Completed: Nutrition Challenge!

photo-18

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?

Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

image-3

TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF THE NUTRITION CHALLENGE.

(I’ll be sure to update with my progress/results this weekend.)

I made some exciting things the past two weeks, like the carrot fries, the mayo, etc. This week, I tried cauliflower pizza crust! Not amazing, but a pretty solid base to replace crust! (I missed the cheese though, not going to lie.) I used this recipe for the base. It’s pretty time consuming, but pretty worth it. I think that you could probably make a bunch of these and freeze them in freezer bags for future use. My little-food-processor-that-could was acting up, but hopefully yours will be better! I put on homemade pizza sauce (well Whole Foods homemade, hah!), pepperoni, some diced tomatoes, and basil. I want to try it with some pesto, or spinach and goat cheese next time!

I had a snow day on Wednesday. It started snowing around 10am on Tuesday. School let out at 12:30pm. That was way too late, in my opinion. I work about 30-40 minutes from my apartment, depending on traffic, but it took me 2.5 hours to get home! Woah now.  Anyway, on Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Heather at Sushi Planet. I decided to try out hand rolls sans rice, instead of getting the sashimi lunch special. The verdict? They were hard to eat, since the seaweed wrapper is difficult to bite through. Otherwise, they tasted great, and as you can see in the above picture – they look fantastic. But really. hard. to. eat.

I’m leaving you with a picture of the Roosevelt Blvd (a crazy like 8 lane non-highway, with crazy lights and turn lanes and lots of accidents.) Anyway, it looked like this on Tuesday around 1pm:

image-4

Have any of you tried an alternative to pizza crust? How did it turn out?

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

 

 

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Looking Back

I’ve been thinking about this post for the past few days. I have been trying to figure out exactly what kind of year 2013 was, and I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a fine year. Nothing life changing, just a good, solid year.

Highlights:

  • Travel: In the spring, I went to Savannah with my sister to visit Ingela. I had the pleasure of doing a road trip with Ingela a few months later from Savannah through Atlanta, camping and white water rafting in Tennessee, to Nashville (LOVED), and ending in Asheville, NC. Then in July, I traveled to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State with my friend Elisa to go to Emily and Aaron’s wedding. It is truly an amazing place. You should all go there.
  • Fitness: Still was trucking along with Sgt Nate, and I started regularly taking classes at Lithe Method when I got a part time job there in JuneI ran 3 5Ks (Cupid 5K, Manayunk 5K, Turkey Trot 5K), a 4 mile race, a 10K, a 6.55 mile trail race, and a half marathon. I got a PR on the 10K (1:00:11!), and I got 4th place in my division in the trail race! Started incorporating a little hill and speed work into my runs with Matt, and I got back to some regular-ish yoga classes after I injured my IT band. And I almost forgot that I joined an ultimate frisbee team!
  • Food: I did a 10 day real food challenge in September with no wheat, dairy, or alcohol and felt great. I have cut back on dairy, since I feel a lot better without it. Started “eating normally” and not obsessing about the scale. I am so much happier this way, let me tell you!
  • Personal: One of the biggest things I tried to work on since the summer of 2013 was to focus on building more meaningful relationships with my friends. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, wide friend circle in Philly. In the past, I had been focusing a lot of attention on “being friends with everyone” and not enough attention on actually trying to build deeper relationships with people. I haven’t stopped being friends with people, just have refocused my energies a bit. It’s always a balance, but determining when to give a little more and when to let go is an important skill in life, especially pertaining to relationships.
  • Resolutions Revisit: 
    • 1.) Do something new every month: I kept up with this for the most part, but I did miss a month or two. Some things I did: tried new restaurants and new fitness studios, made pad thai, took a swim class,  Savannah Slow Ride, Burlesque class, trussed a chicken, sea kayaked, rode a Scoute Coup, went to Nashville and the San Juan Islands (and lot of other new places), hiked the Rickett’s Glen loop, played on an ultimate frisbee team with PSN, volunteered at Blocktoberfest, and sang live band karaoke.
    • 2.) Stop weighing myself so much: Took me almost all year, but I was eventually successful with just a couple of hiccups (when my scale broke!)
    • 3.) Drink less!: Okay, so I didn’t *really* manage to do this one, but I have at least made peace with it.

 

Looking Forward 

  • Resolutions:
    • When I eat meals at restaurants, try to always include a fruit or vegetable with the meal.
    • Include a mentally/physically restorative workout into my routine at least once a week (yoga, tai-chi, etc) – even if I do this at home.
    • Keep in better touch with my friends who live outside of Philly. This means that I will email/call them once a month.
  • Goals: [not really resolutions, but things I’d like to accomplish]
    • Run a half marathon trail race
    • Run a the 15K Hot Chocolate Run in April
    • Save money for my trip to SE Asia this summer
    • Sgt Nate’s 2 week nutrition challenge in January with no cheats!
    • Take more trips to Baltimore to visit college friends.

 

I may update and add to my goals list, but I think this is a solid start.

What are your resolutions/goals for 2014?

Christmas Craziness

The holidays are a crazy time, aren’t they? I have barely thought about this blog recently. But man, have I been thinking about all of those cookies I have been eating!

I have a BIG confession to make: I made a colossal mistake last week and decided to buy a scale. WHICH WAS REALLY DUMB GUYS, because…

A) It was a New Year’s Resolution to stop weighing myself so much.

B) I hadn’t weighed myself hardly at all in 2 months, and I had been really crazy insanely happy about not weighing myself.

C) I hadn’t really felt fat at all. There was very little self fat talk!

and D) I have been eating a lot of cookies.

Of course, I stepped on the scale approximately 10 times in the past 6 days, and shockingly, I haven’t been super pleased with the result. I mean, it’s within 5 pounds of what it said last time I got on it before Thanksgiving (which was a couple pounds higher than I wanted it to be at that point, to be honest).  I knew I wanted to do a January reset anyway to make me feel healthy and happy after the holidays, but really, what was I thinking? I don’t need that stupid little number. My clothes fit. I’ve been working out a lot. I had been feeling [and looking] great. Shouldn’t that be enough?!

It’s AMAZING what a stupid little number on a scale can do for your mental health, and how a simple number can affect your body image.  [And it is really. just. a. number. I mean, step on and off and you may get a different #. or drink water. or go to the bathroom.] My friend posted a thing on instagram yesterday that read:

Untitled2

THAT’S ALMOST AN ENTIRE YEAR WORRYING ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU WEIGH.

And that, my friends, is NOT okay. There are so many better things in life to think about and relish in. How can you enjoy the wonderful time you are having with friends and family if you are worried about how your stomach looks in your jeans when you sit down? Or how your arm will look in that picture? Or. Or. Or. We are literally missing out on some of the best moments of our lives, because we are so worried about the number the scale said that morning and whether or not you should really have that extra cookie or pita with hummus.

It’s a balancing act. Treat your body well. Feed it well. Most of the time, feed it with whole foods. [whole foods, like real foods, not the store]. Stay away from packaged products. Drink water. Eat food that is a variety of colors. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. [good for your body and your mind]. And make peace. With yourself. Your body.

… and put the damn scale away. 

[side note: as of today, my scale is currently living in a closet hidden away from view. where i will use it occasionally to keep myself honest.]

This Week’s Reasons Why Life Good

I am acutely aware that I am long overdue for a good “Life is Good” post. This week seems particularly good timing for one since I’ve been feeling a little stressed about my cat’s urinary problems, and overall just a little worn out.  However – without further ado:

Did I use “ado” correctly? Is that actually a thing?

 

smoothies

1.  I have been making some *AWESOME* smoothies lately. My lovely roommate, Natalie, has a Vitamix. It finally came home to live with us, and I’m ecstatic. This picture was of my first attempt, but I’m very pleased with my daily smoothies each and every day. For my green smoothies, I’ve been doing a bag of spinach,  a cucumber, water or almond milk or a combo, an apple, maybe a pear or banana or both. I often add an avocado, maybe some peanut butter. We have chia seeds that I haven’t tried. I made an amazing pumpkin, banana, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond milk smoothie last night. I could drink that every day of my life. I make a lot, and it’s enough for Natalie and I or for me for 2 days if she’s not around . Love them.

2. I have *officially* decided to stop trying to lose 10 more pounds. My body is protesting, and who says I need to lose 10 more pounds? I have been at this weight for a year and a half, and I’m happy at it. I can easily maintain it, and can focus on being fit and happy and not skinny and hungry. Sounds like a good trade to me. So, I have *NO* idea how many calories are in the smoothies, and I don’t care. They are good for me, and that’s enough. That said – I’ve been eating sort of crappy these past few days (but really, not that bad. Though I am craving a burger or hoagie right now something fierce). I’m chalking it up to PMS and will be back on the no carbs/dairy during the week train again next week.

3. My 34, yes – count them, 34 – fifth graders have pretty much fallen in line at school. Sure, it’s a ton of kids, and sure – they would certainly get more attention if there were less of them, but there is definite teaching and learning going on, and that’s all I’m going to ask for right now.

4. I rejoined OkCupid, and even though I think dating is a pain, I realize it’s something I probably should do. So, yeah. that’s happening. I’ll keep you updated.

photo-15

5. I went to the King of Prussia Beer Fest for free last Saturday with some friends thanks to Yelp! It was a good selection of craft beers and a pretty fun band. Good times were had by all. And get this – a guy came up to my friends and I saying that I looked really familiar. My friend, Greta, went into high gear, suggesting that we become Facebook friends to see if we have mutual friends in common.  Nope. Want to guess how he recognized me? We had been talking on OkCupid. As soon as I saw his profile picture I knew, but it took him until the next morning when he messaged me. Funny how these things happen, isn’t it?

photo-16

6. My most recent long run, on Sunday, was 8.6 miles. I ran with Carey and Matt late Sunday morning on the Kelly Dr/West River Drive Loop, ending with running up the Steps! Because, why not? Carey and I stayed together the whole time, stopping here and there to wait for Matt and what not. It was not such a great run for him, but he still pushed it out and that is all that matters. Read about his run here.

Carey and I kept a really solid pace the whole time, and even though it was crazy humid, I thought it went well. I’ve been having some IT Band issues, and my knee hurt a little in the last mile, but I’m doing some foam rolling and all is well.

7. I did two awesome running club runs last week. Tuesday, I ran with the running club portion of Young Involved Philadelphia.  (Run with us! Info here.) It was my first outing with this group, which meets the first Tuesday of every month. You run, and then explore some cool place in Philly. This past week was the Reading Viaduct, that is in the process of raising money to turn it into a park. It was super cool to be up there. They are basically elevated, abandoned railroad tracks. Then, we went to Prohibition Taproom for some food and drinks.  On Thursday, I ran with the infamous Fishtown Beer Runners. They are super nice, and super fun, and like to run and drink beer. How can you go wrong? There’s a group that leaves from 7 and Bainbridge, so we ran 4 miles and ended at LLama Tooth for some beer. The first was free! I had an awesome time and an awesome run. I’m trying to go tomorrow, but the rain might just get in the way! I sure hope not.

8. I got up yesterday at 6am to run with Pam, and I got up today at 6am to go to yoga with Natalie! If not for the rain, Pam and I would be running tomorrow at 6am. I’m positive that these 6am workouts are the only things that got me through my days the past 2 days!  I did end up going to Sgt Nate- Ranger Cross Training tonight, but now I’m completely wiped and not going to my frisbee game. Ah well. I need some rest, and it’s damp and chilly outside.

 

What are some reasons why your life is good this week?

 

Turkey Sweet Potato Hash

20130924-081442.jpg

I made this last night for lunches this week. It’s called Turkey Sweet Potato Hash. It’s just ground turkey, black beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, and onion. I’m super excited about it, and it’s simple to make. My estimates run about 388 calories if you split the recipe into 4 servings. I used spray olive oil instead of butter. The recipe was created by a friend, and posted on her blog. Find the recipe here: http://justlovethefood.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/heck-yes-kale-chips-day-2/