Monday, December 22, 2014

Confessions of a Sugarholic

Gosh, I’m dying.  Do I have the shakes? What’s wrong with me?  What do I do?  I swear I have the shakes. Do I turn left or right?  Left or right?  If I turn left, I know what will happen.  If I turn right, I’ll just go home.  Well, if I go today, I won’t go next week I swear.  This will be the last time.  So, I turn my car left instead of going home.
Next week….
Gosh, I’m dying.  Do I have the shakes? What’s wrong with me?  What do I do?  I swear I have the shakes Do I turn left or right?  Left or right?  If I turn left, I know what will happen.  I should just go home.  But, if I do go today, I won’t go next week I swear.  This will be the last time.  So, I turn my car left instead of going home.
And the next week…. And so on.
This is the conversation I’ve been having with myself every time I leave work.  Sometimes I have this conversation on Tuesday.  Sometimes Wednesday.  But it still happens.  Every single week for so long I can’t even remember when I started it.
Sounds like a conversation someone has who is an addict.  And, yes, I happen to be one.  And this addiction is just as powerful, just as inhibiting and deadly as narcotics or alcohol.  For me, my addiction is sugar, and being a diabetic it’s deadly. I can lose my sight, my limbs, my kidneys and my life.  Over sugar.  This is my confession.
It’s been three years since I started blogging my weight loss.  I’ve done some amazing things. I’ve been rewarded and cheered.  I’ve also been disappointed, angry, and full of self-loathing.  I’ve conquered some challenges and gave up on others. I wanted to be at 160 pounds by January 2015, and I got somewhat close in 2013. I got to 210 pounds.  Now, I’m at 294.
What the hell did I do?  Where did I go wrong?  I’m shaking as I write this because I’m so full of emotion. I’m angry.  I’m so disgusted.  How could I let this happen? I promised myself never again, and yet here I am.  Again.  Yes, I know I’m not back at square one, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m pretty damn close.
I feel that I was arrogant.  Maybe it was too easy.  It should have been harder, shouldn’t it?  I mean I lost so much so fast.  I was strutting my stuff, right?  I was.   When I think back to where I made my mistake, it was after my marathon in 2013.  My goal was to finish, and I did.  After that, I was so tired of tracking and weighing my food that I stopped.  I told myself it would take a small break and after I got back from vacation, I’d start up again.  And I never did.
So, here I am at the end of 2014. 80 pounds heavier and 1,000 pounds of regret.  So, in order for me get myself back, I must confess.  
  • Every week for over the last 6-8 months or so, I’ve stopped at candy stores that sell Jelly Bellies by the pound.
  • I buy two pounds of Jelly Bellies…
  • …And proceed to eat them within 24 – 48 hours.  All of them.
  • I’ve spent $400 over 25 trips from 1/1/2014 to today… and that’s only counting those where I used my debit card and didn’t pay cash.  I actually went into my bank statements to find out.  
And what have I to show for it….
80 pounds of sickness.  Back pain.  Numbness in my legs.  Lethargy.  Laziness.  
I feel like I’m going to vomit. 
This is what I’ve been up to in secret, and I know it’s not that much of a secret. If you are close to me, you can see I’m not the same.  I know I’m not the same.  You don’t have to tell me.  I’ve been eating heavily on other things, too, like Hot Tamales when I can’t get my main crush.  It’s cheaper and makes me feel just as good – which is a lie.  It really makes me feel just as bad because it’s sweet when I taste it but bitter after I swallow because I know what I’m doing, yet I can’t seem to stop myself.
So now what?  What do I do? Here are my steps.
  1. Accountability.  I confessed. I can’t it hide anymore.  You all know what I’ve been up to.  I have no one to blame but myself.  I’m sick of it. I don’t want to do this anymore.  It’s exhausting.
  2. Honesty.  Why did I do this?  I am surrounded by people who love and support me.  I’m not lonely anymore. I’m not stressed.  I think it stems from deep rooted feelings inadequate for so long.  I was teased as a child because of my weight along with other things.  It stayed with me for quite a while.  That’s my own hang-up, and I will work on that.  I have the tools and support.
  3. Routine. Routine. Routine.  I was my most successful when I planned what I was going to eat and when.  I will get back to that.  I will track my food. I will track my activity. I will plan accordingly.  When my routine deviates, have a back-up plan.
  4. Know my triggers.  I’m my most vulnerable right when it’s time to leave for work so make sure I know how to overcome them and GO HOME.  Have my evening snack ready to go.  
  5. Use my support system.  That’s when all of you come in.   Hold my feet to the fire.   Kick my ass if you need to.
I feel that this is going to be much more challenging then when I started back in 2012.  Good news is that I feel I’m much more knowledgeable about myself and what I need to do to be successful.  I just want to be healthy. I want to be strong.  I want to make healthy choices.  I also know I can’t escape what I am, who I am, but I can be positive and remain positive.  
Hello.  My name is YahMoorah, and I’m a sugarholic.  It’s been seven days since my last binge.  I've tracked my food every day, exercised five days and drank enough water to make my bladder explode.  Although some of you may feel that craving sugar isn't a real sickness, read up on some interesting articles about how sugar affects brain activity. You may be surprised.  I've experienced shakes and nausea, but I made it through.  I'm taking it one day at a time by keeping busy and blogging.  Yes, I'm back. New blog title.  Different direction.  Until next week my friends.  Thank you for reading.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Finding Nature's Sweetness

Hey everyone!  I'm back for another installment of My Adventures in Transferring to Paleo Eating.  I certainly have new observations to share.  It's kind of fun using myself as a "test subject."

So, how Paleo am I at this point?  I'll say I'm not all the way there yet, and I don't know if I ever will be 100% Paleo.  There is a lot of discussion about certain foods some Paleo eaters say are ok, where others say they aren't.  I'm not going to worry too much on the controversy, and I'm going to focus on what foods make me feel the best and render the best performance in the gym.  What I will say is that I'm most focused on getting rid of grains, beans, seed oils, dairy, alcohol, and sugar. 

I had a really good week.  Food preparation on the weekends takes a lot of time, energy and patience, but it really worked out well, and as the week continued I found that I stopped eating in between meals and ate three meals.  At times, I even found it hard to eat my lunch.  I was surprised at how quickly my appetite diminished as I ate nourishing foods, and even more so, how quickly I became full when eating my meals.

I'm still quite baffled by my appetite changes.  As I sit here blogging, drinking water and noshing on a few dark chocolate banana bites (something to definitely get used to), I wonder why my appetite changed so much, and I'm pretty sure I know why.  The Sweet Potato.

I feel like I need to write a poem on the love I have of the sweet potato.  In years past, I never paid much attention to them.  I ate these lovely delights in pies that my mom made or as yams with a delicious sugary glaze.  I never ate them baked, roasted or as french fries. As a matter of fact, the one time I did have sweet potato fries, I really didn't like them (probably because of the coating on them).  Now, all of a sudden, I can't get enough of them, and I eat a baked sweet potato everyday.  Why?  Because I honestly feel it is nature's true superfood.
When I did my first Whole 30 last year, I found I had a hard time finding items to eat for breakfast besides eggs.  My trainer suggested I eat a sweet potato for breakfast, which I found odd, but I tried it anyway.  I diced some up and roasted them with some ground meat to make turkey hash.  I also baked a few to eat with some ghee (clarified butter), cinnamon and salt.  What I found is that when I ate a baked sweet potato at breakfast combined with a good protein, I didn't eat.  I didn't eat for a very long time.  It kept me so full for so long that I found myself making myself eat lunch just so I could have some fuel for my afternoon workouts, and my workouts were amazing.  So, why did I stop eating them?  I never should have.  They are pure energy and a natural appetite suppressant.  Why?  Well...
  • Sweet potatoes are highly fibrous.  Fiber takes a very long time to digest, and if you combine that with a good protein, which also takes a long time to digest, your body is going to be working overtime to digest that food and transfer it to the nutrients to kick ass all day long. Long digestion = I'm not hungry
  • Sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index, and as a diabetic, that's a bonus for me.  It's a complex carbohydrate so it takes a while to digest, and will not impact blood sugar.  Spikes in blood sugar drive hunger, which is probably why you can feel hungry an hour after eating a pound of pasta. 
I'm sure there are other reasons why sweet potatoes are the bees knee's, but I don't want to bore you to death.  There are many ways to cook them, but I prefer
baking them.  Sure, it can take up to an hour or longer depending on the size, but I could care less. I bake them on the weekends, and keep them in the fridge until I tear into them at breakfast.  Here's why...

Look closely, if you can.  Do you see the clear liquid that's coming out of them?  What is that?  It's natures sweetness! Pure, natural sugar.  When you bake sweet potatoes, you can tell when they are done because your house starts smelling like a candy factory.  The natural sugars bubble out of the potato, and when you let them rest and eat them later, the potato just falls out of the skin.  Add some ghee, cinnamon and salt, and you have the yummiest breakfast treat that will keep you full all morning.  Don't believe me?  I dare you to try it. Eat one with a great protein, and you tell me when you start feeling hungry.  My mom recently did, and she said she didn't get hungry until 2 pm! 

My muscles certainly appreciate them.  I'm still lifting crazy weight and embarrassing people in the gym, which is not my intention, but I am quite flattered by the compliments.  I'm eating to perform. That's why I'm doing this. 

My breakfasts and lunches are prepared for the week.  For lunch this week, I'm trying Avocado Basil Chicken Salad.  It turned out great - very tasty but not really pretty to look at.  I also ate my first paleo snack, dark chocolate covered bananas.  I'm not a chocolate fan so this is a lot for me to handle.  Turns out they are pretty good since the sugar in the banana balances the bitterness of the chocolate, and it's hella bitter (90% cocoa content).  Dark chocolate cocoa level must be 70% or higher for any chocolate desserts.  What's up next? I need to get some raw honey, and maybe I'll make my own Sriracha.  That way I can have spicy mayo!  I'm getting pretty ambitious.  Maybe I'll Get Lucky and find a Paleo jelly belly....  I doubt it! 

Basil Avocado Chicken Salad - all recipes are on my Pinterest Page.

I used 90% Lindt Supreme Dark for these banana bites. They store in the freezer. 
One of my favorite meals - Cracklin' Chicken Thighs and Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. I swear I'm eating mashed potatoes, and I'm not! YUM!

Last, but not least.  Ghee! It's also called clarified butter. It's very expensive in the store, so I bought my own organic butter, and took a stab at removing the milk solid myself.  Turned out beautiful. Very rich in buttery taste. It's a great, shelf stable cooking oil or adding to sweet potatoes and other yummy things. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Forging My Own Path

Well, I broke that New Year's Resolution pretty quick, didn't I?  I said I would try to blog weekly, and I haven't looked at this blog in quite some time.  I'm sorry about that.  Sometimes, I just don't have much to share or talk about.  Rest assured that I haven't stopped doing what I need to do to maintain.  I will say that since January I have been going through quite a bit of self-reflection, and I going to share with you some of my conclusions.

For those of you that have been with me since day one on my journey, you know I had two specific goals in mind.  Let me restate those:
  1. Weigh 160 pounds.
  2. Get off of all of my medications
I knew it was easier said than done, and I planned on tracking my calories - creating that all-mighty calorie deficit so I could lose 1.2 pounds a week and get there in three years time.  My first year was highly successful, and I was running way ahead of schedule.  My second year started with me feeling quite smug that I had this covered - no problems.  After the half marathon in May, I got off track.  I got to my lowest weight in May - 210 pounds, and by the end of the year I had gained 40 pounds by doing all sorts of crazy things like binging on pure sugar and nothing else. 

As I began year three (2014), I was despondent.  I was pretty desperate to try anything I could get get that scale going back in the right direction.  I started tracking my calories again, and tracking wasn't working.  I was using MyPlate app on LiveStrong and then I switched to MyFitness Pal to track on that one.  I was closely monitoring my food intake and exercising vigorously.  So, you'd think I'd see some movement on the scale.  I sure did.  I gained a pound.

So over the last two to three weeks, I've been doing some heavy soul searching and talking to my trainer about my goals.  Sometime during the last two years, I've discovered something that I enjoy more than anything else - strength training.  I get such a rush at pushing my body to limits I've never experienced.  I've always wanted to be strong and athletic, and being able to lift heavy things and constantly set "Personal Bests."

Now, considering my new found love, I decided to focus more on fitness goals and not so much on weight goals.  So, keeping that in mind....

Why the %$^# am I still so stuck on that damn scale?!?!?!
I've blogged ad nauseum about me and that damn scale.  I know it's not what I should be focused on, but it's programmed in our heads to rely on that damned contraption to measure our health.  It's the easiest thing to use out there.  Just step on in, and wait for it to mock you and all you've accomplished this week.  Who cares that I beat my cycling time or that I'm deadlifting 235#.  I'm kicking ass on the rowing machine, stringing together 4 swing-snatches with a 50# kettlebell, bench pressing 95# and squatting 100#.  After all that, I look at the scale, and it says I gained a pound so I failed.  Right? I'm kicking out foods with additives and starting to focus on my transition to Paleo eating.  Yet, after eating pure, healthy foods, the scale said I gained a pound, and the scale is always right. 
Now, I know all of you out there are saying, "Oh don't be that way. You've done so much.  Don't worry about what the scale says."  I'm supposed to pay attention to how I feel, and how my clothes feel.  Are my clothes loose?  Yes.  Then don't worry about what the scale says.  Sadly, many of us - including me - say this all the time, but we have a hard time following our own advice.
So, I've decided to forget the scale.  Forget the calorie counting.  (GASP!!) I'm 100% serious this time!!!!!  I'm deleting MyFitness Pal and MyPlate apps from my iPhone. I'm really going to have to find out what's going to work for me.  Considering the large weights I want to lift this year, I really need to focus on clean, healthy eating.  Yes, that does mean eating fat - you know those fats that the food industry is constantly telling us that are so bad for us so eat all these fat free foods loaded with added sugars so they taste good.  In the end, all we are doing is trading one "bad" thing for another.  I don't happen to think fat is the enemy.  You just better chose the right fats, and coconut oil is my new found friend.
I've cracked open my Paleo cook books and have been cooking up a storm these past few weeks. I've even brought my amazing boyfriend (Hi Sweetie!) on board and he's almost lost 30 pounds in three weeks.  Yeah, men suck. They blink and lose weight, while we eat one string bean and gain 4 pounds.
So, clean eating has arrived in my life.  Sweet potatoes!  I missed you.  Eating a sweet potato at breakfast has helped me cut out in between snacking and gives me amazing energy to push hard in the gym.  I've made my own mayo and ketchup, and I do a lot of food prep on the weekends for the work week.  Yes, it's a time and monetary commitment, but I'm willing to do the work.  Hard work, remember?
In the end, what matters most is how I feel, and making sure my doctor continues to give me a thumbs up.  I still hope to have a 1 as the leading number on the scale, but perhaps it will come at a time when I least expect it. If I'm not relying on the scale, who knows when it will come.  Right now, I'm doing what's going to make me and my body Happy
So, let's see what happens this week.  I'm taking my first swimming lesson on Monday so I'm sure I'll have something interesting to report next week.  Wendler week 3 starts tomorrow.  This weekend I'm going to attempt Crackling Chicken and Mashed Cauliflower.  Check out these awesome blogs for more information on Paleo eating and cooking.
The Clothes Make the Girl - the author has two amazing cookbooks that I own. 
Well Fed and Well Fed 2
Nom Nom Paleo - another amazing blog and you have to get her cookbook. It has amazing cartoons drawn by her husband.  Both sites are my go-to for amazing Paleo food.
All the foods I'm cooking are on my Pinterest page if you are interested. 
Check out my Paleo-rific! Board

I've never made ketchup before, and considering how much of a ketchup snob I am, this was a reach for me.

Made out of tomato paste, dried dates, and lots of spices....

Unbelievably delish especially with a side of sweet potato fries.
Krabby Patties were amazing!  My boyfriend assisted in cooking them up. He's the seafood expert in the house.

I get sick of ground meat sometimes so I decided to jazz it up by making some turkey and beef jalapeno meatballs and tossed those in with some basil zoodles with turkey bacon.  You can say this is becoming one of my absolute favs!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hard. Work.

Happy Sunday everyone.  I hope you all had a good start to your first work week in the New Year.  According to studies, the first Monday after the new year is the most depressing day of the year.  I guess it has something to do with getting back to work after the holidays.  I don't know about you, but I was quite optimistic.  I didn't go into work until Tuesday, and I was ready to get back to the gym because I missed it.

I'm also approaching 2014 with a different plan.  Like I mentioned before, I'm focusing on 6 goals that I hope to complete by the end of 2014, and I'm working with my trainer to make sure I get there.  So before I took the plunge and go going, we needed to meet to develop a plan., and my plan focusing on strength building and conditioning.

We were scheduled to meet after our Kettlebell class on Wednesday, and I'll admit I was a bit nervous about stepping back in there knowing how poorly it ended last year in December.  I don't even know why I was tripping because I did great.  As usual, I challenged myself, and I was most happy with how I completed my plank rows, which are quite tough.

After class, I was presented with the first four weeks of my strength building plan, Wendler 5/3/1.  The focus is to build strength by cycling through four weight-bearing exercises over a four week plan.  Each session depends on your max rep weight.  Once you figure your max rep weight, you using that as a basepoint, and start lifting based on a percentage of that weight.

My first four weeks will be used to determine what my max rep basepoint is, so we are starting a bit conservative.  So my first four weeks will look like the following:

As you can see, I'm quite serious about my lifting plan.  I'm starting tomorrow so wish me luck. I'm quite excited about it.  I'll lift four days a week alternating between upper and lower body work to give my muscle groups plenty of rest.
I'll still continue with my cardio and I'll be fitting in Zumba and other activities as usual.  Kettlebells will still be on Wednesdays, so I'm hoping my body will hold up.  I was exhausted after this week.  I really put my all into my workouts this week, and although the "scale" didn't report much, my jeans sure did by being loser than they were last week.  I'm not going to flip out and go Bezerk just because the scale showed me some bullshit.  But I still need to weigh in since it gives me a baseline on my calorie content.
Hard work!  That's what it takes.  I'm not giving up.  I'm pushing on.  I should have a pretty interesting entry next week since I'll be reporting on my first week of muscle building.  Cheers! 
One more thing... I was asked to submit a quick summary of my weight loss journey for work, and I'm happy to report I am being featured for the Success Story for January 2014.  I was quite happy with the distinction.  If I can inspire one person to take the plunge for better health and wellness, it's more than worth it.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year, New Ideas

Happy New Year everyone.  I hope you had a very safe and happy holiday season.  I am very happy the holidays are over.  No more cookies.  No more candy.  No more crazy eating.  I'll admit that after my last blog post, I really watched myself.  I knew what I was going into, and I'd already sabotaged a good portion of my success in 2013.  I'm already starting 2014 going uphill so no need to make things worse by going food crazy.
I'm happy to report that I haven't eaten any candy since my meltdown in December.  I figured that I need to start slow by getting rid off my sugar demons so I let the candy go, but I didn't eliminate all sweets and I had dessert here and there.  This past week, I only had one dessert.  This week I plan on having no dessert.  So far, I'm doing okay.  I'm taking it one day at a time.
I started tracking again using MyPlate on New Year's Day, which is the Livestrong app that I used so well in the past.  This time around, I'm making my own meals instead of relying on Lean Cuisines.  I'm focusing on steamed vegetables to keep me full and protein.  It's funny.  As soon as I started tracking, I felt so much better.  I really work well when I have set boundaries.  I feel more in control of my appetite.  I also make sure to keep my hands busy so I've come up with two ideas to keep me focused on something besides food, and knowing what my triggers are... IDLE TIME!
  1. Coffee and Tea - I've never been a coffee drinker.  But, when I have drank coffee, I noticed it help keep my appetite under control. I'm sure it's due to the caffeine, and I don't do well on caffeine.  Makes me jittery and nauseous.  However, I'm will to give this a try.  It helped that I was able to procure a mighty fine Keurig machine for a very low price.  And I'm in LOVE!  I love flavored coffee, and I find that if I have a cup mid morning or mid afternoon, it really gets me through those IDLE TIME moments between meals.  I use coffee in the morning or afternoon and decaffeinated tea at night.  It's been awesome over these last two weeks.  I have one cup of coffee and one cup of tea everyday.  It's working great, and it's a lot of fun picking out different coffee and tea flavors.
  2. Cross-stiching - I know! I know!  Who knew I could cross stich?  My grandmother taught me how when I was a teenager, and I used to do it quite a bit when I was in college.  I find that if I keep my hands moving, they don't have time to move and find something to put in my mouth.  So far that's working well.  Plus, I'll be able to give so many of you something I've made with my own two hands.
I've only been tracking since Wednesday and I'm down 2 pounds.  I only weighed myself today because it's Sunday and official weight in day.  I admit that it's early, and it won't always be like this. I know you lose the most in the first week.  I've been there and done that.  Hell, I just did it, and I'm pissed that I'm making myself do it all over again.  I'm trying not to focus on that too much.  Just take it one day at a time.  Don't beat myself up of the small stuff and focus on my goals for the year.
I also found new inspiration.  A really good friend of mine, who I met when I travelled to Spain in college, suggested that we run a half marathon in our host town of Trujillo, Spain.  At first I was thinking, "No way."  I'm really not that enthused about running another half marathon.  I didn't even sign up for the Cleveland Half in May.  I figured, "Been there. Done that."  However, it got me thinking.  If I ever did run another half, and I'm sure I would, I'd like it to be in a different place.  I haven't visited my host family since 2001, when my "cousin" Alicia came to South Carolina.  This is the perfect opportunity to do something amazing as well and visit with family and friends, and return to my host country.  So I made a decision.
I am running in the Trujillo Half Marathon - God willing.  I want to be in prime condition to shatter my run time in Cleveland, and Trujillo is no joke.  It's a lot of hill. Steep hills.  Much more hilly than Cleveland.  So, I will add this to my goal list.  Inspiration leads to motivation. 
My mind was spinning on New Year's Eve. So much to be happy for, and yet I was also quite disappointed in myself. I didn't know how to put it in words. It was a great year and yet it wasn't so great.  I'm going to leave it at that because I don't want to dwell on the negative aspects of the year.  I lived, I've learned, and I'm moving on.  Hard Work.  It pays off.