Use it or Lose It

Hey everyone! For a few weeks I had been letting my at-home morning workouts slide. Doing constant push-ups on the counter started giving me a repetitive strain injury in my elbows (ouch), my babe was (and still is) teething his molars, and a thousand and one other things got in the way. So frustrating! I love working out, but sometimes you just can’t seem to make it happen.

But I noticed something interesting. My coffee intake massively increased, my general interest level started dropping and my energy levels plummeted.

Hunh?

Hunh?

You would think that since I wasn’t pushing myself super hard every day I would have more energy! My body wouldn’t be using up all it’s energy healing itself, I would have more time… But no. The exact opposite happened. My body started shutting down.

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Use it or Lose It

I’ve talked about this before: We are living in the 21st century walking around in bodies designed for cavemen. We pack on the pounds quicker and easier than we lose them, we instinctively check our surroundings every 7 minutes give or take (start watching for it!), and we are designed to move. Our bodies start to hate us after a while if we don’t let them loose! Basically: Our bodies are hyper active puppies. If we don’t take them out for daily walks and let them run around and smell the trees, they get depressed.

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

In order to keep your body in peak physical form, you do need to use it. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago called Abs are Made in the Kitchen. This is very true, you can’t have a great body with a bad diet (unless you’re a kid running around at level 11 all day every day) but you also won’t have a happy body unless you allow it to move.

Exercise works wonders on our bodies and our minds. By pushing our bodies to move faster, lift heavier, breathe harder; we’re allowing our bodies to do what they were designed to do. We were not designed to sit in front of a computer all day. We were designed to run, lift, carry and jump for hours on end on very little food. Obviously I’m not saying starve yourself, but I am saying our bodies are starving for action.

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

If you compare our western cultures to those on the other side of the globe, you will see a very noticeable difference. Here, we’re suffering from an obesity epidemic. Illnesses due to poor diets and lack of exercise are greatly on the rise. When I went to community college, it was cheaper to get a heaping plate of fries drowned in gravy than it was to get a small plate of vegetables. And when you do get vegetables, it’s cheaper to get the ones dosed in toxic chemicals. Then you look at Eastern cultures… Children in China eat cucumbers as a tasty snack as opposed to Twinkies. Look at their sidewalk vendors: Where we have hotdogs, they have corn on the cob. Even people in their 80s are still running marathons!

Yes. This is real. Photo Credit: @LoneCaravan

Yes. This is real. Photo Credit: @LoneCaravan

It is possible to stay healthy and full of energy until long after we’ve typically given up in the west, but it does require some work. We need to give our bodies a purpose; a challenge. Those days when you feel the most like giving up are the days you need to push yourself harder.

Perfect example! I used to get sick. A lot. The last couple winters before I met my manfriend I had no less than 5 colds per winter. No joke. No exaggeration. Within 4 months I had 5 colds. Probably even 6. Know why? Because the second I felt that little tickle in my throat, I gave up. “Oh woe is me! I’m getting the sniffles! Better lay down.”

Pathetic.

In the four years we’ve been together I have had one cold. Total. Maybe two at most. Because I stopped giving in at the first sign of trouble and started fighting. Plus, I became a mother, and as we all know moms don’t get sick days. So now when I feel a throat tickle coming on I take 6 1000 mg Vitamin C capsules with an Emergen-C drink, I sleep a little more, and I work a little harder.

Much harder to do when there's a baby screaming for you and a kitchen that needs cleaning and supper that needs to be prepped... Someone pass me the Vitamin C, I'm going in!

Much harder to do when there’s a baby screaming for you and a kitchen that needs cleaning and supper that needs to be prepped… Someone pass me the Vitamin C, I’m going in!

Yes you read that right, I work HARDER. Working less does nothing but give your body less incentive to work more. The less you work, the less you want to work, so the less you work, and down the spiral you go.

Our bodies are designed beautifully, this is very true. But there is one major flaw:

The less you use it, the more you lose it.

It is actually a brilliant survival technique. What we don’t need, we shed. Did you know that when astronauts arrive in space, their first pee is chock-full of calcium? Gross, but also fascinating! Due to the lack of gravity, the lack of constant pressure on their bones, they don’t need all that bone mass so they start shedding it to be more energy efficient.

So long bone density! Hello moon walking. Level: expert

So long bone density! Hello moon walking. Level: Expert

The same thing happens across the board. What we don’t use, we inevitably lose. Muscles get weaker over time, bone density goes away, connective tissue weakens… Slowly our bodies start to fall apart and weaken if we stop using them.

So stop letting your body waste away long before its time! There is absolutely no excuse. I am insanely busy, and I still make time to work out every morning. I often joke that I have an entire day long before noon. Designate a corner to be your workout area, set up some of those baby play mats from Walmart, and get to it! The hardest part is getting up to the point where you’re about to start. Once you get started, your body takes over. Because your body wants to workout! It’s your brain that gets in the way. Now that I’ve been back on my workout schedule for the last two weeks, I feel amazing! I’m drinking less coffee, I’m sleeping better, I’m getting more done in the run of the day, and I am all around more interested and more happy. Plus I’m getting my muscle definition back again, always a fantastic feeling. What more could you ask for?

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

Happy Monday! I’m here to help take away a little bit of the mystery this week. There’s one really unfortunate little mind game we don’t mean to play on ourselves that will forever keep us in our fat pants. Luckily I’ve been to the other side and back again (a couple times now) so I am speaking from experience and can help you to not make the same mistakes!

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate...

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate…

Saying no to delicious food is hard. I know, I’ve been there. I didn’t gain 70 pounds while I was pregnant because of some junk food gnome who force fed me cake while I was sleeping. I gained 70 pounds while pregnant because saying no to the Caramilk bar that second was so much more painful than the inevitable weight gain.

No, wait, that’s not even a little bit true.

All that weight gain hurt oh so much more.

But at the moment the Caramilk bar was in front of me? Saying no hurt more.

Why?

Because as soon as I put that sweet, delicious (and EVIL!!!) Caramilk bar to my lips I didn’t instantly gain 5 pounds. But I did have chocolate. The weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that chocolate? That was happening that second.

My nemesis.

My nemesis.

Studies have actually been done on this. It’s instant gratification versus future reward. Some people are better than others at weighing the pros and cons. But most of us, especially when it comes to food, will take delicious food this second over an athletic body in the future. It’s instant gratification. Here’s a link to an article in The New Yorker on The Marshmallow Experiment:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=all

I will sum it up here for you: Children were brought into a room one at a time. There was a plate of marshmallows in front of them. They were told that they could have one marshmallow now. Or! If they waited a couple minutes while the man left the room, when he returned they could have two marshmallows. As with most social experiments, some subjects were able to sit patiently and wait (delayed gratification) others needed their marshmallow right away (instant gratification) and others after a few minutes realized they were alone with candy and started stuffing their face with all of it (evil master minded geniuses of the future)

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Delayed gratification is what we really have a problem with. We aren’t oracles, we can’t see into the future, we can’t say for certain whether or not saying no to this delicious treat in front of us now will result in a beach-ready body by summer, so we opt for instant gratification.

And that is where we fail.

Willpower has received a bad rep as of late. We’re told we’re denying ourselves, we’re making ourselves miserable, we’re torturing ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. But do you know who’s saying that? Other fat people trying to make themselves feel better for also caving in to instant gratification.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived... Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived… Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Delayed gratification is the best feeling you will ever have. Even on junk food days I still put this into effect. Yeah sure I could devour that cookie before I’m even out of the Tim’s drive through. Or, I can take my time. Enjoy having it in my presence. Enjoy knowing that I could eat that cookie at any second, but I am choosing not to. I’m not letting the cookie dictate my actions. I am the one in control.

Control is good. Control is the difference between gaining 5 pounds or losing 30 by the end of the year. It’s easy to practice small bursts of self control, but it’s constant vigilance that will make you come out on top.

Stop thinking of it as depriving yourself. That’s letting the cookie rule you. You rule the cookie. You tell that cookie when and where you’ll eat it, not the other way around. I don’t know about you, but as a child I always had boxes of Oreos and Fudgee-os and bags upon bags of chips in the cupboards. But I wouldn’t sit around all day thinking “Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies.” Somewhere along the line, the control went from me to the food. In the last few years, if I knew there were cookies in the house, I was eating them until they were gone. No questions asked.

My other nemesis.

My other nemesis.

I still have trouble with it. That’s why I need to keep that food out of the house. I’m not depriving myself. I’m taking my power back. And you can too. Just remember:

 You rule the cookie. The cookie does not rule you.

Your turn! What are some ways you’re taking your power back and enjoying that sense of delayed gratification? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwetypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Happy (almost) Monday, everyone! I’m a day behind, whoops! This week I thought I’d share with you a sort of dirty little secret I’ve stumbled across in my years of trying to achieve a body I could be proud of. I can’t say I tried it all; I was ridiculously clueless when it came to a healthy diet. I didn’t try crash diets, or juice cleanses. I briefly tried Weight Watchers but writing it all down and assigning points when I was already in school just seemed like way too much extra homework.

No. More. Homework.

No. More. Homework.

I pretty much gave up on dieting. About 6 years ago I moved into the city and started walking everywhere. That was a major game changer. Nothing like being broke with your job a half hour walk away and no mode of transportation available other than your feet to make you really start dropping the pounds.

The "Broke Girl" Workout

The “Broke Girl” Workout

But no matter what I did; if I worked out really hard, if I stopped working out entirely, if I walked a half hour every day, if I drove one block to get the mail, if I did an hour of yoga every morning, if I thought about doing yoga one minute every two weeks; There was only one major factor that really decided whether or not I was losing weight that week:

The food that went into my stomach.

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the age old cop out: “I can’t wait to get on the treadmill again so I can eat whatever I want!” “As soon as I get that gym membership, look out candy aisle! I’m coming for you!” “No, it’s cool, I can totally have this third slice of cheesecake, I went to the gym today!”

And what’s funny is that these are always the same women complaining about how they can’t lose any weight.

facepalm-seriously-660x440

It doesn’t matter how hard you work out. Because here’s a side order Uncomfortable Truth for you…

Unless You’re Already In Ridonkulous Shape You Will Never Work Out Hard Enough To Cancel Out A Cheesecake

Our bodies are designed pretty stupidly. It’s very easy to gain weight, and insanely difficult to take it off again. But what makes it even harder is when we set up all these road blocks for ourselves. Road blocks in the shape of brownies.

Sweet delicious road blocks.

Sweet delicious road blocks.

If you really want to lose weight, you need to focus on what you’re putting into your body. Food is fuel. That’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s a fact. Our bodies need food to keep going. If we fill ourselves with junk, our bodies will work like junky old cars that should have been on the scrap heap decades ago.

This is your body on pop.

This is your body on junk.

You can work out until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re not focusing on a proper diet it’s all in vain. Yeah sure, you might stop yourself from gaining even more weight, but you’re not going to lose weight. And if losing weight is your goal, you need to allow yourself to be a little bit uncomfortable.

So stop telling yourself that comfortable lie that working out negates all of the bad food. It’s far from true, and I think deep down you know that. You know that because at the end of the year you’ve gained weight, even if it’s 5 pounds or less, you’ve still gained weight. The working out didn’t help. Because you didn’t help yourself.

So start helping yourself! Don’t eat empty calories and really fattening foods all the time. Assign yourself specific days to eat bad foods, or goals (after I lose 10 pounds I’ll have a junk food day!) or holidays, and stick with them. And by all means, go to the gym, do workouts at home, get active! It’s one of the best things you can do for your body. It’s just not the best thing.

Nature's liposuction.

Nature’s liposuction.

So there you have it! If you’re ready to really start seeing results, put the cheeseburgers and pop down, and pick the celery up. I know healthy food looks scary at first, but once you get in the swing of it… It’s tastes so much better than you could ever imagine. For our junk food day this week we opted for cheeseburgers. I had always been anti-veg but recently got on the mushrooms and onions train… Oh. My. Burger. Sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions are the best thing to happen to a cheeseburger since the invention of the cheeseburger. So don’t be scared! Experiment with new healthy foods, cook them in a variety of different methods and dishes until you find a way that works for you. Your inner skinny-girl will thank you!

Your turn! What are some of your favourite healthy foods? What did you used to hate and learned to embrace? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

If It Looks Too Good To Be True…

Hey guys! Welcome to this week’s episode of me crushing all your hopes and dreams. That sounds harsh, but I can’t help but feel a little bit bad about this blog… You see, I was once like you, dear reader. I would look on Pinterest, or at my Low Carb cookbooks, and see all these wonderful recipes for “Healthy Chocolate Cake” and “Healthy Pizza” and think “Wow! I can still eat all my favourite foods and lose weight?! Life is awesome!”

And then I gained over 70 pounds by the end of my pregnancy and a year and a half later I still have those ever frustrating last 20 pounds to shed. Well, 10 or 15 pounds now, but you get my point.

But it said it was a HEALTHY cheesecake!

But it said it was a HEALTHY cheesecake!

Le sigh.

Unfortunately this is a sad truth for most women. We’ll make these awesome sounding “healthy” recipes, and as the years go by keep putting on more and more weight and never really know why.

God damn you Pinterest, you lying bastard!

LIES

LIES

Which brings me to this week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

If It Looks Too Good To Be True, It Is

This is a very, very dangerous game we play with ourselves. For some reason, healthy scares us. I personally blame cartoons. Every character’s favourite food is cookies, or pizza, or ice cream. And what happens when a Brussels sprout pops on screen? They freak out and vomit every where. I didn’t touch a Brussels sprout until I was 27! And you know what? They are freakin’ delicious.

The only exception.

The only exception.

So because of this programming we’ve been bombarded with, unbeknownst to us since we were infants, we’re convinced that healthy can’t be tasty. What are you nuts? Who would ever choose to eat salad over pizza?! If the Ninja Turtles choose pizza, then so do I. If Homer Simpson says “You don’t win friends with salad” then who am I to argue? If the Cookie Monster devours every cookie in sight…

My childhood. No pizza could ever compare.

My childhood. No pizza could ever compare.

You get my point.

But as my palate has learned in this last year or so of experimenting with new foods, healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. It doesn’t mean having to eat “bird food” or things that taste like dirt. You just need to be interested enough to learn about healthy food, and how to best prepare it so it tastes a thousand times better than a bucket of deep fried chicken parts.

Yum? Not since I discovered the deliciousness that is anything else!

Yum? Not since I discovered the deliciousness that is anything else!

To go back to my original point, I get violently angry now when I research new healthy recipes on Pinterest. You know what I find? People trying to fake healthy. People so desperate to hold on to their favourite foods they’ll change them just enough to deem it “healthy” to the untrained eye.

You know what’s healthy? Cauliflower.

Actual yum!

Healthy.

You know what’s not healthy? Cauliflower coated in so much cheese you can barely even taste it.

Not healthy.

Not healthy.

Don’t hide your vegetables under bad food. That will only trick you into thinking you’re eating good so you put your guard down, pig out, and gain weight. Even if you don’t pig out, a cauliflower crusted pizza is still pizza. It’s not only the bread that makes pizza bad. Cheese is very, very high in calories. It also has a very high glycemic index, meaning it is much more likely to boost your blood sugar and make you gain weight faster than other foods with the same amount of calories.

When it comes to wanting something sweet… I get it. I really, really, really get it. When it comes to sugar cravings, some days I don’t know how I’ll get through it. Now, most people think that that’s sad. It’s sad that I can want something so bad and “deprive” myself of it. But do you know what I want more than that cookie? A body I can be proud of. Sugar cravings will pass. The taste of the cookie is gone 20 seconds after that last bite. But the feeling of pride I get from overcoming the craving, that lasts forever.

So when you want some dessert… There’s not much you can do. Sure, you can make these “gluten free” cookies or cake or muffins, but they’re not going to help you lose weight. If it looks too good to be true, it is. If you want to lose weight, don’t bake anything. Not even gluten free anything. If it has sugar in it in any form, if it has carbs in it in any form (gluten free included!) It. Will. Make. You. Gain. Weight.

Gluten free does not mean it's healthy.

Gluten free does not equal healthy.

A healthy dessert to have once in a while would be a cup of plain Greek yogurt with a handful of berries in it and no more than a tablespoon of organic honey. It’s not going to taste like ice cream. It’s not going to taste like cheesecake. But it is tasty in it’s own right.

That’s the scary change we need to make. We need to stop dressing up healthy food and expect it to taste like bad food. Bad food is delicious, there’s no denying it. But we pay a price for it. Start appreciating the subtle and delicious flavors of healthy food.

So that’s the question you need to ask yourself. Are you willing to sacrifice a body you can be proud of forever for 5 minutes with something that tastes good? A moment on the lips forever on the hips isn’t just a cheeky old saying to make you want to punch your Grandma in the face. It’s a hard fact.

Smart ass.

Smart ass.

The change needs to start with us. We need to change our palates. It won’t be easy at first, but nothing great is ever easy at first. Start small, find some delicious sounding really tasty recipes (I have a ton of them on Pinterest!) and start there. Then start experimenting, get really interested in what you’re cooking. Before you know it you’ll dive in to a spinach salad with orange pieces and red pepper and a balsamic vinaigrette with the same passion you once dove into a poutine with bacon.

Don’t fear healthy. Healthy food is actually delicious, and it leaves you feeling energized, and most importantly… It leaves you feeling proud.

What are some of your biggest road blocks when it comes to weight loss? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and you can follow me on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

Five Easy Tweaks To Jump Start Your Weight Loss

This week I thought I’d share with you five very small and easy tweaks I’ve made to my lifestyle and diet that have really helped me shed the pounds.

Often we bog ourselves down with huge changes. THIS RARELY WORKS. Don’t try to completely overhaul your life over night. When you take on too much at once, more often than not you’re setting yourself up to fail. As babies, we don’t go from barely able to hold our heads up to running around the block the next day. You take one small baby step at a time. Take a gradient approach to your goals; Small, calculated steps will get you there a lot faster than big, misdirected ones.

Stairs were invented for a reason. No one makes it to the top with one step. Unless you're Spiderman.

Stairs were invented for a reason. No one makes it to the top with one step. Unless you’re Spiderman.

Our next Uncomfortable Truth:

You Need To Start Slow

If you want to really start heading towards your weight loss goal, make a few small, simple changes to see some big results. Here are the five simple changes I’ve made to see some serious results.

Skip The Coffee Cream – I’ve touched on this one a few times now, but it’s worth repeating. What is cow’s milk? It’s milk made by a mama cow to feed a baby cow. A cow that needs to grow up to be a helluva lot bigger than us a helluva lot quicker. More bad? Cow’s today are pumped full of so many hormones and antibiotics it’s amazing their milk and meat is still edible. When you’re starting your day, do you want to consume something that will jack your blood sugar and make you gain weight? Or something that tastes good, will give you much more energy, and will in turn jack your metabolism? Black coffee for the win! And throw away the sugar.

Sweet delicious coffee beans. Why ruin them with insta-fat?

Sweet delicious coffee beans. Why ruin them with insta-fat?

Burn All Of Your Artificial Sweeteners – Somehow it got into society’s head that artificial sweeteners are actually better for you than sugar. It’s time to unlearn this lie. We’ve all heard that they’re connecting aspartame with cancer, but in today’s world what doesn’t give us cancer, right? Faulty logic. If you know it’s no good, and you can cut it out, then cut it out! Artificial sweeteners are worse for you. There’s no denying it. If you absolutely must sweeten something, use organic honey. It is so much more delicious.

Here’s an article I found on artificial sweeteners from CBC if you need further convincing.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/artificial-sweeteners-tied-to-obesity-type-2-diabetes-1.1352987

Cut The Carbs – Obviously I’ve already touched on this one, but if there is one thing I have found that has worked better than anything else I’ve done, it’s eliminating carbs from my diet. We consume enough carbohydrates in vegetables and meat that we should never need to turn to a bagel. Or pasta. Even if it’s whole grain, just avoid it. Nothing will you fill you up more, give you more energy, and make you feel like a million bucks better than a meal that is 75% vegetables and 25% meat. Last night for supper we had steaks with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and roasted brussels sprouts, and it was the best damn meal I’ve had in a while. Carbs don’t add flavor or variety, they add pounds and inches. You may not be able to cut all carbs from your diet right away, and that’s okay. Baby steps. Start by eliminating them from one meal a day, and expand from there. And I would like to think this goes without saying, but just to be clear…..

CAKE AND CHOCOLATE COUNT AS CARBS.

Just because they're round doesn't mean they equal a well rounded diet.

Just because they’re round doesn’t mean they equal a well rounded diet.

Stop Snacking On High Calorie Snacks – A couple months ago I realized it was my tiny little cup of raisins and almonds holding me back from losing weight. At first it baffled me, until I mentioned it to my man-friend who looked at me like I had ten heads. Of course it was holding me back. That tiny little snack didn’t fill me, it wasn’t satisfying. It spiked my blood sugar, making me crave more food, and it was packed with more fat and calories than the whole plate of celery and hummus I could’ve had instead. Which incidentally tastes better and would’ve left me satisfied. Go through your cupboards. Throw out every little “100 Calorie Snack” bag you have. They will only leave you wanting more and keep you farther and farther away from your goals.

Junk is junk is junk. No matter what pretty wrapping you put on it.

Junk is junk is junk. No matter what pretty wrapping you put on it.

Move More – Okay, this one seems too simple to be true, but man does it work! Today we’re so concerned with time. Get there quicker, get it done, on to the next thing, go go go!!! We’ve completed so much by day’s end we figure we must have burned a million calories. But although your car was going really fast, your computer was working really hard, your vacuum was in peak form… You never really moved all that much. It may take a couple extra minutes but next time walk to the corner store to grab your eggs. And on the way back, do bicep curls with the bag. Sweep instead of vacuuming. Stand while you’re on your computer, and maybe do some push-ups on the counter while you’re trolling through Facebook. Did you know that I stand while writing every blog? My computer doesn’t live at a desk or dining room table. It lives on my kitchen counter so I can multi-task like a boss (or stay at home mom) and do squats or push-ups while I’m reading and writing. Have 30 seconds to stand around while the microwave counts down? Do a 30 second plank! You have time to fit in a 30 minute work out every day. You just have to do it in 30 second intervals. By the end of the day you’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, and when you wake up in the morning and weigh yourself? No better way to start the day than with a great big smile and renewed enthusiasm.

One set of 20 as you walk to the car. Best work out I know.

One set of 20 as you walk to the car. Best work out I know.

Those are my five easy peasy lemon squeezy ways to lose weight with minimal effort. And like I said, they’ve worked for me! Just find little ways to start implementing them. Before you know it you’ll hate the taste of cream in your coffee, you’ll forget why you ever drove to get the mail, and you’ll laugh at those poor misguided fools buying diet pop and 100 calorie snacks for their lunch.

What are some of your favorite little tweaks and adjustments you’ve made to help lose weight? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds or Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/Last20Pounds and you can follow me on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

It’s The Little Things That Are Making You Big

Real quick, I didn’t get my blog out last week. Epic fail. Between an insanely cranky teething toddler and trying to get set to head out to Newfoundland for Christmas I completely dropped the blog ball. These things do happen, but I hate when they happen to me! So, I’m sorry.

Now, for this week’s blog, I had a pretty eye opening experience that I wanted to share with you all!

My weight had plateaued for the last month or so. I couldn’t figure out what was going on for the life of me. Then bam! Out of nowhere I lost THREE POUNDS this last week!

When I say plateaued, I mean I would gain two or three pounds from my cheat day (ouch) and spend all week losing it to wind up within an ounce or two of my previous week’s weight. So frustrating!

I figured I was just so overweight before that any change that didn’t include a diet of Coke or chocolate was making me lose weight. But now I was at those tricky last twenty pounds that require real work.

Dammit.

Does this count?

Does this count?

But then something interesting happened: I ran out of almonds. Every day (maybe sometimes twice a day…) when I was feeling munchy I would make my little snack of a dozen almonds (okay maybe sometimes 14… or 16… Never more than 16!) and a 1/4 cupish of raisins. It was my little not-really-that-bad-for-me snack that I loved! But I ran out of almonds and figured I wouldn’t buy any more, we’re going away for a month, and one less thing to snack on couldn’t hurt.

Turns out, that tiny snack was the big thing holding me back.

 

Our next Uncomfortable Truth:

It’s The Small Things That Are Making You Big

 

We women are notoriously bad for this one. I read in a magazine once that women find it really hard to diet because we play so many mental games with ourselves. The big one: If it’s not on our plate, it doesn’t count. So I can go out to dinner with friends and order a chicken Caesar salad with water. Yay me! But her fries look so good… I’ll just have a couple. Mmm and those mashed potatoes smell heavenly! One bite won’t hurt… And who can say no to a heaping pile of nachos?! Then just one bite of everyone’s dessert so I know what I’m missing out on…

I'm only having one bite it doesn't count!

I’m only having one bite it doesn’t count!

Oops.

Sound familiar? It’s the whole “it doesn’t have calories if I only have one bite” mentality. But one bite of 10 different cheesecakes pretty much equal a piece of cheesecake.

And we also snack on really calorie dense food. When I got munchy mid-day, if I had a heaping plate of celery I would’ve lost tons of weight by now and I would’ve been full after my snack. But instead I turned to a tiny calorie packed snack that just left me craving more food and made my weight completely plateau.

Aah that's better

Aah that’s better

Now that I’m not having that tiny snack, I don’t miss it and the weight is falling off of me again. I’m now one pound below my pre-baby weight. I finally did it!! And you can too. Just remember:

  • When you want a snack, go for low calorie/low glycemic index foods so you can fill up your stomach without adding to your waistline. Celery, broccoli, carrot sticks etc.
  • Before you snack, drink some water. A lot of times we mistake dehydration for “the munchies”
  • Eat protein first thing in the morning. I have a protein shake as soon as I get up (around 7am) and I don’t need to eat again until after noon. When your body has what it needs, you don’t crave bad food. Go figure.
  • Trick your brain! When you let yourself get too hungry, you start to crave “instant gratification” foods, in other words: bread and sugar. Eat before you get hungry! And keep a supply of veggies chopped up and washed, and even pre-dished up into mixed veggie snacks if you’re a keener like me, so when you want a snack it’s not a big ordeal to get it.
  • Make it easy for yourself. Keep the veggies stocked, and keep the crap out! Who’s going to turn to vegetables when you have crackers in the cupboard?
  • When you have a cheat day, buy only enough for that day and throw it out before you go to bed. Destroy it if you have to, put it in a bag with kitty litter or raw chicken so you make damn sure you don’t cheat before it makes it out to the curb.

What are some of your tricks to keep you eating healthy? What are some of your favorite go-to healthy snacks? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and you can follow me on Twitter @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

Easy Come, Not So Easy Go

I figured this would be a good one to put out now, with the Holidays looming over us. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is my favorite time of year. I bake cookies, sing carols, and deck the halls like my life depends on it. I am definitely one of those annoying “Christmas People.” And for years I have used Christmas as an excuse to eat my body weight in shortbread cookies, Christmas Tree shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (LOVE) and basically anything else I could tell myself I only get to eat once a year so I better eat it all in the next 30 seconds. And we all tell ourselves the same lie. “It’s Christmas! Everyone packs on a couple pounds, you lose it right after New Years when you make your resolution to lose weight. Easy peasy lemon squeezey! Right?”

Wrong.

Seriously I could eat ten of them before you can say "fatty fat fat"

Seriously I could eat ten of them before you can say “fatty fat fat”

Our next Uncomfortable Truth: Easy Come, Not So Easy Go

I always figured weight was a pretty simple equation: You have one bad day, one really good day should even it out. So if I have one day where I devour an entire chocolate cake, the next day if I stick to just broccoli and celery I’ll be back on track. Yeah…. No. For so many reasons. One being that there’s not a chance in hell I’ll only eat broccoli and celery for an entire day after a sugar binge. But also because that’s just not how weight works.

The sad, unfortunate truth is that fat is ridiculously easy to put on (even easier to put back on) and insanely difficult to take off again. We are currently doing the Slow Carb Diet in my house, no carbs at all six days of the week and one day where we go nuts and eat whatever we want. So far it has worked very well for me, but there are some weeks where I just barely lose an ounce by week’s end because I spent all week losing what I put on in one day.

I repeat: I SPEND ALL WEEK LOSING WHAT I PUT ON IN ONE DAY.

This should cancel out that tray of brownies right?

This should cancel out that tray of brownies right?

And that’s not coming from someone who eats bad all the time or doesn’t stick to their diet or has little “justified treats” all week. I eat very small portions, next to no carbs, I do some light working out, and I have very low calorie days wherein I don’t even sit down until after the baby has gone to bed. And I still need about 5 days to lose what I gain in one day of simple carbohydrates and sugar.

It’s insane. It’s unfair. It shouldn’t be that way. It makes no logical sense. But unfortunately, it’s a fact. So don’t kid yourself. If you use the holidays as an excuse to eat pie all day every day you’re doing yourself, and your thighs, a serious disservice. I’m not saying don’t indulge, you best believe I’m eating some serious sugar over the next month. But the key is to eat smart.

Choose wisely. Your pants depend on it.

Choose wisely. Your pants depend on it.

1. Don’t eat too quickly, you store more of it as fat.

2. Eat smaller portions, you don’t need to eat half the cake. Savor the flavor, and take smaller bites.

3. Don’t have dessert every day. There will be more of it to come. One day without sugar won’t kill you. But every day with sugar might.

4. Eat smart: Eat your veggies first. At a big meal it’s very easy to fill up on mashed potatoes and rolls. It’s also very stupid. Eat your brussels sprouts and turnip and carrot first. Those are actually wicked delicious, and you can eat a metric ton of them guilt free.

5. Drink Smart: Skip pop all together. Duh. Also skip really creamy drinks, and alcohol with a sugary and/or creamy mix. Red wine is good, dry white wine, vodka and gin with water (not tonic, its basically pop) are also good. Beer, sweet white wine, champagne, these are all tickets to Fatsville. And obviously, water is your best bet. Water with lemon and/or lime juice? Even better. And tastier. Club soda with lemon and lime juice (the real stuff) is super delicious and not fattening.

6. Cold weather is bomb for boosting your metabolism. So pick your favorite cousin (we all have one, don’t lie) and go for a ten minute walk before dinner and gossip about boys or your least favorite cousin’s ugly dress or whatever. Your hips will thank you.

So long, cankles!

So long, cankles!

Choose what goes in your body wisely. Easier said than done, I’m terrified to be around all my favorite Christmas treats for the next month, but we can do it! There’s no rule that says you have to eat the entire dessert buffet. You don’t have to poison your body to celebrate Christmas. And being happy with your body and reveling in your willpower? That’s your Christmas gift all year round.

Your turn! What are some of your tips and tricks to having your waistline survive the holidays?

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and I’m also on Twitter @Last20Pounds. Cheers!