Friday, June 25, 2010

The Joy of Thrifting Returns!

Now that I'm down to a size 6 (wahoo!!), shopping for clothes at the thrift store has become easy and exciting again.  While there have always been lots of clothes available no matter what size I was, at a size 6 not only are there plenty of options, there are plenty of cute options.  I've been able to get great skirts and capri pants; blouses and t-shirts to make up my summer wardrobe.  I would say I have not paid more than $50 for it all.  

Paradoxically, it's become harder to shop for clothes in my neighborhood (aka on the ave in the hood).  I've always been accustomed to buying tank tops and bike shorts or leggings (stuff for exercising or lounging at home that I wouldn't necessarily buy at the thrift store) for cheap on the ave.  Often times I can find merchandise that has "fallen off the back of the truck", i.e. name brand stuff that somehow ended up in these little stores.   A recent expedition to the ave to try to get some new bike shorts/leggings was totally unproductive.  Turns out that they either carry extra-small (like for pre-pubescent girls or really, really skinny women) or medium and up (to xxl).  No smalls!  So my go to for bike shorts/leggings is no longer my go to.  Which kind of sucks.  But whatever.  I'll pony up the $14 it costs to buy bike shorts at Target because exercising in pants in the summer is just . . . not nice.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Treat a Treat like a Treat

Until I started Weight Watchers, I didn't fully appreciate the extent to which my baking was keeping the weight on me.  Some of my baked delights could turn out to be 5 or 6 points per serving.  And I would, without giving it a second thought, eat 2 or 3.*  I mistakenly thought that since all the cookies, cakes, and pastries I was making were vegan they were better. Turns out that in terms of calories oil is oil (whether it's butter or safflower oil) and flour is flour (whether it's organic unbleached pastry flour or not). and sugar is sugar  (whether it's white sugar or brown rice syrup).   Now,  while I still believe baking vegan treats is ultimately better for your health (no saturated fats, no bleached flour, higher fiber content, etc), I have learned that vegan or not, I have to treat a treat like a treat.  I personally like to have treats every evening in the form of tea and a cookie of some sort.  Recently, I've been having organic graham crackers (just 1 and 1/2 sheets for a grand total of 1.5 points) with my tea and that has been good.  But every so often (not nearly as often as before WW), I get in there and I bake.

Today is one of those days.  Right now as I'm typing this, I have a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the oven.  The aroma is filling the house and it's wonderful.  I made the cookies using Dreena's Vegan Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  When I was baking so much more frequently, I would avoid this recipe (even though these cookies are seriously to die for) because I didn't want to use expensive maple syrup.  Now that baking is not a tri-weekly bi-weekly event, I don't feel badly about using the maple syrup. It's a treat.  I'm going to treat a treat like a treat.

Oh, by the way, this recipe makes about 12 nice sized cookies and each cookie is 3 Weight Watchers points.  Since I usually allot 1.5 points for a treat daily, I do have to really think about how I'm going to fit it in since I am not about to eat half a chocolate chip cookie!

*Based on my weight, height and activity level, I have 26 points to use daily.  Eating 2 muffins at 5 points a piece means that I only would have 16 points left to use for the day.  And you know I was eating much more than that!

Photo Credit: "Chocolate Chip Cookies" by Cutting Board on

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Feasting!

A sistren of mine, who I met through my blog, inspired me!  For Father's Day, she planned to make a beautiful lasagne for her kingman's first Father's Day and I thought it was a great idea.  I hadn't planned to do much of anything beyond a card but I figured we hadn't had lasagne is a long time.  Even though we really like lasagne around these parts and my recipe is relatively easy, making lasagne it a multi-step process and involves a lot of dishwashing and clean-up.  Also, we treat processed soy (textured soy prtoein/isolates, etc) as a treat (so we only have it every so often).  But, I think, Father's Day was a special enough day to make it!

We had it with a mixed green salad and a simple vinaigrette.  It was delicious.  And, surprisingly, only 7 Weight Watchers points!

I'm posting this while cooking lentil dahl for dinner.  We sure eat multi-culturally around these parts!

Housework and Philosophophizing

I usually clean the bathroom on Mondays (despite numerous attempts at spot cleaning, it seems like I genuinely need to bust the bathroom down at least once a week).  Our bathroom has all the original parts that were installed when the house was built: original tile (wall and floor), bath, toilet, sink and fixtures.  We've added some things to it and gotten rid of other things but overall, the bathroom is fundamentally unchanged.  And it looks every bit of its 70 years!  Our bathroom is extremely functional.  Everything works the way it's supposed to.  It's been through the bitterest of winters and the most extreme summer heat and it's still working.  But there are signs.  Cracks. Crevices. Some tiles have fallen out.  We've tried to re-grout and all that but really, the bathroom just needs to redone.  (Hopefully, next year will be the year.  It would have been this year but after a terrible storm, the water just started pouring into the house which meant the roof took precedence.)

Anyway,  this morning I saw the before and after pictures of a woman (with kids) who had completed P90X (we're on the same message board).  Amazing.  Yesterday, I was doing Chalean Extreme and Chalean pointed to a woman who has 7 kids.  Like physically birthed 7 kids.  Amazing.  I mean, there are *no signs* that these women have had children. 

It got me down.  I mean, I'm thrilled these women look so great but I have to say, it throws me for a loop emotionally.  I look at my toned legs and toned arms and back and the work I've put in is evident.  I look at my midsection and . . . it doesn't look like I've done much at all.  I can see and feel the muscle in my midsection but covering all that muscle is a layer of seriously sagging skin that as far as I can see will never snap back.  And it doesn't look good.  

So I get sad sometimes.  I feel like my bathroom!  Yes, I am fully functional and can do all these wonderful and necessary things but this part of me just doesn't look good and, most likely, no amount of cardio or strength-training is going to make it look better.  It could be genetics.  It could be that I wasn't eating optimally during pregnancy.    I wish I could say that it's probably better than I think but I've worked up the courage to show two (non-hubby) people and they both said, "Well, you could have surgery."  But in my gut I know I won't ever do that.  I don't have anything against cosmetic surgery but I couldn't see myself voluntarily signing up for it (at least that's how I feel right now--it may change).  So it's something I realize that I will have to accept.  And I am.  Slowly.  But every so often, I can't help feeling bad about it. I can't help feeling grossed out when I am doing push-ups, planks, or cat/cow pose and I look down to see the skin just kind of swinging around.  Actually, it's kind of funny and ridiculous and I have learned not to look down. 

When I'm scrubbing the bathroom, I sometimes think how pointless it is: no matter how much I scrub, no matter how much elbow grease, time and effort I put in, things will never gleam or sparkle.  But I keep scrubbing because even if it doesn't look sparkly and new, it will be clean.  I suppose that's my philosophy when it comes to fitness too:  even if it doesn't look super tight and pulled together, it will be strong.  It's the only thing that keeps me going on those difficult days. 

And there you have it: you can indeed come up with profound life philosophies while doing housework!

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