Meal Prep

As I said yesterday, this week in particular is busy for work (especially in the mornings), so packing healthy food ahead of time is key. Yes, it takes time, but your body and brain will thank you for it later as you reap the benefits!

Here’s a sample of what I’ve been eating both today and yesterday as I’m on the move.

Hard-boiled eggs because you can’t beat the punch of protein. With a cheesestick, I add a hint of fat that will keep me moving, either before a workout or in the mid-morning between breakfast and lunch.

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Almonds with raisins also make a perfect snack combo. I tend to make my own trail mixes, except for the occasional one from Trader Joe’s because a lot of the store bought varieties are laden with sneaky sugar and weird add-ins.

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Today’s lunch is a big, heaping salad topped with feta and grilled BBQ chicken. Hummus and a small whole wheat pita will accompany my meal.

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I also will be enjoying plain kefir with a dash of cinnamon and raspberries, but I didn’t have the space to pre-make it as the fridge is stocked.

Monday night’s dinner was a zucchini noodle concoction.

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Chopped tomato and mozzarella.

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With basil and chicken sausage.

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Lots of veggies, protein, and fats make for good, yummy eating! It also means I won’t be reaching to make bad choices or not eating enough during the day. There’s always a healthy balance!

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It’s A Mental Thing

After a weekend of massive indulgences, my body was ready to return to its normal way of living. I prefer what I can make myself most of the time anyways.

I am loving scrambled eggs these days. I make them with one whole egg and a few egg whites with a pat of butter and salt and pepper. Seriously, so good, especially with some cheese sprinkled on top. Since my sort-of waffle fail at that diner, I had a hankering for the eggos ones I love- I know, it’s a weakness. But nothing was sweeter than these fresh berries.

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I was excited the other day in the grocery store when I saw they carried my favorite brand of veggie burgers! I don’t need to replace the meat when I am craving a burger, but these are great over a salad, which is what I’ve been eating for lunch the past two days. Sweet baby lettuce, carrots, tomato, cucumber, and red bell pepper topped with feta, sesame ginger dressing, and a black bean burger = yum!

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I made a stir fry of sorts for dinner. Usually I go for whole grain pasta, but we were out of that and brown rice so I had to make do! With grilled chicken, I stir fried asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, and pepper and topped it with hot sauce and a sprinkling of cheese.

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On this rainy morning, there was nothing but pancakes on my mind when I woke up to the pitter-patter against my window. These were especially special because I had been out of my favorite Dark Chocolate Dreams for over a week now.

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As I enter my 26th year, I’ve been reflecting on how to improve and seek happiness. That being said, I am already incredibly happy and lucky, but there are always things I can be working on. One thing that stands out is my relationship to exercise. In a lot of ways, I use exercise as a crutch, whether it’s to mentally depend on working out as an escape, a cure to my anxiety, or to make sure that I will never regress to where I was four years ago. It also fuels and energizes me, making me feel strong. Thing is, I’ve been overtraining and I don’t think my body is taking to it the way I used to. For the next couple of weeks, I am going to keep my training time to an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes a day, rather than the excessive hour and a half/two hours I’ve been doing. It seems silly when I write it down like that now.

It’s important to remember (and I’m telling myself more so than you), that while movement is so important, healthy living is about balance, and I have to realize that I have those lessons ingrained in me now.

My first workout of the week included a couple of circuits with my sister that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I followed that up on Tuesday with a strength training circuit of lateral raises, tricep pushbacks, rows, pull downs, and kettle bell swings. My second circuit was core heavy- rotational lunges, elbow to knee ups, bicycle crunches, and v ups. To finish for the day, I hopped in the pool for a half hour swim. Guess what, I still felt like I fit in a great workout and reaped those benefits, all by keeping the time to an hour. Progress!

Don’t Let My Brain Power Intimidate You (And Other Things I Should Never Say)

Happy Friday! I have a busy study day in front of me, but I’m procrastinating wanted to pop in and say hello before the weekend!

This morning, I set my alarm and intended to fit in a strength workout before my spin class, but when the alarm blared, I decided it was in my best interest to delay the workout and fit in an extra hour’s rest. It wasn’t a terrible decision, but I think I would have been fine getting up. I can get up no problem when I have to, but it’s finding that extra motivation when I don’t necessarily have to that is tricky.

So long as I get in my exercise!

Before exercising, my stomach was rumbling, so I fixed myself an egg, ham, and cheese on an English muffin, guzzled two large glasses of water, and sipped on a coffee.

Spin class was awesome today and I found I was able to push myself even harder than last week. Cycling is a great addition to my cardio workouts that mostly include running and swimming. I like keeping it to one day a week and adding a day of plyometrics to round everything out. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sprinting (in the aftermath).

With my cardio done, I worked through a dumbbell circuit, 5 sets of 10 reps of shoulder presses, bicep curls, lying tricep extensions, shoulder/front raises, rows, and bench presses, followed by barbell squat presses and leg presses. Whew. I finished with a quick core workout- still feeling the effects of that ab roller from Monday!- and headed home nice and sweaty to a yogurt, peanut butter, pomegranate refueler.

Going back to yesterday’s dinner, here’s a look at leftovers: chicken with white sauce, spinach rice, and a fresh vegetable medley of spinach, peppers, and mushrooms.

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Now off to study so I can revel you all with fancy fitness terms like I did yesterday with proprioception. For example, you better believe I was proprioceptively aware of my quads during those final sprints in spin class today. (I’m not positive I used that correctly, but I trust you to believe in me blindly and not research).

Dobby’s Left Sock: Should Have Gone for the Right One Too

I know what you’re going to say: “You started this 80 Days of Strength thing, then let it fall apart on the second day.” I can’t promise that I’ll be able to update every day, but I will promise to share my strength with you the next time. I had very important business to take care of yesterday and starting work at 6:30 AM was only one of them.

Once I got out of work, it was time to make my way to pick up my sister, Lauren. I had a hankering for an iced coffee all day, so I made a brief stop. Once I scooped Lauren, it was off to meet my friends Katie and Erin so that we could stake out our spots for Harry Potter trivia.

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We were sitting at the bar for a good three hours before trivia even began. This was serious business. There is not much in this life that I can claim I know well, but Harry Potter is one of them. I think there were two questions total that we had no idea, but even in those, we were close. This happened before my annual reread too! At one point, Lauren pulled mimbulus mimbletonia out of the darkest recesses of her mind and I came up with kneazle with two seconds to spare. I can’t lie and say it didn’t feel good that we were in first place the entire time. Except for when it counted, of course.

Let me just assure you that Dobby’s Left Sock did not lose because we got the questions wrong. We lost in Sudden Death because we were not positive about the answer and we didn’t bet enough points. Of course those placed in second and third would risk more and we should have too. Turns out, we were right and we would have won. This is something that will haunt me to my grave. Go ahead and put on my tombstone, “Death by Ragnuk the Goblin playing with an Erumpet Horn.” I guess you had to be there. I’m so sorry we failed you JK Rowling, but Dobby’s New-and-Improved Left Sock will be back at it as soon as another trivia event comes up and you bet your house-elf, we will bet it all. And win.

I didn’t make it back home until after 11:00 PM and I went straight to bed, considering the disappointment. Did I mention it was for money? No, no. It’s fine. It’s all just fine. (It’s too bad you can’t see my sarcastic anger in this. I bet you can feel it.) It’s almost karmic because whenever I watch Jeopardy or other game shows, I get mad when people don’t bet it all and then end up losing. I didn’t follow my own rules!

Oh, but look! Look at what Harry Potter inspired me to do:

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So where did my strength come from yesterday? Having confidence in my ability to know and do something. This might sound silly, but dominating at Harry Potter trivia is a skill. It made me feel exceedingly nervous throughout because I am an impatient person, but having the (somewhat useless) knowledge is still having knowledge. And being able to play with my sister and friends, laughing and winning and losing by default on our own terms.

This morning, I made myself an egg, cheese, and chicken sausage breakfast sandwich that I enjoyed with a side of fruit, including half a banana and a scoop of almond butter. This kept me fueled for a few hours of work before I changed into my exercise clothes and worked off my energy in the gym. I added some fuel to the tank with a serving of roasted almonds and red grapes, which kept me going and feeling strong, but not pulled down.

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It was heavy strength day and I was feeling powerful. I hit a lot of highs in my weights, which included deadlifts, clean and presses, rows, squat presses, leg presses, and bench presses. For cardio, I focused on interval training: box jumps, jump rope, skater jumps, high knees, and lunges. I was still feeling strong, so I took it onto the mat for a core workout that made my abs feel sad. I worked through a circuit of push ups, grasshoppers, alternating ankle grabs, sit ups, and a move that combined hundreds and Russian twists into one (I don’t know why I do that to myself). My body wanted to hang out in a shoulder stand for awhile as well, so I did that along with a series of planks. My final piece of my workout for the day was ten minutes on the bike, four of which consisted of cycling as fast as I could for twenty seconds and resting for ten.

For lunch, I wanted to try something a little different. Here’s one of the recipes I was talking about wanting to make that I actually made! I chopped up a sweet potato and tossed it into a pan with garlic and olive oil. I dumped in a can of chickpeas followed by chopped red pepper and baby spinach. I finished things off with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, coriander, and onion powder. Fun Fact! I don’t like the texture of onions (except for onion rings, which is embarrassing), but I can’t deny the flavor they bring to a dish. This was a nice compromise for me!

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My strength today came in the form of simply tossing a few ingredients together and creating something healthy and delicious. Healthy eating does not mean compromising taste and enjoyment. I suppose I should also say, my strength came in having the power to lift heavy things and put them down again without dropping them on myself (or someone else).

What do you say? Are you with me on this?

Thank You For Reading (Please Don’t Leave Me)

Another day in snowy paradise. You know, maybe I’d let up on the snow a little if I thought this was a sign that Global Warming didn’t exist and that the world will be just fine, but Snowmaggedon is just another example of just how bad things are. Before we get too political, I’m just going to change the subject.

I realized I confused myself a little bit with postings these past few days. I want to remind you (and by you, I mean me) that when I recap my meals and workouts, I’m actually talking about the day before because I schedule my posts to go live in the mornings. Does that even make sense? Do you even care? I’m just going to keep on typing and if you chose to read, then I am forever grateful.

Oh! About that! Readership has gone WAY up this past month and I’d like to think it has a lot to do with what I consider to be way more interesting writing and perhaps insights, but actually I think it might be due to all the snow keeping people locked inside, bored, and then turning to me for some entertainment. I don’t care about your motivations but keep it up people because it makes this girl ver-ry happy! Note: My grandmother will always be my biggest fan. Even when I get to the stalker-level type fans.

But regardless, THANK YOU FOR READING please stay, don’t leave me I am humbled don’t even care if you like what you’re reading.

Sunday was an odd sort of collection of meals. I woke up indecisive and overwhelmed by the fact that I had a third day in which to carefully decide and deliver the breakfast of which I was about to devour. My tastebuds were torn and my mind indecisive, so I went with a combination platter. Starting with a crunchy apple I munched on as I played War of the Breakfasts, I toasted up two pieces of toast, smeared one of them with a tablespoon of Teddie peanut butter and the other with a little butter and a poached egg. Best of both worlds= a happy tummy! A little raspberry-blueberry sweetness rounded out my meal.

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Lunch came in two parts. The first, after grocery shopping, I went with a cheesestick and a couple of whole wheat crackers I just picked up for myself. It was light, but filling, and fueled me through the workout I already talked about. Whoopsie. The next part was post-workout and included a pear that wasn’t quite ready to be eaten as it still had too much crunch and not enough of the juicy goodness I enjoyed last week. I also toasted up a quick slice of toast and put a little almond butter on top.

I found some DE-LISH-OUSSS chicken meatballs in the grocery store today. They were teriyaki ginger and I threw them into a stir fry filled with tons of veggies, rice, and a little thai peanut sauce mix. It was such a great, healthy meal that satisfied these tastebuds. That’s all you can ask for!

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I haven’t had much time for cooking lately, so it was great to throw this together, even though it didn’t take much creative energy at all. The rest of my Monday was all about chopping up veggies and putting together healthy foods to make the rest of my week fun, delicious, and organized. Staying in control when you can, ahead of time, makes it easier to maintain some sense of control when things get hectic and your crazed mind wants to make that stop at a fast food restaurant. Unless, of course, fast food is your choice indulgence. Mine’s ice cream and that desire does not stop when there’s SEVEN FEET + OF SNOW ON THE GROUND AND ALL AROUND. Is it a sickness? Maybe, but it’s damn delicious.

I mentioned SNL40 in my post yesterday, but I don’t think I took enough time to talk about how friggin epic it was to see Amy, Tina, and Jane Curtin on the news desk together. They are three clever, sassy, brilliantly funny women who inspire me. Actually, I’m pretty lucky because I have a bunch of clever, sassy, brilliantly funny women AND men in my life who inspire me, but unfortunately, they’re not on TV so they’re useless to me I love them despite this flaw.

One final note, I was told (giving you fierce side-eye right now TWITTER) that the Backstreet Boys AND NSYNC were going to be making an appearance. I relayed this information to my sister who might be BSB’s biggest fan and she watched all 3.5 hours and then they didn’t show, thus prompting THIS exchange.

photoAre you happy Twitter? You were my FRIEND. I trusted you. And I am her MOH and I kind of lied. This could be worse than the time I ACCIDENTALLY spoiled the end of Sex and the City for her. We’ll get through it, but this probably means five more Backstreet Boys concerts in my lifetime.

Singing Out Loud, Singing Proud

If you know me at all, you know that I am prone to spontaneous singing. It can’t be helped, sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I do however, have a censor when it comes to how loud I sing. For example, in public situations, I mutter quietly or inside my head. When I’m at my house or comfortable somewhere, the loudness of my voice cannot be contained. My mom has politely pointed out that in summer, when the windows are open, the neighborhood can hear me, but honestly I know most of my neighbors and they can deal. If it happens when someone is talking or on the phone, then sorry, but talk louder. Don’t even get me started with the rocking out I do in the car! It might be best for us all if I were better at singing, but that’s life.

Meals today started off well, but ended in indulgence. I don’t feel guilty because there’s more snow in the forecast this weekend, which means we probably won’t make it out of the house. We may never see the real world again.

An egg and a cheesestick are the perfect pairing to jumpstart the metabolism and prepare me for a tough workout! I trekked to the gym in full snow gear and got right into a kettlebell strength routine. After some swings, deadlifts, high pulls, mermaid raises, and Russian twists. After four sets of twelve reps, I switched over to dumbbells and performed a circuit of alternating shoulder presses, rows with kickbacks, alternating overhead presses, bicep curls, shoulder raises, and bench presses. For my cardio fix, I started with a plyometrics circuit that left me breathless and sweaty before jumping on the treadmill for some exhausting sprints. A quick plank was the cherry on top and I left ready and energized to start my day. photo 1 I may not like it so much when the alarm first goes off, but I LOVE morning workouts! Post-workout, I dug into this pre-prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana on the side, while on the move. It had a touch of sweetness to perfectly complement the saltiness of crunchy peanut butter. If you are seeking good peanut butter brands, I recommend Teddie because the ingredient list is short and natural! photo 2By the time I was able to heat up lunch, my stomach was roaring! So sensitive. I started with a crunchy, juicy apple before digging into this stir fry. With a medley of veggies, leftover chicken from Trader Joes, and brown rice, my stomach was quickly placated. I love the chicken, but I wouldn’t get it all the time as it’s a bit of a splurge on calories. Great flavor and much better quality than any of those other frozen chicken brands. photo 3For dinner, my parents and I made an impromptu visit to our favorite Mexican spot. My go-to meal is usually the blackened salmon salad, but I had just had salmon this week and I was craving something cheesy and warm. I went with the pulled beef quesadilla stuffed with cheese and chopped peppers, with a huge glass of water and too many tostito chips.This was so big, I went home with half of it! photo 4 As I type these posts, I feel invigorated with new inspiration by writing more in-depth every day, but I’m not sure if it feels too all over the place. Let me know if it’s too much!