Friday, January 31, 2014
I'm working on a new life plan that I've put off for... years. It's amazing how many excuses we can make to put something off. Further, our weight can be tied in with life. It gets stuck when we get stuck. When we can clean out the closets, let go of the fear, anger or take a step in faith into the unknown, then we finally release the weight - both physically and mentally - and move forward.
A big issue is my a career transition. I was laid off from what was supposed to have been my "dream job". I knew things were unraveling long before the end, but I didn't know what else I wanted to do. So for a long time I've felt "stuck". I've had several losses in my life as well, so I think I've also been scared to make a move.
So I am writing anything that comes to mind or that I feel about life, work or the way I'd like things to be. For example, I may have been denying that I still want to do some form of my old work as a photojournalist. The thought of it makes me nervous, want to eat, get a stomach ache. It provokes some emotion in me so must be important. But instead of eating, I write. It is hard and I keep thinking of everything else I would rather do than work on it, but I'm doing it...
Have a great weekend all!
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Betcha never ate a sweet potato like this before!
As I mentioned I'll be posting tidbits of various books from the library and a discount bookstore. Here is a recipe from, "Juice!" by Pippa Cuthbert & Lindsay Cameron Wilson:
This thick juice, although earthy in color, tricks the tongue with a mysteriously strawberry-like flavor.
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 orange, peeled and halved
1 banana peeled.
Juice the sweet potato and orange. Blend with the banana. "
The recipe says to juice, but I just blended them together for a while. I ate this with a spoon! It is GOOD!
Another note says that sweet potatoes are often confused with yams - sweet potatoes are slightly sweeter and longer. I live in the Midwest and it seems all I can find are yams (yams are also more orange in color). In my version, I used a Japanese sweet potato that I had bought at an Asian store.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Another snow emergency! A $2500 fine for driving plus -15 degrees means another indoor day. But I find that staying at home all day makes me want to snack! I'm also staying with my food hoarding Mom, so I'm boxed in with LOTS of junk food! So what can be done avoid caloric disaster?
Finding your triggers is important. We eat for a lot of reasons outside of hunger, so if you attempt to control the eating without knowing what is causing you to want to eat, most likely it won't work.
For example, I had to be really honest with myself to admit that two of my triggers are boredom and procrastination. "I can't focus on doing xyz now, because I'm hungry." Or, eating seems more pleasurable than actually doing the task at hand. Just the act of thinking about eating: should I eat now or wait, what I will eat next, etc, takes the focus off what you need to get done.
Therefore, what helps me is distracting myself from food thoughts by taking a break to do something ELSE I enjoy, or just being honest with myself on what I am avoiding, sucking it up and diving in - also realizing that getting things done is more pleasurable in the end than moving farther from my goal weight. The next thing I know an hour or two has gone by and it really IS time to eat now. Sometimes I then even go past the point of when I was supposed to eat without realizing it.
I have also scheduled times to eat and in what calorie amounts, so I don't waste mental energy on the whole debate about if/what/how much I should eat now or later (though it still happens sometimes!) I schedule in calorie amounts, but not exact foods, this way when the meal time comes, I still have flexibility on what to eat - but can adjust portion sizes to fit the allocated calorie limits.
Second, because of my living situation, in this small house I can't help being in such close vicinity to unhealthy food. When living on my own, I don't keep junk food in the house. So if I'm snowed in, feeling hungry and not wanting to cook or just having a craving, I can't just go grab a bunch of cookies 10 feet away *sigh*. So for now, I managed to get her to agree to put most of her unhealthy foods in a cupboard or in HER office area (out of site, out of mind... it helps!) I also find that chewing gum and drinking lots of various flavors of hot tea helps.
Here is an interesting article on the psychology of snacking: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefron
What helps you avoid snacking your way through the Polar Vortex???
Monday, January 27, 2014
Hey all, I'm still hanging in there. Despite doing light therapy twice a day, the seasonal depression (SAD) is hitting me hard with all the grey weather. So I've struck back with an over the counter supplement called 5-HTP. As some of you may recall, I tried it in the summer for my insomnia, but felt it didn't help and just made me not want to eat. With the intensity and volume of my training, I HAD to eat, so that did not work for me at the time.
However a theory of a cause of SAD is low levels of of a mood-regulating hormone known as serotonin triggered by a lack of light. 5-HTP promotes production of this hormone. I felt I was hitting a low, tired, and even wanting to binge eat (and you guys know this is NOT like me - normally I have trouble eating enough.) So I thought I would try it again. Low serotonin can cause people to eat and crave especially carbohydrates because eating carbohydrates raises serotonin levels in the brain.
Well the same things that did not help me in the summer seem to be helping now. With the 5-HTP, my appetite is almost back to normal and my energy and motivation are better. I still do not feel as I do in the summer, but definitely improved.
I have also decided to tone down the Fitbit tracker and go from a 750 calorie a day deficit to a 500 calorie a day deficit. In reality I am going to be OK at a 0-500 calorie a day deficit with all I have going on right now. I think the FitBit may have been underestimating the exercise I am doing. Serotonin can drop low with too low calories as well, so I want to be careful of that - especially this time of year. With the SAD, I've gained about 3 lbs in the past month due to eating, but things have leveled out and I hope I'm on a downward trend again.
I'm working on a new life plan and some overall goals. It seems overwhelming, and again with the SAD I lack some motivation to get it done, but I'm on my way. I will also post with updates.
I got several books from the library. So, I'll also be posting reviews of what I read, which include anything from goal setting to healthy cooking!
Ok, all for now. Hope everyone is doing well!
Saturday, January 18, 2014
But many don't want to hear/do that!! And if you’re not weighing food, are just “estimating” portions, you’re probably not eating as little as you think you are! Secondarily, many people overestimate their activity level.
For years I ran marathons and couldn't lose weight. "There's something wrong with my metabolism," or some suggested that maybe the weight I was at (15, 20, 25+ lbs ago) was the weight I was "meant" to be at, or that I was eating the wrong ratios of carbs/fats etc, or that runners tend to not be able to lose weight above x miles a week, or blah blah blah. I also used a BodyMedia armband to track calories, which calculated my calorie burn way too high and further justified my reasoning. I always insisted I was right and that I was eating the right amount. So another tip: be open to learning and changes in your weight loss program!
So in late June I decided to try something new, a FitBit One, and started eating according to what it said. To be fair, the FitBit probably underestimated what I was burning, BUT I started losing, albeit slowly. I do believe you can eat too little and that will slow your weight loss. I then got a foot injury and stopped exercising - so then also ate less. Because I had to cut back on what I was eating and didn't want to gain from inactivity, I started measuring my food and seeing what a portion size actually WAS. And BOOM… I started losing weight at a decent rate...
Now, as I said I probably was eating too low for a while and it had slowed my weight loss, and when my calorie balance was more optimal, I think I had a "boost" and started losing fat rapidly. It was like my fat loss had been bound up like a spring and when I was back in the optimal deficit range the spring released and I lost weight fairly easily WITHOUT exercise. However, I was also active with a house renovation.
Weight loss started to slow and in mid-December, 4 lbs from my target race weight, I stopped losing. Looking back, I think the “spring” had fully unwound and my metabolism evened out to normal. I had also finished most of the renovations, so my daily activity went down too.
So I recently started wearing my FitBit again. Because I weigh less AND I can see with the FitBit that my daily activity is lower due to no renovations, I have seen that now I totally have to KICK BUTT with exercise to get a caloric deficit close to the rate of loss I was before. I believe this is why they say as you approach your goal weight, weight loss can slow, it's hard to lose at the same rate as before, and many people give up. When you weigh less, your basal metabolic rate, which are the calories you burn all day just to keep your basic body functions going, is lower. Also, the calories you burn from exercising or daily activities are less (you're moving around less weight). And your age factors in. The older you are, the fewer calories you also tend to burn daily.
And finally there’s the appetite factor. Even though you need to take in fewer calories per day, we get accustomed to eating a certain amount of food, whether due to hormonal reasons or even habit. So eating less can “feel like” we’re not eating enough, and that can be harder to deal with too. Believe it or not, the dieting tip about using smaller plates so it "looks like" you're eating more actually helps!
But there are a ton of good things to losing weight! Besides the health reasons, overall ease of movement is improved. I notice it just walking and moving around. It feels like my body “flows” better. Exercising becomes easier. I can now hold a plank position far longer than I did before (less weight to hold up), box jumps etc are easier, I run faster with less effort. I used to see using fewer calories during exercise as a negative, but actually it is a bonus for an endurance athlete. I had trouble in the past while marathon training fitting in so many calories during the day. But also you fatigue less as the miles pile on, and need to replenish fewer calories during long runs, etc. I have also started to take baths again – and you fit better in a bathtub too
There’s an old saying many of us know, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” And it’s true!! Also, if you hit a plateau, take an honest look at what's changed. Has a sports club you participated in taken an off-season? Are you less active due to an injury? How much less do you weigh now before than when you started? Are you still measuring food or estimating? And so on. Go with the flow and don't be afraid to adapt your plan. Sometimes honesty and change are what's needed.
Keep on keepin’ on folks!
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