Regaining Control

With the school year coming to an end, a week of exams this week, and summer activities beginning to ramp up, it’s been hard to exercise and be aware of my diet. I’ve been busier than usual studying the past few weeks so that I could go to a wedding this past weekend.  I’ve been so focused on trying to do well on my last neurobiology test and getting enough done so that I could attend the beautiful McGinnis-Deweese wedding that I haven’t exercised in almost two weeks and have been slightly over eating. Each day that I don’t exercise, I’m aware that it’s something I should be doing, but I just haven’t had the drive lately. The same thing goes for my diet; I’ve been eating healthy things, but I’ve just been over doing it. I’ve also given in to my cravings for sweets more times than I’ve ignored them. I recently read that after periods of weight loss, the amount of gastrointestinal hormones you release increases and your motivation to exercise decreases. This is why it’s common for people to plateau and re-gain the weight they’ve lost. I think that I’ve slightly fallen into this trap that my body set for me.

The past few weeks I’ve noticed myself being hungry more often and not caring about running on days that I think I’m too tired or too busy to exercise. I think I’m starting to feel it though. I can tell that I’ve been eating a little too much and that I haven’t been exercising. I don’t feel as energized and in general, I just don’t feel as healthy or good about myself. Consciously I’ve been aware of what I have been lacking the past few weeks, but I haven’t made myself care. I’ve just slowly been letting myself give in. I’ve been making excuses to make myself feel okay about it too. I tell myself that I’ve worked hard for a long time and maintained my exercise and diet regime for almost a year, so I certainly deserve a little break, right? Wrong! While I do believe it’s important to treat yourself every once and a while, especially after you’ve deprived yourself of delicious fried chicken or chocolate ice cream for so long, you can’t afford to let yourself go off the deep end for too long.

It’s important to remember why you started working so hard to begin with. The reasons we start diets and exercise plans are so that we can live a healthier and longer life. It shouldn’t be so that we can look good for bikini season or to fit into a certain dress for someone’s wedding. It’s a long-term commitment to change your lifestyle for the better. You have to work hard and keep working hard for the rest of your life. I do think it becomes easier as you go, but you have to be aware that you will face challenging times that will tempt you take the easy way out. If you give in to those excuses, that you don’t have the time or the energy, you have to make the time and find the energy. That’s what I’m working on right now.

I’m disappointed that I’ve let myself go almost two weeks without exercising and that I’ve allowed myself to “sneak” extra bites after dinner. So, I’m going running today and I’m not going to continue to let myself keep over eating. I don’t know that I can honestly take a break from my desert habit, but I’m definitely going to try to cut down for a while. With summer vacations coming up, I’m going to enjoy my vacations without going overboard and I plan on being very conscious of my exercise and diet while I’m at home. I might even exercise while I’m out of town!

On another note, I was recently introduced to a healthy living program called The Southern Remedy. It was developed by a physician at UMMC and is pretty similar to how I’ve developed my new lifestyle. It’s got some great information so, if you’re thinking about giving the healthy life a try, you should check it out. Now, here are some of my recipes from the week.

Baked Shrimp with Feta
My sister and I threw this recipe together a few nights ago for dinner. It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t take much time or preparation. We used cooked frozen shrimp, which I would not recommend using. Shrimp don’t take long to cook, so when you heat them in a skillet and then bake them there’s a good chance that they will come out over done. Since the shrimp I was using were already cooked I chose to omit the baking part and just cook everything in the skillet. They still came out a little tough and over done. I think I followed the recipe for everything else. We served it over brown rice, which complimented it really well. The shrimp and sauce were kind of similar to a spaghetti, so it would go well with pasta also, just make sure you use whole wheat. Click here for the recipe.

Lemon Basil Orzo
My home grown herbs have grown so much that I probably have enough basil to supply an italian restaurant for a whole night. I really wanted to use some of my fresh basil, but couldn’t think of anything appetizing. I got on cooking light online and searched for recipes with basil in them. Most of them were pasta recipes since the two go so well together, so I tried to find one that was light. I also already had whole wheat orzo, so I didn’t even have to get any new ingredients from the store. This was easy to put together and was pretty filling since it had pasta in it. I didn’t have anything as a side, but a small salad or some vegetables would work great. Click here for the recipe.

Chicken Tacos
Last night I went down to my friend Allison’s to hang out after all our tests and have dinner. Her boyfriend, Jake, made some yummy chicken tacos that seemed pretty easy to make. He marinated chicken in an italian dressing then cooked in it a skillet with a little bit of taco seasoning. Allison whipped up a black bean and corn salsa and some guacamole to top them off. Throughout my dieting, I’ve learned that mexican food is usually pretty healthy. The amount of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices that are classic ingredients for any mexican dish are pretty healthy. As long as you eat the appropriate amount of chicken and cheese and don’t eat ten tacos, chances are, if you’re making a homemade mexican dish, it’s probably going to be pretty good for you. I’ll have to get the black bean and corn salsa recipe from Allison and post it next week.

Happy Cooking!

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