Paleo Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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I was looking for some dinner inspiration without having to go to the grocery store for the fifteenth time this week. I was on Facebook stalking–let’s be honest, that is all Facebook is good for anymore–and I saw this recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Clean Eating Recipes. I am not endorsing them or in any way shape or form asking you or telling you to pay for their meal plans. I do not. I do follow them on FB because they post a good recipe here and there.

I had all of the ingredients and it was early enough in the day that I actually had time to bake sweet potatoes and put them in the fridge to cool. Not normal for me, but I thought I would give it a shot. (more…)

Paleo Dark Chocolate Sea Salt “Coconut Crack”

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We are about three weeks out from our move. I am trying to use up everything that is open in the kitchen. I hate a mess, I hate packing items that could cause a potential mess and I would rather buy all new groceries for my sparkling new kitchen. I know, I know, I am weird. I like new towels, bedding and groceries when I move.

My sweet tooth was getting the best of me and I wanted to make a paleo dessert to hold me over. Here were the rules: #1 no bake–I already have sweet potatoes in the oven for a gnocchi recipe I am trying #2 ingredients that are open in my kitchen and #3 you know me, five ingredients or less.

I started searching Pinterest and most things need medjool dates, which I love, but I am out of. I normally buy the bulk pack at Costco but I am staying away so I don’t have to move them. (Moving anything I keep refrigerated just seems stupid). Then I came across a little gem titled “Coconut Crack Bars”…seriously, you had me at crack. Guess what? Five ingredients–all of which were open in my kitchen and no baking. Winner Winner crack bar dinner (or dessert in this case)

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Breakfast time

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Breakfast time for a family of five is orchestrated chaos. I have the two little’s up at the crack of dawn expecting to be fed. I have a thirteen year old that I am dragging out of bed and never wants breakfast. Then there’s the main man of the house that is also dragging out of bed and then after all are fed, I have to find something for myself.

It might seem old fashioned or totally anti-fem, but I love making breakfast for my husband every morning. Phil works hard so that I can stay home with the little people. He likes a quiet morning where he can get ready for the day. (very hard to do with one bathroom BTW) We have our own bathroom in our new house which will be a total luxury for us. I don’t even know what mornings will be like in three short weeks.

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Paleo Maple Bacon Baked Chicken Thighs with a side of moving stress!

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It is my favorite time of year. I love fall in Chicago. Sweaters, hot drinks, getting to use the oven again without the flat overheating…it’s great until you try to move during your favorite season and you feel like you are going to entirely miss it while in a haze of dates, deadlines and paperwork. YUK.

The hubs and I have made the monumental decision to give up our gypsy life and (wait for it) move to the ‘burbs. A funny thing happens when city people move to the burbs. Friends you have in said burbs are all excited and giving you high fives spilling their margaritas and telling you how much you are going to LOVE it here. Friends in the city gasp and choke on their craft beer and look at you like they didn’t even know you at all. It’s actually pretty comical.

We are trading in our small and fabulous apartment for more than double the living space, a brand new kitchen and THREE completely remodeled bathrooms. All five of us share one now so three seems like the ultimate luxury. It’s going to be a big adjustment and I currently have 3.5 weeks to pack for five. Needless to say, there are boxes everywhere but I am determined to not miss out on my favorite season.

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The girl with the cow bell

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That girl with the cow bell at the Race Against Hate in Evanston this morning….that was me.

Today started with waking up three cranky boys at the crack of dawn and taking them to their dad’s 10K. It’s Father’s Day after all and I would never miss one of Phil’s finishes (unless I was running because then I would miss it by about 30 minutes). As we were stumbling out the door I saw the little red cow bell we got for free from New Balance at the Lincoln Park Zoo run. I grabbed it thinking it would be funny to ring as Phil crossed the finish line and he would roll his eyes at me and secretly enjoy it. Little did I know that  one little bell would make such a big impact today.

The morning started out pretty uneventful. The race started ten minutes late so I was calculating 53ish minutes from the start time to make sure we were at the finish to watch Phil cross the line. We found a spot (not a lot of spectators for 5,000 people running) right on the main strip and I noticed no one was clapping or cheering on the finishers. It was really quiet. So…the boys and I started clapping, I pulled out the bell and we cheered on some finishers…no big deal. Phil decided to finish at sub 49 minutes today (woohoo) without telling me he was planning on PR’ing, so I saw him coming, was grabbing for my camera and completely missed giving him some cow bell treatment. I thought oh well…we left the area and went to find him.

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Water workouts…not your grandma’s water aerobics

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I am the first to admit I smirk at the thought of water aerobics. I think of old people, in bathing caps,  sweatin’ to the oldies. Now, I call myself “old” but I am not even 40. I do not qualify to hang with the Richard Simmons crowd. Not me pictured below but pretty much my thoughts on water aerobics….

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If you have been following along on this saga I call life, you know I injured my knee pretty bad in December. Nothing broken but some damage was done and a deep tissue hematoma that took 8 weeks to heal. I have been left with a knee that now reacts to the weather and pressure in the atmosphere. It swells and aches when it rains or the temperature changes. It sucks. This week has been rough. It’s been acting up and I have been feeling down about myself and my ability to work out.

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Runners chatter on Twitter

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They call them chats. They have names that are hashtagged like #runchat #racechat #bibchat ….then they have “specialized chats” like #vegrunchat #marathonchat

I first learned about these #chats when I started seeing my husband staring more and more at his phone in the evenings than ever before. I am an on again off again Twitter user so I hadn’t been following all of his chatter. He started getting some really great advice on running and all of the sudden boxes from @skorarunning @injinji and @procompression started showing up on our door step.

Now that I sort of consider myself a “runner”, I wanted to get in on the action too. I was intimidated as all hell. Would they think I was some poser? Would they tell me to come back when I get some real mileage? We all have a sterotype of a “runner” in our minds.

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Mine is my 6th grade social studies teacher, Mr. Szumski. He ran the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend every year, back when I had no idea what that was. He was over 6 feet tall, very thin runners build, and wore one of those black Ironman watches (it was the 80’s people). He scared the shit out of me and this “running” thing just made me more intimidated of him and the whole culture. A very different picture from me today: 5 foot nothing, still chubby (working on it), not intimidating, I do have a HRM…that’s about it.

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I joined my first twitter chat a few weeks ago. Here is what to expect. Each one has a moderator that asks 10 questions throughout the course of the hour. You answer the question with A and the number they are on (A2) and then hashtag the chat so people can follow along and respond/favorite your answers. I gave it a shot and figured if nothing else I could be the lurker and get some good advice. I was nervous though. I was still picturing people scoffing at my wimpy answers and telling me to go back to the kids table. What I didn’t expect was this awesome group of people I met. Runners really love to talk about running, and gear, and give great advice. They are supportive and want you to succeed (so they have people to keep talking about running to). A few of them actually started following me. I was shocked and happy and dare I say it, energized to keep running.

I have participated in several chats at this point. I have found that some topics do not apply for newbie runners, but I can contribute a little bit to most of them and I have gotten a ton of sound advice from all of them. Topics range from what’s your favorite gear, how to overcome the mental game, best songs for the trail, and so on.

I have been eyeing a Garmin Forerunner and I got to hear real life reviews versus reading Amazon. I bought a flip belt to hold all my crap on my runs. I am even trying the free pair of Injinji socks that came in Phil’s order. Yes, marketers take notice…us runners are buying all your gear based on what our fellow twitter friend’s advise.

Here is some info on the chats I have done:

#runchat–In my opinion the largest chat. It can be hard to keep up with all the answers. I feel a little ADHD trying to answer and follow along simply because of the number of participants. A lot of experienced runners and great advice.

#racechat–This one is my favorite so far. It is a smaller crowd and a good mix of new and old runners. It seems a little more personal and there is time to read the responses and comment back. I even asked a few follow up questions.

#bibchat–This chat is based in Chicago. What’s not to love about that? I like that this group is active on Instagram so I can follow along all week through pictures. Their website is a place to review and read reviews of races. Straight opinion from actual runners. Really smart. Their chat has an experienced crowd.

My final advice–even if you are new to running–jump right in. Join a chat that works with your schedule. Start following some of the people with the best advice. Ask questions….runners love to talk running, remember?

You can find me on Twitter or Instagram @torrycorbett

Let’s Run!

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Yes, I said “run”. For reals. I am not joking.

It is day three of potty training my two and a half year old son, Miles. Let’s just say, if this is the last blog post I write, I didn’t make it. I am kidding…sort of.

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My wonderful friend Kari has potty trained five of these stinkers. FIVE. I am following her three day, lock yourself at home with a big stack of underwear method. She was right…day three and they start to get it. Of course she is right…she potty trained five kids including a set of twins! I only had one hard cider last night. I almost had one today after a particular #2 incident but then I realized it was only 7am.

Kari is also an avid runner–like marathons. (I know…five kids, lives in the city and she is a runner…she’s basically my role model). Her oldest and mine have become avid runners as well. All three of them kicked butt in a 5K in our neighborhood this past weekend. All four of us are going to run a 5K at the end of May called The Original 5K. What does that mean? I better get my running shoes on and get training.

I know that I can run a 5K. I might be slow to some standards (12-13 minute miles) but I can do it. The race I have really been eyeing is the BIG 10K. It’s held here in Chicago and all the schools in the Big Ten compete for school spirit and bragging rights. Phil and I are still obsessed with Purdue after all these years and this is a chance to run for our school. Not to mention…this year the race happens to be on my 38th Birthday.

I keep thinking it would be sweet to run this race and know that as I turn 38 I am in the best condition and shape of my adult life. So, I pondered it. I signed up Phil and pondered it some more. I signed up Bailey for the 5K portion and pondered yet again. Then I put on my running shoes (Saucony Grid Cohesion 6…they are cheap in running shoe standards and are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. I have them in pink, green, blue, and gray)  and I went to the lake front trail.

My intention was to time myself run/walking a 10K (6.2 miles) to see how long it would take me. The rules for the Big10K state you must finish in 15 minute miles. I didn’t know if I could do this or how far off I was. I started running.

When I start running I have an internal dialog that goes something like this: What are you doing?? Why are you doing this?? Are you running from something? I should just stop. My throat hurts. I look stupid. I should just stop. Are my earphones falling out? Do I like this song? I should just stop. I am not a runner. Is this outfit cute? I am overheating. I should just stop. Sound familiar? About 3/4 of a mile in I stop listening to my head. I start breathing correctly and my throat stops hurting.

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On this particular day, all of the sudden I was at Fullerton Ave. which means I had run 3.45 miles. (Believe me, I know the distance. I keep Map My Run on my Iphone and the lady tells me every time I hit a mile marker).  I turned around and ran back to where I started. I ran 6.25 miles (13:15 mile pace). Uhhhh….hell yes! I called Phil and told him. I went home and signed up for the Big 10K. I woke up the next morning and could barely walk…

I have so much confidence now because I know I can do it. I could step out on that course tomorrow and finish the race. Now it is about getting my body conditioned over the next three months and having a great run on my birthday. One to always need a plan and a checklist, I found a 12, 16 and 20 week guide to training for a half marathon online at HalfMarathons.net.  I decided to follow the 20 week plan to condition myself because I know I can run 10-15 miles each week and I like the idea of having short week day runs with a long weekend run. I am not saying I am going to do a half in 20 weeks (though there happens to be a half marathon at Purdue in mid October) but I needed a plan and I like that this will basically take me through the outdoor running season in Chicago.

So there you go. Let’s run. Let’s hopefully drop some pounds in the process. Don’t forget to take a day off (Monday for me) to recover those old bones and do some cross training on the other off days (I am going to do do a mix of strength, elliptical, and spinning).

**As the Half marathon site states: Before starting any training for running the 13.1-mile half marathon distance, whether it’s in an organized race or on your own, you should be regularly running approximately 10 to 15 miles per week.

If you’re a beginning runner, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting anything as strenuous as training for a half marathon, especially if you’re over age 35 or 40.**

The struggle…it’s real.

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You know that “it won’t happen to me” attitude that so many of us have? As the weight was initally pouring off of me I totally had that attitude. In fact, until about eight weeks ago I still had that attitude. I would see people on Instagram or Facebook in a “plateau” and think “they must be doing something wrong, I am doing it right”. Karma gets me every f’ing time.

I was talking to my husband last night, who let’s face it, should be given sainthood for dealing with my shit the last fifteen years of marriage, let alone the last eight weeks. He is so supportive of me and so willing to do anything for me to be happy and successful. I might keep all the shit around the house together, but he keeps me together and that trumps everything. The best part of Phil is that he calls me on my bullshit. All.the.time. I get pissy and then it makes me think and then I realize he is right and then I get annoyed that he is always right and then I do something about it. It’s a cycle and dammit he is always right. It drives me crazy, but I am so thankful that he is in my life. So last night Phil “casually” mentions that I haven’t written anything for the blog lately. SILENCE…Then what happens? I get defensive. “I don’t have anything to write. Nothing has been going well. I haven’t lost weight in eight weeks. No one wants to hear about that.” The excuses were really flowing at this point. It’s true though. I have been really down on myself and haven’t felt like I have anything to share. Then it hits me, I should be sharing this struggle so hopefully I can help other people out there going through the same thing. UGH, damn Phil. Here I am writing.

I’ve had a lot of transition over these last eight weeks. The trainer that I loved at my gym, the one that was really overly qualified to be there…she got a crap deal (in my opinion) and ended up quitting. It threw me for a loop. I was so used to weighing in with her every four weeks. Having her kick my ass at the gym. NONE of the training staff has even asked me if I am doing ok since she left. (sulking) Obviously, I am not blaming them for not losing weight. I am an adult and I can do this no matter who comes and goes in my life in the training department. It has been rough though. You know from my last post that my diet has been in transition. We went on vacation and I ate like the fat girl I used to be.

So, what do I do? I have been overthinking, overananlyzing, overresearching and overplanning everything about my eating and exercise. (Don’t worry, I do this in all aspects of my life.  Phil really won the wife lottery with this girl). I keep thinking paleo vs. non-paleo, gluten free, counting macros, counting calories, strength training, cardio, functional training, more cardio, running, weights….There is so much information out there and everyone thinks they have the right answer for you. This is the struggle…and it is real.

I have been seriously considering hiring a nutrition coach. I spoke to one coach that would put me on a counting macros plan. This is huge in the body building world. It’s also called “flexible dieting”. Google it. It really works. Better yet, hashtag it on Instagram and see some amazing results photos. t’s a good balance of carb, fat, protein and calories. The thing that scares the shit out of me is it is total science. Like, you have to hit your daily target exactly to be successful. I spent an hour on My Fitness Pal plugging in meals trying to hit the numbers that I calculated for myself at IIFYM.com and I couldn’t do it. I have visions of a trainer giving me a meal plan and I am going to have to eat the same thing every single day for the next 40lbs. It’s not practical for me. (That’s an excuse…I can see that as I type it). Maybe I just don’t want to do it. It is not cheap to hire a nutrition coach. I need to be 100% committed before I would consider having someone invest that kind of time in me.

So what I am doing instead? I really thought back to when I was losing (don’t you hate when people use the word loosing? I seriously stop following people on Instagram if they use the word loosing. I might be judgemental, but there is only so much I can stand) the most weight and it was paleo and a shit ton of cardio. My body and mind are tired of paleo. It is the perfect way to eat. Please, please do it. I just am not there right now. My knee is feeling good so….it’s shit ton of cardio time.

I am diversifying my workouts. I am trying 90 minutes of cardio four days per week and functional/strength training two days a week. I decided to try the stationary bike the other day and I loved it. It was something new and the 30 minutes I was on the bike just flew by. So much that I am going to use a guest pass for Phil’s gym and take a spinning class. My thighs and hamstrings feel tight and sore. I love that feeling. I also traded out the dreadmill, I mean treadmill, for the arc trainer. I just can’t stand being on the treadmill for 30 minutes. It makes me want to poke my eyeballs out. I also took a Turbo Kick class. I NEVER take the choreographed classes at the gym. Not my thing. It was…different. It was a good workout. I felt like an ass clown, but hey. I need to step out of the box and try new things. I have FORTY more pounds to lose. If that means feeling like an ass clown for six months, so be it.

So that’s where I am. I am changing up the routine. I am trying new things. I am focusing on exercise over food. Most of all, I am experimenting to see what works and I am not giving up. I will never give up. I keep thinking that I can’t wait until all I have to do is maintain, yet I know that will be a new struggle all of its own. Patience is something I have a hard time with, can you tell?

Weight loss programs are not one size

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By this point if you have been following along…you have probably figured out for yourself that I am pretty blunt and I like to use bad language. I would NEVER give up swearing for lent. So the following post should not surprise you….

As I mentioned in my one year anniversary post…I was going to lax the reigns on paleo and see how it went. Well….it went. I spent the last three weeks eating a moderate 1500 calorie diet. Still working out 5 days per week. I was eating any food I wanted but portioning, counting, weighing, measuring, tracking every bite on My Fitness Pal. It was more than annoying. I wasn’t feeling any less “fluffy” either. I got on the scale this past Monday and my reward for all this hard work? I GAINED SIX POUNDS! HOLY SHIT. I freaked. (these are the moments that I feel sorry for Phil) I totally flipped my shit. I might have even cried. All that hard work, all my work in the gym…a month’s worth of weight loss added back. I tried to be rational (sorta…not really) more like desperate for answers so I grabbed my Omron Body Fat Loss Monitor model HBF-306C(Black) (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).  I thought maybe I made some big gains this month and that was the answer. NOPE!

The point of this post is 1) This weight loss shit is real. It is a struggle that I deal with daily and will deal with the rest of my life. 2) There is no one size fits all method of eating. 3) I am worth it to find the answers.

Let’s talk about my second point because obviously you can see that this shit is real. I have failed at so many weight loss programs. I am the girl that gained weight on Weight Watchers. I just gained six pounds in less than a month eating 1500 calories and working out hard. Here is my plea to you…try other ways of eating. If you think diets don’t work it is because your body processes food differently than what the weightloss industry calls “standard”. As much as I would love to eat bread and pasta, I for the first time, am really understanding my body and that it just doesn’t work for me.

So…Torry a year ago would have thrown in the towel, said diets don’t work and gone to scarf down a Big Mac. I am a different girl now. I have changed over the last year. Instead, I pulled up my big girl panties, shrugged off the gain and hit the gym…hard…like two a day hard. I put my eating back on track with a primal plan (paleo plus a small amount of dairy essentially) and three days in I already feel like my stomach is less “fluffy” feeling. It’s still fluffy, but it feels better. I feel better.

Food for thought. Over the weekend I noticed my horrible dry scalp had come back too. I mentioned it to Phil and he said “its the way you are eating”. I have to agree. (Why is that man always right? It drives me crazy.) My scalp hasn’t been this scaly in a year. I had even stopped using a dry scalp shampoo. Now, I need to detox my entire body and get myself back together.

Be cognizant of what you eat. These buzz words like “whole grain”, “all natural”, “sugar free” are just that, buzz words.  They are not foods that are good for you. It’s all marketing to try to sell a product. If you eat clean, there is no package…just a great healthy meal that fuels your body in the best way possible. For me that is. This is what works for me. END OF RANT.

Guess what I did?? Something I have wanted to do for a loooong time. I gave myself a weight loss present. I had my nose pierced. I LOVE IT!

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