Another Year Has Come and Gone

Happy 2017! Can you believe another year has already flown by?? It feels like just yesterday I wrote the Happy New Year 2016 post. I wanted to write an update on this past year and also talk about this year, with my plans and goals for the year.

2016 was a great year in many ways, but I still saw myself struggling. I did use the DDP workout for a few months, but slowly I started to move away from it. Maybe I didn’t use it consistently enough or worked hard enough while using it, but I saw very little progress with the program. It took me more than 6 months to breakdown and get a gym membership. I signed up on July 4th for a monthly subscription to a local gym. A friend of mine told me about an app she used called Lean Body from bodybuilders.com and recommended it to me. It gives you a nutrition plan and a 7 day, 12 week workout program to follow. I have now done this workout regimen 1 and a half times and am thoroughly enjoying it! It primarily does weight lifting, but has cardio thrown in 2-3 times a week. I didn’t follow the meal plan that is recommended in the app, butI did try a couple recipes that I will likely post here at a later date. And while I haven’t seen much weight loss yet, I have noticed an increase in my strength and stamina. I can now walk up a flight of stairs without breathing excessively once I reached the top. (It’s the little things!) I kept up with my recipes, and finding healthy meals and snacks, but there’s always room for plenty of new recipes and ideas. I found myself still struggling with weight loss in 2016 overall, however. So, let’s talk about ways to improve that in 2017!

Starting this year off has been okay, but it was definitely hard to get back in the groove of my workout regimen after the holidays. I’ve had a lot going on this month of January and have missed a few workouts then I would have normally but there is no time like the present to get back on track! One of my secret weapons to start shedding the weight this year will be… wait for it… sugar! My 2 biggest nemesis’s are sugar and me. Sugar for obvious reasons and me for being able to talk myself into sugar and out of workouts! So first thing first is to start cutting out processed sugar. Let’s be clear about something… I don’t keep sweets in the house and rarely do I bake anymore. Every once in a while for a holiday get together I will make something sweet, but I know if I keep it in the house, I will eat it… so I try and immediately get rid of sweets as soon as possible. With that being said, it’s very easy for me to get it at work, out and about or at friends houses. So, on top of saying goodbye to sugar, I also have to learn self control. It’s going to be a long year my friends! But I came in to this year with a more clear desire. A desire that is bigger than the ‘right now’. It’s the desire to see the bigger picture. I realized if I want to have children, how can I teach them proper, healthy eating if mommy is sneaking around eating all the things she forbids to keep in the house. I don’t want to teach my kids sugar is bad, I just want to teach them that there are better, healthier options out there to snack on and it all starts with me, and my habits and decisions.

This year, I am working on self control and cutting out processed sugar. This means learning to say no when I am craving ice cream or candy. It’s looking for other snacks that are healthier and more beneficial, such as protein snacks. Since the end of Christmas, I have kept a bowl of chocolate in the house. I look at the bowl and just think ‘no.’… ‘no, you can’t have any’ and so far I have done well. Sure, I have had a piece or two here and there, but there is still chocolate candy in that bowl and I haven’t devoured it. Progress! My workout regimen will stay the same, for at least a couple more months, until I decide to try a new program. I have just really enjoyed this one, and have been working on increasing weight vs reps. I am also trying to incorporate more cardio, by getting to the gym 3 times a week in the morning before work, and then doing my weight lifting after work in the evening. My goal this year is to lose 30 lbs, gain self control (and muscle!), and be able to climb 3 flights of stairs without losing my breath. As always, I will continue to post recipes and snacks. I have created a couple recipes this year and will be posting those shortly. Since I am no longer doing low carb meals, the recipes I post may have carbs in the form of rice, quinoa, potatoes, etc, but I always try to keep the carbs in check and veggies in at least 2 meals of my day. Happy New Year all; may this year fulfill all of you with your dreams and goals!

A New Year, A New Plan

As I went into this new year, I started thinking about the end of 2015 and what I had accomplished. Although I felt I had accomplished a great deal in regards to my health, I also knew I could do better. The last couple months of the year was a bit more stressful (as the holidays always are) and I went on vacation back home for Christmas, which made it easier to say yes (to bad things), and harder to say no (to healthy eating and workouts). Going into 2016, I felt good about things. About life in general, and I knew I wanted to come up with a plan. A plan that I am able to follow and achieve! Typically I don’t like New Year’s resolutions or even setting goals at the beginning of the year. It feels extremely cliche and dishonest, because a majority of those who do set resolutions and goal’s are the ones who felt guilty for putting on that extra weight over the holidays, or not getting that promotion at work, or in general, felt lazy. So, they try and make up for it, and it usually never lasts more than a few months. At least, in my own personal experience.

So, with that being said, I wanted 2016 to be different. To be better. I felt 2015 was good, but there’s always room for improvement! Although I already had plans formulating, a couple of my close friends and I decided to have a Goal’s Party. A party consisting of the 3 of us talking about our goals, with good drinks, good food, and good company. I believe it has been quite a success so far. It really forced all of us to sit down and focus on the year ahead and what we wanted to achieve. I even bought a planner for the first time since I was a teenager!

Now that I have my goals in line, one of my primary goals is, as always, my health. I purchased DDP yoga at the end of December, and started it on January 4th. If you haven’t heard of DDP yoga, look it up! I heard about it through a person on YouTube who had tried it, and enjoyed it and even saw results. The program is not actually intended for weight-loss, but instead focuses on low impact yoga workouts that also incorporate cardio and strength training. Inconsequentially resulting in inches and weight loss, particularly when following the DDP Yoga program and it’s meal plan. The meal plan has 3 levels of intensity. I already mostly follow the Beginner plan he has in place, eat real food, eat organically when you can, no processed food. Eventually, he has you cut out grains and dairy, and focus on a complete meal that combines specific types of food. I have followed the calendar workout for just over a week now, and have really enjoyed it so far. I’m starting with the Beginner level, and will work through each level for the full amount he recommends, moving on to the next as I complete each level. Although I am still in the beginner workouts, I can easily see the benefits already. The foundation of the program, so to speak, that will increasingly get more difficult, but more results.

Another goal of mine this year is to try 2 new recipes each month. The successful ones, I plan on posting here, so be on the lookout! I have actually already accomplished that goal this month, trying out Black Bean Brownies and Super Food Energy Bites, which I will be posting soon. Ironically, both the recipes I tried are from the same source and are vegan and gluten free. I never thought I’d be eating anything vegan, especially desserts. But I have to say, they were delicious, and I look forward to finding more vegan healthy options! So here’s to a New Year full of heathy eating, delicious vegan desserts and trying to new things!

Has it already been 4 months?!

As I’ve been embarking on the low carb journey now for over 3 months, I have found it to be effective yet difficult to maintain. Effective because I feel better, healthier, and have even lost a few pounds and inches. Difficult because I still want everything delicious and have even given into that sweet, delicious temptation. As mentioned in my last post, I found once I let myself have a cheat meal, I told myself it was okay to have another one, and another one. Before I knew it, I was having more cheat days then good days. For me, it’s not so much the breads and pasta, it’s the sweets. I started craving all delicious sweet treats since I had started this journey. Although I still cook my normal meals, and eat low carb meals on a regular basis, I would allow myself just one PSL from Starbucks. Or one donut from the box a coworker brought in. I would try a bite of fudge another coworker brought in. Not at first. But more so after the first month of doing great, then having a couple cheat meals, it made it that much easier to say yes.

So going into my 4th month, I am working on getting back on track and working towards my original goals. I have always still had those goals in mind, but sometimes it’s just so hard to see something seemingly so far away. This time around, I am working on cutting out any kind of sweets. Which will probably be the hardest thing for me. I am also looking to incorporate a workout routine of some sort. I want to start working out or doing some kind of physical activity 2 – 3 times a week, and pick some things I do enjoy so I’m more likely to do it. This week, I tried a Tabata workout. Its based on interval training, and the video I did had 5 intervals, each movement only last 20 seconds. It went by so fast! But the important thing is that I felt it. Although I have been sore for the last couple days, the physical activity felt great, and it was only a 25 minute workout. What’s 25 minutes?! I spend that just playing silly games on my phone. So, that’s where we’re starting. Attempting to cut out sweets and incorporating workouts.

As per my previous entry, I did start keeping an emotional eating journal. I’ve used it a few times and it has helped, but I haven’t been consistent with it. However, I did find just what I had expected. I craved most when I was stressed or emotional. So I am working on finding other options to sooth stresses and emotions. Figuring out what makes me happy, things I love to do that doesn’t include eating, and healthy ways to fill any voids. The most important thing to take away from this journey so far is that I’m important. My mental and physical being is important and worth taking care of. It should be one of the most important things in my life, and I never want to lose sight of that just to fulfill a short term need.

Hi, my name is Michelle, and I’m an Emotional Eater

Since starting my journey on this low carb plan, I have really started to evaluate why I was choosing the things I was eating. Why I felt I craved those sugars and bad carbs. Is it a chemical reaction in my body due to being used to eating those things for so long? Is it emotional or in my head? Will it ever go away or will I always have to fight it? I constantly am thinking about these things, even after being on a low carb plan for over 2 months. Though I have had more cheat days/meals than the first month, I feel once I had that first one, the first cheat day, it has been much harder to curb the cravings.

So, I’ve been doing some research as to what it is that keeps you craving these things. For me, I know it is more of an emotional eating than anything, though I don’t necessarily feel “down” or “upset” when I am choosing to go through with a cheat meal. Some of it has been certain events, such as birthdays or environmental, such as a friend cooking breakfast for me. But as I’ve been reading articles about the why’s and information on emotional eating, I am thinking, shoot, that’s me. Or damn, they nailed me.

“While it may seem that the core problem is that you’re powerless over food, emotional eating actually stems from feeling powerless over your emotions. You don’t feel capable of dealing with your feelings head on, so you avoid them with food.”

Quoted from this site (which has a lot of great information!), these 2 lines really stuck out to me. Although when I’m thinking ‘I really want a donut’ I may not be sad or mad or even stressed, there is obviously some underlying issue that makes me feel powerless over this craving. One of the suggestions from the site mentioned above is to keep an Emotional Eating Diary. Though diaries in the past for me are hit and miss, I think keeping this for the cravings I get and writing down my mood when I get them may help to find the underlying cause as to why I am craving it and what I’m trying to fulfill. Another suggestion is to take a breather and pause. When I get the craving, it suggests to tell myself to wait 5 minutes and evaluate myself and how I feel. I have noticed since I have started the low carb plan that I started to replace the cravings with other things such as energy drinks, more coffee, diet dr. pepper drinks from Sonic. They were little rewards I was allowing myself for not craving or giving into cravings of bad carbs and sugars. But I am still giving myself that reward, or emotional “eating”. Though not as bad, it is still the same thought process and it’s hard to let go of.

If you are an emotional eater, or have issues keeping a “diet” or a “healthy meal plan”, then I say it might be worth a shot looking into why. Are you trying to fulfill a void in your life, emotionally eating your cravings? I am trying to remind myself that food should be used for nutrition. It is what helped me start this plan, and what I want to continue to work on to fulfill my health plan. Figuring out what void or emotion you have when you are eating unhealthy is definitely a personal journey, but I truly believe a large part of obesity in America is due to this mindset. This emotional eating, eating to reward yourself, social eating, bad habits of childhood eating. While these things may seem obvious, it may not always be obvious as to why there are such emotions or habits behind it. And the solution won’t always be easy. In fact, the solution won’t be easy at all. The good news? There are so many others out there like me, like you, who feel the same way and who want to break the habit. And in that, we can come together to support one another, share our recipes, suggestions for coping, additional helpful articles. This blog right here is one of the primary reasons I wanted to start Idreamaboutcarbs because I know if I feel like this, and some of my friends do, then there are a lot of other people out there that probably do as well, and feel helpless about it. Let’s help each other! In whatever way we can, let’s pull together, share our stories, our ideas, and our support.

Glorious Bastards

We all have our weaknesses. At least one. That one thing that if it’s in front of you, it’s hard to resist temptation. Some of us have more than one weakness. And for some of us, that weakness is food related. Okay, probably most of us have at least 1 food weakness. For me, it is donuts and milk shakes. Of course, I love other junk food things, pastries, candies, and such but donuts and milk shakes are my kryptonite.

So, since I’ve started on this journey of the low carb health plan, I’ve rarely had any cheat days/meals. I had a couple birthdays and such this past month in which I allowed myself to eat out and eat something sweet. At work, we even had a couple instances when someone brought in a treat such as cake and cookies, and I politely declined. However, on Wednesday, someone brought in donuts for breakfast. Donuts. How dare they. Don’t they know I love donuts and can’t eat them?!

The person responsible for them put them in our kitchen/break room. After a little while I needed to go make my second cup of coffee. So, I wondered into the kitchen, ever so carefully, so as to not startle the donuts. I started my cup of coffee in the Keurig, and just barely above a whisper I heard “Hey there”. I slowly turn around to the donuts sitting on the table. Of course, they didn’t actually speak to me, but I could almost hear them calling to me. Softly at first. Just to let me know they were there. Don’t you worry donuts, I see you. I see you.

I take my coffee and run back to my desk. Phew, dodged that bullet, I thought. I got this. I can do this. I will not allow these donuts to ruin my low carb plan! So naive.

As I continued to work, I kept thinking about the donuts. I know. You’re thinking this girl is crazy! They weren’t even my favorite kind of donuts. (Chocolate Covered with Sprinkles in case you were curious.) But a donut is still a donut. And once more, I was drawn into the kitchen. I thought to myself, one small sliver of the donut won’t hurt. I just won’t eat my daily alloted amount of peanuts today. That’ll help! So I open the box, carefully of course, and oh the smell. That wonderful smell wafted slowly to my nose as I breathed in deep. Okay, yeah, one small sliver. So I cut a small sliver of one donut, and it was the most heavenly 2 bites. So creamy and soft, still slightly warm. Okay, okay, that’s enough. That’s all you get. I closed the box, heated up my lunch, and went back to my desk. Yes, see, meat and veggies, yum so good, who needs you leftover donut!

About an hour goes by and those donuts start calling my name again. I can hear them. Rustling in the kitchen. Just a few feet away from where I sat. Calling to me like they knew. They knew how delicious they were and how much I wanted them. All of them. They taunted me, teased me. I felt as though I had the classic scene of a devil and an angel on my shoulders. Except they were both in the form of a donut. Dammit Angel, you’re supposed to be on my side! Sigh. So I thought to myself, one more small sliver won’t hurt. I’ll just eat a smaller dinner to cut out the extra carbs. Once again, I slowly creep into the kitchen and open the box. I quietly cut off another small piece and once again, enjoy my additional 2 bites. Dear god, why are these so good.

I thought it would be enough. I thought those few bites would be enough to satisfy my craving. But all I could think about was the other portion of the donut I had been slowly cutting away at. I finally broke down and called in reinforcements by telling my friend about these unfortunate, tasty morsels so he could hold me accountable if I ate it. I thought it would be enough to stop me. I kept diverting my attention back to my work, turned my music up louder, talked back and forth with my friend. Anything to keep me from thinking about the donuts. It. Was. Torture.

I typically leave work at 4pm. It was 3:15, and I had talked myself into going back into the kitchen for one thing or another. My subconscious/fat kid side would do anything to draw me back in there to have one more look at them. To dream about them some more. I go into the kitchen, keep my back to the table and fill my water bottle. And there it is. I turn to look at both shoulders, and both my devil and angel are eating donuts, whispering it’s okay. It’s okay to have another nibble. I turn around and there they are, just sitting there, looking very calm and innocent. Like they hadn’t been torturing me all day. Look at you, you glorious, delicious bastards.
donuts man
I opened the box and devoured the rest of that donut.

I had been tortured all day from a donut. A stupid donut! I, of course, felt guilty because it would mess up my ketosis state and I would essentially be starting over the next day, but there was that other, deep seeded gluttonous side of me that was quite satisfied with herself. I hated her at that moment.

What was done, was done and there was no going back. All I could do was own up to what I had done. And accept it and move on. I think the important thing for me to have learned from this is that it is okay to have those cheats. Because if not, I will go crazy in instances like today. Not only that, my will power is still a work in progress. And I have to look at all the progress I have made and how far I have come and appreciate that. I still have such a long way to go, but dammit that donut was so delicious.

A Little Bit of Experimentation

One of the best things about doing this health plan with the low carbs is trying out all the different recipes. I go grocery shopping every Friday after I get off work because who wants to worry about having to go grocery shopping the rest of the weekend. And each week I tell myself, I will work on getting a meal plan together before Friday. And each week I am always scrambling on Friday afternoon to come up with a plan. (I’ve downloaded an app to help with to-do lists and such to hopefully assist with the procrastination, but once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator.)

Anyhow, I have noticed that more and more as I cook and experiment with different recipes, I am slowly starting to think well, this might be good with this. Or I could cook this but try it cooked this way. I find myself not only starting to alter recipes comfortably, but even coming up with my own! I am still working on spice combinations and sauces. And lord knows I need practice on making those sauces. But it feels amazing to come up with a type of creation and it actually taste good.

Tonight, after grocery shopping, I really didn’t have a specific meal in mind. I knew I had an extra pound of turkey meat and a couple items in the fridge to make more taco salads, which is what I had been eating all week for dinner. But I wanted to spice it up a bit! So I created a taco burger. I’m not making this an official recipe, as I didn’t really measure anything, but here is the run down: I combined 1 lb of turkey meat, garlic, minced onion, cumin, parsley, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper, and then stuffed half a jalapeno cheese stick in each burger. Cooked the burgers on the stove top, and served on a bed of iceburg lettuce with shredded cheddar cheese and a sauce that consisted of 2 parts salsa and 1 part sour cream (round abouts, I just eyeballed). Of course, there are many different things you could add to the burger or to garnish it with, but this was one of my favorite things I’ve created so far!

There have definitely been a few other creations, such as a sloppy joe casserole, philly cheesesteak casserole, and the taco sauce mentioned above. And this week, my creation is to do chicken and veggies in the crock pot with a type of soy/honey sauce, topped with roasted cauliflower rice. Fingers crossed it turns out as well as I have pictured in my head! But for all of those who are scared to dabble and experiment, don’t be. Even with my creations, they’re usually derived from some recipe or cooking style I’ve done before, but as I am getting more comfortable in the kitchen, it is become much easier to think outside the box. So, if you decide to create a different way to do something or go wild and create an entire recipe, share the love! I would love to try it!

Sunday Failday

I usually pick Sundays as my bulk cooking day. I cook my breakfast and lunch for the upcoming week, and usually break up my dinner by cooking a dish to last Sunday and Monday and then cook it again on Tuesday night. Today started out like every Sunday. I got up, cooked my breakfast, then moved on to bulk cooking my lunch. I decided to attempt to make a BBQ sauce to go into shredded chicken and use my Cheese Chive Waffles as buns. Sounds delicious right? I baked my chicken in the oven. (Normally, I would’ve used the crock pot, but it was being used to cook my breakfast at this time.) I should’ve known it was going to go awry when the chicken came out tough and hard to shred. But alas, I still had a good outlook on this whole BBQ chicken thing. Then, I started getting the sauce ready to simmer. I throw all the ingredients in the pan only to realize I don’t have enough onion or chili powder. At this point you’re all thinking, surely she knows it’s time to go ahead and throw in the towel on this bbq sauce idea. Wrong! I persevered. I thought, I’ll run to Target to get the spices, it’s only 2 minutes from my house and I’ll be back and simmering sauce in no time! I get back, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer. And simmer. And simmer some more. Taste test, add some more seasoning, add more Worcestershire sauce, simmer some more. Finally, as I slowly realize it still only tastes like tomato sauce and is extremely runny, I crank up the heat to med-low to reduce the sauce and make it thicker. And add more seasoning. I ultimately let it simmer for about an hour and a half and see that it has finally thickened up. Yay!  Dip a spoon in to taste and test, and wait, wait, what? What is this taste?? Why does this taste like a cracked out tomato sauce?? I added some salt and pepper to spruce it up, but alas. My delicious smelling BBQ sauce tastes like Worcestershire and tomato sauce with weird seasonings.

By this point I have been in the kitchen cooking on and off for several hours. I’m frustrated, hungry and very disappointed. I mixed the bbq sauce with a little bit of chicken and piled it on a waffle/pancake. Added a couple pickles hoping it would help and ate my disappointing lunch. This, my friends, is all a part of cooking and trying new recipes. I had a friend try this very same one, who actually shared it with me, and her and her husband loved it! I absolutely think this is a classic case of ‘different strokes for different folks’. As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to share this recipe fail and frustrating experience because these types of situations come with it and I think it’s important to appreciate both. So while I’m frustrated and disappointed that the sauce didn’t quite turn out how I’d hoped, I am still glad that I tried it and didn’t give up. I’ll still eat the BBQ chicken for my lunch this week, and my poor roommate will have to suffer through too but being able to share this recipe fail and keep a positive outlook on healthy cooking is what’s important!