Here I am, trying to be all healthy and stuff, but I keep going over my sugar allotment. Now I am not getting obsessed and counting each calorie, gram of sugar and ounce of protein, but thanks to the aforementioned app, My Fitness Pal, I don’t have to. It is easy to realize that I am going over my recommended 28 grams a day because the app tells me so at the bottom of each daily report. Now if I were just in the red once or twice a week, it would be one thing, but I see those bright red numbers every day! So much so that it has me concerned. Part of me is even questioning if the app is wrong. Where does My Fitness Pal get their numbers from? Is it even accurate? More so, is it even possible to stay within the 25-30 gram range and still get all nutrients I need to make up a balanced diet today?
This is what my food log looks like so far today:
As you can see, I have not gone over the top…no jelly toast, frosted doughnuts or caramel frappe for breakfast or anything. But I am already over my sugar by 9 grams and I still have the majority of my day left to go. In hindsight, I would have saved the grapefruit juice for my husband, but it was even no sugar added, 100% grapefruit juice.
What inspired this post was me sitting here at work trying to decide what my afternoon pre-workout snack should be. I narrowed it down to a banana or Greek yogurt. Then I looked at my food log. I was planning to have the Greek yogurt (23 grams of sugar) because it has the protein I am lacking (14 grams of protein). (I missed Meatless Monday yesterday thanks to my pesto chicken, so I am making up for it today.) Now I am conflicted. I know #firstworldproblems … but I really am trying to make good life choices here…and at the same time…I don’t want to be debating with myself over a small cup of yogurt. Now that I’ve vented to the internet, I will probably still eat the yogurt, but try again tomorrow and stay under my limit (maybe).
If you have any ideas or have struggled similarly with sugar, I’d love to hear about it! Where’s a good nutritionist when you need one?!
What the sugar?!
Another week down in the challenge to myself, and I feel like I am making progress! Although I have gained weight (1.5lbs) in the past week, I am eating more balanced meals and have increased my dairy intake.
I am still not quite at the three cups recommended per day, but thanks to cereal (high in whole grains and fiber, of course) with milk, Greek yogurt and intentionally adding cheese to salads and sandwiches, I am getting there. The problem is I do LOVE cheese…all kinds of cheese…blue cheese, goat cheese, gouda…we even tried a hunk of this delicious Bellavitano Merlot (like a parmesan) this weekend. BUT cheese is regrettably high in calories and fat and I have gotten into the habit of excluding it when possible. I realized that the condiments and extra cheese I typically added to my meals were often unnecessary and I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, without them. I’d like to speak to a professional (dietician / nutritionist) at some point about this topic, but for now I’ll keep on keeping on. BTW – Over the weekend we celebrated National Ice Cream Day and I found this delectable sea salt caramel gelato at Whole Foods, Talenti, not so great for the diet, but a great cheat treat!
Speaking of cheating, let’s talk about why…I’ve been trying to get back on the exercising horse. I can be pretty disciplined and motivated when I want to be…back in the spring, I had it going on…not sure what happened. I’ve still been attending the occasional yoga class and dragging my husband out for a jog periodically, but I know I need (and want) more. I’m going to try to be more intentional (adj.): Done on purpose; deliberate. Why? Because I enjoy it, I feel better, look better and to be honest, need to selfishly make time for me to deal with stress in a healthy way…lashing out at loved ones…not that much fun or attractive! Exercise and diet are two things in my life I can control amongst the bazillion things that are way out of my hands.
So for the sake of transparency, last week I exercised three times. One hour-long vinyasa yoga class at Bayfront Park…Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Highly recommended for any of you Miami city-dwellers, its free and great for all skill levels. Guarantee you will wake up the next day sore. One great 40-minute swim. Lastly, a thirty-five minute jog around Brickell followed by Ab Riper X…still sore 4 days later. Much room for improvement in this category. I could make a ton of excuses, but truthfully you make time for what is important and now is my time!
So here’s to another week of putting aside excuses and attempting to discover what works for me on my quest to maintain the body God gave me!
As promised, although a day late, below is a recap of my food log from last week specifically concentrating on the variety of vegetables as recommended by the USDA.
After reflecting back on my food log from last week (via My Fitness Pal), I was honestly expecting it to be a lot better. According the My Fitness Pal parameters, I exceeded my sugar amount (by a good bit) every day. I did not have as wide a range of vegetables as I had in the first week of this challenge. Lastly (and possibly most important), there were a few days I didn’t even eat enough, meaning I had a surplus of calories left at the end of the day. It was not like I was intentionally starving myself and the scale did not reflect this deficit, but it could be why there were a few shortcomings reflected on my log. One specifically being in the dairy category.
My goal is to develop a more balanced diet and maintain my weight while eating the appropriate amount of nutrients. I also would selfishly want this new diet of mine to reflect a fun-energetic lifestyle because I really do enjoy food! It is what motivates a lot of my daily decisions, impacts the way I relate to others and why I love experimenting in the kitchen. In fact, one of the new stars in my repertoire includes a new recipe I found last week on Pinterest here: http://bit.ly/12Iui8t and pictured here:
VEGGIE Report: This is how I fared against the vegetable requirements for the week:
Dark Green Vegetables (1.5 cups recommended, ate 3 cups): Spinach Salad, Arugula (in featured salad above), Broccoli
Red & Orange Vegetables (5.5 cups recommended, but only ate 2.5): Sweet Potato Fries, Tomatoes in various dishes, Carrots
Beans & Peas (1.5 cups recommended, ate 3.5 cups): Black Bean Burger, Hummus, burrito bowls with more Black Beans
Starchy Vegetables (5 cups recommended, but only ate 2.5 cups): Summer Sweet Corn, green peas
Other Vegetables (4 cups recommended, ate approx. 6 cups): Beets, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, lettuce
*Avocado – unsure what category this falls under, maybe other?
So enough veggies, but not enough variety this week…according to those standards that is! I’m trying to stay closer to target this week though!
I recently got an iPhone and wanted to share a few apps that I would highly recommend while attempting to create a “healthier you”.
One being “Fooducate”. This app evaluates foods and beverages that you scan or input in relation to what nutritional aspects are most important to you (i.e. cholesterol, gluten, GMOs, etc.) while personalizing by your body type (BMI, gender, weight goals, etc.). Each food that you scan in via barcode or look up from their database is given a letter grade (A+ being the best for you). Although this may lengthen the grocery shopping / meal planning process, it helps in making the best decisions whether at home standing in front of your fridge or comparing in the middle of the grocery aisle. It is one I trust and find extremely easy to use thus far.
Secondly, the My Fitness Pal app. This is a site I’ve actually used for a while, but find really helpful when evaluating my diet. I have not used it religiously since March until this week, and I realized how much more I think about what I am putting into my body and the quantity. Even when trying to just maintain weight, this is important and requires little effort on my part. I simply enter calories in and calories out (what I eat & how much/type of exercise) and My Fitness Pal keeps track of my daily calorie “allotment”. Even though I don’t follow it religiously, it is a great guideline and does influence my diet.
Just thought I’d share a few tricks of the social diet trade!
We had a fabulous vacation with my family touring the coast of California and around two beautiful National Parks (Sequoia & Kings Canyon).
BUT, travelling while trying to eat a clean and healthy diet did prove challenging. I did intentionally try to select more healthful options and insert veggies and whole grains whenever possible, but I will not lie, half my plate was not fruits and vegetables every night! The good news is, I gained less than two pounds and truly did enjoy myself and my food/wine in the process. We have now been back for a week and got right back into the routine, so I’m feeling better about it. Even while I was baking this week I made a few (some would say risky) substitutions such as whole wheat flour and coconut oil and I did not feel like my bread or cookies were compromised in the process. Tomorrow I will post how my days matched up with the USDA recommendations this past week, so stay tuned!
One Week Down…and this really isn’t that challenging. Perhaps I’m at a healthier stage in life than I originally thought, or maybe I should find higher standards. There are a few questions I’d like to discuss with a nutritionist…for example: This veggie breakdown of the five categories, how critical is it to get those recommended amounts in each category? For example, the starch vegetable category (corn, green peas, white potatoes) I had none of last week but have still been meeting my daily vegetable requirements with all the other categories. Also, I do love a lot of red & orange vegetables (sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots) but is really reasonable to get 5 cups of them in a week? Especially in the summertime when Sweet potatoes and butternut squash, etc. are not in season. I did meet the requirement this week, but don’t think I would typically. Additionally, the “Other vegetables” category is it bad if this is where the majority of your vegetables fall (zucchini, squash, cucumber, etc.)? Also, is this where asparagus belongs?
Overall, I think I am doing well and with a little better meal planning I think I can curb the aforementioned problem areas of dairy and protein to get the recommended amount of nutrients.
New recipes that I tried and enjoyed this week included quinoa mac’n’cheese, homemade almond butter and whole wheat cookies.
This Friday we leave for vacation with my family so I know the week ahead will be a lot more challenging to stay on the healthy track. Travelling in general is difficult to stick with a routine of any kind, never mind with my family…we love to eat and unfortunately I tend to overindulge when I am with them. I’ll keep you posted on how I do on the west coast!
I’m about a half-a-week into my new challenge and wanted to note a few findings so far.
- I surprisingly eat enough fruits AND vegetables according to the USDA My Plate standards. This is surprising to me because I really though I lacked in the vegetable category, but I only need 2.5 cups a day and I’ve really had no problem reaching that…at least in the past few days.
- I’ve been struggling in the Dairy category though. This is surprising because I used to be all about some dairy…loved milk and cheese my whole life…and I still do, but I think I cut a lot of dairy out of my diet…so much so that I am not getting the recommended 3 cups a day. I think this is partially do to the expense of dairy items and the perceived fat that they contain. This is an area I need to work on.
- Protein, like dairy, I am not getting enough. I honestly think with a little better meal planning on my part, this will not be an issue. I usually do think I get enough protein but have not been cooking a lot of meat lately for whatever reason. Definitely not going vegetarian because I do love meats and their nutritional benefits, but have not been eating it as much. Salmon is on the menu for tonight though, so maybe I’ll get back into the swing of things!
- I love dessert! This is not a shocking revelation or anything new…I love finishing meals with a little something sweet or picking up something from the bakery any time I feel like splurging. This is not a category on the plate and is something I will probably continue to indulge in, but just wanted to be fully transparent here!
We will see how I round off the week!