Death by Date Night

Let’s just start with saying that I feel disgusting right now. While clean eating may not always be “fun”, it tends to not come with stomach aches and mental fog.

That being said, I regret nothing. I ate about 2,500 calories at dinner last night and a week’s worth of carbs, but the whole thing was delicious.


We went to a restaurant in our town that serves exclusively small plates. They come out in sizes a little bit smaller than you would usually find in an appetizer and they recommend getting about two per person. We got 3 per person, and dessert.

The restaurant used to only have ten tables and it was usually impossible to get a reservation unless you called a week in advance because the food was so good. They closed down about six months ago to expand and finally reopened last night! It was possibly the best unexpected surprise a girl could ask for.


We started off with crispy Thai calamari, which since trying it there months ago, has become one of my all time favorite foods.


Then came chicken wings, which I tried to take a picture of, but Billy just moves so fast! These had some kind of weird lime sauce that was possibly made with honey. I’m not sure, but they were awesome.


Then mac and cheese came out. It had orzo pasta, peas, and bacon. I actually just ate out of this container after Billy took some for himself.


Then we had sliders. These tasted like Christmas. Instead of ketchup, they had a sort of cinnamon flavored tomato jam on top. The burger was perfect, but they weren’t my favorite.


THESE were both of our favorites. Pork tacos. Apparently I’ve been in a corn taco mood because I got way too excited to see these on the menu. We both agreed that we would come back specifically for these, and only these, for lunch one day.


Finally, ribs came out. Again, not sure what these were cooked in, but I was super happy with them. They had little garlic chips all over them, which were delicious. I thought they were plantain chips so the expectation/reality gap definitely threw me off, but in a good way. Billy didn’t like these, but I think that he was just too full or crazy because they were delicious. I had two.


We also ordered chocolate cake, which I did not take a picture of. It had “strawberry salad” on top. It had basil in it. We didn’t like it. I don’t think that we’ve escalated to a level of fancy eating that enables us to eat vegetables on our cake.


Immediately after leaving, I knew that I was going to be uncomfortable for the rest of the night. I mean, I consumed whole day’s worth of calories in about an hour and twenty minutes. Impressive? Perhaps. Disgusting? Absolutely. 

Going to dinner last night definitely made me remember why I can’t have full blown cheat days. I just end up feeling too sick afterwards, which may be fine for some people, but I photo-1don’t like being uncomfortable.

That doesn’t mean that I think that indulging sometimes is a bad thing, you have to indulge sometimes or you’ll go crazy. But I think indulgence should be something planned, controlled, and completely enjoyed, like a piece of cake at a birthday party or your favorite meal at a restaurant.

The grand re-opening of my favorite restaurant definitely felt like a justified occasion for indulging, but I really think I overdid it. It’s not like the restaurant is closing again any time soon, so I probably didn’t need to order almost half of the menu or finish every thing on every plate. I also probably didn’t need, or really want, the cake.

The best thing to remember after a big cheat meal is that although it was something that you wouldn’t normally do, you have to move on from it quickly. It’s so easy just to fall into that rut of “well I ate bad last night, so screw it! Brioche french toast for all!”. That rut usually results in way more overeating and weigh gain than you had previously planned for.

That’s how I gained all of the weight.

Today I’m going to jump right back into my clean eating habits and do a SERIOUS conditioning work out in my driveway. The sun finally came out after 4 days of threatening rain clouds, so I fully intend on taking advantage of it.

How do you get back on track?



Carboholics Anonymous Made Easy: Recipes and Tips

If you’re anything like me, saying no to bread, pastas, and desserts is one of the hardest things that you’ll ever have to do. There was actually a point in time where I HOPED to develop Celiac’s disease so I physically could not eat those things. Sick, right? I know.

But it actually turns out that it doesn’t have to hurt to give up (read: consume in moderation) these things. There are a ton of delicious ways to change up your carb heavy meals and keep them delicious, actually delicious, not kale chip “delicious”.

Recently, I discovered that I LOVE barbecue. When this passion developed, I have no idea. While barbecue is usually dripping with sauce and just flat out artery clogging, I’ve found a few ways to make it lighter on your heart and the scale.

Hickory Bourbon Pulled Chicken Tacos with Vinegary Slaw

Lets just say, I love these. The only thing that they were MAYBE missing was some chipotle aioli, but they were thoroughly delicious without it. The best part was that it took me probably 5 minutes of active cooking time and just as little clean up time.

Aside from the fact that they’re so easy, they’re also pretty good for you. The Stubbs BBQ sauce only has 40 calories for 2 tablespoons and 8 total carbs. For a while I had been buying Mission Carb Balance tortillas for tacos, but decided to change it up with corn photo-43tortillas instead. These are lower in calories, have less ingredients over all, and just taste better.

Pulled Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts too, I just like how these shred)
1 bottle of Stubbs hickory bourbon BBQ sauce

Vinegary Slaw
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm corn tortillas for serving

Place chicken thighs in the slow cooker and cover with BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily.
Mix cabbage with vinegar and oil and let sit for at least an hour.

If you want to crisp up the corn tortillas to make them even better, add a little butter or coconut oil to a frying pan, slightly wet the tortilla and heat on medium high for about 30 seconds per side. I highly suggest opening a window while doing this if you don’t want to irritate your smoke alarm.

Zucchini Linguine

I love pasta. I have tried every single alternative to the real stuff that you could possibly imagine. Gluten free, Dreamfields, spaghetti squash. With the exception of the Dreamfields, none of the alternatives are as satisfying as the real thing.

Then I came across zucchini linguine. I first had it in a restaurant that prepared it in a really watery sauce so I didn’t really feel the need to make it again. Soggy noodles are gross no matter what they’re made out of apparently.

Then, a few weeks ago, my grandmother called me to say that she bought a container of zucchini linguine from a local farm stand. The best part? She got me my own!photo-42

I had no real plans for how I was going to make it, until I got really hungry yesterday and decided to have it for lunch. I just sauteed it in olive oil in a frying pan until it was hot, then added some left over grilled chicken, spicy tomato sauce (Classico), and sprinkled some feta on top because I was out of parmesan.

It was exactly what I’ve been looking for. Apparently there’s a contraption for making the linguine, so tracking that down is going to be my next project.

Eating cleaner seemed a lot harder in theory than it is in practice. That being said, I have not had a cheat meal in two weeks now, but we are changing that in about an hour. Our favorite restaurant just reopened after being closed for expansion for about six months and tonight is opening night!


Shakespeare Diet Update: Extreme Progress is Coming

So the semester ended on a bit of a stressful note, with papers piling up and finals presenting themselves as actual realities, not just scary tasks that may some day happen, somewhat akin to zombie apocalypse and nuclear meltdown.

I continued to do short, 15 minute workouts almost every day in my driveway until about two weeks ago, when I realized that as soon as it gets hot, I’m not going to want to do that anymore. I could say that I want to do outdoor workouts every single day, but the second that it hits 85 degrees with a ton of humidity, I’m going right back inside (or to the beach).

With this in mind, I also admitted to myself that I will never go back to that gym where the women yelled at me. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but I had no interest in continuing in that kind of environment. Also, as somewhat of a gym snob, I couldn’t really imagine going to a place without a TRX and a set of kettlebells for very long, no matter how nice the other members might have been.

I finally made the decision to go back to the gym I used to work at. I stopped going there when I left because I felt awkward seeing former coworkers and I rationalized it by saying that it was too expensive ($50 a month). While the other gym had only been $20 a month, I finally decided that although it was cheap, it wasn’t worth it to settle on a place that I wasn’t completely happy with.

So back to my former gym I went. You have to invest in your health, right?

Going back has turned out to be one of the best decisions that I’ve made in a long time. I’ve gone at least 3 times a week since I’ve joined, usually spending over an hour each time. This is made easier by the fact that I’m done with classes for now, but going back also enabled me to remember why I loved working out so much to begin with.

Here are some highlights:

Two years ago, I used to go to spin 6 days a week, sometimes more than once in one day. While that wasn’t overly healthy as I was a vegetarian who already wasn’t eating enough, I went because it was fun. I loved the group mentality that made me push harder, but also that I didn’t actually have to interact with anyone and get distracted.

I loved spin so much that for a long time I was going to get certified and start teaching my own classes. When I stopped working at the gym, I stopped going to spin for almost a iStock_000014641916XSmallyear. Last Tuesday I went to a 5:30 (p.m.) Spin with one of my favorite instructors.

There is NOTHING that says “you’re out of shape” quite as loud as your first Spin class in over a year. Sitting in front of me were a group of women my mom’s age, all in matching LuLuLemon tank tops, pedaling way faster and using way more resistance than I was.

At the end of the class, they all cheerfully and gracefully exited the room while I debated crawling to my car. Definitely a wake up call.

The best part of my new (old) gym is the fact that they have not one, but two sets of kettlebells. When I was in the best shape, I used to be able to swing a 50 lb kettlebell for 8-10 reps and a 35 lb for almost 100. photo-41

Recently, I’ve been using a 15 lb and a 25 lb as my higher rep weights, and 35 lbs for 10. Yesterday, I picked up a 35 lb at the gym and decided to see how many I could comfortably do. I was able to do almost 40 before I had to put it down. If that’s not improvement, I don’t know what is!

Not Weighing Myself
For the past few weeks, I’ve been weighing myself pretty obsessively and getting really upset when the weight stayed the same. I had been blaming the prednisone (which I am back on) and just assuming that it would all come off at once when I stopped.

I finally decided to stop weighing myself a few days ago after Billy pointed out that if I lost 6 pounds of fat and gained 4 pounds of muscle, it would show that I only lost 2 pounds but I would look way different.

So for now, I’m pretty happy with the fact that my clothes fit better and I’m starting to look like my old self again.

I was in the best shape of my life last summer, but I was only working out with no changes made to my diet. Two weeks ago, I sat down with Billy and we calculated our daily calorie intake as well as our macronutrient percentages.

My current goals are 1650 calories a day with 25% carbs (103 grams), 35% protein (144 grams) and 40% fat (73 grams). My first few days with the lower carb intake were definitely difficult, but as I started to cut out really sugary foods and processed breads, I stopped craving them as much.

I feel like I definitely have more energy without them and my stomach feels a lot better, which may be the prednisone, but I’d like to think it’s my diet. photo-42

The best part is that I still get to have a few Mike and Ikes every night when I take my medicine because I don’t like the taste it leaves in my mouth. All I really want are about 5, which is a quarter of a serving. I can meet my fat loss goals and still eat candy every day? Yes, please.

The lower carb intake has also led me to become a bit more creative with the foods I cook, so I’ll be putting up a ton of recipes really soon.


Winter Motivation (Or Lack Thereof)

There is nothing worse than trying to stay in shape in the winter. When it’s cold and snowy, all I want to do is snuggle up with Sheldon and read a book or take a nap. 

While neither of those things get me in shape, I have come to terms with the fact that I will also never be one of those people who is outside running despite what it’s doing outside. For example, the woman who was jogging down a main road during one of the worst snow storms we’ve had this year.

It took me 3 hours to drive a distance that usually would take a half hour, but she was out there with a ski band and thermal leggings. To me, that’s not motivation, that’s just insanity. I mean, aren’t you cold?

Finding time and motivation to exercise has never been a problem for me until recently. Lately, I’ll spend all day thinking about how excited I am to work out, only to decide later that it’s just too cold to move. To top it off, when I’m cold, all I want to do is eat heavy, carb or fat saturated foods that leave me feeling lethargic when I’m done.

Even as I write this, I get annoyed at this mentality. How can I be so motivated some days and other days just allow myself to be overcome by the winter blahs? 

Because I know that I’m pretty unmotivated in these months, I’ve decided to take a step to force myself to get back into it. Starting tomorrow, I will start working out with a trainer at Billy’s gym and start further cleaning up my diet.

Hopefully this gives me some motivation to get back on track!

How do you stay motivated in the cold months?


Why Miley Cyrus’s VMA Outfit is Not Inspiration For Squats

In the recent weeks after the VMA’s, it’s relatively impossible to avoid talk of Miley Cyrus. 

In order to do so, you would need to cut yourself off from all media outlets, Facebook, Twitter and anything else people use to share information. And I personally, think it’s ridiculous.

Miley’s twerking at the VMA’s with Robin Thicke was such a source of outrage for so many reasons. People thought it was inappropriate because she was on Disney Channel, wrong because she was engaged and just flat out tasteless. These criticisms are fine.

What I don’t like is the all too present talk of what she looked like. Unflattering pictures of her ass were spread all over the internet. Wearing tight rubber underwear and pulled up way too high. There is no way that it could have been a flattering picture.

All over Facebook and Instagram girls are posting things like “Don’t wanna end up like Miley! Gotta do my squats!”. I hate to break it to you girls, but no matter how many squats you do, if you squeeze into rubber underwear that are too sizes too small, your ass WILL look exactly like Miley’s.

I think what a lot of people don’t apply the same rules to attacking celebrities’ appearances as they do to attacking people they see on a daily basis. Because we can’t see their personal reactions to such comments, we think they go without consequence.

While your own individual comments might not be the one to personally effect them, there will always be some that will. The more serious consequence is that it creates a culture of people who are mean for the sake of being mean, often out of jealousy. We assume that these people have everything they could ever want and that our comments shouldn’t effect them.

Miley Cyrus is 20 years old. Famous or not, I don’t know of a single 20 year old girl who wouldn’t be upset over negative comments about their physical appearance. All of these people talking about what she looks like should really take a look at themselves. If you’re not in better shape than she is already, you should just keep your mouth shut.

We think it’s okay to pick on someone else’s appearance and hide behind a computer screen. If you want to disagree with her actions and choices in life that’s all fine, but as soon as you start bringing appearance into it, it becomes more personal.

So next time you want to put up a picture of what someone else looks like in other clothing with snide remarks behind it, think about how you would feel if that was your ass in the picture. It probably wouldn’t feel too great.


Cheat Day

Today is cheat day.

I know this, not only because it’s Friday and there’s a little smiley face on the box on the board, but because I feel completely bloated and there’s a box of cupcakes in the kitchen.

Cupcakes are essential for cheat days.

This week was one of the most successful weeks crossed off the diet board. As a compulsive My Fitness Pal user, I knew that I kept my carb intake under 100 grams a day while still managing to keep my fiber pretty high.



Because this week was pretty exceptional and also the last day of the diet board, I made a plan to binge. Hard.

I started my morning with a wake up call from Billy asking what I wanted for breakfast.

“It’s cheat day right?” 

As soon as he said yes, I asked if we could have jelly doughnuts from the bakery in town. But I didn’t just get jelly doughnuts!

This morning for breakfast I had a jelly doughnut, a boston cream doughnut, half of a cherry turnover, a bite of an apple turnover and a big chunk of an apple cinnamon roll.

The carb monster is back.

A few hours after the nutritious breakfast, we decided that Indian food was our best option. We had a plate of assorted samosas, chicken and vegetable curry and rice. Stuffed, our next destination was obviously the cupcake store down the street from the Indian restaurant.

Sorry for the smudge, I stuck my hand in it by accident. (overexcitement)

Sorry for the smudge, I stuck my hand in it by accident. (overexcitement)

We go to this place every Friday night and even have a snazzy punch card to show for it. While we usually get one chocolate salted caramel cupcake and split it, tonight we decided to go big. Two pumpkin spice cupcakes and one salted caramel.

I would have more pictures if I hadn’t gotten overly excited and jumped in before I had a chance to even get my phone out. 

I would just like it to be said that I do not eat like this every day, nor would I want to. While I used to eat like this when I was younger, now I can definitely feel the effects it has on my body.

I think the most important reason for cheat days is that it gives you some diet freedom. You don’t need to feel guilty about weekly binges because no one can eat grilled chicken all the time. It gives you that thing to look forward to at the end of the week, or whenever you choose to place it. Just to know that in six days you can have what you’re craving now makes the hard work easier.

Tim Ferriss talked about writing down the cravings he has during the week so he can have them on his cheat day. I do this sometimes. If I notice that I feel like bagels and pasta, I’ll have bagels and Italian food on Friday night. This week I felt like doughnuts and Indian food, so that’s what I got. And I always feel like cupcakes, so they’re a weekly staple now.

Before cheat days, I used to panic at random times after long periods of success. I’d eat everything in sight, declare my diet dead and continue eating poorly until I couldn’t fit in my jeans anymore. Now I can still panic, but it’s once a week and it’s controlled for the most part.

If you’re interested in what I eat on a daily basis, add me as a friend on the My Fitness Pal app and check out my daily diaries at mcolleary1.