So, today I planned out my meals. And then followed the plan.

I know!

This new habit makes a lot of sense to me — it’s not like I didn’t know it, just wasn’t pushed into doing it — and so I’m going to do my best.  

Tomorrow’s menu:

  • Steel cut oats with raisins for breakfast
  • Cottage cheese for my mid-morning snack
  • Chicken, broccoli, onions and brown rice leftovers for lunch
  • Cucumbers and a red pepper for my afternoon snack
  • Dinner?  Not a clue…
The dinner part is always a bit of a problem.  I have a TON of the chicken dish leftover, but I won’t want it twice in one day.  I could have my fish Biaggi leftovers for dinner, but I’m pretty sure that the squeazy feeling I have about reheating fish isn’t going to change before tomorrow night (there’s just something about reheated fish that seems a little wrong).  So that leaves me with…
  • Quinoa chips and guacamole
  • Corn turkey dog
  • Steal my roommate’s leftover Portillo’s chicken chopped salad
  • Stop at Chipotle
  • Go hungry
I probably need to be a little more creative, eh?  Tomorrow is my late work day, so I won’t be home until after 6:30pm, and by that time all I want to do is sit down.

I’ll need to put my thinking cap on between now and 24 hours from now… there’s got to be something that I can whip up.  Right?

It’s like LE was reading my mind:  the new habit for the next two weeks is to start planning out meals to increase your chances of success.  

Funny, I was just saying that (like, in my post yesterday)!  

I always have a fuzzy idea of what I’m going to be eating, but never really plan it out and then I get all lazy and don’t cook when I fuzzily think I’m supposed to. The idea is that by thinking ahead and making sure the food I need is available, and doing as much prep work as possible that I’ll be less tempted to make bad decisions on a whim.  That makes is sound simple, doesn’t it?

At work this is much easier because there’s no going out for lunch — not only do I only get 30 minutes, but getting on/off the mill site where my office is would take about 10 of those minutes, and then outside the mill is … lovely Gary, IN, a place that I don’t really want to be wandering around in.  So – it’s all eat-in.  I bring my breakfast, morning snack (if needed), lunch and afternoon snack.  After that, though, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. 

I always have stuff in the house to make, but I am SO DAMN LAZY.  If it takes more than 3 minutes to put together, I would rather go hungry (or snack on other things).  I will say that having my roommate back around again is good for me, though — with someone else to eat with, I’m more likely to throw something together.

So, like tonight:  I could have made chicken and veggies (it’s all waiting for me in the refrigerator), but instead I’m getting a chicken chopped salad (hold the dressing, please!) from Portillo’s. Is this dinner completely unhealthy?  No. But would I be better eating something I made myself?  Um, yea, probably. 

My next step:  take an inventory of my refrigerator, get a list of the foods that I bought over the weekend, and then plan out when I’m going to eat them. Write it down. Post it somewhere I have to look at it constantly. Oh, and then follow through. I guess that part’s a little important, eh?

Three months in!  I’m not even sure how that happened.

Dinner last night was pretty damn awesome — food, drink and company included.  I ate too much, but not nearly as much as I usually do.  And with only 1.5 glasses of wine, I even was still capable of calculating the tip in my head by the end of the meal.  Will wonders ever cease?

Biaggi’s wonderful bruschetta — one of the appetizers
that we always seem to order

Good night out with great friends and now it’s really time to buckle down again.  I need to start getting really serious about overhauling the food — I’m not integrating the food lessons nearly as well as I should to be successful.  And it’s all just a matter of planning and prepping.  So that’ll be my focus in the upcoming weeks.  And plus — I have just two short weeks until doing the second round of skinfold body fat testing and I’d like to know that I did as much as I could do make that a good experience.

And with that, my week:

Another pretty good week.  It’s been difficult staying off the scale, but it’s done me a lot of good, I think — I live in fear of a bad weigh-in so I’m more apt to make better decisions.  My check-in went pretty well: while the scale only budged a little bit, my measurements dropped by a little over 2.5″, which kind of blows me away.  I’m definitely starting to see some muscle definition coming back under the fat layers, and frankly, that’s one of my main goals.

Still on my 100% completion streak!  And holy CRAP am I sore today!  My upper back and shoulders are absolutely yelling at me (in a (mostly) good way, of course).  The workouts have been kicking my butt, but i like that.  The running intervals are going well, too — I’m still incredibly slow, but the pace is getting better and that’s all I need to see.  I’ve been adding in a slow, longer run, too, just to get my body moving.

This is where I’m falling down on the job a little — I can’t say that I’ve made any huge changes in terms of making smarter carb choices.  Sure, I make better choices here and there when it’s easy, but I haven’t made a concerted effort to really change my eating habits.  I need to focus on making all the food habits — lean protein, vegetables, smarter carb choices — something that guides my meal planning throughout the week.  Speaking of which, I really need to start meal planning for my week.  🙂

Habit Log:
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day

Weeks 11-12: Make smart carb choices

Shh… don’t tell anyone, but I think I finally have some guns in the house:

Okay, maybe not “guns” but at least a small pistol, no?

Yes, I think strength training is finally starting to show some visible progress.  I know that my legs are gaining back definition that had been hidden under layers of cellulite (though I worry that the remaining cellulite will never go away — I am getting old, you know!) and that makes me even happier.  I love muscle definition.

Phase 3 of the strength workouts have certainly been kicking my butt — I think there was a huge leap between Phase 2 and 3, to be honest.  From “I can totally do this” to “I (gasp) think (gasp) this (gasp) is (gasp) insane (gasp gasp gasp)!”.  But it’s good — I find it hard to push myself on my own to move into discomfort during strength workouts, so this shove is just what I needed.

On the agenda for tonight?  Annual birthday dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant.  We always do it up right — appetizers, bottle(s) of wine, main course, desserts — and by the end, I’m usually so full that I feel absolutely awful. So tonight my goal is to enjoy everything, not worry about food choices, but also stop myself from gorging. Try to keep in the forefront of my mind that the dinner becomes far less enjoyable the more I eat and drink.  Sounds easy enough, right?

It’s Friday and I’m tired.  For most of the week, I’ve been battling a headache — it comes and goes, but never really goes away — and that just sucks the life right out of me.  It’s a bad cycle of getting the headache, taking meds, feeling better, feeling worse and then waiting to be able to take meds again.

The week wasn’t all bad, though; on Wednesday I got the chance to reconnect with one of my dearest friends, which was quite awesome.  And we even went out for sushi — does it get better than that?

But other than that highlight, it was mostly a blah Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  I did a great job at still working out on Monday and Tuesday, but things fell off after that. Thursday was a lost day because I had to work late (I was zonked from the migraine medication anyway) and then today I got a workout in, but not as high quality as I would have liked.  I’m a workout behind for the week, but I’ll make that up tomorrow (assuming that my head lets me).

I know I’m whining.

I’m actually feeling a little bit better right now — the meds have kicked in — but am looking forward to an early bedtime and a good night’s sleep (exciting life I lead, I know!). Plus, I have fun plans for tomorrow night that I need to be in tip-top shape for — annual birthday(s) celebration with friends (which will present some Lean Eating challenges, I’m sure! I’ll need a strategy going into it…) — which I’m looking forward to just as much as going to bed early tonight.  Maybe even a touch more.  🙂

I know this might come as a surprise to all (three? four??) of my readers, but Lean Eating isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and skittles (actually, no skittles at all).  There are parts of it that I’ve struggled with, for sure, and I’m still kind of feeling my way around how to get it done.

As I alluded to in my last post, I’ve been faring better with the mental habits than the physical habits.  Changing what I shovel into my mouth cuts surprisingly close to the bone — who knew that I could be attached to certain foods?  Or feel such resistance when I was told to clear them out of my house?

And this translates into me only haphazardly following the three big food-related habits that I’ve been given:  lean protein at every meal, 5 servings of vegetables a day and making smart carb choices.  Remember all those happy green check marks that I work so hard to get?  Well, my compliance rate is certainly not at 100% anymore (and I haven’t yet missed a workout, so you do the math) and there’s a part of me that thinks, “Well, that’s okay.  How much is it going to hurt if I don’t follow the food rules to the letter?”

Some of it is that the habits are hard to follow all the time.  They require planning and at times making decisions that are incredibly inconvenient and my laziness will get in the way.  Some of it is that I feel like there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to be 100% compliant.  Perhaps it goes back to something I talked about quite awhile ago — the idea that by not following things 100%, I’ll have something to blame if this doesn’t work out the way that I want it to.

I’ve just recently been starting to see progress, but i wonder how much more progress I could be making if I were doing things the right way and really trying to follow the plan as closely as possible?

It gets complicated because I’ve always believed that what you eat isn’t nearly as important as how much you eat — calories in/calories out being the main equation to monitor for weight loss.  And shifting my eating habits (more than just eating less and eating generally healthy, whole food) and having huge successes would mean that what I’ve believed for a long time maybe doesn’t hold water like I thought it did.  Have I been wrong all these years?

I’m rambling, I know.  It’s been a great day, but I’m a little tired, and these are things that have been on my mind — and probably need more fleshing out than what I’ve done here today.  So I’ll leave y’all with those thoughts for now.  Good night, sleep well and see y’all tomorrow.

I’m almost 25% of the way through the Lean Eating program, and there’s been a lot of information thrown at me. Some of it has stuck, some perhaps notsomuch.

But – the stuff that’s sticking is making a difference.  Although I really thought that the “what” habits would be easier (basically, what I should be eating), I’m finding that it’s the “how” habits that have made it into my regular repertoire. 

Like, I do a much better job at checking in with myself before eating:  am I actually hungry?  Or just bored? Emotional?  I don’t think I can overstate how helpful this has been. I mean, of course I ignore myself sometimes, but it has otherwise consistently kept me from a lot of mindless eating.  It doesn’t take long or anything special, just an awareness that I oftentimes use food as something other than just to feed hunger. I’ve found that during work when I’m not too busy and once I’m home in the evening are the two big times this really comes into play.  The work vending machine cries in loneliness every once in awhile, but it’s definitely played into the progress that I’ve been making.

Awesome sushi and my
sushi buddy’s thumbs up

And score another for mindfulness:  I also do a much better job at noticing when I’m getting full and stopping shoving food into my mouth.  It’s still hard to not clean my plate, but I kind of work around this by divvying out smaller portions, making a deal with myself that I’m allowed to go get seconds if I’m still hungry. Going out to dinner sometimes presents problems, though, because I find that I pay less attention to what I’m doing.  Yes, I’m eating slowly, but sometimes I bypass the point of full before even really realizing it.  My special weakness?  Sushi!  I inhale it … and because it’s a shared dish, I hate to be the one not holding up my side of the bargain (and it’s not like sushi is something I want to take home in a doggy bag).

I know I still have a long way ahead of me, but I feel like these two habits can really change my life.  If I only eat when I’m hungry, and don’t overstuff myself, I should be golden, right?  I need the other habits to up the ante, but figure these habits, consistently practiced, should get me where I’m going (though slowly).

Just a short note today…

I’m proud of myself.  I got home from work today feeling lazy and tired — a typical Monday.  And instead of getting right out to run, I took what used to be the path of no return:  I sat down on the couch and started watching TV.  

I watched a little of the Ellen show, then an episode of Inkmaster (I’m not sure why I’m so hooked on this show!) and started an episode of The Voice when I decided that I ought to make the turkey tenderloin that I had planned to make (usually it’s not just training that goes by the wayside once I get sucked into the couch, it’s any type of cooking dinner as well).  

And so I got the turkey ready (new recipe!) and in the oven.  And then I thought, “Well, I have about 80 minutes.  I should get my run in.”  

And I did.

I ran.  When I didn’t want to.  And it was good.  Gorgeous outside — nice and cool and sunny — and I’m so glad that I got out there.

Whodda thunk it?

I’m feeling pretty good as week 11 wraps up.  I’ve managed — with the help of my LE coach — to talk myself off the “NO CARBS EVER AGAIN!” ledge back into the real world where carbs not only exist, but I get to eat them. 

Clarke and his favorite human

In other news, my roommate is officially back living at my house.  It’s been nice having her around — she’s definitely Clarke’s very favorite person in the whole world so he sleeps in her bed instead of mine (so I sleep MUCH better!) — and she’s been really good about keeping her less-than-healthy food in places where I don’t see it.  She’s one of those kinds of people who can eat whatever she wants and still stays in awesome shape.  I’m waiting for the day when she gets old and it all catches up with her … I’ll enjoy laughing at her. Yea, that’s the kind of friend I am. 

And onto my Cliff Note’s version of week 11:

The scale is starting to be a little more kind to me — I think not weighing myself at all during the week is paying off because it forces me to keep making good, healthy decisions because I can’t take the chance at ruining what might be only small gains.  Measurement-wise, things mostly stayed the same, but I’m not worried about that.  That’ll follow soon enough.  What I really can’t wait for?  When my Getting-Fat jeans are once again comfortable to wear.  Getting there…

Still rockin’ the workouts.  I don’t always like making time for it, but I feel so damn good after finishing something up. I’ve said this before, but I had forgotten how empowering exercise can be.  With the new Phase 3 workouts, I find myself wishing that I had side planks to do … they would be much easier than the Stability Ball Plank Roll Outs that are now a part of the routine.  OUCH.  Just saying (I know the video doesn’t make it look difficult, but try it… you’ll see it my way).  Aside from that, I’m running 3 times a week or so (two are shorter, faster interval runs and one is a longer, very slow slog just to get myself used to more mileage) and enjoying it as well.


So – the whole “make smart carb choices” habit.  I freaked out a little bit at the outset of this, but have calmed down a bunch since then. As I was told, no carbs are bad or good, just better or worse.  And it’s a matter of looking at what I’m currently eating and trying to make things a little better, one small step at a time.  I’ve also learned over the course of this week that I’m someone who needs carbs.  When I eat only lean protein and vegetables (even generous portions of those), I’m hungry about 90 minutes later, which isn’t good.  It’s all a learning process, one big experiment to find out how my body works best.

Habit Log:
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day

Week 11:  Make smart carb choices

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been someone who saves the best for last.  In terms of food, this is a pretty hard-core habit for me — whatever part of a meal I think is most delicious, I’ll put aside so that’ll be the last thing that I eat. It’s eating my vegetables before having the french fries.  Or having dinner before dessert. Makes perfect sense.

Yup – this is my problem

I have no idea how weird this makes me.  Maybe no one out there can relate?  I also can’t say that it’s anything that I’ve actively thought about changing. I mean, why would I?  No reason, right?

Except now I’ve got this “eat to 80%” habit that I’m supposed to be following (since it was introduced, oh, about 1.5 months ago).  And this ends up being a conflict:  if I’m already getting full and know I should stop eating, do you think I’ll put my fork down and back away if the best part of meal is still sitting on my plate? And, of course, it’s not like my saved favorite part that I’m over-eating to finish is the vegetables or lean protein.

And then this plays into another long-standing habit: I could be a competitive plate cleaner, I’m so good at it.  It still seems like such a waste to leave a few bites of food on my plate.  I try to counteract this by making sure my portion size is reasonable, but sometimes I misjudge.  I’m a mess, aren’t I?

I’m not sure why, but I guess I thought that I’d be better at implementing habits and it seems like the way I’m built interferes with what LE is trying to teach me. It’s getting easier — if nothing else, I’m getting much better at recognizing these situations — but I wonder how long it’ll be before this is habit.  I know I’m whining a little bit, but this has seemed more difficult recently, for whatever reason.  

I suppose what I want – and I’ve said this before – is to come along far enough so that the healthy choices become my new ingrained habits.  I don’t want to have to spend the rest of my life having to think every time I want to put food in my mouth.  That just makes my brain hurt, ya know?