Blog Archives

Feeling alright

Hey guys, happy Wednesday 🙂

In the words of Bon Jovi “Ooooh, we’re halfway there…”

Aww, yeah!

I don’t have any food pics to share with you yet but I hope to have those up tonight. Basically, after a long day at work and a nice walk at the park with Suzie and a friend of mine, I was whooped and fell asleep around 9:00. But I woke up at 11:00 to go downstairs, turn my phone off, wave at my husband (literally, I was too tired to speak) and then go back to bed, ha ha.

But I’m feeling good today. I don’t have any cold symptoms and that tired worn down feeling is gone, even if I have been feeling the need for more sleep lately — I think I’m ready for hibernation mode since it’s been so cool outside. We’re having 70’s this weekend after a brief heatwave over the next couple of days. What is this?

But, I still took some Vitamin C this morning and I’m still washing my hands every opportunity I get 🙂

Weight Update

I looked at my calendar this week and realized that it has been a month since I started working toward a lower sugar lifestyle. I officially began this journey on my husband’s birthday, July 27th, and here we are a month later already, I can’t believe it. Read my post about it all here: What’s going on?

Since I prefer to look at my weight progression over the course of a month, rather than week to week, I thought it was high time for an update. I do weigh myself every Monday but I don’t feel like it is worth it to mention every single week since we know there are times when it fluctuates for reasons that we cannot control.

On 7/27, I weighed in at 160.5 lbs.

On 8/24, I weighed in at 151 lbs.

So, in a month’s time I was able to get back into my comfort zone by paying more attention to the foods I was putting into my body, cutting back on processed junk, exercising moderately and resting when I needed to rest. It is easy to get caught in a rut of desserts (like baked goods, candy and ice cream) and sugary foods (like sweetened yogurts, energy bars, fruit). It’s like an addiction. Now that I have that under control, I no longer feel the urge to eat sugary foods, even fruit. I do like to have a serving with breakfast for the nutrients and because it goes well with oatmeal but other than that, I don’t really crave it the way I used to.

I do eat dark chocolate almost every night but it’s enough to satisfy me and dark chocolate does have antioxidant qualities (that’s my story anyway). I do have the occasional dessert but only on special occasions (like Wednesday nights with my girls) and I am not keeping them in the house! I do have a container of ice cream in my freezer right now from the other night when I was feeling ill, but it’s not staying there, ha ha.

I also realize that it’s easy to get caught in exercise ruts too. I think sometimes I would exercise more so that I could eat dessert, and that is not healthy either. I also ate way too much when I was running/training and it has been a hard transition now that I don’t run long distances anymore. I’ve had to relearn body needs vs. wants and habits.

Now, I just try to stick to moderate workouts, including a good mixture of walking, running, weight training and yoga. Plus occasionally venturing onto new cardio machines like the stair master and rower. I’ve also come to appreciate days off from exercise or at least lighter days and not packing a gym bag to work every single day. Today is one of those days…I wore tennis shoes though so I can at least take a few short strolls to clear my head 🙂

Exercise, like dessert, can be overdone. I think I am finding a balance, slowly but surely. I still plan on tracking my calories for a while just because it has been interesting for me to see the days when I need more than others and what foods keep me more satisfied at what times. I set no goals for the day and it is in no way obsessive. If it becomes that way, I will end this little experiment.

In summary, I feel great. I feel like I’m in control again and I certainly don’t feel deprived in any way. I feel like I’ve found what works best for my body and I have no plans of changing that any time soon. It is important that we all find what works for us and this won’t necessarily be the same as another person in your life, another blogger, etc. It’s something you have to find for yourself, even if you are inspired by others along the way.

Thanks friends! Be back soon 🙂

What’s going on?

I’ve taken the last few weeks to reflect on my goals, make some adjustments to my habits, and try some new things.

I’ve also had quite a few indulgent weekends this summer that have left my pants a bit tight and my energy levels zapped. I hadn’t weighed myself in a LONG time, so I figured it was time. I wasn’t surprised to see that I had reached 160.5 lbs. I always said if I ever hit 160, it was time to make some changes. The difference this time was, I was not at all upset or disappointed. While it doesn’t really matter, for new readers to get an idea, my lowest weight was 144 and my “happy place” was 147.5.

I knew where it came from and I knew what I had to do to change it! Plus, I’ve found that being positive is the only way to live one’s life. Negativity will always drag you down and probably everyone around you too. So why bother?

Before I get in to this, let me issue a disclaimer: What I’m about to describe is working FOR ME. It may not be for you, since we are all so different in our genetic make-ups and lifestyles.  And it is certainly not meant to replace a doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice. This is just my story.

You may recall a few weeks back, I mentioned that Heather had inspired me to be more conscious of the sugars I was ingesting on a daily basis. If you haven’t read her post on sugar, you should do it now!

For longer than I can remember, my diet has been carb heavy, meaning it is the majority of the food I eat. That only increased when I became a runner in late 2007. I read in a magazine once that my body type and shape (apple) can actually have a hard time handling sugar (even in whole grain form) and I was told by my doctor that this could impact hormone levels and even have an effect on future fertility, but I didn’t want to listen, until now. But it is not only “carbs” that create problems for me — it’s those added sugars in things like yogurt, bars, and other processed foods that my body just doesn’t handle very well.

Once I was out of fruit, Z bars, dried apricots, and a few other things, I began a new, lower sugar lifestyle. I’m focusing on eating mostly vegetables, protein, fat, a little bit of fruit and a little bit of grains. Now, I have another confession to make.

Last week, I started counting calories again. Not to limit myself, but to be observant of my body’s true needs and as a form of research if you will. The most interesting thing I have learned is that I do not eat the same amount everyday. In fact, I operate on an every other day fluctuation of sorts. For example, one day I will have 1400, the next day 1700, the day after that 1300 and so on. Now, I know they say never to eat less than 1400 calories a day but I swear on those days I was completely satisfied and did not want to eat just because I had the calories “reserved”.

Note: Earlier this year, I challenged myself to stop weighing and stop counting calories. These were both very positive behavior changes and I feel, are responsible for my new outlook on both things even though I am now doing them again.

Before this, I estimated that I ate around 1800-2000 calories every day. While this works for some people, I believe that my current body composition, activity level and history of weight loss does not allow for this much. The thing about losing weight is that the more you lose, the less you need. A girl who weighs 160 lbs — but always has — needs more calories per day than I do since I used to weigh 225. I never ate 1800 calories when I was losing weight before, so why am I surprised that eating that much caused me to gain?

I had been making myself eat that much (and sometimes more) even though my body nor my appetite required it.

One thing people assume is that we need a certain amount of food groups in our everyday diets. I was one of those people, thinking I had to eat so many servings of fruit, 3 glasses of milk, so many ounces of grains, etc. I asked Heather if she felt her vitamin and mineral levels were suffering because of lower fruit/carb intake and she gave me some of her wisdom as to the vitamin content in vegetables as well as taking a supplement where you see yourself deficient.

I tracked my eats for one day in order to determine where I stood and I noticed that the only place I was really missing out was Vitamin E, so I try to add wheat germ to my oatmeal and I’m considering taking a supplement soon too. I was surprised how well I still met all the other requirements! I also already take a calcium + vitamin D + magnesium and zinc supplement on the days I can remember to (this is in addition to my multi-vitamin which I do take most days).

Another way I think many people go wrong is that they think lowering sugar in their diet means eating a lot of processed “sugar free” foods (which are not always good for you) and/or using foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, etc. I will admit this was a concern of mine since I had previously cut out most artificial sweeteners in my diet already.

How can you avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners/ingredients at the same time? It’s actually quite simple.

For the past week now…

I get grains and fruit from breakfast consisting of oats (made with 1/2 milk 1/2 water), a sliced banana, and a spoonful of PB (all natural!) on most days. I’ve also been able to reduce the portion sizes a bit and I’m trying to get out of the mentality that you have to eat a certain amount of something, instead of listening to your body and your fullness (something I picked up from reading French Women for All Seasons). There have been also been a couple of days when I’ve had eggs or an omelet (with toast) for breakfast. 

I drink one cup of coffee every day and I do use creamer, which doesn’t have the best ingredients (I do use a no trans fat kind) but if it is my one and only vice right now, I don’t mind that at all. Plus it makes drinking coffee a little bit more fun 😉

When I need mid-morning snacks (which is not every day now), I’ve been working with hard boiled eggs, veggies with hummus or PB, and a few other smaller, more protein dense snacks. I used to eat a lot of bars, both with and without protein, and those hardly ever felt like they held off my hunger. In fact, bars like the Z bars, with over 10 grams of sugar and very little protein (not to mention most of them include chocolate) only caused my hunger to grow.

Lunches have been a lot of salads, which weren’t big on my list before, but now that I have learned from Heather and many other bloggers out there, to make bigger salads with more veggies, protein (beans, etc.), and other ingredients, salads have become not only fun but quite satisfying. Never again will I eat a wimpy salad with just dressing. In fact, I’ve hardly used salad dressing, choosing instead to rely on hummus, which is a magical food in it’s own right.

I used to get the worst 2 or 3 p.m. slumps at work and those have completely disappeared. I had read before that excluding carbs from your lunch could help with this and I see now that whoever said that was right. I used to eat bread (or pasta or crackers) and fruit with lunch every day! I have also noticed now that I am more productive throughout the day and in a better mood when I get home from work, which I now makes my husband and dog happier campers too.

Afternoon snacks are pretty much the same as mid-morning, but the best one for me is usually mixed nuts with their protein + satisfying fat content, they keep me perked up and satisfied throughout the rest of the afternoon. I also sometimes like to have a cup of tea either between lunch and a snack or between my snack and going home for the day. While mid-morning snacks are not always required, I have yet to have a day go by where I didn’t need something to hold me between lunch and dinner (which is a longer period of time usually).

Dinners have been here and there, mostly protein and veggies. But a few times, I’ve had veggie pizza, beans and barley, or other meals including carbs and I feel okay doing that because I have them under control the rest of the day. After dinner, I am consistently full and not having thoughts going through my head about hitting up the pantry for another snack because dinner was not enough.

My sugar demons are leaving me!

For dessert, I have been eating mostly dark chocolate in controlled portions. Every now and then, I’ll have a spoonful of peanut butter. I also love to drink a cup of tea at night to relax me before bed. Gone are the days of eating multiple bowls of cereal, ice cream, or endless spoonfuls of Nutella or Dark Chocolate Dreams after dinner. Those things are not bad themselves, but my ability to control myself around them had become troublesome.

I do not feel deprived at all. In fact, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to eat sugary foods, my body does not want them! I drink lots of water, eat when I am hungry, don’t when I am not and stop eating when I am full, not when the plate is empty. Or if I’m still hungry, I eat more. Every day is not the same.

I’m also happy to say I plan to start blogging more regularly from now on. When I had taken breaks before, it was mostly because I was not happy with what I was eating or I felt like I was in a rut. I also think it is related to my energy because I hardly “felt” like blogging most days. I’m finally back to a place where I look forward to blogging again and I’m happy to be doing it.

If I wasn’t able to workout at work, with a partner who holds me accountable, I probably would’ve skipped that a lot too. Thank goodness it never got to that point!

My exercise this past week or so has been the usual, lots of strength training and cardio sessions with a few Yoga Downloads here and there. The intensity has remained the same and the time for the most part (30-60 minutes per day). Even though you could say my diet is now lower in carbohydrates, my workouts are not suffering at all. In fact, I think they are better now than they have ever been. I plan to start training for 5K’s again in September, so we will see if I am impacted at all then.

I feel great. My skin is clearing up (unexpected side effect). I’m sleeping better. I’m having more fun. I feel happier. My pants are already loosening. Life is good.

Thanks for reading if you have made it this far. I feel really good about where things are going with my new way of eating. Once again, let me just say this is me. What works for me may not work for you, I know that from trying to do many things other people have done for years. I know my body now and I listen to her when she tells me something ain’t right. I hope you do the same for you 🙂