This or That Thursday: Jimmy John’s

To me, sandwiches seem like they should just be healthy. So when I go to a sandwich shop instead of a burger joint, I usually have on my high and mighty pants. Kind of like when I order a salad for dinner at a restaraunt instead of a bacon cheeseburger and fries. Or when I order the bacon cheeseburger but get the fresh fruit instead of fries.

But, it turns out that sandwiches apparently are not inherently healthy. When they are lathered in mayo, cheese, bacon, meatballs, salami, etc. they can actually be quite UNhealthy. Who knew?

My go to sandwich at Jimmy John’s is actually not that bad. It’s a Turkey Tom. As with all fast food it seems, the sodium content is outrageous but calorie wise it’s alright with only 515 calories as it comes on the menu. That’s still a little high when you are trying to stick to a lower calorie range.

My solution? No mayo. I know a lot of people would think this is too dry for a sandwich but I don’t mind it at all. The meat and veggies keep it from being too dry for me.

I was actually a little shocked the first time I visited the Jimmy John’s nutrition page and removed the mayo. The mayo is a HUGE calorie suck!! Removing it makes such a difference. This one little change takes away 37% of the calories and 96% of the fat!!!

Total Calories:            515            322            193
Total Fat (g):              22                1              21
Sodium (mg):         1,094            920            174
Carbs (g):              50              50               –  
Protein (g):              24              24               –  

By the way, they have a great nutrition page where you can totally customize your sandwich and get really fast, easy nutrition information for your changes.

If this is not for you, a good substitute might be to add the Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. Where the mayo adds 193 calories, the mustard only adds 8!! Or, I keep light mayo packets around. I have them at home and I have them at work and they only add 35-40 calories.

Oh and PS, the Chocolate Chunk Cookie is amazing as it should be for 421 calories!! Eek!!


When did THIS become habit?

“When did it become automatic for me to take the stairs?”

That’s what I asked myself when I was taking the stairs down and carrying my gym bag as I leaving work the other night. As I thought about it, I started to ask myself other questions:

“When did it become routine for me to work out over my lunch break?”

“How did it come to be that a salad is a meal for me?”

“When did I stop having to think about getting a half sandwich instead of a whole one?”

“At what point did I start to reconsider a choice to eat Cheetos straight from the bag?”

“When did I start to automatically reach for Baked Cheetos instead of regular?”

All of this happened when I changed my LIFESTYLE. When I stopped looking for motivation and stopped begging for will power.

I’m not motivated to pack my gym bag every morning or to work out over lunch. These happen because it’s become habit. I don’t even think about it anymore. I just pack my bag in the morning and when I see the clock reaching towards noon, I grab my bag and go to the gym.

I don’t get salads or half sandwiches because I have strong will power. I get them because it’s become a habit to get into the deli line. The woman working the line knows what I get and simply asks, “Sandwich or salad?”

I’ve been doing these things for years now. Some longer than others. But in all cases, it’s no longer a question about IF I’m going to do them. It just is. Like brushing my teeth or putting on deodorant.

Don’t get me wrong. It didn’t happen overnight. But, one day at a time I slowly turned into this person who eats salads and fruit for meals instead of Original Chicken Sandwiches and fries. This person who works out over lunch instead of making five unnecessary Target runs a week. This person who wouldn’t even think about taking the elevator. Not because it’s terrible to take the elevator, but because it literally wouldn’t cross my mind.

Sure, I don’t work out EVERY day over lunch, but I no longer ask myself, “Am I going to work out today?” Instead I ask myself, “Am I not going to work out today to do ______ instead?” Sometimes the answer is yes. But working out has now become the standard. Anything else is the deviation.

I’ve got a long way to go still. I’m 18 lbs heavier than I was at my thinnest adult weight and 16 lbs heavier than I’d like to be. But, my life has changed and I’m doing good.

Give ground beef, take Chex Mix!

Life’s all about give and take.
Give my time at work. Take a paycheck.
Give a penny to the jar. Take a penny from the jar.
Give in and make dinner. Take a seat while you watch your hubby do the dishes.
Give the dogs a walk. Take their slobbery kisses as a thank you.

Today, I giving and taking too. I’m giving up ground beef in my spaghetti sauce and I took Chex Mix with my lunch.

The ground beef in the freezer was specifically for spaghetti night. But I was starving all morning. I drank my smoothie for breakfast. I ate my Zone bar for morning snack. I ate the second half of my banana. I even ate some of my lunchtime grapes. All before my workout. But when I got done working out I was still hungry. Knowing that I’d eaten most of my lunchtime fruit for a second morning snack, I had no choice but to get the Chex Mix right?

That’s what I thought.

So no ground beef for us. Chicken breasts instead. I guess I can’t say I hate that! I actually really like chicken with spaghetti.

That should allow me to stay where I need to be for the day!!

This or That Thursday: Panera

The first time I ever went to Panera Bread was with a co-worker over my lunch break. At the time both she and I were “paying attention” to how many calories we were consuming. Right off the bat I saw the Low Fat Chicken Noodle Soup on the menu and that’s what I ordered. . . in a bread bowl. . . with a Grande Frozen Caramel Cooler. . . with whipped cream.

I was ordering the Low Fat Chicken Noodle soup instead of that Creamy Chicken Wild Rice (which is by the way is frickin’ amazing) so I was good right???

What do you mean NO? Oh, you must have done what I eventually did and looked up the nutrition facts huh? The Low Fat Chicken Noodle soup was NOT my problem. The problem was the 590 calorie bread bowl and the 600 calorie coffee cooler. Yep. That was the problem.

Since that was not cutting it, I started making some changes. First off, that bread bowl had to go. I traded the bowl for the baguette they give you. This trade alone saved me 450 calories!!! At first I couldn’t give up the coffee so I just started cutting the whipped cream which does save 100 calories.

These two changes were good but I knew I had to do one better. Even at 500 calories, that coffee was just too much and it had to go too. This saves me a whole meals worth of calories.

Then, the last time I was there, my daughter ordered the Frozen Strawberry Lemonade!! Yum!! It’s 180 calories that you don’t necessarily need but it’s better than 600 calories you don’t need, right?

Now when I go to Panera, I get the Low Fat Chicken Noodle Soup with a whole grain baguette on the side and a Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. This is still as yummy as the first time I had Panera. The baguette still lets me taste their warm, doughy bread. And the drink is just as fantastic and probably more refreshing when I’m out on the patio on a hot day!!

Total Calories: 1320 440 880
Total Fat (g): 26 2.5 23.5
Sodium (mg): 2780 1700 1080
Carbs (g): 237 95 142
Protein (g): 35 15 20

Just look at these savings! Two small changes, no bread bowl and Frozen Strawberry Lemonade instead of Frozen Caramel Coffee, and you’re saving half of your calories for an entire day!! You’re cutting out 90% of the fat. Nearly 40% of the sodium is gone. And 60% of those carbs are out the door!!

As always, I’ll say that I know this is not necessarily a “healthy” meal. Heck, it’s probably not even the healthiest meal Panera has to offer, but it’s sure a lot better than a lot of fast food alternatives and it’s a great substitute for what I was getting!

And beware of the Cinnamon Crunch Bagel!! It is the best bagel ever but it packs a mean punch at 440 calories and 80 grams of carbs for just the bagel!!

This or That Thursday: Chipotle

I remember the first time I visted Chipotle. My husband had been talking about it for a long time. There was one near where he worked so he went there pretty regularly with co-workers for lunch. Then Chipotle opened near home. He brought me there and it was love at first taste. I ordered a chicken burrito with rice, cheese, corn salsa and lettuce. Of course I couldn’t eat the whole thing the first time but I was hooked. That rice!! (Licking the drool from my lips. . .) I’m no foodie so I didn’t know what was in it but I could have eaten just that and been impressed. And the atmosphere was unlike any other fast food restaraunt I’d ever been to. It was clean, spacious, energtic and they played loud music. Plus, ours had a patio. It was just plain cool.

Before I knew it, it had become one of my favorite, go-to fast food restaraunts. And it wasn’t just me that was becoming infatuated with Chipotle. In fact, I think I was late to the party!! I even had an accounting teacher who preached about it! He told us the history with McDonalds, the philosophy, his favorite burrito. . . it was his favorite stock!

I started to learn more about the company and my love grew. People were starting to question their food and the idea of “food with integrity” really was on point with what people were talking about. Maybe I have that wrong and Chipotle made people start questioning??? Either way, it was happening and just going there made me feel better about eating fast food.

BUT, behind all that love were LOTS of calories. That burrito, the one I first ordered, was my staple. It’s all I ever ordered. Well, until I found the chips and I started to order them too!! That burrito came in at 795 calories and I don’t even get beans, sour cream or guac!!! I didn’t usually eat ALL of the burrito but I have eaten it all. That was typically followed by me curling up on my couch, in my fat girl sweat pants, waiting for my stomach to digest until it didn’t hurt so bad!!

My frequent trips needed to either stop or revamp. Of course I chose to revamp!! A friend told me about the Burrito Bowl. All the deliciousness without the shell!! I started getting a Burrito Bowl with chicken, rice, corn salsa, cheese and lots of lettuce. Then, I also started to cut the cheese order without cheese. No shell, no cheese. THIS makes going to Chipotle a little more friendly on the waist line!!

Total Calories: 795 410
Total Fat (g): 28.5 11
Sodium (mg): 1780 935
Carbs (g): 84 41
Protein (g): 52 38


Two simple little changes and all of a sudden my Chipotle runs aren’t looking so bad!! This is saving me 385 calories!! This is saving a whole meal’s worth of calories!! Yeah, yeah. The sodium is still outrageous but. . . it’s fast food so we gotta give a little on something right?

I did recently tell a friend on SparkPeople who is just getting a Chipotle in her town to try the burrito once. . . the shells are after all DE-licious!! But I also told her to switch to bowls after that.

And, two other things worth noting:
1) The chips pack a 507 calorie punch!!! Don’t forget that!!
2) The kids taco kit comes with 2 tacos, chips and a drink. Chelsea gets the soft shell tacos with chicken, rice and lettuce. Including the kids chips and diet coke this rings in at 470 calories. Not a terrible alternative for those of you that NEED that shell AND those chips!!

I know you want me, you know I want cha

It’s been a LONG time since we’ve purchased pop (or soda if you live anywhere but MN!!) to keep at home. Really it’s been MONTHS!! Maybe over a year even??? I’ll buy a 20 oz occasionally. A few times a week I’ll get a fountain soda with my lunch. Or if we’re out to dinner I’ll get one. But that’s the extent of it.

I know a lot of people don’t think Diet Coke has its place in a healthy life but whatev!! I like it once in a while. I stopped buying it by the case. Now when I drink a pop, I’m fully conscious of the decision. I do it on purpose instead of opening the fridge, standing in front of it for two seconds, grabbing a soda and drinking it without thought.

That being said, I do know it’s not good for me or my family, so we’ve moved on to other beverages.  

Yesterday was one of those “occasions” where I wanted a soda. I was in a consumption kind of mood and it wasn’t just food. After Zumba, I stopped at Target and heck if I didn’t see the 20 oz Diet Coke in the checkout lane eyeballing me!! It was looking at me and singing,

“I know you want me.
You know I want cha.
I know you want me.
You know I want cha!”

Okay. Maybe it wasn’t singing that. Maybe I just had the song left over in my head from Zumba class. Either way the Diet Coke won. I paid for it. Then I drank it.

Chelsea asked if she could have a sip. After telling her no, her asking again, me telling her no again, her asking AGAIN for just this much while holding her thumb and forefinger about a quarter of an inch apart then her marking it on the bottle. . . I let her have a sip. I was really always going to let her. I was just giving her a hard time!!

After her sip she made a face and said, “That’s really sweet!”

It’s good to cut back on something that’s not healthy for you but it’s even better when you pass healthy habits down to your kids!!

Just because I can. . .

Yesterday I thought I did an AMAZING workout. Actually, I didn’t just think it, it was really a pretty great ST set. I set out to burn off those potato skins and I did.

First, I did a 5 minute warm up on the treadmill logging .45 miles. A 1 minute warm up, 3 minutes alternating between 6.0 mph and 6.5 mph, and 1 minute of 5.5 mph.

Then, I did two sets of the following:
20 12 lb Dumbbell Pullovers
30 second Banana Pose
10 Classic Wood Chops with 8 lb medicine ball (each side)
20 Genie Sit
20 Lying Abduction (each side)
20 Lying Adduction (each side)
15 5 lb Three Way Shoulder Raises
30 second Superman Pose
20 10 lb Dumbbell Hammer Curls
20 Tricep Dips with straight legs
20 5 lb Boxer (each side)

And I finished off my lunch with a 12 minute cool down on the treadmill for 1.01 miles by doing 10 minutes at my normal 5.7 mph pace and 2 minutes of cool down.

Where does that leave me today?? Sore! That’s where.

I forgot one thing. . . I hadn’t “worked out” all weekend. I mean, I didn’t set out to workout with all my gear ready to feel the burn and all that. I got in some activity but I didn’t lace up my shoes and go for a run with my heart rate monitor or anything like that. You know what I mean right? In fact, if you read me on SparkPeople, you might be thinking, “Didn’t she skip the Friday lunchtime workout too to go shopping??” And yes. You would be correct.

Between thinking it was a good “warm up” for me to run at 6.5 for any length of time on the treadmill and those Genie Sits, I’m having a hard time doing any kind of sit!!

If you don’t know what Genie Sit is, you basically kneel, forming a straight line from your knees to your head. Then lean back, keeping straight, as far as you can and straighten up again. That’s one rep. Try it. . . I’ll wait. . .

Do you feel that in your thighs?? Now do 19 more reps. Then repeat all 20 reps again. . . after running too fast.

Moral of this story: It’s good to work out. . . but it’s better if you remember where your starting point is and what might be pushing it too hard!! How does that saying go? “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” True that!