No Junk July–A HUGE Success!

Today is the last day of July 2013, and I have good news to report.  During July this year I vowed that I would make a concerted effort to remove junk from my diet.  I did not name the junk I would remove, because my junk and your junk might be two different kinds of junk, but I knew what my junk was and I knew it needed to go.  Having this initiative or challenge in place during July has reminded me every day–today, girl, you need to off load the junk. I did it.  It worked.  Here are the results and what I have learned during No Junk July, in addition to what I shared a few days ago:

1.  Challenges help me to stay focused.

2.  I am not perfect, nor can I attain perfection, but I can strive to do better.

3.  Junk weighs me down.

4.  I can do anything for one day.

5.  I can string one day’s success into two days.

6.  Fresh veggies for breakfast really do power up the day.

7.  Avoiding processed foods is not as hard as I thought it would be.

8.  I don’t have to depend on others to do what I can do for myself.

9.  Having other health and fitness bloggers out there helps provide support every day to people like me who are trying to get better.

10. Change IS possible!

The best news of all is that I lost 4 lbs during July.  After stepping on that scale at home and seeing the same numbers for seven months, that’s significant to me–well worth the effort with No Junk July!  🙂

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As July turns to August I will be looking for another challenge.  If you’ve been looking for a challenge or a way to motivate yourself to get moving on your own goals, I would invite you to join me for what I am at this moment calling August Action.  During August, I will be trying new and hopefully more effective ways to move and burn calories.  I may even try swimming, an idea I have played around with for a while.

If you think of me this month, say a prayer for my success, won’t you?  If you want to join me on my August Action adventure, contact me here and I’ll add you to the list of people who are interested.  The great thing about August Action is that its a program defined by you, monitored by you, meant to encourage you, and in all ways about you and your efforts to get healthy.

I’m psyched!  Here we go…………..

 

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No Junk July–only 2 days left–REPORT

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We are only days away from the end of July and I have to say the month has been an eye-opening one for me. So far, I have seen the following results:

1. I have lost 4 lbs! Woot, woot!

2. I have seen a marked increase in my ability to focus on those things that are important to me.

3. I have been angry (for 4 days in a row at one point), but without turning to sweets to sooth me or medicate my emotions away.

4. I have been consciously aware of some of the effects No Junk July has had on my body.  I think I can read this signs its sending these days.

5. I have been so encouraged by what has happened this month, that I want to try a Gluten-Free August. I have not come up with a snappy name for the August challenge, so if you have one, do tell.

Only two more days until the end of July. I feel so good about what I’ve been doing this month and the progress I have made to get healthy and stay fit. Even with the PF that has been a nagging problem for my foot and curtailed my activity levels a lot, I have seen the scale go down. That hasn’t happened for month.  I’m excited.

The last few weeks have been dizzying ones, with lots to do. I have not had a chance to read many blogs, let alone write many posts of my own, but I hope to get one more update to you this week and report more fully on No Junk July.

Feeling very optimistic today. Yay! Four pounds–that incredible!!!

 

Overthinking Over Thinking

I recently read a blog by Diane Carbonell that got me thinking.  She often provides thought-provoking posts, which is why I rarely miss an opportunity to soak up the wisdom and experience she shares on her blog.  I appreciate the integrity and grace she brings to her audience, and the depth of understanding I find at her site.  She has some great strategies for tackling the tendency to over think our food and fitness plans.  You should visit her over at Fit To The Finish.

Today, I will be sharing some of my thoughts after reading her post yesterday.

If you’re like me, you have a tendency to over think things at times?

I think I over think things for these reasons:

A lack of confidence in myself to make right decisions, especially where food is concerned.

A sense of dread that I might make myself the target of harsh criticisms, should something I do or say not meet others demands.

A perhaps latent or unrealistic impression from my childhood that I somehow needed to be perfect to be accepted.  Translate: THIN.

Ha, that was never going to happen!

Perhaps these explanations for why I’m indecisive aren’t all-inclusive or all that different, but they seem so to me. Either way, indecision has been a problem I’ve wrestled with most of my life and it might still be besmirching my progress if not for the fact that I’m staring it down these days, squaring off, taking aim, and blasting my tendency to over think things to smithereens. It’s all a part of my 2013 initiative to develop mental toughness, something I wasn’t taught as a child, and something I believe left me with a life-long fight against feelings of victimization.

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How dare I pull a “high noon” on indecision?

I dare, because I am a person of faith.

If you don’t have a relationship with a being more powerful than yourself you might be skeptical about my Love. I understand. It’s hard to comprehend something you have never experienced. Still, from over here where I stand, I have to tell you that how I process the spiritual side of life has made it possible for me to feel at home in my skin.  Finally. I started from the same place many women start after reaching adolescence, by hating our bodies and maybe ourselves.  I stood 5’11” tall and weighed 150 lbs in 5th grade.  If that doesn’t stigmatize you, I don’t know what would!  After years of practicing self acceptance, however, I can say I definitely see improvement.  My mind may be frayed at times, and my ability to critically assess a situation skewed, but my spirit knows what’s what.

These days I’m feeling whole, sane, healthy, and able to meet the demands of my life without knuckling under to the manipulations of others or the tendency to doubt self. Well, at least most of the time, I am.  That’s called progress.

Am I likely to suffer from indecision in the future?

Yep, I am.

Might that indecision affect my diet or fitness plan?

Yep, it probably will.

I accept the fact that I might always have that propensity to worry–that’s just me. I have a long and worrisome bunch of women I share a blood line with, so it comes pretty naturally to me. But lately, I have found reassurance in what a friend shared after coming clean with her about the more intense moments of indecision I’ve struggle with this year, “Honey,” she said, “it’s hormonal. Take my word for it, it’s normal.”

Thank you, girlfriend!

Not many people have ever described me as “normal.”

I think I like it.

But what I like more is the ability to operate according to the dictates of my heart and the principles of my faith, free from worry of reprisals or the need to hold back from saying what I feel strongly needs to be said.  It feels good, real good.

What about you, do you over think things? Does it make you crazy? Is it fear that drives you to do it

Aside

No Junk July–Bye, Bye Sugar

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No Junk July is underway at my house.  What does this mean?  It means that at my house we are being careful with food during July.  We are eating lots and lots of vegetables, raw when possible, without butter or sauces. Frozen veggies are on the menu, but canned veggies are almost non-existent, except for black beans and refried beans, which I do not cook from scratch, not nearly enough time for that.

We are eating some fruit, but not as much as in past months.

We are eating less bread.

We are eating more raw foods.

We are avoiding fast food like the plague.

Let me say that I have no urge to eat the kind of fare that is seen in today’s post, and that fact alone is amazing for me, because like a lot of Americans, my plate at family reunions and picnics in the past used to be loaded down and monotone in color, with varying shades of beige predominantly featured.  No more.  I eat the rainbow whenever possible and I love it!

I had a baked sweet potato with cinnamon on it the other night and thought I was in heaven.  You cannot appreciate the flavor of that vegetable until you have let go of processed sugar. Yum, nature’s candy!

White sugar has gone on hiatus at my house during the month of July.  I rarely use white sugar for anything these days anyway, but during July it will not be used at my house at all.  I have happened onto a cookie recipe that has no refined sugars or flours in it, and I like it for a breakfast food once or twice a week.  It has a weird texture to it–kinda like Play Doh, although it tastes good–and for that reason I have not been able to sell it hard to my family or friends.  The little rounds of chewiness pack a punch re: fiber and fruit-y-ness. Each cookie is about 41 calories, and convenient as all get-out.  They are something I can grab and go in the morning, or pop in my mouth before supper when blood sugar levels dip.  That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, they even things out well, without huge spikes.  No sugar and no processed flour, only oats, fruit, and nuts.  Yum!

During No Junk July we are drinking lots of water.  Coffee has been put on the back burner, although I will admit having an iced coffee or two each week during July.  We are limiting artificial sugars and going without whenever possible.  Is it ever necessary to eat that stuff?  Some days I’m not as strong as others, that is my only excuse.

One of the things I like about No Junk July is that it is an initiative I have adapted for myself to help me stay focused on good eating on a daily basis.  I have not started No Junk July so that I can hate myself more for making bad food choices.

I have not started No Junk July so that I can whip myself for failing to make good food choices.

I have not started No Junk July so that I can envision myself as more disciplined, or determined, or deliberate than others who are using food to get healthy.

I did not start No Junk July so that I could point a bony finger at others (as if I might ever have bony fingers), and act as if I know all the answers and can tell them what they ought to do to get healthy and eat better.  I do not.

No Junk July is about me being smarter with food. Period.

I am just one lil gal trying to change the way she eats and in the meantime get healthy.  I believe I have the power to do that, and one more tool for recovering my health is No Junk July.  I’m feeling good about this project, and the scales say I’m down 2 lbs.  We’ve seen loses before, though, so I’m cautious about calling a loss where none exists.

I am excited about No Junk July, and learning as much as I can about what I, personally, need to do to reclaim my health.

What are  you doing for yourself this summer, to keep you on track with food?

No Junk July Friday Report

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Three times this week I have said to people in my circle of influence: How do you eat an elephant? Answer:  One bite at a time!

It’s a corny joke I learned when I was still young enough to hide in the cornfields around our country farmhouse, but it’s true.

Big projects call for baby steps.

No Junk July is working for me this week, and I attribute that to the fact that I have quit obsessing over the entire month and taken action to break it into bite-sized pieces, focusing on one day for my food planning and eating and when that is finished, moving on. Admittedly, last weekend I hit a few snags and fell into a pit or two, but since then I have been doing well with my food. I am being mindful of my sugar intake–practically nil–and drinking tons and tons of water. This morning, I decided to forego Splenda in my morning Joe. Woohoo, that’s progress people. I love my coffee light and sweet, but I know that stuff is no good for struggling cells and organs–both of which need all the help I can give them.

I have been having trouble sleeping. It’s allergy season in the great northeast (it’s always allergy season in the GNE), so I’m not the only one suffering with stuffed noses, clogged ear ways, or pounding heads, but man, it makes it tough to get a good night’s sleep.  I have been dragging my exhausted self to work each morning, wishing and praying I could have just one more hour of sleep before I had to get up and throw back the covers.

Did I say one hour? How about 30 minutes…or ten minutes? Maybe five minutes…

I have been reporting my food to a friend this week, hoping that would help me stay focused and accountable.  It has.  She reciprocates, which makes it easier to report next time I eat.  Peer pressure can be a good thing.  Plus, I get to be exposed to the food another person chooses to eat and in what amounts.  She is on a paleo diet, so sometimes I worry that the carbs in my plan are going to throw her off track, be a trigger for her, but she’s says its fine.  She is just beginning to emerge from the pain and inflammation carbs have been causing her for years, so she is good with foregoing them.  She feels better every day too.

It’s amazing how food and changes in our diet can aid not only digestion, but the whole of our bodies.  Why wasn’t I told this sooner?

I came across this article, that talks about the American Medical Association’s new designation of obesity as a disease, on the Huffington website.  Finally, someone who understands that medical doctors are not the best equipped individuals to deal with obesity [my strong opinion].  It might seem like they are, but my experience has proven that they don’t know how to instruct their patients regarding diet, at least not all of them.  They just pull up the government’s food pyramid, or the new food plate diagram during an appointment and say, “Do that.”

Uh, no, that doesn’t work.  It might work for some people.  It doesn’t work for all people.  We are individuals, with individual needs.

Finally, someone who is someone is saying that doctors are not going to be able to help in this area UNLESS things really change in their practices and understanding of disordered eating.  I learned much more about my condition and how to help it from reputable bloggers than my MD.  He doesn’t mean to be without the help I need, he just is–so I had to find it somewhere else.

I’m still undecided about whether disordered eating is diseased eating, but I agree with this guy about the fact that either way, doctors may not be the best people to guide patients they see in their practices to better health through eating right.

I want to finish up this week with a few questions for you.  Feel free to share your thoughts.

1.  How much fruit do you include in your daily food plan?

2.  How much fat can I cut from my diet without experiencing problems?

3.  What’s the best exercise to do at home, that doesn’t involve walking, running, or jumping?

Got My Groove On–and I don’t mean Dancing

As I am writing this post, its Wednesday afternoon following my wild weekend: The weekend where I struggled with food and suggested some dishes for dinner that I never eat anymore–among them, pizza.  And wings.  Just thinking about that now makes me wonder how much damage can be done by one meal?  Especially for a recovering body that is trying to heal from more than one ailment.

I’m glad to mark a big X through that weekend and move on to other things.

When I was journaling food years ago, if I got through the day under goal for my calorie count I would draw a big smiley face on the page.  When I went over my goal, I used a pen to draw a big X there instead.  That way, I had an easy flip through resource for determining what worked and what didn’t work on any given day.  I lost a lot of weight that way.

I love easy.  I love simple.  I love uncomplicated methods.  I also love “getting it right”.  Unfortunately, I’m also someone who can potentially get lost in details and distractions pretty easily.  It’s just how my mind works.  I am a multitasker by nature, but there are times when that habit translates into me doing nothing really well.  On those days I am a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none.  Those were the days when I used to get the old red pen out and go to work crafting my giant X.  It worked for me.

Back to my purpose for this post…

I want to report that since Monday morning I have been on-task and in-the-zone with my eating.  Back to Basics has worked yet again.  I’m eating lots of veggies, some fruit, enough protein, and no junk.

No Junk July is still on, and I’m doing okay.

I could have gotten discouraged by the bump in the road that was last weekend and allowed that discouragement to stop all efforts to forego junk of any kind for the rest of July.  Back in the day, I would have–but no more.  I wanted to write today to report that I’m back doing what I know works–what I must do to recover from food addiction and the toll dangerous eating has taken on my life, a life I want to continue to live a little longer.

I’ve got my groove back, and I’m going gangbusters on this clean eating thing.  It feels good.

No Junk July is not awash in defeat–not yet.  It just looked that way for a while.  Today, I can see clearer what needs to be done, and with God’s help I’m doing it.  Yay!  I’m hoping to finish the month strong, because as you know I BELIEVE that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE!

No Junk July–Weekends are the worst!

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Over the weekend, I struggled. I really did. My kids were down for a visit, which meant four more people in the house: Four more people to cook for, four more people to clean up after, four more people to consider, and four more people to hugs and love on–it was exhausting.

It was also wonderful.

Most of the time when the kids are visiting I make out fine. I am ready to shop before they come. I have in mind what I want to do for meals. I have a plan in place for me to have lots of fresh fruit and veggies in the frig and the cupboards. I make sure to clean the house before they come and while they are there I forget that the whole house looks like a “clothes bomb” went off and covered every inch of interior space. When they are in the house, I try to focus on them, please them, adjust my life to them.

Most of the time my strategies for keeping the kids over the weekend work, but when I don’t feel good, or I ache all over, or I have a foot injury, not so much.

This weekend was hard, I will not lie. Add to all the commotion, the fact that I was given bad news, hard news, difficult news for me to process and you have a recipe for disaster. That was what home base felt like to me this weekend. Like a moving, developing, hurtful disaster. It wasn’t really, but parts of it felt that way.

When my life takes these turns, and it sometimes does, I find it hand to balance all the chaos.

This weekend I felt like old habits were haunting my house. Several times I felt like throwing the towel in and giving up, then my new habits would kick in and I would feel refreshed and renewed once more. Most of the eating that went on in my house this weekend was clean and fresh and healthy. Some of the eating that went on in my house this weekend was slopping, and convenient, and discouraging. The reasons for this imbalance was shared by all of the inhabitants of my house this past weekend, and I’m not upset about what others did, but I am upset about how I handled a few things.

One night, I actually suggested pizza and wings for dinner. Ugh.  Sloppy eating…destructive eating…harmful eating, that’s what that was. I did not eat pizza that night, but opted for a salad instead.  I did eat a chicken wing though, and called it “appropriate” protein.

Oh, the games I play with food, especially when I am not feeling good…

Last night I took a ride. I went by myself. I needed the time. I was discouraged. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to reflect. I wanted to pray. I wanted to reaffirm my plans for doing better this week. I wanted some me time, so I went to a familiar place that I love. Ahhh, here I could unwind.

Except that I couldn’t.

Someone I knew, not even knew well, appeared in line while I was waiting for that cup of Joe that was going to take-me-away. He asked to sit with me, eat with me. I couldn’t refuse him. We chatted. Some of it was even about healthy eating.

I still felt crowded, uneasy, cheated of my “time”.

July was to be a no-junk month for me. Clean eating all the way. It hasn’t turned out that way.  My hope:  July has been a learning experience. I still have a lot of month to go before I reach the end. I believe I can redeem some of the bad choices made this weekend.  I’m hoping I do better over the next 23 days. I won’t have family in town again this month, but I do have a big family birthday bash planned at my house for August 3rd. Here’s hoping I can get a grip before then.

Back to basics this week: Measured meals, healthy choices, no junk, and prayer. Lots and lots of prayer!