Fell off the wagon

Ok, ok. I broke my promise. My accountability person was very confused Monday when I hadn’t blogged since Thursday. And here is Thursday again.

The reason was because I had disappointed myself. And my imaginary audience of this blog.

I had the doughnut at the business dinner. I also do not regret it because unlike most overhyped things it was AMAZING AND DELICIOUS and if you live in Charlotte, get a group of 10 people (because it will legit feed that many people) and order it. Worth. It. (Stoke at the Marriott)

But then we had visitors come in. And it became just a 2.5 day eating & drinking binge.

  • Dinner at Haberdish Friday night, where we shared a pimento cheese ball (amazing), biscuits & bacon jam (delicious), a whole fried chicken (the best), sweet potato dumplings (excellent- highly recommend), charred okra, pickled coleslaw, and maybe a kale salad?
  • Afterwards, we went to Salud where I had a CAN of wine. That’s a thing now.
  • Brunch at Cafe Monte Saturday, where we shared five hot beignets and I got a Croque Madame.
  • Sandwich at Earl’s Grocery after the hike
  • Dinner at Soul Gastrolounge Saturday night- you will all die when I list all the food we ordered (and ate). Asian glazed pork belly tacos (these are a must if you come here, they’re probably the best thing on the menu), the “dirty south nachos” which are fried chicken skin chips with a pimento cheese fondue and jalepeno pickled okra (this is probably the 2nd most fantastic dish), sashimi tuna tacos (everyone else died over these, I did think they were pretty good), BBQ glazed pork belly stuffed shells & cheese (disappointing), a “Red Dragon Roll” (yes, they have sushi here), lemon chicken skewers (one of our party doesn’t eat pork or shellfish so was excluded from many of the options), grilled Caesar, grilled cheese (pretty incredible I thought), a duck banh fit (3 kinds of duck, including foie gras pate & duck confit on a banh mi style sandwich) and french fries with garlic-herb salt, pecorino and truffle oil (great and surprisingly large portion for the price). So don’t hate me but DO get to Soul ASAP. It’s arguably the best restaurant in Charlotte.
  • Had drinks at The Hop Shop and City Lights
  • Breakfast a Common Market Sunday morning. I got some kind of wrap with eggs, chorizo, pepperjack, black beans and corn.
  • Build You Own Bloody Mary bar at Ink & Ivy
  • After our guests left, the BF and I had a late lunch/early dinner at Diamond Restaurant where I got a “Po’Greek Boy” which wasn’t what I expected- basically a feta stuffed lamb burger. It was pretty good.

We did hike one day to the top of Crowder’s Mountain which was pretty challenging and strenuous. And we did a lot of walking both days (over 12,000 steps!) but I still felt gross by Sunday night (obviously- re-read above. Or, on second though, please don’t). Surprisingly, besides the doughnut, I didn’t really have any “junk food” (because we were too stuffed by the dessert course to have any) but I am resetting the Junk Food Challenge back to Monday anyways. So April 23 will be the last day (which will be tough- I’m home that weekend and have a bridal shower!)

After the weekend, I stocked up on healthy food (definitely one of those whoops moments in the grocery line when I saw the receipt) and prepped salads, snacks and sandwiches for my night classes. And I have gotten back on track- no drinking since Sunday, and all healthy meals and snacks. Since the class gets out so late (normally when I’m turning out the lights) and it’s 25 minutes away, I have not gotten into the gym. But my goal is to get in Friday-Monday the weeks I am taking this class. Minimum 25 minutes of cardio each day plus weight training.

I’m trying to get back into my tips and tricks. I know  I don’t really need to lose weight- but  I do want to gain muscle tone and lose some fat around my middle. I’m trying to ignore the scale as it’s not what I’m after- and I’m also trying not to be complacent just because I like my weight where it is (kind of). It isn’t the end-all, be-all measurement. I’m recommitting to carrying water everywhere, knowing my portions, and trying to ignore the voice in my head that says “Just order the pills in the back of the magazine!” (That is partially a joke- mostly because that voice was quieted in college when I actually did use diet pills for a year. They are not worth it- not only will you gain the weight back, they will screw with your metabolism and you will be up all hours of the night. Helpful for a college senior- not for an adult who knows better.)

It starts with one step. Like cutting out soda. But don’t deprive yourself.

What is my one thing I’m going to start working on today? Bettering my posture. I used to be a dancer and school teachers would always comment on how good my posture was in class. But now I’m just like the rest of the slumped over herd. Since I am sitting all day (at work and now also at class), good posture is better for a number of reasons. It helps with digestion by smoothing out the flow of your organs, it helps with back and shoulder pain and it also makes you look thinner instantly! Plus it helps develop core muscles, which is necessary for a lean look. There are all kinds of gizmos and gadgets that will remind you if you’ve slumped over or curved your shoulders too far. Sometimes just a reminder on your phone will do. Check in with yourself throughout the day and see if it’s something you can better!

Monday’s Food Journal

Breakfast- 3 egg omelette with shredded low fat cheddar cheese

Coffee

Snack- strawberries with flax and low fat plain Greek yogurt

Lunch- Salad

Snack- Apple with peanut butter

Dinner- Sandwich on sprouted bread, natural sliced turkey, Havarti cheese, sprouts and mustard

Tuesday’s Food Journal

Breakfast- Banana almond smoothie

Coffee

Snack- strawberries with flax and low fat plain Greek yogurt

Green tea

Lunch- salad

Snack- cucumber slices and baby carrots with sun dried tomato hummus

Dinner- Same sandwich above

Wednesday’s Food Journal

Breakfast- 2 eggs scrambled with low fat cottage cheese (if you haven’t tried this before, give it a shot, it’s pretty cool) and a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter

Lunch- salad

Snack- Popcorn

Snack- Pistachios

Dinner- Sandwich above

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Simple Swaps for Dinner, Drinks, Desserts!

Man, the gym has been a dream this week. Like literally a dream- we’ve been so exhausted and comfy cozy in bed I have only made it once plus my SoulCycle class. 5 AM is not normal to wake up!! I need to figure out a schedule that works for my body. My gym buddy hasn’t exactly been the most motivating either…

This weekend will definitely mean time in the gym and we’re laying relatively low anyways after our last weekend. I did get to enjoy time with my sorority alumnae group yesterday at a brewery- they also brew kombucha! So since I’m still in “I never want to see alcohol again” mode, that is what a took part in. It was delicious!

Now onto the simple swaps you can make whether you are eating out for dinner or cooking at home, as well as swaps for drinks and desserts that accompany your meal!

  • We know deep fried foods are bad right? Like you shouldn’t REALLY be eating anything fried- french fries, corn dogs, etc. Look for “pan-fried” on menus or cook food yourself in a skillet with a little health EVOO (that is extra virgin olive oil for you noobs).
  • This is something I need to work on, but if you have access to local produce via farmer’s markets you should take advantage! They have less preservatives and potentially more health benefits than veggies you get at the supermarket.
  • This is one of my favorite swaps because I always have Greek yogurt on hand! Instead of sour cream on your Mexican food (or anything that calls for it)- sub Greek yogurt. It has more protein and less fat, plus healthy bacteria for your gut. I swear, you will not be able to taste the difference.
  • Whole grain swaps are so easy- no more white rice or white pasta. It’s all brown rice and whole-wheat pasta from here on out! I try to not even order rice or pasta when out to eat because they normally don’t have these options. And when you are eating pasta? White sauce is a no go- there are so many extra calories that come with all that cream. Marinara sauce or another tomato based sauce is your best choice.
  • Eating out? You do not have to end up in a food coma! Get a doggy bag to go- this is something that I do struggle with and need to get better at. Reminding myself of how bad I feel after stuffing myself at a meal should help.
  • Asian food on the menu? Give the chopsticks a chance! They will slow you down way more than eating with a fork. It will help with that speed-eating habit.
  • Trying to cool down in the summer with popsicles for dessert? Try sticking grapes in the freezer- they really do come out tasting like mini popsicles. They’re very satisfying and have way less sugar and more health benefits!
  • Soda fiend? Well STOP IT. I gave up soda for Lent in high school once and have never looked back! If you must get that carbonation from somewhere, swap it for sparkling water or flavored sparkling water. But watch out- too much sparkling water can damage your teeth (so can soda for that matter), so keep it to under 1 or 2 servings a day. Also- if you are reaching for an energy drink- just stop. The chemicals and sugar in them are crazy. Take a power nap instead.
  • Alcohol on the agenda? Red wine or beer is a better choice than a sugary cocktail- especially a margarita. Honestly, since I only really enjoy vodka or tequila cocktails, they all end up tasting the same. I’d much rather have a really good glass of wine. They tend to be cheaper as well!

I shouldn’t have to say this but I will- now that we are wrapping up swaps for our three meals a day, please eat three meals a day! Plus snacks! If you skip meals and just snack throughout the day, you will end up feeling unfocused, tired, cranky, and no one wants to be around someone like that! Also, if you’re just grazing throughout the day instead of sitting down and focusing on a well-prepared meal or snack, you will consume more calories than you think.

Some other tips that I think help when it comes to food-

  • Never grocery shop on an empty stomach (it’s a recipe for disaster)
  • If you find yourself reaching for comfort food (for me, it’s ice cream) or emotionally eating, check in with yourself for just 5 minutes. Meditate a little- dim the lights, close your eyes, clear your mind, and ask yourself who or what is driving this urge for comfort. Maybe you just need to go for a walk, maybe you need to call a friend, maybe you need a nice long hot shower. But that check-in could be all you need to not slip down a 1,000 calorie path. If you can’t get on board with the whole “meditation” thing, try journaling. When you’re a couple cookies deep, pull out a notebook and write down what you’re thinking about. Not only is it distracting but you may realize the void you are trying to fill can be filled in other ways.
  • Skip the plastic silverware at home- even if you have take-out, use your fancy stuff and you may be more aware of what you’re eating and slow down because you’re not in a rush at a fast-food place.
  • Remember- everything in moderation. If I deprive myself, I binge. So giving myself the leeway to indulge on vacation, have dessert or alcohol every so often (but not all the time), keeps me trim. TREAT YO’ SELF!

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- oatmeal with chia seeds, cinnamon, strawberries, and protein powder

Coffee at work

Snack- almonds

Lunch- salad

Green tea

Snack- Apple with 2 string cheese sticks

Snack- KIND bar

Dinner- leftover casserole and some pineapple. 2 Kombuchas at Lenny Boy Brewing. 

Slow down

Guys, I used a tablespoon to measure peanut butter AND hummus for today and I’m already feeling more in control.

This next one is a toughie for me because I WOLF my food down. Like speed-eater style on the regular. My dad is a fast-eater and I think I just picked it up from him. Thankfully the BF is also a fast eater so I don’t feel too weird most of the time but when dining with slow-eating friends, it can be frustrating. But they have it right! You need to take your time when eating. Now, I know this is easier said than done. But that’s why we concentrate on adding ONE thing a day right? When you take your time eating, you take smaller bites (which we have already discussed helps with weight loss) and you will spread it out over the 20 minutes that it usually takes your body to feel full. If you gulp food down in 5 minutes, you may think you’re still hungry, eat more, then 15 minutes later you’ll feel bloated and gross.

Some simple ways for you slow down when eating include:

  • Always sit down at a table to eat. No more TV meals; pay attention to what you’re eating. This also lends itself to no more other screens (something I struggle with). No cellphone, no computer, no multitasking.
  • Put down your utensils between each bite. Pause, relax.
  • Have a conversation. If you’re eating with others, use meal time as an opportunity to talk as well as eat.
  • Take small bites.
  • Chew more. Count how many times you normally chew and add one extra chew on the end.

So while I’m focusing on measuring items today, tomorrow will be all about mindful eating!

Have a great weekend and remember your healthy journey doesn’t stop Friday at 5!

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- 2 scrambled eggs and peanut butter on a whole wheat English muffin

Coffee

Mid-morning snack- half a cup of Kashi GoLean and a 1/4 cup of dried apricots

Lunch- usual salad, sans grape tomatoes or feta

Green tea

Mid-afternoon snack- 4 dried dates with a spoonful of tahini

Dinner- We went to Rooster’s Uptown, this awesome spit-rotisserie chicken restaurant that does most everything a la carte like a steakhouse. This was definitely our cheat meal for the week! We shared the bread & olive oil (it was totally worth it), a 3 cheese sampler, half a rotisserie chicken, sides of mac & cheese, pan-roasted corn, and potatoes au gratin. I also had a glass of Pinot Gris.

Chug, chug, chug!

What a week- and it’s only Tuesday! Today, I am a breathing, walking example of why you need adequate sleep. I keep making dumb mistakes at work and I’m starving all the time!! I hope everyone is still keeping their food journal- for me, it makes the biggest difference. It makes me think twice- am I really hungry or am I just grumpy? Do I really want to write this down? I think it’s my favorite tip!

Another thing that makes a big difference? Water! There are about a gazillion opinions on how much water you should be drinking a day- the most common recommendation is 8 8-oz glasses or half a gallon. I easily clear that- I have a 24 oz Tervis tumbler on my desk I fill up at least 3 times a day. So my new challenge is a gallon of water- just at work! And at least a glass before and after. That means I need to fill up my tumbler 6 times. If I fill it up every other hour (or so), I’ll get there. So that’s my daily add-on goal!

The best way to tell if you’re hydrated enough is by the color of your pee. You want it as pale as possible- almost clear! I struggle the most on weekends when I’m not confined to a desk. But I’m going to start carrying a water bottle everywhere I go so I never have an excuse! I have a great big S’well bottle that’s perfect for the car and keeping things cold.

Water doesn’t just affect weight loss. When you’re dehydrated, you tend to also have less energy, constipation, headaches, and cramps. Drinking water flushes out toxins in your system, improves your skin complexion, and boosts your immune system- best of all, it’s free! It can really cure a variety of ills so before you do anything- even eat!- drink water first.

Yesterday’s food journal

Pre-workout half cup of coffee

Breakfast- 2 scrambled eggs with Sriracha, 12 oz almond milk w/ vanilla protein powder

1 mug of coffee in the office

Late morning snack- apple & peanut butter

Lunch- standard salad, no grape tomatoes

Mid-afternoon snack- low-fat Greek yogurt with strawberries

Dinner- Crockpot Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese, 2 squares of dark chocolate (my last of the French chocolate!)

I went over my friend’s house to watch The Bachelor & Women Tell All. I had a glass of red wine and her mom, who was visiting, made us “Strawberries and Blackberries Romanoff” which is the fruit topped with an “adult whipped cream” made of cream, sugar, and brandy. Yum!