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Using the Food Tracker: Eye Opener

Friday, March 09, 2012

I have been on and off of Sparkpeople for years. I have had some success but not really as much as I would want to have. I kept thinking that I could "do it myself." That I didn't really need to use all these tools, and follow all the recommendations and tips. I could just pick and choose. And of course, really, you can. But maybe omitting the food tracker really is a bad idea.
I've always avoided the food tracker. It is tedious. It is time consuming. It is a pain to sort through all the foods that come up every time. But most importantly, I really didn't think I needed to write down what I was eating; I could keep track of it elsewhere. I could just do it in my head. I could just "keep an eye on" what I was eating and it would be fine. I didn't need help with that part.

Except, apparently, I do.

I've been tracking, mostly, over the past few weeks. On the craziest days I didn't, but mostly I have been. I have been mostly pleased with the newer version and it really has been helpful to see what I'm eating and if I'm short on fiber, or veggies, it is then really obvious and that helps. But the real eye opener came yesterday. When I met a friend out for a few drinks, and then emboldened by drink, got McDonald's on the way home. I almost didn't put it in the tracker. Then I realized it was only because I didn't want to know how many calories it was. Which is the precise attitude that has been keeping me fat: I can pretend that I didn't just eat a week's worth of calories if I don't actually look at it. If I just do it in my head, my serving sizes get smaller, my actual amount eaten was not so much, and the damage wasn't that bad.

So, I put it in my tracker. All of it. The drinks, the burgers, the fries. The four pot stickers I had with my drinks, the whole lot of it. I was SHOCKED. I shouldn't be, maybe - I know that alcohol and fast food are very high calorie items and very low nutrient. But this! In those four hours I wiped out all the exercise-calories burned - for the whole week. For the WHOLE WEEK!

Wow. I hardly know what to say. I can't believe it. I knew that it was not the best choice for my weight loss goals, but I honestly didn't think it would be that many calories. To see it like that, with numbers, and see it against my fitness tracker was just so eye opening. Now, next time I am tempted to do that, I will think "but I will have to work out an extra 90 minutes just to burn that off." Or at least, I hope I will. Because I want this to be a life change, not a diet.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOCELTICSGO 3/9/2012 10:56AM

    Track, track track...when I don't I eat terribly.

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Easy, healthy, eco friendly and suprisingly good!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I don't normally do vegan stuff because I am too in love with animal products. I like meat, but I could live without that. I have no interest in living without cheese, yogurt, butter, honey, etc. But occasionally I make a vegan dish not with the intention of being vegan, it just works out that way. Today was one of those days. And I thought I would share just in case you are in that winter rut and need a little inspiration for something that tastes and feels "fresh" but still comforting.

Mix these together to your liking, with the majority being spinach and quinoa:
cooked quinoa
fresh spinach, just wilted in olive oil
fresh tomato
diced onion
black beans, drained and rinsed
oregano, cumin, coriander (or cilantro), salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each of the first three, and the last two just to taste)
Put the onion, beans and spices (minus S&P) into a skillet with a little oil and cook until the spices become fragrant and the onion softens a little. Add to the quinoa, top with spinach and tomato and add the salt and pepper to taste.

I was just doing this to use up a couple of leftovers from other meals (quinoa, beans) and it is SO good. Wow. I plan to make this again in a much larger batch to have leftovers. It is awesome! Enjoy. :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIRIRADHA 3/1/2011 6:06PM

    That does sound good! If you get a minute, could you post in the Happy Hippies Vegan Recipes thread? I know we have lots of vegans in the tribe, and I'll bet they'd like this!

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M77355 3/1/2011 2:59PM

    mmm, sounds so good!

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I'm back!

Monday, January 31, 2011

After a LONG absence from SP, I'm back. In the interim time, I was pregnant, spent 3 weeks in the hospital, had a baby, and quit my job. I have had a lot going on.

The long story short: while pregnant I focused exclusively on being pregnant and just doing that experience. I did not worry about my weight, other than to be sure I was gaining enough but not too much for a healthy pregnancy. I ate however I felt I needed to, cut out all alcohol, cut way back on caffeine, drank boat loads of water, and did prenatal yoga and walking. My baby was growing beautifully and my body was a glorious temple of baby-making.

Then... that changed. In the 3rd trimester I developed serious preeclampsia, which puts you at risk for stroke, seizures, organ failure, and pre-term birth. And one day I went to the doctor for a check up and she said "let's send you to the hospital for a few tests" and I didn't go home for 4 weeks. They admitted me that day and kept me on full bed rest until the baby was born. It was such a huge change that my life just sort of turned upside down.

And then I came home with a baby! A tiny, perfect, adorable, healthy baby boy. I was exhausted and a bit worse for wear, but he was literally perfect. And 5 months later, honestly, I still haven't fully adjusted. I love being a mom, but I have not figured out how to be my old self and my new self. That is to say how to have balance. When do I find time for me? I've not yet figured that out.
I don't mind so much, usually, because right now my whole world is about this baby and mostly I'm ok with that. But... I need to get back in shape. I don't mean back into some rockin' smokin' MILF body. I just want to be fit, healthy, full of energy and vitality, and feeling good physically and emotionally about myself. And that takes time. And dedication. So I've got to find some ME time to make that happen. So today is a new day...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAINEROCKS 1/31/2011 12:56PM

    Boy can I relate!! He's beautiful!

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Life as I Have Known it is Over

Thursday, February 04, 2010

January 20th marked the end of one phase of my life, and the beginning of the next. A small stick with a little pink "+" on it was all it took. No turning back, no way, no how. I am now firmly on the road to motherhood. And I am THRILLED! I am already embracing this new purpose for my body (to be a safe & healthy haven for a brand new person), though I really could do without the nausea that has recently begun to make a regular appearance. It is no longer about me, but about us - me and my baby. It is about what he or she needs as much as what I need.
This is a very exciting time and I am beside myself with joy. I wanted to put this out here so my spark friends would know the reason for my absence. I will not be trying to lose weight or "get in shape" for the next 9 months because I'll be having different goals. I of course still need all that water, fruits and veggies, healthy protein, and moderate exercise. But as I adjust to this new body I have to learn what I can and can't do (even my regular yoga practice has to have adjustments) all over again. It is like being in a whole new body, it really is. But I am here, and ready, and present for this journey.
I'm sure I'll be back post-birth so I can work on removing extra padding I know I'll be gaining! But right now it is just about being a healthy home for this magical process I am a part of, and that is my no. 1 focus right now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAINEROCKS 2/5/2010 9:31AM

    Congratulations!!! I had the same January, only mine was 2 blue lines ;-) Don't say anything on my page yet as I'm still flying low until we tell my in-laws and I never know who is out there in cyberspace... but I just couldn't resist sharing with one of my favorite sparkers! Wishing you a happy and healthy 9 months!

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HAPPY0408 2/4/2010 2:55PM

    emoticon Best Wishes for your New Journey and Motherhood!

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LIZZABETH1986 2/4/2010 1:25PM

    OMG!!! congratulations... how wonderful!! hopefully we'll still see you around here tracking your fruit and veggie consumption! congrats again! emoticon

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TIFFANYO2002 2/4/2010 11:31AM

Good luck on your journey. I hope you enjoy motherhood.

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Project Detox: End Results and Lessons Learned

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I made it! Great googly moogly, I made it! I can't believe I did this a whole week. I wanted to quit so many times and didn't. I wanted to cheat so many times and didn't. I think even if I didn't get all the other benefits, just sticking with it a whole week would be enough. Discipline is not one of my character strengths, and so to do this a full week is truly an accomplishment in itself. But oh, there was so, so much more.

But before I tell you what I discovered and learned, a note on yesterday. I finished my weekly detox with a celebratory big breakfast. The kind you can only make on a weekend because it messes up the kitchen and requires several pots to make. The kind that you sit down to eat at noon because you slept in and still wanted to make it. But this was very different from the usual sort of pancakes, bacon etc. kind of breakfast. This was a detox friendly, very healthy and nutrient-dense breakfast. And people, it was damn good.

I made roasted rosemary sweet potatoes, quinoa latkes, and eggs with tomatoes and parsley. The quinoa latkes were my own invention, to use up the giant pot of quinoa I had made for the week. I mixed the quinoa with oat flour, sour cream, an egg and a bit of onion powder and salt. Then I pan fried them until crispy.

The meal left me full, and feeling victorious that I not only made a detox friendly breakfast, but one that was worthy of the weekend breakfast fame.

Now, for the lessons learned and end-of-week observations.

* I discovered it is possible to eat the recommended amount of fiber and servings of fruits & veggies every day, if you really make it a goal to eat fiber and veggies at every single meal. It does require effort and planning, but it is actually do-able.

* Drinking 64+ ounces of water every day really does make a difference in how you feel in many ways. Many good ways.

* It is possible to lose weight and not be hungry. I did NOT think this was possible. But I ate whenever I was hungry all week, and I tracked all I ate - and I lost 3 pounds!! I am shocked, truly, but very pleased.

* A good night's sleep is superior to getting my energy from caffeine and sugar. I have been drinking coffee for so long that I kind of forgot how this works. But as I told you all on day 3 I was soooo tired I had to come home and take a nap. And I got the memo really quickly that if I didn't get more sleep I wasn't going to make it. So I made it a priority to get 7 hours min. per night. And the past few days, I've been able to get up easier, and be alert the whole day through - without coffee or sugar! And in fact, my sleep quality has improved dramatically over the week. This may be the best result of the week, in my book.

* Cravings can be defeated. I had frequent and strong cravings for sugar, bread, chocolate, chips, crackers, and ooey gooey cheese. But each day those things became less prominent. Plus, the ego boost from just "sitting" with my craving instead of immediately responding to it gave me a real sense of self-control (again, not a strong point in my personality).

* The other candidate for best result of the detox is my hunger. At the beginning of the week I was so hungry I really thought that this week would be an eternity, or I wouldn't make it. I usually get the kind of hungry that is intense and demands my full attention, much like a hungry baby. It is very "feed me NOW!" That has always been a factor for me. But as this week has progressed, that has subsided tremendously. I now can feel that I need to eat, and my tummy rumbles, but I don't feel starving and urgent. I also am so much more in touch with my fullness. I have been able to push the plate away when I am full, rather than when the plate is empty. I know these things are both so normal for most people, but they never have been for me. It is like a whole new way of eating I never knew. Wow!

* I am happier, less stressed, and more relaxed. I don't know if this is because of the near-elimination of stimulants (coffee, sugar) and depressants (alcohol), or because of the dramatic increase in nutrient-dense veggies and grains that are giving me good vitamins and all that, or because I am sleeping better, or because of the feeling of accomplishment and self control. I suspect it is really a combination of all those things. The result is: I feel damn good. And I like that.

The end result of this week is: I feel so much better. I am more relaxed, I'm sleeping better, I'm more alert, I'm less hungry. All this from a week! Just think if I lived this way all the time!! But fact is, I like coffee. I like hot bread with butter. I like nachos, pizza, and cheeseburgers. I like brownies, gooey butter cake, and ice cream. I don't want to live a life that doesn't have those things. But I think the challenge now is how to balance a life that includes those things, but in moderation and balance with kale, broccoli, whole grains, yogurt, grapefruit, beans, green tea, water, and all those things that replenish and nourish me. Balance has never been a strength for me, but neither have self-control and discipline. And I managed to do the last two for a whole week. So maybe, just maybe, 2010 will be the year that I live in balance and equanimity. Here's to hoping it is.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIZZABETH1986 1/13/2010 10:58AM

    CONGRATS! a week of detox... wow. honestly, i don't think i could do it, so kudos to you! that is awesome! i definitely feel you on the whole sleep thing. i know it's important, but it is SO hard to get that full 7 hours in each night. i think thats going to have to be one of my goals for next week! just reading about how getting more sleep helped you makes me a little excited to try my hardest to make it happen! woo hoo! motivation all around, girlfriend! congrats again on all your awesome accomplishments from the past week. and 3 pounds gone?! AWESOME!!! emoticon

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MAINEROCKS 1/11/2010 10:41AM

    Congrats on an awesome week!

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W82GOWHEE 1/10/2010 7:11PM

    Woohoo for a successful week! You can do this 80% of the time and just have those treats occasionally. You might like to find out if you're a "moderator" (can you eat high-calorie foods in small quantities) or should you be an "abstainer" most of the time. I have to abstain, then take an occasional less-than-healthful treat. I would like to give up sugar altogether, but it looks like caffeine in small amounts is good for women my age.

Thanks for a great blog!

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SIRIRADHA 1/10/2010 3:35PM

    This is a great blog! Thank you for doing all the work and then sharing the results with those of us who can learn from your experience.

You know, you had me at the yams for breakfast. My body has some sort of natural love affair with orange colored foods. I made a big batch of sweet potato muffins yesterday. Would you be so kind as to send me (or post somewhere) the exact recipe for the quinoa latkes? I have a bunch of quinoa I'd like to use up soon, and this looks like a really delicious way to do it.

Yeah, whole grains and veggies are just plain amazing as far as quelling hunger when you're eating limited calories. Planning ahead is a discipline that pays off in a big way. Looks like you're finding your samadhi very close at hand!

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TRAMPLEDROSE 1/10/2010 3:19PM

    I'm glad you met your goal. This is inspiring to those of who live that wishy washy life of knowing what the right to do is and actually doing it. I hope you have many successes.

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