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Stress is absolutely my downfall.  When i am overstressed, i get overtired. My body feels the dis-ease and wants to curl up under the blankets rather than workout.  The cravings for junk increase, and occasionally win out. For the last few weeks i haven’t been able to shake the nausea and wonky stomach. (If you prescribe to the philosophy of astrosigns, Ayurveda, or Chinese medicine, due to my birthday and/or disposition, i’m more prone to stomach issues during stressful moments.) It was a combination of things – taxes, money, work, life in general. I was so under the weather that i craved junk, but i also made some Matzo Ball Soup to help soothe the emotions and the tummy.

Now that taxes are done and over with, i did feel a bit better. The other stuff is still there, but i have to be more proactive in pulling myself out of the funk.  Workouts usually do help, but it’s making that first step that is always the hardest especially when you are on your own for most of the time. I was working out with Michaela, but our schedules have been off these last few weeks, and i’ll be honest, i’m kinda tired of gym workouts. With the weather getting nicer, i’m looking forward to going on hikes. I hope that can happen.

Food has been an issue because of money. It’s expensive to eat clean. Cheap products are filled with fillers that cost next to nothing. This weekend (pay week), i have to sit down and figure out what do i want to eat this week.  I need to plan, because i really do want to incorporate Raw eating into a clean diet. But over planning overwhelms me so i have to find a balance.

Balance. What a word. Just writing it reminds me of what i need to do with life in general, not just food. There is an aboslute disconnect going on with my mind and body these last few months. I’ve packed on the pounds when i started to lose my yoga practice. I teach, but my personal practice has fallen, and i feel it even more now.  Money and time have been the biggest issue in rediscovering my practice.  I do hope that i can work on this before summer.

There is another part of my life that has been way out of balance. All i have done for the last five years has been work. I work seven days a week, no vacations. Fortunately, i am someone who loves my job. It is a dream to do it and get paid for it. Unfortunately, in taking such a passion in my life and turning it into business…i don’t have another outlet. While watching a Korean drama, Boys Before Flowers, i did discover a new passion to include in my life. Art has always been a part of me. I have painted, i love photography, and when i came back to university for my second try, i really liked pottery. In Boys Before Flowers, one of the main characters was a potter. Just seeing the beautiful craftsmanship of the artwork shown in the drama,  made me miss having my hands on clay creating something. I was hoping to take a pottery class at the end of April, but money got in the way. I still plan on doing it, just not at this moment.

Balance, i need to find it in eating, in life, in work and in play.

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Emotional eating could have consumed me today. I came so close to going to the mall and picking up Panda Express. I came so close to going to Stop N Shop to get a bunch of salt, sugar, crunchiness snack foods and chocolate to binge on. It took all of my will power to just keep driving.

Instead i took those emotions and cleaned. Throwing away stuff, shredding papers, and vaccuming replaced what could have been a binge. It wasn’t as satisfying as a strawberry cupcake could have been, but it kept me from drowning myself in food.

i’ve been eating crap for the last week or so. yeah, i thought i was coming out of my funk.

in a way it’s been good because i can completely feel the difference in my energy and how my digestive system feels when i was eating mostly clean food.  crappy food (prepackaged, sugar, etc), forgetting to eat, and lack of water has made me feel sloth like, my digestive system feels clog (sorry for the TMI but it had to be said) and i just feel heavy.

eating is going to be the hardest challenge for me on this journey. i know alot about food, i enjoy the garden and veggies…but i’m also weak when it comes to my trigger foods. since i live with others i am always surrounded by temptation. i figure i need to find goals and challenge myself.

cooking isn’t a hardship for me. for the upcoming week (monday March 30th to sunday April 5th) i am challenging myself to stay away from the junk. no free days, just a week of clean eating to cleanse out my body.

VEGGIE OF THE DAY

in the middle of the junk i’ve been eating, i will note that tonight i did have some yummy roasted asparagus. i purchased a bunch less than a week ago and never got around to making it. today i grabbed the thin spears (right now they are in season) drizzled them with olive oil, garlic, pepper and sea salt. unfortunately we didn’t have any lemon. but that is okay. i popped them in the oven for a few minutes. oh my goodness, they were so tender. it would have been awesome with a nice lemon garlic piece of  baked salmon.  asparagus is one veggie i wish i could have in my garden, but there isn’t enough room for it in my tiny plot. i swoon at the thought of being able to go out and cut the tender baby spears and cook them within minutes of harvesting. how i cooked it was so simple and it tasted amazing. even my sister and nephew, both picky eaters whom have the habit of smelling their food before they eat it,  had a bite.

HAIR

on another fierce note, cause ya know it isn’t just about losing weight to being fierce……my hair. in May of 2006 i rejected the use of any chemical hair straighteners/relaxers and went natural.  i never cut my hair but continued to trim it as it grew, cutting out the old relaxed hair. my hair rarely grew past my shoulders while relaxed and was overly thin.  my hair at that point was so broken and damaged that the sides and nape were less than an inch long. going natural was the best choice for me.  my hair got healthier, i knew how to better take care of it, it fit my style and personality (think big curly hair), and it grew. due to it being curly it was difficult to really see how long my hair was getting since there is shrinkage. you can tell it was growing, but you couldn’t tell how much.

i had to detangle my hair today, so i had my sister use heat (for the first time in 3 years) on my hair and straighten it with the blow dryer and flat iron. lets say she wasn’t pleased because it was so thick and threatened that i better keep it straight for at least a week. (which will be difficult to do because we are having rain storms right now, and water takes my hair back to the curl). we were both surprised at the results. my hair, my natural hair straightened, is past my shoulders. i know this doesn’t seem like a big deal to some who have long flowing swingin hair which grows like a weed. but it’s a huge deal with me. i haven’t had hair past my shoulders since i was under the age of 10 in the single digits because of damage. (i should say hair that was my own and not a weave or extentions).  it makes me happy.

i thought it may be about shoulder length, i wasn’t expecting it to be past the shoulders.  my next hair goal is arm pit length straightened which would most likely be full shoulder length with my natural curly hair. i think this may be possible by the end of the year, especially if i cut out much of  the junk in my diet. (you are what you eat!)  my big goal would be mid back length naturally curly…i can wait a few years for that to happen. i’m patient.

there will be a post coming up next all about food talking about clean eating and incorporating the raw food diet as my next challenge.

clean eating  is something that can be so easy for me since i love to garden, i adore veggies, and cooking is a wonderful activity. it’s easier to reach for a pre packaged food item. for me it’s easier to reach for a package of sweet cookies or salty chips to satisfy a craving when clean foods aren’t readily available. shifting from prepackaged foods to clean foods isn’t hard, it’s just a little expensive at times when you are on a budget.

paying attention to the food i eat is important. for the past few weeks i’ve made a stronger effort in watching what i eat and when i eat. even after cutting back on the sweets, i was still feeling really tired. my body wanted to nap more than workout. a bigger problem was that even with working out i felt like i was starving. i would eat, and eat all these clean foods, but ten minutes later i would feel like i never had one single bite of food. after speaking with Stephanie, the dietitian, she asked if i ate breakfast.

the majority of my yoga classes that i teach are in the early morning hours. it’s great because i am a morning person. i’ve never really was a breakfast eater. due to some classes being at 6am, meaning i have to leave the house before 5:30am and sometimes earlier depending on the weather forecast, i don’t eat and i was usually okay with it.  i remember in third grade my mom would have to make pancakes in the shape of animals or letters to get me to eat before school. or she would wake up and make me hamburgers (during the time i actually ate red meat)  for breakfast. i’ve always been unconventional.

my answer to Stephanie was no, not usually. she gave me some great ideas of what to eat. with the suggestion to add breakfast, i started to pay closer attention to what i ate that week. i purchased greek yogurt, fresh berries, honey, oranges, bananas, and wheat flour & flax seed tortillas. Stephanie also suggested to eat more often to help with metabolism. in the same way that eating breakfast helps fire up the metabolism, eating frequently helps in keeping that internal fire going. adding breakfast and never really letting myself get hungry by keeping good snacks handy. to help with my feeling of starvation she said to add fat to my diet since i was eating primarily low fat, low calorie foods. it’s amazing what a little peanut butter or almond butter can do for you.

the saying “you are what you eat,” holds so much truth to it.  once i started to eat 75% clean, eat more often and adding breakfast to my diet i noticed changes.  my mood swings leveled off, my energy levels went up, my workouts felt amazing, and i no longer felt like i was starving. i stayed on the path for a good two or three weeks. it wasn’t until this week when i started to stray with forgetting to eat, not purchasing the good foods going back to prepackaged. i totally felt the difference.  my body felt sloth like again, choosing to want to nap rather than workout.

eventually i need to make a food diary so Stephanie can really help me figure out the best food path to help me on my goal to lose weight. my fear of the food diary is the obsessiveness i get sometimes. i know it would be temporary and really assist in me shedding the fat off my body. my fear stems in the same reason why i can’t weigh myself and know the numbers. i get too competitive. it’s great when i am on the elliptical and working on increasing distance and shaving time. a food diary for me can be a guilt magnet which can force me to backslid into old binge habits. i dont’ want to got there. i noticed how easy it was for me to slag off for a week when i hopped onto a scale and saw the number. my brain switched off and i had a pity party. if it wasn’t for the supportive people around me, checking in with me, i don’t know if i would have pulled myself out of it so quickly to get back on track.

this is a lifestyle change. it’s a mental change in the way i think about my relationship with food, emotion, body image and exercise. it won’t happen overnight. i just have to keep being aware, keep moving, keep eating clean and keep eating breakfast.

I refuse to feel guilty about it. i refuse to feel guilty about it. i refuse to feel guilty about it…..maybe if i say it enough i won’t feel guilty.

Today was a two cupcake day, and the day isn’t done. I’m struggling with a personal issue, and been struggling with making a very difficult decision. The last 24 hours it has been even more pushed to the forefront. Since this morning, i admit to eating two red velvet with cream cheese cupcakes. The good news is that it wasn’t back to back.

Emotional eating sucks. I just felt like i needed that comfort in the soft spongey texture of the cake and the smooth rich creaminess of the frosting. Did it make me feel better? No. I still feel moody and in a rather funky place. Ya know what it is, i feel lost and in that cupcake i found a place i’m familiar with. Although that cupcake didn’t last long, it was a safe place to pour myself into.

I KNOW i shouldn’t feel guilty….but i kinda sorta do at this moment. I had a whole conversation with Brittney about this. I KNOW i need to move on, and the next meal is a new chance, a new moment. I KNOW i shouldn’t dwell and be proud that i hit the ellipitical before yoga class this morning. I am proud i got moving (i was grooving along with my IPod and lovin it).

So accountablity, which is part of what this blog is about. I put my two cupcake morning out there. I put my ellipitical run out there. I am dealing with the emotional reasonings behind the two cupcakes and hopefully I will have it resolved soon.

And absolutely no guilt allowed.

My ass hurts. Even though i used the gel seat for spin…my butt was still in a slight discomfort today. I was hoping to take Julia’s spin class after my yoga class today, but she suggested i wait. In time i am hoping to do at least three spin classes a week as I grow stronger. In the mean time i need to do something.

The idea of moving the body everyday in someway has been popping up on various fitness sites i check in on.  It doesn’t mean i would workout every single day, as i know the body does need rest, but a walk would count. Honestly, this may be the best way for me to go. If i tend to miss a day at the gym because i am suppose to rest, it seriously screws me up because i want to move and play when i get into the habit.

Starting to tomorrow i will do some sort of movement outside of my teaching classes. No routine, no set schedule, just moving and having fun. And if i miss a day, i have to start at Day 1 again. For someone like me, who can get obessive when it comes to numbers  this could be a good thing. To keep me going will be small rewards like ITune cards. (Music to infuse my workouts). For every 15 days i get $15 in ITunes that will not be work related music.

To start in small steps..my goal this week is to move every single day this week. Monday to Sunday.

Food goal is to stay on track.

Cheat day doesn’t seem right. A day of freedom maybe? A day where I’m not worried about what i put into my body. No worries of calories, no worries of what or how much to eat. Just a day to relax and let it go. Calling it a cheat day doesn’t add the positive spin i am trying to put on this journey. Freedom day doesn’t sound right either. Either way i am allowing myself one of those each week, although i am finding that i really don’t need it so much.

The first week wasn’t as hard as it could have been. I made my shopping list, and on that first Friday i cooked my meals for the week, and froze a lot for the future. That week my mom made yummy southern/soulfood style banana pudding, a weakness of mine. It’s not often that banana pudding is made, so it is a rare treat. I had to have some, even though it wasn’t my free day.  I did feel some conflicting feelings over this, including a smattering of guilt. If i had denied myself, the outcome would have been worse.

I wasn’t a hog and eating mounds of it, but i ate enough.  I went back later that evening, the next day and the day after that. A weakness. At one point i had to put aside the guilt, it was hard. I had to accept that i did eat but that i didn’t gorge, i did keep portion size and my food intake for the week was all clean eating (turkey meatloaf, cauliflower smash, veggies, brown rice, shrimp, etc).  The biggest win was and has been i haven’t had any type of soda since i started this journey.

The elimination of soda from my foods has been a huge win. The cans that would fill the recycle bin was like a small mountain.  Honestly, i would drink it even though i thought it tasted like horrible battery acid or something.  The sweetness would keep me hooked, like a drug. I would drink so much soda that i would wake up with a dehydrated hang over (major headaches and feeling really sugglish). If i knew i was drinking too much, i would make sure to have a bottle or two of water to counteract the dehyration.  Since this journey i haven’t had a drop of soda. I have been tempted, but i just look in the fridge and think about that taste which i really do not like, and i pass.

I do have a serious sugar addiction. this past week or two i have had less than a tablespoon of white sugar. i have substituted it with honey or agave nectar to lightly sweeten fruit or oatmeal.  The craving for cakes or pies haven’t happened yet. I’m looking different cookbooks so i can keep it clean.

I’ve had amazing support on this journey and it’s only the start. Brittney loaned me some of her Clean Eating and Nutrition magazines and cookbooks. I’ve been pouring over those, figuring out my menus.  I’ve stocked the fridge with grapes, bananas, peaches and sliced apples so i have no excuse. I can easily grab that for a quick snack between meals or to hold off hunger while i am waiting for the microwave to finish heating up my frozen lunch or dinner.

Today’s cooking marathon included turkey chili (four types of beans, eggplant, broccoli, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and onions), curried butternut squash soup (butternut, sweet potato, carrots, and no cream), and mashed cauliflower with garlic.  Most of it will be popped into the freezer for future consumption.

to lose weight the math is simple…calories in versus calories out.

Calories In:

there are tons of programs out there which have worked for many people – weight watchers, jenny craig, the zone, atkins, south beach, etc.  cut the carbs, cut the fat, cut the (fill in the blank). i have to take a holistic approach to my journey. when things are too restrictive with food, i end up on a binge doing more harm. it’s that control issue.

as i have gotten further in my wellness journey with teaching yoga and opening my own massage therapy practice, i’ve increased my interest in nutrition.  at somepoint i would love to attend a particular nutritional program offered in NYC.  this is the perfect time to explore that aspect of health using this experience as a foundation.  after reviewing numerous ways to eat, clean eating and intutitive eating are the two that stand out and connect with me.  if you know me in real life, i am a gardner and a cook. i know the value of a tomato off of the vine, or not being afraid to try a new vegetable. there is a real passion  and love for real fresh foods.  i fell into a rut of processed foods because of the ease due to my crazy schedule. it’s time go back to real foods and making my own meals. for convience, i will keep a stack of prepared meals that i’ve cooked in the freezer for a quick defrost and microwave when i am in a pinch.

i am aiming for 85% -90% clean eating. there will be things i need to use processed (canned beans, tomato paste, frozen veggies in some cases, etc). this is a lifestyle change, not a diet. so for now i am going to eat clean at least 6 days a week.  i don’t want to call it a cheat day. it’s more like a free day where IF i want something that is not clean, there is no guilt and no binge. Friday will be my day.

i’ll get into the principles of clean eating and intutive eating for another post.  there are many books and even magazines out there on the subject these days.  i can be very type A personality at times, so i like to prepare and plan.  since i put my foot down that i was going to finally lose weight, i’ve been pouring over my cookbooks and magazines. friday i hit the markets, picked over what was left in the garden, and hunkered down cooking up a storm.  i’m not going to stay to the exact menu, but i have choices. and if i want to make something else that is in the clean eating principle i will, and freeze some for a later date.

split between the freezer and the fridge are:

soups: butternut squash, lentil and barley stew, and shrimp with veggies broth

proteins: turkey meat loaf, and grilled or boiled shrimp

veggies: mashed cauliflower, and various frozen veggies

at this point i am not paying attention to calories.  I am checking out the calories, and with respect choosing recipes that aren’t insane with them.  i have switched refined sugar in my tea or on my oatmeal to honey or agave nectar.

down the road i would love to try a day with just raw food. right now i’m not ready for that big of a change. there is plenty of time for that because this is a lifestyle change not a diet. if i need to tweek anything i will, i have to listen to my body and see what happens.

Live. Love. Laugh.