Too Soon

Last year when my husband and I decided to delve into eating as healthy as possible, we assumed we would have at least 3 months until we would need to have a get together with family. As it turns out we have family that love to proclaim the healthy life style but when they all get together their love for each other is often expressed with food. Unfortunately my family often is the ones left taking any unwanted food home. We’ve put our foot down before and insisted that we also don’t want all the left over pies, but many times the fight isn’t worth it. One would think we could just toss those calorie ridden, carby crappers right into the trash, but as it turns out my husband and I both hate throwing good things away. We often joke that we were somehow born in the depression era as we find value in things others would toss out. It is both a blessing and a curse.

When once again we began this healthy journey after taking the summer off, which rolled into fall and a little winter, we thought, again, we would have until Easter before a family gathering would be required. We were wrong. Yesterday we were invited once again to Holland to have a gathering with my husband’s immediate family (just like Christmas) but this time grandma’s twin sister’s family came too. It was a cousins gathering. As much as we love seeing the cousins I knew this would be a dieting nightmare.

The first thing I did to prepare for this day was make sure the dishes I brought were something I could eat. I chose spinach artichoke dip with cut up celery and sausage stuffed mushrooms. My husband and I love these dishes and they are on our low carb yes list.

The second thing I did, or at least wanted to do was make sure I didn’t go there hungry. I failed at this. That morning I also had to work and make a trip to see my aunts. Time was tight. I forgot to eat breakfast and lunch. Not good. So right before we left to travel to Holland I threw a handful of known okay foods into a dish to munch on the way. IMG_1190This was exactly what I needed!

And I was right. When we got there my sister in law had created these brilliant masterpiece cake balls. Like these:

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only her’s were twice this size and pink and chocolate and covered in sprinkles. I love eating colorful food. I love cake balls. Sprinkles are for winners, right? I think I found myself staring at these things at least 20 times throughout the day. I even had to help serve them to the kids, meaning I had to touch them! However, I was good. Not one sweet thing was consumed by me the entire time. I stuck with my foods, some vegetables and a few things that didn’t have high carb counts. The only thing outside of my desired food was homemade cabbage rolls and my husband and I split one.

It was really nice being able to avoid tempting foods, literally right in my face. It was even better waking up this morning and finding that I had lost 3.2 pounds since yesterday morning! This takes my seven day total weight loss to 4.2. This makes me very happy. I hope my second week is just as fulfilling.

 

Feeling Good In My Skin

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Ten years ago I gave birth to twins. Despite putting on the minimum suggested weight I still gained 50 pounds with this pregnancy. I was also almost 36 years old.  For the next 10 years I would attempt to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. As I aged into my 40s I became convinced I would never go back to my “normal” size and that I should become comfortable with this “new” size. I found hope in the idea that I maintained this weight very well. That’s good, right? Then two winters ago I noticed my weight creeping up. I thought, like I’ve done in the past, I’d reduce my carbs and sugars and any weight gain would go away. This time it didn’t. As I reached weight amounts I had never been to before, even during my twin pregnancy, I began to panic. I became frustrated. I tried all my old tactics and nothing worked! I am mostly a healthy eater. I don’t drink pop, I gave up beer 5 years ago when I found wheat created unwanted health problems, I eat vegetables (a lot), I rarely over eat because I hate that feeling. I like carbohydrates though and I like a sugary treat every once in a while. I’ve tried to maintain a very low carbohydrate diet when I can. It seems that my issue is that my family really likes their carbohydrates too. So when I found I was doing well for a couple of days, they would come in and request cookies, or ice-cream or something of that nature and I wasn’t strong enough to let them indulge and not partake. I also hated the idea of me not participating in a family fun food activity. I never wanted to be the mom who wouldn’t eat ice cream with their kids. I felt trapped.

Last year my husband decided that he had had enough with the extra weight himself. He’d also gained extra weight during the twins’ pregnancy and wanted to really work to lose about 30 pounds. As we rounded the new year he and I together began to make better choices. We cut out all the starchy carbohydrates, all sugar, all white foods (potatoes, rice, pasta, flour, sugar).  We added back in breakfast meats, which we had stopped eating the year before to try to lose a few pounds. And he immediately started losing weight. It took me 3 months and then I also started losing weight. Once I got all the tricky foods out of my system and out of the house, I also lost weight. After being on the strictest diet I had ever been on for 6 months I had lost 18 pounds and was well on my way. My husband had also lost 20 pounds. Then summer hit. I think we both felt pretty good about our weight loss and decided to take a break.

We didn’t add in terrible foods. It was more like fruit, a bun here and there, some lemonade. By Halloween I had gained back 4 pounds and my husband had gained back 6. Not too bad. So we decided we’d just enjoy ourselves for the rest of the year and then January 4, 2016 we’d start all over again. We indulged in cookies, pies, cocoas, candy, buns, desserts and pretty much anything we wanted. It wasn’t in huge quantities but it was consistent. And it did make a huge difference. By January 4, 2016 I had gained back 12 of my 18 pounds and my fat percent was right back where it was a year ago. I had almost undone all the work I had done the year before. I was (am) very disappointed. I’m not sure it was worth it. I know I went through some hardships like my grandma passing away and eating comfort foods just felt right. So maybe it was worth it. Honestly, I’m not sure it matters. It is what it is, as people say.

The good news is I’m not discouraged. In fact, I am really excited to start all over again. This time I will know exactly what will happen if I push it too far. I will know how to tweak it to make it work for me better. I am also attempting to journal the progress a bit better. So that’s what this is. If you’re interested in my recipes, tips, secrets,  progress or even just being voyeuristic I would love to invite you to follow along.

Today, January 4, 2016 I have  begun keeping the tricky foods out, my carbs down and my head held high. My goal is to lose 20 pounds by May.

In my research for preparing to start I found this wonderful recipe:

Key West Grilled Chicken

which I will be making right now. For lunch I ate at Panera and had the Greek Salad plus chicken. I will be using the apps MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun to keep track of exercise and food consumption. I also have a Fitbit. I found today that when I went to add my Panera salad that the app actually used the GPS on my phone to bring in information about where I was. Once I got past the freakiness about my technology knowing so much, I thought it was pretty cool that these devices all worked together to make this data inputting a lot easier.

I know that weight loss is a hot topic issue lately, but for me, I need to feel healthy. I want to love my skin. I want to be the mom who can run and play and not get winded. I will still be curvy, I will still be soft, but I will be happy for reaching my goal to be a healthier version of myself.

So here we go!

Thanks for your support,

Ariniko

Be My Valentine

aaIMG_3905I am probably the worse person to have to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. Despite being incredibly romantic I come at it in a nontraditional way. Early in my relationship with Pat I mentioned that I don’t like to receive flowers because I feel bad that they sit in a vase and die. That always made me sad. So for years (decades) I never received flowers from Pat. Even though this was per my request Pat always came out looking like a loser. There have been a couple of years where Pat bought me roses for Valentine’s Day and I must admit I did like it. It’s flattering to have the delivery person come to the house, carrying the made up bouquet and the cute little card. But after a week they wilt and the water turns green and it makes me sad. I try to keep the buds by letting them dry but there’s not a whole lot you can do with them. This year I again told Pat I didn’t want any roses. There are a couple of reasons. First of all we haven’t fully plowed our very long driveway and any delivery people park out on the road and walk in. It’s quite dangerous. Secondly there’s the whole dead flower thing again. Finally I can think of a lot better ways to spend $58, like putting it towards a new camera that I’ve been eyeing on line. So yesterday while out getting groceries together Pat asked if he could buy me flowers. I said no. But he insisted. So I said, how about buying me a rose plant. And he did. It’s just a mini, but it’s pretty cute. I am hoping I don’t kill it before we can plant it outside.

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The next “must have” Valentine gift is chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate. However, many years ago, when we were trying to actively lose weight we found that there were certain times of the year that always got us. We came to name them the “Candy Holidays”: Halloween, Christmas and Easter. These would get us so bad that we vowed to stop the crazy and back away from the candy. And we did great, until we got hit by the secondary “candy holidays”: New Years, Valentine’s Day, our Anniversary (March 7), Fat Tuesday (those crazy Paczki) and St. Patrick’s Day (we’re an Irish Family). This set got us even worse than the original Candy Holidays. I think because they come in the dead of winter and you would do anything to feel better, it’s like the perfect food craving storm. Each year it was good for at least a 10 pound weight gain. I realized that I really don’t like when I get told what I should eat based on a holiday! It’s some odd domineering  force telling me I have to eat chocolates right now because it’s Valentine’s Day! What makes it even more frustrating is that for over a week I’ve been trying to eat healthy with food like this:

aaIMG_0326and was doing a pretty good job.

Now I’m told if I don’t eat this,

aaIMG_0342I’m not loved. How manipulative! It’s a psychological mess, really.

I don’t think I really have the answer. If I fall under the holiday spell I have dead flowers and a 5 pound weight gain. If I don’t I have no flowers, no chocolate and feel like I am giving up on my marriage. What a scam!! This year we bought the rose plant and shared a box of chocolates (although I am pretty sure I ate more than Pat). We also plan on having a nice lunch out while the twins are at school.

I don’t know what I would consider to be the perfect Valentine’s. I guess knowing that I have so many loves in my life that wish me a happy Valentine’s Day first thing in the morning and are willing to keep trying to get it right with me is all anyone could ask for.

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