Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Until a few months ago, when I thought about "dessert" my mind would be filled with images of cakes, cookies, ice cream, puddings and chocolate in every possible combination. Unfortunately - and I'm ashamed of that - my children have been raised to have the exact same attitude towards dessert. My frame of mind has changed and I want to change theirs, too.
So, yesterday, when my daughter asked for a slice of bread covered with chocolate praline, I had a different idea. Who needs fatty, sugary, highly-processed foods for dessert when nature gives us this:
Crispy pears and apples!
Fresh, sweet strawberries!
Juicy kiwi fruit!
And just a spoonful of a natural sweetener, such as maple syrup...
...and our fruit salad is ready!
I actually enjoyed this as my dinner but both my girls had some as dessert and they really liked it. And it was perfect for their sweet tooth, too!
I'm really trying hard to teach my family all about proper nutrition and clean eating. Even though we've never been junk food fans and have always eaten home-made dishes for most of our meals, I feel ashamed for having allowed generous amounts of sweets in the house. I'm slowly trying to change this, and even though it's hard, I'll keep trying. Wish me luck!
Thursday, April 19, 2012
When I woke up this morning, I had a different blog in my mind that I wanted to post. I was going to weigh-in and, almost sure of my weight gain, I was going to post my plan of how to get rid of the pounds I would have gained.
Last weekend was Easter for us and we were away, visiting my parents at our mountain village. We had been waiting for this trip for a long time. We were planning walks in the forests and visits to many places around. It was going to be a trip with lots of walking and exercise. But it was Easter, so cookies and treats and delicacies were in abundance!
Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side. It started raining on Friday that we left and only stopped for a day. I hadn’t seen so much rain before! I thought we were in a tropical forest! Of course our plans were destroyed. The rain was too much for us to go walking and the roads were getting really dangerous for driving. So, we were stuck in a small village house with not much to do. Our big fireplace became the most popular spot in the house and we spent most of the time in front of it playing board games, cards, reading and watching TV. Fun, rest and relaxation, I can’t complain about that! All wrapped up in generous servings of food…
The days before we left I had done lots of baking with the girls preparing things for Easter. This is what we traditionally make for Easter each year:
A kind of Easter cookies…
And “tsoureki”, something like sweet bread.
Of course, chocolate eggs are always present and popular gifts for children during Easter. It has always been a time of weight gain for me, just like Christmas. Last Christmas, I managed to keep it low with tracking and exercise. But this Easter I decided to try a little experiment. What if I stopped tracking completely? What if I let myself free to eat anything like I used to do in the past? Have I really managed to change my way of thinking when it comes to food? Will I still make the right choices and eat wisely? Will I control my portions? Will I keep the damage to a minimum?
I tried everything! There isn’t one single thing I didn’t eat! But I tried to control the portions. As for exercise, I only did a long walk through the woods on the day it wasn’t raining – all uphill! I wasn't feeling any significant change on my body but I was sure I had gained weight! That’s what used to happen every Easter! I would come back with at least 3 kilos more! So, inside me there was this fear of the scale I would have every year.
So, this morning I got on the scale and…
…I saw exactly the same number! No gain! The experiment had worked! I took a break from tracking just to test how consciously I can eat when not tracking. And I kept disaster at bay. I tried everything that I liked but the portions were limited. I didn’t feel deprived of anything but I didn’t eat until there was nothing else to eat, either! This is a victory beyond comparison to the scale numbers. It’s a healthy relationship with food! It’s a balanced way of eating!
I don’t know if I’ll always be able to be this successful and I can’t be sure that I will manage to do the same every Christmas and every Easter that will follow. But right now I feel proud! And thankful to Sparkpeople for teaching me how to do it! And I’ll make sure to keep this memory alive. Because balance and moderation feels good! Soooo good! So much better than diets, deprivation and all kinds of food-related extremities. At least for me. That's how I want to live. That's the relationship with food I want my children to learn to have throughout their lives. And I hope I'll succeed.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Do you remember when was the first time you heard of the word “Diet”? How old were you when you attempted to lose weight for the first time by trying a famous “diet” that many people had tried successfully? Can you count the number of “Diets” you have tried until now or have you lost count?
Let me answer those questions myself. I can’t remember how old I was when I learned about diets. What I do remember is my mother telling me constantly that I “had to go on a diet” and repeating this word every time I ate something that would “make me fat”! I remember going on my first diet when I was about 15. According to this magical way of eating, which many women had used and had lost tons of weight, I had to eat one different food every day but ONLY this food – the same for breakfast, lunch and dinner! So, it was chicken the first day, potatoes the second, fish the third and so on! And it was a monthly program. And if you haven’t freaked out yet by the unhealthiness and the insanity of this diet, let me give you one more detail: The last day’s menu was cake! Yes, you could eat cake for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner and for your in-between snacks!!! I’d be really interested in knowing what my blood sugar levels were at the end of this day!
I was 15 years old! I knew nothing about proper nutrition and healthy eating. And I don’t blame my mom for letting me do this and kindly preparing my separate meals – if you can call that meals! – every day. People of her generation didn’t know much about healthy eating, either.
And this was just the beginning! I went on experimenting with my health by trying various “diets” that I would come across. I lost count. My last attempt was in 2007, when I finally decided to ask an expert’s health. My endocrinologist, who is also an obesity expert, gave me balanced and healthy meals for each day of the week. Still, it was a diet. I had to eat something specific at every meal, I was allowed nothing that wasn’t included in the menu and, worst of all for my sweet tooth, I hadn’t eaten anything sweet - not even sugar in my coffee - for 8 months! When the “diet” came to an end and I went into “maintenance”, I felt so deprived that I wouldn’t say no to any temptation that I came into eye contact with! I had lost 17 kilos and “found” them again in less than 5 months!
The worst part is that throughout all those years I was never happy with the way I looked. I always thought I had to “go on a diet”! Until I found SP and read articles on “Lifestyle change”. I didn’t need proof that this was the right way. I already had proof that the other one was the wrong. In fact, I was the living proof!
I decided to write this blog because while reading other members’ blogs, I’ve come across the word “diet” many times and with many different meanings. People are ready to do many things to lose weight but sometimes they overdo it. I’ve read about people who starve themselves eating only 900 calories each day and others who spend three hours a day at the gym doing cardio! People who swear they will never lick the spoon again when they make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for their kids and others who are proud for not touching a single candy during Christmas holidays! I congratulate them for their determination and their willpower but I can’t help but wondering: For how long will you be able to do that? Are you planning to live like this for the rest of your life? And how balanced is such a way of living?
I don’t know if I can consider myself a successful SP member or if my own health journey has been done the right way but I have this advice to offer:
YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS A LIFESTYLE CHANGE! There’s no other way it can work! Depriving ourselves from every food that we love for a long time will only lead us to overindulge in it later on. Exhausting our bodies with much more hours of exercise than they can take will only make us hate exercise. The key is balance and moderation. Of course we’ll say yes to some food temptations. Each of us has one thing that we love, whether it’s cookies, chocolate or pizza. Why live a life without it? We just have to choose the time we’ll have it and the portion. And make sure that the rest of our meals are balanced. It’s all a matter of choice! We have to choose wisely the steps that we’ll follow in changing our bad habits. And we have to be PATIENT. The change will come gradually but in the meantime we will have learned how to keep it permanently.
So, what’s your choice? The fast, full-of-promises, exhausting for the mind and body way of losing weight OR the slow, done in short steps, teaching healthy habits, change of lifestyle that will lead you to a healthy, long and happy life?
Friday, March 30, 2012
Did you wake up in a bad mood today?
Do you feel like you're making no progress at all and you're ready to give up?
You just can't find any good reason to continue struggling with those stubborn pounds?
Are you in no mood to exercise?
Are you in need of some motivation and inspiration?
Think about this: "If I live my life without exercise and paying no attention to what I put in my mouth, how do I picture myself when I'm 86 years old?"
Then, watch this video:
Now, you know what you have to do!
Have a nice weekend!
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
They have been fighting in my head over the weekend and they still are. The one is the good voice, the best part of myself who keeps saying "Focus on your goal, you're so close!", "Come on, think about all the success you've had so far!", "You can definitely do this, you're strong!"
And then there's the other. My weak, inner self who has emerged recently from the deepest end of my mind. "So what, you'll be living like this for the rest of your life? Counting calories and fitness minutes?", "You haven't been under this weight since your early 20's. You can't do this at your 36!", "Come on, admit it! You're bored of all these things and you want to go back to eating whatever you want without having to check its nutritional value first!", "You'll be back to square one on the first day you dare to let yourself do this, so why bother to continue?"
Guess who's winning... You got it right. If the good voice was in charge of the situation, I probably wouldn't blog about it. But this bad voice has taken control of everything in the past few days.
I keep searching for motivation everywhere. To other SP members' pages, to "before and after" pics, to quotes, to old pictures of myself, to my closet, to all the places that I've found motivation all these past months. But I guess it was never there. It was always inside me and for some reason I'm not aware of, it just vanished!
I don't want to exercise, all my DVDs seem boring, the weather is terrible and I can't go out to walk, the treadmill looks like the most boring thing I've ever done in my whole life and a gym is just not affordable at the moment. As for food, the "evening monster" has woken up again! I follow my meal plans perfectly up until 5 pm. And then disaster strikes! I know it's emotional eating, I know which feelings I'm trying to "eat" by turning to food, but I just don't seem to be able to do anything about it.
The worst thing is that the scale has already started going the wrong way. And I know how easy it is to just let go and see it climbing all the way back up again in no time! I've seen it happening before and I don't want to relive this experience. So, I'm trying to add a third voice to the battle. The one of sense and logic.
"You started this journey with only one goal in mind: HEALTH!"
"The yo-yo effect on your weight is the worst thing you can do to your health. You've been there and you know the results."
"You keep preaching everyone in the family about healthy nutrition and exercise. Do you want to look like the teacher who didn't learn his lesson?"
"Think about how strong you've become. Which woman do you want to be, the one who couldn't go up the stairs to her first-floor apartment without huffing and puffing or the one who runs all the way up to the third floor? It's your decision."
"Going back on old habits like eating mindlessly in front of the TV, right? Is that the example you want to set for your children?"
Well, well, well! This voice sounds like a strong one. Sounds like it could win this battle. If I could add just a slight bit of motivation, maybe a pinch of inspiration, a new plan, a fresh goal and maybe one or two rewards, I think the recipe could be successful!
I'll keep trying. No matter what happens, I'll keep trying. I don't know which voice will win in the following days and right now I could really use all the support I could get. But I promise myself I won't quit. I'll continue getting up right after the fall. Putting my pieces together until I complete the puzzle. Because even if I never reach my goal, I deserve to know that I have done my best.
"Quitting wrinkles the soul like age wrinkles the body."
Since I can't do anything about the age wrinkles, I think I'll spare my soul of them.
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