Bikram

Centered

Hiya! DC is sooo dreary and rainy and cold today – its so hard to want to be at work right now instead of curled up in my bed under the covers… But that’s why they call it work right?

Anyways, this weekend I felt very successful at getting back on track and woke up today feeling (relatively) good. After a 10 day hiatus from working out, on Saturday I went on an 11 mile bike ride and then did Bikram later in the afternoon. The last time I took a Bikram class was August 20th (!!) so it felt SO good to be back in the hot room sweating it out. I love that Bikram really challenges me both physically and mentally and forces me to get out of my comfort zone. I walked out of the class literally glowing (not just from the sweat) and felt like I had just pressed “reset” on healthy living. It always leaves me feeling so centered and calm, and Saturday night I just stayed in and cooked and laid low, and it felt so good to just relax (and not drink).

Yesterday I checked out a new church called Grace. I was raised Protestant and used to go to church often as a child, but then as I got older church started becoming less and less frequent. When I moved away from home, church became even less a part of my life, and I would only go very occasionally on holidays when it worked out. A few Easters ago, I went to my sister Wendy’s church and it made me see church in a whole new light. She goes to a progressive Christianity church where people wear jeans and its a very casual service with tambourines and dancing during the songs. I never even knew that a church like this existed, so I sort of renewed my interest. In the last few months, I’d been wanting to try to find a church like that in DC, when I got a piece of mail that said “Hate Church?” on the front and I turned the card over and it was for Grace Church, “A church for people who don’t go to church.”

It spoke to me a lot and I had been looking forward to going yesterday for a few weeks, since I was away the two Sundays before yesterday. And let me tell you, the service did not disappoint! It was a very laid back service and the pastor was hysterical. He was talking about his own coming to terms with religion and said that God works slowly, and is “more like a crockpot than a microwave”! Everyone laughed out loud, and there were several other funny moments during the sermon. Also, they showed a clip from Seinfeld (the one where Elaine is dating a religious guy and he tells her she’s going to Hell). The whole service was just very uplifting, and the message was about being kind and not judgmental towards others. There was even a 5 piece band and they played contemporary Christian rock rather than traditional hymns.

Anyways, I don’t usually talk about religion on here at all, but lately I’ve been feeling a need for something more in my life, especially in light of what is going on with my nephews. They are doing alright right now, but Harper has to have heart surgery today. They both are feisty and fighters, but really need positive thoughts and prayers, so please keep ’em coming.

After yesterday’s service with the mention of crockpot, I decided to pull mine out and made a delicious, hearty, bean and veggie stew. It cooked for 6 hours and turned out sooo good. It was so nice to have a hot, filling soup on such a cold, drizzly day.

I also went out for my first run since my half marathon and it felt REALLY good. I wasn’t quite sure how far I wanted to go, but once I set out and the weather was feeling cool and perfect for running, I decided to do 5 miles. I regretted that just a bit when it started drizzling on my way back and was in a full blown rain by the time I made it home, but I was so happy that I had such a great run after a 2 week hiatus. Here are the stats:

Distance: 5.o miles

Duration: 48:06

Avg. Pace: 9:37 (!)

Calories: 604

The miles ranged from 9:17 – 9:46, but I was VERY proud of finishing the 5 miles in that time. I have wanted to finish a 10k in under an hour for a while now, and I have one coming up on Sunday. The last 10k I ran I had that goal, and I finished in 60:01. I kid you not. Two seconds over my goal. Anyways, I would love to reach that goal on Sunday, but won’t beat myself up if I don’t.

I forgot my cord to connect my camera to my computer to upload pics, but I’ll be back tonight to share my Confetti Bean Stew recipe and show you my first interaction with canned pumpkin this season!

1.) What was the best part of your weekend?

2.) Are you a religious/spiritual person? How is where you are now different from how you were raised?

Open Face Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Chip Sammie

Hello Thursday! Thank you all for your comments on the post about Fat Girl Mentality. If you haven’t chimed in on it yet, I’d love to hear from you because I’m very curious to continue to hear others’ opinions on the matter. A friend of mine, Amber, just left a comment that really struck a cord.

She said, “I think whether your fat or thin, women in our culture are constantly self-conscious about SOMETHING as we strive for perfection. Overcoming “fat girl mentality” is an example of how you transcended from judging yourself, set some goals (impressive ones at that) and strived to achieve them, which gave you the confidence to accept yourself. A healthy woman is a beautiful woman – and we should all remember to embrace ourselves (and stop judging, ourselves and others) and maybe the paranoia about others judging us will subside too!”

I think it’s so true that women are so quick to judge themselves, its no wonder they feel that they are judged by others. Whether you’ve ever been the fat girl or not, I think its a sentiment that all of us can relate to on some level.

Anywho, last night I ended up going to Bikram after work… my second double workout of the week! That means I got 6 workouts in the past week, which is more than I’ve gotten in for a while. Not gonna lie, Bikram was pretty brutal last night with the humidity. For a second there I thought I might have to leave the room, but I just sat down through a few of the postures. More people left the room than any class I’ve ever been in because of the humidity, but somehow I made it through.

I had a frozen smoothie waiting for me at home which really is the best post-workout snack/meal there is.

In the mix:

  • 1 medium banana, frozen (1.5 pts)
  • 1 cup light soy milk (1 pt)
  • 1 cup frozen peaches (1 pt)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (2 pts)
  • 2 tbsp HempPlus Granola (.5 pts)

I also had another banana (can’t get enough lately!) and then this Bora Bora bar:

That pictures cracks me up. It looks like an infomercial or something. But the bar itself was delicious (3 points)! It’s a raw bar and basically has dates, nuts, brown sugar and just a handful of other ingredients. It was really tasty, and definitely a bar I’d buy again if I find them on sale (they were $1 each at Whole Foods!).

This morning I got to pick up my CSA and it was a very fruity week!

  • Green Beans
  • Tomato
  • Summer Squash
  • Huge bag of peaches (9)
  • Huge bag of donut peaches
  • Melon

I love getting so much fruit in the baskets!! Makes me very happy. After I brought that home, I made a breakfast that was realllly delicious and felt so indulgent, but really wasn’t!

I’ve seen Grilled Banana PB Sandwiches all over the blog world or some variation thereof. They normally have a few too many points/calories for me while I’m still trying to lose a few more pounds, so I made a low point version today that was AMAZING. I was drooling a little while looking over the pictures.

Open Face Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Chip Sammie

Ingredients

  • Slice Whole Wheat Bread (1 pt)
  • 1/2 large banana (1 pt)
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (1 pt)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (2 pts)

Directions:

  • Toast slice of bread, and while that is happening…
  • Slice Banana and brown it in a pan

  • Add banana to the bread and top with peanut butter and chocolate chips
  • Put in microwave for 20 seconds to melt the chocolate chips a bit

Oh.my.gosh. This seriously felt SO indulgent and was amazing to eat. It would make such a great dessert, breakfast, or snack any time you want something filling and sweet. If you wanted to make it even lower points/calories, you could use light bread, and better n peanut butter or just 1 tsp of peanut butter, but this was just perfect for me. Try it!!

Do you eat energy/protein bars often? I really only eat them when I’m on the go, and bring them with me to have after Bikram or after a bike ride or run if I won’t have time to prepare a whole meal, though they never really fill me up. I try to use them only as a snack or to hold me over until I can have a full meal because for me they are not enough!

Technical Difficulties

Hiya! Sorry I disappeared yet again, but I’m having some major technological difficulties. When I was in Oklahoma City (first week in June) my laptop charger broke and then I bought a new one a few weeks ago but it doesn’t work unless I put it at a really strange angle and lay my computer on the floor pushing it in further (I’m pretty sure it’s not an ideal fit). That said, I haven’t had a computer at home, and then we went to visit the boyfriend’s mom on Sunday/Monday (used comp time from OKC to take the day off!) so I got back to the office yesterday. But then, I went to update you all on what was going on in my life and I realized that I left the cord at home to connect my camera to my computer!

Instead of boring you with the details of my every day for the last 5 days, I’ll just fill you in on a few highlights.

Workouts

1.) African Dance Class – SO fun! It was kind of ridiculous because the instructor could ways in move my body wouldn’t even dream of, but I literally had a smile on my face for the whole class. Some of the women in it (there was one guy) were really amazing dancers, and some, like me, haven’t yet found their rhythm (will I ever?), so there was a mix of different levels. I definitely broke a sweat and danced a lot for almost an hour and a half! If I was a better dancer I’d probably make it a semi-regular thing because it was fun, but I’m not sure how much I’ll actually go back.

2.) Bikram – I had an awesome Bikram class on Saturday! I hadn’t been in a few days and I was just really feeling it. For the first time ever, I was able to get my toes behind my calf in Eagle Pose!! It was such an exciting moment when I actually saw my toes poking through! Sometimes when I go I have  really good class and it just “clicks” but sometimes I struggle my way through. Saturday’s class was awesome.

Eats

I had breakfast with one of my best friends on Saturday morning who was visiting from NYC. I’m so sad I didn’t get a picture with her, but I did take a picture of my delicious breakfast.

Eggs Florentine, which is basically Eggs Benedict, but with spinach instead of ham. Eggs Benedict was always one of my all time favorites before I got healthy, but I figured out how to enjoy it but still stay on track – just order it without the hollandaise! Because the eggs and poached and the yolks runny, when they break and ooze all over your plate, it makes the perfect sauce, so you don’t even miss it!

I also had an awesome breakfast bowl yesterday, nothing special, just delicious and filling.

1 cup blueberries (1 pt), 3/4 cup puffins (1 pt), 1/4 cup rolled oats (1 pt), 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s FF cottage cheese (1 pt). It was a great meal to get back on track after the night away on Sunday because I always have trouble staying on track when traveling, which I don’t think makes me unique. I wasn’t THAT bad, I just wasn’t measuring or counting points, but we did go to Olive Garden for dinner Sunday night. I looked up the menu beforehand to figure out what I should get, and I found out that the Mussels di Napioli only have 180 calories and 8 grams of fat (4 pts), so I ordered that (which is an app) plus the Minestrone Soup (1 pt), and had 2 breadsticks (6 pts) and some salad (1 pt) because I got it without the dressing. Monday we ate breakfast at the hotel buffet and I ate too much even though it was pretty gross. We ended up going to Mexican on the way home for dinner and I ordered a light entree but ate way too many chips and salsa, story of my life at a Mexican restaurant.

The weekend itself, splurging aside, was realllllly fun. Saturday I had that delicious breakfast with my friend, spent a few hours at the pool, and then went to Bikram in late afternoon. It felt so good to just relax and actually enjoy my Saturday rather than traveling. Sunday we left pretty early to get my oil changed and then get on the road, arriving at Wil’s mom’s house around 2. We brought some food over to throw together sandwiches for lunch and just sat around chatting. It was very low-key, but very nice to relax and just sit around. Olive Garden was that night, and then we met one of Wil’s childhood friends for a few drinks at a bar near our hotel. I stuck to vodka sodas (had 2) and then got to bed pretty early. Monday we had breakfast at the hotel and then went back over his mom’s house for a few hours before hitting the road to get back to DC. Yesterday was INSANE at work since I had been out on Monday, so the day flew by. Today I feel like I’m finally getting back into the swing of things.

I’ll be back in a bit to show you today’s eats and get back to my regular program!

I know it’s long gone, but what was the highlight of YOUR weekend? Or, anything fabulous to look forward to for the 4th?

Frozen Smoothie

Hello! Today has been a really good day, but far too fast if you ask me. I ended up wandering through the Farmer’s Market by my apartment after work, and before I even got to the market, I spotted this truck:

A frozen yogurt truck! I knew I needed a snack because my stomach was grumbling, so this was an exciting discovery. I just ended up getting plain tart fro yo, and I actually ordered it in a cone but they were out and gave it to me in a cup instead.

The cone (with no toppings) was $2, and the small (with 3 toppings) was $5, and I”m cheap. So, plain it was. “Twas delicious though, and perfect for the hot, hot weather today. I made my way through the farmer’s market and am noticing such a change now because great stuff is coming out of the farms! There’s tons of fruit, greens, squash, beets, etc., and way more than there has been earlier this season. I ended up just getting  a little bit because I have the farm share coming on Thursday, but I picked up a few things that I knew wouldn’t be in there.

2 pink lady apples, baby cucumbers, cherries, cilantro, and goat cheese. I got all this stuff $17, the biggest splurge being the goat cheese which was $7, but I sampled some and it is SO good.

After my farmer’s market adventure, I decided to go to Bikram! I already worked out this morning, but it was just a quick run, and I haven’t been to Bikram in over a week, so I decided to just do it. It felt awesome. I’ve said this before, but for some reason, when I take some time off from Bikram, my first class back is always the best. I really enjoyed it and got deep into a lot of the postures, and held a few of them the whole time for the first time, which was very exciting for me.

Before I went to Bikram, I made myself a smoothie with:

  • 1 cup light soy milk (1 pt)
  • 1 large frozen banana (2 pts)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (.5 pts)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (.5 pts)
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (1 pt)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (.5 pts)

I poured it into a bowl:

I actually threw it in the freezer for 2.5 hours while I went to Bikram. I’d seen frozen smoothies on a few other blogs and wanted to see what it was all about. Here it is out of the freezer.

I couldn’t resist poking my finger in it immediately when I pulled it out of the freezer… thus the indent in there. Freezing it was such a great idea!! It made it take a lot longer to eat, and it was more slushy like and almost like a bowl of ice cream. It was SO satisfying and the perfect treat for after Bikram.

I am off to catch up on Treme from Sunday night (the New Orleans show on HBO!) Does anyone watch it? Awesome show!

It’s OK to Cheat (Sometimes)

Hey! Whew this day has flown by even though I got out of work early. I ended up making the 5:30pm Bikram class and it was amazing. I think after taking a few days/over a week off, my body craves it and I have such a good time. At first I thought my body would be angry for taking the time off/in shock from the heat, but as soon as I got in the room I was just happy. I found myself actually looking forward to some of the postures and surprised when the standing series was over. I go back and forth with that – sometimes I can’t believe it’s over, and sometimes I can’t believe it’s not time to lie down yet!

After Bikram, I headed to the grocery store for a much needed trip. I got a bunch of produce and some other random things so I can make it through the week making all my meals. I had gotten out of cooking for a bit leading up to my trip and I have been missing it! When I got home from the store, it was already after 8 and my boyfriend actually beat me home so we just decided to whip up something quick. I bought a pound of deveined shrimp, so we boiled them with some white wine, water, blackening seasoning and some bay leaves.

 Then I whipped up a salad with spinach, shredded carrots, roasted red peppers, and garlic sprouts.

And we pan fried some polenta with a little romano cheese for a starch with the meal.

This meal was delicious and SO easy. It’s OK to cheat sometimes… For one, we used bottled dressing (which we never do).

And the polenta was in a tube so we just had to cut it up and pan fry it. Plus, the shrimp were Easy Peel, so they were already deveined so all we had to do was cook them. We usually do most things from scratch but sometimes its nice to just have to take a few minutes to heat things up rather than take the time to do it all – – especially when you’re famished from Bikram!

I’m off to watch a little TV and get to bed early. Be back in the morning!

What’s your favorite cooking shortcut? I looooove canned beans and use them almost exclusively. It cuts hours of soaking and boiling the dried kind, even though I know those are better for me because they don’t add as much salt/preservatives.

Gorgeous

Today is amazing outside!! Oh my gosh. It is almost 90 degrees but dry, sunny, and amazing. Take a look at the view from my balcony. First, our pool:

And next, Reagan airport and the Potomac:

Ahh I can’t wait to get out there to enjoy this weather!

Today started with a 9am Bikram class that felt SO good. I really think the 2x a week idea is perfect for me. I woke up at 8am and went right away without eating, because they tell you not to eat right before you go and I wasn’t about to wake up too much before 8am on a Sunday! 🙂 I did drink a big glass of water before I went and then drank 2 bottles of ice water during the class. I had a new instructor today and he was amazing. He explained a few of the postures and did demonstrations of one’s I’ve never had broken down before so I got some awesome pointers from him. It was a great way to start the day and left me feeling cleansed, energized, and HUNGRY.

I got home and immediately ate a piece of toast with some Crofter’s Europe.

Then the boyfriend made us breakfast while I took a shower and cleaned up a little bit. There was an awesome ingredient today that I’ve never heard of before – Garlic Sprouts. Here is what they look like:

Garlic sprouts, also known as green garlic, spring garlic, young garlic, and baby garlic is immature garlic that hasn’t yet developed the garlic bulb that we typically think of when picturing garlic. They are about the thickness of green beans, but a lot longer and curly, as you can see. They are crisp and very similar to texture to green beans, but have a very potent garlic taste. I saw them at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday and had never seen them before, so I picked up a bag of them after having a taste. Just a tiny little bite BURSTS with garlic flavor, so these are definitely not for people who don’t love love love garlic like I do!

To use these today, we just chopped up a few since they’re so strong and added them to the white potatoes (also from the Farmer’s Market) to make a hash. I requested an egg white omelet (he had regular eggs) and we used corn (cut off the cob, not frozen for once), green onion, and a little more of the garlic sprouts for filling in the omelets, plus he had provolone but I did mine cheese-free.

Garnished with some of the veggie filling and some microgreens. He also had some toast but since I had the bread right after Bikram, I didn’t have more. I added some Sriracha to my omelet.

I also sliced up an apple that was meant for sharing, but I ended up eating it all.

An awesome meal and start to the day! I haven’t had an omelet in ages even though I eat eggs a lot, and this one was delicious.

We are having a Memorial Day gathering tomorrow (I’d say party but there aren’t too many people coming…) so we have to do some errands today to get ready as well as clean up the apartment. Hopefully I’ll still be able to soak up some sun and get everything done.

Have you ever tried garlic sprouts? What is the most unique ingredient you’ve ever found and cooked with? Or do you shy away from that stuff and just stick to what you know?

Yoga Pose May

Good morning and happy Friday! I am SO excited for the 3 day weekend that lies ahead, even though I have no concrete plans.

Tina and Kate are hosting a blog-wide challenge called Yoga Pose May where each day a few bloggers feature a different pose, and today is my day! The idea behind it is that readers of all different blogs may be inspired to give yoga a try.

Now let me start with this… I have only very recently started doing yoga. Before the last few months, I only was running or working out in the gym with the stationary bike, elliptical, and weights. While this helped me to lose most of my weight, I really wanted to start trying new things. I consider myself to be one of the least flexible people I know and was sooooo hesistant to try yoga, I can’t even explain it. I started doing some On Demand videos on ExerciseTV of different beginners yoga because I wanted to figure some things out on my own before venturing to a studio. Then, after a few weeks of doing random videos, I decided to give Bikram a try. You can read about my first experience here. That was April 28th – one month ago yesterday! (Thank you blog for helping me know that) Since then, I’ve become sort of obsessed with it and love going to Bikram and seeing myself get better at the postures each time I go. It’s small victories like being able to hold the Bow posture for the whole 40 seconds yesterday (first time I could do that!) that makes me want to go back for more.

Moving along, my pose for today is Eagle Pose, which I think is one of the more challenging poses to get right. There are several different varieties of this pose depending on which practice of yoga you are doing, but I walked through the Bikram way because that’s all I know! I had my friend Amber from last night do it along side me so you could see the difference between someone who has been practicing for 10 years (AMBER) and someone who’s been practicing for one month (guess who).

Step One is to cross your right arm under your left arm.

If that’s enough, you can stay there.

Step two is to have your palms facing each other while keeping your elbows crossed.

We interlocked our fingers because its easier to hold that way, but eventually you want your palms to line up against each other exactly, and have the tips of your fingers below your nose.

Step three is to keep your arms like this, and bend at the knees.

Step Four is to bring the same leg as the bottom elbow go over the opposite leg. So, when you have your left elbow under your right elbow, you want to move your left leg over your right leg. When you reverse the posture and have your right elbow under your left elbow, you want your right leg over your left. Make sense?

It’s kind of hard to see, but my left foot (I’m on the right) is right next to my calf, but you really want to move your toes around your calf so they’re peeking out the other side. Ambers toes are much more behind her calf and if the picture was at a better angle you’d probably see her toes peeking out. The important thing is to point your toes/leg in the direction you want it to go. Each time you practice, your leg/foot will move a little deeper into the posture and with consistent practice, you’ll eventually get completely into the posture. I’ll definitely post a follow up shot once/if my body has changed enough that I can do this posture fully and my toes are peeking out, too! PS: Check out the gorgeous scenery in the background! We took these photos last night at our picnic while the sun was setting. 🙂

So, bottom line, give yoga a try!! There are sooo many different types of yoga, so it’s good to experiment with different practices so you can find one that’s right for you. Many studios offer intro specials where your first class or week is free, or offer discounted intro weeks. Sample out different studios so you can find one that’s a good fit with your body and your fitness goals! The thing that really convinced me to take on yoga was that there are three pilars of fitness: cardio (which I’m in great shape with), Strength (Decent but needs work) and Flexibility (needs a lot of work). It’s also an awesome change of pace from our busy everyday lives, especially for someone like me who can be a little spastic at times… 😉

Now, onto breakfast! Nothing new, but I just love eating these Vegan Overnight Oats.

Into the mix:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 sliced banana, on top

So good but not terribly exciting, I know. 🙂

What is your favorite type of yoga practice? If you’ve not yet tried yoga, which kind would you be interested in trying? What’s your favorite pose/posture if you have one? I like Bikram but only because that’s the only practice I’ve tried. I plan to venture out a little bit once my package is up that I just purchased at my Bikram studio. My favorite posture in Bikram is the Bow Pose but I’m still working on it, and my favorite non Bikram pose is downward dog, because it just feels so good to stretch out!

Busy Day!

Hi! Today has been really busy, but pretty fun too. At 5, my coworker (and friend) Kelly and I did a trip to the grocery store to stock up on some breakfast foods for tomorrow. We are both on our company social committee so we plan monthly gatherings for the staff, and this month instead of happy hour, we are doing an office breakfast. It’s scheduled for tomorrow and we’re getting it half catered, and half cooking in the office on griddles and George Formans. Kelly and I picked up a bunch of eggs, breakfast meat, OJ, and some other random breakfast items that you’ll get to see tomorrow. Should be fun and I’m pretty excited that I don’t have to think about packing breakfast tomorrow, too!

After our grocery trip, I went to a Bikram class at my favorite studio in Alexandria, VA. The studio has a great deal where you can purchase a 12 class package for $125, so just slightly above $10 per class. This is such a great deal considering most places are $15-20 per class for a drop in, so I took the plunge and bought the 12 package class tonight. For me this is the best type of package because I’ve decided I want to practice Bikram 2ish times a week and not more because thats just what works best for my body right now. Tonight’s class was awesome! I felt so good during the class and held some of the postures for the full time that I hadn’t been able to hold before! It’s so cool to see myself change and be able to handle more and more each class.

After I got home from Bikram, the boyfriend and I ordered Chinese food delivery. We’ve been really bad about cooking this week and have gone out to way more meals than normal. That said, the Chinese food was good tonight and it was nice having it here to eat when I got home from class. I started with a cup of egg drop soup:

And then had Mooshi Vegetable for my main dish, which is a lot of shredded veggies with eggs and it comes with pancakes and hoisin sauce.

I had two of these and they were really good, but the veggies were super saucy and pretty salty so now my mouth feels a little weird. While I was eating them though they were quite tasty. 🙂

I’m off to catch up on the Biggest Loser finale from last night even though I found out the winner today because I couldn’t stay away from it on Facebook/Twitter. For those of you who watch it, what do you think about the outcome? I’ll give my full opinion tomorrow once I actually see the whole episode!