Time to Focus

January 27, 2012

I need to buckle down on my eating. For most of the month, I haven’t been as diligent and focused as I could be. I wouldn’t say that I’m completely off my game – I’ve just been lazy. Portion sizes have gotten larger. My emphasis on planning has wained. I’ve indulged my cravings much sooner than usual, and without consideration on how those calories would impact the rest of my day.

I’ve gone through periods like this before – it starts to happen whenever I plateau or repeatedly gain and lose the same couple of pounds. I begin thinking, “Why not eat foods X, Y, and Z – I’m not losing weight anyway.” In the past few weeks, I’ve bought a candy bar (or two) at gas stations, a pint of ice cream (which was polished off much sooner than it should have been), and I’ve been really craving 7-11 corn dogs, so I’ve gotten a couple of those, too (I know, I know, they technically don’t quality as ‘food’ – more like ‘food-like substances’).

None of that is the end of the world, and I’m not beating myself up over any of it. It’s the behavior behind that bothering me and needs to change. All of those purchases were impulsive. I wanted junk food, so I bought junk food, and ate it immediately (usually, in my car, except for the ice cream). The most caloric impulse purchase was a slice of Sbarro pizza at the food court in the mall. It was the worst kind of eating: I was at the mall, I hadn’t eaten in a while, and I was a little hungry, but not achingly so. I walked past the Sbarro, and I wasn’t even craving pizza, but I thought, ‘Oh, that looks good, I haven’t eaten that in a while’ – and without a second thought, I bought a piece. I wish I had registered that I was hungry, taken stock of all the options in the food court, figured out if there was anything at all I wanted to get there, and made a more conscious, informed, intelligent decision. But I didn’t. I went for what was right in front of me. And it was greasy. And it was good, but it wasn’t the best.

Again, the pizza isn’t the end of the world, and I’m gonna gain dozens of pounds because of it. But the thinking (or lack thereof) is what I need to squash. I need to get back to the place where I think about my days, think about the food in my fridge, and the exciting ways I’m going to eat it, and then stick to those plans. When I do that, I alleviate a lot of temptation, and which temptations do strike, I can better fend them off, without giving into them mere moments after they appear.

Another reason why I’ve given in to poor food choices is because my cupboards are a little bare. My grocery shopping game, at the moment, is off – I have healthy food around, but not enough choices, and when I don’t have enough choices in my kitchen, I start not wanting to eat it. I had a container of pre-washed mixed baby salad greens in my fridge – you know the kind, every grocery store sells them. But because I didn’t many other good salad things to add to it, I never wanted to eat it. I stared at it every day for a week, maybe longer. I should have gone and picked up some salad ingredients that excite me, but I didn’t. And it sat there, and sat there, and sat there, and then yesterday I picked it up and realized it had long since expired. I opened the container, and sure enough, it smelled like a compost heap and every leaf was slimy. I don’t like wasting food, and that pissed me off.

Yesterday afternoon, I rectified my lack of healthy options problem with a big trip to Whole Foods. Here’s the entirety of my fresh produce before the trip:

Two sweet potatoes, two apples, an onion, a lemon and a head of garlic.

And here’s what I picked up at Whole Foods:

Top half, L-R: 3 red pears, 4 zucchini, 4 tomatoes, 5 satsuma tangerines, a cucumber, 2 pints blueberries, baby carrots, red bell peppers. Bottom half, L-R: celery, strawberries, bananas, pre-washed kale (and yes, I will eat it before it goes bad), 4 (more) apples, broccoli.

I also picked up a new-to-me produce item that I’ve never seen before, because I haven’t done that in a while (not since I sampled a calamondin in Michigan). Check these out – they’re popcorn shoots!

They were in the sprouts and sprouted bean section, and I presume they’re baby corn plants. They seem really thin and delicate, and although you may not be able to tell in these pictures, they’re almost translucent, which I think is really cool.

I have my research to do, but I already have an idea for how to use them as part of a breakfast dish. Look for that post this weekend!

In the meantime, I have my work cut out for me: Eat better. Plan more. Consider cravings and see if they subside instead of immediately caving into them. Oh, and you wanna know how you can help? If you’re a regular blog reader, pay attention. There’s a sure-fire sign that I’m not eating as well as I could be, and it’s that I simply don’t write about food. Since I’ve returned from my holiday travels, I’ve only written one food-based post (What’s In The RediSetGo? Part Twenty-One). If you see me go for a stretch without any mention of food, call me out on it, either in the comments section or through the Contact page!

OK – I’m off to my new gym (while my eating has suffered lately, my exercise has been pretty stellar), and I already know what I’m making for lunch when I get back – I’m getting back on the salad train with that kale, one of those tomatoes, and one of those peppers. I’ll post a picture on my Facebook page later today as proof!

Keep it up, David!

UPDATE (3pm): The salad photo is up on my Facebook page, as promised! Check it out here.

Some Thursday Food Notes

January 27, 2011

What’s been on my mind, lately, food-wise.

1) Tupperware. I love me some Tupperware.  My aunt gave me some new Tupperware as a Christmas present, and I’m using it all the time.  It’s from their FridgeSmart collection – containers specially designed to keep produce fresher, longer.  It works because the containers have vents that you can open or close, depending on the type of fruit, so the gases that speed up the rotting process can escape.  This picture is from a couple weeks ago, but I never posted it, as my spur-of-the-moment trip to Michigan made me change a lot of plans:

From left to right, that’s celery, radishes, scallions, carrots, and broccoli.  I ate lots of it before the Michigan trip, but came home a week and a half later to find the radishes, scallions, and carrots still good!  The broccoli, not so much.  Want some Tupperware of your own?  Why not buy it from a former child star?  That’s right – Danny Pintauro from Who’s the Boss is a Tupperware representative – check out his website here!

2) Carrots. I love baby carrots.  I can eat an entire 1-pound bag over the course of a day – I did that yesterday, actually.  And here’s a fun fact for ya – did you know that a vast majority of baby carrots aren’t actually babies at all?  Take another look at the packaging next time you’re at the store.  Chances are, the bag will read “baby-cut” carrots, which means they’re actually full-size carrots that are cut down into 2-inch chunks, peeled in industrial peelers, and tumbled so all the edges get smooth.  I had heard that years ago, and was reminded of it a few days ago in Michigan when I found the largest baby carrot ever in my baby carrot bag:

Click here to read a USA Today article about the history of baby-cut carrots.  It’s actually pretty interesting.

And has anyone seen, at their grocery store, the new baby carrot bags?  I remember reading in September about how baby carrot companies were launching a baby carrot marketing campaign encouraging people to “eat ’em like junk food”.  Part of the campaign was redesigning the packaging so they looked more like snack food bags:

I haven’t seen these bags at any stores by me yet, what about you?  I think the whole thing is kinda silly, but I don’t have kids, which seems like the target demographic.  And here’s the website that goes with the campaign.  Kinda annoying, but for all you iPad and iPhone users, it has “the world’s first carrot-crunch-powered video game,” so drop everything right now and head over to the App store!

3. 7-Eleven. Remember a few weeks ago, when I posted the pic of the 7-Eleven that’s opening next door to my gym?  Well, I went to the gym last night for the first time since returning from Michigan, and it’s open for business.

I’m going to try to stay out of that 7-Eleven altogether.  I don’t need the temptation so close to my gym, period.  I’ll keep you posted.

I had a nice workout last night, too.  I spent about 45 minutes doing toning/strength training (emphasis on arms, shoulders, chest, back, abs), and then wanted to do a little bit of cardio, but the ellipticals were all in use, so I headed outside and ran around the block for about 12 minutes.  I walked a little to cool down, and headed home.

4. Juice. I’ve been a juicing fool.  I have a bowl of citrus, courtesy of Tavi’s fruit trees, so yesterday and today I’ve been starting off my day with a tall glass of juice.  It’s a mixture – the juice of one grapefruit, two tangerines, and one orange (that I had in my fridge from before):

Tasty!  Yesterday, it was just part of my breakfast – I also had a packet of instant oatmeal, and a yogurt.  I didn’t really eat a proper lunch, but grazed all day:  the aforementioned 1-pound bag of baby carrots, 2/3 cup butter beans, another tangerine, 1 box of raisins, 2 rice cakes.  Dinner was two open-faced tuna sandwiches:  2 pieces wheat toast, each topped with tomato slices and tuna salad, which I made from one 5-ounce can of tuna (packed in water), mixed with mustard, radishes and scallions, and a couple tablespoons of Greek Yogurt.

Keep it up, David!

A Little Monday Catch-Up

January 3, 2011

One thing about being out of town for three weeks is that there’s always lots to do when you come home.  I’ve been moving nearly non-stop since getting in late Saturday night – laundry to do, a giant stack of mail to go through with lots of bills to pay… I made a to-do list yesterday and have been checking things off left and right.  It hasn’t all been hustle and bustle – yesterday I went out to the suburbs to have a lovely belated-Christmas dinner with my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and I’ve made time to exercise both yesterday and today.  What I really want to do, though, is to sit back and catch up with the three weeks of stuff on my TiVo.  Oh, don’t you worry – it will happen.  I will make it happen.

Anyway – there’s been a few things I wanted to blog about that I haven’t gotten around to yet, so here we go!

1) Farmer’s Market: Yesterday I went to the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market for the first time in a few months.  It was cold and drizzly, but the market happens rain or shine, year-round.  Maybe it’s because it’s winter, or maybe because it was just after the holidays, but a lot of vendors weren’t there, including a couple of my favorites.  I still managed to clean up nicely:

Here’s what I bought:

  • 1 bag arugula  – $3
  • 1 bag mixed greens – $3
  • 1 bag shittake mushrooms – $2
  • 1 bunch Maui scallions – $1.50
  • 1 bag sprouted mung beans and wheatberries; 1 bag pea greens  – together, they cost $4
  • 3 Japanese pink tomatoes and 5 Persian cucumbers – together, they cost $4.50
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes – $2
  • 3 valencia oranges – $1
  • 6 satsuma tangerines  – $1.75
  • Grand Total: $22.75


Everything but the last three items got tossed in a big salad that I took to my aunt and uncle’s place, but in the aforementioned hustle and bustle, I didn’t take any pictures.  You’ll have to take my word for it: it was good, and got rave reviews from all around the table.

2) Satsuma Tangerines: I wanted to continue my tradition of trying new types of produce (recent examples: buddha’s hand and seckel pear), and while I was at the farmers’ market, I realized I had never tried a satsuma before, so I went ahead and bought 6 (they’re little).  I ate two later that day.  If you’ve never seen them before, take a look:

They’re easy to peel with your fingers, break apart easily into segments, and if I didn’t know differently, I’d just assume it was a clementine, because it looks and tastes just like one.  Delicious!  Clementines have long been a favorite citrus fruit of mine, and now I’ll add satsumas to the list.

3) Uh-Oh: Look what’s moving in right next door to my gym:

Literally right next door – they share the same parking lot.  I have mixed feelings about this.  On the plus side, it makes it really easy to swing by and grab a bottle of water before a workout, but on the con side, 7-11 and I haven’t traditionally had a healthy relationship, because I like junk food, and that’s pretty much all they sell.  In my last apartment, I was a few blocks from a 7-11, and I can remember lots and lots of late-night runs where I would pick up a pint of ice cream and a big bag of chips, and I’d go home and eat it all within minutes.  I’m a different person now, and have been managing temptations much, much better in the past year, but this is temptation setting up shop mere steps away from my gym, where I go multiple times a week.  And it’s not like there’s a shortages of 7-11s in the area: the gym is 3.5 miles from my home, and on the way, I pass two 7-11s.  If I take a slightly different route, I can pass two other 7-11s.  Please, 7-11, take your Cheetos and your Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and leave me be!

4) 2010 Exercise Report: On July 8, 2010, I decided I would start keeping track of which days I worked out.  It devised a simple system – every day that I exercised, I would mark a little circle on that day in my planner.  For days I took a class at Slimmons, I marked a slightly different circle, and days that I took a class somewhere besides Slimmons got a third slightly different mark.  Last night, now that the year is over, I went back and tallied up some statistics:

  • In July, I worked out 20/24 days (83%), including 11 Slimmons classes.
  • In August, I worked out 25/31 days (80%), including 4 Slimmons classes and 3 other classes.
  • In September, I worked out 24/30 days (80%), including 4 Slimmons classes and 6 other classes.
  • In October, I worked out 17/31 days (55% – low because of a time-consuming job), including 3 Slimmons classes and 2 other classes.
  • In November, I worked out 25/30 days (83%), including 3 Slimmons classes and 3 other classes.
  • In December, I worked out 24/31 days (77%), including 4 Slimmons classes and 2 other classes.

In total, I worked out 135 out of 177 DAYS – a 76% exercise success rate! This includes 29 classes at Slimmons and 16 other classes (mostly Latin Jam, with some spin, step, and a couple others thrown in there).

Keep it up, David!