Saturday, January 25, 2014

Visualize Your Goal: Craft!

This craft is super simple and very cheap! Everything included, it cost under $10, and it would have been cheaper if I had used items that I already owned. I just needed to be a special snowflake about it. :-)

The best part about this in my opinion is that it is so customizable; you can really make it your own.

Instead of florist marbles, you could use: beads, buttons, seashells, coins, stones, barbie shoes...

Instead of votives, you could use: shot glasses, espresso cups, mini vases, clam shells...

Instead of ribbon, you could use: raffia, rope, fine chain (broken necklace maybe?), or nothing.

Instead of labels, you could: write on container using glass markers, puffy paint, or even frost the glass!

Let me know if you have any other cool ideas! Go wild with it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Week 3 -- Triumph Over Laziness

Proof! 161lbs

Starting Weight: 167 lbs 
Goal Weight: 117 lbs

Date: January 24, 2014
Current Weight: 161 lbs  
Net Loss: 6 lbs

I can't believe that I have actually lost 2lbs a week in the New Year. My resolutions didn't even include weight loss! It has been so long since I was 161lbs, so I had to take a picture of the scale at the gym!

Gym Bag Saves the Day!
If you read my last post, you know my diet has been iffy this last week. What really pulled me through was consistency at the gym. I have a new class on Tuesday and Thursday, and the gym is really close to campus. I decided to use the close proximity to my advantage.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tough Week--3 Splurge Meals in a Row

This week has been especially hard for me. The last three days in particular, my diet has been suffering. My cravings for fast food have been really horrible all week, so I finally gave into them. This is a problem, because I am an ethical vegetarian, and I try very hard to avoid meat products. (See Day #2). In terms of health, I suppose it could have been worse. In terms of calories, I "spent" more on eating out that I would like. In all cases, better choices could have been made.

In the end, it comes down to how I end up feeling. Veggie burgers generally leave me feeling pretty good, so Splurge Day #1 could be considered a good day. However, Day #2 and #3 left me feeling really bloated and ill. Even though my calories for Day #3's splurge meal were not outrageous, the fried foods and all of the fat and salt felt terrible in my stomach. If there is a next time, I'll probably just order the salad and leave it at that.

Splurge Day #1:

On Monday, when I decided to calorie splurge, I planned it well. I went to Fuddrucker's, and ordered a veggie burger with mushrooms and cheese with a side of their fries. Since their cheesy sauce is not listed, I'll use the calorie count from their listed "Loaded Fries."
Calorie Breakdown:
Veggie Burger-- 432 cals
Cheddar--108 cals
Provlone-- 111 cals
Mushrooms-- 35 cals
Wedge Fries-- 296 cals
(Loaded Fries--585 cals)
Peanuts (~1oz)--170 cals
Total Damage: 1441 cals

Splurge Day #2:

On Tuesday, I still had Jack in the Box on my mind. I didn't eat anything for breakfast or lunch, so when I drove by on my way home, I went through their drive through. I picked up 2 tacos, 1 jumbo jack with cheese and 10 chicken nuggets. Later in the evening, I made a green smoothie to help with digestion.
Calorie Breakdown: 
Jumbo Jack with Cheese-- 570 cals
10 Chicken Nuggets-- 480 cals
2 Tacos-- 380 cals
Ranch Dip (2 containers)-- 260 cals
Total Damage: 1690 calories

 Splurge Day #3:

On Wednesday, my evening client decided to have a restaurant outing for session. We went to Red Robin, and I ate as well. I ordered a House salad with Blue Cheese Dressing on the side, and the "Jumpstarter" with Fried Mozzarella and Zucchini.
Calorie Breakdown:
Fried Zucchini w/ Ranch Dipping Sauce--250 cals
Fried Mozzarella--300 cals
Blue Cheese Side Salad-- 302 cals
Total Damage: 852 cals
Just as a note, Red Robin uses a menu "customizer" widget on their website, and it is really terrible. It is very fancy, but does not have all of the information. (For example, they didn't have the Select 2 Jumpstart, so I had to make some educated guesses based on the information they would give me. And their side salad selection didn't have dressing options, so I had to go find a wedge salad and delete all options except for the dressing to come up with an estimate.)

Jack in the Box and Fuddruckers both use a downloadable PDF with lists of their options. I prefer this method. Jack definitely gives more complete information, right down to the weight of 1 serving.

Finally, I am posting this because I think it is important to pay attention and be mindful, ESPECIALLY when it becomes difficult. If I had let these choices pass unnoticed, then nothing will change. Most of these meals were crimes of convenience and poor planning. Noticing and paying close attention to my splurge meals is critical to making sure they happen less often. Better choices can be made in the future because I have the entire picture right now. 

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sugar Free January--Half Way Point

The half-way point of Sugar Free January was a few days ago. So far it has been very successful! So successful that I am considering continuing my abstinence from sweeteners indefinitely. This may sound radical, but its not. Sugar was once a precious thing. It was only for special occasions and very expensive. Avoiding it on a daily basis is a reasonable goal. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Week 2-- You Can't Out Run a Bad Diet

Photo Credit: Tribe Sports
Starting Weight: 167 lbs 
Goal Weight: 117 lbs

Date: January 14, 2014
Current Weight: 164 lbs  
Net Loss: 3lbs

This week was pretty tough for me. I didn't exercise as much as I wanted, and unhealthy food was an issue.

For example, my family had pizza twice this week! (I usually get pineapple, mushroom and olive, so it could be worse) It definitely isn't a food that is even on my list of monthly foods!

Plus one of my friends had a wine tasting for her birthday. It was really fun, but I ended up eating so much wine, and so much cheese!

On the bright side, I resisted cravings for fast food all week. Every time I drove by and thought about stopping I thought "You can't outrun a bad diet." This phrase totally worked for me!

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Food Tracking

 Keeping a Food Diary Doubles Diet Weight Loss, Study Suggests

If you have been "dieting" for any amount of time, I am sure you have come across suggestions to keep a food journal, count calories, or join WW and start using their PointsPlus®. The basic idea is that people who track what they eat, lose more weight. They don't lose just a few extra pounds either. They double their weight loss. Let me repeat that.

People who track what they eat DOUBLE their weight loss!

Tracking your food is easier said than done. Its a simple theory, but hard to maintain as a habit. I have attempted to track my food on and off for years. I have used notebooks, diaries made to track food and fitness, Sparkpeople's online and app features, Fitbit's online and app features, (I have friends who use MyFitnessPal with varying levels of success). Nothing has made me consistent. The resources are there; I just need to use them. 

There are lots of resources for tracking what we eat. It is up to us to actually use them. It is up to us to learn if physical journals are best, or if something on our cell phones is more do-able. It is up to us to notice when we no longer prioritize tracking. It is up to us to come up with a set of behaviors that make it possible to follow through with this simple action.

Nothing can replace consistency. 

Today was the first time in a very long time that I have made myself sit down and track. I used Sparkpeople's tracking program (and sent the info over to the Fitbit tracker since I know I will be using that more often). I hope to continue practicing this skill, because for me, it is a skill.

I have been thinking about what the challenge for February should be, and I think Food & Fit February has a nice ring to it. When the time comes, we will valiantly track our food and fitness until it becomes a habit! For now I will try to track what I eat, but come February, it will be priority #1!

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sugar: Why we should all avoid it

I thought I would compile a little set of resources to refer to about sugar. And no, I do not mean recipes for frosting and sugar cookies!

I hope you learn as much reading these as I did while I was searching for them. Happy reading!

Easy Reading: 

141 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health

The Hunt for Hidden Sugar

Breaking Your Sugar Addiction

The Truth About Sugar

In Depth Articles:

Dietary Sugars and Body Weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle-Aged Women 

Caloric Sweetener Consumption and Dyslipidemia Among US Adults

Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health--A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association 

How Science is Souring on Sugar
Fructose Consumption: Considerations for Future Research on Its Effects on Adipose Distribution, Lipid Metabolism, and Insulin Sensitivity in Humans
Greater Fructose Consumption is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Markers and Visceral Adiposity in Adolescents

Abstract only:

Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
You may notice that most of these resources are actually scholarly articles.

Often, people get their information from secondary sources, like Yahoo Health or WebMD, instead of from the actual scientists who did the research. The information may be "dumbed down" by the time you read it, and you might miss the main point. When you read a published article, it is straight from the source; you have all the information and it has been peer reviewed for validity.

As mortals, it is impossible to only get information from scholarly articles. It is a good idea to at least use them as a supplement. Even if you can't bring yourself to read the WHOLE thing, even the abstract will give you more complete and accurate information than a secondary article (sometimes all you can read is the abstract if you don't want to pay for it).

There is a TON of misinformation in the health and dieting community. Be wary, and check for sources!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sugar Free January--Week 1

The first week of Sugar Free January has passed. It has been much easier than I expected! I have been very careful to avoid temptation and been very mindful of my eating. Mindfulness is something that I will clearly need to work on, as it appears to be my biggest dietary downfall!

Here are my week one tricks:

Problem: Starbucks is convenient and has many flavored drinks that I enjoy. 

Solution: I have avoided Starbucks altogether and instead gone to the local coffee shop, Mountain Grounds, where the coffee is so perfect that it is almost sacrilegious to add sweeteners. Plus, supporting local businesses is good for the economy; I can feel good about spending my coffee budget at a family owned business and stick it to the man (aka Starbucks)

Problem: Breakfast foods and pastries either come with too much sugar or I add it.

Solution: Skipping the pastries has been nbd (no big deal) for some reason. Knowing that I have a goal is enough to keep my eye on the prize when I look down at a scone or almond croissant (at the above mentioned coffee shop).

Oatmeal comes both in pre-sweetened packets and loose. Even when I make it myself, I usually add brown sugar. The last week, I have made it myself and added frozen fruit instead. I still add lots of cinnamon and fresh nutmeg for extra flavor, but I haven't even noticed the lack of brown sugar in the mix. Blueberries, cherries and peaches are all delicious additions on top of a hot bowl of oats.

Problem: When dining out, I usually get soda or add sugar to the coffee.

Solution: A couple of times, I have ended up in a situation where I would usually ordered a soda. Instead, I have opted for unsweetened iced tea, hot tea, coffee, or ice water. All of these options are much better for your teeth than soda, and are calorie free. Did you know tea is a natural source of fluoride? Forgoing soda has probably saved me close to 500 calories this week alone!

See this article for more information about fluoride and tea.

Problem: Various sweets and the saboteurs that offer them.

Solution: This problem is mostly solved with the phrase "I can't. I'm doing Sugar Free January!" Although one person has made remarks about how I've "probably already fallen off the wagon," (I haven't!), people have generally been very supportive.

In regards to sweets, I don't buy them. At the beginning of this challenge, I asked my family to either not buy them, or to keep them out of the pantry. This has been effective so far!

How has your January been going? Have you been successful so far with your New Year's Resolutions? Let me know in the comments!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Starting Stats (ie. I need to lose 50 pounds!)

About 3 years ago, I lost 20lbs after a big break up. I have managed to keep off about 15lbs total. I really didn't do anything to make that happen, it was just happened naturally.

Now, I am actually going to put in some effort. Part of losing weight is being up front about what it is you are doing. The more people who support you, the more likely you are to succeed. My true beginning date was December 26, 2013, and I weighed 167lbs at that point. I will do a weekly weigh in, and I will post a picture monthly (with more in depth stats) so that my progress will be visible.

I need to lose 50 pounds!

Starting Weight: 167 lbs 
Goal Weight: 117 lbs

Date: January 6, 2014
Current Weight: 165 lbs  
Net Loss: 2lbs

BMI: 29.2 (Overweight)
Waist: 34.5 in
Hips: 42.5 in
Bust: 41 in
WtoH Ratio: 0.80 (Healthy)
Upper Arm: 12.5 in
Thigh: 24 in

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

What advice would you give the "Younger You?"

My mom sent me this picture of a poster at one point.
So if you could go back and give "Younger You" a piece of advice, what would it be?

I have certainly made some stupid mistakes in my life. There have been specific moments where I wish I had made a different decision, and there have been habits that I let drift away.

Clearly some of these notes are very personal, with negative experiences influencing them. I don't know if I will go into detail in the future or not.
  • Don't go on the pogo stick in platform flip-flops! (I thought everything was safer with shoes, but I broke my foot the first time with this antic).
  • Just because you can eat an entire box of ice cream or an entire plate of brownies and still end up under calories for the day DOES NOT MEAN ITS A GOOD IDEA!
  • Stay in college for 5 years and take even more major classes.
  • Study abroad for an entire year or semester (instead of only the summers)
  • Falling asleep in class is not normal! Either you are sick or have too much going on and need to scale back.
  • Keep running throughout college.
  • Don't even try the Vibram 5 Fingers 
  • If you have pain in your lower abdomen, go to the ER! Don't assume that it is just running cramps or an upset stomach.That's where your ovaries are, not your stomach!
  • You deserve someone who doesn't put you down, call you names, or yell at you. 
 What would you tell Younger You?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

10 Resolutions

Photo Credit: Paul Morley

This year I have TEN resolutions! Crazy right? Most years I only choose 2 or 3 things to focus on. I inevitably forget about how terribly important they are by June. Usually because they are too vague, or too difficult. 

A couple of resolutions from previous years include:
  • Lose weight 
  • Drink from every drinking fountain passed
  • Wear a minimum of concealer, eyeliner and mascara EVERYDAY!

This year, I chose a couple of challenging resolutions, and a couple that I already planned to do. When I wrote them out, 10 seemed like a nice round number, so that's why there are so many.

I really wanted projects that I could achieve and that would create long-term habits or skills. I wanted to be specific, but not impossibly specific. I wanted everything to be immediately relevant. (Even though JMT and NVM are several months in the future, their preparation is right now!)  Without further ado, here are my

My 2014 New Years Resolutions
  1. Sugar Free January!
  2. Drink a green smoothie every day
  3. Practice yoga at least once a week
  4. Practice Pilates at least once a week
  5. Through hike the John Muir Trail
  6. Finish the Napa Valley Marathon
  7. Learn to play the Native American Flute
  8. Apply to grad school
  9. Keep a sketchbook
  10. Do laundry weekly
Wish me luck! 
С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ! (pronounced Sno-vum Go-dem! Russian for Happy New Year!)

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Sugar Free January

Many people make resolutions for the New Year starting in January. They often address problems with lifestyle or weight or organization etc. This year I made 10 resolutions (oh my!) and one of them was to have a Sugar Free January!

Photo Credit: vjeran lisjak
I drink a lot of sweetened coffee, and soda; I eat eat pastries, and candy (I was given 3 whole boxes of See's candy for Christmas. Yum/Yikes!).

 For me, the biggest issue is the coffee. Some days I will splurge, and get a Soy Peppermint Mocha with the double whammy of sugar, or I might just get a simple brewed coffee and add 3 packets of sugar. Either way, as a daily habit, its killin' me!

The rules are pretty straight forward. No sugar is no sugar! In case you were wondering, that includes:
  1. Refined sugar
  2. Turbinado sugar
  3. Brown sugar
  4. Artificial sugars
  5. Agave 
  6. HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  7. Honey
  8. Molasses
  9. Anything else that might sweeten your food that is not an actual fruit! 
Remember, you will want it less the longer you go!

Happy Eating!

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