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    LMULLINS4LIFE   51,575
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Food! Glorious (?) Food!

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Monday, July 02, 2012

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Apologies in advance for an extremely blunt/maybe sarcastic tone. I am having a really off day today...and my office is under construction and we have no A/C. And it's 100 degrees out...that's not a clever really is 100 degrees. i.e. CRANKY Leah.]

I've received quite a few questions and messages asking about my diet recently. I feel a bit of a resistance to blogging about food for a couple reasons:

1. Everyone's body is different, so what works for one person might not work for everyone and I don't want to lead people astray. I am no dietitian or expert.

2. What is working for me now might not work a month from now, in terms of weight loss.

3. I sometimes find food blogs boring. Haha.

I can only tell you that I was at a plateau for a long time and was finally able to break through it and appear to be losing weight slowly and steadily again. (26 lbs gone so far)

The first thing I did was average my calorie burn for a typical week and plug that into my SP Fitness Goals. This caused my food tracker to adjust my daily calorie numbers.

I make sure I meet my minimum calories in my SP food tracker every day. EVEN IF I'M NOT HUNGRY, I eat until I get over that lower threshhold...because I know my body needs the calories to fuel all the running I'm doing. I don't want to deal with my body going into "starvation mode".

How INFURIATING is it to have an extra 88 lbs of fat and have your body go into starvation mode and stall your weight loss because you're not eating ENOUGH?! I know some will scoff and say, "Must be nice to have that problem!" But, truth be told, it's sometimes rough to eat in the summer...104 degrees makes me feel yucky and I just want to sleep and lay in a bath full of cold water all day. Food sounds nasty sometimes.

Of course, I will not lie to you and say I don't have days where I go over my maximum calories. Sheesh. I'm human and I'm you think I got this way by eating healthy my whole life? There are still old habits to break.

This is, by no means, a special diet plan, but I will tell you what has worked for me lately. First, I watched "Food, Inc." which completely disgusted me and gave me a burning desire to try to eat more veggies and to look specifically toward organically-grown foods.

I joined a co-op grocery store. Started eating lunch from their salad bar/deli line every single day.

This alone helped me lose 5 lbs. And they aren't that expensive. Here's a major hint: WHOLE FOODS FILL YOU UP FASTER. You have to eat LESS of them to feel full. That means, it's not as expensive as you might think! Of course, you know I frequent the Farmer's Market in the summer...I try to go every Saturday.

I did kickstart my eating plan with South Beach Phase 1, which got rid of almost all of my simple carb and sugar cravings really quickly and also got me eating more veggies than I ever imagined possible.

I absolutely swear by the short, two week Phase 1 of South Beach. It will re-program your body to WANT healthy stuff! There's a Spark Team for it too...they are a great community to help you get through that really rough 2 weeks! And, is ROUGH. But once I'd kicked the sugar habit and processed food addiction, it got a LOT easier for me to make healthy choices.

Every week, I buy one of those HUGE tubs of spring mix from the grocery store...and whatever veggies I might want to put on my salads (latest craze is avocados or roasted chickpeas - protein!)

Onions are a great flavor booster for salads...if you can't handle them, try green onions (scallions). I eat a HUGE salad every single day...EVERY SINGLE DAY as the bulk of one of my meals (either lunch or dinner...sometimes both). Do I get tired of it? Yeah...sometimes, but what are you gonna do? Whine like a baby or just eat it? I know that sounds kind of mean...but I'm just done with excuses. I won't accept them from myself any longer. I hate being this way and, by golly, I'm changing it. Tough love for me.

I had to really break my addiction to Ranch dressing (I never ate ANYTHING other than ranch on a salad before South Beach). I now absolutely LOVE the taste of 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 tsp of regular white vinegar. That's all I need for my salads to be delicious these days.

I limit carbs, but I also recognize my body needs some of them to fuel my runs.

This ratio pretty much stays the same every day and, if I don't blow it by bingeing on Taco Hell, I can pretty much expect to see slow weight loss. This formula has been working for my body for a few weeks now, obviously in conjunction with running about 15-20 miles per week (no excuses):

Coffee with Creamer, Water, Protein, 1-2 servings of carbs (we're talking whole grains, fresh fruits and GOOD carbs here, folks...NOT donuts)

AM Snack: Protein (usually string cheese)

Protein, 2 or more servings of veggies. I try to go completely carb-less at lunch, but I won't go all crazy and freak if I eat bread on a sandwich either. I'm not strict or military about it...just consistent.

PM Snack: Protein

Protein, 1-3 servings of veggies, 1 serving carb (brown rice, potato, quinoa, something like that)

Where are the treats???? I just don't eat sweets. I just choose not to. And that's that.

Occasionally, I will have a cookie. Or one of those Betty Crocker Warm Delights (so bad and chemically...but man they are yummy and they cook in 30 secs in the micro and they are only 160 cals). I also like Jello, low fat pudding cups, yogurt. Still...don't have these too often...just once in awhile.

I am not blatantly against diet sodas...but I maybe drink one once every couple of weeks. Just because I watched "Weight of the Nation" and saw the illustrations with soda and it just grossed me out.

I drink 64 oz. (at least) of water every single day. I used to hate water. But now I just do it. Cuz I've gotta.

That's how my diet goes. I do what I've gotta do to get what I ultimately want. Even if it's not my fav.

Life is all about choices. I've had plenty of restaurant trips lately where I half-heartedly ordered what I knew to have the least calories JUST because it was good for me. I don't usually splurge when I eat out b/c if I did that, I'd be splurging every single week. I just plan ahead, order the fish or the salad without the fried stuff and without the ranch or whatever...and I just eat it. And I'm usually surprised at how much I actually love it.

Real food tastes good...but it's difficult to get it on the plate. I just always try to remember...FOOD IS FUEL. Make diet choices with your brain and not your feelings and you have won 90% of the battle.

Hope this helps!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SUTERSPACE 2/6/2013 1:47PM

    You have confirmed changes I need to make. I am on a plateau right now and I know that changes are needed. Thanks for the boost.

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CHUM48 10/1/2012 9:42AM

    It really is about just changing the way we think, try things that different and give it a chance! Awesome post!

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LOGOULD 9/5/2012 10:40PM

    It truly is about reprogramming your taste buds....and detoxing off sugar was a big one for me too. I bought a 12 pack on coke Zero two years ago this Cristmas and there are still 5 you think that stuff ever goes bad? Saw something on TV that showed that the human brain still causes a release of chemicals (insulin?) when you drink diet soda just not to the extent of a sugary soda. It doesn't have the sugar, but can cause cravings for sugars just like the real thing.

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NASFKAB 8/3/2012 5:21AM


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WALLISSANDS 7/16/2012 10:48PM

  I loved your blog but, I have a question? If I eat salads or just vegetable frequently I have a tendency to get the trots. Does anyone have any answers?

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DEBK0923 7/16/2012 6:06PM

    good job

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PENOWOK 7/13/2012 7:26AM

    glad you got things moving! I can't do low carbs because of osteoporosis, but am happy to support others who can do it for a short time!

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AGENTMNA 7/10/2012 12:15PM


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PMFISH 7/9/2012 11:45PM

    Have you tried the flavor vinegars?? Delicious on your salads. I don't even put the oil on just the vinegar!

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MARTAY123 7/7/2012 9:35PM

  Great Blog! Thanks for the great advice!

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BABYBARNEY 7/7/2012 5:09PM

    LOVED your LAST LINE...Making diet choices with your brain & not your feelings...SPOT ON & REALLY DOES WORK WHEN EATING HEALTHY!!! emoticon

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JERICHO1991 7/7/2012 10:51AM

    Great reminders about wise food choices. Thank you.

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DOTTY7267 7/6/2012 11:08AM

    emoticon and sharing. I truly enjoy your blog posts and honesty. Without honesty we can't truly experience progress.

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LEANJEAN6 7/6/2012 2:36AM

    I think you are doing it well-eating healthy-planning your food--looking at how you can do it better--Good for you!

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LYNETTEMOM 7/6/2012 1:49AM

    tks for sharing such good info

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RONNIEHUEY 7/6/2012 12:48AM

    Good blog! It made stop and think about how I treat food. (eating is one of my favorite pastimes)I have to change my mind set and think of food as fuel not a pleasure.

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MINAHH 7/6/2012 12:13AM

  I am guessing you are Leah ... duh! Hats off to you for making a lot of changes. You mention that you are a runner ... that is great. I happen to be a senior with physical challenges (yeah, disabilities, but challenges sounds better and is less negative inner impact). I wish I could run and sometimes it is just so darn hard to do exercise. I do a lot of house work and count that as an exercise ... cleaning hardwood floors, cooking, washing up, working with plants, etc. However, I do realize that even if one starts easy, one can start walking and doing it consistently and adding more steps until one reaches 10,000 steps a day, and that can make huge changes in health and shape. I just wanted to mention that I find eating as much vegetables as is necessary to get all the good nutrition as one should get a bit daunting so I started using my Vitamix awhile back and make a blend of vegetable and fruit juices and I am doing it regularly (and it keeps you real regular too). For example, I use whatever I happen to have on hand, and tonight I used some concord grape juice, some Persian cucumbers, a pear that was on it's last legs, lettuce, a whole lemon with a little of the zest still intact, carrots, ginger, stevia, flax seed (ground), little honey, water and blended it up. I have used kale, spinach, beets, apple; sometimes I add frozen berries, mango, and such and rocket lettuce (which can be over powering ... so gently) and continue to experiment. I mention this because it is filling and you get a lot of fiber and all the goodness in a drink. I am sure one could use protein powder if one wanted to. Sometimes I make just a fruit blend, like pineapple, banana, etc. Hot and humid here in Charlotte ... miss California summers ... but love the beauty and nature here. Wishing you the best success on your fitness journey.

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SHIRE33 7/5/2012 11:36PM

    Yep. That's pretty much how I've lost 80 pounds. I also learned to say no. Sometimes I have to treat myself like a toddler. I hear, "But I want it!" Toddlers don't require long drawn-out explanations of why they can't do something. You just say NO. Because you're the mother (or father). So I have to get tough love going on my toddler eater inside, too. No means no. That's pretty hard to do sometimes. But necessary.

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JULIA1154 7/5/2012 10:24PM

  Love your attitude and admire your ability to keep going, even w/o AC, in the heat.

Keep up the great mindset!

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PATRICIAANN46 7/5/2012 9:00PM

  Great Blog!!!!! emoticon for the wonderful advice.

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JKELLEY1107 7/5/2012 7:44PM


What a great attitude, sarcasm and all. :) Your determination will get you to your goal.

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GBAUM0432 7/5/2012 6:43PM

  Way to go!

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GOCALGAL 7/5/2012 3:51PM

    emoticon Great job in losing the weight and then doing such a great job sharing how you did it with us!! emoticon

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NOSUGARADDED87 7/5/2012 3:24PM

    "Food is fuel"

God bless you for writing that! The moment that I really started to understand that food was fuel, I started making better choices (am I at 100%? heck no! But I'm getting better every day!).

There is a big mentality change that has to happen. Instead of thinking, "Oh, I just ran so I can eat this cookie!", we have to think "I need to eat this apple and whole wheat toast so I can go biking!"

Excellent post!

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67YKCEB 7/5/2012 2:50PM

    Good for you!!! emoticon

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REGSHAR 7/5/2012 2:03PM

    I agree whole foods is better, more normal than all this artificial junk passed as food. Growing up we had less junk and more whole foods. Now it's different. We have to watch just about every thing going in our mouth.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PEGGYO 7/5/2012 1:41PM

    way to go

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MANDALORE 7/5/2012 1:28PM


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RWEBER6352 7/5/2012 1:06PM

  I love how you keep it real. And I admire your determination. I am still trying to remember to drink water - and I like it! I never drank sodas, but I also never realized how little liquid I do drink...any tips?

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MISCUS6 7/5/2012 12:59PM

  I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog- love your sense of humor and your commitment to "just do it" even if it's not exactly what you want to do. If we don't change anything then nothing changes.

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DR8561 7/5/2012 12:41PM

    Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes a little sarcasm is a good thing! emoticon

Here's hoping for a cool front :)

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HERZINGM 7/5/2012 11:33AM

    Good post, great attitude!

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LAURA2318 7/5/2012 11:27AM

  Great info, I will look into the South Beach plan for myself.

Hey, is that a Julian May reference in the title? Just wondering... I love her books. emoticon

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DEARTOMYHEART 7/5/2012 11:10AM

  Thanks so much for sharing your diet. Gives ideas of what I might be missing. emoticon emoticon

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JENNIK2 7/5/2012 10:42AM

    Great advice!

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_CYNDY55_ 7/5/2012 9:52AM

emoticon emoticon Blog!

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HEARTS116 7/5/2012 9:29AM

    Great! Good for you!

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JLEMUS1 7/5/2012 8:47AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Thanks for sharing!

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FARIS71 7/5/2012 8:12AM

    Great planning and outlook on food!

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EWL978 7/5/2012 8:07AM

    Thanx a lot!! I love salad, but end up with a tablespoon of dressing on it... and I need to be careful about salt, too!! I do think I'm doing pretty good, but I'm not seeing any much weight loss....guess it's my sedentary life...have to get moving! Thanx again, and best of luck to you also.


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CTUPTON 7/5/2012 7:20AM

    You are doing so great! emoticon

I have done the food in a cup, too! My daughter gave me a big mug with the recipe on it!


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THEIS58 7/5/2012 7:13AM


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MIGURLINNC 7/5/2012 7:00AM

    Great blog! When I need a sweet 'treat' I make "3-2-1 cake in a cup." You mix together 1 box of Angel food cake mix+ 1 box of 'your flavor choice' cake mix in a ziploc baggie. When you want cake: in a coffee mug you put 3 Tbs of the mix + 2 Tbs of water, stir to combine. 1 minute in the microwave and voila! Cake in a cup. Enough to satisfy the sweet tooth. I sometimes put FF cool whip on top or fresh fruit.

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GARDENCHRIS 7/5/2012 6:33AM

    good for you!

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NANA2ANGELS 7/5/2012 6:02AM


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1GODISMYROCK1 7/5/2012 5:01AM

    you GO girl! emoticon

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SODA92 7/5/2012 1:30AM

  thinking of food as fuel is a great way to maintain will power during those moments of temptation too. Thanks for sharing!

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LEALOWE 7/5/2012 1:12AM

    Thanks for sharing your food formula. It's interesting to see what works for other people.

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Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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