Sunday, September 30, 2007

(Blech)xercise...No Excuses

I know it's been forever since I've posted, but trust me, I haven't forgotten about my little blog! Every few days I evaluate my eating habits at school and think, "Oh...I should put this on my blog..." So here's a recap of my school's cuisinary events:

Good Things:
1. I still haven't eaten lunch from the cafeteria! Hooray!!

Bad Things: (that's right folks, not many good things lately...)
1. A few weeks ago our school held a fundraiser at TGIFridays. All the teachers ordered lunch out and instead of a killer salad I ordered Bufallo Chicken Wings. I'm a sucker for fried chicken and I felt very guilty after that lunch!
2. The teachers also had a football food day in the lounge on the Friday before the UK/UofL game...I gave in! I don't even remember what I ate from the lounge, but I know it was sinfully good. Forgive me!
3. Okay, so I said I didn't eat lunch from the cafeteria and that's still true, but one day last week I was having a HORRIBLE day, and they were having cheeseburgers.....I debated all day whether or not to get one lunch from the cafeteria. I rationalized it like this: I haven't had a cafeteria lunch for seven weeks, I've saved lots of money, and maybe I could just start having one cafeteria lunch a month. I went downstairs and came so close to buying the lunch, but instead I just bought a small bowl of those heavenly crinkle fries and took them upstairs to eat with my sandwich. I called it my "bad day treat" and I was still able to stick to my vow - sort of.

So those are the big moments from the last four weeks or so. I also found out that our cafeteria (and all cafeterias in Fayette County) don't actually fry anything. All the tater tots and french fries are baked, so I guess that's good. They also switched to whole wheat buns and rolls which I'm really happy about. I don't think the kids even noticed! Hooray for healthy food!

As for (blech)xercising, I have to write a little bit about my first day of "running," and I use the term very loosely! I have some friends, Laura and Pete, who are the healthiest, runniest people I know and ever since they started running together and Laura started looking all skinny and beautiful (not that she didn't before, she's always been lovely, but none of her old clothes fit her anymore and now she's smokin' hot!) I've been feeling fat and lumpy. The best part about Pete and Laura is they didn't let me make any excuses about exercising. Here's a quick version of the conversations we've been having over the last couple weeks:

ME: I need to start walking or running again. It would be so much easier if I had one of those watches with a timer on it.
LAURA: Here, have my old one. I don't need it anymore.

ME: Well, I would have started running today, but I don't have an armband for my new ipod, so I might just wait until I get one.
LAURA: (calling from her car) I just left TJMAXX and they have ipod armbands on sale for 5.99! Now you don't have to wait to get one.

ME: Well, I would have started running yesterday, but I don't really have any running clothes. Just one pair of shorts and a tank top that's probably too small for me anyway. I'll have to wait until I get some good running clothes.
PETE: Hey, why don't I just look through my attic for some old samples that will fit you. (He works for a fitness store)

DAMN IT!! WHAT IS IT WITH THESE PEOPLE? There's just no excuses! So what did I do today? I went to TJMAXX and bought me a stupid arm band, I hauled out my one pair of shorts and my tank top that shows all the flab, I strapped on my old pair of sneakers and hit the pavement. Let me tell you...

It was pretty great.

I walked for four minutes and ran for one, thanks to my new timer watch. Walking and running to music changes EVERYTHING! I had so much fun! The weather was gorgeous, my tunes were kickin' and everyone was out on their bikes or going for a run. There was only one time where I was supposed to be running that I had to stop. I was out for about 35 minutes and I tried really hard not to over-do it, because last time I tried to exercise I killed myself the first time out and never went again. So now I'm going to try to walk/run every other day for a couple of weeks, then perhaps start changing the time increments. I'm not a good runner and my face looks like a tomato when I'm done, but it feels good, so I'll do my best to stick to it. I'm sure Laura and Pete aren't going to let me quit.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Week Four

This was a pretty easy week, seeing as how we were off school on Monday! Last Sunday we went to a Labor Day picnic at my Mom's house and, of course, I stuffed my face with all of Mom's cooking. I did manage to avoid the dreaded cheddarwurst hot dogs, though. Gross!

With Sylvain commuting to Louisville and me taking classes on Monday and Tuesday night, we haven't had much time to eat dinner together. I'm starting to discover that, while I'm doing well with my eating habits at school and even after school, I don't eat very well in the evenings at home. I think that's my next area to tackle.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Extra Steps

It's getting a little easier to eat my own packed lunch now. Last weekend, Sylvain and I worked on making the perfect pizza and Sunday night we came up with a pretty good one, then we modified it on Monday night for pizza number two and...voila! I had two great leftover lunches in a row! We also bought some really good mustard, which made a surprising difference, especially on Chicken Nugget day when I had to remind myself that my ham and cheese sandwich was even better than usual. I was really good about making a Salad every day - the Kroger bag of romaine lettuce hearts lasted exactly five days and made five great salads! Yum!

Now that I'm on a roll with the lunches, I thought I'd mention a couple things that happened this to boost my health, however small they may be. First of all, the copy machines at my school have been moved from around the corner to the complete opposite side of the building. My first two trips to the new copy room were filled with moans and complaints, but on my third or fourth trip I realized that this big move will probably result in at least a couple hundred more steps a day, which is acutally a good thing. So, I concentrated on the extra step idea when I went to park my car for my night class on Tuesday. I decided to park on a street where there is usally a free spot, even if I have to circle around the block a time or two, just so that I can have a wee bit of a hike to the classroom building. It was the best idea ever! I had such a nice walk through campus, in particular a part of campus on which I haven't set foot in years! It was a very nostalgic stroll, especially with my new ipod blasting all of my favorite college dorm-day tunes.

As for school, I'm holding my own. I had to avoid the teacher's lounge like the plague today because there were brownies, cookies, donuts AND bagels! Yipes! I made the mistake of putting my pineapple and cottage cheese in the lounge fridge so I had to walk past all the goodies to get to my snack. That won't happen again! It was dangerous. All in all I had a pretty good week as far as school food is concerned!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I've been cafeteria free for over a week now! Last week I ate downstairs every day with my students and watched them pack away the carbs and calories, but it wasn't all bad. We ended up having some very good conversations about sugar, calories, fat grams, etc. Turns out kids are really interested in that stuff! Hooray!

My sandwiches and leftovers have sufficed for lunch each day and I even turned down a donut last Friday morning from another teacher. I saw that as a small success, but it was trumped by the chocolate I ate for a snack that afternoon. (Someone gave it to me as a gift and I just couldn't throw it away! It sat in my desk drawer until I was so hungry I had to eat it.)

Today was another tiny triumph. It was the first day they served taco nachos for lunch in the cafeteria. I know I've said before that chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers were my weakness, but I was wrong. Those are easy to ignore because, even though they smell good, when you look at them you remember why they're bad for you. But the taco nachos not only smell good, they LOOK good, with all that cheese oozing over the top and the crispy tater tots right next door. Yipes! I had to get out of there! I don't think a teacher has ever dropped her kids off for lunch so fast. I didn't even wait for them to sit down before I bolted upstairs and out of the line of fire. It was a close one!

So, the cafeteria boycott is going well. Lots of other teachers are working on the same thing, which is good. I eat lunch with six other ladies and we try to support each other. Yesterday one of us showed up with cafeteria food and we all harrassed her for it. I decided that if she walked in today with taco nachos I would politely ask her to eat that lunch elsewhere! (Not really, but I'd joke about it.) I'm worried that later in the year we won't all be as gung-ho in our collaborative quest and I might be left in the cold. That's fine, though. I think, for now, I should try my best to be the last teacher to give in to the lure of cafeteria cuisine!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 14th, Day Two

Well, I have officially started my yearly battle with school and work food. I am a fourth grade teacher and this week I began my fourth year at my elementary school. My stepmother once said "When it comes to bringing unhealthy food to work, teachers and nurses are the worst!" Not only do I have to pry myself away from the donuts and muffins that appeared in the lounge yesterday to welcome back the teachers (thanks, PTA, for trying to make me fat), but I also have to walk my class to the cafeteria every day at 12:30 and shut off the sensors in my brain that think crispy crinkle fries and low grade USDA beef are appetizing! Trust me, it truly is a daily nutrition battle.

Last year I had two school lunches that I always, and I mean ALWAYS, fell for. That would be the chicken nuggets and the cheeseburgers. What's so amazing is that I KNOW these things are bad for me! I KNOW that the meat used to feed American school children is barely meat at all and that there are enough calories on the average school child's plate to last a 175 pound man all day. But by the time 12:30 rolls around, when my stomach is rumbling nearly six hours after my bowl of breakfast cereal, something in my brain says, "It's okay! People eat this stuff all the time."

Well, this year I've decided to resist the temptation from the get go. I try this every year, but I think this year it'll work, because I've chosen to write about my daily struggles, regardless of who, out there in the vast Internet kingdom, decides to read it. I have this philosophy that if I can keep myself away from the food in the cafeteria and the food in the teacher's lounge, I will somehow be a healthier, happier, person. One of my fellow teachers (who used to eat school lunch every day) said that once she stopped eating school food for two weeks, she lost five pounds! Now, I've been eating a somewhat healthy diet over the summer and I'm not looking for huge weight loss (a few pounds here and there would be nice, right?), I'm just hoping to stay away from the food that can kill me.

So far I've managed to trek through the cafeteria jungle as it served up some chicken strips (new on the menu this year) and cheeseburgers! My first two days arrived with my biggest temptations and I'm proud to say, I've overcome! I enjoyed my ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with carrots and dressing alongside my trusty diet coke while I watched my students scarf down those crispy fries. Success! I've also walked INTO the teachers lounge, browsed the food available, and actually WALKED OUT after deciding that I had better food at home. Hooray! I can only hope that the next few days, weeks, and months are as successful.