I’ve got the perfect “dinner in a pinch” recipe to share with you all that only takes 15 minutes and a few common ingredients to prepare. My long holiday weekend was filled with pool parties and lots of cooking, and consequently, I neglected to plan mine and Ryan’s dinners as thoroughly as I usually do. At around 8PM on Monday after a long day back at work and two hours of intense workouts to follow, I needed to think of something quick and simple for dinner.
My freezer had three basic options: Tilapia, chicken tenders, and a big cut of steak (which I want to save for later this week). I opted for the fish and decided to make a dinner that is a staple in my weekly meal prep for friends — Garlic Parmesan Tilapia. The pickings in my kitchen for sides were very, very slim, but I happened to have a couple of pre-made dinner rolls, a steamable bag of broccoli, and some cooked/seasoned spaghetti squash to use up. Convenient! If you don’t have the luxury of pre-cooked sides sitting in your fridge/pantry, you can cook up some vegetables, quinoa, rice, and/or any other easy side as the fish is in the oven. The point here is that your sides can be plain and super-simple because the Tilapia has enough flavor to carry the whole meal.
Baked Garlic Parmesan Tilapia
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 4 oz. Tilapia
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 oz. (1 tbsp) plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp seasoning salt (I used low-sodium Lawry’s)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil
- Microwave butter and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl for 30-40 seconds
- Add yogurt, garlic powder, lemon juice, pepper, and seasoning salt to bowl and mix well with a fork
- Spread mixture over the fish filet evenly
- Bake for 12 minutes
The fish, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, and a cup of steamed broccoli would make a meal of 353 calories with 13g fat, 31g carbs, and 33g protein. Simple and satisfying — perfect for a week night!
Why Consistency Matters (Plus Two Brutal Workouts)
In my last post, I told you guys I wasn’t going to weigh myself post-vacation until I’d had a few days of “regular routine.” Well, last weekend wasn’t so “regular.” Boot camps were cancelled on Friday and Saturday in honor of the holiday, and I had a VERY long weekend with lots of pool time, food, and adult punch to enjoy, which was a far cry from my usual Saturday/Sunday routine of working out and cooking nonstop. But, I still made time to lift on Friday and Saturday, and I jumped right back into my regular routine on Monday with tracking all of my food, hitting all of my macros, lifting, and boot camp every day. I stepped on the scale yesterday morning thinking I’d be hovering around the same weight as I was before I went to Mexico, but to my surprise, I’m down another 3+ pounds. I credit this to a year of consistency and not stressing about my indulgence while on vacation.
I’m sure some of it can be attributed to a loss in muscle mass because I definitely didn’t eat enough protein on vacation, but my strength isn’t any less than it was before. What matters most is that I didn’t obsess over how much my weight fluctuated during and immediately after my planned “splurge” over the last couple of weeks. Yes, there was a scale in our room at the resort. It went untouched the whole time we were there. Yes, I ate what was probably 1,000+ calories more each day than my body needed during our trip and over the holiday weekend. Didn’t matter because I have been diligent about fueling my body appropriately and building lean muscle mass for the last year.
When it comes to losing weight, the old “consistency is key” saying couldn’t be any more spot-on. Don’t be a slave to the number on the scale and TRUST THE PROCESS. Sure, it’s slow at times (I’ve been hovering at the same weight plus or minus 5-ish pounds for months), but you’ll get where you want to be if you keep at it with fierce determination and your goals in mind. And as a friendly reminder of just how unreliable the scale is, I’m the same exact weight in both of these pictures (left is from March, right is from yesterday):
Legs and tummy are more lean, and my arms are more muscular. Same total pounds, but I’m carrying it differently. The scale doesn’t tell me that, but the fit of my clothes and reflection in the mirror DO.
If you maintain a healthy, balanced diet and are conscious of what you eat regardless of what “food rules” you abide by (gluten-free, Paleo, low-carb, low-fat, clean — whatever your beliefs may be), determination and consistency will pay off. The label doesn’t matter — it’s how much effort you put behind it.
In that same vein, continual effort means more flexibility to go on “splurges” later in the game. I’m NOT saying that you should go crazy every weekend and gobble up a whole pizza with two milkshakes, and I’m NOT saying that binges are healthy. What I’m saying is that a day “off track” won’t undo months of consistent, good-old-fashioned, hard work. After a year of rebuilding my crappy metabolism (which I’d damaged through yo-yo dieting and only eating about half of the calories that I do today) and a year and a half of consistent workouts, my body works in my favor and I lose pounds after a short vacation where I had ice cream sundaes for lunch on more than one occasion. Do I do this regularly? Nope. Do I stress out about it when I do? Nope.
The cherry on top is that after two weeks of a semi-break (I was still on track about 30% of the time and kept up with most of my workouts, so I don’t consider it a “full” break), I’m back with more stamina than I had before we left for Mexico. I’ve been pushing myself harder at boot camp, hitting my macros with almost perfect precision, and working until failure in the weight room. Here are two BRUTAL weight room workouts that I did on Monday (full body) and Tuesday (lower body with a focus on glutes). My coach and every-day #WCW, Kristina, sent me the first one on Monday morning, and I’ve been trolling bodybuilding.com for new routines all week. I want to do more, lift heavier, and be stronger with each new day. That “fitness fire” is burning with more intensity today than it was before Mexico, which makes me feel like a vacation was exactly what I needed. Last night’s glute workout was particularly crazy after a hardcore boot camp, and I skipped the 25 minutes on the treadmill that is listed at the end. I almost cried/puked more than once:
I guess all of this goes to say that breaks can be good. We all need them. Getting back at it and returning to a consistent routine is where success is determined. The holiday weekend is over, and if you’ve stalled in your workouts or healthy eating after the break, this is your wake up call! Go harder than you did before the 4th and round out this week by kicking some ass. Happy Hump Day, everyone. :o)