Thursday, January 28, 2016

Whole30 Cooking | Baked Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

If you saw the last post, January has been all about finding a healthy routine and getting back to looking and feeling good. Check out the original post here. This means a whole lot of yoga, cardio, and Whole30 eating (at least for right now). I haven't quite figured out what I am going to do food-wise once the 30 days are over ... but for now I am being strict and sticking to the rules!

One item that is a staple for me is turkey in any format. And ground turkey in particular. It is perfect for so many different things. I go through a lot of ground turkey ... thanks Costco. 

I also really like meatballs. I like to make a big batch and then eat them cold. Quick protein for those lunches and dinners in a rush. Problem is that a lot of the pre-made meatballs are high calorie with a lot of unnecessary "stuff" in it. And Costco doesn't sell turkey meatballs. So, last week I made my own homemade turkey meatballs from scratch for the first time - yay! They were pretty good, if a little bland. And they really served their purpose over the busy week. 

This week I decided to step up my game when I pinned this recipe for Oven Baked Italian Meatballs with Marina Sauce from Tea & Biscuits. It seemed like a pretty easy recipe, so I tweaked it a little bit to work for me (replaced the pork/beef with ground turkey and added onion). I can't say the marinara sauce turned out perfect, but it was OK and I think I learned my lesson for next time. 


BAKED TURKEY MEATBALLS (inspired by the recipe on Tea & Biscuits)

1 package of Costco ground turkey (I think it's like 1.5 pounds or so)
1 medium yellow onion - chopped small
4-6 green onions - chopped small 
1 egg

28 oz Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I think this is where I went wrong; should have gotten crushed tomatoes)
1 yellow onion - chopped small 
1 container mushrooms
1 tbsp oil 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix everything but the meat in a bowl and then add it to the meat. Mix some more.
Roll out into ... meatballs! (duh) I was able to get about 30 out of the quantities noted here. 
Oven for 40ish minutes (I think I leave them longer than others do)
For the sauce, throw the onion into a pan to saute. Then I added some chopped mushrooms. Then the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. (Here is where I think I went wrong ... it was too chunky, so I put the mixture through the food processor, which maybe wasn't the best idea). 
I also like to throw the meatballs into a pan to "crisp" a little bit on the stove top after they are done cooking in the oven ... just to have a bit of a nice shell. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

50 Before 5.1 | The Plan

What it's all about. Cardio | Yoga | Diet.
If you follow me on Instagram (@iulicc) you know that I am on a big health kick and weight loss journey. Then again ... I pretty much always am :) ...

So what's different this time? This time I mean it! Because this time is different than in the past - I have reached an all time low (high). Stepping on the scale or zipping up my pants has been a scary thing in the last few months. And even though I have been going to the gym occasionally and doing yoga a few days a week, it wasn't enough. And my diet was absolutely the worst. 

To take a step back, this was not something that happened overnight. This was a spiral caused by a series of events. 
  • Back in March/April/May of 2015 I was doing really well. I was doing cardio, had just started doing yoga at CorePower, got a bike and started biking outside, and was doing Whole 30. I was doing all this because at the end of May I left for Spain for 10 days and wanted to look and feel good. And I DID. I felt great. And I am proud of myself in the photos ... where I am wearing shorts ..SHORTS! 
  • Then in Spain I went a bit food crazy. Because Spain.
  • When I got back home, the summer was a bit crazy. I was very stressed and found comfort in food. And instead of hard workouts that actually burned calories I preferred the occasional long walk to clear my head. 
  • As fall came, it was much of the same except the walks went away since the weather got colder. And there was some domestic travel. And lots of and lots and lots of eating out. Because I hate cooking. And eating out is a way to make myself happy. And be social.
  • And then was end of November and the holidays. Where I went to Romania and Turkey and HELLO HOLIDAYS and more traveling at Christmas. And did I mention food ... because there was food. 
And here we are ... 7 months after Spain and I had gained 30 pounds. Believe me, that is not that crazy for me. I can gain and lose weight pretty quickly. And I have a closet full of everything form size 2/XS to size 12/L to get me through it. Sadly.

So here I was at Christmas/New Years feeling frumpy and pudgy and unhappy. My skin was terrible, I would get flustered going up stairs, and I was just disappointed in myself yet again. 

So I made the same New Year's resolution I always make - to lose the weight AND keep it off. Believe me, losing the weight is not that hard for me. I can work hard and do it. Maintaining through, that's the problem. I have NEVER been able to maintain. Not ever. I am either losing weight, gaining weight, or "maintaining" at a really high weight where I am just no working out and eating what I want. Not good. 

So I unofficially started January 4th and eased in that week with light cardio each day, yoga a few times, watching my calories, and cutting out pop and alcohol.

Then on January 11th it was all hands on deck and the real journey began. 

A few folks have asked "what/how are you doing to lose the weight", so I thought I would share my plan. Please realize I know this is crazy and I know this may not be the best approach, but it works for ME. I am a firm believer in knowing yourself and doing what you need to do that makes sense for you. I don't have kids or a SO or many evening commitments (besides school one night per week), so this works for me. For me, it is important that I:
  • See results both on my body and on the scale quickly, or I lose motivation.
  • Track everything because I like to see things on paper (or on my iPhone). 
  • Have a routine because that is how I stick to things. 
  • Have a "all or nothing" approach in the upfront. Later on I would like to be more about moderation, but in the early days I need to just be very very strict. 
So with these things in mind, here is my plan:
  • Goal: lose 50 pounds by 5.1 (ambitious? yes. but I know myself and I know I can get down there. maintaining will be the struggle)
  • Diet: Whole30 for the first 30 (or more, TBD) days. January 11-February 10 for sure. 
    • I did Whole30 last spring for 50 days and saw really great results. I lost the weight and fell good. For me, it is the "all or nothing" piece of this works well. 
    • Biggest components: no pop, no alcohol, no dairy, no sugar, no legumes.
    • What this means for me: I eat a lot of ground turkey in all sorts of forms (turkey meatballs, turkey burgers, turkey taco skillet, etc), a lot of eggs, lots of veggies and vegetable hash, lots of That's It fruit bars, and lots and lots of tea and sparking water. 
  • Diet: Calorie counting is also important to me. With Whole30 you can rack up a lot of calories by eating lots of good foods each day - avocados, fruits, cashews, etc. So it is important to me to combine the Whole30 with strict calorie counting to make sure things aren't going crazy. I try to stay in the about 1,100-1,200 range daily with one day where I can go closer to 1,500. 
  • Yoga: I have a CorePower black tag membership and am dedicated to going to the studio at least 5 days/week. This is primarily C2 classes after work each day, but I am trying to bring in 1-2 Yoga Sculpt classes each week to mix things up and build more muscle.
  • Cardio: I know what people say about the importance of building muscle when losing weight and lifting weights, etc. But for me, its about cardio cardio cardio. I do at least 60 minutes of hard core cardio each day. Mostly that means getting on the treadmill and doing intervals with uphill walking/jogging/sprinting. On the weekends I try and do a second cardio set on the bike each day too, if time allows. 
  • Tracking: I am a big obsessive about writing things down and making lists. I like lists. So I track everything a few different ways. The main two are:
    • Lose It diet/exercise app: It's simple. Calories in. Calories out. And I have been using Lose It for years, so it knows my foods and meals and recipes. 
    • Goal Streaks app: It's important for me to (literally) check things off a list and see the number of times I have done something grow. It's rewarding and I feel successful. The Goal Streaks app helps me do just that. You put down goals that you have and how you want to achieve them and then tick off the days you accomplish them and see the "current streak" grow. Another great feature is that you can customize each goal. So if you want to do something 5 days each week (like yoga for me) you can set it that way. Or if you want to only do that thing Monday-Friday, you can set it. It's super handy like that! *Below where I have "once per week ok" on the pop line item, that's for later. I am current doing NO pop at all for these first 30 days. 

So there you have it. 50 pounds before 5.1 ... 

It's ambitious, but doable. I am already down 15 pounds since January 4th. "Only" 35 more to go. Haha. I know these first pounds will come off easier than the last ones, but it really really helps to being see results each day and to feel good. Helps keep up motivation for sure!!! And, I have a few little rewards for myself scattered throughout the journey when I hit certain goal weights - yay!

And of course, once I manage to lose the weight, the REAL hard part begins ... maintaining ... yikes!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hello From the Other Side ... I Want the Istanbul Vaca Pics ...

That time I asked my dad for vacation photos from Istanbul from his camera ... using Adele as an inspiration ... via text ...

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 | New Years Resolutions

Calhoun - January 1, 2016
In the words of Bridget Jones: (and yes, I am typing from memory)  
Resolution number one: Obviously will lose 20 pounds. 
Number two: Always put last night's panties in the laundry basket.
Equally important, will find sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic's, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. 
And especially will not fantasize about a particular person who embodies all these things. 
These are definitely true. 
  1. Need to lose weight (more than 20 pounds ...) 
  2. Need to be better about putting away my clothes and things in general around the apartment once I, done with them (clothes, bags, shoes, coats, suitcases, dishes ... you name it). 
  3. I agree I need to find a boyfriend. But I'm not so concerned about the long list of people to avoid (though those are all fair and worth avoiding, to be sure). I just don't have an evil Hugh Grant looking man I need to avoid in my life. 
But, I have some other resolutions to add to the list:
  • Finish grad school and get my MBA
  • Finish paying off my car 
  • Take vitamins 
  • Be more financially responsible and start saving more money 
  • In the same vain, be more proactive about retirement savings 
  • Dust the entire apartment (just once, let's not get crazy here) 
  • Continue with yoga 
  • Find another volunteer opportunity with art museum once school is done 
  • Get a new tattoo 
  • Go to at least one new country 
  • Take at least two trips abroad 
  • Visit/photograph Antelope Canyon 
Here we go ... starting Monday. 
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