Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dec. 26 - What makes you a clean eater?

I've written a lot about guilt lately. I know that despite all that a lot of people are beating themselves up today. DON"T!!! What makes a person a clean eater is what they do most of the time, not the occasional cookie they dip into.

I'm a clean eater. I had my fun food over the past couple of days. For me, I was at home so it was a lot easier to keep it sort of clean. For those of you at the mercy of other cookies it would have been difficult if not impossible. Some of my meals were clean, some were not at all. However, today is NOT a holiday and I am back to eating clean.

The mistake I've made in the past is writing off a whole day, a whole week, or whatever amount of time until a certain deadline occurred. This happened nearly any time I stepped off of whatever plan I was on. Now I eat clean my very next meal. Think about the logic behind that. I read a great analogy on the Tosca Reno forum (and I'm sorry, I can't remember which of you ladies said this, but it was so brilliant I had to share.) If you got a ticket for running a red light, would you say, "Well, I already got a ticket so I might as well not stop at red lights for the rest of the day." Or the rest of the week, or the rest of the month? That would be just plain silly. And that is why giving yourself an opening like this is also just plain silly.

Please assess your goals. Don't wait until you have gained 3 more pounds eating everything in sight between now and New Year's Day. That is just 3 more pounds you have to lose. As for me, I am hoping to be down 2 more pounds by New Year's Day. I'm eating clean until our annual NYE sleepover - my kids always invite a bunch of girls over for that. With a bunch of teen and tween girls around we will definitely be splurging. I'll work on that menu and let you know what we decide.

This morning I got up and did my new Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD. I loved it. I want Bob Harper to be my best friend! He is just a darling. I have a good solid plan of eats today:

M1: WW toast, nat pb, apple
M2: Leftover fruit salad (blueberries, blackberries, banana, cantaloupe), natural 1% yogurt
M3: Salad w/ turkey breast, lettuce, spinach, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, and feta
M4: HM trail mix
M5: WW natural pita bread spread w/ 7 layer dip (clean), veggies

I'm trying to up my water intake too. The people I really admire drink a gallon which I was told is 3.5 liters. I have to figure out how to down 1 more litre of water every day. If you need me, I'll be in the bathroom.

I have a ton of housework and organizing over the next couple of days. I thought you might be interested in seeing my fridge, pantry and spice cabinet. (This will also require me to have them organized - I am far from selfless) So over the next couple of days I'll post those pics - the good, bad and ugly, like always. There are sure to be some things that are less than stellar but I think mostly things are pretty good.

Enjoy Boxing Day!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dec. 25 - Reflections

I can't believe I forgot to post this earlier. My first mini goal was to weigh under 200 pounds for Christmas. My weight today? 199.8!!!!!

Victory dance!!! I am so happy to have accomplished my first goal deadline. I still have a very long way to go, but this energizes me to keep up the hard work.

My kids have gone to dad's so I've had time to do some thinking this evening. I've had an awful headache off and on all day today. I'm considering this a "food hangover". I simply can't tolerate refined foods. I probably never could, and I just got used to feeling terrible and lethargic. After less than a month of eating clean, my body is begging me to keep it up.

Weight loss is just a pleasant side effect to this lifestyle. I am high on the feeling - the energy, the cheerfulness, and the all-around health.

Last year I got new life insurance. I did all the requisite blood work and had the physical, and I am very fortunate to report that my health was so good - (cholesterol, etc.) that the company actually offered me a LOWER rate than normal. How fortunate could I be? I had abused my body with food for years. I was 60 pounds overweight. I wasn't working out much. And yet somehow, I remained healthy. I have been given a second chance to make the rest of my life different. I now have the opportunity to model a healthy lifestyle for my kids. I hope I can undo the past and help them to see that healthy is better and much more fun than the way things were before. I won't throw away the second chance I have been granted. I thank God every day for the way I am feeling right now.

This change is for LIFE. A life that is full of energy and new challenges. A life brimming with good health.

Okay, ***stepping down off soapbox***
Here is today's food, the good, the bad and the ugly. I figure if I am going to post on here, it's important to admit to the bad stuff and not just boast about the good stuff. A (*) denotes foods that are not clean. Otherwise I made a clean version of the food.

M1: Pumpkin bread, yogurt icing*, fruit salad with cantaloupe, blackberries, blueberries, and banana
M2: More fruit salad (no protein)
M3: Roast turkey, roasted potatoes, tzatziki, Greek salad w/ feta and hm dressing, 1 triangle white pita*
M4: Dark chocolate truffle* (You probably did not require the star on that one)
M5: leftover 7 layer dip from last night, multi-grain tortillas (these are hard to classify - they are all-natural with clean ingredients but they are high in fat - if I had a button for it I'd mark this with half a star)
So to analyze the day, it was high in sugar ( I had it twice) and low in protein (only present at 2 meals). Aside from that I'm very pleased. I feel like I conquered Christmas eating today!

Having Ourselves a Clean Little Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas this year is so different. Last night for Christmas Eve, I cleaned up a recipe that is a regular of ours. I made 7 layer dip. (I'm counting the veggies as 2 layers!)


7 Layer Dip

Layer these ingredients in the following order

Fat free re-fried beans
Drained plain yogurt
HM guacamole
Diced peppers
Diced tomatoes
Mrs. Dash
Shredded cheddar

I serve these with baked multi-grain tortilla chips. The leftovers (when we have them) are wonderful fillings for wraps!

So that was dinner on Christmas Eve - we had this before church. After church we came home and had cheese and crackers, veggies and cookies. Yes, cookies. I'm a clean eater - not a saint!

I paid for it a bit this morning with what I like to call a "food hangover" - woke up with a nasty headache and feeling of general laziness. I'm going to enjoy today but I'm not going overboard. I like feeling good!

This year, like I wrote yesterday, I am streamlining a little. So last night I prepped my breakfast. Our Christmas morning breakfast was Pumpkin Bread with Yogurt Cheese Icing and fruit salad. I mixed the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately last night for the pumpkin bread so that this morning I only had to stir them together and bake. The Pumpkin Bread recipe was clean. I got if from Tosca Reno's The Eat-Clean Diet for Family and Kids. I love the recipes in that book because they are not so exotic and "health-foody" that my kids refuse to eat them.

I had to modify the Pumpkin bread because DD9 is allergic to eggs, but it turned out very nicely. It made 2 loaves so I put one immediately in the freezer for a treat on a school morning. The fruit salad contained Blueberries, Blackberries, Cantaloupe and Banana. The kids had seconds of everything. One thing that pleased me: The icing is not specifically clean, as it contains confectioner's sugar. They thought it was too sweet. I felt like that was a major breakthrough - their taste is changing too!

For Christmas dinner (which is actually lunch in our house) we are having Greek food, instead of the traditional turkey, stuffing and casseroles. (We refer to this as our "Tradition of Non-Tradition). See the photo above! Here's the menu

Turkey Breast roasted with Lemon, Garlic and Oregano
Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes with feta cheese and tzatziki sauce drizzle
Greek Style Pita triangles brushed with olive oil and roasted garlic
Greek Salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, and red onion (we share a universal hatred of olives)

I'm not sure if I will have the pita bread - that is more for the kids. For dessert, if wanted, we have an abundance of cookies and fudge floating around, and I have one perfect, fabulous dark chocolate truffle to savor.

I feel very blessed this year to be on the road to health. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, and in years past, when I have been "dieting" I either felt horribly guilty or horribly deprived. Life is good when you eat clean.

Merry Christmas - remember - NO GUILT! Whatever you have done, not done or eaten yesterday and today, what makes you a clean eater is eating clean again tomorrow!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dec. 24 - Food

Well, the house is clean, the groceries are purchased and the presents are wrapped. Just a quick note of my food today and then it is off for another busy crazy day at the store. Then I am off for 5 days!!!!

m1: WW toast, natural pb, banana
m2: Pear and nuts
M3: Chicken breast, mixed greens, hm dressing, tomatoes, ww wrap
M4: Trail mix
M5: Soft tacos, guacamole
M6: Cheese and crackers, cookies (after church service)

Today's schedule is work, dinner, church, snacks and Christmas movies with my kids. I can't think of a more wonderful Christmas Eve!

I just checked all my recipes and thankfully I don't have to brave the store today for any last minute ingredients!

Have a good one, everybody.

Dec. 24 - Holiday Guilt and Perfectionism

Well, it all boils down to ONE BIG DAY. The weeks (and for some, months) of prep are over and tomorrow, it's showtime.

As I read my friend's journals, it makes me realize just how much stress we are all under during this time of year. And most of it, we bring on ourselves by expecting perfection. I have been preaching this sermon to everyone who will listen. (And some of those that just slow down enough for me to talk really fast!)

Are you stressed because one of the dishes you made did not turn out well? No one will really remember it with all the other fabulous food that is there (unless it is particularly notable like the time I read the recipe wrong and put an entire CUP of cinnamon in my apple pie - yup we talk about that one still - it's hilarious!).

Are you stressed because you feel like you did not buy gifts that were nice enough or plentiful enough for your kids? Money is tight for a lot of us this year, and they are kids getting gifts. They are going to be happy. Kids are easy!

Are you stressed because your in-laws and assorted relatives are crazy? Remember, one day these people won't be around. . Even if they are just plain out there, we gave birth - we can get through anything for one day, even our relatives.

Are you stressed because your MIL or mom is overly critical? In her misguided way, perhaps she is trying to help. Remember, she used to be the one in charge of the big wing-ding. Letting go of that may be hard.

Are you stressed because you fell off the wagon of your eating plan? Christmas is one day in a very long year. The other days of the year, when you follow your plan and eat clean are the days that matter. Don't feel guilty for enjoying some treats you would not normally eat. Give yourself a little break and get back on the horse tomorrow.

There are a million reasons to be stressed and mostly they boil down to guilt. Well, guess what? We aren't perfect and never will be. We must learn to laugh about the mistakes and move on, embracing them in the circle of our memories. Guilt is a huge saboteur in my own journey of clean eating. When I feel guilty or bad about something I reach for the nearest crappy food and stuff my face. One way to circumvent that is to simply refuse to feel guilty!

Please remember: This year extend your kindness, love and charity to yourselves.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec. 23 - STRESS

Because I have been so aware of my foods and I have been writing in this journal every day, I am really seeing the link between food and stress for me. This is something I have to conquer if I am ever to have a true healthy way of life, for the rest of my life. The New Year is going to be dedicated to resolving this issue.

Here are my current stressors:
2.) The loss of my Dad
3.) Rocky relationship with my Mom
4.) I have a teenager (need I say more?)
5.) My ex lets the kids down

Rationally, I am aware eating crap because of these things does no make me feel better anymore, even for a moment. Because I am aware of what I am doing even while I am doing it, I am not getting one second of respite from the stress by stuffing my face.

I got up early and went to Walmart to finish up shopping. Mission accomplished!!!! Hooray! While the kids are at Dad's tonight I will finish wrapping. I am also going to prep our Christmas day food.

Today's eats:

M1: Skim milk latte, ww toast w/ nat pb (eaten while shopping at Walmart this morning)
M2: 1 % yogurt, blackberries, Kashi crunch cereal
M3: Grilled chicken w/ a skim of not clean BBQ sauce (contains sugar), 1/2 ww bun, carrots
M4: Banana, nuts
M5: Turkey tostada, guacamole

I'm feeling good about today and business is booming with pre-Christmas sales.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dec. 22

Monday went well. I followed my meal plan and ate healthfully. I had no cheats at all and the cookies are all packed up. I even managed to get some delivered today! I have a few that we kept for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, as well as some that I froze for our New Year's Eve party. Apparently I can resist temptation when I am not emotional!

I went to a new grocery yesterday and before I knew it I spent $100. That is part of the reason my eats are so good! The produce was mostly local, and so fresh and incredible. The meat was all local free range,and reasonably priced. They also have their own bakery so I was able to get clean buns and bread. SO NICE to not have to try and find time to make it!

I think I may be a little bit heavy on the fruit, but considering the season and all the temptation around me, I am just going with it for the next few days until things go back to normal.

Today's food:
M1: ww toast w/ natural pb, pear
M2: extra lean beef burger (grilled) on 1/2 ww bun, orange
M3: apple, nuts
M4: Big salad with spinach, mixed greens, grilled chicken, carrots, steamed cauliflower (leftover) tomatoes,onion, and hm honey balsamic dressing
M5: Yogurt and berries or popcorn

The one thing I am very disappointed about this week: workouts are on hold. This may sound like an excuse but I am just not finding time to fit it in. DD14 sleeps right under the family room. My leaping like a gazelle above her would NOT go over well! It's way to cold to take my Southern bred self outside and I decided to take a 4 day hiatus. My schedule is insane this week at work too. On Christmas once the kids leave to go with their dad to his family celebration I am claiming the guest room. By boxing day it will be my workout room and no excuse will be good enough to miss a workout! I can't wait. This is my Christmas present to me: the gift of health.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dec. 21 - Yesterday did NOT go well

Yesterday was just a wash. My last day off before Christmas and all I did was fight with my kids, eat garbage and run around pointlessly.

My kid's ended up missing their visit with their Dad and his family so they were cranky and miserable. I went to the party I said I would go to, didn't know anyone and just nibbled on food for something to do. Grrr. I ate a handful each of Ruffles and Doritos and one cookie.

I came home from the cookie exchange deciding I would be under control for the rest of the day. Which of course is when I discovered the kids still at home and quite unhappy. I took my little one out for a while to help get her mind off things while my older one went to a friend's house. Thought all was well and then we all just started driving each other nuts. So after a healthy supper, I ate 3 more stupid, thrice damned cookies.

This morning I am packing up the cookies into the bags that we are giving them away in. I am going to put some in the freezer for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and another batch for our New Year's Eve party. I MUST GET THESE COOKIES OUT OF MY KITCHEN!!!

Yesterday's food. (be prepared - this is dismal)

M1: Toast w/ natural pb, pineapple
M2: cantaloupe, pineapple, NZ cheddar ( all natural), Kashi crackers, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers
M3: All the yuck at the party
M4: Grilled chicken breast, oven fries, steamed cauliflower, zucchini and broccoli
M5: More yuck - 3 cookies (small ones, but cookies none the less)

I woke up today not feeling great. I am trying to talk myself into a workout but I am right over DD14's room. After her rough day yesterday I hate to wake her up. Until she empties out the guest room I don't know how I am going to get a workout in...... I hate when things get in the way of my goals. Unfortunately this week I must focus on making every dime I can before Christmas. After the holidays is never that great.

So today's plan:

Walk to and from work (better than nothing)
Eat carefully prepped meals
Clean the house before I leave for work
Do 2 loads of laundry

Food plan:
M1: ciabbatta toast, natural pb, apple
M2: hm trail mix
M3: ww wrap with chicken and veggies
M4:cheese and crackers, fruit
M5: Spaghetti, marinara, ground turkey

If I can at all I really need to get to the grocery store today. I'm off to make today better than yesterday. Have a good one, everybody.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dec. 20 - Indulgence

Good morning! I wanted to say hello before today's crazy whirl of activity began.

Last night at the party things went pretty well. I have been doing a lot of thinking, reading on a forum, and just pondering why we do what we do and what brings us to have the weight and food issues that many of us struggle with.

I think we will all agree, the holidays can be a very challenging time of year for clean eaters. A lot of people tend to binge on unhealthy food. I stopped for a few minutes the other day to think about why I binge. Generally it is because I am feeling emotional and/or deprived. If you over do it at a party, then you feel emotional, which leads to eating more. This is the time of year that maybe you could step back, be a little kinder to yourself, enjoy a nibble here and there of something you wouldn't normally have, content in the knowledge that at the very next meal you will be going back to your clean eating lifestyle. Enjoying something out of the norm is not a big deal, but saying, well, I am off this eating plan until after the New Year IS a big deal.

I figure if there is a treat I really, really want, I'm going to have a nibble because most of the time, the food I eat is healthy and nutritious. By giving myself that permission, I don't feel guilty and then I don't sabotage myself by pigging out.

Here is what I had at the party last night (along with some observations)

2 tortilla chips
tiny scoop of salsa (the salsa tasted very very sweet, not at all tomato-ey and savory like hm)
1 triangle of white pita
tiny scoop of hummus (tasted like comfort food to me)
2 bites of Polish sausage in a BBQ sauce ( delicious but very rich)
1 teeny nibble of fudge (so insanely sweet but really good - no way I could eat a lot of that anymore)
2 bites of an iced sugar cookie (these used to be my very favorite but I could not have eaten more than the two bites because they were so sweet my eyes crossed)
2 potato chips (yup, chips still taste good!)

So I discovered I still really like salty and savory, but sweet just makes me feel icky. A bite is pleasant, more than that is too much of a good thing. I avoided the punch, the cheesies, the cheese and crackers, and the bacon wrapped chestnuts. I took little samples of the things that interested me and left the rest alone. I felt decadent, not deprived, but know I didn't eat enough that I felt guilty later. Coming back to my clean food feels like a comfort.

My advice to all this season is to treat yourselves kindly, because you deserve no less than that. Give yourself the gift of realizing that you are not perfect, eating clean is not 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Planning an indulgence and keeping it under control may help you to stay on track the rest of the time. See an indulgence as something unique, like dinner at a very expensive restaurant. Enjoy every second, realizing this isn't in the budget for a regular occurrence, and then enjoy going back to the comfort of nurturing yourself through good food.

Happy holidays!