Tag Archives: breakfast options

Day 40: Ending a week of bad living

The most appropriate way to end a week of bad living – eating poorly, no exercising, general slovenliness-  is with a hangover.

Whilst it’s no fun for anyone, it serves two purposes:

  1. It’s a fitting punishment for the crime- after a week of abusing my body with food and unhealthy activities, I deserve to feel the effects of my bad behaviour in a physical way.
  2. It’s motivation to start leading a healthy lifestyle again.
Yes, I deserve it

Yes, I deserve it

Thinking about it, hangovers are actually excellent motivators for living a healthy life.

As you’re lying on the couch, with last night’s make up still caked on your face and that little stamp on your hand from that dodgy club, you’re filled with so much fear, shame and self-loathing that the only way to dig yourself out of it, is to promise yourself that it will Never. Happen. Again. And that starting from now you won’t drink any more, you’ll eat healthfully, cook from scratch, exercise daily, meditate every morning, spend quality time with your family, donate to charity, volunteer in the community and be the best damn human being you can be!

…Actually, let’s start from tomorrow. The take out is on the way and you’ve just accidentally eaten half the packet of cookies belonging to your roommate and being honest, you’re probably going to go in for a second round.

So, my advice to anyone looking to become healthier is to go out immediately, neck 10 margaritas, don’t eat dinner, dance on some tables, maybe kiss the barman and then watch your life magically transform for the better.

(NOTE: As always, I’m being slightly melodramatic. I actually wasn’t that hungover. I didn’t drink that much, but I was still exhausted and emotional, possibly from a cold. And I also think I’m allergic to alcohol!!! 😦 )

(NOTE #2: The night before the hangover was spent at the Hozier concert. He was playing the Regency Ballroom in SF, which is a brilliant venue. Small enough for it to feel intimate, pretty theatre-like building, ample bar staff. If you don’t know him, check him out. His voice is amazing. And he’s Irish. So, obviously I love him even more!)

Hozier, the big ride!

Hozier, the big ride!

So, what caused the week of bad living that ended with a hangover? God, what ever causes it?!? I always have so many theories on the subject. It could have been any and all of the below.

  • Out of my regular routine
  • Dehydrated
  • Time of the month
  • Sugary breakfasts
  • Busy at work
  • Exhaustion
  • Too many carbs
  • Not enough carbs

Suffice to say it happened and I got a hangover that caused sufficient pain, heart-ache and general self-loathing to prompt me into affirmative action. Once again. Yes everyone, once again I am hopping back onto the wagon, having yet again fallen off it.

But sure, as I learned this week (in an interesting talk on film-making that I attended), you need conflict for any great story with a happy ending. And if this challenge was going to be easy there wouldn’t be a point to it. The only thing I can do is dust the crumbs off, buy some brussel sprouts and get right back to it!

Food and exercise

Not going to get into the details of what I ate. But, randomly, the first thing I did when I woke up with my hangover was make Chia Seed pudding, which is what I’ve been wanting to do for ages.

Gelatinous muck or tasty breakfast? Maybe a combo of both.

I admit, it looks disgusting

I admit, it looks disgusting

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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!

Day 13: Spotlight on breakfast cereal

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and egg whites, steamed kales, chia seeds, raw celery, tomatoes
  • Exercise: 1 hour PT session (leg day)
  • Lunch: Mixed salad, with grilled chicken and avocado, apple cider vinegar
  • Dinner: Brown rice and spicy eggplant with shrimp and chicken
  • Snack: Almond brittle
Photo Collage Maker_VYn4gy

I didn’t photograph the almond brittle. It was only a tiny piece!

I read a really interesting article today from The New York Times, about the decline in cereal sales over the past decade. The reason cited are varied- millennials are too busy to sit down and eat meals in general so are ‘snacking’ instead (not this millenial!); people went crazy for bagels for a while; the number of breakfast options available in the marketplace are growing so people are branching out; and lastly people are becoming a lot more health conscious and don’t want to eat unhealthy food.

About 2 years ago I started seeing a personal trainer in Dublin (howya Gordon!) and one of his most important pieces of advice to me was to fix the breakfasts- ditch the sugary, processed cereals and concentrate on eating protein. Not only is it better for you from a nutritional standpoint, it will also help to balance your blood sugars for the day so you’re not craving the bad stuff.

I cried a little when I heard that.

Cereal and I – we go way back. Some of my most fond memories relate to cereal – my gran sprinkling on the sugar for me when we vactaioned with her in Italy, being so excited to eat Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms when we went back to visit Canada. I would happily eat cereal at all times of the day – it’s carby and comforting. Carbforting – does that work?!

But, based on his advice I did it, I quit cereal! Even the ‘healthy’ muesli I had convinced myself was OK. Instead I started eating eggs, smoked salmon and even smoked mackerel (there was a small bit of gagging the first time)!

I stopped short at eating chicken for breakfast, which is what his recommendation was. I think I nearly threw a dumbbell at him when he suggested it. Chicken!

And, you know what – I feel great for it and it’s one of the healthy habits I’ve managed to keep up. I rarely get sugar cravings, and I don’t feel hungry until lunch time. So great, it’s a healthy habit I’ve managed to keep up. I can safely say that my breakfasts are 99% clean. (Don’t you dare throw those Day 11 pancakes back in my face). 

Note, I actually also try to avoid fruit sugars at breakfast, where possible. Even having too much fruit has an effect on my blood sugars (ie sugar craving).

Try it! And tell me if you have any good breakfast recommendations that don’t involve eggs. I eat them a bit too regularly.

The cereal selection in work. You have no power over me, cereal!

The cereal selection in work. You have no power over me, cereal!

One of the breakfast options I want to try is this. It looks soooo good!

Avocado with eggs. Yum!

Avocado with eggs. Yum!