The healthy living checklist

Between the farmers markets finally opening in Boston, the lunch with the CEO of Stonyfield, listening to the Animal, Miracle, Vegetable on my ipod during my runs and reading this little number…

I feel like I’ve been living, breathing, and drinking the organic and local kool-aid. It’s not a bad thing. I am becoming more and more passionate about the subject and passion is never typically not a bad thing.

But let’s switch gears for a bit – let’s talk about something else that’s been on my mind lately. My weight gain. I’ve been eating pretty intuitively for months now and I really like it. Meticulous calorie counting worked for me before but not this time and I needed to adapt. Eating intuitively allows me to enjoy healthy meals at home (without weighing every gram of my food and plugging it into the computer – btw, I used to LOVE doing that) and go out with my friends and family without a second thought (these kind of events used to be reserved for my “day off”). Anyways, sounds pretty good, right? Well, I stepped on the scale the morning of my birthday, just to see what the number says. You know, I’m 28 today, I weigh X # of pounds. Just as a stat. I was at least 3 pounds heavier than I thought I would be. This could have the potential of crushing me but I had a run and birthday celebration to worry about. I moved on.

My birthday weekend was fantastic (I still have to share with you my dinner out – it was awesome… and local/organic/sustainable!) – I ate well but enjoyed treats in moderation (that term is looser on birthdays btw 😉 ). And then I kind of binged on Monday night. I think my skirt was too tight or something. I just felt gross and there is only one thing I know how to do when I feel like that. I eat. This by the way, was the 3rd bingeing episode in the last 3 weeks. They say “it’s not about the food” – it’s not. But structure actually helps me avoid these kinds of things sometimes so I’m going to share with you my plan of attack – the healthy living checklist.

Breakfast first – 2 banana zucchini spelt muffins

As mentioned, calorie counting no longer works for me mentally. I know it will work if I stick to it but I just don’t have the energy for it anymore. So I constructed a little daily checklist that I would like to stick to instead.

  1. balanced breakfast
  2. snack #1 (optional)
  3. balanced lunch
  4. snack #2 (optional)
  5. balanced dinner
  6. nothing with junkie ingredients list
  7. no mindless eating (!!!! <– definitely the hardest one)
  8. at least 8 cups of water
  9. move for at least 20 minutes (even if it’s just a walk around the block – clears your head at least)
  10. treat – can be an indulgent sweet, a more indulgent breakfast, lunch or dinner, or something that made you feel like it was special even if it was healthy (more expensive? more time consuming to make?)

I’ve been actually trying to follow this structure for a few months now but haven’t officially stuck to it. I am hoping that showing it to you would make me more accountable. I think it’s a good balance of structure and flexibility. What do you think?


Organic mixed greens, pea shots, roasted peppers and zucchini, cucumber & avocado salsa, grape tomatoes, brown rice, black bean dip, fromage blanc

SO good, fresh and spicy!!!


+ somersaults + two 100-calorie dark chocolate bars (unpictured)

These unfortunately were eaten “mindlessly” or more accurately put – eaten due to stress. At least I stuck to the rest of the rules.


Homemade pizza – one half of my 1/2 with roasted veggies + fromage blanc

The other half of my half (got that? 😉 ) with sun-dried tomato pesto, potatoes and bacon ala Lauren.

I ate 2 slices (left one for lunch today) – this was the best pizza I’ve ever made. Pre-baking the crust for 2 minutes was key (thanks, Lauren!!!) – it was so chewy on the bottom. Yum!

Pretty awesome eats, if I do say so myself. 😀

In other news, we (basically Adam!) planted some flowers in our patio last night. I hope we did it right. I’ll take pictures of the final product soon.

What would you add to your healthy living checklist?

* Just a few hours left to enter the cookware giveaway. I’ll announce the winner tonight.*

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30 comments to The healthy living checklist

  • My friend just moved to Australia and just started using a walking pedometer. She used to live in the suburbs in MA and was surprised at how little she used to walk until she moved and didn’t have a car. I walk to most places since I live in the city but I’d definitely like to increase the number of steps for a better healthy living!

  • That sounds like a good plan! :) I would add to my list: strive for balance, not perfection. That’s my motto.

    That homemade pizza looks delish.


  • The pizza looks great…. glad the pre-bake method worked out!

  • Wait–pre-baking for 2 mins? Making a whole wheat pizza tonight and will have to try this one. Thanks for the tip!

  • I think I would schedule a treat into my checklist. It’s a lot easier for me to pass up cake in the afternoon if I know I’m going to get a glass of wine at dinner.

  • That pizza looks amazing – I just bought a big bag of potatoes and some TJ’s pizza dough, too!

    Your plan sounds great – I’m definitely in the same boat. I know I’m X pounds heavier, but I feel more healthy and strong than I’ve ever felt in my life. Stay positive, you’ll get there!

  • I actually love counting up the value of the things I eat, but instead of counting calories, I count the number of fruits and veggies I eat a day. I make sure I eat 5-7 servings of fruit and veggies a day. When I do that, it’s hard to eat anything bad. Somehow, it takes the negative out of the picture. I think “I have to eat more veggies so my skin is clear and pretty” instead of “I’m not allowed to have that.” It’s worked for me.
    Also, do you drink a lot? I’ve read there are 300 calories in a glass of red wine/beer, and way more calories in those fancy girly drinks we all like from the bar.
    One more thing–I’m not really on the coconut band wagon like everyone else seems to be. Coconut has saturated fat. Period. I don’t care if they say it’s not as bad for you as animal fat, it’s still SATURATED.
    And another thing ;)…what about dried fruit? I love it personally, but I’ve read it has a TON of calories and is nothing but sugar.

  • I always have a night time snack on my checklist. It helps me keep my dinner (my toughest meal) in check, knowing that I get a little something extra later!

  • This is a great idea! Great post too.

    The first time I actually really did this was a few months ago when I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to be sure I stuck to something so that I didn’t get overwhelmed with the typical “I’m pregnant, I can eat/do anything I want!” attitude that I was always bothered by.

    It has really helped me. I continue to run a few times a week, eat well and not give into cravings just because I’m pregnant.

    Thanks for posting this and re-reminding me of my goals.

  • I love your list! I think that it is extremely healthy to live with a healthy mindset, but not set up such tight guidelines to what you can/cannot do and eat.

    I think I’d add ‘listen to your body’. There are some days that your body just isn’t feeling a workout, or you’re tired or just craving carbs. It is okay to give in once in awhile and can be healthy. Just not TOO much. :)

  • I LOVE your checklist! It strikes the right balance between healthy and nutrient-dense but isn’t so strict that you can’t enjoy a little treat, too. Life is too short for UBER-strict diets, your balanced approach is just right if you ask me. You got this! :-)

  • The pizza tip sounds like a great trick, I always have problems with the crust getting cooked especially in the center of the TJ whole wheat dough. I can’t wait to try it.

    Do you have any tips for rolling out the dough…I seem to be not very talented in pizza making skills!

    Your list sounds completely on target for a balanced lifestyle. One bit that I might add would be to try to have raw fruit or veggies as a part of every snack or meal – something that I am working on right now myself. I think that that really helps me personally when I feel like I have added on X # of pounds.

  • I love this checklist. I really feel like I have been off track a bit lately and this is a great motivation. Those small choices we make along the way really fuel the change. Thank you for sharing. :)

  • structure definitely helps me too. i am the worst at mindless eating. i could throw back like a pound of granola and not even realize it.

  • this is a great idea. i’ve thought about something like this before, too… guess i should put it down on paper and get to it! love that pizza, i hope to make some tonight :)

  • Wow that pizza looks rocking!! Everyone is making pizza lately?! I must join in…

    And it’s 2 Tbsp of baking mix! You could totally use like a pancake/waffle mix or bisquick or even just a wheat or oat flour instead. No worries lol

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I really like yours and I’ll be coming back frequently (;

  • I still struggle with restrictive eating and occasional binges. It is very stressful!

    I really admire your checklist. I think that is so important :)

  • Yes, number 7 is a tough one! But I have worked really hard on it lately and it’s amazing how quickly you can break the habit. I think you have a really sound approach going.

  • somersaults!!!! WOOHOO!! <3 mm and spicy salads and perfectly balanced muffins hehe.
    my healthy checklist would NEED to include "not taking things so personal.. and letting it affect me"

  • I love your checklist! I think that it’s incredibly balanced. Yes, it’s giving you some structure, but in no way is it overly restrictive or anything. I think you’ve found a great middle ground!

  • love how that pizza looks! Good for you and not calorie counting!! I wish I didn’t have to but I just indulge too much when I don’t! BLahhh

  • I think your healthy checklist looks pretty good! I’ve been meaning to move towards the intuitive eating thing but I’m finding that I’m still not quite at that level yet so I still calorie count but in a more relaxed way. I’ll try to eat intuitively throughout the day but in the evening I’ll count the calories and see how I’m doing. It’s been good and I’m almost at the point where I can probably trust myself now.

    PS. I think it’s so great that you’re learning more about organic food and the industry!

  • I think the checklist is a really good idea — kind of like following the “healthy guidelines” from Weight Watchers (X number of glasses of water, Y servings of fruit/veggies, etc.). Counting calories (or points, if I’m doing Weight Watchers) is the easiest way for me to lose weight, but it really is no way to live. Your approach strikes a nice balance.

    Also, 3 pounds may just be from bloat or sodium! Don’t beat yourself up too much. (I know that’s easier said than done sometimes, though, as I beat myself up, too.)

  • good luck sticking with your plan! for me a healthy checklist would include making sure I get enough protein and not overdoing it on the carbs! I suppose that’s captured in the term “balanced” but I do need to count it out to make sure :)

  • […] The healthy living checklist […]

  • that is a really solid checklist. what a great idea!

  • Jen

    Elina, I love this post…I have been feeling like you for the past month. I have been eating ‘intuitively’ I think…I basically try not to eat anything with crappy ingredients. I make most things myself (lots of big batches and saving/freezing some). But, lately, I have been making more treats. They are necesarily bad for me, they have great natural ingredients, but I have been eating too many of them at night and not working out as much. Yesterday, I made a change. I was sick of feeling like crap (and annoyed that I let myself get like that because normally I have SO much motivation to workout and am satisfied with my veggies, fruits, proteins, etc in eating – granted a lot of it had to do with me being sick and then getting hit by a car…but, I was still mad at myself!), so I went for a long run and cleared my head. It was awesome…and the change I needed. I feel like a new person!

    I love your list!

  • Elina

    DessertForTwo – I think that’s a really great attitude, concentrating on the positives and what you CAN have instead of what you can’t. I don’t drink much either – for the same reason. I’d rather enjoy a dessert than a few sugary drinks. Dried fruit in moderation too. That’s where the calorie counting “history” comes in handy. :)

    Notes from the Fatty Files – unfortunately I know the 3 lbs are not just bloat – thus the changes.

    Alyssa – sorry, I’m a horrible person for just responding to this now – I am TERRIBLE at rolling out dough but what I did this time was roll it out to a small circle and then stretched it. Just held it in the air, perpendicular to the table (makes sense?) holding it by the top, slowly circuling it around. Eventually it got big enough. Try it out! :)

    Jen – I love when a sweat session snaps you out of your funk! 😀

  • […] The healthy living checklist […]

  • the checklist sounds like a great idea! i hope it works for you!

    that pizza looks amazing! i never would have thought to put potatoes on one!


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