Every day I talk with people about food. How to balance healthy eating vs. living in the real world. And it's hard.
Believe me, I know - I also live in a world obsessed with both junk food and weight. I don't always want to cook dinner when I get home at 7:00pm after a long day at work. I, too, have many excuses for not exercising.
Sometimes I think it's hard for people to imagine balancing life with the healthy lifestyle choices they know they should be pursuing. So, today I'm sharing with you a glimpse into my own life to give you an example of how one person tries to balance all of these things.
For one week, I tracked everything that went into my mouth and all of my exercise. It was really hard. Nonetheless, here you are: a taste of my attempt to both live healthfully and enjoy life.
- My Fitness Pal - a free app that has an extensive food database and syncs with my FitBit and several of my favorite work-out apps. Based on my height/weight/age/sex/activity level, it sets a daily calorie goal for me of 1800, which I generally feel is pretty accurate.
- FitBit - I have the Charge watch that I received as a Christmas present last year. It tracks steps, flights of stairs, and since I entered my height/weight/age/sex, it also tracks calories. It also tracks sleep time/quality by tracking movement at night (not completely accurate, but it gives me an idea)
Wake @ 6:20a. Work until 5:30p. Blog-related stuff until band rehearsal @ 7:15p. Home @9:45p. Sleep @11:15p.
Breakfast: salami & brie & wheat thins & banana & black coffee. I'm always looking for salty/savory things in the morning. Plus, salami + brie is a pretty popular German breakfast, and that's my heritage. I'm just trying to fit in, ya'll. Calorie total: 416
Lunch: Leftover Lentil Frito Pie. SO GOOD. And way better with chips. Also, a piece of dark chocolate for dessert. Calorie total: 707
Dinner: at my desk - salad while I blogged. Noosa yogurt for dessert (because it's practically ice cream - full fat and full sugar). Calorie total: 680
Snacks: string cheese in the morning, Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins in the afternoon (I am OBSESSED with these and trying to tone it down... they are not calorie-free). Calorie total: 150
Net Calories: 1935 - see full day
Back was hurting (I think I've been sleeping wrong? Definitely not exercising as consistently as I should. Oh, and I've been crazy stressed. Yeah, backache makes sense) - so I did a 5 minute back-strengthening exercise and 1 round of yoga using my Sworkit app. It's awesome and free and perfect for doing a teeny tiny amount of exercise when I don't feel like it.
5,388 steps today, per my FitBit. Only half-way to the 10,000-step goal set by the American Heart Association.
P.S. My back felt better after the exercise.
I am SO HUNGRY today!! Wasn't hungry when I got home in the evening, but after winding down I was hungry. :( But I was already in bed and too tired to get up. So no snack, which means I'll wake up SUPER HUNGRY in the morning.
I was also seriously dragging all day - energy was really low. Might be related to my sleep last night - 7 hrs 16 min. Restless night. 23 minutes awake/restless, per my Fitbit. Need coffee. It must be Monday.....
Wake @ 6:20a. Work until 4:30p. Run 5k with Paige. Taco Tuesday with friends!! Home @9:30p. Sleep @ 11p (because I get distracted by everything).
Breakfast: salami & string cheese & protein smoothie made of: pineapple, 1/2 banana, and protein/nut milk. Oh, and black coffee. Duh. Calorie total: 502
Lunch: meeting ran long, so I quickly ate my cottage cheese and a piece of chocolate, then snacked all afternoon. Calorie total: 253
Dinner: Taco Tuesday with friends! 2 homemade tacos, 1/2 plate of spinach salad with goat cheese, olive oil/vinegar dressing, Mexican rice, chips & salsa, and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Oh, and a Modelo Especial, because it's not Mexican without the cerveza! Calorie total: 964
Snacks: Buffalo Wheat Thins, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, grapefruit, 2 pieces string cheese (this is what happens when you don't eat a proper lunch...). Calorie total: 419
Net calories: 1878 - see full day
Ran with Paige for the first time in several weeks - and my body knew it! We managed to get in a slow 3-mile run. But hey, way better than nothing, right? My legs are tired, but I earned an extra 260 calories!
Fitbit says I got 9,581 steps. So close to the goal!
So hungry again!!! I go through phase of being more/less hungry throughout the month. I try not to stress about it too much and listen to my body - eat when I'm hungry, not when I'm full and focus on quality. Energy was way better than yesterday.
Wake @ 6:20a. Work until 5:00p. Blog @ Starbucks w/decaf black coffee until GIRLS' NIGHT!!! Home @10:00p. Sleep @ 11p [need to go to bed earlier... this is catching up with me].
Breakfast: leftovers from my weekend breakfast - scrambled eggs with sauteed kale and cheese. And a piece of chocolate. Because morning is the best time to eat calories. Calorie total: 429
Lunch: Work lunch provided! Chik-Fil-A nuggets, small order of waffle fries, side salad with ranch dressing. Holy schamolies - fast food = lots of calories. Calorie total: 829
Dinner: Girls' night!! So I ate a bunch of random food and it was hard to track: blue cheese, serrano ham, blueberries, Granny Smith apple, Kale & Potato veggie fries, cheddar cheese, cucumber, salami, gluten-free brownies. Top it off with hard cider and Sauvingon Blanc. Calorie total: 560
Snacks: nothing during the day, except a small cup of decaf black coffee at Starbucks while I blogged before Girls' Night
Net Calories: 1993 - see full day
Nada. Just my regular daily activity. Fitbit says I got 4,376 steps. Better exercise tomorrow...
Finally not as hungry today. Maybe the better breakfast helped. Yay eggs and kale! (and check-out the recipe from my very first blog post!). I was tired by the end of the day, but I think that's to be expected. I survived hump day!
Wake @ 6:45a. Work until appt. with counselor @3:30p (shout-out to taking care of your mental health, ya'll!). Sushi with a friend for dinner. Home @7:30p. Clean the MESSY house, do a quick exercise, and relax. Sleep @ 11:30p (how did that happen?!)
Breakfast: 2 slices homemade, whole-grain sourdough bread with Smart Balance and Jelly. Smoothie that I sipped on throughout the morning (pineapple, 1/2 banana, and protein/nut milk) but didn't quite finish. Calorie total: 536
Lunch: Leftover Lentil Frito Pie with cheddar cheese, sugar snap peas, and a piece of dark chocolate. I forgot my chips. :( Calorie total: 570
Dinner: Sushi!! 3/4 each of a spicy tuna roll and California roll. Calorie total: 450
Snacks: no snacks today. Finally I'm not so terribly hungry!
Net Calories: 1403 - see full day
Fitbit says I got 5,139 steps. I also did a 20-minute Insanity (Cardio Abs) workout video and a 5-minute yoga video using my SworkIt app to stretch.
It's been a long week. I'm tired. Is the weekend here yet?
Wake @ 6:45a. Work until 4:30p. Run quick errands, then meet friend for happy hour/dinner @5:30p. Home @9:30p. Sleep @ 11p [I am ex.haus.ted].
Breakfast: 3/4 of a cheese quesadilla - one of my favorite foods. And always black coffee. Calorie total: 615
Lunch: Spinach salad with blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing, baby carrots, and the rest of my breakfast quesadilla. Calorie total: 462
Dinner: Happy hour/dinner with a friend - green olives, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and French bread, then 1/2 of a flatbread pizza. Plus a flight of red wine to taste. Calorie total: 788
Snacks: an afternoon tangerine. Calorie total: 50
Net Calories: 1915 - see full day
Fitbit says I got 3,486 steps. Living proof I need to exercise to meet my goals.
Busy day. So ready for the week to be over. T.G.I.F.
Wake @ 8:30a. Coffee, book (The Hobbit. Yes, please.), and couch time all morning. Summoned motivation to do a bit of cleaning/organizing in the afternoon. Dinner w/friends @6p. Home at 9:30. Sleep @11p.
Breakfast: the other half of my flatbread pizza from last night and a piece of white chocolate to go with my black coffee. Calorie total: 385
Lunch: Quick/easy lunch of Spinach salad with blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing, with a tangerine for dessert. Calorie total: 311
Dinner: Homemade chicken enchiladas and roasted cabbage. Margarita made with sugar-free mix (squeeze a lime into it to make it taste fresh!) Calorie total: 612
Snacks: blueberries at bedtime. Calorie total: 41
Net Calories: 1359 - see full day
Fitbit says I got 4,301 steps, but also 17 flights of stairs with all that cleaning!
I'm exhausted! The week definitely caught up with me. Had plans to blog/clean/organize but had zero motivation. I need to be better about balance during my week so I have energy on the weekend! Upped my Social Media game today (follow me on Instagram @peasandhoppiness)
Wake @ 8a. Coffee, hearty breakfast, a little blogging/relaxing. Winter "hike" (it was an easy trail) @1p. Home @4p and starving, so early dinner. Laundry/cleaning/relaxing and evening to myself until sleep @ 10:15p.
Breakfast: Hungry and needing some calories to fuel a winter hike, so I made Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots and Kale. Also had 1/2 a grapefruit and another piece of white chocolate peppermint with my coffee. Calorie total: 649
Lunch: 2 pieces of string cheese and Spicy Buffalo Wheat thins on the drive home from the hike. So hungry! Calorie total: 405
Dinner: Homemade crab mac n' cheese, spinach salad with oil & vinegar, 2 pieces of dark chocolate, and a glass of milk. I was ravenous. Calorie total: 886
Snacks: 1/2 a grapefruit before bed. Calorie total: 41
Net Calories: 1839 - see full day
4-mile winter "hike" along Boulder Canyon Creek Trail (actually more of a running path - I brought the wrong shoes!). Total of 12,273 steps and 45 flights of stairs, per my FitBit. A solid day.
Very tempted to sit at home and do nothing, but knew I would feel better if I got outside. And I did. Except my legs were so tired that I didn't want to finish the cleaning I needed to. SO HUNGRY after the hike, overate a little at dinner - wish I would have spaced out my calories better.
So there you have it. I did my best to not change my eating or exercise habits so you could see really what I do day-to-day. Of course, no two weeks are the same for me, as I'm sure the same is true for you.
Lessons learned from this week:
- Keeping a food diary sucks, but it's very insightful
- Some days I go over my calorie limit, some days I'm under my limit. So if I eat quality food and eat when I'm hungry, but not when I'm full, my body does a pretty good job of balancing my calorie needs.
- Exercise, man. It covers a multitude of calorie sins.
- I'm generally happy with the quality of my diet, especially considering the number of "special occasions" I had this week.
- This felt like not a normal week to show you, but my weeks are never "normal." This is my life.
- Being accountable to The Internet for a whole week was a good way for me to get back on track with planning, healthy eating, and exercise - although I didn't really change any of my normal eating/exercise habits (at least not on purpose...)
As always, I love to hear your thoughts and opinions, and I welcome questions. Godspeed in your own journey of health.
With love from Peas and Hoppiness.