Use It Up

Lately, my diet has been a little… wild.  (For me, anyway.)  And my body has been paying for it. 

I think it all started back when I got my wisdom teeth out.  At first, I could only eat certain things, and most of them weren’t on my normal foods list.  Then, when I could finally eat normal foods again, I was feeling so hungry and deprived that I shoveled in anything and everything I could get my hands on.  And then I started this pattern of going out to eat a lot and getting bored with my normal foods, so I’d switch it up and bring back things I used to eat – like cheese, a lot of cheese.  And things have seemed to just spiral downhill from there. 

But then I remembered why I stopped eating all those things:

Pimples.

Stomach aches.

Lethargy. 

Weight gain.

Decreased performance.

Trouble sleeping.

Yup, now I remember. 

So in an effort to get myself back on track, I’ve been trying to clean all the junk out of my apartment –  all the cookies and candy and bread and bagels and pasta and cheese I’ve accumulated over the last few weeks, even if it is gluten-free.  For a long time, I didn’t eat any of this stuff, but then, slowly but surely, somewhere along the way, I started reintroducing them.  I’d buy a loaf of cinnamon raisin gluten-free bread here, a bag of candy corn there, and I guess I started to feel good enough that I thought I could handle them and it wouldn’t matter.  

But it did. 

(I probably should’ve known that subsisting solely on candy corn wasn’t a suitable plan, but I guess I got distracted by the pretty colors on the trees.)  Anyways, you can bet that I probably won’t be straying from the usual meats/fruits/veggies/nuts/seeds diet again anytime soon. 

It just works for me.  And now I know.  

I guess sometimes it just takes a little reminder, and I certainly got one. 

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I really hate to waste food, so for the most part, I have just been using up what I can.  I threw out the rest of the cheese in my fridge because I just couldn’t deal with it anymore, but when it comes to the things that don’t bother me quite as much, I’ve just been eating them.  It’s a little counterintuitive given that I know it’s not going to help me, but I’m not made of money and throwing away food – no matter how junky – is just not cool.

For lunch the other day, I made a wrap with one of the rice tortillas I had left in the freezer.  I filled it with chicken, red peppers, spinach, and a little habanero salsa, and I had some Cape Cod chips on the side.  It was a delicious lunch – and not terrible, nutrition-wise – but I still think I’m going to be saying goodbye to chips and tortillas for a while.  It’s a slippery slope, people. 

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When it comes to workouts, that’s another area I’m really refocusing myself on.  It’s easy to skip workouts in the summer because I’m so busy and still active in other ways, but in the winter, there’s less of an excuse not to get to the gym.  There’s much less going on, and thus much more time that can be spent in the gym – and plus, I have goals to reach

Here’s what Monday and Tuesday’s workouts looked like:

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I got to the gym a little earlier this week, and it made a big difference in what I was able to accomplish.  I go to bed early and I get plenty of sleep, so there’s no reason I can’t get there earlier.  (Usually I spend a half hour on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube instead of just getting out the door when I wake up anyway.) 

So that’s my plan… now let’s just hope I can stick to it!


Family, Friends, Fun, and Food!

I haven’t been able to go home to see my family much lately, so with nothing on the agenda this weekend, I felt like it was the perfect time.  I headed there on Friday after work, and my mom, being the awesome lady that she is, had dinner waiting for me.  I can’t imagine commuting far every day for work; people who do it must have great people at home who cook for them every night!

One of the best things about going home to visit (besides the free food) is having a grill to cook on.  It seemed like I was smelling BBQs all the way home, and I absolutely couldn’t wait for our own.  Everything just tastes better off the grill!

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My mom made chicken, zucchini, summer squash, and sweet potatoes, and of course it was exactly what I would’ve asked for.  My mom loves sweet potatoes, and I’d never had one before, but I kind of thought it tasted like a butternut or acorn squash, and I might have to start buying some for myself. 

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We are a dessert kind of family (if you haven’t realized that by now…) so she had cookies waiting for me too – oatmeal chocolate chip and chocolate chip.  It’s a good thing we had such a healthy dinner because my self control went right out the window when I saw those bad boys!

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I had a hard time getting up all last week, and I just kept telling myself that if I made it to the gym today, I would take tomorrow off.  That got us up to Saturday, and I really did plan to sleep in, but when the time came, all I wanted to do was wake up and head to the Y.  Funny how that works, huh?

Because I have a membership at my local YMCA, I can go to any Y in New England for free, which makes it really convenient when I’m staying with my parents.  And a perk of going at 6:30am on a Saturday – there were a few elderly people in there, but otherwise I had the whole place to myself!

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Here’s what my workout looked like:

  1. Warm-up and stretch
  2. Run 3 laps
  3. 20 Push presses @ 65#
  4. 20 Back squats @ 65#
  5. 20 Power cleans @ 65#
  6. Run 3 laps
  7. 20 KB swings @ 25#
  8. 20 Double KB front squats @ 25#
  9. 20 KB snatch (each arm) @ 25#
  10. Run 3 laps
  11. 20 Burpees
  12. 20 Air squats
  13. 20 Push-ups
  14. 12×4 Shrugs + Lateral raises
  15. 10×5 Knees to elbows
  16. 12×4 Hanging L lifts + Back extensions
  17. 50 Box jumps
  18. Cool down

It certainly had me sweating!

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Once I was done, I headed home and showered up so my mom and I could go meet my cousin and aunt for breakfast.  We sat outside, and I ordered the scrambled eggs with bacon, potatoes, and fruit.  Everything was so incredibly fresh and delicious, and eating it outside in the fresh air only added to the awesomeness.  It was definitely one of the best restaurant breakfasts I’ve had in a long time!

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Last week, my aunt and cousin were telling me how BJ’s (a local wholesale grocery store, like a Costco) carries 64oz Naked Juices for $6.99, and seeing as how they’re way more expensive than that in the smaller bottles, they didn’t have to do much to convince me to go with them.  We headed there after breakfast, and my mom and I had never been, but it didn’t take long for us to fall in love. 

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We went in for literally one thing (Naked Juices) and ended up leaving $250.00 later.  Luckily, we’re now both fully stocked on toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, trash bags, laundry detergent, shampoo, vitamins, and cleaning products for the next year.  I also got jumbo-sized packages of strawberries, cherries, raisins, prunes, and chicken, plus three Naked Juices – but that stuff won’t last me nearly as long. 

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After our shopping extravaganza, we spent the rest of the day basically just hanging out, and one of us even decided to take a nap – right in the middle of the table.  What dog climbs up on the table and falls asleep?!  Only the king of the house, that’s who. 

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For dinner, we headed over to my aunt and uncle’s house, where they were barbecuing.  We brought corn from the farm stand down the street, and it was so incredibly sweet and fresh.  They got chicken and steak from the butcher, and it was some of the most delicious meat I’ve ever tasted.  The “Red Sox” steak tips were marinated in Ah-So sauce, honey, and maple syrup, and they literally melted in your mouth.  I definitely went back for seconds after this plate!

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For dessert, we brought chocolate chip ice cream and cookies to make sundaes, and it totally hit the spot.  Everyone was already stuffed from dinner, but when it’s 90 degrees outside, it’s hard to say no to a cold bowl of delicious ice cream.

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I went out for a drink with one of my greatest friends afterward, and it was the perfect way to end a great day at home.  Family, friends, fun times, and good food… you really can’t ask for much more! 


Focused On Work

Other than starting my new job (which has been going really well!), not a whole lot of new stuff has been going on around here over the past couple of days.  I’ve been doing the usual eat-sleep-work-workout-repeat routine, and things have been going pretty smoothly, all things considered.  I’m still trying to adjust to my new schedule (I have to be at work a little earlier), and figuring out when the best times to do things are, but I’m sure I’ll get into a groove shortly. 

There are times when I’m more focused on fitness, or on relaxing and enjoying myself, or whatever else the case may be, but right now, I’ve definitely been focused on work the most.  (Nerd Alert: I even ordered this book to brush up on my Excel skills.)  Honestly, I’m liking that fact a lot, and I’m really enjoying learning about my new role and all that I’ll be doing.  I think that this change is exactly what I needed!

There have been a couple new things around here lately, in food form, of course:

I tried jicama for the first time… but I didn’t like it.  Jicama is a type of Mexican yam/turnip that I’ve heard a lot about, so I used my julienne peeler to shred it up in an attempt to make jicama hash browns. 

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I cooked it in a pan with black pepper, but apparently that wasn’t the right choice because it was definitely not very good.  (That’s me sugar coating things.)  I know some of my cookbooks have jicama recipes in them though, so next time I’ll go for more of a structured approach, and hopefully it will taste a lot better. 

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I also tried yams for the first time (I’m behind the curve, I know), with much more positive results.  I cubed up a yam and baked them in the oven, and even reheated in the microwave, I thought they were very good.  (You know something’s good when it’s tolerable right out of the microwave.) 

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Next time, I’m going to cook them just as I need them so that I don’t have to reheat them… I bet they’ll be even better! 

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I’ve also done a couple of fun new workouts this week, just in case anyone’s following along!

Monday:

  1. Warm-up: 5-10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Back squats:
    1. 15 @ 45#
    2. 12 @ 95#
    3. 10 @ 135#
    4. 8 @ 175#
    5. 5×5 185#
  3. Workout (21-15-9):
    1. Shoulder presses @ 35#
    2. Box jumps
  4. 50 HR push-ups
  5. 100 crunches
  6. Cable circuit (4x @ 35#):
    1. 12 Curls
    2. 12 Upright rows
    3. 12 Push downs
    4. 12 High rows
    5. 12 Hanging knee lifts
  7. Core circuit (4x):
    1. 20 Swiss ball crunches
    2. 15 Back extensions
    3. 10 OH side bends (each side)
    4. 5 Hanging knee lifts
  8. Cool down: 5-10 minute walk

Tuesday:

  1. Warm-up: 5-10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Strength: Push presses and Back squats
    1. 15 @ 35lbs
    2. 12 @ 55lbs
    3. 9 @ 65lbs
    4. {5 @ 75lbs} x5
  3. Workout (Repeat 5x, running one less lap each time):
    1. Run 5 laps
    2. 10 snatches
    3. 10 Bent over rows
    4. 10 crunches
  4. 100 Box jumps
  5. Cool-down: 10 minute walk

And now, I would like to leave you with this awesome picture I found on Instagram:

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I knew I was onto something with my love of near-death bananas!

Questions:

What are you focused on right now? Work… Family… Fitness… Food… Fun?

What’s new in your life right now?

How do you like your bananas?


Newburgh Waterfront

Yesterday started off with what would end up being my last hotel workout of the trip… yaaaaahoo!  This hotel gym is very nice and it’s been great that I’ve mostly been able to stick to my normal workout schedule while I was here, but I’m more than ready to get back to my real gym at home!

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(Cute, right? The sweaty, 5am bedhead look is entirely in right now.)

I’ve been getting frustrated with the dumbbells here (I find random bruises all over myself from where they awkwardly hit me), but I actually really liked yesterday’s workout.  It was different, and that kept it interesting and fun.  Here’s what it looked like:

  1. Warm-up: 10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Dumbbell push presses:
    1. 15 @ 40lbs
    2. 10 @ 50lbs
    3. {8 @ 60lbs + 8 Handstand shrugs} x3
    4. {8 @ 50lbs + 8 Handstand shrugs} x3
  3. Workout (8x):
    1. 5 Right hand dumbbell snatch @ 25lbs
    2. 5 Left hand dumbbell snatch @ 25lbs25 Jump ropes
    3. 5 Right hand dumbbell clean @ 25lbs
    4. 5 Left hand dumbbell clean @ 25lbs
    5. 25 Jump ropes
  4. 100 Air squats
  5. {12 Bent over rows @ 15lbs each + 12 RDLs @ 25lbs each} x4
  6. {10 Kneeling rows (each arm @ 15lbs each + 12 Squats @ 30lbs each} x4
  7. Core (4x):
    1. 15 Dumbbell swings @ 15lbs
    2. 20 Weighted side bends @ 15lbs
    3. 15 Weighted bridges @ 15lbs
    4. 20 Crunches
  8. Cool down: 10 minute walk

I seemed to have lost my picture from breakfast yesterday, and I can’t even remember what I had at this point… so I’ll just skip it. 

Food for the rest of the day consisted of baby carrots, chicken with peppers, snow peas, and spices, a poor little pear that got brutally mutilated in my lunchbox, cantaloupe and TJ’s trail mix, and a banana. 

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But after work is where things got a little more fancy… 

The town I’m staying in this week has a beautiful waterfront along the Hudson River, and last night, my coworkers and I headed down there for dinner.  The cherry blossom trees (I think?) were in full bloom, and even though it was chilly, it was still a beautiful sight.  There are all kinds of restaurants along the water, and it’s a great place to walk around and take in a little fresh air.  One time when I was here in the past, I saw the absolute biggest yacht I have ever seen in real life docked here.  Seriously, it was like a mini cruise ship!

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For dinner, I started with the garden salad with balsamic dressing.  (I resisted all the bread and it felt so good!)

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And for my entrée, I went with the filet mignon (which was cooked perfectly and absolutely delicious) and a double portion of the steamed veggies (carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and cauliflower). 

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I nixed the potatoes/rice in favor of double vegetables, and in addition to skipping the bread, it was definitely a good choice.  I left feeling full, satisfied, and most importantly, stomach-ache free, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with myself.  Normally, I would’ve said ‘oh, a piece of bread or two on this special occasion won’t hurt,’ but then I’d end up sitting at home with a stomach ache later.  Since making the decision to not do that anymore, it was surprisingly easy to pass on it!

With my last night behind me, I am very excited to be heading home tonight… Sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen, and working out in my own gym is going to be absolutely glorious after ten days away!

See you from NH! Smile


Going Gluten Free…

Sometimes my workouts go really easy for me and I feel strong and powerful and energetic… and sometimes they don’t. 

Yesterday was one of those days that didn’t go so well.  I usually take Sundays off, so maybe my body somehow knew that it was the day of rest and decided to be stubborn.  Or maybe it was because I’ve had a more-strenuous-than-normal week and had already gotten five good workouts in and I was just tired.  Or maybe it was because I hadn’t eaten anything besides a banana, a few grapes, and a couple ginger snaps in about 17 hours.  (I wasn’t really hungry for dinner after my late lunch, and I rarely eat before morning workouts.  But I got to sleep in a little bit yesterday, so my workout was later than normal, stretching that time out even farther.) 

Whatever it was, things didn’t go great yesterday.  But I still got out of bed, to the gym, and moved around a little bit… and that’s what counts for me. 

Here’s what my workout ended up looking like:

  1. Warm-up: 10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Squat and twist – low to high (each side):
    1. 15 @ 15lbs
    2. 12 @ 20lbs
  3. Workout (21-15-9-3 each):
    1. Sumo deadlifts @ 45lbs
    2. Burpees
    3. Upright rows @ 20lbs each
  4. {10 Dumbbell snatches (each arm) @ 20lbs each} x5
  5. {12 Reverse flies @ 10lbs each + 10 Lying rows (each arm) @ 10lbs each} x4
  6. 100 crunches
  7. Cool-down: 10 minute walk

After that, I showered up and had breakfast before I headed off to work.  I made a three-egg scramble with tomatoes and spinach, plus bacon on the side, and it was a nice change from my usual green pepper and spinach scramble.  I used to like my eggs very dry, but the tomatoes don’t allow for that and yet I still like it, so maybe I’m coming around. 

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I snacked on some slightly off-looking carrots a little later.  I find it weird when carrots get a little bit white like this, but they still seem to taste fine, so I guess it’s no big deal…?

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For lunch, I brought a batch of chicken, red peppers, and snow peas made with chili powder and cumin.  I made two helpings of this meal and just seasoned them differently, so it really will be like having two different meals, even though the base ingredients are the same. 

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For a snack in the afternoon, I had some purple grapes and cashews.  I never used to like nuts of any kind, but cashews have since become one of my favorite snacks.  I think I’ll have to branch out and try a new type of nuts soon though, because maybe I’ll like them too!

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I was at work longer than expected, so dinner got thrown together in just a few minutes when I got back to my room.  I cooked a porkchop and green beans in a pan on the stovetop (there’s no oven in my room), and microwaved a sliced apple for about a minute and a half.  I’ve never tried “cooking” an apple that way, but it was actually really delicious.  I bet a hot apple topped with a little bit of maple syrup or Greek yogurt would make an awesome dessert!

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After dinner, I spent some time picking up my room and getting organized for the days ahead, and I snacked on some gluten-free, wheat-free ginger snaps as I went.  (It sounds complicated, but they were actually really awesome.  I could identify all of the ingredients on the list and they tasted even better than other snaps I’ve tried.  The grocery store I’ve been going to here has a pretty great all-natural/gluten-free/dairy-free/etc. section, and I’ve found quite a few things that I like there.)

I’ve been feeling so much better this week staying away from gluten/dairy/grains entirely, and I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to make a solid effort to stick with it.  Straying on Saturday to enjoy a meal out with my friend showed me that it does actually make a difference (in the form of a stomach ache) and I figure that it’s about time I finally commit 100%. 

Since most of what I normally eat is naturally gluten free (fruits, veggies, meats, nuts, seeds, etc.), and I’ve been staying away from dairy and grains lately anyway, it’s really not going to be that big of a change for me.  My daily diet won’t change much at all, but where it will come into play is in the desserts region of my diet.

I’m not saying there won’t be times that I’ll stray again (because there will be), but in the past, I’d eat well 90% of the time and then throw caution to the wind when it came to desserts or treats.  From now on though, I’m going to make a concerted effort to make even those special treats dairy/grain/gluten-free.  (Like these brownies, or these cookies, for example.)

People often think that “gluten-free” means “healthy,” but that’s not always the case, so please don’t be misled.  Many calorie- and fat-laden sweet treats are gluten free, but that certainly doesn’t mean you’re going to lose weight if you eat a whole batch of them.  I am hoping that it will finally allow me to get my stomach aches in check once and for all though… and for that, it’s totally worth it to me.

It’s time to get this week underway… Have a good one, friends! Smile


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