Early 20’s vs Late 20’s: Dieting

I never want to talk much about my attempts to lose a little weight on here, but as it’s on my project list and currently on my mind, I have come to the recent realization that I am not as young as I once was.

In the beginning of 2008, I was 23 and fresh out of college.  My last year of college had been rough – getting too little sleep, having too much stress, and eating far too much fast food in the middle of the night/early morning.  I finally gained my “Freshman 15” as a senior.  So I decided to do something about the 15 pounds I had gained + the 15 vanity pounds I wanted to lose on top of that; I joined Weight Watchers.

Now, 5 ½ years later, I am back in the same position, having gained back, over the last few years, that 30 pounds I lost in 2008.  I want to lose it again.  And again, I am trying Weight Watchers.

At 29, it’s different this time.  Maybe it’s unfair to just pinpoint the age difference, as several things have changed, such as my marital status, my social life, and my will-power. But age definitely has something to do with the change of my metabolism, eating habits, and “wisdom”.

When I was 23, the weight seemed to magically fall off.  It wasn’t quick, but it was steady.  Week after week, I’d see a smaller number on the scale  – 4 pounds lost, 2 pounds lost, 1 pound lost.  I wanted to lose the weight and that was enough then.  I took up running; I started tracking what I ate; I went to the weekly Weight Watchers meetings.  It worked.  From February to May, I lost 30 pounds, and I made Lifetime membership by staying at my goal weight for 6 weeks.

If it was so easy then, why is it so hard now?  Have I just suppressed the memories of wanting to shovel chocolate in my mouth or did I really not have that trouble then?

The good thing about WW is that you do track your food, and the good thing about being a pseudo-hoarder is that you keep those food journals.  I was looking over my old journal yesterday, and here’s one of the main differences:  I lived off of Progresso Soup and SmartOnes frozen dinners; now I cook.  I’m pretty sure my husband would have thrown an intervention for my former single self back in 2008 if he had known me; frozen dinners, full of who knows what, and canned soup, full of the same plus loads of sodium, are not healthy.  But they worked.

So I guess I’m labeling that one as with growing older comes wisdom disipline the desire to fuel my body with truly healthy food, not just low calories.  And that makes it a little more work for me and the will power.  Cursed by cooking?  Get ready for some new diet-friendly recipes.

I miss blogging…

I know I said it before, back in May, when life began to get a bit more hectic – but I didn’t mean to just drop the blog.  But here it is – SEPTEMBER! – and I haven’t posted anything since then.  I miss it.  I never thought I’d be one to want to share my life on the world wide web, but I enjoy this as a creative outlet…as well as a way to keep myself organized.

So here’s what I’ve been up to over the summer, a check-in on my New Year’s resolutions, and a project list update:

My summer was nothing out of the ordinary.  Our house guests stayed with us for three weeks while they got everything worked out with their renters insurance and found a new place to live.  In between work deadlines for both of us, my husband and I took a couple of vacations to visit family and a camping trip or two.  We celebrated our one-year anniversary in July.  There was no studying for exams involved because I passed my last section of the Architect Registration Exam in June.  New Year’s Resolution #1 COMPLETE!  As for resolutions #2 (house-keeping) and #3 (cooking) – I go back and forth between on-it and not on-it.  I would say overall, the house stays company-ready, and I do cook most nights – which was really all I was trying to accomplish with those resolutions anyway.  I have fallen off the Slow Cooker Challenge wagon, but may revive that soon.  I do have on of my stand-by’s, chicken for tacos tonight, already in the slow-cooker as I type this.

As for my  project list, I have updates and more to add.  #3 – Organize the shed – DONE.  It’s not as scary anymore since it’s not crammed full of who-knows-what, and I have a happy husband because his lawn equipment and tools are easily accessible.  As for #2 – Renovate the home office/gym – it’s so close to complete I can taste it.  All that is left to complete is the baseboards and the millwork (which we are meeting with a cabinet maker soon).  #1 – Create a Filing System – DONE – at least temporarily.  I have created a temporary system until we get the filing cabinets in the office for the permanent solution, but all I will have to do is move everything over.  I don’t want to talk about #4 right now…but I still need to focus on that.

Office Renovation Progress; desk, shelves, cabinets, and a wardobe still to come.

Office Renovation Progress; desk, shelves, cabinets, and a wardrobe still to come.

New additions to the project list:

#5:  Renovate the pantry.  To make a long story short, this has to be done because we bought a new frontloading washer and dryer that was on super-sale over Labor Day weekend.  Our small pantry also serves as the laundry closet, so this new set, which is stackable, will save space.  We have several things we need to do to the pantry before we can install the washer and dryer, so we are on that right now, trying to get that completed my mid-October.

#6:  Blog regularly.  I have come across tons of things I want to share recently, so this might as well add this to the list!

That’s it for now; it’s good to be back.  I can’t wait to get back to sharing more recipes and household tips!

Project List Update

Where has the time gone?  It’s officially Spring – and I have yet to Spring Clean (though I have been keeping the house “surface cleaned” and company ready).  I had big plans to break the deep cleaning up all through the month of March, but I was so bogged down with studying for an exam at the beginning of the month that I barely even registered it was March (side note – I found out last week, I passed the exam:  5 A.R.E. exams down, 2 to go!)

And then there’s my project list…with all the deadlines long since past.  I am working on them though – particularly #2:  home office/gym renovation.  We have stripped the walls down to the studs, ripped up the carpet, upgraded the electrical panel for the house that is located in this room, rewired a few of the circuits, replaced duct work to the den that previously ran through the kitchen cabinets now relocated into a fur down in this space, and stripped paint off of the ceiling beams.

Image from Houzz.com (my favorite website)

Image from Houzz.com (my favorite website)

 

I don’t have a picture of our room, but this is similar to what the ceiling looks like in the space – except that the beams have been painted (currently, they are a horrible yellowed off-white color).  We are working, one room at a time, to get the beams back to natural wood.  It’s not a fun process.

Apparently, at one time, the entire room – exposed decking, ceiling beams, walls, and all – was painted teal.  We’ve previously renovated the living room, and that entire room was painted mauve.  I really question what the previous owners were thinking, but then again, the house was built in the 50’s.

Anyway, home office/gym renovation is in full swing  and when we get that finished, I will be able to tackle the filing system (#1 on my project list) – as we have already designated a space for a beautiful new filing cabinet.  Most people probably don’t think a filing cabinet is a thing of beauty, but this should tell you how out of hand my current system is.

#3 on the list, clean out the storage shed, will happen one warm weekend.  We’ve had a recent return of winter, and there’s no way I’m going to tackle that dark, damp place in 30 degree temperatures.

#4 – lose 10 pounds – that’s the one I’ve been concentrating on the most.  Halfway there.

Well, at least there’s progress.  Who needs deadlines?

 

 

2013 Resolution #3: Cooking

Resolution #2 is off to a great start, as the house is clean and ready for another test – a houseguest! My cousin arrives tonight and will be staying with us for two weeks to take a certification class.

Time to start in on Resolution #3: Cooking. I haven’t quite decided exactly what I want to include in this resolution as I already cook most nights, though we ate away from home A LOT in December. That is probably what inspired this one – a month of being on-the-go and having so many events and get togethers that I missed cooking regularly. I do get a secret pleasure from making a great meal for someone I love, and I like it even more when my husband and I cook together.

Along with getting back into the routine of cooking nightly, I also want to try new recipes – expand my repertoire, so to say. I have tons of cookbooks, but I rarely make anything out of them. If I want to try something new, I usually find something online or try a recipe a friend suggested. I’d like to start using the cookbooks as well. And I have dreams of compiling all my recipes in some sort of organized fashion to include how much the dish costs to make and what to do with left-over ingredients or food.

This resolution has not been at the top of my priority list so far because we currently do not have a refrigerator. Christmas Day, we had a huge ice storm, and lost power for a few days. When the power came back on, something happened to our fridge; the freezer still works, and the light comes on inside the fridge, but it does not get cold. A repairman is coming tomorrow (fingers crossed that he really does come…it’s been a week since we called) so hopefully we will be back in full swing Wednesday. In the meantime, since the contents of the refrigerator is in coolers, I was able to deep clean the inside of the fridge.

But we have managed to eat a home cooked meal every night since New Years, and I did try one new recipe last week: Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing.

 

Japanese Restaurant inspired dressing; a little darker than what I expected...

Japanese Restaurant inspired dressing; a little darker than what I expected…

 

Here’s my review: Since I had all the ingredients on hand (except fresh ginger for which I substituted ground ginger), it was easy to whip up. All ingredients just go into the blender. My husband sautéed some chicken, and we completed our salads with rice noodles, mandarin oranges, and cashews. The dressing was really good on the salad, but I have to say, it is NOT the Japanese Steakhouse dressing that I expected. To me, it was exactly like one of the dipping sauces given at the hibachi to dip steak and veggies. The recipe makes quite a bit – we had more than 1 cup left – so what to do with the leftover? Saturday, I added a little Worcestershire Sauce to the dressing and used it to marinade two ribeye steaks. The husband grilled these after they had soaked for a few hours, and they may have been the best steaks we’ve ever cooked at home. Decent salad dressing; Great dipping sauce; WONDERFUL marinade.

2013 Resolution #2: House-Keeping

If you’re wondering, 2013 Resolution #1 is to pass my three remaining sections of the Architectural Registration Exam.  Along with 5-years Bachelor degree and a 3-year internship, to become an architect, I have to pass 7 exams; I’ve taken and passed 4.  And though I’m sure I will mention how time-consuming and challenging studying for the exams is from time to time, this blog isn’t about that, so enough said.

 

Resolution #2 is to be a better housekeeper.   I would like to be able to entertain guests without spending several hours (or days) cleaning before they arrive.  I would like to not be embarrassed when someone drops-by because my kitchen is a wreck and there are muddy dog prints on the den floor.  I would like to offer friends and family a clean place to stay if they are in need, without having to shuffle things off the guest bed.

 

Maybe I need a little disclaimer here that I’m not a complete slob.  The house is never really THAT bad.  But there are times when we’ve been so busy that the house does become a bit disorganized or days when I come home tired from work and don’t want to do the pile of dishes in the sink from dinner the previous night.  And there’s no denying that we either need more storage or less stuff.

 

However, what really led to this resolution was the holidays.  My husband’s two brothers and their families came to town for Christmas, and we offered our guest bedroom to lighten his parents’ load.  In preparation for houseguests, I spent the entire weekend before, including Friday afternoon and most of Monday, deep cleaning.  The house looked amazing, but it took way to long in my opinion, and I came across some pretty gross stuff – like thick blankets of dust build up on the lampshades and ceiling fans.  I spent the majority of Saturday cleaning the smallest room in the house – the master bathroom – scrubbing grout, tile, floors, walls, toilet, and sink.  The temperature outside all weekend was in the 60’s, so I guess I was in the mood to “spring clean” while the husband did the same for the yard.

 

 

Last night, this resolution was put to the first test – sudden need to entertain.  One of my husband’s high school friend’s was still in town for the holidays, and we wanted to get together with him, his wife, and another couple.  With the exception of the master bedroom, we’ve managed to keep the house in pretty good shape (neither of us are good about putting away clean laundry).  The yard is another story, though.  We had a huge ice storm and had lots of limbs, branches, and tops of trees come down.  Clean-up on the yard will be ongoing for a quite some time, and the yard tools and cold weather gear have haphazardly found their way into the den…along with our dog, who no matter how much I dry him off, always manages to leave dirty paw prints on the stained concrete floor.  We offered our house, then did a quick 30-minute clean-up to get it back into shape:  washed dinner dishes, swept, mopped up muddy paw prints, vacuumed, and picked up and put away the random things that had found their way out.  Back to a clean house.

 

So, long story short:  the house is currently clean (except that I need to put up quite a bit of laundry – tonight), and I intend on spending a little time each day to keeping it that way.