GINAV2's SparkPeople Blog GINAV2's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community 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 Ending the week on a high note! Here is a list of all the things that I am thankful for today: <BR> <BR> -My bathroom has running water again! <BR> -I am down 3 pounds this week! <BR> -My experiments finally started working...a feat two and a half years in the making! <BR> -My new computer arrived and is working fantastically <BR> -I walked to and from work every single day this week - one mile each way, with a big hill in the middle! <BR> -My errant committee member finally answered my question so I can go forward with sc... Fri, 16 Jan 2015 17:30:40 EST Ending the week on a high note! Here is a list of all the things that I am thankful for today: <BR> <BR> -My bathroom has running water again! <BR> -I am down 3 pounds this week! <BR> -My experiments finally started working...a feat two and a half years in the making! <BR> -My new computer arrived and is working fantastically <BR> -I walked to and from work every single day this week - one mile each way, with a big hill in the middle! <BR> -My errant committee member finally answered my question so I can go forward with sc... Fri, 16 Jan 2015 17:30:40 EST Stress level - decreasing Happy hump day, y'all - only two more days until the weekend! <em>224</em> <BR> <BR> Guys, I have to say I am so glad to have the 5% Challenge on my mind to keep me on track right now. It has been a very stressful week so far, and it's only Wednesday, but at least the stressors seem to finally be decreasing. <BR> <BR> Case in point: my four year old laptop is slowly dying, which is a grad student's worst nightmare, but I found a refurbished, warrantied replacement available with 18 mont... Wed, 14 Jan 2015 19:54:13 EST Rough day So I've been really on top of things the past couple of weeks, getting into the swing of making healthy choices for the Winter 5% Challenge (go Shooting Stars!). But yesterday was the first day of the semester, and all the stress that I had managed to repress over break came crashing back down on me. I went out intending to have just one drink with some friends last night, but instead I drank All The Drinks and ate All The (Naked) Burritos. <BR> <BR> So today I'm feeling a little rough. It... Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:04:25 EST My mantra - choose awesome! I've run with this idea before but I think it bears repeating. In order to be successful, in any endeavor, we just need to "choose awesome." <BR> <BR> Every day, every decision, every moment we have a choice: we can take the easy way out, being lazy or weak or avoidant or fearful or disengaged or second guessing ourselves; or we can choose to Be Awesome! To cook the healthy foods, put down the cookie, go for a walk, talk to a stranger. So that's my mantra - be awesome. Choose awesome. We are... Sun, 4 Jan 2015 10:22:30 EST 2015 Winter 5% Challenge (checklist 12-14) New Years got me a bit off track, and I binged yesterday (triggered by some combination of gray weather, missing my boyfriend, and fighting off a migraine), but I woke up this morning in a great mood and ready to do All The Healthy Things again. Continuing on with the checklist... <BR> <BR> Find a buddy: I am hoping to lean on my team when the challenge gets going. I'm also telling a few Real Life friends about my fitness goals so they can keep me on track. Accountability is key, for sure! <... Sat, 3 Jan 2015 10:12:41 EST 2015 Winter 5% Challenge (checklist 7-11) Continuing on where I left off... <BR> <BR> Triggers: <BR> I put this off for today because I wanted to spend some serious time thinking about this. Triggers/binges/emotional overeating are my biggest obstacle by far, and this is what I need to overcome to get my body back to a healthy weight. <BR> My triggers are: <BR> -Feeling lonely <BR> -Being hormonal (hard to control this one...stupid ovaries) <BR> -Not getting enough sleep <BR> -Feeling stressed/overworked/inadequ... Wed, 31 Dec 2014 09:57:10 EST 2015 Winter 5% Challenge (checklist 1-6) I signed on board to do a "lose 5% of your bodyweight in 8 weeks" challenge here on SP beginning this January. I want to kick myself in gear to shed this excess weight and this seems like a good way to do it. It sounds like it will be an active community with lots of support, daily posting, mini-challenges, etc. I've got my kitchen and fridge all organized and ready to go and I'm trying to get started with a healthy-habits mindset before the whole thing kicks off. <BR> <BR> In the meantime, ... Mon, 29 Dec 2014 11:40:07 EST I survived Christmas! Made it through Christmas without doing too much damage! Yes, some gluten-free cookies were consumed, and I may have eaten more ham than is strictly healthy, but I got in a few workouts and made it though in pretty good shape. I'm back home now, cleaning the apartment and getting ready to kick it up another notch. Here's to ending 2014 on a high note! <BR> <BR> <em>8</em> Sun, 28 Dec 2014 13:45:55 EST A minor victory I went to one of our women-grad-student-group meetings yesterday, and there were snacks. The person in charge excitedly whipped out two packages of gluten-free cookies, purchased just for me, and I set them down saying "thanks, but not today." <BR> <BR> Ok, actually what I did was flail around and squeal, "No, no, no! Aaaaaaah! I don't want it, too much temptation!!! Keep that away from me, noooooo!!!" but she's a friend so it was meant (and taken) lightheartedly. <BR> <BR> <em>30</em>... Fri, 12 Dec 2014 09:12:29 EST Ending the year on a high note! Hi Spark friends! <em>213</em> <BR> <BR> I disappeared again. <em>2</em> It's kind of been the term from hell - I managed to avoid doing work on Thanksgiving day, but aside from that I've put in at least a couple of hours of work every. single. day. this semester. Weekends, how I miss you! <BR> <BR> But here we are in the final stretch - four more days of classes, one week of finals, and then freedom! Glorious freedom! I will then have about four weeks to prepare for my huge comprehe... Tue, 9 Dec 2014 08:42:01 EST Back to school...and back to healthy! Greetings, Spark friends. If any of you are still around - geez, it's been a while! <BR> <BR> Well, I'm starting to sound a bit like a broken record saying this, but I am once again ready to get back on the healthy living band-wagon. I'm about to begin my third year of grad school, and I readily admit that the past two years have been TERRIBLE for my health. The first semester was ok, but then I had a year-long ordeal fighting a medical problem that had me on and off pain meds and antibioti... Fri, 22 Aug 2014 22:24:58 EST Hot and cranky Blergh. The weather has been oppressively hot here the past couple of days, and it's making me crazy! <BR> <BR> I went to Hershey Park on Monday with some friends, which was a nice way to beat the heat, have some fun, and get in a lot of walking. Unfortunately it also meant eating amusement park food, which is not healthy by any stretch of the imagination. I did the best I could but when I started lagging mid afternoon I caved and bought an ice cream. At least it was a small? <BR> <BR> (And... Wed, 18 Jun 2014 09:29:30 EST Slow and steady (and satisfying!) progress I spent the past week eating clean, with minor exceptions for a bit of homemade fresh strawberry ice cream, and doing yoga/pilates/ballet exercise videos to get in some exercise while letting my plantar fasciitis heal up a bit. It wasn't an intense week, I wasn't particularly hard-core, but I am down three pounds with my pants noticeably looser after just one week of effort! Part of that was losing bloat due to Auntie Flo making her monthly appearance, I'm sure, but it still feels good. :) <B... Sun, 15 Jun 2014 12:12:44 EST Binged. Dangit. It's become pretty clear to me that I binge when I'm feeling lonely. Last night was my first relapse in a while, and I'm working hard to get back on track today. <BR> <BR> I started off well yesterday - healthy breakfast of root veggies and eggs; lunch was a homemade veggie taco salad (where the "dressing" is salsa - yum!); dinner was grocery store sushi and a little seaweed salad. One cup of coffee as a snack in the afternoon. <BR> <BR> But my boyfriend's off at a conference on the other s... Tue, 10 Jun 2014 10:24:22 EST Ah, summertime weekends... I got in a brief bodyweight and dumbbell workout yesterday morning which left me juuuust a tad sore today, so I call that a success! And my plantar fasciitis is responding well to minimal walking and lots of stretching and frozen water bottle massages so I should be back to running in the near future. Phew! <BR> <BR> Today my parents are coming for a brief overnight visit. It's nice to see them, but it also means we'll be going out to eat and that can be tricksy for eating well. Wish me luck... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 09:19:23 EST Ouch! After my lovely, lovely pre-breakfast run two days ago, I woke up yesterday morning...and could barely walk! I think I overdid it on Tuesday. Tight calves, an aggravated relapse of plantar fasciitis, and I was fighting a nasty head cold to boot. Whoops! <BR> <BR> So not much going on exercise-wise yesterday other than a lot of stretching and rolling my feet around on a frozen water bottle. My legs are a lot better today, and a boatload of vitamins C and D with a fair bit of sleep seem to hav... Fri, 6 Jun 2014 09:19:59 EST Wake up and GO! I tried exercising pre-coffee and breakfast for the first time ever today - and I LOVED it! It was an absolutely beautiful morning with the sun shining, birds chirping, and the air still cool before the sun got hot so I rolled out of bed, laced up my shoes, and went for a run. <BR> <BR> Not gonna lie, it was not my best run. I've been walking and hiking a fair bit but I haven't run regularly since late 2012 so my "runs" are about 1/2 to 2/3 walking right now. But the point is that I got out ... Wed, 4 Jun 2014 09:06:27 EST Got my groove back I've been eating really clean the past few days. Yesterday I fired up the ol' Wii to start a new EA Sports Active 2 workout sequence, and today I fought the DOMS by going for a hike. Not surprisingly I've got more energy tonight than I've had in weeks! I might even have enough energy to want to go for a run by tomorrow. Totally back in the groove now. I love feeling healthy! Go, body, go! Sun, 11 May 2014 20:04:24 EST Hello Sparkfriends! I'm baaaaack! <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> This is a shoutout to all my nerdy Spark-friends, because my absence was completely science induced. I disappeared from Spark for about a month there to prepare for, take, and pass (woohoo!) my big 2nd year PhD candidacy exam. I am officially a PhD candidate! Now I'll spend the summer gathering more data, take my comprehensive exam in the fall, and then truck along for another two or three years to get that dissertation finished. Yay successes! <BR> ... Thu, 8 May 2014 08:41:09 EST Fat day - blergh! No but seriously, I'm having THE WORST fat day today! And it's not just that I feel fat. I mean, yes, I have been indulging in some ice cream and I may be a bit hormonal, so some of it is surely psychological. But mostly I'm just bloated as hell, with a touch of an unsettled stomach. My rings are tight, my pants won't close, I'm bulging out of my shirts... What the heck did I eat to bring this on? Me no like-y! <BR> <BR> Off to buy some yogurt and a boatload of veggies. Sheesh! Wed, 2 Apr 2014 19:12:40 EST Quick update Howdy, Sparkfriends! Just wanted to let y'all know what I've been up to the past week or so. <BR> <BR> I went off to New Orleans with a friend last weekend for a touch of spring break fun. We spent three and a half days exploring the city, pretending that I wasn't gluten intolerant (and oh, did I pay for that! Totally worth it though. ZOMG crawfish étouffée is amazing, and mmm, beignets!). We did make up for the food by walking 8+ miles each day. Lovely city, lot of fun, and I hope to make ... Sat, 15 Mar 2014 21:53:45 EST Weight, size, and health Argh! I had a whole long, super-awesome, well thought out and exciting blog written….and then the dreaded "no html allowed" bug ate it and now it's lost forever. Sniff. <BR> <BR> Anyway, here's the main point. This is what my weight has looked like over the past four years: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My main point: don't let some numbers on a scale make you feel bad about yourself! Shockingly enough, I'm smaller, fitter, healthie... Tue, 4 Mar 2014 08:56:56 EST