The saying goes Abs are made in the kitchen. Cliched, perhaps, but here’s the hard truth, kids: Doesn’t matter how many miles you run or how many Down Dogs you do or how many #plankadays you perform.
You can’t out exercise a bad diet.
If you think of weight loss strictly in terms of calories in vs. calories out, then I can see how it would be easy to believe that if you eat 200 calories of food and burn 300 calories through exercise, then you’re clearly in the deficit and should lose weight. But, as many people can attest, weight loss is not quite that black and white. Calories only tell one part of the food story and poor nutrition comes with a whole host of other equations that will affect your ability to find your ideal weight.
|Yes, that is chalkboard paint on my cabinets|
Not gonna lie, I have a wicked apartment. And while I love every inch of it, my kitchen is probably my favorite room. It’s also the room that gets the most love. Not just use, but love. Make the kitchen a space you want to be in and I promise you’ll spend more time in there. It’s quirky and colorful and it’s possible I might have a slight
obsession adoration for kitchen appliances. There’s a mini food processor next to the toaster and my Keurig is just off to the left. Tucked away in one of the lower cabinets are my Crockpot, Fondue set, Waffle Iron, and Ice Cream Maker (last two were both yard sale finds, woot woot!)
My newest purchase, thanks to a birthday gift card from the parentals, is a 2-in-1 Calphalon Immersion Blender. I’ve been eyeing one of these bad boys for a looooong time: I love making soups, but I hate the kind of soups that require blending. I have a Ninja Blender (won at the work Christmas party two years ago), but it’s so fucking annoying scooping out the soup and blending it in sections. Plus, then it’s just another big ol’ piece of equipment you have to clean. Hence, immersion blender. On top of that, Sissy bought me a Crate & Barrel gift card for my birfday and I will undoubtedly be buying some kitchen shiny. Yay new toys!
Of course, with a love of cooking gadgets comes a love of cooking.
Naturally, then, I have a collection of cookbooks and keep all of my back issues of Vegetarian Times. I also have favorite food blogs I go to for recipes, too, and keep a Pinterest board for some of the ones I find. The flowery binder up on the far left is my sorta kinda homemade cookbook, with print outs of recipes I found online or ones from magazines or whatever. It’s all organized and color-coded and everything. Because I’m a big ol’ nerd like that.
I plan meals out a week in advance, making something big like soup or casserole on Saturday or Sunday and portioning it out for the week ahead. This week it’s going to be SkinnyTaste‘s Roasted Pumpkin Sage soup, only I’m using butternut squash and playing with it a bit: I see soup recipes more as guidelines than instructions. I’m also attempting homemade bread for the first time with this peasant bread recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen.
Meal planning is key to staying on track since there’s nothing to think about when I get home from work each night. I just reach into the fridge and pull out one of the containers and put it in my lunch bag for the next day. Done and done. I also usually like to pick recipes where I’ll have 6-8 servings so I can have some of it the weekend I’m making it or the following weekend. And I always freeze soups whenever possible.
When cooking from scratch, I use the MyFitnessPal recipe builder to get the nutrition information, which I then plug into my Weight Watchers calculator to get the Points. Sure, it might seem like extra work, but for the past few months I’ve counted calories alongside my WW Points and it’s had a tremendously positive effect on my food choices, especially on days I exercise. Before I’d find myself negotiating the pros & cons of using my extra weekly points, but, say, on a day like today where I ran 2 miles and burned close to 300 calories it helps put those few extra points in perspective.
All of this being said, despite my love of cooking and baking, I also lurve to eat out. And it is, indeed, possible to eat out — even eat out a lot — and still lose weight. Here’s a breakdown of last week:
Monday: Chipotle Veggie Burrito Bol for dinner (with sour cream; skipped the cheese & guac)
Thursday: Grande Skinny Peppermint Latte from Starbucks
Friday: Birthday dinner with the parents at Tomato Grill. Had bread. And wine. And pizza. And cheesecake. (gasp!)
Saturday: Lunch was two slices of leftover pizza. Birthday drinks with friends that night. Enjoyed myself a Cosmopolitan.
Sunday: Dinner at Brown Bag Burgers. Veggie burger and cheesy fries.
Outcome: lost 2 lbs. What the what!
Yes, I exercised, but honestly it was a pretty low impact kind of week. Stuck with my Sun Salutations every morning, had my usual Ashtanga class on Saturday, and went for a three mile run on Friday, but that’s about all I did (and, see, again, Friday was my run so I had no problem splurging on my birthday dinner with my parents that night).
Losing weight doesn’t have to be a diet consisting of celery and water. I can’t think of anything I’ve actually completely given up since starting, I just find a way to make it work and do most of the work in my kitchen.
Love from the ashes,