Funny story … So I wrote this blog over a year ago right as I started my career in the fitness industry and my first contest prep. I look back on these words and I have to laugh. Being 100% honest, I have not practiced what I have preached until here recently and it’s still a work in progress. This year has been a whirlwind of professional, physical, and emotional ups and downs. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Until now, I have relied heavily on food to fill the voids. A habit I’ve had since high school. Until now, I have not embraced myself, much less the journey. My outlook on fitness has been skin-deep-shallow. So, how ironic it is that on this day I start to reorganize my computer in preparation for a system overhaul via a new Mac and I stumble across this blog. I read it and thought that it was only appropriate that I share today, of all days, because today I can truly say that I am here. Health and wellness are my privileges. Fitness is my guilty pleasure and passion. Eating well is my treat. And loving myself is, albeit a work in progress, but the fuel to the fire.
Growing up apart of a rather active household, physical fitness and healthy eating have been almost standard procedure. Family vacations were hiking trips to the Adirondacks and skiing weekends at Wisp. Lunch-boxes were filled with “fruity-rolls” from Whole Foods and atypical PBJs (made with freshly-ground peanut butter, unsweetened jam, whole-grain bread, and sunflower seeds). You get the idea …
But even with this rather unique upbringing, healthy-eating and physical fitness—that didn’t require a stick, ball, or scoreboard—seemed like a chore to me. I envied those who ate Lunchables or bought crispy tater-tots from the cafeteria every day. I scoffed at my elementary-school physical education teacher who pulled me aside during recess in fifth grade to tell me to start doing pushups and crunches at home.
In high school I started to understand the positive effects of regular exercise and healthier eating habits. Senior year alone, I ran cross-country to maintain endurance for the upcoming basketball and lacrosse seasons, I joined a gym where I could lift before school 4x a week, and my family joined me on the South Beach Diet. The combination of these efforts changed both my body and my outlook on physical fitness and nutrition dramatically.
But I was still taking the “chore” approach. Working out was still “paying my dues” in order to go out with friends, to have a slice of pizza, to even eat for that matter. My understanding of nutrition was one of deprivation and nothing else. I focused more on what I couldn’t have, than what I was allowed to have.
It wasn’t until recently that my outlook on both fitness and nutrition changed.
To start, I do not use the word “diet.” To me, this is a lifestyle. Eating according to my goals, working out, and leading a healthy, active lifestyle is a choice and not a temporary fix. Friends and family ask me: “Do you think you’ll be eating like this forever?” … Well, yea. I feel the best I have felt in years … Why would I want to do anything else?
See, I feel privileged to be able to lead such a lifestyle. It’s been a slow, arduous road, but my outlook on fitness, health, and food in particular has revolutionized my self-efficacy and thus, my own progress. I don’t feel deprived by having broccoli instead of pasta or a cup of greek yogurt instead of ice cream. I don’t get FOMO (fear of missing out) when I choose to have iced-tea at happy hour instead of a Moscow-Mule. I feel privileged, blessed, confident in myself, focused on my goals, and secure in my convictions.
SO … I would implore all of you to try to adopt a similar mindset and alter the way your mind has been conditioned to think about healthy-eating and working out.
Start by losing the word “diet.”
Start by remembering, even investigating how fresh fruits and vegetables make your body feel.
Start by having enough confidence in your journey—and your progress—to not skip a workout.
Start by slowing down and taking everything ONE step at a time: one day, one meal, one workout, etc.
Start with a positive mindset.
Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to bake. Love love love to bake. It’s something I’ve done since I was a little girl and especially around the holidays. But, we all know that copious amounts of both butter and sugar is a no-go (unless you can find a way to work, then I applaud you) … So here are a few great substitutions that you can work in while baking that will cut back on unnecessary fats and carbs (sugars).
1.) Instead of SUGAR, try using APPLE SAUCE
- Using the apple sauce cuts down on sugar content and reduces calories.
- Substitute 1:1 ratio but reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.
- Works best with cookies, cakes and breads.
2.) Instead of using BUTTER, use MASHED AVOCADO
- Avocados are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, as well as a great source of healthy fats.
- Using the avocado will significantly reduce the calories and fat in any recipe.
- To make the switch, replace a with a 1:1 ratio; 1 cup of butter = 1 cup mashed avocado.
- Works best with cakes and cookies.Coach’s Warning: THIS WILL NATURALLY TINT YOUR BATTER/DOUGH GREEN & WILL REDUCE COOKING TIME!!
3.) Instead of using BUTTER, use BANANAS
- Making the swap results in a rich and dense texture which is great for sweets.
- Substitute equal amounts of mashed banana for butter in a recipe.
- Works best with cakes, muffins, cookies and breads.
Coach’s Warning: THIS MAY REDUCE COOKING TIME!!
4.) Instead of using CANOLA OIL, use GREEK YOGURT
- Greek yogurt in place of oil is the best way to cut fat.
- To make the substitution, cut the amount of oil by half.
- Add ¾ cup of yogurt for every cup of oil you remove.
- Works best with cakes, bread and cookies.
5.) Instead of using EGGS, use BANANAS
- Bananas hold air bubbles and make things nice and moist.
- Sometimes it has an overpowering taste, choose wisely when making the swap.
- Substitute ½ mashed banana to equal 1 egg.
- Make sure bananas are nice and ripe.
- Works best in breads, muffins, cakes and pancakes.
6.) Instead of using FLOUR, use BLACK BEANS
- Black beans are a great way to cut out gluten and add extra protein.
- Substitute 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of black bean puree (about 15 oz can).
- Make sure you drain and rinse first.
- Works best for brownies and chocolate cake.
Cooler months mean an influx in trips to the coffee shop, but even the most yummy drinks can be loaded with unnecessary carbs and sugars that easily sneak onto your waistline and can sabotage your progress!
Here are a few tips for ordering smart:
1.) Go for Skim over Whole or 2%.
2.) Ask for your specialty drinks “Sugar Free” (Unfortunately, that means no Pumpkin Spice, Peppermint, or White-Chocolate Mocha flavorings. Keep an eye out for establishments that have flavored coffee, not regular coffee or espresso with syrup added.)
3.) Skip the whip.
4.) Choose brewed coffee over specialty espresso drinks (Brewed coffee has virtually zero calories. Add some sugar free syrup and a splash of cream? And you have your own low-cal ‘specialty’ drink.)
5.) Watch the Frapps (Most have the same calorie count & content as a McDonald’s milkshake!)
6.) Ask for your iced coffees black with NO SYRUP. Majority of shops add simply syrup (aka pure cane sugar) to iced coffees.
We had some apples laying around that were starting to get just past ripeness (ya know, that mealy texture that when you bite into … yea, I’m shuddering in disgust to) BUT there’s only one thing to do when this happens: APPLE. PIE.
No matter what “diet” you’re on. No matter how addicted to pumpkin spice you are. No matter how much you looovvveee dark chocolate. You have to try this Fall favorite. Not only is it absolutely delicious, but it’s totally simple.
Now, I am not taking “ownership” of this recipe because, I don’t really consider it to be a recipe. I am just sharing something delectable that I made the other night … What’s that called? Sharing the wealth?
What you’ll need:
Tis the season for apples, folks … Enjoy it!
Dunno about you all, but I am constantly looking for innovative ways to get my veggies in. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some veggies. (Confession: I actually prefer veggies over fruit. Sorry, fruit-lovers!)
Unfortunately though, I find myself short for time during the week to saute, bake, grill, or roast my VOD (veggies of the day) in a refreshing way. To combat this, I prep a lot of my veggies one way at the beginning of the week … This way, all I have to do is open the tupperware container or ziploc bag, scoop out a few cups, and WHAM! donezo.
I stumbled across a yummy-looking rice recipe in Women’s Health Magazine with my coworker Noelle. We tweaked a few things, subbing vidalia onions for red onions and cauliflower rice for regular rice … But it is seriously AMAZING. Amazing. Ah-maze-ing. I made my own batch the other night and am excited to report that it goes fantastic with grilled chicken AND it will keep for the next few days.
Let me know how yours turns out!!
Cauliflower Rice Salad