September 30, 2021

Return to Running Recap : Week 18 (and giveaway winners)

I totally forgot to take a post-run selfie after my runs this week, so this picture of Joey will have to do ;)  This is the look he was giving me as I was getting ready for the treadmill. I really should start running outside more (and of course, he gets to come with me).


Well, there is no beating around the bush... like I said yesterday, this week was just kind of crappy in all aspects. Including running.

I'm being very careful not to make excuses. I gained weight this week because of my food choices--regardless of why I made them. I do have a reason why my running was "off" this week, too--but I am sure I could have adjusted better.

Last week, I said that my plan was to start running every other day. I even ended my post with: "Okay, so I am stating here that I am committing to run on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday for Week 18!"

That didn't happen. In fact, I only ran twice this week!

My first run wasn't until Saturday morning. I had planned to run Friday evening but I was super full from dinner (see? Bad food choices fall over into the running category as well) so I decided to put it off to Saturday morning.

Well, I had to babysit Luke and Riley early Saturday morning and I had to leave no later than 6:00 AM. Since running 3 miles now takes 36 minutes, I knew I was going to have to get up super early so I could run, shower, and get together the stuff I'd need for crafts with the kids. I haven't been getting any sleep at all lately, despite getting in bed early and doing all the "right" things to sleep. My body just doesn't let me!

Anyway, I got out of bed at 4:45 AM and slugged onto the treadmill. I had been planning to try to run at a faster pace and count it as speed work (which would also help me to get done faster and give me a little more time in the morning) but it was hard just to run the usual 5.0 mph. I thought for sure my heart rate was going to be sky high, but surprisingly, it wasn't bad at all.


After that, I intended to run Monday and Wednesday to continue with the every-other-day plan.

While at Luke and Riley's, I found myself going up and down the stairs a LOT. I don't have stairs in my house, so this has never been an issue. And normally, if I go up or down stairs, it's only a flight or two. Well, I was going up and down over and over again at Luke and Riley's (their bedrooms and toy room are upstairs).

My knee has been making some serious noises lately and it's actually been getting pretty stiff. It usually happens out of nowhere. But I found that each time I went up or down the stairs at Luke and Riley's, my knee was getting stiffer and it was making a terribly loud clicking and/or crunching sound. (This is the knee that I injured when I accidentally knelt on a screwdriver early this year.)

Luke asked me, "What's that noise?" And I was all, "Hey kids, want to see a party trick?" Haha. They were pretty fascinated.

After a few hours, I was trying not to bend that leg while going up or down the stairs and started relying on the hand railing to use as a sort of crutch while I hopped. Still, by the time I left, my knee was swollen and I couldn't straighten it at all. It felt like it was going to collapse under me.

I took Sunday off, which was my original plan. By Monday, my knee seemed back to normal but I was scared of testing it. The last thing I want is an injury to prevent me from running at all. So I decided I'd run on Tuesday instead. This is where I have no excuse to have skipped it. I just didn't want to do it, and that's the truth. So I skipped Tuesday as well.

Yesterday, I felt the same. I was totally dreading it for some reason. I think that it's because it takes so long (and I know that 36 minutes is NOT long out of a 24 hour day, but it feels like it at the time). I got a new tool in the garage that I've been playing with and I wanted to do that much more than I wanted to run.

I started thinking about switching things up to doing 2 miles at a time more frequently--say, 5 days a week. I would much rather choose 2 miles at a time, 5 days a week, than 3 miles, 3 days a week. I know that sounds odd, but running 2 miles feels so simple now. If it doesn't work out, I can always go back to doing 3 miles, 3 days a week since that worked for so long.

Anyway, yesterday I decided to do 2 miles at a 5.5 mph pace (so like a tempo run). I felt really good for the first mile but during the second, I started to get pretty winded. I kept going and I knew I could finish, but it just didn't feel as easy as the first mile.

I was sure my heart rate was going to be on the low side, considering how easy the first mile felt, but that wasn't the case.


My anxiety has been really bad lately (usually a change in routine will kick it up a few notches) so I've been trying to deal with that. I'm just hoping for a better week! I've been doing great so far, and I hope I can keep at it.

I want to make this week extra-great to boost my mood!

Oh! I forgot to announce the book giveaway winners. I am notorious for forgetting these things--please remind me if I haven't posted them in a timely manner!

The winner of the paperback copy is: Brie R.
The winner of the Kindle copy is: Rachel M.

I've emailed you about it, so make sure you look for that. Thanks for playing! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. Have a whole box of tissues handy as you read it ;)

Just a reminder, the book is called 'The Running Dream' by Wendelin Van Draanen (Amazon affiliate link). Here is a link to my review

September 29, 2021

Wednesday Weigh-In : Week 18

My grocery shopping attire


Gah! This week was not a good week for me--on any front.

It was a busy week full of out-of-routine things. The main one is that Eli joined the soccer team (halfway through the season). Apparently, the team only had 11 kids, and they desperately needed people. If I remember correctly--I am too lazy to fact-check anything having to do with soccer right now, sorry!--there are 11 on the field during the game, which meant that nobody on the team got a break throughout the entire game (soccer is a LOT of running).

Eli's friend is on the team and he asked Eli to join. The last time Eli played soccer, he was probably 4 or 5 years old! None of us know anything about soccer, and Eli had a game the very next day after he joined. Thankfully, he didn't play much--just a few minutes here and there to relieve other players. He stayed under the radar, not wanting to draw attention to himself (since he still didn't know the rules!). He was unnoticeable, which was a good thing--he didn't score, but he didn't screw up. The interesting part was, he really liked it! I was very surprised.

(Fun Fact: Back in I actually coached Eli's soccer team with Renee--Renee is who I coached Cross Country with--back in 2010. At that time, the kids were so little that you don't have to teach them any real "rules" or strategies. So I could handle that!)

Eli is on the bottom right; Ben, on the far right, is Renee's son

All I remember about soccer is the weather. It was always SO COLD and rainy and windy. See how I have TWO hoodies on underneath my shirt?

So, he's had practice every day from 3:30 to about 5:00. (That's when we eat dinner so that Jerry can eat before work). I wish they'd do practice immediately after school at 2:30; instead, I have to pick him up and bring him home, then 45 minutes later, we have to go back to the school. Then I have to go back and pick him up 90 minutes after that. It gives me flashbacks of 2018, where I practically lived in my car!

Because of the new schedule, dinners have been all out of whack at my house this week. I've cooked a few days when Jerry was off work, but the kids had other plans so nobody ate it anyways. I hate that I feel guilty on days that I don't cook dinner; but then when I do, I feel like I'm the only one who eats it. So, most of this week has been very snacky--everyone just grabs what they can find when they have the time. Thankfully, soccer will be over soon and then I can get back to cooking dinner at a consistent time every day.

I ate a LOT of calories this week. I knew for sure that my weight was going to be up!


I was at 165.6, which is up 2.4 pounds from last week. I'm not at all surprised! Disappointed, yes--but if I want to continue to lose weight, I have to stay consistent. I'm not worried about it, though. I am already back to eating better and I went grocery shopping today so that I have options for dinner this week.

I also am super dehydrated, which makes me incredibly puffy. I'm going to chug the water over the next few days and hopefully drain some of this excess water retention.

I've been feeling kind of frustrated this month, because I've only lost 2.6 pounds since August 29th! I'm hoping that by next week, I'll be down to 163. That will be this week's gain + an extra 0.2. If I work hard enough, I bet I can see the mid-150s by the end of October. I would be thrilled with that!

So, gains happen. It's not the first time, and most definitely won't be the last time. At least I know why it happened and I can hopefully come up with solutions to make it easier next time my schedule is thrown off.

My running was way off this week, too--which I'll save for tomorrow ;)

September 28, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #44


I've had such a busy/crazy week, and I've spent a lot of time working on stuff in the garage... and unfortunately, I don't have anything to show for it yet! I was hoping to have a set of pictures to post today, but maybe next week.

I do have some fun readers' transformations to share this week, though! Here goes...

Our dining room closet was chaos and very stressful, with everything just tossed on the floor, making a mountain of shoes, medicine, cough drops, q-tips, you name it, it was in there and in a heap on the floor. The "before" is a pic of allllll the items spread out in the dining room. I spent time categorizing and throwing things out and organizing and I’m feeling so good with how it turned out! Much less stressful now.

- Emily, Michigan


Emily, it turned out great! I love how organized you are with the storage boxes and even labels ;)  Doesn't it feel SO GOOD to have an organized closet?



Between the rain in Florida and work, I finally got it done! (aloe vera plants)

- Kitty


Kitty, just WOW. This is an awesome before and after! My landscaping definitely looks like your "before" photo. Yours looks fantastic now!



So a neighbor inspired me to spruce up my back sunporch. She gave me four chairs so I painted my two chairs black to match. Then we bought outdoor carpet to cover the floor, but before we could lay it down we power washed and re-caulked it. Once the carpet was down we placed the table around to create a better flow of traffic. And the biggest improvement was decluttering it! So nice to sit out in the fall weather.

-Missy



Missy, I love it! It looks so warm and inviting. I can totally picture playing Euchre out there on a warm evening with some friends.

Thank you so much for sharing your transformations! I have a couple more that I'm going to save for next week--but please keep transforming things and sending them to me :)  Just take a before photo and an after photo and email it to me at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Include your name and a descriptions of the transformation, and I'd love to share it!

September 27, 2021

My Fall "To Do" List

Since I let summer escape so quickly--did it even happen?--I want to make some sort of loose plan for fall so that I don't wake up and realize it's winter and I haven't even taken advantage of fall yet!

As you know, I love making lists; I decided to write one for things I'd like to do this fall. This isn't a "must do" list, but rather a way to keep ideas at the front of my mind. Now that I have a working printer, I'm going to print out this list and hang it on the refrigerator so that I see it every day. I'm so forgetful! I need a reminder for just about everything.

So here goes... my fall "to do" list:

1. Go on a date night with Jerry. (In the photo below, I don't know what movie we were there to see--October 2019--but that was the last time I was at the theater!)


2. Do a couple of fun woodwork projects. By "fun", I pretty much mean something for the cats. There are just so many cool things I want to make! Here are a couple (I don't have the correct sources for these pictures because I found them on Pinterest and Pinterest is notorious for linking to incorrect sites--super annoying--so if you happen to know who to give credit, I'd be happy to add it!):


The honeycomb jungle gym would be a fun challenge to make. I've never made anything with those angles before, so I'd have to learn some new techniques--something I love to do!

Aside from making things for the cats, I'd love to use up as much scrap wood as possible.

3. Complete the refinishing of the dining table and chairs set. It's a big task, but I know it'll be worth it when it's done. I'm just not looking forward to fixing the rungs on chairs. (After doing some research, I learned that you can't just dab a little wood glue into the holes--you have to remove the rungs completely and clean out the hole and the ends of the rung, then glue it back in.) It's going to be tedious. But rewarding!

4. Host a "newlywed game" with a few other couples. (We played a version of this up north at my sister's cabin, in honor of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary--it was so fun!)

5. Figure out a storage solution for all the shovels/rakes/brooms/etc in the garage. I've been wanting to do this for years! It's super simple, but I always tell myself that I'll do it later.

6. Deep clean the refrigerator and freezer.

7. Organize the coat closet and get rid of stuff we don't wear. That closet is neglected and I always forget about the stuff I have in there!

8. Organize all of my crafting stuff (and get rid of the stuff I won't use).

9. Put together a time capsule with the family. We have the time capsule, we just need to fill it!

10. Put some decor in my bedroom--the walls are super bare.

11. Carve pumpkins with the family before Halloween.

Jerry's hair! This was in 2017. I can't believe how much my kids have grown since then.

12. Get all of the pets into the vet for check-ups (COVID kind of screwed up the schedule to keep the pets up to date on everything, so we need to catch up)

13. Adjust our exterior side door--it doesn't line up like it should and it always drives me crazy.

14. Enjoy the weather! Sit outside on the deck, hang out in the garage with all the doors and windows open, go for family walks, etc. I planned to try to enjoy summer nights by sitting outside but it flew right past. Fall is my favorite time of year, so I want to take full advantage of that.



Okay, I think that's at least a good start! I just have to make myself do the not-so-fun things (like deep cleaning the refrigerator and freezer). Obviously, nobody is going to come along and tell me what I need to do and when, so I have to make a plan to get things done.

September 26, 2021

Nada


Well, I have nothing to write. This is driving me crazy! I've been sitting in front of my computer for an hour and a half trying to write, but my mind is completely blank. I was playing the board game Codenames with Jerry a little while ago and it was the same--I just couldn't concentrate for the life of me! We ended up quitting the game early.

So, I'm calling it quits on my blog post today, too! Hopefully my mind will be working better tomorrow ;)

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

September 25, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Poached Egg on Toast


Considering I was going to babysit Luke and Riley today, I didn't think I was going to be able to make a heritage recipe. While I was at their house, though, the opportunity came up and I felt it was the perfect circumstance. This post is more of a story than a recipe, but I'll include the "secret recipe" as well.

So here's the backstory:

When I was young (elementary school age) my mom worked at a doctor's office and she had to leave for work before we woke up in the mornings. My Aunt Mickey (her sister, who I've mentioned several times) lived one street over from us and my mom asked her to babysit us. She would be at our house when we woke up in the mornings and get us off to school.

Now, my Aunt Mickey is special. She has been a stay-at-home mom and wife for her whole life; one time when I asked her about it, if she ever wished she'd had a job outside of the home, she told me "not for one second". This validated my decision to be a stay-at-home mom; I've always loved it, and I'm super grateful that Jerry and I were able to work it out that way.

Anyway, Aunt Mickey was the BEST. Her kids are older than Nathan (my younger brother) and me, so because they were old enough to take care of themselves in the morning, Aunt Mickey was able to come see us off to school. (She also took care of us during the summer when school was out.)


One of the things she always did for us was cook breakfast... TO ORDER. Who does that?! If Nathan wanted pancakes and I wanted eggs, that what we each had. I wish I could say that I was like that, but if I cook breakfast, everybody gets the same thing ;)

I don't know how many years this went on, but I only ever wanted one thing for breakfast: a poached egg on toast. It's exactly what it sounds like: an egg, poached, on a piece of toast. But holy smokes, my Aunt Mickey made it SO good! There are four components, but they all have to be done just right, and she just has that magic touch.

Jerry and I have been watching Beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network recently, and I told Jerry that with just the four items for this breakfast dish, my Aunt Mickey could totally beat Bobby Flay for a poached egg.

I ate a poached egg on toast every day that my aunt came over. She cut it into nine squares (we just had regular old sandwich bread and it made nine perfect squares when cut). And I always started by eating the center piece--it was heavenly. The middle of the toast had soaked up the butter and egg yolk and because the egg was centered on it before breaking the yolk, it was the perfect bite.

Fast forward to when I was 21 years old and Jerry and I were getting married. I had the idea to set out blank cards instead of a guest book for our guests to write down any marital advice they had for us. We loved reading those and I still pull them out from time to time! Anyway, my Aunt Mickey's card couldn't have been more fitting:


It reads: 

Jerry, here's how to make a poached egg for Katie--

Boil an egg in water until the white part is set. Make toast while egg is cooking. Butter toast, put egg on toast. Sprinkle with salt. Cut into squares. (Katie will eat the center piece first!)

Love and happiness to you both.

Aunt Mickey


This morning, when I was with Luke and Riley, I was trying to think of something to cook them for breakfast and a poached egg on toast popped into my head. I thought it would be perfect to write about for a heritage recipe as well.

I'm sure my poached eggs on toast didn't even hold a candle to Aunt Mickey's, but Luke and Riley loved them! I told them it was Aunt Mickey's super special secret recipe and I explained that it had been my favorite breakfast when I was a kid. I would have cut it into nine squares, but the bread was bigger than I remember from when I was little--so I cut little bite-size squares and I told them that the center ones were the best pieces.


Riley ate the whole thing and Luke actually asked for another! I was so happy that they loved it as much as I did. Luke told me to make sure I give the recipe to his mom so that he can eat it again. I took a picture of the kids with their poached eggs on toast so that I could send it to my Aunt Mickey. And when I got home, I made a couple for Jerry, too.

There are four key ingredients: bread, eggs, butter, and salt. I explained to Jerry that it's crucial to get them all right. The bread has to be over-toasted a little because it will absorb the butter and egg yolk. The egg has to be perfectly poached--the white cooked all the way through but the yolk completely runny. The bread has to have a light coating of butter across the whole piece. And most importantly, the salt has to be sprinkled last. And you can't skimp on the salt! Jerry agreed that there is something about the salt that makes it extra good.

When you're done making it, it has to be cut into squares. You break the yolk and kind of spread it all around, then cut the whole piece of toast with egg into squares. And always... ALWAYS start by eating the center first! ;)

If you have a nostalgic memory about a certain food, please share!

September 24, 2021

Friday Night Photos

Yay--Friday night! I actually have to (try to) get to bed early tonight. Tomorrow morning is going to be busy; I'm babysitting Luke and Riley and I have to leave here a little before 6:00 AM. Brian and Becky are going on a date night (in Chicago!) tomorrow and their flight leaves pretty early. I picked out a few Pinterest-inspired crafts to do with the kids, and I'm excited to hang out with them :)

Speaking of, I'll let them start off my Friday Night Photos. This was on their first day of preschool:


Becky said that Luke wants to be a pilot like his dad, but he keeps calling it a flight attendant. Hahaha!

And speaking of nieces and nephews, I'm going to be an aunt for the fourth time now! Remember at the beginning of August when I went with Laura (Jerry's sister) to her embryo transfer appointment? I watched on the ultrasound screen as the doctor deposited my little niece or nephew into the uterus. Then we just had to hope that it worked. And it did!! It's so surreal to think about the whole thing--and I love that I was there :)



I heard a loud thud on the living room window and I knew it was a bird. It happens about every month or so (that I know of, anyway). I always go check to see if the bird is okay. This little guy was lying on the ground, stunned, in front of the window. I picked him up and inspected him to check for obvious injuries. He sat on my hand for the longest time! He even fell asleep for a little bit. After about 20 minutes, he just up and flew away. (It reminds of the bird that visited me on election day in 2016.)



This is from when I brought my dad his birthday pecan pie. He turned 70 this year! (My "decade" birthdays match his--when he turned 50, I turned 20; when he turned 60, I turned 30; and now in January, I'll be turning 40.)



I thought I got more pictures, but I guess I didn't--this is my newest project! Jerry and I have been wanting a dining table for six rather than four (when the kids have friends over or something, I'd like to have more seating at the table). I found this oak table with a leaf and six chairs on Facebook Marketplace. For $25!!

It needs a lot of work, though. I have to remove some of the spindles from the chair backs and re-glue them. It also needed some very serious cleaning. I mixed up some TSP and water and scrubbed every little nook and cranny of the table and all the chairs. It took me two days just to do that part! I have to rest my hands a bit because my carpal tunnel (or whatever it is) flared up last night. Once I'm done fixing everything, I'm going to paint it.



I made this cat hammock in the summer for a "catio" I was building (the cats didn't care for it, so I ended up taking it apart--ugh). Last week, I came across the hammock and looked for a spot to hang it and see if the kittens would be interested. They weren't. But I put a cat bed in there for some stability and Estelle loved it!



Eli took Joey down to the lake when he went fishing and he took this picture--I think it's my favorite picture of Joey!



I've mentioned before that I have a neighbor who has an amazing garden and she gives me vegetables and herbs pretty often. Well, she asked me if I wanted to try some peppers and I said sure--I love peppers. I forget what this red one was called, but she gave me this and a handful of small chiles. I told her how lucky I am to have a neighbor to grow stuff, because I sure as heck can't grow anything as long as Chick and Duck are around! (Remember the seedlings I kept attempting? The kittens always ate them within days of sprouting so I finally gave up.) Anyway, I set the peppers on the kitchen counter for later.

A little while later, I noticed that the red pepper was gone. And Duck was sitting nearby--I just KNEW it was him! I looked all over the place and finally found it on the floor in the pantry. If I was a forensic dentist, I'd say those were most certainly Duck's tooth impressions. ;) 



When I was out in the garage, I noticed a huge bug on the screen (those aren't spiderwebs, just FYI--they are those cotton things that float in the air and get stuck on everything in our yard). When I looked closer, I saw that it was a praying mantis! I only see them about once every five years, so I'm always interested when I do see one.



I was late putting nuts into the squirrels' lunchbox on the back deck one morning and that was clearly unacceptable, hahaha. It was hilarious how she stared me down while I took a picture of her! (She got a handful of walnuts afterward)


And that's all I have for this week. Have a great weekend! xo

September 23, 2021

Return to Running Recap : Week 17


I feel like I'm saying the same old things on these recaps each week. If I didn't write them, though, there are a lot of times where I would have skipped running! Whenever I don't want to run, I think about having to write that on my recap, and it gives me the push I need to get started ;)

I wrote last week that I would like to either increase my distance or add a day per week or something like that. I think what I'm going to try doing is to run every other day. That will help for two reasons: 1) I'm only increasing my runs to 7 out of 14 days instead of the current 6; and 2) I won't skip several days in a row and then do 2-3 runs back-to-back. The ideal situation would be to space them out evenly.

I wrote such a vague "I think what I'm going to try doing..." because I don't know that I want to commit to that! Haha. BUT, as I write this, I have decided that I'm going to do it. There is no reason not to run every other day! And one of the biggest reasons that I want to do this is because of something I've noticed lately about my pain levels.

I don't want to get into all the details again here, but basically I've been dealing with chronic pain for several years and it's gotten a lot worse over the past year or so. I had 10,000 tests done by numerous doctors and I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a rheumatologist. However, that doesn't really sit right with me; deep in my gut (and I have very reliable "gut feelings") I feel like the pain was caused by the trauma I put my body through when I was remodeling the house. I worked on the house about nine hours a day, seven days a week... simply because I loved doing it!

I was always sore and I had new bruises all the time, but I thought that was just a given--of course I was going to feel that way when my body wasn't used to doing things like drywalling. I now feel like I have a permanent hunchback from all of the bending over; my hands naturally feel like they want to be curled into fists all the time (from squeezing spray bottles and holding paintbrushes and the drill and numerous other things); my shoulders are always knotted up which causes pain in my neck and whole upper body; and my hips and knees get incredibly stiff and sore to the point where it's hard to walk upright. And my back? Forget about it!

I'm not bringing this up to complain, but rather because I've noticed something in regards to running. You would think that with all of the pain, the last thing I'd be able to do is run (even at my slow pace). And a lot of times, I really procrastinate running because my body hurts.

However, I've noticed that when I get out of bed in the mornings after a run day, I am able to walk normally rather than really stiffly and hunched over. I've gotten so used to being in pain when I wake up (the pain is the worst in the mornings) that when I get out of bed and don't feel pain, I notice it immediately. Those first few moments when I get out of bed can make or break my whole day.

On the weeks where I skip several days in a row of running, I notice that my pain level is super high. But for the couple of days where I run back-to-back in order to fit in three runs, I feel a lot better.

I know this isn't anything profound; we're always hearing about studies that show exercise is good for all sorts of things, including pain. But this is one of those things that I just didn't really think about until now that I've noticed the effects. I am hoping that if I run every other day, I'll have a lot more pain-free mornings.

Okay, so here is the recap for my three runs in Week 17:

Week 17, Day 1 : Run 3 miles at 5.0 mph (treadmill)

This ended up being my worst run of the week. I just didn't feel great--my legs felt super heavy and I felt very winded. I was sure my heart rate was going to be super high, but surprisingly, it was relatively average.


Week 17, Day 2 : Run 3 miles at 5.5 mph (treadmill) for a tempo run

I decided that for some sort of speed work this week, I'd do a tempo run. A tempo run is where you run a little faster than normal--not as if you're racing, but enough to where you're slightly uncomfortable throughout the run. (Typically, this is your 10K race pace--the pace that you would be able to race a 10K.) Since I always do my treadmill runs at 5.0 mph, I decided to set it at 5.5 mph.

I had no idea how I was going to feel through this! But I was feeling very good (mentally and physically) on that morning, so I thought it would be a good time to do my speed work. And I really wanted to go out in the garage and work on a project; I've been itching to build something lately. I figured that if I run faster, I can be done sooner so that I can work on something fun ;)

At first, I wondered if 5.5 mph was going to be too easy for a tempo run. I felt good and it barely felt harder than the usual 5.0 mph. However, after the first mile, I definitely felt the difference in speed. I was uncomfortable enough to want to lower the speed, but I knew I could keep going (that's exactly how a tempo pace should feel).

It felt really good to do the whole run at a slightly faster pace! My heart rate was about where I expected it to be for this.


Week 17, Day 3 : Run 3 miles at 5.0 mph (treadmill)

I did this run yesterday. I spent the whole morning in the garage (I'll post about my new project tomorrow) and I was definitely ready to relax when I came inside. However, Eli had a soccer game (yes, that's correct--soccer! I'll explain tomorrow.) so I had to get my run done and take a shower before going to his game.

I actually felt really good--my breathing was steady and I felt like my heart rate had to be low. I didn't want to look, though, until the very end. I was surprised to see that it wasn't nearly as low as it felt:


It's interesting--when I was MAF training in 2016, I could tell you within a beat or two exactly what my heart rate was at any given time during a run. Now, however, I have no idea. I might think it's in the 130s and then when I look, I see it's in the 150s! If I want to get that in-tune again, I'll probably have to do *real* MAF training. I'm just not in that mindset right now, though. Now, I just want to keep experimenting and running in a way that makes me feel good (mentally and physically).

Okay, so I am stating here that I am committing to run on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday for Week 18!

September 22, 2021

Wednesday Weigh-In : Week 17

When I think of 17 weeks, it doesn't seem very long to me. However, I started counting calories and doing the Couch to 5K plan on May 23, which means it's been exactly 4 months. Four months sounds like a long time! When I lost 125 pounds in 2009-2010, it took 16 months. My entire life completely changed in a little over a year.

Thinking back on that, I remember it feeling like FOREVER. I was so impatient to get to my goal weight! In retrospect, 16 months is such a relatively short period of time in the grand scheme of things. I spent over 15 years trying to lose weight. I was always too impatient to do it the "slow" way, so I tried all the fad diets with no success. It wasn't until I did it the slow way that I finally lost all the weight!

That was now 11 years ago. It's now hard to believe that I thought 16 months was a long time. I also know that there is no "finish line" waiting for me--whether it's 6 months or 16 months or 16 years. That's the biggest lesson I've learned since losing the weight: to be successful, I can only make changes that I'm willing to do for the rest of my life.

I'm not even sure where this whole tangent came from! When I typed the title of this post, I just started thinking about how "a long time" is completely relative.

It's a good thing I'm not in a hurry, because the scale barely budged again this week:


I was at 163.2, which is down 0.6 from 163.8 last week. So I'm down a total of 33.8 pounds in 17 weeks.

While I would love to snap my fingers and be at my goal weight tomorrow, I know that if I just keep doing what I'm doing, I'll get there eventually. And then next year, I'll say that the time flew by ;)

I really wanted to get some new clothes over the weekend; I've been wearing black yoga pants and hoodies for pretty much a year straight (COVID lockdown made me choose comfort over looks for sure!). I still plan to dress comfortably in my "uniform", but I figured I should at least get some new yoga pants and hoodies (or any tops). And by "new", I mean new to me--I went to Goodwill.

I got a few pairs of good quality black pants that looked brand new, and a few random shirts. My very favorite thing that I bought, however, was this cardigan:

I have always LOVED cozy cardigans. Since I'm cold all the time, I like to throw on a cardigan at home--Jerry jokingly refers to it as my "house coat". I had to get rid of two of them recently because they were just really worn out. So I bought this one (I adore the colors) and I bought another that's cream-colored.

Today is the first official day of fall--and this cardigan screams "fall" to me. It was only 55 degrees today, too--I'm so excited that it's finally here! :)

September 21, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #43


Happy Transformation Tuesday! I have really been in the mood lately to clean and organize for some reason. I also really want to build some stuff in the garage! So hopefully I'll have some transformations of my own to post soon. I love seeing the transformations on Tuesdays--lots of inspiration :)

I have been trying to post fewer submissions each week so that I have something to post every Tuesday; rather than put all of the submissions in one post, I'm spacing them out. So if you sent me one and you don't see it yet, I will share it soon!

That said, I only have a couple transformations left in my inbox to use for next week, so please submit something to share--just send a before photo and an after photo to me at:  katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Include your name and a description of your transformation. I look forward to seeing some before and after photos!

Here are a few for this week...



This isn’t terribly exciting but here is a before and after of my son’s toy room. He doesn’t actually play in there very often. Rather, he drags all of his toys out to the living room to play and when he’s done we just throw them back in there without necessarily putting them in their proper place. The other day he wanted to clean (don’t know where that came from!) so he and I spent about 30 minutes cleaning and organizing the space. Now it makes me so much happier each time I walk by!

- Beth, Minnesota



Beth, even though putting away clutter doesn't seem exciting, I know exactly what you mean about feeling happier when you walk by the room! It's amazing how much something that simple can affect our moods, isn't it?  -Katie



I sewed by hand this cabin fabric 17 years ago when we bought a Mississippi river island cabin. I made these heron curtains to replace them. But I see I still need to make them wider. I was only concentrating on the length. We have so many herons on the slough so close to our cabin and this is perfect for our bedroom curtains.

- Karen



Karen, it looks so nice! I especially love how the daylight comes through enough to make the heron really stand out. They look perfect for a cabin on the river.  -Katie



I FINALLY have a submission for Transformation Tuesday. I never thought this would be finished; it was so much harder than I expected. Whatever could go wrong, DID go wrong.

I had to paint the entire room 3 times before I got the color close to right. I just can't seem to be able to picture the color from the little card on the walls correctly. The cabinet is hand-built in place and VERY OLD so that was a shit show to redo.

Then of course the new towel bars had screws that were not the same distance apart as the ones that were there so after painting the walls I then had to rip out old anchors and patch a thousand holes. The counter and windowsill are marble so I had to use an appliance epoxy to refinish those, that actually was just time consuming but easy.

The tiles were pretty easy to do (except around the toilet and the cabinet that is unmovable) but the pattern wouldn’t line up perfectly even though they are all from the same company (even in the same box they didn’t match). The floor is also not exactly level so there is some issue there. I siliconed all seams but that didn't work as expected so then I had to remove it all.

All-in-all I am happy with the result but my inexpensive "long weekend project" became much more expensive and much longer. My ADHD did not help either: for example, I did the countertop but forgot the windowsill so it took 4 full days and not 2 due to the curing time, how many coats it needed, forgetting the wall under the unmovable cabinet, etc...

I can't say I will EVER do this again, I am very good at hiring people and should probably stick to that! That said, I am happy with how it came out.

- Gigi




Gigi, I am super impressed that you took this project on yourself! And I totally empathize with the "inexpensive long-weekend project" turning into, well, what feels like a nightmare at the time (ahem, epoxy). But you did an amazing job and now look how fresh and new your bathroom looks--and you did it yourself. (I love the tiles, by the way!)  -Katie



Thanks so much for sharing your transformations! Please keep them coming :)

September 20, 2021

What I've Been Eating As I've Been Losing Weight

Several people have asked me to do a "what I eat" post recently. I don't normally like to post these because I get a lot of criticism for my food choices. But as I'll explain below, I just do what works for me. I'm not at all saying that this is how other people should eat!

I still feel like posts like this are premature because I am not at my target weight (goal weight, comfortable weight, happy weight, call it what you like). I'm still in the process of losing the weight I'd gained over the last few years.

Thankfully, it's going very well! I've lost just over 30 pounds in 16 weeks, going from a 10-year-high weight of 197 to 163.8 at my most recent weigh-in.

To lose the weight, I've just been counting calories (something that has never failed me in the past). There is no cookie cutter weight loss plan for everybody; we all need to find out what works for us (that took a lot of trial and error for me).

I've learned quite a bit about my body over the last three decades of dieting! Here are just a few things I've learned:

I lose weight very consistently when I reduce the number of calories I'm eating. If I just try to eat less food, I still tend to eat too much; that's why I count the calories.

My body likes to run on carbs and fat. Whenever I tried to get the recommended-at-the-time ratio of macronutrients in the past, I was miserable. It caused me to binge eat and quit altogether. I don't even look at my macronutrients now; I just trust that my body will crave what it needs.

I feel best when I eat a small volume of food, but still keep the calories at a "normal" number. In other words, I prefer calorie-dense foods. When I eat a large volume of lower-calorie food, I just don't feel good. Eating smaller, higher-calorie foods satisfies my appetite and hunger without making me feel overly full and bloated.

I do best without a calorie limit. This is always hard to explain, but I don't have a particular number that I aim for each day. I find that when I do, I don't listen to my body's cues. Some days, I have no appetite and I eat very little; other days, I'm ravenous and I eat a lot. I find that if I have a target, I'll continue to eat until I reach that number whether I'm hungry or not. Or if I have already used my calories for the day and I'm super hungry, I'll binge eat. So, I choose not to have a calorie limit. I find that I average anywhere from 1300 to 1900 a day. But still, sometimes more and sometimes less.

Finally, I much prefer to use my calories on a meal that I really look forward to (which is dinner). So, I save the majority of my calories for dinnertime and a snack a few hours later. I eat dinner very early (between 3:30 and 4:30 ish). So I'll eat very lightly until dinner.

Okay, I just wanted to explain all that before I get into what I tend to eat day-to-day. To someone who is used to eating 5-6 times a day, it would sound like I'm starving by eating only 2-3 times. Or to someone who likes 3 square, balanced meals, my food choices seem odd.

Note: My serving sizes may vary from what is shown here or listed in recipes. I base my serving size on how hungry I am--I just make sure to measure it and count it.

Breakfast

For a while last year, I got into doing intermittent fasting and I skipped breakfast and lunch. I really liked that, because I found it freed my mind from thinking about food all day! I don't do fasting (deliberately) anymore, but I also don't mind missing meals if I'm not hungry or I'm just busy.

Breakfast is the same for me every day. I have black tea with a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of heavy cream. Most days I don't eat anything with it, but when I do, it's fruit. I'll have a big bowl of grapes or a couple of plums or peaches. Whatever I have on hand. I love fruit!

Asian Pear (These are my very very favorite fruit! But I can never find them and when I do,
they are $2-3 EACH. I'm hoping my Asian Pear tree will give me fruit one day!




Lunch

I've never enjoyed lunchtime. It seems so inconvenient--it's always when I'm busy doing other things, and I don't like to cook just for myself. Also, I never know what to eat for lunch.

If I'm really busy, I'll just skip it. Otherwise, I almost always have a couple of pieces of string cheese and either crackers or fruit. I can't remember the last time I had something other than that, actually!

The jalapeƱo string cheese is my favorite!



Dinner

I'm always hungry for dinner, which is how I like it. If I'm not very hungry, then the food doesn't taste as good. By 3:30 or 4:00, I'm definitely ready to eat. Since I eat very lightly throughout the day, I like to plan a satisfying dinner. Satisfying doesn't always mean "big" (as in volume) but it's almost always something high in calories. I don't skimp on using oil or butter, cheese, pasta, rice, etc.

Also, I don't like eating a typical "meat and side dishes" type meals. I almost always make one-pot meals, skillet dinners, and casseroles. Clearly, I don't eat enough vegetables. I like to mix them into whatever the dish is that I'm making. If I was to cook a side of veggies, I'd be the only one in my family to eat them!

Here are some examples of dinner (I've linked the photos to my recipes, if they are posted on the blog):

Chicken Fajita Bowl


Fried Rice


Gnocchi and mushrooms with pesto cream sauce



Some sort of Asian chicken with rice (I can't remember)


Chicken Taco Soup


Spicy Chicken Taco Pasta


Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein


Pork Bibimbap


Mushroom Stroganoff (I give the family beef, but I prefer just mushrooms)



I'm not sure what this is, but it was good! Some sort of Asian-flavored skillet meal.



Meatball subs on garlic bread


Spaghetti Pie


White Chicken Enchiladas


Sesame Chicken


Tortellini with pesto cream


Chicken Pot Pie Bubble Up


Margherita Pizza


Spicy Peanut Noodle Bowls


Steak, green beans, mashed potatoes, and mushrooms


Hawaiian Fried Rice


Spicy Black Bean Enchiladas


Jerry's Favorite Pork and Rice with applesauce


Grilled cheese (muenster) with bacon


Chipotle chicken and cheese quesadillas (the kids like me to make this when they have
friends over for dinner--it's a teenager favorite!)


Ground turkey and cabbage with peanut sauce


General Tso's Chicken


Smoked sausage hash with a runny egg

Pesto Cream Gnocchi (we LOVE this! I usually make it with tortellini now, though)


A lot of the dinners are deceptively high in calories. Like the gnocchi above, I think it's something like 800 calories. It has heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and pesto sauce, which is a lot of fat. So even a small portion is very filling. That's what I am referring to when I say "calorie dense" foods. My dinner is almost always 700-1,000 calories. If I want to have less calories for dinner, I'll just eat a smaller portion of whatever I'm making rather than try to alter the recipe.

Snack

Since I eat dinner so early, I like to have a good-sized snack at around 8:00 or so. And this is where I basically just eat anything that sounds good. From a big bowl of grapes to a piece of homemade dessert to a couple of ounces of cashews to salami and string cheese. Anything goes--it just depends on my mood. But here are some examples of snacks:

Almonds and dried cherries


A candy bar of any sort--I love candy bars!


A Larabar with chocolate peanut butter and strawberries


Chips Ahoy cookies and milk (Chips Ahoy cookies are a vice of mine--
I like them more than homemade cookies a lot of the time! ;) 



Animal crackers and salami slices


A cookie sampler... I ended up not liking these ones, so I didn't finish them.


Cashews and string cheese (cashews are a go-to when I need more calories;
most of the time, I'll have 2 ounces, which is 340 calories; shown above is only 1 ounce).


Peach cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream


Imitation crab in butter with applesauce (yes, this is weird--it was a craving!)


Popcorn with fake butter (you know that butter flavored oil? That.) and salt


Cheez-its and string cheese


Marshmallows and cashews (marshmallows only have 25 calories each!)



Apple with cinnamon raisin peanut butter


Cap'n Crunch cereal (or any kind, really--I love cereal!)

As you can see, my snacks are a big smorgasbord of stuff. Sometimes I have as many calories as a full meal, other times just a couple hundred. Again, it all depends on how hungry I am and/or how much I ate during the rest of the day.

Drinks

As far as drinks, I only drink tea and water. I quit drinking alcohol in February and I don't like to spend calories on other drinks like soda or juice. If we have friends over or something, I might have Heineken 0.0, but other than that, I just stick to water. Occasionally a La Croix if I can get them on sale for cheap! Haha.

So there you have it. My diet is far from perfect, but it's a million times better than it was when I was 253 pounds. I eat what I enjoy and I don't obsess about getting in the perfect numbers. I eat too much sugar, not enough vegetables, too many processed foods, and all the other things that I've heard before. But I eat how it works best for ME. And I'm cool with that.

Also, my tastes change over time. I usually go through phases for months at a time, or even a year or more. (In 2015-2016, I probably ate 2,000 packs of fruit snacks! And in 2017, I ate probably 400 bowls of cereal. In 2012-2013, I ate oatmeal probably 700 times. One time, I even went through a salad phase--and I don't even like salad, for the most part! Lately, it's been string cheese, pickles, and crackers (Goldfish, Cheez-its, animal crackers, or plain old saltines).

Like I said, there is nothing special or exciting about my diet. I just eat whatever sounds best to me :)

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