Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fabulous Tracking and a Shopping "Spree"

Today's WW investment: a spray bottle of olive oil. I'm sure I paid too much for it, but I can't find the cooking spray/olive oil I used to buy in the States, so a spray bottle of normal olive oil seems to be the next best idea. 10 sprays is 1 tsp, so since I'm currently without measuring spoons this will keep me accountable. I used it for the first time making brunch this morning (slept in today, bliss):

Ham, egg, cheese with a pot of my fave fromage blanc with homemade apricot jam and a cup of earl grey

Not a stellar photo, but it was delicious and really filling. Paired with one of those crazy 0 point bananas and this 8-point brunch was lovely. I didn't run today (I thought I might... it's freezing outside), but it already feels good to be really tracking and getting down to business.

Dinner was also a lovely WW event.

Since I ate that late and filling brunch, I had an apple as a snack and was good to go until dinner... with 21 points left! With that many points, I decided I should splurge for things I don't usually have enough points for (salmon and pasta). Using my roomie's scale I took my box of pasta and divided it into 5-100g servings (that's what the box said a serving was) so that have them at the ready for future dinners. Apparently 100g of pasta is also 9 pts and, as I've learned from this meal, WAY more pasta than I need, so I'll be dividing those pre-portioned bags in half next time! Still, I'm ending today with 28 points, not too shabby for official Day One and I was never hungry! :)

Aside from that, I indulged in a non-food way today: shopping. I haven't been at all while I've been here (since we don't make much money), but I went to H&M buy the dress for NYE that I've been eyeballing and ended up with so much more:

I don't know what is sadder... the fact that the only place I have a full-length mirror is in the elevator in my building or the fact that I actually went and got in the elevator for the express purpose of showing you all this dress... You decide.

Mine's actually navy... I need less black and it can do double duty for Auburn fun :)

Oh and I did actually get the dress, after a million visits to H&M to try it on in different sizes (Mine's a 40/US10!) I hadn't been able to decide between this first one:

Or this one:
Also in black

But then I went back today and they only had the first one in one size left, so I went ahead and bought the second one just to be safe... The choice might come up again if they ever get dress one back in stock. Then, I came home, shoeless, and found these little guys on sale for half off at Aldo online! I get ALL of my flats from Aldo, so I knew there would be ordering happening since my brown flats needed to be thrown out 6 months ago.

Plus, found shoes to wear with my bridesmaid dress for Katy's wedding!

All in all, quite the successful shopping AND eating/tracking day, even if it means now going back and readjusting my budget for December. It was more than I meant to spend, but I'm happy with what I've bought since they will all be nice pieces in the new "classy almost grown-up" wardrobe I want to create for myself. How was your day?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Today's the day! WW ProPoints!

Happy Monday!

This is what greeted me today when I signed online after work:

After spending more time than I'd like trying to get the site to work (apparently it doesn't yet work with RockMelt OR Safari, thanks Firefox), I updated my DP allowance and got down to the business of seeing which of my most often consumed foods/favorite foods had changed values overnight.

So far, here are my big "finds":

-New point calculations take into account carbohydrates, fat, protein, and fiber. Bye bye, calories.
-Fruits are now, wait for it, ZERO points. I tried to track a clementine and accidentally entered 110 of them... still zero points. That's obviously not to say that you should abuse this whole "eat more fruits and veg" thing, but it feel so nice.
-Wine and beer are even more points than before. Now, a serving of red wine = 4 PPs, white = 3 PPs, and 12oz of reg. beer are 5 PPs. Light beer takes the place of old points value reg. beer at 3 PP/serving.
-My favorite yogurt here in France is still 1 PP. For all intents and purposes, it's essentially greek yogurt.

-Starchy veggies still have points (can't get away with EVERYTHING for free on this plan, obviously)
-The eTools tracker now shows things in grams too (helpful)
-My daily points allowance went up from 22 to 29 and my weekly points from 35 to 49.
-Did I mention that fruits (INCLUDING BANANAS) are zero points? Oh, I did. I must just be excited.

Today was my first day tracking (though I didn't count points until I got home from work tonight) and I'm feeling really optimistic about this plan. WW's CEO David did a really good post about getting on board with the new plan over at his blog, definitely check it out. I need to hunt down a scale, but I'm ready to go back to being a newbie and track, track, tracking! It's here and I'm pumped! I'll let you know how it progresses of course! Tonight I've already stocked up on some lean meat, plenty of fruits and veg and more of my favorite yogurts! Let's kick this plateau goodbye! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

50 Day Challenge Fail


Like I promised, time to fess up and get back into things. I admit: I haven't been around lately because I haven't wanted to hold myself accountable to how little I've been tracking and how I've not been running. I don't think I've gained (I still don't like weighing myself on this kilo scale and I have been doing P90X), but I am feeling like a bit of an out of control blob. I don't think I've been unreasonably overeating, but not tracking has left me feeling a bit out of control.

I have 22 days left in the 50 Day Challenge and it's going to be a struggle to see some changes between now and then. Tomorrow starts WW's new ProPoints plan online so I'm going to get back down to business and make these last few weeks count. Jon's parents are on WW and I'm spending Christmas with them down in Alabama, so our holiday eating should be pretty reasonable.

Here's to trying to stoke back up that fire that I had when I first got on a WW plan back in June 2009. I'm ready to make this new plan work for me. Here goes! What can I say, I do want to look good when I step off that plane! ;)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving in France: The Party!

And now for the meal portion of Thanksgiving! Since I am so far from home for this fabulous holiday, I decided to create a fake French Thanksgiving with all of the other assistants in Avignon. We held the party at the apartment of a few assistants who live together (since theirs is WAY bigger than mine) and we ended up having around 30 people!!! What a success!

For my contribution, I decided to make a lower cal/fat sweet potato pie. I'd wanted to do a pumpkin one, but they don't sell canned pumpkin or smaller baking pumpkins here and I have a small oven. So, sweet potatoes it was:

A mix of American and French ingredients. My momma even sent me the pumpkin pie spice mix from the states!

Mmm sweet potatoes

Voilà! The finished project! It tasted EXACTLY how I hoped it would taste... i.e. like America.

As for everyone else, we'd made a huge list of things to bring and everyone chipped in. We even had a few dishes from Canadian thanksgiving! What a way to show the Brits how we roll in North America!

Mulled wine

Turkey roasts... My babies. My friend Amy and I ordered four (couldn't fit a big bird in the ovens) directly from the butcher. He was so excited to be part of our "American holiday" :)

Canned cranberry jelly sent from the USA (Thanks, mom!) Apparently you can also buy it at Ikeas world wide? Who knew?

Carving the birds... So hot and sweaty in the kitchen! At least everyone enjoyed it!

Time to eat!

My plate. Didn't really hold back this year... Need to get back on plan after!

The spread.

Ze girls

A shot of the living room, to give an idea of how packed we were!

Craft time!

My mom ALSO sent a "make your own turkey" craft with the sauce/spices... We had a blast! Aren't our little guys cute?

Rosie with her poor little turkey

All in all, it was a great time. It definitely made it a lot easier to work all day Thursday, telling the kids about the holiday! Plus, Thursday night I got to be present via Skype for my family Thanksgiving! Love them!

Hope you all had a great holiday! I know that "missing it" this year will definitely make me appreciate the parade and everything so much more next year!

Thanksgiving in France: Turkey, Brits, and Skype

I have to admit: I haven't been blogging a lot lately, because I haven't been good with my eating and my exercise and I've been feeling like a huge blob. So, obviously, I've been a bit embarrassed and had nothing I felt like sharing with you guys, my lovely friends in the blogosphere. That said, I'll talk about this in the next post. For now, I want to focus on good things.

What I'm thankful for this year:

My Family
They've been really supportive of all this jet-setting I've been doing lately and with my lifestyle change over the past two years. It's really meant a lot for them to see and comment on the changes.

I'm so lucky to have found such an amazing guy. I can't believe our one year anniversary is coming up here soon! I was just going to the put the bottom photo since it's funny, but then I stumbled across the top one and it comes from a story that embodies one of the reasons I love him. The sweaty photo is from the day we ran around Dow Lake. It was a really hard run and he was/is in much better shape than me, so he could have done the whole thing without walking, but was really understanding, patient, and supportive of me whenever I needed to walk or was down on myself. He also pushed me to keep going when I got tired and wanted to throw in the towel. In running and in so many things, it's meant so much to have someone be so supportive and encouraging. He really does make me a better version of myself and I hope I do the same for him.

Girlfriends (or friends in general)
Here are a few of my best girlfriends in the world. I don't know what I'd do without them even from thousands of miles away. The bottom picture with Chris is especially important, even if I look gross, since it really shows how much she knows me and wants to be there for me. It's not just any friend that will drive in 2 hours with a pint of ice cream to take you out for beer when you're really hurting. I love you ladies.

French Teaching Assistantship
As much as I miss home and want to go back ASAP, I am thankful for this experience and my adorable kids. I'm learning a lot and making a lot of great, international friends, even if it is hard to live so far away from home.

I know, it may seem odd to be thankful for something I haven't been able to drag myself out of the house to do in over 2 weeks, but still. This year was the year I started running, and I'm really thankful for that. Becoming a "runner" (albeit a slow one) has really changed how I see myself and how I feel about my body. Even if my running didn't come with any weight loss, it amazes me to see all the changes that have come from it, both physically and mentally.

More on this later, but I LOVE this holiday and, although it was hard to spend it away from home, I'm so thankful for all the great friends here who turned out and made yummy dishes to celebrate this American holiday, even if they don't celebrate it themselves!

That's what I'm thankful for. In the grand scheme of things, these are the things that matter... Not my running and WW tracking slump. More on that (and my delicious low-fat sweet potato pie) in the next post! Night all!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weekly Check In (and p90x update!)

I've been doing better since Jared left, but not amazing. I've done P90X four times since Saturday. I missed out Monday since I was exhausted and had a huge headache after getting back from teaching... How DO real elementary school teachers survive? We learned about parts of the human body this week and I got my older kids involved by having them draw a monster (since almost ALL humans have 2 eyes, 2 legs, etc... It gets boring to talk about). Check out the guy and girl monsters done by my CM1 (5th grade) class:

So much fun! I get to do the same lessons again with my last school tomorrow, so it should be a good time. Then, on to Thanksgiving!

Anyway, back to P90X. I've done Core Synergistics, Cardio X, Ab Ripper X, and Yoga X so far and I'm really enjoying it. I'm really taking this week to get the hang of it, but starting the second time around, I think I'll need to pause the DVDs to get in some extra reps since doing what they have right now with only my 3kg hand weights isn't really getting me to feel the burn. Hopefully I'll be able to find a way to get over to Decathlon to buy a heavier set, but until then that'll do. I think one of the assistants (my British friend Sarah) is going to buy my 3kg set from me once I get the new ones. Woo!

So far, the yoga routine has been the most difficult and there are even a few moves I either cannot do at all or have a lot of difficulty with, there's definitely room for improvement, so I like it! Plus, I've been able to revel in that glorious post-workout soreness for a few days, so I'm feeling really good. Sadly, this means that my running has taken a cut, but it's been cold and windy here, and, honestly, I'm kind of hoping P90X will help me slim down a bit so that when I really get back in to running regularly there will be less that jiggles!

Other than that, I've just been trying to eat really healthy when I can. I made a batch of my favorite curried butternut squash soup tonight for my friends Rosie and Sarah. I had to cave and invest in more French fake tupperware to hold it as I think my roommate is getting a bit cross with me for using hers. Hopefully this'll ease the tension a bit! Rosie and Sarah thought the soup was a hit, but for some reason, it wasn't as good as I remembered. I think it has something to do with the squash not being as orange as usual? I don't know. I followed my old recipe (from memory) and I just checked and nothing was missing... Odd. Regardless, it'll help me stay within my points for the rest of the week, which is a must if I want to make at least 1 of my goals!

Sofar the points counts for the week are:
Saturday: 52 (This is why this week has been so difficult staying within WPs!)
Sunday: 22
Monday: 29 (Surprise Chile Con Carne at school for lunch... wasn't planning on eating with them, but I got there early!)
Tuesday: 22
Wednesday: 35.5

Currently, that puts me at -5.5 after using all 10 of my APs I've earned so far, but if I'm good and get in a few more workouts (as already planned), I can end the week with 4 days within my DP allowance AND out of the red, so here it goes! I'm not too proud of the points count so far, but I am proud of the fact that I 'fessed up and tracked it all anyways instead of writing this week off as a loss from the get-go!

In the end, today's been a fabulous day spent doing yoga, checking out a local gym (sadly I think 33€/month is too rich for my poor assistant blood), cooking, and hanging out with friends. See? Here we are at the grocery below my apartment picking up last minute ingredients for dinner:

Bread... my biggest vice. Oh 80 cent authentic French baguette, I love thee...

That's all for now, sorry the post was so sporadic!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The train derailed, but is now back on track.

This weekend I was lucky enough to have my friend Jared, a classmate from OU who is also doing the French teaching assistantship this year, come visit. He studied abroad in Avignon in 2007 (the year before me) and was really excited to get back to town and visit his old stomping grounds and favorite sights.

Since we are both living on the meager assistant's salary as we wait for the housing aid to kick in, instead of going out to eat a lot, we stayed in and cooked instead:

Me, the crazy chef, drinking red wine and working three burners to produce yummy pasta-y goodness

I wish I could say that I ate all balanced meals and didn't indulge while he was here, but that'd be a lie (even if those food items/beverages were not documented via photo). I probably undid any progress I'd made with the veggie soup introduction this past week week since we drank like fish, consumed baguettes, and may have partook in dessert, like the selection below from a cool tapas restaurant in town called Tapaslocas:

I also didn't run or work out for all but one day of his visit, though we did go on quite a few photo excursions while he was here, in an attempt to capture the feel of the city:

One of our local bar hang outs. The patios are so nice when it's not too cold out!

Les Halles, an indoor market where I like to go to buy my produce.

A view from my bedroom window

On the way home from our last photo excursion

We had a great time cooking and hanging out together. It made me remember how much I prefer cooking with/for other people. Jonboy was jealous that he wasn't here for the soup. They're one of my specialties in our relationship (I miss his pancakes, btw). I'm hoping to make it up to Chambéry (where Jared is living) to visit his town at some point as well.

Today I'm back on track after our weekend of indulgences and it feels good. Plus, I've started doing the P90X lean sequence as cross training since I do want to tone up (hopefully in time to look smokin' for NYE?) Jonboy wants to match outfit-wise, so I'm hoping to be able to fit into a fabulous dress in time for the partay! :) So far, I've done Cardio X and Core Synergistics and I am already feeling it. Hurts so good, John Mellencamp style! I'm lovin' it!