Healthy Reads & Inspiration

This week, I only have a couple articles for you because I have a lot to say about both of them. So, let’s get started.

NYTimes.com: Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls
Well, shit. This is what certain people have been telling me for a long, long time: Diet Coke is the devil. I’m still trying to kick this habit (again), and I probably won’t ever give it up forever. I’ll always want one now and then. But by and large, it really is time to recognize the damage artificial sweeteners seem to do to our bodies. I will admit that I do feel hungrier on days that I’ve had Diet Coke … that desire for an afternoon snack is much, much more pronounced. But this study that shows that mice that consumed artifical sweeteners “developed marked intolerance to glucose,” that actually scares me. And then there’s the study they did on humans: “For 381 nondiabetic participants in the study, the researchers found a correlation between the reported use of any kind of artificial sweeteners and signs of glucose intolerance.” The danger with glucose intolerance is that it, as the article states, “may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes.”Wow. Well, there’s the only reason you need to stay away from artificial sweeteners! To find out that consuming artificial sweeteners — which are/were supposed to be better for us than real sugar —contributes to something that can cause diabetes is aggravating because I’m sure we all thought we were doing something better for ourselves than drinking real Coke. But this is definitely an eye-opener.

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WashingtonPost.com: Women’s greatest threat isn’t misogyny, it’s counting calories
I’m not sure how I missed this article, which was published a couple of weeks ago, but I’m sure glad I found it. The author’s story of how she battled her own eating disorder is really touching, and her point that women spend more time thinking about how they look as opposed to, say, saving the world, is startingly accurate, in my opinion. I myself spend too much time thinking about my weight, calories, exercise, etc., when I could be working on my career or doing something good for others. But forget my trivial brain, Vanessa Garcia makes a much more compelling and important argument that not only are we spending too much brain power on counting calories, we’re actually losing women to this plight. As Garcia states in the article:

In a 2008 survey by SELF magazine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 75 percent of women reported disordered eating patterns, 37 percent regularly skipped meals to lose weight, and 26 percent cut out entire food groups.

It saddens me that we would feel so strongly, or that society has made us feel this strongly, about our own appearance that we’ve developed these unhealthy attitudes about food and our bodies, so much so that it’s holding us back in our lives. As Garcia points out:

We can’t close gender gaps when we spend endless hours counting calories instead of cracking glass ceilings.

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What did you think about these articles? Anything interesting that you read this week?

Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Confidence, Fitness, Health, Healthy Eating, Weight-loss | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Where I’m At: First Week, No Counting Calories

About four days ago I decided to stop counting calories and venture into the world of “mindful eating.” Some of you are probably wondering how I did and, I’m happy to say, it’s been a great week!

First, right off the bat, let me tell you that I haven’t weighed myself yet. And I may not for another week or so. Why? Well, partly because of the time of the month we’re in and partly because I don’t really care what the scale says. And let me tell you why: I feel good. I know I’ve made good eating choices this week, and I’ve exercised a ton, so rather than let that number confirm or dispel those good feelings, I just want to let them be. And, honestly, I want to enjoy it. It’s not very often that I feel confident in the choices I’ve made for my body and my health, but this week, I do.

Let’s start with the eating, since that’s always the hardest for me. Some of you may have seen the photo on Instagram of my first day of not counting calories. This is pretty much what my entire week looked like: Special K breakfast sammie, yogurt with berries and ground flaxseed, some form of taco salad for lunch, an apple with Nutella for a snack, and a light dinner, followed by a Skinny Cow treat for dessert.

photo food

Now, what can I do better? Lunches, for sure. I’m happy with the Chipotle salad bowl because it’s filling and satisfied me until my late-afternoon snack. But I had two lunches this week that were too carb-y, so I need to work on that. The other thing is my after-dinner snack. I had these Skinny Cow treats and, since mama doesn’t have a money tree in her backyard, I went with them this week. I plan to have a healthier, less-processed snack on-hand for next week. I may still have my Skinny Cows now and then, just not every night.

The other thing I can work on: more water. This seems to be an ongoing thing with me. It’s not that I don’t drink a TON of water, because I do! But my body seems to always crave more! I can feel it. And it’s probably from the working out … which leads me to …

I kicked ASS this week!

Now, this is my kind of ass kicking. It may not be as tough or as intense as some of your workouts, but it was just a good, solid week of doing something every day that I felt good about.

Monday: 4-mile walk/run on Lakeshore
Tuesday: 5:45 a.m. high-intensity workout with my friend at the gym (more on this in an upcoming post!)
Wednesday: 2-mile walk around my neighborhood
Thursday: 2-mile walk around Highlands neighborhood prior to a deadlifting class at Inspire Fitness (which was awesome! I am totally feeling it today, in a good way!)

So that was my week. I can honestly say that, while I still have some hesitation about not counting calories, and I find myself calculating them in my head some, I am feeling good about this. It’s like somehow I am more conscious of  what I’m eating, and how much, and not just overly consumed by the number of calories. That is what I wanted — to focus more on whole foods, healthy proteins and veggies and fruit.

Here’s a prime example. Yesterday I had run out of apples. I had spent all.dang.day. in our photo archive room moving files from one cabinet to another (much more physically active than my normal day!), and all I could think about was a crunchy, yummy apple and with that mini packet of Nutella as an afternoon snack. The thought that I could just eat one of my Graze snacks (which I did later before weightlifting, anyway), or that I could poach a coworker’s crackers or something had no appeal to me whatsoever. I  wanted that apple.

Conclusion? Maybe I’m starting to crave things that are better for me! Granted, this is day five. I’m under no illusions that I’ve changed my appetite completely or anything. But I was proud of myself for getting those apples at lunchtime and preparing ahead for that afternoon snack in a healthy way!

What strides did you make this week to eat healthier and exercise more? How do you feel about operating off of how you feel, versus the number on the scale?

Posted in Fitness, Healthy Eating, Food, Weight-loss, Health, exercise | 1 Comment

A New Week, A New Plan

It’s a new week, and I am so thankful that I can start the week fresh each Monday. It’s kind of cliche, especially in the world of weight-loss, to talk about Mondays being a fresh start, because of course that’s usually when people start a new eating plan or diet regimen.

And I guess I’m no different.

You know from my post last week that I’ve been growing tired of counting calories. And, to be honest, it hasn’t been working for me. If I look back over the last year, I’m in exactly the same place that I was last September. And, sadly, the September before that.

I don’t want to get too down about that because the last two years of my life have been some of my happiest. I’ve accomplished things that I’m proud of, and even though I weigh the same, my outlook on life, my healthy habits and my feelings about my body have all been more positive.

Nevertheless, it’s time for a change. It probably won’t be too dramatic or noticeable to the people who see me every day. Though I am trying to choose better foods, foods that will keep me fuller longer and add nutritional value. But once in a while I will still have a Skinny Cow treat after dinner and I plan to have a treat on Saturdays.

I plan for these treats as a way to keep myself from going overboard. I had a rough end of the week last week where I was tempted to over-indulge a few times. I didn’t fight it off completely, and I know the desire to binge is there when emotions build up. So I will have to be strong in those moments and enjoy a treat once a week to hopefully stave off the desire to binge.

But the rest of the week I’ll focus on more protein, less carbs, more fruits and veg, and more water. I have a feeling that, as usual, I will do pretty well throughout the week and weekends will be more of a challenge. But with better preparation — healthier snacks at the ready — I will do OK.

The biggest change is I’m not going to count calories. I’m not going to feel guilty if, in order to feel satisfied, I want to munch on some extra carrots or an apple. Or if I want to make a yogurt parfait after dinner, with granola and berries, I will enjoy it, knowing that all the elements are good for me.

I will still measure, because I am nervous that I’ll get out of hand. But I won’t count each and every calorie that I consume.

What I will do is share more of what I’m eating via pics on Instagram and Twitter. However, I ask that any criticism is constructive. We all have different bodies and different needs. I’m all for advice and tips, which I welcome wholeheartedly! But leave your judgments at the door.

I’m going to try this approach for one week and see where it leaves me. I’ll decide next Monday if it’s something I can or want to continue with, or if the comfort of counting calories is necessary for me.

Wish me luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Healthy Reads & Inspiration

The end of this past week was rough for me. I tend to get bad headaches when storms move in, so that wasn’t fun. And I was really busy, with fun stuff, thankfully! But busy. So you know I’m looking forward to doing a little bit of #lazySunday reading. Besides continuing to read “#girlboss,” I found a few great reads to share with y’all, too!

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HellaWella.com: Maximize nutrition, minimize cost: A guide to eating healthy & cheap
Great tips in this article!

Health.com: 7 Workout Habits You Should Drop Now
I thought No. 1 was interesting and a little unexpected, and I am definitely guilty of Nos. 2 and 4.

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NYTimes.com: A Sleep Sweet Spot
This made me glad that I get seven to eight hours of sleep most nights!

Vogue.com: Anna Wintour on Brooklyn, the Rumors, and the One Thing She Will Never Wear
OK, so this isn’t a health-related article, or necessarily inspirational, but y’all know I love fashion and as a journalist, I am loving the 73 Questions interviews on Vogue.com. They’re brilliant! And of course I was excited for an inside look at Anna. Her unauthorized biography “Front Row” is also fabulous, if you want a deeper look at her life.

HellaWella.com: A Q&A with the authors of “The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook”
This cookbook is an interesting concept! I like the idea of knowing the calories in a dessert so you can aim to burn it off at the gym. However, it may also lead me to be even more obsessed about calculating numbers!

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Have you read any good health-related articles lately?

Posted in Fashion, Health, Healthy Eating, Weight-loss, Workouts | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Pinterest Recipe Wins

I know you’ve seen those funny collections about Pinterest fails — this one happens to be one of my favorites from Buzzfeed.com — but I have some Pinterest wins for you today!

I have made the following recipes over the past few months, and I’m happy to say that they will remain in my recipe box for a while!

Let’s start with the recipe I made on a whim last night: Amish Cinnamon Bread. I was in the mood to bake, but I didn’t have anything I needed for cookies or brownies or cake … but I had cinnamon! So this recipe seemed perfect … until it almost wasn’t. I grabbed a set of what I thought were measuring spoons, but turned out to be scoops for cupcakes from Wilton:

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Assuming the large one was 1 cup, I went to work on the recipe, realizing when I got to the flour that, oops, these aren’t measuring cups at all! Thankfully I was able to figure out how much one scoop measured out to be, and make up the difference. And the recipe turned out perfectly! The crispy cinnamon-sugar topping is delicious and the bread, with the cinnamon-sugar swirled throughout, is light and fluffy.

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Second, and possibly my favorite recipe of the bunch: Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue. Slow cooker recipes just couldn’t be easier, which is why I love them, but when I read the ingredient list for this one, I though, “Really?” But trust me, the chicken, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and Italian dressing comes together and just works. I used a honey barbecue sauce, and it worked perfectly.

Next, these amazing Roasted Sweet Potatoes. The first time I made these, I followed the recipe exactly (though I didn’t have any ginger, so I’ve never included that ingredient when making these), peeling the skin off the potatoes and all. The second time around, I left the skin on when I cubed the potatoes and they tasted just as amazing. The sweet potatoes reminded me of what we make on Thanksgiving, only this was a quick-and-easy way to make them!

If you’ve known me for a while IRL, then you know that I’m new to the land of fish. I didn’t grow up eating it, so as an adult I am learning to eat it more often and, therefore, learning to cook it.

I bought a bag of frozen tilapia at Publix, which I thought was a good bargain — six fillets for about $12, I believe. The fillets are on the small side, but I thought it was still plenty for a serving for dinner. I tried this recipe and loved it: Baked Tilapia. I didn’t have dill or basil, so I just left that out, and I used lemon instead of lime. The lemon flavor made the fish bright while the other spices made it savory. A winner in my book!

via deliciouslythin.com

via deliciouslythin.com

And finally, these potatoes. I mean, seriously. I’ve always loved a roasted potato, but when I saw the recipe said to add Cheddar cheese? Um, OK! I know, I know. Not exactly healthy. But balance it out with lean meat and veggies and consider it a treat. Because these Easy Spicy Roasted Potatoes are amazeballs.

Have you made any yummy recipes from Pinterest lately that succeeded? Any that failed?

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7 Fun Flats For Your Feet

Aahh … alliteration. Makes me so happy!

But I digress.

If you’ve seen me in-person in the past three years, you’ve probably noticed that I practically live in flats. Flat sandals, ballet flats, flat boots. Ever since I started running, my feet just can’t handle high heels for a long time. So most days, I wear flats. In fact, here’s the post about the flats I had my eye on last fall. I guess you can say I’m a flat lover!

But my collection of flats is starting to bore me. I have one or two pairs that are special — purple suede loafers adorned with silver spikes? Those are some funky flats. All too often, however, I tend to gravitate toward my plain black ballets … yawn.

When I decided I wanted to spice up my footwear choices, I immediately turned to ModCloth. Also my favorite for fun dresses, this website has a selection of flats that are girly, humorous and on-trend. (Hello, oxfords! Yes, they’re still winners in my book.)

So here are 7 pairs of ModCloth flats that I am dying to purchase.

Liverpool Party Flats, $45

Liverpool Party Flats, $45

1. This pair is #1 on my list because I love everything British. I lived in London for a few months in 2006, and the city was one of the stops on my honeymoon. So if there’s a British flag on it, sign me up!

Readily Reliable Flats in Leopard, $47

Readily Reliable Flats in Leopard, $47

2. Leopard? Yes, please! I doubt I’ll ever stop loving this print, and rocking these with skinny jeans or a black pencil skirt sounds perfect for fall.

Red, White and Blues Dance Flats, $51

Red, White and Blues Dance Flats, $51

3. These shoes are so sweet, and they do make me want to go dancing! I think they’d look great with leggings under a dress or, again, just jeans!

Thank You Very Smooch Flats, $34

Thank You Very Smooch Flats, $34

4. I’m not sure why, but next to the first pair on this list, these just feel like me! I want to wear them to work. Every day.

Real Go-Glitter, $30

Real Go-Glitter, $30

5. Sparkly dress, glittery shoes, let’s party! Or, simply brighten your work day. I say glitter is a “Do” anytime!

Swoonful of Sugar, $35

Swoonful of Sugar, $35

6. These oxfords really do make me swoon! Love the girly lace detail and the color will go with everything. I’m thinking a floral print top and midi skirt.

Smiling Gear to Ear, $55

Smiling Gear to Ear, $55

7. I mean, seriously. How can you not want sweet robots on your feet? Shoes are meant to be fun!

What pair of these flats did you like most? Where do you shop for great-looking flats?

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Healthy Reads & Inspiration

I’m back for another Sunday of chillin’ and readin’. Hope you like this week’s picks!

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HellaWella.com: Think before watching: Action movies can make you stuff your face
I totally get the theory behind this! Makes total sense.

Women’s Health: 3 Nutrients That Fight Cravings
After reading this, I immediately thought that I need to add some of these foods to my grocery list!

Women’s Health: 7 Weight-Loss Tips That Are Actually Totally False
I was surprised by some of these because I have definitely tried to follow some of these tips!

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Roni’s Weigh: I’ll Never Be Thin Enough For Her
I sent the author of this blog a Tweet after reading this post because I felt everything she said here was just so true and so powerful. It’s a shame we allow ourselves to feel this way, even after achieving such great success with weight loss.

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HuffingtonPost.com: 4 Signs You Need To Take A Mental Health Day
I think we underestimate the need for a mental break, sometimes. This article had some great points!

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Bustle.com: 6 Easy Tricks To Become A Faster Runner
I especially liked the tip about focusing on your posture. I definitely need to work on this!

New Yorker: Why Walking Helps Us Think
My favorite article of the week — I love that walking helps spur creativity! This passage is my favorite:

When we choose a path through a city or forest, our brain must survey the surrounding environment, construct a mental map of the world, settle on a way forward, and translate that plan into a series of footsteps. Likewise, writing forces the brain to review its own landscape, plot a course through that mental terrain, and transcribe the resulting trail of thoughts by guiding the hands. Walking organizes the world around us; writing organizes our thoughts.

Did you read any great articles about health this week? Any words of inspiration you’d like to share?

Posted in Body Image, Fitness, Health, Healthy Eating, mental health, Running, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments