Nutrition Humor – PB

There’s something about peanut butter. The jars of the chocolate powdered PB2, Peanut Wonder and Nutzo didn’t stand a chance once they made it to my kitchen cabinets. It was so ridiculous (as in, I was taking in way too many calories and fat to maintain what I had, and completely mindlessly) that I had to seriously – with massively-concerted effort – reevaluate.

If I didn’t restrain myself, I would eat a jar a day easy.  

Horrifying.

It came down to not buying it to begin with because I could NOT be trusted. I wouldn’t purchase a single jar until I:

  1. Learned self control, which meant…
  2. Learned to be TOTALLY honest with myself – it’s a slippery slope when it’s you against you!
  3. Developed the willpower of the Gods 

I may not be actually be able to eat ice cream, so the catchy commercial tune falls flat on me. But peanuts and I get along rather nicely.  

Maybe too nicely.

Maybe it’s better if you just hand yours over. . . 

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10 Tips To Feel Full – Yes, Really! (Because Hangry Is Horrible!)

Feeling hungry – or getting to the point of “hangry” – is terrible for everyone. There ARE ways – yes, really! – to maximize fullness and avoid the pitfalls of poor-choice snacking.  It does take some commitment, but it isn’t so difficult that it can’t be achieved (with minimal, if any, pain, I promise.)

I struggle with snacking too – I’ve always liked eating a lot of food, so I’ve learned some tricks to keep me on track, without the starving feeling of a “diet” (I don’t actually believe in the “D word” to begin with.)  The point is to set yourself up for success, not disaster.  Binges?  been there.

#1. . . H2O

Water is essential for SO many reasons, and I guarantee that most of us aren’t getting as much as we need. When you feel thirsty, it’s usually too late.  Incidentally, in effort to get the hydration it needs, sometimes you’re sent a “hungry signal” when in fact it’s the body and brain’s way of saying “need fluid asap!”

How to make it work: Always drink water before you eat.  You WILL get a stronger feeling of fullness.  In some cases, too much water at once might make you feel sick…so go easy and give your body a chance to adjust.  Sip your water first and you’ll likely notice you don’t need to eat that whole, huge portion.

#2. . . SLOW DOWN!

Eating too quickly is a surefire way to A.) eat more than you need and, B.) leave you feeling overly full.  Stomach aches are NEVER good! Slowing the pace can make a huge difference – you will feel that “fullness” when it’s time to stop.  The body has been designed to work like a highly-tuned machine – it knows before the brain does sometimes.  Trust it.

How to make it work: Take a bite and put your utensil down.  Sound basic? It is.  But try its because it helps.  Eat a little, put your fork down, and give yourself a chance to chew and enjoy the food.  

Feeling full!?

#3. . . Fruits and Veggies

Portions M A T T E R.  These nature-made goodies are easily found, not expensive, and are one of the best ways to add bulk to your meals (not to yourself!), while also adding a dose of H2o goodness and nutrients.  Veggies in particular are my go-to for making meals a lot BIGGER than they really are without adding a ton of calories (e.g. . .or to my waistline, which can happen when I’m not careful.  Thanks, meso-endo body type!)

How to make it work: Add an extra serving of steamed vegetables as a side for your meal, or add them to it (for example, soup or pasta) to make a larger, and more filling portion. Fresh fruits are also great (and a better choice than their deliciously dried counterparts) to add to things like yogurt, cereal, or even frozen yogurt for a treat.

#4. . . Distract yourself and stay mindful

Are you *really* hungry?  Or just bored?  I have a habit of wanting to eat when I’m not busy (working on the computer, watching something on tv etc.)  Bad news, because then I look for more food to snack on…

How to make it work: It’s okay to snack here and there but if you are not mindful of what you are doing, you’ll probably go overboard (it’s easy – portions aren’t really that big!) If you absolutely *must* snack while doing something else, portion it out and remind yourself to (#2) slow down. If you are simply eating because you are bored, find another way to distract yourself to get that “I’m not hungry but I want to eat” out of your mind.

#6. . . Pre-Portion

Having some options at the ready is always a great idea, especially when they are portioned out already.  You dont’ need to buy crappy snack packs, you can make your own (hummus with veggies, popcorn in portioned bags, fruit salad etc.)

How to make it work: Have some pre-portioned items in your pantry or fridge for when you need them.  Stay mindful and remember they are portioned for a reason.  If you savor what you are having, you don’t need to eat three portions of it.  Often we do that because it’s an oral fixation – the act of just munching – vs our body really needs the sustenance.  I’m super guilty of this one.

#7. . .  Don’t BUY it!

This is a go-to for me also.  Sometimes I know I really want something…but if I buy it, I’m not going to be able to control the amount I have.  So…I don’t buy it.  It isn’t worth it to me to then be kicking myself in the butt – if I don’t have it at home, I can’t eat it.  I CAN, however, buy other options.

How to make it work: Don’t get sh*t you know you can’t handle!  I’m serious! You know your weaknesses.  Do buy things you can have instead that you won’t beat yourself up over.  You deserve to feel great ALL around.

#8. . . Get moving!

Exercise is a nice distraction technique (see #4.) It’s great for  you, but it also gets your metabolism moving along as well.

How to make it work: Maybe you don’t have a gym membership, or you are having a tough time motivating…try doing a few little things during commercials when you are watching your favorite show, or in between stirs while you’re cooking dinner (e.g. pushups, jumping jacks, setups etc.) Baby steps are OKAY.  In fact, they are MORE than okay.  It might help get your mind off the need to munch, and give your furnace a boost while you’re at it.

#9. . .  Chopsticks

Yep.  Chopsticks are not as easy to eat with and they force you to follow rule #2 whether you want to or not.  Sneaky, yes.  Genius, also yes.

How to make it work: Pick up a pair and start pinching!  If you have trouble, there are modified ones that are joint at the top (not as good, but still slower than a fork or spoon.)

#10. . . (Worse comes to worse, and ps, I’m NOT a dentist!) Have some peppermint, or try a piece of gum

I am NOT recommending chewing gum as much as I do (it is sugar-free, but I’m sure it’s not the best habit.) There are plenty of healthy ways to avoid overeating but sometimes a quick piece of gum can keep me from eating something I don’t really want or need.  A dose of peppermint tea, or a mint can also help. Again, not trying to suggest this is should be a default – I’m slapping my own hands given that I love my Bubblemint.  But…if all else fails, it can help in a pinch.

How to make it work: Have some peppermint tea, suck on a mint, or even have a piece of sugar-free gum.  As a last resort, this can actually help.  Some folks recommend smelling fragrant oils – you can try that too, though the physical act of chewing, or having the taste on your tongue, might have a stronger result.

Once again, not a doc, and not a dietician..but these are a few tricks that might help when the munchies hit.  As someone who LOVES volume (e.g. LOTS of food) I can say honestly that these tricks CAN work.

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The Role Of Consistency In Achieving Your Goals

Consistency can literally make or break you – but it’s important to understand that “consistency” doesn’t necessarily translate to 100% of the time (no, not 110% either.)

Life is complicated – there are days that derailment occurs because of a last minute schedule shift.  It could be, instead, that you come down with a bug. . .one that keeps you down for a lot longer than you’d expected.  Nothing is for certain, no matter how well you plan, so you need to make room – if nothing else, mentally – for the possible blips that may arise.

The principle can be applied to anything – work, home life, fitness goals, an on and on.  For the purpose here, let’s stick with health and fitness – keeping oneself in good shape is important, especially as we get older.  For each of us, the goal is a little different…

It may be simply that we’d like to feel less lethargic throughout the day.  Maybe we have a few pounds of extra “us” that we could honestly do without. It could be based on performance in our sports, for another… Whatever the case is, you must be consistent in your approach.  Successfully reaching goals isn’t only about maintenance, but making it a lifestyle – a comprehensive course of daily actions.

So let’s say that most of the time you eat healthily, and exercise…but you suddenly can’t, for weeks, because you caught a nasty virus – not easy for those who have a need to move around, and for sticking to routine!  (This happened to me just recently, quite unexpectedly, and it was definitely a challenge for my go-go-go personality.)

So what do you do when you simply can’t mange your regular schedule?  Recognize that you:

  1. Are being told to “slow down.” Pay attention!
  2. You can still maintain a level of consistency
  3. Even without your specific routine, you aren’t going to go to hell in a handbasket
  4. Along with #4…it WILL be okay

You need to remind yourself that it takes a lot longer than you probably think to get completely off track.  In the case of not feeling well, rest is necessary – the body has to heal and get back on track before jumping in head first (doing so is a surefire way to stay down for longer.)  I have a hard time with it myself – I want to “DO,” and sitting at home, especially when I haven’t had a chance to move around, can bring my mood down quickly.  But I was actually good about it – I took it slow, and for many days I did absolutely zero.  That was exactly what my body needed.

With nutrition, consistency is HUGE.  But again, remember that deviating from your plan once in a while is not a big deal. AT ALL.  What matters is whether you take it in stride, and get back to the usual…or if you let it pull you into the downward spiral.

When I was sick, I wasn’t quite as hungry as usual…but I still prepared the meals I normally do, because even without the exercise, my body needed the fuel and replenishment.  It isn’t worth abstaining because I think I’ll gain a pound or two.  I might not be processing as much, burning as many calories, or even keeping my muscles as cut as usual…but even two weeks isn’t going to turn me into a lump!

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It’s definitely frustrating when you can’t be “on” like usual – for some of us it isn’t just relegated to the physical, either, it’s as much mental.  But take heart that when you do get back to it, you are going to do great – your motivation and mind WILL return to go-go-go mode, and your body will respond.  

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No matter what life throws at you, or how the routine shifts, you can achieve your goals – it’s a lot like the “be water” concept – allow yourself to be flexible.  Move with tides, and you will find your usual stride soon enough. 

 

Healthy Father’s Day

Whenever a holiday or special weekend comes up, I always see people the following Monday in the gym dragging themselves and lamenting about how much they overdid it.  Family gatherings and summer get-togethers don’t HAVE to be bad for you, guys!

I think one of the biggest saving graces is staying in control of your shopping – you absolutely can stock up on unhealthy options while at the store (especially if you are shopping hungry!)  But you have control over what you put in your cart and end up with at home…so stay focused from the get go and you will avoid having leftovers or unopened boxes of cookies that you really don’t want around as a temptation later on!

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For us, the goal was to get a good, heathy variety that would keep everyone filled up…even the kids.  Surf and turf always works, giving everyone a few options for the bulk of the meal.  Corn on the cob is a fun, summer veggie, that is totally okay to have also – I have some friends who avoid corn completely but it isn’t going to kill you once in a while, so don’t stress.  

The benefit of the foods we grill primarily is that we don’t layer on sauces and dressings – Montreal Seasoning, or salt and pepper does the trick – it gives you a little kick, but still allows you to actually taste the food itself (which I always think is the point, no?!) 

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We didn’t actually buy desserts so we didn’t’ end up with them.  Instead, we had some sweet red grapes laying around – which definitely worked! – and later we took a walk to get some ice cream for the youngest of the group.  Adding a walk is always helpful, as is not having the extra goodies left over, so it worked out perfectly.  

I was definitely full after dinner but it wasn’t a feeling-guilty kind of full…which no one – truly – has to feel after a shindig.  Just remember that you have full control over what you buy and serve…and also what you eat!  

(PS – Don’t forget about having breakfast and regular meals during the day, prior to gatherings where food is served – if you go out hungry, you might set yourself up for a binge!)

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Keeping it CLEAN. . .

Weekend Meals

Weekends are my wind-down time – I do have two activities on Saturday (Ninjutsu Combat Simulation, and Aerial Yoga), but they aren’t as rigorous as my weekly workout routines (Brazilian JiuJitsu four times a week, cardio three times a week, lifting at least four times a week, Ninjutsu classes four times a week…, and some teaching with Martial Arts kids classes.)  I’m incredibly thankful I can schedule so many activities, as I’m energetic by nature and need to move around.

But for me, Saturday afternoon and Sunday I can give myself a little bit of a break physically, and sometimes as far as eating out.  During the week we usually eat at home, and my meals don’t vary hugely in terms of content… On the weekend, I’m still really clean, but I might have more yolks than I typically do in the mornings, or I might have more servings of fruit, or almonds.  None of it is unhealthy, but I’m less concerned with portions and timing – I sort of just have the clean foods I like with less stringency.  

I’m asked a lot whether or not I have “cheat meals” – I don’t really.  But again, the weekends, or when I travel, I loosen the reigns a bit, going with whatever the flow might be.  That’s enough “cheat” for me – I stick to healthy options, so I never get totally out of hand, or go so overboard that I’m beating myself up.  Just what works for me personally!

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This weekend we went to brunch and my fiancé – who’s always looking out for me! – ordered the eggs that came with HIS meal exactly the way I ordered my three.  😀  Normally I have a whole egg and egg whites in the morning, with a ton of vegetables – but when I’m out, I’m eating three whole eggs in a sitting…and in this case, a few more!  It isn’t something I do every day, so I’m not overly worried about having a few – I could definitely use the aminos, and the healthy fat…plus…PROTEIN! ❤ I always order fruit salad too, for some sweetness…AND extra vitamins!  

We had dinner at home – my favorite ground chicken recipe, and tons of roasted broccoli (he’s always makes it perfectly.) Filling, wonderful nutrients and solid macros…good stuff!

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What’s your weekend plan?

For more of what I munch…!

 

Freedom To Make Healthy Choices

My hunnie and I went out the other day for lunch, which is something at one time in my Life I could not do.  As a result of PTSD I developed two severe eating disorders about a decade ago – anorexia and exercise bulimia.  The prospect of eating away from home was not only daunting, it was debilitating – it would trigger panic attacks, tears, and crippling anxiety.  

Fast forward ten years, through treatment, learning, growing…and the will to survive…I am able to be “human” again. I am incredibly specific about what I eat – in part it is just the nutrition I choose to have as part of my Lifestyle.  And in part it is due to allergies…so I feel less badly about that part! *LOL*  But I am not bound to fear in such a way that I can’t go out for coffee, or dinner, or take a road trip.  The ability to do those things is a HUGE deal when you know what it’s like to be beholden to disease.  At that time, it was seemingly impossible.

When I go out, I will always ask for what I want – I’m not embarrassed to do that anymore either, nor to eat with another person around.  And honestly, as I have mentioned in other posts, I am always met with the sincere desire to give me what I want.  Not every restaurant will have something simple, but it doesn’t hurt to ask…and no one is offended if you do!

We went to a casual restaurant, known for its shellfish and seafood – yay for me! 🙂  But I was in the mood for some dimple protein and, fortunately, they had exactly what I was hoping for!

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What I really loved about what they brought me was the portion – oftentimes I notice places either go way too heavy-handed, or on the skimpy side…the latter situation being the one I’m less fond of (who isn’t!?) But I do prefer that they go easy, so that I am not encouraged to stuff myself beyond what I really need at that time – overeating is really easy to do because you are paying for that food…and there it is, right?!

Right!  

So I LOVED that they portioned the food so well – it wasn’t too much, and it wasn’t too little.  I really enjoyed it, and felt great about the choices. It’s a gift to be free of the anxieties that can plague someone struggling with body dysmorphia or EDs – it isn’t easy to fully understand without having been there, but so many illnesses are similar in the addictive behaviors they are rooted in.  Breaking that cycle and finding a way to honor and respect yourself and your experiences is so important.  Giving yourself the gift of freedom is like giving yourself a new Life – you can take baby steps if you need to, but don’t be afraid to ask for what makes you comfortable, or stays in tune with your goals – you ARE allowed.

The Salmon Expert

I’d bet money that I’m the average foodie’s nightmare – my nutrition is clean, varied but simple, and I don’t do junk.  

My family is like a gaggle of foodies, and they LOVE cooking shows!

Wait…let me broaden the net – they love the Food Network.  

I’ll go visit my parents around dinnertime and some manner of cooking competition is on (Chopped is a household favorite.)  I feel a little bit like an outsider watching – I mean, I get it.  I’m terribly impressed.  But if that were me on there?  I’d basically shrug my shoulders when the baskets were opened, point and exclaim “I’ve never even SEEN that before.  What the hell is it?!”  I’m even venturing a guess that I wouldn’t know how to turn certain appliances ON.

As a kid I tried EVERYTHING – didn’t matter what it was, I’d give it a whirl at least once.  But in my old(er) age, I’ve had to modify, and I’ve recognized that with changes in my sports, my body has also (not so subtly) decided it has its preferences too.

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But while my body has changed…but my goals haven’t.  I know, therefore, that I need to be a little bit more mindful of what I take in – not only to stay in physical shape, but to FEEL good.  At the end of the day, not feeling lethargic or unwell isn’t a bonus…for me, it’s necessary.  If I’m exhausted, it’s because I worked hard, NOT because my body is having a rough time with the fuel I’m choosing.

I don’t “cook” much.  

I say “much,” er, generously...because really I “prepare” very simple things – eggs, protein muffins (which my other half not-so-affectionately dubbed “dry wall” (hey, honesty is the best policy!), salmon, chicken… I’m not “cooking” as in julienned veggies and seared, crusted seafood!  

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It would be fair to interject that I get bored very…V E R Y…easily.  I bore myself!  I get excited about overnight snow storms so I can stay in the next day…and when I wake up, all I want to do is go out.  

Fortunately, I’m never bored with eggs, poultry…or fish.  Salmon?  That is my FAVORITE.  

No butter, no oil…just grilled, broiled or baked.  

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The flavor of salmon, for me, is a delicacy.  I will never tire of it.  And I will NEVER be tired of steamed vegetables.  I do use salt – a solid dose of it too.  I can lean towards hypotension so it’s a good thing in this case…  But that, and cracked pepper aside, I don’t need much.  No sauces, no fancy marinade… Just the fish and veggies will do.

My boyfriend is an incredibly good sport about the whole thing.  Every so often he’ll go “BoooO-rrING!!!” while looking at my plate.  But even then he’ll say “how is it?  It’s kind of small, should we get another piece?”  I so appreciate the thought. 🙂  

Truth be told, though, the average piece is usually too big for me – I would rather take some home and enjoy it later (in my head I’m thinking I won’t assimilate all the protein in one sitting anyway – geesh!) so the portion is typically okay.

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The Colorado Salmon

It’s rare to find a place that offers WILD CAUGHT Alaskan Salmon…though if they did, I’d order that.  The flavor isn’t quite as succulent – it’s not as fatty, as you may well know.  But it doesn’t have as many risks with respect to contaminants and so forth (which the farmed does.)  That in and of itself could be a massive diatribe – I’m NOT going there, because I am not a scientist.

If I CAN get wild, I will.  But I don’t eat salmon SO much that I’m afraid I’ll be lit up like a neon sign after ingesting just-one-more piece.  (If you are pregnant, or have health concerns, you may want to double check appropriate consumption levels.)

So salmon and veggies it is for me…much of the time.  And at this point I feel like I’m a certified expert.  (My FB Album is fair testament to my Salmon expertise.  A visual resume, I like to call it!)

In Colorado I had an UH-MAZING piece – super tender and pink on the inside, thin crisp on the outside…just a few spices.  Happy girl. 🙂 (PS, it was the one in the last photo above.)

I think the reality of it is that if ever a talking bear marches out of the wilderness and decides he (or she) gets hired by some enormous food review publication (or, better…THE FOOD NETWORK!)…I might just well give that bear a run for his (or her) money!  

You heard (read) me.  I may know just a little bit more than an Alaskan bear about the yumminess factor of salmon.

Yep.  I’d bet money on that.