Archive | November, 2012

New Day, New Breakfast.

30 Nov

Good evening everyone!

Woof, what a long day today was. One of the best parts though was being able to sleep in a little later this morning, til 930, and have the time to make a fresh breakfast before work. I took this opportunity to try a recipe I’ve been meaning to try for awhile now: whipped banana oatmeal.

I found this recipe off the blog Kath Eat’s Real Food months ago, but haven’t gotten around to making it until today. I started off with 1/3 cup skim milk, 1/3 cup oats, and 1/2 cup water in a pan. I brought this to a medium boil then began to slice half of a banana very thinly and place the slices  into the mix.

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Once it all began to boil, I whipped the mixture together quickly until the bananas became part of the consistency. The smell at this point of the process was heaven. I let it cook for about 4 minutes and then added in some pumpkin puree.

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Lastly, I tossed some blueberries in there and hoped for the best. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if I would like it. I almost began a second batch, but realized I was running low on time so I popped it into a tupperware container and went off to work.

Well, to my surprise, this breakfast was delicious! And ultra filling. About halfway I was considering putting it in the fridge for later, but it was too good! Especially once I added in my Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter. Seriously, I cannot get enough of it right now.

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I ran a participant, made some phone calls, followed up on emails, and before I knew it it was 130! Time to eat 🙂

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In the bowl today was spinach, chickpeas, cucumber, tomato, avocado, raisins, yellow bell pepper and light balsamic vinaigrette. I use the Boathouse Farms dressing and I highly recommend it. Light in calories per serving, but packed with flavor. I actually didn’t even put dressing on my salads for the first 2 years I ate them, but this is my favorite dressing now.

After a couple more tasks at work, I got to head home and have some down time before I left for babysitting. Today went by pretty quickly, I always enjoy my time with Max. He’s 12 and horrible at Mario Kart on the Wii, but a really enjoyable kid to spend time with. Right from babysitting I left for the gym!

Today’s workout was all about getting myself moving. I took Tuesday and Wednesday as rest days so I felt a little restless. I hopped on the treadmill for a nice and easy 3 mile run at a 8:34 pace. After that, I hopped downstairs and completed this circuit Tina from Carrot’s n Cake posted on Health Magazine’s website for the morning after Thanksgiving. I actually did the workout that morning as well and found it to be a good challenge so I went for it again today.

My legs are definitely feeling it halfway through. It’s a tough workout, but a good one! I didn’t leave the gym until 755 so by the time I got in my car I realized how hungry I was. I normally like to be done with dinner by 8 so my stomach was empty and my body ready for some fuel. When I got home, I wanted to just throw together something quickly in the form of veggies and protein so I just grabbed whatever was ready to cook.

The veggies of the evening were broccoli, yellow squash, garlic and brussel sprouts. I tossed in some black pepper, basil and thyme. The combination was so random, but I ended up really enjoying it. I’m going to repeat this one for sure.

To pair alongside my veggies I chose a throwback.

Trader Joe’s Chicken Nuggets 🙂

With only 190 calories and 15 g of protein these little nuggets were the perfect choice for tonight. By the end of the meal my stomach was happily satisfied 🙂

The rest of my evening consisted of showering and getting the blog ready to launch! I’m pretty wiped so I’m going to snuggle up with Liam and read a little bit of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, or any of the series for that matter. I’ve decided I’m going to read through all 7 again and see how fast I can do it. A bit of a mini, but enjoyable challenge for me. I haven’t read for pleasure in awhile.

What are some good books you have read lately?

Well that’s it for me tonight, goodnight everyone!

Until next time,

Natasha

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Lululemon Athletica & A Little TDR

29 Nov

Hey everyone!

Bear with me while i figure out how exactly I want to present this blog and what my direction is going to be. It’ll take me a couple of weeks, but hopefully it’ll be great by the end! (Or have some rhythm to it).

So, a couple weeks ago when I was figuring out how I was going to spend my winter break I knew one thing was for sure, I didn’t want to go back to CT for too too long. Although both of my jobs will be giving me some time off (since they both are on school calendars) I rely on my paychecks from them to pay my rent and support myself. Between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break, it looks like it’s gonna be a little tight. I’m also not sure how many of my friends will be home this year so I think it might be best for me to go home for a short break and come back to DC for work. When I was thinking of what I would do with my time here, the first thing that came to mind is my gym. I recently joined Crunch FitnessIt has been such a good decision for me. My membership is $40 per month, I have access to over 80 classes per week and was given 3 free personal training sessions! So far I am absolutely loving it there and am trying out a couple new classes each week to get a feel for what I like the most.

I began to think maybe I should apply for another part-time job. Some days I find myself having a lot of down time at night, but am not sure how to fill it. While I’m still unsure of exactly what I want my future career to be, I am sure that health and exercise are two big priorities in my life right now. As I began to think of ways I could incorporate that into a job that I would enjoy Lululemon Athletica  came into mind.

I took a trip down to the store in Georgetown and met with the manager. From there, I applied online and got an invitation for a group interview!

It was very relaxed, which was a different pace for me interview wise. It was me, two other interviewees, and 2 employees. They were both super sweet and really open about their experiences working at Lululemon. They spoke a lot about the teamwork atmosphere at the store and how working there really pushes them to work on their biggest weakness to make it a strength. Honestly, just listening to them talk about their positions made me feel this would be a better fit than I imagined. A bunch of the coworkers are all running an 8k together, they challenge each other, go to yoga or exercises classes together, and they all talk about how it feels like a community to them. I have definitely felt disconnected since I graduated college and the transition has been really rough for me. I feel very stuck, especially with all my roommates still being in college and working on campus. The next round will be one-on-one interviews so I will have to see if I make it to the next round. Wish me luck!

The rest of the day was quite busy. I wasn’t all that hungry in the morning and was nervous for the interview so I just made some Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea and brought it with me to my interview. When I got back home I snacked on a banana and some Peanut Butter Co.’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter, it’s the best PB in the entire world, and had a real breakfast at work.

After a full afternoon of work at the research lab I was off to babysitting. I worked on this bad boy (my blog) and snacked on an apple. Then I was off to meet my friends Erika and Hana for dinner on campus in TDR. I might have gone a litttttle overboard but I love my university’s dining hall. It was great when I was a student, but now it’s even better! Last time I went to dinner with them I ate a massaged kale salad with beets, goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes and walnuts. Amazing.

Well, last night’s dinner did not disappoint.

On my plate was Whole Wheat Toast with almond butter and apple butter, a small piece of meatloaf, a couple bites of potato, roasted squashes, roasted color carrots, and salad.

Now, I know that looks like a TON of food. It totally is. But I hadn’t really eaten a full meal during the day yet and I didn’t end up eating all of it. I just tried a couple bites of the curried pork with vegetables, and couldn’t finish all the carrots. Whenever I go to TDR my eyes are always bigger than my stomach.

After we ate, we all walked over to a Psychology Department event. They were showing Girl, Interrupted and then were hosting a panel discussion on Bipolar Disorder. But when we got there, the room was packed. Standing room only really. We decided to bag it and went to Hana’s apartment instead. We ended up having an Intervention marathon – one of my favorite shows – and catching up on Selena and Bieber’s romance.

I called it a night around 1030 because I was exhausted. I was up for the interview at 715! I’m anxiously checking and rechecking my email all the time, but I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Until next time,

Natasha

The Very, Good, Beginning.

27 Nov

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog!

First time fishing in California, August 2012.

My name is Natasha and I’m a 22 year-old recent college graduate. After feeling inspired by several other bloggers, and fantastic women, I’ve decided to take the plunge and start my very own fitness and health blog “Look Good, Feel Good, For Good!”

Although many of my friends joked throughout college about my “rabbit food” habits and gave the “you would’s” to my enthusiasm about new healthy recipes or tough workouts, I didn’t start out this way.

Growing up I had a fear of trying foods. I’m not really sure where this came from, no traumatic incidents come to mind, but I was a stubborn kid who stuck to what she confidently knew she liked. This consisted of bananas, cottage cheese, Eggo waffles, applesauce, Kraft Mac N Cheese (NOT Annie’s), dinosaur chicken nuggets and spinach tortellini’s, my one colored delicacy. As you can see, I was what they call “a white food baby.” When it came to ice cream: vanilla. Every time. I did not like to venture outside of my comfort zone. Instead, my parents would line up everything I would eat on the counter and I would pick my meals based on which I wanted to combine this time. Sometimes it was healthy, sometimes…not so much. However, my parents never pressured me to change my habits or choices. Instead, they always encouraged me to choose. They gave me the power to decide what I wanted to eat, I think that was key to how I ended up being the way I am today. Sure, the occasional push for peas or corn took place, but my Dad quickly learned his lesson when I staged this dramatic gagging incident to try and avoid finishing my corn. Natasha 1, Corn 0.

Throughout elementary school, I began to develop “the belly.” I was always an active kid – dance, swimming, basketball and soccer, but my eating habits were still mainly consisting of white foods. I began packing my own lunch in the 3rd grade, and since it was my choice I rarely choose fruits or vegetables as staples to my brown bag diet. I remember having wheat bread, “brown bread” I called it, but other than that it’s all a blur of my favorite school lunches and more white foods. Although I was active, I wasn’t putting the right balance of foods in my body.

The summer before sixth grade my family took a trip to France. In the morning, our hotel served us breakfast and each morning my brother and I tore through the 3 croissants they brought to the table. By the 3rd day of our vacation, the waiter would bring me my very own basket of 5 croissants – and I would eat them all!

I didn’t start even attempting new foods until sophomore year of high school. I had my first bite of lettuce and a hamburger, until then it was only hot dogs. Then came a boyfriend junior year of high school and with him I felt comfortable trying some new things, specifically chocolate ice cream. However, this new shift didn’t exactly balance out to health quite yet. I loved routine and ate the exact same thing for lunch every single day of high school. I was a more intense athlete now with swim practices totaling up to 3 miles. I knew what worked and I stuck to it. Bagels, almonds and raisins, crackers and cheese and apple and peanut butter. Pasta parties were full of carbo loading and dessert diving, but I had finally started to thin out. I weighed under 110 lbs and had some level of core and upper body strength.

College was when I really started to try new foods. My roommates were astounded at my lack of bravery and experiences and were constantly having me try things. This was a great way for me to start exploring with my body and my relationship with food. I found out – it was a very on or off thing for me. The summer before I was working out on a strict regimin and found myself eating very routinely. I cried 3 days before leaving for college over not being able to have my Kashi Go Lean waffles in my freezer.

Throughout college I fluctuated. I became very thin the summer before my sophomore year of college, but throughout the next couple years I was all over the place with my eating, my mindset and my body. The summer before my senior year was the worst – I was having intense stomach and intestinal issues, was on and off the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet, and couldn’t exercise due to total lack of energy. Once this issue finally seemed to stable out I had gained almost 10 lbs, felt bloated and out of touch with my own body.

Senior year I really began to take my health more seriously. I was in a new relationship, but was in an entirely new place in my life. I had to prepare for the next year that had no plan, no one to give me one, and no idea where to start. I first turned to my boyfriend for fitness. Kevin’s a varsity athlete at the college we went to together and had a wealth of knowledge on weights – something I was always way too intimidated to try alone. Kevin began to write me workouts, many of which I still have. Before I went to the gym on my own, Kevin introduced me to everything and gave me little tutorials. When I would swing by his apartment to pick up my workouts, he would show me each move, go over it in detail, tell me how many reps of each exercise to complete, and even drew stick figures on my workout sheet so I had something to refer to once I got there.

I’ve gotta be honest, these workouts really changed the way I looked at fitness for myself. I began to want power, instead of a lean body, strength, instead of a flat stomach, and knowledge of how to use all these muscle groups I had ignored for the majority of my life thus far. These workouts even replaced my training for my very first road race due to an IT band injury – as a result of overworking my legs and not using my butt. Needless to say, on April 1st, 2012 I ran in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race with Kevin in 1 hour and 28 minutes!

Since then, I’ve completed a half marathon and, most recently, a 10k Turkey Trot. But I don’t want these races to just be something I train for, work towards, then achieve. Instead, I want to be constantly working towards being strong, always achieving new milestones, and learning how to make all of this a permanent part of my life. That is why I am creating the blog. I want to make my health and fitness one of the biggest priorities in my life, something I will always be working towards.

The idea of “look good, feel good” is something my friends around me began telling me at the start of my Senior Year. My biggest struggle was not feeling at home in my own skin. My body simply didn’t feel like it belonged to me. I felt disconnected from my soul, from my mind. The person I felt I was simply did not seem to be the one I was looking at in pictures or the mirror. It was extremely difficult for me to feel good about myself when I couldn’t feel connected to what I was seeing. I began to start to think about small steps I could take to begin to close the gap between my mind and my body – eating only when I was hungry, being able to appreciate each meal, building in time to push my body physically, balancing out each meal. Slowly but surely, I began to feel the best I had ever felt. I finally felt the work I was putting into myself  was paying off. So many friends began complimenting me – how great I looked, how thin I looked, but the best comment I got was from my friend Ryan. “I was going to say you look thinner, but you look really healthy.” Bullseye.

As I continue to make that feeling a constant state of being, there are still many other aspects of my life I will be working on: where I want to move next year, where I want to go to grad school, what kind of job I want to have, and when will I retake the GRE? I may not have everything figured out right now, but this is a journey. This blog is something I am confident that I want and am ready for. However, that doesn’t mean I know everything, I’m always open to comments, questions, suggestions or advice so please feel free to email me, tweet me, or leave a comment!

Thank you so much for reading and going on this adventure with me.

Until next time,

Natasha