Healthy and Sane

Back to the drawing board

December 30th, 2009 · 21 Comments · beef, Cooking Light, favorite recipes, man meals, sandwich, side dishes, Uncategorized

I hope you guys enjoyed my 2009 recap post. It was so fun searching through the blog for my favorite recipes of the year. I really need to remake every single one of them – each one was absolutely fabulous! 😀

The post today is a little bit more “serious.” Naturally with the year nearly ending I’ve been doing lots of reflecting. Yes, I’ve grown a lot over the year, but I’m not finished yet. The holiday season set me back once again (I talked about it here, did better the next day, and went back to my old bad habits the day after that). I just haven’t been very happy with myself lately and I know the reason is too many mindless bites (that I cannot seem to avoid no matter how hard I try or how motivated I am!) which often lead to sub-par workouts (or none at all if I’m too full – today was exhibit A of such behavior). So for one millionth time this season I mentioned it to my husband. He can tell I haven’t been myself/100% happy, even if I try to hide it. It’s hard because usually there isn’t much he can say to “make it better,” but for some reason today his suggestion worked (at least in theory). So here it is… I didn’t want to do this, but I’m desperate and I think this will do the trick – I’m temporarily going back to calorie counting. I know I can eat intuitively and maintain my weight, but for some reason I’ve gotten way off track and can’t bring myself back to only eating intuitively (and not stuffing my face with chocolate and random snacks). Calorie counting will be a bit of a shock to my system, a shock that I think I very much need. It won’t be about severe restriction, although I will cut down a bit since those 6+ holiday pounds I’ve gained must go! I will try this for the month of January, and see if this is enough to get the old Elina back. :)

Now let’s see what today’s eats looked like…


1 FFL english muffin with Barney Butter and 1/2 banana + coffee



I woke up starving but for some reason this breakfast really filled me up. I was actually sick for hours after eating it as if I went overboard at an unlimited food buffet. Not sure what’s up with that but it was not a good time 😕


1 real snack – this orange was beyond sweet and juicy. Yum!


And then the junk food raid began… (there is a limitless supply of cookies and chocolates in my office so when I get a craving, it’s way too easy to satisfy it!)



I will say these were very yummy 😀


I ended up having lunch at home, which is always fun. Did I ever show you guys where I often take pictures when I’m home? Yep, that’s our back yard. The lighting in our condo is terrible so when it’s light out (and I decide to brave the cold), I go outside and snap a photo there. Pretty scenic, no? 😉


Brie + green apple and dijon mustard panini + salad with mixed greens, remaining apple and Annie’s goddess dressing


Mmm, melty brie…



Dessert – an almond stuffed date



Dinner was definitely a “man meal.” We were able to get some grass fed beef at WF on Sunday, so Adam requested that I cook some sirloin tips for dinner and make fries. Here is what we got…

Grass fed sirloin tips, marinaded in EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic and brown sugar (used an Ellie Krieger recipe) for a few hours and grilled for about 10 minutes.


For the fries, I following this recipe for garlic fries from Cooking Light, using fresh thyme instead of parsley (Adam doesn’t like parsley). The fries were beyond amazing! I wish we had more than 1 potato so I could have had more than just a few of these.


Of course veggies are a must. I deviated from my tried and true recipe for parmesan brussels sprouts (from 101 cookbooks) and tried the roasting method by following this recipe from Cooking Light (originally found through A Better Bag of Groceries). Looking good my little babies… 😆


Unfortunately this recipe cannot even compare to our beloved parmesan brussels sprouts, even after I added some shredded parmesan. I think cutting them in half really helps with the texture + brussels sprouts on the stove top take way less time. Heidi’s version definitely wins!

My plate (I only had a few fries so Adam could have them but we had a baked potato in the fridge so I had some of it instead):


Oh yes, while cooking dinner I snacked on some (unpictured) somersaults, fresh cauliflower and roasted almonds which definitely spoiled my appetite! I had maybe 3/4 of the steak…


4 fries + maybe 2 bites of the baked potato


and about 3/4 of the brussels sprouts


What I really wanted was Adam’s fries. SO good!!!!!!!!


The decision to resume counting calories was made after dinner because I was upset with myself for overeating right before it (this has been happening a lot lately). I hope you guys support me in my journey back to what I know has worked in the past and hopefully will work again. My first day should be interesting 😯

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Carly

    I can completely relate to this post. I used to count calories religiously – to the point where it was an obsession. I then switched my mindset to more of an intuitive eating approach. I went overboard… a lot… So, I from time to time will take a week to count cals and get myself on track when I feel that I have lost control of my intuition. This way I reset my mind on portion size, calorie balance, etc. The last time I did this was back in October around my 1 year wedding anniversary. It helped a lot and I haven’t really found myself being ridiculously bad until the holidays.

    Most importantly, you need to do what makes YOU happiest. And if counting calories to get yourself back on track is what you need to do, then do it! I feel for your husband, as mine gets quite frustrated with me when I beat myself up over eating 2 cookies. I used a program on my iPhone called Lose It to track me eats and exercise. It works pretty well and I think its free (if you have an iPhone). Good luck, and hopefully your sanity will come back in the next few weeks!!!

  • #2 - marie

    You absolutely have my support! I know what you mean about sometimes needing to shake things up a bit. I am always having to make little tweaks to my lifestyle and habits to achieve my health-related goals, so I completely understand when others have to do the same.

    And I don’t expect you to be perfect! I enjoy your blog because you share so much with us. You come across as a real person who is always striving to do her best to lead a healthy, sane life. I have learned a lot from reading your blog, and I sure I will learn even more in the new year.



  • #3 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    I totally understand your need to count calories. It’ll really help you get on track.

    You’re already halfway there since you have a plan and the new motivation that comes with plans is definitely huge.

    Good luck! I’ll be supporting you!

  • #4 - Estela @ Weekly Bite

    Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling yourself… we’ve all been there.

    Sometimes it just takes a little motivation to get back on track. We’re all here for support :)

  • #5 - Good Taste. Healthy Me

    You gotta do what you gotta do! 😉

    There’s nothing wrong with counting calories and if it helps you right now then you should totally do it. I hope you start feeling better soon!

  • #6 - Lauren

    I support any technique that makes you feel your best!

    I agree that halving brussels sprouts helps to achieve the best crispy texture… and those fries look absolutely deeelicious.


  • #7 - MelissaNibbles

    I think you know what’s best for you and that’s what you should do. Personally, I’m just not in a mindset where I can do intuitive eating. The freedom is very triggering to me for some reason. I hope to one day conquer it, but I have to do what’s right for me and that’s portion control by measuring and using a guide. Good luck!

  • #8 - Shannon (The Daily Balance)

    totally support you in doing what’s best for YOU – you’ll be back on track in no time!

  • #9 - Maggie

    I LOVE those Cooking Light French fries. I used to make them all the time but I haven’t made them in a while. Thanks for the reminder! And the brussel sprouts look amazing. Good luck with the calorie counting, I’m doing that for January as well.

  • #10 - Carrie @ I See Monsters

    Anything that works for you is the right thing to do! Best of luck.

  • #11 - Jena

    Great sharing your goals with us!
    You do whatever you need to do! Can’t wait to see how you do:)
    your eats look great btw!!

  • #12 - Hangry Pants

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I too need to do something about recent weight I’ve gained, but unlike you I am not sure what to do!

  • #13 - Chelsea

    Good luck girlie… as someone who has been struggling with weight for 6+ years I know the pain and sadness it can inflict on you.. but remember you are more than your weight! Stay strong girlie!!

  • #14 - Zoe

    Your blog is my absolute favorite. I look forward to it onmy google reader everyday! I love to see what you are eating and how you are preparing your food. I especially love how your oatmeal always looks and I am still trying to replicate it.

  • #15 - Kelly

    I always appreciate the honesty of your posts. I’m doing something similar and going back to WW starting the first. It worked for me extremely well the first time I wanted to lose weight and I like it because the flex points allow me some flexibility so I still end up eating intuitively for the most part, but with a little more structure.

  • #16 - Elina

    Thank you all so much for your support! You are all amazing and I’m so lucky to have such wonderful readers. Thank you also for sharing your experiences. It actually made me feel more comfortable about my decision to do this!!

  • #17 - Jasmine (Sweet and Fit)

    thanks for the honest post ELINA! I think calorie counting is probably the best way to get back on track in January – I’m going to join you!!

  • #18 - Jess

    Hi! I just found your blog recently but this is my first blog comment! Nice to “meet” you! I know exactly what you mean, I think we ALL have a hard time getting back to eating “normal’ after the holiday rush. All those cookies and special treats you don’t get ALL year long? I know I’ve been guilty of eating too many of a good thing because it was there and I felt like I should make the most of it because I won’t have it again for another whole year. But you know what? That mentality is a deprivation mentality (at least, for me). I find that when I don’t deprive myself, I actually eat better and am happier in general. I don’t feel like I’m missing out and I don’t end up gorging, as I described above! So anyway, back to my point – I tried the counting calories,, I tried weight watcher points and a food diary and it worked for awhile only in terms of helping me “get” what a portion is. From there, I had to give it up after about two years of diary-ing. I was thinking about food ALL the time and it made me insane. I’d end up eating just because I had “two points” left for the day so what can I eat to fill up the diary? Even if I wasn’t hungry! So now, like you’ve done, I eat intuitively, I give in to cravings now and then and realize it’s about balance. A cookie won’t kill you, ten cookies won’t either but shouldn’t become a habit. 😉 Anyway, long-winded way of saying i know where you’re coming from!! Looking forward to reading more, hang in there!

  • #19 - Elina

    Jasmine – yay, I love company. Good luck!! WE CAN DO IT!

    Jess – yay – welcome! Nice to meet you too 😉 I was definitely in the place you mention, and stopping calorie counting helped get rid of that mentality. I think it will be good to bring back some structure just for a bit though. Saying no to a few too many snacks will surely be appreciated by my body. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment!

  • #20 - Lara (Thinspired)

    You know that I completely support you on this.
    I think that calorie counting has gotten such a bad reputation that I have actually started convincing myself that it is unhealthy. I mean, I *know* it isn’t, but I think I am using the bad reputation as an excuse not to do it…if that makes sense. I know I can do it in a healthy way, but I am acting like I can’t. That is just silly. There is nothing inherently wrong with calorie counting if it is done sensibly and with flexibility.
    Good luck, Elina!
    Oh, and let’s add to our 2010 resolutions to do a meet up with each other this year! :)

  • #21 - The kitchen is closing early tonight

    […] Today’s photo-set up… […]