My Top 8 Vegan Restaurant Options

It is a constant struggle to get good, healthy, vegan food whilst eating out. It is especially difficult when you have a family that is not also vegan. I don’t like succumbing to only fries and a side salad.  For one, french fries aren’t healthy and at many restaurants they aren’t vegan. After transitioning to a plant based diet after New Year here are some of my more satisfying meals. Most are from national chains, but there are a few local and/or regional favorites here.

vegan eating out

1. Chipotle

I love Chipotle. I think almost everybody does. I actually have never actually had a burrito. Before it was because I was trying to do a low carb/paleo diet, now it is due to my wheat allergy. Also, the food is so filling I can’t imagine adding a huge tortilla into the mix. I typically get either the salad or a burrito bowl with brown rice. I get the sofritas with black beans, lettuce, onions & peppers, every salsa the offer, and guacamole. Before became vegan I had a love-hate relationship with beans, but I of course have had to let that go. I don’t like relying on a lot soy products for my protein so I switched to getting the veggie bowl instead of sofritas. I get both black beans and pinto beans and the biggest plus is that guacamole is FREE!

2. Taco Bell

I know fast food is not healthy period, but sometimes you can’t get around it. Taco bell is like the generic Chiptole for me. I either get black bean tacos, fresco style, with guacamole. Or the power bowl without sour cream, cheese, or avocado cream, and extra guacamole. With both meals I get a side of pintos without cheese. I would like it if they did like chipotle and gave guacamole for free if your getting no meat or dairy. I mean, they could at least give me that.

3. Chic-fil-a

I feel better about getting Chic-fil-a for myself and my family because they have been rated as one of the best fast food restaurants as far as hormones, pesticides, and GMOs, etc, are concerned. I usually get a large super-food salad that has kale, broccolini, nuts, and dried cherries. Or I will get their southwestern salad without chicken or cheese. I don’t get the salad a lot, because they will charge less without meat (some restaurants don’t), I still think its over priced.

4. Kimono Japanese (local)

This is a restaurant local to where I live, but I’m sure any hibachi place offers similar options. I get the spicy teriyaki dinner with tofu, mixed vegetables, and steamed rice. I made the mistake once of getting fried rice, I even remembered to ask for no egg, but I didn’t think about butter/margarine. I decided to go with steamed rice to be safe regardless.  They offer many vegan sushi rolls including: avocado, cucumber, sweet potato, mushroom, and veggie. I get the veggie which included avocado,cucumber, and asparagus. Asian is always a good choice because their food is usually naturally dairy free and the vegan choices don’t leave me staring at my families food like a sad puppy dog. The same goes for Mexican or Hispanic food;as long as a have plenty of GOOD avocado or guacamole.

5. Carrabbas

The other weekend, my husband wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to get his favorite lobster ravioli from Carrabbas for take out. We had been avoiding it since I found out about my dairy allergy, but I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice. But I had to figure out something I could get that would be satisfying. They now have a gluten free pasta. So I got it, along with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, in olive oil and garlic. I added some nutritional yeast when I got home and it was delicious. This same could probably be done at any Italian Restaurant. Pasta with marinara sauce is usually safe, but I typically like something a little more adventurous.

6. Chili’s

I thought I was safe getting guacamole and chips, which also come with salsa. I got that when eating their with some coworkers. My dairy allergy let me know that it was not a safe vegan option as that evening I was camped out on the toilet (sorry TMI). After researching I found out their tortilla chips have dairy. This makes as much sense as french fries and hash browns with dairy, but somehow they find a way to mess it up. When I checked their website they say to get guacamole with flour tortillas. For one, who the heck even wants that, and for two I can’t due to my wheat allergy. So my go to meal from Chili’s is black beans and rice or the quinoa blend if I’m feeling super healthy. I may also get a side salad or guacamole and/or salsa. I know it seems a little lack luster compared to the other options I’ve listed, but I really, really enjoy their black beans, so it works for me.

7. Mozzarella Fellas (local)

This list is not in ranking order, but I did save the best for last. This the latest jewel that I’ve discovered in my city. My husband was missing the New York pizza place from our home town, and someone suggest them.  I usually get a small veggie pizza without cheese from pizza places. If they have gluten free I get it, if not, I ignore my mild wheat allergy. When I checked then menu I was pleasantly surprised that they had several, not only vegetarian, but VEGAN options. They use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. Unlike the chain Mellow Mushroom, which I have not added to this list, because they use disgusting Daiya cheese.  They also have a vegan ranch and cashew flakes they use in place of Parmesan cheese. The dishes I’ve tried thus far are the crab cakes made with artichokes and heart of palm, Fit for  Queen margarita pizza, Bbq pizza made with jack fruit. What I like it that they realize that vegan cheese, even a superior brand, will never replace real cheese. So there pizzas are elevated with lots of other flavors. The vegan margarita pizza includes pickled red onions and a balsamic glaze. They Bbq pizza has bbq sauce, of course, jalapeños, and a ranch drizzle. This place is beyond awesome. My husband actually prefers another Italian Restaurant’s pizza over this place, but we compromise, because of their wonderful vegan options for me.

8. Smoothie King

Saturday mornings are traditional for fast food in my family. My husband loves McDonald’s breakfast but sometimes gets Bojangles or Taco Bell. We have a plethora of restaurants down the main road near our apartment. On the way to get his favorite fast food breakfast, I swing by smoothie king and get the Dark Chocolate Banana smoothie, with Kale. They always have a $1 off coupon on each receipt and I use the rewards to eventually get a free smoothie. Sometimes I treat my son to a Little Angel, their strawberry banana smoothie, or get a medium and share mine. I

I know there are many other options that are great for vegans, but this is what I’ve experienced thus far. I hope to find more places that will make eating out not such a pain. Or maybe I shouldn’t. The more tasty vegan options I find, the emptier my bank account is. What are some other good places you’ve found to be convenient and delicious options for vegans?

 

First 2017 Weigh-In

The scale and I have a love hate relationship. Really, its just a hate relationship. Weighing myself is typically never a good thing. If I’ve gained or not lost as much weight as I think I should, I get discouraged and start thinking it doesn’t matter. I think I’m just destined to be overweight and go back to eating whatever I want and quit working out. If I have lost a significant amount of weight I end up loosening up too much. I think I just lost 10 pounds I can afford to treat myself, and I never stop. So since I started working out consistently and eating primarily plant based  in January, I had not weighed myself. I decided I would weigh myself at least every month. I can adjust my diet and/or exercise if I need to but it not like doing it weekly which causes me to obsess over the numbers every weigh-in. So here’s what happened for the first weigh in of the year.

I lost weight! Yay…..but it was only a pound. I was shocked to see that I only lost a pound. I felt like it should’ve been

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Progress photo {before (right)-after (left)}

much more than that. I thought I could see a difference in my body, and I surely can feel a difference in how my clothes fit. I was thinking it would be at least 5 pounds. As a physical and health education teacher, I know the “muscle weighs more than fat” deal. But I did not think that my exercise regimen would cause that much muscle gain. I only do crossfit once a week on Saturdays. During the week I alternate between beachbody’s Cize and Insanity. I know insanity is intense, but its all with only my body weight, no heavy lifting, which is what I believed to cause the bulk up, gain weight effect. I may go to other ways of measuring my success, like monthly measurements and pictures.

I am staying positive and I am going to celebrate (mentally not with food) my pound of weight loss. At the end of the day I feel better and the numbers are going in the right direction, even if it is at a slower rate than I’d like.

7 Benefits of A.M. Workouts

morningSince the New Year, I got the crazy idea to start working out in the morning. I always avoided it before, because I need my precious sleep. But I’d always end up too tired or overwhelmed to exercise in the evenings. I thought I’d lead workouts after work, but those have been a flop this year. So I finally decided to stop making excuses and get my workouts done in the mornings. These are the reasons I’m loving it.

1. It gets me pumped!

Exercising in the morning has been so rejuvenating. Rather than tire me out for the rest of the day, it gives me energy. Exercise releases endorphins, those chemicals put me in a good mood and gets me ready to concur anything that comes my way.

2. I have to be organized

Because I am waking up an hour early to workout if forces me to organize the rest of my day so that everything doesn’t fall apart. I pick out my clothes, make lunches, clean, prepare lesson plans, and etc. I do all this to make up for waking up an extra hour. I usually make up more than that and I am more on point than ever before.

3. I actually get MORE sleep

Yes, you read that right, waking up an hour earlier actually allows me to get more sleep. Because I am preparing to wake up earlier I deliberately go to sleep in order to get my 8 hours in. Sometimes I still fall short, but its much better. Before, I would stay up on social media until 1, 2, or sometimes 3 in the morning. My sleeping schedule was HORRIBLE. Before I was working out I’d pass out shortly after I put my son to bed at 8, wake up again at about 11 and then be up until 4 in the morning, no wonder I had no energy to exercise, much less anything else. I was miserably just getting by during the day. Now I am well rested and energized through the day and fail asleep soundly somewhere in between 9-11, then wake up ready for my next workout.

4. I drink more water

Drinking water has always been a struggle of mine. Even if I was eating healthy I would not drink water. I could go an entire day without drinking anything but coffee. Before I workout I drink a big glass of water, I drink another during the workout, and another after. That’s half of the water I need for the day. It does make me have to rush to the bathroom right as I clock in. After that if I get just 1-2 bottles in at work and 1-2 at home with dinner, I’m good for the day.

5. I get creative

What exactly am I doing at 5 in the morning? Right now I’ve been alternating between doing Beachbody Cize workouts and Insanity. The Cize day is like the fun workout, and Insanity puts me in beastmode. I do the videos Monday-Friday, Saturday is a wild card day for a free community class or playing with my son, and Sunday is a rest day, I might do some yoga if I feeling up to it.  I also have a fitness room at my apartment that I could use. I have saved tons of circuits and workouts from Pinterest that will acutally be put to use now. The sky is the limit, but I have a chance to actually get creative and independently try new things without being worried about the other people around me are doing or thinking.

6. I have “me time”

I absolutely love my husband and son. I love my job. But these morning workouts I have all to myself. Its just me and the living room space. Sometimes I lose myself in the workout, I don’t even realize I’m exercising because I can hear all the thoughts that I don’t hear during the business of the day.

7. I eat healthier

Doing my workouts in the morning sets me up for healthier eating throughout the day. I’m already motivated and don’t want to undo my progress. So many times before, I’d put the workout I intended to do in MyFitnessPal and the never do it. Now I already have it covered, so I know not the overindulge. Plus, I still have the opportunity to do a little extra if I want at the end of the day. Although I still have issues with extra snacking, at least I’m motivated to plan better meals, because of my exercise routine.

I hope I keep this up and don’t fall off, because it has been really beneficial for me all around. My husband has even noticed. He says I seem happier and not so exhausted and defeated when I get home from work. He even claims he can tell a difference in my body, but I never believe him when he says that, because he says it even when I know I’ve put on 10 pounds. You can’t beat these results though. My ultimate goal is to lose weight, but all the other improvements are great as well. I waiting a month before I weigh myself. Even if I don’t like what the numbers says, sometimes there’s more to it that just losing weight. I’m just trying my best to be healthy, hoping that everything will fall into place. Making exercise a MANDATORY part of my schedule is my first step.

Two Way Dinners

So as you may have noticed in my previous post my diet is a little vegan, mixed with a little paleo. I basically try to eat a plant based paleo diet. It is very difficult for me at times, but I do it because I feel it is the healthiest option. That being said my son and husband don’t always see it the same way. I am trying to be healthy and lose weight. They don’t have the same goals or ideals, so I don’t force my choices on them. As the main cook in the house I have to adjust to be agreeable with everyone’s dietary choices. My son is 2 and a picky eater. I have to find a balance of creating meals with foods that are good for him and he likes, not including junk. My husband is a BIG man, he does not eat “rabbit food” as I’ve been told I eat by colleagues. Having a healthy family is very important for me, but it takes compromise. I usually end up cooking two versions of meals. One to fit my dietary needs and restrictions and one that my family will actually eat. My goals for my family are less fast food and processed foods, as well as more fruits and especially vegetables. I will fry foods for them from time to time, usually a weekend meal. They still eat grains like bread, rice and pasta, but they are whole grain. They also typically eat meat with every meal, while I restrict my meat to once a day, usually dinner. Here are a few of my “2 way dinners”.

Hamburger Helper

I make a homemade hamburger helper with ground turkey, whole wheat pasta, and a sauce from real milk and cheese, not whatever powdery substance comes in the box. I got the recipe from Pinterest, and honestly its just as easy and quick as the boxed version. My version is made with squash or zucchini noodles made with a vegetti, a vegan cheese sauce, and ground turkey. I mix some of the vegan cheese sauce with my sons because he rarely eats the vegetables that are put on his plate so I hide it whenever I can.  With this dinner a include a vegetable side like broccoli, asparagus, green beans, or salad. I never tell my husband that its homemade, but he looks up and asks “is this real hamburger helper?” I say, “of course”. He follows up with “did you make it from the box?”, and I say “no, is it nasty?”, He says “no, but I can tell its different.” He continues to eat, and I shrug my shoulders and say “your the only husband in the world that complains about scratch made meals.”

hamburger helper
There’s vs Mine

Tacos/Tex Mex

Whenever I make tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or quesadillas, my version ends up being some type of taco bowl or salad. I change the base to keep things varied, like it might be a salad with whatever fillings they had topping lettuce minus the sour cream and cheese. I may do a burrito bowl substituting quinoa for rice or a may roast some sweet potatoes.

sweet potatoe taco bowl
Sweet Potato enchilada skillet bowl

Asian Nights

I tried making potstickers once and my husband loved them. I knew I couldn’t take them away from our Asian night dinner line up. So I typically eat a meatball made from the chicken or turkey filling inside the potstickers. I make a sauce from soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, and sriracha. They dip the potstickers in a drizzle it on top my meatballs. We both have stir fried vegetables, I usually have a bigger serving. They have fried brown rice.

Another meal in the Asian dinner lineup are various Chinese dishes like orange, sesame, sweet and sour chicken, and Mongolian beef. I fry theirs in a cornstarch and egg batter with stir fried vegetables,and fried brown rice. I bake my chunks of meat in the oven and top with the same sauce with vegetables and no rice.

asian meatballs
Asian Meatball Bowl

So with just a few tweaks and some compromise, everybody can get what they want and need out of dinner. I had adapted some of our favorite restaurant and packaged meals to be healthier and still had my more drastic dietary changes. That’s what we call, in education, differentiation. Does anybody else tailor meals for their families or I am just a push over? Also, message me if you would like any of the featured recipes in detail.

 

7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan

 

Many people are familiar with the term “Flexitarian”, a Flexitarian diet or a semi-It's a Wrap!vegetarian diet is mostly plant based with the occasional inclusion of meat. I have decided to be a “Part Time Vegan”, which I guess you could say is a Flexitarian as well being that I occasionally include meat, but I still don’t consume other animal products such as eggs and dairy. These are the 7 reasons you should be a Vegan Flexitarian.
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  1. Recipe Creativity

Since I won’t be able to “cheat” with foods like bacon and cheese to create delicious recipes I have to get creative with my meals. Some of my favorite ingredients to include in my vegan meals are avocados, quinoa, black beans, kale, mushrooms, tofu, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. I used these foods in my cooking before but even more so that I am focusing on vegan cooking. Mushrooms are a great meat substitute being that they give a dish a heartiness like meat does. Avocado often takes the place of creamy dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, and cheese. Black beans, tofu, chickpeas, and quinoa are very good sources of protein in a meatless diet. Almost nothing beats oven baked crispy chickpeas or tofu in a dish, well almost nothing except bacon, but I’m not going there. I’m constantly searching Pinterest for interesting ingredients that get me excited about preparing and enjoying meals even without meat.

2. Limiting Hormones and Other Chemicals

If you enjoy eating meat, fast food, and processed food I am warning you, DO NOT watch “Food Inc.” I saw it on Netflix and as a health and fitness professional I felt obligated to see what information the popular documentary had to offer. I’m not sure if I am happy that I know or that I am mad that it ruined food for me. Conventional foods are pumped with all kinds of chemicals to keep up with the consumer’s demands. First its the growth hormones, that give us chicken breast the size of footballs. Then the antibiotics, that may be causing bacteria to become resilient and end modern medicine as we know it. Then its the overall harmful and unsanitary treatment of the animals. I saw cows that had feces matted in its fur, from being packed in factories rather than rooming in a field. This also reminded by of slaves packed on ships during the middle passage.  I used to believe that it didn’t matter since they were going to the slaughter house, but it does matter. The harmful treatment passes down to us at our dinner tables. Not to mention the abuse that is done to the humans that must work in these environments. I hate to be that person preaching about bad meat is. I’m not going off it totally hence the “flex” part, but a drastic decrease was necessary for me.

3. Weight Loss

Eating vegan does not necessarily mean you will lose weight. I mean french fries and oreos are vegan. But a clean vegan diet, will definitely help. Animal based proteins typically come with higher saturated fat and calories, so if I’m swapping out things like fried chicken, hamburgers, and steak, for quinoa, tofu, and beans typically that will cause a calorie deficit and therefore weight loss. I do have to be careful, because with the saturated fats I lose with animal proteins, comes the “healthy” fats with plant based proteins. Nuts, seeds, and avocados while full of healthy unsaturated fats still pack a lot of calories. I find myself leaning on avocado because I love it so much and it satisfies a lot of calories, so I have to still use portion control. Even fruits can be a gamble because while its natural sugar, certain fruits like bananas, grapes, watermelon, and pineapple have a lot of fruit. So while a vegan plant based diet will hopefully help me reach me weight loss goals. I still have to make sure I am eating clean and using portion control.

4. More Nutrients

Eating a diet that focuses on real plant based products, rather than a lot of processed junk will ensure that I am consuming an abundance of nutrients. Because I am eating fruit and vegetables with every meal, because they are the focus of most of my meals I am guaranteed to reach my vitamin and mineral needs. A clean vegan diet includes pretty much all nutrient dense foods.

5. Cheaper

Meat is expensive. It is the largest part of my grocery bill, and while I am not dragging my husband and son into this, just the reduction of meat on my part will help us reduce our grocery bill. I would probably spend $50 a month on chicken breast alone. I used them so much; in salads or wraps for lunch as well as main courses for dinner. Now I only need to purchase meat for my husbands lunch and dinner. Although my son rarely eats meat anyways, he’s pretty much a vegetarian himself just my being a picky toddler. I live off of chickpeas and black beans when it comes to lunch and whether in the can or dried variety they are a fraction of the cost of meat.

6. Allergies

Many people have allergies to dairy products. I have done some research that suggest that humans should not even being consuming cow’s milk. We are the only species that consumes milk from other animals. This milk, like a human mother’s breast milk ,

 

was meant for their young. I wish I could say the decision I made was based solely on this, be I’m not that righteous.  A few months ago I discovered I was allergic to a few foods including milk and eggs. So minus the meat I was vegan already. When I first learned of this I thought I’d rather be allergic to meat that milk, but I’ve decided to turn this into an opportunity for self improvement.

7. I still like meat

This reason is geared towards the “part time” , “flexi”, and “semi” part. If animal protein are so bad, why not cut them out completely. Because I’m a foodie and I love all food, including and especially meat. I have always been a meat eater, but the grown up wiser me is making better decisions for my well being. I thought maybe I’ll stick with just seafood from time to time. But that just isn’t realistic for me. I enjoy eating a good medium rare steak, and will eat a pack of pepperoni myself, and bacon, don’t get me started on bacon. But I know these things aren’t good for me to be eating in excess, so I’ve decided to drastically reduce, not eliminate my consumption of meat.

This is why I’ve chosen the semi, part time, or flexivegan (whatever you want to call it) diet. I will always stand firm that moderation is key. I never, say never, when it comes to food. But I am making better decisions that will hopefully be worth the sacrifice in the long run.

Leading for Self-Improvement

I previously discussed how disappointed I am with my weight loss progress. I had lost 50 pounds of the weight I gained from pregnancy. This brought me back to the heavier end of my pre-baby weight. I was feeling good about myself and encouraged to keep the momentum going in order to lose an additional 20 pounds to reach my goal weight. But, then I hit a wall. I found myself unable to continue my gym membership, thus unable to workout 1.5-2 hours that was critical to achieve the initial weight loss success. I wasn’t working out and I was also over eating. I found out around Christmas that I was allergic to wheat, eggs, dairy, and peanuts. My diet consisted in a combination of over compensating with what I could eat and just ignoring my allergies all together, rebelling and eating any and everything in sight. 3 months later and I am looking at a 15 pound weight gain. I identified my decrease in exercise as a catalyst for everything, so I wanted to tackle that problem.

Not being able to go to a gym and exercise is just an excuse for me. I have too many resources and too much knowledge about fitness. I am a Physical and Health Education teacher for crying out loud! I have to walk the talk and be a good example for my students, peers, and family. This is my passion and my calling in life. So I have to put in the work necessary to lead the masses. So how can I get over my own personal issues for the greater good? I decided to use my passion to motivate me. I am a very competitive person, which is what made the group exercise classes such a great thing for me. I took pride in being at the front of the class trying to out do or stay up to par with the instructor. Now that I don’t have my membership the only way to bring that same spirit would be to lead my own workouts.

Some colleagues of mine expressed that they wanted to lose weight by running the stairs in our school. I had previously brushed it off because I had my own workout regimen that was working for me. I decided that I would not only join in on their activities, but I would also invite them to some activities of my own. Another reason I did not reason jump at the opportunity to workout with them was because I didn’t believe what they were planning to do was effective. Of course doing stairs is better than nothing, but it wasn’t a very comprehensive exercise. They would not being running up and down stairs long enough to build any considerable amount of cardiovascular endurance and it would be focusing on building lower body strength. I didn’t want to rain on their parade so I just avoided the topic. Now that I am planning workouts in addition to theirs, I can give some advice and ideas without being condescending.

Previously I occasionally led Zumba Fitness classes, but it didn’t really take off. I wasn’t able to be consistent with my demanding athletic schedule and everybody did not like Zumba and dancing. Now I am planning on alternating between circuit training, weight lifting, running, HIIT (high intensity interval training), Dance Fitness (I can’t call it Zumba anymore because I am no longer licensed), and Yoga. I will lead workouts Tuesday and Thursday and alternate between the different types of workouts each week. As the instructor this will push me to do my best and be consistent for my group. When I workout on my own its hard for me to push myself without any competition so the intensity of my home workouts tend to be very low. I hope to lead by example; spreading the importance of fitness, introducing others to some new exercise ideas and concepts, and intensifying my own weight loss efforts. Plus, I gots to have a really hot body to pull off a lot of female Cosplay ideas.

jogging

 

Weight Loss Woes

One of the major topics of my blog is healthy living. And for many, like me, the journey towards a healthy life includes losing weight. Weight loss is probably one ofID-10019615 the most influential aspects of being healthy if you are within the overweight and obese range. I have historically fluctuated between being on the high end of overweight and the low end of obese. Since having my son 2 years ago I have been obese according to my BMI. My weight loss happened steadily while breastfeeding and then I hit a plateau after my body wasn’t naturally burning those calories from producing milk for my son. After I stopped breastfeeding I started a more rigorous schedule of exercises and a stricter eating plan. I don’t use the word diet, because I always attempt to make lifestyle changes according to my goals. Diets to me are gimmicks that people start and stop and generally the results are temporary.  So I reduced my caloric intake and the pounds started coming off again. I was getting very close to my pre-baby weight. And then life happened. Stressors from work, increased financial difficulty, and along with the already present demands of raising a toddler caused my current success to come to a halt.

This past year we started my 2 year old in daycare. We appreciated him getting more social time, and us not having to follow him around 24/7, but it came at a cost of $113 a week. The cost along with the time cause me to cancel my YMCA membership. My workout schedule included Zumba, Yoga, Body Pump, and a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class. I’d go to 2 classes a day, meaning I was working out 2 hrs each day. These classes were typically at 6 & 7 pm. By the time I got home it was after 8 o’ clock, and I’d get my son in bed by 9pm. When my husband was a stay at home dad that wasn’t an issue, as they’d just wake up whenever they felt like. But know that our son had to wake up at 6:30 for daycare, that was an issue. I attempted to selfish route, meaning he’d adjust to less sleep and nap longer. But after a week of having a hysterical baby at night, I decided to go with my sons best interest which was bed by 7, meaning I could not make it to my classes. Our apartment complex has a fitness room with medicine balls, a universal weight machine, elliptical, and treadmill. Given that I get all these resources for free I thought it would be silly to keep he gym membership without being able to attend the classes. So I cancelled my membership and said I would continue working out using the fitness center at my apartment complex. For the first 3 weeks that didn’t happen. I came home, made and ate dinner, put my son to bed, and often passed out myself.

The changes that had occurred in my life also had a toll on my eating habits. I began drinking wine each night, buying cakes, cookies, and ice cream to eat at nights. Any snack left in the workroom a school stood no chance if I saw them. I was out of control. I didn’t know what to do about it. I used to have so much will power. I college I’d go in the “caf” with my friends, watch them go through the pizza, burger, and ice cream stations, while I ate my salad or other health options available that day. While talking to one of my colleagues, she said it’s because you feel a sense of entitlement. When I walk through the break room after a tough class and see some leftover cookies from a church even I think “I’ve earned, this treat, I deserve this.” And that’s often times the exact thing that has crossed my mind. I often say that I believe in “all things in moderation”, but at this point there was no moderation, it was just an all out free for all. I’d seen almost 15 of the 50 pounds I lost over the past 2 years come back in 2 months. That’s when I decided I had to make some changes.

I decided to make a realistic exercise and eating plan. I could no longer rely on 2 hour hardcore workouts per day to offset the calories I consume. I know that I don’t push myself while working out independently the same way I do while in the front of a class with 10-20 other people. So I decided to start working out before I leave school with a couple other colleagues so we can motivate each other as well as get the workout done before I go home so whether I accidentally pass out or not, I’ll be Ok. I also decided that I’d allow myself a cheat meal on the weekends. That way I can pass everything up during the week knowing I’ll get a treat later. I’ve thought of a couple of rewards for myself (no food) if I reach certain goals. These rewards would included getting my nails done, new piercings and tattoos, and new clothes or shoes to show off my transformed body.

One of the major things I’ve been working on is trying to be happy and comfortable with where I am now. I may not have the time or energy to put in the strenuous workouts that would get the results I want as fast as I want. But I can take baby steps and get there in due time. This past week was the start of my new expectations and goals for myself. I can say that I was a lot more successful that I’d been before, although I still wasn’t perfect. But I will celebrate my successes. I pasted up cinnamon rolls left in the work room Monday. I worked out 4 days this past week. Even one day I did not workout before leaving school since everybody else in my group had other requirements, that same day I passed out at 8pm until 11. But I woke up at 11 and did a circuit of 40 jump and jacks, 30 crunches, 20 squats, and 10 push ups 5 times. I decided that would be my go to workout if I didn’t do anything else. Hopefully when I weight myself at school I’ll see some progress on the scale. If not at least I’m going in the right direction, and can make further adjustments to get my weight loss going again.