I thought my body needed to rest. Life has been moving incredibly quickly, and the pace has no intention of slowing down any time soon. There's a full-time job to work, a husband to care for, two dogs to feed, a part-time job to start working, a novel to write, another 65 pounds to lose, and a blog to update.
Saturday was going to be my day off. I spent the afternoon with my husband, eating sirloin and shrimp at Saltgrass Steakhouse and then meandering through Half Price Books. My plans for the evening included dinner with my college roommate, and so, I decided, there wouldn't be time for working out.
Except I made time.
After Half Price Books and before dinner, I headed to Lane Bryant to spend a $40 gift cheque (IE: free money) and then some while my husband perused Best Buy and Mardel's. When I walked into Lane Bryant, I was confident knowing that I wore a size 16 in pants and a size 14 in shirts. I intended to purchase a pair of black skinny jeans and possibly a shirt or two.
I walked out of the store with a camisole, a zip-up hoodie, a shirt, and socks but no pants. When I tried on the pants, they were too small and too short. I tried on a pair of dress pants, again in a size 16, and again they were the tiniest bit too small. I felt deflated.
The scale shows a loss. My clothes (mainly my shirts) show a loss. People tell me they can see the difference, but my hips are not shrinking at the same pace.
Months ago, I may have given up. I would have wondered why try and dove into a bowl of ice cream. But this time, I let myself be frustrated and sad, and then I squeezed in a hour long work out.
I pounded out two miles on the treadmill, two miles on the stationary bicycle and then spent another 18 minutes doing lower body weights. I felt great after the work out and slipped the feeling into my back pocket - knowing I would need a reminder, at some point, of why I go to the gym.
This afternoon I had the house to myself and spent a tiny bit of time cleaning, some time working on our taxes, and a little more time writing out a grocery list. And then I headed to the gym for another hour long work out.
Spending time alone is how I recharge. I'm an outgoing person and want to be friends with everyone, but I always need time away from everyone. It used to be that I would spend that alone time on the couch - catching up on certain television shows my husband won't watch with me. And while I do still love taking the time to simply rest and let my mind wander while I watch Grey's Anatomy, I also love the feeling of running/walking a mile on the treadmill, being sweaty after a particularly grueling session of the stationary bicycle, and working my muscles until they hurt.
There are plenty of times when I struggle to complete a work-out. During those times, I count down the minutes I have left on the machine and remind myself that I'm almost done. But there are other times when I feel like I could stay at the gym all day long. Saturday and Sunday were days when I felt like I could stay at the gym all day long.
I needed that reminder. I needed to feel that love for exercise again. I needed to hold onto the feeling that working out is a great way for me to spend time with just myself and recharge. Because I know that working out will only get more difficult with how busy life is about to be, but I also know that it needs to be a priority because it is essential for me to take care of me.
It is also essential for me to plan out meals and cook as much as possible over the weekend because I refuse to let my busyness become an excuse for why I stopped losing weight or even gained weight. And that's what I kept in mind while I completed grocery shopping after my super sweaty Sunday work out.
I purchased lots of chicken, a large pack of sirloin steak, sausage and brautwursts, and also plenty of vegetables to make ratatouille as well as enough cauliflower to make several servings of Surprise South Beach Mashed Potatoes.
This diet is definitely not for everyone, and it's also not the easiest thing to always stick to. It annoy my husband that I can't eat everywhere and depresses him (and me!) that eating at a Mexican restaurant means no chips and queso. It also makes splitting a pizza difficult, but it's worth it because it works for me.
Mashed potatoes (or really potatoes of any kind) are one of my favorite things to eat, so substituting them with cauliflower works well. It's not perfect and doesn't taste exactly like mashed potatoes, but this side is perfect alongside grilled turkey brautwurst (which is what I ate it with tonight) or a sirloin steak.
This was my third time to make the recipe, and I've adapted it from the original recipe, which I found in The South Beach Diet book while at my parents house in Texas. It's now good enough to share; so good, in fact, that I got my husband's approval and agreement to eat it again.
Knowing I'm making healthy choices and "whipping" up easy healthy recipes is something I enjoy, too. I feel accomplished spending time in the kitchen, and it serves as another reminder of just how committed I am to being healthy. I just wish the kitchen would clean itself after I cooked.
Surprise South Beach Mashed Potatoes
1 head of cauliflower chopped and then steamed OR 1 bag of frozen cauliflower florets steamed
1-2 tablespoons I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
3-5 tablespoons of low-fat or non-fat Half & Half
1 garlic clove minced
3/4 cup non fat cheddar cheese (or to taste)
1 tablespoon dried chives
1. Steam cauliflower.
2. Puree the cauliflower, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Half & Half, garlic, cheese, and chives until smooth. The consistency should be identical to the consistency of mashed potatoes.
3. Season with salt and pepper (optional).
(title from "green apples" by chantal kreviazuk)