Friday, November 9, 2012

Fitness Friday: All About Healthy Eating

Happy Friday guys and welcome to another week of...

Did you know that a TALL Starbucks peppermint Mocha has 350 calories?


I won't even tell you how many calories are in the Grande or Vente. And the week before I started my November challenge, I had 3 mochas. Three, 350 calorie drinks that I didn't even taken into consideration when counting calories in my head. 

And this, my friends, is why I MUST journal my food in order to maintain a healthy weight. Some days I really think I am eating healthy because I had oatmeal for breakfast or a salad for lunch. But then I remember the mocha I had from Starbucks. And the piece of Halloween candy I stole from Addie's bucket. And the chicken nugget I took off Blake's plate at dinner. All these little things add up and suddenly I am 500 calories beyond my daily limit!

So this week, I have successfully logged ALL of my food and drinks in MyFitnessPal and it was such a wake-up call. I've only gone over one day this week and it honestly wasn't by much. 

And in addition to that, I've also taken on another week-long challenge with some of my students. We are currently reading a collection of essays that address America's unhealthy eating habits, and one author has sparked some fantastic discussion in class. Michael Pollan, who wrote In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, suggests that when it comes to eating, we should follow 3 simple rules.

1. Eat Food
2. Not too much
3. Mostly plants

At first, many of my students were not a fan of Pollan. They got defensive, the way most Americans get defensive about food, and started shouting things like, "I can't afford organic food!" or "I don't have time to cook meals from scratch every night." The best was when some of us actually started defending fast food by saying it's "not that bad for us" because they offer choices like apple slices now.

Ha! Even if we are guilty of eating fast food (which I am) we know deep down that what we are eating is NOT the best for us. But we do it because it's convenient. And cheap. And available. 

So how do we change our mindset about eating? How do we overcome the challenges of time and money to make healthier choices? A student in my class said it best...

"To make any real changes in our diet...we have to make real changes in our life. Budgeting and planning are huge, but that's only half the battle. We have to educate ourselves in order to fully understand what we are putting into our bodies. Only then will we be motivated to make the big changes."

This student has been meat-free for years, and just recently became a vegan. He has done a LOT of research on the subject and he shared some of the reasons why he chose to change his diet. His story was so inspiring, my class decided to start a little challenge. We all agreed to go meat-free for one week, just to see how we feel. I even started a discussion board on our class website and it has been active ALL DAY with students writing in about how their challenge is going. This makes me SO EXCITED because not only are my students voluntarily writing (which is an English teacher's dream), they are also assessing their health and eating habits, which is clearly another passion of mine lately. 

I am so excited to see where this class challenge takes us. And even though I don't see myself becoming a vegan or a vegetarian in the near future, I definitely want to make some changes and learn more about clean eating. I have been bookmarking a million recipes on, thanks to my blog friend Vicki and a few others who recommended it, and I have even included some of them in next week's menu. I also have a list of books I want to read, including the rest of Michael Pollan's.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

And if I ever do make the decision to become a Vegan some day (or if any of you are thinking about it now), I know just the girl to turn to for tips, advice, recipes and a naughty good laugh. My childhood friend Natalie, who has appeared on the Food Network AND just published her first cookbook, has been a vegan for as long as I can remember. In fact...I am pretty sure she is the one who defined the word "vegan" for me in the first place :-)

Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans

She blogs over at Bake & Destroy and you guys...she is freaking hilarious and SO so talented. You must check her out.

And speaking of chicks to check out...

I mean really...

I know yoga, clean eating and SmartWater won't make me look as hot as Jen...but I am sure as hell willing to try all of the above to get a body like that.

So I have been missing Yoga a lot lately. The class I was taking ended and I have burned myself out on Jillian's Yoga Meltdown. I am over the Chaturanga pose and am looking for something new. A few friends of mine in the LGN fitness group suggest videos by Rodney Yee. He has a video for morning workouts that I would love to try.

A.M. Yoga for Your Week

In fact, one of my new goals is to start setting my alarm for at least 2-3 morning yoga sessions each week. This is going to take some SERIOUS motivation and it will require my kids (who are currently all jacked up from daylight savings time) to sleep in past 6:00.

This summer, I was waking up for 5:00 runs all the time but now that it's getting colder and darker outside, the motivation to leave my warm bed just isn't there!! But at least with yoga, I can workout in my living room, stay warm and toasty, and start my day with a clear head and a nice tight booty.

So Rodney Yee...welcome to my living room :-)

Alright my friends...that's all the rambling I am going to do for this installment of Fitness Friday. Next week I am hoping to talk a bit more about menu planning, or rather share other's tips on menu planning (I am still a work in progress :) and I will also be sharing my top 5 Christmas Gifts for Runners. I've got some good stuff to share with you. And wish us all luck on our meat-free challenge! I survived Pot Roast Wednesday...but the question is...will I survive BBQ Sunday?? YIKES!

Thanks for reading!! I would love for all of you to share your favorite reads, favorite websites and recipes for clean eating, and of course...any new goals you've set for yourself.


  1. Interested to hear about some of your meat-free recipes. Meatless doesn't really work for me at the moment as I am doing Atkins (although you can do it vegetarian, I just don't), but I have often thought about making more meatless recipes for our family to help cut down the grocery budget. Also - my grandparents lived to be 99 and 93 years old. They were farmers and ate a primarily plant based diet that they grew themselves in their garden. They were also active well into their 80's. I have long thought that that had much to do with their length and quality of life. Good luck with your challenge!

    1. Samantha it's funny you say that about your grandparents, because Pollan's book is all about looking back to our ancestors to see how we should be eating now. Growing our own food, getting away from anything processed, eating smaller portions, etc. I really believe there is sometime to that. And your grandparents are excellent proof :)

  2. Food is my weakness. I did so great earlier in the year when I tracking everything. But then I stopped when I lost 10 lbs. I love to eat. Why does bad food have to taste so good?! Thanks for sharing those books, I'm going to look into them!

  3. Glad you visited the skinnytaste blog - try the baked chicken parmesan. It is so yummy :-)


  4. I'm going to have to check out We're working on eating at home more and out less, but it's so tempting to just drive through Chickfila. I love this link up - it keeps me accountable!


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