Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wheat grass, DVDs, recipes and other schtuff.

Today's post is kinda all over the place, but I'll try to keep it as organized as possible!

Wheat grass.

First off, let me just state that I have officially jumped on the Amazing Grass bandwagon. I've read about it on a few of my favorite blogs for the past few months and finally gave it a try. I bought some samples from Whole Foods last night and I'm officially hooked. That said, I have massive amounts of the stuff (in the berry, chocolate and regular green flavors) on order from Amazon. Was it one of those impulsive [expensive] purchases? Yes. Do I care? Not so much (even less so, after filing my taxes this morning and seeing how much of a refund is coming my way! Gotta love that extra cash-money from ol' Uncle Sam each year).

I've always liked the flavor of wheat grass, so I'm excited to mix up this powder in all sorts of smoothies or enjoy it by itself. Last night I mixed a packet with some chocolate almond milk and this morning I tried it with just water. Dug the taste prepared both ways. I must admit, I enjoy it more with a *little bit* of sweetener. I'm a fan of the sweetness. What can I say?

It's still a bit early to tell if I've experienced the numerous health benefits it boasts, but I must say, after falling asleep after 11 pm last night, I woke up pretty damn refreshed at 5 am this morning. Like, noticeably refreshed. I told myself last night that if I was too tired at 5 am to work out, I would go ahead and give myself a rest day, but once I sat up to turn off the alarm, I felt like I could tackle some 30 Day Shred. And I did just that. Levels 2 and 3, even.

Was it the wheat grass shot from the night before? Placebo effect? Who knows. But I do know that, despite how long I've been doing early morning workouts, I'm usually groggy at that hour and still totally not a morning person.

I plan on consuming AG daily once my shipment arrives, so I'll keep you all posted on any changes I notice over the next few weeks.


While adding copious amounts of wheat grass powder to my Amazon shopping cart, I also threw in some new fitness DVDs that have been getting some buzz lately:


I'm not gonna lie- Jari Love just looks creepy and a little too thin to me on that cover, but based on what I've read, it's a challenging DVD that's supposed to deliver. We shall see!

As for Cardio Kick, I've just been itching to do some kick boxing lately. The last few Tae Bo DVDs I got were just disappointing overall (too many ridiculous moves packed into one workout, too much use of the 'body bands,' etc.), so it's time to try something new. I think this will be a good fit.

Reviews of those to follow in the next week or so as well. I'm still hitting the gym and mixing in yoga, but even between the gym and all of my equipment at home, I still get bored with my workout routines from time to time. And seeing as how I like [and dislike] to get my workouts over and done with early in the a.m., I need to mix things up to keep me motivated. I hope these new DVDs will do the trick.


Couple of recipes to share:

-Tuna & Chickpea Salad with Pesto. Oh. My. God. I made this the other night and it turned out just awesome. Probably because it required no actual cooking and called for easy, tasty ingredients, heh. Doug's not a fan of bell peppers, so I substituted those with some sun-dried tomatoes (the dry ones- not the kind packed in oil). I also sprinkled some fat-free feta on top. Deliciousness. In fact, I need to start wrapping this post up because I brought leftovers for lunch!

-Chicken & Bok Choy Stir Fry. Haven't actually tried this one yet, but it's on the menu for dinner tonight. I picked up some bok choy at the store the other night, so all of the ingredients are patiently waiting in the kitchen. Just looking at the ingredient list, I'm confident that it'll taste pretty darn good.


This week is shaping up to be one of the best weeks I've had in a while. It started out semi-rough, but gradually got better each day. My workouts were steady and left me feeling strong, my food intake has been balanced (and sooo tasty!), my "food-mood," as I like to call it, is finally starting to mellow out and I'm starting to feel like myself again. The previous binging episodes from the past few months made me feel like a stranger in my own body. I know it probably sounds silly, but for a while there, I felt like I lost my identity because I was stuck in this messy state of all around unhealthiness. I was eating crap, felt like crap and for whatever reason(s), couldn't bring myself to care enough to break the cycle of crap.

Eating mindfully takes practice (more so than I originally thought), but I'm definitely starting to get the hang of it. I'm still reading Eat What You Love... and each chapter paragraph reaffirms that I'm totally capable of having a sane relationship with food and that I deserve any health & happiness that results from said relationship.

Yeah, yeah, I started to get all lovey-dovey-hippy-ish in that last bit, but it's true. And I'm finally starting to realize how imperative it is to just stop being a wuss and start being honest about my feelings ;D

Monday, January 25, 2010

Adventures in BabyFood-ing.

This past weekend, I came across a nice little addition to change up my meals: baby food.

Perhaps I should back up and provide a little explanation first... Doug needed some small glass jars for one of his art classes and decided that baby food jars would be the perfect size, while also remaining pretty darn cheap. So, we went to the baby section at the store and picked out a few flavors. I must admit, when my younger sister was born, my curiosity got the better of me and I found myself sampling some of her baby food and remembered that some of it (mostly the fruit-based varieties) wasn't half bad.

Not ones to waste food, we picked out flavors that we would actually eat. I got sweet potatoes and tried them yesterday with lunch. I added some cinnamon, splenda, Special K granola and some raisins. Still tasted like sweet potatoes, but in pureƩ form, so I think I'll get some more and try it with oatmeal. I think it would also work well when baking quick breads or pancakes/waffles.

This morning's breakfast was even better. The other flavor I picked was oatmeal with applesauce & bananas. I mixed it with some cottage cheese, cinnamon, ground flax seed and a bit of Splenda. OMG! Soooo good! I know it sounds like a weird combo, but I'm always experimenting with cottage cheese mix-ins and so far, this is probably one of the better ones. Needless to say, baby food will now be a part of future grocery lists, despite the fact that I have no babies and don't plan on having any.

As for the weekend overall, it was good. I overate a bit here and there, but no out-of-control binges. I also kept up with my workouts and felt pretty good. I managed to avoid a binge yesterday whilst at the grocery store; temptation was everywhere (especially with all of the Valentine's Day candy out), but instead of wasting money (and later guilt, shame and calories) on unnecessary crap, I bought fresh spinach, more Jazz apples, some organic cinnamon raisin bread that was on sale and a sample of almond butter. Instead of simply "treating myself," I decided to treat myself better. This meant enjoying fresh fruits and veggies and trying new healthy products (like almond butter).

I left the store junk-free and went home to make quite possibly one of the best pizzas I've had in a while (low-fat/high fiber tortilla, mozzarella, spinach, red onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, parmesan, garlic, italian seasoning and feta). It was delicious, filling and a reminder of how healthy foods can also be indulgent. In fact, I plan on repeating that meal for dinner today!

Tonight, I'm going to read more of a new book, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. The first chapter quickly pointed out my current eating patterns and the feelings attached to them, so I'm anxious to read more. I know it probably sounds silly, but one of my main goals in life is to become a mindful, instinctive eater. I'm terribly jealous of people who are naturally instinctive in their eating habits, so I hope that by reading this book, I'll not only learn what it takes to eat instinctively, but also stop being jealous and focus my attention to other things in life besides food and exercise.

Recovery is bound to be a long journey, but it felt good to finally make some progress this past week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Three-minute cookies & 3 second revelations.

Before I get all serious and heartfelt, I HAVE to spread the word about my new favorite recipe, the 3-minute Oatmeal Cookie, thanks to Tina from Carrots 'n' Cake. I tried it this morning for breakfast because I actually had raisins for once and it was basically like eating a warm, fluffy and hearty treat. Made for a great post-workout meal. I'd highly recommend following Tina if you aren't already. It's fun to read about health, good great food, fitness and see many pictures of her adorable pug. Since I love pugs, it's pretty much the best one-stop blog for me, ha.

I did in fact make it to the gym this morning. Did some running, incline training and the stairmaster. Getting up that early is always the hardest part, but once I make it through the first 5-10 minutes, I'm good to go.

Now for the sappy stuff... I was watching Biggest Loser last night and usually when Bob and Jillian are giving their little speeches to individual team members, I must admit, I kinda zone in and out and don't really pay full attention to what they're actually saying. Well, last night while Jillian was talking to Migdalia (sp?), I paid attention and I'm glad I did. I'm paraphrasing it somewhat, but Jillian basically said that "it takes strength to show vulnerability."

Seeing as how I had just admitted yesterday how vulnerable I've been feeling, hearing her say that almost felt like a punch in the chest. I think I stopped breathing for a bit as I started to choke up. I know it's just a TV show (a controversial one at that) and I know a lot of what goes on is being done for dramatic effect, BUT there's no way I can hear a speech like that and pretend that it did not speak to me on a deeply personal level. Here I was, associating my own vulnerability with weakness, only to be told the exact opposite by one of the toughest women in the world. So naturally, I no longer have just a girl-crush on Jillian Michaels; I want to straight up marry that bitch (sorry Doug).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Operation: Get Well

Thought it was time for another update. Things are... Well... About the same, more or less. I try, as I always do, to take things one day at a time. And each day is different. The past few in particular have seen me keeping up with exercise, eating healthy/mindfully for a bit, then binging.

That mix of behavior has left me feeling in limbo (and unable to wear certain clothes, ack!). One moment I feel strong and determined, the next, I feel weak, guilty and completely worthless. And then there are the moments when I'm binging and I feel nothing at all. I am completely numb until I reach that point of physical discomfort (resulting from waaaay too much food in my stomach).

I feel as though I've made some progress this morning though. It dawned on me today that I've been approaching this problem from a pretty superficial point of view. I've mostly been looking at food and exercise and how much I get of each, whether it's too much or too little.

I need to dig a little deeper and point out specific things that I really need to at least acknowledge if I expect to make any progress at all. I need to be honest and point out patterns as I recognize them, no matter how serious or frivolous.

-Guilt. My inability to not feel guilty after eating is one of the reasons (if not THE reason) this whole stupid cycle keeps repeating itself. It's gotten out of control (I always seem to feel guilty to some degree, no matter what I eat or how much) and I really need to work on breaking down the "good" and "bad" labels when it comes to food. Sure, I still need to differentiate between healthy and clearly unhealthy, but while I was losing weight, I was always quick to point out what I thought were "bad" or "evil" foods and therefore had a hard time forgiving myself if I ever ate them.

-Self-image. Blaaah. I don't have much insight on this particular area yet, but I'll be forever working on it. I have my good days and not-so-good days. But overall, I know it's something that I need to acknowledge as an area that needs improvement. If I'm constantly finding ridiculous flaws in my appearance (and selling myself short as an intelligent, funny individual), I'll never be able to fully enjoy my life.

-Trigger foods. Yes, I know I just mentioned above that there shouldn't be "good" or "bad" foods, but for the time being, I need to be flat-out honest about common foods that have been putting me in binge territory: cocoa-roasted almonds, peanut butter and dark chocolate. It seems so ridiculous to me that I've allowed those same three foods to set me off, but they have. Will I banish them from my diet forever? Of course not. Should I avoid them for at least a few days as a precautionary measure? Absolutely. There are plenty of other healthy foods that I can enjoy in their place. And I need that; I need to become reacquainted with some of my forgotten favorite healthy bites. There was a time not so long ago when I craved pumpkin and strawberries and zucchini. I miss those cravings. One of the main goals of Operation: Get Well is to be able to enjoy all foods in moderation, but achieving that goal requires baby steps (for me, anyway). And right now, I'm just not at a point where I can have a bit of chocolate and call it a day. I realize that such an ability is simply a matter of choice, but clearly I'm struggling to make the right choices, so I need to be more patient with myself.

-Gym. Even though I have what I need to get good workouts at home, going to the gym just makes a difference for me. First off, it gets me out of the house. We're homebodies for the most part, and while that's not a bad thing, I feel better when I can at least go somewhere else besides home and work for a part of my day and better my health. Plus, there's just something about being around other health/fitness-minded people for an hour or so that reinforces those positive associations with exercise and improving my quality of life. Granted, they're all complete strangers that I almost never talk to, but if you're a regular gym-goer, then you can probably relate to what I'm trying to say. Making it to the gym a few days a week makes me feel like I can be reliable in other areas of my life, including my diet. I did make it this past Saturday, but prior to that, I hadn't been in at least 2 weeks or more. I love my gym (cheap membership, nice facility, good equipment, friendly staff), so there's no reason for me to avoid it.

Those are the main points for today. I am, once again, trying to be optimistic, but I cannot deny how incredibly vulnerable I've been feeling underneath lately. I suppose feeling that way is part of the process, so I need to embrace and work through that feeling instead of punishing myself or denying the feeling all together. Ha- kids, the key word for the day is "feeling," apparently. Geez.

Lastly, I received some very nice comments on my last post and just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words. It means a lot.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Well, hello there. Quick warning- this post may not be the most uplifting, so if you're looking for motivation/inspiration, you might just want to check out now.

I'm also going to attempt the be as honest and blunt as possible. I've been keeping a lot of things to myself lately and it's only been making things worse, so bear with me.

Basically, I've been in a pretty dark place the past 2-3 weeks. I've been binging off and on ever since the onset of Thanksgiving, but the past few weeks have seen me taking it to more extreme levels (driving to the grocery store specifically to buy junk food, binging on said junk food when no one else is around, using laxatives, feeling guilty and overexercising/restricting in an attempt to get rid of said guilt).

Typical page out of an eating disorder book, unfortunately.

My obese days saw me compulsively overeating, but I must admit, my recent behavior has just flat out scared me. It doesn't even feel like a relapse because the feelings of fullness and guilt were much worse than they were 5, 10 years ago. New territory, if you will.

There's a lot going on inside my head, too much to list here, but primarily, I, even after having lost over 90 pounds through healthy diet and exercise, still lack a sense of self-worth and appreciation. When I look to eating disorder support, the main thing everybody wants me to do is love myself. And because I was in a "must lose weight!" mindset for over 2 years, I assumed that loving myself would mean being comfortable with myself and being comfortable with myself would lead to weight gain. And weight gain does not equal happiness.

I KNOW I should be proud of myself. I KNOW I have a good life with people who love and support me, no matter what (or, more specifically, what size I wear), so why can't I just get over it? I guess after spending a good chunk of my life (well over 15 years, I'd say) picking myself apart, hating my body and constantly reminding myself of my flaws, it's difficult to flip on that "I'm awesome!" switch and really, truly feel it.

So I'm gonna be taking some time to back-track, re-learn some basics and just try to get centered because I've reached a point of exhaustion. I don't have a full plan laid out quite yet, but here are some things I'm gonna at least try over the next few weeks:

*Abstaining from tracking food. Yes, this probably sounds counter-productive, but right now, counting calories and WW points has just been making me really anxious and triggering binges whether I see I'm under my daily allowance, over or close to going over. I'll probably at least write down what I eat as a means of weaning myself down a bit and maintaining some control, but numbers aren't my friends right now.

*Ditching the heart rate monitor to see how many calories I burn during exercise. Again, it's a numbers thing. I've been getting back into running this week and if I focus on anything, I'd rather it be miles instead of calories. Seeing the distance just makes me feel stronger and more accomplished whereas seeing the number of calories burned just sends me into a frenzy where I start thinking "Ok, I burned off food A, B and C. If I keep going for X minutes, I might be able to burn off food D, etc." I haven't done distance running in a while and I miss it. And I don't want the purpose of running to be based solely on calorie burn. Where's the fun in that?

*Yoga. Yoga always makes me feel better and more centered, as hippy-ish as that sounds. I was starting to do it regularly months ago, but when I got distracted with weight training and HIIT routines, it fell off my radar completely. Makes sense that that's when my eating started to falter as well.

*Doing away with the "Three meals plus 2 snacks!" schedule. I forced myself to stick with this schedule because I read that that was the only way to a healthy eating lifestyle, more or less. I need to focus on eating only when I'm hungry. I need to re-acquaint myself with the feeling of hunger. Between scheduled snacks, boredom eating and binging, I've only known what it feels like to be overly full lately and I hate it. Still going to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, of course, but snacks will be optional and mealtimes will be whenever my body tells me, not the clock.

Those are the basic changes for now. And of course I won't be stepping on the scale much. My clothes are fitting better, and that's the main form of measurement I want to go by for now. I stepped on the scale this morning and am going to try and hold off until at least the end of next week, or longer.

Baby steps. And utilizing support/resources more instead of assuming I can solve everything on my own. I can't. And I shouldn't.

This was intended to be a weight-loss/weight maintenance blog, with all of the fun and happy tips, recipes and moments of success. And if you go back far enough, I suppose it still is. But too much planning, lack of honesty and not enough self-forgiveness has backfired. I'm not going to turn this into an eating disorder recovery blog, but still wanted to share an important, albeit unfortunate, part of this journey because it's all linked together in some way or another.

For the first time in my life, I truly feel sorry for the utter and complete disrespect I've been showing my body lately. I've caused it so much physical and emotional stress that I'm surprised it hasn't crapped out on me yet. And though I hate to admit it, I think that's part of what kept the cycle going; the act of testing my body to see how much abuse it could take and for how long. Well, I no longer want to know.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Custom Circuit #1

The night before last, I started thinking about putting together my own strength/cardio routine, so I grabbed a pen and paper and gave it a shot. Completed it yesterday morning. This is what I came up with:

*5-10 min warm-up run on treadmill
*dumbbell squats x 10-12
*50 (or more) jumping jacks
*deadlifts x 10-15
*box jumps x 10
*shoulder press w/ dumbbells x 10-12
*burpees x 20
*push-ups x 10
*50 (or more) jumping jacks
*deadlifts x 10-15
*5-10 min. close out run on treadmill

It was pretty good. Took me 33 minutes to complete and my heart rate was all over the place, mostly high, which was nice to see. Think I need to increase my weight for deadlifts though.

I forgot to mention that we have a treadmill at home these days. Our housemate bought a used one off of a friend for like, $5, so I've been using it. It's old and basic, but still in good shape, so it's been a treat having it around. Especially this morning; I set my alarm for 4:50 am so I could go to the gym, but apparently forgot to turn on the switch (duuhhh moment of the week), so I didn't actually wake up until closer to 5:30. I didn't have time to commute to/from the gym at that point, but I still had time to work out, so I ended up running on the treadmill for 40 minutes. Hooray for back-up at home!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A new year, a new game face.

I must admit, for the past couple of weeks, I've felt like a mouse, constantly poking its head head out, scoping out the scene, and retreating back to its hole until it feels safe enough to scurry about in the open. And it hasn't felt safe until now.

As I sometimes tend to do, I've avoided blogging because I've been ashamed of my eating habits over the holidays, which ultimately led to packing on some extra pounds.

I wasn't so much ashamed about the weight gain itself as much as I was ashamed about my actions and behaviors that led to the gain. From the day before Christmas Eve through New Year's Eve, I more or less ate whatever unhealthy food I could get my hands on and ate with complete abandon. I had a few days of healthy eating in between, but if I had the slightest craving for something sweet and/or fatty, I acted on it almost immediately.

I did keep up with my workouts, but they barely made a dent in the amount of calories I was consuming. It was pretty ridiculous. But what's done is done.

I've been back on track since Friday and feeling loads better. It's still hard coming off of the junk food fix, but each day gets easier. My clothes fit better, finally.

I know that prior to the train wreck that was the holidays, I was on the Cheat Your Way Thin soapbox. Well, obviously that didn't last. Even before the holidays, I had stopped losing and actually gained a pound. This was primarily my fault because I did exactly what you're not supposed to do and I let the "cheat" days turn into full out binge days. But on the regular on-plan days, I was hungry, deprived and craving EVERYTHING. Seriously. Even stuff that I don't usually indulge in or care about, I wanted all the time. It was pathetic.

Even though the plan sounded great and logical on paper (which it still probably is), it turned out not to be great and logical for me. Sure, I still need structure in my eating plan, but being allowed to only eat certain foods on certain days was starting to take its toll on me, mentally. And fixing my mentality toward food is something that I've been trying to correct for months now.

Sooo, the past few days, I'm back to not only eating healthy, but eating the Healthy Tamara way. I need to eat in a manner that feels natural to me. And waiting to eat apples until Tuesday or holding off on oatmeal until Friday didn't feel natural at all. My normal way of eating is damn-near perfectly balanced and doesn't leave me anxious, so I'm not sure why I try to fight it so much...

I guess since this was my first holiday season at my goal weight, I panicked and wanted to make sure I wouldn't gain, hence trying some new-fangled plan. I certainly don't regret trying something new, but overall, my attitude and actions led to self-sabotage. I basically doubted myself for no good reason. Again, not the fault of CYWT. I take full responsibility. In fact, I'm glad I gave it a shot because it helped me to recognize what types of things work for me and work against me when making day-to-day choices about food and fitness.

One pretty important change that occurred as a result of trying CYWT was that I finally forced myself to cut back on my workouts while also making them more efficient. And now that I'm maintaining my weight and not necessarily trying to lose (with the exception of the next couple of weeks, heh), I needed to figure out how to break my 6-7 days/week workout habit that was leaving me over-trained and frustrated.

Going on the plan also forced me to pay better attention to my macronutrient breakdown of calories, day-to-day. I didn't completely ignore it before, but I'm much more aware of it now and seeing it over the past few days has been encouraging because everything seems to be in balance. And I haven't had to deprive myself or feel like some kind of crazed, guilty maniac.

Oh, maintenance. You're a tricky little bitch. But you and I will live in harmony eventually.

I haven't been a fan of New Year's resolutions for quite a while now, but I do have one for this year; I want to become a member of the National Weight Control Registry. I want to maintain my loss for a year or more. I do not want to become part of the group of people (what is it, like 90+%?) who gain back most of the weight they lose. F that, I say.

So for now, I'm back to being best buds with The Daily Plate, looking forward to feeling stronger and leaner with each workout (which has been fun and challenging so far, thanks to the 14" jump-box my boyfriend made me for Christmas!) and really, just forcing myself to pause and take a deep breath when I start to feel overwhelmed, be it with food, fitness, work, money or love. Last year left me feeling like an emotional, frustrated mess most of the time. This year needs to be different. My health depends on it.