Monday, January 30, 2017

BuddhiBox January 2017

My BuddhiBox came late this month and then I was out of town for the rest of the week so I'm just now getting a chance to post what was in it.  Let's take a more detailed look at what was inside.

Seeds of Intention Cards
by May You Know Joy
These cards are a really neat idea but I just don't really know what I'll do with them.  I was thinking I can pick out a couple each week to display on my yoga inspiration cork board.  I would definitely not have purchased these on my own though.

Toxic Detox Aromatherapy Spray
by Urban Mysticism
* Cruelty Free
I like aromatherapy sprays but I already have multiple others and I just don't need any more.  However, this is a nice scent (lavender and peppermint) and I see myself using it but probably not all of it.

Smudge Stick
by Brand Name
This product was listed on my card, however I did not receive one in my box.  I guess I'm not that disappointed because I wouldn't have used it anyway but I hate that I paid for it and didn't get it.  I could have at least sent it to my brother, who would have enjoyed it.

Green Superfood Detox Sample
by Amazing Grass
* Cruelty Free, Organic, Vegan
I have to be honest, I was not excited about this product at all.  I'm still scarred after my December BuddhiBox where we got a protein bar from this same company in the same flavor and it was absolutely gross to me.  Also, after taking a closer look at the nutrition facts, I was quite surprised by just how much sodium is in this packet.  I think I'll be passing it on to a friend at work who is into protein shakes.  I'll stick to getting my vitamins and nutrients through normal food.

Nothing is Impossible Cuff
by Buddhi Box
This was the only item in this box that I was excited about!  This cuff is really pretty and I think I'll wear it but I really would never pay this much for a bracelet, especially for one that I like a lot but don't love.  The quote is nice but just doesn't really speak to me at this moment.

Gettin' Fierce: Steps into a Positive Mindset eBook
by Perspectives Yoga
$16.00 (currently on sale for $10.00)
I found this very disappointing.  I wouldn't have minded getting a printed book, even if it's only twenty pages but I just don't enjoy reading eBooks.  There's also the fact that I have to now make the effort to go to the site, give out my email (inviting a bunch of spam emails into my life, I'm sure), and wait for the response email before I could get this book.  And after skimming through it... it looks like every other self help book I've read and gotten bored with after ten pages.

Matcha Green Tea Samples
by Lively Matcha
* Vegan
Another product I have no interest in trying.  I love tea but I've never tried matcha and never really wanted to.  I guess it will be an opportunity to expand my horizons but I just tried chai tea for the first time and that took me years to be brave enough to experiment with.  The fact that this is green and looks like wasabi is not helping.

Lavender Detox Body Scrub
by Hara Healing Shop
$12.50 for full size, 4 oz (I received a 0.5 ounce jar, $1.56)
* Cruelty Free, Vegan
This product is not really something I'll get excited about but I believe I will use it.  I occasionally enjoy using a body scrub to exfoliate my arms and legs.  I sometimes have break outs of keratosis pilaris on my arms and a good exfoliation helps prevent it.  However, I find that just using an exfoliating loofah is usually enough. 

BuddhiBox Extras

Lassi Recipe
I have yet to make any of the recipes that have come in my BuddhiBox and this one will be no exception.  Watered down yogurt sounds gross to me.

Yoga Pose Card
This card is absolutely beautiful and the yoga pose cards are usually one of my favorite things in the box.  I just wish they were poses I could do!  Splits are not in my repertoire at this point in my life.  Maybe one day?

Quote Card
This is a lovely quote and I like the look with the green border.  On the back is all of the product information for each item.

Total Value: $81.56

I was incredibly disappointed by this month's box.  There was only one thing that I even liked.  All the rest were just meh or things I didn't like at all.  I'm really hoping next month is better!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekly Goal Update: Jan 22 - 28

January 22 - 28

The fourth week of the year is over and I feel like I let it beat me up!  I mentioned in my goals for this week that I would be traveling Tuesday through Friday of this week and I was hoping to do okay with eating healthy and losing weight.  I feel pretty meh about how I did.  It wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either.  Overall I did well but made a few bad decisions.  Let's break it down.

1. Make healthier food choices.
I did great with breakfast all week!  I packed pre-made oatmeal bags with me so I could have a filling healthy breakfast while at the hotel.  Although not indulging in my usual morning cup of coffee lead me to partake in several caffeinated sodas while at the convention center.  Note to self: You are hopelessly addicted to caffeine.  Accept it and prepare better in the future.

I did really well at lunches until the last two days of travel.  Before that we were able to eat at the hotel or a restaurant so I could have healthy options but the last two days we had to eat at the convention center and there just really were no healthy choices.  I ended up having pizza two days in a row because it was the only line that took less than half an hour to get your food.  But I was proud that I was able to restrict myself to only eating 3/4 of the pizza.  In the olden days I would have just overeaten not to waste food.  I'm trying to learn that it's better to waste food than let it make you unhealthy.

I actually snacked quite a bit in between lunch and dinner but I think it worked out.  I stocked the hotel fridge and pantry with healthy snacks like apples, carrots, bananas, light cheese, whole grain crackers, and trail mix made with unsalted nuts and raisins.  Each day, we had about seven hours between lunch and dinner so the healthy snacks helped me manage my hunger so that by the time we got to the restaurant, I wasn't starving and then overeating and making poor choices.

I did pretty good with dinner.  I ate salad every day and consciously stopped eating before I was stuffed, especially since I had already had a snack.  I was especially proud of my self control when we went to Texas de Brazil and everyone else left feeling overly full and sick.

Besides the pizza, dessert was my downfall.  Our first night out, we walked to dinner and by the time we got to Johnny Rocket's, my blood sugar was low.  I jumped on the bandwagon with all my coworkers and ordered a milk shake.  However, I was proud of the fact that at least I only ate half of it.  As a matter of fact, we had dessert three nights and all three nights I was able to decide in advance how much dessert I would eat (half), and stuck to that through milkshakes, banana foster's cheesecake, and Coldstone Creamery ice cream.  In retrospect, I should have skipped dessert completely but only eating half is still progress for me.  You have to start somewhere and for me, I can't completely refrain from things I love.

Overall, my favorite healthy meal was surprisingly the grilled chicken pilaf salad that I had at the Ikea cafe.  Other than the fact that they hid the Light Italian dressing until I had already settled on ranch (in my opinion, not as good and more fattening), it was an absolutely delicious and interesting salad.  My least favorite healthy meal was the zucchini potato frittata that I tried to make Sunday morning for breakfast.  I didn't follow a recipe and... I should have.  I used way too much potato and zucchini and the zucchini was weirdly too wet, ruining the texture of the whole frittata.  I might try it again, but this time I'll follow a recipe so I know how much of each ingredient to use and that I should pat dry the zucchini after spiralizing it.  Good idea but poor execution that had to be covered in Frank's red hot to mask the weird texture.

2. Exercise five days a week for thirty minutes (or a total of 150 minutes per week, 2.5 hours).

I'm not getting in thirty minutes five days a week but I seem to always be hitting this mark.  I'm going to just let it go, as long as I'm getting the two and a half hours per week.  For me, that leads to more days of being active and more days of getting 10,000 steps.

Sunday: ---
Monday: 15 minutes of yoga
Tuesday: 22 minutes of aerobics (Not sure what that was about... we walked to the convention center and climbed a bunch of stairs to register.  Guess the Fitbit thinks that is aerobics?)
30 minute walk
26 minute walk
Wednesday: 21 minute walk
Thursday: 16 minute walk
Friday: 15 minute walk
Saturday: 20 minute walk

Total time: 2 hours, 47 minutes

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
I definitely hit this goal and even surpassed it!  I actually thought we would be a lot more active while at the conference but it turned out our hotel was super close to the convention center and then all of our sessions were really close to each other.  My best day was Tuesday, mostly because I made all of my coworkers walk to dinner because I drove us down and didn't want to have to deal with parking.  However, it was over a mile walk there and back and I wore my Keds, which have less support than my normal walking shoes.  I paid for it the rest of the week, as the outside of my right foot was in a lot of pain the rest of the week and I'm not really sure why.  That led to less motivation to walk the rest of the week because it was so painful that I would end up limping.  But I did get over 20,000 steps on Tuesday, which earned me the High Tops badge!  The worst day was Sunday, where I was literally just trying to haul my heinie off the couch long enough to get 10,000 steps.  But I did it with 10,123 total! 

4. Go to sleep earlier.
This was a hard goal to manage this week just because there were nights where we were obligated to attend things and we got back to the hotel late.  But most days we were able to sleep in a lot later than we would have for work as well.  Also, one night I forgot to check into my Google form before going to sleep so it didn't track my bed time.  In general, there was only one night that I felt I didn't get nearly enough sleep but there wasn't anything I could have done about it anyway.  I'm honestly looking forward to getting back into my normal early bed time and early wake up.

5. Leave some wiggle room.
Okay, maybe I gave myself a little too much wiggle room this week but when you travel, temptation is everywhere and sometimes healthy choices are slim.  My indulgences while traveling included: desserts, pizza, and several diet sodas.

6. Progress towards goal?
This week definitely did not help me reach my goal of losing weight.  However, I think most of the weight I gained this week is in water weight.  Pizza is particularly high in sodium and after eating so much of it, I'm definitely feeling the edema in my hands.  My wedding ring is feeling super tight and uncomfortable!  Overall, I've gained 0.6 pounds this week and my total weight loss so far is only 4.4 pounds.  I'm going to need to work really hard this coming week to get back on track!

7. Goals for this week?
This week I'm going to really try to focus on eating healthy.  I've been reading The Dash Diet Action Plan and I've gotten some really good ideas on some different foods I can try.  It's always easier to eat healthy when you're able to really plan, shop, and prepare to eat good foods.  That's much harder when you're away from home.  I've already got some recipes to try out and I had a well thought out list when I went to the grocery store yesterday evening.

My goals are:
1. Try something new for lunches.  I'm getting tired of the exact same lunch I've been having for months now.
2. Try at least 2 new dinner recipes.
3. Cook dinner at least 4 nights out of the week.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Travel Makeup

It was so nice waking up in my own bed this morning and putting on my makeup in my normal space.  You see, I've spent the last three nights in a hotel while attending a conference for work.  So I thought it would be fun to share what makeup I ended up bringing with me because when I'm in a hotel without all the comforts of home, I like to pack makeup that I know I can count on.  Let's start with the tools I brought.

First, let's talk brushes.  I brought my tried and true brushes that I know I can rely on, from left to right:
1. up & up blush brush
2. real techniques setting brush
3. real techniques duo fiber powder brush
4. sonia kashuk small shadow brush
5. elf eyeshadow brush
6. ecotools angled liner brush
7. ebelin blenderpinsel (I use it as a crease brush.)
8. real techniques deluxe crease brush (I use it as a blending brush.)
The brushes are all contained in the brush case that came with the real techniques starter set for eyes.

Next, I have a travel mirror to apply the makeup.  One side is regular and the back is magnified.  I carried Q tips, a clean mascara spoolie, elf one dollar tweezers, and sponge wedges in my "It's a Good Day" zip case.  And things wouldn't be complete without my elf one dollar lash curler and some tissues.

Moving on to the face products we have:
1. elf makeup mist & set
2. elf hd lifting concealer in fair
3. l'oreal true match powder in n2: classic ivory
4. jordana powder blush in rouge (I actually bought this while I was traveling.  I found a Publix that actually carried Jordana!)
5. benefit erase paste in fair
6. essence matt touch blush in berry me up
7. covergirl clean matte bb cream in fair

In the eyes category, we have some more awesome favorites that I can always count on.
1. milani eyeshadow primer
2. milani brow shaping clear wax pencil
3. elf instant lift brow pencil in neutral brown
4. rimmel scandaleyez eyeliner in nude
5. covergirl clump crusher water resistant
6. maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black
7. covergirl trunaked eyeshadow palette in nudes

And finally we have all the lippies!
1. milani color statement lipstick in pretty natural*
2. maybelline babylips* in cherry me
3. elf beautifully bare lipstick in touch of blush
4. jordana classic color lip liner in mulberry (I also bought this while traveling.)
5. taylor swift wonderstruck roller ball perfume (I know this doesn't go on your lips!  LOL!  But I forgot to put it in with the tools so I just included it here.)
6. carmex original lip balm*

All the products marked with an asterisk (*) were already in my purse because I have a lippie addiction.  😆

That's all the makeup I took with me (and/or purchased while I was away)!  What are your must have makeup products?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekly Goal Update: Jan 15-21

January 15 - 21

Wow, three weeks of 2017 are already gone!  And somehow, even though this was a short work week for me thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this was the busiest week of the year for me as well.  A huge project assignment at work derailed me from a few of my goals, but overall, I think I still ended the week no worse for wear.  Let’s look at the details.

1. Make healthier food choices.
I stuck with my oatmeal breakfasts this week and found them easy and filling.  Adding in fresh or freeze dried fruit and some nuts on top keep them interesting and add in some more healthy noms.

I didn’t partake in mid-morning snacking.

I did really well with lunches, sticking with my typical whole wheat peanut butter and sugar free jelly, grapes, and carrots most days and eating a salad on the day we went out for lunch.

Dinner was kind of my success of the week.  I really put a lot of planning into our meals and grocery shopping for this week and tried out a bunch of really healthy recipes.  And I actually cooked every day from Monday to Thursday!  Here’s what I made:

Wednesday: zucchini burrito bowls

Out of those four meals I made, my favorite was the zucchini burrito bowls.  I'll definitely be making those again!  They were something I sort of imagined up myself so the next time I make it, I'll try to remember to take pictures so I can share the recipe on here.  They were so amazing and actually full of vegetables!  My least favorite meal was the ground turkey and broccoli stir fry.  It was really labor intensive and just not that flavorful.  I think if I wanted something Asian inspired, next time I would make the balsamic chicken along with a bunch of yummy veggies and serve it over rice instead.  That chicken was amazing and had a sweet and spicy flair to it.

With being so busy with work this week, by the time I got home and made dinner, I had to get back to work on my project so I didn't even have time to think about dessert.

2. Exercise five days a week for thirty minutes (or a total of 150 minutes per week, 2.5 hours).

Sunday: 30 minutes of "elliptical"
Monday: 46 minutes of "elliptical"
Tuesday: 18 minutes of "elliptical"
Wednesday: 16 minutes of walking
Thursday: 28 minutes of yoga
Friday: ----
Saturday: 31 minutes of "elliptical"

Total time: 2 hours, 52 minutes

Spending so much time sitting working on my project this week meant I needed a way to get in more steps, hence why there is so much "elliptical", which is really just me walking briskly in place using different types of steps.  By Thursday I was so drained and stressed that I really needed some yoga just to clear my mind.

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
I did really well with my step goal this week.  I passed my goal of 10,000 steps six days a week and went for all seven days.  Thursday was my best day with 11,259 steps and my worst day was Tuesday when I just barely made my goal with 10,010 steps.  But barely making a goal is still making a goal!  And I am also pretty proud that I earned my Italy badge for walking a total of 736 (the length of Italy) since getting my FitBit in July.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
My sleep goals were my biggest fail of this week.  We had a friend over Sunday night and then had an extracurricular event with friends on Friday night that kept us up way later than we would have liked.  During the week, I was staying up late working on my big project.  I definitely noticed that I had way less energy all this week from the lack of sleep.

Goal: Weekday nights between 9:00PM and 9:30PM:
My actual average bed time for the weekday nights (only 4 nights because of the short week) was 9:53:54 PM.  That's way later than I want to be staying up when my alarm goes off at 5:00AM.  And it was much harder to get out of bed when the alarm went off.

Goal: Weekend nights between 10:00PM and 10:30PM:
My actual average bedtime for the three weekend nights was 11:47:25 PM.  That's way later than I usually stay up on weekends!  Having a social like takes a toll on sleep but sometimes you just need some time with your pals.

5. Leave some wiggle room.
I knew I was saving my wiggle room for this weekend.  We have $50 in Red Lobster gift cards and I knew I wanted to order their Cajun Chicken Alfredo.  High in fat and calories but oh so good and satisfying.  Also, the Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  I'm drooling just thinking about it!  But I ate less than half of the pasta at dinner and saved the rest to at least split the calories up over two days.  Also, I indulged in a Starbucks Chai Tea Latte on Friday night.  I've never ordered one before but now I'm in love!  And I'm happy to report that a tall almond milk chai tea latte is only 140 calories!  My husband ordered a Grande Java Chip Frappuccino with whipped cream.  Want to guess?  It was a whopping 470 calories!  😳  I felt pretty good about my choice after seeing that!

6. Progress towards goal?
I mentioned in last week's update that I would be happy if I just maintained my weight this week.  While I technically gained 0.2 of a pound between my weight last Saturday and this Saturday, I feel like that's pretty much maintaining.  I can lose or gain that much weight just by how much water I'm retaining.

One thing that I did learn was that I think my portion sizes at dinner are too large.  I purchased this book on the DASH diet from Amazon and have been reading through it.  It's actually much more interesting than I thought it would be and one thing that stood out to me so far was how much less us short folks need to eat if we want to lose weight.  After looking back on all my dinner photos from the week, I think it might be a better idea for me to have a snack in between lunch and dinner and try to eat a smaller dinner portion or at least eat more vegetables and less starches at dinner.

7. Goals for next week?
Next week is going to be an odd week for me.  I'll be on a business trip Tuesday through Friday and I know our only option will be to eat out for lunches and dinners.  I plan on bringing my pre-packaged homemade oatmeal to prepare for breakfast and I've packed healthy snacks too but I just don't know what kind of options I'll have for lunches and dinners.  I won't be surprised if I can a pound or two in water weight next week because it's much harder to find low sodium meals when eating out.  The only plus side is that I know we'll be doing a lot of walking so I should get in some extra steps.  Fingers crossed that it all works out okay.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weekly Goal Update: Jan 8-14

January 8-14

The second week of January is over and I'm here for my second goal update on My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year.  If you missed last week's update, click here to check it out.  Let's see how I did with each of my goals.

1. Make healthier food choices.
I think I did great!  I had oatmeal every day for work, thanks to my breakfast preparation last week.  On the weekend, I had basically the same thing but with farina (Cream of Wheat) instead of oatmeal just to change things up a bit.

Since I started eating oatmeal for breakfast, I haven't been snacking mid morning any more.  Oatmeal really does a great job of keeping you full!

I did really well with lunches too.  I brought grapes, carrots, and peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat Monday through Thursday for lunch at work.  I knew my work crew was going out to lunch together Friday but I got a grilled chicken salad with olive oil and vinegar.  On the weekends, I had grapes, carrots and whole wheat bread with turkey and cheese.

Dinner is usually a weak area for me because hubby cooks dinner and he's more concerned with making an amazing meal than a healthy meal.  Lately, I've been trying to help out more by selecting more fresh veggies at the grocery store and giving him recipes that include those.  We had some chicken with pasta, grape tomatoes, squash, and asparagus one night seasoned with lemon, rosemary, and parsley.  Another night he made steaks with squash, red potatoes, and tomatoes that were flavored with thyme, lemon, and parsley.  A friend gave us several large juicing lemons from a tree in his yard, hence all the lemon, which tastes amazing with chicken or veggies!  Also, we started an herb garden outside so we can have fresh herbs to cook with!  I think once it gets closer to spring, we may also plant some veggies and try our hand at growing more of our own food.

I've mentioned before that dessert has always been a weakness for me.  I just love something cold!  I've got more of these Breyer's ice cream cups to use up and then I think I'm going to try something else.  Maybe frozen yogurt?

2. Exercise five days a week for thirty minutes.
I didn't even realize that I had set my goal to five days a week for thirty minutes until I went back to my original post on this and re-read it.  I'm going to give myself a pass though because 5 X 30 = 150 minutes total or 2.5 hours and I exceeded that, even if it was spread out differently through the week.

Sunday: 50 minutes of "elliptical" (AKA walking in place, not sure why my FitBit can't figure that out!)
Monday: 15 minutes of yoga
Tuesday 17 minutes of yoga
Wednesday: 17 minutes of yoga
Thursday: 34 minutes of "elliptical"
Friday: 18 minutes of walking
Saturday: 33 minutes of "elliptical"

I'm just going to go ahead and say I'm the most proud of Thursday.  I had a dentist appointment in the morning but instead of sleeping in, I got up at my normal time, got ready to go, and then walked in place with the extra time I had.  Go me!

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
I'm pretty proud of this one!  I managed to get to 10,000 steps every single day this week.  I guess I was just feeling extra motivated on Saturday.  I knew I could take the day off if I wanted to but I was feeling up to walking so I did.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
After creating my Google form to track my bedtime, I think I did better than last week.  However, I still have some major room for improvement!  My goal for weeknights was to average a bedtime between 9:00 - 9:30 PM.  I barely scraped in at the latest possible time and only because on the last day I figured out what time I could stay up until based on the data from the rest of the week and I went to bed at that time!  But before, I would have just stayed up later and not cared.  Collecting the data definitely makes me think more about it, even if I did stay up past 9:30 two nights.  My goal for weekends was to average a bedtime between 10:00 - 10:30 PM.  I failed at that goal.  But again, in the past I would have stayed up even later and not cared.  For this week coming though, I really would like to meet both of my goals!

5. Leave some wiggle room.
This week was all about dessert for me.  I went out to eat twice but both times just got a grilled chicken salad so I allowed myself room for two nights of the mini ice cream cups.

6. Progress towards goal?
This week I was down 1.6 pounds from last week and 5.2 pounds total.  I would like to say that all of my hard work paid off on the scale this week but I honestly think it was just water weight!  I fully expect to yoyo around a little on the scale this coming week as I regain some of the water when I have a meal or two with more sodium.  If I maintain about the same weight by the end of next week, I'll be happy.

On a final note, I'm looking into the DASH diet right now.  It's the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet that helps people lower their blood pressure through diet changes.  It's good for me because it's a low sodium diet and it's been voted the number one diet for the last seven years by U.S. News and World Report because it's easy to follow, good for your heart, and also good for diabetics.  I've ordered the book The DASH Diet Action Plan from Amazon so I'm really curious to see if I can find some more low sodium recipes and meal ideas.  Has anyone heard of this diet?  Have you had luck with it?  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Healthy Meal Preparation: Lunch

As I mentioned in my Healthy Meal Preparation: Breakfast post, preparing healthy meals in advance helps me to make healthier eating choices so I'm able to lose weight.  Today we're talking lunches!  I like to prep my meals on the weekend but I don't want to spend all day doing it.  I've streamlined this process and I thought today I would share with you how I go about it.

The hardest part for me was planning in advance so that when I go to the grocery store, I buy healthy foods that are quick and easy to prepare for the week.  For me, I've found that some of the easiest things are grapes and carrots.  With the grapes, all you have to do is wash them, cut the stems to separate them into groups.  I have five days of work this week so I separated them into five groups.  I leave them on the vine and just put them in a ziplock bag.  Next, I buy pre-sliced carrots and divvy them out into five groups as well.  Occasionally, the store will be out of pre-sliced.  In that case I just buy whole carrots, wash them, and break them into pieces that will fit in a bag.  No one in my office minds if I chomp on a carrot like Bugs Bunny.

Finally, I make a sandwich.  I do this each night before work.  Bread just don't stay fresh after you've put toppings on it so I don't make one in the evening for the next day.  However, making a peanut butter and sugar free jelly or a turkey and cheese only takes a couple of minutes each night compared to creating an entire lunch when I already had all of the ingredients out anyway.

And that's it!  Just a few minutes ensures I have a healthy lunch ready to go in the morning.  Do you meal plan?  I'd love to hear some other quick and easy fruits and vegetables besides grapes and carrots that I could throw in my lunches so feel free to share what you do!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Healthy Meal Preparation: Breakfast

One of the hardest things about trying to lose weight is making good choices about what you eat.  And yet it's so important in creating the caloric deficit that results in weight loss.  For me, it's way easier to eat less calories than it is to burn off thousands of extra calories!  The best way that I've found to ensure I'm making healthy food choices is through meal preparation.  Lately I've been on an oatmeal breakfast kick and have enjoyed making my own healthy version of instant oatmeal.  Pre-packaged instant oatmeal from the store has loads more sodium, sugar, and added ingredients that I can't pronounce.  I prefer to buy quick oats and make my own flavors.  In just a short amount of time on the weekend, you can prepare a healthy breakfast for every day of the week ahead that's way healthier than the pre-made packets.

1. Gather ingredients.
I'm just now starting to get into oatmeal for breakfast so I've been experimenting a lot, hence the 10,000 ingredients I have pulled out.  If you wanted to keep it simpler, I would suggest selecting one type of oatmeal and focusing on that.  I wanted to try a different flavor every day this week and see what I liked the best.

2. Measure out the dry ingredients.
No matter what flavor of instant oatmeal I'm making, I always start with the same few base ingredients.  I start with 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 heaping tablespoon of flax seed meal (optional), and 1/2 tablespoon of truvia in each container.  I find that these containers are the perfect size.  They're great for storing the prepared instant oats but you can also heat them in these containers, eat them from these containers, and then toss them in the dishwasher.  Then depending on what flavor I'm making I might add in cinnamon, freeze dried fruit, or unsweetened coconut.

3. Write instructions for myself.
Since I make different flavors, I use a sticky note to make a label and write instructions for myself.  They look really simple because I have a system that works for me.  When I go to eat my oatmeal, I always add any wet ingredients that won't last well in the pantry, such as almond milk, vanilla, and in this recipe, grated carrot.  Any ingredients with an asterisk (*) are things that I know get added after the oatmeal is cooked.  I put those ingredients in a separate plastic bag that also gets labeled.

4. Put in the pantry awaiting breakfast time!
Once everything is labeled and packaged, it's ready to wait for you in the pantry!

5. Add the remaining ingredients, heat it, and nom it!
The one you see pictured here is carrot cake, which has so far been one of my favorite flavors and even sneaks in a full carrot for breakfast!  If carrot cake isn't your thing, there are so many other combinations to try, the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.  And if your imagination needs some help, here are some ideas:

  • almond joy
  • raspberry coconut
  • banana nut
  • cinnamon apple
  • pumpkin pie
  • raisin nut
  • chocolate banana
  • blueberry crunch
  • mixed berry
  • strawberry pecan
  • raspberry vanilla
  • German chocolate cake
Or just try your favorite fruit (fresh, freeze dried, or frozen), some calorie free sweetener, and maybe some nuts for a nice crunch.  Overnight oats are really popular right now too but as the weather gets colder, I'm enjoying a hot breakfast.  However, most overnight oat recipes can be made to work with hot oatmeal too.  Oatmeal has been an easy way for me to start the day with a healthy meal that keeps me full for a really long time.  Have you gotten on the oatmeal bandwagon yet?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Weekly Goal Update: Jan 1-7

January 1-7

Last week I wrote about my plan to get back on track for the new year with my diet and exercise plan.  The first week of January has come and gone already so I thought I would check in and discuss how each one of my goals has gone.  I'm a big fan of Fran from the blog FranishTheBlog and she had written about doing a weekly check in of her health and fitness goals on her blog to hold herself accountable and invited others to find a way to hold themselves accountable as well.  I thought that was a great idea so I'm here to do the same!  I might not be able to maintain posting every single week but I'm going to do my best.  So let's see how week one went!

1. Make healthier food choices.
I'm pretty proud of how well I did this week with breakfast!  Normally I just eat a bowl of cereal because it's quick, easy, and takes no preparation.  However, I find that cereal just doesn't keep me full for very long and then I end up hungry again by mid morning.  Usually I just pack a banana and eat that and everything is fine.  Sometimes someone will bring breakfast in (fresh Panera bagels slathered in cream cheese) or I'll be tempted by the shared box of Chips Ahoy snack bags someone brought in.  So I decided to give oatmeal a try this week.  It kept me full much longer so I didn't even need a snack.  I'm planning on posting later this week on how I spend a few minutes on the weekend prepping oatmeal for every day the rest of the week.  My favorite flavor this week was carrot cake, complete with real carrot!  Prepping oatmeal for the week takes very little time and I can have a healthy, quick, hot breakfast that keeps me full all the way until lunch.

Thanks to the oatmeal, I didn't snack at all this week!

I did really well with lunches as well.  For the workweek, I had grapes, carrots, and peanut butter and sugar free strawberry jelly on whole wheat bread.  On the weekends, I shook it up with the occasional 1/2 an orange, sugar snap peas, or other variations of fruits and veggies along with some sort of sandwich.  If I didn't feel like PB&J, I had turkey and cheese with spinach leaves instead.

Dinners were probably the hardest for me because my husband cooks and he is not anywhere near as interested in eating healthy as I am.  But if he cooks it, I'm not complaining!  We still did pretty well, as I helped out by selecting some healthy recipes from Pinterest to try and adding the ingredients to our shopping list.  My favorite meal was this lemon-thyme chicken & zucchini.  It was absolutely amazing.  I'm still thinking about it three days later.  I've since ordered a zester on Amazon because I'm pretty sure I now need to have lemon in all of my food and our grater doesn't have the most efficient zester on it.

I only had dessert one day this week: a chocolate ice cream snack cup from Breyer's topped with a bit of whipped cream.  As a person who loves dessert, that's pretty good for me!  Instead of ice cream, most days I made myself a cup of hot tea.  Way less calories but satisfying in a different way.

2. Exercise five days a week.
Check!  While I didn't do yoga as I originally planned, I did exercise six days out of this week.  Mostly, I walked in place while watching TV!  Although for some reason, my FitBit is really struggling to track that activity and either can't pick it up accurately for the correct amount of time (I definitely walked for a full hour yesterday while watching an episode of Man in the High Castle) or it's convinced I'm doing the elliptical.  Either way, I basically do this sort of a thing, varying the type of steps I take.  But I do all of the walking while watching TV for about twenty or thirty minutes at a time.  Then I can take a break and sit for awhile and I still have the energy to come back for another twenty or thirty minute walk.  This is how I've been getting my steps in this week.  And on Tuesday I burnt 241 calories just walking in place while watching TV!  I know that's not a ton or a super intense workout but I thought it was a good start for my first week back to work after basically being off for a week.  It made me wish I had a treadmill.

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
Another check!  This week I had to work Tuesday through Friday so I chose Monday (my last day off) as my "lazy" day.  It was nice to soak up every last minute of my time off for myself and not worry about walking in place to get steps.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
Oh, fail.  After being off of work for a week, I had definitely gotten out of my routine of going to bed around nine and getting up around five.  And it didn't help that my first day back to work, I completely forgot to turn my alarm back on and I woke up two hours late!  Don't worry, it was actually an optional work day for me.  But for the next two nights after that, I kept waking up randomly every hour, paranoid about what time it was and thinking I had over slept.  Finally by Thursday night, I had gotten back into my routine just in time for the weekend.  So getting more sleep is something I'll definitely have to put more effort into next week.  And I've decided I should make this goal more specific too so I can actually assess my success.  I've created a Google Form for myself where I can just open the form right before I go to bed and tell it whether it's a weekday or weekend.  It auto collects the date and time and I can have the data collected for me to see what time I'm calling it a night.  My goal is to have my average bedtime for weeknights be between 9:00 and 9:30 and weekends 10:00 - 10:30.

5. Leave some wiggle room.
Friday night we had a well deserved dinner out.  Hubby received an Outback Steakhouse gift card for Christmas so we celebrated the weekend with an appetizer of cheesy French Fries and an entree of salads.  I feel like splitting a small fry was just enough of a cheat to satisfy my craving for junk without consuming a thousand calories.

6. Progress toward goal?
My long term goal was to lose ten pounds total.  This week I've lost 0.6 pounds  and total I've lost 3.6 since the start of August.  That means I have 6.4 pounds to go!  My weekly goal is to lose 0.5 pounds per week.

That's it for this week's update!  I'm hoping that now that I have some more specific goals laid out, I can really monitor them and keep track of my progress.  Wish me luck!