New Year, New Post

I am not usually one to preach about exercise, but buckle up! It’s a new year and everything is different.
NEVER try to start a routine on a new week or a new year. I absolutely understand the appeal and have been guilty of that myself but you are setting yourself up for failure. If you are going to make a change, do so the moment you feel ready; don’t wait for the “right” time as there isn’t one. When you feel motivated, do something about it! If you feel like giving up, don’t do it just because you might have missed a day early in the week/year. Move forward when you’re ready and at your own pace. Don’t let the clock or calendar dictate that for you.

I started running outside the week before Christmas and one of the things I’ve had to come to terms with is that running a mile is still running; the point is consistency. This goes for every type of exercise (obviously) but just because someone can run faster or farther than you, doesn’t mean your effort is wasted! You are making an effort for yourself and no one else.

The best thing I’ve discovered to get yourself going when you don’t feel motivated is to find a good playlist and play it BEFORE doing anything so you get pumped. My personal favorite is my Beyonce Pandora station 🙂 It is super easy to press play on your phone and usually it works to get me out the door. Just make sure you drink a bunch of water after! A great burst of protein I found for post-workout are Old Wisconsin turkey sticks. They are not just good for Bloody Marys! Do I get bonus points if I have to fight my cat for them while eating? 

My WW coach asked me to list some of the things I’m proud of from 2015 (these things included diving in Cozumel, making a positive change in my lifestyle, flying in a tiny plane on a dog rescue mission, becoming a Divemaster) and one of the most important things she pointed out was that none of the things involve food. None. Involve. Food. It’s so crazy to think that for an entire year, I can struggle with food and how I feel about it and then completely forget about it when I look at the bigger picture. That was a big eye opener for me and hopefully I can keep that in mind as I move through 2016.

And now I’ll leave you with this very fitting quote for my first post of the year, “You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.”

SK

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Sneaky Serving Sizes

Imagine Miley Cyrus ‘The Climb’ playing as you read this.

Alarming news of the week: Craisins have added sugar! What?! If you don’t buy the ‘sugar free’ kind, they pump those suckers up with twice the sugar! If I’ve learned anything on this health journey it’s that you must. read. labels. Seriously, this is the most critical step in being healthy. For instance, I ran to Mariano’s and figured I could pick up a ready-made “healthy” meal only to find out that a “single serve” lunch was three servings! THREE! I trusted you, Mariano’s…

Along the same lines, I’ve started to track my food in the Weight Watchers app before actually eating it. I know that’s a bit of a no-no but it’s easier to remove/change what I’ve eaten later and know ahead of time if I have room for potential snacks than to try and remember to track things as I go. As a perpetual planner, it calms my inner crazy. I’ve also noticed I can be blindsided by foods that have higher point values than I would have thought if I track them after eating them. Avocados are 9 points! I know they are a good fat and all but my goodness! That’s more than I usually spend on points for lunch.

I’ve run into a new problem recently and that is eating well when you’re having a bad case of “The Mondays” or any day, really. It is so challenging to stay on plan when all you want to do is eat your feelings. I had to remind myself over and over that I was hungry to soothe my emotions and not actual food. But it’s tough! All I wanted was to eat an entire pizza but instead, I tried to tough it out. It was not easy so don’t let anyone tell you it is…speaking of, what on earth do you do when you make a recipe and it turns out pretty terrible? Especially when you are having one of those bad days? I tried to make healthy Mac & Cheese since it’s one of my comfort foods and it turned out gritty and the cheese sauce didn’t really cover the noodles. I was so bummed! Any suggestions on how to pick yourself up after this happens? When something takes a long time to make and doesn’t turn out well, it’s discouraging! Plus you spent all that time making dinner and now don’t even really want to eat it.

MacnCheese

One recipe I did find that was very successful were these zucchini boats. The name could not be more adorable for one thing and for another, they are delicious! They are also super filling and one serving is 2 boats and only 6pts. Yummy!

Zucchini Boats
I’ve done my fair share of complaining on this post so I’ll leave it on a high note. I missed posting on Halloween but a house in my neighborhood had the coolest decorations up! A skeleton wedding!! I couldn’t keep my eyes off it because it was so well done 🙂

  Skeleton Wedding

-SK

Mini Cooler Madness

The best arm workout I’ve found so far is to play tug of war with a Great Dane. They should have those at every gym…maybe I’d actually go!
This week has been a struggle to say the least. Reconciling 2015 budgets across 6 brands and about 15 customers is a bit of a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful to have a job when so many people don’t, I’ve just been noticing how poorly I eat when I have a hectic schedule. No surprises there. Normally those nights when I get home at 8pm call for pizza or fast food but since I’m trying to be more conscious, I’ve had to be more creative. Thankfully I bought a mini cooler for diving weekends and I’ve found that very useful for eating well too. I’d highly recommend getting one; I think I paid $8 at Meijer and it fits a ton of food!  It’s helpful to keep the cooler either at my desk or in my car for those times I unexpectedly work late or run to do some errands. The tricky part is having the discipline at night to break out my food for the next day. (Fun fact: when we take fish out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for the next day at the aquarium, we call it break out) I’ve been making full recipes and putting them into single serve containers for the most part but with a roommate who does the same, there are only so many containers available. This week I’ve been putting the leftovers into one big container hence getting ready the night before.

I haven’t gotten to try any new recipes the last few days so I can’t share them here but I will recommend this one from last week:  Mexican style Cauliflower Rice. It really tastes like Mexican rice! The only thing that gives it away is the texture…but that could have just been my batch since I couldn’t make the food processor work and improvised 🙂 The recipe doesn’t call for it but my sister suggested adding a bit of taco seasoning to bring that Mexican taste to life and man was it good!

I’ll end this post off with this picture of trees that are beautiful fall colors that I accidentally took with my phone when I went to grab it 🙂 Since it’s blurry, it almost looks like a watercolor!

  
-SK

Tiny Kitchen Tools

Ever want to feel super fancy? Add lemon zest.

Today I’m at a friend’s house and using their kitchen has opened my eyes to the wonders of tiny kitchen tools. They are so cute and fun to use: colanders, spatulas, bowls, you name it! Since I’m only cooking for myself, I hate when one recipe makes a sink full of dishes. If I’m making more than one recipe a day, forget about it… My own kitchen has very little counter space so the small stuff would help keep things tidy as I cook and honestly be less overwhelming. Plus I finally know what to ask for for Christmas!

For lunch I made a tuna and chickpea salad I found here. Enter lemon zest. This recipe came from Gwyneth Paltrow so I was worried it would be way to intricate and take forever. Actually, it was one of the most fun recipes I’ve made so far! I used YouTube to learn how to chop some of the veggies (I am a millennial after all) and the more I added to the bowl, the more excited I felt. It almost felt like I’ve been cooking for years and I knew exactly what I was doing. Basically any time I cook now I feel like I’m on Chopped but I pretend that’s not weird since it motivates me to keep going 🙂 Anyway, it was interesting to taste what was in the bowl as I added each ingredient to see how it changed the taste. Hopefully if I keep doing that I can learn what goes well together and what each ingredient brings to the overall flavor. Here’s a picture of the finished product:

Capture

For dinner I made a BBQ meatloaf I found here. I was so nervous going into this one since my only experience with meatloaf until now were the 3am infomercials where no one could get their loaf to stay together and it ended up a liquid-y mess. I already (accidentally) turned my breakfast “bars” into granola and I didn’t want my meatloaf to end up the same way. Luckily this was a simple recipe with very little pre-work and after 40 minutes in the oven, the loaf was perfectly compact (phew!). I didn’t get a picture of this one since it smelled so great, I dug right in.

One of the most important things I’ve learned so far is to figure out how many portions come out of the recipe. Look at the serving sizes, people! I’ll be the first to admit I never did this (and ate my way through many a hefty helping) but if I pack up the meal into the serving sizes right away, it’s less tempting to go back and sneak some extras. It also makes it super easy to grab for lunch or a quick snack if I’m in a fix!

Note to self: You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.

-SK