greek yogurt

9 Things No One Tells You About Losing Weight

I saw this article, 9 things no one tells you about losing weight, and immediately clicked over to read it to see if I agreed on the things they listed. Some of them were obvious and didn’t really enlighten me in any way. Here are a few:

4. Your risk of cancer will be lower

2. Your memory may improve (I never experienced a change)

7. Working out will be more fun (Duh, the easier it gets, the more fit you get, the more fun it is)

8. Your bones may change

9. You’ll probably spend less on health care

Then there were a few that were totally spot on that I wanted to talk about here. It was a pretty good article and worth a read if you’re losing weight. Here are the ones I wanted to focus on:

1. Your energy levels will skyrocket

This is 100% true. When I first started working out I chose swimming because it was something I’d always loved and been good at and I thought it would be something I’d stick with because of that. Swimming was also a good choice because it’s easy on the body. If you’re bigger, doing certain activities can be difficult on the joints (i.e. running).

I started swimming and it was HARD. I had to rest a lot, pretty much after every length of the pool. The more I did it, the easier it got and suddenly I was swimming several laps without having to stop at the end of the pool to rest. This continued and my conditioning improved.

Once I was active on a regular basis and started seeing significant weight loss, my energy levels DID skyrocket. I had SO much energy! I preferred to be active. My previous couch-potato lifestyle was no longer working for me. I found that I couldn’t sit still. Where I previously could spend all weekend on the couch watching movies and TV, now it was difficult to sit through one TV show. To this day I still struggle with this. I tend to get up a lot and do other things, then come back. It makes Michael crazy. 😉

It’s difficult to sit still and I want to move my body. I have energy to burn! I want to burn it! That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m exercising all the time. Most of the time it just means I’d prefer to move my body. That means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking across the bridge to work instead of taking the bus. Getting off the bus at sooner stops and walking. Things like that. My energy levels are pretty high and that makes me feel so much better!

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3. Your relationship will be tested

I’ve talked about this before so many times I won’t go over it again. I will point you in the direction of some of those posts talking about how relationships change with significant weight loss:

Partners Who Sabotage

Weight Loss Saboteurs

Lose 100 Pounds, Lose Friends?

What Happens After You Lose the Weight?

Hold That Door

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Sharing Fitness with the Love of Your Life

It’s very scary and sad when relationships end because of something so positive. Some people can’t deal with someone else’s big lifestyle change. They feel threatened, insecure. Maybe YOU change with losing weight and become more assertive or change what YOU want. People WILL treat you differently. The trick is to not let that ruin a real friendship.

5. If you were depressed before, that may not change

This was a big one for me. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life. For a long time I always thought “when I lose the weight I’ll be happy.” I thought that the weight was the reason I was unhappy. That was definitely a big part of it but what I learned with losing 100 pounds was that it wasn’t a magical cure for everything that ails you. Nope, you may lose half of your body weight but you’re still the same person you were on the inside. Maybe a little more assertive, maybe a little happier, but not magically changed.

This is something that I wish more weight loss blogs and books would address. After losing so much weight, I didn’t really know what to think about myself, who I was, where I wanted my life to go. I had focused on the weight loss for so long I had kind of lost the other aspects of myself. I just floundered. Not having a goal was hard for me.

Depression reared it’s ugly head again and I found ways to battle that. Exercise definitely improved my moods and I used fitness as a tool for relieving stress and managing depression. It works. It really does. But it isn’t a CURE. I don’t know if there IS a cure for depression. Medication sure isn’t it. It’s another bandaid. Exercise is a temporary outlet. Mindful thinking another bandaid. Basically, you do all of those things together and you get through it. But don’t expect miracles.

6. Foods might taste differently

YES! 100%! When I started eating better things tasted differently. My previous diet of junk food went away and was replaced by healthy foods. Sure it took time to get used to it but once I did, the effects were shocking.

Now, when I eat junk food, I FEEL differently. I feel gross. I feel unhealthy. I can tell the difference. My body just doesn’t feel good. Once in awhile I will give in to a junk food craving and eat something that I remember loving and it tastes different. It doesn’t taste as good as I remember it.

I also crave things I never used to crave: natural foods. Fruits and veggies. This winter I’ve been obsessed with Brussels Sprouts. I’ve been a fan for a long time and eat them on a regular basis every winter but for some reason this winter I’ve been eating them obsessively! I have no idea why and if you’d ask me at 20 years old and 200 pounds if I’d ever see myself craving Brussels sprouts I’d laugh in your face. But seriously, last week I was eating them for lunch AND dinner!

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But I do crave healthy things now. I cannot WAIT for summer! I LOVE berry season! And cherry season. Everything about fresh and season produce makes me happy.

One other example of changing taste buds is yogurt. When I used to eat yogurt I ate the super sugary Yoplait yogurt. There is really nothing nutritional about Yoplait, sorry. It’s packed with sugar and chemicals. Then I switched to Greek yogurt. For a long time I was eating the Chobani yogurt. It was great. But as my taste buds changed and I started to get sensitive to sugars I made the switch to plain Greek Yogurt.

At first it was a huge shock. It tasted sour and tasted like nothing. I added Agave syrup to sweeten it and would also eat it with raisins or fresh fruit, berries, etc. I HAD to add some sugar to it. After awhile I started skipping the syrup and just using fruit. Now I can eat plain Greek yogurt without anything in it if I want to, although I still usually add a little bit of fruit to (not much). (Lately I’m adding tart cherries to it.) It’s crazy how your tastes change and now I cannot eat Chobani at all. It’s SO SWEET it makes me feel sick.

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Can you relate to these 9 things? Anything missing from the list?

How to Eat More Protein

When I decided it was time to get serious again about losing the vacation weight and getting back on track, I struggled. I was hungry all the time. If you missed the post I wrote addressing hunger, check it out: Always Hungry? Here’s Why. I knew I needed to make some changes to my diet — not just getting back to my normal calorie range and reducing the amount of sugar I eat. I needed to eat more protein.

I was poking around online trying to figure out how to change my diet and came across this article: 12 Signs You Need to Eat More Protein. A brief breakdown: You’re Always Hungry, You’re Cutting Calories, You’re Lifting Heavy Things, You’re Engaged in Chronic Cardio, You’ve Got Achy Joints, You’re Experiencing Chronic Stress. Those were the ones that spoke to me. Yep, yep, yep. While I’m not necessarily lifting heavy, I am trying to get back into the weight lifting routine. I am hungry a lot, I AM cutting my calories to lose the weight, and damn I’m always achy…

The answer: I need more protein.

Which I already knew. Eating healthy fats and good proteins are what will fill you up. Sure, you get hungry and grab a bagel or chips or other junk thinking it will curb the hunger but those empty calories and carby things don’t go the distance. At least not for me.

I’ve definitely got the dinner down. We eat a protein with a vegetable and a salad or quinoa. That’s a pretty typical dinner. We rotate between chicken breasts, salmon, shrimp, ground turkey, boneless pork chops, and steak. I don’t really need help sneaking in more protein at dinner, it’s the other meals.

veggie-protein

A typical breakfast for me has been eggs and gluten free toast. It works well for me. But lately I’ve tried to mix things up to see if I can get more mileage out of that breakfast. One example: when I was doing food prep for the week, I browned some spicy pork sausage to use for the week. For breakfast that week I scrambled two eggs and mixed in some of the pork sausage and topped it with avocado. It was a great breakfast! Tasty and filling and I wasn’t starving by the time my usual morning break came around.

One thing I decided to change: add egg whites. Two scrambled eggs are about 140 calories. Adding some egg whites only adds about 15-20 calories to that but it bulks up the scramble. Perfect. Adding veggies to the scramble is also a smart move. The vegetables add bulk in healthy ways. Some of my favorites that are higher in protein are spinach, kale and broccoli. Yum! Doing a Frittata/Quiche type dish for the week is a faster way to do breakfast and pack it with lots of high protein things. (Maybe I need to start doing these muffins for breakfast again.)

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Back when Michael and I were doing the slow carb diet, we ate a TON of beans. You can get the food list here: Slow Carb Food List. Not really paleo-friendly, but I liked aspects of the slow-carb diet. Eating beans filled you up like you wouldn’t believe. Soybeans (edamame) are the highest protein but I am not a huge fan of eating soy so I try to limit that. Navy Beans have 15.8 grams of protein per serving; black beans have 15.2 grams; pinto beans have 14 grams per serving. Beans are really versatile, too. You can add them to eggs, burritos, wraps, salads, pretty much anything.

What about snacks? I think that’s where I need to get more protein. Typically I eat an apple for a morning snack. I am trying to add string cheese to that because the combination seems to be much more filling than either of those on their own. Here are some other ideas I came up with:

Peanut Butter with celery and raisins

Cottage Cheese (This is one of my favorite snacks because it doesn’t usually take much to satisfy me.)

Greek Yogurt (I prefer to use plain and then add nuts and fresh fruit to it)

Nuts (cashews and pistachios are my favorites)

Hard-boiled eggs

Beef Jerky 

Hummus with veggies

Veggie and meat wrap (I saw this on pinterest and it looks really good! Use lean deli meat like turkey)

Kefir (I love this stuff!)

Swiss cheese with fruit 

Almond Milk

Protein Bar (this is tricky because it can be high in sugar and carbs)

A protein shake is another tip I see online a lot. This is an iffy one for me. The problem is that most protein shakes don’t fill me up like food does. I’ve tried many times to supplement meals or snacks with a protein shake and I was hungry pretty quickly afterward. Another downside? Sugar. Protein shakes are often high in sugar. I like the Atkins protein shakes because they are low in calories and low in sugar/carbs. But again–it’s not filling me up like food does.

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The trick is to find food that is high in protein but not high in calories! Nuts are very high in calories. Luckily I only have to eat a few of them to take the edge off my hunger and lately I’ve been pairing pistachios with a string cheese. That combination is pretty tasty, especially when I’m craving salty/crunchy foods.

I need some more ideas. What are your favorite ways to eat more protein?