Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I need to stop eating so much junk. I’m not just saying that because it’s a January cliche to eat healthy, or because I want you to make this smoothie. Sure, I’d love for you to try it, but I’m also serious. If I don’t refocus, I stand to undo a lot of hard work from this past year.
I’ve been keeping a secret. Since I began blogging, I’ve written over time about my struggles with food, overeating, and especially sugar. When I went back to culinary school and decided to make this a career, the weight began creeping on. I tried a variety of diets, and everything seemed to only have a negative rebound effect. When I started writing my cookbook, I was absolutely crippled with fear that the weight was going to become even more of an issue. I finally decided to do something about it. This past year, I lost 30 pounds.
On the left: me and my mom at my brother’s December 2014 wedding. The photo on the right was taken in October 2015 (by the lovely Emily Goodstein). I’m happy where I’m at now, but if I can shave off another 7ish pounds I’ll be at my 2011 wedding weight. That would be… amazing.
There were many factors involved in losing the weight, but the main change was getting off the couch (which, sorry, truly is the hardest part). I HATE the gym, but I discovered I like classes at small studios. I try to go to 4-5 classes per week at different locations. I get bored easily, so I mix things up. Cycling, barre, reformer pilates and hot yoga are my favorites (shoutout to Zengo Cycle, my home away from home). Once I started moving, it was much easier to make other changes. The bottom line is: I like to eat. I like desserts. Pizza is my favorite food. I will never be successful at counting calories for more than a couple weeks at a time. Exercise burns calories. When you’re burning a lot of calories, the dietary changes don’t need to be nearly as dramatic, and that makes losing weight so much easier. I did not follow a diet or eliminate any foods. I promise I’m not being paid to write this, but ClassPass has been my salvation. It makes all of these classes affordable for me, and the ability to alternate between a variety of workouts keeps me from getting bored. For a monthly fee (it varies slightly by city), I can go to unlimited classes at participating studios as long as I don’t visit any studio more than 3 times per month. If you live in or near a city, it might be available to you. It’s seriously a game changer. Again, I’m not being paid for this post. ClassPass has no idea who I am.
(Full disclosure: While I don’t work with ClassPass, I do create recipes for Zengo Cycle. They’re an amazing studio and if you live in the DC area, please go check them out).
My relationship with food has changed, and I no longer live in a state of fear. That was the second biggest change after exercise. Panicking around “treats” prevented me from enjoying any of the good stuff. I was constantly sent into shame spirals that led to binging. As soon as I began exercising, I felt less guilty about going out to restaurants or having some ice cream. I allowed myself to enjoy treats without the negative self talk. Once I began relaxing around food, it was easier to make other healthy changes, which mainly involved cutting back on portions. Panic dieting is just not the answer. At least, it wasn’t for me. Change had to come from a calm place.
So, as I said in the beginning, it’s time to get back on track. The last few weeks were holiday madness, and I enjoyed every second of it. I’m still going to eat pizza, ice cream, and Korean fried chicken (my newest obsession). But not, like, every other day. It’s back to focusing on foods that give me energy to get my work done- eggs, smoked salmon, chicken, vegetables, fruit, yogurt… this smoothie. It’s an excellent energy booster. It’s sweet, filling, and I PROMISE you will not taste the spinach!
- ¾ cup plain yogurt, preferably full or low fat
- ¼ cup coconut water
- 1 medium ripe banana
- ¼ cup chopped ripe pineapple
- ¼ cup chopped ripe mango
- 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach (regular spinach may be substituted)
- Place the yogurt, coconut water, banana, pineapple, mango, and spinach in a blender.
- Turn the machine on low to begin chopping the ingredients, then slowly turn the speed up to high and puree until the spinach is completely smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes.
- Taste; adjust ingredients to taste if desired.