Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week 16 Scorecard

I have not known what to expect for today. Changing to the Paleo eating plan has been an interesting experiment for the last week. I've not had to measure out three ounces of meat to make a serving -- and I can have a handful of almonds or a spoon of cashew butter without guilt. Of course, all that freedom for a control freak like me is not an easy transition. How will I know if I've had too much to eat if I don't count the calories?

Turns out, our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for. I really didn't overeat -- there were a few moments when I felt like I was too full, but not like in the past when it was all indulgent (Mexican) food, full of cheese and carbs....okay, I'm stopping that right now. Anyway, if I ate a little more than was comfortable, it never lasted more than an hour. Even better, any temptation to eat more was pretty rare - unlike the cavemen for whom this plan is named, my need to eat like I don't know where my next meal is coming from didn't show up.

Because of the changes, I'm measuring a few different things for the next few weeks.
  • I voluntarily put mushrooms in something I was cooking. I ate one. I did not gag, I didn't spit it out. [I also didn't eat any in the leftovers, but who cares.]
  • The only restaurant meal was when we were out of town and I was as careful as I could be. No cheese or croutons on the salad (*sob) and no dinner roll crossed my lips. I can't be certain there was no sugar in the marinade on the steak, but it couldn't have been much. Steamed veggies instead of a potato.
  • I made new foods -- zucchini chips, chocolate pudding with -- get this -- avocados as the base. Seriously, who knew that avocados had such a neutral flavor. Cocoa powder, honey, spices, and it is an awesome spread for fruit.
  • I had some pretty good workouts. And I really tried not to make excuses for stopping early or not pushing as hard.
Things I need to watch on this plan:
  • Just because almonds and pistachios are "legal" doesn't mean I should eat a pound of them at a time. I cut myself some slack last week because it helped me not crave (or give in to) chips or crackers.
  • I need the structure of planned meals so I always have lunch prepared -- either leftovers or the stuff for salads, etc. Sandwiches have changed shape.
  • Wine is legal, too. 'Nuff said.
So my ultimate result for this morning was down .4 of a pound. A couple of days ago it was a full two pounds down, so I need to be patient.

My first explicit goal is 20 pounds by my next weigh in. That's only a pound and a half this week, and I'm determined to do it.

Oh, and here's what is REALLY cool about this week. I mentioned that a huge driver in this decision is my husband's blood sugar, which has spiked back up after years of controlling it with diet and exercise. The difference is huge -- he's not been on the high end of his good range all week. Forget the weight loss -- THAT is a reason to stay focused right there.

It's been kind of fun trying new stuff, and I'll keep doing that. Stay tuned for some new recipes that I try.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paleo Food

Just a sampling of what I've had to eat this week:

Slow Cooker Pork Loin, with roasted vegetables

Grilled steak with mashed cauliflower (tastes like mashed potatoes!)

Steak salad -- leftover steak on top of a salad

Spaghetti! [Spaghetti squash with homemade meat sauce]

The spaghetti was the coolest thing! I love my pasta, and going Paleo means no more for me. I've seen spaghetti squash in the store, but it just looked like an overgrown regular squash.

Then I found out what happens when you bake it:

And with the sauce:

Here's the link to the directions for making the squash. I made my usual from-scratch pasta sauce, and added the meat without guilt! I just might be able to survive without pasta after all!

Goals and rewards.

I realized the other day that I had never documented my goals beyond "lose 63 pounds or more" and a few mental baby steps. I decided I needed to formally list what I want to accomplish, as this is a proven success strategy - right? We've all heard that goals have to be specific and measurable, etc... So here goes.

Goal: Run an entire 5K
Reward: Satisfaction! And a pedicure.
***DONE*** Race for Wishes 3/24/2012

May 1 goal: Lose 20 pounds
Reward: New novel that's coming out, maybe two

July 15 goal: Lose 30 pounds
Reward: Health on Haiti mission trip -- less pain, more stamina on the trip

September 15 goal: Lose 40 pounds
Reward: New jeans (if I haven't had to buy some before!)

October 29 goal (my birthday): Lose 50 pounds!
Reward: Dinner! We'll do that anyway, most likely, so making it my reward is easy!
Ultimate goal: Achieve my goal weight = lose 63 pounds FOREVER [I think that violates a rule of goal-setting, but whatever.]
Time: By December 20, 2013
Reward #1: Not hating the way I look in family Christmas pictures
Reward #2: Our 25th wedding anniversary in February! And a significant trip, location to be determined.

Non-date-specific goals:
  • Improve my time on three mile runs
  • Increase my distance on runs to five miles
  • Run two more 5Ks
  • Build strength in my upper body
  • Find an ab muscle, maybe more than one :-)
  • Participate in an entire spin class without dying
I think my rewards need work, because I'm also working to be debt-free! I think my ultimate reward is just feeling better and being proud of myself, but I'll take a pedicure and new clothes, too.

Have you set any specific goals? How creative are your rewards?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 15 Scorecard

I've not been at all sure what to expect from my weigh-in today. Given that I've started a radical eating shift, AND had an out of town weekend, a significant gain would not have surprised me. As I've mentioned before, I have scale issues - can't stay off it -- and Sunday was frightening.

The weekend involved barbecue, creamed corn, macaroni and cheese, Chinese food, dessert, not enough water, dessert, and a little dessert.

THEN I jump over to Paleo yesterday and gave myself a brain ache -- how on earth do I go from measuring and tracking every bite to eating the right foods and just listening to my body? Recipe for disaster, I tell ya.

I can't even express how excited I was this morning when I lost almost 2 pounds in the last week! 1.8 to be exact, which gets me out of the 180s for the first time in for-freaking-ever. That's right, I just gave a number. I promised myself that once I was into the 170s, I'd finally swallow my pride and start talking actual numbers. My Scorecard tab has the entire table from the beginning now.

I'm still nervous about the Paleo change -- I'm so used to 3 ounces of meat no matter what, that adding to that if I'm hungry just seems wrong. By the time I post another scorecard, it'll have been a week and then I'll have something to base it on.

For now, I'll celebrate where I am now, and the 18.1 pounds that I will never own again.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 1

Day 1 of Paleo, and I survived!

This was breakfast.
[Now that I see the picture larger than on my phone, that is NOT a red worm -- it's salsa. I'm not a food blogger, remember?]

Two eggs, diced canadian bacon, salsa, and SPINACH. Seriously, I had no idea how much I'd like spinach in my eggs. Almost makes me forget there's no cheese.

This really is a grapefruit -- we found these at Central Market, and they are amazingly good. They feel like they weigh about half of a traditional grapefruit but are the same size. Sweetish, lemony, orange-y, and still taste like a grapefruit.

This was dinner.

Mine is the one without mushrooms on it.

Pork loin cooked all day in the crock pot with diced tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms. I seasoned the pork with salt, pepper, and cumin and pan-seared it before putting it in the slow cooker. Add the veggies, then sprinkle with chili powder. The pork falls apart.

The roasted vegetables included sweet potatoes and asparagus, along with the usual cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, squash, and zucchini. I used garlic seasoning on these, and they were yummy.

Leftovers tomorrow!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Paleo Prep

Back in town from the weekend trip, we spent the day eating getting groceries and planning for the coming week's change in food. I love Central Market and have absolutely no self-control there -- and today I had to wander through the bakery...without buying anything. I considered it character-building.

We'd already gone to Sam's for produce - they seriously have the best berries, but I cannot buy 48 pounds of oranges. That's why Central Market was on the list, so I could buy a reasonable THREE oranges and FOUR grapefruit instead of 22. Each.

Have you started doing this yet? Because it really works.

Anyhoo. Today was the fridge cleanout, because once I shoved all the stuff in, you couldn't even see if the light was on. Not good. I got rid of my half-jar of pumpkin butter -- smeared on a ginger snap, it's like a little pumpkin pie bite -- because in a month it won't be good anyway. Sniff.

Dinner was the last ounce of goat cheese on Triscuits. *sob*  No way was I throwing that out.

Okay, all done with the pitiful. In addition to the shopping prep, I was also doing the mental prep necessary to not spend the next 30 days feeling nothing but deprived. Focusing on the stuff I like, not the stuff that scares me. I love fruit, and I'm learning to like more vegetables. I love to cook, especially when I know it's something new. After 13 weeks (and 134 years) of doing the "normal" calorie/fat cutting or point-counting, this will at least shock my system -- maybe for the better, maybe not. I'm okay either way.

So here comes the challenge! Meals are planned for the next week, and allowed snacks are overflowing my refrigerator. R-Dub is on board, and has his stuff for the office.

Let's get this Paleo party started!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I mentioned earlier this week that I've been contemplating a pretty major change in this journey. I've been researching for a couple of weeks, and recently a friend shared her results after doing this for a month (shoutout, Gini!).

After making all sorts of excuses, next week I'm going to try the Paleo diet. For 30 days. The hubs and me. I'm scared.

Here's a link to the site I'm primarily using - http://nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/ . Steve is pretty realistic about the pros and cons, and he's not so hard core that it feels impossible from the start.

For those who may not want to read a 4000 word essay, here are the highlights, with my commentary:
  • Paleo is based on the theory being that if we eat like man did back in the dinosaur ages, we'll be healthy, not overweight, and without the health issues that plague us now (without the worry that dinosaurs will eat us). Basically, get back to hunter/gatherer mode -- NOT grains and starches.
    • This is frightening to this carb addict. No bread, no crackers, no cereal. NO PASTA. {shiver}
  • Back then, once a baby was weaned, milk was no longer in the diet. So, skip the diary.
    • THIS was the real reason I've not been willing to commit to doing this. I can use almond milk for smoothies, but the "no cheese" thing is honestly going to be the hardest thing. I love cheese. Seriously love it. Eat it pretty much every day.
  • You can have as much as you want of vegetables and protein, with fruit and nuts in moderation. Because our bodies know what to do with these foods, it's difficult to overeat.
    • This isn't an open invitation to eat 4000 calories a day - but I do see it as retraining my taste buds and habits to reach for better snacks and to make sure the vegetables take up half my plate.
  • Cut the sugar. Duh. That's pretty much every healthy eating plan.
  • For best results, ramp up the exercise, especially weight training, which I need to do anyway.
If you read that list, it looks like there's very little to recommend this plan for carb/cheese addicts like me. What am I thinking?

The tipping point was yesterday. R-Dub (new name for my wonderful husband - like it?) is diabetic - not insulin-dependent, and not on meds right now. For years he's managed with diet, but lately has gotten away from watching his sugar intake. He checked his sugar yesterday, and it was too high to be comfortable. I'm primarily the food planner - he cooks sometimes, but I make the shopping list -- so if it will help him get that sugar level down, it's just another reason to do this.

The reason I like the Nerd Fitness take on this (he links to the hardcore Paleo sites, btw) is this statement: "If you can even make a few small changes here and there (cut out liquid calories, switch out your rice for steamed vegetables, cut back on bread, etc.) you’ll start to see some changes. 20% healthier is better than 0% healthier." He also talks about doing 80% - be diligent during the week, but if your weekend means wheat or some cheese, you'll still see results.

As I write that, I don't want it to sound like (to you or to myself) I'm looking for loopholes - I fully intend to do this to the best of my ability for the next 30 days. I just know my brain - if I start feeling completely deprived, I'll never succeed.

This weekend we're out of town for a wedding. I plan to use the time in the car to plan next week's meals, make the shopping list, and detail my workouts. I'll have to get to the store when we get back on Sunday to be able to start this on Monday. I'm trying really hard not to see this weekend as an "eat it now!" moment -- I still have a weigh in on Tuesday!

So, that's the plan as it stands. I am going to take my measurements again and see what happens in a month. I'm going to focus on the new recipes I'll be trying, instead of the cheese I won't be eating. I can do anything for a month, right?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Week 14 Scorecard

I literally went to bed Sunday night praying that I hadn't actually put on the 10 pounds it felt like I'd gained over the Easter weekend. Chocolate candy, peach cobbler, French bread...even though I knew the sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables were WAY better than mashed potatoes and corn on the cob, I felt huge. I also hadn't worked out since Thursday, so I expected the worst.

Monday I was determined to eat the best I could and definitely get all my water in to wash out the toxins. We had leftover roasted vegetables, and I stayed away from meat until I had some turkey in my dinner salad. There may or may not have been a couple of jalepeno poppers during the day, but that was just so they wouldn't go bad. Really. That's why.

Then I completely lost track of time Monday evening. Went to the chiropractor, got to talking to the hubby...next thing I knew it was 6:45 and I hadn't gotten in a workout yet! And I was hungry! I know I can't eat before I workout, but this wasn't going to go well. I ate about a cup of the roasted vegetables just to get something light on my stomach, and headed up to the gym.

In case you were curious, here's where the magic happens. I probably should have cleaned up the crap before taking a picture.

The TV died in an electrical storm, and won't get cable/satellite. But we were able to hook it to the XBox so I can use that to get Netflix, use Kinect for games, etc.

Apparently the elliptical wasn't enough torture for me. We added the stationary bike last month. My eventual goal is to get a spin class online and see if I can do it. For now, I just do 15-20 minutes, trying to increase the resistance as I go.

Back to the scorecard...I got my 15 minutes on the bike and 30 minutes on the elliptical, and burned about 600 calories. It was late, so I just had a big salad afterward.

Result? I did not gain 10 pounds. In fact, I lost another pound! Total 16.3. I'm still staying above the pound a week average, but not by much...

I'm considering a major change in the coming weeks, but that's for another post.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Week 13 Scorecard. And springtime in Texas.

Well, today has been crazy. Texas in the spring is always interesting, but today was a bit more interesting than I find comfortable. Stole this from the local TV station images:
NOT my photo - credit to WFAA TV
Thankfully this was not our neighborhood, but it wasn't very far away. Semi-trailers being tossed like Matchbox cars, entire roofs being torn off houses. One tornado stayed on the ground for 20-30 minutes - that's just not how it usually works. We're safe and sound -- all the major stuff went around us this time.

It's so nerve-wracking to be home alone, knowing that my child is at school (probably the safest place for her, but still), trying to work while watching the weather. And knowing she was going to be driving home in a little while? Makes a momma crazy. At least the hubs didn't take the motorcycle today.

In multiple tornadoes, in several cities, for a couple of hours, millions of dollars in damage was done. And no deaths or serious injuries have been reported. There's a miracle for today.

On to the scorecard....

I have a problem with my scale. I get on it too often. I don't have the self-control to only weigh once a week. Sometimes that's good, because if I'm stuck, I'll be diligent about my food and exercise. Unfortunately, if i've got a decent mid-week loss, I'll find some way to sabotage it. Sunday morning I saw a number on the scale I hadn't seen in a while at least a pound and a half lower...so of course I had to eat Mexican food on Sunday! But honestly I enjoyed it so much, it was worth it!

Result: down two-tenths of a pound today. Total of 15.3 pounds lost. And I had half a cheese enchilada for the first time this year! It was a good week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Great Closet Clean Out

It was time. Actually, it was probably about three months overdue. A few before pictures:
I had put in the wire stacking shelves last year when I decided I wanted to fold/stack my tshirts and sweaters. I found that over time, I got sloppy about folding and stacking neatly. This picture was after I'd started dragging stuff out.

So all those shirts had to be pulled out, evaluated for condition, and refolded. Notice that I require supervision: Daughter and Dog are standing guard so I don't leave before I'm done.

THIS was just the start of the donation pile. My rules: Anything I hadn't worn in a year, anything that didn't fit RIGHT NOW, anything stained to the point where I wouldn't wear it (mostly tshirts).

Nothing was allowed back in that needed ironing. I think this is the first time I've ironed in about 6 months. It's just not my thing.

Two days later...yes, seriously.

I kept a few of the shelves. I really like the baskets for underthings, and the other two shelves are just workout clothes. Tank tops and work tshirts are still folded, but now I'll hang tshirts that I might actually wear out of the house. They were just getting too wrinkled the other way. And I don't iron (see above).  
I'm proud of the top shelf. I don't think I've cleaned it off since we moved into the house! The bins have winter gloves, scarves, hats in the white one, and the clear one is bathing suits. There's another box that has sweaters.

I need to add labels to the boxes, but at least the shoes are arranged by color. Flip flops and sandals are on a rack on the other side. No, we will not have a discussion about how many shoes I have.

The shelf on the opposite side has hats and purses - still figuring out how to not make the purses look messy. I moved the wire shelves over to hold hubby's stuff as well as general bathroom stuff. Why does any house built this century NOT have a dedicated closet/storage for stuff like this? You'd think architects had never heard of buying in bulk.

It took a while, but it was definitely worth it. I don't have to dig through stuff to find what I want, and I know that whatever I pull out will fit and be in good consition. The kid was inspired to make changes to HER closet, and she added to the donation pile, too. Now if we can just get hubby on board...

What needs to be organized at your house? What's your favorite organizing tool/strategy - baskets, boxes, shelves, labels...?