Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hot Run in the Summertime!

Hey today I had quite the hot run.  I didn't get up early - we went to bed too late (that is changing tonight, going to a 9pm bedtime starting tonight).  Because of that I didn't get out for my run - so at lunchtime I decided to pay a penalty to myself for that.  I did 30 minutes of taebo then went out and ran a mile.  I had to stop a few times - my pace is quicker now but my endurance not quite there yet.  It was almost 100 degrees without the heat index...but since I was already sweating it wasn't that bad - almost like I was really really warmed up. Note to self for my next mid-day punishment.  :)

I had my follow up appointment with my doctor last week.  The one year mark.  So in one year the following has changed:

1) My cholesterol is in the normal range (good as good as it should be, bad in the lower or normal range).
2) My resting heart rate was 127 last year.  This week it was 61.
3) My fasting glucose (sugar) was 113 last year.  This week it was 83.

I'm also down another pound, to a total of 61 pounds!

My doctor was very pleased with my progress.  She said if I keep it up she may enlist me to talk to her other patients about eating healthy and changing their lifestyles. I told her absolutely!  This isn't the kind of thing someone *should* keep to themselves.  Like figuring out the secret of youth and keeping it to yourself.  Why would someone do that?  That is why this blog exists. I've had people tell me things in the past that have helped me change everything...and thus I shall do the same to whomever will listen - whomever needs it!

Another recent fun experience - I was asked to sing in a wedding this weekend and the colors are black and white.  So, I decided I could wear a black dress I had in my closet.  I tried it on afraid it might still be too small...and alas...wait for was too big!  I couldn't believe it.  I was excited to go out and spend the money on a new dress in the next size down.  While it is a pain to keep buying clothes, at least I shop well like Ross and Cato's clearance and Kohl's, etc.  Being a cheap shopper is helping as I shrink.

So that is all I have for now - going to practice piano a few minutes then go to bed early - getting myself on a schedule here, so when I start my new job next week I can be ready to keep up with every craziness that is my life!!! 

Live well!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup is the Devil! (or just really bad)

I haven't spent alot of time on my blog here discussing food.  I talk about eating better but haven't officially defined for waiting eyes out there exactly what I eat and how it has helped me lose weight.

Wish I could tell you I read one book and that fixed my diet right up.  It wasn't that easy.  In fact, I shouldn't be speaking in past tense because my diet is constantly molding and changing based on new things I learn about food and about how my body reacts to food.  Tonight I will attempt to take you through the food journey with me and then will end with telling you what I eat regularly and what I won't ever eat regularly again.

First, you should know that I used to have a torrid love affair with the following foods: french fries (any kind), fried chicken sandwiches, anything chocolate or really anything sweet, stuffed crust pizza, etc.  Pretty much if it was bad for me or "mostly brown" I liked it.  When I say "mostly brown" I'm describing the foods that you usually see at fast food restaurants.  The plate is entirely tan or brown.  There is no color.  I've learned that the absence of color also means the absence of nutrition in most cases.  I also drank about 2-5 diet cokes each day - and that was pretty much it.  I didn't believe in drinking calories, so that is all I drank.  No water.  Let me also remind you that I felt sick all the time back then.  Always having indigestion, always thinking I was hungry, and always nervous that even after a large plate of food I might still be hungry.  Part of me actually worried that I might never eat again.  Completely irrational but drove me to eat way too much.

I quit diet cokes and thus caffeine cold turkey.  That was not a pretty week.  Lots of headaches.  But once they subsided and I was well hydrated (started drinking a ton of water) I felt really good.  I've had caffeine two times in the last year.  Didn't really have an affect on me - and I lived to tell about it, but won't ever be a regular part of my diet again.

So I decided to eat less fried food at first.  I cut out fries altogether unless I really liked the fries somewhere.  That was pretty easy.  I would still eat the fried chicken sandwich but would have vegetables, a salad or fruit with it.  Eventually I went to grilled - mainly because I started really tasting the grease in the foods I was eating.  It's almost as if my taste buds kind of "woke up" again and I could enjoy flavor of foods - the flavor nature gave them - and not from a dipping sauce covering the fried whatever.

I've gone completely whole grain.  If the bread is white I will likely not eat it - or more than a bite of it (unless its a yeast roll, and that is rare).  My pasta is also whole grain now as well.  I grew up on wheat bread so this wasn't too difficult a change for me.  Brown rice of course.  And whole wheat flour only.

I added lots of green to my diet.  Fresh spinach is a staple in my house - we always have a bag or box of it and I eat a spinach salad with my dinner every night or as my dinner (like tonight for example).  In my salads, I stopped using "fat free" dressings like I thought I had to in order to really be on a "diet."  Now, I don't eat the most fattening kind like ceasar dressing, but I found a light honey mustard I like, or I use less of a full fat dressing.  I don't bathe it in dressing, I just use enough to add some flavor.  I always add crumbled feta cheese and craisins too, and almonds if I have some and am not having meat that night.

I also have grown to love asparagus, broccoli and brussel sprouts, fresh of course (no canned).  I found ways and recipes to cook them that made all the difference for me.  More green.  :)

Reading more about super foods, I learned what they were and tried to add them to my daily intake.  There are so many great and delicious foods out there that I always avoided as I classified them as "diet" food, when really, they are incredibly satisfying, flavorful and good for me.  There's such a difference in how I view a diet now - I am not on a diet, but my diet, i.e., what I eat, has radically changed - enough so that I've lost 60 pounds.  I like that I haven't had to starve to do that.  :)  Here is a list of superfoods to get you started - just google it and you'll find more info than you have time to read.  :)  Really, just remembering that if its dark green or orange its probably good is a good start.

I eat sweet potatoes more than I eat regular potatoes.  I found some great ways to roast them, and prepare them the traditional way but using honey to sweeten instead of sugar.

I stopped drinking cows milk - and this one you will laugh at - because I'm not a cow.  :)  I tried vanilla soy milk for awhile and liked that - then I found almond milk and I'm in love!  It tastes amazing and is incredibly good for you.

I try to use honey instead of syrup - or I use pure maple syrup instead of any kind with high fructose corn syrup.  So here I go, into my rant about that.  Alot of things are OK in moderation - but I keep finding HFCS in everything!  In whole grain bread, just about anything sweet.  Its frustrating - because this ingredient "can lead to obesity" - well, duh, you eat more calories you gain weight, right?  Since corn is subsidized by the government, it is amazing how HFCS finds its way into a LOT of food.  Just check the lables in your pantry - you will be as surprised as I was.  Do I avoid it completely?  No way.  But I try to limit it. 

What is interesting is I found myself going into "diet mode" pretty early on in this journey.  I was starting to eat low fat this and "fake" sugar in pudding and yogurt.  But I didn't feel really good.  In fact, I went awhile avoiding fake sugar - not really on purpose, I just had decided to get off of my yogurt kick for awhile - and one night I had a dessert prepared with splenda and a big glass of diet juice.  I had my first migraine in 10 months that night.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.

So I am completely over the diet food.  :)  And if it contains fake sugar of some sort I'm over that too.  Fried food for the most part makes me nauseated.  So I'm over that too.

When I eat out I can almost always find something healthy.  But sometimes I want chicken nachos - and I eat them.  And I might "pay for it" later but I enjoy it.  Though well prepared nachos don't have to be terrible for you, cheese, beans, sour cream.  In moderation.  Sometimes I have a cheeseburger (usually not a fast food one, a real one) and I enjoy every bit of it.  Most of the time I eat a grilled chicken sandwich and steamed broccoli.  And I am a happy camper.

I don't do buffets - why would I?  I never eat more than a plate of food anyway.

Snacks - I eat dry roasted almonds - a handful a day usually on a hungry day.  Cheese sticks and triscuits or other whole grain crackers.  Dried plums - yes, I mean prunes and they have a bad reputation but aren't at all like their bad rep.  They are very yummy and satisfy a sweet tooth just fine too.  I also snack on fruit, like apples, bananas, cherries, strawberries.

I love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread.  Oh - and peanut butter I switched to using Skippy all natural peanut butter.  Only four ingredients.

That is one of my "food rules."  If there are 3 or more ingredients in it that I cannot pronounce easily, it is reaching "fake food" status and I'll probably turn my nose up at it.  If there are more than 3 ingredients overall, I also may avoid it.  I just don't want preservatives and neither does my body.

Please realize that I eat plenty.  I average around 1600 calories a day and 60 grams of fat.  I used to try to eat less than 20 grams of fat in my diet - and that is just not enough.  Good fat isn't the enemy.  Useless fat is.  I'm losing weight successfully because I am fueling my body appropriately.

Oh - and my favorite breakfast cereal is Kashi granola - the honey almond flax variety.  Most mornings I add a tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips to it.  Don't hate.  Its yummy and satisfying.  And dark chocolate is on the superfood list.

So this was kind of an all over the place nutrition post but here it is.  I'm not overly scientific, don't have tons of data to dump on you, but I have almost a year of experience in losing weight successfully and that has to count for something.

Hope you enjoyed it - have questions about food I eat or foods I've tried?  Ask.  I love talking about this stuff.  It has literally saved my life so that makes it kind of a big deal.  :)


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ain't Nothing Gonna Break My Stride...

ahhh!  Haven't posted in a long time.  Sorry.  I know you've been checking back like every day to find a post... :D

ok, so we had an AMAZING vacation at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.  BEAUTIFUL place and we truly enjoyed ourselves.  We ate alot too.  Two interesting things I learned. 

1) not getting hungry is sort of disappointing.  I look forward to hunger as it reminds me to eat and when I'm hungry I *get* to eat!  And I like eating.  I rarely felt hungry on the trip - a sign I was eating more than I needed to!

2) my stomach does NOT like to eat like that anymore.  I was sick for an entire morning after I had an ice cream from cold stone.  that used to be nothing!  my body is accustomed now to eating healthy most of the time! (dark chocolate daily included!)

Overall I still made pretty good choices, and I was proud of that.  I had more sweet treats than normal.  I came home, cringing and avoiding the scale, climbed on and found that....drum roll here...wait for it...I was back up to 230.2, up 3 pounds from where I was just before leaving for vacation.  I was bummed but vowed to get it off.

So I ran the next day.

And ate really well - LOTS of veggies.

And two days later I was back down to 227.  Nice, huh?  I think my body *prefers* to lose weight now.  No more of this gaining and holding junk.

And this morning I was down to 225.  This isn't my big week to lose so not sure why, but I'll take it! Doing another "biggest loser" challenge on SparkPeople - I will weigh in Saturday.  Its really motivating having these challenges and a team to cheer you on for the month.  Makes me want to do better! And I have been.

Running update - I'm now working on the "One Hour Runner" program - gradually working my way up to running for an hour.  Its definitely helping me improve my mile time too so that is a bonus!  I have to run in the mornings now though - it is getting brutal out there in the afternoons!!!

So total I am down 60 pounds in 11 months.  I feel pretty good about that.  Tonight we had friends over for dinner - and my friend is pretty tall and thin.  She was so excited to see I had lost weight and asked me, what do you weigh now, like 140?  I almost tackled her and hugged her.  Are you kidding?  I weigh 225!  She almost died.  She couldn't believe that right now I weigh more than 100 pounds more than her!  I believed it but, hey, I'm the one tugging on the size 18 pants thank you very much.

It just feels good to see these goals passing along like I am in some kind of weight loss groove now.  Ain't nothing gonna break my stride!

And so it goes...and there I go!  I am happy to say the least.  Hope you are feeling happy and motivated today too!