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We’ve been away from each other for awhile and I’ve been cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Below are some of the more delectable dishes from the past few weeks.

BREAKFAST

I eat a lot of eggs because they’re zero points on Weight Watchers, nutritious and filling, and super versatile. Sometimes, I want something that’s not eggs for breakfast. I put together a yogurt bowl with non-fat plain greek yogurt, jazzed up with cinnamon and vanilla, 1/4 cup of granola and lots of berries.

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I often will make my own homemade waffles and pancakes so I know exactly what goes into them, but for days I need to have an efficient morning, I pull out kodiak cakes’ protein brand. (Not an ad, I just love their products). I topped this beautiful with sugar free syrup- not bad, just a little less sticky so it makes food soggier faster- fruit, and chopped walnuts.

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On mornings, such as on the weekend, when I do have time for a leisurely morning, I like to concoct more advanced dishes. This is two eggs with marinara sauce, veggies, and mozzarella baked together in a warm bowl of goodness.

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LUNCH/DINNER

Quick and simple, grilled shrimp, brown rice, spinach.

 

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I cooked some 99% ground turkey meat in teriyaki sauce and ate it throughout the week. One of my concoctions was lettuce wraps with an assortment of vegetables, served with brown rice.

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Another variety was in a bowl mixed with lots of veggies and rice, topped with a little drizzle of sweet chili sauce.

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I eat a lot of cod because it’s so easy to cook. Here, I just topped it with salt and pepper and enjoyed it over zoodles cooked in olive oil and garlic and topped with chopped tomatoes and parmesan.

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A blackened piece of swordfish paired well with frozen veggies. It was very easy to pop the vegetables into the microwave and throw some teriyaki on it for taste.

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Any go-to meals to share? I’d love to hear your opinions!

aaaand we’re back.

We’re looking a little different around here these days! A fresh start was much needed and I think things are looking good. Please also note that in order to find the blog, the link is now http://www.strongerwithcaitlin.com.

Here’s a funny story to start your Monday off on the right foot. A week ago, in the wee hours of the morning, I heard Simba playing. He jumped up and was super cuddly, a common occurrence for him. Still half asleep and in the dark, I start petting him until I feel something moist but solid next to him. At first, I felt bad for the little guy, thinking he threw up or had a hairball, but then I realized in a year of having him, he’d never been sick. It hit me, in one of those sickening punchy ways what it was. A DEAD MOUSE. I threw it across the room and jumped up, trying to be quiet and thankful to Simba for his hard work, but also deeply disgusted. I stepped on it. At 4:30am, I was scrubbing my hands and feet and then had to throw away the mouse before work.

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How are you?

I’m feeling quite well! My mom and I are on Weight Watchers together and we’ve both made great strides. Thus far, I am down 14.2 pounds.

This weekend, I tried on a pair of black pants I had purchased a few years ago assuming they would fit, but they were always too tight. They fit PERFECTLY this weekend. It’s the small things with weight loss that keep you going.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with a weekend recap. In the meantime, check out the new sections of the blog, including an updated My Weight Loss Journey, Personal Training, and Writing.

Enjoy your Monday!

Workouts of Late

This week, I am down 1.8 pounds.

I’ve collected quite a few sweaty selfies of late thanks to my fitness Instagram- Stronger with Caitlin. Here’s a few of them, along with what I’ve been doing for my workouts lately.

Lots of running.

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Summer into fall is my absolute favorite time to run and I always pick up my pace and length once the weather cools down just a bit. Of course, I try to run outside in the winter, but it’s never for as long. I also detest the treadmill and cannot go for miles unless I’m somehow in a trance-like state.

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I’m excited to see how fast and far I can go now that I’m dropping a few extra pounds. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, ranging from True Crime to Disney World themed, during my workouts, although I’ll always return to my favorite playlists and upbeat musicals when I just want to cruise.

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I’ve also been a sweaty mess during my strength training workouts, which I do three times a week. I try to add 15-20 minutes of faster cardio to the end or throughout. My cardio of choice on these days has been jump roping. It’s such a great workout that you don’t have to suffer through for an extended amount of time. I like to do a set of jumps 50-100 after each set of exercises to get the heart rate UP.

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In conclusion, I aim for six days a week of challenging workouts. 3 running days and 3 strength training days. Thus far, I’ve been enjoying the results.

Stay-tuned for the fall when I’ll be mixing things up!

The “Cheat Meal”

Another week, another 2 pounds down. Feeling strong!

One thing to keep in mind about Weight Watchers or healthy eating in general, is that it’s not so much a temporary fix. I know people like quick fixes to lose weight fast, but sustainable weight loss requires a lifetime of choices.

This weekend, I went to the beach with family and had an indulgent meal followed by an ice cream. I don’t eat that way every day, but once a week makes a big difference in my perspective.

Eating real food with few fake or shady ingredients is important, but if you enjoy something, it should never be off limits. You just have to learn how to eat them in moderation. Easier said then done, but do something long enough, it does become habit.

Just like I need a rest day once a week, I also need a meal or two where I’m not counting calories or points, or wondering the ratio between carbs, proteins, and fats. Sometimes that meal turns into a week of meals, but know it’s never too late to return to healthier ways. Being super restrictive leads to resentment, which blocks success.

I don’t know if we should label anything the “cheat meal” because ice cream for me is just as important to my diet as baby spinach. I eat a lot more baby spinach per week, but it keeps me determined and successful. Referring to something as cheating provides further negative connotation to food, which our society does not need. We need to stop shaming people based on their habits, but try to promote better habits. Eating, for me at least, is an enjoyable part of life, whether it’s breakfast in the middle of a hectic morning or Thanksgiving dinner. I enjoy it now more than I did when I was obese and eating a lot more. Part of that is I’ve come to like cooking, but another part of it is coming to accept the fact that we need food to live.

I’m not a proponent of many diets, fasts, or cleanses (although different things work for different people). Learning to eat real food most of the time just has better lasting effects and makes you feel better inside, which is most important.

Keep being you!

Food for Friday

It’s Friday and it’s time for the Friday Food Round-up! How are you feeling? Eat well this week? Sleep enough? Fit in some exercise? Hopefully all those answers are yes, and now we get to enjoy the weekend!

Breakfast

I made bagels from Skinnytaste that were 3 points on Weight Watchers! 3! The base is Greek yogurt and though my mom didn’t love the texture, I thought they were tasty. I dipped the first one in some peanut butter.

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Because the way I assembled them were too thin to cut, I dipped them into two over-easy eggs.

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I need simple and satisfying breakfasts at work, so I’ve been on a huge peanut butter stuffed pita kick as of late. With banana or other fruits is particularly delicious.

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Sometimes a girl just wants some eggs and toast.

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Lunch

I started off the week with a huge salad full of fresh veggies, grilled chicken, and some nuts for crunch.

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One day I stuck with leftovers for lunch, but the next day, I made this tuna salad with greek yogurt and mustard. Red bell peppers, carrots, and celery rounded out the dish.

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Since I work late Thursdays, I made a significant lunch of whole wheat pasta, grilled shrimp, and veggies.
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Dinner

The first dinner of the week was this blackened salmon dish with spinach rice, roasted bell peppers, and broccoli.

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Blackened scallops on a bed of spinach, peppers, carrots, and nuts.

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Chicken cacciatore with whole wheat pasta, bell peppers, and asparagus.

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A beautiful salad with veggies and grilled chicken.

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Have a spectacular weekend!

Guest Post: Cait

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I like to refer to myself as a runner, but my friend Cait is an actual, competitive, marathon runner. She inspires me to hit the pavement and keep going, even when my body disagrees and was kind enough to answer some questions about running and her passion for fitness with us.

Thanks, Cait!

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Can you give us some background as to why and how you started running?

When I was about 5 years old I started running the Town day road races with my family.  Soon after that it became a hobby that me and my dad did together.  We would do weekend runs together and Christmas morning was always a fun run.  Next I started my first team in elementary school, and the rest is history.

Why running?
Running is the easiest way to get a quick workout in and you only sneakers and an outfit, and if you need a watch.  Other than that its simple, you just go out your door and explore.
How do you prepare for runs? Whether it’s race day or just a casual jaunt?
Race day and a casual run are completely different preparations for me.  A causal run I just get dressed and go out my door. But a race preparation starts really when the entire training starts, hydration, nutrition and sleep. Typical day of prep would include a bagel with cream cheese a coffee and apple juice, and depending time 2 hours before I run I would have a power bar and some water. I additionally 1 hour before race time will start to stretch and warm up.
What have been your greatest achievements with running?
My greatest achievement would be finishing the Boston marathon, or should I say swimming! (A/N: It was pouring the day of the marathon this year!)
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What was running the marathon like, both physically and mentally?
Besides training your body to run for 4 hours, the hardest part was getting over the fact that you are in pain and you are tired.  If running a marathon was easy, everybody would do it.  It takes mental and physical strength that will push you past your limits, and you truly find out what your body is capable of.
Are there any negatives or downsides to running you’ve felt over the years?
I ran competitively for 12 years so there are deff some negatives.  Injury’s will pop up but you can bounce back, the biggest challenge i have faced would have to be the mental burn out. Over training is a common you can experience mental fatigue.
How was it being a collegiate athlete?
Being a collegiate is something I am so happy I was able to do.  I loved being able to compete and miss being able to toe the line and feel the adrenaline pumping.  I wish I could do it all over again.
How have you made the transition from collegiate athlete to casual runner (if you can call it that)?
Transitioning from a collegiate runner to a casual runner was a weird experience.  I didn’t know when to start running again after my break and so I ended up just starting to sign up for 5K’s and half marathons and then some how I got a number and ran the Boston Marathon.
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Any suggestions and advice to offer those who are looking to get into or improve their running?
One thing I would say is to be proud of yourself for getting out there, it is an amazing feeling when you suddenly feel yourself getting better. It is also a great stress reliever so that is a plus.

Love Letter to Exercise

It was the summer before my senior year of college and I had no idea what to pursue in my professional life, but I knew I did not want to present myself to the world in my current condition. I was obese, self-conscious, and overwhelmed. Rather than sink further into this black hole, I decided to pull myself out of it.

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After work, every afternoon, I put in 15 minutes on the clunky elliptical we had in the basement. I blasted music and endured it. As the days and weeks passed, I started putting on episodes of favorite shows, like Friends and Golden Girls, and worked until the end. It wasn’t long before I realized how much I enjoyed the effort, the slick sweat and short of breath feelings grew addictive.

I could go for an hour, playing with speeds and intensities. I was losing weight and I felt good about myself for the first time ever. I was in complete control, pushing my body to limits I thought I would forever detest. My body craved more. After my elliptical session, I would do sets of jumping jacks and started lifting the light weights we had lounging around. By the end of the summer, I was more determined than I had ever been in my life and I knew I would keep going once I was back in school.

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At my college, there were two gyms- one in the main building of campus and the other in the basement of a dorm. I loved both, they became safe spaces of comfort. Lifting weights awakened my body in new ways. I’d feel sore the next day, but it was a result of achievement rather than a painful deterrent. I had no knowledge about how to lift weights, no idea what exercise worked what muscle group, I just tried what I saw other people in the gym doing, or what I read about online.

In these days, I racked up one-two hours every day at the gym. It’s not what I recommend for everyone, nor something that is doable for busy people, but it was my saving grace. Gone was the anxious girl who ate her emotions. I found my strength.

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February of that year, I decided to tackle the treadmill. Growing up, I loved playing sports, but I hated to run. I started at 30 minutes, walking for 4 minutes and running for 1 minute in 5 minute increments. By Red Sox opening day that year, I took my runs to the outdoor track down the street and was running 3-4 miles at a time. I was a runner- and that is not something I offer lightly. To this day, I am not quick or smooth or a model of running perfection by any means, but I can run for miles and I will never forget what that means to the girl in the summer of 2011.

By graduation, approximately one year later, I was 100 pounds down, exercising six days a week and maintaining much healthier (and happier) eating habits. I was sad to be leaving school, but I was excited to see what the future held. That is not to say that I didn’t struggle after. I’m still confused as to what to do in my professional life in many ways, but that is the product of living.

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But this journey that I continue on, allowed me to be okay with putting myself out into the world, to experience and experiment. I tried several different jobs and trusted my instincts enough to walk away from something that wasn’t right for me. I studied to become a personal trainer and help others who struggle like me or just need a little guidance and push. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams and listened to my heart when I knew it was time to come home to my family.

My life is not perfect. I am not perfect. I eat too much, I have a lazy exercise day or choose to gasp- take two days off from the gym sometimes- but mostly, I’ve maintained these healthy habits. Eating is a large part of losing weight and maintaining a healthy life, but exercise was my gateway. Without it, I would not have the strength to endure, two of my favorite words.

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Exercise is my time. No matter what, I will always have that hour in my day that I take for myself. It doesn’t have to be a full hour, it doesn’t have to be a perfect mixture of cardio and strength training, and it doesn’t always have to be crushing and exhausting.

Embrace the messiness of fitness- the sweat, the confusion, the pain, the results. It does wondrous things for the body, physically and mentally.

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