GINAV2's SparkPeople Blog GINAV2's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Once more unto the breach Well, I'm back! I suspected I would be. <BR> <BR> Since I logged off in November I've successfully lost a few more pounds and mostly tamed the binge-eating beastie. I got into a good groove of meal prepping and regular exercise this winter, and it's been fun to fit back into some of my old clothes! <BR> <BR> But now that we're ramping up to the end of the academic year I've found myself sleeping less and reaching for junk food more often. I want to keep my good streak going, not fall back ... Wed, 30 Mar 2016 12:47:25 EST Getting off Spark for a bit Hey folks, sorry to anyone that this lets down (particularly sorry to the WRJ&Grs) but the logging in every day, tracking minutes, obsessing about LTGL goals, and feeling bad whenever I don't have minutes to report or eat something unhealthy is really getting to me. I've been using up all my willpower on school, and this site is becoming a stressor instead of a help. I started bingeing again, my weight has started creeping the wrong way...not good. <BR> <BR> I logged off Spark for a bit this... Sat, 7 Nov 2015 09:43:25 EST Bad, bad weekend I want to apologize to my 2015 Fall Challenge teammates for being a slacker the past few days. I am not having a good time of things right now. <BR> <BR> There was a conference I was forced to go to as a condition of receiving a certain fellowship. Actually this fellowship had so many strings attached that I wanted to turn down the money, but my advisor convinced me that I needed it to be able to do what I want with my research so I accepted. <BR> <BR> Going to this conference meant driving... Mon, 2 Nov 2015 10:36:39 EST Trying too hard Sometimes I push myself too hard, too fast, and it always comes back to bite me in the behind. <BR> <BR> This was one of those weeks. I was pushing hard on exercising, pushing hard to eat only good things, putting in really long hours at work and working at home, saying yes to every social obligation that came along, and definitely not sleeping enough. <BR> <BR> We went away on a camping trip for the weekend which was supposed to be fun and relaxing, but we tried to do All The Hikes,and th... Mon, 26 Oct 2015 09:25:56 EST Silly pants, aka The best laid plans... I set out on a run after work today but alas, it was not meant to be. <BR> <BR> Legs? Felt fine. Breathing? Normal. Shoes? Comfy. Weather? Beautiful! <BR> <BR> But - pants? My pants? My swishy, comfy, stylish but practical pants? Well now, those silly, silly pants kept falling down on me! <BR> <BR> <em>9</em> <em>198</em> <em>334</em> <em>9</em> <BR> <BR> I had to yank them back up every ten or fifteen seconds. Very awkward! I made it less than a mile before turning around ... Thu, 15 Oct 2015 20:25:16 EST Back on target I want to thank everyone who left such kind words of encouragement on my last blog. I was feeling really down this morning after having an off week/weekend, but you all made me feel so much better and really helped me stay on track today. <BR> <BR> I'm feeling a lot better now than I was earlier, feeling motivated to make healthy choices again. I walked to and from work, and then skipped a "go have dinner and a drink after work" get together with friends in favor of hiking with my bf. Food h... Mon, 12 Oct 2015 20:30:28 EST Not so great week I've been completely off my game the past week or so, maybe slightly longer. I was in a good groove for a few months in August and September, and then school got really stressful and the Fall Challenge started and I pushed myself too hard. Next thing I know, I'm back in binge land and having a hell of a time pulling myself back out. <BR> <BR> I tried to have a "healthy day" three days in a row this weekend. Just ended up eating more and more crap. The low point yesterday was eating an entire... Mon, 12 Oct 2015 10:31:00 EST Patronus 5K! I did it! I ran my first ever 5K in 41:30! It felt sooooo good! I think I'm really starting to like this running thing. <BR> <BR> <em>185</em> <BR> <BR> This was a Hogwarts Running Club Harry Potter themed "Virtual 5K", meaning you could pay to register (with all the proceeds going towards the Noah's Light Foundation supporting research and treatment of pediatric brain cancer) but the actual race was on the honor system and could be done wherever and whenever. But you were supposed to ... Sun, 4 Oct 2015 21:16:23 EST Holding steady It's been a slow week on the weight-loss front for me. <BR> <BR> I've been exercising regularly - got in a run, a hike, lots of walks, and a couple bodyweight workouts in the past seven days - but we're in the middle of at least a week straight of rainy weather which has me feeling totally unmotivated to get out and do things. I've been eating around maintenance, too, just feeling cooped up and hungry. No binges, no really bad food days, but the scale is just not budging this week. <BR> <BR... Fri, 2 Oct 2015 11:13:01 EST The strangest 'binge' - another NSV I got home last night feeling really unsettled and binge-y. That kind of mood where you're just a little stressed out and don't quite know what you want but part of you is pretty sure you'd feel a lot better if you just started shoveling food into your mouth, at least until afterwards when the guilt would set in? <BR> <BR> I'm not entirely sure what set off the mood. Maybe it was my bruised knee and thumb (I tripped on loose rocks at the very end of a hike earlier in the week). Maybe it was ... Sat, 26 Sep 2015 08:52:51 EST Serious progress! I weighed in down in the 150's today!!!! <BR> <BR> <em>244</em> <em>104</em> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> I haven't been under 160 since, gosh, my first semester of grad school? And I'm a fourth year now, so it's been a while. <BR> <BR> I also dug through my giant stack of jeans-that-don't-fit-anymore, and found three pairs that were too big in the waist (but too tight in the thighs? working out does weird things) and another three or four that fit just fine now. Going to tackle a box... Fri, 25 Sep 2015 08:09:54 EST Running buddies! So, I really like running but it's normally a solitary activity for me. Feel the urge, strap on my shoes, head out the door and go my own route, at my own pace. The health benefits are great but I mostly do it because it's an enjoyable stress outlet and I don't want to feel forced to run or else, knowing me, it'll feel like work and I'll grow to resent it. <BR> <BR> However: I signed up for this "Patronus 5K" virtual run in early October, to have something to aim for, support charity, and to... Thu, 24 Sep 2015 08:38:28 EST Urrrgh Regular readers may remember that I stopped drinking alcohol entirely a few weeks ago because I had noticed that even small amounts - just one glass of wine with dinner - were leaving me feeling hung over and bloated. <BR> <BR> The discerning reader may have cottoned on to the fact that I was going to a tailgate yesterday, and was planning on cutting loose and letting myself have an unhealthy afternoon <BR> <BR> Well long story short, I got caught up in long game of team flip-cup, drank ent... Sun, 20 Sep 2015 09:12:26 EST A few small victories First, I weighed in at 161.2 pounds yesterday (and again today) - officially the lightest I have been in about two years! <BR> <BR> Then, despite it being that TOM and feeling like my food cravings were wildly out of control, I logged everything I ate and managed to keep myself within 200 calories of my range. No crazy binges! I even ate ice cream and managed to keep it to one small half-cup serving. Woo! <BR> <BR> Then this morning, in anticipation of tailgating later, I got out of bed and... Sat, 19 Sep 2015 10:28:10 EST Patronus 5k So last night a friend in my DnD group introduced me to the "Hogwarts Running Club": <BR> <link><BR>istance-running-races/hogwarts-running<BR>-club-patronus-5k-2015 </link> <BR> <BR> It's a virtual running community based on the Harry Potter books! You register for races, can download a custom bib, complete races at your leisure, and everyone gets a participation badge - a real, solid, non-virtual piece of swag - for participating. The registration fe... Mon, 14 Sep 2015 08:47:27 EST Sunday fun day I went canoeing on a very shallow, rather wide river with a group of friends this afternoon. Being on the water was great, and a great workout! I definitely want to spend more time on the water, maybe kayaking next time. <BR> <BR> Alas, I pulled a clumsy getting the boat out of the water at the end and fell HARD onto my knee. It's not seriously injured but it's definitely turning black and blue and my muscles are a little sore. No hiking or running for a couple of days, at least until the st... Sun, 13 Sep 2015 21:38:57 EST Back on track, but annoyed Today was much, much healthier than yesterday's binge. I got a good night's sleep, went for a hike, and ate really well - salmon and salad for dinner, yum! <BR> <BR> I got rather annoyed at my boyfriend today, though. We made it to the top of the mountain we were hiking without needing to stop to catch our breath and I made a comment about that being a fitness milestone. He responded "well we haven't lost any weight doing it, but yeah we must be healthier!" <BR> <BR> Which is all well and ... Fri, 11 Sep 2015 19:37:56 EST Blah Got binge-y tonight. Real binge-y. Cookies dipped in peanut butter, a whole box of Annie's mac and cheese, big handful of macadamia nuts, and a seemingly innocuous meal of chicken and cabbage at the start of it all. Total loss of self control when I got home this evening. <BR> <BR> It's been months since I've felt the need to binge like that. It's done now, nothing for it but to dust myself off and aim to be healthier tomorrow. <BR> <BR> But if there's anything I've learned it's that bingei... Thu, 10 Sep 2015 21:54:41 EST Calling today a success Wow am I glad I tracked my food today! <BR> <BR> It felt like I really cut loose on the food front today, what with it being a holiday and all. I made a latte with breakfast, splurged on some GF toast with my eggs, had dinner out with friends and enjoyed a glass of wine with my salad, ate a couple of GF cookies and some chocolate, and capped the night off with a bit of strawberry yogurt. <BR> <BR> I thought it was going to be a bad blip in my food tracker. Toast! Latte! Cookies! Wine! Choc... Mon, 7 Sep 2015 22:49:50 EST Great hiking day! I had a great fitness victory today! My bf and I climbed Mt. Nittany, a local hike that goes up 600 feet elevation in just half a mile...and we did it without stopping to catch our breath! We've been trying to do this hike at least once a week together - the couple that works out together stays together? - but this was the first time we made it up without stopping. Sure felt good! My weekend is off to a great start. Hope you all are having a great one too! Sat, 5 Sep 2015 15:36:48 EST A trio of successes! This morning I weighed in at 163.4 pounds, officially the lightest I've been in at least a year and a half. <BR> <BR> Then, I was way behind on laundry so I grabbed an old pair of too small size 6 jeans...and they fit! <BR> <BR> Finally this afternoon I ran into a neighbor who I hadn't really seen in a couple of weeks, and she interrupted our conversation to ask if I've lost weight. <BR> <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> So nice to see my hard work starting to pay off! I was extra motivate... Wed, 2 Sep 2015 20:49:13 EST Starting this week off on a high note! Yesterday was a fantastically healthy day. I woke up, had a small breakfast, packed some spaghetti squash and meatballs for lunch with some yogurt for a snack, went off and spent a day swimming at the lake, had some beef and veggies for dinner, some strawberries with a drizzle of pudding for dessert, and came in right on target on the low end of my calorie range. Sunshine, friends, good food, bit of exercise - what a great way to spend one of the last nice days of summer! <BR> <BR> Today I'm... Mon, 31 Aug 2015 08:17:52 EST Dusting myself and getting back on that horse Well, I've been pretty good this month and the scale has moved down some, but today was a major off-the-rails day. Dang! <BR> <BR> I started off really well. Had a good breakfast, hit the farmer's market, made a REALLY good lunch (spaghetti squash and meatballs with tomato sauce from scratch!), fired up the Wii to get in a workout...and the controller didn't work. I poked around the back and realized that the wire on the receiver had snapped. Possibly cat-related, hard to tell. <BR> <BR> We... Sat, 29 Aug 2015 22:57:36 EST Cutting out alcohol Lately I've noticed that drinking alcohol - and I mean, like, one glass of wine with dinner, I'm not at all a heavy drinker - has started giving me headaches and leaving me feeling really beat up and bloated the next day. I'm living in a small college town where a lot of socializing involves "going out to grab a drink after work," so I've been having a glass of wine or a margarita in the evening a couple of nights a week. But the benefits of being more chatty and relaxed just don't seem worth... Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:19:11 EST Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) So, I had an interesting food experience this past week. <BR> <BR> I was away at a scientific conference where all meals were provided. The organizers were really fantastic about making sure there were gluten free options available, which I appreciated tremendously. However, those GF options were things like GF sandwiches, GF pizza, and GF tater tots. Basically the "Standard American Diet," chock full of things that I do not usually eat. <BR> <BR> It was fun for the first day or so, but th... Sun, 26 Jul 2015 11:18:52 EST I'm back! Hello, Spark friends. I left for a couple of months with mixed results, but I'm back now, for better or worse. Yay! <BR> <BR> I spent the first month focusing on eating well and getting into a steady exercise routine without tracking anything. The experience was so liberating! I continued to steadily lose weight, getting right down to the edge of being overweight rather than obese by bmi measures. My pants were loose, I had a ton of energy - total success! And I managed to maintain that thr... Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:24:24 EST Taking a break Well Spark friends, as wonderful as all the resources and support here on SparkPeople are I think I'm going to log out for a little while as soon as this Spring Challenge is over. All the tracking and counting and obsessing is becoming more stressful than helpful, and I feel like I need a break from it all. <BR> <BR> I've got about three weeks before I fly out west to meet up with my boyfriend for our camping/hiking/roadtrip adventure. I'm going to do a 21 day low-carb paleo challenge just f... Fri, 29 May 2015 08:26:14 EST Finding a good groove Semester is over, I've had time to make some progress in the lab, my boyfriend has been extra-sweet since he's soon going to be leaving for a month, and - go figure - all my stress issues have melted away. I was really struggling with comfort eating and lack of motivation for a couple of weeks there, but suddenly I'm getting 7-8 hours of sleep, not craving any junk food, and walking past Starbucks with ease. <BR> <BR> Funny what stress does to a person. And how stressed out school makes me. ... Wed, 13 May 2015 08:03:41 EST Back on target The end of last week was ROUGH! After my rested-and-relaxed day we got slammed with a surprise last minute giant group assignment for the one class that I am taking. I was also struggling to spend enough time in the lab to get some results, and I had to put together a presentation for a big student symposium that happened yesterday. Friday night was also our annual department-wide end of year party, which I ended up overindulging at (though I did dance for a while too, so at least that was so... Sun, 26 Apr 2015 10:27:02 EST Rested and refreshed I took a "me" day yesterday, and woke up today feeling completely refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the week with gusto! <BR> <BR> The previous week or so had been a lot of go go go including extra work in the lab because my advisor decided he didn't think I've been working fast enough, a lot of outdoor exercise because the weather was so lovely, and a lot of socializing with friends and acquaintances, which is fun but draining for an introvert like me. And then I got glutened, and w... Wed, 22 Apr 2015 08:33:54 EST Glutened. I had a lovely weekend full of beautiful weather and outdoor activities, but it was rather spoiled by a harmless looking barbecued chicken breast. Sigh. <BR> <BR> Some friends had a cookout to take advantage of the nice weather, and I was having trouble getting a spot in the burger line without having a bun so I grabbed a piece of chicken instead. I ate it without thinking anything of it, and almost immediately started feeling the congestion and icky throat feeling that is my first sign of h... Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:23:41 EST Ooops The good news is, I satisfied my craving for pizza and won't want it again for at least a couple of months. <BR> <BR> The bad news is, according to my tracker I just ate more calories, fat, carbs, and salt in a single meal than I usually eat in a day. <BR> <BR> <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> Holy crap. How can a serving size be ONE EIGHTH of a 12" pizza?! You'd think a gluten-free brand called "Against the Grain," sold in the fancy portion of the grocery store, would be a little more health fo... Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:39:02 EST Training with a goal in mind I hope it's ok to repost this here...this week's Monday's Magnificent Motivational Message really resonated with me: <BR> <BR> "“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer <BR> There’s no guarantee that your long-term plan will succeed because you never know what will happen in the future. None of us do. The only time you have complete control of is right now, so that’s the best time to do all of the things you’ve been wanting to do but have been putting off u... Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:49:32 EST New shoes! The last time I tried to get back into running, I aggravated my feet, fell victim to plantar fasciitis, and had to take the bus instead of walking to work for a good two months before my heel stopped hurting. <BR> <BR> The weather is getting nice and I want to start running again, so I actually went to a real running store and asked a real expert to look at my feet, look at my gait, and get me in the proper pair of shoes to prevent doing that again. <BR> <BR> These are there result: <BR> <... Fri, 10 Apr 2015 08:45:54 EST Motivation by the numbers Nothing like looking at my weight report from the past five years on Spark to light a motivational fire under my butt. Jeez! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> You can see the gain when I started grad school in 2012, the HUGE gain when I had some medical problems that had me on and off hardcore antibiotics and prescription pain meds in 2013, a ten pound drop around my 30th birthday in Feb. 2014, another gain as I worked towards my big Com... Thu, 9 Apr 2015 08:28:37 EST Happy Easter! Happy Easter, Spark Friends! Or just a happy spring-time to anyone who isn't Christian. <BR> <BR> <em>449</em> <em>87</em> <em>453</em> <BR> <BR> I had a lovely trip home for the holiday this weekend. I live about four hours away from my family so I don't get to see them all that often, and it's really nice when I do. <BR> <BR> There wasn't much opportunity for exercise yesterday, and it turns out I'm wildly allergic to my sister's new bunny (or the hay it eats; either way I co... Sun, 5 Apr 2015 19:43:41 EST Plans for spring 5% challenge Exercise Commitment: <BR> Walking 10,000 steps a day <BR> Stretching and light bodyweight exercise every day <BR> Intense bodyweight/strength workouts 2x a week <BR> Intense cardio (hike/jog/swim) 1x a week <BR> Bonus workouts (hikes, fitness classes, rock climbing) as often as possible <BR> <BR> Diet Commitment: <BR> Focus on fresh, home cooked vegetables and meat, with fruit, yogurt, nuts, eggs, cheese, and some dark chocolate for flavor and variety <BR> 1600-2000 calories/day <BR> Carbs 5... Sun, 29 Mar 2015 08:53:32 EST Back from Italy (with pics!) As I mentioned in my last blog, I just spent ten days in Italy on a field trip for my graduate program. It was a geology trip so we spent a lot of time hiking, caving, and looking at rocks. The country is beautiful, the food was delicious, the science was exciting, and I was traveling with a really great group of people - what more could a person ask for! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Tourist section of one of the caves <BR> <BR> <img src... Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:14:08 EST Italy bound! Well, Monday afternoon I am off to Italy for a ten day intensive geology field trip! We're going to be doing a lot of physical activity (caving, hiking, generally walking around) and since I can't eat wheat-based products I won't be particularly tempted by all the bread and pasta and pastries. It should be a good trip, both health wise and in general terms! I've never been to Europe before and I am so excited to finally be going! <BR> <BR> I'll try to get online when I can, but I don't know ... Sat, 14 Mar 2015 18:56:23 EST Healthy choices! Some friends and I have a regular board game night where we get together and, well, play nerdy board games. There's usually some form of hideously unhealthy takeout food involved, so I've started packing my own home-cooked meals instead. Tonight the original plan was for everyone to order pizza, and that turned into someone making a big pot of fried rice, but I ate my no-taco taco salad (lettuce mix, cheese, chicken, beans, salsa, and a little guacamole) instead. Totally satisfying, low carb,... Tue, 10 Mar 2015 23:50:03 EST Resisting temptation Man, losing weight while in a relationship is HARD! <BR> <BR> Yesterday my bf gave me a ride to the grocery store, and he wanted to stop at Wendy's on the way back. He was more than happy to share his french fries and frosty, but I resisted! Because I knew a single bite of either would have a 50/50 chance of sending me into a downward spiral of carb induced bingeing. Needless to say, I was pretty damn proud of myself! <BR> <BR> Tonight he invited me out for an after-work drink with some of... Thu, 5 Mar 2015 21:40:29 EST For my next challenge... Today I discovered that there is a sub-reddit for a "body transformation fitness challenge" with an opportunity to win real-world prizes. I've loved having the motivation to stay on target that's come along with the 5% challenge here on Spark, so I think that will be my next motivator while I wait for the next SP 5% challenge to appear. <BR> <BR> Not sure if I'm going to hit my 5% goal this time through, since my losses stalled while preparing and taking my Comprehensive Exam, but I am plea... Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:31:37 EST Back to low-carb Tracking every bite that goes into my mouth is kind of exhausting, and if I eat a little sugar or rice or GF pasta I just want more. So I'm going back to low-carb paleo, at least from now until my trip to Italy next month. I'll make an exception for next Saturday when my parents are coming to visit for a belated-birthday dinner, but otherwise it is all veggies and meat for me! It's going to be a delicious few weeks. <BR> <BR> Hooray for healthy! Sat, 21 Feb 2015 11:59:35 EST Spreading the Spark Today my boyfriend said, "No, I'm not getting fast food. I need to start eating healthier too." <BR> <BR> <em>334</em> <em>334</em> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> That is all. <BR> <BR> <em>218</em> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:42:16 EST A birthday, a big milestone, and getting back in the groove I turned 31 last Wednesday. It feels a little weird, being really firmly past my 20s, but ultimately 31 feels just like 30. And 30 was a FANTASTIC year in my life - new boyfriend, new cat, some travel, some new friends, work successes - pretty much everything besides hitting my fitness goals. <BR> <em>20</em> <BR> <BR> The bigger news, though, was that I passed my Comprehensive exam! I still have a lot of work to get all the way to PhD status, but all the classwork and exams are officia... Sun, 15 Feb 2015 18:50:28 EST Tough week This past week was a tough one. There's something about the persistent stress of a gigantic exam looming overhead that makes me want to stress eat, and it's hard to resist when you have to keep your butt glued to a chair writing for 8+ hours a day. I didn't have time to cook so I ate a lot of takeout, and I used up all my willpower on writing so there was none left over to use to limit my takeout portions. <BR> <BR> I did get in some good exercise - kept walking to campus every day, 1 mile e... Sun, 8 Feb 2015 09:56:54 EST Stressed out, but going strong! Sparkfriends - especially you in the Winter 5% Challenge, and double-especially my fellow Shooting Stars - thank you, thank you SO MUCH for being here and giving me an incentive to stay on track right now! Even if I don't spend much time interacting on the message boards or playing games, you all are helping me tremendously. If I drop my health goals I would be letting you down, and that is the main thing keeping me on top of things right now. <BR> <BR> My birthday is coming up in a couple o... Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:35:41 EST Weigh in - holding steady The number on the scale this morning was identical to the number last week. <BR> <BR> But - I ate quite poorly last night (Indian buffet and ice cream), and I woke up feeling very bloated with a heavy, full stomach. If the number hasn't changed between last week's feeling-lean, empty stomach weigh in and this week's feeling-heavy weigh in, that means I have still been making progress! <BR> <BR> If I can just stay on target, next week's weigh in should be a great one. <em>30</em> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 07:50:25 EST Success breeding success I had a craving for ice cream today. A big, bad craving. I was close to caving - I have none in the house, but I had to go to the store for groceries anyway, and I had every intention of picking up a pint, consequences be damned. <BR> <BR> But then I got dressed. I grabbed a pair of pants that I haven't worn in a while because they were snug...and they were loose on me! <BR> <BR> <em>9</em> <BR> <BR> Suddenly I didn't want ice cream anymore. I went to the store, only bought what I nee... Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:43:19 EST Weekends Well, this weekend was a little more footloose and fancy free (food wise) than I had planned on! My boyfriend had a friend visiting so we went out for a couple of meals and then to watch the football game this afternoon. Then another friend had a potluck full of delicious foods tonight. I didn't go totally crazy - maybe a couple hundred calories over my goal each day - but I feel bloated right now and I am looking forward to my usual diet of home cooked meats and veggies tomorrow! <BR> <BR> ... Sun, 18 Jan 2015 22:55:10 EST