Thursday, March 08, 2012
...and I feel great. My experiment with cutting out wheat (or at least significantly reducing my consumption of it) seems to be paying off. I feel so much better and have not been bloated and nauseated. I also came across an article that discussed how some people who are sensitive to wheat feel hungry all of the time when eating wheat, and that was certainly the case with me. I always felt ravenous, so no wonder I was having a hard time losing weight.
February was a pretty good month overall. I lost about 9 pounds, most of it within the 2 weeks following cutting out wheat. I will not say that I think wheat itself causes weight gain or that cutting it out is some magic bullet for weight loss, but I am glad that I pinpointed that I am sensitive to it. I was eating healthy foods (whole grain breads like Ezekiel bread, whole wheat pasta, etc.), so it wasn't an issue of eating refined foods. Now my diet is mostly flour-free and brown rice, beans, lentils, oatmeal, raw fruits and veggies, and healthy fats make up the bulk of my diet. I feel satisfied and have had few cravings for junk. Cutting out wheat products seems to have regulated my appetite a bit.
I was pleased with February overall. I worked out a lot, although I didn't follow my wrkout plan exactly. It is good that I have learned to be more flexible with myself. Jiu Jitsu is going well and I feel I am learning new things and improving almost every day. I haven't been doing as much kickboxing, mainly because there aren't many suitable workout partners at my gym now. I have a goal to start doing more kickboxing anyways and just make sure my coach gives me a good workout.
I have been more consistent about strength training and have been following a fairly casual plan of doing a kettlebell workout, and hypertrophy (muscle growth) and/or endurance workout, and Olympic lifts each week. I have been writing the workouts as I go along or doing a suitable DVD. I can see a definite difference in muscle tone over the past month, and I am very pleased with that.
I have started running again and it is going well. I am doing the Jeff Galloway method and will probably follow it permanently. Jeff Galloway advocates running with walk breaks, which is easier on the muscles and joints. So far my knee has tolerated the running.I have been doing 15-30 second running intervals with 1-2 minutes of walking for 15-30 minutes, and I will build up from there. Eventually I will run for 4-5 minutes and walk 30-60 seconds for up to an hour at a time. Jeff Galloway's website is here:
My goal for March is to follow my workout plan a bit more closely, that is, to get to martial arts classes 3-4 days a week, do my 3 strength/conditioning workouts a week, and run 3 days a week. I should also be better about tracking my food, however, I feel like I have been eating well intuitively, as I was pretty bad about tracking during February yet still lost 9 lbs. I feel like my eating has gotten a lot more reasonable and I stress a lot less about food and wanting to overeat.
Here's to an awesome March!
Monday, February 27, 2012
I'm such a sucker doing hours of martial arts every week. Turns out that staying safe is much less physically exhausting than I thought!
Image from http://pleated-jeans.com/
Stay safe, ladies!
(Sorry it's kind of hard to read the small print, this was the best picture I could find.)
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Well, at least I drank my water this week (picture my friend took yesterday, and then we doctored it up on her iPad).
This week had it's ups and downs. My eating was so-so. I overate greasy food yesterday, but the rest of the week my eating was decent. I just wasn't the best about tracking. Overall it was just a "meh" week--not great, not bad. I sacrificed some exercise time to hang out with friends, but it was worth it to catch up with them.
I found out today that I will owe about $1,000 between my state and federal taxes. It is my fault--I had credit card debt forgiven last year. The $1,000 is still better than the fees and interest that would have continued to accrue on the credit card debt, and I'm in a better position now to deal with the tax money.
After I found out that I was going to have yet another expense that I can't really afford, I wanted comfort food. I scourged my fridge and cupboard and made a very large pot of homemade soup. I added wild rice, lentils, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, zucchini, vegetable bouillon, oregano, sage, red pepper, and rosemary. It's kind of hard to mess up soup anyways, but it is very good. Something was very soothing about the very act of making it. I am now convinced that there is nothing that can't be made better by eating a bowl of hot homemade veggie soup.
In any case, I'm happy that my first thought when it came to comfort food was to make something healthy and genuinely satisfying. I couldn't tell you the last time I craved chips and a pound of chocolate candy (a very typical binge for me) when I was stressed. I've noticed that the shift in my overeating has gone from being emotional to being social. I used to binge in private when I was stressed and/or sad. Now I am more prone to overeating in the company of others. Yesterday I went to 2 bars and had too much greasy food. Although that is rare for me, I would still like to avoid overeating a lot of junk. I prefer that I desire to overeat when I am with others and having fun rather than trying to stuff some void, but my skills at restaurants could often stand to improve.
This week my plan is to get back to tracking honestly. I will also be getting in more gym time. But again, just like social eating is more acceptable to me than secret binge eating, there's nothing wrong with ditching the gym to get in some time with friends (although we still went for walks together, so still getting in activity). I never feel guilty about taking time to be around great people.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
From Oxygen Magazine. These are almost a little TOO good...in any case, I made them tonight and they were great--ya know, the half a batch I ate. In any case, my plan is have these as pre- or post-workout snacks, so maybe I'll try making them again when I'm not having moontime cravings.
Tiffani Bachus’ Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Ready in 5 minutes • Makes 14 servings
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (I used 2 Tbsp. brown rice protein powder)
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
Mix together all ingredients. Should be the consistency of Play-Doh. Roll into 14 small balls. Refrigerate to firm them up, overnight for best results. Enjoy!
Nutrients per serving (1 ball):
Calories: 84, Total Fats: 5 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 3 mg, Sodium: 28 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 8 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 4 g, Iron: 0 mg
Monday, February 20, 2012
A new low weight, that is. On Saturday I weighed in at 252.1, the lowest since starting to lose with SparkPeople. Sweet...hopefully I've broken through this months-long plateau. I was happy to have a nice loss this week, but even if I hadn't, I had an awesome week.
I continued to avoid wheat and have felt pretty good, but I made Ethiopian food (a curried lentil dish) at home, including eating it with Injera bread from the store. Injera is traditionally made with the gluten-free grain teff, yet I felt bloated after eating it (which usually doesn't happen). Sure enough, the ingredient list included wheat flour. Maybe I will get some teff flour and try making my own Injera. Overall, though, my diet has been much lower in grains while still getting a reasonable amount of carbs.
I had a calorie and sodium bomb day on Valentine's Day, but it was totally worth it. Good food, good company. I went to a movie with a friend ("Journey 2: The Mysterious Island"--don't judge me, I'm in love with The Rock) where we shared popcorn and I had Diet Coke (which I still consider to be junk), and we also shared a dark chocolate bar. Later, I ordered gluten-free pizza and had a piece of flourless chocolate cake. Nothing like curling up with your sweetie and sharing some good food. Although I ate foods I don't eat regularly any more, I did not stuff myself. There are some occasions where the food really DOES make it better and more fun, and I'm glad that I am approaching having the balance to have fun with food without being neurotic about it.
I had a goal to get to the gym at least 3 times and I went on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I find going to martial arts training 3 days a week to be a happy medium--it's enough to get in some solid training, and enough to avoid overtraining. I've also had difficulty getting in strength training and other cross-training, so I am backing off a little bit on gym time so I can balance the martial arts training with other forms of exercise. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I did feel very "fit" last week. More than one of the guys at the gym commented that I am getting to be in great shape. Now, this is bearing in mind that my weight has been stagnant for the past 3 months or so, showing that the adaptations from my consistent exercise are paying off.
I haven't been working on practicing meditation like I would like to, but I have been keeping many of the principles in mind throughout the day. The main mantra I keep with me is actually a word, and that is "equanimity." Equanimity is having a lack of judgement and maintaining composure. Many of us who have struggled with emotional eating are familiar with the impulsive feeling that comes before a binge, the desire for instant gratification overtaking the importance of our health goals. Equanimity allows me to acknowledge a feeling without having an emotional reaction to it, and being able to step away and evaluate what I should do. We all know that taking a deep breath helps us relax, and meditation teaches why this is and how to hone in on that power. These are the main principles I have taken from the book "Enough!: A Buddhist Approach to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns" by Chonyi Taylor. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is trying to set new health goals as it provides healthy methods for changing habits, primarily through meditation. It isn't enough to have a can-do attitude to set permanent changes in ourselves, as I have learned through my repeated attempts at losing weight and fighting binge eating; meditation is providing a way for me to permanently change my mindset.
I would never say that I plan on conquering emotional eating as that would be unrealistic. However, I reflect over the past 7-8 years and how I have made deep-seated changes. I have always been heavy, but I used to be a smoking-2-packs-a-day, sedentary, junk-food eating depressed overweight person to being a martial arts-wielding, strong, tofu-snarfing, drooling-over-carrots overweight woman with a degree in exercise science. The changes came slowly, and will continue to build up slowly. As I said last week, patience has been my greatest lesson throughout the past several years. With patience, I am able to forgive myself for the wrongs I have done to myself and make myself better.
As I reflect more on what I have learned, I realize that my life keeps getting better and better. It isn't that I have some unrealistic expectation that nothing bad will ever happen to me or that I won't face significant challenges, but I now have the experiences and greater wisdom to face any challenges. There was a great article in "Parade" magazine in this Sunday's paper about a woman's life story as told by her face. Our face shares our experiences with the world, both the good times and bad. I wonder what stories my face has yet to tell:
Dorky expression or not, this is the face of a very wise person. (Joking around with a friend (SP user KVARNLOV) this past New Year's Eve)
"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
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