I Can & I Will

One Woman’s Quest For Healthy Change

Surgery Induced Lifestyle Change

I know that I’ve basically neglected this blog for a few weeks, but it was due to a bad knee injury. My doctor ordered me not to do anything more than I had to on it, so with it went my regular blogging.

However, last week, an even bigger thing happened to me: I went to the ER with severe abdominal pain, and within a few days, had my gallbladder removed. For those that aren’t in the medical know, this means that I will have to switch to a low-fat diet for the next few months until my body can adjust itself to not having its main source of bile (the enzyme that helps break down fat). But even in the long-term, a low-fat diet is really for the better to not tax my system.

So, I’m going to be trolling around the Internet looking for some easy recipes to help me get on track. My usual food haunts–Food Network and Allfoods.com–aren’t going to be much help here because they don’t have nutritional content. Any suggestions for alternatives?



Unfortunately, in my exercise zeal, I managed to injure myself quite badly last week. On doctor’s orders, I am refraining from any undue physical strain on my left knee, and pending an open MRI to see how badly I’ve damaged my meniscus and surrounding tendons.

So, no working out for the Ashley. =___= If I can, I will try to do some upper body weight lifting, but even that’s not guaranteed.

Menu Plan 8/24 – 8/30

This week my grocery budget was $20. It was difficult, but I managed to find some decent meals and still have 60 cents left.


– Lemon Creme Cake (not good, I know, but it was cheaper than milk + cereal or anything else I could find)


– Tuna 2 Go (x2)

– Italian Grilled Cheese (olive oil sub. for butter, bread, oregano, fresh pepper, cheddar cheese)

– 1 SmartOnes Lasagna

– Spinach and Chicken Pasta (chicken tenderloin, spinach leaves, pesto, whole wheat rotini pasta, feta)


– 1 No-Name 2 Liter

– Pomegranate-Lemonade

– Water + Green Tea w/ Raspberry supplement

It’s not great, I know, but it’s the best I could do with such a small budget.

Working out is going to be tough this week, too; I have a million things going on every day, tons of reading, and last week wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. I felt achy, tired, and sore all over, and I wasn’t even pushing that hard! But, through my pep-talk with my “coach”/loving boyfriend, I was able to push through and make my goals for last week. I hope I can establish a better routine this week and start having some consistency.

Day 2

So, apparently 7 am is bad for waking, but good for exercising. I slept in late this morning, so I didn’t get to the gym until 9. Boy was that a mistake! Every treadmill was taken, so I had to face off with my dreaded enemy, the elliptical.

I don’t really like ellipticals; they aren’t all that much better for my knees, and I can’t control the pace as well. I hauled on that thing and kept my heart rate around 160 for 22 minutes, finishing about 2.2 miles. I couldn’t make it the whole 30, but I wasstill pretty happy with it.

What really surprised me was the stretching, which has greatly improved in just one day. Monday I could reach my ankles, but today I could actually stretch and touch my toes with my fingertips.

The food, today, though, wasn’t nearly as good as I thought it would be. I skipped breakfast, so I ended up eating my breakfast as a side with lunch. I chopped up some cucumbers, strawberries and green onions, and added that with walnuts, feta, baby romaine, baby spinach, and lite raspberry vinagrette for a pretty hefty salad. Unfortunately, it didn’t taste so great–either the chives didn’t jive with the rest of it, or I just don’t like feta as much as I thought I did. Either way, I muscled through it, but I’m not looking forward to eating the rest of it all =___=

Menu Plan 8/18 – 8/23

Breakfast every day: fruit and yogurt cup (strawberries, blueberries, yogurt and granola)

Lunches/Dinners: Starkist Tuna to Go (x2)

SmartOnes Lasagna Classico (x2)

Strawberry & Walnut Salad (strawberries, walnuts, Athenos Feta cheese, organic baby spinach, organic romaine hearts, cucumber, green onion, light raspberry vinagrette)

Chicken & Pesto Pasta (seasoned chicken breast x2, Ronzoni Smart Pasta Rotini , Classico Pesto)

Snacks: Trail Mix, leftover veggies

Total bill: $70 (but that includes olive oil, pepper, salt, seasonings,  Gladware and a pair of pajama pants for $8 XD)

I think it’ll be pretty good! Fingers crossed!

Shot for the moon, fell in the stars

Today was the day: the first day I would get up early and go work out. 

When I woke up, I was not feeling that great. My knees and back were achy, I was hungry, and well, a little tired as well. I was plagued with thoughts of quitting and pain, but a pep talk eased all those fears.

My goal was a 30 min workout, consisting of some warm up, a 15 min light jog, and a 15 min brisk walk to finish it off, and some stretching. It took some time to find a warm-up pace, but that went okay, but when I began to pick the pace up, things started to fall apart. I couldn’t stay on pace very well–I’d run really hard, then really slow, then really hard again. This only lasted about 8 min.; after that, I had to walk the rest of the half-hour, but at least I did that much.

Upon Nicholas’ suggestion, I also stretched after a cool down. That felt immensely good, and now I don’t ache nearly as much as I thought I would. Overall, I am definitely feeling a lot better than I did previously, or even than I anticipated feeling. I got back in plenty of time to shower and relax before getting started with my day.

Expect another progress report on Wednesday.

Eating Healthy on the Go + More

The week of my return to school is finally here. emotions run high, traveling is a must, and the temptation for comfort (aka FATTENING!) food is around every corner.

Yesterday, I think I did pretty well. I ate a few scant things for breakfast (banana bread, milk, apple, etc.) and for lunch I had a 6 inch of my favorite Subway sandwich (black forest ham + spinach leaves + red onions + light mayo + splash of chipotle sauce + O/V), and then in the evening I had a chicken wrap from McDonald’s + a fruit and yogurt cup.

Today, I had a sausage biscuit from McDonalds (sandwich only, no hash browns) and another fruit and yogurt cup before church. At lunch, I repeated my Subway deal, this time with Baked Lay’s Chips (which, surprisingly, have less calories than Sunchips!) and a small soda (bad, I know, but one change at a time).

Dinner has me a little torn. I really want to watch what I chow on, but I’m not really feeling like I want to keep hitting Subway. They’re alright, sure, but I get tired of the same food quickly. Plus, a local Taco Bell/Pizza Hut is tempting me. I haven’t decided exactly what to do just yet.  Any suggestions for heating health-conscious at fast food places?

In the midst of cleaning up my dorm and redecorating, I’ve also created a work-out goals chart to help me stay on track. It has boxes for 3 days a week for 4 weeks, and spaces for date, time spent , and activity. My goal is 30 min, 3 times per week for a total of 180 minutes in the first month. We’ll see at the end of the month whether that gets upped or not–right now my goal is habit and consistency. I’ve also talked my boyfriend into giving me his secret stretching routines for post-workout awesomeness.

Later, I’ll be posting my projected menu plan; any comments here would be great. I’m interested in recreating that fruit and yogurt parfait from McDonalds for breakfast or midmorning snacking. I’m not sure whether to aim for Greek or regular vanilla yogurt, how much to add, or what some good fruit ideas would be for it. I’m also going to be on the lookout for small snacky thngs to carry with me and keep me from getting too hungry between classes.