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.ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ Eat things you love, just modify them.

2. Make 2/3 meals healthier to start.ย 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.”ย 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?

2013 Recap- Obvi.

I’m a complete sucker for all things recapped and end of the year recaps make me giddy. I never said I was cool, okay? So here are my top 10 favorite moments/events/accomplishments of my 2013, not in any particular order because I don’t wanna make one memory feel inferior to another memory. Aren’t I sweet? PS this is going to be a long post with a lot of pictures of me. Feel free to stop reading right here.

I’ll start with a short recap of my workouts. I use DailyMile to log my miles but I also use my iPhone notes to recap every day of the year with what workout I did including rest days. I will probably seriously do this forever, because I enjoy it. Just like logging my food every day on MyFitnessPal, it’s not even entirely about weight loss these days. I can look up any day in the past 3.5 years and instantly be taken back to that day. It’s not just about the food or the workout for that particular day, it’s the memories that came along with the rest of that day. Does that make sense? Anyways, without further ado, here we go.

Running- 572 miles

Spin- 35 classes, including teaching 8 of them ๐Ÿ™‚

Yoga- 6 (um, woops)

Strength training/weights- 41 sessions

2014 fitness goals: run a lot more miles than that. A.k.a BE MORE CONSISTENT. Less excuses, Jen, less excuses. Stop being lazy and run. A tentative goal I just decided on after reading this is that I want to run 2014K in 2014. That equates to 1,251.4 miles. Since there’s no way in hell I could run 2000 miles in a year without breaking my legs, I will shoot for the kilometer version of 2014. With marathon training starting in the summer, I can definitely do this. Being more consistent will likely result in me getting a little faster, too. I want toย Spin more, or more specifically teach more! I am loving teaching so much. I NEED TO YOGA MORE. My God, 6 classes over 12 months?! Pathetic. I am aiming to at least double that number, but hopefully a lot more. With strength training I really surprised myself. Didn’t think I had really done 41 sessions of it, but that was also counting very short 8-10 minute arm workouts which why would they not count? Just a simple goal to strengthen myself even more in the new year.

Top 13: (not in order of favorites)

1.ย Running my 1st half marathon with my best friend.

The months of training together every weekend was the best part. Achieving a hard goal with someone I love so much was one of the best feelings ever. I love this girl with all my heart.

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2. Falling even more in love with my Johnny.ย 

We strengthened our relationship so much this year. We did a ton of fun things together, including so many comedy shows I can’t even remember. We really made sure we made time for each other. He reminds me to think positively every day and makes me laugh even when I’m so mad at him that I want to punch him. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings us! And no, that will not be a baby.

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3. Being in Women’s Health for my weight loss story.

Basically no words for how amazing it was to be chosen for it, have a photo shoot for it, and see my mug all over a magazine ๐Ÿ˜‰ It brought me a TON of views to my blog and I love all of the comments I receive telling me they found my blog because of my article!

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4. Deciding, at the very last minute, to complete NYRR’s 9+1 program to qualify for the 2014 NYC Marathonand actually completing it, despite having an injury 3 days before my final race.

1st race of 9.. Percy Sutton Harlem 5K
1st race of 9.. Percy Sutton Harlem 5K
2/9- 4 mile race for autism
2/9- 4 mile race for autism
3 of 9- Bronx 10 miler
3 of 9- Bronx 10 miler
4 of 9- Grete Gallop 1/2 Marathon (2nd half marathon!)
4 of 9- Grete Gallop 1/2 Marathon (2nd half marathon!)
5 of 9- Staten Island 1/2 marathon where I had a HUGE PR!
5 of 9- Staten Island 1/2 marathon where I had a HUGE PR!
6 of 9- Poland Spring 5 Miler
6 of 9- Poland Spring 5 Miler
Fulfilling my volunteer credit at the marathon expo
Fulfilling my volunteer credit at the marathon expo

(Sadly I have no selfies or anything from race 7 and 8 but they happened, obvi)

And the final race:

9 of 9- Ted Corbitt 15K
9 of 9- Ted Corbitt 15K

4 months of training and races, a wonderful volunteer day, and a lot of pizza later and I am qualified for the 2014 NYC Marathon. One of my top 3 proudest achievements.

5. Watching one of my greatest friends get married.ย 

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I just re-read that post and teared up. She is due with her first baby this March and I am so excited to meet the little guy. Love you Frach!

6. Really appreciating the real friends I have, even though distance separates some of us.

I got to see most of the people that are truly my real friends at least once this year and it was great! It’s been really hard to find real friends in NYC. I’m lucky enough to have Brenda and John here but it’s proven difficult to find other people that I have things in common with and who want to build a real relationship. It’s tough! But I’ve heard it all my life that it gets harder to make friends as you get older. The few new people I became close with I am thankful for, though. And my brother is one of my closest friends which I never thought would happen! I love him to death and although we are really different, we’re still getting closer as we get older. I really hope 2014 will bless me with at least one new good friend that actually likes to do the things I like to do! When you stop partying to better your life, like I did, you see who sticks around and sadly I did lose some people. Their loss.

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7. Eating so much good food and developing a better relationship with it.

2011 and 2012 I was dealing with a horrible eating disorder, which if you’ve read my blog for long enough you know all about. After losing 110 pounds, I still thought I needed to lose a lot more and since my body was already at a super healthy (and borderline underweight) size, I had to nearly starve myself and work out for hours a day to keep losing weight. I looked terrible, lost hair, my period, etc. It was a time period more imprisoning than being overweight. Once I finally got help and started to eat more, I went way overboard and started binge eating for months and months. I gained weight in all the wrong places because of it and felt so miserable in my skin, once again, until this year. I found a comfortable medium between loving to work out but being okay with resting whenever I want to without feeling insanely guilty and eating what I want. I was in really amazing shape this summer and fall and while I’ve gained a little this month from all the dang sweets, I know that I can get back to feeling great without deprivation or anything extreme. I love to eat healthy, and I am so much happier eating pizza all the time by fitting them into my macros after a few doses of the healthy stuff, of course. If I could marry pizza, I would.

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8. Becoming a Spin teacher!!

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I got certified in March and finally got a part-time position in November. I am excited to see where I can go with this! It’s so much fun creating playlists and seeing the look on my classes faces when they hear a song they love. I also love the look on their face when they really don’t like me during a heavy hill climb. ๐Ÿ˜€

9. Finally completing my Associate’s degree.

Not something I talk about too often on here except for mentions of homework here and there, but school is something I have struggled with completing. Not for lack of intelligence but lack of time and money. I graduated high school in 2006 and went right to community college in my town and worked full-time. After 1 year I decided I would wait awhile because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and work was more important to me since I had no other choice but to support myself as I moved out of my parents house at 19. I finally decided to go back in 2010 but had to again take my time and take some semesters off, and long story short I am finally done with my Associate’s degree. It’s kind of embarrassing that it took so long, but in the end it’s my life and I have way more work and life experience than most people my age. I’m not sure what my path for school will be from here so just taking it day by day!

10.ย Cooking more and hosting my first Thanksgiving!

I thought at 25 it may be about time to start actually cooking once in awhile and trying recipes. I didn’t cook a lot or anything, but I did make many batches of the best turkey chili ever, a buffalo chicken soup that’s to die for, and I cooked all of our Thanksgiving food! One of my main goals for 2014 is to cook more and not eat out so much. The last 2 months i’ve barely been in my kitchen out of pure laziness.

And there we have it. Another year is gone and another one is on the horizon. I have realized that I am not Type-A enough to have a laundry list of resolutions that I will actually stick to. I think it’s important to constantly want to improve yourself and get more out of life and that’s what I am going to strive for!

I hope you all have an amazing New Years Eve and I want to hear what some of your goals are!!