Posts filed under ‘relationships’

Healthier Shepherd’s Pie

The latest effort by the Sassy Chef involved Boca Burger crumbles, instant mashed potato, and canned low-sodium mixed veggies.   My copy of the Sneaky Chef’s latest cookbook, How to Cheat on Your Man (In the Kitchen), arrived, and it inspired me to see if I could improve on the classic man fave, Shepherd’s Pie, without a whole lot of fuss.

I remembered that I had Boca Ground Burger in the freezer, so I picked up some Idahoan Loaded Instant Mashed Potatoes (just add boiling water!) and a couple of cans of Veg-All low-sodium mixed vegetables.  I warmed the mock ground beef in the microwave while I mixed up the mashed p.  Then I layered the Boca crumbles in a pan with the veggies and then the potato on top.  I finished the whole shebang off with reduced fat shredded cheese, baking it in the oven for about 20 minutes and serving it with brown gravy.

Voila!  A healthier man meal was born.  Bonus… my BF never knew it was made with meatless crumbles.  (wink!)

April 22, 2008 at 4:19 am Leave a comment

Don’t Recline: Decline!

Today I did my 15 sets of stairs, first thru fourth, two at a time and finished my workout with three sets of 10 each decline push-ups.  I positioned my feet two steps up and muscled my way through to the sound of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run” on my iPod.  By the time I finished that third set, I was beat.  I’ve been doing between 16 and 20 of straight-leg push-ups three to four times a week, but the decline ones are tougher.  It felt great when I was done, though.  I was energized and still able to do another quick six with my BF when I got home.  We’ve been doing five or six together a couple of times a week, breaking him into it slowly.  We’ve also brought his glider over to my place so we can work out together.  It’s cool!

My new mantra is “Don’t recline: Decline!”

April 11, 2008 at 3:57 am Leave a comment

Alcohol & Eating Clean

I’m pretty strict with myself, both in terms of eating and drinking alcohol. I almost never eat the quantity and type of food I frequently crave, and I rarely drink. After a recent less-than-stellar weekend evening with my BF, I realized I needed to be able to cut loose a little bit once in a while, which is what prompted me to write a post about the fact that I could eat or drink, but not both.

This past weekend, I tested out this new approach and indulged in a few drinks on Friday and Sunday. I must admit that it was great. It was so nice to feel free and enjoy myself along with everyone else. I had such a good time.

I did feel somewhat guilty about it, though. I try to eat high quality food and put only good, healthy things in my body, focusing on eating clean. As Eating Clean Works noted a few days ago, “Alcohol is generally a no-no when you make clean eating a lifestyle.”

ECW poses the question, “Can You Drink and Eat Clean?”. He says, “No,” because most people aren’t aware of how many empty calories they’re consuming when they drink. He also reminds us that drinking can damage the liver and kidneys and increase appetite.

I say, “Maybe”. I generally drink rum & diet cola when I’ve decided to imbibe. It’s about 75 calories a glass, the lowest alcoholic beverage I’ve found. I always account for the calories in my food journal, and if I know I’m going to drink, I adjust my calorie consumption accordingly. So, I’ve got the calorie argument covered.

Alcohol doesn’t increase appetite, at least not in my experience, but it does lower inhibitions, which means I might be inclined to eat more when I get the urge. So far, I haven’t done that, so I don’t think that’s a concern for me either.

What could be a concern is how frequently I decide to drink rather than eat. Am I missing key nutrients because I’m avoiding food? Am I overloading my system with too much alcohol at one time? These are questions I will ask on a case-by-case basis as I learn to integrate some reasonable indulgences into my clean eating lifestyle.

March 31, 2008 at 2:39 am 3 comments

Eat or Drink: Not Both

This is a fun-filled fiesta weekend for me and my BF.  He’s home (yay!) after a week on the road, and we have a shindig tonight and one tomorrow.  I really enjoy these celebrations except for the eating and drinking.  It’s so hard to stay the course in party mode.

Last weekend, I tried not eating or drinking alcohol.  That was an abysmal failure.  It just made me outrageously cranky, and I ended up picking a fight with my BF over foolishness.  We got through it okay, but I realized that I have to allow myself a bit of wiggle room.  I have to be able to let loose and relax a little.  I hold myself to such strict standards generally that it can become oppressive.  Gotta break free every once in a while.

So, this weekend, rum & diet cokes are on the menu.  Instead of indulging in an hors d’oeuvres or two, I will imbibe a drink or two… but no food.  That’s my compromise.  I’ve come too far to sabotage my success in a weekend. 

I’m also going to bring my own diet soda with me to the parties.  That way, I know I’ll have what I like and what fits my plan.  They can provide the booze; I’ll provide the mixer. 

It’s all good, and I will be a lot less fussy in the long run!

March 22, 2008 at 1:26 am 1 comment

In Praise of Dishy Dudes

Men who do housework are hot, according to Gals make passes at guys who wash glasses.

I agree! Guys who are willing to roll up their sleeves and wash dishes, do laundry or perform some other household function are very attractive to me, too. It’s not only a matter of bearing some of the burden physically and time-wise. For me, it also shows how much a man cares about me and the space we’re sharing that he’s willing to pitch in with what’s typically been known as “women’s work”.

My BF doesn’t live with me, but he regularly shares my residence when he’s not traveling. Because he travels so much, running the household generally falls to me. I’m okay with that. It’s my place, and he’s not there three-quarters of the time anyway. When he is there, though, he makes an effort to help out.

For example, I’m a nut about making the bed. I love coming home a night to a neatly made bed; it’s simultaneously inviting and soothing. My BF doesn’t particularly care one way or the other, but he always makes the bed if he’s the last one to leave in the morning. He even puts a creative spin on the chore by placing the pillows and stuffed animals differently each time. J

We all agree that women are happier when their men share household duties, but what’s in it for the guy? According to the article, “a recent survey by Parenting magazine found that ‘choreplay,’ i.e., husbands pitching in around the house, was what put 15 percent of moms in the mood.” Nice! That’s what I call a win-win situation!

How does this article relate to diet and exercise? Indirectly. Consider a study of 1,652 married couples done by the American University of Beirut.

“Our results showed a significant association between husbands’ involvement in housework and their wives’ psychosocial health,” wrote Marwan Khawaja, author of the study.

“…wives whose husbands were minimally involved in housework were 60 percent more likely to be distressed, three times more likely to be uncomfortable with their husbands, and more than twice as likely to be unhappy.”

Many distressed and unhappy women eat more and exercise less, which is not conducive to a successful lifestyle change. There’s the connection.

The bottomline for men? Helping around the house means your lady will be more inclined share a different kind of soapy experience with you after the dishes are done!

February 17, 2008 at 2:18 am Leave a comment

Eating to Stay Awake

They say that sleep deprivation increases your appetite.  What do you tend to do when you’re overtired? Eat, hoping it’ll provide you the energy you need.

“For example, in a study of college students allowed only two and a half hours of sleep for three consecutive nights and subjected to interrupted sleep on three other nights, all reported greater appetites, some more than others. The same was true in a study of young men deprived of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep for several nights in a row.”

I can tell you from personal experience that it’s true. My boyfriend has a crazy schedule right now where he’s in the mid-west four days a week for most of the month. I pick him up at the airport at midnight when he flies back home on Thursday nights. Depending on weather delays and other factors, I get four to five hours sleep before starting my last day of work. Now, four to five hours might seem like a lot for some people – or at least enough – but for me, it’s just too little. I need a solid seven hours, ideally eight, to function at optimal levels.

I am always famished on Fridays. I struggle not to eat all the food I bring for the day before 10 a.m. It’s crazy! For a while, I couldn’t figure out why this was happening. I thought maybe it was the excitement of having my BF home or some weird anticipation of the coming weekend. Nope. It’s plain, old fatigue. I’m beat, and my body’s trying to compensate for it.

My BF’s schedule isn’t going to change any time soon. And, considering that I really like being the first person he sees when he gets home, I’m not inclined to leave him to fend for himself at the airport. That means I’m stuck with the yawns on Fridays for the time being. At least I know what I’m up against, though. Knowledge is power, and I’m using that knowledge to find other ways to keep myself going.

CHEW GUM. The act of chewing seems to help me through that compulsion to find food fast. Somehow it also helps me focus on what I’m doing.

TAKE A WALK.Moving gets the blood flowing, which helps the brain kick back into gear.

DRINK WATER. We often mistake thirst for hunger anyway, so this is generally a good practice to follow whenever you think you’re hungry. In this case, it gives my mouth something to do and seems to fill me up for a little while.

SUGAR-FREE ENERGY DRINKS. I drink energy drinks VERY rarely, and I only drink sugar-free ones. If I am extremely tired and have an important meeting or event I have to attend, then I’ll knock back some low-calorie liquid energy. The key to this is doing it infrequently, only when I have something big going on.

Do you find yourself eating more when you’re tired?

If so, what techniques do you use to shift your focus away from food and get through the fatigue?

January 19, 2008 at 1:18 am 1 comment

I Am a Lucky Woman

My boyfriend and I have been going out for about a year and a half. He has not personally known Fat Me, but he has seen me drop about 15 pounds in span of our relationship. He can testify to the fact that I bring my food journal with me everywhere and am constantly writing in it. He can verify that I weigh myself every day, and he knows my struggles to maintain my discipline when others around me are eating with wild abandon. He is a big supporter of my ongoing lifestyle change.

He is also a “burly” guy. In my vernacular, that means that he’s fairly hefty. I like my men that way. Sometimes, though, that extra heft isn’t healthy, and my BF is not happy with the weight he’s put on in recent years. Consequently, we have talked a lot about diet strategies. He has learned to read food labels. An avid movie goer, he has stopped getting butter on his popcorn and now drinks Coke Zero, instead of Mr. Pibb. He is applying the “think small” philosophy I’ve mentioned in previous posts by taking baby steps toward improving his eating habits.

One of his challenges is that he travels a great deal for his business, and it’s very hard to eat healthfully on the road. He’s been implementing small changes by eating fruit at the cafeteria where he’s working and by stocking his hotel room with bottled water, nuts, and string cheese.

Even better, tonight, he sent me a pair of wonderful texts.

Text #1

“For dinner/snacks, I am having kipper snacks, reduced fat Swiss cheese, watermelon, baby carrots, heart healthy mixed nuts, and cherry cider water.”

Text #2

“You are my inspiration. Just unpacked groceries and forgot to mention bananas and Slim Fast Optima peanut butter crunch bars. Now if I can not eat it all tonight.”

My BF not only supports my efforts but is taking steps to improve himself as well. It is something we can work on together, and it shows how much he values my accomplishment. How wonderful to be told by your “significant other” that you are an inspiration! I have heard that from my girlfriends, but hearing it from my man just takes it to a whole new level. I am, indeed, a lucky woman. J

January 9, 2008 at 2:03 am 1 comment

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