Category Archives: Weight Loss

My Go-To Healthy Snacks

The idea of only eating three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – just doesn’t work for me.  It never has.  You see, I get hangry (hungry – angry) when I don’t eat a few times throughout the day.  So I’ve learned to adapt with small snacks in between meals.  I have a few favorites that really fit in with the IIFYM (flexible dieting) that I’ve been following lately.  It can be hard to find snacks that fit your macros while not throwing off your whole day.

Plus, I’m either on the go or in my office most days.  I need snacks that are easily portable.

5 Go-To Healthy Snacks

Here are my go-to healthy snacks:

Water – usually when you start feeling hungry (or at least when I do) it’s because you’re thirsty.  So always start with a big glass of water.

Cottage cheese – I buy the 2% with less sodium

Reduced fat Sargento cheese sticks

Pistachios

5 Go-To Healthy Snacks

Protein shakes – I’m loving Labrada lean body for her meal replacement shakes in chocolate ice cream

Avocado chicken salad – I make it as a dip with carrots or bell peppers

Nuts N More peanut butters – put those on some apples or even just stick a tablespoon in the jar to eat by itself

Skinny Pop is one of my favorite snacks because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated

apple cinnamon smoothie

Smoothies made with spinach, protein powder, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and usually some peanut butter for good measure

Broccoli – I can eat my broccoli without any dip, but if I really want some then I usually take some Greek yogurt and mix in some ranch flavoring

Edamame

Tyson’s ready and grilled chicken strips that just have to be heated up

protein pancakes

Protein pancakes – I make some in the morning and then take them with me.  They don’t have to be warm to eat and plus you can spread some peanut butter on top right before you eat (are you seeing a trend with peanut butter?)

Protein Mix – I kind of made that name up, but I take some Greek yogurt and mix in 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder.  I even had mini chocolate chips, peanut butter (surprise!), and even coconut to it sometimes.

Quest bars are perfect on the go

Healthy Breakfast Bar Recipe

Breakfast muffins – I usually whip up a batch of these on Sunday night and grab a few before leaving the house each morning

These are just a few healthy snacks that I love.  You can probably tell from my list that I don’t eat whole lot of fruit.  It’s sad, but true.  I have a weird texture issue with most fruits, so I usually have to put them in my smoothies.  I’ve also been known to mix in some frozen strawberries or bananas into my protein shakes for an added boost.

 

 

Fitbit Flex vs Fitbit Charge HR {My Review}

fitbit flex vs fitbit charge hr, review of fitbit

Activity trackers are all the rage right now.  There are ones that track your steps, your sleep, your heart rate, the number of stairs you take, and even vibrate whenever you put chocolate to your lips.  I kid, I kid about the chocolate warning.  But seriously these trackers can do some amazing stuff!

I’ve worn both the Fitbit Flex and the Fitbit Charge HR (HR stands for heart rate).  I started small with the Flex for a few months, but then upgraded to the Charge HR a few weeks ago.  I gave the Flex to J to wear so he and his family could do challenges against one another.  I’ve never seen a more competitive family than his.  They call and text about each other’s steps or when someone is slacking.  It really keeps him motivated trying to beat his sister all the time.  I guess I won’t complain since he’s moving!

I upgraded for a few reasons – first, I really wanted J involved and it was easier to tell him that I wanted a different one and he could just take my old tracker.  That way I wasn’t spending money specifically for him and he knew that eventually I would upgrade.  Second, I Crossfit.  If you’re familiar with Crossfit at all then you know it’s not a lot of walking around.  I mean it’s hard work, but I’m not running across the gym the whole time.  There are a lot of movements where I’m standing in one place deadlifting or cleaning.  The Flex is not going to track those movements very well.  I kept finding myself done with the workout feeling like I just had my butt handed to me.  I would check the tracker and it would say 40 steps.  It was frustrating.  I needed something that would tell me more about my workout.

fitbit flex vs fitbit charge hr, review of fitbit

I really liked the ease of the Fitbit Flex, their app and even their customer support.  I had a problem when I first got the Flex (mainly because I think I have the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active and it wouldn’t sync all the time) and I e-mailed support.  They were great!  Explained everything well and were willing to ship me a new tracker, no questions asked.

I researched different products and thought the Charge HR would be a good fit.  Of course it was on back order for 3 weeks.  That was kind of a bummer, but it was worth it!

Here’s my honest reviews on the Fitbit Flex vs Fitbit Charge HR:

Flex:

Pros:

– less costly at only $99
– tracks steps and sleep
– holds a 4-5 day battery charge
– syncs with J’s Samsung S4
– fully charges in 2 hours
– more slender design so it doesn’t bother me as much
– easily gauge your progress with progression dots on the tracker
-easy to read desktop dashboard on the computer

Cons:

– not as in-depth as the other trackers
– if your activity doesn’t involve a lot of walking than it won’t be accurate
– difficult to switch into sleep mode sometimes
– didn’t want to consistently sync with my Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
– hard to track certain activities (such as weightlifting)
– doesn’t tell time

fitbit flex vs fitbit charge hr, review of fitbit

Charge HR:

Pros:

– more in-depth tracking capability, such as: heart rate, number of stairs climbed, can pinpoint a specific activity
– automatically goes into sleep mode when it senses you resting
– fully charges in an hour and a half
– vibrates and scrolls name of someone calling me
– tells the time, exact number of steps, current heart rate and amount of stairs I’ve climbed directly on the tracker
– seems to be more accurate with the amount of steps I walk in a day
– easy to read desktop dashboard on the computer

Cons:

– bulkier wristband, it takes some getting used to after wearing the flex for a few months/
– only a 3-4 day batter charge, but still not bad
– to go along with the call notification, it seems to alert me on the last ring so I usually miss the call anyway (but I have a habit of leaving my phone on silent, so that’s nothing new)
– more costly at $149

 fitbit flex dashboard, fitbit flex vs fitbit charge hr, fitbit review

Here’s a comparison of what the Fitbit Flex dashboard looks like to the Fitbit Charge HR dashboard.  You can see there is more options and in-depth tracking with the Charge HR.  Now you can pick and choose which tiles you want displayed.  The Flex is J’s from a few days ago.  See, he walks a ton compared to me.  The Charge HR is mine from a few days ago.  I blocked out my friends’ pictures and names just to be nice.  I don’t walk nearly as much as J!

Overall, I am glad with my Charge HR purchase.  I was willing to pay more for a tracker that offered more features.  It was also a win-win because J now wears my old Flex.  He walks so much more than I do in a day, but now I find him moving a little more in the evening to stay even with his sister.

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 9

weight loss, weightloss

And we’re off with another installment of Weight Loss Wednesday.  I am proud to say that I’ve made some real strides this past month.  I really have to thank Whole30 for that because it kicked my butt into gear big time.  As I’m typing this – I can’t move my arms of my head very easily and every time I have to stand or sit I wince a little on the inside.  I’m that sore from Crossfit.  But that’s okay.  I like it!  It’s a good kind of sore.  You know the kind, right?  The sore that means you showed up, kicked butt and took names.  You’re proud of how sore you are because you earned it.  It’s been several days of soreness on top of each other and that means you’ve been committed over the past 7 days.

merelynne

I’m pretty excited to weigh myself after the Whole30 challenge is over.  I don’t know if I’ve lost anything.  My pants still feel loose in my midsection and tighter on my thighs (thanks to squats and lunges!).  Honestly a 1 pound loss will be a victory for me.  It shows progress and that will help me stick to eating clean, more paleo foods, and working out 3-4 times a week.

I think I’m also going to stick with my meal plans on the blog for awhile too.  I don’t always eat exactly what I plan out, but it’s nice to hold myself accountable to eating better.

 

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 8

weight loss, weightloss
I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since I’ve started these posts… I guess time flies when you’re having whatever this is…

I’m also 13 days into my Whole30 experience.  So I haven’t weighed myself or anything.  I can tell clothes are fitting better, but I’m not sure if that’s Whole30 contributed or a combination of it with crossfit.  Probably the combination, but who knows.  I was doing crossfit b.w. (before Whole30) and I didn’t notice too much of a change, except in my thighs because my pants were getting tighter there….

I’m no longer craving diet coke like I mentioned in Monday’s post.  Every once in awhile I get a craving for chocolate or ice cream, but I ignore it and drink water.  It goes away and I go on about my day.  I have noticed since starting Whole30 that I haven’t been hungry as much.  Maybe it’s because I’m filling my body up with better, more nutritious food.  I don’t know, but I like it.  I’m definitely keeping my portions under control.  I know portions aren’t a huge concern while you’re doing Whole30, but for someone who had a problem with controlling how much they ate, it’s nice to know that with eating cleaner it’s not so much a concern.  I have to admit though – the first few days I was starving.  I would take second helpings that were suppose to be for J and I’d eat them all. Luckily he’s not doing all of Whole30 (just eating what I cook for dinner) so I can easily make him something else if he wants it.

I can’t wait to see how my third week goes. I’m hoping to see some more changes soon.

 

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 7

weight loss, weightlossI have to be honest with you.  I mean, it’s more like being honest with myself.  Nonetheless it has to be done.  I have not lost any weight since I’ve started Weight Loss Wednesdays.  I’m so ashamed!  It’s been 7 weeks – seven. weeks.  I don’t know where my head was at.  I was hoping to find the motivation with these posts, but that didn’t come.

I had to do something else.  For my health and sanity, I had to try another way.  I started the Whole30 on the 2nd.  I went into why and my thoughts behind it all last Friday, which you can read about.  So I’m not going to go into detail about Whole30 and such in this post.  But I will say it’s hard… real hard.  You never realize how much your dependent on the crap-food until you take it away.  I’m proud that I’m sticking with it.  I have my meals planned and am in full prep mode to make sure I stick to them.

Yesterday we celebrate one of my co-workers birthdays.  We had food and cake.  I ordered a potato with ham on it and then had 1/2 a salad with almonds, avocado and grilled chicken.  No butter and sour cream on the potato.  No dressing on the salad.  It was actually pretty good.  Then I watched everyone else eat cake.  I did fine.  Honestly, I didn’t want it.  Sure I can taste the buttercream icing in my mouth, but it’s not worth it.  I’ve been doing so good on Whole30 and I’m not throwing it all away for a sliver of cake.

It was a pretty looking cake though…

cake

I also woke up yesterday with a pretty sore throat so being able to not give in to my comfort foods is a big deal.

One of the deals on Whole30 is that you do not weigh yourself for the 30 days, which I can appreciate.  This is not a diet nor is it a weight loss trick.  It’s there to reset our bodies from the toxic food that we normally consume (or at least I consumed).  I weighed myself before it started and will share my results at the end of this month.  I’m not hoping for much if anything, but I am hoping to learn how to eat cleaner and leaner.

I’m still going to crossfit, but I’ll have to admit my energy levels are low.  I read from others that it’ll bounce back once my body is getting used to the new food, but it’s hard.  I’m tired a lot and am trying so hard to not be cranky with others.

I’m going to keep my Weight Loss Wednesday posts going.  I’ll share achievements with you – some may not be scale victories and I’m okay with that.  It’s not all about the scale.  I have to teach myself that.  It’s about how I feel, how my body is reacting to my workouts and if I’m satisfied after dinner instead of feeling guilty.  The weight will come off with time on a cleaner diet (not as in a fad diet, just food you eat on a regular basis) and being more active.

Here’s to a new and improved body and mind!

 

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 6

weight loss, weightloss

I survived all of the holiday craziness.  Barely.  I feel like all I did was eat, sit around and study, and play board games with my family.  Actually, that is all I did the past week.  I tried, I really tried to eat better, but those damn cookies got me.  I still didn’t do as bad as previous years, so for that I’m thankful.  This is the last Weight Loss post of 2014.  Next year there are a slew of possibilities and lots of faith in myself for doing better.  2015 will be filled with a lot of healthier options, better choices and being more active.  I’m excited!

J’s family came down the week before Christmas and we had tons of food, lots of cookies and cake.  After they left I struggled with it being in the house.  It was like that damn Red Velvet cake was calling my name.  I woke up one morning and was just disgusted when I walked into the kitchen.  So I threw out what was left of the cake and cookies.  I didn’t need it.  Christmas was only a few days away and I knew there would be loads more around me.

This year we spent actual Christmas day with my family, which meant only a 5 minute commute.  It was so nice because I didn’t feel obligated to take home any leftovers.  We kept them all at my parents so they did not enter my house.  I was proud of myself for not taking home any cookies.

I’m envious of J – we went back over to my family’s house to play Cards Against Humanity and J had like maybe 1 cookie – a small cookie, actually.  I had like 6.  I couldn’t help it.  I was sitting next to them and they were just there.  I shouldn’t of done it.  I felt so sick the rest of the night.  It wasn’t worth it.

I have some goals for next year that I am going to post later this week (maybe tomorrow if I can finish them) and I’m pretty excited for what 2015 has to offer.  2014 was a big year for us and I know with each year we’re just getting better.

I decided to start Whole30 on January 2nd.  I’m going to have a post later this week with why and my meal plan for the next week.  I’m pretty excited.  I think it’ll be good to reset my body from the inside out to start 2015 off on a good food.

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 5 (2 days late)

weight loss, weightloss

Alright, so I’m not very punctual this week.  I have my reasons, promise.  I was in Marco Island Florida until late Tuesday night celebrating my sister’s wedding.  It was beautiful there!  Sunny, warm and sand everywhere.  Then we came home to 30 degree temps and freezing rain last night.  My sister was gorgeous and her now-husband had tears in his eyes as she walked down the aisle to the steel drummer playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  Breathtaking!

You can imagine how I have been playing catch up at work.  Today is the Christmas Open House at the office and tonight J’s family is coming to celebrate Christmas with us.  I feel like all I have been doing is cleaning, prepping and marking things off my checklists.  We haven’t had time to meal plan, cook an actual dinner or breath the past few days.  It’s been bad, I’ve ate horribly.  We’re starting over next week once everyone is gone and we have a few days of normalcy before the holiday celebration kicks off with my family.

My goals for last week were to:

1) celebrate my sister’s wedding : SUCCESS
2) get back on track Tuesday : FAIL
3) don’t splurge too much: SUCCESS (we walked a ton)
4) crossfit 3x: FAIL

Even with all the crazy of traveling and eating in airports I lost 2lbs lost week.  Not a record setting weight loss number, but still a loss.  I’m super proud!

This next week I have set a few goals for myself.  I like goals because I like to work towards something.  I think it helps when I reach a goal and can cross it off my list.  The one area I have to watch about myself is not being too hard when I don’t reach a goal.  I need to learn that life happens and I just need to readjust my priorities.

1) crossfit 2x this week
2) meal plan for next week
3) don’t over do it while our family is in town

 

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 4

weight loss, weightlossI guess it’s about time I step on the scale to see where I’m at.  I’d like to set specific goals to work towards.  I would also like rewards for reaching those goals.  Not food rewards, people.  More tangible items like shoes, a massage (which I realize is not tangible, but it’s still leaves me feeling great), new clothes, a new book, etc.  I think it’s important to make the rewards things I normally wouldn’t go out and buy myself.

Nothing went right last week at all.  Wednesday night I started getting sick, I pushed through work Thursday coughing, and by Thursday night my fever spiked well above 101.  I was up most of the night coughing and in pain.  I went to the doctor first thing Friday morning and I was the second person between 8 and 9am that had a high grade fever.  GREAT.  I don’t like being that kind of winner.  I’ve had the flu shot, but if you’ve been watching the news then you know how this year’s flu vaccine isn’t that great.  So I was nervous, but my body didn’t ache as bad as the flu does.  So I was given antibiotics and told I probably have a sinus infection.  I went back home and slept the rest of the day.

I broke down and bough myself my favorite sick food – ice cream.  I scooped out one itty-bitty scoop to eat with my medicine.  I had one bite and couldn’t stand the taste of it any longer.  So I took a nap instead.  Usually when I’m sick the only foods I want are the bad ones, but this time I didn’t want anything.  I have barely ate the past few days.  I’ve actually done really good on not over-eating or eating anything too bad because it hasn’t sounded good.

I couldn’t let my sickness stop me because this past weekend was a busy one.  We drove 3 hours to Springfield, MO to visit friends then drove straight to St. Louis on Sunday for the Garth Brooks concert then came straight home (a 2 hour drive) so J could be at work by 6am on Monday morning.  It was long and very tiring.  Now I just want to catch up on sleep and veg out on the couch for the next week!  BUT I know that’s not going to happen.

20141129_154028II

Here’s where I compare my goals of last week to how I actually did:

1) prep at least 4 meals – success!  We went grocery shopping on Monday night and purchased all the food we needed for the next 2 weeks so I could have enough meals in case I wanted to change my mind on the plan.  That way we had options and didn’t not resort to eating out.
2) crossfit at least 3x – well… I went 1x.  I ended up getting too sick to go.
3) write in my journal – I have been consistent with this one.  I purchased a sketch book on clearance from Hobby Lobby weeks ago and have transitioned it into my thought-keeper.

Goals for next week:

1) celebrate my sister’s wedding
2) get back on track when we get home Tuesday
3) don’t splurge too much while gone
4) Crossfit at least 3x next week

I’ve laid out my 4 goals for next week.  What are your goals?

Oh and here is a nice little snapshot of J and I.  His family had pictures done a few weeks ago and this one is one of my favorites. 🙂

justin and meredith

 photo by: Lisa O’Heron.

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 3

weight loss, weightloss

 

I still haven’t stepped on a scale since I started these weight loss Wednesday posts.  I’m afraid that I won’t show progress.  I’m afraid of how heavy I truly am.  I’m afraid of setting unrealistic goals for myself.  I know that I need to so I know my starting point.  But I’m not sure if I will share that number with anyone other than myself, my journal and maybe J.  Maybe.

I know it’s just a number and I should be brave enough to share it with others.  I just don’t know if I’m confident in myself yet.  Who knows, maybe by next week I will be ready to share with numbers.  For now… I’m not there.

I set a goal last week to meal prep at least 4 meals.  I am excited to share that I succeeded with that goal.  I found this neat meal planner guide on Pinterest, printed it out and listed out every meal that I know is clean and easy to cook.  I included breakfast, lunch, dinner and sides.  I prepped for Monday through Friday.  It was great!  Now, I just need to keep it up.

I also set a goal to not over eat over Thanksgiving.  I struggled with it, but I think overall I did fairly good.  I could have done better, but in all honesty – I could have done a lot worse.  And normally, I would have done worse.  What really helped me not be a total waste this past weekend was the lightened-up apple pie I took to dinner.  It was a huge hit, which was awesome because I was afraid I’d be the only one who would like it and that would mean more temptation for me.

This next week my goals are:

1) continue planning for at least 4 clean meals
2) return to Crossfit at least 3x a week
3) write in my journal any time I feel like I’m struggling.

My sister’s wedding is less than 2 weeks away.  I tried on my dress this morning to make sure it was still a go… and it is.  The dress fits nicely and all I need now are the finishing touches.  I can’t wait to see her walk down the aisle.  I’m taking bets to see how much she cries! HAHA It’s going to be beautiful!  I’d like to stay on track this week and next week to make sure I’m ready.

What are your goals this week for a healthier you?  Share with me, I’d love to know so we can help each other.

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 2

Well it’s week 2 of my weight loss journey and I’m back, which means I haven’t given up.  I have to admit I was much more aware this week of what I was eating and how much I was moving around.  It was a hard week for me.  I was out of town this past weekend, I’m studying for a big exam coming up in a few weeks (whenever I’m stressed, all I want is chocolate!), and clients are bringing cookies to the office as a thank you.  Why cookies?!?! Why?!?!
weight loss, weightloss
This past weekend was my sister’s bachelorette party.  It was a blast.  I had so much fun walking around old St. Charles, staying in a B&B, drinking, and dancing.  I was very conscientious of the decisions I was making and tried hard to stick to a good path.  We went to dinner at Trailhead Brewery off Main in St. Charles – if you’re ever in the area, I would recommend checking this place out.  The food is good and the beer is even better.  I ordered a sandwich with a salad in place of the fries.  I have to admit that was kind of hard – you see, I love fries. L-O-V-E them!  I can never get enough of them and I usually order them on the side of everything I get.  So I was pretty proud of myself for asking for no fries.  Then… I got my order… there were fries on the plate and no salad.  Damn!  I asked the waiter for my salad and then avoided the fries.  I did good!  At the very end I had not touched one single fry then I got caught up in conversation reached down, grabbed one and took a bite.  I had half the fry gone before I realized what I did.  I sat the rest of it down and covered them with my napkin.  They weren’t even the good kind of fries – you know, the skinny ones that are a little crispy.  Sooo good! I didn’t even feel bad for not eating them.

I also didn’t drink a lot and when I did I tried to go to lower calorie drinks instead of Budweiser, which is usually my go-to.  I also switched to water pretty early on.  I don’t think anyone even noticed I had water in my cup!  Between the walking and all of the dancing we did, I felt pretty good about it.

I really need to get back into the habit of meal planning.  When I don’t plan ahead and know what we’re having for dinner then I’m more likely to want to go out to eat or pick up something on my way home.  At least when I’ve picked up something it’s been a big salad for me and then something else for J.  I like cooking at home.  I feel accomplished once dinner is done and we’re sitting back, enjoying a nice meal.

My first goal for this next week is to plan at least 4 meals.  With Thanksgiving tomorrow and us being out of town until Sunday afternoon, it’s going to be tough to do more than that.  My second goal is to not over eat over the holiday weekend.  I want to track what I eat using myfitnesspal and be aware of how much I am consuming.

Two goals – that’s it.  Let’s see how I do next Wednesday.  What are your goals for the Thanksgiving holiday besides watching the Christmas Day parade, which is a must?