Motivation and Diet

The two hardest parts about working out and losing weight are basically the only parts: getting going and eating right.

Let’s start with getting going. I’m not really a “Let’s get up at 4:30 a.m. and run” kind of girl. When we had a gym in our last apartment, I managed to get up early and workout in the morning for about two weeks. But I just can’t do it on the regular for so many reasons:

1.       I don’t like getting up early.

2.       It’s already hard enough to do my hair and makeup and dress myself when I get up at my normal hour. Let’s not even talk about what it’s like after getting up even earlier and working out. I may end up with some questionable wardrobe choices.

3.       While I prefer running in the morning to running at night, by morning I mean like two hours after I’ve woken up. That’s about ideal, which is why I usually feel pretty good on race days. Running right after you’ve rolled out of bed is a whole other story. It feels like there are rubber bands around my lungs and it’s awful.

So the other choice is to run after work. That’s not really ideal either because I’m tired and want to do nothing but stuff myself while sitting on the couch. But this time of year, when the weather is nice most days, that option wins out over getting up early. 

The easiest thing to tell yourself to get started is that you’ll just put on your workout clothes and get out there. You tell yourself if it feels too uncomfortable, you can always walk instead. At least you’re getting out there.

I’m not sure how well this will work when it’s 9 bazillion degrees outside and humidity is at Amazonian levels. I may have to either resort to a treadmill (blech) or getting up early.

So that leads me to the other hard part: diet. I love food and beer. I can’t really imagine giving up any particular type of food, like carbs or dairy or chocolate (yes, that is a food group). I’d just be too miserable. So I try to do the cliché thing, which is eat in moderation and find the healthy foods I really love.

A year or so ago, I came across a 1,500 calorie meal plan in Women’s Health. All the food looked pretty good so I gave it a try. I ate five times a day and never really felt hungry. It’s not the cheapest way to eat but at least it tastes pretty good and doesn’t feel like a diet.

So I’m back to giving that a try. When I went for a run after work yesterday, I felt amazing and I’m hoping it’s because of the food I ate and the fact that I paid better attention to my form. I ran 3.5 miles and ran one of them in under nine minutes which is pretty good considering I was averaging just above a nine minute mile before I stopped and I haven’t been back on track (har har) with the running for very long. In some ways, I think running is like riding a bike. Your body doesn’t really forget how to do it. It just needs a little time to get used to it again.

So lesson learned: I need to think of food as fuel, not just for hedonistic reasons like, “Hey, this looks tasty so let me stuff it into my mouth as fast as I can.” But I’m still not cutting back on my Diet Coke so don’t even ask. It’s my thing. Let it go.

So in case you’re curious, here’s what my meal plan looks like:

Breakfast: bagel thin with natural peanut butter topped with a banana and sliced strawberries. It even makes me happy to look at in the morning.


Morning snack: hard boiled egg

Lunch: turkey, pear, Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard sandwich on whole wheat bread. Sooo good. I eat any leftover pear slices on the side.


Afternoon snack: Greek yogurt. I know the flavored kind aren’t quite as good for you but I can’t eat plain without something mixed in so I just bought some flavored ones this week.

Dinner: chili with lean ground turkey and three types of beans: kidney, black and chickpeas. I LOVE chickpeas. Later this week I’m planning bunless burgers with a side of Kale mixed with navy beans and a chicken stir fry with some brown rice.


What are your favorite 300-400 calories meals?