Oct 152014
 

The words Weigh In on a scale representing the need to check you
I knew I wasn’t going to like the number on the scale before I even got home from Maui. I was expecting it. I’d been sick for a week before the wedding (no gym, poor appetite), then the wedding frenzy with lots of restaurant eating and just plain eating things I don’t normally eat (i.e. cake). We went to Maui and I didn’t count my calories at all. I just kind of went with the flow, ate whatever I felt like, didn’t think about it and ignored the consequences.

Honestly I had needed a break. I’d been stressing about some weight gain this year, the wedding stress, the chaos that followed, I just needed a break. So for about 2 weeks I stopped tracking my food.

In Maui we stayed in a condo and we cooked breakfast every day (scrambled eggs and fresh watermelon or pineapple, tea and coffee). Then we’d go to the beach for a few hours. I’d say out of the 9 days we packed lunches like 7 of the days. It wasn’t the healthiest of foods–sandwiches on sandwich thins with some fresh fruit and chips–but it was better than eating out every day. As for dinner, we cooked at the condo I think 4 or 5 of the nights we were there. I’m glad we did because I definitely needed a break from the restaurant eating and expense.

I worked out in Hawaii but not consistently. I was swimming and snorkeling in the ocean every single day of our trip (and we went for a run twice) but I don’t know how much of a workout that actually was. When we got back home I weighed myself and I was up 5 pounds. Yep, I’d gained 5 pounds this month!

weight

I was definitely disappointed seeing such a jump. Especially considering I have not been OVER my goal weight (150 pounds) in like 4 years. Even with my fluctuations I’d always been able to stay under 150. It was a bummer for sure.

My diet on vacation wasn’t great. Didn’t eat the normal amount of fruits and vegetables I usually eat. Definitely ate things I don’t normally eat. And I drank fruity umbrella drinks like this:

maitai
In Maui I discovered Mai Tais! I’d never had one before and absolutely loved it. The passionfruit juice was to die for. These fruity drinks are packed with calories and something I rarely ever indulge in. Once I started to lose weight I switched to lower calorie options for drinks (1 or 2 glasses of wine, 1 beer, or a vodka tonic), things that were in the 100-200 calorie range. These mixed cocktails though can be up in the 400 calorie range depending on what you get!

So yeah, I drank a lot of those. I made Bloody Mary’s at the condo to enjoy on the beach. While I wasn’t drinking a ton (and never really got drunk) I did have at least one beverage a day. Those calories definitely added up fast I’m sure!

I’m not beating myself up too badly because I mean come on, it was my wedding! And honeymoon! It was a once in a lifetime trip and I enjoyed every second of it and I do NOT regret any of the experiences we had. But that doesn’t mean I’m okay with the gain. I knew I was starting on a slippery slope and that it would be easy to fall into bad old habits if I didn’t correct it ASAP.

We got home from Hawaii late on a Wednesday night and I weighed myself first thing Thursday morning. <whomp whomp> Then I got dressed and went for a run. It was a short run and nothing special but I wanted to get out there and start getting consistent with my fitness again.

runoct2runoct21

I took Bella with me so she got a little exercise too and was able to explore a new route. It felt so good to just MOVE. Especially after being cramped on a plane for so long the day before. In addition to the run I got back on track logging my calories on my MyFitnessPal app. Every bite, sip, nibble, I logged it. I felt relieved to be doing it again!

I had a healthy lunch–sandwich on a sandwich thin and cucumber slices on the side. For dinner we had baked chicken breast with sauteed Brussels sprouts and onions. I made a salad with romaine and spinach, yellow peppers and some tomatoes from the garden (there are still tomatoes!!).

chicken
dinnersalad
It felt good to eat healthy again. And vegetables! I missed you!

Michael was out of town all weekend for a friend’s wedding. I stuck home because I had to go to work and I also wanted to stay home with the animals. It was also a good time to de-compress after the wedding and honeymoon and try and unpack some of the stuff we accumulated!

On Friday I went to the pool after work and got an okay swim in and then I suddenly started to feel sick. Not sure what was going on there but I cut my swim about 10 minutes short and went home. I waited a few hours to eat dinner because I just felt sick. When I decided to try and eat I stuck with some veggies and a cooked up one chicken spring roll from Trader Joe’s. Dinner was less than 400 calories total.

dinner1

The next morning I was feeling better so I went to the gym to try and get back into my weight training. I hadn’t lifted weights in over 3 weeks! I was slightly scared at how sore I would be afterward (and I was but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, so that was good.)

satgym

It felt nice to be back into the routine, even though I was feeling slightly bored with it. I need to re-evaluate soon and see what I can mix up to get my mojo back. But at the very least, I am back going through the motions and that will help.

Sunday I went to the gym and used the spin bike for a bit then hit the yoga class. I hadn’t been to yoga in about a month. I can’t believe how much I had missed it. It felt so good to be back at class and get some stretching in. (And I was reminded of my regret that I never got around to doing some yoga in Maui…)

Sunday night I made a crockpot dinner for when Michael got home. It was a super easy dinner and really low in calories. I had a seaoning packet for the chicken and mixed that up, put the chicken breasts, carrots, onions, red potatoes and green beans in the crockpot and let it cook for about 4.5 hours.

dinner2

Dinner was delicious. I made a green salad with tomatoes from the garden to go with it. It felt good to be back eating “normal” foods and I just felt healthier and better all around.

I am continuing all of this and will weigh in again soon! Stay tuned for progress…

Share
Oct 012014
 

My brother recently sent me this New York Times article, Always Hungry? Here’s Why. While the article in itself wasn’t new information, I really liked the way they broke down the science and explained it for the readers.

“Since fewer calories are available to fuel metabolism, the brain tells the body to increase calorie intake (we feel hungry) and save energy (our metabolism slows down). Eating more solves this problem temporarily but also accelerates weight gain. Cutting calories reverses the weight gain for a short while, making us think we have control over our body weight, but predictably increases hunger and slows metabolism even more.”

Yes! This makes so much sense to me. I’ve always wondered why I could be SO GOOD with my calories and yet I don’t see a change on the scale and I feel hungrier than normal. I chalked it up to hormones but really it’s probably WHAT I am eating, when I’m eating it as well as genetics. This became most evident recently when I realized that I have crashes on my rest days.

While this isn’t a new thing for me, I just started making the connection in relation to my rest days. I wondered why some days I felt hungrier–like an insane hunger I couldn’t satisfy–and why some days I had crashes in blood sugar and energy and ended up eating junk. I do not eat enough calories on my rest days. Historically I’ve used exercise as a way to eat more. This makes sense; I burn 500 calories in the gym, that means I’m going to be hungrier and will need to eat more calories to fuel my body. Weight loss/maintenance means I need to create a calorie deficit (at least a few hundred calories a day). So when the rest day comes around and I’m not “earning” those extra calories, I do not eat more.

It sounds logical and correct. But the reality is, I’m eating around 1600-1700 calories on rest days and that isn’t enough for the body to REPAIR itself from my hard workout the day before. So I’m not eating enough and then mid-afternoon I get the blood sugar crash and feel hungry and cranky and I end up eating candy. For some reason when I get that crash it’s sugar I reach for. Then I regret eating the sugar and while it makes me feel a little better, it certainly doesn’t solve the hunger issue.

“The more calories we lock away in fat tissue, the fewer there are circulating in the bloodstream to satisfy the body’s requirements. If we look at it this way, it’s a distribution problem: We have an abundance of calories, but they’re in the wrong place. As a result, the body needs to increase its intake. We get hungrier because we’re getting fatter.”

The solution to this is to eat more calories on my rest days to avoid that crash. But it needs to be the right kind of calories. A few summers ago I realized that eating avocado satisfied that hunger in a way no other foods have really done for me. I’m guess it’s because of the healthy fats:

“One reason we consume so many refined carbohydrates today is because they have been added to processed foods in place of fats — which have been the main target of calorie reduction efforts since the 1970s. Fat has about twice the calories of carbohydrates, but low-fat diets are the least effective of comparable interventions…”

This makes so much sense! The “non-fat” and “low-fat” diet fads may seem healthy on the surface but they really aren’t because the low-fat foods were just pumped with sugar as a substitute. Which probably triggers the blood sugar issues. When I started having a snack of avocado and gluten free toast or avocado and crackers, I saw a huge change. I didn’t need to eat very much–just 1/4 of an avocado would do it for me–and I’d feel full and satisfied for so much longer than any other foods I eat. It’s the fat! It satisfies the body. (This was a great article: 6 Signs You Need to Eat More Fat.)
healthy-fats

There’s hidden sugars in so much of the food we eat. It’s no wonder we’re always hungry. That trigger is sabotaging us. So I eat avocado and eggs and salmon on a fairly regular basis. I feel healthier, I feel fuller longer. It’s good stuff. I can’t remember the last time I ate a white potato. If we do eat potatoes, it’s sweet potatoes and even that isn’t very often. I can’t remember the last time I ate pasta, and even that is gluten-free these days. Finding what works for your body is so crucial.

Now I know that I need to eat more on rest days, and I need to be smarter about what I eat, I need to figure out what that number looks like. The fact is, people who were obese and lost the weight will always have to be more mindful of the food they eat. Check out this article:  Why is it so Hard to Maintain a Reduced Body Weight? for an interesting perspective.

“A full year after significant weight loss, these men and women remained in what could be described as a biologically altered state. Their still-plump bodies were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they lost.

After you’ve lost weight, your brain has a greater emotional response to food,” Rosenbaum says. “You want it more, but the areas of the brain involved in restraint are less active.” Combine that with a body that is now burning fewer calories than expected, he says, “and you’ve created the perfect storm for weight regain. (source)”

I recently got an email from a reader asking me: “Hi! Saw your blog for the first time – WOW! Very inspiring! I need to lose 110 lbs too! Question: How did you break your sugar addiction? That stuff is killing me!” I wasn’t sure how to answer her question honestly. I don’t know that I HAVE overcome my sugar addiction. I find ways to manage it (by not completely denying myself things, but eating it in moderation) but I still struggle. It’s a hard habit to break.

It’s not all bad news, though. I think with trial and error (and perhaps assistance from a registered dietitian) we can figure out what that happy medium is for weight maintenance when your body is fighting against you. What worked before may not work now. I might need to re-evaluate my own diet.

Share