Category Archives: Blog Posts

7 Steps To A Better Me

I am two pounds away from my goal and I think I’ve hit a plateau. I’ve tried shaking up my diet by adding new foods, then trying to restrict things for a day or two, just to fool the metabolism. There’s no fooling Mother Nature, as they say. But the good news is that my body is actively working to reduce my size. I have lost another 7 inches overall. That keeps me focused. I may not see the scale move, but I can see that I need to go shopping!

My husband and I took measurements today. He has lost about 16  pounds without even trying to lose weight. He’s just eating what I am. He is now working on getting fit using weights. I think it’s time for me to do some more weight-bearing exercises. I can see that even if the weight is coming off, the flab can still remain. I want to tone and tighten. Not looking for a major buff appearance. HAHA – like that would happen.

Time now to complete the picture. I’ve been working on my inner self while trying to make he outer self appear smaller. Here’s the philosophy I’ve adopted:

Inner Self
If I can handle those seven things, I should be doing fine. I’ve taken control of my weight, the rest should be a piece of cake (must be gluten-free). I must be overworked today because I am extremely punny.

So much to do to prepare for my new career. I’ve got a web site being built, content being written, and I’m studying, studying, studying. I want to help as many people as I can to feel better about themselves like I do now. It’s an amazing transformation and it feels great!

 

 

Eating While Traveling

Recently, my husband and I were traveling internationally and had a wait to board the plane. We decided to eat lunch before the flight because there would be no in-flight food. The only options for food in the airport were American fast food chains. Trying to pick the best of the worst food, I chose Wendy’s. I figured a salad and water would be my best choice.

Before ordering I had no idea what the ingredients were in the food. Man, I was I surprised. My salad had apples and pecans in it. The ingredients on the pecan packet listed sugar as the second ingredient.  I asked for a plain balsamic vinaigrette and received a packet of fat-free raspberry vinaigrette.  Here are the labels:
Marzetti Fat Free Raspberry Vinaigrette
Fat Free Dressing
As you probably know, I am not a fan of fat-free products. But when you are in a foreign country, you can’t always get what you want. I might as well had dessert – 11 grams of sugar in this little packet of dressing. Needless to say, I only used about a tablespoon of it for a little added flavor.

There were two types of water on the menu board – plain and strawberry. I don’t know what I was thinking that a fruit-flavored water would be just flavored and not juice! wendys_strawwaterfront wendys_strawwaterAgain, sugar is the second ingredient then juice, juice, and more juice! I should have skipped this all together but I must admit, I drank the whole thing since I was thirsty.

So my salad wasn’t the worst choice I could have made but I certainly didn’t get what I’d hope to get. Sugary pecans, sweetened dressing, and sugar-flavored water made my meal less than healthy. I survived but lesson learned. I guess I could have asked ahead of time what would be available at the airport or gotten an Internet connection and looked up the nutrition information on the chain’s web site. But vacation means giving yourself a break. I didn’t gain weight and continued losing when I got home.

I’m now two and a half pounds away from my initial goal. I’m very excited. Plus, I’m in nutrition class to begin my new career. At least I know how to make good choices in bad situations.

26 Pounds Lost in 20 Weeks

That’s the official count – I’ve lost 26 pounds in the last 20 weeks. I feel  like I have discovered a hidden treasure. Eating has never been so easy for me than it is now. I have tried every conventional diet with the same results. Lose a few pounds and then gain it right back and more when you stop eating that way. That’s no way to live. Eating for a lifetime is the right way.

It has been such an amazing journey.  It has been such a life transforming event that I’ve enrolled in nutrition school to get my certification. I want to help others learn this process and make their lives better. I feel better than I have in a long time. I’ve started weaning myself off my medications. My blood pressure was down to 103/70. I don’t need medicine anymore if I can sustain that type of pressure.

I have contacted a close friend who is a chef. We’re going to partner to bring new, whole food recipes to people. This is going to be exciting for me. I can’t wait to set up a web site and begin doling out information to help folks like me.

I haven’t forgotten that I said I would post a picture. I’m still 5 pounds away from my goal. When I hit it, I will post those pictures. It’s hard to looks at them now, realizing how heavy and unhealthy I was. It’s taken years for me to get the right “prescription” for health and I did it on my own!

More than anything, this has been an empowering journey. Learning how to heal my gut, lose weight, and keep it off has been so satisfying that I never want to go back to the way things were before. This time I know I can keep the weight off and feel better every day.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming pictures – and soon, a new website.

Successfully Managing Food on Vacation

I did it! I managed to go on vacation at a all-inclusive foreign resort and gain only 1 pound in eight days. I proved to myself that I have changed my eating habits permanently. I ate all the great food that I wanted but avoided all the things that I knew would be my downfall.

All week, I didn’t have desserts because they were mostly cakes and since I don’t eat grains, they were easy to avoid. On Friday there were chocolate covered strawberries. I let myself enjoy the sweet taste of fresh strawberries and some high quality dark chocolate. I even found it easy to eat just a couple and not eat as many as possible, like I would have in the past.

There was so much good food to choose from that I didn’t feel that I was missing out. I skipped the pasta and crepe stations and headed to the roast beef carving station. I ate three lobster tails one night! There were great choices of vegetables and salads. I never went hungry. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised that the kitchen staff were aware of Celiac Disease and would guide me away from food that was made with flours.

I’ve been working on increasing my knowledge in nutrition and overall health. I’m listening to webinars and reading as much as I can get my hands on food as medicine. I’ve realized my personal journey has brought me to the decision that I want to be a nutrition coach. I’d like to help people find their optimal nutritional formula. Since everyone is unique, it will be a personal journey for every person. I’d like to help guide people so they don’t have to go through the painful process of self discovery and take years to finally get there.

I’ll be posting along the path to my new career. I hope you join me.

Getting Close to My Goal

Every day brings me a little closer to my goal of losing 30 pounds. I’ve lost 21.5 pounds now and not stopping until I reach my goal. I am so happy that I finally figured out the food combinations that work for me – and what doesn’t work. Here’s the list of food that I have eliminated to burn fat to lose weight:

  • All grains
  • Limited dairy – I only eat a small amount of cheese
  • No peanuts, pistachios, or legumes
  • No soy or soy products
  • No sugar or artificial sweeteners, except stevia
  • No processed foods of any kind

When I say no grains, I mean none. I am not eating anything that could be made into a cereal – wheat, rye, barley, corn, rice, oatmeal, etc. This may not be permanent but I won’t go back to eating foods with gluten because of the Celiac Disease. I can tell my insides are healing because I don’t feel bloated after I eat, no gassiness or other issues.

I thought giving up sugar would be difficult. But I managed to ease myself out of the hold it held on me. At first, I was making low carb desserts to get me through the transition, using stevia as the sweetener. After about a month, I was able to give up the desserts. Now I eat a simple snack when I want something like a sweet treat – cashews and dates. Here’s how I make them:

  1. Take 1 cup of cashews and chop them up in a food processor. Set aside.
  2. Remove the pits from 9 dates and chop them up in a food processor until they look like a lump.
  3. Add the cashews to the dates in the processor and pulse them until they are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, make small cashew date balls. Refrigerate.

Once you are free of the sugar addiction – and I know I was addicted – this treat will be all the sweetness you need. I eat two for a snack and feel satisfied. As I get closer to my goal, I know I can’t afford to let up on the good nutritional habits I’ve developed. I’m never going back to being fat!

Don’t Rush Progress

I finally reached the 20 pound milestone. I was feeling quite good about it and started to add in more foods. But you can’t rush progress. I have been steadily losing weight as I ate a limited about of carbs. My eagerness to eat different foods got the best of me. I added in fruits – more than one at a time.  The good news is that I didn’t gain weight. The reality is that I stopped losing weight. So for about a week or so, I enjoyed morning smoothies with strawberries, bananas, grapes, dates, whatever I had on hand. They were delicious.

There is nothing wrong with eating fruit. But if you are trying to lose weight, there has to be a limit. I exceeded that limit. Strawberries are a good start since an average one has 1 gram of carbs. But a cup and half for a smoothie may be a bit too much for me at this time. Since I didn’t gain any weight, I don’t feel it was a bad investment. I know now that when I do reach my weight loss goal, I can have fruits and be able to maintain my weight.

I’ve gotten a better understanding of the foods that work well for my body. I have gone completely grain free since my diagnosis of Celiac’s Disease. No wheat, rye, barley, or any other grain, including corn and legumes. I’ve limited my dairy intake, mostly because of the gas and bloating issue. I do still cook with a limited amount of creams and cheeses. There’s no soy, sugar or sugar substitutes except stevia. Although I eat nuts, I do not include peanuts because they are a legume and not a nut.

Although The Thyroid Summit is over you can still get a copy of the material presented. One tidbit I want to share is about sleep. I have had interrupted sleep lately and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  During Dr. Teitelbaum’s presentation, he commented that if you are waking up in the middle of the night for no clear reason, you may be having a drop in blood sugar. He suggested eating a handful of almonds before going to bed.  What a simple solution! It has helped me get a better night’s sleep. Let me know if you try it and your results.

Inches Coming Off

The tangible sign that weight is coming off is not only the number on the scale but the number of inches lost. I was amazed to see that not only have I lost 19 pounds but I have lost a total of 14.35 inches. (Yes, I am going to measure into the hundredths!)

I feel so empowered that I have learned what I need to do to help my body shed the excess fat. It may not work for everyone but it is working for me. Here’s a sample day of meals:

Breakfast: Strawberry, banana, avocado smoothie with almond milk and chia seeds

Lunch: Chicken marinated in homemade barbecue sauce, asparagus

Dinner: Meatloaf (ground beef and lamb) with chopped peppers, Brussels sprouts cooked in bacon, glazed carrots

My husband and I cook once a week and make 28 meals that we package and store for lunches and dinners. It take a couple of hours but we are getting more efficient. We plan out meals so we use the oven for multiple dishes. The best thing we put in out kitchen when we had our house built was a steam oven. Vegetables taste so much better when they are steamed. Plus they don’t get the nutrients cooked out them.

We’ve started purchasing organic meats and dairy. It costs more but we’re saving by not buying the junk food. And the most important thing of all – I’ve cut out sugar altogether. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. After the first week, I no longer craved the food that I was clearly addicted to – ice cream, chocolate, all sweets! For me, that is the key. Without sugar, I’m not feeding the fat me. My body is able to naturally burn fat, slowly but surely. It’s like the light bulb went on inside my head and said you have kept yourself fat by eating the wrong things!

Now that I know what I should and shouldn’t eat, I can focus on building my body back up. I’ve started working on the Dr. Oz Transform Me. It’s starts very slowly which is very important for someone like me who is very out of shape. Try it – it’s easier than you think!

Reminder – The Thyroid Summit is currently airing (June 2-9, 2014)

Diagnosis – Celiac Disease

It’s official. The results of the endoscopy show that I have Celiac Disease. What does that mean? The Celiac Disease Foundation defines it as:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.

I already knew that I felt better when I eliminated wheat and other gluten containing foods from my diet. But to have a medical report state that there is visible evidence of damage to my intestine gave me resolve to revamp my entire diet.

I have researched for the “optimal” diet. One site will say one thing and another will contradict it entirely! How am I supposed to know what’s best. I fortunately have an office mate who is on the same search. She gave me her copy of The China Study to read. It is a dense book to read but provides such insight to the health/nutrition link, I could not stop reading it.

Like so many Americans, I have struggled with weight loss and health issues for years. Doctors prescribe pills and very little nutrition counseling. As many others, I am drawn the slick marketing of diets that claim will help you lose weight quickly. But I know that is a temporary fix. As I have gone through this process of trying to lose weight, I finally got it. When the light bulb went on in my head, it was almost anticlimactic. My nutritional needs are different from every one else. I began with the Paleo diet and moved to Atkins, all with the best intentions. What I didn’t realize was that I really hadn’t changed my way of eating. I still allowed myself to have processed foods. Once I eliminated those, I began to see weight loss come more easily. Then I realized that not all food is equal in value. That’s where The China Study helped shaped my views.

Although I am not eating a fully plant-based diet, I am limiting my animal protein. There are specific reasons that I have not made the leap and I will go into that later. The change has been dramatic.

17.5 pounds lost!
17.5 pounds lost!

I actually lost another pound when I weighed in today so it’s officially 18.5 pounds. To say the least, I am motivated to continue this path!

Older But Lighter

I woke up this morning wanting only one thing for my birthday – to have lost 15 pounds. Well, happy birthday to me. I made it. I’ve lost half of my targeted weight. It made getting a year older not so bad. I may be getting “older” but I’m getting better every day. My health is getting better. My weight loss is definitely better and steady. My attitude towards food is so  much better.

I’ve listened to the 2014 Diabetes Summit for the last nine days. So much valuable information! Even though I don’t have diabetes, I am insulin-resistant. I’ve learned so much about healthful eating and managing weight. It has reinforced my decision to eat low carb diet. I think starting on the Atkins diet was helpful to get the basic ideas for cutting out bad carbs and sugars. But now I see there is much more depth to regulating  body systems using food as a medicine.

Why take medications to reverse conditions that can be managed with proper diet? Diabetes is such an epidemic in this country and totally avoidable. Knowing that I have consciously decided to move away from the standard American diet and towards a lifetime of healthy eating is empowering. It is not easy when you’re start to lose weight to see other people eat those foods you once loved but it gets easier. I thought I never could stop eating sugary foods. I used to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a vanilla chai latte and a sour cream donut (YUM) on my way to work. Yes, it tasted is really good but I didn’t like the afternoon crash that resulted. I no longer feel the need to sugar up to get through the day. Eating protein and healthy fats give me enough energy to get through the day without lagging. That is a dramatic difference.

Sugar is just one thing out of my diet for good. I’ll go through the other food items that I’ve eliminated and tell you why I made those decisions. If you get a chance, listen to what is left of the Diabetes Summit. There is so much good information – even one session could have a big impact on your thinking about healthy eating.

Slow But Steady

It’s been slow but I continue on my low carb weight loss. I’ve lost 11 lbs. I’ve stuck with it even when I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Fortunately, I do not get cravings or feel like I’m deprived. When I look at a bowl of chocolate (my biggest downfall) I think how I will look once I start eating it again. It’s better looking in the bowl.

There have been setbacks along the way. I’ve had problems with acid reflux. I’m having an endoscopy and a colonoscopy tomorrow. My gastroenterologist thinks there could be another reason for my symptoms. Rather than having GERD, I may have Celiac disease. He will take a stomach biopsy to make a definitive diagnosis. I have felt better since I removed wheat and much of the gluten from my diet. It may be that I have to avoid all gluten. Either way, it’s better to know than not.

I’ve tried as best I can to eat low carb and stick to the regimen. Try as I might it is to follow the program, it’s really difficult to get 12-15 grams of carbohydrates from vegetables! It may be the one reason I think I’m not losing as quickly as others. Eating a chef salad the size of a basketball for lunch and having several other vegetables during the day still doesn’t always get me to the goal of 12-15 grams.  But I keep trying.

No matter what the medical tests say, I will continue to work on this low carb diet until I get where I want to be. Twenty more pounds to go. If I make it there, I will post a before and after picture of myself. I don’t want the before picture on the web without the after! I’m not that secure yet.

If you’re my age and you haven’t had a colonoscopy, I urge you to do so. The toughest part is the preparation. But it might save your life!