Nov 042015

I read an article recently,  If You Find Joy in Exercise, You’re Less Likely to Look for Joy in Food, and the title really stuck out for me. There was quote that I found really spot on and I wanted to share it here:

It concluded that those who perceived exercise as a fun activity (and not just a ton of effort) were less inclined to compensate with junk food after their workouts.

These findings appear to support something that Precision Nutrition refers to as “hedonic compensation,” wherein if people feel like they’ve been deprived of pleasure in one place they will compensate by seeking it elsewhere (i.e. “I had a tough week, I deserve to relax and have a beer.”)

I agree! I found that once I started eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis, I didn’t want to “ruin” it with junk food. My taste buds changed. My cravings changed. Instead of wanting a king-sized candy bar, I was leaning towards fruits and vegetables. It was a slow shift in my brain, it surely did not happen overnight, but once I started to FEEL BETTER, I started to make BETTER CHOICES. (Body Love Week: Structure, Perfectionism, and Authentic Living)


Then I came to a point where I looked at junk food as what it was: junk. It wasn’t fuel for my body. It didn’t help me in the gym. It didn’t make my body feel good. (Read this post: Healing Your Body.) And the more candy I ate, the more I craved it. But when I cut it out, those cravings went away. Is there anything better than fresh fruit in season? Yum, I want those raspberries!


The above quote talks about “hedonic compensation” — if you deprive yourself something you seek it elsewhere, you want it more. While I was cutting out junk food from diet, I wasn’t DENYING myself treats entirely. Like I’ve written about many times before, living a life in moderation is what helped me STAY SANE while I lost 110 pounds. I never felt like I was denying myself things I wanted because I ate certain things in moderation. After I lost the weight I continued with that method and it worked. For 7 years I kept the weight off.


Now let’s talk about exercise. So many people have told me that they wished they could lose weight but they hate exercising. (5% of Americans Exercise Daily) I think if you rename it and not look at exercise as a punishment you won’t dread it. Here are a few posts I wrote awhile ago about this topic:

I Hate Going to the Gym

How to Exercise Regularly

Learn To Love It

Overcoming Exercise Obstacles

Too Busy to Exercise

I think the biggest mistake people make when starting to work out is this: they pick something they don’t inherently enjoy. If you pick an activity you don’t enjoy, force yourself to do it, hate every minute of the activity, you start to think “I’ll reward myself for this workout with ____!” Pizza, ice cream, whatever! Fill in the blank. It’s easy to sabotage your efforts with a “I deserve this! I worked out!”

If you hate running, don’t run. Start with walking. If you hate the treadmill, join a running group at a local running store–they are usually free and super fun! And running outside is so much better than being stuck running in place.


Try the elliptical. If you have aches and pains in your body and it hurts to work out, try swimming. Trust me, when you are overweight or obese and your body hurts, swimming is AMAZING.

If you hate the gym–don’t join one! There are SO many options out there. Get a bike trainer and ride your bike in front of your TV in the comfort of your home. Read this post by Michael: How to Watch More TV! :)

Try hiking. There are hiking groups you can join. Meetup is a great place to find new friends, join activity groups and I know in my area there are TONS of hiking groups!

Do you have a dog? Join a local dog training group that includes fitness! A friend of mine posted about a group here in Portland that I’d love to try someday. A quick google search has shown that there are a ton of groups like this all over the country. See if there’s one in your area.


This is not to say that you CAN’T find joy in food. There is so much joy in food. I love baking and am learning to love to cook. There is nothing more rewarding than trying a new recipe and it’s a success. I love cooking for other people and throwing dinner parties. I like creating appetizers. Don’t we all love going to a nice, new restaurant with a group of friends and sharing good food and a bottle of wine? But is it really JUST about the food? Isn’t more about the process? The people? The socializing? For me, the joy in food is sharing it.


What do you think? How do you balance the joy in food with healthy eating? Have you figured out a fitness method that brings you joy?

May 192015

I was able to do a ton of food prep in preparation for this week. I got some celery and sliced it up, then measured out 2 ounces of celery into snack-sized ziplock bags with some baby carrots. I made 5 bags for the workweek and I also picked up some pre-measured guacamole. I’m not usually a fan of this type of thing–I’d much rather have homemade (and nothing compares to Michael’s guacamole–it’s out of this world good) but I wanted something that was portion controlled and honestly, something with preservatives (gross) so it wouldn’t go bad too fast.



Here is week two of reducing my calories. Like last week, my goal isn’t necessary to hit “1300” or less calories. But my goal is to reduce my calories more than what I was doing before, including HOPEFULLY not eating back all the calories I burn at the gym.

Day One

Breakfast: Plain Greek Yogurt with sliced strawberries and some coconut flakes, half an English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, EmergenC drink, and coffee with creamer. Calories: 290


Snack: Apple and some tea. Calories: 70

Lunch: Lean Cuisine lasagna and a piece of chocolate. Calories: 365

Snack: Wholly Guacamole with celery and carrots. Pre-gym snack. Loving this combo lately! It’s tasty and filling! Calories: 110

Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, broccoli, Craisins, light Caesar dressing, pan-seared tilapia, some tortilla chips with spinach dip. Calories: 621


Dessert: Cantaloupe. Calories: 34



Day Two

Breakfast: This breakfast did not work well for me. I thought it would be enough food but it really wasn’t and I was hungry within 2 hours. :( I had a grapefruit, the other half of the English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, coffee with creamer and unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 292

Snack: String cheese and hot tea. Calories: 80

Lunch: Salad with tomatoes and light raspberry vinaigrette dressing, half a blackened salmon fillet, small piece of chocolate. Calories: 285

Snack: Wholly Guacamole with celery and carrots and some crackers. Pre-gym snack. Calories: 210

Dinner: Boneless pork chop, steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing and Michael’s amazing red potatoes (boiled and then sauteed with onions, garlic, rosemary and thyme). Calories: 470


Dessert: Plain Greek yogurt with strawberries, dried coconut flakes and some chocolate chips. Calories: 187

Gym: Warmed up on the spin bike, did some weight lifting and my PT exercises, then the elliptical.


Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, leftover red potatoes from the previous night’s dinner, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 272

Snack: Apple with tea. Calories: 70

Lunch: The rest of the blackened salmon (half a fillet), one serving of quinoa. No idea why the quinoa looks green in this photo, I assure you it’s not! LOL Calories: 337


Snack: String cheese. Calories: 80

Dinner: I saw a friend and then ran some errands and ending up getting home later than I was planning on. I needed something quick and easy! I had some chili with sour cream and tortilla chips, steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing on the side. Calories: 640

Dessert: Fun sized Snickers bar. Calories: 90

Exercise: It was a rest day but I did a lot of walking!



Breakfast: Trader Joe’s oatmeal with a little brown sugar, coconut flakes and some protein powder, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 358

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70 

Lunch: Two turkey slices made into wraps with a little mayo, mustard, spinach and Craisins. Guacamole with celery and carrots. Calories: 259


Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with strawberry slices and coconut flakes. Pre-swim  snack. Calories: 129

Dinner: Papa Murphy’s DeLite pizza and two glasses of wine.  Calories: 694

Exercise: I went for a swim and burned roughly 300 calories. Plus I did a bunch of walking during the day. Day-5

Breakfast: Saturday morning I had a grapefruit and and English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, a small glass of milk and coffee with creamer. Calories: 392

Lunch: Chili with sour cream and some tortilla chips. Calories: 417

Snack: Had a few bites of Michael’s popcorn at the movies (we saw the Avengers!) and had to estimate on the calories. Calories: 190

Dinner: Quinoa with steamed broccoli and Goddess dressing, Michael’s amazing garlic butter shrimp, 1 glass of wine. Calories: 656


Dessert: Way too much chocolate. :(

Gym: I did some weight lifting and then the elliptical. Burned 577 calories. 


Not my best day this week… :( The movie theatre popcorn and chocolate for dessert got me.

Breakfast: Bowl of Rice Krispies cereal, an English muffin and coffee with creamer. Calories: 389

Lunch: Turkey sandwich with cheese on gluten free bread. Calories: 491

Snack: Blueberries. Calories: 83

Dinner: Homemade burger with cheese on a sandwich thin, pickles and baby carrots and Laughing Cow cheese on the side. One glass of wine. Calories: 636


Fitness: Went for a 5.72 mile hike. Burned 542 calories.



Dessert: Some chocolate pudding. Calories: 162


Stay tuned for next week when I post about my thoughts and weigh-in.