Weekly meal plan #3 (Jan. 30-Feb. 5)

My husband requested spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles this week, so we’re having both. I always ask him what he wants to eat the following week and he always says he doesn’t want to think about meal planning. When he actually requests something I add it to the meal plan pronto!

Monday

Spaghetti squash pizza pie

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Credit: PaleOMG

Tuesday

Cuban pot roast

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Credit: I Breathe I’m Hungry

Wednesday

Shredded beef enchiladas using leftover Cuban pot roast, with corn salad (corn, drained/rinsed black beans, diced red peppers, cumin, chili powder, olive oil, lime juice)

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Credit: Pixabay stock photo

Thursday

Sloppy joe stuffed sweet potatoes and salad. Sloppy joe is frozen from a batch I made a couple months ago.

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Credit: The Fit Sconnie

Friday

Butter chicken over rice with vegetable korma

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Credit: Little Spice Jar
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Credit: allrecipes

Saturday

Moroccan potato lentil soup

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Credit: Little Spice Jar

Sunday

Bang bang shrimp over zoodles (pretend the picture below has zoodles)

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Credit: Incredible Recipes from Heaven

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

Stay fit,

Marisa

I said sayonara to the scale.

In 2014, I weighed 122 lbs. That’s the most updated information I can tell you because that’s the last time I weighed myself. I even get on the scale backward at the doctor’s office and ask them not to tell me my weight.

What’s my deal with the scale? Why did I stop using it?

Short answer – for my mental health.

I used to be obsessed with the scale. I would weigh myself as often as 10 times a day, hoping to see a different number. I would “celebrate” minuscule losses by eating less and exercising more, and I would punish stagnation or gains with the same behavior.

Even when I thought I looked really, really good, I was dissatisfied because I thought my weight was too high.

Even after I started reverse dieting and eating my “fear foods” again, I still weighed myself obsessively.

I knew it wasn’t healthy to be on the scale that much.

As part of my recovery, I decided to do an experiment. A test of will. I decided to see how long I could go without the scale.

I’m at 27 months so far.

How did I do it?

I don’t take measurements. I don’t take progress photos.

My only gauge for my weight is how my clothes fit. If they’re too loose, I need to eat more. If they’re too tight, I need to lay off the all-chicken-wing-and-peppermint-patty meal plan I was on over Christmas.

I focus on things I can control. Even if you eat well and exercise, you don’t always see the results you want on the scale or the tape measure. I picked three measurements for success: Nutrition, water intake and exercise. If I eat my macros for the day, drink 100 oz. of water and exercise for 45 minutes, I have accomplished my goal. I do something for my health every day. I can succeed every day if I choose to.

I talked to myself. Every day I stood in front of the mirror and said positive things about myself. Eventually I started to believe them. I don’t do this much anymore, but it really helped in the beginning.

What did I learn?

The scale isn’t a necessary tool for good health. The scale is like the middle-aged man at the gym giving unsolicited advice about your appearance and your workouts. His input isn’t valuable. In fact, it’s worthless if you’re happy with yourself and taking steps to be your healthiest self every day.

Nothing bad happened. I used to think my weight would balloon out of control if I stopped using the scale to hold myself accountable. That didn’t happen. Surprise! I still fit in the same pants I wore when I ditched the scale. At times they’ve been looser and at times they’ve been tighter. Monitoring my nutrition, water intake and exercise has been more than sufficient to help me maintain good physical condition.

I don’t know if I’ll ever use the scale again. We own one. My husband uses it. I used to be tempted, but I’m not anymore. For right now, I don’t want to risk the obsession again.

Have you stopped weighing yourself? How did you do it?

Stay fit,

Marisa

Photo credit: Pixabay stock photo

She works out and doesn’t wash her hair.

My husband likes to say this to people because I only wash my hair once every five days or so. In his world that’s the same as not bathing for three months. He’ll ask me when I last washed my hair, and if it was more than two days ago, he’ll pretend to gag and run away.

What’s surprising to a lot of people is that I work out and sweat five or six days a week and still manage to go out in public with mostly-acceptable-looking hair. Although my husband is mortified by my hair care routine, most women want to know how they can go longer between washes.

But wait. Why are women so obsessed with not washing their hair?

  • It saves time.
  • Your hair looks shinier and nicer.
  • Less damage from hot water, heat styling and towel rubbing.
  • Unwashed hair holds styles better.
  • Hair color lasts longer.

Now, without further ado, my tips for being a girl who “never washes her hair.”

Train your hair.

You can’t go from being a daily washer to washing once a week. Add a day at a time and only wash your hair when you can’t stand it anymore or it’s too gross to go out in public.

Don’t touch your hair.

Your hair has plenty of its own oil. You don’t need to add more by touching it.

Get a good dry shampoo and use it right.

Dry shampoo gives me at least two extra days between washings. I’m a fan of Batiste, which costs $9 at my drugstore. I like the tropical one because it smells good and my husband will sit next to me even if my hair is “dirty” as long as it smells good. I usually use it on days three and four if I’m wearing my hair down.

Starting with my normal part, I spray my roots. Then I make another part about an inch over and spray again. I repeat that until I’ve made my way to both ears and sprayed my crown. I let the dry shampoo sit and soak up oil for a few minutes. After that, I rub my scalp gently with clean fingertips to work the shampoo in even more. If needed, I blow-dry excess powder out of my hair. Finally, I brush and re-style my hair.

Blow-dry sweaty roots.

Blow-dry sweaty hair after you shower to give your roots some volume. Then dry shampoo and touch up your style. Leaving sweaty hair in a ponytail after you exercise will make it flat and matted to your head. I know from experience.

Try curls.

Curls last me several days in unwashed hair. They start as pretty spirals and transform into loose waves by day three. For me, this is only an option if I don’t plan to exercise for a few days.

Use braids, twists and ponytails to hide the grease.

Styles that don’t make your hair look like a limp noodle make it easier to go longer between washes.

How long do you go between shampoos?

Stay fit,

Marisa

Weekly meal plan #2 (Jan. 23-29)

Today was one of those days where I looked through my Pinterest recipe boards and felt very underwhelmed with most of the things I frequently make for dinner. But we gotta eat, so I dug deep and pulled out a few things I haven’t made in a while (Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Sunday’s meals). I also picked two recent favorites, which also happen to be very simple (Wednesday’s and Saturday’s meals). Finally, I picked out a new recipe to try – the vegan broccoli cheddar soup.

Ermahgerd, you’re putting a new recipe in your weekly meal plan and telling us to try it!?

Yes. I mean someone tried it and thought it was good enough to post on their recipe blog. I wouldn’t post a half-ass recipe on my site. And besides, how would we discover new favorites if we weren’t a little adventurous once in a while?

Monday

Leftovers! A few Instant Pot meals at the end of last week made enough food that I won’t have to cook Monday.

Tuesday

Air fryer coconut shrimp, sweet potato fries and salad. I will cook these in my air fryer at 400 degrees F for 6-7 minutes instead of following the recipe cooking directions.

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Credit: allrecipes

Wednesday

Steak fajita loaded sweet potatoes

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Credit: PaleOMG

Thursday

One skillet chicken with fiesta cream sauce over rice. I’ll add chopped red peppers to increase the veggies in this dish.

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Credit: Little Spice Jar

Friday

Vegan broccoli cheddar soup

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Credit: Brand New Vegan

Saturday

Caesar salad shrimp tacos and steamed corn

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Credit: Skinnytaste

Sunday

Reuben stuffed pork tenderloin and broccoli

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Credit: Skinnytaste

Stay fit,

Marisa

My half-marathon training schedule

I’ve been feeling thick and lazy lately because I spent the two weeks after Christmas eating candy and chicken wings. What better way to get out of a fitness funk than signing up for a race?

My first half-marathon of 2017 is April 15, which means my 12-week training plan starts this coming week.

I like using this weekly pattern guide from Women’s Running because it lets me decide how frequently I’m going to run. My training plan is based on this guide, although I don’t follow it exactly. I’m doing four running days a week. I’ll be lifting three days a week. One day will be a combined running/lifting day, which gives me one rest day every week.

This program includes some speed work, so it’s not a beginner’s program for someone just hoping to complete the half-marathon distance. But if you’ve done a few half-marathons before, are looking to improve your time and want to add strength training to your routine on a more consistent basis, you should give it a try.

I made a PDF to print so I can check off each workout, and so can you!

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DOWNLOAD THE SCHEDULE

How do you train for a half-marathon?

Stay fit,

Marisa

Photo credit: Pexels stock photo

 

Gluten-free but no celiac disease!?

Sometimes I get the hairy eyeball when I tell people I eat gluten-free but I haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease.

“Oh, you’re one of THOSE people who think gluten-free foods are HEALTHIER. YOU KNOW gluten-free cookies are just as bad for you as regular cookies.”

Cool.Thanks.Bye.

I don’t eat gluten because I figured out it makes me feel terrible, and I can connect certain unpleasant symptoms to eating gluten.

Here are some of the common questions I get asked about my choice to avoid gluten:

What symptoms do you have?

I’ve connected morning belly pain, diarrhea/constipation, swollen/painful joints and night sweats to eating gluten.

How did you figure out gluten was causing your symptoms?

Belly pain was the most obvious symptom I had on and off for several years. I knew it was a gluten intolerance symptom, but I also knew other food intolerances can cause belly pain. I tried an elimination diet for 6 weeks then added things back into my diet to determine the culprit. I figured out it was gluten. When I added gluten to my diet again, I realized it also was causing the other symptoms.

Why don’t you just get tested for celiac disease?

In order to do so, I’d need to start eating gluten again. I don’t want to be in a lot of pain for a test to possibly confirm that gluten causes me a lot of pain or possibly be inconclusive. Even if the test came back negative, I may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. There’s no test for that. My doctor would probably tell me I shouldn’t eat certain foods that make me feel bad. I talked to my husband (a licensed, practicing medical doctor) about this, and he supports my decision.

Is it hard to avoid gluten?

Yes and no. It’s easy for me to avoid the foods I know contain gluten because I know how bad they make me feel. I used to eat wheat bread and pasta and flour tortillas, but I never craved them, so it wasn’t hard for me to give them up when I knew I had to.

The harder part is avoiding food with sneaky gluten-containing ingredients. Some sauces are thickened with flour and it’s easy to forget that. Some soy sauce, meatballs, salad dressings, potato chips and fast food french fries are less obvious gluten culprits. I’ve learned to check food labels more carefully, but it’s easy to get glutened at restaurants. I stick to the special gluten-free menu when I go out.

What do you eat? Aren’t you missing out on whole grains and fiber by not eating gluten?

To answer the second question, no. I eat other whole grains like flax, gluten-free oatmeal and quinoa. Some mornings I eat a gluten-free waffle made with other safe grains. For starchy carbs, I eat rice, white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Besides all those things, I eat lots of lean meat, fruit, veggies and some dairy. If I want baked goods, I make them myself because it’s usually cheaper and tastier than packaged gluten-free ones.

Where do you find gluten-free recipes?

Lots of “regular” recipes can easily be modified to be gluten-free. I eat my tacos on corn tortillas now, put some foods over rice instead of noodles, or I’ll eat my burger naked or in a salad. I also check these recipe blogs quite often:

Do you follow a gluten-free diet? What prompted the change and how has it impacted your life? What are the hardest and easiest parts for you?

Stay fit,

Marisa

Photo: Homemade gluten-free brownies, recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Weekly meal plan #1 (Jan. 16-22)

 

Planning out what we’re going to eat for dinner the following week is one of my favorite weekend activities. I usually do it Saturday or Sunday morning right before I go to the grocery store. Call me a nerd, but finding new recipes, figuring out what meals fit into my schedule and what I can make with ingredients I already have is fun for me.

Some weeks I cook every day and other weeks we eat lots of leftovers and freezer soups. This week is particularly busy, with a friend’s birthday dinner, a meeting I have to attend where food will be provided and a catered event on the weekend. But in the interest of keeping it real, I decided to share my weekly menu in case anyone is looking for inspiration.

What’s cooking at your house this week?

Monday

Dinner out with friends!

Tuesday

Buffalo chicken bacon ranch casserole

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Credit: Civilized Caveman Cooking

Wednesday

Leftovers from Tuesday for the hubby. I’ll be attending a volunteer meeting with food.

Thursday

Skillet creamy lemon rosemary chicken over rice with broccoli

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Credit: Two Peas & Their Pod

Friday

Chicken tikka masala (Instant Pot) and roasted turmeric cauliflower

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Credit: kitchn
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Credit: Marshfield Clinic Shine365

Saturday

Attending a catered event!

Sunday

Curried beef stew over rice (Instant Pot)

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Credit: The Domestic Man

Stay fit,

Marisa