That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Friday, March 7, 2008

Real Life Scenario: Happy Hour!

Going out with friends for wine, cocktails, beers, etc. is fun, it's social, and let's face it, it's part of most adults lives. Whether it's to network or just recreational, opportunities to drink abound.

In fact, I am going on my first ever pub crawl this weekend. It is from 10pm to 4 am! It gave me the idea for this post.

I think there is a line in Skinny Bitch that goes something like "Beer is for frat boys, not skinny bitches." Ummm....yeah, still working on the skinny bitch thing--though not literally aiming for either--Haha.

All joking aside, while I am not a heavy drinker, I do love me a glass...err...bottle of wine or a great martini now and again--and I am not one to stay inside every weekend just because I know that drinking isn't exactly the best thing for your waistline.

So after a few years of trying to find the balance between going over board and feeling like I am missing out, I think I have figured out how to get my drink on responsibly and realistically!

My first tip is to only really go crazy 2 nights a month. More than that and it's hard to justify as healthy.

Obviously, you are probably going to drink more than 2 times a month. I have a drink or two about twice a week, some weeks more, some weeks less. So do interval drinking to maximize your happy hour. One drink, one seltzer with lime (aka virgin vodka tonic). Second drink. Happy hour over!

I am sure you have all seen the magazine articles of the 600 calorie long island ice teas and the 300 calorie frozen margaritas, so still to the basics: wine, vodka/club soda, sake, light beer--the only beer I like is Corona and they usually don't have light--so sometimes I don't follow my own advice! Your body will thank you for not hitting with tons of sugar AND alcohol!

This is straight from the nutritionist's mouth: your first drink is free, the second you have to count as a healthy starch. This means for every drink after the first, you should cut one starch out of your day. So if you have 6 servings of starch (bread, pasta, beans, corn, potatoes, etc.) and you want to have two drinks, just skip the bread with your salad at lunch. Eat a half cup of cereal less. Order mussels marinara, sauteed spinach and salad for dinner instead of mussels over angel hair. You get the idea. Obviously alcohol is not a "healthy starch," but as you can more than safely have two non-healthy starches a week, using them here, plus cutting out a healthy starch a day will do no to minimal damage to waistline and workout efforts.

This brings me to my next point. Do a preemptive workout. Definitely get in your workout the day of a big drinking night, you probably won't feel like working out the next day, so don't miss your chance. Make it a strong one. Also aim for morning or midday, if you workout right before going out, you might hit the floor on the first drink. :)

If your are planning on having beer, watch the fruit. I know this may sound crazy. Because fruit is amazing; I eat a TON of it! But yeast and fruit are not a great combination, so keeping it around two servings is a good idea in my opinion. Focus on the veggies!

My last tip is to make sure to drink some fresh vegetable juice, like carrot, cucumber, celery--perhaps with ginger or parsley--before and after drinking, it will rehydrate you, help flush out the toxins in your cells, eliminate bloating, and knock out your hang over.


June said...

Do you have an email address that I could send you a few questions to?

Melissa said...

Hi June,

My email is listed under my picture.

If it is a question that could benefit others, it's always nice to add to the comments.

But feel free to contact me either way!

linds said...

I happened upon your blog a few weeks ago and just wanted to say that I love it!! I too 'stopped growing at 11' lol and I think I'm 5' though I tend to lie and say I'm 5'1" but anyway I know exactly what you mean about every single pound showing up on a tiny frame. I would love to drop just a couple pounds cause its crazy how much of a difference it makes! I'm also pretty active though probably not as active as you are- are you maintaining now or contemplating trying to lose any..? If you aren't trying to lose weight what would you do if you did want to? (Just wondering since I feel like we eat about the same though you're probably more active). Thanks for any advice and again the blog is great!!!

Melissa said...

Hi Linds!

I am so glad you put down your thoughts. I really worry about sending the wrong messages. I would hate to have anyone struggling with any body issues to read my blog and have those thoughts deepened. That is one reason I really hesitate to write about food. Or to become obsessed with exercise, I am passionate, but not obsessed. If I miss 3 days at the gym, I get cranky, but not stressed out about it.

I was actually more kidding than anything about the 5 pounds showing up. I just meant that really tall people can gain 5 pounds and you would NEVER know. Shorter people have less wiggle room. I think I will edit that post because it was not reflective of my healthy body image for people who don't know me!

I am not trying to lose weight. I am pretty happy with my body and how strong it is. I know I am healthy because I have only missed three days of school for sickness since kindergarten.

So while of course, I wouldn't mind if I could lose a pound or two below the waist and gain a few in the chest area, I don't worry about it!

I think the best philosophy for a healthy weight is to not mindlessly eat when you are not hungry. I also think sticking to a regular schedule will get you to your "happy weight" for me eating a small breakfast, mini snack (like fruit) prelunch, big healthy lunch, snack, moderate dinner, and small night time treat/snack works well.

Just be honest with yourself, for a few years I ate a diet of 60% ice cream, 15% salad, 10% fruit and 15% other, and had the best body of my life, but I am not 20 any more and than doesn't work. I still have ice cream most nights, but it is small part of a much healthier diet.

I hope that helps.

linds said...

Oh don't get the wrong idea from my post either, I totally understood your tone and I didn't think you were actively trying to lose weight from that post- ahh sometimes it can be so hard to properly express yourself in writing. It's definitely obvious that you have great body confidence and also great that you take such care not to have your words and focus misconstrued. I'm kinda thinking more along the lines of 'summer is coming and want to tighten it all up a bit' lol as opposed to asking for strictness in diet or exercise (never fun). I'd love to see a kick your butt out of hibernation workout :)

Melissa said...

Thanks June! I got a little carried away! I am glad you like the blog.

I think a good get back into it workout are the Shape Bikini Boot Camp DVD series. They are a great workout in only 30 minutes, although I usually do both.

But I will keep your idea in mind for a future post. I love knowing what people are interested in reading.

June said...

Sure, I don't mind posting my question on the wall- it is totally non fitness related that's why I was going to send you an email.

Since you eat a lot of raw food, I am hoping that you might know the answer to this. I find that the thought of cooking frozen vegetables (broccoli and cawliflower) makes my stomach turn and when I do eat them, I don’t feel well. For some reason frozen green beans and spinach are ok, which is strange. But I can eat raw broccoli that is cooked no problem. Cauliflower makes me queasy no matter what. I use to eat lettuce everyday (some form of salad), but it was too much lettuce for my stomach to handle so I switched to veggies. I eat plenty of fiber, so it’s not that my body is adjusting. It’s almost like an overload. I just don’t get why cooked raw broccoli is ok, but not cooked frozen. Thank so much (in advance), I appreciate any advice you all can provide!

My second question is I think (?) you are a vegetarian. How do you make sure to get the proper amounts of omega-3 fatty acids? I typically only eat tuna fish a few times a month and really don't like the taste of salmon. I am mostly a vegetarian too. Thanks!

Melissa said...

Hi June,

Your question about cooked frozen vegetables is interesting. I really don't know why you would feel sick. Maybe you could try an organic brand with less chance of pesticides and other impurities. But don't force yourself to eat frozen vegetables.

If lettuce is too much for you, you can try switching to really light, soft lettuces, like mesclun and butter lettuces. Another idea would be to make green smoothies. These are sweet and delicious and allow you to get in your green without doing much work to break them down. They are a bit of a revolution in the raw food world these days. THere is a book called Green for Life that is pretty popular. There are also several blogs dedicated to green smoothies. Here is one of many green smooothie videos:

I am a vegetarian. I do eat fish a few times a month, usually salmon. I don't worry to much about getting in omega-3's. I once tried taking a fish oil supplement, but it made me kind of sick. There is also a vegetarian omega 3 supplement you could try. I do eat edammane and nori (seaweed) on a semi-regular basis.

Here are some great sources of omega-3's if you feel you need to get more into your diet:
chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil,omega-3 fortified eggs, ground flaxseed and flax oil, walnuts, seaweed, canola oil and soybeans. Here are other fish sources, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, pacific oysters.

Based on the list above several of these items unintentionally weave their way into my diet throughout the month, so I am pretty sure I get enough.

June said...

Thanks! I will def. check out that raw food site. Since you eat a lot of salads any storage tips and salad dressing recommendations? I love newman's own but they are so garlicky that I can't use them :(

Also, did the TJ's lentils freeze well? Thanks!

Beth said...

Hi Melissa, I am snowed in tonight, so I have been catching up on blogs (there are so many now!) and I have two questions one exercise one nutrition.
How do you fit in aerobics, strength training and ab work? I find strength training takes so long! And quite frankly weight lifting is not that enjoyable. It seems that if I do strength training every other day (ex 3 days a week) and then aerobics the other 4 days, I can never take a day off to get sufficient aerobics. I don’t belong to a gym so I mostly do videos and most of the aerobics are 60 minutes, so it’s not realistic time wise to do aerobics and then tag on weight training. How do you balance it all?

My second question is, I noticed that you seem to eat fage yogurt. I find it so tarte and weird tasting. How did you adjust to plain yogurt (I am assuming once you ate the sugary stuff).

Melissa said...

June: I just found a new salad dressing brand I really like: Maple Grove Farms of Vermont All Natural Salad Dressings. I have had the strawberry balsamic, delish. I just bought the All Natural Maple Fig, but haven't tried it yet.

The lentils froze well, but it would have been smart to freeze them in individual containers. I had one serving after I defrosted them, but the second serving I had to throw out because I didn't use it within two days.

Beth: It seems like you do a lot of exercise, more than me in fact! I also find strength training incredibly boring after 5 minutes. So I try to combine upper and lower body movements together to save time and raise the heart rate. So lunges with overhead presses, squats with bicep curls. Working smaller and larger muscle groups at the same time seems to be the trend, plus it's fast and effective.

I fit exercise in where I can, but I don't beat myself up if I miss a day or two! My squeezing it in post explains that sometimes I use time I would be waiting around anyways, like waiting for the train, to get in some movement (powerwalking in the tunnel--plus it keeps me warm!)

My other suggestion would be to get videos that combine cardio interval strength training. It's very effective to keep lowering and raising the heart rate. My favorites are the shape bikini boot camp series and Jillian Michaels Frontside backside 2 disc workout.

As for fage, it took me a few tries to get used to it. But don't force yourself if you don't like it! I eat plain dannon just as often.

But to jazz up fage I:
add cinnamon
add all natural fruit jam
add fruit, warmed frozen berries rock
add cereal

Beth said...

Sorry, I should have been more clear, that is not at all what I do, I was saying to fit it all in, I would have to exercise 7 days a week. In reality, I go 3 days! I laughed out loud when I read your comment, if only you knew me in person, anything will distract me from exercising.

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