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A Good Day to be Me/What Whitney Ate Wednesday

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Look at me coming back to blog after only a week.  Allow me to pat myself on the back.

I am going to give you the option right now to not hear about my super ridiculously awesome Valentine’s Day.  If you would rather not, please scroll down to where the pictures of food begin.  If you wish to hear about my awesome day yesterday, feel free to stick around and read (or skim) the entirety of the post.  Your choice.

First off, let me say that I had my expectations super ridiculously low for Valentine’s Day.  Chris and I didn’t make any plans and he seemed pretty meh about the whole day anyway and I kind of almost forgot that there are other people in the world who might express affection for me on Valentine’s Day.  Yeah. Go me.  So imagine my surprise when I show up at work at eight am and the first thing I am greeted by is this:

And then imagine my even bigger surprise when I actually get around to the other side of my desk and see this:

Yes, those are tickets to two concerts.  He did good.  So very good.

So my day is already going mega-excellently when the bell rings I am greeted by two identical flower arrangements for me and my sister from our dad.  What a good dad!

Amazing.  And then. . . as if that weren’t good enough, I got a PR on my back squat at CrossFit that evening. 105 lbs!  Also, Chris made me a delicious mango/banana/raspberry smoothie with his fancy shmancy blender.

And then this morning I walked into work and one of my lilies had begun to bloom overnight.  It was like extra icing on my great-day cake.

I can’t wait to see what that looks like tomorrow.  So amazing.  Also, can I just mention that I did not retouch that photo at all other than to resize it? I am in love with this camera.

Alrighty, enough of that.  Now onto the food.

This breakfast likely looks a little weird, but I am super obsessed with this chili right now.  So I had to have some for breakfast.  It’s the chocolate chili in the Well Fed cookbook by Melissa Joulwan.  But you can also get the recipe listed as My Favorite Chili on her website here.  Along with the chili, I had a couple of scrambled eggs and half a sliced avocado.  I would probably eat this every day.

Not pictured: a mid-morning cup of loose leaf tea with no sugar or anything else added.  It didn’t look as good as it tasted.

Lunch was fish tacos/best slaw ever/chipotle dipping sauce from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook.  I had been eating these with the coconut flour tortillas, but I ran out.  So I just ate them in some romaine leaves instead.  Also, I do have some slaw in the tacos and extra on the side because it is delicious.

And I rounded lunch out with a few sliced strawberries and some coconut manna.  What is the difference between coconut manna and coconut butter?  I have absolutely no idea.  The ingredients listed are: organic coconut.  So that’s good enough for me.  Also, it is really ridiculously delicious stuff.

And for dinner: more chili! And about a quarter of a sliced avocado because I wasn’t feeling hungry enough for the rest of the half.  You guys seriously must make this chili.  And take her advice about the simmer.

I also made some tuna salad for Chris because he kindly agreed to drive up to the Fashion Place Mall with me so I could spend way too much money at Sephora.  I am now going to go cuddle with my make-up.

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You Never Deserve Cake/Cookies/Chocolate. NEVER. Seriously.

I decided today that if I had to wait for every time I had a coherent thought or priceless piece of advice to post a new blog entry, this blog would look. . . well. . . about like it does.  As in, I haven’t posted for two months.  So all I have today are some random thoughts about the Biggest Loser competition at work that is coming to a close next Friday and my long-standing issue with the “I deserve it” philosophy.

We’ll start with the competition at work.  I can’t speak for how everyone else who is participating is doing, but I’ve really enjoyed having some kind of short-term end goal and motivation to keep me on my toes.  When you have a looming and untimeable goal like “I want lady abs”, it’s easy to cheat yourself and slack off because you don’t really have rules or parameters.  On the other hand, when your end goal is “all I wanna do is *bang, bang, bang, band* and a-*click, ching!* and take ya money” (thanks to MIA for the mission statement there), and you have two months to work as hard as possible, you have not only motivation but a marker that says: someday, this will end.  I will not be doing this day in and day out forever.

Well, at least that’s how it started.  And now?  I have no desire to throw out the hard work I’ve done or the habits I’ve established by mustering my willpower and saying no to heaven only knows how much delicious-looking treat food.  So what began as a short-term quest to reign in my diet to a near-perfect state only to win money to buy new clothes is now an awesome habit.  That just so happens to be helping me get closer to that abstract goal of getting my lady abs.  Win win win.

I can’t say if I’ll win the competition.  My starting body fat was likely one of the very lowest to begin with, so in some ways that put me at a disadvantage.  But this I do know:  I have worked hard. I have eaten better than ever before in my life.  I have been prioritizing sleep.  I even joined CrossFit with my boyfriend (we’ll be addressing this at length in another post), which I never thought I would ever do.  I have had days where I feel like I could do this every day for the rest of forever.  And I have had days where I spent hours on foodgawker crying over pictures of cake.  Luckily, I’m doing a lot more of the former the further into the competition we get.

So what’s the biggest thing I’ve learned?  I’ve learned that people sell themselves short.  A lot.  I know girls who have no problem getting enough exercise, but they absolutely do not control their eating.  I’ve been doing it for a long time.  I’ve been a relatively healthy eater for quite some time now, but it’s amazing what the difference is between being a “relatively healthy” eater and a “nearly optimal” eater.  I still have more things I could clean up, but I’ve cleaned up a lot over the last couple of months and the results have been so much better than before.  Just a little fine-tuning has gone a long way.  I feel better. I look better. My skin is nicer.  I even smell better, which is totally weird.  (Well. . . except for after a workout.  I have never smelled/looked worse in my entire life than I do after some CrossFit workouts — I assume that means I’m doing it right).

And here’s the thing that really gets me: most people tell themselves that they deserve the crap that is holding them back because they’ve worked so hard.  Or because they’re so stressed out.  Or because they’ve had a rough day.  You deserve it?  Really?  You deserve to keep yourself from seeing progress because you want to put something delicious in your mouth, chew a couple of times, and then swallow?  Seriously?

Let me tell you something: you don’t deserve it.  Nope.  Never.

What you deserve is to see the results of the work you put in at the gym.  What you deserve is to reap the benefits of all of the rest of your healthy eating choices, instead of having just done all that work to create a buffer.  What you deserve is to make progress, not to barely break even or to sabotage yourself.  You deserve to feel better, and that ice cream is not going to do it for you.  I promise.

So what you really deserve is to accomplish your goals.  You deserve to feel healthy and strong and fit and amazing.  In short, you deserve so much more than dessert.

At any rate, next Friday we’ll find out if I win.  But I already know that my hard work has paid off based on the way I feel and on the way my sexiness has definitely increased over the last 7 or so weeks.  But to win the cash would just be the icing on the cake.  (Mmmm. . . cake).

On Weight Loss. . . And Finding Out What You’re Made Of

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I’ve been perusing healthy living blogs for a while now, and I’ve decided that two things are absolutely certain.

1) I don’t have anything new or earth-shattering to add to the collective knowledge of the internet.  I’ve been successful pulling resources from hundreds of websites.  Everything I have to say is just re-hashed knowledge.

And. . .

2) That doesn’t matter and I’m going to blog about my life and experiences anyway.

In a real way, I’m not even doing this to try to benefit the world of people trying to lose weight or eat healthier.  The things that got me inspired enough to commit to a blog are the people who have asked me for recipes or advice, and my innate need to talk. A lot. About myself. All the time.  And one of the most remarkable things about me (and certainly the thing I love to talk about the most), has been my transformation from a hopelessly clueless, overweight, depressed girl to the me I am today: not perfect, but working on it.  I love to eat healthy, and am learning to love physical activity.  I am at a healthy weight.  My depression is now under control thanks to my healthy habits, and I have been anti-depressant free for over three years.

Just about four years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.  I had been overweight as long as I could remember, but going to college and gaining the dreaded freshman fifteen saw me topping the charts at 215 pounds.  The only reason I even knew my weight at the point was because I went to the doctor, and had to step on the scale.  I had no idea that I weight that much.  At 5’7 and 215 pounds, that gave me a BMI of 33.7 . . . solidly in the obese category.

Obese? Me?  I had always had a weight problem, but the term Obese was so. . . harsh.  I tried not to focus on it too much.  Instead, I started reading websites about weight loss.  I signed up for SparkPeople and started tracking my calories.  I tried eating less carbs.  I ate pre-portioned snack packs of everything.  I ate sugar free jell-o.  The weight began to come off, but I still felt like something was missing. I was still hungry all the time.  I was cranky even more often than I was hungry.

I had been walking regularly with a friend of mine, but decided it was time I signed up for a gym membership for times when that wasn’t convenient.  They, of course, wanted to try to sell me a personal trainer.  One of their tactics for getting you to sign up is to take your body fat with their little hand-held scanner.  Had I had the money to afford a personal trainer, it would’ve worked.   44% body fat.  Almost half of me was made of fat. And I had already lost 15 pounds! It took a lot of self-control not to run out of the gym right then.  I waited until the end of the session to let the full realization of that number settle in.  And then I walked outside, got in my car and cried.  I cried the whole way back to my apartment.  I cried for nearly the rest of the day.  And then I cried some more about it the next day.  How had this happened?  And, more importantly, what was I going to do about it?

For months, I obsessively counted calories and tracked calories burned at the gym.  Over time, I began to figure out what made me feel best.  It wasn’t eating a certain amount of calories, but eating things that were good for me.  I switched my emphasis from wanting to lose weight to wanting to be good to my body.  Because, despite how I might have felt about the way it looked, it was doing everything I asked of it.  It was amazing. And now we’re to the ongoing part of my development: eating whole foods, exercising regularly.  Being as good to my body as possible.  Because, so far, it’s been good to me.

Before and After:

 

Then: 215 pounds.  44% body fat. 33.7 BMI.

Now: 150 pounds. 25-ish% body fat. 23.5 BMI.