Friday, August 17, 2012

Ups and Downs

As the title of this post suggests, it's been a week of ups and downs for me. Monday was an especially tough day mentally. I had a headache all day and I was feeling anxious about the food I planned for the week. I had hoped that switching to a plant based diet would let me ease up on counting calories, but my body is so sensitive to food intake that I don't feel like it's possible right now. I gained some weight after my trip to NY when I wasn't paying as much attention to calories, and I can't let myself ease up on counting right now. I hate when I start to get obsessive about it. I can literally spend an hour on My Fitness Pal trying to get things just right. Unfortunately, the beginning of the week for me was one of those obsessive anxiety filled times. I thought I'd planned a decent menu, but I had trouble making it work.

Monday I had planned to make my own refried beans to put in a quesadilla (instead of cheese) with sauteed fajita style veggies. All day Monday I was worrying about the calories and carbs, and the stress of actually making the meal. I knew somewhere in my brain that things would be fine, and I didn't need to stress so much, but I couldn't stop myself. My headache lasted into my gym time, and it's not fun doing cardio with a headache but I pushed through it and put in just under 30 minutes on the arc trainer with 8 minutes total of sprinting. While I was there I decided to make a salad with the veggies and to saute the pinto beans in with them instead of making refried beans. Actually making a decision was a huge relief but the whole day left me in a funk.

My fajita salad and Carly's quesadilla and side condiments

Tuesday I was experiencing some residual funkiness and anxiety. My work day was atypical and stressful and the last thing I wanted to do was exercise. I had planned to do a Jillian Michaels workout at home, and it was extremely hard to make myself do the workout and do it to the best of my ability. For the first 5 minutes of the workout (Ripped in 30 - Week 4) I kept thinking I might stop, and I was seriously fighting the devil on my shoulder telling me to give up. I don't know exactly what pushed me through, but I was able to finish strong and perform well on the rest of the workout. I know I have an incredible willpower, and I'm thankful for it. Dinner was pad thai that we made using thin spaghetti (broken in half) instead of rice noodles because it's what we had on hand. I based it roughly on this recipe. I used the same sauce ingredients but in smaller quantities (delicious) plus chili paste. We couldn't get baby bok choy so we used napa cabbage instead. I also threw in some broccoli for extra texture and deliciousness and edamame for protein (we used less tofu than the recipe I based this on). I think we'll definitely be adding this to our regular rotation, and I liked it with the thin spaghetti.
Pad Thai

Wednesday I had every intention of going to the gym for cardio after work, but I checked the weather as I was leaving and realized I might not be able to hike today because of thunderstorms so I went to the mountain instead. One I made that decision I felt much better about the workout and the hike really helped improve my mood. When we went to Crowders on Sunday I saw a lot of people hiking the stairs to the top multiple times. I realized that I should probably do this too if I'm intending to use those hikes as cardio. There's approximately 360 steps that lead straight up to the top of the mountain after you've already hiked a mostly vertical path for 3/4 of a mile. They are intense. I usually get to the top in 19-20 minutes, and I was able to get to the top, head down the stairs and back up again in 25 minutes. It was grueling to get through, but I felt amazing after. I don't know how people do it 4 to 5 times in a row though!

Wednesday night's dinner was something I came up with to try to use up some ingredients we've had lingering in our pantry/freezer for awhile. Now that we have a list in our phones of what's in there, I'm more motivated to use them up. I really enjoy crossing things off! I ended up making a quinoa dish with sundried tomatoes and artichokes. It came out incredibly well and I'm definitely making it again! I'll put the recipe below.
Quinoa with sundried tomatoes and artichokes

Thursday was the first day of classes here, and therefore I am now back to my Fall schedule which means I work 12-9 on Thursday. I knew this was coming and I've been planning to make Thursday mornings strength training days at the gym. I was pretty sure the gym would be quieter than after work and I was right. I got a really good workout in and didn't feel rushed for time when I got home. I'm glad that I'll be able to incorporate exercise into my Thursday's. Last semester I typically would try to sleep in later and spend the morning relaxing, but I know I'll have more energy in the evening if I start my day with a good workout. Although my food/exercise mood improved drastically, I've had a tough week at work and last night was especially crazy. I'm looking forward to getting home tonight after work and the gym and enjoying my time away from work. I'm trying to convince Carly to take a day trip to Blowing Rock & Boone tomorrow but we haven't had much time to talk to each other the last few days so I'm not sure what we'll end up doing. I do know that I'm not doing any intense exercise tomorrow...it'll be 7 days in a row when I'm done today and I need a day off!

Quinoa with sundried tomatoes and artichokes
serves 3

1 cup quinoa, soaked & rinsed, cooked according to package directions
1 box frozen artichoke hearts defrosted (or 1 can, that's what we had), chopped
20-30 sundried tomatoes, soaked to rehydrate and chopped (try to get the kind not packed in oil)
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 big handful of baby spinach
Spices (salt, pepper, aleppo chili flakes, garlic powder)
1/2 C soy milk
1/4 C vegan parmesan cheese

Cook quinoa separately. While quinoa is cooking, prep your veggies. Saute the onion in a large frying pan for a few minutes first in oil of your choice or using water to cut out fat.

When the onions have softened slightly, add the zucchini and broccoli and saute for a few more minutes. Add spices, artichokes, spinach and tomatoes. Saute until everything is heated through and combined.

Add the quinoa to the veggie mixture. Stir in the soy milk and vegan parm (or regular milk and parm if you're not vegan!). Stir to combine and let the mixture cook on low heat for 5-7 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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