reset eating

If you are a fan of eating, like I am, then following a balanced diet can be difficult. Fall starts us out with tons of tempting treats, which is followed up with winter (when we’re covered up) and we greet the holidays with abandon. Spring might make us feel as though we should rein in the eating a bit, but the days get warmer and ice cream (although a valid year-long treat) seems that much more appealing.

I think the stress of my move has revealed itself most in my eating, and unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who “just can’t eat” when they’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. I’ve not gone completely off the wagon, but there are definitely things I need to cut back on.

Here’s how I hit refresh.

No, I’m not a fan of the juice cleanse or other crash diets, although I will up my water and tea intake (exnay on the honey). I don’t love the idea of tracking every calorie for the rest of my life, but I when I feel as though I’ve been consistently overeating for too long, I’ll download a free app and force myself to pay more attention to what I’m putting into my mouth because, much like at Target, the little things add up.

While I do not believe in completely cutting things out, such as essential nutrients found in fats and carbs, I do try to make a solid return to eating as clean and fresh as possible. I’m good about eating my fruits and veggies, but I’ll include even more in the form of soups, salads, or stir frys for lunches. I’ll make sure that my snacks are planned and packed in advance: hard-boiled eggs with a piece of fruit, trail mixes, peanut butter toast, hummus or almond butter with carrots and celery sticks, yogurt and berries with walnuts are all go to faves.

But mostly, it means not dipping a hand into the candy bowl at work or giving into every craving for chocolate. The more you eat sugar, the more you want sugar. I do indulge my voracious sweet tooth on the regular, but I try to make a real effort to eat a treat mindfully, slowly, and with a lot of appreciation so I can enjoy it and not feel as though I need more.

In the beginning of my weight loss journey- FIVE years ago, FIVE – I got a lot of leeway on the eating front because I hadn’t been working out and the addition of exercise to my life was astronomical. Obviously I changed my eating habits for the better, but exercise will only get me so far with weight loss these days and as I grow older, my metabolism will also be less forgiving.

Although, of note, I believe my exercise routine helped kick my cold in three days while others around me suffered for weeks. Just sayin’.

Eating can be stressful, especially if you aren’t feeling healthy or strong, but it’s also an enjoyable experience that should always be enjoyed. I find that when I’m overeating, I’m enjoying what I’m eating far less. It becomes a dirty little secret, makes me feel guilty and sick, which detracts from my confidence. Food and eating is not the enemy, but a return to moderation is always important and always possible.

The most important part of hitting the refresh button for me is finding a positive mindset. My body and mind are strongest together. If I feel bad about myself or have negative feelings towards my body, I tend to be crankier, more anxious, and unhappy. But by treating my body well even in the smallest ways, like wearing a ridiculous face mask, working through a particularly challenging workout routine, getting a pedicure, doing yoga, going for a walk, or just standing in the mirror and offering myself a genuine smile, I find I can face the day in a brighter way.

I got this reminder for a reason.

 

 

workout updates

I’m quite pleased with my new workout routine I crafted a week ago. Before, I would either do total body almost every day or break it in different variations of triceps, biceps, chest, back, shoulders, and legs. For whatever reason, my body rebels against leg day and I have struggled to not resent those days.

However, I think I’ve found my antidote. Many people who do split routines do legs all in one, but this time around, I decided to break it up much like I do with the upper body. Here’s what my new routine looks like:

Day One: Triceps, Chest, Quads, Core

Day Two: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Three: Biceps, Back, Hamstrings, Core

Day Four: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Five: Shoulders, Ab/Adductors, Glutes, Core

Day Six: Yoga (Run Day)

And on the seventh day, I deserve a helluva rest!

Again, I’m only on my second week of this routine, but my muscles are sore and feel as though they have received the proper attention to each group. On Week 1, I ran through each exercise in three sets of twelve reps and Week 2 is four sets of ten reps at a slightly higher weight. For Week 3, I’ll do three sets of fifteen reps at a lower weight, and then my highest weight on Week 4 for five sets of eight reps.

Repeat.

For strength training, I like to incorporate body strength moves with weight training for the best results. For example, I’ll throw in some plyometric moves to hit my lower body, such as jumping lunges or jumping squats, and for my upper body, I’ll add a lot of push-ups and triceps dips. This adds a nice little dose of breathless to the equation.

For my core training, which I do every day at the end of my strength routine, I’ve tried to be better about hitting each spot of the comprehensive core. I do a lot to hit the obliques, like twists and lean downs, as well as stretch out the upper and lower portions of my stomach with rollouts or leg lifts, and finally strengthen the lower back  and pelvic regions with supermans and hip lifts.

On my non-run days, I do little bouts of high intensity cardio, including the spin bike and jump roping. It’s been awhile since I’ve jump roped, but I’m getting back into it and I just love it. It’s one of the best total body workouts you can do.

I’ve left the gym feeling sweaty and accomplished, which is really the reason we go in the first place. Or at least for me. I can’t speak for you.

My workouts are intense, but I love the challenge. My problem area has always been the eating and I know I need to rein in the sugar and extracurricular eating I tend to do when stressed or bored. Mindlessness is nobody’s friend, but I am feeling better about it.

What makes you feel strong?

new beginnings

Before I begin anything, I want to wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GREATEST PERSON WHO EVER LIVED: my mom.

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You’re the best and the day doesn’t deserve your greatness, although it should be celebrated anyway! Love you!

Welcome to 2017! I’ve been on break for the past ten days and it’s been wonderful being home, but after a lot of relaxation and eating, I’m ready to get back into my routine.

I don’t really have New Years resolutions, but I’m looking forward to being more mindful and present this year. I tend to be frantically go-go-going and I think it heightens my anxiety. Sometimes, you have to relax and watch the world around you. So let’s go!

I’ll start the first post of 2017 with a recap of my vacation. It started with a day of biking at the beach. The day was a bit dreary, but the wind kicked up as I hit the beach and it was hard to pedal. This is a little scary looking, no?

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By the time I got back and finished getting ready, it was time to get to the airport super early. Traveling around the holidays is no joke. And traveling overnight means no sleep for me who cannot sleep on planes. Oh well. I read Amy Schumer’s book instead. This is the view back to Boston.

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Cold!

It was Christmas Eve morning by the time I arrived and it was time to celebrate. Note: thanks for the early pick-up and drop-off from the airport mom and dad!

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Lots of quality times with family was enjoyed. (Without pictures, I guess).

As well as time with friends.

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Finished off the year the way I started it, with a run outside!

*On the brink of 2016. (So innocent, so naive).

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It was colder and snowier this year, but watching for ice just made it more adventurous…

*On the brink of 2017. (A little more weathered).

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My New Year’s smooch this year.

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And before I knew it, it was time to catch my flight back to LA.

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All I wanted to do was sleep when I got home, but I didn’t want to disrupt my routine, so instead, I cleaned and got organized. Felt good! I stopped at the gym to fit in some strength training before heading out for a hike.

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The sun was not awaiting my arrival.

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After grocery shopping, I meal prepped and made dinner. Ravioli atop chicken sausage, spinach, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Ah my Gah, delicious! And it so happens to make up my lunches for the week as well.

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Oh, and yeah, I should be more consistent with my blog.

Living Well

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little lost, I tend to eat too much. Not eating comes when I’m super stressed, which I’m happy to not be enduring, but the other side of it isn’t healthy either.

It’s easy to use the excuse that we’re in the holiday season and bad eating choices are all around us. I’ve been eating mindlessly, which leads to danger. When I first arrived in LA, I was on point with eating and exercising and had lost a few pounds, something I could tell from my loose fitting clothes. These past few weeks have proved difficult and my waistline is feeling it. I know it hasn’t been anything too crazy, but a constant pushing it off ’til tomorrow only lends itself to poor and unhealthy habits.

Exercise is my strong suit. As a personal trainer, I love formatting and executing a new workout that I know will crush me and push my body to new heights. That sounds terrifying to put it like that, actually, but I mean it in the best way possible. I love sweating during and after a solid workout. To me, there are few greater daily accomplishments.

I did take most of the week off with Thanksgiving and all that traveling, but I got back into it on Sunday with a killer workout. I worked through three sets of twelve reps. First circuit was tricep dips, jumping lunges, and front raises. Second included burpees (death), push-ups (more death), and high knees (not so deathly). My third circuit took me through resistance band bicep curls, a plie squat to step ups, and supermans. I finished with a core circuit of pike rolls, side plank twist dips, and cable ab presses. For cardio, I did 18 minutes on the spin bike and left the gym a bundle of sweat. Since it was nice out, but windy and cold, I ran a mile outside. It’s been awhile since I’ve run outside and run a straight up mile for that matter- I’ve been working on intervals more to stave off treadmill boredom- and I felt more tired than usual, but still strong.

Strength is an emotional and physical attribute that constantly needs to be developed and honed. It’s ever-changing depending on circumstances. Find it, use it, and whether you succeed or fail, learn from it. Thankfully, I have a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.

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Most of the time, I don’t think twice about my post-work workouts because it’s just part of my routine. It feels good to end the day that way, although my running suffers a bit. My Monday night workout was another total body knockout. All circuits again, I started with some barbell work. In sequence, I performed a row, clean, front squat, to shoulder presses. The second circuit incorporated dumbbell chest presses, skull crushers, and alternating hammer curls. Next up, I went through kettle bell swings, split squats, and kickback deadlifts. Each circuit was 5 sets of 5 reps with heavy weight. To top things off, my core circuit included v ups, rollouts, and medicine ball twists at 3 sets of 20 reps. Cardio was HIIT cycling with another mile on the treadmill.

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I’m amping up my routine and reeling in my eating habits. It will help that I am blogging regularly again because I have to share what I’m eating with you.

Monday’s breakfast was a warm homemade waffle and fruit.

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For a snack, I spread a scoop of peanut butter over a slice of whole wheat toast.

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Lunch will be the same throughout the week: quinoa, chickpeas, zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and soyaki.

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My pre workout snack was a cheesestick and a handful of wheat thins.

Soyaki drizzled salmon, spinach rice, broccoli, and more soyaki was on the menu for dinner. I’m getting decent at cooking salmon, but I think the soyaki helps a ton.

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Mindfulness can be hard, while reaching for a bite of this and handful of that is easy and instantly satisfying. Longterm, leading a healthy lifestyle and feeling good and strong in your body and mind is more important and satisfying. Eating will always be somewhat of a challenge for me, be it ingrained habits or unlucky genes, but I refuse to see such a natural component of life as a negative. Yes, I will enjoy the holidays and every day life, just as much as I will eat mindfully and healthfully, but as the saying goes, “it’s all in moderation.” Moderation takes practice, as do all the good things in life.

Live well!

Food Pics and Sweet Teeth Goodness

Poking my head in between work to share- I’ve got pictures of food! Starting with yesterday’s lunch of pulled pork made in the crockpot, a crab rangoon, mashed potatoes, zucchini, and spinach!

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Next came last night’s dinner eaten between training sessions. It was a Greek yogurt and granola parfait mixed with lots of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries!

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Moving on to this morning’s breakfast. It’s National Pancake Day and International Women’s Day, so you better believe I woke up celebrating!

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I am actively in the process of now trying to lose weight, which pretty much means I’m paying a lot more attention to what I’m eating. I have a raging sweet tooth, which is nobody’s friend, so I’ve had to be conscious of everything I put into my mouth. I’ve also given up alcohol for a bit- starting yesterday- because that’s an easy sacrifice for me to make. I don’t drink a ton, but I’ve been going out more recently.

When it comes to sweets, I don’t like to deprive myself, so I’ve been trying to think of the best way to incorporate them into my healthy diet. On Sunday, I read an article on Buzzfeed about some long-term weight loss tips and one of them was to manage sweets as though they were another meal. This doesn’t mean to eat that many calories in a meal, but I like the idea of knowing I can have something every day, while being conscious of when and what that treat is.

For example, last night, I packed a few Hershey Miniatures into my dinner bag to enjoy at some point during work. As it turns out, I didn’t end up eating them because I didn’t feel like it- AN ODDITY, trust me!- but just knowing I could eat them, guilt free, was satisfying. For sure, the biggest thing for me is to stop picking at sweet things throughout the day, a bad habit I got into over the past few months. I don’t eat my breakfast, lunch, or dinner that way- unless I’m working and have to spread things out, but then I have it all planned out carefully- so I decided to make my treats that way too.

Overall, my eating habits are fairly healthy, so I know what I have to cut back on and change and I think this will set me up for success. Sugar is addictive and delicious, but it’s not the end all be all!

Quality Over Quantity

We are consumers. Whatever it is that is being consumed, be it food, culture, ideas, or anything else, we prefer it to come fast. Quantity and speed over quality. (You’d think the Oscars would have anticipated this and not run for about 84 years, but I guess this joke is a few days old).

I find that I always need to be moving. If I’m out on a walk on a beautiful, sunny, and fairly warm day in the middle of winter, I feel like I should be running. If I have a scrumptious meal in front of me, I pick up that fork and in I dig. Social media has upturned the way we learn news, but we’ve seen countless times that it can be as misleading as it is effective. If something takes awhile to load, if I have to suffer through a few days of anticipation, or get from start to finish on a project, I can feel anxiety roll through me, my feet and fingers tap, mind jitter.

But I want to be better than mindless, fast, and impatient.

Through my weight loss journey, graduating from school, editing my stories from rough draft to actual publication, to studying for my personal training certificate, and any other accomplishment I consider in my life, I know it didn’t come from fast or easy. But even in the things that we suffer, from grief and hardship, pain and annoyance, we have to live through it, not bear down and go through the motions. Life is what we put into it, much more so than what happens to us.

I think we are often so unhappy because nothing truly satisfies anymore. There is a difference between something happening and actually experiencing it. We can be happy with a lot less if we take the time and effort to appreciate what we have. Sometimes (a lot of times), I need to be reminded of this.

I’ve found two pictures that incapsulate this idea perfectly. One of my own taking:

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It didn’t matter that I had to get him inside because I was heading to work, Mac was not ready to come inside. He was lying on that grass and soaking up the sun!

This second photo has been making the rounds on the internet and it’s just so funny to me and it fits my point, so I’m sharing. Thanks to whoever shared it in the first place!

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Eat up life the way Leo looks at his Girl Scouts’ cookies (and how he must look at his Oscar now).

So for as much as we consume, let’s try to savor too.

Saturday Morning Interlude

On a Saturday that I don’t have to work, you better believe there will be pancakes! There’s something special about taking the time to prepare a meal that makes you connect to the food you’re eating. I’ve made these cakes so many times before, but this batch just seemed extra tasty for whatever reason. I think it comes down to the lack of free Saturday mornings I’ve had these past few months.

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You probably notice the pretty way I plated these cakes too. Not that it wasn’t completely demolished within seconds once I devoured them.

On this cloudy, cozy day, I’ve been taking my time in the morning, sleeping in and reading (a book!). All I have planned is a workout and a dinner later. You also have to love the mass amounts of tea I’ve enjoyed this morning.

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Just look at that tag! “Be well.”

For the record, I did get around to that Yoga yesterday and I’m glad I did! I threw on some music (Ingrid Michaelson) and went with a flow. I don’t know if it’s from my rest day previously or the fact that I’ve been practicing Yoga more frequently, but I felt s-t-r-o-n-g. Work with those good vibrations when they come!

Happy Saturday! (And yes, I did just compose this blog post so I could share a picture of my pancakes).