Monthly Archives: July 2010

Woman’s Day

Is this thing on?

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Howdy strangers! Just a quick bit of news to share with you.

For those of you who might’ve missed it on Twitter, I recently did a “Food Blogger Friday” post for The Daily WD, the blog for Woman’s Day magazine.

In the post, I talked about why Larabars are one of my favorite snacks. I hope you’ll check it out :) Thanks Abby for the opportunity!

Have a great weekend!

p.s. It would also appear that I managed to post over at River City Fitness today too!

I'm back…sort of

I haven’t been on here in so long that I had to go back and read the last few posts I wrote to see where I left off. It’s really only been a week but when you are used to writing about your workouts everyday, a week off can feel like an eternity.

Basically, all of last week, I did not feel like moving — at all. Not even walking.

Over the weekend I went out of town and where I was, I had to walk, but if it hadn’t been for that, I don’t know that I would have on my own. My motivation level has been in the negative.

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But, after some time off, I went back to work on Wednesday. I tried to talk myself out of it many times throughout the day, but somehow I dragged myself to the gym and did a 50-minute workout. I took it easy, doing 30 minutes on the bike (while reading a book) and then walking for 20 minutes on the treadmill. It felt really good.

So yesterday I decided to give running a try. I’m signed up for a 4 mile race this Saturday and I knew I wanted to at least re-familiarize myself with running before then. It had been so long, I wasn’t even sure I remembered how, ha ha. Talk about waiting until the last minute.

It was later in the day and way too hot to run outside, so I stuck to the treadmill. And I went slooooow (for me). Before I got started, I thought about the article that had inspired me to just slow down and enjoy running for the heck of it.

While I was on the treadmill I even repeated to myself “nice and easy, breathe, no injuries” and other phrases that kept me going and also kept me from saying to myself “you are too slow.” Because that is just ridiculous.

I ran 3 miles in 35 minutes and some change. I ended up utilizing the 4:1 ratio of running to walking and the longer I went on, I increased my running speed. At the end of it, I felt like I could keep going which to me is a good sign that taking it easy is the way to go on Saturday. :)

I finished up my second day at the gym with a full 15 minutes of stretching. It was very nice!

So I feel like I’m back, sort of. I’m still not 100% but at least the past two days I’ve been able to do more than just put one foot in front of the other. Progress!

“See” you all later! Hopefully not too much later…

Guess I'll figure out exercise soon

Hi friends!

Yesterday, I posted about my renewed efforts to journal my eating habits in order to fight off any additional weight gain and hopefully lose what I’ve put on the past few months. In addition to eating too much, my exercise habits have been suffering terribly.

I did pretty good last week and over the weekend I did a lot of walking. I’m still going to try to move as much as possible, but as far as structured exercise or stepping foot in a gym…I’m just not feeling it right now.

I skipped the gym yesterday because I had a doctor’s appointment that took forever and I ran out of time, then today I brought my clothes but I just can’t picture it happening.

I’m sure I could talk myself into it and get a modest workout in, but I’d rather wait until I am feeling 100%.  Until I am excited about it again. There is a bigger story to all of this but it’s not something I’m ready to post about just yet.

The past few days of food journaling have been great, so I’m hopeful that regular, beneficial exercise will fall back in line soon enough.

Thanks for your support :)

Starting over, again

It’s Monday!

You know what that means…it’s a brand new day and a brand new week, which always inspires me to get re-focused on my goals and the things I want to accomplish this week and beyond. Today is no exception!

In fact, today is probably the most important Monday I’ve had in a while.

You see, I’ve really let myself backslide. I debated sharing this on the blog at first but I know that it helped me A LOT to read other stories of people who’ve struggled in the same way and who recently overcame plateaus and whatnot.

So here you go — I’ve been eating too much, not exercising enough, and I am now 11-12 pounds over my “happy weight” which itself was 11-12 pounds over my original goal when I first started back in 2007.

The weight in numbers really isn’t what is important, just the fact that I’d lost control and in turn have been feeling like crap. It really hit me when my pants got tighter.

How did I get here?

These past several weeks, maybe even months, I’ve felt like I was falling into a hole I couldn’t dig myself out of. I’ve felt physically and emotionally spent. So I’ve comforted myself with “rest days” and lots of tortilla chips and chocolate (not together, ha ha). I quit blogging regularly. Things got sort of dark at times.

I tried to get myself to “snap out of it” but it just didn’t happen. The only thing I could do was wait and pray because God always gets me through everything! :)

Well, I’ve waited and I feel like I’m ready to get myself back now!

I’m still planning to see some doctors for a few different things, including this issue I discussed last week, but I can already tell that I’m on my way back to being me again.

I thank God for what’s been going on because I feel like this experience, as hard as it has been, has given me a whole new perspective on my life. I take so much for granted and my goal is to do that less and less. I am truly blessed.

So, what does starting over mean?

Well, I tried to think back to 2007 and what starting over meant back then. For a combined total of 20 minutes over the weekend, I considered joining Weight Watchers but then I remembered that I didn’t have that much success with it before; that’s not what helped me lose 70 lbs.

What helped me was being accountable to MYSELF and keeping this nifty little journal:

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Back in December 2009, I wrote about how journaling was one of my keys to weight loss. I believe by going back to what worked so well for me the first time, I have a better chance of getting over this hump. I’m also interested to see if I am getting enough nutrients (fat, fiber, protein) that I haven’t really paid that much attention to recently.

Things have changed a lot since 2007, so I am interested to see what’s going on now and what I can do to improve and get back to my happy place, both with my weight and my life.

For example, on Saturday, I wrote in my journal for the first time and was a little shocked (but not really) that I consumed over 800 calories between 8:30 and 11 p.m. Do that a few times a week and it’s no wonder I’ve gained weight and feel bloated and sluggish.

Sometimes seeing something with your own eyes is just the wake up call you need.

I hope those of you who are struggling out there know it’s never too late to start over or start over again. Also, enlist a friend or two to start over with you, even if their goals are different than yours. It helps to have that support.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Why I’m giving up soy

One of the things I have realized on this new path to self-discovery, or whatever I’m on, is that I need to do what I think is right for me and stop apologizing or avoiding discussing things because I’m afraid of how others will react. This is my life and I should be living it according to my convictions.

With that being said, let’s talk about Soy, shall we?

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Soy products are perhaps the most recognized staples of many vegetarian and vegan diets. There’s soy milk, soy nuts, soy-based veggie burgers and other meat replacements, tofu, tempeh, soy yogurt, etc. It’s also present in many processed foods people consume (like soy sauce), regardless of their diet.

I know the opinions on soy and it’s affects on the body are varying. Whenever you are researching something for yourself, I think scientific articles are the most beneficial to read on the subject but you must look at everything you read with a skeptical eye. I also believe sometimes you just have to go with what your heart tells you, while keeping science in mind.

I’d never had a problem with soy before and believed that as long as you were consuming less processed soy products, there was nothing to worry about. For some people, that’s probably still true. But I’m not so sure about me anymore. I also need to remind you that I lack moderation.

Now it’s time for me to get personal: I have been having “problems” with my menstrual cycles for as long as I can remember. I started my periods really early, age 9. I suffer from irregular cycles, extremely long cycles, heavy and painful periods, and in the past missed periods too.

It seems like no two cycles are ever the same and attempts at taking hormonal birth control in the past just left me more frustrated. That’s a topic for another post, but let’s just say I would much rather be able to “solve” this on my own in a more natural way.

The reason I have chosen to discuss soy in my diet, is due to findings which claim that consuming a lot of soy products can lengthen the menstrual cycle and possibly cause fertility problems IF you have multiple risk factors. Soy also has health benefits which have been shown in scientific studies, but I had to weigh it for myself. You can’t believe everything you read, on either side.

I thought when I lost weight and got myself healthier (starting in 2007), that things would improve but they have not. Losing weight made my periods lighter and less painful for a while, but then when I started running, they disappeared entirely. 

I thought that if I cut back on running it would help some, but it did not. Luckily, some progesterone pills got them restarted and I haven’t experienced any missed periods in a while now. One last thing I haven’t fully addressed yet as a possible cause is stress, but since that is an on-going battle for me right now, I thought I’d give one more dietary change a shot first.

The past several months have been extremely tough. My cycles have gotten longer (we’re talking 50+ days), my periods have gotten heavier and more painful than ever (as in take a Vicodin and stay home from work painful) and I’ve been depressed.

The moods are what got my attention the most. I’d been dealing with the other stuff off and on for years, but when I started finding it hard to smile, that hurt more than any physical pain I was feeling.

Why now? I’ve been consuming soy products in foods my entire life. I found out I was lactose intolerant in 2008, so I’ve been using soy milk and yogurt more since then. But since my problems have escalated the past few months or so, I can’t help but wonder if it is because my soy consumption has increased since I decided to go vegan in October of 2009? I think maybe so.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat soy. I’m not recommending anything to anyone, as I’m not qualified to do so.

But from research I have done on my own, medical opinions I’ve received, and based on the opinions of a few trustworthy friends, I have decided to experiment with reducing (or eliminating) soy in my diet to see if it improves my cycles at all.

Just like I have done with other changes in my diet, I plan to phase soy out gradually. I have a refrigerator full of veggie burgers, tofu, tempeh and soy yogurt that I still need to use up. But I’ve started reading labels and the new foods I’m purchasing are soy free.

I know what you are thinking…how can someone who already doesn’t eat so many things possibly remove yet another food group from their diet?

Well, just like there are alternatives to the animal products I choose not to eat, there are also alternatives to soy. I can use coconut milk or almond milk instead of soy (there is also hemp, oat, and rice milks available).

Sunshine Burgers are soy free as is Earth Balance.

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Seitan is a good alternative to tofu and tempeh. I just tried it for the first time the other night when we had dinner at Ramsi’s and I got the Seitan Parmesan sandwich, yum! I’ll still have plenty of beans and lentils, which are excellent protein sources.

There are a plethora of yogurts and frozen treats made from coconut milk, almond milk and rice milk if I want them. So really, there’s nothing missing.

Much like when I first went vegan, the hardest thing will be where it shows up on food labels. Just like with dairy and eggs, soy can be sneaky sometimes but if I keep my diet as whole as possible, there won’t be as many processed food labels to worry about anyway.

Friends and family — if you are reading this, don’t worry. I will still eat things you make for me if they contain soy products. I think once in a while is okay, especially if you went out of your way to make sure something wouldn’t contain meat or dairy (which I appreciate more than you know).

I just have to get out of the habit of having soy milk with breakfast, a veggie burger at lunch, soy yogurt for a snack and tofu for dinner. That’s just too much.

I also want to note that I am in the process of adjusting some other areas of my diet but I will discuss those at a later date. I believe it is important to experiment and find what is going to work best for you and your individual needs, to get your body (and mind) working optimally.

So, now I want to know about you:

Do you eat soy products regularly? If you choose to eat a small amount of soy or avoid it entirely, why?

Life changing

I’m in the process of re-evaluating my life and trying to figure out who it is that I am and what my life goals really are. Obviously diet and exercise are a big part of that, but life is definitely more than that too, which I am starting to figure out!

I still have a long ways to go, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you an article I read recently that really changed my perspective on why and how I exercise the way that I do.

Runner’s World magazine has an article series called “I Am a Runner” which features different people in the public eye who run to maintain good health, even in the midst of their busy lives.

The last one I read was an interview with Mika Brzezinski, whom I only know of because my best friend Courtney turned me on to the tv show Morning Joe (weekday mornings on MSNBC) a few years ago. So I’m used to seeing her like this:

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Her story was amazing to me because according to her, she just runs because she wants to. She even ran on the days she delivered each of her children!

I don’t care where I am or what it’s like out. I’m running.

She’s not fast, she doesn’t have any fancy gear, and she hates the treadmill. Wow, how refreshing! She also gets the mental aspect of running:

My thoughts then wind down to bigger things, like what kind of a person do I want to be? I make decisions and figure stuff out.

But probably my favorite quote from the article, the one that made me think the most, was what she tells one of her daughters about running:

When we run, she says, “Mom, you’re so slow.” I tell her, “Stick with me and you’ll be running pain-free for the rest of your life.”

For so long, I have been running because I wanted to push myself in new ways and also because running burns more calories and I wouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight as much. That, to me, is a horrible attitude to have. It took me this long to realize it.

Yes, running does burn calories and can help maintain a weight loss but if that is your primary motivation, you may find yourself failing at that. I have actually gained more weight and worked HARDER to keep weight off since I have been running.

I’m also always striving to improve my running — to be faster or to do more weekly mileage. Why? Unless I am training for a race, I don’t need to worry about how many miles a week I run. I don’t need to be faster because I’m not trying to win anything.

And as Mika pointed out, when you run hard and fast, you risk injury more. Is being faster or running more miles really worth that?

I have come to the conclusion that I love to run. I love being able to run since I spent so much of my life as a sedentary, overweight person. I am thankful for the gift that is running. Now I am trying to get over wanting to be faster or “better” at running.

I am doing fine where I am now. Any efforts I’ve made at being faster or running more because I thought I had to never made me feel better about myself. But just running for fun when I’m not under that kind of pressure does.

I’m not saying that I won’t sign up for some races and challenge myself here or there, but I need to let go and just enjoy the run. Because I can! :)

For more “I Am a Runner” stories, click here.

Keeping it open-ended

Hi friends!

I’m still not sure what is going on here at See Sarah Eat. But to be honest, I just haven’t felt like blogging. I haven’t even felt like taking pictures.

I read recently over at the Health Blog Helper that if you aren’t feeling it, just don’t do it. I don’t want anything on here to be forced or uninspired. How will that help any of us?

I’m also trying to figure out some things in my personal life, which I’m sure has distracted me from this blogging hobby some. But I know that once I sort through some things, I will be feeling better and have more time to do things that I enjoy, like talking about food with you guys! :)

So while I won’ t be writing on here much for a while, I’m not quitting either. I love to write and blogging has introduced me to so many new people whose friendships I truly cherish. I also love reading other blogs and won’t be quitting that either.

I just need to take some time out to figure out what I want to do or how I want to move forward in life.

So for now, I’m keeping this blog open-ended. I have no definite plan right now, but I do hope you’ll keep me on your Google Readers and on Facebook, so that when new posts do come you’ll know it. You never know when a random one might show up! ;-)

My thanks & love to you all!

Sarah

Hip update

No, unfortunately I don’t mean cutting edge or exciting “hip” but rather my actual hip. Ha ha!

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But it’s still good news. Last week, over at my other blog, See Sarah Eat, I told you guys that I had injured my hip after deciding to take up walking again two weeks ago.

Well, I rested it over the long weekend, walking as little as possible and I also did some yoga to stretch it out. Then yesterday (Tuesday) I went for my first walk to see if I could determine what was making it sore and to prevent that from happening.

Since I did a few different things and I’m not really sure what worked the most, I’ll list them all out here:

  • I wore different shoes — I have a sneaking suspicion you aren’t supposed to walk in your running shoes!
  • I made my stride length shorter in order to avoid over-extending. This was hard and took a lot of conscious effort.
  • I made sure my foot hit the ground in a  heel-toe motion, instead of trying to walk like I run.
  • I didn’t walk as fast as I usually do.

I have nothing to report! My hip feels better and I think using the above strategies when I go walking will insure that it doesn’t happen again.

I had no idea that I had been out of the habit of walking, so much that I have had to re-learn how to walk! For fitness purposes anyway.

Is there a form of exercise you haven’t done in a while that you picked back up recently? Did you have to “re-learn” anything?

Overdue

Why the lack of posting lately? A lot has been going on. Still, I feel I am overdue for writing an update. So here you go!

For starters, my 10-year high school reunion was last Saturday!

I had an absolutely wonderful time catching up with old friends and people I’d graduated with 10 years ago, whom I hadn’t seen since then! I can’t believe the year 2000 was 10 years ago, so much has changed since then.

I’ve also been dealing with some health issues. Nothing serious, just some stuff I really need to get worked out in order to get back to feeling like me again. So I’ve been taking time out to make some doctor’s appointments and get the ball rolling.

I’m still vegan and I still love being vegan! I’ve got a ton more product reviews to do for you all as soon as I’m feeling up to it again.

I was really excited to do a guest post on the Just Flourishing blog recently and it’s been fun to read about all the other bloggers who have tried vegan for a week, month, etc. You guys are awesome :)

On the exercise front, I’ve spent the last two weeks doing a lot of walking and managed to injure my hip! So now I’m just running and doing yoga when I have time. Eventually, I will post an update at River City Fitness but in the meantime you can keep up with my Weekly Workouts, as boring as they may be right now!

While I am confident that this will turn around soon, I have started letting myself slide back to that set point that Caitlin described so well in her recent post about motivation. I’ve gained a few pounds and my exercise routine is all out of whack.

I’m not beating myself up, in fact, I’m trying to be nicer to myself now than I ever have. I’m trying to embrace and accept myself right where I am. I highly recommend this post that Heather did over at the Happiness Is Within blog; it really hit home for me.

So while I have some issues to work out on my own, I’ll still be here from time to time. I’m still reading your blogs and Tweeting. I love this community!

What are you doing for this 4th of July weekend?

Be safe :)

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