Reset

If you know me or have been following me, you know that I’ve been working hard on my weight since the beginning of the year. To date, I’ve lost over 30 pounds, and, for the first time ever, I’m not ready to give up. I’m still going 5 months later. I’ve never stayed on a diet that long.

What you probably don’t know is that 2017 has actually been the year of better health for me. In many ways. Sure, I did a Whole 30 and have been successful at Weight Watchers. But I also joined a gym, and I go multiple times a week! And I wear a Fitbit all the time and make myself get at least 5,000-8,000 steps in each day. So if it’s the end of the day and I haven’t gotten that in, I walk around the neighborhood (or the house) until I do.

I got a doctor, and I see her regularly.  I haven’t done that since my pediatrician (In my defense, I tried once, but I finally found one I like).  I went to the dentist for the first time in 12-ish years (only one cavity!! But I need to get some wisdom teeth removed ūüė©). And I’ve already made my next cleaning! 

It’s a little scary that I went so long without seeing healthcare professionals, but honestly, I was afraid of what they’d tell me. Most hypochondriacs are always at the doctor, thinking something is wrong. I’d have an ailment, think something was wrong, and would be afraid the doctor would give me some horrible news. It turns out I don’t have any fatal condition, and I might not even have hypochondria. Just a theory.

Anyway…

The title of this post is “reset” which is my way of announcing I’m doing a mini-reset on the Whole 30 program. I feel I need to do this for a few reasons: 

1. I was making some really good progress my first few months, but nowadays I’m only losing about a pound a week (when I lose at all). I’m hoping this reset helps to boost my diet progress.

2. I had a goal of being a certain dress size by June, and that may not happen given my current progress.

3. My hubs and I just got back from a 4-day vacation where I ate (and drank) pretty horribly! I’m hoping this reset will help me shed any pounds I may have gained during the past week!!

During this reset, the WW points don’t matter. I’m going to start with 15 days and see how I feel afterward.  I may find I need to do the full 30 days, or I may be able to go back to Weight Watchers after the 2ish weeks.

So… I started tonight, once I got back from the vacation. And tonight, I ate like a queen!!! Omg it was so much food I was stuffed afterward!!

I made grilled chicken breast, chicken andouille sausage, potato salad (with paleo mayo), and grilled pineapple. Yum!!!


I thought I would make some of this via insta story, but I haven’t quite mastered the art of videoing myself doing something while also holding my phone to take the video! I will likely post the series of myself making the mayo, but other than that… meh…

So, wish me luck! My support network has been so crucial to my success thus far.

More than a Venti

I know it’s been a while but fear not, because I haven’t stopped working toward my weight loss goals! ¬†I’ve gotta say, the last couple of weigh-in’s were rough. ¬†The week after my Whole 30 journey I lost 3 pounds, which was great, but then the next two weeks only had me down one more pound! ¬†I had gotten into a great workout routine, I was staying within my Points allowance (usually below actually), and I just didn’t see the results I thought I’d get. ¬†And I wasn’t noticing any of those NSV’s (non-scale victories) lately… my clothes were still fitting the same, and I still looked the same.

But then this morning, one month after I’d finished Whole 30, I stepped on the scale, and it was glorious. ¬†I lost 5 pounds! ¬†It’s pretty cool that February has exactly 4¬†weeks, so I was able to get 4 weigh-in’s and know exactly how much I’ve lost since Whole 30, exactly one month later. ¬†9 pounds in February! ¬†And add that to the 14 pounds I lost during Whole 30, and that means I’ve lost 23 pounds so far this year.

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23 pounds! ¬†I’m going to extrapolate that a few months forward, and that means by the end of June I could be down 40 more pounds! ¬†By the end of the year?? ¬†OMG Im getting excited!

So what am I doing? ¬†Well, I’ve been exercising like a mad woman! ¬†I went from never working out, to hitting the gym 3-4 days a week. ¬†And when I can’t make it to the gym (like today, for example), I walk around the neighborhood or up and down the stairs. ¬†At work, I’ve made a rule for myself that I’m only allowed to take the elevator if I’m going up or down more than 2 floors. ¬†Otherwise, I hit the stairs.

I also eat less. I understand how many Weight Watchers SmartPoints are attributed to which portion sizes,  and I adjust my plate accordingly.  I measure more.  Today, for example, I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and instead of scooping a large glob of PB with a knife and slapping it on my bread, I measured 1 tablespoon (serving size is technically 2, but I saved 3 whole points by halving it), and it was quite sufficient.

I celebrated my victory with 2 slices of cheese pizza tonight, but even in doing so, I’m within my Points allowance (it helps when you’re fasting between meals and have lots and lots of points at the end of the day).

I think my next big milestone will be dropping a dress size. ¬†This one will be undoubtedly harder to measure, because I already wore such a variety of sizes depending on brand, but once I can go down to a size I couldn’t before, I know I’ll be there. ¬†And I’ll celebrate like it’s 1999 (er… or maybe 2006, once I turned 21 and was free to basically do whatever I wanted).

I’m so very grateful for all the words of encouragement! ¬†Please don’t stop!

 

 

A Halt in Momentum

About 5 years ago, I was in a really good place. I was at my lowest weight since high school, was eating right, and had a good exercise routine.  I was even seeing a personal trainer.

Looking back at that time, I think about what it was that made me stop, and the answer is, I got sick.  It started with strep throat and ended up as mononucleosis. During that time, even though I felt decent, I was told not to exercise for 6 weeks because apparently your spleen becomes very sensitive when you have mono, and exercise can cause rupturing. So I got out of the routine, and once six weeks had passed, I’d lost the desire to work out.

Anywho, fast forward to today. I’m not as “thin” as I was then (even after Whole 30), but y’all, I am doing well! And I actually look forward to my workouts. And guess what? I’m sick again! 

Today was weigh-in day, but I didn’t bother because I know I didn’t lose anything from last week. I let myself go just a tad on Super Bowl Sunday, knowing I’d be ok because I was going to the gym Monday through Wednesday, but I really haven’t left the couch since!

I’m such a needy sick person– it doesn’t happen very often, so when it does, let’s just say I don’t show my best self.

But I’m writing this post to say that I remember what happened last time, and that will not happen this time! So, while I may be delayed in my weight loss progress for a week, and I may have taken a step back, I’m not out. And when it’s all said and done, I’ll be cooking healthy again and will make it back to the gym! 

And that’s a promise!

The JEN Diet

Whelp… it’s Day 30!!! ¬†I’m so incredibly happy to report that I made it through this Whole 30 experience successfully. I can feel the difference for sure. ¬†Tomorrow I’ll do an official weigh-in, and I’ll report on it afterward.

This journey has really helped me to explore food a little more. ¬†While during my first Whole 30 I kind of stayed within my comfort zone, this time I made a few culinary discoveries that I’ll definitely use in the future:

  • Cooking with ghee
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Sweet potato buns
  • Fried eggs on hamburgers/ pulled pork
  • Avocado
  • Homemade mayo

Plus, I’m getting into a very nice gym routine, and I actually look forward to going! ¬†It’s a miracle!

It was hard at timesРit always isРand it took a lot of work!  But in the end it was all worth it!

So, in the words of King George III in¬†Hamilton, “What comes next?”

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That is the question.

Whelp, I thought a lot about it, and I think the trip to the doc last week really helped in the decision process.

While I didn’t really want a diet that focused on counting calories and tracking, I think it’s important that I start paying attention to portion sizes. ¬†I also need to start focusing on things that are heart-healthy vs. not (I probably ate waayyyyy more bacon on Whole 30 than the average cardiologist would recommend).

I did a little research on the best diets for heart health, and the Mediterranean diet is up there at the top, along with the DASH diet, which is apparently an Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet. ¬†The only problem is that in order to find out the specifics of these diets, you have to buy several books…a.k.a pay. ¬†And I’m already paying for a Weight Watchers subscription. ¬†So here’s what I’m gonna do…

I’m going to try a modified version of the DASH diet (from what I could learn of it), but also use the Weight Watchers point system as a baseline so that I can gauge portions. ¬†Here are the specifics. ¬†I’m going to call this the JEN DIET (so original, I know!):

Vegetables: As much as possible, with a focus on those veggies high in fiber and nutrients (more broccoli and leafy greens than potatoes and carrots, although they’re not off-limits). ¬†Will avoid corn and corn-based products.

Fruits:¬†Probably no different from I have been eating them currently. ¬†This will be the biggest source of sugar in my diet (plus, they’re 0 points on WW!).

Legumes: I’m adding these back, but in moderation. ¬†I’ve enjoyed not having the digestive issues that beans cause, and I didn’t miss them all that much. ¬†Probably the biggest change will be the increase use of soy products.

Meat: I’m going to focus on lean meat, such as chicken/turkey breast, fish, seafood, and lean cuts of red meat. ¬†I’ll be cutting back (hopefully) on the bacon and sausage that I’ve been eating so frequently during breakfast. ¬†Perhaps only on weekends…

Dairy: Surprisingly, I didn’t miss dairy as much as I thought I might. ¬†I’ll probably add this back but only eat/drink in moderation, choosing low-fat over full-fat. ¬†My one reservation about low-fat is the sodium content. ¬†So, if there is an overwhelming increase in sodium between the low-fat and the full-fat, I’ll pick the full-fat version and will let the WW points guide me.

Grains: I’ll be adding these back in, but only whole grains. ¬†Brown rice, whole-grain bread, wheat pasta. ¬†Hearty and heart-healthy! ¬†I’ll probably start very small– 1-2 servings per day.

Sugar:¬†Sweets will be reserved for special occasions only (and still will be governed by the WW points). ¬†As far as added sugars, I will still be reading labels. ¬†I think this is what is going to help me stick to my weight loss in the long-run. ¬†Obviously this isn’t as easy to do when I’m eating things like bread, but if the sugar isn’t necessary, I’m going to avoid it. ¬†For example, I’ll select smoked ham over honey ham. ¬†And still no soft drinks.

Alcohol:¬†I’ve never been a huge drinker, but I do miss my occasional glass of red wine! ¬†And since 1-2 glasses per day is thought to be healthy by many doctors, I’m going to allow myself that, if the points allow for it. ¬†I’ll avoid beer and hard liquor.

While it may seem like I’m getting very lenient with myself (it feels like it¬†to me, too, after doing Whole 30), I’m really stressing the portions here. ¬†I’ll be tracking them pretty closely. ¬†I even bought a food scale for weighing ounces of meat, servings of rice, cheese, etc. ¬†And where I am normally accustomed to not measuring ingredients when cooking, I will be putting my measuring cups and spoons into use!

I’ll, of course, still be exercising, and I hope to gain some endurance along the way to do more and work harder. ¬†Today was a good day for that. ¬†It actually felt great and not like torture at the 20 minute mark!

And I’ll still be posting! ¬†I can’t wait to try some low-fat heart-healthy dishes that I’ll be sharing with everyone.

At the end of February, I’ll re-assess and see how it’s going, if I need to change anything, etc. ¬†It’ll be an exciting ride.

Sooo… here’s to the JEN diet! Stay tuned for my weight loss number tomorrow!! ¬†I can’t wait to share it!

 

On Health and Fitness

I know I usually post about food, but today I’m going to post about health and fitness and the like.

Don’t worry, I’m still killing it on the food front (see my Insta feed), but I haven’t given much dedication on this page to all the non-food aspects of this journey to better health.

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday with a new doctor (I’ll admit I haven’t had a primary doctor since I moved to Atlanta… er… since my pediatrician.. ok that makes it seem so much worse), and I was chatting to her about this and that. 

It’s probably a surprise to nobody who knows me that I’m not perfect, and my vitals are no exception. This is partially genetic, but much moreso fixable by making better choices. I told my doctor I was doing Whole 30, and she said, “Keep it up!”

And that was a whole different motivator… doctor’s orders!

So today I went to the gym. I’m pretty sure I’ve never gone to the gym on a Saturday. But hubs was doing yard work, and a Zumba class started at noon, so I headed on over.

Oh. My. God. So, it wasn’t my first Zumba class. But it was my hardest. I’ve been to classes where Zumba instructors alternated fast and slow songs. This was not that type of instructor! It was one full hour of high-intensity arm-flapping, booty-shaking cardio. 

After 15 minutes, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to do this.” I looked around the room and all the tiny fit women who were probably never half the size I am, and I hated it. I hated being the largest person in the room, and I’m not quite in top-shape. I was already the color of a strawberry, and half my water was gone. 

So there were plenty of things inticing me to leave.

I don’t know if anyone else has this issue, but my shoulder angels bicker like nobody’s business! My shoulder devil had been telling me all these things, but my shoulder angel was telling her to shove it, and to at least hold it out for 30 minutes.

So I kept going. And when 12:30 came around, I planned how I’d make a stealthy exit, but my angel told me I’d made it this far… why not wait another 15 minutes? And then another 15 minutes.

Needless to say, I survived the whole Zumba class, and I stuck it out till the very end. Was it perfect? Nope. Was I graceful? Heck no! Was I at least coordinated with the rest of the class? Hahahahaha…!

But I left the gym today confident that things will only get better. And hopefully easier. And that’s a great feeling.

(Since I need a picture, how about this one of my cat on the banister?)

Where have you been all my life?

Sometimes, something so wonderful comes along, and you think to yourself, “How have I lived for over 30 years and never experienced this before?” 

For me, that thing was tonight’s dinner.

I’d planned tacos for tonight (taco salad for me) but hubs had dental work today and said all he wanted for dinner was canned soup and grilled cheese. I took this as an opportunity to try something that I knew he wouldn’t like: sliders with sweet potato buns. 

Y’all. I had no idea what bliss awaited me at the end of my 30 minutes of cooking. I’m just gonna show you first… 


To make the buns, I cut a sweet potato into 1/2 inch slices (I used the first slice I cut to kind of gauge the others) and laid them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Then I used my Misto olive oil mister to spritz both sides of the slices, and sprinkled a little cinnamon and garlic salt on them (I know– weird combo, but it was actually very tasty!). I popped those into my new convection oven at 400 degrees and baked for 30 minutes, flipping the “buns” at the 15-minute mark.

In the meantime, I grilled up some chicken pieces using my grill pan. When all was done, I added some lettuce, mustard, bacon, and a pickle, and omg. It was heaven!!!

I think next time I’ll try it with pulled pork. Which might be sooner rather than later!!

Thinking about the Future

Today is Day 24! ¬†Which means days remaining are in the single digits. ¬†I guess they have been for a while, but I haven’t posted in a few days. ¬†The thing is that I realized that it’s quite boring to just write a post when all I have to say is what I ate that day (and it must be double as boring to read about it). ¬†So instead, I’ve been posting on days when I actually have something to say. ¬†So here goes—

Just like during my last Whole 30 right around this time, I start freaking out a little about what to do after Day 30. ¬†I’ve done so well; I don’t want to undo the good progress I’ve made thus far. ¬†Last time I did really well, too… and then I got married and let myself go, and gained ALL the weight back. ¬†I think I would have done better if I would have planned for it better. ¬†So this time, I’m planning early. ¬†Here are the different options I’ve thought of:

  1. Continue on and make my Whole 30 a Whole 45 or Whole 60
  2. Transition my Whole 30 habits into a Paleo lifestyle
  3. Find a sustainable diet like:

a. Weight Watchers
b. South Beach Diet
c. Something Else

I’ll go ahead and tell you I haven’t made a decision yet. I’ve still got some research to do. ¬†I think I could do #1 pretty easily, except that Mardi Gras is coming up, and tradition states that I have just one piece of king cake. ¬†And that’s probably all I’ll have: one piece. ¬†And since the Whole diet dictates no cheating, I don’t think that’ll work for February.

A paleo diet would be easy to transition into, and I could add things back to my diet like honey (and actually try those pancakes that are made with just bananas and eggs!). ¬†It still doesn’t alleviate my king cake issue really, but the difference is that transitioning to a paleo diet would be more like a new lifestyle instead of another weight loss regimen, and I’m not sure I’m ready to stop focusing on weight loss. ¬†So while paleo is definitely an option for the long-run, now is probably not the time.

I have a confession to make: ¬†I’ve actually been a paying Weight Watchers subscriber since January 2016! ¬†I know, I know. ¬†Quitting Weight Watchers for me is like quitting the gym. ¬†I think something in my psyche makes me think that quitting a gym or diet plan is equivalent to giving up. ¬†I’d tell myself that’s absurd, but obviously I don’t listen to myself, considering I’ve been paying for Weight Watchers for over a year!

I think if I did Weight Watchers, it would help me start to focus on portion control. ¬†Not that I haven’t picked that up to an extent– it helps when the Whole 30 eliminates cravings– but there are no limits to Whole 30 portion sizes, only the things you eat. ¬†The exact opposite is true for Weight Watchers. ¬†There’s no limit to the things you eat, just the portion sizes.

But I’ve gotta say, the thing I’m leaning toward most is the South Beach diet. ¬†I’ve done Phase I before, lost a good bit of weight in a week (like 7 lbs maybe?), and then I got bored and stopped. ¬†That was before I gained self-control.

I think I’d just go straight into Phase 2 if I did South Beach Diet. ¬†The diet focuses on lean meats and low carbs (so probably a lot less bacon and potatoes than I’ve been eating now!), but would introduce heart-healthy carbs back into my diet (like whole wheat grains, rices, and pastas) in moderation. ¬†I could also drink wine again and eat dairy! ¬†Still doesn’t solve the king cake conundrum, but I think I’d feel better about eating that one piece while on South Beach than if I was, say, on something as strict as another Whole 30.

Anyway, the jury is still out, but that’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

In other news, I have myself in a pretty good workout routine! ¬†I’m starting simple: 2-3 times a week. ¬†Even when I don’t make it to the gym (like last night), I still get in some exercise. I’ve been doing Yoga with Adrienne (YouTube channel).. which is actually pretty great for stretching and meditating. ¬†Last night hubs and I also walked around the neighborhood. Last week I did arm machines and my arms were KILLING me this weekend, which I kinda loved. ¬†Suffice it to say, all is going well.

So last but not least, I’ll say this about dinners– I’m staring to find some Whole 30 meals that I really love. ¬†The chili recipe I’ve been using is soo tasty! ¬†I used to make chili and eat it once, then never feel like eating the leftovers, but this one I’ve made twice this month and actually got a little mad when hubs ate the last bowl of leftovers! ¬†And then bacon wrapped chicken…. OMG. ¬†Can’t say enough words about that one. ¬†Where had it been all my life?

Tonight I made the bacon wrapped chicken, and I also put some cherry tomatoes in my new toaster oven on the “roast” setting. ¬†Amazing. ¬†Clean food was never so delicious!

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