Running song of the week

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Mince pies, Mallomars and Marshmallows…oh my!

I’m a feeder. Maybe that’s why I love to entertain. Feeding people is part of my blood, my culture. Growing up my Aunt Alí always made twice the amount of food for those ‘just in case’ moments: if los nietos dropped by, or a surprise visit from her sister, or for simply just leftovers.

This past week my friends came over for a nice Boxing Day dinner. I made a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal of perníl and arroz con gandules. And for one of the desserts I made a traditional British one, mini mince pies. Like many people desserts are my weakness. But I knew I wasn’t going to go overboard eating the mini pies. Mince pies tend to be sickeningly sweet so one goes a long way. I decided to make them because I knew they would be cute but I was surprised that they weren’t too off-putting like store bought ones. Homemade ones are twenty times better. Really. Best part was that the mini pies were only about 85 calories a piece (calculated using My Fitness Pal).

Another dessert I made was a childhood favorite of mine: Mallomars. They are chocolate covered marshmallow cookies. These were really hard to make. I made the marshmellows myself but that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part came when I had to cover them in chocolate. Convinced I only needed about half as much chocolate that the recipe called for I went ahead and tried to cover the marshmallow and cookie and failed. They came out a hot mess. They wouldn’t win any beauty awards. But that’s okay because they tasted delicious. And the leftover homemade marshmallows have been nice additions to cups of hot chocolate.

So what did I do with all these sweets? I can’t very well expect to lose weight by baking and overeating (which is what I tend to do with sweets) so I made all my guests take home a goody bag. This week I managed to eat only two mine pies and three Mallomars and for me that is an amazing victory. Can I say that I will always show restraint when it comes to sweets? No. Maybe next time I can bake something less tempting, or use a healthier recipe.

I leave you with one of my favorite little people, Tatsuya, enjoying all what I had to offer.

Hope everyone had a great holiday and  happy new year!

PS-Didn’t my hubby take some great shots of Tat? Cuteness!

So why the three Es?

When I started this blog it was with the hope that I would be able to share in a 30 pound weight loss by my 30th birthday. With that birthday far and gone, and more pounds to lose, I decided to take it in a new direction.

My main reason I want to focus on eating, exercising and entertaining is pretty obvious for me-to gain control. That is the one thing I feel I have lost since moving here. Writing about how I am dealing with eating and exercising in a big city will help me discover what I am doing right and wrong. Well, that’s the plan.

Eat. I don’t just want to discuss what I eat here. I want to share new recipes using British ingrediants that will help me lose the chunk. Losing weight has been such a struggle because I have been refusing to adapt. I get frustrated when things need to be measured in milliliters, grams, etc. Silly, right? But I know how to eyeball a cup of something and sadly that is not the portion size that’s called for.

Writing what I eat aided me with my previous weight loss so it makes sense to continue with it . Blogging will just take it a step further. I’ll be able to take pictures of my favorite healthy meals and share it with others, all while taking ownership of what I put in my body. Win, win.

Exercise. When I lived in Austin, Texas going to the gym required an 8 minute commute. Here, at least 30 minutes. To me that seemed like a long time. Add that to a hefty monthly gym fee and I convinced myself that I didn’t need to be a gym rat to lose weight. But you know what? I made it out the door twice for a run since moving here eight months ago. TWICE. I have been fighting a mental hurdle daily. I think about getting up from the couch every day and never do. What’s different this time? I am in desperate need of a routine. Routines make me happy. Having no job at the moment strips me of one. I’ve been filling my time with sewing classes, baking and fluffing about it is not enough. I miss my endorphin highs. So a nice walk to my new gym will be in my near future (sadly their promotion doesn’t allow me to use the facilities until the new year).

Other than reclaiming my previous gym rat status, I am determined to discover new running routes. I live in an amazing city with beautiful hidden spaces and I intend to find them one way or another (and take pictures along the way of course!). I’m really looking forward to keeping track of my exercise routines and seeing how I advance.

Entertainment. Anyone who knows me knows I love to entertain. I love prepping for one and keeping glasses full like it’s my job. But with parties come bad choices: 2 pieces of cakes or 2 glasses of wine become 3, 4, or 5. I intend to juggle the three Es responsibly by eating wisely or exercising a bit more on party day. I don’t want to cut out sweets or sweets completely out of my diet but I do want to enjoy them on special occasions and not go mental and inhale an entire batch or bottle of something.

So there they are, my three Es. Looking forward to what I can make out of this city. I’m ready now.

New beginnings: My Pre-New Year Resolution

I’m an emotional eater. Always have been, always will be? I hope not. Moving abroad, selling a house and being away from my husband set me off the deep end. I ate to stop the stress, to celebrate the move, to ease the loneliness. And now, almost a year later, I still eat but now I am no longer exercising. I no longer have a gym membership and no longer fit in my running clothes. So what is a girl to do? Workout at home, right? Not me. Instead I watch crap TV and think of all the things I should do to get moving instead of doing them. *Sigh* I am so over it. I knew it was a time for a change when I got out of breath to catch up to my husband as we walked home from the tube. I was so angry. So damn angry at him, myself. Him for being so damn skinny and springy and me for having let my athleticism and weight loss goals go so easily. I had worked hard to lose 50 pounds and now here I am 50 pounds heavier. And it sucks. Nothing in my closet fits. I get out of breath when I run for the train. It’s ridiculous.

So what I have decided to do is change. Yes, it won’t be easy. I know I will fall on my face time and time again but if I stay organized and plan my meals and exercise routines I should be able to get back on track, the way I used to do back when I lived in the States. I am a creature of habit, if my routines change I fail. Planning things will prevent me from failing. Getting healthy has never felt so necessary as it does now. It’s affecting my mental health more than my physical health at the moment. If I can gain some control with that then my my physical fitness will follow.

The nearest gym is a 35 minute walk away. I won’t be taking the bus since it’s not an option. Nor the tube. I am considering Run/walking it as a warm up and walking back as a cool down. I had been forgoing signing up for a gym membership because of a couple of reasons:

1) The cost. Gyms run from £40 to £80 a month. A council (run by the local committee) gym offers you your basic gym equipment. No frills and fancies. And honestly that is all I need.

2) The distance. Who wants to work out when they have to walk 3.6 miles to their gym? Will the motivation to go wane after a while because of it?

But for my mental health I have to join a gym. So this week I will be making a trip to the council gym and signing up. They are having a pre-New Years Resolution offer: no contract or sign-up fee if you pay for a 3 month membership. No contract would be perfect just in case I get a job and choose to workout closer to work rather than home. I am so looking forward to it! Some people hate gyms, I thrive in them. I like having the choices: free weights, spinning, elliptical, treadmill, etc. And I like that once I am there I have no choice but to work out, no escaping (well, you *can* leave but that would be a wasted trip). Once I get my routine going results will show: I’ll be happier, healthier and motivated. I haven’t felt motivated except when it comes to baking tasty sweets!

That brings me to another matter. My mother is a diabetic and my great grandmother was a as well. I need to curb the sweets. As much as I love making them and sharing them they aren’t helping me in the least. The best I felt was when I gave up eating sweets and stuck to lean proteins and complex carbs. It is time I revert back to eating that way. So I will slowly start weaning myself off the sugar. I haven’t bought any sweets in ages and what’s left in the house will be used for baking Christmas sweets and then given away.

Don’t get me wrong, this won’t be easy but I’ll do anything to feel the strength and beauty I felt when I was at my fittest. I hope to be there again soon. I miss her so much.