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.

 

 

My Left Side Is Rebelling Against Me

I just came back from my first massage in a year (almost to the day) and it made me realize how much has changed. It’s funny what triggers those thoughts! Last year, I got a massage with my mom and sister right before my sister’s wedding. I happened to be at a job that was stressful and that I didn’t love and I had to ask the massage therapist to stop touching my neck because it hurt too much from where I carried my stress.

A year later and I’m in a position I love, I know exactly the muscles that are being affected by the massage, and the tension in my body isn’t from stress, so much as physical labor. As I suspected from recent weeks, my left side has been taking a beating, from my foot to my upper trapezius muscles. No idea why the tension is primarily on one side over the other, especially considering that I’m right-handed, but it happens!

Note to self, get massages more regularly.

This is the face of a happy beach-goer.

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The only decent selfie that was snapped of the four of us celebrating Katie’s birthday!

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My breakfast is already anticipating the July 4th holiday, thanks to the delicious fruit!

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In other news, I’ve been grinding at the gym with total body workouts, including a day of intense HIIT and plyometric strength training so as to rev up the metabolism and burn fat. I also upped my running to three times a week, altering mileage, speed, and incline to mix things up (especially if it’s raining and I’m stuck on the treadmill). I’m still going easy on the lower back exercises- deadlifts, rows, and bridges in particular- but my back isn’t quite as sore as before. In exciting personal gains, I’m getting so much better at the hanging leg raises, and my body is no longer swaying, but is stabilized by a stronger core. Practice does make better!

According to the body fat calculator at work, I’m down 3% since the last time I weighed in, around a month ago. I don’t know how accurate body fat calculators are, but it has showed similar numbers in the past, so I’ll take it!

Like most of the world, I am also obsessed with Hamilton and I’ve been listening to the Original Broadway Cast Recording on repeat all day, every day.

I’ve had to tear myself away from this new book I’m reading thanks to my mom’s recommendation. It’s called Two Truths and a Lie by Katrina Kittle and it’s fascinating. I sat down in my backyard Monday afternoon expecting to get through a chapter or two and ended up reading for the next three hours. Whoops.

It is summer, so it’s almost time for my annual Harry Potter reread! Someone didn’t believe me that there was a July 31st and the only reason I knew for a definitive fact that yes, 100% there was indeed a July 31st was because it’s Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s birthday. Let’s not eliminate such a blessed day!

Writing time! Happy Wednesday, folks!

Attack of the Sleep Monster and What To Do For Lent (if that’s your kind of thing)

There is little worse than nights when you cannot sleep. I went to bed around 9:30 openly yawning and didn’t fall asleep well past midnight. It was one of those sleeps when you feel like you didn’t sleep at all, even though you probably did at some point. I fixed my alarm to skip the early morning workout because due to my lack of sleep, I was certain it wasn’t going to happen. Ended up I wasn’t sleeping well in the morning anyways and my alarm was an unwelcome sound blasting in my ears.

Sometimes this happens, drink coffee or tea, eat balanced meals, and suck it up.

I started my day still drowsy by mixing half a cup of milk with half a cup of water and boiling it for my oats. I tossed in some mashed banana, peanut butter, strawberries, blueberries, and cinnamon and mixed it all around until it was this delightful mixture. A nice warm bowl for another cold, snowy day.

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Lunch was a salad and soup kind of day. I chopped up some carrots, celery, peppers, and beets and threw it on top of a bed of baby spinach with a little feta, leftover pulled chicken, and Italian dressing. The soup was from Panera- which they sell in the grocery store- and it was mostly corn and black beans (supposedly chicken tortilla) but it was still pretty good.

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Dinner for the evening were steak tips, potatoes, cauliflower, peppers, and squash. Quite an arrangement of flavors and colors! Can you tell I’m obsessed with barbecue sauce lately, especially with steak? So good!

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One of my favorite yogurt combinations- I eat a Greek yogurt almost every afternoon- is an odd one. For awhile, I was going with the pomegranate seeds because they are so juicy and pair well with plain yogurt. Then I was being slightly lazy and running with the pre-flavored varieties. I took one look at the sugar content on those bad boys and knew it couldn’t be an every day occurrence. Now, I’m spooning in a handful of grapes- I prefer the black ones for their sweetness- and sometimes even a little teaspoon of chocolate chips. The grape-chocolate combination sounds like an odd one, but it’s really tasty!

Since it’s that time of year, I’ve been considering what I should give up for Lent. Sometimes, I’ll try to do more good things, which I’m definitely still considering, but I need to learn a new habit: staying away from the candy jars at work. This shouldn’t be so hard, but when you put something sweet in front of me and it’s 3:00 in the afternoon, I’m going to mindlessly dig into it. My hope is that by “giving it up for Lent,” I’ll learn NOT eating candy as a new habit. The other thing I need to do more of is standing while I work because sitting all day is going to detract from all those healthy benefits I gain from my morning workouts.

More suggestions for a healthy Lent? Giving up any kind of sweets or salty snacks is usually a good go-to. I wouldn’t give up all kinds though, maybe pick one or two, so that you’re mindful of what you’re eating, when, and why. Many times- I know I’m guilty of it- I’ll indulge without even taking enjoyment in it. In the end, it’s just more useless instant gratification without actual satisfaction. Another goal I’ll be working on in my life in general is doing things with intention. It sounds so much easier than it is! I’ve got a wedding to get ready for though as MOH and these pants are feeling a little tighter from the winter month and treats.

More good options are to start that regular workout routine. Dedicate time 4-5 days a week and go for 30-60 minutes every day. Exercise is my main source of stress release, but it took me awhile to get to that place. I mentioned the Elliptical machine that now RIP as my starting point. Find something, take your time, and get moving. It is so good for you and the benefits are so high!

Drink more water, less or no soda. Four years ago-AH!- when I was a junior in college, right before the moment that would kick me off on this weight loss journey, I was obsessed with soda. It was so easy to drink it every day, especially in a college cafeteria. I tried to give it up for Lent, knowing it was not a good habit, but it wasn’t an easy one to kick. I couldn’t do it then. My will was not strong, especially when I started having dreams about it. A year later and well into my weight loss journey, I decided to try it again. I haven’t made a regular habit of it since and I don’t miss it. Sure, I had my moments where I thought-NEED- but I overcame them, turned to fruity water (the natural kind with chopped lemons, limes, strawberries, etc) instead. So much of me changed just from this one little act. My taste for natural foods, like fruits and veggies, increased exponentially. My skin was clearer, I felt more energized, and less greasy. Keep in mind, I had a DIET soda habit, not regular. Both are pretty bad for you. Occasionally, especially if mixed with alcohol, i.e. Fresca with sangria, I’ll pour a little soda, but my taste for it has diminished.

Lent is another one of those times- if you choose- that help people focus on their habits and make changes. That doesn’t mean it’s the only time, but life is busy and we don’t always stop and realize what we’re doing until more of these days come to pass, i.e. New Years. Don’t see this “sacrifice” or choice as a negative thing, but as another notch in striving towards healthier, happier living.

If you’ve given something up for Lent before, then you’ll remember the feeling of Easter morning (or if you’re like my mom and aunts, Good Friday evening), and finally indulging in that tasty treat you’ve given up. You put so much care and appreciation into each bite, savoring all the tastes and morsels so mindfully. That’s how we should be eating every single thing that we eat. I’m not good at this, but I’m aware of it, and I’m ready to tackle it as my next challenge.

Mindfulness is a gift, but it’s also a skill that has to be practiced and honed. Care to join me?