Friday, January 31, 2014

Fixing Breakfast

If you're nervous about making the leap from living without a care in the world, to living a cleaner, less weighed-down lifestyle, I feel ya.

It wasn't easy, and it's not easy, but the progress I've seen so far, and the end goal I have in front of me is more than enough motivation to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Lolllll thank GOD I never had to report my weight to the DMV. RUDE.


I'll be honest with you: I had some fat free popcorn last night. I wanted some. I've also had a few more Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups this week than I probably should have, but it's all about balance. About not obsessing. And about making sure that if you do have a few slip-ups, or indulgences, here and there, that they're just that: here and there, and not your day-to-day habit.


So, where do you start? Tomorrow is the first day of February, and the perfect, quite literal, day one.


Let's break it down. Today's post is dedicated to breakfast, and I'll update through the weekend and week with lunch, dinner, and snack ideas. You can do this, and we're in this fight together.
http://5ingredientpaleo.blogspot.com/2013/07/breakfast-omelette-egg-muffins.html


Breakfast
  • 1-2 Eggs, any way you want them, with a little bit of salt, some veggies, like spinach/tomato, if you want, and maybe some dried parsley, or a couple spoonfuls of salsa/healthy fat, like a sensible portion of avocado. (To eliminate guesswork, if you can find it, try and get Wholly Avocado. I've only found it at Sprouts on Coit & Campbell in Richardson, TX thus far).
  • Fruit bowl (1 cup or so of whatever you want, like strawberries, blackberries, kiwi) with 1/4 c almonds, or pumpkin seeds to give you crunch and a little more satiety from this
  • Banana + healthy fat (Watch the portion if you're going for things like almond butter or natural peanut butter, or just get something "guilt-free" like PB2 powdered peanut butter)
  • 1-2 Egg cups (Make these on Sunday, and pop them in a large Tupperware, and reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute), maybe with 2 tbsp. avocado or a few spoons of salsa, and a side of some fruit
  • Paleo "pancakes" (1 banana, 2 eggs, cinnamon, and optional toppings of choice)

And to go with these great choices, drink plenty of water (invest in a solid water bottle, if you don't have one already), and for fun, you can add in tea (No no no no to the fake sweeteners. Learn to love it plain!), hot water with lemon, or maybe some coffee with a splash of half and half (not fat free, and not the caramel/thinmintcookie/whatevercrap CoffeeMate out there. Just drink motor oil with lard, and you're accomplishing the same thing)

Why not start tomorrow? Hit up an AM workout class, the pavement, or your cardio machine of choice, and then go home and whip up a smoothie or an awesome egg scramble/omelet.



I know that brunch, at least in Dallas, is anything and everything, and it's really tempting to let yourself go on just one meal. One of my friends used to do "One-and-dones" on the weekend, and yes, it's exactly what it sounds: eat one meal, and be done with it. That's absolutely the dumbest thing I've ever heard. She was skinny, but she was not healthy, or fit. They're not the same thing.

Eat regular meals. Eat real food. Make good choices, even when the easiest choice is to pick the worst thing on the menu, like French toast, muffins, pancakes, overdoing it on the buffet line....you know the drill.


Until you've done this for a month or so, try and either cut out, or drastically limit your alcohol intake. I know what you're thinking... but...but...but... what about the bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys at brunch? Sorry, Charlie. Try plain tomato juice, sparkling water, or just get lots and lots of coffee to keep yourself busy and engaged in the conversation.

Trust me: you'll feel better, you won't have wasted your entire day/weekend, thanks to the bottomless beverage/buffets, and you'll also look a hell of a lot better, in due time.

You're welcome.

XO,
Here's to making February (and this weekend) your bitch.
-Stel

PS Want more? (Until I post more later) I've got lots and lots of good stuff on Pinterest. FYI, I keep the food porn stuff (AKA, DO NOT MAKE THESE THINGS) under "if calories didn't count."

I won't miss these last 10 lbs or so in a few months :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sharing the Wealth (A Deal for Dallasites)

CultureMap is awesome. Every now and then, they'll send out promotional emails with special offers, and I highly suggest you sign up, if you enjoy a good deal.

So far, I've gotten free workouts at places like bodybar, and today, they sent out an email for a free unlimited month at exhale mind body spa in Dallas (at Hotel Palomar).

Picture c/o Culture Map Dallas, and exhale

Here's the skinny:

For $75.00 ($195.00 value), you get:
  • 30 days of unlimited classes at exhale for NEW guests (Classes include a few variations of Yoga, Core Fusion Barre+Cardio, and Core Fusion Boot Camp, among others)
  • 20% off spa therapies
  • 10% off boutique purchases
  • Free gym access
  • Access to Hotel Palomar pool
  • Complimentary self parking (valet parking available)

I'm abstaining because I'm tightening my purse strings for a second, and since I'm not jumping to action, I wanted to share the love with you (if you're in Dallas).


Here's the fine print from Culture Map, in case you're interested:

THE FINE PRINT

Vouchers can be redeemed at the exhale mind body spa Dallas location only and cannot be combined with any other offer. Limit one per guest; entire month may be gifted, but not shared. Guest must be NEW to classes at exhale, or have not taken class in the past 6 months. 30 days must be taken consecutively. Monthly membership will expire 30 days from day of activation. Offer ends February 6, 2014 at Midnight. Vouchers can be redeemed starting February 10, 2014. 30 day membership must be activated by May 10, 2014. Voucher promotional value is valid until 2/1/15.

Hop to it!

For more info purely about exhale, click here.

XO,
Stel

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pantry Roll Call


It's time for a Pantry Roll Call.

If you haven't taken that extra step of 1) joining MyFitnessPal or LoseIt and 2) adding me on there, you're probably wondering what I eat, and more important, what's in my fridge and pantry. I'm here to break it down for you, as of this very moment.

How cute is this BABY Le Creuset pot? I use it just for decoration.
I snagged it at the Williams Sonoma store closing sale last month.

Feel free to add any (or none) of these things to your shopping list. I dare you.

Tools

  • Paderno Spiralizer
  •  (from Amazon)
  • Yonanas dreamscometruemaker
  • A decent blender (mine's an Oster with somewhat of a touch screen from 2009 that works wonders)
  • A colander for washing/rinsing fruits and veggies
  • Veggie Wash (to spray and adequately clean the Dirty Dozen)
  • George Foreman grill (Mine is TINY, cute, and red, but a bitch to clean. The plates don't come apart, so I have to unplug the machine, wait for it to cool down, and take the whole thing over to the sink to scrub down.)
  • Keurig K-Cup System coffee maker (Bad for the environment, since you throw out K-Cups, but it's hard to be perfect. It's cheaper than Starbucks, and I know exactly what I'm getting. Coffee can be a great dessert after dinner, with just a little half and half, and a shake of cinnamon), or alternatively, just a standard Mr. Coffee maker
  • Pots and pans
  • Utensils, to eat with, and to cook with (spatula, wooden spoon, stirrer, plastic/metal spatulas, kitchen shears, etc.)
  • Tupperware (or the equivalent, like from the GLAD brand) in a variety of sizes
Favorite Fruits

  • Blackberries (I always, always, always buy them when they're on sale)
  • Apples (Honeycrisp are the BOIMB, but hella expensive)
  • Strawberries (Again, if they're on sale, I AM BUYING THEM. Central Market has the best kind ever)
  • Bananas (to eat fresh, in the AM, or when they get cheetah-spotted, destined for the freezer to eventually be turned into a Yonanas treat)
  • Clementines (Cuties!)
  • Mango (I haven't liked mango for YEARS because my college served it when it wasn't particularly fresh. It's really high in sugar, but let's not get too into the weeds, shall we? Frozen mango chunks make for GREAT Yonanas "sorbet")
  • Grapes 
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Figs (expensive, and I'm not sure how to pick them, but the few times I've been gifted figs, I've gone apeshit over them)
  • Apricots
  • Raspberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit (but they're a bitch to eat - wear a bib and arm yourself with a grapefruit spoon)
  • Frozen Fruit, like mango, strawberries, and raspberries (ONLY exclusively buy Unsweetened Frozen Fruit. Otherwise, you're getting straight-up dessert)
  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Canned Pumpkin

Very Veggie
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower (for convenience, I like this frozen)
  • Cucumber (Goes great with a little hummus)
  • Kale (So far, only frozen kale, in smoothies, has been tolerable for me. It's tough to digest for a lot of people, so try it out, and see how it goes for you)
  • Spinach (From a bag. Did you know that microwaving a little spinach for 1 minute produces a similar end product to steamed spinach? YUMZ)
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Peppers (I really, really, really don't like these raw, but if you wash them, wrap them in foil, and throw them in the oven on broil for about 30 minutes, you get this really mushy, delicious pepper smash)
  • Carrots (Good steamed or raw, with a little hummus, avocado, or salsa)
  • Sweet Potatoes (I like a Central Market or Whole Foods frozen bag of sweet potatoes. It's got 2 servings of 169 calories each, so I eat half, and tupperware the rest)
  • Spaghetti Squash (Check out everything there is to do with this thing on Pinterest. It's incredibly easy to prep, cook, and eat)


Healthy Fats

  • Avocado (If you're lazy, and also dumb, like me, and don't know how to whisper avocados, I recommend "WhollyAvocado" - from the WhollyGuac people! Great for adding to smoothies)
  • Hummus (Really, really, really watch the portion size on this. Before you DIP, measure out your 2 tbsp serving into a little cup, and then BACK AWAY FROM THE HUMMUS)
  • Filberts (Central Market's cousin to the hazelnut)
  • Hazelnuts (from Whole Foods)
  • Pistachios, out of the shell (Side note: I got these from Whole Foods, and they are LITERALLY tough nuts to crack. Eating them makes me feel like I have George Washington teeth, so I think from now on, I'm going to smash them up with my cocktail shaker, that I never use for its intended purpose, just so I can keep my teeth a while longer)
  • Raw California Almonds (from Central Market)


^ Measure out 1/4 cup of any of those, and limit yourself to 1 serving a day, which should be plenty.


I recommend buying tupperware (Glad brand or whatever you like) in various sizes. I've got a tiny one, perfect for 1/4 cup of almonds, or 2 tbsp PB2, and round and square ones for taking lunch to work. They're also great for storing any food/fruit/vegetables for the week that you prepped on Sunday.


Food Prep/Seasoning

  • Dried Parsley (I'm 100% sure that the fresh item would be better than dried, but hey...it's convenient, easy, and goes great on eggs or in a pot of my "ratatouille")
  • Red Pepper Flakes (CAUTION: a little goes a long way)
  • Italian Herb Seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Salsa (Buy the kind that has the least amount of ingredients. You're going to freak out when you see how low calorie salsa/pico de gallo is. You're welcome.)
  • Lemon and/or Lime (Fresh, or in a bottle, like the RealLemon brand)
  • Coconut Oil Spray (Beauty on a BUDGET. I ain't got time to spend $10 on a jar of Coconut Oil. This does the trick. Use as you would olive oil, or Pam, to coat the bottom of a pan or pot)
  • Cinnamon (Rumor has it that it revs up your metabolism. It has little to no calories, so shake away! Perfect for Yonanas, in coffee....you name it!)
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Hershey's has just 10 calories per tablespoon)
  • Pumpkin Spice (basically, they did the hard part of mixing up cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for you)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Mint Extract
  • Ponzu Sauce
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar




Lean Proteins/Sustenance 
Whoever says that buying meals out is LESS expensive than making them at home is an absolute idiot, and is probably either not shopping at the right places, or living life on the Dollar Menu.

The first time I went out and decided to buy Salmon to cook all by my lonesome, I couldn't believe just how cheap it was, and felt like an absolute fool for being so scared of trying things in the kitchen.


  • Eggs: 60-70 calories per egg, didja know? I recommend making them hardboiled or scrambled, or if you have a little more time on Sunday, make egg "muffin" cups (Enjoy in moderation, just in case there's truth to the whole eggs : cholesterol bit).
  • Chicken (I buy chicken breasts and "tenders" - not as in fried (see below), but as in little pieces that are super manageable on my George Foreman.
  • Lean Ground Turkey: You can make Turkey Burgers, or literally just ground turkey, and make that the base of some sort of protein/veggie bowl. I did this last night with ground turkey, cooked on the stovetop with just a bit of Coconut Oil Spray, and then I layered some Cauliflower SLAM on top.
  • Salmon: Prepared the way I described in my VLOG and in other posts: Preheat oven to 400F. Get out a large baking pan, and place a piece of foil big enough for your fish in the bottom. Spray the foil with coconut oil spray. Lay salmon down on said foil. Season to your taste. I like using Ponzu sauce, and I lightly drizzle it on the salmon. Fold up the foil. Bake your foil pack for about 20-25 minutes, depending on how much trust you have in your oven. ENJOY.

When in a hurry, but not recommended
  • Frozen Turkey Burgers (look for Organic brands, like Applegate Farms)
  • Mom Made Bites Turkey Meatballs

Fancy Dranks

  • Almond Breeze unsweetened Almond Milk (My favorite flavors are Vanilla, Chocolate, and Vanilla Almond Coconut. PERFECT for smoothies, but it's not my bag to just drink this stuff straight up. I don't think it's meant for that)

Favorite Indulgences 


  • Veggie Mama Garden Pops (Agave-sweetened meant-for-baby popsicles, like the ones you remember from camp, or elementary school, or summers at the pool. There's even a Sweet Potato Pie flavor!)

In My CHOCOLATE EMERGENCY Stash
  • Enjoy Life boom CHOCO boom bars (Dark Chocolate, Rice Milk Chocolate, and Rice Milk Crunch)


On my Oh-No-NO List

  • Diet or Sugar-Free (I call it SUCKA FREE...remember the MTV days?) ANYTHING. JUST. DON'T.
    • Splenda (If you're reading your labels, check for the word, "Sucralose," aka Splenda, aka the most Evil thing on the planet)
  • Baked goods (Just stay away for a little while. YOU CAN DO IT.)
  • Anything and everything dairy (aside from regular half and half that I add to coffee, or use in my Cauliflower SLAM recipe)
  • Self-serve frozen yogurt: Step away from your PAIL of yogurt with the equivalent of five King Size candy bars you crushed all up in it.
  • Protein bars, including:
    • Clif (glorified candy bar, and just really, really unnecessary)
    • QUEST bars (If you've never tried them, don't try them. They taste like candy bars, and promise to only have X amount of "active carbs," but basically, it's all utter and complete bullshit. If you're promised a "cookie dough" bar that's good for you, and you believe it, you've been duped)
    • ThinkThin bars (too much crap in there, and they've just got too many calories for what they are. Bottom line, they're processed food, and they might even trigger you to eat more and more sweets, since they come in flavors like Cookies and Cream, and Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter)
    • Any bar that promises you everything under the sun, like Power Bars
    • Larabar or Kind Bars (They're probably some of the better ones out there, but still. Read the label, and see just how much sugar is in one of those babies. Just opt for real fruit and some almonds/nut butter to get what you think you're getting out of this expensive crap)
  • Cereal, of any kind
    • I don't care if it's gluten free, or made of cardboard. Try and skip out on this stuff for a while. Even when I would in good faith, measure out my cereal, I'd find myself wanting another serving, and felt the need to sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Suddenly, 1 perfect bowl of 1 cup of cereal turns into 2-3, plus an inordinate amount of extra calories that I didn't feel like accurately counting, c/o Nestle Tollhouse. #bye
  • Protein powder/PRE-workout
    • I'm not a guy, so I don't feel the pressure to use either of these things. Don't come after me if you're offended for me including this on the list. I just find them unnecessary, and a little scary. If a powder promises you that you'll be able to feel no pain and go past your limits (ahem, NO-XPLODE), I think there are more longterm negative consequences ahead of you. Just get like...adequate sleep, eat real food, mix up cardio/strength, and a little rest, and drink plenty of water/take regular vitamins. PROBLEMS SOLVED.
  • Food fakers
    • Just because you ordered a salad doesn't make you a Saint. What's in it? Cheese crumbles? Lots and lots of bacon? Candied nuts? Full-fat creamy dressing? Think again. Keep it simple, or just make it yourself. Always, always, always order dressing on the side, and to quote Hungry Girl (wince), Dip, Don't Pour.
    • Arctic Zero, Skinny Cow (don't trust labels, and also, don't be surprised to find yourself eating multiple Skinny Cows, thus becoming the Fat Cow, or eating an entire pint of Arctic Zero)
  • Bread, in basically all forms, and almost all carbs, aside from the ones derived from nature, like those found in fruits and vegetables
    • I'm reading Against All Grain and while my problems aren't nearly as bad as the ones the author describes, I'm starting to put almost all of her methods in practice. Things are fitting better and I look and feel a lot less bloated than normal, and I know I can attribute this almost completely to my avoidance of carbs. I know it's mainly water weight loss, but all the other changes I've made are helping solidify the step in that direction. Try it. Breads, and most fun carbs, are just vehicles for whatever you're putting on top (smoked salmon, peanut butter, sauce, etc. etc. etc.)
  • Fried food
    • I can't, not now, and not ever, because of a little thing called IBS. I also don't like feeling like a beached whale, so I just don't. Go for grilled, not crispy on menus.
  • Diet or regular soda
    • Swapportunity? Club soda with lemon or lime (juice, or real), Diet Tonic (AS LONG as it has zero fake sugar in it. Read the labels carefully!), Seltzer Water, or Perrier. Basically, sparkling water that doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners
  • Speaking of Swapportunity, Light/Fat-Free yogurts, like Yoplait. Do you see how much crap (sucralose, fake flavorings, carbs) are in those tiny, innocent containers? Don't buy into the advertising, says the advertising brand manager.




That's all I got. It's after midnight, and I got 4 hours of sleep yesterday, (team) taught 2 RPM classes (6A and 7P) and had a full day of work in between.

Basically, I'm tired, boss.

Until next time.

XO,
Stel

PS I'm on Facebook now! Like me. Thanks!

PPS I'm stressing out about my upcoming AFAA (required by Gold's, suddenly) certification day, which is a week from Sunday. It's a lot more than I ever could have hoped/dreamed of, and it's actually worse than most of my nightmares. For someone who exclusively teaches spin classes and does it for fun, and not as a primary source of income or use of time, having to learn the ins and outs of the Krebs cycle and being required to choreograph and teach cardio (NOT ON A BIKE) and stretch routines seems a littttttle unnecessary. So instead, I'm panicking, taking furious notes in a large, over-my-head textbook, and laughing so hard I cry from videos like this:




and this.


Monday, January 27, 2014

How to grocery shop

Grocery shopping. We all do it. But are we doing it right?

Ever since I embarked on this (reboot) clean eating lifestyle/journey, which has coincided with paying extra careful attention to my finances, I've starting forcing myself to be better prepared before leaving the house for the grocery store.

Here's a list of things to keep in mind before making your next grocery store trip:

1. Take an inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
I can't tell you how many times I've bought something at the store (carrots, especially), only to come home and realize I already had a package or two waiting for me in the fridge. It's just wasteful. Unless you picked up something that's not perishable, like frozen fruit or veggies, you sort of accidentally stocked up, but try and take full note of what you have before you buy more.

1a. Plan your week based on what you have.
Make the most out of those things you already have. Last night, I made frozen cauliflower that I'd had in my freezer for god knows how long, and I came up with the Cauliflower SLAM recipe, on the spot.

All those things you pinned? All those cookbooks you bought, and are taking up space on your kitchen island?
Go through those things. If you keep buying things, and end up letting them go to waste, something's wrong. Search Pinterest for "stuffed pepper recipes," or whatever it may be. And if there was something particularly good you found before that you pinned, plot out the ingredients, buy them, and make the recipe!

2. Don't be afraid to Google. ANYTHING.
I am an absolute dummy in the kitchen. My good friend Brittani can attest to that. I even once managed to completely screw up turkey burgers (read: turkey "cookies."). Apparently flattening out the meat into a patty shape is absolutely essential).

I've figured out how to cook things in the clean/healthy/IBS-friendly way purely by googling, and a lot of trial and error.

As far as my kitchen search history goes, I've looked up:
How long to grill chicken on a Foreman
How to bake chicken in the oven
How to bake fish in foil
How to boil eggs (NOT EVEN KIDDING, I had no idea.)

3. Don't buy those things you know you have ZERO control over
For me, it's chocolate chips, or any sort of novelty ice cream, like Skinny Cow, or those amazing Diana's brand Chocolate-Covered Frozen Bananas. As we know, those things are out of the new lifestyle, so it's no big thang.

As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you don't have those things in your pantry/fridge/freezer that cause you to eat like a monster, then you shan't eat like a monster.

It's that simple.

4. Make Sunday your bitch.
Sunday Funday.

For me, it goes a little like this:
9A: Wake up. Make coffee with a splash of half and half.
9:30A: Quickly dress and pack gym bag, and head out the door.
1030A-11:25A: Teach RPM.

After that: Eat good food at home, and log all of it on myfitnesspal and LoseIt.

Shower.

Then, take inventory of pantry/fridge/freezer, and make a shopping list.

Go to the grocery store. STICK TO THE LIST.

Come home.

Start prepping things. I'll wash/dry strawberries and set them aside in a Tupperware for weekly use.

Depending on what I've bought, and my plans for the week, I'll go ahead and do things like grill up chicken tenders (not the fried crap you think of, but just that smaller size o' chicken that's more manageable for me on a Foreman) and pack them up in a Tupperware to dole out during the week for lunch.

Sometimes, I'll boil several eggs, let them cool, peel them, and stick them in a Tupperware for easy salad-making for when I come home from teaching or taking an exercise class during the week.

And when they're "cheetah-spotted," I peel my bananas and stick them in Tupperwares for easy future Yonanas use.

I've got 2 Pinterest accounts going, and here's where I recommend you look:
http://www.pinterest.com/stelebfitclub/food-is-fuel/
My "Food is Fuel" board on the StelebrityFitClub Pinterest account
http://www.pinterest.com/stellerson/new-food-new-look-new-life-november-and-beyond/
From the New Look New Life New Food board on my personal Pinterest account

No one said it would easy, but it doesn't have to be hard :)

From the STELebrity Fit Club kitchen


It's Monday, and the start of a new week. How'd you do over the weekend?

They say it takes 22 days to form a habit, and since I've been at this thing for REAL since January 3, I'm well past that 22-day mark. It hasn't been all that hard, so far, and I'm especially proud of myself for skinnying up my dad's at-home birthday celebration (for myself) this weekend.

On Saturday, I helped make what my family calls "tapas," which just means we don't have interest in making an actual meal, and instead, feast on little appetizers, like crudités, shrimp, and other such things.

Typically, we always have smoked salmon on pumpernickel bread with a little cream cheese. I had to come up with a way to let myself have some smoked salmon without opening the carb floodgates. What did I do?

Slice cucumber. Slice smoked salmon. Put a little slice of smoked salmon on a slice of cucumber. Repeat.
From Pinterest. Had I been at my own apartment, I would have added capers, too!


It was actually really, really good. And let's face it: that bread just acts as a vehicle for the smoked salmon, so there was no harm in me low-carbing our staple. I made a few the regular way for the parents to enjoy.

For dessert, my mom thawed a few Nothing Bundt Cakes bundtlets that she had bought a month or two ago, and had immediately thrown into the freezer. Abstaining from this took some major, major willpower on my part, but I came prepared.

After teaching RPM Saturday morning, I went home and browsed Pinterest for recipes for a few hours to kill time before my highlight appointment. Enter, the low sugar, dairy-free "Nutella" recipe I found.


http://www.pinterest.com/pin/51298883229704941/
Guilt-Free "Nutella" (Low on the glycemic index, no dairy)

All I had at home was the Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (ingredients: COCOA. That's it. 1 tbsp. = 10 calories. GREAT staple), so I made a list of the other ingredients I needed that I'd later buy with mom at Whole Foods: hazelnuts, light (in color) agave nectar, and coconut sugar (it's lower on the glycemic index, but same amount of calories as regular sugar).

Here's how you do it, or how I made it:
1 cup hazelnuts (When I did late-night Sunday grocery shopping at Central Market last night, they had Filberts, which is a cousin of the hazelnut, and will work just fine). Put these in a food processor, or if you don't have one, in the bottom of a blender.
Add 1/2 cup light agave nectar.
Add 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder (unsweetened).
Add 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or granulated, or brown).

Blend.

Those hazelnuts are tough nuts to crack (pun), and I'd assume that this would have come out a whole lot smoother, had I had a food processor. I'm fine with the end product coming out a little on the chunky side.

It's INCREDIBLE, and best served with strawberries, banana, or other fresh fruit. Or, as a topping for Yonanas.

With the measurements I listed above, I get that 2 tablespoons = 100 calories, and it's low on the glycemic index scale (meaning, it won't spike your blood sugar), and free of bad things.

It reminds me a little bit of eating those Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

Still, even though it's not that evil Siren Nutella, be careful with the portion. I wrapped up my ramekin of "Nutella" and when it's been in the fridge, I recommend heating the container for about 30 seconds in the microwave before getting your spoonful.

Life changed.

Also, I finally put my Spiralizer to the test last night with zucchini.
OH
MY
GOD.

Easiest and best thing EVER. Easy to use. Easy to clean. Makes the best "zoodles" (zucchini "noodles") ever.
c/o Pinterest. IT IS THIS EASY.


Speaking of, I'm about to heat up my Tupperware full of zoodles/spaghetti squash/"ratatouille" for lunch.

It's the second best $40 I've spent (first best was on the Yonanas maker). Thank you, Amazon.

PS: As a companion to the Spiralizer, I also bought the Against All Grain cookbook, and read it yesterday a little bit, before accidentally taking a 3-4 hour nap.

Lastly, last night, I decided to finally use my bag of frozen cauliflower, and concocted what I call a cross between mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes. I know that sounds weird, but go with me:
Stelebrity Fit Club-approved Cauliflower SLAM:
-Spray a pan/skillet with Coconut Oil Spray.
-Add frozen cauliflower (my bag has 4 servings of 20 calories each. Do that awesome math.)
-Add a little half and half to coat the bottom of the pan.
-Stir occasionally, over medium heat, making sure you don't scald the pan or burn your cauliflower.
EAT.

MY. GOD. It was incredible.
Cauliflower SLAM.

Cauliflower in its natural state is pretty boring and unappealing. I'm sorry, but I just changed the game. I haven't personally done the "Cauliflower Mash" thing yet since I don't have a food processor, but that's likely next on my list.


It just takes little tweaks, here and there, to keep the intake (I'm not saying "diet," because most people start thinking of time stamps and numbers, and this is a long-term journey) interesting, and to stay on your newly forged path to health, wellness, and looser pants.

Try it. Love it. Live it.

And if you're getting stuck, please, please, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via any means (in person, email, Facebook, MyFitnessPal messages, etc.)

We're in this together. Turn it up.

XO, Stel

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday. Tomorrow. And other such excuses.

Nothing irks me more than hearing, "I'll start tomorrow" or another iteration, "I'll start my diet on Monday."

Most of us made resolutions for the New Year. I'll venture a guess that one of yours was to lose weight/eat better/be healthier. But there's a disconnect: you have the intentions, at least in written form, but you might not have the means, pathway, or motivation to get there.

You have to take a second to pause, and ask yourself, What's stopping you?
Why not make today your day one?

There's no SoulCycle in Dallas, but I've been following them for a while, thanks to Teddi, of Teddi. Set. Go! She was my original SPinspiration, and I loved reading the stories of how SoulCycle had transformed her, inside and out. Once my friend Brittani (after YEARS of trying) had gotten me to try and love BodyPump, which I consider to be the gateway drug for RPM, I stumbled into a 75-minute RPM Enduro class that fateful day in 2012 (August 29, to be exact), and now I'm on the other side, on the instructor bike, teaching 5-6 classes a week, 5-6 days/week.




Here's my love letter to RPM, not much different from Teddi's to SoulCycle.

SoulCycle (and its fans/riders) regularly posts #DailySoul on Twitter and Facebook, and when I find one I like, I either write it on a post-it note and tack it to the wall of my cube behind my laptop, print it out, or commit it to memory.

Here are a few to get you thinking


This one is HUGE. It applies to several facets in life, and I think it bears a highlight:
You can't change something you aren't willing to confront.

In the past year, several friends and acquaintances have approached me for a Come to Jesus of sorts for help on figuring out the diet/exercise equation. We all have different triggers, and things that make us tick, but what I would hear over and over again from people would be the things they just could not, without a doubt, give up, and thus, they either didn't start a diet/lifestyle change, or gave up quickly after starting.

For some people, it was cheese - "I can't give up cheese...ARE YOU CRAZY?"

"EXERCISE?! Who has time for that?! I'm so tired when I get home from a day of work, and on the weekend, I'm catching up on sleep."


So, I'll say it again. You can't change something you aren't willing to confront.
You're unhappy with how you look/feel, or how much you weigh. But you're not willing to give up sweets/cheese/bread, or whatever it might be.

It frustrates me how people don't put those two thoughts together.

What is it for you? What's the roadblock standing in your path to success?

For me, it's desserts/frozen yogurt. When I fall off the straight and narrow path, that's the first thing I want. No longer. Enter, the Yonanas maker.

Here's another DailySoul, c/o popular NYC instructor Ben Turshen:
"If you want something you've never had, you must do something you've never done."
OR, "There's no change without a challenge."


Here's another.



If you keep doing the same thing over and over again (insanity), why would you expect to see a change in your body?

The 80% diet/20% exercise rule works, guys. I've completely cleaned up my intake, without exception, since January 3. I was afraid to get on a scale, but finally made myself, and in 7 days of measurement, I lost 2.5 lbs, and the bigger success is how much better my clothes already fit, and how much better I feel. I don't feel bloated, or tired, and looser clothes are a plus.

I've got at least 10 more lbs to go, and one of the big motivations for me is seeing drops on the scale.

The biggest mistake you can make is celebrating the weight loss by allowing back in some of those things you gave up. Don't do it.



Readers, I'm here for you. Don't hesitate to email me (christine.stella@me.com), Facebook message me, direct message me on Twitter, add me on MyFitnessPal or LoseIt, text, or call for anything. If there's something tripping you up, or you can't figure out how you're going to live without XYZ, I'm here.

We're in this fight together.











Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Make This Now: Today's Green Smoothie


Ah, the green smoothie. A year ago, one of my bosses (we've got three on our team) was sipping on something green in a clear cup, and someone asked her what she was sippin' on (rare Britney Spears reference). She listed off the ingredients, and to me, it kept sounding worse and worse. She was already incredibly thin and healthy, so I couldn't imagine why she would subject herself to such torture. Spinach, in a smoothie? Kale? Cottage cheese? Flax seed? Was she crazy?
 
You don't have to make it that way. You also don't have to do any of this, but for me, a green, or otherwise smoothie, accomplishes these things:
 
It's FAST. Today, I rushed home after teaching RPM class 1 of the day (6A). I had about 20 minutes to take my daily pills/make and eat breakfast/shower/quickly dress and make myself presentable/and get out the door. Where I work, you're penalized, financially out of your EOY bonus, for being late more than 3x a month. And here, late is anything after 8:29:59, even if it's a second or two. This takes less than 5 minutes to make, and I've got a Keurig iced coffee to go cup with its own straw that makes smoothies great for the girl-on-the-go.
 
 
It's GOOD. It actually tastes good. Unlike other "healthy" things out there, you're going to sip with a smile, instead of a cringe on your face.
 
You get a whole bunch of nutrients that are filling without weighing you down. You start your day on the right foot, without feeling like a bloated, beached whale. I can't do lactose, so that's why I opt for unsweetened almond milk or coconut water over greek yogurt, or blech, cottage cheese.
On days where I have more time, I'll go for a quick scrambled egg or egg cup, or fruit with some PB2.
Chocolate PB2. Powdered peanuts, a little sugar/cocoa powder, and that's IT. 1.5 g fat, 45 calories.
 
 
BEHOLD, the recipe for the easiest, fastest, best-tasting green smoothie around (in my very humble opinion):
 

·         1-2 cups Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (30 calories per cup)
 
·         1 tbsp. avocado (I used Wholly Avocado for convenience – 30 calories per tbsp., and like I mentioned earlier this week, to get some good, healthy fat into my diet)
 

·         2 tbsp. PB2 peanut butter (it’s just powdered peanuts. Sold sometimes at Whole Foods, Central Market, and online – www.bellplantation.com)
 

·         Handful (or 1 cup) spinach (from a bag, as I call it – 20 calories per cup), or you could do fresh/frozen kale.
 

·         Blend.
 

·         Add 1 banana, if desired, to thicken (90 calories for 1 small banana)


·         Takes no more than 5 minutes to make, and is great on the go, if you’ve got a to-go cup at home.
This is Sunday's smoothie, in my Keurig To-go cup. Not representative of the green smoothie :)
 
 
Total calories (with 2 cups Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk) = 245 calories
 
Stel's Green Smoothie (BEST EVER)

Try it. Enjoy.

-Stel


PS:


 
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Money is honey.

Granny said it years and years ago, and it was just as *right* then as it is right *now.*
Money is honey.

I know that they say, "Mo' money, mo' problems," but let's be real: LESS MONEY, MORE PROBLEMS.

This past Saturday, I went to a free "Money Matters" seminar with Papa, and learned probably more than I wanted to about the economy (spoiler alert: it sucks), and then a little about personal finance and budgeting.

The speaker was great, and he promoted an app he patented/created, called Liquid. (Right now, it's only available for the iPhone and iPad, but may later be available for Android users)
C/o http://getliquid.com/liquid-app/: "Your real, future situation is the difference between what you have and what you owe. Your bank account balance doesn't know how much you'll be receiving, nor what you'll be spending." (WORD)


Ignorance is bliss, and I know for years, I would stick my head in the sand, swipe my credit card everywhere I went, and then about once a month, wince as I waited for my B of A account info to populate on screen.

While that can be fun for a little while (RIP 2010 - you were a stupid bitch), it's no way to live.

I'm dreading the next birthday of mine, purely because of the number (twenty seven), but I'm glad that in the past few years or so, I've really gotten my shit together and started to think proactively about my money, so that when things come up, I don't go bankrupt.

The Liquid app idea is great, but a little confusing for me.

Here's what I do:
I have an excel sheet, lovingly and simply called "Financials."

We all pretend that money is mysterious and confusing, and there's no way we could possibly have any sort of control over it, but let's be real for a second: every month, you have fixed expenses, and if you're employed, you have at least somewhat of a fixed income.

Go through your checking and credit card accounts, and start plotting out in excel exactly how much and when those fixed expenses (-) and fixed income (+) are going to hit your account every month.

(+) As of a few months ago, I'm up to three jobs (one in advertising, and two on bikes, teaching RPM classes at 3 different locations), so I get to plot out 5 pay checks. I like that.

(-) My rent went up pretty significantly when I moved apartment complexes (but it would have anyway, had I stayed at the shiteous place where I lived for far too long). That always comes out on the first, and it's more or less the same amount, depending on how much my water bill ends up being.

(-) I've consolidated down from 2 credit cards to 1, because I was sick and tired of being hit in the stomach with 2 credit card payments a month. No more of that. Also, when you only have one credit card balance to pay, it's a heck of a lot easier to track your spending (and try and control it!)

(-) TXU (monthly gas bill). To make sure I'm not screwed, I go ahead and plug in the highest number it's ever been so I can be pleasantly surprised when it's less. It's always better to plan for the worst case scenario, when it comes to your money.

(-) Time Warner (internet ONLY, which exists.) I needed to dramatically cut down my outrageous DVR/Cable/Wifi bill, and cutting the cord to just internet helped do the trick. Don't let one of their asshole reps try and con you, saying that there are no internet-only plans. I got him in mega trouble a week later when I called to raise hell, and get my bill lowered.

(-) Monthly car lease payment (never changes)

(-) Monthly car insurance payment (HALLELUJAH, praise the Lord! I finally pay a reasonable, and suspiciously cheap amount for monthly insurance, thanks to a few blemishes that were NOT my fault slipping off my record)


Start right now. Make an Excel sheet, and start plotting out the dates and amounts (especially of the worst case scenarios).

Don't get in over your head in credit card debt, and always, always, always pay off the statement balance, and not just the minimum payment. You don't want to pay a penny of interest.

According to the Money Matters speaker, the Credit Bureaus start to flag you if your credit card statement balance is more than 25% of the credit card limit. I've definitely been guilty of that because the prescriptions I have to pay out-of-pocket until my insurance reimburses me 2 days later are easily $1K a month (can you imagine?), so naturally, I easily rack up a high credit card bill without doing anything fun.

How do you get out of this trap? Start paying off your credit card balance little by little before the statement is due because the bureaus are only looking at the balance at the time of the statement.
The last thing you want to do is screw yourself not only with your credit cards, but generally, with your credit score. And this wasn't just conjecture from the speaker; it's cold hard facts.

You also get a free credit report every year, so after the seminar, I immediately requested mine. You shouldn't have to pay for anything, or have to sign up for an annual service that you turn around and cancel a few days later. That's BS. The government owes you one, or three, if you want one each from Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Here's the site.

*Note: these sites don't tell you your credit score, but they do let you glance at all of the people who have requested your credit information, either with or without your permission. It's also good to see if there's anything fraudulent or suspicious on there that needs to be reported to the bureau. As we've seen in the past month, our personal data is not safe, and has been compromised at mega retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus, and who knows what's next. Once your credit information is compromised, you could really be screwed when you try and sign yourself up for something legitimately, and discover you're denied because of what some thief has done to your name/credit.

I am fortunate to not have one cent of college loan debt over my head, thanks to my incredible parents, so I can only speak of my finances, and what I'm able to do with my money. But as a rule, really try and throw money at that credit card so that it doesn't run you into trouble.

As the speaker said, before you make a purchase, really think about these things:
  • How many hours would I have to work in order to afford this thing? (He had a complicated equation about thinking about your annual salary, before taxes, divided by the number of hours you work weekly to figure out your "max factor," aka, how much money your time is worth) The Liquid app can help you calculate this, but it's really not that complicated.
  • Will I be able to live without buying this thing? (Or as he phrased it, "What will happen to me if I do not buy this thing?")
  • Most important, can I afford to buy this thing right now?

This year, at least for me, it's not just about getting fit physically, but also about getting super fit fiscally.

If your employer offers a 401K matching program, you should absolutely adjust your contribution to get the maximum match from your company. For me, that's 3%. Otherwise, you're leaving free money on the table. I know it's annoying now, to see a little less in every paycheck, but trust me: after seeing exactly how much long-term healthcare costs, God forbid you suffer a catastrophic stroke, like Granny, it's absolutely crucial to have a nest egg for retirement.

As Papa always likes to remind me, I cannot have a dollar in my pocket. Literally, I never have cash in hand, but also, I tend to be really bad about spending what I have. Not anymore, or for the past 3 years.

With that line of thinking, that 401K is great because it's money that I cannot touch, until I need it.

Take a few minutes to set up your "Financials" spreadsheet, and please, please, please put it in a safe place. The last thing you need is for your personal financial information to get in someone else's hands.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. There's no mystery to what you'll have in your bank account on a given day, week, or month. And if there is, you're going to be in big, big, big trouble with massive credit card debt. Stop living like a $30K millionaire, and start thinking about your future - or even one week from now, when your credit card is due.

And if you're like me, and need some extra hand-holding, I encourage you to sign up for Mint. It's 100% free, and it helps you set up monthly and annual budgets and track the spending within those budgets. Example: If you set a grocery budget of $150 for a month, and you're over it, you can rethink your spending or essentially pool money from another budget to help you get over the hump

Peace, love, and (newfound) prosperity,
Stel


PS:




Monday, January 13, 2014

Six-packs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym

To get the body that you want, here's an equation to keep in mind: 80% diet, 20% exercise

All of the cardio and strength training in the world is worthless when you're eating garbage during the day. Little slip-ups here and there add up quickly, so if you're like me, and ready to regain control over your life and body, it's time to hit the reset button, and get to this place: eating to live, and far, far away from living to eat.

July 2011-April 2013, I lived/exercised/ate like a SAINT. I lost 22 lbs from my highest weight, and my goal was to lose 23 lbs.

Then May 2013 rolled around, and a few troubling annoyances in my personal life absolutely derailed me. I was within one pound of an idyllic goal weight I thought I'd never, ever reach, but I absolutely fell off track, and fell hard.

I was in such a newfound great place with my body that I assumed I was invincible, and my good eating habits quickly fell by the wayside.

In November 2013, I sat down with a personal trainer for a free consultation and heard some things that really upset me, but I took a cold, hard look in the mirror, and got my shit together (eating- and working out-wise). Then December came, filled with holiday treats at home, which comforted me and my family while we were coming to terms with my grandma's medical situation.
Granny on her 60th birthday with my dad. My mom was 6 months pregnant with me at the time :)


And then I was handed one week in New York, where we had to rely on food we could get within walking distance of grandma's rehab at Amsterdam and 112th, which had me absolutely craving fresh fruits and vegetables.
The church right across from Amsterdam House rehab. Beautiful! St. John the Divine, I believe.

Tom's Restaurant, aka Monk's on Seinfeld. Here's Papa who asked me to take a picture of him.
We're mega fans 4 life of Seinfeld, y'all!


I was especially on my workout game during December, especially Christmas Eve (first BodyPump in a while, followed 2 hours later by a grueling FlyBarre session) and Christmas Day (4.0 mile jog/walk/sprint on the treadmill at Papa's gym), but then there wasn't much time to sneak in a workout while spending 11A-8P every day by grandma's side.

I did sneak in a Flywheel class that was absolutely life-renewing and fulfilling on New Year's Eve, and walked as much as possible (from Amsterdam and 112th to Amsterdam and 77th to try on gear at Soulcycle - and then back, and back from Flywheel at Columbus/82nd-83rd). But still. It was quite the drop in activity, compared to my typical teaching 5 classes a week, and essentially always working out 6-7 x/week. I was ready to get home, and back to my routine.



It's a new year.


And one of my resolutions in the "BODY" category is to get back to DAILY food logging and really be better about groceries (meaning, actually use the stuff I buy, and buy the right things, that will get me through every day), breakfast, and dinner. And most important, to tone up the newfound muffin top, and focus less on the numbers, and more on look and feel.




Often, when we write down a goal weight number, or obsess over it, we fail.
Check in with yourself and your scale about once a week, but try not to obsess over the numbers.

Use it as a gauge. Use it to motivate, not to punish. After just one week of completely changing up and "cleaning" up my diet, I already feel better, and felt some noticeable differences, like being able to button a jacket that has been too tight for months. And that's in one week!

Diets don't work. You have to get to this place I mentioned at the beginning of the post: Eating to live, and not living to eat. You have to wrap your head around a lifestyle change.

On my way home from dinner with my parents one night this weekend, I could have easily stopped off at Tasti d Lite, but I knew that didn't fit into my new eating lifestyle, so instead, I went straight home, and fixed a quick PB2/1 cup unsweetened almond breeze Vanilla Almond Milk/handful of frozen kale/quick shake of frozen blueberries smoothie. It clocked in at under 200 calories, and it felt like I was eating a decadent dessert.



What, what, what am I eating, you ask? Here are some ideas, and you can get even more of an idea by following me on myfitnesspal and LoseIt where I log my daily intake.


Breakfast Ideas
Egg Cups (low cal, low carb, depending on what you put in them, and high protein)
*The only thing I had in the house that sort of made sense to mix with the eggs was some spinach (from a bag). This was incredibly easy to make, and I just packed up all dozen egg cups into a large, rectangular Tupperware, and put them in my fridge for safe keeping.
For the girl (or guy) on the go.


Today's greenish smoothie:
1-2 cups unsweetened almond milk (My favorites are Almond Breeze: Unsweetened Vanilla, which has just 30 calories for 1 cup, or Unsweetened Chocolate or Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut - 45 calories/cup)
1 cup spinach leaves (Bagged spinach: 2 cups is 25 calories)
1 tbsp. Wholly Avocado (It's JUST avocado. Always ripe. 1 tbsp. = 30 calories of healthy fat!)
2 tbsp. PB2 Peanut Butter (just add the powder into your blender)
1/8 cup unsweetened frozen blueberries (it's all that I had left)
Total calories: 192


My favorite smoothie of all time:
1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze Almond Milk (30 calories)
1 sliced small-medium frozen banana (90 calories. The banana also serves as your ice without watering down your smoothie)
2 tbsp. PB2 powdered peanut butter (45 calories)
GO. This takes FIVE MINUTES at most, and is so easy to grab and go, if you've got a good reusable to-go cup at home.


Lunch (today)
Tupperware with....1 grilled chicken breast, done on my Foreman last night (already sliced up, because I ain't got time for that) with a few spoonfuls of my Ratatouille (see below) and steamed spaghetti squash


Stelebrity Fit Club "Ratatouille"
My stomach absolutely can't handle olive oil, garlic, or onions, so that's why I leave them out. Leaving out the olive oil also cuts down on calories and some (good) fat, so there's that, too. And onions and garlic just stay with you all day long, so if you want to feel fresh and not weighed down by these bastards, follow my recipe.


Here's what I do:
  1. Get a GIANT pot out of the cabinet, and set your stove to medium heat.
  2. Spray the bottom of the pot with Coconut Oil Spray (my healthy alternative for Pam).
  3. Wash and then slice in small quarters the following vegetables: Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Roma Tomatoes, and Eggplant.
  4. Throw them into the pot.
  5. Add about 1/2 cup of a natural tomato sauce (read the ingredients and get the one that just has vegetables, and maybe, tomato paste. None of the fructose corn syrup or any other junk that some companies sneak in there!), and season how you like. You'll probably want a good amount of salt in there, but don't put too much. I also like adding dried parsley.
  6. Stir occasionally, and cover the pot. You want the vegetables to be sort of mushy.
  7. In about 30 minutes, you've got a giant pot of filling, low calorie vegetables that are great by themselves, or on top of a serving of steamed spaghetti squash.
I just put the pot back in the fridge (covered), and I'm able to get about 4-5 meals, at least, out of this! This is best to do on Sunday. Prepping takes at most, one hour out of your Sunday night, but if you do it right, you've got breakfast/lunch/dinner taken care of for the week ahead!

Snack
1/4 cup raw almonds (Measure these out. Almonds are good, in moderation. Limit yourself to 1/4 c per day)

Prepare 2 tbsp. of PB2 (regular or chocolate) at home in a mini Tupperware, and throw in your lunch bag. 45 calories, 1.5 g fat. Total decadence bargain right here.

1 small apple or clementine. Whatever you have.


Dinner
Tonight, I'll likely bake up a piece of Salmon I bought last night, this way:
It'll change your life. TJ's is the cheapest I've seen. Throw out your PAM, and use this.


Salmon, Stel's Way


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Get out a piece of aluminum foil, and lightly spray with Coconut Oil Spray (my healthy replacement for Pam).
  3. If you're feeling fresh, put a handful of spinach leaves on top of the foil, or just put the Salmon on top.
  4. Season the salmon with a conservative shake of salt and pepper, lemon juice, or my new favorite, Ponzu sauce. It's like soy sauce with a hint of lime.
  5. Close up your foil packet.
  6. Put this in the oven, and check at 20-25 minutes.
  7. EAT.



What's OUT, according to my new lifestyle?
  • Frozen yogurt (the problem wasn't the yogurt, as much as the toppings I'd add. BYE FOREVER. Bye, Felicia)
  • Cereal (get thee out of my life), granola, and the like
  • Chocolate chips/baked goods (NEVER, ever allowed in my apartment, ever. When I stop caring, I tend to sprinkle a few chocolate chips here and there, or just eat them by themselves.)
  • Basically, all bread (do you know how hard it was to not eat any of it when I went to Cheesecake Factory Friday for my friend's birthday? Since I'm not depriving myself, and just considering this a lifestyle change, it actually wasn't that bad!), chips (so, so tempting at Tex Mex restaurants, but I've abstained so far), etc. (I'm not telling you to exclude one thing or another, or go gluten free, or any such extreme, but for me, bread is unnecessary)
  • Quest Bars (Get thee out of my face/life. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't believe the labels. I have a really, really strong feeling that these things contributed to some of my mid-to-end-of-year weight gain)
  • Popcorn (fat free)
  • Trips to Starbucks, which also checks off the box for some of my financial resolutions (All I get at Starbucks is a Venti Americano with a little half and half, and typically, 1 pump of a flavored syrup, but who knows what's in this garbage. Just abstain.)

Figure out what makes you tick, and what you absolutely cannot give up. If you're setting up a lifestyle plan that you know you will not be able to follow, there's no point.

Summed up, I'm sticking to...lean proteins (salmon, grilled chicken, tilapia, because I know how to bake these), eggs (hard boiled or scrambled, every now and then), making filling green/fruit, etc. smoothies, and absolutely, every day, without fail, packing my lunch and prepping hardcore for the week on Sunday.

I bought a Yonanas maker on Amazon to replace the Cuisinart mini chop I had to throw out because it was infested with fruit flies... gross! I plan on making "buffies" (my friend Spike coined this term for "banana fluffies." ALL you do is blend, or Yonana up 1-2 sliced, frozen bananas. THAT IS IT. And you get a filling, healthy, low calorie replacement for frozen yogurt. Can't wait.
THIS IS JUST BANANA. Can you even?

Enough of walking to Whole Foods to spend $10-15 on brown rice sushi or some mess I fashioned at the salad bar, which I did far too often in 2013 for workday lunch.

It's better to eat things you made yourself, because you know exactly what's in there, and forcing yourself to eat the things you bought helps keep additional, incremental, impulse spending to a minimum.

You can do it.
You will do it.
It's a new year, but it's not a new you. It's just you, with new intentions and a willingness to get shit done, once and for all.

Here's to another successful week in the kitchen, and on the bike.


Xoxo, Stel