anatomy of a fit life: my diet

I struggled with this title, because I don’t diet. I love food. I love red wine, beer, tequila, coffee and chocolate. I don’t follow any of the trendy diets or ground breaking nutrition programs. But I do watch what and how much I eat, most of the time. Over the years I have learned to eat foods that keep me in shape without sacrificing taste.

During the week I am especially conscious about how I eat. Right now I am in Bermuda for our first Pilates in Paradise retreat, so I will not include this trip as a typical week of eating. I truly believe you have to live your life and if you love food, you should enjoy it. So on the weekends and vacations I tend to indulge a bit more. But, one should enjoy everything in moderation right?

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General tidbits that work for me:

It wasn’t until my mid 30s that I started to weigh myself and count calories. My weight can fluctuate but I like to hover around a certain number. Along with exercise, I watch my caloric intake to maintain my ideal number. Again, this is my ideal number. Once I learned that a cup of brown rice had 220 calories, I knew I needed to track my intake. If I need to work hard to get to my ideal weight, I use the app My Fitness Pal to record my calories and exercise. It helps keep me on track. In fact, I have used it so often in the past, that I rarely need it now since I can ball park most foods to monitor my eating.

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I know I will get dinged for this one, but I don’t eat breakfast. And I LOVE breakfast! Give me eggs, pancakes, bacon or even just cereal, it’s my favorite meal. But if I start my day eating right away, it’s like the snow ball effect and I can’t gain control of my appetite. In fact, I used to have a “second breakfast” around 9:30/10:00 a.m. because I was starving. My friend Gina informed me that my second breakfast is actually called “lunch”. So these days I start my day off with just black coffee, maybe some water, and I am completely energized until 10/10:30 am. Then I usually have half of an Udi’s Mighty Bagel with a tablespoon or less of almond butter. This satisfies my blood sugar levels until lunch. On the weekends, I love to go out for a late breakfast with my family. We usually go to Del Ray Cafe because of their plentiful gluten free options (for my son) and their organic poached eggs served with organic greens. But lately I have skipped breakfast altogether to maintain my blood sugar levels and to avoid ravenous hunger. Again, this works for me.

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For lunch, there is nothing better than a big salad. Big salads fill me up and keep me energized. If I have a heavy sandwich, I am drained for the rest of the day. My favorite lunch spot for big salads is Bon Vivant in Del Ray. Their Avocado Cumin salad is filling and healthy, containing a mix of sunflower seeds, chick peas, organic greens and carrots. Sometimes I get a scoop of tuna salad or roasted chicken on top if I feel I need extra protein that day.

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My favorite snacks are Kind Bars and small apples. I keep the bars in my purse and the apples in the fridge. Apples curb my appetite and are powerful cleansers.

At restaurants I do not eat the chips. I don’t even start. When they bring the basket, I either put them aside or I have trained myself to just watch others devour them. You see, I cannot have just one chip, I have tried, I always fail. So I just don’t start. That includes french fries and tater tots. I don’t order them or I will fail. Again, the weekend is another story.

I do not drink sugary drinks. Throughout the day I drink water, coffee or iced tea. Sometimes, but rarely, I will have a diet coke, especially if someone else gets one and it looks so good. This usually happens in a lunch meeting with our Director at Mind the Mat, Laura Rose Schwartz. I could be better about drinking water so occasionally I squeeze a lemon in my glass.

But alcohol is another story. Yes, I do like to drink. I like good red wine with a lean steak or a margarita with mahi mahi at Los Tios. I order the skinny margarita at Los Tios without the agave and it is the perfect non-sweetness for me. Again, everything in moderation so I try not to drink alcohol during the week.

I stay away from “white carbs” as much as I can. White carbs include bread, chips, rice, crackers, tortillas etc. I try to eat whole grains (not multi-grain…there is a difference) when eating carbs. For dinner during the week I omit carbs altogether if I can. A lean piece of fish or chicken with a ton of veggies are my preference.

If I can help it, I do not have dessert at all during the week. But if I just can’t stand it, I will have a dark chocolate Adora calcium circle with a tad of peanut butter!

  • The latest from Megan
Megan Brown, physical therapist, Pilates instructor, mother and co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga in Alexandria, VA, likes to goof around. Yet her commitment to her students and her skill set in the field is no joke. After graduating from University of Virginia with a degree in Sports Medicine, Megan went on to receive her Masters in Physical Therapy and eventually her Doctorate in the profession. Although Pilates was never part of the plan, the method changed the way she treated patients, positively re-directed her career path and enhanced her own active lifestyle. Customized Pilates instruction is her specialty–she designs classes based on clients needs: athletes, new moms, rehabilitation or just for fun (why be serious all the time?). Pilates + Yoga is the best of both worlds, hence the creation of Mind the Mat studios providing classes for all—in every walk of life.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.

www.mindthemat.com     

2214 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301

703.683.2228

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