RVing and Running

Day 3 and finally I have an internet connection again. It was the first long haul trip in Bertha, our RV, and except for a wrong turn down windy mountain rounds in PA, it's been great.

Pulled into Black Moshannon Campground late and missed my window for a run. But, the next morning I got in a trail run along the lake and through the woods. I got a nice tour of the park and some ideas for the day. The park is beautiful. If I had more time I'd hike the Allegheny Trail. For a family get away, there are cottages, boats to rent, and pavilion areas for gatherings.

We hiked the ski slope trail that was supposed to be the most difficult and tallest point, but was really more like my runs through Hopkinton. I think Mid Westerners might get scared of New England trails. I was all about this 3 mile loop for my morning run but I woke to rain. So, we pulled out after only a couple nights and headed into Ohio.

The ride to Alum Creek in Delaware Oh was pretty easy. We got in late afternoon and my legs were itching for a run. I got lucky that the Mid West summer heat and humidity today was missing. As soon as we were hooked up with slides out I had my running gear on and was out the door.

I checked with the desk ahead at checking about running trails and they showed me a small trail outside the campground. A couple of the women said I wouldn't like it back there, too rocky. But that was exactly what I wanted. They thought I was crazy when I said I like dirt over pavement. Oh well. Anyway, couldn't find trails and did keep to pavement and through the nearby state campground. Not the most scenic, but at 3.5 miles, I hauled (for me) at 10:30 min/mile. It took my runner legs edge off and with a jump in the pool and a glass of wine, my day is complete!

Did I Say I Hate Kale?

Never say never. Never say hate. It’s what I learned growing up and as an adult I became arrogant enough to think I could be so definitive in my position. Such is the moment that I ate crow – I mean kale.

Heading out tonight to do some last minute shopping for our RV vacation and the hangries came on. Lo and behold, Wegman’s was right across the shopping plaza with their seemingly endless buffet of goodies. I could be really bad and throw healthy living to the wind by loading up on the mac and cheese or Asian bar. Instead I sought out the vegetarian options.

kale-and-quinoa-patties-everydaydishes_com-HSitting in front of me were these cute little cakes. The sign above said Quinoa and Kale Cakes, 150 calories. At first I moved past them to inspect my other options as the word kale just brought me to bitter, muddy, indigestible memories of my attempts to eat kale. I mean, putting it in a green apple smoothie didn’t even help. But, options at the food heaven were crowding out my choices and I turned back to those cakes and bravely placed one in my clam container. The reasoning, great protein source and packed with vitamins and antioxidants.

Here’s the thing, it was delicious. Flavorful, creamy, great texture from the quinoa and perfect with some Asian vegetables and gyoza. The perfect substitute for rice or noodles, and yet it didn’t feel like a substitute.

I didn’t taste the kale. Or, maybe I did. But, the fact is, I ate the kale and I liked it.

So, I found the recipe for Wegman’s Quinoa and Kale Cakes. I also found another from Everyday Dishes. Check them out. So yummy.

Chubby Girl Tackles Dieting in an RV

Dieting is such a dirty word to me right now, but it seems like the only way to describe the day in and day out effort of losing weight and getting healthy even when traveling. Vacation season is upon us and our summer is a combination of mini RV weekend getaways and a big 2-week road-trip starting on Saturday. So, while I talk a lot about getting and staying healthy while on the road for work, I haven’t quite gotten around to the other part of living on the road.

First, living on the road. We have our RV, Bertha. She is named as such due to her big rear. Just about every weekend we pack her up and head to the beach or mountains. bertha.jpgIt’s our summer cottage on wheels. We can stay at a state campground right on a state beach (Salisbury or Scusset in MA), or head up north to the White Mountains and stay at Echo Lake in Franconia NH. On Saturday we will be trekking down to Ashville, NC and stopping along the way at state and national parks in PA, OH and KY for hiking, kayaking, and seeing the caves. A little bypass from nature to the city (Columbus) should bring biking and a beer crawl. Have you seen how many breweries are in Columbus? Then we’ll head back up and stay at a resort in VA before making it home.

Anyway, for the most part, having a built in kitchen is perfect for me. I control my meals. However, there are times when I want a vacation too and being the full-time chef is not on my list of an awesome vacation. This weekend was the great saboteur. A rainy cold day on Saturday down on the cape meant we needed to get out of the spacious, but still tight RV quarters. We headed to Fisherman’s View in Sandwich. My downfall? The manager let us order off menu to let us have a Fisherman’s Platter. It was filled with fried fish, shrimp, scallops, clams and oysters. Not to mention the fries. Even splitting this massive plate, I couldn’t even begin to figure out how many calories I ate. Add to this the Fisherman’s View Summer Ale and life couldn’t have been better.  The guilt afterward was crushing.

How did I handle this lapse of judgement and debauchery? I made sure I ran every morning and toned it down the day before and day after with clean eating. Results? I was down a 1 1/2 this week. I’m officially in the teens now!

But, I feel lucky. That was a single day. It was also right after a horrible 3 week plateau where I seriously considered calling it a draw with my body and going into maintenance mode. I’m still cringing at how I wolfed down that amazing seafood. But, let’s be clear, I regret the act. I absolutely enjoyed every bite! Too much!

It’s the road trip where things are going to get interesting. Yes, I can cook. But, there are a number days where we have 6-7 hours of driving. That is a lot of sitting. I also haven’t a clue how I will get my runs in. I’m leaning on, and looking forward to, getting out on the local trails, but I’m also nervous that I don’t know the area and a little girl out in the woods by herself could run into a big bad wolf. I’m not a big pond and lake swimmer. I like clear water and clean beach. Some places we stay have pools, but I’ve typically found RV campgrounds (even the cushiest) have highly chlorinated pools that kill my eyes (too much peeing going on in those pools).

So, this week I’m building my plan to offset the days when we do go out and have some local grub and watch our butts spread across the RV seat. Not sure how this will work, but I’ll report during and after the trip. I’m hoping I can pull off at least a pound if not two over the next two weeks. We’ll see. Wish me luck.

Need My Veggie Hash

I’m not sure why we don’t see more hash recipes out there. I don’t mean the corn beef and potato hash from your childhood breakfast. Or, even that hash always has to have potato in it. I’m talking about the throw the kitchen sink of vegetables into a hash and chow down.

My biggest problem with vegetables growing up was that they were always overcooked to the point of mush and bitterness. The ultimate was when Mom would put a can of asparagus in a dinner serving dish and call that vegetables. In all honesty, the only time I bought canned asparagus was to make kitten food which seems like the only thing canned asparagus is good for. You can’t get any grosser than that.

How I learned to love vegetables (not kale, don’t love, never will), is to cook them only as long as you have to. Keep them a bit crunchy. They keep their color, flavor, and fill you up better. So, my new food obsession is the veggie hash.

Veggie hash is basically any mix of chopped and/or riced vegetables with a chopped up veggie burger or other protein thrown in. Think:

  • Riced cauliflower, riced sweet potato, riced broccoli, corn, chopped tomato and chopped mushrooms  with chopped veggie burger mixed in.
  • Chopped beets, corn, black beans, celery, tomato, avocado and chopped egg (or fried egg on top).
  • Chopped grilled eggplant, chopped olives, chopped zucchini, chopped red onion, chopped tomato, toasted pine nuts and lean ground turkey. Sprinkle with parmesan if you like.

It’s kind of a warm twist on the boring salad. It can be completely vegan, vegetarian or the lighter side of carnivore. The best part is that this kitchen sink approach let’s you use up those leftovers. Got left over grilled veggies? Chop up and throw in. Got left over corn on the cob? Scrape down and throw in. That left over burger? Its hash tonight. And yes, those left over potatoes can be added in to.

Seasonings I tend to do simple salt/pepper/garlic (SPG), soy sauce, pesto, or some random sauce in the fridge. I can even throw in some fresh herbs like cilantro and mint for a little kick.

Anyway, for meals under 300 calories that fill you up, are healthy and tasty, can’t beat a veggie hash.

The last 10 pounds

weight scale measuring tapeMy goal was to get to 110 pounds. I have 10 pounds to go. The question is, why are these 10 pounds so important?

I love my body now. I love what I can do. I love my new clothes. I feel so good! So, are these “last 10” vanity pounds, an insurance policy against bad weeks and holidays, or are they necessary?

I’m struggling with this. Tom says I look great and doesn’t think I need to stay on my restrictions so religiously. His point is that it is time to make the transition to what typical would look like. The challenge I have is that I really blew it for the 5 days surrounding my birthday and grew 2 pounds (the scale told me this morning that a few days of back to the program pulled those birthday pounds off – win!). Now, really blowing it is that instead of my 1150 calories per day, I was in the 1300 – 1500 range. I didn’t change my exercise routine. This scares me, I could balloon back with just 150 calories more per day.  On the other hand, within 5 days, that little jump on the scale was in the past.

110 goal weight was not arbitrary. If you look at the ideal weight calculator for optimal weight at my age, height and bone structure it is about 108. I could be as low as 93 (say hello to me at 17 when everyone thought I was anorexic even as I ate whole boxes of Kraft Mac n Cheese, Hogies and broccoli covered in so much cheddar cheese sauce I never tasted the broccoli) and as high as 123 (last month). I liked how I looked at 115 and at first this is where I targeted for the end goal. But, to have 5 pounds as insurance seemed a good policy and ultimately put me in the range of those expert calculators.

Well, we all know my obsession with numbers and data. That 110 number is just out there and rationalized against science. But, our bodies don’t always fit science. Look at BMI. It’s being debunked constantly. And, how much muscle do I have? That weighs more than fat. It must, I’m in clothes I wore when I was at 105 pounds and I’m 15 pounds heavier. How is that? It has to be the shape of my body more than the weight.

You can see where I’m going with this. Do I focus on how I feel and fit in my clothes? Or, stay focused on the scale? Every fitness, health and diet site/blog/program says at some point its not about the scale. I’m feeling like I’m kind of at that point. Can I give up on the number?

Maybe if I’m asking and fretting this too much I’m not ready. It’s too soon and right now the scale is my honesty buddy. Until I can hold my results or tick down slowly toward my goal (1/2 pound per week vs. 1 – 1/2 pounds per week) this is not even something to entertain.

Decisions, decisions.

Chubby Girl Makes Progress

Sunday was my birthday. This chubby girl is getting old – 48. Leading up to the big day I really wasn’t thinking about getting older or thinking about my birthday at all. It was on Friday when Tom asked me what I wanted to do this weekend and my daughter was trying to get my new sizes that it really dawned on me. I’m turning 48!

Getting healthy and fit has been consuming. Almost OCD. For the last 10 years all I had thought about was how to get back to good health and lose the weight. Everything was about, don’t let me be fat after forty, then it was don’t let me be fat each year after that. When I hit 45 and was verging on 46 I have to say, I resigned to my fate and I gave up and ballooned to almost 170. So now, in the past 7 months, I was in overdrive trying to reach my goal and haven’t really looked up.

What I realized this weekend was how far I have come. I am not thinking about myself in a negative light as the ‘fat girl’ (chubby girl is a cute way to describe what I was). I am no longer thinking of myself as Jabba the Hut who is mostly confined to a single place out of shear size (I have a picture I call my Jabba picture but Tom’s hidden it from me now). So when I had to think about what it was that I wanted to do to celebrate a year older, I felt like I was already celebrating. In fact, my celebration was to do two things I absolutely love – go for a run and hit the beach. I did both.

Ultimately, my family got me thinking about my journey to date. I can measure progress is so many ways and each gives me something to be thankful for and motivated to keep up my lifestyle. I had a great birthday, and it was one present I finally gave to myself.

  1. Running – daily runs of 3 to 5 miles. Shrunk my time from 12.5 min/mile to 10.5 min/mile. Ran my first 5k in 8 years two weeks ago. One year ago I could barely go for a 3 mile walk in the woods or walk up a hill without huffing and puffing wanting it to be over. While still 20 pounds more than when I ran A LOT more, running has reshaped this 120 body to be back in those old clothes (see below).
  2. Sleeping – no more sleep apnea. no more snoring. I don’t wake up several times a night, usually only once and can get back to sleep in less than 30 minutes.
  3. Clearer skin – adult acne has calmed down. I’m thinking that healthy eating has made a difference.
  4. Hiked mountains – 3 hikes in the past 2 months. All 3000+.
  5. Steps – from under 3000 per day to an average of 15,000 per day
  6. Weight – down 48 pounds ~30%. From size 14 to size 0. From size L/XL to S/XS. From big girl swim suits to bikinis.
  7. Heart – RHR dropped to between 48 and 52. I was typically over 65 and as high as 69.
  8. Fears – diabetes and heart issues; not anymore.
  9. Dress-up: I’ve confessed to stealing my daughters jeans (which she let me keep). My purple velvet Theory top fits again and looks better on now than when I bought it. I can wear a patchwork and embroidery Oilily skirt that I love and haven’t worn since 2004!
  10. Food: Still food obsessed but healthy living has brought out more of my creative cooking. Oh, and I think I could actually become a vegan if I didn’t like eggs so much! I love my veggies (just not kale).
  11. TMI – let’s just say that Tom appreciates my new body more. 🙂

And, after months of hiding my chubby girl self, here are before and now pictures. I don’t say after since this is forever – forever healthy living, forever keeping trim, forever working at it one day at a time.

Before: (if you can’t tell – that’s me on the right with the baseball hat)

35519221871_a77d607905_m 34830012013_f315e529f3_m

Today:  On left, standing on Mt Cardigan.

35507213581_62d83e7f3a_m jeans (2)

 

Oh Wow – Cauliflower Hash with Marinara and Fried Egg

Not sure if it was because I had just finished my workout, was hungry before my workout, or if I just outdid myself, but my dinner was sooooo gooood!

I have a confession, I have an obsession with cauliflower rice. I don’t even think of it as a substitute anymore. I’ll take cauliflower rice over real rice, couscous, pasta or potatoes any day. My other recent obsession if going full on Beyoncé but instead of putting a ring on it, I put a fried egg on it. Well, tonight, I put these two obsessions together and I ate it so fast I couldn’t even take a picture and share.  But, I will share my recipe.

Michele’s Cauliflower Hash with Marinara and Fried Egg

I made this for one, but you could easily multiply this for four based on my measurements. I am also using some leftovers but you can substitute for fresh.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 head of cauliflower (will make about 5 oz ‘rice’)
1 oz baby spinach
2 T pine nuts
1/4 cup marinara sauce (scooped from a half used jar)
1 large egg
1 1/2 oz cooked hamburger (took a quarter from a portabella swiss burger made the night before)
1 T chopped garlic
pinch kosher salt
pepper from pepper grinder

Directions:

Cut cauliflower roughly and add to food processor. Pulse until it is chopped. Add in spinach and pulse again until spinach is chopped and cauliflower is the consistency of rice.

Place pine nuts on a aluminum foil and toast in the toaster oven for several minutes until pine nuts become a toasted color. Keep an eye on them as they easily and quickly burn.

Cut up a cooked gourmet portabella and swiss burger into quarters. Take one quarter and chopped up. You can use any other pre-cooked leftover burger or simply cook up some fresh ground beef.

In hot pan, spray with cooking spray and add in cauliflower and spinach mixture. Sprinkle in the kosher salt and grind the amount of pepper you like. After about two minutes, add in garlic, pine nuts and chopped burger. Saute until cauliflower is tender and then pour onto a plate. Then add the marinara sauce over the hash.

In same pan, spray again with cooking spray and fry the egg. If you like, sprinkle egg with a bit of kosher salt and grind pepper over ( I do ). When egg is starting to brown at the edges, flip over to form a fast crust over the yolk. You want the the yolk to still be saucy.

Remove egg and lay over the top of your hash, then prick the yolk to allow it to flow over. Then eat!

Nutrition: 306 calories according to MyFitnessPal log

Ideas:

I could easily have changed out the burger for shrimp, chicken sausage, or ground turkey.

If you don’t like pine nuts, I’ve also added chopped cashews and pistachios. But I’m sure walnuts could also be good.