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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Second attempts with second-hand results

When I was enrolled in Bowling Green State University's MFA program, I taught English composition classes as part of my assistantship. Sometimes, the students just didn't get the hang of it and wanted to drop the class before it tarnished their GPA, hoping to simply retake it the following semester. Or perhaps they didn't pass the course at all and had to retake it.

In either case, it was typically more difficult to pass the course on the second try and even moreso on the third or (God forbid) fourth try. This was due, in part, to much less drive than the first time. With a student going over the same material again for weeks, if not months, the student would more likely miss class ("I've already DONE this!"). They may even reuse papers that failed the first time instead of making a fresh attempt. I'm sure there are also feelings of failure that linger in the subconcious, lowering the student's confidence.

In short, some things may get less results the second time you do them.

Well, I sort of feel like that now with round 2 of the P90X program. I've SEEN the results it gave me the first time and I remember these same exercises from before. That first-time enthusiasm is no longer felt.

It's no longer new.

It's no longer fresh.

It's not as exciting.

I find myself substituting exercises more often - whether due to my dislike of that particular exercise or because I simply can't get good form (I don't want to get hurt!). I also find myself substituting exercise DVD's (namely Yoga and Kenpo) for cardio on the treadmill.

And my eating has been off. Far off from last year.

I was super strict...cutting off most sugars, almost alcohol entirely during the 90 days, avoiding many breads and white carbs (white potato, flour).

I mean, I looked good. And people told me I looked good. I guess I miss that.

So how bad have I been eating? you ask. Have I been chowing down at the Chinese buffet or gettings Extra Value Meals at fast food places? Perhaps I've been drinking gravy as a snack?

Naw...nothing of the sort. But I have allowed myself culinary and alcoholic pleasures at social gatherings. I have rewarded myself with desserts when out with my gf (as well as sushi, which I need to stop). And, you may say, that a reward here and there isn't bad...and it's not. But it's occuring more frequently that I would like and I really need to be stricter with myself until I get a lot closer to the desired weight (155...last weigh in was 163).

And, just to make things clear, I figure it's a good idea to let you see the types of rewards I've been taking. So allow me to present you with three examples of this past weekend alone...

1.) Friday's Pizza Taco
Exhibit 1 is a rather interesting concoction. It's almost Atkins friendly, if not for the sugar in the various sauces involved.

Basically, I took the cheese topping off a square piece of pizza (I pitched the bread) and filled it with sloppy joe meat and some sweet pickle. I then proceeded to fold the cheese and eat it (with two hands because it's messy) like a taco.

I can't tell you how incredibly good this is (and full of fat and calories). The picture doesn't do it justice, but hopefully you cheese and meat lovers can imagine.

2.) Saturday's Egg and Ham Pastry Wreath

To celebrate my father's birthday, my mom had a breakfast event. Using Pillsbury crescents, she created a wreath of crescent triangles, laying a cooked egg/ham mixture and bringing the crescent points over. A wreath was formed.
With the leftover dough, I created a pastry ball stuffed with egg/ham mixutre and mac and cheese that was in her fridge. The ball became one with the wreath while in the oven and formed the following shape...

Although the egg/ham isn't that bad, diet-wise, the dough and sausage served with the dish didn't help things.

3.) Saturday night's Post-sushi dessert

In relationships, traditions are established. For our second date, we went to a sushi place in North Olmsted and followed it with ice cream - there's something about getting a sweet dessert after a sodium filled sushi dinner.
But we don't always get ice cream. Sometimes we get pie (also near the restaurant) and we did that most recently at Baker's Square, where we both got the Caramel Pecan Silk Supreme pie...a decadent champion if there ever was one.
660 calories - almost an hour on the treadmill for me - brought on in a matter of minutes. Of course, I don't dare count the calories in the white rice accumulated through the various rolls at the sushi place.

So, needless to say, I haven't weighed myself in a bit. Maybe on Friday I will so that I'll know where I stand...and so you can know as well.

In the meantime, I have been trying to make some healthy decisions.

I had an egg-white omelet this morning with avocado and wild lox. In a half hour, I'll have a cooked cabbage snack. Then I have a grass-fed steak salad for lunch with red bell pepper and asparagus mixed in.

Hmm...before going, I should show you the steak!

I'm very new at cooking grass-fed beef and try to be extra careful so that it's not unnecessarily tough with so little fat.

I used a top sirloin steak. In a pan of some olive oil, I sauteed garlic before bringing it to a high heat and browning the steak for 20 minutes per side. From there, it went directly in the broiler for 2-3 minutes per side. It ended up looking like this...

I let the juices set for 10 minutes and then cut it in thin strips for the salad.

It is rather tasty and I'm eating in moderation (grass-fed or not). It's still beef, so I'm being careful.

In fact, I'm extra careful with Valentine's Day/Chinese New Year weekend coming. I can only imagine the diet nightmare post I'll be putting up next week. :-)

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