When you walk into a “box” or CrossFit gym you will notice names and numbers written on a whiteboard. This board is everything. It lets you know who showed up that day and who showed out. What it doesn’t tell you is what that person is going through personally, It doesn’t tell you if that person is sick, having marital problems, a kid that never seems to sleep, injured from showing out too much the week before, stressed from work, etc. The list of issues that contribute to a less than stellar score on the whiteboard is endless. ENDLESS.
These whiteboards don’t only exist in CrossFit gyms though. We create them ourselves. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. are all great places to go when you feel like comparing yourself to others. Those outlets can provide great inspiration, but can also provide you with great ammunition for self-hate. It is so easy to look at someone that has a million and one followers and compare yourself to them, but in reality (because Instagram and Facebook are not reality) they are nothing like you. It is their JOB to have a million followers and have the perfect pose, with the perfect hair, while lifting 3-times the weight you can squat over their head. I pick apart my average food pictures and blog when I look at a professional blogger’s site or Instagram account…their perfect lighting for pictures, a million ads paying them to type, fast website, and hundreds of comments made by real people, not hackers.
It is hard to avoid the perfect websites without comparing my mediocre site, my comparison gives me inspiration though. I am a full-time teacher and no where near having my blog turn into a career. I know the level that I am on when it comes to my blog so I don’t compare myself in a way that is damaging. I compare myself in a way that is constructive.
The gym is different for me. I am more competitive in the gym than I am in this blogging world, maybe because I am only devoting one hour a day to it and have been for a while now. This blog happens piece by piece, over several days. For this reason, I love that I go to the gym first thing in the morning so I am not tempted to compare myself to anyone else. I don’t flip the board over to see what someone else did the day before after I have left.
I know when I leave the gym if I left my soul on the gym floor after a workout or if I just took it easy that day. I prefer to leave my soul on the floor, but somedays are different and require me to take it a bit slower and focus on my form or a new movement. Somedays I have to go slow and light because of an aggravating backache. The whiteboard doesn’t say that. The whiteboard doesn’t tell my story and I have to be okay with that.
Unlike Instagram or Facebook, there is no caption to go along with the modifications needed to complete a workout or the reason behind your slower time. There is really no need to explain to anyone or compare yourself to anyone because they are not you. You have to be confident in who you are and what your intentions are. If your intentions are to get stronger but that means fewer rounds in a workout, then you have to be okay with having a low score compared to others.
If your intentions are to better yourself and you are starting from scratch, there is no way you should compare yourself to the “whiteboard” in your life. Your mental health doesn’t need you to compare yourself to others that have been working on bettering themselves for years. There are plenty of days that I want/need to take it easy but I push myself anyway. I used to push myself to the limit for a good score, but now I push myself to that point to see what I can do. I push myself to be proud of myself.
If the whiteboards in your life aren’t pushing you to be a better person, then stop looking at them. Your body/life is nothing like anyone else’s and it has taken me a while to get to the point of not envying others and congratulating them instead. There is nothing in me that wants to be someone else. I want to put in the work to get to where I need to be, daydreaming of numbers on the whiteboard won’t get me where I want to be. In some cases, too much focus on this “whiteboard” will do more harm than good if you aren’t mentally capable of handling the pressure of it.
M E N U
I previously said that you needed to fast to eat this dish… I am hoping that I can turn that statement around with a few more changes. Without any pasta or pasta substitution, this sauce is 214 calories. If I add one cup of spaghetti squash it would add 42 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fat. Not too bad. Add in your chicken or beef meatballs and you are in business. The meatballs will get you. You think that 3 meatballs are not enough but trust me, it is more than enough and likely even more than what you need. The spaghetti squash will even that out some and if you opt for ground chicken instead of beef, you will save some fat and calories.
I could have made the sauce into more servings, but it tasted SO good that I wanted as much as possible. I might make it into 5 servings this time if the calories with the meat are too high. There really is not a whole lot to this dish, it was just a ton of food. The sauce was 10 ounces and at least 5 ounces of meat.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1 cup extra virgin olive oil *spray olive oil 25 to 30 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated *pre-peeled bag of garlic 1 tablespoon dried oregano plus fresh oregano, for serving 1 tablespoon dried basil 1 tablespoon dried parsley 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes 2 24 ounce jars marinara sauce Kosher salt and black pepper 3/4 pound spicy ground Italian sausage or chicken sausage *ground beef meatballs cooked separately or ground chicken 1 pound dry penne pasta *Carba-nada or spaghetti squash grated Parmesan cheese, for serving *low fat parmesan cheese 60-80 grams add to sauce
I really enjoyed this dish, even as someone who does not appreciate mushrooms, so that is saying a lot. The broth in this was amazing. If I am ever on a liquid diet, I am making this again and saving the broth for myself.
I did make some adjustments to the ingredients, but the dish was still over 500 calories. To help cut down on the number of calories this time, I am going to use rice and not carba-nada. The extra protein from the pasta is great but it has more calories than Josh needs right now. I need to keep our meals under 400 calories, which can really be a challenge sometimes. The sauce is only 124 calories so adding in rice and chicken breast should not push me much over 400 calories.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sesame oil *1/4 cup 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or smashed 1-2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce *1/3 cup 1/4 cup hoisin sauce (make sure to use GF, if needed) *37 grams hoisin sauce 1 tablespoon honey *1 ounce 2 tablespoons rice vinegar *4 tablespoons 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter or tahini *17 grams peanut butter 8 ounces Chinese style egg noodles, or rice noodles *1 cup uncooked riced 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth 2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped 1/2 pound ground chicken or pork *chopped cooked chicken breast 2 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped *550 grams black pepper 1 medium shallot, chopped 4 green onions, chopped
I really like this dish a lot. I ended up only using a 1/3 cup soy sauce and 2/3 cup vinegar in the crockpot with the chicken, but it was great. If you can’t find tomatillos then you can use Verde instead and add in the extras.
I put the chicken over rice last time and then added the salsa and mango. This time we will use low carbohydrate tortillas so we don’t go over on our macros. I would have liked more mango last time, but since I will have a tortilla this time, one should be plenty. If you are serving your meat over rice, you might want more than one mango.
Per serving this salsa (without the meat and rice) was 94 calories, 2.9 grams of protein, 9.8 grams of carbohydrates, and 5.3 grams of fat. The number of total carbohydrates and protein depended on how much meat and rice you want to put in.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs * chicken breasts 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce * 1/2 cup 2/3 cup rice vinegar * 1/2 cup 1/4 cup honey * 1 ounce 2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean chile paste) * Thai red curry paste 1 inch fresh ginger, grated 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 8-10 corn or flour tortillas warmed * high fiber, low carbohydrate tortilla or rice 1 small mango, diced Tomatillo Sesame Salsa: 6 tomatillos, skins removed *or jar salsa verde 6 green onions 2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean chile paste) 2 tablespoons sesame oil * 1 tablespoon 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce juice of 2 limes 1/4 cup fresh cilantro 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds * omit sesame seeds
I have yet to make this recipe with the salmon. I made it with chicken the first time because I had three chicken breasts leftover from a pack and used those instead of buying more meat. I still used the herb crust with the chicken and it was delicious. I added rice to the meal, just to give it a bit more calories so I would stay full longer. I love these low-calorie meals, but I find myself hunting for a snack two hours later, so in comes some good old rice to save the day! I am going to use backstrap this time and see how that turns out as a sheet pan.
This meal was so simple and tasty. I love a sheet pan dinner when I am meal prepping and especially after a busy week of traveling. This dish is even perfect for counting macros. I can count everything on its own and I don’t have to make a recipe and weigh out servings. I love being able to make a recipe because it is easy to go back in and change numbers when I make that same dish again, but some dishes are so simple they don’t need one. If you haven’t started using an app to track your food, you really should. It makes things so much easier.
Ingredients: 1 LARGE FILET WILD CAUGHT SALMON (OR 4 INDIVIDUAL FILETS) WITH SKIN-ON AND DE-BONED *meat of choice FRESH GREEN BEANS, WHOLE *1 bag/1 lb. fresh green beans 2 PINTS HEIRLOOM CHERRY TOMATOES *40-50 cherry tomoatoes 2 SHALLOTS, SLICED 3 GARLIC CLOVES, ROUGH CHOPPED SALT AND PEPPER, TO TASTE 4 TBS+ OLIVE OIL *Spray olive oil 2-3 TBS. BALSAMIC VINEGAR HERB MIXTURE* 1 SHEET PARCHMENT PAPER *FOR HERB MIXTURE 8 CLOVES OF GARLIC HANDFUL PARSLEY, THYME, OREGANO, BASIL AND A LITTLE ROSEMARY, CHOPPED 1 TABLESPOON OLIVE OIL *Spray olive oil SALT & PEPPER
So. Much. Food. For less than 400 calories you can’t beat this meal. I upped the number of vegetables and lowered the amount of avocado. I love the creamy avocado sauce mixed in with the rice, vegetables, and chicken. I was a little impatient and didn’t let the marinade sit long on the chicken.
I put the chicken on a sheet pan, sprayed both sides with low-calorie olive oil, and seasoned up. I love it when a marinade has tons of fresh herbs. I skipped mixing the herbs and seasonings with olive oil and used lemon juice instead.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: CHICKEN 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders *chicken breast 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil *lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon zest 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary 1/4 cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried) kosher salt and black pepper THE RICE + VEGGIES + AVOCADO 2 red bell peppers, cut into fourths 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds *2-3 zucchini 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil *omit olive oil 2 avocados, mashed very well *3 ounces, less than medium 1 avocado juice of 1 lemon 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced or grated 2 cups cooked basmati rice *jasmine rice or your preference of rice 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped *omit walnuts 1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat, or blue cheese *omit