• Your Tips for Getting Back on Track

    March 19, 2013

    Good morning! Happy Tuesday!

    Yesterday morning started bright and early with a trip to Marylou’s for iced coffee. Mal and I both dropped the ball on making another batch, so we ended up buying our morning cup of joe.

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    As always, Murphy wanted to come for a ride in the car. Pugs love adventures.

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    There are actually quite a few Marylou’s locations near our house (I know, I am so lucky), but I opted for the one with the drive-up window—mostly because I was still wearing my PJs, but also because Murphy usually gets a treat from the nice drive-up employees.

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    As soon as I pulled the car up to the window, Murphy started whimpering with excitement. A pug never forgets when food is involved!

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    Lucky for Murphy, the women who served me my coffee also gave me a Milk Bone.

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    Hooray!

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    Breakfast

    When I got home,  I reheated a couple of pieces of Carrot Cake Soufflé Bake, which I topped with maple syrup and fresh sliced strawberries. Mmm!

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    It was an especially delicious way to start the day!

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    Lunch

    I spent the rest of the morning work, work, working (with a cuddly pug on my lap), and then broke for lunch around noon. On the menu: Trader Joe’s Chicken Fried Rice with some sliced chicken sausage.

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    The fried rice came frozen and bagged, so I just poured a bunch into a bowl and cooked it up in the microwave. While it cooked, I headed the sausage in a pan on the stove. Lunch came together in no time at all.

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    Snacks

    A few hours later, my stomach started to grumble, so I made a peanut butter and banana smoothie to hold me over until dinnertime. In the mix:

    Best peanut butter and banana smoothie ever. Love, love, love.

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    Right before dinner, I wanted a little something to eat, so I snacked on a Mini Babybel cheese.

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    Dinner

    Last night’s dinner was burgers with steamed Brussels sprouts, sauteed mustard greens with garlic powder and curry, and Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Tots, which were awesome. Definitely buying them again!

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    After dinner, Mal and I finished off a box of Chocolate Chex that the nice people at General Mills sent me to try last week. We opened the box on Saturday night and, in just two sittings, totally killed the box. This stuff is dangerous (and ridiculously delicious)! And we may or may not have added another box to our grocery shopping list for today.

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    Your Tips for Getting Back on Track

    I’ve enjoyed some rather indulgent experiences lately, haven’t I? Hawaii? Twin Farms? St. Patrick’s Day?

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    Not surprisingly, with all of that eating, drinking, and being merry, it’s been a little difficult for me to get back on track with my healthy eating habits. Of course, enjoying myself every once in a while isn’t a big deal, but if I’m not careful, I’ll start to veer off course and the pounds will slowly creep on. (I’m pretty sure my digestive system wouldn’t appreciate it either.)

    Over the years, I’ve struggled with this on-and-off-the-health-living-wagon again and again, so I’ve written a number of posts about what helps me get back on track. Here are some of my favorite tips!

    Don’t dwell on the past

    Instead of dwelling on the mistakes I made in the past, I focus on the future. For me, the most important thing to remember is that those pounds gained are not permanent. With some strength, self-discipline, and hard work, they’ll come off.

    Create a plan of attack

    Creating a plan of attack with regard to my eating and exercise routine makes me feel in control. I start by planning my workouts for the week by scheduling them in my calendar. I’ll usually pick a couple of group exercise classes at my gym and schedule them like appointments that I cannot miss. Searching for nutritious recipes online and planning a few healthy meals also boosts my motivation to get (and stay!) on track.

    Read health blogs for inspiration

    When I’d rather sit on the couch than go for a run, I read some of my favorite health blogs for inspiration. I almost always find a recipe, new workout, or some words of advice that make me want to change my tune. Seeing others at their healthiest and happiest motivates me to think back to a time when I felt strong and fit. This always gets my butt in gear!

    Make a change NOW

    Instead of waiting to start a diet or new exercise routine on Monday, I make a change right away. Some of my favorites: I throw on my sneakers for a brisk walk around the block, I search for healthy recipes on the internet, or plan my workouts for the week. Jump-starting right away boosts my motivation to get on track and keeps me from falling further into bad habits that got me off course in the first place.

    Schedule your workouts like appointments

    I use my personal calendar to keep me organized with all aspects of my life– from project deadlines to doctor’s appointments to grocery lists and social events. I record everything in my calendar, including my workouts. On Sunday afternoons, I spend some time scheduling my workouts for the week, just like I would with any other obligation. I usually pick a couple of group exercise classes and schedule them like appointments that I can’t miss. Seeing my week all laid out with plenty of time for exercise helps me get back on track with my workouts.

    Use your social networks for motivation

    In addition to my blog readers, sending out a message on Twitter or Facebook to my followers can also help spur some motivation to get myself back on track. There’s been more than one occasion when I’ve wanted to blow off a workout, but my Twitter friends come to my rescue to encourage me to get my sweat on!

    Be patient

    Weight loss (and even maintenance) includes many ups and downs, so it’s easy to forget my successes. Instead of obsessively checking my progress on the scale and realizing it hasn’t changed as quickly as I’d like, I focus on the progress I’ve made off the scale. For instance, I recently have been incorporating more veggies into my meals. I’ve tried a bunch of new recipes and found easy ways to load up my diet with nutrients. Remembering my successes at times when I need them most gets me back on track (consistency is key!) so I see results.

    Now that I’ve shared my favorite tips and tricks for getting back on track, I’d love to hear from you guys!

    Question of the Day

    What is your BEST tip for getting back on track when your healthy habits have started to slip?

    Recently, I’ve partnered again with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care on their “Count Us In” campaign. They liked my posts from the “Well-Together Challenge” so much, they asked me to work together with them in 2013, which means I’ll be a featured guest blogger on the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care website next month.

    One of the content pieces I was asked to write for the website involves “crowd-sourced health and wellness tips,” which is where you guys come in. If you’re interested in helping me out, just leave a comment on this post with your BEST tip for getting back on track. I’ll pick my favorites, which will then be featured on the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care website. If you have a blog, be sure to include the URL with your suggestion. Thanks, guys!

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    { 129 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jane March 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Great tips. Making an “appointment” to work out has always been one of my best tips for getting back on track (or staying on track). For my at home workouts, I program my gym tv to record a couple favorite shows and use that as part of keeping me accountable to doing the workout. If I want to watch that show, it has to be in the gym while I am moving. I use the commercials for my most intense periods of strenght training or cardio.

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    Miranda @ Miranda Runs March 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    You’re so lucky you have so many Mary Lou’s near you! I’m dying to try some of that peanut butter coffee. It looks delicious! My tip to get back on track is to think about all my potential and what I’m losing out on if I don’t try! Plus, my family is plagued by cancers and I don’t want to join that club!

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    Kari March 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Great ideas and tips! I have a (kind of) random question – what do you usually eat for desserts after dinner in the evenings? I am in a healthy sweet treat rut! Any ideas that will help me get back on track? Love the blog, Tina!

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    Tina March 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Lately, I’ve been eating Chocolate Chex (so good!), but I’m actually not much of a dessert person (after dinner) anymore. Sometimes, I’ll eat a couple of dates, fresh fruit (grapes, an orange) or 1/2 a banana with nut butter or honey if I want something sweet. I used to have a HUGE sweet tooth, but I’ve really tried to rein it in, so I usually fill up at dinner and then stop eating for the day.

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    (Un)intentional Happenings March 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    @Tina: Freeze the banana and throw it in the food processor add some peanut butter and it will be almost as good as ice cream.

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    Erin @ The Elliptical Chronicles March 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I really like your reminder to not dwell on the past and instead focus on the future and what your plan of action will be. Like you said, the pounds gained aren’t permanent and they will come off with a bit of work. Besides, ups and downs are to be expected always with anything – life’s a journey. Getting on and off track will inevitably happen to even the most disciplined/motivated of us.

    When I get off track, I try to take it one day at a time, and I remind myself that this feeling of sluggishness/disappointment is temporary, and I’ll be able to get myself back to feeling good/strong/fit with a few days of healthy eating, lots of water, and good exercise. And throwing on a pair of gym shoes for a short brisk walk outside is an excellent way to initiate some positive energy :)

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    Debbie (Accidently Delish) March 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    i obviously agree that eating healthy is needed for even weight maintenance, but i also think it’s equally important to have those indulgences. to not feel guilty for it. and to enjoy it for what it is. life really is too short to always be 100% “health conscious” and i think really being healthy is enjoying life. tomorrow you could get hit by a train and all that healthy eating wouldn’t matter, so might as well live it up!!

    im glad you’ve had a lot of fun times lately!!

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    Lisa March 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Sweet potato tots?! What the heezy? Why did I never hear of this before?

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    (Un)intentional Happenings March 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Chocolate Chex has been added to the list of things I am not allowed to buy. I have NO self control… my list keeps growing. Sometimes I forget the list exists and go crazy at the store.

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    Beth March 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    1. Make a plan to workout with someone. You won’t want to leave them hanging so that forces you to live up to meet them and work out! :)

    2. Fill up a large water bottle each night to bring to work or have at home and drink throughout the next day.

    3. Pack your breakfast and lunch the night before. Or pre-cut or make things up in advance if you aren’t headed off to work.

    4. Enter yourself into a competition to kick start your training.

    5. Workout first thing in the am – even if that means getting up before 5am.

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    Melissa March 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    I’ve had trouble in the past with getting off track because I come from the ballet world. In that world, getting off track is a BIG deal. You scrutinize yourself and feeling like your classmates and teacher are also scrutinizing you. What I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that my body is MINE and it’s how I take care of it that matters. It’s not about how I look next to the skinny 16 year old dancer but is about how fit and strong I feel. I’m proud to say that the last time I went back to a ballet class I may not have felt “skinny,” but I felt strong and healthy. Now, it’s that feeling that keeps me going when I get off track.

    I blog at http://www.dancingforfood.com. (The name relates to what I was talking about with an unhealthy body image and all that kind of stuff).

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    Melissa March 20, 2013 at 4:09 am

    Love this topic and there are some good tips in the comments! I’m trying to find my way back after a particularly brutal few months off track. The “ah-ha” I had today is that I need to view calorie restriction as a loving action, instead of a punishment. It’s helping to realize “To eat that right now would be an act of hate” when my body so obviously needs to be in better balance. Telling myself “this choice isn’t a punishment, it’s an act of self love” is another helpful thought. I’ve REALLY been struggling with the eating side of things, so hopefully these replacement thoughts will keep helping. Scheduling workouts is another good one – I picked that tip up somewhere recently and it’s REALLY helping! :)

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    Michelle Collins March 20, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Whenever I feel myself slipping into an unhealthy routine (i.e., being lazy and not eating well), I make sure to get a very good night’s sleep that evening. It might sound too easy, but a good night’s rest always puts my body and mind back in check, so I wake up feeling refreshed and back to normal!

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    Allie March 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    It may sound counterintuitive, but my tip for staying on track is to make a workout plan AND social plan for the week- seeing both morning workout plans and fun evening plans on the calendar helps get me out of bed in the morning! If I know I have something to look forward to that evening, I’m much more likely to get up and tackle my workout- since I know I won’t have a ‘second chance’ that night! And then, when I’m having fun that night, I’m much more likely to be cognizant of my beverage/food choices since I don’t want to undo all my hard work!

    I blog at justallieruns.blogspot.com :)

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    Morgan@Healthy Food Newsletter March 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I’m currently on a quest to get back on track with eating healthy! I just spent the last twelve days in Italy for Spring Break and now if my meal isn’t loaded in carbs and I don’t have a bottle of wine at my side, I am magically unsatisfied. To get back on track, I’ve been adding little bits of what I’ve been craving into my daily meals like the other day I was craving truffle oil and mozzarella so I incorporated those ingredients into my spinach salad and when I wanted pasta last night, I made a homemade sauce with all veggies and pulped tomatoes so it was healthier!

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    Cindy March 20, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Loved this “the most important thing to remember is that those pounds gained are not permanent.” That’s such a great reminder!

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    Hazel March 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    My tip would be to spend time making a delicious healthy dinner, something that you look forward to. Try new recipes! I find when I have a boring dinner I crave something more indulgent after.. same goes for lunch. Plenty of tasty yogurts and fruit in the house helps too for when you just need something sweet. http://thecomfortzoneandbeyond.blogspot.com/

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    Katie @ A Full Plate March 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    My fav tip is booking workouts like appointments…that always helps me! Ones that I would add would be to have a workout buddy. Plan to get together a few times a week for a run, yoga, whatever! They’ll help keep you motivated and hold you accountable! Another tip would be to try a new workout. Starting something new will build excitement into starting up workouts again!

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    KarenG March 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    To get back on track I go back and read my journal – about how great I feel when I am eating well and exercising and how much energy I have. Then I set out my work out clothes and the next morning wake up and put them on without thinking about it. A simple 20 minute Tabata workout in my living room, is often the jump start I need. And as I am exercising, I keep repeating my mantra “when you exercise and eat clean your body loves you”. Positive reinforcement works for me. “Your body loves you !”

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    Megan March 21, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I’ve been reading a lot of weight loss and fitness blogs and it is really helping me learn valuable things about my health. It is really hard to do it alone so a good support system is vital. Your blog is actually one my favorite. The foods you post here are not only delicious but very healthy as well.

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    Sam March 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Oh goodness, all those delicious looking pictures are making me hungry :p!! Great tips though! I never thought about scheduling in my work-outs like an appointment, as I usually just try to “fit it in” to my busy life some way or another. But maybe that’s why I’ve failed to reach my goals so many times.

    I think I’m going to try that! :)

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    Lauren March 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    This has been on my mind because I got back from a weekend trip to Portland (check it out on http://www.peaksandpassports.com) on Sunday night and leave for another trip in about 4 hours. My best tip would be:

    Be Realistic. Don’t expect to go from an indulgent free-for-all on vacation to a juice cleanse and twice-a-day workouts right when you get back. Instead, I try to make more sustainable changes like focusing on eating whole foods, upping my veggie intake, and squeezing in a few super sweaty workouts the first week after vacation to get back on track.

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