Travel time

I’m about to board my flight home… But to get a cheap deal I have a 6 hour layover in Houston before arriving in Newark.

I miss Florida already!

Although there was a cold front in Florida this week I was able to enjoy some time walking on the beach and laying the sun.

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And there was a lot of playing with these nuggets

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Has anyone ever been to the Houston Hobby airport? I’m hoping there are some fun shops to look at but I might just hang at the charging station watching Netflix and eating the snacks I packed.

They are calling my row. Adios!

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Healthy vacation

Hi from Florida!

I’ve been determined to make this a healthy vacation and I think I’m doing pretty well!

I typically let my tracking slide when I’m away from home but the hotel my family is staying in has an awesome gym and a kitchen so I have absolutely ZERO excuses.

The morning after I arrived I wolfed down a banana and then set off on a 2 mile walk/run by the ocean.

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Following that I drove over the Publix to stock up on food for the week. I got instant oatmeal packets, Greek yogurt, tons of fruit, almonds, and some salad stuff with salsa for dressing. So far, so good.

I feel a little off not weighing in on my scale every day but am satisfied with the choices I’m making – turning down temptations like soft serve ice cream or dinner at a restaurant isn’t easy!

How do you stay healthy on vacation?

Chocolate Protein Quinoa Cups

As you read this I’ll be on my way to Florida!

I’m spending the week relaxing on the beach with my sisters and the kiddos before my new job begins. I’m also escaping just as New Jersey gets hit with even more snow ūüôā

This weekend involved a lot of laying around and cleaning. I’m totally the type of person that needs to make sure everything is organized and tidy before I leave on vacation or start something new. I scrubbed down the kitchen, swept the floors, went through everything in my closet – best feeling ever!

On Saturday I was also able to make it to the park for a quick bout of fresh air. I didn’t stay long though – I was underdressed and it was freezing!

park

It felt good just to be outside and remember that spring is coming, albeit very slowly.

These dudes didn’t seem to mind the weather.

geese

There was also some successful kitchen experiments.

A few weeks ago I wrote that I started eating quinoa for breakfast. Previously,  I only enjoyed the grain in savory preparations,  but eating it for breakfast completely opened my mind to new possibilities. The following recipe is pretty hard to mess up, so feel free to experiment with whatever you have in the kitchen.

Chocolate Protein Quinoa Cups

Makes 14 regular sized ‘muffins’

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked (!!!)
  • 3 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2/3 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp stevia

Directions

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare the quinoa using the directions on the package and start brewing some coffee, or use the leftovers from breakfast.
  3. ¬†In an effort to make as little mess as possible, throw all the ingredients into one giant bowl and stir it up! If the batter doesn’t start coming together, add more coffee.¬†
  4. Pour the gooey chocolate mixture into muffin tins (I recommend silicone baking cups!) and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the tops of the muffins harden and the inside is no longer gooey.

chocolate protein quinoa cups

I usually loosely follow some kind of recipe when I cook, but this was my first time truly just winging it and the results were great! These not only taste chocolatey and delicious, but are packed with protein and whole grains. They make the perfect breakfasts, post workout snacks or even desert.

Happy Monday!

 

Healthy Living Survey

Friiiiidaaaay!!! WOOHOOO!

Remember back in like, 1995, when you would spend hours answering survey questions and then email it around to all of your friends? This healthy living survey that I saw making the blog rounds reminded me of that and I couldn’t resist. Blame it on early internet nostalgia haha.

Ok…Here we go!

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

A mess of things that I’m calling a superfoods power bowl! I’m obsessed. In the bowl is:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1/2 oz of raw cacao nibs
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp of stevia

Mix all the ingredients together and put in the fridge overnight to enjoy cold in the morning! This bowl is packed with fat, fiber and fun and covers most cool food trends. WIN.

2. How much water do you drink a day?

Are we counting tea? Ok here it goes – I have a glass at breakfast, and then try to fill up (and drink!) my 24 oz water bottle three times at work…plus a few giant mugs of hot tea. Then another glass of water with dinner and usually more hot tea. That adds up to…around 90 oz a day!? Wow.

I’m terrible at keeping up with my water intake on the weekend without my water bottle. It’s all about coffee come Saturday and Sunday.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

Walking! I was enjoying weights at the gym…and then fell out of the habit again. I’m hoping to start running soon. Yay for warm weather!

4. How many calories do you eat a day?

Right now I aim to stay between 1200-1400 calories a day depending on my activity level. I want to stress, however, that I never, ever, EVER deny myself food if I’m hungry. Listen to your body, folks!

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

I’m honestly not much of a snacker. I plan out my meals and rarely deviate. On days that I am feeling a little munchy I go for baby carrots and fruit, glasses of almond milk, Greek yogurt, and nuts. Borrrring.

Spring in NYC

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

It used to be a fun salad every day but lately I’ve been switching¬†it up and enjoying a HUGE salad for dinner and a more dinner-type meal for lunch. My current favorite lunches are anything made in the crock pot.¬†I’m on my like, second month, of eating salsa chicken (chicken, salsa, frozen vegetables in the crock pot – DONE). It’s so easy and so delicious and packs in protein and vegetables. ¬†Can’t go wrong.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

Legs? I don’t really enjoy strength training. I like doing squats and lunges when I’m feeling motivated but that’s about it.

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

I like how I feel after I work my arms, but I don’t really enjoy it. I hate doing core work and that’s where I’m weakest. Go figure.

9. What are your ‘bad’ food cravings?

I don’t have any foods that I really look at as ‘bad’, but I’ve been (mostly) sugar free for a while and when I deviate and I really feel the negative effects. No bueno. That being said…when I do go out for FroYo (my one true love) it’s go big or go home. Giant bowls topped with m&ms, oreos, chocolate chips…resisting the urge to go get some right now.

I also get cravings for giant Chipotle burritos – when those hit I usually just make a healthier version.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

YUP! I swear by vitamins. I’m consistent with a multi-vitamin every day and I seriously believe it has super powers. I’m also currently taking Vitamin D3, probiotics, and magnesium in the form of Natural Calm.

I don’t know if you remember me complaining about getting awful Charley horses when I used to run, but I’m really prone to dehydration and get cluster headaches and muscle spasms¬†because of it. After trying everything – upping my iron,¬†potassium¬† Vitamin C, stretching, wearing compression sleeves, etc. – ¬†Natural Calm was the only thing that worked. And it’s delicious.

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11. How often do you eat out?

Never. I wish that wasn’t the truth, but it is – just ask my angry friends who I repeatedly turn down invitations from haha.

My ban on eating out started from financial necessity and then it became a health necessity. I also love cooking and am meticulous about meal planning every week so if I ate out I would be wasting the food I use my hard-earned money to buy.

Man, I am sounding less and less fun by the question.

The more truthful answer to this question is… maybeeee twice a month – and it’s always either lunch at Whole Foods or FroYo. Those are my absolute non-guilty pleasures.

12. Do you eat fast food?

Nope! I spent years binge eating from the drive-through at Wendys and McDonalds and so now fast food is a huge trigger of emotional eating for me. I try to avoid it at all costs, not because I think the health effects are such that you should never eat there, but I fear going back to fast food would make me feel out of control.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

My sister. She’s the one person I can call who I know won’t get sick of me talking about food, she motivated me to start running and always believes I can accomplish my goals. She continuously pushes me forward when I’m frustrated.

14. Do you have a gym membership?

I belong to Retro Fitness and happen to think it’s pretty great.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

I aim for 7-9 hours and am pretty good about getting it. Sleep is hugely important for me because I am waaaay more likely to overeat/binge if I’m sleep deprived.

photo 2

16. Do you have a cheat day?

Never. I hate that mentality. Every day I wake up with my game face on and with the best intentions to do what I know will make me feel good and happy. Whatever happens from there, happens.

17. Do you drink alcohol?

Yes!…and no. This is my absolute weakest spot when it comes to moderation. If I drink…I DRINK. Three gin and tonics? Sure. Five glasses of wine? Sounds about right.

So, yeah, I try to abstain because well, calories, but man do I love wine. And gin. And then wine again.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

I really enjoy working out alone. My best motivator is the voice in my head and I look at exercising as my time to reflect and unwind.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a Healthy Lifestyle?

This is a hard question to answer! So much has changed, but I think the biggest has been gaining self confidence and love and never (eh..rarely, re: wine) going to sleep with regret. I live every day the way I want to.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

On Wednesday and Thursday after work I walked 2.5 miles to the PATH station on 14th Street instead of the one 10 minutes from my building. I knew it would be one of the last times I would be able to do it since I start a new job in New Jersey in April and I’m so glad the weather cooperated. While I hated commuting to NYC, I loved walking around the city once I was there.

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Life in love

Maybe it’s because this is my last week commuting to NYC…

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Maybe it’s because when I left work on Tuesday the sun was shining…

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Maybe it’s because I spent the weekend cuddling with my adorable nephews…

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Happy Birthday Ethan!!!

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Maybe it’s because I know this time next week I’ll be in Florida getting some sun with my family before starting my new job…

Or maybe it’s because I’ve been soaking in the wisdom of Gabrielle Bernstein.

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All I know is, the love of the Universe has been flowing through me. I’m feeling grateful and cared for and letting happiness be my guide and I deserve every minute of it. ūüôā

Now…the numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last week:156

This week: 154.5

Total lost: 88.5

Click here for every weigh in, ever.

Banana Bran Muffins (sugar free!)

I have a whole bag of wheat bran to use following last weekend’s bread baking adventure and am putting it to good use.

The thing about baking is, it typically involves bunch of ingredients I don’t often have on hand and don’t particularly want to eat like butter, sugar and milk.

Health-ifying recipes for your needs is easy enough when you’re fearless in the kitchen and know the right substitutions.

bananaAlmond milk for regular milk.

Flax seed for eggs.

Oil and mashed banana/apple sauce for butter.

Stevia for sugar.

The outcome is low calorie, satisfying and delicious.

banana bran muffins

Banana Bran Muffins (sugar free!)

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbs liquid egg whites
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp white stevia powder (Nunaturals brand – I have no idea about the taste of other brands)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix the flour, wheat bran, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl until combined.
  • In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas.
  • Combine the milk, egg whites, vanilla, oil and bananas with the dry ingredients and stir until the batter comes together. It should be clumpy and thick.
  • Spoon the batter into your muffin tins all the way to the top – these won’t rise much.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Eats, lately

I haven’t done a What I Ate Wednesday post in a while!

I don’t have any great pictures to show you but I have been eating some delicious food and wanted to share ūüôā

Breakfast, lately

  • Soupy bowls of sweet quinoa with cooked with blueberries or dried fruit and stevia. I was inspired by this recipe from Dr. Oz.
  • A slice of multigrain bread with Greek yogurt and cinnamon.
  • Chicken sausage and fruit.
  • A re-creation of one of my favorite breakfasts from Costa Rica. My healthy version of a typical Tico breakfast casado¬†with brown rice, egg whites and beans cooked together with cumin, garlic, paprika and salt.

Lunch, lately

  • Still eating lentil sloppy joes.
  • Crock pot salsa chicken – couldn’t be easier to make! Dump some chicken, a jar of salsa and frozen veggies into the slow cooker and set to high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  • Raise the Roof Vegan Sweet Potato Lasagna from the Engine 2 Diet. I was a skeptic with this recipe but HOLY VEGAN it is good. I can’t wait to make it again. Don’t let the list of ingredients or prep work involved scare you off. You can basically use whatever vegetables you have around and it will turn out fantastic.¬†

Dinner, lately

  • HUGE salads. After I did the juice cleanse I had some leftover produce to use and so started eating giant salads for dinner in an effort to not waste food.¬†I’ve been topping a hearty portion of romaine lettuce with cucumbers, carrots, chickpeas, macadamia nuts, shrimp, eggs – whatever is in the fridge. My go-to dressing is a mixture of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustard,¬†Worcestershire¬†sauce and Italian seasoning. I’ve been loving all the crunchy fresh goodness and that I don’t have to cook anything after a long commute.
  • Sweet potato fries and tilapia.¬†

Snacks, lately

  • Oatmeal is my new 3 p.m. snack – 150 calories and fills me up for hours. Love it.
  • Fruit – apples, pears, clementines, blackberries. Mmmm.

Desert, lately

I’ve been putting my Ninja blender to good use!

  • My favorite combo so far is a slushy of¬†cantaloupe, ice, stevia and vanilla extract. YUM.
  • I’m also loving a combo of frozen blueberries, vanilla, almond milk and ice – to me it tastes just like vanilla ice cream.
  • Hot tea. My favorite is Celestial¬†Seasonings¬†apple cinnamon.

 

Now…the numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last week:155.5

This week: 156

Total lost: 87

Click here for every weigh in, ever.

Weekend in the sun

So much to talk about!

I had one of the best weekends in recent memory, filled with friends, fun, good food and the SUN! Hooray for daylight savings (and extra coffee!) and spring ūüôā

My good mood can also be somewhat attributed to the fact that I quit my job! My job that had me commuting for 3+ hours a day into NYC. I’m pretty wary of sharing too much on the internet…but here’s what I can say: In two weeks I’ll have my last day at my current job, then I’m off to Florida for a week to lay on the beach with my family, then I start a new gig much, much, much closer to my apartment with increased flexibility and just an overall better feel.

Life is sweet.

This week was full of successes. On Friday night I went out to happy hour with some coworkers and stuck to water AND managed to have a great time. Who would have thought that was possible?

Early Saturday my best friend Amanda came to hang out and bought me coffee. She knows the way to my heart. We spent a few hours catching up and relaxing.

coffee

Following her visit I embarked on some bread making. Thanks to Brenna at Running¬†with Guts I’ve had a serious jonesing to bake. I followed her recipe for seeded multigrain bread and it came out amazing.

There were a few bumps along the way – I’m very impatient and a cold kitchen made for slow proofing – but thanks to my friend and expert bread baker Norm, the loaves turned out just fine.

dough

I devoted my whole day to this bread. Buying the ingredients, measuring everything out, kneading, proofing, baking, and then tasting.

The bread is thick and hearty with a slight sweetness and a nutty taste from the sunflower seeds. I plan to eat it for breakfast with a side of Greek yogurt this week. Salivating just thinking about it.

finished loaves

The rest of Saturday was devoted to planning for the future. First, I booked a two-week trip to England in June to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in THREE years! Then, I chatted with my other best friend Amanda (yes, this does get confusing having two best friends with the same name) who is in the midst of planning her wedding. We discussed dresses, colors, food, and photos for over two hours. Following that, I spent some time with my friends and jungle adventurers Paul and Gowri. We went out for South Indian food but I was too stuffed from bread and ended up passing on the dosa.

Sunday involved lots of chores – laundry, food shopping, cleaning – with a nice 4 mile walk at the park to break up the day. It was my first time back to my favorite spot in months and I was ecstatic! The paths were crowded with people running, rollerblading, walking dogs – I love watching people get active!

duck pond

This weekend was great for a lot of reasons, including that, for the first time in a long time, it felt like I had some kind of balance. I was able to go out and be social while maintaining my focus on weight loss goals. I didn’t feel pressured to drink or eat and stuck to my calorie counting.

The weekend is usually the time when I’m tempted to binge and I stayed in control the whole time and tracked everything I ate. Huge accomplishment!

I don’t want to let anything dampen my excitement at all the fun trips and exciting life changes coming up in the next few months so sticking to my healthy intentions is going to be really important and this weekend gave me a confidence boost that I could do it.

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

9 unusual consequences of weight loss

FRIDAY!!

This blog has been all kinds of serious lately so I thought I’d go with something fun for Friday. There’s tons of advice out there about how to lose weight, master your cravings, motivate yourself to to go the gym, etc. But here are a few pieces of wisdom that are go beyond what you would typically expect when you lose a lot of weight.

9 unusual consequences of weight loss

1. Gazing in the mirror at your new-found collarbones is now an acceptable reason to be late to work, meeting with friends, a date, anything really. It’s hard not to get lost in those clavicles.

2. Your body, without all of the extra fat, will forget how to regulate its temperature. I am cold ALL THE TIME. I’ve read a few other accounts of this on weight loss blogs and forums so I know I’m not crazy or severely iron¬†deficient¬†or something. Apparently your body eventually adjusts, but until that happens get used to lugging around some extra clothing, even in the summer.

3. Compliments about how “good” or “healthy” you eat will always be followed by the complimenter taking a giant bite of¬†something¬†like a juicy hamburger or slice of cake.

4. You will have dreams about food. Often. Not like, daydreaming, but legit dreams where you eat a whole bunch of food and wake up in a cold sweat thinking you’ve gained 10 pounds. If you’re going low carb, your dreams will probably involve bread and pasta. I’ve cut out sugar in recent weeks and the other night I woke up thinking I just consumed a year’s worth of candy. Terrifying.

5. Your moods will range between Hangry and Superior. Hangry at kids eating ice cream. Hangry when coworkers bring in treats.

You will feel immensely superior, however, for about an hour after you work out or anytime you look at someone else’s cart in the grocery store. Enjoy these moments.

6. You can’t unlearn the calories in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, which by the way, is not a single serving. Other things that will haunt you: the calories in a Crumbs cupcake and movie theater popcorn. That shit is OOC.

7. Your friends will eventually get used to never being the one to choose a restaurant unless the menu has been thoroughly vetted by you first.

8. You can’t drink like you used to before you lost all the weight. This stays true no matter how many times you drunkly shout about being able to hold your liquor while stumbling around.

9. Your clothes will fit right for approximately three days a month. The rest of the time they’re either too big or too small. Invest in belts.

That’s all folks! Have a great weekend ūüôā

Seeing the spread

Hi and happy hump day!

I’ve been a serious sap lately, trying to appreciate all the good in my life as much as I can. I have an inner critic that tends to get cautious when things are going too well, so I’m trying to shut that voice up and keep on living the good life.

This got me thinking last night about how my efforts to get healthy have translated into my life in so many different ways that I could have never imagined but it all started with a simple: “I’m worth it.” It’s been nothing short of amazing to see how discipline in terms of achieving better health for myself have made so many other parts of my life immeasurably¬†brighter. I don’t take my health for granted, I’m truly appreciate of my body on a consistent basis. I spend time savoring my food because I know all of the effort that went into cooking it. There’s meaning to things I do that wasn’t there a few years ago.

My discipline goes beyond food choices too. Since I started caring about what I put in my body I’ve also been better about things like flossing or wearing sun screen.

My college roommates probably don’t believe me, but I’m also no longer a slob. I ¬†was really, really messy prior to a few years ago and now I love cleaning.

Realizing how small changes have made big differences to my health showed me that taking five minutes at the beginning and end of my day to put things back in their place, make my bed, wash the dishes or vacuum makes cleaning more manageable and not a dreaded task.

Not a day goes by that I’m not aware in someway of how my life has changed.

This is not about some kind of willpower or great motivation that I’ve been able to tap into, but it’s about seeing how small positive habits have the power to transform your life.

When you’re losing weight there’s a big desire to to have it be fast! and easy! but there’s no reward in fast or easy. I’ve found immense beauty in the power of dedication and discipline and in appreciating and honoring all of the things I do every day that push me forward.

My “spark” so to speak, was that at some point I made the switch in my head to abandon fast and easy to take on everything in my life one small moment at a time.

The last few months have been hard. I’ve been stuck in a lot of ways, my weight being one of them. I feel lately though that by doubling down on discipline with what I’m eating, the rest of my life feels more in control. To be honest, although I was frustrated, I was not¬†surprised¬†that my weight hadn’t moved for months. The last half year of my life was a bit of a backslide into binge eating and I’m just now clawing my way back out.

I’m back on my game now. I’m being strict in every aspect of my life. With my food and with my inner voice, where my energy goes and what I let influence me. I’m aware and I’m in control.

Thoughts become things, choose good ones.

“Through discipline comes freedom” – Aristotle

Now…the numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last week:157.5

This week: 155.5

Total lost: 87.5

Click here for every weigh in, ever.