Tag Archives: Eating

Couscous Decisions

I’m proud of myself today. I went to lunch with my coworkers and we went to a restaurant to eat some amazing couscous, and I kept it as healthy as possible by ordering the vegetarian couscous. It was actually quite a display of my indecisiveness and internal torment, because I ordered vegetarian, then I heard everyone’s order and I decided I wanted chicken, so I changed my order. The waiter left and a few minutes later, I got up from the table (after sitting there, feeling guilty with my decision for quite some time) and asked if he could change my order back to vegetarian. I was mildly embarrassed to be so indecisive in front of colleagues  but at the end of the day, my health was more important and I’m happy I went with the veggie meal.

Somehow, I think I’ve developed a bit of a distaste for meat now… Or, perhaps not a distaste but a slight disgust. Don’t get me wrong, I still love eating it (this past weekend I ate 2 burgers… oops), but I think when it looks like flesh, it creeps me out, whereas in the past I never would have thought about it. Seeing the waiter bring out a tray full of meat, a lot of it on the bone, and seeing people at the table pick at it and cut it with difficulty with their sharp knives made me so happy to be eating just vegetables, chick peas, and couscous. I felt light after eating rather than bogged down as I normally feel after eating meat, and I know I didn’t consume any cholesterol or saturated fat in my meal while the others surely did, and best of all, no one had to die a miserable factory life so that I could eat lunch! So really, whats not to love about being vegan? I get all the right nutrients, I eat cleaner, no one dies, the planet doesn’t suffer as much, and my body thanks me and rewards me for my healthy choices every day.

Now to be clear, I’m not 100% vegan. But I’m okay with that still. Perhaps I may never be fully vegan, but if 80% of what I consume comes entirely from the earth, then I think I’m in a better place than I was before. I want to stay flexible and I don’t want to feel deprived, so I will allow myself a relatively guilt-free non-vegan indulgence when the situation calls for it, and I know it won’t cause that much damage at the end of the day. My family is from Colombia where I’m fairly certain the concept of vegan or even vegetarian just simply do not exist. I know with my family and family friends, living a vegan life would be nearly impossible, so I’m open to eating meat and dairy in social occasions when other options are not available, and sometimes when going out with friends, I’m okay with eating a burger or ice cream. Not the end of the world. But while I have the power to control what I eat, I want to try to stay as vegan and clean as possible, and that is a solution for my daily diet that I can be very comfortable with. Fortunately today my meal allowed for that flexibility. It won’t always be like that, and I’m learning to be okay with that.

I’m trying to be gentle with myself. If I label myself as “vegan”, I’m bound to feel guilt when I break the rules. But if I can make my own rules that suit me, I’m more likely to feel satisfied and happy with the choices I make.

So today, I’m proud of my choice. I’m proud of all of my choices today, actually. They weren’t all perfect, but they were as good as they could have been and I managed to eat clean, vegan, and light all day long and I went for a 4-mile run in the evening. I’m feeling pretty good about how today has gone and I hope to have more days like today in the future.

Go me!

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All Talk

All Talk

A conversation last night with a friend led me to think about something that has been vaguely on my mind the past several weeks, which led her to send me an article which helped me understand what I have been feeling.

The article from Nerd Fitness is about taking action on your goals, not just talking about them and expecting results. Read it!

I am so much like the underpants gnomes he references from South Park. I collect underpants (knowledge) and I even make underpants (I write this blog), but I so often forget about Phase 2 and I eagerly jump to expect Phase 3, “profit” to happen automatically. Confused about what I’m talking about? I told you to read the article!!

I have spent years reading health blogs, books, watching documentaries and TED talks, and in every other way absolutely inundating my brain with knowledge about health and fitness. I should get an honorary fitness and nutritionist certification with all the research I’ve done. So you’d think, you know… I would have reached my goals by now. But the reality is, I’ve looked and felt mostly the same pretty much my entire life. I’ve had little moments of brilliance, where I really stepped it up and lost weight and felt amazing, but I quickly fall back into my old habits and my changes fail to stick.

I talk a lot and think a lot about health, but I’ve been feeling lately like I don’t actually DO anything about it. I mean, I’ve made changes that I shouldn’t ignore, like my slow progression to a mostly vegan diet which has been a great accomplishment for me so far, but if I’ve lost weight, it has been maybe a pound or two. Nothing noticeable. And while I do feel a lot better eating a clean, plant-based diet, I’m feeling impatient and I’m feeling disappointed that my progress has been so slow and mostly invisible. I don’t want to just talk about making changes… I want to actually make them!

My question is, how do I make these changes really stick this time? I’ve done this before. I’ve been right here many times, and I’ve temporarily succeeded. I’ve lost 10-15 pounds several times (gained them back, of course) and I’ve felt accomplished and proud, but why do I struggle with sticking to my lifestyle changes? I’m determined to get to the root of the problem, in one way or another.

Perhaps the key for me (and anyone else struggling with this feeling) is to make a list of tangible, quantifiable, achievable, realistic goals (or assignments/homework), write them down, and stick them on your wall so you remember them every day. Maybe if I try to think of this as a game, or as an assignment for work, maybe I’ll feel the same sense of urgency or desire to accomplish them. I don’t know. Just a thought. I’m a lists-person. I feel great when I can check things off of my list, and often I can’t accomplish much without one because I’ll just simply forget, so maybe I can work with my goals and see them as “errands” that I can check off today, and perhaps that will help me just get it done, and thus slowly start building patterns and habits, maybe without all the emotional baggage that I tend to tie into “changing my life.” That feels too heavy. Do I have to think so hard about it? Can’t I just… do it?

Anyway, my point is… I feel like I talk too much and don’t take enough action. I still give in to my snacking cravings every time they come and I still eat the same sized portions as I normally do and I still stay up late and miss my morning workouts and I still eat crap if its in front of me and I still overdose on my addictive favorites like granola and almond butter. I suppose, as I mentioned, my biggest accomplishment is sticking to a mostly vegan diet, with exceptions whenever I don’t have a choice (like occasional dinners with my host family or social gatherings, etc).

I can’t tackle all of these at the same time, but I can start by what I can control today.

– I will try really hard to eat at the designated eating times, the way French people do. In following the Tone It Up  lifestyle suggestions (as well as the suggestions by most other nutrition experts out there), I will eat 5 small meals today, and if I get hungry in between, I will drink water or green tea and remind myself that my next meal is not too far off. I need to learn patience and I need to learn not to be afraid of hunger. Now DO NOT misinterpret that, please. All I mean is… I live in this perpetual fear of hunger and at the slightest grumble in my stomach, I immediately feel the need to binge on something to avoid starvation. It’s irrational, and I end up not even being that hungry when I actually do eat a meal. I just want to not feel so controlled by the hungry animal impulse, and usually drinking a glass of water does the trick for a while. So without further ado, here is my plan for the day:

Meal 1: 8am, breakfast quinoa – DONE

Meal 2: 11am, soy yogurt with banana – DONE

Meal 3: 1pm, lentils + sautéed veggies + apple – planned

Meal 4:  5pm, half sweet potato + spinach + almonds – planned 

Meal 5: 9pm, something healthy-ish at the restaurant + red wine – planned

– Even though its Wednesday (long day as an au pair), I will try to find time to squeeze in 50 squats and 20 pushups. Like, maybe right after posting this.

– I will take a moment to reflect on my accomplishments thus far, and I will try to be proud of myself for them.

Those are my small goals for today. I will let you know how it goes. I have plans to meet a friend for dinner and drinks tonight, but I will try to order something healthy and I will stick to a glass or two of red wine. No day is perfect, but I can still be strong.

Enough with collecting underpants. I want to be ready for Phase 2.

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Guilt. So much Guilt.

Oh dear… the guilt! I worried if this day would come, and it has.

A while ago, my host mom told me that if I ever felt like the food they eat at dinner time is too heavy or bad for my cholesterol, that I’m free to eat anything else. I was so relieved to hear this, as dinner time (as you may know if you’ve been following) is often the biggest struggle for me, since the meals are outside of my control and often cooked decadently and always with lots of love, and cheese. Saying no to my host moms meal often feels like I’m rejecting her love and appreciation for my work, so I ate what everyone else ate, and swallowed my guilt in the process. So when she showed some concern for my cholesterol and gave me the green light for a little bit of freedom during dinner time, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude. I still remained hesitant to take her up on this offer, but one day I asked if she would mind if I ate some quinoa and vegetables instead, and she was totally okay with it. Since then, I’ve managed to more often than not, eat my own food for dinner (usually I pre-make it during the day), thus being able to stay about 99% vegan for the past 2+ weeks.

But tonight, like the past few nights, I did the same – opted out of the croque monsieur (ham and cheese sandwich with butter on white bread) and ate my quinoa and veggies instead, and in the middle of dinner, my host mom jokingly, but kind of not, made a sad face and said, “C doesn’t eat my food anymore…” (C is me, obv) and she jokingly continued to pout, and I said, “Aww, that’s not true!” and two of the girls chimed in to help me out, one saying, “She ate some of your tabouleh tonight!” and the other eventually looked at her mom very seriously and said, “Mom, stop.”

And it was done.

The girls know, somewhat, that I’ve mostly stopped eating meat and dairy because last Wednesday when I made them their lunch, I made myself a salad and they asked why and I explained. But I haven’t had the heart to be straight forward with my host mom to tell her I’ve essentially stopped eating all the staples of her cooking and of the French diet in general, because I know how important food is to her. Food is her way of showing love, and holy Jesus, woman can COOK. Seriously I don’t know any better chef than her. So refusing her food is taken deeply personally, and I really don’t want to offend anyone.

I’m stuck in a strange place. I want to keep with my vegan streak, but more importantly I want to keep with my developing healthier lifestyle, but the relationships I build here are also important to me, and for better or worse, food is one way to build those relationships. I don’t want my host mom to think I don’t like her cooking (though I’ve complimented her many, many times) or that I think I’m above their food, because none of that is true. But expressing my desires to get healthier (and yes, lets face it, to lose a pound or two. Okay maybe 10 or 15) are beyond my abilities in this situation, or at least so it seems. I don’t want to bombard them with all of my nutritional research, so all I can do is just request to eat my own thing, and while I thought that was going well enough, apparently its not. It seems like opting for my health means hurting someones feelings, and that puts me in a sticky situation.

So, what to do? Do I try to eat more of her home-cooked dinners instead of my own, likely sacrificing quite a bit (and dealing with intestinal adventures the rest of the night), in order to keep a happy relationship with my host mom? Do I try to explain to her my food goals and hope that she understands without being offended? Do I continue doing what I’m doing and not let tonight bother me? Do I have any other options? On the “bright” side, I’m leaving in 6 weeks, back to healthy California, where this bizarre issue will be behind me. But until then, what do I do?

Thoughts would be greatly appreciated! I feel at a loss no matter what.

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Vegan day 2… and Oops, I got Instagram

Another accidental vegan day, and it feels oh so good. I know I had a shitty day yesterday, but I refused to let it haunt me today, so this morning I reminded myself of how crappy it felt to lose myself, and I set my intentions for the day: stronger than yesterday.

I didn’t do much in the way of exercise (I rationalized it as being my rest day before my race tomorrow), but I did stay on track of my food, and it wasn’t even hard and didn’t require too much thought or effort at all! Its amazing how being vegan for a day feels so effortless, and the days when I do consume animal products, at least in this past week, have been the days when I’ve felt most out of control. Not eating animals or animal products and thus having a whole foods, plant-based diet is amazingly liberating. It fits in with this post about being “free” from certain foods/behaviors, or saying “I don’t” instead of “I cant”. Once I tell myself “I’m free from consuming animals” or “I don’t eat dairy”, I don’t feel the same urge to cave in, give up, and eat a piece of ham or a yogurt. Instead I just use what I have and get a little creative, and it ends up tasting SO much more gourmet than a nasty ham sandwich or plain yogurt with sugar.

I didn’t plan on being vegan today. I haven’t really been trying to be vegan at all over the past few days/weeks. But it just ends up happening rather accidentally, because I don’t eat red meat (unless my host mom makes it) and I don’t drink milk (gives me a stomach ache) and rarely eat cheese (amazingly, I’ve never really liked it), and my host family never seems to have chicken or fish stocked up and ready to cook (only pork products, like lardons or ham), so I almost have no choice but to be vegan, or mostly vegan plus the occasional yogurt (which I still love). So really, it hasn’t been all that hard to have entirely vegan days – if I happen to make my own dinner that night, its really quite easy!

And like I said on Wednesday, I feel absolutely liberated by my food. I don’t feel out of control, I feel happy, I feel clean and healthy and light, I have energy, and I feel well fed. I’ve gotten all my nutrients, all of my protein, all of my vitamins and minerals… and no cholesterol, no saturated fat, and no guilt (of any kind). Its kind of amazing. I’m all about this!

Also… Um, yeah, I got Instagram. For this blog. I don’t have a personal one yet and I’ve been resisting for ages (this is a matter of pride, as a photographer)… but I did it. I caved. So, follow me on Instagram… “strongfitswell“. Duh. Also I have no idea how to use it so give me some time before I figure out how to follow you back.

So without further ado…my Instagrammed meals:

photo 2A surprise treat – passion fruit!

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Lunch was chickpeas, white beans, avocado, tomatoes, pine nuts, sesame seeds, olive oil. So good!

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Dinner consisted of quinoa with sautéed zucchini and onions, along with,

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… an open-faced “sandwich” – toasted whole wheat bread, spread avocados, tomatoes.

Breakfast was my usual oatmeal with protein powder, and snacks throughout the day were mixed nuts, prunes, and lots of fruit. I drank a TON of water (to be hydrated for my race tomorrow) and I got plenty of rest last night. I hope tonight I can get some good rest too.

I’m feeling so good right now. I hope tomorrow’s race goes well (though its supposed to rain!) and I hope the rest of this weekend can be somewhat as good as today and wednesday. I feel fabulous.

Oh also, I watched this informational video today (its about an hour long) about eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, and though it was a little cheesy at times, I actually really loved it and gained a lot of useful information and tips about developing a cleaner, healthier lifestyle. You should watch this!

I’m posting part 1 here, but there are 9 parts total, all easily available one after the other on YouTube.

 

I hope everyone has had a great day!

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Welp, There I Go Again…

So I guess this is how things work out for me… I have one fabulous day (yesterday) and, as if to maintain the natural order of things, I find myself today way too full and way too unhappy about it. Snack time consisted of a some nuts and an all-natural granola bar… not bad, right? Then I thought, “Hmm, maybe my body needs fiber…” so I ate a bunch of prunes, because “my body might need it.” Then, since I thought I was still hungry (I probably was just thirsty) or because I thought I hadn’t had enough vitamins for the day, I ate an orange. Still, healthy choices at least. And then, as I seem to do quite often, I started worrying that dinner tonight with my host family would not have enough protein or whatever other nutrients I thought I might need (this is all just my own rationalization to reduce my guilt about eating more more more before dinner) so I convinced myself that a yogurt, apricot preserves, and some granola would be just the thing. So I ate that too.

Now, I realize that all my choices have been fine as far as quality goes (oatmeal for breakfast, quinoa, veggies and avocado for lunch, fruits all day long, etc), but its the quantity that has me feeling full and embarrassed. To be honest, I wasn’t even hungry any more after the granola bar, but something inside of me just kept rationalizing more snacks, and “since they’re healthy, its okay to overeat, right?” I don’t know why I always find little excuses to do what I always do, but these habits need to stop. These little snack binges, no matter how healthy they are, ultimately are getting in the way of me seeing actual changes in my body. Like, for example, my pants not being tight. Why is it so easy to slip up from one day to the next? Did I (without realizing) exhaust all my willpower yesterday and am I in a deficit today? Is it because I lazied my way out of exercising this morning that I caved in a moment of weakness in the afternoon?

I need to figure out how to break these habits. I’m thankful that I have learned to at least eat mostly pretty healthy, even when I am “binging”, but its not just what I eat – its the lack of self control that really affects how I feel about myself. Or, perhaps, is it how I feel about myself that prompts these far-too-frequent snack binges?

TOO MANY QUESTIONS.

At the end of the day, losing weight is a numbers game. Calories in, calories out. Surely it’s not so simple – 500 calories of spinach is not the same thing as 500 calories of chips. And in that regard, I’d rather be binging on fruits and nuts than on chips and cookies (don’t worry, I do that too), but in the end, I need to learn self-control, so that food does not consume or define me. I want to remember days like yesterday, when food liberated me and I felt strong. And I want to minimize days like today, when I forget everything I have ever learned and lose myself along the way.

BUT HOW?

Does anyone out there have any CONCRETE tips or experiences to share? Encouragement is great. I love hearing “You got this!” “You’re strong and beautiful!” “Oh man, I know, I’ve been there. But every day is a new day!”… All of that is lovely. But days like today, all I want is practical advice. Like “don’t buy granola” (I wouldn’t if I had that freedom but I live in a kitchen that is not my own and the temptations of French indulgent eating are around me at all times) or “brush your teeth after eating” (I’ve tried this, with mixed results. If the binge is coming, the flavor of mint in my mouth won’t stop it).

So, I ask, in mild desperation… what can I do to gain more self control??

If you have the magic answer, please don’t be shy to share. I need it.

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Accidental Vegan For The Day

Without too much effort and almost without meaning to, today was an entirely vegan day. I feel amazing! I feel light, healthy, full of energy, happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. I really feel like today was the first time in a long time where I felt liberated by food – the thought of food didn’t consume me while I wasn’t eating, and while I was eating, I felt no anxiety whatsoever. I found myself eating slower, being more mindful, and really appreciating all the distinct flavors of my meals, instead of mindlessly shoveling things into my mouth, stressing over calories or nutritional value, and feeling anxious about whether or not my food was in some way controlling me. Today, I felt free.

I woke up without an alarm (I had the day off) and eased myself into my workout clothes when I finally felt ready. I went for a 4-mile run and threw in some sprinting intervals as well as some bodyweight exercises, similar to the ones featured in this recent post, and I felt powerful and strong the entire time. Slow, but strong. At one point, I had been looking forward to using the adult play structure to do some pushups and other exercises, but when I jogged up to it, I realized that as per usual, it was full of beefy guys, and no women. In America this would be somewhat intimidating, but in France it is so much worse. There is a distinct divide between men and women in most aspects of the culture, including exercise, so I felt immediately hyper-aware of my womanhood and my instinct told me to run away and work out in the privacy of my own home. But, as if sent by Hera (Greek goddess of women) through my headphones, this song came on and my attitude changed instantly:

I redirected my path and set straight for the bars to do some spiderman pushups and pull-ups and a few other exercises before doing one final, balls-out, full-speed sprint. I guess theres some part of me as a woman that feels the need to compete with the big boys when I’m in workout situations where my gender becomes very salient. I always tend to step up the intensity a bit, perhaps to prove to the beefy men that I’m not just some girl, and that girls can be tough too. I don’t know. I guess that’s how I deal with being the only woman in a group full of men flexing their cock muscles and eye-fucking each others’ biceps.

Anyway… I refueled with an enormous banana and some almonds, and later had my real breakfast of oatmeal, protein powder, and walnuts.

For lunch, I ate a quinoa-bulgur wheat mix with sautéed veggies (leftovers from yesterday) and half an avocado. My dessert was a few prunes.

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During my Parisian outing, I ate an apple, a banana, and some more almonds. And when it came down to have dinner, instead of going home for dinner with my host family, I bought a book and did a little search online for nearby vegan/vegetarian restaurants, and treated myself to a healthy, cozy dinner-for-one. I went to this restaurant called Le Grenier de Notre-Dame and I ordered the “formule”, mainly because it was the same price as any one dish, and I was hungry. For a starter, I ate a chickpea mush (I’m sure there’s a much prettier name for it) which was delicious and flavorful and was great for spreading on the whole wheat bread they gave me. My main dish was a mixed vegetable-brown rice-black bean dish, served with soy tofu, seaweed, and a salad. YUM. I ate the whole thing but didn’t feel overwhelmed. I still felt light, at least in spirit. For dessert, a warm vegan apple tarte with a few fresh apple slices. As I was reading while at dinner, I felt calm and relaxed around my food and I didn’t feel any urge to rush through my meal, which helped achieve that level of mindfulness that I mentioned earlier. Amazingly, when the dessert came around, I actually waited a minute or two before starting to eat it (because I was entrenched in my book) and then I only ate it in small bites, slowly, over 5 or 10 minutes. I felt so powerful, knowing that food didn’t have to control me! I’m really proud.

Eating vegan is actually way easier than it seems. It feels so good to eat so clean, and I know my body will thank me for days to come, not to mention my soul. This was such a great day and I’m feeling really happy about myself. I hope I can keep this up!

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Question for vegans out there: I am thinking about making dinner for my host family one night, and I’d ideally like to make something vegan, but I have no idea how to create a dinner-party-style vegan meal, and I wouldn’t know what to prepare. I want it to be impressive, so no one can find any reason to discredit vegan food, and I want it to be relatively easy, since I’m lazy and don’t want to spend all day cooking. Suggestions? Thoughts? Email or comment if you have any insight!!

 

 

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Lessons Learned

Yesterday I learned a few things. Or rather, re-learned.

Eating shitty feels shitty

– Eating well feels great

– I am stronger than I think I am

Let me explain.

I went to work and because I was in a rush in the morning, I didn’t have time to pack a lunch and was thus at the mercy of whatever everyone else was eating when lunchtime came around. Chinese food was ordered and I, slightly excited because of my AFD (Asian Food Deprivation) here in Paris, filled my plate up with whatever was offered: general chicken (i.e. deep-fried chicken bits, generally the worst parts of the chicken that really shoudln’t be eaten at all), some other saucy chicken-y thing, white rice, a fried shrimp egg roll, and a meat potsticker. There were no vegetables, so I ate little bits of onion mixed in the sauces. After a few bites, I already knew this meal was going to be a bad idea, but I was hungry and everyone was eating, and I couldn’t not eat it now, so I ate it, every bite causing my stomach to hurt a little bit more. By the end, my stomach was hurting so bad, I was bloated, and I felt sick. Likely there was nothing directly wrong with the food (meaning, it wasn’t food poisoning or anything like that), but I think my body just isn’t used to eating so much awful, unhealthy fried food, and it rebelled. I pretty much hated my life the entire rest of the day… I couldn’t walk up straight because of my stomach ache and I was so bloated that I had to wear stretchy leggings and lie in fetal position any chance I could. I felt AWFUL! (Even now as I write this, I still feel remnants of this shitty feeling). This was a very immediate reminder: EATING SHITTY FEELS SHITTY.

To compensate, I prepared myself some sautéed vegetables (onions, carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers, tomatoes) and some quinoa and set it aside for dinner. Every night, my host mom is in charge of dinner, but a few weeks ago she sweetly brought up my cholesterol and said that if I ever feel like the food they eat is too heavy or anything, that I am free to make myself something else for dinner too. I really appreciated her telling me this, though, perhaps because I’m shy, I only took her up on this offer once before last night, and even then I still ate some of what she had made. Last night, however, because I was feeling like death, I reminded myself that I do have more control over what I eat than what I realize, so I asked my host mom if she would mind if I ate some quinoa and veggies I made myself earlier, and she said “of course” (as in, of course I won’t mind), so thats exactly what I did. I added some salad and half an avocado to my meal, and felt satisfied and healthier than I had felt all day.

Eating clean just FEELS right, and there are no two ways around that. So, lessons learned, and learned, and learned again. And likely they will be learned again and again and again over time, hopefully improving each time these things come up. I am stronger than I think I am. I can make good choices if I want. I totally can.

 

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Lunch Time Improv

Most of the time, I’m just working with whatever is available in my house. I don’t have control over groceries so I usually just make whatever is as lean and clean and raw and healthy as possible, using the limited ingredients I have in my host family’s kitchen. The fridge usually is full of all sorts of dairy products (cheese, creme fraiche, sugary yogurts, etc) and red meat (usually different types of pork, like ham or lardons) so that moment when I open the fridge is usually a little disheartening. However, they tend to have carrots and zucchini always on hand, so whether I like it or not, I usually end up eating carrots and zucchini almost every day. As this post and maybe the next few will illustrate, my meals usually revolve around those items, sometimes with a little more variety depending on what I find that day. As for the other parts of my meal, if its available, I will make quinoa (a complete protein) and basically eat that plus veggies nearly every day for lunch. Or, if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll make egg whites with veggies. WATCH OUT.

It’s not exactly an exciting way to eat, but its better than having a heart attack in 30 years, right? And its also better than having pants that don’t fit right now. Anyway, food is fuel and thats it. Plain and simple.

I got lucky the other day and found some lentils, so I ate this lean little meal, packed with protein (from the lentils) and all types of wonderful vitamins and minerals from the veggies. Not to shabby, and a nice way to change up my routine.

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Paired it with an apple, and I was full, full, FULL for hours.

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Eating clean really isn’t that hard as long as there is something clean to eat. And to be honest, this meal was probably dirt cheap too. Since I didn’t buy the ingredients myself, I can’t give exact numbers, but how much can lentils, carrots, zucchini, and an apple really cost? Yeah, probably nothing. Probably less than anything less healthy, thats for sure. So really, being healthy should save you money, and of course, you know, save your life.

I’m in. Are you?

 

 

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Preparing to Fail

I may have quoted this before, but I keep thinking this in my head when I have days like today where I waste a bunch of time, and thus don’t accomplish all the things I wanted to accomplish, i.e. a decent workout. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

This is kind of how things end up happening for me…

I live abroad, so I stay up late (1, 2, sometimes 3 am) talking to friends and family back home and winding down from a long night of work (I end work at around 9pm). I don’t get much done on the internet late at night, but I can’t seem to convince myself to just turn my computer off and go to bed at a decent hour, because I feel like I need that time to disconnect from work before sleeping, and eventually the night gets past me. As a result, I wake up late the next day, usually feeling a bit of remorse for staying up late, but rarely enough to get me to bed earlier. I generally plan my eating and exercise around each other, such that I’ve eaten the right types of foods before and after exercise, giving myself enough time to digest properly before working out, but I somehow manage to get lost in whatever it is I’m doing, and my exercise tends to get pushed back, further and further, until I’m down to very little time before I have to shower and pick up the girls from school and thus start my work day. On days like today, since I woke up late, ate late (and too much, thus forcing me to wait even longer before I felt ready to exercise) and didn’t plan my time properly, I missed my workout entirely and felt shitty all afternoon because of it. My exercise was walking up and down the stairs a few times throughout the day and walking to the school to get the girls, and that was it. My body feels stale and tense and my brain isn’t functioning as I wish it would, and emotionally I’m not feeling as lively as I know I can… and what kind of way to live is that??

As far as food choices go, I think its all entirely related. Woke up late, felt anxious about it, ate a little too much for breakfast and with the first poor choice I made in the morning, I set the tone for the rest of the day. The moment I reached for a small handful of granola, I knew today would be difficult. Was it my knowledge of my upcoming “failures” that led me to “fail” (I don’t really like using the word “fail”, but I can’t think of another word to use…), or was it just an honest acknowledgment of my weaknesses in the hopes that I would overcome them? I don’t really know. But I knew I was setting myself up for trouble by making poor choices in the morning, and thus continuing that behavior all day long. It was a small handful of granola in the morning, and by 5pm, I had, over the course of the day, managed to eat several cookies, bread, granola, and all sorts of terrible nonsense, without even realizing it. Without my necessary exercise to raise my motivation and self awareness, I didn’t feel compelled to stop myself from my poor choices, and I spent all day with the mentality that I had already failed, so may as well continue to do so. Because I didn’t plan my meals, snacks, workout, and work schedule properly, I didn’t succeed in any of them and allowed the failures of one to hugely influence the behaviors in another. I know I didn’t eat enough protein today, which may have encouraged the constant snacking (because I didn’t feel adequately full or nourished by my food) and I know I ate too many carbs, which similarly did not keep me full long enough to feel satisfied. I allowed allowed myself to “fail” today by not being wise about my preparations for my day, by not setting intentions for the day, by not visualizing my goals, and by not weighing the consequences of my actions. I’m beginning to see the relationship between seemingly unrelated behaviors and how they are all actually very much interconnected in the definition of my life and of my self.

On a more positive note, I’d like to share some inspiration from a friend that recently sent me a picture to show me how they are preparing for success this week. Many people will praise the habit of preparing all/most of your meals for the week on Sundays (or whenever works best for you) so that you don’t have the excuse of not having enough time or not having the right ingredients to make good choices when all the stress of daily life comes at you during the week. Even if it doesn’t involve cooking entire meals, at least having vegetables chopped and meat pre-portioned can help save so much time when you are in a rush or getting home late and feeling lazy. I have always wanted to get into this habit, but living in my current au pair situation doesn’t allow me that flexibility. I was so pleased when I received these pictures from a friend who really made an effort to avoid failure this week.

photo (13)

A grocery basket full of clean, raw food. Nice!

photo (15)

They made 2 different dishes, full entirely of vegetables and lean protein. Looks delicious.

 I have to forgive myself for my mistakes today and use it as an opportunity to learn. I want to set my intentions for tomorrow and I hope you will all hold me accountable for them! I will wake up earlier than I did today and I will run 4 miles (my usual short run) first thing in the morning so that I don’t have an excuse later on in the day not to exercise. I know myself and I should have known this today, but I chose to ignore it: I need exercise in the morning, because I know I will get lazy later on in the day. By working out first thing each day, not only have I started the day on the right foot, but I’ve also gotten my workout out of the way and I don’t have to worry about it later. This routine works for me when I find the motivation to wake up early enough, but I have to remind myself “If its important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” I’m so tired of making excuses for myself! Tomorrow is a new day, and tomorrow, I’m grabbing that shit by the balls and doing what is best for me.

Fuck yeah.

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Eating Shitty Feels Shitty

So… remember how I said I would allow myself to indulge a little bit this weekend? Yeah, well, things got a little craycray and I ended up feasting as if this was my last weekend on earth.

Okay, not really, but kind of. Saturday my friend and I ate Laduree macaroons, aka a slice of God’s face, and for dinner we had the most delicious Basque meal, and I took a picture but I think it would be counterproductive to post it here, so just imagine a steaming dish of layered potatoes, ham, cheese, veal, cream, and pretty much everything in the world that your greedy little eyes desire. It blew my fucking brain, and later, it blew my fucking stomach and I kind of regretted it. But not really because it was delicious.

Follow that by a bag of sour gummy worms at the movie theater… WHY? I DON’T KNOW, because it “felt right” until all of a sudden it didn’t. My friend and I were stomach-aching all night long.

Sunday I told myself, today, I will be good. So I woke up and ate a bunch of potato chips and the rest of my candy as an appetizer to the eggs my friend and I were making for our “brunch”. I didn’t eat for the rest of the day because I felt like shit, naturally, until dinner time, when a different friend and I met up and had Indian food. LORD almighty.

(In my defense, I did run on both days!… Okay, yeah, thats a sad attempt at redeeming myself, but hey, it helped me sleep last night. Kind of. My stomach ache kept me up too much to be able to sleep.)

It is now Monday morning, and I am choosing actively to not feel any emotional regret or anxiety for this weekend, because I think I needed to go out and spend some fun, indulgent time with friends since I’m often cooped up here at home during the week, festering in my own loneliness. This weekend restored me in so many ways, and for that, I can never feel any remorse.

However, I do want to point out, mostly for my own sake but if you profit from this too, then the world is just a little bit better: Eating shitty makes you feel shitty. Eating well makes you feel well.

Why is this so hard for so many of us to grasp?

Eating shitty makes you feel shitty.

Eating well makes you feel well.

Do you ever remember a time when you ate too much, or ate something too rich, or too unhealthy? Sure you do because we’ve all been there. How did you feel afterwards? Did that fatty super grande burrito make you feel alive? Did the fast food make you feel smart, capable, and happy? Did that pizza make you feel like you could properly do your work or homework or any task at the best of your abilities? Fuck no!

On the other hand, whenever you’ve chosen the healthy option… a proper salad, some quinoa, salmon, etc… You knew you were at the top of your game. Life was your bitch and you were taking that shit for a damn walk in the park.

This morning, I feel kind of like I’m the little bitch getting walked. Last week, I was kicking ass, felt light, lean, and healthy, and my body functioned in the way I wanted it to. This coming week, I’m going to bring that energy back, because this stomach ache right now is really lame.

I need to remember this next time I’m stuffing my face… It just doesn’t feel good!! It tastes good, duh, but that goes away and all that remains is the grumbling in your stomach and the farts out your ass, and lets be honest here, who actually craves that?

***

Anyone that consistently eats healthy can attest to this mild little phenomenon which I like to describe as “clarity”… It’s when your brain, your body, your soul just feel clear, they feel centered, they feel whole and you feel like the best version of yourself that you always hoped you could be. If you’ve lived your whole life eating unhealthy then you won’t know what this feels like, but give yourself even a few days of healthier choices and you’ll already start to see the difference.

I had a friend who lived off of McDonalds and frozen pizza pretty much every day, and even though his diet and kitchen skills were merde (“shit” in French, in case you didn’t know), he was still fit and thin and he played tons of sports, which probably helped ease his guilt about his food choices. I weaseled my way into his life and convinced him to start eating healthier because it would improve his basketball game, and he reluctantly agreed, and, well, long story short: months later, after I had been ranting and raving about this “clarity” that he would feel if he ate better, he came to me one day and said, “I get it know.” He hadn’t eaten fast food or soda in a few months, and he had been slowly adding more greens, more lean protein, more water, and more fruit to his diet. Since his changes were slow (i.e. starting by just swapping one soda a day for a glass of water, until over a few weeks, he was barely drinking soda at all), he was able to really make true lifestyle changes that would stick with him, instead of reaching a burnout and falling back into his old ways. He said he finally understood that clarity that I always spoke about, and he couldn’t believe he had lived his whole life without it. Indeed, his basketball improved, his energy was up, he felt happier, quicker on his feet, his mind was sharper, and he hadn’t felt his stomach aches in months (he had learned over a lifetime of poor nutrition that stomach aches were just a normal part of eating). I want to convert more people to the dark side! Eating right just FEELS right, and when you start doing it, you’ll understand.

Moral of the story: Stop eating shitty shit, because you’ll just feel like shit!

A few quotes I like to remember:

“You are what you eat.”

and

“Eat like you give a fuck.”

The end. Now go eat a fucking apple.

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