Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stylish Partiers and a Saturday Morning Breakfast

Hello and happy Saturday!

Yesterday I made it my goal to avoid all sugar (in the form of sweets) for the entire day, and I’m happy to say that I was successful! It was National Doctors Day, so the break room was full of treats – but I stayed strong and steered clear of the candy and baked goods that seemed to be around every corner.

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It’s definitely easier for me to say no than to try to just have a little, and I think I need to start accepting this fact Smile.


I didn’t have too much on the agenda last night after rotation, which was actually really nice. I came home, ate a bowl of oatmeal for dinner, and then watched a couple episodes of Criminal Minds while snacking on some fresh fruit for dessert.

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At one point I ended up going over to my friend Brad’s place to hang out with him and our other friend, Babs. While I was there, I got a call from another friend who lives in the apartment complex inviting me over to a little party they were having. I was really not in the partying mood, not to the mention the fact that I was lounging around in my sweat pants, but Babs and I decided it’d be fun to just walk over and say hello. Oh, and she was just as dressed up for the occasion as I was.

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Stylish Winking smile.

It was fun to see some old friends I haven’t talked to in a while, but being over there made me realize that I really am not into the whole “house party” thing anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having a good time when I’m with close friends and we’re celebrating a special occasion, but most weekends I prefer to get in bed at a decent hour and wake up without a pounding headache. Anyone else with me on this?

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This morning I hit up an early Turbo Kick class and then came home to make this beautiful breakfast:

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Crepes! It’s been a long time since I last made them and I’m glad I finally brought them back. Crepes are so tasty and they always make me feel like I am eating an elegant meal, but they take a little longer to make than my normal breakfasts – not to mention they dirty more dishes – and most days I just don’t have the patience. Today I have a totally open schedule so I’m happy I took the time to make them!

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I made the batter with 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup skim milk, 2 egg whites, and 1 packet of Stevia and followed Gina's method to make them. Then I filled each crepe with strawberry Greek yogurt and topped them with fresh berries.

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So delicious, and the perfect Saturday morning breakfast!


I don’t have any major plans set for the day, but I’ve spent most of my morning working on some blog design projects. Thanks to Katie's help, I finally figured out how to get my “Follow” buttons looking the way I want. I redid them and I think that my left side bar now looks much cleaner than it used to.

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I also added a Search bar on the right side bar, which will hopefully make it easier to locate specific posts, recipes, and workouts.

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Hope you like it!


Alright, it’s time to hit the showers. Have a wonderful day and I’ll see ya later!

Friday, March 30, 2012

It’s a New Day

Wow.

I really do hate being all emo on the blog like that, but there’s something about knowing that you are not alone that just makes you feel better. However, one of the unfortunate things about having such a public blog is that a lot of my friends and family read it, and I think that I may have unintentionally made some people worry about me after yesterday’s post. I want to apologize for that, as it was never my goal or my reason for posting. I wasn’t thinking clearly when I posted it and part of me wishes that I never had, since it kind of defeats the purpose of this blog. While I think it’s important to be real, it’s also important to me to be professional and maintain a positive attitude. I thought about deleting the post all together, but there are too many nice comments and I don’t see the sense in doing that now. Thank you all for the comments, emails and texts – it has helped me more than you can ever know and has reminded me that I am not the only one struggling with this.

That being said, it’s a new day and I’m going to keep on doing my thing, which is treating every day as a fresh start and continuing to work toward my goals. Thank you again for your support – it really does mean the world do me.

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So, what better way to start a new day than with some HIIT on the treadmill?Here’s the workout that I’ve tackled a couple of times this week:

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If you’re a good runner, then this workout probably looks like a piece of cake for you. However, for the slower folks like me, it’s the perfect HIIT workout. 15-20 minutes is the ideal length for HIIT, and the speeds can easily be adjusted to suit your individual fitness abilities. During other HIIT workouts, I’ve walked during the recovery periods and sometimes I rest completely on the edges of the treadmill – it all depends on the speed of the work portion. On Monday I did NROLFW 1A and finished it up with this HIIT workout. It was a doozy for sure!


In other news, my sister came to visit on Wednesday! She’s on spring break right now and she’s making her way around the state visiting all of her friends. I was happy that I made the list and she was able to squeeze in an hour for her dear old sister Winking smile. Per her request, we went to my favorite sushi place: XO Asian Cuisine in downtown Grand Rapids.

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We both ordered the exact same thing – wonton soup

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and an Amazing Roll!

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They do such a beautiful job plating the sushi here, and they even mixed it up and plated each of our rolls differently.

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The roll contains shrimp, spicy crab, avocado, “crunch” on top, and some kind of spicy sauce. I can’t think of a better name for it because the roll seriously is amazing.

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We had a great time catching up and enjoying our dinner. I’m kind of bummed though because I completely forgot to snap a picture of the two of us! Maybe next time you shouldn’t leave so quickly, Courtney Winking smile.

 

Off to rotation for the day, then it’s the WEEKEND! Catch ya later Smile

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sometimes

Sometimes, I wish that I wasn’t such a slave to food. That I didn’t feel completely powerless when offered a piece of candy, or a slice of cake. That my entire day wouldn’t be thrown off just because I screwed up once.

Sometimes, I wonder what it’s like to be normal. To not be thinking about food all the time. To be able to focus on the current task at hand, instead of when my next meal or snack is going to be. I wonder what’s it like to never count calories, to stop eating when you’re full, and to always listen to your body.

Sometimes, I wonder if this battle will ever end. If I will ever find peace with food and balance in my life. If I will ever get “back on track” and finally lose the weight for good. If will ever be content with the way I look. If I will ever be that person that I so desperately want to be. That role model.

Sometimes, I feel like a fraud because I don’t post everything I eat. The healthy stuff always makes it on the blog, but the not-so-healthy stuff usually doesn’t. Part of that is because I feel guilty about it and know I shouldn’t be eating it, and part of that is because I know that there are some people out there who make me feel bad when I mess up and I just don’t want to hear it.

These are the things I struggle with every. single. day. Sometimes I just get sick of it. One step forward and two steps back. It gets old, and I’m sick of it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Protein Powder and Pulled Pork (WIAW)

I just realized how weird that post title sounds. I swear, I didn’t create some wacky new recipe using pork and protein powder; the title will make more sense later on in the post. Promise!  

Before I get to that, I have a little random tidbit that I wanted to share. I know that I am a little late with joining the Hunger Games bandwagon, but I finally started the audio book this weekend and I can officially say that I am hooked.

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I originally ordered this so I could listen to it on my way up to Marquette a couple of weeks ago, but silly me had it shipped to my parents’ house in Traverse City instead of to my Grand Rapids address. Well, this past weekend when I went home I was finally able to retrieve it and I couldn’t wait to pop it in on the drive back down to Grand Rapids.

Let me just say that I could not believe how fast the drive back went by! I was completely hooked from the beginning and I’m actually kind of sad that I can only listen to it when I’m in my car – I wish I had a hard copy to read at my apartment! Luckily, I have another long drive coming up next week and I know I will finish it during that trip. Oh, and I may or may not have already ordered Catching Fire Winking smile. I can’t WAIT to see the movie when I’m finished!!

 

Alright, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk food! It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve participated in What I Ate Wednesday, so you can bet I’m bringing it back today!

Unfortunately, I am a little embarrassed to say that yesterday’s meals were not very green, and were actually quite lacking in the veggie department all together. Whoops! In my defense, I haven’t been feeling very well the past couple of days and I think we can all agree that when you’re sick, vegetables are usually the last thing you feel like eating.

Okay, let’s get to it!

Pre/Post Workout: A protein shake made with a big scoop of my new protein powder and split up before and after my workout (half of the shake before, half after).

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I really like this protein powder! I purchased it after a reader recommended it to me in the comments section of this post. It’s Dymatize ISO-100 Whey Protein Powder (I have the cookies and cream flavor) and it provides a whopping 24 grams of protein per serving at only 100 calories! All of the lactose and fat is removed and it has virtually zero carbs. You would think this would compromise the taste, but it absolutely does not! This may be attributed to the fact that I’m pretty burnt out on chocolate flavored protein powder and this was a new flavor, but it really didn’t taste like a protein shake to me at all. It actually tasted more like a sweetened milk, and the ingredient list is much better than previous protein powders that I’ve tried. I definitely won’t have a problem drinking this down after my strength training workouts!

Breakfast: More overnight cereal!

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This bowl was almost identical to Monday’s, only I added half of a banana into the mix the night before.

  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean
  • 3/4 cup vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 sliced banana

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Lunch: Leftover pizza from Monday night’s dinner, plus two clementines.

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The pizza was nothing special, just another Amy's meal!

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Dessert:
I epically failed at resisting the huge basket of candy that the Easter bunny brought into the office today.

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I DID manage to keep it under control though and didn’t go overboard.

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Two mini Cadbury crème eggs (first ones this year!) plus two mini Reese’s peanut butter eggs. The last time someone brought a bag of candy in, I probably ate about ten fun sized candy bars, so I’d say this is definitely an improvement. Of course, the ultimate goal is to not have any candy at the office, since it’s not a special occasion and it’s just empty calories, but come on. Baby steps.

Dinner: Pulled pork sandwich with Alexia sweet potato fries on the side.

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I had some green beans in the refrigerator leftover from Monday’s dinner that I was planning to eat, but like I said: veggies are totally unappealing when you’re sick.

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I made the pulled pork by cooking four pork chops (smeared with garlic) on low in my crock pot all day. After work, I let the pork cool and then just pulled it apart with my fingers. Then I added a big old squirt of barbeque sauce (no measurement, just as much as I felt like) and mixed it up until the pork was evenly coated. That’s all there is to it; it’s ready to serve! I threw it on a bun and made a sandwich last night, but I also love pulled pork plain all by itself. It’s one of my favorite foods!

 

Well, that’s a wrap folks! Other than an unpictured orange and a couple of fruit strips that were consumed after dinner (I was having a snacky night..it took everything in me not to drive to Smashburger and buy an Oreo shake!), that’s everything I ate yesterday. Your turn! Winking smile

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fitting Exercise Into a Busy Schedule

I think that one of the most common excuses for not exercising, besides just being lazy (and let’s be honest, we’ve all been there), is simply not having enough time. As a fourth year graduate student, I’m certainly no stranger to a busy schedule. Since I started my rotations last fall I’ve been lucky enough to have most of my evenings free, but it wasn’t too long ago when the majority of my days consisted of going to class for eight hours and then studying all night long.

Despite my demanding course load, I’ve never really had trouble making time for exercise. Three years ago when I first started losing weight, I decided to make it a priority and I’ve been regularly exercising ever since. With everything going on in our lives, it’s important to make time for yourself and to take care of your health, both mentally and physically. Today I thought I’d share some tips that have helped me fit in my daily workouts while getting through pharmacy school at the same time. I hope at least some of you, particularly my fellow college students, will find them helpful!

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Schedule Your Workouts

When I say schedule, I mean actually plan your workouts into your days. Pick a time that you are going to exercise, and then treat your workout like an appointment that you can’t miss. It helps when you have a designated time of the day that is set aside for exercising, and it’s even better when it’s the same time every day because then you can form a routine. I’ve always been a morning exerciser because I like getting it out of the way first thing. Of course, sometimes this means getting up at the crack of the dawn (like right now when I have to wake up at 5:00 am in order to make it to rotation by 8:00 am), but it’s worth it to me. If I know that I am going to be up late the night before, then I reschedule for the afternoon and I take a snack and my gym clothes to work with me so that I can go straight to the gym after I’m done. If I stop at home on the way there, the chance of me skipping my gym date would quadruple Winking smile.

I also like to take a minute every Sunday to plan out my workouts for the upcoming week. I write them down on my white board so that I can check them off as I complete them.

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Work Out At Home

Not everyone has a gym membership, and even those who do can’t manage to have perfect attendance all the time. Sometimes we really do just get too busy and don’t have an extra hour or two to spend driving to the gym, working out, and then driving back. When this happens, I turn to my favorite workout DVDs (I’m currently loving the Turbo Jam Fat Blaster DVD) or do an at-home circuit (check out my 50 x 3 Circuit Workout – it’s a fast workout that will torch some calories!). There are also tons of other at home workout ideas in fitness magazines and online, and I get a lot of my ideas from other bloggers. Even just 20 minutes is enough time to get a decent workout in, just work hard!

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Find A Workout Buddy

When Eric and I lived together P3 year, we worked out together all the time. We spotted each other when we lifted weights and he really helped push me to work harder. Having a workout buddy is not only great for motivation while you’re at the gym, but if you have an exercise date with someone then you’re much less likely to break if than if you have plans to go at it alone. Plus it’s fun! While I usually work out solo these days (I miss my workout buddy Sad smile), I’ve worked out with many of my friends before and sometimes my sister joins me when I’m at home.

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“Sneak” In Workouts

In other words, take advantage of opportunities to burn extra calories through out your day. Park farther away from your building, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and take walking breaks throughout the day if you have a desk job. My current rotation is located downtown, and I have to park almost half a mile away from the building every day. I have the option of parking somewhere else and taking a shuttle in if I want, but I quit doing that after one day. I’d much rather walk than have to wait around for the shuttle, especially now that the weather is getting nice!


Remind Yourself Why You Want to Exercise

Okay, this isn’t really a tip on how to fit in exercise, but more like another way that I motivate myself to get my butt to the gym. Most of the time, thinking about weight loss is not enough to motivate me when I’m not feeling up to the task of exercise and I have to remind myself of the other reasons why I like to do it (yes, I have to remind myself why I LIKE to exercise). Some of my reasons include:

  • It’s a stress reducer
  • It improves my mood
  • It brings me closer to my goal of completing a sprint triathlon this summer
  • It helps me keep my sanity (true story)
  • It’s good for my HEALTH

Usually, just thinking about these reasons is enough to make me go get my sweat on, and if it’s not then I just use the 10 minute rule: If I go exercise for 10 minutes and still don’t want want to be there, then I can leave. 9 times out of 10, I stay and finish my workout.

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What are your tips for fitting exercise into a busy schedule?


More exercise posts:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chicken Taco Salad

Happy Monday my friends!

So, I have reached the conclusion that overnight oats are just not for me. I’ve tried numerous different combinations and I just cannot find one that I enjoy enough to recreate on a regular basis. I know many of you add peanut butter to yours, but I’ve been trying to avoid that option because knowing me and my nut butter obsession that would quickly spiral into an extra 300 calories. A few of you gave some other breakfast suggestions in this post, and I have to give a shout out to Coral because thanks to her, I think I found a new favorite overnight breakfast.

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I’m going to call this “overnight cereal.” She said that she combines Kashi Go Lean cereal with yogurt and lets it sit overnight before enjoying it for breakfast the next day, and it sounded right up my alley so I decided to give it a try. Last night I combined the following in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight:

  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean
  • 3/4 cup vanilla Chobani
  • 1/4 cup skim milk

This morning I stirred in some fresh blueberries and gobbled it up!

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The cereal thickens up and gets really soft. I am personally a fan of soggy cereal, so if you don’t like it then you probably won’t like this. This breakfast also kept me full for longer than the overnight oats did, and I think it’s because the cereal has more protein and fiber than raw oats do. I’ll probably eat this for breakfast every day this week! Thanks Coral!

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In other news, I have a yummy recipe to share with you today! Before I left for Grand Rapids yesterday, my mom made us an early dinner to enjoy at home.

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The meal consisted of fruit

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plus my favorite chicken taco salad!

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I think this dish has popped up on the blog a few times, and I know that at least a couple people have asked for the recipe in the past so I figured that it’s about time that I posted it! It’s a lot of prep work, but the salad comes together in a flash and it makes for a delicious summer meal.

Chicken Taco Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 5-6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 – 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can sliced olives, drained (whatever size can you prefer)
  • 1 lb. ground chicken cooked with taco seasoning packet according to directions and cooled (may substitute ground beef or ground turkey)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips

Dressing

  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream*
  • 1/4-1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 taco seasoning packet

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together all salad ingredients. In another small bowl, stir together dressing ingredients until evenly mixed. Pour dressing over salad and mix until salad is evenly coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.

*You may substitute plain fat-free Greek yogurt for the sour cream for a healthier alternative. I suggested this to my mom and she is going to give it a try the next time she makes it!

(Sorry, I don’t have nutritional information for this recipe because it’s too variable. However, I use this recipe calculator to calculate all my stats on other recipes so feel free to calculate it based on the ingredients that you use!)

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This taco salad is a big hit in our house and I think it would be great dish to bring to a potluck or summer party! Let me know if ya give it a try!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

16 Chilly Miles

Good afternoon!

It’s been a lovely weekend at home so far. I took the last couple days off of blogging because I didn’t have much to say and because I needed a bit of a break. On Friday evening, I went out to eat with my friend Curtis and it was nice to just chat and enjoy each other’s company, not to mention my food, without worrying about pictures. Yesterday I worked all day and then I hung out with my parents at home all evening. We watched “Life As We Know It” while laying around in our sweatpants. Pretty much my ideal Saturday night.

Today was a little more exciting; I went out for my first bike ride of the year!

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I’ve been looking forward to it all week, but I wish the weather would have been more cooperative Sad smile.


I fueled up with some oatmeal before heading out.

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It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve had oatmeal and I’ve missed it! My tasty bowl of oats contained:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • Topping: baked apple 

I guess it’s kind of weird to bring back warm oatmeal when we’re on the verge of summer, but what can I say? I love the stuff.

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After letting my breakfast digest and pumping up my bike tires, I headed down town to the TART Trail for a 16 mile out and back ride.

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Unfortunately, it was freezing outside and I was definitely not dressed appropriately for the weather. I left the house wearing capris and a long sleeved t-shirt when I really should have been wearing pants and a winter jacket! The weather was supposed to be high fifties and partly cloudy, but it was actually in the forties with no sun what-so-ever. Epic fail, weather channel.

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I didn’t let that rain on my biking parade though Winking smile. I pedaled hard, making my way from one side of town to the other in about 35 minutes. I stopped at the turn around point and did a bit of stretching before riding back.

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I love the TART Trail – it’s my favorite place to bike!

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One of the reasons I love it is the gorgeous scenery, but I must say that the bay is much prettier in the summer when the sun is actually shining.

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I ended up riding 16.22 miles in 1:13, which is an average pace of about 13.3 mph. Not too bad for the first (freezing cold!) ride of the year!


After my ride, I made an easy lunch using leftovers from last night’s dinner.

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We had grilled chicken, roasted veggies (mushrooms, red bell pepper, zucchini) and brown rice. Today I chopped up the chicken and veggies, stirred it into the rice, added a little soy sauce and garlic powder, and heated it in the microwave for a quick and easy stir-fry.

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Yummy!


I have an errand to run for my mom right now and then a couple of assignments I need to work on. After that I’ll be heading back down to Grand Rapids for another week of rotation. Less than six weeks to go until graduation, but who’s counting? Winking smile

 

Have a wonderful day!

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