Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eating Intuitively

It's time for me to come clean. Most of the people I talk to on a regular basis are familiar with my struggles with food. I want to open up and share it with all of you, reinforcing my commitment to a healthy lifestyle through eating intuitively.

There are a lot of articles, books, and information out there about eating intuitively. I, for one, am inclined to emotional binge eating. For me, emotional eating stems from boredom, sadness, and loneliness. Loneliness being the big one. My weight gain went full speed ahead when I lived in Knoxville. I was bored, sad, and lonely a lot of the time. I also had absolutely no structure around my meals; I went from gross dining hall food, walking miles and miles a day on-campus, and home cooked family dinners, to eating literally whatever I wanted for dinner. I remember specifically one night thinking: I'm an adult. I can eat whatever I want for dinner. That night, I had some Cheez-its and beer for dinner. Domino's delivery? Why not! I also lived in the fast food capitol of the South - the intersection of Interstates 40 and 75. It was far more convenient to hit the McDonald's drive through than prepare something healthy for dinner. The emotions I felt that year just exacerbated my disordered eating tendencies. Because I usually never had anything to do on Friday and Saturday nights, I would treat myself with some take-out.

That's me on the right at the peak of my weight gain, and my biggest weight loss inspiration on the left
My weight loss has been a progression through many different methods. It started out trying to lose weight on my own through calorie counting and journaling when I lived in Tennessee (-5 lbs), then Weight Watchers when I lived in Atlanta(-13 lbs), then calorie counting with My Fitness Pal when I moved back to NC (-2ish lbs). Then I got wrapped up in a few months of craziness. Well, in those few months, I stopped tracking food and kept myself busy. Food was no longer the center of my universe. Life was. Ok, ok, food is still a really big deal to me... but I find myself obsessing over it a fraction of the time that I used to.

I had an ah-ha moment one day. I realized my trying to 'control' my food intake was having the opposite effect. Food was controlling me. If i had 50 calories left for the day, or 2 points, or whatever, I would eat those calories or points - and didn't care if I was full or hungry. I didn't care what I was craving. I would eat to fulfill a calorie or points threshold. Which would lead to bingeing (embarrassingly frequently) - I would eat something to try and satisfy my appetite, but that something had to fit with my daily calorie goal. It wouldn't usually be what I was craving, which would almost always lead to me binge eating.

I was not listening to my body, but rather an online tracking tool. If I went out for lunch or dinner and had a 'bad day' - I would use that as an excuse to just eat whatever I wanted when I got home that night. I would tell myself: Tomorrow is a new day, right? Yea, I will just start over tomorrow.

Please note, I am not knocking calorie counting or Weight Watchers. They are great programs and helped me lose 20 lbs. Weight Watchers taught me portion control and the importance of fruits and vegetables. My Fitness Pal taught me truly how many calories I was burning during exercise (by wearing a heart rate monitor) and how to eat to compensate for those calories and keep my metabolism going. In the end, neither of these programs were quite right for my weight loss journey and maintenance because of my (self-diagnosed) tendencies towards disordered eating. I have never been to a doctor about this, but it is also not something to which I am opposed. I am a huge proponent of therapy! I just have never been for weight loss or disordered eating.

Where am I now? I am learning to intuitively eat. To me, this means eating when I have physical signs of hunger, not based on what the clock says. It means not tracking my food on paper or online (I do mentally keep a general mental record of what I have eaten for the day). It also means if I am seriously craving something, I need to just indulge in an appropriate-sized portion of what I am craving. I can't try and substitute it. It won't work (for me). Since I stopped tracking food, I have lost 5 lbs. It also doesn't hurt that it's summertime, I am regularly working out, and more inclined to eat generally healthier anyway... I fit in to my 'skinny' jeans for the first time since college, and I just feel good.

Is everyday perfect? No. Here's a great example. Sunday night, I wanted a Mcdonald's hot fudge sundae. I told myself it wasn't a great idea, but I was craving it. I wouldn't let myself go get it. I ended up eating a 150 calorie Magnum ice cream bar, a cheese stick, some chips, another cheese stick, and some turkey pepperoni. Had I just indulged in the McDonald's sundae, I very likely would not have gone on that binge. Could it have been worse? Oh yea, and I'm not beating myself up for it. Nights like this used to happen very frequently when I was actually tracking my food. Now they are few and far between. Side note: today I got that hot fudge sundae and it was so good.

Since I made the commitment to lose weight, I have lost about 25 lbs! That is no small feat, and I am very proud of my accomplishments so far! I have about 5 more lbs to lose before I am back to a 'healthy' weight for my height. Ideally, I would like to lose about 10 more lbs. It is going to be a slow but steady journey. I am sure I will still struggle, but I know now I am on the right track.

I've come a long way, baby! And so have you, Betsy (my weight loss inspiration from the picture above)!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Best Body Bootcamp 2 - Week 2 Goals

Well, here we are in week 2 of Best Body Bootcamp! The entire week didn't go quite as planned, at least meal-wise. I kept true to my workout schedule for the most part, but took an unplanned rest day earlier in the week because I was just plain exhausted!

I ate out a lot last week - one of my goals this week is to only eat out once per day (with a 'stretch goal' of not eating out at all every day). I know that just isn't realistic, and I have to be flexible in case a work lunch, etc. pops up. But, I went to the grocery store this weekend and got all sorts of delicious goodies, and I should have no issues eating-in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days. Of course, this will help save me a little money this week too...

Here's my plan for boot camp week 2, which looks a lot like week 1...

Monday: 20 minutes of HIIT + upper body strength training
Tuesday: 20 minute walk (maybe a run?) + lower body strength training
Wednesday: 40 minutes of eliptical intervals + core work
Thursday: 20 minute walk (maybe a run?) + full body strength training
Friday: Walk or workout DVD (or both:?)
Saturday: 40 minutes of eliptical intervals + core work
Sunday: Rest day

Goal 1: Drink 64 oz of water before end of work day/dinnertime on weekends - and then some!

Goal 2: Allowing myself to eat only one meal out per day, if necessary. No eating out for breakfast this week!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thought Catalog: 15 Signs you are Growing Up

Thought Catalog is one of my favorite websites - not all of their articles I can identify with, but when one comes along that hits home... it really hits home. And, they make me feel like I am not alone in my 'young professional but no way am I really an adult?' mindset.

If you are a 20-something or beyond, please read this and tell me you feel the exact same way... 

15 Signs you are Growing Up

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meal Plan - week of 7/23

I have stopped 'tracking' food in MyFitnessPal (more on that in a later post) but I do need to plan my meals for the week. Why not share them with the blog world? Throughout the week, breakfasts are any variation of an Atkins shake, Subway breakfast sandwich, fruit, or any other breakfast-y item I may have so I will not be 'planning' them out. This week I have quite a few leftovers that I am trying to work my way through, as well as lots of good veggies from the Farmer's Market!

Lunch: Portabello mushroom with crab and lobster salad, cucumber salad (leftovers)
Dinner: Pizza from Jets (leftovers)

Lunch: Cucumber salad, lemon orzo pasta salad (leftovers)
Dinner:  TBD (out)

Lunch: Pizza from Jets (leftovers)
Dinner: Crustless Zucchini Pie, couscous

Lunch: Crustless zucchini pie, couscous (leftovers)
Dinner: TBD (out)

Lunch: TBD (out)
Dinner: Fried eggs and okra

Breakfast: Fried eggs and okra
Lunch: Crustless zucchini pie, couscous (leftovers)
Dinner: TBD (out?)

Breakfast: Fried eggs and okra
Lunch: Crustless zucchini pie, couscous (leftovers)
Dinner: Veggie quesadillas

Best Body Bootcamp 2 - Week One Goals

Back at it, Round Two of Best Body Bootcamp! I am really excited. The next 8 weeks are going to be awesome. I am really trying to lose the last 5 or so lbs, but even more so, to tone up. This boot camp will give me just the boost that I need. I've recently settled in to the habit of working out after work every day, but incorporating some intentional healthy goals will help turn these goals in to habits. I really need to be better about drinking water throughout the day because I have felt a little dehydrated these past few weeks. This summer has been chaotic, to say the least, so I am looking forward to getting back in to a structured workout routine.

Side note: I really needed to get new running shoes, and I finally ordered some replacements so I can run again. Thank you Brooks for releasing some new Glycerin's just in time, so that I could get my old ones on sale. Although I love my shiny new shoes, I will only be wearing them for running. I'll do all of my other cardio in my old shoes.


Here are my planned workouts for the week - I may end up switching them up depending on my schedule

Monday: 20 minutes of HIIT + upper body strength training
Tuesday: 20 minute walk (maybe a run?) + lower body strength training
Wednesday: 40 minutes of eliptical intervals + core work
Thursday: 20 minute walk (maybe a run?) + full body strength training
Friday: Long walk, exploring the greenway near my new apartment
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: 40 minutes of eliptical intervals + core work

Goal 1: Drink 64 oz. of water before the end of the work day (then drink more at home)

Goal 2: Be in bed by 10:30 PM

Week 1, here I come!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Today, I was reminded how lucky I really am. I have a tendency to... be pessimistic about things. That's putting it gently. I have a lot to be thankful for.

As my family knows, I was miss pissy-pants while I was home this weekend. Completely unnecessary, but I was just in a mood. And when I get in a mood... watch out! (Sorry, Dad.) For some reason, today things just clicked. Nothing in particular happened. I just had (dare I say it?) a good day.

Warning: this post is a little sappy, but I wanted to write it while I was feeling this way, so when I turn in to miss pissy-pants again, I can remember how lucky I am.

I have a flexible job, a hilarious boss, and through my job, I have made some wonderful friends. Friends that I know will always be there for me, and friends that always, always listen to me... no matter the topic. I got to reunite with a dear friend of mine tonight. A friend that I made when I lived in Tennessee, and now we live close to each other once again! And I have some of my best friends from middle and high school coming this weekend as well as one of my wonderful work friends. I am grateful to live somewhere that I can easily get home when I want, and people can easily come visit me.

I have a gorgeous apartment and a great neighborhood. I complain about moving so much, but I have always been blessed and very lucky with the apartments where I have lived. I may not have loved the cities, but I have loved my apartments. Moving every year has taught me many lessons, one of which is how to tolerate change. I'll never love change, or even enjoy it, but I can finally see the good in it.

I am healthy.

In general, I have it pretty good. My life might not be perfect, but whose really is? I have a lot of people who love me, and that is all that really matters.

I have these people. A family that loves and cares about me, and has an open door for me anytime that I want to come home. A mom who I can call up and talk about truly everything, even though I know she thinks I'm crazy. A dad who is always happy, but becomes even happier when both of his kids are home. One that will do literally anything for me, and always takes car of my car: a task that I am just not as skilled at. A 'little' brother who has grown up to be a wonderful young man who values my advice, and I am flattered every time he asks me for it. 

A family that will take me to Las Vegas for my 24th birthday, and despite flight delays... arrive at 1 AM ready to have the best time of our lives. 

I have the best family in the whole world. 

Ok, I'm done being uncharacteristically sappy. Thanks for listening, if you made it this far. Back to Real Housewives of New Jersey I go... 

What are you most thankful for today?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Two and a half months

Well, it's been two and a half-ish months of craziness since I last posted in my blog. I've done quite a bit in the past few months!

Brace yourself for some highlights:
  • Went to a horse race
  • Went to Washington DC, again... I go there a lot!
  • Celebrated some college graduations (Go Wolfpack!)
  • Went to India!
  • Packed up my Charlotte apartment (all by myself, I may add!)
  • Big Red (my car) hit 60,000 miles
  • Saw Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney in concert! 
  • Moved to a new apartment, closer to work
Thrilling, I know... the most exciting 2 weeks in that time period was definitely my trip to India. I went for work. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I had an amazing experience!

What is up next on my horizon? Why am I back to blogging? Well, I have always used this blog as a record of my fitness accomplishments and culinary creations. And, next week starts round two of Tina Reale's Best Body Bootcamp!

The deadline to join is FRIDAY! So get on it! For $25, you get 8 (EIGHT!) weeks of workout plans. I have to say, the first round of bootcamp kicked my butt, and I am looking forward to seeing what Tina has in store for us this time!

Also, thanks to my mom, I am all settled in to my new apartment. My life has been in moving shambles pretty much since I last posted, and I really haven't cooked much at all. My bank account hates me for eating out so much. I am ready to get back in to the healthy living swing of things! Last night, I made coleslaw and vegan banana everything cookies. I don't bake often, so this was an accomplishment. I am starting to feel back-to-normal after a few months of chaos...

I'll be back soon, I promise!
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