guilt free foods

Let’s talk about “guilt free foods” for a moment. I felt inspired to discuss this when I opened an email from FindMeGlutenFree about “Guilt Free Brownie Bites” — huh?

Now, I don’t know about you, but food doesn’t make me feel guilty. I love desserts, I’m the first to admit. There is plenty of guilt to go around, especially as a mom, but we all need to draw a line somewhere and for me, this is where.

I spend a lot of time thinking about food and planning our meals. One of my goals for this year is to be more mindful of finding balance in my life, diet included. I’d like to slim down a little and lose some weight (health reasons, not merely vanity) and I’m working hard to figure out what works best for my body. I spend a good bit of time reading and researching various recipes. I’ve talked with my doctor numerous times and have met with a nutritionist. Finally, I feel I’m making progress.

Over the summer, I tried WW. I think that it’s too restrictive overall for my liking, in that I’m only allotted ~1200 calories a day. Sure, that number increases with the “zero point food” but I don’t think I’m eating 400+ calories of chicken breast and plain Greek yogurt. I will say, though, that I definitely saw a trend by tracking. I am really good about eating something for breakfast and sugary breakfast foods are not my friend because they just make me hungry. My big issue is that I often skip lunch or have “snack lunch” which never bodes well for me. This is something I’ve become mindful of needing to change. I will miss lunch because I’m busy and then 3PM rolls around and I basically eat nonstop until after dinner.

Whole30 is part of what has helped — while the foods didn’t necessarily work for me, I learned that fat is not evil and I probably need more of it in my diet. What I do not need, however, is a ton of meat — high protein/fat does not work for my body. I love fruits and vegetables and it’s easy to take in a lot of produce, and focusing on that not only works well for my body but also puts me in a good headspace.

After Whole30 a few years ago, I learned that I’m allergic to yeast and as a result, gluten and refined sugars are never going to work well with my body. I had been gluten free completely for years but then there were things that came up (a few trips coupled with a couple deaths in the family and I went completely off the rails with gluten). I got back to being mostly GF and then our kitchen collapsed and I spent the better part of last fall eating takeout and fast food. Since the kitchen was remodeled, we’ve been back to cooking wholesome meals that are more in agreement with my body. I have a few cookbooks I really like and am really looking forward to The Defined Dish’s cookbook that is set to come out.

Despite my eating preferences, I do not feel guilty if I eat something whether it be purposefully or on accident that doesn’t align with my body’s needs. I usually feel sick, but I tell myself that tomorrow is a new day and I try to pick things up and move forward. I like pizza; I like nachos; I like mac & cheese; I like cake; and as childish and gross as it may be, I like Bagel Bites (not even the organic ones but the chemical ones) — but I don’t need any guilt associated with these foods, and neither does anyone else.

Ultimately, this rambling is really about understanding the importance of disparaging titles attached to foods. There really shouldn’t be — we should all just be concerned with what makes our bodies work and what we can afford and what works for us. It really bothers to me that my kids grow up seeing that they should feel guilty for indulging in a treat or should be shamed for eating something that’s not terribly healthy. At some point, I think it’s vital to change the way we look and talk about food — and also how it’s marketed.

/endrant

(On a side note, I go back and forth and back and forth about getting a fitness watch of some sort — I think they’re neat and I’d love a more accurate read of how many calories I burn doing exercises; however, I know myself and I know that I become obsessed with numerical goals like this. Every time I say I’m considering getting one, I weigh my options and always come back to doing what is best for my mental health — steering clear. I do not need guilt from food, nor do I from fitness…)

(Second side note: I wrote this before my trip to PA and set it to publish at a later date. When I was in PA, my mother talked incessantly about calories – so much so, that three started to ask about how many calories are in an item; then, I returned to MA to my MIL who also obsessively talked about ‘bad’ foods and needing to ‘be good’ with eating. She’s doing WW now and everything is about how many points it has… it was all too much for me. I try to dabble in structure but it just doesn’t seem to work because I don’t want to model the concept of demonizing food for the kids. With 3, I worry because he’s never gaining enough weight for his doctors to be pleased; despite the fact that all he does when he’s not moving is eat, bathe, or sleep…)

 

 

 

aug reflections, sept goals

Oh, man. Summer has been a whirlwind with lots of beach days, a Disney vacation, mini golf, early morning walks with the dog, a trip to Water Country, visits with family, Red Sox games, grilled meats, and walks to get ice cream. It was really a great summer and was full of love and laughter, regardless of how cliche it sounds. Now, here we are … September … the month of having an eighth grader, sixth grader, and preK-3 kiddo in the house.

Oy Vey.

I am NOT ready for this.

I also am not ready to start graduate school. Again. I wonder how many people have multiple graduate degrees, but honestly, most of my friends actually do… I suppose I surround myself with either really smart people or really nerdy people. I am not sure which category I fall into here… I guess the camp where none of us are too cool for school!

I am ready, however, for routines and my annual coffee and apple picking and mid-day walks with the Brutus and time to exercise someplace outside of my house and big weekend homemade brunches with the family, plus a surprise family day trip.

In addition to getting into the swing of fall fun, I am looking forward to really nailing down my routine. With 3 in preK, I am looking to capitalize on those nine hours a week to head to campus and work out. My goal is to do a 5K a day, 3-5x/week — and it doesn’t matter how those 3.1 miles are accomplished: walking, running, elliptical, bike, or any other cardio machine. I’d like to get in two lifting days a week and then yoga on the weekend (I found a studio close-by that has both hot and yin yogas; so, I hope I like it — one of the instructors is actually from my old studio in the city).

My fitness goals should help with manage my stress levels and anxiety. The diet piece is a little different — I want to just keep in mind that produce and water are my best friends, as is lunch — so, I want to make sure that I can maintain consistency. I am going to start to trust my body, otherwise; no tracking or monitoring what I’m eating. I know what works best for my body and I need to trust myself to make the best choices and follow the whole eat anything but not everything I want mantra.

Here’s to meeting my goals in September!

summer’s last hoorah

This was the last full week with 13 & 11 of summer vacation. We started out the weekend with a trip to a local arcade where we all played games and did the batting cages; then we had ice cream before lunch and then pizza. (And, if I’m being honest, we had the rest of the pizza for dinner…) It was a great day and a great way to kick off the last week of summer vacation with everyone.

Monday, 3 was having a time, so my husband stayed home with him. I took 13 & 11 to one of our local beaches and was so excited that a friend of mine also met us there! We jumped waves and boogie boarded; had a snack lunch; and enjoyed a solid six hours out in the summer sun.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I had appointments and my husband was working from home. I chopped all of my hair off on Tuesday per the suggestion of my stylist and love the fresh, new cut. My hair has been to the middle of my back for the last few years and a collarbone cut was exactly what I needed. I ran some errands and headed to campus afterwards to try and finish my application and set up Internet on my computer — wasn’t successful in either of those attempts but I did get my student ID.

On Thursday, the Red Sox had to finish a suspended game from the other week. Because the game was to start at 1PM on a weekday (top of the 10th inning; tied 4-4), the Sox were offering free tickets for all kids and $5 tickets for adults. I grabbed myself a ticket and headed into the city with three kiddos and some singles for the $1 hotdogs. What a great lunchtime activity! We met my husband afterwards and he took the kids home so I could meet a friend for dinner. All-in-all, a tiring but fun day!

With Friday being our last day of vacation, we wanted to spend some time at the beach but the weather had another plan, so we hung out at the house until after lunchtime. Then, I dropped them to their mom and 3 and I headed home for nap time. 3 and I are heading on a trip next week to visit my parents and he is looking forward to playing in his red house and showing ‘grammy’ his “big, round belly” … I’m sure lots of s’mores and ice cream and fresh garden vegetables will be heavily consumed during our trip. Personally, I’m looking forward to tomatoes — all of the garden tomatoes!

When we return, we will visit with my in-laws for Labor Day and then the grind will really start. My graduate coursework starts that Tuesday and my stress levels/anxiety are just through the roof. I am sure once I have the syllabi to figure out the timing of everything, I will settle in quickly. 3’s school year doesn’t begin until a little later, so I get a little more time with him before settling completely into my fall routine.

For the fall, I am hoping to get back into the swing of working out and yoga. I typically am able to get into routines more easily at the start of the school year and I’d like to get back to a better exercise regimen. I have watched my diet all summer (enough anyway) but haven’t exercised much outside of walking the dog. I also have a gym membership through my program, so I am hoping to get to the gym there to lift and swim at least once a week. We will see what goals I set for myself in the next few weeks…

infertility, pt3

I started this post back in May and was reminded of this particular experience I shared the story with a friend over dinner and drinks last week.

With it being Mother’s Day weekend, I was thinking back to our IVF days. Those days were particularly difficult for my husband and me (and our marriage). As I was reflecting, I couldn’t help but think of our trigger shot day from our first round of IVF.

I was having all kinds of hot flashes from the hormones, so we’d been sleeping with one of our bedroom windows open (and two fans on). In February. In Boston. It was great to have the windows open for this particular experience.

My husband watched a few videos from the pharmacy’s online portal and then told me what to expect: “The video said to use a dart-like throwing motion.” I was standing in position, staring down at my phone that blared Busta Rhymes and my husband prepped the area.

Then, bam.

I screamed. The dog went ballistic, barking and growling at my husband. My husband was frantically yelling, “Don’t move! The needle came out! It’s stuck!” I stood screaming while the dog tried to protect my honor, all with a giant needle sticking out of me. Because the trigger shot needs to be timed just so, we all had to quickly calm down and try again.

Fortunately, our neighbors are the gracious types. Nobody has ever asked what all of the screaming was about, nor did anyone call the police. My husband kept repeating, “I told you it was going to be like a dart?!” and I kept responding, “I’ve never been hit by a dart before?!” This was an intramuscular shot and one of the hundreds of shots administered by my husband (fortunately, the only one with such a mishap)…

Surprisingly, after this particular IVF cycle, we continued on with more treatments before deciding to call it quits with fertility specialists, shots, and mood swings and shifted our attention and energies to growing our family through other means. ENTER, a visit to our local Jordan’s Furniture store to talk to a representative about DCF fostering/adoption and signing up for MAPP training.

While we had not planned on this particular timing; fostering youth was something we’d discussed because it was always something that I’d wanted to do. My grandparents had five bio children and, because that wasn’t enough, fostered constantly to share their home and chaos with those in need. This was important to me and soon, us.

It wasn’t long before we started our first training class, but that’s a whole other story…

july reflections, august goals

July has been a great month! I feel like my health is improving, I’m down seven pounds, I’ve been to the beach as much as possible both to play with the kids and to read alone, and I am just overall feeling much lighter. All that being said, I did not meet any of my July goals — I stopped doing yoga and I only did one 5K; I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped and I feel fine about it.

Typically, I would get into my own head about such compromises: I’d feel anxious and I’d obsess about everything I didn’t do. This month, I took a different approach — I went into MayMyRun and turned off my goals and I canceled my yoga membership. Full disclosure: Getting into Boston for yoga was turning into a stress. There is a lot more traffic and there are a lot more people and unexpected road closures in the summer. It just became too much to leave 90 minutes before class instead of 45 and still find myself sprinting from the parking garage to the studio. I found a place close by that I am going to try once I decide I’m ready to dedicate the time again (September at the latest).

Enough about what I’ve not done. This month, I am going to focus on what I’ve done as I reflect. I have walked. A LOT. I only use the AppleHealth app on my phone, so it only logs steps I take when I have it on me. I have upped my walks with the dog, my son and I walk basically everywhere, and when I’m at the beach alone or with my husband, I go for long walks there. I am happy to say that I’ve been logging 2-6miles a day with minimal effort. I enjoy walking and I am finding that walking the dog 4-6x a day has him in a great mood as well. Win-Win!

I have also been eating better. I’m not really making a lot of food adjustments. I have just been watching and am making sure I don’t skip lunch and then eat nonstop from 3:30-bedtime. My goal is to lose 3lbs a month, which I think is reasonable and healthy and it will not have me feeling like I can’t eat cupcakes or have a drink or a shrimp quesadilla when the mood strikes. This has been a great approach for me so far.

Additionally, I haven’t been planning long, elaborate meals. Mostly, we’ve been grilling chicken and corn on the cob and serving it with either grilled or cold vegetables and watermelon. It’s easy and delicious and the pressure of meal prep/planning is largely gone for the time being. What I have been planning are trips — I am taking 3 on a surprise trip a month after his birthday. I booked our flights and our hotel and have gotten in touch with friends in that area. I cannot wait! I have also planned on going back to school and registered for my fall classes. Truth be told, I am nervous but excited.

I am hoping to keep things much the same for August. I want to continue to eat in a healthy, mindful way. I also need to be sure that I’m walking the dog and myself regularly. I can get back to yoga and running in September without skipping a beat. I know that once the school year starts and we are in more of a groove, I like to have more structure but for now, I want to allow myself to enjoy the leisurely exercise that I’m getting and the no-stress, no-pressure summer ways.

june reflections, july goals

Oh, man. June was not what I thought it would be in terms of health goals and really anything else aside from cupcake consumption. I only went to yoga a couple of times and really only could commit to my weekly 5K (except for the last week of the month). There were a lot of trips (VT & Disney to name two of them) that threw me off of my routine and once I’m off, I always struggle to get back into a routine.

My 5K times for June continued to improve with my personal best time of 28:44. I am planning to pick up my weekly 5K this week. I missed last week because we were in Disney and logged 40 miles on foot for the week (and that was with three resort days)!

I put my yoga classes on hold for August, but am planning to get there for the weekends. There is a lot of roadwork between my house and Boston now and the commute in has been more stressful driving and a solid 90 minutes if I take the MBTA. I think it being tourist season causes stress on getting in and through the city, so I am going to try to get there the weekends this month and then may try a studio closer to home to see if I like it there enough to go regularly.

Our vacations were great! I wrote about my BIL’s birthday already and will recap our Disney trip when I have a few minutes. Finally, the Boston weather is rain free for a few days and I plan on capitalizing it by hitting the beach every single day this week! I took 3 yesterday to a local beach and with the high being 74, I decided we’d just go and play in the sand. I always seem to forget how hot it can feel being in the sun, so I told him to just go into the water in his clothes. We had a blast!

Today, we are going to a different beach (basically, the plan for the week — each day a new beach!) and are going to pack lunch and some snacks and will wear our bathing suits. I can’t wait!

In addition to the beach goals for July and scaling back on my exercise goals to weekly 5Ks and weekend yoga; I want to pay closer attention to my nutrition. I started doing Weight Watchers and it’s been going well. I am eating more carbs that I have been in the last several years and am losing weight and actually feeling pretty great. I lost five pounds in June with excessive cupcake consumption, so I’m interested in seeing what July brings (though, in truth, both my husband’s and my birthdays are mid-month, so I’m sure there will be plenty of cake to go around this month too). I plan to write about my experience with this and my ‘why’ when I have some free time because it’s been a lot more freeing than Whole30 was for me…

Lastly, meal prep. I am pretty much throwing meal planning out the window aside from buying a good bit of shrimp, chicken, burgers/hot dogs and a then a bunch of vegetables, because we’ve been grilling nightly and it’s nice to have less planning in the summer but still have really healthy meals. Last night, we marinated some chicken and grilled that along with asparagus and corn on the cob; the night before, we grilled shrimp and peppers and made fajita pitas (SO GOOD). Summer cooking is so much easier. Tonight, we are doing a different marinade for chicken, grilled zucchini and more corn on the cob. I can’t wait!

Here’s to hoping July is as freeing as I need it to be but that I also am able to hold myself accountable to the few workouts a week that I’m planning.

may reflections, june goals

May has been a great month for personal growth and movement! First, I landed a big consulting gig and am working to develop a charter school proposal for a group on the west coast. Second, my exercise was consistent. I started 5K Fridays and I took a big challenge on and decided to try back-to-back yoga classes. I was really intimidated by taking a 90-min class but I’ve survived and I am seeing strength increase in my body; my second class on Tuesdays is a yin class where I drape myself over various props for an hour and leave feeling like I can float away! It’s a great combo and it seems to be balancing my body well. My nutrition is improving as well; I talked to my doctor about my concerns and she gave me some ideas, so I am going to try that out in June and see how things go.

I am really proud of myself for my consistency around cardio this month. I tried to lock myself into a routine of:
– 1.5 miles + weights (Monday)
– 90 min hot yoga & 60 min yin yoga (Tuesday)
– 1 mile + weights (Wednesday)
– off (Thursday)
– 5K (Friday)
– 90 min hot yoga (Saturday)
– 90 min vinyasa & deep relaxation (Sunday)

The Sunday class is a great way to wind down after the busy week. The poses are slower and held longer and then there are props at the end for a restorative portion. I feel like this is a great combination of exercise for me and if I’m feeling burnt out or over-run, it’s easy to drop the 90-min class on Tuesday or Wednesday’s run.

Now to discuss the 5K Fridays — my goal around this is to eventually (in winter) get to a weekday 5K. I have a plan to slowly ramp up to that, figuring that I’m outside walking around a lot more in the summer and the winter added exercise should be able to help me better maintain my health. At the end of 2018, I would rarely attempt a 5K. My mile time was about 11:45 for one; 12:30 pace for two; and 13:30 for three. On Instagram, there’s a man who started to run a 5k a day — this is really what gave me the confidence to start working towards that. I was really thrilled with the work I’ve put in 2019 to improve my physical health.

My 5K splits for May are as follows:
May 3, 29:51
May 11, 29:26 (Saturday instead of Friday; Mother’s Day plans had me alter schedule)
May 17, 29:24
May 24, 29:15
May 31, N/A (I told myself all day that I’d tough it out despite feeling run-down thanks to my allergies but at the end of the day, I decided to forgo the last one. I’ll pick it back up next Friday.)

I know for people who are fast, this may not seem like much, but to me it’s huge. I’ve never broken 30 minutes for a 5K; not even when I was in high school and ran track (and was far more fit). This tells me that I am doing something right and that my consistency is paying off.

When I went to the doctor last week, I talked about how I’m seeing a change. I’m definitely getting faster and stronger (I can lift more and certain poses in yoga that I couldn’t do before are easier for me to flow through); my pants are getting looser; and I’m seeing more definition in my muscles; however, my weight is steadfast and isn’t changing. This is when she introduced I look into a low-glycemic diet. She shared her experience doing this last summer and said it made a difference. She told me that as we get older, exercise isn’t going to be enough to move the scale. So, I’ve done my research and am focusing on foods that are natural and whole. This is something that we do a decent amount of but we also rely on takeout/delivery far more than we should. I think that this will help to stay focused on healthier.

My goals for June are to continue a yoga schedule similar to above — travel will make it difficult to get there week to week but I’m confident I will figure it out and get in as many classes as I can (or fill in with self-practice at home). I like the contrast of the heated vinyasa class, which is quick and challenging with the yin yoga, which leaves me feeling floaty and relaxed. Saturday’s class is similar to Tuesday’s heated one and Sunday strikes a great balance between them all. I think that these classes all support the cardio I’m doing.

My running goals will adjust for June a bit:
Mondays, 2 miles + weights
Wednesdays, 1 mile + weights
Fridays, 5k
If, for some reason, I have to skip weekday workouts, then I at least want to make sure that I get the 5k in.

Beyond fitness and health, I’d like to get back to reading more. I have a handful of books that have gone untouched since the semester picked up. Ideally, I’d go down to the beach and read but the weather hasn’t supported that. I’m hoping to get back into reading this month and to continue on my writing. I’d like to shift some and focus more about parenting adventures — for whatever reason, I never get the details/tone right when trying to write about something that’s happened. Hopefully, I can start to work on that.

Overall, I think that my goals are attainable and I’m looking forward to seeing what June brings!