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!

Protein Ice Cream Comparison and Review

With summer right around the corner, I wanted to give you guys a little review of some healthier ice cream options (although let’s be real, ice cream is good anytime of the year). I’m sure you’ve heard of Halo Top and Enlightened ice cream by now (and arctic zero, but I’ve only tried one flavor of theirs and I wasn’t a fan so I’m gonna omit them here) and know that they are protein ice cream–essentially healthier options when it comes to ice cream. Both brands have many different flavors so to help you out before buying, I’ve tried quite a few and will relay my thoughts and opinions here.

Halo Top vs. Enlightened

Before I begin, I wanted to give an overall comparison of the two brands before I get into the details on individual flavors! In my opinion, Halo Top has the best and most pieces in their ice cream (chunks of chocolate chips, cookie dough, cookies, etc.), but Enlightened has the best overall flavor and texture of ice cream between the two. It’s a hard decision to pick because I love my chunks, so I don’t think I could pick a favorite between the two brands. I love and will continue to eat both!

Now on the fun part–reviewing and grading of flavors!!!

Halo Top

I have tried…

Birthday cake (5/10): I usually love birthday cake/birthday batter flavors, but not this one. The first bites were okay, but it got really sweet, really fast on me and I began dreading having to finish the pint off. There were sprinkle pieces in it which added nice flavor and texture, but overall very sweet.

Red velvet (9/10): I was a bit nervous to try this flavor because I mean I like red velvet, but I don’t love it. I also don’t like chocolate so brownie pieces in the ice-cream and being chocolate-y worried me. But, complete 180!! The brownie pieces made the whole pint and this has been my favorite ice cream of Halo Top and a close second to my favorite “healthy” ice cream (the first will be mentioned later). The flavor of this ice cream is so amazing too! Highly recommend!!

Cookie dough (7/10): I love cookie dough–it’s my favorite flavor of ice cream in general (mostly due to the chunks lol). The cookie dough chunks in this one were really tasty, but sadly, few and far between. This flavor was “just fine” to me, nothing too bad about it, but nothing exciting, amazing or stand-out about it either.

I plan to try peanut butter cup, s’mores, and oatmeal cookie sometime in the future.

Enlightened

I have tried….

Sea Salt Caramel (9/10): This is the first ice cream I tried out of all the “healthy” brands, and it did not disappoint. They really pack in the caramel flavor and swirl all throughout the ice cream and the texture is on point! This tastes like actual ice cream, just a slightly healthier version. No pieces in this one like I usually want, but very good choice!

Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch (10/10): This one is the best enlightened flavor so far! And my ABSOLUTE favorite out of all the ice creams so far! Again, the texture of the ice cream is perfect and the it tastes exactly like oatmeal cookies. There are pieces of oatmeal cookie among the ice cream and caramel–aka the perfect bite!

Cookie Dough (9/10): SO GOOD! The chunks are legit on point although few and far between sometimes. Nice ice cream taste, like literally the bite of it all tastes exactly like ice cream and it’s perfect! It’s my 2nd enlightened favorite, and tied for 2nd overall with Halo Top red velvet.

Red Velvet (3-10): Although I loved Halo Top’s Red Velvet, I did not like Enlightened’s version at all! To me, it was too chocolate-y—not enough true red velvet flavor. I know red velvet is chocolate, but I like red velvet cupcakes and Halo Top’s wasn’t as chocolatey. I also couldn’t notice any chunks in there! But if you like chocolate then you’ll like this.

Strawberry Cheesecake (6/10): Cheesecake ice-cream with strawberry swirls—very tasty!! Although the flavor is spot on and I really liked the strawberry swirl bursts you get, this ice cream was nothing outstanding. I would rank it 6/10 just because not as amazing of flavors as some of the others.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (7/10): Really good! The chocolate chips were many and the taste of the peanut butter ice cream was spot on!! Every bit I took I truly got peanut butter chocolate chip taste!

Hope this little review helped! Let me know what flavors you’ve tried and what you do/don’t like about them!!

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!

 

 

Just Start

I haven’t done a #MotivationalMonday in a while, so I don’t actually know what number it is, but it’s okay because I think the title “Just Start” will be plenty perfect for today’s post! I know a lot of people are scared to jump all-in, to just start from where they are and start doing what they love, want, etc. They think that they need this elaborate plan, or countless fancy resources, when in reality, only ONE thing is needed: yourself–okay and maybe your desire. You just have to start.

I think this quote perfectly sums up the equation for success–however you may define that for yourself.  Let me break it down.

Start where you are. In order to get where you want to be, the only place you can start is right where you are. It doesn’t make sense to spend time trying to get to a better or different place, because you’re just wasting time, energy, and resources going from that “new” place to where you want to be. By trying to become better first, you’re going to start heading there anyway so might as well commit from the start and go on, full-speed ahead!

Use what you have. Most resources are limited, you must do what you can to make the most of what you have. I know and have seen many people try to gather as much info as possible, or buy everything they’ll need to succeed, only to watch themselves not get very far. There is no special thing that everyone must have to succeed or get where you want to go; so stop spending the time, money, and energy trying to obtain those resources that aren’t going to help you. Instead use the time, money, resources, tools, opportunities, etc. that you’ve got to your advantage to propel you forward rather than losing valuable time trying to buy the next big thing. Now granted, yes there are times when you certainly need something to get you somewhere (equipment, training, etc.), BUT most of the time the other little parts come from using what you’ve already got. You see, the key isn’t to have the most, it’s to make the most of what you have.

Do what you can. Not everybody can do everything, we all have our special skills, passions, abilities, and talents. Which makes sense because if we were all the same that would be boring, there would be no uniqueness or differentiation in the world! So instead of trying to be someone else, or do something that you know you can’t do, focus your energy and time on doing what you can and being who you are. This isn’t to say that you’ll never be able to get to a certain level of doing something that you want to, it just means that in this current moment it is not attainable for you whether that be due to physical conditions, financial reasons, situational issues, etc. People often do damage to their lives by struggling and striving so hard to do something they just can’t. Instead, set your goals and end sight on that task, and do what you can right now to reach that end destination! Your situation and life is unique to you, you have special things that only you can do so do everything you can so that one day you can do what you once couldn’t or thought you couldn’t do.

I know it can be hard to do all these things because we want to plan, to have all the answers and get everything situated out. But, life isn’t always like that–in fact, it rarely is! Instead of saying you’re going to plan to do something or talking about it, just START doing it! Focus and do what you can, with what you have, right from where you are. I promise that you will be happy, successful, healthy, and living a life you love. You will be Beyoutifully Healthy!