Sunday, October 28, 2012

The case of the "Tomorrows"

“When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no "I'll start tomorrow." Tomorrow is disease.”

--- Terri Guillemets

5:30 am; The alarm clock roars. The snooze button is hit.

5:45 am; The alarm clock howls. The snooze button is pressed.

6:00 am; The alarm clock wails. Mike wakes up for work, and the snooze is set.

The same continues until...

8:15am; The alarm clock cries. I finally pry myself off of my way-too-comfy bed and realize it is too late for the gym. Time to get ready for work. Yes. I am very guilty of letting this to happen more often than I would like to admit. "Tuesday I will do better", I tell myself.

    When I started my life style change, less then a year ago, I vowed to go all or nothing. It is the way I have always been. I admire all those who can say "I will cut back on soda from 3 sodas a day to 1 a day and progressively get it out of my life" and actually make changes that way. How on earth can you do that? For me, I would talk myself into having an extra one here or there but I eventually would be back to where I was- 3 sodas a day. That's just me. It is not something I am proud of, but you have to accept your weakness and learn how to adjust your life to compensate.

  What is all or nothing? In my case, it is a 180 degree lifestyle change from diet to exercise to mentality.
Diet, check!
Mentality, check!
Exercise... sometimes check?

  I want to put a full on check next to exercise but I honestly can't. In the beginning, I was counting calories, reading up on heath constantly, and working out at the gym AT LEAST 5 days a week. As I researched and found what works for me my eating habits have changed into something that better works for my lifestyle, my idea of what it means to be healthy has changed, and my exercise habits were adapting for the better until I started using tomorrow as a crutch.

  Rewarding ourselves is something that is important for all of us to do from time to time. My boyfriend and I decided to reward ourselves by going on a great cruise to Alaska. I knew what cruises were all about and was prepared mentally for all the food, the overly "relaxed" mentality, but I was very unprepared for how hard it would be to get back into your groove once you come home. It's been about two months since and I am just starting to find my exercise rhythm again.

   Right now my goal is to be at the gym by 7 or 7:30, and work out for about an hour/ hour 15, Monday-Wednesday. Then attend my group personal training session on Friday and Saturday for an hour. The feeling you get when you are working out regularly is indescribable. Your energy level, endorphins, stamina, and results increase. Most importantly I feel great. I am sick of letting tomorrow get in my way, so lets not let it. In the words of Alice Morse Earle, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present", and I'm going to treat it that way.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The No Carb Italian

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”
                ― Giuseppe Verdi

     "Dinner time! Baked ziti!", was a familiar call by my mother. Baked ziti, angel hair pasta, bread, rice. In non-Italian terms, the more carbs the better. I loved them and thought all people who gave them up were crazy, until I became one of them.

      I was introduced to an amazing nutritionist, Maria Emmerich, whose online blog started it all. I read her ideas about health and factual information which made a lot of sense for me. I love everything I tried including almond flour waffles, no carb lasagna, low carb cinnamon bun cookies, etc. The main thing was learning how to cook this way. At my house, we never used butter, oil, or mayo. Always "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" spray, lean cuisine meals, skim milk, whole wheat pasta, low cal/low fat this and that. Little did I know by getting rid of the calories and fat you add a TON of carbs. When I told Maria this she said "EAT REAL FOOD" meaning butter, unprocessed stuff that has lower carbs and more fat and calories. It still didn't make sense because that is how I thought you became healthy and lost weight. I guess I just had to get over it.

   A big thing I learned that our bodies are only supposed to have 1 tsp of sugar in our blood to be normal. For every 4 grams of carbs= 1 tsp of sugar, so if for have something with 16 carbs that means 4 tsp of sugar which is 4 times the amount of sugar we are supposed to have at a time. So what happens is our insulin, which was really only meant as a back-up system, is having to be over used to get that level down and in order to do that, our bodies stop getting rid of fat and starts to store it. So we think by eating low cal we're doing great, but it in the end we actually end up storing more fat and, in the long term gaining weight. There was always at least one carb attached to each meal, so I literally had to get rid of everything in my personal pantry and retrain my brain.

   I learned to enjoy protein and fresh veggies way more then I expected and my meals consist of that mostly. I add some dairy from time to time but my energy levels changed drastically. I feel so much better getting all the excess carbs and processed crap out of my system. Looking back at how I ate and how I eat now, I can't believe I ever functioned or even knew what feeling good was like. I have myself back and that is a huge achievement. So when I tell people that I don't eat carbs and they say "OMG, I feel so sorry for you", I tell them not to and wonder if they every really know what feeling good truly means. I am still the daughter of an Italian mother and still enjoy amazing Italian dishes that I modify for my diet, even though I still dream of freshly baked bread. *Sigh*

   At the end of the day, there is no 100% perfect "diet" the world must follow to be healthy. Some people cannot process gluten, some can't process dairy but whatever makes you feel good from the moment you wake up till the moment you fall aslessp, that is probably what is best for you. Whatever makes your blood work come back good, what your professional health adviser says is right for your body is probably what is best for you. This is what works for ME, and that is who I am focusing on. So don't feel sorry for me. I feel great and I wouldn't change my diet for the world.

For great health advice and amazing recipes check out Maria's health blog

Saturday, October 20, 2012

In the beginning

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

  I am a 23 year old girl trapped in the body/mindset of an unhealthy older woman. Besides this bitter truth, I have always been a very happy and confident girl. I was blessed with the ability to learn from example and not by example. Seeing other people in the same physical shape I was in, even at such a young age, most people would feel bad for these people because most of them fit into the catagory of  lonely, depressed, ugly, emotional when I was nothing of the sort. I had a ton of friends, I loved being social, I loved myself, I loved life even when some of the people closest to me were in a relate-able situation and did not feel the same. These people I looked up to but if I had followed in their footsteps rather then learn from their failure I would not be the person I am growing into today.

  In high school, I had no desire to loose weight. All my friends ate whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and looked fantastic, so why can't I? So I did and enjoyed every pizza slice, every cupcake, every bagel with cream cheese that I had. Those things didn't affect my mentality or who I was, but years later at 22, they made me who I was; unhealthy.This is when the time for change clicked in my mind and I was ready on my own to do it.

 I tried Weight Watchers, low calorie diets, doctor supervised diets, diet pills, starving myself, Sensa, blah blah blah, and nothing worked for long. This was NOT how I wanted to live my life anymore. I needed a total lifestyle change that worked for me and I found, so-far, what I believe is the best for me. NO/LOW CARBS! AHHH! How could a girl raised in an Italian family not eat bread, pizza, pasta, sugar, fruit? I'm still not sure but it is working; with the addition of exercise.

   I am not perfect, and have flat-lined a bit on my progress but I am with strong hope that I will push through this and be very successful with my whole lifestyle change. I have already lost 40lbs and by keeping on strong, I know I have a lot to lose, in a good way! My next milestone is 40lbs more. Lets see how it goes.