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Shops, Check-ins, and Whey…

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I Be Shoppin’

I went on a wild goose chase at lunch – except it paid off!  I won a $50 gift card to Lululemon at my gym.  The problem?  Their clothes only go up to a size 12.  Yes, that’s right.  Workout clothes for the teeny elite.  But, they do have amazing gym bags.  And, the one that I wanted was on sale!

At least, it was on sale last Friday online when I picked it out.  Unfortunately, after I picked up my gift card at the gym today, it was gone!  Aaargh!  I called Customer Service, and they told me a few stores in my area that had the bag.  First, I called the one near me – the girl working there said that they didn’t have any bags on sale.  None.  (Except Customer Service said they had a couple, in different colors!)  I then called a few other stores – Santa Monica had one, but I couldn’t get down there, and they don’t hold things (Against company policy.  Weird.)  Decided to head to the store near me first, to see if the girl was right…  If they didn’t have it, a coworker who lives in Santa Monica was going to go pick it up for me down there (of course, they may have sold out by the time she got there).

Anywhoo, I walked in the store, asked if they had the bag, and was immediately sent to the sale rack, where it was waiting for me!  Woot, woot!  So, I got a $118 gym bag (no, I would have never paid that) for $59, minus my gift card, plus tax, I paid $14.  Woot!  Yay me!

I also ran into one of the instructors that I had for Pilates Plus a few months ago.  She remembered me (which is weird, because I only saw her 4 times), and kept saying how strong I was, and if I was doing Pilates somewhere else.  Kind of made me feel like a rock star!

TinyLaLa Check-In

You know what also makes me go, “Yay me”?  This week’s TinyLaLa Check-in.  Today was weigh-in and body fat percentage determination.

  • Weight:  204.8 (Down from 208.6 – so that’s 3.8 pounds in a week!)
  • Body Fat:  36.6% (same as last week)

I asked my trainer about the BF percentage, as it concerned me that it stayed the same.  He didn’t have an issue with it – he said that I wasn’t losing a lot of muscle, because otherwise my BF percentage might go up.  I get that, but I still want the BF percentage to go down (even more so than the weight, actually!).

That’s basically 9 pounds from the beginning of this year (keeping in mind that this is an afternoon weight – this morning in my bathroom before showering I was 203).  And you know what?  I can see a difference.  My shoulders look WAY more toned, than even last week.  Crazy!

Protein Powders, please?

Y’all, I need some recommendations for protein powders.  I finished off my tubs of them from my nutritionist (well, I have 1/2 of one left, but tried it without mixing in any berries this afternoon post-workout and it was terrible!  Super grainy…)  I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home from my workout, and could not make up my mind!

What I’m looking for:

  • >20 g protein
  • < 140 calories
  • < 8 g carbs
  • High in calcium (my current one is 600 mg!!!)
  • Good flavor
  • No soy protein isolates
  • Ideally, it would be organic.  But if not organic, I did find one made from milk from cows in New Zealand (they really don’t farm animals in the massive corporate farms that we use here)

I was thinking that I wanted whey protein concentrate, but that takes longer to break down than whey protein isolate (but isolate isn’t as “good” or clean).  I would like to use the same thing to mix into my breakfast smoothies, but also be good for my post-workout protein shake.  I’m thinking that I might need 2 separate kinds (the one that mixes into my smoothie as a concentrate, for my post-workout as an isolate) – those could then be different flavors (vanilla for smoothie, chocolate for shake).

The “winner” nutrition-wise was Tera’s (and I’ve heard all good things about it), but it’s super expensive (about 4x the cost of the Whole Foods 365 brand one).  But, the 365 only had 15 g protein.  Tera’s is from Wisconsin though (*love*), and it’s organic.   Even the guy at Whole Foods said that it was definitely the “cleanest”.

Why is this so hard?!?

I picked up a few packets to try, but of course, not all have the sample packs available…

What do you use?  Why?  Do you like it?

What’s for Dinner?

I’m sure you’ve heard that question once or twice.  Maybe once or twice this week…

Last week I gave you a bit of a teaser, and left you hanging…  But, I’m not going to do that today!  I’m finally going to spill the beans about how to make the perfect meal plan.

I have a number of meals that I can whip up quickly.  Like tonight:  wild salmon, topped with lemon juice, dill, and garlic granules.  With veg and some sort of carb on the side.  Tonight’s veg & carb was leftover from a few nights ago.  Delicious!  However, tonight’s meal was an anomaly, though.  Normally, if I whip something up, it’s not well planned.  But when I plan, I definitely eat much better!

I plan meals on Sundays.  My Sunday mornings go a bit like this:

  • Wake up & grab the paper
  • Make coffee & breakfast
  • Eat breakfast while reading the paper & clipping coupons
  • Break out the Grid
  • Review the coupons, food in the fridge, freezer & pantry for what’s best this week (pull out the grocery circulars, too – ours come on Wednesdays)
  • Complete the Grid
What?  You don’t have a Grid?!?  I found this great mousepad at a local stationery store.  It’s a perfect meal planning grid!  It’s basically just 7 columns wide by 7 columns long, so it fits the days of the week & the Meal / Snack combination.
 I start by filling out any meals that I know I’ll be eating out – Thursday night dinner, for example.  I’ll just make a big X, and indicate “out” – or, even include nights when we plan take-out (like the night that our cleaners have just cleaned the house – I certainly don’t cook those nights!).  I also tend to X out snacks on the weekends, since I’m usually either grabbing something or (more likely) having bigger meals at mealtimes, so I don’t plan for snacks then.

After that, I’ll start with dinners.  I’ll move some chicken, fish, or beef from the freezer (usually enough for 2 meals) to defrost in the fridge.  I also base my decisions on the veg that I have in the fridge.  We get a CSA delivery once every 2 weeks.  I do my best to use that up within a week and a half with planned meals.  So, if I get celery root (for example), I’ll search for recipes that have celery root.

I have  few go-to cookbooks, as well as a file folder of recipes from magazines (that I’ve torn out).  If I have something odd in my CSA bin that week, I’ll head to the inter webs to find a tasty-sounding recipe.  I’ll usually try 1 to 2 recipes per week that I haven’t tried before, and mix in a few meals that I’m super comfortable making (if the new recipes don’t turn out, I don’t want to be disappointed a few days in a row!).

Once I finish the dinners, it’s really easy to complete the lunches!  For lunch on Tuesday, for example, I eat leftovers from Monday’s dinner.  I’ll do my best to mix it up though.  If I had grilled chicken breast with roasted veg for dinner, I’ll top that on arugula and add some goat cheese for a great salad!  Since we typically make 4 meals’ worth of food for dinner, for my hubby & I, this works out perfectly!  Once we’re finished with lunch the next day, no more leftovers!  (But, if we’re making something larger, like lasagna, I’ll add in a few more days / nights of leftovers.  It’s all in the plan!)

On to breakfast!  I have a number of go-to breakfasts that I have every single week.  4 hardboiled egg whites with some sort of fruit.  A smoothie with frozen fruit, protein powder, and oatmeal.  Egg white scramble with loads of veggies.  Oatmeal with berries, granola, and nut butter.  The list goes on!  So, I mix a few of those in there (keeping in mind any early meetings), and plop those into the Grid.

Snacks are easy.  Every snack has protein & some type of carb.  So, I have a number of go-to snacks, too:  greek yogurt with fruit or granola, almonds with fruit, nut butter with celery, cheese and fruit or veg, 2 hardboiled eggs and veg, granola and fruit.  I make sure that I’m not having too much nut butter in 1 day – so I’ll be sure that on a day when I’m having oatmeal or a smoothie with nut butter, I won’t also have a snack with nut butter.  It’s all about balance!

Now your Grid is complete!

Time to plan the grocery shopping!  We shop at Trader Joe’s or Sprout’s on a weekly basis – your local store would work too.  I hit up Costco about once every 3 to 4 weeks for the major items (wild salmon or organic chicken breast – which can be frozen, although I prefer my fish never frozen).

I flip over the Grid, and start determining, based on the items on the Grid, what I need to buy.  I’ll separate the page into various sections of the grocery store:  Pantry, Dairy, Meat / Seafood, Frozen, Produce.  Then I’ll start adding in the ingredients from my recipes and the grid boxes, along with how much I need.  How many tubs of yogurt?  What size of Vegetable broth?  (Would a can work, or do I need one of those 4-cup boxes?)  I’ll then take stock of standards that we always have on hand, to be sure that I’m all set.  Do I need more garlic?  How are we on whole wheat flour?  (I usually have a list going of staples, like those – so I won’t forget).

Most Importantly:  When I’m in the store, I stick to the list!  Since I already know what I want is on sale, I’ve already factored that in.  And I don’t let myself get sucked in by something that looks tasty at the store.  Because if it’s not in my house, I won’t eat it!

Do you meal / menu plan?  Any tricks that you’d recommend for me?

What I Ate Wednesday – Take 1

My first real day of What I Ate Wednesday…  But, I’m not sure that I did it correctly.

I started out this morning thinking, “What will people think if I have pizza?”  Or “What will people think if I just have a Luna bar, and no fruit?”  But, as the day wore on, I realized that I needed to make choices for myself – what worked for me.  I did think it was interesting that I was more willing to eat “well” knowing that other people are reading it, as opposed to eating well “just” for myself.  It seems to me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m eating and the choices that I’m making.  The truth is:  I know what the “better” choices are, I just don’t always make them.  Today, I made some, and I’d like to continue the trend.

I started with iced coffee with skim milk at 7:45 AM, but I think the milk had turned.  I find that organic milk turns so much quicker than “normal”.  I assume that’s because it doesn’t have the additives, but I really need to remember to smell it before pouring!

Breakfast – 9:30 AM

I was able to get another (non-tainted) cup of coffee after my first few meetings, and also picked up 4 organic hardboiled eggs (I only eat the whites) and a whole wheat English muffin with whipped cream cheese & strawberry preserves.

Lunch 1:15 PM

Went out to The Natural Cafe for lunch to take a break from the office.

Iced tea with my battery-starved Nook - so much for reading during lunch!

The "Local Favorite" with avocado, sprouts, lettuce, tomato & garlic mayo on whole wheat with blue corn tortilla chips & salsa

Afternoon Snack – 4:15 PM

On my way to an appointment, I had some water & a Lemon Zest Luna bar.  Mmmmm, lemon.

Dinner – 7:30 PM

Tonight’s dinner was a mash-up of leftovers added into a whole wheat tortilla:

  • Stir-fried chicken breast with carrots & celery
  • Jalapeño pub cheese with vegetarian chili and tomatoes
  • Zucchini, red bell pepper, and corn from the cob sautéed with a mix of spices

Hansen's Diet Root Beer on the side

Dessert – 8:30 PM

Getting great stone fruit in our bi-weekly delivery of fruits & vegetables, I’ve really gotten creative in using them.  I’ve been chopping up the plums, microwaving for 30 seconds.  I then topped them with 1/4 c of homemade granola, and about 1 t of agave nectar.  Super yum!

The lazy girl's crisp - don't hate.

Add 2 Medjool dates to the mix, and that’s What I Ate Wednesday.

Oh, so THAT’S the problem!

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I think I mentioned that I started working with a new trainer. He asked me to bring in 2 days worth of my food diary. I forgot to do it today, so he asked me to email it to him, so he could review it and provide some feedback when we meet on Thursday. Sure, easy enough. He asked for the past 2 days, but I reminded him that I’ve been sick and haven’t been eating super, and we camped this weekend, so I didn’t log. So he just told me to find 2 good days.

I’ve just gone through a whole month of food diaries to find 2 “good” days. And you know what I found? I don’t have any. I don’t have ANY days in April that were what I would consider good food days. WTH? How is it possible that every day (except weekends) I log every friggin bite that goes into my body, and I still have some food every day that isn’t what I would consider good? And this is not just 1 bite of something — it’s at least 1 full MEAL a day (when I eat 4 to 5 meals a day) that is not what it should be. That’s 25% of the time!

Do I meet my daily calorie targets? Yes. Mostly. (Only if you count exercise calories.) But do I do it with clean, whole foods? Nope. I’m not buying out the grocery store of Kraft foods, mind you, but even tonight at Trader Joe’s I had to remind myself to put down the processed crap and pick up the whole foods.

So, ummm, I’m hoping that this little realization of mine will now lead me to lose a bunch of weight, as I start mindfully eating whole, clean food. Of course, I welcome that. But what the heck have I been doing? I totally fooled myself that each day looked like the PERFECT food day. But yet, I couldn’t find one day in the WHOLE MONTH of April! Yikes.

Arrrgh. Realization: No one to blame but myself.

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