Ah yes the squeaky clean start over month of January where we are all focused on getting back on track with fitness and eating and wellness. There is always room for improvement, especially after the glutinous month of December. Ah the endless holiday snacking and parties and drinking. Oh my!
I often get asked what I eat day to day and how I stay in decent shape. Part of me modestly just wants to give all the credit to my mom. If you’ve met her, you get it. Tall, thin, athletic. At 60+ she is still rocking it on the tennis or paddle courts many times a week. So there is that. Thank you, genetics.
And yet she’s working for it! She is crazy active. So there is effort there. And there is effort with myself as well. I’ve alway been one of those people that genuinely enjoys physical activity. It always hasn’t been in the most conventional form (think sweating it out at the gym) but I genuinely love to….move. I like to attribute that not only to my mom but my grandpa as well. I remember in the winter months he would go to the mall and walk around it all multiple times just because he liked to walk. And he walked fast, just like I like.
This past fall though I recently began a more traditional form of exercise, think class format in a gym type setting. Yes, I’ve hopped on the whole Orange Theory trend and haven’t looked back. I should clarify, I’m finally in a mothering stage of my life where I can make time for something like this. This would have never worked with a baby still at home or a kid in preschool. Or maybe it would have, I just never made it a priority. Anyways, I love it. Love it. If you don’t know what Orange Theory is, it’s a mix of cardio, rowing, and strength training. The trainers are awesome and every class is different so you never know what you’re going to get. You wear a heart monitor (either around your chest or your arm) and it lets you know when you’ve hit the ‘orange’ or ‘red’ zone. Twelve minutes in these zones and it means your heart rate went high enough to burn calories for the next 24-36 hours. Yes, please!
My intentions with beginning Orange Theory were never to lose weight but to gain strength. I hadn’t touched an actual weight (aside from hauling around Beckett, ha) in all. the. years. so I wanted to really work on toning and feeling stronger in my own body. Almost four months later doing classes three to five times a week I’m still at my same weight but am so. much. happier. with my body. My clothes fit like a glove. I’m way more confident. Happier. Energetic! Seriously, if you have the time for something like this for yourself – do it! I also think it’s important my boys see me taking care of myself in this way. It’s so cute, from time to time they even ask how my class went and how many ‘points’ I got. Little loves.
Alright so we’ve covered exercise. Let’s chat about food! What do I eat. And to clarify here, I eat. I’m the one when I go out with a group of girls who is inhaling the bread basket and trying to get everyone to stop chatting for a minute so we can get our order in. How am I the only one that is hungry? Confused. Also, anyone who has traveled with me knows I’m pretty much on a infant like feeding schedule. Ok, not that extreme but I need to be fed. End of story.
Ok, so meals. I keep my breakfast and lunches consistent every day because I know it works for me. For breakfast I toast up half a whole wheat english muffins and slather it with peanut butter, bananas, and honey. On the side is a ton of blueberries and raspberries. Cup of decaf coffee (only caffeine for the day) and that is that. I normally eat breakfast around 6:30AM and that keeps me full until noon or 1:00, which is when I eat lunch.
Lunch is always some format of either soup or a big salad. Sometimes I pick it up while I am out and about or sometimes I’m eating leftover soup I made on Sunday at home. I generally keep this meal lighter though, never any heavy carbs. Around 4:00 I normally want to eat ALL. THE. DORITOS. so I do my best to avoid and normally snack on veggies, hummus, and pretzels while I am feeding the boys and making their lunches for the next day. And for the love of the good Lord sometimes I eat the Doritos.
Dinner is always my fun meal. It’s where I am creative and where I indulge from time to time. I eat it all: pizza, pasta, healthy soups, pot roast, hearty salads, grilled meats, potatoes. I really don’t pay too much attention to calories and just eat until I am satisfied. Some nights I even have seconds, it’s really however I am feeling that day. And some days I am HUNGRY. I’ve gotten better over the years about the baked goods. I normally would always have them on hand in the home and generally that meant eventually in my stomach as well. I do have treats from time to time, but it’s not every night by any means. I love to have good dark chocolate or peanut butter cups on hand. You know, because dark chocolate and peanut butter are healthy!
What other little tips do I have. Hmmmm. I don’t drink a ton of wine, anymore. Ha. No, I never drank a ton, but, even two glasses these days even seems like a lot for me so I keep that at bay. I do drink a ton of water. Like, all the water. I make it a goal by noon to have 48 ounces. Especially with sweating it all out at Orange Theory, it’s necessary!
Vitamins I take daily are B12 (supports cellular energy production), Vitamin E (helps immune system) and a Hair, Skin, and Nails vitamin. I also try my best to be in bed at the same time every night to give my body the best chance of a good nights sleep. Doesn’t always work, but I try.
But then of course there are those nights I eat two bowls of beef bourguignon and a massive piece of chocolate cake and drink way too much wine (ahem) and go to bed at 1:00AM and wake up and miss my work out. It happens. That’s life. Balance is key and honestly? If I’m coming in at about 80% on track healthy habits every day each week, I’m good with that. You can’t be perfect in all your decisions for your health every single day. Well maybe you can, but how is that fun?
For those of you wanting a fresh new recipe for January this one is EVERYTHING. A rainbow Asian chicken slaw. I mean come on. Make a big batch and eat it for lunch this week. I promise it’ll make you feel like a million bucks.
RAINBOW ASIAN CHICKEN SLAW
Recipe adapted from What’s Gabby Cooking
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 head Red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
6 green onions, sliced thin
1 avocado, thinly sliced
lots of fresh basil, torn
lots of fresh cilantro, torn
1-2 cups shredded chicken breast (I used some of a rotisserie chicken)
Whisk together the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, peanut butter and garlic until smooth.
Combine the cabbages, sliced bell peppers. carrot and green onion and toss together. Add in a handful of avocado, the basil and fresh cilantro along with the shredded chicken.
Pour the liquid mixture over the vegetables and chicken and gently toss to combine. Top with sesame seeds (and more herbs if you’d like!) and serve.