Friday, February 24, 2012

Progress is Motivation!

I'm pleased to report that I have started to noticed a change!  My pants are fitting looser and I find myself tugging at them to stay up more.  WOOHOO!  The numbers on the scale are slow to move but as long as I'm noticing something, somewhere then it's a plus in my books!

Noticing this give me such motivation.  It just goes to show that my hard work and self control are beginning to pay off.  :)  I'm still hoping to hit a big number with my weight loss by the end of March.  It's looking like 30 pounds might be a little further out though.  As of right now I'm sitting at a total loss of 8 pounds.  Another 10 pounds in a month would be great!  We will see how things go!

While blogging today, I must share my new favorite find!  Teavana!  Last weekend James and I went and visited his parents.  They had recently found Teavana and shared their find with us.  Let me just say, I'm in love!  Teavana has all sort so different loose leaf teas.  They smell great and have an amazing flavor to them.  I've always loved tea but these tea are definitely at the tip top of my favorites list!  I have yet to try the majority of the flavors but so far I'm really liking these two:

Weight to Go Pu-erh Tea

Strawberry Lemonade Herbal Tea

 I would highly recommend Teavana to anyone, especially those who love tea like me!  :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sugar vs. Cocaine - Suprisingly Similar!

If you're anything like me, your mentality is "drugs are bad".  I don't even like to be around those who choose to do drugs.  Why would you want to put such fowl things into your body?

In a casual conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago, I was informed that sugar is just as addictive (if not more so) than cocaine.  I quite possibly think my jaw hit the floor.  I always knew that sugars were bad for you, just never to this extent.  I, of course, did some follow up research and everything that I can find confirms the truth of this statement. 

I have been such an anti-drug "freak" only to come to find out I've been feeding my body what is typically a drug in so many like ways to cocaine.  The difference is, society believes this to be OK.  The US is considered one of the most obese countries but nothing is being done to change that.  They make refined sugars so cheap and easily accessible.  It's no wonder so many people think there's nothing wrong with this slow kind of poison.

Let me take a second to share some key points on the effects of sugar.  I'm sure I haven't even listed everything here.  Just a few that I came across while researching. 

* Sugars don't have fibers, vitamins, proteins or minerals... only empty calories.
* Just one teaspoon can causes a metabolic imbalance. 
* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
* Sugar feeds cancer
* Sugar increases cholesterol
* Sugar can weaken eyesight
* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity
* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
* Sugar causes food allergies
* Sugar contributes to diabetes
* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness
* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against infectious diseases
* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of bacteria that cause yeast infections
* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis
* Sugars can cause withdrawals, cravings and binging. 
* Sugars can rot teeth and cause gum disease

 Now I'd like to do a comparison with the effects of cocaine.  Take a look at how similar some of these are!  Again, I'm sure there are plenty of other side effects that aren't mentioned here.

* Increasing sense of energy and alertness
* Extremely elevated mood
* Feeling of supremacy
* Irritability
* Paranoia
* Restlessness
* Anxiety
* A cocaine high last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours
* Increases heart rate and blood pressure
* Constricts blood vessels in the brain
* Can cause ulcers
* Possible kidney failure
* Depression and anxiety
* Fatigue
* Difficulty concentrating
* Increased craving for cocaine after extended use

It's hard to believe that something that we have been told is so bad for us has very similar side effects to ingesting sugar!  I've shared this with a few friends, one of which told me of a study that she had read about.  In this study scientists took cocaine and sugar and gave it to rats.  It was said that 90% of the time the rats would go back to the sugars.  Could sugar really be that much more addicting!?

After having this information overload dumped on me,  I started paying more attention to what my body was telling me. Superbowl Sunday is what helped me see sugar in a whole new light.  Let me share my experience.

I think for most normal, red blooded American's, the Superbowl is a chance to chow down on scrumptious food, diet or not.  I was no exception.  I had started my healthy journey a few weeks prior and had made some good progress.  One day wasn't going to make it or break it in my mind.  
I made what may have been my most favorite fudge brownies with semi-sweet chocolate chips, topped in a delicious caramel frosting.  Needless to say, I ate way more than I know I should have.  Sinfully indulging in these brownies took me down a sugar paved road that I don't think I'll ever forget.  Here's why...

After Superbowl Sunday was a thing of the past, I jumped right back on the healthy bandwagon.  Breakfast and lunch as usual.  Come home from work and make dinner.  Almost immediately following dinner the intense sugar craving kicked in.  I was hankering for a sugar fix in a bad way.  Sadly, there were some brownies still left.  "Just a sliver won't hurt."  The next day the same thing happened.  And then the next day too!  Damn you brownies! 

The brownies were finally gone BUT the sugar cravings weren't.  Thank goodness the sweets were finally out of the house.  The cravings continued for the next couple of days and then miraculously vanished.  Sugar out of my system = no more cravings for sweets. 

I've been naughty this week, not too naughty but naughty enough.  I have been having coffee with creamer in the mornings.  A total weakness of mine.  Come next week though, I'm kicking the coffee and creamer.  Not only will I be kicking the coffee and creamer, but also anything that contains refined sugars.  I'm very curious to see the difference it makes in 2 areas: 1. the amount of weight I can lose next week (with the support of a healthy diet and exercise) and 2. to see the sweet cravings vanish!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Motivation Monday!

I am beginning to think and realize that the slumps that I keep hitting are going to be a continual thing.  Maybe my mindset in thinking that everything should go flawlessly has been why I haven't been horribly successful at being healthy before.  Who knows.  What I do know is that I sure am motivated to get my butt in gear this week!

I have also realized that attitude has a lot to do with it.  When I get discouraged with the number on the scale or I let the negative things at work get in my head I have noticed a total drop in my commitment to the things I want to change.  I have decided that I need to start some meditation or some breathing exercises to help me clear my mind.  I have been told that this really helps.  We will see how it works for me.

I came across a workout program that I want to try for the next couple of week, courtesy of my friend Katie and Pinterest.  It can be found it HERE.  I will continue eating like I have been... monitoring my intake and counting calories.  If all goes well I could lose up to 12 pounds and 22 inches.  I'm not counting on anything as dramatic as that though.  I will be happy to see the number on the scale drop even 4 to 5 pounds and have a noticeable difference in the way my pants fit.  I will most definitely be taking my measurements tonight!

I'm ready to take on the week and see some results!  I hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting Frustrated

As of today I haven't lost any more weight.  I'm growing a bit frustrated.  I feel that my diet has been pretty spot on and I've been going to the gym at least 3 times a week.  There's gotta be something slightly off.  I just need to figure out what it is.  In the mean time.  I'm trying to keep a positive outlook on things and keep motivated!

I got my BodyMedia armband last week too.  I am super excited to have it.  Its really nice to see how everything stacks up throughout the day.  I have discovered that I sleep pretty horribly though.  I'm sure this could be a contributor to my lack of energy and frustrations.  On average I'm only getting about 5 1/2 hours of sleep a night.  I always thought I slept a lot better than that!  Crazy!  I'm gonna give it another week before I sit and really analyze the data that it's collected.  I'm sure it can give me some insight to what I need to do!

I have been really enjoying the weight lifting that I've been doing at the gym the past couple weeks.  I have noticed my muscles improving.  The pain will all pay off in the end!  I'm so glad I've got James to help show me the ropes.  I don't feel as silly with him there.

Despite all of the frustrations this week, I do know this... I'm going to keep my head up and push through the frustrations.  I WILL lose the weight I don't want to carry around anymore!  I will keep a positive outlook on this and I will conquer!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Parmesan Zucchini & Summer Squash

So in my endeavors to eat healthy I came across something that I must share.

As a preface, I love zucchini.  As a kid I remember my mom always having a garden full of fresh veggies.  During the summer she would always make the most delicious breaded zucchini chips.   Take something relatively healthy, coat them in egg and flour and then fry in butter.  Mmm, mmm, mmm!

Now a days I definitely try to steer clear of foods fried in butter or oil so I have altered the usual fried zucchini my mom would make and came up with my own version of deliciousness!

Parmesan Crusted Zucchini and Summer Squash

Here's what you need:

2 Medium Sized Zucchini
2 Medium Sized Summer Squash
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt (garlic salt can be used in place of regular salt) and Pepper to taste

Slice the zucchini and squash into thin slices.  I use my mandolin slicer.  Quick and easy, just watch your fingers!

Place the zucchini and squash into a bowl.  Add the olive oil and salt and pepper.  I often like to use a little bit of garlic salt for added flavor.  Mix the zucchini and squash with the oil and seasoning to ensure each piece is coated well.

Arrange the zucchini and squash on a cookie sheet in a thin layer.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Turn to broil and place cookie sheet on top rack to crisp cheese.  Remove from oven after cheese has browned (typically no more than 5 minutes).

Serve immediately!  Enjoy!

Recipe above serves 4 a generous amount (I could eat the whole pan though).

Nutrition Information:

Calories - 163
Calories from fat - 117
Total fat - 13.7g
Saturated fat - 3.4g
Polyunsaturated fat - 0.1g
Monounsaturated fat - 0.8g
Cholesterol - 8g
Sodium - 190mg
Carbohydrates - 7g
Dietary fiber - 2.2g
Sugars - 3.4g
Protein - 6.2g