Friday, February 24, 2012

Two Easter goodies I'll be trying WAY before Easter

I know, I know, it was just Ash Wednesday a few days ago, and already I'm looking forward to Easter?

Well, I'll confess - I've already eaten two Cadbury eggs (weeks ago, when they first came out), and I have one sitting on my kitchen counter, taunting me :)  I probably would take any excuse to eat more candy, but I do really enjoy Easter food in general - colorful, happy, full of veggies.

So far, I've got two things on my list:

Chocolate Covered Peeps

I have made these before with my family, but I don't think Brendan has had them.  Sure, they sell them chocolate-dipped now too, but it's so much fun to actually do the dipping yourself.  And they're nowhere near as many calories as a Cadbury Egg, so hopefully I can eat more than one :)

Easter "Chick" Eggs

These are just too cute.  And have to be the simplest things ever to make.  I'll make these one day when we need a healthy snack or something to go with sandwiches for lunch.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent intentions

I hope you are all having a lovely.....Vacation Week?  I guess this is a New England thing, but apparently schools here have one week of vacation in February and one in April - at home, ours was always 2 weeks in March.  Anyway, everyone at work is gone this week, and I'm going a little loopy here all by myself!

I'm not Catholic, but my boyfriend is, and my Dad's side of the family is, too.  Brendan and I have been going to Catholic church since he got out of the hospital, so I'm tuned in to the Catholic traditions a bit more.  Lent was never something we "celebrated" at my (Lutheran) church at home, but I thought it probably isn't a bad idea!  I could give up any of the typical things people give up....

...but instead, I would like to do something more positive with my 40 days.  So for Lent this year, I'm giving up negativity and pessimism.

I find that I often beat myself up over little things - things I can't control, or things that really aren't that big of a deal.  As someone who struggles with anxiety, and as a perfectionist, it's hard not to!  But it holds me back and keeps me from doing what I am capable of, and that is what I'd like to change.  Here's my plan for Lent - hold me to it!

Week 1: Be open.  I'd like to talk to people more, try to make small talk (yes, I'm the awkward type and don't usually "chat" with people), and smile often.  Be open to interactions with people, and be aware of any negative thoughts that creep in - remember these for next week!
Week 2: Replace negative thoughts.  I will be mindful of the thoughts that arrive in my head, and if negative, make an effort to replace them.
Week 3: Catch up with a friend.  I miss my friends from high school, college, and grad school - the ones I have kept up with are few in number, but very precious to me.  I haven't chatted with a few of them for a while now - I will make an effort
Week 4: Calm. Down.  When faced with adversity, I typically panic.....the negative thoughts flood in and I go into a spiral of doom that's hard to get out of.  If this happens, I will try to repeat my mantra (sounds silly, but repeating "It's ok" in my head really does help), and picture myself calmer....hopefully this can become a habit!
Week 5: Challenge myself physically.  As of the end of March, I will have been going to the gym regularly (at least 3x/week) for 6 months, and making a good habit of it (5x/week or more) for 3 months. I will have just completed a 5K race and will be looking toward a 5-miler, but I think it will be about time to step it up a bit!  I'll think about what this will entail when I get a little closer, but trying a new class, making myself work harder in the classes I do, etc. should do it.  Accomplishing something harder physically will make me see my progress more clearly.
Weeks 6-7 Challenge myself intellectually and spiritually.  Two goals for these weeks: 1) Read 1 new paper a week for work, and 2) Do at least 3 random acts of kindness.

In conjunction with these small goals, I will also be doing the "40 Day Challenge" at my gym, which involves metabolism evaluations, nutrition counseling, and fitness challenges.  I want to keep up my progress at the gym and try to figure this food stuff out!  I have a sneaking suspicion that my birth control isn't helping with this weight loss thing, but I will wait to test out that hypothesis until later.

So that's it for today, but I'll be posting about yummy Easter food soon!  You'll notice I didn't give up chocolate for Lent.....I don't think I'd be able to avoid Cadbury eggs for 40 days!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One more week

The title of this post refers to the (rapidly dwindling) amount of time I have until I start my new postdoc job.  You might think that I would be dreading starting work again - but really, I'm pretty excited.  I think that this job will be much more......mine?  I don't know how to describe it, exactly, but I can see the opportunity to take full ownership over a project, immerse myself in it, and enjoy it (well, most of the time).  And hopefully I'll be able to do all of this without going completely crazy from overworking myself!

Since I have 2.5 weeks off total from work, I have been taking this opportunity to do a deep-clean of the house, take care of chores, and hit the gym a bit extra.  I've lost about 6 pounds since the beginning of the year, and I would say I'm in my best shape ever - I'm on a roll, and I'm going to exploit this time off to make sure I get as far towards my goals as I can.  Of course, since that means going to the gym 6x a week (sometimes 2x a day, if I'm feeling particularly crazy), it means a lot of the rest of my day is spent looking a little like this:

If I remember, I'll take some "before" and "after" photos so I can compare them in a while, when I'm closer to my goal.  I'm really proud of myself for sticking to this for so long - I've been at this gym for 4 1/2 months now, and I'm doing things I never thought I'd be able to do.  And I've actually been able to stick with the 5am wakeup for the 5:30 classes - this will be totally essential when I start working in earnest, because I rarely make it home at night without feeling totally wiped out.

Anyway, just wanted to wish you all a happy February - this is when the New Year's resolutions start to either hit their stride or fizzle out, and when we really settle into the year, so I hope you are all having a wonderfully fulfilling 2012 so far!!