Creating and establishing habits

Well, that took no time at all.

For the record, I got back on the scale. I’m down about 6 lbs for the summer, which is GREAT!… but also less than I hoped for. I realized something (a lot of somethings, actually… many posts to follow on the different realizations):

In December, I was the tiniest I had ever been in my adult life. And it came at the expense of a lot of lean muscle mass.

I’ve always been a pretty strong person, mentally and physically—even compared to my sisters, I could weigh more but be smaller, because of all the muscle mass. And it served me well for years, so losing the muscle has had some real ramifications.

tennis elbow—without touching a racket. True story: April, I was doing a hefty dose of editing, and sometimes (OK, often!) I would grip the pen in anger at various inanities on the draughts I was going over. And after weeks of this, I found I couldn’t even press a dish brush against a plate, it was too painful. Diagnosis: tennis elbow. Last time I played tennis: oh, probably the 80s. 🙂
the most staggering back-spasm of my life: I’m not new to these. I have a lot of tone and tightness (yet not necessarily strength, blast it all), and it’s caused me to be a weekly physio / massage patient for about 10 years… But through all the back and neck spasms in the past, some muscle relaxants and a massage or two later, and I was on the road to repair. In April, I was doing some push-ups *from my knees* as I began to try to claw my way back to fitness… and there it went: something between my shoulder blade and my spine. I couldn’t move my right arm, or look down, move my neck, check my blindspot, take my top off… awesome. Ever since then, I can’t sleep on a pillow anymore because my neck can’t handle it. Is this a permanent change in my life? Can I reverse it?
much slower fat loss than in the past, given my activity level: I did quite a bit of cardio this summer, and sporadically some weights or resistance training… and even factoring in my diet pitfalls and indulgences, this is still way off the pace of my previous efforts… Hm.

So yesterday, I woke up, cooked breakfast, paid bills, and went right to the gym for some HIIT and weights. And today, I’m on my way back again. Gotta get the “bulk” back! This is a habit I’m happy to revive—and it made me think: I’ve got to re-define my goals. #1 is definitely: MORE WEIGHTS!

For now, though, I’m happy to be back in my kitchen (at least), cooking whenever and whatever. Yesterday morning, I had protein pancakes with blackberries, and for lunch it was Swiss Chard and red quinoa, served with a side of yogurt and protein powder (since I hadn’t finished doing groceries yet. Chard, YES! Yogurt/whey powder, NO!).
Spicy Swiss Chard

• 1 large bunch Swiss Chard
• 3 small cloves of garlic, sliced
• 1-2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 Tbsp water (MAYBE—I found it OK without)
• 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
• pepper to taste

How to

– Rinse out the Swiss Chard leaves and pat dry. Remove the tough end of the stalk, and chop what’s left into 1-inch wide strips.
– Heat a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute.
– Throw the chopped Swiss Chard on top and cover, letting it cook for about 5 minutes.
– At that point, if it looks dry, add a bit of water. (I didn’t).
– Flip the Chard to cook the evenly, and cover it again.
– It should be done in about 5 minutes—sample a piece to be sure.
– Some would say to add salt and butter at this point, I say NO! Just pepper. 🙂