I’m All About My Meal Plan

Hi friends! We’re back to Monday. Ugh. Sometimes I get serious Sunday blues because I start thinking about Monday. Yesterday was one of those days, even though I knew it would be a nice week at a local client this week. I kept reminding myself of that fact. There is no reason to get so worked up and bummed out!

Since yesterday was Sunday I did something that I typically do on Sundays that a few people have found interesting – meal planned. One of the ways that my first AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge changed my life is that it got me in this habit of meal planning on Sundays. It’s a wonderful habit! You find yourself with meal options and the food to actually make those options during the week when you are so tired you don’t want to think, let alone come up with a recipe and go buy the food to make it. I want to share with you how I go about doing this for a few reasons:

1. A few people have asked and genuinely seem interested when I told them.

2. I used to be one of those people who thought meal planning was way too restrictive and would never work for me. If you are one of those people, listen up!

How I Meal Plan (In 500 easy steps! Just kidding)

Pre-planning: Determine how I am going to keep track of the meals I want to make, my grocery list, and how to find my recipes.

I keep a note on my phone (in the iPhone Notes app) of the meals I am planning out.

MealList

As you can see, I just list 1-7 and put the meals I’ve picked here. I only plan dinners. I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast every day (egg, toast, avocado… egg, toast, pesto… toast, PB, fruit) and eat leftovers for lunch. I do put my breakfast food and snack food on my grocery list, but not my list of meals. Also, 1-7 are just arbitrary point holders and do not correspond to order I’ll make meals or nights of the week. None of that here!

My grocery list is also on my phone (iPhone Reminders app). I add items as I go through recipes and delete items as I put them in my cart in the grocery store.

GroceryList

I pretty much exclusively use Pinterest to find recipes. Between the home page, the Food & Drink category, and some random searches based on a craving, I’m able to find any recipe I want. I usually pin the recipe to my Meal Makers board. If I don’t like a meal, I will delete the pin later.

Step 1: Add any meals that I have a hankering for into my meals list and the ingredients I need to buy on my grocery list. This is the easy step!

Step 2: Start browsing Pinterest for meal ideas. Start with my home page, checking to see if anything jumps out at me. Then browse Food & Drink. Usually as I browse, I get an idea and search for my idea. Pin, add to meal list, and add ingredients to grocery list.

Step 3: When I’m running out of ideas, and nothing is really looking crazy good on Pinterest, I’ll start thinking about stuff I have already in my fridge or pantry that might need used. Spaghetti sauce? Search for a fun pasta dish. Spinach? Search “spinach” on Pinterest. Pin, add to meal list, and add ingredients to grocery list.

Step 4: When meal list is full, go grocery shopping.

Step 5: During the week, ask husband what he’s feeling like from the meal list each evening. I have all of the ingredients to make these meals, so actually going about making them isn’t bad! That’s it!!

I love this process because it’s fun to do, it’s easy to do, it’s customizable, and it gets me organized. For example, if I know that I’m going to be commuting a lot one week and don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen, I will only pick out meals that won’t take much time to put together. By not assigning a meal to a specific night of the week, I don’t feel restricted. I need options! Even if I love a food, if you tell me I have to eat it and only it for dinner, I won’t want it. I feel so flexible by having options and being able to pick what I want each night. I just love it. If you’re looking for a better way to plan meals for the week, actually find a plan, or to switch things up, you should try this out. Let me know if you love it too!

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What I’ve Been Doing

Holy cow, my blog still exists! I guess as long as I keep paying for this space on the internet, then it will still exist. :)

Since it’s been a while, why don’t I catch you up on what I’ve been doing lately?

1. Hiking!! Or walking. Have you seen my pictures on Instagram? I’ve been a slight traveling fool lately, so I’ve been making the most of it by hiking in some gorgeous scenery while I’m away.

Lake Path GrandMarais FloweringTree

I’m traveling again this week, but I’m not sure if the weather will cooperate enough for me to get out. It’s beautiful right now, but there is rain scheduled. Womp.

2. Budgeting. Specifically, I made myself a budget last week using the  Every Dollar budgeting tool from Dave Ramsey. I have to thank my friend Julie for this obsession. She started it, I got interested, and now I’m obsessed. Basically you plug in your monthly budget so that income – expenses – savings = 0. Then you track all of your expenses for the month. Kind of like balancing your checkbook! I haven’t done that in years. I use Mint as well, and have a budget in there, but it’s too easy to forget about. You don’t have to physically log your expenses, so you aren’t seeing exactly where your money is going. Now I look up my husband’s expenses or ones where I forgot a receipt in Mint, and then plug them into Every Dollar. The lesson so far – we spend way too much money on eating and drinking out. I already knew that, but this makes me really, really know it and want to do something about it. I’ve challenged my husband to get down to $10 per day (from $13.67 per day so far this month) for lunch.

3. Not dieting. Well, kind of not dieting. I started both the Finally Free program and Am I Hungry? program, but I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping up with either. Sometimes my obsessions lead me to become overwhelmed, which leads me to hiding from it all. That’s okay. Finally Free is all about going at your own pace, and the Am I Hungry? materials will be available to me for a while. I can catch up and get back into it all when I feel ready again.

I may have even started counting calories last week. When I started those programs, I also started eating all kinds of junk foods I had been ignoring. I really jump between all or nothing when it comes to junk food. I started counting calories to help me find a middle ground, but that really didn’t do it. Now I’m logging my eats in a Google document, and trying to be more mindful of junk meals versus healthful meals. For instance, yesterday looked like the following:

Breakfast – whole grain toast, egg, avocado (healthful meal)

Snack – KIND bar (healthful meal)

Lunch – McDonald’s grilled chili chicken wrap & fries (junk meal)

Snack – veggies & hummus (healthful meal)

Dinner – Evol frozen meal & more veggies & hummus (healthful meal)

*I totally reserve the right to choose what I consider healthful and what I consider junk.*

I’m just aiming for more healthful meals than junk meals. This makes my body feel good.

4. Thinking about judgment, doing what’s right, and ignoring what everyone else thinks and says. This one is HUGE, and something I’ve tried to put into words. I have started a few blog posts about this topic, and I’m constantly writing a blog post in my head, but I never get it onto screen. For now, let’s just say that I’ve been coming to terms with a lot of judgments lately. People judge me, I judge myself and others, and I’m just now realizing that I need to deal with that. I can’t please everyone, and not everyone is going to agree with how I live my life. I always strive to do what I feel is right and what I feel God thinks is right. I’m not always going to be perfect at that. We are human and we all make mistakes. Guess what? God sees the mistakes you make and the mistakes I make as the same. Let’s all get off our high judgment horses now, mmmkay?

5. Thinking about making some goals. But my printer isn’t working, so how am I going to print out all those adorable goal worksheets that I find on Pinterest? If I can’t make pretty goals, then why make any? Actually, I really want to sit down with the hubs and make some goals together. I feel that would be a great connection activity. I would also like to know where he thinks his life is going. That’s something I think you should know about your spouse. Our conversations are usually regarding the following – schedules and current plans, boats, lake houses, vacations, the budget/must cut back to make all of these happen, and how much of an alcoholic I am. Kidding on that last one. Just seeing if you’re paying attention. :)

6. Realizing I totally forgot we’re going to Vegas in 11 days. Mark that down folks. I forgot about a vacation! Usually I diligently count down the days until we leave and think about all of the fun things we are going to do. I have done none of that! I just realized yesterday that our Vegas trip is less than 2 weeks away. Only 7 more work days. Okay, now I’m counting. Woohoo! I really didn’t factor our vacation into my budget either. We’re going to go way over in the Food and Lifestyle categories. Also, I didn’t lose 50 pounds. Crap.

7. Lucky number 7! I’m going to end on this one to make it even luckier. I am working on a new Instagram account! I’ve been listening to a lot of Chalene Johnson’s podcasts, and one encouraged me to work my business through Instagram. That gave me a great idea for an Instagram account, so I made the account then and there. And haven’t done anything with it since. It’s only been a week, but I keep thinking about the steps I need to get started with it. I promise to fill you in more once I get this thing a-rocking. I know, you’re thinking, “why does she have a whole process she needs to get through just for an Instagram account?”. All will be revealed!

Have a lovely rest of your hump day!!

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Make a Smoothie!

Hola friends! I’m stopping in for a bit to share a quick recipe for you. Or “recipe” since it’s really not a true recipe. First, a disclaimer.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. I was provided a package of Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almondmilk Coconutmilk Original in exchange for writing this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

That over with, let’s describe how this “recipe” came about – other than working with Almond Breeze that is. Monday morning I realized that I had was leaving for the next few days and had some fruit and veggies in my fridge that were going to go bad if not used this week. Don’t you love it when that happens? Guess what you can do with a bunch of fruit and veggies that are about to spoil? Make a smoothie!

CoconutSmoothie

In retrospect, a juice/smoothie would have been even better. I don’t have a fancy Ninja or Vitamix blender, so my smoothie was a bit chunky. Which is A-Okay sometimes, but I’m just saying it would have worked nice to juice the fruit and veggie before mixing with the Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almondmilk Coconutmilk Original (what a mouthful!).

UnmixedSmoothie

As you can kind of see from my photo above, I included the following in my smoothie (from bottom to top):

  • Carrots
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almondmilk Coconutmilk Original

Blend until less chunky and enjoy! This actually held me over all morning and into the afternoon. I finally ate lunch around 2pm on my flight to Charlotte. Boom! The best part? I have a ton of bananas left that will be perfectly brown for more smoothies when I get back home. I’m thinking about just mixing the bananas with the coconutmilk and that’s it. Sounds awesome!

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Fun With Honey Blue Diamond Almonds

Good morning! I don’t usually post in the morning, but I thought we could all use the morning pick-me-up. How about we forget about everything else going on in our lives right now and think about some food? This could be the reason why I have some extra weight. :)

Before I go any further, I better throw this disclaimer out…

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For writing this post, I received two cans of Blue Diamond almonds; however, all opinions are my own.

Anyway, I was recently contacted by Blue Diamond about their honey flavored almonds, and I jumped at the chance to try them and write a post about it. I received the almonds in the mail, and then I couldn’t think of what to do with them.

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I don’t like to just throw up a post about how I enjoy snacking on Blue Diamond almonds. I mean, duh, we all do! Instead, I like to use the opportunity to do something fun and creative with almonds. So I thought about it almost too long! Actually, I had an idea of what to do, but I wasn’t completely in love with it. Finally, I got two awesome ideas, for both the Honey Roasted Cinnamon and Honey Dijon flavors, involving one concept – almond butter.

Before I tell you what I made with the almond butters, I’ll share with you just how to make your own almond butter. It’s so easy.

Step 1 – Put almonds in your food processor.

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These are the Honey Dijon Almonds, but the rest of the almond butter pictures are the Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almonds. Because that’s how I roll.

Step 2 – Start your processor. Pause periodically to scrape the sides. Or give your finger a break because you have a cheap food processor where you have to keep your finger on the button to keep it going.

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Step 3 – Keep going. Optionally, you can march in place to get your step count up for the day. I did a good 2,000 steps while making almond butter today. Ta-da!

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And now we’re ready to go through what I actually made with the almond butter.

Let’s go through the Honey Dijon one first because it’s the simplest. It’s also the one that you might be a little weirded out by. Here goes. With the Honey Dijon Blue Diamond Almonds, I made almond butter and put it on… a grilled chicken sandwich!

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Are you weirded out? Do you need me to explain? Okay, I will. This idea came to me because of a love for a burger from a local joint around here – a peanut butter burger. If they can put peanut butter on a burger and it tastes delicious, why can’t I put almond butter on a chicken sandwich? Especially when the almond butter is Honey Dijon, which goes so well with chicken! So that’s what I did. And it was amazing! The Honey Dijon taste really came out and added so much flavor to my otherwise plain grilled chicken sandwich. (In case you’re wondering, there is cheese on the chicken, but it’s a pretty flavorless XXX.)

I totally forgive you if that wasn’t your thing. Maybe this next almond butter recipe will be more your style. With the Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almonds I made… cookies!

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By searching Pinterest, I found this recipe for peanut butter cookies. They look so darn delicious! Mine are just a bit different.

Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almond Butter Cookies

Recipe adapted from Julia’s Album The best (and easy) peanut butter cookies

Yields 12 cookies; Takes about 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond butter made from Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Cinnamon almonds (or any almond butter of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6-12 pinches of sugar for topping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350* and prepare a baking pan (or pizza pan that you use for everything…) with tinfoil (I used the non-stick tinfoil so that I didn’t have to spray it).
  • Cream the almond butter and butter in a bowl until all smooth. You can do this by hand with a spatula (what I did) or with a mixer.
  • Add in the brown sugar until combined (again, I did this by hand).
  • Add the egg and vanilla until combined. I still cranked with my hand.
  • Mix together flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. I still did this by hand since we were watching TV, and I didn’t want to have to pause. It wasn’t bad.
  • Scoop out blobs of the mixture onto your baking sheet (or pizza pan…). You can roll them into pretty balls or use a melon baller or something, but that sounds like more work. Just plop blobs on a sheet and call it good.
  • Sprinkle a little sugar over the top of each blob.
  • Bake for 12-18 minutes, depending on your oven, until they are getting golden along the edges and the tops are cracking.
  • Let cool for at least 10 minutes before eating or moving.
  • Devour

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Aren’t my blobs pretty?! Actually, these cookies turned out delicious. I could even taste the honey and cinnamon! Who doesn’t love cookies? Go make these!!

You better get back to work now and stop thinking about food. Have a wonderful day!

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My AdvoCare Love Affair

Hola! Look at me blogging again! Some weeks I’m so on, and some weeks I’m so off. That’s just how it is.

I thought about doing another Treat Yourself Tuesday today, but then I decided against that. I didn’t have too many treats last week besides the weekend, so it would seem like just another regurgitation of the weekend. No need for that.

Instead, I have a couple of things on my mind. First, I shared a link on Facebook yesterday that I was excited Chick-Fil-A is coming to my town. Holy cow, did I get some negative comments to that! It really made me mad. I get that people don’t care for the Chick-Fil-A leadership, but do people really have to bring my excitement down? I was |this close| to responding with the following:

So when people post things they are excited about on Facebook, we are supposed to tell them why they shouldn’t be excited and our negative views on the subject? Seriously?

Can’t we all just be nice? Can’t we support others in their excitement? Do we always have to be negative and push our own views? Just some thoughts.

Moving on…

I told you yesterday that I wanted to talk about my relationship with AdvoCare. Well, I’m ready to do that! Just to get you caught up to speed, here is my AdvoCare timeline:

  1. Did my first AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge in November/December and LOVED it. Signed up to be a distributor – partly for the discount and partly to spread some Advo love.
  2. Continued taking Advo products and trying to eat 80% clean. Sometimes obsessing over that percentage and really not being true to myself and super judgmental.
  3. Attempted another 24 Day Challenge in February/March. Made it until about Day 12 before quitting because of issues with restriction. Started worrying about how I felt about the 24 Day Challenge.
  4. Became quiet on the Advo front, but still kept taking products.

And NOW… I did some soul searching, some deep thinking, and talked to my sponsor, Becky, about everything. I’m back in Advo love!! Here’s what changed for me:

  • I read this post from Simi at The Micro Harvest about how she is doing a Whole 30 while being intuitive. This really reopened the door for me that you can be intuitive and follow a plan, but you have to be open to the idea that you may not follow it perfectly.
  • I realized that I think there was more going on than just the restriction during my last Challenge. I suffer from black and white thinking when it comes to diets*, that really came into play with the Challenge. I felt like, if I wasn’t doing it perfectly, I might as well just not do it. And I felt it was all the Challenge’s fault for making me feel that way.
  • I realized the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge is not a diet. There are no hard and fast restrictions, although I’ve seen a lot of “rules” floating around the internet. If you read the 24 Day Challenge info site, you’ll notice this disclaimer:

    The information found in the Daily Guide is merely a guideline and not a definitive list of what can and cannot be consumed on the 24-Day Challenge™.

    As well as:

    This isn’t a fad diet that eliminates entire food groups.

  • I realized that, because I have obsessed with diets for so long and am in the healthy living blogosphere, I tend to beat myself up more than other people when it comes to following a plan perfectly or obsessing over the details of healthy and unhealthy foods. This one came from talking to Becky and totally made sense.
  • Doing a 24 Day Challenge right after a vacation is not always the best idea. It’s actually not very intuitive because you naturally want to ease back into normal eating, rather than jump headfirst.
  • Maybe a 24 Day Challenge every 90 days isn’t a realistic expectation for me. This one also came from Becky. That’s a lot of pressure to put on myself. Instead, I like the idea of the 10 day Cleanse every 90 days, with the full Challenge just once or twice a year. That helps me clean up my diet with foods I love to eat, but not put so much pressure on myself that I freak out.

*By diets here, I don’t mean the traditional definition, but rather in general what I’m eating, drinking, and how I’m exercising.

This makes me so excited! I love the AdvoCare products, and I didn’t want to feel so conflicted about the company and products any longer. Now I can keep spreading my Advo love in good conscience. Why don’t I start doing that now?! If you’re interested, here are the AdvoCare products I use on the daily (and, duh, love):

  • Spark – Every single morning starts with Spark! I currently have tubs of Fruit Punch and Mandarin Orange that I choose from each morning. I love this stuff, and wish that I wasn’t caffeine sensitive so I could drink more of it daily! It gives me energy, but not in the shaky, buzzed way that coffee or soda would. There is no crash later either! Right now I drink ½ to ¾ of a serving with 16-20 ounces of water. I have one right when I wake up and then another one later. Lately it’s been in the morning on my way to work in order to get myself to sleep a little better at night. Darn sensitivities.
  • Catalyst – I also have Catalyst every morning, and sometimes later in the day as well. I’ve been experimenting with having just three caplets a day or more. I don’t really see much of a difference, but I know others who swear it firms them up. As a matter of fact, one girl wrote in one of my Facebook groups today that she had been skipping her Catalyst for the last couple of days and felt “fluffy” today. Interesting, right? I do think Catalyst helps me in my morning exercise. It gives me a little zip when I’m half asleep to get my legs moving on the treadmill.
  • MNS 3 – I swear this stuff keeps me healthy! Until I quit taking it to do the Cleanse phase of the Challenge, I hadn’t had any sniffles all winter. Then, BAM, I started to feel like a cold was coming on. Since I’ve been back on it, I haven’t had a single cold. That is amazing! I usually get hit with a few bad colds every winter, so to only have one is crazy to me. I also like the little zip I get from the Thermogenics included in the pill packets. Oh and (TMI?), I swear by the probiotic included in the morning packet. The probiotic, plus morning exercise, have kept me regular. I have never been regular in my entire life!
  • Rehydrate – Whenever I’m dehydrated or just need something other than plain water to drink, this is what I reach for. I’m drinking the Red Raspberry flavor right now! This stuff makes my day so much better, and I look forward to the sweet treat.

These are the main products that I use on the daily, but I have even more that I use and love. I’ll share those with you another day since this post has gotten long. I have just so much to share!! Obviously, if you are at all curious about any AdvoCare products, just ask me! I’ll chat your ear off!

Have a wonderful day!

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Why I Eat

Hello and happy Monday! Did you have a wonderful weekend? Mine was so nice! My husband went up to Fargo for the weekend for a Marilyn Manson concert on Friday night, and I stayed home since I’m not a Manson fan. I had a little me weekend! Friday evening I made homemade pineapple pizza on the grill, using a fresh pineapple, and watched both of the Bridget Jones’ Diary movies. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen them before! I absolutely loved them.

Saturday I ran in the morning then slowly got ready before heading to my parents’ lake house. There I went for a walk with my parents and eight year old nephew, then sat on the patio all the rest of the day. It was a rare day where my mom wasn’t working on something (she never sits still), so it was so nice just to hang out with her. We also did her leg exercises that she has to do after surgery in January – they’re tough! She’s going to be so buff! I told her we’re going to get her a “buff Grandma” shirt.

I just stayed for the day and was pretty tired by 8pm from all of the sun and exercise. I rallied a little when I got home to watch The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I thought I had read the book a while back, but maybe not since the movie was so different from what I was expecting. I only thought it was okay, even though I balled my eyes out. I blame being so tired.

Yesterday was even sunnier and warmer, although windy. Luckily my deck is in an area where some of the wind was blocked. I hung out there pretty much all day. It was glorious! I read a book and attempted to clean my grill. Holy crap, it’s hard to clean grills! I scrubbed and scrubbed with a wire brush, but I still didn’t get most of the gunk off. At least I got the ash cleaned out. I’m going to run it on high for a while tonight to burn off some of the cleaning stuff and maybe some of the gunk.

DirtyGrill

Later in the day on Sunday I went for a walk with friends Kim and Julie. We walked a little over 3 miles at Kim’s pace (fast!). That helped me continue my streak of getting at least 10,000 steps in a day. I’ve been doing that since last Wednesday. I’m proud of myself. And sore.

WalkingKimsPace

Yep, it was definitely a great weekend. This week looks awesome as well. I’m hitting up two longtime clients, where I don’t expect to have any issues. That’s always nice. The weather is also supposed to be great this week. I need that bad. I can really tell that I had some serious Seasonal Affective Disorder this year. Now that it’s sunny and getting warmer outside, I can just feel my spirits soar, and it is even more clear how tired and down I felt before. I’m going to remember this going into winter next year, and I might think about medicating. I’ll do anything to not have a depressed month or two.

Switching gears… I’m in a couple of intuitive/mindful eating programs right now. In one of them, we focused on why we eat over the last week. Most of the time I eat for fuel or because I’m hungry, but I’ve really been noticing when I eat for other reasons or want to keep on eating past full. It’s usually when (1) I’m bored, (2) habit, (3) the food tastes so good, or (4) I’m distracted. (3) and (4) are why I have been eating past full. (1) and (2) are why I’m eating when I’m not hungry in the first place, and these are HUGE realizations. I actually already knew about them, but didn’t feel like delving deeper. I have over the last few days. My husband even laughed at me this morning because he found the fun list I made over the weekend. It’s a list of all kinds of fun things that I like to do and can do when I’m bored. The habit one is a little harder to tackle. Here are a couple of examples of habits where I reach for food:

  • When I get home from work and read – I actually found a way to “fix” this one last week. Instead of flopping down on the couch with my book, I can grab my book and hit up the treadmill. A nice slow walk while reading. A perfect way to unwind after work!
  • When watching a movie or reading in the evening – I think this one is partly about boredom too. I’m so used to multi-tasking, that it’s hard for me to do just one thing at a time. I often play games on my tablet while watching TV, but that eventually gives me migraines or I get bored, so I reach for food again. I’m thinking this is one area where I will just have to fight the urge to eat to retrain my habits, or I can find something else to do.

It’s absolutely insane to me that I’ve gotten into such bad habits with food. I mean, I’ve known that I had these bad habits, but it was so easy to ignore them and blame weight gain on other issues. Like I’m not eating the right foods, or I’m drinking too much. Sure, those can also contribute, but it’s really the mindless non-hungry eating and overeating that have gotten me to where I am, and now I’m fully prepared to realize this and change.

I think that’s enough of my crazy thoughts for a Monday. I have so much more to tell you though! Be prepared for a huge AdvoCare discussion in an upcoming post. Spoiler alert: We’re BFFs again. :)

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Treat Yourself Tuesday–Key West

Good morning! I hardly ever do morning posts that I wrote the night before, but I am really consistently rocking my inconsistency over here! Since I’ve been gone for a bit, I wanted to come back in time for Becky’s Treat Yourself Tuesday. That’s always a great time to come back to my blog! Show off, make you all jealous, and then peace out. :) Totally kidding. Anyway, here is how I treated myself in the last week or so. Spoiler alert: they almost all have to do with Key West. 😉

Coffee Drinks

This one might sound weird, but hear me out. I don’t often get fun coffee drinks since (a) I’m a Spark girl and (b) I’d rather not drink my calories on a daily basis. Last week I totally indulged by getting a Starbucks Decaf Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte at the Charlotte airport during my layover to Key West and then Dunkin iced coffees the first couple of mornings in Key West.

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I totally found how to order at Dunkin so I like it too! They are tricky because they can put sooooo much milk or cream in your drink. I like a good dark iced coffee with just a splash of skim. Yum!

Laid Out in the Sun

I laid out by the pool as soon as I got to Key West on Monday, and then on Tuesday and Wednesday after work. I also laid out on the beach on Thursday before I left. It.was.glorious!!!

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Running and Walking in Key West

Besides soaking up the sun by the pool, this is one of the other big treats for me when I travel someplace scenic and warm. I love, love, love exploring on foot! Especially when there are views like these!

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And when I see cool things in the water!

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Okay, you have to look pretty closely at that, but if you go up from the original “pretty” in this sentence, there’s a crab!

Took Myself Out

When I travel I usually don’t get out and about much. Sure, I might go for a run, but I usually don’t eat out in restaurants or grab a drink somewhere. I feel like it can be so awkward doing that. This time I was determined to take myself out of my comfort zone, so I took myself out on a date in downtown Key West. I walked around and looked at things, I checked out the sunset celebration in Mallory Square (totally enjoyed The Red Trouser Show!), I grabbed a beer at a sidewalk table where I could people watch, and I enjoyed a burger and a rum drink on a second floor patio with live music. It was so fun! I’m now determined to take myself out more often.

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Had a Quiet Weekend

Once I finally got home on Friday morning, I was beat! So much sun will do that! I went out with friends on Friday evening to celebrate a friend’s birthday and because other friends were visiting, but then we were very quiet for the rest of the weekend. I caught up on some TV shows, read my book, enjoyed the Easter service at church, went out for pizza, and just plain enjoyed myself. Sometimes I feel like weekends where you don’t do anything are kind of a waste, but then I think about how refreshing they are to my spirit. I need that time with my husband and time to myself (even after all of the time to myself I already get by working alone!). While I missed out on my family Easter on Saturday, it was still a treat to have such a quiet weekend. I’m actually thinking about changing my plans for the upcoming weekend and having another quiet one! Cheers to that!

Have a great Tuesday! Go treat yourself!

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Five Things Friday

TGIF friends! Who else is trying to keep motivated at work today? Just push through! I took yesterday off, which makes it even more difficult to be motivated today. Ugh.

I feel like I like other bloggers’ Five Things Friday, but I’m not sure that I even have five to discuss today. Let’s find out.

1. Why did I take yesterday off of work? I was HURTING. I kind of felt gross on Wednesday afternoon. I was just so tired and kept nodding off for a few minutes at a time. I drank Spark and rallied for my book club meeting though. Fun fact: we didn’t have a book for this book club meeting. So it was just a wine meeting! And we went through 5.5 bottles of wine between the 6 of us girls. So yeah… a few of us were hurting yesterday. Wine hangover + slight cold = nap… all day. Not my greatest moment in adult life, but it is what it is. We all make mistakes, but I am one of the few who tell the world about them. It’s a good thing work is slower, and I have a lot of vacation days.

2. Did you see this pull apart bread that I made for my book club?

Pull Apart Bread

So good! Here is the recipe. Now go make that.

3. The other day I was feeling sort of down about things. Actually this was Wednesday. This might also be half of the reason why I drank more wine than I should have. I whined, then I wined, then I… went to bed. Anyway, I decided to make a list about why I’m unhappy. What’s going on in my life that I’m not happy about. Can you guess how many things were on my list? 3. Just 3. It turns out that I don’t have that many things to be unhappy about! And the last one was that I’m bored and need new hobbies. I kind of felt more happy after making that list. My life is pretty good (okay, I have a great life), but sometimes I need to make dumb lists to remind myself of that fact. Since I’m bossy, I’m going to tell you to go make such a list next time you’re feeling down.

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4. I might make it to 5 after all! I have a party tomorrow where I need to bring food. I can’t decide what I want to make. You will find me scouring Pinterest today and digging in my closet to see what Tastefully Simple stuff I have left that needs to be used. Because it’s like 4 years old. I am THE WORST at hoarding things. I’ll be sure to share whatever I decide to make on Sunday.

Somewhat related – I wish I was crafty enough in the kitchen to come up with my own recipes. Not so much. I guess I like it when people do all of the crafting for me, and I just have to follow along with what they made up. I love cooking and (mostly) following recipes, so I’m not too bummed about this fact. I’m beginning to find out that I am happiest in the kitchen these days. Who knew? (Actually, I should have known this because I was always in the kitchen as a kid. Plus my mom and I bake almost every time we are together.)

5. Yes, it’s Friday, but I find myself counting down till Monday. Weird, right? I’m counting down until Monday because bright and early Monday morning I head to Key West. OMG, I just want warm weather! I want to go outside!! We had this beautiful week where the weather was in the 50s, but then it got cold again. My face hurts when the weather changes. No joke. I get a tickle in my throat, my sinuses start hurting, and I cough at night. Every.single.time. I’ll be in Key West on Monday through Thursday. I was hoping to work way ahead and only have to actually work down there on Monday. While I’m still working ahead and hoping to be done Tuesday, I realized my flight doesn’t land in Key West until 3:30pm. I booked myself a 3 hour layover in Charlotte. Why?! So I won’t even go to my client on Monday. You better believe I have huge plans of running, walking, and sunbathing next week. 3 more days!!

Keys

I made it to 5! Have a great weekend!!

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Serious Realizations

Hey friends! I have seriously been working on this post since Monday. Seriously. It started pretty light, then got deep. Now I’m just hoping it’s coherent since it is three days’ worth of thoughts. Hold on to your hats!

More on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, IE, and Restriction

I wanted to come back to this topic once more. Oh, I likely will keep coming back to it! I’ve had so many conflicting feelings! I LOVED my first AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, but then I had so many issues when I attempted my second. WTF?! It was really hard for me to articulate just what the problem was, but I just knew I had to quit. Now I’m beginning to understand. You see, as someone who has been on (and off) every single diet under the sun, I have issues with disordered thinking and eating. I’m seeing now that the restriction from the challenge was bringing up a lot of those feelings. I can now even see how my thinking was becoming disordered all the way back to my first challenge! Sad. Here’s the thing – since I’ve been on so many diets, I tend to have very all or nothing thinking. I was catching myself labeling clean foods as “good” and not-clean foods as “bad”. I was “good” if I ate those foods and “bad” if I didn’t. I wasn’t using the challenge as it’s meant to be used – to help you clean up your diet once a quarter and flood your body with nutritious foods. Instead, I was using it as a whole new set of rules, that I was “bad” if I didn’t follow. In between my challenges, I totally struggled with this thinking. I felt like I was constantly needing to “start over”, to “tighten things up”, like I’d “fallen off the wagon”. I kept proclaiming that “this will be a clean eating week!” where I wouldn’t eat anything unclean. This, my friends, is diet thinking all the way!

So now I’m resetting. I’m re-reading Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works as I follow along in an IE program. I’m still not completely ready to share about this program. I want to keep this one close to the vest for a while. However, I must tell you that things are clicking for me. I’m seeing where I had made previous judgments about food, where I went wrong the last time with IE, how I thought the challenge was helping me eat intuitively (it was but wasn’t), and what I want my relationship with food to look like. A few realizations I’ve made:

  • It’s very easy for me to use IE as an excuse to overeat (“I don’t want to restrict myself” <– one of my issues going through this the last time around!). Really, I’m just eating because I’m bored or for another emotional reason. Stop, drop that food, and feel.
  • It’s really hard for me to get rid of judgments and not feel guilty about eating something that I don’t deem “healthy” or now “clean”. I’m trying to catch myself and change my thinking every time, but I don’t always believe myself when I say that it’s okay to eat that, and I don’t need to feel guilty.
  • Also related to guilt – I find myself feeling guilty or internally saying “I’ll be better tomorrow” if I know I ate something when I wasn’t hungry. I have to reassure myself over and over that it is okay, that I’m still “good”. Do you see how I could get caught in this spiral between this bullet point and the first one?! This is why I never truly learned IE.
  • I know now that I have to ignore all of the health, exercise, and diet advice out there. I can’t even read it. It sticks in my head, I get guilty feelings, and it’s just not beneficial to me. I just want to eat and move in a way that works for ME. That is beneficial to ME. Not according to some study, or this group, or that group, etc. They don’t know me! They don’t know how my body reacts to foods or how it feels after certain exercises! My body knows what’s best, and I just need to listen to it.
  • I just want to live like a “normal” person who hasn’t heard all of these diet tips, health tips, exercise tips, etc. and just lives. I don’t want to log, and I don’t want to obsess anymore. I don’t want to talk and think about food, health, diet, exercise, and my body constantly. That’s a huge change for me. Every blog I follow is a food, healthy living, running, or intuitive eating blog. My own blog is a blog about dieting! My Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all follow along these lines as well. My Gmail account is full of healthy living newsletters. Almost all of the podcasts I listen to are about body love or healthy living. I’ve gotten myself in a bad way here. This hobby turned into an obsession that has taken over my life! I need a new hobby. What did I think and talk about before this?!

Those last two bullet points are what I have been thinking about for the last few days. I try to remember what I thought about in high school and college before I became so obsessed with the healthy living world. I had disordered eating and thinking back then too, but it didn’t take over my life. I seem to remember hanging out with friends a lot… we had to have talked about something! I need to make a list of how to fill all of the time during the day that was previously spent reading and thinking about healthy living. Any thoughts? I even searched Pinterest for “hobbies”! There was a lot of knitting and crocheting. Not me. I’m not a long project kind of gal. I have plenty of long projects sitting in closets at my house that I’ve never finished. I need something besides just reading and watching TV.

I think I was able to bring this together pretty coherently after all. As I work on adjusting my thinking and free time, I’m not sure what that will mean for this old blog. Probably a lot more ramblings like this one! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. For now, just know what I’m working on and why I might not be here.

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Things From the Week

Happy Saturday my lovelies! I actually wrote most of this post yesterday, but then didn’t finish it. I guess today works!

This week has flown by for me, which makes me a little sad. I’ve really enjoyed being at home, working on my daily to-do list, and getting ish done all week. I guess I can continue to do that in the following weeks as well, just with more work work and less house work thrown in. Something to think about!

Today is going to be kind of all over the place. This might be my new normal. :)

1. I’m trying to move away from journaling food and exercise, but I still want to log my exercise somewhere. It’s very conflicting. The reason I want to move away from journaling or logging is so that I’m eating and moving in ways that honor my body’s needs rather than just checking boxes off of a to-do list. If you’re all like, “what the heck are you talking about?”, go read this blog post by Michelle May, M.D. I’ve totally been exercising to “bump up the numbers rather than to experience my body moving”. I’ve also been trying to decide if I’ve been exercising because I know my body likes it or because I think I should. Decision made! I’ve been doing my morning run or walk because I know my body likes it (and I like it most days), but I’ve been pushing myself to strength train because I think (and have been told) that I should. I’m not going to push so hard to strength train for a while and see what happens.

Just a little self discovery happening above. Now, I’m going to log my exercise here since I’m most likely to not judge myself in this space. Since last weekend…

  • Saturday – 2.33 mile run/walk outside
  • Sunday – rest
  • Monday – 30 min interval walk
  • Tuesday – 30 min run/walk
  • Wednesday – 30 min interval walk
  • Thursday – 30 min run/walk
  • Friday – 20 min morning yoga

2. I made the best dinner Thursday night! You might have already seen it on Instagram, but it was Chicken Pesto Caprese Pasta from jo cooks. Even my picky husband, who doesn’t normally like my “different” meals, liked this one!

I used the original recipe, but sort of read things wrong when I went grocery shopping for it. I’d never heard of bocconcini before and read it as broccolini. So I bought broccolini and then realized that was not what was listed. I Googled subs for bocconcini and just used shredded mozzarella. I still used the broccolini as well.

3. I found a new daily devotional I’m trying out. Mostly because it comes with fun illustrations.

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It’s called Rhetorical Jesus, and I just hope I love it. Yesterday was the first day I got the email, but I haven’t delved into it much yet. I really want to get out of my own head, think about others more often, and seek the wisdom of God. Is that too much to ask?

4. What are you up to this weekend? I’ve been taking it easy today after not great sleep last night due to too many adult beverages. I’m not so impressed with myself for drinking said beverages yesterday. I’m trying hard to be gentle and kind to myself, but I also know I need to delve deeper into why I keep drinking more than I want to. It might be time to make another appointment with my therapist. That would be my first one this year. Oops.

5. I just finished the best book today! It’s called It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell.

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I have every intention of emailing Andie because the book resonated with me so well! It’s all about Andie’s life, history of disordered eating, and her story of losing weight and overcoming her disorder. Just reading about how Andie would shovel food into her mouth because she was lonely as a child, how she obsessively counted calories to lose weight, and how paranoid she was about gaining back the weight and calories when she did lose just reminded me so much of myself. I’ve done all of those things! Seriously, I loved this book so, so much!

With that, I’m out of here. I’m promising myself I’ll go take a cold walk yet today. It’s cold and cloudy outside, but it would be nice to get some fresh air. I know I’m not leaving the house tomorrow since it’s supposed to snow 3-5 inches. Gross! I thought spring was here!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

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