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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Menu Planning

Well, I tried the PaleoPlan.com, and here is my honest critique: the recipes were sometimes complicated, and the ingredients were hard to find. I found it hard (impossible) to eat leftovers for lunch every day. Also, I didn't love all the recipes. Some were moderately good, some great, and some yuck. Well, that's about the same or worse track record as I have doing my own menu planning, and it doesn't cost me $10 a month. So I have decided to invest the 2 hours in making my own menu again.


I am so indecisive about whether to commit to Paleo (don't want to give up dairy, don't feel all that satisfied on it, plus is it low enough carb for me to lose weight?), or whether to go back to Atkins style low carb (find myself eating a lot of Splenda, and a few digestive problems- don't know why) or whether to eat normally for a while (because of the time crunch, kids complaining, and just plain enjoyment of food.)

I have decided to try alternating days for a while. This would mean I would be eating either low carb or Paleo for 5 days of the week, and eating normally for 2. I don't know if this will work for me, but time will tell, I guess. I'm guessing if I want to lose weight I will have to eat "normal" less than 2x a week.

Because it takes me 2 friggin' hours to plan my menus and make my grocery lists, I thought I'd share them so maybe others could benefit from them. Truthfully, this menu plan might even last you up to 2 weeks because you will have a lot of leftovers (not the yucky kind, the good kind.)

Here is the google doc for the grocery list. (This might not be perfect. It's hard not to forget things- I usually end up running to the store for things that somehow disappeared from the list.) Or if you're only using a few recipes, Ziplist.com is a great way to clip recipes and automatically add the ingredients to an online grocery list, then there is a mobile app, so you can use your phone for a grocery list. Also, I may only shop for a few days at a time since our fridge is so small, and this calls for A LOT of big bulky produce. #wearesohealthy

Here is the menu plan (well, it turns out Blogger can't show the whole thing b/c it's too wide, but here's a little sample for you, then the whole thing is posted at this google doc:

highlighted =can be prepared ahead and frozen

Low Carb

Paleo

Normal

Low Carb

Paleo

Normal

Low Carb

Breakfast

Bacon & Swiss Quiche

Scrambled Eggs w/ bacon and sausage

Green Smoothie

Eggs & bacon

Spinach & Mushroom Quiche (scroll down to day 5)

Baked Eggs w/ Bacon and Cheese & English Muffin

Broccoli Quiche

Lunch

Cauliflower Bisque

Egg Salad wrapped in lettuce leaves

Italian White Bean Soup

Leftover Bacon & Swiss Quiche

Spinach & Apple Salad

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

Tuna Muffins

Tartar Sauce

Dinner

Taco Salad

(Use Boston Lettuce)

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Salsa Verde

Sauteed orange & yellow peppers plus sautéed garlic spinach

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Alice Springs Chicken

Zucchini Gratin

Green Salad

Slow Cooker Paleo Beef Stew

Oven-roasted Brussels sprouts and Faux-Tay-Toes (steam cauliflower till tender; drain; mash with a little olive oil, coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste till you get a mashed potatoes texture)

Spring Minestrone Soup

Bread

Chicken Divan

Green Salad

2 Snacks, 1 for during the day and 1 dessert

Cajun Smoked Salmon Dip with Almond Thins

Jello Fluff

Dried fruit & nuts

Almond Macaroons

Frozen Egg Rolls

Buttermilk Brownies

Cheese Sticks, Macadamia Nuts

No-Bake Jello Cheesecake

Fruit of Your Choice & Crunchy Veggies

Carrot Cake

Energy Bites

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Deviled Egg

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (replace sugar w/Splenda)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Low Carb and Paleo

I have neglected to update the few readers I have of my new found desire to give the whole weight loss thing a try!


Here's the big news! I have been successful in losing some weight! I have lost almost 30 pounds since my highest weight. And as you may have guessed, I have been doing some hard work for a few months. Back in May of this year, I found the book, Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes. This is a fantastic, fascinating book. It answered every question I ever had about weight loss and lack thereof. Why can I exercise 7 hours a week with no weight loss? Why do I eat less than my skinny friends and weigh more than them? Why have I failed at diets so many times?


And so I ate a VERY low carb diet from June of this year until now. Like between 20 and 60 carbs per day. It has worked pretty well. And the thing I'm pleased with is that I'm NOT HUNGRY!!!!! Fat is a GOOD thing on this diet (and in my opinion, in general!) so you tend to feel completely satisfied after every meal. I hardly ever need to snack between meals, because my blood sugar is so stable. My hypoglycemia is a thing of the past.

So to bring you up to date even more... the story continues... I have been on a little cheating binge ever since Thanksgiving, and I figured out that I am getting burned out from spending 2 hours making meal plans and shopping lists. And the frustrating thing is that the food I am picking from my recipe books isn't tried and tested, so I have been striking out a lot and we've been stuck with this yucky food that makes it tempting to want to eat a sandwich instead (evil bread.)

Solution! I found this website that creates meal plans and grocery lists for you with the Paleo style of eating. PaleoPlan.com. Now a quick explanation- the type of low carb I've been doing has been no fruit (except for maybe a few berries here and there), no bread or grains of any sort, no potatoes or starchy vegetables, no legumes, no sugar, of course, and we even go easy on the nuts. We don't drink milk or eat yogurt, but we have been eating cheese and lots of yummy cream. So other than that, it's basically meat and vegetables.

Paleo has been called a cousin of low carb/Atkins type eating. Paleo philosophy believes we should eat like our cavemen ancestors. Ancient humans didn't know how to farm or domesticate animals. So on this diet, grains and processed things are forbidden, as well as dairy. Fruit and nuts are allowed, and some paleo diet people eat potatoes, as well.

So I have decided to make a switch to Paleo and give it a try for a couple of weeks. It has to be better than cheating and eating white bread, sugar filled jelly and processed peanut butter, right? I realize the Paleo style of eating will be higher carbs, but I am willing to trade that right now for the relief I feel in letting someone else make my menus and shopping lists!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fitness Thoughts

No recess today for my 6 year old daughter. No recess every Thursday and every Monday! Not to mention all the times they cancel it due to rain or cold temperatures (Meh! It’s in the 30s. We can’t let them outside!) And think how much that 15 minutes of outdoor time was doing to counteract all the crap that my kids are subjected to (un-natural colored birthday cupcakes, daily snacks where parents send in chips and cookies, commercials on TV for sugar cereals, deluges of candy for each and every holiday, and begging and begging to go to McDonalds where they could eat loads of chemicals to cover the taste of the substandard foods.) I feel bad for families just an income bracket or 2 below us that can’t afford to send their kids to ballet, tap, soccer, gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, baseball, basketball, and swimming like we do. I feel pretty responsible for their fitness as well as my own.

My muscles are currently atrophying as well at the current moment. I have gotten hit by a really bad flu. I still feel dizzy standing up or speaking louder than a whisper.

However, I do have an update: I am turning 40 in just over a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An alarm went off in my head when I realized that a few weeks ago. At the time, I felt like I had tried everything. Weight watchers 6 times, allergy diet, caveman diet, thyroid medicine, and I still wasn’t losing weight. So I decided to give it one more shot and go Old School. Just logging calories. And lo and behold, after the first week, I have lost almost a pound!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!

So just like my daughter can’t control whether the teacher allows recess, and just like I can’t control the fact that my body will not let me walk on the treadmill right now, I feel a distinct increase in my self-esteem. The negative self-talk is getting countered with “HEY! LAY OFF! I’M DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!”

And it’s working! So far so good. I’ll keep you updated. J

Monday, February 15, 2010

Why am I irritatable, can't lose weight, and have brain fog?

I think I just found a book that embodies the reason I named this blog "It's Just Not That Simple."



The title doesn't explain very precisely what the authors mean, but a better title might be the title I chose for this post: "Why am I irritable, can't lose weight, and/or have brain fog?" Fuzzy refers not to physical fuzz like a stuffed animal :) but to brain fog, fuzzy, unclear thinking.

Yesterday I began the book, then without stopping read as fast as I could until I could could not read any more. It TOTALLY hits the nail on the head of what is wrong with me!!!! There are symptom questionnaires in the book, and apparently, I have symptoms for all three conditions, which are all hormone imbalances. The overweight problem is probably an under-active thyroid, the irritability is probably under-active or exhausted adrenal glands, and the brain fog, or more specifically for me- profound depression- is probably a deficiency in progesterone.

I feel really blessed to be piecing this together, I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to the full solution every day. I have been visiting a physicians office that is "integrated," meaning they use natural as well as purely medical therapies. The natural medical community is advocating more and more that people need thyroid medicine, even if their tests show "normal," like mine did. The book actually says the thyroid blood test is not even very accurate, but they suggest a salivary thyroid test instead, or a blood spot thyroid test. (For details, read the book. I'm afraid I can't pontificate on the technical stuff.)

But I highly, highly, highly, highly recommend the book, if you've been having any of these symptoms because it can save you from years of suffering & feeling like "half a person."

My new doctors have discovered that I am hypothyroid and have EXTREME adrenal exhaustion. They didn't test my progesterone levels, but I have been taking natural bioidentical progesterone from a vitamin store on my own with the result of a definite lift in my mood.

The authors also have a website, which I suggest you check out while you're waiting for Amazon to deliver your book (seriously, it is worth every penny of the ten bucks! Buy it!)

I'm sure it will take a while for me to feel better, as well as for that to show up on the scale, but I feel like I am now on the right track. I'll update you as time goes on with progress in the journey, as always. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lonely Neglected Scale... Poor sick scale owner!

Weight Loss? Ummmm....


Poor lonely scale, over in the bathroom corner, gathering dust.

I haven't weighed myself in a few weeks, but I will tell you that this fall has been so frustrating as far as exercise. At the end of September, I got a sinus infection, then when that was better, I slowly got back to the gym, taking it easy, not jumping in all at once & over-doing it. But once I got back to my full 30 minutes or so, the next day, I crashed and became sick again. Now it's the end of Dec., and I've had 3 rounds of antibiotics, and should be better by now, but I still have a sore throat, headache & congestion. Are you kidding me???????????????

How am I supposed to lose weight if exercise is not an option? I mean, I guess I could torture myself and count calories and get rid of the sugar...

Realistically, I am hoping to do my system of slowly giving up desserts by eating 1 less each week, until I'm eating 1 dessert per week. This should ideally start next week when the kids are going back to school and we are all in our routines again.

When I weighed myself before Christmas, I was pleased to see that the number on the scale wasn't scandalously high, about the same as before my sinus infections, maybe a pound or 2 more. But we have been Christmas-treat-eating fiends at our house, and I just think about all the elliptical workouts I will have to do to work it off & I get so frustrated about being sick & not being able to exercise.

But what I haven't blogged about yet is how much I love having lost 25 pounds!!!!!!!!!! I love looking at my face in the mirror without the double chin... Christmas may have put it back... we'll see... actually writing this has made me more motivated to try to get back to the grindstone as soon as I can. But I did fit in my awesome Shabby Apple Christmas dress!! So that's good! :)

I will update again soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eating & Toxic Shame

"For the most part diets are the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on a suffering group of people. Ninety-five percent of the people who diet gain the weight back within five years. Diets underscore one of the most paradoxical aspects of toxic shame. In dieting and losing weight, one has the sense of controlling and fixing the problem. ... control is one of the major strategies of cover-up for shame." -from Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw.

I really enjoyed this quote. I had been reading the shame book for multiple reasons, but I especially know that eating involves "stuffing" emotions for me and like a band-aid when I didn't want to feel life's sharp edges. But the problem other than the obvious fact that over-eating is self-destructive, is that numbing emotions will numb the good ones as well as the bad. This is why I am planning on reading more books on shame including I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't) by Brene Brown, and others by her.

Also the issue about whether you can really control and fix the problem? If you only deal with calories in versus calories out, then well, what about the emotional side of things? It makes me think about those women who were on Oprah who had bariatric surgery, then switched their addiction from food to alcohol. Let alone nightmare stuff like this PCOS that I'm dealing with that screw with your metabolism and therefore there is no control over your weight loss.

I've been doing very well, weight-loss-wise. Half of me doesn't want to give myself any credit because you KNOW you're going to be losing weight if you're taking a medication that causes you to have to take Immodium AD every day (medication is Metformin for the PCOS). But then again, I know I've made some key lifestyle choices like going to once a week desserts, and being super consistent doing my interval cardio training 3 times a week and some simple strength training (just 10 minutes) 3 times a week.

Because I couldn't binge eat recently (partly because of this dang medication), I did feel that my food addiction had been transferred around to other things like reading a lot (less harmful) or losing my temper too often (more harmful). So I hope that I (and all of us) can work instead on reducing the toxic shame, so I won't have to search for ways to numb my emotions.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

We're Going Riding On The Freeway

I am so excited to share some happy, happy, happy thoughts with you this time!


First of all, I woke up this morning and read the scale- and guess what? I've lost 20 pounds since the end of last summer!!!!!!! I still have a long way to go, but it doesn't matter. I am SO PSYCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I went and worked out, did intervals on the elliptical, and I couldn't even believe how good it felt! I came home and jumped up and down and shook my husband, saying, "I feel so great!!!!" What used to be hard before, was a cake walk. I felt powerful. I know I'm getting stronger, but it still challenged me enough to really get those endorphins flowing and of course the sweat was flowing a ton. I wanted it not to be over when it was over, and I wanted to dance & do cartwheels afterwards, to show how awesome I felt.

And I have some updating to do. First of all, I feel like I'm armed with some knowledge that will help me succeed this time, in the weight loss department. (And as a disclaimer, if I hit a "speed bump," I will pick myself up and keep going... but right now we're on the freeway, man!) :)
  1. I've been diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.). It involves not only cysts on your ovaries, but also your body mismanages insulin, and your hormones are all messed up. It is a disorder that can affect your metabolism, and similar to thyroid, you can gain a ton of weight, and it is super tough to take it off. I found an article on the Real Age website that named PCOS as one of the top 3 things that may stop people from losing weight when they're doing everything right. (The other two were thyroid & sleep apnea.) I am now taking the drug, Metformin. It is a diabetes drug, not a weight loss drug, but sometimes people taking it have a bit of relief from some of the PCOS symptoms. I've only been on it for 6 weeks & I haven't reached the full dosage yet, but I have started to see a glimmer of hope. But mainly, knowledge is power. Even if I get no relief from its effects, and my metabolism stays sluggish, at least I know I really do need to try harder than the average person to lose weight, and so I'll give it my all & I won't give up. When I found out I had PCOS, it was like, "SEE I TOLD YOU!!!!! I AM NOT SITTING ON MY COUCH EATING BON BONS! I WORK OUT MORE AND EAT HEALTHIER THAN ANYONE I KNOW, YET I STILL WEIGH THIS MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Vindicated towards anyone who might have judged me. :( And it underlines the reason I named this blog, "It's Just Not That Simple." Because, well, it's not. Calories in, calories out is not the whole story.
  2. Summer is a hard time for me. Last summer the anxiety & depression I suffer from got so much worse. I stopped working out & started eating worse & as a result gained 20 pounds. Yep, the 20 I just lost. :( So I'm hoping knowing the pitfalls are out there will help me avoid them a bit. For some people winter is hard, and people just try to maintain their weight through the holidays, but for me, I know the nightmare season is summer. So I can give myself a friggin' break, if I gain a pound or two, and I can yell extra hard at myself to get to the gym, because it will just be my lying, depressed, negative thoughts trying to talk me out of it. Take THAT, Negative Thoughts! I'm on to you!!!