Monday, July 1, 2013

OH NO, not you, too! Saying au revoir to the G-word.

It's been a long time since I've posted, not for any particular reason other than lack of time.  I have gone through a number of changes in regards to my diet, however not so in regards to the number on the scale.  Now, I only use the scale as an indication of the successfulness of what I'm doing, so it's about every 2 weeks.  I have decided to adopt a clean eating lifestyle for me and my family, which has been pretty successful.  I have to say, on the whole, our diet is now about 85-90% clean, which I am very proud of.  It's a lot of cooking on my part, and a lot of recipes that I have and will only make once, but the internet offers so much help.  Also, the fact that I grew up eating a pretty clean diet helps (my mother was always leery of chemicals in foods), so this concept is not unknown to me. 

I have met with a problem, though.  Clean eating is great for controlling emotional eating and binging, and I haven't experienced either since eliminating refined sugar, processed foods, and as much msg as possible, which is about 6 weeks now.  And that, alone is HUGE!  The hunger is not constant, and I don't experience energy spikes and lows any longer.  So that part has been extremely successful, which is great!  So what's the problem?  Well, it comes down to a simple concept, I eat too much food, even though it's clean food.  I am also clearly vegetably challenged, always have been.  I don't know why I would rather choose an almond milk chocolate smoothie over a bowl of vegetables 10 out of 10 times, that's just how my taste buds roll.  So I've decided to start fooling my self with stealth vegetable adding, like 2 handfuls of spinach to that smoothie (which is awesome, can't taste the spinach at all).

However, I have come to realization that this is, in part, a maturity issue (yeah, I know, I'm 40, ok pushing 41).  I want to WANT to eat vegetables, when I think the issue is that I just have to do it instead of waiting to want to, since that might never come.  I have to just eat vegetables so many times that it becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth.  So the vegetable eating is increasing, and the nut, organic bread consumption has to decrease.

So, after the frustration of not seeing my weight budge during this change, I decided to go the next step and start logging my food.  I logged for a week, without counting calories, just writing down what and how much I was eating.  Then I decided to calculate the calories for one of these days, mind you, one I thought was a "good" day.  Well, I was astonished to find that I was eating over 700 more calories that I have allotted to lose weight!!  WTH?!?  I thought it was a good day because I over ate the amount of vegetable in a day, but I apparently over ate everything else in the process! 

Now, I have been going to therapy to address my eating disorder since January, and it has helped me emotionally in so many ways.  It was such a great decision to go this route, it has been both healing and freeing. The one thing it hasn't been, however, is HELPING MY WEIGHT LOSS!!  Well, if I were really honest with myself, I'd point out that fact that I exercise now about once a week, and as I said before, eat too much.  So, as an attempt to get this weight loss moving, I've decided to go gluten free! And since its July 1st, this would be a great summer challenge, especially with farmers markets and fresh produce in abundance. 

Why go gluten free?  I have often considered gluten free for my son's autism, although never did it.  I never considered it for myself.  And although I don't necessarily have a noticeable reaction to gluten, I do feel that I rely on wheat products too much, albeit whole wheat or sprouted, and that it keeps weight on me, due to the concentration of calories.  So it's time for me to practice some tough love and get rid of the bread and the pasta, to name a few. 

I'm doing this for 60 days, mostly to see what kind of an effect this has on my body, digestion and weight.  It would be really interesting to find out that gluten has been preventing me from dropping weight.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it has a hand in it, at least.  So here I go, and if you are interested in doing this with me, please inbox me at or comment your email below, and I will set up weekly google hangouts to see how things are going and to exchange ideas and challenges.  Remember, we're looking for progress here, not perfection! 

So, join me for this!  I have no idea if this will be a really long term thing, but I want to see what 2 months can do.  It's going to be hard, but darn it, seeing the same number on the scale has been harder.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Therapy? Are You Crazy?

So I began, like so many other times, with a strong will.  A will to lose weight...again.  The same questions running through my head, will this time be different?  Will I be able to take it ALL off this time?  And,  have to say, after the will power wore off (which it always does) my mind was shutting down to the idea of going through the battle, AGAIN!  I say battle because that's exactly what it is for me, a BATTLE ROYAL!  Why does it have to be this hard?  It just doesn't make sense.  Every morning I would wake up trying to muster up the motivation to do the right thing by my body, and every mid-morning I would shut down to the idea, it was just TOO MUCH FOR ME.  I was getting to the point of desperation, which is so not me, I am not one of those desperate people.  Wait, I definitely was feeling it, though.

Well, one day the lightbulb went on.  No magical pill, diet, or shake, just a simple idea.  I went on our health insurance website and looked up therapists for "Eating Disorders".  What?!?  Eating disorders?!?   When I saw the words eating disorders, I absolutely did not picture myself, I pictured bulimia, anorexia, things as severe as that.  For some unknown reason, I never, NEVER thought I had an eating disorder.  Overeaters anonymous never seemed like something that pertained to me, at all!  For the life of me, I don't know why, because now it's very obvious.  I suppose anyone who has been holding on to weight, especially a lot of weight, for a large portion of their lives, needs a professional to overcome this problem.  Why didn't I do this sooner?  Well, the idea never offered to me, honestly.  Maybe God knew I wasn't ready for it?  I don't know, all I know is I am so glad the thought came to me.  Maybe I'll put the idea into another's head as they read this.

So after realizing that this is what I needed, I started.  Well, from the first meeting it is slowly becoming clear to me why I have such issues with my weight, or more importantly, why I have such issues with getting rid of it.  Obviously,  these issues are very specific to my life, as they would be for you if you sought therapy as well.  However, this has already proven to be a very interesting journey, and I am again on the road to health.  And I have decided to share the nuggets of knowledge I come upon to, perhaps, trigger some positive change in others.  I have been receiving some practical tools to slowly change bad habits, and I love practicality. 

I have to say, I am excited!  And I'm excited to share all this with you, I hope I can do some good to myself and others.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Is baby food the answer?

It is like searching for the meaning of life, searching for the solution to weight loss, isn't it?  It's easy for the answer to become much more complicated than it needs to be.  True, our reasons for eating or holding on to weight may complex, but the how's really aren't.  Finding the right foods to feed your body can be daunting, especially if your not an imaginative cook.  Then add the layer of organic, which, although becoming more affordable, is still beyond the budget of many.  In my case, there are six other people in the house that want to eat all the healthy food, too, so getting in my (and everyone else's) six or more fruits and veggies a day are, let's say, impossible!

So what to do?  Obviously, not eating right has not been the solution, and I could think of any number of excuses, yes, excuses, to not eat right.  A large part of my problem, though, has been the lack of ability to wrap my head around the complexities of healthy eating, while feeding six other, not shook willing, people.  Well, part of the solution has come from a somewhat unusual, and surprising, place.  My baby daughter.  No, it's not one of those aha moments about being around for my children, I had that a long time ago.  It was more practical than that, it was the food I was spooning into her mouth!

When I began the incredible vocation of mother ten years ago, baby food has a lot to be desired.  It was very unappetising eating, to say the least, and I remember putting my son on regular cooked food a soon as I could.  Chicken and apples were a staple baby food for him, yuck!!  Nowadays, baby food has come a long way, as I w very pleased to find out.  Chef inspired combinations of organic foods are put together in very simple, but appetizing ways.  They are great and basic ideas on how to  fuel our bodies optimally.  Such care is taken when feeding our little babies, however, this care gets less and less as we age.  Every aisle in the food stores should look like the baby food aisle, not necessarily the mushy consistency, but the ease of healthy ideas and with that much care in our nutrition. 

However, since our society is at that point yet, I will cook the honours of listing some interesting for combinations of nutrient rich foods that we can easily feast on.  And trust me, I've actually considered eating some of my daughter's yummies, just for ease.  But the simplicity of these foods are nice enough to tempt the rest of the family.  Take a look:

Spinach, peas and pear
Sweet potatoes, white beans and cinnamon
Apricot, peach and pumpkin
Green beans, zucchini and potato
Apple and blueberry
Blueberry, oats and quinoa
Broccoli and apple
Banana, beet and blueberry
Apricot and sweet potato

These are some great ideas for stir-fries, one dish meals, even smoothies!  This wouldn't be the first time I added baby food to a smoothie, it  take out all the work of preparing a fruit or vegetable purée.  Try to practice taking care of your body the way you would a baby's, with that much consideration.  Maybe we can force the for companies to start taking better care of their customers, too! 

Many thanks to Plum Organics, Sprout Organic (co-founded by chef Tyler Florence), and Happy Baby organic baby foods, for the inspiration!

Now to make some turkey chili with red beans and quinoa.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

When Reality Sets In

Almost a week ago, I gathered up the courage to go get my physical, bloodwork;  EKG and all. I wanted to get a real picture of where my health stands. Well, the news is less than desirable. My blood pressure and EKG were good, however,  I have high cholesterol, which I take very seriously. Which also tells me that up until now, I have to admit I myself that I wasn't taking it seriously enough. Geez, I've already given up sugar and white flour, now I have to drastically lower fat as well! I actually didn't think I was taking in that much fat, but drastic steps in my lifestyle obviously have to be taken. Now, of course, as is my nature, I'll start to do research in low cholesterol diets and the foods that increase cholesterol.  I'm good at the research, not good at the practice.  I scheduled a recheck with the doctor for weight and blood in 3 months, so let the games begin!! Ok, so what changes will I make first?

Let me say that I HAVE NO IDEA!! Just when I'm thinking I'm doing pretty well, and I've got my mind wrapped around a no added sugar or white flour diet, I'm forced to revamp it again. By the way, my blood sugar was just fine. So I'm sufficiently confused. I usually eat pretty good foods, nothing ever fried, don't eat out a lot, I just thought the amount of calories were off.  Maybe it would be time to consult a nutritionist.  But, I have to do something TODAY, so what I did the obvious, I made my usual food choices, this time being very aware of the fat and cholesterol in them.  I did come across some eye openers, that I thought I should have known, but maybe didn't want to.  Like chocolate and most dairy (that's not fat free).  I'm big on dairy, love cheese, and of course, the chocolate addiction goes without saying.  Actually, my chocolate weakness/obsession was what got me to give up sugar in the first place.  I had a relatively short time period when I was allowing myself to eat chocolate without chaperoning myself.  Perhaps that's where my cholesterol took a leap.

Obesity itself is a contributor or high cholesterol, which of course, I'm working on.  So, I'm making the tweaks and trying hard not to get discouraged.  But, my main purpose of this post is to try to get others who are afraid to go for a checkup to do so.  You have a pretty good idea of what your lifestyle is, and perhaps, what it should be.  But what you don't know is how that lifestyle is affecting your body, how your body is handling it.  I didn't realize my cholesterol issue, but now I do.  I also found out that I am perpetually dehydrated.  I definitely have my father's makeup.  We are prone to kidney stones, so staying hydrated is crucial!  Prevention is the key to long time health!

I am becoming aware that my way of staying motivated is to keep changing the focus of my health, meaning, trying new healthy foods, trying healthy new tricks, to keep me excited.  I don't try anything that will affect my weight negatively, and I try different ways of eating.  I don't want to get bored and discouraged, so variety is the way to protect myself from that.  I love food, healthy as well as not (except veggies, which are a constant trial for me, thus I ingest Macro Greens to get the nutrients and enzymes I need), so I want to use that to my advantage.

I'll take these steps to improve my health, and I am happy to do so.  Of course, I'll report how low my cholesterol is after the 3 months is up.  So many things to think about...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why am I So Afraid?

After reading, listening and watching a lot of books and media, it has become clear that I have to make some radical changes in my diet. The fact is inevitable, I suppose. First, i'll explain how I came to rhis conclusion, then I'll tell what the changes are.

All these years, and all these programs have always been done with a certain amount of safety.

I've known this fact for a long time, probably a really long time, but I am scared to death to take the plunge. What in the world could be so scary, you say? Well, basically I would have to say goodbye to 2 of my main sources of comfort. Plus the fact that I've relied on my buddies for 25 years! On my left side would be my old friend sugar, and on my right side, meet carbohydrate. They have seen me through some tough times, and have helped me recoup after a long day. This is a profound realization to me, to be faced with the idea of stopping my consumption of these wonderful beings actually is sending me into a panic. Can you say addiction? I never, NEVER would have categorized myself in that stigma, but now I know it must be true. Of course in response to this panic, where do I turn? You guessed it! S&C!  Once coming to this conclusion, I engaged in a full blown binge.  And, boy, am I pissed!  Pissed at all the people who were bringing this reality to the forefront of my mind.  Just so you know, all you folks who think that it's funny to  torture sugary people, I hate you!

Ok, my tantrum is over, the panicky feeling is not, however.  I know what must be done, and I intend to do it.  My husband ensures me that I am strong enough to do this, I wish I could be so sure.  But, I know that I'm in for a slew of medical issues is I don't get rid of this vice.

So, I am formally making an announcement.  As of tomorrow (or today, since you are reading this when I post it), I am off sugar and white flour!  I will be writing about my experience in detail, in case anyone is contemplating this huge undertaking as well, so you know what to expect.  I've read that it takes about 3 days for the sugar cravings to wear off, let's just see if they are right.  If they are not, then I will put forth the truth to all.

As a side note, there will be only one thing I will allow sugar in, and that is my coffee.  That would be 1 sugar cube of added sugar a day.  And I intend to wean myself off that, so it would be sugarless coffee, too.  Another side note, I don't intend to become a sugar substitute fanatic.  Personally, aside from truvia (stevia), I hate artificial sweeteners.  Don't like the taste or the aftertaste. so this is for real.  I'm not just substituting everything sugary with its splenda twin.  I intend these changes to aim toward health, and I don't believe a lot of chemicals ingested are the correct direction.

Wish me luck!  I will see you on the other side of the bakery aisle!  That would be, what, produce?  Well, whatever...

*Disclaimer: Despite all said above, no, I have not had a diagnosis of diabetes, or pre-diabetes or anything of the like.  This is all done of my own free will...and I think I might just be out of my mind.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to Start a Successful Day of Weight Loss

A good, strong day starts the night before. Giving yourself a good night's sleep, or in my case, a night with as few interruptions of sleep as possible, can set the stage for success. This isn't always possible, I know, and there will be days when we will drag ourselves out of bed dreading the coming day. But for today, let's just focus on those days that we wake up feeling pretty good.

Then comes time for the pep talk.  It has to be when you're alone and have no, I mean, NO distractions.  I usually do this in the shower.  So let's have a little chat with ourselves.  No, don't ask how the weather is, which is sometimes as much as we really tune into ourselves.  I mean, tell yourself, out loud, how you intend your day to be and how you intend your choices to be.  "Today is going to be a good day.  I will stay calm, I will stay under control, and I will enjoy something other than food."  Whatever you want your intentions to be for today, say those intentions.  Make them really good ones, if you want, whatever it takes to get you amped up to make the effort.  And dialogue that's very decisive and positive can make a real difference in how we feel like tackling the day.

Have you ever noticed that if you've had a bad night, or bad previous day, it's real easy to feel sorry for yourself the next morning?  And what have I done on days like this?  I've said, internally, of course, "you deserve to take it easy on yourself today.  It'll take too much energy, which I don't have, to eat well today".  So what happens?  I have a breakfast loaded with carbs and probably sugar instead of protein, which makes me feel even more sleepy as the day goes on.  Bad idea.  Always start your day with intentions, positive intentions, whatever they may be.  Set your standards for your day really high, so it's something really good to shoot for.

Also, make small goals for yourself, I make mine every month.  So if I can't find any positive intent, I at least have a goal that I'm reaching for, it makes it easy for my mind to grasp that when I'm not so awake, alert, or willing.

Enlist the people around you to keep you motivated and accountable during the day.  Family, friends, coworkers, the guy sitting next to you on the bus.  Tell them to ask you what you're having for lunch, to ask you if you've exercised today.  Or just let them know that you're trying to change your lifestyle, so be ready for you talk about it.

As a last point, my husband and I have begun to start our day with something called Macro Greens.  Neither of us eat as many veggies as we should, and this powder (mixed with apple juice and water), provides more than our daily allotment in 1 scoop.  I swear it has given me more energy.  It's organic, as well.

I've almost never had a "perfect" day of health eating and exercise, but the components of a healthy lifestyle are many, so strive toward the goal, don't be stalled by the bumps!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Time to Take Stock

Periodically, it's imperative to stop, step back, and take stock of where I am in my weight loss efforts.  It has been 8 weeks that I've been logging my food and increasing my exercise.  In that time, I have lost 10 pounds.  that averages, what, 1 1/4 pounds per week.  Ok, that makes me feel a little better, and can you guess why?  I was being hard on myself, which, of course, I'm very good at.  I didn't think I was doing losing fast enough.  But in looking back, I am now aware that I am right on track with healthy weight loss.  It definitely wouldn't hurt to amp it up some, like tweaking my eating and starting to weight train at the gym and at home.  The point is, though, after 2 months of the effort, I thought I was doing a crappy job of it.  I didn't really realize that my efforts aren't crappy and are having an effect!  I'm happy about this!

I have to continually think forward, though, and what should be my question to myself at this point?  Where are the areas on this journey that can be improved.  I heard in a podcast Cut The Fat Weight Loss * that when a person is trying to lose weight, their diet is 95% of the solution.  And if we don't have a lot of time to devote to diet and exercise in our schedule, then what time we do have should be devoted to diet first.  This was a little aha moment for me, because up until now, I automatically thought that exercise should be the focus is there is little time, and I would burn off any extra calories.  But it makes sense that I should be putting extra time in the planning and the cooking of the right kinds of foods to eat, so there is less guess work and last minute decision making.  

So, the goal for this week is to do some tweaking of diet and exercise.  Specifically, is to plan out my menu so I can shop for the right things, and I'll add my kids brown bag lunches as well, so there is no guess work.  How nice that feeling would be!  In regards to exercise, I'm going to focus on resistance training, which I love!

Now, however, I am going to take a moment, though, to fully congratulate myself for losing 10 pounds!  I am definitely capable of doing it, and doing it to the end!  Who is with me?!?  

*I listen to health and weight loss podcasts for motivation and for reiteration of health information.  The more ingrained it is, the better!  Besides, I used to do a weight loss podcast back in 2007, so I enjoy that sort of media.