAIN?!

This time last year I had just finished the Muncie 70.3 Half Ironman, and I weighed 190 pounds.

This time this year, I just finished a 3.3 mile walk that felt like a Half Ironman, and I weigh 240 pounds.

In November of 2011 when I changed my diet to paleo for the first time, I felt so good I swore I’d never stop it. But I did; in fact, I sort of reversed it, making up for all the time I’d lost for eating bread and other things that aren’t so good for me. Then in November of 2013 when I got plantar fasciitis in my left foot, I stopped running. Then in May 2014 when I hurt my knee running at the Mounds, I stopped running again.

In the process I made myself back into a woman who takes an hour to walk 3 miles and who weighs 240 pounds.

Here I am again. Right back where I didn’t want to be. Super fat and not so sassy.

I’m hurt by and angry with and disappointed in no one but myself. What now? I do what I do when I am faced with the consequences of my own bad decisions: I give myself grace.

Here I am today, July 17 at 240 pounds and way out of shape:

Mug Shot Side View

Mug Shot Front View

Here is the route I walked today.

They say that whatever you’re doing, whatever your fitness and diet patterns are, whatever is important for you, and whatever your mind set is on your 40th birthday are all good indicators of how you’ll live out the rest of your life. My 40th birthday is next Tuesday, and I want to live well.

Here’s to a successful recovery. Again.

Minnesota Minute

On July 11, I moved to Newport, Minnesota, famous for railroads, an oil refinery, a red rock, an early Methodist Church, and two parades a year, the Fireman’s parade and the Pioneer Days parade, which stops at the park right next to our new house. I have no job, no money, and no network, so to say I feel a bit lost is an understatement. What I do have is a supportive wife, lots of friends who love me, pets that are happy, an education and some experiences that surely someone will find worthwhile, and a little bat that lives outside the window of my tiny attic writing and art studio. At least, I hope the little bat lives there. She was there yesterday, but there was no sign of her tonight. I hope she comes back.

I spent the first day I was here sleeping all day long, because I was thoroughly exhausted from the drive, the stress of moving, and the joyful three-week-long sendoff my friends back home gave to me. The second day I spent at Starbucks using their free internet connection to fill out an application for a job that I found out has already been filled, and I drove all over picking up applications from places whose applications are not yet online. The third day I spent driving all over (again) to buy groceries, a grill, and other necessary items. Both Bec and I were so tired when we got home, we ate dinner, put in a movie and relaxed.

She fell asleep and missed the first parade of our tenure here at 597 4th Avenue, or The Flop House and Diner Too. I nearly missed the parade, too, the Fireman’s Parade, as it is called, because I thought for sure someone’s house was burning down just down the block. I had wondered for several hours why our neighbors were sitting in chairs outside in their lawn, but then I heard sirens, the sirens of many firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars. This parade was unlike other parades I’ve seen with their slow, ambling caravans of cars, bands, and walking floats. In fact, there was not one part of the parade that was normal. The whole of the procession was moving way too quickly to be considered anything but a group of emergency vehicles driving from point A to point B.

Really, the only bit of it that made me think parade was my neighbor, who my brother says reminds him of a character in Orange is the New Black, and her husband sitting out in their chairs with bags to collect candy. Each time a vehicle that looked like a potential candy dispenser drove past she would wave and cheer and collect her treasures, jumping up and down like a small child. By the end of the thing, they had collected a sizeable bag of cheap candy and grins from ear to ear. The whole picture was pretty amusing. (This same neighbor brought us a bowl full of her delicious organically grown raspberries and blackberries tonight.)

Today seemed more like a normal day, in that we went to hang out with the twins. They used me as a jungle gym for about two hours, we played tornado and rocket jump, both games I made up, and then I spent the rest of the day at Starbucks filling out more applications, while Bec unpacked more stuff, cleaned up the downstairs odds and ends, and hung artwork on the walls. To end the day, I cooked jambalaya for Bec, Ann, and me, and we sat on the porch for a good long time.

This whole moving process is teaching me things about myself and about other people, and I am grateful for the learning experience. My focus is changing from being so inwardly focused to being more outwardly focused. Aside from getting a job, I have only five goals for myself in the next year: (1) quit smoking and drinking so much, (2) eat a healthy primal diet, (3) swim, bike, and run, (4) give myself quiet time to read (both books and the Bible), write, and do art, (5) be gentle with others, bring joy and grace into the world. I have to give my worries away and rely on God and other folks to get me through sometimes, a task that is no small feat for me.

Sunday, Sunday: Full Report, Each First Sunday of the Month

So, here’s an update for My 20 Before 40:

1. Run a marathon. I signed up for the Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon on October 5, so I have 230 days to get myself to be able to run a 6 hour or less marathon. Still working on this, and it’s going better. I’ve run or walked at least one mile every day for 14 days in a row. Woot.
2. Finish the Racine 70.3 on July 21 in under 8 hours. I have signed up for this, and it’s 153 days away. My goal is to finish the 13.1 mile run in under 3 hours. I’m planning to get on the bike this week on Tuesday and Friday.
3. Swim a 500 in 7:30 minutes. This needs some work. I will get back in the pool on Monday, March 17 for two workouts each week, so this is in progress. I’m hoping to make it to Florida to swim at the beach before I move north as well.
4. Do yoga every morning. I’ve been doing balancing exercises, using poses from yoga, because I’ve read that balance can have a lot to do with injuries and plantar fasciitis, as well as just not looking cool when I fall over while standing still sometimes.
5. Do a 30 burpees in 30 days challenge. I am going to start this on the day after Bec moves to MN. I figure it’s a good way to work off anxiety. I’m also adding in, slowly but surely, other body weight exercises, so I can build a bit of muscle to try to burn off some of this fat.
6. Ride a century ride on the bicycle. As soon as the registration is up, I am going to sign up for the Headwaters 100, which rides around the headwaters of the Mississippi, something I’ve wanted to to do for a long time anyway.
7. Meditate for at least 15 minutes each day. I’ve started walking a 1.6 mile loop and then meditating for 15 minutes every day during my 9AM prep period.
8. Eat mindfully and with joy.
9. Try foods that aren’t the usual things I eat. I am eating Greek yogurt for breakfast and trying new ciders and beers.
10. Visit Indiana state parks and Indiana breweries with my brother. This weekend we visited Black Acre brewery with his friend Jenn and Becky. We had sampler flights, and they were pretty tasty.
11. Learn to cook one new thing each month. We’ve had oxtail stew and shark. I was going to try to make haggis, but all the recipes I find require a sheep’s stomach, so I am going to make marrow bones one day instead.
12. Do not drink alcohol and be paleo the 30 days prior to any major sporting event.
13. Read the whole Bible. Working on it.
14. Draw every night before bed. This will become much easier once I cancel the cable and internet.
15. Finish my master’s degree in creative writing. Publish. Yeah. This. Class.
16. Post a blog post every Sunday. I’m posting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Two weeks in a row now!
17. Get a new tattoo. I’m going to do this after Racine 70.3.
18. Lose 60 pounds. I’ve resorted back to the panopticon called My Fitness Pal. Ick.
19. Find a job doing something I love. This may be a pipe dream, but I hope it works out.
20. Read a new book each week. I am slowly making my way through books… Slowly.

What I Ate Wednesday

Well, since I do this honest, tell-all thing, I will say that I started my period today, and I ate like a woman who started her period today. Here’s breakfast. In the cup is a venti coffee (black). In the empty container was Greek yogurt, raw honey, blackberries, gluten-free granola, and coconut flakes. Obviously when I remembered to eat take the picture, I had already enjoyed the delicious, creamy yogurt concoction.

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I ate my lunch in spurts today, but that’s what I do. I had peanut-less mixed nuts (pretend the almonds below are those), some Cadbury mini eggs, a bit of Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark (not pictured) an orange, and a banana. See, like a women on her period. Fat, sassy, and chocolatey.

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Finally, dinner was amazing, if I do say so myself. We had a faculty meeting after school today. I’m growing weary of realigning the curriculum every year, when we really don’t realign the curriculum, but simply report on the curriculum we’re already doing . Today we talked about grammar, which was frustrating to me in light of this article. When I got home, though, I was starving, and my hunger was likely due to the fact that I didn’t make my sandwich for lunch, because I got up late. For dinner I had red cabbage slaw and a burger with provolone, a duck egg, bacon, and carmelized onion.

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To top off the evening, I had the Episcopal Church in pints: a Wee Mac Scotch Ale and a Brownslane English Cider. What a great way to end the day! Whee!

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How do you feel? you may ask. Fat. Bloated. Crampy. I just want my pants to fit again. This time last year, I was a full 30 pounds lighter than I am right now. I chalk it up to stress, since I eat my feelings. And I chalk it up to less exercise, since it’s been so cold. Other than feeling fat, though, I feel fine. Do I feel like an athlete? Not really. Do I feel like I could run a marathon? No. Do I feel like I can get back on track? Yeah, and I feel as if I have, except the Cadbury eggs!

What I Ate Wednesday

Today was a strange day because I didn’t eat my usual healthy dinner with my beautiful wife. I was supposed to attend a short film festival at Ball State with my students in Burris GSA: Prism, but I am still a bit sick and my head was aiming toward migraine, so I went home instead. At any rate, today wasn’t a usual what I ate kind of day.

For breakfast and lunch, I just packed a variety of things in my super-cool lunch bag: photo-38

Today I packed a banana, two oranges, a package of Krave Black Cherry Pork Jerky, and an almond butter and homemade blueberry jelly (those aren’t really peach slices; it’s called reusing) on gluten-free Three Baker’s bread sandwich.

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For dinner, which I was supposed to eat coffee at Bracken in the coffee shop, but I came home instead, I had a lovely gluten-free cheese pizza, a Founder’s Rubaeus Raspberry Ale, an Angry Orchard Original Crisp Apple Hard Cider, and a “Famous Novels First Lines” mug of Sea Salt Carmel Homemade brand ice cream. I’d say this wasn’t the best food day I’ve ever had, but it certainly wasn’t like the time Josh and I ate 50 wings, then Mers and I topped those off with venti green tea Frappuccinos. Ugh. Gut Busted. Anyway, here’s the food.

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And dessert:

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Here’s Josh and I after the wings. I think we look a bit pale:

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I love food, in case you can’t tell, but I know I am supremely blessed both in having food and in having good food. I can cook, and I love it. I can cook, and I have the money to buy quality ingredients. I can cook, and I always enough for friends. I am well aware of the fact that I cook for pleasure and not for survival. Once Bec leaves, I am thinking about reframing my evening cooking as a matter of survival, likely cooking wild rice and sweet potato dishes with some kind of protein, probably chicken. I have some friends who live in Costa Rica and they use a whole chicken for all their main evening meals for the week, repurposing it for different meals and different components of the meal. I figure I can cook the chicken in the crock pot on Sunday and then boil down the carcass for soup for lunches or dinner, using the meat to make rice dishes for the rest of the week. I’ll pair it with broccoli or kale or cabbage, since they’re inexpensive vegetables and go from there. I’m going to try to eat healthy on the cheap. We’ll see. That’d mean much less beer and much less ice cream, because those things are expensive!