Saturday, March 30, 2013

Planning & Shopping

I realized in the last week that I am absolutely lost if I don't meal plan.  If there is not a set "agenda" of what I am supposed to eat and when, I will reach for whatever is the easiest, fastest, most convenient thing there is.

Interestingly enough, this tends to also be the most unhealthy thing there is.

It's so weird that I've gained nearly 20 pounds since the marathon.

(Yeah, I just threw that one on you, huh?  It might not look like I've gained almost 20 pounds, but I have.  Trust me.  Ugh.  More on that story in a different post.)

So back to meal planning.  It is a huge pain in the butt and took me three hours last week and two hours this week.  BUT, it is oh-so important, which is why I want to dedicate a post to explaining just how I do it.

First, I figure out the meals for each week.  To do this, I first look at what my targets are.  As mentioned in a previous post, I am supposed to eat 33 grams of carbohydrates for each meal (with the exception of the sixth meal, the one right before bed) and between 14-18 grams of protein for each meal.  I am also interested in the amount of fat, so I look at that, too.

Then, I look at what I ate the week before to get ideas, I search my Pinterest page for inspiration, and I ask The Boy if he is craving anything in particular.  From my goals and my meal ideas, I can put together a pretty solid plan.

Because I'm a crazy woman, I do this in a pretty table on a Word document so that I can reference it (without losing it) all week:

Morning Meals
Afternoon Meals

After I have all of that figured out, I create a grocery list:

Prior to making the list, I first check the fridge and cupboards to see if I already have some of the items I'll need.  After all, it'd be silly to duplicate.

Notice the four columns on my list.  This makes grocery shopping easy.  The first column is all of the produce I need.  The second column consists of items from the refrigerated section (i.e. meat and cheese and dairy).  The third column is everything that can be found in the aisles of the store (i.e. the dry goods, the pantry items).  Finally, the fourth column is freezer food.

Here's the loot for today:

 The dry goods that I bought were wheat thins, edamame crackers and wasabi peas from Trader Joe's (impulse purchases), sesame rye crackers, sliced almonds, cumin, brown sugar, sunflower butter, and chocolate milk protein powder.

This was a unique bundling: everything I need to make Easter cupcakes to bring to BFF's house for dinner tomorrow: white cake mix, white frosting, cupcake liners, Peeps, jelly beans, and coconut.

The random fridge and freezer items are as follows: three bags of frozen brown rice, one bag of frozen broccoli, one can of orange juice concentrate (for smoothies), eggs, Trader Joe's bruschetta topping, a huge thing of plain Greek yogurt (to use as a substitute for mayo and sour cream in recipes this week as well as an ingredient in smoothies), and Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze.

Here's what hurt me the most: the produce.  This week, I stocked up because I actually had to go to the store yesterday since I ran out of stuff this week.  Here's what I bought: Brussels sprouts, cilantro, cucumber, bananas, broccoli, apples, green peppers, a jalapeno, limes, a mango, parsley, tomatoes, grapes, a red onion, a yellow onion, sweet potatoes, and avocados.

The protein for the week is as follows: tilapia, flank steak, fresh mozzarella, blue cheese, and crab.  Also pictured are some protein items I got from Trader Joe's so that I don't have to make another trip out west anytime soon: teriyaki tofu, tempeh, and marinated white fish.

So, most of what I bought this week is to be used this week.  The three proteins from Trader Joe's are to be used in the future, and the protein will certainly last me longer than one week, as will some of the impulse purchases (the edamame crackers and the wasabi peas).

However, most will be consumed before the next time I go to the store, which is unfortunate since it was quite an expensive day:

I spent $52 at Trader Joe's and $97 at Hy-Vee.  I think there are a couple of reasons it was so darn expensive this week: first, I bought a lot of protein (steak, crab, tilapia, marinated fish), which isn't cheap; second, the protein was $13 itself; third, I didn't want to run out of produce like I did last week; fourth, I wanted to stock up on veggies since those are basically "free" to eat, at least calorically speaking.

While it was more expensive ($149 total) than I would've liked it to have been, I'm still in the trial-and-error part of this whole process.  And, since we will not be eating out at all (with the exception of my "free-day" meal this evening), this is the total amount of money The Boy and I will be spending on food this week.

(Although, I'm sure The Boy will find a reason for him to run to Abelardo's or Taco John's or the convenience store for some Flamin' Hot Cheetos.  And then he'll lose 25 more pounds.)

If you have any questions regarding meal planning or grocery shopping, please let me know.  Other than spending too much darn money, I think I have this whole thing pretty well figured out.

Again, please like my page on Facebook, follow my fitness and food boards on Pinterest, and be my friend on My Fitness Pal (by searching for emmy815 with the email address of

Friday, March 29, 2013


Thursday: I apologize.  It was quite possibly the world's longest day, and I just had zero energy left to post anything worth reading.

So, let me recap the day.  :)

It started bright and early (per usual) when I woke up for our lower-body resistance training.  This is the day that I was most dreading.  Because I have done Farrell's before, I knew just how many squats and lunges (the bane of my existence) to expect.

Interestingly, though, it was not all that bad.  In fact, later in the day, I told The Boy that I was bummed that I was not more sore.  I want to feel the pain!

When I got home, I whipped up breakfast: two eggs with a chopped green pepper, a piece of toast with a slice of provolone, and a big ol' glass of Metamucil.  The Breakfast of Champions.

I had a meeting yesterday morning, so I grabbed my goods and headed to the East Side to schmooze with administrators and teacher-leaders from across the district.  It probably sounds super boring, but I really love these meetings because they're super well run, they're incredibly informative, and it's nice to know what's happening higher-up.

During the meeting, this is what my table looked like:

Yep, three beverages: coffee, water, and a protein shake.  I also had a Nalgene with water in my bag, but unfortunately the lid wasn't on correctly (I blame it on waking up at 4:20 a.m.), and it spilled all over the entire thing.  And drenched my documents.  And soaked through to leave a nice puddle on the floor.

THANK GOODNESS my iPad was on the table.  That would've been disastrous.

After the meeting I ate lunch: turkey, bread, grapes, and cucumber.  Boring but tasty.

I had yet another meeting after school, and I (very loudly, I'm sure - my apologies) crunched an apple, ate a few wheat thins, and finished it off with a string cheese.  I did a great job of resisting the Dove dark chocolate (despite being oh-so tempted) and the tootsie rolls.

The meeting lasted until 4:30, and I had to go to an event from 5:30-8:30.  Those of you who like my Facebook page know that I had quite the dilemma: wait until after the event to eat dinner? eat at the event (my favorite restaurant)? or eat something fast beforehand?

I made the good choice of eating beforehand.  I chopped up a tomato, two ounces of mozzarella, and some wheat thins, and I drank TONS of water before and during the event so that I wouldn't be tempted to chug margaritas or indulge in chips, guacamole, and quesadillas.


When I finally got home around 8:30, I sipped a protein shake and "cheated" by having about three small bites of The Boy's light microwave popcorn.

And then I promptly passed out because I was ridiculously exhausted.  I feel so bad for The Boy -- good thing he's so supportive of me being a crazy woman with this working out super early and eating super healthy.  He's a keeper, that's for sure.

This morning, we had what I consider the best workout thus far.  I'm actually feeling it a bit today!  But, I can't put my finger on what made this one more effective than the others.  Oh well.  It was a good workout, and that's what matters.


A fourth cup of oatmeal, a fourth cup of berries, an eight cup of granola, and a tablespoon of almond butter.  I was also going to have a hard-boiled egg, but I just wasn't feeling it this morning and took a bite and then tossed it.

My morning snack was a tablespoon of almond butter on top of a chopped banana with a piece of string cheese.  It was good.  Mags taught be a neat trick to make almond butter taste better: tip it upside down in the refrigerator so that you don't have to deal with the oil.  Genius.  It made such a difference.

Lunch consisted of the usual: tuna mixed with lots o' mustard, some celery, a sprinkling of lemon juice, Louisiana hot sauce, and cottage cheese; a piece of toast; and some grapes.  I wish there were a way to get the tuna deliciousness to school without stinking up my lunch box.  Suggestions?

My afternoon snack was my new favorite meal: tomatoes, mozzarella, and wheat thins.  Seriously.  This is like heaven in my mouth.

But dinner, you guys.  Dinner was incredible.

First, here are the ingredients:

Second, here's what you do:
  • Marinate half a pound of shrimp in the following: the juice from one lime, a bit of soy sauce (a tablespoon or two?), some ginger (a squirt from the tube), some garlic (a generous scoop from the jar), and a chopped jalapeno.
  • Let it sit at room temperature while you cook the pound of chopped asparagus and red pepper in a skillet.  (I used Pam Olive Oil Spray with just a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and it worked perfectly.)
  • In the meantime heat up the rice according to package directions.
  • When the veggies are tender, put them in a bowl to the side, and dump the shrimp with the marinade in the skillet.  Heat for just a couple of minutes until the shrimpies are pink.
  • Dump the veggies and rice with the shrimp, mix together, and eat up!

This dish has more carbs and protein than I am supposed to have at each meal (49 grams of carbs and 31 grams of protein).  In retrospect, I should've probably cut the serving size in half.  But considering it is chock-full of veggies, I'm not super concerned.  I'll just know for next time to fix the serving size.

I'm going to have another protein shake (another of my favorite meals) tonight before I head to bed, which will round out my two days of healthy eating.

Tomorrow is my "free" day, but here's my plan: I'm going to eat how I normally do (according to Farrell's nutritional plan) for breakfast, lunch, and the two snacks in between, and then I'm going to "cheat" by going out for dinner and drinks with BFF.  I'm not going to overdo it at the restaurant, though.  Once I figure out where we're going, I'll check out the menu, decide on a couple of decently healthy options, and go that route.  I am planning on having one or two cocktails with LOTS of water.

On Sunday, I am going to do the exact same: eat according to Farrell's guide for the whole day, but in the evening, we're heading to BFF's for dinner.  I'm not about to "pack my own dinner," so I'm going to have another cheat meal.  I figure that if I'm good throughout the two weekend days with the exception of both dinners, I should be okay.  And, I'm planning on this "double-dose of cheating" only occurring this weekend -- not every weekend.

I am going to hopefully mess around a lot with the blog this weekend -- and write some fun, informative posts that I'll publish throughout the next few weeks.  Hopefully I can muster up some tech savvy to do what I want to so that I don't have to pay someone to make this thing look nicer.  Cross your fingers -- and get excited.  :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lead Me Not Into Temptation

Happy Hump Day!

I cannot believe how tired I was yesterday.  I was so tired that a.) I was getting lightheaded if standing, and b.) I had trouble remembering even the smallest things.

And now re-reading that, it sounds like I was roofied.

But nope.  Just running on zero energy.

Thankfully I slept like a rock last night.  I cannot even remember the last time that happened, so that was wonderful.  Hopefully tonight will be much the same.

Of course, despite my great night's sleep, I still woke up quite tired at 4:20 a.m.  The workout was quite tough, but I think a lot of it had to do with me still being exhausted.  Usually I push myself to the absolute limits, but today, my sit-ups were quite slow, my planks were dropping left and right, and my punches were not quite as high as they should've been.

Granted, I still got my butt kicked, but had I not been so darn tired, I could've pushed myself further.

I came home and whipped up a smoothie:

I started with a half cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, threw in a fourth cup of orange-juice concentrate, added two tablespoons of plain yogurt, tossed in a fourth cup of a berry-cherry mix and half of a banana, and topped it off with a scoop of protein powder.

It. was. amazing.  In fact, it may be one of the best smoothies I've ever created.

For my morning snack, I scarfed down my cottage cheese and veggie concoction but forgot to take a picture didn't want to take a picture and have all of my students think I'm a nut job (more than they already do, that is).

For lunch, I inhaled my tuna + cottage cheese + celery + lemon juice + Louisiana Hot Sauce + mush toast + grapes deliciousness, but again, I was in a meeting and did not want to take a photo.  (And honestly, I straight-up forgot that time.)

When I got home, I whipped up an awesome snack (since I left my intended snack - Wheat Thins and pepper Jack cheese) at school:

I chopped up a whole tomato and two ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese and added some Wheat Thins as a side.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

This will definitely be part of the rotation.

Very shortly after eating that scrumptious snack, I had to head to a meeting that was immediately followed by bowling.  The Boy and I are in a bowling league with two of our friends, and it is one of our favorite things to do.  Seriously.  We love bowling, we love our friends, and we love the break-for-fun it gives us in the middle of the week.

But I digress.

Because I had such a busy evening, I pre-planned dinner: I was going to stop at Palmer's, one of my favorite deli markets in town, for my standby salad:

Romaine + spinach + cucumber + red peppers + raisins + mushrooms + egg + turkey + a sprinkle of raspberry vinaigrette.
It's what I get every. single. time.

We got home around 9:00, and I quickly prepped all of my food for tomorrow (and realized that I'm running short on several things, namely protein powder, pepper Jack cheese [obv], and cottage cheese).  While doing so, I sipped another liquid cookie dough smoothie: UVAB + protein powder.

Let me tell y'all something: there were so many temptations today, but I did so well.  At my evening meeting, there was wine and cheese and snacks, and I turned all of them down to sip my water.  At bowling, there were pitchers of beer, and I refrained, despite the protests of the dudes.  After bowling, The Boy wanted to stop at Taco John's, and while it smelled so good and he kept offering me bites, I declined.

And you know what?  It wasn't even that tough.  None of that stuff -- aside from the cheese at the meeting -- even sounded good.

I cannot believe how fast the healthy-living attitude and habits have sunk in.

Don't get me wrong: I know there will be days when I will be tempted, and possibly days where I will succumb to those temptations.  But today was not that day, and I am quite proud.

Before I sign off for the night and go pass the heck out, I wanted to mention one more thing:

I already suggested y'all like my Facebook page, but I also think we should be friends on My Fitness Pal, my favorite fitness app.  It's a great place to log daily workouts, and the food database includes nearly every possible thing in the history of ever.  My name is emmy815, or you can find me by email:

Friend me!  Friend me!  Friend me!

Oh, and all of my meal plans are public (to friends), so you, too, can eat just like this crazy person.  :)

'Til tomorrow: peace out, yo.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Already Buff

Last night when The Boy came home from work, I was already in bed sleeping trying to fall asleep.  Despite not having seen me in daylight all day, he told me that I already looked super buff.

That's why I love him.

And, as I alluded to, I had trouble falling asleep again last night, and while I think I finally managed to doze off around 11:00, I was up at midnight having to go potty.  I think my body is starting to adjust to the water consumption since I only had to pee once in the middle of the night, but I'd prefer to have to get up zero times.

So, again, 4:15 came super early.  In case you were wondering, here's what Grand Avenue, one of Des Moines' busier streets, looks like before the crack of dawn:

In addition, on my two-and-a-half mile ride to the gym, I saw a total of eight cars, one of which was a semi unloading goods at a breakfast joint.  (Mom, aren't you glad you don't have to do inventory at 4 a.m.?)

We started the morning with some extras (jumping jacks, walking plank, sit-ups, and other things I don't remember since I was so dang tired), and then today was an upper-body strength workout.  While we will normally do three sets of 16 reps of each exercise, today we only did two sets because we were focusing on technique.  Still, my chest, back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps are feeling it.

For breakfast, I had the same thing that I did on Sunday:

Two eggs scrambled with green pepper and Louisiana Hot Sauce, a piece of toast, and a piece of provolone cheese.
Again, I had Metamucil on the side because you know what I want?

Can you believe that was a legit advertisement?  Sex sells, I tell ya.

For my morning snack, I had a tried-and-true standby:

Cottage cheese with avocado, tomato, cucumber, and black pepper.  Looks scrumptious, doesn't it?
Clearly I ate this at my desk.  If you can guess what book I am teaching, you win a huge prize package my admiration.

For lunch, I had quite the decadent meal:

It looks pitiful, doesn't it?  First, there is absolutely zero presentation (Bethenny - and The Boy's favorite, Gordon Ramsay - would be so upset).  Second, it doesn't even look like a real meal (which I guess is a bit related to the first issue, huh?).

Anyway, it wasn't as bad as it looked: three ounces of maple-glazed turkey breast (yum), one piece of not-so-toasty toast, a half cup of grapes, and about half a cucumber.

My afternoon snack was, again, my favorite: Wheat Thins and pepper Jack cheese.  For real: eat this now.  I apologize for the lack of photo documentation there, but it looked exactly the same as it did yesterday.

I had an appointment after school, and when I got home at 5:00, immediately started food prep for tomorrow's line-up.  Then, I whipped up some amazing dinner.  A few weeks ago, BFF and I headed to Trader Joe's for one of our regular shopping trips, and I grabbed something new:

Marinated White Fish - Vera Cruz
All I had to do was unwrap the package and dump everything into an oven-safe dish.  There are also directions on the package for the microwave and stovetop.  No excuses, people.

And at only 180 calories for half of the package, you can't go wrong.  (It has 22 grams of protein and only four carbs.  Um, yes please!)

I also heated up some Uncle Ben's Ready Rice (Whole Grain Brown) and broccoli florets for the easiest dinner ever:

For my evening snack, I'm going to have two pieces of string cheese.  I'm sure it won't be nearly as delicious as last night's snack, as I mentioned on my Facebook page (that you should TOTALLY LIKE).  Last night I mixed two scoops of Arbonne's protein powder with one cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, and it tasted like liquid cookie dough.

I want to eat it for every meal.

Please cross your fingers that I can actually sleep tonight.  I am officially running on "E" today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day One Done

This is not the time I want to see when I wake up:

(And yes, I assure you this was 4:16 a.m. and not 4:16 p.m.  I can also assure you that my alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. since I am so OCD that it has to be set on the 5's.  It just took me a minute to wake up and actually snap a screenshot.  Deal with it.)

The morning came especially fast since I could. not. sleep. last night.  First, I went to bed at 9:30 but probably didn't fall asleep until close to midnight.  Second, because I drank so much darn water yesterday, I was up peeing a million times; in fact, when I was falling asleep, I had to get up twice - twice - in 30 minutes to pee.

Hopefully my bladder will adjust to the water intake sooner rather than later.

I quickly (or as "quickly" as 4:16 a.m. allows) got ready for Farrell's and headed out the door.

And also very quickly realized that we had received a couple of inches of snow overnight.  So, I got a "pre-workout" by scraping and brushing off my windshield - and then had a mild panic attack when I almost didn't make it up my hill.

Side note: I am getting a little irritated with people complaining about the weather.  I hate snow as much as the next person, and I am certainly ready for spring.  HOWEVER, this is Iowa, so it's not that abnormal to get snow in March.  Spring will be here soon enough, and besides, we are in dire need of the moisture.  Stop complaining.  It's snow.  It'll go away eventually, and then you can whine about 105 degrees and humidity.  End side note.

I arrived to Farrell's around 4:40 or so, and my group did some "extras": sit-ups, side crunches, mountain climbers, and a plank.  These were good extras, but I think I'm going to revert to the extras that I did during the last session: sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, side crunches, and knee-ins.  Those just seemed to do the trick a little better than these will.

And let me tell you: those knee-ins sure get the lower abs.  Wowza.

Today's workout was kickboxing, and it was pretty intense.  I forgot how much the arms start to burn when the hands don't leave the cheeks.  In addition to the normal cardio and bag routine, we did 53 push-ups to celebrate Coach Connie's 53rd birthday, lots o' squats and lunges, ten burpees, some crunches and sit-ups, and a plank (and probably other fun things that I'm forgetting).

Needless to say, I left with a pretty rockin' sweat and, after having to scrape my car off yet again prior to driving home, got yet another mini-workout.

When I got home, I hopped in the shower and then made breakfast as well as all of my other meals for the day.  Note to self: prep meals the day before.  That took for-ev-er.


Oatmeal with blackberries, almond butter, and granola.  I also ate a (not pictured) hardboiled egg.
My morning snack was an apple and two pieces of string cheese.  I didn't take a picture because a.) I was stuffing my face between classes, and b.) I figured you could visualize those two yummies.


The tuna concoction from yesterday (with Louisiana Hot Sauce added), grapes, and a piece of not-warm-anymore toast.
I was seriously excited for my afternoon snack all day - and, let's be real, pretty much since I made the meal plan:

Pepper Jack cheese and multigrain wheat thins.
I think that cheese and crackers are one of my favorite combinations.  I had 15 crackers and two ounces of cheese and was perfectly satisfied.

I am currently eating dinner, despite Bethenny's advice to not do anything else while eating:

Brown rice with leftover avocado-mango-onion-lemon salsa, chipotle chicken, and seasoned cucumbers.
If you haven't already, go buy this chicken from Trader Joe's:

The Boy and I have had it twice now and absolutely love it.  It might be my new Trader Joe's item - especially since it's so darn easy.

For my snack after Spanish class, I am planning on mixing some vanilla protein powder with a cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze.  It will be the world's most boring protein "shake," but hopefully I can down it without too much trouble.

For now, though, I'm off to class - with my trust water bottles, of course.  Until tomorrow, though, I thought I would leave you (okay, my mom) with a cat collage:
This seriously happens every time I lay down.  It's a miracle that I don't hack up hairballs.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Double the Fun

Yep - two posts in one day!

Tomorrow is going to be a long day: wake up at 4:15 a.m. to workout from 5:00-6:00, teach from 7:30-3:00, cook dinner, go to Spanish class from 7:00-9:00, pass out at 9:05 p.m.  Therefore, I'm not sure that blogging is going to happen tomorrow, and I wanted to be sure to tell you all about my day.

You're welcome.

I already showed you my breakfast earlier today, so here's Snack #1:

I chopped up a banana and paired it with two tablespoons of almond butter.  I know that lots of healthy living bloggers are huge fans of almond butter, but I am just not super stoked about it.  It's not creamy enough for my taste.  (That sounded funny.)  I guess I'll learn to like it...

A couple of hours later, I made lunch for me and The Boy:

We each had a can of tuna (and each had feline assistance near us for the whole meal) and mixed it with a fourth cup of cottage cheese, a celery stalk, and dijon mustard.  I toasted a piece of bread for each of us and paired it with a half cup of grapes.  It was really good and chock-full of protein.  I think I'd like to add more seasoning to the tuna, though -- perhaps some salt (yay, sodium!), some pepper, some cayenne, or some hot sauce.  It needed a little something else.

And, of course, I had tons o' water.

Side note: I am supposed to drink at least 100 ounces of water each day.  I know this is what I should be doing all the time, but I'm just wondering how it's supposed to work when the girls' bathroom is all the way across the school and I only have five minutes between classes (five minutes that are usually occupied by any number of students).  This will be tricky.

I actually skipped my afternoon snack (mozzarella cheese, tomato, and apple), but I think the only reason that happened was because I slept in a bit (hello, it's Sunday!) and therefore had fewer hours to eat.  (Too few hours to eat?!  When has that ever happened?!)  Normally, I don't think getting six small meals will be an issue.

The Boy and I just finished eating dinner:

We each had a fourth cup of brown rice, a small chicken breast with delicious marinade (Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, homemade "adobo" sauce, lemon juice), a scoop of mango-avocado-onion-lemon salsa, and a half pound of roasted asparagus.

Yes, you read that correctly: a half pound of asparagus.

What can I say?  I like my pee to smell funny.

I kid, I kid.

I actually don't think it affects my pee.

You're welcome.

For my evening snack, which will likely be in about an hour or so, I will have two pieces of string cheese.

Today was a productive day.  When The Boy got home from work, we watched the Iowa State vs. Ohio State basketball game (what a bummer), and then we got started on some housework.  Essentially, we totally scrubbed and reorganized the kitchen.  Check out the new shelves:

At the bottom right, you can see our "coffee/drink bar," as The Boy calls it.  He is so proud.
For those of you who have never seen our house before, this wall was bare.  Like, there has been nothing on it except for white space (can't paint the apartment) for the past six years.  And, the only reason we put up shelves was because of bugs.

Yep, you heard me correctly: BUGS.

I went to make pasta the other day (pre-Farrells, obv), and there were little bug shells in the macaroni.  So, I opened up a completely unopened box, and there were more bug shells.

Obviously, I was super grossed out.  I threw everything away, and then after researching the problem, discovered that there were probably more bugs where they came from.  Apparently, factories can have so many bugs/larvae/eggs in their product, and if the product sits long enough, the eggs hatch and out come little buggies.

So, I've been freezing everything for a couple of days so that the eggs don't progress (eww): flour, sugar, rice, etc., and then I've been transferring it to the glass canisters that you see on the shelves.  Then today, The Boy took everything out of the cabinets, stripped the shelf-liners, and bleached everything.  (Yes, The Boy was in charge of this task because I was too darn grossed out.)  We put the new, already-frozen flour and sugar (in their bags) in plastic, sealable canisters, and put them above the stove.

Please cross your fingers that this works.  Or, if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to throw 'em at me.

I swear: we are not grubby people and do not (generally) have a grubby house.  But these bugs sure make me think otherwise!

Wish me luck at our first workout -- bright and early tomorrow!

A New Beginning

Yesterday, the Farrell's journey officially started.  At 8 a.m., I took a step test to ensure that I would not die during the ten-week program, and then I was sent upstairs for the "real" work.  First, we received our gloves, our wraps, and our student manuals.

Then, apparently Farrell's had decided that enough time had passed since we were first mortified by posing in spandex shorts and sports bras for our modeling session, and sent us to Mortification Stage Two by measuring our weight and body fat.  I have only two things to say about that: 1.) I much prefer my scale at home, and 2.) I will not be revealing those numbers until they are much different.

The next stage of pre-assessment was physical testing.  First, we did the sit-and-reach test.  Normally this is my strong suit, as I have always been super-flexible.  Unfortunately, BFF and I went for a four-mile run run/walk the day before, and I did not stretch like I should've.  My hammies were tight!  Second, we did push-ups and sit-ups.  Interestingly, I was able to do more push-ups than sit-ups, which really surprised me.  I definitely see those numbers changing significantly (both by increasing and by switching places for "the lead") at the end of the ten weeks.  Finally, we ran a mile (my Garmin, however, said we ran 1.1 miles).  I was really proud of myself because it was really chilly and hard to breathe, but I didn't stop once.

You may be thinking, "Emily, you ran a marathon just five months ago - you should be able to run a mile without stopping, you dummy."  To that I say, "Yes, but I have run maybe five times since then, so shove it, you meanie."

It certainly wasn't my fastest mile time, but it was close to my time for the Grand Blue Mile in 2011, so I think that's decent.  (And I'm totally counting the mile time according to my Garmin, not the 1.1 time that Farrell's is telling me.)

Following the physical assessment, we had an hour-long nutrition seminar with Tyler (?) from Max Muscle.  It was super informative, and while much of it was information I already knew, I learned a lot - which is likely why I had such a tough time figuring out my meal plan (more on that later).

Finally, the morning ended with a techniques session in which we learned and practiced the different punches and kicks that we will be using during kickboxing: the jab, the cross, the hook, the upper, the knee strike, the front kick, and the roundhouse.  I remembered each of these fairly well from my previous Farrell's experience, but during this "practice" session, I really tried to keep my hands by my cheek and chin like The Boy has been telling me and also worked on really twisting my body to maximize my core workout.  I also realized I had been doing uppercuts incorrectly, so I focused on improving that form.  While it was supposed to just be a short session to practice technique, we actually got quite a good workout, and I definitely broke a sweat.

And I'm feeling it today.

I'm so out of shape.

So, moving on to the meal plan.  Like most sound nutritional plans, Farrell's recommends eating six small "meals" per day.  According to the crazy formula that they have, I should be eating 33 grams of carbs at five of the six meals (no carbs before bedtime) and between 14-18 grams of protein at each meal.  There are two things thus far that are tripping me up:

  1. Tyler (?) said that no more than 50% of our carbohydrates should come from sugar.  That is really, really hard to do.  I mean, fruit is almost entirely sugar, and I'm sorry, but I'm not giving that up.  (He certainly did not say to not eat fruit, but he did say to try and eat it before noon.)  Does anyone have recommendations for carbohydrates that do not have too much sugar?
  2. Many of the protein options also have a lot of fat.  Granted, this is healthy fat, but it is fat nonetheless.
The first week's meal plan took me nearly three hours to put together.  I know it'll get much easier once I have a basis for what I'm supposed to be doing, but whoa.

Last night, The Boy and I went to Hy-Vee to pick up the bazillion groceries I would need for the week.  I was dreading the total, but it was "only" $111.  With that huge sum of money, we got a huge bag of chicken, a bag o' oatmeal, coffee, and other expensive things that would last us a while.  Granted, it was a lot of money, but I was expecting it to be much more.

As an example, this is the meal plan that I figured out for today:

2 eggs + bell peppers + toast w/cheese slice + Metamucil

p: 20g
c: 25g
f: 16g

Banana + almond butter + string cheese

p: 13g
c: 33g
f: 19g

Tuna (w/celery, mustard, lemon juice) + toast + ¼ c cot. cheese + grapes

p: 19g
c: 33g
1 tomato + 2 oz mozzarella + apple

p: 16g
c: 36g
f: 11g
Av-mango chicken + ¼ c brown rice + veggies

p: 9g
c: 28g
f: 8g
2 pieces string cheese

p: 14g
c: 0g
f: 5g

And I did that for six days.  Yikes.

So, with no further ado, here's my breakfast, per the meal plan:

I scrambled two eggs with half a green pepper and topped that concoction with some Louisiana Hot Sauce (the best).  And on the side, I had one piece of whole-wheat toast with a piece of provolone cheese.  And, of course, a cup of coffee.

Oh, and some Metamucil -- because apparently I'm 80 years old.

Well, since it's officially the last day of spring break, I'm off to figure out exactly what I'm doing tomorrow in class.

Peace out!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Naturally Thin

Well, it's official: I went to Farrell's last night and was photographed (in a sports bra and booty shorts) and measured (arm, thigh, waist, hips, bust).  It was not as mortifying as I thought it would be, but since the head coach and I were chatting the whole time I was getting my picture taken, I can't remember if I made myself look as awful as I possibly could.  I hope I did...  In addition, I am fully anticipating for maximum mortification tomorrow when I have to step on the scale and get my percentage of body fat measured.

Woo hoo.

After Farrell's tomorrow, I plan on coming home to analyze the nutrition plan that they recommend, mapping out my weekly meal plan, and going grocery shopping.  The official start to The New Emily will begin on Sunday, March 24th.

To prep, though, I've been going crazy with some reading.  First, I piled up all of my old healthy living magazines (mostly Fitness and Shape with a couple of Women's Health and Runner's World mixed in) and tore out all of the recipes that I thought The Boy and I might like.

I then put the recipes in paper-protectors and clipped them into my recipe binder for reference when I go to make the meal plan tomorrow.

In addition to flipping through magazines, I finally started reading Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting by Bethenny Frankel.  I think I bought this book probably three years ago (when I was in the middle of my RHONY obsession) and then just let it collect dust on my bookshelf.

In retrospect, that was a bad idea.

I'm halfway through the book, and I really like what I have read thus far.  While some reviews that I've read mention that the book seems to focus on individuals with disordered eating and a totally skewed view in regards to food, I would disagree.  While some of what she says seems very obvious, much of it is exactly what many of us need to hear in order to change how we view food - both as individuals and as a society.

The first half of the book was split into ten chapters, one for each "rule" that Bethenny has developed in regards to diet.  These "rules" just make sense.
  1. Your diet is a bank account: "Just as you balance your spending and your savings, you must balance your food choices.  Don't eat too much of any one thing, don't eat the same thing twice, balance starches with proteins, vegetables and fruits with sweets, and always balance a splurge with a save.  [...]  Make smart investments that will be good for your body and will make you feel better" (21-22).  In this chapter she also talks about food noise (negative inner food dialogue) vs. food voice (inner dialogue that tells you what you truly need) and the "point of diminishing returns" (the point where food stops being enjoyable - usually after two or three bits).
  2. You can have it all, just not all at once: "You are incredibly lucky to live in a country with so much food, and you have the opportunity to pick and choose what you want to eat.  [...]  Life is about checks and balances, and so is being naturally thin" (34-35).  Essentially, Bethenny discusses not ordering the cheeseburger and the French fries and the milkshake but maybe ordering one of those items to pair with a healthier option (i.e. lean meat or salad or iced tea).
  3. Taste everything, eat nothing: "At its heart, this rule helps you to taste little bits of all the delicious foods you want, without eating too much of any one thing" (43).  First, she recommends "spoiling your appetite" before going to a party by eating something hearty like a salad with lots of vegetables.  Then, you can sample many different things at the party without overindulging since you'll likely be quite full already.  In addition, she recommends "switching lanes" to avoid eating too much of a good thing: instead of eating five Thin Mints (not like I'm speaking from experience or anything...), eat one Thin Mint and then maybe some almonds.  If you're still craving another Thin Mint or two, go ahead and have them, but make sure you're making the conscience decision to do so.  
  4. Pay attention: "It's so easy to eat mindlessly without paying attention to what foods we choose, or to how they taste.  But to eat consciously changes all that.  It makes food an event, and worth the calories" (53).  I am so guilty of this one.  The Boy and I often make dinner and then eat on the couch while watching TV.  Or, I might eat lunch at my desk while surfing through blogs or grading papers or planning lessons.  If we actually take the time to pay attention to and savor what we are eating (and with whom we are eating), we are more likely to make good choices and, actually, feel full.
  5. Downsize now: "Downsizing allows you to eat anything you want, and that is incredibly freeing.  [...]  Overeating is often a product of feeling deprived.  [...]  There is never any reason to eat a huge oversized portion of anything.  There is never any reason to stuff yourself until you feel sick" (64).  In this chapter Bethenny discusses the issue that this country has with portion-control.  One of her solutions is to serve food differently: for example, use salad plates as dinner plates; use rice bowls for cereal; use ramekins for ice cream; etc.
  6. Cancel your membership in the Clean Plate Club: "If you eat what you want to eat but leave some, you won't feel deprived, and you'll also be exercising your own will: you decide you've had enough, so you stop before it's all gone.  [...]  Think of it this way: eating a whole huge plate of food because you 'hate to waste' is a waste of you" (84-85).  This is a tough rule to follow for those of us who grew up cleaning our plates, but Bethenny offers a few suggestions: share your food, save your food, or leave your food.  I particularly liked the "share your food" option, as it fosters a sense of togetherness and saves money: at a restaurant, two people order an appetizer, a side, a salad or soup, and an entree to share.  This suggestion also allows individuals to follow Rule #3.
  7. Check yourself before you wreck yourself: "If you are eating what you want, there is never a reason to binge, so just stop.  [...]  I quite my bad habit by recognizing that it's OK to eat, but it's not OK to hurt myself with food.  [...]  Binges take days to correct, they are very hard on your body, and they stress you out mentally and emotionally" (93-95).  Essentially, this chapter is about taking care of your body by allowing it small bites of whatever you want (not depriving yourself) so that you do not go on an all-out binge.  In addition, Bethenny stresses that if you "mess up" (as we all do) and eat too much, that there should be no punishment.
  8. Know thyself: "You are the one in control - not the food, and not any kind of diet.  It's all about you, and you call the shots" (102).  Here, Bethenny talks about the need to "write your own rules" about eating rather than being confined by gurus' demands.  In addition, she talks about being prepared by planning meals ahead of time and even prepackaging meals and snacks, and she talks about the importance of staying hydrated as a method to control hunger.
  9. Get real: "If food comes in a package, you generally want to avoid it.  [...]  Real food doesn't come in a package.  It doesn't have a label.  And it's obvious, when you look at it, what it is: a banana, a chicken, a freshly baked loaf of bread" (114).  It shouldn't be too difficult to discern what this chapter is about: don't eat processed food, and eat local, seasonal, and organic as much as possible.  In addition, Bethenny stresses that in general, the more colorful a food is, the healthier it is.  So, arugula, kale, and spinach are more nutrient-rich than iceberg and romaine.  Whole-wheat bread and brown rice are healthier than white bread and white rice.
  10. Good for you: "Being overweight isn't good for you, nor is being obsessive but being naturally thing - whatever naturally thin is, for you and your body - is good for you.  [...]  Remember, food isn't your best friend, and it isn't your enemy.  It's just food.  It's no big deal.  You are the big deal, and you deserve to be healthy, strong, and thin" (130).  In this chapter she discusses important things like exercise, sleep, meditation, and participating in life - socializing, going out with friends, eating at restaurants, etc., all of which is possible through the aforementioned rules.  Most importantly, Bethenny emphasizes the need to LOVE YOURSELF.
I heart her.
Here are a couple of random quotes that stuck out to me.  Yes, they can be quite "direct," but I'm okay with that:
  • "You are the only one responsible for what you put into your mouth" (33).  
  • "Food doesn't just fall onto your body and make you fat; you are the one who makes the decision to eat it - and eat more and more and more of it" (64).
  • "It's great to have friends, a family, a life partner who care about you - sure.  But none of that is going to work very well if you don't care about yourself first.  Put yourself and your own needs ahead of everything else, and you'll begin to see why this is the only way you can then turn around and be a good friend, a good family member, a good parent, a good partner.  Loving yourself has to be at the very heart of everything you do" (138).
I really like that Bethenny emphasizes that this is not a diet diet.  She stresses that diets are generally very limiting and almost oppressive and that we should be in control of our bodies to know what we need and when we need it, not for some "guru" to tell us to eat six ounces of chicken NOW.  She discusses the importance of not measuring or counting calories but rather simply eating what you need, when you need it.

I believe that I personally need to map out my food ahead of time and truly watch the calories that I am eating - at least for now.  I don't think that I currently have the knowledge and/or self-control to totally disregard those things at this point in time.  Hopefully I will get there, and hopefully that will be soon.  So, while I will certainly keep her ten rules in mind while participating in Farrell's, I will also follow their nutritional plan to make the most of my ten-week program.

More on that - tomorrow.  :)

What are your thoughts on Bethenny's "rules"?  What do you view as most important when figuring out your meal plan?