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Happy New Year! My race calendar is mostly empty for 2016, but after a packed Fall running schedule, that’s fine with me. Next up is the Big Sur Marathon in April – 16 weeks from today! Being from Santa Cruz, I’ve visited Big Sur regularly since I was little. It’s one of the most gorgeous places on earth, and this marathon has been on my bucket list for a long time. I can’t wait to soak up those coastal views while doing one of my favorite activities. I mean, doesn’t this photo almost look fake? Northern California never ceases to amaze me with its beauty.

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After the JFK50, I was really hurting, between a terrible cold/flu and my busted foot. My whole body felt broken yet I somehow managed to avoid serious injury and within a couple weeks, felt like my old self again. I wanted to give my foot plenty of time to heal so I took a month off running and other high-impact exercise, and it was exactly what I needed! I did a two-week free trial with ClassPass, which was perfect. I had the best time trying new activities around the city – spinning, strength training, pilates, barre, deep water running, you name it! Some of my favorites – Peloton, Flywheel and Swerve for spin, Uplift and Throwback Fitness for strength, RJ Valentin’s deep water running, and FlexPilates. There are so many other great studios on there (e.g. MHRC, boot camps etc).

It was fun to try so many new things, and the variety did wonders for body and mind. I lost some of my running fitness by mid December, but I felt stronger, mentally refreshed, and hungry to start running again. Now that I’m running regularly, it doesn’t make sense to pay $125 for the full membership, but the 5 classes for $75 per month option isn’t bad, considering what these studios charge otherwise per class!

I’m quickly regaining my running fitness, and am now extra committed to incorporating non-running activities into my exercise routine. My running goals for 2016 are simple. Forget time – all I want is to be consistent, feel strong, and remain injury free. The end of the year was filled with too many accidents and injuries. I don’t wish to repeat that!

Most of all, I want to keep my running and other physical activities fun. I recently accepted two new jobs in addition to working full time at the hospital – I start this week as a private practice dietitian at Nutrition Energy Tues/Thurs evenings (we accept insurance, so get in touch if you’d like to book a session!), and will continue coaching Team Lipstick once a week. I’m super excited for these opportunities, but it means even less time to myself. Exercise will have to be my “me time,” so I have to make it count!

I started 2016 on the right foot (pun intended!) in the fun running department! E and I did NYRR’s Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve – 4 miles of fireworks, crazy costumes, glowing shoe laces, and all around awesomeness. I haven’t had such a great NYE in years! We aren’t huge fans of NYE, but felt like we finally found our scene. No cover charges, no dressing up, no fuss – just lots of people drinking, dancing, running and enjoying themselves. Yes, please! We were lucky enough to score two entries on behalf of the Time Warner-HBO Fit Nation team, pictured above. I look like a marshmallow as I was literally wearing five layers to stay warm. I know this year was “warm” compared to usual, but I’m a wimp when it comes to cold!

The race doesn’t start until midnight, but from 10pm there was a huge dance party and other fun things going on near the start. It felt like a huge outdoor party! I was surprised by how many non-runners hanging out and celebrating, and after the race started, cheering us along! I suppose it’s a nice free alternative to Times Square.

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The race itself was great. I was amazed by how awake and good I felt – I’m usually half asleep by midnight, and am not used to running after having a drink! We started the race with fireworks, which made it hard to run as I wanted to watch and couldn’t do both without falling on my face! This race obviously wasn’t one for time, so we stopped a few times to take it all in. We also enjoyed the DJ’d sparkling cider aid station – nice touch!

After we finished, we made our way to a bar on the UWS, where HBO had kindly sponsored our post-run party. We were the only runners in the place, so we got a few strange looks, but I think they were just jealous. It was awesome to drink and dance until the wee hours in our sweaty, crazy outfits and comfy shoes – who needs heels! We finished the night with a 4am pitstop at our local deli for ice cream – we had earned a treat after hours of running and dancing. All in all, a great evening and wonderful start to the new year.

I wasn’t able to run long this past weekend due to my work schedule, so I kicked off this training cycle with a long run this morning. It was freezing but sunny and clear on the river today. I reached 12.5 miles and felt strong. For that, I am grateful!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, active and fun 2016.

If you have resolved to run a race, improve your diet, lose some weight, or achieve any other health/fitness resolution, get in touch! I’d love to help, with your nutrition and/or training goals. Check out www.eatforendurance.com for more information. 

Yesterday, I posted a healthy pizza recipe, but perhaps you’re not a pizza fan, have a gluten allergy/intolerance or want a lower calorie option. So I bring you egg or breakfast “pizza” – essentially like a frittata, with all the delicious possibilities of “toppings,” but without all the carbs.

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I use a silicon round baking dish, spray with non-stick cooking spray or grease with a little olive oil, put whatever veggies/other ingredients I want to use in the dish (pictured above – layer of fresh spinach, chopped mushrooms, shredded tuscan kale, sliced cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, fresh dill), then pour in the eggs (today I used egg whites – it’s okay if the egg mixture is below the level of the veggies, just try to pour the egg evenly over the veggies so that they are coated), sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in the oven (400 degrees F for ~20/25min, like with the pizza the center will take the longest to cook, should be firm but fluffy). Adjust the thickness/quantity of egg depending on if you’re cooking for 1 or 2 people.

Slice it up like a pizza and serve with a side of fruit salad for a nicely balanced breakfast (or lunch or dinner)! Each slice is also great topped with avocado slices and/or wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla. Great Sunday morning meal to fuel my mid-day run – thank goodness it’s finally “warmed up” today to slightly above freezing!

My flatmate has been using a food delivery service called Bodychef for the past few weeks and has experienced great results so far in her weight loss efforts. Although I’m not a fan of diets, I would like to lose a few pounds that I’ve put on recently and have always been curious about home delivery programs, so I figured I’d give it a try. I’m not sure I can do more than one week though – I love to cook, and only being able to consume what the company provides really limits what you can do socially!

I opted for the 5-day superfood plan (1400 calories), tailored to my food preferences and allergies. I would of course need to consume more calories if I were training for an event, but given my relatively relaxed and shortened exercise sessions in the last couple of weeks, this calorie goal is reasonable. It will still be challenging though!

So how does it work?

When I woke up this morning, there was a cool box left outside my door filled with all my food for the working week (Monday breakfast through Friday lunch), along with a menu. It took me awhile to rummage through the box and sort out what to eat when, but I finally managed to grab the correct breakfast, lunch and snacks for today.

I can’t say that I agree with all of their food selections – cheese and new potatoes, for example, are not what I would consider superfoods! But there are some tasty items on the menu, many of which I already make for myself on a regular basis.

The 5-day plan cost me about £80 or £16 per day, which is more affordable than I imagined before signing up. Cooking these things myself would be slightly cheaper, and perhaps better tasting too, but having everything ready to go and in the correct portions is extremely convenient.

More importantly for me, however, is that this will be a great opportunity to practice more mindful eating. I incorporate tons of healthy foods into my diet, but I also eat a fair amount of processed junk and other not so healthy things. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for indulgences in moderation (or not in moderation, as the case may be – you have to enjoy life, afterall) – but I’m excited to discover how I feel after eating really well for five days since I can’t remember the last time I actually did that! It will also be refreshing to listen more closely to my body’s hunger signals rather than eating just because food is available.

Here’s what I had for breakfast – natural yoghurt with berry compote, sunflower seeds and orange juice.

I was still hungry after I ate this – probably because I ran 5 miles at 8:10min/mile this morning – but I managed to wait an hour, have some coffee (you are allowed up to 3/4 pint of skim milk per day) and then tucked into my snacks (dried apricots and almonds).

As for lunch, today’s menu included a small tub of hummus, four oatcakes, and a fruit salad. That is TINY, mostly in relation to what I usually eat (often a big salad with lean protein and fruit, or a big bowl of soup with bread and fruit), but also compared to the size of tonight’s dinner. I wish they had balanced it out a bit more.

At least my lunch looked nicer after being taken out of plastic containers – I’m clearly all about the aesthetics (somehow it tastes better this way).

Surprisingly, I’m feeling relatively full after eating this, along with a big glass of water and some green tea. It is just 3:30pm though, and I only have a few dates and almonds to get me through the next four hours.

I’m sure I’ll be fine as long as I stop focusing on it – one of the benefits of this program is, after all, letting someone else do all the planning and preparation of your meals! Not much thought is required, other than reading the menu and putting a few things together. Perhaps the pain I will feel from my 6pm sports massage will distract me from the hunger pangs I’ll surely be experiencing by that hour! 🙂

Thankfully, tonight’s dinner is a bit more substantial – a slice of “luxury turkey meatloaf,” sweet potato mash, steamed broccoli and fresh passion fruit.

Not quite as exciting as some of the dinners I have made for myself recently, such as the baked sea bass with fresh mint, ginger and lemon, along with grilled asparagus, baby aubergine, and pomegranate, blood orange and kiwi salad with cinnamon, mint and lime.

It was fun to make, delicious and packed with nutrients, but I guess you can’t really put that kind of a thing in a box…

Welcome to FFR

Hi, I'm Claire! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (MS, RD, CDN) and a Road Runners Club of America certified coach. This is where I share my latest adventures in running, racing, food & travel! If you'd like to work with me, please visit my professional website, Eat for Endurance.

My PRs

Marathon (Chicago): 3:33:18
Boston Marathon: 3:36:14
Half-Marathon: 1:37:21
10M: 1:14:52
10k: 44:52

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