October 01, 2019

Day One of Calorie Counting

squirrel watching me through the window

Do you notice anyone spying on me while I write this blog? ;)  Here's a clearer look:

spying squirrel

I can't tell you how many times I get up from writing a blog post because the squirrels come looking for their daily treats. I love it! (Although trying to blog and trying to cook uninterrupted has become impossible. Sometimes, I'll look up from washing my hands in the kitchen sink to see a squirrel perched on the deck watching me.

Anyway, I have to say, I'm kind of surprised that the first day of calorie counting went off without a hitch! I'm SURE it's because I had everything planned out well (especially having entered the recipes ahead of time into Fat Secret.

It felt odd getting back in the eating schedule. I spent some time in the morning baking the Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal for breakfast, so I ate lunch much later than I planned. As a consequence, I wasn't hungry for lunch. But then I was starving for dinner at 4:00, which is the time I planned on eating dinner anyway.

I just re-published the recipe (when I originally published it, I back-dated it so that I wouldn't bombard my feed with a trillion recipes at one time; but with it being fall now, I thought it'd be an appropriate time to share again. And since I'm counting calories again, I even included the nutrition info.)

The Baked Oatmeal was delicious and reminded me of fall. So did the weather! We've had very nice fall weather the last few days (although today it's supposed to be 88 degrees--yay, Michigan).

Today, my team has a cross country meet so I didn't hold a practice yesterday, which meant I had more time to spend on cooking dinner. So, I chose the most laborious dinner I'd planned for the week--Chicken Fajita Bowls.

I despise doing the prep work for this dish! But it's so delicious that once in a while, I will do it. And complain the entire time. Just ask Jerry. He offers to help, but I am such a control freak in the kitchen that I won't accept help. He does the dishes instead, which is a chore that I hate even more than prepping food, so it balances out ;)

I had to trim and slice the raw chicken breasts (I'd bought four pounds of chicken for two meals--that usually yields 3-1/2 pounds after I trim it to my liking). I used to get by with one pound per meal, but my growing boys are always asking for more. Since I was already slicing chicken for this meal, I just figured I might as well do all of it at once. So, I swear I felt like I was slicing chicken for hours. (Because chicken breasts are so big, I butterfly them, cut them in half, and THEN slice them, which is why it takes so long.)

After all of that, I had to slice two onions and four bell peppers. Thankfully, I already had some Homemade Fajita Seasoning mix made and stored in the pantry. Once the prep work is done, the meal is a breeze, though. (I used to love to cook; I don't know what happened.)

So, dinner was delicious and we had plenty of leftovers for lunch today. I was surprised just how few calories the meal has--300 total, which includes 2/3 cup of cooked rice and 1/6 of the recipe (probably about one cup--maybe a little more--of chicken, peppers, and onions with sauce). If you're looking for something filling, this is perfect!

On top of counting calories yesterday like the old pro that I am, I actually ran three miles on the treadmill. I'm still doing heart rate training with my MAF (maximum aerobic function) heart rate (180 minus my age, so my maximum is 143 beats per minute right now). When I ran regularly for three weeks a month or so ago, I was seeing progress--my pace was getting faster while maintaining the same heart rate. (I will do an in-depth post about MAF training--my way--soon, because I've been getting a lot of questions about it lately.)

However, I have found that I backslide quickly when I stop running. So, instead of being able to run from 4.7-5.0 mph (ish) to maintain a 143 bpm heart rate, I started at 4.7 mph yesterday and had to lower it a few times--ending on 4.4 mph. I'd like to run three days a week (four would be even better!) and see if I can make some improvement again.

running split with heart rate on the treadmill

On the treadmill, I started watching the show 24 starting with the first season (I watched the show YEARS ago, and I don't really remember anything except that I liked it). It's such a fast-paced show and each episode is roughly the same amount of time it takes for me to run three miles right now. The episode actually finishes about a minute or so before I do--so my first goal is to be able to watch the whole episode in under three miles, haha.

I thought about getting up early today to run, but I was SO tired I just couldn't do it. I really need a schedule so that I force myself to do it. My "Your Best 5K Plan" is perfect in the sense that it combines the MAF method with the 80/20 method; but it's not necessarily for beginners. So, I think I'll work on writing a plan similar to that, only for beginners. (I'm basically a beginner again)

For some reason, I still prefer to run on the treadmill right now. I think that's perhaps because it's easier to control my heart rate with the treadmill belt being a constant speed. Now that it's cooling off outside, though, and with fall being my favorite season, I may take it outdoors. I always feel fantastic after an outdoor run! I miss that feeling a lot.

Anyway, I'm glad I had a good first day with calorie counting. It's only a day, but still--it's a day! :)


  1. Yum! This looks awesome. I feel you when it comes to prep. So I cheat, hahahaha. I buy the pepper and onions that are bagged in the frozen section at the grocery store! It cuts down the prep time a little bit anyway.

  2. For those large, fat chicken breasts I always put them between two sheets of wax paper and beat them down so they're flatter (not as bulky) with the smooth side of my meat tenderizer. I don't know that it would save you time but beating them up is more fun than cutting them up- LOL. They are always tender when I do it this way. You should try it and see if it saves you the time it takes to butterfly then cut them in half.


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