Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday (Sorry)

What I Ate Wednesday
No, I have absolutely no intention of regularly participating in this tired HLB tradition, but I thought it would way to check in for a month where I wanted to focus on resuming my pre-holiday good eating habits. I'll do another one as a further check-in later this month.

For the record, this was actually useful--I didn't realize how much my erratic/unplanned grocery trip affected my eats this week until I wrote this out. So next week, better grocery store planning!

Most weekdays I do oatmeal. I honestly resisted oatmeal as a breakfast for a while, partly because I thought it was a hassle to make in the AM and partly because certain bloggers drove me crazy with their waxing poetic about the stuff. So I stuck to toast + PB + fruit, but often ended up hungry before lunchtime and having a snack. Same if I actually took the time to do eggs--I know everyone says have protein in the morning, but eggs just kind of leave my tummy upset for a bit, and then feeling empty. 

I spent a few days tracking calories this fall (as a check-in once my running started to pick up) and realized that my morning breakfast + necessary mid-morning snack was adding up to a lot of calories for not a lot of satiety. 
So then I tried oatmeal. I found Anne’s recipe for real, rolled-oats oatmeal in the microwave to be game-changing! I typically just dump the ingredients (1/2 cup rolled oats, ½ cup milk, one banana, and some ground flax seed) in a microwaveable container in the morning. Then I top it with a bit more water when I get to work (since the oats absorb some of the milk) and pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes, and it is ready to eat at my desk while I catch up on things! I typically top it with peanut butter (from a jar I keep at the office) and berries, if they are on sale/grown in the US, and if not, jam. 

Buuuut I failed to realize the rolled oats were running low, and we ran out yesterday. So today was a packet of instant oatmeal (maple walnut something or other) with banana and PB.

This is a pretty standard lunch. Salad with protein + some sort of carb-y thing on the side. In particular, this is a salad with edamame and walnuts (I’m running low on fun salad toppings) and with the Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic that I love. Plus a serving of Triscuits thin crisps and a serving of 4% cottage cheese (mmm).
Then I ended it with a random piece of chocolate from work. This “dessert after every meal!” is a behavior that re-emerged over the holidays and I would like to work to eradicate. Today was not that day. 

Afternoon snack:
Yogurt + strawberries. Specifically, my current favorite yogurt, the Chobani kids’ yogurt with chocolate chips in it (ADULTS LIKE CHOCOLATE CHIPS TOO). I’d totally be better off with not super sweetened yogurt. I’m aware of this. Baby steps.

Then I had half of a Clif Mojo bar close to when I left for work because I was feeling a little peckish and needed to run before I would eat dinner.

This week has been a bit of a fail on the dinner front. I usually try to make one "nicer" meal per week (that takes a bit more time) and ride out the leftovers for a few nights. That, plus eating with Dan one or two nights, plus eggs on another typically takes me through the week.

But I didn't actually plan for any meal rendering leftovers this week, so I've been digging into the freezer a bit. Tonight I unearthed some Trader Jose green chile and cheese tamales. These were awesome, of course, but what isn't good that features melty cheese as a primary component.

I had another salad on the side. Not ideal, but we didn't have any other easy prep-veggies (another grocery mistake) so this sufficed.

Right now those tamales are sitting fairly heavy in my stomach, so I'll probably skip the small dessert I usually have--typically a piece of chocolate or two.

Food "Rules"
For me, normal eating means following a few general "rules" (more accurately, rules of thumb) but not counting calories. I’ve counted calories in the past and had a lot of success with it. That absolutely is the recipe for losing weight--calories in vs. calories out. But it isn’t right for me right now.

While in general I have about 10 or so pounds I’d like to lose, I know for my own sanity/lifestyle that placing an emphasis on running for health/fitness vs. running for calorie burn is the way to go. Same thing for food--food for fuel and tastiness, not for weight loss. I’m just happier if I live this way, and ultimately, my scale still is doing a natural downward trend since I started running, albeit much slower than if I were counting calories. But I’m okay with that (most days).

Here are my general, so simple you'll roll your eyes rules of thumb that I try to follow for eating:
  • A fruit or veggie at every meal. Typically this means fruit for breakfast and snacks and veggies at lunch and dinner. I try to make them different fruits or veggies for varied nutrients.
  • One treat a day--aka beer OR dessert. I love good beer, chocolate, ice cream, etc. In my ideal world, they would be full of nutrition and no calories. But they aren’t, and if I go crazy on them, I will weigh more/feel unhealthy (see: my pre-running life). This is driven by some combination of vanity and a desire to be healthy. So I try to stick to one treat per evening [nice dinners out (2x/month?) excepted].
  • The food will be there tomorrow. Perhaps counterintuitively, keeping sweets in the house has really helped me not overeat them. I know they’ll be there tomorrow--and that I’ll allow myself to eat them tomorrow too--so there’s no need to go crazy today.
  • No big bags of trail mix at my desk. The Trail Mix Incident of 2012 demonstrated that trail mix is still my “healthy except I eat so much of it that it certainly isn’t anymore” food. So I don’t keep it at my desk. Or lots of treats in general, for that matter. I try to limit myself to the one “real” treat a day, and I almost always prefer to have that treat be at night. So I bring in whatever I’m planning on eating (trail mix, granola bars, etc.) for the day or couple of days, but don’t stock too much at my desk. This is the exact opposite of the above rule, yes. But mindless eating and stress eating are huge problems for me at work (and not so much at home). No food to stress eat = no stress eating.

I'll check in later in the month to see how I'm doing on getting back to normal for eating habits! I definitely need to go into the grocery store with a plan next week.

Today's Workout
5.3 mile tempo run. Longest post-work distance to date! I did 3 miles at a 10:29 pace, which felt comfortably hard.

The hardest part was actually my ARMS. I went to a killer yoga class last favorite instructor is gone! Judgment on the new instructor to be rendered after a few more classes--but it was definitely a tougher, more athletic style. "Power vinyasa" (Baron Baptiste-originated) vs. just vinyasa. Sooo many chaturangas. My arms are screaming today and it felt challenging to hold them up while running. So then I tried running with my arms down like an idiot. Cool moves, Holly!


  1. Hi! Just wanted to say that I like your approach to your What I Ate post - using it as a opportunity for reflection instead of a simple (tired) diary of the same ol'stuff.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback Anne Taite! It definitely was a useful exercise when framed like this.

      Looking forward to checking out your blog!