Let’s Talk About Food, Shall We?

A lot of this blog is about posting results, sharing my successes and fitness ventures, and delving a little into emotional issues that surround weight loss. But it appears I’ve been remiss in not sharing information about the kinds of foods I find myself eating as I make my way along. All the experts seem to say that weight loss is made (mostly) in the kitchen, not in the gym, so it’s an important part of my journey. Let’s talk a little about what I eat!

First things first, no nutritional program works for every individual. We all have different needs, issues, trigger foods, and exclusions (health- or ethics-centered) and what has worked for me may not work for you. That out of the way, I have to admit: I cannot believe some of the stuff that I get to eat! In all my life, “dieting” has been about restriction – about not getting the kinds of foods I thought I “enjoyed” – Mexican food, ice cream, pizza. Dieting would be a period of time I needed to take a break from my normal fare and eat “the healthy stuff” to lose weight, with no real plan for what happens afterward.

The reality with weight loss is that, while one CAN trudge through a restrictive diet like the one I mentioned above, it doesn’t set you up for lasting weight loss. People who spend a year eating from a place of restriction (if they can make it that long) are likely to spend the next putting as much junk in their trunk as they can manage. It’s not our fault we do that – it’s how our bodies work. It’s called a survival instinct!

So how does one “win” in this reality? Well, it involves learning to eat all over again. And in my case, I think lasting success is going to require me being able to partake in those enjoyable foods in a balanced way. I’ll make some examples below, but let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

BREAKFAST:

LUNCH:

SNACKS:

EATING OUT:

  • 20/20 Whole Wheat Chicken Vegetable Pizza (490 cals)
  • 20/20 Grilled Chicken with Pesto Zucchini (350 cals)
  • Chipotle Burrito Bowl (615 cals)
  • Panera Half-sandwich, half turkey chili (or half salad), with apple

DINNER:

I could go on and on with dinners – that’s where I explore the most with recipes. I like to take pictures of my food, occasionally, so below is a gallery of the types of foods I’ll eat from day to day.

Sure, my dietary intake is not perfect – I could always add more fresh vegetables, for example (it’s a goal I’m working towards) – but it’s light years beyond the kind of food I was eating before. Well over 50% of what I eat is made at home, and that is revolutionary for me. I am forever indebted to those denizens of the internet who post healthy recipes online. I don’t feel very creative in the kitchen, and finding yummy recipes that I can emulate has been key in my success.

As for the nuts and bolts, I average between 1000 and 1400 calories per day (sometimes more, rarely less), and try to hit a macronutrient makeup of 35% protein, 25% fats, and 40% carbs. I weigh and measure everything I can, and track everything as closely as I can. And if I have a craving that doesn’t go away after a day or two, I allow myself to indulge (I’m looking at you, Five Guys!) and move on with the regularly scheduled programming.

The biggest takeaway: I still get to enjoy Mexican food, ice cream (froyo and banana soft serve come CLOSE ENOUGH!), and pizza on a regular basis. These feed the taste buds I’ve developed over my lifetime AND allow me to lose weight (and even gain muscle, what the heck?!?). I often step back and think, “Wow, I can’t believe I can eat like this and still lose weight!” It seems a little too good to be true when I’m noshing on a shredded pork burrito with sour cream and guacamole, but it’s working for me.

How is your food working for you in your weight loss strategy? Any surprises?

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Adventures in Hiking: Saint Edward State Park

This morning I woke up feeling kinda blah, so I immediately set some goals to work on in order to make the day interesting.

My training went well. My trainer put me on the Woodway Treadmill and hiked the speed up to 3.2 mph. After a minute she noticed I couldn’t keep up (I believe she compared me to a small dog who had to run fast every few paces to keep up with her owner) and lowered the speed to 3.0 mph. A small reprieve. After a few minutes she asked, “You ready?”, and I should’ve known that she would make me run, as the incline was at zero. She bumped the speed up to 5.6 mph and off I went. I’m kinda sorta maybe working on being able to run a 5K (instead of merely walking with occasional bursts of running), so I’m happy for any opportunity to practice.

3_21_workout

Just LOOK at all them spikes! Afterwards, we did some “floor work” which consisted of some core exercises, including planks. I mentioned that I wanted to eventually get to one full minute. Maybe it was a good thing, but I didn’t try to keep mental count when I started and let her time it. When I fell onto the floor again, she commended me for getting up to 49.35 seconds. A personal best! I’d say that hour met all the qualifications for achieving Goal #1. I’m pretty sure I crushed it.

discovery_passOn the way home from the gym I stopped by a local shop to pick up a Washington State Parks pass, called a Discover Pass. Goal #3, achieved! I purchased it so I could scope out a local state park – Saint Edward State Park – that’s within walking distance of my house. 2.4 miles, to be exact. A little too distant to walk when I’d like to make an afternoon of hiking onsite, but I’ll work up to it eventually!

After lunch I laced up my dusty old hiking boots, packed up a backpack and my Boston Terrier, Benny, and we took a short drive to the park. The weather was perfect. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (on the cool side), but just as sunny as could be. The park is the site of a defunct Catholic seminary and Bastyr University. It’s 316-acres of both manicured grounds and wild forest butting up to the north-east coast of Lake Washington. I familiarized myself with the trail map available onsite and decided to take the Seminary Trail down to the waterfront.

The trail down was gorgeous. I started crossing the grassy grounds of the seminary into a wide, well-maintained (though occasionally muddy) forest canopy-shaded trail, heading about a mile down to a private shore on Lake Washington, accessible only by the park’s trail system. I spent about ten minutes just watching the water, feeling so happy I had ventured down. I’d been to the park a few times before but never got up the nerve to try one of the unpaved trails. I had no idea it was so beautiful and afforded such a pleasantly-peaceful experience.

I knew there were several loops available in the trail system, so decided to find one instead of double-backing on the trail I came up. After making a wrong turn that put me on some very wild trail for about an eighth of a mile, I doubled-back and found two offshoots. One marked as “More Difficult”, and the other marked as “Most Difficult”. As the trail I began on was designated as “More Difficult”, I figured I’d have an okay time with the former. The problem is that the trail, if I had remembered from the MAP, was marked as “Most Difficult” in spots. Awesome! But I was committed by the time I figured out that the path was more challenging, and Benny was a slave-driver an enormous help in getting me up the steep and scary path.

By the time we got back to the car I was well and truly DONE with the hike. It was a little over 2 miles round trip, and that was a perfect length for me considering the elevation gains and difficulty. I decided to give the RunKeeper app a try instead of my normal tracker, Digifit. I was excited to see the option to take photos during the walk, but afterwards found out that my heartrate monitor’s signal dropped early on. Not sure if my HRM’s battery is just wonky or if taking photos makes the signal drop (like it does with Digifit). I’m sure I’ll get around to featuring them both in a future “Appsperience” post, so I’ll troubleshoot that further before making any pronouncements. RunKeeper sure is prettier than Digifit, from someone interested in design elements. I digress…

So Goal #4 can be officially put to bed at this point. And a quick check of my Fitbit confirms that Goal #2 has been smashed as well, as I’m up to over 13,000 steps! My steps will likely be increasing over the next few weeks, as today I was informed that the head honchos of the 20/20 Lifestyles program talked about me during their “grand rounds” meeting yesterday and requested I push my daily step counts up from 5000 steps to 10000 steps (and that’s, ideally, above and beyond any I get during my “official” workouts). For an extra challenge, I guess. Because 5000 steps is too easy for me now, I GUESS. It’s a tall order, but I’m up for at least giving it a shot.

And with this post, I’ve completed Goal #5! I’ve made the most of my day and I’m mighty proud. Now to feed myself plenty, as I blogged right through my snack – whoops!