What works & what doesn’t: Part 2

Last week Megan and Tanya shared what works and what doesn’t and even invited you into their homes –  in 2017, we are gonna get real cozy with you guys. Now Anna and Katie are up, homemade videos and all. We’ll work on that, too…

anna feature

Just because I know better, doesn’t always mean I do better. I’m sure that’s something we can all head nod to. It’s something I am trying to dig deeper into, how to find balance without being too rigid. A big part of finding this balance is knowing what works for me and sticking to it.

what works

  • Drink all morning. I start my morning with lemon water or ACV in water (not both), then tea, followed by just warm water. When I hydrate like this my skin and energy levels thank me
  • I do better with a longer fasting period. So I try to have about 16+ hours between dinner and my first bite of food. How do I know this works for me? Because I feel great when I do it. My energy is high and I’m clear headed. This will not work for everyone, but it makes me tick!
  • Smoothies. A nutrient dense smoothie mid morning (between 10:00-11:00) helps me fit in some key players – greens, fiber, probiotics and antioxidents. I throw in: White Mountain Bulgarian yogurt (probiotic RICH), water, greens, chia and frozen berries into a blender and feel pretty darn good about what I’m getting in just one cup.
  • Mediterranean cuisine. I would live so well in Greece. I find tabouli, olives, hummus, nuts and sardines to be incredibly satiating, so I always have these in my fridge and pantry. Lunch is frequently a smörgåsbord of these foods, leaving me completely satisfied and fulfilling my healthy fats.
  • Dinner HAS to be planned or we eat frozen pizza or nuggets… not super satisfying. To feed a family of five, I have to plan ahead and my people like to know what to expect (See video).
  • Kitchen is closed after dinner. Not a whole lot more to say about that. But I will tell you, I sleep like a champ if I don’t snack before bed.

what doesnt work

  • Eating chips. I think I love salt, the way some people love chocolate. And eating a few chips can easily turn into only a few chips left. So I needed to cold turkey the chips. They are 86’ed for 2017, but only at home…because if I can’t have a chip all year my heart will turn to stone.
  • Thinking a babysitter will magically show up and tell me to go to a yoga class. I have a stage 4 clinger in the form of an almost 2.5 year old. And winters in MN with her ALWAYS by my side are r.e.a.l.l.y. cramping my workouts. So I just joined a gym with childcare. It will be good for BOTH of us. And I need to move this body more. Win-win.
  • Alcohol. We aren’t “drinkers” by any stretch of the word, but even one glass of wine a week or a casual beer on a Friday sabotage my efforts to not feel puffy. While I’m not going to say NEVER, it does have to be a “special occasion” sort of thing – date night, girls night, vacation, etc. And truly, I love tea, kombucha and pamplemousse La Croix, so I’ve got options.
  • Eating Pizza on Fridays. We do pizza Fridays, but cheese just doesn’t go over well for me – and when I equate eating cheese with my skin breaking out, it helps me abstain. My family loves this family tradition, but it really doesn’t work for me. So on Fridays I’m going to treat myself with something else that is still fun (I tried just doing soup from the freezer, but that WASN’T fun)…Maybe sushi or a curry bowl? My mouth is already watering.

When we started to percolate this blog post I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why? Well it became immediately apparent that I hadn’t looked this conversation in the face for quite some time. This is a good and bad thing. It means I’m likely not stressing about food too much lately but it also means that it’s time to get back in touch with what does work – cause, hey, that’s real important. This quickly because a bit of a homework assignment for me. So you teachers out there, I hope I get an A. Just for completion.

what works

  • Sleep. Didn’t see that coming for ‘what works’ in my diet now did ya?! But it’s 100% part of how I eat. There are countless (and varying) stats on how our food choices are directly related to how rested we are. For me – it’s THE biggest. I used to attach some level of worth to working late at night feeling productive around the clock. Friends, that ship has sailed. Quality over quantity. And my waistline agrees.
  • Proteins + fats. Fuller longer, more satiated, increased energy and mental clarity when I feed by body AND my brain these types of fuel.
  • Greens. Whoa nelly do I go in and out of prioritizing greens. I should be scolded for this one. I used to do green smoothies errrryday and now it’s like I forgot you can put greens in your smoothie. #whatswrongwithme. Back to blender with my spinach, kale and other fun greenies to get that energy I NEED.
  • Werk. And by that I mean work-ing-out. When I’m doing some sort of movement 4-6 days a week with at LEAST 3 big sweat days, my diet and I are in amazing harmony.
  • Focusing on the week, not the day. We talk a lot about the 80/20 rule at PN and with that we strongly encourage you (us) to focus on the larger picture and not the minutia of every specific meal. If we nailed it every meal, every day, well, we’d be perfect… and you know how we feel about perfectionism. #boring. So I like to look at my week as 80/20. That way I’m not defeated by a couple days that don’t go awesome for me. Whether it’s a bad night’s sleep or a social outing (or two) that make things feel less optimal, I know I have the rest of the week to chill out and recalibrate.

what doesnt work

  • Gluten. I have hasimotos and gluten and hashi are not friends. It’s really important for me to skip the gluten. Does it happen from time to time? Simply stated: yes. But I really watch for the glue-y stuff on the reg.
  • Unfulfilling carbs. I’m not a ‘no carb’ gal by any means but I will say that I know for certain that my body loooooves to store carbs. We know that if you don’t burn ’em, they store as adipose tissue and my adipose tissue doesn’t need anymore storage. So I really do ditch the breads (gf) and carby thangs because they leave me feeling sluggish and bloated.
  • Wine daily. I’ll be reeeeeeally honest, there’s been many periods of time where wine every night was just a thing. Just like dinner. Or breathing. I’m not dissing the glass of vino for those of you that wind down with it – but it makes me feel slow, foggy headed and just all around tired the next day. Now I just pick and choose. It still happens a couple times a week, but that’s coo.
  • Making excuses. I can get really good at making excuses (usually too tired) to skip a workout or opt out of the regularly scheduled recipe that I bought ALL the ingredients for. No more of that – follow through not only (almost ALWAYS) feels better, but affects so many other aspects of my life! Commitment to my health is top priority for 2017. Boom.

 

Comments (6) | Add Comment

  • by Ryan Hoffman on

    Awesome Anna! I think a lot of people, especially young families can find structure and peace in having set dinner plans for the week. We struggle with that a lot so it’s always nice hearing how other people tackle the challenge.

  • by Anna Decker on

    Yes, the struggle is REAL!! Send any of your brilliant tips our way. We like whatever Chef Ryan is making 🙂

  • by Ryan Hoffman on

    The one thing that works for me (the family grocery shopper) and our family is the ability to shop 2x/week. I realize that might be unrealistic for a lot of families, but it helps us in 2 different ways. The first is it allows for the fresh ingredients I buy to be at their peak freshness when it’s time to cook with them. If you shop 1x/week on Sunday and you buy scallions for a dish you’ll be having Thursday, they might be a little mushy. The second thing by shopping 2x/week is it has lowered our weekly grocery bill. When I used to shop 1x/week I found myself trying to cram as many things into the cart for the upcoming week. This included meals, snacks, breakfast items, and many unnecessary items. Although two trips to the store in a given week might sound daunting, with planning, each trip is usually done in less 20 minutes. Hope this helps!

    • by Anna Decker on

      This is great advice. We also go twice a week – Sundays and Wednesdays and on Wednesdays we restock whatever fresh produce and meat/seafood we might need. Thank you for sharing.

  • by Lisa on

    I love this blog! I love that you wrote it out…we have these thoughts circling in our heads but writing it down makes it clear and usable as a guide. We also have a tradition of pizza movie night…I agree it’s hard to find a replacement that feels special 🙂

    • by Anna Decker on

      Yes, half the fun of pizza night is not cooking and messing up the kitchen (for me at least!). So my replacement had to have the same benefits 🙂

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