I’m going down!

Home made soupIn my first week on the Quantified Diet randomly assigned Mindful Eating plan, I have done the following things:

  • I have eaten at the table for most of my dinners and a few of my breakfasts (instead of on the sofa)
  • I have been putting my fork/spoon/piece of food down between bites to encourage slower eating
  • I have literally slowed down my chewing and increased the number of chews as I eat a biteful of food
  • I have taken a few moments before I eat to look at my food and enjoy the differences of colours and visual textures
  • I have smelled my foods as I prepare them; I’ve closed my eyes and savoured those smells, searching my mind for associations
  • I have focused on experiencing the wonderful textures and flavours in each biteful of food
  • I have prepared more whole foods and “from scratch” meals than eaten takeout or restaurant food
  • I have snacked almost exclusively on fruit instead of chocolate and baked goods

It’s not terribly hard to do. In fact, it’s ridiculously easy to do. The hardest part of it is to remember to do one or more of these mindful eating techniques while eating.

Additionally, I’ve bought more veggies to enjoy. My walking numbers have also gone up this week.

Week 1 Results:
2.1 lbs weight LOSS
1.0% body fat percentage LOSS

Yeah!

Starting over, again

I’m participating in the crowd-sourced Quantitative Diet study going on through Lift. I’ve been given the Mindful Eating Diet. Essentially I’m going to eat more mindfully one step at a time.

Today’s task: eat one meal using a mindful eating technique. My technique tonight was to eat dinner at a table.  I still looked at my phone occasionally and I ate far too fast, bu I ate at the kitchen table and not on the sofa. Yay me!

I’m also doing the Eat More Vegetables plan on Lift. Today’s first task: make a list of veg and fruits you like and one’s you’ve never tried.

Stuff I Like

  • avocado
  • asparagus
  • apples
  • apricot
  • eggplant
  • bananas
  • beets
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • boysenberries
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • garlic
  • grapefruit
  • grapes
  • green beans
  • green onions
  • sweet peppers
  • melon
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • canteloupe
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • cherries
  • coconuts
  • cucumber
  • corn
  • cranberries
  • kale
  • kiwi
  • leeks
  • lemons
  • limes
  • radishes
  • raspberries
  • rhubarb
  • raisins
  • rhutabaga
  • mangoes
  • mulberries
  • mushrooms
  • oranges
  • snow peas
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • turnips
  • onion
  • parsnip
  • peaches
  • pears
  • peas
  • pineapple
  • plums
  • potatoes
  • zucchini

Though I’ve eaten them before, it’s not often; I’d like to try squash but I don’t get much support at home. I’d also like to try jicama, but I think I have a familiarity with a lot of veggies that I don’t really need the second list. I could easily eat a wide variety of fresh foods if I committed myself to it.

I’ll also be starting the Easing Into Running plan shortly. I’ll be starting on a day that is not snowing and not -22C. I really enjoyed my attempt at starting a running program but it was far too intense for me. This plan is much, much more gentle.

I’ll be writing about my experience with the Quantitative Diet program in the Lift Community on Medium. You can read my first piece They Don’t Carry Girdles In My Size.

 

 

Woah!

I finally stepped on the scale this morning after successfully avoiding it for more than a month, and it confirmed what my too tight clothing has been telling me. (BTW, the scale image to the left cracks me up. That blue light … it’s like the dread that goes directly to my noggin as I await the final number on my Aria scale.) Image

Anyhow, I’m going to re-prioritize a little. I focus exactly ZERO attention right now on my health and well-being. Nothing. I focus all my attention on school, my family, business and other people. For the last few months, I have spent a little on my home which keeps it from being a total sty but just the bare minimum. I have free time but I often use it to just zone out rather than doing anything productive because I’m mentally tapped and frazzled at the end of the day. I suppose zoning out is for me but it doesn’t feel that way — it feels like survival. Anyone know what I mean?

I started today with just being mindful of what I’m eating, and writing it down with an amount. Writing it down is key for me. I want to see that I’m eating things in balance. I’ll start with that and see where I’m at next week. You thrive where you place your energy and I need to place more on a healthier me, too.

Habits, Systems and Goals

This article is brilliant and completely in line with what I have been talking about regarding habits. Basically: if it’s the system or plan that gets you to your goal, set up and follow the system  and don’t even pay attention to the goal and you’ll get there anyway without the stress of looking at that seemingly unattainable goal out there in the future.

Duh!  That’s one of those brilliantly simple and obvious things that seem like an epiphany when you figure it out.

A system is a plan made up of repeated steps. Repeated steps are just habits.

My goal is to re-shape my body in such a way that it works better and fits betters into my clothing. It doesn’t matter what the specific numbers or sizes are. My system is to change the way I eat long term and get more activity in – in an organic way, I’m no dieting gym-bunny. The habits I need to make that system work are adding vegetables into all of my meals, increasing the amount of water I eat, improving the quality of my snacks while reducing the amount of snacks I eat, getting my 10,000 steps a day and starting a running training program.

If I make all those habits regular, if I turn them into a system that repeats over and over and over then the goal will happen whether I think about it or not. So, I’m not going to be miserable focusing on the 50lbs I was hoping to lose by summer. I won’t feel like it’s so far away and so huge and unattainable that I should not bother at all. No, instead I will think about my habits – establishing and maintaining them – so that all the little things I need to do to achieve my goals will be completed, on auto-pilot. One day I will wake up and realise that I’m achieving my goals, and even better: I’m achieving them easily, with little thought or inconvenience.

What kind of habits are you trying to establish?

Habits and Tools

I have terrible habits and habits are where it’s at.

My weight has been holding steady which is good in that it’s not going up. But it sure isn’t coming down. And, though I’ve been far more active in the last few weeks, a quick examination of what’s going in my mouth reveals a shocking lack of vegetables and a huge amount of starches and sugars.

So, I have to change my habits. I need to make eating better more regularly an unconscious part of every day.

I’ve written about Lift before and I found it very useful. Quickly: it’s a site/app where you define habits you want to create and then track how well you do each day. It works well. But, it’s undergoing some updating and they’re including a goal feature.

I don’t know if people will be able to define their own goals but they currently have a number of goals in different categories. They look a lot like those memes going around FB and Pinterest such as 21 day squat challenge or 30 day plank challenge that list activities to do each day that build to the goal of a firmer stomach or something similar.

I got an email the other day that announced the website overhaul and the launch of a new endeavor within the Lift app called the Quantified Diet Project. A person chooses one of 10 diets and then the app provides guidance over the course of a month to follow the diet and achieve whatever goals you define – lose weight, get healthier, sleep better, have more energy, feel less depressed, etc.

The diet options are pretty wide-ranging, to. Everyone ought to be able to find something that works for them out of the plans: paleo, slow carb, vegetarian, whole foods, gluten-free, now-sweets, DASH, calorie-counting, sleep and mindful eating. The really interesting thing, though, is that Lift is pairing up with UC Berkeley who are doing a massive diet study and you can choose to be randomly assigned as a control participant.

I am thinking of following the Whole Foods approach which is based on the Summer Tomato/Foodist approach. I loved the Foodist book and Darya’s Summer Tomato blog.

You can go to the Lift website and download the free iOS or Android app to use the tool or just use the website itself. Be sure to click on the Sign Up To Be Notified button.

Anyone want to join me?  What diet do you think you’ll choose?

 

Weight Loss and Life

I was down 2 lbs this week!

My total since early July is about 9 lbs. This means I am back to where I was before I gained a bunch this spring. I’m still 6 lbs heavier than I was last autumn but I’m feeling good about my ability to get back to that place. I’m feeling pretty good in general, actually.

What have I done differently? I’m mostly not eating junk. That’s pretty much it. I do indulge in high energy foods (chocolate and other delightful things) on occasion if I really really really (quoting my WW leader here) want them.  I don’t hold back from eating if I’m genuinely hungry but I have been checking in with how I’m feeling before I have a major snack to see if I’m actually hungry, bored, stressed out, or sad.  I have dutifully journaled all summer.

On the exercise front, I started yoga again but stopped when it was clear that my shoulder wasn’t hacking it. Turns out the mystery shoulder injury I had in late March was the start of “frozen shoulder”. I’m doing better now but it’s only about 60%. Physio 2x a week and daily exercise helps. I’m regaining my range of motion in that arm and can now put pressure on it, so I hope to be back at yoga soon.

In the life front, I’m going back to university! I’ll be the old lady there. Excited and nervous about those changes.

Also, I discovered mushroom pizzas and my life will never be the same again. Take a portobello mushroom, wash it, and cook it in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes. You might like to season it with a little salt and pepper at this point. Take it out, add your favourite sauce and your favourite toppings  — I did peppers, olives, onion, garlic and good cheese —  and bake for another 10 minutes. 4 points!

I added sriracha after. You’d be crazy not to! 😉

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That Sweat Don’t Smell!

I just sniffed my underarms and they smell awesome!

OK, I probably need to explain that better. I just wanted to share my excitement right away.

One of my long term goals is to reduce the amount of harsh personal products from my life. About 4 years ago I made the big leap to stop using commercial menstrual products and I haven’t looked back. I use a silicone menstrual cup and reusable cotton and bamboo liners. There have been some distinct benefits to that switch: I’m healthier, more comfortable and I no longer pay a dues to a pharmaceutical company monthly just because I’m female and menstruate.

Now, I’m switching to a “natural” deodorant. I’ve stopped using my long time favourite Lady Speed Stick in Orchard Blossom and taken up with a new favourite, Penny Lane’s Tea-Tree-Lemon (VEGAN) stick deodorant.

A friend had given me her recipe for homemade deodorant, and I had intended to make it this week, but when I went to buy the ingredients, they were pretty expensive. Of course, I probably would have made enough deodorant for 6 months, but, well, $20 each for a couple of the ingredients seemed steep to me at the time. Instead, I spent about 15 minutes staring at a handful of “natural” deodorant options trying to figure out which to experiment with. I sniffed a lot of sticks.

I briefly, about 20 years ago, used a rock style deodorant from Tom’s of Maine but it was pretty much useless. That may have made me more than a little reluctant to try again. And, while I have no problem, in theory, with folks who choose to go natural, that kind of smell can get intense, especially through the very sweaty summer. I didn’t want to have people call me a hippie like it was a swear word every time they got close to me.

It is with relief that I report that even on a super sweaty day when even walking between the living room and the kitchen makes me break out into a sweat, I smell great.  The deodorant has been on my pits for well over 12 hours, even. It doesn’t smell like lemon or tea tree oil any more, but my pits don’t smell like anything else, either. And they are dry. They aren’t crumbly. There’s no residue like there usually is from the Lady Speed Stick.

I like that the ingredient list is small: baking soda, corn starch, coconut oil, tea tree essential oil and lemon essential oil. Also: I know what everything is in that list. I can’t say the same of the stuff on the shelves at the pharmacy. And it only cost $9 for 120 grams (as compared to $3 for 65 grams for Lady Speed Stick).

What do you use on your pits? If you make your own, share your recipe – I still haven’t ruled out making my own.