What I’m Eating These Days

First off, thanks for all your awesome comments and suggestions on yesterday’s, er, mildly uncomfortable post. I really appreciate how helpful you all are, and will definitely be implementing some of these strategies!

So with all my proclamations about how I’m changing up my diet and whatnot for my renewed weight loss, I imagine there be at least one or two of you out there who are curious as to what kind of stuff I’ve been eating lately. No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway, so tough cookies. (Spoiler alert: cookies are, sadly, not something I’ve been eating.)

As a refresher, I’m embracing more protein and fats in my diet, and trying to actively reduce the number of refined carbs and excess sugar I consume. I’m certainly not carb-free or any such nonsense, and I allow myself the lenience to follow my cravings/not deprive myself (within reason). So when my future sister-in-law baked up a batch of awesome blueberry breakfast muffins, OBVIOUSLY I partook. I just slathered some coconut oil on it first. Thus far, I’m finding that aside from the issue I discussed (a little too openly) yesterday, I’m actually feeling pretty good. My periods of satiety are longer, so I’m actually not eating as frequently, and, as you guys know, I’ve lost over four pounds in the past month (which, granted, isn’t a rocketship pace, but considering how badly things were going for my weight loss before, I am pretty ecstatic).

Now because I’ve been absolutely heinous about taking pictures of my food lately as well (WHAT KIND OF BLOGGER AM I!?!), so you might be seeing a few repeat pictures here. But they illustrate the right kind of things, and primarily I’ll be painting you a picture with my words anyway. So, it’s cool. ‘Cause I’m, like, a writer. Kinda.

Anyway! A typical day of eats in my life these days, subject to frequent changes and falling-off-the-wagon… but it’s all about the effort, right? Heh.

Okay, breakfasts. This has really been the biggest overhaul, since most of my experience with breakfasts come in the form of cereal and/or bagels, neither of which fit into the new parameters of my diet. So typically, I’m having something like smoked salmon & cream cheese roll ups, or high-protein toast with half a mashed avocado and an egg patty on top. Both of these are delicious, fairly portable, and really (REALLY) satiating. I usually have some fruit, too–a pear, apple, or some grapes. f I’ve premade breakfasts earlier in the week, like my smoked salmon eggs cups, I can just heat those up and get going. If I have the time to actually sit down and eat breakfast instead of being in the car and cramming bites into my mouth between stoplights, I might do up some eggs and bacon.

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I’ve been finding these breakfasts keep me seriously full until lunchtime, so I’ve eliminated my need for mid-morning snacks. Which is good, because these breakfasts are higher in calories than, say, a bowl of Special K Red Berries with almond milk. But obviously it all works out!

Okay, so lunch–if I’ve been good about packing my lunch–generally is either dinner leftovers from the night before (which is the best when I’ve had STEAK FOR DINNER AHAHAHA), or strange little ensemble tasting plates. I’ve gotten REALLY into just like, a ton of different snacks, combined into lunch, lately. So, things like baby carrots and celery with hummus or sunbutter, a few slices of aged cheddar, grapes, lunch meat roll-ups, any leftover chicken/steak I might have, a Babybel cheese wheel, a hardboiled egg… etc, etc, etc. It’s fun, because it allows me a lot of variety in my lunches, and easy, because you can just store everything separately in the fridge, and grab whatevery you’re vibing on that morning.

Of course, I fall victim to the laziness of not packing/forgetting my lunch more often than is probably good, at which point I really have to steel myself against all the awesomeness that the food trucks bring to the area where I work on a daily basis. I mean, yes, there is a mac and cheese truck… and a grilled cheese truck… and lots of pho trucks… and an empanada truck… okay, I need to stop. Anyway, I often talk about how I don’t feel you have to give up going out for dinner or trying new restaurants (two of my favorite things) in order to lose weight, and buying lunch is no different. It’s just about finding something that fits. There are places nearby that offer great salad options, there’s a sushi truck, and tons of halal trucks that offer awesome meats served over salad, with chickpeas or spinach on the side. Om nom nom. Can you blame me for occasionally forgetting my lunch at home?

Aaaand, dinner. This is really the wildest card. I have dinner at my parents’ house once a week, and still tend to eat out quite a bit. But when it comes to cooking (if I’ve been good about grocery shopping) a lot of the time it’ll be something like marinated baked chicken or grilled steak with veggies (green beans, aparagus, brussels sprouts cooked in olive or coconut oil) and probably a salad on the side. If I’m feeling fancy, there might be shrimp or scallops involved, hehe. And there might also be some rice if I’m having dinner with Sean (he’s a rice man through and through, and I don’t say that because he’s half-Asian, I say it because I literally think if rice were the only food left on the planet, he would still be a very happy guy).


Half of this gorgeous filet would go on to become part of my lunch the next day.

Of course, as mentioned above, we still eat out kind a lot. I’m trying to be better about only eating out on the weekends, though it really is something I enjoy, so it’s tough. But from both a health- and monetary-standpoint, I know it’s something I need to work on. All that said, I just want to reemphasize the part about how it is still possible to eat healthy/in line with your current dietary preferences even at a restaurant. It’s just all about making certain choices, and not being afraid to ask about possible substitutions and whatnot.

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Scallops, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower from Clyde’s

Okay! So there we go! This ended up being a much wordier post than I was anticipating, so I’ll cut myself off here. Feel free to weigh in with any comments you may have about my current eats–I really value the insight that I glean from you guys. Plus, I know that someone out there has to have an opinion of some kind. 😉

What do your daily eats look like these days?

Lunch Packer, Part II (Weigh-in)

So I am very pleased to announce that my lunch packing initiative is still going strong. Huzzah! I’ve been putting my new lunch bag to very good use, and I already feel like I’m saving money (which is good, because I just spent $1300 on a laptop, bahahaha).

Some of you pointed out (rightly so!) that the last lunch I posted seemed a little lacking, and I kept meaning to continue with the daily eats trend to show the variety in my lunches, but I failed. I REALLY wish I had remembered to take a picture of yesterday’s lunch though, cause it was banging. Leftover lamb meatballs with a pomegranate & mint yogurt sauce that Sean made for me last week. Auuuuuugh so good! Anyway, I tell you this mainly so that you don’t think I’m eating sandwiches for lunch every single day. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good sandwich (I channel some hardcore Joey Tribbiani during lunch sometimes), but I know how to change it up.

…Even though this post will certainly not seem to prove that point. Lulz. Anyway, here are a few snapshots of what’s in my lunchbag today, for those that are interested!

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A sandwich with ham, cheddar, greens, hummus, and mustard (thanks for the hummus tip, Heather!), a pineapple Chobani (my faaaav!), and a fuji apple.

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Leftover mashed taters from dinner the night before last (YES!), a sad little thing of string cheese, and a horseradish pickle I got at the farmer’s market which is AWESOME.

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And the most bestest best part, a red velvet cupcake from CakeLove. Kekekeke. (I love my portable cupcake holder, btw!)

Anyway, I guess some of you might be interested to hear how my reinvigorated bring-my-lunch thing is helping with my weight loss, eh? Well, let’s find out! I was recently sent a new scale from EatSmart scales to try out (they’re who sent me my last scale as well, and I have really loved it).

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EatSmart Precision Tracker Scale

This new scale is slightly smaller than my other one, with a really nice bright backlit display (though for some reason, the contrast of the numbers didn’t show up in this photo) and their same “step-on technology” that means you don’t have to touch it, then wait for the numbers to reset, then step on for real. It’s also a pretty fast read.

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My only real complaint is that the numbers themselves are kind of small on the display, especially in comparison to my other scale, the Precision Plus, which has ginormous numbers. (Sidenote: the first time I visited Sean’s apartment, I saw that we had the exact same scale. That’s twu wuv, people.) Not really an issue for me normally, but if I wasn’t wearing my glasses or contacts, I would have to step off and bend down close to see the numbers. The display on the Precision Plus scale are so big I can actually read them without corrective lenses… if I’m squinting really, really, really hard, hahaha. Oh yeah, I’m like, totally blind, by the way.

So! Right! Where were we? Oh yeah, weigh-in. Duh.

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 198.0 lbs
This Weigh-in: 197.1 lbs
Difference: -0.9 lbs

Whoo! The streak continues! Man, it’s almost like clockwork at this point, isn’t it? (And of course, by saying that, I am probably jinxing myself and will have gained 8 pounds back my next weigh in, hahaha). Just like last time, I’m not gonna focus on the one-pound-every-two-weeks thing as a negative. After all, if I’m able to keep up this average, I’ll have lost like, 30 pounds by this time next year! Which is beyond my goal, and who knows if things will accelerate or whatever (or decelerate again, haha).

I’m staying positive and just trying to tackle things one day at a time (and continuously making tweaks and revisions to my healthy habits, of course!) Here’s hoping I’m able to survive the holidays with maintenance… or maybe even repeat the glorious days of Christmas 2010 and actually still lose a pound or two through Christmas! We shall seeee!

Lunch Packer

Confession time, guys. I have been REALLY bad about packing my lunch to work over the past month. Like, really, really bad. Like, I’m pretty sure I could have bought an iPad with the money I’ve been spending on food lately, bad.

But!

That all changes today.

Because I actually went grocery shopping last night (shock!), and I picked up some of my favorite lunchtime snack items. Also, when my friend Holly was here last week, I got a totes adorbs (shaddup) new lunchbox from the Vera Bradley outlet.

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(Please note that is not my Yingling in the background… sadly. Hahaha.) I knew that it was time for this puppy to be USED! So, here is my lunch du jour! I just know you have all been waiting with baited breath.

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Item #1 is a sandwich of ham, cheese, and potato bread (my faaaaav!) with mustard and a smear of mayo. (~280 calories)

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Then we have some delicious snacks in the form of 2% string cheese (70 calories), a mini babybel light wheel (50 calories) and a fruit cup (80 calories).

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I also packed a teeny tiny PB&J sammy, made with some ultrathin bread my parents gave me. (~110 calories)

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And last, but not least, grapes. Nom nommity nom. (60 calories)

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Oh, and dessert. Leftover Halloween candy FTW! (50 calories)

I know it seems like a lot of food, especially for someone who is supposedly on a “diet” (still hate that word, but you know what I mean). It’s 700 calories’ worth, in fact. But I’m trying really, really hard to shift back the focus of my daily meals. I was doing pretty well with feeling satiated and with my weight loss when I was able to maintain more of an inverted triangle (making the “big” meal of the day breakfast or lunch instead of dinner). I’m still not great at eating a HUGE breakfast (although breakfast is back in general, thank goodness), so I’m trying to make it happen for lunch.

Who knows if I’ll actually end up eating ALL this stuff today (um, actually, who are we kidding, of course I will!), but it’s not like I’m going to eat it all in a single sitting. Spread throughout the day, this list encompasses my morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack, which means it’s all totally within regular limits. Huzzah!

Now, hopefully, this ends up being a long-lasting lunch-bringing streak (say that five times fast!) so I can save money AND know exactly what I’m putting in my mouth (Oh no, I CAN’T STOP).

Okay bye.

<3

Daily Eats – 7/16/12

Oh hey, remember when I used to do these? Hahahaha…ha…haha. Hokay!

Breakfast

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Thomas’ Mini bagel (120) with 1/2 tbsp homemade cashew butter (40 cal) and 1/2 tbsp strawberry cream cheese (25 cal)

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Vitasoy soy milk (130 cal)

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1/2 cup cherries (36 cal) and 1/2 cup blueberries (41 cal)

Lunch

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2 pieces of leftover fajita steak (~60 cal) with peppers and onions (~60 cal)

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2 ounces of grilled salmon (~100 cal) with 2 asparagus stalks (7 calories)

Snack

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Roasted seaweed (9 cal)

Dinner

At this point, I failed to take any more photos throughout the day, so I will just summarize the epic fail that was the rest of my day: Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets & fries (like 900 cal – WHOOPS!), and a bowl of blueberries and whipped cream later for dessert (100 cal), and a Campbell’s Soup At Hand (80 cal).

Total: ~1,708 calories

Oh hey, look at that. Even with all o’ that, I still managed to end up in a reasonable zone. Huh, go figure. Not that I’ll be making a habit of it, it’s just nice not to have to feel TOO terrible about it today.

Will Spend for Food

Y’know, for someone who is constantly complaining about being broke, I spend a LOT of money on food.

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What can I really say? I love eating out, I like to cook with high-quality ingredients, and, in general, I just love food. So it’s a pretty natural place for all my cash monies to flow to, right? Granted, I’m spending less on food now than I was when I was regularly shoveling $17 worth of Taco Bell’s finest offerings down my gullet, back in my not-so-glory days, but still. With quite a few things in the works that have begun to seriously cripple my spending habits (a stellar vacation, starting classes and needing a new car, just to name a few), I’m trying desperately to tighten my proverbial belt.

Of course, with my history of being a bit of a spendaholic, this is easier said than done. I’ve since eradicated the credit card debt that had shamefully plagued me since graduating from college (w00t!), but I’m still not very good at saving. I mean, sure, I contribute to my 401(k) and I’m not literally living paycheck to paycheck anymore, but my savings account is still rather sad, really. The few dollars I do have in there are probably quite lonely. It’s not that I haven’t tried! I’ve created numerous budgeting spreadsheets, reconfigured my Mint.com account at least a dozen times, and have subjected myself to lectures from my frugal sister. After months of continuing to fail at putting any significant chunk of my paycheck into savings, however, I think that some of the lessons are finally starting to sink in.

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IMG_1400.jpg Grrrrapes!

One of the biggest things that has been saving me money over the past few months has been bringing my lunch to work. Obviously, I’m a huge proponent of this for health and weight loss reasons, since it’s a lot easier to count your calories when you’ve brought your edibles from home. Beyond that, though, I am saving SO much money. The savings come two-fold:

First of all, I was easily spending anywhere from $8 to $12 (or more!) on lunch when I was buying it. On the low-end, maybe I was just picking up a sandwich from the deli downstairs, but if I was getting something from the weighted hot bar, or going across the street to Potbelly’s, Roti, or Au Bon Pain? Double digits, my friends. So, on my worst weeks when I was buying my lunch every single day, that’s at least $50 that was going straight down the drain. $50 a week adds up fast, and before you know it, that’s hundreds and hundreds.

The second way that bringing my lunch helps save me money is that it actually discourages me from eating out for dinner so often. See, I actually am not the biggest fan of your average lunch fare. Sure, I get the occasional craving for a turkey-on-white, but for the most part, I would much prefer to see a repeat of dinner come noontime than have to scarf down a PB&J. I LOVE having dinner leftovers as my lunch the following day. So knowing that I’ll need something to bring for lunch helps ensure I’ll be cooking something delicious for dinner. When it’s time to pack up the leftovers, I just portion them out into the appropriate Tupperware (okay, well, technically it’s Rubbermaid), and then in the morning I just grab a couple of containers out of the fridge, toss ’em in a bag, and voila!

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As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t do very well with trying to follow a specific set of rules. You know, things like “Only eat out once a week!” or “$100 a week on food, and that’s it.” For whatever reason (my brattiness, most likely), I’m just not very good at sticking to ’em. So I just try to set myself up for success as much as possible by being proactive: I don’t wait until I’m hungry to go to the store, because by the time I do, the likelihood of me caving and purchasing 3 boxes of Velveeta Shells & Cheese is like, 450% higher. Instead, I go grocery shopping on my way home from work. I cook more than one or two people could (should?) eat, so that I know I’ll have plenty of leftovers to last through lunch.

I’ve been doing really, really well with bringing my lunch almost every day for the past couple of months, and I can already tell the difference. The burden of my credit card bill each month is just that much lighter, you know? Hopefully, this new(ish)found initiative to budget, save, and finally start moving forward with my sort-of-grown-up-maybe life will stick. I like the feeling of having money in my savings account, after all. It makes me feel much more prepared for the inevitable zombie apocalypse that is right around the corner the future. I’m sure I still need to work on being a smarter grocery shopper, because I’m probably leaking all sorts of unnecessary money when it comes to that, but progress is progress, right?

What are your tips for curbing your food spending?

PS: Episode 3 of the Reach the Beach video is up! Check it out: