Category Archives: Nutrition

Be an AHB Rockstar: Kathleen Week 1


Kathleen has apparently survived week 1 because she sent me a write up! The outpouring of support after her initial post was inspiring and we can’t wait to see what the next few weeks bring.  

When I first agreed to do this, it seemed easy enough: train hard, eat well, write about it. But here I am, trying to document my first week and I realize this may be a little harder than I thought. It’s not like I am learning all of these concepts for the first time. I’ve done this, and pretty well if I do say so myself.

So in thinking about what’s brought me to this point, I came to this conclusion: This “thing” – working out, eating well, my “healthy balance”- it’s a full time committed relationship. (This would be the point where I apologize to my fiancee, but luckily I have a fantastic guy who’s openly accepted that there’s “someone else”). In the beginning, my healthy balance and I were pretty hot and heavy – we bonded over logging meals, it soothed me when I woke up unable to move the morning after a workout, and we celebrated together: 1 pound, 5 pounds, 25, 30. As with many relationships, we seemed perfect together.

But, as many relationships can witness, lately things have gotten…stale. Sometimes logging every single thing I eat seems absolutely tedious and annoying. After a night out that involves a few too many drinks and an unknown amount of snacking, we get into a hazy, late night fight- which we try to mend in the morning with a run. The pounds that we used to cheer about together disappear slower now.
This first week has been the start of a rekindling for my healthy balance and I. With the help of Maisie, one of the dietitians, we began to tackle the first part of our relationship. After giving her the rundown of my history, I told her that basically I’m bored. I am a Catch 22 when it comes to food: I hate trying new things, yet I get sick of repetitive foods at an obnoxious rate. You can only get excited about an English Muffin with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for so long. One meal at a time, we’re going to put some pizzazz back into eating. This week: breakfast. Part of my problem seems to be that sometimes I’m not eating enough in the morning which can have a snowball effect on the rest of my day. Maisie suggested switching hings up with oatmeal with nuts and fruit (genius, I know). The first morning I excitedly put together my oatmeal with diced apples and walnuts. Unfortunately, I didn’t add enough water and it ended up becoming a ball  of paste. THe second morning I tried honey and almonds. This time I put in too MUCH water and had a water logged mess.

PS – This is totally Alicia’s oatmeal fail, not Kathleen’s, but we thought it was fitting to include. Oatmeal can get the best of everyone 🙂

So much for eating a better breakfast. I ended up throwing most of it away. I guess this will take some time. I can only imagine what working on dinner will be like, when we try to move out of my comfort zone of chicken, chicken…and more chicken.
As far as the workouts go, it seemed to me for the most part that my healthy balance and I always saw eye to eye. We do burpees in the pouring rain, we often get up to run before the sun rises, and we faithfully make it to several bootcamps a week. But I’m now realizing that lately it’s been a lot of just going through the motions. While I love bootcamp, this new addition of one to one personal training is the breath of fresh air that my healthy balance and I needed. The last time that it was just me and Alicia, and some free weights, I was forty pounds heavier and dying after 15 seconds of an exercise. I’m excited to see what my body can do now, and as much as I roll my eyes and complain I know that Alicia is pushing me to do what she knows I’m capable of. When I started to get the familiar heavy feeling in my arms the afternoon after my session, I smiled to myself and thought “I’m back.” My healthy balance and I are ready to jump start this relationship.


I’ve decided to keep a chart of “successes.” While they might not be typical forms of measurement, they are things that I struggle with and hope to see some serious improvements in by the end of this adventure:
# of sarcastic eye rolls towards Alicia: 15-20? (I think that’s already an improvement!)
# of days I logged my meals: 3
# of times I ate chicken: 5? I need a chicken intervention.
# of “real” pushups: Zero. Sadface.

Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

www.AHealthyBalanceInc.com

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Be A Farmer’s Market Friend.


Coming into July, most farmer’s markets are in full swing. Farmer’s markets boast plenty of healthy, local options, but can also be intimidating when you first enter. Here’s a few tips for navigating your local market.

  • Go early, but not too early. I have found arriving to the market about 1 hour after it opens is best. If you arrive too early, some farmers may still be setting up their booths and if you arrive too late, some produce may already be picked over.
  • Go late (if you want a deal). Towards the end of the market, most farmer’s will be willing to bargain and lower their prices a bit.
  • Bring cash and leave your purse at home. Most markets only accept cash so make sure you have cash on hand. Also, not having to worry about negotiating your purse on the fly will free up your hands to carry more produce.
  •  Bring your reusable bags. Help keep farmer’s cost down and be green!
  • Survey the area. Don’t just stop at the first booth you come across. Take a lap around the market and scope out your options before settling.
  • Don’t be too picky. If you want perfect looking produce, stick to the grocery store. Farmer’s market produce is more likely to have a few imperfections.
  • Speaking of imperfections… if you are purchasing produce to make a jam or sauce, ask your farmer for “seconds.” Not like the “Please sir, may I have another?” seconds, but the typically visually distressed produce that the farmer will be willing to sell for less because it can’t be displayed with their small bumps and bruises seconds. 
  • Make friends with the farmer’s. Who better to be friends with than the individual who is closest to your food?! They will be able to introduce you to new foods and even recommend new ways to prepare your bounty. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and try some new and exciting items. 

Leave a comment: What’s your favorite farmer’s market find?

Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

A Healthy Balance
www.AHealthyBalanceInc.com 

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Be an AHB Rockstar: Adri’s Journey Week 7


Sorry this post is a bit late (hey, it happens!) – so without further ado, checking in with Adri on week 7 of her journey. Check in on Friday for her two month update and measurements!

I feel great. Liberated, even. And guess what – I’m bloated and my pants feel tight, I had no weight loss last week and I ate a bunch of bread and cheese two nights ago.

But I’ve never felt okay with that. And on this journey with Alicia, Nikki and Meg, I’ve finally gotten to the point, in all my 28 years, that I can bounce back after life happens.

I got to this point because I had a week that didn’t adhere to my goals for fitness and nutrition. And for the first time EVER, the following week I forgave myself and got right back on the health horse.

And that’s how my life is – I’ll have good weeks and bad weeks. I’ll have great self control most of the time, but sometimes, yeah, I’ll have a slice of pizza with my friends.

But now I’ll choose vodka seltzers if I’m out for cocktails. I’ll get a salad with black beans and avocado and lots of veggies if I’m out for Mexican. I’ll wake up early to make sure to get my cardio in because I know it makes me feel awesome.

I’m making healthier choices for the long haul, is my point. My quest for fitness has always been spurts of short term goals that I do, actually, reach – but can never maintain. And then I’ll repeat the cycle…over, and over, and over again. For years.

Even though it will probably be more impressive, there’ll be no more rush to lose 15-20 lbs in 3 months. It will happen on its own while I’m making these healthy choices, whether I’m weighing myself obsessively or not.

SO.

Here’s my new goal: work out hard and consistently 3-5 times a week. Make healthy food choices intuitively and mindfully that keep me around 1,800 calories a day without having to obsessively count.

So, hello. I’m Adri. I take good care of myself. I work out several times a week, I eat really healthy and sometimes splurge, I’m okay with being curvy no matter how much I weigh, and I’m always a work in progress. I like it that way.

Leave a comment: Do you find yourself obsessively counting calories or checking the number on the scale? What do you do to shift your mindset?

Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

A Healthy Balance
14B Alleyne St
Quincy, MA
www.AHealthyBalanceInc.com 

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Be a Healthy Leprechaun.


Saturday is rapidly approaching, and so are endless amount of questions – Where are you going?  What are you doing?  What time are going to the bar?  Before you start downing green beer, green bagels, green eggs and ham or anything else green and unnatural, here are a few things to keep in mind so that St. Paddy’s Day can be enjoyable without being a diet destroyer:

  1. Drink Water – I know you’re saying, “how is ‘drink water’ in almost every blog post?  Can’t they come up with some new ideas?”  This advice isn’t due to lack of originality, it’s repeated suggestion shows just how important it is.  Staying hydrated by mixing H20 amongst your other choice beverages will not only make you feel fuller so you won’t be as tempted to eat that third helping of corned beef and cabbage, but it will also help you to drink less alcohol and feel much better Sunday morning (just in time for the parade).
  2. Limit your sodium and fat intake – there are a lot of traditions that go along with St. Patrick’s Day and most of them shouldn’t be described on AHB’s blog, but one we can discuss is the types of food usually eaten in association with this day.  Like most other types of foods (Italian, Chinese , etc.),  Irish food is similar in the fact that the American adaptations have become greatly altered compared to the real deal.  People in Italy and China don’t have chicken parm and General Tso’s on a daily basis (or ever for that matter), so don’t get tricked into thinking that an “Irish breakfast” and a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake are the best way to show your pride.    Stereotypical Irish foods are very high in salt and fat.  Instead, have some toasted brown bread with a cup of tea, whip up some delicious scones (http://cookieandkate.com/2011/healthy-lemon-blueberry-scones/), or have a healthier  version of fish and chips by baking it (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/baked-fish-and-chips-recipe/index.html).
  3. Consume alcohol in moderation – everyone knows that large quantities of alcohol are not good for you, but for some reason, once it starts flowing, it can be hard to stop.  Since St. Paddy’s Day is on a Saturday this year, people are more likely to start earlier and continue much later.  This article from Women’s Health has some reasons why you should sip wisely – http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/drinking-and-exercise.
  4. Have a great time!!  Laughing is good for you, so meet up with some friends, wear tons of green and enjoy yourself.  Remember that you can still have a great time without over indulging in foods and drinks that are going to have you hitting the gym until April just to erase their lingering effects.

 

This warmer weather is fantastic and should be a big reminder that summer is right around the corner.  If you have your mind set on a goal of what you want to look and feel like, don’t lose sight of it.  Holidays and celebrations come and go.  They are not worth having set backs on your journey to becoming the happier, healthier you!

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!

 

-Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

A Healthy Balance
14B Alleyne St
Quincy, MA
www.AHealthyBalanceInc.com 

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Be an AHB Rockstar: Adri’s Journey Week 6


Who's got two thumbs and didn't even touch one slice of pizza? THIS GUY!

Adri’s adventure continues… week 6!

When you’re a goal-oriented person who thrives on routine, it’s hard when life – well – is just being life. Things change. No days are ever the same, and you can’t predict how a day will turn out. And as someone who’s pretty impulsive and fun-loving, I can have self-control…but not all the time.

So when a friend came in from out of town, I took her to the best spot I knew – and we tasted everything we wanted to, within some limits. And when I woke up with a stomachache the next day, which lasted for almost five days, that sucked big time. It messed up my workouts, my eating patterns (I could only eat Saltines for dinner one night), and made me feel even more insecure about an upcoming photo-shoot for a local magazine that is now happening *gulp* TONIGHT (Wednesday).

I feel like I’m making better choices, but not perfect choices. But I have to learn to be okay with that progress. Because, I know from my past, that this all-or-nothing attitude isn’t maintainable for me.

Food. Meh. I went out to eat quite a bit last week, either for work or play (see: friends coming in from out of town), but it’s hard to really measure your caloric intake when you’re grubbing gourmet. All those sauces, additives (and whatever else makes it all delicious) becomes overwhelming to track, even if you’re choosing a healthier menu item. A night out for dinner can really upset my routine with food, where I’m used to cooking and prepping simple, whole food meals from home. This week, my goal is to find better ways to order when I’m out, and not be tempted by any super-fancy dishes.

On a brighter note, last night I most literally had a stack of delicious Bertucci’s pizzas and rolls in my face, and I didn’t touch it. Hooray for me! Pizza is my crack.

Workouts. Often, but not to capacity. This was because of my stupid stomach issues – last Friday’s session with Alicia was an absolute laugh, and in a bad way. I could hardly do any of the exercises, and the whining I did this time around was legit, and not just to be funny. Because of the impending photoshoot, I needed to go to the gym or I would have felt like total crap – so I did light, steady-state cardio for as long as I could before I felt like puking.

I’m finally feeling better today, though, and Alicia really kicked up today’s workout, which makes me feel pretty awesome. It means I’m almost back at the point of fitness I was before my knee got all busted. I’m doing burpees again!

Wellness. This week’s sesh with Meg, (which, by the way, I cannot stress enough that everyone needs) got a LOT heavier than expected. Who knew that food and body image negativity could stem from such deep-rooted issues? I’m identifying why I have such poor body image, why I’m so self-critical, why I make myself utterly insane with all the worrying and nitpicking…and how to loosen up on my control issues. Tracking calories and weight is productive for me, but only to a point, because I become obsessive. I tend to be able to only focus on this project, and neglect other important aspects of my life. Again with the all-or-nothing attitude…and I need to chill out a bit.

A somewhat tumultuous week, to say the least, but this one’s looking better. I’m going to forgive myself for not being perfect – and scratch that from being any sort of goal at all.

 

Leave a comment: What helps you get back on track with a routine when “life” threatens to derail you?

 

Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

A Healthy Balance
14B Alleyne St
Quincy, MA
http://www.AHealthyBalanceInc.com

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Be an AHB Rockstar: Adri’s Journey Week 5


Yep. I have the most awesome workout t-shirt in the UNIVERSE (thank you, men's section of Target)!

Checking in with Adri in week 5 of her weight loss journey…

I’m officially feeling good. Got some poundage down, have increased the intensity of my workouts, and am feeling less hungry in general. The best part: got some pants on that hadn’t fit me in months. It’s only a matter of time ’till I can squeeze on those black skinny jeans from last Spring!

Workouts. Alicia has thrown in some new, more challenging moves during our sessions – and I can do them! This week was one of my best; in addition to the personal training twice a week, I ended up at the gym six days for cardio and strength training. Since my knee hasn’t been acting up too badly, I tried the rotating Stairmaster (you know, the big scary one! Alicia says: It’s called a StepMill 🙂 ) to mix it up a bit, and have found that I can handle about 15 minutes on that giant dinosaur of a machine before I’m ready to throw myself off of it and lie convulsing in a puddle of sweat.

When I’m doing my day of “on my own” strength training at the gym, I now hear Alicia’s voice in my head, or picture her standing next to me telling me to quit bitchin’ and finish my reps. Alicia, don’t be weirded out by this – although, I do always envision you wearing the “$5 Charge for Whining” t-shirt. Maybe I should get one of those rubber bracelets that says WWAS (What Would Alicia Say)?

Food. Nothing too exciting this week in terms of cooking and recipes. I’ve gotten in a groove with my snacking/small meals throughout the day, but I’m at the point where I need to switch it up a bit before I get sick of the same thing every day. In my nutrition meeting with Nikki this week, she suggested I shouldn’t be afraid of trying different types of the staples I’ve integrated; like, instead of just having a handful of almonds, try walnuts; baked sweet potato in exchange for my usual butternut squash; cottage cheese more often instead of the daily Greek yogurt for breakfast. It’s common sense stuff that I should have thought of on my own, but I tend to get pretty rigid when it comes to eating clean – so having this prompt from Nikki was great.

Wellness. Thank gawd for Meg. What Alicia and Nikki do for me physically, Meg does for me mentally – and lord knows I need it. During our meeting last week, we discussed my previous food issues and my tendency to obsess…and how that obsession is not sustainable. I’m no longer allowed to look at the numbers on the scale, because I start gauging my success that way. I also need to adjust my view of success if I’m going to keep this healthy lifestyle long term. Since my life has been one big roller coaster of weight loss and weight gain, I need to be more forgiving, feel less urgency, and set my scale of success on feeling good about myself regardless of my weight.

And, man that’s hard. I found myself sneaking weigh-ins while I was at my friend’s house this weekend. Damn that bathroom scale! My goal for this week is to not peek at my numbers…but as someone who works with quotas (both in my career and in my life), it’s going to be tough.

Until next week!

Total weight loss: 9 lbs

 

Leave a comment:  How do you gauge success, besides the number on the scale?

 

Be Healthy. Be Balanced.
14B Alleyne St
Quincy, MA
www.AHealthyBalanceInc.com 

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Be an AHB Rockstar: Adri’s Journey Week 4


After my weigh-in today, I attempted to do a heel-click of joy...then fell in slow motion. AGILITY!

Checking in with Adri on week 4 of her journey back to health…

First month down! Not to brag or anything, but I had a pretty great week. Ok, ok – I AM going to brag: I worked my butt off, and made good choices on some difficult occasions.

Workouts. Admittedly, I didn’t have my best workouts of all time. This wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own – I had low energy and motivation (most likely because of my “lady friend of the month” *waves hi to the men reading this*).  I also realized that Alicia stepped up the intensity of my workouts, so they were getting harder – which made me feel a bit defeated, but tried to keep reminding myself that, yeah, as workouts get more challenging, they’re going to be (duh!) more challenging for my body. I’m going to work on being more patient – especially so that it doesn’t keep me from pushing myself to the maximum.

Food. This week, I cleared out my fridge and cabinets and went on a shopping spree! Before I left, I did some research on recipes I wanted to try, and wrote the most OCD-fueled grocery list I’ve ever seen, separated by categories. Having these items in my apartment has been absolutely crucial to my progression with nutrition – I never have anything around for me to binge on or take me off track, and pre-prep healthy snacks for when I need to grab-and-go.

Some of the foods I’ve been loving:

  • Fage 0% Greek Yogurt + fresh berries + Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cereal w/ Almonds
  • Lite string cheese
  • Fat Free Cottage Cheese + Cuties Clementines
  • Gala apples + Smart Balance peanut butter
  • 100-calorie packs of Cinnamon Almonds
  • Giant bags of frozen broccoli, brussels sprouts & spinach + Laughing Cow Lite Cheese Wedges
  • Frozen salmon filets in individual steam packs + fresh lemons
  • 6-Pack of Lite Tuna (water-packed) + balsamic vinegar + garlic powder + celery + bell peppers + broccoli slaw

…and lots more good stuff!

I feel like I’m getting better with my impulsive foodie behavior – at a National Margarita Day party I hosted last week for work, I chose to sip seltzer with juice and allow myself 10 tortilla chips with veggies and guac. I got a chance to join in with my guests, taste the stuff I wanted to, but cut out the unnecessary items. Had I not been watching what I ate, I would have had a huge, sugary, high-calorie margarita and lord knows how many nachos. And guess what? I still had fun and made the most out of my night socially.

So, things are getting better. I feel as though I’m really on track to reach my goal of a 15-20 weight loss by May.

Added Bonus! I learned this week that I’m going to Costa Rica for a week-long vaca on April 27, which is perfect timing and the best possible motivation to get bathing suit-ready. I refuse to go shopping for the trip for at least a month so I don’t psych myself out.

Week 4 re-assessment:

Leave a comment: Do you use vacations or special events (weddings, reunions, etc) as motivation to get or stay on track with your healthy plan?

 

Be Healthy. Be Balanced.
14B Alleyne St.
Quincy, MA
http://www.AHealthyBalanceInc.com 

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