Saturday, January 28, 2006

Winter Break

Modena Sporting Club
Originally uploaded by juliainitaly.
I'd made a date with Shygirl to go running the other night but the only time that she can go these days is after six o'clock p.m. Here in northern Italy that means it's dark, cold, icy, freezing, and you might find snow on the ground. I could go in the morning or the afternoon by myself but I just hate thinking about her running around that park by herself in the cold, dark night. The forecast was set for snow so I wasn't really enthusiastic about going running outside, however, an hour later there we were going round and round the park in the cold night.
Now this has really been an odd winter. Where I live it generally snows once at the end of january. I mean it's cold and everything, but it's not freezing. This year it started snowing in mid november and I can't even count the number of times it's snowed since then. It's never a lot, maybe a couple of inches, but it sticks for a few days and is really slippery.
I'm pretty hard core when it comes to exercising. I will go under ANY circumstances, but this was getting old. We didn't want to join a gym 'cause I HATE gyms. I'd much rather run in the snow than be indoors. On the other hand we both felt like we needed some sort of boost to help us get through another month of outdoor running. Then it came to us: couldn't we find a way to just go once a week somewhere? Detto, fatto!(said and done!). We signed up for 25 entry passes to the M0dena Sp0rting Club. It's THE most expensive gym in town. It has plenty of machines and classes at every hour of the day and a huge weight room. But the best best part? It has a spa! Men's and women's is separate. It has two saunas, a turkish steam bath, four jacuzzi's, These Roman dipping baths (freezing water) and deck chairs where you can just chill out. Optional is massage and pedicures. We went last thursday for the first time and spent 20 minutes on an exercise bike, 20 on the step machine and 20 on the running treadmill. Then we hit the spa...
I can't wait to go back...for the spa...and you know what? The next night we went running on freshly fallen snow and had a wonderful run. We were just in need of a change attitude!

Weight lost so far: 2.5 kg
Calories: 1640
Exercise: 45' + 10 x 100mt uphill
Days left in the challenge: 11 (I can't believe I've lasted this long!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Down & Up

Yesterday I could only only get in a quick thirty minute run 'cause Hubby was leaving for Rome. When I got back home I did some floor exercises and then got this crazy idea to lift some weights. I have a balance bar on the porch with some 10 kg weight on them. I only did ten squats where I went halfway down and then up again before I got distracted by Evan. As I put the weights down I thought "It's not going to do anything anyway..." Well, today I can feel it. A lot. Right on my butt where it counts too! I'll have to do that again soon sometime.

Weight lost: 1,1 kg
Calories: 1585
Water consumed: not enough!
exercise: running 30' + exercises
days left: 14 (2 weeks?!)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Up & Down

Weight lost so far: 1,4 kg
Calories : 1620
Water: 1,5 lts.
Exercise: rest
Days left: 16

Sunday, January 22, 2006

This is where I start to falter...

So. Explain this to me: Friday, good day. I stayed within 1600 cals plus I went on a 11km run with ShyGirl around the park. Woke up yesterday and had gained 200 gr. Nothing to get excited or upset about but notice the upward trend...Yesterday was a nice cooking day but I was really careful about what I ate. For lunch I had bought a squid which I had fantasized about frying but immediately talked myself out of it since it wouldn't really fit in my calorie counting regime. So I invented a stuffed baked squid recipe. Very tasty and dietetic too, I might add. I took some rice and partially cooked it. Then I added a chopped onion, a squashed clove of garlic, a zucchini, salt and pepper. Then I stuffed the squid with this filling, put it in a pan where I had layed down some sliced tomatoes. On top of it all I poured a half a glass of white wine. I baked it covered for 30' and then uncovered another 30'. It was so, so good! So I ate probably a half a cup of rice and 100 grams of squid.
For dinner we had guests and I made foccaccia and layed out fixings for it: mozzarella, bresaola, stracchini cheese and rucola. I only had one piece. I had also made some pastries (too involved to tell you how I did this), but I only ate half of one. Anyway, at the end of the day I figured that I had eaten approx. 1580 calories. Still within my budget.


Anyway, this morning I raced a 12km and was very very happy that I averaged 5'21"/km. I haven't run that fast in years.

I'm just going to keep concentrating on the challenge. I am not going to worry about the slight, freaky, non explicable gain. This is usually where I give up but I want to make it to the end of the challenge so I can have a more scientific conclusion to the whole thing.

Does this ever happen to you?

Weight lost so far: 1,1 kg
Calories : 1580
Water: 1,7 lts.
Exercise: 12,4 km
Days left: 17

Friday, January 20, 2006


Last night I went running with Shygirl. I couldn't get a babysitter until five o'clock so we knew that we'd be running the second half of the training session in the dark. Since we needed an uphill to do some sprints plus a measured 1km we had to go to Tre Olmi. It's about seven minutes from my house by car. It's on the outskirts of town, with lots of fields around it. It's really taking a lot of will power to go running these days because of the weather. It is FREEZING outside, and last night was not an exception at -4c. So we did the warm up and the sprints and then another fifteen minutes of running, then we were supposed to end it with 4 x 1km. By that time it was really dark, plus it was foggy so it gave this ghost like feeling to the whole experience. At the end of the first km I felt my hair and I had icicles growing off the ends! Shygirl said that she could feel them on her eyelashes as she was running. We were happy to have finished the workout but we've decided that in order to mentally survive the rest of the winter we're going to try and get one day passes to a gym someplace and go at least once a week.

Weight lost so far: 2,1 kg
Calories : 1550
Water: 1,5 lts.
Exercise: 20' + 10 x 100mt uphill + 15' + 4 x 1km @ 5'00"
Days left: 19

Thursday, January 19, 2006


One thing that I have learned about myself in the dieting process is that I truly love food. Not just eating food, but making good food. I want every bite to count, I want the best quality and I really want to enjoy whatever it is that I'm eating. Luckily along with this trait is that fact that I love to cook. My mother passed away when I was ten and my father worked as a radio announcer at night so he was always happy if one of the four of us children (is that correct english...?) pitched in to cook. I remember sometime around the age of twelve I decided that wednesday would be my cooking night. I asked my Dad for a budget and he was happy to let me do that. This is where I learned to really cook. My Dad liked to cook also so he had a lot of cookbooks. We had the Time-Life series of recipes from around the world. I made Paella from Spain and homemade Pizza from Italy. Once I made this really complicated meat dish that went into a pastry covering. It took hours to do. I can still remember everybody waiting around the dinner table for it to come out of the oven. When I came to Italy my first fifteen years here were spent in Tuscany. I used most of that time figuring out how to make "Ribollita" or just a nice simple version of Lasagna. They were always shocked that an American could actually cook since we're always portrayed as women that slap frozen dinners on the table or run off to a fast food store to pick up an order for the family. In a funny way it was also my forte with men. They loved that I knew how to cook and would brag about it to their friends. I figured it was some sort of strange mother/girlfriend psychological entanglement.
Oddly enough both of my siblings are in the food business. My brother has a degree in restaurant and hotel management and is supervisor for a group of thirty restaurants in the South (USA). My sister owns a chain of ice cream stores in the Hawaiian Islands. I always felt that eventually I'd do something with food. So far all I do is eat it, but I have plenty of years ahead.

This is a link I read almost everyday: The Girl Who Ate Everything
I love reading about all the things she eats. She LOVES her food, in a good way...

Weight lost so far: 2,1 kg
Calories yesterday: 1652
Water: 1,5 lts.
Exercise: zero - no babysitter
Days left: 20

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Crack of Dawn

The organization of my time pretty much revolves around the children. Olivia at 12 is not so much a problem on a day to day basis, but of course Evan at 2 is my main worry. I know by now you all think I have a one track mind with running, it really isn't that way. I've organised my life in such a way that I'm pretty self sufficient except for when I have to go running. That's the only real time daily that I need someone to watch Evan. Since in order to keep my sanity I need to go running at least four days a week, whenever Hubby leaves for the week to go work somewhere, I have to find a babysitter or friend who can come and watch the baby for an hour. This last weekend Hubby went to Sicily to speak at a convention. He flew home sunday night and then monday he was to take off for a four day training session with his top athletes on the coast of Tuscany.

"What time are you going to leave on Monday?" I asked him this in hopes of getting in a run before he left.

"At the crack of dawn."

Now, I get up at 6.15 a.m. every morning to bring Olivia to school and quite frankly, I have never seen him up and dressed at that hour. But of course I wanted to believe that he had this urgent need to leave at "the crack of dawn". I came back home at 8.20 and he was still puttering around at the computer. At 10.00 he decided to have breakfast. Finally at about 12.00 pm I said "I need to go to the post office and on the way back I'll take a quick forty minute run in the park". He looked at me like that was completely normal and fine. So I did.
Men truly have their own time schedule.

I ran 40' and then went on the track and did a "run 'til you drop" 1km in 4'40". I was a little disappointed in the time 'cause I thought that I could run it about ten seconds better, but maybe it just wasn't my day.

Hubby finally left at 3.30 pm.
The crack of dawn...

Weight lost so far: 1,2 kg
Calories yesterday: 1601
Water: 1.2lts
exercise: running - 40' + 1km @ 4'40" - about 8km
Days left: 22

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I've subscribed again to Fly Lady. I'm not quite yet into doing the entire routine, it would be too much for me to handle right now. What I am doing is just "Cleaning the Zones". You concentrate on one or two rooms per week and do a thorough cleaning of each. This week for example was the kitchen. On the list was defrosting and cleaning the fridge (done!), cleaning the oven (done!). All things that I hadn't done in over six months - yikes!

Weight lost so far: 1,2 kg
Calories today: 1605
Water: 1.2lts
exercise: running - 10' + 5 x (1km/walk 3') + 10' = 9km
Days left: 24

Half a Gorgeous Day

The days here have been absolutely beautiful. Clear skies, very blue, lots of sun...and freezing. Like - 4 c° in the morning and not past 6c° during the day. It's really frustrating to look outside and think that it's a gorgeous day until I actually do go outside and freeze my butt off. I'm aching to get working in my garden, which like all winter gardens looks horrible right now. I'll probably have to wait another seven weeks or so before I can even think about it. Oh well, I probably don't have the time anyway.
Hubby went away for the week and Evan still has a cough so he'll have to stay home from day care. I'm trying to set up a schedule with my babysitter, but to no avail so far. Tomorrow my friend Lucia is coming over to watch Evan while I go running. I'll have to see what happens with the rest of the week.

Weight lost so far: 1,2 kg
Calories yesterday: 1589
Water: 1.5 lts
exercise: running - 20' + 10 x 1' fast/1' slow + 15' - approx. 10km
Days left: 25

Monday, January 02, 2006

The New Cure

Originally uploaded by juliainitaly.
My husband's sister and mother are always coming up with new cures that we have to do to get healthy. Cures that, by the way, they rarely follow through on their own. Sometimes I'll follow them on something, sometimes I won't. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I grew up in the Hippy Dippy area of Marin County, California so I already SAW all of this way back in the 70's. Nothing new, yawn. So yesterday they sent a bottle of this "Ancient Tibetan Homeopathic Remedy" that is supposed to be a cure all for everything. It's basically a garlic concentrate. Three hundred grams of garlic marinated in alcohol and kept in the dark for I-don't-know-how-many-days. You're supposed to take it like a regular homeopathic remedy. Before each meal starting with one, two and three drops which then increase over a ten day span until you're taking twenty-five drops thrice a day. I was going to chuck it down the toilet when I saw on the paper that it promised to straighten out slow metabolisms. WOW! I'm goin' give it a try. The only thing I'm really afraid of is masking the garlic odour that might result from the cure. I've been to China and the Middle East. Garlic breath can be deadly. Believe me. On the other hand if the results is a speeded up metabolism, it just might be worth it!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Post number ONE, Two zero zero six

Did you see that my last post was on the 22nd of december? The next day we were supposed to all jump in car after the kids got out of school and head south one thousand kilometres. A eight hour drive for us. Well, the next day Olivia woke up feeling awful and by the afternoon had a 102 degree fever. Hubby woke up with no voice. Evan was still hacking away with the cough. So much to my dismay :-) we cancelled the trip and decided to stay home. This of course meant that with me being the only healthy one of the group, I played Florence Nightengale for a solid week. Everybody ended up happy (sort of...) and healthy after about eight days. Illnesses and viruses nothwithstanding, I had a nice week.
I did eat anything I wanted though I did try and practice a little restraint when I felt full (as opposed to continueing stuffing myself 'til I felt sick). All this ended in a one pound weight gain for the holidays. ONE POUND. I'm so jazzed. I've been exercising every day, mostly running, sometimes swimming or biking, and I think this really helped in keeping the pounds off. The other nice side effect is that I've been in excellent moods. Never depressed, never down, actually quite happy. I'm pretty sure that I can attribute the exercise to this, which makes me want to keep it up the new year. A depressionless 2006!