As I have shared in my previous blogs, a couple of my friends and I are doing a challenge. We are all competitive people, and we have realized that to keep ourselves accountable to exercising and eating healthy it helps to compete against each other. So until the month of June we have to log daily into the MyFitnessPal app, eat within the calorie limits on six of the seven days, exercise a minimum of 5 days a week, and in the end we get to add the overall percentage of weight we lose to our final totals. We have been doing this for over a month now, and I have noticed a trend. The first couple weeks, Sean and I ate all our meals at home, and right away I moved out of the 170 pound range and into the mid-160's. The last few weeks Sean and I have been super busy, and we have been eating 1-2 meals each day outside of the house, and my weight hasn't budged at all.
This is despite the fact that I have been tracking all my food and exercise, and I have been staying under the total amount of calories I am allowed. So the big discovery I made this week is that if I want to have complete control over what goes into my mouth, if I want to finally get back in the 150's, I really need to limit my eating out to no more than one time per week. This is not new to me, but it finally hit home this time.
Let me give you an example. On Friday, Sean and I went out on a dinner date to a restaurant in Temecula called The Bushfire Grill. It has lots of organic, locally grown, mostly gluten-free salads, grilled meats, curries, sides, etc. I had a nice lamb curry over brown rice with an arugula beet salad. I could figure out how to track the brown rice, but the curry and the salad were tricky. I had to pick something close in MyFitnessPal, and hope that it was close enough. The next night I decided to make my own version of the salad I had eaten the night before, and I was better able to control what went into it. The salad at Bushfire had arugula, beets, oranges, garbanzo beans, goat cheese, quinoa, and some mystery dressing. It was hard to accurately track this item. Below find my recipe:
1 1/2 bags Trader Joes Arugula (but any kind will do)
2 cups chopped beets (I boiled and pickled them myself)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Homemade Vinegarette (mix up in a separate bowl before adding to salad):
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1 tsp. black pepper
Making this salad myself, I was better able to decipher what I was actually eating and track it. In addition, if I want less or more of something, I can easily modify, which can be difficult at a restaurant. Also, while most restaurants have recipe or ingredient guidelines they follow, you cannot be certain that they are following those directions consistently. A little extra oil or fatty sauce can add up over time. Now I am not going to be too strict or crazy right now, because I am actually satisfied with my current weight. I would like to be a little lighter, but I feel very comfortable right here for a bit.
The reason I share this little discovery is because I know I have readers that may have a little more to lose than me. In this case, it is important that you keep your motivation up. I know nothing can be more frustrating than to eat healthy and exercise consistently and not see the scale or the fit of your clothes budge at all. If this is happening to you, try to make your breakfast at home, preplan and make your lunch and snacks to take to work, and then allow enough time to prepare your dinner so you don't get so hungry you decide just to eat out. You could also make and freeze your weekly dinners on the weekend before, or try a healthy crock pot recipe that will have your food ready for you when you walk back through the door at night. Try to do this for a few weeks and see if you see a difference. I really think that if you do this, and track what you eat very honestly so you stay within your calorie limits, you will be happy with the results.
Additional resources for this week:
Portlandia 911 episode--really funny skit on beets
17 Foods Dietitians Won't Touch--article from Livestrong website
12 Running Mistakes You Could be Making--for my running friends, again from Livestrong