Happy 2014! Wow, I can’t believe how fast 2013 flew by, and this post is a long time coming! I have been wanting to share with you all how I do a healthy slim down, and also introduce you to my healthy eating lifestyle by sharing an eating plan with exercise tips. Below you will find my journey to a new year slim-down and the first day of meals and snacks to follow. Once or more a week I will be posting new recipe ideas and meal ideas in the form of a new day.
I want to have a healthy approach to slimming down and focusing on clean and healthy eating habits. I want to share with you my struggles and my successes along the way. So here it goes.
Last year, I discovered Tone It Up! A fitness blog (and now TV show and so much more!) that is SO inspiring. I get a lot of my drive and workout inspiration from Karena and Katrina. The community is awesome and there are thousands of women all doing exactly what we’re doing here. I suggest you all go over to their site and do some of their workout videos and read through their posts! I love all of their videos, but my favorites are Sunkissed Abs, Malibooty, and my most recent favorite Foam Roll Routine. Their workouts are quick, easy, and effective!
During the week, I am normally very focused on my healthy eating and working out. I tend to do cardio about 5 days a week and weights 3-4 days. That is until late September of last year when my doctor told me I have something called Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome. A syndrome caused by overworking your muscles, resulting in my lower legs going numb, feeling swollen and full of pressure, and ultimately losing a lot of circulation in my feet. The condition can worsen and get better, as long as you maintain and condition your body. I am going to be going to physical therapy for it. To be honest, my doctors aren’t exactly sure that I have this syndrome, as it’s really hard to diagnose, but nevertheless, I am taking the necessary precautions. All I knew then was I was restricted from high impact cardio and lower-body work outs in general.
At first I was crushed, I lived my life on a daily basis knowing I had to burn off a certain amount of calories a day. I also had aspirations to run more races following my June half marathon. But mostly, I was concerned for my weight. Which I have come to realize was such an unhealthy way of thinking.
Exercise should be for your mind and body, but it shouldn’t become an obsession and I was bordering on it for sure. Instead of pushing through the pain, I decided to be smart and listen to my doctor. I began by taking over a week off (UMM last time I took a full week off was 4 years ago and that’s because I had foot surgery!) and I started to feel really good. Not only did my compartment syndrome symptoms go away, but due to that condition, and probably from over-exercising in general, I had so much inflammation in my body that I actually LOST weight from the break in activity.
Yes, some muscle, some water weight I am sure. I of course did watch my eating, but I didn’t cut any calories at all. In the end, I have found a different way to think about exercise, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy weight. I believe it is always an evolution of thought and action for me, but for now, I am feeling really good. I took Oct-Dec off off high-impact and running, and I took up yoga, TRX, pilates, and barre classes.
I used to hate yoga. It didn’t burn enough calories for the time it took out of my day. I also found it boring. Given my situation, I was able to let go of those thoughts and open up to the idea of relaxing and stretching my body. What I have gained from yoga I would never have known! I am 100% stronger than I have ever been, and my core is solid. I look forward to trying new types of yoga — right now I am really enjoying Vinyassa — a form of yoga that is faster paced and flows through series of poses. I recommend everyone who loves fitness to treat your body to yoga.
Now, when it comes to eating, my biggest downfall is the weekend. I think it happens to us all, the dreaded weekend of over eating and over drinking. It’s common to be a bit relaxed on days off without the routine, and it’s also OKAY. But I always fall off my healthy eating wagon just a bit and unfortunately those days “off” can really affect your overall success. Whether it be the fatty foods around at bars and restaurants I don’t go to during the week, the alcohol, or just being surrounded by people who don’t worry as much about food as you do and conforming to their ways. Either way, it can be tough to maintain a healthy weight in society these days and you don’t wanna let your social life or fitness and health goals to suffer.
I like to think of my healthy lifestyle as easily adaptable. With these posts you will have options, swaps, and even advice for what you do when you find yourself at a bar. I hope you like this and please let me know what you think!
Here I am on the left, after the 4th of July, feeling a bit… soft… let’s say. Haha. I still had muscle and by no means was I really fat, but I felt like it (something I resolve to stop stressing about in 2014!). I decided from then on I wanted to be a bit more regimented and not let my life outside of fitness and health ruin my healthy habits. And then here I am now (sorry excuse the PJs in the photo!) on the right. I am about 4 lbs lighter (yup that’s it!) but more toned and about 3% less body fat. I did nothing other than moderate exercise like yoga and strength training and following something like this meal plan below.
You will eat 4 – 6 small meals a day, totaling 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day. If you work out intensely, add another 100 calories to your day, in the form of protein if possible!
I prefer all-natural sweeteners like Truvia, but feel free to use what you want.
Meal1 – 280 calories
Coffee with 2 Truvia + hot water with lemon or unsweetened green tea
2 whole wheat, high fiber frozen waffles (I like Eggo Nutri-Grain Low-Fat and Kashi best!)
4 large egg whites scrambled with 1 cup spinach
4 large strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup blueberries
Serve waffles topped with berries or eat them separately!
Meal2 – 200 calories
1 grapefruit with 1 Truvia packet
1 fat-free Greek yogurt with about 130 calories
Meal3 – 300 calories
Salad made of:
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 1 cup baby spinach, 3 oz. cooked skinless chicken breast, 1/4 cup red kidney beams, 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, 1/2 cup chopped tomato, 1 oz. chopped avocado with 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
You can sub the red bell pepper and tomato with other low-calorie vegetables such as cucumbers or broccoli or celery. Just make sure to keep measurements the same.
Meal4 – 100 calories
1 apple or 2 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti squash with seasonings but no salt. (I LOVEEEE spaghetti squash with dash or two garlic powder)
Meal5 – 420 calories
5 oz. lean ground turkey seasoned with garlic, onion powder, black pepper and a dash of salt. Form into a patty and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Top with 1 tbsp. ketchup, 1 tsp. mustard, lettuce, 1 slice tomato, and if you like, dill pickle chips. Eat it knife and fork style! On the side have 3 cups steamed veggies and 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice.