Health Challenge Update Week 3

It’s check-in day! I weighed myself this morning and I’m down 2 lbs from last week. I’ll take it! I also lost another inch from my waist. I didn’t work out as much as I wanted to this week, but I’ve been sticking to my diet plan, which is 80% of the battle, so I’m proud of myself.

I received a free candy bar at work yesterday and I resisted temptation! I gave it to my husband and when I saw him 5 minutes later, he’d already eaten it. Ha. Temptation annihilated. I was sad to see it go, though.

So what’s the total since I officially started 3 weeks ago? Here’s a snapshot:


That’s a total of 5.6 lbs. 😁

The five things I’ve learned this week on this challenge:

  1. Ketogenic/Low Carb diet seems to be working pretty well for me. At first I was focusing on low carb and more protein, but have modified it to add more fat in. I’ve read good and bad things about the ketogenic diet, but I did my own research and found an article on the US National Library of Medicine NIH website (so it’s legit and I can trust it) that explained the complete science of how a ketogenic diet works. So at least I’ve read for myself that it actually works and the article even suggests that it would be a good tool for physcians to use in treating obesity. It also hasn’t been so difficult to stick with (so far). My cravings are almost nonexistent and I don’t get hungry as often. I keep the protein amount about the same. I still try to add in as many vegetables as I can.
  2. My energy levels are slowly increasing. I have less foggy brain and I’m more awake during the mid-afternoon, whereas before I would be ready for a nap. It’s still nowhere near 100% but at least my energy levels are moving in the right direction.
  3. I knew this before, but I realize even more now how important and true the 80/20 rule is. Diet really is 80% of the equation. Exercise is still great for you, but you really won’t see any change unless you change the way you eat. I’ve spent months before this challenge focusing more on exercise but still trying to eat ‘healthy’ which included whole grains. No change whatsoever. Three weeks on this diet and I’m down 5 lbs, and I haven’t even been working out as hard! I could barely even get the scale to shift when I was more focused on exercising.
  4. I love Greek salad. This includes the olives and pepperoncini with true authentic Greek dressing. It’s a great way to get lots of veggies in. And don’t forget the feta cheese! Yum. I prep for lunches by creating a big bowl of Greek salad minus the dressing. Each morning, I dole out what I want to take, and pack a little bottle of dressing to add in later. I also add in some store bought rotisserie chicken for protein.
  5. Cauliflower crust pizza is super easy to throw together if you already have frozen cauliflower rice. Look, I’m lazy. Like, SO lazy, especially after work. So I have to learn to work with that. I also hate the huge mess from cutting up a whole head of cauliflower so it can fit into the food processor. It’s enough to deter me from the whole thing. Thank god they sell frozen cauliflower rice now. Just pop it in the microwave, squeeze the water out, and throw in the cheeses and egg. The rest is easy peasy.

So far, so good. I’ll be back with a new update next week!

What works for you? Have you ever tried a keto diet? Let me know!

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Living Low Carb: Week 2 Update

It’s been two weeks since I started a low carb diet regimen as part of my health challenge. I’m still alive and I haven’t gone crazy.

I can say that I think that my mood has been okay, but you may want to ask my husband. He would know better…

So how am I still doing it?

Aside from blogging weekly updates, I’m keeping a food journal on my google drive. I’m also doing this health challenge in solidarity with my best friends, and we are tracking our progress on a shared google sheets file. We keep each other motivated and provide each other support. We’ve also designated Fridays as our weekly weigh-in. We’re all doing our own thing, but our end goal is the same: to lose weight and be healthier.

Today is Friday, so I weighed myself this morning; I didn’t change much lb-wise since last week. It went down like .2 lbs. But I did lose an inch around my hips and waist. Yay!

I wore jeans to work today and had to keep pulling them up. So I do feel slimmer and it’s not just a hallucination. Awesome.

I haven’t been working out as hard as I’d like, but I’m trying to focus more on staying consistent instead of high intensity. I don’t want to overdo it and get discouraged. One of the reasons I give up easily when starting a diet and exercise regimen is that I get too extreme in the beginning; it’s just not sustainable. So I’ve been either going for walks with the hubs, or going to the gym to do light strength training and cardio. I document my activity, too. Go me.

Tonight, I kind of had a cheat meal… Went out for Ethiopian food.

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OMG. It was so worth it.

Overall, Ethiopian food is actually pretty healthy, but I didn’t know much about the nutritional value of the injera, which is basically the bread that acts as a utensil and platter for all the food. I looked it up, and teff flour, which is used in injera, is actually very high in protein and chock full of vitamins and minerals. Teff is gluten-free; it’s actually made from a type of grass instead of wheat. Unfortunately, the injera made here instead of Ethiopia tends to have some wheat in it, but I’m not going to freak out about it. I figure the healthiness of teff kind of balances it out.

But anyways, I’ll go back to low carbing it, now that I’ve had my fix.

I’ve done this low carb eating before, but never with this much focus and accountability. One of my goals this time is to identify and correct the mistakes I’ve made in the past that contributed to me gaining the weight back.

To succeed once and for all, I am going to think about things I’ve learned each week, including better tips to stay with it.

The 5 things I’ve learned this week:

  1. Salt is important when going low carb. It’s normal to feel tired when starting a low carb diet, but I was still tired this week, so I did some research. What I didn’t realize was that I probably wasn’t getting enough salt in my diet. Apparently all that peeing I was doing was flushing out all the salt in my system. Too much sodium is bad, but not enough isn’t good either.
  2. Small successes are just as important as big ones. I have to remember to celebrate the small successes, too. A coworker today told me that I looked like I was losing weight and that I looked good. That’s a win! All this work so far is paying off!
  3. Eating low carb is also a money saver. To stay compliant, I’ve been bringing my lunch a lot. So I’m actually saving money. Another win. This diet is actually costing me less. Not just because of bringing lunch to work, but also that I’m not as hungry as often. My cravings are in check.
  4. I don’t need ketchup, which is full of sugar, by the way. Normally, I like to add ketchup to burgers or chicken. But apparently I love mustard, which I discovered this week. I always liked it okay, but maybe the low sugar on this diet has adjusted my taste buds. I made some bunless cheeseburgers and used mustard as the condiment. De-lish.
  5. Always have frozen vegetables and protein available. That way I can’t make any excuses to not eat healthy. I’ve learned to appreciate the simplicity of food. Simply roasting and stir frying some protein and veggies with a little seasoning makes this diet easier to stick to.

So there you have it. Week 2 down and owned.

That’s the update for this week.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to like, comment and provide feedback! Would love the support! 😊

 

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Health Challenge Weekend Update…

Forgive me… This is my first confession…

I learned something over the weekend.

So before I confess, I want to refer back to my rules that I came up with for my health challenge from a previous post of mine, “My last dessert… Weight Loss Challenge to ensue.”

Health Challenge Rules (or shall we say guidelines?) 

Start date: Monday, July 5, 2017

 

  • Focus on a low glycemic index meal plan. Low sugar, low carbohydrates, and no alcohol. (Will disclose, though, that I am going on vacation to Bangkok and Hong Kong in 3 months, and I do plan to allow myself to drink then, but then cutting it out again when I get home.)

  • Strength training 3x/week

  • Cardio at least 2x/week

  • If I cannot fit in a work out, I have to at least go for a 30 minute walk.

  • If I fall short, I will confess and document it here!

  • Progress or hiccups, I will post weekly. I aim to do 1 post a week.

  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.

  • Having said that, I CAN do this and I WILL do it. My goal is to achieve a healthy lifestyle with this challenge, but also to prove to myself I can do anything I want if I just commit to it.

I had started on last Monday. I did very well for the first 5 days. I ate well, avoided alcohol (though I normally don’t drink on weekdays), and was active. On my weekly check-in, I found that I was down 4 lbs. I was feeling great. It was a strong start.

And then there was yesterday. My husband and I went to a couple of festivals with a bunch of friends up in Baltimore. We went to a Greek festival, and I had grilled octopus, Greek green beans, and Greek salad. I had even packed a contigo with unsweetened iced tea and had a bag of nuts just in case I was hungry and there were no acceptable food options.

I said no to the fried smelt, gyros, and many phyllo wrapped dishes and desserts. I also said no to the french fries. I mean, wow, that’s willpower right there.

Then we decided to switch things up and head over to the Hon Fest in Hampden. Funnel cakes, crab cake sandwiches, beer, and frozen cocktails galore! I stood my ground, though. Everything looked delicious and tempting, but it was more like ‘I’ve had that before and I know it’s delicious’, not like ‘I need it right now like crack’.

At this point, however, I was getting tired from being out under the sun, and was ready to relax. We were meeting another friend for dinner, and what did we decide on? A wine bar of course. I could say no to everything else, but watching everybody drink and indulge just made me see what I was missing out on. Ah, the pressures of social society.

Now that we were ready to hang out in an air conditioned bar (and a wine bar, nonetheless!), I had to make a decision.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an alcoholic, but I do enjoy wine, especially in the right setting. And enjoying some with friends is just the best type of life cocktail. I mulled it over and talked it out with my best friends. I mean, how often do I get to see them altogether like this? And how could I say no to a nice, ice cold glass of crisp rosé wine on a hot, sunny day? I know my weaknesses and I own it.

I made a compromise with myself. Considering that summer is just around the corner, I’ve decided to allow myself 1 cheat day a week (if needed) to have wine. I am only allowing myself wine, but I will still be on a low carb dietary regimen when it comes to food. I also know that I won’t always need this cheat day; it’s really just a safety buffer…

So looking back on my health challenge rules, I realized that I had covered myself with this clause:

  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.

So I’ve admitted my violation and have confessed. And I am making the necessary changes. Ha. Despite this ‘violation’, I ate pretty healthy throughout the day.

And after the drinks Saturday night, I realize that I overdid it a little, and though I still love wine, my body just can’t handle it like it used to. So even though I am allowing myself a buffer zone, I realize that I won’t need this cheat day every week.

Tomorrow starts a new week. I will keep you posted!

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My Health Challenge Progress and 10 Things that I’ve Noticed So Far

I officially started my health challenge on Monday to eat clean and be more active in an effort to improve myself physically (and hopefully mentally). It’s only Friday but I’ve already noticed a few things after starting this challenge.

  1. I’m tired and cranky. I’m not getting the fast energy source from the bad carbohydrates. My body is in a kind of shock, but I’m handling it okay. Even though I feel tired, I don’t have any crazy mid-afternoon crashes. I’m hoping once my body adapts, I’ll have more energy.
  2. My trips to the bathroom have increased. I have to go number 1 a lot. With no carbohydrates to retain the water, it just goes right through me.
  3. No more cravings! I say this with a grain of salt. Nobody has locked me in a room with mountains of ice cream and pizza, but for the most part, I am keeping it together. But I do realize it IS only the 5th day…
  4. My mood has actually been okay. It’s no secret that I struggle daily with depression. I find very little pleasure in doing things and I usually just want to lay in bed and be alone. But I’ve noticed that I haven’t been so up and down in my mood and I don’t dwell as much on things. And considering I haven’t had any ice cream or chocolate AND haven’t murdered anybody yet… Go me! Though the scientist in me also realizes this could just be a placebo effect. I’ll keep this in mind, and report any changes later. But it’s nice to feel almost at peace, even if it is just all in my head.
  5. I’ve been sleeping like a baby. Sleep has been great. Except for all the times I have to get up in the middle of the night to go number 1 (refer to number 2 above). Not that I’ve ever really had any trouble with sleeping, but I can definitely tell that the quality of the sleep is much better.
  6. There has been a slight increase in my confidence. It’s probably the fact that I am proud of myself for taking this on, and am successfully following it (so far). Of course, the accountability of having to document everything on this blog is a huge motivator in itself.
  7. I do actually have a passion, and that passion is for living a healthy lifestyle. I know it’s still early, but I haven’t felt this fulfilled in a long time. But I have to make the time for it. Otherwise, it goes on the back burner and gets neglected. Keeping this blog is reminding me to always be aware and to constantly keep my health on my mind.
  8. I can make junk food versions out of healthy food. If I want a cheeseburger, I can wrap it in lettuce or have it without a bun. I can have baked chicken wings. Roasted vegetables can taste almost as good as french fries (seriously!). And cauliflower pizza crust is a godsend.
  9. I wake up in the morning with purpose. I have a job, and that job is to take care of myself. It feels good to be doing that, and making it a priority for once. But I do also have a real full time job, but I work to live, not live to work.
  10. If I put my mind to something, I can really make it come to fruition. I told myself I was going to do this, and I am. Again, I know it’s only Friday but I was nervous I wasn’t even going to make it through the first day. And I can feel that my will is pretty strong right now. Let’s keep it going!

The next obstacle is surviving the weekend! Will I succeed? I’ll let you know next week!

So there you have it. Likes and comments are also super encouraging, so please feel free! I will keep providing regular updates on my progress.
P.S. I found this really cute tracking ticker!

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

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My Last Dessert… Weight Loss Challenge to Ensue

That ice cream was so fricken delicious. I savored it as Kit Kat attempted to nudge her way in under my spoon arm to get a lick of my delectable dessert. But her annoying persistence did not take away from my enjoyment.

So I finished about half the pint. I’m not going to let myself feel guilty because after this weekend… Yes, starting Monday, July 5th, 2017, I will be embarking on a personal journey towards a healthier me.

And I will be documenting for all to see. On my blog.

How frightening!

Because what better way is there to keep myself accountable than public scrutiny and humiliation… But really, no shame. Unless you’re a hater. But without hate there is no love, is there?

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I’ve won battles, but still have not won the war.

But at my ‘healthiest’ weight I looked like this:

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And I say ‘healthiest’ because I was at the lowest I had ever been and was actually within a healthy BMI range, BUT I had also just been diagnosed with depression not too long ago when I took this photo and was trying out anti-depressants to see which would work best for me. Meaning, the weight loss could have just been partly attributed to a medication side effect. And look how happy I am in the photo. Ha.

But I was never able to find a happy, comfortable medium. I gained some back, and lost it again in time for my wedding, but ballooned back up again. This is me today:

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Haha, and yes, I am standing next to giant Smurfs.

BTW, I am absolutely terrified about creating this post and posting these pictures, but hence the name of my blog… I have to get out of my comfort zone to learn and grow, even if it’s horribly mortifying. But gotta go all in, right?

I am giving myself a timeline of a little over a year to do this. My best friend’s wedding is the finish line. And then I plan to maintain my weight… That will be another challenge in itself, but we will cross that bridge when it comes.

So, how will this go, you ask?

 

Health Challenge Rules (or shall we say guidelines?) 

Start date: Monday, July 5, 2017

Hiatus: September 1 to September 20th (vacation)

Approximate End Date: TBD but approximately September of 2018.

  • Focus on a low glycemic index meal plan. Low sugar, low carbohydrates, and no alcohol. (Will disclose, though, that I am going on vacation to Bangkok and Hong Kong in 3 months, and I do plan to allow myself to drink then, but then cutting it out again when I get home.)
  • Strength training 3x/week
  • Cardio at least 2x/week
  • If I cannot fit in a work out, I have to at least go for a 30 minute walk.
  • If I fall short, I will confess and document it here!
  • Progress or hiccups, I will post weekly. I aim to do 1 post a week.
  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.
  • Having said that, I CAN do this and I WILL do it. My goal is to achieve a healthy lifestyle with this challenge, but also to prove to myself I can do anything I want if I just commit to it.

So here it is.

Will it be done? We shall see…

Wish me luck! Cheers!

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Body Positivity Does Not Equal Healthy

Body Positivity is Killing Women

One of my best friends shared this really interesting article on Facebook. It brings up a lot of interesting discussion points.

At the risk of sounding like a hater and shamer, is promoting body positivity almost a crutch used by overweight women to stay as they are? Is it okay to promote this image when obesity and diseases associated with it are contributing to mounting healthcare costs?

Don’t get me wrong, I think having a positive body image is essential to your well-being and self-esteem, but these are interesting things to think about. Is the term almost being abused, in a sense?

Maybe we’re going about it the wrong way… If our culture didn’t make unhealthy, processed, even carcinogenic food so easily available, obesity issues wouldn’t be such a problem. Everything today is about convenience, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if structured in a way to promote a healthy lifestyle.

For example, at my old job as a medical technologist, the hospital I worked in had an Au Bon Pain in the lobby. When I ate lunch, I would go and get myself a hearty, chopped salad. It was delicious and easy. And whenever I didn’t bring lunch and was hungry, I would just immediately go there without having to give it much thought.

But I guess I just got lucky there. I didn’t get so lucky with my new job. My new place of work has ice cream and frozen yogurt galore! This is where I have to dig deep for my willpower and self-discipline. When your environment already sets you up for failure and society looks down on you for not being able to look like a size 0… How can you win?

Our culture is just so superficial and vain. It’s not about how healthy you are, but the way you look. How dare you have a big butt and cellulite! Shame, shame, shame.

But I digress. After reading this article, I agree with a lot of what she says. But there are many issues that need change, including our perceptions. We have to promote health in all areas. Feeling positive about your own body should not depend on your size. And health just a separate issue altogether.

We should not be interpreting their body positivity to mean that obesity is okay. Feeling positive about your body does not equate to being healthy. You can still love yourself but want to improve yourself.

 
 

 

 

 

My Body Hates Carbs

I’ve been on many diets in my life. I’ve tried the South Beach Diet, juicing, Paleo, Primal, juice cleanses, low carb, and many others. The pounds always come back. After turning thirty, I’ve also noticed an even slower metabolism than when I was in my twenties.

What have I learned from my experiences?

Preparation is extremely important and that it’s the type of food I eat that causes me to want to eat more. But furthermore, I have to stick to low carb (some version or variety of Paleo but that also allows beans and dairy). Also, no matter how much you exercise, you can’t outdo a bad diet…

Unfortunately, I am not genetically blessed and I gain weight very easily. The more carbs I eat, the more I crave, and the more I want. But growing up in a Chinese household, rice and noodles were major food staples. I didn’t learn to cook and really experiment with low carb until after I moved out of the house. And that’s when I learned that I didn’t always need to feel hungry…

When I eat low carb, my blood sugar level is steady and I can definitely feel the difference. I also don’t crash. When I do crash, I crash hard.

Now, the question is how do I eat low carb that is sustainable for life? I want to make it a lifestyle.

I am making a commitment to myself to focus on eating well and improving my health. I hope to be my own success story!

Will you join me on my health journey? =)

 

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