It's been a month since I blogged! Basically, I've just been moving forward and doing what I can. My son had a flu then a birthday, so that filled up last week. The week before that I tested for my blue belt in taekwondo! The belts are beginning to mean more to me as I am now in an advanced rank (5th gup). Up until now, the belts meant I just showed up. That is always important in life, to just show up, but now I feel like I'm also really accomplishing something. Most of all, I'm now proving my former self wrong. I never thought I could make it this far, and now that I have, I am going to go all the way.
I'm pleased to report that I can actually do a dive roll from being pushed and a break fall from standing, I'm getting the hang of sparring, and I know some mean self-defense. From a person who never did any gymnastics of any sort and especially no fighting, this is a big deal. All this from somebody who tends to get injured badly just by walking to the mailbox, and who used to be laid up for months from small injuries and back pain. It is so cool to have joints that can take a beating and be fine within a few days. I am so grateful that my body allows me to do all this. Do I get sore, yes. Do I get bruised and injured, yes. I do, and I love it.
My little LoseIt program for my ipod touch is teaching me a few things. I've never really counted calories before, and I see this as being of more value for food journaling, but the calorie thing is teaching me a few things.
1. Craving battles. Empty calories just leave me hungry for more and fill up my calorie allotment for the day without being at all satisfying. Even though they are what I crave when I'm having one of those days, they aren't what I NEED when I'm having one of those days. I can nosh down a whole plateful of veggies, with olive oil or ghee, sea salt, etc., for fewer calories than most junk and packaged foods. I have now learned to pig out on healthy foods when I'm stressed, it leaves me satisfied and doesn't mean I have to skip a meal in order to stay within my calorie goal.
2. The program greatly underestimates the power of the BTD/GTD way of eating. I've had to increase my calorie goal by about 200, and I still go over some days, but lose weight faster than what it says I will (even taking exercise calories into consideration, which it does).
3. Someone can eat just one. If I find myself cheating, I can and do stop after one bite. I have to track it in my log, whatever I eat, and how much. Then I hold myself accountable for it.
3. Rewards are no longer edible. I reward myself with a new mp3 each day that I am BTD/GTD compliant. It costs less than most junk food rewards, but I can enjoy it for as long as I want without bad health consequences. The program tells me if I've eaten too much, the log tells me if I've eaten the wrong things, and if so, I don't get the reward.
4. Taekwondo burns a whole lot of calories! On days when I work out I'm often very hungry. Now I know why and how hungry I should be...so I can plan to eat a bit more rather than sticking with the low calorie goal, starving and ending up cheating.
5. Know when I'm full. It's nice to have a visual reminder of when I've had enough food for the day, which isn't usually until after dinner when everybody else is looking for dessert...the program tells me that I'm full and helps me to say no to empty calorie desserts. I give myself some leeway of course, if I do feel hungy at that point or need something sweet I can eat some compliant fruit, and as long as it's compliant, I can still get my reward. (Compliance outweights calories)
I'm still sticking to no food after dinner is over, that's not a new key, but it's a keeper. Leeway goes to raw veggies if it's been a crazy day or I haven't gotten enough calories.
I haven't blogged in a few weeks because I haven't felt all that successful or compliant. The truth is otherwise however, as I just realized I've lost nine pounds since starting my SWAMI diet on August 1st. Why haven't I felt successful? Well, for one thing, the diet itself has been a bit easier, as SWAMI gave me back more than it took away. What it took away was important, like most dairy, because that just didn't work out for me when it comes to weight loss. And yes, I have cheated a bit, but in much smaller increments than I was formerly known to do. They say "no one can eat just one", but lately I have been able to (as long as it's not something that causes awful cravings, and I've avoided cheating on those things, one of which being the things that they made up that ad slogan for...was it potato chips?).
It has felt like I wasn't losing weight fast enough, some days and weeks the scales didn't seem to budge. There are plenty of argument for not weighing every day, but I have been because it helps me track myself better and assess any damage from cheating or just plain overeating. I've also been journaling my foods. At first this was just with a digital voice recorder, but then I won an iPod touch a a raffle and have been trying a free program on it called LoseIt! It's easy to enter in my foods as I go, and my weight each day, with that. Some of my foods are not in their lists so I just pick the closest thing I can find calorie-wise.
It keeps track of the calories through the day and I can also check out my nutrient levels. It recommended 1700 calories a day, but I upped that to 1900, and on days when I enter in lots of exercise, it allows for more, so I've only been over the limit once in the last week...and I realized the "cheat" that took me over the limit wasn't worth it. I've also realized that you can really fill up on fruits and vegetables without coming anywhere near the calorie limit. Cheating on some empty calories just wrecks it, and it's so not worth it.
Anyway, that's where it stands right now. Considering how stressful this month has been, I'm proud as a peacock to have lost 9 pounds despite being under much more pressure than usual. Others in my house have been sick, and I was a little sick myself, but that didn't derail me, which is a unique thing for me. In the past I tended to crave those things that did damage when I most needed the beneficial foods, but this month I have made much better choices and upped the beneficials instead of the toxins.
I love studying other religions and looking for similarities and new perspectives. I often don't even make enough time to study my own, much less others (other than History Channel specials) but there's one chapter in LDS scripture that has always resonated with me, and recently I've begun to think of it in both spiritual terms and temporal terms, as I've been looking at my own issues with cheating on the diet and not always taking care of body as I should. The body houses the spirit, and is equally important to care for...if the body is not healthy and the mind is not clear, then the spirit is held back from progressing and serving others.
Here are the lines that stick with me:
Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. 2 Nephi 4:28-29
I love the positive tones in this, and find it very motivating. I wonder how I can adapt it to a postie on my refrigerator: "Awake, my soul! No longer droop in toxins. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for foods that sap my energy. Do not stress out if I fail. Do not slacken my strength just because it's been a hard day"
Huh, I may just keep the original on my fridge, it's much more poetic.
By the way, I loved Dr. D's Blog today, Each Day Anew...could have written it for me.
Back to blog business:
So does six pounds lost count if I just gained them last week? Sure, it's better than gaining them last week and not ever losing them. I never wanna see those pounds ever again! My morning blood sugar is now right where it should be, 20 points down from where it never should have been. That bs, like the 6 pounds, was also a very new development, and the two together scared me straight. I don't have prediabetes, and I want to keep it that way. Always better to worry today than tomorrow!
Yesterday at Taekwondo I found out that the new self-defense curriculum requires me to do breakfalls for testing, and since I'm a blue-green belt, that means doing them from standing. I also need to do a dive-roll, and was it a running dive-roll? I've never been a gymnast at all, never even could do a cartwheel, so this will be interesting. No big thick mat or anything. Yet another impetus to lose all the extra weight I can! It won't be long before I have to start really jumping for some kicks, so I need to get light and strong.
I tried Yoga for the first time in a long time today, and it was my first real yoga class, the others were Power Yoga at the gym. I found this a much more awesome experience which made drops of sweat roll off me and will make me very sore I'm sure. The challenge there will be backbends and hand stands...and I'll work on that. Yet another impetus to get lighter and stronger.
Explorers should exercise 4-5 times a week, and I've been consistently only doing two, that is taekwondo. On belt jump camp week I did three hours a day for 5 days, not as intense as a regular class since it was all curriculum, still, enough to teach me that I can do a lot more than I've been doing. I'd like to exercise to some degree every day, maybe less intense on a couple of those days. I've found that really makes a difference for my morning blood sugar reading.
I have a plan, and a SWAMI, and I'm ready to go all the way this time...no more yo-yo-ing before I even get near my goal, no more yo-yo ever.
My genotype SWAMI held no surprises. I'll have to give up the mozzarella and the whey protein powder (It knew that without me even having to tell it so). In exchange, chicken eggs are now neutral, so I'll enjoy them occasionally. Also neutral are so many of my old O-nonsecretor standbyes: tomatoes, peppers, sesame seeds and sesame oil, umeboshi plum vinegar, nutritional yeast, flax seeds. I've gotten a good introduction to superfoods by giving up all those neutrals, but I will enjoy a little flexibility. I have just three diamond superfood fruits: acai, prickly pear and pomegranate. I happen to love all three and can usually find some form or another of all of them (well, just juice when it comes to acai). Basically it's pointing me back to the O-non diet, which is no surprise since I did fantastic on it, but adding a plethora of explorer superfoods...so many fruits and vegetables, so little time! I get to keep some sweet juices, like apple and grape juice, but I use them sparingly (except on explorer cleanse day with apple juice).
My new health habit is to eat nothing after dinner, and don't eat dinner after a certain hour. I've been doing really well on eating those fruit and veggie superfoods, as those are top priority. If I get the munchies after dinner, all I'm allowed is unsweetened or glycerine sweetened herbal tea or diluted and unsweetened juice (but not apple or grape, too sweet for that hour). Those late hours have been my downfall, they're when stress gets to me and I get cravings for crazy avoids I'd never be tempted by otherwise.
My newest thing (aside from platefuls of veggies), has been prickly pear lemonade. The whole thing is edible once you peel it, but the seeds are too hard to ever chew on. I've eaten it before, but found the fiber effect too strong, so for now I juice it. I could put it in the juicer, but I've been just running it through the blendtec and straining out the pulp and what's left of the seeds. Add some lemon juice and vegetable glycerine, sparkling or plain water, and you have a lovely bright pink lemonade. There's a somewhat compliant bottled version, but if you make your own then you can determine how sweet, sour, or bubbly you want.
I've also been exercising at least every other day, sometimes more than once in the day. Our taekwondo instructor has been subjecting us to this intense self-defense floor routine that really works all your core in just 20 minutes or so. I was so sore that I could have died after the first round, so I've been doing it as homework, partly so I don't get that sore next time, and also because I've never done a more efficient workout as far as heart rate and muscle building go. I didn't realize how weak some of my lower back and quad muscles were, there's a certain way of getting up from off the ground that I literally could not do right (I had to use an extra hand and push myself up). I'm happy to say that I can now do it and am getting faster. Nothing makes you feel as old as when you can't get up off the ground! I want to jump up like a young thing, so it's time to turn back the clock with that one.
I've been keeping track of my food with a digital voice recorder, as well as weight and fasting glucose level. I've brought down the weight by 3-4 pounds in just a few days, and the glucose level by nine points. Of course, the numbers they were 5 days ago were enough to scare me straight, so we're talking starting from square one here.