Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

FreEDom: Back to Normal.


Happy Tuesday! Nowadays, I really look forward to Tuesday posts because of Sloane’s brilliance:

If you’re unfamiliar with the Freedom from Perfection campaign, I highly suggest you check it out! Whether or not you’ve ever had issues with an eating disorder, it’s all about celebrating your imperfections and accepting yourself.

So, I just got back from a vacation where I enjoyed a LOT of food. We had a breakfast buffet every morning, and would go out for lunch and dinner daily. We had access to free drinks between 5:30 – 7:30 each evening (in case you’re wondering, I stayed at the Embassy Suites Chicago Lakefront. I 100% recommend it – the hotel was gorgeous and the service was amazing) so we definitely took advantage of that.

When I get home after a vacation, my immediate tendency is to “cut back” or “cleanse” for a days – essentially, undereat and try to undo the damage a few days of indulgent eating must have caused.

Umm…this is ridiculous. I was gone for 4 days – not exactly enough to make any drastic changes to my body. Even if I did, why would it matter? A few days of normal eating and everything would feel straightened out again.

So, that is exactly what I’m doing. I’m still eating sugar and carbs (mainly in the form of Cat Cookies – those things are addictive!) in exactly the same manner I was before I went to Chicago. I went to the gym yesterday and completed the exact same workout I would have done if I hadn’t gone on the trip. I refuse to “make up” for having an awesome time and eating some amazing food.

Speaking of amazing food…

Chicago, Day 1

So on Tuesday, we loaded up the cars and were off on an 8 hour drive. We were in Ann Arbor, MI around lunchtime when I noticed that we were right near a Whole Foods.

I had never been to a Whole Foods before, so of course, I begged Matt to stop so I could test out the deliciousness that is the hot bar.


In the mix:

  • spinach
  • Moroccan sweet potato
  • pulled pork
  • falafel
  • macaroni and cheese
  • herb roasted sweet potatoes
  • chicken
  • edamame ‘caviar’ (edamame, corn, carrots and seasonings)

I can definitely see why people love it so much! I was a little disappointed with the mac and cheese (kinda flavourless) but the pulled pork and the Moroccan sweet potato were amazing!

On our way back to the car, I couldn’t help but notice the display of gelato. I’ve only had gelato a handful of times, and they had more flavours than I knew what to do with.


I love how you can get in little 2 ounce cups!
I couldn’t decide on one flavour, so that’s salted caramel and chocolate chip cookie dough squished in there.


The chocolate chip cookie dough flavour was definitely my favourite – so, so good.

Stopping at Whole Foods for an hour + getting stuck in traffic (do not arrive in Chicago at 5 pm on a weekday. Just bad idea) the entire trip ended up taking 10 hours.

Fortunately, we got there just in time to arrive the lovely Manager’s Reception – aka, free drinks and snacks for 2 hours.


I tried my first ever Manhattan and a plate of pretels, toffee peanuts, hummus and cheddar popcorn. I went back for more peanuts and popcorn – I’m pretty sure I was eating the popcorn daily in Chicago. That stuff is amazing!

For dinner, we just picked a direction and wandered until we found a restaurant that looked good – in this case, we stopped at Rock Bottom Brewery.


Rock Bottom is one of those restaurants where they brew all their beer on site. I’m not a beer drinker, but a good glass of Riesling always makes me happy.


My friend Nicole got the beer sampler, which even as a non-beer drinker I thought looked pretty impressive. Not a bad deal at only $6!


For dinner, I was feeling seafood. I can always go for Mexican, so the lobster and shrimp tacos immediately jumped out at me.


I can’t even remember the last time I had had lobster – it needs to be consumed more often.


I love how they wrapped the hard taco in a soft one – so you never had to worry about it falling apart in your hands. Smart move, Rock Bottom.

Overall, an awesome choice for dinner the first night!

We headed back to the hotel, where I got to see this view from the elevator waiting area daily:


Chicago, you are one hell of a beautiful city. We had plans to be at the conference by 8 the next morning, so it was early to bed that night.

Slim and Sculpt

Clearly, I need to talk about the awesome workout program I’ve been doing with Carrie of This Fit Chick. The hotel had a gym, so I was determined to keep up with my workouts. What I didn’t realize, however, was that the hotel gym was a tad limited in terms of lifting equipment.


Two benches and dumbbells that didn’t go above 50 pounds. Hmm…

So I had to make a lot of changes, but I’m proud to say I was able to get all my workouts in to finish out Week 8 and Phase 2 of Slim and Sculpt!

  • Workouts skipped: none
  • Workouts added: walking. Chicago is such a walkable city! We were walking everywhere all week.
  • Workouts changed: Workouts B and C required a lot of shuffling – basically anything that required a barbell was switched to dumbbells. A slight inconvenience, but I made it work.

I took my measurements, and everything went up. But, phase 2 is a muscle building phase, which tends to result in a bit of bulking (plus, I took it the morning after I got home) so really, I’m 100% fine with the results. I’m starting to see some awesome upper body definition and I hit some kickass PR’s in the last few weeks, so I’m still loving the results I’m seeing on the program.

Weights that I’m particularly proud of:

  • deadlifts: 115 lbs to 125 lbs (so, so proud of this)
  • barbell squats: 105 lbs to 110 lbs (finally pushed past the pleateau I’ve been stuck at for months
  • weighted lunges: 20 lb dumbbells to 25 lb dumbbells

Some awesome results!

Phase 3 involves a heavier focus on cardio, AKA intervals. I’m excited to see how the final phase goes!

<—Do you think your eating habits change after a vacation?

<— Beer or wine drinker?


31 thoughts on “FreEDom: Back to Normal.

  1. You are my hero for this post, darlin. I always do the same thing (in addition to trying to compensate while on vacation…one six mile run along the battery in Charleston is understand [gorgeous, esp as the sun is rising]…two days in a row…over kill, big time)…I am working more strongly than ever before, however, to not fall into this trap, esp with the holidays on the horizon, so you have given me fresh hope/inspiration to do so 🙂 And that meal looks amazingggggggggg! Glad you enjoyed that so much ❤

  2. I love Rock Bottom when I go to Chicago, never had a bad meal there! I travel for work a lot so try to keep the mindset that trips are just “another day” otherwise I’d be on “vacation” about 50% of the time. There’s nothing better though than being home & eating in your own house exactly what you want! And wine, wine, & more wine all the way! Welcome back to the “real world” 🙂

  3. This is awesome! Congrats on being able to maintain a routine despite being on vacation and indulging more than you’re used to. That’s something I definitely struggle with and probably will again after thanksgiving. I’m going to make it my goal to stick to a normal routine! Also, so sad you didn’t enjoy the Mac and cheese at whole foods! I had a pretty good experience with it when I went!

    • I was disappointed, just didn’t seem to have a lot of flavour! I couldn’t see any seasonings on it whatsoever, so it just kinda bored me.

      And good luck after Thanksgiving! Just need to remember that one day is nothing in the long term, so restriction afterwards just is not necessary!

  4. i hate hearing when people do those crazy cleanses, I mean come on! is that where our minds go? it makes me really sad so I am glad you have this balance. oh and the whole foods hot bar would make me poor if I went there, i rarely go there unless someone else is treating, haha.

  5. I love the post-vaca outlook you are striving for, girly! I’m so glad you enjoyed your vacation to the fullest AND are enjoying life as usual afterward.

    OMG I experienced my first Embassy Suites happy hour back in March but my parents have been fans for YEARS. Of course I used to only be able to have the snacks. I was a huge fan. How was the Manhattan?! That’s my fave cocktail!

    I adore Mexican seafood dishes. I totally would’ve gotten those tacos and the black beans look great.

    YAY you tried Whole foods! I’ve never had their mac n cheese. I can’t imagine it would be nearly on the same level as their veggies. That’s their best thing! Well, the gelato is darn good too 🙂

    • Thanks Caitlin!
      I liked the Manhattan – probably couldn’t have drink more than one but it was tasty! (albeit strong)

      Those sweet potatoes were some of the best I’d ever had – WF does know what they’re doing when it comes to veggies, that’s for sure!

  6. Overcompensating. Ugh. Story of my life back in the day. Even if I’d let myself enjoy something a little extra, I could never enjoy it fully because in the back of my mind I knew I would have to make up for it later. So glad to hear that you were able to fully enjoy your vacation, and that you’re currently enjoying your cat cookies 😉 You freakin’ rock, girlie.

  7. I am totally a wine girl, although I have been trying to get into beer lately. Do you ever feel like it’s a social handicap being a non-beer-drinker when you’re out at a pub with friends, everyone gets a pitcher and you’ve got a dainty glass of pinot grigio? Haha, that it ALWAYS me, but I guess I don’t mind so much 🙂

    And of COURSE you have no need to “make up” for eating delicious food on holiday. I mean, if lobster tacos are wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    • Hehe YES! Absolutely! I’m literally the only person in my group of friends who doesn’t drink beer, so I’ll go to the bar with friends and they’ll buy a passive pitcher of beer….and I’ll have buy wine. Always makes me laugh, but we like what we like, I guess!

  8. It sounds like you have a sound mindset when it comes to food – it’s always the dosage that makes the poison.

  9. Ahh!! Sam — this is FABULOUS!! Congratulations on your #freEDom! I think it’s super inspiring and it’s perfect that you’re posting it just before the holiday season. This really hit home for me in so many ways. I’ve never allowed myself to indulge while away or during holidays (yet at least!!), but even so, even after I come back, I still over-compensate. By sharing this, you’re making me more confident in my ability to not only let go, but to also not worry about it once I’m back. Thank you!!! #freEDom

  10. oooo, LOVE the hot bar…too bad my bank account isn’t a fan!!! I wasn’t really a fan of the mac and cheese either. The sesame noodles are always delicious though 🙂

  11. You’ve never been to Whole Foods? That is a sin.

  12. Congrats on the PRs! I find I typically hit mine after some bigger eats or a good break. This continues to blow my mind, even though I prove to myself over and over that it’s the truth.

  13. SO awesome! I love that you are choosing to just enjoy the time you had and not beat yourself up for it in any way shape or form. That is wonderful. I used to do the same thing where I would restrict to counteract vacation and it always backfired on me in some way. Much better to just go back to normal. And how awesome that you ended up with some new PRs to top it all off. Very impressive weights!

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