The Return of Sober Workdays

Waaaay back, many moons ago, I embarked on a self-imposed healthy eating challenge with a set of rules that I made up myself. The ultimate goal was simply to break bad habits, build better ones, and just be healthier overall.

While those rules have long since flown out the window, it’s time to bring back one in particular: no drinking on work nights. For a long time, I was VERY good about this, and only broke the rule sporadically for things like date nights and other special events. Unfortunately, however, weeknight drinking has slowly crept in and become the rule rather than the exception. Now, I’m not saying I’m getting drunk, or even tipsy, every night, but it has become habit to have a drink or two after work each night, with a few extras thrown in on the weekends.

A large part of this is due to the change in our living situation; Ben’s folks like to unwind each night with a drink or two, and it was just very easy to fall into the habit with them. I don’t think there’s anything at all wrong with an after work cocktail, but as someone who is hoping to get pregnant within the next few months, it’s a habit that I’ve got to break.

While (hopefully) impending pregnancy is my number one motivator, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also hoping to lose a few pounds. It seems like each passing year brings a few extra pounds and suddenly I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, which SUCKS. I had a “secret” goal to get back to my pre-Vermont weight before we started trying to get pregnant, and I’m further away from that than I was when I made the goal back in December. So some things have gotta change, and this is an easy place to start.

I actually already started this a couple of weeks ago, but clearly fell off the wagon during my San Francisco trip. The good news is, I started fresh this week, and I’m ready to fully commit. I’m also toying with the idea of a “no treats during the week” rule as well, because I’ve had the same insidious creep with desserts that I have with alcohol, but maybe one thing at a time?

Are you a fan of the after work drink to unwind?

#Chewsday Challenge Wrap-Up

A few weeks ago, I recommitted myself to the #Chewsday Challenge.  As discussed, my original plan was perhaps a little too ambitious, so this time around I decided to add in one challenge at a time, with the goal of slowly and realistically building toward overall healthier eating.  The challenge for Week 1 was no booze on work nights.  Week 2, I added in fruits and/or veggies with every meal.  Week 3, I started only one serving of treat per day.  And last week, I added in protein with every meal.  I’ve now been at this for a solid month (more, if you count my first, half-hearted attempt), and I’m ready to let go of #Chewsday (and I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about my eating challenges).  So, I’ve done one final assessment of what worked, what didn’t, and how I plan to move forward.

How did it go?

  • No booze on work nights has become pretty much habit.  I may have a beer here or a glass of wine there, but on the whole, I’m not really drinking on week nights anymore, and that’s probably the way it will stay.  I don’t need the extra calories and I don’t need any more trouble sleeping than I already have.
  • Fruits or veggies with every meal will likely always be a challenge for me.  I’m worlds better than I used to be, but I still struggle.  I have a few more tricks in my arsenal, and I am eating some veggies that I used to despise, so I’ll take that as a win.  I will do my best to continue to incorporate more fruits and veg, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I have a veggie-less meal.
  • One serving of treat per day is easier some days than others.  I really like having my bag of chocolate covered sunflower seeds in my desk.  They’re a satisfying treat on multiple levels, and I feel like I don’t eat as many of them as I would other sweet options.  On the whole, I think I’m more mindful about reaching for treats than I used to be, but this will definitely also always be a struggle.
  • Protein with every meal is not as easy as I’d hoped.  It requires planning ahead (is the chicken thawed? are the beans soaking?), which Ben and I are not always great at.  However, on the days I followed through with this, I noticed that I ate less overall and definitely did less snacking, so I plan to at least attempt to keep up with this.

So that’s it for the #Chewsday Challenge, at least for me.  I won’t be posting any more weekly updates or issuing any more challenges.  But I will DEFINITELY continue to work on these four points above, because they are working for me.  And of course, I’ll be doing periodic check-ins with my accountabilibuddies, cause they’re hilarious and awesome.

What’s your number one healthy eating tip/trick?

#Chewsday Reboot: Week Two

Last week, I recommitted myself to the #Chewsday Challenge.  As discussed, my original plan was perhaps a little too ambitious, so this time around I’ve decided to add in one challenge at a time, with the goal of slowly and realistically building toward overall healthier eating.  Last week’s challenge was no booze on work nights.

So, how did it go?  Honestly, not too badly.  Monday night, I went out for beer and horseshoes with my friend Sharon and some of her friends.  Monday is the only night we do this because Sharon’s friend is the bartender on Monday nights and can hook us up a bit.  Theoretically, this doesn’t count as cheating because I didn’t recommit to the challenge until Tuesday, but this may be a semi-regular thing, so we’ll see.  Thursday, I went out for Mexican food with my friend Rebecca, and what’s Mexican food without a margarita?  Exactly.  However, I only had one, and it was delicious.

Photo Jul 17, 5 19 15 PM

I guess I would grade myself B- for the week.  When I think about the fact that I had beer and wine in the fridge at home and managed to resist, it’s not half bad.  I also only had one margarita, when I could easily have had another (restaurant is in walking distance of home).  On the whole, I’m thinking more about choosing to drink or not drink, and what it’s going to mean for me.  I’m excited to build more on this in the weeks to come.  I know it will help me cut out a lot of empty calories and sleep better.

Now it’s time to add another challenge in along with no booze on weeknights.  This week’s challenge is fruits and/or veggies with every meal.  This doesn’t sound hard, but is actually quite a challenge for me.  As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t really start eating veggies until I was an adult, and continue to struggle with incorporating them.  I’m better than I was, but definitely not as good as I could be.

Thankfully, I’ve got some great accountabilibuddies in Kimberly, and Lisa, and we welcomed two new recruits, Nicole and Kellie this week.  We bug each other, support each other, and mostly make each other laugh.  I dream that someday we’ll all do a RunDisney race together, but unfortunately that’s not happening anytime soon for this broke girl.  Anyway, if you’d like to join us as we support (and enable) each other on Twitter, use the #Chewsday hashtag and come find us!






What’s your favorite way to incorporate produce into your meals?

Meal Planning

Something that has been extremely helpful in my quest to eat better has been sitting down weekly and planning out meals.  Ben and I put our heads together for a few minutes every Sunday and decide what our dinners for the week will be.  We take into account any plans we might have (gym time, dinners out, his broom-ball games) and try to make enough extra that we have leftovers for lunch each day.  Then, we put together a grocery shopping list and hit the store.

This also has led to a significant savings in grocery costs.  We always used to just go to the store and buy whatever we felt like, or “stock up” on what we considered the basics.  We regularly spent $100 or more each trip, and often ended up throwing produce away because we weren’t using it.  Now, we usually end up spending under $60/week, and use up everything with very little waste.

In order to make this strategy even simpler, I downloaded this meal planning sheet from  It’s great–there’s a section to plan your dinners, and an area to create your grocery list.  I printed out a bunch of copies and, using the comb binder at my office (shhh don’t tell!), I put together this lovely little notebook.

Photo Apr 04, 7 00 54 AM

Sorry for the poor photos!

Now, we can easily look back at past weeks for inspiration, or to help with variety.  And we can bring the notebook with us to the grocery store for our list.  It’s all together in one place.  We also post the week’s menu on the whiteboard in our kitchen so that it’s right there when we get home from work each night.

How do you handle meal planning?