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WIAW #35: Food Density

Good morning! Hopefully this week is moving along well for you. Only a few more days to count down before the 4th of July weekend begins. This week’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday is going to explain my rationale for the choices I made for my meals, snacks and drinks. I am a very healthy eater for the most part, and over the years it has become second nature to me.

Over the winter, I went out of my comfort zone and deliberately gained about 5 pounds. I did it because I wanted to add more muscle to my frame. As someone who is on the petite side this can be very hard to do. When I “let myself go” I really just become “skinny-fat.” I am not a huge fan of that term, but it is completely true. So with gaining a few pounds and lifting heavier weights the ultimate goal was to gain a little more muscle.

I would like to get back to my more typical weight range so I have been making some cuts here and there. Not a diet exactly, but just a little more awareness around my food density. You will see what I mean.

WIAW #35: Food Density

WIAW

Almost every breakfast I eat involves eggs. There was a bowl of oatmeal on Monday, but this is all about yesterday’s eats.

I had a breakfast similar to what I typically have most days. Here we have leftover butternut squash, zucchini, spinach, egg whites and one whole egg. This was all cooked in a bit of coconut oil with a cup of Joe (upictured) on the side.

Wht I Ate Wednesday

What was different? Well I normally always have two whole eggs and there is often a slice of bacon there too. Bacon is back to being more of a treat food now. It is delicious, as we all know, so it is easy to let it become an everyday habit. A slice is not very big, and it is very dense in terms of calories and fat. It is not all that filling either, so it is really an easy thing to cut.

After getting some work done I took a break to workout. I managed to get to the gym earlier (around 10:15), but it was already getting a bit toasty out.

Iced green tea shared on Instagram. There was also lots of water involves through the workout too (unpictured).

What I Ate Wednesday

I went back to the apartment, and blended up a protein shake while I checked some emails. The shake was coconut water, half a frozen banana and strawberries with a scoop of vanilla Sun Warrior Protein and ice. The coconut water was really refreshing! I picked some up on a whim at the food store, and I need to have it more often. The cut here was MCT oil which I sometimes put in a shake, but I decided to save it for my salad. I completely spaced on taking a picture. The heat will do that to a person. However, here is a previously shared shake this is very similar.

Protein Shake

After showering and get ready in semi-real clothes (a t-shirt and shorts) I got ready for a conference call and made lunch at the same time. I am all for multi-tasking and do it rather frequently. Or should I say try to do it frequently. I think it is hard to do it well! It makes my mind feel like it is going in a million directions!

Time for lunch!

What I Ate Wednesday

Salad with spinach, chicken, celery, strawberries and walnuts.

Dressing was apple cider vinegar, a blend of MCT oil and EVOO and some salt and pepper. This is a fairly normal lunch for me. A lot of times I will have a “mini-dessert” after, but the salad was big and rather filling. I brewed a pot of coffee to power me through the rest of the day.

A few freelance articles, online research, a conference call and the afternoon had flown by already. Scott came home so I chatted with him for a few minutes and fixed a quick snack.

What I Ate Wednesday

Fage Greek yogurt with strawberries and a rice cake with almond butter.

Oh, and there is a packet of stevia in the yogurt because it is the plain variety. It is way too sour to eat on its own (in my opinion anyway). I have been eating a little bit of yogurt again because I was kind of missing it. I cannot handle a ton of dairy, but seem to be doing ok with it right now. Plus, it is really nice to have another protein source option. A girl can get real darn tired of protein powder, eggs and various meats.

I took a break to get caught up on a few things around the apartment and make a few phone calls. I wrapped up for the day and made dinner.

What I Ate Wednesday

Salmon, plantains, zucchini and one sausage link.

I will probably give the sausage a little break for a while because again it is one of those super dense meats. We had these defrosted so it made sense to eat through them. I only ate one where I was probably eating a few at a time.

I cannot give up dessert of course, but it was just a small piece of chocolate. Sometimes I easily get carried away. This one has a bit of a tart finish, but it is nice for a change of pace. These bars were very inexpensive at Trader Joe’s. Suffice it to say, I was lured in by the low price point.

What I Ate Wednesday

That is a wrap for this edition of What I Ate Wednesday! I thought it might be helpful to point out that if you do want to lose weight it does not have to be a process of starvation. Looking at food density can allow you to keep your quantity high so that you do not feel deprived. Slow and steady is really the best plan.

Have a wonderful day! Thanks for tuning in for WIAW. I will see you here tomorrow with a collection of my favorite things from June!

Question of the Day:

  • Do you consider food density when it comes to your meals?
  • What is your summer beverage of choice?

»»Linking up with Jenn.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

I am rocking lifting gloves and a braid today so you know things are about to get serious! Really? I am not sure, but today I have a little training tutorial of sorts for your next trip to the gym. I have been including the trap bar deadlift in my workouts again recently. It is a really great training tool so I thought I would share some details with you guys!

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

You may feel like you are in the dark and wondering what this post is even about. Well behold, this piece right here. It usually floats around the gym weight lifting area or pitched against a wall.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

In simplistic terms, a deadlift is simply the process of lifting things up and putting them down. However, the way that the body performs this motion is absolutely necessary to reep any type of athletic performance benefits.

Benefits of Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar is the perfect tool for any beginner to start to perform a deadlift. You can develop some of the necessary skills before you progress to doing a barbell deadlift. The skills I am referencing here are a hip hinge, neutral spine and optimal hip extension. These are the essentials you are going to need in your “training tool box” if you want to develop even as an everyday athlete.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

This movement also really works your glutes and hamstrings so it will help your legs look tip top. This is always an extra benefit. :-)

The Trap Bar Deadlift & Your Workout

You can add the trap bar deadlift to your workout or training scheme at any time. It can be a great way to develop your movement skills and pattern. If you are newer to lifting weights it is also a good first step to start.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

The Set Up

The trap bar weights 45lbs which is the same weight as an average barbell. You will typically see them lying without weight plates against a wall at a gym.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

To use the bar you will need to add plates and clips at the end to keep the weight secure. Once do this you are ready to get started. I have 15lb plates on each side. However, you have to play a little trial and error to see what falls into your comfort zone.

You will see that there are handles on the side. These handles can be low or high depending on how low you are able to go. I actually use both to mix it up my training. My squatting technique has improved, but I have a lot of restrictions that prevents me from squatting low. I am working on it! Years of being inactive in a desk job will make the body a little cranky and reluctant to move into certain positions.

Steps to Active your Muscles

  • Shoulders Back and Down (think about tucking them into your back pockets)
  • Core is Tight
  • Low abs are engaged
  • Booty is tucked under
  • Gaze is straight ahead

The Movement

The trap bar deadlift is a bit of a deadlift and squat hybrid since it is more of a push movement. It helps to teach how to push in a deadlift which is a push into a pull. Learning to push off the ground is not an easy thing to master. It also helps you keep your body weight centered in relation to the bar.

With a straight bar, the bar is in front of you and therefore trickier to navigate. Finding your center is harder since the weight is placed differently.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

After you step inside the bars you will want to squat down to pick up the bar by the handles. Push your knees out slightly. Then bend at the hips and push your booty back. Extend your arms to get down and pick up the handles. Drive up to full standing position and then repeat those motions to return the bar to the ground.

Wrap Up

You can do different variations of weight. You want to use enough so that the movement is a challenge, but not so hard that I could not perform sufficient repetitions. I would recommend doing 7-8 sets of 5 reps each taking a brief rest (30-60 seconds) in between.

A side note about the braid…I rarely do anything different with my hair. It is either in a ponytail (workout mode) or down (real life). A few years ago I started playing around with “beach waves” and that was a real big change. I got a lot of compliments, and started to see where it could be fun to play around a little bit and try new things! Sometimes I think it is sort of nice to just see something different.

Have a great Tuesday, and I will see you tomorrow with post all about the eats.

Question of the Day: Have you ever used a trap bar in your workouts?

»»Linking up with The Fit Dish today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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Closet Organization: 101

Hi there! Happy Monday. Hope you enjoyed a great weekend doing a little bit of whatever pleases you. As I have mentioned previously, Scott and I are going to be moving at the end of the summer so we have a little bit of a “cleaning out mentaility” right now.

This leads us to a certain fact about me. I absolutely love cleaning out my closet. I always enjoy reading tips and tricks on how to do it best whenever they pop up in magazines. I could not help myself, and got a little jump start on the project this past weekend. As I was engaging in this endeavor it occured to me it may be helpful to share what I have learned with you. My closet organization:101 if you will.

When I lived in New Jersey, I would try to entice my mother over to my apartment with the promise of wine and snacks. Little did she know it was all under the guise of getting her to play closet with me.

How does one play Closet Organization? If you are scratching your head on that one do not fret. Read along and you will find out!

Closet Organization:101

Closet-Organization-101

Grab a Buddy

This can be a solo effort, but I personally prefer to have a buddy. This way you have someone you can bounce ideas off of as you start to sort and organize. You want an honest friend here! Someone who will tell you what is up with tops that are less than flattering or out of date. You get my drift. Hence, the offer of wine to get my mom to help me out with these sort of decisions.

Flash forward to this past weekend. Scott was totally confused and gave me a skeptical look when I tried to hold on to several tops that had small holes in them. I happened to really like their styles, but he was right – it was time to part ways.

Closet-Organiazation-101

Sorting Through

I like to do my clothes in sections by type. Dresses, pants and then tops and sweaters. Yes, you need sweaters even in Austin sometimes! However, you could also do it by season too. The great closet clean out happens every 6 months to a year for me. I know that I wear the same things and let some simply sit way too long. This brings me to my next tip…

Closet-Organization-101

Streamlining

If I have not worn it in a year – it goes! Unless you have special circumstances the odds are you will not wear it again. Sometimes I keep these things only to have them come up during my next game of closet organization.

Closet-Organization-101

Same rule applies to clothes that are way too tight, too lose, have holes/fabric tears or are just completely out of date. There are also items that simply get a “tired” look that would probably be best retired.

Here is the 101 in bullet form:

  • If you have not worn it in a year – it goes in a pile that goes.
  • What remains is put in separate piles – keepers, maybes and need to try on.
  • After sorting and trying everthing on it goes back in the closet. You will be amazed at the transformation!
  • If it is lackluster it gets added to the “go” pile.

Trying It On

There was a great line in the show What Not to Wear where Stacy London talked about the buy without try. Same philosphy here! I like to go the extra mile and try on anything I am not sure about. It might get a little tiring, but I only do this once or twice a year so it is worth the effort.

Closet-Organization-101

When you try it you really see how you look in the piece and can examine it a little more closely to determine fit and such. There are some items where you just cannot tell at first glance if it should stay or go.

What to Do with Unwanted Items

There are several ways to deal with your unwanted items. It really depends on if you want to make extra cash and if you are willing to invest time in it.

I have used eBay before, but I would only recommend it if you have a high end item. For example, I had a J Crew blazer I wore a few times that no longer fit. I spent quite a bit on it, so it was worth the extra time investment to take a good picture, place a listing and put a package together to send out to the buyer.

For the most part, if I have pieces in good condition I will take them to a local consignment shop. I have also used Twice which is very similar, but an online version. You initiate through the site that you have a package and they send you a pre-paid shipping label. You pack up your clothes and send them and they will give you what they see as fair market value for your goods. It is nice to have a little cash to put towards replacement items!

Closet-Organization-101

For extra t-shirts, more worn items and odds and ends I go to the Salvation Army or a local thrift shop to donate my things. An extra tip here – most items for donation need to go in a garbage bag especially if they are dropped into large bin outside of the storefront.

A Fresh Start

I feel like closet organization gives me a fresh start. I often get distracted by the clutter in my closet and do not really see what I own. Maybe this is the reason I own about eight skinny brown belts? I am not sure, but I know the cleaner and neater the better.

Closet-Organization-101

It gives you an idea of what you need to shop for to round out your wardrobe. I know I am often guilty of gravitating towards the same items over and over when I go to the stores. It is ridiculous! Knowing what is in my closet provides me a little guidance.

Stacy London would be proud of my Closet Organization: 101. I hope. :-)

Questions of the Day:

  • How frequently do you clean out your closet?
  • Did you watch the show What Not to Wear?

»»Linking up with Katie and Erin today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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4th of July Quinoa Salad

It’s great, but it’s not a salad.

Sure it is…what makes it not a salad?

There’s no greens. You need green things for salad.

4th of July Quinoa Salad

4th of July Summer Salad

Such was the exchange at the Delaney/Frost dinner table last night. I really should kitchen counter because we seriously never use our dinner table to eat dinner. Yesterday I whipped up a quinoa salad meant for your 4th of July celebrations that resulted in being our dinner.

Beyond this my friends, I have come to my senses. I have accepted that it is officially mad hot in Austin. The idea of turning on my oven to roast, well anything, seemed like utter craziness. What else could I cook? Then it came to me that a summer salad would be just the thing to share on the blog this week.

I am not normally a way ahead of the game type person. My mother and sister joke that I frequently say everything is so far away. Well, in the land of the web people are in fact searching ahead of time. Since the 4th of July holiday is right around the corner this was the appropriate time to share it. Alas, you need time to contemplate the recipe and plan out the details.  You have to pencil in the time to go buy all of the ingredients. I totally get it.

This 4th of July Quinoa Salad has two great things going for it. Number one, it is easy to make and features a lot of fresh vegetables which is perfect for this time of year. Number two, it is actually better to make it ahead of time for a party, a BBQ or even for yourself to have on hand for lunch. The dressing and seasonings will help to marinate the dish. As a result, it will be even more flavorful. It pays to be ahead of the game here.

You will need to cook your quinoa sooner rather than later since you will need it to cool for the recipe. Be careful when purchasing your quinoa. I might be lazy, but I actually despise when the instructions say that it needs to be washed. These “quinoas” of whatever you may call them are too tiny, and go through the strainer. It is an utter mess and quite the kitchen calamity. I like to buy mine pre-rinsed so I look for it on the package. This version was a quick 10 minute variety, but there are oodles of brands out there to choose. Yes, I said oodles. Other than that you will just have to prep all of your vegetables.

4th of July Quinoa Salad

I really liked this combination of flavors, but you could mix and match if a vegetable in the recipe is not to your liking. We are flexible around here at The Bikini Experiment.

4th of July Summer Salad

4th of July Quinoa Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delightful and healthy 4th of July Quinoa Salad. Perfect for a picnic, BBQ or a prep ahead one dish meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup of Uncooked Quinoa
  • 2 Carrots
  • ½ of Red Peper
  • ½ of an English Cucumber
  • 10-12 Grape Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Green Scallions
  • ¼ Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • 1 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
  • 1 Teaspon of Dried Basil
  • ½ Teaspoon of Dried Parsley
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Follow the package instructions for the quinoa.
  2. Make sure all of the water completely absorbs and allow the quinoa to cool.
  3. Wash and chop the carrots, tomatoes, and cucumber.
  4. Wash and cut the green sections of the scallion. I like to use kitchen sheers.
  5. Add the lemon juice extra virgin olive oil, and the herbs and spices.
  6. Mix together in a large dish and serve.

This recipe was nice and simple which is my favorite kind. I am looking forward to having some leftovers over the next few days!

4th of July Quinoa Salad

Have a wonderful weekend. Plans are loose around here since the weather looks particularly suspect – the forecast says lots of rain.

See you back here on Monday!

Question of the Day: Do you think a “salad” can be a salad without greens?

»»Linking up with Heather, Katie, Clare and Jill today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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My Nighttime Routine

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room–to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one–he says goodnight….Good Night Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

Good Night Moon holds a soft spot in my heart. It was one of my favorite childhood books. I would get sleepy just hearing those words repeated to me. Those were the days were they not? Washing my face and teeth at night were utterly uncomplicated activites.

It was all so simple when it came to bedtime. There was a little reading with a book of course. Then a quick flip off a light switch! I remember easily dozing off into a blissful slumber.

Flash forward many years later, and my 30s have brought on less than perfect nights of sleep. My mom will often remind me that this is one of the pesky issues that becomes a force to be reckoned with as we age. It is a cruel twist of fate indeed. The more sleep I need the harder it can be to come by. Cruel indeed.

My Nighttime Routine

I would only allow myself to look this ridiculous for The Bikini Experiment!

My Nighttime Routine

As a blogger and writer I am on my computer more than I would like to admit. It is not unusual for me to be working on projects at night. It is well supported that computer and phone screens are a huge pitfall when it comes to unwinding at night.

Sleep Glasses

These sleep glasses I am wearing block out blue light. Melatonin product is increased when that blue light is blocked. This in turn maximizes the body’s melatonin product to improve sleep and overall health.

Low Blue Light Glasses

I try to remember to slip them on at night if I am working on blog related to-do’s or if Scott and I decide to watch a movie or TV show. The science behind these bad boys makes total sense to me. Plus, I like that I can do whatever I want or feel like doing since these glasses are fighting the good fight for me.

Last week I was bad after we got home from the Darius Rucker concert because I was totally wired from being up way past my bedtime. My nighttime routine was thrown off, and I remembered I wanted to edit a few pictures for me post the next day. This is me looking rather guilty.

My Nighttime Routine

I know I feel a different when I wear the low blue light glasses. I am not perfect, but I try to do my best to remember them most nights. It is recommended to wear them 2-3 hours before bedtime. I am not that disciplined. However, I try for at least an hour every night before I want to go to bed.

Natural Calm & Supplements

Since falling asleep is a huge area of concern for many people there is a lot of information out there on the big worldwide web. Through a lot of research, Scott found Natural Calm. This is a magnesium supplement that you mix with liquid since it is in powder form. We order it on Amazon and it comes in a variety of flavors.

My Nighttime Routine

My other supplements include:

  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C

The Vitamin C helps your body to absorb the magnesium in the natural calm more effectively. Everyone once in a while I will skip it, but it really is a big help. I even try to take a little baggie with me when I travel. I am by no means an expert, but these are the supplements I have found that seem to work well for me.

Reading

I do not read as much or as often as I would like anymore. However, I try for at least 10 minutes or so in whatever book is my current read.

I find that it still helps me unwind a little. I prefer fiction that is not too heavy. Nothing thought providing at bedtime! Falling asleep is some real serious stuff. Next up for me is The History of Love!

My Nighttime Routine

These are the sleep tips that are currently helping me out quite a bit. It may seem a little complicated, but it is far better than the ole toss and turn action. I am always looking for other ways to improve so please feel free to share any you might have in the comments section.

Have a wonderful Thursday, and I will see you back here with a new recipe tomorrow.

Question of the Day: What helps you fall asleep?

»»Linking up with Running with Spoons today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
Facebook | Google+ | Twitter |  Pinterest | Instagram | FeedBurner | Bloglovin

I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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