On body positivity and personal accountability

gym

I can’t believe I’m posting this pic, but I need to — for myself. So shit’s about to get real.

I’ve had some happy-yet-stressful life changes within the past few weeks and have been funneling my anxiety and frustration into eating everything in sight. That’s my go-to stress-reliever/celebration/punishment and always has been since childhood, which has given me quite the fucked-up relationship with food, something I’ve written about here before.

Because of this, I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, as I’ve also written about many times before. The last few years I have really let myself go, and I hate myself for it because me — and only me — can prevent forest fires in myself.

I would NEVER allow anyone to treat me in such a manner, so why the hell do I allow it from myself? But I do, and the results are:

  • I stuff my face with the most unhealthy food I can find instead of what is best to fuel myself and my body.
  • Since I work from home now, I exclusively wear yoga pants day. in. and. day. out.
  • I don’t take care of myself, at all. That includes getting hair cuts and the eyebrow wax that is, embarrassingly, MONTHS past due (thankfully I wear big glasses that (mostly) hide the caterpillars) and getting no exercise beyond multiple daily walks with my rescue pit bull, Kona.
  • I avoid looking at myself in the mirror at all costs because I absofuckinlutely hate myself that much, which means that I very rarely feel as confident inside as I may appear or pretend to be outside.
  • I have terrible insomnia, clocking just a few hours a night.

As someone who supports and is so inspired by the Eff Your Beauty Standards movement, I’m not very good at supporting or inspiring myself, obviously.

And that needs to change — right fucking now. For real. For good. I owe it to myself and my body. It’s put up with a lot from me the past 42 years, and I sure as hell am not getting any younger. In fact, if my grandmother and mother are any indication, I’m in for a really rough road as I continue to age, one that can (hopefully) be avoided if I start taking care of myself.

My first step toward body positivity: The gym.

After coming home a sweaty mess after Kona’s first walk this morning, I decided there was no time like the present to make my way from hating myself less to becoming body positive. That my old standby, “I’ll start Monday after having one last weekend hurrah,” was not good enough. Because we know all too well what’ll happen Monday.

So I put my sneakers back on and headed down to our building’s gym for the first time in who knows how long. I stepped onto the treadmill and for the next 30 minutes, booked it in a way I haven’t done in quite some time since there’s not a lot of fast walking with Kona Sniffs-A-Lot.

The entire time, I stared at myself in the darkened TV monitor attached to the treadmill. I stare at myself, no matter how upset it makes me, to entice myself to do better than the person staring back at me. To be the change I want to see in myself because I’m the only one who can do it.

As unhealthy as it may be, I hate her, that me in the reflection, I really, really do. Every time my foot hits the treadmill, I imagine I’m striking her for being stronger than me all this time. And I kind of get off that we’re facing each other. That she’s going to see me coming and stampeding her one day, hopefully soon.

When I stepped off the treadmill after my cool down, my very confused legs legit wobbled, and I thought I was going to face plant a la Bridget Jones, but luckily I stayed upright.

And then I took the above photo of myself. I felt disgusting when I snapped it, knowing I’d never be one of those athletic, fit women who post post-workout photos of themselves looking like they’ve hardly broken a sweat with nary a hair out of place and showing off their thigh gaps the size of Utah.

Nope, in it I’m sweating so profusely I had to take my glasses off because they kept slipping down. My double chin is on full display. My forehead is glistening, I’m trying to catch my breath, and my hair is frizzy and sticking up every which way.

I’m posting it because I hate it. Because I want to remind myself that I can’t let that version of me in the TV monitor win anymore. I’m too unhealthy and unhappy with myself to let her.

To put her to pasture once and for all, I’m going to have to push myself harder, further and more often than I’ve ever pushed myself before.

I know that eating right is going to be just as important as establishing an exercise regime. I need to once and for all end my co-dependent relationship with food, and I think it’s going to be even tougher than forcing my ass to the gym. Food has been a key relationship in my life since I was a little kid, and it ain’t going to be easy to switch from salty, shitty, bad-for-me snacks and food to healthier fare. But, it must be done, and it’s something I’ll cover in subsequent post(s) I’m sure.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you’ve got any advice or personal stories you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

~ Nikki

Advertisements

My summer of inactivity

(Pinterrist photo)

(Pinterest photo)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but it just sorta happened, “it” being my summer of inactivity.

I know it’ll sound like a cop-out, and it probably most definitely is, but, man, I just could not handle the astronomical heat we had this summer in New York City.

I remember last summer being hot as F as well, but still the fella and I did go chasing pavement all the same, but this year? No way, Jose. That pavement seemed to be made of solid lava this summer, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

There were very few times I walked from Wall Street up Broadway to the fella’s office just below Houston, and that dedication to take lengthy walks all around Manhattan and Central Park of yore must’ve melted out in all our sweat just from walking to and fro the subway stations.

Then I started having some health issues, and soon after, the fella hurt his foot and was ordered to stay off it as much as possible, so off came his Fitbit. And thus we entered our Couch Potato Phase. There’ve even been days where I didn’t put my own Fitbit on, and I hate myself for that.

My Fitbit has been such a dear friend and motivator for more than a year now, and I just cast it aside like a jerk, like someone who fell off the wagon. I stopped checking my daily step count, stopped joining challenges and began eating even crappier than usual and, when I started to notice the not-for-the-better changes in my body, temperament and health, I stupidly wondered why I was feeling and looking this way.

Oh, it’s because of my summer of inactivity.
Oh, it’s because I’m weak and without willpower.
Oh, it’s because I hate — like really, really hate — being hot and sweaty.

But I can’t wait it out until fall’s cool, crisp air descends upon the city, which is maybe what I subconsciously was doing. No, I am not that kind of person, nor do I have that kind of body/metabolism to take even a few days off from doing some sort of physical activity. I have too damn far to go, and I know I don’t deserve a respite because I don’t take care of the body I have been given.

So this week, the Fitbit got charged for the first time in weeks and out the door I went. While I didn’t break 10,000 steps on the two big walks I took (nor have I broken 10k since July 16, shame on me), being out in my city again felt good. Sweaty and miserable, of course, but good; good to feel that hot, hot sun on my face and arms, good to breathe fresh air, good to get out of my head in a way that only walking allows me to be.

My body almost didn’t know what to do, so I had some aches and pains, but I pushed through them and felt proud of myself for finally deciding to stand up to my laziness and get moving.

Today, I took a deep breath and got back on the scale (that I almost wrote was a bitch, but it’s not her fault, its mine) to see just how far I’ve fallen off the wagon and was shocked — but happy! — to see I’ve “only” gained two pounds since I last weighed myself in April.

I’ve started picking up some more fresh fruits and veggies on my past few trips to the store and have been making a conscious effort to hit them up first when I feel a crave coming on. Plus, we have a coupon for Blue Apron meal-delivery service that we’re going to cash in next week that will give us a free week of meals, so I’m looking forward to the healthy and yummy-sounding options that’ll provide, which I’ll be sure to write about once we start.

Even after only two days of walking, which don’t even come close to the lengthy constitutionals I used to take on the reg, I see such a difference in my mood. So, yeah, you’re way past your sell-by date, summer of inactivity. Be gone with you!

Nikki

Oh, Hello, Great Barrier Reef — and The Next 40

No, I’m not writing this blog (my first on this site in more months than I care to admit) aboard a boat off the northeast coast of Australia (though, of course, I wish I were!).

Instead, I’m hunkered down in front of the AC in my New York apartment excited to report that I just received my latest — and best — Fitbit badge, the Great Barrier Reef badge.

badge_lifetime_miles1600

My best Fitbit badge yet!

 

Since strapping on my Fitbit exactly one year ago this week, I’ve now walked 1,600 miles with it, which is the length of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

You’d think I’d be a skinny Minnie by now what with all that walking, but alas I’m not. Alas I’m still struggling with the whole eating-healthy thing. Alas, that’s why you’ve not heard a peep from me on this blog since January.

But as I am nearly two years out from the big 4-0, I know I need to make some changes — and how — before the diabetes that runs in my family takes me over as it did my parents in their later years, before my body gives out and can’t walk another 1,600 miles, before it’s too late to be the captain of my ship (even though I know I’ve been doing a shitty job of captaining thus far).

I see my mom in so much pain and poor health, just as her mom was before her, that I’m going to be in big, big trouble if I don’t do this for real starting now.

I’m going to transition Run, Nikki, Run into something more suitable to the Nikki that I am and the one that’s on the horizon because, let’s face it, this Nikki is never going to be a runner. Maybe a jogger with a soft J on occasion, but a runner, nope.

yogging

But I will tell you that before I turn 40 in 2017, I will be healthier and happier because of it — I’ll stay that way through The Next 40, which I just changed the name of this blog (but not the URL) to.

Join me on this journey, won’t you?

Nikki

Getting fit with Fitbit

A lot sure has changed since my last post.

For starters, I’ve gone back to work full-time, which has been really, really great. And with that, of course, there’s been some bad.

My foot started acting up soon after I started, so in addition to not being able to log those five-plus mile walks every day like I’d been doing prior to getting hired, I wasn’t even able to do much more than walk — more like painfully limp, actually — to and from the subway to work and home.

It killed me, it really did, going from being so active to just doing the bare minimum. I know I’ve changed, and I like the body that all that walking over the past several months has given me. It’s not my best, nor my goal, but it’s better than it was when I started this journey, and that’s all that matters to me.

Luckily, my foot seems to be getting better (knock wood!), so the fella and I took a decent walk last Monday before doing our grocery shopping. And I cannot tell a lie: This came after a horrible, horrible weekend of eating. We’d gone back to my parents’ for the holiday weekend, and, like I’d written the month before, the food was plentiful — and not very good for us.

Wings and beer at our favorite place. A secret hot dog run. The biggest grilled steak I ever did see (and eat). A nice, big slice of an amazing early birthday cake and then an absolute massacre of a NEPA delicacy: Victory Pig pizza, which we bought frozen and ate when we got home Sunday. All 12 cuts. Gone. In one sitting.

We felt disgusting the morning after, so Monday was a total detox day, which gave a really great start to our mindset for the rest of the week. I’m happy to report that, by Friday, I lost the pounds I gained on our “Lost Weekend.” Most of it was thanks in part to being able to walk more — and the latest addition in our fitness regime: the Fitbit Flex band, which the fella’s parents gave us both as an early birthday for me and Father’s Day for him gifts.

In case you’re not familiar, Fitbit is a rubber bracelet-like device that wirelessly tracks the number of steps you take, sleep patterns, calorie burning, etc. While ours are black, the device comes in several colors, so it can be changed up to be more of an accessory to your outfits. Getting Fitbit was the fella’s idea, and he was almost to the point of annoying with how excited he was about getting one. I, on the other hand, took some convincing.

Photo from techgirl.co.za

Photo from techgirl.co.za

I’m not a big wrist-jewelry wearer. I loathe watches and have one bracelet I’ve worn for years now, so I’m used to it, and I love it … but, I take it off the second I get home because I can’t sleep in any jewelry. When the fella snapped the Fitbit on me the first time, I immediately felt constricted. Compared to my bracelet, the Fitbit was ginormous. Bulky. Uncomfortable, especially to sleep in. Every time I moved, I felt it. Worried that I would turn it off or screw it up. So that first night, I didn’t sleep very well.
Plus, it’s always with me. Sleeping, in the shower, should I ever find myself swimming in a pool or ocean, there it will be. That’s a commitment I don’t even make with what little jewelry I do wear, and they’re Tiffany pieces for God’s sake!

I grumbled about it the next day, tried wearing my bracelet on my left wrist since the Fitbit had to be on my non-dominant hand and felt so off-kilter I could’ve screamed. I’ve since put the bracelet back on my right wrist with the Fitbit and feel much better, thankyouverymuch.

As the week wore on, and my foot felt well enough to walk up to the fella’s work after I got out as well as some lunchtime strolls and I started looking at my Fitbit dashboard online and on the app, I started to come around. It got easier to sleep with, and the first time my wrist vibrated because I met my daily step goal, I first jumped because it startled me, and then I felt very accomplished.

Then a funny thing happened, which is what makes the product so great: I got competitive with myself. Each day I wanted to — I needed to — beat my step count from the day before and/or beat the fella, who sent me a taunt on the app, which looks similar to a Mr. Yuk sticker.
Oh, hell no, fella. Hell. No. 

Though I am still getting used to wearing the Fitbit, which really isn’t as bulky as I made it out to be with my set-in-my-ways way, I really think it’s revolutionized the way the fella and I look at fitness. We’re still using My Fitness Pal to track our calories (Fitbit syncs with MFP, which has been great), but after having some issues with Map My Walk, which told me on several different occasions that I walked two miles in two seconds (even though the distance from the subway to work is less than a mile and takes about five minutes), it’s been awesome to see a much more accurate measure of distance. I chalk some of my issues with MMW up to me being back in the Financial District, which, despite being the center of the financial world, is a huge reception dead zone most of the time.

While I do miss the mapping MMW did, I don’t miss having to end a workout before I go down into the subway station, meaning that the many steps I take underground through stations and on platforms go uncounted. The Fitbit counts them all, and its accuracy showed me that I really wasn’t burning as much as I thought I was, as much as MMW led me to think I was — which might finally start showing me some substantial loss on the scale now that I know my true caloric burn.

If you’re looking for something that could take your fitness/health goals to the next level, you might want to look into a Fitbit. I’m not being paid for this little write up (though if the company wants to, I won’t object, haha). I’m just a girl looking to be her healthiest self and using a product that I think makes a big difference in my life. We all know we should aim for 10,000 steps a day, and this product is helping me blow that minimum away — and helping me become the thinner, fitter person who’s getting closer and closer every day.

Nikki

-20 and surviving a carb fest

I figured I would hop on the scale Friday before I headed home to visit my parents for the weekend. If I was down a bit, I’d keep that top of mind when I got to the place where food was always the sixth member of our family (after the parents, the brother, me and our beloved late Lab, Zakk).

I was pleasantly surprised to find I was down a full 20 pounds — it felt like it was a long time coming, but I’m glad I finally hit this major milestone. So excited by that number — and the fact that I was running extremely late to catch the 11 a.m. out of Port Authority — I didn’t have time to eat or grab a snack to take on the bus with me before I left the house.

Needless to say, by the time I got of the bus more than three hours later and after a grocery-store trip where we got about three bags full of carbs (think three different kinds of chips, two different kinds of pretzels, a loaf of bread, hamburger buns and this super-yummy baked oatmeal from the bakery department), I was famished. And bordering on hangry. So I opened one of the bag of pretzels and ate a few handfuls as I drove.

We picked up some Wendy’s salads, and I’m proud to say that my hunger didn’t force me to weaken and get the crispy chicken sandwich and fries I really wanted. I got a salad, and after I ate it when we got home, it just wasn’t hitting the spot. I went back to the pretzels I opened in the car. Then I dipped into the baked oatmeal. I went back to the pretzels and then I just felt sick. And ashamed of myself.

But that didn’t stop us from going out to a nice dinner later on that night. I had soup and ahi tuna, so my dinner wasn’t that bad, but I still felt awful, both because I knew I had eaten way, way too much and because I was severely disappointed in myself.

I woke up Saturday determined to be better. I decided to go for a walk, but since my folks live on a dirt road, and it had rained so it was all mud, I headed to the track at my old high school. I love walking on those rubbery tracks, but my God, they are so boring compared to walking the city streets or the woods surrounding my parents’ where I really wanted to walk, so after I hit the two-mile mark, I told myself I’d do another half mile and head home.

Just as I started the final two laps, a woman who had continually outpaced me — and I was walking “very brisk,” according to Map My Walk — passed me again, but this time she said hello and commented on how nice the day was so far. We started walking together and talking about walking, health and we even shared weight-loss tips with each other.

Before we knew it, we both exceeded our walking goals — by two and a half miles! It was great to have someone to pass the time with, and Denise and I exchanged numbers to continue sharing tips and walk the next time I’m back in Dallas. It was such a pleasant surprise, one that doesn’t really happen here in the city, where you just start chatting with a stranger.

I was so glad our walking paths crossed, and her pushing me to go those extra miles was instrumental in keeping me on the straight and narrow the rest of my time at home. Of course I ate Mom’s famous whimpies, but I only had one with a bun and just a small follow-up scoop of the meat, and when I still felt hungry, I had grilled chicken with spinach and balsamic. While I treated myself to some chips, I didn’t house most of the bag like I used to do.

I stayed pretty good on Sunday, and when I weighed myself Monday morning — just as a check up, not because I have an obsession with the scale — I had maintained Friday’s weight, which had always been unheard of after a weekend at home.

I knew going home to my parents, who used to own a restaurant and always had the best food around the house, would be a huge test to the willpower I’ve been building the past few months, but I daresay I passed with flying colors.

Now onto the next challenge, whatever that may be!

Nikki

 

Vixen in the Kitchen: Quinoa-stuffed tomatoes

Even though I’ve been doing most of our cooking, it’s been a while since I’ve felt like a vixen in our kitchen.

I’ve been bored and uninspired, falling into the rut of making the same things from my roster over and over. The fella is such an imaginative and inspired cook, so there’s some pretty big shoes to fill, but no matter how many dinners I make, I still get so nervous that I’m going to screw something up.

But I’ve started making a big batch of quinoa during the week to have for my lunches and am kind of quinoa-obsessed right now, so I thought I’d incorporate it into dinner one night. Since I was also craving my tried-and-true parmesan tomatoes, I thought I’d change them up by stuffing with quinoa.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Figuring two per person, I got six big beefsteak tomatoes. (There’s one hidden under the biggest one on top)
– Quinoa, olive oil, breadcrumbs and shredded mozzarella cheese.

I pre-made the quinoa (according to the box instructions) earlier in the day so it was cool for handling.

I heated the oven to 400 degrees, dug out the tomato stems and used a melon baller to remove most of the the “guts.”

As the oven heated, I mixed a few tablespoons of olive oil into the quinoa, tasting along the way until it was the right amount of saturated, and then added a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs. I mixed the cheese in last, and used about half of the package. I spooned the mixture into the tomatoes and topped it with a small pinch of cheese.

I popped the tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes as I steamed fresh broccoli in the microwave, which I doused with some balsamic vinegar and dusted with breadcrumbs. The broccoli then went in the oven for 10 minutes, making the total cooking time just 20 minutes!

2014-04-16 19.53.12

Super easy, super fast and super delicious!

What’s your favorite quinoa recipe? I’m dying to try some new ones!

Nikki

Beating weekend temptations

I find it so easy to be good during the week, especially when I’m in an office setting. But even working from home, I tend to make fairly healthy choices Monday through Friday while also managing to get in some lengthy walks or some time on the Air Climber.

But I’ve always struggled with the celebratory nature of weekends.
* At first, it was letting loose with my friends because, well, that’s just what you sometimes do on Fridays and Saturdays.
* Then it was finding weekend traditions with the fella and the Boy and Girl Childs.
* Then there was that year the fella and I did the long-distance thing and crammed all of our time together into two days.
* That was followed by our move to the city and two demanding and exhausting jobs and subway time that amounted into much, much more than 40-hours a week, so a lot of weekends were spent just trying to recharge ourselves inside our tiny railroad apartment that we didn’t get to see too much of during the week.
* After a year of that, we moved to a new place that had ample room for me to spread my exercise wings again, the GC moved in with us, I started freelancing, and the fella got a job he loves. Weekends became his time to be in the apartment we all love so much, but after being at home all week, I was itchy to get out and explore together instead of solo like I do during my off time during the week.

Sure, there were some struggles as I tried to let him have some couch time and he begrudgingly gave in when I’d start saying, “Let’s go for a walk! Wanna take a walk?” in the same voice I’d ask a dog.
You should know it’s also my Talking-to-Children voice.

Since starting this healthier lifestyle together, though, getting exercise in is just something that we now do on autopilot.

Take yesterday, for example. We needed groceries, but instead of just heading to the store four blocks away and coming back, we did a three-mile walk around our neighborhood. And up here in Harlem, that means we walked up more than a few steep hills. And on Saturday, we walked from the restaurant on 41st where we had dinner to our beloved bakery on Bleecker two-plus miles away to share our weekly treat, a lemon gingerbread cookie.

So today, when I stepped on the scale, for the first time in a really, really long time, my weight didn’t go up over the weekend. It stayed where it had been on Friday, and it was empowering. Of course, it would’ve been better if I’d lost weight over the weekend, but I’m not going to knock this maintain one little bit, especially given my indulgent weekends in the past. There will be time for that as we continue on this path.

We’re thinking our food through now, like only stealing a few fries from the kids instead of having our own plates at The Counter burger joint Saturday or making a killer meal of bacon-wrapped scallops and whole wheat pizza with spinach, olives and fresh mozzarella last night or savoring our nightly desserts.

Yes, they were both just as good as they look.

Yes, they were both just as good as they look.

I appreciate food so much more now that I’m not shoveling it in as fast as I can. I don’t eat as much, and it tastes so much better. My mom always accused me of “living to eat” instead of “eating to live,” and I own up to that. I love food, and I will always love food, but I think I’ve melded those two sayings into something good for me at last.

What about you? Do you “live to eat,” “eat to live” or a delicious combo of both like me? How do you survive weekend temptations?

Nikki 

-10, and a lifestyle change

Well, would you look at that?
I’ve gone and dropped 10 pounds since January 6.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve dropped this kind of weight, and I’m not gonna lie.
It feels good, real good.

I wore a pair of dress pants yesterday that, when last worn way back in the summer, were uncomfortably tight.
Yesterday, though, they were slightly baggy.

We’ve mixed up our eating habits per the fella’s nutritionist, which means no more starches at dinner for the time being, so we’ve been filling up on lots of vegetables instead, which has been quite delicious.

I’ve been mad-craving wine lately, so I texted the fella and asked if I should chill a bottle to accompany tonight’s orange-ginger salmon and spinach. “It’s up to you,” he replied.

I thought about it for a second and remembered the little heart-shaped Snickers that I didn’t eat from Valentine’s Day.
It wasn’t so long ago we’d share a bottle and have a much bigger, much worse dessert than the 70-calorie sugar-free chocolate pudding cup we now have while watching our “stories” at night.

I'll take the one on the right tonight, thanks. (Getty Images photo)

I’ll take the one on the right, tonight, thanks. (Getty Images photo)

“I think I’d rather dessert,” I texted back.

And just like that, I realized we were balls deep in a lifestyle change we were actually sticking to for the very first time.

Of course, I could have a glass — or two — of wine if I damn well pleased, but I like that I’m finally willing to restrain myself, to say, “Either … or …” before making a decision to eat something, to think about if it’s really the best thing for me to eat right now.

I’ll see you at the next 10, wine, and we’ll celebrate together.

Nikki

Get up and go

Just as I was getting balls deep into a week-plus cycle of sleeping through the night, I was wide awake this morning at 2 a.m. and stayed that way until almost 6 a.m.

Since I was up, I did what any good girl would do while the rest of the house and building slumbered and took to Netflix, where I  continued my recent tear of watching fabulous documentaries about fabulous New Yorky people, like the Kennedys and Diana Vreeland (can I just pause to mention how frigging fantastic she was?? Such style! Such great vision! Watching it made me realize that even though I work from home, there’s no reason I shouldn’t dress up or not wear lipstick around the house on a daily basis because why the hell not? I just might be wearing my best red lips right now if you must know. It goes fantastically with my black yoga pants!).

Last night started with a program about Candy Darling, one of Andy Warhol’s Superstars. She was so beautiful and tragic, and it’s kind of BS that she, who was born as a man, had better cheekbones than I do. I also tried to watch a doc about Halston, but the interviewer was so unprofessional and stupid I had to turn it off after 10 minutes. But I watched enough of it to see some of Liza Minnelli’s fantabulous apartment and have decided that I would like to have that be my “downtown” pad, so don’t be surprised if you hear a ding-dong one of these days, “Lucille 2.”

MMWAnyway, now that that’s all out of my system, even though I super-cleaned the apartment and did some work, all day I felt sluggish and on the verge of a binge. I know  it was definitely because I was so tired mixed with the fact that I know for a fact I haven’t been drinking as much water as I should lately (for shame!). It wasn’t until I took the garbage outside that I realized how nice it was here in New York today — like, almost 40 degrees nice! — so I came back upstairs, put on some workout clothes, downloaded a new pedometer app that works with My Fitness Pal called Map My Walk and out the door I went.

The fella had gone to a nutritionist last night, and she gave him a meal plan that the two of us are going to put into practice ASAP. Some of the stuff, like cutting out white foods and most of the processed junk in our lives and adding some more fish and protein-rich foods into our diets we’ve actually done in recent weeks, so hopefully this will be an easy transition and lifestyle change.

We’re both pretty excited and hopeful that this will be the thing that sticks, finally. If you’ve been reading RNR for any amount of time, you know I’ve fallen off and gotten back on the exercise/healthy-eating wagon more times than Chris Christie has been in the news in recent weeks. Sad but true, but I know that us doing this together is a key to success. And a little — OK, a lot of — competition between the two of us is sure to kick things up a notch, especially because the bastard males of the species lose weight so much faster than women. Hmmph.

Now that I logged a brisk almost two-mile walk this evening, I feel better, less on-the-verge-of-binging and more quiet inside my head. I tell ya, they were onto something with this thing called exercise …

So are any of you on Map My Walk? What do you think about it?

Nikki

Red Bamboo, Part Deux

When my friend asked if I wanted to go to lunch last week, there was no doubt in our minds that we were going back to Red Bamboo, the fabulous vegan restaurant in the Village that I wrote about back in November.

Above is the feast we shared, and it was just as amazing as the first time. We started with popcorn shrimp, which came with a spicy and tasty cocktail sauce. I’d always wondered how the vegan version of fish would taste, and I was delighted to find out that the taste and texture of this shrimp were really dead on.

My friend had roast beef, which was really good and I had the soul chicken sandwich, which, like the shrimp, had the taste and texture of actual chicken. There were four really big chunks of it, and I ended up just eating it without the bun because it was so good on its own.

Like good girls, we just had to split a dessert and we unanimously chose the s’mores cheesecake. When we went last time, we had pumpkin cheesecake, which tasted so much like real cheesecake I couldn’t believe it was vegan. The s’mores version, however, tasted more like fudge than that slightly sour cheesecakeness, and it was decadent and divine.

I was so in heaven after this meal that I ended up walking 80 blocks afterward and made the fella and Girl Child go back with me the very next day. And I cannot tell a lie: The GC and I just got back from having yet another fabulous meal at Red Bamboo.

Nikki