Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I just ate half a cake.
OK - I'm lying. I just ate three quarters of a cake.
This is not me falling off the wagon. This is me sitting in the wagon...with my cake.
I denied myself the cookies all day long. I'm trying like mad to get back on a proper eating schedule without all the sweets and treats. But going from 3000+ calories a day over Christmas to 1800 is just proving to be SO DAMN DIFFICULT!
Problem #1 - I still don't have ANY groceries in my fridge. I cleaned out everything before I left for Germany and then didn't restock when I came back because I was only home for a week before going to Ontario for Christmas. And now I've only been home for a day and haven't yet had a chance to shop, so all meals have been out, which means they're high calories and high sodium. Yuck.
Problem #2 - My office mate gave me a birthday cake and Christmas cookies yesterday. AH MAN! I thought coming back home would rid my life of those things for another year. Not so much. Combine this with Problem #1 and you have the only really edible item in my house being a whole chocolate cake and a batch of cookies. Lord have mercy!
Problem #3 - I stayed at work late unexpectedly tonight which was NOT good for trying to get back on an eating schedule. I was SO hungry by the time I got home that I PLOWED through dinner...and then the cake started staring me down...
I was disappointed to discover that even though I chose a healthy salad and falafel in a pita for dinner, it still put me over my 1800 daily calories. I thought for sure that I'd still have a little room for a post-dinner treat. And for whatever reason that tiny thought of possible sweet treat deprivation triggered the "Well, you've blown it already - you may as well eat cake" voice in my head.
So I ate cake. I almost ate the WHOLE cake. But I stopped. Because IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START AGAIN!
I may have blown the budget today for sure. But I put down the fork, I brewed a cup of tea, and now I am back on track. Right now. Not tomorrow, not in the morning, RIGHT NOW. In fact, when I was done with the cake, that silly voice in my head - you know - the one that said "Well, you've blown it already - you may as well eat cake"? That voice came back again and said "Well, you ate the cake...you may as well have the cookies too". But I put my foot down. No - I'm NOT eating the cookies right now. Why? Because IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START AGAIN. And I'm starting right now. Which means the cookies will not own me, they will not beat me, and they will not be eaten. I'm taking them to work tomorrow and leaving them for the staff. HA! Take THAT cookies! And the quarter cake that is left? It's in the garbage. With the cat litter. I have come too far and worked too hard to be run down by some sugar, flour and cheap chocolate frosting.
For the record, the colleague who gave me this crap is a food pusher. She's also the one who just lost a pile of weight herself and I honestly think that she's starting to feel a little threatened by my success - it puts her out of the spotlight that she's been enjoying for some time now since people aren't commenting on her appearance so much anymore, but have certainly been commenting on mine. So beware acts of kindness wrapped in foil! She takes every chance she can get to feed me, and now I'm sitting up and taking notice.
But back to the message of the evening, and one that I really feel is SO important for everyone coming back from those high-calorie holidays and for all those who will join this site come January 1st - IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START AGAIN. We all have bad days. We all have days where we just need to sit in the wagon and eat cake. But you don't have to eat the whole thing just because you took one bite. The choice is yours to start again at any point. No matter how big the snowball, all snow melts eventually with a little sunlight. So no matter how far off the path you've gotten over the holidays, with a little hard work, you can find the trail again. And all your Sparkfriends will be standing here waiting for your return.
This is me picking myself up, dusting myself off and plodding along into the New Year. More on track than I have ever been.
See ya cake!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Hello my wonderful Spark Friends. I have a challenge for ALL of you! I just did this myself last night, so I'll be all set for going home.
I know that we're all about to embark on a crazy journey of yumminess over the weekend. Cookies, cakes and holiday savories that only come around once a year. And when you see these items so rarely, it's SO difficult not to stuff your face and wish it were Christmas EVERY day. With me in particular, since my birthday is also 2 days before Christmas, I get not only my mom's home cooking for the holiday, but also my special birthday cake (Flaming Baked Alaska) made ever so lovingly on the 23rd.
So the challenge is this:
Pick THREE of your absolute favorite, cannot possibly say "No" to, Holiday items that you KNOW will be on the table this Christmas. Call you mom, or your Grammy or your funny Uncle Ted and ask them for the recipe for that wonderful dish - every scrap of lard, every pound of butter that is in it. And then enter all 3 recipes as they are in their original form into SparkRecipes and figure out a serving size.
Now - come Christmas morning - you are all armed and ready! You know exactly how many calories, grams of fat and hidden nutrients are in your favorite dishes! So go ahead and EAT THEM! But make sure when you do, you track them as well! And we'll all make a promise here to track those items every time they cross our plates. Since so many things WILL cross our plates, knowing what's in just THREE of them will be a huge help.
Once you're done entering your recipes, post a blog and a link to them. I'm really interested to see what all your favorite items are!
I still need to get the recipe from Mom for my Baked Alaska, but here are two of my other absolute favorites!
Christmas Morning Quiche - recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Aunt Edith's Welsh Cakes - recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
Merry Christmas Everyone! Happy Eating (and Healthy Eating!)
Monday, December 20, 2010
So I'm definitely NOT on vacation any more. The jet lag has faded, the memories are growing distant, and WORK will not let up long enough to let me breathe let alone get anything accomplished before Christmas. I MISS Spark, I miss reading articles and tracking throughout the day, and updating my status and wishing the Done Girls Happy Birthdays. I'm afraid that my time away from this community has become a little permanent and since I got in the habit of NOT logging in every day while I was away, it's no longer as second nature as it was before I left. I need to make that better!
I've been on the scale a couple of times this week and it hasn't budged an inch since my fantastic post-trip weigh-in. No chance of shedding a little vacation water weight I guess. Like I said - I'm pretty sure the reason I dropped weight in the first place was because of that flu bug I got the day before I came home, so I shouldn't be surprised that my body has fluctuated back up this week, but it's disappointing! I was really hoping for that magic 75 pound weight loss by Christmas. But I really should be happy with 70. I should. So 70 pounds gone is what I'm taking home with me for Christmas. In a Size L sweater from the Gap.
Since getting home I have tried to resume my running routine, and since the pool is closed until the New Year, I have added back in my 3rd day of weekly running. But for whatever reason (most likely that I am fighting a really bad chest cold), I have been hitting a wall at 1.5 miles and just can't seem to run any further than that before having to walk. I'm on my 5K route, so I'm only run/walking 3.1 miles anyway, when before I left for my trip I was up to running a full 4 miles. So 3 times this week I've gone out, 3 times I've stopped running just past 1 mile, walk for 5 minutes, run again, hit another wall, walk, run - and so it goes for the full route. It's FRUSTRATING!!! Yes, I know the weather has been 9 degrees when I'm running outside. Yes, I know I'm fighting a cold. But I HAVE to break through this wall if I'm to keep training for my 8K in March.
I guess I am just realizing how important my cross-training with swimming and Zumba have been for my running as well. I'm feeling flabby all over. Running is great for my legs and my core, but Zumba had me toned nicely and swimming is amazing for my arms. I might be smaller than I was before my trip, but I don't FEEL smaller and that's really getting to me - especially since the compliments on my appearance have kicked in to high gear since coming back to town. You leave for 3 weeks and people forget what you looked like, and then coming back and clearly being smaller than the last mental picture they had of me has shocked a few people I think. My office mate actually exclaimed "OMG your face is so thin!" So that makes me feel good I guess, but guilty at the same time because I'm just not in "Top Shape" right now in comparison to where I was before I left.
I had a great photo session yesterday for a show I have coming up. The photographer is a friend of mine and he took some REALLY beautiful shots of me (I get a disk tomorrow so I'll be sure to post a couple). But again, it was yet another reminder that no matter how fabulous I feel about where I am right now, I still have a long way to go. The great shots are great and made me feel really pretty, but there were definitely a few outtakes that had me saying "Oh God - I look like THAT? Where'd THAT roll come from? And I thought my double chin was on the way out?" I have certainly come a long way since 313 pounds, but I'm not even half way yet. There is so much work left to do.
So I'm on autopilot through the holidays. I have come to the conclusion that if I can make it to New Year's Eve and still be down 70 pounds, that's a huge accomplishment and I should take that and be happy for it. But we all want MORE don't we? We all want to be super fabulous AND lose weight during really stressful holiday times. I think I'm perfectly normal to feel a little "blah" about the scale not moving when I'm rocking it out as hard as I can right now! And I haven't forgotten about my WW2 Challenge which I won't now see the end of until well into the new year.
I just don't want this Slow Down to become a trend. I fear trends like this. I was on a roll, and even though I didn't gain in Germany, I need to stay on that roll into the new year. I still have 125 pounds to lose! I need to hit that perfect balance of food and exercise again to see those results on the scale.
So tomorrow I'm aiming to run at least 2 miles without stopping. After Christmas I'll be back at Zumba every Saturday. And then back in the pool shortly after - on track to being down 100 pounds by April at the latest!
I just have to ride this frustration through the holidays, do the best I can with what I am given, run, run, run like a rockstar, and HOPE that everything I'm doing now will continue to work when the stress of the season wears off in January.
Wishing all of you as little stress as possible over this next week. We'll all make it through - good or bad - but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing less of all of you in the New Year! (In the best of all possible ways!)
Friday, December 17, 2010
So if you really want to know how I lost weight on vacation (4 pounds), my answer is pretty simple...just get the flu at the end of it and rid your body of everything bad you ate over the course of 3 weeks. I honestly don't think I would have lost anything, were it not for that little hiccup at the end of my time away - HOWEVER, I DID at least maintain my weight for 3 weeks, and that in and of itself is a pretty awesome feat in the land of pig fat and carbs.
I wrote a blog before I left detailing my fear of gaining a lot of weight while I was away and my plan for keeping on track deep in the heart of Bavaria. I was honestly afraid that my old habits of throwing caution to the wind and eating like I had never seen food before would follow me across the ocean, despite my hard work and efforts over the last 7 months here. I am a self-confessed food addict after all, and not only that, I am also a foodie (two things which I consider to actually be very different - I both appreciate and love food, and abuse food by eating too much of it). So how could I go to a new country and not try a little bit of everything? Especially given that a good friend of mine and fellow foodie who had just returned from Germany not a couple of weeks before I left gave me one simple instruction before my departure: Eat Everything!
So with those two words echoing in my ears as I ventured into the unknown territories of delicious game meats and fresh baked breads, I was apprehensive at best about how successful I was going to be at keeping the vacation pounds at bay for 3 full weeks.
Challenge #1 - The Food Scale
True to word, I DID bring my food scale with me...and I used it! While at The Scientist's apartment in Berlin I weighed bread, cheese, muesli and a couple of other items and added them to my food tracker! The problem with the scale was that it stayed in Berlin while we went on to Munich, Rothenberg & Heidelberg. Whoops. But at least I stayed on track for the first week of the trip!
Challenge #2 - Stick To What I Know
I also did well with this one in Berlin. We went to a grocery store and purchased bread, eggs, cheese, bananas and yogurt for breakfasts so that I could start with something healthy and within my calorie range so indulging a bit at dinner wouldn't hurt my day as much. I won't say that this plan fell apart completely while we were on the road, since a traditional German breakfast consists of exactly those items listed above, but when put in a buffet form, it becomes ever so tempting to just have "one more roll" or "one more taste of jam" (something I NEVER eat anyway) or "one more nibble of cheese". Though the health value of the items consumed remained the same, my portion control did get out of whack towards the end of the trip for sure.
Challenge #3 - Fruits & Veggies
This one WAS hard. Though Europeans DO eat vegetables (I'm sure of it), there were none to be found but cabbage on the standard German menu. In many cases I ordered a side salad if I was feeling particularly deprived for the day, and endured strange looks from the wait staff. They would often then return with something that looked like it came out of a bag and that was drenched in oil and vinegar - not exactly the most appetizing thing in the world, unlike the rest of the meal which looked delicious. The breakfast table tended to have a bowl of seasonal fruit, which I helped myself to greedily and even, in some cases, stuck an extra piece in my purse for later in the day. Besides that, I feel that I was woefully undernourished in my greens for most of the trip. I was so happy the one night we gave up on the potato dumplings and found a Chinese food restaurant to order a vegetable stir-fry. Though overly greasy and covered in sauce, they were still vegetables, and I scarfed down most of the plate myself, leaving the meat for The Scientist. Since getting back, this is the one area I'm still struggling with getting back up to again. I'm short on groceries until after Christmas break since I don't want to fill the fridge only to leave again, so getting that daily fill of fruits and vegetables on the go is still hard, though considerably easier than in Deutschland!
Challenge #4 - WATER!
Believe it or not, this was almost harder than getting in fruits & veggies! Water is NOT served on the table in German restaurants. You have to ask for it. And when you do ask - they bring you expensive bottled sparkling water (Germans have a love affair with their carbonated bubbles). I did finally figure out how to say tap water, but that didn't always work as quite a few servers actually "forgot" to bring it over after I asked, or brought it in such a tiny glass it was barely 4 ounces and I didn't want to be a pain and ask for multiple refills. SO - I brought my water bottle from home, and I used it. When I'd finish a beer, I'd pull my bottle out of my purse and refill my glass myself! I think The Scientist thought I was going to get us kicked out of the restaurant for doing this - he was so embarrassed, but a girl's gotta get in her liquid kids! The only problem with this plan was that my bottle only holds 16oz, so required refills itself all day which I didn't always get around to. By the end of the trip I had worked out a system of guzzling 4 glasses of water before leaving our hotel room in the morning, drinking my 2 glasses from my bottle every day, attempting to get 2 more glasses at dinner, and in a worst case scenario, drinking 2-4 more glasses before bed every night. My poor bladder! But I did it! There were only 2 days that I didn't consume a full 8 glasses of water - the first day when I figured out that getting in 8 glasses was going to be tough, and the day I got sick since I wasn't consuming much of ANYTHING that day.
Challenge #5 - Exercise!
This is truly how I maintained my weight in Germany. While on the road we walked an average of 3-4 miles a day, sometimes covering up to 8 miles in a day. The day we saw the castles, we walked uphill about 2.5 miles, then back down hill, and then decided we weren't done yet and hiked back up the hill again on a steeper incline this time and in the snow. As most of you know, I ran in Berlin! And in between all of that walking and hiking, we stood for long periods of time talking in the architecture on our tours. I lost almost an inch off my calves this month - due fully, I'm sure, to the amount of pavement pounding & leg exercising I was doing the whole time. Since my calories in were somewhere around 3000-4000 a day, I know that it was only by burning about 1000-1500 calories a day that I was staying in a maintenance range for my weight.
Challenge #6 - Beer
Well...beer happened. A LOT. Beer definitely happened more than I expected or wanted it to happen initially, but it was SO DARN GOOD! Germans drink beer for breakfast. I did not drink beer for breakfast. I consider that an accomplishment - quite seriously. Haha. The most common size for beer in Germany is 0.5L which is definitely more than a bottle. The most common size for beer in Bavaria is a whopping 1L. And if you don't finish your litre, they throw pretzels at you. So I finished my litre. I couldn't handle being pelted with more carbs! Towards the end of the trip though, I cut back again. Not only because I was sick, but because I had actually had enough. I honestly didn't even feel like drinking it anymore. And that is REALLY an accomplishment.
Challenge #7 - The Bread Basket
Again - didn't fair so well with this one. I mean - European bread is unlike ANYTHING we have over here. It's all fresh baked, like THAT DAY. It's crusty and warm and I think laced with a little bit of crack. I already have a mad addiction to rye bread as well, and that was available in abundance! (They won't put water on the table, but you don't even have to ask for refills of rye!) Don't even get me started on pretzels... So all in, I will venture that I consumed the majority of my daily calories, every day, in bread. Thankfully, since it was not highly processed bread, like they have here in America, I would like to have faith that I was able to burn off those calories quickly with all of my exercise... (BAH! Wishful thinking I'm sure.)
Challenge #8 - Keep Current With Spark
As most of you know - I TRIED! I really did. While in Berlin I logged on frequently, posted blogs AND logged my food for a good 8 days of my vacation. But once we got on the road, signing in every day became too difficult, and seeing the sights was honestly more important in this situation, so I don't regret my decision to stop tracking. I didn't go totally crazy once I stopped tracking, but I did recognize that my portion sizes got a little out of control and I stopped eating regularly. My body paid for it, I know. It got to the point where I think I became physically ill from ingesting too much food, and specifically too much pork, so I recognized that as well and cut back again significantly. Usually daily meals consisted of a larger breakfast, small afternoon snack and a large dinner. It worked for the most part until I got so sick of eating pork and potatoes that I begged for some different cuisine. We sampled Chinese (as I mentioned earlier), Italian, Middle Eastern, and even found an American-Style bar in Heidelberg when all I really wanted was a hamburger. But for the most part, we ate Bavarian, which involves a lot of sausages, a lot of game meats (LOVE venison, rabbit and duck, but wasn't so crazy about wild boar), potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, and cabbage. May I never see sauerkraut again for at least 3 months!
My biggest problem for the whole trip was the Christmas Markets, which were WONDERFUL, but laced with so many goodies my eyes popped out of their sockets at each stall. Candied nuts, gingerbread so soft and chewy it made me cry, chocolate and candies, mousse kisses (oh my god those things were the most decadent thing I have ever eaten), waffles, meat on sticks, meat off sticks, meat in buns, pretzels, dumplings, and gluewein, gluewein, gluwein. Plan as you might to eat only at meal time - the Christmas Markets would trip you up at EVERY pass. Each one had something yummy that you've never seen at any other one, and you just had to sample one or two small goodies. Many a night we decided to forgo our dinner plans in lieu of just eating at the stalls since we had already managed to ruin our dinner at that point anyway by constantly snacking. It was because of the Christmas Markets that I ended up consuming far more desserts in Germany than I ever intended to, and FAR more alcohol than I ever intended to. Just something about being in the midst of one signaled the need for a mug of hot, mulled wine...well that and the fact that I started collecting the darn mugs themselves every time we went to a new market. Bad idea since when I finally got a full set of 6 of them (one from each city we went to on the trip), the one trip casualty on the return voyage to Berlin was the mug I got in Rothenburg. Sad face.
I also recognize that I didn't go very well equipped with another journalling solution when my ability to log on to my computer every day failed. I think had I been committed to writing everything I ate down in even just a notebook, I would have been more responsible and accountable with my choices. However, I am proud of the fact that for the most part, I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. Sometimes I ate too much, but I don't enjoy the feeling of being over stuffed anymore at all, so I avoided that whenever possible. I indulged in wine and beer, but only had too much of that once (and paid for it dearly the next morning so didn't do it again). I realized when I had consumed too much rich food and pulled back accordingly, returning to what I knew I could eat that didn't make my stomach turn. Overall, I think I was responsible enough in my choices to still have an amazing time on my vacation, sample the best possible assortment of the local cuisine, ENJOY every last bite that I put in my mouth, and exercise just enough to negate any damage that the food may have done otherwise.
And as a warm-up to Christmas and the endless treats and savories that await me at home, I now believe that I have faith in my abilities to do well there too. Since I feel that I indulged in Germany, I really don't think I'm going to indulge as much at home. I don't need to. For now, my palate has been satiated!
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