05 July 2007

Taking Control

I have been rather low lately. Not without reason, I don't think, but I'm getting to that point where I'm tired of feeling that way, tired of medicating with food, not exercising, not taking care of myself. Tertia's list was a real inspiration to me; I could relate to so many of her goals and her final one really hit home for me: I want to start liking myself again. Deep down, I never stopped, but I have let some things go and I want to start getting back on top of my game.

I've been mulling over how to make the changes I want to make, and my plan is starting to fall into place. Here's my Tertia-style list of things I'd like to do for myself:

1. Start exercising again. I feel so soft and flabby.
2. Lose a little weight. I hate that my favorite clothes feel tight and that I choose my outfit for the day based on what I have that is both clean and stretchy.
3a. Start eating better. My kids eat great: tons of fresh fruit and veggies, very balanced meals. Me? I get what's leftover and what I have the energy to prepare once the kids are in bed. I'm low on veggies and high on Oreoes.
3b. Keep working on my list of things that both the kids and I like to eat so that I'm not cooking a meal for them and a meal for me. Variety is less important than simplicity.
4. Finish the kids' b-day thank-you notes.
5. Finish my sympathy thank-you notes.
6. Start simple savings accounts for the kids. Local bank? (convenient, but not interest-bearing) ING Direct? (unclear how this would work for babies since needs to be linked to checking account)
7. Complete paperwork related to two of John's retirement accounts to which I still don't have access.
8. Consolidate various life insurance and retirement accounts into a rainy day fund and a longer-term investment account.
9. Catch up on baby photos/books (with Mom's help).
10. Make appointment with new PCP.
11. Make appointment with eye doctor.
12. Complete planning for John's August memorial.

Whew. It's a lot. The first three are more lifestyle changes than "to-do" items, and those are the ones that are more important to me. I've got a plan in place for all three of them, though.

DoctorMama is my guru. I am a maggot. If the good Doc can start running in the morning, I can start running after work. I packed my running clothes today, and I'm going to change before I go get the kids. I often take a stroll with the twins after work, but today it's a jog. Since I've set aside the time in my schedule already, it's just a matter of bringing my clothes to work and kicking myself in the arse. We'll see how it goes.

I also might start doing T-Tapp a few mornings a week before the twins get up. There is a 15-minute T-Tapp workout that can't hurt; I might try to do that on days I don't run. I'm going to give myself a week or two to see how the running goes, then try implementing the T-Tapp.

The weight loss thing is, of course, tied to the eating thing. It's also tied to the exercise thing. I've never owned a scale and don't plan to buy one; I don't actually care what my weight is, but I do care about how my clothes fit and how jiggly my arms, thighs, and belly have become. I actually don't think that my weight is much, if any, higher than it was before I got pregnant, but between having borne twins and not exercising, I'm shaped somewhat differently.

So, exercise will help me get my shape back under control, and eating better will help me have the energy to exercise more and will help me lose weight if there is some to lose. I know my body well enough to know that if I'm eating right and exercising regularly, I settle in at a weight that I feel comfortable with, although I couldn't tell you what that weight is.

Summer is a good time to resolve to eat better what with lots of fruit and veggies out there. I just need to eat them. As stated in my list, my kids eat great. I just need to make enough for me, not just for them because when I get right down to it, when I say "eat better," what I mean is that I need to eat more fruit and veggies and fewer bowls of ice cream.

Part of my eating better involves a decision I've been kicking around for quite a while, and even have an unfinished post on. I'm going to become a pseudo-vegetarian, and raise my kids the same way. I like meat—don't get me wrong—but I don't like it enough to cook it at home. Plus I have some issues with the meat industry. Someday maybe I'll get my post on this finished. In any case, I've almost never cooked beef at home, chicken bores me most of the time, and pork is fine, but it's not like I'd miss it. So I'm going to be what I'm calling an Opportunistic Carnivore. I hate to be that pain in everyone's ass when invited over to eat, and I don't want people having to deal with my dietary issues when out or at someone's house. So if served meat, I will eat it. At home, no. Same for the twins. My pediatrician has raised her kids this way, and it seems sensible to me. I find that I will eat more veggies if I need to incorporate them into my main course, so for me, I think going veggie most of the time will help me eat the way I want to eat.

I've got a fairly decent, if not expansive, repertoire of things that the kids and I will all eat:

mac'n'cheese w/veggies
spinach pie
quiche, with or without crust
lentil casserole
veggie burgers
hummus (kids are lukewarm, but have only had it once)

I'm always looking to add to my list. Any ideas? I'll do more soups in winter, but summer is not the best soup time. Although I just remembered a really good cold pea soup recipe that I have . . .

OK, I need to get on with my day. One final note: work continues to look up. My job description has been revised so that I now directly supervise someone in my department, giving me some management experience that I've been wanting for a while. I'm also doing some writing, which I enjoy.

And! I finished Tsotsi last night. Loved it. The ending was perfect. Loved it, loved it. I cried and cried, but it was so very good. More movies for me in the future. I'm also going to borrow the complete Arrested Development from a friend so that I can balance movies with some TV entertainment.

I feel good today, more centered than I have for a while, even while being aware of and honoring the constant sadness I carry from John's absence. I feel like moving ahead.


liz said...

Muffin Man was big on pesto at that age (and still is). The best part about pesto is you can put it over some veggies that your children might not normally eat and they'll eat it. Or you can pulverize those veggies and mix them into the pesto and put it on chicken and noodles and they'll eat it.

scarp said...

I just finished catching up on your blog after having been away a 1 1/2 weeks...that picture of the twins was absolutely adorable. And I have the exact same approach to my weight as you - I know its time to do something because I choose my outfit based on what won't choke me in the waist area. I know I can do it ( a few years ago I lost a much needed 40 lbs), it is simply a question of getting myself in the mode. I don't know about you, but it will help me to know you're trying too. (btw, I don't know if you know i finally started my own blog...seems only fair you should be able to peek into my life like i have been into yours)

mlg said...

The Kid has always loved tofu. Cooked in a skillet or grilled or stir fried. You can mix it with veggies or noodles or any sauce. We eat a lot the way you are trying to eat and Tofu is a staple for us. Also, for quick meals we LOVE annie's enchiladas and Quorn cutlets. They are in the freezer section, but I don't ever feel bad about serving this freezer foods in a pinch. There are also great meatless meatballs out there.

You hvae inspired me to make my own list today. Cutting the flab and exercise is at the top of mine as well. Thanks!

Snickollet said...


I can't believe I forgot tofu--it's a staple for us, too. We just tried Trader Joe's meatless meatballs and the kids seemed lukewarm, but they often are the first time they eat something.

I'll have to try the Annie's frozen stuff. Thanks for the tip!


I have some pesto in the freezer that I'm going to thaw and try with the kids over the weekend. Mmm . . . pesto!

Lori said...

We've been using HSBC for online banking; it's easy to put money into, it's competitive with ING in terms of interest, and I don't think it needs to be linked to any other account.

My troubles don't compare, but I do understand the feeling of needing to do an inventory and get back in gear. Good luck with the list!

Robin J. said...

I found your post to be really inspiring this morning. I've just started truly exercising again, joining a small women's gym for the first time in my life. Becoming "fit" again after several years of not putting myself (health-wise) first has definitely boosted my energy and outlook on life.

The best thing about your list is that while you seem to be focusing on yourself, it is truly all tied up with benefiting the twins.

I hope you have a great job today! Do you have a double jogger for the twins?

Robin J. said...

... great JOG -- not job

Karen O said...

Do you have a pressure cooker? Soups and veggies cook in half the stove-top time and taste wonderful: flavors and nutrients are infused. Brown rice and quinoa is a favorite at our house - combined with a veggie or two and your favorite salad dressing = yum. Grain recipes usually make more servings than we can eat in a meal or two, but I fill up a bunch of lunch containers and freeze. Not always that efficient, but love it when I am!

Wishing you strength and peace from MN -
aka Karen O

mommo4.5 said...

Around here we have a lot of Lebanese fast food places and we enjoy falafel as the occasional fast food, pick-up-on-the-way-home meal (don't forget the tahini sauce...yum!) Often I just get the falafel balls and add my own salad at home because I like my salad frrrresh, but they also come as a platter meal with rice and veggies or as a sandwich on a pita. You can buy a mix and make your own at home too and it's pretty simple.

Another happy find has been Amy's frozen vegetarian burritos. We also avoid dairy so appreciate that they have three non-dairy varieties, we espcially like the breakfast burritos. You could swear they have egg in them! Amy's also has some other great vegetarian products such as soup and frozen pizza using natural and organic ingredients.

I have found some great recipies on line for veggie patties using different combinations of grains and beans. Easily as appealing, if not more so, than a lot of meat recipes.

I like your description of yourself as an Opportunistic Carnivore. This vegan approach is new to us and while we are quite happy with it on a daily basis, it is difficult when you are invited to dine with other folks. We've decided to not be difficult and to be flexible and eat what we are served. It's not that we think it's "wrong" to eat meat, it's just a health choice we've made for ourselves. The way I put is that "we aren't exactly vegans, but we eat like vegans 90% of the time."

All the best on your goals. Don't forget to pace yourself!

Anonymous said...

So funny that you wrote this because I wrote about the kids' weight over on Parenting today. Anyway, I have a great 'light' pesto recipe (from Christopher Kimball, no less!) that the kids absolutely love. Just smelling the piles of basil leaves makes me feel healthier.

Good luck with all of your goals. I think writing them down is a huge step! I can't even get that far. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post Snick...taking it a step at a time on the fitness/weight stuff has worked well for me, it helps when I can count little steps as real progress and not have my focus on the BIG goal...I've been kicking around the "opportunistic carnivore" thing for a bit now, I think it's just a change I need to make to be healthier...you're inspiring me as usual to take action:)

Glad the job front is looking up too!

On food stuff, I agree the Annie's stuff is great, my kids love it, I had to try a few different hummus types before I found one they liked and the summer veggies and fruits are such a big hit at our house, in one of the recent Cooking Light mags it talked about how to properly freeze and store summer fruits and veggies for winter use that I found helpful.

Keep on keeping on woman! Lots of love to you and the kids.

All the Best,

Jolene said...

I by no means consider myself a cook so I won't even go there but I will say that salads a great way to eat healthy and stay fresh in the summer. what a wonderful list! Don't be so hard on yourself about the weight issue but I'm so happy that you want to move ahead. I'm sure John would want it that way. Keep us posted on the list so we can cheer you on as you complete each one.

Anonymous said...

After years--yes, years: my kids are 14 and 11--I just lost 10 pounds. It was so simple, and the weight continues to come off. I require myself to eat a salad every day, drink several glasses of water, and wait 15 minutes before having seconds (by that time life has usually kicked into a new gear and there's no time to eat any more). No more finishing everything on the table rather than wrapping it up and putting it away.

Two easy and healthy staples in my house: whole wheat tortillas with canned refried beans with grated cheddar. And peppers, lettuce, etc, or some carrots or something on the side (salad for me!) And salsa (again, for me!).

And eggs. Anything can be an omelette, or a frittata--when my kids were toddlers I'd chop up vegs and some cheese and throw them into a "flat omelet" (you know what I mean?) which I'd then cut into bite-size pieces. The kids loved it.


Amy said...


This is a favorite in our house, butterfly pasta with chickpeas:


we don't use the breadcrumbs. Easy, fast, healthy, and loved by all!

I love your list - it always helps me to just articulate the things that are bothering me, and what I need to change.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't it be "Opportunistic Omnivore?"

Kate said...

We have an ING savings account that's connected to our regular-bank checking account. It's not too hard to set up - you have to mail in a check and activate the account by phone - but then you can do everything via computer. And the rate is excellent - four percent compared to the .2 (yes, POINT two) our local bank was offering us.

Emmie (Better Make It A Double) said...

What an inspiring post. I'm so bad at that stuff, especially the part where I actually get some decent food to eat myself. On the other hand, the "toddler twin diet" has been pretty good to me.
Step 1: start to get self something to eat
Step 2: pull toddler off of dresser
Step 3: walk back over to kitchen counter
Step 4: pull toddler 1 off of toddler 2
Step 5: move onto something else, forget about eating altogether.
Step 6: repeat, all day long.

Net result: 6 pounds lost in last 3 months, down about 30 from pre-pregnancy weight...

Jenn said...

I set up ING savings account for both my boys. I am the joint owner and it's tied into my checking account. Once I got it set up with my checking, I just transferred money into theirs. I didn't have to mail anything in. Now if someone gives them money as a gift I deposit it into my checking account and transfer it electronically into their savings. I also have it set up to deduct a little each month from my checking into their savings automatically. The interest rates are about double what the credit union offers.

Anonymous said...

For exercise, this pedometer works best for me. That way if my day gets split up I can keep track how many miles I have gone. It also keeps a seven day record.
Omron HJ-112

OTRgirl said...

Hmm...I was just thinking about doing an ING account.

In the next week I'm planning on doing three one-hour Pilates workouts so I can be in shape to be a bridesmaid next Friday. Thus far my commute has been my best exercise. Bike-riding from train to job on my previous two and now walking 20 minutes from Caltrain station to downtown SF.

My biggest "diet" has been not buying any dessert items anymore. No ice cream, etc. I have all the ingredients to make cookies, but I'm usually too lazy to be bothered.

I love the Opportunistic Carnivore/Omnivore idea.

Julia S. said...

kewgNice to see you focussing on you for a change and congratulations on the increased job responsibility.

A couple of things:

1. Depending upon what you want the savings accounts to be used for you might want to consider setting up some college funds. This ties up the money for a while (and thus might not be what you are looking for) but has the advantage of being untaxable provided it is used for education. Otherwise you will pay tax yearly on the interest earned with the savings accounts. And the better funds have much higher returns than even the best paying internet accounts. So, depending on how much access you want to that money it might be something to consider. Email me if you want to know what we are using.

2. It sounds like your kids eat very well! Bravo. Stir-fries are great because everyone can always pick out something they like and you can cheat for tiem with pre-cut vegetables from the salad bar. I tend to make things from components and pull out a portion for Patrick before it gets too spicy or weird for him. Like pasta with tuna and black olives and basil (his bowl) and then I add capers and red onion and feta and more stuff that I like to the rest. That way I am not making two separate meals but I am also not arguing with Patrick about esting the things that look like barnacles.

I love having stuff in the freezer, although that is less appealling in the summer. Then I cook on weekends when I feel like it and can pull stuff out to reheat when I have less time. When Fall rolls around again I will send you my favorite easy kid-friendly freezer things: chicken pot pie, enchiladas, baked pastas.

Take care.

Caustic Cupcake said...

No more sad movies, woman! And I think it's awesome that you're setting self-improving goals, even though I personally feel that you need no improvement at all. But I might just be biased because I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Your goals sound good and do-able.

I just want to remind you that you can like yourself right now, as you are.

In fact, the only way to make real change is to do just that. Anytime we making liking ourselves or feeling good about ourseleves conditional, it makes it that much harder to take truly good care of ourselves.

Please consider making another list. A list of everything good and true about you (that will be along list, we can help if you need it!) Put that list with the first one and read it just as often, if not more. It will be the foundation you need to make changes in a loving way.

Best of luck.

Suburban Princess said...

One thing that my son (3) loves and has loved since day dot is mince with rice and hidden vegies. In fact, his grandfather (64) and dad (26) love this dish also and is a regular addition to our meal plan.

What we do is fry up mince with garlic/onion/bottom of the fridge vegies like carrot/zucchini/corn/capsicum/pumpkin and cook rice at the same time. When the rice is about 5 minutes from done, I tip it into the frypan with the rest of the mix and allow it to soak in the juices from the meat and vege. Love it! The little one eats it with tomato sauce, we eat it with a salad.

My son's favourite food at the age of your twins was minestrone, he simply was not able to eat enough of it! Hard vegies (Carrot/celery/potato/onion) in a little butter in the frypan, toss in some tomato paste and fresh parsley. Then add in your stock (chicken or vegetable)and allow to cook for about 1/2 an hour. This would be the time you added zuchini, mushroom and whatever else lurks in your fridge. Five minutes from the end put in green beans and small pasta shapes. My family once again lapped this up.

I recommend the kids cookbook that Annabel Carmody wrote - heaps of her recipes are adult tastebud friendly and the kids love them. They also happen to be low in slat and sugar.

/end epic

Rev Dr Mom said...

I am the same sort of vegetarian for much the same reasons. I allow some exceptions I read on another blog (Ianqui in the Village): hospitality, "the full experience", and survival. I do eat seafood.

Good luck!

Smileygirl said...

One of my favorite summer time treats is a simple cucumber sandwich. I use cocktail bread and make a mixture using low fat cream cheese, low fat italian dressing and sprinkle in some dill weed. I lather it up on the bread and then slice thin circles of cucumbers on top and then sprinkle a little more dill on top. It's one of the most refreshing summer sandwiches, especially when paired with freshly brewed iced tea and a sprig of mint. It's 10:30 at night and I'm craving one now!

winecat said...

Make friends with epicurious.com. They have great recipes and you can specify ingrediants, cooking style, etc.

Christine said...

Hey Snick -- I think you're headed in the right direction. I know personally, when my husband was in a flare, I completely got off track with my eating habits. And I didn't care. Getting back on track felt good. And I know it does for you, too. Still, go easy on yourself. You deserve it.

Vanessa said...

My daughter's been vegetarian since birth -- since before birth, I suppose, since I was vegetarian while pregnant with her -- and has thrived on it. She understands that eating or not eating meat is a choice and that she's free to eat it away from home if she wants to, but that at our house we don't cook or eat it. She went through a phase a year or two ago where she did want to try things like Happy Meals and Thanksgiving turkey, but she's recently decided on her own that she wants to be completely vegetarian again.

One food that she's enjoyed ever since she was your babies' age is soy "chicken" nuggets. There are lots of brands, but her favorite is Morningstar Farms. I swear we go through two boxes of those things a week! I've had them too, and they're pretty good, as are the larger breaded patties for sandwiches.

Bethany said...

What about whole-wheat couscous? You can make it with tomato juice for extra vitamin C and flavor, or you can add minced onion, garlic & cucumber and some lemon juice and olive oil for flavor.

Chopped spinach in spaghetti sauce, or other veggies for that matter. Have you tried muffins like Morning Glory Muffins from Cooking Light? Very healthy and yummy as well!