Back on Track? Eating clean Round 2.

It’s hard to stay on track lately. With everything. My eating clean habits have been non-existent the past months. And my exercise lacked because of a constant cold that plagues me since Easter. Up and coming are two weeks off work starting next week. And I have plans for this time. Apart from a trip to Munich I want to get my eating and my exercise in order.

I want to commit to eating clean again starting today. Or actually yesterday. And I want to work out regularly starting as soon as I can breathe through my nose again.  Journaling is told to have a great positive effect on making changes and having positive results. I think this blog could be the right spot to keep a journal, make plans and setting goals, again. I have neglected it a lot, but since I will have some free time on my hands starting next week, I’ll try and come back here as often as I can.

So here is a breakdown of what I ate yesterday. I am especially proud I did not grab sweet or salty snacks.

Day 1 eating clean again (Monday 05-05-14)

Breakfast: Espresso with skim milk, 3 tbsp oats, 1 tbsp flaxseed, 3 tbsp amaranth, 3 tbsp non-fat joghurt, 4 strawberries, some blueberries

Mid-morning munch: half an apple, a handful almonds, one rice waffle with peanut spread

Lunch: red lentils, scampi and vegetables (broccoli and green beans)

Afternoon snack: one grapefruit

Dinner: salad (cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper and canned tuna), 2 slices whole wheat bread, low-fat cheese slice, one hard boiled egg and mustard

 

I started my weight-journey roughly one year ago and I have come very far since then as I started out with 83 kg (183 lbs). I have lost more than 30 pounds since then. Still, I hope to drop some weight with all this again. I am now at 69 kg (152 pounds) and I’d like to drop another 5 kg or roughly 10 pounds.

Cut the crap. No refined sugar for 2 weeks (or more).

Dear blog,

I haven’t posted in a long while. Again. It seems I would most often find my way back to you in times of trouble rather than in times of joy. Because as you may know by now, weight loss is not as easy as pie.

A few weeks before Christmas I reached one of my long time goals: weigh less than 70 kg once again. Hitting that goal I felt only joy. Then Christmas came along and with it a lot of food. And I allowed myself that food consciously, knowing that what I would gain, I could, no, I WOULD lose again once the new year would knock at my door. But unfortunately this is not so as of today. And this is not because I got lazy, at least not with my workouts. I have been working out at least three days a week, using my all time favorite vids by Fitness Blender, getting engaged in their fourth installment of a workout plan. But I still don’t see the longed for changes.

Reading myself through a load of MyFitnessPal threads, I now am sure that there can only be one reason why the scale won’t budge. It’s my nutrition. Although I was making an effort there, too. At least that is what it felt like. The solution to my problem must then lie in my food intake. And as I don’t want to count calories, I will do what helped me get the weight loss started initially. And that was cutting the crap from my diet.

I decided to go cold turkey on refined sugar again for the next two weeks, tracking what I eat (not counting the calories of what I eat) to see if that can make the difference again. The only times I will allow myself some sugar is in fruits and vegetables where it is contained naturally and otherwise in dark chocolate and a spoonful of the sweet condensed milk that goes into my morning coffee (which all in all yielded good results last time, too).

I will cut:

  • sweetened beverages, especially cocoa milk and chai latte fresh India (Krüger)
  • birthday cake (I had a lot of that last week, due to my BF’s B day)
  • chocolate cookies and gummi bears (sweets in general)
  • jam and other sweet bread toppings

First step in this venture already was carried out today. I took all the sweets I had left from Christmas to work, giving them away to my co-workers.

As this is a really challenging thing to do for me, I will use this blog to come back and report how it goes, what the pitfalls are and whether it gets me the results I want.

Thanks for being patient with me.

Sincerely,

Bri

P.S.: Did you ever go cold turkey on refined sugar?

Fourth Weigh-In and Weight-Loss Plateaus (7-8-13).

My last weigh-in was on the 31st of May. And I didn’t do one at the end of June. That’s for a good reason. I had nothing to report. My weight had stalled since Mid-May. Nothing was happening to the numbers on the scale not down and also thankfully not up.

I had hit the well-known weight-loss plateau everyone who goes on a diet and an exercise regimen hits sooner or later. I have read a LOT about weight-loss plateaus since then. One very interesting piece of information says that this plateau happens to most people when they have lost about 10% of their original weight. I started at 83 kg and stalled at 76 kg. That’s pretty close to those estimated 10%. Most important reason for this is that your body takes that stalling time to adjust. Adjust to what I asked myself? To your new healthy way of living, eating and exercising, and your new metabolism regimen due to your previous weight lost.

Nonetheless I was discouraged. I wanted to lose again. I read tons of tips to break the plateau. Most were reasoning about changing your workout regimen in order to keep your body challenged. I incorporated some Tara Stiles yoga, walking and even jogging, and cycling to my exercise. I also read that keeping a food journal could help to identify some pitfalls in my diet, like maybe I was eating way more than I thought. I already kept a journal at my fitness pal (MFP) and couldn’t find a reason for my stalling weight-loss there. I ate 1200 calories a day and worked out five times a week. Other tips included to be patient and stick to your healthy habits. Sooner or later one would start losing again. That was not what I wanted to hear. After all I had consistently lost about 1 kg per week over a period of 7 to 8 weeks. I didn’t like it to just stop.

Two weeks into June I started a new job. I am a Sales Advisor with H&M now. I am walking and moving things about all the time during my working hours. My activity level increased from moderately active to very active.

Ultimately I think that increasing my daily calorie intake did the trick. I stumbled across a very informative post on MFP about weight-loss and the caloric deficit that is necessary to achieve this but also how important it is not to eat too less. Now this is where my problem may have been. With the 1200 calories and working out five times a week not eating back the calories I burned during exercise I was not nourishing my body correctly, although my primary goals was to be healthy not slim. I upped my calorie intake to 1700 calories per day (still creating a deficit with that) and monitored it closely until I got a feeling of how much food I could consume to reach this number.

Now I banned counting calories as well as the scale as it was driving me crazy. I have hid the scale in my wardrobe and told my BF I was not allowing myself to step on it twice a day anymore. I work out only three or four times a week, as with the new job this is easier to maintain for me.

I measure myself once a week on Monday morning. I step on the scale and take measurements of my neck, biceps, waist, stomach, hip, thigh and calf. I realized I cannot force my body to shed the pounds, I will have to be patient and stick to my habits. It’s been hard to come to this realization. I will have to trust my body that it will start losing again, when it is ready.

So today, when I stepped on the scale there was this number: 75 kg. I already expected it as my measurements with the tape the last two weeks signaled in this direction. It means a sudden 1 kg or 2.2 lbs down after 6 weeks waiting patiently. I am happy about this. And I hope my body has adjusted and will keep shedding weight some more. I hope this is the break of my first weight-loss plateau. If I understood correctly, there might be some more to come.

I have no pictures for you this time because as you can imagine not much happened to my appearance. Nonetheless I hope you will not let yourself get discouraged of your healthy way of living once the scale does not show the effect you expect anymore. Keep doing what you are doing. Be patient. I know, I know. It’s not what you wanted to hear. But still.

Have you had similar experiences? How did you break your weight-loss plateau?

Health Bites #3: Boosting Activity

Health Bites 3

Many people want to incorporate time for fitness and exercise into their daily routine but do not know how to do this. This post will give you some ideas how to boost your activity during your day.

The time people spend sitting is enormous. Adults with a desk job sit about 16 hours daily. This is the time commuting to work, sitting at a desk at the work place, commuting back home, sitting in front of the TV or in front of a computer screen to wind down. Thus we need to actively make time for exercise and activity. This will improve health and mood and will help in weight-loss or maintenance.

Here are some ideas of how to improve your activity level during your day:

1. Schedule time for exercise in your planner. When you actively make time for exercise you are less likely to skip it. Also if you work out in the morning your are less likely to omit it due to changes in your schedule.

2. Commit to a friend to exercise. If you are going to meet up with an exercise buddy you will be more likely to show up and work out as you don’t want to stand him/her up.

3. Train for a sport you enjoy. This is actually self-explanatory. If you train for something you enjoy doing you are more likely to pull it off more often.

4. Plan active activities for the weekend. Go for a hike in the surrounding nature or take your bike and cruise the neighborhood. Meet-up with family and friends to spend a good time.

5. Wear a pedometer (many smartphones apps are able to count steps, too) and set a goal for number of steps for the week. If you are able to get to your goal up this number the next week.

6. I can’t emphasis this enough. Take the stairs whenever your path crosses some. In your apartment building or office take the stairs instead of the elevator. This will give you quick activity boosts throughout the day.

7. Sign up for a race. Even if you are new to running you can do this. Train with the Couch to 5K training plan and after nine weeks you should be able to run a 5K race. The best way to commit to this is to sign up today for a race in nine-weeks time.

Don’t feel intimidated though. Whatever your current activity level is, incorporating even one of the above ideas will improve your fitness and will boost your activity.

How to you boost your activity? Do you actively make time for exercise in your busy schedule?

Third Weigh-In after not working out much but eating clean and healthy (5-31-13).

This month went by so fast. Nonetheless I want to share with you how I got on with my goals to live a fit and healthy life and my weight-loss journey. As you can imagine from the title I was not able to work out that much this month as I would have liked. I wanted to follow Cassey’s May calendar but due to a cold and feeling weak I only completed 11 out of 31 workout days. Pretty bad result indeed.

I caught a bad cold at the beginning of the month. I didn’t do any workouts for one and a half weeks and concentrated on eating clean and healthy instead, as this was all I could do. I dropped weight very fast (about 2kg). After that I picked up the workouts. The objective of the May calendar was to make the POPsters muscles pop, I experienced some strange things happening to my body. I really developed a lot of muscles in only a few days time. I worked out six days straight and felt the muscles being all hard beneath the fat I still want to lose. As a result I put on some weight (about 1.5kg)  instead of losing some. I felt angry. Shouldn’t workouts support the weight-loss, I wondered. As I was still eating clean, the diet could not be the problem. My mindset shifted, I felt like working out was bad for me making me weigh more instead of less. I stopped working out then. And hallelujah, my weight dropped again.

Nonetheless it was hard for me to experience something like this. Because I wasn’t able to think about working out as something positive and healthy. I had to think about my goals again. Yes, I want to lose weight but I also want to get fit and live a healthy life in general. Workouts are very important to make that happen. Weight-loss I decided should happen with it not without it. As a result I just recently picked my workouts up again, concentrating more on cardiovascular training than on strength training.

Here are some pictures of me in March (the two on the left) and May (the two on the right). I wore the same clothes.

weigh-in 31stMay

In terms of weight-loss I reached my goal for May. I wanted to shed another 2 kg and I did. Actually I was at 78.6 kg in April and now am at 76 kg (or 167.2 lbs). Which makes a difference of 2.6 kg (or 5.7 lbs). In total I lost 7 kg or 15.4 lbs since Mid-March.

Other May goals included to keep a food journal at MyFitnessPal. I wanted to track my food intake for about two weeks to get a feeling for how many calories I am actually consuming, because I read oftentimes it is much more than what one would think. But I think I am doing fine. Eating about 1400 calories a day, sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less. It’s okay having in mind I still want to lose some pounds.

How did you do this month? Have you met your goals for May? I for one did and that is possibly also due because I set some realistic goals. Seeing that weight-loss is finally really happening for me is great. And as it is ongoing for more than two months now. I might as well think about what I want to reach in numbers. More on that in another post about goals for June.

Belated goals for May.

I am running late with this post. On the one hand that is because I had not made up my mind about my May goals and on the other hand because I got a cold and my mind was too foggy to blog. I am better now.

goals

My goals for May:

First thing I wanted to do, was to change the appearance of my blog. This was due to the wordpress theme I was using (Reddle), which didn’t let me include a tabs bar at the top. You have now access to my About me page and a contact page. More are to come. I also made a new blog header with Picmonkey. This is because I wanted something more minimalistic, less colorful, more to the point. As you can see I already did that.

Second I set up an account at MyFitnessPal. I am taking a coursera class about nutrition, health and lifestyle. It’s totally free and I hope to learn about proper diets and insights in nutrition. Basically after completing the first week’s course material, I get that my approach at clean eating is pretty much what is considered a healthy diet. This goal is about staying on track with the coursera class I’m taking. This includes tracking my food and exercises with MyFitnessPal for about two weeks and see how I am doing.

Weight-loss is also on the agenda again. I think I aim for a 2 kg drop in weight this month.

I also wanted to include the blogilates May calendar. But I am already behind because of my cold. I missed four days of workout. Still I will follow the calendar as best as I can, seeing it made me shed some pounds since I started.

Have you made up your mind about your May goals?

Health Bites #2: How to stay on track with your diet?

Making a resolution to change the way you eat is easy. What is not is staying on track. Recently I decided to change my eating lifestyle and eat clean. This is because I want to be healthier, lose weight and become fit. So I had a resolution and enough reasons. It’s all I needed to start, jump right in, change the way I ate. I got excited about it. It was easy.

Health Bites 2

So now, what is  not easy is to stay on track. Motivation, I soon learned, has to come from within. And there are times I struggle more than others. These are situations when eating with friends and family who eat like always and eating out. Those are the most tempting times to go right back where I was.

So what do I do? In times I struggle I go back and remind myself of my goals and the reasons why I want to eat clean. In fact I have them written down, on my blog, in my calendar, on sticky notes on my fridge etc. I am constantly reminded why I started eating clean in the first place.

If you lost focus, remind yourself about why you started your diet in the first place. What did you want to achieve with it? Also ask yourself why it is so hard for you to stay on track? For me, as I said above, it is eating out or eating with friends and family, who don’t eat the way I do. Knowing this helps me, too.

The most important thing is to visualize your goals. If need be, every single day. Also recommit to your goals every single day. You can do this by writing them down on a sticky note, make a collage, post them to the mirror, let your phone remind you about them.

Also I f you can’t do it 100%, then do it 80%, it’s still better than nothing. Don’t beat yourself up for giving in on a craving. Come back afterwards, stronger more determined than before. Every single meal is an opportunity for you to make the right decision.  You had a doughnut for breakfast? Don’t let that be an excuse to make more bad decisions. That means don’t go for a burger for lunch and a pizza for dinner. Opt to go back to your vegetables, lean protein and complex carbohydrates instead.

Changing your eating lifestyle is a big commitment and necessarily forms a big part of your life then. Realizing this makes a big difference, too.

 

If you want to indulge yourself, do it the healthy way. More on that in Health Bites #3. Stay tuned!