What I’m eating right now

Happy Thursday! I have been having overall success with my weight loss goals so today I thought I would share the things that have been working for me and one major challenge.

While I am definitely down on the scale, I was in a rut for the past month or so, gaining and losing the same 2-3 pounds over and over again. It was very disheartening. To get over this and start making progress again, I decided to try my best to stay within my calorie limits every day and not overcompensate on weekends, like I had been doing. I also started waking up early on weekday mornings and doing yoga which was a challenge but felt really good. I did it all five days last week. This Monday, I hit a snag in that I wanted to nap instead 🙂 but it’s all about getting back on that horse so I started again on Tuesday morning.

tofu
Tofu, butternut squash and bok choy

So now to what I have been eating! It’s basically a whole lot of vegetables, whole grains and protein. A lot of protein, in fact. I made a goal on the Lose It app to get 25% of my calories from protein and I think it has made a difference. If I am hungry at night, I have noticed the best thing for me to eat is some sort of protein (like a leftover chicken cutlet or some deli roast beef). It always seems to do the trick. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I haven’t had too much trouble avoiding things like cake and candy. If I eat sweets it’s usually chocolate of some kind. That’s not to say I don’t love a good dessert, I just don’t find myself craving it most of the time.

In terms of meal planning, I have had a lot of success choosing nearly identical meals to eat for breakfast and lunch in a given week. I just buy or make a bunch of the same ingredients on Sunday and bring them to work for the week. I often eat similar dinners too, but sometimes I go out, so dinner changes depending on my plans. You can see below what a typical weekday of eating looks like in my life.

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You will note that I have included wine and/or whiskey 🙂 I often stop for a drink at the local bar after work. Which brings me to my major challenge. I love to go out with my friends and have a few (or more) cocktails. It always starts out innocently enough, but can quickly snowball into a calorie bomb of old-fashioneds and rosé. Knowing this, I’m trying to be more aware of how much I am drinking and drink water in between cocktails as well. I am also trying to be realistic and work drinking into my eating plan, hence why it shows up in my “snacks” section.

eggs
Scrambled eggs with jasmine rice and cucumber salad

On the weekends, I am more flexible. I recently recreated one of my favorite restaurant breakfasts which included jasmine rice, scrambled eggs and cucumber salad (with sesame oil, vinegar, chili paste). It was delicious! The restaurant includes steak but I didn’t have any and the dish was fine without it. I try not to eat eggs except on the weekends, because I suspect they may upset my stomach, but they are a favorite of mine. I have also been avoiding dairy during the week for the same reason.

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Chickpea pasta with beans and broccoli

I also recently tried chickpea pasta, which I really liked. I combined it with black beans and broccoli and a little basil oil and it was delish! I like trying new products and different fruits and vegetables. It breaks up the monotony of watching what you eat and makes it feel like a fun experiment. I am obviously obsessed with toast and the combo of beet hummus (store bought) and cucumbers shown in the featured photo for this post is one of my new favorites. I have also made my own zucchini hummus which is great on toast as well. I think vegetable hummus is a sneaky way to incorporate more veggies into your diet and it is delicious. In general, I don’t like to follow recipes except for special occasions. I typically just wing it, which I find much less exhausting and much more fun than staring at a recipe on my phone. Still, taking a little extra time to make things look pretty has made a world of difference in how I think about the food that I eat. I highly recommend it!

How about you? What does your typical week look like food-wise? Have you tried any fun new foods recently?

Happy eating, xoxo

Anna

zucchini_hummus
Homemade zucchini hummus on sprouted toast

A salad to brighten winter days

February and early March are always a little difficult to get through in New York, with the lingering storms and grey days. You can feel spring right around the corner but it hasn’t materialized yet. But, this salad is so fresh and light that it made me immediately think of warmer, sunnier times to come.

It is also super simple and delicious. You can use any lettuce you like. I chose butter lettuce because it is my absolute favorite. Lately I have been eating a salad almost every day for dinner with the basil oil vinaigrette below, a handful of pumpkin seeds and sometimes an avocado. If you haven’t tried basil oil, I highly recommend it. For today’s salad, I decided to add a blood orange and a little crumbled queso fresco. I really liked the results. It also fits nicely into my current healthy eating plan. I am not usually a fan of fruit in salads, but the blood orange paired nicely with the other components and it certainly is photogenic 🙂 Try it out and let me know what you think.

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Butter lettuce salad with blood orange, avocado and basil dressing

(makes one to two servings)

Ingredients

Butter lettuce

1 blood orange

Queso fresco (crumbled, about a 1/3 cup)

1/2 an avocado (sliced)

Handful of sprouted pumpkin seeds (I use these)

Vinaigrette

1 part white wine vinegar

2 parts olive oil

2 parts basil oil (I use this)

salt and pepper to taste

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Preparation

Wash and dry your lettuce and set aside or use a packaged variety to save time (which is what I did). Peel the blood orange and cut horizontally into 1/2 inch slices. Set aside. Crumble the queso fresco. Slice avocado. Layer salad starting with lettuce base then adding blood oranges, avocado, cheese and pumpkin seeds. Dress with desired amount of vinaigrette. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground pepper if you like.

Enjoy!

xoxo Anna

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Fitness update

Hi everyone. It’s been about a month since my first fitness post and I thought it was a good time for an update.

My fitness plan has changed in a few ways since this post in January. I noticed that I was working out and eating healthfully but I wasn’t losing weight so I switched things up a bit.

Eating

To begin with, I stopped getting Hungry Root deliveries. I enjoyed the food for a few weeks but found that it was starting to get repetitive and I didn’t feel like it was helping me lose weight, especially since I felt compelled to finish all the food before the next week. I also didn’t like the amount of waste generated by food delivery packaging especially in terms of the freezer bags, which are difficult to recycle. That is not specific to Hungry Root. I felt the same way with Blue Apron. In the end, I decided that I could do a better job selecting and preparing my own food and I have been happy with that decision. I have been loosely following the weekday/weekend plan outlined here with a few exceptions. The most notable is that I allow myself to drink alcohol during the week. Even though I haven’t been very precise about following the plan, I have noticed is that just having the guidelines in mind has had an impact. I don’t have much of a craving for sugar anymore. I also don’t consume nearly as much dairy, especially cheese, as I used to. I used to reach for cheese all the time as a snack or quick dinner. Now it is a sometimes food and I don’t even feel deprived. The same goes for white bread and rice.

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Lose It app interface

The one thing that has made the most difference is tracking everything I eat on the Lose It app. After I started to do this about two weeks ago, I noticed weight loss immediately. I’m not going to lie; I find it incredibly hard to track everything I eat. It’s not so much that I hate the tracking because the app is fun and easy to use. I just hate doing anything consistently, it makes me twitchy lol. It also requires that you be uncomfortably honest about your choices. Despite this, I am making the commitment to track for the next 3 months, starting today, no matter what I am eating or doing and see what happens. That takes me right up to my birthday, so it feels convenient. I also recently discovered the social aspect of Lose It and started posting on a group message board. I have never done this before and it felt great to get support and helpful tips from other users.

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Cod and Mediterranean salad with a Turkish spice blend

In general, my eating has been pretty simple lately. A lot of fresh and cooked veggies, some sort of egg dish for breakfast (either hardboiled or a vegetable omelette), and lean protein like chicken, fish or occasionally steak. I make it interesting by adding fun spices and sauces. It sounds boring, but I really enjoy it. My only complaint is that I sometimes get very hungry after dinner. I am going to try drinking more water and tea and having an afternoon snack with protein. I relax a little on the weekends. My favorite splurges are take out Chinese food and egg sandwiches. I plan on doing a post soon to share everything I eat in a week, so stay tuned.

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A galaxy of possibilities

Exercise

I have been running consistently 3 to 4 times a week for a few weeks now for about 30-40 minutes a workout. On weekdays, I go to the gym and on weekends, I run in my neighborhood. I would like to increase it to 5 times but I have been feeling fatigued so I am going to keep it to 4 for now and see if I can maintain that. I would also like to start doing yoga in the mornings using the Gaia app. I am obsessed with the idea of working out in the morning… that is until the alarm rings. I have a terrible time getting up even 30 minutes early to make it happen. So that is a work in progress 🙂

How about you? How are you doing with your 2018 fitness goals?

xoxo Anna

Hello again! and 2018 fitness routine

Hi everyone! After a couple months, I will be blogging regularly again. I think I was getting away from the things that I enjoyed about blogging (connecting with others, creating unique content) and focusing on things like metrics, likes and traffic. It began to feel like a chore. Moving forward, I will be taking a more relaxed approach. I will be posting once a week, on Thursdays. You can expect the same type of content including ethical fashion, travel, food, fitness and more, just slightly less frequently. I hope I will be able to spend more time on each post and boost the enjoyment factor for everyone.

To kick off this new blogging plan, I decided to share my current fitness plan, which is something I am currently focusing on.

As I suspect is the case with many of you, my relationship with fitness is complicated and spotty at best. When I was a child my parents made a point to encourage exercise in the form of hiking, biking and swimming. Every week my mother would take us to a local pool and we would swim laps. We earned stars for every week that we went and when we had enough stars we bought a VCR 🙂 I spent hours riding my bike and walking around with friends. I went to nature camp and we hiked almost every day. In high school, I played tennis and joined the winter track team. In college, I continued working out with my roommates, which helped me to maintain my weight. It seemed so much easier then to find the time and energy to exercise. Somehow it was a natural part of my everyday life. Unfortunately, during my senior year of college, I experienced pretty severe depression and anxiety. I stopped working out and began to eat things like pizza with blue cheese dressing on the regular. This, combined with the fact that I was now taking anti-depressants, many of which are known to promote weight gain, resulted in a significant increase in weight beginning in college and continuing after graduation. I have battled my weight ever since, losing and gaining significant amounts over the past 20 years. It all seemed to go in cycles. I would exercise and diet for a period of time and often have success, only to lose confidence because of a difficult life event and turn back to eating for comfort. I have to say, just writing this makes me feel tired thinking about the emotional and physical ups and downs.

But looking back is also helping me to move forward. I have learned a great deal about what works for me in the long-term and what doesn’t. For example, I have learned that setting oversized goals at the outset of a fitness program leads to burn out or disappointment, which, not surprisingly, leads to quitting entirely. For example, I have run two half-marathons but immediately after 3 months of tough training I would give up running entirely for months. I have learned that exercising consistently is very hard for me, but that it is important for my emotional and physical well-being. I have learned that eating to manage my emotions benefits no one, least of all me. Much better to be honest about my feelings and eat to sustain my energy.

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So this is my plan moving forward:

Set realistic weekly fitness goals and slowly build up intensity and frequency of workouts

I have found I prefer a simple workout routine. It cannot include a lot of equipment or complicated moves or be annoying in any way. I recently found this great mini workout on one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes & Cashmere. It is simple to follow and all you need is one dumbbell. I can do it at home or at the gym without too much thought. I still like running, so I am using a mix of running and walking as my cardio. As I gain confidence, I may try some fitness classes (thinking kickboxing or trampoline!), but for now I am keeping it super simple and focusing on just making it to each workout.

I think, for me, the hardest thing about exercising consistently is the negative self-talk I engage in surrounding working out. It ranges from “What you think you’re so great now because you work out!? Who do you think you are!?” (super nice and productive, I know) to “You are never going to keep doing this!” (also very reassuring). It helps just to share these thoughts because they seem so mean and counterproductive when you say them out loud. I think there is power in voicing these things and then letting them go. Also, I feel like some of you might relate.

weekdayweekend

Follow a modified interpretation of the Weekday/Weekend plan created by Emma and Elsie at A Beautiful Mess

The basic idea behind this program is that you don’t consume dairy, white rice or flour, alcohol or added sugar during the week, but you’re free to indulge on weekends. You also must eat a variety of wholesome foods. I have done it for a little over a week now and I like the way I feel. I bought the cookbook and am looking forward trying some of the recipes. This eating plan is primarily plant-based, but I enjoy meat, so I am including some lean protein, like chicken, as well. Still, I am excited to try a lot of new plant-based dishes as well. I’m not militant about the weekday guidelines in that I will occasionally have a drink with a friend after work or eat something with a small amount of sugar in it, which I think is reasonable if I am eating on plan 90% of the time.

To jump start the healthy eating portion of my fitness plan, I signed up for Hungry Root food deliveries once a week. They deliver vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free ingredients and side dishes which can be combined into healthy dishes. My first week was last week and I enjoyed the food. There is minimal prep time and everything was tasty and satisfying. I ordered the 3-meal plan and I found I was able to make and finish everything within a week.

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So that’s my plan. As you can see, I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the blogosphere! I think that’s one way to add a social element to working out and eating well that feels positive. I will be keeping myself honest by posting updates here regularly.

In general, I am also thinking about ways to deal with stress and emotions differently. I’m already taking a ceramics class at this studio in Williamsburg and I am enjoying it a lot. I didn’t know I would like wheel throwing so much! I’m thinking some form of journaling might be nice, as well as working on being present and focused for all of my daily activities.

How about you? How are you approaching fitness/health in 2018? If you have any tips for maintaining a consistent exercise/eating routine I would love to hear them.

xoxo Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Ethical Style

This week’s ethical style has an athleisure feel to it. I started with a cute sweatshirt with sequin detailing and added gold-striped leggings and shiny sneakers. Simple crystal studs and a gold ponytail holder complete the look.

I think the athleisure trend has a lot of cool elements, but I have yet to embrace it in my own wardrobe. I think I don’t feel athletic enough to wear it 🙂 But since I’m considering training for the Brooklyn Half Marathon I might be able to convince myself to embrace my inner sneaker queen. I have done this race twice and really enjoyed the training process even though it was brutal most of the time. And the self satisfaction I felt crossing the finish line was worth all the pain. I definitely feel like I need some sort of event to train for in order to reignite my exercise program which has been really lame for the past few months. Wish me luck!

How about you? How do you feel about the athleisure trend? How do you motivate yourself to stay active?

  1. Sweatshirt, Sundry, here
  2. Beanie, ASOS Eco Edit, here
  3. Leggings, Sundry, here
  4. Studs, Favor Jewelry, here
  5. Ponytail holder, Favor Jewelry, here
  6. Sneakers, Toms, here

xoxo Anna