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!

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!

Return to Weight Watchers

After a week of indulgent eating, I knew it was time to get serious about getting back on track, so I signed up for Weight Watchers. It’s what worked for me a few years ago and thankfully, I don’t quite have as much weight to lose, but I still am not feeling my best.

I like the idea of the new plan- many 0 point healthy food options- while carefully selecting the items that do have points. I do best when I’m not eating many processed foods and know when to stop. Sometimes the mind can go a bit blind when it comes to instant gratification, but following a plan definitely helps me to combat that urge!

Since I workout fairly hard 6-days a week, almost every week, eating is my big road-block preventing me from hitting my ultimate goal. Now that I’m back on Weight Watchers, I took some before pictures, something I regretted not doing specifically when I started my 100-pound weight loss journey! It’s not easy showing these pictures.

 

It’s summer, so I’m still going to have an ice cream cone or a beer, but I am going to learn to enjoy the splurge once in awhile, rather than every, or every few days even.

Even though there needs to be some changes made, I’m excited to get back to holding myself accountable and listening more to my body.

One fun thing about being back on the plan is trying and including new and different healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the blog.

Sunday was the first official day, so I enjoyed a veggie-filled (0) two-egg (0) scramble stuffed with red bell peppers, baby spinach, and grape tomatoes. I sprinkled on two tablespoons of low-fat cheddar (0!) and enjoyed a slice of whole wheat bread (1) with a teaspoon worth of butter (2) for a total meal of 3 points. I think one of the hardest changes I need to make is cutting back on butter.

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For lunch, I made an english muffin (4) pizza with a tablespoon of sauce on each side (1), two tablespoons of reduced fat mozzarella (1), and 5 slices of turkey pepperoni (0), for 6 points.

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Dinner came from the grill: scallops (0), steak (4), asparagus (0), and bell pepper (0) and a little olive oil (1), with a small serving of risotto (5).  All of that goodness for 10 points! Managing sauces and all those extras will also be a big change.

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Summer is a great time to get back on track eating-wise because of the option to grill food and not feel compelled to stuff yourself because of the cold and comfort. I hope you all enjoy joining me on this journey!

work it on out

After my long weekend away, last weekend, I was ready to hit the gym…kind of.

It was a vacation of indulgence between the vineyards, Ghirardelli, and In-n-Out, which is all well and good (except for my stomach) and we did our fair share of walking, but I was ready to return to normal.

When I did get back, I was up and early for the Red Sox/Angels day game in Anaheim and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back in time for the gym, coupled with the fact I didn’t touchdown in LA until 2 the previous morning. However, it was still late afternoon when I got back from the game (boo, we lost!), so I revved myself up to go!

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I wasn’t feeling my routine of late, so I worked through a standard total body workout targeting all the major muscle groups and finished with a half hour on the bike. It was good to work up a sweat.

That night, it was time to rejuvenate my workout routine. I’ve been doing total body lately, so this time, I broke it down into a split routine.

 

Workout Routine

Always gotta get in that core!

I’m a big fan of breaking up leg day like upper body workouts. I still feel the pain of my efforts, but I can target the muscle groups more effectively without tiring too much. Currently, I’m feeling the beautiful repercussions of mixing up my routine with those DOMS all over and a twinge in my core every time I laugh or sneeze.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuff ‘Cakes

I saw a recipe online that included chocolate stuffed pancakes and I was very much for it. My usual go-to pancake recipe is one I’ve shared before on the blog. In the past, I’ve mixed my favorite chocolate peanut butter into the batter and while tasty, it never quite tasted as chocolatey and peanut buttery as I’d hoped. Cue the internet!

Frozen chocolate peanut butter discs. The original post I found this from used Nutella, but I’m not a huge hazelnut girl, so I stuck with what I knew.

I used my own pancake recipe, minus the peanut butter in the batter.

Don’t mind the creepy hand shadow. These discs were spread onto plastic wrap (the only thing I had for it) the night before in anticipation of making this recipe. Once I’m up, I want to eat, so there would be no waiting for a pre-freeze in the morning.

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Once everything was prepared, I dropped a dollop of batter onto the hot pan, delicately plopped the peanut butter disc on top, and covered it with more batter.

UM.

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Served with eggs of choice (scrambled), preferred hot beverage (coffee), favorite fruit (all the berries), and topped with syrup or nothing at all because the chocolate peanut butter upped the ante. The perfect weekend breakfast.

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Yes, please and thank you to the blogger who inspired this meal!

Mondays Scream for Ice Cream

The most exciting thing I learned yesterday is the Haagen Dazs makes the best java chip ice cream I’ve ever had. I don’t know if eating it too late at night will affect my sleep yet, but it’s worth it. Yum!

You’re welcome to all the people I wanted to text about this development at 9:00 pm my time and midnight their time for refraining.

Breakfast was a disappointing breakfast sandwich, but I suspect only because I have high standards. At home, I found the most delicious chicken sausage patties and paired them with egg whites, cheese, and an English muffin. Here, I had to settle on eh turkey sausage patties (lacking flavor) with the standard egg whites, cheese, and a Trader Joe’s version of english muffins which are too doughy.

Don’t feel too bad for me as I ate it before even snapping a picture.

Lunch:

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Beneath the cheese, black beans, and rice, you can see green sticking out. That would be spinach and there’s red pepper somewhere in there as well.

I was quite proud of myself on dinner. Grilled chicken, asparagus, and pasta to be swirled with marinara and paired with a salad.

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My gym time included strength training the upper body- biceps, triceps, and shoulders- along with some core action and cardio on the spin bike. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time I got home from work and couldn’t take my actual bike out for a spin.

Monday was one of those days I woke up ready for bed, but it was a good day and now we’re onto Tuesday, just that much closer to the weekend!

Just Like Riding A Bike

Happiest of Mondays!

I now understand the phrase, “like riding a bike” because I bought myself a bike and it’s nothing at all like the ones I use in spin class. Yes, I know how to ride a bike, but once we moved to our new-old house, there will hills and the bike riding stopped. I’ve been wanting to buy one for a long time and my change of scenery seemed to prompt an excellent time. Turns out, in SoCal, riding a bike is kind of a thing, and I’m taking a brief respite from my incessant researching to blog. So, you’re welcome.

This is Isobel. I have no idea why that’s her name, but she’s pink and it came to mind and I’m going with it.

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It took me a long time and the kindness of strangers to fit her into my car, and even then I was driving with the back windows down and the handlebars sticking out, but thankfully, I live close to the store.

Once I got settled, it was time for my first ride…to get tacos. I was hungry considering I had also just hiked and there was a taco place down the street, not quite convenient to walk to and I didn’t feel like driving, so now I have the perfect compromise!

Tacos!

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After my meal, I hopped back on and took the bike for a real ride. Like I mentioned, LA loves bicycles, so there are plenty of paths in which to take advantage, all year round, and one of them happens to be by my place. I did fall once thanks to a shifty sidewalk, but wasn’t hurt. I won’t be drifting into traffic anytime soon, but I’m so excited for all the traveling I’ll get to do outside of a car. Especially next weekend, which I won’t spoil.

My Sunday also consisted of a beautiful hike right by my apartment.

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It’s October. Friendly reminder. While everyone at home is soaking up the chill and the fall (tears!), I get this. This photo op will come in much handier once winter hits.

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What’s that say in the background? I think ‘Hollywood’ or something.

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I trekked up and down the trail once and then decided to fit in even more of a workout by climbing these stairs. I’m a short girl with stubby legs, so these stairs were not friendly or easy, and I was out of breath after reaching the top, but what a great workout! The hike, combined with my bike ride and leg-day on Saturday, makes for very tired Caitlin-legs.

Sunday morning breakfast:

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My dad’s birthday was on Saturday and though I wasn’t there to celebrate with him, I know he had a great day filled with love and celebration. Happy birthday, dad!

Saturday consisted of a restful morning of sleeping in before meeting my cousins for brunch. It was so nice to see and spend time with family, especially while sitting outside on a spectacular sunshiny day and eating a gourmet meal. I opted for french toast made of croissants (yeah, worth the indulgence) which came in sandwich form with eggs and bacon, but I ate it separately and miss it now that it’s gone.

At the gym, it was leg-day, which meant lots of lower body exercises that my body does not love. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve been running more on a treadmill, but my knees have been cracking with squats and lunges. They don’t hurt necessarily, but I’m being cautious. The workout consisted of squats, deadlifts, lunges, step ups, kettlebell swings, plie squats, lateral leg lifts, elevated bridges, mountain climbers, and plank jacks. Phew. Four sets of twelve on each, and yeah, I was shaky after. With some core- leg lifts, flutter kicks, bicycle crunches, and side plank dips, and a sweaty mile on the treadmill, I was finito!

On Saturday night, I forced myself out of my comfort zone by joining a Meetup.com social group. This one played board games at a bar. It’s always hard for me to make small talk, but I know that part of moving to a new place is being uncomfortable in a lot of situations (not a bad thing, just a thing), which also means putting myself out there and taking risks. I did have fun, although Cards Against Humanity is much more fun with the idiots you know and Jenga is nerve-wracking, although maybe that’s just my competitive streak showing. After a quick stop at another bar with dancing proved to be a little bit too much for this extroverted introvert, I headed home and ended up making friends with my Lyft driver who is also a writer.

To take it back to Friday was a much-needed, much-appreciated, and much-deserved night of indulgence and rest. For the record, I think I deserve to burn 500x more than the calories I actually burned for showing up to the gym on a Friday night after work. To run. On a treadmill. You better believe I savored my pizza and ice cream and TV catch-up after that! I love Friday nights so much and I also love to do nothing on Friday nights. It’s rare that you’ll get me out for more than a dinner and a movie, especially now that I’m back into regular work hours. I love the idea of Friday and the freedom it provides to just veg, as well as the ability to sleep to my heart’s content on Saturday morning!

So we took a little backwards tour of my weekend, one that was both relaxing and adventurous! I’m rested and ready for the work week and can’t wait to get out cycling and hiking some more!

Have a wondrous week!