Diet bet! Jumpstarting 2016.

Over on Instagram (follow me! @healthyfoodwhore) I saw Big Girl Fit Girl is hosting a Diet Bet. After a few months of false starts, where I work out and eat right consistently for a few days to a week and then completely slack off my workouts (I eat pretty healthily most of the time) I really need something to kick start my workouts. Or really, to kick start me staying consistent with my workouts. January is a tough month for me to get healthy, because it is my birthday month, so I am bombarded with “free dessert” emails from restaurants, not to mention everyone taking me out to restaurants to celebrate! I’m also going on a four day road trip to celebrate my birthday and see my favorite band, Tool. The temptation to eat poorly is doubly worse when traveling, because healthy options can be difficult to find. However, since I am a pescatarian, I am already used to having limited places to eat on the road. I also found a wonderful app that I have yet to use, called “Food Tripping.” I believe I saw this in Health magazine. According to their website, Food Tripping “locates the closest eateries, juice joints, farmers’ markets, microbreweries, and more.” I’m excited to see how this will work, not to mention that in rural Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas there just aren’t a lot of healthy places to eat. Sometimes the only vegetable options that are available anywhere are fried. 😦

Even before I made the diet bet, I had decided to give up sugar for the month of January, except for one dessert whenever I celebrate my birthday. Even though the doctors at work are healthy guys, they brought us chocolate covered pretzels (a 2 pound box!) and a caramel corn assortment, some of which were chocolate covered. A coworker brought in leftover pumpkin cheesecake from Christmas because if she kept it in the house she would eat it all herself. My secret santa bought me a bag of peppermint white chocolate pretzels and a bag of mini reeces cups (In my defense, I only eat a few reeces cups per day…) and to top it all off I made 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies on Christmas Eve! I know the holidays tend to be a time where we eat poorly, but I feel like I lost what little self-control I had in some of those cases. Even though the cookies were for everyone in the family, I’m kind of ashamed at how many I personally consumed. Beating one’s self up does no good however, all we can do is get up, brush ourselves off, and shake off that food coma with a workout. I’m really excited to have made this diet bet, I don’t want to pay $35 to sit on my ass and slack off.

weight

My DietBet profile! If you’re on DietBet, even if you’re not doing Big Girl Fit Girl’s challenge, friend me. It never hurts to have extra accountability. I’m excited that so far one of my local friends has signed up for the diet bet, so we will both have some support that’s not just internet based.

How do you plan to get healthier in 2016? Comment and let me know!

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Getting back on track

In the last ten months, a lot has happened! Some really good – I met and got into a relationship with a wonderful man whom I love very deeply; I graduated from grad school with a Master’s in Social Work; and some not so good – unfortunately I gained 16 pounds. 😦

I didn’t intend, as I’m sure no one does, to gain “new relationship weight.” I definitely didn’t plan on slacking off on my workouts and eating ridiculous amounts of processed food and wheat again, but that’s what ended up happening. I started out that my boyfriend didn’t really cook much, so when he made me super highly processed packaged ramen, something I would normally never put in my body, it was so sweet that I ate it. When he made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, I ate it.

Of course, I did stick to some of my more rigid dietary choices; I definitely didn’t start eating meat again even though he was a pretty big meat eater when we started dating. Part of my not eating meat is a moral thing though, so that made it easier. Little by little, he started trying vegetables and learning to cook things like quinoa and grilled salmon. As it turns out, he’s a pretty amazing cook, he rarely uses a recipe unless I send him one on pinterest. He hadn’t been an adventurous eater at ALL and like a lot of men had simply refused to try vegetables but I got tired of him saying “I don’t know…” ever time I asked if he liked something, so I started giving him bites of stuff that I was eating. He was quite surprised to learn he actually kind of likes zucchini and that artichoke did not kill him. Unfortunately, his apartment is right down the street from Baskin-Robbins and I also started indulging my love of their reece’s peanut butter cup ice cream a bit too much. Overall, 16 pounds in 10 months is not the worst thing that could happen, but I’d rather have not gained it at all. So now I’m pushing 200 pounds again and my fitness level is something that makes me really start to mentally beat myself up. But I’m not going to do that!

Grilled Salmon Salad that my boyfriend made me!

The one good thing is that I know what I need to do, I just haven’t been doing it. Grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream and gobs & gobs of pasta all taste amazing but there’s no way to eat that way all the time and stay healthy. Unfortunately for me that means weight gain, in addition to really not being healthy. So back to clean eating and working out regularly. It can be really demoralizing to lose weight that one has already lost and re-gained. I’ve lost and gained and lost this 16 pounds before. (check out my “how I lost 30 pounds” post.) Every time I lose it I say that I’m not going to gain it back. I guess what I’ve really failed to do is making my clean eating and working out a lifestyle. Truthfully, I don’t love exercise. I do love a salad with grilled wild salmon on it though, and as the memes say: Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym. How we eat is very, very important both for weight loss and for overall health. I do want to make this something that sticks this time. I’m not sure how to keep from being derailed except to be more mindful about it. It’s all a journey, so I figure it’s time to learn whatever lesson I’m not getting. Maybe to quit turning to sugar when I’m sad and when I’m happy!

Here’s the plan:

    • Log everything I eat in the SparkPeople app
    • At least ten minutes of some kind of exercise every day. I will add more to that later, but right now all I’m “requiring” of myself is to do something for ten minutes. It’s easier to convince yourself to move if you say “I only have to do ten minutes.” and it’s pretty easy to make yourself keep going after ten minutes.
    • Clean eating – back to what I know. The less processed the better. No more ramen; only sprouted grain wheat products and limiting those quite a bit; balanced protein and veggie-heavy meals. Healthy snacks.
    • Sweets only on the weekend, and only ONE THING. I’ve gotten bad about having a frapuccino and other stuff too, knowing full well a frapuccino is basically a milkshake.
    • Balance meals that aren’t as healthy with ones that are. No “cheat meal” if I want pasta I plan for it and adjust throughout the day.

Citrus mineral water, interesting swap for plain water

That’s basically it because that’s basically what is needed. Paying attention and saying “no” to bad stuff is what I had stopped doing and I have to start doing it again. One thing I’ve already done is giving up diet soda. In grad school, I started drinking it again but two weeks ago I started brewing green tea for the week and drinking that unsweetened instead of diet soda. I’ve also realized I love cucumbers, so I have been eating half a cucumber with some salad dressing for a mid-morning snack every day. I also organized my pinterest boards. I realized that having 300 recipes on a “healthy food” board was too overwhelming and difficult to find things, so I broke them down to categories like healthy shrimp, healthy sweets, quinoa and tofu, etc. This makes it a lot easier to find a great, clean eating recipe based on what sounds good at that moment. My boyfriend made this Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa Bake and it turned out so good he made a stovetop version of it for his kids. They were very suspicious of it but both (10 and 15 years old) said that it was really good and they were impressed. They ate it scooped up with tortilla chips. Not the healthiest thing ever but certainly better than Taco Bell!

I’m not thrilled with myself, but I know that the best way to sabotage myself is to beat myself up and be negative. So I’m back on the healthy eating track, and I will be posting my progress! Thanks for taking this journey with me.

30 day plank challenge!

Starting tomorrow (May 1st) I’m doing this 30 day plank challenge! I started this challenge a couple months ago, but then I was sick and slacked off and never picked it back up. I definitely am not letting a plank challenge get the best of me though – so I’m starting again.

30 day plank challenge

If you want to join in, “like” my facebook fan page and check in with me every day! It’s a great way to keep going when it gets tough, when you know other people are holding you accountable.

How I lost 30 pounds

How I lost 30 pounds

 

Because I know some people are going to want to know how I lost the first 30 pounds, I’m going ahead and including it here. Clean eating and exercise is the bottom line. The more blogs and instagram pages and facebook pages you read, you WILL see a theme. There is no magical pill, there is no easy fix, you have to work. Eat right, and exercise.

Keep Track of your Food

I use the free SparkPeople app to count calories and activities, and I try to keep it at 1500 calories a day. Try not to go too far under 1200 calories because too few calories can be just as damaging as too many, and you may not see results. Sometimes adding 100-200 calories can help you get over a plateau.

Eat Clean, always Know what you are eating

I eat clean 90-95% of the time. At the beginning I tended to eat out a lot and I realized that I was making bad choices at restaurants too often. It doesn’t work to indulge only in a restaurant if you’re eating in a restaurant 3-4 times per week. Takeout counts too! ALWAYS know what you’re eating. If the restaurant is a chain, it will have nutrition calories listed. My motto is that I can eat it but I have to eat it mindfully. If a meal is 1,200 and I really want to do that? Ok but I’m going to go into it knowing it’s nearly a day’s worth of calories. Ask for things to not be cooked with butter, some restaurants put butter on everything. Don’t eat the bread, if possible ask they don’t even bring it. Make the restaurant meal your cheat meal, but again you still have to be mindful about it. A cheat meal isn’t an opportunity to gorge one’s self on chemical crap.

Keep temptations and crap food out of the house

I don’t keep chemical crap and/or sweets in the house. If I have cookies, I will eat cookies. If I really want ice cream, and I have to leave the house to get it, I’m less likely to eat it. I do like sweets and I try to keep healthier choices in the house – No sugar added Edy’s fruit pops are a favorite of mine. I also love Halo Top ice cream, which is sweetened with stevia. Stay clean with it though! Artificial sweeteners, aspartame, even splenda (yes sorry!) are just as bad a sugar, but in a different way. Don’t go to the supermarket and grab the “diet” ice cream and candy and cookies. Don’t buy processed “fruit” snacks that don’t actually contain fruit (apple juice concentrate as the 10th ingredient isn’t a good, healthy thing!) Don’t buy gluten free crackers that have 30 ingredients you’ve never heard of in them. Clean eating is some substitutions but some things you can’t really recreate. Minimally processed is the norm of a clean eating diet – and if I just have to have a kitkat, I will eat a kitkat not a diet kitkat knock-off.

It’s tougher now that I live with a teenager, but what I have done that works really well is not having a bunch of crap food around for him either. He picks one or two things that he has around and I don’t touch them because that would be really unfair. I may eat one chocolate chip cookie if he bakes chocolate chip cookies but It would be rude to eat his food. Things he or my boyfriend don’t eat I’ve asked them to not bring here; my boyfriend’s mom was bad about sending powdered donuts home with them but neither of them eat any! So I’ve asked them to just not bring them home to begin with.

Log activities, use a step tracker

I wear a Fitbit activity tracker and my current step goal is 10,000 per day. That’s a realistic stretch for me because I have to spend a lot of time sitting while I work, sitting at the computer, and being sedentary.

Move every day

I walk my dogs several times per week. This is good for them too because they need exercise as well! I also try to get to the walking trails near my house 2-3 times per week unless it’s the dead of summer. (We hit 100+ during a Mississippi summer.)

Do Cardio. Slow is better than not at all

For the first 30 pounds, I tried to do cardio 3 times a week, specifically this free Couch to 5k mix. I stayed on each week until I could run all of the intervals without stopping, no matter how long that took. It was slow going but that was ok!

ladies, lift weights! muscle burns more fat

I weight train 3-4 times a week. I’ve lost almost 10% body fat so even when the weight on the scale doesn’t move much it’s cool to see that body fat % go down. Women are sometimes afraid of getting too ripped but let’s be really honest here, you aren’t going to look like a body builder by lifting weights a few times a week. People have to work very hard to look like that. Check out my Workouts board on pinterest for ideas on how to start.

if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you. Get uncomfortable.

I push myself. I hate being uncomfortable and getting sweaty but you don’t see results if you don’t work hard. I do try to do things I like as opposed to things I hate though. I don’t like running, I just don’t. I’ll walk faster, for longer, than I will run. So I walk instead of running.

I’m not paid to endorse any of the things/products listed here, nor was I given any of them for free! Just fyi.