Friday, September 27, 2013


Wow! What a crazy week. I feel like I have so many updates to share but I’m not sure I will be able to remember them all- my brain is pretty fried. Work has been going extremely well but I am super busy. Not sure it will slow down anytime soon either. I am thankful I will be able to take a few days off in a couple weeks to go over to New Orleans with my parents when they come to visit. I know it will be a much needed break – especially because midterms will be behind me and I will be able to breathe a bit easier.


Anywho, this week I had my first appointment with my nutritionist and it was awesome. I was leery because I have heard so many bad stories especially from people who follow certain non-typical diets like I do. More concern (unsupported) stemmed from dealing with a military doc at a military facility- I had no idea how they would handle my situation. I was preparing myself to hear “you need to eat meat/dairy” in order to lose weight/fat. I was also preparing myself to say screw that shit if that is what I was told.

But that is not at all what happened. My nutritionist was awesome.  She had read through my file in advance and had a ton of information prepared for me in regards to my current diet. Actually my primary care doc wrote vegetarian in my file (which is technically correct since veganism is just a type of vegetarianism, but I digress) so she was a little thrown but she recovered nicely and still came up with a lot of great ideas for me.

First we started with just general Q&A; what I eat, what type of activities do I do, what are my goals, etc.

Then we talked about each area in depth. Prior to my arrival she had calculated my metabolic rate (which she had to go back and recalculate once she knew my activity level) and so part of our discussion was about my daily calorie intake, in total not net. For me to lose weight slowly she would like me to consume 1600-1800 calories a day. Preferably, closer to 1800. Which makes me happy- 1800 is a number I can live with, happily.

Once the calorie goal was set we worked on the actual breakdown of how that will work for me as far as servings of fruits, veggies, grains, proteins, etc. This was probably the most helpful part for me and I should note here that we did not make any drastic changes to my diet- we are just fine-tuning at this point, her words not mine.

She gave me this huge chart that denotes the number of servings I should be eating for each food group based on my calorie intake.  It also has this cool stop light type format that breaks down every food group listing the foods in that group and categorizes them as green, yellow, or red. Green of course meant go- foods to eat frequently, yellow meant caution- foods to eat in moderation, and red meant stop (well kind of)- foods to eat sparingly. It was kind of cool to see everything laid out and see all of the ‘red’ foods I eat daily. Yikes!

But it was also good because we had a really helpful conversation about my vitamin, fat and protein intake. See, I don’t eat much soy and I really try to limit my intake of processed foods- especially fake meats. And based on how I currently eat I do currently intake enough protein- if we are just looking at the numbers. But my doc wants me to move away from eating so many grain/bean/seed based proteins (even the complete proteins like quinoa) and move more to soy milk, tempeh (which I do happen to love), tofu, edamame (yes, I realize I just listed 4 soy products) as my main protein source since they are all high in protein, low in carbs. Not that I can’t still eat beans and grains and all the other foods I love just she doesn’t want me to count them as my protein (“meat”) source. They fall into their own categories. Another reason she wants me to move to eating more soy foods and soy milk is because they are fortified and although I am currently consuming enough vitamins she is concerned that because I eat such a high fiber diet that my body isn’t able to absorb them quickly enough so she wants to make sure I am getting in plenty of calcium and vitamin D. She also recommended I try to increase my fat intake (which helps with the absorption of vitamins) by incorporating more flax and walnuts into my diet.  I am on board with all of these changes for sure!

She also told me to back off the cardio a bit. She loves that I am doing yoga and boot camp- both strength training which are helping me to build that lean muscle mass I lack- but that at this point the amount of running and cycling I am doing isn’t doing anything for my body other than providing me with endorphins and stress release (which are both still great reasons to be active) and so she wants me to scale back the amount of cardio I am doing to more like 30 minutes at a time just a few times a week and to try to incorporate more interval work to change it up a bit. She is ok with me doing more than that but she doesn’t want me to feel like I need to, if that makes sense?  She is trying to help me/my body find its healthy activity balance.

She also had a custom (re: vegan) food guide that we went over with ideas for meals/snacks and we did briefly talk goals, which I really didn’t know what to tell her they were when she asked. I used to have this magic number in my head (150) that was where I wanted my weight to be. Now, not so much. Now I really don’t know where my weight should be. To me it is a place where I feel comfortable in my skin, can realistically maintain, and still be in good health. Nowadays I like to say 160 is that number because for almost a year it was all three of those things. And now, somehow (I had a really great month), that’s where I am weight wise- well technically 161.0 lbs this morning- and am ready to try to continue losing (or at least implement all of the changes she had suggested to help me continue) and see if getting, and staying, below 160 is an actual possibility. Who knows if it is and honestly I don’t care either way.

I am happy.

I am healthy.

And I am back to my ‘fighting weight’

Which means….

This morning I gave my primary care doctor the green light to submit the request for a plastic surgeon consult for an abdominoplasty. On my last visit I told him I wanted to wait until I was back to 160 before I would have the surgery but to me 161 is close enough. I am pretty sure I can lose one more pound between now and whenever I have the operation. I am excited and nervous, anxious and scared. It’s a big deal. I put it off for 2 years because I wanted to be ready both physically and mentally. The last thing I wanted to happen was to come out of this surgery and start nitpicking apart the rest of my body. This surgery is for medical reasons (well at least for the most part – sure there is a part of me- my vain side- that is excited to lose all this extra skin) and earlier this month I had a rough time dealing with a patch of sores/chaffing on the excess skin on my lower stomach that made me realize how bad it really is and how it is something that needs to be fixed. My flabby arms and thighs and saggy breasts absolutely do not. And I am ok with that. I am 100% ok with them looking how they do now for the rest of my life.

My stomach is a different story. There is a legit medical issue (infections) which is why my insurance covers it and my doctors have been pushing for it. There is a difference.

And I think my brain finally gets that .

And I think I am ready for this surgery.

So that is where I am at right now. I am to schedule a follow up visit with the nutritionist in 4-6 weeks and I should be hearing about the surgery consult in the next ten days. In a perfect world I will be able to schedule my surgery for right before Christmas and use the two weeks the university gives us for holiday as part of my recovery time. If not, I probably will have to wait until sometime next year (because of work constraints) to have it. Either way would be fine by me but Christmas just works better since it is during a work holiday- no one will miss me.

Oh, and in other news….the Fitbloggin’ 2014 location has finally been announced and next year it’s heading to Savannah, GA. June 26-29. Mark your calendars. I’ll be there. It’s drivable for me. No way in hell will I miss this one! Portland was beyond amazing and I know Savannah will be too! This year I would like to make a vacation out of it so if you are coming and plan on extending too let me know. Or if you live anywhere in the Savannah area I could easily be convinced to take a road trip to see you J

Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Soldiering On...

It is pretty common to see me post about my workouts, my plans, and random pics of my dogs on FB or Twitter. I generally keep it pretty light and tend to post things more frequently when I am happy versus when I am miserable/angry/[insert negative emotion here].

Same is true with this blog. I tend to write more frequently when I am in good moods versus bad moods. I am sure part of that is because I never want to have my setbacks or problems viewed as failures but another reason is when I am not feeling great I don’t really want to do anything, blogging included. So those down days may end up being overlooked but trust me, usually, it’s not because I am hiding.

Yesterday wasn’t a very good day. I woke up after four terrible hours of sleep, extremely dehydrated from the night before, and all I wanted to do was to be a hermit. Because my fridge was pretty baron (big fail on my part) my meals/snacks up until dinner time consisted of; two small Yukon gold potatoes, multi-grain tortilla chips and a mini bagel.  No fruits, no veggies, very little fiber. Just starchy carbs and a smidge of fat. Yeah, the foods were easy on my stomach but by the end of the day I was craving some vitamins. My body was literally begging me for some vegetables. It was pretty bad.

Thankfully, even though I wanted to stay on the couch all day and do nothing, I was still able to summon the mental strength to put together a meal plan for the week and then the physical fortitude to stand up and prepare all of it.  I don’t know how I won that battle but I am so glad I did. And even though I didn’t make it to hot yoga (not wise while dehydrated) or the gym or even for a long walk (rain all day) and even though I felt more mentally drained than I had in a very long time (thank you lack of sleep) I still celebrated the fact that I was able to set myself up for success this week by prepping all the meals. To me, one missed workout is insignificant but one week of eating out or eating tons of processed crap is a slippery slope and I do not want to go down that path if I can avoid it.

So, even though most of yesterday may not have went as I originally planned I have to be happy with the things I did do.

I guess my point is this- every day is not going to be ‘perfect’. Rarely do I have days/weeks that happen exactly to schedule. It’s called life. We all have to be able to adapt to the things we cannot predict. I still work on trying to not have a defeatist attitude when I miss out on workouts or I don’t make the best food choices. It happens. But I know I shouldn’t beat myself up too much and instead take that energy and use it to make a better plan for the next day or the next meal or the next few hours. 

Spending half the day in a haze yesterday could have sent me to the ‘screw it all’ place where I would normally just throw my hands up in the air and not care about food, exercise (or movement of any form) or plans and call the whole thing a wash. But that would be stupid wouldn’t it? And probably a bit over dramatic, too. Instead I looked at the time and what I needed/wanted to get done and set a reasonable to-do list for the few hours that remained. That list was; make a healthy and hearty dinner (loaded with veggies, of course), food prep for the week, and then relax watching the Emmy’s (my guilty pleasure is award shows) before an early night’s sleep.

And that is exactly what I did.

And yes, it was really hard to force myself off that couch.

And yes, I was tired and mopey the entire time I was in the kitchen.

But man, let me just tell you how good it felt relaxing afterwards knowing that was one thing I did not have to be concerned about for the rest of the week. I slept great last night and today was so much less stressful not having to wonder what I would be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now I am off for a run and then home to eat some chickpea and asparagus casserole I made ahead last night.

See, it is totally possible to turn a shitty day into a great (or at least productive) one.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Just the other day I was talking with a friend/co-worker of mine. He kind of knows a bit of my story (you know, the whole I lost a whole normal sized person’s worth of weight thing) and I kind of tell him here and there about how that has changed me.

Changed me in ways I couldn’t have even begun to imagine.

Yesterday I started to tell him about this part of my story. The blog. The network I have because of it. The insane affect social media has had on my life. The support. The friendships. The bestest of memories. And how I really would not be where I am today without any of it.

Did he fully understand it? Probably not. I tried to paint a good picture but it’s hard to really understand this relationship, this lifestyle, unless you live it.

But one of the things I really could not stress to him enough was the mental aspect of weight loss. How working through my underlying issues (some of them I am sure are still buried inside me somewhere) was way more difficult than losing the weight. That trying to find acceptance in myself (and others) is often at times challenging, and has definitely at times felt impossible. That the unconscious habit of comparing myself to other people has yet to go away. How every day (even 123 pounds later) I still have to make a conscious effort to implement the plans I set for myself, the ones that will get me to my goals.

Has it gotten easier? Sure. After 31 months I would hope it would. But every day isn’t easy. There are setbacks. Days I just want to throw my hands up and say eff it all. Days where I hide from my friends, my network, because I am ashamed. Days when someone else’s progress and achievement makes me feel bad about myself. It happens.

I’m human.

But I am getting better. And yes, it is getting easier.

Today, I am proud of me.

Today, I know I am doing the best I can in this moment.

Today, I know I have a plethora of resources available to help me through anything in my life.

Today, I love myself a whole hell of a lot more than I did 31 months ago.

Today, I know I am worth it.

And that is awesome…

For me.

But through this journey, my journey, I learned my life is so much more than just me. It’s way more than what I need and what my goals are.

My life became about all of you, too.

About trying to be a better friend.

About trying to be someone else’s support system.

A resource for others to reach out and find.

A helping hand.

And above all a person who can show others they are important. That they are beautiful and smart and funny and loving and all the wonderful things that make them who they are. A person who stops with the judging and helps others to do the same. A person that can help others find acceptance, their self-love, just like so many women in my life have helped me do.

I really just want to be a person that can do some good. Give back all that has been given to me. To make the people in my life feel as awesome and loved as they make me feel.

I want to do more.

I am filled with so much gratitude and hope and strength and encouragement and I just want to share that with you.

So, I ask you this…how?

How can I be that person?

Serious question here folks, I really don’t know. I just know I want to do more.

This picture is completely irrelevant to the post. Just wanted to share another one of my happy places. Me and my favrorite tree- Smiley :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Some Days...

Most days, I would say probably a good 85-90% of them, I am pretty upbeat. Optimistic to the point I am sure I annoy people. Always seeing the best in a situation. Trying my best to be a positive influence for myself and others. Generally, just a happy-go-lucky kind of girl.

Most days.

But some days, not often but not rare either, I just feel sad. Lonely. Missing a part of myself. Hurting. Just a general state of ho-humness. Kind of blah. A bit of ick.

Today is one of those days.

Actually, yesterday was one of those days (triggered by the news of my great Aunt passing) and it trickled over to today.

But then this happened…

And a few hearty belly laughs over lunch.

And, of course, knowing that I am blessed with the most amazing family….

And friends...

 Thank you,
And of course puppies...

How sweet?

It all helps bring me back to my happy place.


Or places….
Thank you all so much for being here, reading, caring. You make every day so much better by being a part of my life. Love you guys to pieces! J

Monday, September 16, 2013

4, 3, 2, 1...10,000

Alternate titles for this post:

Variety is the Spice of Life… a bit too cliché

Yoga Saved My Life… a bit too dramatic

So I opted for 4, 3, 2, 1…10,000

Which is exactly what I did last week- activity wise

4 yoga classes~ 3 hot yoga classes, one dynamic yoga class

3 runs~14 miles

2 boot camp classes~ 9 trillion squats and far too many burpees

And 1 session on my spin bike~ one hour and about 22 miles of insane pyramids

Plus at least 10,000 steps every day from walking.

*On days when I run I still try to get in 10,000 walking steps in addition to whatever steps logged in my workout.

                Monday- 10,297

                Tuesday- 25,618

                Wednesday- 21,289

                Thursday- 17, 402

                Friday- 12,838

                Saturday- 16,575

                Sunday- 11,208

In case you were wondering that’s 115,227 steps. I figure that about 25K of those steps came from running so about 90K, give or take, is from walking. Woo hoo! That’s still an average of over 10K walking steps a day!

Last week I really tried to focus on a few things; the basics I have been working on- tracking and getting more movement in during the day, limiting processed foods, and getting in a healthy mix of activities and man did I have a great week! It’s been two weeks since I started to incorporate yoga back into my routine and it really has it made a huge difference! Now I am going to explain why and you may think it sounds like a bunch of hooey, and that’s cool, but for me I think it is totally legit.

1)      Yoga provides balance. It grounds me. It’s calming focus on body, mind and spirit is the yin to my normal, hectic yang of a life. I have been so caught up in just making it through every day that I was starting to get easily overwhelmed. I have noticed a huge change just in the past 2 weeks; I am much more relaxed, much more centered and much more at peace with the craziness around me.

2)      Yoga gives me a focus. I am not sure about you but I certainly don’t set an intention for any other activity I do. Like I don’t set a focus on clarity or healing or peace during boot camp or a run. I just go out and run or finish the class and that is it. For me, those types of activities are all about the aerobic, and sometimes anaerobic, and strengthening benefits. But with yoga I can focus my energy during my practice on an intention which helps take me from my physical body to my spiritual body. Although I do sometimes focus on intentions that are related to my physical body, like an intention on healing, but you get my point.

3)      The more I nourish my soul the more I am nourishing my body. I am about to get all hippie on you here but this is honestly how I feel.  My body is happy. Between the yoga and the fact that I am really working on limiting processed foods I just feel so much more satisfied. I am not thinking about food all the time. I eat when I am hungry (still of course following my hunger cues) and I eat nutrient dense foods so I feel satisfied and that is great. That’s what should be happening. But the times in between the food- well yoga is really helping to bring back a calmness and clarity that shuts up my monkey mind, especially my often times food obsessed monkey mind. And that is so amazing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still love all the other active areas of my life and I don’t plan on giving them up. They provide me with so much enjoyment on top of the health benefits it would be silly to let them go. But after seeing/feeling the changes that have occurred in my life just in the past two weeks well it probably goes without saying that yoga is here to stay J

And it’s about time! Yeah, I’m totally kicking myself for waiting so long after the move to find a new place to practice but that’s water under the bridge, right? Better late than never!

For this week-I have a pretty similar plan to last week’s.

5 yoga classes- 2 hot yoga classes, 1 dynamic yoga class, 1 kundalini class and 1 aerial yoga class- this time I am going to ask my instructor to take some pictures for me during aerial to share with you. It is such a cool way to do yoga!

3 runs

2 boot camp classes (hopefully, I may have a conflict tomorrow evening)

1 spin bike session (already completed this morning. Woot!)

And my daily goal of 10,000 walking steps

I am also testing out a new recipe this week: Simple Farro& Bean Stew. I actually cooked it yesterday and it is sitting in my fridge waiting to be eaten for dinner tonight. I am pretty excited- it smelled fantastic while it was cooking.

Are you trying anything new this week? Maybe a new food or recipe?

Do you like to practice yoga? Do you think it is important to find balance within the various activities you do?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Every Wednesday my blogroll is pretty much filled with WIAW (what I ate Wednesday) posts. I love them. However, I don’t think I will ever be joining in. The food I eat is neither exciting nor glamorous. I cook most of it ahead of time and rarely do I take any pictures of the foods I am eating. Well, rarely in comparison to people who are food bloggers. So today I am starting WDDW- What Dacia Does on Wednesday….for lack of a better name.  Not sure if I will do this weekly but today, with everything going on in remembrance of 9/11 and my uncle in a hospital having surgery, I kind of wanted to keep this post light.

Not to play down the events that are going on but because light is about all my mind can handle today.

So, today:

I went to the gym and tested my mental fortitude by trying to kill my already tired legs.

2.06 miles of hill intervals on the treadmill, 2.55 miles of the crosstraining 2 program on the crossramp machine. I always forget why I don’t like the crosstraining program until after I am a quarter of the way into my workout and it tells me to pedal backwards…ugh, 15 minutes of pedaling backwards- definitely not the highlight of my morning. Lol!

However, jamming out for an hour at the gym to my favorite music was a definite highlight. I told you about my yoga instructor that says ‘this is my jam’ when referring to her favorite poses, right? I think of her now every time one of my favorite songs comes on.  Some of my jams…

Simple Song- the Shins and Breezeblocks- Alt-J are my favorite warm up songs. The perfect way to ease into a workout/walk/run/waking up…

Pompeii- Bastille

Zombie- the Antique Toys (I love hearing Feed Me, I’m Cranky on a regular basis)

Miracle Mile- Cold War Kids

Ways to Go- Grouplove

Harlem- New Politics

If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t on the Dancefloor)- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Hurricane- MS MR

Royals- Lorde


Trying to be Cool- Phoenix

Do I Wanna Know?- Arctic Monkeys

Thunder Clatter- Wild Cub This is Paul’s jam so it always makes me think of him when I hear it

Best Day of My Life- American Authors This is my current theme song- I hear this song all the time and it always makes me smile and brightens my day. If you have 4 minutes you should give it a listen

Today I made (well, me and/or Paul made) all the meals I will be having. Even though I will be at work/school until 9p I am not using it as an excuse to eat crap. I took some extra time this morning, while I was eating some quinoa and steel cut oats, to pack up lunch AND dinner. Lunch is leftover quinoa chili (which Paul made for dinner Monday- thanks babe) and watermelon and dinner is a pb&j sammie, greek salad, and a plum. I also brought snacks with me too; a cripps pink apple, almonds, and some celery and carrots. I should be set for the day foodwise. It’s definitely not easy to sit through a 3 hour philosophy discussion on an empty stomach.

And speaking of school, today I get to conduct my first observation for my Qualitative Research class in between work and class (while I eat dinner…shhhh, don’t tell) in one of my favorite spots on campus- the second floor of the library. We have to conduct a series of documented observations for a project we are working on this semester. We were able to pick the location of our choice so I picked the library- busy yet quiet, air conditioned (a bonus when you live in FL) and it smells like books. Love!

After I complete my observation I get to mad dash across campus to make it to my 3 hour class/discussion for the other course I am taking; Educational Foundations: A Philosophical & Multicultural Analysis. Long title, lots of books, lots of discussions. Interesting topics which is a good thing for a 3 hour class on a Wednesday night.  Tonight we will be talking about two of the texts we are reading; Coming Apart: the State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray and Issues and Alternatives in Educational Philosophy by George R. Knight. I am really enjoying Coming Apart especially since Murray writes from the point of view that all of the major cultural and class changes in America, specifically white America, stemmed from the assassination of Kennedy.  I wasn’t alive in 1963 so learning more about the U.S. during that time, and really even the few decades after, is quite interesting.  My professor was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement in the south in the 60’s which shows in the texts she has chosen for this class including her book Reflections of the 1965 Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

By the time I get home from school/work (one in the same) it will be 9p. Pretty much just enough time for me to get stuff together for Thursday morning (5:30a hot yoga), drink some kombucha, and give Paul and the furbabies a kiss goodnight. Looking over my day seems like I have/had a lot going on but it really doesn’t feel too bad. Lots of hours away from home but it goes by quickly which is a good thing. Plus I always feel like once I make it through today I’m in the home stretch- the rest of the week is smooth sailing.

What are you up to today? Happy the week is halfway over?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Post Number Two: Breaking Up with Ben & Jerry

A few weeks back I wrote a post about motivation as part of a series of posts I intend to write all about healthy habits. When I initially posed the question on the blog FB page about this series I received some feedback with topic ideas. One was motivation. Another one was geared around food- primarily junk food- and how to change eating habits. The idea of emotional eating was also brought up but that might need to be a whole post just on its own. We’ll see.

So for today’s post I want to write about breaking up with Ben & Jerry. ..

First off I should start with this- I never broke up with Ben & Jerry, we just changed our relationship status. I would like to be clever here and say “it’s complicated” but it’s really not…

It’s true. I eat junk. Maybe I don’t literally eat Ben & Jerry’s since I am vegan but I have been known to grab a container of So Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl coconut milk ‘ice cream’ every now and again and trust me- it’s far from health food. Yes folks, being a vegan does not automatically make me a healthy person. It is something I work at day in and day out, just like everyone else.

And you know that.

And for the most part you know where I am now, how and what I eat regularly, and that information may be helpful. But I am guessing you would want to know how to make a similar transition on your own. To start weaning yourself off of eating convenience and junk foods daily, how to start finding what foods work for your body and starting to make more healthy choices. Not all the time but most of the time.

So hopefully by telling parts of my story I may inspire you to find new ways to try and eat a bit better. Less processed junk, more real foods. That’s kind of my mantra and maybe it can be yours too.

I found my way to a plant-based diet through food journaling and I am a big proponent of not only tracking what you eat but also how those foods make you feel, any underlying emotions behind the food choices, and what cues were telling you to eat/stop eating. Food journaling is like tracking but on crack. For me it was the key to understanding my body, my eating patterns and learning how to eat mindfully. Remember- the goal of eating, first and foremost, is to keep us alive. I’m not saying to deprive yourself completely of the pleasure that you can receive from eating and only focus on intaking enough calories to survive but I am saying eating has to be about balance- eat yummy foods that bring you pleasure AND are nutritionally good for you, most of the time. Don’t let your body’s addiction to that fat/salt/sugar combo be the main driving force behind every food choice. It’s ok once in a while to eat foods just because they taste so damn yummy but not all the time, and not in excessive amounts.

Food journaling is also a great way to understand your eating habits in order to change them. Your mind needs to associate good feelings with good foods and bad feeling with bad foods so you can start to make better decisions naturally, because that is what your body will want. Plus, how can you know what foods are good for you and bad for you if you have no record of what you are actually eating? I mean we all know that eating carrots and celery is probably better for you than eating Ben & Jerry’s (on so many levels) but what about everything in between? What about grains, beans, poultry, white flour, wheat flour, potatoes, dark chocolate, wine, pasta, lean cuisine frozen dinners, peanut butter, etc? What about all the foods that we eat day to day? How are they affecting our bodies? It’s not all about eating 2 slices of pizza instead of a whole pizza or even opting for salad instead of pizza. We also need to be focusing on our ‘every day’ foods and seeing how they affect our body. And for this food journaling really comes in handy.

Anywho, I can go on and on about food journaling and mindful eating. If you want to know more, just ask. I can definitely elaborate. But for now, I think I have said enough that you get my point. Tracking is good. Food journaling is better. At least when you are starting out.

My next bit of advice is- moderation…everything in life (not just food) in moderation. For example, Paul loves homemade calzones. They are definitely not the best food choice we can make. Eating one is basically the equivalent of eating a half of a pizza, give or take. Is it good? YES. Do I try to make it better by adding a lot of nutrient dense foods? OF COURSE. Is it still junk food- I’d say probably. But I still eat it. Just not every day. Or every week for that matter. Calzones, just like pizza, are maybe a once a month/once every other month food. Yep, there are probably times where we eat calzones/pizza more frequently and times when we eat them less frequently. Same goes for pancakes. I love pancakes. I could probably eat an entire batch of pancakes on my own. I haven’t had pancakes since April (yes, I actually remember the last time I made pancakes) but not because I am depriving myself of them. I just haven’t had the time, craving or justification to make them.

You see, I know what foods are good for my body. I know what I need to eat to be able to live an active and healthy lifestyle and I stick with them 80% of the time (that’s my goal at least) and leave the other 20% for beer festivals, homemade calzones, desserts, or late night veggie burgers- or whatever else my normal ‘social life’ brings with it.  I love the 80/20 rule and have had much success with it. It brings me balance. It brings me to a point where I don’t feel deprived and I need that. For me, it’s much easier to make the healthier choices 80% of the time when I know I have full freedom to have whatever the other 20% of the time.

But I can only manage that 80/20 split when I meal plan. When I grocery shop. When I make a conscious effort to prep healthy snacks, keep the pantry stocked with basic staples, and put forth the effort to spend a bit more time in the kitchen and a little less time on the couch – which is ultimately a win-win even though it never sounds like fun.

It’s not always easy. Yes, there are days when I really feel like I would prefer a life filled with convenience foods and eating out. When I don’t want to scour the interwebs for fast AND easy AND non-processed AND vegan recipes. Sundays when I don’t want to have to shop AND cook AND clean AND do schoolwork AND prep BUT my mind knows that it’s really not that bad, it’s really not that time consuming and that yes, it will always be worth it. Every time. Like I’ve said countless times- I am always in a struggle against lazy. But over time I have gotten better about planning, more efficient with shopping, and have gotten smarter about picking out recipes that make cooking and food prep much easier. You know what else helps- asking for and receiving help from others.  Maybe you don’t have a spouse or partner you can guilt trip kindly ask to lend a hand in the kitchen or send to the store with a grocery list but maybe you have a parent or child or friend that could lend a hand. Maybe you have resources available to help you come up with new ideas for meals. Or lend a pair of hands to clean up some produce. Or even throw some oats in a crockpot for you overnight. I know a big key to my success in terms of eating comes from my ability to ask for help.

And also because the main stars of my life recognize the importance of healthy eating and want to work with me, not against me.

And lastly, for now since this is turning into quite the novel, monitor your hunger scale. This is the most basic of my conditionings when it comes to food and it has helped tremendously. Think of your  feelings/levels of hunger on a sliding scale from 1 to 5; 1 being full, no hunger at all and 5 being stark-raving ravenous hungry. Don’t eat when you are a 1-2, don’t let yourself get to a 5 before you eat. Eat when you are at a 3, just starting to pick up on the beginning hunger cues. Train yourself to recognize the potential dangers of eating at 1-2 (mindless snacking, empty calories, probably emotional eating or just eating out of boredom- try not to do either) and the danger of eating at level 5 (overeating, eating too quickly, not allowing your body time to send of signals of fullness, making bad food choices because you need something, anything, at that moment) and how to work around them. Eating when bored- DO SOMETHING ELSE- anything! Clean, go for a walk, call a friend, read a book. Emotional eating- this one is trickier but my biggest piece of advice is reach out to someone (anyone) and talk it out, or even take to social media/blog and write about it. Bring the emotions to the surface and try to work through them. Eating will not fix any problem.

The other end, getting to level 5 hunger scale, pack snacks. Lots of them. Keep extras in your purse. I pack two snacks for work every day. Plus I always have a protein bar or some sort or snack bar in my purse. If I can't get to my snacks at work I know what vending machine options will work.  I have no qualms with eating roasted almonds out of a vending machine or a gas station banana if need be. That banana will probably prevent me from going home and eating a whole pizza- which is what happens when I get to level 5.

So, to make a very long story short

·         Tracking/food journaling is your friend

·         Everything in moderation (or 80/20 if you are like me)

·         Investing a little bit more of your time planning and shopping will yield great benefits and set you up for success

·         Listen to your hunger cues

·         If you need help, ask for it

·         Don’t break up with Ben & Jerry, maybe just start seeing them less and less

I hope this helps get you started. If you want any additional information or have any questions just let me know!

What advice would you give to someone starting out/over? What has worked for you?
Disclaimer: I am no doctor or expert, just a girl who lost a lot of weight by changing what/how she eats and being more active. Find what works for you and do it J

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Goals

Ok, so I am a few days late but better late than never, right?

Since I am participating in Colleen the Fit Bee’s  back to basics September challenge and trying to follow along with Cassie at Back to Her Roots wellness calendar I thought I should set some goals for the month.

I came up with five goals for September. It might seem like a lot but they are pretty interrelated so I think it’s ok.

1.       165 lbs., it’s a pretty arbitrary number but I wanted to pick something that would be a challenge to hit but not entirely unrealistic. It means losing five pounds in one month. It’s possible. But if I end the month at 166 I won’t beat myself up. I just think having a number to work towards will help keep me focused and on track.

2.       Log 300,000 steps in September on the fitbit. I know there will be days when I don’t hit my daily goal of 10K steps but I am hoping to average out for the month at 10K a day, or higher, which would be 300,000 steps.

3.       Be comfortable in my size 6 workpants. When I was taking barre classes my work pants were starting to get loose in the waist. Of course, they were getting tight in the thigh but I was ok with that because my legs were getting more muscular. But now they are tighter in the waist and looser in the thigh. I’d be happy just to not have to be concerned about popping a button every time I sit down.

4.       Every Sunday set a workout plan for the week and then follow it to the best of my ability. This one is pretty straightforward, not really sure how to expand on it. Oh, but I can tell you that Paul and I signed up for a 3 month family pass at a yoga studio. We took a restorative class on Monday and I will be attending a hot yoga class tomorrow morning. This is also the same place where I will be going for aerial yoga on Saturday and I also signed up for a meditation workshop- TRUE PEACE: SAVASANA MEDITATIONS FOR RELEASING ATTACHMENTS AND SELF-AVERSION. Yeah, I know meditation is not really a fitness activity but it provides me balance and calm which is important when trying to juggle a busy schedule.

5.       Each week try out one new recipe that is fast/easy to prepare and uses mostly fresh/whole foods. Paul and I are both trying to cut out processed foods as much as possible and so trying out some new recipes will hopefully help keep us out of the convenience foods rut. This week we tried chickpea sloppy joe’s which were awesome. Paul made them which means that they are also super easy to make, even for a novice in the kitchen. We ate them open face on a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread and had some steamed veggies on the side. The recipe says it makes four sandwiches but our batch yielded six huge servings.

So, those are my goals for September. I am pretty happy about them. September got off to a bit of a rough start for me and I had a little meltdown on Monday. I was starting to feel defeated when everything I tried to do (Crossfit, kayaking, hiking, etc) kept backfiring on me. But then I cried a bit and talked things out with Paul and spent the rest of the day focusing on doing something good for me (yoga) and putting together plans for the week (meal plan and workout schedule) and grocery shopping and food prep and I went to bed Monday night feeling a million times better. It’s amazing how much better I feel once I am able to refocus my negative energy into something productive. Even better when I can carry that momentum forward- so that is my for this month; staying strong, positive and focused on my goals and what I need to do to achieve them.
My best day step-wise to date...this was yesterday. I totally killed it yesterday :)

Did you set any goals for the month? What do you do to help keep focused and on track?