Allergies are crazy things…

It has been over a year since I’ve written, and a lot has changed in that time for me, especially in regards to my health.  Most specifically, I’ve started seeing a neurologist for my chronic migraines (read: 15+ per month) and a nutritionist/naturopath to address the food-related aspect of those migraines.  I had an IgG allergy panel done, and it turns out my gut is pretty particular about what it likes and doesn’t like!  So we’ve laid out a specific eating plan for me that somewhat resembles the primal eating plan (dairy-free, grain-free, legume-free, and no artificial sweeteners or refined sugars).  Turns out slimgenics and I won’t really work out very well as a result.

I hope those of you who are still on it are doing well, and I hope you take some of the lessons you learn on the program to heart.

I figured it would probably be good to reflect on the benefits of this chapter of my life as I bring it to a close.  Some of the most important things I learned while doing slimgenics were the following (and I’m still implementing these techniques today to help me become healthier in my custom eating plan):

1. Plan your meals
Planning is critical.  You have to know and prepare what you’re going to be eating in advance.  Otherwise, if you’re anything like me, the desire for convenience will take over and you will just go for what’s readily available instead of what is best for you according to your plan.

2. Pack your meals the night before if you don’t work from home
Trust me, this makes the trudge to work that much easier, and it keeps you from getting into the position where you have to go get takeout because you’re empty-handed, leaving you vulnerable to make poor decisions when looking at a menu.

3. If you do go eat out, look at the menu online and decide what you are going eat beforehand; order first, if possible
Many restaurants are publishing more detailed nutritional information about their menu items online, so take a glance at the menu and make the best decision you can about what you are going to order in a pressure-free environment.  No one will be around to say that the “fettuccine alfredo sounds delicious,” or the ” cheesecake looks wonderful” and tempt you with something you know you don’t need to have to feel satisfied.  Make your decision as to what you are going to order, and then order first so you don’t waver in your decision based on what others end up ordering.

4. Eat new foods you haven’t had before
Trying to recreate all the foods you loved when you were eating less healthfully within the constraints of your new lifestyle is a sure-fire way to end up disappointed.  The easiest way to enjoy the foods that are permitted in your eating plan is to try things you’ve never had before.  This has honestly been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, but I think it’s one of the most important.  I used to put so much effort into recreating the familiar, only to end up bitterly disappointed when the results turned out inedible (honestly, you try making a decent clam chowder that’s on plan).  But when I gave up trying to recreate my old favorites and started trying new things, I enjoyed what I was eating so much more because I had no expectations about how the results would turn out.  I wasn’t comparing the flavors and textures of the dishes to my cherished family recipes; I was comparing them to… well, nothing!  I looked, tasted, and felt, and I made a decision regarding whether or not I enjoyed what I was having.  And more often than not, I ended up enjoying it.

I think those are the most notable items I’ve learned, and I have to say that they’re some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my entire life.  Slimgenics may not be the answer for me as a way of life, but it sure helped prepare me for the next step.  I’m forever grateful for having participated in the program, and I wish the best of luck to those of you choose to do so.  Be well!

 

Fall brings many things, including beautiful colors and overwhelming shame

Brief post.  If I go on too long, I’ll start getting into personal issues that I just don’t feel like digging into tonight.

 

I’ve been a mess over the last few weeks.  Weight loss hasn’t been terrible, don’t get me wrong.  We had some of my husband’s friends come to visit, and I made a bunch of recipes out of Cooking Light.  I also managed to track my food in loseit most of the time they were here (Friday to Tuesday, with Tuesday being my tw0-year anniversary with my husband).  I didn’t really get back to plan until yesterday, but I was more conscious the other days of how much I was eating and did well to limit my portion sizes, etc.  I managed to keep my weight pretty stable the whole time, probably gained a pound or two, but I’m ok with that.  I also ate what I wanted on our anniversary night (we went to one of my favorite steakhouses), but I went slow and ended up taking home about half of my entree when I previously would have just finished it at the restaurant and been miserably stuffed.  I also drank only half of my glass of wine and felt good.  I’m back on plan, and glad to be moving forward.

 

Mood: Inexplicably devastated, but still hopeful

Currently Listening to: Sufjan Stevens – Futile Devices

Reading: butt-loads of Shakarian fanfic and crying my eyes out

Day 41: “Holy Sh*t!”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I’m all smiles here, people.  I stepped on the scale this afternoon and was shocked.  SHOCKED.  It read 176 lbs (a four lb loss since the last time I weighed).  I blurted obscenities, then readjusted my positioning on the scale (mine is from like 1974, so the reading sometimes depends on where you stand on it… I really need to get a new scale, hm?) because I knew there was no way that weight was right.  The verdict?  178.  Much more reasonable.  And FINALLY.  Finally, my efforts are starting to show on the scale.  That’s a 16 lb loss since I started back on this eating plan in early August.  I feel good.  And I’ve been really enjoying what I’ve been eating over the last week, including those 100 calorie chocolate chip cookies I made (seriously, made with butter and sugar.  No funny tastes from artificial sweeteners or anything like that.  Just pure, chocolatey, cookie-y goodness)!

Visually, I’ve noticed the rolls on my back are starting to go away.  So exciting!  The hubby can also see that I’ve lost weight.  He says my mid-section is definitely slimmer.  And my breasts are getting smaller (wah wah wahhhhh.  I guess I have to start losing weight somewhere, right?).  That’s pretty consistent with the measurements I’ve been taking every two weeks.  I’ve been losing inches in my chest and waist, but not really anywhere else yet.

One thing I’ve been worrying about, though, is the stretchmarks I gained over the last 9 months on my way back up from 145 to 194.  I guess they aren’t so bad, as the hubby just thought they were new bruises, but I am a bit self-conscious about them.  Trying to find some cheap, natural ways to try to help them heal…

Day 40: Well, duh!

I’d been a bit frustrated because I’ve been at the same weight for probably the past week now, and I’ve been trying to figure out why the scale isn’t cooperating with me.  Slimgenics on its own is a very low sodium eating plan.  I’ve been incorporating other foods into my eating plan over the last few weeks (including some hard cheeses like parmigiano reggiano), and that includes more sodium–which means more water retained by my body!  I’m so glad to have this figured out, and I’m excited to have my weight be more reflective of what it will be once I reach goal.  There’s no way I can eat a low sodium diet forever, and I know that it would drive me absolutely batty to see the scale creep up after reaching my goal all because I start incorporating more sodium and retaining more water.

 

I made 100 calorie chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and they are delicious (see the recipe from Cooking Light here).  I was very careful to make sure I measured the amount of dough for each cookie (1 level tbsp was what was directed in the recipe; I ended up with 38 cookies instead of the 40 in the recipe, but calculating the calorie count of the local ingredients to the number of cookies, it was still under 100 calories per cookie!).  I’m making the hubby take some with him to work on Monday, but I’ve been really good about limiting how many I have (no more than two a day), and I have really savored them.  Paired up with some skim milk, I feel like a kid again!  The hubby, who is infamous for never requesting or voluntarily having dessert, liked them so much that when i came into the living room this morning, he was having three for breakfast!  No exactly the best nutrition for a breakfast meal, but it sure was nice to know that he liked them.

 

We did a lot of cleaning today, which was good.  We got the garage cleaned out, got the guest bedroom ready for friends coming to say for a long weekend, and reorganized one of our junk closets (seriously, terrifying).  We have a good amount of stuff we’re taking to goodwill as a result, and a good deal more space.  I love getting through a long day of working hard and just heaving a great sigh of relief because I’ve gotten so much done!  Tomorrow, the hubby is going for a long hike.  I will be home organizing a few more things, and maybe giving myself a mani-pedi.  😀

 

 

Day 30: One month down!

I’m letting myself get a bit frustrated lately, because I’ve sabotaged myself a few times.  Last night, my husband and I went to a concert, and I learned two things:

1. I still just don’t like vodka, and

2. I’m not as young as I used to be.  The show didn’t start until 10pm, but I was yawning by 9.    We didn’t head home until 12:30.  So glad the hubby drove, because I was ready to pass out at that time.

I had a drink, because I didn’t know any of the music and figured if I was going to have a good time, I would need to be loose.  I wish I hadn’t, because i felt terrible afterwards, and I was so sad putting the vodka and cranberry juice into loseit this morning!  I didn’t even LIKE drinking it!

Ok, if I’m going to drink, I’m at least going to drink something I like.  At the same time, it was probably better that I got a drink that I didn’t like as opposed to one I did (jack and coke would have been splendid, but I haven’t had Coke in over a month, and I’m going to limit it to holidays and birthdays.  It’s nostalgia, and I need to just start to enjoy it when I’m with family at special times, as opposed to because it’s Wednesday and I’m at Jimmy John’s for lunch).  Having one I would like might just hook me back in to having things I don’t need.

 

In the meantime, I’m sucking down water to try to flush out some of the useless calories from last night, and I cut back on my carbs today to try to help.

My weight has been pretty steady between 181 and 182 over the last week, which is ok.  I’ve had some missteps, but I’m learning.  I feel good about trying to take a very realistic approach to my weight loss.  No, at this point, I’m not necessarily shooting for the 3-5 lbs per week losses that slimgenics facilitates.  But I’m still very much adhering to the general principles of the plan.  I’m getting a balanced diet, and making absolutely sure that no matter WHAT, I’m always getting all of my veggies in, which is something that I would never really think to do before.    What I’m shooting for now is 2 lbs a week, though I won’t complain if I lose more (unless I start noticing that my skin isn’t keeping up).  I’m making some concessions in areas where I wouldn’t if I were adhering to plan 100%, and I think it’s going to be useful when I’m transitioning.  I’m not going to be winning any awards for the speed of my weight loss, but I will be rewarding myself with better habits and better decisions in regards to food.  Some of the concessions I’m making are the following:

Fats – if I want mascarpone cheese on my toast instead of smart balance, I can do that.  But I limit myself to no more than 1 Tbsp, which is plenty to cover the toast, and pretty comparable calorie-wise.  If I want some real ranch dressing, okay.  But I measure it and it get it logged into loseit.

I’ve also been having honey in small amounts, like on my toast.  1 tsp to be precise.  It’s been good for helping me feel like I’m getting something decadent without really doing too much damage.

I’ve already mentioned this, but every weekend we are making a new recipe.  This is awesome and is something that I look forward to and plan for each week (i.e. I’ll eat some leaner proteins and fruits, or cut back on carbs during the week to allow for something slightly more decadent on the weekend).  It’s also giving us some new favorite recipes.

My husband was on the phone with his best friend this evening, and they were talking about his progress with running and eating well.  It made me really happy to hear him say, “yeah, and we’re eating a lot healthier.”  I think we both have an understanding that if we ever have kids, we want them to be healthy, and that starts with us being healthy first.  We learn how and what to eat from our parents.  If I can become the kind of woman who loves to eat healthy foods, then I hope that one day, that will translate into my children loving to eat healthy foods as well.

So it’s one month down.  12 lbs in 30 days is a lot.  I’m proud of the progress I’ve made, and excited to keep trying new things, on-plan or slightly off.  For me, it’s all about seeing that I can enjoy food even if it’s not laden with butter.  It’s about learning more about using herbs and spices to enhance flavor, and being creative to introduce variety and excitement into what I’m eating.

Feelin’ good, ladies and gents.

 

 

Day 28: Working on a lifestyle change

Well, I’m still following plan and keeping up with things.  I had a burger from Red Robin last night to celebrate the holiday, and after looking at the nutritional information (really, I wish I had done so before eating it), the hubby and I both agree that we will stick to making our own burgers at home.  I’m trying to recover quickly from that misstep, so today has been (and will continue to be) pretty minimal.  A couple days cutting back on fat and starch will do me some good to bounce back from that.  I tell you what, though, I probably wouldn’t be bouncing back quite so quickly if I wasn’t also using loseit.com to keep a better handle on my daily intake.  Previously, I probably would have said, “oh, I just went off plan, screw it, i’ll eat everything in sight!”  But I’m a bit more aware of how much damage I’ve done and what I need to do to account for it and balance it out.

Let me say that loseit.com is not the only reason I’m succeeded (and I am succeeding).  There is something to be said for composing your daily food intake of a good balance of protein, vegetables, fruits, starches, and fats.  I could definitely use loseit and stay under my recommended daily calories by having coca-cola and oreos, but that’s not at all balanced.  I feel good when I’m eating the mix of foods recommended by slimgenics.  Honestly, my stomach felt awful after eating that burger.

As part of my efforts to make sure this change is sustainable for the long term, my husband and I are going to make at least one new recipe each week, and it is limited to under 500 calories for a meal.  We’re frequently consulting our Cooking Light magazines (which he graciously subscribed me to for my birthday) and picking things out that sound good.  On the weekends, I’m making a meal with him that we can both enjoy.  Sometimes this meal is a slimgenics approved meal, and sometimes its not (like this past weekend when we had this linguine with two-cheese sauce).  What I’m trying to do, and what I think I’m successfully doing is finding healthier ways to enjoy flavors I like.  The cheese used in this pasta was pretty sharp, so I didn’t feel the need to have so much of it before my tongue got the “mmmmm cheeeeesy” sensation.  Next time, I’ll probably cut back on the basil and use a bit of garlic, and this will be my go-to for an alfredo sauce fix.  We had it alongside a 5 oz grilled chicken breast and fresh steamed broccoli.  He was still a bit hungry after dinner and actually said he wanted “dessert” (seriously, this man could go the rest of his life without eating sugar, and it would be a piece of cake (no pun intended), so I was absolutely flabbergasted to hear that word come out of his mouth)!  I quickly made the slimgenics-approved microwave flourless chocolate cake, along with some strawberries and a bit of light whipped cream.  He really enjoyed it (and I did too!).

On the agenda for this week, he has picked out two new recipes from the magazines and we will be making those for him to enjoy during the week.  I’ll be grilling up some more chicken breast in the morning, and I will also make the lemon thyme sauce I’ve been enjoying lately.  I’ll look through the slimgenics recipes again this week and find something new to try.