Small Changes.

Happy 2014 you guys! I hope this year is terrific for you and myself as well. I think great things are brewing for me and I just have to put in the work to make them happen.

New Years Eve was spent with Brenda, Eddie and John at their apartment. We ate Domino’s and I drank about a teaspoon of champagne. We watched recaps of the funniest moments of 2013 and just laughed and talked. We were home by 1:30 AM and it was glorious.

My first ever New Year’s Day workout. It felt awesome.

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I have been hungover for every New Year’s for the last 8 years I believe. No more. Next year I am planning to do the midnight run in Central Park. On the train ride home from Brenda’s we saw so many runners leaving the park and I was pretty ragey that I didn’t do it.

The run was followed by brunch with my friend Alyse and her awesome roommates. We brunched at Riverpark which is a very fancy (for me) restaurant by the famous chef Tom Colicchio. The brunch prices were totally normal so I would recommend trying it for a fancier feel! We started with cinnamon doughnuts to share.

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So many dishes looked great but most of them had cheese and other things I would have had to sub out so I just went with the safest option, the wild mushroom frittata.

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AMAZING iced coffee, too!

I probably should have woke up early to run this morning but since I have 2 classes tomorrow and my legs are REALLY sore from my 6 miler yesterday, I slept in and am really aiming to eat healthier today. It’s a serious challenge after 2 months of being overly lenient in my food choices. Since I was also running less the last 2 months, I feel pretty fluffy and my pants aren’t fitting how I’d like them to. My mindset in the past would have been to restrict, or be too strict with how I would eat to reset my body (and mind, too). My will-power to be like that just doesn’t work anymore. And I don’t think that it’s a bad thing! In order to make changes that will stick, most people respond well to small changes. I know for me it’s really the only thing that will work. How do I do that? Here a few tips that work for me and hopefully will help you get back to healthier choices.

1. Obviously meal prep is important, useful and really does work in theory. You save money, calories and for me- a trip to the crazy streets of Midtown East in search of food for lunch and therefore a bad mood. But for me, after weeks of eating less-than-healthy foods, I seem to keep craving them. Were you eating a lot of breakfast sandwiches or french toast or pastries? Maybe you can keep eating those foods but make them yourself so you are saving the calories. Right now, oatmeal is just not doing it for me. If I make it at home on the stove and eat it right then it’s still great but for some reason making it in the microwave at work makes me gag now. Probably because I’ve been eating the same breakfast for 2.5 years straight. Except the last few weeks, I’ve been eating bagels and croissants for breakfast so I’ve been spoiled! I had the next best thing that I whipped up last night; healthy muffins and a big ol’ iced coffee.

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I’ll call them banana chocolate chip muffins. The chocolate chips I used are dairy-free mini ones from the brand Enjoy Life and I found them at Whole Foods. They seriously taste exactly like real chocolate chips, without the stomach ache for me. Win. Make these:

  • 2.5 cups oat flour (just grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor, about 4 cups worth)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Cinnamon (as much as you want)
  • Optional: 3 tbsp chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350, mix all together and make either 6 large muffins or 12 mini’s. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turn on broiler for 2-3 minutes for extra crispness on top. They come out about 260-ish calories for the 6 count with the chocolate chips so omit those and they will be closer to 220. Pair with some protein like some egg whites and a fat like a little peanut butter on the muffin and it’s an amazing breakfast that doesn’t seem SO healthy ;-) Eat things you love, just modify them.

2. Make 2/3 meals healthier to start. Make at least your breakfast and lunch healthier, or your lunch and dinner. For me, if I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, it’s actually easier for me to have a healthy dinner too. Why break the pattern, right? But if I start out the day with junk, I will be much less likely to eat healthy the rest of the day. After my healthy breakfast, it was easier to choose a good lunch today. I picked up a made-to-order salad at my favorite place and loaded it with vegetables and grilled chicken. It also had some crumbled blue cheese and a side of light ranch to dip my fork in, because that’s balance!

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3. Honor your cravings in an alternate way. This is kind of similar to #1 but it’s what helps me the most. I work long hours, no less than 10 hours of my day is spent at my job and therefore just a breakfast and lunch aren’t going to cut it. Around 4 I start to get antsy because I still have 3 hours of work left and I just want to leave. Then comes the late afternoon snack attack. BE PREPARED. Don’t come empty handed and leave yourself vulnerable to office junk food. I did this the entire month of December and that’s why I feel fluffy now. Bring an apple or banana with peanut butter, a Larabar or whatever your favorite type of bar is, portioned out trail mix, a fruity greek yogurt, or some dark chocolate. I prefer a bulkier “snack” that’s basically just another meal calorie-wise. I don’t get a chance to eat dinner until at least 8:00 PM but often later if I work later or teach a Spin class after work, so around 5:30-6 I am starving. Depending on your calorie needs and when you eat dinner, you can judge how big your snack should be. Also, maybe you are a big time post-dinner snacker. Since I eat dinner so late, I don’t usually have a chance to eat more because I need to be asleep. You don’t have to give up your dessert, you just need to fit it into your calorie needs for the day.

4. When encountering junky food that ya know ya just don’t need right now, repeat to yourself: “I know what this tastes like already. I’ve had it before, and I can have it again.” I may be crazy for this one, but I swear it works for me. If you really stop to think about a food you are about to dive into that you don’t exactly need, seriously remind yourself that you know what it tastes like. You know it will be available to you again. Why not just wait? John’s mom made a ton of her amazing cookies and I’ve been picking at them every day since before Christmas. I finally stopped myself last night and remembered that I had been eating them every day and I know what they taste like. They are freaking amazing so it’s hard to say no even when talking out loud to myself in the kitchen, but I managed to not even open the ziplock bag. There just seems to be less of a “I NEED NOW” feeling when you stop to think that it isn’t the last time you will see the particular food.

Let me know if any of these tips work for you! They aren’t anything special or unique but we often just need reminders of the basics to set us straight again.

What small changes do you make when getting back to healthier habits?

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21 thoughts on “Small Changes.

  1. I LOVE your tips, they are all so true! I also find that if I eat healthy for breakfast and lunch then Ill continue it during the evening. I love an afternoon treat that tastes decadent so I don’t have a huge craving at night. Greek yogurt with pb mixed in is one of my favorites! That or a banana with pb. Love the idea about “knowing” what a food tastes like. I’ll try that tonight! xo

  2. Jen, I just wanted to say thank you for your awesome blog!! Thanks for sharing about your journey, your personal life, great recipes, and weight loss tips. I have been a follower since October 2013, just about when I started my own blog. I too, am on the weight loss track and as of yesterday I have lost 13 lbs since early November. My goal is to lose 25-30 lbs. I have tried your recipes, i.e. turkey chili and it was awesome!! I will definitely try your muffin recipe to change-up my breakfast too. Thank you for your frankness, motivation, and tips, I really appreciate it!!

    • Ohh Erica thank you so much for this wonderful comment! I appreciate you reading my blog and so happy you find some of my babble useful ;-) Congrats on your weight loss and I know you’ll do great losing the rest!

  3. I wondered tonight if there were midnight runs held…not around here but I thought it would be cool. I did a hangover 5k on the first, my time wasn’t great but I was third in my age group. The ribbons were bartender bottle openers and I won a basket of bourbon as a door prize. Pretty cool although I don’t drink bourbon! Happy New Year!!

  4. Happy New Year!!

    That salad looks so good! December has definitely been the same for me and going back home for Christmas with my Step-Moms rich cooking and LOTS of burgers and fries that “I had” to have since I can only get them in the good ol USA, I’m more than ready to get back to healthy eating.

    Your number 4 is something I’ve read about before and definitely think it helps me too. It’s always harder to say no to yummy food when I’ve been pretty lenient with my eating since Thanksgiving, but thinking I don’t need it now and can always have it another time makes it a lot easier to say no!

  5. Fluffy. Haha. But same here.
    So helpful! Will be attempting to do all of these, especially taking a decently healthy snack to work or for the commute home so my car doesn’t end up in a drive thru for a snack. Thanks!!

    • You’re welcome!! I remember the drive-thru days but living in NYC means every food place imaginable is right on the street just waiting for you to walk in! I need to be kinder to my wallet too so I’m trying to cook more!

  6. I sweat I could taste those cinnamon donuts just from looking at the picture. Therefore, I don’t need to eat them. Right on!

  7. I haven’t tried repeating that phrase about knowing what something tastes like but I will try it next time. That is an important thing to think about, the fact that it won’t be your last time having that food ever again, so why not wait?

  8. Thank you for the helpful tips. I was just wondering what your meals are typically like. I having been working 10 hour days as well and don’t get to have dinner until 8.30-9pm each night, by which time I am starving and will eat anything in sight…hence ruining my healthy eating during the day. Hope you can help.

  9. Pingback: Finding a Balance, Part 2 | Leanne Nalani

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