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Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Fitness Goals and Meal Choices

Remember my list of New Years Resolutions? I know most people don't believe in new years resolutions because they are, frankly, designed to fail. I know... I know... but I am a list-making-fiend so making myself a list and reviewing it helps keep me on track.

I made an emotional scene at the mall last weekend. I have had this $25 gift card to Nordstrom from my mom for my birthday (back in February) burning a hole in my wallet. I went to the Nordstrom Rack {because I am cheap and can't imagine what I will be able to buy for $25}. After trying a few things on, I felt discouraged. I left the dressing room and found my fiancé waiting for me patiently {even though we had split earlier, him to Gamestop, me to Nordstrom Rack}. I just started crying and getting very emotional about my weight.

After reading Evelyn's new fitness series (where she dropped 20 lbs in 3 months! woot!), I felt inspired and decided it was time to get myself back on track with my fitness goals. I am usually way better at this during the Summer because there are just so many outdoor activities available to help keep me active. I decided now is the perfect time to start and if I can keep it up all through the good weather, than maybe it will be habit by the time Winter is here.

Evelyn has been using the My Fitness Pal app. It is a web and mobile app diary for keeping track of Calories consumed and burned. Seeing how much success she has had, I immediately downloaded the app and signed up.

When participating in a company wide team competition last Summer, I found that it really helped logging my mileage. The app we used last year was the Start Walking Now tracker from the American Heart Association. It was OK, but really lacked in the Calorie tracking category. What is nice about this app was that a company could sign up with teams and compete against each other anonymously, so it worked for our competition.

I don't believe in dieting. Being on a diet implies you will eventually be off the diet {most likely fallen off horribly! Eeek!}. I do believe in life style changes, so that is what this is. I am going to change how I think about food and really keep track of what it is that I am putting into my mouth and encourage myself to exercise by seeing a credit in Calories.

As part of this process, I did my first weigh in. This totally shocked me, which led to another emotional outburst with the guy consoling me. He is such a sweetie and really comforted me and tried to make sure I know that he thinks I am beautiful exactly the way I am. I love him so much!

I normally don't keep track of my weight. I usually gauge everything based on pant and bra size. I have gained a couple of pant sizes and gained 2 cups and a couple of strap sizes over the past 10 years. I usually only note my weight in the Doctors office. Sometimes they have the scale set to kilograms, so that is nice to not pay attention to it!

Well, my weight this time around was 15 lbs more than my guestimate {or my hopeful weight?} when I signed up with My Fitness Pal. This is also 5 lbs from my scary number... {hint - it changes the first digit of my weight when reading left to right...} I know I am tall and should weigh more than most women who are typically shorter than me, but that number just seems so unforgivable and alien to me.

Fitness Goals

Here are my goals:

  • Manage Food Consumption
    I don't want to think of it this as dieting, because diets don't work. I am attempting a life style change with the end goal being a healthy management what I consume balanced with how much I burn.
  • Exercise
    Not only does exercise burn Calories, but it makes you feel better. It has been shown that exercise helps those who suffer from depression {yep, me!} by releasing endorphins which makes you feel good. I also want to be in shape so that I can have more fun! Especially with children in the picture.
  • Drink Water Consistently
    This one is actually pretty easy for me. I find that I typically drink close the recommended 8 eight ounces per day. Especially at work. Guess it gives me opportunities to go to the water cooler and the bathroom, dunno. However, I don't typically drink enough water on the weekend.
  • Be a positive role model for my children
    I think we do pretty good when my stepson is here. We tend to be more active {gotta get out and have fun with the kiddo!}. We also do NOT eat fast food {except I sometimes grab subway for lunch}. We do eat out, but it is never the nasty, sugar spiked, filler infused, fake food that is served at fast food restaurants. {Can you even call them restaurants? Chains. That is what they are called. Fast food chains.}

Tracking Calories and Meal Choices

In order to manage my food consumption and balance it with exercise, I have started tracking Calories with My Fitness Pal (MFP). Paying attention to Calories has already made me more aware of what I am consuming and what the better food choice is. This isn't about starving myself, it is about, "do I want to eat A or B?" And how much of it should I eat?

I also don't want to deprive myself of foods I enjoy. Instead, I have made tweaks to those foods in order to reduce the Calories. Here are some examples of the food choices I have made with the help of MFP. My pre-MFP choice is on the left and post-MFP on the right.


Breakfast - I have switched from eating these organic pop tarts to eating a bowl of cereal in the morning.

It was horrifying to realize how many Calories are in 1 toaster pastry... Not to mention that a serving is ONE pastry and not the two that are neatly packaged together. I fooled myself into thinking these organic pop tarts are healthy, but they are still pastries. The 420 Calories represents a large portion of my current allowance, which is just over 1500 Calories. It is equivalent to a typical meal, but I never felt full afterwards and always ended up snacking with a granola bar before eating lunch.


Lunch - A simple tweak to a meal I eat reduced Calories significantly!

I try to bring my lunch to work. But when I don't, there is a subway across the street that I often frequent. I cut soda from my regular lunch eating out meal and typically bring my water bottle with me. Next is to cut out the chips, because even the baked chips are over 200 Calories. Last time I went, I brought a bag of baby carrots with me.

After reviewing sandwich options on Subways Nutritional Site, I knew I had to change-up my sandwich. My normal was the 6" Italian BMT on Italian herb and cheese, pepper jack cheese, toasted, lettuce, tomato, onion and Chipotle sauce. My new sandwich is the 6" Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham on 9-Grain Wheat, no cheese, toasted, lettuce, tomato, onion and deli mustard. Makes a HUGE difference! Wowza!

I admit, my new sandwich isn't as yummy as my old one. However, I think I will be able to live with it. The Calories saved is pretty astonishing on this one. Plus, I'm not cutting out subway all together.


I don't have a picture of what we ate on Friday, but it is a prime example of not depriving myself of yummy food, but adjusting it. My fiancé and I fell in love with BLAST sandwiches from our neighborhood pub. Don't know what a BLAST is? Let me spell it out. Bacon. Lettuce. Avocado. Swiss cheese. Tomato. Yum yum yum!

The pub served this sandwich on sour dough bread all greasy from being grilled and smothered in mayonnaise. It came with either a side of salad or fries, but I am sure you know which one we always chose. These fries were über greasy, home cut fries. Of course, it was always topped off with a bottle of beer (or hard ginger cider ale for me!). This became our favorite Friday night out.

In an effort to save money, I started making our BLAST at home. Oh, and I made it super greasy and delicious too! The guy got his socks knocked off when I nailed an almost identical replica. I grill the bread like a grilled cheese sandwich... so you can imagine how greasy it is.

Well, this Friday was a little different. I decided to make his like normal but tweaked mine. I used one less slice of bacon, one less slice of cheese, skipped the mayonnaise and grilled mine without butter. This made my bread toasty but not greasy.

We made tater tots to go with our sandwich. Instead of eating my normal serving, I counted out the portion I chose based on how many Calories I was willing spend. Normally I would eat all the left over tater tots... but those guys are super not good. I plan on finding a replacement for the frozen tots and fries we have been eating regularly.

This worked out pretty good as I was able to enjoy our normal Friday meal and stay within my Calorie budget. Like I said before, I am not dieting. I am just tweaking my choices to stay within my Calorie budget. I am managing my health the same way I manage our finances. And I am blogging about it to help keep myself accountable.

Do you have an active fitness plan? {pun intended} Are you keeping on top of your resolutions/goals? How do keep up with your goals? Do you use My Fitness Pal? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Linking to: Give me the Goods | Freedom Fridays | No Rules Weekend | What to do Weekends Empty Your Archive


  1. Smart plan!! You go girl!!! Thanks for all the shout outs!!

  2. Yay for Bethany!!!! You made a key pont here..DIETS DO NOT WORK.. it's about lifestyle change..Eating correctly and exercise are the key points. I'm so proud of you for taking control!!. About 4 years ago I stripped nekid, looked in the mirror and was so bummed about how out of shape I ahd gotten. A frend of mine recommended an exercise book, "New rules of lifting for women"..Wthin one month my body had already started getting toned.. It's important you lift weights (not to be bulky like a She-Ra) but to strengthen the core muscles.. There is also a Facebook group.. That is my recommendation.. 4yrs later, I stll lift 3x aweek, and don't cringe when I'm nekkid anymore :-)

  3. It's true though. You are an inspiration! It is something that has been bothering me for a few years now that I have just been putting off. It's time to take back control. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us! Hugs!!! :)

  4. Yay! I have seen many coworkers and friends diet. Trust me, I know it doesn't work! I think one of the most inspiring people in my life for weight change is my aunt. She was seriously obese (5'-6" and over 250 lbs? just guessing). She ended up getting a surgery performed for her knees that was the same one as her mother had, only 20 years earlier. This struck her and she seriously turned her life around and is amazing looking. My goal too is to not cringe when I look in the mirror when I'm all nekkid. To not doubt my guy when he tells me I'm beautiful. To be happy within my skin. Thanks for cheering me on! :D

  5. I have started using Lose It! app ad it is helping me. It has a scanner so I can scan upc's to help upload foods. I have fallen in love with Ken's Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette dressing for my salads now. Low calories and full of flavor. I use that on a large salad topped w blueberries and some pecans. Congrats on your efforts! I know how hard it is! :) If you want any of my info, come on over to ! I would love to have you swing by! :)

  6. That salad sounds divine! MyFitnessPal also has a upc scanner, although I haven't tried it yet. I've typically just performed a search and have been successful that way. I like that it lets me set up custom recipes and meals. It's been less than a week, but I am feeling really good about keeping track of Calories. I've learned so much about my foods through doing it!

  7. Wow, I really resonated with this post. For the first time in my life, I'm unhappy with my weight and how I feel.... I used to be the kind of person who could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound, but over the last year or so, I've been steadily gaining more and more weight and finding it harder and harder to fit into my old clothes. I'm trying to eat smaller portions and not indulge in unhealthy snacks, but have healthy snacks around like almonds, fruits, and veggies. And working out 3x a week has been my current goal. I really like the goal to drink more water. Having one of the copco cups with a straw has really helped with that, but I could be better. Either way, I'm all for avoiding diets and making lifestyle changes, as you suggest. All this to say, I'm in your corner girl, I understand what you're going through, and I support you in your efforts to get healthy! You can do it!

  8. And your comment resonated with me! This is exactly how I feel. It has just been steadily getting worse and worse. Gaining a few pounds over time. The guy is really bad with the snacks, juice and soda. He's also not very active either. So he has been a total bad influence for me in this regards. I think he has finally clued in on how unhappy I am with this part of my life. I am SUPER happy with everything else, but I am not thrilled about my body. He is trying to be supportive and I think he is starting to think about his own bad eating habits.

    My stepson flies in June 9th to be with us for 8 weeks! Yay!!! He discovered he is allergic to wheat, corn, peanuts, walnuts, tomatoes and sesame. It's sad to think this 12 year old kiddo can't have food like pizza (which he would have gladly eaten every night just last year!), but it is a blessing in disguise. He is learning to eat healthy at an early age.

    And me? I get to learn how to cook gluten free this summer! Haha! So maybe we will start seeing some benefits and try to work it into our normal eating routine. Not cutting it out completely, but working towards more healthy meals and snacks.

    Any, who. I'm in your corner too!!! We can do this together! :D

  9. Your comment has left me so pumped up, Bethany! And I was just talking with Mark today about how we want to get back into the habit of tracking our exercising with the chart I had made last fall (here's the post on it from the early days...forgive the bad lighting: It really did work for a while, but we've since fallen off the wagon. And I think that's great that you're looking forward to learning how to cook gluten free and find some recipes you enjoy to make and eat. I think that's the key: not just "getting by" with food, but finding delicious healthy alternatives to what you WERE eating. Then it's less of a punishment and more of an active choice!

  10. Thanks for the info. I stopped drinking soda also. Empty calories and it doesn't fill up a person at all. Take care, Linda

  11. Yeah. The soda was hard for me. I don't believe in drinking diet soda either. There is enough weird ingredients in the regular that the diet just gives me the willies. I may still drink some soda, but as a treat. Like, ewwwww, I cleaned the ____ and it was soooo gross!!!! Well, I did burn this many Calories from it, so I deserve a treat. ;)

  12. You are so inspiring.... I pinned!
    You rock!! Have a great memorial day weekend.

    hugs xx

    Crystelle Boutique

  13. Gabby, I am so glad you found this thread too! I totally agree about working everything into your daily routine. It is so easy to push things off for later. The Calorie counting was not something I had ever thought of doing before. It just sounded too hard and too tedious. I think the apps for Calorie counting are getting better and easier.

    I too am trying to exercise every day. I have a pedometer and keep track of Calories burned that way. I try to do a walk/jog (alternating walking with bursts of jogging) on most days. I am not very athletic, but I really enjoy these walk/jogs as they give me time to let my brain mull things over. It's really relaxing.

    Also, looking at Calories for different foods was a shock to my system. Now I am eating with more intention. Understanding how much is a serving and how much I can afford to eat with my allowance. I definitely have days where I know I am going to be over, but I like to make those days part of social occasions.

    It's been hard, but I passed the one week mark and have been pretty consistent. My fiance is starting to also think about what he is consuming. He has been such a bad influence on me! Hehe! But now I'll be a good influence on him. He has started reducing his portions and we are both working on not over eating. Like you said, eat until you aren't hungry, not until your are "full." That fullness feeling comes typically way after you have crossed the finish line.

    Anyways, now I've written a novella! I plan on doing a follow up and working towards keeping myself on this path to better living. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend too!!! Hugs!!!

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