Sometimes after a really indulgent weekend, I can’t wait to have a day packed full of veggies, water, and slightly on the lighter side. Life is about balance, and this mother’s day weekend was wonderfully indulgent 🙂 Monday morning started bright at early with a 5 mile run in the brisk morning air. I’m really over 40 degree mornings here.. what the hell? Well actually, Monday started by chasing Little Mac around the apartment (have I mentioned how much Little Mac HATES to be picked up and he gets very suspicious if you try to touch him too much), trapping / swaddling him in a bath towel, and using a pair of scissors to cut a giant clump of cat poop out of his fluffy tail. All while Little Mac is howling and crying like we’re murdering him, and Fig is hiding under the bed crying because he loves Little Mac so much. These are the joys are pet ownership my friends. But I finally got out the door for my run! Upon arriving home, I made my standard glass of iced coffee with 1% chocolate milk. Delicious.
I took my coffee into the bedroom, turned on the news, and stretched out. Fig is always really snuggly but for some reason when I get back from working out in the morning he is especially so. This is how we stretch…
Breakfast was my favorite smoothie… frozen bananas (2), chocolate protein powder, scoop of peanut butter, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a TON of fresh spinach.
I enjoyed it at my desk as usual with my vitamins and some water.
Lunch today was a lightened up pasta salad I made on Sunday night. Included were multicolor pasta, a ton of zucchini, red bell pepper, tofu cubes, seasoning, and some Trader Joe’s Goddess salad dressing. It was DELICIOUS.
I went with a couple smaller snacks throughout the afternoon including a really ripe banana (I love them when they’re this ripeness… the best) and a cup of decaf coffee. I’m trying to be mindful of my caffeine intake. I noticed that other day that I had a really ridiculous amount so I’m trying to decide when I feel like I actually want caffeine, or when I just want a warm cup of coffee.
Also a mango flavored Trader Joe’s greek yogurt before I left work. I’m a fan of the very end of the day snack… that way I’m not cranky on the metro or starving when I walk in the door.
I took the metro out to my brother’s apartment and met up with my mom for my FINAL wedding dress appointment. This has been kind of a crazy nightmare getting this one additional style into the store for me to try on. But finally… after three months of shopping and trying on legitimately over 30 wedding dresses… WE GOT THE DRESS!! Woo woo! Super exciting. To celebrate we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a glass of wine and some dinner. Unfortunately, it was like pitch black in the restaurant and I wasn’t about to be that girl taking flash photos of her dinner in a dark restaurant. I had a glass of Reisling and the “SkinnyLicious” Mexican Tortilla Salad. I can’t even bring myself to actually say the word “Skinnylicious” out loud because it is so embarrassing. I appreciate the lightened up menu but that name is ridiculous. I found this picture online so I’m borrowing it. I don’t know if I honestly believe the nutrition stats on this salad because it was way too delicious (and had way too many delicious things in it) to be 540 calories. But whatever, it’s what I wanted to eat so I ate it… no big deal.
That was all from me on Monday!
Questions for you guys:
- Do you like restaurants that have a “healthy section” of the menu?
- How many wedding dresses did you try on total?
- Any hilarious pet stories to share?
It’s time again for What I Ate Wednesday! This week is a Tuesday’s worth of eats but I really need to stop doing this on days when we are tragically low on groceries. I’m a meticulous grocery shopper / meal planner. 99% of what I buy each week is fresh food (produce, meat, and dairy) with only minimal pantry supplies. I find it’s the best way to stay on budget, eat whole / healthy foods, and never have to throw anything away (wasting food makes my soul hurt). Therefore, by the time the end of the week comes, we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Here’s what a Tuesday looks like when we desperately need a trip to Trader Joe’s.
Tuesday started like every Tuesday starts for me… with a session with my trainer. My legs were still not 100% recovered from Sunday’s Broad Street Run so he graciously agreed we could do upper body and I would do my lower body on my own later in the week. Of course, he decided to absolutely kill me during our session… but that’s why I pay him, right?
I wanted nothing more than a delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast, but sadly we are out of frozen bananas (smoothie disaster). In the mix was frozen pineapple, frozen mango, frozen blueberries, soy milk, chocolate protein powder, flax seed, and unsweetened cocoa powder. I finished off the soy milk and I could’ve used a LITTLE more. My smoothie was a little too thick, but that’s ok 🙂 I had a couple spoonfuls to tide me over and enjoyed the rest at my desk at work. Unpictures – cup of coffee and my vitamins, standard.
Mid-morning I got a little hungry so I snacked on a mini-Luna bar I had stashed at my desk.
I had this really awkward and LONG meeting at work. I wasn’t super hungry before the meeting but didn’t want to get hungry in the middle of it (since it was super long). I decided to split my lunch up into two parts. I was craving a veggie-ful salad so I grabbed a small one from the salad bar place across the street. I almost never eat there because they’re STUPID expensive (the pay by the weight places always are) but I made an exception and kept my salad simple.
After the meeting was over, I was definitely hungry again for a little more lunch. I broke into a Diet Dr. Pepper that I brought as a “I have a 3 hour meeting today” treat. I also ate the most bizarre sandwich that tasted amazing. Two slices of Ezekial bread, a touch of wasabi mayo, a Trader Joe’s chili lime chicken burger, black beans, and a slice of gouda cheese. This was a completely random assortment of items and flavors we had in the refrigerator that ended up being delicious. Super score.
On my way out of the office, I snacked on ye another mini granola bar. Apparently that’s a theme today? Got this one for free at the Broad Street expo… it was just ok. Mike and I had a meeting with our wedding coordinator last night and I knew we wouldn’t be eating dinner until late. This was a meek attempt to tide myself over.
Our meeting ended up lasting a little longer than I thought because I had 100 million questions. Afterwards, we went right to Trader Joe’s to grocery shop, but of course at this point we were both starving. I don’t like grocery shopping while hungry, but I did my best just to stick to the list and get out as soon as possible. I managed only two impulse purchases and ate a little of both before arriving home. Chocolate covered, peanut butter filled pretzels and corn chips. Both amazeballs by the way.
Since I snacked a bit on the way home from the grocery store, I kept dinner simple. English muffin pizzas! Whole wheat English muffins, pizza sauce, light mozzarella cheese, diced red pepper, and pancetta. OM NOM NOM.
One thing I severely missed during this day? Fresh fruit. Whole pieces of fresh fruit are a DAILY occurrence for me so I hate when we run out. Don’t worry, I brought like two today 🙂
Questions for you guys:
- Favorite thing you ate yesterday?
- Thoughts on English muffin pizzas?
Thank you all so much for your kind words yesterday! You really are the best!
This week I decided to cover my Monday eats! I really did not have my normal appetite on Monday. I don’t know if it was because I knew my parents were about to put Bernie down, gloomy crappy weather, or the fact that I didn’t work out first thing in the morning but I just was NOT hungry. Since I’ve been working on intuitive eating, I decided to just go with it! I didn’t end up eating breakfast until about 10:15 am but when I was finally hungry I ate a pomegranate greek yogurt with sliced almonds, chopped pecans, and flax seeds. Accompanied of course by a cup of coffee and my vitamins. I take a daily women’s multi-vitamin, Calcium, fish oil, and Biotin (for skin, nails, and hair – it’s awesome I love it!)
I intended to work out on my lunch hour but I realized I forgot a towel to shower after… womp womp. Oh well, I just worked through the day and broke for lunch around 2 pm. I made a healthy version of shepherds pie over the weekend and brought leftovers to work. This recipe features tons of veggies (one bag of frozen mixed veggies, one bag of shaved brussels sprouts, and one half a yellow onion), ground turkey, and mashed garlic sweet potatoes on top. It doesn’t hold it’s shape well when traveling so it kind of turned into a mashed up pile but it was delicious.
I’m normally a very committed afternoon snacker but didn’t get hungry until 5 pm for my normal snack. I decided to just listen to my body and eat if and when I got hungry. I finally broke into my afternoon snack which was (predictably) an apple, scoop of peanut butter, and a mini vanilla yogurt. Normally if I have yogurt for breakfast I bring something else for a snack, simply for variety. We were really low on groceries though, so I didn’t have a lot of options… a second yogurt it was! It was delicious though 🙂
I stayed at work until 6 pm and then talked to my mom on the phone (about poor Bernie) until 7 pm. By the time I got home, I was really not in the mood to go work out. But Mike was heading up to the apartment building gym for a quick run and I decided I would feel better if I just moved my body in SOME way. I decided to practice “intuitive exercise” and see what appealed to me when I got up there. I normally follow a pretty strict training / workout schedule, so it was nice to give myself a little break to do whatever I felt like. I hopped on an elliptical, turned on Jeopardy (my favorite show to watch while exercising), and did a 35 minute hill climbing workout. I worked up a nice little sweat, did a good long stretch, and called it a night. Dancing with the Stars came on while I was cooling down so I watched the first dance. I can’t get into that show though… it’s too much of a time commitment!
After our workout I was FINALLY hungry but we really needed to go to the grocery store for the week. I knew I couldn’t shop super hungry so I threw together a really quick whole wheat wrap with horseradish hummus, a slice of cheese, and a ton of spinach. It totally hit the spot!
After a quick trip to the grocery store, I unloaded our items and poured myself a little glass of sweet white wine. Got this bottle at CVS for $3.95. I am turning into QUITE the connoisseur of cheap wine…
I was in the mood 🙂 I was kind of hungry again but didn’t want to start making a whole big dinner. Instead, I heated up some leftover brown basmati rice and black beans and topped them with one egg over easy. It was the perfect combination of protein and carbs to top off my hunger.
I spent the month of March focusing on Intuitive Eating. I participated in the Studio Eats 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge, had three one-on-one calls with Jamie, attended one group conference call, and read most of the book. (My initial thoughts on the challenge can be found here). It’s April and it’s time to reflect.
How did the month go? In a word (ok two)… life changing. I really don’t want to turn into the “anti-diet” crusader or anything… but this approach to eating and living works for me. I am a chronic, life-long devotee to dieting and I needed something serious to make a change in my life. Deep down, I’ve always felt that there was something wrong with my body and the way I look. I was heavy as a kid… it’s not completely shocking that I felt this way. I used dieting and restricting to feel control. The best part about my IE journey is that I feel more in control now than I ever have, and I’m not dieting for pretty much the first time ever.
Right now I am eating and drinking what I want, when I want. I have found that by giving myself complete free reign over my eating and exercising, I am eating less, feeling more satisfied, not binge eating, and finding much more pleasure in my workouts. The ultimate moment of truth came last week though. I decided to not weigh myself for the entire month of March, which terrified me. I have this irrational fear that if I’m not dieting and monitoring myself, I’m going to balloon up and gain a ton of weight. I was feeling nervous, I mean I had been eating EVERYTHING I wanted for a whole month. I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale. And it hadn’t changed even an ounce. I weighed exactly the same, and I had enjoyed my life so much more in that month. That’s when I knew this was for me.
What was the hardest part? Learning to trust myself again. I have accepted responsibility for being overweight throughout my life. So I thought I was flawed. There was something about me that wasn’t programmed correctly. When left to my own devices, I would get fat again. The hardest part about this journey was to stop fighting myself. I told Jamie during one of our calls that I had a really hard time realizing what “hungry” felt like, because I only ever allowed myself to eat when I was “ravenous”. She pointed on that this is common in chronic dieters. I had this perception that I only deserved to eat a certain amount, at certain times, and only when I was absolutely starving. Throughout this month, I have worked really hard to trust my body to tell me when it needs fuel and what it is craving. Totally wild.
What am I focusing on now? I want to continue to honor my hungry, feel my fullness, and throw out my food rules. I am also working on challenging the external food police. The past weekend I was at a restaurant and ordered a salad and an entree. Our waiter made a completely harmless comment like “Are you sure you want all of that?” (apparently my entree was comically large… half of it is currently sitting in my refrigerator). In the past, such a comment would have sent me into a tailspin. But now that I’m challenging the “food police,” I simply laughed and told him I was sure I could handle it.
I am also working on the issue of body acceptance. That’s going to be a big one for me, because deep down I wish I looked fundamentally different than I do. But I never will. I will always have the same basic shape / frame and it’s due time I got “good” with that. Every day, I stand in front of the mirror and make myself say something positive about my body. When I’m exercising in front of a mirror, I do the same thing. I force myself to say positive things like “You look so strong”. It might seem very narcissistic, but don’t worry I only say it in my head 🙂 Jamie and I discussed this issue on our last call and I know I have the power to change how I view myself. It’s all mental!
Questions for you guys:
- How do you express “body acceptance”?
- What lifestyle works for you? We’re all different after all!
I.LOVE.PASTA. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would definitely be pasta (or maybe pizza… close tie). I am especially loving pasta these days since I’m not forcing myself to restrict it anymore! (I’m planning a summation post on my Intuitive Eating challenge later this week with many more details) I used to think pasta was “bad” so when I did “let myself have it” I always completely gorged myself on it. My mind was in that deprivation place of not knowing when I would ever be allowed to have it again. So when I was confronted with pasta… I ate ALL the pasta. Now that I know I can have pasta absolutely any time I want to have pasta, I eat a single serving in a bowl and walk away from the table completely satisfied (ok, ok, maybe one or two more bites as I pack away the leftovers).
Recently, I’ve been finding myself really favoring simple meals. We’re busy during the week so I have less time to cook elaborate dinners. This recipe requires 5 simple ingredients and hits 3 macro nutrients all in one dish (protein, carbs, and vegetables). Here’s what you’ll need (recipe / instructions at the bottom): You could substitute any kind of pasta (I chose brown rice fuscilli – but please remember I am NOT gluten free. I just like this kind a lot), meat (I used ground turkey but beef or chicken would be fine), vegetables (I ❤ brussels sprouts. End of story) and tomato sauce (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic is delicious and $1.95 – CHA CHING). The secret here is the ricotta (which in my world is pronounced with a G). Mixing it with tomato sauce gives you a slightly “creamy” sauce without a super heavy alfredo. mmmmm…mmm…. good.
The other best part of this meal is that you can make the entire thing in the time it takes to boil the water / cook the pasta. I also was able to prep chicken noodle soup in the crock pot during this time.
Mike is an excellent kitchen helper. I cut these brussels into quarters because they were really big.
Fig kept a watchful eye on the whole process, but he doesn’t like vegetables (BLEH green stuff!)
After the meat was cooked, I moved it to a bowl and drained MOST of the fat. I left some (about 1 tbsp) in the pan to sautee the brussels.
For the sauce simply add your sauce and a dollop of ricotta cheese for a smooth and creamy finish.
Serve with a little extra ricotta if you like (I love cheese… so yes please) and any garnish you like! I used oregano and crushed red pepper.
For being so quick and simple, this meal was a HUGE hit. Mike loved it.
And so did Little Mac…
One of the things I am loving the most about working through the 21 Intuitive Eating Challenge is rediscovering foods that I had made “off limits” for so long. One of those things? Caesar salad. I NEVER ate it for years because of the dressing, cheese, and croutons. Since I’m working on throwing out all my food rules and eating what I truly crave, I had my first chicken caesar wrap in years last week at work. It was… delicious. Sunday evening, I wanted to cook something warm and homey for dinner. I had a bunch of crap in my refrigerator and no plan. Intuitive eating perfection right there!
Recalling my extremely positive experience with my chicken caesar wrap, I decided to draw on that. I didn’t have lettuce so traditional salad or wraps were out. But I did have a nice amount of other delicious green veggies… so warm chicken caesar sandwiches were born!
Here’s everything you’ll need (but the recipe with ingredient list is also below!)
I’ve recently started using Trader Joe’s Olive Oil cooking spray and I’m enjoying it a lot! It’s not the BEST for non-stick properties (eggs particularly stick a little bit, but not terrible). I lightly coated my pan and browned a pack of chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are completely delicious btw. Much more flavorful than breasts so a great addition in simple dishes.
While my chicken was cooking, I prepped the other pieces. I was getting hungry so trying to be as efficient as possible. I went with zucchini, green pepper, yellow onion, and leeks. I recently discovered leeks and I’ve been using them a lot. They are amazingly fragrant and a nice complement to onions. And of course hearty wheat bread, which we toasted as a sandwich base.
I removed the chicken from the pan and threw the onions and leeks in first to “sweat down”. I heard that phrase on a cooking show once and I think it’s very accurate.
For the sauce, I decided to mix a vinaigrette caeser dressing with a dollop of tahini sauce to add some creaminess. They ended up blending together wonderfully!
And VOILA! served hot and topped with Parmesan cheese (because I don’t think many meals are complete without cheese!)
Here’s my recipe in case you need it!
I wasn’t 100% certain I was going to write about this on the blog because it’s kind of personal. But I’m starting to think that my “secrecy” about dieting / food and my embarrassment to discuss with others really only further perpetuates some of my issues. This month, I am participating in the Studio Eat’s 21 day Intuitive Eating Challenge.
Intuitive Eating resonates with me because I have lived in dieting hell for so long, I don’t even know what eating normally would be like. In an honest conversation with Mike not too long ago, I was so exasperated I was just like, “I just hate everyone who doesn’t have to deal with this. Like… how can they just EAT like it’s NO BIG DEAL???” Andddd then I was like, woah… that is one super crazy sentence. So I enrolled in this challenge. I also downloaded the book and am currently working my way through it.
Jamie (who is running the challenge) wrote this great post after conducting all her introductory phone calls with challenge participants. It is so worth a read because it is so freaking true. I am TIRED. So, this is an experiment. Three weeks of not counting calories, restricting, or judging. Eating what I want, when I want. Listening and observing with the intention of learning, not judging. What foods make me satisfied / feel good? What foods don’t? When am I hungry? When am I full? Trying to relearn to enjoy food and find eating pleasurable.
Here are some observations / lessons / thoughts from the first 5 days:
- The first two – three days of the challenge, I completely resisted it. I was hanging on to this idea that I needed to lose weight, and, once I did that, then I could focus on “improving my relationship with food.” If I could just get to the weight I think I want to be, some of this would go away on its own. However, deep down, I know this isn’t true. Because I’ve never been happy with my body. Never. Not when I was fat, not when I was the thinnest I’ve ever been… never. Then a member of the challenge posted this quote in the Facebook group from Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth: “When you live a life based on the externally imposed and inflexible need to be thin, it is impossible to develop trust in your ability to eat what satisfies you because what you are believing is that being thin will satisfy you.” Mind. Blown.
- I didn’t realize how many “food rules” I had created for myself. I thought I had a pretty balanced approach to eating, but, once we were told to throw out all the rules and eat whatever the hell we wanted, I realized that wasn’t true. Some of the foods I was eliminating or majorly restricting included pasta, rice, sandwiches, nut butters, whole eggs, red meat, cheese and olive oil in addition to the obvious sweets, candy, cookies, and fried foods. Literally the only foods I allowed myself to eat without guilt were plain vegetables, fruit, and chicken. I don’t even really like chicken that much… bleh. God, no wonder I felt so much pressure about food… look at all these guidelines I had set!
- I don’t enjoy 75% of the meals I eat in a given day. I eat breakfast and lunch mindlessly at my desk out of Tupperware with a plastic fork. I don’t savor it or take my time because I just want to get it over with. Same for my meals outside of work. Eating anything ultimately comes with such guilt and shame, it sabotages any potential enjoyment. In addition to focusing on exactly WHAT I want to eat, I’m also trying to focus on how / where I’m eating.
I have a lot of work to do. The last couple days have been really great but I’m worried about the long-term sustainability. Sometimes all it takes is one unflattering picture to knock me well off course. I know a key piece for me, in addition to the actual food/eating, is going to be figuring out how to love my body the way it is. I’m working on it. Will check back soon with an update but for now… feeling good… wary of the future?
[Note – Jamie is actually re-doing the challenge in April, so if you’re interested in the concept of IE I HIGHLY recommend it. The price is really reasonable and you get two 15 minute one-on-one calls with Jamie, continuous access to Jamie via email, access to a secret facebook group of all participants (where Jamie comments / responds regularly), and a daily email exploring one aspect of IE. ]