No glutendairysugar- Week 1

accomplishment

Update: -.2 lbs
Total loss: 6.3 lbs.

I’ve been doing the no glutendairysugar diet now for about a week now and, surprisingly, I actually feel a little better, a little less tired, a little lighter. I’m not sure if it’s cutting out the dairy, or the gluten, or the sugar- or a combination of all 3- but it’s interesting to me that I actually do feel a pretty significant change, and it’s only been a week. I had expected to feel pretty crappy, so this is interesting. Maybe my body is just in a state of denial.

As far as the ‘no sugar’ suggestion goes, I’ve been pretty good about eliminating it, but I’m not going completely cold turkey. I’m not eating obviously sugary things (pancakes, sweets, pastries, candies) but I’m still eating things that might contain small amounts of sugar, like protein bars, protein shakes, fruit, etc. I’m trying to be mindful of eating things with lower sugar content- but not completely ruling something out just because it has sugar. I have had the occasional craving for say… a brownie sundae, or a s’more, or a fruit tart- but nothing that hasn’t passed when I’ve either a.) eaten something, b.) drank something, or c.) distracted myself with something.

I will admit that I was surprised by the lack of weight loss this week, though. I thought there was going to be another big jump. .2 lbs does not equal “big jump” in my mind. It equals “Huh. OK. I guesssss?” But I need to remember to keep perspective on this and realize that I’m still on track- ahead even- for my 1lb a week goal.

On another note- I’m signing up for an 8-week fitness program, tapered specifically for busy moms who need to get the most bang for their buck. It’s a results-based program, designed for moms who want their “body back”- and catchily enough- that’s what the name of the class is: Body Back. It includes meal plans & tracking, DVDs, and results-based direction from instructors. It starts next week and classes are 2x/week. It will also be a great way to meet moms who may be experiencing some of the same challenges. I’m excited to get started and report back what I find!

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No dairyglutensugar

Stack of donuts with milk in a jar

Update: -3.4 lbs
Total loss: 6.1 lbs

My naturopath has suggested I do a “gut re-set” to help cut down on possible inflammation and related side effects. I’ll be taking a series of pills for two weeks and then smoothies for 2 weeks. In conjunction with this she is suggesting I eliminate all gluten (whaa?), dairy (noooo!) and sugar (gasp!). For a month.

Yep.

Soooo, yeah. I need to, once again, get organized about how I’m going to pull this off. Gluten, dairy and sugar are, I wouldn’t say staples, but they are definitely part of my day… like, every day. I’m going to have to get creative.

In the morning- instead of coffee, cream & sugar, it’s going to have to be coffee (oh don’t even think about taking that away from me too) & unsweetened almond milk. To this I say: blech.

In the afternoon- I usually snack on some sort of cheese for protein throughout the day. I also eat protein bars (which are jam-packed with sugar and probably contain dairy and gluten too). I am going to have to replace all of my normal snacks with new low-glycemic, high protein, gluten, dairy, and sugar-free options. (God, I soooo sound like a character on Portlandia right now.)  Do these things even exist? Like, am I just going to be carrying around a baggy of shredded chicken? Or more likely, air?

In the evening- I find that every night after dinner and before bed I crave something sweet. I’ve recently tried to steer myself to a healthier snack of Greek yogurt and bananas, but that is going to have to change too with these new diet restrictions. She is allowing me to have 1-2 pieces of fruit a day so that may have to be the thing I fight my evening sugar search with.

I’m hoping to do my grocery shopping this weekend and get ready to start it this coming Monday. We’ll see how this goes!

The Ups & Downs of Dieting

ThinkstockPhotos-177633548

Update: Down 2.5 lbs!

I have been doing the pre-portioned meals and trying to work out 2-3 times a week and so far I think it’s working! I have also been tracking my meals and calories with the MyFitnessPal app. I have my calories set to lose 1 lb. a week so that I’m not feeling super deprived. I do feel a major difference (am hungry quite a bit throughout the day) but I am adjusting.

I think the hardest part about dieting for me is the blood sugar piece. I will put off eating because I don’t want to eat junk so I’ll try to wait until I can have a good, high-protein, low-sugar snack, and then suddenly, I go past the invisible blood sugar line and plunge into a sugar crash. I get shaky and sweaty and feel like I might pass out. And it all happens very quickly. It can be pretty scary- the symptoms feel very similar to an anxiety attack. It’s also scary that, even after eating something to bring the sugar levels back up, it takes a few minutes for my body to recover. So I will have eaten some fruit and protein to help levels rise again and it seems like nothing is happening. But I do recover usually within about 20-30 mins.

Every time I go too long and have a blood sugar crash, I always promise, “never again!” And then life happens and I get busy and I go too long after breakfast without eating and then I feel that shaky feeling start again and I think “Oh crap! Protein, now!!” I sometimes wish I was attached to a little glucose monitor that would beep every time my levels started to drop and it would remind me to refill my stores. But since I don’t have that I have to use other tools to keep my blood sugar balanced. It is something I am constantly working on and have to pay special attention to when I am changing my diet.

Here are some great tips from my naturopath about how to balance blood sugar:

Eat Breakfast:

  • It is important to not skip breakfast to prevent the adrenal glands from over-working.
  • Eat high quality protein and fat
  • Nausea and lack of appetite are side effects of low blood sugar. Eating protein will relieve nausea and will stabilize blood sugars in a few days.

Avoid or Limit Caffeine:

  • Caffeine overworks the adrenal glands, therefore causing nausea and exhaustion
  • Eat breakfast before you drink that cup of coffee! You may not need it!

 Eat protein every 2-3 hours: (just a snack)

  • Protein keeps blood sugar balanced for longer periods of times
  • Eating consistently allows the adrenal glands to rest
  • Eat often allows for normal brain chemistry balance

 Limit Carbohydrates:

  • High carb diets spike blood sugars
  • If you feel sleepy or crave sugar after meals– you have overloaded carbs
  • Look for food intolerances or sensitivities
  • Eat high carb foods with fiber, fat or protein to aid in glucose absorption
  • High Carbs: grains (gluten, rice, corn), legumes, starchy vegetables (potatoes), and sugar

 Avoid Sweets/Carbs Before Bed:

  • Sweets before bed will spike blood sugar making it hard to fall asleep
  • Blood sugars will crash in the middle of the night calling on the adrenal glands for help and cause you to wake up restless or anxious

500

According to Google, to lose 1lb of fat, you need to burn approximately 3,500 calories. If you wanted to lose 1lb a week, you would essentially need to burn 3500 more calories a week, or 500 calories a day. To lose the lb, you can either limit your calories by 500, or add 500 calories worth of exercise (or do a combination of both).

What does 500 calories actually look like?

In the kitchen=

  • Plain bagel with 3 oz. packet of cream cheese
  • Iced Grande peppermint white chocolate mocha from Starbucks
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • McDonalds Big Mac

OR

In the gym=

  • Jump rope for 45 mins
  • 90 mins of water aerobics
  • 5 hours of Just Dance Wii
  • Running on a treadmill at a 10 min/mile pace for 45 mins

Which of these lists looks more fun? Uh, yeah. I now see why I am currently 40 lbs overweight. It is soooo much easier to add than it is to take away, isn’t it? So the question is… how do I take it away? This is a multi-pronged problem and will take several angles to get at it most effectively:

INVENTORY- First of all, I need to look at my overall diet and change some of the things that aren’t working for me. I love carbs and sugar and cookies and cake and bread and pastries and… you get the idea. I need to eat more lean proteins, blah blah blah.. I’ll figure this all out as I get in deeper. But what I can see now as take a look at my daily food diary is that I need to eat foods that are more filling- so that I eat less calories overall because I’m already full. Foods like:

  • Apples
  • Oatmeal
  • Greek yogurt
  • Beans
  • Sweet potatoes

ACCOUNTABILITY- Secondly, I need accountability, both to myself, my scale and to at least one other person. And maybe an app or two too. The more accountability, the better. That way, I have to own up to someone/thing and say- “yes I did eat ALL of the (fill-in-the-blank)” so then that scenario becomes less attractive and I’m more likely to NOT do it. Tracking food and total daily cals daily allows me to see exactly where I’m at and so there’s no room for justification. I can either have it or I can’t.

ORGANIZATION- Planning and organization are going to be key to reaching my goal of 40 lbs. I will need to PLAN for exercise. I will need to SCHEDULE it like it’s an important appointment. I will need to do as much as I can to condense the rest of my day so that I can find the extra few minutes to squeeze in a walk here, a quick 10-min Barre3 session there. Making my meals ahead of time should help with this. Planning time for grocery shopping and cooking are also key.

MOTIVATION- And lastly, staying motivated and excited about reaching my goals will be the fuel that helps keep me going. How can I stay motivated? Well, actually I’m not really sure yet. But this is something I will be exploring in the coming weeks. I just took a “before” shot and have it on my phone (and will hopefully be posting it soon here… but not quite yet :/) and I take a quick look at it when I need a little extra help remembering why I’m doing what I’m doing. This is a rather negative motivator and I know that I need more positive ones, so I’ll be seeking out other ways to stay motivated as well. I know watching motivational stories, reading inspiring articles or books and keeping motivational quotes up around me are all things that have helped me in the past and will probably help me going forward.

And on that note, we’ll end today with this:

motivate

Free… But Priceless

time

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about how time is my greatest luxury right now. Let me put it this way– if a genie came to me and let me have one wish it would be to be awaken refreshed and able to function perfectly on 5 hours of sleep. (Well, actually, I would of course wish for more wishes, but I’m going on the assumption that the genie has probably been around the genie block a couple of times and put the ‘no wishing for more wishes’ disclosure in his spiel.)

Perfectly functional on 5 hours of sleep means I could work on my blog for HOURS a day in the evening. It means I could get up and workout BEFORE work! It means I could create those delicious, nutritious meals in the evening hours, after everyone’s gone to sleep. It means I could plot and plan and tweak my career path to my heart’s content. I could actually research things on the internet. At home.

Ok… maybe I actually need 4 hours to make this all work…

But the point is that I don’t have a wish or a genie or a magical 4-hour sleep night. I have what I have and it’s currently not working for me- I’m not using it as efficiently as I could/should be. So how can I cut the fat (literally and figuratively) from my life? What are some practical things I can do to save myself time and allow me to more efficiently reach my goals? Well, my sister had some great suggestions… here are a couple of her time-savers:

  • Crockpot-up a big batch of chicken. Throw a weeks-worth of frozen chicken breasts in a crock pot with some broth and your preferred spices and in a couple of hours you’ll have your protein for the week! You can use it to add to your big batch of brown rice that you make for your work week too… which leads me to…
  • Make a big batch of brown rice. Portion out ½ cup servings in small Tupperware containers. Add 3 oz. of chicken and as many steamed veggies as you want to each. Make a week’s worth of lunches and throw them in the fridge so they’re ready to grab-n-go.
  • Sleep in your gym clothes. Ok this does seem a little over the top but it does seem like something that might save you time in the morning and might give you that little extra push when you’re trying to find the motivation to work out at 5 am. Sounds a little crazy and I do like my jams. So we may have to just lay my workout clothes ahead of time next to the bed. I think that’s a reasonable compromise.

I do like the make-ahead lunch ideas so I’m trying that out this week. We’ll see how it goes and how much time I actually end up saving in my morning routine this week.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t
own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep
it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it
you can never get it back.” -Harvey MacKay

Sleepy Gorilla

I have to say my number one hurdle to reaching my goals right now is fatigue.

I am currently sipping on my triple-shot espresso, pondering the last time I had a full-night’s rest… and I can’t remember. My 18-month old has helped re-norm me into thinking that I can function normally on a few hours of sleep a night. I think I maybe get an average of 6 hours of sleep a night most nights? 6 isn’t horrible. But it’s still not great either. According to a study quoted by Arianna Huffington, “the effect of getting only six hours of sleep every night for two weeks is the same as going one or two nights with no sleep at all. “

Wow. That’s why I feel like a… a.. you know what? I’m just too tired to think of what I feel like right now. Ok- a really tired person, that’s what I feel like. And apparently I’m not alone– almost 30% of adult Americans are sleeping 6 hours a night or less on a regular basis.

What does 6 hours or less do to your brain and body? According to this NY Times article, a lot. The article references the longest sleep-restriction study of its kind, where subjects were assigned to three different groups of sleep deprivation (yuck): some slept four hours, some 6, and others 8. All for two weeks in a lab-controlled setting.

After completing the study “the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight — the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk.”

Oh.

So maybe that’s why I just had to re-read that last paragraph 4 times… because I’m legally drunk. And apparently, since this has been happening for months and months, I am used to being drunk. And when you’re drunk you don’t want to go work out, or create healthy, delicious meals, or plot your career path, or examine your finances, or do anything productive at all. When you’re legally drunk, your day most likely ends with you cramming your face full of Taco Bell and falling asleep with your clothes on and your contacts in after doing nothing productive at all… unless you count drunk-texting sloppy insults to your ex, as “productive.” Granted, I have not gotten that tired yet. I haven’t gotten Taco Bell-tired. So maybe I’m not to the “legally drunk” stage of exhaustion. Maybe I’m just a little buzzed. Where all I want to do is sit around and keep on drinking (my lattes) and shirking all of my responsibilities in favor of exploring the rabbit-hole known as Facebook

Aaaaand there goes my last sip of coffee… and with it, my motivation. But it’s 11 am and I have a full day of work/life/family ahead of me. Time for a refill. Because the gorilla’s not tired yet…

But I sure am.

gorilla

 

At the Top

never-regret-a-workout

I just had a baby. Wait, let me finish the rest of that sentence- I just had a baby a year and a half ago.

The “I just had a baby” excuse worked for me for about 6 months after Noah was born. After that I knew I was in trouble. Actually, I knew I was in trouble a ways before that. I gained an exceptional amount of weight while pregnant (100+++ lbs) and I think the lightbulb moment was when I was about 8 months pregnant and ran into a friend and she literally didn’t recognize me. I had to tell her who I was. I thought, ‘’’Uh-oh. Seriously not good.’ I knew I’d been gaining and I’d stopped looking at the scale at the doctors because it just became too depressing and embarrassing. I felt hopeless in the moment, but knew that after baby came I would fight to lose everything I’d gained and get back to my old self in short(ish) order.

I knew getting back into shape would be hard work, but I didn’t take into consideration how much TIME I used to spend on my former, pre-mom self. Time spent at the gym, lounging on the stretch mats. Time spent at the store, perusing aisles while looking for ingredients for my next delicious, nutritious dish. Time spent researching new, fun workout classes to take, recipes to try, hikes to explore, etc. Ah, the good ole’ days.

Now, time is my greatest luxury.

When I get a whole block of time to myself, I kind-of freak out a little bit and don’t know what to do. What I should do?… I SHOULD go straight to the closet and change into my workout clothes and actually work out in them (as opposed to lounging on the couch, watching DVR’d episodes of Dateline in them). What I ACTUALLY end up doing? Cleaning, cooking, catching up on something that I’ve been putting off and/or feeling guilty about not doing. Or just some sitting or lying down- two activities that are very luxurious when you have a very active toddler. Unfortunately, sitting does very little for decreasing the size of my… me.

The only way, well, not the only way, but the CURRENT way I’m attempting to get around this hurdle to getting to my goal ‘me’ is to PLAN. Plan and COORDINATE. I need to plan my workouts ahead of time. I need to schedule them in my calendar, just like I would an appointment or a meeting with someone important. And I need to coordinate these times with my husband, or others, to help with childcare. Or I need to plan to attend baby bootcamp type classes, or attend gyms with child care.

I’m also going to be sharing my progress along the way here for accountability. I’ll be showing my failures and my successes, sharing what’s working and not working. I don’t know exactly how this path is going to work itself out, but what I do know is that this is at the very top of both my WANTS and my NEEDS lists. I want this so I can look and feel better. I need this because I need to be able to keep up with my son and to live a long, healthy life.

This one? This is happening.