Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January goals update

January update on my 2017 goals!

1) Scripture reading is going pretty well (just wrapping up Corinthians), but it's definitely not study, and I don't love that. I'm reading 5 chapters a day and I feel like I forget what I've read as soon as I've read it (this also, however, could be the result of very little sleep and the fact that I read when I'm nursing, so I don't have the free hands to write things down or highlight something (although I've done this afterwards a few times). Nothing is sticking in my brain right now). I will keep going with this goal because I'd really like the experience of reading all the scriptures in a fairly compact period of time, just for comparison's sake, but once the year is over it's not a method of study I think I'll revisit.

2) Using my Instant Pot for at least one main-dish meal a week is off to a good start; I also used it for boiled eggs, yogurt, rice, etc. as I've been doing in the past. If you're considering an Instant Pot, this is the model I have--I really like all the different functions, especially the yogurt setting, which isn't easily replicated on other models.  These are the new recipes I tried out this month:
  • Roasted whole chicken (certain coolness factor in jamming the entire chicken in the instant pot, but the presentation was pretty ugly, since it basically fell to bits and I was fishing out pieces of chicken with tongs. Not one I will repeat, but that's also because I don't really love roasted chicken. Too much effort in getting all the meat off the bones.)
  • Chicken noodle soup (being honest--I thought this was gross. I didn't like the spice combo. And in fairness to the recipe, Neil made this one Sunday when I was napping and accidentally dumped an entire bag of noodles in, so it was like noodle mash with some other stuff. He says it would have been good with 1/3 the amount of noodles he used, but I think part of the issue was also that the chicken came from the roasted chicken day, so it was already pre-seasoned and it was just too much thyme & sage). 
  • Smoky lentil and potato soup (great depth of flavor; really filling and delicious. I liked the combination of the 2 varieties of lentils.)
  • Beef and vegetable stew (loved the parsnips in this; why have I never added them to stew before? I subbed purple grape juice for the wine and really loved the Frenchified flavor profile.)
  • Barbecued ribs (I hate ribs but Neil loves them. He says they were good. I made myself eat one and guess what, still hate ribs.)
  • Butternut squash soup (this was sooo good--probably my favorite. I loved the ginger! Next time I'll add either apples or pears. I also had about 1/3 c. of leftover heavy cream that I stirred in after pureeing.)
Here's what I learned this month about the Instant Pot: start way before you think you'll need to, since it takes (on average) 10-15 minutes to come to pressure and another 10-15 minutes to naturally release pressure. In the case of the stew, I ended up having to manually release the pressure because we needed to eat (browning the beef in 3 batches took much longer than I'd anticipated, since I was helping the kids with stuff the whole time) and it made a HUGE mess--greasy soup stuff jetting EVERYWHERE and pouring out and overflowing the little overflow thing--I ended up with my Instant Pot in the sink and holding a bowl over the pressure nozzle to deflect the flow from the ceiling...and it still took over 5 minutes to release pressure! But it was sooooo good that it was worth it, and I will definitely be making that one again.

3) Cleaning up my diet to get to race weight--In January I really focused on reducing my sugar intake (which basically meant no added sugar or desserts on weekdays), but I had a hard time with not eating later in the evening, especially on nights that I was running late (i.e. last night I ate dinner at 6, nursed Matthew at 6:30, nursed Matthew again at 8, ran 12 miles, nursed Matthew again at 11, and ate bread & jam while I was nursing him the last time). I will still work on cutting back post-dinner eating, but what I'm really going to focus on in February--in addition to continuing to keep my sugar intake down--is making sure I'm getting my 3 veggie servings and 2 fruit servings every day.

I've lost 57% of  what I'd like to lose to be at race weight, so I'm pleased with how this is going. I'm going to keep a close eye on weight loss over the next four months before Chicago training begins, however, to make sure I'm losing enough to make things easier on my joints and bones (the goal is to avoid another stress fracture!) while still maintaining bone integrity and overall health. The goal is an injury-free buildup and training cycle!! I'm really excited that I ran 171.2 miles this month--only 8.5 less than last month when I was doing my running streak! This will give me a great base for spring races and my fall bucket list race!

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