Whole 30 Week 4 and the aftermath

I made it through the last and final week of my Whole 30. Let me tell you, that this was not easy. My boyfriend and I decided to make a last minute move into a new apartment, my work schedule got crazy and I worked from 3 different offices as well as my part time job. I was bouncing around really with no home all week. This meant no time to really cook, pack food etc. so I had to eat out and with such a restrictive diet there’s very limited places that I could actually eat and stay compliant.

What did this mean for me? Well I ate a lot of grilled chicken salads with vinegar and oil. Also, bunless burgers. It wasn’t the most exciting for glamorous week for food.

But now what right?

I just did 30 days of clean eating, no sugar, dairy, alcohol, grains etc. I feel great, my stomach is happier, I’m happier with my appearance and everything seems to be functioning better. I certainly don’t want to go back to the way things were. But it’s also unrealistic to continually eat in such a strict manner in this day and age. I love working out and I need carbs for energy, but there are just so many potatoes I can stomach in one week. So, for the last week after finishing the Whole 30, I am slowly adding things back in. This week I started with dairy, I have a hard time getting in enough protein and I need yogurt in the morning to get a little boost to my intake. I also just love cheese, so dairy was definitely first.

I also added back in brown rice. No pasta and breads for me yet (except for Super Bowl sunday…but my belly regretted that immediately). I think I’m going to stick with this diet for now. There’s enough for variety for me, there’s tons of gluten free options out there and it’s not so restrictive where I can’t eat out with friends!

Are you thinking about doing the Whole 30? Have you already done a Whole 30? Tell me about why or how it went!

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Whole 30 week 3!!

We are grinding down to the end of this and let me tell you, while I don’t miss bread and pasta as much. I do miss rice and other grains. I also miss cheese.

As you know, before I started this journey with the Whole 30, I planned it out. I did my research, I found recipes that were compliant and I made sure that I was never second guessing what I was going to eat. Well, I failed this week. Most of my meals were not pleasing to my palate and I ended up scraping most of it.

Breakfast: Sausage and potato hash
This meal was probably my only success for the week. I did end up adding eggs to it every morning, because while it tasted good, after the first day of eating it, I was still HUNGRY!!!
2 lbs white potatoes, cubed (small!)IMG_4814
1 lb Italian mild sausage (read ingredients to find one without sugar)
1 onion finely diced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil (or coconut oil), brown sausage and cook through. Remove and place in towel lined bowel. Add potatoes and cook for about 5 min then add onion and saute for about 5 mins then add bell pepper. Stir in cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in sausage. Serve.
Lunch: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken on baked sweet or regular potato.

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This recipe turned out ALRIGHT. I ate it for three days and then got sick of it. I’ve never really had a loaded potato like this before so I wanted to try it out. The sauce just didn’t do it for me and it was definitely better on a regular potato because it made the sweet potato just too sweet.
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
10 pitted-medjool dates
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lemon juiced
1 tbsp coconut amino acids
1 lb boneless chicken thighs.
Basically just throw it all in the crock pot for 8 hours on low. Bake a potato and top it.
Dinner: Butternut squash soup, burger and side salad.

Not going to bother with the butternut squash soup recipe. It was boring bland and I threw most of it out. I had the burger and side salad but ended up just eating another baked potato. I’m kind of sick of potatoes right now.

Well everyone, stay tuned for my last and final week of the Whole 30!!!

Whole 30 Week 2

 

Week two is in the books of the Whole 30. I won’t lie. I was craving donuts at the beginning of the week. Really badly. I almost broke down. But the thought of going back to constantly feeling bloated and burping all the time deterred me. Plus I want to do this the right way. I’m also feeling better in my own skin again. Can somebody say hello abs? These babies haven’t made an appearance in years. Per the rules of the Whole 30 I have no weighed myself. But I’m loving what I see!!image1

Week 2 menu:

Breakfast: Southwest Breakfast Casserole

Lunch: Spaghetti Squash and meatballs

Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry

Southwest Breakfast Casserole

I was surprised by this one, I usually don’t like ground chicken. It’s just weird to me, but I enjoyed this recipe!

1 red bell pepperIMG_2027
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
1 lb ground chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
7 oz can of chopped green chili

6 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Chop peppers and onion and cook them in a skillet until onion is translucent. Set aside to cool. Add chicken to skillet and juice from the green chili, cook until slightly browned. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and coconut milk. Once the chicken and veggies are cooled to room temperature mix into eggs and pour into a 9-in greased pie pan. Bake for 35-40 min!

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

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Probably my favorite meal this week. I didn’t even miss real pasta and the spaghetti squash was surprisingly filling!

1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 medium sized spaghetti squash
24 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 egg

In large bowl mix together the ground beef, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and coconut flour. Mix together with hands until well incorporated, add in egg and continue to mix. Form into large meatballs, about 6-8. Grease skillet, brown meatballs on each side. You don’t have to cook thoroughly, they will cook in the crock pot. Add meat balls to slow cooker, top meat balls with tomatoes, onion and garlic. Serve with fresh basil and spaghetti squash.

Chicken Stir Fry

IMG_2075 (1)So I kind of winged this one. There’s no real recipe, I just took a chicken breast and whatever vegetables I had (mushroom, spinach, pepper, and onion) and sauteed it all together in some coconut oil. It was pretty bland so I found a Whole 30 approved Tahini sauce at Trader Joe’s and added that. It made a HUGE difference. Some times you just have to experiment and see what works for you. I have to say that my meals are usually anything BUT boring!

 

 

Here are some other meals that I tried during the weekend:

 

Sweet potato hash with eggs:

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Prosciutto wrapped chicken thighs with a baked potato and side salad:

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B Good Burger with no bun, avocado and an egg with sweet potato fries:  IMG_2054

The Whole 30 Week 1

With week one under my belt I can definitely tell that my stomach has been so much better (aka less burps) . It’s hard to say energy wise how I’m doing since I just added a second job on top of a full time job and training for a marathon. But I have no cravings for any of the off limit foods and I think it’s because I’ve had good meals to look forward to.

Week 1 meal plan was the following:

Breakfast- Spaghetti squash quiche

Lunch- Chicken tenders with roasted potatoes and broccoli

Dinner- Sweet potato chili

 

Spaghetti Squash QuicheIMG_1999

This was probably my favorite of the week. I didn’t even miss the cheese that I would usually put in an egg-y dish!

1 spaghetti squash

6 whole eggs

Mixings of your choosing: I used 5 slices of bacon, mushrooms and spinach

Bake spaghetti squash at 350 for 40 min, remove and leg cool. Once cooled use fork to remove the squash from shell. Take a 9 in greased pie pan and smoosh the squash to the sides of the pan so it creates a “crust.” Place chopped mixings into the crust

In a separate bowl whisk together the 6 eggs. Pour over the mixings in the crust and then bake for about 40 min or until egg has settled.

About 5 servings

 

Chicken tenders

These were super tasty, but I think next time I’ll pan fry them and then stick them in the oven for a little bit too.

IMG_19941 lb chicken tenders

1 egg

1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk or other nondairy milk of your choosing

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

 

 

In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg and unsweetened coconut milk.

In a second bowl combine the coconut flour, garlic powder and salt.

Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture and coat with the coconut flour mixture. Lightly fry in a pan with coconut oil until cooked all the way through.

 

Sweet Potato Chili

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I was skeptical of this meal because I’m so used to traditional bean chili topped with cheese. But this was delicious all on its own. When shopping for the ingredients for this recipe though, make sure you’re reading labels to make sure you’re not buying anything with added sugar to it.

1 onion (chopped)

1 15oz can tomato sauce IMG_1992

1 15 oz can diced tomato

1 can water

1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 lb ground beef

1 1/2 tbsp cocao powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in crock pot, breaking up beef before putting it in. Cook and low for 8-10 hours. Enjoy!

The Perfect Protein Pancake (in my opinion at least!)

I recently just fell in love with pancakes again. Well…protein pancakes. Over the years I’ve searched for the perfect protein, and well, I think I’ve found it. These pancakes are the BOMB DIGGITY. I kind of want them for every meal.
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Ingredients

1/3 cup oat flour or blended oats

1 banana
2 egg whites
1/4 cup Almond milk
1 scoop chocolate protein
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp coco powder
2 tbsp PB2
1. Add all ingredients in blender
2. Cook!
3. Mix PB2 (use chocolate PB2 if you want to get really crazy!) with a little water and add as topping!
Calories: 412
Protein: 39g
Carbs: 55g
Fats: 5.5g

Enjoy! I hope you want to eat them all the time too!

 

What is IIFYM?!

Let’s talk food and what you eat. In my last post we talked about Meal Prepping and how to make it simple and more beneficial for your life style. But how do you choose WHAT to eat? That’s probably the biggest question I get from clients.

I’m a believer in the If It Fits Your Macros school of thought. No, this is not all about eating doughnuts and junk all the time and saying “This is good for you!” I like to eat healthy foods, but not ones that are plain and boring. So I often mix it up to keep myself from getting bored and off track, it’s also a great way to keep with your goals and still live your life.

So first, WHAT are macros?

Macros is short for macronutrients, our major nutrients found in foods. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

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One gram of carbs contains 4 calories

One gram of protein contains 4 calories

One gram of fat contains 9 calories

Why are these so important?

Each macronutrient plays a different role in our bodies which is why it’s SO important to make sure you get a balanced diet and you don’t leave one out.

Carbohydrates. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs.

Proteins are essential for growth and development. They help build lean muscle mass, and are the energy source when you do not intake carbohydrates. In short, if you cut out carbohydrates, you must use protein for energy which means breaking down your muscles and essentially slowing down your metabolism.

Fats help protect our vital organs, help us absorb fat soluble vitamins and provide us with a high density energy source. There are three types of fats (saturated, unsaturated and trans fat). No trans fat does not equal weight loss. It just simply has been shown that unsaturated fat decreases the risk for heart disease.

How do I figure how much of each I should consume?macronutrients

It’s all about trial and error. Every body is different based on how often they work out, if they have a damaged metabolism from long bouts of dieting, and personal goals such as putting on muscle or losing weight. You can figure out your numbers through an online calculator but those are not going to take these types of things into account.

Having an actual HUMAN help guide you and adjust your macros accordingly as
your body changes is going to be better than any calculator you find online. Once, the numbers are figured out then you can use a food calculator to track your foods and make sure you’re hitting your numbers.

So you’re saying I can eat whatever I want as long as I hit my numbers?

Yes. And no. I will never tell anyone to eat crap all day and say it’s okay. There are still essential vitamins and minerals that you get from whole foods and not from processed foods. But under IIFYM, you can treat your self occasionally and not feel guilty. There is also a difference between having high glycemic index carbs (processed foods) and low glycemic index carbs (whole foods like brown rice, quinoa and potatoes). But that’s another post in itself.

What does this mean?

It’s possible to not have to “diet” to get the body you want. You don’t have to starve, deprive or go crazy trying to slim down.

If you want more help figure all this out, check out my different work out and nutrition plans  I offer.

Meal Prep 101

We’ve all heard the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Well, in light of the 21 day fix and general meal planning BLOWING up on my facebook news feed I thought I would write a post on my tips about meal prep and how I’ve found easier (and tastier) ways to make my life easier during the week.

I won’t lie, I used to be from the school of thought where you had to eat 6 meals a day and everything had to be carefully measured and portioned out for each meal. No salt, condiments or anything that would add any extra calories. Don’t worry. I have long since moved on from there. However, I do still meal prep. I work full time now as well as train clients after work and write programs for remote clients so cooking during the week is not very feasible for me unless I want to eat at 9:30 at night (ahem, I’m usually in bed by then). Meal prepping can be a daunting task, how do you pick what to make for the week? What do you cook ahead of time? What can wait? Will it go bad before you can get to it? Here’s some things that I have found to help me.

IMG_11301. Plan.
It seems obvious right? But I plan for the next week, probably Wednesday of the week before. I decide what I want to cook and make my grocery list. I make sure all of my meals are balanced, there’s always a healthy carb, protein and a good amount of vegetables. Also, I look at my schedule for the following week.

2. Keep it simple.IMG_0509

Don’t keep it so simple that you’re eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli
everyday. But don’t try to make your own salad dressing and meat balls from scratch in one afternoon (Yes I did this and I was miserable). I pick dishes that are easy, tasty and healthy. My cook time on a Sunday is usually only about an hour long. Lately I’ve been on a kick with one pot meals, simple and less clean up!

IMG_10593. Get comfortable with eating the same things.

I eat the same meal for lunch and the same meal for dinner all week. But it doesn’t bother me as long as it tastes good. If the meal I’ve prepped is a flop, then it gets a little hard to swallow down. Same goes for the opposite. If I LOVE a meal I’ve prepped I can’t wait to eat it every day. I know a lot of people like variety, so do I. I usually never make the same thing twice in a month so that I can keep it fresh every week.

4. Don’t even try to MEAL prepIMG_0510

If you’re just starting out, don’t try to cook everything. I hate to cook everything on Sunday’s in fear of food going bad. If I have the rare night during the week where I have time to cook again, I’ll prep that food so it’s a quick into the oven or onto the stove. Any little bit helps, so if you’re making something that calls for chopping vegetables or marinating meat, do that ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. I even do this with smoothies, I’ll chop up fruit and put it in a bag until I’m ready to throw it in the blender so that in the morning when I haven’t gotten my coffee yet, I don’t even have to think about it.

5. Skip a meal.

I don’t know if you noticed, but I don’t prep breakfast at all. I love eggs as much as the next person. But honestly, it just one more thing on my plate. I used to do overnight oats as well, but sometimes at night I just want to come home and veg out. So I keep breakfast non-cooked. I’ll have oatmeal that I can just throw in the microwave or yogurt with my own fruit and granola added.

Here’s one meal that I made this week and was SUPER easy and quick:

Pesto Mozzarella Chicken w/ Brown Rice and Spinach (Makes 4 servings)IMG_1157

1 lb chicken
4 tbsp pesto (or you can make your own)
2 Tomatos
2 cloves garlic

1 Package Spinach
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 tbsp Olive oil or any oil of your choice
4 slices of mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes. Finely chop garlic. Place chicken breast in oven safe dish. Spread 1 tbsp pesto on to each chicken breast and then top with 2 slices of tomatos. Bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove from oven, place mozzarella on top of eat chicken breast and then continue to bake for another 5 minutes.

Add brown rice and 2 cups water to a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Once brown rice is cooked remove from heat, add tbsp olive oil, spinach and chopped garlic to the pot. Cover and let it steam, and stir everything together.

Then divide however you would like, Tupperware, eat it right away, feed it to the cat. Whatever you please but you just made lunch/dinner for 4 days!

How running helped me overcome my eating disorder

Eating disorders are a subject that people often dance around, too afraid to talk about. I used to be one of those people, because I was always too afraid to admit that I was sick. I never thought that I had one because I was never “sick looking” enough. I never toed that dangerous line of extreme emaciation, but inside I was a complete mess.
 It’s no secret that eating disorders mostly effect women (but I know there are men image1out there that do struggle with them as well), but when it comes to athletes, the chances increase because so much is focused on our bodies and how they perform. More often than not that thoughts “If I just lose a few more pounds I’ll be faster, more agile, jump higher….” etc. I know I constantly had those thoughts as a competitive cheerleader and a dancer, where image was everything. As I got older, I decided to try out bikini competitions, another sport where everything focused on your image. I started working out harder to feed this disease that was eating at me from the inside out. I battled with anorexia and bulimia for 14 years before I decided enough was enough.
image2These past two years I have slowly overcome something I’ve battled with for half my life. I’ve stopped focusing on whats in the mirror and more on what my body can do. This past year I’ve really focused on training for a half marathon and sprint distance triathlons. Running, swimming and biking have given my life back to me. I’m no longer focusing on how little I can eat but what I can do, and if I don’t fuel properly I’m not going to do well.
 I remember one particularly bad run I had this past year, I didn’t eat enough the two days prior and I set out for a 9 mile long distance run. About mile 3, I hit a wall. My legs didn’t want to move anymore, my heart was racing and my eye sight became fuzzy. That’s when I realized I couldn’t let myself go down that path again. I suddenly had this hunger to do well, and not just burn off calories. I started to track my work outs as opposed to my food and focused on seeing those numbers improve while still eating over 1000 calories and not scrutinizing every little bite. I love seeing number average times on runs and swims decrease and my body adapt to my training.
I won’t say that I’m fully recovered. There are some days where I have to fight the urge to binge and purge or not eat at all to make up for a bad weekend. But everyday I’m fighting to nurture my body and gain my inner strength through my sport.

Fuel up!

This weekend I learned a valuable less the hard way: you need to fuel your work outs properly or it could end in a disaster. I’m no professional athlete. I don’t run as fast as most and I’m not as strict with my diet as some. I like to treat myself to a yummy meal or a sweet treat. I work out hard, so why not, right?

Well Sunday morning, I learn exactly why not. Saturday night we decided to stay in, pop in a movie and order some take out. Indian was decided on, and I figured sure, it’s a good carby meal to fuel my long run for the next day. I woke up the next morning ready to take on the world, only to find out that my boyfriend had NOTHING to eat in his house except for a Kind bar and some gummy vitamins. I munched on those, strapped on my Garmin and hit the road with my running buddy Kate. Not three miles into our 9.5 mile run, I started to feel ill and was dry heaving. The carby Indian meal was not settling well and it was ruining my morning. I managed to make it through the 9.5 miles (slowly, with a few stops along the way to ahem, clear the stomach) but it wasn’t fun and I realized I need to stick with oldies but goodies.

I really should have known better about the Indian food, I usually stick with some pasta and a salad the night before a race…why should the night before a long run be any different? It doesn’t matter though if you’re getting ready for a race or just plan on getting up early for a yoga class or a early morning gym session, what you put into your body the night before is going to determine how you perform the next day. If you don’t eat enough, if you eat too much or like me, you eat the wrong thing.

As for the morning, from now on I’ll pack what I plan on eating, don’t depend on anyone else! Not everyone wakes up early to work out, and not everyone fuels with the same things. Our bodies are all different and we function on different sources. My boyfriend doesn’t really have a lot of breakfast food because he usually works out later in the day and has already had a few meals in him. I NEED the morning fuel.

Don’t know what works for you? Try out some different things. Here’s what I have found works best for me.

When it comes to running I keep it simple with some gluten free waffles and a little bit of teddies peanut butter spread on top.

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If I’m lifting in the morning I like to have something a little bit more substantial, and imgreseither have some oatmeal with banana and peanut butter or some yogurt with fruit, chia seeds and some GoLean crunch cereal (an amazing combination by the way).

images1Hydration is something that I’ve been struggling with this summer and I’ve found that I need something MORE than water is needed for how much I sweat on my runs. I’m really loving Skratch labs hydration. All the flavors I’ve tried are really good, my favorite though so far has been pineapple.

My suggestion to you is to try different things out, it’s taken me awhile  (and some nasty work outs) to figure out what works best. Find the combo that works and stick with it so that you feel good about your fitness and not want to die like I did on Sunday!!!

Weekly Recap: August 24th-30th

I decided to start with some weekly recaps on my training since the weeks are dwindling down on my race season. I’m 3 weeks away from my second sprint triathlon and 5 weeks away from my 3rd half marathon. I’d say I’ve had a successful race season this year and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring! IMG_0525

My goals for the spring tri   are mainly to just not freak out on the swim and not to forget my bib number for the run! For the half marathon, I’d REALLY like to break 2 hours, but at the pace I have been running, I’m not so sure it will happen. But we’ll see.

Monday: Is always a rest day, I have my groceries delivered the night before (part laziness, part I don’t have a car in the city) so Monday mornings I wake up early and do my meal prepping. It keeps me feeling productive even if I’m not kicking butt.

IMG_0988Tuesday: Run field test day! This field test was to see how far I can run in 20 minutes. The first time I did the test I did 2.24 miles. This time I ran 2.42! Getting a little faster every day!

Wednesday: AM Swim field test, this test was how fast I could do 500m with a 10s break in between each one. I KILLED this test and cut a whole minute off my time!

PM Spin class at the gym. I’m super picky about the spin classes I take. I want the class to mimic what it’s like to actually be riding a bike and most aren’t, kinda like this one. But on the plus side, she had really good motivating energy!

Thursday:  Running drills to help with my form and a quick full body lift.

Friday: I did an hour of my own private spin class and then ran 1 mile as fast as I could right off the bike. I wanted to break 8 minutes, but I got 8 minutes even. Next time though!

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Saturday: Drove down to the beach where the next triathlon is and practiced the bike
route and did a little swim in the ocean. The waves kind of got the best of me, but it was fun! Yes, I was that person in a wet suit on the beach while everyone else was in bikinis.

Sunday : Way too hot for my long run and Boston was littered with people moving and I didn’t want to deal with that. So I decided it would be my rest day instead of Monday.

Goals for next week: I want to get better about getting my lifts in. I’m only scheduled for two a week, but that second one tends to slip through the cracks and I know it’s so important to strength the muscles that I use repetitively. I also want to get back on track with nutrition, I’ve kind off been off track, just trying to enjoy summer and picnics and weddings. But starting this week I’m giving up booze and sweets for (most) of September. I’m allowing one cheat date when I go to King Richard’s Faire (yes I’m a nerd).