Write down what you eat

Hello beauties! How was lunch today? You did pack your own right?? ūüôā

I am feeling so fresh¬†today because I got my hair cut and highlighted last night. Does anyone else feel like they are invincible after a good haircut? I’m trying to channel Kristin Cavallari pre-brood of three but my hair is still in the growing out phase so it’s more Carrie Underwood when she decided to¬†go short. I can’t stop running my hands through it! I love that fresh-cut feel.

I am also feeling fresh because I’m finally getting this on-going ear issue I’ve had for the past few weeks under control! Like most things in life, you will not appreciate your hearing until you lose it in one ear and are in horrendous pain for days on end. No matter how healthy you think you’re being, sometimes things just happen. Health insurance to the rescue! Speaking of health…

Today, we are going to talk about keeping a food journal. People who log what they eat, lose more weight. It’s that simple.

I keep a small notebook beside my bed, because I’m old-fashioned like that. Before I turn off the lights, I write down everything I ate that day. There are also tons of apps you can use or just use the Notes section of your phone. ¬†The less you eat and the more basic and clean the foods you eat are, the easier it will be to keep track. It also holds you accountable- if you don’t want to write down that you ate 2 pastries and an extra snack bar or two from the office kitchen, then don’t eat them! Simple as that. You can go back and see clear patterns in your eating that may help you get to the root of an issue you may be having around food or weight loss. So, start trying this trick today and see how it affects your eating habits.

I’ll share with you my food journal if you share with me yours!

Yesterday’s food journal entry:
Half cup of (black) coffee before the gym

Post-gym breakfast- Two scrambled eggs with hot sauce and 12 oz unsweetened almond milk with a scoop of vanilla protein powder

Cup of black coffee once in the office

Late morning snack- Low-fat plain Greek yogurt with strawberries and ground flaxseed

Lunch- Standard lunch salad (see last post!)

Cup of green tea

Late afternoon snack- Granny Smith apple & 2 oz of sliced turkey (no nitrites or nitrates added)

1 glass of Pinot Grigio at the salon

Dinner- 1 serving of Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole I prepped Sunday night. Recipe here. 

Slow-cookers are saviors for busy nights like last night where I went straight from work to my hair appointment then had to pick up a prescription. Since I didn’t cook dinner Sunday night, this allowed my BF to have dinner ready before I got home and then I could dive in as soon as I got home as well. I made a few healthy tweaks to that recipe:

  • only used 15 instead of 20 corn tortillas
  • made my own taco seasoning¬†
  • reduced fat cheese
  • garnished with low-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

We’ll have the leftovers tonight then since tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, we’ll be going meat free tomorrow. Speaking of, it’s Fat Tuesday! We celebrated early with dinner at an awesome Cajun restaurant in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte, Cajun Queen on Friday night. They have a Groupon running right now too that’s a great deal. Honestly, it was a “fat night” and set the tone for a “fat weekend” and that is what I’m trying to move away from. Now that I know their portion sizes, I can plan better. Just because it’s Fat Tuesday doesn’t mean you need to go ALL out- you can still eat your King Cake and lose weight too!

Are you celebrating Fat Tuesday? Are you giving anything up for Lent? Instead of giving something up, I’m committing myself to something- this blog! I am promising to write a post every day of Lent and I need you to hold me to it!

xo

 

 

 

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Pack your lunch

Monday Mantra:

Feel a little bit good, feel a lot bad later. Feel a little bad now, feel a lot good later.

This is to remind me that eating that cupcake will only make me gassy and bloated, and while waking up at 5 AM to work out sucks, it is worth it in the end. Repeat it as needed, every day, every hour, whatever you need.

I’m not gonna start with the basics. Everyone knows to eat right and hit the gym. That’s the “easy” part. These other tricks are the seemingly simple things that will make all the difference but for some reason they are SO HARD. That’s where I come in- some of these I mastered, some of these we are going to master together.

On to the trick of the day! It’s a super simple one. But it’s one I see people around me struggle with constantly.

Pack. Your. Lunch.

Yes! Women who eat out for lunch, even just once a week, weigh more than those who don’t. And while eating out in general can cause weight gain, lunch is a big one that can be easily fixed.

My first job out of college was awful. Lunch hour was our sacred hour. If you didn’t go somewhere for lunch, you were stuck and no one wanted to be in that God-forsaken office longer than they needed to be. So it was Subway, Panera or (worse of all) the greasy local pizza place. This did not help my post-grad body. When I quit, I got a job nannying. You can’t just run out to grab something to eat when you’re watching an infant and a preschooler. And the mom didn’t exactly buy “lunch-appropriate” food for me. Or even snacks. It was the one babysitting job where I had no desire to raid the pantry.

So I had to bring my lunch. If I didn’t bring it, I didn’t eat. I carried this over in NYC too- mostly because I was poor but it had become a habit as well. But I made some rookie mistakes that led me to fall out of the habit on occasion (3 out of 5 days I did bring lunch though. That’s always remained pretty consistent). And if you’re in a job where you MUST escape the office- take your packed lunch to a park and eat it there. Just remember to grab a napkin and silverware if necessary.

Here are some of the traps I fell into early on that I hope I can help you avoid.

Mistake #1: Overcomplicating it. I tried to bring a little variety to my lunch so one day was a sandwich, one day a pita, one day a wrap, one day a salad, etc. Not only did this lead to longer prep because I had to make up a combo or look at a recipe for ideas but it added to my grocery bill too. Keep it simple. I make the same salad every day- that may sound boring but I have perfected the combo for myself and I know exactly what ingredients to buy each week and I can throw it together in under 15 minutes. I  give myself variety with breakfast, snacks and dinner.

Mistake #2: Not prepping the night before. If I was hungover before work (a common NYC occurrence), making a salad was not going to happen. Now I have my morning routine down to the minute so that if I don’t make my salad the night before, I will be late to work, which forces me even when I don’t feel like it. Also, why handle a sharp knife at 7 AM if you can avoid it? Eventually it just becomes routine. When the clock strikes 7:30 PM, I know I need to prep for the next day before I can relax in front of the TV or read a book.

Mistake #3: Making the meal TOO healthy. Listen, if you’re going to eat the same lunch every day, it needs to be healthy but it also needs to TASTE GOOD. You will not go more than two days eating dry lettuce or soggy leftovers. Choose something you know you will eat- if you don’t like salads, make a healthy sandwich every day. Or just bring your leftovers from your healthy dinner you cooked the night before. Make sure it’s something you want to eat.

My Veggie Mediterranean Salad Recipe:

2 handfuls of baby spinach (better for you than iceberg!)

5 grape tomatoes

approx. 2 tbs roasted red peppers, chopped

4 baby carrots, chopped

2 thick slices of cucumber, chopped

4 kalamata olives, halved (Healthy fats!)

1/9 of a block of feta cheese (full-fat. This is where that flavor comes in and making it something you actually want to eat.)

approx. 1 tbs sunflower seeds (for crunch)

Protein- normally 3/4 cup of chickpeas but sometimes I swap black beans or I’ll get a rotisserie chicken and use it for the week if I need something more feeling (i.e. that time of the month because, yes, you do burn more calories then).

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The ingredients for this recipe at MOST cost me $30 if I’m starting over from scratch. A bag of baby carrots will last me 2 months and the jars of roasted red peppers and kalamata olives last about a month as well. The feta takes 2 weeks to use and the sunflower seeds can be used for over 2 months as well. So on average I’m spending about $15 a week on lunch groceries max. Compare that to the MINIMUM $35-40 you’re spending on eating lunch out every week. Now, my budget is so that if I had to eat out lunch every day, I don’t know what I would do! It’s just not worth it to me to go to Chipotle. I can make a better burrito bowl anyways. I’ll save my money for dinners out that I can’t make- an amazing etoufee at a Cajun restaurant or the best pulled pork BBQ in Charlotte.

So what will you be packing for lunch tomorrow?? If you can just make this ONE change tomorrow- and the next day- and the next day- think of the changes to your wallet and waistline. What will you do with an extra $100 in your bank account at the end of the month?? And if you still think you can’t pack your lunch, let me know why! We’re in this together- let’s work as a team and brainstorm ways to make this work.

Back at it

The last time I wrote a blog post was November of 2015- I was just back from visiting Charlotte for the weekend, basically to decide if my boyfriend and I were going to move there or not the following fall. Well, here we are almost 1.5 years later and we have settled in to Charlotte. We moved into a corporate housing apartment in Uptown in September, right before Labor Day Weekend, then mid-October, closed on a house in the Belmont neighborhood next to Plaza Midwood. We are adjusting to being home owners (the dog has become the best adjusted as she gets to reap the backyard rewards and doesn’t worry about such trivial matters such as gutter guards and pest control).

I want to start up the blog again but I feel blocked. I am feeling passionless. I took a job as an executive assistant at a small commercial real estate company and it’s less than stimulating. I’m currently making moves towards residential real estate but that’s still a couple of months off. When I ask myself what would I do if school and money were no object, my honest answer is work in nutrition and health- either coaching people who need weight loss help or educating lower-income neighborhoods on proper nutrition for themselves and their families.

For the past twenty years, I have digested with a fervor every health and fitness magazine or article or blog I could get my hands on. As a young dancer, it made sense. When I gave up dance in college and gained some weight, it made more sense. My weight yo-yo’ed in school as I juggled drinking way too much alcohol in college with finally discovering the kitchen and cooking healthy dinners. Looking back on senior year Spring Break pictures, I looked amazing- then I remember the sleepless nights due to the caffeine weight loss pills I was taking and the two-a-day workouts my schedule allowed for. It wasn’t healthy and it’s certainly not feasible for a 20-something working girl.

NYC didn’t help things. I couldn’t afford a gym so my workouts were sporadic depending on if it was nice enough out for a run or if my roommate was home so I could do a work-out DVD. The drinking continued, the office treats were plentiful and while I cooked at home, the lack of exercise was not enough to balance it out.

Then in October of 2014, I went through a break-up. To be fair, it wasn’t a particularly bad break-up. We had only been dating a few months and I had a feeling this one wasn’t going to work out. But instead of going into my “whole bottle of wine and pint of ice cream and bag of popcorn and plate of nachos” routine that I normally did when I was depressed, especially about a boy, I lost my appetite. And I found SoulCycle. And the rest was history.

That time totally reset my metabolism. And I was determined to not get back to where I was. At my worst, I was 145-150 pounds (I’m 5’9″). And while that is not obese by any means, I had grown up with a 6 pack and a ballerina body. It was a significant change. Now, when I creep up to 135- that means I’ve gone off the rails. On a normal day, I am 130-132. I posted a picture in December of 2015 at the BF’s holiday party and people were RAVING about how I looked- old co-workers were asking me for work-out tips and it was my most-liked photo at that point. It was a huge confidence boost. And I want to continue that (actually just get back to that- SoulCycle and a spray tan do wonders).

I still go through rough times with my body. Moving to Austin and being around all that heavy BBQ and Tex-Mex plus living with a boy who didn’t really love vegetarian meals PLUS being too stressed and consumed with my job to not work out was a huge hit to my waistline. But a quick 10 day cleanse reset me and I was back on the wagon. Moving after we closed on the house was a hit too- I lost our apartment gym, started a new job and we left for a 9 day carb-fest in France shortly thereafter. Then was the slippery November/December slide- my birthday, Thanksgiving, BF’s birthday, Christmas and New Year’s plus traveling.

After we returned from Florida for New Year’s (where for the first time since I was a toddler did I wear a one-piece because I refused to wear a bikini in my current state next to BF’s Brazilian should-be-a-supermodel sister-in-law), it was reset time. But my budget didn’t allow for any fancy cleanses or juices. This was just about cutting down, clean eating, and working out. And for the last two months, I’ve felt great. Even when we had visitors in January, I stuck to my healthy habits. But the last couple of weeks, where we hosted two weekends in a row plus stress-eating and a voracious sweet tooth, has me feeling off-track. I know to continue this as a LIFESTYLE the older I get, the ¬†more committed I need to be.

That’s where this blog comes in. I am not trained in nutrition or dietetics or personal training or health coaching. But I do my research. And I know what works for me. And I am here to not only reinforce that for my own life, but also to help anyone else that is struggling and feels judged by personal trainers or nutritionists who have never gone on a 2 day eating binge. It happens. Let’s grow a community. Let’s support each other.

My Instagram is full of the fun things I eat when I am treating myself. (Please note those are not live posted. I do not eat out 4 days in a row on average. I just save up the pictures and post when I feel like it. Shadow revealed!) But I want this blog to be about the other side of life. The “sad desk lunch” side. (But we’re going to make it happy desk lunches!).

If you’re in, comment, share, like, love, let me know you’re following along!