Tag Archives: Christmas

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

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Canon PowerShot S100 & One Killer X Circuit

1 Dec

Good morning!

It’s weird to be awake on a Saturday at 830 AM without an alarm, but I was up 4 days this week at 8AM or earlier so I think my body’s just used to that. It’ll be good though because I’ll get a lot more use out of my day.

First, let’s rewind to yesterday. For this post, I decided I wanted to try out using my Canon PowerShot S100 instead of relying on my iPhone. Kevin bought it for me as my combined birthday and graduation gift last year. I have the Canon Rebel XTi and I had a really basic point and shoot Canon as well, can you see a trend here?, but didn’t buy a great one since I left the last one I had in a cab :(. The goal was for me to always be able to take great pictures without having to lug around my Digital SLR. I did some research before picking out which Canon and decided on the S100. It’s amazing. Not only does the picture quality blow me away, it’s the closest I’ve ever seen a point and shot come to my SLR, but it has a ton of SLR qualities like aperture control. It’s the highest quality point and shoot on the market and I highly recommend it. Thanks Kevin! 🙂

I woke up at 7 to head to the research lab to run a participant at 8. However, they no showed. It’s always frustrating when we make a special case for someone (i.e. allow them to schedule a time slot a whole hour early than the normal slot) and they don’t show up. While I waited, I had some Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea and a Gala Apple.

ImageAround 910 I headed out and decided to try and make it to the 930 TRX class at my gym. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, TRX is a rope-like object that hangs and has two grips on it. Depending on how you adjust the ropes length you can use the grips as foot holds or for your hands. It’s great for doing more challenging planks, push-ups, glute exercises or lunges when your feet are in, but our class tends to do more exercises when our hands are on the grips like ITY’s, bicep curls, etc etc. I was sore for 3 days after the last class and really loved it.

Unfortunately, I walked in right at 930 and all the ropes were already taken! Guess it’s super popular on Friday mornings. I realized I was really hungry, since I hadn’t eaten a full breakfast, and I knew I was planning on going to the Killer X Workout that night at 630 so I decided to bag it and head home.

As soon as I walked in my apartment I started making breakfast. I was starving so I knew the best breakfast to fill me up, Sweet Breakfast Scramble.

ImageI whisked together 1 egg, 2 egg whites, 1 banana (I mush it by squeezing it while it’s in the peel and as it pops out I squeeze it into the bowl), 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and cinnamon. Mix it all together and put it on in a skillet on medium heat.

Just like when cooking eggs by themselves, you want to cook this mixture until the eggs are no longer runny.

ImageNow it’s just looks like orange scrambled eggs! This is a good point to take it off the stovetop.

ImageThe final step to cooking this amazing meal is to add a scoop, or two :), of your favorite peanut butter. I’m sure you guys can already guess which one I put in.

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ImageCinnamon Raisin Swirl. Duh!

This was the first time I was able to eat the whole breakfast in one sitting. Normally I only put in 1 egg and 1 egg white and I’m able to eat it all, but whenever I put 3 eggs it’s just too much for me. However, I think between my hard workout Thursday night and my lack of a real breakfast before 10AM I was one hungry woman.

Whenever I eat breakfast, Liam always likes to check out what’s goin’ on and sees if he can try and sneak a bite.

ImageHowever, he decided on his favorite past time instead. Knocking over cups of water.

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“Oh…sorry Mom.”

Luckily I had already drank all the water this time. After breakfast, I realized I was really tired so I snuggled into bed with some Harry Potter, read a chapter, and took a nap.

ImageImageI woke up around 1230 and decided I was going to run some errands. First I needed a little bit of a snack, so I munched on half a fig bar while I checked some emails.

ImageAnd packed some grapes for the road in my re-usable bags.ImageBefore I left I was browsing on Lululemon.com and saw they put the Spin It to Win It top on sale! I just tried it on last weekend and really liked it. A pit stop in at Lululemon would be necessary. Then, I grabbed everyone’s rent and utility checks from the bulletin board and headed out. I stopped the bank first and then drove into Bethesda. When I parked in the parking lot I saw a wonderful surprise waiting for me.

ImageSomeone had left over an hour in the meter!! I felt really lucky and fortunate because once i parked I realized I left my quarters in my other jacket. It’s a small random gesture, that probably wasn’t intentional, but it was still a really nice surprise.

I returned a shirt at City Sports, and bought the top I wanted from Lululemon, after trying it on in a couple different colors to be sure of course :). While I was walking around, I checked twitter for updates on Kevin’s matches in the wrestling tournament.

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Killin’ em.

Next I swung into Barnes & Noble for a little browsing, but the next book I read after Harry Potter I really want to be a good one. I’m going to wait and ask around to see what’s a good read.

I left Bethesda and headed for home. While I was out shopping, my brother emailed out his Christmas List to my parents and I. This was my signal to make my list, so that’s exactly what I did.

ImageWhile I caught up on Glee, Liam caught up on some sleep.

ImageImageAround 4 o’clock my stomach was growling. I planned to eat lunch this late today though since I knew I was getting pizza with my Mom at 8 after my workout class. With pizza on the brain, I wanted to have a healthy lunch with lots of vegetables.

ImageIn the bowl was spinach, avocado, chick peas, rasins, cucumber, tomato, yellow bell pepper, feta cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. Delicious!

Around 530 I started to get ready for the Killer X Workout Class. I was so excited about my new top, so I chose it as my outfit for the class. Although the top is designed for a cycling class, I wanted to wear it anyway. Here’s what they say about it on their website:

“When we crank up the cadence in spin class, we want a tank that can handle our sweat and keep our girls under control. We designed this inherently wicking tank with a high neck and a grippy rear hem to keep us covered while we cycle.”

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I had not tried this class yet, but had a feeling it would be challenging. Besides being excited to wear it, I also wanted to test out my new top from Lululemon and see how it would hold up in a high impact class with a lot of movement (what I was anticipating). Since there’s no room for a bra underneath it, you rely on the support they build into the top to hold everyone together.

ImageSo I did some test jumps.

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ImageAnd messed up the timing … a lot.

ImageGot a littttle frustrated.

ImageBut eventually got it! And I don’t have the crazy eyes like I do in that first photo. Anyway, as you can see, even when jumping, and landing, the support they built into the top holds everything secure and in place. It’s also suuuper comfortable. Not to mention eye-catching. Wearing this definitely made me feel great and look great at the same time, so I knew I made the right decision :).

Next I was off to class. Wow, they definitely weren’t joking around when they titled this workout Killer. Last night, she had us do a circuit workout. Since there were 13 of us there, we had 13 stations. No station was a rest station. As I looked around, I was confident I was going to be challenged.

Here’s the workout: (I linked almost every exercise so you guys can do the workout, or any part of it, on your own!)

1. Decline Crunches on the ab bench

2. Alternating Plyo Push-ups (we had 2 steps, one on each side, instead of the singular featured in this clip. When the left hand was on the mat, right hand on the right side bench, when the right hand was on the mat, left hand was on the left bench)

3. Arm Raises (we had a variety of weight choses, I chose 5 lbs)

4. Plank

5. 30 Box Jumps – **This person was the timekeeper. Whenever they completed their 30 jumps they yelled “SWITCH!” and that’s when you knew to switch stations.

6. Box Leg Press (closest I could find to it. Instead of doing the same leg over and over, we alternated one after the other. Lead with left leg, right foot comes up, right foot down first, then left. Then lead with right leg, etc..)

7. Barbell Dead Lift (45 lbs women 60lbs men)

8. Jack knife

9. Squat to Overhead Press (8 or 10 lb dumb bells for women, 15 for men)

10. Battle Rope

11. Jump Rope

12. Burpees

13. Kettle Bell Swings 

We repeated this circuit 4 times!! We weren’t given any rest in-between circuit repeats so if you needed water or rest it was at your discretion. By the end, I was hungry for fuel and feeling like I got a really great workout in. Definitely will be doing this class more often.

I stretched and talked with a couple people I see regularly then walked over to Pete’s Pizza to meet up with my mom!

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We ordered the Down-the-Hill pizza. It had meatball, sausage, bell pepper, caramelized onion and olives. I also ordered a Spinach Olivada salad to start with.

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Spinach Olivada Salad

ImageI never order meat on my pizzas, but I realized I hadn’t had meat in about a week. I was pescetarian (no meat, but does eat fish, eggs and dairy) for almost 2 years and only switched back due to health concerns at the time. I’m still pretty used to not eating meat, but I do try and have it 2-3 times per week.

My mom and I decided we couldn’t leave without dessert. There were WAY too many delicious sounding options. Pumpkin canolis, mini pumpkin spice or red velvet cakes, peanut butter chocolate cup. But we ultimately decided on gelato. It was a tough choice between Pumpkin Gingersnap and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for me, but I chose the dough (since I had pumpkin with breakfast) and my mom got the Double Chocolate.

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My mom and I enjoyed our dessert then took the bus back home. Her apartment is in the same area as mine, 4 minute walk away, so we could get off at the same stop.

I was really pooped after such a long day so I took a shower and got cozy in some wrestling sweats Kevin gave me. I wear them around the house or to sleep when I know he’s competing, kind of like a small good luck charm.

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I finished the latest Glee episode and was off to bed!

Hope everyone’s having a good start to their Saturday so far!

Until next time,

Natasha