Sunday, July 26, 2015

Meal Planning - It Is All About the Prep

So I have been having difficulty losing weight, even on a diet.  I am getting some tests done just to see if it is hormonal or something, but I also am looking to refocus my diet and cut out even more sugars and carbs and work on portion control.

To help with this I will be starting the 21 Day Fix in a week!!  Am I suppose to be excited about that?!?!  So I decided to prepare for that this week by getting back into the more strict lunches and meal prep (the last few weeks I haven't planned as much).  I haven't received my 21 Day Fix yet, so not sure what my portions will be, but either way I planned a healthy and lower carb meals for *most* of the week, at least during the day!

Meal prep in full force for breakfast and lunches for the week!!  I need a bigger kitchen for sure...



Breakfast will be spinach and feta Egg Muffins for the week.  Approximately 105 calories each.

Spray large muffin tin with Pam.  Crack one egg in each and stir to break the yolk.  Add 1/8-1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach and 1 tbsp feta to each egg.  Add pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes or until set.  I will probably eat with a piece of toast, Lovi'n fresh aldi bread, that is 70 calories a slice!!  And of course coffee.



Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!! Breakfast DONE!


On to lunches.  This week I have two different sets of lunches.

Three days I am having salad, hard boiled egg, 2 oz rotisserie chicken, cucumbers and yogurt ranch. Calories approximately 245 calories.


The other two days lunch will be buffalo chicken lettuce wraps. 4oz rotisserie chicken with franks red hot and celery mixed in.  Four romaine leafs, cucumber and carrots with yogurt ranch dressing.  Calories approximately 250 calories.


Snacks will be a heaping cup of strawberries and 1/4 cup almonds.  (50 and 170 calories respectively)

 (Henry loves helping to put together my lunches!!)

So when it is all said and done I have lunches and breakfasts done for the week with extras leftover to eat during the week.


Bottom shelf is ALL mine!!

What I bought for breakfast & lunches:
1 rotisserie chicken
1 large container strawberries 
1 english cucumber
1-3 pack romaine lettuce 
1 small bag of spinach 
Eggs
Bolthouse Yogurt ranch dressing (already had)
Baby carrots 
Celery (already had)
Almonds
Small container of feta


We have a bunch of stuff going on this week in the evenings.  We have stuff with friends a couple evenings and family in town Friday - Sunday and a cookout with friends Saturday!!  Meals in the evening will be a little heavier, but I feel I have balanced them well with my low carb, high protein and low calorie days!!

Dinners:

Sunday - Pasta casserole
Monday - Pizza and Salad
Tuesday - Fajitas
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Breakfast
Friday - OUT - Family
Saturday - Cookout
Sunday - Grilled Chicken and Grilled Veggies

I also have 100 calorie fudge bars from aldi's fit & active line for some of those evenings I need a chocolate fix. YUM!!!

I forgot to track just my food expenses because we needed so many non-food items at the store.  But I estimate about $100 was spent on food for the week (excluding the cookout food).

What are YOU eating this week?!?!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Weekly Meal Planning

Here is a look at this weeks meals, prep from last weeks meals and more meal planning ideas!!  If you missed my last post, check it out HERE.



This weeks groceries, $89.  (sparklers and glow bracelets not included!) Eating out one night (approx $40) plus about $10 at a different store. Total for the week $139.

A large portion of my groceries for the week also included 4th of July items.  Cookies, snacks, and three sides for a cookout.  Because I knew about half my budget this week would be for just this weekend, I planned my meals next week to be some of my lower cost items that I can stretch a dollar, as well as really utilizing pantry items!!

Tip: On the Meal List you keep for meal planning, note which ones are on the lower end of the budget and which one always provide leftovers.  This helps to stretch your money and food.

Meals for Friday - Thursday

Friday - Out (cookies and goldfish for fireworks)

Saturday - Cookout (Taking homemade pasta salad, corn and avocado salsa, watermelon, and "cheesecake" filled strawberries.

Sunday - Pasta with "burst" tomatoes and basil.  Garlic knots & salad on the side.

Lunch prep: I will eat hard boiled eggs, almonds, lunchmeat, cheese cubes and yogurt for lunches.  Will prep on Sunday.

Monday - Portabella Mushroom pizzas (Henry hot dog & mac and cheese) and salad

Tuesday - Stuffed baked potatoes (make extra for lunches for Terry)

Wednesday - Breakfast (veggie omelet)

Thursday - Grilled Cheese and Soup (most items from pantry - easy night)

The meals that I choose this week are very low cost.  Again, I am utilizing my pantry to help from buying more at the store and by planning meals without meat, I have saved additional money.

Tip: If you need to save money on food for the week, make it a meat free (or nearly meat free) week! Eggs or tuna in place are a great source of protein and a fraction of the cost.

Now, I am dieting and when on a diet it is not always good to turn to the more cost effect meals like potatoes and pasta.  However, I make plain baked potatoes to eat instead of the stuffed ones and add my own toppings separately so I can control them.  And the pasta just has roasted tomatoes with basil and a little olive oil.  It is light and when you eat a small amount with a salad it works out greta!

I try to eat real foods, just try to find ways to incorporate them into my calorie count and daily life.

Example on meal prep.

This was last weeks meal prep.  I got all my vegetables ready, I packaged and seasoned fajita mixture for dinner that night, prepped kabobs for later that week, and made soup for my lunches for the week.  All done on Sunday by 11am!!


Ready to prep!!

Shrimp kabobs, prepped for one meal during the week.

Look at the Shrimp kabobs later in the week.  
Had over a little bit of leftover rice pilaf from earlier in the week.

Henry wanted to help...though help turned to eating!!!

When you have extra, use it!!  I had a bag of extra snacking green peppers in the fridge 
that a cut up and used in the soup.


Soup for the lunches, done on sunday!

Rice for soup (if wanted) and burrito bowls. Done!

Fajitas...prepped and seasoned!

Example: Easy pantry meal one night 
Used left over asparagus from earlier night and made an omelet.  Toast, 2 slices 100 calories, asparagus 30 calories, 2 egg & 2 egg white omelet 182 calories = awesome and filing dinner 312 calories!!  Cost, no idea because it is so low...a couple bucks, maybe?!

So what did you eat this week?!  Did you try any meal planning?  Please share!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Eating Healthy on a Budget – A Long Post About Meal Planning

Preface.

This is long, sorry about that.  

This may not work for you, so share what works for you!!

These are just my tips, it is all about finding a way that works for you!

.....


One of the hardest things for me when it comes to a diet is planning healthy meals the family loves, while also not going over the budget.  I think we can agree, that sometimes eating healthy can come at a price!  But over the last 6 months I am learning that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.  I have managed to find ways to incorporate a healthy diet for me and for my family, while sticking to our budget.

Now I do have to say, many meals we eat separate things.  My husband works crazy hours so we may not always have dinner with him.  And my son is, lets say, a particular eater.  He does eat healthy, but the list of foods he likes is somewhat limited.  And then there is me who wants to eat healthy and try new alternatives.

I know some are thinking…SO DO YOU MAKE THREE MEALS?!

Uh, not exactly.

But I do prepare meals a little differently.  If my husband will be home for dinner then I make a meal we will all like and share.  If he is not, he eats what he wants (usually leftovers or frozen meals because that is his choice!) and then I make something easy for Henry (mac & cheese with broccoli, canned fruit, carrot sticks, chicken nuggets for example) and then I may make myself something easy like an omelet or salad.  These are easy meals to make for dinner, but also keep all of us healthy and happy!

Tip: Have a list of quick, easy and healthy meals to fit in your regular week.

We also budget to eat out maybe once a week.  We like to eat out.  Plain and simple. 

So, with all that said, I have learned how to eat healthy while staying on a budget.  The major key, for me, to eating healthy is meal planning.  I have been meal planning for over year for our budget, but the last 6 months have found ways to incorporate my healthy eating into our meal plan!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Incorporating a Diet on Vacation and Getting Back on Track When the Vacation is Over!

(I feel this sums up me and my progress and how I am learning as I lose weight)


So this last weekend I was home for the week and of course I "had" to eat at all my favorite food places that I only eat at once a year.

How can I pass up pizza at this amazing pizza shop that uses lots of fresh and local (Amish grown) ingredients?!

Or Chinese at my favorite Chinese restaurant....that just so happens to be a buffet.

After standing outside for 6 hours at the Fiesta tent sale, wings and a drink seemed like a must.

No trip home is complete without cream chicken sandwiches and fried mushrooms served with a tall and crisp homemade rootbeer at the Rootbeer Stand!

And can you really go to the Drive-In movie and not snack on nachos with cheese, popcorn and junior mints?!  Ok, you probably can but it isn't as fun.

And what is breakfast without an amazing creme stick from a local bakery!

So I think you are getting my point.  My trip home revolved around two things.  My family and food.

And when you are on a diet, it can be frustrating when you feel you cannot indulge in your favorite things.

But I made a choice.  I was going to let myself eat my favorite things, but take it easy.

See, when I restrict myself, that is when I hurt myself the most because one of two things happens:

1. I either binge eat, or
2. I get very angry (hangry) that I don't get to eat the things I love.

Yep, I am a bit of an extreme person, but I DO get angry when I want to eat something and don't get it. I wasn't going to go the entire trip and not eat some of the foods that make me happy.  It is vacation and I wanted to enjoy myself.  But I also did not want to avoid the foods and then go crazy and binge one day.

Moderation.

That is the thing I am learning and this is something I am going to have to work on for the rest of my life.  Ask any binge eater....this can be tough.

So when we ate pizza, I had a salad to go with my dinner.

A heavy Chinese buffet at lunch and a lighter dinner can balance out nicely.

Eat a smaller amount or half of the foods you like so you get a taste without overindulging.  So you only need half that small strawberry milkshake, not the whole thing.

If you do splurge on, lets say a creme stick, don't do it every day.  One day is enough.

Drink lots of water!!  Especially if you want to have beverages (like alcohol) in the evening....keep it simple during the day and are not drinking your calories.

Make sure you still have healthy snacks and don't skip meals as you still need that fuel for your body and it will help from overeating later.

And remove the guilt!!!  If you are eating within the parameters you set up, then do it without the guilt.  Enjoy as you shouldn't have those negative feelings associated with food...not healthy.

These are things I tried to do last week.

Was I perfect? Uh hell no.  Who is?  But I tried to be mindful of my diet without only focusing on what I ate.

I don't want my love for food to make me unhappy.  I don't want to be so focused on what I eat that I get angry.  I want to enjoy, but enjoy in moderation.  I want to focus on how I feel when I eat.  ENJOY every bite, even if there are only a few bites.  I don't need everything and all at once...a little bit here and there can make me just as happy.  I want to focus on when I feel full and stop instead of feeling I need to power through that entire bag of popcorn.

Since I started this leg of my diet, I have been trying to be more mindful of how food makes me feel.  How I feel towards food.  My food triggers and knowing how to stop myself.

Vacation was no different.  I wasn't going to throw everything I have learned the past 6 months out the window and eat everything in site, but I also wasn't going to not enjoy those foods I love.  This is part of the learning process.

I think overall I did well on vacation.

And the weird thing is I am excited to get back to my healthier eating.

SAY WHAT?!?!



Yep.  I went to the store and bought my salad stuff and have been prepping my healthier foods for the week.  Even though I am off work today, I picked right where I left off before vacation. 1650 calories a day.  I had coffee and an egg and english muffin for breakfast.  A delicious salad for lunch.  And will have a nice dinner, all within my calories.

I think when you start eliminating some of those foods and get in the habit of eating a certain way, it makes it easier to come back after you indulge.  I treated myself last week and now back to my new lifestyle.  Plain and simple.  I have to make it that I have no other choice, this is just the way it is.

THIS is my new lifestyle.

And for the first time, I am OK with that.


I don't know if I have too many tips for getting back on track after a vacation other than just do it.

Go to the store when you get home and get your healthy foods.

Don't bring excess food from your vacation home...you splurged there but at home you are back on track.  i.e. we don't need to bring back creme sticks from the bakery back home!!

Plan healthy meals full of flavor that first week back or your favorite healthy meals to get you excited to eat!

Make up your mind that this is just how it is.  And the next vacation/special occasion you can splurge again, you just need to be healthier now.

 

 So tell me, how do you handle eating on vacation?!?!  How about getting back on track when vacation is over?!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Am I Hurting My Weight Loss by Eating TOO FEW Calories?!?!


So, I have mentioned the last couple months my weight loss has sorta plateaued.  I would aim to eat 1300-1400 calories during the week and 1400-1500.  On the weekends my calorie count really fluctuated higher and more like 1700-2000…because, honestly I was HUNGRY.

During the week I was tired and had no energy.  Many nights I would go to bed when Henry did because I was so tired.

I lost 24 pounds pretty quick, but as my weight loss stopped, I would get mad and eat even fewer calories and then it seemed like one day a week I would eat close to 2000.  This is still less than what I used to eat, especially when I had a binge.  But still, to eat 1250 calories for 3 days and then 2000 the next seemed to be causing issues and confusing my body more than actually helping it.

I started talking to friends and reading as much as I could about eating TOO FEW calories and the effects.

Everything I read stated things like this…

“When you diet aggressively and make drastic cuts in your daily calorie intake, your body panics, signaling starvation mode; this actually slows metabolism. The best way to diet effectively is to cut 100 calories from what you normally would eat.”

“The truth is that cutting calories below 1,050-1,200 per day is counterproductive, because you need strong muscles to be able to exercise effectively.”

"When you eat too few calories, you lose fat but also precious muscle, which is the worst thing you could do because it slows your metabolism and makes it more difficult to increase exercise intensity or duration,"

“It's one of the most frustrating realities of dieting—if you cut out too many calories, your metabolism thinks times are lean and puts the breaks on fat-burning to conserve energy…”

Well Damn.

Frustrating is right.

You eat too few calories and you don’t lose weight. Eat too many calories and gain weight.  Eat the wrong calories and you don’t lose weight.

CAN SOMEONE JUST TELL ME WHAT TO EAT AND HOW MUCH!!

No wonder celebrities pay for personal chefs.

But it explains a lot.  It explains why I was SO tired.  Why I always felt hungry.  Why on the weekends I would eat more, because my body is telling me I need to eat more.

And I am sure the back and forth of low low calories and then higher calories was not helping and confusing my body more.

So last week I decided to follow the calorie count that EVERY calorie calculator (even when I manual determine my calories based on good old fashioned math) told me.  For my height 5’11” and weight (a lot!) and being 35 it was NO WHERE CLOSE to 1300 calories.  Infact, that 1300 was closer to someone looking to lose 2 lbs a week who weighs 160 pounds….you know, my GOAL weight.

Sigh.

For me to lose approximately 2lbs a week (maybe a bit more), not working out, I am looking at 1600-1700.

So this is where I am now, 1650 calories.  Not even counting ANY exercise, which I will need to adjust accordingly. 

It hasn’t been quite a week, but I already FEEL better.  I have more energy.  I haven’t lost anything yet, but the fact I am not tired and not thinking about food all the time is a good start. 

I am going to try keeping my calories around here for a month and see what happens.  If I am still not losing weight it is off to a nutritionist to see what they suggest.

Some other tips I have found that I will be using this month:

Eat lots of vegetables to help you feel full.
Drink plenty of COLD water. (cold water kickstarts your metabolism)
Stay busy -- you don't want to eat just because you're bored.
Eat only from a plate, while seated at a table. No grazing in front of the 'fridge. (Guilty!)
Don't skip meals.
Eat every 3-4 hours.
Workout!!!
Eat a healthy breakfast within an hour of waking up.

My schedule will look something like this: (approximately*)

7-8 a.m.: Breakfast 250 [calories]
10 a.m.: Snack 200
1 p.m.: Lunch 350
3-4 p.m.: Snack 200
6-7 p.m.: Dinner 650
Avoid eating after 8:30

I am trying to incorporate at least 20-30 minutes of exercise into my schedule.  It has been hard…

Trying to workout...about 15 minutes into it.

…but I will keep trying!

I still like sweets, I like love bread, and chips with any sorta dip cannot be in the house at all. But I still want to eat those things I love and have no plans to give them up…. just eating them in moderation.  I have a near 4 year old I have to cook for who is semi-picky and a husband who prefers hardy foods so I am trying to find ways to make sure we all eat healthy without breaking the bank and cooking separate meetings for all three of us. 

I have learned a few tricks the past 6 months on my diet like buy things like healthy Life bread (35 calories a slice), air popcorn or skinny pop for snacks, and if we eat a higher calorie dinner like pasta or pizza I always include a very large salad.

So I am trying this all again.  Just like my first post on this journey where I said I feel motivated and refreshed…that is me now.  Again. 

"If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started.  And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."  

I have come way too far in my weight loss, my binge eating, the way I look at food to let this little bump in my journey stop me.  I am really hoping by increasing my calories to a more realistic calorie count, working out, and eating every few hours my body will get the kick it needs to start losing weight again!!!  So this may take me a little longer than I wanted, but what is important is that I get to where I want to be…right?!?!



*As I have mentioned before, I adjust depending on what I am eating for dinner.  I plan meals out at least weekly, but normally bi-weekly or a month at a time.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Frustration – An Open Vent…


So, yes I have been missing lately from the blog and most of that is due to frustration.  This is an open vent, to which after I will move on and keep going.  But sometimes we I just need to vent.

In all honesty, I haven’t felt as motivated and therefore felt little inspiration to myself, let alone others. 

Yep, falling back into my old mental blocks and ways.

I am disappointed that I am not where I thought I would be.  To date I have lost 24lbs.  This is good, but not where I wanted to be as summer approaches.  I thought I would be at least 10 more pounds lighter.

I get frustrated that for me to lose a few pounds takes so much work, when some people (like my husband!!!) can lose 30 lbs and are still eating fast food and drinking pop and eating sweets, just slightly smaller portions.  I cut ALL of that out of my diet and try to eat clean daily and eat a low calorie diet and it still takes forever to lose weight.  Yeah, I have splurge days, BUT COME ON.  One splurge day where I still eat reasonable and under my daily allowance shouldn’t mean I don’t lose anything all week.  I know everyone is different and I shouldn’t compare, but I am human and do.

I am annoyed about our schedule and finding time to work out to try to help with the weight loss.  Yeah, Henry and I take bike rides and stuff on occasion, but have you ever taken a bike ride with a 3 ½ year old?  The exercise isn’t in biking, it is how well you can balance on your bike going at a near walking speed.   Walks with him mean we stop every 5 feet to pick “beautiful yellow flowers”.   I already get up at 6am with him and finally have me time after he is in bed around 9m.  The last thing I want to do is spend the 30-40 minutes before I go to bed working out, nor do I want to wake up at 5:30!!!  Are you kidding me.   

I hate how my clothes are fitting incorrectly at the moment.  Some are a bit too big but the size down is still too snug.  So most of the things I wear I just feel uncomfortable.  I just don’t feel good in anything I wear.

I am tired of planning so many separate meals so that we can all eat what we want to eat while I also stay on my diet. 

I don’t like seeing any results in over a month, period.

I know I have to suck things up and keep going.  I WANT to keep going. 

I need to find time to workout, even if it means getting up at 5:30am (barf).

I need to stick with this and think of it as a lifestyle change and not a diet.

I know that things have changed, even beside the weight.  I really don’t know the last time I binged.  There have been a few times I have eaten a second portion of snack foods or more than I probably should.  But not a binge.  Nothing close to that.  That is huge for me, nearly 20 years of binge eating regularly and I am learning to recognize, acknowledge it and control it.  So I know I am making improvements.

But lets be honest, the weight loss is what anyone who is overweight wants to see.  YES, I notice the other things and that is great.  But for me, at my weight, I want to see the numbers go down.  I want to put on the new capri pants I bought in a size down to fit comfortably.

Starting today I am trying something new for the next couple months.  I am going to form a new goal.  Pilates 2-3 days a week and try to walk or bike ride 2-3 days a week.  I will see over the next few months if that makes any difference in the weight loss and my overall feeling.


So let me ask, how do you incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your daily life/your busy life?  What do you do when you get discouraged? 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Yes Body, I Am Listening

One of (the many) issues I have had with food is listening to my body.

Am I hungry?

Am I full?

Are there things missing that my body needs?

I think this sorta goes hand in hand (or hand to mouth) with binge eating.  Though binge eating has  mental aspects to why I do it, I have also taught myself to ignore my body and what it really needs when it comes to food.

I have been SO FULL and yet I have just kept eating.

I have gone without eating and been so hungry I scream and cry and act a fool.

I have ignored those items my body needs for a craving of something that i don't need.

But now, I am trying really hard to LISTEN to my body.  Know what it needs and what it doesn't need.  I am retraining myself to stop and listen.  

For decades it has been about my desire for food, the love of food, the comfort of food, the taste of food, the way food makes me feel well before learning to respect food and make it one part of my life and not MY life.

I remember a few weeks into this journey, I started going to bed with this feeling that was new to me.  I was satisfied by what I had eaten all day, but i also had this bit of hunger in me.  For years I had gone to bed after eating a full meal and I was always stuffed, so stuffed I could feel it most of the night.  But this new feeling actually felt great.  So this is what it feels like to not feel stuffed.  So this is what it is like to eat ENOUGH and no more.  

Part of this journey is creating a new lifestyle.  It is keeping my love of food but learning to respect and be aware of what I put in my body.

So what I am doing, exactly?

1. Don't Eat on Auto-Pilot (Also known as mindless eating.)

I am an emotional eater.  I tend to go on autopilot when it comes to food.  But now I have started counting out my snacks based on portion size.  So instead of bring the bag of baked cheetos or almonds to the living room and going on auto pilot with the food and 30 minutes later realizing I ate 3 servings, I count everything out.  Bring out my 34 pieces of cheetos in the living room and eat that portion.  Then I wait at least a half an hour.  Am I still hungry?  Then I get more.  But normally I have been satisfied with what I ate and I move on.

2. Eat When I am Hungry

When counting calories I have had guilt when I go over.  But I have had to learn that some days I am just hungrier than others, while other days I barely hit my calorie goal.  Not sure why, but if I am hungry I now eat.  BUT I now know the difference between real hunger, boredom, or eating because I think I should eat.  In fact, I ask myself those questions to see why I am eating.

3. Stop When I am Satisfied and Before I get Too Full

Sometimes I actually WANT to eat more.  Recently I really wanted food, it was one of my emotional/stressed days.  I was eating my meal and noticed I was satisfied and starting to get full.  I actually got angry with myself that I was getting FULL.  I WANTED TO KEEP EATING.  It was my comfort.  What will happen if I just stop.  What about the food I didn't eat, what will happen to it.  I don't want to wait to eat the rest of the food later.  I want it NOW.

I got mad all because I was full but wanted the rest of my meal.  Logic goes out the door for those moments.  In the past I would have kept going because it would comfort me and I would eat to the point of feeling sick.  But I stopped.  I told myself that I can eat the rest for lunch the next day and it would be amazing!  Yeah, I sorta had to reason with myself like I reason with my 3 1/2 year old.  I also told myself that if I was hungry later, really hungry I could have a snack.  You want to know something, I didn't feel I needed the snack later.  Now don't get me wrong, I wanted a snack because I was thinking about it...but I also knew I was fine.  I wasn't feeling hungry.  I then went to bed and felt good all because I stopped when I was satisfied.

4. Enjoy What I am Eating (aka SLOW DOWN)

Being a binge eater you tend to be a fast eater.  Eat as much as you can in a short amount of time.  With that, it takes your stomach and mind awhile to communicate to each other that you are infact DONE eating.  When I am eating now I really try to slow down.  Put my fork down in between bites.  Taste the food and not rush.  This. Is. Hard. and something I am still struggling with every day.  But I am working on it.  I had some cheesecake the other day and it took me 20 minutes to eat it.  I intentionally slowed down.  Anticipated and then enjoyed EACH and EVERY bite.  Snacks, I eat one at a time instead of stuffing a handful in my mouth.  Dinner I sit and eat slowly.  I am respecting the food and savoring what I eat.

5. Eat What Your Body Wants

I still snack.  I still eat some bites of chocolate every day (thank goodness for Hershey kisses!!) I still eat carbs.  I still drink my lattes in moderation.  But I am also eating lots of lean meats, fruits and vegetables.  I am keeping my diet balanced, without giving up those things that make me happy.  Moderation and balance and eating the things my body wants....just in WAY smaller portions and not all the time.

So this is where I am now.  Learning to listen to my body!!!  And on the eve of my 35th birthday, I am finding that now, more than ever, I need to stop and listen!



Monday, April 13, 2015

100 Days - Keep Going (Subtitle Motivation)


I logged into My Fitness Pal on Sunday and was congratulated with logging in 100 days in a row.  Surprisingly (or not so if you know me) I had mixed feelings about this.

Part of me was excited as it meant I have been doing this diet for 100 days and have managed to, at least try, to stay with it for a 100 days.  This is big for me!

But then part of me was disappointed as I thought I would be at least 30 lbs down by this date, instead of 21.  The past month has been tough, I haven't been as strict with my diet and I haven't been working out, so I felt disappointment for not being where I thought I should be and not working as hard as I know I can.

And just when I was feeling bad I woke the next morning to see comments from my mom and friend that made me feel so happy and encouraged me to keep going and not think lightly of how far I have come and what I have done so far.


(encouraging!)

I have to remember this weight has been put on over the last 10 years, it is going to take awhile and a lifestyle change to get it off.


And then I thought of what my sister told me when I started.  I think of this every time I start to get down.



For me, this is what motivates me and keeps me going.  People.

As I have said before, I have always closed myself off from people in the past because my weight issues are embarrassing and I feel so vulnerable talking about it.  But more than ever I have realized that I need these amazing people and they are truly on myside, and I know they need me too because we are all trying to become healthier and better ourselves. I feel so grateful to have SO much support, and I hope I am able to make others feel motivated as well.

Yes, I have to do this on my own, but I don't have to be alone while I do it.

Now, the hardest part for me is staying motivated.  Those times when you try so hard and do not see any results, it is so frustrating and discouraging.  Those are the times I turn to my friends/family as well as, the other things that motivate refocus me.  Yes, I think that is the best term....refocus.  Sometimes I just need to get out of my own head, step back and refocus.

To help with this I created a Pinterest board of things that keep me going.  It sounds silly and consists of things like quotes, outfits I want to wear, before and after weight loss photos...things that inspire me.  But it works.  Just like texting a friend at 9:30pm when I want to binge, going on this board has also stopped me and allows me to refocus.

I refocus on the clothes I so desperately want to wear some day and not have to pay $60 for a shirt that is so bulky and unflattering.  And I want to wear boots with jeans or leggings like ALL THE TIME!



 (Ok, I will never wear this but I a girl can dream, right?!?!)


I have never worn a little black dress, I want to so bad.

 YES.

We have a beach trip planned next year and I want to wear a swimsuit and go swimming with Henry and not think twice about.




I want to post my before and after and have people go WOW and feel motivated and encouraged by my transformation.



this is me currently 20 lbs down...don't laugh :-/


I want this little man, my biggest inspiration, to know as he gets older that he can do ANYTHING he sets his mind too.  And even if it seems hard or impossible or takes a long long time, he can do it.  And I can show him this because I DID IT.


So to all of you who are supporting me on this long journey I have to say THANK YOU.  I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me.  The check-ins, the emails, the "likes" it all means so much.

So what motivates YOU?!?!  What/who are the things that keep you going?  How do you stay motivated??

PLEASE SHARE!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Stress and Routine


The two biggest issues I tend to have with staying on a diet are stress and routines, or lack there of. 

Currently my stress level is at an all-time high and my routine has been seriously lacking for the entire month of February due to my son being sick a majority of the month.  Which also means most of the food we are buying is geared towards my son, so hello crackers, bread, soup and extra calories.

I need routine to stay on my diet.  When I don’t have the routine I don’t have meals planned, I make last minute decisions on food, I go for easy or convenient which is not always healthy.

And add stress on top of that and I am done for. 

I have always been an emotional eater, so between the emotions caused by life and the emotions and lack of sleep caused from illness in our house, I have not had the best few weeks in regards to my diet.

Sunday t night my 3 year old and I were once again having confrontation after confrontation.  Partly due to the fact he is getting sick…AGAIN.  And partly caused by the fact he is 3 ½ and thinks he knows everything and can do everything, no matter what I tell him.

By bedtime I was almost at the breaking point.  As I sat in the rocking chair and he laid in the bed playing with the toys I told him to stop playing with a half a dozen times and then crying because I took the toys away....my thoughts drifted between frustration and wanting food.

It was weird, like this natural reaction I don’t think I ever noticed I did before…or maybe more accurately, never admitted I did before.  “Nooooo, I am not a stress eater!!  I just like food.” I call bullshit now.  But it was like this urge growing inside of me.  I needed something comforting after having a rough day and that is what I thought about.

I sat in that chair trying to justify the calories and then trying to talk myself out of eating everything anything  when I went downstairs.  “Oh Jenn, you can spare a few calories” (um, have you seen me…no I can’t).  “Jenn, you have come so far and haven’t lost anything the past 2 weeks…DON’T DO IT.”

After he fell asleep I still carried this conversation on with myself.  “DON’T GO IN THE KITCHEN!!  GO TO BED”  “Just have a bowl of cereal or something small.”

I gave in and went to the kitchen and just looked around.  And then this feeling came over me and I grabbed some cheese and crackers (260 calories).  And I ate them.  And I breathed this sigh of relief. It calmed me.  That feeling of eating relaxed me and took away the anxiety that had been building up inside me.   I then had a mini snack bag of dorritos (150calories).

And then as quick as it made me feel better, I felt so sad after.

I have been working so hard, that was 410 calories….almost a 1/3 of what I have been allowing myself each day.  In mere minutes (literally), the food was gone.

Sigh.

Now, in the past that would have just been the appetizer.  The start of a binge that could last an hour.

I did stop, unlike in the past.  Progress?!

But I still felt I needed food.  In that moment of stress, exhaustion, frustration, loneliness…I turned to food.

Obviously I have only been doing this diet for 3 months and I am a work in progress and I am trying not to be too hard on myself.  But it did hit me.  Even though I KNOW and acknowledge now what I am doing, I still went for it.  I haven't decided yet if that is better or worse.

I haven’t lost any weight the past couple weeks.  I haven’t gained.  

I went to bed reaffirming  that tomorrow is a new day and this is just a small bump and I know now I CAN do this and I will get back on track.  I have my food in the fridge again and not just stomach bug kid food.  I calculated everything I would eat for the day and am sticking to it.  I am feeling that hunger again and that is good.

This is a journey, a long journey.  I will not be “fixed” overnight and I accept that.  But I also know, that unlike before, I am not going to get discouraged and fall back into my old routines.  I have already come too far to go back.   I won’t go back…I just have to keep moving forward.


Hopefully in a week I can come back and tell you I am now at 20lbs lost.  That is my goal.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fifteen

Last week I reached 15 pounds lost, and I have to say this was huge for me for so many reasons.

As I type this, I am officially at 18 pounds lost (WOOHOO!!) but reaching 15 was my first big goal.

For some, 15lbs may not seem that much or a small goal, especially when I have over 100 I want to lose.  But honestly, EVERY pound seems big to me at the moment!  I had decided that instead of setting large goals that can take a while to achieve, I would set my goals in 15 lb increments.   I wanted something to work towards but that wouldn’t take me months and months to achieve.  I wanted to feel success in these “smaller” goals and keep my motivation going.

Part of this weight loss thing is the mental aspect.  Moving past what you have always done.  Making yourself the priority.  Keeping yourself going when all you really want to do is eat those chicken wings with ranch dressing followed by a slice of Edwards Chocolate Crème pie.  

I usually always fail with the mental side of weight loss.  Whether it is the binge eating or setting unrealistic goals (I can lose 50 pounds in 3 months with this fad diet!) or feeling alone or being way too hard on myself, I always have found some excuse reason for a diet failing.

But 15 pounds is now GONE and it feels GREAT!!

Literally, I am feeling different.  Feeling better.  I have more energy, probably because I am eating to keep my body fueled and not eating so much it actually slows me down and feels heavy. 

My clothes are starting to feel different.  One pair of work pants I have are nearly to the point of too big!!  Love that.  And this other pair I would never wear because they had been dried and shrunk a bit and were super snug in the legs and I could barely button them.  Well, I put them on yesterday and BOOM, THEY FIT!  Like perfectly.  And I am wearing a shirt that is actually a little clingy to me…granted, I am still wearing something  over it, but baby steps, no?!

15 pounds also got me past a number I didn’t want to be at, just about the most I have ever weighed.  Breaking past that was a big deal.

The fact that I lost the 15 pounds in 6 weeks was also a great motivation.  It was realistic.  About 2.5 a week.  Slow and steady.  I also think:  “Hey, by the end of March I could be down 30 lbs and maybe by my birthday nearly 40lbs!!  I could get a few new clothing items!”  Yep.  Motivation.  

In the scheme of things, the time it will take to lose another 15lbs doesn’t seem like that far away.  Totally doable.   I mean, I know it will take me a year or more to lose all the weight I want to lose, but these mini goals keep me going!!

It was also the first 15 pounds.  Folks, do you know how long I have tried to lose the first 15lbs?!?!  I am not saying that the next 15 or the next 15 after that will be easier, BUT making the change and sticking with it are the first steps.  Instead of watching the scale slowly move up, I am now excited to watch it go down!

For me, this is becoming a way of life.  For the foreseeable future I need to be aware of my eating habits.  That doesn’t mean that I am totally OK with this all the time or that this weekend I didn’t go over my caloric intake.  But when I did, I was not hard on myself.  I did not feel guilty because even though I did go over, I still kept things healthier than in the past.  It isn’t an “all or nothing” mentality for me right now.  I am learning to live with my love of food and learning healthy alternatives and notice when I am hungry and find a healthy balance between it all.  I have always enjoyed healthy food and overall eaten healthy most of the time, but I would either binge on crap food and/or eat way too much of even the healthier stuff.  Healthy food still has calories, Jenn.

This weekend, I was hungry.  Like ALL. THE. TIME. HUNGRY.  Instead of denying myself and then just eating until I feel sick…I had some little snacks here and there until I felt satisfied.  Ok, some cheese and crackers.  30 minutes later…nope, still hungry.  How about an apple with peanut butter.  Ok.  Getting there.  Maybe 3 hersheys kisses will help that sweet tooth.  Yep.  I am good now.  I recognized what I wanted.  I ate with care, knowing what I was putting in my body and not just blindly eating until I was past the point of satisfied and stuffed.  That a plate of nachos isn't a snack.  I am learning there are days where I will be hungry and want more, and to my surprise there have been days where I am not that hungry and have actually eaten less than my 1300 calorie allowance.  Yeah, I KNOW!!

I am learning to take myself out of situations that have always provided me the opportunity to overeat.  Like after Henry goes to bed and I am downstairs watching TV.  Nope.  Now I either go to bed or go upstairs and read and or watch something on my computer.  By removing myself I am breaking that habit I have created over the years…sit on the couch in the evening and mindlessly eat.  I do miss it.  The other day I wanted so bad to grab the chips and dip and sit and eat and watch TV.  It will all take awhile.  But that day, I said no and guess what, I was OK!  I felt great the next morning.  Huh.  Maybe you don't need to overeat, Jenn....

I allow myself sweets and snacks, but just in smaller and calculated amounts unlike past diets where I removed everything that seemed to be tasty.  So, if I want that fudge bar tonight or popcorn, what do I need to remove from my diet to have that?  I calculate everything I am eating the night before.  At the moment we have oreos, chips, tortilla chips, M&M’s ALL in the house.  Just a few months ago I would have considered that a challenge to eat all that (you know, so it wasn’t in the house anymore).  Now, I am weighing out my options on exactly where my calories go.  Three “knock off” oreos are 150 calories.  Do I have 150 calories to spare?  No, but I have 100 so 2 it is.  Still get my oreos and still within my calories.

For some this thinking is pretty easy.  Basic.  Straight forward.  But for someone who mindlessly eats and has binged as much as I have the past 20 years, it really is this "far-fetched" concept.   I have always taken the “eat until I am full or that void I am feeling is filled with something else” way of eating.  Now I think of EVERYTHING I put into my body.  I am still thinking of food ALL THE TIME, like I was before.  But now it is a more positive way of thinking instead of looking for comfort, or out of boredom or stress.

And don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been easy so far.  I emailed my sister a few weeks ago because for over a week I hadn’t lost and actually gained a pound.  Of course my younger sister wrote me an amazing email and helped me stay focus and kept me on track.  She really is a smart cookie. mmm, cookie.  And a week ago I was crying to Terry because he was eating a big mac and filet of fish and fries (as a "special treat" yuck) and has lost 30 lbs since august and while I am very proud of him and didn’t for a minute want what he was eating, it was the fact that I couldn’t have it that made me cry.  I know, weirdo. 

Fifteen.

Yep, this fifteen is FAR more than just the pounds as you can tell by my long winded post.  But this is why I know this will work this time.  I am sharing to keep me going and accountable.  I am sharing to get these feelings out in the open, to say them and acknowledge them.  I am sharing these successes, because as illogical as they may seem to some they are how I have always thought and I cannot do this if I do not acknowledge WHY I overeat.  I am sharing so that when I have a hard day, I can look back at these posts and tell myself to hang in there.  To look at how far you have come.  To keep going because you are worth it!!  That even though today may be hard, tomorrow will be better.


On to the next 15!!!