Sunday, August 31, 2014

Banana Quinoa Waffles

So I thought I would give you guys a break from my ruminations about hunger directed eating and finally bring you this amazing recipe! 

I absolutely love these waffles, they are packed with super healthy ingredients and they taste really yummy too.  If you really hate bananas then you might have a problem with these as you can taste the bananas but it is about as strong as if you were eating banana bread.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup quinoa
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk

Cook quinoa as directed on package, in large bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Beat egg whites with mixer until stiff.  In medium bowl combine quinoa, banana, egg yolk, butter, and milk.  Add flour mixture and stir until combined.    Fold egg whites into banana batter.  Add batter to waffle baker, serve topped with fresh fruit.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The most important thing to unlearn

As a dieter, we are always restricting our foods, whether it be calories or entire food groups.  We eat our allotted portion of food and then we are not allowed to eat again until it is time for a snack or the next meal.  If we get hungry again before that time comes then too bad.  If we are still hungry at the end of the meal then too bad.  Over the past two days, I am amazed at how often I think and tell myself "there will be more food.  If you want this food later you can eat it.  It is okay to stop eating now because if you get hungry again you can eat when you are hungry."  What makes it so incredibly difficult to let go of food as a dieter is the fact that we limit it, so our bodies go into survival mode and we are always looking forward to the next time we can eat.  At least that is what I do.  I get panicky at the end of a meal knowing that I wouldn't get to eat again until it is time for the next meal.  Yesterday after my snack attack Matt decided that we would go out to get Vietnamese food.  On a normal day I would have thought "oh what the heck, I have already blown it today, so I might as well go all out" and spiraled out of control in an "eating because you ate" binge.  However, instead of doing that, I told myself "It is okay, there will be more food later.  If I get hungry again tonight then I can eat the rest of my food".  Instead of eating ALL the food I could get my hands on at the restaurant, I ordered my usual Tai Pho and ate until I noticed a drop in the intensity of the flavor, which really wasn't all that much food since I had eaten sooo much earlier in the day.  Before trying out Hunger Directed Eating I would have thought that I needed to eat all my food because tomorrow I was getting back on track and this food would be off limits since it is high in sodium and carbs (lots of noodles).  And besides that, this was all I was going to get to eat tonight so I had better stuff myself so I don't get hungry until tomorrow.  Instead I told myself, "it's okay, I can eat this food tomorrow when I get hungry, and heck if I get hungry tonight I can even pull it out and have some more later tonight if I get hungry again."  And I felt so liberated, and guess what.  I didn't get hungry the rest of the night.
This is how much food I had left over.  Instead of eating all of it because I needed to get back on track tomorrow, I felt assured that if I got hungry later, there would be food waiting for me.
The most liberating thing to know is that there is always more food.  This wasn't true when I was tracking calories.  Once you hit your daily caloric goal that is it, you are done.  It doesn't matter if you are still starving, you don't get any more food.  I have gone to bed so hungry before that my stomach was violently cramping.  But I couldn't eat any more food because I had used up all of my calories that day.  Guess what happened just a few days later... that's right I binged (or as Josi calls it "gasping for food" which quickly spirals into "eating cuz you ate").

Now I am not saying that I have been eating perfectly.  I most certainly am not yet, I am still figuring this out, but I am working to apply as many of the principles that I can.  Yesterday I ate a ton of junk, and I ate at the grocery store before I even made it to the checkout stand (which goes against the suggestion of sitting down to eat and making sure you always do all your eating in your designated eating spots which helps you define when you are and when you are not eating so you are not mindlessly eating).  I had a very hard time stopping eating mostly because I was eating as I was shopping and not really paying attention to the food except that it was good and I wanted to eat more.  Now I have my designated eating spot, and I plan to plate all my food even if it is a handful of chips, or some candies.  No distractions (a hard one for me, I love reaching for my phone and surfing facebook while I eat lunch) and really get into the groove of Hunger directed eating.  There is a lot to learn but I think that this method really could work, especially since I have done a lot of the background work.  I am not sure what Josi would say to the fact that when I was 211 pounds my stomach was physically bigger than it is now.  It was stretched out due to all the food I was putting in it, and a larger stomach makes one hungrier since part of satiety is the physical feeling of your stomach.  But maybe reconnecting with your body allows you to realize when you have had enough food (through the taste test) without needing your stomach to be physically full.

I am excited to try living like a normal person, and developing a healthier relationship with food, one where I am not so obsessed over what I am eating for the next meal, or the next snack or counting the minutes until I can eat again.  Just eat and get on with my day, think of all the things I could think about besides food!  Because once you free yourself of restrictions, really there always is more food, waiting for you the next time you get hungry, every time you get hungry so don't worry about eating it all now, because you can always eat it later if you really want to.

I still don't trust myself yet, and I am still getting the panicky cravings of "I have to eat this now because I won't be able to have it later".  I can feel the conflict inside of myself as I still don't yet fully believe it will work, so I don't fully believe that I will allow myself access to certain foods all the time.  I hope it does work though.  It is everything I have ever wanted.  To live and be thin without counting calories.  Trusting and listening to my body.  So I'm going to give it a good try, at least one month and then I will see how I feel, if I feel thinner, better, more energetic, more confident, like I'm gaining mobility and getting it down, making progress. Or if I feel like I have been gaining weight, and my self esteem is in the hole because I am just failing miserably.  I figure one month should be enough time to decide if I should give it another month or go back to what has been working for me so far.  Your thoughts?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Retrain your brain

So I tormented myself yesterday with indecision as to whether or not to jump into hunger directed eating or whether to keep going on as I am.  Of course, existing in this tortured state completely undermined any good intentions I may have had by staying on track and all my careful laid plans flew out the window.  So yesterday was a total binge day, eating copious amounts of cookie dough, pizza, popcorn, and chocolate.  So I figured "well, since I have dived head first into the Doritos and donuts phase I might as well just commit all out".  I ended up reading the book twice through and writing down everything that was important to know so I could have easy access to it.  While I didn't exactly listen to my hunger signals yesterday, I did some much needed work on step 5 which is checking in with how you feel.

Our brains are naturally wired to associate the immediate outcome with certain events, hence the creation of what Josi calls the "conflicted states".  There are four states of being:
1. Want to: this is the it feels good now and later state where we don't have to think about doing it we just do because we genuinely want to.
2. Won't: this is the it feels bad now and bad later state where we won't do something because we genuinely don't want to-such as chewing on glass
Those are the two non-conflicted states.  What you want or don't want and what is good or bad for you are in harmony.  Where the problem lies is in the conflicted states:
1. Should- feels bad now, but good later: I should eat my vegetables, I shouldexercise
2. Shouldn't- feels good now but bad later- I shouldn't eat that brownie but it tastes so good!

The reason why these two conflicted states exist is because like I mentioned before, our brains automatically pair the immediate sensation with the activity.  Therefore we are not thinking about how that brownie will make us feel in an hour, all we care about is the immediate sensation of the flavor.  We also are not thinking about how we will feel after the walk, we are thinking about how we feel right now and how tedious it is going to be to get ready for and then actually go on that walk.  Therefore the key to turning shoulds into want tos and shouldn'ts into wonts is to manually re-wire your brain.  This can happen sometimes without us even knowing it, most prominently with someone getting sick after eating something.  My husband used to love salad, but one day (before I met him) he went out to eat and ate salad at a restaurant and got violently ill several hours later.  To this day he still cannot eat salad.  The same thing happened to him once when eating tostadas.  He still can't eat tostadas.  It had noting to do with the fact that the tostada or the salad tasted bad. In fact he rather enjoyed eating them, but the aftermath was so traumatic that those foods were firmly moved into the "won't" category.  So you see it is possible to rewire our brains, it just takes some effort on our part.

The whole key to hunger directed eating is ting step 2: eating what you really want with step 5: checking in to see how you feel.  The key is that you have to rewire your brain to think differently about certain foods by focusing on the aftermath of what you are eating.  So yesterday when I was gorging myself on cookie dough, and all the foods I usually forbid myself I tried to focus on how that food made me feel.  It made my stomach queasy, it made me very tired.  I had my first afternoon crash in a long time, and then I had to go to bed at 9pm and couldn't hardly wake up this morning.  This morning I was moody, tired, and grumpy.  Last night I felt sick, and bloated.  So now I just have to focus on that feeling and pair it with the food I ate.  So when I think about eating large amounts of cookie dough, I don't think about how good it tastes, I think about how bad it makes me feel and I ask myself if I am willing to put myself through 24 hours of feeling sick, bloated, tired, and cranky just so I can eat some cookie dough.

Lunch: I got out everything I thought I wanted.  You are supposed to plate everything so the chips and the dessert are also plated. 

After listening to what I really wanted to eat, and stopping when the intensity of the flavor dropped, I stopped eating.  I still had a lot of leftovers, turned out I really only wanted chocolate and yogurt.  I was surprised I left a ton of chips behind and some cookie dough. 

It is going to take a lot of practice and it is going to take time.  Trial and error, and it takes a lot of mindfulness and body awareness.  These are things that naturally thin people do automatically, they don't have to think about it because they never lost touch with their body.  Do naturally thin people occasionally gorge themselves on sweets?  Sure! (Although I know plenty of naturally skinny people that genuinely don't like sweets, and they just don't eat them.  Those foods are firmly in the "wont" category).  My husband eats tons of sweets, and my mom and sister eat plenty too, but they have an innate ability to listen to their body and eventually they turn the sweets aside when their body starts craving better fuel.  My kids will eat half a cookie and then crumble the remainder into little pieces and toss it onto the floor (gasp! how could they turn aside the remainder of their sweets?!?)  It really is fascinating to see what Josi talks about in her books in action around the people I know.

So I have decided to just jump right in, knowing that I will probably have the most trouble with step 3: stopping when you are satisfied.  I am so used to measuring out all my food and I eat all my food.  So the idea of taking a sizable portion and purposefully leaving some behind is totally foreign to me.  Today I really tried to listen to my hunger cues.  After yesterday I wasn't too hungry this morning so I didn't eat until much later in the morning, whereas I usually eat the moment I wake up.  I also worked on paying attention to when I was satisfied and stopped eating 3/4 the way through my oatmeal. 

I made a trip to the grocery store to get peanut butter and orange juice and came out with a $80 bill.  Dang it.  But one of the most important things about the first phase is to open the flood gates and just go out and let yourself have everything you ever wanted, and you have to learn to trust yourself that this food will never be off limits again.  That is how these foods lose their power over you, they drop from the "forbidden" category into the "ordinary" category.  Granted I bought a few other things too besides just my junk food.  I actually only spent $30 on my stash: peanut butter M&Ms, cheese-its, salt and vinegar chips, BBQ chips, Reeses, and diet pepsi.  The important part of this phase is to listen to your hunger and you still have to wait to eat these foods until you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.  I didn't do so hot yesterday, but today I really tried to eat only when I was hungry and stop when the intensity of the flavor lessened, which when I actually paid attention to it, I was surprised that I could in fact tell when the flavor was not as intense. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eating like naturally thin people

And for that matter why is maintenance so hard?  I've never hit maintenance before but from reading various blogs and listening to podcasts the general consensus is that maintenance is hard, if not harder than losing the weight in the first place.   I finished that book on hunger directed eating and every chapter blew me away.  Everything she said, and talked about registered deeply within me.  I was left dumbfounded, excited, energized, and feeling like just maybe I could live a normal life and not have to always consider myself as being "on plan" or "off plan".  So I will probably be talking about various parts of the book over the next few posts since my mind is in a feverish state of processing everything she talks about.  I think the two biggest reasons why this book resonated so much with me is because 1. I desperately want to live a life where I can have a normal relationship with food and eat what I want when I want and not have to obsess over counting calories and worrying about 'blowing it'.  She promises five things that Hunger Directed Eating will do for you:
1. You will get and stay naturally thin.
2. You will eliminate food obsession.
3. You will be free from the grip of 'kryptonite foods'
4. You will replace feeling out of control with a sense of food mastery and confidence.
5. You will be able to get and stay thin without deprivation.
And who wouldn't want that?  The second reason why this book resonated so much within me is because she talks about eating the way naturally thin people do and when I look around at my naturally thin family and friends, they do exactly what she talks about in her book.  Take my kids for example: ages 3.5 and 1.5, still very young and uncorrupted yet by social food conditioning.

They eat when they are hungry.  They let me know when they are hungry and if they are very hungry they eat quickly.  As they approach satiety, they slow down and eventually stop eating and the food that they were shoveling into their mouths just moments before is now being mashed into tiny bits or thrown on the floor.  They eat what they want when they want, and they are both in the 90th percentiles for height and in the 25th percentiles for weight.  Of course I make sure to give them options and don't let them snack on candy all day long, but even if I do inundate them with snacks every so often, when they have had enough they stop eating, dumping the popcorn out all over the floor or crushing their goldfish into tiny bits or feeding them to the dog.  They almost always leave food on their plate confident that the next time they get hungry there will be food.

My husband eats this way, so does my mom, and my little sister and my brother.  Even my older sister who is caught up in what I like to call the "health hype" eats this way.  Do they occasionally overeat?  Sure, but they listen to their bodies, and they don't have the typical dieting behaviors I have developed like binge eating and gasping for food and "eating because you ate".  It never ceases to amaze me when after eating seemingly no food, one of these family members will push their food away because they have reached satiety.  No pressure to polish off their plate, no feverish panic that the food is almost gone, simply the meal is over and it is time to do something else.  Mind Blowing, and completely the opposite of every learned behavior.  I measure out my food, I eat all my food.  If I want more maybe I try to wiggle around a few of my calories so I can eat some more food now, but I will pay for it later.  It's no secret that I have an unhealthy relationship with food.  In fact, I exhibit all 7 reasons why diets don't work according to Josi Spinardi:
1. Dieting intensifies cravings and preoccupation with food-check,
2. Dieting makes you eat more not less through binge eating, gasping for food and eating because you ate- check
3. Dieting makes you feel out of control with food- check
4. Dieting increases emotional distress and the likelihood that you'll eat in response to the stress- check stress eating is my forte and I am also very good at beating myself up over it hence the emotional distress
5. Dieting creates a whole new category of overeating called "eating cuz you ate" - I do this one in droves
6. Diets don't model naturally thin eater's behavior- I realize this now just by looking at my family
7.Diets don't resolve the real reasons why you eat when you are not hungry- check. If they did then they would actually work and diets wouldn't be so hard to stay on.

My naturally thin family.  I worked HARD to look that good in that picture and I'm about 143-145 in that pic.  My brother over to the far left, my parents in the middle, my two sisters on the right, my older sister on the far right with her husband behind her.  Of course then you recognize me, and my girls on the left and my husband is behind me

 The past year and a half I have found success in conventional dieting but I adapted it, I slipped up, I tried again and I never really went off or quit.  When I hit my plateau I wondered if I should just take a break for a while, but was terrified that my weight would creep back up.  I was always on plan or off plan, being good or binging, but along the way I made some healthier changes that I was able to actually change from within.  I like eating healthier now, I have made some steps unknowingly towards hunger directed eating although I am largely still in the dieting category.  I choose fruit over crackers because I like the way it make me feel.  I choose home made dinners over takeout because... well frankly we can't afford take out every day, but even if we could takeout makes me feel like crap.  I've noticed how eating certain foods (like hamburgers from Red Robin) leave me debilitated hours later lying on the couch clutching my stomach because of the pains of that greasy food going through me.  If I'm lucky I'll throw it up and the pain will be over, but I'm not always lucky... so I just don't eat hamburgers from Red Robin.

I want to throw myself into Hunger Directed Eating, but the truth is... I'm terrified.  I cling to my daily calorie requirements like someone drowning in the ocean would cling to a life preserver.  Without that I would feel lost, always wondering where I am, how I'm doing.  But that is the point of listening to your body.  Your body knows what it needs, and since I have checked out of my body for so long, I think it would take a while to really get in tune with it again.  So for now I am going to start applying some of the skills of hunger directed eating before I decided to take the full plunge.  I still want to weigh myself on Sunday, and I don't want anything to mess that up, which I suppose in and of itself shows more than anything the dieter's mentality.  So maybe I should just throw weighing myself on Sunday out the window and dive head first into this little experiment.  But no, I won't do that because I need to see if I made progress last month.... or do I?  I can take my measurements, take my pictures, I know my pants are feeling looser and my thighs for the first time are looking less bulging.  Josi recommends never weighing yourself since it is such a poor indicator of weight loss, and using your clothes as a better indicator.  I feel a bit conflicted about it right now.  I want to rid myself of the need to use the scale, but can I do that?  Can I let that go?  I'm not so sure.  It sounds all well and grand when reading it but when you think about actually doing it, it scares me to death.  And then of course there is the question of what to do about the remaining two months of my challenge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dieting makes you fat?

So I picked up that book that Katie was reading on her blog  called "how to have your cake and your skinny jeans too" and I had no idea what to expect.  I had never read an intuitive eating book before, but I knew that one day I would like to be able to trust my body and myself and just eat what I want and need without counting calories.  So I decided to go ahead and read the book, and what I found absolutely blew my mind!  I know many of you found me through Katie's blog, but I am going to be talking about different things than she does on her blog.  This book completely blew my mind.  All these years I always thought there was just something wrong with me, I used all the typical excuses "my body just won't drop the weight, I have a slow metabolism, no matter how hard I work the weight won't come off."  You know, the typical excuses.  And you also know that one behavior I am trying to rid myself of is binge eating (not binge eating disorder, but the type of eating that comes on after doing really well for several days).

I am half way through this book and I was shocked when she states that the reason why I have this problem in the first place is because I have been dieting!  She talks about behaviors that dieters develop that sabotages their weight loss and actually causes them to gain more weight.  She identifies five types of non hunger eating and I'm sitting here thinking "I do that, I do that, I do that...wait, you mean this problem isn't just me?"
Reading what she says just makes so much sense when she talks about it so lets see what she says:

1. Gasping for Food- check.  I do this one.  This is where you are going along on your diet really well and then all of a sudden you eat one little piece of chocolate (or other forbidden food) and suddenly we are shoving hand fulls of chocolate chips and whatever else we can get a hold of into our mouths and we are eating like there is no tomorrow, because in reality there is not tomorrow since that food will be forbidden again tomorrow.  She states "gasping for food is your body's natural and scientifically proven response to deprivation".  So the reason why I binge on certain types of foods is because I have forbidden my consumption of them.  I never thought of it that way before.  She gives a really great analogy of swimming under water while holding your breath.  If you swim the whole length of an Olympic size swimming pool when you come up you will be gasping for air, taking in huge lung fulls of it because you were deprived of it, you won't be breathing normally for a while.  She also quotes a study where one group of people were encouraged to think about polar bears and one group were forbidden to think about them.  The participants were to push a button every time they thought of polar bears and guess which group thought of polar bears more often?  That's right the group who were forbidden to think about them.  Forbidding something makes that food more desirable.

2.  Eating cuz you ate: I do this one too.  This is what happens when you eat two cookies after lunch and then you think "well I've blown it so I might as well go all out" and then the rest of the day turns into a 4,000 calorie binge where you are suddenly eating every single cookie in the house and everything else you can possibly find, maybe even going to the store to get things you won't be able to have tomorrow.  This occurs because you are relying on external ques to tell you what you can and cannot eat, or when it is and is not time to eat, or what you want and do not want to eat. 

Those two behaviors I am trying very hard to eliminate and they were caused because of dieting!  Mind Blowing.  The other three non hunger eating practices I also do, but in much less frequency and they aren't exactly the direct cause of dieting.  But these two are my biggest problems and they are caused because of dieting.  So lets now go outside the book and think about what I have experienced in the past.  Every time I have gone on a diet I will lose weight, but eventually quit and then gain all the weight back plus some (usually about 5-10 pounds higher than I was before).  I know this happens to other people too just by reading blogs and talking to friends.  Now we know that the reason why that happens is because as soon as we go off of our diets we are suddenly gasping for food and if we don't start again the next day (which I often can't) we might postpone indefinitely and so we keep gorging ourselves on our favorite foods.  The whole first chapter is dedicated to convincing you that dieting is bad and she does a pretty darn good job of it.  Dieting disconnects you with your natural hunger cues, actually causes you to binge, and food obsess.

Here is where I had a shocking realization.  Looking back on my life and my weight gain over the years, I never knew why I kept gaining weight because I was always trying to lose weight.  I was on the dieting roller coaster of either being on a diet or being completely out of control.  I could go as far back as 6th grade but lets just start at high school for convenience since I reached my height (5'4") in 8th grade and never grew another inch.  So enter Freshmen year of high school, I am 125 pounds and caught up in the worlds idea of being super skinny to be pretty so I decided that I needed to lose 10 pounds to accomplish this because I was fat (Ironic now that 125 is my ultimate weight loss goal).  Enter my first willingly started diet.  I don't remember now if I lost any weight but I do remember that a year later when I entered sophomore year I weighed 135.  Enter the Atkins diet.  I remember getting down to about 130-132, and then you guessed it, enter Junior year I weighed 140.  Enter some random cleanse diet that I have now long forgotten the name of.  And along comes Senior year: 145 pounds.  Begin college, holy cow, how did I get so fat?  I better start getting serious about dieting.  Sophomore year 155.  Ok this is really getting out of hand, I'm going to hit the gym and really start tracking my calories: Junior Year 165.  Ok now I am going to Hawaii with my family and I want to look good so I better get some of this weight off, also I am going to be getting married next summer so I better make sure I am rockin my wedding dress time to start dieting again.  Senior Year: 175.  Gasp!  How did I ever cross the threshold of being clinically obese on the BMI scale?  I need some help.  Enter weight watchers- weight goes down to 158 over a three month period and then we move to Korea where I have no idea how to count points on Korean food.  A few months later I get pregnant with my first.  Pregnancy starting weight: 180.  Pregnancy ending weight: 215 Lily is born, ok time to get this weight off, I diet my way back down to 175, enter the holidays I am back up to 190 and by that time I might as well not try again because we are pregnant with #2!  #2 ending weight: 225 and the rest is history.  While I have been doing much better this time around, allowing myself to modify, and change what I am doing, sticking to it I still have two very detrimental behaviors that if I decided to stop counting calories and just go off my "diet" I would shoot right back up in weight.  So looking at my history was a huge shocker.  Dieting made me fat!  What started out as only wanting to lose 10 pounds (when in reality I didn't need to lose any weight at all) compounded and spun out of control into needing to lose nearly 90 pounds.

Here is the scary part.  My 15 year old sister already thinks she is fat and has dabbled in dieting.  Here are my sister's stats: she is 5'1" (not likely to grow anymore) and weighs 109 pounds.  She is SKINNY! But there is so much hype around dieting that she thinks she needs to lose weight and diet to do it.  This scares me because she could go down the same path I did.  Dieting causes you to disconnect with your body, that is why dieters need to read these types of books to relearn how to tune back into their natural instincts and learn how to get rid of bad habits (such as eating while reading, or watching tv.  I am really bad about eating lunch and bumming around on my phone at the same time). I'm thinking about getting this book for her for her birthday (along with the other present I have already gotten her, it's her sweet 16!) and having a talk about everything.  I am happy that I can be an influence on her, and if I can encourage her to stay naturally thin and if she ever feels like she wants to drop a few pounds she can do it without disconnecting with her body that would be great.  I wouldn't want my sister to go through the misery that I've gone through the past 15 years. I wonder now if things would be different if my 14 year old self had loved my body instead of criticized it and started dieting.  If I had just stayed in tune instead of putting external restraints on myself.  Maybe not, certainly not every single person who is overweight got that way because of dieting, but still... I wonder.

Once I finish the book I am going to start implementing the techniques she talks about to reconnect with your body.  I think it's the only way to really get to the psychological place I want to be otherwise I will be counting calories the rest of my life, always going between binging and being on track.  Like the title of the book says there has to be a way to have your cake and your skinny jeans too!  I don't know if any of you have heard about all of this before, but this was the first time I came across it and it just makes so much sense!  If you have any rebuttals feel free to put them in the comments.  (of course her take on what you need to do to lose excess weight is the meat of her book and this post is long enough as it is).

In other news, I am feeling better today and I got my workout in and it just felt great.  I'm trying to tune into my hunger more and only eat when I actually feel hungry instead of saying "oh it's 10:00 I better eat a snack now".  4 days left until I weigh in and I am really nervous.  While I was working out today I was thinking "what is wrong with these pants?  They are acting funny and slipping all over the place...... holy crap they are loose!"  And I just washed them, so I know I have lost some inches and I think even on my thighs and butt which have been so stubborn so far!  I'll post new measurements along with my weight on Sunday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Updates and looking forward

Sorry about not posting last week, I think it has been a whole week since I posted!  Thank you for checking in on me :-)  I'm not used to having readers so in the past when I haven't posted for a week or so I never really thought about it.  But yes I am still working towards my goals and I have been meaning to post and I have plans but never got around to it.  I was feeling pretty crummy last week.  I felt very tired all week, the kids had been sick and I think my body was fighting off sicknesses making me generally more tired than normal.  So I felt lethargic and all muddle brained.  I did very well with my eating until Thursday night when I decided that popcorn was on the menu for dinner.  Matt has class this semester on Tuesday nights and Thursday nights so I usually don't formally make anything.  I don't know about you but when Matt isn't home I am just not motivated to make a formal dinner.  The only one who will eat it is me, Lily is a nightmare to get to eat her dinner and Chloe has been throwing her food on the floor at an alarmingly increasing rate. (I hate this phase).  So popcorn it was, and I probably ate close to a whole cup of unpopped kernels- I have no idea how much that translates into popped kernels. Of course the kids helped out but I really don't know how much they ate.  Friday I was back on track until I went to the Harry Potter party that several girls in our church host every year. (Yes I am a nerd.  I Absolutely Love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and all things Fantasy related).  When you are faced with a whole table of chocolate frogs, treacle fudge, tong tong toffee, chocolate cauldrons and the like.... well it is only once a year.  I ate two plates of desserts and they were all delicious.  I suppose I should have taken a few pictures at the party but I tend to forget to do those types of things.

Saturday was super busy,we left early in the morning and came back late.  We spent the whole day up at my in laws house and I got in a ton of exercise on Saturday! Of course I ate a lot to make up for all the exercise I was getting so I probably broke even.  It's harder to control my eating at my in laws than at my parents house.  I think it is because I feel more comfortable rummaging through my parent's refrigerator looking for healthy food than through my in laws refrigerator.  Also my in laws are always drowning in chips and so of course, those are readily available and that is what I tend to munch on.  Also my inl aws eat dinner around 7pm and I am used to eating around 5:30 so by the time dinner rolls around I am famished and stuff myself.  One thing I have learned is not to let myself get too hungry because it's when I get really hungry that I start to dangerously overeat since I can't control myself.  When we arrived I put on Turbo Fire and blasted through Fire 45 even though everyone was watching me.  Matt's Dad said that he wanted to do it with me next time and that it looked like  a lot of fun.  He is really into Jujitsu so Turbo Fire is right up his alley.  After that we went on a hike and Matt's parents came too!
They live in a very beautiful area, and the hike had tons of vegetation on it, which was surprising for this time of year.  We have had a very wet summer, which has been great for keeping it cool, (I hate it when it gets into the 90s, I would never do well in Arizona or Nevada, or any other hot place).  Lily had a blast, she is such a great hiker.  Afterwards we went an swam in the pool for a little over an hour.  Lily went down their waterslide and freaked herself out.  It is a very fast waterslide and it is almost impossible to catch her when she comes out without decapitating yourself so she of course goes under the water before we can pull her back up, and she does not like going under the water (she can't swim yet) but she has to go down once a year.  She has gone down three times now and every time she freaks out and then stays away from it for a while.  He has that thrill seeking personality though, I think that is why she keeps going back to it.  We let Chloe go down the very bottom part so I could catch her when she came off and she loved that.  And then there was dinner.  I made a healthy chicken soup, and Matt's mom made a very unhealthy chicken enchilada with a taco ring, which I ate lots of, and I had made the white chocolate blondies from my favorite healthy baking site They were incredibly sweet though, sweeter than I thought they would be but I still managed to eat two servings.

Sunday came around and I usually post on Sundays but yesterday I was really busy. I spent the whole morning preparing for my lesson and taking care of the kids since Matt had a meeting he had to go to in the morning.  The kids played outside in the backyard and decided that Chichi our cat needed to go outside too.  We have been letting her out more often since she loves being outside.  We were afraid at first that she would jump the fence and run away, but she hasn't shown any interest in doing that and mostly just finds a sunny spot and lies down.
We came home from church at 4 and I proceeded to spend the next three hours in the kitchen making dinner and cleaning it up.  It was a disaster from me not cleaning it for a few days since I hadn't felt very good and of course Saturday there was just no time.  And then my mom called and I ended up talking to her until 8:30 at night (much to Matt's dismay since that meant Lily got to bed an hour late).  Mom wanted to talk to me about the symptoms of being gluten intolerant.  My mom is allergic to gluten and so is her sister, my Aunt, and also her mom, my Grandma, so I am at a high risk of developing an intolerance to it (all three cases didn't discover they were intolerant/allergic until they were older) and if I caught it now then later on it wouldn't be so bad if I got a hold of some gluten.  Mom can't eat any gluten now or it makes her really sick.  I eat gluten all the time, so I've decided that I need to do a two week trial to assess if I am sensitive to gluten right now or not.  I have some of the symptoms but not all.  But that could just be because of something else, you never know.  And the only way to know is to go off gluten for at least two weeks and then reintroduce it and see how it makes you feel.  So I have that test coming up I will be doing in the near future and I'll talk about the symptoms in a different post, I think this one has gotten long enough! 

In conclusion I have made an important decision about my challenge.  I have decided to weigh myself on Sunday.  That will be one whole month from the start of the challenge and I want to make sure that I am making progress and going in the right direction.  If not then I can change what I need to for the next month.  I am hoping to be 140, but we will see where I have landed.  This is giving me lots of motivation to kick my bad eating over the past few days (I wouldn't say that I binged at any given time which is good, just overate.  Which is better than binging in my book.)  and get back on track!  So the rest of the week I am planning on eating really well and getting all my workouts in.  I'm feeling better and I want to have a great weigh in on Sunday. *fingers crossed*

Monday, August 18, 2014

A difficult day

Last night Lily woke up because she peed so much she peed through her pullup.  So I had to change her clothes, and her bed sheets.  Fortunately she went back to sleep pretty quickly and without any fuss.  Now I know that I need to make sure she pees before she goes to bed.  A short while later Chloe woke up and started screaming, I raced into her room to see what was the matter and nothing was wrong *thank goodness but way to give me a heart attack* she just wanted me to come in and rock her for a minute and then go back to bed.  After all this drama, I couldn't fall back asleep and I lied in bed awake with one of those tired headaches (the ones where your eyes are throbbing because you are so tired) until 5:30am when Matt got up.  Fortunately a little later after that I was able to fall back asleep and eventually got up at 7:30. 

At first I thought that I might get lucky and last nights adventures wouldn't affect me too much today.  I went to Zumba class for the first time in a month!  I had to use my free birthday class before the 20th or else it would expire.  I had a great time at Zumba and I was pretty energetic until just after lunch.  I didn't crash, not exactly, my energy just seemed to wane and I lost all motivation to do anything.  I got really hungry, started craving sweets and crackers.  It was so hard not to blow it today.  As it stands I ate some chick pea peanut butter chocolate cookies and zucchini bread as well as rice crackers with hummus.  I think I did pretty good minimizing the damage but I was definitely over more today than I have been in the past.  My calories say 1810, but there were definitely some tid bits of food that I snitched that are unaccounted for, so my actual calorie intake could be up to 200 calories higher than that, which I still think is pretty good at damage control.  At least it's not 3,000 calories over!  By 6pm I was spent, the kitchen a mess but absolutely no will to clean it.  I suppose the family is lucky that I got dinner made, not that the kids ate it.  Chloe is a little bit sick, and Lily, well she is Lily.  You have to force feed her unless its cookies and crackers she is eating.  I made a really good pasta: spaghetti squash with fire roasted tomatoes and feta cheese.  I will have to post the recipe later. 

But yes, today was probably the most difficult day I have had so far, and all my snitching made me feel fat and doubt whether I am making any progress.  That is the hardest thing about not using the scale, I have no idea if I have made any progress on my weight and I find myself plotting to weigh myself and wondering where I am and then I remember that it has only been two weeks since I weighed in at 146 at the beginning and although about 3 pounds of that was mostly excess junk from not eating well the week before, I am not confident that I have gotten down to 140 yet, I would be absolutely devastated to weigh myself and and have it flash 145, so I am going to have to keep my resolve not to weigh myself for now.

The focus challenge this week is to read my scriptures for at least 30 minutes a day and I am doing absolutely terrible at it.  The first day of the week (Friday) I got in 20 minutes and that was all the time I dedicated to it!  I noticed that when I do my scripture study I would like it to be quiet and I want to just focus on reading and not have to worry about what the kids are doing, so that basically translates into never and probably is the main reason why I have had such a hard time in the past getting my daily scripture study in.  So since I am absolutely failing at this week's challenge I am going to change it as of right now.  I am going to switch to no soda for the rest of the week (through next Sunday even though the week restarts on Friday).  My soda consumption has gotten out of hand again and I need to curb it.  I am sure I have some water retention now due to excess sodium.  I feel boated, but maybe I am just getting sick like Chloe.  Anyway, I have been stressed and drinking 3- 12 oz diet soda cans a day and that is way too much.  I would like to drink no more than one soda per day.  At least I have been getting all of my water in every day.  So for the rest of the week, no soda! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Will I know when I am done?

Throughout this past year my vision of my health, weight, and physic has grown and changed.  I have learned that the ultimate goal is not just tied to a number on the scale.  It is about percentage of body fat, how much muscle you have, how you feel physically, the kinds of food you are eating and your overall health.  So lately one of the things I have been pondering is "how will I know that I have reached the end of my weight loss journey and I am ready to switch to maintenance."  Once I reach that ideal I want to start another round of Chalean Extreme and switch from weight loss mode to building strength and toning.  I once thought I wasn't going to stop until I was somewhere around 121-125.  A number picked based on my BMI and the fact that when I was a freshmen in high school I weighed somewhere around 125.  I think I have mentioned before that my mom is an inch taller than me and her weight usually fluctuates around 115-125 so of course she thinks that I should be somewhere around 115.  But these are all numbers, and I would rather be 130 pounds with muscle and strength to play with the kids and make my life easier than 115 and nothing but bones.  So I have discovered a fool proof method to knowing when I have reached the end of my weight loss journey.  I don't think I will ever be able to look at myself naked in the mirror and say "this is it, I am done".  I think I will always see the problem areas in my body, especially after having two babies and losing so much weight. 

So here is the answer:
These are my most favorite pair of pants I have ever owned.  I wore these in my Freshmen/Sophomore year of High school.  Can you tell they came out of the late 90s? ;-)
Anyway, when these pants fit comfortably then I will know that I have reached the end of my journey.  All these long years I have kept these pants because I loved them so much and every time I have set out to lose weight I have ultimately wanted to fit into these pants again.  Never have I actually achieved that goal.  So there it is, a goal to know when I am done that is not tied to a number on the scale or a number on a tape measure.  Something that I can be proud of, a goal that has eluded me for 13 years.  One day, I will be able to wear these pants and proudly proclaim, "I did it, I have reached the end of my weight loss journey".  I am hoping that day will come at the end of this three month focus challenge, but if it does not, I will keep trying, keep looking forward, keep progressing as I have done all this year.  It took me eight months to lose 10 pounds!  But that is 10 more pounds than I had lost at the beginning of the year.  I have now taken these pants out of the bag I stashed them in and put them in my drawer.  Hopefully when the weather turns cold again I will be able to put them on.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Toasted Pasta with Sausage and Lemon Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

It is not very often that I make a new recipe and take one bite and am blown away by how good it tastes but these two recipes did just that!  They were so amazingly good and are definitely being added to my list of frequent recipes to make now.  So without further ado:
Toasted Angel Hair with Sausage and Peppers- original recipe from Pampered Chef
Serves 8: 430 calories per serving
1 lb hot Italian Sausage (if you want to half the fat in this recipe use chicken sausage instead)
2 medium red bell peppers
1 lb uncooked angel hair pasta
3 garlic cloves, pressed
5 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh basil, divided (I used 2 tbsp dried and it tasted amazing)
1 oz Parmesan cheese

1. Place sausage into skillet.  Cook over medium heat or until no longer pink (chicken sausage comes already cooked so in this case just chop up the chicken sausage and place in skillet until heated through).  Break sausage into crumbles using any method desired (mix n' chop, food chopper, knife, etc)
2. As sausage cooks, slice off tops and bottoms of bell peppers; remove and discard seeds and stems.  Finely chop tops and bottoms using a food chopper or knife.  Remove and discard seeds and ribs from sides of peppers, then slice into thin julienne strips
3. Remove chicken from sausage and set aside.  Add pasta to skillet and toast 8-10 minutes stirring after each 2 minute interval.  Press garlic over pasta and add broth, all the peppers and cooked sausage.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer vigorously 5-6 minutes or until pasta is tender.
4. As pasta simmers, chop basil, reserving half for garnish.  When pasta is tender, remove from heat and stir in remaining basil.
5. To serve, divide pasta mixture among serving bowls, grate cheese over pasta and garnish with reserved basil
Nutrition facts: 430 calories, 20g fat, 45g carbs, 20g protein, 3g fiber   (again, using chicken sausage will almost half the amount of fat in this recipe)

Brussels Sprouts with dried Cranberries and Lemon: serves 4-original recipe from Weight Watchers
10 oz brussels sprouts
1/2 cup dried cranerries
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Trim the tough outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts; slice off the stem end and cut in half
2. Steam sprouts in desired method: microwave or stove top
3. Combine the cranberries, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, mix well.
4.  Add Brussels sprouts and toss to coat.  Serve hot or at room temp.

nutrition facts: 118 cal, 5g fat, 19g carbs, 4g fiber, 3g protein

Friday, August 15, 2014

Two Week update

Two weeks into my challenge and the newness has faded.  Entering the dreaded week three.  Motivation and excitement from starting something new has faded and now we enter into the grueling task of working my way through the next 11 weeks.  I will get a little motivational boost in about two and a half more weeks when I get to take my new measurements and see if this is actually working.  That is one of the mentally hardest things for me is that I just have to trust that I am doing things right.  I am eating well, staying within my calories, and I haven't splurged once.  I am working out and being as active as I can be, and I am dying to step on the scale or get some verification that what I am doing is working.  But I am only two weeks in and results never come fast enough.  Deep breath, I know that if I stay the course it has to work.  I have never before gone so long with out splurging on something, and if I can make it all 13 weeks I know that something amazing has to happen.  I just have to stick it out and see. 

Reflecting on last week, it seemed last week was harder than the first week.  I was still pretty motivated and excited since the whole challenge was still pretty new.  It was difficult to take Pippin on a walk every single day, and there was one day when I almost missed it because I was pretty short on time, but I managed to squeeze in a short walk.  I was able to have some fun times with the kids, we walked to a park that was a little further away than the one we usually go to, packed some snacks and everyone had a good time.  Lily walked the whole way there, Chloe sat in the stroller holding onto Pippin's leash, and everyone played at the park.  Pippin was a nuisance once we got there because he kept getting in the way, getting tangled up and whined all the time, but I am glad he was getting the exercise.  We did really good every other day.  It seemed like one day the kids were great, Pippin was doing great and we had a good time, and the next the kids would be fighting over who got to hold Pippin's leash and Lily would be in and out of the stroller and Chloe would be fussing the whole time.  I think that going out every day was just too much for the kids because they would be tired from the day before.  So at most I would like to get Pippin walked about every other day. 

In other news, we harvested our first crop of green beans today!
That is what is left after we ate a bunch of them
And Lily discovered how to jump and splash into the pool and she had a blast.  I had to watch her almost the whole time, she was so excited about it.
I'm feeling better today than I was yesterday.  Yesterday was a hard day, we didn't go anywhere yesterday and I was pretty hungry in the afternoon since I used a bunch of my calories for breakfast.  I made banana quinoa waffles for breakfast, and I just realized that I don't have that recipe on my blog!  For shame!  I will have to post that one soon.  I also made an amazing dinner two nights ago which was Angel Hair Pasta with chicken and peppers with cranberry lemon Brussels sprouts on the side so you can expect that to be coming soon too. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Calculating How many calories you should eat in a day

I recently got a comment from a reader asking about how I calculated my calories for the challenge.  I love this question because there is so much controversy over how many calories you should eat to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week, and if you should eat back the calories that burned off during your exercise or not.  If you follow weight watchers, they allow you to eat back the points that you burn off when you exercise, and in addition, you get weekly calories to spend as well. However, I have heard that the calorie equivalent they allow you is somewhere around 1,200 a day without activity and weekly points.  This is what got me into trouble in the first place.  I was restricting my calories too much, not wanting to eat back my exercise calories because I wanted to lose weight faster, and not using my weekly points which led t me feeling very hungry and deprived because let's look at  break down for 1,200 calories.  That is about 300 calories per meal, leaving room for two 150 calorie snacks, or three 100 calorie snacks or two 100 calorie snacks and a 100 calorie dessert.  Have you ever tried to eat only three hundred calories for each meal! It's practically impossible!  Besides that you have no energy to workout because 1,200 calories is accepted as the minimum your body needs to just perform its basal functions.   So if you want to have energy throughout the day, or if you want to workout at all I do not recommended a 1,200 calorie a day diet.  Now for those of you who have figured out how to live like that then kudos, but for me it spelled disaster because it led to binging every weekend and almost giving up, and it led to a six month long plateau.

Most calorie counting programs like My Fitness Pal (the one I use) and spark people offer a way for you to calculate how many caloires to consume each day.  This is calculated simply based off of the mathematics that 3,500 is one pound. So you can adjust your settings if you want to lose one pound a week you will get about 1,450 calories a day and if you want to lose two pounds a week you will get 1,200 calories a day.  This does not take into account any exercise.  You can manually add in your exercise every day either by selecting from their extensive list of cardio and weight lifting workouts or if you use a heart rate monitor you can manually enter in the exercise, length of time, and calories burned.   Then it is your choice whether or not to eat those calories back.  MFP will automatically add them into your calorie allotment for the day. 

As I have mentioned before I have always gotten myself into trouble just following this pattern, I never want to eat back my exercise calories.  And as I have also mentioned, one of my main goals is to really figure out how to eat without going up and down so much.  Find a steady, liveable pattern that works for me.  So here is how I calculated my calories.

Basically I followed the guide in the Turbo Fire manual since that is the primary exercise that I am doing right now.  I like this formula because it takes into account your weight (something I liked about weight watchers was that the heavier you are, the more you get to eat.  It brings down your calories gradually as you get used to eating less), and your activity.  So I feel like you get the best of both worlds, and then you just stick to that number and don't have to worry about adding in any exercise calories because you already have covered that.  And when you are not doing as intense of a workout, or you are on a rest day, you are still under the amount of calories you would have to eat just to maintain.  It also changes your activity calories throughout the challenge based on how hard the workouts are, as the workouts get harder and harder as you progress.  What I recommend is using however many calories you think you would burn on an average workout.
Anyway, here is the formula (it's easy I promise)

Step 1 Calculate your maintenance calories outside your workouts
Sedentary Lifestyle (desk job)
(current weight in pounds)x 12= maintenance calories

Moderate active lifestyle (server in a restaurant)
(current weight in pounds) x 13=maintenance calories

Highly active lifestyle (construction worker)
 (current weight in pounds)x14=maintenance calories

Step 2: Calculate your Total Maintenance Calories
including your workouts, On weeks 1-5 of the TF program you burn about 450
(maintenance calories) + 450= total maintenance calories

Step 3:Calculate your calorie target 
this is the number of calories you'd like to cut out of your current diet in order to lose weight.  A deficit of 500 calories a day averages to a loss of about one pound per week.
Total maintenance calories-500=calorie target

So here is what it looks like for me:

Once I am done with the first week and I estimate that I will be somewhere around 140 I will recalculate.  I could also look at the advanced schedule where it says that you burn 600 calories per workout and in the super advanced schedule you burn 700 calories.  I'm a little suspicious of that number though because I've done the advanced workouts and I burn about 550 calories when I do them.  Anyway.  That is my calorie target for now.  I am currently doing the advanced schedule so I do not eat all of my calories I burn but a good amount of them.  Also I am loving eating more food!  I feel like having the extra calories really is helping me stay on track because I can work treats into my day without sacrificing food.  Since I started eating this way I haven't crashed once in the afternoon and when I was on a 1400 or less calories a day diet I was crashing every afternoon so badly that I had to sleep on the couch while the kids watched a movie. 

Chloe is now sitting at the table instead of the high chair, she loves it!

I love my new calorie plan because it allows me enough calories in the day to eat these!  Yummy pancakes with whipped cream and maple syrup, all calories are accounted for. 

In other news, yesterday was a pretty hard day but I managed to get a quick walk in with my dog as part of my weekly challenge and I managed to stay within my calorie range.  I think I was just really stressed yesterday and as usual, when I am stressed I want to eat.  So I was hungrier than normal yesterday and really wanted to snack.  I allowed myself one graham cracker and then switched to baby carrots.  I think I did really well in the face of stress and although I ate a little more than I wanted to, I am happy that I made the healthy choice.  However, I also drank way too much diet pepsi to help deal with the stress so I am feeling a little bloated today from all the extra sodium.  I have also been dying to weigh myself and wondering if I should allow myself to weigh myself at the end of the month or in the middle of the challenge and then I remember that not weighing myself is a rule and part of this challenge and nothing good will come from me weighing myself too early.  I knew that the temptation would be strong, and it will only get stronger as time goes on.  That is why the scale is in the basement!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Going Strong, and Yogurt Pancakes

10 days in and I am still going strong.  This probably makes it the longest run of days I have had without going over my calories this year.  Yesterday I got in a lot of activity so I am glad that today is Sunday and I can rest today.  Besides doing Turbo Fire, we went on a hike as a family, and then went to my parent's house for dinner and I played on the trampoline with the kids.  My fitbit was at 18,600 steps for the day.  Much higher than my average of 12,000!  I am really proud of myself for staying within my calorie goal so long.  It seems that the real key is making sure I eat all 1750 of my calories and knowing that nothing is off limits.  Last night I watched a movie with my dad and sister and they popped popcorn, but I had already hit my calorie limit for the day (I wasn't planning on staying for a movie, but it just worked out that way, and I had already used all my calories, otherwise I would have saved some calories for popcorn).  Anyway, I did not eat the popcorn and I didn't feel bad or left out or like I was depriving myself either, which was surprising to me. 

After 10 days I am feeling much better, I have a ton of energy, and I haven't crashed in the afternoon once.  I think one of the big reasons why I was crashing in the afternoon now is that I just wasn't eating enough food.  Eating only 1400 calories a day while doing a high intense workout is just not enough.  I am loving eating more food and the energy that it gives me.  It's also important to point out that I am eating good healthy food too.  I definitely allow myself things that I like such as chips and a few desserts, but I am filling up my meals with good foods.  Which leads me to the recipe for today: Apple, cinnamon Yogurt Pancakes!  This recipe came out of my turbo fire cookbook, and I changed it up today because I didn't have any apples or plain yogurt.  But i did have Chobani Blueberry yogurt so and a 2 pound box of blueberries.  So I decided to turn it into blueberry yogurt pancakes.  That is a great thing about this recipe is that it is so easily adapted to whatever you have on hand! 

 makes 4 servings: 1 serving is 2 pancakes of 1/4 cup batter
Note: batter will be thick
1 large egg
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I use Greek Yogurt for added protein and less sugar)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil for a healthier alternative)
7 tsp honey, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium apples, peeled and sliced

Batter will be thick

1. Place egg, yogurt, oil and 3 tsp honey in a large mixing bowl, whisk to blend.  Set aside
2.   Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, mix well.
3. Add dry ingredints to wet ingredinets, mix well.
4. heat large non-stick skillet lightly coated with vegetable oil over medium-high heat
5. spoon about 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake, cook for 1-2 minutes or until bubbles form on top. flip with spatula, and cook for 30 seconds.  Repeat with remaining batter
6. Top pancakes evenly with apples and remaining honey
Calories per serving: 251

Variations: these may adjust the calorie per serving content
If you have flavored yogurt, add flavored yogurt plus a fruit that goes with that flavor. Examples: blueberry yogurt with blueberries on top; peach yogurt with peaches on top; plain yogurt with fruit of your choice on top; instead of honey on top add maple syrup making sure to keep the measurements the same or make sure to adjust calories for additional maple syrup

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Bread

So I am doing very well so far with my challenge.  (Admittedly it is the end of the first week, so I sure hope I am still doing well!)  I love that I don't have any forbidden food and I really am taking that to heart.  Before when I was on weight watchers they always said that there was no food that was off limits or forbidden, but I would always try not to eat things I loved like desserts and chips and all that yummy stuff.  Of course that lead to my yo yo eating where I would scarf everything in sight after about 5 days of following the plan.  Yesterday I made peanut butter, chocolate chip, chick pea cookies and I made sure to keep track of how many I ate and track everything I ate.  I loved it!  I was able to have my healthier cookies, but they are still sweet and since I have had other sweet stuff recently and I knew I was going to be making Zucchini bread today, I didn't feel like I had to eat as much as I could before it was off limits again. 

Anyway, our garden grew its very first zucchini and we picked it this morning.  Lily gave a huge shout for joy when she picked it and I should have gotten a picture of her holding it, but I was making breakfast so oh well.  Now, I have a great recipe from my taste of home cookbook, but it is not friendly towards this challenge.  So!  My best friend Google helped me find a healthier recipe and it can be found on this site HERE.

This recipe makes two loaves so you can half it, or freeze it, or just eat it if you have a larger family!
3 eggs
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3/4 cups cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (original recipe uses raisins, but I like chocolate chips in my bread much more)

1. preheat oven to 350 deg
2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, coconut oil, honey, zucchini, and vanilla
3.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cacao, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix well
4. Stir in chocolate chips, pour into loaf pans (make sure to grease and flour your loaf pans).  Bake 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. (Mine was perfect at 35 minutes)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Challenge-Complete Overview and Explanations

I know that I recently posted about the challenge I am doing, but I wanted to post a more compete and comprehensive listing of exactly what it is I am doing and why (in case anyone wants to try it or do it along with me).  If there are any questions or if you want any clarifications just let me know in the comments.

I created this challenge for me, structured around my weaknesses and my strengths.  I tailored it to what I feel I need the most and to what I feel will help and motivate me the most.  Therefore, not every aspect of this challenge will be what you need or will be what helps you the most.  I have also posted motivational quotes all over my house to keep me motivated, which I try to read as often as I can.  The danger lies in when I stop reading them and start ignoring them.  Here is the way I structured the challenge.
The challenge will last the full months of August, September, and October starting August 1st and ending October 31st (with Oct. 31st being the last day of the challenge) encompassing a total of 13 full weeks, or 92 days total.  The challenge will have overarching rules that must be followed every day which I have detailed below.  Each rule has a purpose and a goal that is tailored to me and my needs, which is why I created that rule.  The explanation for each rule has been given next to it in the list below.
 In addition to the general rules, I have created a weekly challenge (again customized to my needs) and I have picked out each weekly challenge before I started.  The challenges are listed below with explanations as to why I chose them.  I decided to do weekly challenges because it helps me to focus on one thing each week.  Also the challenge changes every week and so that keeps the overall challenge new and interesting.  I have a bad habit of starting challenges and then not giving my all after the first few weeks or so out of boredom, and temptation to revert to bad habits.  The weekly challenges are an attempt to keep it new, and to help me stay on track and stay engaged and motivated.
I have two reward systems in place: Monthly rewards and weekly rewards.  I have chosen ahead of time the rewards I desire to earn after successfully completing each month and each week.  The monthly rewards are larger than the weekly rewards (the weekly rewards being very small and costing no more than $1.25- the cost of a song on itunes).   This gives me something to work towards.  I chose  the rewards I wanted, which are also listed below, that I knew would motivate me.  I did not choose each weekly reward ahead of time, but as I thought of things I wrote them down since I may want a song or an app four weeks from now that I have not learned about yet.  I have written down the ones that I have already chosen and will fill in the rest as time goes on.  Choose rewards that excite you!  Here is the catch with these rewards:  If you don’t successfully earn them, you forfeit your reward….FOREVER!  That means that you will not be able to buy your reward for yourself at any time in the future (except maybe if you achieve your goal further down the road, and I suppose you could try the challenge again at a future date and choose the same reward, but the point is you can’t just go out and buy it later because you got a bonus, or it is Christmas time).  Note: If you fail a weekly challenge but still adhere to the general rules of the challenge, you can still get your monthly prize but you do not get the weekly prize for that week.
Rules of The Challenge
         1. Do not exceed your daily calorie limit: ever!- I chose this one because I have two problems with my calories. 1. I don’t eat all of them in a day and 2. I will go about 2,000 calories over for one or two days and then go back to doing number 1.  The plan for this challenge is to eat all my calories every day (1750) and to break out of my yo-yo eating cycle where I do really well for 5 days and then bomb the next two days completely ruining everything I have worked so hard for over the past 5 days, which then it takes me another 5 days to get back to where I was before my splurge and the cycle continues.  I plan on finding a healthier and more sustainable way to eat during this challenge.  Going over on calories by a little bit is okay (50 and under).
         2. Exercise at least 5 days a week: Exercise is important, and I have been doing the Turbo Fire Program which has you exercise 6 days a week.  However it is important to listen to your body and sometimes I really just need a day off, so although my goal is 6 days a week, I know that there will be times when I will need a break or will have a super busy day and won’t get it in and I wanted to allow for that.  Let’s be realistic!  We are trying to find a life sustaining plan.  Exercise means an actual exercise such as zumba, turbo fire, weight lifting, running, etc.  What does not count is: hiking with the family (unless you are climbing a 14ner), taking the kids to the park, taking the dog on a walk, etc.
         3. Get an hour of physical activity in with the kids at least 5 days a week:  This one I chose because a lot of the time I feel like I do really good getting my workout in and then I am lazy the rest of the day, this is to challenge me to get moving again and also to provide the kids physical activity as well since they are supposed to get at least an hour of physical play time anyway, I figure I can play with them.  What counts for this is: going on walks, going to the park, going on a hike, dancing around the living room, playing in the pool, jumping on the trampoline, running through the sprinklers etc.  as long as you and your kids are moving.  (my kids are 3 ½ and 1 ½ so they can’t get enough activity!)
         4. No Scale!- this one is because I have an unhealthy relationship with the scale.  I obsess over my weight and weigh myself every day.  When the scale goes up I feel bad about myself and I eat like crap.  When the scale goes down I think “wow! I am doing good, I can eat whatever I want or take a break.”   And then I still eat like crap.  It’s a lose, lose situation.  So my scale is now tucked away under the house for the next three months.  My official starting weight: 146
         5. All baking done with healthier ingredients: While I have no food restrictions, I decided to bake with only healthier ingredients: whole wheat, coconut oil, coconut/date sugar, etc.  I love baking and it is easier to stay on track with calories if I make my baked goods with healthier ingredients.  The calories are lower, and it is better for you anyway.  It is still a treat, it is still dessert, but it isn’t quite so bad.  And really, there isn’t anything wrong with baking healthier anyway.
        6. Take Pictures and Measurements once a month-and only once a month: the last time I took the scale away I turned to my tape measure.  I ended up taking my measurements every two days and became obsessive over it.  However, it is important to have some way to track your progress and this really is the best way.  So I have put away my tape measure until the end of the month not to be touched until then.  Visual progress is also very important, that way you can see the physical changes in your body side by side and know that you are making progress.
         7.Drink at least 8 oz of water a day.- Do I really need to explain this one?  We need to be drinking our water!  (and I am terrible at it, which is why it’s in here)
Weekly Challenges
        1. Eat eggs for breakfast every morning- I want to incorporate this healthy boost into my weekly breakfast cycle.  It will give me something else to add to my breakfast menu besides just oatmeal and cottage cheese.  Try omelets, scrambled with meat and veggies, skillets, poached, there are lots of ways to eat eggs.  I’m trying to make my breakfast about 450 caloires.
        2. Take my dog on a walk every day (except Sunday)- Sunday is a day of rest and many of the weekly challenges don’t apply to Sunday.  I have recently been aware of the fact that my dog is not getting enough exercise, so I want to go take him out more.  This will also fulfill the requirement of having physical activity with the kids as long as I take the kids with me too.
         3. Read scriptures 30 minutes a day- It’s a challenge for me to read my scriptures 5 minutes a day, but I really wanted to step it up for this challenge, these are supposed to be difficult but not impossible.  This will really challenge me, and hopefully really help me too.
         4. Don’t yell at the kids- need I say more?
         5. No desserts week- one week with no desserts!  I just have to be careful coming off of it that I don’t go overboard the next week, hence the stay within your calories rule
         6. 1 hour exercise every day (except Sunday) – not including stretching: this can be cardio or weight lifting, or a combo of both, must equal 60 minutes of hard work.  I chose this because many of the exercises I do are 30-50 minutes long, so a week of 60 minute workouts will be good for me, and challenging.
         7. Do a spiritual thought every day with the family.- If you aren’t religious you can do an uplifting thought, but bringing the spirit into the home and focusing on being Christ like can only help
         8. No Soda this week- my weakness.  I love love love my diet Pepsi, and I know I drink way too much of it every day.  
           9. Get in 15,000 steps every day (except Sunday)- the daily recommended is 10,000 so far my average is 12,000- 13,000ish, as I get closer if I think it will be too easy I will up it to 18,000 steps
.        10. Eat clean this week- adhere to all the eat clean rules
       11. No TV this week, even for the kids- can I survive this week?  I guess we will find out
     12.   Exercise 2x every day this week- the second to last week of the challenge, lets ramp it up and prepare to finish strong and maximize our results.  This is exercising for two hours or two separate times (morning and evening) these are real exercises, not just “I went on a walk” or “I went to the park”  so you have: cardio or weight lifting.  I will probably be doing zumba, turbo fire, and chalean extreme a lot this week!
1   13.   Finish strong and do a craft every day with the kids- I am terrible about getting craft time in for the kids (one of them is a little young) and this is the week of Halloween, so it will be a perfect time anyway.
Monthly Rewards
Month 1: Turbo Fire Advanced DVDS
Month 2: Chalean Extreme Advanced DVDs
Month 3: New Clothes! (depending on weight loss achieved and if I am at my goal: a new wardrobe or a new outfit).  If I am not happy with my end results and don't want to buy new clothes at this time, then I will get a Wii so I can play my Zumba Wii games.  If you want to know why I have Zumba Wii games and don't have  a Wii, you can read this post HERE

Weekly Rewards
1       1.Weight Loss for Women Visual Motivation App
2       2.Let it Go by Demi Lovato
3       3.Live like you believe by Jenny Phillips
     4. Sail by Awol Nation
5   5. How to talk so your children will listen and how to listen so your children will talk-kindle edition by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish