Biking to Work

Right now my coworkers and I are experiencing some driving pains, as the streets all around our office are being torn up and repaved before winter. There is a LOT of construction going on, and there are pieces of equipment and cones everywhere. Yesterday when I left work, I was very confused about where I was supposed to go, even with a flagger standing in the middle of the street to assist! Luckily, I work earlier in the day on Mondays, so I got to work before the road work started and left before most people in the office buildings lining the street were ready to head home.

I knew that today would be worse, since I would be arriving for and leaving work around the same time as most of the other people. If there’s one thing that makes me crazy, it’s being stuck in traffic, especially traffic that is just not moving. I had an important meeting scheduled for today, so there was no way I could just work from home, I had to come to the office. But I decided that I didn’t have to drive, I could ride my bike instead.

I love my bike. I’ve had it for just about four months now, and in those four months I have gained a lot of confidence. This morning was a new milestone for me, my first solo ride. I decided to drive as far as Log Boom Park, then ride the Burke-Gilman trail a little over six miles to my office.

I had taken the route before and was comfortable with it, and it was a beautiful morning for a bike ride. Bill went to the park with me to help me unload my bike from my car and make sure I got started out all right (have I mentioned that he is the best fiancee ever?). I kept my ride leisurely, averaging a pace of 10mph, both because I wanted to enjoy the experience and also because I didn’t want to get super sweaty! My office does have a shower that employees can use, but I didn’t want to have to re-wash my hair.

It took me just over half an hour to arrive at the office, which was considerably less time than it would’ve taken me to get through all the road work to park!

Even though the road construction is still going to be a pain (I can’t bike to work every day, there are days I will need my car during the day), I’m glad that it pushed me to try biking to work because I really enjoyed the new experience. Sometimes great things can come out of minor inconveniences if we use them the right way!

 

Slow and Steady

Like a lot of people, I had Monday off from work. Isn’t it funny how short weeks can somehow feel like the longest weeks ever? Maybe it’s just because we’re cramming five days worth of work into four days, but for whatever the reason I always feel like these four-day weeks have a tendency to just drag on.

Although this week feels like it will never end, I’m still amazed at how quickly the year is flying by. Kids are going back to school this week, and Halloween decorations are already out in the stores. While I adore the holiday season, I am not ready yet! I need more time!

I realized as I thought about how quickly the year has gone that it’s been awhile since I wrote anything about weight loss or my renewed desire to be healthier. Truthfully, there’s not a lot to report: I only lasted about a week and a half on the meal plan that my friend so enthusiastically designed for me last May. Even though she did her best to make it something fairly simple and easy to follow, it didn’t take long at all for me to feel restricted. When I cheated and had a hot dog at a baseball game, she scolded me for my weakness, and I felt like a total failure. I rather passionately declared that I quit, and swore to myself that I was not going on ANY meal plan again.

Over the summer, I pretty much entered into a screw-it mentality when it came to food and just ate whatever I wanted. Naturally, this approach had the opposite of my desired effect, and I gained a few more pounds. To be honest, I was just so sick of worrying about food and weight that I really didn’t care…that is, until my clothes started getting tight and brought my free-for-all eating to a screeching halt.

A friend of mine recently started marketing the M3 Body System from Modere, encouraging friends to take the M3 Pledge. What that means, is that you take a 90-day pledge to use the three products every day, and pick three lifestyle changes to commit to. It seemed fairly simple to me, so I agreed to give it a go. I chose to commit to avoiding fried foods, walking 7500 steps per day, and drinking 60oz of water per day. The steps and water I was already doing rather habitually anyway (I am one of those people who genuinely loves plain old water, especially when it’s cold!).

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Pause for a picture of my face

On Modere’s website and on the Facebook group my friend added me to, there are raving testimonials that THIS is the program that was clicking with people. For me….eh.  I completed my first month on the M3 last week and was down four pounds, which I was happy about for sure, but the results were nowhere near what I expected. In August I returned to my beloved Zumba class on Monday nights, and I started keeping a food diary again, so those things may have had more to do with the weight I did lose than the M3 products did. In all fairness, there were days when I didn’t get in my 7500 steps, and I haven’t been very faithful about taking the Sync before dinner because I have a hard time squeezing it in between my evening workout and my dinner. I did try taking it after dinner, as some recommended, but I consistently noticed that I would weigh more in the mornings when I did that. I have enough product to finish out September, and I may order the Flourish and Slim products by themselves going forward, but will not be purchasing the whole system again since the Sync is mostly going to waste.

Even though a four-pound weight loss seems minimal at best, it actually made a big difference in how I feel and how my clothes fit (I did break down and buy a couple of pairs of jeans on Poshmark in a size up from what I had been wearing previously). Truthfully, all that matters to me is looking and feeling good in my clothes, no matter the size on the tag.

Right now, I’m happy with my Monday night Zumba classes, and Bill and I are trying to get in as many weekend bike rides as we can before the weather gets really rainy. I love long rides, and would like to go over 50 miles before I put my bike away for the winter (so far, my longest ride has been 45 miles). I do feel better when I exercise regularly and so I’m trying to get a decent workout four times a week. My eating habits are far from perfect, but I’m finding that keeping a food diary is helping me to be much more mindful of what I’ve eaten all day.

So, small progress. I’m trying to be content with the slow but consistent weight loss I’ve been achieving since the beginning of August, reminding myself that I cannot undo three years of bad habits and lose three years worth of weight gain overnight. I am trying to remain motivated while staying kind to myself. For September, I am going to try to keep to a consistent workout schedule and keep tracking my food, which seems to work really well for me.

So, that’s where I’m at…I’ll try to remember and post another update in October. Everything in moderation, including weight-focused blog posts, amiright?

 

Salted Caramel Muffins

Happy Tuesday! I’m feeling so refreshed after a relaxing three-day weekend, and I’m excited that the weather is starting to cool off and fall is nearly here. While warmer summer temperatures make me hungry for lighter fare like salads, once the days begin to get chilly my urge to bake returns. I could happily spend all of fall and winter in my kitchen, whipping up yummy treats (although I am usually discouraged from doing so, as most of my baking is NOT healthy!).

On Sunday, I really wanted to make a nice breakfast at home, but was pretty limited on ingredients. Rather than change out of my cozy pajama pants just to run to the store, I whipped up muffins using things that I already had in my kitchen. Although I wasn’t sure how my concoction was going to turn out (when Bill asked me what I was making, I replied honestly, “Probably a big mess”), I’m very pleased with the recipe and got a couple of requests to share it.

One of my favorite things about this particular recipe is that since it is so low in sugar, these muffins are relatively guilt-free while still being tasty. I couldn’t help sampling this one before I snapped a photo of it!

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Salted Caramel Muffins

What You’ll Need 

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Oikos Salted Caramel Greek Yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray if not using muffin liners
  2. In a large bowl, combine flower, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. In a second large bowl, combine egg, sugar, milk, canola oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until smooth and combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup, evenly distribute the batter into the cavities of the prepared muffin tin, filling each to about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F. This initial baking period with higher heat will help the muffins form their domed tops.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 375F and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until tops are set and lightly golden and a toothpick insterted into the center comes out clean.