Slow Carb, Week 2

Hi all! I’m hoping to post some more on the blog this coming week. I’ve felt a little bit uninspired because I’ve been doing a lot of staying indoors because of the cold and because I’ve been going through some trouble with my rescue pup that is taking up a lot of my time and energy outside of work. I’m hoping to type up a post about the issues I’ve been having with him and what I’m doing about it and also get back to posting a few times a week, but for now, please enjoy this recap of my second week on slow carb!

Progress
Starting Weight: 186
Last Week’s Weight: 179.8
This Week’s Weight: 178.0
Weekly Weight Loss: 1.8 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 8.0 lbs

As expected, my weight loss was in a normal range this week. Losing 6 lbs in a week, even if it was mostly water weight, felt pretty crazy during week 1, and I’m glad it slowed down. In my experience, the only weight loss that works long term is the slow, sustainable kind.

Meals
Breakfast
I kept it simple this week, frying 2 eggs, 3 slices of bacon, and then having some black beans and sauteed spinach. I wasn’t feeling as hungry as I was last week, so I didn’t feel the need to load up on egg whites in the morning. Friday morning, instead of black beans, I used some leftover mashed butternut squash. Really tasty and a nice change! Saturday morning, I went out to a diner. I had black coffee, an omelet with smoked salmon, capers, and sundried tomatoes, a side of steamed veggies, and, of course, a side of bacon.

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Lunch
I was all over the place this week. One day, I didn’t pack lunch, and a water pipe burst on the main street near the courthouse, so there were very few options for lunch. I ended up having a bag of cashews, which was not filling or fun.

Another day, I packed lunch but totally forgot to eat it.

Two days last week, I had ground beef with taco seasoning, black beans, and frozen veggies.

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On Friday, I went out to lunch with my co-workers. I got the burrito bowl, which was shredded pork, chorizo, rice and black beans, salsa, crema, cheese, and guac. I asked the waiter to sub out the rice for some more black beans, and asked to leave out the crema and cheese. It was pretty tasty, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the chorizo.

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Dinner
Monday night, I had this black bean and salsa soup from Genius Kitchen. I subbed out sour cream and used vegetable broth instead of beef broth. It was a bean-heavy meal, but comforting and warm.

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Tuesday night, I defrosted some pre-seasoned, pre-cooked chicken breasts, and had them with carrots, spinach, and a dollop of hummus. I’m not usually a huge hummus fan, but I’ve found that I’m enjoying different flavors now that I’m not really consuming any sugar. Things that once tasted bland now taste really flavorful.

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Wednesday night, I had some ground beef with black beans, frozen veggies, and salsa.

Thursday night, I cooked up grass-fed burgers with a slice of tomato, an egg, bacon, and pickles, with a side of butternut squash mash. This was my tastiest and most satisfying meal of the week. I did, unfortunately, find out that my pickles had a ton of sugar in them! But I don’t think it made an overall difference.

Friday night, my cousin was in town. I had a Chipotle salad with black beans, pinto beans, steak, fajita veggies, mild salsa, and guacamole.

Feels

I felt better this week than last week. I still craved dense carbohydrates, but not nearly as much as last week. I also didn’t have quite as many headaches. Not sure if it’s because my cheat day made me feel super crappy, because I focused on drinking a lot of water, or because I focused on getting more sleep. But I did all of those things and it made the week a little bit easier.

I was also happy that, on Sunday, which was my cheat day, I was able to go out for my nephew’s birthday and not worry about what I had to eat. Having one cheat day a week makes this diet a lot easier, mentally, than the last one I did, which was just 12 weeks straight of healthy eating. It was really nice to just focus on talking to my family instead of thinking about the food I was missing or studying the menu for what I could eat. It was also really nice to eat some of the delicious cake my mom made J

Workouts (There is no working out required on this diet. I love to work out, however, and it definitely can’t hurt progress, so I document my workouts as well).

Monday: Rest day (slow 15 min walk with Brooks)

Tuesday: Blogilates video + yoga video + 20 min walk with Brooks

Wednesday: Crossfit workout @ Iron Strong Athletics + 30 min walk with Brooks

15 min AMRAP of:
9 deadlifts (100#)
12 push-ups
15 box jumps (20″ box)
Finished 4 rounds + 2. Took it slow because I’m still nervous about box jumps. But I’m doing them!
Cash Out: 30 cals on the bike (2:38)

Thursday: Crossfit workout @ Iron Strong Athletics + 30 min walk with Brooks
5×5 front squats @ 105 lbs. This should have been very light for me, but I didn’t eat enough the day before, so it felt heavy. Also, I have to admit that eating low carb has never been great for my lifts.
then
10 min AMRAP of:
7 burpees
10 air squats
20 double unders
I’ll be honest, I did not keep track of how many rounds I did. My legs were so weak from squatting for the first time in forever that I had a lot of trouble with double unders, so I mostly focused on just not stopping.

Friday: 30 min walk with Brooks in the morning + 30 min walk with Brooks at night

Saturday: Worked out @ Planet Fitness with Pat because he has a black card membership. We really focused on going slow and having good form. We’ve never worked out together before, but it was really fun!

Seated Leg Press: 4×12-15 @ 110 lbs, 120, 130, 175 (big jump at the end, should’ve gone heavier to start with)

Leg Extensions: 4×12-15 @ 60 lbs

Seated Leg Curls: 4×12-15 @ 50 lbs

Seated Calf Raises: 4×12 @ 110-ish lbs (I can’t remember but I think this was what it was)

10 mins on exercise bike (30 second sprints, 45 second rests)

We spent a few minutes messing around with battle ropes and seeing how low I could get in a dip and still get back up (lower than I thought I could), and then we called it a day.

Sunday: 20 min walk with Brooks

Cheat Day

I didn’t write down everything I ate for my cheat day this week because I think it kind of defeats the purpose for me. A cheat day, at least for me, is a mental day off. If I’m writing everything down, it’s not really helpful for me.

A few of my favorite things: A Boston Kreme donut, fried calamari, my mom’s cake, and a hot chocolate.

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Slow Carb Diet: Week 1

Hello friends! It’s been a week on the slow carb diet, and I am feeling pretty good. I thought I would post weekly updates while I’m on this diet to let you all know about my progress and how I’m liking it! Unlike other diets, there aren’t many personal stories out there about slow carb, so I’m hoping this will inspire someone to try it out or read up on it.
If you want to know more about slow carb, click here.
As always: I am not a nutritionist or any sort of nutrition professional. if you’re going to change your nutrition or exercise, you should consult a doctor! I am merely documenting my experience.

Progress
Starting Weight: 186
Last Week’s Weight: 186
This Week’s Weight: 179.8
Weekly Weight Loss: 6.2 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 6.2 lbs

Meals
Breakfast
Tuesday through Friday,
I had pretty much the same breakfast. You can find the recipe here. It’s super simple, but tasty and filling. Saturday and Sunday, I had a protein shake for breakfast.


Lunch
I prepped some ground beef with taco seasoning for lunch this week. I had that Tuesday and Wednesday with spinach or romaine lettuce, black beans, frozen vegetables, and salsa.
Thursday, I had some store-bought black bean soup with shredded chicken (I pre-cooked the shredded chicken in the slow cooker, just literally chicken and water), and some store-bought cauliflower stir fry.
Friday, I treated myself to a chipotle bowl with lettuce, black beans, pinto beans, fajita veggies, chicken, mild salsa, medium salsa, and guacamole. I felt really full after that one for hours.
Saturday, I had a grass-fed burger from the Trader Joe’s freezer section, topped with  mashed avocado and a tablespoon of salsa. I also had some red lentil pasta, and about 1/8 cup of pasta sauce (with no added sugar). This was also all made with ingredients from TJ’s. This was one of my favorite meals.

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Dinner
Tuesday,
I had some leftover chicken broth with boiled chicken.
Wednesday, I had simple pre-cooked chicken breast with frozen vegetables, black beans, salsa, and 1/2 an avocado.
Thursday, I made this lentil soup, but I subbed out coconut milk for a tablespoon of butter and another 1/2 cup of broth. I also added some of the shredded chicken I prepped. I also had leftover soup for dinner on Friday.
Saturday night, I had some kettle-cooked chicken soup from Trader Joe’s.
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Snacks
Unlimited: salami, deli turkey with mustard, baby carrots.
Limited: cashews, almond butter, cashew milk (for coffee–otherwise, I drank it black), beet and roasted garlic dip. These snacks were the only thing I limited myself on all week. They are very calorically dense and very easy to overeat, so I kept them to a minimum.

Pre-Cheat Day Feels
Tuesday
: I felt pretty good in the morning, but I started to get a headache later in the day, probably from the absence of sugar in my life. I drank a ton of water and ate a few snacks, and I felt a lot better.
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday: I was feeling straight up tiger blood on these days. I had a few cravings, but I felt so energetic and good that I just wrote them down and moved on. I felt like I had a clear mind and like my body was being properly fueled. It was the best I’d felt in weeks.
Saturday: It was freezing outside, so I mostly just sat around my apartment watching television, reading, or cleaning. I also did not eat my first meal until hours after I came back from the gym, so I’m sure that didn’t help. My cravings were through the roof, and I honestly just wanted to go to sleep so that it could be cheat day. I was cranky and downright hangry almost all day. Dear self: please eat before and after going to the gym next time.

Workouts (There is no working out required on this diet. I love to work out, however, and it definitely can’t hurt progress, so I will be documenting my workouts as well).
Tuesday: This Blogilates video + this Blogilates video
Wednesday: This Blogilates video + this Blogilates video + a 25 min walk with Brooks
Thursday: This Blogilates video + this Blogilates video
Friday: This Blogilates video + this Blogilates video
Saturday:  My first day back at Iron Crossfit, and it was a really hard one!
With a partner:
12 rope climbs
60 cal row
~then~
20 rounds of:
4 hang snatches @ 55 lbs
8 wallballs @ 14 lbs
12 sit-ups (alternating rounds).
It took us 36:30 total.
Sunday: This was a pre-cheat day circuit workout at Iron Crossfit . Also took Brooks on a 25 min walk.
Circuit 1: 10 min AMRAP
5 ring rows
10 kettlebell swings (35 lbs)
15 box step-ups (I did 7 box jumps and 8 step-ups for more of a challenge)
~3 min rest~
Circuit 2: 10 min AMRAP
5 push-ups
10 dumbbell snatches (35 lbs)
15 air squats
~3 min rest~
Circuit 3: 10 min AMRAP
5 burpees
10 alternating OH plate lunges (15 lbs)
15 ab mat sit-ups

NSV’s (Non-Scale Victories)
I got back into the gym this week! I was sick for two weeks, and before that, I was kind of in a funk. It felt really really good to get back into working out at home earlier in the week and into the gym on Saturday!

Cheat Day Eats (Sunday)
I really went nuts for my first cheat day. I was surprised at how much crap I could eat in one day, and was totally unsurprised at how awful I felt by the end of the day. 
Breakfast: 3 donuts (1 boston kreme, 1 vanilla creme, 1/2 toasted coconut, 1/2 apple crumble), 2 small half moon cookies
Snack: 2 brownies (homemade–they were incredible) and a caramel macchiato
Lunch: 2 slices of pizza (1 pepperoni, 1 plain), 1 beer, 1 cupcake
Snack: 1 brownie
Dinner: Taco Bell (1 cheesy gordita crunch, 1 doritos locos taco)
Snacks (shared with Pat): 1 bowl of pop corn, 1 box of buncha crunch, a few pigs in a blanket, 1/2 slice of cheesecake
Bedtime: 1 bottle of kombucha because my tummy was seriously aching.

 

Recipe: Healthy Breakfast Bowl (gluten free, low carb)

Happy Monday! I hope your Monday went well. Mine was pretty good–I got out of work early because there was a water main break and none of the bathrooms in the building were working. I should’ve been productive tonight, but instead of doing that, I decided to watch some tv and nap! Oh well–extra relaxation and sleep never hurt anybody 🙂

To me, this breakfast recipe is kind of a “duh” — it’s not groundbreaking. But it’s quick, easy, tasty, and keeps me full until lunch. Eating breakfast helps me have a productive morning and eating a healthy breakfast encourages me to make healthy choices throughout my day.

Healthy Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients
Olive oil spray
Egg whites (140 g)
Whole egg (1)
Bacon (2 slices)
Black beans (1/2 cup) (I use canned black beans, and I rinse and then soak them over night. If you haven’t already done this, that’s fine. Just get them out of the can and rinse off all the gunk first)
Spinach (as much as you want–I usually use about 2 handfuls)
Salsa (2-3 tbsp)
Avocado (1/2 of one, sliced)
Pink himalayan sea salt (regular salt is fine too)
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper

Directions
1) Set a pan on low heat, spray with olive oil. Pour egg whites and then the egg inside. Use a fork to break up the egg yolk. Season with pink himalayan salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. As the egg whites and egg start to solidify, stir with a wooden spoon and break them up so your eggs are scrambled instead of an omelette. Because you’re cooking them on low heat, they should be nice and fluffy when done. Once the eggs are done, plate them and put them in the microwave to keep warm.
2) Fry bacon in the same pan to desired crispness (optional: you can fry the bacon while the eggs are cooking–it saves cooking time, but it adds another pan to wash, so it’s up to you).
3) Once bacon is to desired crispness, put it onto your plate in the microwave and add your black beans into the grease from the bacon.
4) Once the black beans get soft and start to fall apart a little, add as much spinach as you want to the pan. I add as much as will fit into the pan (I use a small one) and, once it starts to wilt, I add some more.
5) As the spinach starts to wilt, use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture so that the spinach and black beans are combined. Season with himalayan salt and black pepper to taste.
6) Once the spinach is fully wilted, take the plate out of the microwave and add the mixture to your plate.
7) Add the salsa and avocado on top. Enjoy!

 

Snow Day!!!

Happy weekend everyone!! Did anyone else have a snow day on Thursday? New Jersey got a ton of snow. I was only supposed to have a 2 hour delay, but I ended up getting the whole day off because it just kept snowing! I’m a little bit more behind on work now than I wanted to be, but I will never ever say no to a snow day. Especially because Pat happened to be staying over Wednesday night, so we got trapped inside together.

I woke up at 8am (2 hours later than usual) and started getting ready for work when I got a text that the courts were closed. I immediately crawled back into bed until 10:30. I actually can’t remember the last time I slept until 10:30, even on a weekend. It was amazing.

Once we were finally up, we got started on breakfast. I usually find it really hard to stay on track with my nutrition when I have an unplanned day off, but because slow carb allows me to eat as much as I want, it really wasn’t as hard. Breakfast was a bunch of eggs white and a whole egg for flavor. Also 2 slices of bacon, a bunch of spinach, and about 1/2 a cup of black beans. Added salsa and 1/2 an avocado. Hot damn, were we full. We also used my brand new coffee grinder and pour over to make some absolutely delicious coffee from Rook! All of those were Christmas presents from Pat. Smart man, knows the way to my heart–caffeine. I add Splenda and cinnamon to mine.

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After breakfast, we curled up on the couch to watch an episode of Mindhunter. Is anyone else obsessed? It’s so good, but it’s also super eerie, so for my own mental health, I can’t watch more than an episode a day. After Mindhunter, I crawled back into bed with the book I’m currently reading–Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory. I’m not too far into it, but I really like it so far.

When we started thinking about lunch, I decided I was going to walk to Shop Rite for supplies. Pat was a trooper and said he would go with me, so we leashed up Brooks and braved the snow.  I asked Pat to buy a few things I was missing in my pantry for a lentil soup I wanted to make, while I took Brooks to Petsmart just around the corner. I always feel bad for him when I can’t take him on long walks, so I took advantage of already being outside and let him romp around in Petsmart, smelling all the toys and treats. He’s such a good boy, he doesn’t take anything unless I tell him it’s okay. Poor little guy was shoulder deep in snow at some points, but he was a trooper about it, and was a good, sleepy pooch for the rest of the day.

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Pat walked out of Shop Rite with the ingredients I asked for and a few slow carb surprises because he is the sweetest. He got us a bag of baby carrots, pre-made cauliflower rice stir fry, and some pre-made black bean soup. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re craving Chinese food and baked goods and can’t have it, any sort of surprise treat will do. We trekked on home, and I heated up the soup and cauliflower rice while Pat took a shower. After lunch, I did a little bit of Blogilates while Pat did whatever he does on his iPad. I am so, so excited to be getting back to working out after my long illness, and I think I’m even going to Crossfit tomorrow morning. Eek! After a quick shower, I started to prep dinner while Pat set up another round of Arkham Horror, the game we’re currently playing.

After we played our game, we settled in with the lentil soup from Oh She Glows, which was absolutely freaking delicious. You could really taste the spices, and I wish I had a more sophisticated way to say this–but it just tasted so healthy, yet so indulgent. Something in between salad and pizza, you know? This recipe is probably even better with coconut milk, but we can’t have that on our current diet, so we just left it out and I added a little bit more broth and a tablespoon of butter. It was still super creamy and thick and delicious. In retrospect, I should have added more broth, but I am more than sure that I’ll be making this again, so now I know for the future. Since I cooked a few pounds of chicken in the slow cooker earlier this week, I added a bunch of shredded chicken as well because #protein.

We watched a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother (I guess we’re sitcom-hopping) while eating our baby carrots, and that was our snow day! It was very relaxing and just what I needed to carry me over to Fri-yay!

Question: Did you have a Snow Day on Thursday? What did you do?

Illness Update & Beginning Slow Carb

I spent the last few weeks of 2017 with a cold/probably bronchitis that felt like it was never going to get better. I got sick the Friday before Christmas and when I was still running a fever the Friday before New Year’s Eve, I finally gave in and filled the prescription that an urgent care doctor had given me to use if I didn’t feel better in a few days. I really hate using antibiotics because I get side effects and because I’m very worried about antibiotic resistance. To be honest, I try to use over the counter medicines very sparingly too. I find that when I use them less, they’re more effective when I really need them. Science-based? Unsure, never did the research. But that’s how I live my life.

Anyway, I started feeling better after 3 doses of the antibiotic. I haven’t had a fever since then and, although my cough is still nasty sometimes, it’s getting better. Prior to the antibiotics, I couldn’t get through a lap around Target  without coughing so hard I thought I was going to puke. When I went to Sam’s Club on Sunday morning, I stopped to cough in a corner and a child actually ran in the other direction when she heard how bad my cough was. Therefore, I haven’t been to the gym in 2 weeks. I took a 30 minute walk with Brooks last night and a 20 minute walk with him this morning without too many adverse side effects. I also did a quick 15 minute pilates video this morning without coughing up a storm, so I am definitely on the mend.

I have 4 more doses of antibiotic to take (tonight, Thursday morning, Thursday night, and Friday morning), and I’ve decided I’ll get back in the gym the day after the antibiotics are done. I’ve gotten some pretty nasty side effects from this antibiotic, and I’m not going to TMI you with the details, but I don’t really want to go to the gym while I’m still on it. So, until then, it’s freezing cold walks with Brooks and pilates in my living room.

I had a lovely New Year’s Eve with my family and Pat. Staying up past midnight when I was feeling sick was hard,  but I was glad I made it, and was equally glad to be home in bed by 3am.

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How cute are my niece and nephew?

 

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New Year’s Day, Pat and I brunched at a diner and then spent the rest of the day watching Mindhunter, eating leftovers, and playing a new game that Pat got called Arkham Horror. It’s kind of a “choose your own adventure” game because you have options on what to do that will affect your later gameplay, so that was a fun aspect of it. I also thought it was beautifully-designed. I am a lot slower at picking up these kinds of games, but Pat was patient with me, and it ended up being really fun!

Pat and I are doing the slow-carb diet right now. Essentially, 6 days a week, we don’t eat dairy, gluten, or sugar (including fruit). Our diet consists of mostly meat, eggs, vegetables, and beans. The best part of this diet is that one day a week, you get to go absolutely nuts and eat whatever you’ve been craving. I love that because the hardest part of dieting for me sometimes is the social aspect. I just want to eat birthday cake sometimes! I also love that I don’t have to do any counting on this diet. I plan to do a weekly update about how it’s going, so look out for that!

For breakfast, I’ve been having 140g of egg whites + one egg, scrambled on low heat, seasoned with pink Himalayan salt and paprika, 2 slices of bacon, about 1/2 a cup of black beans, a bunch of spinach, and about 2 tablespoons of salsa. Pat got me a pour-over coffee maker for Christmas, which makes amazing coffee, so I’ve been drinking that with one packet of Splenda and some cinnamon as well. My morning routine has gotten a tad bit longer, but it’s delicious and worth it.

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For lunch this week, I prepped a bunch of ground beef with taco seasoning in the slow cooker. Yesterday, I ate that with black beans, salsa, and spinach. For today’s lunch, I the ground beef, black beans, and salsa, and I’m having it over some romaine lettuce and some vegetables. The vegetables are from a steamed bag because #keepitsimple. I also had a serving of salami. It’s slow carb-friendly, but it packs a flavor punch that is really satisfying.

Yesterday, for dinner, I had some boiled chicken and broth that was leftover from when my mom brought me some when I was in the thick of my illness. I also had a bunch of deli turkey rolled up with mustard (I know it sounds gross, but it’s actually really delicious). Then I had half a bag of steamed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower).

Tonight, I’m prepping chicken. I’m seasoning and baking a bunch of chicken breasts that I will separate into servings and throw in the freezer for dinner for the rest of the week. I thought about just refrigerating the chicken, but when I do that, the texture starts to go after a day or two. For some reason, I’ve found that freezing the chicken and then reheating in the microwave with some water keeps it from getting that weird texture I don’t like. I’m going to throw some more chicken to boil in the crockpot, and when that’s done, I’m going to shred it and freeze it in portions so that I can have some on hand to throw into soups and salads for extra protein. I’ve also been known to just heat it up, toss some bbq sauce on it, and go to town.

I hope everyone is having a healthy, good start to 2018!

Christmas Weekend Recap

Much like last weekend, Christmas weekend did not go exactly as planned. Except this time, instead of Pat being sick, I was sick. And I was really sick.

Friday
I planned to take the day off work on Friday, not because I was already sick, but because I had a lot I needed to get done before Christmas. I was lucky I did take the day off Friday because I woke up around 4am Friday with a fever. An Advil brought it down, so I thought it would be fine. I went off to the mall the next day in hopes of buying a dress for Christmas. I went into Zara and grabbed a bunch of dresses. Mid-way through trying them on, I felt another fever come on, and I didn’t have any medication with me. Luckily, I loved the last dress I tried on at Zara, so I bought that one.

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This is the dress I chose. You can’t tell, but it has a sparkly collar, so it’s somewhat festive. I wore it with a pair of flats, not those boots.

I was supposed to buy a few more things and get my nails done, but I was sluggish and exhausted, so I left the mall, went to CVS for some Dayquil, and then headed off to my hair appointment. I was a little bit early, but that was fine, because I just sat in my jacket while I waited for the Dayquil to kick in and break my fever.

When I got back from the hair salon, Pat was at my apartment. He had brought Powerade, ice cream, Diet Snapple, and sparkling water. He had also walked Brooks and ordered food because he is the best boyfriend. I took my temperature and it was really high again, so I plopped on the couch the rest of the night.

Saturday
In terms of my illness, this was the worst day. I spent my morning at Urgent Care because my fever refused to break all night, and I was worried I might have the flu, which would mean I should be quarantined. The doctor said I had an upper respiratory infection, and that I could be around people so long as I didn’t cough on them (well, duh). I was really glad because I had my mom’s birthday dinner that day and Christmas Eve with Pat’s family the next day.

At around 3:30, an hour and a half before my mom’s birthday dinner was supposed to start, I realized that there was no way I was going to make it. My fever had been high all day, I was groggy, and I could barely sit up straight on the couch. I called my mom and she was super understanding. She and my dad came by later that night to scoop up Brooks (he stayed with them for Christmas because I was staying at Pat’s family’s home for Christmas) and bring me some more supplies. My nephew and niece had made me some really adorable and sweet Get Well cards.

Pat and I were also supposed to go to his friend’s party that night. I obviously could not go. I made some feeble attempts at convincing him to go without me, but the way he put it, he could not, with good conscience, leave me in the state I was in. I spent the rest of the night with my head in his lap, shivering, coughing, and being generally pathetic. Pat very sweetly took care of me and did everything he could to make me feel better.

Sunday (Christmas Eve)
When I woke up that morning, Pat immediately said that I looked better. I felt it too. I had gotten almost 10 hours of sleep, and though I had a low grade fever, it was way better than the high fevers I had been rocking the last 2 days. I stayed in bed until early afternoon, at which point I packed a bag and my Christmas gifts, and we headed over to Pat’s house.

When we got there, we sat with his family for a little while and watched the Jets game. I finally had an appetite again, so I ate a few appetizers that his dad had set out before I went upstairs to get ready. When I had my dress and makeup on, I was still much more pale than usual, but Pat made me feel better by joking that I would just fit in better with his very fair-skinned family.

Pat’s family started to arrive around 6:00. They arrived in small groups, which made it a little bit easier to introduce myself and get to know everyone. At first, we all sat in the living room eating appetizers and catching up. Then it was time for dinner. We had chicken parmesan, eggplant roll-ups, pasta with veggies, and some veal. I also had half a glass of the delicious sangria that Pat’s mom made. I had to stop halfway through because I hadn’t eaten much that day and the Sangria was hitting me hard.

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After dinner, gifts, and dessert, the extended family left, and we changed into our Christmas pajamas (we all had matching ones courtesy of Pat’s mom). Pat, his sister Theresa, her boyfriend Will, and I sat down to play Telestrations. I was the only one who had played before, so after briefly reminding myself, I familiarized everyone else with the rules. We played about five rounds, and it was super fun. I remembered that I am not a great artist under pressure, which is mostly fine, because it leads to much more hilarious results.

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I don’t have too many pictures from Christmas because I was feeling so sick, but I really liked this one Pat and I took in front of the tree with my Polaroid on Christmas Eve 🙂 

Monday (Christmas!!!)
Presents were scheduled to start at 7am Christmas morning because Theresa’s boyfriend had to leave pretty early. Pat and I took turns waking up way too early because we were both so excited. We finally called it quits at 6:30am. I started the day by taking my temperature and, for the first time in a few days, my fever had completely broken. A Christmas miracle!

Santa was way too generous this year. Pat’s mom is an accountant at L’Oreal and she knows I love me some Urban Decay. She, in particular, was way too generous, but I can’t wait to use all my goodies! I got a lot of great gifts, but my favorites (in no particular order) were a brand new Green Bay Packers hat from Pat, an Urban Decay contouring palette from Pat’s parents, and a pair of Lularoe leggings from Theresa.

After presents, I took a quick nap because I was starting to feel tired again. I woke up after a half hour and got myself ready to go to church with Pat’s family and his grandparents. Pat’s mom had made cinnamon buns, so I quickly munched on one of those, and we were out. Pat’s family lives really close to the church, so it was a quick drive. Since I’m Jewish, I’ve only been to church twice, both times with my law school roommates on Easter. That was all I had to compare this service to, and I found that Christmas Mass was much faster and more cheery than Easter Mass.

When we got back, Pat wanted to play a Sherlock Holmes game that Theresa got him for Christmas. We played a round of that, which took about an hour and a half. It was really different from other games we had played. Basically, you are given a set of facts and a bunch of places where clues might be, and you have to figure out who committed the crime and answer a couple of other questions about the crime. We took many, many steps to do it, but we ended up correctly answering all the questions, and we both thought it was a really fun game.

After we played the Sherlock game, we ate leftovers from the night before. I was feeling super sluggish, so I went back upstairs for a nap. Pat eventually came to join me even though he’s not much of a napper. After a very long nap, Pat took me home. On the way, we stopped at Bar Louie, one of the few restaurants that was open on Christmas. We shared some Loaded Tots and each had a burger. It was a very quick meal, and we were thankful for the fast service. When we got back to my apartment, we spent the rest of the night drinking hot tea and watching Friends.

Question: How was your Christmas weekend? Do you play any board games? What are your favorites?

Keep It Simple, Stupid (post delayed by illness)

Hi everyone! I have been extra sick since Friday, so I never got a chance to post this recap of my last week. I’m talking 102 degree fevers and a cough that makes me feel like I’m going to pass out. I will do a Christmas recap soon, but until then, while I’m still recovering, I hope you enjoy this post that I wrote last week. Hoping everyone is having a healthy last week of 2017!

Monday morning, I made it to the gym at 5am. I did 5×8 deadlifts at 165 lbs. I focused on technique, but my lower back was still pretty sore right after and for the next two days. Then, we did a kettlebell workout:

7 Russian kettlebell swings with the left arm
7 Russian kettlebell swings with the right arm
14 alternating reverse goblet lunges
14 Russian kettlebell swings
Repeat for 16 minutes.

I made it through 5 rounds. I chose two kettlebells: one was 45 lbs, the other was 30 lbs. My limiting factor was, of course, the one-armed kettlebell swings. I ended up switching them up every round, so I did 3 rounds with the 30 lb kettlebell and 2 rounds with the 45 lb kettlebell. Doing the rounds with the 45 lb kettlebell really encouraged me to hustle when I got back to the 30 lb kettlebell because it seemed so much lighter.

Then, we had a breakfast potluck at work and we all fell into a serious sugar coma, so very little actual work happened in the office on Monday. When I got home Monday night, I made Miso-Butter Pork Chops from Blue Apron. This was easily my and Pat’s favorite thing we’ve made with our Blue Apron subscription. So tasty, we will 100% want to repeat this one. It was a little more involved than the others, but now that I know what I’m doing, I think the next time will go more smoothly.

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Tuesday was a rest day (much needed because my back was not doing great that day). It was a pretty uneventful day at work, and when I got home, I made my last Blue Apron–Roasted Turkey Breast & Farro-Endive Salad. It was a fairly easy recipe, but I was kind of glad to be rid of my Blue Apron for the week. I usually have Pat to help me out, which is of course super helpful, but it’s still seriously time-consuming. Yeah, I love having fancy meals for dinner. But I also have a full-time job, a dog that needs to be exercised, an apartment that desperately needs to be cleaned, and this week, a boyfriend that needed a little bit of coddling. Doing 3 Blue Apron meals in a row on a weekday leaves very little time for anything else, so I was happy for it to be over.

Wednesday, I took a really long walk with one of my co-workers during lunch and we had a nice chat about what’s going on in our lives and what our Christmas and New Year’s plans are. The nature of my clerkship is that we’re all only here for a year, and then we’re going to go off into our “real” jobs next year. So, sometimes it seems pointless to cultivate camaraderie and friendship. Don’t get me wrong–I like my co-workers a lot. But friendship is work, and with an already full workload, sometimes it’s easy to just hole up in my office and ignore everyone. Although I probably should’ve learned this at some point in the last 26 years, I realized on Wednesday that it’s never pointless or a waste of time to cultivate friendship. Our walk put me in a great mood and made the rest of my day go by so much faster.

Wednesday night, I got home, took Brooks for a walk, and then went to the gym. My stomach was pretty queasy for some reason and I was dealing with some on and off stomach pain, but it was the last time I was going to get to work out with my friend Sara, who is taking a break from Crossfit, so I picked myself up and went.

The workout was Crossfit Open 14.4, which was a 14 minute AMRAP of:

60 calorie row
50 toes to bar
40 wall balls (14#)
30 power cleans (95#)
20 muscle-ups

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The last time I did this workout was in January 2017. I couldn’t do a single toes to bar, so I scaled to knee raises that time and got 146 reps (60 calories, 50 knee raises, and 36 wall balls). This time, I only got 104 reps because I RX’ED IT! In January, I didn’t have a single toes to bar. This time around, I did 44 toes to bar and, when time was called, I took a minute-long rest and did the last 6, just to prove to myself that I could. It was a great feeling. After that was done, I did a few rounds of GHD sit-ups, a few cleans with the bar that I loaded and never got to, and then I called it a day.

I managed not to feel sick through my workout, but I felt pretty nauseous afterwards, so dinner was just a few handfuls of dry Cinnamon Chex and some genmaicha tea. Not sexy, but it kept my stomach from hurting again.

Something that my therapist has pointed out to me is that I tend to have an all-or-nothing mentality. If I’m not cooking Blue Apron-like meals that take me hours, I’m not cooking at all–just getting take-out. If I’m not working out 6 days a week, I’m not working out. If I’m not doing my hair and makeup to my liking every day, I’m rolling into work looking like a hot mess. Are you starting to get the picture?

One of the mantras I want to keep in mind for January is K.I.S.S. Remember when they taught us K.I.S.S. in middle school? In case you don’t, it stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. It was just how they taught us to keep our essays short and to the point, and how they tried to keep us from being verbose (too bad that lesson didn’t make it through my head until middle of law school). So, in January 2018, I want to keep things simple. Cook meals that are basic on weekdays. Make time to workout, but don’t fall off the deep end if I can’t. Clean my apartment and do my laundry, but don’t aim for spotless, and don’t quit cleaning anything at all because one room in the apartment isn’t clean. Be a good daughter/sister/friend/girlfriend/aunt, but don’t go overboard and try to be everything to everyone. Blog 3 times a week, but don’t stop blogging altogether just because I missed a day. In other words, give less of a fuck about making everything perfect. I think that, if I can keep my daily tasks simple, I’ll have more space in my brain and my heart for the things that truly matter.

Question: What are some things you do to keep your daily life simple?