Thursday, August 30, 2012

Today was my someday

It all started with an email. A daily article from with tips on how to cut the clutter in our homes. For weeks I'd been staring at my closet thinking it was time to do a bit of purging. But I kept waiting for "someday." So I made today someday. I went through my closet and got rid of clothes that just didn't look right or frankly that I didn't like. I went through totes in the basement...mainly clothing that fit me a year ago but now is too big. I'd gotten rid of most of my larger sized clothing, but I was holding onto a few nice pieces "just in case..." I decided it was time to fully part with that part of my life. To truly say good-bye to my old self. So a large garbage bag of clothes (don't even get me started on letting go of my t-shirt collection) headed out the door. I did what you should do when you do a closet purge...take all the items directly to the car and as quickly as possible take them to their new "home". All too often I try to clear the closet, then the bags and boxes sit and I get sentimental about a t-shirt or pair of pants. (For a long time I kept the shirts Andrew and I wore on our first date.) C'mon, they were just shirts! And it feels refreshing. Empty totes. Decluttered closet.

But I didn't stop there. I decided to take on another of my procrastination I want to try. Some of you are great at seeing a new recipe on pinterest and trying it almost immediately. I have email folders and pinterest boards and word documents filled with recipes to try "someday," yet continue to make the same old recipes. I decided for once to try a new recipe. So first I whipped up a recipe that came in my email today: Easy Whole Wheat Flatbread. I'd recently tried "Hungry Girl Flat Out Flatbreads: Olive Oil and Rosemary" and fell in love. The problem? They were expensive and most definitely highly processed (though highly yummy). I didn't think you could actually make your own flatbread without a culinary degree, but this flatbread recipe looked easy enough. So I tried it. Not too shabby. The only change I'd make next time is to use white whole wheat flour. I used true stone ground whole wheat flour which I liked, but the kids probably wouldn't eat them. I also may try to use the whole recipe for a pizza crust. It probably wouldn't be as good as my favorite honey whole wheat pizza crust in the bread machine, but it would be quick and easy.

But wait! There's more! And oh it so worth it. I'd been seeing these "no bake energy bites" on facebook and pinterest. They contained some of my favorite ingredients: chocolate chips, peanut butter, chocolate chips, coconut, chocolate chips, honey, chocolate chips, flax, chocolate chips, and oatmeal...YUM! And depending on what actual forms of the ingredients you use, they'd be a fairly non-processed treat. But you also have to use caution. Almost every ingredient is calorie dense...meaning each bite carries a whole lot of calories. (They could equally be called "no bake calorie bites, but I digress). For me, this recipe is definitely more of a "treat" recipe than a daily snack, but when it comes to treats I personally prefer to have whole food based treats over processed treats that may be lower calories but void of any nutrition or taste.  I loved the energy bite (yes, I just had one). Instead of making them into balls I placed it all in an 8x8 pan and cut them into 16 pieces. At that ratio, each "bite" was about 150 calories. For a normal granola bar sized piece you'd be looking at 300 calories. That's why I know I have to exercise caution even with this "healthy whole food."  I could have easily eaten the whole pan (3200 calories worth) but armed with knowledge I stuck to just one for today.

Most likely tomorrow will be highly unproductive, but for today I feel strangely energized by getting a few things off of my "someday" list. Now for the other 100 ideas waiting on my pinterest boards...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's not FAIR

Sometimes I get into a funk when I just want to give up trying to be healthy. The inner me starts throwing temper tantrums that would put my children to shame. "I want the #2! Why can't I have the #2? Why do I have to eat boring chicken? That guy's having the #2...and he looks healthy." And by that guy, I mean my husband who eats anything and everything and stays thin. I get into a boo hoo mode where it frankly ticks me off that in some way, shape, or form I'll have to plan and track what I eat for most of my life. Not necessarily calories (I actually don't count calories most of the time), just tracking to see that I'm getting enough vegetables and not too much chocolate. And there's a part of me that wants to go back to that careless way of eating...ordering the #2 without having a moment of guilt. Having a milkshake because I can. Or frankly, even just eating animal cookies by the handful.

Why do some people a) not have to watch what they eat and b) have a healthy relationship with food where they neither under consume or over consume, they just consume? They feed their bodies but without any kind of bondage or baggage. And why can't I be that person? I was under the very mistaken assumption that once I lost the weight I would automatically be that person. That I would always pick healthy and never be tempted by Dr. Pepper or Snickers. I thought I'd enjoy treats on special occasions but didn't anticipate that I would struggle so much with wanting things that aren't healthy for me. CHOCOLATE: GO! WALK OUT THE DOOR. JUST TURN AROUND NOW, YOU'RE NOT WELCOME ANYMORE. (I take it back. I didn't mean it. Chocolate, can't we talk this out??)

No, I'm not that person who just thinks about meals at meal times. I'm not that person who can walk by the candy aisle and not want to break down in tears (I just avoid it because crying over candy is public is silly). Food is still my go to when I'm feeling lonely or sad or stressed or happy or when I need an escape.

No, I'm not that person, but I'm closer now than I was 6 months ago. I now have chicken and spinach salad several times a week for lunch...and love it. I automatically prepare a vegetable for every meal...and without the help of cream of mushroom soup. I know I can survive without copious amounts of sugar. And I know that health is a lifetime journey, not just something that is achieved once and for all once the scale reaches a certain number. And that if my healthier self gets tired of hearing my inner child whine about donuts on a particularly trying day, all is not lost on one bad choice. The key is to put on the big girl undies and move on to the next healthy choice.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Revenge of the birthday cake

It's been a few days since my near major meltdown over chocolate cravings. So how did I fare? Not bad...but not perfect. At the end of Thursday night I did enjoy a mini cupcake for my son's birthday...and I'm not gonna lie, it was goooood. And then I went for a run. Not as punishment, I was scheduled to run anyhow. It just also made me feel a bit better.

And then the cravings were over. Back to unencumbered, healthy eating. Until someone put a cake in my fridge (thanks, Grandma Rhoda:)). And that highly colored yummy looking frosting was calling to me. So I paired a little bit of frosting with my frozen yogurt and let the family finish the rest. House once again cleared of unhealthy suspects.

My recent craving and cake confrontations taught me a few things about winning the losing battle:

1. Environment is everything. If cake isn't here, 99% of the time I won't think about or crave cake. Same with chocolate. Or cookies. Sure, 1% of the time I will still get crazy cravings out of nowhere that I'll have to deal with. But if I can minimize the temptation I can minimize the chance that I'll even make a bad choice in the first place. Leave a chocolate cake sitting on the counter? Eventually it will win. Leave a chocolate cake sitting at the store? I'll forget about it.

2. Small, occasional indulgences just may keep me sane (or at least what sanity I can still claim as my own). While I was losing the weight I did not indulge, pretty much ever. Not through Thanksgiving (that day sucked), only a cookie at Christmas, not through New Years or the Super Bowl or Thanksgiving. And let's be honest: that isn't feasible for me for a lifetime. I don't want to be Grumpy Gina sitting in the corner mad she can't eat pie. I want to enjoy the special days. Not to the point of gluttony. And not everyday is a reason for indulging. But when the urge or occasion hits, I need to remember a small portion won't set me back, especially if I make adjustments to the rest of my week in terms of food and exercise. Healthy, with just enough sugar to be fun.

3. Plan ahead. Today we went to the zoo. I planned ahead what I would eat for the whole day so that I had the right food with me, and I didn't fall prey to whatever caught my eye on the food carts (they had Magnum Ice Cream bars, need I say more?) I stuck with my plan (woot!). Everyday that I plan ahead I'm so much more likely to eat healthy. And I tend to have a healthier relationship with food all around when I plan my "treats" removes the guilt, and I'm less likely to gorge myself.

I'll probably learn these lessons over and over again. I may get overconfident and think I can keep Reese's in the freezer...until a few days later I realize I've polished off the bag. Then I'll learn my lesson again. But for today I'm learning to accept this whole healthy weight thing is a life long process, and I will never be 100% perfect (and if I am, I probably won't have friends anymore).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I lost the weight...trying not to let it find me again.

It's been about 5 months since I hit my goal weight. And I'm happy to say that thus far, I've stayed in the 5 pound range I set for myself. Now honestly, 5 months is not a long time when it comes to weight maintenance. The one and two year marks are big milestones...a majority of "losers" gain the weight back in the first year. There are sooooo many reasons, but I think one of the biggest ones is simply that it is HARD to keep the weight off. It seems everything: our biology, psychology, environment, societal pressures, and cupcakes all seem to be working against us. Today I'm battling a big one...CRAVINGS.

Not just "hmmm, chocolate sounds good" kind of craving. The "I literally could cry because I want something rich, decadent, and chocolately" kind of craving.

It came out of nowhere. After a recent vacation where I found myself at the top of my "healthy" weight range, so I'm back to eating a more regulated eating plan until I get a handle on the indulgences of summer. And I'd been doing quite well. The pants are loosening, the veggies are plentiful, and my energy levels are great. And the cravings were gone.

Until today.

Chalk it up to the stormy weather, hormones, stress, and Pinterest. (Darn you, pinterest!)

Usually I would go outside and be active to occupy my time. My fear of lightning keeps me inside. So I decided to clean. Unfortunately the kitchen was what needed to be cleaned. Which is where the graham crackers found me. I had one and realized if I did not step away I would eat the whole box. And they aren't even that good. It took some positive self talk. "I'm not going to eat that because I chose to eat healthier." Luckily I don't keep much in the house in terms of the rich junk food I'm craving...except for the birthday cupcakes in the fridge for Aaron's birthday. But when I got them (yes, I bought them, so I didn't have the temptation of licking the bowl), I looked at them and said "I will not eat you." The fellow shoppers at Walmart may have thought it crazy, but then again, it was Walmart.

Setting up an environment that does not easily lend itself to unhealthy eating is key to weight loss and weight maintenance (Dr. Phil was right on at least one thing).

So I haven't given in. And I won't. And it will pass. (or you may find me in a chocolate coma, equally plausible).

I feel like weight maintenance is a game of hide and seek from my former pounds. It's about finding a good hiding spot...staying away from overeating triggers and situations, planning meals, and sometimes literally running (or rather, shuffling). But even in my best fortress, some days old habits pop up and say "boo!" And part of me wants to give in to the wreckless abandon of eating a whole pan of brownies. But the better part of me knows the end product of staying the course is worth it.

That doesn't mean I'll never mess up. And it doesn't mean I won't ever purposely indulge in some heavenly chocolate birthday is in two weeks and I fully intend on having SOMETHING yummaliciuos. But I do know that if I really want to maintain a healthy weight, I need to chose right over want 95% of the time.

So hide your eyes and count, former weight...I'll be running to my next hiding spot!