Holiday Hangover

December 4, 2013

Woof.  Holidays.

How I can fly half way across the country and still manage to stick to a relatively healthy eating schedule and maintain all workouts, yet make it home to my mom’s house for a week and feel like a slug is beyond me.

Not really.  But sort’ve.

Last week I spent the week enjoying the comforts of home.  This week, I’m looking back on how I spent it.  My eating habits and lifestyle habits are relatively healthy compared to most, so I can’t say that I was “bad” for the whole week – but if I were to sit back and compare my extremely clean diet and workout schedule of the past few months to just a week of going back to how I used to be, I learned a few things.  So, instead of wallowing in the “I wish I had”s, I’ll share.

Happily, a week of not being on a high intensity workout schedule and super clean diet (we’re talking, minimal sugar, carb cycling, loads of protein and whole food style eating) didn’t have an “immediate” change on my outward appearance.  I may have felt a little softer, a big jigglier, but in actuality, my weight didn’t fluctuate at all.    What it DID have an effect on however, was my mentality and emotions.  I THOUGHT I was all of those things, I was down on myself and felt lazy.  And not the good kind of lazy where you think “I deserve this break”.  I felt sluggish and frustrated from a lack of workouts, dehydrated from not drinking enough water and most interestingly to me, I couldn’t for the life of me get a handle on my eating schedule and my body did NOT react well.

I eat about 5-6 smaller healthy meals a day, am a water weekdays warrior (alcohol on the weekends only) and I try to drink 1-2 liters of water each day too.  But that schedule is pretty hard to maintain when you’re home away from home and out with friends and family that you haven’t seen every night.   You have a beer to be social, you eat out almost every night.   I tried to stick with healthier options, salads for lunch and dinners out, fresh fruit at breakfast (love a crisp cold apple fresh from the farmers market), but even a salad can start to feel heavy when you’re eating out.  And I missed my clean protein sources.  That was my biggest issue – I made some protein bars to bring along, but even they started to feel heavy after awhile.  Sugar was EVERYWHERE and I ended up with more than a few sugar headaches.  And the absolute worst I felt, was after my Thanksgiving meal.

First off – let me just say that anyone who thinks Vegans have to go hungry at Thanksgiving, you are officially invited to our house next year – SO much food on my plate.  I think my plate was piled higher than most of the table.  I made a vegan lentil loaf and a mushroom and leek seitan roulade that was to DIE for.   There were also brussel sprouts, green beans and some of my mom’s stuffing that she very sweetly has veganized for me, sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow cooked sweet little onions (we’re talking 18 hrs here kids)  cooked in some red wine, crazy number of homemade cranberry sauces. So. Much. Food.  The problem though, was that being used to eating the number of smaller meals in a day, having a small breakfast and then one LARGE meal in the afternoon that basically covered all of my caloric intake for the week had me feeling awful.  I ended up in bed early with a migraine and what felt like impending doom of sickness.  Luckily (and far less dramatically), I was fine the next morning.

I can say that although I wasn’t “working out” persay, I was fairly active for the majority of the week and even made it out to peruse some of the stores on Friday.   Which leads me to another post for another day – but is anyone else starting to be a little tired of the extreme consumerism these days?  Buying gifts because they flash the brightest and honk the loudest instead of finding a special gift and embracing the spirit, etc etc.

But for now – I’m back home.  Sleep deprived (why is it that my first few nights back on a real and deliciously comfortable bed I sleep AWFULLY), but slowly getting back into the swing of workouts and healthy eating.  I’m back to my small meals and got myself moving last night with some circuit style lifting and moderate cardio.    Just in time for the Christmas festivities to start!  We have our Christmas lights up on the house and are planning out our Christmas tree strategy/decorating.  I’m determined to enjoy each holiday this year as much as I can.  Because we should.

Hope everyone else has recovered from the holidays and maybe even had a healthier go of it than I did!

xo

Some catching up

November 5, 2012

This weekend was a WHIRLWIND, I’d say about 11 of the past 48 hours were spent folded up in a car.  It was of course, worth it – family always is.  It was a good reminder that sometimes the simplest thank yous can be the most beautiful and the most effective. 

Despite all of the traveling, I think I fared pretty well.  I am rather proud of sticking to my food choices this weekend and have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the level of questions/acceptance from the family.  I made due with noshing on the veggie platter, grapes and some triscuits during the chili lunch with the family on Saturday, ordered a personal size cheese free pizza on Saturday and picked my way through the potluck lunch on Sunday (with the help of a PB&J bagel from the hotel breakfast to fill in the gaps).  It certainly wasn’t ideal (a few more twizzlers than should be mentioned were consumed), but I managed to get in a decent amount of veggies both days (thank you to whoever brought the salad on Sunday!!!!!) and came away not feeling too horrible about the choices I made.   Its back on track today with oats for breakfast and some leftovers with grains and kale for lunch today! 

Despite the crampy conditions and constant presence of BBQ fritos (OMG keep them away from me) in the car, I did manage to get my crafty side on and finish up a crochet project I’ve been working on all week.  

Meet the newest addition to my arguably too large already scarf collection. A nice and width, its warm and fuzzy with the softest red yarn I’ve felt and a fun addition with the black stripes, using yarn brought back from overseas as a gift from my inlaws!  This is the first time I’ve worked with 2 colors in a project and I’m definitely still working out the kinks.  Its not perfect, but I’m really happy with it!

And finally! Its November (what?).  Which means I am 5 days into the month of gratitude and 4 days behind on what I’m grateful for.  So.  Lets get to it!

November 1st: I was grateful, truly grateful to realize that after a few long years of cc debt, etc., I am finally in a position to say that I have gotten my finances in order.  No cc debt to my name and steadily paying off my student loans while starting to see my savings go up, instead of down.  Financial stability is such a peace of mind.

November 2nd:  On Friday I was grateful for having an understanding husband who looks really hard to try and find restaurants that we can both enjoy, while at the same time provides me with options other than bagged salad and french fries.  And on top of that, I was pretty grateful that I was finally at a place for work that I could work a 10 hour day on a Friday night and come home tired, but so so happy and feeling accomplished.

November 3rd/4th: For the weekend, overall I was reminded both days how grateful I am to be truly welcomed into my husband’s family.  Its pretty amazing to feel so loved and included by people who haven’t known me all my life. 

November 5th: And thatleads us up to today.  Today, I am grateful that the choices I’ve made over the weekend regarding my food have helped me to feel as good as possible about myself.  And to physically feel pretty ok.  But all of that being said, I’m also grateful that I can get back into my own kitchen and make a healthy meal, full of veggies to help myself and my husband feel back to 100% (poor guy…).

And with that, its back to my regularly scheduled Monday!  No bodypump this morning (too tired, too stiff), so I’m planning to sneak in some lifting this evening. 

xo

Back to Bal’mer

July 5, 2012

ughhh.  That first day back from vacation is such a wash of a day.  Mentally and physically exhausted from the 12+ hour drive home and definitely zoned out for the entirety of the day.   Needless to say my workout did NOT happen, but I have a chance to make it up to you guys tomorrow.  Body pump at (gulp) 5:45 am is callin my name and despite my legs feeling like jello today, I know I’ll feel amazing after I go.

And remember that workout plan of running intervals on the treadmill?  Yeaaaaah, that didn’t happen either 😦  We had early AM breakfast plans the entirety we were out and there was very little free time for workouts.  But there was a lot of walking in the record breaking triple digit heat   we had all week.  We even stood for an entire baseball game in the shade instead of sitting in our seats it was so hot.

But of course, the trip had its high points:

Food:  I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but I managed to do fairly well with my food options all week.  The baseball stadium had a Vegan chicken patty, that was expensive, but nice to have something I could eat, especially so close to our seats.  However, I can happily go a few weeks without touching another french fry…sheesh.  The rest of my meals consisted of the typical veggie wraps and salads, with the ever present surprised look on the waiters face when I ask for no cheese, no mayo, etc.  Although, I will say that no matter how surprised they thought my requests, everyone I met was gracious and accommodating.  Breakfasts were usually oatmeal with some dried fruit and pb swirled in and two of the nights we went to dinner with some amazing family friends, once at the Casino Queen (where last time my veggies were literally swimming in butter) and once at their house (where my broccoli was swimming in cheese).    This time around my friends went out of their way to grill some portobella mushrooms for me and make sure I had a plate to rival the rest of the guests and the casino was happy to steam my veggies for me when they could (I NEVER thought steamed broccoli would be so glorious, don’t tell my 10 year old past self…).  I’m learning to be a lot more flexible with things and reminding myself that i’m not identifying as a vegan and that while I certainly avoid dairy when possible, I’m not going to go and make mountains out of mole hills.  So no, my meals weren’t all Vegan, but they were as healthy as I could make them and I got the added bonus of enjoying my host’s hospitality without worrying too much about the little things.  In the grand scheme of thing a sprinkling of parm cheese on the plate, really not a big deal.

workouts:  I told you already that any ideas of making it to the gym were dashed by our pretty packed schedule.  The, ahem, National Personal Trainers conference being held at our hotel didn’t really help matters anyhow.  I”m still getting over the “everyone is staring at me” and “i’m not doing as much the next person is” syndrome that used to prevent me from going to classes, the gym or really working out to my potential.  While I’ve gotten A LOT better at this, something about running on a treadmill next to a group of personal trainers didn’t seem altogether appealing… 🙂  HOWEVER, we did manage to get in not one, but TWO bike rides while we were out there, so our drive was well worth it (we had to drive, in order to take the bikes).    Our first trip was supposed to be a simple and short little ride that turned into a little over 15 miles in the dead heat of the day.   The thing about the trails in St. Louis is that there is VERY little tree cover, so most of our rides were in the open sunlight.  Despite the longer than intended ride, I did manage to push past the fears of riding on the road and spent a good half of the first trail doing just that, enjoying the farms and small town views.

Our second ride of the trip was a 25 mile ride from a town just outside of St. Louis down to the arch.  Even though this is generally considered a shorter ride for us, I was glad we hadn’t planned for anything much longer than that.  A lot of open sunlight, but beautiful views alongside the river.   We pedaled along with a river barge for awhile, saw some wildlife, the Lewis & Clark Expedition building and a lot of the industrial side of St. Louis.  I’m a big fan of industrial buildings, how they look, etc., especially when they’re older – so I really enjoyed it, despite it being a major deviation from the types of trails we usually ride.  Of course, riding to the base of this beautiful structure was a pretty awesome deviation from our typical trails too 🙂

 

please excuse the whiteness of my legs.  Despite being out in the sun all week, I was slathered in what appears to be spf ghost.  And how dorky my helmet looks…but that one is a non-compromise!

 

A few other highlights of the trip? Five baseball games and grabbing two more charms for my charm bracelet, my mom gave me her old one from when she was my age and I’d like to do the same someday.   There was some wandering through antique shops, spending a mesmerizing hour at a glass blowing gallery (ps – a hand blown glass sink and faucet? To diiiieeeee forrrrr) and despite entering the city with two books (which I finished!) and may or may not have left with 7 MORE books…ooops.  😀

And now, vacay is over and its time to settle back into a routine and count down the days until its time to do something fun again 🙂  Did everyone have a wonderful 4th of July? Even though I spent mine driving, I still managed a veggie dog with some mustard and sauerkraut (am I German or WHAT?) and a beer at the end of the day.  Satisfaction, indeed.

xo

 

The Traveling Vegetarian

June 28, 2012

SUMMER VACAY!

The husband and I are heading out for our annual trip to St. Louis, complete with 5 glorious days of baseball.  Brandon grew up cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals and while we both enjoy cheering for the home team here in Bal’mer, his heart will always be with the St. Louis teams.  So I’ve packed up my requisite Birds gear (the red stuff, not the orange, check), the spf gazillion (its supposed to be H.O.T.) and we’re just about ready to go!

Vacations have a way of destroying an healthy routine we’ve got going on.  I’m all for splurging, especially when you’re away, but its a whole new ballgame (no pun intended) when you have any dietary restrictions, self-imposed or otherwise.  Now, I love our family vacations, but St. Louis is not exactly known for its vegetarian/vegan friendly meals and with 100+ degree temps predicted for the duration of our stay, running outside isn’t exactly in the cards either.  So i’ve put together a little survival guide.

Eats:

We’ll be driving out to St. Louis, starting tonight – which means I can get in a good hearty and filling dinner tonight before we go.  I’m planning on making a Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili in a Bread bowl.  I know I know, its hot out, but something about a warm meal is a little more satisfying, than a cold one, especially for those of us taking the first leg of the driving trip -raises hand-.  I’ve never tried a bread bowl before, so I’m hoping it’ll a) go well and b) add just enough carbs to the dish to help us feel full.

For the rest of the drive we have some snacks packed along to help us stay awake and satisfy any of those munchies we’ll get during the drive.  We’re really trying to save money, so whatever we can do to cut costs while on the trip is a-ok with us! Growing up, we used to make the long drive up to Maine and we’d pack full lunches in coolers, grapes, cheese, veggies and sandwiches.  Since we’re driving through the night, our meals won’t be nearly as extensive, but we’ll still have a sandwich for the mister and a green smoothie for me.  Some hard candy, veggies and chips to top it off and of course, two big Nalgene jugs of water.  I think i’ll throw in two of my Chocolate Chip Scones too, that way we’ll only have to stop for coffee if we decide we don’t want a big diner breakfast in the morning.   I also made some quick energy bars for our bike rides, which will be great to throw in my purse and carry with me in case I get caught without

Its easy to control what we eat when I’m packing the food, the hard part is when we get into St. Louis itself.  I know from my most recent trip out there that the tendency is to throw cheese or butter on anything that remotely resembles a vegetable.  Luckily, i’m getting a lot more comfortable at asking for orders to be modified.   And I have two other tricks up my sleeve.  Take a look!

http://www.happycow.net/ :  This website is great! It allows you to search by city and identifies a number of vegetarian, vegan, as well as veggie/vegan friendly restaurants and markets.  Not only can it help you find some great new restaurants, but remind you of things you’d like to do while you’re out and about! For instance, who knew that the Schafly brewery had some veggie/veganizable options available.  Brewery tour, beer and a pub lunch sounds right up our alley.

http://www.veggiehappy.com/venue.htm :  Next up!  We’re obviously a baseball loving family.  We hit up Camden Yards whenever we can, make it out to Busch Stadium at least once a year and even find ourselves down in DC to watch the Nationals play every now and again. Unfortunately, stadiums are not always the best place to find some vegetarian options.  And who wants to eat a salad while everyone else is chowing down on a hot dog?!  This website is a great resource for sports loving veggies everywhere.  You can search by team (for both baseball and Football, I believe they’re working on NBA as well), and check out any options at the stadium ahead of time!   The site is really great in that it lists which of the veggie dogs/burgers/chicken patties are vegan or not (you’d be surprised how many arenot!).  Lucky for me, the Cardinals have more than a few awesome selections to choose from.

Does anyone else from the area have any suggestions??

Workouts:

I’ll be the first to admit that exercise is the LAST thing on my mind when I travel.  But i’m also willing to admit, that maybe – JUST MAYBE it needs to happen.  Maybe.  ugh.  So here’s what I’m planning on doing.

bike rides:  One of the reasonss we’re driving out this year, is so that Brandon and I can have our bikes and take one or two trail rides while we’re away.  Since its going to be so hot, we’ll probably keep these to a minimum and enjoy them earlier in the day, but its still a great way to get a workout in.

treadmill:  Since the start of summer I’ve been avoiding the treadmill lik ehte plague.  But with the temps as high as they’re going to be, running outside is not a viable option for me.  Neither is running longer distances on a treadmill, it IS vacation afterall.  So I plan to get in some speed work.  Keep the distances short, but the pace fast.  I haven’t done a speed interval workout in a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng time and I think if I start to incorporate them back into my training, i’ll definitely see an improvement in my endurance and times.

strength:  I’m no stranger to the weight room and I’ll be missing two of my body pump classes while i’m away.  So I’m definitely hoping to get in some lifting sessions to keep up to speed and not fall too far behind again.  Its also pretty easy to bang out some yoga and strength training moves while chilling out in the hotel room using just my body weight.  Pushups, lunges, burbpees, dips…

Plus, lets not forget, we never tend to stay in one spot for very long, so we’ll be doing a ton of walking while we’re out and about.  Water bottle in hand, of course 😉

How do you stay in shape when you’re traveling?  Do you make it work or don’t even bother?

I have a few fun cooking posts lined up for you guys – so I hope you enjoy them and your weekend!

xo

After yesterday’s pity party – I decided that some rest was definitely in order for a few days.  Give my body a chance to reset.  I ask a heck of a lot and in most cases it responds pretty well.  Sometimes, it doesn’t  – which is where I need to step up and be the better man me.

That’s why, when Brandon suggested we go to the Orioles game for the cheapie Tuesday night tickets, I opted to bench my scheduled run and enjoy a night off instead.   As a Vegetarian/(sometimes Vegan) fan, baseball games can be a little tricky to maneuver.  Its definitely a lot easier to grab a hot dog and a beer before heading to your seat.   Sometimes the stadiums have some veggie friendly options, but right now Camden Yards has the one place it sold Veggie dogs/burgers closed for renovations 😦  So, I knew I’d be in for a pretty carb heavy night.  Its a good thing I stick to mostly Salads, veggies and fruit during the day.

Bohs and a soft pretzel to start

One of our tricks for trying to stay somewhat within reason was to split our food, instead of spending money on two of everything.  Although we splurged on the Natty Bohs 😉  For our main course we had some french fries (with tons of ketchup and some old bay) and the Nachos – cheese for him, salsa for me.

The O’s ended up winning the game – even though we have fun no matter what the outcome, its always nice to see the home team win!

Although it was a totally necessary and great way to get some rest, i’m quickly realizing that the rest of my week isn’t looking altogether workout friendly.   We’re heading away for the Memorial day weekend and i’m in charge of some desserts for a hungry group of guys.  I debated a run tonight instead of Yoga, and although I feel a ton better and strong, I nixed both options in favor of getting some things taken care of around the apartment and kitchen that would otherwise be weighing on my mind.  I’m trying to think of this training thing as more of a big picture goal for the Marathon in October, rather than training specifically for this 10 miler in a few weeks.  Although I’d really like to do well, I think its important to remember its just a race in place of a long run for the weekend as I train for a larger goal.    I still may try to get some lifting and semi cardio exercises in to get my heart rate up, especially since I know not much in the way of exercising will be going on this weekend…

Also, a big welcome home to fellow Bal’mer blogger, Jenny over at http://loveeatrun.com/.   If you get the chance, pop on over to see about her experiences in Korea and check out her daily workouts/eats! She puts my training schedule to SHAME.  Also, i’m pretty sure she has the world’s cutest dog.

Happy Wednesday ya’ll!

xo

Fresh for Friday!

May 11, 2012

Its FRIDAY!  Tonight we’ll be spending some time with friends, real, live, walk on 2 legs not 4, friends!  S’mores, wine/beer, and a fire pit sound like the perfect ending to the week.

Because its Friday and I haven’t shared many pictures from our Honeymoon, I thought I’d leave you with our last meal in Toronto on Friday night.  A lot of people have asked if I was able to keep up a Vegan diet while on Vacation.  And the answer is (for the most part), yes!  Especially thanks to the lovely suggestions by Angela over at Ohsheglows, we were able to snag a seat at the super popular restaurant,Fresh!

Deeeeeeelicious Vegan food.  Even the boy couldn’t complain !  Angela warned us the place would be packed and it WAS.  We got the last 2 seats available at the time we got there, but they were perfect for people watching and enjoying the beautiful evening.  Brandon got the Thai burger

I had to try the fries – they were ah-may-zing


and I got the Buddha Bowl with Soba Noodles:

buddha / baby buddha
thai peanut sauce with marinated tofu cubes, tomato, cilantro,
cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, herbs & spices 

I’m craving it already!  The menu is just begging to be recreated in my kitchen! 🙂  I kinda wish we had tried the Quinoa onion rings, but neither of us were hungry enough to order them AND our meals.

And with that, we are off to enjoy our Friday evening and weekend! Hope ya’ll do the same 🙂

xo

Today I have a story for you from one of my best friends (and Bridesmaids!) Heather.  I’ve known her for literally all of my life and am so happy to be a part of this next and healthy phase of her life 🙂   I’ve asked Heather to share her recent experiences with Weight Watchers and how she’s been relearning about food.  Take a read!

I finally decided that I was not healthy where I was in life. I went from being a physically fit 130 lb. 22 year old to a 206.6 lb 27 year old. I started noticing the weight gain when I moved to North Carolina to be with my husband who is in the military. I did not know how to control it. I was sad that I moved away from my family and friends. I found comfort in all the delicious baked goods, and my nightly macaroni and cheese. I did not realize the impact my eating habits had on me until I was at the doctor one day for a fertility appointment. When the doctor told me in a stern voice, you need to lose weight”. Funny thing is he was not the first doctor to tell me that. I have heard that I needed to lose weight about 10 other times in the past 4 years. What took me to listen was trying to have a child and that one doctor who told me in a stern manner.

So my husband and I decided to lose weight together. We needed a program that would cater to both of us in our own ways. We can all say we will watch what we eat and exercise but, that really never happens. So I did some research on Weight Watchers. So we both signed up in February 2012.  I began with 31 daily points and 49 points plus (to be used whenever I wanted). I loved that I can still eat my macaroni and cheese, and my baked goods.  Since February 2012 we have changed a lot of our habits. We now go to a local supermarket every Saturday to pick up our fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. We will also peruse the seafood section for deals. We have been eating grilled shrimp and snow crab legs at least 2 times a month. Chicken is one of the main meats we eat. A salad has become a great lunch. We also measure out our food. Try it one time. Measure out 2 cups of pasta which for me was 11 points. It is actually a lot for me. I never eat 2 cups. But, measuring the food put things in perspective for me.

Fruit and vegetables are your friends on this program. If you are having a craving or feeling hungry have some carrots, celery. If you want a something to dip into it usually 2 tbsp. is a serving size for ranch dressing or other dressings and is 2-4 points depending on the dressing. Sometimes when you are out at a friend’s house or a restaurant you will have to estimate how many points something is.  When I am out to eat and I do not know what the points are for something I will go the safe route and order a house salad with dressing on the side. Then I will order a seasoned chicken dish or a seafood dish. My husband and I always make sure to ask the waiter or waitress for no butter on all the foods. One local steakhouse brushes butter on their steak. That butter on that steak can pack on about 2-4 points that I would rather use on a delicious chocolate pudding cup. When I know where I will be eating out I will go to the restaurant’s website and plan my meal out.

 At night time while watching TV I used to make a box of macaroni and cheese and eat it all. Now I eat plain popcorn or sprinkle it with some butter buds and sea salt. That is usually about 3 points. The macaroni and cheese is about 14-18 points. If I am craving chocolate I have one or two pieces of dove dark chocolates. The weight watchers products are also really tasty. I love the brownies. The Weight Watchers brownies usually take care of my cake craving.

Since being on Weight Watchers I have lost 15 lbs. It comes off about 1-3 lbs a week. So it is not a shock to your body and you keep it off longer. I feel fuller a lot fast, my portion sizes are smaller, I walk a lot faster, and my breathing is better. It was just a better decision to make health wise. 

 

Anyone else have experience with WW?  I’m so proud of Heather for making these changes in her life.  Healthy isn’t always easy – but its totally worth it. 

xo