New Years Challenge Update: Week Two

Last week was the second week of my non-resolution life changes. It didn’t go so well, unfortunately. Week one may have ended with me pooping my pants, but week two was a disaster almost all the way through. Pooping my pants counts as a win considering how badly things went last week. Yikes.

But, all is not lost. I’m back on track this morning and doing pretty well. I made some incredible soup yesterday and more of my veggie rice. I have veggie juice and fruit to snack on today, and veggies ready for roasting tonight for dinner. There’s nothing standing in my way. Well, almost nothing.

(Interesting sidenote. If you ever make a soup with three heads of roasted garlic, open all the windows in your house before cooking your garlic. Everything in my house stinks now. Even my gym clothes were funkier than usual this morning. The smell is outrageous. Open your windows, garlic roasters!)

The Wins

• Work out or walk the dogs every day (preferably both). This is the one item I’ve been doing really well with. I’m great at exercising. I’ll celebrate this as a major win…even though I missed two days last week.

• Make a hot dinner every night. This is another win for me. Ben made dinner once last week, but I’m doing really well with this. I’ve been managing to throw something together, even if it’s super simple.

• Do my physical therapy. Another win for me! I’ve been great about doing my foot stretches at least once a day. I’ve also been wearing my night splint most nights. Sometimes I rip it off in the middle of the night (the damn thing is super irritating), but I’ve made it the whole night several times. I count just putting it on as a win. My feet seem to be feeling a little better.

The Neutrals

• Meditate daily. I’m going to try to incorporate this into my workday. I’m alone over the lunch hour and it would be a nice break for me to have a bit of calm. It would also leave me more free time outside of work, which is really tough to come by these days.

• Limit tv. This isn’t too difficult during the week, but it’s almost impossible on the weekends. I like to be lazy on the weekends and part of that is watching a few hours of mindless tv. This weekend I got caught up on American Horror Story and Dracula. I’m amending this goal to be for weeknights only.

The Losses

• Be a vegan, but not an asshole. I didn’t do well this week. I cheated a lot and it was pretty ugly. I was depressed, hormonal, and not sleeping, the combination of which left me craving cheese, Cheetos, and a Blizzard. It was brutal. I feel horrible about it. Gotta do better this week. More vegan, less asshole.

• Keep a mindful eating journal. I hate food journals, but I notice I do great at keeping one if I’m eating healthy food. If I’m stuffing my face with Baked Cheetos, I’m less inclined to keep a journal of it. So, last week, my journal was seriously lacking. I’m pondering the future of this goal. Food journals make me feel overburdened.

• Do a little bit of yoga daily. My crankiness last week spilled beyond my diet, unfortunately. Even the suggestion of yoga made me cranky. I had a bad attitude about everything last week. Not good.

So, I’m moving forward. Neil Young told me “Don’t let it bring you down” and, damnit, I’m gonna listen. Moving on starts now!

Otis the Angel

Otis at the vet

Otis at the vet

Otis recently celebrated his first month in our home and we’re absolutely in love with him. He’s the sweetest angel. He’s calm, affectionate, gentle, and completely adorable. I can’t imagine why anyone would give him up! The little guy is perfect.

So, far we’ve been tackling his weight problem pretty hard. He’s on a portion-controlled diet of low-fat, low-cal kibble. And, as part of my New Year’s challenge, he’s getting a ton of exercise. We go on a short walk/jog most weekdays and a longer walk or hike on the weekends. He’s a champion walker. He hardly pulls, keeps up a strong pace for such stumpy little legs, and isn’t much into sniffing or peeing on everything.

Otis and Dougal on a hike last weekend. Happy pups!

Otis and Dougal on a hike last weekend. Happy pups!

I’ve never met a dog who likes walking so much! He seems motivated to lose weight and complete his daily exercise with gusto. I suspect he’s training for a wrestling death-match with Hank, but you’d have to ask him about that.

So far, our little champ has lost 1.7 pounds. He has a few more to go, but I’m confident he’s going to get there quickly.

Last week, he had a full blood workup at the vet. He has a low thyroid level, so the vet has him on a new medicine to help with that. As soon as his thyroid level comes up, we’ll start tapering him off one of his seizure medicines (he has epilepsy). We’re hoping to get him off that medicine completely.

The only negative I can say about him is that he’s a trash hound. We’ve had to start keeping our trash bin on top of our kitchen counter to keep Otis from knocking it over and having a little party. I accidentally left the can on the floor earlier this week and he got into some ground flax seeds and a bell pepper. His mustache was so crusty from the flax seeds! It was pretty gross. But, that’s the only thing he does that’s even remotely annoying. He’s a sweetheart!

Otis having a nap at my office

Otis having a nap at my office

We’re just so happy to have him home with us. I truly believe shelter dogs appreciate love at a level that cannot be matched by dogs from breeders. He’s so appreciative of our family and bounces around with a joy that is truly contagious. He’s an angel. A stumpy-legged, chubby, lovebug angel. We can’t get enough of him.

New Years Challenge Update: Week One

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m working on some big changes, changes I’ve wanted to make and have attempted to make, but simply couldn’t make stick. It felt like time to finally make them happen.

Kermit may have inspired the color, but no frogs were injured in the making of this very green broccoli soup.

Kermit may have inspired the color, but no frogs were injured in the making of this very green broccoli soup.

Top of my list was to adopt a mostly vegan diet, which I did last week. I had a few minor blips on the radar, but mostly I managed to stay on track. The cheese cravings have been intense, but I’ve been sucking it up fairly well. Last week, I had a few recipe hits (Basque veggie rice and a delightful broccoli soup) and some misses (corn chowder-quinoa casserole and a salad that literally tasted like BO), but the cooking has been a lot of fun.

Overall, being vegan has provided a nice vacation for my ailing digestive system, and I’ve blissfully enjoyed the freedom of not having bathroom emergencies.

Until last Friday.

On my plan, I have one sanctioned “out” per week. I need a date night with my husband, when a burger and ranch dressing, or a big plate of nachos are the only acceptable remedies for a long workweek. A woman needs a cheese enchilada for proper mental health (at least that’s what I tell myself). Plus, how can I be married to a red-blooded, meat-eating hunk of handsome like my husband and not join him for an occasional treat? It would be rude to eat a salad in front of him every single night.

So, Friday was our designated date night. We set out for Red Robin and I had my sights set on a cheeseburger with a gluten-free bun (it has the texture of damp pancakes, but I love it!) and some fries with a side of ranch. The first half of my meal was delicious. I ordered a root beer and savored the pure joy of saturated fat and sugar.

About halfway through my meal, I started to feel…uncomfortable. My tummy was churning and I sat for several minutes staring at my half-eaten food, debating whether or not to proceed. It tasted so good, but something was very clearly wrong. Ben looked at me and, with a wide-eyed look of distress, asked if I was okay. I said no, but rode the wave of digestive malaise until things settled and I was able to finish my meal.

The wave came back as we waited for the check, but I was confident I could make it home with time to spare.

I was wrong.

So my first vegan week was capped off with a walk to the shower with a towel around my waist. I was laughing hysterically. There’s something so poetic about a meat-free week ending with a burger and explosive diarrhea. There’s a lesson in that.

Ben hasn’t mentioned date night this week, but my goal is to be infinitely more careful about my food choices. No burger is worth soiled underpants. That might be my new bumper sticker.