Non-Scale Victories

How Much Food Do I Really Need?

Trying to lose weight post-partum has definitely been a struggle (as I’ve written about many times here). The fitness aspect hasn’t been the struggle for me. The food has.

I feel like part of the problem is that for nearly 10 years I was on a “plan” that worked. After losing 110 pounds, I kept the weight off by working out consistently and by counting my calories. I logged my food pretty diligently for almost a decade. With a few blips here and there, I kept the weight off. I could splurge on treats or go out to dinner and still maintain my weight with about a 5 pounds fluctuation up and down.

When I got pregnant I did not eat for two. I increased my daily calories per my doctor and I still worked out. And then after Logan was born, (after taking about a month off from counting calories) I was back to logging my food but I was still eating a lot of calories. Every time I tried to lower that daily number my milk supply was effected.

I am pretty proud of myself for staying “on track” while pregnant. But I admit, I did give in to foods I didn’t really eat. I had managed to mostly kick my candy habit while losing and maintaining my weight loss. Sure I had treats and dessert (homemade cookies or ice cream, or chocolate) but I stayed away from the candy bar type stuff that was always a trigger for me.

While I was pregnant I craved two things: orange juice–which I started drinking a glass of with breakfast every day (probably 150 calories worth–and I COULD have drank several glasses of juice, but controlled myself) AND Reese’s Pieces candies. I have NO idea why those were the two cravings I had while pregnant with Logan but they were. Once he arrived, I cut out the juice.

The candy? Not so much. I am still eating candy on occasion and I absolutely hate that it’s so hard for me to kick that habit. It’s no secret I’ve always struggled with sugar but…dammit, why is it so hard this time around to STOP the sugar??

Let’s get back to that.

So I am still hovering around the 13-pounds-left-to-lose-mark. Ideally I’d like to lose 20 but 13 is my goal. I talked to my doctor recently and she suggested I reduce my daily calorie base to 1400. (She also suggested I try going vegetarian, but that’s a whole other conversation. 🙁 )

I decided to give it a try and went from around 1600 calories a day to 1400. Sometimes I eat back some of the calories I burn in the gym but I am trying really hard not to eat all of it and try to stay around 1500 or 1600 total on work out days.

Reducing my calories to 1400 was a bit of an adjustment at first. The first week it felt really stressful because if you break it down, 1400 calories is NOT that much food. So 400 calories for breakfast, maybe 100 for a snack, 400 for lunch and 500 for dinner. Yikes! I’d see my number of left over calories getting smaller and smaller…and I’d feel discouraged and sometimes I’d beat myself up. But after the initial hunger and getting used to that number, it wasn’t that bad. And sometimes I even found that I’d bring snacks to work and I didn’t really need them.

Since going back to work full time, I’ve started working out a few days a week during my lunch break. The gym at work can be kind of crowded, especially on bad weather days and Mondays. So I’ve adjusted my lunch hour around in order to work out earlier. In the past I would have a snack before working out –fruit or Greek yogurt or a low carb protein shake–and then work out, shower, and eat lunch at the normal time. But shifting to an earlier lunch hour to workout, I noticed that I didn’t need my morning pre-workout snack anymore.

So I wondered, How much food do I really need?

I decided I could probably skip my morning snack on workout days and just workout. Then eat lunch later. And I’d be fine. And it helped me stay at my lower calorie range.

I have no idea how many calories are the “right” number. I mean, I workout a lot and pretty intensely. So how do you find the proper balance between how many calories you need to not completely crash and still get your good workout in? I pose that question because I honestly don’t know the answer.

Recently I decided to give it another shot. First, I decided to try doing the lower-carb diet again. I kind of gave up on it this summer. I lost about 7 or 8 pounds on it when I first tried it in the spring but I stalled out and just felt like I was torturing myself and not seeing any results–so I stopped and just counted my calories every day and didn’t care about limiting carbs.

Second, I decided to try and cut out the candy. Recently at the store I did not buy ANY treats! None. I am going to try going cold turkey on the dessert/candy/treats and see if that also helps.

UPDATE

Last week in addition to cutting out candy and sweets (other than fruit and my coffee creamer), I decided to give the lower-carb diet a try again. So last week I went back on the bandwagon.

I stopped buying sweets and desserts and was surprisingly able to give up the candy without noticing too much of a hardship or craving. The carbs? I was somewhere between 50-75 grams of carbs for each day. I felt like crap all week, honestly. I felt run down and like I had the flu–but I didn’t. I just felt exhausted and burned out and my workouts suffered and my mood suffered….I’m sure it was cutting out carbs.

So no bread, pasta, rice, etc. No potatoes, reducing the fruit I eat (I had raspberries for dessert two nights). I’m eating more protein and fat. I’m hoping this second week will be better–and that I will feel less run down. I know that’s pretty common in the beginning when you go low carb….UGH.

The good news? I weighed myself over the weekend and was pretty happy to see a 2 pound loss. I have no idea if that’s the low carb diet or cutting out sugar or both. But if this trend continues, hopefully I can relax and just be in maintenance mode in a few months! I do not believe a low carb lifestyle is the right choice for my body type…but I’m willing to give it another try.

Light Carb Update #5

Another week, another update.

Progress

I’ve been stuck for two weeks. I had gained a pound back and then sat there for two weeks. Part of that was hormonal. Part of it was probably carb-creep. I was doing ok on my calories most days but I was seeing several days a week with my carb count creeping higher and higher.

Weigh-in this morning was the same. Very disappointing.

Meals

Some snacks this week: plain Greek yogurt with raspberries; cottage cheese with pineapple; sugar snap peas; and smoked Gouda slices.

Some lunches this week: arugula salad with onions, cucumbers, carrots and leftover pork tenderloin slices; sauteed Brussels sprouts with a chili lime chicken burger; and meat and cheese rollups.

New favorite dessert: I saw a photo on a friend’s instagram and had to try it out. It was SO good! Some mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries) with 1/2 a serving of raw walnut pieces and some whipped cream. It’s low in carbs and not bad calories wise, it really satisfies my sugar cravings at night and is very filling, too!

New dinner recipe: spaghetti squash carbonara!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

From: http://annavocino.com/spaghetti-squash-carbonara/

Ingredients

  • •2 whole spaghetti squash
  • •Salt and pepper
  • •4 slices thick cut bacon, cut in half lengthwise, and then into ½” pieces
  • •1 tablespoon olive oil
  • •1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2 cloves, minced)
  • •1 egg and 3 egg yolks
  • •1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • •1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. 1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave each spaghetti squash for 2 minutes on high. Slice squash lengthwise in halves, then scrape out and discard seeds. Place squash halves face down on a roasting pan, and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until squash is soft. Remove from oven and use a fork to scrape the spaghetti strands out of the squash shell into a medium bowl, discard squash shells. Season spaghetti strands with salt and fresh pepper.
  2. 2.In a large, flat bottom sauté pan, heat olive oil, then fry up the bacon pieces until almost cooked through. Add minced garlic and cook additional 1-2 minutes. Add in spaghetti squash strands and toss with bacon and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. 3.In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together parmesan, egg, and egg yolks. When spaghetti squash mixture is nice and hot, turn off burner heat and immediately add in the parmesan egg mixture, tossing evenly. The heat from the spaghetti squash will cook the egg yolks into a smooth, creamy sauce as you mix in the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=52111

We made the spaghetti squash and opened a bottle of wine.

Michael halved the recipe (but added a little bit more bacon, of course!)

OH MY GOD! This dinner was SO good!!! We both LOVED it. We agreed that it was so good that we didn’t even notice that it wasn’t traditional pasta. It was creamy and garlicky and flavorful. I wanted to eat three more bowls of it.

This is a fabulous low carb option for dinner, especially when you are craving pasta. Definitely try this recipe!

Ok and moving on to the next topic: the endless saga of finding a low carb pizza option! This week? We tried almond flour pizza. I got a bag of almond flour at Trader Joe’s and we gave it a try Saturday night. We tried this recipe:

The Ultimate “Fat Head” Pizza Crust
Ingredients
  • For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (fresh is bestest)
  • 3 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • For topping:
  • Homemade pizza sauce (or store bought without sugar)
  • Your choice of meat, veg, cheese, etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Microwave the mozzarella and cream cheese in a large bowl until soft and pliable, about 30 seconds. Add egg, almond meal, oregano, and basil and blend well into a dough ball. Press into a circle or square shaped pizza on a parchment lined baking sheet sprayed with a thin coating of olive oil or coconut oil. Sprinkle garlic salt over surface of pizza crust. Pierce surface with fork to prevent rising of the crust while baking.
  2. Bake crust in oven for 8-10 mins. Pierce more holes with fork if bubbles form. Bake another 2-4 minutes if crust has not already browned. Do not over bake as it will dry out!
  3. Add your pizza sauce and toppings, pop back in oven for 4-5 more minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

It was pretty good! It was a little bit easier to get the parchment paper off this crust than the cauliflower crust. We both agreed it needed to be cooked a little bit longer, though.

Right before we put it in the oven:

We are going to cook it again and try and make it crispier next time. But it was pretty good! We agreed that this was better than the cauliflower pizza we tried, but mostly because we could never get it quite right! But… Michael and I are super happy that we can have two slices of “pizza” for less than 10 carbs!!!

This is definitely a win.

Cheat Meal

For this week’s cheat meal I had Mexican food! Damn it was good. 🙂 We went out to lunch at Iron Horse Mexican restaurant for Michael’s mom’s birthday. We’d both been craving Mexican food for awhile.

I got the lunch enchilada, shredded beef and cheese, with refried black beans and rice. Logan ate about half my beans and about 1/4 of the rice. 🙂

It was really, really good. I ended up having about 80 grams of carbs for lunch. Definitely a lot, but it was a cheat meal. The downside? After lunch I felt super sleepy. I just wanted to take a nap. Heavy food + carbs = sleepy time.