I am not a vegetarian, vegan, or anything. I am not on a crash diet, flush, or fast. I'm just a young mother trying to eat better and get my kids to do the same. I fell in love with vegetables during my last pregnancy, and that's usually what I have for lunch. Most of my reason for starting this blog is to document the simplicity of the healthy meals I eat so that others can enjoy them as well, even in a short amount of time (or with one hand, as is often my case).

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

All Things Nutritarian

I'm not an expert. I think I've said that before. My health journey started after my first child was born, and I've just kind of picked things up along the way. My research has mainly consisted of articles and videos people share on facebook. But I have found my niche! I think that's important for all of us to do. There are so many different types of diets out there, and many contradict each other. I've found that I can't go 100% into any of them, because they exclude some of my favorite foods, or I don't agree with some of the things they profess. So what I encourage all of you to do, as I've done, is become an expert in YOURSELF. Get to know your body, and realize what it needs to be successful at whatever you want it to do.

The first eye-opener I had was when we went to dinner with some friends and I spied a list hanging on their fridge of 12 foods you should eat every day. I don't remember everything on the list, and a lot has changed in superfood research in the last 6 years, so I'm sure I won't be able to find a decent re-creation for you. The two foods I do remember, though, were blueberries and spinach. And I remember thinking that was weird. Spinach? Blueberries? Whatever. But those are what I remembered, so I started eating more of those. I ate spinach every day when I was pregnant with #2, and I've continued that trend. I don't always get to blueberries, but when I want ice cream, I grab blueberries instead and it works.

Food is amazing. That's what I've taken away from my journey here. Food gets its energy from the sun and from minerals and nutrients in the soil. And then we eat it, so we get our energy from the sun. Isn't that awesome? The sun does so much more for our earth than just keep it warm. It gives life. Literally.

I watched a documentary a few years back that promoted the paleo diet without actually coming out and saying so. I thought it was fascinating. I mentioned it on facebook and asked for some paleo recipes from anyone who lives that way, and got a recommendation for another book instead. Which I read, and it completely changed my life.

I hope you've all had a chance to read Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman. It's been a few years now since I read it, so I'm not going to call myself overly qualified to give a good summary, but here are a few takeaways that have stuck with me.

1. The world population is malnourished. Sure, we get enough to eat. But we don't get enough NUTRIENTS. We're killing ourselves slowly by not giving our bodies what they need to survive and thrive. When I hear the word "malnourished", I think of kids in third world countries who live off of rice and water, and not enough of it. Although we may have more meat on our bones, our bodies are functioning as well as theirs. The number one cause of death in America is heart disease, which is completely preventable. All you have to do is eat things that are actually nutritious, and don't eat so much of the foods that contain no nutritional value.

2. Foods from the earth are the only foods we should be eating. Fruits. Vegetables. Lentils. Beans. Legumes. Seeds. Nuts. Everything we need to sustain our lives comes from the sun and from the earth.

3. Now, I honestly don't remember if this came from the book or from that paleo documentary I watched. But here's the thing - we don't need to eat starchy foods. We've been hardwired to think that every meal needs protein and starch, but it doesn't. The only reason we ever ate those foods to begin with was to make it through times of famine. We live in the complete opposite of that now. We can get fruits and vegetables year round, and at decent prices. There's really no reason to eat flour, rice, oats, barley, pastas, potatoes, any of it. We don't need it. It offers our bodies calories to get us through the day, but that's it. Try to get your calories somewhere else.

4. Your stomach can only hold so many calories in a given day. If you eat bad calories, there won't be room for good calories. But here's the crazy thing - if you eat good calories, they get digested properly and quickly BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS so you have more room more quickly for more good calories. This reminds me of that old argument about how broccoli or black beans have as much protein as a steak. You do have to eat more broccoli or beans to get as much protein in a steak, but you can. And that's good. Because you'll be getting more calcium and oodles of cancer-fighting nutrients along with it. So go ahead, eat as much broccoli as you can. Eat so much broccoli that there's not even room for french fries or bread sticks.

What this all boils down to for me is the way I eat now - nutrient dense. I try to only eat foods that are the most nutrient dense, and I avoid foods that are devoid of nutrients or have little to offer. Now, I'm not perfect. I'll still have treats here and there. But the way I see it, if I can fill my body with absolutely everything it needs each day, and then there's room for some ice cream, I'm doing pretty good.

At the very least I hope what you'll do with this challenge is just eat more good things. If you're eating one serving of veggies per day, up it to 3. The book recommends 1 lb of cooked veggies and 1 lb of raw veggies every day. So just eat a big huge salad for lunch instead of pb&j. It will require more work, but come on. This is your LIFE we're talking about. Can't you invest a little time in the rest of your life?

My nutritarian lifestyle consists of me trying to get all the things my body needs every day. I've had issues with stress fractures and arthritis over the past few years, so I got checked out and found out that I'm borderline at risk for osteoporosis. That freaked me out a little. I remembered from this video I watched this one time that if your body is short on one nutrient it needs, it will leech it from another source already within your body. There's iron and calcium in your bones, so I've been ultra focused on making sure I get enough of those nutrients every day. I take a calcium supplement daily to help, and I put clay in my smoothies for the iron as well as the anti-inflammatory properties. Beyond that, I make sure I eat romaine, broccoli, or brussels sprouts every day for the calcium. I eat spinach or carrots every day for the beta carotene. I eat beans as a very lean source of protein. I use a protein powder to get me what I need for the day, and it's plant based and filled with probiotics as well. I eat another form of probiotics each day to help with digestion. I eat pineapple every day for digestion and anti-inflammatories. I eat good fats from chia and flax seeds to balance my omega 3 and omega 6 ratio (I'm sure I've ranted about that before). And beyond that, I eat good snacks from the earth. Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, veggies. I get what I need, and I try to stay away from things I don't need.

I really really hope you will take this challenge as a way to change your life for the better. I hope you'll see that it's not about keeping score or doing better than anyone else. It's about doing better for yourself, and feeding yourself what you need. Just try each day to eat more veggies, and you'll win.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Workout Ideas

Guys, sometimes life just isn't fair.

I'm coming to accept that there are things wrong with my body that just won't let me be as active as I'd like to be. I've been on recovery hiatus since October from my 2nd stress fracture, and more recently I seem to have injured my hand from knitting too much. Yes, you read that right. We're working on figuring out what the problem is, but in the meantime I still want to do as much as I can, even with modified workouts. I want to be strong, and I feel like I can do that. It may mean that I won't be the half marathon runner that I want to be, but that could mean that I become a good swimmer (if my weird shoulder injury will let me...lol). At any rate, I'm going to do what I can. Sitting around and waiting for my body to heal only makes me depression eat, which has put me up 5 lbs over the past 3 months. I now have 10 lbs to lose before more than 2 pairs of pants will fit me, and I'm going to do it.

I started this record to inspire people, and I'm sorry that it probably hasn't done that. I'm quite sure that my inconsistencies are likely more annoying to myself than anyone following along, however. So much so that I am starting fresh right now. Or a week ago, actually.

For today's post, I wanted to share what I've been doing lately and what I'll continue to do for the foreseeable future in terms of working out. Hopefully this can give you some ideas, in case you're in a workout rut.

I'm religiously following the 10% rule. Last week I started running half a mile a day, doing 3/4 mile on Saturday. This week I'm doing half a mile a day with a full mile on Saturday, and I'll continue adding a 10% increase in weekly miles from here on out. I don't normally run every day, but I think doing these very small amounts will be okay, especially with all the cross training I'm also doing.

Strength - Knees:
I typically do 30 lunges per mile run, but I think I'd rather front load things this time around. I'm now doing 20 lunges and 20 rear lunges every day, regardless of distance. I'm adding in 10-20 side lunges every other day or so as well.
I'm also doing one-legged squats for knee strength. They're super hard, so I'm doing 2 reps of 5 per leg each day.

30 sit ups every day. Non-negotiable. I do straight-legged sit ups with my hands crossed to my shoulders, and I go very slowly.
Upping my rockets every day. I started at 10, and today I did 14. A one-a-day improvement is good enough for me :)
Half bridges - 20 or so
Plank - 30 seconds, upping each day. 
I'd love to be doing scorpions, and I did some last week, but my hand is not letting me know. I was at 6 per leg, and I'll up it one-a-day once my hand lets me.
Some other ideas of things I should be doing:
Leg drops
Cha-cha crunches

So that's the last two weeks. Next week I'll start swimming again, doing half a mile twice a week. And once it warms up I'm going to start biking! When my hand stops hurting I'll get back into push ups, scorpions, maybe some burpees, and working on pull ups.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Running Tunes

Let me begin by saying that I know very well how odd my music collection is, and I recognize that this may not be helpful to anyone. But it may help someone! Alls I know is, when I was trying to put together this playlist I got zero help from the internet because of my music taste and collection. I'm putting this out here in the hopes that even the smallest part of it will help someone who has slightly similar music tastes to my own.

My music collection ranges from old obscure tidbits from my mom, to musicals, to a large collection of classic rock, to punk, to ska, to 90s alternative, to 80s butt rock, to instrumental tracks, to some selections of more modern pop music, to local bands that don't even exist anymore, to church music, and anything in between. To make this playlist, I clicked through every song in my iTunes and tapped out the beat. I'm now sharing the results of that effort (probably 2 hrs of work) with the rest of the world. I hope it helps even one person.

I run comfortably at 11:30/mile, taking kind of small steps, which puts me between 158-170 bpm. 165-180 is closer to 10:30/mile.

                                               My warm up list (158-162 bpm)

My steady jog list (160-170 bpm)
                                               My speedy jog list (175-185 bpm)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Eat Your Freaking Vegetables!

Alright. I have a lot to say today, so let's all cross our fingers that it comes out coherently.

I've been reading a great book lately called Eat to Live. I recommend it to everyone, no matter where you are in your weight-loss or health journey. I've learned a couple things that I find to be vital, and I thought I'd put them to practice and see what happens. I've been eating according to the precepts found in this book for the last week, and have exercised pretty moderately - 3 runs, and a tiny bit of strength training every day.

Basically...no one NO ONE eats enough vegetables. Here's the thing - we've been told our whole lives that we should be eating a certain amount of calories every day, and if we eat fewer, we'll lose weight. So the biggest thing most people do to try to lose weight is to control their portion sizes. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this, but I can tell you that it's not going to be as effective as you'd hope.

Here's why: Your stomach can only hold a certain amount of food. If it doesn't have enough food, you feel that familiar pang that tells you you're hungry. If you eat 400 calories of low-nutrient food, which is basically anything other than vegetables, it's not going to fill your stomach very much. Not even halfway full. But if you eat 400 calories of vegetables - guys, that's a lot of vegetables - it will fill your stomach entirely. And vegetables take longer to digest, contain more fiber to tell your brain you're full, and are COMPLETELY MADE OF NUTRIENTS.

I don't understand why we all don't eat more vegetables. I feel like I eat a good amount, but after reading this book I realized that even 3 servings a day, which I usually strive for, is not nearly enough. We as a species are not consuming the amount of nutrients that we need to survive. It's why so many deaths are avoidable - caused by poor nutrition. We are a malnourished species.

Maybe this is just me, but I eat vegetables because I know I need to. Not because they're the tastiest things I could choose to eat, but because I KNOW that romaine lettuce is an amazing source of calcium. Because I know that broccoli prevents cancer. Because I know beta carotene is a necessary daily nutrient. So even if my smoothie doesn't taste more like bananas than grass, I still drink it. Because I know I need those vitamins and nutrients, and the best place to get them is from whole foods.

Why would I use up my precious stomach space eating foods that do absolutely nothing for my body? There's not much room in there, and my body only needs a certain amount of calories per day, so I think it's best if I only put good things in there. Don't you?

Here's a cool thing. This chart shows the nutrient density of many popular foods. THIS is what convinced me to start eating a huge salad twice a day - I need more of those 100-scoring greens!

This chart KILLS me. In order for our bodies to get the nutrients we need EVERY DAY, we HAVE to eat greens at least once a day! Look at the jump - we have some high rollers with the greens and the brussels sprouts and the spinach, and then it jumps all the way from 77 to 59! The next highest score is 59! I really think EVERYONE needs to eat something above 50 at least once a day. It just makes sense, doesn't it? Am I crazy?

I know there's lots of other things we could hash out about this chart, and I'm sure everyone has lots to say about protein and all that, but come on. Eat your greens. That's all I'm talking about here. I'm not saying anyone needs to convert to being a vegan or vegetarian or anything like that. I'm certainly not. I can't give up my sausage :) But...just eat more spinach than you do meat. That's what I'm saying.

Traditionally in our generation of Americans, we build our plates around the protein or the starch or both. I wrote a post a few years back about why it's better to build your plate around your veggie, and I'm holding to that. But I'm upping the ante now. Build your plate ENTIRELY of veggies.

But...what about protein? Don't we need protein to fill us up? Sure. But here's the thing - if you're going to eat nothing but veggies for an entire meal, how much do you think you'll have to eat to get full? By the time you've eaten that much, you'll have gotten the protein you need from the vegetables themselves. That tilapia filet isn't always necessary.

I know some of you have already tuned out. Why would you believe me? This is what all the rabbit food munchers have been saying for years, that broccoli has more protein than steak and all that. Well, here's the thing. I'm not going to go into the science or anything like that. I'm just here to tell you what I've been doing for the past week and the AMAZING transformation that has taken place in just that week, and how full I've been from just eating vegetables. It's been insane. And that's why I'm writing this, because I couldn't believe what happened. So I know you're skeptical. I wouldn't expect it to be any different. It makes no sense from our generation's view of eating. But it's true. And it works.

I've been very stagnant in my weight loss for the past...6 months or so. Baby weight came off pretty slowly, and I got to the point where I finally fit into a few pairs of jeans and felt pretty happy with how I was looking, so it slowed down. Plus the ankle injury and the ridiculous winter of sickness that's been going on...anyway my excuses are plentiful, but that's not the point. The entire time I've been trying to lose weight I've been eating very healthy. I did a clean eating challenge in November and again in January and lost some weight both times. I recently started running again, and that's helped a lot too, but not as much as I'd hoped. Basically...I've weighed the same since November. I started running in January, and I've been doing pilates and pushups as well. Not anything super extreme...I used to work out 5 days a week, and now I'm lucky and feel proud of myself if I do even 5 minutes three times a week. What I'm saying is, I eat healthy and I exercise moderately, and I would expect to be losing weight but I haven't been. I imagine many of you feel the same way or are in similar situations.

SO....here is how I ate during the past week. It was actually pretty easy to eat this way, because all I had to do was make a salad and eat it for a few meals until it was gone, then make another salad. If I had thought of doing this when I was in those clean eating challenges, I would have done way better without expending so much energy looking for recipes.

Every day was basically the same. For breakfast, I have two fried eggs. For lunch, I make an ENORMOUS salad and eat it until I'm full. Another cool thing about this new way of eating is that my body adjusted to it VERY quickly. The first day, I ate more than half of the salad. Now I'm eating a little more than a fourth of it, and I'm already getting full. I'm not even halfway through it. Then for dinner I either have more salad, a green smoothie, or I cook some greens with kielbasa or ground sausage. Or a filet of tilapia.

Notice: NO GRAINS! I have found them to be unnecessary. When I was experimenting with my diet a few months ago, I really felt like I needed some carbs in the morning to give me energy. I don't feel that way anymore. I don't even feel hungry right away when I wake up - I usually don't eat breakfast until I've been up for 2 or 3 hours. Then I don't get hungry again for at least 4 hours.

While we're on the subject of hunger, let me just say this. What you consider to be hunger does not mean that you will die if you don't get food right away. If you are trying to detox your body, as many of us are, your stomach has to be empty for a while for that to happen. So when you feel that hunger, try ignoring it for a while. You'll find the discomfort fades quickly, and you'll be giving your body the chance to clear out your digestive track to make room for more good stuff later.

One more thought before the results and my salad recipe: I think the way we need to think about food is on a nutrient level, not on a category level. I was thinking about the My Plate thing, which used to be the Food Pyramid, and how many categories there are. There really only needs to be three: Vegetables, Fruits, and seeds/nuts/legumes. All these foods have very important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that we need to have proper body functionality and health. Anything else you eat is just extra. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with extra! Food is delicious and we should enjoy it! But we NEED those nutrients. What I'm saying is this: If you are trying to lose weight, stick to these three categories, leaning heaviest on the vegetables. If you are NOT trying to lose weight, you STILL need tons of veggies every day. Go ahead and have those cookies and enjoy some steak, but eat that enormous salad for lunch as well. The book I mentioned suggests eating one pound of fresh veggies and one pound of cooked veggies every day. That's what I've been doing this week, and it's been great. I don't feel like I'm starving. I get to eat whenever I want, which really isn't very often anymore. And I'm only spending grocery money on vegetables, so I'm actually spending less. This is actually the easiest diet thing I've ever done. I have had a couple hard days, and I'll admit I snacked on Goldfish and girl scout cookies a couple times, but let's let the numbers do the talking, shall we?

I weighed in this morning at 3 pounds lighter than last Tuesday morning. I weighed myself before breakfast last week, and after breakfast today (it just worked out that way). I actually weighed myself every day just to see what was happening, and I could see the effects of what I was eating. I quickly lost the three pounds, and also quickly gained two of them back with those cookies. I got back on track the last two days with my salads and lost those two pounds again. So just think - if I had disciplined myself better, I could have lost 5 lbs! Next week.

Ok I think I've rambled just about long enough. TL;DR - eat more vegetables because they are far more nutritious than anything else you can eat. Health is not just about your weight, it's about putting the right things in your body.

Here's how I make my salad, with a little bit of why on each ingredient:
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped into ~1 inch squares
1 bag of spinach
1 bunch of bok choy, chopped into ~1 inch squares (the bunches I buy come with 3 heads)
I try to eat spinach every day because it's one of the most nutrient-dense veggies. But look at that list up there - so are romaine and bok choy! So I've started adding them to my salads as well.
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
I've always given cauliflower a bad rap. I don't know, I've just never been a fan. But after a discussion with my cauliflower-loving hubby led to some internet research, I found out that it's pretty high up there on the list as well.
1 crown broccoli, chopped
Broccoli is a cancer-fighting powerhouse. I try to eat some every day.
1 cucumber, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, shredded. Well, sort of. I actually peel them to death with the peeler, so they end up paper-thin and easier to chew. It takes a while, but I think it's worth it :)
Carrots are the orange version of spinach. I also think they're the most convenient vegetable to eat raw. I buy them by the 10 lb bag.
2 cans olives

This salad lasts me at least 4 meals. On each serving I add:
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seed
These seeds do a LOT towards filling you up. I left them off the other day and my salad binge was not nearly as successful
1 tbsp chia seeds
For detox :)
1 tbsp flax seeds
Ok here's my omega 3 rant. We should consume an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 6:1. The average American diet is more like 20:1!! You don't need to try for omega 6s - they're in tons of stuff, most notably corn. And most meat you eat was raised on a corn-based diet, so most meat is richer in omega 6s than omega 3s. If you're eating fish, check to see if it was farm-raised. If it was, it was raised on corn. So while you are getting some omega 3s that way, you're getting omega 6s as well, and you're not getting the ratio you should be. Flax and chia seeds are both great sources of omega 3s. My book recommends eating 1 tbsp of flax seeds every day.

On 1/4 of this salad, I add less than 1/4 c salad dressing. I usually do a homemade blueberry vinaigrette, but when that runs out I use whatever ranch is in the fridge. You don't need as much dressing as you think. The book actually recommends only 1 tsp of oil for the entire day!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mostly Veggie Pasta Salad

I've been reading again...I've actually been doing quite a bit of research lately into my diet and how I can improve it. The most amazing thing I'm learning is that it really doesn't matter how many veggies you eat, you're still not eating enough. I'm not sure I'm advocating a vegetarian lifestyle, because man I love meat. But we all could use more vegetables. The nice thing is you can eat as many as you want without really affecting your daily caloric intake goals. I've always believed vegetables shouldn't count toward that. Last night for dinner I filled a 5 gallon bowl with salad and ate the whole thing.

At any rate, here's my complaint. A lot of recipes will claim to be healthy because they contain some vegetables. I've made and enjoyed pasta salad for years that has about 16 oz of pasta and a bag of frozen peas and carrots, and considered it healthy. But here's the thing: your body needs AT LEAST 3 servings of vegetables daily, and an entire bag of frozen peas and carrots is barely that. So you'd have to eat your entire pasta salad to get your 3 servings of vegetables. Unless you had an enormous salad for lunch and a green smoothie for breakfast.

My goal here was simple. I wanted to make a salad, and add pasta to it. Not the other way around, as it usually goes. My challenge is always the amount of pasta. I feel like I have the perfect amount of veggies, and then I add way too much pasta. Well. This time I had the perfect combination. And so I'm posting it here for all of you to enjoy :)

Let me also give a quick shameless plug for broccoli. Everyone should eat broccoli every day. It's one of the most potent anti-cancer vegetables out there.

Mostly Veggie Pasta Salad
3 crowns broccoli, chopped
1 bag frozen peas and carrots
1 can olives
1/2 kielbasa sausage
~8 oz pasta (I used farfalla)
~1/4 c Italian dressing (I made my own but don't have the recipe on hand)
~1/8 c parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta al dente. Slice the kielbasa thinly and fry on the stove. Then quarter each slice. Stir everything together. Easy peasy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Weight-Loss Update - Clean Eating

And I'm back.

I'm so happy I participated in this challenge! It gave me so much encouragement, and showed me some very telling patterns I fall into that, once analyzed and reversed, should help me move forward a lot better. I'd like to share some of them here, in the hopes that they'll benefit someone else as well.

Recap: I participated in a clean eating challenge during November. It was 3 weeks of non-processed foods, and it was really challenging. We didn't have a rule about the number of ingredients a food had, instead we rated the quality of ingredients. For example, you could still eat certain tortilla chips and salsas, because even though they contained 10 or so ingredients, all the ingredients were clean. But I couldn't eat basically every cereal I love, even the ones with only 5 ingredients, because all contain maltodextrin or soy lecethin, both of which are heavily processed and yucky. So what happened is I ate a LOT of fruits and vegetables, good protein with every meal, and stayed away from the sugary stuff that's been keeping my baby weight on me (mostly cereal and graham crackers).

The first week I lost 4 lbs. 4 lbs! I used myfitnesspal to track my calories, and I was super strict about it. I stayed under 1300 calories every day that week, and I don't think I cheated on the clean diet at all. I also did exercise a little bit, a few sessions of Zumba, and pilates almost every day. Great week! Great start!

The second week I lost 2 lbs. I could chalk it up to a plateau, but I experienced it, so I know what actually happened. Which, honestly, is a really good excuse. My baby has been super small since the day she was born, and I've always been concerned about my supply. I thought that cutting calories may have been affecting my supply, so I stopped counting this week. I also got super busy with Christmas preparations (hey, all my shopping was done before December!) and family stuff, plus I think this was the week I caught the stomach bug, so I didn't exercise as much. So there you go.

The last week I lost 1 lb. Hannah got sick along with me, and if she's not happy, I'm holding her all day long, so no exercise. I also got addicted to a new TV show on Netflix (Gilmore Girls...), so that gave me a good excuse to knit at night instead of exercising, so I'm pretty sure I only did pilates once if at all this week. As far as eating...I was REALLY craving ice cream, so I kept eating really sugary fruits to keep me away from the stuff. Even though it's fruit, and it's got all the fiber in it, it's still sugar, and sugar goes to the hips if you don't do your Zumba.

What I learned:
Calorie counting is essential to staying on track with good eating habits. Even if you think you know what foods are good, unless sit back and look at what you ate all day at the end of it, you won't realize the amounts. It's easy to dish up that second helping when you don't have to note it. I had my phone out at every meal, deciding what and how much of everything to eat, budgeting my calories for the entire day so I'd always have extra at the end to make sure I didn't go over at dinner time. If you're not constantly doing this, you won't keep diligent track like that, and you'll notice in your (lack of) weight-loss.

I tend to eat really fatty proteins when I try to include it in every meal like I should. I noticed this after just 3 days on this diet, and so I decided to try out one of those protein powders to see if that would cut out some of the fat from my protein consumption. It totally did. Instead of eating cheese or almonds or peanut butter or sausage, I would have a protein shake with toast and it would keep me full for almost two meals.

Another thought on fatty proteins - we did some research after this was over (after Thanksgiving, actually) and determined that tilapia and turkey are the leanest meats you can eat.

A good diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. My favorite part about myfitnesspal is when you enter the exercise you did that day and it gives you more calories you can eat! And that doesn't mean you should not eat those calories - eat them! You earned them, and your body needs the fuel after all that burning. Plus, the one motivates the other. When I wake up early and do a workout, all I want for breakfast is good lean protein, and that determines the rest of my day. When I sleep in, all I want is a bowl of sugary cereal, which then makes me want to just watch TV all day, rather than motivating me to do a workout later. If you make exercise happen, you'll want to eat right. If you make eating right happen, you'll want to exercise.

To sum up, I love this clean eating concept, and I think it can be a great stepping stone in a weight-loss journey. Even if all you do is eliminate SOME things you eat daily that are processed, you'll see results. When you eat a processed food with those chemical ingredients you can't pronounce, you're putting toxins into your body. The minute you stop putting those toxins in your body, your body can start trying to flush them out. Now that this challenge is over, I obviously went back to eating some crap foods because Thanksgiving. I put on 2 lbs during the week of Thanksgiving, but to be fair I also celebrated my wedding anniversary that weekend, which involved a fair amount of eating out and treats. But one thing I've committed to do is eat 2 breakfasts a week that are NOT cereal (I'm a cold cereal junkie), and it makes a difference. I also don't feel like eating processed foods. When I'm feeling snackish, I grab some almonds or dates or carrots, rather than reaching for those addicting crackers. So it's making a difference in that way as well.

"All right, all right, enough already lady, where are the results?" Amirite? Here they are.

Weight: 147
Waist: 31.5"
Hips: 41"
Arms: 11"
Thighs: 21.5"

Weight: 140
Waist: 30"
Hips: 38"
Arms: 11"
Thighs: 20.5"

I'm attributing the inches lost to two things: my workouts, and the fact that I may or may not have been measuring in the same place both times. I tried to find the biggest part of each body part to measure, but I had a panic attack when I did the second set because I honestly couldn't remember. Anyway, I lost inches in my hips and thighs because I was doing a lot of squats and pilates. I didn't lose anything in my arms because I didn't do any arm workouts at all.

Now, I intended to post before/after pics, and you know I took the before pics. Well, my 5 yr old learned how to delete pics off of my phone between the time I took the after pics and the time I actually uploaded them to the computer, so...I only have the front view, and it doesn't show much change. I think the inches lost speak for themselves more than the pictures would, because it was only 7 lbs.

So that was my experience eating clean for 3 weeks, and I loved it. I still have a good 10 lbs of baby weight to lose, so I'm planning to do this jump start again after the new year. One thing that really helped me this time was the accountability of the group dynamic, as well as the support and help offered there. We reported everything we ate at the end of the day, which kept us both honest and motivated, and we posted clean recipes to give ideas to others. We also had a clean-eating expert who helped answer all our questions about clean ingredients. I'd really like to do the same thing this time around, which means I need friends! Please let me know if you'd like to join our group for this challenge.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Weight Loss Update

I know I said I wasn't going to do any updates until I'm finished, but I had to take pictures and measurements today anyway for a clean eating challenge I'm participating in for the rest of the month, so I figured I'd post them somewhere where they won't get lost.

Let me back up.

I started this journey in March, and was super excited to be getting ready for a half marathon before Christmas. A friend convinced me I could do it by the end of summer, so I started upping my mileage to get ready for that instead. Things went pretty well for about a week, before I sustained an injury that has crippled me since then. I've since been very depressed and unmotivated to do anything with exercise, because even walking up and down the stairs was too painful and frustrating. When I don't exercise, I lose motivation to eat properly. What I'm saying is, I've been stagnate for about 4 months on this whole weight loss thing. So I'm kind of restarting now.

I went to the Dr. on Halloween, and found out that my injury is NOT debilitating, and that I should go ahead and start strengthening exercises on it. I'm even feeling like I might get back to running by Christmas as I'd hoped to. I've been in a really good mood the past couple of days, and I'm so excited to start exercising again and eating right and lose some weight before Thanksgiving!

The challenge I'm doing is to avoid processed foods, and try to stick with foods that are close to their original state. I'm not feeling like this is going to be extremely difficult for me, since it's something I've been working on, but I know it's going to be very motivating, and I'm excited to share some recipes and help others along the way.

Ok, now that we're finished with the background, here is my new starting point.

I weigh 147 lbs. This has been true for many months.
I actually took measurements today, which I've never really done. So I'm not sure what kind of reference point this is, but I'm excited to see where I'll be in 3 weeks!
Waist - 31.5"
Hips - 41"
Arms - 11"
Thighs - 21.5"
I don't know what measurements people usually take, but these are the areas of my body that I'd like to see thinned down a bit.

My goals, again, are to get down to pre-baby weight, which is 130, and we'll see what happens after that. I'd like to fit into that cute skirt I mentioned earlier, and since that post I've bought another super cute skirt that's about the same size if not smaller, and I'd like to wear that one as well. I have opened my box of "Jill's Smallest Clothes" and a few fit, but I'd like to get into my smallest shirts, and I want to wear my shorts and capris by next summer (they're all about size 4). By Thanksgiving it would be nice if I had more than 1 pair of jeans I can wear without sporting a muffin top.

And here are some pictures. I apologize again for the terrible lighting in my room and for the pitiful camera quality. It's all I've got right now, and it gives you the gist.

These pics are actually super encouraging, now that I've looked back at my starting point in March.