Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Extremes, Just Consistency

After being a little disappointed last week when I stepped on the scale, I made a quick decision to forget about it and move on.  I did not stick my head into a 1/2 gallon of ice cream and think "oh, well, scale was up a pound, what will this hurt?"  I've tried that in the past- doesn't work.  Instead, I continued to cook meals at home, bring in my breakfasts and lunches to work, and move as much as possible. 
I came into work one morning, and was the first person at the office.  There was an entire tray of desserts in the work kitchen, and I walked by it.  Numerous times!  I mean, NO ONE was around!  I could have eaten something!  Except, I would know.  Instead, I microwaved my chicken thighs and roasted broccoli. 
A few days later we had a catered lunch at work.  The desert was some fruit/cream cheese/pie thing.  I had a piece.  It was awesome.  I didn't feel bad. 
I spent the weekend running around like crazy, I had a super jam packed social weekend that is pretty rare for me.  After going to a friends house for brunch on Saturday morning, I hosted a dinner that night where I had 6 people over.  I made an awesome dinner of 2 whole roasted chickens, broccoli with garlic/olive oil, and a quinoa salad with various veggies and raisins mixed in.  I had a glass of delicious wine.
So, having a week VERY similar to the previous week in which I saw a 1lb gain, I stepped on the scale this am, ready for whatever.  I was greeted with a 3lb LOSS.  I was not overjoyed, I did not immediately run to my closet and pull out my tiniest jeans thinking they would fit.  I just exhaled and remembered that the overall trend is what matters.  No extremes, just consistency. No beating myself up over gains, and no elation for losses. 
That puts me at a net total of 2lbs lost towards my 1st 10lb goal.  Yay!  8lbs to go.  Sounds much better than 10lbs... 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oh, Yeah. I Remember.

Today being Tuesday and all, I stepped on the scale this am.  Any guesses? 
+1 lb from last week.  Awesome...now I have 11lbs to lose.
I forgot how much I hate this whole scale thing.  So, up a pound.  Of course the crazy thoughts crept in: "was it the donut last Thursday?"  "Was it the 3 alcoholic beverages I drank over the course of the week?"  "Was it because I didn't exercise on Saturday?"  Who dafaq knows. 
But, I do know one thing.  I weigh less today than I did a month ago.  I'm not going to let one day, one moment on the scale change what I'm doing overall.  I know I could replicate last week's food and exercise to the "T" this week, and see a 3lb loss next Tuesday.  That is why this scale thing is so maddening. 
Is is a useful tool?  Absolutely.  Is it useful to use it to run my life?  Absolutely not.  I know what I need to do.  I'm going to continue to do what I need to do, and I'm going to trust that things will move in the correct direction.  I'm interested in the long haul, not the pot holes or speed bumps along the way. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Round-up

This week got away from me!  I have had a post on my fingertips since Monday, and somehow I'm only finding the time to type it out now.  Of course as the week progressed, more stuff happened worthy of noting, so lets do a little Friday roundup:
Monday- Woke up feeling amazing after a solid 3 weeks of eating well, drinking lots of water, taking my fish oil, probiotics, and exercising.  I also realized that I'm in a "losing phase" and it has been a long time since I've been actively watching the scale for losses, rather than just trying to do new cool things (like lifting heavier weights, or running faster, etc.).  So, that being said, I want to lose 20 lbs.  I'm going to break this up into losing 10 lbs two times.  I don't really care how long it takes, just as long as I continue on a downward trend.  A stall in weight loss for a week or two is to be expected.
Tuesday- Did my official weigh-in for my first 10lb chunk.  I will report next tuesday how I did for the week. 
Wednesday- Crossfit day!  We ran sprints.  Blah. 
Thursday- Had a donut, didn't feel bad about it.  Crossfit day!  We did a workout in which I surprised myself at how quick I moved.  I really pushed myself, and felt for the first time in a long time that I wasn't "recovering" from anything.  I felt how I used to feel all the time when I was going to Crossfit 4 days a week consistently, and each workout was a challenge, but I was able to push through and get some benefit, not just survive.  I suppose this feeling is akin to a "runners high."  When you start out running, it sucks.  Everything feels heavy, and you can't catch your breath, but for whatever reason, you slog through.  Then, one day, everything just clicks.  You feel lighter, your breathing falls into a rythym, and running is actually enjoyable!  Same deal here...
Friday- Today, YAY!  Another great week in the books.  I swear, if the weeks keep going by this fast, I really have zero time to screw things up.  I've been on auto-pilot.  Making my protein/veggie breakfasts/lunches/ and dinners, moving whenever I can, and not constantly obsessing over what foods I can and can't have.  I feel good, my pants are looser.  This body of mine will be a reflection of what I do the majority of the time, not the minority. 
There you have it.  A summary of my week.  Typically Friday nights are my one night to be more relaxed food wise, but I'm not really feeling up to it tonightsince I had a donut on Thursday, and also went out to a fairly fancy dinner and had a glass of wine.  So turkey taco meat and veggies it will be.  My weekend will consist of lots of food prep for the week, lots of activity, and general bad-assery. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Trusting What I Know

Today is the first day in quite some time in which I feel like I'm digging myself out of this hole.  I am making progress, and just today I see that I'm not going to be this size forever.  My jeans are looser.  I looked at myself in the large bathroom mirror at work after I changed into my workout clothes and I didn't hate what I saw.  I still have a ways to go, but I can actually see changes. 
In some ways being uncomfortable with my weight is a comfort.  It is what I know.  I know what clothes to wear to best "mask" it.  I know to avoid looking in mirrors and being caught on camera.  I avoid clothes shopping.  I've learned to just get on with my life at a larger size because at times if just feels like I will be that way forever, so I might as well live my life.  Well, it isn't until I start losing weight that I see how permenent it felt at the size I was at; how used to it I was that my clothes were ill fitting, and how far my stomach would stick out.  Once those things go away, I also realize how much I don't want to be that size anymore/or again.  I have no idea if that makes sense.  I just know that today was a break-through day, mentally.
I know its cliche to say, but I didn't get this way overnight, so I'm certainly not going to un-get this way overnight.  It is nice to see that hard work pays off.  None of this is new, just a great reminder to myself to stick with it, trust myself, trust what I know.   

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mom Ninja

I'd be lying if I said there were no days when I think to myself "what did I get myself into?"  Life with an infant is no joke.  I have no idea what I'm doing.  Everytime we think we are in a routine, or pattern, it changes.  We went from a solid 6-8 weeks of baby sleeping from 8p-4am, waking for a feed, then falling back asleep till 8am.  It was a great schedule, I felt like I was really getting the hang of things.  Then one night, it all changed.  Then another night it changed again.  Some nights baby wakes up at 10:30pm,12:30am2:30am, and 4am.  Not always to eat, sometimes we can just get away with a simple pacifier replacement...other times- oh, boy...those other times...screaming, wiggling, fighting, madness.  Those are the times I'll do anything to get him to stop crying, including handing him off to a hungry grizzy bear.  Luckily no bear has walked by during one of those episodes yet, and a bottle sufficed. 
Between these times of sheer chaos and hair pulling madness are times of genius, or incredible feats of baby whispering.  Mom ninja moves, if you will.  Babies are so far ahead of us as far as knowing what they want and what works for them, it takes us a few days or weeks even to figure out what they are trying to say (cry?).  When those things finally click and you can anticipate baby needs- that is some mom ninja sh*t.   
I can't tell you how many times I've been woken up in the middle of the night to a fussing baby and did not pee before going in and trying to console him.  Let me tell you something- a fussy baby at 2am is one thing.  A fussy baby at 2amwhen your eyes are turning yellow is completely different.  Lesson- let baby fuss the extra 30 seconds in the crib while you relieve yourself.  It is better for everyone involved. 
A fussing baby in the middle of the night can usually mean a few things.  There is a checklist I run through depending on time of night and volume/style of crying.  If it is before 4am, I try to avoid a feed.  First thing I try is pacifier.  If that doesn't work, I turn on white noise.  Still fussing?  I check diaper or look for wet pj's.  Once that is handled, I will rock baby to sleep.  If crying increases/worsens, I make a bottle.  So, these fussing episodes can be handled in anywhere from 1 minute to 30 minutes, depending on how far down the checklist I have to go. 
Last night was a good night.  I gave baby a bottle at 6pm.  He was asleep by 6:35pm.  Thinking that this would only be an hour nap at the most, I got all my stuff ready for the next day- gym bag, packed my lunch, etc.  At 7:30 he was still sound asleep.  I decided to read in bed until the inevitble wake up as soon as I got comfortable.  I must've fallen asleep immediately.  I was woken up at 11:32 by fussing.  A simple pacifier worked.  I was woken again at 1:26am, and the hubs went in and gave him a pacifier.  The next time I heard fussing was 3:38am, so I knew it was time for diaper change and bottle. 
I got up, went to the bathroom (win!) and there were a few fusses, but nothing major yet.  I went to the kitchen made a bottle, and the fussing started to increase.  I picked up baby, and put him on the changing table.  Right before he was about to scream out, I gave him the bottle and he was in heaven.  I unzipped his jammies, took only one leg out, took his swollen diaper off (no poop!), and put a new diaper on with speed and expertise that can only be described as Olympic considering the 3:43amtime.  I put the leg back in, zipped up, and picked up baby that was eyes closed, still sucking down bottle.  I sat on the edge of the bed while he drank his bottle, eyes still closed.  When he finished I stood up and put his head over my shoulder to burp, but he was so heavy I knew he was asleep.  As I set him down in his crib on his stomach, he burped.  I put his pacifier back in, turned on the white noise, and tip-toed backwards out of the room.  I looked at the clock when I got back into bed- 3:51am.  Like a mother-effing MOM NINJA- no tears.  No waking up the hubby/neighborhood.  I was pretty proud of myself. 
A couple of things I learned here- he might be wanting an earlier bed time.  That might explain why putting him down at 8pm or even 9pm was a FIGHT, and his quality of sleep would suffer.  Perhaps we were missing the window all these other nights and he was way over tired/stimulated.  Makes sense since he doesn't nap for very long during the days.  Second, he IS capable of going from 9+ hours without a feed.  We always just feed him when we don't know what else to do.  That has the secondary effect of more wet diapers and potential wake ups.  Lastly, it was bath night last night, and I've noticed that he sleeps better after bath nights (2-3x week) might need to increase to every night if they calm him down? 
So yeah.  I don't know.  Maybe it was just a freak good night.  Like I said, every night is different.  One thing is for sure, it is never boring, and somehow, someway, seeing his smile first thing in the morning erases all middle of the night grizzly bear thoughts.  :)
Some other mom ninja moves of note:
-Flipping down the sun shade in the stroller seconds before the sun will hit babies eyes.
-Recognizing tired signals and putting him down for a nap before fussing starts.
-Making a bottle while holding a crying squirming baby.
-Catching pacifiers mid-air that have just been spit out and replacing before any sound can be made
-Pushing a stroller and walking the dog on a leash; and
-Breastfeeding while standing on your head, duh.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The 95%

Yesterday I listed common traps I fall into with eating- or the things that tend to lead me astray.  I mentioned that I want my eating to be on point 95% of the time.  But what does that mean?  It is important to define my "eating right" and what I consider "fueling my body properly" to be, otherwise, there is no context.  Everyone is going to have a different definition of what eating right is for them.  I've put in enough time, and run enough experiments on my body that I know what works for me and what doesn't. 
First and foremost, eating right for me means making my food.  Making my food means shopping to have everything I need on hand.  Typically I will go to Costco once every 2 weeks and spend $60-$100 depending on what I need, and I will supplement the rest of my groceries at the supermarket shopping 1-2 times/week, spending $100-$125/week.  Costco has a tremendous amount of organic produce, organic meats, and things like organic coconut oil, almond butter, butter from grass fed cows; all staples in my diet.  My Costco cart typically includes:
Organic apples or pears (12)
Bell peppers (6)
Asparagus/haricots vert (2lbs)
5lbs of cut and washed broccoli
2lbs of cut and washed cauliflower
Organic skinless boneless chicken thighs
4 pack of lean ground turkey
Aidells chicken sausages
Kerrygold butter
Almond butter (every 2 months or so)
Coconut oil (once a year?  Huge tub)
canned organic diced tomatoes (8 cans)
Quinoa (5lbs) (every 2 months or so)
I fill in the blanks weekly at the grocery store:
spices, if needed (from the bulk section)
green onions
chicken broth
lean beef
any chunks of meat that are on sale
raisins/dried fruit
bananas and/or seasonal fruits
half and half
any household items (paper towels, soap, etc.)
I spend about an hour on the weekend doing meal preparation for the coming days.  I try to keep things fairly simple, the fewer the steps, the better.  A typcial Sunday cooking session looks something like this:
Set oven to 425 degrees, grab a sheet pan, and dump out the 2lb bag of cauliflower onto the pan.  I heat up a few tbps. of coconut oil, drizzle it over cauliflower, then sprinkly with salt and pepper.  I give everything a good toss with my hands, and put the pan in the oven for 30(?) minutes- until the cauliflower is fragrant and starting to carmelize.  Prep time- 3 mintues.  Cook time 30 minutes.  While the cauliflower is roasting, I'll make up a batch of turkey taco meat.  Using 2 of the ground turkey packages from Costco, I'll brown the meat, then add cumin, chili power, salt, pepper, two cans of diced tomatoes, and some fresh chopped garlic.  I'll let that simmer for awhile, and usually by the time the cauliflower is done, I'll have my turkey taco meat done as well.  Prep time - 5 minutes (chop garlic, assemble add ins).  Cook time- 20-30 minutes.
Once my turkey taco meat is simmering, I'll chop up 3 bell peppers into strips, and an onion or two.  When the cauliflower comes out, I'll throw the onions and peppers (with some salt and pepper) onto the sheet pan and roast until super soft and caramelized.  Prep time- 5-10 minutes (depending on your cutting speed) Cook time 30-45 minutes.
Bam.  In about an hour, I have ready to grab protein and veggies on hand for myself and husband to eat.  If I'm feeling up to it, I'll roast or braise some other protein source as well, but I really try to only cook off what we will eat in 2-3 days.  Tuesday or Wednesday when we start to get low on the fridge stash, I'll roast off another sheet pan of vegetables (half of the broccoli bag, some asparagus, or more peppers/onions) and some chicken thighs, or make more taco meat. 
I've covered shopping and meal prep, so what do my actual days look like in terms of meal consumption?  Pretty unconventional- unless you are simply looking at the food as fuel. 
Typical breakfast- coffee with half and half, and 6oz of turkey taco meat and some onions/pepper mix or 2 chicken thighs and some roasted cauliflower, or 2 chicken sausages and some roasted veggie, or 2 chicken thighs, a nuked sweet potato and some roasted veggies...see a trend? 
Snack- apple or pear with almond butter
Typical lunch- same or similar to breakfast.  If I don't have a nuked yam at breakfast, I'll almost always have one at lunch, especially after a noon crossfit workout.  Gotta replensish those stores, you know?  Alternatively, I will have dinner left-overs if we made a roast or some other special meal- but it still has the same components- protein and vegetable.
Dinner- guess what...more of the same!  Well, the nights that the husband works that is.  When I come home from work and my husband won't be home till after I'm in bed, I don't want to spend any time cooking.  That's why it is SO IMPERATIVE that I spend time on days when I can preparing foods to just grab and heat up.  When in this cycle of shopping/prepping/cooking it is so easy to keep on track.  Yes, I eat a lot of the same things over and over.  But- I have played around with them enough that I know they are flavors I can eat forever.  There is a reason why I eat chicken thighs and not chicken breast.  With all the different fruits and vegetables, there really are a lot of combinations to be had.
I try to drink close to a gallon of water a day as well.
On days when my husband is home all day, he will sometimes braise off a large pork shoulder, or some hunk of beef.  Summer is around the corner, so that means grilling- burgers, chicken, sausages, occasional steaks, grilled veggies and grilled yam slices.  Or one night a week when we are together in the evening we might head out for some Pho' or Thai food.  I don't get bored.  I don't feel deprived.  When I'm spending the time to shop and prep meals so that I have good foods to eat at my finger tips all the time, I feel amazing.  I feel like I'm in a groove and doing it all.  Yes, I am doing more, but I've figured out how to do it so efficiently I'm spending less time on cooking/eating, and feeling better.  This is where I like to be, this is where I will continue to try to be, 95% of the time. 
Saturday mornings I like to give myself a little leeway for something special- my favorite paleo pancakes (egg, banana, almond butter, 1 tbsp. coconut flour, dash of salt) with some bacon, or a scramble of eggs, bacon, yams, green onion thrown onto some corn tortillas. 
This is my 95%.  Making my food.  Having a good variety of meats (mostly lean) and vegetables rotating through the week.  Using different methods of preparation- roasting, brasing, grilling.  Eating out at restaurants no more than once a week.  Eating corn or rice once or twice a week.  Eating bacon occasionally.  Not fearing fat.  Paying attention to portion sizes.  Including vegetables in every meal.  Eating organic/grass fed when possible.  Drinking water.  Feeling awesome. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Recognizing Pitfalls

After a solid 2 weeks of tightening up my eating, I've got a little distance from the hold food can have over me.  This distance is a great thing because it allows me to be present and see things more clearly.  So much of having a healthy relationship with food is having a healthy mind.  I'm going to list some of the common pitfalls I encounter when it comes to food, and how I deal with them.  It is always easier to deal with them when I'm on a roll with good eating, with a clear head.  I consider each event to be "practice" for my ever long quest to fuel my body with the best quality, and at the right quantities.
#1- I've been eating healthy for X amount of time, I deserve a treat!
This.  This gets me almost every time.  I reach a point where I've just had enough of vegetables and lean protein and I feel that I deserve to eat whatever I want.  Unfortunately, history has shown me that once I do indulge in some form of treat, pulling the reins back in quickly (or at all) is my biggest challenge.  I will continue to work on this forever, because I want to live a balanced life that does include the occasional twice baked almond croissant from Bakery Nouveau.  I simply refuse to believe that I can never eat certain things again.  Not only is that incredibly disordered, its just plain boring.  There are no "good" foods and there are no "bad" foods.  There are just better choices. 
My solution:  I really need to focus on making sure that my times of indulgence are the very, very minority, and 95% of the time I'm fueling my body properly.
#2- Free food/catered lunches at work
I don't know what it is about free food.  I act like at some point I was poor and starving and I can't get that out of my head when I see free food.  Trust me, I have never been starved my whole life.  Even at times of having little money, I always managed to eat plenty.  But when I'm around free food, you would never guess that!  Even if I'm able to pass up the food at first, knowing it is just sitting there and I haven't tasted it haunts me.  When I'm on a roll of eating well, I have the best ability to stand up to it and think about other things.  When I'm down the slippery slope of eating...I tend to go crazy. 
My solution:  Keep vigillant.  Know that their will always be food, free food, things you have not tasted.  Remember what my goals are- to fuel my body properly. 
#3- Going out to eat
The hubs and I love to go to restaurants.  The problem with going out to eat too much is I don't know what they are putting in the food, and portion sizes are generally large.  Not to mention with a new baby, going out to eat all the time is not where our finances should be focused. 
My solution: Keep fridge stocked with easy to make proteins and veggies.  Plan restaurant outings days in advance so they are special and not whim decisions. 
#4- Food = Something to do
Whether it be out of boredom, or a social activity, eating is something to do.  To me, eating is fun.  Something to look forward to.  When I don't have a lot going on, I often plan elaborate meals to make (or prior to ditching the SAD, I would bake things like crazy).  When a friend wants to get together, its usually for lunch or dinner, and I get excited at the opportunity to "treat" myself. 
My solution: Recognize the difference between looking for something to do, and being hungry.  Often, just noticing that I'm bored is enough to get me to think of a different way to spend my time.  Also, baby has been a pretty good time suck so lately I don't have a lot of free time to shop and make elaborate meals.  The occasional outing with a friend, I'm going to put those into the 5% food choice category.  Sometimes I'll be that annoying friend that orders a salad with dressing on the side, other times I won't. 

#5 Celebration food
Holidays, vacations, birthdays, Fridays- you name it.  There is almost always something going on.  It's easy for me to justify things with "special occasion" and suddenly everything becomes a special occasion. 
My solution: Plan out which holidays throughout the year I want to celebrate with food.  My birthday?  Yes.  Fourth of July?  No.  Thanksgiving?  Yes.  Christmas?  Meh/no.  Then when the occasional unplanned event crops up, I can decide if it is worth it to potentially risk derailing myself.

It helps me to call these things out so I can see when I'm doing them.  If I have an explanation for what I'm doing, usually I can act in an appropriate manner.  It is when I become distant and don't own up to my behavior when things go crazy.  I believe that is how people "wake up" and find themselves at 400 pounds.