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Transformation Tuesday 10/20

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Categories: Health & Nutrition,Weight Loss Journey Progress

Good morning! It’s time again for an update on my weight loss progress. I’ve posted a photo wearing my traditional Transformation Tuesday uniform of my denim shorts and Guinness shirt (Oh my, what am I going to do when it gets really cold?).

 

10-20

 

Since my last weigh-in and since I’ve cut sugar and sweeteners from my diet completely (13 days ago), the scale has recorded a 4 pound loss. At first glance that can be disappointing, and quite honestly, the scale has been up and down the past two weeks. That means that my weight has been recorded between 316 and 320, a total of 14 pounds lost since the beginning of this journey (which has been side tracked quite a bit). I’m not doing any formal exercise (something I intend to remedy), but since eating like this, I’ve had a lot more energy and so I am on my feet and busy much more than I had been.

The telling aspect for me is how my clothes are fitting, in particular, my pants. I have one pair of jeans that I normally have to wiggle my way into and then lie on the bed, suck in my breath and push down my fat stomach in order to zip up. This week, however, it was just a matter of sucking in my stomach and pulling the zipper up (while standing!). The denim shorts I’m wearing in the photo above can now just be pulled up over my hips and belly without even undoing the button or zipper.

I’m not seeing much of a change in my liver roll, that fatty roll that started right beneath my boobs and is migrating downward. But the roll beneath that, my stomach roll, is definitely disappearing, and when I compare this photo to the last photo, it’s much less perceptible in the new one.

Over all, I feel better than I look, and so I will not discredit my progress. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, I have no more regular sugar/carb cravings and I’m getting a lot more nutrients in my body with the raw greens and veggies and moderate protein and organic grass-fed dairy.

On occasion I make cakes for different events and I’ve got two coming up this weekend. I started this week on some aspects of the cakes, such as the modeling chocolate decorations, and I was surprised to find how easy it was to avoid consuming any of it. The desire is just gone and the smell of the sugary sweets is a little sickening to me.

I feel like any time now, things will start moving faster as I maintain consistency. As lame as it sounds, 13 days of anything is quite rare for me. They say it only takes 21 days to form a habit. I really want to see this out.

Thanks for checking in and I hope you have a wonderful week and achieve all your goals!


The “Sweet” Taste of Success

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

I know I keep disappearing and popping up again out of the blue. It’s annoying, even to me, and I sincerely apologize for it. But I think things are going to be different from here on out. I’ve made a bit of a breakthrough.

As I alluded to in today’s earlier post, I’ve immersed myself recently in some education and research about nutrition and the effects of processed sugar on our health. I’m not, nor have I been (recently, anyway) ignorant about what it takes to be healthy and lose weight. However, like so many others I’ve had some seemingly inexplicable mental block that prevents me from accomplishing my goals.

When I first started this weight loss journey, I said I was going to limit my sugar intake and schedule myself “cheat days” where I could eat anything and everything I wanted. This is not an uncommon practice, and many have successfully achieved weight loss doing this. I received an email from a young woman who successfully accomplished her weight loss goals. She tactfully advised me that I was setting myself up for failure with this approach. Acknowledging that processed sugar is a huge stumbling block for me, she reminded me that my body and brain would need sufficient time to wean itself from sugar and acclimate to all of the good wholesome nutrients being put into it.

I weighed her advice, but in the end I chose to continue with my plan of action.

Guess what? She was absolutely right.

Almost 2 weeks ago at the urging of my husband, I finally made time to sit and watch a couple of documentaries on the effects of processed sugar on our health, “That Sugar Film” and “Fed Up.” It was obvious to me before I ever saw the films that sugar is toxic and addicting, but watching the films really drove the point home for me.

After taking a day or two to think about it, I decided to cut the sugar completely, as well as flour, rice, and pasta. It seemed extreme, especially when I realized I was eating a little every day (usually in a bit of wine, or a flour tortilla or a little chocolate here and there), hoping that my huge intake of greens and protein would balance out the effects. But for the first time, I was really strict with myself. Further, I severely limited my fruit intake. Natural sugars in fruits, eaten in their natural state (not juiced!) are fine for most people. The fiber in the fruit slows the absorption of the fructose into the system, keeping insulin stable. But I realized getting rid of the mental desire for something sweet was just as important for me as conquering the cravings my body was signaling. This meant that I would have to omit anything sweet to my palate, including artificial sweeteners (We don’t touch those anyway, right?) and lovely, juicy fruits.

It was hell the first couple days; I won’t deny it, but so worth it. I’m now on my ninth day of sugar free eating and I feel pretty great. I’m sleeping better at night, my energy is up and my clothes are getting looser, so there has been some definite weight loss, which I will happily share with you next Tuesday after I finally weigh myself and snap a picture. My skin is crazy soft. My cravings for sugar have completely gone! I went to an artisan street fair in nearby Greensboro with a couple friends last night and was not tempted one bit by the funnel cakes and other goods being dispensed from the many food trucks present. Better still, I’m craving greens daily. I look forward my daily consumption of salads, raw veggies, nuts, eggs, cheese, butter and the occasional fish or meat. This way of eating is completely sustainable, especially now that the cravings are gone, because I just do not want the bread, cookies, cake and chocolate, even when it’s right in front of me!

I know this is not the end of sugar in my life for eternity.  I still love to bake for others and I love drinking socially.  But I’m not dependent on it and right now, that is a huge accomplishment.

Needless to say, I’m excited and hopeful about the future!

 

 


Educate Yourself

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , Categories: Health & Nutrition

As a general rule, I don’t watch documentaries. I break that rule from time to time, but rarely. It’s not that I don’t like a good documentary, but there are certain topics I feel that I am pretty knowledgeable about, and when a documentary comes along that supports my conclusions on a given topic or exposes the selfish agenda of agencies or individuals who are supposed to be helping individuals, raging righteous indignation sets in, and I don’t often handle my feelings in the most appropriate way. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that I sometimes possess a kindred understanding of people who say and do bat-shit crazy things seemingly out of the blue to get a point across.

My husband, by contrast, is a documentary junkie. Working from home enables him to indulge in this obsession pretty much day and night. Of the two monitors set up on his desk in his home office, one is always, without fail, running a documentary of some sort. And also without fail, after each film, my husband will give me an account of what he’s just watched and try to persuade me to watch as well. I always tell him no thanks. Until last week, that is.

About a week ago, I gave in and sat down on the couch with my husband and watched a documentary called “That Sugar Film.” The documentary was made by an Australian man, Damon Gameau, who decided to embark on a 60‑day experiment wherein he would consume Australia’s national average of 40 teaspoons of sugar per day and record the changes to his otherwise healthy body and mind. This was remarkable for him, as he had been sugar-free (including no processed foods) for 3 years. The aim of this rather light-hearted documentary with a serious message is to educate about the real toxic effects of sugar on our bodies in the quantities that Western nations consume it. As far as health documentaries go, it was mild, as well as entertaining. I highly recommend taking some time to watch it.

A couple nights later, serious PMS and a nasty cold took me down, and as I could find nothing worthwhile on the television, and Gameau’s sugar documentary was still on my mind, I decided to Netflix Katie Couric’s documentary, “Fed Up”, another documentary my husband has been talking incessantly about and trying to get me to watch with him. It highlights the pervasiveness of sugars in our diet and our government’s long-time complicity with the food manufacturers in keeping the population in the dark about nutrition, while continually pushing the garbage products. The film features families with obese children who are struggling to lose weight, and dumbfounded that cutting calories, consuming goods labeled as “heart healthy” or “fat free” and incorporating exercise don’t seem to work as far as promoting healthy minds and bodies.

My takeaway from this documentary is 1.) Processed sugar is killing us – Literally. It’s toxic, it’s addictive and not one of its many forms is better than another. Learn the various names for processed sugar and read labels. Better yet, stop eating processed foods. Buy healthy wholesome ingredients and cook for yourself; and 2.) Take the time to educate yourself on nutrition. Don’t look to the government recommendations to lead you in the right direction. There are so many different approaches to health, some more insane than others, but be objective. Ask questions. Find out what’s in the food you’re eating and find out why and how foods affect your body in the way that they do. Better yet, stop eating processed foods! Buy healthy wholesome ingredients and cook for yourself!

Where have I heard that before?


Two Funerals and a Wedding

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

Nope, it’s not a hokey movie sequel. It’s been my life of late, and let me tell you right out of the gate that I am just not the kind of person who can maintain a healthy lifestyle during times of distress.

Two weeks ago my family lost a very dear friend after a year-long battle with cancer. It’s still such a challenge to wrap my head around the fact that he is no longer.

That same week, I attended a wedding wherein my husband was the Best Man and my daughter, a bridesmaid. The marrying couple and bridal party were also rather connected with the friend who had passed away just days earlier. In fact, one of the groomsmen was actually the deceased man’s son. As you can imagine, the weekend was just emotional all the way around.

Last week, another friend of ours was mowing his lawn when he was apparently stung by a wasp and went into anaphylactic shock and died a day later. So much turmoil in such a short span of time!

Finally, my husband’s spirits were sunken by the news that a founding member of his all‑favorite progressive rock band Yes, Chris Squire, passed away yesterday after a short bout with Leukemia. Of course he didn’t know the man personally, but when you’ve become so connected to one’s art for as long as my husband has been, the loss is still profoundly felt.

Despite having an incredible support network of the dearest friends imaginable, I still found myself reaching for my usual comforts: Sugar and alcohol. But after a tear-fueled beer, wine and cake fest, I’m again back on track. Have I ever told you that I’m an incredible optimist? I’ve always been. In the words of Chumbawumba, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.” I’m sorry. I had to go there.

So that’s the update as to where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. I woke up this morning and started back on health eating plan, which, just to reiterate, is tailored to my body type of estrogen dominance and subsequent hypothyroidism. Heavy on the raw greens, moderate on the protein, moderate to high on the healthy fats, and void of sugar and processed carbohydrates. It sounds unpleasant, but I assure you that after two days, the sugar cravings are gone and I actually have started to crave the greens and vegetables. There has been no formal exercise to speak of, but I spent this past Saturday helping a friend move from one apartment to another, both on the second floor, and my already-massive calves seem to be in a permanently contracted state from running up and down stairs carrying furniture and heavy boxes for hours.

Anyhoodle my friends, I got this!

Look for an update post with a photo very soon. Until then, have an awesome week!


4 Pounds Down! Transformation Tuesday 6/9, with Photo

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

Did you know that a healthy liver is very, very crucial to fat burning? I might have heard that at some point but never really paid attention until I started watching Dr. Eric Berg’s videos on YouTube. Of all the weight loss experts I’ve paid attention to, he makes the most sense to me.

I’ve discovered that I am the “T-type” or Thyroid Body Type, which is indicated by the way I gain weight – all over! An underlying cause of the T-type’s difficulty in burning fat is the thyroid gland. This corroborates my doctor’s finding more than 10 years ago that my thyroid was not working as it should; however, I was frustrated over the migraines caused by synthetic thyroid hormone medication and never followed through with the treatment. I have since learned that hypothyroidism is almost always a secondary condition (unless one has been exposed to radiation), and because conventional thyroid treatment does not treat the underlying cause of hypothyroidism, patients on synthetic thyroid rarely lose weight, so I don’t feel much regret over foregoing the medication.

80% of our thyroid function occurs in the liver. One of the liver’s 500-plus functions is to convert T4 hormone into active T3 hormone. A congested or sluggish liver will affect the thyroid’s ability to perform its primary function – metabolism!

High levels of estrogen will also negatively impact the thyroid gland. Estrogen competes with thyroid hormone and blocks the receptors in the gland to inhibit the uptake of thyroid hormone, causing hypothyroidism. As I’m also estrogen dominant, this no doubt has contributed to my weight gain.

After a lot of research, my takeaway from all of this is that I need to get my body healthy in order to lose the weight, not the other way around. And that mindset has been working for me!

3

I can report a 4-pound weight loss this week! I am pretty psyched about it. This morning after my husband took this week’s Transformation Tuesday photo, I compared it with last week’s (I chose the same shirt for consistency) and noticed a very subtle change in the way I am carrying my stomach fat now. It’s much droopier and hangs quite a bit lower than last week. It’s awkward and uncomfortable but I’m really trying to be positive about it.

So what have I been doing? Well, I’m still abstaining from sugar and starches, but still giving myself some leeway on the weekend. This past weekend I had a bonfire to go to and I had a piece of cake and one cocktail. A Bombay Sapphire and tonic with lime. I nursed that drink the entire evening, along with several glasses of water. Sunday I didn’t even feel like having anything unhealthy. In the interests of cleansing my liver, I have been juicing a grapefruit or two in the morning, and eating a lot of greens throughout the day. I’m actually starting to crave them now. I hadn’t planned on so much kale and spinach salad, but I’ve reached the point where if I have a choice between cooked veggies or raw greens, I choose the greens. My salads also have a lot of healthy fats in them in the form of extra virgin olive oil, olives or avocados. I have a little fish or shrimp with my greens and if I get really hungry in the afternoons during my really sluggish time, I will have a few nuts, an egg or I will break out the kale chips. I have not had cravings at all, which is a victory in itself.

Cooler still, this has all been without exercise! I know I need to exercise, but it just didn’t happen much this week at all due to crummy weather and my lack of enthusiasm.

Finally, I’m really trying to improve my sleeping habits. All fat loss happens when we sleep and if we aren’t getting sufficient quality sleep, we aren’t burning fat. It’s that simple. This is a really difficult thing for me to do. I really don’t sleep well at night and so getting to bed earlier and putting my phone and tablet outside the bedroom on a table in the hallway is really difficult for me, but I’m doing it. Last night I fell asleep rather early, but kept waking up every hour until 5:00 a.m. Perhaps tonight will be an improvement.

All in all, a good productive week! The weight loss gives me a little more motivation. I can do this. Until next time, have a great week!

 

 


Transformation Tuesday, On a Wednesday

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

Today is Wednesday, so I’m a day late with my Transformation Tuesday post. I apologize for the delay, but crummy weather and irritating circumstances prevented this post from going up yesterday.

Do we know what the link is between extreme humidity and water retention? I couldn’t find anything concrete on the Internet. Despite the past five days of very clean eating, I’m retaining so much water. My rings don’t fit my fingers and buttoning a pair of jeans this morning was more torture than usual. I haven’t been drinking as much water as I really need to, so I can’t really cry foul yet. But I’m not drinking soda or alcohol and aside from the occasional sip of black coffee – no sweetener of any sort either – I just can’t seem to release the water. So I will up my intake of H2o and see what comes of it.

The scale is showing no change. At all. I’m trying not to be too disappointed as 1) Numbers aren’t everything; and 2) The aforementioned water retention. The past five days have been kale and spinach salads with cashews, olive oil, and lots of fresh veggies; grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed by yours truly; and roasted salmon and green beans. Sunday night I had a setback of three Oreo cookies and a bag of microwave popcorn; and Monday afternoon while babysitting my nephews, I had a mini pack of peanut butter crackers, so I’ve not been strictly clean.

I’ve noticed that the challenge with food comes between late afternoon and evening before I go to bed. I tried to combat this yesterday by making a batch of kale chips, for the first time. I got the dinosaur kale variety from my mom’s garden, washed and dried the leaves, tossed with olive oil, salt and Italian seasoning and laid the leaves out onto the racks of my dehydrator. I actually forgot all about the kale until this morning. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The “chips” have the texture of seaweed or nori wraps, but a much better taste. I think I can happily eat these when I get the munchies.

Exercise has been light to moderate. No heavy weight training like I had intended. The walking has been sparse as well. The weather has been extremely hot and humid, and we’ve gotten a lot of storms and rain as well, which keeps me indoors.

Here is the result:

guiness

The shirt I’m wearing in this photo shows my fat rolls in all their glory, much more so than the black shirt in the previous photo. But until I do something about it, it is what it is. I have noticed that the subcutaneous fat in my belly and hip region has gotten a lot mushier and sags more. From what I’ve read, this is a good thing because it means that toxins are being moved out of the fat cells. If anyone knows any differently, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks for reading and until next time, have a great day!

 

 


Transformation Tuesday 5/19, No Change, Whiteboards

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

Well, it’s Tuesday, that time again. The results are not impressive, let me be honest.

It’s been an insane past week and weekend, as I knew it would be. I had two big cake projects to complete for Saturday and it was stressful. I say this every time I make a cake, but I’m going to say it again. I don’t care if I never see cake again! Of course that will only last a few weeks. We all know I love cake.

Surprisingly, I didn’t eat much cake at all. For the wedding I made a three-tiered cake that included a 12-inch white cake with fresh strawberry butter cream filling and then 9 and 6-inch tiers of dark chocolate cake with hazelnut mocha butter cream filling. The entire thing was covered in vanilla Swiss butter cream. Once we delivered and cut the cake, I tasted a very fine sliver of the vanilla cake.

That same evening, we then delivered a two-tiered white/vanilla cake with the strawberry butter cream filling and then came home and collapsed into bed, but not before I downed an entire bottle of Cab Sav. Ugh. When I woke up the next morning, my legs looked like tree trunks. Also, while I truly didn’t think much about eating all weekend due to the cake mess in my kitchen and stressful deadline, I did grab a veggie pizza one night for convenience and had three slices.

So here it is, Transformation Tuesday and you’re looking for results! So, drum roll please…. No change. None. Not one pound more; not one pound less. I’m relieved. I did manage to get three workouts in last week so the week was not a total loss.

However nonchalant I may seem, I am committed. Yesterday I ate a lot of steamed broccoli and some chicken and finished the evening off with salmon and a nice kale and spinach salad. No wine, and lots of water. I went to the store yesterday and filled my fridge with greens and vegetables and made sure there was no wine in the house to tempt me.

I’m about to go do my workout for the day (obviously the early morning workouts aren’t happening for me) and I have a plate of chicken and steamed veggies waiting for me when I’m finished.

In other news, business for my husband and me has been… busy. We’ve gotten into whiteboard animations through our joint company and I’ve decided to start incorporating the whiteboards into my blog for a more entertaining and engaging feel. I hope you will feel free to give me honest feedback. Until then, my friends, have a wonderful day!


Transformation Tuesday: 3 Pounds Lost!

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

It’s a small accomplishment and a surprise considering the fact that I didn’t keep my eating clean this week (after a rough few days I uncorked a bottle of red wine last night, drank a glass and also had some tortilla chips with my guacamole. The salt, sugar and alcohol has me so bloated today, my fingers look like sausages!). I believe the exercise was the real hero and I intend to keep that up.

Sugar is and has always been my crack. In fact, it’s been stated by researchers that a sugar addiction is more difficult to overcome than a drug addiction. It’s little wonder then that sugar has been given so many deceptive names, and continues to confuse even savvy consumers. I’m not sure I would necessarily categorize myself as savvy, but I know when I’m eating sugar. It’s a somewhat conscious overthrow of my will when I break down and eat it. Figuring out why is proving a challenge, as I already suspected it would. How can I overcome something I haven’t yet established?

Honestly, I think I do have clues as to why I’m in this situation. Old traumas and ensuing deep psychological issues have ensured a nice fatty cocoon of protection from having to deal with the stresses of a “normal” everyday life. The problem is, this kind of life brings on its own set of stresses. I tell myself that I would gladly trade one set for the other. So what gives?

While I’m figuring that out, I will keep struggling on this journey. Three pounds is only a start, so I won’t let myself be discouraged over it. As I’ve got a crazy week and weekend ahead of me, I will simply do the best I can until the chaos is over and on Monday I will really dig in my heels and be strict with my eating habits. In the meantime, I will continue to exercise, drink a lot of water and maintain a positive attitude!


5/9 Update Post

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

I didn’t really plan on posting anything until Tuesday, when I will be weighing myself and posting an update picture, but I just found myself in the mood to write.

I’m surprised to say I’m feeling great. Despite a few setbacks this week (all sugar based – more detail below), I’m managing to keep up the workouts, which for me is huge. It’s 9:00 p.m. here and though I’ve not yet worked out today I’m itching to do so and will make sure to squeeze it in before bed.

I’ve been drinking from 48 to 72 ounces of water per day. It’s not quite my gallon (128 ounces) goal, but it’s still more water than I was drinking before. Additionally, despite my insistence that I would NEVER give up my coffee, I’ve just been making myself a cup every morning but not taking more than a sip or two. I’ve had a bit of voice work this week and I find that copious amounts of caffeine tends to dry me out a bit and make recording difficult. The water has been so helpful and I was told that my recordings were better than usual, though I have a sneaking suspicion that might be more due to my positive attitude than anything else.

My diet has been mostly raw vegetables (kale, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes); some raw fruits; chicken or beef and the occasional eggs or cooked beans and veggies (My husband made a spicy vegetarian chili).

Alas! My sugar status has not been boast-worthy. Wednesday night my husband was feeling celebratory after a small personal victory which resulted in milkshakes. Mine was peanut butter fudge and I felt it long after. Dairy has never been my friend.

Yesterday I went a bit crazy when I came across plates of cookies and chips at my brother’s house that his wife had set out for everyone. I resisted for an hour but eventually “just one” snowballed into several. I didn’t let it get me down though. I came home, brushed my teeth (a trick that helps me so much), consumed a 24-ounce Mason jar of ice water and made sure to get my workout in.

Against my own judgment I weighed myself last night and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t want to become a slave to numbers, as I understand that the scale is not the final word in fat loss, but since I’m just starting out on this weight loss journey, I’ve decided to pay some attention to the numbers on the scale for a little while. I won’t divulge them today, but Tuesday I will be sure to post them along with a picture.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!


Good Start Despite Mean Trees

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

Full of enthusiasm for my new weight loss venture – and a bit of guilt over my breakfast of three browned-butter chocolate-chip cookies my daughter had baked the night before – I met my friend Val after work at a nearby park for some good old fashioned walking.  I’m not a big fan of walking in the 80-plus degree weather but since I’ve got a goal now, I figured I’d better suck it up and get my butt moving.
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