WIAW: Photos of Meals Eaten at My Desk

Hello and how are you!? I mentioned this in my last post, but the last few weeks have been…weird. We have just been out of routine around here, so that’s kind of thrown off my blogging and hobby motivation.

I’m typing this up as I’m watching pre-third presidential debate coverage (ugh) and before I finish up some work things. Since it’s Wednesday and I actually remembered to take photos of (most of) my meals yesterday, I thought I’d link up for another fun edition of WIAW.


OK, so I’ve been reading Cassy Joy Garcia’s book Fed & Fit lately, and it is so good. I just love her energy and perspective on health and nutrition—she’s so positive! On Monday, I cooked up a batch of her plantain protein pancakes to freeze and take for breakfasts, and I’m in love. I had 2 pancakes, some of these turkey sausages (also so good), and a side of raspberries. Plus the usual iced coffee with almond milk.


Lunch was premade at home on Sunday: one chicken sausage fried in coconut oil along with one golden delicious apple, half a sweet potato, cubed and roasted, and a cup of Brussels sprouts sautéed in coconut oil. I got the idea from this recipe I found on Pinterest. I made 2 servings on Sunday and stuck them in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go lunch.


This was my first afternoon snack of the day. I found them in the gluten-free aisle at the grocery store this weekend and decided to pick up a few. I’m glad I did! They reminded me of a fruit roll-up or fruit leather, so BOLO if that’s your thing.

(Note: Since I worked through lunch yesterday and ate almost all my meals at work, I tried to take photos in different spots around my cube. Just trying to keep it interesting for you.)


Second afternoon snack of the day: Red delicious apple + Justin’s classic AB. Because it’s fall.

I also had an unpictured snack of baby carrots—this is the part where I started forgetting about taking photos.🙂

I had a chiropractor appointment after work and then plans with friends yesterday evening, so I went home in between super quickly to take care of the dogs. My “dinner” was an Udi’s gluten-free chocolate muffin and a handful of tortilla chips.


So filling (not) and delicious (yes). A few of my girlfriends and I ended up going out for drinks last night, and when I got home I snacked on a strawberry popsicle as “dinner, part 2.”

And that was it for the day! I hope you all are having a wonderful week (we’re halfway through!). If you’d like to check out other WIAW posts, you can visit here. And make sure to check out the OG WIAW, Peas and Crayons.


And if you’re watching the debate tonight, take a few deep breaths and have a glass of wine maybe.❤


Thursday Things + Food Journaling 101

Hello there! And happy October / Fall Festival week for those of you in southern Indiana! I have not actually made it down to the festival yet, but there ARE still 2 days left—who knows what could happen? The world is my oyster!

The last few weeks have been jam-packed with a ton of stuff, and on top of that I have been feeling run down.


First and foremost, the boyfriend and I went to Notre Dame 2 weeks ago for their game against Duke. Sadly, the game was kind of a bummer, but we still had an amazing time. The campus is incredible and it was so fun to be part of a football weekend.


The weather was absolutely perfect and we had a really great time hanging out with our friends and spending time on campus.

In addition to our trip, life has just been keeping me busy. I was trying to think of specific reasons why I’ve felt so blah, but there’s not one thing in particular. There are just some seasons of life that are like that—between work and friends and relationships and running errands, it just goes by super quickly.

Health-wise, I’ve been feeling a little off for the past few weeks. I have issues with my neck and shoulders, so a family weekend at Holiday World (riding the Scrambler in particular) left me in a lot of pain. Which turned into a migraine after an appointment at the chiropractor. I’ve also been experimenting a little with my diet, which leads me into what I want to write about today: food journaling, or why I think we should all be doing it.


I have been a user of MyFitnessPal for years. I actually did a project involving it for one of my classes in school.

MyFitnessPal is both a website and an app you can download to track your food and beverage intake, physical activity, and progress toward goals. It can also sync with other apps you may be using, like Fitbit or MapMyRun.


You can also connect with other users for accountability or motivation (don’t worry—you can choose what information is viewable to others, like weight, food diary, etc.).

So MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular food diary apps because it’s really user-friendly and has a really really large database of food and drink. Seriously, I can find almost anything I’ve eaten, including particular brands and specific entrees at restaurants. It also saves recent entries and recipes, so it’s very easy to track your food if you, like me, tend to eat a lot of the same things.

OK, this is probably starting to sound like this post was brought to you by MyFitnessPal, but it’s NOT. I just think it’s a really great app and a useful service. I personally use it to track my food and exercise, but I specifically love being able to see nutrient and macronutrient intake. If I’m feeling really hungry one day, I can look back and see I’ve eaten 70% carbs and very little protein—and this helps me know what changes I should be making in my diet in order to feel my best.

The other form of food journaling that I find useful is a good old fashioned notebook and pen.


I started keeping a notebook and pen on my nightstand a few months ago, mainly to see if my diet affected anxiety and stress in my life. You can make this as detailed or as brief as you’d like, but generally I include:

  • What I had for each meal plus any snacks (again, this doesn’t have to be in-depth—simply writing oatmeal and coffee for breakfast will suffice)
  • How much water I drank that day
  • What my energy levels throughout the day were like
  • What kind of activity I did (how many steps I got, if I worked out, foam rolling, etc.)
  • What my moods were like
  • Any other major differences (was I exhausted all day, bloated, bad headache, etc.)

It can be tedious at first, but like most new habits, once it becomes part of your routine, it feels natural. And I can’t stress enough how helpful this has been. Like that really bad stomachache I had a few weeks ago? I can look through my notebook and find that I had a similar one 2 months ago, and both those days I had eaten X. Or if I’m feeling really good one day, I can see that I drank a ton of water and had 3 meals with a good amount of protein in them.

If you are trying to meet a weight-loss goal, have been having digestive issues, or just haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, I encourage you to give food journaling a shot. Even if you don’t include every single thing you ate every day (which I usually don’t), it is so helpful for both accountability and information. Knowledge is power, people! Especially in regards to your health.

I hope this post was helpful! If you have questions about food journaling or would like me to explain anything I forgot, please let me know. I hope you all have a wonderful week and a sweet weekend.🙂

Currently / September 2016

This week has been pretty blah, so I thought a fun little survey post would be just the thing. Here’s a quick snapshot of all things currently going on in my life (similar to posts here and here). Hope you enjoy!


(Also enjoy this picture of a minion.)

Reading The Wild One, the third book in the Brooklyn Girls series. It’s a fun, quick read, perfect for the end of summer.

Listening to The Head and The Heart, but thinking it’s about time to bust out some Fleetwood Mac.

Looking forward to a weekend spent at Notre Dame. (!!!)

Watching The Mindy Project on HuluPlus. Binge-watching, to be exact. I went home from work early with a migraine today, so it played in the background of my dark living room all afternoon.

Needing a pedicure. Like real bad.

Drinking tons and tons of cold water—I need to flush out those toxins stat!

Indulging in handfuls of Enjoy Life chocolate chips whenever we have them on hand.

Wearing yoga pants and an oversize Notre Dame sweatshirt.

Wishing that fall weather would show up soon.

Making a Project Life album of our trip to California. It’s really nice and super easy to do, I’m just taking forever to do it.

Wanting a new pair of ankle boots (these or these maybe?).

Loving simple nights at home that are filled with relaxing instead of scrambling to do projects and work.❤

Now you: Tell me, what are your currently-s?

Workouts Lately

Hi there! Happy Wednesday and happy almost-fall. The weather here has been all kinds of nice lately, minus some mosquitoes that I guess won’t go away until the first freeze.

With school done and my crazy-busy summer almost over, I’ve been trying to get back into a routine that includes my old healthy habits. It’s a work in progress, and I’m trying to learn how to prioritize all the things. The last time I really was able to eat clean and work out on a consistent basis was like 3 years ago, and I was also living alone and hopelessly single. Translation: I didn’t have a lot going on, so I went to the gym every day and cooked all my own meals.

Right now, my plan of action is to go to the gym during my lunch break. Here’s the deal: I get a 1 hour break for lunch each day. I work in a pretty laid-back office, so we don’t have to look 100% profesh all the time. (Read: If I come back from lunch with a red face and sweaty hair, no one’s going to yell at me.) My gym is near my work. I have exactly enough time to get to the gym, change into workout clothes, work out, stretch, change back into work clothes, get back to work. No time for showers or any workout longer than 30 minutes.

Here are 2 workouts I’ve done recently during my lunch hour, plus a yoga video that I love so much and had to include.

lunchtime workout

This is a little weights circuit I put together that includes some of my favorite moves. Do each set 3 times, rest 1 minute, and then move to the next set.

Exercise demos: bicep curls / squats / bent-over row / straight-leg deadlift / standing overhead press / standing tricep extension / stationary lunge / supine chest flydonkey kicks / leg pulse


This is a cardio circuit I did when I had forgotten my headphones (hence the name). Normally, this would be an excuse to just head home. But since it was my lunch break, I had already eaten and didn’t have time to do anything else, so I toughed it out. I did 3 quick mini-circuits on different cardio machines to keep me from getting bored.

Finally, this is a really beautiful yoga sequence that I did after work yesterday. I have been craving lots of yoga lately, and this video was absolutely perfect. (Check out her channel on YouTube for lots of good videos each week here.)

Note: I am not a certified personal trainer. Check with your healthcare provider before beginning or making changes to your fitness routine. Honor your body and modify as necessary.

WIAW: Tuesdays That Feel Like Mondays

Hi! I hope you all had a lovely long weekend (if you were lucky enough to get a long weekend) and are feeling rested and ready to go! My poor friends and boyfriend hear this all the time, but I’ll say it here too: When you have a Monday off from work, the week feels longer. Fridays off, the week feels shorter. Don’t ask me why, but it’s true.

In true Tuesday/boosday fashion, my day started off with me sleeping through my alarm. I’m an avid user of The Rock Clock, but I think its service to me is over. This is the third time in the past week that the alarm has TURNED OFF because I didn’t turn it off first. Because I didn’t hear it! The Rock Clock, this is a failure. How can you call yourself an alarm if you turn off after X amount of minutes?

So the day started off on a bad foot.


All of my bags. Minus my gym bag, because I foolishly thought I would work out at home after work. Ha! Didn’t happen.

Miraculously, I got to work relatively on time. But breakfast was a drive-thru classic: oatmeal and iced coffee.


Eaten at my desk + half a pack of Justin’s almond butter to give the oatmeal a bit of staying power. FYI, my iced coffee order is just iced coffee with skim milk. Perfect.

I eat lunch every day around 11am. 1. Because I’m usually hungry at that time and don’t have a morning snack. And 2. Because I have been using my lunch breaks to go to the gym (minus today, when I went home and hung out with my dogs). I can’t work out on a full stomach—I feel like I want to hurl the whole time (TMI, sorry!).

Today I had my classic lazy-girl lunch: An Amy’s vegan, gluten-free burrito over some greens to give it some color, plus a big ol’ handful of red grapes because I can’t get enough of them lately. Pro tip: Buy a few lunches every week that will make it easy to throw in your lunch bag. I know there will be at least a couple days where I’m too lazy to meal prep or I’m out too late at night, and throwing one of these healthy-ish burritos in my bag makes life so much easier. No shame.


My lunch held me over reasonably well, so I waited to have my afternoon snack until around 3pm.


A peanut butter cookie Larabar with baby carrots and hummus. (I didn’t eat the plum because it was suspect. Sadly, I think plum season is over in southern Indiana.)

I work until 5, and when I got home I was pretty hungry. I was flying solo on Tuesday night, so I whipped up an old standby: scrambled eggs with pepper and hot sauce with an Ezekiel English muffin and cream cheese on the side.


At home we eat mostly paleo-ish (I’ll talk about this in a future post), but I’ve been eating vegetarian for breakfast and lunch lately. My boyfriend is not a fan of breakfast for dinner (break my heart, why don’t you!), so I never get to have scrambled eggs in the PM.😦

Dinner was quickly followed by a strawberry popsicle while watching The Mindy Project on HuluPlus.


After dinner, I did some stuff around the house and then met up with a friend at my favorite local watering hole for a drink (or 2). Vodka sodas with lime FTW.


I was out later than I planned, but we had a really good time catching up. As soon as I walked in the door, I had a handful (x2) of these amazing vegan chocolate chips.


I then took care of the doggies and sat down to type up this post. And now I’m ready for bed! The glamorous life of a 30-something who works full-time, right?


If WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday, for the uninitiated) is up your alley, as it is mine, you can check out the post link up here.

Have an amazing Wednesday, all! We’re halfway through this week already!❤





Tuesday Things

Hi! So, a quick update. You may have noticed, but the blog has a little bit of a different look now. I recently purchased my very own domain —> indianahearts.me <— (!) and am working on a few other upgrades. Basically, I started this blog in 2013 and have really not updated it since. And a lot of things need updated.🙂


(RIP original banner.)

While I’m working away on that (and hopefully finishing it up this week), I thought I’d leave you with some quick Tuesday things.

  • Mosquitos and southern Indiana humidity are a nightmare. I cannot walk outside without getting an insane amount of bites. Luckily, some googling led me to the only remedy for bites that has worked for me so far: witch hazel. Of course, right? I’m a firm believer that witch hazel can cure everything. It doesn’t immediately take the itch away, but after I put some on a bite, it’s noticeably more bearable.
  • Now that I’m done with school, I’m happily back to reading for pleasure. In fact, I’m currently reading 2 books. The Fire Starter Sessions was recommended on another blog I read, and I’m working through it on lazy evenings after work or on weekends (I cannot read non-fiction before bed; nothing is less enjoyable to me). It’s basically a self-help book, although I really hesitate to write that because it sounds very voodoo-ish. But so far I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot. Before bed I’m reading Mrs. Hemingway, which was given to me by my best friend. It’s amazing and has reminded me to go reread A Moveable Feast again.
  • My favorite nighttime treat right now is these strawberry popsicles. I randomly picked them up at the grocery store a few weeks ago and remembered how much I love them. I have one every single night after dinner because it’s summer.

On that note, I’m going to go help myself to a handful of chocolate chips and call it a night. And hopefully I’ll be back next week and the site will be totally updated and ready to move into the future!🙂

How Stress Affects Your Weight

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An alternate title for this post could have been: “How I Managed to Finish a Degree in Food and Nutrition and Gain 30 Pounds While Doing It.”

The last 2.5 years have been really really good but also really really crazy. I started going back to school in January 2014 on a part-time basis. At the time, I was personally unhappy, work was crazy busy, and I was trying to fumble my way through a chemistry class (the only class I almost failed in high school, FYI). I eventually shifted my work and school schedules around to try to make things easier, but as you know, life tends to do whatever, regardless of if it’s what you’re needing or not.

So I wanted to talk a little bit today about stress and the body—what’s going on when we’re stressed out physically, what can we do to help fix it. Our culture basically thrives on stress—we feel constant pressure to be the best, to do the most, to constantly improve ourselves. We work a ton of hours, try to fit in time with family and friends, and still want to have extracurriculars. And all the while we’re looking for life balance, and even more frustrated when we can’t seem to achieve this.

The Stress Response

Our body activates a stress response to a situation via adrenaline, or epinephrine. This is the whole “fight or flight” thing people talk about. Our heart rates increase, blood pressure increases, you know what I’m talking about. Once the stress response is activated, our friend cortisol kicks in to regulate the response. All our unnecessary body functions go on hold until the stressful situation ends.

Now, this response is not a bad thing—it’s critical to our survival. You can think about the classic example of meeting a lion in the wild—your body has to activate a stress response so that you are primed to respond. Once you’ve gotten away from the lion, your body returns back to normal.

The thing is, in our society, our stress response is activated all. the. time. It’s like our bodies think we’re constantly interacting with lions every day. And a lot of bad things can happen as a result of this. Elevated stress hormones can lead to anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and weight gain. Cortisol in particular is associated with weight gain, especially in the abdominal region of our bodies.

On top of that, constant stress is known to affect our self-control, which explains stress eating, drinking, and sedentary behavior. Moderation takes discipline! And discipline is something I definitely lacked while I was chronically stressed.

Unfortunately, this all becomes a vicious cycle. Chronic stress is known to impair sleep, and poor sleep quality is associated with higher BMI. When you’re tired you lack self-control, plus your hunger hormones are screwed up and you crave more high-sugar, high-fat foods. See what I mean?

Assessing Stress

So what do we do? Just give in and accept that we’re going to be constantly stressed and unhealthy?

If you are going through a stressful time, there are a few things you need to assess. Determine what the source of stress is and how you are going to deal with it.

For me, it was school. And fortunately, there was a light at the end of that tunnel. I’m done with my degree and feel a TON better. And now I have time and energy to devote to things I love. But maybe the source of stress in your life is a job or a new baby or finances. Things that aren’t going to go away soon. What do you do then?

Prioritize sleep. Sleep is so incredibly important for your body, mind, and emotions. If you do nothing else, make sure you are getting enough sleep (or as much as you can). If thoughts or worries are keeping you up, try praying or meditating. I’ve been using this lavender sleep balm for a few months and LOVE it. Do some stretching before bed. Try to find a restful nighttime routine that signals to your body that it’s time to unwind for the day.

Secondly, try to manage the stress in your life as best as possible. Find a healthy way to relieve stress, and if possible, one that involves getting some healthy movement in. Again, mindfulness and prayer are key to this. Find social support—maybe through coworkers or friends or family members. It may mean making some changes, maybe some hard or scary ones. The thing is, your health has to be just as important to you as getting everything done. This is the only life and body that you get, and taking care of it is a privilege.

Lastly, give yourself some grace. Accept where you’re at and move on. For me, it’s with an extra 30 pounds. Am I thrilled about that? No. Am I going to beat myself up over it? No. I did a lot of incredible things over that past few years, and to me, that is more important than how thin I am. I am moving forward, looking at each day as a fresh start and way to make different, better choices than I was able to over the last few years.

Dealing with stress is such a difficult topic, and I by no means have all the answers. I’m just muddling my way through like everyone else. But I think this is a good place to start, and I hope this little post has been helpful, even a little bit.❤

Please note: The opinions in this post are my own and are not meant to substitute for professional medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes involving your health.
Information was obtained from the following sources:
Berset M et al. Does stress at work make you gain weight? A two-year longitudinal study. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011;37(1):45-53.
Brand S et al. Influence of mindfulness practice on cortisol and sleep in long-term and short-term meditators. Neuropsychobiology. 2012;65:109-118.
Harding JL et al. Psychosocial stress is positively associated with body mass index gain over 5 years: evidence from the longitudinal AusDiab study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014;22(1):277-286.
Rudenga KJ et al. Acute brain stress potentiates brain response to milkshake as a function of body weight and chronic stress. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013;37(2):309-316.
Mayo Clinic. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037. Accessed August 23, 2016.