Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

On Track

After a not-so-great week last week, I am back on track.  At first, I was pretty frustrated with myself for last week.  However, with terrible driving conditions and not feeling well (plus some craziness at work that threw off my WHOLE schedule), I was easily able to get back on track over the weekend.  Yesterday was a low day, and today is a lowER day, and I’m handling it well.  The way my cycling program works, I can go as low as I want on these two days.  Yesterday, I was under my calorie range by 175-300 calories ( 🙂 ).  It was tough, but manageable.  Today, I’m going for less.  When I feel hungry, I try to remember that tomorrow is a maintenance day.  I think I’m going to make a really yummy chicken sandwich or homemade pizza – with PopChips!

 

Training is also back on track.  Since we had some really bad storms, I had to miss a couple structured workouts.  I think I made up for them with shoveling and treacherous walking conditions while at work.  I just couldn’t justify the extra driving when the conditions were so bad.

 

My recipe for this week is from Ask Georgie – Creamed Spinach. Not only is this recipe a low-ish calorie side dish, it also makes an amazing substitute for Spinach Dip!  My husband and I enjoyed this with some PopChips (can you tell I **heart** PopChips??) while watching a football game this weekend.  Jeb’s not much of a veggie person, but he loves this recipe, and I love anything that gets some greens into his body!  I follow the recipe pretty exactly, though I sometimes add a bit more garlic.  Since discovering this, I’ve made it 3 times!  Yum!

Not clicking

Things are NOT clicking right now.  I started Cycle 3 in a good place, but on Monday (TMI ALERT) starting having issues with my TOM.  Between the bloating, cramping, nausea, etc., I decided to try to hit a deficit, but to DEFINITELY not go into a surplus.  I’m ok with maintenance.  Once my hormones settle, I know I will be fine and can easily get back in the swing of things, so I’m trying not to sweat it. My schedule is kind of funky this week too – my facility is being inspected/audited for our license (this happens every 2 years) and I will be at a training conference on Thursday and Friday.

 

For training, I’ve done some light cardio but missed my lift last night because of a bad storm.  I was really torn about it, but the conditions were icy so I decided not to take the risk.  I’m wondering if that counts as losing my 100% compliance on training.  On one hand, I feel confident that it is an isolated incident and am not worried about getting back on track (it’s just one miss, right?).  On the other hand, choosing to not endanger myself on icy roads is actually a choice toward better health – even if I missed a lift.  Thoughts?

 

Yesterday was my niece’s 2nd birthday.  We had a great time celebrating with her!  During cake, she looked at me and said:
T:   Knock Knock!

Me:  Who’s there?

T:  FROSTY THE SNOWMAN!

Me:  Frosty the Snowman who?

T:  FROSTY THE SNOOOOWMAANNN!  🙂

It was awesome! 🙂  Happy hump day!

Update on progress

I’m a couple days late on my “Update” post, but I had a bit of a family situation and a very sick husband to deal with this weekend! (Goals described here)

Progress in Cycle 2:

  • Lost a total of 8.2 pounds.  Not a dramatic loss this cycle, but I’m also suffering the effects of my TOM, so I’m not sweating it.
  • Had a much more successful maintenance day on Friday (and high day on Saturday).  I planned my meals with some good, healthy foods and only had a small treat – rather than filling my calorie allotment with junk.  I felt much better too.  I was also better with pre- and post-workout nutrition, which I described in more detail in this post.
  • My sleep has been good.  I’ve been making it a priority and shutting off electronics about a half-hour before I settle into bed.  I’ve been falling asleep fairly easily and waking up on my own most days.  This week will be a challenge, though, since my work schedule will be all over the place.
  • Still working on the emotional attachments with food.  I think this one will require a LOT of repetition.  I caught myself grabbing some unhealthy food this weekend when I became overwhelmed.
  • Self-care is a work in progress, but I’m getting better.  I had some really lazy moments this weekend, which would normally make me feel guilty, but I was careful not to judge myself and just understand that sometimes I need to slow down and rest.

Objectives:

  • I’m still following the cycling program accurately.  I did accidentally mix up a couple of the days, but it resulted in an increased deficit, so I didn’t really worry about it.
  • I still have 100% compliance with training.  One of my cardio workouts became snow-shoveling instead of my planned KB workout, but I still got the desired result.
  • I prepared a new recipe – Kale Chips – and it was HORRIBLE.  I didn’t even bother blogging about them.  There are about a million blog posts about them out there, so if you’re interested in them, hit up google.  (Why do people love these so much, by the way??  I’m a total veggie person and I could barely get them down!)  I will NOT be making them again, which is sad – Kale is so healthy!  I actually made an amazing new recipe yesterday, which will be part of my Cycle 3 check in, so stay tuned! 🙂  I’m not feeling bored with the diet – with the cycling, I’m actually able to eat a variety of foods – I just have to pay attention.  This isn’t like other diets I’ve followed that have required me to have a bunch of pre-planned meals that I just repeat every. single. day.
  • For fun, Jeb and I went to the movies.  We saw “The King’s Speech” which was really good.  We also watched some football.  Low key, but nice.

Maintenance vs. “Cheat Days”

Over the weekend, I had some higher calorie days, including one day of eating at maintenance.  This was REALLY tough – much more difficult than I had anticipated.  On Saturday, the maintenance day, I had done some planning and we had a delicious, healthy, and calorie dense meal early in the day with the option of leftovers later.  I was able to get within 200 calories of maintenance (I was under), but it was vastly better than my efforts yesterday.  Yesterday, I was in a small deficit, but still had to eat at a higher calorie level.  I tried to eat consistently throughout the day, but ended up still scrambling at the end of the day to get all my calories.  Because of this, my choices weren’t all nutritious foods and my protein was low.  Clearly this is poor planning on my part, and a big part of the work I need to do to meet my goal of really understanding what maintenance feels like.

 

About a year ago, I tried a nutrition plan that cycled carbs and included one cheat day every week.  On this cheat day, I had carte blanche to eat whatever I wanted, with the only restriction being that I couldn’t stuff myself.  I probably don’t have to even say this, but my results sucked because I undid my deficit on every cheat day.

 

When I went to bed last night, I felt like I had on those cheat days – bloated, sluggish, etc.  I had eaten carb-rich junk foods late in the day and I definitely paid for it.  So, how do I make the distinction?  I get full fairly quickly (a blessing on a “low” day), so it’s hard for me to eat large quantities of “healthy” food to make my calories.  Maybe I need to eat more cashews or something?  Calorie dense, but with nutritional value?

 

This is really important for me to sort out, since someday I hope to live in maintenance and not worry constantly about what I’m eating!

Another good day

I won’t post specifics now, but suffice to say that I am making progress.  My workout was good, and I’m finding that the healthful choices I am making with my food are making the deficit easier.  Today was my first test of compliance, I think – I had a bunch of meetings and to teach a CPR re-cert so I wasn’t able to eat at my usual times.  I work in a quiet building, essentially alone, so I have a lot of flexibility with meals.  Today, though, I was at our main campus, where staff are offered a yummy hot lunch.  I got hungry, and the food smelled great – but I stuck to the plan. 🙂

 

Plugging along…

New Recipe

Keeping with one of my action steps for my goals, I made a new recipe last night.  It is Garlicky Chicken Satay from one of my favorite food blogs – Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.  The seasoning paste for the chicken is flavorful, but not overpowering, and the peanut sauce is a nice balance of sweet, salty, and fresh.  Plus, since most of the calories from the sauce come from unsweetened coconut milk and peanut butter, I feel like I’m getting some good nutrition for my calories.

Delicious and Nutritious!

This will definitely make it’s way into the regular rotation.  Served with Wild and Brown rice and some green beans, the meal breaks down like this (assuming 4 ounces of chicken and 1 serving of rice):

Calories:  520

Carbohydrates:  50g

Protein:  43g

Fat:  17g

The bulk of the carbs come from the rice, which I will likely cut down in future meals.  It was a good, satisfying dinner for a higher calorie day, though.

 

I did much better hitting my calories and macros over the last two days.  I think I will need to do some careful planning to be sure to hit my maintenance calories accurately, but I’m up for the challenge.  I’m really grateful that Jeb is so invested in this – it helps to not feel like I’m “cramping his style” when I make certain decisions.  He’ s also being AWESOME about going to the store and buying ingredients every.single.day.  Poor guy.  But, at least he’s eating well! 🙂

 

Workouts continue to go well – still at 100% compliance. 🙂

I Resisted!

image

Boston Cream donuts are one of my favorite treats. One of my staff brought some in just when I was trying to figure out how to fit in all my calories today. I remembered, though, to keep moving toward my goals and have resisted the temptation!  I will eat something wholesome for 200 calories instead.  Food is fuel, not an outlet for a stressful day, right? (I think I can, I think I can…)

Cleans for Cardio

Today was a planned cardio day.  Since I still have a cold, and all the typical cardio equipment was being used (also, have I mentioned how much I HATE traditional cardio??), I was looking for something different.  Sifting through my Google Reader, I came across a post by Dan John that, among other things, includes his musings on the kettlebell clean.  At the end of the article is a cardio workout using the clean.  As I’ve mentioned before, I ❤ Kettlebells, so it didn’t take much for me to pick this for my cardio workout.

 

Basically, the workout goes like this (quoted from the article linked above):

Let’s start with the Left Hand:
8 Single Kettlebell Cleans
3 Single Front Squats

Swing and Switch Hands

8 Single Kettlebell Cleans
3 Single Front Squats

Swing and Switch Hands

5 Single Kettlebell Cleans
2 Single Front Squats

Swing and Switch Hands

5 Single Kettlebell Cleans
2 Single Front Squats

Swing and Switch Hands

3 Single Kettlebell Cleans
1 Single Front Squats

Swing and Switch Hands

3 Single Kettlebell Cleans
1 Single Front Squats

 

I did a solid warm up, followed by 3 rounds with the 16kg bell.  It was the perfect balance of do-able and really tough.  The beauty of this workout is the active rest (squats).  It was enough of a drastic change in activity to allow me to prepare for another round of cleans, but challenging enough to boost the cardiovascular demand.  I’m definitely going to keep this routine in the rotation – especially for days I need to do a lot of work in a short period of time.

 

In other news:

I kind of sucked at the diet yesterday, but not in the way you would think.  Yesterday was a higher calorie day, and I missed by target by almost 500 calories.  I’m not really sure what happened.  I didn’t have time to eat as much as I usually do at work, plus I cleaned up some of my food choices.  When I got home at 8:30 p.m., I realized that I needed to eat 1000 more calories!  I couldn’t see stuffing myself, but I did make a point to eat some healthy, calorie dense foods.  I’m hoping that, since it’s the first week, I will only see the benefit of the increased deficit, but definitely plan to hit my targets more accurately from here on out.

Baked Alaska

When browsing through my Baking Illustrated cookbook, I found an article and recipe for Baked Alaska.  This was brand new to me, something I had never encountered.  It sounded SO different, I just had to try it.  Baked Alaska is an interesting and impressive dessert, and fun to eat – the combination of cold ice cream and warm meringue is unique and enjoyable.

According to Wikipedia:

Baked Alaska (also known as glace au four, omelette à la norvégienne, Norwegian omelette and omelette surprise) is a dessert made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas Pudding and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for just long enough to firm the meringue.The meringue is an effective insulator, and the short cooking time prevents the heat from getting through to the ice cream.

Beautiful Baked Alaska

 

Searching the web, I found several different recipes for Baked Alaska.  Some, like the one I used, involved a génoise cake, while others were simply made from a white cake mix.  Either way, the first step involves making the cake.  Regardless of the recipe you choose, you should bake the cake in a sheet pan for easier construction.  Select a large bowl to use as a mold and line it with plastic wrap.  Once the cake is cooled, cut it into long strips (1.5-2 inches wide) and use about 3/4 of the strips to line the bowl.

Cake strips lining the bowl

If you want, you can make a soaking syrup using the liquor of your choice, water, and sugar.  I used Kahlua.  Simply brush the syrup onto the cake.  Don’t forget to brush the syrup onto the cake strips that haven’t been added  yet.

Next, grab your ice cream.  You can choose any kind you like – I went with a combination of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Cookie Dough.  Cut the carton from the ice cream and put it in a bowl.  Use a wooden spoon to break the ice cream into smaller chunks to allow it to soften evenly.  It is important to not let the ice cream melt – just soften it – otherwise the ice cream will have ice crystals in it once it refreezes.

Softening the Ice Cream

Add the ice cream to the cake (in the bowl), and smooth it evenly.  Top with the remaining cake strips and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Freeze for at least 2 hours (or up to a week!).

Finally, make a meringue – choose a recipe that isn’t too delicate.  The cookbook recommends an Italian meringue.  Once it is prepared, take the cake out of the freezer and invert it out of the bowl onto a pie plate.  Remove all plastic wrap and apply the meringue, making sure to add several peaks to the surface.

Ready to go in the oven!

Bake in a hot oven (425ºF) for 5-8 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.  Slice and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Look at the layers!

I will NOT be needing these pants tomorrow…

…Or today, I suppose, since it’s technically Thanksgiving already.

 

Behold, the “Gluttony Pants!”

 

Chef Chris Cosentino designed pants with buttons (designated “Piglet,” “Sow,” and “Boar) that allow you to expand the waistband of your pants.  While I am sure there are people out there who will gladly pay $100 for these pants, I just don’t think most of us need them (or should want them) – especially since we could all go down to Target and pick up a pair of comfy sweats for $15 if we felt the need.  I remember Cosentino from both “Iron Chef America” and “The Next Iron Chef” (Season 1 – when Mike Simon won).  He wasn’t my favorite competitor, so maybe that’s part of the reason for my irritation over the existence (and cost!) of these pants!

I plan to enjoy my Thanksgiving meal with my family tomorrow.  I will sample some of everything (though maybe not all ten pies at my mom’s house!), but I’ll be wearing my jeans as a reminder not to overdo things.  A food baby will only make me feel sluggish and guilty the next day.  I will NOT be counting calories, though – I’ll just try to remember my new-ish identity as a healthy person, and see how things go!

What are your plans to keep holiday intake reasonable?