Tag Archives: balance

Quality Time

29 Dec

Good evening readers! As my time at home comes to a close, it’s been bittersweet to make plans knowing I won’t know when the next time I will get to see everyone will be. Today, and now tonight, I have been snowed in due to a big snow storm. I luckily got up and out early this morning and was able to drive home when the storm started. It looked gorgeous. IMG_1832I’ve actually been having a really good string of breakfasts and lunches these last couple of days. I’ve been very happy with myself in terms of both staying on track and enjoying myself with each meal. There’s something about being home that makes so many things feel much less stressful. I’m never feeling guilty or conscious so I find myself sitting down to eat a meal and then not worrying about food at all until I’m definitely hungry again. I’m not worrying about when I’ll get my next workout in, I just take them as they come. I also haven’t been running around with a full schedule trying to see every single last person and not having any time to relax. I’ve have a great harmony of alone time and seeing friends this break. It’s been exactly what I needed.

Without further ado, it’s picture time! Thursday morning I woke up ready for some oatmeal 🙂 so I made some Whipped Banana Oatmeal and topped it with blueberries and raspberries at the end so they would pop a little and melt into the oatmeal. I added a big spoonful of Cinnamon Raisin PB to turn this meal into perfection.IMG_1783 IMG_1791IMG_1790Next I ran some errands with my mom and tried on some fun heels while she was looking at after Christmas sales on Christmas items. IMG_1792IMG_1848I came home, caught up with a close family friend on the phone and got confirmation that her husband who teaches in Newtown is okay. Then it was time to meet up with Lacey to go see Les Miserables. I packed a healthy snack pack to enjoy if I got hungry during the movie.IMG_1794Boy am I glad I packed it! The movie was 3 hours. So I dug into the yogurt during and the carrots on the drive home. I highly recommend this movie. I do not do musicals. Rent bores me, Chicago I didn’t even last 20 minutes. Something about Les Mis moved me though and kept me engaged for the entire time. Definitely a must see movie.

After that I came home, skyped with Kevin for a hot second then whipped myself up some sauteed vegetables and spaghetti squash. I even got to teach my parents all about this wonderous vegetable.IMG_1797 IMG_1800 IMG_1802In the bowl was spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower, feta cheese, my dad’s homemade tomato sauce, yellow squash and spaghetti squash. It was filling and really delicious. Definitely hit the spot with my craving for vegetables.

Right after I finished up dinner my friend Haley arrived and we caught up while stalking One Direction and watching Simple Plan music videos. As Haley noted, “Some things never really will change.” We discovered we both want to move to California this year so we tossed around ideas of moving together. We are thinking about two different areas though and I don’t want to take away from her dream so we will see, but it was really exciting to look at apartments together and discuss logistics. Once Lauren came we continued to catch up until Haley got hungry and it was time to head to the diner.IMG_1803 IMG_1804 IMG_1807Diner trips are always a tradition of ours so it felt good to be right in our old groove. Although my camera died Lauren made sure that we had 3 rounds of photoshoots. I didn’t order anything, but snagged some of Lauren’s french fries. After that we came home, put the pajamas on, and apparently I passed out in the middle of our conversation around 2am. When we woke up yesterday morning my parents were cooking us a 5 star breakfast.photo-3 photo-4 ImageAfter breakfast, I took some time to blog and digest then went for a 4 mile run. Although I felt a little tired, it felt really great after to accomplish it and be active. After that I went home, showered, and started to cook my first ever chili while waiting for Alex to arrive. I followed this recipe from the blog PB Fingers. I didn’t add any meat though and used fresh tomato. My parents didn’t have all the spices so it didn’t have a lot of kick, but Alex and I both enjoyed it.IMG_1811 IMG_1813 IMG_1814 IMG_1818 IMG_1819Alex was clearly very happy to appear on the blog. I topped mine with some grated cheese and some Greek yogurt for a little extra protein. We also had some sides to munch on while we waited.IMG_1812 IMG_1817 IMG_1816 IMG_1815After catching up we decided it was obviously time for some ice cream so off we went to Coldstone. I had trouble deciding, but went with the Chocolate Devotion which has chocolate ice cream, chocolate chips, brownies and fudge. It would’ve been amazing but they put WAY too many chocolate chips in it so I could really only eat about 1/3 of it before giving up. I also asked for the smallest portion, but he ended up making me double that. Whoops!IMG_1820 IMG_1821 IMG_1822We both ordered the same size… haha. Coldstone has never really been my favorite, but Alex was craving it and it worked out well since I didn’t want to have a ton of dessert. It was great to see her and we will both be planning trips out to see each other in the coming months.

As for me, I’m now going to snuggle up to some more Scrubs in my bed and fall asleep reading some more of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Until next time,

Natasha

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Healthy Holiday Hints

28 Dec

Hey readers!

I hope everyone isn’t suffering too bad from the post-Christmas lull. We still have New Years! I am in the process of finalizing my plans to go visit my friend Adrienne in Boston. What are you guys up to?

As I was going through my holiday break, I had to make a lot of adjustments to stay on a healthy track. My family is fairly active and we went on runs both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, their eating patterns are entirely different from mine. I used to eat just like they did – not eat all day and then have a HUGE lunch/early diner to make up for it. But that would leave me eating more than I wanted, giving me a bellyache, and completely throwing me off for that day and the day after. So I wanted to write to you guys letting you know how I navigated it this year and give you guys some, hopefully, helpful hints.

1. Eat throughout the day – the morning we went to the Bronx my family said we weren’t having breakfast and were going to wait til lunch. I knew that would leave me with low energy, starving, and pretty miserable. I used to think it would be great because I could get skinnier by eating less in my day, and one big meal would be enough to fill me. In the end, I ended up eating more, what I ate wasn’t that healthy, and I would feel awful. So I planned ahead this time. To accomodate myself, without burdening my family, I made a Sweet Breakfast Scramble the night before and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I grabbed it on our way out and ate it in the car.IMG_1654 I also snacked on a Raisin Bran muffin while we were waiting around noon. We ended up not eating til 3pm!! (Also our Christmas Eve dinner didn’t happen til 1030 pm). Remember, you can’t change how your family does things, but you can change how you react to it. Summary: have small healthy meals/snacks throughout your day to keep your metabolism moving and your appetite happy and balanced.

2. Keep up your consumption of fruits and vegetables – my family typically only makes one vegetable per meal. When I’m cooking for myself I’m eating 4-5 (on average)! This would be a big change in my diet. I planned ahead and went grocery shopping with my mom so I would have veggies and fruits on hand. With every meal, I always made myself a small side salad with a couple different vegetables in it. That way, I could still eat the meal my parents worked so hard to prepare, but could also make a little addition to it for myself.IMG_1718This was my side on Christmas Eve!IMG_1695This was my snack pre dinner when my family had a lot of cheese, vegetables in oil, and crab dip. While I tried little bites of everything, I made sure to snack on lots of veggies. (I cut up some yellow bell pepper too)IMG_1739Christmas Day my parents had cookies and coffee for breakfast, but I chose peanut butter and banana on wheat toast!

3. You can have it all, just not all at once – this is what I have read in Bethenny Frankel’s book Naturally Thin. She talks a lot about how your diet is like a bank account. How I interpreted it is similar to when you get a paycheck: you can’t blow it all right away. You have to save some so you can spend some. Think of your fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy as your savings account and your sweets, special entrees or favorite indulgences as your spending. If you spend the money overtime, you’re in a much more balanced, and better, financial situation. Same with sweets! If you spread them out overtime, and maintain a healthy lifestyle all the while, you can fully enjoy anything you want to eat! So when your family whips out 6 different desserts – pick your favorite and fully enjoy your portion. Or decide on a couple to try and enjoy your bites of each dessert. Either way, as long as you balance your meals throughout your day, dessert won’t knock you off the right track. I chose to have small desserts, since I knew I would be full from dinner, that way I could still enjoy a sweet but not feel totally over stuffed!IMG_1731

4. Try and be active any way you can – So your family may not go on group runs together on the holidays  – and that’s totally fine! Exercise can be 10 minutes of activity at once, repeated throughout the day. Let’s say your family has a dog. Volunteer to take them out for their walk or jog! If you live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, as a relative to join you on a walk (family time and exercise combination!) or take a walk if you need a break. Work on holding your plank in your room then do some push-ups, squats, alternating backwards lunges and repeat the circuit 3 times. Any way you can fit it in, even if it’s just 20 minutes, is great! It will keep your energy up and keep your metabolism moving helping you feel less sluggish and wiped out from all the holiday activity.

"Wanna go for a walk?"

“Wanna go for a walk?”

5. Enjoy everything and don’t beat yourself up! – Okay, so you ate a lot at dinner last night, and the cake looked too good to pass up. No problem! Did you enjoy it? Then it was worth it. Today’s a new day! Start fresh and have a great breakfast to start your day off on the right foot and tackle everything one step at a time. Remember, this is a holiday. It is a special occasion and you should treat yourself! Just don’t treat yourself every meal and everyday. Pick your favorites so you can have something to look forward to and motivate you to stay on track so you can enjoy it later! IMG_1672IMG_1691IMG_1682

6. Remember your goals/reasons for wanting to be healthy – it was easy for me to get wrapped up at Haley and Lauren’s holiday party and let go of all my progress on the appetizer table. I realized the more I was feeling guilty about it, the more I found myself going back to the snack table! Like I said, don’t beat yourself up and enjoy things! Once I started to move around the party and talk to more people, I found myself talking about my goals, my health blog and connecting with people on where we all are in our lives. One of my biggest goals is a balance. I mean this in every aspect of my life, even socializing! By balancing out how I was spending my time at the party, I began to naturally balance out what I was eating and found myself just enjoying the snacks and desserts I did pick. Having this blog be one of my goals also really helped when I was facing my family’s schedule. I knew what was important to me, so I was motivated to find ways to adjust my eating patterns so I could enjoy both my parents meals and stay on my healthy track (plus taking pictures of everything helps me stay accountable to myself, and you guys!)

7. Offer small suggestions to make dishes healthier – Okay, so your parents/relatives are in charge of the meal preparation so whatever they choose is what will be served. So you can’t have spaghetti squash instead of pasta, you can’t choose how much olive oil goes into the pan – don’t fret! When you can, try and offer small suggestions to change things up a little bit. For example, my mom wanted to make pancakes for everyone on Christmas morning. I asked my mom if we could get whole wheat pancake mix instead and it turned out my whole family loved how delicious they tasted! Now, your family may not be as open as mine, but you can also prep some of the batter on the side for yourself and ask the chef to toss on a few whole wheat ones for you! Or, if you don’t feel comfortable asking them to change their prep, bring a dish that you can contribute. Maybe a fruit salad for brunch, maybe a vegetable plate if it’s dinner. Whatever you feel comfortable with, there are plenty of ways to be flexible and creative with helping your holiday meals be a little healthier.

That’s what helped me stay on track this holiday. What are some of your tips or tricks for staying healthy during the holidays?

Here’s a few pictures from my Christmas as a little post-Christmas gift for all of you 🙂 IMG_1746 IMG_1748 IMG_1749 IMG_1750 IMG_1751 IMG_1752 IMG_1754 IMG_1755 IMG_1760 IMG_1762 IMG_1763 IMG_1767 IMG_1769

Until next time,

Natasha

Peanut Butter Co. & An Annual Holiday Party!

22 Dec

Happy Saturday readers!

Yesterday was my big travel day from Washington DC to NYC to back home in CT. I started off my morning before the sun even came out at 530AM so I could brush my teeth, get ready, and be outside by 6AM waiting for a bus to the metro.IMG_1594 IMG_1596It was cute, since I had to carry my bear a man on the metro bus struck up a conversation with me about it. We ended up talking and he was so sweet. After the holidays he’s traveling to Japan for 8 days. He worked there back in his 20s and always wanted to go back, so he is now! It was a little inspirational to see someone following through on a dream like that and a great start to my “holiday break.”

I took the metro to my bus and met up with my brother. We departed at 7AM so I naturally slept the first hour and snacked on an apple about halfway through the trip.IMG_1597Once we got there, our parents were running late, no big surprise, so Nick and I went to a Starbucks and just chatted for about an hour catching up. While he chose a coffee, I chose a Mighty Mango Naked Smoothie. Always a good go to for me when I’m thirsty and hungry 🙂IMG_1598 IMG_1599However, I only drank half because I knew my family and I were going somewhere extra special for lunch today…IMG_1600Does this look familiar to any of you readers?

To give you a hint, after we ordered our sandwiches I also made sure to get a couple special purchases:IMG_1601Yes! That’s right! I went to the place where Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB comes from!!! 🙂 I was so excited for this little venture and it did not disappoint. There were so many interesting choices to choose from, and the dessert menu was TO DIE for, but I eventually chose The Elvis: maple syrup peanut butter, banana slices, and bacon on whole wheat bread with a big glass of skim milk to “wash it down” as they say on the menu :).IMG_1602 IMG_1603 IMG_1604Although I wasn’t sure at first if I would get the bacon, I decided to try it. I rarely have it and figured if I was ordering a sandwich called the Elvis, it wouldn’t be right sans bacon. It was delicious. I enjoyed every last bite.

The restaurant had a really classic feel to it. It was small, yet cozy with all these paintings and pictures up from the last couple generations of what peanut butter used to be advertised like. It gave you this really home-y feel and felt very classic.IMG_1605 IMG_1606 IMG_1607What was really cute is on the Potato Chip packaging the owner of the company explains when he was a kid his PB&J was served to him with carrot sticks and chips. He wasn’t allowed to eat the chips without having the carrots. He encouraged us to make sure we ate our carrots or his mom might come after us. I thought it was a great message to send out about balanced eating but in a very approachable and personal way. Peanut Butter Co. you are awesome.

Once home back in CT, I walked into my room and was so happy to see it again 🙂IMG_1609 I laid in bed until it was time to get ready for my friend’s annual holiday party. They’ve had it every year for the last 5 or 6 years and it became especially great once we all went off to college. I can always count on seeing this group of people once a year and it never fails to be a good time. I had some Shrimp and Cashewchinese food leftovers my parents had in the fridge with a simple salad on the side. I knew I would be snacking at the holiday party, so I wanted to get some good nutrients in me beforehand.IMG_1610 IMG_1611 IMG_1612I ate at our dining room table that my mom spends hours decorating each year. Our whole house becomes “Chrismafized” and there’s lots of small details throughout – like my nutcracker name holder. Once I headed out, I swung over to target to grab a gift for the present swap game. Tradition.IMG_1613While shopping, I had a couple gifts in my hand, but ultimately decided to pick a gift for a specific audience. When people get ambiguous gifts they’re either funny or traded back and forth a lot because people want something else, so I wanted to pick a gift that someone would definitely enjoy. I decided to get some Burt’s Bees tinted lip balms and bought myself a book to read over break. Perks of Being a Wallflower 🙂IMG_1614 IMG_1615I got to the party pretty much right on time, somewhat fashionably late by 15 minutes, and was drawn to Jack’s buffalo chicken dip he made. Holy wow. It was so delicious! And Haley’s boyfriend made bacon wrapped salmon which was also, amazing. It was dangerous to sit inbetween the two, but I enjoyed each bite and spaced them out. It’s always hard for me to avoid such temptation at parties, especially when everyone around me isn’t really concerned about it and enjoys what they’re having. At times during the party I found myself beating myself up for what I was eating and at those points I walked around the party and would go talk to someone different to keep me entertained and out of my own head.IMG_1616We played the present swap game, caught up on how everyone’s life is going, shared personal stories, and I was laughing hysterically for a good portion of the night. I didn’t take a picture, but in the gift swap I won The Dark Knight Rises on DVD! WOOO! Such a good gift year for me 🙂IMG_1617 IMG_1619 IMG_1622 IMG_1624 IMG_1626 IMG_1629Then it was time for dessert! I tried one of each, but my ultiamte favorite was the Red Velvet munchkins Haley and Lauren made. They were incredibleIMG_1620 IMG_1621I eventually decided I couldn’t be a prisoner to my own mind games, and just decided I would enjoy the evening, and hop back on the balance wheel tomorrow. Especially since I’m planning on moving to the other coast next year, I’m not quite sure how next years holiday will go. I’m not going crazy, but I want to be able to enjoy things and not penalize myself for it, not carry the guilt. Self control is still something I am working towards, but it will only be that much harder to achieve if I am constantly analyzing and beating myself up for certain things. I’ve gotta balance it all out.

The evening ended around 1am and it was great to stay that late, despite how tired I was. I am really looking forward to the party next year, and hopefully I can make it back for our 5 Year High School Reunion. Woah.

Until next time,

Natasha