Week Two Begins – Let’s Talk Veggies

As you may have seen from my Week One progress report, I basically kicked ass my first week on the 20/20 Lifestyles program. 5.6 lbs is nothing to shrug at, so I’m celebrating every chance I get! Now the next challenge comes into play, and that’s vegetables.

For me, adding in 3 servings of vegetables at lunch and at dinner is indeed a challenge because, before this all started, I was lucky to get 1-2 servings of veggies A DAY. And I’d probably get those servings from my V-8 Light Fusion Juice. Growing up, we never really had vegetables. My dad would make himself salad, but never shared with the kids. The only veggies we ate with any regularity were canned green beans and canned corn. Lettuce was always iceberg, and usually only accompanied tacos.

My palette is definitely going to need some adjustment work, and that’s going to be difficult. My picky-eater tendencies were nurtured throughout childhood, so the texture of things like lettuce and cauliflower and spinach are bizarre to me. I think my best bet is to trick my tastebuds at the beginning by pairing the right vegetables with the right kind of non-veggie food.

Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash - YUM!

Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash – YUM!

On Tuesday, during my appointment, my dietitian Erika was excited to show me Stage 2 veggie options down at the gym’s Bistro. On our way down we talked a little about alternate types of protein I might be interested in, as during week one I heavily relied on chicken. Shellfish was out. Tofu? Ew. Do I like turkey? OF COURSE I LOVE TURKEY. So we settled on the Turkey Meatball Marinara with Spaghetti Squash. She was excited to point out it counted as three complete servings of vegetables, and I was excited to hear that. It was so delicious, folks.

It would be too easy (not to mention expensive) to rely on the Bistro’s premade menu. So I’m going to need to find ways to get the veggies in myself. Last night I started with green beans. A program handout showed a recipe called “Green Beans Dijon”, which sounded interesting, so I gave it a shot.

It was not the best experience. Even though I cooked the beans less time than the recipe called for they still seemed overcooked, but the Dijon-y-ness was captivating and I ate the entire cup-and-a-half.

I splurged and had the Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash AGAIN yesterday for lunch, so today counts as my first full day with self-appropriated veggies. At lunch I’m going to make a salsa salad, with leftover chicken breast (seasoned with Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime), 2 cups of Leafy Greens and Romaine Lettuce, a half cup of sugar snap peas, 2 tablespoons of salsa, and 2 tablespoons of Litehouse Lite Salsa Ranch Dressing.  It will be my first time trying the sugar snap peas and the dressing, so I’m really hoping it tastes good!

What's all this green stuff in my fridge?!?

What’s all this green stuff in my fridge?!?

For dinner, I’ll be having more chicken breast, this time with some spaghetti squash – WHICH I WILL BE MAKING MYSELF *GASP* – with some Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce and extra virgin olive oil for my fat serving. I’m tremendously excited to have come up with all of this. I don’t see myself as particularly innovative when it comes to meal planning, and being able to mix things up like this, if successful, will be a real boon to my psyche!

So wish me luck, this week, I’m definitely gonna need it!



Week One: Recap

As promised in the video, the results are in. I’m down 5.6 lbs since my weigh-in last Tuesday! That’s WAY more than I expected!

Days 2 & 3 Recap + Video

Well, I’m Day 3 into the 20/20 Lifestyles program, and so far things are going really well! After an initial worry about menu planning was worked out with my dietitian, the food has been pretty easy. And I’ve fixed the whole ice debacle so things are better with the shakes. I also learned that I am not a fan of raspberries in my shakes. Too many seeds! Have I mentioned that I’m a picky eater with texture issues? If not, that’s a case in point. I had to swallow most of the shake down like you swallow pills. Strawberries work just fine for me, so I’ll stick with them.

I’ve been relying on my baked chicken breast with Fiesta Lime or Chipotle Mrs. Dash seasonings, black pepper, and lime juice for all my self-appropriated protein (to complement the protein shakes), and either avocado or unsalted peanuts for my added fats. I’m not feeling deprived of anything. I get my sweet, my creamy, my spicy, and my savory so I’m good.

The only negative so far is that on the first two days of the plan I felt extremely lethargic in the afternoons, by about 3:00 PM, and ended up napping both days. Not the worst side effect, especially because I’m not working presently and I don’t have kids (well, besides my one-year old Boston Terrier), so I’m generally free to nap as needed. But as I said, that’s really the only negative so far. I’ve been feeling a little more hungry (on my pre-plan norm of nutritious eating I rarely felt hungry at all) when I wake up and right before a meal, but it’s only Stage 1, so I’ll manage.

Below is a video recap of what I’m calling my first “real” workout, which occurred earlier today. On Wednesday it was mostly just a meet and greet with my trainer and I only spent about 15 minutes doing any sort of cardio. Today I started with a 20-minute warmup followed by 15 minutes of insane cardio (for me), some strength training that showed me how much I need to work on my legs (ouch!), and concluded with 15 minutes of nice stretching. Had some moments when I thought “This is too much, too soon!”, but I left feeling properly worked out, yet not dead. So, a win!

Day 1 – Up and At ‘Em!

It’s my first day on the 20/20 program and I’m ready to hit it hard! Prepped my first shake this morning and didn’t TOTALLY fail. Only a little. Plus: meal prepping is hard for this first week (or so I think), and I’m eager to meet my trainer Adrie!

First Doctor Visit (Video and Results)

The video above features a quick recap of my first official visit to my program-assigned physician at 20/20 Lifestyles. I’ll outline my initial testing results below:

Weight: 264.2 (150 lbs goal)
DXA BF%: 61.3%
BMI: 48.6
Blood Pressure: 126/82 (Pre-hypertension)

Cholesterol: 185 (Desirable)
HDL: 45 (Desirable)
Triglycerides: 103 (Normal)
LDL: 119 (Desirable)
Total/HDL Ratio: 4.1 (Moderate Risk)

Glucose: 104 (Normal but Pre-Diabetic for me)

Bicep Strength: 35 lbs. (Fair, borderline Average)
Sit and Reach Flexibility: 9.6 in. (Poor)
BodyAge: 51 (18 is obtainable!)

A Lesson in Eating Intervals and the Management of Cravings

For a little over a month, my dietary intake has changed dramatically. Before, I would not eat breakfast, and I would wait until I was feeling hungry to seek food. And because I was also dealing with depression I would opt for the path of least resistance. If I really felt like I needed to get going in the morning I would drink a Mountain Dew. Frozen taquitos were a staple, with several heaping spoonfuls of sour cream. Couldn’t have them without the sour cream!

If I was having a bad week, and couldn’t make it to the grocery store to ensure the frozen staples were available, I’d call up the Pizza Hut down the street and have them deliver. Dinner was always a crap-shoot, as my significant other became a source of food. I’d ask him to pick me up a burrito (or two), or have him get me a burger, or a large Coca-Cola Slurpee. Or some mix of the three. He works hard everyday and doesn’t always have the wherewithal to make healthy choices for dinner. And because he’s already going to be driving past these places, well, he’s been a target for my laziness.

All this has made me feel terrible – physically and emotionally – and when my depression started to lift, I felt myself more motivated to try to make healthy changes. So I sought out the assistance of a nutritional counselor and started making slow changes to my eating.

First it was just logging everything and being aware of how things made me feel. Then she asked if I would try to eat breakfast a few times per week. She explained a little about energy and sugar, and said while it was fine to have a quick rush of sugar, it would fade, so try to get a longer-burning carb into the mix. So I added a slice of whole wheat toast. That quickly turned into my current breakfast of two eggs (scrambled, with a little ketchup), a slice of whole wheat toast with some organic butter and grape jelly, and some probiotic mango juice.

Eating breakfast has revolutionized my hunger patterns. Eating breakfast has turned into also eating lunch, and eating dinner, and snacks – at regular intervals. Eating breakfast, and making sure I eat regularly throughout the day MAKES IT EASIER FOR ME TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES ABOUT MY FOOD. I can’t stress that fact enough. After having a stable diet for about a month now, when things happen and I don’t get one of my meals in a reasonable time, I notice myself having cravings and navigating towards older bad habits.

Case in point: yesterday was a big day what with my gym contract signing and fitness assessment for the weight loss program. I ate my usual breakfast by 10am but my appointments were midday, meaning lunch would be an issue. I brought a Fiber One snack bar with me, but didn’t find the time to gobble it up. And by the time I got out of the gym at 2pm, I found myself driving past a 7-11 and thinking “Wow, a Slurpee sounds really good right now”. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t “treat” myself with a Slurpee, but I’d opt for some frozen yogurt instead. A better option, but not as good as going home and making myself a sandwich.

After coming home from froyo I again put off making any food plans. I didn’t snack. And by the time dinner was rolling around I was thinking about having a burrito, or a Five Guys burger. Hey, I can track it! Thankfully, my supportive partner didn’t relent when I mentioned the unhealthy options and he redirected me towards my regular chicken breast. When I brought up some lame excuse about being down to my last chicken breast, and that I wouldn’t have anything to eat for tomorrow, he offered to go to the grocery store for me as long as I ate my normal healthy dinner that night. And he insisted I eat a snack immediately. Wow, I’m lucky to have him!

Yesterday was a really important lesson for me in terms of how diligent I need to remain in order to keep my cravings and bad habits with food in check. Preparation is key to this. Once my program really gets going and I’m at the gym for 5 days a week, I’m really going to need to plan to ensure I get all my snacks and lunch at the right times.