Ditching the Sugar

I got some great feedback from my last post about my 5 pound weight gain and have been trying to implement some of your suggestions. So far I’ve been eliminating sugar, stopped buying junk food, stopped having protein shakes after my workouts, eating real food and posted my Action Plan on the refrigerator.

action plan

Eliminating sugar has been a slow process, but I’m having good success. I still have some sugar in foods, but now no candy or sweets. For example, I have not yet eliminated things like barbecue sauce (and may never!) and the packets of organic oatmeal that include sugar. Once the oatmeal is gone, I will switch to plain. I really like the natural sweetness of whole grains and prefer them plain or sometimes with oatmeal I add a little maple syrup. I have never liked the whole wheat breads on the market because they add too much sugar or honey for my taste. I prefer my sandwiches to lean towards the savory palate than sweet. Well, I don’t eat sandwiches very often, but if I do…

I struggled with bad cravings and frustration over what to eat instead of sweets. But the cravings are becoming less and I’m starting to be more comfortable picking healthy alternatives. Goodness, for a long time I ate very little sugar or white flour, it’s sounds odd to be in this place.

At the same time, I am beginning to reject white flour items also. This is much easier for me since don’t really care for white flour items that much. It’s just convenient to eat a hamburger on a bun, etc. My husband also loves all things white flour, so I think I’ve just let him win the war lately, so to speak.

Without counting calories or restricting my portions in any way, I have lost 3 of those 5 pounds just by eating healthier.

I am still struggling with being well rested. I really need to get tough with myself on this. I need to go to bed at an earlier time. I get up most days at 4:45 to work out. Ha, it was 4:30, but I scrimped out 15 minutes from my waking up time so that I could sleep 15 minutes longer. Not bad, but I really need to just go to bed earlier!

I’m still rethinking the exercise. I’ve basically cut back for now, but for a lot of other reasons too. So, still thinking how to change things up. Here’s a picture from this morning of the park where I run on the bike trail. It’s so peaceful and serene and just beautiful there. A great way to start the day.

sunrise

A family of turkeys is back in our neighborhood this year. Praying none of the neighbors gets any ideas of Thanksgiving dinner. There’s 7-8 little ones 🙂

turkeys

Where’s This Weight Coming From?

Hi bloggers everywhere! I’ve been gaining weight (only 5ish pounds) and not sure why. To summarize my recent weight background for you… I have gained weight and lost it off and on the last twelve years. After completing my masters degree two years ago which included a lot of sitting-time, stress and lack of sleep, I found myself 44 pounds overweight, but really at least 60 pounds higher than a weight I’m comfortable at. I refocused on eating healthy and exercise and lost 30 pounds in about nine months. I maintained that (and some more at times) loss for a whole year, easy-peasy.

My new best bud, Gracie.

My new best bud, Gracie.

Something changed this spring. I gradually gained 5 pounds. I think I have it stopped now, but time will tell. I’m not sure what happened, but here are some of my thoughts.

Exercise

The same: I’m still running. Not the distances I was hoping for, but 3-4 times a week, totaling 10-12 miles. Usually one day hills, one day speed, one day easy, one day “long”.
Different: I added two days a week of Insanity. It’s not at home with DVD’s but a class run through the recreation department.
Possible problem: Overtraining. It doesn’t sound like it, but honestly, I’m really tired a lot. First, Insanity is brutal. By the end of the 50 minutes you are spent and dripping with sweat. Second, I could use a second rest day sometimes. But I feel like I don’t exercise that much and really want to increase my mileage. Not sure what to do.
Possible problem: Hunger. I’m hungry all the time. I have been able to identify some of this due to fatigue. I’m eating to get more energy when I’m tired. The solution would be to either sleep more or train less. Drink more water.
Possible problem: Not enough distance for my long run. I prefer longer distances for my long run to burn more calories and to enjoy the runner’s high, with less miles on the weekday runs. Now to get myself to run longer.

Surveying the world from the safety of the brush

Surveying the world from the safety of the brush

Diet

Different: Eating lots of the wrong foods. Candy, sweets, chips type things. Grabbing for the easiest thing when I’m hungry, hungry, hungry.
Possible problem: Eating the wrong foods does not satisfy nutritional needs and causes even more hunger. Eating refined carbohydrates causes cravings for refined carbohydrates. There is only one solution to this – stop eating the wrong foods. This could also be contributing to my fatigue.

Different: I tried fasting 16 hours a day. This was an experiment I did for a couple weeks.
Possible problem: I felt deprived and starving. I think there was some backlash from this. I find myself eating faster now (aka shoveling the food in). I’ve never been a particularly fast eater, but now I eat sometimes as though it might be my last meal ever.

Different: I tried a high-protein diet with some girlfriends to kick off summer. I lost 4 pounds (ten pounds less than I weigh now).
Possible problem: Again I think there was some backlash to feeling a bit deprived. Diets suck!

Those are my thoughts, can you tell I’m a problem-solver?

Let's Go! Let's Go! Run! Run!

Let’s Go! Let’s Go! Run! Run!

Here’s my Action Plan:

  • tweak my exercise habits
  • cut out the junk food (so hard to do)
  • make sure I’m well-rested
  • start blogging again
Gracie, our two year old rescued Treeing Walker Coonhound

Gracie, our two year old rescued Treeing Walker Coonhound

Overdone

workout dvds2

Two weeks ago I doubled my daily workouts to add variety and work harder. In the beginning I had so much ambition and added a lot of extra housework and snow shoveling into the mix too. I quickly felt exhausted. I felt like I did when I first started getting off the couch 6 months ago. I also felt like I did last November when I increased my workout time for the Fall Into Fitness Challenge. So, the problem when I feel that tired is it draws me to the couch, the place I’m trying to run away from. I remember reading somewhere that when you increase your workouts, to do it only 10% at a time. I guess that’s good advice for myself and that might work better. I don’t know exactly what 10% would mean though.

So this last week was a real downer. I was frustrated, depressed, lost motivation. I haven’t been losing weight (again!) which has nothing to do with exercise. It’s all about the eating. I read a post this morning that I found inspiring. It talked about the three things I’m forgetting that can help me get back on track. They are: 1) this is a forever change, no going back and 2) why I’m doing this in the first place 3) healthy food is delicious, not depriving.

First, when I get frustrated and lose motivation my thinking starts going something like: I can’t do this, it’s too hard. I’ll never reach my goals. It’s just one treat, I’ll make up for it. Maybe I should take a break so I can regroup. At least I’m not gaining. I don’t feel like cooking, let’s go out. I’ll never be a runner. I’m not in the mood for fruit. You see, none of that thinking supports this being a permanent, forever, lifestyle change. I can’t stop those thoughts. I’ve learned to accept that I can’t control which thoughts pop up in my mind. But I can control how I respond when I have those thoughts. I need to recognize them for the saboteurs they are instead of believing them. Sometimes a “life sentence” is a good thing. A great thing.

Second, I am doing this because I value being healthy and living a healthy, fit life. I admire those that do it. The reason I admire you who are doing it is because I value it. It’s very damaging to my fragile self-esteem when I don’t live according to my values. It’s really that simple.

Third, I really do love eating healthy. It tastes great to me. I love vegetables and fruit. I don’t really miss fried foods, white flour, sweets. If I’m craving or wanting or eating any of those, it’s almost always because I’m soothing my anxiety, not because I’m actually loving the taste. Well, there’s the lazy factor too. If it’s in front of me and I’m hungry, I just might eat it. Sometimes I believe that I’m missing something and will eat it. I usually find out that it wasn’t worth the eating, that is, I wasn’t missing much. That’s one thing about eating healthy. It doesn’t come with emotional baggage. How can you eat healthy and feel guilty, or ashamed, or regretful? I think my thoughts are all over the place on this one, so maybe a good thing for me to continue to think about (sigh). Anyone with some insight that might help me?

From the picture posted here, I was intending to do a review of the new DVD’s I used. Some were brand new and some were dusted off from my shelf. So here goes:

#1. Jillian Michaels, No More Trouble Zones. Most effective. This was a great workout for me. Much more intense than #2 that I have been using. I was really sore after this one. I also quit after 30 minutes, I was so exhausted. I did this one later in the week which contributed to the soreness and fatigue. I would love to do this again. The 50 minutes are broken down into mini-sets that you can opt to do each on it’s own if you want to concentrate on an area. The ones at the end that I skipped were all core and abs. I watched them without doing them and thought they would be very hard for me to do. Something to work towards.

#2. Biggest Loser, Strength and Sculpt. This workout is great for beginners. It’s only 20 minutes (aside from warm up and cool down) and covers most of the areas of the body, front and back, up and down. The dvd has four different workouts, but I like to use the Strength and Sculpt for my c25k strength workout.

#3. Jillian Michaels, 30 Day Shred. I’ve always like this one. I was happy to be able to do the cardio portions way better than I could years ago when I tried, when the dvd first came out. I like the approach of incorporating the whole body with exercises and mixing it with cardio.

#4. Shaun T, Rockin’ Body. Most fun. I tried a few of the workouts on this 2 dvd set. I had a blast. The time flew by and I was able to forget how tired I was by focusing on how to do the moves. Once you learn how to do a move, he encourages you to add your own attitude, which is also fun. It was fun watching the different people on the stage and seeing how they added their own attitude.  I’m not very coordinated and can’t dance, but I still found it a lot of fun. I can’t say it was a hard workout though, but these workouts are also totally adjustable according to your fitness level. The more energy you add, the more of a workout it is.