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April 2015
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June 2015

May 2015

Tunes for Tuesday: The podcast edition!

I've been listening to a lot more podcasts at the gym, so here are some of my latest favorites, which you can either find on the iTunes Store under Podcasts or click on the names to find other sources:

image from wycwyc.comWhat You Can When You Can Podcast: Full disclosure -- I'm friends with Roni (top photo) and Carla (bottom photo) and helped proof-read their new book "What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms." But even if I didn't know them or wasn't intimately aware of their book, I'd still listen to the podcast. The name of the book and the hashtag are self-explanatory. The weekly podcasts are enjoyable little conversations with Carla and Roni, all about fitting in fitness and eating a little healthier no matter the circumstance. You don't have to hit the ground running -- you can walk if you want. Eat an apple instead of that bag of cookies -- or just eat two cookies. Incremental changes add up.

Diet Free Life: This is one of my go-to podcasts and has been for years. Robert Ferguson wants people to live a Diet Free Life, free from the diet mentality that has people either "on" or "off" their eating plan. It's all about balance with his plan that doesn't put much of anything off limits and, like he says, "meets you where you are." His podcasts cover fitness, recipes, grocery shopping strategies, dining out, interviews with celebrities and success stories and dietary advice.  

The Jillian Michaels Podcast: The former "Biggest Loser" trainer has been podcasting for quite awhile, first on an LA radio station and then on her own, and I've been listening the whole time. Fans of her podcast know that the screaming taskmaster on TV is the result of editing. Her real-life self is silly, chatty and passionate about healthy living.

The Virgin Diet Lifestyle Show: I like JJ Virgin's advice on nutrition, and while I don't follow every tenet of hers, I do like a lot of her tips, and since dropping some of her seven foods (wheat, sugar, peanuts and dairy, but not corn or eggs), her meal ideas are useful. I have found, though, that the snippet-sized podcasts tend to repeat themselves so it's a good short-term listen.

Not losing, not gaining, but feeling really good

This is meI hesitantly stepped on the scale yesterday and was surprised and relieved to see, basically, nothing. 

No gain, no loss.

In the super neurotic past, I'd beat myself up that the scale wasn't going down. But I haven't been working on that. And why should the scale go down miraculously on its own? 

I am not one of those people where "the weight just falls off!" (Who are those people, anyway?)

I've been more concerned about not running for the Rolaids or whining about feeling crappy. And after a few months of eating the way I've been eating, I think I finally have it under control.

I'm surprised at how much food I've been not eating and not gaining weight. I'm considering it kind of an experiment. 

I've also been adding back in some of the foods I've been avoiding, just to see how they make me feel. A sprinkle of cheese is fine. A container of flavored Greek yogurt bores me now. I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M WRITING THAT! It's just too sweet and makes me wish it was unsweetened yogurt, which is crazy!

Added sugar tastes too sweet now, and I've learned that if you're not hyper aware, you'll get hit with sugar bombs everywhere. Last week I stopped at a smoothie place that was new to me and ordered one of their green smoothies -- full of kale, avocado, and after I slugged it down, I learned, A BUTTLOAD OF SUGAR. I'm not exaggerating. I checked their website, and they add nearly 200 sugar calories to their smoothies. I was mortified but this, of course, was after I had it for lunch so I logged it and moved on, making sure not to touch anything with added or natural sugars the rest of the day. I've been really keeping an eye on sugars and working to keep each meal low in sugar. Smoothies are naturally higher in sugars from fruit and sometimes the protein powder, so if I do a smoothie I make sure the rest of the day is more "savory."

Wheat and peanut products still make me feel awful, so they're still on the "do no fly list."

Couple other things I've noticed -- my hair is shinier and my skin looks great. I think it might be all the avocado and almonds. Back in the olden days, I'd take the fat out of everything, so much so that I'd see it in the mirror. Back in the fat-free '80s, I was so fat free that the corners of my mouth were cracking and my doctor told me to add some fat back in my diet. I was MORTIFIED. I didn't even know how to do it. Thank goodness the Snackwell Years have subsided. 

So, all that said, I'm super great at maintaining.

So as May comes to a close, I'm making myself a to-do list for June, which includes:

More stretching and yoga: My IT band issues keep flaring up, but it's only on the days when I forget to stretch. I need to make that a bigger priority. So more stretching! I've dug out some stretching and yoga DVDS, and I'm going to do them once or twice a week.

More switching up the cardio: The physical therapist said repetitive motion is not my friend, so I've been switching up my cardio. I've thrown in some Zumba, Hip Hop Abs and step, and I don't tighten up after those because my legs are moving in way more different and fun directions.

More water: Because, duh.

Focus on fat loss: I think it's time. I've done enough "experimenting" and "free eating" and "seeing" and now that I know what bothers me, what doesn't and what sets me off (SUGAR), I'm ready to tighten up the portions and the frequency and the snacking and get to work. 

My #SoleStory: Ice, stim and good shoes

This is a promotional post for Vionic Shoes' #SoleStory campaign. I was provided a pair of Vionic sandals.

This is my post-aerobic life for the time being:

Ice and stim

I'm coming off a month of physical therapy for IT band inflammation and patellar tendinitis so I'm trying to ease back into aerobic activity (I kept doing the strength training the whole time because that didn't bother me). But me being me, I tend to push myself probably a mile too far, so I've been doing the post-walk "ice and stim" that I got every time at PT. Under that towel are the electrodes to my mini electrical stimulation device and my thigh and knee area zapping away.

As I ended my walk last week, there was a box waiting for me at the front door from Vionic, which contained the lovely Floriana flip-flop sandals. I immediately put them on, because SHOES!


(You really don't need to see any more of my goofy feet.) Just take a look at these in all their bejeweled glory. The toe post is fabric, so they're super comfortable, and the teal goes great with my uniform of jeans, jeans, and more jeans.

Sure, they may look like flip flops but they're much more. Vionic shoes are podiatrist-designed for orthotic support, so your feet are realigned in a natural position. I have super flat feet, so I need extra help in the arch department. I have a pair of custom orthotics, but I'm a flip-flop girl and orthotics just don't work with sandals. That's why I love Vionics. I have a couple other pair and they're great for post workout, or really anytime. 

My sports med doctor (and I'm guessing all orthopedists) are not fans of super-flat flip flops because of the lack of support. But I LOVE being barefoot or darn near it, so I really appreciate Vionic for the added support.

So that's my #SoleStory -- making exercise an important part of my life and making sure to take care of myself before, during and after.

I'm on sugar patrol

Had another meeting with my dietitian and I handed over a few days of My Fitness Pal logs. I've been using it the past week just so I can see how my food intake is shaping up, calorie and nutrient wise.

(I'm still all about my Fitbook but periodically I need to do a geeky spot check.)

While I'm doing better, my sugar content is still a bit too high. I had highlighted some areas where I knew I should have eaten something else, but Meryl found even more. 

Those date-sweetened protein bars? Too sugary. Gluten-free granola? Too sugary. That smoothie I grabbed while running errands? Yep, too sugary.

She gave me a guideline: If a food has 5 grams or less of sugar per 100 calories it's considered low sugar. Ten grams of sugar or more per 100 calories is a high-sugar food.

"So if I keep my total sugar grams below ..."

That's when she stopped me and corrected my thinking. I was figuring that as long as I kept my sugar grams below a certain amount a day I'd be fine. 


With that thinking I could eat spinach and jellybeans all day and come out just fine.

What she wants me to do instead is to look at each food and make a judgment whether it's low sugar. Now of course, I don't have to do that with things like protein or fat or non-starchy vegetables (remember, we're breaking me of my diet mentality). It's mostly for packaged foods. And seriously, I didn't really think about all those dates in the protein bar because I figured it wasn't "added sugar." But for the most part, sugar is sugar is sugar, and the bars are kinda high. 

Blue diamond dark chocolate almondsLet's take these almonds for example. (And I need to interject that this post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.)

While the words "Oven Roasted Dark Chocolate Almonds" might sound totally decadent, it turns out that these babies get a big thumbs-up as a low-sugar snack. 

An ounce of the almonds is 160 calories and 4 grams of sugar, not to mention the 5 grams of protein and 13 grams of healthy fats. You also get 30 percent of your vitamin E, 6 percent calcium, 8 percent iron, and 15 percent magnesium. 

And, no, there's no artificial sweeteners. the almonds are sweetened with a blend of sugar and stevia extract. 

Most importantly, they're delicious.

I've tried other cocoa-flavored almonds and the icky aftertaste kept me from trying them again. But there's no aftertaste at all with these, and an ounce is a great afternoon snack.

There's also an Oven Roasted Sea Salt flavor with only 1 gram of sugar per ounce. And while those are really good, these dark chocolate ones are my new faves.

So my homework for the next two weeks is to be more sugar aware and look for ways to flip the script when it comes to my old go-to's. I need to think vegetable before I think fruit. Hard-boiled eggs instead of protein bars. Hummus and bell peppers instead of popcorn.

Wait, popcorn is a sugar?

No, but it's a starchy food and I need to keep an eye on those as well. When I first started with Meryl I drastically cut back on my starches because I was all gung-ho on cutting out sugar, dairy and wheat. In the ensuing months, I've been sliding back into old habits, albeit wheat-free ones. Starchy carbs and sugar tend to hold onto water and spike insulin, creating bloat, extra weight and cravings.

So my complex carb servings will be twice a day, ideally earlier in the day.

As you may have guessed, I haven't been focusing on the scale the past month because I've been focusing more on my digestive health, and lemme tell you, I am so much better!

I won't go into particulars but I will say that I haven't had to reach for the Rolaids in a month, and I am far less "irritable" than I've been in ages. My stomach doesn't make weird noises and tummy aches are gone.

So now that we have healed my gut issues, I can focus back more on getting the rest of this weight off. 

The gameplan is to stick to around 1,600-1,700 calories but not to obsess over those calories. If I'm eating the right way (for me, not for you or Gwyneth Paltrow or anyone else) and sticking to that range, the scale should start moving again.