The Hammer's Coming Down

hammer and strawberry full sized

Remember how I mentioned "the boot" on Monday?  And how I haven't been exercising much?  Well, I've got a confession to make - I got on the scale yesterday and the picture's not pretty.  All this not moving has caused weight gain I'm not comfortable with.  Sure, I expect that I'll spread out at a time like this - I can't do the gagillion squats and lunges I depend on to keep things in check - but now I know I've also been too lax in the eating department.

So, the hammer's coming down.  Back to 1,200 calories.  Back to logging everything that goes in my mouth.  Back to rules and goals - if I can't log it, I can't eat it, and if I make my first goal, I'm treating myself to a massage.  Those who know me know I treat myself pretty well - but a massage is a true indulgence for me.  It's definitely something to look forward to if I can reign it in a little bit here for the next month.  And that's how I go about this, and you might want to, too.  Small, intermediate goals help you feel the sense of achievement you need to stay on track.  Sure, you might want to change your life radically in some way, maybe it's weight-loss, but if you set a huge goal for yourself it just might be too overwhelming to deal with after a week.  I'm all about baby steps - now literally and figuratively (groan).

But another confession, I've been enjoying eating anything I want.  I've been conscious of moderation, but I've definitely been eating more calorie-dense foods.  I like the variety of foods that being more relaxed has allowed me to eat.  So my other goal for this time is to come up with some yummy new ideas for snacks and meals that will still fit into my calorie budget.  Add to that the easy-prep angle, and I've got a challenge.  But lucky for all of us, I love a challenge! 

Today I hit TJ's again, and I just whipped up a little snack that is so good, I had to share:

1/2 Trader Joe's Whole Wheat British Muffin
1 T. Trader Joe's Chipotle Pepper Hummus
Bunch of Trader Joe's organic pea shoots

Toast the muffin half, spread with the hummus, and then top with some pea shoots.  The hummus is slightly smoky and a little spicy and the shoots are sweet and crisp.  The combination of the soft toasted muffin and the toppings is quite satisfying, and you'll clock in at just under 100 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  If you're like me and can't give up carbs completely, then this is a good little carb fix.

Another great snack that I have gone back to is an idea I got from an old issue of Clean Eating Magazine.

1/2 c. low-fat cottage cheese
1 T. unsweetened apple butter
1 t. roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds

Stir the apple butter into the cottage cheese and sprinkle the sunflower seeds on top . . . a little sweet, a little crunchy, and with this one, you'll come in at just under 150 calories and 13 grams of protein.

Need something that's portable?  Don't want a bar?  Trader Joe's makes organic light string cheese.  Now I know, string cheese doesn't taste all that great, but it's easily portable and portion-controlled.  Really, the cheeses I love are all too high in fat and calories for me to eat regularly when I'm dieting.  So instead, pair a light cheese stick with a medium apple and throw it in your bag/briefcase and you're sure to have a healthy snack when mid-morning hunger pangs strike.  This run will run approximately 140  calories, with 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.

There're always nuts - a handful of almonds or walnuts are easy to put in a little container to take with you.  I never quite find that satisfying enough, though - and you do have to be very careful with nuts.  They're super nutritious, but they're also calorie-dense and small . . . the risk, for me anyway, of over-indulging here is higher than with other foods.

I'll keep you posted, and I'll keep posting new ideas for easy and low-calorie menu ideas.  And please, if you have ideas, post them in the comments.

I know that January is the most popular time for weight-loss resolutions, but I never make them then.  For me, fall is a time of change and new beginnings - guess that's the kid in me.  Are there any changes you want to make this September?  Think of how ahead of the curve you'll be come January!