Thursday, December 29, 2011

Success at the Bar

I don’t know about all of you, but I enjoy the occasional happy hour. It’s a nice way to hang out and see friends, but still get home with enough time to relax before I have to go to bed. I also like it because I get the same socializing I would if we went out to dinner without actually having to eat out.  This is a good thing in my book because: one, a drink or two is MUCH cheaper than a meal, and two, I can still eat a healthy dinner at home (or at least in theory). The problem with this last ‘perk’ is that along with great drink deals these bars always have food deals. At first it’s easy to say, “naw I’ll just eat when I get home”. But, as the night goes on and I get hungry it becomes harder and harder to wait. Especially as I see plate after plate of really unhealthy but so tempting bar food go by me and it only costs a couple of dollar. Sometimes temptation gets the best of me and I order something (I try and order what I think will be a bit healthier, but let’s be honest nothing that is served at a bar is really healthy), but then there are times like last night when I don’t give in.

What made last night different than other nights (the nights where I gave in)? Here are some of my thoughts on that… First, I think it helped that I ate some trail mix right before going out. The protein from the nuts helped fill me up for the next couple of hours, but still left me wanting a real dinner later.  Secondly, I brought a certain amount of cash with me to bar. So, even though food would have only been an extra couple of dollars if I didn’t have it in cash I wasn’t going to get it. And Third, and perhaps the most effective for me last night, is that the friend I was meeting up with is also a healthy conscious person and her being ‘good’ encouraged me to be ‘good’ as well. It’s easy to cheat when everyone around you is doing it, but if there is just one other person who is sticking to their guns then it’s much easier to stick to yours. This is the biggest suggestion I have for everyone; it’s like the gym buddy system but for food. Find your other healthy friend and both decide to not eat anything at the bar. And when you start to get hungry and want dinner, go home and eat dinner.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cereal Lovers

Raise your hand if you like cereal? Yes, my hand is raised too. I love cereal, the problem is cereal does not always love me. After eating it 9 times out of 10 I get a headache or feel dehydrated. Now, there could be many reasons for this but the most likely culprit is that on the rare occasion I eat cereal I know I am not making a good choice.  Most often I’m going to reach for the one that is more of a dessert then a breakfast. This probably goes back to when I was a kid and was not allowed to have those types of cereals unless it was actually my dessert. My solution is to just give up cereal (there are many more breakfast foods I like a lot more that don’t make me fell crummy), but for those who love cereal and have kids here are some suggestions on how to pick a healthy cereal:

Here is a link to an article that talks about the different types of sugary cereals and why they are so bad. It also has a video at the bottom of the page with suggestion on how to pick a healthy cereal, but I would make a couple of additions/alteration.

1.       10 grams of sugar for breakfast is too much for kids, especially since we typically have two servings when we eat cereal.  Aim for cereal that is a little lower around 5 – 8 grams. Or you can always mix two types of cereals (like corn flakes and special k) which will help even out the overall sugar level. If you eat too much sugar in the morning then you’ll find that your energy will crash a couple of hours later.

2.       Add fruit to cereal. With all these cereals adding dried blueberries and strawberries, why not add your own fresh ones! It will add a lot of flavor and nutrition.

3.       Don’t worry too much about calories (unless you are on a calorie restricted diet) because a lot of the healthy cereals that are high in fiber and nutrients will have a slightly high calorie level.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Over Indulging

I was a bad girl last night. I was having one of those nights were I was just a little upset and in a sad mood and instead of making a salad or having soup for dinner I succumbed to my taste buds. After going back and forth between the refrigerator and the pantry several times, thinking each time that something might catch my eye and sound like a yummy dinner, I decided to ‘just make something’. What did I make? Macaroni and cheese. Now, this by its self can be ok, I mean we all indulge every so often right? Except I didn’t eat a small portion with a side salad or veggie like I should have. Nope my whole meal with delicious baked macaroni and cheese (and I went back for seconds, I mean it wasn’t really enough to save anyways… what a lame excuse). Did it end there? I WISH!!! Nope a little later I decided that I wanted a little something for dessert (mistake!! Mistake!!) and had ice cream. Again all of this tasted so good, but never fail about an hour later I felt horrible. 1. My head hurt, 2. I was so thirsty I couldn’t get enough water, 3. My stomach was just not feeling right. 4. It did not help my mood, in fact it made it a little worse!  So, what did I learn from this (or I guess have to re-learn)? Comfort food comforts you in the moment but then makes you feel worse (both physically and emotionally) later.

What I plan to try next time (and what you can try to start with)…

1.       When I get in this mood, leave the kitchen. Maybe if I decide what I’m eating while not looking at those things then I will be in less of a mood to do so.

2.       Keep something at least somewhat healthy in the freezer to give me something quick to eat when I get in these moods

3.       If I want to indulge a little, make sure it’s just a little. Add a veggie with my mac and cheese and before I eat put what I plan to keep as leftovers in the refrigerator (or just be better about cooking less to start with).

4.       Drink more water while I’m cooking. Hopefully this will prevent the dehydration and help keep me a little fuller.

5.       If I indulge for dinner, I do not get to keep indulging and making bad decision. Next time, no dessert.

What other things have you found to help you??

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lack of workout motivation

I’m having one of those day where I seem to continue to come up with any excuse under the sun for why I can’t work out today.

Excuse one: I haven’t eaten enough yet today. My thought process/justification is if I haven’t eaten lunch that I probably shouldn’t work out. The fact is I should just grab a granola bar, eat it in the car, and just lift weights.

Excuse two: I could get other earns done instead during this time. However, isn’t that what I said the other day and ended up doing something on the computer or watching tv? The fact is I need to stop procrastinating on both, my earns and going to the gym.

Excuse three: I didn’t sleep well so I’m tried. The fact is that working out will actually help to wake me up, the truth with this one is that I am just lazy.

Let’s be honest we’ve all used these excuses and even though I know better sometimes they work and like yesterday I found myself succumbing to the escape goats and not working out.  I hope you had better luck then me so far this week. How do you motivate yourself? I think I need better tricks… I’ll look into some and will share my findings later.