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Re-Focus… Again

In Journal Entry on December 7, 2011 by imgettinskinny Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,


I hoped the day wouldn’t come that I’d have to start over again for the bajillionth time on another weight-loss journey but it has. I’m surprisingly not feeling as awful as it seems I should… of course if I’d been writing this a month or two ago I probably wouldn’t have been as chipper. And why “should” I feel awful?!? Today, I’m motivated and as much as I’d love to stay that way, I’m going to be smart and take it one day at a time. And if that means re-focusing DAILY then I’ll re-focus daily.

I learned something very interesting in my weight loss challenge two weeks ago. It was very profound and something I hadn’t considered before. A fellow challenge member was telling a story about something she had thought that by now she had overcome but realized she hadn’t. After her story (which had to deal with making a wise decision to go for a walk to deal with frustration rather than eating a whole pie – low fat/cal or not), my coach said, “we have to keep in mind that there is no ultimate achievement of perfection”. At first I was mystified (and horrified) by what that might mean and he clarified by saying that emotional eating (or “eating your feelings” as a friend of mine calls it) is something that we will always have to battle. We may be able to succeed at getting rid of our excess weight and having the health we desire, but we will always be challenged by our emotions. It’s not as much of a downer as it sounds, it just means that we have to let go of the expectation that once we achieve our desired health/weight/size, it doesn’t mean we are “cured”. So we have to have plans in place for WHEN, not “if”, we become overwhelmed by our circumstances and are faced with an opportunity to make a very unwise eating decision. From hearing her tell the story, it sounded like my fellow challenge member had made going for a walk her plan for so long it was almost instinctual. THAT is encouraging.

So I started a new weight loss challenge today. The last one (the past 12 weeks) was like an opportunity for me to figure out whether or not I’m really serious about this. I thought I was 12 weeks ago, but my weight essentially remained the same – anything I lost (no more than 3 pounds total) I regained. And the same with inches so it’s not like I can say, “Woo-hoo! I gained muscle!” Today I woke up unnaturally early, made myself look (and feel) pretty, drove my husband to work, and arrived at the challenge a whole 40 minutes early. BTW – I’m always late so that was a big deal. I have been in a fabulous mood all day (which has not been normal for quite some time), I have eaten very well, and I have made a commitment to win this challenge. We have to pay in to the challenge in order to win and so on the memo line of my check (where I normally write what the check is for) I wrote “for WINNING!!”

I know that a huge part of weight loss is actually nutrition-based instead of exercise-based. But an even huger part of the whole picture is the mental part – the affirmation, confidence, and “take charge” attitude. I’ve done this before and I know when my head is in the right place, I am unstoppable. So I’m thankful to have started today with that kind of clarity of focus and attitude.

My goal for this challenge is to lose 25 pounds. That should put me comfortably back in the clothes I’ve been attempting to squeeze myself into. My ultimate goal is to lose about 48 pounds… I think. I know what I want to look like but don’t know exactly how that translates into a weight. I plan to lose about 2 lbs per week for the next 24 weeks, which is exactly 2 more challenges with me staying on track. It is possible it will take less time – if I overestimated the amount of weight I need to lose.

So my check-in for today is that I feel great and am motivated. A bit ago I felt hungry after eating a full meal so that was discouraging, but I drank some water and distracted myself with a game and got through it. Tonight I will make a menu/meal plan for the week and a shopping list so that tomorrow I can buy what I need.

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The China Study: A MUST-READ!!

In Journal Entry, Menu on September 9, 2010 by imgettinskinny Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THIS BOOK IS A MUST-READ.  I can’t believe it took me 5 years to decide to read it.  I’ve known about it that long and my husband has read it twice.  Now I want to own a copy.  It’s basically scientific proof of everything I already believed–even though I frequently am the only person in the room who believes it.  The quote on the cover of the book says this:

“…findings from the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease are challenging much of American dietary dogma.” -The New York Times

On the back cover, my favorite is this one:

“Colin Campbell’s The China Study is an important book, and a highly readable one.  With his son, Tom, Colin Campbell studies the relationship between diet and disease, and his conclusions are startling. The China Study is a story that needs to be heard.” -Robert Richardson, PhD, Nobel Laureate, F. R. Newman Professor of Physics & Vice Provost (Research), Cornell University

Colin Campbell (the author) grew up on a farm eating tons of meat & dairy.  It was his way of life and he did not begin this study trying to prove that this type of diet is damaging to health.  In fact, he was initially studying the effects of protein because he wanted to prove scientifically that protein consumption contributed to optimum health–as he was taught in school.  He is now a vegan that has proven that a whole foods, plant-based diet not only promotes optimum health, but it also will prevent and even reverse the biggest diseases that take the lives of Americans.  Through his study he learned that a high protein animal-based diet does not lead to great health but, rather, it actually leads to disease.  Furthermore, the reason this book’s evidence is still a well-kept secret is that too many industries would be negatively impacted by it.  The meat & dairy industries, the pharmaceutical industry, medicine, and health insurance companies, to name a few of the biggies would be vastly transformed or even become extinct if this evidence became common knowledge.  These big dollar industries pay a pretty price (and have been for YEARS) to keep this information behind closed doors and away from the public ear.

I’d like to share 3 of my favorite excerpts from the book.  Then I’ll leave you with a couple of tasty recipes I invented this week.

This first excerpt really got me going.  It is taken from p. 288 of Chapter 14, “Scientific Reductionism”.  This name of this chapter is a term the author coined which he defines as “the mistake of characterizing whole foods by the health effects of specific nutrients.”  Here is the excerpt:

“How many more billions of dollars must be spent before we understand the limitations of reductionist research?  Scientific investigations of the effects of single nutrients on complex diseases have little or no meaning when the main dietary effect is due to the consumption of an extraordinary collection of nutrients and other substances found in whole foods.  This is especially true when no subjects in the study population consume a whole foods, plant-based diet when it is this diet that is most consistent with the biologically-based evidence, supported by the most impressive array of professional literature, consonant with the extremely low disease rates seen in the international studies, far more harmonious with a sustainable environment, possessed of the power to heal advanced disease, and has the potential, without parallel, for supporting a new, low-cost health care system.  I categorically reject the idea of doing reductionism research in this field without seeking or understanding the larger context.  The endless stream of confusion generated by misinterpreted reductionism undermines not only the entire science of nutrition, but also the health of America.”

Wow.  Well-said.  Here’s another doozy taken from p. 317 of  Chapter 16, “Government:  Is It For the People?”:

“Our tax dollars are used to make the pharmaceutical industry more profitable.  One could argue that this is justified by gains in public health, but the alarming fact is that this litany of research into drugs, genes, devices and technology research will never cure our chronic diseases.  Our chronic diseases are largely the result of infinitely complex assaults on our bodies resulting from eating bad food.  No single chemical intervention will ever equal the power of consuming the healthiest food.  In addition, isolated chemicals in drug form can be very dangerous.  The National Cancer Institute itself states, “What is clear is that most of our current treatments will produce some measure of adversity.”  There is no danger to eating a healthy diet, and there are far more benefits, including massive cost savings both on the front end of preventing disease and on the back end of treating disease.  So why is our government ignoring the abundant scientific research supporting a dietary approach in favor of largely ineffective, potentially dangerous drug and device interventions?”

This last one was one of the most difficult passages for me to read in the whole book.  It was in a section about Dr. John McDougall who is a huge promoter of the whole foods, plant-based diet as a means of healing the body and preventing it from disease.  He was in charge of a clinic at a Seventh Day Adventist Hospital and kept having conflicts with the other doctors there.  He sent one of his patients to see a cardiologist in the hospital who recommended that the patient have open-heart surgery.  Dr. McDougall completely disagreed with the cardiologist’s recommendation and asked that the cardiologist, the patient, and he all meet to discuss this.  The cardiologist refused to do it saying that it would only confuse the patient.  The other physicians never referred any of their patients to Dr. McDougall.  Ever.  Interestingly enough, they would send their family members to see him but never, ever a patient.  Dr. McDougall’s belief about these doctors’ reasonings was this (p.336 of  Chapter 17 “Big Medicine:  Whose Health Are They Protecting?”):

“They were worried [about what would happen when] their patients would come to see me, and it happened all the time when patients would come on their own.  They’d come to me with heart disease or high blood pressure or diabetes.  I’d put them on the diet and they’d go back off all their pills and soon their numbers would be normal.  They’d go to their doctor and say, “Why the hell didn’t you tell me about this before?  Why did you let me suffer, spend all this money, almost die, when all I had to do was eat oatmeal?”  The doctors didn’t want to hear this.”

These quotes were all real jaw-droppers for me but even as appalling as they are, nothing compares to reading the experiments and the findings of all the various tests that were done over this 35-year study.  It’s like having the raw, naked truth thrown at you like a dart.  Over and over again in this book, he does an experiment, shows the shocking results, describes in detail what it means for your health, exposes the truth behind the lies you’ve been hearing all your life related to these findings, and goes on to explain where the lies come from & why they exist.  Rinse.  Repeat.

In my opinion, every American (and every human) should read this book.  After reading it, you have the choice of responding to the truth however you want.  Sadly, this book is probably the only way the American public will ever have the chance to not only learn the truth about nutrition as it relates to disease, but also to learn all the measures the government & food industries take to keep the American public in the dark.

On a lighter note, here are a couple of fantastic recipes I concocted this week.  I forgot to snap a photo of the second meal so you will have to picture its colorful tastiness on your own.

POLENTA STACKS

1 large yellow squash, sliced into 12 pieces

1 medium zucchini, sliced into 12 pieces

1 tube of prepared polenta, sliced into 14 pieces

salt & pepper

1 T coconut oil (or your favorite oil)

1 tomato, diced

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1/4 c. red onion, diced

2 T prepared hummus

Preheat oven to 400°.  After slicing the squash and the zucchini, place on a baking sheet and season with salt & pepper.  Place the polenta on a second baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove the squash from the oven and adjust the oven to the broil setting.  Move the polenta baking sheet just under the broiler and broil for a few minutes, remove from oven.

While vegetables & polenta are baking, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil (or your favorite oil) in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onions and toss to coat in the oil.  Once onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, add the diced tomato and reduce the heat to medium low.  Once the ingredients in the sauce have thoroughly combined and the sauce begins to reduce and thicken, turn off the heat.

Assemble the stacks on a plate.  Place three polenta slices in a triangle on the plate.  Layer with zucchini & squash.  Repeat.  Place last remaining polenta piece on top of the triangle and spoon some of the tomato sauce over the stacks.  Add a dollop of hummus to the top piece of polenta and enjoy.

Makes 2 delicious servings.

CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

(sorry no photo!)

1 pkg. frozen cubed butternut squash

2 T coconut oil, divided

1/2 c. water

4 scallions, diced

1/2 c. celery, diced

1 T curry powder (eyeball it–I have no idea how much I used but I LOVE curry)

1 clove garlic, minced

slice of ginger (about the size of a thumbnail), minced

pinch of saffron threads

salt and pepper

1 c. brown rice

2 c. water

1 T Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1/2 avocado, sliced (8 slices)

Put 2 cups of water, the buttery spread, and 1 cup of brown rice in a small pot on high till it comes to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low for 25 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

In a food processor or blender, combine 1 T of coconut oil with the frozen butternut squash cubes and puree till the consistency of applesauce.

Heat the other T of coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, salt & pepper, curry, and saffron and cook for a few minutes.  Once the seasonings are thoroughly combined and fragrant, add the butternut squash.  Stir frequently and cook until a thick, well-seasoned sauce forms.  Season with salt & pepper as needed.

Once rice is done, spoon into two bowls and top with the butternut squash mixture.  Slice the avocado and place slices on top of butternut squash mixture.  Enjoy!

Makes 2 ridiculously good servings.

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It’s official… I’m a hippie now.

In Journal Entry, Menu on September 2, 2010 by imgettinskinny

My husband said the other day, “why is it that when we eat right we become more like hippies?”  I didn’t have an answer but he’s right.  We are (for the second time in our lives) full-on vegans.  We also are whole foods vegans.  AND we just started buying all organic foods and getting all of it at the natural food store–not just the weird stuff like almond milk, agave nectar, and soy cheese but everything.  Not only that, but we also just started buying our laundry detergent, our dishwasher detergent, our shampoo & conditioner, body lotion, and toothpaste there as well.  And we started recycling.  Like the REAL way.  We save it in a cardboard box and about once a week we drive to the local recycling place and sort our stuff in the various bins.  Not even 6 months ago we bought our entire supply of everything food & otherwise at Walmart, threw away the million plastic bags we got each week, and everything went into the dumpster.  It’s crazy.  Oh!!  And I started taking yoga just yesterday and am completely hooked.  But you know what?  I feel better than I ever have in my life–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  My confidence has returned to me and I’m getting skinny–for real. So becoming a hippie is a good thing to me and I am not even the least bit ashamed of it.

For the first time, I’m not really even concerned with how long it takes me to get skinny.  I have transformed the way I look at food, the relationship I have with it, and have finally released myself from the grip I allowed it to have on me.  I’m not even tempted by foods that have always tempted me–it’s the weirdest thing.  I think that is where the hippie part has saved me a little.  I’m so convicted by the information I have learned about animal products, refined foods, and the chemicals in food that I literally have zero desire to eat any of it.  I think the process of coming to this strong place has been a journey but I also think that some of it was like a sudden shift in my thinking–like I almost was a different person from one day to the next.  It’s pretty awesome.

People ask vegans all the time what we eat.  It’s weird–it proves just how little variety of plant-based foods the average person consumes.  There is a never-ending abundance of things we vegans can eat.  Ironically, my husband and I have been eating the same lunch every day since we came out to the desert–AND WE’RE NOT SICK OF IT YET!!!  I mean, that’s like 3 1/2 months of the same lunch!!  And we greatly look forward to it every day.  I decided I should post a photo & a recipe in case anyone would like to try it.  It is a southwestern salad and I created the recipe myself.  Try it and I promise you will be addicted to its ridiculously delicious taste:

RECIPE:

dinner plate full of chopped romaine lettuce (about 2 cups)

1/2 of a green onion, diced

1/2 a tomato, diced

1/4 of an avocado, diced

1 diced Garden Herb Sunshine Burger (a cup of black beans or lentils is just as good)

5 yellow corn Garden of Eatin’ tortilla chips, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh garden salsa

I put the veggie burger in the microwave for a minute while I assemble the rest of the salad.  I layer the romaine first, then the onions, tomatoes, and avocados.  Then I dice the burger and put it atop the veggies, crumble the tortilla chips, and spoon on some salsa.  That’s it.  SO tasty.  The veggie burger is slightly high in calories but you can use any kind at all–we’ve tried a bunch of kinds and this is our favorite.  Boca Burger has a vegan patty that is delicious and it is only 70 calories.  Again, we’re going on 4 months of eating this for lunch and it still is our favorite thing.

I recently visited www.juliemorris.net and signed up for her newsletter or whatever.  For signing up, she sent me this totally amazing sample day of recipes.  She calls it “A Day of Superfoods”.  Everything is 100% vegan, mostly raw, easy to prepare, and completely fantastic-tasting.  Two days ago, I made the entire day’s worth of recipes and we were totally blown away by how good everything was and how easy it was to make.  We have been having a bigger meal for lunch and a smaller meal for dinner so we switched lunch & dinner on her menu.  The menu consisted of

BREAKFAST:  a very yummy parfait made of frozen bananas, strawberries, cashews, and flaxseeds.

LUNCH (her dinner):  a salad with homemade dressing and a pizza with a black bean crust, cilantro pesto, and tomatoes.  Unbelievable & totally our favorite.

DINNER (her lunch):  Mediterranean wraps with veggies, hummus, and quinoa wrapped inside blanched collard greens.  It was SO filling and extremely tasty.

DESSERT (no this is not a misprint):  Dark chocolate orange truffles.  WOW.  Make them immediately.  Raw cacao powder, medjool dates, coconut oil, orange zest.  They melt in your mouth and are indescribably decadent.  So rich it’s hard to eat more than 2.  The good thing about that is that we still have some in the freezer.  So good.  Now I want one.

I’ve gotten much better with my mind & my attitude towards weight loss and believing in myself.  I look myself in the mirror and say that I’m hot, I’m beautiful, I’m thin, I’m healthy, and (my favorite) I am a rock star.  My new thing is picking a number and saying it over and over like a mantra.  Then I just leave it up to my body to figure out how to get to that number and I keep doing what I’m doing with eating, exercising, and drinking water.  The number in my head right now is 152.  That’s only 2 pounds away so if I get to it before I get to my official weekly weigh-in, I’ll start saying something like 148!!  Getting below 150 in the past has always been a challenge for me so I’m going to cheer and party when I drop below 150 this time.  I can’t wait!!

Speaking of partying… I have to go because my husband is waiting for me at a going away party for a friend.  Until next time, try being a hippie–it’s fun.

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Ugh…Fat Days Stink!

In Journal Entry, Workout on August 11, 2010 by imgettinskinny Tagged: , , , , , ,

FAT DAYS & THE POWER OF THE MIND

Today was definitely a fat day.  I hate fat days.  Usually I have them during my period or during the week before my period.  That seems logical enough with all the bloating and emotions.  Today was not logical… at first.

I didn’t feel like going to the gym today but I rarely actually WANT to go so that’s really not new or shocking.  I kind of griped about it for awhile but it didn’t work and my very disciplined husband managed to get me in my gym clothes and get both of us to the gym.  After I locked my locker, I reluctantly headed for the treadmill to do my 1/2 mile run (my warm-up).  I briefly considered actually doing an entire mile but that thought was fleeting.  Finally the 1/2 mile was over and it was time to do the part I really hated:  my lower body circuit workout.  I actually have come to favor it over my other circuits but today I wanted to do nothing but go shopping for clothes (which I’m sure would have ended exactly the same as working out did:  fat day) and spend some quality time with my cat.  I walked into the aerobics room where I do my circuit workouts and started grabbing the necessary equipment:  10 lb. weights, mat, and the little tiny hot pink weights I use as a paperweight for my workout.  First up:  1 minute of squats.  I’ve gotten pretty good at squats these days so I actually haven’t been dreading them as much as usual.  But today when I checked myself in the mirrors to make sure I was squatting with 90° angles, butt out & chest up, I caught a glimpse of my mid-section where I saw two seemingly giant rolls of fat touch each other.  When I returned to my normal upright position, there were no rolls in sight; but when I squatted down again, sure enough, there they were.

I think I mentioned that I’ve entered a weight loss challenge that meets weekly for weigh-ins, measurements, and nutritional class.  Last week’s class was on the power of the mind.  I used to belong to this very new-age “religion” called The Science of the Mind and it taught a lot of similar concepts–one being the law of cause & effect:  what you send out into the world manifests itself in your life.  This class on the power of the mind was about ridding the mind of the negativity that surrounds us and instead filling the mind with positive affirmations and visualizations about our weight loss success.  One of the instructors said that many times people will reach plateaus in weight loss and often it is a shift of the mind that gets them out of it and back to losing weight.  We all wrote down on a piece of paper every excuse & lie we have heard & believed that has kept us from losing weight successfully.  Then we ripped up the paper and ceremonially tossed it into the trash.  After that cleansing experience, we wrote down affirmations or truths that we are to repeat like mantras throughout the week.  The exercise brought on a lot of tears and emotions for many in the class including me.  We are not only supposed to repeat these mantras but to speak them strongly, preferably to ourselves in the mirror.

I have always struggled with affirmations.  I don’t know if it is because I have had a lot of acting training which is so much about being truthful & honest or if I really just like to hang on to negative thoughts.  Maybe it is because I tend to be very literal and logical–I don’t know.  I don’t take affirmations very seriously and I feel like a complete weirdo saying them out loud–especially looking in the mirror.  Why?  Because the reality is that I am not telling the truth.  I’m trying to motivate myself or talk myself into something by essentially lying to myself.  It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  But after our exercise I decided to give it a try.  I can’t honestly say that I ever stared at myself in the mirror and spoke my affirmation with strength and conviction, but I did practice repeating some of my affirmations over and over again.  I found that I had to get past the giggle phase, then past the voices in my head telling me I’m a big fat liar, and then I was able to more firmly say, “no, damnit, I AM a beautiful, skinny, healthy rock star!!!”

So after a week of beginning to believe I am skinny and a rock star, I went out and bought 2 new bras (because mine were too big) and a new outfit for working out.  Then today I see a wad of fat blubbering around in my midsection and I was PISSED!!!  And it’s not like I thought they weren’t there–it’s just that I was starting to see myself differently–thinner, more beautiful–and this was like a slap in the face.  It was like this small, hurt child inside cried out to me, “you lied to me.”  I was crushed.  I almost started crying right there in the gym mid-squat.  But I turned around my attitude the best I could and reminded myself of what I was saying to myself on the treadmill, “stop whining and work if you really want to look like a rock star.”  I decided I was going to work extra hard today so I sucked it up and pushed ahead.

And wouldn’t you know it, I overextended myself or something.  The muscle that is in my hip socket in the groin area that is used for lifting my leg, etc., hurts so badly.  I was doing side lunges (which I find challenging enough) and for the first time I decided to add my 10 lb. weights to the exercise.  All of the sudden, I couldn’t lift my leg or turn it out or anything.  Awesome.  So much for working extra hard today.  As if that wasn’t enough, right at that moment the battery in my mp3 player died so I could no longer hear the amazing Steve Perry singing to me.

As hurt as I was today because I believed my affirmations, I still think the solution is to really commit to saying them firmly and truly believing them.  I need to get better at it.  It truly may be what is holding me back in my progress.

Before I sign off, the solution my husband had to get me back to being “me” instead of being a whiny, sad, “poor me” kind of person was to show me proof that my affirmations are correct–that I AM skinny.  Well, skinni-ER anyway.  He brought up some photos of us hiking before I started my weight loss plan and then a photo of us this past weekend.  The difference was staggering.  I’ve lost 13 pounds so far (it’s been 6 weeks) and I don’t know how many inches but quite a few.  I talked him into taking pictures of me in the outfit I had on during my first post so I could do some before & after comparison.  Here they are:

FRONT:

Front

PROFILE:

Profile

BACK:

Back...yikes

what?!? rolls are gone?!? woo-hoo!!

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Take 2

In Journal Entry, Menu, Weigh In on July 28, 2010 by imgettinskinny Tagged: , , , , , , ,

So…I’m REALLY not a slacker.  Even though I haven’t written in about 2 months.  Life got crazy–as it always does–and I allowed it to get in the way of my fitness goals–as I always do.  So I’m trying it again.  I’m about a month into it, actually, so really I’ve only been “slacking” in writing about it for the last month.

I started “Take 2” a little heavier than my first attempt; not that I’m too terribly surprised.  My first weigh-in for this round was on June 19th and my weight was up to 170.  I didn’t “officially” weigh-in when I re-started my fitness program on June 29th; I just went with the 170. Then on July 6th, I joined a “Biggest Loser” challenge at my gym.  I had to pay $34 and all but $5 goes into the pot.  Everyone who participates pays the same amount and at the end of 12 weeks (September 28th–exactly 2 months from now!), the person with the largest percentage of pounds lost and the person with the largest percentage of inches lost will split the pot.  Way cool.  Each week, we meet for nutrition class and our weekly measurements & weigh-ins.  It is put on by a family that sells Herbalife.  I was very skeptical to try it out at first but my husband agreed to try it with me and so far (5 weeks into it), we both really like it.  My scale and the one at the gym are different (of course) so I have mostly been ignoring the number at the gym and sticking with my scale at home.  I don’t measure myself in inches at home so I trust the weekly gym measurements.  So far, I have lost 11 pounds and something like 12 (or more–I’m going on memory alone!) inches.  For the first time in my entire history of dieting, I am able to actually SEE the results of my work.  I’m trying really hard to get to the gym 5x/week but I’m not beating myself up over it if I don’t make it.  I even went on a small trip out of town and lost almost 3 pounds instead of gaining it!  That has never happened to me before!!  So I am feeling motivated and excited and truly believe that this is the last time.

I recently read the book “Skinny Bitch” and it did a number on me.  I have been an off-and-on vegetarian most of my adult life with about a year or so of being strictly vegan.  I’ve always sort of “believed in” that way of life–the vegan lifestyle–but found it very difficult to maintain.  I started adding eggs & fish to my vegetarian diet a couple years ago in an effort to increase my protein intake.  I don’t believe our bodies really NEED a ton of protein to survive, but I know that it is a very helpful component to successful weight loss and that is why I added it.  What I’m doing now with Herbalife requires me to meet the following daily requirements:

  • 100 grams of protein
  • no more than 1,199 calories
  • a minimum of 80 ounces of water

Now, as a vegetarian who eats some fish, it was very difficult for me to imagine eating 100 grams of protein a day and staying under 1,200 calories.  With Herbalife, they recommend replacing two meals with their specially designed protein shakes made of whey protein that comes from soy isolates.  They are PACKED with vitamins & minerals while keeping a low calorie count & a high protein count.  When combined with a cup of skim milk, a basic shake is only 170 calories and 18 grams of protein.  I usually add some extra protein, fruit, and various other ingredients to change up the flavors.  Because of my husband’s funky schedule, we wake up late and go to bed late which also causes us to eat pretty late.  We still snack in between, but our normal schedule has been looking a bit like this:

Breakfast:  12:00 pm-ish

Snack:  3:00 pm-ish

Lunch:  6:00 pm-ish

Snack:  9:00 pm-ish

Dinner:  12:00 am-ish

Last week’s food journal looked like this:  Food Journal.072610

Here is an example of one of the shakes I made:  a chocolate banana shake.  I make them for two, but I’m only including the nutritional & quantity info for one:

  • 1/2 cup “Over the Moon” chocolate milk
  • 2 scoops French Vanilla Herbalife Nutritional Shake Mix
  • 1 scoop Herbalife Dutch Chocolate Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 scoop Herbalife Personalized Protein
  • 1/2 banana

TOTAL:  295 calories, 27g protein

So, getting back to “Skinny Bitch”, I was really angry when I read it for a number of reasons.  One of the reasons was that I like that I’m finally in a routine that seems to be working for me and the last thing I want to do is switch to something else.  The other reason was that I agree with EVERYTHING they say in that book (and have for a long time) and almost ALL of it goes against this routine I have right now.  I read the book in one day–mostly because I was so riveted and convicted that I couldn’t put it down.  When I was done reading it, I had laughed out loud, sobbed, and made the decision I need to resume the vegan lifestyle.  When my husband came home from work we discussed it at length and he is totally onboard but thinks that we should use this time and this current routine to “get me skinny” and then slowly (he really emphasized slowly…) make the switch to an all-organic, strictly vegan diet.

We currently have a shake for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a shake for dinner.  So, when the time comes, we probably will start by swapping our morning shake for an all-natural fruit smoothie and begin cutting the dairy out of the rest of our diet.  Dairy will be the hardest.  We can easily swap the piece of fish we’ve been throwing on top of our salad for an all-natural veggie burger.  In fact, we both usually prefer it that way anyway but the fish is higher in protein…blah, blah, blah.  Our next step will probably be switching to healthier, all-natural salad dressing and other condiments instead of the “light ranch” variety we are currently enjoying.  Also, adding things like nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans bit by bit.  Since our evening shake has been so extremely convenient, I imagine it will be the last to go.  I could be wrong, though–we may decide after cutting our morning one that cutting our evening one is just as easy.

The biggest problem I had with the all-vegan thing previously was that I still was consuming monstrous portions and I was allowing myself to eat as much pasta, rice, potatoes, and whole grains as I wanted.  In the beginning, I lost a bunch of weight but I think it is because we were eating meat right before we switched to vegan (for a brief 2 years in the middle of vegetarianism I returned to eating meat).  I think I compensated for the lack of a “focal point” in our meals by increasing the portions.  And they were ridiculously out of control; my husband and I could split an entire box (1 pound) of pasta in one sitting.  So, of course, when I went back to just being a vegetarian, my portions were still WAY outta whack.   The reason we switched to vegetarianism when we did was that we were on the road for 3 weeks in a row–constantly eating fast food.  It was too difficult to stay vegan when most of the time the only thing we could eat was an order of fries.  And of course, since that was all we could eat, didn’t we eat WAY more of them than we needed.  Another thing I did at the time that I thought was smart & helpful, etc., but that I think turned out to be highly detrimental was that I would take my favorite Food Network recipes (usually a far cry from healthy) and I would modify the ingredients so I was eating the vegan version of them.  I could probably publish an entire gourmet vegan cookbook from the recipes I invented and modified to my own version, I have so many.

In January of this year, I started with a trainer and switched to a program of eating about every 3 hours and keeping my calories under 1,200.  But I was usually just eating a bunch of diet junk food like 100-calorie packs of Oreos or Cheez-Its and high fiber (and high fructose corn syrup-packed) cereal bars and low calorie (and high aspartame) yogurts.  Oh, and Coke Zero.  So I wasn’t really getting in a lot of food that was good for me.   I’m proud of myself that I’ve been eating a salad every day for lunch–pretty much since we arrived here for my husband’s job.  I’m also thankful that I’ve been enjoying it so much!!!  Currently, my meals & snacks (outside of my shakes) consist mostly of fruits, vegetables, Chobani yogurt (oh my gosh–it’s a MUST-TRY!!!), almonds, veggie “meats”, Laughing Cow cheese, and lean fish.  And nothing to drink but water (a bunch!!) and an Herbalife herbal tea.  So I can see progress in my eating patterns over the last five years.  I see a shift from eating “what I CAN” to eating “what is GOOD for my body” and I think that is a huge difference that will help make this transition much easier.  I also think that my husband’s suggestion of really easing into it rather than just switching one day will make it go much more smoothly.  I can’t be thankful enough that my husband is as supportive as he is and as willing as he is to go along with my constant changing of our eating habits.  I’m also thankful that with regard to the vegan lifestyle in particular, he isn’t merely “going along with it”.  He firmly believes it is what is best for us.  So that helps tremendously.

I will try to remember next week (Tuesday) to write down the results of my weigh-in/measurements so I can post them.  My goal this week is to lose 2 pounds and at least 3 inches.  Last week I lost 3 inches (total) just in my abs & hips.  Woo-hoo!  Keep it coming!!!   I keep hearing “slow & steady wins the race”.  I’m not even in it for the money, really; I just want to be skinny!!!

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Day 7–First Weigh-In

In Journal Entry, Menu, Weigh In, Workout on May 25, 2010 by imgettinskinny

WEIGH IN

165 pounds, a 2.2 pound loss!  Not bad!

I didn’t anticipate leading with my weigh in but I was so excited to have lost weight that I couldn’t resist.  I know it’s only 2 pounds but it is better than nothing (or a gain!!).

I struggled to make myself work out this morning; I just couldn’t get out of bed.  But I did work out after work which I believe was a better time–it was a little cooler out in the early evening than this morning.  I will try to work out before work tomorrow–it may not happen because I have a deadline that requires some additional review in the morning before work.  So we’ll see.

FOOD JOURNAL

BREAKFAST 8:30 am, 315 calories:  Egg beaters with 1 wedge LC cheese & 2 links veggie sausage and one whole wheat English muffin (dry)

SNACK 11:30 am, 140 calories:  Kashi dark chocolate mocha cereal bar

LUNCH 2:00 pm, 375 calories:  southwestern salad with salmon

SNACK 6:30 pm, 95 calories:  G2 drink & apple (after workout)

DINNER  8:00 pm, 202 calories:  1 cup HG mac-n-cheese

SNACK  10:45 pm, 260 calories:  1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 pk 100-cal oreos

SNACK  11:15 pm, 160 calories:  string cheese, banana

TOTAL CALORIES:  1,547 okay…so a little much on the calories today.

WORKOUT

Ran 1 mile outside

1 circuit (repeated 3x) of cardio exercises including:

  • jumping jacks
  • butt kicks
  • high knees
  • stationary punching

The workout has 3 circuits, each to be repeated 3x but I only had time to do one circuit (3x).  I was definitely sweating profusely and working really hard!

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Days 4 & 5 Packing & Traveling

In Journal Entry on May 24, 2010 by imgettinskinny

Day 4 was insane and full of packing, errands, and a special dinner out with my husband and his co-workers.  We had sushi which was NOT bad for me but then we had ice cream shakes–not so good.  And they were ginormous.  At least I didn’t have very much of it–not that I didn’t want to eat all of mine and everyone else’s too, I just found myself in a momentary episode of exercising discipline.  And my husband looked it up online and learned that this particular shake place uses only reduced fat ice cream in all their shakes and I probably only consumed something like 160 calories of blackberry shake goodness.  So that felt better.  Plus, Day 4 did allow time for a workout.  I did my trainer’s bikini-ready upper body workout and an ab workout after running a mile.

Day 5 was travel day.  After going to bed around 1 am (I think) on Day 3, I got up at 4 am to catch a 5 am shuttle to the airport so I wouldn’t miss my flight to the midwest.  I had cereal for breakfast and packed a bunch of snacks.  After arriving in the midwest I had to rent a car and make a 5-hour roundtrip drive and then get unpacked at my new temporary home where I’ll be for a month.  I didn’t really have any meals at all–just a lot of snacking.  So that’s not too terribly good but it was definitely a low-calorie day.  I walked to the grocery store and back with 3 huge bags of groceries which proved to be sort of a cardio workout AND an upper-body workout all in one.  Other than that, I did not exercise.

Today is Day 6 and it’s not looking too positive on the exercising front.  I guess it’s my day off.  It was my first day of work and I had to walk–which was DEFINITELY a power walk there & back because I underestimated how long it would take to walk there and was late.  In an hour we have a company party and I’m contemplating eating before I go so I won’t be tempted (or not given a choice) to eat poorly.  My eating so far has been really good today.  I had my usual Egg Beater/veggie sausage/LC cheese breakfast and a very tasty southwest salad with salmon for lunch and have been snacking on apples, dried apricots, light string cheese, raspberries, and Greek yogurt.  P. S., the Greek yogurt they have at the grocery store here is NOT as good as the kind I’m used to.  I normally buy the Chobani brand and this one is either Dannon or Yoplait and it is pretty nasty.  Bummer.

I packed my scale and I guess tomorrow is a weigh-in.  After I weigh myself, I will start my morning with a workout and get myself into a routine for while I’m here.