Monday, June 30, 2014
In the past, I have been consistently tracking my food for weeks and even months at a time only to struggle keeping up with it at some point. That usually led to a complete halt of food tracking. Whenever I did not track, I eventually started gaining back weight. So my logic told me, "you have to track to lose." I tried to keep up with it by carrying a little notebook with me and write down all the foods I ate so that I could track them when I would find the time to. Eventually, I realized that I do not want to live like this for the rest of my life. I do not want to obsess over food, measuring and tracking every single bite. I really enjoy eating, and this took away a lot of this joy.
Those who know me, know that I already eat healthy and balanced most of the time. And, no, I will not deny myself an occasional piece of chocolate (or something else that I really enjoy). However, what I had to really work on were serving sizes, a problem many people seem to have (often not even knowingly).
I would say I have a love/hate relationship with tracking. I really love the insight I get from tracking. I see the nutrients I am getting, if I am eating enough protein, too few or too many calories, etc.
I hate the time tracking consumes and how it makes me obsess over the food I eat.
Ultimately, this is not just a weight loss journey I am on, I want to change my life. I want to be able to create a healthy lifestyle that works for me and that I can sustain indefinitely.
So this is what works for me: I eat intuitively and consciously, enjoying the food I eat. I will not eat high calorie/low nutrient foods if they are not absolutely worth the empty calories. For example, I will eat my favorite chocolate on occasion, but I will not eat just a random snack/dessert/candy I see or I am offered if I know that I will merely like it and not absolutely love it. Why waste empty calories on something I do not absolutely love when I can have something nutritious instead? That does not mean I do not try new things. I love exploring new foods, provided they are real foods (more about this another time). From time to time, I will go back to tracking. Sometimes just for a day, sometimes for a week or two. This lets me check in on myself to see how I am doing when eating intuitively. If I notice any patterns (not enough protein, for example), I know what to tweak in my diet.
Do you track or keep a food journal? What works for you, what does not?
Monday, February 17, 2014
I have not been very active here on SparkPeople lately. Sorry about that. I missed you all and I am back! For the last several months I have been feeling miserable and for the longest I was trying to figure out what was going on.
I was extremely exhausted every day, no matter how much or little sleep I had at night. I even nodded off at work a couple of times. I had several migraines a week. My GI system was acting crazy. I had weird painful patches on my scalp that would appear and disappear unpredictably. My skin was extremely dry and I lost more hair than usual. I was unusually angry, tense, sad, depressed and even lost my appetite (I am usually a "foodie" as I love cooking and eating). I was short of breath a lot faster than usual which (at the time) I thought might just be a result of not exercising as much as I used to, yet this one felt different. Something was not right.
After talking to my Mom, who has Celiac disease, she suggested I should take a self test by checking off my symptoms on a list of common symptoms of Celiac sufferers. Wow. That one hit home. I sure was surprised to find many of my recent ailments on that list. Since my Mom has Celiac disease already, I am at greater risk of developing it myself. Another risk factor is having another autoimmune disease (I already have Hashimoto's disease). Since the beginning of the year, I started tracking my symptoms and whether I ate gluten or not each day. I set up a doctor's appointment to get a blood test for Celiac done as well as a large blood panel. Knowing that a Celiac blood test could come back with a false negative after cutting out gluten from one's diet, I kept consciously eating gluten up until the day of the blood test.
While I was waiting on the results, I kept eating gluten at first, in case a biopsy was needed. However, I was so miserable the weekend before last with one of the worst and longest migraines I have ever experienced that I decided to go gluten free starting that Sunday up until Tuesday night and I soon felt better. The migraine and my GI issues subsided. Knowing I would get my test results on Wednesday, I did go on a "gluten splurge" on Tuesday night with my favorite made-from-scratch homemade pizza (I will miss you, baby!). Well, let me say I paid for that on Wednesday morning...
Eventually I got my test results on Wednesday afternoon and the good news is that the Celiac test came back negative/non-elevated. I am still at risk of developing Celiac, but at this point I do not have it. That is great news. So for now, it looks like I am gluten intolerant and I am cutting it out for the next six months (and possibly forever) along with tracking my food meticulously to see if there is anything else I might react to. The big surprise that came with my blood panel was that I was severely iron deficient/anemic and that explains some of the above symptoms as well (including the unusual shortness of breath). I immediately started taking an iron supplement and got some extra rest the last few days. I am starting to feel a little better. Yay!
Here comes some female stuff, possibly TMI for some. You have been warned. ;-)
My last blood panel was in September last year and it showed all my values to be perfect with iron being just a tiny bit low and my progesterone levels being postmenopausal. I increased my dark leafy greens intake (I am not a big meat eater) and I am already taking a multivitamin which also has iron in it. That should have taken care of it, or so I thought. Well, it apparently did not. I have to add that my menstrual cycle has been crazy for years (since my miscarriage in 2007 to be exact). First, I did not bleed at all, then I started spotting and/or having minimal flow on a daily basis. Several doctors had previously suggested I take birth control pills to "reset" my cycle, but I did not want that in hopes of at some point becoming pregnant again. Well, that has not happened since 2007 and with my progesterone levels being postmenopausal (I am 27!), I eventually agreed to trying to "reset" my hormones with the means of birth control pills. I never stopped spotting, but I did have two very heavy cycles during which I lost more blood than usual. Looking back that probably was what depleted my iron levels. Especially considering that soon after that second very heavy cycle I started feeling exhausted and extremely tired for (at the time) no apparent reason. In addition, I continued to have (almost) regular cycles with spotting in between. Having almost regular cycles is a good sign and I really hope constant spotting will stop soon.
I will be taking my iron supplement daily and will keep getting my levels checked. I will also eat more yogurt again and also take probiotics which will hopefully get my gut back in order (I am still waiting for them to come in the mail, but they should get here soon). Through that and my diet change(s), I hope to be back to my old self soon (I sure miss her!).
At times I was so miserable that all I did was sleep as soon as I got home in the evenings and most of the weekends as well. I did not exercise much. This I am changing now. I need my workouts. I am going to a Zumba class once a week (Mondays) –I already went twice– and I am increasingly walking in the morning between dropping my son off at school and going to work. Eventually I want to go back to the 5K Your Way program and actually run a 5K this year.
Thursday, October 03, 2013
So I have been wearing sizes 20 and 22 for the the last 3+ years (I cannot remember how many exactly). About 3 months ago I found a size 20 jeans at my local thrift store that fit perfectly, so of course I grabbed them. I could not tell what brand they were but they just felt and looked great so I did not care. Anyway, after owning those jeans for a all this time I eventually discovered a secondary tag that shows the jeans were from Old Navy. A Spark Friend of mine gave me the idea to buy the same model of jeans in different sizes as to have a good comparison, since different jeans brands/models are not really sized the same way. So I went to Old Navy today to find a size 20 pair I would like and tried it on. It fit, but felt like I would need a belt with it once I would break them in. I need to note that I do need a belt for the thrift shop pair by now. So I went ahead and got a size 18 of the same jeans, not expecting them to fit well, but to my surprise they fit perfectly. I HAD to buy them and now I have my first pair of victory jeans. I am looking forward to getting the next lower size once these get loose. This NSV is just what I needed. My weight did not go down much lately, but I obviously lost inches. I have been sleeping too little and working too much over the last two weeks because of looming deadlines that absolutely have to be met, but I know this has not been healthy for me. I have been eating intuitively and have managed to eat healthy foods in reasonable portions most of the time, but did not find the time to track. I am proud of myself to not have given in to junk foods despite the stress. I did have a treat every once in a while, but kept them in moderation. This is a big one for me since I have been a stress eater for most of my life. I did not exercise much over the past few weeks since the 5K either, but I do go for short walks on my lunch and try to be as active as possible on the weekends for now. Better than nothing. The good news is that I know this is only temporary and will be over soon, hopefully next week. I miss the insight I get from tracking and definitely miss my morning walks/runs.
Monday, July 29, 2013
I just wanted to give an update. I have been absent from SP for a little over a week and it feels like an eternity. The reason of my absence is that I have been very sick due to a serious mold issue in our HVAC system. In June we moved to a new rental home and both my son's and my indoor allergy symptoms went significantly worse since then. So I decided to have the air ducts of the house cleaned. When the technicians came out for the air duct cleaning, they discovered black mold within the AC unit, which they told me was a result of improper maintenance on a long term basis. They did not perform the cleaning, because that would have caused a lot more mold spores in the air. They gave us an estimate for removal of the mold and sanitation of system which I forwarded to our landlord. Thankfully, there was no fuss and we were able to have the technicians take care of it first thing on Monday.
However, spores had already been in the air all weekend and I was having severe flu-like symptoms because of that (sneezing, sinus congestion, sore throat and cough thanks to postnasal drip, severe headache, body aches, mild fever, fatigue, diarrhea). In short, I have been feeling miserable and I hope listing my symptoms was not TMI. Gladly, I am finally and slowly getting better.
I still have a cough which I hope will soon go away so that I can work out again. This was the worst I felt in years and came very unexpected. I am so glad that my boys have been at their grandma's house for the past few weeks, so they have not been exposed that much. My husband and I have both been very sick from this stupid mold. If you ever have any mold in your home, please remove it safely or have it professionally removed right away. Please make sure your AC system is maintained properly. The mold we had was caused by the system not draining correctly and water and dirt had been building up inside the unit. I know that whenever we move again, I will have the AC professionally checked before we move in. This better be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Glad to be back and hope this pesky cough will go away soon... I miss my workouts!
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