Hey readers! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but my cooking has been a little uninspired. I am definitely in survival mode when it’s come to cooking these days. BUT when I make something good I promise I will share it with you guys.
Also, hoping the rest of the world is enjoying this late September day and eating all the pumpkin because I am stuck in Texas with 100 degree weather wishing for a little bit of a break. Come on, fall! I’m ready!
I will say, though, that I’ve only had a couple of pumpkin things this month so far, and the first one didn’t even happen until September 11th. So I’d say self control is a win this year.
On a more serious note (although I am very serious about all things pumpkin), I want to talk today about EATING. Specifically, UNDER-EATING. Yes, I’m going there.
I’ve recently been doing some more nutrition coaching and even meeting with some of the people at my gym to help with nutrition. What I see more often than a struggle with over-eating is actually a struggle with under-eating. Most people are shocked to hear me say this, because every trainer and fitness professional in the past has always just shunned them for eating, and instead gave them tools on how to eat less and exercise more. This may work for a short time, but it actually wreaks havoc on your metabolism and ends up slowing down your metabolism in the long-term. What this means is– short-term rapid weight loss yet long-term inability to burn fat for energy.
What I want us to shift our mindset to is working WITH our metabolisms, and not against them. That means not eating less and exercising more, but rather eating more when you’re exercising more to help your body recover and adapt to a high volume of training. That also means reducing how much you’re eating when you reduce training, but only in an increment that’s comparable to training and still supports the base metabolic rate, or the amount your body burns at complete rest. The truth is, yes you need a caloric deficit to burn fat, but once that caloric deficit gets too high, your stress hormones are stimulated and your brain tells your metabolism and the rest of your body “WE ARE IN STARVATION MODE!” Then everything goes downhill from there. That’s why women in their 30s who should be eating 2500 calories per day without a problem can’t seem to eat more than 1100 without storing fat and feeling low in energy.
[Not to mention if you are trying to build strength and build muscle mass, you actually need a caloric surplus in order to do that! The best, fittest, and strongest people in the world eat A LOT of food. But that’s another topic for another day.]
Here’s a great article that outlines How Eating Too Little Is Wrecking Your Progress
Here are some tips to get yourself to work with your metabolism again and start eating more in a healthy way:
- Figure out how much you should be eating to support your body and lifestyle. Here’s a rough estimate to help figure that out:
- Multiply your body weight in pounds by 11. That is the absolute minimum amount of calories you should be consuming in a day! We will call this number BMR (base metabolic rate).
- Multiply your BMR (step 1’s number) by 1.1 if you are completely sedentary, 1.2 if mostly sedentary, 1.3 if you workout some, and 1.4 if you workout hard 5-6 times per week. That’s (approximately) the goal calories you need! (And if you have a high volume of training, like an athlete or group fitness instructor, 1.5 is definitely your multiplier)
- Track your food for a day to see how much you are actually eating. Be honest with yourself.
- Determine your current deficit. Subtract how much you’re currently eating by how much you should be eating.
- Multiply your deficit by 15% and try to increase your caloric intake by that much for two or three weeks. Then the next two weeks, increase total caloric intake again by the same amount.
- Keep doing this until you reach your caloric needs. Take it slow, and be smart. Don’t get your extra calories from donuts and beer. Make sure you’re prioritizing lean protein, vegetables, and lots of fiber!
These tips are rough estimates, but they are a start! If you want more detailed info on how much you should be eating and of what, contact me!
I made this recipe up on a whim (those of you who saw on my Instagram story followed along!) but it actually turned out delicious and a success! I decided to share the recipe with you guys! I love this recipe because it’s a fun, different, and healthy spin on a classic- spaghetti and meatballs. Instead of Italian flavors, I spice up this dish with spices, peppers, and a mexican twist. Try it out and let me know what you think!
Chicken Chorizo Meatballs with Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 lb ground chicken breast
- 12 oz ground chorizo sausage
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 large egg
- salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil (or other cooking fat of choice)
Spicy Spaghetti Sauce:
- 1/2 onion, chopped finely
- 1 bell pepper, chopped finely
- 1 fresh jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped finely
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 15-oz can tomato puree
- 1 15-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt & pepper
- 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash, de-seeded, roasted, and shredded (My favorite way to do this is stick the entire spaghetti squash in a large crockpot on low heat for 4-5 hours. Remove, cut down the middle, remove seeds, and shred!)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together all the meatball ingredients (except olive oil) until well incorporated.
- Heat a large pan over high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once pan is hot, make small meatballs out of the ground meat mixture and place them in the hot pan. Repeat until pan is full but not overcrowded.
- Let cook on one side for about 2 minutes, or until the outside of the meatball is seared and a little crisp. Flip all the meatballs in the pan over and let cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Transfer all the meatballs from the pan to the foil-lined baking sheet, and repeat the process until all the meat mixture is used up and your baking sheet is full of meatballs!
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and let bake for 20 minutes. While meatballs finish cooking, start working on the sauce!
- Keeping the grease and drippings from the meatballs in the large pan, set the pan over medium-high heat and then place your onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos in the pan. Let sautee for 3-4 minutes, stirring and letting the veggies pick up all the bits from the bottom of the pan (flavor!!!)
- Add the canned tomato puree, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, spices and salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Let the sauce come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
- To serve, place heaping pile of spaghetti squash at the bottom of the plate, grab 4 or 5 meatballs, and top with the spaghetti sauce. Enjoy!