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Nobody’s Perfect

Wednesday I missed my workout. Or rather skipped my workout. The night before, my vision got all messed up (I googled kaleidoscope vision which is a thing…) and it lasted about 15 minutes. I was nervous every single one of those minutes and then some. The headache set in after so I went to sleep hoping for relief in the morning.

Come Wednesday I had a stressful/busy day at work (which I survived thanks to my amazing coworkers) and consequently didn’t drink enough water. I just didn’t feel well at all. Maybe it was the lack of water. Or recurring migraine/headache pains. Or a combination. But I felt exhausted, lightheaded, and all I wanted to do was shut my eyes. When I got off the bus I jog/hopped across the street and even that was too much bouncing for me. On cardio day which involves mimicking jump roping I knew I had to wave that white flag.

And you know what? The world DIDN’T end. Don’t get me wrong, I felt a bit guilty and was frustrated because I knew I could use the stress-relieving endorphins. Which is a win in my book! I hardly ever view exercise that way…maybe I’ve truly found a workout that I enjoy. A workout that I look forward to. Gasp! But even when you enjoy a workout you need to know when to say no and give yourself (either mentally or physically) a break.

The feelings of guilt I had signifies I still have some work to do. I love this program because I’m told on what day what exercise to do and for how long. Yet I can still individualize it to my level which is key after longer work days. But the downside is it’s easier to feel like a failure when I miss a workout for whatever reason. Or to feel like I should push through the pain or the sickness.

Just like when you’re making changes to eat healthier, changes with workouts are lifestyle changes. If you want to sustain something it can’t be all or nothing because that is just not realistic. Families, friends, work, or any unexpected plans are natural. We can’t control these things. And usually something needs to give. It should always be exercise because then maybe you’re making excuses to ditch that exercise (and consequently maybe you need to reevaluate your goals) but every once and a while it may be necessary. So don’t beat yourself up. Instead look at the days you have committed to working out. Look at the days you chose a nutrient dense snack instead of something greasy and void of nutrition. Look at the energy you have. Look at the confidence you’ve gained. But don’t look at yourself as a failure because you either completed your workout or not. Nothing is black and white.

Cheers to the Weekend

Friday night was a fantastic night. Two best friends reunited and absolutely nothing has changed. Her hair was longer, her job had slightly changed, but our relationship was the same.

I met Christine at her apartment in the South End Friday night. We talked while she got ready. It felt so good to just talk and know that she got it. She gets everything because we’ve been at our lowest lows together.

We put our name in at the Salty Pig, a place I’ve been wanting to go, and also the closest restaurant to Christine’s. We were starving. There was a wait so we popped into the mall for a bit and this girl let loose in Sephora and MAC. I indulged a few months back in nicer makeup and while it’s more expensive, I love it. We did a little lipstick trialing at MAC, where we bought our first lipsticks together. I still remember that night in Burlington. It was so fun and I ended up with two new lipsticks. Lipstick does wonders to an outfit, confidence, etc.

We ran to our reservation and made it just in time to get our outdoor table. We wanted Fiddlehead but they changed it to the Second Fiddle. So then I wanted Sip of Sunshine but that was also out. I just wanted some Vermont beer! I ended up with an IPA that was light and delicious, but not from Vermont.

Whenever Christine and I go out to dinner it usually involves cheese and bread. We started with a plate of chorizo and two different cheeses. It also came with Dijon mustard and some really good pickles. The bread was wonderfully toasted!

For the main meal we ordered a sausage and pepper pizza which was quite tasty! It also had ricotta. The crust was thin and doughy, but a bit difficult to pick up. Still tasty but not my favorite pizza. I’m still an Otto fan (as is Christine).

We ate every last bite! Of both dishes. Yes, we are both dietitians but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy all food. We enjoy nights out with friends where the food and drink is definitely enjoyed but it’s by far the main focus. Christine works in eating disorders and constantly is helping people learn to love food and I am in healthcare trying to help people banish weight stigma. People can be healthy at ANY size or malnourished at ANY size. The struggles of being a dietitian.

We ended the night with some sparkling rose since we were celebrating. Christine is kicking butt in her jobs and I’m so proud of her. She juggles so much and runs on so few hours of sleep. I don’t know how she does it…cheers to you, Christine.

At one point Christine said she noticed I seemed happier and more at ease. She met me right before our internship started and I definitely was a hot mess through the internship. We got each other through the tough times but hearing her say this meant the world to me. It’s been a long road but I do feel like I am lighter. And this girl definitely helped me get there.

Perfect…

It’s not realistic to expect perfect and yet somehow it is the standard we all compare ourselves to. But it’s not realistic. So let’s all agree to let that go.

So you’re not perfect at work.

So what?! Did you get your work done to the best of your ability? Did you get as much done as you could during the work day? Did you provide the best care to your patients as you could given the external limitations (time, other commitments, available information, etc)? We do the best we can given constraints and certain circumstances. The fact that we care enough to strive for perfection is what matters, not whether we are perfect or not.

So you’re not perfect with your workouts.

So what?! Did you squeeze in activity within the boundaries of life and work? Did you work as hard as you could given how you feel either physically or mentally? Just try. Being subpar does not make you a failure. Never trying or not accepting that life happens and working out isn’t always the priority makes us all failures.

So you’re not perfect with eating.

So freaking what?! Did you get dinner on the table? Does it have a vegetable? Is it pizza? Did you get ice cream after work? Did you grab that banana instead of a muffin for a snack? It’s all fuel! It’s all good. It’s not the enemy, perfection is.

What would happen if we all let go of perfectionism? Would we have less drive? Would we have less anxiety? Would the world be a better place? There’s no way to no unless we try. And I for one think things could be better.

How to Improve Health Via Nutrition

What I mean by that title is how to take steps towards being healthier with diet alone, not exercise. I want to sing praises to the person who asked this question because without meaning to it cuts out the first problem a lot of people experience when making health goals: trying to do too much at one time. It’s so much easier to focus on your diet than it is to focus on your diet AND exercise. Furthermore, it’s so much easier to focus on ONE part of your diet than multiple parts all at once.

So where to begin?

First you need to know what you eat.

Take note of everything you eat and drink for three days. Try to include one weekend day in those three days because let’s be real, we all eat differently on weekends than weekdays. And don’t lie! This is to help you. Keep track of everything. Meals, snacks, nibbles, drinks (water and others). You can even keep track of portions but only if this doesn’t cause anxiety or stress.

Analyze the data.

This is where you should talk to a dietitian who has training in analyzing nutrition.

But what we look for is trends. Are you eating enough fruit and vegetables? That’s my first question because it’s about adding to your health not restricting. Remember what I always say, all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle. So first, can we add nutritious foods?

When thinking about my diet previously I noticed I wasn’t eating much fruit. So I added a morning snack of fruit which actually makes me less hungry at lunch so I reach for salads more of the time. Two birds, one stone. I also noticed I was adding a lot of heavier dressings and cheeses to my meals. Now I let the food do the flavoring and some spices and oil if I’m sautéing. I still add cheese (because I can’t pass up blue cheese on the Thursday salad bar) but not as frequently. I save that for my pizza.

Consider foods you love but may not be as nutritious.

I love pizza. Do I eat it all the time? No. Do I eat it once a week? Most weeks…So how can I make healthier choices but still eat my beloved pizza? BECAUSE pizza is not the enemy. Pizza can be nutritious (because all food provides our body with nutrients after all). First off, how much pizza am I having? Two slices? Four? Can I save a few for leftovers? Can I have some vegetables (like a salad) on the side? Can I choose more nutritious toppings? Am I making it at home or buying it? Using whole wheat dough? SO MANY OPTIONS!

Eating out.

If anyone understands the struggle of striving to follow a nutritious diet (diet here means way of eating, not a restrictive “diet”) but also loves eating out, it’s me. And it’s something I continue to struggle with. Monday I went out for ramen. I tried (for like the first time) not getting an alcoholic drink because I didn’t necessarily want one and I knew if I didn’t want it that would just be unwanted calories. I found I actually savored the flavors of my meal more! And had a more pleasant experience because I got what I wanted and listened to my body. What I’m working on is listening to my hunger and stopping when I’m getting full. It’s a work in progress.

Stay tuned for my next post about perfectionism. Being healthy and eating more nutritious foods while still living your life is NOT about being perfect. You succeed when you find balance.

Two Bucket List Stops

Let’s talk about how intuitive eating can sometimes mean eating past the feeling of fullness simply because food tastes good and you’re enjoying the experience. This is totally an a-okay thing! It actually happened to me this past Monday.

That day my roommates convinced me to get dinner. It was a restaurant they’ve been talking about so frequently that I couldn’t say no. Now those of you that know me know I don’t often go out on weeknights since I get up so early. BUT I’m trying to live a little more, I’m only 27 after all (well almost).

I got home from work, did my workout (or rather struggled through it), and got ready for dinner. I met my roommates there and it was such a nice commute.

The restaurant was gorgeous too, very clean and slightly modern. Perks to going out to eat on a Monday definitely includes less crowds and no need for a reservation. Unfortunately there was a rowdy group of bros sitting next to us who were very loud. But we enjoyed our time nonetheless.

My roommates were so great about explaining the menu to me. I had done some research beforehand (as is my usual plan of attack) but was still overwhelmed. I have never had hot pot or ramen before! Gasp!

I went with ramen, as my roommate put it “do you want to work for your food or have it cooked for you?” On a Monday night I definitely don’t want to work for my food. And so I went with the miso ramen with additions of stir fried buttered corn (best thing EVER) and spicy fried tofu. I really wanted some tofu but it was super spicy and I probably won’t get it next time. And yes, there will be a next time. However I have heard I should try another ramen place in Harvard Square. Definitely on my list.

The soup dumplings were also a new experience. The first one I tried was very hot, but once they cooled down it was rather enjoyable! A very interesting appetizer, which came out after our meals because ramen cooks so fast. They come in such a cute little basket.

We chatted about other restaurants we want to visit together this summer and I realized I honestly haven’t been to that many places…sure I’ve visited a few multiple times (Barcelona) and a few others but I need to branch out more! Even if it means getting pizza, salad or sandwiches, not necessarily large meals each time. I could use saving some money too! Although Monday night was delicious and not that expensive! I can definitely fit more adventures into my budget (which I never actually succeed at following anyways).

After dinner we had to go to Toscanini, which is right across the street. Damn you Toscanini for having some intriguing flavors haha. I was just so full from eating all of my ramen. I felt I was getting full a little over halfway through but it was just SO good and such a unique flavorful and textural experience that I didn’t want to stop eating. I wasn’t even talking much because I was too busy eating. But also how can I pass up unique flavors of ice cream!? There were so many fun kinds. I tasted B3 (brown butter, brown sugar, and brownies) and cardamom ice cream with almonds and pistachios. Both were great but B3 is their most popular so I went with that. I will definitely be back. It was unbelievable.

I went to bed super full. In both stomach and heart (cheesy right?) Both eating experiences were well worth feeling full. Would I stop eating my ramen a bit earlier next time and take it home? Probably. Do I regret finishing it all this time? Nope. Do I regret going out to dinner on a Monday? Also-freaking-lutely not.