Challenge

Looking to 2016

SNOWMAGEDDEN!

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Sunday morning we awoke to snow in Portland! And not just a light dusting of white, but actual snow! However, it was not a “blizzard”. The above news article is pretty hilarious because people tend to freak out when it snows here. Which doesn’t happen a lot. But it was kind a nice start to 2016!

We had plans to take maternity photos Sunday morning and what’s funny is that our friend, Christi, who did our engagement pictures, originally wanted to go up to Mount Hood to take the baby bump pictures in the snow. Instead I found a nearby park that had covered areas because we were all sure it would be raining when we planned on doing the photos…So it’s pretty funny that she got her wish in Portland–snow. We were going to cancel the photos and reschedule but…it seemed a shame not to take advantage of snowy Portland for our photos. So we did it. 🙂 I’m happy we were able to do them (and get snow photos!) and I can’t wait to see them.

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Since the new year is off to a pretty good start, I’d like to make some goals for 2016 even if I’m a little wary of doing so. I mean, I have no idea what it’s going to be like suddenly being a family of three. I don’t want to set myself up with unrealistic expectations, or feel like I’ve somehow been lax in my goals. Really, my big goal for 2016 is to give birth to a healthy baby, recover and learn how to be a mom.

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But in the spirit of goal making, feeling nostalgic for past New Year’s Eves and wanting to have something on my radar for 2016 I will make a small list.

Run a 5k.

5k’s are a good distance for me. My body doesn’t seem to rebel against it and I can train for a 5k without injuring myself. In 2015 I ran two 5k races (both while pregnant!) and would LOVE to run another one this year. Obviously that will depend on how my body heals and how the training goes but it’s my goal. I like doing the Portland Parks and Rec 5k series so I will probably pick one of those and I’ll do one at the end of summer or early Fall. That seems to give me an adequate amount of time to train. Wish me luck!

Lose the baby weight.

I’ve talked about this a lot throughout my pregnancy–I dislike the pressure that is put on women to lose the baby weight IMMEDIATELY (and to also not gain very much weight while pregnant). I hate it. I hate the pressure, the expectation; I hate the judgment, the side-eye you often get from other people. I do NOT expect the baby weight to melt off the second I give birth.

During my pregnancy I still counted my calories. I was definitely eating more calories but I did my best to be reasonable about it. I was NOT “eating for two”. I was eating for ME and for the baby, who only needed like 300 extra calories a day. I followed my doctor’s instructions and counted my calories (without beating myself up if I did go over once in awhile) and I tried to make good choices about the food I was eating. Which was a lot easier once I got out of the first trimester. I still worked out (even during the worst of the morning sickness). I listened to my body and did what I could. Sure I modified a lot of things and wasn’t going at the same intensity but I was still very active. Overall I am happy with how I’ve maintained my health while cooking this little bug.

Now that I’m in the last few months, I’m trying to enjoy my changing body. I’m looking forward to the “after” too, because honestly, the biggest adjustment being pregnant for me was my body was no longer my own. I’m looking forward to getting that back–in whatever shape it ends up being in.

All that being said, I do want to lose weight because I am healthier and happier at a lower weight. I lost 110 pounds, kept it off for 7 years and would like to get back somewhat close to what I was at before getting pregnant. I’m not going to be crazy or restrictive about it. I’m simply going to go back to doing what I did before: continue exercising and reduce my calories in a reasonable way.

I know it will take time. I’m willing to do the work. The hardest part will be the mental aspect of it. My body shape being different. The weight coming off slowly. Clothes not fitting quite right. I hope I can adjust ok.

This goal won’t start for awhile. I’ll be following my doctor’s advice, listening to my body and not rushing back into anything until the time is right. My goal is to breastfeed and I know that trying to lose weight while that is happening is not wise, so this goal might be for later in the year. I know *I* won’t be the focus for a long time–but at the same time, I think it’s important for mom and dad to be healthy and take care of themselves, too. So I won’t just be letting things go–taking care of myself is important just like taking care of the baby. I will try and find balance.

Don’t forget about my fur-babies when the real baby gets here!

I really really want to give them all attention and love. I know it may not be the same or the same amount of attention but I’m going to try my best. Bella, Fat Kitty and Maya are family and they will still be family.

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I’m really looking forward to getting back into hiking. Bella loves it. I want our baby to be exposed to nature and grow up loving tromping through the woods. I am inspired by the blogger at Trail Snail, who hiked throughout her pregnancy and has THE most adorable little girl who has been going into the woods with them since birth! Love it! I think getting back to hiking will be a good goal for us as a family and a good way to give Bella attention.

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Focus on Slowing Down.

I saw this article:  Healthy Habit Forming Gifts to Give Yourself that suggested practicing things like awareness, forgiveness, focus, patience (I need this one!) and community. Those are good categories to build resolutions around as well!

One thing I want to focus more on in the new year is making time for myself and SLOWING DOWN. I tend to overbook my life, over-schedule activities and then when I do get downtime I am burned out and just want to sit in front of the TV and watch Netflix for hours, totally checked out. It’s not a good cycle. But I find that I struggle with just sitting and doing nothing, so I tend to fill my time. ALL my time. I can’t remember the last time Michael and I decided to forgo a scheduled activity and do something on the spur of the moment. It’s time to learn how to stop and smell the roses.

Learn my new camera.

I love the new features of my camera! Michael got me the Canon 760D camera for Christmas and I’ve been slowly experimenting with the new features. I love the photos I’m getting but I need a lot of practice. I have two months to figure out my camera before baby gets here and I’ll take a zillion pictures. 😉

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Read 80 books in 2016.

I’m sure all the parents out there reading my goal are laughing at me…but…I have to have a goal, right? I may not get there with a new baby but we’ll see. It feels odd to have such a low goal set for myself after last year’s monster goal! 2015 I read 150 out of 140 books. 2014 I read 139 out of 125. Each year I’ve read roughly 10-20 books more than whatever goal I set for myself. Last year was the biggest goal I had and I met it. Friend me on Goodreads! And send me your favorite book recommendations. 🙂

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What about you? Any goals for the new year?

Dairy-Free Update #3

Time for the third update. I’m almost done. I can see the finish line from here! You can read the first post here. I encourage you to follow my progress on Facebook and Twitter as I will be posting more updates in those places.

Dairy-Free Update #1

Dairy-Free Update #2

How Am I Doing?

I’ve gotten used to the diet now. I do not miss bread or anything with gluten. I sort of miss other things like cupcakes, ice cream, and oddly enough–banana pudding. I think I’m just craving those things because I can’t have them. This just reinforces what I’ve been doing for 5 years: eating whatever I want but in moderation. Doing that keeps me from getting this crazy obsessive cravings that make me want to binge.

I wish I had something magical to report. Honestly, I still don’t feel any differently. I WISH there was something. My skin is a little better. I haven’t had any acne breakouts this month, but I don’t know if I can attribute that to going dairy-free yet.

What I can report is that Michael feels like a million bucks. He’s still eating dairy but he gave up gluten entirely. He has noticed a lot of changes and like I said in the last update, it helped his snoring. He’s sleeping much better and I’m thankful for that. He wants to continue doing the gluten-free thing long term. I can support that.

Challenges/Victories

I’m kind of sick of eating rice. I feel like I eat it every day now because it’s gluten-free and easy to make. It’s also something “safe” I can order in a restaurant. I definitely need a break from eating rice!

Something I discovered and wanted to share was an iPhone app I found. It’s called “Shopwell” and it’s a free app. You enter your requirements in it: dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, low calorie, diabetic friendly, etc etc. The list goes on. Pretty much any dietary restriction is listed. So you enter that in and then you can scan foods and it will tell you if it fits your requirements.

My requirements were gluten free and dairy free. I’ll give you some examples. I scanned my raisin box:

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It was okay for me to eat. I scanned a Fiber One Bar, which I knew I couldn’t eat, but to give you the example:

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The app recommends I avoid the Fiber One Bar because it has milk and gluten in it. It also gives better alternatives at the bottom. The app would be good to use while grocery shopping to find the better alternatives. It’s a really fun and useful app. If you have any kind of dietary restrictions, check it out.

Foods of the Week

Michael accidentally bought the UNsweetened almond milk at Costco (i.e. a case of it) and I was worried we were now stuck with like 10 cartons of something we’d hate. Luckily, the unsweetened wasn’t bad. I used it to make chocolate “milk” (how weird is it that chocolate syrup doesn’t have dairy in it??) after the gym, I drank it straight and liked it, and used the almond milk in a bowl of cereal. The sugar from the gluten-free Apple Cinnamon Rice Chex sweetened the almond milk and it was a delicious breakfast.

FSTG Chips

Michael also got some gluten free tortilla chips. We are both fans! They taste just like regular tortilla chips and are salty and crunchy and delicious. Love them! The photo above is what we got, in case you wanted to try them. We tried the multigrain flavor. The jalapeno looks pretty good to me, too.

I made two dairy and gluten free recipes this week. The first one was a fabulous dessert that I will most definitely make in the future. The second was a spicy Asian dish that was also good.

If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash, I encourage you to try it. It’s a fantastic alternative to pasta. Even if you aren’t gluten free, for some people pasta is a trigger food or it wreaks havoc on their blood sugar. The squash has a very similar consistency to pasta. It’s savory and satisfying and a serving is about 40 calories.

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It even LOOKS like pasta! Last night Michael and I made spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and sausage. I cut the squash in half, scooped out the seeds, and placed it face down in a dish with some water in it. I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour. Then I scraped the insides out and it came out like spaghetti noodles.

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The sausage was less than 200 calories, the squash was around 60, the sauce was around 100 and I had a green salad on the side full of veggies. Such a great dinner! It’s been years since I’ve done spaghetti squash. I need to do it more often.

Thoughts/Observations

The most common question I got was: “Did you phase it out or go cold turkey?” I’m definitely a cold turkey kind of person. It works better for me to just DO something when I have the initial drive and fire of motivation. Phasing it out over a few weeks would have just made me lose interest and desire to try it. I also do better with specific dates. Having something like that to focus on gives me direction. I wanted to start officially on February first and end officially on February 28th because mentally it seemed like a short period of time. I think one of the reasons I failed with the Slow Carb diet was because I didn’t have any schedule in mind. I said “Oh I’ll just do it for a few weeks and see”. I need that specific date!

QUESTION: How long do you last on a diet before you are burned out?