Uncategorized

A Week on SmartPoints: The Good, The Bad & The Weigh-In

Yesterday marked my first full week on the Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale plan, and overall I’m really digging SmartPoints (SP). I’ve written about several of the Weight Watchers plans over the years, including:

But since rumor on the street has it that a new plan will be rolling out in the next few weeks (rumors are discussed here), rather than go into the nitty gritty details, I’ll just share five things that stuck out to me from this first week.

  1. SmartPoints seems more in line with the latest nutritional research, steering us towards foods lower in sugar and higher in protein. It seems like it’s a lot harder to “cheat the system” that it has been on earlier iterations of WW.
  2. I love that there’s a focus… beyond the scale, including thinking about (& writing down!) why you’re trying to lose weight at the beginning and setting non-scale related goals for yourself in addition to weight goals as you go along.
  3. I really miss the Healthy Living Guidelines tracker. I used to love checking off each cup of water and fruit and veggie as I ate it. (Can you tell I’m Type A much??) I’m not sure why they removed this feature, perhaps to simplify the program and not overwhelm those of us who don’t like having to check boxes, but I wish it was an option because I miss it!
  4. I’m a lot less impressed with the format for the Weight Watchers Weekly. It seems like there’s a lot less information and a lot of repetition from week to week. For example, each week uses a full page to talk about reframing your thinking, and the examples they give are just… dumb. This week’s topic was “Use Your Beans” and it did include one recipe, but it seemed like the rest of it was trying to convince me that beans are a good source of protein and alternative to meat… I’m convinced, now give me something useful!
  5. I love that fruits and veggies are still no points, and that they figured out how to tweak the Recipe Builder so that when you create recipes, fruits and veggies aren’t counting against you like they did before.

So, there’s definitely more things I like about SmartPoints than I dislike, and overall my first week went really well! I get 32 SmartPoints per day and 42 per week, and this first week I ate them ALL. I am actually really enjoying tracking again and have gone to town with the scanner at the grocery store. The week itself was pretty low key and easy to be on plan since I was mostly cooking at home, but then I had a bunch of social stuff over the weekend which is always more challenging. But, I tracked everything I ate, tried to make good decisions for the most part, and felt pretty in control.

So, when I went in yesterday for my weigh in, I was feeling pretty confident that I’d lost, but wasn’t sure what to expect numbers wise. I was quite pleased when I stepped up on the scale and was down 6.8 pounds!! I am obviously SUPER happy with this result, but I know most of it is probably water weight, so my goal for next week is to just maintain the loss from this week. Onwards!

One of the things I am excited to dive into this week is Connect on the WW app! For those on WW, any tips or insights on how best to use it?

Facing My Fears: What’s Been Holding Me Back from Blogging

The other day, I came across an article about self-sabotage when it comes to weight loss and it basically said that often times, we have underlying fears that get in the way of accomplishing what we want. Because we’re worried about those things, either consciously or subconsciously, it creates inner turmoil that can lead to inaction rather than facing those fears head on. It can be really painful and difficult to pinpoint what those reasons are and to sit in the discomfort of confronting them because you have to dig deep and be vulnerable, even if just to yourself.

While this self-sabotage can apply to many areas of my life, it got me thinking a lot about what’s been holding me back from blogging again, even though I’ve been wanting to for some time and have dipped my toe in here and there over the last few years. I’m an expert excuse-maker, so I’ve come up with many surface reasons as to why – I need a new blog name, I need new content to focus on, I need to have it all figured out before wanting to share my life with the world again – but I’ve avoided confronting some of those deeper, more painful reasons because, well, it’s uncomfortable.

But I realized that not facing those fears is exactly what’s been standing in the way of starting to blog again, and I finally took some time to address them head on so I can stop with the inaction. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. People will judge me for not being the “after” anymore. When you write a blog about weight loss, there is a tremendous amount of pressure that’s hard to explain because I think ultimately it ends up being self-imposed, but it feels external. When you step away, it’s really hard to come back without addressing the weight situation head on, and to be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve been ready to until now. While I’m not back to where I started, I have gained some weight, and I’ve struggled with making healthy living a priority in the last couple years. Even now when I go to my Facebook page and see some of my before and after photos, it makes me cringe and feel like an imposter.
  2. People from my current/professional life will see some of the very personal things I’ve shared here and judge me. I’ve changed a lot in the 7.5 years since this blog began, and while I’m proud of a lot of the content, there are some deeply personal things on here that make me pretty anxious to think about everyone in my current life knowing and seeing. I briefly thought about removing some of that more sensitive content, like my plastic surgery documentation, but on further reflection, I realized I’m not even sure what I’m afraid of. Someone seeing it and knowing I had surgery? Someone seeing it and making fun of me for having surgery? And then I realized it’s because of an all-too-familiar judgement that I myself have been guilty of before I knew any better. I am afraid people are going to see the deepest parts of my weight loss journey and wonder how I could possibly let myself gain back any of the weight I’d worked so hard to lose.
  3. Even though I love to write, I am not a gifted photographer, so my blog can’t ever be great. This one may fall more into the surface level excuse category, but not take great photos is something that makes me anxious whenever I think about getting back into blogging, especially since a lot has changed in the last few years and things have gone more digital. I know that some of my content would be stronger if I had great photos to go with it, but good content with crappy pictures is better than no content and no pictures. And, this is something I can work on.
  4. I won’t be able to keep it up and will disappoint everyone, myself included. I think this one stems from trying to come back so many times over the last few years and not being able to stick with it. But, since I’d never taken the time to think through the bigger, underlying fears (see #1 and #2), I self-sabotaged like woah to avoid having to.

It’s pretty eye opening to reflect on these reasons and see that even though all of these stem from a fear of being judged by others, the only thing standing in the way of overcoming any of them is me.

Friday Five: Catch-Up Edition

Since it’s been a while, thought I’d catch you guys up on what’s been going on lately. Without further ado…

Life

Overall, life is really good! I’m still living in DC and have now been in the same building for almost 6 years now, though I moved from a studio to a one-bedroom back in 2013 so it’s been just over 3 years in my current apartment. I do live downtown, though most of my friends have ventured further out as they’ve bought houses and realized how insanely expensive it is to buy real estate the closer in you are. For the record, it’s still pretty crazy in the DC area even when you venture out a bit, but a bit less so. In the next yearish, I’m hoping to make a similar move and plan to document the home buying process on here when that time comes.

Love

So back when I started this blog, I was in a pretty serious relationship that lasted about 4 years, 2 of which we lived together for, and when that ended, I wrote about the shift to singledom here. After that, I tried my hand at online dating and went out with a LOT of interesting characters — and even wrote about a handful of the experiences on a different website – Date ‘N Tell. (The 5 stories are still up there if you’re interested in a good laugh and/or to feel sorry for me.) A little over two years ago, one of those online dates turned into something more substantial… Meet John.

As for some random facts, our first date was on April 4, 2015, he is super tall (6’7″, and before you ask, yes, he played football!), he really loves Stella (it’s a bit of a love triangle if I’m being honest), and he grew up in the country in southern VA. He’s much more relaxed and easy going than me (tho it’s hard not to be!) and it’s awesome to have someone who tells me to slow down (sometimes, ha) and balances me out.

Health

Since John moved in last year, I’ve gotten much more into the habit of cooking dinner on a regular basis. His family is super into healthy living, especially into the fitness side of things since they’re all athletes, and are also into supplements (vitamins and minerals, not weird stuff). So, I’ve been taking vitamins on a regular basis for the first time in my life, which is great. Fitness wise I’ve dabbled here and there, but I’ve had trouble sticking to something and am still on the hunt for a workout I love and can commit to (though trust me I know that a huge part of the battle is convincing yourself you like it at the beginning), and for the past couple months, my back has been acting up again. For some of the longtime readers, you may remember That Time I Had Emergency Back Surgery (plus Part Two and Part Three) and since the surgery in 2006, I’d been totally pain free, until a few months ago. In April, it started hurting a bit with waves of pain that would come and go, and it’s stuck around since. I tried going to the chiropractor and also to a physical therapist but it’s still been lingering, so yesterday I went to my primary care doctor, and she wants me to get an MRI, so I’m scheduling that for next week hopefully. This is all to say that the back issues have made it tough to get into a good exercise regimen recently, but I’m hoping to figure out what’s going on there soon.

Weight

Ahh, my formerly favorite topic. 😉 Long story short, I’m not where I want to be, but I’m also not where I once was. I’ll dive in deeper another day, but I do plan to focus on losing weight again at some point, but right now there are lots of other things taking precedence right now, including…

Career

Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my professional life and what I want out of my career. I’ve tried to think beyond just what I’m good at or what my experience is in, and instead to focus on where I’d like to see myself in a few years, not just what the easiest next step is. So in search of that, I made a few job changes and recently found myself in not one, but two jobs back-to-back that weren’t a good fit. And it’s forced me to pause, take a step back, and really think through the best direction to go from here.

Shifting Focus

Knock knock… is anybody there?

So let’s just get right into it, shall we? I started Beth’s Journey back in 2010, and it’s crazy to think that that was seven (SEVEN!) years ago. I’d lost a bunch of weight after a lifelong struggle, and remember reading so many blogs at the time and not seeing too many popular ones from people who’d lost a substantial amount of weight. I remember feeling like it was impossible to relate to someone who only had 5 or 10 pounds to lose, when I had the tall task of losing a whole person (a small one, but still) in front of me. It wasn’t until I went through the process of losing that last 5 or 10 pounds that I realized how much more difficult and frustrating those last pounds were so there was in fact a lot to relate on, but regardless, I saw a need at the time for a voice like mine in the healthy living/weight loss space, so I stepped into it and embraced it fully.

And, for the first several years, I really loved it. I would live and breathe Beth’s Journey, talk about it to anyone who would listen, brainstorm post ideas ALL THE TIME, keep drafts in my email of different posts or quotes or articles to share, keep up with social media, read and comment on so many other blogs, attend conferences, speak at conferences, brainstorm recipes, photograph everything I’d eat or do… you get the picture (no pun intended). And I don’t regret it for a second. I learned a lot about myself throughout those few years and discovered my voice with writing. I had a lot of incredible experiences, made friends and connected with people from all over the world, and even made some money doing it.

But once I got into my later 20s (and now almost mid-30s… eek!) and took on a more demanding day job, the blogging stuff started to feel more like a chore than anything else. I would pressure myself into writing a certain number of times a week, would be disappointed when I didn’t meet those benchmarks, and then would let emails and comments pile up so it all felt overwhelming and more like something I dreaded than wanted in my life. It didn’t help that my attention had also shifted away from healthy living and weight loss as I started focusing on other more grown-up things like my career and being in a serious relationship, so I felt guilty at the idea of writing about something I wasn’t myself doing. So, I popped in here and there and have written a handful of posts (literally, a handful) over the last few years, but it’s been pretty clear to all involved that my heart hasn’t been in it for a while.

So… What Am I Getting At?

With all that said, over those few years, I’ve started writing posts at least a thousand times, but have always stopped short because I had such a hard time knowing where to start or what to say. I loved having the creative outlet and found writing the posts themselves to be the most effortless part of the whole thing, but struggled with how to broach the subject. So what this all brings me to realize is that it was more the subject matter of Beth’s Journey than anything else that kept me away from the blog, and that I’ve really, really missed writing.

Also, now more than ever, I’m happy with my choice in a blog name because despite the acronym, life is a journey with lots of twists and turns and not all of them are about weight loss. I currently find myself on the brink of starting yet a new chapter in my life, so I’m going to seize the opportunity to shift the focus of Beth’s Journey to topics that I’m more excited about at the moment than weight loss (though I imagine I’ll still touch on it at least sometimes). So, if you’re up for it, I’d love to catch you up on what’s been going on and bring you along for this next phase of my journey as I try to figure out where to go from here. More to come…

Where to Begin?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve started writing this post, either on a computer or in my head, over the last year a half (!) since I last posted here. When healthy living and weight loss are not front and center in your life, it’s REALLY hard to figure out how to maintain a blog that’s supposed to focus on those very things. But let me just cut right to the chase – I need to figure out how to make those things central again.

You know the all-too-familiar drill.

Giving in to the pizza for lunch at work one time instead of eating your pre-packed lunch, which somehow leads to being unable to recount the last time you actually packed a healthy lunch to bring to work.

Skipping one workout after work one night to do something more fun with friends somehow leads to getting so far out of your healthy routine that it’s a constant fight to just get yourself to the gym one time.

One pound leads to five pounds, which leads to being scared to know how many pounds it actually is because it’s been too long since you’ve even stepped on the scale.

And let me tell you, it’s definitely not for lack of trying, or thinking, about how to get back on track. I’ve joined, quit, rejoined, quit, and rejoined Weight Watchers during this last year and a half. (I’m currently in the “rejoin” category but haven’t yet fully committed even one of those times.) I’ve joined a new gym and a new-to-me yoga studio. I’ve tried lots of new recipes and meal planning techniques. I even tried a 15 day challenge, which required me to stock up on protein powder, which are currently half full in my pantry. But all of these things have been half-assed, if I’m being honest.

I really do want to lose the weight again. I want to be back to where I once was, where I’d be excited to see pictures after an event with friends, instead of feeling a sense of panic when I get a notification that I’ve been tagged in a photo, for fear of how fat I might look in the picture. I want to feel good when I look in my closet to get dressed in the morning, instead of feeling on the verge of tears with my limited clothing options that fit. I want to be the person who feels that something is missing when they’ve skipped a workout, instead of feeling like a champion if I make it once.

Unfortunately, this post isn’t one filled with answers and advice. It’s just a post that’s a real, honest account of how much I’ve been struggling to get back on track. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who asked me what piece of advice I would have for someone starting out on their weight loss journey. Though I don’t feel like I am qualified to dole out advice at this point, what came to mind is something I needed to remind myself of, so I wanted to put it out there for you, too.

Know that you’ll mess up and fall off the wagon, more times than you expect. What matters is not that you are perfect or that you don’t mess up, but how quickly you make yourself get back on the wagon after you fall. Dust yourself off as soon as you are able, forgive yourself, and make your next choice a healthy one.

Question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or given about getting (re) started on a weight loss journey?

I’m Just Gonna Say It

I need to lose weight. Again. Ugh.

While 2014 was a decent year for me overall, I really let my health fall down the list of priorities, and in turn, this blog. You can pretty much rest assured that if I’m not blogging, it’s because i’m not being good. Even though I KNOW that, and I’ve admitted it again and again, I somehow still possess the power to successfully trick myself into actually thinking the two aren’t related.

I remain an all or nothing person. When I’m on track and losing weight, i eat, breath, and sleep weight loss. When I tried to move into “coast” mode with weight maintenance, it was really difficult for me to navigate having healthy living be just a part of my life and not front and center. It happened slowly at first, missing a workout here or there, or ordering pizza after a night out on the town. Then it evolved into not making it to the gym once while traveling for work for a weeklong stretch, to ordering delivery becoming a regular part of the rotation. And then, here we are, and I can count on one hand the number of times I worked out in 2014 and healthy, home cooked meals have become less and less the norm.

I’m not ready to share the number on the scale yet, and I wish so bad that i didn’t feel a twinge of pain/guilt with saying that. I know exactly what I would say to anyone who came to me and said, “I am so embarrassed that I’ve gained weight back and I don’t know what to do.”

Your weight is just a number.

Your weight doesn’t define you.

There are so many other ways to measure health.

Set goals based on where you are now.

Don’t waste time wishing you were in a different place. You’re not. Accept it.

And even knowing all that and being ready with those forgiving words at the drop of a hat to someone else, I still have trouble saying them, and meaning them, to myself. So I guess I’m still working on just accepting it myself before I can share it with you.

In more upbeat news, a few concrete things I’m doing to help with my vague health goals for 2015 are:

  1. Set up a Beth’s Journey DietBet to start on Monday, January 12, 2015.
  2. Rejoined Weight Watchers.
  3. Looking into getting a Fitness Tracker – interesting discussion on this FB post: https://www.facebook.com/bethsjourney/posts/824367797624679. I still haven’t decided, but that conversation definitely tells me that people are passionate about their fitness tracker, whichever one it is!
  4. Signed up for the 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler for April 13, 2015. Yikes.

Needing a Reset

Lately, I’ve been feeling in need of a reset.

I’ve been so swamped with work and life that I haven’t really been focusing on myself or my health (or this blog… elephant in the room) in quite some time. This is not to say I’ve gone completely off in the deep end or anything, but I’ve just been feeling more tired and less focused than I want to be lately. I’ve put on a few pounds, and also my skin has been awful with breakouts lately. (And I’m 30! wtf) Besides the short-lived “I’m going to try not eating carbs!” and “I’m completely recommitted to Weight Watchers!”, nothing has really stuck. I’ve been eating crappy food more than not, not exercising as much as I should be, and just not taking the best care of myself. I’ve been toying with lots of ideas on different approaches I might take since the usual suspects have not been sticking around long enough to help snap me out of this rut. And yesterday, I finally took the plunge and started something new.

Whole30.

I first stumbled across the program several months ago, but immediately dismissed it because it seemed so extreme and wasn’t something I was even willing to consider. But Whole30 kept coming up again and again in my searches, and I started reading a little more about it each time. The tagline of the program is, “let us change your life” and while I’m still feeling really skeptical, I’m willing to give it a try. You can click on over to the site to read all about the specifics of the program (its free), but it’s basically a strict 30 day program where you eat very clean and detox your body from all potential allergens. That means no gluten (bagels), dairy (cheese), legumes (chickpeas), sugar (all), and the clincher – no booze (wine). (In case you were wondering, I put my favorite option from each category in parentheses.) By eliminating all of these items from your diet, you give your body a chance to reset and start to feel better, more alert, and just generally healthier. Also, you lose weight because of the kinds of food you’re eating. At the end of the 30 days, you reintroduce the groups back into your diet one by one to see how you react to them and figure out what foods affect you negatively. Please don’t tell me my results are cheese and wine. And bread.

So what can I eat? Nothing. Ha, just kidding!

But really, what I can eat is meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, healthy fats, and some fruit. That is it. Each meal has to be built around a protein source and then have a few types of veggies and a fat source (like avocado, coconut, olives, or nuts). Fruit is optional and can be part of your meals if you wish.

For me, the equally compelling part of the program besides the lose weight, clear up your skin, and feel less tired part, is that it claims to break psychological holds food has over you, too. I’m not allowed to weigh myself for the duration of the program, and I am supposed to eat three meals a day (no snacking unless really hungry). While this leaves me partly terrified, it’s also partly exciting because it takes the guess work out of it all. I am not allowed to cheat or have slip ups for the 30 days, and I kind of love the strictness of that because I think it’s a good test and I really feel like I can give 30 days if it makes so much of a difference.

Anyway, while it does seem drastic in a way, I’ve never been one for moderation, so this is no exception. With that said, it really isn’t THAT drastic – it’s just a focus on eating real food for 30 days straight and paying very close attention to everything I’m putting in my body. It’s already been pretty eye opening to be reading the labels on foods (I’m not talking nutrition labels) and see how many random things are added to everything that has a label. Also, I don’t know if I should be afraid of putting this out there on the record, but the thing I’m most worried about giving up is the booze! Maybe that should say something.

I’m planning to document my Whole30 experience and will definitely share menu plans, results, struggles, reflections, etc along the way, but if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

Day two!

Avoiding Boredom With Minimal Effort

Anytime I am being good about cooking healthy meals at home, I find myself eating the same things for meal after meal. I tend to make a few things at the beginning of the week and then eat leftovers for several meals to come. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can get old kind of fast if it’s more than a few meals in a row. But, it can be tough to cook for one with enough variety to keep me from getting bored, while still using up all the ingredients and keeping the effort minimal. This week, I figured out a way to take three super simple staple ingredients and make them into several different meals that were easy to prep side by side.

I started with 1 pound of lean ground beef, 1 can black beans, and 1 bag of frozen brown rice.

photo 1 (12)

I cooked the beef in a pan with half of an onion that I found in my fridge. After it was browned, I set aside about half of it, and then mixed some of the brown rice and black beans into the beef left in the pan.

I stuffed that beef/rice/bean mixture into two green peppers, and added one can of tomato sauce underneath and on top. I cooked those stuffed peppers for 45 minutes at 350 and that was it.

photo 2 (15)

Then I took the rest of the black beans and brown rice and mixed them in the same pan I cooked the beef in until they were heated through. That left me with a good amount of rice and beans, plus the rest of the beef.

photo 3 (14)

I made a salad with some of each of those to eat right away, and then added some sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and shredded cheese. I ended up packing up ingredients for a repeat salad for a future lunch.

photo 4 (9)

Tonight I’m going to make fried rice with what is left of the rice and beans, plus an egg and whatever veggies I can find in my fridge to throw in there.

So this meant I was able to stretch those three staple ingredients into two stuffed peppers, two salads, and fried rice, so basically 5 meals for one person. And while each meal has a lot of the same ingredients and are fairly similar, adding in a few extra things for each dish makes it feel different enough.

How do you keep from getting bored with your eats?

Five for Friday

1.) I was in Orlando this week… for one night for work. I got VIP treatment all the way.

photo 1 (6)

It was amazing weather

photo 5 (4)

and I stayed at a beautiful resort

photo 2 (8)

But I am so ready to stop traveling for a bit!

2.) Speaking of not traveling, I am going to Peru on June 21! When I first booked the trip, it felt SO far away, but now it’s just over a month away! Within the last few weeks, Stacy (my travel buddy) and I have booked everything we need to – including our internal flights in Peru, a 6 night/7 day Amazon Jungle Tour (!!!), and all our accommodations outside of the tour (hostels in Lima and Cusco and an apartment in Cusco for 5 days after the jungle tour). It feels so good to have all those details taken care of!

3.) I had my third (and final!) consult with a plastic surgeon last Thursday, and I cannot believe what a hard decision it is to pick a surgeon! I’ve been going so back and forth between the first and third, but think I am getting very close to making a decision. It feels so adult – I almost wish I could call my mom and make her choose for me. That said, hopefully I will finalize everything in the next week or so and set a surgery date. I’ll be posting about my consults and background research into tummy tucks in the next week, so stay tuned!

4.) I haven’t been counting WW Points for a few weeks now. I’ve actually been maintaining my weight and losing a little (still am a daily weigher), which makes me feel like I am getting closer to being able to eat intuitively. I do still want to lose a few more pounds before said surgery, so I know I need to get back to counting sooner rather than later, but for right now I’m enjoying the break.

5.) This is the first weekend in I can’t remember how long where I have no set in stone plans, and I could not be more excited.

Healthy Lunch Strategies

I am excited to report that yesterday’s presentation went REALLY well. It was supposed to be about 45 minutes but ended up being a little over an hour because everyone was really engaged, asking lots of questions, and contributing ideas. I ran it very much like a Weight Watchers meeting – asking lots of questions, moving around the room, and facilitating more than giving a presentation. I thought I’d share a little overview of what we discussed and see if you guys have any additional ideas to contribute.

Best Bet: Bringing Your Own

It’s only when you make and pack your own food that you truly know what goes into it. A lot of people struggle with having (or making) the time to pack lunch and meal plan, so we came up with a list of ideas to make that easier and streamline the process.

    • Make time to plan your meals on the weekend before you go grocery shopping, or whenever it works for you to fit in.
    • Cook big batches of food and separate into single serving containers right away so you can just grab and go.
    • If you’re making a casserole or soup, double the recipe. Cooking twice as much of the same thing does not take twice the time with prep.
    • Freeze extras that you can’t eat within time (or you might get bored of) so that you have a quick option down the road for a day when you don’t have something in mind.
    • Pack lunch the night before while you’re putting away or making dinner rather than trying to make time to do it during a hectic morning.
    • Bring a lot of food in on a Monday or early in the week if you have a fridge to use. This way you don’t have to bring things in every day and you have a few options to choose from.
    • Make simple foods that you can use in a lot of ways throughout the week. Some examples are a big batch of whole grains, plain grilled chicken, or a pot of beans. If I grill a pound of chicken, I can use it for salads, sandwiches, chicken salad, burritos, tacos, or quesadillas throughout the week so I’m not eating the same thing every day.

Restaurant Surprises

Any idea how many calories are in the tortilla at Chipotle (JUST the wrap)? 290! And 9 grams of fat. So you save almost 300 calories for opting for a burrito bowl over a burrito.

A standard chicken burrito with white rice, black beans, tomato salsa, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, and lettuce rings in at 1055 calories and 40 grams of fat! If you just hold back on the cheese, sour cream, and tortilla, plus switch the rice from white to brown, you knock it down to 535 calories and 12 grams of fat – almost half! And that’s even having steak instead of chicken.

Another option right by my office is Chop’t, which is one of my favorite places to go. The honey wheat wrap there has even more calories than the one at Chipotle – 300 calories and 8 grams of fat, which is crazy because a lot of people assume that since it’s whole wheat it’s good for you. If you go with a Cobb Salad Wrap with Ranch Dressing there, you’re looking at 1110 calories and 65 grams of fat. If you opt for the Palm Beach Salad with Spa Sesame Dressing, which has avocado, shrimp, and hearts of palm, you’re only looking at 270 calories, 12.5 grams of fat, and a really delicious and healthy lunch.

One other thing that came up is that a lot of people tend to steer towards the vegetarian options on the menu, which can be really good options. But at Potbelly, the vegetarian sandwich is the second worst sandwich for you (after the PB&J) because it has three kinds of cheese plus mushrooms and sauce, so it also isn’t that filling. A lot of times restaurants will load up on cheese and other heavy additions to make up for the lack of meat in those options, so it’s just important to be careful.

Tips for Eating Out for Lunch

    • Look at the menu for the restaurant before you go and pick out what you want.
    • Choose a restaurant that you know has healthy options.
    • Have a few go-to options around you that you know are safe bets. Make sure there’s a variety so you have different ideas when you’re craving different things.
    • Stay hydrated throughout the day so you are eating because you’re hungry and not thirsty.
    • Don’t let yourself get ravenous, because then you’re more likely to overeat and make a worse choice.
    • Realize that not every time we eat out in a celebration. Sometimes it’s just a regular meal. Pick your indulgences wisely.
    • Bring healthy snacks from home to supplement what you buy out – think fruits and veggies!
    • Ask for heavy items on the side so you can control how much goes on them (think cheese, dressings, sour cream, etc)
    • Better yet, bring some condiments you like from home and keep them in your fridge at work if you have one.

The other big takeaway is that lunch is just one meal. I think sometimes we put a ton of pressure on ourselves and feel really disappointed if we overdo it on a meal or get carried away if we’re dining with others, and one meal is NOT going to break your day or your week. If you make a bad choice, just get back on track as soon as you can, and it’ll be alright.

What’s your biggest tip for making sure you bring lunch to work? If you’re not a lunch packer, what’s your biggest tip for making healthy choices while you’re out?

1 2 3 41