Treat Yourself Tuesday: Back on Track

Today, I’m linking up with my favorite lady Becky (who I get to see in 1 month minus 1 day at BLEND!!!)  for Treat Yourself Tuesday. As Becky puts it, Treat Yourself Tuesday is a way to reflect on the ways you’ve treated yourself lately:

“Do whatever feels best for you. Do something that will make you feel relaxed and loved and happy. Treat yourself well and treat yourself often so that you will become the best you possible and in turn be your best for others in your life!”

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With things as busy as they’ve been lately (as I mentioned on Friday), it’s been more important than ever for me to remember to slow down and take care of myself. Now, while that often includes indulging in comfort food (or dranks), sometimes the best way for me to treat myself is by treating my body AND soul well…and that is just what I did this Sunday! It was a great way to start my week on the right foot and get back on track.

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It all started with a nice early morning bike ride to the Farmers Market. Tulips, rainbow chard, sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms, medjool dates, and sugar snap peas…all for about $20. Win. I don’t do it all the time, but I love treating myself to flowers!

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Next up was a longggg overdue pedicure. I hadn’t gotten one since December (due to the whole being on a budget thing), but I decided my poor feet couldn’t go any longer without! I calculated it out, and I had run over 300 miles since my last pedi. DANG. My feet are much happier now!

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After bringing home my loot, I changed into gym clothes and checked out the brand new California Family Fitness (CalFit) on K Street. This crazy ab machine has had my core in a world of hurt ever since I took it on!

The gym literally just opened on Friday, when my friends and I went over to look at the facilities:

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Ummm yeah, that’s a ROOFTOP basketball court. There will also be a bar with wine & beer. Needless to say, I was sold! I now have my first actual gym membership for the first time in almost 3 years! I am really excited about it and am pumped to try out some group fitness classes and switch up my routine a bit. Did I mention the gym is only 3 blocks away from my office? There was really no downside to joining!

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After a good stair master & core workout, I headed home to be even more productive! I prepped some food for the week- made more curry patties (this time with white beans instead of chickpeas), chopped up broccoli and bell pepper, made snap pea baggies to bring to work for snacks, and par-cooked a couple of sweet potatoes.

I did this all in about 1 hours time while I chatted on the phone with my mom. Easy peasy, and it feels good to know I won’t be eating out or skipping any lunches this week!

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And to top off a seriously perfect day…we arrived at the dodgeball gym only to be greeted by FREE BEER. The gym is located in a German cultural center and they had leftovers from a fundraiser. Twist my arm, why don’t ya.

I felt so energized, healthy and productive on Sunday that it really put me in a perfect place to start the week off right. I had 3 good meals yesterday thanks to meal prepping (OK, and the fact that Yvette hosted ladies Dance Central night and made spaghetti 😉 ), and I woke up bright and early for a quick work out at my new gym this morning before work. Happy body = Happy Katie!

What are your favorite ways to treat yourself?

How do you get back on track after days/weeks/months of slackin’ off?

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5 Ways to Stay Healthy, Even at Your Busiest

I feel like I say this every time I’ve written lately, but life has gotten really busy.

I thought that cutting out a night of dodgeball each week would free up extra time in my weeknights, but in true Katie fashion, I’ve really just used it as an excuse to take on more non-dodgeball activities. My evenings seem to fill up with meetings, appointments, trips to my parents house to do laundry…..and sometimes a girl just needs to hit up happy hour after a long day.

Between work and after-work meetings (slash the aforementioned happy hours 😉 ), I often find myself arriving home after being out of the apartment for 10-12 hours and immediately plopping down on the couch to zone out while staring at the wall to give my brain – and body – a break. Ain’t nobody got time (or energy) to make dinner after a day like that!

Don’t get me wrong — I love my job and I love being busy. However, I also love feeling good about my body and what I’m putting in it. And to be honest, I don’t know that I can say I do right now. I’ve been struggling to find a balance between the two — being busy and being healthy — and I think my lack of substantive updates on the blog probably reflects that struggle.

To give myself some credit, I have been keeping up with my workouts – I still run 3x per week and ran 70 miles in April (which was the same # of miles that I ran in January and February, when I was training for my half marathon). I do strength training 1-2x per week, and I’ve been organizing weekend practices with my Ultimate Frisbee team…

However, I’ve also eaten cheese & crackers and/or french fries for dinner most nights this week.

In the spirit of keeping myself in check, and inspiring others to do the same, I’ve come up with a list of 5 tips for surviving the hectic workweek while still keeping a healthy lifestyle. As always, I’m hoping that writing this down for the world to see will help me be inspired to practice what I preach. That has yet to be seen, but at least I’m trying, right?

1) Break up the day with an actual lunch break

This is one that I could definitely work on. On the days these past weeks where I actually exit my office for at least 30 minutes for some kind of break in the middle of the day, I always end up feeling the most energized. That 2pm feeling of dread and desperation for coffee doesn’t exist on days that I actually see some sunlight or take a walk in the middle of the day. And chances are, if I’m not feeling bored/exhausted, I’m not as likely to dig in to the snack cabinet in the kitchen for a pick me up, either!

2) Eat 3 full meals

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Actually making sure you have 3 solid meals throughout the day is a big help in keeping you energized and also ensuring that you’re taking care of yourself. Of course, for me this is easiest when I do meal prep on the weekends (see above) and have stuff to grab in the morning for nutritious breakfasts and lunches. But making sure you don’t skip a meal is so clutch! I might try to rationalize a crackers & cheese meal as “hey I’m getting my protein AND my carbs!”….but we all know that’s a stretch 😉

3) Get up and move when you can

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I get it…Not everyone is gonna wake up at 6:30am to run 5 miles (and of course take a pre-run #workoutselfie that they then snapchat to all their friends).

If you can, great. But if not, there are other ways to stay active throughout the week that don’t involve your typical workout: Bike to work! Take a break to walk around your office building. Walk to lunch! I always feel like I’m more active on the days I walk to work, even if biking is a “tougher” workout. If you have the option, it’s nice to be able to spend your commute taking a relaxing walk and listening to music instead of struggling to get through traffic. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?

4) Swap out the junk food for healthier snacks

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If you need snacks to get you through the day…Make sure they’re good ones! Luckily, my office keeps some pretty healthy snacks in our breakroom. Pretzels, cashews and almonds…not too shabby! However, I’m pretty sure even the healthy fats in cashews and almonds lose their nutritional value when you have 5+ handfuls throughout the day. I try to buy baby carrots and other random fruits to snack on instead of fatty nuts. BUT I do love me some cashews…old habits die hard.

5) Most importantly….Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day.

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If you have a rough ass day at work and you want to just come home and have a drink with some chocolate and cheese…Then by all means, just do it. If you snoozed through your workout this morning after yesterday’s stressful late night at work, don’t turn down pizza night with your friends because you can’t afford the calories today.

Being hard on yourself just contributes to the stresses of life. Of course it’s great to have a regular fitness routine, and eat healthy…but we often forget that treating ourselves right emotionally is just as important.

It’s all about finding a balance.

Have a great weekend! Check back next week for a budget update 😀

 

How do you manage stress at work/school? I like taking at least one day out of the week to clean my room and paint my nails – those are my 2 relaxation activities!

What is an indulgence you never feel guilty about? I think having a glass of wine or 1 beer at the end of the day is one of the best things about being a working adult.

Lunch Lately

When you work in politics, things are usually really exciting. Like, have to be in 4 places at once exciting because there’s a hearing going on here, and a vote going on there, and your boss needs his Blackberry charger (let’s be real, that last one is 80% of what my job entails)….

But there are also lulls.

The Legislature goes on recess…like a lot. For instance, right now they’ve been on recess since August 31st. So it’s been quiet times here in my little lobbying world.

In honor of this, I bring you the first installment of:

Things I Google and Wikipedia at Work

  • Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom — What started as a research task for my boss quickly turned into a trip down this handsome man’s entire life story.
  • date of Pearl Harbor (to prove to T-Man that I had the date memorized…….I don’t.)
  • date of Bastille Day (to prove to T-Man that I had the date memorized….I do!)
  • Trader Joe’s carrot cake ingredients… YUM
  • “c accent french”, from that one time when I taught Bev of Bev Cooks how to type a c squiggly thing (I was trying to remember what it was called…..it’s called a cédille)
  • Marilyn Monroe measurements (because I’m a creep)
  • BMI calculator (because I’m pathetic)

Something I also google at work is recipe ideas. Especially for lunches. Because the easiest time to waste money eating out as a ~young professional~ is at lunchtime, and my goal is to avoid it at all costs. In fact, the only 2 times I’ve been out to lunch since July were to treat my brother to birthday lunch, and to be treated to lunch on my own birthday.

To achieve such a “feat”, I have a few strategies.

Use the Weekend to Prep

Every Sunday, I like to prepare a dish that will last me at least 2 meals. Here is this week’s example:

I’ve made Ashley’s Lemon Dill Pasta Salad before (with an avocado dressing!), but this time I had fresh basil on hand so I made it with that instead of the recommended dill. Loved it!

I munched on a lot of it while I was making it (oops) and then split what was left into two tupperwares for lunch this week. Paired with a handful of wheat thins or a bag of chips, it was the perfect amount of food!

Make Enough Dinner That You’ll Have Leftovers

It’s actually pretty hard to make single serving size versions of a lot of dishes…I don’t think any pot exists that is small enough to make just 1 serving of rice! So instead of sacrificing the success of a dish because I don’t want to waste food or overeat, I make enough that I can eat the rest for lunch the next day.

A few weeks ago, I told you all I made Let it Brie’s Chana Masala with lentils… What I didn’t share was that I actually only used about half the lentils that I boiled for Indi’s recipe. The rest got seasoned with taco seasonings, hot sauce, and green onion, paired with a tortilla, and became lentil tacos for at least 3 days worth of lunch! Oh, I added an avocado too because I’m obsessed.

I ran out of my beloved super low-cal Fiber & Flax corn tortillas, and got Mission’s Multigrain Artisan Style tortillas — also very good, and not too bad on the ingredients! I love tortillas that are thick and seem like they’re handmade.

This is actually what I have packed for lunch today:

My own weirdo interpretation of Frito Pie. I am desperately looking for ways to finish a can of refried beans I opened a few days ago, so instead of the traditional chili, I made a big ol’ batch of refried beans with a ton of veggies and greens and chili seasoning, and am planning on mixin’ it up with a bag of Fritos. Desperate times call for desperate measures, people! Also, please ignore the nail polish and spoon lying in my bed.

Buy Healthy Easy-to-Make Lunches

For when there’s no food prepped from the night before (and I can’t get home to make lunch), I have an “emergency stash” of food at the office.

I’ve already shown pictures of this before, but I swear by it:

I love this soup cup brand and Nile Spice. Both make pretty healthy soup cups and, if you get the flavors that are chock full of fiber, they are considerably filling.

I also buy frozen burritos from Cedarlane and Amy’s Organic because they have good ingredients (especially Amy’s) and they’re usually on sale at Safeway for only $2-$3 a pop!

Soup cups and frozen burritos are usually for days that I work out or go for a jog at lunch, because I’m usually famished when get back to the office around 2pm.

What do YOU bring to the office for lunch?

P.S. A few of my photos finally got approved by Foodgawker! It’s been bringing a lot of traffic to my site, so hooray! Welcome new readers, and stick around, for most of my photos are not taken with my iPhone like they were in this entry 🙂

Check out my gallery here:

my foodgawker gallery