Monday, September 16, 2013

Groupon Salvation?

I woke up yesterday to the ping of my phone as another e-mail hit my inbox. I decided that this happens a bit too frequently and perhaps the fifteen or so e-mails I get every morning are perhaps less than helpful when I'm trying to sleep. Being as distractible as I am, I ended up poring through the endless list of groupons and living social deals available. And then I stumbled across one of those micro-gyms that does cross fit and boot camps. 

I don't know about you but I think of these gyms as torture chambers for already skinny people who want to up their already rigorous exercise regimen. But something clicked in my head when I was reading over one of them. I could do this. I could be one of those people. 

I think I'm willing to accept that I like food. I am also willing to accept that I don't want to keep records of what's in my food. So if I am going to remain unsatisfied with how my body looks and feels, I'm going to have to make up for my eating somehow. And I'm going to have to do it with exercise. Considering what I like to eat, I'm going to have to do a lot of exercise. 

The particular groupon costs $29 for 16 days of classes that are geared for weight loss. I'm picturing the biggest loser. Crying, vomiting, whining and protesting. But I am also picturing later on when the soreness starts to feel good, my body starts to look like I'm doing something with it, and I have the energy I had when I was a teenager. I could do this. 

Anyone else in?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Medical Grade Dieting

I've been kind of up and down lately with the dieting thing. I've been thinking about how long I've been at this whole trek to reach a goal weight and how I'm still in the same place I've been for years and years. So the time has come where I need to either accept that this is how much I'm going to weight and this is how I'm going to feel both in my body and about my body, or I'm going to fix it. 

One of my neighbors lost 80 pounds on medifast. She's a really cool lady, very inspirational. And her story really inspires. She was around 200 pounds - like me - and had pretty much given up on herself. She agreed to follow the plan for one month and 7 months later she'd reached her goal weight and hasn't looked back. 

This sounded so familiar and awfully appealing so I decided to do some research. I so badly want to find the easy and real solution to my weight problem and I was so hoping that perhaps all the apprehension I"d felt about the whole medifast diet wasn't founded in anything.

What I found was not so good. Once I started steering away from the official site and even a newsweek article it started to look grim. Particularly the consumer reports having dealt with everything from horrible customer service on returns and exchanges to gallbladder and liver failure. 

Then I stumbled across this blog:
http://goodbyefungus.blogspot.com/2011/12/medifast-diet-planis-quick-weight-loss.html


It's an excellent and very thorough account of what's in the foods you eat on medifast. (It's kind of a bad-ass blog in general! I read a bunch of different great and well-researched stuff.) Reading this was a deal-breaker. Everything in the medifast foods is counter to everything I have learned about good nutrition.

This diet is doctor recommended?! This further diminishes my views on the quality of westernized medicine. *sigh*

Feeling a bit deflated from such a let-down I ended up feeling better after meeting my new doctor yesterday. I'm one of those weirdos that believes in preventative care. This doctor had a waiting list so I figured he must be good and if I got in to see him now it would be better than having to find someone  I didn't trust in an emergency situation.
Anyway, I told him I was tired of carrying the extra weight and I really needed to just break down and get it off. I knew I was going to like him as soon as he admitted he hadn't ever needed to lose a lot of weight (he's a twig) and that he's tried cutting sugar before and it's hard! I appreciated his honesty. It makes me mad when doctors assume they know what their patients go through when they've never dealt with an issue personally. He also validated several things that I have come to know to be true as I have attempted to lose this weight.

First he said that I'm not going to be successful unless I am in the mindset where I decide to be successful. (He actually said this. I wanted to show him my blog!) Once you start negotiating with your rules it's all downhill. So we agreed my rules are whole foods and no sugar. NO SUGAR!

Whole foods means things as close to their original state as possible. Instead of apple juice, an apple. Instead of wheat flour, whole wheat berries. This is pretty much how I was trying to eat after my juice cleanse anyway. 

Next he said I should eat pretty often, every couple of hours. This is another thing I've noticed. If I eat enough to be satisfied - not full and only eat when I feel hungry and water isn't cutting it, I end up eating every couple of hours naturally. (Another homage to my juice cleanse!)

Last he said I should have very very special occasions and allow myself to eat outside my limits. I know this isn't really conducive to the first thing, but I think that specifying what "special occasion" means will help. Going out to dinner = not a special occasion. Going out to dinner to celebrate something especially significant (birthday/anniversary/new job...) = okay have something special. 

So I'm set to task. I think that if I can force myself to get in the right mindset even though it doesn't feel "right" I can make the difference. This is really where I've continued to fail so many times before. I'm going to do this. This is going to be my life. No excuses.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Water Power

It's been three weeks since my juice cleanse and I'm still feeling successful. I'm down about 8 pounds. It's been going so well and I've been contemplating some of the things that are making the difference this time.

So far I've talked about being gluten free. I think that cutting out gluten has been a good move for me. I keep flubbing and having it accidentally (apparently rice crackers still have wheat in them sometimes and french fries come battered) so I'm not really sure if I've abstained enough to notice a difference. What has been good is all of the foods I avoid because they have gluten. Yesterday we ended our camping trip at Mo's in Lincoln City. There were maybe three things on the menu that weren't battered and fried. I had hoped to have a cup of clam chowder and even that had flour in it. All that was left was salads or fish tacos. These also happened to be the healthiest things on the menu. But enough about the gluten free stuff!

The other significant change I've made is drinking lots of water. I have at least four 16 ounce bottles of water a day, but most days I have more than that. I usually start my day by filling my empty juice bottles and taking them with me everywhere I go. Sometimes I also fill up my camelbak water bottle or my starbucks cold cup (these actually hold more water). Having it available is the first step to making sure I have enough.

The next step is knowing when to drink it. The juice cleanse was good training for this. They had me drink a bottle of water between every juice. I got used to alternating water with "meals" and have been doing the same thing since I finished my cleanse. I think this initial conditioning to drink lots of water is the hard part. It's got to turn into a habit.

One of the biggest changes I've noticed is my cravings and my satisfaction with what I've eaten. Typically in the evenings I will start wanting sweets. I've found that if I let myself have a bite or two of something sweet and then chug water I don't usually want to finish what I've started to eat. It's enough to have the flavor on my palate. I've also noticed that I naturally just drink more when we go out to eat and that I'm more mindful of the things that I eat and drink that are more dehydrating like alcohol and caffeine. 

I was curious about some of the research on drinking water and weight loss so I google searched and came up with some really great articles. 

Here's a cnn article about the subject. The study found that people who drank two 8 oz. servings of water before meals lost more weight on average than those eating the same diets without drinking water. The same study was also discussed in an article on webmd.

Go forth and drink water friends!




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gluten Free Day 12

First I want to say thank you to my readers who still follow this blog. I've been keeping it for a little over three years now, and while it does go neglected at times, I'm making an effort to be more diligent about posting again. 

Next I must reel from my previous post. After all of my whining I weighed myself this morning and found myself 6 pounds down from when I weighed myself Saturday morning. This is a different story than what I had been so frustrated about.

This does not let me off the hook however. Just because the scale is down doesn't mean my work is done. A contraire! Glancing through the onslaught of recent facebook pictures does me no favors. I want to look hot in a bathing suit before I die. I have many more pounds to go.  

Now onward!

I've been having some deep philosophical thoughts about this whole gluten free thing since I started. One of the things I've noticed is that I file away the things I will eat when I've decided not to stay gluten free. I realize this thinking is probably not setting me up for the most success. The point of going gluten free is to determine if it is best to STAY gluten free. Realizing this also has me contemplating life without so many foods. While food has come a long way in terms of being friendlier towards allergies and health needs, there is still no substitute for a fresh hot baguette or the wonderful chewiness of nicely cooked pasta. I feel like I need to hold a funeral for all of the foods I may not ever eat again. It's a serious loss!

Another thing I've noticed is the distinction between having an allergy and having an intolerance. If I mention I'm gluten free at a restaurant I end up with food that is extremely cautious (i.e. the instance at red robin that had me so frustrated). I decided to try a gluten free pizza from Godfathers (the price was enough to limit pizza to a very infrequent indulgence) and the delivery guy had it in it's own warming bag and the box was sealed with a sticker that warned about cross contamination. If I had celiacs I would greatly appreciate this. Since I don't I kind of feel like some of this is a bit overkill and perhaps it's not always necessary to mention that I'm trying to be gluten free. If spores of wheat grace whatever food I might be eating I think I'll be okay. 

The pros of maintaining the gluten free diet seem to be the numbers of calories I'm avoiding and that avoiding said calories has been very helpful in curbing my cravings for more carbs and sugar. Here's what I ate today:
Amaranth, berries, honey and butter
a lamb sausage, heirloom tomato salad with onions, fresh mozzarella and olive oil
peanuts in the shell, a piece of chocolate, a gf chocolate brownie bite, soy sauce rice crackers
gluten free pizza, salad, and watermelon

 While I'm not exactly staying within my 1200 calories as prescribe by my livestrong app, I'm definitely staying under 2000 a day, I'm eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and I'm in no way feeling deprived. Another part of my satisfaction, I'm sure, can be credited to the amount of water I'm managing to drink every day.   

I feel like I'm on the right track and that food is not so complicated as it sometimes can feel. If I can get my exercise to catch up to my eating habits by the end of the summer, I think I'll be in good shape to reach my goal weight as the school year starts and things get busy again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gluten Free Day 10

It's been 10 days since I started my juice cleanse and have been gluten free. Thursday I drove with Charlotte out to the beach for my delightful friend Bri's birthday beach weekend. I nearly cried for having to leave earlier than I wanted to for work. I managed to eat pretty healthy and I avoided gluten too until Friday morning. My friend Caitlin made the most amazing strata for breakfast. Faced with the choice between strata and.... well nothing, I chose to have a small piece. It was pretty worth it...until I saw pictures of my my wide butt running down the beach in stretch pants, rolls of my belly protruding under my tank top between the elastic bands of my belt and my sports bra. Images that had me nearly sick with disgust at my own appearance. I don't blame the strata. The strata was not the culprit. So what is?

When I got home and weighed myself I wasn't surprised to see that the scale was moving up instead of down. I figured I'd gain some back from what I lost on my cleanse, but I didn't expect to see it continue to move up. 

Tonight was frustrating. After the market I went to meet my family at Red Robin for dinner to celebrate my nephew's birthday (I had to miss his party because of the market). On the drive there I contemplated what I should eat and narrowed it down to two possible choices. I looked over their gluten free menu offerings when I got there and chose to get the bruschetta chicken sandwich just without the bun. 

While we were waiting for food I decided to download the livestrong app to see if I couldn't get a better idea of why I'm not losing any weight. I feel like I've really cut down on my portion sizes and considering the number of calories I've refused in avoiding wheat and gluten I thought there had to be something I'm missing. I put in my food for the day into the app and discovered that according to their calculations I've been eating far more calories than I should for weight loss. No wonder. Red robin fries and honey mustard dressing didn't help.

It was about then that my meal came: a sad greyish piece of chicken patty with fake grill marks covered in melted cheese next to a pile of wilting lettuce. In the middle of the plate was a heaping plastic cup of "garlic aoli" which is a fancy way of saying mayonnaise. I took one look at the plate and gave it back to the waiter saying I wasn't hungry anyway. This was the item suggested in their gluten free menu. I expected at least a tomato or something. So I sat guzzling water while everyone else enjoyed their meal. Even though I really wasn't hungry it was still frustrating to sit on the verge of tears not participating in the act of eating, and more frustrating that I felt like I had gotten a handle on my diet and wasn't even close.

I've hit my wall. I'm tired of being this size, I'm tired of being tired. If I have to eat nothing but carrot sticks and kale to get my fat ass to look good in a pair of jeans I will do it. I will run, I will sweat, I will not eat. End of story. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Post Cleanse Day 3

I made it through the weekend post juice cleanse and I think I've learned a few things. For the farmers markets I took a bunch of fresh cut veggies to snack on all day, some raw nuts, and a couple other snacks as well as several bottles of water. I also bought a few more juices to kind of help maintain some of the nutrition I was getting.

I'm finding that one of the biggest things after the cleanse is that meals are kind of obsolete. I don't really feel hungry and and I don't really feel full if I just eat good/fresh/raw food pretty much constantly and drink lots of water. This seems to be enough for most of the day.

Saturday I started the day with the hazelnut milk, date and cinnamon juice I had saved from the day before. I had some goat cheese with my cucumbers and it didn't seem to bother my stomach at all. So goat dairy is cleared for consumption! For dinner we went to Por Que No where I knew I'd be okay because you actually have to try to eat gluten there and all of their food is very fresh and good quality. I ended up feeling overly full from my three tacos - I should have stopped at two. I decided to have a margarita and was going to get a small one but Paul brought me back a pretty huge one. I was relieved to find that it didn't bother me either.

Sunday I packed the same food for the market. I drank a juice for breakfast and ate veggies and nuts all day. About halfway through the day I started to get pretty hungry. I probably should have drunk the last juice I had brought with me but I decided to try to eat a sausage. I had it on a bed of arugula with some different sauces from feastworks. It ended up being a mistake, my stomach was upset and I had a hard time digesting it the rest of the day. I don't know what was in the sausage, it's possible that it had gluten in it. For dinner we went to sushi and I was happy to find that I was far more interested in eating the sashimi and the edamame than in the rolls that typically have lots of mayo mixed in with crab substitute. I had an avocado roll, and salmon, red snapper, and ahi sashimi.

So far I think things have gone pretty well. I think the key to staying on the trajectory I've started is planning ahead. If I always have something healthy to snack on wherever I am I'm far less likely to end up eating something I wish I hadn't. I've managed to stay gluten free for five days so far and I think I'm going to do my best to keep it up. I have a feeling all the bread in the world isn't worth the upset stomach I get from eating it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Juice Cleanse Day 3

Got up this morning and waited awhile to drink my first replacement juice. Switching was a good decision! Also, I wasn't hungry. Weighed myself. I'm down 5 lbs from the first day.

At my voice lesson I felt a sense of technical consistency and skill I haven't felt for a long time. I'm guessing its because I'm hydrated, but also because I started learning some basic French with duolingo. Even my voice teacher noticed the difference.

I felt pretty good through the afternoon. I knew I was going to be out and about so I packed a cooler with all but one of my juices for the day and a couple of bottles with water in case I couldn't refill them somewhere. 

After taking the cats to the vet I went to my parents to spend time with Charlotte. I ate a couple of strawberries. I feel like strawberries are always disappointing because I always think of the hoods I get at the farmers market or from u-pick places. Then we headed to five guys for dinner. I did pretty well. I ate probably about 10 peanuts (I felt guilty about how much salt I must have had) and maybe five french fries. I think considering the temptation I did pretty well. 

After dinner my sister-in-law, my mom, Charlotte and I went to Trader Joes. I stocked up on lots of fresh veggies and gluten free food alternatives. In the checkout line the checker told me she'd had a test done by her naturopath to check for food intolerances. She thought she might have a gluten intolerance but it turned out to be that she had an aversion to almonds of all things. I'm going to a new chiropractor on Monday and there is a naturopath that works in the same practice that also happens to be covered by my insurance (I think...insurance is complicated). I think I may look into this. 

Now that I've reached the end of my cleanse I feel really good. It wasn't even really hard today. Honestly, it's kind of easy to already know what you will eat all day and to not have to think about food. I will definitely do this cleanse again - probably after the holidays.

Portland Juice Press was extremely helpful in making it a positive experience for me and I highly recommend them if you're considering doing any kinds of cleanse or detox. It's not particularly cheap but you're buying a ton of fruits and vegetables in a three day cleanse and they use the kind of stuff you'd buy at a farmers market or new seasons. You're really getting top quality. There's a coupon in the Chinook Book. If you go buy a $20 Chinook Book just to use the coupon, you'll probably save a little more than what you spent on the book and you'll have other coupons. Just sayin'.

Here's my game plan now:

  1. Eat nothing but raw foods the next two days. This shouldn't be hard at the Farmers Market. 
  2. Use all my empty juice bottles to drink at least 5 bottles of water a day.
  3. Gradually introduce some whole grains and proteins back into my eating starting on Monday. 
  4. Go gluten free for at least 2 weeks, 4 if I can manage it. 

I'm seriously contemplating getting a weekly juice subscription so I can have one of the juices for breakfast every morning. There's a chinook book coupon for that too! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Juice Cleanse Day 2 Part 2

I read on the website and confirmed with the ladies at the shop that it's okay to eat some raw foods during the cleanse. I've been popping raw almonds all day and had a couple slices of apple with Charlotte around lunch. So far I have yet to feel hungry. However I do keep feeling compulsions to eat. I got a container of pasta salad for Paul and Charlotte to eat while I'm doing my cleanse and I would be lying if I said I didn't have a couple bites. This does not bode well for my future plans to be gluten free...

Right now I'm working on my water after having finished my third juice of the day. I'm kind of impressed with how much water I drink without much problem. When I've done weight watchers before I found myself feeling sick at the thought of having to drink so much water every day. This seems to be okay though.

So far I'm learning some very key things about my eating habits.

First, McLoughlin Blvd. needs to be off limits unless there's someplace I'm going to specifically. There are so many fast food chains and restaurants between home and downtown that I'm practically drooling by the time I get where I'm headed. I think that by taking roads that don't go by so many eateries I'll be far less likely to stop and eat something awful. It's not that I eat a lot of fast food, I just really feel the temptation from it.

Second, I eat compulsively. A lot. I'm not hungry and I want to eat pasta salad and steak and anything else that pops in my head and sounds good. This tells me my sense of hunger and thirst are off. My habits want me to eat, not my hunger.

Third, I realized in my contemplating that this juice cleanse is completely vegan and I'm not hungry. The foods I can eat seem so much more accessible for some reason - fresh fruits and veggies. I'm realizing how much of the foods I like would be better for me to eat anyway - like the gazpacho I made recently or my mango salsa which are both all raw fresh foods accepting the salt.

Last, in feeding Charlotte separate from my juices I realize how much crap she eats. I got her a little thing of mac and cheese yesterday from the deli at zupans and it was completely gross. Her entire dinner last night was pasta salad and breakfast tends to be cereal. Right now she's feasting on fresh apple slices and fresh mango. I realize we need to do better at giving her more balanced nutrition.

This is the jump start I think I needed. I feel a whole lot better today than I felt yesterday, I think I'm starting to retrain my body to crave better foods and I'm down a couple pounds. Hopefully I'll still feel this way by the time I finish my cleanse tomorrow!


Juice Cleanse Day 2 Part 1

I called Portland juice press this morning after I attempted to choke down my bottle of cilantro juice. Actually It has several things in it but that's all I could taste. They were super nice and said I could trade it and a couple others for new juice. I tried to get juices that still had some good vegetables in them. I think this will make the next day and a half go much more smoothly. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Juice Cleanse Day 1 Part 2

2:20pm. Finished second juice and second water. Driving by a honey baked ham. Nothing sounds more amazing than ham.

3:00 caved and ate a white nectarine. I figure fresh fruit can't hurt too much

7:00 drink the second to last juice of the day. Think I'm going to vomit so I eat a bunch of raw almonds. It seems to work. Paul rubs my neck to help with the caffeine withdrawal headache.

9:20 Can tell the detox is starting to take effect. Have to pee as often as I did when I was pregnant! Going to bed.