Category: calorie counting

Finding Myself Again

Do you remember me?

Frankly, I barely remember who I was…what made me tick, what inspired me. The past 6 years have been consumed by pregnancy, toddlers, play groups, pick ups, drop offs, cutting over 11 million grapes and changing enough diapers to earn a Pampers reward to Cancun.


For a while now (and maybe still, to a degree, I mean, they give me a LOT of material), I let my kids identify me. And before them? Well, I really don’t even remember.

But this is me now:

* legitimately confident, not faking it till I make it

* a work in progress, not a final product that is outdated and unchanging

* healthy, energized and strong, not “skinny fat” or struggling with being comfortable in a post-partum body (x3) body

* being an example, not looking for one

* knowing what I’m meant to be doing and earning an income from what I love and working with a team of inspired and supportive partners, not filling in the gap for a paycheck earned by work I’m just *doing*.

I have a CLEAR as day view of ME now. It just took a while to get here.

Do you remember you? Who are you NOW? Do you need help getting there? Maybe I can help.

What is Clean Eating?

You might be sick of hearing the phrase “clean eating” by now!!  But, I’ve found along this fitness and wellness journey, is that the key to my successful weight loss (and keeping it off) was and is not exercising religiously – it is all what I eat! I’ve been following the principles of clean eating (I actually prefer to call it conscious eating and I’ll more into that later) for almost 4 years now.

clean_eating_basics

But, what is clean or conscious eating?

Clean/conscious eating is eating food in its simplest form. Veg, fruit, nuts, “good” fats. Minimal processing, minimal ingredients, not a lot of added sugar. Cooking, prepping and planning more and eating out less, making boxed meals less, etc. You’ll also find that in a lot of cases, you’ll actually save money on certain things by making them yourself!

This change in thinking doesn’t happen overnight and it is best done literally one ingredient, household staple or recipe.

I need to stress that it is not healthy to obsess over the ingredients.  When you can choose “clean” – do it.  But things like breads and tortillas are hard to find with minimal ingredients simply because they need to stay fresh.  Pick the whole grain option, the less sugar added option, etc.  We don’t want your mindset swinging the other way to obsession. This is why I prefer the term “conscious eating” over “clean eating”….make the best choices when available, within your budget and time constraints, and you will still improve your health.

Live by the 80/20 rule and you can’t go wrong!  80% of the time choose healthy and 20% indulgences will create a nice balance and a great habit without obsessing or negative relationships with food.

But, will I lose weight just by eating “clean”?

The short answer? Possibly.  You’ll like stay fuller longer from fiber-rich food and quality proteins but you’ll still need to be eating the right amount of calories to create the deficit needed for weight loss. The hotly debated “Calories in, calories out” vs “all calories are not created equal” is a topic for another blog post.  That said, hopping on My Fitness Pal or a similar app and tracking your food (either briefly for an idea, or longer term) is a great way to find out if you are eating too much for your goals.

Related: How Many Calories Should I Be Eating?

If you would like to join my free clean eating group on Facebook, please email me and I can add you!  We share lots of recipes, do mini-challenges and offer tips on meal prep and planning too!

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Chicken Sausage Quinoa & Spinach Skillet

This recipe was an accident! A yummy chicken sausage, quinoa and spinach skillet came from a happy accident that was a direct result of some simple meal prep.

I had cooked off some Trader Joe’s Sundried Tomato Basil chicken sausages the day before as well as a big batch of quinoa for my husband to bring to work with his fajita chicken lettuce wraps.

If you are planning lunches at work, you can easily prep and portion this out and reheat it. I think this would be amazing cold too but I’m also a cold pizza person!

In a moment of creativity, I now have a new weekday lunch staple.  

Chicken Sausage, Quinoa & Spinach Skillet
(serves one)

1 chicken sausage, cooked and chopped
2 cups raw spinach
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1. Heat oil in small pan.
2. Add spinach and sauté for about a minute over medium heat.
3. Add cooked sausage and quinoa and cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is cooked through and all ingredients are warm.

Note: The sausage is not 21 Day Fix friendly however if you subbed in ground turkey, it would still be great!

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How Many Calories Should I Be Eating?

Calories in, calories out, right?

But one thing I’ve realized on this journey is that the sweet spot of calorie intake that also aligns with one’s goals can be a pretty tricky thing to nail down, with all the misinformation out there.

For one thing, and this has been written all over the internet, 1200 calories is typically not enough for a person who follows some sort of fitness program but it seems to still be floating out there as a strange magical weight loss number.

But if we think of food as fuel, you realize that excessively limiting intake to lose weight is actually counterintuitive!

We need fuel for muscle repair. Fuel for energy!

how_many_calories

So, that said, the ultimate question?

How many calories should you be eating??

I’m a big fan of this calculator. I’ve found it to be accurate for me and my challengers have also had success with it.  Once I have that number, I manually enter it as my goal into My Fitness Pal and since this calculator factors in activity, you don’t even need to worry about “eating back” your calories.

Many people will find that they are actually not eating ENOUGH to sustain their activity level!

So, the bottom line here is to look at your intake and evaluate your activity level. Try that calculator and do a little food journaling, if you’ve never tried it.  See if your intake aligns with the calculator and your goals.  And most of all, listen to your body! If you are hungry – eat! Make thoughtful choices with your food and pick filling, healthy meals and snacks 80% of the time.

Related: What is Clean Eating?

Good luck and let me know if can help you reach your goals!

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**Now, this all being said, I am not a registered dietician.  Please consult with an RD for specific, personal recommendations!**