Monday, February 25, 2019

4 Tips for Eating Out with Success!

Hello Everyone!

This past weekend I went out for a little post-birthday dinner to Fridays with some friends and it occurred to me that our outing would make a great blog post! Eating out while you’re following a fitness program or just trying to be healthy is hard! It is far easier to plan and stay disciplined in the comfort of your own home or lunch bag. When eating out, you don’t have the benefit of knowing how your food was prepared and even when you make a good choice, the portions are often 2-3x what you should eat in one sitting. I implemented some tips that I wanted to share for eating out with success!

1.    Choose the Restaurant on Purpose.

You have the power here, especially if the meal is in celebration of you, like a birthday dinner. You are asked where you would like to go. Try to stick to healthy restaurants, or eateries that offer healthy menu options. Now, of course, it isn’t always the case where you can control the location choice, but in those cases, I would honestly defer to tip #4.

2.    Research Online Menu.

Now that you’ve chosen the restaurant, it’s time to scope out what they have to offer. Many restaurants post their menus online and I highly encourage that you take a look and plan out your meal in advance. The worst is being rushed to order by that irritable waiter tapping his pen against his notepad. On the other hand, you don’t want to be the “picky” friend that delays the order because you’re taking too long to decide. For me, I load my meal into MyFitnessPal so I can easily track the macros. It allows you to search menu items from nearby restaurants so I can add them to my food diary hassle free. Planning your food choices beforehand will lessen the stress and set you up for success.

3.    Don’t Be Afraid to Change it Up.

I don’t want you to feel like eating out is limited to ordering a boring salad. Pre-planning also enables you to choose a meal that you can customize or make substitutions. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can swap out the loaded mashed potatoes for lemon-butter broccoli (which is what I did at Fridays). And don’t ever let anyone make you feel like a bother for switching sides, getting sauce on the side, or asking to eliminate an ingredient entirely! After all, you are the patron and you have the right to customize your experience.

4.    Do the Best You Can.

As I mentioned in tip #1, it is not always feasible to control the restaurant you go to and sometimes, even then, the “healthy options” are still equaling up to thousands of calories. What do you do then, Maya??? The best you freakin’ can! Remember, eating out is not a regular practice for you and you’re celebrating! I subscribe to the school of thought that says, don’t deny yourself and enjoy in moderation. For example, I ordered shrimp cocktail (±200 calories) and spinach and artichoke dip appetizers, which was shared between three people. My entrĂ©e was the Sizzling Chicken & Shrimp (listed at over 1,000 calories!) but I swapped out the mashed potatoes for broccoli and didn’t eat both servings of meat that came with the meal. I was prepared for what I was going to eat as well as the caloric values. I made sure I was consistent in my workout schedule and meal plan for the week so that this one indulgence would not make or break me. Think about it as one blip on a radar screen, the scanner goes around smoothly not finding any anomalies and then “beep” there’s one, but then after that everything goes radio silent again.

These 4 tips for eating out with success are sure to help keep you focused while enjoying life! What are some ways you stay on track when eating out? Drop a comment below!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Time Saving at the Gym

Hi everyone!

I’m back in the gym after two and a half weeks! I can tell you that aside from being extremely sore, I have a new tool to help me stay organized and motivated. Yes, I just referred to my new gym bag as a tool and, yes, I said it keeps me motivated!

I’ve been on the hunt for a gym bag that is compact enough to carry to-and-from work while offering ample storage. This bag has interior and exterior compartments for your phone, travel-size toiletries and sweaty garments you might want to keep tucked away. The size is perfect, being large enough to fit all my stuff but small enough to stow in narrow lockers—I can use the drawstring to cinch the bag closed and keep everything secure. The material and straps are thick and durable. Since I’m pretty rough on my stuff, the black color will be very forgiving and keep it looking as good as possible, for as long as possible.

You may be asking, how is this a tool? For one thing, the compartments keep everything organized and sorted. My biggest time sucker at the gym is the locker room, I can waste up to 20 minutes pre-and-post workout. Now having the ability to reach into my bag and put my hands directly on what I need has reduced my changing time by 10 minutes. That’s almost an hour in time savings during a typical work week!

Mid-day workouts have been proven to keep me consistent so squeezing every exercise minute out of an hour is important to me. I stay motivated knowing I can spend more time exercising.

Make it a regular practice to research tools that will aid you in your goals. Whether it’s downloading an app that reminds you to drink water every hour (yes, I have that!) or setting up a “keep the change” feature with your bank that rounds purchases up to the next dollar and deposits the difference into your savings account (yes, I have that too!). 

What tools do you use to stay organized? What could you be doing more efficiently in your daily/weekly routine?

Monday, February 11, 2019

Work/Life Balance


If you are like me, it can be tough to balance work, play and wellness. There are some weeks where I feel like my life is all business and others where fitness and experimenting with healthy recipes are the focus, and others still that I just want to “Netflix and chill”.

We all have obligations to family, friends as well as ourselves, so how do you do it all and still have balance? This is an on-going discovery for me, but the truth is it’s really not that hard and I have found a few strategies that help me stay organized and less stressed.

Pre-Plan Your Week

One of the BIGGEST strategies that has kept me organized recently is planning my week on Sunday nights. From preparing social media content and writing blog posts to packing my gym bag and meal prepping, I find that thinking about tasks/projects at the start of my week means the difference between success or stress. On the Sundays I do not plan—like last Sunday—I feel overwhelmed and often fail to follow through because I didn’t allot myself the time to organize.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Living a balanced lifestyle is not solely about time management, it is also about incorporating a range of activities that nourish the multi-faceted individual you are! Trips to the grocery store, doing laundry or driving the kids to practice are all necessary tasks but when do you make time for the things you enjoy or, more importantly, give you a mental break? It is vital to block out time to not only do but be—interests that reset your mind and rejuvenate your spirit. Take a 15-minute walk at lunch, get a mani/pedi or catch a movie. Otherwise you’ll quickly experience that thing called burnout! Burnout can lead to poor decisions, mistakes and mood changes. At the same time, you don’t want to be the person who is only motivated by pleasure. So, yes, have fun but also be sure to incorporate productive activities to keep your mind sharp, body healthy and soul fed.

Ask for Help

This one is MAJOR and something I myself struggle with. At times, we feel the need—or in some cases are forced—to pull out our cape and be everything to everyone. We bestow titles upon ourselves to get certain jobs done—mom, dad, daughter, son, employee, handyman, nurse, confidant, life coach, spiritual advisor, chef, therapist, and the list goes on. How can one be all those things at the same time? Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends and, yes, even professionals! It doesn’t make you weak or incompetent, it actually makes you smart. You realize that you need to engage the assistance of others in order to be a more productive and saner you.

Is living a balanced life hard or easy for you? What are some of the ways you have found balance in your life?