Our Home over 11 years ago by Liz Adams

It’s All Good

You may or may not know this but I love to cook. It is my favorite way to wind down after a long day and I love seeing ingredients become a delicious dinner. For the most part, our meals on weeknights are pretty healthy with the exception of a few indulgences {as I eat an oreo blizzard from DQ}. I enjoy drinking beer – preferably an IPA, I have a weakness for ice cream and I will always be a carnivore. Since graduating from college, my body has changed a lot. I guess you could say it is a “constant” struggle but I am slowly becoming comfortable with the fact that every year something is going to shift. I try to exercise at least 4/5 times a week, but have realized that what you eat is really the tried and true factor for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and body image. It’s been a long time since I have felt 100% confident in my body so I decided that it is time to get my act together and figure out what my body needs to maintain a happy weight. So, a few weeks ago I ordered six cookbooks, one being Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good
First of all, the images and the idea behind this book are amazing. Cooking with clean ingredients is incredibly important, and when you read the forward and actually think about the effects of processed foods – well, yuck. If I had the funds to support a diet and whole lifestyle – I would try. It’s just that eating organic is expensive and my lifestyle requires some indulgence. So I want to ask you guys, what do you do to ensure that your body is all good? Any suggestions for beating those mid-twenty slumps? Any patterns you’ve noticed that were successful for you? Any personal trainers out there with some tips? I bet my readers {and obviously me!} would love to hear what you have to say. I pretty much know what I have to do, but sometimes you need a kick in the butt, right? Plus, Memorial Day weekend is less than a month away, nows the time to get movin’! 
Happy month of May!

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  1. I hear you! I had a birthday in March and I literally felt like I woke up and my metabolism had stopped. (and I hear you on the ice cream!) I think you hit the nail on the head though when you said it’s what you eat. I try to do some portion control, and not “drink” my calories. It’s lots easier said than done though. As soon as finals finish on Friday my plan is to kick off a much healthier diet- for at least a week – until I start studying for the bar. Would love more posts hearing how its going for you. xo

  2. Could not agree more. I think 85% what you eat affects you weight and body and how you feel. I excercise for my mental health and to tone up, not weight maintence. I actually feel better about my body now at 33 than I did in my 20’s. I think part of it is coming to accept my body flaws and all and part is finding the right balance of food and exercise. When I eat better I feel better. Thats not to say I don’t indulge I do alot- that makes life fun! Would love to hear what other cookbooks you bought.

  3. 100% agree with this. My weight definitely fluctuates based on if I’m having a “good” or “bad” eating week… Not significantly, but enough that I notice! I also agree about eating organically – as a twenty something with a budget, it’s not exactly easy to afford the healthiest lifestyle. I try to limit my sweet intake, rarely eat fast food, limit portions (hardest to do because I love food!!!) and load up on things I can that are good for me, like making a smoothie with kale in it in the morning, or having lots of vegetables with my dinner. Working out for me is more for toning my body, rather than maintaining weight.

  4. I’ve really done well at cutting back on eating meat and dairy. I ocassionally have turkey or chicken, but I mostly only eat eggs and fish. I also try to get as many fruits and veggies in as possible. I think those are free!

    If I’m going to drink, I try to have a red wine (there’s some health benefits) instead of a cocktail. It’s all about finding that balance. I’ve been thinking about picking this up!


  5. I’ve been wanting to pick up this book and test out a few recipes. I 100% agree that what you eat is such a big part of how you look. I did a review for tomorrow’s post on Jessica Alba’a new book Honest Life, it was such a great read too!

  6. Yes, metabolism and body changes seem to be in a constant flux. However, as I get older and my routines/eating habits have to change to match the changes my body makes. I find if I can eat healthy 80% of the time I’m good with that. I do a mix of cardio and strength training. I love TRX classes. Perhaps, someone in your area coaches them.

    While I no longer eat dairy I did find coconut milk ice cream, YUMMY!!!

  7. My name is Samantha and I love your blog! I recently read The Omnivore’s Dilemma with my students. This book is a great read to give insight into the American food industry. It has definitely shifted the way I shop for groceries. Trader Joe’s is a great, low budget store to get organic foods. I buy most of my food from there. Also, Bikram Yoga! Life changing!

  8. I am a huge believer that if it is not easy to do, the habit is not sustainable! One of my “may initiatives” is to get eat fruits and veggies every meal. So I am starting my day with green smoothies (made in a magic bullet, easy clean up!). For lunch, I always have a small protein (chicken, turkey burger, what have you), and a salad or vegetable (today is asparagus), and for dinner, I generally try to stay away from carbs (and substitute with lentils). I know this is a style blog, but you should share your food journey as well!

  9. Try the Whole9 or the Whole30! I was having a lot of similar problems and I started eating Paleo about 3 months ago. Totally changes your life and makes you feel great! It’s a lot of planning but if you like to cook then there are a lot of great recipes. Good luck!

  10. I’ve heard so many good things about this book – definitely want to check it out! Spending two hours commuting each day really puts a damper on my energy levels when I get home, but I’m just like you, LOVE to cook and normally it helps me unwind after a long day. And while I do exercise regularly, have to agree that what you eat seems to make a much bigger difference in seeing results/maintaining the body that you feel comfortable with!

  11. My brother and to be sister in law just did a clean eating cleanse and loved the results! For ten days you can eat fruits, veggies, nuts, fish, lean turkey, white meat chicken … no carbs, starches, dairy, sugars, etc.
    I plan on giving it a try soon!

  12. Read the book, “It Starts With Food”. It mostly focuses on a Paleo diet (which I follow and love) but the information is great. It talks about the effect certain foods have on your body.
    Bottom line of all of these diets is just to eat real food. Stop with the Smart Ones, packaged foods, and those 100 calorie packs. If you eat fruit, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, etc you will feel and look a lot better. Just eat food that’s as close to its natural state as possible.

  13. I need to read this book, I’ve heard so many great things. I try to remember to eat whole foods as much as possible – fruits, veggies, grass-fed meats – and try to cook at home as much as possible too. With all that said, I think it’s necessary to allow indulgences. I’ll probably never give up cheese and wine, and I’m totally fine with that!
    Isn’t That Charming.

  14. Liz I went through a period in my life where I gained a meaningful amount of weight (I was still small, but just not my normal self.) But then dropped it all and then some. Your metabolism in your mid 20’s just isn’t the same as your early 20’s! The most important thing is making small changes for life. Things that worked for me (ie. NO soda (including diet), make a choice (dessert or cocktails today?), ramp up your veggie and fruit content (going to the farmers market is quite inspiring and motivating)and get rid of the creams (no creamy soups, sauces or condiments). Also, read “Skinny Bitch”…although a little extreme and gruesome at times, it opened my eyes to some things I was unaware of. Good luck and in my opinion, you are looking fab! Keep it up!

  15. Try green smoothies. They are life changing and so so healthy for you. I have been drinking them for over a year and can’t imagine my life without them. In my smoothies I put in kale, spinach, romaine, carrots, cucumber and avocado. You can also add fruit for a sweeter taste. There is a lot written about green smoothies on the internet if you want to further research.

  16. I stopped drinking wine during the week, it was hard the first two weeks and now I don’t even think about it. It has made a difference because I drink more water and not as bloated (which is my biggest struggle). I also use the Nike Fit Club App which leaves me no excuse to not work out and is helping to minimize the “shifting”

  17. This is something I’m struggling with as well, I’d love to hear how this works for you! I’ve noticed a major change since high school {I think drinking has the most impact on it}, but I’m not really comfortable with everything the way it is! I’ve noticed that every time I cut out meat that I drop around 5 pounds almost immediately, but I never can stick to it!

  18. I love this post! I struggled with weight/confidence a lot growing up. I was never good at sports and I had friends who ate whatever they wanted. It wasn’t really until I got to college that I realized I wanted to be confident in my body. I learned a lot about fitness- how someone can be in shape without being athletic! Go figure! I got really into Yoga and Pilates, and I also learned a lot about the food that I was putting into my body. I am now a bonafide label reader. I don’t buy anything with high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated soybean oil. I don’t eat red meat and I limit my dairy. I can’t give up Parmesan cheese because it is my favorite thing in the WORLD, but I find that substituting Earth Balance for butter and soy or almond milk instead of dairy milk really just makes my body feel better. I don’t like to eat out as much (unless it’s at a great restaurant) because you just don’t know what they really put in the food at restaurants, especially chains. I love to cook, so I like to try to add healthier elements into dishes whenever I can. I think the main idea is to think of food as really delicious fuel. If you can enjoy vegetables that make your body feel great, then it’s a win win. If you can learn to love fruit (like frozen cherries- YUM) instead of dessert every night, your body will thank you. It’s all about finding things that you like! If you do that, then it will never feel like a diet. And you won’t even want those processed foods anymore! As you said “well, yuck.” So true! Obviously no one is perfect, and if I wanted to look like Gwyneth, I’d have to limit what I eat and work out WAY more! Haha, but I find that adding in the gym multiple times a week along with a fresh philosophy on food has really helped my confidence. I hate to “pitch” my blog after a post like this, but I post a lot of easy and healthy recipes that you might want to try! http://www.lakeshorelady.com

  19. Healthy, cleaning eating doesn’t have to break the bank or be impossible. Try incorporating as much fresh, healthy foods as possible and get what it is in season. This makes the budget go a little farther, esp. if choosing organic. Cut as much processed foods as possible, it’s very easy and yes your dinner prep time may take a few more minutes but in the end it is so worth it.

    Good Luck!

  20. It took me a long time of working out and wondering why nothing was changing before I realized how much nutrition makes a difference. I did a paleo challenge back in Jan. and lost almost 4% body fat in 6wks without being super strict. I now try to stick to eating paleo/fresh, whole, unprocessed foods most of the time, but will still have other non-paleo foods when I want them (though I’ve found some things I used to enjoy I don’t as much anymore because I want to fall asleep after eating them or my stomach will hurt). I really enjoy cooking too (I have the GP cookbook as well!), and I’ve found the biggest key is to be prepared for the week – make extra food so there are healthy leftovers for lunch and quick dinners. This is all still a work in progress for me, but it makes sense and I’m feeling more healthy and strong :).

  21. Wait till you turn 30! Haha 😉 I went clean last year prepping for my wedding. I love the fresh, delicious food…but I don’t skimp on butter or dairy for that matter. Probably why I’ll never be a size two.

    My two favorite things in the world tp do are cooking and shop too. We would be a dangerous pair.

  22. Thank you for sharing this, it’s nice to hear that other people have the same problem with weight gain in their mid twenties!! I am totally in your camp, that I never ate super healthy, but I work out a ton and never knew why I didn’t see a change in my body. I have been trying to eat a little cleaner and healthier (with a few indulgences thrown in there of course), and I’ve already noticed a difference. I was really interested in this book, but this review from you, I’m definitely going to purchase it!

  23. Thanks for sharing your food journey! I totally hear you girl (as I eat a serving of double dark chocolate ice cream for breakfast) it’s hard and time/money consuming to eat clean. I have Gwyneth’s first cook book and am picking this one up as soon as I see it! Hopefully the beautiful images will talk me into whole foods.

    Chelsea & The City

  24. Although I’m not in the same industry, I hear you on the lifestyle challenges. What I’ve done is try to order healthy when I’m out and about by making simple substitutions – e.g., brown rice instead of white, white meat chicken, etc. The books that the other readers have commented on will help you figure out better choices. I order what I want when I’m at a great restaurant. Then, when I’m at home, I try to cook clean. I cook primarily on the weekend, and make batches that will carry over as leftovers during the week, which I eat when I’m eating at home. I meal plan during the weekend using my Pinterest boards or cookbooks – Barefoot Contessa has great recipes that use whole ingredients, are simple to make, and taste fantastic. I’ve noticed the biggest shift in my body from cooking clean at home – you’ll have to invest a few hours, but it’ll save you time and effort during the week. Also, think about your workout routine. I used to do heavy cardio and running, but tried yoga and found that it gave me great results. Now, I do a combination of yoga and other mindful fitness classes (check out Bar Method in Chicago) with the occasional spin class and have cut out running completely. I just started a blog, and have some recipe ideas there…


  25. I am all about eating clean, fresh foods and avoiding processed things. I also believe that indulgence is the key to a happy life and depriving yourself too much can lead to overdoing it later on! I think that the best move is to cook for yourself as much as possible, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.

    I’m looking forward to checking out Gwyneth’s book to see if I can pick up some new tips!

  26. I did the same thing one month ago! My boyfriend and I cut out dairy, sugar, and gluten 6 days a week with a no holds barred cheat day on Saturday. It has been amazing. Life changing to say the least. We allow ourselves red wine during the week if needed, and the occasional sugar free jello if we just can’t deal without something sweet. I’ve lost 8 lbs and he’s lost 18! GP’s recipes are great and that book really helped us learn about how to make delicious meals that don’t depend on gluten or dairy. The most valuable lesson for me has been that I ate so many empty calories out of habit, not hunger. Good luck!

  27. Please you’re SO teeny tiny!

    I’ll be honest though, I’m just as bad with myself always questioning my body and overanalyzing everything I eat. But, what I’ve found is the better I eat the better I feel. I’m also an avid exerciser and something about finishing up a good work out and eating something super healthy just makes me happy, as well as knowing how bad I’m going to feel running later when I eat like crap.

    What other books did you buy??’

  28. Download the “My Fitness Pal” app for the Iphone (or you can just make an acocunt on the website. It holds you accountable for everything you eat and helps you stay on track! I lost about 33 lbs doing it 🙂 You will love it– I promise! Email me if you have any more questions about it.


  29. I noticed things changing in my mid twenties also (I’m 27 now). I incorporated new exercises such as pilates that work the muscles I used to neglect–it was a nice change from so much cardio and gave me great results. Now I workout 4-5 times per week and rotate circuit training, pilates, and yoga. All the Jillian Michaels DVDs are insanely good and give great results.

    Cutting out dairy (except for some cheese here and there) was huge for me, too. Dairy is sneaky. It seems healthy but even if you are not lactose intolerant it’s hard to digest. Plus, it is really bad for your skin.

    Lastly, I set goals and track my calorie intake in the Lose It! app. It helps me think about the calories I’m spending on what I choose to eat and makes me think twice about mindless snacking.

    Best of luck in your get-healthy journey!


  30. trying to reduce your processed sugar intake is an easy way to feel more awake and energetic and good about what you eat. In general I don’t find it to significantly increase the cost of my groceries either, although it does take me a little more time to find everything I need 🙂

  31. My diet changed a lot when I moved in with my boyfriend! Getting us both on the same page on how we wanted to eat has helped – we do all our menu planning on Sunday and buy all the ingredients in one big trip. It helps avoid excessive snacking because we’re not at the store everyday, and having a plan in place is a good deterrent from just ordering in Chinese. We do at least one meatless meal a week – both for budget and health. I find that exercise is key for me in losing, especially weight training for toning up.

  32. I’m hesitant to comment because I don’t really believe it’s my place to comment on how anyone else eats, I just do what works best for me — but if you thought the foreword of Gwen’s book was eye opening, then It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig will be extremely eye opening. It’s about doing a Whole30 — but it explains sooo much about food, and if you really want to know what specific foods do to you, trying a Whole30 will certainly tell you. Enjoy the adventure!
    grey et al

  33. My secret is soup for lunch! I work in a corporate office, and I almost always bring some sort of homemade soup for lunch. I try to stick to brothy soups, but I’ve found it to be a really easy way to get a filling lunch that is packed with vegetables. I usually eat about 120 calories for breakfast (Greek Yogurt) and a 400-500 calories bowl of soup, then whatever I want for dinner. I would guess dinner is about 700-800 calories, including a glass of wine! I’d be happy to share some of my favorite soup recipes with you if you’re interested!

  34. My biggest thing is making sure I eat breakfast (typically greek yogurt with fruit and granola or toast with pnut butter, etc). I feel like it keeps me full and jump starts my metabolism for the day! The other thing I’ve found is changing your workouts…if you are always doing the same thing your muscles get used to it and aren’t working any more. I love Tracy Anderson videos, pilates, yoga or running!

    I’ve been wanting that cookbook, can’t wait to see what you think!

  35. I think everything in moderation is best… when I turned 30 I was shocked at how my metabolism that once allowed me to literally eat anything and everything without gaining a pound just completely stalled. I have done meat-free or dairy-free or gluten-free. I have tried it all, but I actually found that eliminating huge chunks of my diet, while likely “good” for me, lead to terrible cravings that were bad for me in other ways, living a life of craving and guilt is a terrible way to go. So I just do a little of what I love here and there with no real limits except how I feel, as long as I am feeling good and at my optimal weight, I love on myself through food and cooking. Because I just LOVE to eat and cook also.

    I have also heard from many, many sources that diet is 80% of our “health” where as exercise only accounts for 20%. So to that end I stay active with yoga, pilates and walking… but I never try to run or spin away 500 – 600 calories away at one time just so I can eat more (or to make up for eating more).

    At the end of the day I have to answer to myself, my worst critic, so I try to be kind and loving to my body in healthy ways.

  36. I agree that everything should be done in moderation. After having two kiddos my body has definitely changed but eating healthy is the main goal in our household and home cooked meals make up for 90% of our weekly meals. I love bread and my carbs, but I won’t eliminate them from my diet. Also, small changes like going from 2% milk to skim or a regular latte to a skinny, or not spreading butter in my toast, or replacing half of my normal rice serving at dinner with more veggies has cut quite a few calories and fat from my diet and its worked great for me. Start with small changes and you will notice a difference.

  37. I just bought Gwyneth’s book, and even just getting into my 20s (and putting my late night college junk food nights behind me…for the most part), I’ve really been realizing how important what I put into my body will be for the rest of my life. Some of the things Gwyneth has in her book might be a little ridiculous, but I can’t wait to try her recipes! They sound and look delicious!

  38. I started cutting out refined sugar, gluten and dairy in January. I also love to cook and bake, so I’ve been preparing a lot of my own food, using organic, non-GMO whole foods. I’ve discovered delicious recipes on blogs like raw chocolate cheesecake made with cashews and zucchini (The Detoxinista’s blog is great!) I allow myself to “cheat” on the weekends and have lattes, ice cream, etc. Since eating healthier, I’ve dropped a dress size without exercising (I also live in Chicago and love to run outside, but not when it’s cold!) I’ve fallen off the wagon a little in the last couple of weeks, but after indulging somewhat, I’m ready to get back to my healthy ways because I feel so much better when I’m eating better.

  39. Totally been there! I hit my mid twenties and realized I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted anymore. What works for me: cutting out carbs, sugar and processed foods 6 days a week and giving myself one day to indulge. That way I never feel totally deprived. BTW, you have a beautiful figure and have no reason to feel self conscious! Love your blog :).

  40. Liz- I read this post last week and since then have been dreaming up the response I would write because I can SO relate. I totally feel you on that mid 20s slump- I’m really feeling it these days. The last month was insane work wise and my gym time and diet were put on the back burner. Usually I can ride out those bad waves and my body doesn’t react too strongly, but boy is that no longer the case. After feeling good about my body for so many years, it’s really sad and frustrating to not feel good. After a few days wallowing I’ve decided to get positive and make a plan. Since my boyfriend wants to slim down too, we’ve decided to do mostly paleo during the week (will still eat Greek yogurt and beans, quinoa, etc), and then be more flexible on weekends (indulging in pasta and dessert). I LOVE food so I really can’t adopt any eating habits that aren’t sustainable. Other than that, I just need to get my butt back to the gym on a regular basis. I worked with a personal trainer last summer and it was AMAZING. Worth every penny. I might do that again. Excited to follow your journey! xx Clara