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Archive for the ‘The Beginning’ Category

So no wheat and no corn. That’s what I’ve got going on this week.

I am beginning day 4 of it today, and it’s actually going fine so far. It’s pretty annoying not to get to eat tacos (corn tortillas), which are currently, along with hummus, probably my favorite food. But otherwise, it’s all right. I have had to really focus on my diet and also simplify it, and I’m glad for that because it’s what I’ve really needed to do.

I’ve mentioned the 6-month plateau of my own making before, and I am finally, truly tired of it. It got to the point where I was more interested in getting to have a little bite of something than I was in making sure I lost 1-2 pounds for the week. Of course, I wanted to lose the weight, but just not as much as I wanted to eat the piece of bread at dinner. I am a slow learner, so it has taken me this many months to get to the point of thinking, “Oh, you know what, that actually works exactly the way it seems like it will: I eat that, and I don’t lose weight. I don’t lose weight one week; I don’t change what I’m doing, and guess what? I still don’t lose weight the next week!” This is all very obvious information – that I have stubbornly been proving to myself the hard way.

I’m finally done with proving this point to myself.  I still have more weight I want to lose, and to get it done, I’m going to have to put my shoulder to the wheel, and really dig in.

I had dinner with a dear friend last night, who has been incredibly supportive of this journey I’m on. I was telling her about my challenges (over tofu soup – just vegetables and tofu, yo!), and she asked why I didn’t just stop. “You look fucking fabulous; you’ve done amazing work. I mean, why not just… be done?” It’s a fair question and one I’ve thought myself. I’ve lost almost 60 pounds, and I’ve embraced a much healthier lifestyle – why not just call that good enough? I’ve actually, with my six month plateau, kind of flirted with that idea.

But here the thing (and it’s what I pointed out to my friend): I’m still carrying probably 20 pounds of extra weight around my belly. And this is a terrible place to carry excess weight because it specifically increases health risks. Having belly fat puts me at greater risk for heart disease, cancer, and just generally premature death. So it has to go. Because I’m not 25 anymore, and I still want to live a really long time.

So as much as I find it annoying to only be able to eat special rice bread bought from Whole Foods or quinoa if I want carbs, it has been good for me to really get focused again. As hard as it is to do, as much as it takes my time and energy, this is something I really want. I want it for myself, for my health and for my life. Sure, I’m cool with the idea of looking really hot and being able to wear whatever awesome clothes I want, but what really matters is me, how good I feel and how healthy and strong I am.

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What I was thinking… I’m not sure.

When I look at my food logs from nearly two years ago (March of 2011), I am shocked by what I was eating under the guise of “getting healthy and losing weight.” At the time, I was using the LoseIt app to log what I ate every day, and I was doing it specifically to lose weight. I was really very delusional about it all though. I provide as evidence this screenshot of my food log from March 5th:

Screen Shot LoseIt

Yeah. I thought that was an example of healthy eating. Somehow I made that consumption fit within my calorie budget, but clearly I was using creative math. Because there is no day kicked off with a danish, featuring beef, noodles, pizza, cheese and beer, and ending with CHEESECAKE that fairly can be catagorized as calorically reasonable. I mean really. I obviously was kidding myself about a lot of things – probably including how big the piece of pizza, how full the glass of beer was, and how large a quantity of beef and noodles I was eating. Also that cheesecake and danishes even belonged in my diet, never mind on the same day.  But mostly, I was kidding myself in thinking that a day full of saturated fats, sugar-laden treats, and many, many refined carbs was going to help make me healthier.

I was kidding myself because I didn’t want to know the hard truth. I wanted to change… in that I wanted to lose weight – I wanted to look different and, thus, be different. But I did not want to change really. I didn’t want to alter my lifestyle in the substantial ways needed to make a serious shift in my life. It was still much more important to me to eat dessert than to be healthy. So I was paying lip service to the problem. I was pretending to do something about it, which is to say, I was trying.

Because it’s like Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” For a long time, I thought as long as I was trying I was addressing the issue. But the truth was I was just giving myself a way to feel less guilty about ignoring it. As long as I could tell myself I was doing something, look like I was doing something, then I didn’t have to feel bad (or at least not as bad, or as consciously bad) about the ways I was letting myself down.

Because it would be one thing if I had been happy with my weight and just needed to get over social expectations of what I should look like. Then it would have been fine for me not to change anything. But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel good. I wanted something different for myself. But I didn’t know yet how to want it enough. How to make myself enough of a priority to put it above all the little things that just don’t matter as much – things like having pizza because that’s what everyone else is doing, or eating a danish because it makes me feel better. I didn’t know yet what would really make me feel better – which was to let go of all those dependencies on food. And I didn’t know because it doesn’t feel better at first. At first, it feels really hard.

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And then I got sick. Apparently, that was the immediate side-effect of dumping sugar and all those other toxins from my daily intake routine.

And then I was sick for a week! And it sucked! But at least it gave me less energy with which to fuss about not getting cookies.

While sick, I managed to consume no sugar. Well, except what was in the NyQuil. Because, come on. A grown-ass woman whose head is an ever-inflating balloon of snot and pain can only be so much of a stickler.

Then I got better, and I started going to my personal training sessions regularly. I have had six so far. They are HARD. But also good. Even though once I thought I might vomit. I have also not consumed (at least not intentionally): sugar, eggs, whole milk, cheese, red meat, refined carbs (okay, there was one piece of bread at a dinner party, but mostly!), or alcohol for the past three weeks.

I just looked up how much time it’s been exactly: three weeks and one day. IT SEEMS LIKE IT HAS BEEN LONGER.

I still would very much like a goddamn evil cookie (which is not by itself evil and is reasonable in the greater arc of life I KNOW, but it’s just kind of evil for me now because I have an unhealthy? yes… very unhealthy relationship with such things).

But it’s also good. It’s good because I don’t feel as sluggish and lethargic. I sit in my chair at work and am less constantly consumed by a feeling of heaviness, of my own weight pressing down on me. I am also tired. But it’s the good tired that comes from having expended energy instead of never really waking up.

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I can’t tell if I’m detoxing sugar or if I am just getting sick coincidentally. Perhaps my body is angry at me for taking away its precious, yummy drug and is thusly punishing me. Maybe this is what happens to a system that is deprived its crutch. Regardless, I’ve been sneezing all damn day and my nose won’t stop running.

I’m also kind of hungry. Because on top of not eating sugar, I am also no longer eating crap foods. And in America, most of the food is crap. By crap, I mean packaged, processed food. Food that is not whole, not traceable to its source, not, as Michael Pollan so aptly defined it, something my great-grandmother would recognize. I can have vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy. It takes a lot more conscious effort to consume enough of those foods to get through the day, and I did not pack my lunch bag sufficiently, even though I filled it with fruit. I think my body is just used to being stuffed to the brim with crap. It probably has forgotten the difference between not stuffed and hungry.

It’s fuckin’ learning now!

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Like I said, Shut up, brain. Just shut up.

But to answer your question: because all your plans and ideas haven’t worked out so well so far, have they?

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…at least until get my cholesterol checked:
red meat
whole milk
eggs
probably cheese, although my trainer hasn’t mentioned it yet

The biggest problem with this list is that it means I have to take my coffee black. And I hates it! I always have my coffee with milk, no sugar. And I use real milk because skim milk is not so healthy as one might think (which… more on that another time when I can have milk again and it matters). Now I want milk just thinking about it.

After a lunch (salad, tabouli, whole wheat pita, and hummus) I DESPERATELY wanted a cookie or some chocolate. But there will be none of that! Last night, my boyfriend mentioned someone bringing cookies to work, and I just said, “I don’t want to hear about it.” Because really, if I hear about it, I’m going to want it. Just typing the word cookie now. My sugar addled brain is like, “Yes? please? please? yes? Yes! Yes! YES! GIVE ME THE COOKIE!”

Shut up, brain. Just… shut up.

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Egg whites with spinach and artichoke
1 piece of wheat toast
1/2 cup coffee with 2% milk

1/2 cup coffee with half and half
1 cup cherries

another cup of cherries
rotisserie chicken breast (almost all of the skin removed)
boiled peas (2/3 cup-ish)
cooked carrots (1 cup-ish)
medium iced tea (unsweetened, natch) with juice of 4 lemon wedges

1 “satellite” peach
1/2 a nectarine
2/3 cup edamame beans

I’m surprised I don’t want to stab someone in the neck with a pencil yet. Sugar withdraw status update: headache with mild woozy feelings.

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