Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Diet" Foods I Cannot Live Without

These are the few items that send me sprinting to the grocery store as soon as I run out, because I find diet survival very difficult without them!
English Muffins- My current favorite are the whole wheat "light" ones from Thomas Brand. Only 100 calories & 8 grams of fiber!
Egg Whites- Available in the carton (just whites, no messy separating)
Laughing Cow Lite Cheese- SO GOOD. This is the spreadable stuff. It's great to use instead of mayo or regular cheese on a sandwich, with crackers or veggies. Also they come packaged in individual wedges of 35 calories each so you never have to guess how much you are eating. (I'm a chronic underestimater :)
Greek Yogurt- I cannot say enough good stuff about greek yogurt. I'm actually eating a vanilla one for an afternoon snack as I type this. I'll let the label speak for itself. 110 calories, 15 grams protein, 0 grams fat & only 11 grams of sugar. I love to eat these for breakfast (mixed with Kashi Go Lean & berries) or as a pre-workout snack. AND they're full of probiotics which promote a healthy digestive system.
Blueberrys/Strawberrys- Blueberries are apparently some type of super food these days- I think even Oprah is talking about them! I eat them because they taste good, add color & flavor to yogurt or salads (yes salads too!) and are low calorie, 70 cals in an entire cup. Strawberrys have 45 calories in 8 medium berries. If you slice them up, that's a ton! I usually have about 4 in my cereal or yogurt.
Chicken- I eat a lot of chicken. I happen to live with a BBQ master who has taught me that chicken does not have to be dry and boring, but can be delicious! I'm no expert on this but Chris likes to start with the bone-in chicken and then BBQ it over a pan with chicken broth & seasonings in it? Ok now you can tell how much attention I'm paying when he cooks... I'll have to have him guest write and explain his perfect technique! But overall chicken is a great lean protein to incorporate into your diet.
Salads- I always try to have the following on hand, enough for a basic salad. Lettuce, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatores & a good dressing. Anything else is bonus (and I believe in putting all kinds of crazy things in salad) but you can make a decent salad out of those simple ingredients.
Low Cal Dessert- I'm not a huge sweets person but it's nice when I can enjoy something tasty after a long day of eating well and still get to feel good about it. My current favorite are Weight Watchers Toffee Ice Cream Bars. They are vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate & toffee for ONLY 100 CALORIES. Ok I'm not going to lie- they're small. But still! Yum.
I'm having an unmotivated week for some reason. Both work & food wise. It's interesting how they kind of go together. What WAS exciting was that I did a little shopping yesterday and was down a pants size at Banana! That great feeling is what I need to focus on when I'm dreading a workout or craving junk food. I'm eating really well today & heading to bootcamp tonight becuase tomorrow Chris and I are having dinner at Nobu which I'm SO excited to try! Luckily I think I should be able to keep it pretty healthy. Now I just need to find a cute outfit to wear... :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And I'm Back

This blog is only happening today because of Julia's text this morning asking me why I was such a blogging slacker & then Nat wrote on my Facebook wall that she needs her fix! So- this one is dedicated to you ladies for keeping me on track!
Let's see- lots of catch up... Last week despite a crazy work schedule I fit in 3 bootcamp workouts & managed to eat well Monday-Friday. I've decided to stop journaling on the weekends, just because it's hard to take it with me everywhere I go and since my meals are less preplanned, it's hard to know the calorie count. BUT that doesn't mean throwing good eating to the wind- I still try to focus on small portions and frequent "healthy" snacking. I've also decided in order to have the privilege of going journal free on the weekend I have to stay in my calorie range all week long. So far it seems to be working, I lost 2.5 lbs last week!
This week I was off to a rough start, I really struggle for some reason when Chris is out of town. I guess it's just the mentality of not wanting to prepare a great healthy meal if you're the only one eating it? But I need to work on that because dinner consisting of rice crackers, popcorn and wine is probably not the healthiest...
But I bounced back strong yesterday with good eating and a REALLY hard bootcamp that left me feeling strong and inspired. We ran to the track at Mission Bay high school & ran sprints. Even being at the track was giving me horrible high school flashbacks (I would usually stay home on the days we ran the mile :). But as hard as it was- I felt accomplished because even after TONS of sprints I was definitely exhausted- but still alive! Feel good endorphins from exercise are definitely not a myth.
For dinner last night I needed something low calorie- so Chris and I had a great salad & chicken tortilla soup from Vons. This is the stuff that they sell in their deli area and it's really good and amazingly low cal. 1 cup only has 90 calories! I added a little pepper and some low fat cheddar cheese sprinkled on top & it was delicious & satsfying. Then I went to bed early so I wouldn't get hungry! :)
I also did a small Trader Joes run last night, but really just picked up the basics. I did try one new thing, cinamon rasin Ezekiel bread- my trainer really reccomends Ezekiel brand of everything, tortillas, bread etc. So I'm going to have a slice toasted for my afternoon snack. Only 80 calories & is gluten free and all that healthy stuff :)
Ok- we are now caught up & I promise to be more consistant with the blogging. Please continue to call me out if I dont!
Oh & PS I finally bought some of the supplements I talked about a while back. Started on the Probiotics & Fish Oil yesterday... I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You Will Have to Forgive Me...

I'm being a blogging slacker right now. I promise to get back to it soon. Work is CRAZY and I have 3 days of all day meetings this week including dinners each night- so my blogging time is taking a hit :) Until I can support myself on my blogging empire (thank you- my 3 followers!) I must continue to work.
Good news is- so far I'm being healthy & have plans to avoid eating junk food while dining out... I'll fill you all in soon & let you know if it works!
Have a great week!
Oh and PS- for last week, I did kind of meet the goals I set for myself. I did go to 4 DAYS of bootcamp (crazy!!) and I kept my eating under 1400 calories every day except Saturday & Sunday. Those days continue to be a struggle for me... But it paid off! I had a good weigh in Monday morning :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Friday!!

I have been waiting for this day since... well, Monday! I'm looking forward to a fun labor day weekend with NO major plans which is kind of exciting! Chargers game tonight, then bootcamp tomorrow a.m. but those are the only plans for the entire weekend! Considering I can tell you what I'm doing for the next 6 weekends in a row- this is kind of a treat :)
With the heat- cooking seems like the last thing I really want to do- but I'll share some of easy dinner ideas below. Most of these are little or NO prep.
Trader Joes Apple Almond Stuffed Pork Chops. How much does that not sound like diet food?? Well it is and it was an amazing discovery that I now eat about once a week. This week I made it for Jules & she was a huge fan as well. This delicious "comfort food" is only 190 calories each!!!! And they are SO good. Pair it with a side salad & you're set. This is another one that's pretty impressive looking- so no need to tell anyone you didn't make it yourself. Oh, and they're only $6.95 for two. What a deal :)

Trader Joes Stuffed Bell Peppers. Have you noticed I like TJ's? And Stuffed foods?? These are one of my favorites on the days that you would rather die than eat another chicken salad :) These are found in the prepared food section of Trader Joes, they are pre-cooked and just need to be reheated. It's basically lean turkey and rice stuffed into a giant roasted red bell pepper. Great comfort food. 290 calories each. Also a good one to put with a side salad or some steamed veggies, they look a little lonely on a plate by themselves.

Scallop & Spinach Salad. More creative than chicken- scallops add a good flavor and go really well with other toppings/dressings. I like to pan grill scallops (and they are best when served right out of the pan- so I usually prep the salad first and add them at the end). Spinach is SO good for you and really low calorie- it also helps fight bloating. So start with a few cups of spinach and I like to add almond slivers and sliced strawberrys. Keep the dressing fairly simple with a homemade balsamic (1 part olive oil, 2 parts balsamic vinager). And finally top with the grilled scallops. This one looks fancy enough to be served at a restaurant and tastes that good too!

Asian Chicken Salad. I think the key with salads is finding fun ingredients to keep them from getting boring. In this one- you start with your basic romain chopped lettuce & then add the following:
-Coleslaw lettuce. (this is not coleslaw, it's the broccli or cabbage slaw that comes in bags pre chopped but not yet prepared with mayo)
-Edamame. Did you know that you can buy pre-shelled edamame beans? And they are great! I actually bought a frozen bag at Trader Joes and then you boil them and they'll keep in the fridge for a while so I ate them both as a snack & in salad.
-Grated Carrots. Maybe self explanitory, but you take a carrot and use a cheese grader to shave off little pieces. Good for color variety & added flavor.
-Chopped bell pepper. Because I think bell pepper is a good addition to every salad for added crunch factor.
-Sliced cucumber.
-Trader Joe's Snap Pea Crips. I LOVE THESE. In fact I love them so much I am not currently allowing myself to buy them becuase I will eat them by the handful as I cook, or after work, or on the couch... they're dangerous! But a great addition to this salad so I had to include them for the rest of you who have yet to develop this problem :)
-Black Sesame Seeds & sliced Green Onions for garnish. Don't skip the garnish. These make the salad look professional.
And for dressing Trader Joes makes a great Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinagrette. It's not super low cal, 75 calories in 2 tbs so use sparingly but it's worth it. I love the great peanut flavor. To avoid the spice and calories you could swap for their Sesame Soy Vinagerette which I have not tried, but I bet would be good on this salad and is only 35 calories for the same serving amount.
Oh and I forgot the chicken part! Ok... Add chicken to the above salad to make it an Asain Chicken salad. There you go :)

And for dessert- especially during a heat wave like this I'm always craving ice cream & frozen yogurt. Chris and I had lunch today at Togos (which just so happens to be a Togos/Baskin Robins COMBO) and thank god he was there, because left on my own I may havebeen tempted to substitue ice cream for my turkey wrap! Speaking of- Togos has new wrap options with low carb tortillas that come in under 400 calories! And they come with a side of cucumber "chips" which is fun. But if you just have to have some frozen goodness, stick to frozen yogurt or moderaton, Jules just told me that a McDonalds vanilla ice cream cone is only 150 calories! Yummm....
Happy Labor Day!


I struggle with lunch- probably more than other meals. Prior to bootcamp I was a Lean Cuisine type of girl- I would eat one every day and feel pretty darn good about it. SINCE bootcamp, I have now learned that #1 They are made of processed, unhealthy ingredients & full of sodium (makes you bloated) and #2 They're not even all that low-cal! So- where to go from there...
I'm still figuring it out, but below are a few that I've found I like. The key to this for me is thinking ahead and taking the time in the morning to actually pack a lunch. Again- trying to keep the lunchtime meal around 300-350 calories.
Egg White Salad Pitas. Ok by now you must think I am sponsored by Egg Whites or something... I realize I talk about them a lot! BUT- Trader Joes has these AMAZING egg white salads that are so low-cal I literally always read the label twice. The spicy mexican one is my FAVORITE and if you can see past the neon green color, the Chive one is pretty good too. Each has only 50 CALORIES in a half of a container. So- to make this simple lunch meal I:
-Cut a Whole wheat pita in half and toast both sides. (160)
-Once it's toasted, spread half of a Laughing Cow lite Cheese on the inside of each half. (35)
-Stuff it with half a container of the TJ's Egg Salad flavor of your choice. (50)
-Stuff it with lettuce. (10)
For this entire thing which is a filling meal it's only 255 Calories! Or eat half for a snack. I really feel like I'm getting a deal on this one :). You can also add onion or tomato or any other veggie.
Another thing I like to put in a pita is a Morning Star Farms tomato & basil pizza burger. These are found in the frozen section at TJs (and I think some mainstream grocery stores). Each patty has 120 calories and they are very filling. I add lettuce, onion, ketchup (my spelling is improving!) and they are really good.
Turkey & Cheese sandwich. Find some whole wheat bread, lean turkey and light cheese and you can still enjoy this classic sandwich. Make sure to skip the mayo, but feel free to add mustard and veggie toppings. The key to keeping this meal low cal is by finding a lower calorie bread, or making it an open face sandwich, with one slice of bread on the bottom and lettuce on top.
Leftovers are another great lunch food. If you make a chicken salad for dinner the night before- make a little extra and only put dressing on the portion you plan to eat. By making just a little bit more the night before you can stretch one meal into two, saving both money and time.
And if you really struggle with planning ahead and frozen meals seem like the only option for you- stick to healthier brands like Kashi, Amys or other ones found at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Just be sure to check the calorie count.
For Fast Food Options check out my post from 8/13 called Fast Food Doesn't Have to Be Evil... with a little creativity & knowledge you can actually eat a decent meal from a drive through.
Have a great (& healthy) lunch!
Oh and PS- got an amazing massage yesterday! It's a great fix for sore muscles, I'm feeling totally relaxed and ready for bootcamp this afternoon.

SMART Goals & Mid Morning Snack Ideas

I have some exciting news to share!! I had my 6 Week Bootcamp Evaluation this morning and I met ALL of my goals! I have lost 8.8 pounds, 6.5 inches & my body fat has decreased from 29.5% to 25.9%! I walked out of the appointment feeling GREAT and motivated to do even better in these last 6 weeks. I think for me the major take away is the importance of setting goals for yourself. And not just in your head- write them down.
SMART goals are something I use at work & they transition into fitness very well. What is a SMART goal? Well it's Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely.
Here's an example of a bad (but common goal). "I want to be thin". Ok... so what that leaves out is- what is thin to you? Do you want to loose inches, pounds? And when do you want to be thin? And is this reasonable goal with the actions you plan to take?
A better goal is: "I will loose 5 pounds by staying in my calorie range by November 1st". Is that still a simple goal? Yes. But now you have a way to measure yourself that takes into account what your goal is (loose 5 lbs) how you are going to reach it (counting calories) and when you will reach it by (Nov 1st). Check out this article about Fitness SMART Goals- it made a lot of sense to me and can help you develop your own. and in the search type SMART Goals. The article is the second one that comes up.
And now for some mid morning snacks- to keep you from overeating at lunch. I like these to come in somewhere around 100 calories. You'll notice that all of these things take little or NO preparation. This way you can toss them in your bag and head to work- or about your day.
A few personal favorites:
-Trader Joes Light String Cheese (60)
-1/2 toasted whole wheat english muffin with 1/2 Laughing Cow Light Cheese spread (100)
-Trader Joe's Mini Bran Cakes blueberry or apple cranberry (80)
-Medium bananna (110)
-Flavored Non Fat Greek Yogurt (my favorite is the honey flavor) (130)
-1/2 cup dry Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal (95)
-Mary's Gone Crackers brand wheat & gluten free crackers. Good by themselves or with a little cheese. (100-150)
-Almonds. I purchase these raw and non salted. Raw because uncooked food has more nutrients & unsalted so I am able to stop eating them (dry roasted salted nuts are a weakness of mine).(100)
-Whole Wheat Waffle. I like to buy these frozen and then toast them at work. Kashi makes a blueberry one that is really healthy- I like the Trader Joes Brand Blueberry one the best. (95)

Scheduling For Success

When dieting- although you are eating less & restricting your calories, the one thing I've learned is that you should NEVER be starving. By letting your body get to the point where you feel sick or light headed, you are setting yourself up for failure. Once you hit this point, you will eat ANYTHING in sight and are more likely to make a bad food choice. So- by always having healthy foods on hand to get you through those rough spots & incorporating snacking into your daily schedule, you not only encourage your metabolism to burn calories throughout the day, you also avoid that terrible starving feeling. Here's what an optimum day looks like for me:
7:30am Breakfast 250 calories
10:am Morning Snack 100 calories
12:30pm Lunch 300 calories
3pm Afternoon Snack 150 Calories
5pm Pre-Workout Snack 50 Calories
8pm Dinner 350-400 Calories
Total Calories for the day above would be between 1200-1250. You'll notice that I try and snack every 2-3 hours. My afternoon snack is usually larger than the morning one becuase I tend to feel hungry in the afternoon and if I'm working out after work I need some fuel. My trainer reccomends eating 70% of your daily calories before 3pm- but that's still something I'm struggling with. It's hard to adjust to not having dinner be your main meal & I'm not quite there yet. My compromise is eating lean proteins & salads for dinner rather than carbs.
Every day this week I'll give you a few ideas for different meal ideas that are satisfying and fit in the calorie range above. Let's start with "the most important meal of the day"...
Breakfast for 250 Calories:
Yogurt Parfait. Individual size plain or vanilla non-fat greek yogurt (if you like the plain go with it- it's a difference of 70 calories vs. 130) Mix in 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch (95 calories) and then top with fruit. Blueberrys are great for this, only 20 calories in 1/4 cup. Strawberrys are great as well. If you try this breakfast- make sure you are using the GREEK yogurt- not regular Yoplait or other brand. The best thing about the greek yogurt is that a single serving has 14 grams of protein! That will keep you full for a while. They also have a lot less sugar than regular yogurt.
Egg White Scramble. I talk about these a lot and there's a ton of variation you can do. Basically 6tbs (about the amount of 2 scrambled eggs) has 50 calories. So use that as a base and add in fun veggies, some lite cheese, turkey... yum! I like to save some calories so that I can have a side of a half of a wheat english muffin as well (80 calories). This breakfast takes a little more time to make, but is really satisfying!
Cottage Cheese & Fruit & a mini bran muffin. Can you believe you can eat all of that for under 250 calories? Talk about filling! 1/2 cup non fat cottage cheese is only 80 calories and tastes great topped with fresh berrys. That by itself could be a 100 calorie morning snack as well. The mini bran muffins are available at Trader Joes and they each have about 50% of your daily fiber and only 80 calories! Look at the label to make sure you are buying the right one.
Hope that helps encourage some breakfast creativity!
Oh and PS- day one of my "pull it together" week was successful yesterday, I came in at 1160 calories and had a great (=hard, I wanted to die) boot camp and am feeling back on track. Wish me luck today!