Hunger?, wraps, and why I eat chocolate.


I consume anywhere between 1200 and 1400 calories per day.  I know that doesn’t seem like a lot. It never used to seem like a lot to me.  Now I often find that I unable to finish a whole meal because I get full much sooner. That’s providing that I make good choices, of course, say oatmeal vs. cereal, salad vs. Snickers.  (Haha, tiny joke there. I actually don’t care for Snickers. I just liked the alliteration. Now Peppermint Patties, on the other hand…)  I’m really concentrating on eating a lot of veggies and drinking a lot of water.  I’m doing my best to avoid any processed food and I’m making most of my meals.  (As always, I don’t aim to be perfect all the time, 85-90% of the time is good enough. I think I’d go crazy trying to be perfect all the time, until eventually I’d cave and end up eating a whole container of Ben and Jerry’s by the light of the fridge. Just saying.)

Lately I’ve been making a bunch of wraps.  My current fave is a roast beef wrap with blue cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, bell peppers, baby greens and spicy brown mustard. OMG. Delish.  I made some baked buffalo chicken thighs this week (190 delicious calories per thigh), which the whole family loves, and used the leftovers to make buffalo chicken wraps. Sweetie in particular liked these a lot. I also made a yummy ham and Swiss wrap with those little Laughing Cow cheese wedges (full fat, of course), guacamole, cucumber, tomatoes and Romaine lettuce.  This week I grilled some zucchinis and squash and made a wrap with hummus, grilled veggies, bell peppers, red onion, artichoke and baby greens. So. Flippin’. Good. 

Ok, what was my point before I got distracted talking about food?

Oh, yeah, I don’t eat a ton of calories but I eat plenty of food and I’m not often hungry except at breakfast.  BUT- while I am not often hungry per se, I do find myself thinking that I want to eat something.  I find myself thinking, “Gee, I could really go for a…” but I’m not PHYSICALLY HUNGRY.  So is this emotional hunger? Boredom? Habit? REALLY BAD habit?  I don’t think I’m qualified to make that assessment. But to date, fighting off this desire to eat when I’m NOT FREAKING HUNGRY (stupid brain) has been my toughest battle. So far, the only way I’ve been able to fight back is to drink even more water. 

On a positive note, I did finally stop that habit of eating when I get home from work. I work until midnight and I was coming home and rummaging through the fridge looking for oh, just a little something, and it never ended well. But I stopped this habit with chocolate. LOL Yes, chocolate.  Dark chocolate.  I find that just a little square of dark chocolate quells that desire for more food. It is my dessert at the end of the day, and it helps me end on a high note.  I particularly like Ghiradhelli’s dark chocolate with raspberry individually wrapped squares and Ghiradhelli’s 72% cacao dark chocolate squares. I highly recommend them! 

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Old habits

I hit a low point a few weeks back. My work clothes were tight and super uncomfortable. I felt claustrophobic wearing them. I couldn’t decide what to wear because I didn’t like how anything looked. I was crabby and irritated and generally dissatisfied with myself all around.

It was a very familiar feeling.

That was how I spent most of my life feeling.  Fat. Unattractive. Unhappy with my body. Except a couple of years ago I decided enough was enough and I made some changes. 

And wow did things change!  I dropped the weight, I started feeling excited about myself. I had so much more energy and more desire to do the things that I wanted to do but that I’d previously avoided. (Try on clothes, anyone? Go swimming? Wear a dress? Yes, thanks.)

But I got lazy. I slacked off on working out and started eating more junk, and telling myself “Oh, it’s fine, it’s just pizza (or tacos, enchiladas, steak and potatoes, rolls, dessert, or beer….) I deserve this for all my hard work. I’ll do better next week, month, soon…” Until I got to the point I was at a few weeks ago, busting the seams in my shirt, feeling claustrophobic in my clothes and in general just very unhappy.

So I recommitted to my goal.  I’m back to eating real food, and taking lots of long walks. It’s amazing how much better I’m feeling already. I’m down 5 ½ pounds and my work clothes are already more comfortable.  Walking has let me refocus on my health and improved my mood tremendously.  I forgot how good it made me feel. Why did I ever stop?

Other than a lot of annoyance with myself for regressing, I mostly feel the same as  I did eighteen months ago. Happy, energized, committed and smugly satisfied when my jeans start getting looser and looser.

Ok, here’s what I’m doing:

I’m drinking LOTS of water, around 80 oz a day. I’m preparing more of my meals although I don’t rule out eating out. My schedule is just too busy to always have a meal ready, but I try to make healthy choices. I’m eating a ton of veggies, plenty of fruits, mostly lean meats, and whole grains. I’m watching my portions. And I’m walking. Walk walk walk. Get up, go walk. I don’t get in ten thousand steps every day but I do get there often. And lately I’m hitting 12K steps. Woohoo! Maybe I’ll up my daily goal next week.

I’m delighted to say that I’ve fallen back into my old habits.  The GOOD habits.  Now where did I put those skinny jeans? 

Action plan

According to all those articles I’ve seen on the internet (so you know it MUST be true), sitting is the number one killer in the world today!!! And in order to counteract this extremely deleterious action all we need to do is to stand for five minutes out of every hour we sit. So as I stand here typing this, I am saving my own life. Whew!  Close one!

Okay, I’m being a *little* facetious. Obviously it isn’t the act of sitting that will kill you but rather the effects of too much sitting i.e. a sedentary lifestyle.  So yes, I am standing as I type this and I do plan to stand more often at work. I’m fortunate that my job requires me to be out and about and in truth, I can be as active as I want.  I don’t have a ton of computer work associated with my job so I can be outside walking around and working, and then back at my desk for ten minutes to update, and then back outside again.  Now will I actually do that? Well, let’s just say that I’m aiming for half hour up and half hour down. 

I’m also starting week two of my six week re-intro to working out. Week one went well, if you ignore the very bad food I ingested yesterday (sheepish grin). I’m working a lot thus week so I have to get some strength training in on Wednesday and Friday. I bought a couple more kettlebells because the 7lb and 20lb ones didn’t really give me much variety. I picked up a 10 and a 15 which will probably be all I ever need. Sweetie might want something heavier one day but for now, I think he’ll be happy with the 10 or 15lbs.

So the plan is: move more and sit less. Oh, and eat healthy. 

I think I can handle that. 

There’s a voice in my head and it’s Whitney Houston or possibly Homer Simpson

At the core of this fun weight loss journey that I’ve been on is awareness that, for me, food can provide extreme pleasure and that the need for instant and immediate pleasure is always there.  How do we fight the desire for immediate gratification that we get from food? Where does this need originate? Did I eat a cupcake when I was little and suddenly all other foods became less satisfying? When did a strawberry become less enjoyable than strawberry ice cream?  

You know that feeling, right? That bliss. That instant high? I feel it every time I eat a spoonful of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or a take bite of hot, delicious pizza with five toppings and extra sauce. It’s that release of chemicals in the brain that says in a voice sounding remarkably like Homer Simpson: “Yaaassss, ahhh, yesssss, mmm, more, gimme more, i lurve it, yesss…”

Food is crack. 

Ok, not all food is crack. Maybe just carbs are crack. 

Ok, not all carbs are crack. Maybe just sugar is crack. 

Suddenly I can hear Whitney Houston in my head saying “crack is whack”. Not sure how I feel about that.

I’ve yet to experience that food bliss with apples or salad or say, a yummy piece of chicken.  So while I do think these things are yummy, their inherent yummy-ness isn’t being reinforced by those little chemicals in the brain. And that release, that is what makes me eat just one more bite, have just one more serving, and of course have room for dessert

It is an addiction. Truly. 

So I drink water.  I drink a lot of freaking water.  I’m trying to drown this damn addiction in water and the damn thing can swim. 

I’ll beat it in the end though.

Meanwhile, I’ve begun my Six Week Reintroduction To All Things Exercise (aka SWRTATE – I’m still working on the name).  Kettlebell yesterday, which was lovely and satisfy and made my legs turn to jelly so that I had to hang on to the handrail and go down the stairs backwards so I wouldn’t fall. Plus, Sweetie joined me yesterday morning so that was extra satisfying. I love having a partner. 😀

I’m alternating workouts between all those exercises I love the best: kettlebell, walking, yoga or yoga/pilates, and dancing. The point is to do something five days a week, anything, whatever. Just do it. 

Hey, maybe that exercise high will eventually replace that food high? Something to strive for…

 

Sing it, Whitney. Crack is whack.

Eating healthy 

Here’s what I know about eating healthy:

Drink water.

Eat lots of veggies.

Eat your fruits, don’t drink them.

Eat less meat.

Snack.

Avoid saturated fats and eat food with good fats like avocado, nuts and salmon.

Whole grains yes, processed grains no.

And speaking of processed, avoid anything processed entirely.

DO NOT EAT SUGAR.

Drink more water.

Variety is the spice of life. Spices give food more variety.

Sometimes you just need to have dessert.

Watch your portion sizes and drink even more water.

What it comes down to is that we already know how to eat well. So I’m planning my lunches for the week with these thoughts on mind. There’s nothing worse than scrambling for something to take to work only to end up ordering a pizza because I didn’t have anything ready.  Not that pizza is necessarily a bad thing, but I want to treat it like a special occasion food.

 Protein, veggies, fruit and water!

Ok, and coffee. Because coffee love is forever.

Here we are again…

Ok, so what’s the deal? I was walking and losing weight and feeling awesome for a whole year and then, like a dying helium balloon, lost all my motivation and drive and fizzled. Then there was keto which- not gonna lie- made me feel really good. My body loved being on keto. I felt energized and clear-headed and just good like my body was really happy with itself.  Plus, I really loved kicking those carb cravings. (Anyone who says carbs aren’t addictive either has the willpower of the Green Lantern or is lying their butt off.) But the keto diet is soo repetitive after a while.  I was dying to eat a decent piece of fruit or a bowl of oatmeal after a few weeks.  And even though I felt good, I didn’t drop any weight after the initial water loss. So what’s the deal there? I even kept track of my calories along with my macros and OMG you know how much work that is? Ok, my fitness pal app did it all for me but still, I logged it. But what I really disliked is how flipping boring eating keto is.  I’m sure there’s lots of folks out there who do just great and can figure out all sorts of keto variations for things but if I had to eat one more omelet I was going to punch someone in the face.  And I like omelets!

So, now I’m back to where I started (though thankfully not at the weight I started way back when! Whew!) But I’ve got to figure out how to incorporate everything I know about losing weight that works for me with my new lifestyle.  And by lifestyle I mean my awesome job that I love so much but is wreaking havoc with my schedule.

I work evenings now, in eight or ten hour shifts, and I have a rotating schedule so that I rarely have the same days off in a row. It makes planning things a little trickier. Also, since I work until midnight,  getting up early to work out has become a bit of a challenge. My “early” has become 11am.  I try (on days I work) to get up to see my kiddos before school because otherwise I won’t see them until the next day. Somedays the only interaction I have with them is when I peek in on them at night when I get home from work. I try to make those days few and far between but this schedule has definitely been a challenge to get used to.

My awesome darling husband is no help at all precisely because he IS so very awesome. He gets the kids up and ready for school every day. He lets me sleep in as late as I want. And he brings me coffee in bed (which to be honest is probably the one thing that I would get out of bed for. Mmm coffee.)  

So here we are again, trying to get back into a routine and better eating habits. Well let’s make it official.  Starting in 3…2…1

Progress report

So I’ve been trying to eat intuitively for a few weeks now. By that I mean I’m not tracking my food or my macros, I’m just trying to – I don’t know, what the hell am I trying to do?- I’m trying to stay keto by eating high fat and low carb food every day. 

How’s my progress? Well I’m pretty sure I’m failing miserably.

Too many carbs, too much protein and not enough fat. Since I’m not keeping track of my macros and I’m not obsessing over the scale (go me), I’m judging my progress by how I’m feeling (tired) and by how my clothes fit (tight). 

I feel so good when I eat keto, but my brain loves that carb high. It’s such a hard addiction to fight. Just say no, brain! My brain doesn’t want to say no. Instead it says how soon can I get my next fix??? 

In my defense, my Cubbies (the 2016 World Series Champions!!!) required lots of rallying and support so I had to make deep dish pizza, real deep dish pizza not that overly bready pizza they call deep dish in most pizza places. Gino’s East deep dish pizza. So good. Plus “Cub” cakes, peanuts and cracker jacks, Cubs blue, red, and white M&Ms with little chocolate baseballs, and root beer. So if you’re keeping track, that’s deep dish carbs, frosted carbs, peanuts and carbs, Cubs blue, red and white carbs with little carb baseballs, and liquid carbs.  Ooh baby! Carb overload! My brain on carbs and baseball! 

Time to refocus now. Yes, I’m going to keep trying to eat intuitively but I need to do a better job of it. I’m slacking due to laziness and carb cravings. Gotta focus like I’m the Cubs in the World Series and we’re down three games to one. ⚾ 

Well, dang.

I almost made it. Tomorrow would have been four weeks of Keto but we went to Dennys for brunch and I gave in and had half a slice of toast. It tasted like dessert.
For reals, though, it tasted like straight up sugar.
It’s amazing how much my taste buds changed in so short a time. It was like I was eating Hawaiian sweet bread, except it was just white bread. But that’s how sweet it tasted. I can only imagine how sweet Hawaiian bread must taste.
Ok. Had my cheat. I’m hoping that will hold me for another long while. Another month? Guess now I’ll have to wait even longer to get into ketosis. So I’m asking myself “Was it worth it?”
Not sure. Maybe? The first bite was delicious. The second bite was pretty good. The third bite was meh. Do I wish I’d stopped after the first bite?
Yep.

Eating intuitively

I’ve stopped tracking my food. This is probably a mistake. Tracking is the only way I’ve lost weight previously. But I’m trying to eat intuitively.  Keep it all very casual. I’m not dieting after all, I’m changing the way I eat. Still stalled in my weightloss.  Maybe my body just needs more adjustment time before it starts burning fat. At least I haven’t gained!

I went grocery shopping yesterday and I bought food as if I’m going to keep on Keto-ing on past the four weeks. So I guess I’ll keep on Keto-ing on.

Meanwhile, chia pudding!

image

In my very elegant plastic container. I like it, but it’s not oatmeal!