weekly reflections: 4/21 – 4/27

no news can be good news

Boston as seen from Blue Hills Reservation

My change from last week –

Change in weight (4/21/20 –4/27/20):  0 LBS

No news is good news, right? I am really okay with my weigh in this morning. Would I have preferred to be down 2-4 pounds? Absolutely! But I did not gain weight and despite my week having some good activity, I definitely did not feel like I ‘won’ or ‘deserved’ weight loss. Do you ever have those times where you just know you nailed it? Like you step on the scale with the deep satisfaction of knowing you crushed it? I have had those weeks and the scale rewarded those feelings with bigger drops – Hold up. The scale did not reward anything. I rewarded myself with the pleasure of seeing the fruits of my labor displayed on this inanimate object that has no control over me. That’s better. – This week I just felt good. I was active but there were some indulgences. I made gains in different places and that is okay. I feel the scale reflected my feelings… I maintained.

I took a mental health day on Tuesday and by 10am on Wednesday, it felt as if I never had. I think I need a staycation. Taking the time to take care for my mind, along with my physical is becoming more important. On Tuesday morning my daughter woke up and we hit the woods for an early morning hike in Blue Hills Reservation. This was everything for me. Listening to the birds, hearing the wind going through tree branches, watching the changing shadows as the sun rises higher in the sky, all of these things are medicine for my mind. It also is the greatest when your daughter is babbling away and chatting right behind your head in the backpack. It is so hard not to smile.

We also began painting in the house. We are doing a hallway, the living room, and the dining room. I like painting because the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your labor is awesome. I hate the prep that goes into painting because I like to complain and just don’t like doing painting prep. I have no true reasoning. I just hate it. Thankfully I don’t have a choice. But anyway, we are trying to find the right off-white for the hall and living room. We want it to be warm, but still simple enough to be versatile for different carpet or curtain options. That is the current struggle in the Crosby household. Yes, it could be worse.

Yesterday we celebrated my wife’s birthday. I told her I would cook her anything she wanted and she chose eggs florentine. This was fun because I love breakfast, and eggs florentine is a fancy way to serve breakfast. I am proud to say that I did pretty well. My poached eggs were perfect, the creamed spinach was rich and decedent, and the hollandaise sauce did not break! I might not eat anything today because of all the butter I consumed yesterday, but she was happy and that is all that matters. We also ended it with a white chocolate and cranberry cake (I did not make this, I cheated and purchased this). It is definitely different trying to celebrate events and milestones right now, but I almost feel it can make them more special. I would have just taken her out to eat if the world was normal, spent a lot of money on a good meal, and we would have been happy. But this allowed me to take the time to make a meal for her, for us to do it together (with our toddler in tow), and really savor the whole process. There was no white table cloth or waitstaff, but it felt like a full and rich experience. I felt it to be a more enjoyable way to show my appreciation for her than just going out to dinner and having somebody else do all of the work. And going out to dinner would have involved just as much butter… restaurants cook everything with butter.

I did pretty well with meeting my goals this week but I fell short in a couple areas. I did not get a long ride in, I did not get a strength workout in, and I did not stretch. I have maintained a good riding schedule since I started this. Consistency has not been an issue on the cardio front. I have struggled to get into a stretching and strength training routine. I talked to my wife last night about putting 2 strength classes per week on our calendars and doing them together. I hope that this motivation of having them on the calendar and doing them together will help me get in the flow. I also plan on putting my stretches on the calendar. I need to get better about these.

I did have a big win ride on Monday. I, again, did Robin’s Greatest Showman Ride. I am now calling this my PR ride because it pushes me every time and I always get a new personal record. Along with that the playlist is so damn good. If you haven’t listened to the song ‘This is Me’, do it. It will pump you up and if you are working out, it will push you in all the right ways.

I know that I had a higher intake week this week. There was more takeout due to home projects and some special occasion meals. This week we have planned out our meals and I hope I can stick to them a little better and work on a better calorie deficit. In the past 6 weeks I have lost about 6 pounds. This is a a lower average loss than I saw prior. I would like to see this tick up closer to average 1.5 pounds per week, but I am still proud that the trajectory is going down. I think I can look like a new man and feel like a new man by the time I hit 1 year of this journey. I already feel better and know I am taking better care of myself.

Anyway, check out the lists below for the full breakdown and let me know if you have any suggestions, feedback, inspiration, or thoughts. Stay safe out there and stay home if you can! I am thankful for all of you.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice – Partially Attained. 5 rides but no strength workout and no 45 min ride.
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks – Partially Attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc – Attained
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body – Not Attained
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days – Partially Attained
  6. Track every bite – Partially attained
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day – Attained
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions – Attained

Action Plan

  1. 6 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 2 full body strength (Wednesday evening and Saturday evening), 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Monday/Wed/Fri)
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  6. Track every bite
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs (no change)

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

rage baking and cooking therapy

It was about 2pm in the afternoon when I received the email that put me over the edge. The frustration of weeks of working from home, increased work load, contractors arguing about simple requests, and a lack of sleep came to a boiling point. At this point I had been getting testier and testier. My tolerance was on vacation and my fuse was awfully short. Before writing a response I would regret, I shut my laptop, uttered a few words (only the most respectful and PG about my feelings…), and walked away. I needed space. I needed space from work, from thinking, from responsibility, and from my own mind. I walked into the kitchen and saw the mixer and one of my cookbooks. I decided to rage bake.

When I say rage bake, I mean baking to let off steam. I am thinking about putting all of my anger into crafting some decadent, delicious morsel that can bring a glimmer of joy into my current overly dramatic, angry world (I have also since learned there is a cookbook called Rage Baking, and I am not referring to it with my rant in this post).

Give me muffins or give me death… or something like that.

I decided to make some strawberry muffins. I love strawberry muffins. I actually love all muffins and would be doing a disservice to other types by limiting my praise to the strawberry variety. If somebody could find a way to have muffins be to healthy eating the way kale is… take my money. These muffins turned out so well for my first time making them. The recipe was so simple and that made the end product all the better

I have found that baking and cooking are therapeutic ways to work through frustration. The precise measurements in baking can make it an easy way to shut off the thinking in your brain. I just do what the directions tell me and turn this flour into something delicious. I also love general cooking because the instant satisfaction can take you from a place of frustration to a place of joy, reveling in the fact that you just made something that tastes so good.

The flaky salt on top just put them over the edge.

My wife recently made these incredible Brown Butter and Toffee Chocolate chip cookies (Thanks for the inspiration Rick: https://www.bonappetit.com/video/watch/from-the-test-kitchen-rick-makes-toffee-cookies). Ours did not come out quite the way they do in the video, but ohhh boy did they taste incredible. We realized the importance of gifting some away when we ate through a quarter of the batch before we knew it. I would like to think of that as bettering the soul, more than your heart health…

We have this unfortunate situation where we have no yeast. Because of this I need to make a sourdough starter. Until I overcome my fear of sourdough and just do it, I have been finding recipes that do not require yeast. So recently I made Irish Soda Bread and garlic flatbread. Both of these came out really tasty and have been a great supplement to our meals, or just a straight snack. Also, in case you haven’t graduated to next level living, heat your Irish Soda bread up in a pan with some grass fed butter. That bite is living your best life, FYI.

I will keep you updated on the sourdough situation. I am basically a coward who hasn’t let the words of his friends sink in when they tell him “it is not that hard.” So, stay tuned on that.

In the cooking world, I made a killer pasta with Vodka Sauce the other night (Thank you Molly Baz: https://www.bonappetit.com/video/watch/molly-makes-rigatoni-with-vodka-sauce. What amazing flavor from such a simple recipe. You all should do it!

For Easter, seeing as nothing is conventional about Easter this year, I made pork carnitas (Rick Martinez again: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/double-pork-carnitas). These made my wife, who is not a pork person, say “Ben, these are soo good.” #Winning.

I cheated and used store bought tortillas and salsa verde. 😦

I have been doing a lot of the Bon Appetit recipes because their youtube channel has helped get me inspired about cooking again. I recognize that many of these recipes are not healthy, but that comes back to my goal of moderation and keeping a food diary. If I can eat good food that makes me happy and helps my spirit, while consuming it responsibly, and while taking care of my body, why not? Even with these meals, I am working to balance my macronutrients, get a balanced diet in, and maintain a calorie deficit.

These have helped me. Cooking and baking has become another calming outlet for me when not all traditional outlets are available. You should try some of these recipes and let me know how they go. Does cooking and baking help you? I would love you you to leave some suggestions of recipes, cookbooks, food blogs, or chefs that I should check out.

Ohhh, and what is next? Well, this week I will be going for this crispy roast chicken cooked over potatoes by Chris Morocco (https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cast-iron-roast-chicken-with-crispy-potatoes). I will probably mix it up and make it my own in some ways, but the though of cooking the potatoes under the chicken, thus getting all that flavor, excites me. Anyway, stay safe out there and keep in touch.

-Ben