Just a warning… this is very text heavy. I could ramble on forever about this subject.
I was reading Jen’s blog last week and noticed that she mentioned something very familiar to me: this book.
What she wrote in her post is pretty much exactly how I feel about it. I bought it about two years ago- immediately read it cover to cover, and was super-inspired to start Jackie’s program. And I kept up with it- for about a week. I don’t know why, but my motivation tapered off. I also think that I was a little too liberal with the “cheat meals,” but I’ll elaborate on that later.
After work last Friday, I enjoyed doing my favorite Friday afternoon activities: a good workout, followed by a snack and a nice soak in the tub. Sometimes I read when I’m in the tub, sometimes I just zone out. On that particular day, I grabbed Jackie’s book and started reading it again. As I read, my mind started buzzing. Everything was very familiar and the same ideas were rushing through my head. It’s one of those books that you read and thinkthat makes so much sense… So much of what Jackie writes really makes me take a hard, cold, honest look at my issues with food and why I have so much trouble losing weight.
First and foremost (and I don’t want to just use this as an excuse)- as I’ve stated before- my genetics kind of suck. I have a naturally slow metabolism. I know this because I’ve had metabolic testing done, and mine is in the extremely low range. My resting metabolic rate burns about 500 calories less than it should for someone my height/weight. I’ve also damaged my metabolism due to extreme diet efforts in the past (exercising too much/not eating enough). I just had my thyroid tested again and the results were “normal.” My cortisol levels were extremely high all throughout the day (they’re tested at 4 different times during the day), so that has a lot to do with my whacked-out hormones. I also do not produce progesterone – which Jackie calls the “slim and trim hormone”- which is why I don’t get a period anymore (well, I take birth control which forces a period)- which is again the result of crazy dieting in the past. (I’m really hoping that this balances out soon – especially when it comes time for baby makin’!)
I don’t want to just make excuses. Yes, I have all of these biological factors making it extremely hard for me to lose weight, but some of the other things that I am choosing to do- that I do have control over- are completely sabotaging all healthy eating and exercise that is the core of my daily life.
Jackie talks about the importance of where your calories come from and how they are broken down in your body and affect your hormones. I definitely have issues with my hormones and notice how much my mood can change when I’m eating better (and when I feel better about my body in general). Chapter 2 of the book is called “You Are a Sugar Addict.”
Oh really? Am I? Yes…
Just because I don’t eat many processed sugars or junk food- that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a sweet tooth. I make a lot of healthy desserts and make smoothies loaded with fruit- but all of those contain some form of sugar, whether it’s in the form of fructose, lactose, sucrose- whatever- I get cravings for it. One of the “ah-ha” moments I had when reading this chapter (and the one that follows) was in regards to afternoon/evening eating and the balance of carbohydrates. I always feel the need to have something sweet after dinner- always. I feel almost uneasy if I don’t. I generally set about 200 calories aside just do I can indulge in a (generally healthy) dessert, which is usually heavier in carbs than any other nutrients. I’m starting to think that eating those carbs at night are really messing with my sleep (I always feel tired). (On Monday, for example- I was still feeling hungry after dinner, so I ate a cup of cereal with almond milk and a few pieces of dark chocolate. Afterwards I felt overly full and a little disappointed in myself. And I slept like crap- but that might also be because I had to stay up to watch the Bachelor…) Jackie states that the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced primarily when you sleep. When your blood sugar is low, your body pumps out more HGH. If you ingest more carbs in the evening, your blood sugar spikes, and the production of HGH is halted- and your quality of sleep is lessened severely. A ha!
We all know that I’ve got the exercise thing down. I love to exercise (without overdoing it anymore), etc… yadda, yadda. Portion control (and not overdoing it on evenings or weekends) has always been my biggest battle.
Jackie’s eating plan is extremely do-able. Basically, you eat 3 larger meals (around 400 calories each) and two snacks (around 150 calories). Limit fruit to two servings a day (eek!) and only have carbohydrates in the form of whole grains with two of those meals (for example- oatmeal with breakfast and bread with lunch or brown rice with dinner). Eat enough protein and vegetables (check!) and drink lots of water (definitely got it!). No dessert or alcohol. Drink a cup of tea that is a combination of one bag of (decaf) green tea, and one of herbal tea. (When I did this plan before I always combined a bag of Celestial Seasoning Mandarin Orange tea with green tea. SO GOOD.)
The only issue I have with her eating plan is that she stresses a lot of animal protein more than anything, and I definitely prefer to get mine in the form of plants (legumes, tofu, tempeh, etc) more than anything. I will add a few more animal proteins into my diet, but will also continue to get it in the form of plants often.
On the weekend, you can enjoy two “treat meals.” This is time when you can have a drink, a dessert, whatever. Your treat meals can only occur after 5 days in a row of clean eating and should not exceed 1,500 calories (it is really easy to rack up that many calories if you eat out at a restaurant and have a drink and/or dessert!) And that treat meal is a meal. Not a day.
When I tried this plan before, I think that I felt like I should indulge on those treat meals over the weekend, even if I didn’t really feel like it. I feel so much better physically when I eat better- and shouldn’t eat crap just because I’m “allowed” to. I think that this time around, my “treat” meals will just include a drink of my choice and/or something sweet (like fro-yo) along with my regular healthy foods. Or, another way of looking at it is that I can enjoy a meal out without thinking so much about the calories and just make generally “good” choices overall. I don’t like fried foods or super rich stuff, so that’s not really the issue. But, I do enjoy a good beer or yummy dessert.
Right now I’m inspired. I’m motivated. And I really want it to last. I’m really good about being motivated for a few days, and then just kind of slowly give up (usually when the weekend comes). I think that the main reason that this happens is that I’ve always thought “how could that little snack or dessert or extra few hundred calories really make a difference?” Well, I’m set to prove to myself that it does- and it will if I just stuck with it and stay consistent. I really hope I can do that. I really, really do.
Jackie includes daily menus for an entire month, including a ton of recipes. I initially thought that I might try to follow her menu plans to the letter, but that’s not really logical for me. It’s much easier for me (and much more economical) to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. So, I’m adapting her menus to my own needs- but I’m still following her ratios of proteins/grains/vegetables, etc.
This is how yesterday went:
Pre-workout: 1/2 banana with peanut flour butter (2 T peanut flour + 1 T almond milk mixed to a paste) This wasn’t really “on the plan,” but I HAVE to eat something before I work out in the morning, so I usually just divide the banana I would have had for breakfast anyway
Workout: Ran through first half of Bodypump routine (warm-up through tricpes), taught 50 min Spinning class
Breakfast: 1/2 cup oats cooked with 1/2 banana, 1/4 c. egg whites + 1/2 T peanut butter
Snack: 1 5.3 oz container Siggi’s plain yogurt
Lunch: Salad w/mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, cabbage + balsamic vinegar mixed with 1/2 T light balsamic dressing; homemade chickpea burger; fuji apple
Snack: 3/4 c 1% no salt added cottage cheese + 2 T chopped almonds/peanuts
Dinner (Panera): You pick two: 1/2 Fuji apple chicken salad (without cheese and just a tiny bit of dressing), 1 cup black bean soup, 1 piece of mutligrain bread
This totaled to almost exactly 1500 calories (1505 to be exact), which is my daily target from My Fitness Pal.
When I got home, I was really tempted to reach for something sweet, but I didn’t. I brushed my teeth, changed, and got into bed.
And this is what’s going on today:
Breakfast: 2 (homemade) buckwheat protein muffins (100 calories each) + 1/2 c Siggi’s 0% plain Skyr, 1/4 c blueberries, a few banana slices, 2 T peanut flour butter
Snack: 3 celery stalks with 1 T Better N’ Peanut butter, 1/2 T peanut butter
Lunch: Salad w/mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, 2 T goat cheese + balsamic vinegar mixed with 1/2 T light balsamic dressing; homemade chickpea burger; orange
Pre-workout: 1/2 banana
Workout: other half of Bodypump (Biceps-abs), 30-45 min Spinning (or some other form of cardio intervals)
Post-workout:(something I thought up in my head and don’t know if it will work out…) 1/2 c cottage cheese mixed with 1 egg and 1 egg white + 1 T coconut flour, vanilla stevia + cinnnamon baked into a ‘pancake’
Dinner: Grilled albacore tuna stead with mango/red onion salsa, 1/4 c (dry) quinoa, mixed roasted veggies
… and nothing else- except my cup of green tea.
So that’s the plan! I have to be honest here- the fact that I’m attending the Blend retreat in May is a big motivator for me. I even taped up a photo of Janetha’s killer abs (even though mine will never look like that) onto my fridge as a reminder of this. I would really love to drop a size or two before I go to the retreat- considering most of the attendees look pretty ripped. I think that having something to work towards can really help keep me motivated.
The big key for me in finding success in this program is also planning. I find that I do most of my mindless eating because I’m so hungry by the time that I get home, and have no idea what to eat. I’m trying to plan out my entire next day the night before, so that I can just stick to it. Easy, right?
Wish me luck!
Have you ever read a book (or has there been some other factor) that’s motivated you to make changes in your life? What are your tips for staying motivated?