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Cookbooks

A big part of my path to healthier living has been the choice to cook more at home and to make healthier choices in ingredients. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love food. Eating out is easy (and we used to do it a lot). Before we joined the gym and started exercising, my husband and I decided we wanted to eat out MUCH less and make more of our own food. It was our ‘step one’ in this whole lifestyle shift. We had a lot of recipes that we liked, and we started by tweaking some of those with slightly healthier options. For example, my spaghetti sauce was updated to use ground turkey sausage instead of standard. My husband updated his meatloaf with a mixture of turkey and sausage instead of beef and sausage. Little tweaks.

We wanted more options though. That led us to go to the bookstore and check out some recipe books. We started with one Cooking Light book, and since the first one we have bought two more. We own Fresh Food Fast, Fresh Food Superfast, and The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook. Incredible. The recipes are usually quite easy, and they are low in fat and calories. And as you can infer from the titles, some of them are very quick to put together, so they are perfect for people like us who both work and don’t have hours to dedicate to cooking.

There are so many options. We already plan to buy more of those books, the ones we own get used practically every day. They are covered in splashes of sauce from cooking and post it notes from our weekly meal planning. It’s fun to meal plan with them too, each recipe has a photo so we browse through before our big grocery store trips as if it’s a delicious restaurant menu. The recipes are good as well; they aren’t misleading and they are easy to follow. Aside from one or two semi-lame ones, all the ones we have tried have been so yummy. Bonus: most of the recipes from these books are already preloaded into MyFitnessPal‘s database. Tracking the food remains simple.

Pinterest is another place I find recipes. Have to be honest, these can sometimes be hit or miss. But it’s a great resource for inspiration, and sometimes a real gem is found there. One of my favorite sites for cheap and easy recipes that I found as a result of pinterest is Budget Bytes (The dragon noodles are one of my favorite recipes!).

This takes effort, but the effort is more in the meal planning. My husband and I set aside a few minutes once or twice a week to plan out a few meals and hit up the grocery store to buy everything we need. If we are both tired after work, we already have the ingredients – that way there is no excuse.

We both like the way we feel after cutting out a lot of the over-processed fatty foods we had been eating regularly too. It’s funny, because now even when we do eat out we tend to try to find healthier options. When we have a random fast food meal we both get kind of sick afterwards. Not going into details, but it’s not pretty. Our bodies are clearly rejecting that junk. I feel like my body is running more efficiently, and even though I view food more as fuel these days it’s very tasty fuel!

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Obstacle course

Some days, it feels like there are obstacles that get tossed in my path, like a test, to see if I can keep doing the right thing. Here is today’s obstacle: All day meeting (groan) …and the job is taking care of buying us lunch and dinner. And pretty good lunch and dinner; lunch from Rubio’s and then dinner and drinks at Lucille’s BBQ. On one hand it’s awesome they are buying my food for the day, but on the other hand it will be nearly impossible for me to stay on track with my caloric intake. Like some kind of crazy person I just spent the last 30 minutes researching their menus to figure out what I want to eat, and also what will not be thousands of calories. Rubio’s isn’t too tough, and they are nice enough to put their nutritional info on the web. But there is nothing for Lucille’s. I had to do a little homework and put together similar items from the MyFitnessPal database in order to figure out roughly how naughty some of their menu items are (spoiler alert: everything there is naughty).

Old me would have NOT given even the slightest of fucks and just ordered whatever I wanted (I mean come on, BBQ). And today would have probably resulted in at least 3000 calories, after making some rough estimates. Instead I think I put together a plan with MFP that should result in about 1600 calories, still over my daily goal of 1300, but not terrible since I have been really good about eating 1300 or less for over a week now.

Every day I think about what I put in me. I view food as fuel – I really notice that when I put crap in my body I feel shitty. But at the same time I LOVE delicious food, so it’s all about finding that balance between it all. Do I obsess about it? Sure, I’ll admit to that. But the benefits outweigh what a nutjob I feel like researching my food before I eat it. Being healthy and fit is the challenge I’ve given myself, and I am determined to keep at it.

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Fitbit Flex

I upped my application/tool game for weight loss.  My husband and I splurged and each bought a Fitbit Flex! I totally dig it. It counts my steps, it integrates with my beloved MyFitnessPal (which has the best food database, so THANKFULLY those play really nice together), and it’s fun to use. It makes the calorie counting even more of a game. If you have friends who use it, it ranks you against them based on number of steps so you can “win” that. I’ve mentioned this before – I like feeling like I’m winning something.

I also like the way it looks. I checked out a lot of fitness bands; some of them are kinda cool and slim, some are really bulky. This one definitely falls into the slim and understated category. See?

fitbitflex

Basically it counts steps, measures activity levels, compares those with your calorie intake and whether you hit the goal range, plus it tracks when you sleep and how well you are sleeping. I am not sure how, my best guess is it runs on witchcraft or magic. Ha.

If you want more in-your-face accountability, I thoroughly recommend this. (And hey, if you are already using it, feel free to friend me!)

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Progress – July 2013

Still making progress. Not a lot of weight loss, but I’m quite happy where I’m at, at the moment.

I weigh 133 lbs (27 pounds lost). My BMI is 20.8.

I’m making progress with my exercise routines too. For example, I used to only be able to do about 30-45 minutes on the elliptical. Now I’m doing an hour on it, going 6+ miles. I’m excited to be able to do things that I never thought I was capable of as little as 6 months ago.

I guess my progress picture kind of says it all – I put on bikinis to go swimming now, and I think I look pretty good!  No abs of steel, but I’m not embarrassed to be wearing them!

bikini