To Cheat Or To Treat

Around five years ago when I wanted to start eating healthier and exercising more, I knew that, for me, I would need to have a meal or a day each week when I could eat something more indulgent. You see, as someone who struggles with over-eating and not eating the right things, I know that if I don’t indulge once in a while, I’m likely to slip and binge eat — a vicious cycle I was trying to rid myself of.

Enter the “cheat meal.” I’ve found over time that a cheat day is just too much for me, but a cheat meal allows me to eat something decadent while not ruining all the healthy meals and exercise from the week.

Lately, however, I realized I needed to change my tune even more.

Now, it’s a treat, not a cheat.

treat

As I’ve said, my relationship with food is a complicated one. To get to a place where I can think of food without thinking of words such as “guilt” or “bad,” I need to reconsider my view of food in general.

That’s why I choose to think about treat meals … my friend Sherri encouraged me to write this post after I said “treat” around her once and she told me how much she liked that term instead of “cheat.” Cheating has a bad connotation that I don’t want to relate to food. Food is something that nourishes me, gives me energy and strength. I don’t want to keep associating food with bad feelings. Instead, I want to think of it positively.

And that includes foods that may be higher in fat and calories, because as long as I am eating foods that are more nutritious and filling the bulk of the time, a treat doesn’t have to be seen as such a bad thing. If I generally eat a low-calorie, high-protein breakfast of something like a Special K breakfast sandwich followed by a snack of Greek yogurt and fruit, then to have a treat once a week or every other week — like my favorite cinna-stack pancakes at IHOP — then it doesn’t have to feel like a cheat. It doesn’t have to make me feel badly or guilty.

The words we use when we talk about food are just as important as the words we use to describe ourselves. All words with negativity need to go out the window.

If we want to repair our relationship with food and make it a healthy one, then we need to start with how we think and speak about food. It’s not an easy process — I still find myself thinking and saying, “This is so bad of me to be eating this.” But it will change with time.

So the next time you have a small indulgence — like a little ice cream or a slice of pizza — remember that it is a treat, not a cheat.

Do you find you use bad words, or think badly, during or after eating certain foods? How do you think that affects your relationship with food in general?

Posted in emotional eating, Food, Healthy Eating | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Fall Layering Is Your Friend

The weather here in Birmingham has been a little wonky — in the morning it will be in the 40s, but by late afternoon, we’re seeing temps in the 70s. And this week it will reach the 80s! It’s hard to know how to dress on fall days when the temperature swings so widely, but that’s what layering is for!

I’ve collected some looks that you can find on Modcloth.com — everything you see here is a mixture of plus and straight sizes and can easily be layered with additional undershirts for extra warmth, or you can take off the outer layer on warm afternoons. Here are links to their cardigans and sweaters so you can get cozy this season.

I used Polyvore to create these compilations. If you haven’t played around with Polyvore, you definitely should! It’s a fun way to “go shopping” from the comfort of your couch, and it can help you piece together looks without having to actually try them on.

Make sure you check these fun pieces out on Modcloth — almost every piece is under $100 and right now you can get $20 off a $100 order by joining their community.

On to the looks!

From Summer To Fall
I love this Simple To Foresee dress, available in regular and plus sizes, layered with a soft cardi and tough-girl leather jacket (also plus-size!). The boots tie everything together and I know, you’re thinking, plum and cranberry? Just say yes!

I love this Simple To Foresee dress, layered with a soft cardi and tough-girl leather jacket. The boots tie everything together and I know, you're thinking, plum and cranberry? Just say yes!

Hearts & Plaid
Mustard is one color I cannot get enough of & hope to include in my own wardrobe more often. Mixing it with cranberry is a no-brainer, as is mixing a sweet heart-patterned blouse with plaid tights. This full skirt — available in plus — is to-die-for.

Hearts & plaid

Shades Of Gray
I’m really loving all the plaid that we’re seeing in the stores this season, so why not pair a classic bright red plaid (this dress is plus-size!) with shades of black and gray to make it less girly-girl and more grown-up? If you need an extra layer, the classic black turtleneck would look chic with this dress. The coat, also plus-size, has that Scandal-esque gladiator feel, and booties with cutouts are top on my “must-have” list right now.

shades of grayGraphics & Cranberry
Clearly cranberry, garnet, deep red — whatever you want to call it, I want it this fall! These boots set off any black-and-white ensemble, especially one with a fun graphic T and geometric-patterned cardigan. These leggings are plus-size and look very chic.

Graphics & Cranberry

Hues Of Fall
Complement dark skinnies with tan booties, a blush blouse and cranberry jacket, then add a pop of another shade with a forest green scarf. Get cozier by layering on a dark brown cardigan with this look. Gold jewelry is my top-pick for this fall — it shines bright with the darker colors and adds that extra sparkle we see in the autumn trees.

Hues of Fall

Posted in Accessories, Clothes, Fashion, Shoes, Shopping, Style | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Healthy Reads & Inspiration

This Sunday I want to tell you about a book I’ve been reading off and on for a few months now: “What Are You Hungry For?” by Deepak Chopra.

deepak chopra

Here is part of the book’s summary via Amazon.com:

What are you hungry for? Food? Love? Self-esteem?  Peace? In this manual for “higher health,” based on the latest findings in both mainstream and alternative medicine, Deepak Chopra creates a vision of weight loss based on a deeper awareness of why people overeat — because they are trying to find satisfaction and wind up using food as a substitute for real fulfillment. Repudiating the failed approaches of crash dieting and all forms of deprivation, Chopra’s new book aims directly at the problem of finding fulfillment. When that problem is solved, he argues, normal eating falls into place automatically, and the entire system of mind and body achieves what it really desires.

So far I’m really enjoying the book, and I would recommend it to anyone who feels they have a poor relationship with food and if you over-eat at times. I think the way Chopra explains how our brain processes our desire for food is right on. He preaches the necessity of “awareness,” which is also on point:

Awareness is the key to weight loss, once you train yourself to notice the natural signals present in the body at any moment. It takes times and repetition to cause long-term imbalances to shift, but they will. You are the choice-maker who can create any change you desire.

I LOVE the idea that we are the choice-makers. We are in control of what we eat and how much we eat. The choice is ours, and we just need to learn to become aware of those choices and how they will affect our bodies and our health.

If you’re looking for a good read to help you become more aware of why you’re over-eating, I’d highly recommend this book (and I thank my friend Kavi for recommending the book to me!). I’ll continue to share insights that I gain as I finish reading this book.

Here are a few inspirational thoughts to start off your week. Have a good one!

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Posted in Fitness, Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Weight-loss | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lessons On Being 35

It’s been 11 days since my last post! Oops! Sorry for that little busy-week, birthday-weekend hiatus! I left late last week for a trip with my husband to Massachusetts to visit family and had a wonderful time celebrating my 35th birthday.

Wow! 35. I keep saying that I really just turned 34 again, but alas, that is not true. I am 35. And 35 used to be my “scary age.” All throughout my 20s I always looked at 35 as this important age. Like the age when I needed to have it all together. When all my ducks should be in a row, and I should know exactly what I want out of my career, my relationships … I should have my health and weight and all that worked out, too.

Well, clearly that’s not the case! But you know what? It doesn’t worry me. Not really. I have moments when certain things keep me up at night. But for the most part, it’s hard to deny how blessed I am. I have a wonderful husband who I just married in front of an amazing group of family and friends who love and support me every day. I have a beautiful home and a fun and engaging job to go to every day. And I have growth opportunities to challenge myself with to become more well-rounded, more fit, more healthy and get involved in my community. There’s not a lot more that I could ask for!

I’m happy that I’m at the stage in life when “little things” are starting to matter less and less. And by “little things,” I mean the things that used to plague me in my teens and 20s. Like pleasing everyone. Man, I still struggle with this sometimes. But I’ve come to realize that people aren’t as easily disappointed in me as I think they might be. In fact, other people don’t concern themselves with me as much as I think they do … obviously, they have their own concerns! So I worry less about pleasing other people. I worry less about how people will look at an outfit I’m wearing, or if I decide to decline an invitation to do things. It’s becoming easier for me to say no to some things and yes to others.

I’m also at a stage where I think, I hope, I’m becoming less shy about going after what I want. I am spending more time identifying the things that are important to me and my desire to work toward those things continues to grow … but most importantly, my confidence that I can actually attain those things is pretty high! I still have that self-doubt that creeps in from time to time, but I’m having an easier time talking myself out of that mindset.

So what does all of this mean? What does turning 35 mean to me? I guess it means that it’s time to throw myself into being me, going for what I want out of life, and not limiting myself. Rather than “starting” to be OK with this stuff, I need to just be OK with it! It’s a learning experience and something to work on, but learning to simply be seems like a great way to start off 35.

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Where I’m At: Weigh-in, Eats & Exercise

I’m happy to report good news! After months, actually more like a year, of being stuck at basically the same number on the scale, stuck eating the same thing and doing the same exercises, something finally clicked. I’ve made some changes and finally, finally, I’m seeing some success again.

In the last few weeks I’ve lost about 4.4 pounds! Every time I find myself saying to myself, “Oh, it’s only 4.4 pounds. I still have a long way to go.” I remind myself what just 5 pounds feels like. When was the last time you picked up a bag of flour? Pretty heavy, right? Well, that’s 5 pounds.

5513c7a3ec4356d569816fba485c1e1fSo I’m feeling pretty good, and feeling like what I’ve been eating and doing for exercise lately is sustainable, which means hopefully success will continue as weeks go by.

What I’m Eating: I’ve written about this recently, and my diet really hasn’t changed. I’m still eating a Special K breakfast sandwich for breakfast, followed by Greek yogurt with flaxseed as a snack. Lunches vary. I try to eat mostly veggies and protein, such as my favorite Chipotle salad bowl. But on occasion I have had a Mexican meal or two that has been more carb heavy. I’m working on that! My afternoon snack is almost always an apple with a Nutella mini cup (or two).

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If I’m a little extra hungry, I have one of my Graze snacks. Dinners are usually protein (lately a pork chop, chicken breast or small steak) plus a vegetable and sometimes a small serving of rice or a sweet potato. And I usually do have dessert — either grapes or a Skinny Cow treat.

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My Exercise Routine: I’ve been trying to vary my workouts, but I’m still walking and/or running a lot. I’ve been adding in circuit-type workouts that include a lot of jump roping in between exercises such as planks, crunches, push-ups, squats and other moves. My friend found these workouts at Way of Gray and her workout plan is just $10. I think it’s definitely worth the money! And, as I wrote about before, I’m also doing a weightlifting class at Inspire Fitness that I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot at.

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During the next couple weeks I want to add in something like kickboxing and Zumba for extra cardio, and maybe a Body Pump class or two.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’m pleased to be losing a pound or so each week so far!

It’s important for me to state that I’m not a nutritionist or personal trainer, so what works for me may not work for everyone. Please don’t follow what I’m doing exactly without considering your own abilities and needs with your own doctor or experts.

But I do welcome any questions and advice!

I want to know: What combination of cardio/strength training works for you? Do you do each form of exercise a certain number of days each week? And what are your go-to snacks during the day?

Posted in exercise, Fitness, Health, Healthy Eating, Running, strength training, Walking, Weight lifting, Weight-loss, Workouts | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Things That Are On My Mind

1. I made a big blogger faux pas last week when I mistakenly forgot to tell y’all about the remaining days of a great way to give to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society by purchasing shiny baubles from Stella & Dot. My apologies to Tracy James who organized the event in memory of her lovable dog, Rufus. Go to her site now to check out her review of her favorite Stella & Dot pieces, which you can purchase through Jerry Lasuer, who participated in the trunk show for this great cause. And do consider giving to the Humane Society! They do so much for our furry loved ones.

Here are a few of the Stella & Dot pieces that I have my eye on right now:

I would love this necklace with my new initials!

via Stella & Dot, $69

via Stella & Dot, $69

And the Rebel necklace is the perfect basic silver necklace.

via Stella & Dot, $79

via Stella & Dot, $79

2. I’m having a love affair with ’90s music after writing the post on ’90s Girl Grunge fashion. I tuned into the Bush station on Pandora and rocked out to “Everything Zen,” “Nevermind” by Nirvana and, my favorite, “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis.

3. I got a Torrid $10 coupon for my birthday (which is next week!), and I can’t stop dreaming of the fun clothes I could buy! I really want this garnet-colored top:

via Torrid, $44.50

via Torrid, $44.50

And these straight-leg pants for work:

Torrid, $58.50

via Torrid, $58.50

4. My eating habits have been pretty steady for the last three weeks or so, and that makes me so happy! I had a couple treats this past weekend, and one the weekend before, but overall, my daily diet has been on point. My favorite snack right now? Still a crispy golden delicious apple with a Nutella mini cup or two! And red grapes. We’ve been eating them for dessert some nights!

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5. I am dying to see “Gone Girl,” and I can’t wait for my movie date with friends this Saturday! I read the book a while ago, and I while I loved the intrigue and the mystery, I had a really hard time because I hated the characters. Like, really, really loathed them both, which is unusual because usually there’s a character you root for. Not with this book. But I do highly recommend it! Just be prepared to feel … differently … than with most books. And I’ve heard that Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike give amazing performances in the movie, so I can’t wait to see them bring Nick and Amy to life.

GoneGirlFincerSpecialShoot

What’s on your mind lately? Any fun fashions or jewelry you have your eye on? What movies are you waiting to see this year?

Posted in Accessories, Books, Clothes, Fashion, Food, Healthy Eating, movies, Music, plus-size, pop culture, Shopping, Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fashion Flashback : ’90s Girl Grunge

I recently came across an article on Elle.com about the story behind Corey Mason’s outfit in one of my favorite movies, “Empire Records.” It got me thinking about my fashion influences when I was younger, and I realized two women were definite icons for me back then: Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler.

26bc3dff41a689967ffe526f0c916870 It all started with those Aerosmith videos. “Cryin'” and “Crazy.” I listened to those two tracks over and over and over. And I watched the videos again and again, too.

Soon, every girl I knew wore those floral dresses with the spaghetti straps with a baby T underneath. And the corset-style shirts that I saw at school were, luckily, a bit longer than this one!39a88a470c7e43938f11c5d906b8a89c

Flannel shirts over — what else — a baby T was all the rage, and everyone tried to copy this outfit that Alicia wore when getting her belly button pierced:

cryin

Alicia and Liv’s influence continued from 1993 when these videos came out, to 1995 when two iconic movies were released: “Empire Records” and “Clueless.” I’ve seen each movie dozens of time, and I love them both.

The most iconic look from both movies? The plaid skirt, of course.

cf79c5d2fc5f0ba92ea3183ebee8275c

clueless-whatever-edition-20050909053729908-000In Liv’s case, the combat boots took her outfit to a wanna-be tough-girl level. For Alicia, it was Mary Janes with the knee-high socks.

cher

And of course, we all wish we had Cher’s automated closet!

Clueless-Cher-Closet

What other ’90s movies influenced your fashion style back then? Do any other actresses come to mind as icons of that time?

Posted in Accessories, Clothes, Fashion, movies, Music, pop culture, Style | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments