How I Plan My Meals

While I usually do lots of posts on the topic of meal prep, today I’m flipping it and writing about my before-the-prep work: meal planning! I’ll be going over my general thought process with an example to help readers get an idea. HOWEVER, it is important to understand that there are so many different ways to plan and prep your meals. This works for me, but make sure you find and do what works for you–trial and error process.

I used to write out a chart with every meal of every day of the week planned and written out. I would easily spend an hour stressing out about what to plan and make for the week–trust me it was not fun. I’m not saying write out your plan is bad, it’s actually a great thing especially if you’re new or have trouble planning and sticking to plans. However, with my obsessive control during my ED and even now in recovery I took it over the top. Now, I still plan out my meals however I think of it out in my mind, and create my list from there. 1) It’s much easier this way and 2) I eat more random bowls or plates of food thrown together rather than actual meals. I’ll still cook 1 maybe 2 meals a week such as spaghetti squash, pasta, or stir fry; however, most of my lunch and dinners consist of random bowls with the different components I’ve prepped.

The first way I go about it is to think ahead to my week and decide if there are any meals I won’t be preparing. This may be I feel like going out, going home so I won’t need to cook, or another event such as an intern BBQ or lunch meeting at work. So let’s say that I have an intern BBQ Sunday lunch and am going out Friday for dinner to treat myself; that’s 12 meals I still need for the week. From there, I break that into meals and the different components I want. I’ll decide on zucchini and broccoli for my veggies in my bowls, turkey lunch meat for lunch (5 days), ground chicken for dinners (4 nights), etc. Typically ground meats come in 16 oz packages creating, for me, 4 meals. Then, I’ll leave 2-3 meals open per week because I’ll make eggs, protein pancakes, oatmeal, etc. as I feel it that night.

I’ll do the same breaking out my carbs, healthy fats, etc. I typically just estimate how much I’ll need (3 large sweet potatoes for 5 days) or buy potatoes in bulk, boxes of rice, bread, etc. I’ll also add other veggies in such as bell peppers, tomatoes, or spinach to add on the top of bowls or put in my eggs as well as fruit and other snacks. From here, I’ll make my grocery list. This is very important. Creating a list and sticking to it ensures that you have enough food for the week and that you don’t over indulge and splurge on other items you don’t need, not on your list.

With meal planning, you can be as strict or specific as you want or as free as well. I would recommend doing some sort of planning to create a shopping list and to make sure that you have plans for dinner. This will help you resist eating out or grabbing fast food so often, and stick to your healthy lifestyle. For meal prep examples, ideas, types, etc. search “meal prep” on the blog!!

 

Personal Development Book Review #1

So I know I said in this post that I was going to get a review out on the personal development books I had read by end of May…and here we are middle of June and it obviously hasn’t happened yet. So I’m making it happen now! Honestly, I had hoped to have a 3rd book finished by now to add to this review, but life has been busy so I only have 2. But that’s okay because these two books are seriously amazing and worth reading!

Book #1: You Are A Badass (7/10)

So as you can see, the first book I read was You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. I actually read this one for a book club a few months back, not really knowing about the book, just wanting to take part in the book club for that month. The tagline for the book is: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. I was really intrigued to read it because for a while now I’ve been wanting to level-up, do more, go farther, go higher, etc. As I’ve grown up and gotten older, I’ve kinda always been getting that way; where I don’t want to just get complacent with where I am; I want to constantly and continually grow, become better, and learn more–working towards my potential. This book definitely helps with that.

Each chapter has sound advice on how to become yourself-the best badass there is! So many of us have so much potential but we don’t go out there and get it because we doubt ourselves, or we have fears or are scared to jump in. Well, this book certainly helps you realize things in life and about yourself to understand that YOU CAN DO IT. You can take control of your life, be confident, and go out to conquer whatever it is you want to do. Each chapter also has an ending not with “homework”. I say homework, but it’s really just ideas and real-life actions to take in taking steps towards living your awesome, doubt-free life.

The only downside I would have to this book is–compared to my next one I’m about to review–the action steps were sometimes harder to implement. You see for me, I am really good at reading and love the idea of growth and change, but sometimes am not the best at applying what I’ve read. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from this book. And maybe it just takes time to implement and apply what you’ve read to your life. I may go back and read this book in a few months to see if things have changed. But anyway, whether or not you doubt yourself or feel like you are living an awesome life, this book is a great read to everyone and anyone who wants to personally develop and consistently grow!

Book #2: The Happiness Equation (10/10)

The second book I read and just finished last week is The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha. I absolutely LOVED this book. This had been one of the books on my list and I had heard good things about it, so I went in with high expectations (as should you from reading this review) and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!! The basics of the equation, because yes there is an actual equation, is in 3 parts. Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything. The book is written into 9 secrets, split 3 secrets into each section of the equation. So 3 secrets for Want Nothing, 3 for Do Anything and 3 for Have Everything. What I really liked about it was that each secret seemed more applicable to my life and I actually find myself remembering the secrets throughout my day such as “Do it for you” or “Remember the lottery”. I am really focusing my mind around embracing these secrets to be my happiest, and best self!

Each secret is broken up into chapters with real-life example, action ideas, history, etc. all on these secrets, what they mean, how they work and why you need to implement them in your own life. For example, I’ll give you the first secret..but no more because I want you to read and discover them on your own. The first secret is: The First Thing You Must Do BEfore You Can Be Happy which is “Be Happy First”. Might sound cliché, but his explanations and examples so good and help you to see life and your attitude in a whole new light. The current happiness circle people assume is: Work Hard –> Be Successful –> Be Happy. Yet so many celebs, professional athletes, people with money successful people are still unsatisfied or unhappy even when they get to that top-level. And that is because happiness should not be based on an event or certain level of something–no, you need to be happy first. The new circle looks like this: Be Happy First –> Work Hard –> be Successful. When you’re happy right where you are being who you are, you will want to work hard which will in turn make you successful–however that looks in your life.


As I mentioned before, reading PD books may have started out as a book club, but the reason I read them now is because I never want to stay right where I am. One of my biggest fears in life is missing out on my potential and never fulling realizing what I can and want to do,and then doing it. I’m constantly wanting to learn and grow, working on myself to become the BEST that I can. I want to get in this habit now so that I won’t look back with regrets when I’m older. Personally, I have a list of about 15-20 (and am always looking for more) and you don’t have to be exactly like that, but I do encourage you to read a few personal development books like these because it can honestly only make you better Never stop learning or growing so that you can achieve exactly all that you want!

A Weekend of Eating

Okay so from the title, you may think, no duh, you eat on the weekend but I promise it has more to it than that. When I was planning meals for the week, like I do every weekend, I decided to treat myself out to a “date night” dinner on Saturday because I was really craving this certain thing and I hadn’t been out in a while. Plus, I love having some me time and enjoying time to treat myself. I also knew that I had a BBQ on Sunday that my company was throwing for new interns. So I thought I would do a blog post on my weekend of eating and how I handled these two situations differently on each day.

So the first one like I said was going out because I was craving Luna Grill, a really good and fresh greek/mediterranean restaurant. I absolutely love it and the dish that I get there. Luna Grill is relatively healthy which is always a nice choice when eating out and still wanting to fit into your macros–which was the case here. I don’t always fit eating out into my macros, but I do the majority of the time because that is what works for me and makes me feel best.

Now, usually I like to pick places with nutritional information online. And while Luna Grill doesn’t have the nutritional information online, I’ve eaten there a few times and guesstimated macros for my dish which are probably pretty close to the real thing. Even if I am off it is probably small amounts and since I am not cutting, and I’m actually trying to gain muscle, being off is okay. But, even with that I still made sure that at the end of the day, after putting in all my other foods, that I still had some fat and carb macros leftover to help with underestimating. I hit my protein because I don’t mind going over my protein, but I try not to go over my fat or carb macros. So even if my guesstimates are off, I will either hit my macros or go over only by a few grams.

On the other side, Sunday’s BBQ would not be tracked. That is because I have made the decision to challenge myself and my fear of not tracking and being in control, by not tracking on Sunday. I don’t use this as an excuse to go crazy overboard on food, but I do decide to eat intuitively and listen to my body. I also generally check out my meals to make sure I have a good amount of all 3 macros still. So before the bbq I still ate like normal and afterwards I did the same. Ahead of time I decided that I would fill my plate with meat, fruits, and veggies with maybe some baked beans for carbs. I knew that this would make me and my body feel best as well as allow myself to still have room for maybe a dessert. For  me, I would rather not gorge on the chips, potato salad, rolls, etc. during the meal and instead save it for a dessert. I ate until I was full, not stuffed, but still enjoyed myself.

So there is a quick overview of 2 different ways that I decided to handle eating out this weekend. I know that there will be people who disagree with me on both sides–saying I should be more lenient or more controlled–and that’s okay! This way of eating works best for me, allowed me to eat good food, and still feel good and healthy. For anyone who was wondering, struggling with this, wanted a new way, or was just curious, I hope that this helped give you some ideas and tips for you to try when you eat out. Life should be about balance, eating mostly healthy, nutritious, whole foods while still enjoying treat foods 10-20% of the time. This weekend showed a good balance of that for me and my life and I hope helped you too!

Maintaining a Healthy & Balanced Lifestyle While Working

For many people, I know balancing a healthy lifestyle while working full-time can be tricky. I know it was a huge worry of mine before I started my full-time internship this summer. I was used to being at home which I meant I could weigh my food, make whatever food I wanted whenever, have ample time to workout at the time of my choosing, etc. But being at work all day certainly limited that. I was worried about balancing my summer collegiate workout, my job, sleep, food, muscle preventive/recovery exercises…you get the idea. However, a few weeks into this, I’ve found a routine and tips that really help me balance it all, so that things aren’t too crazy and chaotic, and I’m not super-stressed! I want to share those with you today!

Before I begin, I’m going to say that living a healthy and balanced life while working is not easy; it takes time, sacrifice, and planning. You can still manage to eat right, workout, work, sleep, and have social time BUT it’s going to require you to make choices and sacrifices. But, what important thing doesn’t these days? These tips/ideas really do help me and I truly enjoy the lifestyle I live. You can choose to change it to fit your life and that’s okay! I just hope that at least one of my ideas will help you better balance and live a healthy life you enjoy!

1. Plan and prep your meals ahead of time

I know I talk a lot about this topic, but it seriously is a life and time saver! Having all my meals prepped ahead of time makes making lunches and dinners so much easier, quicker, and simpler which saves me lots of time and stress.(Need ideas?) This is as simple as sitting down to write a meal plan for the week (all meals and snacks) before shopping and spending an hour (yes, only takes me ONE hour) cooking on Sunday.

2. Pack your lunch the night before

This saves me 15 minutes of stressing and running around trying to pack a lunch in the morning. Every night, I put my food into MyFitnessPal ( to make sure I hit my macros) and then pack my whole lunch. This usually means taking out the foods from their own tupperware, weighing it out, and putting it all together into a separate tupperware. I’ll also cut up any veggies, and measure out any crackers, nuts, snacks, etc., and put all non-fridge food items into my lunch box. All the fridge items, I’ll prep and put together on a shelf in my fridge so that all I have to do the next morning is add the ice packs and the food. I’ll also sometimes make my breakfast the night before to save me time in the morning, esp. if I work out at my company (or even my apartment) gym before work. I’ll either make eggs to heat up the next morning or overnight oats.

3. Find and make time to workout

When you’re busy and stressed at work, working out may be the last thing on your mind, but it shouldn’t be! There are numerous benefits of exercising regularly–including decreasing stress. Personally, I would highly recommend working out before work because I know there are days when I get home from the office that I really don’t want to go exercise. Plus, exercising in the morning gives me more energy, and leaves me feeling better for the rest of my day. There are some times when I plan to workout after work (notice how I said plan, as in put it into my calendar and DO IT), but the majority of the time it is before work. This goes back to sacrificing some things because I generally am at work by 8 am, which means waking up at 5:30 am at the latest to workout in the morning.  It also means sometimes getting ready at my company gym if I don’t workout at my apartment gym. Is it the most convenient or easiest option? No. But, it is a choice I make to ensure I get my workout in, feel great for the rest of the day, and commit to making myself healthier and better. **If you need ideas for workouts check some of my sample workout and routines.

4. Get to bed early

5:30 am comes super early, and so does 6:30 am which is when I wake up if I don’t workout before work. Either way, I know that my body needs at least 8 hours of sleep whenever possible. So every night I aim to be done packing for the next day by 8:45pm so that I can get ready for bed and be in bed by 9:05. If my alarm is set for 5:30, I’ll go to sleep right away, but if it’s set for 6:30 I’ll try and read for 10-15 minutes before bed. Some people may gawk at me for going to bed that early–no netflix? social media? late night drinks with friends? NOPE. I find 30-40 minutes a night usually to enjoy social media, an episode of a show, youtube, etc. but I know how important sleep is to my health, my body’s ability to function, my weight, my performance during workouts, etc. I would much rather skip binging on a tv show or scrolling through countless social media feeds in order to be able to live a healthy lifestyle for me.

5. Make time for yourself

Lastly, it is super important that amidst the hustle and bustle of your job, social events, workouts, obligations, etc. that you find time to relax and do something you enjoy every day! Whether that’s a lunchtime walk, reading for 15 minutes, a hot bath, or an episode of your favorite show, taking that time helps calm and wind you down to relaxation. This is going to allow you to continue being healthy and living a lifestyle you can manage and enjoy!

So those are my top tips that I follow, and honestly these past 2 weeks I have had more energy, felt better, been less stressed, and just enjoyed life more. I’m not saying you have to give up social events, hanging with friends, doing what you like to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle After all, it is called balance! But it will take sacrificing some things and you have to be okay with that. I choose to live this way because I find joy in lifting, in preparing and eating healthy cooked meals, & in being healthy! I don’t begrudgingly give up certain things, or see it as a “sacrifice” anymore because I’ve chosen a life that I truly enjoy and love. I am living a healthy and balanced life while working full time and I couldn’t be happier or healthier!