Sometimes life just gets in the way of life, amirite?
I last posted in November, right before I got hired at a second job and right before the semester ended at school and there was tons to do. Truthfully, things aren’t much better at present. I’m in my last year of university at one of the country’s top schools, taking 6 courses when 5 is the norm, have two jobs, and live away from home. I don’t mean to gripe about my situation, but I want to convey how packed and crazy my schedule is. It leaves little room to think about what’s for dinner or when I’ll get a chance to go to the gym.
I used to live with a girl who openly admitted that how she looked came before school. She’d skip class or not study in order to hit the gym. It showed, too. The thinner and more cut she got, the lower her marks got. She was already slim and fit looking to begin with, and didn’t seem need to do much to maintain that before she got on her fitness kick. Our attitudes differed greatly, and our changing priorities eventually drove us apart.
The way I see it… school has deadlines, whether it’s a test, an assignment due date, or graduation. With classes ending in 4 weeks and school being over for ever by the end of April, I have to give it priority. A fully-fledged effort to fitness and health will just have to wait – there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to make the time for it. I am hoping, however, to achieve better balance.
I find calorie counting to be thought- and time-consuming and problematic in other ways that I’ve previously described on this blog, and so I’ve abandoned it almost entirely. I always read nutrition labels, take a mental note of what an acceptable serving should be, and work from that guideline. For example, I usually have some yogurt and granola in the mornings. Granola is fairly calorie dense so I try not to go overboard. I keep a 1/4 cup scoop in the cereal box and just pour that over my yogurt each day. It serves double duty…a serving utensil and a way of controlling portions.
To help with lunches, I’ve started compiling recipes that are affordable, freezable, and nutritious. One of my favourite sources is Budget Bytes. She breaks down the prices per serving and she seems conscious of her health. I’ve also been reading Chocolate Covered Katie lately, but I’ve never actually tried any of her recipes. She has a chocolate pie recipe that is quite light and would probably cost under $10. Since I’m a dessert fiend, I’m always on the look out for cheap, healthy, and satisfying sweets. I believe all her recipes are vegan, and while I’m not particularly interested in “substitute foods,” I’m going to give it a shot. I do like tofu, and I drink soy milk instead of cow’s milk when it’s on sale, but I don’t make any special effort to cut out meat or animal products.
I’ve been on a bit of a burrito kick, inspired by Budget Bytes. Right now I’ve got 4 left in my freezer, made with pulled pork, carmelized onions, kale, and mashed white beans. Very very tasty if I may say so myself. If anyone is keen to have instructions, I’d be happy to pass that along. I wrap them up in a whole grain tortilla and stick them in the freezer to take to school when I’m in a rush. They’ve got minimal added fat and cost under $10 to make 8 or so. Love em!
Yesterday, I made a really satisfying soup with Italian sausage, lentils, the kale leftover from the burritos, a bit of tomato sauce I had frozen from the summer, garlic, and chicken broth. I’m trying to use up things I have in my pantry/freezer because I woke up one day to realize I’d been hoarding food. Since I have roommates, I can’t afford to take up a ton of space, so I’m trying to cut back on my stockpiling. The sausage is fairly fatty, but when all the other ingredients are lean and it’s spread throughout the soup, I think it’s a good way of incorporating a more indulgent food.
Now, as for what I ate today…
Breakfast (10:30ish): A cup of granola with some soy milk
Lunch (2:30ish, I lazed around in bed after breakfast and didn’t work up an appetite): Sausage + kale soup
On my way to school at 3 I had a soy latte
Snack (6:30): Bowl of strawberries, coupe of cheese cubes, coffee with a splash of cream, handful of Reese’s pieces
Dinner (which I haven’t eaten yet but I’ve packed it and taken it to school so I’m pretty much forced to eat it): Burrito w/2 cups frozen broccoli which I’ll microwave, lightly salted
I would estimate each meal to be around 400-500 calories, and my snack about 300. I know I said I’m not counting calories, but I still keep ballpark figures in my head.
Over to you…
What do you do to make your meals work with your lifestyle?
Any tips for eating healthily while busy and on a budget?
How do you stay on track when life gets crazy?
Have you successfully lost weight without a set fitness routine?