A recurring theme on The Biggest Loser (and, I’m sure, other weight loss reality tv shows) is that most of the participants will tell you that they never realized just how fat they were. They knew they were large, and they weren’t happy at their weight, but they just assumed they were “big boned”. The number on the scale during that first weigh in is usually a shock to them. Because they felt lighter than they actually were.
And then you have me.
I actually truly believe I am one of those people who weigh more than they look. And I know it’s due to muscle, which isn’t something I should feel bad about. It’s something I should embrace, in fact.
But I feel what the scale tells me. I feel every ounce.
Unlike The Biggest Losers, I know exactly how fat I am. And I say that slightly tongue in cheek because I’m not really fat. But I know this because it’s what other people tell me and not because it is what I see or feel.
My physical therapist gave me kind of a wake-up call this week in that regard.
I went to see him because of this weird discomforting feeling I was having in my stress fracture area during my runs. It wasn’t pain, it didn’t get worse as I ran, and it abated almost as soon as I stopped. But I trust that man with my life and most certainly my legs, and so I went to get it checked out.
We started talking about my goals for going back to running, especially with regards to the NYC Marathon in November. And I told him I wanted to run a sub-4 hour marathon.
I finished my first marathon in 3:35 and my second in 4:34, so 4 hours is not really so unrealistic.
He looked surprised and said, “Why not aim for for the 3:34?”
I said, “Well, you know. I don’t think I could do it again. I was really tiny then.”
And as he dug his elbow into my iliopsoas, which is unfortunately close to my ovaries. He said, “You’re pretty tiny now.”
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t come thisclose to crying on his exam table. (Okay, maybe part of that was how much his elbow in my abdomen just flat-out hurt, but still.) Or that I didn’t cry when I got home.
I may never be able to really truly see what I look like when I stare into a mirror. But for the rest of that afternoon, and every time I think back on it, I can. Even if it’s just a flicker. I can.
Now, I’m not writing this to garner any compliments or reassuring comments. I’m writing it because I know that for most people, we are so hard on ourselves and on our bodies. We talk trash about ourselves all the time. And most of it is unwarranted.
We need to give ourselves a break. We need to believe in ourselves.
We need to say “I can” more than “I can’t”.
Two days after that conversation with my physical therapist, I ran. I ran 6 miles. At an 8:40 minute mile. Is it a far cry from my 8 min/mile marathon time? Yes. But it’s also faster than I was when I had to stop running due to my stress fracture in October. And this is three weeks out from an injury. I. CAN. AND. I. WILL.
And so can you.
Speaking of believing, I BELIEVE you should make this dish. Now. Immediately.
I proclaimed this on Twitter to be one of my favorite lunches in a long time. And I still stand by that.
There’s a perfectly seasoned and slightly spicy smoky tomato sauce with chickpeas and swiss chard mixed in, topped with feta and an egg that you crack on top and then “poach” in the oven. And let me tell you, the only thing better than a slightly spicy smoky tomato chickpea swiss chard sauce topped with feta…is the same thing topped with a runny egg yolk. Truth.
Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas, Feta and Swiss Chard
Serves 4, adapted from Bon Appetit December 2011
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 bunches swiss chard, leaves removed from the stem and coarsely chopped
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 28 oz canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup coarsely crumbled feta
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat oven to 425. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapenos, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the chard. Cover pan and allow to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add chickpeas, paprika, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes longer.
- Add crushed tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If serving to a large group, sprinkle feta evenly over sauce. Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, evenly apart. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 7-10 minutes. Garnish with parsley..
- Since leftover eggs are just weird and I was the only one eating, I put 1/4 of the tomato chickpea sauce into a 14 oz ramekin, topped 1 oz crumbled feta and broke the egg over the top. Then, I transferred the ramekin to the oven and baked for 7-10 minutes as per the previous instructions. This way I could refrigerate the remaining sauce and make my eggs fresh each time. This also makes for a great presentation!