waiting for this moment to arise

I spent 45 minutes on the elliptical during my lunch hour and completed a 5k. It wasn't the easiest work out because I struggled mentally. Every muscle in my arms hurt after my strength training work out from Tuesday, and I was exhausted after a Tuesday spent rushing from work to the grocery story to community group and then finally home for a late night dinner.

Napping under my desk sounded like the best way to spend my lunch hour, but I knew I would regret not stepping foot in the gym. So I went.

At first, I told myself I would finish two miles and then switch to the stationary bicycle. But by the time I hit two miles, I felt a shift and knew that I wanted to spend my time sweating on the elliptical and not switching to a less intense work out.

During the 45 minutes on the elliptical, I burned 420 calories according to my heart rate monitor. Had I plugged my weight into the elliptical, it might have said that I burned closer to 500 calories. When I put the time spent on the elliptical into MyFitnessPal, it suggested that I had burned over 600 calories. I trust that my heart rate monitor knows best, so I trust the number that pops up on the screen rather than trusting what the machine or the computer says.

I've done a little research and found that cardio machines are often wrong with the number of calories burned. The elliptical tends to over estimate while the treadmill, and stationary bicycle, under estimate. I've found the same to be true with MyFitnessPal as I generally burn more calories while walking than it says, less calories while on the elliptical, more calories when weight lifting, less calories while on the stationary bicycle, and more calories while swimming.

Knowing this helps me a lot. It reminds me of just how hard I have to work to burn calories. Because I do have to work hard. I don't burn the calories without pushing myself and trying harder each and every day. It also reminds me of just how important watching what I eat is; I don't want to ruin my time in the gym by eating too much food or the wrong foods.

So, you could say my relationship with MyFitnessPal is a love and hate relationship. Just like my relationship with other things is a love and hate relationship.

You see I have a love and hate relationship with my kitchen. I love it because it's mine, and it's the kitchen where I've first learned how to cook and also discovered how much I truly love cooking. But I hate how small it is.

One day I'l look back at our small kitchen with fondness and humor. One day I'll remember how I functioned in our kitchen and realize how thankful I am to have a large kitchen - my dream kitchen. Just like one day I'll look back at my 15 minute mile with fondness and then at my much faster mile with excitement.

The further I get into this process the more time I spend in the kitchen. When I got home from work today, I headed immediately into the kitchen and started cleaning and then moved onto making ratatouille (with melted monterrey jack cheese on it) and grilling sirloin on my 5-in-1 Cuisinart griddle/grill combo. And while I love spending time in the kitchen, I hate how cramped it is (and how I seem to step on at least one dog during the process of cooking).

Having a love and hate relationship could have easily stopped me from pushing on towards my goal in the past. But now I know that the love and hate relationship signals, for me, a balance and also that I am well on my way to doing what I need to do - regardless of how I feel about it.

I feel like I so often repeat myself on this blog and that I mention learning the same lessons over and over. I wonder if I should just not mention the lessons that hit me during the most mundane tasks - especially if I've talked about them before - but the last thing I want to do is leave out anything important.

Spending time doing the things I both love and hate today made me realize that, even though I have a ways to go, I'm so much closer to loving these things than I am to hating them. And by loving these things, I'm so much closer to figuring out who I really am.

I've been myself for 26 years, but it's been the past nine months that have opened me up to the person I want to be and to the person I already am. Without excess weight to hide behind, I'm ready to step out and try new things and celebrate my successes instead of ignoring any positive words I might hear. And I can't wait to see all the other things I learn about myself (and cooking!) over the next nine months.

Eggplant Ratatouille (adapted from this recipe):
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1" pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pushed through a press
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1" pieces
2 yellow squash, cut into 1" pieces
1 small tomato, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1. Heat oven to 425 F. 
2. Remove skin from eggplant.
3. Sprinkle eggplant with salt; place in a colander and let bitter juices drain 20 minutes. 
4. Rinse eggplant and pat dry.
5. In a 10 x 15 baking dish, mix oil, garlic, salt, rosemary, thyme, and pepper. Add vegetables (I sliced mine and placed them in the dish as the eggplant drained) and toss to coat evenly with oil mixture.
6. Cover dish with foil and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and cook 30 minutes more, mixing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and browned.
This recipe makes 6-7 servings. Each serving is 1 cup and contains approximately (calculated using MyFitnessPal): 109 calories, 14g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 4g protein, 0g sugar.

For the steak, I used a low sodium montreal steak seasoning mixed with water and olive oil. I let the steak marinate for about 30 minutes and then cooked it on medium-medium high heat for about 15 minutes.

(title from "blackbird" by sarah mclachlan)

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