Eating

What I learned on my Junk Food Fast

First of all, Happy Halloween!

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Photo courtesy Target.com

A couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be a “fun challenge” to see if I could do a 10-day junk food fast. People, I’ll tell you, I lasted about a week. After I got through that 7th day I wanted chocolate so badly I broke down and made some muffins. And they were amazing. But I thought I’d share what I learned about myself during the fast in hopes it can help you if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, or even if you’re just trying to plan a week’s worth of healthy meals and stick to it.

1. Accountability works.
I’ve talked before about how I’m an Obliger, and that means it’s difficult for me to be accountable to myself. With this fast, I was accountable to SkinnyMom. Well, in my mind anyway. Knowing there was a group of Instagram followers who were trying to accomplish this goal right along with me really helped. And believing it was Brooke’s idea instead of mine made a difference as well.

2. I need treats.
I should have known this about myself, but I idiotically believed I could go 10 days without eating muffins for breakfast or having dessert after dinner. I don’t know what I was thinking! I should have pre-planned some healthy but delicious treats that I could have indulged with when the urge came. I did find some yogurt-covered pretzels, which were great, but other than that I felt too much like I was depriving myself, which is ultimately why I think I gave up on the fast three days early.

3. More specifically, I need chocolate.
I tried giving up chocolate for Lent once, and I did it, but I think only because I was still allowed to eat sweets. I have a major sweet tooth, but nothing satisfies it like chocolate. The combination of chocolate + sugar = pure bliss to me. The night after the fast I ate way too many spoonfuls of peanut butter that I’d dipped into a jar of chocolate chips (and yes, I’m definitely embarrassed to admit this!). But that was truly what I was craving. So if I ever do something like this again, I think I need to plan in a little chocolate so I don’t binge quite so dramatically when it’s over.

4. Eating clean makes a difference for weight loss.
This should be a no-brainer, but sometimes I need to learn things the hard way. At the beginning of the fast, I weighed 157.4 lbs. Seven days later, sticking to the fast the whole time, I weighed 154.8 lbs. That’s a loss of 2.6 lbs in only one week and to be honest, that’s a record for me. I generally lose about a pound a week, sometimes less, when I closely follow the Weight Watchers SmartPoints plan. But not being able to have my regularly scheduled muffins, turkey sandwiches on white bread, and bedtime Halo Top really made a difference.

So that’s it. Overall, I think the week went well. And I keep talking about “when I do this again,” but what I’m trying to get at is that I need to find ways to incorporate this new knowledge into my everyday eating habits, so I don’t have to do a fast again—I can just eat healthfully and allow myself planned, chocolaty treats every few days. Or maybe every other day. We’ll see.

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Eating

Keeping it real

Remember those goals I made for September? Lose 5 lbs, explore clean eating, go to the gym twice a week? Well I accomplished none of them. In fact, I’m back on another plateau, and I haven’t lost weight since August. I was so gung-ho then that I thought I could just keep going. But there’s this thing with me: when I’m doing well with weight loss, I think I can just add back in all the stuff I’ve been avoiding. And I can’t. At least, not if I want to see the numbers on the scale go down.

I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before (again, better to listen than to read, just sayin’!), and according to her four tendencies, I’m an obliger. That won’t be a surprise to those of you who know me in real life. But the problem with being an obliger is that I’m really good at meeting my commitments to other people. Not so great when it comes to meeting a commitment to myself. Which is why, I think, this Weight Watchers journey has been so tumultuous for me. I will have a few months of great losses, and then a month of nothing. Lather, rinse, repeat. But if you look back on my time in the program, I think it’s kind of embarrassing how little weight I’ve lost since April. It’s been five months and I STILL haven’t broken the 20lb mark. And I should have been able to. I’m thisclose.

One of the problems is Fall. I LOVE FALL. We all know that. But with fall comes Pumpkin Spice Lattes and my instinct for nesting, for cozy blankets and spicy candles, for spending more time inside, for baking up pumpkin goodies to my heart’s content. And all of that has had an impact on my weight this last month. Gretchen (we’re friends, right?) says obligers need outside accountability to meet their goals, so I’m trying two new things this October. First, I joined a DietBet. Not completely sure what it is myself, but basically I paid $35 and bet that I could lose 4% of my weight this month. If I win, I get my money back plus whatever’s left in the pot, shared amongst all the winners. So if I don’t actually TRY to lose weight this month, I’m out $35, also known as a mani-pedi, lunch at Panera with my family, or a new sweater from Target. I’m trying to imprint on my mind how much it would suck to lose that money to my laziness. Hopefully it’ll start working soon.

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The other thing I’m trying is SkinnyMom’s 10-day No Junk Food challenge. I even made a graphic and set it as my phone background so I would have a constant reminder of what not to eat. I started the challenge today, and so far so good. I’m just not sure if I’m going to be able to survive 10 days without chocolate. I mean, CHOCOLATE. I eat chocolate every morning at breakfast and every evening after dinner. It’s what I always crave; what I use to signal my stomach that the meal is over and I should stop eating. So that will truly be a challenge. But how lame will I be if I can’t eat chocolate for a week and a half? I know I can do it, I just also know it won’t be very fun. Sigh. No one ever got into weight loss for the kicks.

Anyone what to partner up with me and be my accountability buddy? Gretchen says that’s what I need. I have a friend I go to the gym with, but what I really need is someone I have to report what I ate to. Who won’t judge but will kindly suggest that I wasn’t supposed to eat that chocolate until next Thursday, and that maybe I shouldn’t have put those Reese’s Peanut Butter Halloween Pumpkins into my Target cart. I track in my WW app but it’s so nice, it’s like, “Great job tracking this week!” and “You tracked a fruit—awesome!” I need it to be a little harder on me if I’m going to get out of this plateau and meet my goal by—dare I say it—January 1!!?!?!?!

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Shopping

A few of my favorite things: August 2016 Edition

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1. Product: Aveeno Shave Gel
I bought this after reading about it in InStyle’s 2016 Best Beauty Buys, and so far I love it. It has a sweet almond scent, which is my favorite, and it goes on smoothly and leaves my skin soft. Would definitely recommend for all that pesky summer shaving!

2. Resource: Drizzlemeskinny.com
Drizzle eats real food. She eats bread. She eats Philly Cheesesteak. She makes dessert and she doesn’t apologize for it. When I found this site I thought, “Finally! Someone who is on Weight Watchers but understands how to tweak everyday ingredients to make them taste great.” We tried her Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Bubble Up and the kids asked for seconds. Next up is her Buffalo Chicken & Bacon Bubble Up—I can’t wait.

3. Book: Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
I listened to this book in my car on a recent trip up to Chicago, and I can’t recommend it enough. I also can’t recommend audiobooks enough—if you haven’t listened to one, please give it a try. In the car, on a walk, while you’re cleaning the house, etc. The reader, if she’s a good one, which Brittany Pressley undoubtedly is, has the ability to bring drama to each character and in doing so, enhances the story 100% over me speed-reading through to see what happens next. Audiobooks help you slow down and listen, and the books I’ve listened to this way somehow have stayed with me longer than the ones I’ve only read. Definitely check it out.

4. Recipe: Italian Chopped Salad via SkinnyMom
I made this the other night, and since it made six servings and we only have four people in our family, I packed the last two servings into mason jars for lunches at work. I liked it because it had pasta and blue cheese, two things I can only eat in moderation these days, but two things I really love. I did cheat on the original recipe and used Fat Free Wishbone Italian dressing instead of homemade, but at 4T for 1 SmartPoint, who cares? It was good my way, and I’m sure if you decide to make your own dressing it’ll be even better.

5. Home: My trusty Everest bag
This bag has been with me throughout the summer, and it has not failed me once. It’s big enough to stash a file folder, lunch bag, and all my miscellaneous kid items (still carrying baby wipes—when can I give those up?) without being bulky. I love the canvas fabric for warm weather because it feels more casual than leather, but it looks more put together than a beach tote would. This is my every day, go-to bag, and it’s so cheap, maybe it should be yours too.

6. Miscellaneous: C.O. Bigelow Lemon Cream Body Wash
A friend introduced me to this and it smells AMAZING. It’s the perfect year-round scent, not too fruity, not too flowery, yet super-fresh and invigorating. It’s the kind of thing I want to buy for all my friends—the fragrance has universal appeal and the product absolutely gets my stamp of approval.

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