Goodafternoon blog friends :)
My favorite part about this month….JUNE GLOOM. Overcast mornings are unbeatable for 5:00am runs & I welcome the clouds!
As I blogged about last week, my summer workout schedule is off to a cardio-crazy start. Most days I run before and after work, squeezing in as many miles as I can on and off the treadmill. My goals right now for the summer:
- get into the same running condition I was in last summer. Avoiding injuries of course ;) I was able to run 16 miles at a comfortable 7:25min/mile pace, and always felt proud and accomplished with my workouts. This summer I will log miles to build my “base,” increase my long run distance, and train for a few 5k races this fall.
- Undo a few lbs. I added during the last month of school from stress & social eating. Back to the clean routine and it feels good!
A few key things? ‘Injury prevention,’ ‘hydration,’ and ‘nutrition’ are BUZZ words for athletes. We cannot get enough info & lectures on each. Because they are so ridiculously important!
Injury Prevention is a topic for another day.
Hydration is pretty easy.
Nutrition is my favorite thing to read/learn/experiment/talk about.
I am a fan of keeping a food journal. The easiest way for me is to use an Excel spreadsheet to track my meals, calories and workouts. Though my meals and snacks are usually nutritious and healthy, overeating or oversnacking will inevitably lead to incremental weight gain. Even if “extra calories” come in the form of something clean and nutritious such as cashews or avocados. More calories consumed than burned = weight gain.
Many fellow bloggers have been praising the Intuitive Eating style. I recently started noticing a trend which abandons calorie tracking, using “intuition” or “instinct” to dictate when/what/how much we eat. Yes, some people find calorie counting or food journaling stressful or time consuming. I think there are pro’s to both approaches of nutritional decisions. But speaking for myself, if I were to use “intuition” to dictate my diet, the results would be ugly. Hormones and cravings would “instinctively” tell me to load up on sodium, carbs, sugar, fat. Stress and boredom would lead me to intuitively decide I am in need of triple chunk peanut butter mocha brownie ice cream. The mid-day sleepies would yell at me to chug another latte….and better grab that peanut butter cookie there just in case. Protein, ya know.
What I mean is, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between my body’s instinctive request for certain nutrients and pure hormone-driven cravings. Anyone else feel the same? The sweet tooth is way to active to be trusted for “Intuitive Eating.” ;)
Because of my work schedule and commute, I am gone from home from 7:00am to 5:00pm. That is 10 hours, 2 meals, and a couple snacks. In order to bypass vending machines, break-room snacks and impulse buys, I pack a cooler FULL of fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, oatmeal, nuts, and other snacks.
A typical week-day looks like this:
- 4:40am Coffee with almond milk the instant I wake up
- 6:00am 1/2 Luna bar after a run/HIIT workout
- 8:00am Breakfast: Oats with berries or banana slices
- 10:30am Apple slices
- 12:30pm Lunch: Yogurt with fruit and almond slivers; veggie slices and homemade roasted red pepper hummus
- 2:30pm Snack: Protein bar OR crackers OR mixed nuts; plus another piece of fruit (grapes, pear, peach, pineapple, watermelon)
- 7:30pm Dinner: typically 2 vegetables, a lean protein (with some sauce or seasoning), brown rice or sweet potato
- Post-dinner: right now, nothing. Only until I reverse my end-of-semester splurges ;) when I’m at my goal weight, desserts vary from popcorn, a cup of hot chocolate, Dove dark chocolate squares or a big bowl of strawberries!
The amount of produce my family buys is unreal. This week we have blueberries & strawberries for oatmeal additions. Bananas for yogurts toppers or smoothies. Grapes and apples for midday snacks. Carrots, bell peppers, celery and cucumbers for hummus-dippers and salad-toppers. Tons of other veggies to steam, saute, roast or grill with dinner. Plus watermelon and cantalope for desserts. Our fridge is so colorful!
We are so fortunate to live in a country where this abundance of healthy fresh food is available.
Food journaling helps me stay on track to reach my goals. It provides a clear picture of how my calories/carbs/proteins/fats are distributed through out the day.
Are you team Food Journal or Intuitive Eating?
First things first: Red cups are officially back at Starbucks. THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING.
Okay, back to business. You have probably heard of No Shave November, when boys confuse laziness for a nation-wide scruffy phenomenon. At first I just laughed and got ready for a month of mustaches. But then I was completely lost when I started hearing of girls participating, forgoing their razors and embracing the stubble for 30 days.
Leave the scruff for the boys and join me for No Gain November! Obviously these last two months of the year are notorious for a little holiday weight gain (probably why the vast majority of New Year’s Resolutions are to lose weight….). So get a jump start on staying in shape and make the decision to not gain weight this month.
First, here are some rules to keep yourself accountable to reduce your likeliness to cheat!
Obviously you can add your own rules that pertain specifically to you and your “weaknesses.” For me, I’m limiting my peanut butter consumption (it’s really more of an addiction.) I’m also avoiding granola cereal, primarily because I can’t stop at one serving. And lastly I am bypassing all pastry items, cupcakes and scones included. Trust me, it will be worth it when Thanksgiving rolls around and you don’t feel like you need to go on an immediate diet!
A really cool tool I found while searching around the world wide web last night: Map My Run’s personal food and exercise journal. There are similar ones on a bunch of other websites, but I decided to use this one because it looks nice and organized and seemed to have all the nutritional information on the foods I eat!
Most important thing about using a food journal: Be honest. I really think they help because before you take one too many bites ofa chocolate chip muffin, you remind yourself that you have to write this down afterwards and add in the calories/nutritional information. You just might rethink that fluffy bite of fat. On the flip side, you can track how many calories your body is burning each day and record all of your workout information.
Leave the facial hair to the boys and start a new trend. #NoGainNovember
Where I grew up, there is no fall. There is only extended summer. Which is unfortunate because now that I am blessed enough to live in a 4-season town, Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. It’s the beautiful colors and gorgeous trees, the fun a festive flavors and comfy sweaters.
Sweet Potato is one of those flavors that pops up around this time of year, but I like to eat them all year long. Kerri and I once again experimented in the kitchen, a little cautious after our failed cheerio disaster. The result: A Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta made with greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, whole wheat rotini, spinach and some flax seeds.
Sweet Potato Pasta:
2 Cups Whole Wheat Pasta
2 medium Sweet Potatoes
1/2 Cup Non-fat Milk
1/3 Cup Plain Non-fat Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Spinach
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Garlic and Herb Seasoning
Pinch of Flax Seeds
1.) Wash and pierce sweet potatoes. Microwave for 10 minutes until soft.
2.) Peel off skins (eat or discard) and mash together the sweet potato, milk, greek yogurt, and seasoning.
3.) Meanwhile, boil noodles until cooked. Drain, leaving 3/4 Cup of water with noodles.
4.) In a large saucepan, drizzled with olive oil, add sweet potato mixture. Add Spinach. Bring to heat until spinach cooks down.
5.) Add in pasta and water. Mix until well-blended; top serving with flax seeds.
It was easy enough to make even in the dorm kitchen and we loved it! Even though it’s only the beginning of October, it already feels like Thanksgiving is near. All the stores have their festive fall decorations and so many websites have their Thanksgiving recipes…I like the holiday as much as the next person, but geez can we slow down?! I need all the time I can get to bake the ridiculous amount of autumn recipes I found on Pinterest ;)
If you like sweet potatoes, you may also like: Stuffed Sweet Potato