New Video Weigh-In, My Final Dietician Appointment, and New Photo Feature!

Greetings blog friends!

In the above embedded YouTube video, I give an update on this Tuesday’s weigh-in results. It was not a banner week – my 0.2 lbs loss (from 194.2 to 194.0 lbs) is likely a direct result of my eating this past week. My calories stretched a little higher than normal, fueled in part by cravings likely caused by an increase in my sugar intake. I’m working through it, though, and employing simple strategies in order to get back to a good, even-keeled chemical balance (like stop eating so much damned froyo, yo!).

I also recounted the details of my final dietician appointment on the 20/20 Lifestyles program. Definitely a bummer to be losing these biweekly check-ins and not enjoy Erika’s helpful feedback, but I know she’s always at the other end of an email – and of course she’s a regular contributor to their blog, which I’ll be following. I followed that appointment with a clothes shopping trip (I had some “Real Women Dollars” to make proper use of) and a walk at nearby Marymoor Park. And I took pictures!

I gab on and on about more subjects in the video, so I encourage you to go watch it in all its sitcom-length glory! For now I’ll leave you with a new feature I’m trying to get myself to actually implement, and that’s keeping you all updated on what I eat. I know that I love seeing what other people are eating on their respective weight loss journeys, plus it might be fun/helpful in the future to be able to go back and see a (hopefully) daily visual log of what I stuck in my craw.

Here’s something from last week, June 7th, 2014:

And here’s the photo from Wednesday, June 11th, 2014:

View this post on Instagram

What I Ate: Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A post shared by Julie Loses! (@julieloses) on

So yeah, I’m definitely gonna try to make this a “thing” (presuming I can remember to photograph everything I eat), and upload it here and to Instagram on a daily basis. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Comments and shares are always encouraged!

OH! And PS – In my last photo you can see my dessert, which was a Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar made by a company called Yasso. All I can say is: THIS WAS AMAZING! I tried it for the first time last night and was truly impressed by the taste, texture, and nutritional information. It’s 100 calories per bar, with all natural ingredients (no artificial sweeteners), 6g of protein, only 1.5g of fat and a reasonable 13g of sugar, with live cultures and everything. As frozen novelties go, this one seems pretty solid. They have a wide variety of flavor options so I encourage you to seek it out at your local stores! /End of unsolicited plug!

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What Recovery Means

Yesterday was a rough day for me. I’m lucky, as I haven’t had too many of these kinds of days lately, but last night I really struggled with some personal issues and keeping my deep desire to emotionally eat in check. The day started well enough, but slowly I just sort of lost the plot on the day and some sadness crept up and settled in for a long stay. I’d like to chat here about how my food issues were involved, as it’s a case-study in emotional eating.

Pretty early on in the day (before lunch) I started thinking about frozen yogurt. I usually try to treat myself to a trip to the local Menchie’s franchise at least once a week to feed my need for treats. It keeps me in check, and keeps my historical cravings for things like banana splits and whole pints of Ben & Jerry’s at bay. Because the day was rather overcast and cool, and the future forecast for the week showed warmer, sunnier weather, I decided to ditch the froyo idea for the day and hold off for a more appropriate day.

I snacked on some kale chips (not really my thing, to be honest) and a half banana to tide me over until dinner. Sometime between the snack and dinnertime things went south QUICKLY with my mood. That old, familiar depressed feeling crept in. I was sad, lonely, craving something I couldn’t put into words. It probably didn’t help that I was watching enormously depressing documentaries on female infanticide and true crime shows on tv. By the time I needed to leave the house to run an errand, I started to think about a Five Guys cheeseburger, and how I could get one in my mouth while attending to that errand.

I managed to stave off the burger, but by the time I returned home I had fully hit that pre-binge food paralysis. Do you know it? It’s that feeling where your mind is ruminating over all the things you might be able to cram down your throat, the things you SHOULD eat (and how none of that sounds good enough right now), and that keeps you in your chair, paralyzed in a dark place. It makes the hunger worse, the feeling worse. In that food paralysis, I even took to what I call “angry chores”. This is a more recent development for me. Historically I’d just let the house wallow in uncleanliness, but now, if I didn’t know what to do about food or my sadness, dammit, those dishes were at least going to get washed!

Finishing up the cleaning, I still was in a rut. I was still talking myself through it – trying to force-feed myself all of the helpful advice I’ve learned in therapy: “You’re uncomfortable emotionally – THAT’S OKAY! Be okay with the feeling!” But the need, the desire to fill the hole in my heart with comfortable food was compelling.

Here I’ll get to the single-most effective strategy I can employ to defeat these urges when they arise: PREPAREDNESS.

Had I not already had pre-cooked chicken breast in the fridge, I might have driven down to the Five Guys. Or I might’ve even ordered myself a pizza. But no, I had food ALREADY MADE in the fridge, and all that stood between me and a satisfactory meal was a minute in the microwave. It wasn’t what I WANTED, but the reality is that food is merely fuel. It’s not my friend, it isn’t someone to talk to when there’s no one else around. I knew that the best thing for me wasn’t to go to bed on an empty stomach, but to fuel myself with a respectable dinner.

I won’t lie – when I finished up the bowl of chicken and beans I LICKED IT DRY AND STILL WANTED MORE. When merely fifteen or twenty minutes had past after finishing and I was already visualizing myself taking the tub of TruWhip Light out of the fridge and going to town on it with a spoon, I decided the best strategy at this point was to just go to bed.

As much as I feel this experience on 20/20 Lifestyles over the last nine months has changed me, it hasn’t changed the fact that I’m still a binge eater. I still am motivated to eat bad things when I feel bad. It’s upsetting, because there are times when you think, “I’ve SO GOT THIS! I’ve beaten this! I have overcome! I’m a winner!” So when the old familiar urges and behaviors arise, you’re faced with a reality that might make you feel not as powerful…

But screw that! I knew, when I was heating up my chicken and weighing out the amount of guacamole and salsa on my digital food scale, that this was A WIN. I knew that when I went to bed instead of curl up with a tub of TruWhip Light, I was the victor in the battle. I knew that because I didn’t cave to a delivery pizza or a cheeseburger in a time of emotional craving, that THAT was a display of power. And this morning I feel a sense of PRIDE. I haven’t won this war – it’s clearly still being waged and may ALWAYS be an issue for me, but I have the tools, the strategies, and the internal power to have a win now and then. And more wins than losses means I come out ahead. And I’m happy with that!

1st Annual St Paddy’s Green Day Challenge

I don’t drink Guinness or eat corned beef, guys, so to make St Patrick’s Day festive this year I’ve decided to incorporate a food-related challenge. Today I will include green food at EVERY meal, including snacks. And artificially-colored green stuff doesn’t count, so no pouring green food dye over your bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, even though that’s tempting…

green Day Challenge - Bfast

This morning I started with a spinach-centric smoothie of the following recipe:

– 6oz Fage 0% greek yogurt
– 42g of baby spinach
– 30g of banana
– 35g of frozen mango chunks
– 1/2 cup (120mL) of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 1 Tbsp of Bobs Red Mill Ground Flax Seed Meal
– 1 Tbsp ClearFiber supplement powder
– 1 Tbsp Organic Greens & Reds Supplement Powder
– a few cubes of ice

StPaddy_Lunch

Lunchtime! Just a simple garden salad with some diced grilled chicken and yogurt dressing, recipe below!

– 85g mixed romaine and green leaf lettuce
– 4 oz diced grilled chicken breast
– 35g cucumbers
– 64g green, red, and orange bell pepper strips
– 40g cherry tomatoes, halved
– 30g Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

Snacktime! Uhhh, I have some cucumbers, so how about this?

StPaddys_snack

Cucumbers count, right?!? Okay so I’ll admit it, the cheese on the cucumbers was weird. Ingredients list below:

– 2 oz sliced cucumbers
– 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese
– 100g of red seedless grapes (individually hand cleaned/polished. I have grape OCD issues!)
– 100-calorie packet of Emerald Cinnamon Roast Almonds

Dinner was the most exciting meal of the day, by far…

StPaddys_Dinner

I picked up my very first food processor on Sunday and had a chance to break it in for this dinner. I found this paleo-friendly Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce recipe online and it fit the bill for the Green Day Challenge perfectly! I made a few modifications, like replacing the bacon fat/tallow with a little olive oil spray for cooking the noodles, and I ended up adding about a half cup of lowfat milk because our avocados were not exactly ripe and needed the additional liquid to cream it up. I also added some grilled chicken for extra protein. Very garlicky, but delicious.

Dessert was a bit of an afterthought. After tracking my meals, I found myself to be a little short on the carb and calorie side, so I figured adding in a little green frozen yogurt wouldn’t hurt. A quick trip to my local Menchie’s franchise yielded me a little over 4 ounces of their flavor of the month, Key Lime Pie! As you can see, the puppy was especially intrigued. Artificially-colored, for sure, but c’mon, it’s DESSERT!

StPaddys_Dessert

 

Did you tackle the challenge along with me? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments feed. Who knows, maybe I’ll make this an annual event (hence the post title), and come up with a clever hashtag or something for next year. Hope everyone had a fantastic St Patrick’s Day, and thanks for reading!

First 10-mile Trail Ride!

Yesterday I woke up to sun shining through open slats in the blinds, and a quick check of the weather app on my phone revealed clear skies forecast for the rest of the day. Tomorrow would bring rain and the possibility of light snow, so I knew I needed to seize the day. It’s been too long since I’ve been able to ride my new bike, and a day like this was the first good prospect for hitting the wonderful paved trails in the greater Seattle area.

Eager to get on my way, I reheated some grilled chicken breast for breakfast along with some caffeinated tea. I ate chicken and cinnamon almonds while looking at online maps of the regional trail system in my area and decided to make Wilmot Gateway Park in Woodinville my take-off spot. I had hoped to be able to make it from there southward as far down as the Red Hook Brewery – just to see if I could make it down that far. Silly me for not looking at actual mileage, but we’ll get to that later!

All loaded up

All loaded up

For me, anything longer that a mile of riding is considered a “serious ride”, so I pulled out my Pearl Izumi padded bike shorts. Luckily I can wear them under my yoga exercise pants, so no walking around in BICYCLE SHORTS for me just yet, lol! After loading the puppy up with his treat-filled Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug, I locked him in the bedroom and set on the task of loading my portable rack and bike onto the back of my MINI. This was my first time attaching the rack, so after the installation, loading the bike, and checking/re-checking all the straps, I said a silent prayer to the universe that the whole contraption wouldn’t fall off mid-drive.

The sun through the blinds did not lie: it was beautiful outside. 52˚F as I left the house, and not a cloud in the sky. The drive to the park was a quick 10 minutes and I could not get my bike rolling fast enough! I popped on my sunglasses, my helmet, my jacket, my full-length gloves, put the flashing USB red light on my seat bag, affixed my iPhone to the bike with the Quad Lock mount, fired up Strava, and away I went, southbound on the trail.

I was nervous, as this was my first public trail ride. As it was such a nice day, I feared there would be a zillion people that I’d need to navigate around and faster riders to avoid, but as it was Friday I lucked out and the trail was only populated-enough to make things interesting and educational, not dangerous. It’s a flat trail – wide, smooth, and well-paved – and follows the Sammamish River as it winds down the Eastside. It was not long before I was at a nice speed and about a mile in my heart rate was up in the 140’s and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

This. THIS is what I’ve longed for since thinking about getting a bike last summer!

Before I knew it my heart rate was in the 160’s, but I was still feeling great. I had a few tears stream down my face – I’m honestly not sure if it was the air in my face, the sunny skies, or the sheer emotion that caused them. At some point the thought occurred to me that for every mile I went down, I’d need to climb it back up to my car. When Strava showed that I had rode a little over 5 miles, I decided to hit up a kiosk, drink some water, and check to see where I was geographically. Good thing I did! I was at the turn off for the Power Line Trail in Redmond, WA, and realized I had flown past the Red Hook a few miles up. I went past it by 3.2 miles, in fact. I was a few blocks from downtown Redmond, which was MUCH farther that I had anticipated going. There’s always part of me that wants to push harder, go further. But I knew that my round trip mileage was going to hit 10 miles and that was enough to scare me into rationality.

I immediately regretted my error as I headed back northward. It was a mixture of it being slightly uphill to start, and the wind clearly being in my face. I hadn’t realized the wind at my back on the way down, nooooo! But it deafened me and slowed my speed on the way back up, and I realized this return five miles wasn’t going to be as much a walk in the park as on the way down. My jacket became an unwanted layer that I couldn’t remove, and the long gloves no longer seemed crucial. The thought: “What have I gotten myself into?” played in my head for a little while, but I took it easy when I needed to, and let myself have a couple of “photo stops” along the way.

The beautiful riverside trail, looking northward

The beautiful riverside trail, looking northward

As I approached the hour mark on my Strava timer, I started increasing my speed – I really wanted to get the route done in under an hour. I rounded a tree-lined curve and saw the park architecture up ahead. In my head I celebrated to myself, “I MADE IT! I DID IT!” and pedaled to the front gates. As I hopped off my bike I clicked “Finish” on Strava and set to work on rehydrating and some post-ride stretches. I remembered my intention to bring a banana along for the post ride and chided myself for forgetting, but my mood was still firmly set to ecstatic. I was only sad for having to pack my bike up and leave. It was still so beautiful out, but I knew I had spent enough time in the saddle for today.

As I drove home I spent more time in awe of the perfect sunny weather, and promised the day would not end here with me lounging on the couch for the remainder. I decided that, after lunch, I would head out with the puppy to have some more adventures. I came home, played with the puppy, and made myself a quick lunch of turkey jerky and greek yogurt. As I ate I reviewed my Strava upload and marveled at what a great workout it was.

Feb_28_Strava_Ride

Time was a-wastin’, and I couldn’t eat lunch fast enough to get out of the house again. After checking online maps again, I realized that another regional trail that linked up to the famous Marymoor Park was directly next to the pet store and froyo shop I intended to go to that afternoon, so I planned a 2-mile walk along the trail with the puppy into the park before enjoying some froyo with the puppy. It was a great walk, and got me up well-over 14,000 steps. I would hit 15k steps before the day was over!

Benny the Boston Terrier hanging on a Marymoor Park bench and enjoying (no, really!) our froyo time.

Benny the Boston Terrier hanging on a Marymoor Park bench and enjoying (no, really!) our froyo time.

This morning I woke up and discovered my behind was more than a little sore from the saddle. Funny how before my bike fit a few weeks ago I couldn’t be on the old saddle for ten minutes without aching, but yesterday everything felt so much better. I will deal with a little soreness from time to time if I can take more rides like that! This ride felt so good that I’m eager for the weather to comply to allow for more.

I’ve set a goal to be able to ride the Burke Gilman Trail (another in the regional trail system) which starts just a short drive north from my house and meanders up around Lake Washington into Seattle. My old workplace is 20.2 miles away on this route, or 40 miles round trip. A bigger ride than I can conceive of right now, but I hope that by the time the fall season hits it’s something I can tackle. My old workplace was staffed with young, athletic, adventurous sorts (mountain climbers, etc.) who regularly biked to work, and I was always the odd duck. I’ll be under 200 pounds by then, and to be able to show up there, ON A BIKE?!? It’ll feel good to blow their minds like that 🙂