Ramping it Up

The time has come when shorts, tanks, dresses, and skirts are  a gal’s daily wardrobe. I turned on my AC tonight! (Let’s not even talk about swim suits).  I LOVE summer weather and clothes, BUT go through a thing every year where I am decidedly not ready to give up my jeans and cardigans. I know I’m not alone. PLUS, there’s festivals, and eating, and drinking, and birthdays, and eating, and drinking. Warm weather is happy hour weather, am I right?

 

Here is how I’m getting through:

1. WORKOUTS! I’m definitely keeping up my workouts with Lithe, Sgt. Nate @ Professional Touch Fitness, and running. I aim for 5-6 days a week. No excuses.

2. I am tracking things on MyFitnessPal. I’m far from perfect, and go over more days than not, but it keeps me WAY more honest than I am otherwise. And I lost a few of the winter pounds, so I’m feeling a lot better about my shorts and tank tops than I was a few weeks ago, that’s for sure.

3. I’ve been snacking on Lithe Fudge when I need a little snack. It’s rich, satisfying, and full of delicious ingredients.

4. I’ve traded some of my beloved beers for white wine. (except it’s Philly Beer Week, so not this week.)

5. I bought a few new things: cute new skirt, trendy spring jacket, striped shorts from GAP. I’m thinking of a bathing suit like this one this year: http://bit.ly/1qJpHor. I love getting a few new things and incorporating them!

6. I remember this, that I heard last night at a Beer Week event called “Beer-lesque” (Deschutes Brewery and the Peekaboo Revue Burlesque Dance Troupe): “If you were born a woman, you were born beautiful.”

 

How do you transition into summer wear from covering everything up in the winter?

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Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato!

Quick, healthy dinner!

You need:
1 Sweet potato
Black bean/corn salsa
Cheese – shredded (optional)
1/2 avocado
1/4-1/2 cup greek yogurt
Lime juice

To Make:
1. Microwave sweet potato for 7 minutes
2. Slice open, form little wells, and fill each with the salsa. Top with a little cheese (a little goes a long way)
3. Put into broiler for 2 minutes to melt cheese
4. While potato is in the microwave, blend avocado, greek yogurt, and lime juice to make delicious avocado crema for on top. (This is easily enough crema for at least 2 potatoes.)

#notallcaloriesarecreatedequal

On Running Fast in the Wind

I’ve been basically following my 15K training plan, I’m happy to report.

Last week, I ran 4 miles on Monday at an overall 10:30 min/mile pace, an easy 3 miles on Tuesday at an 11:00 min/mile pace, and 6 miles over the Ben Franklin Bridge on Saturday at an 11:00 min/mile pace. If you have never run over the bridge, it’s sort of killer. It’s basically 3/4 of mile uphill, then 3/4 of a mile downhill. Then you turn around and do it over. The first time up going towards Camden, I always think “This isn’t so bad! Why don’t I do this all the time?” Then, I get to the NJ side and have to turn around and part way up think “Oh, right. This sucks.” When I finally get back to Philadelphia, I’m always *so* happy to be on flat terrain. The runs weren’t fast, but felt strong.

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I never get tired of this view.

This past week, I also ran a few times- following my training schedule. This past week, it was freezing at the beginning of the week, so I ran Thursday and Friday. Both runs were SO. HARD. MUCH harder than they should have been. Without any super good reason for it. I ran 3 miles on Thursday at a 9:40 pace (my splits were not even – 9:20, 10:12, and 9:34.) That’s fast for me. Especially with the amount of running I’ve been doing over the past few months. I was short on time and trying to run fast, but I guess I started out TOO fast – because my splits are usually not that all over the place. It was windy too, which didn’t help. Friday, another super windy day – I ran 3.5 miles at a 10:19 pace. My splits were MUCH better and more even – but it felt SO. HARD. Like, the I-want-to-stop-and-walk-home kind of hard.  (I didn’t though, don’t worry). My friend Matt insists that it was the wind, but I don’t know.  I’m running 7 miles on Sunday, so hopefully it won’t feel so freakin’ hard. I guess everyone has off weeks, but these *definitely* didn’t feel strong like last week’s runs.

Have you run across the bridge? I think it’s probably my favorite view of the city, which always makes up for the heart pounding climb back up from Camden.  Any other favorite views from a running path?

This Week’s Reasons Why Life is Good

So, not all of these things may have happened *this* week, but I make the rules around here.

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1. Due to a Nor’easter and President’s Day, I have a 5 day weekend. Yes, we have to make up the snow days , which stinks, but I have no control over the weather or SDP decisions, so I might as well enjoy the days. I slept in and hung out with friends yesterday for most of the day yesterday, which started with breakfast tacos and ended with 25 cent pierogies from Tattoed Moms.  They made me insanely happy. Jess spent the night Wednesday and Thursday nights, which also made me very happy! I feel like I haven’t seen much of her lately.  Today, I was up early and went to Rock Steady at Lithe – which *totally* kicked my butt in the best of ways.

photo 32. I made a pretty awesome kale caesar salad this week, which I finished for lunch today. I used dressing from Whole Foods that I found in the produce department called Zesty Tahini Dressing. It was very similar to the dressing that the recipe calls for, and it was easier than making it. Plus, I couldn’t find tahini. I might make this salad again next week, I loved it so much. The blue bowl did not make for a particularly fabulous picture, but that’s okay.

3. Olympics. I freakin’ love the Olympics.

4. My favorite Pop Up Beer Garden is back for this weekend only. I’m going to check it out tomorrow or Sunday! I hope the heaters are ginormous.

5. A few weeks ago, my magnificent friend Megan asked me to be her bridesmaid! They are getting married next year at Reading Terminal Market. Can’t wait!

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My mini-goals  for next week: 1.) go to yoga. I haven’t gone in a few weeks, and I can totally tell. 2.) Stop eating total garbage on the weekend.

What are your reasons why life is good this week?

Chicken and Kale Enchiladas

This weather is the pits. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to cook. I want to eat pizza and drink beer. all. day. every. day. However, I managed to make some pretty yummy [and reasonably healthy] enchiladas last week! [Mexican is by far my favorite food, but it’s *not* particularly healthy, so I like to make it myself!]

What I used: Whole Foods corn tortillas (there are like 2 or 3 ingredients), Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce (you can also make your own. I would highly suggest doing that, actually. Do as I say, not as I do!), 2 chicken breasts, kale, 1/2 onion, cheese

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Step 1: I poached the chicken breasts and then shredded them by hand.

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Step 2: I warmed and softened the tortillas with some spray oil in an omelette pan. Next time, I would just stick them in the microwave as this method didn’t work wonderfully.

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Step 3: Cook the onions and kale.

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Step 4: Put about 1/3/-1/2 of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the enchilada baking dish. Put the rest in a wide bowl. Dip the tortillas in the wide bowl to get them coated in the sauce, then fill with a little of the kale/onion mixture, some chicken and roll them.

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Step 5: Cozy them into the baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Top with some shredded cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes. I ate two at a time with some refried black beans.

These would be awesome with mole sauce too. Mole is traditionally really hard to make with 2,302,938 ingredients, but here’s an easy recipe I found. You can do Enchiladas Verdes with a jar of green (or tomatillo) salsa. I haven’t tried these specific recipes, but I have made some similar ones.

Mole

Red Enchilada Sauce

 

 

What’s your favorite Mexican meal to make? Have you ever made enchiladas?

Completed: Nutrition Challenge!

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For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been doing a Nutrition Challenge. It went pretty well! I cheated a little (some wine, 1 small cup of icecream on the snow day, a salad with some fruit in it), but I didn’t have grains or dairy or beer. It was hard to eat out, but not that hard to stick to it at home. I missed fruit in my smoothies (CANNOT wait to make one with fruit), sushi, beer, and the occasional wheat and cheese goodness. BUT, it wasn’t that bad, and really did meet the goals of resetting my eating habits, breaking the bad habits, and losing the holiday pudge.  Most importantly, I feel so much better than I did 2 weeks ago!

Results:

This was successful.

  • lost 5 pounds (3 pounds were fat)
  • -1 inch from my shoulders
  • -0.25 from my bicep
  • -1 inch from my waist
  • -0.25 from my hips
  • -0.5 from my thigh
  • overall body fat percentage loss: -0.6%

As you can see from the pictures above, a little bit can make a pretty big difference! In the end, it’s all about balance. There’s no way I could stay on this diet long term and not go crazy, BUT I learned a lot about not needing the extra carbs or dairy, and the importance of healthy fats and nuts that will keep you full vs other crap that doesn’t. I experimented with some new recipes that make the no grain thing not so hard.

Moving forward, I’m going to continue to limit my wheat (and try to stick with rice based products, quinoa, etc) and dairy consumption (after I eat some pizza tonight!), as well as be more aware of the amount of alcohol I consume.

I’m also going to stop weighing myself again, except for weekly checkins. Because I’m so much happier without that number staring me in the face.

 

[sidenote: I continued to exercise as normal (5-6 days a week – combination of yoga/lithe/Sgt Nate). The frequency/intensity of my workout routine basically stayed the same.]

Anyone want to share any favorite wheat free/dairy free recipes?

2 Week Nutrition Challenge

On Sunday, I started a 2 week Nutrition Challenge with Sgt Nate and my fellow rangers over at Professional Touch Fitness. When I originally received the email, I was not very happy, but I was also feeling bloated and gross – so there ya go. I signed up, set a goal to not cheat during the 2 weeks, and off I went.

Here’s the break down!

Objective: To break the sugar habit, reset your metabolism, and help us prepare for healthier eating habits.

Details (from Sgt Nate):

  • no dairy, no breads, no sugars ( you can use stevia for sweetness), no fruit, no breaded fried foods, no potatoes, no rice, no alcohol
  • Sample meal plan: Oatmeal with crushed walnuts, almond milk, stevia, for breakfast. Remaining meals: lean meat/fish with assorted vegetables with nuts in between meals
  • assorted nuts between meals for healthy fats
  • 5 to 6 meals per day every 3-3 1/2 hours
  • water at every meal and in between meals
  • lean meats: fish, chicken, turkey, egg whites
  • assorted vegetables at every meal after breakfast

That means – BASICALLY: oatmeal in the morning, and meat/veggies/eggs the rest of the day.

I’m doing this from Sunday, January 5th through Saturday, January 25. Sarge took our measurements and weight on Sunday morning, and he’ll take mine again that Saturday morning. It’s about 1 day shy of 2 weeks.

SO FAR: 

I’ve been eating overnight oats for breakfast, minus the banana plus slivered almonds. I’ve been making my green smoothies without any fruit, which I’m not gonna lie, kind of suck. It’s like drinking a salad. Except, I don’t want to drink a salad. I want to drink a smoothie. Oh well, I’ve been drinking them anyway.

For lunches this week, I’ve eaten Chipotle Chicken Salad (with the homemade mayo! Separate post coming about the mayo, total life changer) with some butternut squash soup that I made and froze over my Christmas break.

Snacks, I’ve mostly had almonds and hard boiled eggs, some spoonfuls of hummus and a couple spoonfuls of natural PB here and then.

For dinners, I had this chicken/onions/peppers recipe that I topped with some jalapeño tomatoes and guacamole. Last night I also made some kale chips.  Tonight, I made black beans, spinach, and tomatoes with 2 eggs. It was totally delicious. Then, I made some carrot fries. Again, total. life. changer.  My friend, Candie, instagrammed some not too long ago, and I’ve been curious ever since. See, I don’t really like carrots. But carrot fries dipped in some of my homemade chipotle mayo? Yes, sir! I ate 3 carrots worth of carrot fries tonight.

[Disclaimer: Beans aren’t technically  in this plan since they are a carbohydrate – and we can only have morning oatmeal. However, they are a slow digesting carbohydrate and have protein in them too. Since I don’t really love meat, I decided to include some beans as well.]

How I feel: 

I definitely felt a little tired and run down the first few days. Felt kind of weak in the yoga classes I took Monday and Tuesday.  Yesterday,  I went to Sarge. At one point, I said “This is hard today. I feel tired.”  I made it through. Today, I went to Sarge in the morning and then Lithe in the afternoon, and I’m feeling a lot less worn out. I did have a pretty massive dinner, but it was on the plan – so I’m going with it.

I weighed myself yesterday [I know, I know] since I was feeling much less bloated, and I was already down a couple of those extra pounds. So that’s good, because I started this about 8 pounds more than I want to be. [I know. I know. It’s a number, we’ve been through this. Put the damn scale away.]

So far. So good. Here are some pictures of food from this week.

 

Carrot Fries Spinach, beans, tomatoes, and eggs Chipotle Mayo Kale Chips Chicken Fajita Chipotle Mayo