Sleep = Skinny

Junk food that you have been craving for an hour or the body you have wanted for years?? It’s your choice.

Repeat this to yourself as needed during the junk food challenge!! I’m not going to lie to you- I am going to a business dinner with my BF tonight at the new restaurant inside of the Marriott in downtown Charlotte and if there is dessert- especially their famous ONE POUND doughnut- I will be eating it. There are things that I may just never get to try again!

That’s where your “excuses” come in versus your willpower. Cupcakes from down the block that come in every time an office birthday happens? You don’t need those. Pecan pie you ONLY have during Thanksgiving? Go for it. That’s what this one pound doughnut would fall under- because I doubt we will be going back to this restaurant again (hotel restaurants are notoriously overpriced and this will be on his company’s dime- PERKS!).

I know it’s only day 2 of the No Junk Food Challenge. (And I’m already planning on breaking it- but getting right back on!) How is everyone doing? No fast food right? That’s considered junk food! And it’s definitely something you need to cut out of your diet if you’re trying to lose weight- not just during the challenge, but really, forever. It’s not doing you any favors.

I think my biggest challenge lately has been eating slowly. I’m really trying! But the BF has gotten even speedier I feel like and not wanting to be sitting alone eating  may influence me. I’m really going to concentrate on improving in that area.

Exercising has also eluded me lately- with my schedule going haywire next week, I will need to be more disciplined about it! Cardio will help burn fat so doing any brisk walking, jogging, aerobics (yes, it still exists) or cycling will help you get rid of that extra fat.

What I have also noticed is that when I exercise, I sleep better. SLEEPING BURNS FAT. Seriously. That is my tip today. GET MORE SLEEP. When you get enough sleep, you feel more compelled to get into the gym. When you get into the gym, you will sleep better! In an article I read recently, they recommend doing cardio in the morning and weight training (which doesn’t raise your heart rate as much) at night in order to get the best sleep. But the key is consistency. When I don’t work out, it’s harder for me to fall asleep, but then I’m too tired to get to the gym the next day! If you’re well-rested and have been working out, you’re more likely to eat better because your brain has more energy to make better food choices. It’s a big cycle but the bottom line is shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep. Which means, lights out at least 15 minutes BEFORE that because most people do not fall asleep instantly. I also like to do a wind-down routine of prepping for the next day, getting into pajamas, brushing my teeth and taking off my makeup and then reading (no technology!!) in the couple of hours leading up to bed to signal to my body that it’s time for sleep. Sleeping in a colder environment is also helpful for restful sleep (but keep your feet warm!)

I know this will be tough for me when I start my class. Not only will I be getting home after I SHOULD be asleep in order to hit 7 hours before my 5 AM alarm for the gym, but working and going to class all day is sure to exhaust me- I’m not planning on going to the gym Tuesday-Thursday during those weeks because I feel like I’ll just disappoint myself but who knows?? Maybe it’ll give me more energy to get through the day. I’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- 3 eggs scrambled on a whole wheat English muffin spread with 2 wedges of Laughing Cow and topped with smoked salmon

Late morning snack- a couple tbs of walnuts, and 2 dried dates dipped in tahini

Lunch- regular salad

Afternoon snack- low fat Greek yogurt with strawberries and flax

Dinner- leftover pork and broccoli. I may have also had a couple fingers of PB when prepping today’s snack. I’m weak!!

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Adult breakfast or child’s dream?

Happy Monday! Just kidding. What Monday is happy? Did everyone have a fantastic weekend? Mine was the perfect mix of social, relaxing, and productive- plus I got two workouts in!

Now it’s back to the grind- but still packing lunch, writing down what I eat, eating chocolate, drinking wine, smelling my food (anyone else slightly struggling with this??), taking a break from the gym a couple of days a week and having a gym buddy, all while losing weight! What’s next? OK, this one is a controversial one but hear me out- have dessert at breakfast.

Now, notice I’m not saying have dessert FOR breakfast. But apparently there is science that backs the idea that if you have a big breakfast, which includes protein and carbs, along with dessert, you will lose weight. Now, the reason behind this is because in the morning is when your metabolism is at  its peak so you’re better off burning calories versus having dessert after dinner, when your metabolism is slowing down before bed (so you can’t have it both ways). If you cut out sweets entirely, you end up craving them (which is why we eat chocolate daily, right!?) and there becomes a cycle of addiction.

I repeat: the key here is to indulge in the morning, when the body’s metabolism is at its most active and we are better able to work off the extra calories throughout the day. Attempting to avoid sweets entirely can create a psychological addiction to these same foods in the long-term and if you add dessert items to breakfast, that can alleviate cravings throughout the rest of the day. As many of us know, if you restrict a bunch of foods, you’ll likely fall off the wagon and overindulge, putting all that weight back on. With this, you’re more satisfied and full as a result and you don’t crave sugar and carbs, causing you to cheat on your diet. This goes along with everything else I’ve been saying- in order to adopt a healthy eating LIFESTYLE it must be realistic and fit in with the rest of your life!

 

So I’m not saying to go eat a giant cupcake every morning with your eggs. But, when faced with a high calorie treat, you’re better off consuming it in the morning than you are later in the day- something to keep in mind when an office birthday rolls around! Hm…maybe I should be having my chocolate squares in the morning then??

Let me know if you guys try this out and what your results are! I for one will be eagerly awaiting the next time I get to try this.

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- 2 whole-wheat waffles with peanut butter and a banana

Lunch- 2 spicy black bean veggie burgers on a 100 calorie whole wheat English muffin with 2 part-skim mozzerella sticks as the “cheese” (I ran out of shredded!)

Dinner- Chicken with bacon, roasted Brussels sprouts and half a sweet potato with leftover garlic lemon mayo. 2 dark chocolate squares and 2 glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon

Take a whiff

Happy Friday everyone! It is time to kick back and really take yesterday’s advice about drinking wine seriously! I did last night while catching up on This Is Us- because who doesn’t want to go to bed sobbing like a baby??

Today’s trick is one that I actually do not practice but I am really going to try to start! Since you’re only adding one trick on a day, it is so easy. So now that you’re packing your lunch, writing down what you eat, eating chocolate and drinking wine, what’s next?

Smelling your food. According to Science Daily, even if you’re eating something as mundane as a bowl of cereal, smelling your food affects the size of your bites. They become smaller! And when you eat small bites, you tend to eat less.

So sniff your bowl of oatmeal, sniff your salad, sniff your coffee! Just inhale the delightful aromas of the food that is here to fuel you and make it a habit. That is what’s key- making it a habit. Don’t just use this trick on homemade food either- use it at restaurants too when you probably need it most. The quicker you get full, the quicker you’ll ask for a doggie bag to go! Anyone have any ideas as to how to remember to do this?? That’s always the hardest part for me!

What are everyone’s weekend plans? Here in Charlotte the weather will be gorgeous so I am definitely trying to spend time outside. I can’t believe it’s early March!

Yesterday’s food  journal:

Breakfast- Smoothie made with almond milk, pineapple, frozen banana, ground flax & chia seeds, a little bit of plain low fat Greek yogurt, vanilla protein powder and peanut butter. Higher calorie than my normal breakfast but it was filling and kept me full until lunch!

1 mug of coffee at the office

Lunch- normal salad

Mug of green tea

Mid-afternoon snack- non-fat plain Greek yogurt with flax and strawberries

Dinner- Half a roasted sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and a chicken breast with bacon

2 zeppoles

1 glass of Pinot Noir

Wine it up

My legs are still sore and I woke up to the wonders of being a woman so, needless to say, the gym was not happening for me today. I have very few weekend plans so I will be hitting it hard then! It’s tough getting back in shape huh?

So remember when I told you guys yesterday to eat chocolate and I was your favorite person EVER?? Well, guess what. I’m about to continue being your favorite person ever! Because my trick for you today is to drink wine.

How is this a “trick” you ask? Because if you’re anything like me you can down a bottle in a night like no one’s business and when people consider it a feat, you’re confused- that’s just Friday night! No, this is where, once again, willpower comes into play.

Women who drink a glass or two of RED wine a day are less likely to be overweight. So, already some ground rules:

  • Do not chug.
  • Do not pair with ice cream. This is not a Bridget Jones movie. (Although COMBINING the two every once in a while might be fun.)
  • Do not replace food with wine. We are not in college anymore. We do not want to die.
  • Do exercise moderation. This is always hardest for me because during the week, sure, fine I can have one or two glasses, but Friday night rolls around and that goes out the window. So I am going to try REALLY hard for this one and will need your support!

And that’s really what this comes down to. Restricting your wine consumption to a glass of wine every night is once again an exercise in moderation. It teaches you that you can treat yourself and still see results. It feeds a craving so you don’t go overboard and start slugging back margaritas. Wine is also rich in antioxidants- it can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure (again, when used in moderation). Digesting alcohol also requires your body to burn calories since we have less of the enzyme that helps with that (that’s why your boyfriend can drink as much as you and you get drunk and he doesn’t). But it (like chocolate) still has calories- about 125 in a 5 oz pour (it should hit slightly below the widest point in the glass to give you room to swirl). And drinking too much has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer (sorry to be a Debbie, but just trying to give you the facts!)

Now, if you’re like me 5 years ago, you don’t like red. Hopefully you’re out of the only Moscato and Riesling stage of super sweet white wines, but if you are still only drinking Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite) and Pinot Grigio, try Pinot Noir. It’s light and fruity and definitely not as heavy as a Cabernet Sauvignon. I also find that drinking red slows my consumption of wine as it’s less “chuggable” and I feel its effects faster.

So, if you’re looking to drop 10 pounds for your sister’s wedding next month- this may not be the trick for you. But if you’re looking for a healthy LIFESTYLE that is something that works within your actual LIFE- then cheers! I’ll be having a nice glass of red along with my TGIT TV tonight.

Yesterday’s food journal:

Breakfast: Oatmeal made with almond milk, topped with ground flax, strawberries, and mixed nuts

1 mug of coffee

Mid-morning snack: Banana & peanut butter

Lunch: Normal lunch salad

Mug of green tea

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple, sliced turkey*, and string cheese

Dinner- roasted broccoli & baked tilapia seasoned with smoked paprika and garlic salt

2 squares of dark chocolate

1 zeppole (4 inch deep fried dough ball) filled with ricotta cheese & Nutella**

*I felt like such an idiot after planning a meat-free dinner for Ash Wednesday and then accidentally eating turkey without even thinking about it. Didn’t even realize it until HOURS later.

**My sweet boyfriend was at a business dinner at an Italian restaurant and brought me home dessert- how could I say no!? There are 4 more sitting in our fridge…

 

Let them eat chocolate!

Guysss, I started up this leg and butt blasting workout again. And every time I take a break from it and start it up again, I cannot walk the next day! Every fiber in my legs aches. I attempted to foam roll this morning and it was brutal. I did NOT make it into the gym this morning- I knew the treadmill would be futile. But this is such a reminder to keep at it! Strength training, like most things, gets better with time.

Today’s trick is going to be your favorite. I’m almost positive. And it’s to *drumroll please* eat chocolate! Yes, every day!

Now, do I mean to house 3 Hershey’s bars after lunch? No. Absolutely not. This is where WILLPOWER comes in, people. Chocolate is still high in fat, sugar, and calories. But it also has antioxidants and other ingredients that boost weight loss, help your heart and protect your skin from sun damage. My pick is dark chocolate- not only does it have more antioxidants but a little goes a long way. You’d be surprised by how satisfying it is when you have a really rich piece of dark chocolate, even if it’s small! At this point, milk chocolate doesn’t even do it for me anymore.

Now remember, you cannot say “Oh, I’ve been avoiding chocolate for the last three months, I’m gonna load up now!” That is not how this works. A few pieces a day or a few times a week is the name of the game.

I’ll be honest- the real reason I follow this trick and have seen it make a difference? It keeps my cravings under control! By giving myself a regular dose of chocolate, this keeps me from diving head first into the Nutella jar. All of the other benefits are great, but this is what really keeps me in control and ALSO  it is an exercise in willpower every single day. The more you use that muscle the better and bigger it gets. So you can buy a big bar of Lindt or Ghirardelli and break a couple squares off yourself. Or you can buy individually wrapped squares or even Hershey’s Kisses. I have leftover Valhrona chocolate from the Paris airport that is individually wrapped- I will allow myself two squares of chocolate after dinner. I look forward to it and it keeps me from indulging at other times of the day because I know it’s waiting for me in the pantry. I’ve fallen off of this trick lately but it’s time to get back on the chocolate wagon!

So how easy is this- you’re doing everything the same that you’ve been doing (which includes eating healthy and working out) but also packing your lunch, writing down what you eat, and now you’re eating chocolate! And hopefully, all these little changes are making you more aware of what you’re putting into your body and helping you cut down on other wasteful calories.

Heading to a career night hosted by a real estate’s market center tonight! Any followers or readers in real estate? Pros, cons, encouragement??

Remember to record what you ate today! Here’s mine for ya’ll:

Yesterday’s food journal:

Half a cup of coffee before working out

Post- workout breakfast- 2 eggs and 1 egg white scrambled with hot sauce, 12 oz unsweetened almond milk with vanilla protein powder

1 mug of coffee once in the office

Mid-morning snack- Apple & 2 wedges of light Swiss Laughing Cow cheese

Half a mug of coffee- it was one of those days! I blame The Bachelor (even though it was only an hour last night.)

Lunch- standard Lunch salad

Mug of green tea

Mid-afternoon snack- cucumber slices with roasted garlic hummus (great for your breath!)

Dinner- Leftover chicken enchilada casserole (not the lowest calorie meal but high protein and filling and easy to prep in the slow-cooker which was needed for Monday night!)