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October 2011

Rumbly in my tumbly

Celery and salsa
You see that up there? That's not food, that's vegetation with jalapenos. Why am I eating celery and salsa? Because I'm freakin' starving and it's 4:15 and I already had my "normal" snack at 3:30.

And I can now blame science for this.

Weight loss plus hormones create "a perfect storm" for regain, researchers say. The hormonal urge to eat actually rises when a person has lost weight. Here's my favorite quote from the USA Today story:

A key message of the study is that "it's better not to gain weight than to try to lose it," said Dr. George Bray of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Well, too late for that, doc. You should have gotten to me when I was 10. Or perhaps I can climb into a Delorean and warn my younger self not to eat my first-ever doughnut at the Girl Scout father-daughter square dance.

But does this discourage me? Hellz no! I take comfort in knowing I'm not some constantly hungry freak of nature.

When I'm not losing weight I'm not hungry. When I am successful at moving the scale downward I'm hungry nearly all the time. In fact, sometimes my stomach growls while I'm eating a meal.

And ever since I cut the wheat out of my diet (one month in!), the only time my stomach makes noises is when I'm hungry. Before, my stomach would "talk" to me all day long, but it was accompanied by discomfort. Now I know the difference.

And I guess I'll have to learn to respect the rumble.

Today, the Weight Shrink and I were coming up with words to use for how to deal with the non-full feeling. At first I said "enjoy" and that wasn't right. "Acknowledge" was too benign. But I can respect it. I know that I'm fighting against hormones and nature and primordial urges to eat-eat-eat. Don't get me wrong -- this isn't some "After-School Special starving yourself" kinda hungry. I'm eating three meals and a couple of snacks a day. But in between those times, there can be an empty growling.

And I don't like it. But dem's the facts and it won't get any easier when all the excess weight is gone. My body's going to want to pack the pounds back on and I'll have to say "No!" and grab a glass of water or a celery stick or a tree branch or learn to knit or something.

When I came up with "respect the rumble" today and came to grips with the fact that fighting the urge to eat will be a part of my life forever, I felt the clouds part and I think I heard angels singing. It's my new reality and perhaps over time, I can tune out the feeling and tune into how much better I'll feel at a healthy weight.

And now, for your enjoyment, here's Winnie the Pooh singing Rumbly in my Tumbly in Icelandic:

A Halloween-lean pumpkin smoothie

Pumpkin smoothie
Leftover canned pumpkin has been staring me in the face every time I open the fridge. Sure, I can stir it into pasta sauce and annoy the family with my experiement but let's try it again in a smoothie.

I say "again" because the last time I concocted a pumpkin smoothie I thought "If a half cup is good, a full cup is better!" Uh, it's not. It's a beautiful orange and pretty gross.

So this time I got the proportions and flavors just right in my smoothie, which I call:

Halloween-Lean Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond/rice/soy/hemp/oat/cow/whatever milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup ("pancake syrup" should be against the law)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a combo of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and ginger)
  • Crushed ice

Blend and slurp.


Inspiration: It's all in the jeans

I have a problem -- everything in my closet fits.

Why is that a problem? Clothing wise, I have nothing to shoot for. Nothing's tight, nothing's too small. Even my "inspiration jeans" fit me.

I need new inspiration pants.

At the beginning of the year I had bought some cute embroidered jeans at Avenue in a size 18. Then I got serious about losing weight and those quickly turned saggy baggy on me. The jeans were still in stock at the store so I grabbed a pair of size 16s. Now those fit very comfortably.

Here's the cool part -- at Avenue, sizes start at 14, so when I go to buy new inspiration jeans they'll be the smallest size in the store.

Nike every damn day shirtAh, but who says inspiration has to be in a pair of jeans? While I was writing this, the mail showed up with a small package. In it was a Nike T-shirt I bought on eBay and mentioned earlier this week.

It's the smallest extra-large T-shirt I've ever seen and I really want to wear it, so I'm hanging it in my office and will look at it every time I'm tempted to surf Twitter or blow off a workout.

Attune Foods giveaway!

Remember, if you want to win a coupon for a free Attune Foods product, you need to check out the post HERE and get commenting! Deadline is Halloween. (Oct. 31 for those new to this planet.)

And now, this week's HealthBuzz

Motivation Monday: Lessons learned

I'm back down to pre-baby weight again this week, thanks in part to the tweak I put into place last Monday -- instead of flying by the seat of my pants, foodwise, I'm planning the day ahead of time. Worked like a charm.

But that's not the only rule I put into this past week, so let's recap what worked for me and could work for you:

Write it before you bite it: Plan your day before you start peeking into the pantry. You won't be surprised at the end of the day and find yourself eating celery and egg whites for dinner. The one day when I didn't plan my meals, I wound up eating a weird and unsatisfying mishmash of cereal and milk and soup (not all together -- it was random kitchen wandering).

Don't go overboard: I'm doing Weight Watchers Online and I have found that when I only use no more than half those weekly bonus Points I lose weight. When I used 'em all, I either didn't lose weight or gained.

Don't sweat the small stuff: I gave myself permission to use as many Crystal Light Pure packets as I wanted. At first, I'd count those 30 calories and not use more than one a day. But then I'd do something silly like grab for a box of cereal, and in the long run that 30 calories of water flavoring was a lot fewer than the handfuls of cereal. So I decided to drink them with abandon. But really, it never came to more than two a day. And when I drank two that meant I was getting in 8 glasses of water a day because I used a quart of water with the packet -- not the 16 ounces that the box recommends.

Stay true to yourself: I've been sticking with the no-wheat pledge and have been finding it really easy to follow. It started out as an experiment after reading the book Wheat Belly (can I really do that?) but I soon realized that my volatile tummy is quiet and happy without it. By putting the focus on health instead of "dieting" I let my husband and son polish off the bread at dinner Friday night while I happily ate my crouton-free salad.

Every damn day shirtEvery damn day: I've had a cold since last Tuesday but it hasn't been enough to send me into bed all day. As soon as the gunk cleared, I laced up the sneakers and headed out for a walk. No, I didn't set any land speed records and there may or may not have been a snot rocket launched (more about that HERE), but the weather has cooled off and there was no way I was going to stay indoors. And I think the exercise may have done more for me than the Sudafed. I saw a woman in the grocery store wearing the shirt at left, and I hunted one down on eBay to celebrate my weight loss this week.

All simple, all effective. Think I'll "just do it" again this week!

Get fit Friday: Sometimes, it's not pretty

Snot rockets.

(Oh, don't tell me you've never done one on a run/walk/ride.)

It's a necessary evil when exercising outdoors in colder weather or when your allergies act up.

I never do it in sight of anyone, and if I'm having big problems, I'll stuff some tissues into the waistband of my pants.

Gotta admit, it makes me feel like Lance Armstrong when I do it -- all athlete-like.

Don't worry, I won't regale you with pictures of athletes blowing snot rockets. Instead I'll show you another not-pretty side of exercise -- sweat stains.

Pink sweaty hatBehold, my beloved pink Life is Good ballcap. I wear it to all 5Ks and on most walks. Because of that, it has gotten pretty saturated in the fruits of my labor. I tried washing off the sweat stains, and while the, um, crust came off, the discoloration didn't.

I was kinda bummed but then thought of it as a badge of honor -- those sweat stains are a permanent testament to my hard work.

Nano watchBut I do try and not look like a total slob. If my workout pants have a blue stripe down the side I'll match my T-shirt and/or socks to it. Plus, I have my cool iPod Nano with its orange silicone watch strap, which serves as watch/timer/pedometer and music player.

But I recently got to check out a new Polar heart monitor watch that definitely has pumped up the cute factor, FT4 facebecause, frankly, some of those watches are pretty utilitarian. It's Polar's FT4, all dolled up in shades of pink and it even fits my big ol' wrist. The watch retails for $99.95 and includes the watch and WearLink chest strap. (You can find out more at Polar.) This one isn't as complicated as some of the Polar heart-rate monitors -- it's made for fitness and cross-trainers like you and me. It displays heart rate, calories burned and shows how your fitness level is improving based on heart rate.

Attune giveaway

Halloween is quickly approaching and that's the deadline for my Attune Foods giveaway -- check out the post HERE and get commenting! On that post I talk about how I've cut wheat out of my diet. I'm still wheat free and can't believe how good I'm feeling. My gut hasn't "spoken" to me once.

And here's this week's HealthBuzz:

They talk about fresh figs this week -- love 'em!

I am a child when it comes to food

The Weight Shrink had heard enough today about my food choices and why I gained a couple pounds this week. (Eating tortilla chips, two peanut butter cups and a tomato for dinner will do that).

"You're going to come up with a menu for the day. Can you commit to this menu for one day?" she asked.

"No ... I mean yes!"

Seriously, the first word out of my mouth was "no." How could I possibly plan an entire day of eating? What if I change my mind between lunch and dinner? What if that hunk of blue cheese or container of yogurt in the fridge calls my name?

(And this is how tortilla chips-peanut butter cups-tomato dinners are made.)

She got up from her chair, left the room and came back with a yellow legal pad.

"Tell me what you've eaten today."

I squeezed in an hourlong walk after deadline this morning, so hadn't had a chance to have lunch yet. All I had eaten as of 1:30 p.m. was a Perfect Foods bar, a mug of coffee and 24 ounces of water. That's a testament to those Perfect Foods bars -- they keep me full for hours.

"What will you have for lunch?" Yikes. Put a girl on the spot. I answered a smoothie because that's my default meal for all occasions. "Blueberry-mango smoothie with vanilla whey protein and almond milk" was my on-the-spot creation.

And on it went for my meals the rest of the day.

Her game plan for me: First thing every morning, plan what you're going to eat for the day. Yes, I suppose I can commit to a day of planning. If I really-really-really want something as the day goes on, it can wait until tomorrow.

That's called being a grownup.