bible with rosary on it

Wine for Holy Week

Faithful readers of this blog will recall that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read the Bible. I read it once a long time ago in college but it was for a humanities class and not read through the lens of my Catholic faith. This year, I decided to read it again, thinking about my faith and more carefully about what’s happening through each passage.

I started out reading one chapter a night starting at the beginning. I, of course, fell out of that routine after about three weeks, reading a few nights a week instead. That same week I learned that my parish was sponsoring a Bible Study during Lent. Though the Wednesday evening meetings were tough for me to make, I signed up and have been following along on my own, watching the videos, using the workbook and reading for homework each week. We’re at week 5 now, and this week I’ll attend my second in-person study.

Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible, by Ascension, teaches the reader to think strategically about the Bible and recommends only some books read together and in conjunction with related books. This makes the whole book more manageable and it helps it make more sense. An accompanying chart helps the reader identify key characters, plot lines, themes and historical references. In a somewhat linear fashion, the reader can see how something that happens in Genesis foreshadows what’s to come in the New Testament.

I’ve really enjoyed the videos, as well, since the leader of the study is engaging, smart and funny. I can imagine he must be amazing to hear in person, as well. The workbooks follow his talks and there is lots of room to make notes, which I have done fastidiously.

Not many people have an opportunity to do studies like this one. What’s more, I’m fortunate that this came at a time when I was attempting to read the Bible on my own. This support has made it all the more possible that I will make it through, if only through the books highlighted in this study.

The wine that I have enjoyed during one Bible reading session is Liberty Vineyards and Winery’s Pinot Grigio. It is described as a wine you want to sip while reading a good book. And there is no greater book than the Bible.

Wine for a Cheer Road Trip

As our first all-star cheerleading season comes to an end this week with a trip to the Platinum Nationals in Rochester, New York, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about our recent road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania for the
Lake Erie Cheer and Dance National Championships.

Our Little Winds are a mini-prep team; nearly all the girls are in their first year and it’s been a learning experience for the 6 to 9-year-olds. This was the first time we traveled this far from home for a competition and they were so excited to stay in a hotel! Plus, one of the girls on the team celebrated her 8th birthday and we had the opportunity to have lunch and cake together as a team with her.

I absolutely hate driving. I don’t mind long car rides but I really dislike being the driver. So, this trip was about three hours and 45 minutes and, man, it felt like forever — that is until I started to see an exciting sight out my windows. On either side of New York State Thruway were vineyards are far as the eye could see. It was almost like seeing cornfields spread out for miles but it was grapes. Now, the grapes are still dormant in Upstate New York but my mind could imagine how beautiful this sight would be come later spring and through summer and fall.

When I first spotted the grapevines, I was curious. What winemaking region is this? Part of Niagara? Something else? Then, I told myself maybe it was where grapes are mostly grown to make jelly and jam. I could not have been more incorrect. It turns out we were driving through Lake Erie Wine Country, the largest grape-growing region east of the Rockies. It extends roughly 50 miles from Chautauqua County in New York to Erie County in Pennsylvania. The farther we drove, the more vineyards we saw until we started to see many blue signs noting the names of the different wineries we could visit.

I made a mental note to stop on the way home and see what this region is all about. Since we left Sunday morning, many of the wineries in Pennsylvania were not open but just outside of Fredonia, New York, we stumbled upon Liberty Vineyards and Winery in Sheridan, New York. After a warm welcome from one of the owners, my daughter and I surveyed the scene. They were having an Easter-themed tasting complete with wines paired with Peeps, dark chocolate and milk chocolate eggs and jelly beans. I was mainly interested in what they were known for and wanted to taste the wine not the candy! But, they were smart and provided the candy to my 9-year-old along with a bottle of grape juice!

I tried wines from various profiles, including a Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Diamond Select, Red Blend, Fredonia and Sparkling Riesling. My favorites were the Diamond and Fredonia, which I could imagine having with dark chocolate, pizza or a burger. In addition, I tried their best-selling Reds, Whites & Blues, which is a sweet rose they use in their popular sangria recipe.

We left with seven bottles of wine for about $100, as well as a fun bottle stopper we won after Lucia chose a plastic egg from the basket. We also learned enough about the region for me to want to make another trip back with my husband. It looks like there is a lot to see and taste in this area, which to me is a well-kept wine secret in New York State!

Oh, and about that cheer competition? Those Little Winds won the national championship! Their winning routine is below:

CNY Storm Little Winds gave a flawless performance to become national champions in their class at the Lake Erie Cheer and Dance National Championships April 6.
cloudy scene with snow covered trees

Wine for the Annual Slump

It’s just past the Ides of March, the time of year when inevitably, no matter what is happening in my life, I hit the biggest slump. I don’t really know why. Sometimes I think it might be the time change; Daylight Saving Time is usually just before the middle of March. Other times I blame it on the weather; it’s usually still winter and gray and cold but with a few 50-degree days thrown in to remind us that spring is coming. Whatever the reason, I’m grouchy, groggy and listless.

I’m not sure there is a wine on earth that can help when you’re feeling exhausted, bored and drained. It’s hard to know what to do other than to put one foot in front of the other and try to stay motivated. I also am trying to get enough sleep, though the past few nights I’ve actually gone to bed later than usual, which isn’t helping. At any rate, I am trying to stay on my game and motivated despite the lack of energy. Here are my top 5 tips on how to survive a slump:

  1. Recommit to your New Year’s resolutions. By now, if I’m being honest, some of my resolutions have gone by the wayside. One way that I recharge my batteries is to review my progress and step up my game, if needed. For example, one of my resolutions was to read the Bible and I realized I haven’t been reading a chapter a night as I intended. I went all in and joined a Bible study at my church. Now, I have a game plan and a new way to understand how to read the Bible, which is reinvigorating that resolution for me.
  2. Read a few great books. I love to read. I always have. When I’m feeling lethargic, there is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a blanket and a good book.
  3. Give yourself a new goal. If you need motivating, set a new goal for yourself. You can reach for a new personal record at the gym or start training for a 5K. If there is a hobby you’ve wanted to explore or skill you’ve always wanted to master, do that. Find something toward which you can work.
  4. Clean out. Start your spring cleaning a little early. It helps to reduce the clutter in your life physically, so you can feel spiritually cleansed, too. I’ve seen a meme floating around social media about getting rid of 40 items during the 40 days of Lent. It’s a great way to get started.
  5. Start planning summer camps and vacations. Looking ahead to summer is great way to beat the blues of mid-March. Begin to plan your kids’ summer camp schedules or your family vacation. Thinking about warmer weather just might kick you into a higher gear.

As I mentioned earlier, wine typically makes me more sluggish and relaxed, not more energetic! But, I suppose if you’re in a slump, trying something new is one way to beat it. For #WineWednesday this week, I’m planning to try a Chardonnay/Riesling from Salmon Run, one of Dr. Konstantin Frank’s from New York State’s Finger Lakes region. It sounded interesting to cross the two grapes together. It’s not the riskiest move in terms of trying a new wine but it’s new to me! Maybe, it will remind me of warmer days driving through the vineyards along Seneca Lake without a care in the world! Cheers!

notebook that says weekly planner on it

Wine for a Change of Plans

I haven’t always been the best at rolling with the punches. In fact, I often would get severe anxiety whenever plans were about to change or if I had no plans or was unable to make plans. Honestly, sometimes I still do get out of sorts but not nearly as bad as it used to be. I’m not sure why I behave this way when change is in the air but I do. Since I’ve had children and several life events over which I had/have NO control, I’ve started to adapt to changeability and am a bit more able to just handle it.

This morning, for example, I arrived bright and early at my usual haunt, Athletic Apex – New York, which opens at 5 a.m. Part of the draw for me and what contributed to me changing gyms in the first place was the fact that it opened a half hour earlier than my previous gym, the Northwest YMCA in Baldwinsville, New York. In fact, typically, it appears as though Apex has been open for hours by the time I pull into the parking lot at 5 a.m. sharp. This morning, however, I noticed that all the cars in the lot had lights on and were still running. The gym was still closed.

At first, I figured it would just be a minute. I thought I saw the guy who works there just inside the doorway and figured maybe he was waiting until exactly the stroke of 5. But then I realized he was on the outside looking in, just like us. After waiting about 10 minutes I got out of the car and asked him if someone was on their way to open. He admitted he had not gotten a hold of anyone yet. In a split second decision I decided to head back out to my old haunt, the Northwest YMCA. Fortunately, we still have the family membership there due to Jon’s voice teaching and the kids’ swimming lessons.

I arrived there just as it was opening at 5:30 a.m. and realized the more things change, the more things stay the same. I recognized the same faces, said hello to some old friends, some of whom I know by name, others simply by face. I put my stuff in the same old locker number 23 and started my workout. Immediately, I noticed how busy the place was and I had to adjust which workout I was going to do to accommodate what was available. I had gotten used to my personal space at Apex! It sure was an adjustment being so close to the person next to me and having to adjust when weights were not available.

It made me appreciate my new gym that much more. I got through the workout just fine and was able to make it home and to work only about 10 minutes behind schedule. See? Change wasn’t so bad. The more I allow myself to embrace it and just go with it, the more I realize there’s no reason to be anxious. This is something I know deep down inside but still is difficult to call forward in the moment.

Tasting new wine is always fun and not at all frightening to me, despite the fact that I may be faced with wines I’ve never had before. I tend to enjoy returning to my old haunts once in a while, too. The other night, I did one of each. I tried a new Pinot Noir called Butternut, and an old standby Sauvignon Blanc from Brancott Estate. Which one did I start with that evening? The old standby. Old habits sure do die hard. Cheers!

resolutions

Wine for Resolutions

The start of a new year means rededicating yourself to whatever dreams, goals and objectives you want to achieve. For me, a new year happens twice annually – fall, when school is back in session, and Jan. 1. This year, my New Year’s resolution is to attempt to establish realistic goals that I can reach over the course of the entire year, or at least that is my overarching commitment to myself.

Looking back on 2018, I did pretty well with my resolutions. Did I reach them all? Nope. But, I did meet three of the four, with the fourth one coming in halfway! This year, I have many goals, big and small. I’m sharing them here in case they are inspirational to you, as you think about what you want to be in 2019.

  1. Become a certified personal trainer. OK, this is the biggest goal I have and one I’m calling my “stretch goal.” I really want to do this. I love working out, I love people and I love to teach. This is a way to combine all three. But, to get here, there are steps along the way. I need to complete a course successfully, but before that, I need to choose the course from the many out there. But, before that, I need to find time in my schedule to do this, both the course and then the actual training. So, this one will be a process. But, I’m committed to trying!
  2. Finish Jon’s Christmas stocking. Those who know me know that I am an occasional cross stitcher. Due to the intermittent nature of my cross stitching activity, it often takes me years to finish projects. I’m halfway through my husband’s Christmas stocking that I started a year ago. I’m going to attempt to finish it by Christmas 2019.
  3. Read 30 books. Last year, I read about 30 books, give or take but I really didn’t keep careful track so I’m not positive. It could have been more. This year, I am tracking it, listing each title in my bullet journal as I finish it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll read 40!
  4. Read the Bible. I haven’t read the Bible cover to cover since college. This year, I’m going to do it again. Each evening, I’m reading a chapter until I’m done. I’ve started with John, and will follow with the rest of the Gospels before methodically moving through all the remaining books. Chunking this goal down makes it doable!
  5. Post 24 blog posts. This is also an attainable goal. It requires me to post at least two blog posts a month and since I usually do at least three to four, I think two will be just fine! This post is one of 24!
  6. De-stress with a bath and/or massage twice a month. A friend and co-worker reminded me at the end of 2018 of the importance of self-care. I’m considering myself reminded and am committing to it in this way. Even if I only do this once a month, it’s one more time than I did it in 2018!
  7. Gain five pounds. The elusive 100-pound goal weight is in sight now that I’m nearly 96 pounds. It’s been a long time coming for this hard-gainer but I think 2019 is my year. I need to make sure I hit my macros, workout consistently and progressively and drink ALL the water.

I have seven goals, my lucky number. I wrote them in my bullet journal/planner but documenting them here is extremely therapeutic, as well, and makes them more real somehow. I’m excited to have a mix of super attainable, practical goals along with those that are a little more challenging.

Since Christmas, I’ve enjoyed 10 wines (it was my two-week vacation so I had more time to sip!). Of all the bottles we opened, the one that spoke to me most in terms of resolutions was 2015 Mystic Red from Auspicion Vineyards. I want to believe that 2019 will be an auspicious year for me and the play on words reminded me of that favorable feeling. Funny enough, that was my least favorite wine in terms of taste! That prize goes to a 2013 red blend from the Tuscany region of Italy. Bottled by Monte Antico, it’s a combination of grapes from a variety of vineyards and it’s in the true Tuscan, light-bodied red style.

Come to think of it, none of my resolutions involve wine. Might need to add a bonus goal at some point this year. I’ll keep you posted. Cheers!

Wine for Baking Cookies

The holidays are an extremely busy time of year for me, as they are for most. Between buying all the gifts, decorating, preparing for special Christmas Masses at church and attending all the kids’ activities, it can get downright stressful! As an Italian, I also have the tradition of baking Christmas cookies. Each year we do anywhere from six to eight to 10 different kinds, which takes hours of work. 

Last weekend, we did five of them, and when I say “we” I mean my daughter and I. My 8-year-old seems to be more engaged in helping with the baking than my 12-year-old but both do end up helping me frost and dip cookies. I don’t complain! Whatever help they can give is that much less that I need to do! This year, we made eight different kinds at about four dozen each for a total of around 400 cookies. We put them in sealed containers and freeze them all in the big freezer in the basement, removing them as we create cookie tins and trays for our friends and family.

Some of the cookies we bake are age-old recipes from my great Italian grandmother, Assunta Amore Toscano. My oldest daughter is named after here (Maria Assunta). I was really little and don’t remember much about her except going to her house for dinner sometimes. But, she left recipes for Italian Fudge and Almond Macaroons, among others. Italian Fudge are my favorite holiday cookie. They are chocolate balls dipped in chocolate frosting and they have whiskey inside so, hey, what’s not to like?

The Almond Macaroons are a tricky one to bake, at least for me. One change in an ingredient or variable in the recipe and the whole thing comes out badly. This year, unfortunately, was one of those years. I tried different almond paste and I had a tricky time measuring out the sugar (long story). The kids say they taste the same but I don’t know. Plus the consistency is a little off. Anyway, you can’t be perfect every year and there is still another week to go. Who knows? Maybe I’ll try again!

The remaining cookies we made were: Hermits, Cut-outs, Hazelnut Thumbprints, Peanut Butter Dips, Biscotti and Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip. My husband makes a few of his, as well, so we have a total of 10 or 11 different kinds in our house right now, plus any that we receive from others. It’s a sugar festival!

While baking, I try not to drink too much. It’s hard enough to keep all the balls in the air and juggle all the stuff. The mixer, oven and sink all get quite the workout as I move through all the baking. But, afterwards, as I rest my poor feet and back, I definitely enjoy a glass or two of wine. This year, my husband brought home an Old Vine Zinfandel from Bogle, a relatively easy to find vintage. I don’t normally like Zins at all but this one wasn’t terrible. I tend not to enjoy the spicy character but this one had enough fruit that it balanced out some of that peppery taste I dislike. 

The fact that it was Old Vine was appropriate given that some of the recipes are so old. I’m sure even the versions I’m baking aren’t exactly the same as what my great grandmother baked. They hardly wrote anything down! But, someone tried to write it down and I go with that plus a little of my own experience through the years guides me through to the final product.

For those who are interested, below is a recipe I’m willing to share! Happy baking and happy holidays!

Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

coffee cup, laptop, phone, notebook and pen neatly on a desk

Wine for Being Organized

Those who know me well know that I’m extremely organized. At home and at work, I’m usually the one with all her ducks in a row. I truly believe this is the only way I can juggle being a wife, mom, manager, professor, friend and colleague. Since the New Year is really right around the corner, I’m reminded that for many, it’s a time to renew commitments to being organized. For others, it’s a time to make positive changes and sometimes that means figuring out how those changes integrate into daily life. This post will lay out some of the many things I do to keep myself organized day to day.

  1. Google/Outlook Calendars – I use both. Google is my personal calendar, which I share with my husband. It’s color coded by family member to help easily see what’s what. The minute an event or deadline or appointment is set, it goes on the calendar. This way, it reduces the chances of it getting missed. Outlook is the one I use at work. I put all my meetings on it, as well as time out of the office, plus my class times are included. I am careful always to mark down my busy time so people can’t schedule meetings during those times.
  2. Daily Planner – I have a daily planner where I keep lists of all that needs to get done. There are four main sections – workouts, personal items and appointments and work task list. In 2018, I used the Catholic Daily Planner and I enjoyed the layout so much that I ordered another, larger size for 2019. Some people use bullet journals, while others just keep lists. Whatever works for you, I highly encourage. For me, the workouts help me not only keep track of the days I lift but also how much I’m lifting so I continue to progress. I don’t keep track of my nutrition here since I use MyFitnessPal for that but there’s just something about writing down the workouts! I also love the calendar feature that allows me to list all the important activities for the week. I mostly end up putting the personal stuff on there just to keep me sane on that front! I include piano, swim, cheer, field hockey, even Mass on there!
  3. Meal Planning – I do my grocery shopping every Saturday morning. Friday night or Saturday morning, I plan out dinners for the week and write down all that I need to buy. I try to go through the freezer and pantry to use what we have as much as possible but, I admit, I sometimes fall down there! But, planning it all out helps save money and time. If the recipes are online, the links go right into our shared Google Calendar, otherwise the book and page number are listed. I post the dinner menu on the fridge so everyone knows that to expect.
  4. Nighttime Routine – Every evening, I take the time to plan for the next morning. I fill my shaker bottles and set up my gym bag and clothes, set out my clothes for the next morning, get my work bag packed and set out anything else that needs to be ready to go. I make the kids lunches and put the cold stuff in the fridge for them. They assemble them on their own each morning. I lay out Christopher’s clothes for him and he dresses himself. I try to set things up so the kids can be responsible individually for their own stuff to the extent they can. Having everything ready like that is a huge help in the morning and the only way I can get out the door timely.
  5. Do things the minute you think of them or write it down – I try to just handle things as they come to me or write it down immediately so I can’t forget. If I remember I need to write a check for the piano teacher, I stop and do it, or I make a note or set an alarm. I look at mail the minute it comes in or I get home and review it. I write things down at work as I think of things I need to do.
  6. Neat and tidy – I am as neat as I can be. I have a few spots in the house that are not as neat and organized (my closet, for one), but for the most part everything has a place and I try to keep things organized. It’s helpful for me to know where things are and to be surrounding by neat rather than chaos. Sure, sometimes things get away from me but our house and my office are generally tidy with things put away or stacked neatly. Now that I have two weeks off between Christmas and New Year’s, I use the time to clean out closets and the kids’ rooms, etc. in preparation for the new year. Spring/summer is another key clean out time. Other than that, we just try to keep up throughout the year.

When I’m cleaning my house, I love to sip wine. Something easy drinking that can stand on its own works best since I am likely not also snacking or dining while cleaning! One can only multitask so much! I would recommend a fruity Cabernet, semi-dry Riesling or even a sparkly Cava or Prosecco to celebrate your newfound organization skills! Cheers!

 

dumbbells on a rack

Wine for Workout Woes

New season means new busyness and with that comes a few new workout challenges. Recently, I’ve been finding that I’m absolutely exhausted. I mean, I’m so tired I nearly fall asleep reading aloud to my 8-year-old. How is that even possible? At first, I chalked it up to change of season, being really busy and stressed at work and general busyness at home. Then, I thought it might be the fact I seem to get up around 3:30 a.m. and then proceed to keep waking up every 20 minutes until it’s time for me to get up for real around 4:45 a.m. But, last evening I was scrolling through the Train with Lyzabeth secret Facebook group timeline and came across a challenge another girl was having – she was sore and super tired all the time.

There was a lot of advice shared, including my own about how to beat soreness and keep lifting (make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep, take glutamine, lift lighter and stretch). But, it was Lyzabeth’s comment that made me rethink what’s happening with me. She said “make sure you’re getting enough calories to fuel your workouts.” Wow. I’m not sure I am doing that! It’s especially challenging when I am so busy at work running from meeting to meeting, drop-in visitors to my office and impromptu discussions with colleagues about various projects. I have been finding it difficult to eat lunch let alone squeeze in a few extra snacks.

What’s more, my latest macro breakdown is for 2,046 total calories per day. I have been as high as 2,400 and maybe that is a better choice for me. At any rate, to increase the calories, I have to eat more. Plain and simple. Thus, I need to find a way to figure out how to do that. This weekend, as I meal plan and grocery shop, I’ll be scouring Pinterest for some easy snacks and in-between meals that I can grab and go. My goal has got to be to eat more, then we can see if it improves my fatigue.

Being so tired in the evening makes it difficult not only to get things done that I need to do, but also hampers my “wine time” with my husband. I’m just too tired to enjoy a glass. He brought home a couple bottles to choose from for #WineWednesday and we enjoyed one, leaving the other for #ThirstyThursday, which never happened. I was asleep by 8:30!

Tonight, I hope to make it to that glass of wine. We have The Dark by Cosentino Winery, which is a red blend from the Lodi region of California. Hopefully by enjoying The Dark, I can find the light. Cheers!

P.S. For those who are interested in my fitness journey, please follow my Instagram at @prchick75 where I include stories and posts from my gym sessions and various musings about curve building, hard gaining life.

wine glass sand sculpture

Wine for a State Fair Experience

Labor Day weekend has come and gone and with it, the end of another iconic pastime in Central New York, the Great New York State Fair. We skipped it last year due to a busy schedule and lack of funds (it can be pricey to visit the fair with three kids!) so this year, the kids insisted we make the trip across Onondaga Lake. While we only spent about five hours there, the kids made memories that will last a lifetime.

Henna Tattoos

One of those memories belongs to our daughter, Maria, who had her heart set on a henna tattoo. Two years ago, she saw the booth and we told her we would head back to get one and then couldn’t find it again! So, she was determined to do it this time. We spotted the booth relatively early in our visit and stepped inside.

The artist has dozens of pre-created designs to choose from, including those ranging from intricate to extremely intricate! You can choose where to place it; Maria wanted one on her hand. She chose a simple design and sat down to wait as the artist finished up the client before her who was allowing the artist to “freestyle” on her arm. What an amazing thing to watch!

She allowed me to film Maria’s henna tattoo, offering to go a bit slower so we could capture it better. Keep that in mind as you watch. She actually went slower! Usually she whips these up much more quickly. Amazing.

Maria has carefully protected this work of art, hoping it will last until the first day of school in a few more days.

Wine Slushies

A second memorable fair activity belongs to my husband and me – wine slashes. We enjoy these masterpieces and can’t wait to try all the flavors. This year, we opted for Montezuma Winery’s concoctions, which were a lot less sweet and still excellent. I preferred the one made with the Diamond white grape, although the twist with the Fat Frog Red wine was also delicious.

wine-slushies

There are many more fair traditions that I remember from my childhood but as I grow older, they fade into new memories made with my family. The kids can’t leave the fairgrounds without seeing all the animals, eating yummy treats and riding a few rides. They also enjoy the games although this year, we skipped those. The end of the fair means the end of summer vacation. While we’re looking forward to new routines, we’re going to miss the laid-back summer fun. Wine slushies are a nice way to celebrate the transition between seasons and a wonderful treat on a hot summer fair day.

school-lunch-prep

Wine for Meeting Your Macros

It’s back-to-school season. The kids start next week and I have already finished one week of teaching at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. For me, this time of year is a reset, much like the New Year is for most. It’s a way to get back into a routine and try to recommit or commit to something new. This year, my new commitment involves trying for the 98th time to be better about my diet.

Training with Lyzabeth

I have my gym game down. I go train regularly and have been for more than two and a half years. Since May 2017, I’ve been following Lyzabeth Lopez’s Hourglass Shaper program, both her original program, as well as her app workouts. I am at the gym religiously at 5:30 a.m. every morning and have only taken a week off each of the last two years. I have made significant progress in what I can do and how much I can lift. I  feel like I do very well with the gym part of this equation but I can’t seem to get my nutrition down.

Meeting my Macros

Since starting the Train with Lyzabeth program, I have tracked my macros. For the uninitiated, this means figuring out how many calories I should be eating each day and breaking those calories down into protein, carbohydrates and fat. Basically, I use a BMR/TDEE calculator to figure out my total calories, eat a gram of protein per pound of body weight, then try to stick to 25 percent of calories as fat and the rest as carbs. I have fluctuated a bit here and there. I tried doing a higher carb diet for a while, taking in (or trying to) 300 grams a day! And I’ve gone up and down with the calories, too. I do think my current formula, which I’ve been on since March is working but my issue is making sure of two things – 1. I meet those macros daily. and 2. I eat healthy foods.

Meal Planning

The weakest link for me is making sure I plan carefully so that I can meet those macros in a healthy way. The days I plan my meals, including snacks, I am much better and feel better than the days I fly by the seat of my pants. But, life gets in the way all too often. I get busy at work, stressed out at home or just plain tired. But, I feel like if I could battle through and stick to my plan better, I would have more energy in the long run. So, this fall, I’m trying to come up with a plan to streamline this process. Find ways to easily meal prep to save time, as well as make better choices on what to eat. With the new back-to-school routine, it should provide a strong framework for me to do this. So far, I’ve done the following:

  1. Investigated freezer meal prepping – I asked my social network and browsed Pinterest to figure out if prepping a bunch of meals ahead of time for the crock pot and freezing the ingredients actually tastes good and works. Most say it does. I’m trying to create a list of the ones to try first, paying attention to how long they need to cook and whether they need to be defrosted.
  2. Purchased at least one book on meal planning – So far, I’ve reviewed on book, which was interesting because it included the macro breakdown for more than 70 meals or snacks. The drawback is the ingredients are a bit off the beaten path in some instances plus the book is only an eBook, which is challenging to use in the kitchen. I plan to look for some more, preferably in hard copy.
  3. Reviewed eatthismuch.com again – I learned about this website a while back from the TWL Group, a private community of ladies who are doing the Train with Lyzabeth program. I remembered it recently and looked at it again to see if it might help me plan better. You can customize your day, adding the total calories and macro breakdowns, as well as ingredients you want to avoid and even the total number of meals you plan to eat in a day. This might also help with my planning.
  4. Learned that I can’t fully meal prep – I know that I can’t eat the same thing day after day. Many meal prep plans have you create the meals and store them, eating the same things for each meal. I just know I won’t be able to stick to it because I need variety in my life! So, this is an important lesson for me to learn and consideration as I move forward with my new plan.

While these steps are moving me in the right direction, they are not the end game. I still need to decide what will work best for me once and for all. Will I meal prep on Sundays? What will that look like? For example, I could simply chop up ingredients and get ahead that way, then continue to use Instant Pot and other fast, healthy recipes for family family dinners. Or, I could do freezer meals. Or, I could decide to plan out breakfast or lunch for myself in a more methodical way. The possibilities are endless.

The biggest thing I need to remember is what I tell my students and staff – chunk it down. Everything looks easier when you break it into smaller steps. If I choose one or two things to focus on, I can get into the habit before adding more to the plan. I need to figure out what will be doable and achieve some small successes. Then and only then will I be able to stick to this new nutrition regimen.

What about Wine?

As far as wine? I am still only having a glass or two once during the week and then on weekends and only if it fits my macros. I don’t want to give it up and so far have not needed to, provided I keep it in moderation and don’t snack too much while I have some. Last night, we celebrated #NationalCabernetDay with 76, a bottle that we’ve had before, which is an easy drinking, simple cab. Luckily, I stayed within my macros to enjoy it!