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Recent Discoveries

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Okay, maybe some of these have not been so recent, but since I am stubborn and stuck in my ways, I tend to cling to old concepts until they are beaten out of my brain, often more than once. This usually involves some sort of pain, either physical or psychic. That pain doesn’t usually last very long, and what I’m left with is a brand new idea that I can play with and explore and have some fun with. So apparently it’s worth it.

From newest to oldest:

SPAGHETTI SQUASH.
Oh my. This one really is recent, as in just a few days ago. Why did it take me so long to discover this? I’m not really a squash person I guess. I don’t know how to buy it, or cook it, and I never had much of it growing up (pumpkin pie and zucchini bread don’t count). But this lovely yellow squash is so yummy and so easy to work with, and so FILLING, with so few calories and carbs, I think I am going to make it at least once a week. I might even make that day completely meatless.

This is the first recipe I tried, from allrecipes.com. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sp
aghetti-Squash-I/Detail.as
px?soid=recs_recipe_seed
Not only is this great for dinner, it fries up beautifully with a couple of eggs for breakfast. I need to find some others.

OVERDONE WORKOUTS
If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know I’m a swimmer. I like to throw in a bike ride or a strenuous walk when I can. I even have a sort of love-hate relationship with running. But swimming is my preference. I just love the water.

When I’m getting ready for a workout, part of that is thinking about what I want to do. By the time I get to the pool, or get the bike out, or lace up my shoes, I have a pretty clear idea of how far and how long I want to go. Often though, I’ll get started and then not want to stop. I fall into my groove and feel like I can just keep going… and going… and going… and I’ll end up doing way more than I planned. Which is really not good for me, on two levels.

First is the obvious. If I go too long, I get over-tired. I’m at risk for hurting myself, and I usually find myself exhausted within an hour or two after. Then I can’t concentrate on anything else, and my plans for the day go up in smoke. Then I get irritated with myself for not being productive enough.

Second, I’ll often wake up the next day stiff and sore, which doesn’t help me start a good day, and if I had plans for workouts on two consecutive days, those plans will be shot. Then I get irritated with myself again.

My plans are usually right on. I just need to stick with them and not get over ambitious.

EATING CLEAN WORKS. AND IT’S NOT THAT HARD
I made a commitment to lower carb eating many years ago. And it helped me take off a lot of weight. But as I age, it’s getting harder and harder to keep it off. I’ve gained 20 lbs over the last two years, and it apparently thinks it can make a permanent home on my body. So even though I’m still eating lower carb, I have to look at the particular foods that make up that lower carb diet.

Foods like bacon, lunchmeat, cheese, thick creamy salad dressings, and cream cheese are all low carb. And I love them and they are a big part of my diet. However, they are also highly processed, with chemicals and sodium, some added sugars, and not-so-healthy fats that affect the way my body metabolizes them.

I haven’t figured out yet how to eliminate these foods from my diet, or even if I should, because I like them. But this is a very clear indicator that clean eating works: I feel better when I eat cleaner. I have more energy, more mental focus, I’m able to stave off hunger longer, I avoid stomach issues and headaches, and I’m less likely to snack at night. This is what I used to say about low carb eating in general. Now I’m finding it needs to be refined.

I am still committed to low carb eating. I will never go back to a grain-heavy diet or the government recommendation of 55% of calories coming from carbs. Even if they are the best, cleanest carbs in the world, that many carbs will make me fat. Period.

VEGGIES AT BREAKFAST
I have found that if I eat veggies with breakfast, I’m more likely to eat more veggies at the rest of my meals. I eat eggs for breakfast at least 6 out of 7 mornings. Sometimes it’s just eggs and some kind of meat. Sometimes it’s eggs and some kind of hot cereal, like oatmeal. And sometimes I’ll sauté spinach and peppers or asparagus (or above spaghetti squash) and then scramble them up with eggs and add some bacon. (See my last blog) This has become a new favorite. However, I don’t want to eat it every day, first of all because it’s work, and second of all because I don’t want to get bored with it. However, if I look at my trackers, I’ll see that on the days when I’ve eaten veggies in the morning, I seem more likely to continue the veggie trend the rest of the day. When I haven’t eaten veggies in the morning, there are less veggies the rest of the day.

SOME WEIGH IN DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS.
I am a daily weigher. I am not obsessed, and I only record once a week. But I’ve found that daily weighing keeps me honest. I look at the change from the day before, whether up or down, and most of the time I can attribute it to something I ate the day before.

If I’m down, it’s generally because I avoided sugar and grain altogether and ate a lot of veggies and other nutrient dense foods. If I’m up, it’s because I ate processed crap, sodium, sugar, white flour, junk food, or the like.

Weekends are bad for me. By Friday, I’m wiped out and the last thing I want to do is cook, or even think about “being good” about what I put in my mouth. Friday and Saturday are the days I’m less likely to track, and more likely to blow it all off and justify my bad choices. I’m more likely to order out, generally from menus that have nothing healthy on them, such as Chinese or pizza. Therefore, Sunday is about the worst day of the week for me to have an official weigh-in. And yet I continue to do it, and I continue to be mad at myself.

I’m much better off weighing in on Friday morning, after I’ve had a full five days to recover from the previous weekend. Even if the numbers still don’t change significantly, at least I’m not angry at myself, and I’m more likely to keep up the good trends that led to that lower number.

EXERCISE DOES NOT CAUSE WEIGHT LOSS
If it did, I’d be a skinny, skinny girl. This is a VERY old idea. But I’m recommitting to it, for several reasons.

First, I need to get off the guilt trip for missing a workout. I need to remember that my first year of significant weight loss happened without a lick of exercise. Not a single step, stroke, lift, pedal. Not one. I also need to remember that I have some other priorities, such as getting enough sleep, paying attention to my relationships, and getting my business off the ground in a way that it can actually support me. Sometimes workouts have to take a back seat.

Second, you can’t out-train a bad diet. See my above comments about bad eating choices on weekends. No amount of swimming is going to get rid of half a pizza the night before.

Finally, working out has plenty of other benefits besides weight loss, and those are what I need to focus on. Strength. Endurance. Better sleep. Better focus. More energy. Stress relief.

YOURS?
What are your recent discoveries that have made (or you hope will make) a difference in your approach to your health?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LONGLEANNLANKY
    I feel like I could have written this blog.
    One thing I discovered is that walnuts are recommended in the morning to stave off hunger, and they do work for me, so right after an egg white and spinach omelet, I will eat them.
    I also love the low carb, meat and cheese eating. But being Hypothyroid, means automatic hiked Cholesterol, and I am at the high end of normal, at 199. I want to bring that number down
    2347 days ago
  • HICKOK-HALEY
    We're not Squash people either. A friend gave me, from a garden, a huge yellow Squash. I couldn't find a recipe my Hubby would enjoy, so I gave the Squash to our neighbor. That recipe looked good to me though. Maybe I will try it someday.
    I switched over to Turkey Bacon years ago. I don't eat it everyday, but sometimes have it with Eggs. Great blog! emoticon
    2528 days ago
  • LUVSBULLDOGS
    Great blog and makes a lot of sense to me. I have V8 with breakfast, if no other vegetables. I feel it helps me keep vegetables a priority the rest of the day.

    Have a great weight loss. emoticon
    2528 days ago
  • SASRA1
    I've been away from SP for a while and just started tracking again a few weeks ago. It's great to see you are still working at it and this blog entry is amazing! You hit all the main points I needed to see! What a great reminder of some important ideas regarding eating and exercise. You rock! :) emoticon
    2537 days ago
  • SPEEDYDOG
    Hi Laurie,

    You are putting a lot of effort into you health and that is great! Putting on 20 pounds over a few years is pretty easy. I know you were busy finishing up your JD. Just a little extra food and a little less exercise takes a toll bit-by-bit.

    Nice blog.

    Bruce

    emoticon
    2539 days ago
  • GORIANA
    Great ideas. I have to try that squash recipe.
    2541 days ago
  • LIZZYP609
    I like this a lot! I have to agree about the lower carb diet. I resisted it for a long time and then i just tried it to give my body a kick start after stalling 10 lbs above goal. When I went straight paleo the pounds came off right away. By only eating a few carbs the weight has stayed off.
    Exercise is more for keeping toned and getting rid of the "fluff" for me right now, not for weight loss. I struggle too about not exercising regularly and beating myself up for it!
    Love Spaghetti squash! Thanks for the link! I am going to try that!
    I eat avocado, egg and tomato for breakfast and I feel like it just sets me on the right path for eating the rest of the day!
    Great blog, couldn't agree more!
    2542 days ago
  • WOUBBIE
    Wow, this is one excellent blog!

    Thumbs up on the squash. I never had it until about 2 years ago, and I just goggled at how delicious it was.

    On the eating clean dilemma, rather than get overwhelmed by it all I just focus on one favorite at a time and do what I can to find a better substitute. Took almost a year to find some salad dressing subs that I like (trying to eliminate all soybean oil from my foods), and, because I love spicy, I settled on guacamole (cheap at ALDI) and sour cream mixed with sriracha. When I'm out I still order my old standard blue cheese, though.

    Lunchmeat I found to be pretty easy. Yes, lunchmeat is convenient, but I actually prefer taking homemade thin-sliced roast beef or turkey breast better than the deli-counter, salt and chemical-filled varieties. As with most clean eating dilemmas, part of the solution is in how time-consuming it can be.

    My biggest surprise discovery is that no, I don't need to eat a solid breakfast to feel great. I've been downing too much protein for a long time. By cutting out the eggs and/or bacon and/or sausage for breakfast and adding coconut oil to my coffee I realigned my protein/fat/carb ratios to a better ratio, and started losing fat again. And the coffee keeps me from being hungry. I have a mug at 6am when I get up, most of another mug by the time I leave the house at 7:15, and a mug of decaf after I get to work - about 9. That keeps me going until at least 11:30, and often much later. I'll have one more decaf at around 2pm. And the coconut oil really does help with the mental focus!
    2542 days ago
  • KELLYFIT123
    What a great blog! Thanks for sharing your insights.

    I'm not sure this is exactly the same thing, but what I've been devoting my mental energy towards lately is the idea that my health is so much more than what my body looks like. I KNOW I'm healthy. I eat well 90% of the time (I enjoy it 100% of the time) and I exercise regularly. Even if I don't look as good at the gym as some of the other women, I need to be OK with that. No one has the same body and everyone has issues with theirs. It's the whole, "I'm OK, you're OK" mentality. It's not easy, though! It's much easier to nitpick against myself.
    2542 days ago
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