Saturday, January 15, 2011


After my last post in April, things took an interesting turn and completely flipped my life upside down.

1. Giraffe and I broke up after 4.5 years of being together.
2. I moved back home with my parents.
3. I started school again to get my teaching license to teach elementary school.
4. I took a job at Sonic to have a flexible schedule for school and roller derby.
5. The people living in my previous house moved so I had to make lofty payments on a part-time salary in a house I no longer lived in.

I've been cooking a lot at home with my mom, which has helped keep my cooking skills up. In addition, I'm learning more of the family recipes to hopefully pass down to my own kids one day. I stood in the kitchen next to Mom on Thanksgiving to learn how to do the hen, dressing, cornbread, and biscuits. While it's been a total life change for me this past year, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. I am now ridiculously happy and am excited about where I'm finally going.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Bet: Final

Well, The Bet ended on April 1 and while there was no unofficial weigh-in, I still feel like a winner (as cheesy as that sounds).

Total: 14 pounds

That shirt and skort combo that I'm wearing used to be super tight on me. The last time I wore it was the summer I moved to Nashville and I remember the skort biting into my torso and I had to really suck it in for the shirt to not have any rolls. Now, they are actually big on me! I need to go shopping soon because when the heat wave came through, I found out that all my shorts are too big. Such a strange concept to me, but I love it!

I cannot wait for summer now because I won't be carrying around the extra weight in the sun anymore!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Little Victories

March 6, 2010 - Boys and Girls Club 8K

8 am. 34 degrees. 5 miles.

Insecticide, Goblynn, Matt-a-tat-tat, Kat A'Combs, and Crash Cymbal (me)

I had two goals for the race: 1) run the whole time, no walking; and 2) finish in under an hour. Not only did I run the whole time including the hills, but I finished at around 55 minutes!

After the race with the Knoxville Rubber Duck.

In other good news, I stepped on the Wii Fit for the first time in about a year and was thrilled to finally hear, "That's normal!" rather than the sad tones of "That's overweight!" In addition, I checked my BMI with one of those online calculators and it says I'm finally normal!

The Bet Progress:
9.5 pounds lost
24 days left

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Tastes

The Bet has really opened some doors for me, and I don't only mean the weight loss. Eating out has been minimized since February 1, which means I've had to get creative cooking at home again. Thanks to Giraffe's help, I've been eating different meats and vegetables in an effort to get healthy. I've been eating a lot of tilapia, ground beef, steak, and chicken. Surprisingly though, it's not been boring so I don't feel like I used to with "I don't want the same old thing. Let's go out! (again)"

My favorite meal during this diet has been Giraffe's chopped steak, which I added sauteed onions to the top and recently, mushrooms. I used to not be the biggest fan of mushrooms, but I find that I love certain types now. There are these burgundy mushrooms at Chop House that are amazing! Which leads me to my next point: it seems that since I've completely altered the way I eat, my taste buds are playing tricks on me. I've been eating things that I never ate before (and for those who know me are about to be as shocked as I still am). For example:

- mushrooms
- fruit smoothies (Giraffe made me one that I loved and it even had banana in it)
- eggs (I know! But they have to be made a certain way)
- chili (I've only had a few bites of Chop House's and Texas Roadhouse's and I liked them both, but not sure if I'd order one for myself yet)

The eggs thing has completely thrown me for a loop since now breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I whip up 2 large eggs, about a 1/4 cup of grated cheddar, and a heaping tablespoon of Pioneer Woman's pico de gallo. Then I fry it up in a skillet with some leftover bacon grease from the 2 pieces of bacon I've had in the oven while the skillet heats up. If I have the time and inclination, I crumble up one of the slices of bacon into the omelet as it cooks, but sometimes I just do it after the fact on my plate. It's wonderful!

I figure this is definitely the time to try new things to see what I like now. I'm wondering if because I eliminated such a large staple from my diet, my body is trying to find the same thing in other places, which means opening up to new flavors and tastes in things that I possibly didn't like before. It's all very bizarre and been a fascinating discovery to see how the body works.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Bet: Halfway Down

Well, the bet is still in place, at least in my mind since the Marine told me he wasn't taking it seriously. That's okay. I'm still going to call him Tubby if I win since no prize has been distinguished and probably won't be at this point. Bragging rights will have to suffice.

After a month of revamping my diet and an exercise plan that features roller derby and running, I'm down 8 lbs! I had to make some adjustments because during the month I plateaued and fluctuated, but I think I'm back on track. I feel great and have so much more energy than I used to, especially when running/skating. I love it!

So they say it takes 21 days to break a habit and I've gone 28 days with no bread, pasta, or Diet Coke, all of which were staples in my day-to-day diet. There are things that I miss and most of them are only when I eat out. Bread baskets mostly, and then Diet Coke, but I've been substituting with iced tea, which isn't so bad. At home, I've been missing peanut butter sandwiches a lot lately. And, of course, the brownie that I keep talking about for when I finish the bet. With ice cream. The taste of victory.

This weekend I'll be running an 8K for the Boys and Girls Club with the derby team. My goal is to jog the entire time, even if it means at a crawl. I'm running 2-3 miles every other day so I'm not sure how adding 2-3 more miles to that is going to be.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Bet

I wrote this at the beginning of February but due to illness and an unexpected shift in responsibilities within roller derby, this is just now being posted. Oops.

Giraffe and I have been watching a lot of The Office lately and the first episode of Season 5 was a topic of conversation with a co-worker (Marine) and I. I mentioned that I thought their weight loss incentive program was a good idea especially given some of the waistlines around our office. So Marine says, "I'd win." I, being initially stunned at his outburst, went into explaining that it was by percentage lost and not pounds dropped and he said, "Nah. I'd still win." So then my competitive streak came out and I proposed a bet, mostly between he and I but open to anyone in our office. Whomever lost the biggest percentage by the first day of spring (March 20) would win. He said he wanted it to be in May and I said that was too long a time frame and he could also to pull in a ringer. (He's sneaky and super competitive.) We compromised and made it April 1, which is the day before our long Easter weekend.

Now here is our problem: we don't have a prize yet. He said bragging rights were sufficient, but knowing him, he could cheapen my win on bragging rights alone, so I need something tangible; however, I have no idea where to begin. Money is the first thought, but I'd rather have something I can look at and say, "I won that be beating a Marine." Any and all suggestions of prizes welcome.

The bet began on February 1 and so far I have lost 5 pounds according to the "official" scale at work. I'm on a combination of diets that Giraffe has researched fully and I can't believe how great I feel. I no longer suffer from low blood sugar attacks around eating times and I have amazing mental clarity. The diet kicked off by a 24-hour fast, which I normally do not agree with it but it was actually not hard and it helped reset my sleep cycles which are usually wonky. The next day I started on an Atkins type plan where I ate only meat for a couple of days. Again, not as bad as I thought it was going to be. After that, I was allowed to integrate some vegetables back in (salad) then it was small amounts of cheese. I found almonds to be the perfect snack, even though now I'm not hungry all the time between meals like I used to be.

The second part of the diet will be an anti-inflammatory diet, specifically the Asa Andrew one, that is similar to Atkins but takes out dairy, which has been making me sick lately anyways. I will, however, be allowed to drink Diet Coke again once I get to this stage! Hooray! I was doing the Asa Andrew diet for a while before the bet and found I liked it a lot. I didn't feel sluggish and had more energy. That's all I really want out of all this anyway: more energy, better lifestyle, and...oh yeah, bragging rights! Ha!

I haven't upped my exercise routine yet because I've been slightly under the weather, but that will change soon. I want to begin training for the same 5K I ran last May and need to work on securing a better time. Not to mention, I want to have faster laps around the derby track.

Hopefully soon I can sneak a picture of Marine so there can be before and after shots for both of us. Whee!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Holds Barred, Cooking with Dad

Last night I was put in charge of cooking these little round steaks for Dad and I. I really had no idea how to go about it, but I decided to go the easy and healthy route. I put some margarine on the steaks, smothered them with a very aromatic rub, and broiled them.

They were awful.

My sides were alright, so I ate a couple bites and had seconds on sides. Dad, who will eat anything, ate one steak and said I should've fried them instead. I told him I had attempted country fried steak and gravy before and it turned out about as bad as these steaks were. I told him I would keep adding oil and flour, back and forth, and end up with a lot of questionable mushy paste. So Dad decides he's going to set me straight on making gravy.

He tells me to get the skillet hot with some oil and get out the rest of the steaks in the fridge. I grab the steaks, flour, and oil while he gets out the cutting board. Now, I'm wondering about this because he goes for the bamboo cutting board that I know he uses for other chopping and is not the dedicated meat board like I have. Oh no, there was no time to worry about cross contamination when Dad is cooking. He grew up in rural Georgia in the '40s, so cross contamination was to only make you stronger. Anyway, Dad then pulls out the biggest knife we have and says, "This is the way your grandmama cooked," then starts pounding the steaks with the knife making the kitchen shake and meat juice flying.

I cringed on the inside, and I am not a germophobe by any stretch of the imagination.

He then tells me to put the steaks in a bag full of flour and seasonings that he has picked out, which I think ended up being garlic salt and pepper but I can't be too sure. I think I was washing the meat juice off my hands and arms. I shake up the steaks and put them in the hot oil, filling up the pan with steaks. Then comes his most important instructions: "Now, don't touch them." So I stare at the pan and he goes to sit at the kitchen table. I start to wonder, "When are we going to flip them?" and I voice this concern. He replies, "I'll tell you when they're ready." But I really want to move them around the pan.

Oh how I wanted to move them around.

This made me realize one of my biggest problems with cooking. If I'm not working on things simultaneously, I get to a state of, I guess, boredom and start messing with the food I'm cooking right then. With these steaks, it would have been detrimental because what would become the crispy batter would slide off into the oil. So I decide to stop watching the steaks bubble and go sit down with Dad. I asked him about what sorts of things he enjoyed eating growing up and all about his childhood, which is still a partial mystery to me. He does not talk about it too much, so I always enjoy when he finally does start talking. I never met his parents so it's always nice to learn more and more about them. His mom seemed to be a typical Southern, self-sufficient woman living in a time where things were tight and could turn something into nothing. I aspire to be that type of cook where you only have a few things and can make a feast and can operate outside the confines of a recipe. I mentioned this to Dad and he said, "That's your momma." All I could say was, "Well, she taught me, so I come by it honest."

Eventually Dad says the steaks are ready to flip and I do so. The cooked side was perfect. He says that since the steaks are so tough they will need gravy in order to be edible after frying. After the steaks come out, he pours some of the oil out and tells me to get the leftover flour from the batter and pour a couple tablespoons into the oil. I stir that in making sure to get all the lumps out and he hands me the milk. I start pouring and he tells me he'll tell me when it's time to stop. My mind goes into overdrive because I'm trying to estimate quantities here and he's just telling me to pour till he says stop.

Man, I have got to learn to do this without flipping out.

After I stir all this up to make it smooth, Dad puts all the steaks back in the skillet with the gravy, pulls a plate out of the cabinet, and puts it in the skillet. I say in the skillet because it did not fit on top like a lid like I thought it was supposed to. Then he heads toward the door and says, "That's got to steam and thicken. I'm going to feed my chickens and will be back." I stand in the kitchen staring at the plate in the skillet and decide I have to leave the room because I will drive myself crazy when I start to reach out to touch something and draw my arm back in quickly after realizing I should leave things alone. So I leave the room and wait for Dad to come back inside so we can try these steaks out.

He finally comes back in around 20 minutes later and says to get the steaks out. The gravy had thickened and everything smelled wonderful. We sit down to try things out and they were incredibly good. I thanked Dad and he says, "You did it." I was in disbelief, but I guess I actually did do it, but with a little guidance. I will hopefully be able to recreate this later and show Giraffe that I can actually make gravy that does not double as an adhesive.

The evening was very heartwarming on several levels, but I will always remember the night that Dad taught me how to make country fried steaks and gravy and shared childhood stories.