Wednesday Weigh-in

As you may have read, I began following a paleo diet earlier this week.

There were many reasons that went into the this decision, first and foremost was that I needed a change to get out of a major food rut.

I’ve only been following paleo guidelines since Saturday, but here are some of my first impressions:

I’ve been eating according to the rules from Paleo author Robb Wolf, which means creating my meals with combinations of lean proteins, fruits and veggies and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil.

I’m also following his advice for weight loss, and keeping my fruit servings to 1-2 a day. Dairy, so I’ve read, is a questionable paleo item and I’ve been keeping my serving to one 1/2 cup of plain fat-free Greek yogurt a day.

Overall, it hasn’t been too difficult. I still have some non-paleo approved food to consume like hummus and white potatoes that I’m working into my diet in small doses to make sure I don’t waste food.

The hardest part has undeniably been cutting back on my fruit intake. I probably was eating anywhere from 3-6 servings of fruit a day. I actually really miss my bananas, which brings me to my next point.

The biggest challenge for me has been coming up with breakfast ideas. For the last year I’ve either made a green smoothie (banana, almond milk, strawberries, protein powder, spinach) or oatmeal with a banana for breakfast. It wasn’t only habit, but something I loved and craved.

Eggs, the staple of a paleo diet, just don’t do it for me. I definitely discovered this week that I crave a sweet meal for breakfast. Also, my favorite way to eat eggs is sunny side up with very runny yolk, and it’s just not as much fun or satisfying without bread to dip in the yolk. For the past couple days I’ve made omelettes with veggies and deli meat chopped up inside, but I’m really not enjoying it. I miss the feeling of fueling up with fruit in the morning. There’s nothing that quite compares to the energy one gets after downing a green smoothie.

I’m not sure what a solution to this dilemma is going to look like. For some reason I really just feel weighed down by eggs every morning. Eggs for me are more of a once in a while food or something I would eat for dinner, which is when I crave them. I’m also not really enjoying meat with breakfast. I find a savory meal doesn’t pair as well with coffee either.

Next week I’m going to look into making pancakes with almond or other wheat-free flour or protein-powder/nut butter smoothies.

I’m definitely not going to force myself to keep eating eggs. I love eggs at other meals, but at breakfast they just turn me off.

I also made the mistake of not getting a big enough variety of meats. I did really well with vegetable variety, but I’ve pretty much been stuck eating chicken for every meal. It’s the cheapest, but next week I’m going to go meat shopping first and dedicate a larger portion of my budget to getting quality items.

I found a few good recipes for paleo pancakes, muffins, breads and smoothies that I’m excited to try that I hope will keep me from going crazy. I miss the feeling of waking up craving breakfast and want that back!

I realized going into the diet change I wouldn’t be able to eat some of the foods I love, but enjoying breakfast is non-negotiable.

I really want to follow paleo rules as closely as possible, at least for a week or two to see the benefits. I’m sure overtime I’ll increase my fruit and dairy intake.

I’m being patient with my body and giving it time to adjust to all the protein and fat I’ve been eating. It’s been a little bit uncomfortable, and I also think i’m getting some withdrawal symptoms from decreasing carbs and sugar. According to MyFitnessPal stats, I’ve pretty much doubled my protein and fat intake over the last few days and I have to be patient during this adjustment period.

It hasn’t been all negative, however. I feel re-invigorated with cooking! I’ve tried new foods and cooking methods this week and plan to continue searching and playing with recipes. I have a feeling if I land on a crave-able breakfast I’ll be much happier following a paleo plan

Diets, after all, are not an exact science. Different food choices work for different people. I’m lucky that I don’t have any food allergies and can, for the most part, eat whatever I want. Learning what works best for my body so I feel good and get the weight-loss results I’m after is trial and error and a process I really enjoy.

I may eventually go back to my old moderately carb-loving eating habits (does swooning over oatmeal classify me as a carb lover??) but for now I’m giving paleo 100 percent.

Here’s how it all worked out:

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 177

This week: 174.5

Change: -2.5

Total loss: 68.5

System shake-up

Hi!

After many conversations and much reading, I’ve decided to shake up my diet and go primal.

Sort of.

By principal (and from a life-long hatred of diets) I don’t restrict what I eat, but the truth is, I’m in a major food rut. 

I think I’ve eaten a bowl of oatmeal and a banana for breakfast every day for the past 6-7 months.

Even lunches were getting stale with salads, veggie burgers and yogurt day in and day out.

Time for change!

If you’re not sure what paleo/primal/caveman eating is – check out these sites:

Mark’s Daily Apple

Robb Wolf – The Paleo Solution

Here’s the food basics as I’m adopting them:

Lots of non-starchy veggies, lots of meat and eggs. Some fruits and nuts. Limited dairy.

No (or almost none of ) grains, wheat, beans and sugar.

I also realize that a core function of paleo is to eat organic, but I’m going to be making some trade-offs to keep my grocery budget down.

I’m not striving for perfection, but I will hold myself to being consistent.

To be honest, I’m not really sure what to expect weight-loss wise because I’ll still be counting calories and aiming to eat the same amount of calories.

Also, many people have said they feel more energetic and sleep better after switching to paleo eating, not to brag, but I don’t typically get tired during the day and sleep pretty well at night.

I’m excited to see how my body reacts to the increased protein and fat and already I’m being more creative in the kitchen.

Here’s what Day 1 (yesterday) of eats looked like:

Breakfast: 

Two eggs sunny side up with a sliced plum tomato and deli ham (I don’t like ham, so not really sure what this was about…it wasn’t good haha). Coffee with almond milk.

Lunch:

Half a bag of mixed salad greens with a sliced carrot, 4 oz of rotisserie chicken and 50 grams of avocado topped with 1 oz of Cindy’s Kitchen carrot and ginger dressing. Can you tell I use a food scale to measure everything?? 🙂

Snack: 

1 oz raw almonds, 3 medjool dates.

Dinner:

6 oz of salmon paired with about a cup of collard greens and half a yellow squash, satueed in 1 tsp of olive oil.

Dessert: 

4 oz Chobani plain fat free Greek yogurt with half a banana

First impressions:

I was a little overwhelmed the first day when I came back from the farmers’ market with bags and bags of produce and meat and eggs. I can’t even remember the last time I bought meat or eggs. I also suddenly wanted to eat loads of chocolate and cheese and blamed the craving as an emotional response to change and mild restriction.

After a small panic, I remembered that I’m actually a pretty good cook and creative and just began throwing ingredients together! Change is good and challenge is good.

It feels a little weird to be eating this much protein (and specifically animal-based protein) with every meal, but I’m sure my body will adjust. I also can’t wait to see how my body reacts to a drastic decrease in sugar intake.

My goal is to go week by week with paleo eating. I’d like to say that I’ll do it for at least a month, but that sounds long and scary to me haha.

I’m all about creating small changes and that’s exactly how I plan to approach paleo eating. I’m going at it with no expectations but I’ll continue to update you with what I’m learning!

– Jodi

 

Wednesday Weigh-in

This week was tough!

I worked long hours, took on a lot of stress, didn’t sleep well and my hunger levels were high! I didn’t make it to the gym as much as I would have liked, although I did fit in a killer run over the weekend.

I know there was a lot I could have done to make things easier, but sometimes you just have to realize that you are not facing normal circumstances, and push through.

Yesterday I finally took some time to unwind constructively. I got up early and went to the gym which set a great tone for the day, I made time to read from my book of daily meditations and journaled with a pen and paper. As a result, I felt better almost immediately.

I also limited my time on Facebook and Twitter and disconnected from the “social” world while actively being appreciative of my more concrete surroundings.

With all that being said, here are the numbers:

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 176.5

This week: 177

Change: + .5

Total loss: 66

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” – Confucius

The ultimate healthy food shopping guide

Multiple times a week I’m asked about what I eat or what I cook.

I guess since I’m not following any specific diet plan, people wonder what the heck I’m actually doing to lose weight.

Since “everything” is not a sufficient answer for most people, I figured it was time to get down to the dirty details of my diet.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat a mostly vegetarian diet at home. I didn’t plan for it to happen that way, but a can of beans is cheaper than a package of chicken or piece of salmon. I also feel better eating less meat. I don’t hesitate to order it out, however. Sushi is too freaking delicious. Vegetarian cooking for me is now habit and convenience more than anything else.

When I first moved out on my own two years ago, I realized that cooking would be a necessity for financial and health reasons. I was honestly really overwhelmed in the beginning. I would go to the grocery store, walk out $80 poorer and have no clue what to do with the food. Half of it would end up in the garbage because it had gone bad. For shame.

Slowly, and through following bloggers that post their daily eats, I began to formulate what meals could look like and I began to plan.

Now I have food shopping down to a science. I keep a grocery list in my iPhone that I continually update throughout the week when I think of something I want, see a recipe I’m salivating over or realize I’m out of something. This has been a huge help because it means I’m not scrambling to remember what I need when I’m at the store.

I try to limit my spending to $50 per week on groceries. Even though it’s just me, It’s not always easy and I sometimes have to put back items I really want. I also go to multiple grocery stores to get the cheapest prices. I get a lot of good deals for grains and nuts at the bulk bins at Whole Foods, but most of my food  shopping is done at Trader Joe’s or regular supermarkets. It’s work running around to different locations, but it’s worth it to save money.

I had no idea exactly how much time and money would go into making a kitchen for myself that I could work with. It took probably a year to build up to where I have most things that I need on hand at all times. Even if I don’t have a particular meal in mind, I can usually throw together something healthy with what’s on my shelves.

This list is by no means inclusive of everything, but it shows my necessities and food I simply cannot make it through the week without.

Dairy/non-dairy alternatives:

  • Almond milk
  • Chobani or Fage non-fat plain Greek yogurt. I go through one of those big containers every week! I eat it as everything from a snack to using it as a dressing or cooking with it. OBSESSED with Greek yogurt.
  • Cheese…if I think I can handle the temptation of having cheese in my apartment, haha. I typically get either feta, goat cheese or sharp cheddar. Also, do yourself a favor, get cheese with all the fat. It’s so much more delicious.

In the pantry:

  • Almonds, either dry roasted or raw. I love salted almonds, but they were too addicting! Same goes for walnuts and peanuts, love ’em…but I was eating too many.
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Kashi 7 grain whole grain puffs cereal
  • Peanut Butter & Co crunchy peanut butter (in LOVE with this brand)
  • Canned tomatoes with no added salt
  • Whole Foods brand fat free pasta sauce
  • Low sodium vegetable broth
  • Olive/grape seed/flax oil
  • Quaker old fashioned rolled oats
  • Trader Joe’s 94% fat free popcorn
  • Whole wheat pasta or quinoa

Fruit:

  • Bananas. Must have bananas.
  • The fresh fruit I eat changes based on whatever is seasonal. Right now I’m eating a lot of apples, oranges and grapes but during the summer it was all about fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, nectarines – I LOVE fruit. Honestly, I keep a lot around because fruit is my go-to snack.
  • Frozen fruit. Not only are the bags useful for icing ankles at knees, but the frozen fruit works great in smoothies. I also keep a stash of frozen bananas for banana-related emergencies, which happen more than you might think.

Vegetables:

  • Leafy greens: either kale or collard greens or spinach
  • Bagged lettuce
  • zucchini
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • onions
  • white/sweet potatoes (are these vegetables?? whatever)

Freezer:

  • Veggie burgers. I’m currently in love with Dr. Praeger’s Bombay veggie burgers and Morning Star spicy black bean veggie burgers.
  • Frozen meals. Here’s the thing: frozen meals get a bad reputation. BUT, there are some ones that have a decent ingredient list (ie. NOT lean cuisine). Yes, they are more expensive than actually cooking, but they are less expensive than going out for dinner. I keep two or three on hand for nights when I really have no time/energy to cook, which maybe happens once a week. In the long run, spending a bit more on healthy frozen meals saves me money and calories.
  • Ezekiel bread. I really like the cinnamon raisin and Genesis sprouted grain and seed.

Other must-haves that didn’t group together well:

  • Ketchup + mustard
  • Liquid egg whites
  • Lemon juice
  • Jarred garlic/ginger
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, cumin and chili powder are a few of my favorites.
  • Salsa
  • Hummus. I’m on a homemade hummus kick right now, but also like Trader Joe’s varieties and Sabra

That’s it! With those staples items, I can make a variety of different meals throughout the week that suit my budget, time constraints and health needs.

Did I leave anything out? What are some of your food must-haves?

(Mostly) wordless weekend

Hi!

My weekend began slow, but it turned out to be quite eventful!

Last night I met my best friend for dinner in Montclair. We had planned on using a Groupon at Mediterranea, but the waiters wouldn’t let us order with it in this awesome lounge area in the back of the restaurant! After a long talk with the manager, we ended up just ditching the place and going to a fancy-ish (for us) Italian restaurant called Acapello Ristorante a short walk away.

There was lots of wine involved. I got a delicious (un-pictured) pasta dish with shrimp, calamari and clams in a light tomato sauce and cookie cake with mint chocolate chip gelato for desert.

Cabernet Sauvignon...yum!

It wasn’t the healthiest meal, but I really enjoyed the food and the company. No guilt here 🙂

Today I had grocery shopping on the agenda! My friend Brooke recommended I check out a farmers’ market about 15 minutes away, so that’s where I headed.

I walked away with two huge bags of produce for $15. Definitely will be visiting the market again.

After putting away my groceries, I made a quick pre-run snack and headed to my favorite running spot – a nearby duck pond with lots of flat paths to explore.

Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread with half a banana smashed on top

perfect day for a run!

three miles done!

Now I have to force myself off the couch and over to the laundry mat.  Some chores just have to be suffered through. I’m sure twitter will keep me occupied while I’m waiting for my clothes to be cleaned, however.

Hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday night!

TGIF

Man am I glad it’s Friday! This week just went on and on and on….

But instead of dwelling on the negative, I’d like to show you some of the highlights:

  • I am now completely caught up with season 2 of Downton Abbey and am eagerly awaiting the Christmas special

Source: hackenbacker.com via Morgane on Pinterest

  • I wanted to eat fro yo for dinner but instead got inspired by this frittata recipe on Slate and made a healthier version with just egg whites, collard greens, onion and parmesean cheese. Basically, not a frittata at all, but it was still delicious! Collards are quickly becoming one of my favorite leafy greens.

Source: penandfork.com via Heather on Pinterest

  • I made it to a spin class mid-week and remembered to bring a towel, which was a great thing because I always sweat my butt off!

(source)

  • I went a whole week without buying coffee! I make it every morning for myself, but love a second cup at work. However, the cost of a daily coffee habit adds up quickly. Instead, I’ve been getting my second jolt of caffeine with Trader Joe’s Green Tea.

Not super exciting…but it’s the small things, right? I’m off to one more long day of work and then it’s the WEEKEND 🙂

Hearty Green Lentil Soup

Two things I learned in the process of coming up with this dish:

1. Soup is ridiculously easy to make and takes barely any effort. I should make it more often.

2. Lentils are delicious when not cooked into mushy oblivion.

I never really liked lentils and now I clearly know why. I had no idea lentils could be anything other than a mushy grainy texture. These came out soft and chewy, and picked up all the flavors from the broth and vegetables.


While I made this soup on the weekend to take for lunch with me throughout the week, this could easily be made anytime. It only takes about 15 minutes of active prep and then you just let the soup do its thing, simmering away on the stove top.

Hearty Green Lentil Soup

serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 5 oz sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • A pinch of each ground black pepper, dried oregano and dried parsley. You could add salt, but I think the vegetable broth adds enough on its own.

Directions

  • In a large pot, saute the onions and carrots in the olive oil until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Let simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft but not mushy. There should be some liquid left in the pot when you are done.

Wednesday Weigh-in

Another Wednesday, another weigh-in!

I know I shouldn’t be amazed, but I can’t help it sometimes when something so simple – counting calories and exercise – works out.

I continued to be consistent in my calorie intake and made it to the gym at least 5 days I think. My workouts were nothing special. There is something bothering me in my left foot/ankle area so I’m taking it easy on the high-impact workouts and stretching a lot! It’s been a problem for weeks, but I think now it’s finally healing. Until it’s completely better, I decided to wear my Converse sneakers to work instead of flats, since that’s what I’m in the majority of the time and the change seems to be helping. Thank god my job has a relaxed dress code. Now I just need to fine some supportive cute shoes….oh boy.

This week I have a fitness goal instead of a nutrition goal: Abs! It’s likely my weakest area, and something I would really like to be stronger. Any recommendations for some good moves?

Onto the weigh-in!

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 178.5

This week: 176.5

Change: -2

Total loss: 66.5

Facing my big, fat fears

A few weeks ago, my gym began offering free spin classes. I go to a cheap, bare bones gym that doesn’t offer any classes, so this was pretty exciting.

Except, I had never tried spin before.

There are two thoughts that go through my head when I think about trying new things:

1. Am I too fat for this? I’m probably too fat for this.

2. It doesn’t matter if I’m too fat for this or not, other people will think I’m too fat for this.

Oh my god. Sometimes I think I got off “easy” compared to trauma other fat people face, then I become aware of my thoughts, and realize being fat has affected me in more ways than I probably realize.

It’s amazing what you hear when you start listening to your thoughts.

Rationally, I know I’ve been working out consistently for about a year, have run two 5Ks and have much more endurance  than I did at 240 pounds. Also, there is that tiny detail of not actually being 240 pounds anymore.

There was nothing standing between me and that spin class except for my big, fat fear.

I was really nervous going into it, but just kept telling myself that I belonged there and I would be able to complete the class.

It helped that the instructor was really nice and because the spin classes are new at the gym, there were other spin newbies like me.

Since that first class, I’ve been back whenever my schedule allows it and have a great time every time. I leave so sweaty and so, so happy.

Source: Uploaded by user via Bobbie on Pinterest

I know that part of the good feeling that follows spin are due to endorphins, but there’s a feeling of accomplishment every time I leave the class that I’m doing something I didn’t think I could do.

Losing 65 pounds has changed my life in so many unimaginable ways, the most important of which have absolutely nothing to do with how I look.

I hate watching TV when I’m on the treadmill or elliptical, so instead I usually stare into my reflection on the dark screen and challenge myself to go when I want to stop and do what I think I cannot do.

Today, let fear be your motivation to action.

Love your body now

More than coffee, I look forward to a daily email from The Universe to start my day with a positive flow.

There is a message at the end of every email that says, “Thoughts become things, choose good ones!”

It serves as my reminder to not only think positively, but also that my thoughts have real impact on my life.

And this is why you should love your body. Because if you are working hard at the gym, learning to cook so you can feed your body healthy food, you should also love what you are putting so much effort into changing.

Right now. Not after you’ve lost weight.

Most people lose weight because they are fed up with their body or hate their body. But these are just thoughts, and you can choose to love the body you have now instead of being at war with it.

Here’s why and how you should:

1. I have fat friends, skinny friends and in-between friends. All of them have things they don’t like about their body. Weight loss does not mean you will like your body any more than you do now. The only guarantee that you will be happy with your body is to actually be happy with it. Whatever weight or size, make a promise to love your body unconditionally.

2. Be body-positive as often as possible. This means not talking badly about your body to yourself or anyone else. It also means doing body-positive affirmations. Start by looking in a mirror and smiling. Seriously, just smile. You’d be amazed how much that simple act can change your outlook. Then say nice things about your body. Thank it for adapting so well to all the changes you’ve put it through. Praise it for helping you walk, run, lift, dance, or whatever movement you’re into. I, like everyone else, sometimes get caught up in front of the mirror looking at imperfections. It happens. But make sure the opposite also happens. Stand in front of the mirror and admire things you like. It’s not vain. It’s an important part of self care.

3. Don’t be ashamed of your body. Own it. Wear a bathing suit proudly. I used to be that girl who wore t-shirts over my bathing suit. Then I became certified as a lifeguard and for five years of my life did not go more than a day or two without wearing a bathing suit in front of other people. Lifeguarding was not only a great job, but it helped me overcome a lot of my body consciousness. Not once in five years did anyone ever say anything negative about how I looked at the dozens of pools that I guarded. I figure, people know I’m fat. Seeing me in a bathing suit is not some big reveal. Trying to cover up is always more awkward than just being yourself, no matter what.

4. No more “if only…” This is something I really struggle with! I remember looking at girls who were size a size 12 thinking “if only I looked like that.” Now that I’m almost a size 12, I see girls who are smaller and think “if only.” It’s a cycle that can keep going and going if you don’t keep it in check. There will always be people skinnier than you and fatter than you.   Learn to love the place you are in.

5. You and your body are one and will be for the rest of your life, so you might as well learn to like it. Think of loving your body like you think of making any other change. It will take work, you will have to shift your thinking and face fears. It will be worth it. The joy of feeling at peace and content with one’s self – body, mind and soul – is not dependent on a number on a scale. Love and accept who you are now and the rest will follow.