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Friday, August 16, 2013

Pinterest & The Food Obsession

I should have written this post ages ago...Pinterest is like the miracle of all miracles.  An idea database.  If it wasn't so long, I would rename it "How To Be Good at Life." When it comes to food, I used to pin all kind of yummy stuff.  Of course, it was 2012 and I had no health focus. My focus was Will Colby like this? Will Alex eat this? Would this be fun to serve at Bunco? Can I take this into a work potluck?  Well, in 2013, my focus obviously changed.  I started to pin healthy recipes.  I was on the rigid meal plan of FitOrbit and I SO LOOKED FORWARD TO MAINTENANCE! Is was like the pot of gold at the end.  So, my pin board basically looked like I was confused in life.  It went from tons of pins for unhealthy comfort food & sweets to major health nut stuff.  Ultimately, I looked at that and thought, I want this pin board to reflect only positive choices.  Why would I hold on to shitty, greasy recipes?  So, in an epiphany of how dumb it is to live in food Limbo, I deleted ALL UNHEALTHY PINS.  This wasn't to provide myself self control; it was to clarify my thoughts.  An analogy: if you are trying to get over a huge breakup, why keep memories of the relationship all around? It's mental clutter. Clean it out and move on.  That's what I did with my pin board.  Of course, the plan isn't to never make anything "fun" again.  If I really want lasagna or a Valentine's dessert, all I have to do is search Pinterest. But there really is no need to keep pins on hand for all possible occasions.  Speaking of holiday food, I also have separate boards for all things Christmas, all things Halloween, all things Thanksgiving, and so on. Of course, I had pinned holiday-themed food to each.  I went and deleted all unhealthy food options.  Again, if I really want to be decadent, all I have to do is search for it later.  I did keep healthy options like rainbow fruit skewers for St. Patty's day, Americana fruit parfait for Fourth of July, etc.  So, I feel like it's important for Pinterest to reflect my current outlook on food and its purpose in life--to give ideas for daily healthful living.  If I need other uses, I can look it up at that time.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The 5 Ds

This post is at the request of my mom.  When I played competitive softball, my coaches came up with our team's focus. They called it "The 5 Ds." I don't remember where they got it from. I want to say they took the idea from a Division 1 team like Arizona or someone else who was hot at the time.  They said that if you prepare and play according to these 5 D words, you will always be successful.  I can still recite them without looking: Dedication, Determination, Desire, Discipline, and Defense.  To prove it, we had it on our pin for the '98 season. (I was 14.)

Mom came across my old pin bag in her basement.  Side note: many teams produced a pin for their team and at major tournaments/nationals, teams would exchange pins.  Then, you them in a pin bag as a collection.  So, Mom found my pin bag, found this pin, and called me requesting a blog post because she believes that I am still trying to live by these 5 Ds...especially Discipline.

Well, it's true.  Getting fit takes more discipline that you can imagine.  Think about it. How many people bitch and complain about not being the weight or size that they want to be?!  OR how many people never say a word, but you know that they aren't happy inside their own skin?  Millions.  In our own lives, we could all probably name 20 people. At least.  There are even people who have been thin all their lives for whatever reason and they still don't have discipline.  I have a fitness instructor who talked to me a couple of weeks ago.  She has never had to lose weight before.  Now, she needs to lose 10 pounds and is beyond frustrated.  She has no idea how to do it.  The only people who truly know how hard it is are the people who have done it.

I will admit that there is a lot of misinformation about "health" and weight loss strategies.  Especially when it comes to our food supply.  However, once you figure out the true way to lose weight, it just comes down to discipline.  The thing about softball is I always thought discipline referred to not chasing the high pitch.  I also thought it was about not attempting to pick off a runner at third when we are only up by one. Or it's about reading a pass ball and making a good decision before attempting to take the next base.  Basically, put some brain power behind your actions when you only have a split second to even think.  That is what discipline meant in softball.  In fitness, it is much the same.  What people don't understand is that being disciplined nutritionally and losing 35 pounds in 4 months is made up of a million split second moments.

They are all getting Starbucks.. Should I?
There are brownies in the office.  Can I have one?
Generic cheese crackers are cheaper than organic cheddar crackers. Should I buy them?
My family is having cupcakes for my nephew's birthday. Should I have one?
My family won't eat chicken, sweet potato, and broccoli for dinner. Should I just give up and have what they want?
The scale barely moved this week. Am I doing the right thing?
I want a pop so badly. Can I afford to get a small one?
My kid was given 2 suckers and he offered me one (how sweet!). Should I take it?

Seriously. A million split second moments.  It takes an insane amount of discipline in a world obsessed with food.  Bad food, at that.  In the "diet" world, it's called will power.  I think sports and dieting translate well.  How does a 5-year-old become a top athlete by the age of 18? It's made up of a million moments in which he had to learn to be disciplined.  How does someone lose 20% body fat in 4 months? It doesn't just happen.  They don't just eat whatever they want in front of others and the go to the gym to work it off.  It takes discipline. Period. It's simple.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Meal Planning App

The clouds have parted and the angels are singing.  I have found my meal planning solution.

I'm in Phase 2 of FitOrbit.  The goal is to train for a half marathon (October) and get from 143 to 135.  The meals are legit. They will work and I will lose weight.  However, some times they are very monotonous.  Let's face it. I only have 8 pounds to lose and I don't plan to eat stuff I don't want to for 11 weeks.  I should have some flexibility at this point.  So, I started to take the FitOrbit meal plans, pick out the meals/snacks that I like, and replace the rest with Clean Eating magazine suggestions.  I don't recommend this to people needing to lose major weight.  This is advance shit.  Sorry, but it's true.  I know what I'm doing.

The point is, I want a place where I can keep FitOrbit recipes in my back pocket (for life). I also want a place to keep Clean Eating recipes in my back pocket (for life). As well as other smoothie, snack, and meal recipes that I find on Pinterest, blogs, and other places.  Enter Food on the Table.

Candice introduced me to this app a couple of years ago because it has a recipe database where you can search by protein or flavors and it will generate a list of suggestions.  If you select a meal, you can put it on the "Meal Plan" and it will automatically generate a grocery list.  Even better... you can program in your local grocery store and the app will detect current sales on items that appear on your list.  You can compare Dillon's and HyVee prices within the app if you program both in.  Amazing.  I used it for a while and then stopped for a reason I can't remember.

Anyway, I am faced with the dilemma mentioned above about meal planning.  I had forgotten all about Food on the Table.  I searched "meal planning" in the App Store.  Food on the Table popped up.  Alright, let's see.  I discovered I can enter in my own recipes.  I discovered I can schedule multiple meals per day.  It all immediately enters into a grocery list.  It streamlines everything I have been going in my head and on scratch pieces of paper for MONTHS. Perfect. Done.

But wait.

I entered in 7 meals and then an error message popped up.  I must upgrade to plan more than 7 meals per week.  Enter the problem with American food.  We only plan for dinner?!  What about a variety of breakfasts? What about lunches? Don't even get me started on the need for snacks.  So, this isn't working for me.  I emailed support at Food on the Table and they said that if I pay for premium, I can enter an unlimited number of recipes and plan an unlimited number of meals per week.

So I researched it.  If I pay $70 per year ($5.83 per month), I can have my ideal meal planning software.  For me, this really is worth it.  Meal planning is a huge part of my new life and if I can save time and energy via an app that costs $6 per month, I'm going to buy it.

So, I use Food on the Table.  Do you guys have an app or website that you use?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Phase 2 Update

I just finished Week 2. At the end of Week 1, I hit 140 on the scale.  And I hadn't been taking my nutrition that seriously.  The monotony of the meals was killer.  I was happy with the pounds lost.

This week has been dumb.  I have been taking my meal plans as a guideline and not a rule.  This does not equal success.  I am aware. I need to get focused.  My workouts have been 1.5-2 hours long.  Jaqui has me doing half marathon training plus a ridiculously crazy weights workout for amazon women.  I messaged her that I can't deal.  I'm not trying to be Barbie.  I'm just trying to be toned and get my run on. The plan she sent me for Week 3 looks better.  I'm in and out in an hour.

Oh, and my left knee hurts.  It's swollen. It pops. It's painful. I can run, but it's on the cusp of a strain.  I'm treating it very carefully.  I'm terrified of injury, but I want to work out! Ugh.

SO.................... I just weighed in and the scale said 137.8.  The moral of that story? I'm still eating clean and I'm a professional, so I just naturally know how much to eat and still lose weight even though I'm not counting calories.  Expert. Level. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

How-To: Vacation Itinerary

I finally perfected the vacation planning art.  As you know, we went to Colorado Springs in July.  I had to figure out the logistics of puppy care, driving, hotel reservations, and activities as well as meals and workouts. Oh, and I had a budget in mind.  Also, I had a 12-year-old who likes "in the know," so I usually get a few hundred questions about what we are doing and what the plan is.  In anticipation of all of this, I decided to make an itinerary.  And yes, I planned make a vacation binder. I opened Microsoft Word and made a cover page and a template for each day with times and budget.

You can see it here. I used different fonts, so the formatting is a little bit off, but you get the idea.  I printed each page and put it in a plastic sheet protector. Then I put the sheets into a 1/2 inch binder.  I also put any other printouts or special instructions (for rafting) into the binder pockets.  We took a pen and wrote down "actual" costs of activities and meals.  This was great let Alex see the money flow and planning versus actual.  Of course, our plans changed. Saturday night we went to an outlet mall rather than explore Denver. Oh, another key to the Colorado trip was to plug in travel times to Google maps because just driving from place to place was going to take a certain amount of time and we had to factor that in.

I did the same type of document for our trip to New Orleans.  However, that trip was less activity based, so I could condense it to flight and hotel info as well as a foodie list of suggested restaurants and a list of recommended places to go see.

Do you have a vacation planning technique? Do share!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Recipe Spotlight {Tilapia Fish Sticks with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce}

I found this recipe within a Clean Eating meal plan called WINTER Classic Comfort Gone Clean.  Last spring, in the excitement to start eating non-FitOrbit food, I printed off all of these meal plans and their featured recipes which always require more work.  I went online to link the recipe to this post, but it is no longer a hot link.  For some reason, Clean Eating took it down.  I'll try to type out a recipe here.

  • 1/3 (cup) Sunflower seeds
  • 2 (medium) Egg whites
  • 2 1/2 (tablespoon) Flaxseeds    
  • 2 (teaspoon) Parsley
  • 1/4 (teaspoon) Black pepper
  • 1/8 (teaspoon) Sea salt
  • 8 (ounce) Tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 (cup) Cucumbers
  • 1 (tablespoon) Yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 (tablespoon) White wine vinegar
  • 1/2 (teaspoon) EVOO
  • 1/2 (cup) Greek Yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a mini food processor, pulse sunflower seeds for 10 to 15 Seconds, until reduced to a fine consistency. In a small bowl whisk egg whites for 30 seconds. In a separate small bowl stir together ground sunflower seeds, flax seeds, parsley, pepper, and salt.
2. Cut tilapia fillets into thin strips, about 3 to 4 inches long. Dip strips in egg whites, then in bowl in sunflower mixture, to coat. Place strips on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for five minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: in a small bowl, stir together cucumber, onion, vinegar, and oil. Add yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Chill in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes in order to meld flavors.

This is definitely a clean recipe. Don't expect the same taste or texture of a store-bought fish stick.  For this recipe, I didn't have enough seed coating.  I know it's because I cut my fish into thin strips. If I had to do it again, I would do bigger strips.  The seed mixture pretty much just tasted like sunflower seeds to me--which is a good thing.  The yogurt sauce is great. I just have to get past the cucumber essence that I don't really prefer.

I added a small tomato from Mom's garden.

This is one serving. The entire recipe makes two servings. What to do with the leftovers? This is a recipe that Clean Eating recommends:

Fish Sticks Salad + Crackers & Hummus
  • 2 (cup) Salad greens    
  • 1 (whole) Tilapia Fish Sticks (see recipe)
  • 1/4 (cup) Red bell pepper
  • 2 (slice) Tomato     
  • 5 (slice) Cucumbers
  • 1 (tablespoon) Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (teaspoon) EVOO
  • 10 (medium) Crackers
  • 2 (tablespoon) Hummus