Deep Breath

Scale for BootcampHello, friends. Yes, I am still here and I still have much to share. Today, I want to update you on my journey of weight loss. Many of you had been following this vein of my blog with great interest back when I was in the thick of bootcamp, battling through numbers and frustration as I slowly crept towards my goal. Since then a lot has transpired….

When we last left off, I was approaching the end of my 10 week stint and had dropped down to 205 pounds. If you remember, my goal was to get below 200 pounds before my 30th birthday, April 24. Back in January/February, such a goal seemed like it would be a no brainer – in fact, I projected I would far exceed it. Did this happen? No. The lowest I saw my scale was 202, which occurred in the second week of April. At the time I was excited for boot camp to end. No more being held to a 6am start time, free to make my own work out schedule… But within two days of finishing boot camp I reverted back to my old ways. It was quite alarming – like a recovered alcoholic slipping back into the drink after years of sobriety. Now granted, I had planned to have a week of indulgence for my birthday, but let’s face it: it wasn’t my birthday week yet. And even if it was, it was still way too much.

Though I knew I was going really overboard, I just sort of let it happen. I’ve been here before: I wanted to remind myself how terrible I feel when I eat in such extreme excess. Let myself spiral downward until I feel so awful that I finally just snap out of it. The last weekend in April I was on the scoring stage with Thomas Newman at Fox. They keep a huge array of food out for the musicians – a cornucopia of empty carbohydrates and self-loathing. For two of my three days there this included an entire table devoted to Porto’s Bakery. I ate cookie after cookie after cookie and then went to the green room for the lunch buffet. When I used the alcohol analogy earlier, I wasn’t exaggerating – it is that level of addiction. Clearly not the food table’s fault.

By the time the first week of May rolled around, all the birthday hubbub was over; the cakes gone, the candies and treats cleared out. As I began to get back in touch with my life, I realized that (at least at that point in time) I was unable to take control of myself, therefore I needed a structure. I needed to regain a focused effort on a goal. I needed boot camp. Though I convinced myself I was ready for a break, in truth I was not even close. My ultimate goal was to be in the 180s and at 202, I still had a ways to go.

So, on Thursday May 2, I was back on the bike at 6am… and it felt amazing. In my last stint I wrote about many times where I felt frustrated. As much as I was working hard, I was also allowing myself to give in to poor states of mind: “oh it’s just sometimes impossible for me to get in at 6am” and “this diet is not really sustainable” etc etc. This time around, I am in a state of zen. I don’t think about the time, I don’t think about the food that I am eating or want to eat or wish I was eating. I just simply do it. Who cares if it’s early? Who cares if I hit a few road blocks? The time away from bootcamp was so necessary: it taught me that not only is intense exercise good for me, it makes me a better me. In many ways, I need it. And I am grateful that the ladies at RPM are affording me the opportunity to go at it once again.

On Thursday I was 214 pounds. This morning, 6 days later, I was 209. A good start. Just need to keep it going. Deep breath…

Chipping Away and Fighting Inflammation

Anti Inflammatory Food PyramidIt’s Monday, and since I didn’t give you one last week, I do believe it’s time for a weight loss post. I have to confess to all of you: I came very close to falling off the wagon entirely last week. Like, fall off, tumble down a hill, and smack my face on a tree trunk. Why? Well, let’s see. A few weekends ago when I went on retreat, I pretty much resigned to the fact that I would abandon my healthy ways for a few days. And abandon it, I did. The problem with me (and maybe some of you can relate to this) is that when I start on a course of bad eating, it tends to snowball and gets very difficult for me to regain perspective. In the case of eating not so great foods, I get into the mentality of “well, I already ate this, so you might as well just go ahead and eat that,” which is a very dangerous mind set, but one I’ve never been able to help. My parents will tell you that even as a kid I never knew when to stop. It’s like I was born with a switch missing. Though I have gotten better over the years, it is still a very real battle for me. And this is partly because bad foods are addicting – they are easy, comforting, filling… who doesn’t want to eat them all the time?

After getting back from retreat I dove immediately back into bootcamp but the whole week I continued to struggle with my food choices. I think the real reason for the difficulty was because I lost sight of my goal. I was getting so comfortable with my slimmer body and all the wonderful comments from people that I began to lose sight of the bigger goal I had set for myself. It was just too easy to indulge in all those crappy foods and convince myself that I am content where I am, which is absolutely not true.

But, luckily, by the end of last week I was able to pull myself out of it. If you follow me on facebook, you may have seen my post on anti-inflammatory foods. Last week I was discussing my diet with my colon hydrotherapist and she was telling me that my breathing, my being prone to sinus infections, and my poor digestion are likely all connected. The culprit? Inflammation.  She pointed me in the direction of Dr. Andrew Weil’s webpage where I found the pyramid above. Some of the information I found unsurprising. For example, many of the foods that cause inflammation are also ones that cause digestive problems, i.e. white sugar, white flour, wheat, gluten, dairy products, meat. And then there were other things that totally blew my mind – apparently one should never eat raw mushrooms. Only cooked, and only Japanese – who knew!? If you click on the picture above it will bring you to the website where you can explore the pyramid in more detail, which I highly recommend. It was this new angle that helped bring me back on the right track. If this can help me feel better AND help me lose weight, why wouldn’t I want to give it my all? And that is what I’ll do. Besides, how will I really feel when I reach my 30th birthday and not be where I want to be? Not an option!

For numbers, I’m currently stuck at 207, but I am confident I’ll be seeing some serious progress this week. Tune in tomorrow for an anti-inflammatory stir fry that will make you excited to be healthy. Happy Monday and see you tomorrow!

Sodium: The One You Always Overlook

Photo Feb 18, 1 07 53 PMLast Week’s Number: 211
This Week’s Number: 207

Happy Monday, loyal readers! For those of you off from work celebrating the holiday, hope you’re treating yourself to something fun. This has been a fairly successful week for me, as you can see from the numbers above – very exciting. I will admit that the past few days have been a bit of a deviation. Valentine’s Day prompted indulgence, which snowballed into more indulgence in the days following. But you know what, I needed it, and I’m anxious to be in full swing again.

My lesson this week is a very basic, but one that is very easy to forget. First, read your labels – that we all know. But when you do, don’t forget to pay attention to sodium content. Most of us, whether on a weight loss journey or not, are focused on calories, protein, carbs, and fat – and rightfully so. But we forget that too much salt can completely erase all the merits of food that appears to otherwise be healthy. This really hit home yesterday when I was looking through my cabinet in search of some beans. I’m a big lover of kidney beans and though I try and avoid them when I’m on a serious weight kick, I was in the mood for something hearty. And besides, despite being starchy, beans are good for you, right? I pulled the can off the shelf, glanced at the label, and was shocked to see that one serving of these beans contains 400mg of sodium. Normally I would eat an entire can, which would be a whopping 1500mg of sodium!! Aahh!

Let me put this into perspective. This article published by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that the body needs 180-500mg of sodium per day to function. The recommended adequate daily intake of sodium is 1,500mg, with the absolute maximum for healthy adults being about 2,300mg. My bootcamp max? 800mg. This innocent can of beans has almost twice that. Holy crap. What’s so bad about all this sodium, you ask? Consuming too much salt raises your blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the top risk factors for heart attack and stroke, both of which are in the top three killers of Americans. Yikes! This is precisely why one should never turn to frozen dinners or canned soup to supplement one’s healthy lifestyle. Have you ever looked at the salt content for one of those Progresso “zero weight watcher points” soups? Last time I looked it was nearly 1,000mg… PER SERVING. Bad news.

Now don’t get me wrong, I looooove salt. I can’t stand people who say “well I don’t use salt when I cook” or restaurants who try to blame their bland food on “well some people don’t like salt” – horse manure. If you ask me, if you’re not using salt, then you’re not cooking. The difference is that when you cook your own food from fresh ingredients, you are in control of the salt content, not some manufacturer trying to mask their terrible product.

The lesson: when you’re checking labels and trying to do something good for your body, dont’ forget the sodium!

Here is a list of culprits to watch out for:

  • Frozen veggie patties
  • Canned fish (tuna, salmon)
  • Canned soups
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned or boxed stock/broth (try comparing a box of Swanson chicken broth to a box of Trader Joe’s)
  • Salad Dressing
  • Condiments (soy sauce, hot sauce)
  • Cold cuts and other processed meats

Step by Step, Pound by Pound

Big Shirt 20 Pounds Down
Three weeks ago this shirt was snug. Now it’s a tent!

Last Week’s Number: 215
This Week’s Number: 211

Well, friends, this is the beginning of week 5 of bootcamp. I can’t tell you how good it feels to see those numbers going down. I look thinner and more importantly, I feel thinner, lighter, and generally enthused about all this friggin work I’m doing. And how could I not? Down 14 pounds since the beginning of bootcamp, 21 pounds since December. Not too bad at all. But that doesn’t mean this week was all smooth sailing. Believe it or not, the 4 pounds I lost came off in the first two days. By Tuesday I was down to 211 and that’s where I’ve stayed since. This stagnation is not a mystery to me. Surely you remember my dazzling post about my splurging at the At Last Cafe. As relatively controlled as it was, a splurge is still a splurge. You can’t expect it to have no consequences. But you know what, it was totally worth. And I have to confess that I actually splurged again at P. F. Chang’s on Friday night. Nothing too over the top – an egg roll, a few dumplings, some fried tofu. Still, when you eat as clean and pure as I have been during the week, an item like a deep fried egg roll is going to make an impact. But again, totally worth it.

I think the lesson I’ve reminded myself of is that, even when gunning for a goal, one can still enjoy those guilty pleasures, provided one keeps them in check. I mean, hey, I still lost 4 pounds this week – that’s pretty damn good. And you know, sometimes you do just need a night where you need to binge and so you completely let go, much like when I had gnocchi and tiramisu several weekends ago. And you know what? That’s ok too. Just as long as you pick back up and keep going.

How about all of you? Anybody have any big hurdles to climb over this week? Any big breakthroughs? I want to hear them.

I’m feeling really good about this week – let’s try and make it killer!

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Ebbing and Flowing

Total Body CleanseLast blog weigh-in:         217
This morning’s number: 215

It’s Monday and that means it’s time for a bootcamp update. If you remember my bootcamp post from last week, you know that the last 10-ish days have been trying for me. I had been dealing with some serious digestive issues, which in turn caused my numbers to stop moving, which in turn was making me feel gross and frustrated. Never a fun emotion to have to navigate, especially when trying to lose weight. But, as I said last week, hurdles such as this are inevitable with any lifestyle change. One must simply keep going.

Today I’m happy to be coming at you on a much lighter and more hopeful note. As you can see from my weigh-in numbers at the top, I am once again on the way down. After weeks of distress I finally went in for a colonic on Thursday. I have done these many times before and highly recommend them to all, but this one in particular was a revelation. Angels sang, clouds parted, spirits soared… it was just what I needed. By Friday afternoon I felt completely light and empty for the first time in weeks. Since then I have begun a 14-day herbal cleanse and will be going in for 5 more treatments. All of this will not only get me squeaky clean, but will (hopefully) reset the workings of my apparently polluted colon. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I am once again excited and filled with optimism. My body is getting noticeably smaller – I have gotten so many looks and compliments. It shouldn’t be long before we see those numbers catch up. Eee!

This week at bootcamp is what they call “Skinny Week” where they narrow down our diet even further to promote an exceptional period of results. With only two weeks left on this first 5-week stint, I’m hoping that this will allow me to catch up some time I lost while battling with my gut. Wish me luck!

In honor of skinny week, stay tuned for inspired recipes and healthy Los Angeles eats!