Tag Archives: healthy eating

Meal Planning – You can do this!

I’m proud to say that despite having a new baby in the house, my hubby and I have maintained our “make meals for the week in advance” schedule. We usually hit up the grocery as a family on Saturday or Sunday morning with our list in hand. We prepare lunches for both of us for 4 days and get ingredients for dinners as well for 4 nights. We also plan out what we’ll eat for  breakfast and make sure to have that prepped and ready, too.

If you are having trouble staying on track with whatever health goal you have and you AREN’T pre-planning your meals – my advice would be to start now! Even if your excuse is that your schedule is too hectic – I would argue that taking a few minutes to pre-select your meals, hit the grocery store ONCE and get all the goods and spending a few hours in the kitchen one day a week would help you have MORE time during the week. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend deciding what to eat on the day of before work. I would open my fridge and stare at the contents, look in the panty for any sign of something decent…and then struggle to think of anything  I could put together with what I had already. This often ended in frustration and I would just get something “out” which was typically unhealthy and more expensive than bringing food from home.

We have been doing this “meals in advance” thing for almost 4 years and we have definitely seen savings in terms of calories and dollars. And of course, time. If you aren’t a chef in the kitchen – there are so many resources for quick and easy meals available on the internet. Your meals don’t have to be gourmet!

Have I convinced you yet?

To get started you have to follow some rules:

1) Pre-select the meals. Check out some websites (eatingwell.com & cookinglight.com are 2 of my favs, as well as paleomg.com if you are looking for wheat free ideas) and select FOUR meals to make. You’ll pick 2 lunch style options and 2 dinner options.

  • You’ll be eating each meal twice which helps with the excuse of not wanting to buy a meal for just one person – because you’ll always be eating it twice. OR I guess if you don’t mind repetition – you could just pick 2 meals and eat them all 4 times instead (this would only work if you are doing this solo though)!
  • We give ourselves one lunch out and one dinner out each week so that we can still be social or attend work events that are over lunch/dinner, etc.
  • Make sure you consider your circumstances for lunch – do you have a fridge at work, a microwave? Toaster oven? Pick meals that will be easy to eat at work.

2) Make a LIST with all the ingredients you’ll need from each recipe BEFORE you set foot in the grocery store. Pick recipes that use the same ingredients to save even more money. So say you are going to make steak tacos and want to do a home made pizza – you could use the same cheese and vegetables for both. See?

3) This must be said: STICK TO THE LIST WHEN YOU SHOP. DO NOT VENTURE FROM THE LIST!

4) Pick a day, afternoon, night, morning (whatever) to prepare your meals. We always make our lunches in advance and put them in 1 serving containers so in the morning it’s a quick grab and go before work. Over the past year we’ve gone back and forth between making dinners in advance and waiting till the night of to make the dinner. It all depends on your schedule. But knowing what you are going to have for dinner and already having all the ingredients will save you tons of time and energy night of!

  • One thing we’ll do is do any prep work that might need to happen for dinner in advance. I’ll use the taco example again (we love tacos) – you could do that as a dinner but you could make the taco meat/veggies in advance so you just have to heat it up and crisp up the taco shells. Throw some beans on the side and you’ve got a meal.

Pyrex Storage Set from Amazon $25

One thing that really helps with this approach is to invest in some decent containers to store your portioned lunches/dinners. We use glass pyrex containers and we have a variety of sizes (small and large rectangles, different sizes of bowls, etc). Make sure whatever you get has lids that seal effectively to keep your food yummy.

The bottom line is that everyone is busy – but scheduling in time to eat healthy (or just to eat within a budget) is do-able. If we can do it in a family where we both work full time and have a new baby, you can do it, too! Start small – maybe just prepare lunches in advance and see how it goes!

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You Can’t Finish Without Starting

Ready?

Yesterday was my first day “back on the wagon” so to speak. I always feel more committed to sticking to my goals when I share it on this blogspace. So for what it’s worth, and to whoever may be reading this blog – thank you for helping me stay honest.

So, as I mentioned, my hubby and I are trying to get pack to more paleo/primal eating – so this week our meals are pretty on track! Here’s the run down:

Lunches:
Quick Chicken Enchiladas (with corn tortillas) from Cooking LightBeef Hamburgers with beans (no bun)

Dinners:
Shrimp-n-grits
Chicken Caesar Salad

So I had the hamburger and salad yesterday. I also made what is quickly becoming my signature breakfast dish and it was great once again. For 2 easy recipes – check out my old post about it over on my recipe blog. The great thing about both of them is that you can change up the ingredients to make it match what you like best! I don’t really follow a specific recipe anymore…and I feel like this is one of the few times in my life I am actually “cheffing it up” as my hubby would say!

For snacks, I indulged in some cashews, a small piece of 90% dark chocolate and greek yogurt. All pretty decent snacks in my opinion! And you know what? I was full and the food was good yesterday. I can do this! I still find myself looking to munch on processed crap – it will take a few weeks for those ridiculous cravings to go away, I know. Isn’t it terrible the bad habits we pick up and how food becomes an addiction that you have to kick?

While I wasn’t able to do much in terms of being active yesterday – I bet I burned a ton of calories breastfeeding since my little one had his 2 month shots and wanted nothing other than to eat and sleep in my arms all day long. I guess I can’t complain – I know that before too long he will be running around, uninterested in falling asleep in my arms. Savoring these moments while I can!

So, I could do it for one day, I can do it for another. The lesson here is that you can’t be successful at something unless you actually attempt it. What is stopping you from starting?

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Life Lemons & Making Lemonade

 

It’s been 9 weeks since I had major surgery. I’m feeling a lot better in terms of the incision healing. My swelling is gone, and if you were to see me out and about – you probably wouldn’t guess that I just had a baby you would probably just think I needed to lose some weight.

Over the last 5-6 years, even though I’ve always been technically overweight, I still was muscular and athletic. I was strong and always felt like I was “working on it.” I felt capable of trying new workouts, even if I wasn’t always the best in the class. I had more energy, my metabolism was off the charts.

I miss that person desperately. It feels like I’ve lost my dearest friend and I look at myself in the mirror and I’m not sure I really recognize this person I’ve become. I know that I birthed a child and that no one expects me to just snap back immediately to that person I was a year ago. But for me, it’s tough. I got the green light to work out moderately again at my postpartum check up around week 6. I was so excited to try and start incorporating some exercise again. And it was like the evil villain heard the news and decided to snatch my joy. I woke up  soon after with incredible pain in my knees. It hurt to walk, it hurt to move my knee joint, it hurt to go up/down stairs, it hurt to try and kneel or squat (try giving your baby a bath without kneeling/squatting!). Everything hurt. I thought it would pass – it was just some crazy after effect of the relaxin hormone/chemical (not sure what it is exactly) in my body passing through. *sigh*

But here we are, starting on week 10 and I’m still in a lot of pain. I’ve tried massage and chiropractor, I’ve tried ignoring it, I’ve tried walking more, walking less. I’ve tried stretching, heating pad, icing it – elevating my legs, I’ve tried monster size ibuprofen. I have an appointment with an acupuncturist scheduled. I’m out of ideas. I’ve heard from some others in the same boat as me, but it seems like no one has any cures other than just time. And I guess I’m impatient, I feel like knee pain impacts everything else. You sort of need your knees to do almost anything active..particularly when I’m taking care of my baby all day long in a house with 2 sets of stairs.

So I complain about this only to tell you that if I can’t really exercise right now, I can’t use that as an excuse to spiral out of control. I have to control the things I CAN control and wait for my body to fully recover from pregnancy and surgery, even if it is taking way longer than I imagined to just be able to walk without pain.

July Detox!

So my hubby and I are doing a bit of a detox this month. I’m not going on a diet – don’t worry – I know that is unsafe while breastfeeding. But I can do something about what I’m putting in my body. We are cutting out all fast food and working toward no processed foods. I think these are hard to avoid 100% of the time, but we are going to try to be at 90% unprocessed this month. If i buy something that is in a package – I can at least pick items that are as natural as possible. I can totally do that!

We are going to reduce our eat out meals – 1 lunch/1 dinner out during the week and I know we will have to work hard to get our weekend eating out adventures under control, but we can do it. When I do eat out, I can make better choices.

And at the end of this month – I know I will feel better because I’ll be DOING something about my health instead of just waiting to feel better to get started.

Life isn’t always how you plan it, and having a baby has big a big lesson in “control” and how much I don’t have control over a lot of things in my life like my schedule! But that doesn’t mean I should throw away everything I’ve worked for over the years – I just need to find comfort in the things I can control and rock it.

I’m not putting a weight loss goal on this monthly detox – because I’ve lost about 35 pounds already and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to lose the last 10 until I stop breastfeeding. But if I do – then great! But my goals are to feel better, and to feel like I’m doing SOMETHING about my health since I can’t exercise like I want to yet.

I’m feeling very “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” right now. So I’m just going to go with it and see what happens!

 

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Holiday Weight Gain – How are you preparing?

Happy Monday! There are a lot of reasons I hate the onset of colder weather, but lately I’ve been appreciating the lack of mosquitoes eating me alive every time I go outside to play Frisbee with my pups. As winter approaches, it’s easy to slack off on your fitness and healthy living goals. Putting on those comfortable sweaters instead of squeezing into your swim suit makes those extra pounds seem nonexistent. Trust me, they are still there!

Even though I’m not in weight loss mode now since I’m pregnant, I’m still trying to get my head focused on staying as healthy as possible during and after this pregnancy. And if you are like me, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years (and all the other holidays celebrated) all mean yummy food, tasty drinks and time NOT spent at the gym. So even though I’ve accepted that I will indeed be gaining weight over the next 6 months, I want to be gaining weight for the right reasons. Note to self: Giant Gingerbread Cookies & Triple Fudge Squares are not the right reasons. Continue reading

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Back to My Primal Ways…

Well, I’m starting to feel more energetic lately, so that is good news. I’m not grossed out immensely by certain foods so that is also going on the winner board. So what does this mean for my healthy eating lifestyle at this point? I think I’m going to make the leap and go back to eating primal/paleo inspired next week and see how it goes.

The last few weeks we have been trying to eat LESS of the bread/wheat stuff in an attempt to slowly help me move away from it now that I’m not on the verge of being sick all the time. I’ll admit that bread is just comforting to your stomach for whatever reason – or at least it helped me get past a lot of the sickness/queasy stuff in the first three months. BUT – man cannot live on bread alone, RIGHT!?

I was really digging my primal eating ways pre-pregnancy and saw improved energy, less cravings, feeling full on less food and I did experience some weight loss from naturally making better choices particularly when I went out to eat. So I’m going to re-focus and see how this goes. Of course, I’m planning on discussing this with my doctor on Monday during my next check in. I expect that I’ll still have the occasional weird craving and I’m not going to be all or nothing about this eating style while pregnant because what’s most important is that I’m eating what baby needs.

But I’m going to take a wild guess that baby does NOT need a chicken filet biscuit for breakfast…really ever. Okay, you only live once – so maybe just a few along the way. 🙂

I’ll still be eating dairy – so not true paleo style but still in alignment with Primal eating. I’m focusing on healthy fats like avocado, raw nuts, olives. And of course, moving back toward more lean protein and veggies as my main focus. So we’ll see how I do.

It’s funny because when I started this Paleo/Primal (wheat/grain free) back in the summer, my husband hated me for changing our diet. He hated eating wheat free. He hated all the things he saw as limitations and complained about it ALL THE TIME.

It made sticking to the plan so much more difficult for me. But now he is the one who keeps asking if I’m ready to go back to eating Primal/Wheat Free because it made him feel so much better. Now we laugh after he gives in and eats a biscuit or something at breakfast because he is SO reactive to it – gets stuffy almost immediately. He wonders how he never noticed before (despite my constant attempts of explaining my theory!).

Amazing how much we don’t listen to our bodies even when we have pretty strong reactions to foods/drinks that we have on a regular basis. So this next week or so will be interesting to see how my body reacts to changing up my diet and getting back on track with eating good for me foods!

Of course, I’ll keep you posted.

 

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My Big Secret

It’s been a long 15 weeks in terms of trying to NOT tell you what’s really been going on with me on my blog. When I first started this blog – my goal was to help others be inspired to make healthier life choices, to create and meet goals for themselves so they could be happier people. My biggest focus was typically on losing weight in a healthy way, exploring different ways of buying and cooking foods, and picking physical challenges to keep myself (and hopefully others) motivated.

But the last few months – I’ve pulled a bit of a disappearing act. Not because things weren’t going on, but because I couldn’t really talk about losing weight or tackling vigorous work outs anymore. In fact, over the last few months, I’ve gained 4 pounds. I’ve incorporated wheat and grains back into my diet out of necessity. I have even had to quit teaching my fitness class – I’m not even allowed to do TurboKick right now. Doctor’s orders!

My whole life has changed.

And it will forever be changed because I’m going to be a mommy! 🙂

We finally made our announcement “facebook official” today – so I feel okay sharing my news here on my blog as well for the world to see. I guess part of my ThirtyStory was bound to include pregnancy, right? So now that I’m openly sharing my news – I hope to be able to share my attempts at trying to eat healthy and work out in low impact ways while I work on creating this little baby to be inside of me. It’s already been super challenging after 3 months of feeling like I could barely keep my eyes open, and dealing with the feeling of “I’m about to be sick” 24/7. Eating healthy has been a struggle, because for the most part – I’ve had an aversion to basically all the eating/food changes I had made prior to getting pregnant. I toughed it out the first month and refused to eat crackers or  bread to help settled my stomach.

But a woman can only take so much! So, I’ve been eating breads again – but trying to stay with non processed versions, so I’m not eating a ton of preservatives. I’m hoping that as I am now in the 2nd trimester I’ll be able to wean myself off a lot of the grains/wheats again so I can focus on getting my energy from healthy carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. It’s just been a bit of an uphill battle these last few weeks and I’m sure it’s far from over.  I’ve missed my Primal ways after working so hard to get there in the first place. I hope to find a balance between the cravings and my preferred eating styles.

I hope you’ll stick around so I can share with you my journey and as usual, I’ll tell you the wins and defeats along the way. And for those of you who have “been there, done that” – I’d love to hear your feedback and advice.

I’m excited about this next chapter of my life, and I’m so glad that you all are finally in on our secret and I don’t have to write mysteriously vague blogs anymore. Tonight I’ll be trying out my first water aerobics class – since I can’t do my high impact stuff, I thought heading to the pool might be a good option. I’ll give you the low down on how it goes next time!

Until then….thanks for hanging in there with me until I could be 100% with you again. I promise interesting and helpful content from here on out!

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Celebrating the BIG WIN

Last time, I talked about the little things along the way and how we shouldn’t overlook how important they are to us on our journey to being healthier. Today’s weigh in felt like a BIG WIN for me, and so I wanted to also properly celebrate that because all those little decisions I’ve been making this week paid off.

What I Did This Week:

I have been tracking my carbs a bit more – not writing down every single thing but paying a bit more attention to where I’m getting my carbs. I was surprised that one of the all natural fruit/nut bars I’ve been eating has like 23 carbs! That is a lot for such a small food item. I definitely want to be careful and not rely too heavily on those as a snack if I’m eating something starchy during the day (like my one allotted potato or corn based meal!). Just having that awareness has helped me make better decisions this week about what I should snack on based on what I had for lunch or what I’ll be having for dinner.

Apparently, it worked! I had gained a bit of weight last week unfortunately. But I sort of saw it coming because I just wasn’t on the bandwagon as much as I should have been. I had Mexican food twice PLUS a day at a baseball game where lunch was wings, popcorn and hot dogs. While I didn’t indulge in a bun with hot dog and  I passed on the cookies -there just is no recovery from so many off plan meals in one week. My weight REALLY fluctuated last Friday and it was depressing, but great motivation to pay more attention this week so I can meet my goals. So I was down about 4 pounds this week from my number last week which was a major win! I know a lot of it was probably just inflammation from eating the wrong types of food last week, but I think at least 1-2 pounds of it is reflective of my hard work this week.

Results

Either way, I am now about 7.4 pounds away from my first mini weight loss goal!!! 7.4 pounds away from my “wedding weight” as I like to call it. I’ve come a long way – I’ve lost about 10.6 pound since my initial visit with a nutritionist to do my metabolism testing back in December. My TurboFire program definitely helped light a fire under me again to take control of my situation instead of just being mad about it. And now my 30 Day Food Challenge has given me the tools I needed to make some life changing changes by really helping me focus on what I’m eating.

I’m finding that what Mark Sission (from marksdailyapple.com) says is true…80% of your fitness/health comes from your diet, 20% from exercising. I definitely think I had this ratio mixed up in the past. I was trying to work out all the time to compensate for some bad eating habits. Now I’m focused on making good decisions with my eating I can work out and not feel like I have to kill myself every time. I can be active in an enjoyable way – like on a hike, a walk with the dogs (although sometimes walking Yoshi is a nightmare!). Last night I wasn’t feeling that great so I didn’t do my strength training program (on the agenda for tonight!). But I decided to do a few sprint type things in the house – I did 50 jumping jacks and then jumped rope for 30 seconds. I did walking lunges and then quick feet drills. I ran up and down my stairs about 20 times as fast as I could (with my dog Peach running right along side me haha!). Something was better than nothing.

I feel like this new way of eating is very empowering. I am finally in control – and it’s a really good feeling. And today was definitely a reminder that all the little decisions along the way can pay off for a big win.

image

This is my BIG WIN Dance

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