Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

Heck yes, you can have cake for breakfast! That's what pancakes are!

I woke up yesterday with a hankering for pancakes and started puttering around the kitchen taking stock of the ingredients on hand... no flour, no eggs... pancakes might be difficult. Then I started thinking about those sweet potato pancakes I made a few weeks ago, I didn't have eggs or flour in those either. I mean, if people can make gluten free vegan baked goods... why the heck couldn't I come up with some pancakes using what I had?

Speaking of... what did I have? I had a giant can of pumpkin, rolled oats, a ripe banana, and (of course) protein powder. I am a very impatient pancake maker, I always try to flip them too early. I started wondering if I could bake it, kind of like a dutch pancake.

The result was pretty spectacular. It even got the Dr. Boyfriend "high-five seal of approval".

I present to you, the Pumpkin Breakfast Cake!

This was so good, we polished off the entire cake and could have gone back for more!
Pumpkin Breakfast Cake (serves 2), ~25 minutes

1 C Libby's Pure Pumpkin
1 ripe banana
1/2 C rolled oats
1 t baking powder
3 scoops vanilla protein powder
1 T Smart Balance or butter
1 t Smart Balance or butter (to grease your pan)

Preheat oven to 350º
Melt 1 T of Smart Balance or butter in microwave, about 30 seconds
Mash together pumpkin and banana with a fork
Stir in oats, melted butter, baking powder, and protein powder
Bake at 350º for 20 min.

I'd suggest using a spatula to get the cake out. I tried taking the first piece out with a fork and it did not go as anticipated. Luckily, it still tasted great!

Only after writing this do I realize that this could easily be made gluten free! Just make sure your oats and protein are gluten free, I believe Bob's Red Mill makes gluten free oats.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fit & Fiber-Filled Spaghetti

Last weekend, I spent a few hours on Sunday trying out some new lunch recipes. I wanted some lunches that I could make ahead of time and have just sitting in my fridge to take along to work. Totally easy.

This was one of my favorite combinations that I came up with!

Yes, I had a Pinterest moment and packed my lunches in mason jars. Deal with it.

I normally stay away from pastas, it has the potential to make me feel a little sick if I eat too much of it. But this high fiber spaghetti is made with oat flour and is packed with 7g of protein per serving. As someone who watches their caloric intake and values foods higher in protein, any time I can get a couple extra grams of protein is fine with me.

Fit & Fiber-Filled Spaghetti (serves 4), ~20min

1 lb 93% ground beef
8 oz dry high fiber spaghetti
2 cups cherry tomatoes (I used mini-heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe's)
Salt (optional)
Pepper (optional)
2 servings of Fit-Gal Pesto

Bring 4-5 cups of water to boil in a saucepan, add spaghetti and boil for 10 min, drain and set aside
While waiting for the water to boil and the spaghetti to cook, brown 1 lb of beef in a skillet, use salt and pepper to season (I prefer McCormick's Fiery Red Pepper blend as seasoning), cook until done, about 10 min
Slice two cups of cherry tomatoes in half
Divide pasta, beef, and tomatoes evenly between containers
Top each container with 1/2 a serving of Fit-Gal Pesto

Nutritional Information (I got this by entering the ingredients into MyFitnessPal)
414 calories, 41g of carbs, 11g fat, 32g protein.

My coworkers were ribbing me a little bit about the whole mason jar thing, but they shut their mouths pretty quickly when they smelled the spaghetti. 
What do you guys think, will you try it?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Super Full-Body Circuit

Hey everyone! It's been a hot minute since we've seen a workout around here...

I wanted to put together a really quick, but effective, circuit for y'all. I even made a video. Please, please, please don't be surprised when you hear me speaking, I sometimes get a little squeaky. :)

The circuit will have a warmup and then 4 rounds of 4 exercises. Sounds easy, right? Believe me when I tell you that you'll be breaking a bit of a sweat.

I stopped between the warmup and each round to grab a quick swig of water, be sure to take breaks if you need one!

I finished the warmup and circuit in 19:26, and burned 141 calories according to by heart rate monitor. Woohoo!

Love this HRM

The exercises in today's circuit: the 100, push-ups, lunges with a kick, roll-ups, and supermans

What's the 100? FitSugar does a better job at explaining this than I ever could.

Push-ups? Yes, push-ups. There are three variations you can do; from your knees, from your toes, one foot off the ground. Here's a quick (silent) video of the variations I'm talking about.

Lunges with a kick. Step backward into a lunge, as you push off and stand up, kick your swinging leg out in front of you, step immediately backward into a lunge again. When you finish your reps, switch to the other side.

Roll-ups? Lay face up on the ground, hands above your head on the floor (...make sense?), slowly bring your arms up and reach for your toes, slowly peeling your back off the floor, leading with your chest until you are in an upright seated position. Then, reverse the motion.

Supermans! Lay face down on the ground, arms above/in front of your head in a V shape, slowly lift your chest and arms off the ground as far as you can, hold for ten seconds and then slowly lower.

Want to see what one of the rounds will look like? You're in luck.

Onto the actual workout!!!

Super Full-Body Circuit
Warmup: the 100
Circuit: 10 push-ups, 10 lunges with a kick (each side), 10 roll-ups, 5 supermans
Repeat the circuit 4 times

I loved this workout, especially the lunges with the kicks, I felt so weirdly powerful when I was throwing those punches. Kind of makes me want to take a boxing class. I decided to round out this workout by going for a run around my neighborhood afterwards. I went 1.11 miles in 10:27, not too shabby!

What do you all think, is the circuit too easy? Too tough? Just right? Sound off in the comments!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nut-Free Pesto

Happy Sunday everyone!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend, I know I have. It's been gorgeous here in the bay and this kind of weather puts me in the mood for fresh citrusy food... like pesto!

Have you really ever considered pesto to be citrusy? I have no real idea how "traditional" pesto is supposed to taste, I can't eat pine nuts, but my pesto has some zing to it. I like a lot of lemon.

Mmmmmmmmmmm, nothing quite like a heap of veggies and chicken topped with pesto!

Nut-Free Pesto (serves 8), 5 min

1 tube of Gourmet Garden Basil Herb Blend Paste (I get mine at Safeway)
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 T minced garlic
5 T of powdered parmesan cheese
4 T of EVOO

Squeeze basil into a bowl (this looks really gross and makes some interesting sounds...have fun with it)
Stir in garlic, cheese, and EVOO
Slice lemon in half and squeeze each half over the bowl
Mix until homogenized

Nutrition information (I got this by entering the ingredients into MyFitnessPal)
96.5 calories, 4.4g carbs, 3.3g fat, 1.3g protein

So far, I've put the pesto on top of pasta, on top of veggies, and on top of chicken, mushrooms, zucchini, and canellini beans (above). It's been excellent each time!

What's your favorite way to eat pesto?? I need some more ideas on how to eat this stuff!

Friday, May 17, 2013

WTFriday: Runner's High

I think I experienced my first ever runner's high on Wednesday night!!!

We've all heard of the ever elusive "runner's high", but exactly WTF is it??

Essentially, a runner's high is a sudden release of endorphins which flood into the brain. This endorphin rush can be caused by things other than running; the fight-or-flight response, sex, shock, etc. Endorphin production can be caused by exercise, but is especially triggered by stress, fear, or pain.

It looked like fall on the trail! Wednesday afternoon was overcast and just about 68º, my perfect running weather.

So WTF do endorphins do?

Endorphins are a neurotransmitter, a chemical that binds to a synapse and causes a chemical reaction in your brain. Endorphins block pain but they also produce pleasurable feelings. Who remembers watching Legally Blonde?

Thanks Elle

Endorphins are exactly the reason I was crying on Wednesday night. I was out running and was using Runkeeper, a totally awesome app that I've been using the past few weeks. One of the cool things about this app, there's a "coach" who chimes in every 5 minutes and lets you know how long you've been running, how far you've gotten, and your overall pace.

When she, it is a Siri-like voice, chimed in after the first 5 minutes, she told me that I had gone more than half a mile and I realized "holy crap, I have the opportunity to beat my mile time from high school", so I pushed a little harder than I normally do for that first mile. I didn't beat my high school time, 8:36 in case you were wondering, but I did manage a fairly decent mile time of 9:09.

This was amazing to me because I have allergy and exercise induced asthma. I have never been a strong runner. When I run, I normally have two goals, keep my mile time under 12 minutes and be able to make it back to my starting point.

So this 9:09 mile was a huge deal for me. When she chimed in again at 10 minutes and told me I had gone over a mile, I was ecstatic because that 8:36 happened exactly one time. When my mile time was tested again, they do this to see if you've improved over the course of the year, it was somewhere around 10:30. Not exactly what they want to see from you.

Turning back from the halfway point
But a sub-10 minute mile?! I was over the moon. Then I thought, I wonder if I can do another one... so I tried to keep up my current pace. I was able to keep it for a while but then began slowing down. I spent a lot of time "recovery walking" for that second mile. Have you ever seen the asthma recovery walk? You lace your hands together, put them behind your head, and push your elbows back. It opens up your chest and allows you to breathe a little easier. Mile 2 was completed in 10:55.

That 10:55 upset me a little, that was a usual time for me. That 9:09 made me feel as thought today (Wednesday) was an extraordinary day! I got a little mad and then did some mental math. Two miles in just over 20 minutes... if I push harder again, I might hit 3 miles in 30 minutes.

Long story short, I did. I completed mile 3 in 9:35. I wasn't sure I would make it, I kept glancing down at my phone every few seconds to check my distance and saw it creeping ever upward... 2.87...2.89...2.90, but the time seemed to be going by even faster. Once I hit 2.90, endorphins completely kicked in and I started sprinting. I blew past a few guys stopped on the trail with their bikes, wheezing up a storm. When I run, I sound like a really squeaky Darth Vader.

This tunnel means I'm about 1 mile away from "home", time to put my rear in gear
I hit 3 miles right in front of a building with enormous stone columns. I spent a good 2-3 minutes crouched down in front of one of those columns, which happened to be right by the front door... at 5pm... trying to regulate my breathing and crying. It was totally normal for Wednesday night in the business park.

I don't think I could have made it if it weren't for that endorphin rush at the end. The feelings of elation and almost super-humanness were really intense and I love that I figured out I can push myself a little harder than I have been. That means progress!

Want to learn more about endorphins and what you can do to trigger those amazing feelings? Click here
There is also some interesting stuff about exercise and depression to be found here

Have you guys ever experienced an endorphin rush when exercising? What were you doing when it happened??

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday: Top Ten!

Good morning everyone!!!

I woke up early this morning thinking that I'd try getting my run in before work instead of waiting until the afternoon, I figure I've enjoyed some runs first thing on the weekends before. Um... it's really really cold out...and there was coffee... so I decided to blog a little this morning instead of venture out into the cold.

In honor of Wonderful Wednesday, I'd like to make a list of ten wonderful things in my life! All health related of course.

1.) Dr. Boyfriend
On out latest adventure date, tide pooling in Half Moon Bay
From providing endless support to answering all of my questions, Dr. Boyfriend is the closest thing I have to a coach in my own life. He has been training for about 14 years is an absolute wealth of information about training, nutrition, dealing with injuries. He keeps me honest in the gym, if he sees me sacrificing form for anything, he'll tell me. If I want to learn any weird exercise, he'll teach me. He'll make suggestions as to how I can make my workouts more effective. He keeps me laughing, smiling, and moving!

2.) Emily
Goofing off and "strong-manning" on the beach, how else do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
Emily and I have been friends since middle school, going on 13 years. (side note.... whoa) She is into this same healthy lifestyle as I am and is always willing to listen to me complain about cardio. If you ever see me on one of those machines in the gym and almost falling off of it because I can't stop texting, I'm texting Emily.

3.) Greek Yogurt
One of my favorite snacks: greek yogurt and a banana, hashtag optional.
Arguably my favorite source of protein. I will use greek yogurt almost every time I can. I will bake with it, cook with it, freeze it and eat it for dessert, put it in a smoothie, stir it into oatmeal, pair it with fruit, or just grab a spoon and dig in. It can be sweet, it can be savory... it's an amazing food.

4.) Coffee
Coffee in my beautiful Anthropologie mug from Michelle
I'm not entirely sure what my life would be like without coffee. It provides me with the kick I need to get moving in the morning, has the potential to lower risk of stroke, can lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's, but above all, it tastes great! Seriously, even if there weren't some amazing benefits to coffee, I'd still drink it for that murky bitter taste. Yum.

5.) Trader Joe's
Healthy lunch from TJs made in 5 min: rice medley + haricots verts (green beans) + turkey burger + goat cheese medallion

Another staple in my life. I'm in a Trader Joe's most days of the week. I work right across the street from one Trader Joe's which makes it very easy to get a healthy lunch if I didn't have time to pack one the night before. I can always find some incredible fruits and veggies...and not pay an arm and a leg! They also sell Fage Greek Yogurt at a better price than any of the surrounding grocery stores. Another favorite: mini heirloom tomatoes, they're heirloom tomatoes that are the size of cherry tomatoes!!!

6.) The Iron
Goofing off between squats on Mother's Day (leg day), I am proud to say that I have reached the point of loving the way my body looks!!!!!
I don't think it's a surprise to anyone, I love lifting weights. I love being able to see concrete numbers that go up week after week, or month after month. I love going into the gym, putting plates on a bar or grabbing some dumbbells, and feeling my body move that weight. I love being able to raise something half my weight over my head. I especially love being able to lift things heavier than myself off the floor. Nothing makes me feel quite as powerful and confident as lifting weights. I walk out of the gym much taller and feeling more accomplished than when I walked in. Think it's not for you? That's fine. But have you ever actually tried?

7.) Honey
Another go-to snack: greek yogurt + strawberries + raw organic honey (Trader Joe's)
Sticky-sweet and you can use it to treat a cough? Please and thank you. I love honey as an un-processed sweetener. I've used it to sweeten coffee before, back before I converted to the magical beverage that is black coffee, just stir until it is dissolved like you would in a cup of tea. You can bake with honey too, honey is often used as a sweetener in Paleo recipes, rule of thumb is 3/4 C of honey for each 1 C of sugar.

8.) Foam Rollers and Tennis Balls

My muscles are constantly sore, because of the aforementioned weightlifting, and knotted because of all the time I spend in front of a computer. I use my foam rollers (yes, plural) to give myself "massages" to help my muscles recover and to break up "adhesions" or knots. I have one "normal" foam roller at home, a Grid roller at work, and tennis balls lying around in each location.

Tons of the information about foam rolling is anecdotal, so take it with a grain of salt.

9.) California
This beautiful trail is a 5 minute walk from work, I love running here. There are tons of other runners and bicyclists, so I always feel safe and there is a river off to the right behind the trees. Absolutely gorgeous.
Silly, but my home state is wonderful for getting out and being active outdoors. We've got (almost) more trails, beaches, mountains, streams and lakes than we know what to do with. When I want to get out of the gym and do something outside, I'm never short on choices for beautiful backdrops for exercising.

10.) Freedom in the kitchen
Cookie bars, one of my baking experiments that turned out successful! 
My parents did sign me up for cooking classes when I was younger, mostly so I would be safe in the kitchen. But these cooking classes also inspired me to experiment in the kitchen. I'll use a recipe for baking (sometimes....... :) ) but I hate using them to cook. Baking is a science in that you're dependent on certain chemical reactions to happen so your cookies/cakes/bread comes out right, but cooking is an art. Since I have a strong background in the kitchen, I love to look in the fridge/freezer, see what is on hand and make a meal out of it. Some of my best meals have been made in a "well... I'm starving and don't want to go to the store... what can I make with chicken, these leftovers, and this vegetable."

Freedom in the kitchen comes with responsibility. If your kitchen isn't well-stocked with a variety of fruit, vegetables, proteins, fats, and other starchy/bread-like carbs... you're not free to do anything, you're limited by what you have on hand. Make sure you have a cornucopia of food available to you, or make sure you plan everything out for a few days and stick to that plan!

That's my list of ten wonderful (healthy) things in my life. Sound off in the comments, I'd love to hear what some wonderful things are in your life!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sweet Potato Pie Oats

Just wanted to duck in before my workout and share this totally scrumptious breakfast I made with you guys!!

Sweet Potato Pie Oats, serves 1 (~3-10 min)
1/2 cup quick cook oats
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 medium sized (2 in diameter, 5 in long) sweet potato

Directions (if you have baked sweet potato on hand, skip to step 2)
1. Wash your sweet potato and pierce the skin with a fork, microwave for 5 min
2. Mix oats and powder in a bowl with 1 cup water, microwave for 1 min and 30 seconds
3. Stir in half the sweet potato, use your spoon to mash the sweet potato against the side of the bowl, you hadn't to stir until there are no huge chunks of sweet potato left
4. Let cool if necessary, take a bite, relish and smile. 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday - High Intensity Interval Training

I just found out that I've been using "tabata" incorrectly, what a fun discovery!!! I thought the two were interchangeable, not the case. It's a square and rectangle kind of deal.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): train at an intense level for a period of time followed by training at a medium level to recover, repeat this 3-10 times.

Tabata: high intensity interval training in which you train at your max for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, you repeat this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.

So, you might be thinking... sounds kinda nasty. It's a bear to get through, but there are some awesome benefits to this shorter intense workout style. While I recommend you look into HIIT to see if it could be good for you, I'll list out some of what I consider the "pros" of HIIT. Here are three great pros.

Benefit 1: you'll lose more fat!
This study on High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss put together a remarkable table showing data from numerous HIIT studies which shows the affects of HIIT on subcutaneous fat (the stuff you see), trunk fat (fat around your midsection), body mass, and waist circumference, as well as VO2 max and insulin sensitivity.
You can find the table here and the rest of the study here.

Benefit 2: you'll improve both your aerobic and anaerobic energy supply systems!
Not sure what that means? You're not alone. I have issues keeping them straight. Here's the deal...
aerobic energy system: your body uses oxygen to kick off reactions in your muscles that create ATP, or fuel
anaerobic energy system: your body breaks down sugar to kickstart a different reaction in your muscles to create ATP
Your aerobic energy system is trained in steady state cardio (like walking or jogging). With HIIT, you get your anaerobic energy system too.
Why should you care? By training your anaerobic system, you're increasing your body's ability to perform explosive movements.
Peak Performance does a way better job of explaining this than I could ever hope to, read more here.

Benefit 3: you'll increase your ability to metabolize carbs and fat!
Essentially, you'll train your body to use these macronutrients more effectively for energy. Seriously, how awesome is that?! Read more here.

Bonus Benefit 4: your workout is done faster!
Who among us couldn't use some extra time in their day? I don't know about all of you, but my dance card is pretty full....throw laundry, cooking, other chores, and studying on top of it and I'm scrambling for time. Today, I did a HIIT workout instead of steady state cardio and I was able to blast over 200 calories in just a half hour.

The results from today's workout! Bonus benefit 5: crazy hair
How many of you think you'll get out give high-intensity interval training a whirl? You can do it with most any type of activity! Burpees, cycling, running, skipping, jump rope, swimming...the possibilities are endless.

My go-to HIIT workout involves a track (or any flat surface really) and about twenty minutes. I use an app called "Seconds Pro" and programmed a timer so I have a working set time of 20 seconds and a rest period of 60 seconds.

My intervals:
2-5 minute warm up walk
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Sprint 20 seconds
Recovery walk 60 seconds
Spring 20 seconds
2-5 minute cool-down walk

Today was the first time I was able to complete the entire thing without taking a "stop and clutch your knees so you don't fall over" break. It was a wonderful feeling!

More recommended reading:
Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2 Max (Tabata himself is an author on this one!)
The Scientific Basis for High-Intensity Interval Training
High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss

Friday, May 3, 2013

WTFriday: Alternate Nostril Breathing, or Pranayama

In line with deep cleansing breaths... I swear I didn't plan this. I blogged about the power of deep breaths on Wednesday and then I experienced another cool breathing technique on Thursday. It's a lot of breathing this week y'all!

I attended a yoga class on Thursday, the first yoga class I've been to in far too long, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The class ended with something that I had heard of before, but had never tried for myself, pranayama.

getting my pranayama on

Pranayama is a method of controlling your breath and is said to have all kind of affects on blood pressure, your emotional state, and your heart rate. Most of what I found was anecdotal, so I looked into some scientific evidence of the effects of pranayama.

The anecdotal evidence itself is pretty neat. According to The Healthy Living Lounge, here are "12 Great Reasons to Start Alternate Nostril Breathing".

1: Revitalizes you2: Improves brain function3: Cleanses your lungs4: Calms an agitated mind5: Merges the left “thinking” brain and right “feeling brain6: Encourage a calmer emotional state7: Improves sleep8: Great preparation for meditation9: Soothes your nervous system10: Regulates  the cooling and warming cycles of the body11: Clears and boosts your energy channels
12: Enhances rest and relaxation

I can't speak to all these supposed effects, but after pranayamaing (can I make this a word???) I did feel revitalized, my allergy symptoms were temporarily relieved, and I definitely felt less stressed about the rest of my day. I'm not sure how much of that was due to pranayama, pranayama plus yoga, or just the yoga itself.


Want to try it for yourself?

Hold your hand out in front of you, palm up, and fold down your first and middle finger. Bring your hand up to your face, palm toward you, use your thumb to close off your right nostril and inhale through your left nostril. Hold your breath a beat, tilt your hand to the right so that your ring finger is now closing off your left nostril and exhale out of your right nostril. Rest a beat and inhale through your right nostril, hold your breath for a beat, tilt your hand to the left so that your thumb is closing your right nostril again and exhale through the left. Rest and inhale again through your left nostril... tilt, exhale, rest, inhale, tilt, exhale, rest, inhale... and so on and so forth! When you're done, try to finish with exhaling out of your left nostril. 

I'm not sure about you, but I think I'll try this the next time I'm having trouble sleeping. 

As for scientific evidence, I searched for a bit and came up with very few nuggets of info. There were a few suggestions that it might help relieve asthma symptoms, which I was interested in because I have allergy and physically induced asthma, but the studies showed that there was no real difference between the control group and the group that used pranayama to treat asthma symptoms. If you're interested, the study is here.

Any students out there? Awesome news, pranayama can help reduce test anxiety! This study took groups of Masters candidates and studied the affects of pranayama on their pre-test anxiety and their performance on those tests. I also found related evidence showing that "alternate nostril breathing" reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, you can read more here.

Namaste everyone, have a wonderful Friday!

I've been practicing crow pose, held it for about 5 seconds!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday - Deep Cleansing Breaths

You know the feeling. Your heart starts racing, your palms get sweaty, and your brain has a "what? I don't even!" moment. You're stressed out. And it's okay.

I'm in the middle of a more-stressful-than-usual time but the end is in sight. I'm feeling "whelmed" at work, not overwhelmed, but getting there. There are times when this translates to moments where I just want to eat a cupcake...or three.

Mmmmmmm, or twenty! Thanks Mom :)

Why do you crave sugary or fatty foods when you're stressed? Because eating them releases seratonin which boosts your mood, read more here.

So what's the issue with a little seratonin boost now and again? When you're giving into a craving, you tend to overeat the treat. That brings with it feelings of fullness (I ate too much), bloating and water retention, and most of all... guilt.

Guilt is a sticky subject. I would love it if you and I could eat all the cookies we wanted without feeling guilty, but the truth is that we would. Getting through life while enjoying treats is a balance that I'm still trying to figure out.

Something that does help me, especially when I'm bogged down and ready to eat an entire pizza while at work is to sit at my desk, stare out the window or at the orchid on my desk, and breathe. I breathe deliberately and deeply.


Four counts in and eight counts out. It helps to slow my heart rate and reduce the mental panic I'm currently wishing I could drown with chocolate frosting. Because while pizza or cupcakes would be immensely satisfying in the next 5 or so minutes, the guilt that I would feel afterwards would be even worse.

Once I've calmed down and realize that my intense craving is nothing more than your brain saying "HEY YOU, if we eat some carbs and fat right now, I'll get a shot of some happy chemicals! Remember last year on your birthday? Those cupcakes would totally do the trick. SO, CUPCAKES?!?!?!?" You can read more about craving from this awesome WebMD article here.

The trick, I think, is to realize that your brain doesn't know what is best for it in this case. If you're at work and you need to concentrate on the huge project you've just been handed, triggering feelings of stress and the want (the NEED) for a huge bowl of frozen yogurt... would you perform better if you had the froyo and then felt guilty and sluggish from devouring a giant bowl of oreo-laden chocolately confection? OR would you do better if you ate a cup of lowfat greek yogurt with some fresh fruit on top?

Greek yogurt and a banana is a great snack to have at work and SO EASY!

I'd be willing to bet the yogurt and berries would do you better.

SO, when you're hit with a craving; calm down with some deep cleansing breaths, drink some water (most of the time you're thirsty when you're hit with a sudden and intense food craving), and then find yourself a healthy snack to eat.