Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Going on vacation is usually the bane of my health goals. Especially all-inclusive resorts where there is unlimited food and drink available almost 24hrs a day.
But not this time. I didn't think or worry about calories consumed or burned. I ate what I liked, when I was hungry. Portion sizes just fell into place on their own.
Just a year ago, I would have thought this impossible. I was on a 10 year diet where I lost 10 pounds out of the 60 I needed to lose. I wasn't losing weight, and I was hungry all the time.
Hunger, I have learned, is a big clue there was something wrong with my diet. Watching calories alone was still a type of starvation diet because I was hungry all the time. Eating smaller meals spaced out still left me hungry all the time. It turns out I was eating the wrong composition of calories. Too many grains, and too little protein.
The bulk of my carbs comes from vegetables, and an occasional slice of bread or cup of rice. The bread and rice is because I like them, but not because they are essential. Any nutrition that comes from a piece of enriched bread can come from a whole bowl of salad instead. Vegetables pack more nutrition in fewer calories than grains.
Once I ditched the idea that I had to have a grain with every meal, I lost weight. I was a size 12 in 2000. In 2008 I was a size 10. 2012, I am in between a size 4 and 6 and have maintained it for about a year.
After losing all this weight, I was worried about vacation. That is usually a guaranteed weight gainer. But I ate pretty much the same way I eat at home. All-inclusive meal and drinks are usually a danger zone for dieters, but I actually found it easier because I could fill my plates with things I like to eat. Restaurant plated meals are usually too high in calories and grains than I like. I don't eat two eggs for breakfast, I eat one. I can eat only 1 egg out of 2, but I hate the food waste.
Protein and veg were in abundance at the buffets. Every morning I had one over-easy egg with a couple sides of sausage, and a slice of watermelon. Occasionally I would have half a slice of french toast with a teaspoon of maple syrup. Lunch and dinner were pretty much the same - chicken, steak or fish, and a big side salad. A small petit-four type dessert if they looked good.
For drinks, I stuck mainly to water. We were in very hot climates, and dehydration is too easy. I drank a beer with my lunch because of the low alcohol content. I drank wine with my dinners. Beach-side drink favorite was rum and diet-coke. I splurged on an occasional daquiri or pina colada, but stopped at one.
Exercise was no problem. It was play time! We walked on the beach, rode bicycles, went kayaking, and snorkel, snorkel, snorkeled! Despite near constant activity, I never ran out of energy or felt hungry.
I still fit in my size 6 pants when I left.
When I got home, my scale said I gained 8lbs, but my body fat stayed relatively the same. A week later, I've lost 5 lbs. I conclude that the majority was water retention due to the hot climates (though I live in a hot climate - weird). My size 4 pants are a little more snug then they should be, so I have gained a little, but it's still not bad! My size 6 is still preferable to size 10 or 12.
Hunger and weight gain were a clue that my body wasn't getting the right nutrition. If my diet wasn't something that I could maintain even while on vacation, then it was not the right diet for me. I have found what true 'lifestyle' change means. I have found what works for my body, and I can do it every day, even while on vacation. I never took a 'break' from my 'diet', because I am eating the things I like to eat, and it is the nutrition that my body was craving all this time.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I just got back from Aruba as our honeymoon destination. Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to go to the Caribbean if I ever got married. I've been to several places in the Caribbean before I got married, so for our honeymoon, I wanted to go REALLY deep Caribbean. Some place where we might not normally be able to go.
So we chose Aruba! Right off the coast of Venezuela, it's pretty much as far south Caribbean island as you can go!
Aruba has the most turquoise sea and white sugar sand beaches that goes on for miles and miles that I've ever seen.
But the wind surprised me. I heard that Aruba was windy, but I wasn't prepared for how strong they were! My broad brimmed sunhat stayed in the closet for most of the trip. It took me by surprise at first, but I came to like it. When the wind died down, the heat was very uncomfortable. The wind on Aruba helps the comfort level walking around. Just hang on to your hat!
One of the other things that surprised me about Aruba is the diversity of the landscape. I didn't do much research on the island before going because I wanted it to be a new discovery. As an only child, my main toy growing up was my imagination. I read lots and lots of books, my favorite genre being science fiction and fantasy. I wrote short stories where I created new worlds. Some of my favorite video games were exploration based. Oregon Trail, Seven Cities of Gold, and Pirates were my favorites. Because of the game Pirates, I knew something about the 17th century history of the Caribbean, and I wanted to discover Aruba like a 17th century explorer might have seen it. New and alien.
So I was surprised that Aruba is a true desert island, like the Robinson Crusoe sort. Cactus and lizards are indigenous to the island. Having grown up in the desert southwest, in some parts, I felt that I could have been looking at New Mexico or Arizona. With one glaring exception. There is the Caribbean Sea surrounding the desert!
The west side of Aruba is sandy white beaches, and the east side is rocky desert. Before going, I knew Aruba was a small island, so I was worried there wouldn't be enough to explore. This wasn't a problem, as it turned out. In fact, I wished we had rented a Jeep instead of a standard rental car! Who would have thought you could go offroading on a Caribbean island!
There's much more I can say about Aruba, but I need to wrap things up. Exploring the island, we found dozens of different flowering cacti. We had one rain shower during our stay, and it turns out this was lucky. Apparently this rain shower is the last one before the start of the dry season, and the cacti flower. So we were treated to numerous flowering cacti.
All over the island are these trees call Divi-divi trees. They are quite interesting and exotic. Apparently because of the high winds on the island, they grow to always point West. So it is easy to get your bearings. The large ones also provide respite from the sun.
This landscape inspired me to make a cactus garden when I got home, to remind me of our time on this amazing island. I can't use the indigenous plants, so I just found similar ones at my local garden center.
I found a little bonsai tree that looked similar to a divi-divi tree. I didn't plant it in the pot because it has different watering/lighting needs than the cactus. It is in its own container I can take in and out as I need to.
And this is my little Aruba in a pot.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
I'm back from my wedding and honeymoon! Everything turned out perfect! You know I like to tell my stories with photos, so I'll save the details until I get my wedding photos back.
While on wedding/honeymoon, I gained about 8 lbs. The strange thing is, according to my bodyfat counter, my bodyfat has stayed relatively the same. Did I gain muscle while on vacation? Even with all inclusive food and drink? It is possible! My husband and I aren't lounging on the beach types. We like to walk on the beaches, around town, snorkel, swim, and dive. We're action oriented vacationers. I was doing some activity pretty much every day.
It was pretty easy to stick with my low carb diet at the all-inclusive resorts where we stayed. I loaded up proteins and veggies, and indulged in occasional french toast for breakfast in the morning. Because of the heat where we were, my main drink was water. Wine and beer were my main alcoholic choices, with an occasional pina colada or daquiri, but I didn't down them one after another. Fruity drinks were like a dessert, and I had only one per day.
Before the wedding, my best friend said she wanted to lose some weight (didn't we all!). I told her to try cutting back on breads, pasta, rice, and sugar. Just load up on protein and veg. We're both half asian, so asking her to give up rice for a little while was scandalous. But she gave it a try. A week before the wedding, she told me my advice worked - she lost 20 lbs! She looked fabulous!
In the final stretch before the wedding, I was running low on time juggling my college class and wedding plans. Costco had a special on Nutrisystem, and I thought it might save me some time if I had prepared meals handy. This was a bad idea. Yes, I lost some weight, but I think I could have done better with my own meals. And they tasted awful. I'm still eating them for the next few weeks because I paid for it, and I have some left. But I will not be doing this again.
Now that I'm back home, I've just been working on getting the apartment back in running order. First priority was the kitchen, cleaning it from top to bottom. I've been watching too many episodes of "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" and "Restaurant Impossible", that I'm having nightmares about kitchen cleanliness. I may have to stop watching those shows because I may never eat out at restaurants ever again! It's almost to the point that if I can't see the restaurant kitchen, then I won't eat there!
I've bought some plants from the garden centers, and am rebuilding my balcony garden. I grew some balcony vegetables and herbs last year, if you remember, and it worked out pretty well. Until I went on vacation then all my plants died. Except this year I've already gone on vacation, so hopefully my plants will live! I'm growing cherry tomatoes, basil, rosemary, cilantro, chives, and lettuce in containers.
We honeymooned in Aruba, and the flowering cactus inspired me. I have a concept to recreate a small container cactus garden to remind me of our time there. Obviously I can't use the actual plants, but I bought cactus from the garden centers that looked similar.
Still hunting for work, but my other project is to get programming mobile device applications, and possibly some freelance work. I may start investing more in my cooking blog, too, and tie one of my iPhone apps along with it.
Shouldn't be getting bored over the summer, there's plenty for me to do!
Monday, March 12, 2012
A theme as old as weddings itself.
The wedding diet.
First, I want to thank everyone who took the time to post encouragement about my wedding anxiety. I don't like being in crowds, and I definitely don't like being in front of an audience. I always feared the 'presentation' part in school. Even though this will be my friends and family, the idea of everyone staring at me gives me the jitters.
Last week I wrote about 'rebooting' my diet. I gained a few pounds by reverting back to eating too much fast food.
The rebound was kinda rough, though. I went through another round of minor low carb 'withdrawals'. I got these really nasty headaches, and at a really bad time. I had a really tough assignment to finish for school, and the headaches were frustrating. But I knew it was temporary, and just hung in there.
Resetting my diet and exercising last week did the trick. I managed to lose about 2 pounds.
Since I'm not working and have to pay for tuition, we've had to tighten our budget. I'm eating a lot of eggs and canned salmon for my protein. When we went shopping over the weekend, I bought frozen salmon and smoked salmon for my meals this week.
My wedding dress arrived today! It came out great. I don't like the rhinestone embellishment that were put on, but they are easy to remove. Everything fits great, except for the shoulder straps. The way it was stitched makes it easy to undo and alter, though.
If you're curious about the dress, I went with an unorthodox method. Originally, I wanted to make my own, but time slipped away from me. It was to late for me to go to a bridal shop. So...since this is the 21st century and all...I went with a 21st century solution.
I found a dressmaker, picked out a dress pattern that I liked, and sent them my measurements. This dress probably would have cost thousands and taken 6 months or more if I bought it at a retail shop. For $180 dollars and 4 weeks later, I have a dress that I am very happy with. They did a very good job - it's a near perfect fit. The only thing I have to do is remove the trim that I don't like, and adjust the straps. I couldn't be happier.
Now that I have received the dress, and tried it on, I'm a little more excited about the wedding. $180 is still probably the most I've ever spent on a dress (I'm a Maxxinista kind of shopper). I'm not a girly girl, and there probably is no other occasion in my life where I would wear this kind of dress. (I did not go to prom in high school).
The dress is pretty simple, compared to many of the dresses on the wedding shows on TV. It has a V neck, and a delicate train that comes off each of the shoulders. Kind of like streamers - lol. I'm getting married on a beach, so my hope is the train would flow and catch the breeze.
I feel like a little more progress has been made, now the dress has been taken care of.
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