A Dose of Honesty

April 1st (Monday) I slept in and woke up naturally. It was splendid. I opened my curtains and saw the sun shining, also splendid. It’s finally feeling like spring is in the air and that the cold and dreary days won’t last forever. That being said, spring has always been about new beginnings for me, about possibility. So it seems fitting to take a look at my habits and make some healthier tweaks.

Moving to the city was an eye opener for me in many ways, but some more than others. Mostly, I’ve realized just how easy it is to eat out frequently and grab a drink after work with the abundance of restaurants and bars everywhere you look. It tends to be the thing to do after work or even on any given afternoon. The weather’s nice? Let’s grab a drink. It’s been a hard week or a good week? Let’s grab a drink. Looking for something to do? Grab a drink! It’s fun for sure, but not so fun when you wake up realizing your clothes don’t fit quite like they used to.

I’m not here to say you need to give all that up, I’m all about drinks with coworkers or friends. After all, I’m a craft beer fan through and through. But it’s become my baseline. I had a drink most days of the week last week and have eaten out more days than I should have considering I have food in my fridge. Consequently I don’t feel that great and acknowledge that I have gained a few pounds. Therefore, I’m committing to some new goals in April which all start with some planning.

Where to start?

First think about what works with your lifestyle. I always bring my breakfast and a snack to work and get lunch there (the perks of being a dietitian). Therefore, I simply need to plan my snacks and dinners. That being said, if I have meals prepared ahead of time I am more likely to eat those rather than order out and throw something random together like the pancakes I made for dinner last night. This means that I need to dedicate a day or two during the week for meal prepping and planning.

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Next:

Plan, plan, plan! If you aren’t good at sitting down and making a plan for yourself, then find a dietitian in your area. We all tend to be type A and excel at planning! Any plan that you make or someone makes for you should not be too rigid that it causes anxiety or eliminates entire food groups or doesn’t allow for living. I’m loosely following the BeachBody meal plan this month as a way to try out new snacks and a new way of thinking about what I am putting in my body. It’s similar to how I eat now, but provides more structure and encourages planning for success. All things I want in my life right now. That being said I will likely eat more vegetables than the plan recommends and I am mixing the vegan and regular plans together because I disagree with some aspects. For one, most of the protein options are high sodium, high saturated fat, processed meats (sausage, deli meats, etc.) while beans are considered carbohydrates. I like to use beans as a protein source when paired with whole grains.

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Adapt:

If friends want to go out to dinner or you have a date to get drinks, don’t pass up on that! Every meal and every event is a learning opportunity. I am still learning that when I get drinks earlier in the evening I end up eating and drinking more. I know that when I go out to eat I am influenced by others and should have somewhat of a plan.

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These days there seems to be a dichotomy between weight loss goals and mindful or intuitive eating. It’s unfortunate. I like to think the two concepts can coexist and even work together. For example, I like to have my day to day planned with my weight loss goals in mind but use more intuitive eating and mindfulness when I am in social situations. Furthermore, I am writing this post to show that even dietitians who are supposedly the experts in nutrition find themselves in positions where they want to be healthier or lose weight. I fall victim to spontaneity, cravings, and social situations. I like to take it as an opportunity to learn and use the strategies that I promote on myself. And so the journey begins.

The Close of National Nutrition Month

From the responses I’ve had it seems like the last post resonated with a lot of you. We’ve all been there. A few years into the real world when we thought we’d have it all and we don’t...yet. But chin up, my friends, because every experience we have and every person we meet is for a reason! That’s my motto in life. As Ellie said to me, “you just have to keep opening yourself up to people even if it means you get punched in the heart a few times.” Never been wiser words said.  

 

Anyway, today I’m going a little lighter with a few things I’ve been loving lately to inspire you all to take simple, healthy actions for the last few days of National Nutrition Month!  

Fit in exercise anywhere! 

I joined BeachBody not for the name or the supplements. I actually don’t use any of the supplements because I believe in food first. But I LOVE the workouts. I’m doing Lift4 for the second time and this time around I’m doing each week twice and focusing on my form and going by feel. Last time I felt anxious tracking my weights so I’m not this round! Simple as that. And if I need to do triceps pushups on my knees then I do (yes, I always do).  

Find a group fitness class you love, try BeachBody, take the stairs, walk to work. Whatever gets your heart pumping and doesn’t feel like work, because we have enough of that in our lives.  

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Simple meals! 

I know I’ve mentioned Banza macaroni and cheese before. It’s a complete protein meaning it has all of the amino acids that your body needs. It’s also chock full of fiber so you may have some gas or increased regularity if you know what I mean...it’s so worth it, though! And honestly most of you probably aren’t eating enough fiber (I definitely do...). 

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Other quick meals I love are:

eggs with toast and fruit

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Sweet potato, chicken sausage, apple, onion, and goat cheese

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buddha bowl (any grain+ any protein+ all the veggies+ healthy fat) 

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Soda stream!

I get bored with regular water even though I love my Yeti. So now I drink bubbly water at home with my new toy and regular tap water at work. I have a habit of buying kitchen appliances when I’m sad (I bought a waffle maker when I didn’t get an internship and an Instant Pot when I was having a hard winter). But this appliance helps me stay hydrated and it’s such a fun color! 

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Living a healthier life shouldn’t be harder. So find simple ways to fit in more exercise, fruits and vegetables, and water! And remember these two things: 

1. What works for someone else may not work for you and that’s okay! 

2. It’s about making changes to your habits, your baseline. We’re all human and will have nights out, emotional eating, vacations, etc. It’s all about what you return to.