Small goals + protein needs

July 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm 10 comments

Hi there!

I am a tired lady. My sleeping schedule is seriously out of whack at the moment…I’m finding myself staying up as late as I used to in college! Not that I’m too far out of college now or anything (I graduated in 2009), but since I’m now an “adult” and have an “adult job,” I have to be more responsible about getting a good night’s sleep so I can work hard. Last night I was up until at least 3…It wasn’t intentional, but I get such a burst of energy at night that I find it hard to imagine going to sleep when there are so many other things I could be doing!

Definitely drank a giant iced coffee this morning, made half and half with almond milk.

source: Tom and Lissie

Part of the reason I was up so late is that I worked from home yesterday and got a late start. I focused and worked hard, but it was one of those days where nothing was going right and I couldn’t get the answers I needed to get things done. It was very frustrating, so I ended up working later than I planned to try and get more done. I worked most of the day at Caribou, but this time only bought a large iced tea and brought lunch from home — a small turkey, goat cheese and avocado sandwich on whole wheat and a few strawberries (not pictured).

I finally got home and made dinner around 9, and stuck to a simple combo of whole wheat rigatoni, marinara sauce, pecorino cheese, a Trader Joe’s chicken sausage and some asparagus on the side. It was simple, hearty and delicious.

So as much as I hate doing so, I have gotten back on the calorie tracking bandwagon. I am by no means obsessive about counting calories (I think those people who know the count of every single food offhand are a little neurotic), but I’ve realized that it’s really important to help keep portion sizes in check and to make sure I’m not unknowingly going completely overboard with my daily intake. I know that I need to set small goals for myself in order to make continuous and long-lasting changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

It’s one thing to eat three slices of pizza for dinner — anyone with an ounce of sense knows that this is a caloric meal and, if they’re trying to watch their intake, can compensate to a pretty close balance. That’s not an issue for me. My problem is all the really healthy, nutritious, but calorically dense food that I eat. I love healthy food — I love seeing how many superfoods and nutrient-dense things I can pack into my day, and seeing the benefits both in how I look and feel (hello, glowing skin!). But things like nut butter, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, olive oil, avocado….all these things are very calorically dense. I love all of them, so after tracking my portions and calories very closely, I’ve realized that I usually eat more of these things than I need. Sure, I can balance it out with fewer calories from other things throughout the day, but I doubt I would be satisfied or full if I wanted to stick to the same intake goals.

My point is, as much as I despise calorie counting and feel that it can border on obsessive or disordered in some ways if you’re not careful, I think it’s an important tool that can be used periodically to help make sure you’re sticking to the nutrient and calorie intake that your body needs, but not more than your body needs. My problem isn’t too many cookies or chips — it’s the freakin’ avocado!

On a similar note, I’ve noticed that while tracking on Daily Plate that I almost always go over the fiber and protein “nutrient goals” they set. Fiber didn’t faze me at all — lots of fiber is awesome and most people don’t get nearly enough. But the too much protein thing really surprised me! They’re suggesting I need only 41g per day which I don’t think is anywhere near enough (for health, satiety, muscles, etc), so I decided to look up how much protein I (& women in general) really need per day. had a really useful tool that helped cut to the chase (I didn’t want to wade through a bunch of text):


As I suspected, I actually need more than twice as much protein as Livestrong initially told me. I’m guessing they just suggest the bare minimum since most people don’t get enough (or get far, far too much) protein, but I was still really surprised to see such a disparity. Interesting! Glad I have been making sure to get plenty and not listening to Mr. Armstrong ;)

One major accomplishment I made last night was finally setting up my wireless router. Even though I moved into my current apartment at the beginning of May, I neglected to set up a wireless connection for a variety of reasons, the main being laziness, but also because my apartment is very small. I could easily leave my laptop on my coffee table next to the modem I needed to plug it into, and it was never really a problem — just a slight annoyance, the biggest drawback being not being able to use my laptop in bed. I think overall that’s probably a good thing, but I suppose I’ll find out soon enough now that I have wireless!

Funnily enough, the only reason I couldn’t figure out how to set up the router was a faulty Ethernet cable! I thought I was going crazy or at the very least had lost my techie prowess because I couldn’t figure out this silly router for the life of me (it was used, but handed over by my parents so still in great condition). As it turned out though, the cord they included was just busted. As soon as I tried a new one (why didn’t I think of that sooner!) and followed the simple steps on the LinkSys website, I was up and running in no time! Hallelujah!

Another major accomplishment last night was making my first protein muffin, the ones that Gina is always raving about! I wanted a dose of protein (how appropriate!) but also something dessert-y. I know I’m always saying I’m not a sweets person, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving sweets much more than usual. Maybe I’m just not a junk food, processed sugary crap type of person? Even as a kid, I thought Sour Patch Kids and gummi worms were disgusting; they always gave me stomach aches!

I did a pumpkin-chocolate combo for the muffin and it turned out delicious! It was almost like a brownie, but it also wasn’t very low-cal either…I’ll post pictures and the recipe I used later, but I have a feeling I’ll be experimenting with this recipe quite a bit going forward, tweaking it to at least make it the ultimate brownie!

I’m off to finish some work and eat my lunch, then I’m having dinner in Little Italy with my parents for my dad’s birthday! I cant’ wait! Due to the freezing AC in my building, lunch is a steamy cup of lentil veggie soup (in my favorite mug!) and a cold, crunchy salad. I also brought a cup of tasty fruit that I cut up. Have a great day!


Entry filed under: Fitness, Food and diet, Life, Nutrition, Restaurants, Work. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Linked: A Tale in Forgiveness Carb-coma

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mel (mmmstories)  |  July 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I too share that “midnight second wind” that keeps me up at ridiculous hours! Yesterday, a tough workout left me passed out at 9:30…and up again at 12! haha sorry I can’t really give you a fix.

    What program do you use to count cals? I think it’s an awesome idea that def works at keeping accountable. Do you measure everything? Sometimes I struggle with figuring out what measurements to enter though. (1/4 a pepper? haha)

    • 2. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Haha you woke up at 12:30? Funny! Once I’m down I’m usually out cold, but I always seem to find other things to do before that happens. It’s my most productive time.

      I use The Daily Plate which was bought by They seem to have the most accurate and complete list of foods, and it’s pretty straightforward and easy to use.

      Until recently I didn’t measure anything unless it was already pre-portioned (so in other words, I didn’t measure anything, haha), but as stated above, I started to realize that I was overdoing it quite a bit. So now I’m trying to measure things pretty accurately without getting crazy (for example, for my overnight oats, I’ll do 2 or 3 tablespoons of oats instead of just casually pouring it in). I don’t measure my almond milk though because it’s so low cal.

      Measuring also helps to get a good eyeball portion when you don’t measure. Hope that helps!

    • 3. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      I also have a food scale, but it’s SUPER old (and old-school) — it was my mom’s from Weight Watchers in the 80s! lmao. I don’t weigh food often enough to warrant a new one yet, but as I get more into cooking, baking and creating my own recipes, I think I may invest in a newer, nicer digital one since weights seem to be so much more accurate that volumes.

  • 4. Sarah @ Run Sqrl, Run  |  July 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been logging 80% of my intake in a personal food diary for the last 2 years. I kinda hate the term “counting calories” because that’s not really what it is to me; it’s more like managing my dietary intake. I like knowing the macronutrient ratios of my diet because I’ve found that they’re quite important for recreational athletes.

    You’re right on track with the small goals over the long term for a healthier you. :)

    • 5. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      That’s a MUCH better way to say it, Sarah — good call! I sometimes refer to it as food logging/tracking, but my automatic response is to call it counting. I may try to change that.

      What trends have you noticed about macro ratios for recreational athletes? I agree it’s super helpful to see, right in front of you, how balanced your day is, even though you think you can figure it out in your head. Seeing that I had a really carb-heavy breakfast helps remind me to go heavy on the veggies at dinner.

      • 6. Sarah @ Run Sqrl, Run  |  July 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

        I actually found a really interesting study about how much protein female athletes actually need and I used their results to help set my daily protein targets. I have it bookmarked at home, I’ll link it tonight.

        For me so far I’ve found:
        -Oatmeal is not a good breakfast for the day before and day of a race (runners trots wicked bad w/too much fiber)

        -I feel my best with the following ratios: 45% carb, 35% fat, 20% protein. It’s worth noting that even with a higher percentage of fat like that, I’m still under the RDA of saturated fat. I get a lot of healthy fats (like you I have an avocado problem ;))

  • 7. Sarah @ Run Sqrl, Run  |  July 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I totally just realized that I have that SAME exact mug only with the Sarah poem on it at home!

  • 8. Jojo  |  July 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I count/track/log too. I’m using to log everything because I can use the computer and a phone app to update it. I find that pretty handy.

  • 9. Laura  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I just found your blog and was reading through some of you posts and I needed to comment because I have the same Laura mug that you have! I am always over on my protein with too…and I always that I was not getting enough.

    • 10. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Laura!! Isn’t that mug the best?? Haha, that’s too funny. My parents bought it when I was little and I totally stole it away from them for my own place. What are some ways you make sure to get enough protein in every day?


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