The Nose, The Tongue, and Me

I’ve been on travel for work for the past 3 weeks and somewhere along the line I got this lovely little cold. But for the first time ever, I lost my sense of smell AND taste…for a foodie like myself this was hell. Not to mention the last leg of the trip was in New Orleans…my favorite city…land of beignets and etouffee. *sigh* Yea, so my tastebuds wound up kicking in after about 2 weeks of bland land and I could enjoy my jambalaya in piece, but I’m not here to talk about that.

10989328_10100971572712365_5093594067259283154_n 11224018_10100972046462965_6476727130209383559_n 11196255_10100974390111275_1235579341899001356_n 11252022_10100974086554605_63153179158339874_n

Sorry, lol.

But seriously, a funny thing happened when I lost the sense of taste and smell. My entire relationship to food changed. At first I went through denial and tried my best to find the enjoyment of some of my favorite foods, but it was no use. I couldn’t taste a damn thing. And then I got angry because I found the whole point of eating to be an exercise in futility. For someone like myself, eating is an experience. It’s the look, the smell, the taste…all of that. Part of being a foodie I guess. But with 2/3 of those vital elements out of order all I could do was look at food. I quickly lost interest in eating. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t starve myself nor did I stop eating, but eating was really just something to do to keep my stomach from growling. It messed with me mentally. Eating without tasting…and all I could rely on was texture, which wasn’t SO bad, but it’s not the same.

I got to thinking…and noticing…that it’s super easy to allow your body to tell you when you are ACTUALLY hungry when you can’t smell or taste a thing. It’s crazy, but the nose plays a pretty big role in how we taste food…and when combined with taste the two can play a doozy on how you interpret hunger or desire for food. I was just kinda “over” eating just to eat, because I couldn’t really get any enjoyment out of it, lol. It was boring and pointless. I got over my resentment in time, and now that I’m close to being normal in that department again I’m trying to allow my stomach to speak for itself. Hopefully, this will mean some additional weightloss in the near-ish future.

Have you guys ever lost the sense of taste? How’d you deal with it?

She Eats CARBS!!!!

Ok, look…so I eat carbs. And no, I’m not ashamed.

SorryNotSorry_zpsa560bae4

Let em know MJ!

My carbs of choice tend to be in the cakey-doughy family, there is something about the texture of a really good piece of bread or croissant that is just…magical. Case it point? This weekend I went home to Jersey to visit my mom for Mother’s Day and over the weekend I had all kinds of deliciously devilish treats…but the master of it all was the pretzel. Ok, so for those of you who have never had a twisted pretzel from the Philly/South Jersey area – you have not lived!

tumblr_lx50xdLkFK1r23tzz

Yes…I do. #sorryNOTsorry

Yes, my love of carbs run deep and true. And over the years as I have found my way towards my own fitness, the love of carbs have always kinda been there. *shrug* Who woulda figured? But at least I know what my go-to food seems to be. I think a number of us have that one food that is a trigger of sorts, which can just set things off – and not in the best way. What I try to do is to acknowledge the moment…if, in stopping to think about it, I decide I want to indulge, then I do. If I decide that I don’t really want that particular food after all, then I just don’t have it. It’s all about choices – not just choosing the right foods, but making an informed choice to eat the wrong ones – without being all twisted up inside for that one moment you let yourself slip. Guess what? One slip up won’t hurt you – just make BETTER choices MORE OFTEN.

Ah, and you you know what else I’ve discovered about myself? I’m a grazer…a nibbler, if you will. I like little finger foods that I can just nosh on all day versus having several solid meals…When you’re sitting at a desk all day, I will either get so caught up  in my work that I’ll forget to eat all together…and totally LOSE IT when I do get a chance to eat. OR I might eat that one solid meal and feel just as heavy as the food I ate. The right mix for me seems to be a combination little meals which also double as snacks. Liiiike, my new obsession?

cant-pros-1024x682

Prosciutto & Melon

Simple. Easy. Delicious. Filling. One of my new breakfast/brunch options while I’m at the office is to take a couple of cantaloupe spears, cut them into cubes, and wrap them in prosciutto. Really, REALLY good you guys! It’s a quick and easy thing to prep, either at home or in the office (if you have a kitchen available there). These days I’m all about being efficient with my time and my eats. I’m currently on the lookout for simple and easy foods – for instance this homemade guacamole I came up with that can be made in less than 5 minutes (YES!) – I’ll have to share that with you guys later.

So talk to me – what are some of your trigger foods? How do you manage your reaction to these foods? What are some of the shortcuts you’ve utilized to cut down on your meal prep time?

Eating Right in a World of Wrong

eating healthy is about practice

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how to lose weight…specifically how to make the right food choices when there are just SO many different options, diets, and trends out there. Let me hip you to the game a lil bit…The truth is nutrition is the key to weight loss, but ultimately you have to figure out what works best for YOU. Everyone has different goals, and beyond that our bodies all react differently to different kinds of foods. With that said…I will give you some basic tips that will at least help you get started on the right foot:

  • Breakfast is NOT your enemy. How many times have you skipped out on breakfast only to be famished by 11am? Those office donuts or a trip to the vending machine starts to look PRETTY good when the hunger monster hits. It’s not so bad…I mean you DID skip breakfast right? A donut and coffee won’t hurt right? WRONG! The whole point of breakfast is to break the FASTING you were doing while sleeping. Breakfast is meant to give your body some fuel to get the day started and to get your metab5olism running. Breakfast needn’t be a big deal, but you do want to get some protein in you as it helps to satiate you and yea, carbs too because they do help provide the body with energy. Quick ideas…some oatmeal with fresh fruit. A protein shake. Boiled egg with blanched asparagus and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese – yes, you can have veggies for breakfast! Check out these links for some other options for breakfast here, here, and here.
  • Eat to satisfy, not to stuff. This may take some practice to fully understand, but often times we eat so quickly (especially when hungry) that we wind up feeling stuffed. Ever get so hungry you devour your meal plus more, only to find out that you may have eaten too much? Yea. When you are eating, think about finding your happy medium where you are satisfied, but not stuffed. Drink water throughout your meal, in addition to helping you stay hydrated, it will help you feel satisfied. Once you reach that point of satiety, stop eating. Resist the subconscious urge to “clean the plate” – it’s really ok to leave food on your plate, contrary to what most of us were raised to believe.
  • Balance your calories like you balance your checkbook. Seriously. Most of us keep a pretty accurate account of how our money is being spent. What bills are coming up? What purchases do I need/want to make? And of the income I have coming in addition to what’s currently in the bank account, what can I afford to spend? I think of my calories like money in my account. Some meals, some foods are not worth the splurge, but on some days…they might be. The way I see it, everyday I have about x number of calories (let’s just say 1,600) to “spend”. The way I tend to eat is like that of a grazer – I eat several times throughout the day, all relatively small meals to keep me in a constant state of satiety versus riding the starving and stuffed rollercoaster. So for someone like me, that 1,600 cal has to make it through about 5-6 small meals of about 250 – 320 cal per meal. Knowing this information helps me to decide how I want to “spend” my calories. If a meal for me is to fall between that calorie range, then something a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my fave treat…OMG) which is 210 cal per pack would cost me about the same amount as a meal…without filling me up as a meal would. I see this as a waste of calories, because depending on what I’m doing that day, whether or not I’m working out, how much food I’ve already eaten, that 210 cal could be better spent on some real food that would curb any hunger and satisfy me.
  • Know what you are eating…and how much. This is where tracking comes into play. Building off the previous point, keeping track of your food intake will help you to see when you are hungry, how you tend to eat, what you are eating, and what it is “costing” you. Not everyone tracks their food and caloric intake, but I do recommend that you do so. Why? Because how are you to figure out what works for you, what your eating habits are, what your trigger foods might be, unless you can actually look back on what it is you’ve eaten (and how it’s made you feel)? Tracking your food also keeps you accountable in the moment. If you know you’ve spent through most of your calories for the day, then you KNOW that slice of cake/cookie will put you over your calorie budget for the day. Not saying you CAN’T eat it – you can do whatever you want, but the KNOWLEDGE of where you stand is what helps make  the difference. Which brings me to…
  • Not all “healthy” foods are actually healthy. Like smoothies…seem healthy right? BUT most smoothie places make smoothies with lots of sugary syrups and other fillers that pack on the calories. Add to that the fact that their portions are just crazy large, and though they are supposed to be a meal, most will treat a smoothie as a snack. Well, yours truly? I make my own smoothies/shakes at home using either Herbalife shake mix or my own personal mix. But the point is, when I make my shakes and smoothies, I’m in control of what goes in them and they tend to be way healthier and more filling than what I’d find at a smoothie place. The term healthy has become subjective these days in the food industry. You really must do some homework and at least read your labels to determine just how “healthy” a product really is. 
  • There is NO quick fix. Fad diets can be ok for a short amount of time, but sustaining weight loss comes from changing what you eat and how you eat. PERIOD. If there was a magic diet that would make us all drop the pounds over night, then there would be no weight issue. But that’s not reality. There are a ton of different fad diets and cleanses out there meant to entice you to lose weight fast, like right NOW! But hey, did you gain those 15lbs overnight? No? Ok, so don’t expect it to fall off overnight either. Sorry to break it to ya. Healthy and sustainable weight loss occurs within a range of 1 – 2lbs of weight dropped per week. Yep. You want to loose the weight and keep it off? Slow and steady will win this race, which is great because that allows you freedom to experiment with new foods and slowly wean yourself off of and away from some of the unhealthy foods and eating habits that helped make you gain that weight in the process. Patience young grasshopper!
  • The choice is always yours to make in the end. Everything we put into our bodies is not always good for us. Yes, we know this. But the more informed you are about what you are eating, what is in it, and how much of it you are eating in relationship to serving size is crucial when it comes to eating for health. There are times when you might indulge, and it’s ok to do that from time to time. However, you don’t want those indulgences to become the standard…that’s how you gain weight and build unhealthy eating habits – we don’t want that. Read your food labels, pay attention to the serving sizes and stick to it as best you can. Read the ingredients label from time to time – you’d be surprised what goes into food these days. Lean protein and fresh produce are really your healthiest options hands down, but I know we are all at different places with our dietary needs/desires, so at least make an attempt to know what you’re eating. Make smart choices.
The moral of the story is that the relationship we have with our food will have to change if we ourselves are to change. It will be difficult at times, breaking bad habits and forming new ones is never easy…but it is worth it in the end. Think of your fitness goals and let that be your motivation. Think of how far you’ve come, and let that encourage you to keep moving forward. The battle to lose weight begins in the kitchen and it is one that will be won gradually. Figure out what works for you, pay attention to your body, and give yourself time. You WILL get there.

Giving It 100

I’m not sure if any of you out there are familiar with the Give It 100 movement that’s going on, but it’s pretty sweet. Basically, the idea is that you choose a skill/talent/task that you want to accomplish or improve upon and for 100 days you work towards that goal, while creating a daily video of yourself working on the goal. There are folks who want to juggle, clean their room, touch their toes, run, lose weight, dance…you name it and there’s probably someone who is trying to do it. It’s a pretty cool idea, and is really inspiring to see the changes that folks are making. Often when we set our sites on a goal, we feel like the progress isn’t coming quickly enough and get discouraged. The Give it 100 challenge is super inspiring as you can see the progress that people are making, just by taking a little bit of time out of their day to work on a skill or towards a goal.

Of course, you know I couldn’t be left out, so I’ve joined in on the fun. I’ve chosen two goals actually. The first, to do real, chest-to-floor push ups. I’ve always been terrible at them, as most women tend to be, but I want to do something about that. With my sights set on competitive lifting, I need to increase my upper body strength, which will only assist me in the long run with accomplishing some of the heavier lifts and my (other) goal to do strict pull ups.

Goal number two is something I came up with last night as I ate the 3rd4th…5th…sliver of a chocolate mint brownie that I’m sure was created by satan himself. I’m breaking up with sugar. Sugar, especially in the form of sweets, cakes, and goodies, serve no purpose aside form tasting good. Plus, for whatever reason, you always want more of it…or at least I do. My sweet tooth is terrible, TERRIBLE I tell you. Soooooo, sugar and I are taking a break. For the next 100 days, I’m going to say bye bye to sweets and extra sugar. Granted, sugar is in EVERYTHING we eat, whether we know about it or not, so it will be interesting to see how I navigate through and beyond all of the sneaky sugar and into a sugar-free safe zone.

Click here to follow me on the Give it 100 site and see my day to day progress of mastering the push up and going sugar free. If you join in on the challenge, let me know and I’ll certainly follow you and cheer you on! 🙂

 

Additional Info

 

Don’t Supersize Me, Bro

Alright you guys…truth time. I know we all have hit up the local McDonalds/Checkers/BurgerKing/Sonic/etc at some point within the past year or two. And, I am sure you’ve noticed that their portions have gotten RIDICULOUSLY out of control. Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not necessarily surprised. After all, when you take a look at something like this…

burgers24n-1-web

You see that the fast food industry is supersizing us – whether we like it or not. In truth, portions have been going way out of whack for quite some time now, but if the general public isn’t paying attention to what’s on our plates and going into our bodies, then our waistlines will just continue to expand to epic proportions. Check THIS out (click image to enlarge):

Serving-Sizes-800

With the increased portion sizes here in the US…I mean you can do all the running/swimming/crossfitting in the world, but until you control what is on that plate, all of your physical efforts are pretty much a wash. I say all of this to say…if you’re going to eat out, please be aware of what is on your plate. The body is a machine, and just like any machine, its performance is related to the kind of fuel you give it. Make sure you’re feeding yourself the right stuff, in the right portions. And if that means eating half of a meal, or saying no to an extra serving, or asking for the dressing on the side…hey it’s YOUR body. Do what you have to do to keep it operating in the best way possible. Check out this helpful graphic that basically outlines how to determine the proper portion sizes of some common foods.

Serving-Size-of-Common-Foods1

Additional Reading:

Tuesday Weigh-In: Some Foods…

…just are not your friend.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to eat…and have a major sweet tooth. Hence devouring an entire box of girl scout cookies in one sitting over the weekend. Yea, I know. Well in any event, I worked out super hard this past week – longer runs, double workout day on Sunday, and the result?

Lost 1.4 lbs.

On the one hand…YAY! Weight loss! On the other hand…I could have done better.

But either way, I’m ok with the results because I’m just happy that I’ve noticed a rekindling of my love for running. *happy dance* Though it must be said that what I am and am not eating when I’m not paying attention is lightweight interfering with my efforts to be healthier. Some foods are just hard to say no to. Others, we run to when we are feeling a certain emotion. Others still should just not be trusted, as in…you can’t have just one – now, why is that? 

Enter this article I came across this morning courtesy of The New York Times Magazine. It’s a little lengthy, but it basically goes into some of the efforts that major food companies have gone through to make junk food addictive and hard to resist. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

According to the sources I spoke with, Sanger began by reminding the group that consumers were “fickle.” (Sanger declined to be interviewed.) Sometimes they worried about sugar, other times fat. General Mills, he said, acted responsibly to both the public and shareholders by offering products to satisfy dieters and other concerned shoppers, from low sugar to added whole grains. But most often, he said, people bought what they liked, and they liked what tasted good. “Don’t talk to me about nutrition,” he reportedly said, taking on the voice of the typical consumer. “Talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don’t run around trying to sell stuff that doesn’t taste good.”

Wow, right? But I can’t be fully mad, because food is a business to these folks. And what the public demands, is what they will provide, right? Ugh. Here’s another gem:

…“sensory-specific satiety.” In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.

And there you have it. There are foods that are actually manufactured to be enjoyable in taste, but not too enjoyable so that you want to stop. It’s like middle of the road satisfaction. It makes sense though. Ever wonder why doritos always kinda have you coming back for more? Even though you could stop…eh you could eat a few more…right? Wrong.

When I asked Geoffrey Bible, former C.E.O. of Philip Morris, about this shift toward more salt, sugar and fat in meals for kids, he smiled and noted that even in its earliest incarnation, Lunchables was held up for criticism….

The prevailing attitude among the company’s food managers — through the 1990s, at least, before obesity became a more pressing concern — was one of supply and demand. “People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’ ” Bible said. “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.” (Bible would later press Kraft to reconsider its reliance on salt, sugar and fat.)

And the article just goes on, but you get the point. Please take a minute to read it. The bottom line is that if you’re going to talk about being healthy, if I’m going to talk about being healthy, then it really needs to be said that the foods we love just do not love us back. Like…at all. Not even a little. Not even on holidays. Not even when no one is looking. Zero love…mad calories though. And it really pisses me off, you know? Reason being, is because it is so very easy (and cheap) to eat poorly – and the food industry makes it all to easy and appealing to do so. Of course, those who don’t know better or frankly don’t care, will continue to eat as they have. But those who want to know more and do better? Well it is just work and preparation and planning. It’s a lil rough to do, but I guess when you think of the long term benefits of feeding yourself the right things, you’re better of taking the healthier road.

Here’s to knowing better and doing better. 😉 Till next time!

real-food