Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In #20 (week of May 21-27)

I had another successful week by losing 0.6lbs. It's not much, but it's a loss and that's GREAT for me. I'm really, really glad I lost weight this week because even though I did really well Saturday through Monday, I ended up stress eating last night which led me to going way over my daily points+ allowance. For a moment, I was really ashamed of myself for allowing myself to eat my emotions. However, after reflecting about my actions last night and talking with some people, I realized that I made behavior changes including buying smaller sizes of the foods that are my weak points that I binged on last night. For example, I bought a small pack of Twizzlers Pull'n'Peel instead of a larger pack of them because I was craving them and knew I wouldn't be able to control myself if I bought a bigger pack of them. I certainly wished I had not eaten 11 points+ worth of Twizzlers Pull'n'Peel but they satisfied my craving and didn't make me blow through all of my weekly allowance points.

I'm also proud of myself for tracking every single food item that I ate last night despite going way over my daily points+ allowance. Since I don't get off of work until midnight, I ended up snacking around 1am which just so happened to be when the Weight Watchers website went down for maintenance. Instead of not bothering to point what I was eating entirely, I opted to write down the foods I ate last night that blew my points+ allowance but showed me how much I was eating so that I could stop before I ate too much. I think tracking is my biggest behavior change here.

With that being said, I'm really proud of myself for continuing to track so well. I'm currently on a 16-day streak of consistently tracking honestly every day. I've been keeping up with my tracking jar, adding two pebbles for every day that I track honestly and stay within my points+ allowance (or go over by 1 or 2 points, as long as I've worked out that day) and adding one pebble for every day that I track but go over my points+ allowance. I want to reward my behavior of tracking and I feel this is what's helping me achieve that goal.

I have a bit of a rocky week ahead of me -- which I'll talk about later -- but I still want to keep in my mind the goals I made for myself last week and work on achieving them this week...

  • T R A C K E V E R Y T H I N G
  • Check off my daily Good Health Guidelines (GHGs)
  • Add the fruits & veggies that I eat in a day to my WW tracker
  • Update my daily WW reminders on my phone
  • Only go over my daily points+ allowance two days instead of three

Obviously I didn't do very well with sticking to the last goal listed but it wasn't intentional. I did try VERY hard to only go over my daily points+ allowance by two days out of my long "weekends" instead of three days and I succeeded! I just didn't foresee Tuesday night -- the night before my weigh-in -- as being a problem.

As I mentioned, my upcoming week is going to be thrown off as I travel to upstate New York to visit family. I'll be away from home for three days but I want to plan to succeed by mapping out my week.

  • Thursday → away from home, I plan to eat the foods I take with me to my boyfriend's place and give myself a relaxing day as I'll definitely need one; if we happen to eat out for pizza, then I'll adjust my eating schedule accordingly
  • Friday → Greek yogurt in the morning and stop by the gym to get in my strength training & cardio work-out in before heading home to re-pack things to make the trip to upstate NY; consider making & taking a bowl of Old Fashion Oats oatmeal with me to NY as well as Greek yogurt so I have something for breakfast Saturday morning; take a packet of Wawa fat free salad dressing with me but otherwise stick to Power Foods (fruits & veggies) as much as possible
  • Saturday → try to get in walking/jogging work-out in the morning, if time & the area I'm in allows for it; otherwise focus on eating primarily Power Foods (fruits & veggies), even it's pre-packaged foods like pre-made salads (I like the ones at Wawa)
  • Sunday → hopefully back home, go to the gym in the morning to start adjusting to a morning routine for next week's change in my work schedule; complete work obligations and go to Food Lion as well as Walmart; do ALL THE LAUNDRY
  • Monday → if my body will wake up by 5:30am at the latest, go to the gym in the morning; otherwise take gym clothes to work and change into them before heading home in order to go to gym after dinner in the evening
  • Tuesday → same as Monday!
  • Wednesday → if I can get up in the morning to go the gym, plan to go to the gym; counseling meeting at 8:30am, Weight Watchers at 9:30am, and then spending some time with my mom; if I don't get to the gym in the morning, then make it a point to go in the afternoon!

Hopefully by Wednesday, the craziness of the week will slow down because I have five days off of work for my birthday! Then I'll just have to tackle trying to stay on plan for my birthday. I'm hoping Thursday and Friday won't be too bad, because I'll be in spots where I know what/how to eat and I'll easily be able to get in activity. Saturday (June 7th) might be a bit harder as I have plans to go to the beach but I'm getting way ahead of myself! I'll make plans for that hurdle next week. For now, I'll just stay focused on not letting myself get too stressed out about the idea of eating while traveling. It's something I need to learn to do for long-term success.

My Non-Scale Victory for the week would probably be all of the behavior changes I made this past week. This includes being able to lose 0.6lbs after eating pizza two days in a row and eating ice cream twice in one day. It's all about the tracking! I also learned that I can eat at Coldstone Creamery without blowing my daily points+ allowance, so I may make a special post about how to be successful and make good choices when eating at Coldstone.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Recipe Round-Up

It's been a while since I've done a Recipe Round-Up post for a variety of reasons. Probably the biggest reason is due to the fact that the meals I make tend to last me for weeks or months because I like cooking in bulk, portioning out my recipes for lunches or dinners, and then freezing everything I don't plan to eat in the next week or two. This makes food prep for the week super easy because I'm saving myself from making 2 or 3 additional meals for the week to take to the work. I really only need to worry about making 1 or 2 meals for my lunch/dinner breaks at work because I have a few recipes already made and frozen. All that's required of me is to remember to take my meals for the week out of the freezer ahead of time and add whatever additional ingredient I want or need to add to bulk it up (typically this is rice).

The other reason that it's been a while since I've made a Recipe Round-Up post is because of everything that's happened to me since March. I don't want to bore you with the details since I've already mentioned before how my life got turned upside-down and now I'm living at home. Everything that's happened has left me a bit of an emotional wreck that I just haven't felt like cooking for the past month or two. I hope for this to change by the end of May or early June as I get inspired to make some (literally) cooler recipes for the upcoming warmer temperatures that summer promises to bring.

The good news about being back at home is that I now have access to my mom's fabulous kitchen, including her additional crock-pots and wonderful array of spices. If my memory serves me correctly, then I think at one point I was making two recipes at once during the first week I moved back home. And did I mention my mom randomly gifted me my own, new crock pot? It is seriously the best thing ever, as most crock pots are to any aspiring home-cook like myself.

So without further ado, here are the recipes I've made since March...

  • Skinny Taste's Crock Pot 3 Bean Turkey Chili Here's the thing about the first two I chili recipes I have listed here: I shouldn't have made them both at or around the same time because at this point I'm almost sick of eating chili. Ignoring that fact, I actually really liked this recipe solely because it introduced me to using & eating chick peas in another way apart from hummus (and I'm not a huge fan of humus). Whenever I took recipe to work, I would add ¼-½ cup of brown rice to get in a healthy whole grain.
  • Skinny Taste's Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili This was another great chili recipe that if I hadn't made at the same time as the other chili recipe, I'm sure I would have loved it more. Just like the other chili recipe I would add ¼-½ cup of brown rice but I wish I had learned to add mushrooms to this recipe and the other chili recipe to give it more volume without adding more WW points+ or calories. I do have to admit that I've tried other taco chili recipes that tasted better than this one. However, it was good on its own and I would make it again!
  • Skinny Taste's Chicken Pot Pie Soup I made this recipe almost out of desperation to escape having to eat my two chili recipes two or three times a week. I was getting so sick of eating chili! Unfortunately this Chicken Pot Pie Soup recipe didn't hit the spot like I had wanted. When I made the recipe, I had to swap out the ¼ cup of flour to use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch instead in order to make it gluten-free. I'm not sure if the gluten-free swap made it far less creamy than it should have been or something I did while making the recipe but it's much more watery than I hoped. I did make sure to add extra veggies to give it more volume without adding a ton of extra WW points+/calories so it helps to make the recipe delicious. However, I think I might stick to making Hungry Girl's Hungry Chick Chunky Soup until I find a wheat-free alternative for when I'm craving Chicken Pot Pie. This is another recipe that I add ¼ cup of brown rice to get in my healthy whole grain for the day.
  • Hungry Girl's Fettuccine Hungry Girlfredo This is not a new recipe to me but I wanted to share it because I make it on a weekly basis for my "lunch" on Mondays. It's a delicious, wheat/gluten-free alternative to typical Chicken Alfredo recipes. When I first started making it, I would add broccoli and Tyson Chicken Breast Strips to the recipe. However, I've been really trying to limit my intake of process foods so now I cook up about 20 ounces of ground turkey every week or every other week and add about 3 ounces to this recipe to get in some protein. I also add ¼ cup of brown rice because I usually eat this meal about an hour before I hit the gym and, after lots of experimenting, I've learned that I feel full longer -- and tend to have more energy while I work out -- when I eat brown rice beforehand.
  • Weight Watcher's Tex-Mex Rice and Bean Casserole The last recipe I plan on sharing is another one I've made several times in the past. I make this casserole that ends up having 6 servings to have for my Saturday lunches while at work. I'm not sure why this has become a habit or routine but it's stuck. I've definitely added different ingredients to this recipe almost every time I've made it. Once I added about 2 cups of meatless veggie crumbles to it (the kind made by Boca) as well as some leftover broccoli I had on hand. The last time I made it though, I took out the meatless veggie crumbles in order to eliminate the process food and added ground turkey as well as mushrooms to the casserole. So far I like it even though the turkey really added points+ to the recipe. Sometimes, but not every time, I add extra brown rice the recipe to get in more whole grains. It really depends on everything else I plan on eating that Saturday though.

So that about covers it as far as the recipes I've tried these past couple of months. I was also on a kick of eating a sweet potato with ½-1 cup of cottage cheese because it was sweet & creamy while tasting delicious together. I think I've actually moved out of that phase though because I haven't felt like having either lately, especially not cottage cheese. Instead I've moved onto making a regular potato and adding fat free sour cream plus shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese on top. It's my own version of a loaded baked potato!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up 12

This weekend was a huge success in my book as far as eating goes. I stuck to my goal of only going over my 26 daily WW points+ by two days instead of three days. I ended up going over my daily points+ on only Thursday & Friday. I was a bit disappointed that circumstances pushed me to dip into my weekly 49 points+ because I was worried that I would feel so relaxed on Saturday that I'd want to go over my daily points+ allowance for a third day. Thankfully I kept myself so busy once I got home from work on Saturday that I barely wanted to use my remaining 6 points+ because I wasn't hungry enough to eat dinner until later than I had anticipated.

However, I did unintentionally eat pizza on both Thursday AND Friday. I definitely didn't mean to but when I learned that a long-standing, fantastic pizza shop had recently added a gluten-free pizza to its menu, I just had to try it. As it turns out, I liked the gluten-free pizza at Bella-Villa better than the gluten-free pizza at Nino's Pizza.

Even though I had not planned to eat pizza two nights in a row, I'm glad I packed meals for my time away from home. It's always better to have the option to eat healthy and choose to eat something else rather than going someplace completely unprepared only to be stuck eating something that could completely blow my weight loss journey. And even though I wasn't 100% mindful of eating all of my fruits & veggies for Thursday and Friday, I can definitely say that I tried by making sure that I ate at least the vegetables that I packed (carrots and a salad-in-a-jar). Admittedly the salad was not very appetizing since I had my delicious gluten-free pizza waiting for me but it was totally worth eating the salad first so I could thoroughly and slowly enjoy every bite of my pizza.

I'm also trying to get in the habit of packing less snacks when I go away from home for the weekend. If I pack more snacks that I should actually eat in the span of one or two days, then I'm very likely to go over my daily points+ allowance by eating all of the snacks I've brought with me. At least I can see myself making progress!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In #19 (week of May 14-20)

I had an incredibly successful week -- complete with 100% tracking honestly the whole week!! The result? I lost 3.4lbs this past week and 2.4lbs last week, bringing my total weight loss to 5.8lbs in two weeks. Overall I've lost 83.8lbs since I started my WW journey three years ago.

Currently I weigh 158.8lbs and I'm focusing on reaching 155lbs because I want to focus on losing in little steps. Hopefully this will help me to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the ~40lbs I still want/need to lose.

I really feel like the best thing that's working for me is the tracking challenge I have going, where I add a pebble or two for every day that I track. If I don't track anything for any reason on any day, then I have to completely empty the jar and start from scratch. For whatever reason, it's incredibly motivating for me to see my consistency of tracking in a visual way with the jar & pebbles.

In other news, I feel that I did a really good job on last week's goals. I'm starting to use My Fitness Pal (MFP) less & less these days because there's been some annoying bugs/issues with the iPhone app and website. I'd technically be okay if I stopped tracking on MFP because I'm really focusing on using WW 100% and keeping up with my Daily Fruits & Veggies Google doc. When I watch my intake of fruits then I typically eat fewer carbohydrates which is great.

As usual, here are my goals for this coming week (similar to last week):

  • T R A C K E V E R Y T H I N G
  • Check off my daily Good Health Guidelines (GHGs)
  • Add the fruits & veggies that I eat in a day to my WW tracker
  • Update my daily WW reminders on my phone
  • Only go over my daily points+ allowance two days instead of three*

*I'm adding my last goal in there because my "weekend" usually consists of 3-4 days -- Thursdays & Fridays (my days off) as well as Saturdays & Sundays (the weekend for most people). I've been dipping into my weekly 49 points+ on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday because those days just feel more relaxed for me which makes me feel like I can be more relaxed with my eating. However, if I can start cutting back to only going over my daily 26 WW points by one day, then I can completely eliminate going into my weekly 49 points+, only using them for special occasions. It's a little daunting to think that I won't use my weekly 49 points+ but I feel that's what will be the key to my success. In future, I may need to make an adjustment to this goal or idea to accommodate the fact that I work out 5-7 days every week and lead a fairly active lifestyle. But for now, I just want to focus on dipping into my weekly 49 points+ two days out of my weekend instead of three and not going over my daily points+ allowance by too much.

My NSV for this week is trying salads in a mason jar! I'm really pleased with how well these work and I look forward to experimenting with future salad creations. It's been such a great, helpful way for me to eat more vegetables every day without my hate for veggies growing every time.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up 11

I feel like I have improved once again this weekend. I'm not sure how, but my Good Day/Bad Day jar is actually working. The idea of having to start all over if I don't point everything that I'm eating is somehow really motivating for me. So every day I've pointing EVERYTHING that I consume, even on days when I go over my daily points+ allowance. I think one of my goals for next week will be to eliminate one of the days I go over my daily points+ allowance (and therefore dip in my weekly 49 points+ allowance) since I find I'm going over my daily points+ at least three days per week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Thankfully I tend to make up those points+ by how much I work out during the week. It will be interesting to see how much I'm able to earn back in Activity Points (APs) which is essentially rebuilding my weekly points+ allowance.

I've been making sure to track my fruits & veggies every day even though they're typically zero points+ for Weight Watchers. This was a goal of mine this week -- to make sure I'm adding my fruits & veggies to my tracker. I had been neglecting to do this since I've been so faithful with keeping up with my Daily Fruits & Veggies Google Excel doc. While it's been incredibly useful for me to make sure I get in a good variety of fruits & veggies, it's also important that I keep my WW tracker up to date at the very least so it's easier to look back at my days of tracking (more for convenience, I suppose).

Speaking of which, my Google Excel doc is really helping me increase my intake of veggies every day. It's been great (but not so great) seeing how few vegetables I was eating on a daily basis. It's really becoming a good challenge for me to figure out how to eat my veggies without hating them completely. Currently I'm trying to make salads in a mason jar work for me which I've heard really great things about. So far I've only made and tried one salad in a jar. It was great because my lettuce wasn't soggy by the next day (I always make my food the night before, or even several days ahead of time). However, I was unsatisfied because I wasn't a fan of the dressing I used -- my mom's homemade salsa, which I absolutely LOVE but it just didn't work out with my salad of spinach & bell pepper. So now I'll be experimenting with other dressings. Hopefully this Salad-in-a-Mason-Jar concept works as a side or snack salad because they stay fresh for a week (and I always try to do my food prep on or before the first day of my work week) and it will really help me to eat more veggies!

Otherwise, I'm a bit disappointed in myself because I didn't work out two days this week: Thursday and today (Sunday). However, I know it's good to have one or two rest days in a week. Today just involved special circumstances for all good reason, so I will have to remember to not be too hard on myself for not working out today. Besides, I know that I'll be sure to get in great cardio work-outs tomorrow and Tuesday before my weigh-in on Wednesday. Plus, later this evening I have every intention of spending my full hour dinner break at work power-walking to make up for my lack of cardio exercising earlier today.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fitness Friday: Locker Organization!

Prior to October of last year, I had never actually had my own gym locker. Sure, I had belonged to gyms but I never needed to have a gym locker so I just never had one. However, since working at my current job, I've found that it's necessary to have one since my typical work day consists of me going to the gym before work and then showering in the ladies locker room right before heading to work. (In case you're wondering, I work at a university, so one of the perks is getting to use the gym on campus!)

When I got my locker though, I was very perplexed as to how I should or could organize it. At one point I even Googled ideas on how to organize my gym locker but unfortunately I didn't find many good ideas. I love being organized though and I love making sure I have back-ups of toiletries so I don't have to worry about when I'm going to run out of them (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc). So I figured I'd make a post about how I organize my locker as I had not seen this idea used before.

I keep quite a bit of items in my locker. In order to keep them all organized, I ended up buying... a shoe organizer! I got one for pretty cheap and cut it in half so it would fit on the right side of my locker, as you can see in the picture above. Ideally I wanted to get a shoe organizer with clear pockets so I could see what items were in each pockets but this works fine. The shoe organizer is only being held up by one hole instead of two, so I've thought about tying up the other whole to the hook in the locker that I have it currently hanging up from but I have yet to have any issues (I also make sure to keep lighter-weight items in the side that isn't hanging from the hook).

Items in the Shoe Organizer:

  • Hair brush
  • Tooth brush and toothpaste
  • Facial lotion
  • Eye glasses cleaner
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Body Fragrances
  • Extra combs

All of that might not seem like not, but I assure you that it's a lot of items to keep in ones locker when it's not organized properly!

Additionally, in the bottom part of my locker, I keep flip-flops to wear around the locker room and showers as well as my handy shower tote that I bought at Bed, Bath, & Beyond which holds all of my items that I use in the shower. Sometimes I will also keep extra shampoo, conditioner, and/or body wash at the bottom of my locker when I'm running low on those items.

I don't keep a lot of items in the top part of my locker for the simple reason that I'm too far short to get any use out of something so high.

In the top part of my locker, I keep my hair dryer, body lotion, mouthwash (hidden behind the lotion), and two little containers that are stacked within themselves. I keep an extra pair of socks and flat socks (for when I wear flats) in one of those containers. Since I'm super forgetful, I also have back-up undergarments like I keep extra socks since I'm bound to forget them every once in awhile. They've come in handy more often than I'd like to admit!

So that's about all when it comes to my gym locker. I was admittedly very impressed with myself when I came up with the idea of using a shoe organizer to help organize the items in my locker. It's super helpful and I love having such an organized locker with all of my necessities for getting ready for the day ahead!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In #18 (week of 5/7-5/13)

Despite starting my week off poorly, I ended up having a successful week. I'm not going to post my weight loss right now, but I will say that I had a loss. Only with journeys like this can you get excited about having a loss!

I'll be continuing my Good Day/Bad Day jar, which is working so far. I've altered it a bit though. I put one pebble into my jar when I have a Good Day: when I point everything I eat honestly but go over my daily points+ allowance. Then I put two pebbles into my jar when I have a Great Day: when I track everything I eat honestly and stay within my daily points+ allowance (or go over by 1 or 2 points+, depending on the day, I guess whether or not I work out). Again, this challenge for me is still in the works but I do see it helping thus far.

I also learned something new this week! As I mentioned in a different post, I go away on my days off where I have limited resources to eat my usual meals to get in my Good Health Guidelines (e.g., I can't easily make my usual smoothies which checks off 5-6 of my GHGs). Therefore, I had devised a plan to get in my two milk requirements by eating two cups of cottage cheese. As it turns out, 2 cups of cottage cheese only counts as ONE serving of dairy instead of two like I originally thought. Since I have to get in two dairy requirements and I already eat 5.3oz of Greek yogurt with my morning oatmeal, I've decided to just start making my morning oatmeal with old fashion oats (a power food!) and 2-2 ounces of fat free milk or soy milk. Therefore, I'll not be getting in both of my dairy requirements. Huzzah!

My goals for the week are once again similar to previous weeks' goals...

  • T R A C K E V E R Y T H I N G
  • Check off my daily Good Health Guidelines (GHGs)
  • Be sure to add the fruits & veggies that I eat in a day to my tracker, which I've been neglecting to do even though I check off my GHGs since I've been keeping track of them with my Google Excel doc to watch my fruit intake and eat more veggies
  • Update my daily WW reminders on my phone

Another positive action I took this week was going to see my counselor again. Over the weekend I got hit hard with an overwhelming sense of depression that almost came out of nowhere. I say almost because, as I've mentioned before, things in my life have been changing so I guess I could have seen this coming. Thankfully I was able to make on-going weekly appointments with my counselor as I feel I have a lot to work through. Not only do I want to work through all of the mental health issues I've encountered since March but there's also a lot of deeper issues I want to address that I feel may or may not directly relate to (or even cause) my bad eating habits.

My Non-Scale Victory for the week was figuring out how to make the Arc Trainer at the gym work for me. I mentioned in my last Weekly Weigh-In post just how much I absolutely HATE Arc Trainers. However, on a whim, I jumped on one last Thursday and upped the incline level to 20 which shifted my body so that I could hold on to the moving handles. For whatever reason, this change really worked for me. Granted, the following 2-3 days after I used the Arc Trainer my knee was in quite a bit of pain and it could have been caused by the incline level being so high on the Arc Trainer. I'm not sure if this is actually what brought about my knee pain so I do plan to use the Arc Trainer again and work it into my mix of different cardio machines at the gym.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up 10

Truthfully this weekend was... not so great. I'd be lying if I said I was honest with my tracking. The good news is that the foods that I didn't honestly track were nothing so much that would completely blow my weekly points+ allowance. The bad news is... I lost a lot of my self-control and ate a lot of snacks that were 2 points+ which undoubtedly added up.

Weekends are so hard but I know I can try my best to turn them around by having 4 good days out of a 7-day week. So I've decided to create a challenge for myself. For every "Good Day" that I have on Weight Watchers, I'm going to put a stone/pebble into a small jar. Any time I have a "Bad Day," I have to completely empty my jar and start at the beginning. I'd like to implement a reward system to go with the game that I'm creating for myself, but I already have a reward system for when I hit certain weight loss goals. The idea is that if I can keep filling up the jar by having consecutive good days, then I'll hit my weight loss goals and therefore be able to reward myself that way.

Obviously this going to be a very trial-and-error type of thing that I'm just coming up with on my own. I've also created a second tab on my Daily Fruits & Veggies Google spreadsheet so I can track my "Good Days" and "Bad Days" in hopes of decreasing the amount of bad days. I'm defining a "Good Day" as simply being 100% honest with myself and tracking EVERYTHING that I eat. I know there will be days when I can't meet all of the Good Health Guidelines (usually because of traveling) and there will be days when I will go over my daily points+ allowance. But if I can track EVERYTHING 100% HONESTLY, then that will be a Good Day for me.

Here's to hoping that yet another crazy idea of mine helps me in reaching my weight loss goals...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In #17 (week of 4/30-5/6)

This morning I weighed in a Weight Watchers and... I didn't lose anything but I also didn't gain! I am so, so relieved because I seem to be picking up a bad habit of... picking up new bad eating habits throughout the week. It's getting to be frustrating but I cannot let it get to me. I have to remind myself that it's good that I'm recognizing the behavior so I can work on changing whatever bad habit I've picked up throughout the week and make specific changes to stop said habit. It's also good that I'm recognizing I'm in this cycle of picking up new bad eating habits every week since it's making me consider why I'm in that routine of forming new habits every week.

After much consideration, I've finally realized that my mental health is not in a place where it should be in order for me to be successful on plan. I'm a firm believer that being healthy should be looked at from a holistic point of view. I think it's vital to not only be physically healthy on ALL aspects but to also be mentally healthy for your overall well-being. I came to this conclusion last week and have already made an appointment to seek professional health. I'm almost ashamed to admit that because I really feel the world (and/or the United States) has such a negative perspective/stigma on mental health and seeking necessary help. If you know anything about me at all, then you'll know that I'm generally a happy, carefree, calm kind of person. There's nothing dangerously wrong with me, I'm just going through stuff that I need to work out more extensively be truly happy as opposed as to just showing that bubbly fa├žade on a daily basis.

The one downside of my past week was discovering the inexpensive bags of mixed granola, nuts, & dried fruit that are sold at the cafe located at my workplace. I never knew such a delicious food item existed until this past weekend but once I knew they had it, I had a bag a night for three nights in a row. Terrible, I know! What's worse is that Tuesday night -- my last night of eating said granola -- I didn't even really want to eat the granola. It was a mixture of the newly-formed habit of buying the mixed granola as well as having some feeling some perplexing emotions that led me to buying another bag of the delicious treat. However, it's a new week and a fresh start. I've made it half-way through my day at work without strolling over to the in-house cafe to buy a bag of the granola. My plan for upcoming weeks (until I have firmly broken the habit) is to 1) not walk through the cafe as I go to & from work, and 2) keep myself busy at work with doing work stuff, writing, or talking with others until the craving goes away (or the cafe closes at 11pm).

So, yes, I formed a new habit that cost me 12 or more points+ a night for all three nights that I ate the granola but at least I have a specific plan set for how I'm going to break my new bad habit.

Anyways, aside from that small set-bad, I feel that I have made some noticeable improvements with my tracking and eating this past week. My biggest change was creating a handy Google Excel document to track my daily intake of fruits and vegetables. My goal is (and has been) to eat a "rainbow" of fruits & veggies every day, as inspired by something I've heard from The Dr. Oz Show (although I don't watch his show, my mom often tells me things she's learned from his show). Since participating in the challenge my Weight Watcher Leader created, she has brought to my attention that I need to watch how much fruit I eat in a day. Therefore, I'm hoping this spreadsheet will help me track not only what colors of the rainbow I eat in a day but also help me track how many vegetables I'm eating compared to how many fruits I'm eating on a daily basis.

My overall goal for my Google Excel document is to help me expand my knowledge of the fruits and vegetables out there. In particular I want to learn how to prepare and eat different veggies so I find them more enjoyable to consume. Right now I obviously prefer to eat fruit over vegetables but I'm hoping this will eventually change.

For this upcoming week, my goals to work on are similar to last week's...

  • T R A C K E V E R Y T H I N G
  • Check off my daily Good Health Guidelines (GHGs)
  • Update my daily WW reminders on my phone (since my iPhone's operating system got updated, I had to reset my phone to a previous back-up so I lost a lot of information in one of my apps including my log of daily work-outs and my WW reminders)
  • Continue writing or blogging as often as possible to help my clear my mind

I'm adding the last goal of writing on a daily or semi-daily basis because writing can be very cathartic for me. The days when I didn't write, I ate the aforementioned bags of granola only to realize a couple of days later that had all of these pent-up thoughts running through my head that were really making me sad. So I've been a state of sadness for the past few days without anyone to really talk to about my feelings but I also haven't sat down to properly write my feelings or emotions down, which can often help in the absence of a friend. However, I do think this is ultimately why I'm seeking professional help: because for the past seven weeks or so, I've been blogging/writing more to help cope with the roller coaster of emotions I've been feeling but I still don't feel whole again. For almost two months I've felt very amiss for various reasons. I haven't felt grounded and, in fact, I've felt very lost for the past seven weeks. I feel that with some guidance from someone with an outside perspective, I may be able to cope more with everything that's been happening since March.

Since this post has now gotten quite long, I'll try to keep my Non-Scale Victory part of the post short. My NSV for the week is trying out a new cardio machine! When I went to the gym on Monday, I noticed that all of the ellipticals were in use. Since my knee was still hurting from an inexplicable injury over the weekend, I wanted to stay away from treadmill and I absolutely HATE Arc Trainers. So I ended up hoping on this:

It's called an Octane Lateral X and the picture just doesn't do it justice because, in person, the machine looks very intimidating. However I tried it and loved it since not only is it fun (yes, fun!) but it's also a VERY different work out compared to using an elliptical. You can use the stationary handle bars in the middle to adjust your body so, for example, you can be in a squat position while your legs are moving in that later direction as shown above. On the machine, you can change the width of the lateral movement, the difficulty, and program. With the awesome built-in fan, I definitely plan to continue using this machine!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Food Finds!

Before I share my recent food finds, I want to preface this post with saying that I routinely follow Hungry Girl -- I read her daily emails and own several of her cookbooks. So I know that she shares interesting new foods in some of her emails but I hope to share some foods that she has yet to share (at least to my knowledge). Per my dietary restrictions, all of the foods below are gluten-free since my stomach doesn't get along with gluten and/or wheat. These are foods below might be specific to just the area where I live but they're so good in taste, WW points+, and calorie count, that I just had to share them.

The first new food I found is called Simply 7 chips that come in a variety of flavors made with different ingredients. I found these chips when they were on sale this past winter at a local organic grocery store (Newark Natural Foods Co-Op and LOVE them for not only their low calories/points+ but also some of their high protein counts. As you can see in the picture they come made separately with Quinoa, Hummus, Lentil, and Pomegranate. I have yet to try any of the Pomegranate chips. However, my absolute FAVORITE are the Quinoa chips for their texture and flavors. Plus, the Quinoa chips are the ones with the highest amount of protein in them. Additionally, the other great thing about these Simply 7 chips are how many chips you get for one serving size! I highly recommend going out and trying a bag or two of these now. Just make sure you measure/weigh and proportion a bag of the chips out because they're incredibly delicious!

My next food find came shortly after I found the aforementioned Simply 7 chips at the same local organic grocery store. These come from a seemingly small company called Late July. In particular I'm a huge fan of their Multi-grain snack chips but I have to admit that I've only tried a few of the available flavors. So far I've tried the Sea Salt (by the Seashore), SubLime, and Sweet Potato flavors but I'm hoping to try more once I can get a better moderation control on these chips. I love them because they are reminiscent of tortilla chips with lots of added healthful benefits. The only downside to these chips is that you don't get to eat a lot for the amount of points+ or calories in each serving size. They're still worth trying though!

The last chip find of my first Tasty Tuesday: Food Finds edition is called Glenny's Soy Crisps. So far I've found these chips at Acme in individual snack bags which means I don't have to worry about portioning them out into smaller serving sizes. Each bag is perfect when it comes to calorie counts (varies for each flavor) and points+ (only 3 for each bag!). The reason I love these soy crisps is that you get (or feel like you're getting) a lot of chips for very few points+/calories! Thus far I've only tried three flavors -- barbeque, lightly salted, and creamy ranch -- but my favorite is the barbeque crisps. These crisps, like the Simply 7 chips, are also high in protein making them a great snack option!

My fourth food find comes from a convenience store (7-Eleven) that I wasn't expecting to find these Skinny Girl Nutrition bars at but they're delicious all the same. I picked up one of the Dark Chocolate Multi-Grain Pretzel flavors because of the high protein count and the fact that they were gluten-free. I figured one would make a good pick-me-up on days when I don't get in my usual amount of protein (read: weekends when I'm away from home). I've also tried the Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate but I have to say I'm more of a fan of the Dark Chocolate Multi-Grain Pretzel bar. I haven't tried the third flavor though, Chocolate Peanut Butter with Sea Salt, but I imagine it is just as tasty. Apparently these nutrition bars are sold at Target but I haven't been to a Target recently to know this for a fact.

Lastly, I found another food find at 7-Eleven which happened chocolate nut-filled truffles called Nutffles. The appeal of these chocolates are primarily because they're sold individually so I can take go on a walk during my dinner/lunch break at work and pick one up when I'm really craving chocolate. Thus far I've only tried the Almond and Red Velvet truffles but I'm a huge fan of hazelnut so I'm sure I'll like the Hazelnut truffle flavor just as much. Again, these Nutffles are great because you can have one truffle for 1 points+ or ~45 calories. If you can find these individually sold/wrapped, they're definitely worth trying!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up 09

This past weekend I saw improvement again! Yay! I'm so, so glad that I'm doing better with tracking. I would say that I'm tracking about 90-95% of the things I eat -- even if it means tracking yesterday's foods today. At least it's tracking and monitoring how much I go into my weekly 49 points+ on a daily/weekly basis. This weekend I opted in for a challenge my WW Leader is doing on Facebook. Every night you have to post screenshots or pictures of your tracker to a group. Being the amazing Leader she is, she has been sending me feedback on how well I'm doing (... or not doing, in the case of eating way too many fruits on my first day). The idea was originally mine, sort of, in order to help with accountability but I'm glad she took my idea and ran with it!

However, I had a HUGE realization this weekend. I'm lying. No, really... I'm lying to myself and my tracker every time I don't track a food. Even if I mentally track the food, that's food still not being deducted from my daily or weekly points+ allowance so I end up thinking I have more points left than I actually do. At the moment it may not be a big deal since I do work out quite vigorously 5-7 days a week but not tracking is NOT a good behavior or habit to get into for long-term success.

Most importantly, I have been lying to my Leader every time I post screen shots of my tracker at night. I'll go back and add foods that I didn't track before taking the screen shots so it looks like I only used my daily 26 points+ or only went over by one or two points+ in a day. Then I start having a slew of questions running through my head when I do this: Why am I being dishonest? Why can't I show her that I go over my daily target by 10 points+ during my weekend days? Why do I feel this need to show that I'm trying to follow the plan perfectly instead of showing her how terribly I'm doing? Why am I lying to myself?

I really wish I knew the answers to those questions but I certainly do not. Yet I do know that my lack of tracking 100% honestly at the end of every night is being deceitful. It's being dishonest. And I am far from dishonest. It's just not who I am as a person. One of my life policies is, "Honest is the best policy," as cheesy as it may sound.

I need to figure out WHY I'm being dishonest. I can say that I didn't fully track before sending in screen shots of my tracker both Friday and Saturday night. Friday night I went over by 10 points+ because I was just so hungry in the evening because I didn't go to bed earlier in the evening. Solution for the future: go to bed earlier! Saturday I was craving a few things including chocolate, salty foods, and nuts. It sounds so random, I know, but that's just how cravings are sometimes. And my cravings typically don't go away until I satisfy them. So I ended up visiting the vending machine at my work's break room to satisfy my chocolate and salty food cravings then bought a pack of nuts later on in the evening. Solutions for the future: buy a small chocolate at the nearby 711 on my lunch/dinner break, bring in extra 2-point+ snack bags of chips from home, and figure out something else for the nut craving.

So while I may be having trouble with being honest with myself NOW, I am at least trying to do better. Every day and every week, I just need to come up with plans to work around any hurdles I may come across. I must plan for the next day, the next week, the next month -- in order to be successful for the long-term.

Today, for example, I had not added the Milky Way Caramel fun-size bar that I ate this morning (because I was starving and wasn't at home) to my tracker. However, I just now added it and deleted my Yoplait Greek Vanilla Yogurt that I was going to eat later this evening. This adjustment, along with the other foods I've eaten today will bring in at 27 points+ for the day, which goes over my daily allowance by one. It's better than being dishonest though.

In other news, I have plans for some upcoming posts that are outside of my usual Weekend Wrap-Up and Weekly Weigh-In posts! Hopefully I will have a Tasty Tuesday AND Fitness Friday post up this week on top of my usual Weekly Weigh-In post later this week. I also have some new-to-me recipes that I've made recipe that I plan to share next week.