Tag Archives: meal planning

Routine Time Again (or Getting Back On Track)

After the incident my oven breaking, things got a little weird for me. The routine that I had been in for a while was stopped because I couldn’t do my meal planning the same way. I had been given multiple dates that my oven was supposed to be fixed where the repair people never showed up, so I stopped trying to plan things out. It just got frustrating getting food thinking I’d be able to make it, waiting hours for the repair guy to show up, and then having to go to the store to get something else to eat because I couldn’t cook what I had just bought.

Finally this week, after waiting more than a week to get my oven fixed someone came by. I’m grateful to have my oven back, but I’m a little annoyed that it took over a week for someone to come by for a repair that was completed in less than 10 minutes (I’m serious). I finally started to try to eat the foods that I couldn’t make because they needed to be cooked in the oven to get things back on track. I had been living off of a lot of microwaved meals while my oven was broken and I know they aren’t always the best choice for me. There are worst choices like getting delivery food, but the best stuff is usually things that I’m making in my oven.

When my meal planning stops like it did this time, it’s a bit tough for me to get back on pace. The way the meal planning was successful for me last month was to do all the planning and shopping one day and then just work through that food doing the week. And with the timing of the oven issue, it disrupted 2 meal planning weeks with last week and this week not being the way I wanted. And I’m struggling a bit to get back to it now.

I don’t want to sound like I’m putting things off until the weekend (that sounds like people who put off dieting or exercise until Monday or the next month). But I haven’t been able to take the time out to plan like I normally do or go to the store to get what I need. Fortunately, this week is almost done and I should be able to do my normal meal planning on Sunday like I like to.

With my food being thrown off, a few other things in my life got weird too. With work, I’m so used to having my lunch planned out in advance so it was easy to grab what I was going to eat in the middle of working (funny how it only took a month for this to feel normal to me). With the lack of meal planning, I was spending too much time thinking about food. And with thinking about food a lot, there were some not so great food days.

I’ve said this so many times before, but each time I have a setback like this I have to be grateful that I recognize it as a setback sooner rather than later. I can focus on getting things back to how they have been instead of waiting until I’m very uncomfortable or have gained back a ton of weight to do so. I can easily remember what I was doing a week or two ago that was working instead of struggling to remember what I was doing a month or a year ago.

I’m glad that I’ll be able to get things back quickly so I can focus on all the other things I need to focus on in my life. I can do some great meal planning for the week coming up so that all my other time can be focused on work, going to Orangetheory, having fun, and getting things ready for surgery. Time is much better spent on those things than trying to figure out what I want to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

I feel like a broken record sharing a similar story over and over again. But I feel it’s important to do this. I don’t remember reading any bloggers who talked about the ups and downs and the random struggles that they had that set them back a few days. But when I talked to people, it seems like this is the norm. It’s especially the norm when you are recovering from an eating disorder. But people don’t seem to blog about it because it’s not interesting or attention getting. But it’s the truth and that’s exactly why I wanted to share it. Hopefully sharing my struggles will help someone else realize that things are hopeless and they can get back on track too.

Meal Planning and Learning French (or Monthly Challenge Time)

The start of a new month brings the end to one monthly challenge and the beginning of another! Of course, I’ve kept doing almost all of my monthly challenges beyond the end of that month so it’s really not the end to anything this time. First, a quick recap on my February challenge.

My challenge for February was to work on weekly meal planning. This is something I’ve tried to do multiple times and I was hoping that this time things would finally stick for me. Meal planning is something I know I should do for both my health and budget, but it has never been easy for me. I’ve tried different methods of planning and nothing felt right for me. So this past month, I decided to give myself the month to test out different things and to see what I could come up with.

I started with trying a couple of meal planning apps. I was only trying the free ones because I didn’t want to pay something that I wasn’t sure I would like. I know that some people love the apps, but for me they just didn’t work. I couldn’t see things the way I wanted to and it felt like more work than it was worth. I really wanted an app to work because it seems to be what so many people like and have success with, but I can’t force myself to work with something that doesn’t work for me.

After that, I did various versions of writing down a list for the week. I’m still testing out a couple of options, but I’m finding that having this list system is going ok for me. I can work on the week’s list on Saturday or Sunday (whatever day I can go get groceries), see everything that I have for the week, and make a grocery list based on that. I’m not buying things that I don’t need, so I’m saving money. And I’m finding that if I can cook one night at home, that covers me for 3 meals and I can eat something home cooked most days.

I’m not 100% perfect with following my plan, but I’m doing much better than I expected. If nothing else, this has helped me get into a schedule with my food and I’m not having problems with not having something in the house for lunch or dinner. There is still room for improvement with this, but I would say this challenge is a success!

Moving on to March now. It was a struggle for me to think up a challenge for this month. I ended up doing some searching online for inspiration on what could be a good month-long challenge. There were so many good ideas, but many of them are similar to things I already do so it wouldn’t be enough of a challenge for me. But I kept gravitating toward some of the educational challenges so I decided to look more into those. And I finally found something that seems good to me.

For the month of March, I’m going to work on learning a new language every day. More specifically, I’m going to work on learning French every day. I’ve wanting to learn French before and I’ve tried it a few times (sound familiar?) but it’s never been a habit that I can stick with. But I know that doing something educational every day will be good for me and learning another language will be a tough challenge for me.

I’m planning on using the Duolingo app to do this, which is something I tried before. But now, I have reminders set up for me to work on this every day and I’m connecting it to my social media so I can have friends checking in on me. I’ve liked the app before, I just wasn’t consistent with it. But that was before I got really into my monthly challenges, so I’m hoping that the motivation will be with me this time and I can stick with it.

I don’t expect to be great at French within a month. I know that it will take so much longer than that to be able to learn another language. But in 30 days I can learn some basics and get into the habit of working on this. Maybe by the end of this year I can feel comfortable with how much I know. I don’t have any reason I need to know French right now, but I’ve got some motivation to learn it in the long run.

12 years ago, my mom and I went to France and Italy together. We had a great trip and have said that we wanted to go again. And if we go back, we’ve said that we’d like to go to Disneyland Paris. I know you don’t need to speak French to enjoy Disneyland Paris, but I think knowing it would be helpful and would make that trip even better. My mom and I don’t have any travel plans any time soon, but we know that we want to go back one day. And when that happens, hopefully I will be able to speak a little French and understand it as well.

I’m excited to see how a brainy challenge will go for me because many of the ones I’ve done before aren’t as much about learning new things. But I know I should be doing more things to keep learning every day, and this is a great way to add that to my daily habits!

Adding Gadgets To My House (or Tools To Help Me Out)

While I’m trying to cut back on my spending and bringing more things into my house, sometimes you need to break that rule to make things better. It’s a hard balance to figure out because I’m sure I can justify spending for stuff I really don’t need. So I’m trying to be very picky and making sure that it’s something that I really need and not just something that I want. But there were two gadgets that fit into that rule that I ended up buying this week.

The first thing I got was a lamination machine for my house. Usually when I need to laminate stuff, I go to Staples and pay to get it done. I normally only need one thing or one page so it never seemed worth it to me to have my own lamination machine. But my mom has had one for a while and loved it, so when I was thinking about getting stuff laminated this week I looked into buying one for myself.

I did manage to find one that was heavily discounted on Amazon that would arrive that day at my house (thanks Amazon Prime)! And it was perfect because I have been working on my meal planning and wanted to create a nice reusable meal planning guide.

The machine I got is really easy to use and it came with a bunch of the laminating pages so I don’t need to buy any for a little bit. And I have been able to use the meal planning page I created each day (although I’m still trying to figure out how I can write on this without ruining it). And it’s small enough that it fits into a shelf on my desk so it is out of the way when I am not going to be using it.

The other new gadget I got this week also has to do a bit with my challenge to work on meal planning. I’ve thought for a long time that my kitchen was perfectly set up for me to cook, but I’m aware that I set it up based on what most people need and not what I need. I’m a pretty decent cook and my knife skills are ok, but when I have to cut up a bunch of stuff I’m not so great at it. So I have been looking casually at ideas to make chopping stuff easier and decided I needed to invest in a new cooking gadget. So I went out and got the Vidalia Chop Wizard.

I got it yesterday and used it last night to cook dinner. I made meatloaf muffins and this was perfect for chopping the onions and mushrooms I use it in. It was so much easier than chopping things by hand and everything was uniform so I didn’t bit into a huge piece of onion while eating dinner. I know that this can be used for a ton of stuff and I have a feeling that I will be discovering ways to use it on a regular basis.

And besides the new stuff I bought this week, I’ve been rediscovering stuff in my kitchen to help me with my food goals. I’ve been using my slow cooker (and I found my slow cooker liners so I don’t have to do much cleanup) to make easy meals and I’ve found recipes that don’t require browning food or getting another pan dirty to make the meal (my slow cooker pet peeve). And I’ve been using my food processor regularly the last few weeks and have started to think that maybe I need to buy another food processor bowl and blade so it will be easier to use it multiple times a day.

I know that I can do a lot of the work I’ve been using these gadgets for by hand, but why should I? This is making cooking easier and seems like I could be more likely to keep things up in the long run. The only downside is that I do need to go through my kitchen now and figure out what I really want to keep and what I can give to others because my kitchen is super tiny and lacking storage space. I don’t know where to put everything just yet (there are things all over my house that could live in the kitchen if there was space), but that will be something else I need to work on with organizing my house.

But for now, I’m just so glad that I was ok spending a bit of money to try to make things better for me with figuring other things out in my life.

Time For Some Planning (or Trying A Challenge Again This Month)

It’s a new month and time for a new challenge in my Ink+Volt Planner! First, I want to reflect a bit on my January challenge. I set my challenge to be to work on tumor visualization every day. I set an alarm to remember to do this each morning and most of the time I would be able to do this before the alarm went off. Many mornings, I put my tumor visualization in my morning pages for “The Artist’s Way”. And if I didn’t write about it in the morning, I spent some time sitting quietly and thinking about my tumors getting smaller.

I won’t know if this worked until I have my next MRI in March, but I’m going to keep doing this until my surgery and then after surgery I will be doing liver visualization to work on getting my liver to regenerate quickly. I know that in the past, the power of positive thinking has worked really well for me so I’m looking forward to seeing how well it will work for me this time.

I’ll admit that my January challenge wasn’t too challenging for me. It was something I wanted to do, but I didn’t have to work too hard to do it. So since I did something easier last month, I’m doing something that has challenged me multiple times this month. My February challenge is to work on meal planning again.

I’ve attempted meal planning more times than I can count. I’ve tried doing it with bulk cooking, delivery diet meals, meal replacements, and just trying to cook more at home. They have all had moments of success, but none of them have really lasted that long. So this time, I’m attempting another method to see if this time it will be one that sticks. I believe that eventually, a method will be the one that I connect with and I can’t find that out until I try different ones.

I’m doing a pretty basic meal plan set up. I don’t have a specific diet or plan I’m trying to follow. I’m just trying to plan my meals so I don’t have to think too hard about what I’m going to eat that day and to be better and only getting what I need at the grocery store. I found a pretty basic meal plan printable and I started using that this week.

Originally, I typed in what I was planning to eat but because things keep changing I’ve been crossing things out a lot. I’m thinking about printing a blank template, getting it laminated, and using a dry erase pen or post-its to plan so it is easier to switch things around. There is also a grocery list printable that matches this, but I’m used to writing grocery lists on envelopes (if I’m using coupons) or on scratch paper so I don’t feel the need to use a fancy grocery list.

My ultimate goal would be where I could plan things out on Sunday and do my grocery shopping for the week and be done with it. If I don’t have to go to the grocery store to find something for dinner, maybe I won’t be tempted by all the things I shouldn’t be eating. If I plan things out, I can know exactly how many of each thing I need and then I can make better grocery lists. This could potentially save me money too, but that’s not the focus right now.

My main goal with meal planning is to be successful with following the plan for at least 2 meals a day. Breakfast should be pretty easy, but I do struggle with lunch and dinner a bit. But by having a plan, I can look forward to what I will be eating that day and hopefully it will take my mind off of thinking about what I should go to the store and buy after I’m done with work. I’m also hoping that it will help me with eating a better lunch on days that I’m working out. Sometimes, I don’t make the best food choices on workout days and my workouts do suffer because of that.

I’m not expecting a miracle. I know that there will be a lot of challenges with this and that there is potential that I will not be as successful as I like to be with my monthly challenges. But I have to try because I know that I need to make a change in my life to get into recovery and to lose weight. And if nothing else, this will force me to be more aware and a more conscious participant in my food choices and help to limit the lack of mindfulness that I do struggle with.

This won’t be an easy challenge for me to do, but it’s an important one for me. I’m going to do my best to plan and to figure out the best way for me to do the planning, and hopefully in a month I’ll be able to share with you all that this worked really well for me!

Still Figuring Out Meal Planning (or Will Food Ever Be Easy For Me?)

I’ve been doing pretty well lately with food stuff. It’s not something that I don’t have to think about any more, but I’m definitely spending less time every day thinking about what I want to eat or what I should eat than I used to. It’s nice not to have my thoughts always consumed by food (no pun intended), but I’m still figuring out what is right and best for me.

I know that I can cook and that I can use pretty much all fresh ingredients, but that’s not always easy for me. There are plenty of times that I realize it is dinner time and I don’t have something that I can make easily. I don’t want to risk going to the store because then I will grab everything that looks good to me at the time. So it’s important to me to have prepared meals in my house that are easy for lunches and dinners.

I’m still really loving the salads I can get from Trader Joe’s and I eat those pretty regularly for lunch (it’s easy to talk to customers and eat a salad). But I do need variety from time to time and some of my old standbys (like peanut butter and jelly) just aren’t doing it for me anymore. So I have to find other easy things to make and a lot of those things end up being frozen meals.

When I was younger, I did eat the frozen diet meals on a semi-regular basis. But honestly those meals aren’t that tasty, they have a lot of chemicals to cover up for things that are missing, they are expensive, and they aren’t a lot of food. So I’ve been exploring more frozen food options including ones that I used to consider not healthy options in the past.

I’ve been working on tracking my foods carefully and I can find ways to make the higher calorie meals work into my day. And I’m discovering that it isn’t as hard as I thought in the past. I’m not eating that high of calorie counts for my breakfasts and lunches, and if I’m not having a binge episode I do have lots of calories left for my dinner. So making stuff that I used to consider off-limits are now perfectly fine for me.

Taking away the stigma of bad foods and good foods has been really good for me. I’m exploring more food options that I never thought I could enjoy (like frozen tempura shrimp) and I’m really liking it. I’m getting more variety in my meals and that is helping to keep things from getting too boring too quickly. There are still some things that I’m trying that I know can’t be a regular part of my diet, but it’s ok to find things that are good splurge meals from time to time.

I’m eating more frozen foods than I would like, but considering the alternative for me I think this is ok. I still want to find a good balance between prepared and frozen foods and cooking from scratch and that just isn’t coming easily to me. I still get annoyed that my food issues aren’t going away as quickly as I would have liked them to, but I’m seeing progress and trying to give myself credit for it.

The baby steps of progress aren’t always easy to notice on my own, but when I reflect back on my meals for the past month or so and realize that my days under my calorie goal are outweighing the days over the calorie goal, I realize that I’ve been making progress without thinking about it or noticing. I’m still not ordering delivery food and that’s something I’m proud about as well.

Hopefully more baby steps happen to me this way and that recovery is in my future soon. It will be nice to spend even less time focusing on food when that happens and I’m excited to see what the next baby step I make will be.

Cooking Routine (or Adding Flavor)

I’m working really hard at cooking more at home. With my challenge for this month being no delivery food, I must have better options in my house to eat so I don’t fail at the challenge.

I think what I really struggled with in the past was the sheer number of options for foods to make. I have dozens of cookbooks (I recently gave some away so I think it might just be under 2 dozen cookbooks now) and all of them have lots of recipes that seem super delicious and I know I could probably make them. I’m a good cook and I can follow a recipe, so I don’t worry too much about not being able to make something (although I do worry about something not tasting good if I make it).

I think the other problem with a majority of the recipes in the cookbooks are the number of ingredients that a recipe requires. Maybe if I had a huge kitchen I’d keep a ton of ingredients on hand to be able to make anything with very little grocery shopping required, but that’s not my situation. My kitchen is a small but functional and I don’t have much storage or counter space. So I have to keep things limited that I store. So many of the recipes seem like I would have to fill an entire grocery cart with the ingredients just for that meal. That’s expensive, that’s a lot of stuff to store, and chances are most of it would spoil before I used it up.

So a lot of the things I’ve been making in the past have been pretty plain. I do a lot of the same veggie bowls that I made a year ago on the cleanse I did. Even though the meatloaf I make is a bit fancier, it’s still not a ton of ingredients and it’s really easy to put together. I keep lots of things that are easy to make (like turkey burgers and veggies) in my freezer so it’s not too difficult to put together a basic dinner. And I’m glad that this is a habit that I’m still sticking with.

But I’m still looking to bring more variety into my cooking because even though basic foods can be healthy, they can be boring. And I know that if I get bored with something I won’t keep eating it (that’s why I stopped making veggie bowls for so long). So I’m working on easy ways to add variety to the flavor of my foods but don’t require too much effort or shopping.

This past week I had a couple of different meals that worked out really well. Toward the beginning of the week, I made a turkey burger for dinner (which to me is perfect just plain on its own). But I knew I’d want a good side dish to go with it. I had picked up some broccoli because I figured I’d make broccoli at some point, so I figured this was as good of a time as any. I steamed the florets in the microwave and then put those into a bowl to cool a bit. Then I browned some butter in the microwave (it’s a bit messy, but the flavor is totally worth it) and after that was done added some fresh lemon juice to it. My mom does this to broccoli all the time and it’s one of my favorites. And it made a delicious and nice looking dinner that night.

Turkey Burger

Next time I’ll make more of it because I ate so much of it and I need to do some adjustments to the flavor of the sauce (I needed more lemon), but it was really good and reminded me how good healthy food is.

Then on Wednesday night after my workout I knew I needed to cook dinner. I used to hate cooking dinner on workout nights, but I’m starting to be ok with it. In the past, I might microwave a dinner or get delivery after a workout because I was tired. But honestly it’s not that much harder for me to cook (I know, everyone has been telling me this for years but I didn’t believe it) and as long as I have things in my kitchen that are easy enough to put together I can get it done really quickly.

One thing that I’m a bit obsessed with right now are smashed potatoes. I use baby potatoes and cook them for a few minutes in the microwave. Then I smash them down with a paper towel and bake them until they are super crispy. I usually use my oven to bake them in, but on Wednesday I wasn’t using my oven for anything else. So I tried making them in my toaster oven. And to add some flavoring to them, I tried this new seasoning grinder I got at Trader Joes.

Garlic Salt

While the potatoes were baking, I cooked up some chicken sausages and thankfully I timed things out pretty well because the potatoes were done pretty soon after the chicken was. While I’ve made these potatoes a lot lately, adding this new garlic salt seasoning really made a huge difference and made them so good! I’m thinking maybe I’ll try this seasoning on some chicken next week.

While I’m super happy that I’m still keeping up with cooking at home and that I’m taking more chances and finding more things I enjoy making, I’m still worried that this is a phase and I will go back to my old ways. Maybe being cautiously optimistic is better than feeling overly confident that I’ve changed and will never go back to how I was before. I really want to keep making steps toward a healthier (and cheaper) life and I know that cooking is a huge part of that. Hopefully I’m able to keep this up.

Lack Of Planning (or No Home Cooking This Week)

After doing so well with cooking recently, this past week was a serious let down for me. I had ever intention of trying to do some real cooking this week, but that never happened.

Part of it is due to my schedule. I got back late on Monday night from my trip. And while I did go to the grocery store, I wasn’t going to cook at 9pm for the week. Tuesday after work I had my WIF meeting. Wednesday after work was my workout. And while I could have cooked after getting home from my workout, I wasn’t feeling up for cooking after taking over an hour to get home. Thursday I had a friend at my house after work and I didn’t want to be rude and cook while they were here. And tonight I’m supposed to be meeting a friend for dinner. It’s just not my week to have free time after work to prepare and cook meals.

I guess there were little places in my schedule that I could have cooked, but I don’t think I’m really the person to cook a meal that I don’t need to eat that night and to use all of it as leftovers. I’m still easing my way back into cooking and I think knowing that what I’m making is going to be my meal is more normal to me than just cooking and storing everything immediately. When I cook, I do get hungry (even if I just ate). So knowing that I will be eating that meal when it’s done is a way to stop the cravings to want to snack while I’m cooking.

Just because I’m not cooking doesn’t mean I’m eating like crap. I’m doing my lazy version of cooking with the easy to prepare things that I bought at the grocery store on Monday night. These aren’t the most balanced meals and I’m sure I could do better, but sometimes I need something easy like a waffle with peanut butter and a banana so I don’t get really hungry and order delivery food (which is almost never the good option). I’m finding better things to keep in my house to use as easy meals so I don’t feel like there’s nothing in my house to eat. A lot of these things are frozen, but I think that frozen food doesn’t have to be bad food. Trader Joes sells lots of good frozen veggie options and I love their frozen prepared brown rice. Those plus a protein (like the frozen cowboy burgers) are great meals that I can put together in minutes.

I’m lucky that breakfast is pretty easy for me, and dinner is easy enough (but I know it could be better). The place that I’m struggling is lunch. I used to miss lunch a lot because I would get distracted by work and forget (never good before having an after work workout), but I have an app that alerts me to eat by 1pm now. So at least I’m not forgetting anymore. But I’m still struggling about what to eat because it needs to be easy enough to prepare because I don’t want to step away from work for too long but also needs to be easy to eat since I have to take bites between customers if someone calls or starts an online chat.

I’m working on meal planning (but not looking at bulk cooking as the plan) right now. I know that if I plan things out better, I can grocery shop better (and probably spend less money) and I won’t have the “what can I eat” feeling at mealtime. While I had a decent plan going last year on the cleanse, I think that it worked for me so well because the lack of variety. I need more variety than what I had then, but too much variety is too overwhelming and too expensive. The balance is tough to find, but I’m working on it.

I know this weekend will not be including cooking because I’ll be out-of-town again, but I’m hoping after getting back from that trip I can get back into my groove and continue to enjoy lots of healthy, delicious, and easy meals that I cooked myself.

Baby Steps Back To Cooking (or My Check In Kicked My Butt Into Gear)

I recently did a check in with myself on how I’m doing for my goals for the year. I’m actually pretty proud of myself on how well I’m doing on my goals and that I may get pretty much all of them checked off by the end of the year.

But the one goal where I would have to give myself a failing grade would be cooking more often for myself. I got into the groove of cooking for a while, but the novelty of it wore off (yes, it felt like a novelty and not a requirement) and I got lazy again. I haven’t been eating take out or at a restaurant all the time, but I’ve definitely been taking advantage of frozen meals and easy things.

I feel like cooking for myself on a regular basis is going to be a battle for the long run. Part of the problem is my eating disorder. I can forget to eat and then when I get hungry I’m starving and want something to eat now. I don’t want to have to spend time cooking something.

I really should be on an eating schedule and set alarms to remember to eat at the right times. But my schedule can be a bit crazy so sometimes it’s not possible to eat when I want to. There are days at my day job where I’m on back to back customer calls and chats for a couple of hours. Sometimes, I don’t get a real break the entire shift. I can usually run and grab a protein bar or banana to eat, but microwaving food sometimes takes too long and my food might sit in the microwave for an hour after cooking before I can eat it.

The one meal that is easiest for me to control is breakfast. With the exceptions of Mondays (when I’m doing a workout at 7:30am because of my class), I always have at least an hour after waking up before I have to work. That’s more than enough time for me to make some sort of breakfast for myself. I’m still usually preparing something that requires minimum effort (avocado toast, peanut butter on toast, fruit, or ricotta cheese and honey), but it’s still better than other options that are out there.

With lunch on workdays always being something tough for me, I’m moving my focus on to dinner. While it’s not easy to cook after getting home from an afternoon workout (when I’m starving when I get home and need to eat pretty quickly), there are still plenty of evenings or afternoons that I can bulk cook or just make something that will have leftovers for a day or two.

I need to get back into the habit of doing that. Every time I say that, something is weird in my schedule that makes me say that I’ll start next week. Next week then has issues in it too. And it’s an endless cycle. I’m taking the baby steps into cooking dinner at home. I’m trying to get things at the store that make things easy to prepare. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s still cheaper than eating outside of my house. And if the leap from where I’ve been to cooking is too big, these smaller steps can help bridge the gap.

I’m still working through this and like I said that it’s an ongoing battle. I hate that this is something that comes so easily to so many people and it’s so tough with me. But hopefully I can start transitioning back into cooking so that next year I can be closer to the goal that I set for myself this year.

Needing To Get Back Into The Kitchen (or Can I Blame The Heat?)

I’ve gotten pretty bad about making my own meals lately. Part of it is because of the heat, part of it has been a laziness thing (I’m embarrassed to admit that). The heat doesn’t look like it will be getting much better anytime soon, so I do need to look up some alternative solutions. I know that eating frozen and already prepared meals is not the answer.

So many of the things I know how to cook do require either the stove or the oven, so I know I don’t want to do those. I’m not a big salad person, but I’m trying to remember some of the salads that I liked to make during the cleanse so I can make those for my meals. I’m also looking at some alternative kitchen gadgets that can help me make healthy meals without having to use any heat appliances.

I recently purchased a spiralizer, which can help me turn vegetables like zucchini and carrots into pasta-like strips. This is very new purchase so I have not had a chance to use it yet. But it didn’t come with a free cookbook and I’m starting to get excited about some of the recipes inside there.

I’ve also been looking at some free cookbook downloads. I don’t have the money to spend on cookbooks right now, so these downloaded cookbooks are really great option for me. I’ve found quite a few of them and I’m keeping them on my computer desktop instead of printing them (maybe I’ll print one or two recipes, but I don’t want to print the entire book).

Cookbook Downloads

I think part of the reason I haven’t been cooking for a while is I feel like I’ve lost some of my inspiration I had in the kitchen. I enjoyed cooking when I was doing it. But now that I’ve stopped, it feels hard to start up again. It’s like workouts. When I was in a groove before, everything was fine. But when I took a break, I always found it very difficult to get back to a regular workout schedule. This may be one of the reasons I’m so scared to do fewer than three workouts a week at Orangetheory. I don’t want to lose the momentum that I’ve worked so hard to get.

Even with the heat making me lazy, I’m still trying to make the best choices that I can even with using frozen foods. I’m not getting the usual low-calorie frozen foods I used to get. There are so many chemicals and things I don’t want to eat in those. I’m focusing on the all-natural frozen foods that I can get at the grocery store (I like Amy’s), mainly those that have ingredients that I can pronounce. That seems to be a guideline that many health websites seem to use for which frozen meals are ok to have.

The one thing that I haven’t slipped back into doing is getting delivery food as often as I have in the past. There are those rare times that I realize that I haven’t eaten in a while, my fridge is a bit empty, and I need to get some dinner. And I don’t want to go to the grocery store with at empty stomach because then I will buy everything I see. In those circumstances, it’s almost safer for me to get delivery food than it is for me to go to the grocery store. But those situations are becoming less and less frequent because I’m getting better about going to the grocery store on the regular and finding things that are good choices to keep in my house.

I hate using the heat as an excuse, but that really does feel like the thing that is the setback for me. I want to believe that when it cools down, I’m going to get back into my routine of cooking at home. But I also know that it’s possible to get into the habit of not cooking at home again. That’s what I’m trying to prevent now.

Hopefully I can break out of my cooking rut (again) and get back on track with preparing my own food and eating as healthy as I can.

Getting Back To Better Food (or Finding My Own Balance)

After having so many days of “bad” food days, I knew I needed to get myself back in gear. If I didn’t, I would easily regain all the weight I had worked so hard to lose (plus some). I’ve been in this cycle for years (or decades) and I know that it won’t end on its own. I have to be proactive.

I’ve been trying to figure out what would be the best way to get back on track. I tried doing the diet plan from the cleanse again but that wasn’t working. I was feeling really sick and I couldn’t figure out what was causing it.

I also tried going back to my weekly meal prep, but whenever I did I felt like I wasn’t totally into it and found that I wasn’t satisfied with my meals. So I would eat something else (like take-out) or after my meal I would still eat something else.

I think that it is so hard for me to find a “normal” diet because I’ve never really had one. Even as a kid and teenager I had food issues. So normal is completely abnormal to me.

But I have to find my own normal. So I’ve been working on that this week. I’ve been doing research on food options and seeing what seems most likely for me to follow.

Basically, I’m back to a similar plan to the cleanse with many modifications. I’m trying to just have fruit for breakfast. I was hungry at the beginning because I’ve gotten used to bigger breakfasts (usually a waffle with peanut butter), but I’m starting to feel more comfortable just having fruit in the morning. On Mondays when I have a morning workout I might have something more substantial, but on non-workout mornings I’m good with just fruit.

Lunches are a bit more varied. I’ve had sandwiches, apples with cheese, or a microwave meal (I’m trying to stick with the more organic ones even though I know those still aren’t ideal). Basically lunch needs to be something that is quick to put together and easy to eat. And hopefully something that I can put down and continue eating later if I get a call from a customer at work.

On workout days, I sometimes have a snack after work. Usually those are pre-packaged individual serving bags of cashews. Those help keep me from feeling too hungry or light-headed during my workout.

Dinners are still a struggle. I know better options for take out that I can get if necessary, but I’m really trying to make more dinners at home (especially on nights that I’m not working out or going somewhere). I’m doing a lot of rice bowls with either beans and veggies or a veggie burger on top. Those aren’t bad options, but I’m hoping to figure out something else besides rice bowls that I like to make for dinner (and don’t make me wish I had something else).

These are baby steps in the right direction, but at least they are on the right direction. I’m hoping that I’m finally able to find a balance that works for me in the long-term and doesn’t just feel like a quick fix (like everything has in the past).