Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Ask anyone what it takes to lose weight and they will most likely recite to you the following:
Calories Out> Calories In

Simple, right? As long as your are working out and burning more calories then you consume, scientifically, you should lose weight.  I subscribed to this belief for a long time. I did the calories counting, I tracked all my food and activity and at the end of the day my goals were not met and I was left exhausted from all the tracking and math.  This would leave me extremely frustrated.  Why wasn't all the working out and starvation working for me? I MUST be burning enough calories to create a deficit. 

Well....if only it could be that easy. 

The equation  above that we have all been taught fails to take a few things into account, namely Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is how many calories you burn at rest.  To calculate your true BMR you must account for muscle mass and there is much controversy among scientists as to how many calories a pound of muscle really uses. So how is someone suppose to know exactly how many calories they need to burn to create a deficit? It is not as if the human body is as simple a car. With a car, we can measure how far we can go on a gallon of gas and how much we would need to drive to run out.  The way the human body uses calories is vastly different from machines and extremely individualized.  There are so many things to take into account when trying to measure calories such as genetics, sleep, medications, stress, illness, past dieting and age.

And here is the other shocker--- our bodies are made to survive! If you underfeed your body (reduce your calories), while increasing your physical demands for the long-term, there is a good chance your body will maintain it's adapted lower level of energy expenditure and store any addition energy (remember your body is trying to survive) as FAT.  Not only is this counterproductive to what you want to achieve (weight loss) but over time, this method can damage your metabolic rate and your body's normal functions. This only makes dieting harder and harder. Not only does this do damage to your physically, but think about the mental stress that you put yourself under by counting all those calories and not getting the results you want. Pure frustration!

Now there is a lot of science that goes behind why this equation doesn't work and I won't pretend to really understand it all, but in the most simplest of form, it goes back to thermodynamics. Remember that from high school physics? Specifically, the first law of thermodynamics states that the process if increment in the internal energy of a system is equal to the increment of heat supplied to the system, minus the increment of work done by the system on its surroundings.   WHAT?? 

Let's break that down a bit more to: 
"energy can neither be created or destroyed" 

AH...everyone remembers that saying.  You with me?
This law is where we get the equation that calories in must be less then calories out to lose weight. 

Here are some things to consider that make the law of thermodynamics not applicable to the human body when trying to lose weight
  1. When we eat, we consumer carbs, fats, and proteins. Proteins do other things in our body like build muscle and repair cells. Fat acts as a vehicle for nutrients and does its job insulting and repairing cells. So fat and protein are actually used by our bodies, they  act as our bodies fuel, they are not calories that are burned or stored like carbs
  2. Also mentioned this above...BMR is hard or impossible to calculate so we never truly know how many calories we are burning in 24 hours
  3. As with all physics laws, it is assumed that your body (the system) is a perfectly efficient calorie burning machine. And in case you didn't know it, your body is NOT ever 100% efficient. It is not a closed system, rather your body is affected by things such as genetics and environment

Still not convinced?
Have you ever known someone that can eat everything in sight and not gain a pound? We all know them and all hate them. And you have asked yourself, why?! Why can't I be like that?
And this person, that eats everything and maybe does nothing, it your simplest form of proof that the calorie in vs. calorie out equation is flawed.

So moral of the story...to give your body the best chance at getting to its optimal weight and to reduce your mental stress...STOP CALORIE COUNTING!
Eat real nutritious food, work out, sleep and repeat daily. 


Giving up sugar, grains and other processed food for 8 weeks is not easy for anyone.  We partake in many things daily that become habits. How many times have you checked Facebook today? While these daily habits are part of our routine, they may not always be the best for our well-being or productivity.  BUT breaking a habit is HARD.  Even when we know something is bad for us, our desire for normalcy and reward are so much stronger then the desire to break a habit.

For as long as I can remember, I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast. This started when I was young and my mom and I would sit down for breakfast, each with a bowl of cereal and watch the Today show before she went to work and I went to school. During college, I undoubtedly had cereal for breakfast because it was cheap and fast and I probably had it for lunch and dinner sometimes as well. Going into adulthood,  I graduated to more "healthy" cereals and would throw bananas or blueberries in them to get some additional nutrients. Of course, when the mood would strike me, I would buy a big box of Captain Crunch (opps all berries!) and pop in a good movie, get in my PJs and eat the entire box! Yes, an entire box of Captain Crunch that would eventually leave the roof of my mouth numb and my stomach aching. But for me, cereal was comfort food and was a part of every morning of my life for as long as I can remember.
So when looking at my diet and taking on this nutritional challenge, I knew the cereal had to go.  Even the healthy cereal that I was eating each morning was filled with sugar and gluten and drowning in a couple cups of milk that became a sugary drink at the end of each bowl.

While cereal is good and easy for me, giving it up was more about giving up a habit. I had to rethink the way I approached breakfast. Everything about my mornings triggered my desire to pour a bowl of cereal.   In the book The Power of Habit  by Charles Duhigg, habits are learned behaviors performed automatically. Once a habit is formed, the brain stops fully participating in decision-making leading to automatically unfolding patterns.

Duhigg reports that there is a simple three-part look at the core of every habit: the cure, the routine, and the reward.

So for my cereal habit, it was:
  • the cue: waking up....just the act of getting out of bed triggered my need/want for cereal
  • the routine: every morning was the same- walk the dog, shower, cereal while reading the news, leave for work
  • the reward: nothing tastes better then cold milk on slightly sweetened cereal with a banana thrown in.
So when taking on this nutrition challenge, I knew giving up cereal would be hard and that I would have to focus on each of these components.  Not only did I have to set myself up for success (ie. having food that I could quickly prepare for breakfast), but I had to increase my awareness of what cues that would trigger a desire or craving for cereal or something sweet.

What has worked for me is to change the cues and routines. The simple act of changing the order in which I do things in has helped. I don't eat after I have showered and gotten ready, rather I eat first and then get ready for my day.  I have added in hot tea in the morning and find a different route each morning to walk my dog.  I am amazed at how these small changes have helped me focus on what my goals are for the day and have empowered me to stay away from cereal.  Of course, the biggest factor has been to not have cereal or milk within reach. Out of sight, out of mind! (easier said then done...lots of grocery stores along the way to work)

I have found this not to just be applicable to just my morning habits, but also to other things that may trigger an urge to indulge in something not so healthy.  This new sense of awareness of cues have helped me to  easily identify what is triggering me and I can remove myself or distract myself from the situation. One of my biggest cues for wanting to dive into a box of cookies is stress. When I am stressed, all I want is baked goods. I will take any baked goods....high quality or not. So recognizing this, I have become aware of these cues and when I become stressed and am about to run to the nearest bakery, I instead, take my dog out for a walk, do 10 mins of yoga, listen to some music, make myself some tea, read a book or the most successful tactic, go to sleep!  Before I know it, the stress has lessened, I have avoided indulging in something that would not make me feel good and can go on with my day knowing that I stuck to my goals.

It is truly amazing how much our actions and habits can be changed with the simple act of awareness. Being aware of what makes us do the things we do is a powerful tool to behavior change. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 44

Somehow I am WAY off on the counting of days compared to the others in my program.  Not sure where I lost so many days, but I will keep on going to 60.
Honestly, I don't see too much of a change come the 60th day. This way of eating feels good and works for me. Now I imagine after I am done there will be a few more sweet treats and delicious drinks in moderation, but overall, I don't see my life changing too dramatically after these 8 weeks are over.

Here are the eats for the day  (still no trip to the grocery store):
Left-overs dinner for breakfast! If there is one thing I have learned and become more comfortable with during this challenge is that breakfast does not always have to be eggs and bacon. Crazy....I know... I am still trying to wrap my brain around the concept, but it is legal to eat other foods for breakfast. In this bowl is left-over dinner that consisted of ground beef, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, kale, and lots of garlic.

This has been my go-to meal lately. The cafeteria that I go to during workdays has a salad bar that I normally visit, but the salads get pretty pricey when they charge by the once (anyone ever weigh cauliflower?! heavy!). Every once in awhile they offer roasted chicken with butternut squash and I feel like I have won the lottery! Not only is this a change from the regular ole salad, but it is cheap!! This deliciousness comes in at a little over $5!!  Whenever I get this meal I find myself walking out a little bit faster than normal thinking they are going to change their minds and charge me more. hehe

After an hour of restorative yoga (ahhhhhhhh), this pile of goodness found its way into my hungry stomach. From the fabulous Good Stuff Eatery (hello Spike!), I ordered a double patty with bacon and lettuce and tomato. Probably not the most ideal post-yoga meal, but it was heavenly and kept my attention away from the beers and milkshakes that were being consumed around me!

I can't tell you how happy I am that the weekend is here! I have a lot of life to catch up on as well as sleep!
Happy Friday everyone!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Catching up and day 43

Well, I go out of town for one week and somehow I am now 2 weeks behind with blogging?! How does that happen? Good thing is that I only have 2 weeks to go in this 8 week journey! Bad news...I have a lot of blogging to do to catch up!

So let's just start with what is easiest. What did I eat yesterday?!
I have to admit, my meals have been all over the place this week since I have not had the chance to go to the grocery store since I came into town on Monday. So I am eating out a lot and putting together what I have from my freezer.

Day 43: 
These don't look like eggs, but they were. Two hard boiled eggs and lots of green tea.

Vegetable soup and grilled chicken.

This is what I meant by throwing together whatever I have in my fridge- here is a bowl of ground beef,  broccoli, tomatoes and kale. It was not the best, but it did the job!

So I owe you a week 5 and week 6 update. Once I catch up with life those will be written! Stay tuned!

Sorry for the absence! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Week 4

Given this is an 8 week program, the end of week 4 marks the half-way mark! That is pretty exciting. All downhill from here, right?!
Well, 4 weeks is still a long time, but the good news is that I feel like I have established a routine and the hardest things are behind me. One of the HARDEST things of this program and what I struggled with the most this week was the removal of fruit. Prior to the program, I was eating a lot of fruit. A banana at breakfast, an orange with lunch, an apple as a snack and then another banana for dessert. Nothing is wrong with fruit and if fruit is the worse thing in your diet, then you probably have a pretty clean diet, but given the amount I was eating, my sugar intake was pretty high.  So giving up fruit was something I knew was part of the program and I knew it was imminent. While others in the program gave up fruit from the beginning, I held on to it until the very last minute.  In the process of getting your body to transition from burning sugar as your main source of energy, to burning fat,  taking out the sugar is necessary. Since I cross train and run, I really want to reach that point where my body is burning fat to get me through those long runs with a steady and stable source of energy rather than the ups and downs of insulin spikes.  I have never done well with the carb loading (and by well, I mean my runs are not any better, but I certainly enjoy the act of eating as many carbs as possible!) and most of the Gu or sports drinks out there just make me sick during my workouts. So if I can train my body to burn fat as its fuel source, I can appropriately fuel for long workouts/runs by eating food that agrees with me and I will have the energy levels to perform optimally. All that to say...in order to get there, fruit needs to go...at least for the next four weeks.
The first day was hard.  I felt like I regressed, big time. I didn't have any energy, I had headaches in the morning and had the constant urge to snack all the time.  Prior to the fruit removal, I had an apple every day at 3 pm. and on that first day when 3 pm rolled around you would have thought I was a recovering drug addict. My body was looking for that little shot of sugar. To get through that intense craving,  I occupied myself with warm peppermint tea and reading some blogs of other nutrition program participants. Reading other people's blogs about their challenges and triumphs or even just about what they had for breakfast is very encouraging for me. So luckily I made it through that first day of no fruit and no one was harmed in the process. I am constantly in awe of the powerful mental and physical effects that sugar has on human beings! After the first day, I started feeling better and have not experienced any withdraw symptoms.  For me, not having fruit is more of a physiological battle.  Prior to this program, I ate pretty clean for about 80% of the time, but fruit was included in many of my meals. So I have never really missed the pasta, breads and sweets that I  have had to give up, but fruit....we were best friends.  And it is sad to let a best friend go. But we will reunite again in 4 weeks.  Okay..enough about my crazy obsession with fruit. Bottom line, it is gone for now and I am alive to tell the tale.

The other thing I learned in Week 4 and will continue to learn in this program is that I am not perfect. Wait...you already knew that?! Why didn't you tell me? Well, what I mean is that with anything you do in life mistakes are going to be made, things will not go as planned, and there will be set backs. But just because things do not go as planned or you reach a barrier, it is no reflection on you and your level of perfection. No one is 100% perfect but what makes you successful is how you react to obstacles and how you deal with the imperfection. This takes practice, but the simple act of forgiving yourself, picking your head up and moving on, is very powerful.

One of the things I really wanted to focus on in week 4 was sleep. I LOVE  sleep and admittedly will turn down invites if it interferes with my sleep too much.  When I can get into a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time, I feel amazing! Unfortunately, that hasn't gone as well as I hoped. I've had late nights, interrupted sleep, late mornings, naps on the weekend, etc.  While nothing is wrong with any of those things, the inconsistently adds unnecessary stress and let's face it, when you are going through a nutrition program like this, you have to work very hard at removing or mitigating anything that will add stress to your life. Plus, the magic triad of wellness is sleep, nutrition and activity. Get those things aligned and you are superwoman!
So I will continue to work on the sleep thing. Week 5 will be better!

This week's workouts: 
I traveled for most of week 4, so there is a lot of treadmill running happening!
Monday: 8x400 sprints
Tuesday: 1 hour of flow yoga and 3 mile tempo run
Wednesday: 8x400 sprints
Thursday: Crossfit
Friday: 8x400 sprints and 75 mins of flow yoga
Saturday: Crossfit and 90 mins of hot power flow yoga
Sunday: REST

Disclaimer: I really did start this post at the end of week 3, but completely forgot about finishing it! Opps. Remember what I said about being perfect??

Meals for day 29

Oh mid-week...so glad to see you! Friday will be here sooooooon. In the meantime, I will eat. That is what I do best.

Day 29: 

You guessed it...eggs! Maybe I will experiment with some non-egg breakfast choices...or  maybe not. I like eggs. Two eggs, bacon, mushrooms, spinach and salsa.

Mid-morning snack:
Nothing like a serving of kale to cheer you up and cheer me up it did! Kale dressed with olive oil and lemon and half an avocado.

I scraped the bowl for this. One last serving of left-over green chile pork stew with added broccoli. So spicy and delicious!


I have a lot of food to eat through before I travel next week, so this meal was an effort to throw as much perishable food on my plate as possible. Let's see what we have here= roasted butternut squash with bacon and cinnamon (SOOOO good, why have I not tried this before?), steamed green beans and broccoli cooked with a bit of tomato sauce and red pepper flakes, and two chicken sausages with spinach. Yes...this is a serving for one. And I ate every bite!  

Tomorrow is the big 3-0 for me. (no not my birthday...I have some time before that happens...whew!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Meals for day 28

Well, I say today is day 28, but others in the program are celebrating day 30. So who knows?! I will continue until someone tells me to stop.

Cooking bacon in the morning is time consuming! I usually allow myself about 15 minutes to cook and eat my breakfast but when bacon is included, that turns into about 25 mins. It is totally worth it but something I have to plan for.  While the bacon is sizzling, I try to multi-task.  Most mornings I can get a lot of dishes washed while my breakfast cooks. Obviously preparing all your meals means you are ALWAYS doing dishes. There is an endless number of dirty dishes...the dishes never stop...  Sorry...I get distracted when I think about dished. Breakfast was two eggs scrambled with bacon, mushrooms, spinach, and salsa.

 KALE! where have you been?! Lunch was pretty late today but this held me over. Kale dressed with olive oil and lemon with a half avocado.

 Remember this? Yup, leftovers part dos! Same green chile stew with broccoli added. (Spoiler: you may see this again...just saying...)

No pictures of dinner! :( I went to Lincoln, a restaurant in DC and completely forget to take pictures. I need to find a way to remind myself to quickly snap a picture when I am eating out. Honestly, it is the last thing on my mind and I seriously have to make a conscious effort to remember. So last night's meal was part of DC Restaurant Week (A great way to try some local places that you wouldn't normally be able to afford).  Their menu was extensive with lots of delicious seasonal small plates. Lincoln gets locally sourced food from VA, MD and DE. I am not sure this was a great value for restaurant week since most of the "small" plates were priced at about $10 each and I got 3 small plates for the prices of $35.13. You do get a 4th plate, dessert, but I had my packed to go and put it in the freezer for a rainy day.  The other three plates I got were 1) two pieces of pork belly (yum!) 2) roasted brussel sprouts (currently my fav vegetable) and 3) grilled broccoli and turnips. (this was not what I expected but was just delicious). It was a great meal, with even better company! While the food was amazing, the restaurant itself was really LOUD and got louder through the night. So if you are trying to catch up with friends, this may not be the ideal place. However, I would like to go back in about 4 weeks to try some of their cocktails, they looked DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meals for day 24, 25, 26, and 27

Holy moley! I have some catching up to do! The blogger app on my phone is acting a bit crazy with my pictures uploads which means I have to email myself the pictures, download them, and then attach them. All these extra steps increase the likelihood that I fall behind. Way behind in this case.
So here it is:

Day 24:
 Eggs, half an avocado and salsa

It was Friday so I treated myself to Chipotle! Heavenly! In the salad bowl is salad, mild salsa, carnitas AND chicken and a heaping serving of guac. Such a good lunch.


Sadly, I did not take a picture of dinner. After a FABULOUS yoga class, my stomach was loud and ready for some food. I went with my yoga buddy to Ted's Montana Grill and had a hamburger topped with avocado and bacon and a sweet potato.

Day 25: 
Saturday morning workouts don't happen until 9:30 and I don't like to eat before working out, but I am trying to make an effort to get some sort of calories in before morning workouts, esp. if it is a Crossfit workout. So without fruit, the next best thing is carrots and guac. So here is my pre-workout snack.

Breakfast after a REALLY hard workout (220 front squats..need I say more). My favorite fuel. Eggs, bacon and sweet potatoes.


Lunch at Nando Peri's. Grilled chicken breast and side salade drizzled with olive oil.


Another delicious Chipotle salad. Same combination. Salad, mild salsa, chicken and carnitas, with a side of guac.

Day 26: 
Warning...you are going to see a lot of repeats today. What can I say? Why mess with perfection?! Breakfast- sweet potatoes, bacon, and eggs. To be more specific, there are two eggs in here, with three strips of bacon, and a small sweet potato.

Yup...another trip to Nando's. Grilled chicken breast and side salad with olive oil.

This bowl of goodness was slowly cooking all day and made my apartment smell delicious! It was a green chile pork stew.  I got the recipe here.

Day 27:

2 eggs scrambled with chicken sausage and salsa. (Anyone else get weirded out by putting chicken in eggs...it is just weird.)

Mid-morning snack: 
I made these last night and was super excited to dig into them today. I am not really a fan of devil eggs but I am def. a fan of finding new ways to eat eggs. The filling is made with egg yolk, guac, dijon mustard, and paprika. So when I ate these, I wasn't thrilled but they quickly disappeared. And...my stomach was NOT happy. Needless to say, I do not think I will be eating these again anytime soon.


Left over green chile stew with broccoli. I am trying to sneak in more veggies in all my meals.

I was craving chicken marsala but of course...no wine...no flour...no butter. So I cooked some dark chicken meat, with tomatoes and mushrooms. I let it cook long and slow so the tomatoes got all soupy and delicious and at the last minute I threw in some garlic and basil and put in some frozen cauliflower. It was not the same thing, but just as delicious. I will certainly make this again.  Throwing some hot food on a pile of spinach is another great way to get in more greens!

That is my catch-up! Hope I do a better job this week with posting!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What's going good...what is not

8 weeks is a long time to do anything.  We are closing in at the half way point of this program and it is a good time to reflect on what is going well and what is going bad. 

So starting this, I was most worried about the shear number of days that I would be going without things I normally eat and enjoy. Surprisingly, the days are going quickly and it is hard to believe we are starting week 5. I know that the thing that has enabled these days to coast has been my preparation.  If anything has gone well these last 5 weeks it would be the organization and preparation that I have done to make this as easy as possible.  Having compliant food at my ready disposal has made things so easy for me especially when days get busy and time to cook is minimal. Of course the preparation takes time, but it is well worth it and really helps me stay on track. Each week I get better and better at planning out my meals and getting everything bought and prepped in just one trip to the grocery story.
In addition to my awesome preparation ability,  I would also say my battling of craving has been fairly successful. I just got back from traveling and the buffet that we had to eat at daily was filled with every dessert you can imagine. Ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, brownies...EVERYTHING. I looked at it once and didn't really feel a strong urge to eat any of it nor did I feel like I was missing out on anything. I was a bit apprehensive when starting this challenge that I would have a lot of trouble with giving up sweets and having to deal with those cravings, but as long as I keep myself fed and satisfied, I don't miss the sweets at all. 

What is going bad for me... 
Going into week 5, I was expecting my energy levels to normalize. In fact, I was hoping that I would be experiencing the high levels of energy that everyone else in the group has been reporting on. Prior to the challenge, I was your typical morning person. To bed early and up early was normal for me, but lately, I am having a very hard time getting up in the morning, regardless of how early I go to bed. It is even worse when I work out at night. After taking away fruit this week, I felt even more tired and could easily curl up and take a nap at any point in the day.  I am really hoping my energy levels return soon! I am not liking this sleepy person I have become. 

I know as the weeks continue, the things that are doing good and the things that are going bad will change, but for the most part, things are going really well and I am happy with my progress! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Meals for day 23

Back in the office after being out for 3 days and the shear amount of work I had waiting for me was daunting. It was one of those days where I had to stop and remind myself to eat because I was so busy. Luckily, I had a big breakfast and that carried me through the day! Yay for protein! 

 It might not look like it, but this was suppose to be a frittata! There is really no difference (at least to me) in a frittata and just throwing things together in an egg scramble. One of the main differences is the time! A frittata takes a bit more time because I usually finish it off in the oven. So the only reason why I take the time to make a frittata is when I want leftovers for lunch. There is something about heating up scrambled eggs that grosses me out but heating up a frittata is completely acceptable. ( I know...weird) Despite my attempts at making a nice frittata that could be split for lunch, I ended up with something that was very close to an egg scramble. So I ate it all for breakfast.  opps!


I had to hit up the salad bar today. A mixture of cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, boiled eggs, and mushrooms.

My favorite snack, carrots and a packet of Wholly Guac!

So, I have made this several times and can't figure out why I like it so much. It doesn't look very appetizing, but it always hits the spot on a cold day. It also reminds me of Hamburger Helper! Did you eat that growing up? I did! So maybe that is why this is a bowl of comfort for me.  All mixed up in this bowl is ground beef, coconut milk, curry, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.  Judge if you wish, but I had two bowls of this and was totally satisfied!

Superbowl 2013

If you have been living under a rock for the past month, you might not know that the Superbowl is happening this weekend. Yup, this Sunday millions of people will be glued to their tvs either to actually watch a good football game or tolerate the minutes of football between the commercials and halftime.  Either way, it is usually a good time for all, the camaraderie  is high, and it is the closest things that Americans have that compares to the love and passion that other countries have on a regular basis for soccer/football.

What really makes Superbowl THE American pastime is the FOOD.  Aside from Thanksgiving, Superbowl is one the way day where it is completely acceptable to eat the equivalent of 5 meals within a 3 hours period.  Nachos? pile them on! Chicken wings? give me the ones with the sauce all over them! Beer? yes, I guess I'll take another. Brownies ?  umm..only if you have ice cream to go on top!
Yes...the food makes everyone's Superbowl experience that much more exciting!

I found some interesting facts about food and Superbowl weekends:
  • Americans will consume 1.25 billion chicken wings this Super Bowl weekend
  • 61% of American consider pizza as a "must have" Super Bowl food
  • 11 million pounds of chips, 4 million pounds of pretzels, 2.5 million pounds of nuts and  3.8 million pounds of popcorn will be consumed on on Sunday
  • 12 million pounds of avocados will be purchased the week leading up to Superbowl and American will consume 8 million pounds of guacamole on Sunday. (I will be heavily contributing to this!)
  • Americans will drink 50 million cases of beer and the overall tab will top $10.8 billion dollars!
  • $2.37 million dollars will be spent on sodas and other soft drinks over Superbowl weekend
  • There is a 20% increase in the use of antacids on the Monday after Superbowl and 6% will call in sick
Source: Super Bowl Food Shockers You Won't Believe  

So, normally statistics like this wouldn't bother me and I would go on my merry way of planning my Superbowl feast, but if you've been reading my blog AT ALL you know that my options are a bit restricted when it comes to celebratory meals right now.  As I have mentioned before, one of my intentions in doing this 8 week program is to fully integrate this way of eating into my normal life. I won't live like a hermit because I can't eat what everyone else is eating, rather I will find a way to still enjoy the things I have always enjoyed but just be eating differently and be a bit more prepared for social situations.  Luckily, Superbowl doesn't present too big of a problem. A couple of other nutrition program participants (Thanks Mary and Tim!) are hosting a Superbowl party and have invited the whole gang over.  So I will be surrounded by amazing food that I can fully indulge in (there are some very talented cooks in this group!) and I am excited to try a new recipe that I have had my eye on for a few days now. 

Cheering on the almost-local team with good friends and great food is my plan for Sunday and I can't wait! AND, I am pretty sure I will have the energy to get up nice and early Monday morning for a run!  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meals for day 22

Ah! I made it. 2.5 days of training...great information....good food...and lots of new friends! 
Of course, it is always good to be back home. I was greeted with warm weather, a ridiculously excited dog, a hungry cat, and a refrigerator full of vegetables. I am so happy I went grocery shopping before I left. It is nice to come home to food! Preparation FTW! I will miss having all my meals prepared and waiting for me, but I am ready to go back to my normal one-pot meals and eating my way through all the fresh veggies I have on hand. 


Scrambled eggs and bacon. LOTS OF BACON. It was super crispy...just the way I like it!

This picture doesn't do this meal justice but it really hit the spot. I wasn't too hungry by 12 pm, but knew that I had a long day of travel ahead so I attempted to fill up. I had a warm spinach salad that included hard boiled eggs, bacon, mushrooms and onions all sauteed in EVOO. On the side was a large helping of broccolini and roasted tomatoes.  PERFECT lunch!

Home at last. I fixed my version of comfort good. A large bowl of kale dressed with lemon and olive oil.  It was refreshing and just what I needed after a very long day of travel. It was good enough to eat two bowls! Yes...I am now turning green from too much kale.

Off to bed. Tomorrow will be a busy day of playing catch up after being out of the office for 2.5 days.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meals for day 21

I have been in training all day and have to admit I was a bit nervous about the whole food situation. The training is being held at a conference center that is in a remote area outside of Minneapolis. With no car, there is not really the option to sneak out to a grocery store or salad bar for food, so I have been completely dependent on the food options of the conference center/hotel. Luckily, there have been lots of options and I have been pleasantly stuffed with good food.

After an early morning yoga session, I was ready for some food! I ordered an omelet with onion, peppers, and tomatoes. I didn't eat the hashbrowns or strawberries. Normally I LOVE hashbrowns with my eggs, but these were sitting in a pool of butter and just didn't seem appetizing. So I was not too sad to shove them off my plate.

What is it about sitting in a room all day listening to people talk that makes you soooooo hungry?! I was ready for something else at around 10 am. Luckily among the pastries and bagels, they had hard boiled eggs! SCORE! I snagged a couple and some chai tea. Perfect mid-morning snack.

Lunch was yummy! Roasted lamb, a side of steamed salmon, roasted carrots with ginger and a side salad with a couple of cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and sunflower seeds. The lamb was really well done. I was tempted to go back for another large helping, but everything else on my plate filled me up. Nothing like a warm, big lunch to fuel you for the afternoon.  Interestingly, about 2 hours later as people were fighting off their afternoon lull, I was bouncing with energy and rocking the breakout sessions. :)


I went for a pre-dinner run, so I was more then ready for a full plate of goodness! Prime rib, green beans with a spicy curry seasonings, baked chicken and sauteed squash. I went back for seconds on the prime rib. It was done just the way I like it! Boy, did I fill up on good food today! I am going to miss these big meals when I get home.

In addition to the wonderful training I received today (hope to blog about this later), I felt very successful and empowered today. I walked away from all your typical conference foods. The cookies, the chocolates, the dessert tables, and sodas. I didn't miss them at all and was very focused on the training and meeting new people.  I do have to tell you about a very weird thing that happened to me at dinner. I was sitting at one end of the table talking to my neighbor when I got a scent of red wine. It was as if I was a vampire getting a whiff of human blood. The smell was sooooo strong. I stopped conversation and had to look around. The wine was being served about 10 feet away from me!! It really did smell like it was right under my nose. I asked the person I was talking to if they could smell it and they had no idea what I was talking about. Talk about heightened senses! Of course, I stared down that glass of wine the whole night and silently begged the drinker to hurry up and finish it so I didn't have to smell it anymore. Crazy!

Another day of training and airport traveling tomorrow! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meals for day 20

Traveling for the next 3 days! Let's see how this goes...


Egg scramble with mushrooms, spinach, salsa and half an avocado.

Left over curry chicken, fresh spinach, and yes... you guessed it.. half an avocado


I avoided all airport food! yay! Brought a snack from home-- carrots, tomatoes and a snack pack of wholly guac.


The hotel I am staying at was great at telling me all about their food, what is was prepared in and flavored with. They even bought me freshly baked salmon without the sauce that was normally put on it.
This was a big dinner! Slice of prime rib, carrots, asparagus, and mushrooms and a "side" of salmon. Yes...it was a lot of food...but I cleaned my plate and enjoyed every single bite! I will sleep good tonight!

Week 3

While time continues to go quickly and it is hard to believe I am starting week 4, I think the novelty and excitement around this nutrition program is quickly fading. Week 1 and 2 were not terribly painful for me.  There were more of a reintroduction into the way I had previously been eating before the holidays.  I was getting over a cold while trying to get back into some sort of workout routine and time just passed without me having to really give too much thought about what I was missing out on in terms of food. Week 3 was a bit different. I was feeling back to my normal self, getting in regular workouts and finding myself in many of my normal social situations that presented challenges.  Going out with friends for dinner, drinks, lunch, brunch...you name it, I was in the situation.  And even if I didn't seek out the situation, challenges presented themselves to me in the form of a Starbucks drink waiting for me on my desk or baked goods given to me as a gift. Normally these things would bring a great big smile to my face, but instead they brought dread and doubt. Dread that I was turning away a nice gesture and doubt about what I had gotten myself into and if I could really finish. So I started thinking really hard about why I was really doing this. Why would I put myself through 8 weeks of deprivation and complicate my life any further then it needed to be. Despite the fact that I am stubborn when it comes to starting something and completing it, this is different. I have nothing to prove to anyone and it won't effect anyone if I don't finish. (Aside from the financial penalties I would face....) So why? Why would I do this?

This question becomes even more important when I try to explain to others what I am doing. I try not to talk too much about what my food choices. I don't want to be that girl that talks about her food constantly, but if someone asks, I am open to telling them about what I am doing. Interestingly, their first reaction is usually.... "oh, I could never do that" or "oh, I would never do that because...." Even though I NEVER recommend or force my choices on others, they are quick to defend their own way of approaching food and to challenge mine. "Why would you give up X?" "I could never turn down Y if it was given to me" "Happy Hour is too big of a part of my life to do that!"
So I have to admit, the more I get this, the more doubt I have.  After all, this is a lot of work. The planning, the preparation, the grocery shopping, the research, and the sole will-power can leave you exhausted.  So when faced with doubt and faced with the questions, I have to remind myself of the reasons and thinking behind why I am doing this and why I will continue to work through this.
  • I have some BIG goals to achieve this year. Physically, in my career and in my life... I want this to be a big year, full of big achievements. And I plan to push myself to meet those goals and to see how far I can go.  So if I am going to ask my body to train for a marathon, complete a century ride AND kick butt at work, I want to be the healthiest person possible. I need and want energy to wake up early, get a head start on my day and take advantage of every opportunity for improvement. The early bird gets the worm, right? And from previous experience, eating this way gives me an insane amount of energy and an alarm clock is not longer needed! That is exactly what I need for 2013. 
  • I will not let this limit what I do or how I enjoy life. Despite the fact that I am limited in what I can eat or drink for the next 8 weeks, I will not let that limit what I do.  Happy hours can still happen, hosting dinner is still possible, and going out with friends is encouraged. I can fully enjoy these things and the people that I am with regardless of what I eat or drink. 
  •  And this might sound strange given how restrictive this program is, but eating this way makes me really appreciate good food. I love food! I love everything about food. I love shopping for it, cooking it, talking about it, sharing it, etc. When you strip away all the additives and processed junk, you give your palate the chance to really taste food. When you don't eat artificial sugar in every meal, you can actually taste the sweetness in carrots. OMG..carrots are so sweet and delicious! You can taste the butteriness of good olive oil, you can appreciate the flavor of  spices and you savor a piece of ripe fruit for its amazing sweetness.  And when you do indulge in a sweet slice of cake, you normally save those indulgences for the best piece of cake you can find. A piece of cake that is known for its greatness and its quality of ingredients and you taste every single bite and will forever remember that time you sat in that great cafe, with that great friend and had that great slice of cake.  Yes, your relationship with food takes on a whole new meaningful and it not only becomes something that nourishes you but something that creates the memories of your life!
So my reasons are few but meaningful. Simply put, I have learned a lot about myself and what makes me thrive, and giving my body the best and most nutritious food does just that. So any investment I can make in myself and my future is worth it.  So bring on the doubt, I am pretty sure I can handle it!!

This week's workouts:
I was in a constant state of soreness this week, which felt great! I got a great 90 min massage on Monday and started doing more yoga which has helped a lot as I have started running more in preparation for a spring marathon.
  • Monday: rest (MASSAGE!)
  • Tuesday:  Crossfit
  • Wednesday: 90 mins of hot power yoga
  • Thursday: Crossfit
  • Friday: Run 8x400 sprints
  • Saturday: Crossfit and 90 mins of hot power yoga
  • Sunday: 90 mins of hot power yoga

Week 4 brings on it's own challenge.... no fruit or nuts! This is a BIG deal for me because I eat A LOT of fruit. My sugar intake is about to go way, way down. Stay tuned. Next week's posting will be interesting.

34 more days to go!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Meals for day 17, 18, and 19

Here are my meals for the weekend! Hard to believe week 4 is starting!

Day 17
Left over ground beef cooked in curry and coconut milk with butternut squash and two eggs.


2 pieces of grilled salmon and roasted sweet potatoes.

Big ole bowl of kale dressed with lemon and olive oil

Day 18
After a really hard Crossfit WOD, I needed a big breakfast. Scrabbled eggs with bacon and half an avocado.

I needed something light for lunch since I had a late breakfast and had planned to go to an afternoon yoga class. I sauteed some red cabbage with tomato and garlic. Looks a bit gross but was so delicious! Oh..and of course a half avocado on the side.

The same cabbage I made for lunch with a side of baked turkey breast

Day 19 
Breakfast and Lunch: 
I hosted brunch today for several wonderful friends and we enjoyed some really delicious food.  I made veggie and sausage egg muffins with roasted vegetables (green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower) with a side of berries and bananas.  (Had two of these plates..yum!)

Chicken leg steamed in curry, coconut milk and a whole host of delicious seasonings with left over roasted vegetables.