Monday, August 26, 2013

End of summer post!

Greetings Friendly Bloggers,
I am coming out of a self-imposed three-week retreat for writing and a week of vacation with five of my sweet grandbabies at our cabin. During my writing weeks, I focused mainly on writing. The writing that I do entails a great deal of review of published literature in a number of fields pertinent to whatever topic I am writing about. I have slowly developed a system to keep all my notes in an organized fashion as I wade through all that reading. I submitted one manuscript to a journal, and have two others that have been sent to co-authors for additional feedback and edits. I find that for me, the best way for me to make progress in my writing is to go into seclusion and that is precisely what I did. Once the academic year begins, my attention is on my teaching and some of my other roles that I have in academia with not much time for writing. It is a hard fought pleasure to write it all up. I feel satisfied with my efforts, although I know that there will be much revision and rejection before these three are published.  
I spent last week at our cabin with five of my favorite little people. The weather was just lovely with highs in the low 80’s and the evenings in the low 50s. We spent the week swimming, reading, catching all kinds of bugs, trying new recipes, and riding bikes. We started the week off by making Camp Oma shirts (Oma is Dutch for grandmother).


 Our longest bike ride was a round trip to a "Pirate" ship at a nearby lake. 
It was a 13 mile round trip to the ship. I pulled a very heavy Burley loaded with our food, water and swimming gear, plus almost four year old Noah behind my bike. The other kids ages 6, 8, 8 and 10 rode their own bikes up and down the hills with me. You can't really see the hills in the picture above, but they are there. Our last stop was at the local rock shop where the kids all dug for agates.

 Our reward for such a long ride was swimming in a beautiful nearby lake.
Being a camper at Camp Oma meant you had a few chores to do, too.
Made cookies.
 Plus every day they did some writing about their adventures...
It was a great week for me and a great week for them! 

Throughout the last few weeks I kept track of my food and exercised by riding my bike. I gave myself a little slack over the last weekend where I did not track, but still made reasonable choices on food. I will not weigh in until September. Even with all my efforts at tracking and eating well, I know I will not have lost much weight. But, my fitness level continues to improve. Since my last post, I put over 250 miles on my bikes. I have increased my speed to about 14 mph, even with some rolling hills. I can maintain that speed for about two hours of riding. Now that the academic year is about to start, I know I will not be able to spend as much time on the bike. I hope I can continue to ride through early November, but that will be determined by our weather, I can ride in the cold, and have good clothing so I am comfortable, however, I am not comfortable riding in snow and ice. 
I decided that I will not ride in the Venus de Miles this year. I am disappointed, because I know that I would be ready for that 67-mile ride with 2000 feet elevation gain. However, the event is now at the end of September and it is in Colorado. Last year the ride was at the end of August where I could easily make the drive because I was not yet in school. This year after talking it over with my hubby, we both decided it would be just too much once I start school. Instead, I will look for another organized ride locally were I can test my stamina, strength and endurance on the bike. 
Now it is time for me to check in with all of you. Hope the end of summer means you have made good progress in your own getting healthy goals. Stay strong and TTFN! Michele

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Exercise and eating in moderation


Tonight as I write this post it is raining cats and dogs here in NW WI. I am guessing we are getting close to an inch an hour. The storm is situated right over us with thunder and lightning as well. 
We can use the rain, like most of the US, especially to recharge the lake levels and to keep our fire danger low. Despite the bad weather I am able (so far!) to Live Access, via the Internet, my favorite Minnesota Lynx while they battle it out in San Antonio.
I am at our cabin for a few days working on five different articles I hope to submit for publication before the academic year begins. I enjoy research and I enjoy writing and feel lucky to be in a profession where I can do both. I need peace and quiet when I am writing and researching, thus I self-exile myself from my family in the city so I can do both.
I had a great week last week. Once again, I was able to get in some significant miles (86). Most days I try to get my ride in early in the morning. It is usually cool, plus not so windy as it usually gets later in the day. I am getting good at snapping a few pictures while I ride:

The pictures above are of one of the lakes that is close to our home in Minneapolis. I was up super early last Saturday and took some pictures of the sunrise over Lake Harriett. The bike path that I ride on extends from nearby where I live, around a series of lakes, into downtown to Target Field (Twins playground) and off to the Mississippi River and follows Minnehaha Creek. All together this one bike route is over 55 miles in length of urban trails in the city itself (not even counting what is available in St. Paul. So, it is easy and safe for me to access these trails, which I do often during cycling season.


As far as cycling goes, I am starting to increase my mileage per ride in preparation of the Venus de Miles in Boulder, Colorado on September 29. This year the elevation rise will be slightly less than 2,000 (last year it was 4,000). I am riding the 66-mile “calf cramper.” I will get in a 25 and a 40 or so mile rides still this week. 
I remain committed to counting calories. I am entering my fourth week of getting back to this practice. For the most part I consume 1400-1600 calories a day, depending on my bike rides. Anything over 20 miles requires that I eat an additional number of calories. One of the reasons I bike early in the day is that I find I can get out and exercise with just a little something to eat before I go. I usually eat a full breakfast after I return. Later in the day, I find it harder to stick to my calorie budget when I ride. If I cycle later in the day, I always return famished and tend to overeat. So, for me it works to do it early in the morning when I am just starting on my calorie allotment for the day.
It is summer and that means loads of family and friends coming to visit our cabin. I do enjoy cooking, especially in my kitchen at the cabin. Most of our guests tend to be kids so I make recipes that I know they will enjoy. Last weekend I made homemade pizza. The picture below is one of my best ever Margarita pizzas (with fresh basil from our herb garden and tomatoes from the farmers market).


 The kids really enjoyed it!
I also made ice cream sandwiches using a recipe from the Star Tribune. It was very easy and delicious.
See that little piece on the left? That was my ice cream sandwich piece: all of 55 calories. I am getting very good at indulging only a little in the tasty things that I make for others. With the pizza, I also had a sliver that amounted to 125 calories. A sliver is not much, but it was enough for me to move back easily into the variety of foods that I can have. I soooo want to get out of the obesity category this summer!! That motivation keeps me going strong. Yes, I indulge the grandbabies in some treats, but, I am trying to help them learn moderation, something I never learned. Those grandkids eat healthy when they are with me for the most part: lots of green vegetables and fruit. Most of the baked goods including the cookie dough for the ice cream sandwiches are made with whole-wheat flour. I also try to avoid salty snacks for them thus many of the things they eat when they are with me are lower in salt. Not everything, but most. 
How about you: are you learning to eat your favorite foods in moderation and count calories or are you just avoiding them all together??
I hope you are all having a great week. Stay strong! TTFN,
Michele