On Meal Planning

I may have come over to the dark side :lol:

I could never wrap my head around meal planning before.  And maybe I still haven’t…  I have always just winged it at meal time.  Protein, veg, starch, all made easy, plain, and usually boring but effective!  A little while ago I saw a link on my Facebook feed for a meal planning website that was giving a 30 day free trial – it is called Plan to Eat.  Now I’m not sure this is the best meal planning website, but I figured I’d try it out for a month and if it helps, great.  If not, I’ll just quit doing it.  So far I am liking it, a lot!!  It does all of the thinking for me!  All I have to do is pick recipes.

You basically import recipes from websites, add them to your planner, and it generates a shopping list for you.  You can add stores so it will just send the items to the store lists you usually buy from – like I know I will buy cheese and eggs at Costco so it just sends those items to that store list.  Really, I like it the most just for that reason!!  I like to try new recipes, but scouring through them and trying to write out a list just annoys me, so I don’t do it.  This does it for me, and I can easily delete items that I know I have on hand already.  You are also supposed to be able to use the list on your smartphone, but so far I haven’t been able to log in on my phone.  I just printed the list out last week.  You can also plan for however long you want – a few days, a week, a month, whatever!  I am going week by week, and only planning dinners for now.

This week we’ve tried a bunch of new stuff, some really great and some that didn’t quite work out so well due to user error ;)  But so far I am enjoying it.  I planned out another week last night and I tried to focus on using stuff we have on hand already.  Once I had it all done and unchecked items I didn’t need, I hardly had anything on the list that I need to buy!  I will have to add some staples and stuff for other meals, mostly produce, but I’m excited to see just how much we end up getting, and I hope it is less than the $150 we want to spend for the week.  I am going to do my best to only go shopping one day a week, unless we really need something that we run out of or forget to pick up at the store

Here’s what I’m planning for the upcoming week!

Chicken Alfredo

Beef tacos

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Baked sweet potatoes with caramlized onions - we will have some baked salmon with this

Crock pot beans with a ham shank

White bean and chicken chili

Baked farro risotto and green beans with hazelnuts and thyme

I am also going to make some Lunchbox Oatmeal Bars and these molasses cookies, just to use up some almond flour and carob molasses that I have.

 

Fighting the diet urges

I still haven’t been doing great in regards to living a healthy lifestyle.  This month has pretty much been zero exercise and too much booze.  I don’t want to keep yo-yoing so I’ve been trying to think of ways I can really make a difference in my life and health.  I know I need to make consistent, long-term changes, made by practicing daily habits.  While I want to do something challenging to kick-start change, I also know that I need to keep things relatively easy or I just won’t stick to it.  I’m fighting a lot of thoughts to start a diet or a new plan, but I know that isn’t really what I want to do.  So I made a quick list of things I could do to help me out.

And we are going to do a couple of ‘big’ things.  We are going back to the Real Food Challenge, with some exceptions of course ;)  While we do this we are also going to stop eating out at restaurants.  We have been doing this way too much, and while I do like it for the most part, it is just too much money being wasted!  Especially since I am pretty picky about my food!  So we are going to cut that out.  We are going to be really strict for the next 6 months, about 80 days longer than the 100 days we did before!  I know we will all feel better.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with besides that.

  • Aim for balanced meals
  • Eat more salads/veggie based meals
  • Eat more beans and fish
  • Cut out alcohol and other empty calorie drinks
  • Eat real food, avoid processed food (as above)
  • Quit eating out
  • Get enough sleep!!  (I’m really failing on this one)
  • Exercise daily, some days just walking will be my exercise
  • Make exercise/fitness goals – my main ones right now will be to restart and complete the Train to be Awesome programs, and to work back into running when the air gets better here.  I’m dreaming of actually doing the marathon again this year, but I guess I’ll wait to see how it goes, and if I would even have the funds to do it.
  • Do other things that I enjoy more, like knitting, spinning, reading, playing more games with M and such.

I really hope that I can start to turn things around for good.  I’m tired of ‘doing good’, or starting and stopping.  My life just keeps on going, whether or not I think I’m starting fresh or whatever :lol:  There isn’t any stopping!  I have to get this through my head and just try to do my best every day.  I hope that this year I can get all of the weight-related junk out of my head and just enjoy my life.

Food Budget wrap up for the year

I won’t go into the details of what we bought, just want to catch up and finish out the yearly budget.  We did a lot of eating out.  We also bought a lot of stuff for Christmas dinner and to make goodies to give to my family and friends.  I guess it probably all evened out.

  •  Week 1 $84.46
  • Week 2 $157.60
  • Week 3 $163.30
  • Weeks 4 & 5 $25.58
  • Week 6  $166.90
  • Week 7 $146.80
  • Week 8 $202.40
  • Week 9 $208.57
  • Week 10 $280.10
  • Week 11 $195.90
  • Week 12 $150.20
  • Week 13 $188.59
  • Weeks 14-17 $140.25 per week, total of $420.75
  • Weeks 18-21 $127.50 per week, total of $510
  • Weeks 22-24 $90.28 per week, total of $270.84
  • Week 25 $168.40
  • Week 26 $175.60
  • Week 27 $89
  • Week 28 $89
  • Week 29 $272
  • Week 30 $216
  • Week 31 $43
  • Week 32 $80.30
  • Week 33 $172.26
  • Week 34 $269.50
  • Week 35 $101.30
  • Week 36 $366.80
  • Week 37 $150
  • Week 38 $110
  • Week 39 $200.80
  • Week 40 $268.32
  • Week 41 $94.54
  • Week 42 $141.70
  • Week 43 $9.28
  • Week 44 $147.66
  • Week 45 $132.2
  • Week 46 $261.1
  • Week 47 $28.40
  • Week 48 $205.60
  • Week 49 $119.10
  • Week 50 $162.30
  • Week 51 $103.40
  • Week 52 $155.20

So if I was spending $125 per week, that would be $6,500 for the year.

Our 52 week total ended up being $7504.75 (unless I added wrong!), which comes out to be $144.32 per week.  This is actually pretty great!!  That includes food for parties, and food that we put up, and all of my overbuying on sales :lol:

I don’t know that I’ll keep doing these.  It was fun to see where we are at and to be able to keep under the $150 weekly mark.  If I keep doing it, I’ll try to add more of how we are actually using the stuff up. I do want to try and keep less food overall in the house.  We have shelves downstairs that are overflowing with food.  All shelf stable stuff of course.  Just things that were on sale, and a lot of it makes sense but it doesn’t if we don’t use it regularly!  I’m going to try and be better about that this year.  Anyway.

That’s a wrap!

 

Another hat

M liked the cotton candy beanie so much that I knit another one!  (Since the original wasn’t meant for her).  Now she gets to have her pick.  I used red yarn this time and I think I like it better.  I bet I could squeeze one more hat out of what’s left of the novelty yarn…

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It just doesn’t matter! Or, a total 180.

So, I have been reading old posts on my blog, and it really saddens me to see how much I used to care about stuff other than weight, and now I just don’t.  Maybe this isn’t apparent since I pretty much quit blogging in the last couple of years.  But I have become almost completely obsessed with my weight.  It takes over in a lot of aspects of my life!

I used to love knitting and spinning and all things fiber related.  Even though I would knit sweaters in the hopes of wearing them someday in a smaller size than I was.  That all seems kind of, well, really depressing to me now.  I had my baby in February 2004.  It is freaking 2013, almost 2014 now!!  How long am I going to let this obsession with my weight last?!  I really need to get over it.  I need to heal.  It has morphed into this really unhealthy thing, where if I am not doing awesomely, I am doing extremely poorly.  My life should not depend on what my weight is.  I just can’t do this anymore!

I am making a commitment right now to just not give a shit anymore.  Not in an I don’t care about my health way, but in an I won’t shame myself way anymore.  My weight is not the most interesting thing about me.  I am pretty damn shallow if I base what I think about myself on my weight!  I can’t believe I have let myself get to this point, where I care/obsess about my weight and size so much.  I am normally a kind of ‘fuck you’ person, or, I don’t really care what people think about me.  I must have been paying too much attention to the media to get to this point where I care so much.

Am I a good person?  Am I doing the things that will really help me in life?  Am I giving all I can to the people I care about most in my life?  These are the things I should be worrying about.  Not if I am going to be able to buy smaller pants soon.  There are really more important things to worry about than the size of my thighs.  And honestly?  I think once I stop obsessing about my size, I will probably finally be able to come to peace with it, and actually make some progress.

I am not healthy right now. I am drinking too much because I am disappointed with myself.  I can quit, and I will feel so much better.  I can just exercise without deadlines, like I know I will need to for the rest of my life, and it will probably be more enjoyable just to be doing it for fitness, rather than a specific number of calories burned.

I feel like an ass having to admit all of this.  That I was completely wrong, for so long.  That I have just been torturing myself for the last 7 or 8 years.  And for what?!  I really don’t know.    But in reading through my past entries, I know something isn’t right these days, and it hasn’t been right for a really long time.  I was fit-ish when I started blogging, and in reading old entries I can just see myself getting so much more unhappy, and weighing more and being more unfit.  And I think most of it was due to myself putting a stigma on gaining any weight.  Weight gain happens.  Life happens.  If you aren’t consistent with some kind of regimen, well, things are going to happen!  That’s what happened with me.  I never found something that I wanted to stick with for life.  I always wanted to be on the extreme end of things.  I am realizing now that there are normal people that make small choices every day and don’t kill themselves in the gym and have long and healthy, happy lives still.  Extreme doesn’t win.

I am making it my goal now to just not give a fuck.  Not like I am going to do whatever and not care, but I am going to try and be happy and healthy and not give a fuck as to what my size or weight is.  I think I am ready to just give up the scale and all of the negatives that it holds for me.

Am I happy?  Do I feel good?  Am I living my life in a healthy manner?  Those are the things that matter.  Everything else is just buying into the noise that the media wants me to hear.  I am tired of this up and down roller coaster that I have been on for the last 8+ years.  I just want to live, to enjoy what I do every day, and to be healthy.

So I’m not sure what that means for this blog!  I hope that I will learn to take interest once again in things that are not weight related.  I hope that I will become enamored with knitting and spinning once again!!  I am good at it.  Why I gave it up, I do not know.  I would like to find some purpose in my life again, be it knitting or whatever.  I do know that obsessing about weight and plans isn’t healthy or fulfilling in any way.

I guess what I will try to do now is NOT calorie count.  I know the count of most things, and I know what are good choices and what are not.  I am going to try and get in touch with my body and mind.  I am going to try and go the intuitive route, eating when I feel like I need to, and eating what I know works for me in regards to working out.  I am going to work out still, 3 days weights and 3 days running or other cardio.  I am just going to try and listen to my body and do right by myself.  I do care about what I look like, but at the same time I don’t.  If I can learn to listen to ME and not give a shit about what anyone thinks of me, then that will be fantastic.  That will be the ultimate goal for me!!!  So I guess no more counting.  No more monitoring.  If I come across something that is amazing or interesting to eat, I will blog it.  Otherwise, my sustenance isn’t going to be my major blog content.

I’m not sure if anyone is reading, but if anyone is, I hope that I can find more interesting things to blog about than my meals and workouts.  I am going to start knitting more, which is what this blog started out as, and I hope to just be more crafty in general with food and knitting and everything else.  I miss the old ME!!!!  I want her back.  And I am going to get her back.  Not sure what else to say about it all, but I’m looking forward to a brand new day, even if I shared my new knitting with y’all already today ;)

Here’s to the new me I guess?!

I’m starting now.  Not waiting until New Year’s.  There isn’t any reason to wait!  I can do the best I can every day, no matter what special holiday it is.  So tomorrow, I’m not going to weigh in on myself in any way.  I’m just going to try to do good for myself.  And be happy :)

 

Throwback and new knits

I was perusing my old blog posts and came across this photo.  M was only 3 1/2 back then.  She is so adorable, and it just gets even better with all of the hand knit socks ;)  I kind of miss my blue bedroom too!

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I haven’t done much knitting in the past, oh, 4 years or so?  But I caught the bug today.  I managed to finish two hats today!  They are both gifts for friends.  The stripey number is the Turn a Square pattern, and the pink one is just a basic hat.  I love them both!  I’m calling the pink one the Cotton Candy Beanie.

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I hope that the bug stays and I keep on knitting.  It was quite enjoyable.

I took the weekend off from tracking because I was having too much fun.  We had friends over on Saturday night for Monopoly and Cribbage, and I had a few too many gin and tonics.  Oops!  I made sure to workout in the morning so at least I wasn’t skipping anything on Sunday.  Although today I did not work out either and I should have :(  Oh well.  I will try and get it done tomorrow.  M has been sick for a few days too, which doesn’t make things any easier.  I hope the kid gets better soon!  And that no one else comes down with it.

Cranberry sauce muffins

Yesterday’s eats were all about using stuff up in the fridge.  We still had leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, don’t worry, it had lots of booze and sugar in it so it was still good!  I decided to make some muffins for breakfast.  I used this recipe from Kitchen Treaty with a couple of tweaks, so I’ll share what my recipe ended up being.

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins (adapted from Kitchentreaty.com)

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then mix the wet ingredients together, then mix the wet into the dry.  I have a small muffin tin so I filled that up and still had more so I put it in a small loaf pan.  My muffins baked at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, and the loaf took probably 10 minutes longer.

We had these for breakfast with a little butter and they were so good!  I was only planning on having one, but they were so good I had to have another.  I also had a glass of homemade V8 and some yogurt with my canned pears.

SAM_1230

I was able to go shopping before work and hit up 3 stores, filling my entire trunk with groceries.  We were all out of salad ingredients and I’ve really been enjoying my salads, so I had to get more!  I also ended up with quite a few things I didn’t really need, but oh well.  Lunch was another salad :lol:  This time I added some chicken breast that I cooked the night before, some cheddar cheese, and olive oil and balsamic.  It was really good.

My workout of the day was an hour on the elliptical at an easy pace, varying the levels here and there while watching Arrested Development.  I am on season 3 and I love it, too funny.  I hopped on the treadmill for about a half hour after that and walked at an incline.  I was able to hit my 500 calorie goal!

Dinner was chicken teriyaki meatballs, sauteed kale, peppers, and onion, and steamed broccoli.  Pretty simple, but good.  I also had 2 cocktails based off of the Rusty Nail that Michael Ruhlman posted yesterday.  I couldn’t find the Drambuie so I just grabbed some whiskey that had honey added.  I think I will try to make my own Drambuie if I have this again.  I snacked on a square of chocolate and had some ginger cookies while watching a movie and winding down for the night.

My calories were 1946, Fitbit burn was 2504, and I managed 20,636 steps.

I guess my workout on Thursday was effective, because man, my back and shoulders are feeling very worked!  I was stiff and sore and uncomfortable last night so I ended up in bed around 8:00 :lol:  I’m feeling a lot better today though, so I’m going to do another strength workout and just take tomorrow off.  We are having friends over tonight for pizza, drinks, and cards.  It will be fun!  Just need to balance out the rest of my day so I don’t overdo it :)

More waffles

Real ones this time ;)  I accidentally pulled some pumpkin puree from the freezer thinking it was soup the other day.  Oops!  Now I have a bunch of pumpkin that I need to use up.  So I made waffles for breakfast yesterday.  They were quite tasty!  I used this recipe from Simply Recipes sans the cornmeal.  I had P.A.N. cornmeal and stoneground cornmeal, but the pan stuff seemed stale so I just used extra whole wheat flour.  They were really good!  And my waffle maker made 8 of them so they were only 200 calories for a whole waffle.  I had half of one with some cheesy eggs and 1/2 an orange.  Then I went back for a second waffle half.  There are plenty leftover so we will be having them for breakfast tomorrow too, the rest will go in the freezer.  They make great sandwiches for M’s lunch!

So not a real food blogger

So not a real food blogger

Lunch was salad again, a taco salad this time.  That one is self explanatory.

I said I wasn’t going to work out, but I actually felt pretty good so I changed my mind.  I warmed up on the treadmill at an incline at 3.5 mph for 20 minutes.  Then I did my weights.  Basic stuff – deadlifts, pushups, inverted rows with the TRX, and kettlebell swings.  I tried doing my kettlebell work sets with a 25# bell and it was hard!  I had to cut down the reps on the last two sets.  Toward the end of the night I was feeling worked, I guess that’s a good thing.  The whole workout took an hour and 16 minutes, and my HRM said I burned 356 calories.  I was tempted to get back on the treadmill and do some more but we had a school play to go to.

Dinner was leftover chicken, squash soup, and roasted broccoli and cauliflower.  Nothing fancy but still yummy.  I had a square of chocolate as a ‘finisher’, and at the play we all shared a small bag of pretzels.  When we got home I had a glass of wine while the others went to bed.

We are running out of food!  I prepped more salads tonight but now we are low on produce and some other stuff so I will need to make a grocery run in the next few days.

Waffle

Yesterday was good.  I got up early and got my walk in, about 40 minutes for 100 calories and maybe 3/4 mile, I forgot to check.  I didn’t have any other food prep to do so I decided to make a nice breakfast.  Here’s what I ended up with.

Breakfast

Poached eggs over sauteed peppers, onions, and kale, 1/2 an orange, toast with butter and tomato jam, and a glass of raw milk.  It was yummy!  The eggs went a little too far, I cooked them for 5 minutes, maybe next time I will go for 4.  Breakfast was at 7:30, and this kept me going until 12:30!  Lunch was a big old salad with the regular suspects and kale, kidney beans, my own pickled beets, and caesar parmesan dressing.

My afternoon workout was going to be running, and I probably could have but it was an orange air day so I opted for the elliptical.  I started out on level 1 for 4 minutes and then upped it by one level every 4 minutes, until I got to level 9.  I stayed at level 9 for 5 minutes and then worked my way back down in the same way.  It was SO hard!  Too hard I think.  I was exhausted after that.  I burned 400 calories and it took me 70 minutes.  I would so rather run!!

Dinner was a favorite around here, Alton Brown’s chicken with garlic and shallots, with some changes.  We usually only do chicken leg quarters, and use onions instead of shallots.  Still tastes amazing.  Every time.  To go with it I cooked a little squash whole in the oven, and steamed some beans.  I also baked the chicken wings from the whole chickens in the oven for about a half hour.  They were awesome too.  I also ended up having 2 glasses of wine and a square of chocolate.

Winner winner chicken dinner

Calories were kind of high yesterday, but I was just estimating portions too.  I was probably generous and so I don’t think I really ate that much.  It is all just a guess anyway!  (A link to my food journal if you are interested)  I had 2107 calories, and my Fitbit said I burned 2576 with 24,554 steps.  That’s a lot of steps!

Now for the waffle.  When I was doing the elliptical yesterday, all I could think was ‘this is not sustainable’!  I don’t think I could do that more than even once a week :lol:  I guess I knew this  new ‘plan’ would be too much when I started, yes only 3 short days ago :lol:  I don’t think I could really lose 2 pounds every week anyway.  In my history, the most I’ve consistently lost every week was 1.6.  So I guess I’m waffling on trying to follow through with this 1000 calorie deficit every day.  I think deep down I know that I’m probably setting myself up for another yo-yo cycle and I really don’t want to do that again.  So I’m just going to do the best I can.  So, scratch what I said before!

It is clear that with the air quality being such an issue here in Salt Lake City, that I will not be able to run like I want to this winter.  And I am not going to get a gym membership so that I can go run – it would just take too much time out of my day.  I was going to only do 2 days a week of strength, but I am going to do 3 instead, starting next week.  I will still keep trying to get up early and get a walk in on the treadmill, and I will do whatever cardio I can.  I’ll still count calories and try to keep around 1700, but if I occasionally go over like yesterday then it is no big deal.  I mostly want to keep track of all of the numbers to try and figure out my real TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), so I can figure out what kind of deficit I am really making.

So there it is.  I guess long term is where its at, and going balls to the wall for two months is probably just going to get me burned out and want to stop, like I have done in the past.  DUH.  I have to figure out something I can do for life, otherwise I’ll just keep repeating the yo-yo cycle and that is the LAST thing I want!  Ultimately I hope to get to a place where I am at a happy weight, I look good, and I listen to my body in regards to exercise and food.  I guess I really don’t care how long it takes.  So I’m listening to my body today and taking the day off after working so hard yesterday!  Plus we have stuff going on this afternoon and I won’t be able to work out, probably.  We’ll see ;)

Cold run

Today has been pretty good.  I didn’t get the good night’s sleep that I wanted though :(  Someone was snoring and I could hear him all the way in the living room, so I tried to sleep on the couch but it was horrible.  I finally went to the bed and got a little undisturbed sleep, but not enough.  I got up around around 5:15 anyway and by 5:20 I was downstairs walking on the treadmill.  I did 37 minutes to get to 100 calories burned, only 400 do to later!

I am going to try to start taking pictures of some meals, and putting up more of the recipes I make to make this a little more interesting :lol:  Until then…breakfast was scrambled cheesy eggs with toast and tomato jam, plus my morning coffee.  I had a co-op shift at M’s school today  and they had clementines for a snack and I had one too.  Lunch was a big chopped salad with some pickled beets, kidney beans, and caesar dressing.  I think I am coming around to the chop salad idea, this is the second one I’ve had in a week.  I usually like bigger pieces in my salads.

2nd workout of the day was the standard warmup and then a super cold run outside!  I went about 4 miles, didn’t time it but I think it was around 45 minutes.  I don’t know why I was surprised to see only 3 other people out there running, and only 1 walker.  It was only like 17 degrees!  I need to wear more layers tomorrow.  Dinner was some fajitas with corn tortillas and roasted cauliflower and broccoli.  I was going to have a treat, but I’m having wine instead ;)

All said and done, I met my goals for the day.  500+ calories burned on my heart rate monitor, just over 1700 calories eaten, and just over 20,000 steps on my Fitbit.  Not bad!  I wasn’t really sore before I went running, but man I am feeling it now!  Good thing I’m not lifting again until Thursday.