Today ended up being an unplanned day off from working out, but a busy day otherwise! I had both school and work today, and I had a haircut tonight, so I felt like I was constantly going from one thing to another. Usually, I lift weights with my mom on Mondays, but we decided we’d do our workout on Wednesday instead. It actually works out much better for me since I did a weight workout yesterday and should really have today off from lifting anyhow. I also have an exam on Wednesday, so I’ve been busy studying for that as well. Tomorrow night will be a nice short 5 mile run with some uphill work. Unfortunately, I’m still going to be stuck indoors on the treadmill! It’s probably going to be raining all day tomorrow, yuck! I hopeful that the rain melts some more of the snow though. We’re down to grass in some areas and the backyard only has about 4-6 inches left to go! Of course, the huge mountains of snow on the sidewalks are going to take a bit longer, but ever littly bit helps. I can’t wait for spring!
I realized today as I was tracking my calories, that I haven’t talked about nutrition in awhile (if ever), and I think it’s about time that I do! I’ve always considered myself a fairly healthy eater, but I’ve come to learn that I had very unhealthy eating habits, especially in college. I hardly ever ate breakfast, unless it was the morning hangover breakfast at a local restaurant after a night of heavy drinking. And more often than not, I would get through almost an entire day without having eaten anything. I remember there being days when I would get home from class at 4:00PM without having had a single morsel of food all day. By this time, I usually had a couple of diet Cokes and maybe a cup of coffee to tide me over. Needless to say, I was usually starving by the time I got home and remembered to eat! I would then proceed to binge on anything I had. Luckily, I was a fairly health conscious shopper, so I usually had pretty healthy foods on hand. Looking back, I’m not sure how I ever thought that that was ok! By the time I had graduated, I was sick of eating like that all the time and vowed that with a more stable schedule, I’d be able to develop healthier eating habits.
Fast forward a couple years to now. I can’t even imagine going through a day without breakfast! And a morning snack. And lunch. And an afternoon snack. And dinner. Plus the pre- and/or post-workout snacks when needed. The first thing I added was eating breakfast regularly, usually oatmeal. Soon after, I had my cholesterol levels tested and found out my levels were fantastic – all within normal limits after having been elevated the past few years. By spacing out the calories I was consuming throughout the day and exercising regularly I lost about 5 lbs. I do track calories on and off when I feel I need to re-evaluate or if I have noticed a weight change. For the most part, though, I eat intuitively. But, my biggest struggle in healthy eating habits is remembering that I don’t have to “clean my plate” when I am full.
I eat mostly whole foods, with my staples being oatmeal, nut butters, salads, and eggs. I do use protein powders in shakes and to boost a meal’s protein levels if I feel like I’m lacking (most often in my oatmeal). Dinners typically consist of some protein source (chicken, fish or beef and occasionally pork or buffalo), a veggie, and a starch (potato/rice/noodle/bread). I LOVE bread, rice, and noodles and could eat any of them plain in mass quantities. I’ve learned to manage that and restrain myself from overdoing (most of the time!). I do drink wine regularly, but very little other alcohol on a regular basis. I do not subscribe to “low-fat” or “low-carb” options typically, it’s a fine balance if I choose those options over full fat and full carb options of how many calories there are and what they did to it to make it low fat or low carb. I don’t mind eating out, and I usually don’t restrict myself from ordering what I want and eating it too! This even includes fast food (mmm Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich combo!), and I don’t feel guilty about it afterward. Although one of my biggest pet peeves is that fast food restaurants usually ask you if you want “medium” size and don’t give a choice of “small”, so you have to specifically say you want the “small”. I nearly always am completely full from a small meal, so I have no temptation to get a larger size. Especially since the “small” size of today is actually the “medium” that I remember from growing up. But I digress…
I have mentioned that I like to shoot for 30/30/40 split of calories between protein/fat/carbs. I actually find that my intuitive eating actually has me closer to 25/35/40, and maintaining my weight well. However, I feel like I’ve stagnated in muscle growth a bit and want to address that, which is part of the reason I set calorie counting as a goal for this month. I’d like to see those protein levels a little higher and the fat levels a little lower to see if it makes a difference in my body composition. I am aiming for about 2000 calories on non-workout days and 2300 on workout days, give or take. This is based off my calculated BMR (calories I need to just stay alive) according to height/weight/age and using the Harris Benedict Equation for the multiplier. While these may not work for everyone, I find that they do a pretty good job of estimating my caloric needs.
I realize this post is somewhat disjointed and choppy, but it sums up my nutritional habits, background, and ideals for me pretty well, so thanks for sticking around if you’re still here! Do you have a set nutrition plan that you follow? Or is it more ad hoc with some loose ideals?
Today’s Calorie Count
Morning Snack: 125
Lunch (out to eat): 996
Afternoon Snack: 362