Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Page 2 of 170

10 ways to make your day healthier (that you won’t even notice after a week).

We all want to be healthier, but it sounds super overwhelming at times.  Work out!  Eat twelve servings of veggies per day!  Don’t drink a case of beer!  Exist on only green tea and pure sunshine!  Who has time for all of that?

I hear plastic is full of fiber and low in saturated fats.

Well, if you don’t have time to make your own kombucha and grow your own organic veggie garden while running marathons daily, you’re not alone.  Here’s ten ways you can actually get healthier with a barely noticeable effort and time commitment in your day once they become a habit.

1. Here’s the biggie: get 8+ hours of sleep as often as you can.  If I’m sleep deprived, I’d rather sleep in than work out in the morning (as long as it’s not all the time).  Sometimes means you have to go to bed instead of finding out who’s going to die next while binge watching Game of Thrones, and that sucks, but you’re at your best when you get the amount of sleep your body needs to feel rested and awesome.  A lot of other things fall into place when you’re caught up on sleep.

2. Swap your easy carby breakfast for something with protein.  Switch your cereal and milk for cereal and greek yogurt with berries and a drizzle of honey.  They take about the same amount of time to prepare – almost nothing – and you’ll feel a world of difference.  Huge protein and fullness boost.

Tip: Hate yogurt like my husband and want something else easy?  Grab a decent quality protein bar like a Quest bar (or the cheaper Costco brand) or make a protein shake.  My fave is Muscle Milk Strawberry with frozen strawberries and coconut milk.

Looks messy.  Tastes yummy and takes less than a minute to make.

3. Break like a smoker.  I’ve noticed the only people at offices actually take breaks are the smokers.  Be a smoker!  Except, don’t smoke, and take a walk.  If it’s too hot or cold, you can typically find a parking garage to walk and be sheltered from the elements.  Or pace up and down your hallway at work and make everyone nervous.  Breaks help your productivity, creativity, and if I walk at breaks and lunch for about 20 minutes a pop – I rarely have trouble hitting 10k steps in a day.

4. Water is Life. Use a 20+ oz bottle and aim to refill it 2 times before the end of the workday (and then once at home).  I am so terrible at water but it is super important so I make it a priority.  It decreases your appetite, improves your mood, fights fatigue, aids in proper digestion, its good for your skin, improves memory… basically, if you’re feeling a little off, chances are you’re dehydrated and you can improve your life with the proper amount of H20.  While the amount you need is variable, aiming for 60-80 ounces minimum during the day is key (and add more to supplement workouts).

Tip: if you spend a lot of time in the heat or workout more than an hour a day, you should replace your electrolytes.  If you generally work indoors and hit the treadmill for 20 minutes a few times a week, you’ll probably be fine with just water.  And if water just doesn’t sit well, try it with some lemon or lime or other fruit for some light flavor.

But… but… I put water in my smoothie… but then also tequila…

5. Walk the walk.  Instead of driving to McDonalds for some fast food or ordering delivery, spend some time outside and get some activity at the same time.  Pack your lunch and eat at your desk after you’ve worked up an appetite OR get healthy take out within walking distance (but you have to walk there and back).  Lunch is a great time to get some fresh air and activity without even getting too sweaty.

6. Hierarchy of snackings. Feeling munchy in the afternoon and want some candy?  First, try a cup of tea or some water.  A lot of time we’re actually thirsty instead of being hungry.  If that doesn’t do it for you, try some crisp veggies – carrots and snap peas are my fave, if you can’t eat them plain try with some hummus or low fat yogurt dip.  If you NEEEEED something salty try about 20 pistachios (in the shell, so you have to work for them).  And you know what?  Occasionally you need the chocolate.  If you can keep it to a square or two of dark chocolate (instead of a whole bar of milk), it’s practically health food because there’s antioxidants in that shit (though more in this case is not better – a dab’ll do ya).

Tip: here’s a chart for what your cravings are supposed to mean.  However, I’m going to call shenanigans on the alcohol one – when I want whiskey, I want whiskey.  Or to be independently wealthy.  But, at least immediately, whiskey.

Are chips tastier?  Sure.  But they also taste good and you won’t hate yourself after…

7. Feeling tired in the afternoon?  Instead of coffee or snacks, try getting up to take a 15 minute walk outside.  We’re not meant to be indoors as much as we are and some sunshine and activity (or at least being outside) usually will perk you up.  Yes, I’ve mentioned walks three times in seven tips.  You will be a happier, healthier person, and better employee, if you get up from your desk a few times a day and see daylight and move around a bit.

8. Don’t give up your favorite foods, but make them healthier.  For example, I love spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.  Yum.  However, go to Olive Garden and get it and it will set you back about 1000 calories (and that’s BEFORE salad and crack breadsticks).  Even making it at home, you will probably use two servings of pasta because one serving of pasta looks really sad in anything but a kiddie bowl.  So, I’ll put that one serving of pasta, tomato sauce, and meatballs on top of some sauteed spinach in garlic and serve with a green salad.  As they say, you can have your pasta and eat it too (without gaining weight).

Tip: If you want to be extra awesome, try one of these healthier pastas.  But if that sounds overwhelming, one step at a time.  Add some veggies you like and think about that later.

Bacon cheddar onion pepper oatmeal breakfast muffins.  Almost as good as a kolache or breakfast sandwich…

9. Enact a bedtime ritual.  I typically use my foam roller for about 5 minutes and have a cup of sleepytime tea before I pick up my book and read until my eyes close.  You might take a bubblebath or meditate or something.  Whatever it is, it’s nice to have a ritual that signals your brain “ok, it’s time to go to sleep soon” that’s different from what you’ve been doing before (watching TV, surfing on your phone, fighting crime in a mask and tights, etc).

10. Try to stay away from screens as you wind down.  I used to watch TV to fall asleep and I’d sleep fitfully.  Now I read my (paperwhite) kindle to sleep and I generally fall asleep quicker, don’t wake up when the episode ends and have to watch another one, and sleep more soundly.  And I get to dream about aliens and lasers because I like to read pulpy sci fi.  Win!

TIP: Read something you enjoy but isn’t too exciting or makes your brain work too much.  I can’t really fall alseep reading non-fiction on subjects I’m interested in and sometimes I’ll just have to put the book down right before the exciting showdown because I know I’ll read until the end if I don’t.

All of these things at one time seemed completely overwhelming to me.  Who has time to take walks at work?  Water is yucky.  I don’t WANT all these vegetables.  I CAN’T fall asleep without the TV on.  These are things that I’ve said to myself over the years.  However, sometime if you give something a try for a week or two, it becomes a habit you look forward (or at least makes you feel good) to instead of dread.

Do you have a great healthy habit that doesn’t take much effort that I haven’t mentioned here?  Hit me up.



Don’t call it a comeback

For years, this has been one of my favorite running power songs.  I mean, how can you not run a little faster and push a little harder, right?


I’ve never quite understood the lyric “don’t call it a comeback” though.  Yeah, I’ve been here (doing this triathlon thing) for years, but with the ebbs and flows of season?  Yeah, absolutely, I am staging a comeback right now.  It happens every year.  Goal race leads to sloth leads to dabbling in sport again which leads to the first weeks of a schedule.  Which is the epitome of a comeback, right?

I’ve been thinking about how to correctly mount this return into sport because for once, I’ve given myself the luxury of time.  My next goal race is January 2018.  My next long race is slated for October 2018.  I have the time to fix everything I need to fix and lose the weight and not worry about how it’s impacting my season for quite a while.  I just need to stop being an idiot and do it.

I think these things will help me be a better athlete in 2018.

#1 – I want to get strong.  It’s hard to do this during season.  It also takes my body a lot longer to be ready to get back to this after a goal race.  I figure a week or two and I should be good, right?  Not after any long race yet has this happened, and the Ironman doubly so.  My body only really started to feel healed during my camping trip, and before last week, it’s been about 3 months since I lifted anything heavier than 12 ounce curls, so I’m starting at stage 1 and not doing anything more than bodyweight for at least the next two weeks.  Then, I’ll actually set myself out a plan, like I was a licensed personal trainer or something and knew how to do this stuff…

#2 – I want to get my endurance back.  I’m really happy I kept some endurance with cycling, but my running and swimming are pretty… sub par right now.  I’m taking the Maffetone approach with my running right now and trying to stay under or at my MAF (max aerobic function).  142 is not a lot of beats per minute, and it’s frustrating to take walk breaks to calm your heart rate when you don’t even feel taxed, but I’ve been trying to keep with it.  I’m already seeing some improvement, because I ran 4.5 miles, and while they were super slow, I didn’t have to walk.  Apparently in 3 months if all goes well, I’ll have to run hard to get to that 142, and I’m super looking forward to it.

#3 – I want to fix my run.  My running has honestly gotten worse and worse every year since I started triathlon (my swim and bike have gotten better to compensate and still log PRs, but still).  Of course, first, I need to get some of my strength and endurance back first, but then it’s time to work on the marathon shuffle I have going on.  First of all, drills.  I need to do them.  Second, plyometrics.  I used to cross train with Dance Dance Revolution and I’m pretty sure it did amazing things for my run.  I don’t do anything hoppy jumpy anymore and those muscles are super weak.  Plus, it’s fun!

Run dance eat brick…

#1 and #2 are in progress.  Weights x2 week, trying to make my bike rides a little more effort and a little less cruising (for some of them), swimming more often than once a month, and some MAF runs.  And… a little of #3 simply because DDR is a lot of fun!

Last week:

  • 31 miles of riding bikes around work (2h30), 20 mins MTB
  • 1 swim, 1250m in 25 mins
  • 1 run, 4.5 miles in 55 mins
  • 1 brick of 10 mins/1 mile/10 mins/1 mile
  • 1x Oiselle Dozen, 1 short strength sesh, 2x DDR sessions

I missed one swim, but logged about 7 hours, and that’s plenty fine.

This week:

  • 3 bikes – work commute, riding back and forth to the pool, long ride up and back to my parents’ house
  • 2 swims, 1000-1500m each
  • 2 runs, 3-5 miles each
  • 2x Oiselle Dozen
  • 2x DDR sessions

Again, this doesn’t look like that much but it’s approaching 10 hours depending on how long we ride over the weekend.  So, it’s enough.

I like this picture because it looks like my cat is really interested in the sandwich (like she would be if I left it out).

Let’s talk about feeling fit and comfortable in my own skin.  I placed that picture from 2014 up at the top of this post because it was the last time I really felt fit.  Sure, I’ve completed a bunch of marathons and 70.3s and even an Ironman since then, and it’s hard to argue that you can spend 5, 7, or 16 hours doing a fairly grueling physical activity and feel unfit, but that’s really how I feel about the situation.

That picture represented the culmination of 2 very focused months where I improved my diet quality and trained very smartly and PR’d the crap out of my fourth half ironman by 23 minutes on a super-hot non-optimal day.  While I still wanted to take off some weight from the 173 I weighed there (and I still do, my ultimate goal is in the 150s), I felt good there.  I’m looking forward to liking what I see in the mirror and feeling strong and capable as an athlete instead of being out there IN SPITE of what shape I’m in.

I’m not doing a terrible job with the calories part of it (at least on average over the week), so obviously my body is cranky about my diet quality and I really need to step that up if I want to get some results, I guess.

  • Weight: 188.1 (+0.1) lbs
  • Avg cal per day: 2000 (-65) calories
  • Avg deficit per day: -872 (-35) calories
  • Macros: 62 (-4)g fat, 203 (+4)g carbs, 101 (+1)g protein, 25 (-4)g fiber

Not a bad week at all… except that weight.  Sigh.  It seems that my weight lags a few weeks behind what I actually eat.  A few weeks ago I spent the week in the woods with very little activity and drinking lots of beer and it’s finally catching up with me.  Hopefully after a few weeks of being good, things will go back to normal and keep going down from there.

DQ score: Monday: 11.  Tuesday: 27.  Wednesday: 19. Thursday: 13.  Friday: 18. Saturday: 4.  Sunday: 6.  Average comes out to approximately 14 (out of 32).  Not my finest week at all.  I’m succeeding at the veggies, doing decent at including more fruit, trying, but doing an inadequate job of including nuts in my life and also eliminating refined grains and fried crap, and ruining all the other efforts with alcohol.

But, the silver lining is at least I’m not doing things perfectly and not making progress.  I’m not making progress because I keep eating stupid crap.  I can at least understand that and work towards not eating less stupid crap.  I won’t lie, I’m really frustrated with my lack of progress, but it’s inspiring me to double down.  Maybe I wasn’t ready to commit fully, but now I am.  On top of all the good habits I’m trying to build with including more healthy food in my diet, I’m going to do these things this week:

  • No sweets (minus half a piece of dark chocolate as desert, even Matt Fitzgerald says that’s fine) except for one small piece of cake with the family on Saturday.
  • Measuring out my alcohol BEFORE I drink it and limiting it. I have a feeling that this is what’s holding me back and while I hate hate hate the idea of it, I guess I can temporarily not be a lush for a while to achieve some goals.  Sighhhhh.  I guess I will need to find another non-calorific stress relief outlet.  I hear exercise is great (oh wait…).
  • I can have maximum ONE other thing per day that negatively impacts diet quality.  If I’m going to have alcohol, then I can’t have cake or chips or white bread.  I will have two of those things on Saturday – guess what that means?  I need to have one other day where I don’t have ANY.

I’m putting that self-sabotaging part of my brain on notice.  We’re laying down the law here.  You’re not welcome here.

New dress and my compromise meal at Red Robin (no bun, lots of fries).

I looked at my To Do List and kind of freaked out because I hadn’t done any of it by Thursday, but then I did some things (not all of them) and it was all good.

  • Hosting people for our second game night while staying chill AF instead of being neurotic hostess. – YEP!  Had super lots of fun and on weeks where we have the cleaning service, this was almost no hassle.
  • More work in the office.  I’d be happy if we can get the in-office surfaces and the entire floor clean.  That would step #1 done! – NOPE!  We spent the hours we would have done this hanging out with a friend in a pool.  I am ok with the trade off.
  • Getting the DDR pad out in time for the party on Saturday.  – YEP!  I played twice last week (though no takers for a dance battle).  It was glorious.
  • I want to be in a lake at some point this week. EH… pool kind of counts.  I mostly wanted to be in the water doing something besides laps.
  • Clothes shopping.  All I want to wear lately are long dresses/skirts, so I’m going to get more of them so I stop wearing the same 5 over and over. – YEP!  I want to hit a few more places but I got a few new things.
  • Finish How to Win Friends and Influence People.  – YEP!  Started my second non-fiction book as well: It’s Never Too Late to Starup.

This week, I’d like to do more things.

  • We get the shed on Tuesday (yaaaaay!).  We’ll be pausing the work on the office this week and doing shed things:
    • Caulking the shed.
    • Painting the shed.
    • Get all the things that are supposed to be in the shed in the shed.
  • Doctor said my ears were waxy and could use a drain (TMI?), and then we both forgot about it.  I need to get my online stuff set up with the docs and contact her about when I can come in and get that done.
  • Finish the second half of the half chapter of the book that I started.  Talk about self sabotage – this isn’t hard, this is just intimidating me for some reason.  Dear Me, YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY SOMETIMES, love and kisses, Me.
  • Bonus points: ANY work on the office we can get to.  This is now becoming a sore spot with both of us, which is stupid.  We just need to get it done.  Setting a goal to having this complete by the end of August, so we can cross this fully off the list and not speak of it again.

Once the office is done, the workout room should be pretty quick to follow, and then I can start tackling some of the other goals on my list that involve planning and writing and such and maybe take care of some of the other adulting stuff.  Sigh.  Accepting applications for a wife.  Duties include cooking healthy food exactly to my specifications, cleaning and decluttering the house, laundry, house projects I want done but I don’t want to do, not taking my spot on the couch EVER.

No takers?  Surprising.




10 Camping Tips for People Who Are Not AT ALL Rugged

As I’ve said before, I grew up in a family who’s idea of roughing it was a hotel without an indoor pool.

Nature and I have only really recently became BFFs.  I always liked the IDEA of being outdoorsy, but not the reality.  While I’ll never lose my enjoyment of posh penthouse hotel rooms overlooking a sprawling downtown city center, I have also come to love being in the middle of nowhere as well.  Here are my tips for those of you who relate to the meme above but also secretly want to become a badass woodsy nature princess.

1. GET A GOOD TENT.  Even if you ignore everything else I say, DON’T CHEAP OUT.  Every time we are able to set up our 200$ REI tent in less than 5 minutes and watch other people struggle for over an hour, I thank my husband for not listening to me when I said “dude, why don’t you get that 40$ one that’s the same size?”.  If you don’t want to commit, you can rent a nice one from REI.  If you still don’t want to commit, borrow a crappy one from someone for your next trip and I guarantee you’ll be sold.

One of the telling things about how outdoorsy I am is that my best tent picture is actually from my backyard…

2. Double thick air mattresses.  People make fun of mine, and I’m certainly not at the rugged “backpack only hike in hike out” level, but it beats the hell out of sleeping on the ground.  PRO TIP: get something like this so that you’re not screwed if you end up somewhere without power.

3. Bring so many layers if it’s cold.  My first time in the winter, I just couldn’t get warm and I think I had on every article of clothing I brought simultaneously.  Conversely, in the summer, you’ll need WAYYY less than you think.  Bring a couple swim suits, a few super comfy things to wear, PJs, and you’re pretty much set for a week.

#hammocklife forever

4. Hammock.  I get tired of sitting in camping chairs after a while and it’s nice to have somewhere to recline.  I just bought a new one that has mosquito netting and while I can’t vouch for that specific one yet, that’s probably where you’ll find me on every camping trip for every moment until forever.

5. TP.  Even for improved camping with bathrooms.  Sometimes you don’t want to walk that far and the woods are closer.  Sometimes they’re out.  Sometimes you need something absorbent for a non-bodily waste related reason.  There’s no reason not to have a spare roll of TP in your car.

You see flowers, I see a nice field to pee in when that sun goes down… as long as I have my TP…

6. Improved camping.  Spend the extra money, it’s worth it.  Access to showers (even if they’re gross) and being able to plug stuff into charge if needed is great and not usually much more expensive – though they usually fill up quicker. PRO TIP: if you do find yourself on the primitive side of things and there are improved sites in the area, asking one of the campers there all nice like will usually net you use of their power to charge your phone, or the combination to the showers. 

7. Here’s the order to unload the car:  Tent, pump up and place mattress in tent, make the bed, THEN everything else.  It doesn’t work the other way if you have a tiny one. 🙂

8. The no-PTO-mini-vacay: go out Friday night (with enough time to set up before dark) and come back Sunday morning.  This is better than the “go to the woods for one night to get drunk and eat hot dogs” trip, you get a full day and night in nature.  You don’t get the three day effect, but this way you don’t have to take time off work and you also get almost a full Sunday at home to relax and unpack.

No matter how long you get to have this as your view, it’s soul-refreshing.  But I do recommend 3 days.

9.  The three day camping effect.  However, if you can swing it, something magical happens on that third day.  You feel lighter, unburdened, and probably more relaxed than you have in years.  You’ve forgotten your to do list, schedules, and the importance of the time of day, and day of the week.  You morph from worrywart and sufferer of decision fatigue to your cooler, more relaxed camper persona, who’s most pressing concern is whether to walk down to the water or continue to sway in the hammock.  It’s a chance to spend multiple days in mono-task mode which is a HUGE luxury for a lot of us and one of the most creatively refreshing things you can do.

10. Just do it.  You’re going to whine about all the gear.  It’s going to be too hot, too cold, too windy, or it might rain.  It’s going to seem like a lot of work and you may as well just stay home because you could get soooo much done.  But… go camping.  At least sometimes.  It’s good for your soul.  Your inner woodland nymph crying to get out will thank you.


This is plenty.

Back to life, back to reality.  Plenty of things to catch up on, so let’s roll!

Unintentional planking cleavage and rainbow planks coming full circle last Thursday.

You’ll hear “it was my first week” a lot in this post.  While I always try to take care to not overwhelm myself with changes, a new start sometimes does provide the opportunity to change your routine a little more than normal without it feeling like a hassle.

Last week was my first week with a workout schedule that is not just a suggested whisper.  It’s not x-weeks until a big race, it’s not a build to anything impressive, it’s just time to start doing something more regularly than just whenever I feel like and hitting all 3 sports (and returning to lifting heavy things, even if those heavy things right now are my body).

Ironman has completely fubar’d my perspective, because in six weeks I’m going to ride a full century, and I’m still sticking with “not training for anything big”.  I suppose the difference here in perspective is that I’m training to SURVIVE it, not hit a number, not to swim before or run after, and I did it plenty of times earlier this year.  And it’s flat.

This weekend I rode 63 miles with about 3k of climbing, with the second half in feels like 100+ (and ended in actual 100+) temps and full sun.  While I was complaining a LOT about the heat, there’s still a little bit of Ironman left in my legs.  Besides the deathball trying to stomp on my lungs all day, my legs felt remarkably… fine.  This did not feel like a long ride.  If it would have been 70 degrees I would have been smiling the whole time and been ready to ride it all over again after.  I spent the next day completely active and I had no real residual fatigue.  I think I’ll be able to survive a few more hours on HHH day just fine.

First, though, in three weeks I’m going to race another sprint triathlon, and I do not have high hopes on having any sort of breakthrough performance, but I am open to it.  My joke is that to podium, I need to come off the bike in 1st place and hopefully not let more than two people catch me with my sloooooow run.  But that’s a pretty honest assessment of my fitness right now.  When I ride with cyclists, I feel like the low side of intermediate, but apparently that’s pretty good for recreational triathletes because I typically place pretty highly in my age group on the bike leg.  My running is no better than it was last month, it maybe even be worse if that’s possible, but my hope is that some residual endurance carries over from increased biking and helps out there.

That being said, here’s last week:

  • Run: 3 miles MAF run.  Skipped one 2-3 mile run.
  • Bike: 14 miles easy, 1.5 hour cycle class intervals, 63 mile El Diablo Poker ride
  • Swim: 1000m in the pool.
  • Strength: 2x Oiselle Dozen sessions (I’ll do these until they feel easy and then maybe start working with weights).

This doesn’t sound like a lot but it amounted to 9.25 hours.  That’s plenty.

This week:

  • Run: 1 hour run (as close to MAF as possible)
  • Bike: 2 rides.  Hopefully one with some sort of effort.
  • Brick: Bike/Run/Bike/Run at the gym
  • Swim: 1 x 20-30 mins, 1 x slightly longer because it sounds fun.
  • Strength: 2x Dozen

This is wayyyy less training than my brain says I should be doing but it adds up to 7 hours and that’s also plenty so we’ll just move on.

All the veggies.  All of them.

This week was a first FULL week of trying to do all the new things:

Since I no longer have my own mini-fridge at work, I’m packing my lunch into coolers.  While I was a little cranky at the extra prep time at home, I’ve been doing it while prepping dinner the night before so it hasn’t taken *that* long and it’s really convenient to not have to spend 10 minutes in the break room cutting veggies.

Part of that packing is a giant salad with all the veggies every day with avocado oil and vinegar dressing.  This is AMAZING, you guys.  I eat my lunch, whatever it is, a soup or a sandwich or something, and then for the rest of the afternoon I end up grazing on this thing.  Previously, I’d usually end up having some produce go bad, but last week it was all gone by THURSDAY.  This week I’m taking it a step further and making sure my salad has a full RAINBOW going on.  My salad today had romaine and carrots and cauliflower and purple cabbage and shaved brussels sprouts and beets and tomato and cucumber and green olives and goat cheese.  And I’m going to guess it’s about 6 cups of veggies total.

I’m also trying to push fruit and nuts as snacks.  I have a serving of fruit for breakfast, and sometimes, that’s all I’d have before.  I’m trying to keep around at least 2 other small fruits.  I’ve been starting on them as soon as I’m done with the giant bowl of veggies.  For some reason, I gave up nuts unintentionally, and I’ve reversed that decision.  These are now my salty snacks at work.  I have been working my way back with one serving per day and trying to get back to 2-3 some days.

With this, and my normal yogurt or smoothie for breakfast, I’ve not had to adjust my actual lunch and dinner that much.  I’ve been attempting to stick to whole grains instead of whatever sounds the best whenever possible, but I’m not trying to be a complete crazy-person about it.

These all seem to flow pretty naturally.  Somewhere further down the list is booze – bringing my intake closer to the recommendation of 7 drinks per week.  This one is tougher.  I can avoid cake and chips and white bread decently when I put my mind to it because it’s just food.  It’s a momentary pleasure.  Whiskey and wine are my stress relief.  Not my ONLY stress relief by any means, but definitely one of them.  If I could have only one vice, that’s it.  I was all proud of myself that I had cut back last week and then Sunday I had a few unplanned drinks and yesterday I stayed up until FOUR AM polishing off a big bottle of wine with my husband planning and dreaming about vacations.

This is probably a whole separate thing with deeper issues and feeling a little stuck in some areas of life right now.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all were brave enough to do all the things we wanted to do and damn the consequences?  It sounds so simple, but it feels like jumping off a cliff, and I think I’d be less scared of the ACTUAL THING than the metaphor.  That’s a whole book post in and of itself, but for now, I’ll just be happy that I’m eating healthier food and let this sleeping dog lie until I’m ready to wake it.

Anyhoo, here are the numbers:

  • Weight: 188 (+2) lbs <- this is a bit inflated due to TOM.  Earlier last week it was 186-187 but I instantly gained 3 lbs that are just coming off now.
  • Avg cal per day: 2062 (+251) calories
  • Avg deficit per day: -907 (+225) calories
  • Macros: 66 (+8)g fat, 199 (+29)g carbs, 100 (+10)g protein, 29 (+0)g fiber

Suuuuper solid by the overall numbers.  I’ve been making a conscious effort to increase my good fats, so I’m not that worried about that number going up a bit.  Let’s delve deeper.

DQ score: Monday: 25.  Tuesday: 21.  Wednesday: 18. Thursday: 25.  Friday: 16. Saturday: 2.  Sunday: 15.  Average comes out to approximately 17.4 (out of 32).  Much better than before (which was 13).  This was three great days, three good/ok days, and one crappy day – but that crappy day was after a 4.5 hour ride.  *shrug*  I’ll take it.  A four point increase is plenty good for me right now.

Hot AF, but we got it done!

Zliten and I had some differing opinions about what’s left to do in the office.  In his eyes, the room just needed a few touches and it was ready to start being a room to do work.  In my view, it’s got the majority of a full weekend left before I could even BEGIN to concentrate on creating anything in there.  I think we’ve come to a compromise about what’s left to do and we’re hoping to tackle it in the next few weekends.

#1 – finish getting everything in the office that’s not supposed to be in the office proper – namely the leaning tower of bookcase, all the extra monitors, all the storage boxes, hats, other junk.

#2 – finish getting everything in the office that is actually SUPPOSED to be there – the sewing cart, the monitors in the right spots and getting rid of the old ones, etc.

#3 – clean out the closet – maybe not completely, but enough that we can store everything we need to in there and close the doors (and perhaps have a little extra space so the next time we acquire something, it will have somewhere to go instead of on the floor or cluttering a surface).

So, yeah.  Clean floor.  Closed doors.  I’ll call it done (for this offseason) and then we can move onto the next stage which is dedicating a certain amount of hours in there actually working on projects.

The shed comes in a week.  I’m SO excited for this, it’s been so long since we ordered it and a lot of tetris pieces fall into place once we have that storage.  Once it’s built, we can move all the random things we have in the workout room out to the shed and start setting that room up as well.  The dream of four useable bedrooms is within my grasp.  This means future offseasons can be dedicated to things that are much more FUN than uncluttering full rooms of our house… maybe… someday…

Last week, we did these things:

  • It’s finally bulk trash week, so we fully cleaned out our side yard and got the camper in it’s backyard home. Ahhhhhh…. we’ve wanted to do that for months!
  • We finished getting all the camping junk and the old office junk out of the garage so there’s space for the Xterra again.

This week’s goals:

  • Hosting people for our second game night while staying chill AF instead of being neurotic hostess.
  • More work in the office.  I’d be happy if we can get the in-office surfaces and the entire floor clean.  That would step #1 done!
  • Getting the DDR pad out in time for the party on Saturday.
  • I want to be in a lake at some point this week.
  • Clothes shopping.  All I want to wear lately are long dresses/skirts, so I’m going to get more of them so I stop wearing the same 5 over and over.
  • Finish How to Win Friends and Influence People.  I’m almost there!

And that’s plenty of goals.  I’m out.  Peace!

Six days of food in the woods….

With all other time constraints removed, we both love cooking.

Not as much as eating, but it’s up there.

So, while I’m sure some people would find vacation where you prepare every meal sort of tedious, we rather enjoyed it.  The only frustrations were the meals that didn’t come out quite right or quick enough, but Zliten loves to grill and I like making sides, so it was never like UGH I HAVE TO COOK AGAIN.  There were some challenges, but it was fun to try things that you normally wouldn’t think to eat in the woods.

Our setup was pretty great.  We had a sink with running water, and a cutting board that fit nicely over the sink (so you could use one or the other but not both at the same time).  We had a gas grill and a stove with two burners.  We had the potential to purchase wood to build a fire, but we never did.  We also had a microwave in the camper (from the previous owner), but we tried not to use that.

We brought about 7 bags of food total, which seemed like an INSANE amount while packing up.  We didn’t use all of it, but we did a pretty darn good job.  While I completely overpacked on the clothing aspect, I only slightly overpacked for food.  I might be a little less obnoxious about it here next time knowing there’s a convenience store a mile away, but for fresh produce it would have been a drive.  Anyhoo, the goal was to exist the whole time on the food we brought, and besides a beer run mid-week (camping = less booze, more beer), we did it.


Meal #1 – Hot dogs.  Because it’s camping and you have to.  We cooked these on the gas grill the day we got there, and it was so late and we were so tired from work and packing and setting up that I think we just ate them with a side of beer (and were obviously too tired to get a good picture).  The specific dogs aren’t my favorite (the applegate NATURAL not organic like I usually get) but everything tastes better while camping.

Meal #2 – Bean and cheese breakfast tacos.  We took a can of beans and reheated it in a pot while toasting the tortillas on the stove.  We caved the next day and heated it in the microwave, rather than have to clean the pot again.  We ate these for breakfast on day 2 and 3, and then I think we ended up sleeping so late or had food left over that we didn’t dig into the second can of beans or eat protein bars until the last day.

Meal #3 – Fish tacos with coleslaw.  We made tilapia tacos twice, the first time with lemon pepper, and the second time with cajun seasoning (both with avocado oil and vinegar).  Fish was cooked PERFECTLY both times by our master griller on the gas grill and I prepared some fresh coleslaw and topped it with a sprinkle of cheese and hot sauce.

Meal #4 – Turkey sandwiches.  This isn’t super revolutionary, but instead of pre-made, I brought all the produce and cut it up from scratch.  It was kind of nice to have a non-grilling quick meal, but it was also sad not to have grill meat and it was a ticking time bomb because fresh deli meat goes bad quickly.

Meal #5 – Sausages and bbq beans.  This was kind of a mid-day snack meal after a big breakfast and a veggie snack, before a big dinner.  The beans were cooked on the stove and then we cooked the sausages on the gas grill (and the beans were cold by the time we ate).  We couldn’t figure out what to eat with these particular sausages, but our garlic mustard seemed to fit the bill.

Meal #6 – Dutch oven chicken and pasta with broccoli and cauliflower.  This was an impromptu thing when I realized that we had chicken, leftover pasta, fresh leftover veggies, cheese, avocado oil, fresh garlic, and seasonings.  We actually had the neighbors cook the chicken on their smoker grill egg thing (of love and wonder), and then boiled up some pasta, and tossed some oil, garlic, and fresh veggies in the dutch oven.  Combine with cheese, salt and pepper and it was worth the time even if I may have been extremely HANGRY waiting for it.

Meal #7 – Beef stew.  This was our experiment.  We did this from scratch as well, with 1 lb grass fed stew meat, fresh onions, potatoes, celery carrots and…well… a bag of frozen veggies.  At first we thought it was a fail because the beef was super chewy with the first bowl, but after giving it another hour, it was PERFECT.  So, two options next time: make with ground beef, or know it’s a 3-hour wait for this one.

Meal #8 – Burgers.  Because you’re camping.  We only brought two grass fed patties and ate them the second to last day with a side of veggie pasta salad.

One cannot live on main dishes alone, so here’s the support crew of snacks and sides…

Fruit.  I ate a bag of cherries in two days, and the rest of the days I noshed on plums and cuties.  The plums were a little too ripe and half of them went bad but I am just peeling the last clementine now.  Next time, I might pick some more HYRDRATING things like melon, but it was also nice to not have to refrigerate them.

Cut up veggies and hummus.  Since we had a ton of meals involving fresh veggies, the leftovers went to snacks.  Sadly, *some* of them went bad but I’m going to chalk that up to them being held hostage by the other (heavy) cooler on top.

Roasted corn.  Because, you kind of have to when camping, it’s the perfect grill veggie.

Veggie pasta salad.  This was the experiment.  I was going to prep it ahead of time but I got busy, so I legit just brought all the ingredients (5 different types of veggies, dry pasta, oil and vinegar, spices, two types of olives, feta, cilantro) and it took three days and three smaller Tupperware to make it, but on day four… it was worth it and was 3 servings of side-dish love.

Jerky, nuts, and protein bars.  Since I was missing my normal yogurt breakfasts, I felt low on protein all vacation.  This helped.

Julio’s tortilla chips.  Hint: avoid these.  They were so addictive that we went through 20 servings of chips in like 5 days (instead of those veggie snacks).  Then we looked at the ingredients and whaddya know, the third one was MSG.  My plan was to just bring a smaller bag of chips for both of us and next time I would try to keep it to that.

Smores. This was a challenge because we rolled sans fire.  We roasted one marshmallow on the propane burner and put one together and that was okay.  Then, I put together two smores and wrapped them in foil and put them on the grill.  Much better.

Avocado oil popcorn.  This may be one of the best things I have put in my mouth in a long time, and it was SUPER simple.  Avocado oil in dutch oven.  Two kernels.  Wait until they pop.  Put more in.  Wait until the popping slows.  Salt.  Serve.  Wonder where this has been all your life.

Fourth of july oreos.  Because it had pop rocks in the middle… duh!  I think we still have 2/3rds of them two weeks later.

For those of you who are interested in even MORE details, read below.  Here’s my entire packing list to keep two people fed well for a week.

Meats (all of these lived in the big cooler with all the ice and stayed at least fridge temp the whole time):

  • 2x package of 2 vacuum sealed chicken breasts (the ONLY thing left was two of these).
  • 2x package of 4 vacuum sealed hot dogs
  • 2 vacuum sealed burgers
  • 4x 1 vacuum sealed tilapia filets
  • 2x packages of 2 vacuum sealed sausages
  • 1 lb vacuum sealed stew beef
  • 1 lb of turkey (this stayed in the fridge)

Produce (and what I planned to use it for):

  • 1 big bag of potatoes (stew, potential snacks or sides we didn’t do, only used a few)
  • 1 big bag of onions (stew, sandwiches, burgers, potential campfire onion snacks we didn’t do, only used a few)
  • 1 head cabbage (coleslaw – I still have half of this but you can’t buy a tiny head of cabbage…)
  • 1 bunch of celery (stew, snacks, pasta salad)
  • 2 bags of carrots (stew, snacks – only needed one)
  • 4 heads of broccoli (pasta salad, pasta snacks, planned to grill some but didn’t – only needed two)
  • 1 head cauliflower (pasta salad, pasta)
  • 1 head of cilantro (pasta salad – needed just a little, the rest went slimy)
  • 2 tomatoes (burgers, sandwiches – needed just one, might have used both if the salad stayed good)
  • Bag of salad (sadly, this went slimy two days in or I would have eaten the crap out of this)
  • Cucumbers (never ate because no salad, but magically they stayed good and I’ve eaten them this week)
  • Bell Pepper (pasta salad, snacks)
  • Corn (side dish, only ate 2 of the 6 and the rest went bad)
  • Random leftovers from the fridge that had no place in the menu  – asparagus and green onions (used onions in the pasta salad but the rest of both went bad)

I am a condiment aficionado.  You might could get by with less, but I feel like the space was mostly worth it.

  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, montreal seasoning, garlic powder (and fresh), cajun, lemon pepper
  • Avocado Oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Dressings: coleslaw, lite ranch, italian (FYI, light ranch + red wine vinegar makes a better coleslaw dressing than coleslaw dressing).
  • Relish, mustard, ketchup, avocado oil mayo, hot sauce
  • Green olives
  • Pickles

The rest of it:

  • 2 cans refried beans (used one)
  • 2 cans bbq/onion beans (used one)
  • package of flour and corn tortillas (used half, used the rest at home)
  • leftover shredded cheese and a block of cheddar (used half, used the rest at home)
  • meant to bring feta for the pasta salad but got goat instead (used half, ate the rest at home)
  • pantry snacks: marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, oreos, chips, nuts, jerky, protein bars, jar of popcorn kernels (ate most of the chips and jerky, a little of the rest)
  • Nuun for electrolytes (which we didn’t really use)
  • Many types of teas (which we used three times)

And we tried to go minimal on dishes, here’s what we brought:

  • 2 bowls
  • 2 mugs
  • 8 plastic plates (but we only used two)
  • 2 forks, spoons, 1 butter knife, 1 steak knife
  • 1 big knife
  • 2 potholders
  • 2 spatulas
  • 1 small pot
  • Dutch oven
  • All the foil
  • Paper napkins and paper towels (probably could have just brought the latter).

All in all, I think we did REALLY well on our first trip out.  Here are the few observations and things I might change next time:

  • The meat situation worked out REALLY well.  I was worried, but the cooler kept things cold enough as long as we got ice every or every other day.
  • Next time we’ll rearrange things so the coolers don’t get stacked on top of each other so often.  I definitely reached for chips instead of veggies because they were more accessible.
  • I am impressed with the amount of produce we were able to get through, and how well it did for a week in a cool, protected, but not refrigerated or chilled place.  I honestly think I would have eaten most of it if it wasn’t for the hostage situation with the other, heavier cooler on top of it much of the time.  I will definitely make sure that each veggie is being used in at least two dishes plus snacks if it’s big (like the cabbage, broccoli, etc).
  • Buy all the produce the day before.  It will last longer (hi slimy salad).
  • We will definitely bring our charcoal grill too.  The gas grill was convenient, but it didn’t get very hot in the wind, and dutch ovens cook better with coals on top.
  • We need to not do meals where we cook on both the gas grill and the gas stove… unless we grill something like chicken and then toss it in something on the stove (in the dutch oven on top of pasta).  Even in the heat food cooled too quickly to do that.
  • My original thought on day 2 when I started cooking it was to prep the pasta salad beforehand, but it was kind of a fun challenge and it was one less thing to do before the trip.
  • Having minimal dishes made us have to do them right away which is a GOOD thing when you live in the same room as them.
  • Next time we’ll have to try at least one new thing!  I could easily replicate this whole menu now and have a great week of eating, but what fun is that?  I think next time I’d like to try and make a big pot of chili or maybe I’ll find another great dutch oven recipe out there.

Camping food is magic.  First of all, it tastes WAYYYY better than cooking at home.  Also, I ate and drank like a big piggie, and I didn’t gain any weight.  Magic!

Do you have a great dutch oven recipe or an idea of something great to eat while camping?  Hit me up!



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