I just put the fork down

Recently I got to hang out with my friend Jenn. She is a clever girl and unintentionally funny in a sarcastic and irrelevant way. Our conversation of course came around to her smoking hot body, and how she has recently lost a little weight. I asked her how she did it, to which Jenn replies “I don’t eat anymore.” Dead pan, as if that makes perfect sense and should easily answer my inquiry. Of course I wasn’t satisfied with that answer, and continued to pry. “But really, you can’t just not eat, you have to eat, so how does that work?” I asked. “It’s easy, I just stop eating” she casually replied. “But how do you stop eating?” I entreated. “It’s easy, I  just put the fork down” she said.

I was cracking up at this point, knowing she was only half serious and it wasn’t something to worry about. It made me wish I had that kind of self-control, to just put the fork down and stop eating! Life would be a whole lot simpler if I could stop eating.  If that were the case, I wouldn’t be banned from making chocolate chip cookies (my diet kryptonite) or cupcakes on a daily basis, because I would be content to just have one, and save the rest. Instead, I will eat a whole batch of cookies, and 6 cupcakes before I get full, and you better believe I am thinking about whatever is left over, obsessing really, until I end up finishing the rest! No. self. control. This is why Billy says I am not allowed to bake unless I have a predetermined agenda for it, so nothing stays in the house and is all pawned off on someone else, and not left to tempt me!


Come one, come all!

I enjoyed the comments on my last diet post, and it made me think that maybe, just maybe, you would be willing to be my “eat healthy and exercise” buddies, and would like more detailed info of what I am doing. The lost pound count is up to 4 pounds in 9 days, by the way, which I think is fantastic.  If you want a simple approach to changing your lifestyle for the better, and totally revamping you body in the process, this is for you. I must warn, it is not for the casual dieter, much like my previous self, who would looove nothing more than to eat cupcakes morning, noon and night, or someone who won’t make the lasting commitment to changing the way you eat.  I can say “my previous self”, because I am transformed, renewed and happy realizing that I am not suffering from chocolate and sugar cravings because my body is getting the fuel it really is asking for when you feel like something sweet. I’ve heard it before, you crave sugar when you need protein. Well, I am eating LOTS of protein, so I haven’t been craving sugar, funny how that works!

I used to get so angry reading articles in US Weekly, People, and all of the other tabloid magazines I love (hello, I work at a hair salon, we have tons of gossip rags to read anytime I feel like it!) of celebrities saying they don’t diet. Last night, I stumbled upon a new blog of a master trainer who put it bluntly; celebrities aren’t on diets because they eat clean and healthy EVERY DAY! It’s a lifestyle for them to eat lots of veggies and protein at every meal, so they wouldn’t consider the diet I am working with a real diet, but a way of life. I really like this post that Josh wrote about Lauren Conrad’s diet and exercise routine before her Shape cover shoots (I love Shape magazine, and have bought BOTH of the covers she has done with them). He also wrote an article about how sugar is only slightly less addictive than crack. Hmm, yeah sounds about right when you look at my old eating habits (cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies, anyone?) He uses terminology like “eat like a rockstar, look like a rockstar” which immediately conjures images of Pink and Gwen Stephani with their amazing abs, see below, and “caveman carbs” that are unprocessed carbs like fruits and vegetables.

So here it is, in black and white, for anyone who wants to join me on this new adventure and see for yourself what a little will power can get ya!

Processed sugar and carbs are not good for you. When dealing with carbs in your diet, stay away from anything that comes in a box, a wrapper, or plastic, and rely instead on those aforementioned “caveman carbs” like fruit and veggies. If you are going to eat carbs, stick to whole grains. Some of the carbs I still eat are oatmeal, Thomas light English muffins, brown rice, and Orowheat whole wheat sandwich thins. I haven’t eaten much pasta lately, but I would recommend whole wheat if you do go there. For the amount of cardio I am doing, I DO need some carbs, so having one or two meals a day that incorporate one of the foods above is ok.

Protein should be in every meal. I am eating about 5 times a day, and trying to get protein into every meal. I have protein bars for pre-workout or afternoon snacks (I’m enjoying Pure Protein chocolate peanut butter bars which are 200 calories, 20g of protein, and only 2g of sugar), chocolate banana (sometimes peanut butter) protein shakes I make myself for breakfast or dessert, LOTS of solid white albacore canned tuna, tilapia, chicken breast, and thin sliced oven roasted turkey breast deli meat.

Fill up on veggies. I am eating more salad than I thought I ever would. I don’t typically like salads, I think they can be boring and I’m not a fan of lettuce “taste” but I’ve managed to turn my negative salad thoughts around and embraced this filler. I eat baby spinach and spring mix on a daily basis. I also eat lots of grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, bell pepper, avocado, zucchini and yellow squash, artichokes and asparagus. My dinner plate is mostly green. I have a BIG mixed salad, and steamed veggies along with my protein.

Nobody gets fat eating fruit. Tiffany said this to me when she was outlining this diet, and it made me crack up. Fruits are carbs and have natural sugar, but are low in calories. Stay away from mangoes, papaya and pineapple though, they have lots of sugar! Bananas have lots of sugar as well, and will count as 2 fruits, but I eat them every day because they are filling, make good protein shakes, and have potassium, which I need for rebuilding my muscles. I’ve been incorporating strawberries and apples into my salads for sweetness and crunch, and also eat them as a morning snack.

Enjoy a cheat meal once a week. This doesn’t mean you can gobble up the whole bread basket, eat your Cheesecake Factory portion of cheesy yummy pasta, share an appetizer and get dessert. It means enjoy a meal that you aren’t focused on the calorie count or what goes in it. I had my cheat meal at the Olive Garden this week. I ordered the Venetian apricot chicken which comes with asparagus, had a glass of muscato, 2 bread sticks, salad,and shared the black tie mousse cake with Billy. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and wasn’t too worried about the calories, because I know I still chose wisely from their menu. I usually obsess over food, thinking about the calories, the portion, how much is left over that I still want to eat, everything. Instead, I was happy knowing I had picked a lighter dish, and enjoyed myself. Josh the master trainer says that is how celebrities think of it also; you may make a mistake in your food, but enjoy it, and then get right back to eating healthy, don’t let that 1 slip up derail ALL of your progress.

Find an activity that is fun for you. Do it a lot. I haven’t mastered this one yet, but I am running 3-5 miles, 3 times a week, and I will be adding in a 20 minute simple strength training session once or twice a week. I love taking turbo kickboxing and cycling classes at 24 hour Fitness, but only go when I know someone is meeting me there hehe. If I had the money, I would start taking Krav Maga classes again. I took a few classes over a 2 week period last year and LOVED it. I sweated up a storm, got to punch and kick things, and learned techniques to help me deal with potential life threatening situations. It was empowering, it was fun, and it kicked my ass into shape in a very short amount of time. This is the kind of fun I am talking about. For some people it is Zumba (yikes!), road cycling, jiu jitsu, hiking, walking the dog, horse back riding, etc. you just find what is fun for you and do it.

Remember that diet is 80% of the weight loss game, so eat healthy, find an activity to do a few times a week, and you will lose weight. If I, the cupcake queen, can lose 4 pounds in 9 days, and eat salad twice a day, you can also!

new diet and a tasty tuna salad

My wonderful friend Tiffany is studying to become a personal trainer and a group exercise class instructor. She is super fit, healthy and completely my motivation to be a better me. One night while chatting about our latest fitness goals, and where she was at with her trainer certification, I broke down and only half jokingly implored her to take me on as a “client” in which she could dictate my diet, advise my exercise and generally make me healthier. She thought it was a good idea, and last week presented me with a diet and exercise challenge. Basically, I am on a low carbohydrate, no sugar, high protein diet. The sugar and carbs are hard for me to forsake in favor of lettuce and chicken breast, having a notoriously terrible sweet tooth, but I have risen to the challenge, I would like to think. In the last week I have lost 3 pounds following her guidelines, and I am thrilled enough to keep it going. As for exercise, she added a simple strength training interval program to my 3 days a week 3+ mile runs.  I get one “cheat meal” a week, and have been limiting my processed sugars and carbs by only eating processed foods with 10g or less of sugar, and only having 1 or 2 servings a day of bread, pasta or rice.  I generally have a light English muffin in the morning or some pasta or rice in a lean cuisine for lunch, and trying to avoid carbs at dinner. Tough, but doable. Thankfully I haven’t been craving sugary sweets, but the desire to still eat them is ever present, so I have to watch myself.

One of the recipes I have been relying on for my lunches is a less fatty take on tuna salad, which I happen to be eating now, and I thought I would share it for you, sans pictures. Ordinary tuna salad is mixed with mayo, relish and eaten as a sandwich, this recipe has no bread or mayo, and is actually a real salad, so there should be a different name, but it serves its purpose.

Adrian’s diet Tuna Salad for 1

You will need:

  • 1 cup mixed baby salad greens
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 4 oz or 1/2 cup of solid white albacore tuna
  • 7 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 a sliced gala or pink lady apple
  • 2 tbsp light Italian dressing (I used Newman’s Own lighten up! Italian dressing)

In a shallow bowl, mix all ingredients together, and enjoy! It’s super simple, has lots of protein from the tuna, you get a few servings of vegetables, and you have sweetness and crunch from the apples.  Best of all, it’s only about 345 calories and you got a lot of food and flavor in that bowl. I personally like that the tuna isn’t a super prominent flavor due to the Italian dressing, so if tuna flavor bothers you, no fear!

yum, yum, chicken!

Tonight I made Billy’s second favorite chicken dish, my corn flake chicken. His favorite is a pan-fried chicken Parmesan, but I won’t make it anymore because it is very unhealthy. I felt inspired to share the corn flake chicken recipe with anyone else who wanted a really tasty and pretty healthy new spin on chicken. See, in our house, we eat  A LOT of chicken, and it gets very boring, so I had to get creative, and this is one of the recipes I came up with! All in all, half of this recipe is about 190 calories, which is a reasonably healthy “breaded” chicken.

Corn flake chicken for 2

You will need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I used Foster farms from Costco, so 2 breasts come in a package
  • 1-2 cups Kellogg’s corn flakes, dumped in a gallon sized ziplock bag. I start with a little and add as needed
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite creamy salad dressing, I used Marie Calendar’s chiptole ranch, but a lite ranch is great
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a meat tenderizer, or heavy object or frying pan
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • a rimmed baking sheet, like a jelly roll pan
  • a non-stick cooling rack that is oven safe
  • plastic wrap and foil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking sheet with foil, place cooling rack onto sheet, and spray with cooking spray.

2. place one chicken breast at a time on plastic wrap, and fold one half over to make a packet. Use your meat tenderizer or heavy object to pound the chicken breast out to about 1 inch thickness. Repeat on second chicken breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cut each chicken breast into 2 inch strips, it’s OK if some are smaller or larger, you will get about 8 pieces.

3. Place your creamy salad dressing in a shallow bowl, dip and coat each chicken breast strip.

4. Place corn flakes into your gallon sized ziplock bag, then crush until you have a very crumbly bag of cereal. Place one chicken strip at a time into the ziplock, seal the top, and shake it up to coat! Repeat for all of the chicken strips

5. Lay each strip on your cooling rack, and bake for 20 minutes.

I paired the chicken with some zucchini and yellow squash that I had tossed in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with fresh ground black pepper and baked for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Please share if you decide to make this recipe, it’s totally delicious, pretty healthy, and a great way to get a breaded chicken dish back into your health conscious diet. I love making little switcheroos and tweaks to make recipes healthier, and still keep some of my favorite dishes on the menu even when I am trying to be “better” about my food intake. Billy and I both say enjoy, but make your own, we already ate tonight’s!