Dieting at a Beer Festival…or, I Can’t Eat BBQ and I Want It

On Saturday, I picked up my honorary aunt, MaryMary and we went “over the mountain” (as folks ‘round here say) and headed to the 4th annual Rocktown Beer & Music Festival in Harrisonburg, VA. This year, they had 31 breweries/cideries and three bands, four local restaurants set up in tents, and, thank God, enough portapotties for everyone in attendance.

MaryMary and I left Culpeper around 1 o’clock on Saturday while threatening looking rain clouds (or as my Grandma “Bill” would call them, “weather clouds”) started to roll in. As we climbed the mountain, the sky got clearer and it looked as though we would escape the threat of rain. I was excited just to spend time with my kindred spirit and to be out in the sun. I was not, however, looking forward to the temptations that I knew awaited me when we arrived: bbq, burgers, and lots and lots of beer and cider. I was prepared though: that morning, I drank my powered chicken, er…protein smoothie, and had my lunch of stuffed pepper and noshed on almonds on my way over the mountain. I also prepped a protein shake and threw that in my purse along with carrots and hummus.

By the time we found parking and arrived at the end of a very long line of waiting ticket holders, I thought it best to try to choke down the protein shake. Much to my chagrin, the damned thing had leaked in my purse and was warm. Nothing better in life that a warm protein shake. I guzzled as much as I could stomach as MaryMary and I waited in line behind a ridiculously annoying group of early to mid twenty-somethings. I wouldn’t go back to that stage in life if you paid me. Aah, to be older…and kinda, somewhat, maybe a little wiser?

First TasteThe first vendor we hit was Bold Rock, out of Nelson County, Virginia; not my favorite cidery, but a decent replacement as I couldn’t find one of my most favorite brands, Crispin. If you’ve never had Crispin, you simply must. They make a delightfully refreshing, light and flavorful product in two varieties: apple & pear.

After MaryMary enjoyed a ridiculously good looking bbq sandwich from Clementine’s, we hit Devils Backbone (Roseland, Virginia); they offered a tasting of pear lager which was interesting and very dry and had light elements of pair in the finish. We were fortunate enough to meet up with MaryMary’s son, Jamie and his beautiful girlfriend Kate at the festival and they were able to lead us to the Crispin tasting spot and because he was part of organizing the event, got us samples without having to stand in line! Crispin2

Jamie has been a part of the beer world for years and before moving back to Harrisonburg, announced that he will be opening his own brewery with partners, Pale Fire Brewing Company . We were able to tour his new brewery space while at the festival, and though right now the space is lookin’ a little rough, Jamie has a vision and I’m sure that his hard work and perseverance will pay off and Pale Fire Brewing Company will be a big success.

While at the festival, I was able to catch a great band out of Connecticut, Bronze Radio Return. They’re touted as an American roots music band, but they sounded to me more like a crossover band with American roots music influences. Their band included a banjo, a harmonica, both sounds that I love.

Rocktown Beer & Music Festival

Beer festivals are an interesting thing: they bring out all walks of life. Hippies and CEOs; young & old; stupid and not so stupid; drunkards and connoisseurs. They merge drink and food and music, three of my favorite things. Perhaps at the next beer festival, I’ll be in a position where I can splurge and enjoy the drink and food a little more than I did this time around. But this time around, I went home knowing that I was sacrificing for a better body the next day. And that isn’t a small feat.

Holy Shit, This is Working…or, Life is All About Balance

I’m on day five of the Do It or Die Plan and I must say that every day that I step onto the scale I’m simply stunned at how this plan is working. I’m about seven, count ‘em, seven pounds down since I started this plan on Monday! This entire venture has been really hard (and yes, I know, it’s only day 5) because it’s been all about breaking bad habits; bad habits like running out and grabbing something quick and yummy for lunch, or going home and not sitting on my butt. It’s also hard because now that I’m on this special regimen, it means my weekly dinner with my Gramma is out the window.

The food aspect of the plan isn’t really any more appetizing now as when I first started, though I can tell you that I look forward to my morning protein smoothies and my stuffed pepper lunch like I’ve never looked forward to meals before! I look forward to days when I can eat eggs and have peanut butter and branch out from the I-can’t-describe-how-bland combination of sautéed zucchini, squash, peppers and onions. It’s the little things in life that we look forward to, right?

I’ve been walking every day for a minimum of thirty minutes, and yesterday I started a new workout routine that was provided by my FES. The good thing about this circuit training routine is that I can do it from home when I don’t feel like going to the gym. The bad thing about this circuit training routine is that I can do it from home when I don’t feel like going to the gym. No excuses. Ugh. The series of exercises she has me doing are nothing fancy: things like lunges and squats and light arm weights. The worst part of the entire thing is that I have to do this circuit training a total of three times before I’m done and the sad fact of the matter is that I’m simply lazy. I’ve been used to going home after work, sitting down and not moving. That’s been a big change and challenge this week.

Speaking of challenges, tomorrow will be another big one: I’m off the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival in Harrisonburg, VA and I know that there will be all kinds of wonderful foods and drinks there. While I’m going to go and indulge a little, I’m not going to go wild, and my hope is that this little bit of fun (and alcohol) won’t throw me off my weight loss path too awfully much. Somewhere along the way, I didn’t learn how to balance fun and health, so now I’m learning how to do that at thirty-one. Life really is all about balance isn’t it? Eat, but don’t overeat; drink, but don’t over indulge; rest, but don’t be lazy. How come we aren’t supposed to do “too much” of what I think of as the fun stuff? Eating and drinking has always been central to fun times with family and friends and now…well, now I have to do things a little differently. Finding balance is tough. But I keep this mantra in my head: You can do anything for a few weeks. That and the steady loss of weight is what has been keeping me motivated, even on the evenings where all I want to do is stick a straw in a bottle of wine and shovel salty foods into my face. Well, that, the steady weight loss and my sister saying “Don’t you fucking do it” when I tell her that I can’t do this; that keeps me pretty motivated, too. Here is to Week 2 of the Do It Or Die Plan and watching the numbers on the scale get smaller and smaller!

The Do It Or Die Plan…or I Really Miss Salt

Monday morning I awoke with the realization that I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of making excuses, of continuing to watch the scale move upward, to continue doing things the way that I have been. I’ve had enough of settling for the me that I have been.  I’m lucky enough to have a fitness extraordinaire sister to whom I could reach out for help, and reach I did. What any trainer or fitness mogul worth their salt will tell is this: The gym is only a small percentage of weight loss. What happens in the kitchen is key. So, knowing my sister (she who shall go by the moniker FES for Fitness Extraordinaire Sister), I got in touch with her Monday morning as I was spooning yogurt and strawberries into my face and asked her for a meal plan. I knew I wasn’t going to like it. I knew it was probably going to make me hangry and yearn for taste: for salt, for chocolate, for alcohol, for sandwiches, for chips, for everything that I routinely put into my body. But, I reminded myself yet again: ENOUGH. Enough of doing things your way, Lex.

My sister put me on a meal plan for the week. It’s Wednesday and I can tell you that I miss salt with everything in my soul. Salt and coffee. As an avid coffee drinker, I generally start my day with a big ol’ mug o’ mud, with lots of milk or creamer and a tablespoon or two of sugar. No longer. Nope. These days, I begin my day with a protein smoothie. In my most recent trip to Houston, my sister lovingly prepared me a protein shake to gulp down one morning. My response to the taste of this was, simply put, “Feh!” I actually don’t mind the smoothies though. I use chocolate protein powder (or as I like to think of it, powdered chicken), a banana, a very scant amount of non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt and ice. Tuesday morning was the first morning I made this concoction and I must admit, it took me a while to choke it down. I’m not used to drinking my breakfast, so I think the combination of that and the flavor took some time to adapt to. But this morning? That smoothie was the best tasting damn thing I put in my body since yesterday morning!

Snacks and the other two meals of the day aren’t my favorites, but they’ll suffice for this week. My mantra is ‘I can do anything for a week’. There is one recipe my FES gave me that is absolutely aaahmazing, though. Quinoa & turkey stuffed peppers: simple, good for you, and since I made them over the weekend, super easy to heat for a good, filling lunch. Now, dinner is another story. I love vegetables. Or rather, I love vegetables with salt. Dinner consists of veggies sautéed in coconut oil – no salt, damnit – and 4 ounces of a protein. Also, no salt. As anyone who has ever used Mrs. Dash will tell you, this is no substituted for salt. But, it’ll do. For now.

My FES also told me that running in my current state is not a good idea. Short bursts of jogging are alright, but no running for any kind of distance. This advice kind of made me laugh, because I can’t run for any kind of distance. But, I digress. I’ve been instructed to do some kind of cardio for 30 minutes a day. If it’s walking outside with short little bursts of jogging interspersed or walking on the treadmill with intervals on an incline, or using the elliptical at the gym – do it: 30 minutes and leave. Even I can follow those instructions; I mean, 30 minutes? I can make room for 30 minutes of moving five days a week.

I’m midway through the week and so far I’m down almost three pounds from Monday! I’ll take weight loss over salt any day. Doing things another person’s way is always a challenge. It makes you change your way of thinking and reassess the current situation and biggest of all, it means admitting to yourself that your way isn’t necessarily the best way. That one is tough for me, and always has been. But, seeing results this quickly has motivated me to continue on with a positive outlook and hopes for change and results a lot faster than I could garner if I were still doing things my way. I think I’ll stick with my FES’s plan, or what I call it: the Do It or Die Plan. My sister is one tough cookie and I know if I slack off on this plan, I’ll have to answer to her, and to myself. So, I’ll continue on doing what I’m supposed to do and see what the end of the week brings. Here is to new beginnings, change, and the Do It or Die Plan.

Get Off Your Ass…Or, Giving Running Another Shot

Yesterday, I ran for the first time in months. Well, it wasn’t so much a run as it was a walk-run. I woke up feeling like a slug; I’ve done nothing physical in months and felt like it was time to get off my ass and move. I downloaded an app on my phone called Running for Weightloss that was recommended to me by a friend (who also happens to be the author of the blog Vegan Mostly (http://www.veganmostly.blogspot.com). The app eases you into running with walking interspersed with short bursts of running, a lot like the Couch to 5K app that I used last year.

It was abundantly clear about three-quarters of the way through Day 1 that it is time for me to get back to the gym on a regular basis; any stamina that I previously had for running is gone (not that I ever had that much of, but I had more than I do now). I was so pleased with myself after I’d finished and felt such a sense of accomplishment. It felt good to move, to do something physical, to be out of breath.

Today however, is another matter. To say I’m sore is an understatement! Everything hurts: my legs, my hips, my abs. Moving today has been a challenge. But, I’m taking the discomfort as a sign that I did something good yesterday! Running isn’t something that I particularly enjoy. In fact, last year when I started the Couch to 5K program, there were days that I downright hated it. But now, I’m willing to give it another shot and see if it’ll help me reach my health goals. I perused Pinterest for some inspiration and ran across this blog http://m.blogher.com/i-am-fat-runner. I’ve also run across other blogs that focus on “fat runners”. While I hate that term…the fact of the matter is that there are people out there that run who are not long and lanky. And I am decidedly not long and lanky. It gives me hope that if I continue to give running another try, while it will hurt and it will be a challenge, that there are others out there that do it and are of the same structure as me. And it is possible. Attaining goals is possible. I just have to work through it. And I have to remind myself that even the lean and trim people that I see running at the park hurt sometimes. I can do this. Day by day, I can do this.

change your relationship

 

Another One Bites the Dust…Or, I Have Hope for Myself, After All

That’s right. I’m back. Back and better than ever! I recently lost about two hundred pounds. Yep. I’ve re-entered the kingdom of Singledom. As it turns out, the one that I thought was “the one” was in fact most certainly not the one for me. I chalk it all up to another bump in the road with the apropos phrase “another one bites the dust”.

The season of renewal and growth is upon us and thus I find this latest occurrence in my personal life rather fitting. I’ve decided it’s time to really focus on investing time in myself and exploring who I am (again. But this time to do it more than a couple/few months). At thirty-one, I figure it’s time to get that figured out…or rather to continue the journey. With my time not invested in someone else, I now have the opportunity to delve deeper into myself; what makes me tick? What makes me happy? And the better question: Why am I not doing what makes me happy? Where do I actually want to live?

I’ve found that when I am in a relationship, a lot of my personal goals go by the wayside; for some reason, I can’t seem to juggle focus very well. Does everyone struggle with this or am I on my own here? I’ve decided to hit the reset button on my priorities and to reassess my goals now that life’s circumstances have changed:

#1 Get back to writing on a regular basis.

#2 Start playing music again. And possibly *gasp* start writing music again. The prospect of which scares the ever-loving shit out of me. Possibly start taking mandolin lessons.

#3 Make a concentrated effort to expand my culinary abilities.

#4 Continue hiking and *trying* to form myself into a shape that is a little less round.

#5 Start thinking seriously about moving. No really. I mean it this time.

#6 Start saving. No really. I mean it this time.

#7 Do not get distracted from any of the above goals.

After I pulled myself together, I realized that I was going to find myself with time that I hadn’t had in several months. After all, I wasn’t going to be commuting to anyone anymore. I was going to have weekends back to myself. I wasn’t going to need to be tied to my phone at night anymore. At first, the thought of breaking all of the above habits was going to be overwhelming. But then something beautiful happened. My mind opened up and I had a moment of clarity; I remembered that there are no rules and I can do what I want with my time. In fact, I can do whatever I want in regard to *all* of my life. There is no rule in stone saying I have to stay in one place or that I must do anything in particular. Those thoughts are liberating in what can be a very scary time of transition. I have hope for myself after all.