Thursday, April 14, 2016

How I Lost Weight by Eating Cookies

Hi, I'm Amanda and I'm addicted to cookies. And crackers. And snacks. And ice cream.

I tried very hard for several years to live a Paleo lifestyle: real, clean food. No sugar, grains and very limited amounts of dairy. Mostly just meat, veggies, fruits and nuts. I thought this was the best way to fuel my body, lose fat and get abs.

Paleo works, you guys. I got abs (very quickly), but I couldn't keep them. They came and went. Why? Because it's not a sustainable diet. At least not for me. For me, it's a crash diet. And I'm a binge eater. Note: I'm not saying Paleo won't work for you, because it works great for a lot of people. I'm just not one of them!

Here's how it'd go:
  1. I would go super strict and completely restrict myself for a few weeks. NO sugar, No grains, NO cheats, NOTHING
  2. I would get abs (yay!) 
  3. After my 21 day challenge or month of Paleo was up, I'd reward myself with a massive cheat day
  4. I'd tell myself "OK, Amanda. You can keep this up. You get one cheat meal a week."
  5. Failure. I couldn't keep it up. One cheat meal would turn into one cheat day which would turn into binging over and over and over again until I felt so miserable and fat and guilty I'd start the whole process over again
I wouldn't go so far as to say this was an eating disorder, but it was certainly an unhealthy lifestyle and an unhealthy relationship with food. Massive amounts of restriction followed by extreme overeating gives your body mixed signals and makes your digestive system go coo-coo. And your brain, too. I ended up struggling with major bloating and digestive issues, regardless of what I was eating, which then lead to me feeling fatter and uglier than I actually was which led to occasional bits of depression and self-hatred. Not good. 

Round and round I went. Frustrated, bloated, no longer seeing any kind of results, and making myself miserable. So, I decided I needed a different approach. 

A lot of people at my gym had started following IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) or Flexible Dieting. They'd post about eating cookies and cereal and ice cream and fast food all the time and I was SO annoyed by it.

"There's no way all they eat is junk food and still look that good. They just have better metabolism than me."

But, after doing a TON of research, I decided to give it a shot, and I'm so glad I did.

Ignore my bed head and sleep deprived eyes in the after pic. It was taken in the early stages of puppyhood!

Here's the deal. Yes, I eat cookies and frozen yogurt on the reg, but there's also a LOT of chicken breast, egg whites and spinach in my diet that I don't share on Instagram or Snapchat....because who wants to see pictures of chicken breast....amiright?

IIFYM is basically a way to keep your diet balanced (I try for 80% real food, 20% fun food). It's kind of like counting calories. You're allotted a certain number of grams for protein, fat and carbs each day (your macros). You can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits your numbers. I also limit my sugar to less than 50 grams per day, because f I didn't limit it, I'd abuse it and get 63% of my carbs from Hot Tamales.

So, yes, I can have an Oreo or two each day to keep me mentally sane, but in order to meat my macro numbers dead on, my diet has to include a ton of foods that are high in protein, low in fat, and full of healthy carbs. And boy oh boy, those healthy carbs (bread, oatmeal, potatoes, rice, noodles, whole grains) taste real good after three years of not eating them. 

To put it simply, balance is key. Knowing I can eat whatever I want keeps me from feeling the need to cheat/overindulge, BUT I have to eat those "fun" foods in moderation in order for them to fit into my numbers. For example, if I know I'm going to be eating ice cream, I just fit the rest of my day around it accordingly (i.e.: no Oreos at lunch, fewer carby snacks and maybe chicken breast in lieu of another fattier meat). It's all about choosing which foods are worth the macros and balancing it accordingly.

The fact that I can eat cookies and not gain weight is enough for me to keep it up. Yes, its a lot of work to enter every single bit of food into my MyMacros+ or MyFitnessPal app, but in my opinion, its WAY better than not eating those foods at all or eating way too many of them and feeling gross. Its also incredibly interesting to see the makeup of every food item from a different perspective.

I'm so glad I can now go out to eat with friends or eat a donut and still feel good about myself in the mirror/at the gym/on the scale. Not feeling guilty for eating something delicious is the absolute best.

Note: I use Brittany Dawn Fitness for my Macro-Consulting, but there are many different options out there! Find a coach you like that works for you. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Guyutes: Elevated Street Food

I'm not really sure how to say it. Guy-yet-ees? Guy-yutes? Supposedly it's named after a Phish song, but I don't know any Phish songs. I only listened to Jessica Simpson's Sweet Kisses in 1999.

Regardless, Guyutes is a new-ish restaurant in the Uptown 23rd District of Oklahoma City. Their menu consists of "elevated street food" made with local ingredients. The food isn't the only thing that is elevated, though. The rooftop patio is quietly situated overlooking 23rd street and is the perfect place to spend a sunny weekend afternoon.


I ordered "The Pip" wrap: cheeto crusted chicken with black bean purée, seasoned rice, avocado cream, tomato and cilantro with red pepper ranch. It was good, but not great. Honestly, I think I just ordered the wrong thing (that's what I get for listening to the hipster waiter instead of my heart). Upon checking out a few plates at the surrounding tables, I came to the conclusion that I NEED to return and give the Tequila Sunfryze a go. Waffle fries smothered in tequila queso, pulled pork, jalapeños, cilantro creme and a fried egg? Yes and amen.


The drinks, however....now they were something to write home about. The prices were stern, but I didn't let that stop me. I highly recommend the China Cat; I have a thing for floral hints in my cocktails and this ranked right up there with some of New York City's best craft drinks (lookin' at you, Fedora). Gin, Elderflower, Cucumber, Lemon and Soda...please and thank you. Ashley, my patio date for the day, ordered the Sweet Pete and the Green Initiative, both of which transport your taste buds straight to the Caribbean.....which is exactly where I'd like to be right now.

It's safe to say I will be returning to the elevated patio at Guyutes sometime in the near future... Care to join me?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Checking Magnolia Off My Bucket List

I'll be upfront with you...road trips are not my cup of tea. I get impatient. Bored. Uncomfortable. I absolutely hate getting stuck in traffic that pushes the ETA back. Typically by the time I make it to my destination I'm in a bad mood (sorry to whoever I'm visiting...). I just can't help it!!

That being said, I believe that the best way to prevent said mood is to plan a pit-stop! It breaks up the trip, gives you something to look forward to, and makes it seem much more tolerable. 

We road tripped to ATX a while back and planned our lunch break pit-stop at Magnolia Market


It had been on my bucket list for a while. I love Chip & Jo (who doesn't?) and seriously adore Joanna's decorating style. I've mentioned it before (herehere and here), but I totally copy catted her look in my own home. She is basically my design muse. 

To be honest, I had very high expectations for Magnolia and it didn't quite meet them. Of course the store was adorable and was basically like walking behind the scenes of a Fixer Upper episode....even the public bathroom had subway tile! The store sold really cute stuff, it just didn't have very much of it. I had perused the Magnolia website multiple times while in the process of decorating our house, and everything they had in-store I had already seen online. It was kind of a let down! On top of that, the line to check out was a good 45-minute wait. I was like, "I'm sorry, but this isn't Six Flags, ya'll. I can just order that $8 coffee mug from my iPhone and bypass the wait......"

Regardless, the grounds of the Silos were awesome. They had quite the selection of local food trucks which made for a great little lunch break. I love eating local. The weather was to-die-for, so we were able to eat outside on a picnic table and enjoy the perfectly-decorated surroundings. 


To give ourselves a little pick-me-up before we hit the road again, we ordered an Iced Cowboy Coffee from the Common Grounds trailer. I'm kind of a coffee snob, so believe me when I say it did not disappoint. To me, this coffee made the pit-stop 100% worth it. It had a distinct flavor to it that I couldn't quite pinpoint; the barista said it was their "special sauce!" Whatever is in that secret sauce, I'm glad its not available in OKC or else I'd be dropping dollars on the daily. 


Even though the store itself was a little bit of a disappointment, I'm very glad we were able to stop by! It made our drive to Austin go by so much quicker....plus I spent the remaining two hours on the road editing and instagramming all the photos I took (don't worry, Cole was driving), so we were there before I knew it. I wouldn't recommend making a solo trip to Waco just to see the Silos, but if you're in the area or passing through, it makes for a great little pit-stop.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Meet Kylo

It's no secret that I've wanted a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy for years and years and years. I nagged and pleaded and strategically planted hints. It was a talking point in many-a-conversation between me and my husband. Facts and logic certainly were not on my side.....but the cuteness factor was.

I got my yearly bonus from work on the same day that a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder I followed on Facebook posted this picture.


Naturally I text it to Cole and said something like, "This is what I can spend my bonus on!" Never in a million years did I expect to come home at lunch and have him agree with me.

Fast forward a few weeks........and say hello to Kylo! Yes, it's from StarWars. Nerd alert.


He turned 10 weeks old yesterday and weighed in at a whopping 15.5 pounds. Insert wide eyed emoji.

Kylo loves to chew. Fingers, shoe strings, zippers, sticks, acorns, Chloe's tail.....you name it. He also really, really, I'm talking REALLY loves to eat. He is very vocal; always moaning or grunting or whining or barking. It's cute now but it won't be for long.

He is the star pupil in his puppy training class but can't quite seem to nail down the whole not-going-potty-in-his-crate thing (we do a lot of dog-laundry these days). However, he is learning fast and improving daily.

If you want to watch Kylo grow, follow him and Chloe on Instagram (@chloe_and_kylo). They're pretty popular and they get way more likes than I do.....

Friday, April 1, 2016

Eat More Hole Foods

I specifically remember a time back in '01 when my BFF Rachael said, "I don't eat donuts, they go straight to your hips."

From that moment on, I didn't eat donuts either. I was definitely in my awkward stage.....I didn't own a straightener, my teeth had never met a whitening toothpaste and I thought turquoise eye shadow, heavy on the glitter, was the best thing ever. I didn't need big hips on top of it. 

Then, one day in October of 2015, Cole and I walked into Doughnut Plant in NYC and my life was forever changed. Something about that donut made me a donut freak. Lover. Aficionado. Connoisseur. I think I've had roughly 792 donuts since then.....and it wasn't all that long ago. 

No donut has come close to Doughnut Plant's absolute delicious mouth watering perfection until I met the Buttermilk Bar donut at VooDoo Doughnuts in Austin, Texas.*

Holy tastebuds, Batman. 

I can't stop thinking about it. Drooling over it. I've gone so far as to plan another quick weekend getaway to get my mouth around it again (that's what she said...).


Of course, VooDoo had other donuts, too. Crazy ones, at that.

We ordered an Old Dirty Bastard (lol) which was a yeast donut topped with chocolate frosting, Oreos and Peanut Butter. Because, is there a better combination in the entire universe than Oreos and Peanut Butter? I think not. Special thanks to LiLo for introducing the world to the best idea since sliced bread.

We also got a Dirty Snowball: A chocolate cake donut topped with marshmallow and dipped in coconut with a dollop of peanut butter in the middle.

Last but certainly not least, we got a classic blueberry cake donut because you just can't go wrong with those. From my experience, novelty donuts are fun to try, but the classics are always where its at.



Tips on Visiting VooDoo:

  • Peruse the menu on their website and know what you want before you get to the counter. They don't have a menu in store, per say, they just display all the donuts in a rotating case. And let's be real, every donut screams, "PICK ME! CHOOSE ME! LOVE ME!"
  • Research their busy times. Supposedly VooDoo can be subject to extremely long lines. We were lucky...we got there at 10 a.m. on a Friday and only had two people in front of us! Regardless of how long the line is, though, I think the donuts are worth the wait. 
  • Whatever you order, make sure you get that Buttermilk Bar. I promise, you won't be disappointed. 


Note: they also have locations in Portland, Oregon, and Denver, Colorado.