Not just fuel

In all the calorie counting, weighing, measuring, prepping, and planning it’s easy to forget that sometimes eating can just be fun and pleasurable because the food is good and the company is great.

So while Thanksgiving certainly didn’t help with my weight-loss goals, it was a wonderful day spent cooking with my sister and enjoying our hard work with our family.

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I indulged a bit more freely than I had planned in food and wine, but made every effort to get right back to clean eating the next day.

I also felt good that we at least started the day with some activity in the form of a 5k turkey trot!

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In my post-Thanksgiving gluttonous state I went a bit too vegetable crazy at the supermarket and now am tasked with the challenge of working copious amounts of roughage into every meal.

I’m not exaggerating.

My What I Ate Wednesday theme is definitely No Vegetable Left Behind – I got collard greens, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, baby carrots, spinach (fresh AND frozen), acorn squash, eggplant, and avocado. Whoops!

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With spinach coming out the wazoo, breakfast this week is two whole eggs and a 1/3 cup of egg whites scrambled in 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil with a few handfuls of baby spinach.

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Lunch is a mishmash of items including more baby spinach, 6 oz of chicken breast, 1 oz of almonds and zucchini that I sautéed in a sauce of liquid aminos (soy sauce) and almond butter and a bit of NuNaturals stevia <— obsessed! The NuNaturals brand is worth the extra money. I’ve hated every experience with fake sugar except for this brand of stevia.

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Baby carrots on the side.

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On Monday night I met my other sister for dinner in New York City before she flew back to Florida and we went to the popular raw/vegan eatery Angelica’s Kitchen.

I wish I had a picture to show you of my food but I was starving! I got a plate of their “basics” including tofu, kale, a mix of winter squashes and some pickled beets and mushrooms and cleaned the whole plate.

Last night dinner was my typical fare – a plate of acorn squash, steamed collard greens and broccoli and a filet of tilapia.

 

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Desert was a cup of plain Kefir (yay probiotics!) mixed with stevia and cocoa powder. Delicious.

Now…The Numbers.

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 159.5

This week: 161.5

Change: +2

Total loss: 81.5

 

Discipline

For a while now I’ve been obsessed with the idea of discipline.

Discipline in actions and discipline in thoughts.

Taking big goals and breaking them down into changes that take place one habit at a time, through strict discipline.

It’s the only way I believe things get done. It’s the only way I believe that change can happen.

But it can sometimes make me unpopular, even with myself.

Take for instance, negative thoughts about my body.

Ideally, I would have a strict no body-bashing policy with myself and with others.

I would stop every “fat” thought that goes through my head and replace with love and gratitude.

Here is what I’ve learned. The seemingly insignificant negative body thoughts always leads back to the same dreadful place: stuck in the fantasy of being thin.

The “please, let me wake up tomorrow with a different body” thoughts.

The “everything would be different if only I was skinny” thoughts.

This, in turn, leads to actions like overeating, or not eating, or binge eating, or whatever.

The point is, if I had used discipline to stop the negative thought when it was small, Smile instead of frown at my reflection, If I had taken a few minutes everyday to thank my body, be grateful for my health, instead of wonder what was wrong with it, then the fantasy wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t need it.

There is nothing worse than wanting a different reality. There is nothing worse than the disappointment of realizing again and again that the there is no quick fix. It takes more work, but is ultimately easier, to go through whatever you are facing with eyes wide open.

A lot of what I’ve learned about how I want to live my life has been discovered through using discipline to change my actions and habits which have resulted in weight loss.

I know it is within me to be disciplined because I am motivated by love for myself.

I know that being disciplined will require me to be vigilant in my actions and thoughts, even when I don’t want to be, even when other people don’t want me to be.

I know that being disciplined is easier when I am confident in what I want for myself, no matter what anyone else thinks about it.

I know that being disciplined is the fastest and easiest and best (and only) way to live a life that is rewarding and meaningful.

“Don’t think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness.” – Lao Tzu

 

Middle of the road

Hello and happy What I Ate Wednesday!

Ok, what your about to see might look like paleo.

But, it’s not.

After whole30, I went a little carb and sugar crazy, but I believe there is balance to be found between paleo and everything else and that’s what I’m going for.

I really do like how a higher protein diet makes me feel, but I don’t like the idea of restriction so the name of the game will be moderation from now on.

Breakfast: I’m not sure what to call this. In the bottom of my single-lady ramekins are a mixture of ground beef and onions and on top is a layer of acorn squash and cinnamon. I’ve talked about before how I usually only like sweet breakfasts and typically just stick with oatmeal but I was actually craving savory this week so this paleo creation fit the bill.

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I’ve made spaghetti squash before but this was my first time trying my hand with an acorn squash.

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It smelled delicious roasting in the oven!

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Lunch: I enjoy eating salads every day but I try and keep them interesting and varied so I don’t get burnt out on leafy greens. This week featured a salad of baby spinach, tomato, green olives, turkey pepperoni, and two hard boiled eggs dressed with two teaspoons of olive oil. I was inspired by the idea of a cobb salad, but (and don’t hate me) I don’t really love bacon so turkey pepperoni worked perfectly.

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Dinner:  Back when I first started cooking for myself I used to call anything mixed with tomato sauce a “bowl of love” and for a while it was the only way I really knew how to cook. Sautee, cover with pasta sauce, eat. My go-to bowl of love was a mixture of kale and zucchini and either chicken sausage or chickpeas smothered in Whole Foods fat free pasta sauce.

If you think I’m  obsessed with oatmeal, you should have seen me with zucchini. I used to eat three a week, minimum. What can I say? I like what I like :).

Anyway, this week I updated my bowl of love combo with eggplant and cauliflower cooked in coconut oil and paired with a filet of tilapia and smothered in sauce.

Eggplant is still a new vegetable to me. Up until last year I wouldn’t touch the purple plant but now I’ve become a big fan. It helps that anything cooked in coconut oil is delicious, too.

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For snacks I’ve gone with apples, baby carrots, cashews (addicted! someone please take them away!), and way too much coffee. Remember what eight hours of sleep felt like? No? Me either. Thank you, caffeine.

Now…The Numbers.

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 160

This week: 159.5

Change: -.5

Total loss: 83.5

On not binging

This weekend I felt so incredibly sad.

And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

This weekend, I had one of those moments that proves to me that I have truly changed my life, not just lost a bunch of weight. This weekend showed me that if I hadn’t dealt with the emotional, raw side of why I ate so much in the first place, I would never have been successful at losing any weight at all.

Two years ago, each time I resisted binging felt like climbing a mountain. I did anything and everything in an effort to fight the urge to binge. I would waste full gas tanks driving around New Jersey. I would list out all the food I wanted to eat if calories didn’t matter. I would even let myself get as close to my binge routine as to drive to a supermarket and just walk up and down the isles.

But this weekend, feeling as sad as I was, I was ready to let myself binge. All I wanted to do was feel better. But something strange happened. My brain and body didn’t crave the food or the fullness.

For the first time, I truly realized I had broken free.

If you’ve never experienced binging, never planned your night around the chance to be alone and inhale food, never felt what it was like to fall asleep clutching your stomach in pain but yet still want to eat more, then maybe this doesn’t sound all that groundbreaking to you.

But trust me, it was.

I describe myself as someone who is in recovery from disordered eating, because certain situations and foods still trigger my brain into binge mode.

However, each time I turn toward love instead of food, I move farther from my past and seeking fulfillment through eating.

This is the transformation I am most proud of.

I’ll take the smaller clothing sizes, the extra energy, the prominent collar bones – but for me overcoming my battle with binging has been the most significant part of this journey.

Instead of eating, I did things I know now make me happy.

I surrounded myself with friends. I talked about how I was feeling instead of pretending I wasn’t feeling anything at all. I read inspirational writing about self love and being body positive.

I cleaned up my apartment, I cooked healthy food for the upcoming week and I took walks and went hiking

Even though as I write this I still have twinges of sadness, I am choosing instead to feel lucky that I no longer use food to numb my emotions.

It’s incredibly painful to be living with the shame and embarrassment that comes with any eating disorder and I feel so blessed to not have that be a major part of my life anymore.

In addition to physically losing weight, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my soul in being able to be as open as I now am with my struggle with binge and emotional eating.

Losing weight from dieting is impossible. It doesn’t work. You will fail. You will be frustrated.

I can confidently tell you, however, that losing weight through a process of opening yourself up to life, pinning your success not on the scale, but on how much enjoyment you can get from each day is the only way to change your body. If you want something different for yourself, you have to be ok with abandoning old habits and comforts to embrace and allow room for the new.

It’s scary, but it’s worth it.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to love yourself or being body positive, or maybe you are suffering through some of your own feelings of sadness, I highly recommend reading through Roots of She and the blog of Rachel W. Cole.

Also, if you are suffering from binge eating, please know that you are not alone. I am always open to talking more about my personal experience with disordered and emotional eating and hearing stories from others so feel free to send me an email at fatornotblog@gmail.com.

Gobble, gobble, gobble

One week until Thanksgiving! That’s what everyone else is thinking right??

Last year I totally abandoned calorie counting and stuffed myself with turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce and deserts until I was bursting. I don’t believe in “cheat days” but on holidays I tend to forget that my stomach can’t handle the volume it used to!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a What I Ate Wednesday but I finally feel like my eats are good enough to be talked about.


Except breakfast. That’s still oatmeal. Lately I’ve been making it in the microwave (I know, the horror) with a banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 tbsp almond butter & cinnamon. So good.

Lunch: Shredded cabbage (bagged coleslaw) with about 1/4 of a pear, 1/2 oz of cashews, and 6 oz of boiled chicken. The mix is topped with ginger carrot dressing.

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Dinner: Lentil sloppy joes! Ok not really, but kind of. I followed Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe for lentil sloppy joes and it turned out AMAZING. I’m always back and forth on lentils. The texture sometimes gets to me so the flavor has to be really great. And believe me, these are great.

It should be noted, however, that I’ve never actually eaten a real sloppy joe. Manwich would have never made the cut into my mother’s shopping cart. But despite my lack of sloppy experience, you should still make these.

Instead of eating on a bun, I paired a cup of the vegan joe’s with one egg and 1/3 cup liquid egg whites and about a cup of chopped cauliflower.

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Snacks have included apples, KIND bars (we get them free at work!!), cherry tomatoes and…

Pie.

Super healthy vegan crustless pumpkin pie.

I saw the recipe also on Chocolate Covered Katie and knew I couldn’t wait a week for pumpkin pie.

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The benefits of making things like vegan crustless pumpkin pie is that (1) you can lick the spoon guilt free and (2) no one else wants a slice so you have a whole pie for yourself. To eat whenever, like say, breakfast or for a mid morning snack.

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Now…The Numbers.

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 158.5

This week: 160

Change: +1.5

Total loss: 83

A series of fortunate events

So happy to have bright, sunny skies back this weekend!

With all the weather uncertainty, crazy schedules, visiting friends, and just general lack of sleep my runs have sucked lately.

But I returned to my go-to (and favorite) running spot on Saturday well rested and properly fueled (oatmeal and coffee) to knock out four miles using walk/run intervals.

Overall it went well, but the shin pain that forced me to stop running in May has returned somewhat so I’m doubling down on wearing my Zensah compression sleeves, spending extra time stretching, and painfully foam rolling so hopefully it doesn’t get worse and maybe even goes away.

I just need my shins to make it to the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, and then I think I should probably turn my focus to strength training.  I totally abandoned all efforts at weight lifting and body-weight exercises when I stopped seeing my trainer. Maybe some CrossFit in my future? Hmmm…

I also think it’s probably time to invest in a new pair of Brooks. The bottoms are looking pretty smooth – no good!

As disappointing as it was to be feeling shin pain, I was just happy that my path was clear and the skies were blue. It felt so nice to run in just a t-shirt as two days before I was wearing long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and ear warmers.

The rest of the weekend was devoted to cooking, babysitting and drinking – but not all at once ;)!

I looked after my nephews for a few hours on Sunday morning and we all had a blast playing air hockey, Foosball, and video games at the Fair Lawn Community Center.

After turning the monsters back over to their parents, I met up with my friend Amanda at two spots that we have been dying to try – Uncorked Wine Lounge for drinks and Kafe Neo for crepes. The restaurants are right next to each other so we were able to sit in the wine lounge and be served the food from Kafe Neo.

I’ve been way better lately at being able to balance eating out/drinking with losing weight and I know my friends appreciate it. I’m getting used to trusting my body to tell me when it’s full and worrying less about needing to know the portion sizes and calorie counts of everything. I’m also eating foods that were largely off limits to me more regularly – like wine, bread, candy, etc. – to work on moderation.

A flight of red for Amanda and a flight of white for me.

To be honest, I miss the stable energy I had from Whole30 and paleo eating, but I also love wine and froyo. Somewhere there is a balance and I’m working to find it.

Speaking of balance, after demolishing a cheese plate, Amanda and I split a delicious crepe filled with strawberries and caramel and topped with dulche de leche gelato. I used to not really like caramel but lately I can’t get enough of it! Taste buds are strange little buggers.

I had to try a bite first! Eating > Instragram.

Right now it’s back to work – my usual train is finally up and running again but unfortunately the PATH is still out and my only option between New Jersey and New York is a very expensive ferry.

I took the ferry for the first time on Friday and loved it! If it wasn’t double the price of the PATH I would ride the boat all the time. For now, I think I’m just going to spend the extra cash and enjoy the experience. I’m sure I’ll look back on this time in my life remembering the boat ride and not the money spent.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – Rumi

I’ll be back with new eats on Wednesday – see you then!

Things I am thinking

My mind is in a million different directions right now.

First of all, the election results are coming as I type (!!!). I write my posts the night before they go up, so I’m currently sitting in bed just watching the news scroll in front of me on Twitter. Exciting!

(UPDATE: Obaaamaaaa!)

I’m not going to even try to write anything cohesive tonight. We’ll just have a brain dump of sorts.

Things I am thinking

1. Social media is awesome. I’ve lived without cable and a TV for over two years now and would never, ever, ever think about going back. That being said, there are some times where having access to the news is useful, you know, like when a hurricane is approaching New Jersey. But from fitness inspiration, to news updates, and now election coverage, I’ve been able to stay completely updated through social media. Twitter, and the things that happen on there, are unbelievable. I can tweet something like “I don’t feel like running tonight” and immediately have someone tweet-yell at me to get my butt out the door. I’m able to get updates for NJ Transit/PATH, which will hopefully come in handy as I attempt to make it into NYC. And then there’s Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Swoon.

2. Re-stocking a refrigerator is expensive! I had to throw out all my food after Hurricane Sandy knocked out my power for a week. In the days leading up, I tried to eat as much perishable foods as possible, but unfortunately there was still a lot that had to be thrown out. I pride myself on not wasting food and making impeccable shopping lists so that I’m not wasting food or money so it was definitely a bummer to be tossing things like eggs and frozen vegetables. On Sunday I did only a small re-stocking and tried not to grimace at the grocery bill. I’m just going to go about building up my fridge essentials slowly and hope that the snow storm expected to hit over the next couple of days doesn’t kill the power again.

3. Thank you Retro Fitness! I debated whether to renew my membership with Retro Fitness after my year-long contract ended in August. While I don’t use the gym as frequently anymore, the membership totally paid for itself as I was able to shower and charge my cellphone there during the hurricane. My local Fair Lawn Retro Fitness graciously opened its doors to members and non-members during the storm and I know many people appreciated the move. The club is cheap enough ($20 a month) that I don’t feel guilty if I don’t go all the time, but expensive enough to keep the facility clean and the machines working. Much love to Retro this week.

4. Here is one of the most important weight loss tips ever: Weigh yourself on the same scale at the same time. Before you eat. Without clothes. If you can’t do this, then don’t bother with the scale that day (or week). I broke my own rule this week as I was staying with a lot of different friends because my apartment was dark and freezing. I knew I was eating healthy and exercising but I’ve been weighing myself daily again so the few days without stepping on the scale were driving me nuts. Instead of listening to good reason, I used someone else’s scale, fully clothed, after I had already eaten some breakfast. Most of the time numbers don’t matter, but I totally freaked out when I looked down. I was able to use my own scale in the morning the next day and was happy to see lower, consistent numbers. The stress from inaccurate numbers is worse than the curiosity of not knowing. Lesson learned.

5. Simplicity wins. Ever since my week of eating grilled cheese, I haven’t had the motivation to make elaborate dishes, and that’s just fine. I’ve been making lots of quick, healthy meals and that’s been a savior with my weird schedule. I think a year ago a schedule shift like this would have thrown me off my healthy-eating game, but not anymore. It was hard to know what to buy for lunches and dinners this week because I didn’t know if I would be in the office, so I decided to follow the advice of faux foodie Ruth Bourdain (Thanks, Maggie!) and use up some of my pantry items.

If I do end up getting into the office, lunch will be quinoa, kidney beans and artichoke hearts. I threw this together in about 10 minutes and am pairing it with some cocoa roasted almonds. Easy and filling.

(Morning update: on a bus.. This should be interesting)

Honestly, I kind of wanted to ditch my commitment to bringing my own lunch this week and just buy food in the city but I’m glad I decided to put in the extra effort to brown-bag it. There’s never a reason not to eat the way you intend to, friends.

Now…The Numbers.

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 158

This week: 158.5

Change: +.5

Total loss: 84.5

Fully restored

How nice it is to be using my computer from the comfort of my bed!

After nearly six days of darkness, power was restored to my apartment early Sunday. It’s a small place so the rooms are quickly heating back up. I’m excited to have hot water back to make doing the dishes and showering a bit more pleasant.

Luckily, I had planned to be in Baltimore visiting my college roommate Amanda for most of the the days that Fair Lawn was without light.

Amanda and I were randomly assigned to be roommates seven years ago at Ramapo College and have been best friends ever since. Some things have stayed the same, but a lot has changed!

Can you see the faded pink streaks in my hair?! I think we both look pretty different now, all grown up 😉

I had never been to the city before, and she just moved there three months ago so we both did a fair bit of exploring. We got pedicures, played with her new dog Ginger, and ate lots of good food and wine.

Baltimore is filled with all different kind of venues, the most popular being pubs but Amanda agreed to skip over those and instead took me to some awesome healthy spots like Liquid Earth – a raw/vegan/vegetarian cafe where I got a Philly Cheeze Phake that was over-the-top amazing.

I have a tendency to go into vacation mode when I’m on, well, vacation – but I was really proud of my eating habits on this trip. I made oatmeal in the mornings at her apartment, chose salads with healthy proteins for lunches and dinners, and practiced moderation when it came to wine and sweets.

Even though it was pretty cold and windy while I was there, I managed to get a run in. Amanda walked Ginger while her boyfriend and I ran about three cold and hilly miles at Patterson Park. I was glad he was with me because my first really cold- weather run (since last year) proved to be quite challenging. The combination of the hills and the cold kicked my butt and I had to take a few walking breaks.

I also convinced Amanda to bundle up and walk around the Inner Harbor and Fell’s Point instead of seeing a movie.

 

Some activity is better than none!

Now that the power is back, life almost feels normal again except I’m still working from home because service is still out for NJ Transit and the PATH.

My focus this week will be about making healthy eating and exercise a priority as my schedule continues to be a little wacky. I’m concerned that the train situation, especially in lower Manhattan, will add even more time to my already long commute, but hoping for the best. Wish me luck!