Nov 112014
 

When I decided it was time to get serious again about losing the vacation weight and getting back on track, I struggled. I was hungry all the time. If you missed the post I wrote addressing hunger, check it out: Always Hungry? Here’s Why. I knew I needed to make some changes to my diet — not just getting back to my normal calorie range and reducing the amount of sugar I eat. I needed to eat more protein.

I was poking around online trying to figure out how to change my diet and came across this article: 12 Signs You Need to Eat More Protein. A brief breakdown: You’re Always Hungry, You’re Cutting Calories, You’re Lifting Heavy Things, You’re Engaged in Chronic Cardio, You’ve Got Achy Joints, You’re Experiencing Chronic Stress. Those were the ones that spoke to me. Yep, yep, yep. While I’m not necessarily lifting heavy, I am trying to get back into the weight lifting routine. I am hungry a lot, I AM cutting my calories to lose the weight, and damn I’m always achy…

The answer: I need more protein.

Which I already knew. Eating healthy fats and good proteins are what will fill you up. Sure, you get hungry and grab a bagel or chips or other junk thinking it will curb the hunger but those empty calories and carby things don’t go the distance. At least not for me.

I’ve definitely got the dinner down. We eat a protein with a vegetable and a salad or quinoa. That’s a pretty typical dinner. We rotate between chicken breasts, salmon, shrimp, ground turkey, boneless pork chops, and steak. I don’t really need help sneaking in more protein at dinner, it’s the other meals.

veggie-protein

A typical breakfast for me has been eggs and gluten free toast. It works well for me. But lately I’ve tried to mix things up to see if I can get more mileage out of that breakfast. One example: when I was doing food prep for the week, I browned some spicy pork sausage to use for the week. For breakfast that week I scrambled two eggs and mixed in some of the pork sausage and topped it with avocado. It was a great breakfast! Tasty and filling and I wasn’t starving by the time my usual morning break came around.

One thing I decided to change: add egg whites. Two scrambled eggs are about 140 calories. Adding some egg whites only adds about 15-20 calories to that but it bulks up the scramble. Perfect. Adding veggies to the scramble is also a smart move. The vegetables add bulk in healthy ways. Some of my favorites that are higher in protein are spinach, kale and broccoli. Yum! Doing a Frittata/Quiche type dish for the week is a faster way to do breakfast and pack it with lots of high protein things. (Maybe I need to start doing these muffins for breakfast again.)

eggs

Back when Michael and I were doing the slow carb diet, we ate a TON of beans. You can get the food list here: Slow Carb Food List. Not really paleo-friendly, but I liked aspects of the slow-carb diet. Eating beans filled you up like you wouldn’t believe. Soybeans (edamame) are the highest protein but I am not a huge fan of eating soy so I try to limit that. Navy Beans have 15.8 grams of protein per serving; black beans have 15.2 grams; pinto beans have 14 grams per serving. Beans are really versatile, too. You can add them to eggs, burritos, wraps, salads, pretty much anything.

What about snacks? I think that’s where I need to get more protein. Typically I eat an apple for a morning snack. I am trying to add string cheese to that because the combination seems to be much more filling than either of those on their own. Here are some other ideas I came up with:

Peanut Butter with celery and raisins

Cottage Cheese (This is one of my favorite snacks because it doesn’t usually take much to satisfy me.)

Greek Yogurt (I prefer to use plain and then add nuts and fresh fruit to it)

Nuts (cashews and pistachios are my favorites)

Hard-boiled eggs

Beef Jerky 

Hummus with veggies

Veggie and meat wrap (I saw this on pinterest and it looks really good! Use lean deli meat like turkey)

Kefir (I love this stuff!)

Swiss cheese with fruit 

Almond Milk

Protein Bar (this is tricky because it can be high in sugar and carbs)

A protein shake is another tip I see online a lot. This is an iffy one for me. The problem is that most protein shakes don’t fill me up like food does. I’ve tried many times to supplement meals or snacks with a protein shake and I was hungry pretty quickly afterward. Another downside? Sugar. Protein shakes are often high in sugar. I like the Atkins protein shakes because they are low in calories and low in sugar/carbs. But again–it’s not filling me up like food does.

peanutbowl2

 

The trick is to find food that is high in protein but not high in calories! Nuts are very high in calories. Luckily I only have to eat a few of them to take the edge off my hunger and lately I’ve been pairing pistachios with a string cheese. That combination is pretty tasty, especially when I’m craving salty/crunchy foods.

I need some more ideas. What are your favorite ways to eat more protein?

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Jun 132011
 
24-hour-fitness-02

Sunday morning I slept in, despite Fat Kitty’s attempts to wake me up. He was anxious for food or playtime and kept jumping on my head and my bladder. Go away! Let me sleep, you little monster! I ate breakfast and then headed to the pool. I was hobbling pretty badly because I was sooo sore from Saturday’s workout. I could barely walk. Seriously. I was having flashbacks to the aftermath of Hood to Coast or my crazy session at Crossfit.

A few days ago I got the wild hair to attempt swimming 2 miles. I’ve never done it before. Not because I can’t do it, but because I’ve just never tried. My stamina in the pool is excellent and I knew I could swim 2 miles without issue. So why hadn’t I tried it before? Two reasons:  1) Boredom and 2) Hunger. Swimming makes me hungry like no other activity and I usually have to stop after about an hour because of the growling hunger.

I decided to try swimming 2 miles on Sunday. I wasn’t sure I would be able to because my legs were absolutely WRECKED from Saturday’s workout. But I am totally stubborn and once I set my mind to do something, there’s really no changing it. Since I’d decided on Friday night that Sunday I would be swimming 2 miles, I was going to do it–sore legs or not! I swam the first mile in 37 minutes. I was slower than normal because of the soreness I was having in my legs but I was still feeling pretty good. Honestly, no matter how sore I am I can ALWAYS swim. In fact, getting in the water my legs felt like a million bucks compared to just walking around outside.


After swimming the first mile, I took a break for about 8 minutes. During this rest time (which I never take when I usually swim my routine), I had a snack. I wanted to be prepared for the hunger that makes me quit after 1.25 miles. I brought this as a snack:


During my break I ate 2 of these protein balls. They were nasty! But they did the trick and got me through the rest of my swim. I decided I was too sore to make it through another mile. I started swimming after my break and decided I would just swim another half mile and call it quits. I vowed to try swimming 2 miles again next weekend, when I wasn’t crippled. I usually swim 1.25 miles (in 45-55 minutes depending on what I’m working on). Then I got to 1.5 miles and thought “It would be really stupid to just quit now….”

I told myself I’d do just a little bit more. I told myself that after every 10 lengths I did and then before I knew it, I was almost to mile 2. There was no way I was quitting when I was that close! Then I had to deal with second part of what often keeps me from doing more: THE MENTAL ASPECT. It’s not necessarily that I get bored, I guess I do get a bit bored, but it’s more that I start talking myself out of doing more. I think of all the other things I want to be doing towards the end of my swim. I think of food. I think of lounging in the hot tub. I think of errands and chores, everything else but swimming. Which is weird because I love swimming!

I finished up my swim and SWAM 2 FULL MILES!!!!! For the first time!


I’ve never done that before! I was so happy and so proud of myself for doing it. I pulled my sore body out of the pool and languished in the hot tub. It felt so good. If I could have just taken a nap in that hot tub, I would have. It made my legs feel great. Of course, then I had to get out and walk back to my locker, limping, saying “ouch” after each step.

Swim Stats:

Time: 1:15

Calories Burned: 603

Distance: 2 miles!!!!


For dinner I made us baked salmon with basil, garlic and tomatoes. I wanted something easy, quick and filling.


I think the hunger caught up to me Sunday afternoon because I was in the mood to eat everything in sight (I resisted). The extra calories I burned Saturday and then swimming 2 miles = intense hunger! I steamed some broccoli and baby carrots and added some Goddess Dressing to my dinner because I was hungrier than Michael was.


It was the perfect food. I settled my very sore body in to watch some Netflix. Currently: The Big C. What a great show!

QUESTION: What’s the longest distance you’ve swam? (OR run, bike, hike, etc…whatever your sport is.) What’s holding you back from doing more?

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