Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in review

Last day of the year, so time to look back at everything.  Here's the list of goals I set at the start of the year:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week.  I did not meet this goal, unfortunately.  Just shy of 25 pounds lost for the year, which I must admit, is not too bad.  It's under half of my goal had been, but hey... at least it's over 20 pounds gone, despite the 7 that came back in the last few months of the year. That big drop in the middle of the year was the detox, which I think I should do again in the coming months.
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month.  I killed this goal.  316 workouts during the year.  The best part?  3 of those were U-JAM Fitness classes that I TAUGHT. :)
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month.  I did this, and want to make this a continued focus in the new year.  Need to keep experimenting with new foods too!
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time.  This one is a hard one for me to judge.  I didn't eat out at restaurants as much as I used to, so that's good.  But I can make poor food decisions at friends' houses and even my home too.  Not sure how to balance this one better for next year.
Overall, I'm proud of my accomplishments.  24 pounds gone is good.  316 workouts is great.  Becoming a certified U-JAM Fitness instructor and finding a place to teach is AMAZING.  I also met my informal goal that I mentioned at the first of the year of going to a health spa for a few days, and that was most wonderful.  I need to make sure to keep the good trends going for next year, and let go of some of the bad.

Goals - December report

December is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - fail - up 1.1 pounds during the month.  Ugh.  It was worse in the middle of the month, but what can I say?  It's the holiday season and I failed to lose weight.  At least I only gained 1.1 pounds?  Unfortunately, it's 6.3 pounds up from my lowest in July.  
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - absolutely smashed!  31 workouts!  Several days with 3 workouts even (which is when the weight trend pulled down).  Good month for moving my body!
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met.  Even took a cooking class this month!  Yippee!
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - fail, due to the holidays and way too many treats at too many social events.  At least the damage wasn't too horrible.
Let's just post this and then take a look at the year as a whole.  Glad I got so much exercise in this month, but wish it had reflected better on the scale.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


OK, so we know the weight loss isn't going well these past few months - and it's gotten even worse the past few weeks.  I'm about back where I was six months ago.  UGH.

I looked at my weight tracking app and realized that I'm only down 25 pounds for the past year.  And I was really upset and frustrated about that, mentally beating myself up about it as I drove to the gym to work out this morning.

And then I started realizing, after class... that's obviously really, really stupid to do.  25 pounds is nothing to sneeze at!  So when I got home, I dug up my old post with the big weight graph and then found the spreadsheet to update it.

Yep, it's not good that the number is going back up again, but overall... damn!  Look at that progress!  Each horizontal line is 20 pounds (and that highest point is when I gave birth - not sure why the date isn't matching up perfectly, but I know that number!).  So I need to stop beating myself up on this.  Yes, I am not going to make my goal of losing a pound a week this year, and that's terribly disappointing.  But I will set a new goal for 2017 of 3 pounds a month I think - 36 pounds for the year - which is more realistic than 52 pounds.

It's crazy how easy it is to be hard on yourself, but I need to keep perspective - and to keep working on this, of course.  The next few weeks will for sure be a challenge, but I know that January is going to be a month of rededication.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Goals - November report

November is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - fail - big super massive fail.  This is so frustrating, but I know it's because my healthy eating is flying out the window these days.  Ugh.  The only good thing to this graph is that the moving average is only up 1.5 pounds for the month.  Unfortunately, that's also 5.2 pounds over the past four months.  No bueno.
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - met!  24 workouts, but too many days with no workouts unfortunately.  I looked at today and learned that last month I took 338,313 steps and climbed 272 floors.  Neato! ;)  I did take a new class this month too!
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met.  Gosh, I think five or six this month?  One of the hits was this roasted pumpkin and sage soup :) with some of the incredible turkey stock I made a day or two earlier.  Yum!
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - failed.  I felt like I did okay at Thanksgiving, only to completely fall off the wagon at a friend's birthday party (TATER TOTS!).  It's so deeply frustrating at how fast I can gain weigh but how long it takes to lose it.  
OK, so to be brutally honest, I am really frustrated with how the weight loss has been going - since I haven't been losing weight! ;)  Looking at my calendar for December, I know this is not going to be good for the scale.  Too many social events focused around food, and honestly some of them conflict with my workouts - but I need to find balance.  I get lonely at times (being a stay-at-home mom is difficult!), so I will just have to find ways to get in some other exercise!  My goal for December is to not gain weight.  Let's see if that can happen...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Goals - October report

October is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - fail - but shockingly, when you look at that scary graph to the right... my moving trend is only up 0.2 pounds for the month.  So I guess that's a positive?  I don't know.  Very frustrating overall though.
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - smashed!  27 workouts, with some rest days in there too.  I did some more walking this month, including over 19,000 steps yesterday (14,000 were before trick or treating!).
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met.  Several new recipes, including finally trying mini cauliflower pizzas which were good but don't call it pizza. ;)
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - I'm going to say no on this one.  Overall I feel like I'm doing okay-ish, but clearly I'm not or the scale would be moving in the right direction.  Even when I work out a bunch, I still gain a ton of weight if I eat too much. ;)  Sucks!
I'm really hoping things will settle down this month and I can get back into a ton of GREEN on those charts and start losing weight again.  I need to religiously track all my food again too.  Whee. ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

U-JAM Fitness Instructor!

Hello, blogland!  ;)  Late last month, I completed all the steps to officially become a credentialed U-JAM Fitness Instructor!  WOOHOO!  I've written before about my love of U-JAM Fitness and I'm thrilled to join the instructor family.  I've even taught my first class, but that was a one-time situation, filling in last-minute for someone who was injured.  It was thrilling to get that first class out of the way though, and I realized that I have a LOT more to learn. :D  

Apparently this year is about me pushing out of my comfort zone - and hopefully the rest of the year will see my weight loss get back on track, and maybe even see me start teaching regularly somewhere... :)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Goals - September report

September is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - wow, stunning fail here.  Despite how bad the graph is overall, I'm actually only up 1.8 pounds for the month when you look at the trend.  Of course, I was up about that last month too, so I have four pounds that have got to go, just to get back on track.  Frustrating, for sure.  I was out of town for a couple of days and that was the big spike which I still haven't recovered from yet.  Ugh.
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - almost met - 19!  This was a tough month, and I felt poorly physically for a week (not coincidentally the week of that massive weight spike!), but I am glad that I nearly met this goal. ;)
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met.  A couple of new crock pot recipes, but unfortunately I didn't like them so I won't be repeating them. ;)  
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - fail.  Honestly, I didn't eat a lot of crap, I just ate too much and on repeated occasions.  So not a massive fail but clean eating doesn't mean unlimited clean eating. ;)
Man, September kicked my butt.  I hate to have two bad months in a row.  I'm higher now than I was three months ago even, which is miserable.  Still 36 pounds less than a year ago, but c'mon... gotta kick it into gear.  I have a free month of MyFitnessPal calling my name to start on Monday, and I really hope to make all that red go away for next month's graph.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Goals - August report

August is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - big fail!  Happy Scale says my moving average is up 1.7 pounds for the month, which is being generous.  The red at the back of that graph shows how much higher I am this month from where I was a month ago.  We were on vacation for part of the month, and you can see how that reflected in my weight!
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - met with a caveat.  I did 16 traditional workouts, and gave myself credit for 6 days of my vacation where my fitbit said I had more than 60 active minutes.  
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met.  Right now I'm drawing a blank on which recipe, but I know I did a few new things at the start of the month.
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - fail.  We were traveling for 12 days, and that threw everything off.  I did not eat healthy most of that time for sure (but I did walk a lot more...).
August was a challenge, but at least I'm only 1.7 pounds up for the month?  I have two big challenges ahead this coming month, including another trip (but it's only about 48 hours), so hopefully I can get my eating and my exercise in line again and see some big patches of green on the graph next month ;)  I still weigh 42 pounds less than I did a year ago, and that's a great accomplishment.  

Monday, August 8, 2016

post-detox life

Checking in to say hi. ;)

I've been spending a LOT of time working on my U-Jam Fitness instructor next steps, and have sadly neglected the ol' blog here.

It's been interesting seeing how my body is reacting to post-detox life.  I'm definitely even more of a food snob - but still, several birthday celebrations have added some pounds back.  Very frustrating, especially because my husband gained too but already lost it!  Stupid male metabolism ;)

I am feeling, overall, a bit more crappy than I was during the detox.  We've got some things going on this month that keep me from going back on the full detox but I am trying to get back into less-carbs more-fat more-protein in general.  I know I'm not likely to meet most of my goals this month, but that is okay.  Gotta be realistic!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Goals - July report

July is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - met!  The moving average trend from that nice graph here (thanks, Happy Scale!) says I'm down 5.2 pounds over this month so I'll take that. 
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - smashed!  28 workouts, with some rest days in there too.  I do need to make more of an effort going forward to cross-train though, and not just do my beloved U-Jam Fitness classes ;)  
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met.  One of my favorites is this squash rice casserole from Cooking Light magazine.  I really like to make this with quinoa instead of the rice, and I skip the breadcrumbs and parmesan.  Big hit around this house :)
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - met, though not at all met for the end of the month with birthday celebration.  Finishing up the detox made me happier, but you will notice the big jump in my weight up there when bread came back for a visit. ;)
August is filled with challenges, and honestly, I know the pound-a-week will be a tough goal.  Hopefully I can make it!  :D

Monday, July 25, 2016

U-Jam Fitness Instructor Workshop!

This weekend, I did something completely crazy and out of my comfort zone. I took the instructor workshop for U-Jam Fitness, the cardio dance workout that I love.

Over the past few years, I've met some incredible people who are U-Jam Fitness instructors, and two of them in particular really encouraged me to take this workshop. I thought I'd take the workshop later in the year, but one was scheduled nearby this month and the trainer was the fantastic instructor who really ignited my passion for U-Jam back in 2011 - so I knew I needed to take this particular workshop.

It's a full two day workshop, which kicks off with an hour-long "Master Class" taught by the trainer and open to the public.  I was delighted that both of the instructors who nudged me to take the workshop were both able to attend!  What a great and supportive way to kick off this weekend!

After the Master Class, day one is filled with learning more about the fundamentals of U-Jam Fitness, including two "choreo jams" where the trainer broke down each song into the core moves and helped us fine tune every movement.  I've been doing these songs for five years, and I learned something new about each one - crazy!  One of the songs was designated as the one we'd have to teach the next day, so we spent a lot of time working on that one (and some folks stayed late to keep on practicing).

Day two started off with a written test covering the materials in the instructor manual that we had received after signing up for the workshop (and discussed during the first day).  After that, we all got to practice our class introductions and then do our "practical" exam of teaching that song from the prior day!  I had lots of fun with that.  Later on, we did two more "choreo jams" to master a total of four songs over the weekend.

However, this doesn't mean I am a credentialed U-Jam Fitness instructor yet!  I need to film a video of myself teaching three of those songs in front of a class of at least five students, and submit that video for evaluation.  Nerve-wracking!!  I hope to do this in the next few weeks, though we do have 60 days to submit it.

I had a great time at the workshop and learned a lot, and am now on my journey to become a credentialed U-Jam Fitness instructor.  Looking forward to seeing where this adventure will take me!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Detox, day 46: finished

OK, that's enough of this for me. ;)  I technically should still do a cow's milk reintroduction and I should retry bread, but I am calling this challenge complete.

Overall, it was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.  I definitely crave sugar and sweets, but I can survive without them.  ;)  I didn't like the total depravation portion, so I don't think I'm going to be doing a Whole30 every month or anything like that.  I do see myself trying to eat along these guidelines for many of my meals though.  I feel like my metabolism has adjusted to this, though, so I need to jump start things and vary it up more often.

I do like that this detox did help accelerate my weight loss for a few weeks - and I'm glad that I've kept that weight off as well.  The true challenge will be to keep it off and lose more over the next year! :D

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Detox, days 44 & 45: peanuts

I'm not the world's hugest fan of peanuts, but I can appreciate a good peanut butter every now and then.  Now that we're near the end of the reintroductions, I went ahead and had peanut butter yesterday.  Thankfully, no reactions!

I think I'm nearing the end of all of this detox excitement.  I'll give gluten another try and do milk at some point by itself, but otherwise, I think we are coming to a close on this. ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Detox, days 42 & 43: barley

Barley apparently is an allergen for some folks, but not me, thankfully. ;)  I had a lovely barley soup to which I added extra cooked barley.  Yum.  Not quite as amazing as the cream- and sodium-rich version at Whole Foods, but it was still good.

The gums/sore mouth issue turns out to be BLISTERS from when I burned my mouth on some ridiculously hot food at the family reunion.  So gross.  I'm trying to swish with warm salt water, and stick to soft foods (yay barley!).  It feels better today than yesterday, thank goodness.

I think I'm going to switch tomorrow's plan for milk to peanut butter instead.  The cow's dairy messed me up earlier and I just am not in the mood for potential gastrointestinal issues this week. ;)  Hopefully peanut butter will be non-eventful. ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Detox, days 39 & 40 & 41: beans recovery

No issues arose with the beans - hooray!  I made an excellent zucchini rice casserole last night that I will definitely be making again :)

Yesterday was tough with a big family reunion and there were some slip-ups.  I made a massive mistake by not eating lunch ahead of time (and then food wasn't ready for almost 3 hours after we arrived!).  Very big lapse on my part.  Ended up overeating and felt like crap the rest of the night.

Today I felt sluggish and worn down, with a really sore mouth (roof of my mouth and upper/inner gums) - perhaps a weird reaction to something I ate yesterday?  So freaky.

Still planning to attack barley tomorrow, and then cow's milk on Wednesday.  Whee. ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Detox, days 37 & 38: soy recovery and beans

Along we go.  No reaction to the soy - hooray? ;)  I'm not a massive fan of soy, but I like tofu on occasion and soy sauce is handy with sushi times, so I'm glad it's not going to be a concern overall.  I still won't have too much of it (especially soy sauce with all that sodium!).

Today, I reintroduced beans.  I totally wussed out on cooking today, and went to Chipotle for take-out lunch.  I had a salad with chicken, black beans and pinto beans, plus the pico de gallo.  Pretty simple.  I was hoping the beans would be more flavorful, but they were just... beans. ;)  I think I'm a wimp when it comes to Chipotle's seasoning though, because my mouth was burning a bit afterwards and I actually took an antacid. ;)  The beans, combined with my inadvertent over-portioning of coconut flour into my smoothie this morning, means I ate more than double the fiber I had the day before.  Oops. ;)

I am so ready to be done with all of this!  Unfortunately, tomorrow starts 3 days of family-reunion-related stuff, so I'm just going to do recovery days for that time and reintroduce something new on Monday.

Completely unrelated: I talked to the manager at my Trader Joe's yesterday and he said my beloved Whole Grain Plus bread is likely going to be out of stock until OCTOBER.  I am so bummed!  Time to experiment with other breads.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Detox, day 36: soy

Had a big gain on the scale this morning - not sure what that's all about.  My calories consumed don't support that number, that's for sure. ;)

Today is soy day.  Had some edamame at lunch, and made a chocolate banana tofu pudding for dessert tonight.  I made the pudding at lunch so it could chill for a few hours.  It's not particularly good though - it was very difficult to blend, so I ended up more than doubling the amount of milk (used unsweetened almond milk since I don't have soy milk handy).  It's also not at all sweet, despite the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and the banana.  Pretty gritty too.  But hey, it's a different texture than what I've had lately - and it's getting in the tofu.  I just don't think it's a recipe I'll make again. ;)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Detox, day 35: rice recovery

No problems today - hooray!  Still resting a bit though, but we did go for a nice long walk this evening.  Tomorrow brings soy! ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Detox, day 34: rice

Yay, new food day!  Hooray!

Today is rice day, and so for dinner tonight, I made a fabulous chicken lemon rice (great recipe, I added a smidge more lemon and no extra salt - would make this again!).  It was so very delicious.  I am excited to be one step closer back to sushi. ;)

I still took it relatively easy today - skipped my usual cardio workout, but I did do some time on an elliptical at the gym.  I also met with a personal trainer there to learn how to use their new weight machines, and she was great (but omg it's expensive to see a trainer so that's not going to happen again for a long, long time).  My shoulders are still really hurting from overdoing it on Wednesday, so hopefully tomorrow they'll feel a bit better.  The trainer really emphasized that I need to devote some time to the resistance training and not just all the cardio - and also that I need to do a rest day more regularly.  (My schedule this week is going to incorporate a rest day since husband has to work late one night!) ;)

No immediate issues with the rice - hopefully tomorrow will be good too!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Detox, days 32 & 33: corn & recovery

So despite still feeling rather meh, I went ahead and introduced corn yesterday.  I really can't keep pushing all of this back even further, and frankly, I didn't think I'd have an issue with corn.  So we had fresh corn on the cob (grown in our backyard!), and it was delicious.  No issues that night or the following day - so I think we're good on this one?  Maybe I should've had more corn to really push the issue, but I think one whole ear is good enough.  I do have some corn tortillas waiting to be eaten in a few days. ;)

Still feeling sluggish, and my body is aching in various ways, so I'm backing off my daily workouts and trying to give my body some time to heal itself.  I know I'm not getting as much sleep as body wants, so hopefully I can work on that as well.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Detox, day 31: cheese & yogurt recovery

Well, crap.

My intestines decided tonight to rebel strongly against the cheese and yogurt - not sure which, of course.  I want to think it's because of the Greek yogurt I had - those probiotics weren't present at those levels over the past month, so maybe that just sent things into a tizzy.  So I'll take a few days off from yogurt and cheese, and when I'm ready to try it again, I'll do just the yogurt and see how that goes.

I am so disheartened by this.  It's so frustrating that my body seems to reject the things I like! ;)  And honestly, I don't want to drag out this reintroduction phase for the rest of the month.  I do plan on eating mostly detox-friendly foods for the long term, but man, I really want some sushi and a slice of cake.  Now.  ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Detox, day 30: cheese & yogurt

OK, well... not sure if I should've moved ahead, given that I still feel generally crappy and have various intestinal rumblings still.  However, mentally, I need to move forward.  I can't keep pushing all this off, so today we went ahead with cow's milk cheese and yogurt.

Still with the rumblings, but nothing dramatically worse so perhaps it's okay.  I'll still take it out tomorrow to 'recover' again and hopefully get everything back on track.  I'm overall still meh and feeling tired and wiped out.  It's really frustrating to have invested 30 days into this and still not feel AMAZING as I was promised. ;)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Detox, days 28 & 29: bread recovery continues


First social gathering while on the detox was yesterday, and it was a big ol' barbecue that was laden with all kinds of forbidden foods. ;)  I brought homemade deviled eggs (used olive oil instead of mayo and it worked well!), and carrots and cucumbers and zucchini - but I should've brought more "allowed" foods.  We each had a burger (without bun or cheese, of course), but kiddo in particular wanted EVERYTHING - and though he's not on this detox, I didn't want him to overdo it on cookies and pie and chips and such.  Husband really wanted some grilled corn, but corn is still off-limits right now.  Sitting in front of the dining table (where everyone had piled on the cookies and sweets) was really unpleasant, frankly.  Very demotivating.

And my intestinal woes continue - mostly cramping at this point, but still not back to normal.  I'm also ridiculously tired and worn-out.  Honestly, I am completely over this whole detox right now and just really want to be done.  I'm so tired of not enjoying what I'm eating, and not being able to eat more things.  When I'm not feeling well - over these past 3 days in particular - I am truly and deeply craving comfort foods and they're all forbidden.

Recovering from this bread failure really sucks because it's also pushing out this detox another two days.  I'm supposed to re-try any failures at the end of the reintroductions, but I have a very physically intense weekend shortly after our last scheduled reintroduction, so there's no way I am going to be able to do it then.  Oy!  Gotta stop focusing on that far off though - it's not helping my mental state right now.

The one up-side to all of this: I weighed 48.8 pounds less this year than I did on the 4th of July last year. ;)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Detox, day 27: bread recovery


So perhaps there is something about bread that doesn't agree with me.  I did gain half a pound overnight (even though my total calories were still the same as my average during the detox), but more importantly, I feel like crap today.  Weird pain in my chest plus some odd coughing this morning, and then the good ol' gastro-intestinal distress this afternoon and evening.  General malaise and fatigue overall too.  Ugh.  At this point, I'm guessing we're going to have to push the next reintroduction back another day, which sucks since we were both really looking forward to cheese! ;)

Sucks to not feel good though.  Odd that the whole wheat pasta didn't affect me, but perhaps the bread did...  Weird!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Detox, day 25 & 26: recovery & bread!

Day 25 yesterday was the recovery day after the wheat reintroduction.  Nothing came up, so I feel okay with the wheat by itself.

Today, we went for some fresh delicious sourdough bread - no sugar in there, and only a few ingredients, so I like this product!  It was SO good, honestly - my husband has been missing bread desperately, but even I was truly enjoying this a lot. :D  A big slice with lunch and another at dinner.  Personally, I've felt hungrier today - and could've easily eaten twice this amount of bread without blinking.  Shall be interesting to see how my body reacts over the next 24 hours or so.  Hopefully I'll be okay with it, but it did help show me that I want to eat less bread going forward - only special bread or baked goods.  No more empty calories.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Goals - June report

June is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - uhm, yeah, smashed this one. ;)  As you can see by the lovely graph generated by Happy Scale, the weight dropped quite dramatically when I started the detox (moving average down 10.4 pounds for the month).  It slowed down a bit - even had a gain in there - but overall it's still going down and that's what matters.  It will be interesting to see how this goes in July when I transition off the full detox.  The awesome news - because of the weight loss with the detox, I am back on track for the one pound a week lost for the entire year.  Woo!
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - smashed this one too!  29 times this month - two days with no workouts and one with two.  I'm really trying to not only not skip more than one day in a row, but not to do too many double workout days (especially while on the detox).  I do need to do more weights though.  I did try a new class this month - a pilates class that ended up being very fast and set to uptempo music.  It was way out of my league and I left after 20 minutes with pain in my shoulders and hips.  No good.  Maybe I can try something different this month.  
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met!  I did several new recipes, including a meatball recipe that totally bombed (it used baking soda and cream of tartar to supposedly make it lighter since there were no breadcrumbs, and it was very bitter instead).  Definitely going to keep going on this!
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - smashed, obviously ;)  Clearly this worked for me this month, so even though I'll be transitioning off the complete detox in July, I need to keep an emphasis on this and keep the momentum going.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Detox, day 24: wheat

Today's reintroduction - wheat.  I'm breaking this into two separate reintroductions, because I am a bit anxious about bread. ;)  I feel like I bloat up when I eat bread, so today we are trying pure wheat, in simple one-ingredient whole wheat pasta.  Cold pasta salad for lunch and a hot pasta for dinner - I managed to avoid tomato sauce in the pasta too, since we think it gives my husband heartburn and we want to try to eliminate all the possible variables.

I think I'm feeling okay overall these days. I'm definitely not as energetic as I had hoped I would be, given all these "bad" things I've eliminated in my diet.  But I do at least have the energy for my daily hour of dance workouts! :D

For future reference: went 23 days gluten-free and don't feel anything awesome in particular so I don't really think that gluten-free is the complete answer for me.  Maybe gluten-less-often though?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Detox, day 23: oats recovery

Neither of us noticed any effects from yesterday's oat adventure, so I'm going to go ahead and say that's good to go for us both.  Hooray. ;)

Personally, it was a bit challenging to negotiate the calories and macros given the addition of the oats!  I definitely wouldn't normally choose to spend the calories on two servings of oatmeal, but that's the name of the game in this reintroduction phase.

I did end up parking a half-hour walk away from the concert last night, and walked around a lot before the show.  The walk back to my car was dark and frankly creepy (apparently no one else does this any longer?  I thought folks did this to avoid traffic but I was wrong!).

The concert was challenging though, with all of the incredible food smells surrounding me for several hours!  Garlic fries should be illegal. ;)

Tomorrow, we go for whole wheat!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Detox, day 22: oats

Hooray for reintroductions!  During the reintroduction phase, we'll add one new food - and 2-3 servings of it - each day, followed by one day back on the detox (and more if needed to 'recover').

Today we started off with oats, so I made a serving of oatmeal - certified gluten-free plain oats made with water and cinnamon - for breakfast to eat with my usual smoothie.  However, it was just too much for me, so I ate about half of it for breakfast and saved the rest for lunch.

Last night I baked oatmeal cookies that were only oatmeal, unsweetened applesauce (which I hadn't eaten since pre-detox), cashew butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt - I omitted the raisins and sweetener listed in the recipe, and actually doubled the amount of oats.  I ate two of them as a late morning snack and discovered I shouldn't have done that - it was just carbs on an empty stomach, so I was hungrier more quickly.

I've got 3 more left to eat tonight (to equal that second serving of the target food) and will have them alongside dinner so I won't have such a carb hit at the same time.  These aren't particularly tasty - they definitely need the raisins and the sugar would've been nice.  However, these are relatively low calorie/sugar/carb for an oatmeal cookie - mine came out to 73 calories, 4g fat, 3g carbs, 1g sugar, 1g fiber 2g protein for each cookie.  

I'm heading to a concert tonight and instead of grabbing take-out on the way or eating at the venue, I'm bringing dinner with me: leftover chicken thighs, cucumbers, lettuce and my last oatmeal cookies. I'm planning to eat an ounce or two of chicken and one of those cookies with a dollop of cashew butter before I head out to the show since I'm planning to park a 30 minute walk away (traffic leaving this venue is always horrendous, so instead of spending an hour in the car stressing out about not making any progress, might as well walk for 30 minutes and hopefully have less traffic from there).

Wish me luck!

Detox 21-day wrap-up

Yesterday we finished the first phase of the detox diet - the first 21 days with most restrictive diet.  Here's what we eliminated:
  • Sugar (in any form - natural or artificial - including stevia and sugar alcohols) 
  • Gluten (in anything – including soy sauce, soup mixes) 
  • Grains (whole or otherwise - no rice, oats, quinoa, etc)
  • Beans, except green beans, snap peas and snow peas (including peanuts and soy)
  • Dairy of any kind except grass fed or clarified butter 
  • Fruit, except for low-sugar fruits (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, lemon, lime, kiwi, watermelon) 
  • Refined vegetable oils (corn, canola, soy, sunflower, safflower, etc.) 
  • Processed foods of any kinds (no additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, etc.) 
  • Carrageenan, a “natural thickener” in nut and other healthy “milks” 
  • Alcohol
I was essentially following Dr. Mark Hyman's Eat Fat Get Thin plan but also following the Whole30 guidelines as well (except only doing 21 days since phase two is going to be long!).  I never felt the famed "Tiger Blood" that Whole30 devotees rave about.  Frankly, I spent a lot of these three weeks feeling crappy to varying degrees (the first few days are no joke!).  Eventually the headaches subsided, and I haven't dealt with much nausea since that first week.  My tinnitus is still bothersome, but the worst side effect is still the lightheadedness when standing up.  I try to remember to take an electrolyte beverage shot but keep forgetting.  Doh.

I am happy to report that not only did I lose 2.5 inches in my waist and 3 inches off my hips, I also lost 12.9 pounds during these 21 days.  Incredible!  Of course, the big challenge is going to be keeping those pounds and inches gone, and building off that to lose the next 17 pounds to my big milestone goal.

Things I learned during these 21 days:
  • planning ahead is essential!  I wish I had done more meal planning so we would've eaten more exciting things, but we survived ;)  
  • I'm not the biggest fan of nuts (which are key for adding the fat that Dr. Hyman endorses) - I do like cashew butter and I'm ok with almond butter, but I'm definitely over brazil nuts (which my doctor strongly suggests I eat two of every day) and sprouted sunflower seeds are ick.  But I still eat them when I need to do so.
  • When you eliminate most of your carbs, it's quite a challenge to get in your calories!  I tracked everything in myfitnesspal and never hit my 1500 calorie allotment.  Some days I was under 1000 calories after dinner so I'd have a spoonful of cashew butter with unsweetened coconut shreds to up the calories and fat.  
  • I guess my overall hunger may have declined?  I haven't really eaten anything for pleasure - food is fuel right now, so perhaps that is why I'm not overeating?  It will be interesting to see how this changes as I add foods back in.
  • I'm really glad I took my measurements before starting this, as it feels great to see those inches gone!
  • Eating the same thing for breakfast every day (and usually the same lunch every day too) is boring but at least it's easy to do!
Today starts our phase two - my doctor recommended the reintroduction guidelines from her elimination diet of choice (which is frankly very similar to the EFGT/Whole 30 rules).  Essentially, on the first day, you eat 2-3 servings of the target food and then go back to the detox for the second day.  If there are no issues that arise, you can move onto another new target food the third day.  Repeat until you go through them all, and if you did encounter an issue with a food, test it again just to make sure.  Here's the order we're going to use:
  1. oatmeal (plain, gluten-free) 
  2. whole wheat (pasta, no yeast or baking soda or other possible issues) 
  3. bread (sourdough, which has no added sugar to help focus on just the gluten) 
  4. cheese/yogurt (cows milk-based) 
  5. corn 
  6. rice 
  7. soy 
  8. cows milk 
  9. beans (including chickpeas - yay hummus) 
  10. peanuts 
  11. barley
Stay tuned for phase two! :D

Monday, June 27, 2016

Detox, day twenty-one - phase one COMPLETE!

WOOHOO!  Unless I suddenly run out and go eat a chocolate cake in the next 2 hours, we have successfully completed this three week funfest of fun times! ;)  YAY!

OK, so I'm really not celebrating all that much because I know I have another 3+ weeks of reintroduction to go through... but still.  I am so very proud of my husband for sticking with it (he originally was just on board for 10 days) - and I'm proud that I survived it too!  Go us!

So tonight we re-did our measurements and that was a delight. ;)  I lost 2.5 inches in my waist and 3 inches off my hips!  Woo!  Exciting times. ;)

I'm still feeling okay - definitely not great but not bad.  Burned a ton of calories this morning in a very enthusiastic U-Jam Fitness class and didn't feel like I was going to die afterwards, so that's good. :D

Tomorrow we start the reintroductions, and up first is oatmeal.  I made bowls of oatmeal for each of us in the morning, and some sugar-free oatmeal cookies (using applesauce and cashew butter to bind).  The intention for each reintroduction is to eat 2-3 servings of the target food that day, so this will hit that for us.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Detox, days eighteen, nineteen and twenty

OK, here's where I'm at.  I feel okay.  I don't think I'd go as far as to say I feel "good" - these severe food restrictions are tough mentally.  My cravings have not gone away, but I think maybe my overall hunger has diminished a bit -- but then again, I don't really have a lot that I *like* to eat while on this detox. ;)  Husband has been dealing with a lot of fatigue and general malaise these past few days too.  Thankfully we see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Tomorrow is the last day of the 21 days we set out to do together - and then we'll start the additional three weeks (or longer) of reintroduction.  Not quite sure which day means I can have a huge slice of chocolate cake though. ;)

I did survive my 90+ minute workout this morning - I couldn't hang for the full 90 last week, but today I was able to handle it.  Of course, afterwards I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS (in theory, I burned 3x the calories I had consumed beforehand?).

Tomorrow night we'll do our measurements again and see what happened.  Woo!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Detox, day seventeen

Still not feeling the famed "Tiger Blood" that the Whole30 references (and that plan is very similar to what we're doing) - but at least I didn't feel like crap today.  I am really quite over my breakfast smoothies though (for some weird reason, they've been SO THICK lately and that just grosses me out!).

However, I am pretty tired (not nearly as exhausted as I was two weeks ago when we were starting this thing), so perhaps I should get off the computer and go to bed? ;)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Detox, day sixteen

Still chugging along.  Feeling okay-ish, but definitely still not FABULOUS yet, which was what was promised. ;)

Emailed with my doctor today about the end game on all of this, and she sent me an elimination diet plan that she likes.  It's very similar to the 21 day thing I'm doing already, but has more specific instructions on how to do the reintroductions.  Surprisingly, it says you only need to leave one day for recovery after each new reintroduction - but it does say that you should split things out into more groups.  So here's our new plan:

  1. oatmeal (plain, gluten-free)
  2. whole wheat (pasta, no yeast or baking soda or other possible issues)
  3. bread (sourdough, which has no added sugar to help focus on just the gluten)
  4. cheese/yogurt (cows milk-based)
  5. corn
  6. rice
  7. soy
  8. cows milk
  9. beans (including chickpeas - yay hummus)
  10. peanuts
  11. barley
Wild, eh? ;)  But when you add in the two days... yep, it's doubling our 21 day detox to 43 days.  And if anything triggers a reaction, the protocol says to try it again at the end of the list - but hey, at least by then we'd have a ton of other things added back in! :D

It's really motivating to see the light at the end of the tunnel - even if that light is just oatmeal to start ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Detox, days fourteen and fifteen (and next steps)

Welp.  Had my first big weight GAIN while on this fun detox of funtimes.  Up 1.2 pounds in one day (yesterday morning), and only lost 0.4 of it this morning.  Lame.  Really, really demotivating when you're doing this big-time depravation thing!

Still trying to figure out how to better get in my calories and fat needs, and not wait until the end of the day to go "oops, I should still eat another 300 calories...".  This is still a work-in-progress, that's for sure.

I'm feeling a bit better overall - not awesome yet, but definitely don't have the big headaches and nausea and as much lightheadedness as before.  (occasionally lightheaded though...)

I am looking ahead though - after these 21 days are up, then I will work on reintroducing food groups in (so honestly, this is more like a 30-40 day detox).  Husband and I are trying to figure out what order to tackle them in ;)  These are the groups:

  • non-gluten grains (oatmeal, corn, rice, gluten-free bread)
  • gluten (real bread - may need to split this out later to wheat vs. wheat+yeast though)
  • cows cheese/yogurt
  • cows milk
  • legumes (soy, beans, peanuts)
  • ice cream (yes, ice cream - I think I have an issue with cows milk, so we'll test that first, and if I *do* have an issue with that, I'll later try ice cream to see if that is any different!)
Basically, we'll add in one group for one day (try to have it 2-3 times over the course of that day) and then go back to the detox diet for two days and see if there is any reaction.  If none, then that food is good to go!  Husband is really itching for the gluten one - he really misses bread - so I think we might do the non-gluten grains first, and then three days later go for full-on delicious warm sourdough bread ;)  I do wonder if yeast has any effect, so if there is a reaction to the bread, I'll want to try another test group of just the gluten (whole wheat pasta, for example) without any yeast or baking soda or anything like that.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Detox, day thirteen

Oh thank goodness, I'm feeling a bit better today.  The nausea and fatigue yesterday and Friday sucked.  I don't know if upping my fat helped at all, but I need to keep an eye on that, and my overall calories too.  Ain't no good to put my body in starvation mode!

Made a recipe for lunch today from the "Eat Fat Get Thin" book by Dr. Mark Hyman - almond pancakes with berries.  They weren't perfect, but it was nice to have a different texture to eat.  I might actually make these again after the detox is over too.  Could've used a touch of maple syrup though - or as my husband said, "syrup, or pizza, or sourdough bread..." ;)  These days are definitely crawling by and we are both still dealing with lots of cravings.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Detox, days eleven and twelve

Uuuuuugh.  Things have slammed to a halt on all of this.  I am so tired and cranky and tired. ;)  I am just over this - and we're only halfway there!  And then there's the reintroduction period afterwards... oy.  My weight loss is stalled - even went up 0.2 pounds this morning (day 12).  I think I might actually be eating too little, given my exercising.  So tonight, I had some extra fat after dinner (cashew butter with some shredded unsweetened coconut) and we'll see if that helps.

Here's hoping tomorrow is easier!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Detox, day ten

Day 10 done!  Unfortunately, the weight loss has slowed to a crawl - less than a half pound over the past three days combined (compared to over 8 pounds in the first 6), so clearly my body is adjusting. I don’t feel as utterly crappy this week as I did last week. ;) But I am still riddled with cravings and not particularly enjoying much that I do eat. I am so not a nut person, and nuts are a big component of this thing (along with green veggies which I detest).

However, I did get the ultimate blow to the ego today. I was at the gym and asked one of the personal trainers who was just working at a computer if she had a moment to help me do a body fat test. I know they have these handheld devices and it takes just seconds, and she said sure. Well, she didn’t pull out that device and instead got out a caliper (the awesome photo below).

Oh hell no. I was on the gym floor for this (off to the side, but still in plain view), and she first did my tricep (aka, my big floppy batwing), bicep and then went in for the ab measurement. She asked me where my hipbones were and then tried to measure near that (but over my shirt) – I don’t think she had the right spot, and she kept scolding me to “relax” (uh ok), and two or three humiliating minutes later, we were done. She wrote down the numbers (I know there was a 4th place but I can’t remember now) – and looked it up on a chart, and came back with THE SAME NUMBER I GOT EIGHT MONTHS AGO (and 34 pounds ago). Ahem.

That was a huge massive blow to my self-esteem. Was the machine I used last year (where I did see a drop of 6% body fat with a 10 pound weight loss earlier last year) at my old gym completely inaccurate? Did this gal today totally mess up her calculations?

I know to not get wrapped up in the numbers, but I really want the concrete proof that all this work is paying off. It’s a lot of hard work and frankly depravation. I have been frustrated that I haven’t really dropped any pants sizes, but now that I’m into summer clothes, I am noticing that most of my shorts from last year are too big. But I don’t want to buy the size that I fit in right now, so I have picked up some that are the next size down and will likely wear a belt with the older clothes until I can fit in new ones. ;) I am excited that I’m wearing a shirt today that I bought a year or two ago and realized when I got home that it didn’t fit – but now it does!

Just need to keep reminding myself that progress, however small and slow, is still progress...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Detox, days eight and nine

Woo, day nine is almost over!  Exciting.

Thankfully, I think I'm adjusting more now.  Less headaches.  Less lightheaded spells, but I'm doing an electrolyte shot once a day (probably should do it twice a day).  Mostly just having them in the morning before I eat anything - so perhaps get to breakfast more quickly if possible?  (Not so easy to do with a slowpoke preschooler in the morning!)

I'm still hungry often, and the sugar cravings have NOT gone away.  I don't know if they ever will (but hey, I've got 12 more days to find out... ahem), but I'm definitely used to the meals more now.  I still need to work on eating more veggies though.

On a completely different topic, someone commented tonight on an old post about my beloved Trader Joe's Whole Grain Plus Bread not being available in their local stores.  I did happen to look for it today when picking up food for my son, and it wasn't at our store either!  (I went with our backup option of Whole Wheat Lavash - need to review that some time too!)  If you've seen this bread lately - or know why it's missing, please let us know!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Detox, days six and seven

The tragedy in Orlando yesterday made me so deeply sad, and I just did not feel like blogging last night - my apologies for skipping a daily post.  I am still so very heartbroken for the innocent folks who were just out enjoying a night of dancing and have had their lives cut short.

It still feels trite for me to post about my weight loss and detox and all of that, but that's what this blog is for and I am using it to help keep myself accountable.  So here goes.

Yesterday morning, both husband and I weighed ourselves and were delighted to see that the scale shows a few pounds gone - and of course, he lost a quarter-pound more than I did, despite my daily workouts and 10,000 steps and his average 2,000 steps. ;)  Wish I had his metabolism! :D

I am feeling more adjusted to all of this now, at least.  I still have a persistent headache, but its severity has lessened, thankfully.  I think the tinnitus is getting back to normal too (which still sucks, but at least it sucks less).

The one lingering issue I'm dealing with is the lightheadedness.  It's slightly better today than yesterday, but I'm still often getting a big thump in my head and feeling like the walls are closing in for a few seconds when I get up from being seated for a little while.  Ugh!  My doctor is hoping that it's just an electrolyte imbalance, so I'm trying nuun active at her recommendation (review to come, I'm sure!).  I'm also still trying to add salt when I can.  Hopefully this is resolving!

I am still very much wishing for a warm chocolate chip cookie or a piece of cake though.  ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Detox, day five

Overall, feeling better - maybe less of a headache finally?  Still frustrated with the tinnitus though.  I was able to switch things up and do my workout in the morning - which I loved!  I really prefer to get it done in the morning, but scheduling doesn't allow that on weekdays.  I ate two hard boiled eggs as soon as I got home after the workout, in addition to my regular breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Both last night and tonight, we roasted minced cauliflower and sweet potato fries - YUM.  I know I shouldn't eat all that starch from the sweet potatoes every night, so we'll definitely skip it tomorrow but it was a nice break.

Happy to report that I haven't had any nausea today, but sadly I have still battled with lightheadedness, especially after getting up from sitting for even 10 minutes.  Blah.

So very thankful that my husband is going for this ride with me.  :)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Detox, day four

Day four overall feeling better than yesterday. Still tired. Still rocking heads and tinnitus is worse than usual. Trying to add more salt to combat the lightheaded feelings. Didn't feel ridiculously nausea tonight so that's awesome. Wish the headache and louder tinnitus would subside soon. Glad today was better than yesterday!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Detox, day three

Ugh!  I felt better during the day, but again with the feeling like crap at night (oh so nauseated!). I did well during my evening workout, but started feeling crappy on the way home - maybe too much water on an empty stomach?  Had something different for dinner, but I'm still burping up the broccoli I had at lunch (tomorrow will be a broccoli-free day!).  Still tired and varying headachy, and really having the lightheadedness, especially when getting up from sitting for any length of time.  I read up on this, and I might be causing that by not having much salt.  So more salt in my dinner and more salt tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Detox, day two

Ugh.  I've survived day two but feel like crap tonight.  Really nauseated, on top of tired and mild headache and lightheadedness.  Ugh!

Food was very similar to yesterday, but I worked out this morning and then took a ujam fitness class tonight too, and I think that was overdoing it.  I am definitely heading to bed early tonight.  I am tracking my food with myfitnesspal again, and I worry that I'm not eating enough (well, especially tonight with the second workout), so I need to think about this going forward.

I must tell you the good news though - I did lose over two pounds after that first day. ;)  Shall be interesting to see how the next 19 days go -- I don't expect a two pound loss every day, but hopefully at least 0.2 pounds ;)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Detox, day one

Survived day one, phew.

Started the day off with a smoothie with almond butter and protein powder and frozen raspberries and flax and chia and probably other stuff I can't remember.  It was... okay.  Weird texture. ;)

Lunch was an egg scramble with mushrooms and spinach and ham, with some nuts and coconut on the side, with cucumber too.  Later had a snack of blueberries and sprouted sunflower seeds.  Dinner was pork tenderloin, broccoli and carrots, some avocado and a few more blueberries.

I'm pretty tired, and have had a headache most of the afternoon and evening.  I went to my ujam class tonight and thought I'd struggle, but I did it all and had fun (though the air conditioning was broken and I was dripping sweat - even into my ear behind my earplug which was gross!).

I'm so proud of my husband for making it through the first day too. ;)  He had a protein shake for breakfast (with soy milk that he discovered later was sweetened - oops!), a snack of nuts, and souvlaki and salad for lunch, and the same dinner as me (but with olives instead of avocado).

Hopefully we'll get a good night's sleep and tackle tomorrow head-on!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Detox, day -1

OK, I'm going for it. Tomorrow, I'm starting a 21 day detox. This means none of the following:

  • Sugar (in any form - natural or artificial - including stevia and sugar alcohols) 
  • Gluten (in anything – including soy sauce, soup mixes) 
  • Grains (whole or otherwise). No bread or pasta substitutes of any kind 
  • Beans, except green beans, snap peas and snow peas (including peanuts which are a legume) 
  • Dairy of any kind except grass fed or clarified butter 
  • Fruit, except for low-sugar fruits (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, lemon, lime, kiwi, watermelon) 
  • Refined vegetable oils (corn, canola, soy, sunflower, safflower, etc.) 
  • Processed foods of any kinds (no additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, etc.) 
  • Carrageenan, a “natural thickener” in nut and other healthy “milks” 
  • Alcohol
I think I'm prepared for this.  No sugar is going to be hard - I love chocolate - but hopefully I can make it work.  I'm also a big fruit fan, and will miss my grapes and strawberries, but thankfully there are fruits that I like that are approved. ;)  I'm going to spend tonight planning out exactly what I'm eating for the next three days and go from there.  

Most shockingly, my husband has agreed to try this with me!  He's signing on for doing it for 10 days, but I'm hoping I can get him to do the full 21.  He's got a different set of challenges, since he usually just has a bowl of cereal or oatmeal at the office for breakfast and goes out for lunch with his coworkers every workday.  It's not going to be easy finding lunches that are compliant, but I've already made a little list of 5 options for him (nearby restaurants), so hopefully he can do it.  (He's not interested in taking leftovers for lunch, sadly - but will for breakfast, so that's a start!)

I'm really hoping to feel better overall, and frankly to lose some pounds and inches while on this.  I know I'm going to feel worse in a few days, but then hopefully I will feel amazing ;)  Think good thoughts, my friends!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Goals - May report

May is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - nope.  Happy Scale says my moving average is down 2.3 pounds over the month - and you can see the graph to the right.  I was on a great trend, and then three days in a row with parties, and it all goes to crap.  Ah well.  Two more this week too.  Ugh.  I am planning to do the detox diet (still not sure exactly which one yet) this coming month though, and hoping to see things getting back on track here.
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - SMASHED!  I completed 31 workouts this month!  Several days with two workouts (and an unfortunate string of 3 days with none, due to overexertion... ahem).  I also tried a new class - Les Mills GRIT Strength ("LES MILLS GRIT Strength is a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, designed to improve strength and build lean muscle. This workout uses barbell, weight plate and body weight exercises to blast all major muscle groups.")  This class totally kicked my butt (and I was relieved to see that I wasn't the only one struggling!).  I hope to try it again.
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met.  I'm totally blanking on it right now, but I know I made a couple of new things earlier in the month. ;)  I also tried cooking chicken legs for the first time (I know, not the healthiest cut but it was on sale!) and that worked out well.  I am lining up a ton of new recipes to try on the detox diet, so that should work out well for June!
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - meh.  If I look at things closely, I feel like I did well about 90% of the time.  It's just that other 10% - and unfortunately with the timing of several days in a row with a bad meal, it's tough.  Could've been worse though. ;)
I am down 16 pounds for the year (looking at that moving trend), so though it's slow going... at least it's progress!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Detox diet of choice?

Greetings, friends!

My doctor has been strongly encouraging me to go on another limited-time restrictive "detox" diet.  I did a 28 day elimination diet back in 2010 and didn't really learn anything.  I went gluten-free for a month in 2013 and again, no revelations.  So I'm cautious and not thoroughly excited about doing this again. ;)

She wants me to try going no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no legumes for at least 3 weeks.  Um.  Ugh! ;)

There's a number of plans I've found that are along these lines:
I have friends who are going Paleo, but that allows for some sweeteners which I'd rather avoid (in concept, of course - I know I'm going to miss dark chocolate!).

Have you ever done one of these detox diets?  I'm also hoping to bring husband along for the ride, which is going to be a HUGE challenge since I can't get him to give up his Pepsi yet. ;)

Any tips? ;)  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar Original Chocolate Mint

I thought I'd get back into the swing of things with reviewing new-to-me food items again. At one of my local grocery stores recently, there was a gal sampling various flavors of the Power Crunch protein energy bars, and she gave me a handful of them to try later.

I went back through my blog and realized that I reviewed one of these back in 2012! I was not a fan of the French Vanilla Creme version back then.

So has the manufacturer fixed the complaints I had four years ago?  Sadly, no.  The texture is just weird - it's not pleasant.  After the first bite, I thought to myself, "hey, this isn't too bad..." but after the second bite, I just didn't want to keep going.  The aftertaste really shot through, and it was truly unpleasant.  I also tried the Peanut Butter Creme and French Vanilla Creme versions this week, and all of them had that terrible aftertaste.  I can't recommend these bars because of that.

Nutrition Facts 
Calories 205
Total Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Trans Fat 0
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 100 mg
Carb 10 g
Fiber 1 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 13 g

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fitbit Charge HR: a week and a half in

Howdy, friends.

I won't bore you with tons of graphs and screenshots this time. ;)  I still haven't worn my old chest strap heart rate monitor to a class yet at the same time as wearing my Fitbit, so I will try to stop harping on the inconsistent readings. ;)  I'm hoping to do it this week, though!

The biggest "pro" of the Fitbit is the overall tracking ability - I like that it makes a deal about getting 250 steps every hour.  It doesn't seem like it should be hard to do that - and honestly, overall it's not - but some times you can get sucked into a book or playing with your kid at the table and zoooop, an hour is gone by.  I wish the Charge HR had the "reminder to move" feature that they've added to the Alta device - it vibrates at 5 minutes to the hour if you haven't gotten in your steps yet.  Would be REALLY handy to have that on the Charge HR too!

I'm also trying to increase my overall "active minutes" (defined below from Fitbit's web site) -
"All Fitbit trackers calculate active minutes using metabolic equivalents (METs). METs help measure the energy expenditure of various activities. Because they do so in a comparable way among persons of different weights, METs are widely used as indicators for exercise intensity. For example, a MET of 1 indicates a body at rest. Fitbit trackers estimate your MET value in any given minute by calculating the intensity of your activity. You earn active minutes for activities at or above about 3 METs.  To stay in line with the Center for Disease Control's (CDC’s) “10 minutes at a time is fine” concept, minutes are only awarded after 10 minutes of continuous moderate-to-intense activity."
My active minutes are all over the place.  I obviously earn them during my hour-long cardio workouts, but I don't earn them at times when I think I should, and vice versa.  The Fitbit Charge HR has the SmartTrack feature, which auto-creates workout entries for me:
"The SmartTrack™ feature available on Fitbit Alta™, Fitbit Blaze™, Fitbit Surge™, and Fitbit Charge HR™ automatically recognizes and records select exercises to ensure you get credit for your most active moments of the day."
Today it created one for my walking at Costco and the grocery store. ;)  However, it reported it as zero active minutes, even though the activity was 19 minutes.  Weird.  Happens frequently - I think 4 in one day was my highest, and just a handful of active minutes credited.

However, this thing is really uncomfortable to wear. I take it off whenever I'm sitting down, and I don't wear it to bed (negating the whole "sleep tracking" feature of course).  I've tried wearing it at different heights on my forearm and different tightnesses of the strap.  I even have phantom pain on my wrist when not wearing it.  I'm going to have to think about this to decide if it's worth the pain to keep tracking my fitness this way.

OK, I can't resist one screenshot - I smashed my goals yesterday:

woo. :)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Fitbit Charge HR: the first four days of workouts

Howdy, friends.

Today marks the 4th full day with my new Fitbit Charge HR and I'm still not sure how I feel about it overall. ;) Along the right side of this post are my workout charts from my Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday's U-Jam Fitness classes. (You can click on one of them to see it larger.) I'm baffled about the heart rate readings throughout the classes.

Thursday night's class was super-intense and I was out of breath frequently.  According to the chart, I spent 11 minutes in the peak heart rate zone, so that makes sense to me.  Surprised that my average calorie burn was only 11 minutes, but okay.

Friday night's class was nowhere near as intense.  I wasn't really out of breath at any point, and I was stunned when I looked at the chart when I got home.  How the heck was my heart rate so much higher overall?  Peak heart rate zone for so much longer?  It really confused me - which workout was the anomaly?  Did Thursday night not get measured correctly for some reason?

Well, that all got thrown out the window on Saturday.  This was another intense class - yet my "trusty" Fitbit said I was never in the peak heart rate zone!?!  I don't get it!  I sweated my butt off.  I was out of breath several times.  I definitely felt like I got a more intense workout on Saturday than I did on Friday, but I burned over 100 fewer calories?!?  I am so baffled.

Then we come to Sunday.  My Sunday morning class is awesome because it's usually 90 minutes, which equals more awesome for me.  However, it had me in the peak zone for merely 7 minutes of the class, which kinda blows my mind again.  I don't disagree with the heart rates in the last half hour of class - I really was getting tired! - but I'm so baffled overall.

I don't understand what's going on here, and it's so frustrating (obviously!).  I should try to wear my old heart rate monitor as well on Tuesday night (that night's instructor is one of my favorites) and compare - but it doesn't give anywhere near this level of statistics.  It will tell me the max heart rate, average heart rate and total calorie burn though, so that's better than nothing.

Have you experienced such frustrations with your fitness tracker?  Any recommendations?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fitbit Charge HR: my first 24 hours

So I wrote yesterday afternoon about my less than pleasant experience getting my new Fitbit Charge HR set up.  I wore it for the rest of the day, including my fantastic U-Jam Fitness class in the evening.  It was an intense class and I had a great time.  I was excited to see the statistics when I got home. ;)

The overall calorie burn is on target with what I've seen in past experiences with my old chest strap heart rate monitor.  It doesn't provide any pretty graphs or statistics though, so no comparison for you! ;)

I'm delighted to see that I was in "the zone" for the whole workout - surprised by some of the peaks and valleys there, but overall, it's all good.  I thought I burned more calories per minute, honestly, but again, this isn't out of the ordinary compared to my chest strap version, so I can't fault Fitbit for it. ;)  I do look forward to doing one of my elliptical workouts with this on and then comparing the numbers from the machine to the Fitbit. ;)

I am frustrated, however, that I only got credit for 5,517 steps during this workout.  Fitbit uses steps as the ranking system between friends, and I could've taken a ridiculously slow stroll for an hour and gotten more steps.  I had manually entered in my workout from before I wore the Fitbit yesterday morning, and it did not count those steps towards the amount shown on the friends list, but it did include them in my personal count for the day.  Very weird - and frankly, very frustrating.  I know it's not healthy to compare yourself to others constantly, but dang it, I want credit for my workouts!

I also got credit for 5 flights of stairs during the workout.  Um... odd.

I wore the Fitbit to bed last night, but it was so uncomfortable that I took it off before I fell asleep, so no sleep data for me.

I'm finding often that it's uncomfortable to wear - right now it's off so I can do my typing with less pain.

I wore it while I did two miles of a Leslie Sansone Walk Away The Pounds video, and though I did break a little sweat, it was by no means intense.  ;)  Interestingly, with an average heart rate of 115 bpm, heart rate zone time of 0 min peak, 5 min cardio, 20 min fat burn - I still ended up with an average calorie burn of 10 cals/min.  Whaaa?  Feels a bit demotivating, eh? ;)

One last tidbit: my son had a meltdown at the grocery store this morning, and when I got home I learned that it caused my heart rate to go into the "fat burning zone".  Ahem.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fitbit Charge HR - first impressions

I went ahead and picked up a Fitbit Charge HR today and am currently charging it.  As far as first impressions go, I am not pleased with the user experience out of the box.

When you open the box, you see the Fitbit, a small cord and a tiny piece of plastic.  None of this is identified.  There's two pieces of paper with it - a small booklet with tiny legal disclosures and another little flyer that tells you to go to to set up your device.  That's it.  Not particularly friendly!

I went to that url on my phone, and it directed me to download their app.  Gee, thanks.  Downloaded it, and then signed up for an account, and finally got to the point where it would let me add the device.  Apparently, my Fitbit's battery was dead, so I needed to figure out how to charge it.  Nothing in the tiny papers in the box or the completely unhelpful site tells you how to charge the device.  Ridiculous.  I guessed at how to connect the tiny cord to the device and then plugged it into my laptop, and... nothing.  Waited a minute and then pressed the button on the side (not that anything had shown me that I should do this!), and saw an empty battery icon with a charge indicator in the middle.  Guess it's charging finally.

An hour later, I go back and see it's still charging, but I want to get this set up on my phone so I start that process again.  This time, the phone does see the Fitbit and they get all synced up.  I'm currently on the "setting up your Fitbit charge hr" screen which tells me if can take up to 10 minutes, but the status bar on the bottom of that screen hasn't moved at all in the 10 minutes since I started it.

10 minutes later with no progress, I start searching for troubleshooting online.  I reboot the Fitbit, and suddenly the progress bar scooted along quickly almost halfway, and then slowed down again.

I also have no clue how close I need to have these two devices while syncing, but whatever... it just finally finished!  It's still not fully charged though, so I'm not going to unplug it just yet.

OK, all charged and set up finally.  Annoyingly, the tap-twice to see information thing works maybe 5% of the time (grrrr).

Tonight I'll wear it to my U-Jam Fitness class for the ultimate test - if it doesn't record things accurately, then we'll have issues. ;)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fitness trackers, revisited?

I'm pondering trying another fitness tracker again.  I bought one of the original FitBit devices back in 2009, and I did not like it and ended up returning it.  I found it wildly inaccurate, and gave up on them.  In 2011, I bought a chest strap heart rate monitor with a wrist display, and it's fine.  I still use it today, but not often - the chest strap is annoying and the display is cumbersome.  But I do wear it when I'm doing longer workouts and it's really motivating to see the calories burned!

These days, there are so many different fitness trackers out there.  I have a couple of requirements:

  • continuous heart rate monitoring - especially vital during my dance fitness workouts
  • display of that heart rate and calories burned
  • comfortable to wear
Nice to have would be notifications from my phone. ;)

Right now, the FitBit Charge HR seems to be the best match.  However, I have some friends who love theirs - and some who HATE theirs.  From what I can find online, it's definitely a love or hate relationship.  Reliability is a big complaint, and now I'm reading some folks are having issues with the the bands breaking or falling apart.  

Do I give FitBit another chance?  Do you have a fitness tracker you love? :)

Monday, May 2, 2016

more "Biggest Loser" controversy and how to lose weight

I have a tolerate/hate relationship with weight loss TV shows - especially "Biggest Loser".  I wrote about some of the unrealistic expectations back in 2013 and haven't particularly changed my mind on this.  I detest that the contestants get upset if they "only" lose 5 pounds in a week.  It's insane.

Today, the New York Times published a great article - "After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight" -  in reference to a new study in Obesity Journal which exploded all over my Facebook feed this morning. ;)  I read both the NYT article and the full article in the Obesity Journal and found it all fascinating - and frankly, depressing on some levels.

The Obesity Journal did a lot of research following most of the contestants from Season 8 of the show, measuring them at the finale and also six years later:
"Of the 16 “Biggest Loser” competitors originally investigated, 14 participated in this follow-up study. Weight loss at the end of the competition was (mean ± SD) 58.3 ± 24.9 kg (P < 0.0001), and RMR decreased by 610 ± 483 kcal/day (P = 0.0004). After 6 years, 41.0 ± 31.3 kg of the lost weight was regained (P = 0.0002), while RMR was 704 ± 427 kcal/day below baseline (P < 0.0001) and metabolic adaptation was −499 ± 207 kcal/day (P < 0.0001). "
In plain English, the contestants saw a dramatic drop in their resting metabolic rate at the end of the show - but shockingly, it was even worse six years later. As the NYTimes article mentions regarding the winner of the show:
"Mr. Cahill was one of the worst off. As he regained more than 100 pounds, his metabolism slowed so much that, just to maintain his current weight of 295 pounds, he now has to eat 800 calories a day less than a typical man his size. Anything more turns to fat."

The one person from this group of 14 to weigh less today than 6 years ago wasn't ever on "the ranch" and did her entire experience from home - so she did this in a more balanced fashion and also did not have as dramatic of a weight loss as the rest of the contestants.  Good for her! ;)  Another contestant had regained 80% of his lost weight and then had gastric bypass, so his net weight gain is not as significant as others (but it is still a big gain).

This hits home for me, since I lost around 80 pounds in about 14 or 15 months, 15 pounds the following year, and then slowly regained a lot of it - and then gained more during my pregnancy.  It's been almost ten years since I started this weight loss journey, and thankfully I am down 68 pounds from where I started - but I still have about 25 pounds to go to just get back to that weight in 2009.  I had another 30 pounds to go from there to hit my "goal" weight (which would be "normal" weight according to the BMI).  I'd hate to think that my relatively rapid weight loss in 2007 (average 1-1.5 pounds a week?) has impacted my resting metabolic rate - but there's no way for me to know without spending a LOT of money on metabolic testing.  Not quite in the budget - and I don't have any baseline numbers either - but honestly, knowing that number wouldn't have a massive impact on my life.

It's interesting about the influx of articles I've seen lately about weight loss in general.  One that jumped out at me was Vox's article - Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies.  It's a great read - go ahead, read it and come back here. ;)  One of the things I hadn't heard about before was "Energy expenditure might have an upper limit" - there may be a point at which you're over-exercising and not getting the calorie burn benefits you think you are getting.  Joy!  At least I don't feel guilty about getting only one hour in the gym most days. ;)

To wrap this all up, I leave you with the end of that Vox article:
If you embark on a weight-loss journey that involves both adding exercise and cutting calories, Montclair's Diana Thomas warned not to count those calories burned in physical activity toward extra eating. 
"Pretend you didn't exercise at all," she said. "You will most likely compensate anyway so think of exercising just for health improvement but not for weight loss."
This is what I try to do, at least in theory, but I need to get back to religiously journalling everything I eat - and also being very mindful of the inaccurate calorie burn that most tracking apps give you for your exercises. ;)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Goals - April report

April is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - not met.  Ugh.  So, see that happy lowest spot on the graph on the right (courtesy of the Happy Scale app)?  Awesome!  Right before my son's birthday, and before having my house filled with family for over a week.  For the month overall, I'm down around two pounds.  Disappointing, absolutely.  But at least it's still a loss?  Trying to look at the bright side but man, it is disheartening.
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - met!  23 workouts this month, despite the houseguest invasion. ;)  I did have a three day gap with no workouts, and that sucked!  Otherwise, no more than one day off in a row - but still, the scale isn't pleased with me.  I'm glad I kept moving though - it's got to be helping me in ways beyond the numbers on the scale.  I do want to try a new workout at some point this month, too.
    Another nice point - I'm at over 100 workouts for the year! :D
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met!  I know I did at least two recipes, but I only remember right now the cauliflower mushroom risotto I made this week.  It was definitely not risotto - more like cauliflower stew with mushrooms - but both kiddo and husband ate it right up (along with me), so at least it wasn't a complete fail. ;)  Definitely need to make this a big priority in May.  
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - eh.  I'd say at least 60% of the time, but it was hard with the houseguests, and even yesterday, we got fries at Five Guys.  However, we did get just one order and split it between the three of us, and then came home and had a clean and healthy dinner.  I like to think that Five Guys fries aren't the worst fries we could've eaten (it's 3 ingredients - potatoes, peanut oil, salt) - and though their milkshakes looked incredible, we didn't get one.  One splurge at a time. ;)
Here's hoping that everything comes together better in May, and I get back onto that one pound a week trend!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sworkit Kids app mini-review

I've downloaded some apps for my phone with the goal of getting my 4 year old more interested in fitness, and I'm continuing to post some mini-reviews as we try out these apps.

We tried "Sworkit Kids" next.  I first heard of Sworkit on Shark Tank - they've got an app for adults where you can build customized workouts that you can easily do at home with no additional equipment.  Sounds great!  

Even better, they've got a kids-focused version, though they do describe it as being for kids 7-14.  So I use this app with him and make the key decisions, and then we do the workouts together.  

First, you select the type of workout - strength, agility, or flexibility and balance (or you can create a custom workout but I haven't done that yet).  You can choose a time (5 minutes and up) and the app puts together 30 seconds of various exercises. again with a short demo (5 seconds) and then 30 seconds to do it -- with the exercise continuing to be shown. Bonus is that this is designed for kids, so you see kids doing the movements. 

I really, really like this app.  Watching the kid do the exercise while the countdown is happening is key.  After every 5 exercises, it gives a 30 second break which is nice.  The graphics are clean, the voice guidance is calming and clear, and there's a ton of customization in here to be explored.  It's also a free app and ad-free.  Highly recommended!