May 28, 2014

keeping on keeping on

Source: Skeletor is Love

A couple of months ago I told you about some lifestyle changes I've made. As of Monday morning, I have officially completed 12 weeks of said change, so I figured it was time to give an update on the progress.

I'm happy to report that I'm keeping on keeping on. I haven't sustained any real set-backs. No caving in to the desire to gorge on candy bars. No giving up when I developed a late-Spring cold. No pigging out on the endless supply of cookies, cakes, bars and other goodies constantly filling the kitchen at work.

That's not to say I've completely deprived myself of everything good and sacred. For mother's day, I ate a small slice of angel food cake with fresh strawberries. (I skipped the extra sugar and whipped cream and gave half my slice to my brother.) I've taken a bite of some of the tastiest treats at work. (And after a taste decided it wasn't worth falling off the wagon to have another.) Just yesterday I ate a (small) slice of pizza and had a mini muffin while attending a conference. (I loaded up my plate on veggies and packed myself a healthy snack instead of eating cookies or ice cream.) And once a week (most weeks) I go out for frozen yogurt. I pick a less sugary, lower calorie variety and opt for fresh fruit toppings instead of chocolate and candy.

I'm managing my portions. I'm tracking everything I eat, and not just as a calorie, but for what kind of nutrients I'm feeding my body. I'm making healthier decisions. I try new recipes and find healthier ways to make the kind of food I love, but isn't necessarily good for me.

It's paying off. I'm not just talking about the LBs that are coming off (and they are). I'm happier than I have been in a long time. I'm thinking more clearly. Most days I have more energy. (Not every day, because no one is super energetic all the time, right?) It's easier for me to take the stairs up to my office and apartment. I can even jog/run. Not for more than three minutes at a time, but it's part of my 30-minute cardio routine. (Three minute walk, three minute run, repeat four more times.)

Mmm... Kale, Banana & Almond Smoothie.
I won't say exactly how much weight I've lost, but it's fairly substantial. I'm at the point where I've had to trade in most of my old clothes for new pieces. (Or in some exciting cases, fit into pieces from my "thinner" days.) While getting dress has often been something I dread, most days I wake up excited to try some new look. I'm more confident, and it shows. 

And people are noticing. While I'm not doing this for anyone other than myself, there is something gratifying about having a co-worker or friend say, "You look great. You look healthy. You look happy."

I still have a ways to go before I reach my goal, but I know I'll get there. I can feel it. I've tried, and failed, to lose weight the past six years, but something clicked this time. Instead of questioning why I couldn't do it earlier, I've chosen to celebrate the fact that I'm doing it now.

For the most part I haven't used any "tricks" beyond portion control, selecting healthy foods and exercising. I say mostly, because in March and April I did a two-week long exercise challenge (which consisted of cardio and strength training) and just wrapped up a two-week Clean Eating Challenge created by BuzzFeed. I had to make a few modifications to the eating plan, because I've been a pescetarian for almost three years. My biggest slip-up was drinking four servings of wine instead of two. I also made a gluten-free fruit pizza for one of the days, because it was my sister's birthday (she did the challenge, too).

I also had to cut back significantly on my exercise routine, because I was having too hard of a time netting an appropriate amount of calories per day. (Translation: I was losing more weight per week than I should have to lose a healthy amount. While this might not have bothered some people, I'm in this for the long-haul and don't want to risk damaging my body.)

Both challenges taught me important lessons about how to make better decisions when eating and exercising and gave me a little extra motivation.

In closing, I thought I'd share a few pictures of some of my favorite meals from the Clean Eating Challenge. I'll admit, I didn't love everything (radishes and raw collard greens come to mind), but I've added several new dishes to my favorites repertoire.

We have cauliflower steaks with lentils and eggs over shaved asparagus and arugula. I was skeptical about the cauliflower, but my goodness, I loved it.

Fresh fruit over Greek yogurt and a shrimp, avocado and kale stirfry. 

Mushroom faux meatballs (a recipe I invented myself using ingredients from the challenge!) and pear with almond butter. (I packed along this same snack to eat at work, today.)

And shrimp and quinoa stirfry and Shakshuka. I had my doubts about both of these dishes turning out and they far exceeded my expectations. And they were way easier than I thought.

And here's that fruit pizza (made with gluten-free crust, Greek yogurt, almond butter and fresh fruit). Super delish.

So that's my update. Here's hoping I can keep up the steady progress and have more good news to share when I report back in a couple more months.

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  1. So proud of you and glad it's working out and making you a happier, healthier person.

    1. Thank you! It's a daily journey, but one that's paying off.

  2. This is wonderful, Laura! Great photo, too (I notice!).

    1. Thank you, Martha! It's hard work, but so are most things worth doing. :)

  3. Congrats and kudos, Laura! You know what a big proponent I am of healthy eating and exercise, and I'm so glad to hear that you're reaping the rewards of clean living! Like you said, it's not just about the weight. It's about feeling better, sleeping better, having a better attitude, gaining confidence, and just enjoying life to the fullest degree.

    That fruit pizza looks gorgeous, by the way! I'm super impressed with your cooking/food design skillz!

    Keep up the good work! And go buy yourself a bikini to show off that skinny, new bod! ;)

    1. Thanks, Tracie! I'm still probably a ways away from having a bikini bod, but I did get myself a new cover-up for the pool. (I'm a delicate flower - I have to protect my porcelain skin. ;) )