New Territory: Healthy Cooking for One

So, when I found out I was going to be starting this whole “move-far-far-away-from-home-and-live-on-your-own-in-the-big-scary-city” adventure down here in Kansas City, I decided it was time to make some lifestyle changes. Not just the whole living in an apartment, without any roommates, in a large city changes. The, eating healthy and working out types of changes.

Well, they’ve been working.

Disclaimer: this post isn’t meant to be about bragging. But, I have to share this, because I’m so proud.

Left: scowling as someone took ANOTHER picture on my college graduation day, June 9th. 138 pounds. Right: Sunday, September 16. 119 pounds. And yes, I DID wear a beer shirt to work out.

I should have been blogging about it sooner — I didn’t think anyone was interested in following along. It was a personal journey, not some great adventure, at least in my mind. But many of the people who know me, know I have probably always had negative self-image and have struggled with my weight due to things like stress eating, self esteem, and a hectic lifestyle. When I asked if I should start blogging about my weight-loss, exercise, and lifestyle changes, the answer was a resounding “YES!”

Far be it from me to deny readers (mostly friends and family, of course) what they want.

(In addition to thinking it wasn’t interesting, I also was — and still am — busy. It’s hard to blog about life when you’re so busy going through a massive stage of transition.)

So, what are my secrets?

Diet and exercise. I have no silver bullet. I generally count calories during my normal routine, but I try to make sure the calories I eat, count. I allow myself a few “cheats” a week, because knowing I can look forward to a few bites of “bad” food now and then can help me resist junk food urges the rest of the week. I exercise portion control, and tend more toward 4 small meals a day rather than 2 or 3 large ones.

I work out. Not always as consistently as I should, but I try. I used to just run, but since I started doing strength training and abs, my attention span for running has gotten short. Now I’m more likely to turn to a variety of things.

I’ve been making changes in my food-storing habits, too.

When I first moved here, I lived almost exclusively on Lean Cuisines. I made a few “nice” meals and lived on the leftovers for a while, but the excitement of a new city and a new lifestyle wore off pretty quick and microwave meals became easier. I also never knew if/when I’d have time to cook or have regular meal times.

I quickly learned that food spoils rather fast when you lead a busy life.

So. Now, my freezer is my best friend.

I spent over an hour of my Saturday afternoon trimming fat off of pork chops, then cutting those and beef eye of round into cubes and strips. These cubes and strips were then divvied up into single-servings, bagged, and froze.

The writing on the bag says it all.

Pork on the top, beef on the bottom.

Then, on Sunday, I lackadaisically (underused word, there) tossed random ingredients into a crock pot. When it was done, I taste-tested some and broke the rest up, again, into single-serving sizes. They were either refrigerated for the week, or frozen for later on.

By the way, when you put chicken breast, mushrooms, rice, broccoli, sweet corn, onion, cheese, skim milk, butter, oregano, garlic, and black pepper into a crock pot…the result is delicious.

So, this is my life now. In between working a busy, stressful, frustrating, super-fulfilling dream job, being a crazy pet mom, and nursing a severe case of homesickness, I’m practicing strategic freezing before I head to the exercise room of my apartment complex to “be a beast” as my friends back home say. Life is busy, life is hectic, but I’m learning new ways to take care of myself and enjoy it, while I can. This stage won’t last long. In fact, I’m sure my days as a single, childless 20-something without any long-term plans will pass all too quickly. So, why not enjoy myself? Why not enjoy being me, at this stage in life?

Oh, and as part of that “enjoying it” thing, I’m (tentatively) going to subject myself to this. If anyone is interested in joining in, let me know. I’ll have free lodging for anyone who wants to join in the mayhem.


8 thoughts on “New Territory: Healthy Cooking for One

    • Angela, thank you! Both for the kind words and the act of reading/responding! Have faith in yourself — it’s tough (especially when you’re busy) but so worth it. I’m glad I gave you a boost! Keep up the great work and stay in touch. I’d love to follow your progress.

  1. Good for you, Kelly, literally and figuratively! Thanks for sharing your personal journey to better health. Remember, lean cuts of beef provide more than 10% of 10 essential nutrients and vitamins for less than 10% of your daily calories (per 3 oz. serving). These nutrients, like zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins, provide fuel your body needs for physical activity. Just look for the words “loin” or “round” to choose a lean cut (like tenderloin, sirloin, and even T-bone steaks!).

    • Thanks Daren! As someone who is both anemic and a strong supporter of blood banks, I’m a big fan of using beef for lean protein! In fact beef is probably the only reason I have been able to donate blood in the past!

      Thanks for all of your encouragement, advice, and support. I really appreciate it!

  2. Soon you’ll be so skinny, I’ll see you on the street somewhere and think, “I gotta buy that person a decent meal before she wastes away.” To keep Daren happy, surf and turf – T-bone and all you-can-eat shrimp.

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