just life stuff today

I went a bit MIA this week because I’ve had a lot of stuff going on related to school life. It’s been an amazing week academically/professionally- but I know I’ve slacked off on things that matter like food prep and making time for exercise and all that stuff I know is important too.

But good news first. I graduate in May. In about 3.5 weeks, I’ll have my masters degree. I’m excited, but I love school, so I’m admittedly a bit sad at the same time. Wednesday I got an email that I was one of the graduate students nominated to be the student speaker at graduation. That floors me. I have to write a speech (which, even though I’m a decent formal writer), so the chances of me actually winning are probably minimal, so just being nominated for the honor is pretty awesome. Before graduate school, I never was chosen for anything like this- by anyone. So it definitely makes me smile.

And then today I got an email that a conference proposal I was invited to be part of was accepted, so I present alongside some amazing people at a national conference in October. I feel so incredibly lucky. And it’s a nice way to glimpse into the academia side of Counseling. Which is something I really want to do (i.e. pursue a doctoral degree), but I’m not confident enough to say that’s definitely something I’m going to do right now. I wish I had delved into more research during my masters degree, but it’s never too late. It’s one of those things I file under “Dreams”. So we’ll see where that goes.

I haven’t even had time to go grocery shopping this week. But I (re)discovered how much I like zucchini and oatmeal that isn’t straight up rolled oats. My dad had gotten me some of the “real” oats last time. Pretty sure those are good for baking cookies and not microwaved oatmeal. They just kinda float around in the water and don’t absorb a lot. Which is not terribly tasty. But all for tonight. Back to some real posts tomorrow.

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Today is brought to you by the letter b

IMG_0008For berries. Because breakfast (and my snack later) is littered with them. Not that that’s a bad thing at all. Breakfast I wasn’t feeling terribly inspired (and I was out of egg whites), so I went with cereal. I had some Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds (don’t knock the fiber cereals- they’re actually really good!), Nature’s Path Millet Puffs (really good if you want to IMG_0009bulk up whatever you’re making- they taste like air/styrofoam, but they add volume), strawberries, blueberries and almond milk. Everything’s kinda hidden by the picture on the left, but you can get an idea of the mix in the right picture. Somehow I managed to hit exactly 300 calories, which is my breakfast goal. So the day is off to a good start.

I even had enough time to hit up Starbucks on the way to work this morning- and got here 10 minutes early. Some Monday’s don’t suck. IMG_0007Actually I really love where I work, so none of them actually do. The afternoon will be a busy one, and I have class tonight so not too much time to get other stuff doneIMG_0010 today.

As promised, my cute snack is on the right. It feels quite Pinteresty haha. It’s strawberries, fat free cottage cheese and blueberries. I’m excited for it. I didn’t bring lunch today, but that means I have to actually remember to go get lunch before it turns into dinner, which is basically what happened the other day with my bagel.

The scale went up a bit today (not much, but I’m set back a few days), which sucks, but I can’t say I don’t know why. I didn’t work out over the weekend and didn’t plan (skipping menu research) so I’m not going to get the end result I want.I I know I’ve made better choices and planned today, so the future is all I can control.  It’s a hard balance between letting go sometimes and complacency, and that’s what I struggle with a lot at this point. A healthy lifestyle can become an obsession (orthorexia), to the point where it’s not really healthy anymore or you can become too comfortable and confident and fall back into the same patterns that made it necessary to lose weight in the first place.

All for now, but enjoy your Monday!

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a Lazy Weekend

I’m a very busy person. And while I like that, sometimes I just need to catch up in other areas of my life. Sometimes it’s friendships, other times it’s exercise, sometimes it’s just finding time to actually do homework.

This weekend was a bit of all of that, sans exercise. I didn’t work out at all. And while I know I should have found a way to work that in, I had to prioritize catching up on sleep and homework first. While I know it’s not ideal to do that all the time, it’s not healthy in the long term to run yourself ragged.

Staying within my calorie ranges (with one exception that I’ll explain in a bit) and all that jazz, but I just needed some time to focus on other stuff for a bit. I graduate in exactly a month from today, so I needed to send out some job applications and finish some of my final coursework for my degree. I had to make some edits to my final portfolio which I had been avoiding for ages, and when I actually sat down to do it today, it took me like an hour.

Work is going to be super busy tomorrow, as I’m running a workshop in the afternoon. I made myself a cute snack though. Picture will come in the morning. I decided to skip on lunch prep and treat myself to the salad bar at work tomorrow. Who thought a university cafeteria salad bar would be a treat? All about the little things…

I also got to skype with one of my really good friends today- all the way in England. I love technology. I’m hoping to see her in person, soon, but more about that on another day. As a bit of background, I have a lot of overseas friends because of my 15 years spent at summer camp where nearly all the staff is international. But I’ve met so many good people that way (including BFF).

So hopping around, my one caloric exception to staying on target was last night’s dinner. We went out, and I’m always really good about researching the menu ahead of time. Well I didn’t have time to last night, and ended up with a 1,360 calorie mistake. Damn you Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos. To be fair, I got the sauce on the side, and no cheese, so I’d like to think that chopped a fair bit off, but whoa how do you even fit that many calories into that? It’s not the end of the world, but it’s rough. I was still under 2000 calories yesterday (which is still under my BMR) so again, not a mindless out of control binge or anything like that, but it just sucks being sideswiped like that. And it’s just a reminder to always to research ahead of time. I literally always do, but figures. But again, that is my fault and just a realization that dining out can be dangerous- calorically speaking.

Anyways, that’s all for this evening (sorry no photos of the day), but cute snack and potentially awesome salad bar photos tomorrow.

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I’m definitely not perfect- and I’m okay with that

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I didn’t post at all yesterday because I did not stop all day. Unfortunately, that included not stopping to eat. I had a solid breakfast- a banana bake as BFF and I refer to it in shorthand. She found it sometime last year on Recipage (awesome for getting recipe inspiration).  I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually baked it. Usually it’s a quick go to recipe that you can doctor up however you like. I’ve added cocoa powder, switched out the banana for pumpkin, put berries(or other fruit) inside the mixture before microwaving. And I don’t sift. When I have 5 minutes to myself,  in the morning, to make breakfast I am not pulling out a sifter. Just stir vigorously and you’ll be fine.

But as I said, the day got away from me. I went to the New Jersey School Counselor Conference which is always really good. It’s a small conference, but they always have really good people presenting. I didn’t prep any food for the day because I knew there was a free lunch and then I had an event at school until at least 8pm.

Well I missed the free lunch because I offered to go to Costco with someone to get stuff for the evening event- and by the time I got back, lunch was over. So I was honestly fine during my afternoon session, but knew it’d be a long time until any sort of dinner. Fortunately there’s a Starbucks nearby, so I grabbed a coffee and a plain multigrain bagel and went to help prep more stuff for the evening. Well I caught caught up in that and didn’t eat the bagel until about 5pm as I was untangling balloons (I found 1/4 of it still in my bag when I was looking for something at 9pm).

I grabbed a few grapes during the event, but that was it. And here’s where my balance comes in. I never go out. And that is no exaggeration. I’ve always lacked self-confidence in social situations that I’d avoid putting myself in them. And I don’t mean to sound like this is in every area of my life, but when it comes to purely social spots- like bars- I would always feel out of place. Also I usually never got invited- which isn’t a self-pitying comment, more a realization that this was probably due to the fact that I never put myself out there and said I wanted to go. But I’ve gotten better with confidence overall, amongst other things- and especially with my grad school people- I feel really comfortable. So anyways, I went out after the event. We went to a Mexican place- still hadn’t eaten dinner- but no one else was eating real food, so I just snacked on tortilla chips and drank sangria. I didn’t go crazy or anything, it was just normal and fun.

IMG_4902-001I stayed out late (for having been at workshops and stuff since 8am), but it was such a good day. The event was a school thing, and I’m graduating, so I was terribly sappy and made all my professors take photos with me. I love them all and secretly (or perhaps not so secretly wish I was actually a part of the department). The chair of the department actually said to me a few times, with me it ‘s like having another faculty member around. Probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten.

While I’d feel like a bit of a creeper sharing those photos on here, I’ll post a picture of me because I really loved my outfit. Although I did realize yesterday, that I need a new belt that I can wear with high-waisted things because this belt (I guess fortunately) droops a bit too much for my liking.

I ate a bit when I came home (too many carbs) like a mini bagel, carrots and hummus and a bit of oatmeal at like 12am because I was actually starving, but I only ate about 1400 cals yesterday overall, which yeah is above my range- but manageable. And yesterday was not the ideal example of food planning and execution, but I didn’t eat the buffet of cake and cookies at the event nor did I scarf down ridiculous things when I got home. Alright they were a bit ridiculous, but controlled.

I even contemplated how to write about all of this, because it’s obviously so much easier to share what you’re proud of rather than share the times when you’re not perfect, but in thinking about what I’ve read from others that’s helped me- above all it’s honesty. So there we go.

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Food and busy days

I didn’t mention it this morning, but I totally stuck to my plan last night and did my food prep last night for today. Stick with me, it’s a bit eclectic.

Breakfast

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In the morning, it gets all thick and amazing.

Before chilling out for the evening

Before chilling out for the evening

Overnight oats(1/3 cup rolled oats, 1t chia seeds, 4 oz plain Chobani, 4 oz almond milk, a few drops vanilla flavored stevia). Today’s bowl (well tupperware- I’m not super fancy) also had 50 blueberries (I count, what can I say?) and 5 strawberries, sliced. Stick it in the fridge overnight, then you get what’s on the right.

I love overnight oats mostly cause it’s a super dense food (I have a thing for densely textured food- it always seems so much more satisfying). It’s not overly sweet (cause I use plain Chobani- but flavored works well too) and adding in lots of fruit bulks it up. I like to stay around 300 calories for breakfast, but sometimes it’s closer to 400 depending on the day. I actually usually add in another splash of almond milk if it’s too thick in the morning, but it just depends. the chia helps thicken it, but if you’re not a chia lover, it’s totally optional.

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I also added a bit of “spreadable fruit” on top- cherry blueberry. This stuff is pretty amazing. I found it in a

  King’s Supermarket (which I didn’t realize are super-local to New Jersey) and it was definitely more than $10, but I rationalized it by it’s size and that it’ll last awhile. It’s made by Sarabeth’s in New York City, which I admittedly hadn’t heard of before I googled that link about 10 seconds ago. And in doing so may have spent 10 minutes gawking at their menu (this is just brunch).  Maybe if I ever have a classy occasion to have brunch in the city, I’ll go there. Unlikely, but now I know where to go!

But you can spot the preserves (big chunks of fruit) and the additional milk in this photo on the right. Such a refreshing/filling breakfast.

Lunch 

IMG_3724Definitely have gotten some weird looks for the jars. Haha. I think I need to work on making it look cuter in the jar. That may make it more socially acceptable. Because it does look a bit weird. Not that that bothers me in the slightest, it just requires some explanation.

So in this jar was 3 oz broccoli slaw (this is such a good vegetable base for things- I use it like I would have used rice or pasta as a base before), .5 oz fat free feta and 2 crumbled Morningstar Farms Mushroom Lovers Burgers. These are good. Really good. They were on sale/special at Target last week and they were such a good find. I’m always sucked into the word “sale”.

I also had a Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar as part of lunch/snack. Probably the best bar ever, and amazing macros. You can bake them and microwave them and make them into cookies. So much better than real cookies and with 190 cals and 21 grams of protein it’s a really good option.

Dinner

 

Today was a long day, between work and then tutoring. And I brought my gym clothes with me, but I knew

I was going to be too

exhausted to go to the gym at 8pm without having eaten, so I went for a quick run/walk after tutoring. There’s a really pretty small park along my route from tutoring to school, so it was incredibly convenient.IMG_3729

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But note to self, don’t drink so much water in the afternoon before you tutor and then try to run. Definitely doesn’t make running easier when you have to pee. Only made a loop before I ran out of time (as in I had to run back to school for a meeting). Managed to burn 145 calories in 17 mins though.

After my meeting I finally came back home and threw together dinner.

My go-to dinner is either a stir-fry or an omelet. They’re both super simple and have lots of protein and veggies which I try to load up on. I had a fair bit of calories left, so I went for a really big veggie frittata (my uncle and I literally had the frittata/omelet debate last sunday). It had a whole green pepper, a small zucchini (grated) and 3 oz broccoli slaw.

I sauteed that all together and then added egg whites (from a carton- I’m easy), .25 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb.

On the side I had a sweet potato with 2T peanut butter (I may have used a spoon- but measured it in grams on my scale so all’s good), IMG_3735cinnamon and a bit of sugar free syrup. It was dessert and a side dish all in one.

And one of the ladies at work said I was  looking good and “slimming down nicely”. Admittedly I’veIMG_3737 lost a fair bit of weight since I started there, so I’m okay with people noticing. I used to not be, but that’s for another day. It’s late and I have a conference early in the morning, and an event till late. So long day ahead, requiring lots of coffee.

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Remembering the big picture

I’m in a really good mood today. I just feel like I’m in a better place- and what a difference a few days makes. Setting this up, and thinking/writing about where I started and where I am now has given me a bit of perspective. Sometimes it’s way too easy to get caught up in yourself and forget the big picture. Seeing numbers go up made me feel really out of control, but it helped me reevaluate things. And I know I’m going back in the right direction.

Pictures help. As much as sometimes I don’t like looking at them, I know I need to remember that. See that? That’s me in the Fall of 20102010 around my highest (316). On the right, that’s this past summer. And don’t mind the ridiculous face- it’s camp. That automatically makes anything acceptable. But I remember the first time I saw pictures from that day and being like “wow- that’s what I look like?” I remember trying on that dress in Forever 21 and not believing it fit. It’s an XL (11-12) which is probably a generously cut XL, but that is less than half of what I started at. I owned some size 26 skirts. I own a size 8 pair of jeans now.

So when I’m frustrated at myself or my lack of progress, I need to remember where I started, why I started and what I’m working towards.

The biggest thing I’ve struggled with lately was figuring out my calories. For nearly two years I ate 1200-1300 calories a day(I considered myself in range as long as it started with a 12_ _ that was my wiggle room), but even as I started working out more- I wasn’t losing any weight.

I really didn’t know how many calories I was burning (I used the estimates on the machines at the gym- which suck by the way!) and still ate the same number of calories. And when I had more time over winter break I’d put in almost 2 hours at the gym sometimes- so there were some serious calorie deficits I was running. And as I’ve learned from Jillian Michaels’ podcasts (love these/her, by the way) when you run a deficit that’s too high, you force your body into starvation mode and it thinks it needs to hold onto fat to survive.

I think this was a really hard concept to come to terms with- to lose weight you need to eat more. So letting go of that 1200-1300 range was hard. I had this conversation with BFF and answered my own question basically as soon as I asked it, because I knew the answer. Mostly because she’s told me numerous times before. She’s usually spot on with stuff like that.

do track my calories, but admittedly have switched trackers for the first time in 8 years (obviously haven’t tracked consistently in 8 years, otherwise I’d be in a whole other-much lighter- boat). The very first time I delved into online calorie tracking in 2005, I began with FitDay, which was a very bare bones version of its current incarnation. In reading through the message boards, someone recommended SparkPeople. And for the longest time I was a SparkPeople purist. But lately, I had a hard time reconciling the fact that I was “going over” my calories every day when I was trying to balance out the amount of exercise I was doing. So recently I’ve switched to MyFitnessPal, which at this time I think better suits my needs. It focuses on the overall calorie deficit (which SP does as well, just not as overtly) instead of focusing on calories in.

So my calories are still between 1200-1300, but days when I exercise- I eat more. And days when I don’t, I eat within that 1200-1300 range. For instance, I ate about 1700 the other day (which would have made me really anxious previously to see I was 500 calories “over” my range), but I went for a 75-minute walk run and burned 500 calories. So I knew I was reasonably where I was supposed to be.

So that’s where I’ll leave you for now, but I hope your day is off to a good start too.

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It feels like starting over

Breakfast was a French Toast Scramble– I doubled it, and admittedly slacked on adding any of the extra flavorings cause I stuck it in a

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almost empty pb jar (there was 1T of pb in there, for the record). It was the Stop & Shop brand All Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (which is a halfway-decent dupe for the Teddie All Natural Creamy Peanut Butter I found when I was on vacation in New Hampshire, and which I sadly realized they do not stock in the Garden State. There was no picture, because I may have eaten this on the way to work while listening to the second to last CD for my National Counselor Exam Review. Not the brightest idea, I know, but something’s gotta give.

I admit, I read tons of Healthy Living Blogs. And while my Pinterest boards have been rather quiet lately, I’m really into Instagram as a new venue to get ideas and recipes. I follow a few really inspiring people (saraherose3, pbeechie, amandamclark, kmcwold, angelamccafferty).

So in trying to work this out and figure out where I went wrong, I also want to figure out what I did right. So many times, I think it’s so easy to fall into the “I’m a failure, so why stop now” sort of deal. I always find, when counseling people, a really good question is always, “So, how’s that been working for you?” Because if you’re making the same mistakes over and over and nothing’s changing- the answer is- probably not very well.

So I’m trying to zero in on what I did right last year:

  1. Made breakfast every day. And took a picture to send to BFF. (This is kind of my motivation for venturing back into the world of blogging. I’ve never been one to stick with anything, but I think I really need this accountability- whether it be to BFF or the one or two people that happen across this blog). 
  2. Put thought into lunch planning. Figured out calories and didn’t pack any extras. I’m all about cute bento style lunches- I just have to plan ahead.
  3. Ate tons of fruit and veggies. I still do this now, but this was a big help.
  4. (Kind of connected to #3) Ate lots of salads.
  5. Fell in love with oatmeal. I thought it all tasted like wallpaper paste. I was wrong.
  6. I was honest and asked for help/ support when I needed it. I haven’t done this lately. Ironically, it’s kind of a by-product of being successful. It’s hard to lose a third of who you are and then struggle to admit you’re having a hard time when everyone is asking you for advice.
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Not exactly what I intended to be the first post

I’ll start at the beginning.

Basically, I’ve always been fat/overweight/unhealthy/whatever pc term you’d like to call it. However you describe it- I’ve weighed too much.

This one time, for the Presidential Fitness Test, we had to run a mile. The class period ended before I finished. I was the only one left. The teacher told me to just stop. I really wanted a certificate signed by President Clinton. (I never got one).

I was never overtly bullied for it, I remember glimpses of negative comments here and there, but no one really helped me try to fix it. And while this may come across as placing blame on others- when you’re 11, you don’t understand how macro-nutrients work.

And food definitely took on a role as a coping mechanism in high school and college. It’s taken 3 years in acquiring a MA in counseling to figure out what/why I was doing it. And it took until now to find a best friend who helped me finally stop the self-destructive patterns I’d learned to depend on.

And so, nearly two years ago, at 24 I changed it all. I lost 100 pounds and became more honest- not only with myself, but with others- in the process.

And so here I am, so close to Onderland, and admitting that I’m struggling more than I ever have. I’ve been hovering around the same weight for about 9 months now. I know I keep sabotaging myself (spoons should not be the utensil of choice for peanut butter jars), but I can’t stop. And I don’t like that feeling. That’s how I felt every time I was 9 donuts into a dozen box. I never wanted to feel that again.

And while I’m not there, I feel myself falling and I need to get back that mindset that I had. My biggest fear is complacency and giving up and I’m so afraid that’s where I’m headed.

My lowest recorded weight so far has 207.9 about a month ago. I’m at 218.9. I gained 11 pounds. Even though I’ve been pretty stagnant these months, I’ve been working out (I think I wasn’t eating enough calories those months)- heck I even ran this morning and burned 500. But gaining is not an option.

I will be successful.

I know I don’t have as much support 24/7 as I did this time last year. BFF and I used to text breakfast pics every morning and share desert ideas every night. Because of BFF’s life/schedule this year, I don’t feel like I can text all the time. I know that hasn’t helped me- but I shouldn’t blame that as much as I should. It’s just that communication and friendship is what helped me in the first place, so it’s been hard weaning myself off of that. BFF says I can text anytime- but honestly feel guilty monopolizing what little personal time exists.

The last month, I’ve just felt lost. It a lot of personal stressors too, but I won’t fall back into these patterns.

So here are my goals- keeping it simple and back to basics.

  1. Weigh everything that goes in my mouth. Count it. No guesstimating. You suck at guesstimating anyways. 
  2. Workout. Go to the gym. It’s warm now. Walk. Run. Whatever. Burn calories.
  3. Keep your water bottle full all the time. You’re a slacker lately. Add an awesome sticker on it, if that helps.

There we go.  Here’s to smart decisions.

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