Friday, August 30, 2013

The Skinny on my Nom-noms

I think I read somewhere once that losing weight is 80% what's in your kitchen (what of you put in to your body), and 20% exercise (don't quote me on that) but I remember being surprised by the statistic.  It makes sense though, and here is why.  You can spend hours in the gym, but if you are coming home and eating 2 candy bars and a bag of chips, or 1000 calories in pizza for dinner, or slamming down cases of Dr, Pepper, your work at the gym was for naught.  Unless you are an olympic athlete needing 6,000 - 10,000 calories a day, you aren't doing yourself any favors by working out hard, and then eating sugar, carbs, and high calorie, low-nutrition food.

Real food is fun and delicious!  I am posting some pics of my meals for you so you can see that meals can still be yummy, beautiful and appetizing without all the carbs, fat and sodium that we have become accustomed to in our society.

greens with cranberries, feta, and honey lemon vinagrette

When I have lost weight in the past, or when others around me have lost weight, people always ask the same question.  "HOW did you do it?!!" Like there is some magical potion, or new miracle discovery that caused the weight loss.  Yes, there are crazy crash diets, there are even pills that claim to rev up our metabolism, or even scare you in to not eating by causing you to have diarrhea if you do (um, no thanks).  But let's be honest with ourselves, the only way to lose weight the right way is to eat less junk and more nutritionally dense food and exercise more.  The hard part for most is that they are addicted to sugar.  Sugar is EVIL.  It should be considered a drug, because it is THAT addictive, and it is THAT harmful to our bodies.  It seriously wreaks havoc on our blood sugars, our insulin levels, our hormones, pretty much everything.  It is why obesity is now an epidemic, we are surrounded by sugar everywhere we go.  Hundreds of years ago, it was harder to come by.  Our bodies are not meant to consume as much sugar as we do!!  Sometimes harmful sugar lurks in places we don't even think about.  We don't think about it while we are eating our spaghetti dinner, or eating that croissant for breakfast, or even in some of the canned soup we eat, or the ketchup we put on our hamburgers.  We have to become more aware as a society of the dangers of sugar when it comes to our health and well being.  I think we have come a long way compared to 5- 10 years ago, but so many are still in the dark - or they were like me, they know better but choose to ignore their knowledge.  For years and years I have known the dangers of sugar, I have done low carb diets and lost upwards of 15 pounds only to gain it back.  Trendy diets like Paleo and Atkins work for some, but for many it is unrealistic to keep up with  long term.  I am one of those people.

The key is learning to eat the right kind of carbs, proteins and healthy fats. When we start eating these, our cravings for sugar naturally go away, we feel more full and satisfied, and the weight starts coming off!

Ok, so what have I been eating?

Healthy sugars (aka fruit)

I am a busy mom, so I need quick and easy meals and snacks!  I have one smoothie a day, because they are nutrient dense and take less time to consume than a sit down meal.  Often I will drink one for breakfast each day.  Two things I always put in my smoothies are spinach and chia seeds.  Spinach is super good for you, and it is easily masked by fruit.  I have put it in my 6 year old's smoothies and he doesn't notice a thing!  Chia seeds contain a bunch of Omega-3's which are super good for you PLUS when they get moistened they produce a jelly type coating which makes you feel full AND aids in digestion.  They are awesome little guys!  I also use a little bit of yogurt (I like vanilla,  but find some with as little sugar as possible).  Each day I switch it up a bit.  My favorites are pineapple and blueberry or banana and avocado, however I just use whatever fresh fruit I have in the house at the time.  Smoothies are cool like that.

Healthy fats

One myth is that fat is bad for you.  Not all of it is.  There is good fat and there is not so good fat (but even some of that is ok in moderation).  Bad fats are high in saturated fat.  This is cheese, butter, red meat, deep fried foods.  Good fats are olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and most salad dressings.  There are more, but those are the ones I use most in my diet.  Coconut oil by the way is AMAZING.  It gives wonderful flavor to most foods, and make a delicious substitute to butter on your whole grain toast :)  Nuts make a great go-to snack when you are on the run.  I always make sure to have almonds, peanuts or mixed nuts in the kitchen.  I couldn't live without them.  Raw is best.  The flavored kind typically have lots of sodium.  A little bit of peanut butter with a green apple is healthy and delicious for a snack!

spinach salad, quinoa salad, and a veggie burger cooked in coconut oil


It is really very hard to eat too much of these, and the variety is endless.  Thankfully I love almost all veggies (although mushrooms and okra can take a hike).  I LOVE salads, and I love mixing them up with fruit and nuts and different dressings.  Experiment, have fun with it!  Roast them, grill them, eat them raw, but try not to boil them or cook the guts out of them as this destroys all the nutritional value!  Veggies you should stay away from are white potatoes (try sweet potatoes), corn in large amounts, and even carrots.  In moderation they are great, but they actually have lots of sugar for a veggie and can spike insulin levels.

 cherry tomato, avocado, corn and cilantro salad with honey lime dressing

 strawberry, blueberry, chicken and feta salad with poppyseed dressing

Go green!  Eat whole and organic whenever possible.

Spinach salad with red grapefruit, almonds and citrus dressing.

Lean meat like turkey, chicken and fish are good choices.  I love my steak, don't get me wrong, but red meat like beef and pork contain a lot of saturated fat which I like to eat in moderation.  Eggs are your friend.  Try various omelettes, breakfast burritos (with a whole wheat wrap), and even deviled eggs with a little mayo won't hurt.

Beans, beans are good for your heart! ;)  I love throwing black beans in with quinoa to make a yummy salad, or as a filler in wraps with chicken.  I also LOVE me some hummus!  It's low carb and delicious with whole wheat pita chips or veggies.  (I am starting to get hungry)

Spinach, tomato and onion omelet with fresh fruit

Good carbs

If you have to have carbs, make them as good as possible.  Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, 100% whole wheat bread, whole wheat wraps, etc.  Whole grains don't spike your insulin levels, and they leave you much more satisfied and without the cravings that refined carbs leave you with.  I try to limit these foods to one serving a day.

Turkey wrap with spinach, red peppers and hummus

So that's what I eat in a {nut}shell.

One thing both my husband and I have noticed with eating this way is that  1) our cravings are gone 2) we eat less because we feel more full 3) everything tastes better!!  Our diets were so heavily laden with refined carbs, salt and sugar before that healthy food tasted bland.  Now that the junk is out of our systems we can actually taste again.  Whole and natural food is truly delicious and bursting with flavor!

Tomorrow I will try to post my favorite healthy recipes for you.  So tell me, what do you struggle with the most when it comes to diet, and what can you do to change it?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired.

This is hard.  I hate being vulnerable. Like nails on a chalkboard, root canal, Nickelback on the radio kind of hate it. You see, I am a perfectionist (not by choice). I always have been, and the one thing I have never been able to control is my weight.  I hate that, I promise you. BUT, if I can help anyone else out there who is struggling with food addiction/motivation to change, and if this blogging thing keeps me somewhat accountable for my actions, then I figure I should give it a go.  So, here goes nothin'!  I hope you'll stick around for this weight loss journey, because cheerleaders are always fun to have around. Warning though: you may laugh a little, and cry a little, yawn a little, but I can't see you, so do what you need to do :)

Isn't my family cute?  This was probably pretty close to my highest weight.

My name is Callie.  I am a 38 year old mom (not sure how that happened, because I use to be young-ish) of three pretty awesome kids, and a wife to a pretty amazing husband.  I have been overweight pretty much my whole life, so let's start with that.  When I was 10 years old I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.  I have been on Synthroid for 28 years, people!  For those of you who aren't familiar with Hypothyroidism, let me give you a crash course on the matter - it sucks.  That's pretty much it.  We can't metabolize food properly, we are tired (all of the time) we hurt (Fibromyalgia is common with it) and the best part, our bodies LOVE to hold on to weight.  We are more prone to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety and mood swings.  As if being a girl isn't hard enough, right?  Ever since I was diagnosed it has been a constant battle, although I am good at hiding it.  I keep a smile on my face, and I love life, and I love my family and friends.  Most people would never know my struggles by looking at me.  Dealing with Hypothyroidism AND having a food addiction make for an interesting ride.

Let me also mention that I am Mormon. Why is this relevant? Because along with being Mormon there are obvious things I don't partake in. I don't drink, I don't cuss, I don't smoke, I don't use drugs, I don't gamble, I don't even drink coffee! Basically I have one vice and one addiction in life, and that is FOOD.  Glorious food!! Give it to me. In the past, when I had hard a day I didn't get a glass of wine, or smoke a cigarette, or go out and party. I indulged in chocolate, or chips, or ice-cream and it was okay, because it's just food, right?  We have to eat to live, so it's pretty easy to justify inhaling whatever is around you at the time.  It's how we celebrate, it's how we mourn, it's how we live.  Society is always justifying a good food binge.

Now, don't get me wrong there have been many times in my life where I got serious about losing weight, and I was successful a couple times with crash diets, losing 15 pounds here or 10 pounds there, but it never lasted long because the diet wasn't realistic, and it ultimately ended up with more weight gain, and also that "what's the point? I always fail anyway, I may as well just be happy being chubby" feeling.  But I am not happy being chubby.  I am a fit, healthy, vibrant woman stuck inside of this body.  And I am tired. I am sick and tired, both literally and figuratively.  I am ready for change, and I will explain later why this time is different.

College days, probably my smallest at 155.  I am the one in the middle of the trunk ;)

The thinnest I have ever been in my adult life was in College.  I was 155 pounds.  I am 5'3", which makes extra weight even more of a challenge.  Let's just say, I don't hide it well.  I wasn't fat by any means, but I wasn't "thin" either. I actually have a lot of muscle, and I was pretty fit, but not "thin".  I don't think I will ever be "thin", I don't quite have the frame for it, and to be honest I am a pretty curvy girl.  I've got hips and boobs and probably always will.  I maintained that weight pretty well until I got married and had baby #1.  After that pregnancy,  I couldn't get rid of that last 15 pounds, so I was up to around 170-175.  Baby #2 came, up to 185.  Then baby #3 came, and surprisingly I didn't gain too much more weight, maybe 5 pounds or so.  And then I got pregnant with baby #4, and 4 months in to my pregnancy we lost that baby.  I was devastated.  Three years later it still hurts.  There are not many more things in life that are as painful and heart wrenching as losing a child, I promise you.  In a two year period after we had lost the baby, I had ballooned to my highest weight ever at 213 pounds. I can't tell you how humiliating it is to type that!  NO ONE has ever known my weight except my doctor.  So there it is. I was kidding myself in to thinking it wasn't a big deal.  Pardon the pun.  I thought, it's not THAT bad.  I still look pretty good.  I am still cute.  My husband would still tell me how beautiful I was, bless his heart.  I told myself I was still eating healthy most of the time (in between weekly pizza binges and trips to Sonic!)  Looking back I can see how a few things happened.  #1, I was getting older.  My metabolism was changing.  I couldn't get away with things I did in my 20's.  #2 I was using food to medicate myself. It was my drug of choice. #3 I became so overly busy trying distract myself from the pain, that I was too busy to eat healthy.  I was slowly becoming my own worst enemy.

Thankfully, I have some pretty amazing friends.  Friends who changed their lives by eating right and exercising.  They were, and still are good examples to me.  Over the past year and half, we worked out together, had weight loss classes, did boot camp and supported one another. Very slowly I managed to go from 213 pounds down to 202.  Just eating a little bit better, and exercising here and there.  Selling my cake shop probably helped too (that's a whole other story).  It's not good to be surrounded by cake when you're a gal like me! So, I was down 11 pounds, but knew I could do better than that, much better.  And then, this happened.  My husband (my partner in crime, my binge buddy, my fellow couch potato) did something crazy and unexpected.  He started exercising.  Like regularly.  Mountain Biking.  And then, he started eating healthy, and then he started climbing mountains and junk, and he started losing weight.  And then 2 months later he was down 40 pounds!  FORTY flippin' pounds!!  Woah.  Hello wake up call!  I couldn't justify my poor habits anymore, because I didn't have anyone saying "its ok".  In the past, when I had started a weight loss program, he would support me for a couple weeks, and then say "good job honey, now let's order some pizza."  And that was the end of that.  I don't blame him.  It just wasn't important to him at the time, and I wasn't strong enough to fight my battle on my own.  But now, HE was the one being the example.  He was being the inspiration, and I wanted to join him.  And so I did.  Timing is everything sometimes.  It's not about looking good anymore (although that's a plus), it's about having more energy, feeling lighter and more alive.  It's about being a good example to my kids, and living long enough to meet my grandbabies.  You see, when you get closer to 40 I think something shifts.  You start to realize this body you've been given isn't immortal, it's going to die one day, but I want to be an old lady when that happens.  I have way too much to LIVE for.

My hubby and I today (like last week).  We are both starting to feel better, and we are kind of babes too, just sayin'. ;)

This week, I think I am starting to see a difference :)

2 1/2 weeks ago I got serious.  I started fresh.  We stocked up on fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, beans and lean meats and I haven't looked back.  Our kids hate us.  I hardly cook for them anymore, and to be honest some nights they fend for themselves, because if they don't want to eat Quinoa Salad, then that's their problem. (ok, sometimes I will throw them a sandwich).  Then I started working out regularly.  Weight lifting like a man three times a week (M, W, F) and Zumba twice a week on T, Th.  I feel awesome.  I feel more fit already, and more alive, and I am not going to stop this time.  In 2 1/2 weeks I am down 7 pounds, my clothes fit better, my double chin is getting smaller, and I am out of the 200's and down to 195.  Five more pounds and I will be where I was after Hayden was born.  But I won't stop there either.  I would love to be 150.  My ideal weight is probably in the 130's, but I can't think that far, so we'll go with 150.  That's 45 pounds away.  It seems daunting, but I am pretty sure I can do it with some support and accountability. So, let's talk about it!  Leave a comment on here or on Facebook, and let's ride this journey together!