Category Archives: health

National Kale Day

It’s National Kale Day apparently! Hope y’all are celebrating.

Here’s a recipe for a kale salad from one of my fave bloggers The Food Babe. Looks delish and very simple. I’m definitely going to try this one. I might be sneaky and add in some chicken!

Kale Party

Kale Party

Advertisement

Day 31: It ended with a burrito

Day 31 ended with a burrito. A big, fat, chicken one. With guac.

But it had started so well!

I had woken up early, loving the fact that I had such a clear head on a Saturday. Sad to say,  but that’s not been the norm to date – Friday nights out on the town are one of my most favourite things in life.  As a result, I felt like I could conquer the world! Or at the very least conquer my bad habits and have a golden day*.

Mags and I went to Barry’s Bootcamp in the morning and killed the workout. (Big fan now, by the way. Huge.) This was followed by a green juice from Pressed Juicery and a healthy brunch of eggs and salmon in Savor., Noe Valley.

‘No, bread,’ I told the waiter, with a smug smile. ‘And, no, I don’t want a box for those potatoes I left behind.’

Success!

Next stop after brunch, was none other than Dolores Park. Thinking about it, I really should have anticipated my downfall.

A bunch of us had decided to go watch the movie they were showing that night, as part of their movie series. I was so excited about it! This is such a Californian thing to do, in my mind. The fact that you can sit outside, in a park and watch a movie and not have to worry about rain, or wind or the gangster pigeons you’d sometimes get in a Dublin park – it blows the mind.

The movie started at 8.30pm, so the plan was to get there at 3.30pm to secure a good spot and have a picnic beforehand.

The fatal mistake I made was not planning what to bring in advance.

I was running late and still full from brunch, so I thought I wouldn’t need to eat anything (eh, in what world would that ever happen, Michelle??). I then wanted to get some alcohol like all the cool kids were doing so I went into the Bi-Rite Market near the park. It was so jammed I ended up panic buying some BEER!

It all went downhill from then.

Of course, the others had brought an amazing spread with them, and of course, I got hungry so I was powerless to resist.

So, first this happened:

Photo Collage Maker_xsNYPE

Then this

Photo Collage Maker_nijOBA

Being honest, this would have happened anyway. Mags made some home-made Irish scones and they were delish!

And then flash forward, past a few handfuls of kettle chips, more beer, dancing at a friend’s house, out to a bar, another beer, and then finally this happened:

Photo Collage Maker_VBaWic

Despite having grazed all day my stomach was hungry for something more substantial and nourishing. A burrito was the perfect answer, obvs!

But, fate, the heavens and the angels are obviously all working hard to keep me on my healthy eating track.

Just as I was sitting down at the kitchen table, all set to enjoy my greasy, fatty, unhealthy indulgence, my roommate Quinn suddenly appeared at the door.

‘YOU’RE EATING A BURRITO?!?’ he cried, incredulously.

Caught in the act, with the burrito half-way to my mouth.

Note, Quinn doesn’t even know about my 100 Healthy Day Challenge, by the way. He’s just a Californian and the idea of eating a burrito, late at night, was probably just shocking in general to him.

‘Emmm, yes,’ I replied, red-faced, ‘Hungry, you know.’

He stared at me, still in obvious shock.

I looked down and the burrito, and back to him.

‘Actually, you know what, this is way too big for me. I’m stuffed.’ (Lies, pure lies). ‘Do you want some?’

I could see the same internal, mental struggle I was suffering from, painted on his face.

‘Well, maybe just a bite,’ he said, after a while.

And proceeded to eat the whole thing.

The next day I woke up, feeling thankful for the unexpected intervention. One of these days, I will be able to intervene on my own behalf and truly have the, as of yet, elusive golden Saturday.

This day was not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But, I am determined to plan better for the next time.

(*NOTE: A golden day is what I’m calling a day where I make all the right decisions from a healthy living point of view.)

Day 30: Tips from friends

There is an abundance of healthy, beautiful, tanned and toned people here in San Francisco.

To the point where I was about ready to hop back on the plane to Dublin when I first arrived. I don’t belong here, I’m an imposter! My shins are too pale to wear shorts every day.

But after a while I realised:

1. I’m not the only one with pale shins. We’re in the tech nerd capital of the world after all, filled with engineers who have pale everything.

2. I can actually use this situation to my advantage – make friends with these beautiful people and get their secrets!

So, that’s what I’m doing – interviewing my group of SF friends to get their top tips for staying healthy.

We’re starting off with Anna. Anna is actually Irish, but she does a very good job of blending in with the beautiful locals. And not only does she look great, she’s also a qualified nutritionist so she speaks the truth.

Watch the video by clicking on the picture below. This was taken on Day 31 at Dolores Park. Blog entry on this tomorrow.

(Note, this is my first time making a video. I’ll get better!)

Watch Anna's top healthy tips here

Watch Anna’s top healthy tips here

If you’re not into videos, her tips written down are:

  1. Find an active, social sport you enjoy
    • Her sport of choice is spinning, which is close to where she lives
    • She tries to do it 2-3 times a week
    • If she doesn’t hit that number, she doesn’t beat herself up about it, she just pushes hard the next week
  2. At a picnic, go for the low-cab options
    • Avoid things like kettle chips (And Anna actually did avoid these things! Unlike myself. I had to actually throw that bag of kettle chips over to the other side of the picnic blanket to avoid them.)
    • It’s OK to have a beer, but limit the number you have
    • 1 drink during the day is worth 2 beers at night – so be careful as you could actually get more drunk day-drinking
  3. Walk as much as you can
  4. On a night out drink red wine, gin or vodka and soda
    • Have the vodka and soda with lots and lots of lime as it makes it taste better

Thanks for the healthy tips Anna, what a super star! Stay tuned for more tips from friends.

Food and Exercise

I just had a couple of those tortilla chips and guac!

I just had a couple of those tortilla chips and guac!

  • Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, steamed Kale, raw celery and watemelon
  • Lunch: Chicken salad, with peaches and grapes and jalapeno peppers (random but tasty!)
  • Snack: Glass of wine…
  • Dinner: Salad with garbanzo beans and some kind of cheese (in a bar) and San Pelligrino
  • Snack: Glass of wine and like two-three tortilla chips with guac.
The late night snack with Lysbet, Isabel and Dzuy

The late night snack with Lysbet, Isabel and Dzuy

Day 29: The power of a compliment – for good or for bad

I’ve been working on living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle for a while now- probably around 3 months or so. Even before starting this blog, I’d been working out hard and paying more attention to my diet.

Slowly, slowly I’ve started to think I can see a change in my body – oh, are my jeans a little looser? Is that a tricep I can see? Does my face look a little thinner? Hmmm, perhaps, that’s kind of cool.

Some wise words to bear in mind!

Some wise words to bear in mind!

It wasn’t until Mags told me that she thought my legs looked a lot more toned recently, that I really started to believe it. What a rush – I was ecstatic, overjoyed, over the moon, thrilled to bits! If she saw it, then it must be true. The impact those words had on me was huge – I was instantly more motivated, more confident, I felt so great about myself. My new, healthy lifestyle was working!

When I calmed down a little later I started to think about my reaction. Why hadn’t I reacted the same way when I noticed a difference myself? Was I really so reliant on other people to buoy up my self-esteem?

I came to the sad conclusion that, yes, this was absolutely the case.

Case in point – my sister Lindsey got married about 4 months ago. I was living in San Francisco and had been making a huge effort to get in shape. There was no way I was going to be the out-of-shape, single, older sister at the wedding. So I worked hard, saw some nice results and was pretty happy with myself getting on the flight to Dublin.

When I touched down I was so thrilled to see my family, obviously. But there was a small part of me that was also looking forward to hearing how great I looked, how fit and toned. And whilst I did hear this, in the midst of all the other hyper chats as we drove home, there was a part of me that didn’t think the compliment was complimentary enough.

And, tragically, I let that totally effect the way I saw myself. Maybe I hadn’t done a good enough job, I should have worked out more, I should have eaten less, I had failed.

Looking back on this I feel so sad about it. I should have been content enough with my own progress that a compliment from my family would have been the cherry on top of an already delicious cake. (A healthy, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free cake obvs).

So, this is what I’m now working on. Being my own biggest fan, complimenting myself every day on the changes I see and accepting all other compliments, or lack thereof, with grace.

I’m also trying to dish out more compliments when I notice something to be complimented. Just cos it is pretty cool to hear!

Food and exercise:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, chia seeds and steamed kale
  • Lunch: Chicken Salad
  • Snack: Yogurt and banana
  • Dinner: Beef Pho and garlic noodles (basically noodles on noodles. Sigh). Lysbet and I went to Sunflower in Potrero Hill. This is an amazing Vietnamese restaurant, in the most adorable neighbourhood.  The Bold Italic recently ran a spotlight article on the hood. Check it out!
Lysbet with our left-overs outside Sunflower. I was somewhat healthy and didn't eat the entire portion, which was enough to feed four people!

Lysbet with our left-overs outside Sunflower. I was somewhat healthy and didn’t eat the entire portion, which was enough to feed four people!

Day 28: The First Date Challenge

One of the most popular things to do in San Francisco is dating.

Sure, most people say that they love to hike, bike and camp but if you look at actual time spent it would appear that searching for love (or lust) is the number one past-time.

America's greatest past-time

America’s greatest past-time

Most conversations with friends (and even randomers you get chatting to at bus stops) revolve around dating- how dates went,  where the good date spots are, which dating sites you’re on, the weirdos you’ve met.

Even if you’re in a relationship, it’s a fun thing to talk about. Couples like to live vicariously through the escapades of their single friends. I’ve even heard of some people, married no less, taking this interest to an extreme level of voyeurism. See an example of this weirdness below and in this article from NY Mag.

Stolen from my friend Gaz's FB page

Stolen from my friend Gaz’s FB page

What’s unfortunate for me, is that I’m not a great dater. That’s not to say I’m not a great date – I like to think I can do the witty, scintillating conversations like a pro. I just don’t go on a lot of dates. I’m on all the sites, but I get bored and drop off after a few messages.

As such, I’m a bit out of practice with the whole scene and I find first dates slightly harrowing. My SF single friends are so good at it, they take it all in their stride, no stress, great attitudes and breeze through the evening coming out the other side smiling.

I, on the other hand, am a bit of a stressball – fussing about what to wear, where to go, who pays for what, where do I sit…

And what happens when I become stressed? Healthy eating goes out the window and, for better or for worse, I turn to alcohol for comfort and courage.

So you can see why a first date might be a challenge for my 100 Healthy Days.

And I’m sorry to say I failed.

I was so busy in work so that I didn’t eat lunch, I was then too busy getting ready to eat beforehand to eat dinner, then I rushed to get there because I was late, so I was dehydrated and gulped down my wine. And then I gulped down the second one. And then I actually necked the third one as we had to leave.

I’m such a classy date.

I then got home relatively late and was starved so I dived onto the left-over Irish soda bread Venessa had made the night before. As well as some amazing chocolate covered blueberries that had been left out.

This was all over chats with Lysbet who had been out on a date as well. Sometimes this is the most fun thing about dating. The chats with your friends afterwards.

So, all in all, a 100 Healthy Days in SF failure.

But I got to go on a lovely date, with a lovely guy, so that was a win!

Sometimes you’ve got to take the good with the bad. 😉

Day 27: Zombie-like exhaustion

Absolute and utter exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks on Day 27. I pretty much spent the majority of the work day like this.

I think our strategy going forward, should involve napping

I think our strategy going forward, should involve napping

Actually, that’s too cute-looking. In fact, it was more like this:

What do you mean I look tired? I'mma go zombie on your ass

I look tired, you say?

Zombie-like exhaustion is the perfect way to describe it.

I dragged myself, from meeting to meeting, struggling to keep my swollen, tired eyes open and contributing nothing of value to the conversations, aside from the odd snarl to let people know I was still alive. How to not make friends and influence people!

In addition, I wanted to eat EVERYTHING around me. ALL of the food. I was ready to upend the entire jar of granola straight into my mouth, followed by a carton of FULL FAT milk, right there in the middle of the kitchen, not caring who saw me.

Needless to say, my body was definitely crying out for fuel just in an effort to keep itself awake and functioning.

I was never more thankful to see the back of a working day. And I was never more thankful for having a long commute home. I fell asleep as soon as I sat down on the bus!

(This actually isn’t unusual for me. I practically have a super-human ability to fall asleep anywhere and everywhere, in under 5 seconds flat. My friends Marie and Kate, who both suffer from sleep issues, hate me for it. I’m convinced they always try to wake me up on purpose when we’re on long-haul flights together. Don’t hate me cos I sleep well).

Whilst Day 27 was a tough one, it ended in the nicest possible way – with the offer of a home-cooked meal from Venessa. Venessa is the ‘house-mom’ and an amazing cook! In under 30 minutes she can whip up a feast fit for a herd of ravenous zombies. So, rather than cave into the exhaustion and order a take-out, which is what I think would have happened if left to my own devices, I sat down to freshly baked Irish soda bread, quinoa and roasted veg and homemade beans. I was never more happy or thankful.

I’ve been mulling over the reasons why I was so exhausted on this day.

It could have been the fact that I stayed up slightly later than usual watching TOWIE – a trashy reality TV show set in Essex in England. Totes amazeballs. Even Lysbet, a pure Cali girl, thinks it’s well funny.

But, now I know, for a fact, that it was all the fault of ‘that time of the month’ (these words should be said in an exaggerated stage voice, looking furtively over your shoulder to make sure nobody heard you).

I know this because:

  1. ‘That time of the month’ happened the VERY NEXT DAY
  2. It was exactly the same as last month. Utter exhaustion and pure chaos from a health eating perspective.

When I stopped to think about it, it all made sense – the granola obsession, bad skin, blah blah blah. I’ve basically been PMS-ing my way through the entire week.

I should obviously have copped on to this sooner – the whole thing happens like clockwork, obvs. But, funnily enough, I haven’t paid close enough attention until writing this blog.

The good thing is I can take action for the next time. The two things I always hear recommended for bad PMS are Omega 3s (EPA/DHA) and Evening Primrose oil.  I buy the Minami Nutrition brand of Omega 3s as I’ve heard from personal trainers it’s high quality. Omega 3s are also apparently great for fat loss!

Needless to say I will be stocking up for next month!

Food and exercise

I was too tired to take pictures of food today. But to sum up:

  • Breakfast: oatmeal and flaxseed, bee pollen, apple and a little bit of peanut butter
  • Exercise: 1 hour of PT
  • Lunch: Salad with chicken, avocado, quinoa, grapes
  • Snack: Granola – not the whole jar but a big bowl with some yogurt and berries
  • Dinner: Roasted veg, quinoa, homemade beans, fresh bread, 2 squares of dark chocolate

Day 26: The cult of Soul Cycle

I’m on a bit of a roll as regards trying out the trendy San Francisco exercise classes. It was Barry’s Bootcamp on Day 24 and now Soul Cycle on Day 26.

soul

(I’m also trying to purge myself of my granola sins by killing myself with exercise. Healthy, right?)

I’ve been hearing a lot about Soul Cycle since moving to the US. People are obsessed with it! It really has become something of a cult. I’ve watched the soul-cyclists from afar for a while now, fascinated by them. (Is soul-cyclists the correct noun? Soulers, maybe?). The one and only San Francisco studio is in the Marina and every time I happen to pass I see crowds of ecstatic looking people at the entrance (in their LuLu Lemon of course), shouting to the heavens about how amazing the class was and how they swore they found Jesus, Mary and Joseph during that last hill climb.

In addition to the regular folks, all the celebs seem to be hopping on the Soul Cycle bandwagon as well. A friend in work said she frequently saw A-listers (Katie Holmes no less) sweating it out in the New York studio she used to go to. God, I love New York.

Needless to say my interest was definitely piqued before my friend Mags suggested we try out the Palo Alto one. Sold!

(Mags, by the way is my new training bud so she’s going to come up a lot in this blog. She’s now been upgraded from ‘my friend Mags’ to just ‘Mags.’ The same goes for ‘my roommate Lysbet’ and ‘my roommate Venessa’ FYI.)

Soul Cycle is an expensive class to take, just like Barry’s Bootcamp – $30 per go. But they do try to make it a little bit posh for you – free use of towels, free use of spin shoes, free hair ties, free deodorant and body lotion in the restrooms, free chewing gum and, this was a new one for me, free ear plugs! Can any hard core fans out there tell me what these are for? Surely the point of the thumping music is hear it and get your groove on? If it’s loud to the point where people need earplugs, why don’t they just turn it down? Actually, maybe they glow in the dark and it just looks cool to see hundreds of ear plugs rocking up and down in time to the music. God knows. I didn’t partake anyway. I’m slightly scared of ear plugs.

The set up inside the Soul Cycle studio is very much like Barry’s Bootcamp. The night-club themed exercise class is so en-vogue now. The quirk with Soul Cycle is that they use candles! The instructor sits on a raised platform, surrounded by lots and lots of flickering candles. There’s a definite altar feeling to whole to the whole thing (soul / alter, get it?). It’s all very atmospheric and lovely.

At least it was until I dropped my water bottle in the middle of the class and couldn’t find it again because it was so dark.

The staff were very helpful in getting the bikes set up correctly, which is so important. If you do a spin class and you’re not sitting properly on your bike, you can kill your back. Not fun!

The class itself was a mixture of spinning (obvs), crunches, weight work and dancing – all on the bike! I think it probably takes a while to get the coordination right. In addition, you don’t have any gauge for what the resistance levels are. The instructor just tells you to turn to the right or left, and you can be very liberal with your turn or very reserved. I think I was quite reserved – my resistance was definitely not up high enough. My thighs didn’t burn as much as they usually do in a spin class. I’m going to have to work on it.

The ‘soulful’ part of the class came at the end, with some yoga-class-esque affirmations telling you to embrace your failures, let go of the past and simply live in the moment. Considering I had another granola slip up today I was comforted by this and finished up the class feeling at one with my myself.

All in all, a positive experience, and I think I’ll try it again. I’m determined to get the spin/dance/crunch combo right. I was so out of sync with the other soul-cyclists (?!?) it was embarrassing.

Also, while I didn’t see any Hollywood celebs in the class, I’m thinking there could have been some secret tech celebs in attendance. I just wouldn’t know what they look like! In which case I should probably make more of an effort with my outfit the next time.

Food and Exercise:

No joke. It has.

No joke. It has.

Photo Collage Maker_Dc7U15

There’s Mags’ foot!

  • Snack: Apple and 8 almonds, coffee with milk before a very early morning meeting
  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with steamed kale
  • Lunch: Salad with quinoa and grilled chicken and loads of veg
  • Snack: Granola (I KNOW)
  • Dinner: Chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, pico de gallo (new fave thing, introduced to me by Mags- so fresh, with a nice kick. Great for making plain chicken or fish a bit more lively).
  • Dessert: Strawberries

Day 25: A Healthy Day in Nob Hill Spa

The secret to good health lies beyond simply eating right and regular exercise. Man cannot live by broccoli and cardio pump alone.

It’s so important to pay attention to your mental, emotional and spiritual needs as well. When these are neglected you often see a manifestation of that neglect in your body- stress, breakouts, exhaustion, headaches, weight gain.

This is how I justify my small, and slightly expensive, obsession with day spas. In my mind, it’s the perfect place to meet every single one of your health needs.

On Day 25 I took myself off with a group of 4 girlfriends to Nob Hill Day Spa. This was my first time going, and I must say I enjoyed every lavender-scented minute of it.

We were there for 9am, which was a good call, as it got a little more crowded later on (but not uncomfortably so). They have all of the usual amenities you would expect from a day spa – robes and slippers, a relaxation room, pool, hot tub, sauna all of which were perfect. The relaxation room was kind of small though, with only 4 loungers. In saying that, I was always able to nab one when I wanted it so it wasn’t an issue.

The relaxation room is always my favourite part of a spa. As soon as I sick down onto the lounger, and drape the blanket over me I can almost physically feel the stress draining away from my muscles. It’s magical. I’m a bit of an introvert as well so I love just sitting there, not needing to talk, just thinking and staring off into space.

And then of course you have the all the free beverages and snacks – herbal teas (ever try rooibos and coconut – yum), fruit and then if you’re feeling especially naughty- chocolate almonds and trail mix. And before you ask, no I did not go there. My ‘indulgence’ of choice was some dried fruit. I had a huge dried pear. Party. Girl.

Our healthy lunch was then served out on the balcony with a lovely view of the city. All of the lunch options were pretty much healthy. Even the ‘sandwich’, where they had replaced the bread with turkey slices.

It was such a lovely day and I left feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and balanced.

And then our afternoon took a slightly kookier, kinkier turn with a decision to check out the Folsom Street Fair. This is not your average family, street fair! You will not find any cotton candy, face painters or quaint singer songwriters. I’m not going to elaborate, but there was a lot of leather. And whips.

This was such a ‘San Francisco’ event to witness – a group of people openly and unabashedly indulging in what makes them happy. Leave your prejudices (and pretty much most of your clothes) at the door. I stuck out like a sore thumb, with Irish Catholic school girl written all over my slack-jawed face, despite my attempt at nonchalance. We left pretty quickly needless to say, wishing them all well with their leather-clad endeavors!

Just your usual San Francisco weekend really.

Food:

NOTE: After the spa we went to Tartine, a renowned San Francisco bakery, for a snack. This place is amazing for baked goods and of course constantly has lines out the door. Their lemon cream tart was recently listed as one of the top 50 treats to eat before you die. I am happy to tell you I did not have anything. I had a cup of tea and only drooled a small amount while the others tucked in.

Photo Collage Maker_9iuAos

  • Breakfast: 3/4 small pot of low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 banana, 4 strawberries, 6 pecans, 1 tbsp chia seeds, large coffee with milk
  • Snack: Pear and some dried fruit
  • Lunch: Salade Nicoise, coffee with milk
  • Snack: Dried fruit
  • Dinner: Wholegrain pasta, with left-over meat loaf and a green salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, 1 sml glass of wine

Day 24: Barry’s Bootcamp

I love trying new exercise classes- I’m a bit of a junkie in fact.

image

There's a party on my feet

Lucky for me, there are so many on offer in San Francisco!

I’ve tried TRX, crossfit, spinning, barre, boxercise, boot camp, reformer pilates, hip hop (which is deserving of its own blog post- watch this space) and a whole load of other classes designed to sculpt, tone, pump, pummel and basically kick your ass into shape.

I used to go to the gym by myself or go on a solo jog, but I stopped for three reasons:

1. I was way more likely to back out of doing exercise because there was nobody else to let down, only myself.

2. I would do the same routine every time, so I would quickly get bored and stop progressing.

3. The cross trainer was featuring way too frequently in my gym sessions. Accompanied by a magazine and maybe an episode of TOWIE. In other words, I might as well have been taking a nap.

So I switched to group exercise classes and never looked back. I love the variation, the energy, the music, the accountability, the high fives.

(Note, I would only ever high five in an American exercise class. Most Irish people are suspicious of high fives. Plus the execution of the high five is difficult for us to master and causes a lot of embarrassment. I had to practice to get it right).

One of the hottest, trendiest exercise class in the city right now is Barry’s Bootcamp. When I heard that it was the class of choice for the Victoria Secret Angels, I knew I had to sign up. So my friend Mags and I decided to head along on Day 24 to try it out.

Barry’s Bootcamp is definitely styling itself to appeal to young, hot, fit club-going, 20- 30ish working professionals. Think low lights, and loud music. Think smoothie bar and branded tanks. Think beautiful people lazing outside the building on benches, wearing LuLu Lemon, executing near perfect high-fives and sipping on protein shakes.

As soon as I rolled up in my non-designer threads (I don’t own anything by LuLu Lemon) I was ready to be intimidated. But, nice surprise,  the owner (James, not Barry) greeted us warmly when we signed in, the instructor walked us through how to use the equipment and shouted words of encouragement as we went through the workout and it definitely got our sweat on, which is the most important thing!

There were a few posers with their tops off, but I quickly forgave them. And nearly fell off the treadmill in doing so.

The Barry’s Bootcamp workout is a combination of treadmill intervals and weights work on the floor. You can take it at your own speed and you have a clear idea of what progression looks like.

I am definitely sore now, writing this the day after, which is what I want.

It’s an expensive class, but Mags and I will definitely be doing it again. It’s a great way to set yourself up on a Saturday.

And the exertion totally meant I had license to eat the below, right? Not a perfect day, but I tried to healthify where possible.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled and bacon. Coffee with milk.
Snack: Banana with 8 almonds
Lunch: A little of the following- Meat board (I am eating way too much cured meats, fact), slice of bread, arugala salad with Parmesan and fennel, Brussels sprouts, capaonata, glass of red wine. We had all of this in Beretta in the mission. Really tasty food, and a lively atmosphere. Dog friendly as well!
Dinner: Jamie Oliver’s meat loaf (minus the crackers, so paleo friendly), with green salad. 2x glasses of red wine.
Dessert: Red grapes and square of dark chocolate.

image

*Not the actual portion size of the meat loaf

image

Dinner guest

Days 21-23: MIA- most likely found in the granola aisle

As you can most likely infer from the title of this post the past few days have been rough. So rough I haven’t been able to face blogging about them. And the lack of blogging, or rather the lack of full disclosure to the masses, most likely exacerbated the issue. If I had come clean, and faced the shame on day 21, I would have probably been able to bring myself back from the brink, instead of spiraling into the darkness… The nutty, oaty, cranberry-y darkness.

So, can you guess what caused this tremendous flying leap off the wagon?

image

Yes, granola.

I can hear you all sigh at your screens as you read this. ‘I knew this would happen. The way she talked about granola in the last post seemed slightly manic. Hysterical almost. A lady on the edge.’

And all I can say is you were right, how very astute of you, well done. Just, the next time, make sure you intervene, k? Wrestle the box out of my hands, if needs be. (It will probably be needed.)

So, what happened exactly?

I would say that over the past 3 days I’ve actually been 75% healthy. Lots of veg, lean protein, healthy fat. Exactly what the magazines tell you.

But the other 25%? I’ll give you the showreel- granola after dinner, granola for breakfast one day, granola as an afternoon snack, pasta (!) and eating ice cream out of the carton standing at the freezer (only one spoonful but it’s kind of the defining moment of those 3 days of madness).

I think the worst thing about this period was the feeling that I was out of control, that I couldn’t say no to the badness, that the granola had complete power over me. And then of course, there were the feelings of guilt and loathing. The beating myself up and telling myself I was a terrible person with no will power, who had just failed the 100 day challenge.

Needless to say they were some dark times, food wise.

But, I am happy to say I am back on track and committed one again to my 100 Healthy Days.

What helped me? Some words of wisdom from my roommate Venessa.

‘Have you ever thought about telling yourself nothing is off-limits?’ She asked.

‘Interesting question.’ I replied. ‘Never. That would just open the flood gates. I would be having carb fests morning, noon and night.’

‘Well,’ she said, ‘think about this. If you say to yourself there is no way in hell you can have that granola, all you’ll do is obsess about it and then eat the whole box.’

I nodded emphatically.

She continued ‘If you tell yourself instead, you can have a quarter of a cup of granola today, if you’re craving it, and then you can have another quarter of a cup the next day if you still want it, you kind of remove that sense of deprivation. And also the obsession.’

You know what, what Venessa said to me just made sense! And it allowed me to get back on track, almost immediately, funnily enough. Without wanting any more granola. It’s like the desire has been neutralised.

Funny how the mind works. You always want what you can’t have.

So, the next time I have an intense craving, I’m going to remember Venessa’s words and just have a tiny bit, with the thought that it’s there for me if I want it later. And I’m just going to focus on eating food that makes me feel good. Ie healthy stuff!

I’m not saying this is the end of my struggles, but it’s food for thought, and thought for food. (Haha dork).

And I’m now back in the saddle! Roll on Day 24!