Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Sure, growing up I was rewarded for my hard work. But it didn't always happen immediately after I did this hard work. I didn't get rewarded for every day I woke up and went to school, did I? I didn't get rewarded when I scored an A on a quiz either. I DID get rewarded at the end of a six week period or the end of the year when ALL my good habits paid off and I made that A in that class. I have to view weight loss the way that I do school (because school is the one thing that I'm wholeheartedly committed to). In school I didn't make 100s on everything I turned in. I had bad days. But over time, the good days outweighed the bad and it paid off. I made that A. It's the same thing here folks. We will all slip up. We will all have bad days. But the more we are "present" and work hard, the more pay off we are ultimately going to see.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
One of the goals I made for 2010 was to work on my blog. And one of my big plans for my blog (and the things I enjoy writing about the most) are blog series posts generally involving how-tos or tips and tricks.
Today I'm going to introduce a few things to you. The first is a tag on some of my posts that say: Tips and Tricks. This will allow you to easily search through my posts to find the informational blogs. While I won't do it today, at some point I am going to filter through all my tags and reduce the number of tags I actually have so it's even easier to find stuff. But that will have to wait for another day. I also will go back and back tag some old posts with this new Tips and Tricks tag so you can go back and find those too if you are newer to my blog.
Anyways, the second thing I'm going to introduce is a new blog series - Eating away from home. Since I'm about to start school and have night class and labs twice a week, I'm obviously going to have some dietary changes. The major change will be eating away from home the nights I have class or lab. The second change is making sure that I am prepared with breakfast and lunch for work the day after my class. But, we'll go more into that later. I'm going to share recipes, tips and show you what I'm doing when I'm eating away from home during this time period.
To introduce this I'm going to start with two introductory posts - one on eating at a restaurant and another on eating "convenience foods" at school or work (or even home) when you are short on time and can't make yourself a full meal.
Part 1 - Surviving the restaurant experience.
I think eating at a restaurant is one of the most stressful things about being a healthy lifestyler and watching what you eat. The only MORE stressful thing is probably eating at someone else's house where you don't have options, because at least in a restaurant you can choose from a variety of selections. But, nonetheless eating out was very traumatic for me when I started my healthy journey. I used to view it as a cheat time and that I could order anything I wanted because "it's a special time" or "I don't really like salad and that's all they have that is healthy", etc. etc. But what I've learned over time that eating out is everything that YOU make it to be and if you want to be healthy, it's actually pretty easy.
Now, there is a variety of general restaurant tips out there about menu key words to avoid and tips that tell you to only eat half your meal and take the rest home, etc. etc. Frankly, while I appreciate these tips, I'm going to assume you guys know them all and I'm not going to review them. If you are looking for these very basic tips about eating at a restaurant, SparkPeople has a WONDERFUL collection of restaurant articles that can help you here. Instead, I'm going to give you some tips that are outside of the normal advice. These are the things that REALLY helped me feel comfortable eating out.
1. Making eating out the special occasion, not the norm.
You know I have to start with this one. The easiest way to master the restaurant is to stop eating there as much! The easiest way to be healthy is to prepare food yourself and control exactly what you are eating. Next time you are going out to eat, think why? Are you being lazy and don't want to cook? Are you in a situation where you really need to eat out due to a lack of time, convenience or otherwise? If you are meeting friends could you just as easily have them over to your house and make a healthy dinner there? Is it a celebration and you are treating yourself? Ask yourself these questions to cut back on eating out. It saves you a lot of money and calories!
Make eating out a special time and you will be more inclined to stick to your healthy eating habits. If you are healthy at home, you will want to be healthy at the restaurant, right? Why does eating out ruin your "healthy streak?" It doesn't! Being healthy doesn't stop when you leave your house.
2. Never view eating out as impossible.
A lot of times that Matt and I decide to eat out, he worries that I "won't be able to find something to eat". And every time, I tell him - I will find something, don't worry. Matt's worries COULD be true of people with limiting diets, like vegans, vegetarians or people with certain food intolerances, but I am not on one of those diets. Therefore, I should be able to find something I will enjoy that is moderately healthy almost anywhere we go. And if I find myself in a situation where I can't find something healthy, then I can always say - I don't want to eat here OR practice moderation with what I eat.
Also in this mix is viewing certain restaurants as "off limits". The more you do that, the more you're going to crave those places. If no place is ever off limits then you will feel more confident with your abilities to choose a healthy meal (which means you probably WILL choose the healthy meal). Obviously there will be exceptions to this rule, but in general leave your options open.
I live in Texas and Mexican food is a HUGE deal down here. I used to throw all Mexican restaurants out of the mix because I didn't feel like I could eat a healthy meal. At the end of this post, I'll tell you how I've finally changed that mindset and now eat Mexican food without issue.
3. Take control of your decisions about the food and the restaurant.
Where you eat and what you put into your mouth is YOUR decision only and you have to remember that when eating out. Don't feel like you have to order a burger because everyone else is having one. Also don't feel like you have to go to a restaurant just because someone else suggests it. Always ALWAYS exercise your option to choose the place you go, what you order and how much you eat of your meal. If you find yourself ordering something that is a splurge for you, don't eat all of it. You don't have to be a member of the clean plate club. Take leftovers home. Leave it on your plate (if you don’t want to eat it again) or just share with someone. Restaurant portions are huge and sharing meals is the BEST thing that I do now.
4. Look at the menu differently
A lot of times the "healthy items" on a menu are boring because they are the same things as every restaurant, right? Grilled chicken with veggies and salads. So look at the other options with an open mind. See a chicken dish you like but don't like the sides? Look around for other sides you might like more and ask to substitute them. Also, check the appetizers. This is a HUGE tip that I have learned. We don't normally think of appetizers as entrees, but say you like crab cakes and see them on the appetizer menu. Ask for the crab cakes, with a side salad and steamed veggies. See what I mean? Pick and choose the things that you want and put them together. If all else fails, just ask for the waiter to make you a salad with whatever you want on it. If you start looking at what's on the menu and breaking it all down, I bet you can find something you will be really satisfied with.
5. Know what you want
These next two tips are a little conflicting, so I'm going to combine them under one number and give them both to you at the same time to make my point. If you don't want a salad or grilled chicken (like I mentioned before), then get what you really want. If you don't get what you really want, you're more likely to binge later. But remember moderation, remember the skinny girl rule, "You can have it all, but not all at once" and remember to make it healthy however you can. If you really want a pizza, ask for light on the cheese and swap the fatty meat toppings for veggies. If you really want a pan fried chicken breast, ask a friend to split it with you and order veggies as your sides (I've SO done this before with Heather). But remember, there are limits to this rule.....
Remember what else you're going to have (or had!) that day or week and ask yourself if you really need this dish you crave NOW or if you can have it at home. If you can make a homemade pizza at home that is JUST as tasty and will leave you just as satisfied, don't order a pizza when out. If you really want enchiladas but know that Amy's makes a frozen enchilada you love that is healthier, choose something else. So yes, order what you want, but also practice moderation and make trades where you can. You might not want to order a salad, but if you know you're having an indulgent meal the next day, just order it and enjoy your splurge tomorrow. You can enjoy your more healthy swap for the food you are craving at home the next day. Just because you have a craving doesn't mean you should give into it at that exact moment.
The day we flew to Jersey for Christmas, I had a starbucks oatmeal in the morning at the airport. Lunch was VERY indulgent because I had an authentic Philly cheesesteak on our way to our destination. It was worth every bite and calorie. That night we had dinner at a steakhouse and I really wanted steak. But, knowing that I had steak earlier in the day and knowing this was one of the few times I'd be able to order whatever I wanted while we were there, I chose a grilled chicken dish with spinach, a salad and mashed potatoes. Sure the mashed potatoes were also a big of a splurge, but I balanced it out with the rest of my meal.
6. Plan ahead
I've always been one that knew what I would eat before I went to a restaurant. Often, I choose to go to a particular restaurant because of one dish they have. But recently, I've started choosing what I'll eat before I go and make my decision final. (I track my food, so I usually enter my food before I go to the restaurant too.) Once arriving at the restaurant, I check the menu or with the waiter to make sure my previous selections are available and then I set my menu down and I don't look at it again. This keeps me from being tempted by items on the menu. Since I'm hungry when I get to the restaurant, I'm more likely to pick something that "sounds good" instead of what is really healthy for me. Making my selection in advance, when I'm not hungry, allows me to use a level head in my selection and I'm less prone to slip up that way. If you can't look at the menu in advance, search the menu for the healthiest options available and once you find one that you would enjoy, set the menu down. The more you look at that menu, the more you will second guess your choice or your first instinct.
7. Know your dining guests
I've mentioned sharing plates earlier. I am a big sharer and I will generally just eat off your plate without asking if I knew you well (sorry!). If I go to a restaurant and I know I really want something that isn't my best option but someone else is getting it, I'll ask for a bite. Or, I'll ask my dining companions if we could split plates, so I get to have some of what I want and some of what is healthy. I know this is probably hard to do all the time, but just try it and see if it works for you.
For example, tonight Matt and I are meeting a friend at a Mexican restaurant. The key to eating Mexican food for me is to order a small entree. Since I love chips and salsa, I know I will eat a lot of them. Ordering a small entree means that I have less food to eat and I can enjoy the chips and salsa without feeling stuffed or guilty. Today I'm really craving fajitas, but that is not a small entree. I know I will over-do it if I order fajitas. I know I should order black bean soup and a side salad because it's fantastic at this particular place. So I have probed my guests by asking what they will order. When they asked what I'm ordering, I told them my dilemma. Both of my dinner guests offered to split fajitas with me. Even if they change their mind and don’t want to split meals, I know I they would give me one fajita from their plate and I can order my salad and soup. And if they decide they don’t want fajitas, I will live with just my soup and salad! Yes, I'm kind of annoying - but I am eating a healthy meal and still having a small taste of what I really want. Plus, I guarantee you there are others in every situation that wouldn't mind sharing at all. There's no harm in asking, right?
So that's it... those are my tips for eating at a restaurant successfully. Sure you'll have triumphs and you'll have other times where you blow it. But don't worry, it's just one meal. One day, you will get more comfortable and more confident I promise. One book that really changed my views on eating out was Bethenny Frankel's Naturally Thin. It's a great read! To end, I'll share one last successful restaurant experience with you from this week.
I was invited to attend a friend's birthday dinner this week on a night where I had to work very late. The dinner was at a popular italian/pizza place. I decided that packing a dinner to bring to work the best in case I had to work late. When I was finished work with enough time to meet my friends for dinner, I remembered that my work group is treating me to a birthday lunch this Friday. We are visiting a different popular italian/pizza place where I have already planned to order a custom pizza (veggies please!). I ate my packed dinner at work and attended the birthday party, arriving just in time for everyone's food to come. I was full from dinner and didn't feel the need to eat off people's plates. I saved money by not eating out and I simply ordered a club soda with lime and enjoyed the company of my friends. Because really folks, it's about the company, not the food.
If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!
Monday, January 04, 2010
The point IS that there are plenty of exercises I can still do when group exercise is not available. There also are times when a shorter, less intense workout is just as beneficial (if not more!) than my "perfect workout." The hard part is pushing myself to not over think the workout and just GO. With school about to start and my extra time about to be significantly crippled by the extra load of school, now is definitely the time to start re-evaluating my workouts and make sure that I have a plan that is both enjoyable and attainable. A week of "perfect workouts" on top of school and work is NOT achievable for this upcoming semester.
What are some small victories that you have celebrated lately? How does celebrating these small victories help you accomplish the big goals? What is your "perfect workout" and what do you do when you can't achieve it?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I normally do not make New Year's Resolutions. But, in the past I never made them because I never would keep them. This year, it's very different. Spark has taught me the importance of goal setting and I know this year that I can complete anything I want. My plan is to make blanket resolutions (which I will call goals) for the year that will be easy to maintain. Each month, as I make my monthly goals, I will spend a little time focusing on these yearly goals and making monthly goals specifically tailored to them. So here are my goals for 2010!
1. Run a 10K.
This one is pretty self explanatory. I have a 10K lined up for July, so that's the race I am shooting for!
2. Take better care of my skin.
This is actually the ONE resolution I make every year. I am very inconsistent about taking care of my skin and that's AWFUL. I generally get lazy and tired and don't want to wash my face at night. If I do wash my face, I almost never moisturize or use eye cream, etc. I know I need to start doing these things in my 20s so I can have beautiful skin as I get older! Part of taking care of my skin is actually wearing makeup. I have very oily skin, so I use acne fighting foundation and powder and it keeps my skin SO much clearer! Wearing makeup also gives me an incentive to wash my face. So wearing makeup more regularly and taking care of my skin are priorities for me this year! If anyone has good recommendations on moisturizers/eye cream/etc let me know please!
3. Make a 4.0 in school.
I've never made a 4.0 in college and this year is the year I will do it. I have three semesters to accomplish this and I just want a 4.0 in one of them. The old me would put a lot of pressure on myself and said I needed to make one every semester, but not this year! Making a 4.0 just once is good enough for me and if it happens more than one semester, I will sure be thrilled!
4. Continue my work with stress/anxiety.
I have made significant progress with managing my stress and anxiety over the past 6 months, but I still have a long way to go and I'm about to enter a very difficult time in my life - going back to school! So keeping up with my work is imperative. Some of the things that help me manage my stress and anxiety the most are: exercise, planning and maintaining a routine. I'm not going to make specific resolutions for these things, but these will be a part of my monthly goals that I make.
5. Become more realistic with myself about my goals.
Everyone that knows me knows that I make RIDICULOUS goals for myself and I am really really hard on myself when I don't meet them. I have to be more forgiving and sympathetic to myself, without becoming a total softie and not pushing myself out of my comfort zone. So I will really work on this in 2010. The first step for me is recognizing that a 2 pound loss per week is not realistic for my body. I am moving my expectation to 1 pound a week and I will go from there. Although my focus is no longer on the scale, I still will weigh-in and shoot for 1 pound a week loss in 2010!
6. Build my blog.
Blogging truly is an emotional and spiritual outlet for me. It helps me to get my thoughts out of my brain and onto "paper" so I can focus on something else. It also is a means of analyzing my behavior and making plans for the goals I want to reach. One of my goals after becoming a dietician is to have a blog where I post food facts, new recipes, cooking demonstrations, general health news, etc. So this year I want to focus on improving my current blog and creating several blog series and maintaining them. As I build these series and become more dedicated to blogging, I believe it will be easier for me to have a successful blog as a dietician!!
That's it. Light and simple and focusing on the key aspects of my life that I would like to change and goals I want to achieve. Rather than focus on the bad habits I have now or the things that I feel like I need to fix, I just want to focus on the possibilities in my life and the goals that I have. Taking a positive approach is putting me in the right step for both #4 and #5! As I mentioned, these are my general blanket resolutions/goals for 2010 and each month I will spend time making monthly goals that reflect these yearly milestones.
One thing I did want to mention is my new reward system for 2010. Many of you know I used to put quarters into a jar based on specific goals (working out, calories and alcohol) for each day. I am done with this system because I was never giving myself anything! haha! I was just stocking up on the quarters with no reward in sight. So a few weeks ago we rolled all the quarters ($300 worth!) and put them into the bank.
The new reward system focuses on running, because I find when I'm focused on my running I'm the most successful. Now I will "pay" myself $1.00 per mile that I run/walk. I will have a reward set in my mind and once I have enough money accumulated to buy the reward, I will buy it and then start over and pick a new reward! The rewards must be things that I wouldn't buy for myself otherwise. My first reward is a dutch oven for my kitchen. These are very heavy cast iron stock pots and I have wanted one for the past 1.5 years SO much. They are approximately $50-$75, so now I just need to find the one I want and run for it! I have $2.00 accumulated since I started this new program!
Here's to health, happiness and love in 2010 to everyone!
Well, I made it to the gym tonight! I was very pleased with my workout. I felt fantastic afterwards. I think it’s ridiculous how I sometimes don’t want to go work out, but I feel so great afterwards. I spent 15 minutes on the elliptical, 18 minutes on the treadmill (.5 mile walk, .5 mile jog) and about 5 minutes on the stair stepper. It was a nice easy workout to get me back in workout mode.
Then I came home to make a very easy, random and tasty dinner.
Random, I know. I seasoned the rice with dried chopped onions and this fantastic Mrs. Dash seasoning that I bought a few weeks ago. Then I topped with a little shredded parmesan cheese and mixed it all together.
It’s seriously good. I added the hummus and the egg for extra protein. I sometimes have big problems eating enough protein when I don’t eat meat. I’m trying right now to eat more eggs. Hard boiled is my favorite way to eat an egg, so I didn’t complain tonight. I grew up eating a lot of hard boiled eggs and we always had an egg timer to tell us when they were done. I had an egg timer at my house, but somehow it got lost in my move at the beginning of this year. I was very happy to receive a new one for Christmas this year!
If you’ve never used one of these, I really recommend buying one! I love it. I also had caramelized cabbage, aka my favorite veggie ever. I used a little less EVOO than normal today, which resulted in slightly more “burnt” cabbage. It was fantastic this way!
Dessert was a cup of Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride (PS Candy Cane Lane is my favorite tea now) and a small bowl of peppermint ice cream. This peppermint ice cream is like my favorite thing in the world and I definitely should not be trusted around it. I’m really
glad sad this container is almost gone.
It was an awesome dinner! My stomach is feeling a little off right now, but that happens with really intense exercise, so I’m just riding it out.
Now time for some random pictures! I uploaded pictures to my computer today and found several from the past few weeks!
An authentic Philly Cheese Steak from Jim’s Steaks in downtown Philly. We had these right after we flew into Philly to get to Matt’s mom’s house in NJ for Christmas vacation. This steak was INCREDIBLE.
A random little casserole I made a few weeks ago. I roasted broccoli and added it to cooked lean beef and whole wheat pasta. I topped it with mozzarella cheese and broiled it in the oven. I definitely added too much cheese to this but I only had a tiny bit left in the package, so I threw it on there.
Coming up are my 2010 goals and tomorrow I’ll have my January goals up for you guys!!