Weekly meal plan #17 (May 22-28)

This week’s meal plan is a little short because we’re going out of town for a wedding next weekend. I hope you get to do something fun Memorial Day weekend, too!

Monday

Sriracha burgers (pre-made from the grocery store meat counter), grilled eggplant, fries (I’m using the Alexia Foods Rosemary Fries with Sea Salt from the freezer section)

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Credit: The Spruce

Tuesday

Greek chicken and lemon rice, broccoli

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Credit: RecipeTin Eats

Wednesday

Buffalo chicken bacon ranch casserole (yes, again, because we love this meal)

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Credit: Civilized Caveman

Thursday

Spicy southwestern salad with avocado dressing (I’ll be adding chicken)

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Credit: Pinch of Yum

Friday

Honey chipotle pork chops and baked potato with broccoli and cheese sauce (I bought the broccoli and cheese sauce from the frozen section)

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Credit: Publix

Saturday – Sunday

We’re headed out of town for a wedding! If the weather is nice where you live, I suggest making simple grilled meat and veggies on the grill with potato salad, like the one I made last week.

Stay fit,

Marisa

Should I diet before vacation?

If you mean, “Should I continue an existing diet/healthy habits I had for several weeks or months prior to vacation?” by all means, continue!

If you mean, “Will crash dieting and exercising like a maniac make me look lean for vacation?” then the answer is probably not.

Here’s why: A one or two week diet before vacation will cause you to shed mostly water weight and MAYBE a pound or two of actual body mass. You’ll look lean for your first day of vacation and by day two, after you’ve traveled, eaten a burger and poured back a margarita, you’ll be wondering why you’re bloated again. It’s just a given with extra salt and carbs in your diet and the change in your routine.

Personally I don’t think two weeks of starving and crazy workouts are worth it for one day of results and no long-term benefit. I wouldn’t do a two-week diet for the sole purpose of going on vacation.

If I happened to start a diet shortly before but unrelated to vacation, I would ease my way in and keep in mind that my results would be delayed because of my vacation.

When you return from vacation and notice bloating or a higher weight on the scale, don’t panic, don’t starve yourself, and don’t spend hours doing cardio. Your best bet is to drink a lot of water and get back to a healthy routine.

How do you prepare for vacation?

Stay fit,

Marisa

I’m trying to grow my eyelashes

Remember how I talked about loving yourself but still wanting to improve certain things? That’s how I feel about my short, stubby, uncurled eyelashes.

I considered eyelash extensions, but they’re expensive, require a lot of maintenance and most importantly, they don’t last long if you use oil-based products on your face. Like 95 percent of my skin care routine is oil-based, so extensions were a no go.

After seeing my friends have great results with lash serums, I decided I’m going to give one a try. I chose Babe Lash, which is one of the less expensive serums on the market. I paid about $50 for a 6-month supply, which seems like a great deal to me.

So here I go, growing me some eyelashes.

Here are my before pictures.18486234_10101630712701183_7644877013798957451_n

I should see results in about a month, according to the label, so I’ll update you in June.

Stay beautiful,

Marisa

Weekly meal plan #16 (May 15-21)

The weather is finally supposed to get warmer this week (fingers crossed), so I planned three meals on the grill! Here’s to hoping my propane tank isn’t empty.

Monday

Leftovers: Instant Pot chicken tikka masala from Sunday

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Credit: Kitchn

Tuesday

Grilled pork chips with garlic-lime mojo, foil pack asparagus, baked potato

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Credit: The Optimalist Kitchen

Wednesday

Grilled burgers, roasted potato salad with dill-scallion vinaigrette, kale salad

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Credit: Perry’s Plate

Thursday

Venison steak and kale tacos with garlic cream sauce

I’m using the same recipe as last week’s shrimp tacos except I’m substituting venison for the shrimp and kale for the shredded cabbage.

Friday

Pesto stuffed chicken, broccoli, rice

I’m using last week’s pesto-stuffed pork chops recipe but converting it to chicken. I’ll cook the chicken breasts at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes plus 5 more minutes with the glaze.

Saturday

Grilled bratwursts, leftover potato salad, asparagus

Sunday

BBQ chicken pizza with sweet potato crust

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Credit: The Soccer Mom Blog

What do you like to cook when the weather gets warmer?

Stay fit,

Marisa

6 self-care activities I need to do

Today was one of those days when everything went wrong. I’ll try to keep the story short. My husband is building me a vegetable garden box. It’s supposed to have galvanized steel sides. Today it was my job to paint the steel black. I followed the instructions to wipe off the coating with a solvent, wipe it with hot water, thin the paint and set up the paint sprayer. It should have been easy peasy lemon squeezy, done in an hour. Instead, the paint sprayer decided to act more like a squirt gun than a fine mister and ruin everything. I was left with gobs of paint all over everything, including myself. I needed to use paint remover to salvage the steel siding, and of course I got that on skin which caused chemical burns. I had to make an extra trip to the hardware store to buy mineral spirits to finish cleaning the steel. I got behind on all my household projects and chores. I hadn’t eaten all day, so I went to the grocery store to get some food (and let’s be real – some wine, too). I came back to a mountain of ants in the driveway and cat vomit in the house. The day hasn’t ended yet, so I wouldn’t be surprised if something else happens. The kicker to all this is I didn’t have anyone around to help because my husband was working.

Since I spent part of the day in tears trying to clean up paint, I decided it was time for some self care. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be more intentional about practicing the six types of self care – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, practical. Here are my goals:

Physical: This one’s easy – stick to my training program.

Emotional: I’m going to make a better effort to step aside from situations that frustrate me by going outside and sitting on the porch while I drink a glass of water.

Mental: I am going to read for at least 30 minutes every night.

Spiritual: I am going to spend time in nature once a week. Preferably this will mean going for a walk on one of the trails where I live, but it could also be just sitting outside in my yard without my cellphone.

Social: I am going to have one friend date each week. I’m going to call my parents once a week.

Practical: I am going to make to-do lists that I can actually finish instead of endless ones that frustrate me because I can’t accomplish everything.

What are you doing to take care of yourself?

Stay fit,

Marisa

New training block/split: Time under tension

I started a new training block on Monday! Patience is not my strongest point, so I was really hoping it would be a strength block with lots of heavy lifting and some PRs. Instead, my programming involves time under tension. I was initially worried when I heard these words because I expected lots of paused reps. There are no paused reps, but every (EVERY!) movement in the program is performed at a tempo. I’ve done a little tempo work before but I wasn’t completely familiar with it. Basically it means the eccentric, or stretching, part of the movement is performed in a slow and controlled manner. My program includes a specific number of seconds it should take to perform each eccentric movement – 3-6 seconds depending on the movement.

The goal is to build a combination of strength and mass.

I also got a new training split that includes more lifting days. My last training block had 4 lifting days and 1 core day. This block has 5 lifting days, and I’m doing my own core exercises of choice on a cardio-only day. Here’s the split:

Monday: Chest/triceps/cardio of choice

Tuesday: Back/shoulders

Wednesday: Cardio of choice/core

Thursday: Legs (quad focused)

Friday: Shoulders/biceps

Saturday: Legs (hamstring focused)

Sunday: Active rest/light cardio

So far I’ve done the first two lifts (and the cardio). I have a circle of pain around my upper body, especially in my lats. But I love it. I didn’t think I would but the slower pace of the movements is soothing somehow.

What does your training look like right now? How do you feel about it?

Stay fit,

Marisa

Weekly meal plan #15 (May 8-14)

A few updates before I get into the meal plan.

I’ve been gone. I took a break from blogging this week to care for a sick kitty who was also having some behavioral problems. Call it a lame excuse, but my attention was fully occupied between her, work, housekeeping and traveling. Kitty is better and now I’m back.

I’m still dieting. Honestly I haven’t been that strict lately and don’t think I’ve made much more progress in the past two weeks, but I’m 100 percent committed to getting back on track.

I shopped at a new grocery store today. So it was just Trader Joe’s, which is not a completely new grocery store for me, but I’ve never shopped for all or the majority of my groceries there. I only intended to pick up a few things but decided to go all out today after I saw the selection and prices of my favorite items. I only needed to get a few things at my regular grocery store.

Okay. Finally. The meal plan.

Monday

Pesto stuffed pork chops, broccoli, jasmine rice

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Credit: allrecipes

Tuesday

Gluten free ravioli (from the freezer section) with pasta sauce (from a jar) and steamed asparagus, red peppers and yellow squash

Wednesday

Air fryer chicken wings with Thai peanut sauce, sweet potato fries and salad

I’ll season the wings with salt, pepper, cumin and curry powder before I put them in the air fryer.

Thursday

Nacho stuffed sweet potatoes – fixings will include taco seasoned ground venison (with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, garlic power and onion powder), nacho cheese sauce, salsa and jalapeño rings

Friday

Shrimp tacos with cilantro garlic sauce

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Credit: The Fit Sconnie

Quick recipe:

Season shrimp with chili powder, cumin and cayenne and cook through in a pan. For the sauce, combine 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, 3 cloves garlic, juice of 2 limes, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 T olive oil and blend until smooth. Mix about half the sauce with 2-3 cups shredded green or purple cabbage to make a slaw. Fill warmed corn tortillas with slaw and shrimp. Top with more sauce, avocados, feta and cilantro.

Saturday

Butternut squash noodles with sausage and kale

I’m using pre-spiralized butternut squash noodles from the grocery store.

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Credit: The Real Food Dietitians

Sunday

Instant Pot chicken tikka masala

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Credit: kitchn

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

Stay fit,

Marisa