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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!

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!

Perfect Summer Weekend

Hi! I hope the weekend was glorious! We had great weather all the way through, even though rain was threatening on Saturday.

After work on Friday, I fit in a sweaty total body workout with a little dose of cardio at the end. When I got home, my sister and her family came over to hang outside and I got some quality auntie time.

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I was woken early and abruptly on Saturday by a cat who was ready to seize the day, but once I set him loose, I fell back asleep until almost 10am. I guess I needed my rest!

When I was up for good, I started the day with two poached eggs on a whole wheat toast and a big bowl of watermelon.

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As I digested and hydrated, I watched an episode of Safe on Netflix. I started it on Thursday and was dismayed that I only had time to watch one episode. I was hooked from the start!

I tore myself away from the screen long enough to crush a 3.1 mile run. It was super hot, but my usual trail is shadowy and there was a nice breeze to guide me through. My legs felt strong!

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Upon my arrival home, I jumped in the pool to cool down- much needed- and dived into this Greek salad with chicken. Perfect fuel to re-energize. It looks a little bland because of the blanket of dressing, but I promise there was a load of veggies underneath, including baby spinach, bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and tomato!

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My mom and I went grocery shopping in the afternoon to prepare for the week- lots of healthy choices! On Weight Watchers, it’s good to mix things up so we don’t get sick of certain foods and turn to less than great options.

I settled down to finish Safe- there were only eight episodes- and was sad, but satisfied when it ended. I sort of predicted the ending by the penultimate episode, but I wasn’t disappointed.

For dinner, I grilled up some shrimp in blackening seasoning, lime juice, teriyaki sauce, and sriracha and they were so good! I threw them atop two corn tortillas with bell peppers, broccoli slaw, and a dollop of sour cream mixed with the same ingredients as the shrimp. Note to remind myself to do this more often, maybe with Greek yogurt! Such a little detail added so much flavor to my meal! I also had a few chips to round out my meal.

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I assume this meal would pair well with cold beer or a tequila beverage of some sort, but I was saving my extra calories for some Saturday night ice cream! What can I say, your girl’s got a sweet tooth.

The rest of the night, I watched the Red Sox and played hard with my main dude. He’s been very busy lately and is constantly on the prowl. Of course, I mean the Sim-dude.

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On Sunday, I was up early to hit the beach! We got breakfast to start off the day. Two eggs over easy with whole wheat toast and a big bowl of fruit. My mom shared a slice of bacon with me too.

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My favorite part about the beach is going in the water. It was chilly, but the waves enticing, and we stayed in for quite awhile twice.

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I think that’s actually a person’s Shoulder and not my thumb. And no visit to the beach is complete without some ice cream. It’s all part of healthy living!

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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.

WW Problem: Going Out to Eat

In my second week of Weight Watchers, I’m down 1 pound.

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I knew I wasn’t going to lose another 6 pounds because that would be a lot after one week of changes. This is more consistent with what a person should aim to lose weekly. Also, I indulged in some pizza and Chinese food this weekend, not a weight loss winning combination, however delicious.

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My workouts have been consistent. I stick to a six-day plan, 3 days of strength training with harder, shorter bursts of cardio like jump roping and spinning, with 3 days of running.

I’m trying to be better about cooking at home on the weekends more often. This is difficult when it’s busy and I’m out and about. I’m pretty good at identifying what’s good to eat on menus, but I always find the healthy stuff is better when I make it myself.

Salads for instance! I went to a restaurant Friday night with my parents and because I wanted some chips and salsa, opted for a grilled shrimp salad. There were five tiny shrimps, lettuce, tomato, and a bunch of onions (blech!). It’s disappointing when you get something unsatisfying for a meal, particularly when you’re paying for it!

On Saturday, my friend and I split a small pizza with a large salad for lunch and then split some Chinese food dishes for dinner. The food itself is indulgent, but we also tried to manage the portions. Still, I want to try to stick to one indulgence on the weekends- at least in one day!

I also went out to eat on Sunday afternoon, which Weight Watchers builds into the plan, but I counted all my extra points for Saturday and didn’t want to go too crazy. I had a salad with grilled shrimp (much better this time) with a cup of soup and one roll because hey, it’s Bertucci’s and their rolls are amazing. I only had a small bite on Sunday for dinner because it was filling though.

I think the important mental note to take away when you’re trying to eat better or following something like Weight Watchers is that healthy living is something you want to be doing consistently. If you like to go out to eat, do so, but also learn to choose those indulgent favorites as a treat, rather than the norm. One meal does not a diet break, but if you view these changes as temporary, your mind will set back to old habits.

Plus, cooking at home can be fun!

Daily Things

I thought I’d give a- probably mundane- rundown of my daily routine. Three days a week, I open up at the gym, so my alarm clock blares at 4:35am. When it’s being unkind, I’ll roll over and see I only have three minutes left to sleep. There is no kind when you have to wake up before 5am, although I have gotten used to it to an extent.

On these days, I get ready very quickly, really just feeding Simba and throwing my breakfast together. I typically work until 1pm and fit in my own workout. If I time my coffee and snacks appropriately, and slept well the night before, I will be motivated to complete an intense workout. If none of the aforementioned happens, then I will go through the motions. Most days, I’m awake enough to put myself through a tough workout, even though my first thought in the morning is I will definitely nap. (I never nap).

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My workouts on MWF are strength training based, sometimes total body, other days split by muscle group- functional and heavy lifting depending on my mood. This part, core included, will take 45-50 minutes. After, I fit in 15-25 minutes of cardio- cycling, arc trainer, and/or jump roping with intervals included.

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Once I leave, it’s lunch time! I try to stick to lean proteins and veggie-heavy dishes, including salads and stir fries, but other times, I’ll have leftovers. Being back on Weight Watchers means my lunches main source of carbs are veggies and fruits.

Before I shower, I spend some quality time with Simba. He’s still only one and loves being chased, so I try to do this as often as possible. The dude loves his friskies, so he can use the exercise too. Although, half the time when I run at him, he throws himself down and demands pats.

He demands pats most of the day and will follow me around, but when I settle down at my computer for writing time, he does settle down to sit in front of the window or under my desk. Right now, he’s actually yelling at me for attention.

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The rest of the night is spent meal prepping, reading, and watching TV or the Red Sox. Of course, Fridays are a little different.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I get to sleep in a little longer. I never thought a 6:45am wake-up time would be indulging in sleep. These mornings, I hop out of bed, chug water, and hit the pavement for a run. Sometimes I’ll run straight through for about 3 miles, other times I’ll alternate between running and walking. I get to have a nice, leisurely breakfast before heading to work.

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On Tuesdays, I’m done early, so I follow a similar routine to Mondays and Wednesdays. I work a split shift on Thursdays, so in-between, I’ll meal prep, play with Simba, and write.

For Saturday and Sunday, I choose one day to run and the other to rest, depending on my schedule.

What’s your daily routine look like?